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 (2879) - 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.
JohnC (3000) - Mission Viejo, California, USA - NOV 8, 2009
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Thanks to whomever brought this to Dr. Billís sour tasting.
Boozy, malty and a bit hot, I liked it, but it could use a year or two of aging.
GAManiac (1944) - Atlanta, Georgia, USA - NOV 7, 2009
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: JAN 11, 2010 22oz bomber, 2009 vintage, poured into a snifter.
Pours a deep, clear copper with a short-lived cap of big bubbles that recedes to a small collar and leaves very little lacing, though there are boozy legs down the glass after each sip.
The aroma is massive and has plenty of bourbon sweetness and alcohol burn in the nose which mixes well with the sugary caramel malt and dark fruit in the nose.
The underlying caramel malts are the first thing I notice with some toffee and dark fruits. There is definitely plenty of bourbon especially in the finish where there is a noticeable burn in the throat. Overall, itís like a caramel and chocolate dessert with raisins and plums soaked in bourbon.
The mouthfeel is stunning, one of the best Iíve ever felt, like velvet. Itís smooth with ample, but soft, carbonation and slightly dry and woody in the finish with a sweet bourbon presence on the palate as well.
I wasnít sure what to expect on this one. I saw everyone raving about it but just figured it wouldnít live up to the hype. Well, it lives up to the hype. Itís a wonderful beer that drinks fairly easy for the high ABV. The bourbon is strong right now and I think this one becomes even better with time. Superb.
fiver29 (1036) - Cleveland, Ohio, USA - SEP 3, 2009
3.3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Bottle shared by Eric. Thanks! Pours dark amber with off white color. Aroma is oak, booze, and rubbing alcohol. Viscous mouthfeel. Flavor was dark fruit, vanilla, oak, bourbon, and finished with a rubbing alcohol aftertaste. This beer might be too green at this point. It was just hard to sip because of the rubbing alcohol aftertaste. It was tough.
Brigadier (3095) - Clevelandish, Ohio, USA - AUG 31, 2009
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Bourbon barrel aged barleywines (and even imperial stouts) have not been my thing recently. Maybe it is because everyone under the sun is doing it now but it has become apparent which beers hold up well and which donít mix at all. This one is in the middle - while I liked it I think it would be just as good without the added influence of the aging.
Aroma / Appearance - The deep ruby red body is typical of a big barleywine. A thin tan head indicates some carbonation is still present. Resin, vanilla, and malt give it more life than the first barrel aged entry in a small flight but the ethanol is still strong throughout.
Flavor / Palate - Warm sheets of resin flow down the tongue. Vanilla and other bourbon aspects are evident but do not completely overwhelm the underlying beer. Mostly balanced I think this one could do with a few more months of mellowing at least before it is in perfect harmony.
GodOfThunder (1248) - Orlando, Florida, USA - AUG 25, 2009
4.2 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 16/20
In an effort to knock out the rest of my backlog, my ratings will be fairly generic and sparse. If the beer had anything special to offer, it will be noted following this disclaimer. The number ratings above are accurate based on my tasting notes. Following the elimination of my backlog, all beers will be entered in real time and will be more useful. Sorry for the inconvenience.
Thanks to JMFG! Take a great barleywine and make it better! Malts and toast now with oak and vanilla. Well blended. Great brew.
JMFG (1587) - Florida, USA - AUG 23, 2009
4.5 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
Bottle. Pours a deep ruby-amber color with a tan head. Rich whiskey aroma, tannins, sweet malts, pepper, all nicely melded. A bit of heat on the taste, as to be expected for 13.5%, but really the barrel integrates so nicely the beer that it ends up tasting very smooth for a strong BA barleywine. Tannic, reined in sweet maltiness, heat more on the back end, an overall fantastic barleywine and one of the best BA barleywines Iíve had.