kramer (5693) - Sunbury, Pennsylvania, USA - FEB 16, 2006
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
On handpump at brewpub. Pours a dark caramel color with thin wisps of head and a thin ring clinging to the edge of my snifter. Nice aroma of caramel, toffee, alcohol, and Fuggles hops. Very deep aroma without the overpowering alcohol fumes I expected from a 12% beer. Flavor is aggressively bitter with lots of sweet toffee and caramel malts trying to peek thru. Finish is a balance between dark fruits, alcohol warmth, and a lingering bitterness. Mouthfeel was smooth and creamy due to the handpump, with minimal carbonation. Finish was slightly sticky. Overall, a very good Barley Wine. The alcohol on this, while very warming, did not negatively affect the flavor. I could have sat there all day and drank these if I didn’t have to drive home.
cheap (5089) - Beaver Valley, Beaver County, Pennsylvania, USA - JUL 19, 2007
1.5 AROMA 4/10 APPEARANCE 2/5 TASTE 3/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 4/20
UPDATED: JUN 25, 2011 First off let me say that if you enjoy barley wine, ignore my numbers, just read the text. I simply give this above a 2 out of respect for my local brewer. I am not a barley wine liker. It is not my style. This is overall a good example of barleywine. However, it is probably one of the better barleywines I’ve enjoyed, most of them are overpowering with alky with no interesting substance. This brew however is very complex, it has other attributes that can be enjoyed. Mild sweet aroma, very good smelling. Dark reddish orange appearance. The palate is absolutely flat. Taste impact is fruity and floral, and this is welcomed. These qualities are lacking in most barely wines. Nice and complex. Has a feel of some fine wines or liquors. Warm mouth coating feel. Again, this is a little more fruity and much more enjoyable than most BWs. Very refined and thought out, I can tell lots of effort was put into this to make it stand above other BWs. The only other BW I’ve enjoyed was Rock Art Ridge Runner Ale. This old fugget is certainly on par with that. Alky impact is present but not over powering as with most BW. Much better than Weyerbacher Blithering Idiot, Lagunitas Brown Shugga, Sierra Nevada Bigfoot and even Victory’s Old Horizontal. I give this a 2.3 only out of respect for mj and Nate. They have a hankering for this brewpub. Otherwise it would get a 1.8
DiarmaidBHK (4030) - Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, USA - JUN 24, 2012
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 13/20
Hand pump at brewpub. Pours light brown with a thick inch of khaki foam. Served at room temperature which kpens things up. Big alcohol on the nose with some nice malt notes. Lots of alcohol on the tongue with vanilla notes creeping in. Finishes clean.
MrChopin (3999) - Baltimore, Maryland, USA - DEC 31, 2009
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Cask at Otto’s. Dark mahogany with a full white head. Sweet nose of lemon cookie and prune given balance by a dry malt, some wood, and hints of alcohol. The flavor is sweeter, showing alcohol again but also more prune, wood, brown sugar, and dates. Warming and silky, rich and balanced. Best Otto’s beer I’ve had.
Nate (3994) - Indiana, Pennsylvania, USA - MAR 31, 2007
4.1 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 16/20
From growler, only a few hours after filling. I would not recommend getting a growler unless you’re going to drink it all by that evening (Otto’s will tell you the same thing, since it’s from cask). Mild oak aroma, dark brown sugar, alcohol vapors, macerated raisin. Vinuous and fruity. Hazy brown amber, great luster, with very thin wispy head. Heavy watery body with silky smooth carbonation, just perfect. Starts with rich malty sweetness. Mild molasses, macerated raisin, and a bit of oak. Heavy alcohol warming. A mild nutty dryness before a bit of fruity esters. Nice hoppiness at the finish, a little bit of bitterness to cut on the brown sugar sweetness. Sweet coating in the after, with a little bit of acidic tang and nutty bitterness. This one is not overly complex, but it’s clean and well done.
Pawola22 (3262) - Plainfield, Illinois, USA - MAR 23, 2010
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
On cask at Otto’s. Pours a slightly hazed, deeper orange-amber colored body with a finger-width, very creamy and frothy, white head that dissipates slowly and leaves a nice lacing. Aroma is very sweet. Sugar coated grapefruits with a medium-sharp pine and some florals. Date cookies and a toasty, thicker toffee with a light booze. Flavor is similar. Very sweet with a nice amount of hoppiness thanks to the sugar covered grapefruit pines. Thicker caramels and toasty toffees with sweet cookie malts. Prunes and dates with a light booze as this finishes dry, but rich and malty with a moderate bitterness. Medium length aftertaste after a full, thicker, silky smooth body and very light carbonation. Overall, a sweet, but solid barley wine. Nice, big body and sweet citrus hoppiness.
kmweaver (3207) - Petaluma, California, USA - JUN 7, 2007
4.3 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
8oz pour, cask. Pours a hazy, orange-amber appearance; fluffy, off-white head with beautiful retention and creamy lacing. Pleasant, maple syrup and dried dark fruits in the aroma; hints of a vanilla / marshmallow note. Light carbonation from cask. Impressively dense, viscous mouthfeel: tons of maple syrup and candy sugar; dried dark fruits (plums and raisins), with a light citrus hop presence balancing things out; velvety, mouthcoating barley wine; wonderfully drinkable from cask, no harshness. Lengthy, dried dark fruit and maple syrup finish.
auerbrau (3203) - Ithaca, New York, USA - MAY 29, 2007
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
UPDATED: JUN 18, 2008 On Cask (my first barleywine in such format, as I can remember), originally reviewed 5/29/2007. Warm raisins, cream and brandy aroma. Pours a nicely cleared amber gold, with a rim of white. Flavor glides through glassine sugars of plum, currant and malt sugars. A touch hot and nicely caramelized with faint grain esters. Smacks out on Goldings and some weak spice. Faintly nuanced. Some fairly nice sugar play in the middle, but nothing overly complex. A bit of pineapple juice through the back. A well built version.
Further Ruminations: I’ve actually thought about this particular beer a bit since I had it. I struggle with it, because really there isn’t anything particularly memorable about it, other than its graceful balance and delicate nature. I think the cask presentation through me off and it had such stellar drinkability, from a style for which I look for nice sipability. This lands it in with Surly Darkness or Oskar Blues Ten FIDY, for that character. But, most of all, I akin it to Town Hall Scotch Ale, for having superb quality across the board, but staying restrained and generalize in muted nuance. I like some aspect of my beer to speak boldly of itself and this one whispers softly all of its facets. Thus, I’ll re-rate it a 4.0. For it lands in a field that I just can’t put my finger on.
On Cask at the brewpub 06.18.2008. Noses in a softer caramel, toasted walnut and brandied plums. Soft and spicy, but inviting in an alcoholic sense. The pour is insanely beautiful. This slowly sounding rise of carbonation crests the surface with the softest, softest white head. The color beneath is an inexplanable birch heartwood tinted with squirrel blood. It’s woodsy and real. Probably one of the most beautiful pours I’ve ever seen. Flavor is much more subtle this year, backing off of the caramels, rum, raisins and spice and carrying more of a perfumed pale syrup character. Still totally delicately flavored and the alcohol well inegrated. A good wallop of hop brings the backend up delightfully. This is balanced, complex, and delicious. It’s hard to describe all the subtle flavoring in the intricate mid-palate of this beer, but it’s beautiful whatever it is. I’m bumping it up a tenth for the beautiful pour.
adrian910ss (2541) - philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA - APR 12, 2007
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
On tap at the brewery. Pours an amber reddish color with a medium brown head. Aroma of dark fruit, caramel malt, figs and brown sugar. Taste is pleasantly sweet with dark fruit being prominent and hints of caramel, brown sugar and bread. Excellent !! Alcohol was never noticeable in the taste.
Schroppfy (2360) - Łódż, Warsaw, Poland; Michigan, Ohio, USA - JUL 6, 2008
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 15/20
Handbottle via acrdz. Sweet and fusely nose, yes, of corn! Vanilla flavors but astringent and a bit briny too. Thin and alcoholic (cask beer problem, maybe), but still quite tasty.