adrian910ss (2268) - philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA - SEP 25, 2006
4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
2004 bomber, courtesy of Ron Bush- Vintage Estate Wine & Beer. Green waxed top. Pours an amber brown, burgundy color with a small white head. Aroma is extremely hoppy with citrus and alcohol overtones. Smells as if this was brewed in a wet pine forrest in Oregon. Taste is bitter hoppy with lots of piney and woody flavors. Excellent and not as sweet as some barleywines tend to be. Thanks Ron !!!
Ughsmash (6909) - Pewaukee, Wisconsin, USA - JUN 29, 2006
3.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
2004 vintage on tap at the Brew Kettle. Poured a deep chestnut/burgundy with a nice cap of beige head (short-lived, though). Nose was quite seductive... with rum-soaked raisins, figs, and rich, rustic caramel... kind of an old ale feel to it. Alcohol-fueled rich dark fruity base with floral highlights and smoky caramel. Booz factor increased greatly with warmth... quite tasty! Sticky sweet, but satisfying... some grainy bitterness across the middle. Medium-to-low carbonation. Definitely enjoyed this one.
SuIIy (1984) - Burlington, Vermont, USA - MAY 23, 2006
3.3 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
2004 bomber from Kujo9. Pours a reddish brown color with a large foamy off white head. Nose is dry piney citrus hops. Light caramel sweetness as well. Flavors of caramel and sugars, lots of sweet malt notes.
ClarkVV (3579) - Allston, Massachusetts, USA - APR 24, 2006
2.9 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 11/20
UPDATED: APR 25, 2006 2004 bomber generously given by Kujo and shared with SuIIy on 4/23/06.
Impressive carbonation levels for a 2 year old barleywine. Very large, off-white head is foamy, well-retained and provides light bits of lacing. Color is a strong, auburn-red, very crystal malt driven, with a high clarity, no sediment on bottom, seemingly filtered and force carbonated.
Aroma is heavily bitter hops, not overly aromatic, just dry citrus and some strong pine resin. This spikes up at first and is combined with moderately hard crystal malt that seems to have softened with 2 years, bits of caramel sweetness and noticeable munich malt sourness that seems to grab at the nostrils rather violently. Strong yeast bi-products due to the high gravity; fruits, vanilla and corn. It all adds up as to overload the nose, rather dry, bitter and sharp, though the alcohol is not too fierce for this level. Caramelly, with dry peaches created from the munich malt, caramel sugars and fruit esters, leading to some redeeming aroma complexity, but ultimately it’s just dry note after dry note. Strength is medium to strong on the aroma.
Heavy, heavy hop bitterness dynamites the palate upon first sip, corroding all the taste buds and really forcing a cringe. If there is still this much bitterness in the bottle after 2 years, it must have been downright brutal when fresh. As the palate adjusts to the bitterness, it must also confront the dry, lightly toasty/earthy crystal malt that seems to delay the onset of the sourish, bready munich malt. Once that begins working, combined with the alcohol warmth and heavy, caramelized sugars, the richness and decadence are matched by few. That being said, the acidity from the hops, munich malt and alcohol sharpness/dryness are only balanced by the intense, sugary, syrupy, coating, candy-caramel-sugars. Texture is creamy, smooth and liquorous, the forced carbonation having settled out after 2 years in the bottle. Hmm, what to think? For an American-style Barleywine, it certainly is well-made, that is, rich, unbalanced, decadent and massively bitter. After 2 years, I can’t expect much hop flavor, so you can’t fault it for that, and the alcohol, while gratuitous, is not more apparent than I would expect for this level. Full-bodied, that’s for sure. As it warms and the carbonation comes off further, you get a gritty maple-caramel-honey sugariness that is thick, rich and syrupy (and pleasant, in a decadent way). I think my usual tendency to really rate these types in to the ground for their lack of balance and elegance is not quite fair. It is a well-made beer, in that it is not flawed, fuselic, fuelic or poorly malted, but there is little excitement from the rich, heavily sugared caramel-maple malts and deadening hop acidity. Like an after-dinner cordial, also reminds me of Barleys Barleywine from Ohio. With some sherry-like oxidation after 5 or so years, this could be very intriguing.
As a postscript, the brewer informs me that there is no munich malt in this. Not sure what accounts for the light sourness and breadiness, but perhaps the alcohol dryness with the crystal malts and some yeast biproduct?
wheninhell (488) - chicago, Illinois, USA - MAR 20, 2006
4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
on tap at richos gravity head 2006. burnt orange color with a white head. aroma dominated by roasty malt with quite a bit of cherry and a bit of hops and alcohol . huge sweet toasty vanilla oak bourbon flavor. hops appear in the middle. full body long alcoholic bourbon finish. almost tastes like taking a shot of bourbon. great barley wine.
StewardofGondor (1934) - Washington Heights - Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA - JAN 3, 2006
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
12-oz. goblet at the Brew Kettle. Opulent cherry chestnut in color with a creamy, grey, half-inch mossy head. Ripe bing cherries from the aromatic get-go, along with amarillo, amaretto, red raspberries, grenadine over buttery toffee, and slightly accented by cedar. Flavor brigade is a sweet, sugar encompassing ceremony. Caramel spiced by a hoppy roséboom bouquet. Bittered spruce aligned with a maple vat’s sugar-saturated qualities. Cherry pie melding as well. Sticky, sweet and a palate thirst beggar. Formidably balanced and young like I like ’em, finishing like cherry flavored Nips. A lovely beer.
liquidcrack (44) - Ohio, USA - MAR 31, 2005
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
tap. bottle. Nice deep red color, white head. nice lite, sweet smell. good smooth wet body. flavor full of malt, caramel, sweet bitter finish that is complex but doesn’t cause an aneurysm. not overpowering for 11.5% abv beer. good bottle for the stash.
NVBeer232 (467) - Reno, Nevada, USA - MAR 23, 2005
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Deep red color with an off white head. Very sweet aroma with lots of alcohol. Massive malty/carmely flavors initially, but quickly changing to an herbal, piney bitterness. This just seemed a bit too much for me. It could probably stand to chill out for a good long while to balance and mellow.
JasonG (776) - Salt Lake City, Utah, USA - FEB 20, 2005
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
2004 version, draft - Dark amber color with no head. Aroma has lots of caramel malts, hints of alcohol, notes of dry corn. Flavor is malty, dry, slightly sweet with honey and caramel, moderatly bitter finish.
jsquire (3227) - St. Marys, Ohio, USA - JUN 17, 2004
4.2 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 18/20
Amber color with a quick tan head that faded to a lasting ring. Very complex nose of rosemary, juniper and spruce. Lots of complex sugars in the flavor. Apricot, orange, caramel, toffee, alcohol with the hops finishing with a sustained citrus rind note. The highlight of the tour.