illidurit (2050) - Petaluma, USA - DEC 6, 2009
3.5 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Bottle courtesy Joel. Pours a gorgeous shimmering copper color with a fading beige head. Aroma is sharp bourbon, lots of heat here, charred oak, vanilla. This is more bourbony than any barrel-aged beer Iíve had. Over the top. Flavor is caramel and bourbon, vanilla, leather, and wood. I donít know if Iím drinking beer or if a plane dropped a barrel on my face. Needs a lot of age to gain a modicum of drinkability. Also rather thin from the spirit influence.
corby112 (2214) - philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA - DEC 5, 2009
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 19/20
Pours a very dark amber/chestnut brown color with ruby mahogany edges and a one finger light beige head that quickly fades into a lasting ring that leaves sporadic spots of lacing behind.
Sweet caramel malt aroma with hints of honey, toffee, hazelnut and earthy leathery malts. Sweet alcohol, earthy oak and a boat load of vanilla accompanying the subtle bourbon character. There was not as much bourbon in the nose as I had expected and this is a nice change of pace. Very complex with a lot of interesting aromas going on here.
Nice soft carbonation up front with a medium body thatís on the fuller end. Promient oaky tannis and a huge vanilla character from the oak aging. The bourbon is ore prominent in the flavor than in the aroma but again it isnít overpowering but rather is a nice compliment to the other complex flavors. Thereís also a bit of dark fruit, especially raisin, fig and date balancing out the earthy leathery malt notes. The bourbon presence provides a bit of alcohol warmth but this beer is dangerously drinkable considering how well the high ABV is masked. Extremely smooth and if I didnít share this bottle with some other BAs I would have probably killed myself by drinking it too fast. This is one of the best beers Iíve ever had and I canít recommend it and higher!
xmarcnolanx (925) - Kirkwood, Missouri, USA - NOV 20, 2009
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Hot cocoa. Holy shit ths motherfucker is hot. Cocoa,caramel, alcohol. Yum!
Taste is sweet, slightly hot. Okay, really hot, cocoa, sweet chocolate. Wow. Drier than anticipated. Chocolate, raisins, etc.
Needs time. Good.
drewbeerme (3869) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - NOV 20, 2009
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
22oz, pours dark ruby with small tan head. Nose of bourbon, nuts, caramel, touch of butterscotch. Flavors of caramel, vanilla, bourbon, raisin, nice toasted malt finish. This got a lot better as it warmed and let breathe.
pantanap (3340) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - NOV 20, 2009
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
22oz bottle from Todd once again... Pours a bit lighter than stormwatcher with a medium neon tint with reddish brown edges. Head wasnít too apparent and congregated around the edges... Aroma of a little burnt wood and bourbon and sweet rumlike notes. Still some of a lighter fruit, Peary aspect to it... Flavors were very bourbon forward at first which was overpowerizing. After warming, more intricate flavors develop with dark fruits and still an assertive bourbon assertiveness along with caramel and toffee flavors. Thinner mouthfeel than the regular version which was to be expected. Booziness somewhat subsides but is still prevalent.
JoeTheYounger (1125) - Claremont, California, USA - NOV 16, 2009
4.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
Barley Wine Tasting with Hophead22. This one really stood out for the day. Aroma was faint bourbon with some alcohol. Taste was chocolate malts, caramel, hops, awesome balance. Dark cherry color with small head. Medium carbonation. Overall so sooo good. Thanks again.
cking (1175) - North Canton, Ohio, USA - NOV 15, 2009
4.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
Fresh from the 2009 batch, shared by a generous friend. Extremely dark amber brown body with a diminishing tan head and heavy spotty lacing. This beer is big and robust with a smooth blended quality from the beginning. I can only imagine what a fair amount of cellar time could do to this beauty. Itís a big sipping beer with a sweet and creamy finish. Peaty aroma with dark fruits galore including raisins, currants and a hint of star anise. Nice tobacco and oat bran scent, the woody bourbon opens up as time passes. Lots of oatmeal and granola in the flavor followed by plum, raisin and port wine. Woody and nutty with mild tobacco and cocoa hints. A good dash of vanilla and a subtle rich bourbon quality. Reminiscent of a young J.W. Lees, extremely complex and very soothing. Thoroughly enjoyable over a stretch of time.
Hophead22 (2880) - Redlands, by way of Wisconsin,, California, USA - NOV 14, 2009
4.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
22oz bottle from hannont, big thanks Todd. Rating #36. Dark red, maybe a little brown, no head really. Notes of bourbon and rich dark malts. Flavor is spectacular, more rich malts, a little chocolate, just exquisite. (1070)
bgramer (2) - Seattle, Washington, USA - NOV 12, 2009 does not count
4.9 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 20/20
I love barrel-aged barleywines and have been wanting to try this for some time. Kicked myself for not going out to the mall in Portland when it was available as late as February 2009, and thankfully to a generous trader, I was able to acquire a bottle which I still hold.
My review is for a 2009 bottle which I consider myself lucky enough to have gotten a few bottles of, thus affording me the opportunity to open one up. The 2009 StormWatcher batch was aged in the same Evan Williams barrels as the 2008 batch was.
Whoa, this beerís aroma is pungent with vapors of vanilla, alcohol, and sweet malts as I removed the gold foil and opened it. A dark ruby/mahogany color fills my glass with a little head but thereís some carbonation and lacing. Viscous, creamy, chewy, nutty, caramelly, toffee, and very bready. Can taste the oak character and bourbon as well.
This is definitely an easy sipping beer, if only to enjoy the complexities and enormity of this beerís character. I found myself inhaling the aroma each time I would sip, just to appreciate it. The alcohol presence is there but very drinkable in a smooth warming sense on the finish. I wouldnít have known it was a 13% abv.
The buzz around this beer seems to be picking up. Itís no longer a NW secret, and it shouldnít be because this is an absolutely fantastic barrel-aged barleywine. Itís a keeper.
Tweety (377) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - NOV 9, 2009
4.7 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Man am I ever glad that I took the time out of my day to run down to Pelican and pick up a couple cases of this stuff. Not only is it a beautiful place, but this beer is just phenomenal. The smell is all various bourbon notes, with the vanilla and oak that you expect. Taste is more of the same with a wonderful malty backbone just behind it. The only BA beer that Iíve ever had that took this much flavor off the barrels is Bourbon County Stout, but this one is a little less sweet, and yet still seems to have more flavor.