SQNfan (591) - Wheaton, Illinois, USA - SEP 7, 2008
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
On tap at the brewery: deep golden/orange/light brown in color with very little head and what it did have faded quickly. This was rich and concentrated with a wonderful oily and rich mouthfeel which led to a lingering finish. The oak was integrated beautifully adding to the complexity without poking out.
jarspag (601) - San Francisco, California, USA - OCT 28, 2008
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
GABF ’08 - labeled Clare’s Happy Ale. Same beer, yes? I LOVED this little bastard...at least 5 samples. I tend to enjoy the sweeter, rich vanilla/oaky barrel-ed beers. So it’s no surprise I prob enjoyed this more than most. Velvety smooth, soothing on the palate, liquid candy soaked w/ a delicious bourbon burn. Whatever I drank here was def better than Ugh’s 3.2!!!!
hapjydeuce (952) - San Diego, California, USA - OCT 26, 2008
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
Sampled at the 2008 Great American Beer Festival. Listed on Rock Bottom Chicago’s booth as Clare’s Happy Ale. I assume this was the same beer based on rater descriptions and %alc. Hazy yellow color that pours still. Instant aroma of vanilla creme, oak wood and whiskey. Incredibly smooth flavors of melted caramel, potpourri, and more oak barrel. Smooth palate with a big warming alcohol finish. This was one of those hidden treasures at the festival, with no line for the booth, Jared & I had our fair share of this. Dank!
xnoxhatex (1305) - Grand Rapids/Chicago, Michigan, USA - JUL 1, 2008
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
On tap at the brewery. Hazy medium amber color with small white head. Aroma is big bourbon cherry and alc with a good amount of malt sweetness, I am really digging this aroma. Flavor is alc and boozy upfront but is very well balanced with the sweet malt body, very fruity with the bourbon cherry, citrus, grapefruit, orange, big hop prenscene as well. Medium body, creamy. One of the best BA beers I’ve had from RB chicago, a very well balanced BA Barleywine.
Cornfield (5544) - Oak Forest, Illinois, USA - DEC 10, 2008
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
At the brewpub: It poured a slightly hazed pale amber with a thick head and provided solid lacing. The aroma was boozey and had scents of toffee, red sweet cherries, vanilla, and a light hint of wood. Smooth and warming on the tongue. The flavor held more Bourbon and alcohol notes, but they blended well with the other sensations noted above. Very nice.
GeneralGao (3614) - Iowa City, Iowa, USA - JAN 3, 2009
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
FoBAB 2008. Poured a clear light orange color with an off white head that laced the glass. Smelled of cotton candy, caramel, and toffee with subdued barrel imparted notes of bourbon and vanilla. Full bodied and sweet with cotton candy, bourbon, vanilla, and dark fruit. A raw alcohol note detracted a bit, but this was a good beer.
Philip (436) - Illinois, USA - AUG 14, 2008
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Great Taste 2008. One of the better BA barleywines I had that day, although I still think Great Dane does a wonderful job with this style. Lots and lots of caramel and vanilla here along with brown sugar and fig. I would disagree with the last reviewer, in that I found this to be decidely sweet, sweeter than Subzero (as I recall it). The finish is very warm (the 12% doesn’t surprise me, although I would have guessed around 10%) and the bourbon hits one on the way down. I let this one warm up in my extra glass for about 20 minutes while I was drinking other things, and the bourbon and sweetness really do come out. I think I liked this better colder than warmer, rather than how I typically prefer my barleywines. Great stuff, and another Great Taste treat.
drewbeerme (3879) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - JUN 17, 2008
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
UPDATED: AUG 7, 2008 on tap at RB Chicago. Let me start this review by saying the menu attempted to claim this was BA SubZero, but it is obvious it is the English Style Barleywine released 5 months prior. This version was aged 4 months in the barrel. The color and flavor is similar and the timing of the non-barrel aged release was about 5 months ago... SubZero did not look or taste like this beer. On to the review....pours hazy light amber with off white head. aroma is loaded with vanilla, bourbon, sharp oakiness, as it warmed more very sweet cotton candy came out in the nose. flavors of vanilla, oak, bourbon, sweet caramel, and cotton candy. a rather boozy and syrupy body. this is one of those beer that i liked quite a bit at first but towards the end got rather cloying. i think the beer needs to age longer but the bourbon would truly take over if that happened. still tasty and i would love another sample of it.3.8.
7/28/08, draft, this version aged 6 months in the barrel. Oh man those extra 2 months made this cloyingly sweet, vanilla bomb, and really boozy. this is really hard to drink and not nearly as balanced as the 4month version. still I dont think this beer was right for the barrel, and I wish I could try it just aged in kegs for a few years (not aged in barrel at all!).3.2.
NobleSquirrel (3437) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - NOV 19, 2008
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Fobab VI. as Clare’s Happy Ale. Okay, first of all, I generally am not a fan of the English style BW. Why did I like this one so much? Bourbon nose, candy, vanilla. Fair amount of English hops, though they jumpes out with some spice. Very smooth and Very nice.
kp (10884) - Woodstock, Georgia, USA - AUG 18, 2008
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Name: BA Barleywine
Brewery: Rock Bottom Brewery
Source: Brewfest, Great Taste
Appearance: hazy gold, wispy beige head,
Aroma: sweet and fruity caramel malt aroma,
Flavor: rich and sweet malt flavor, lots of fruity character, light balancing bitterness,
Aroma: 7/10; Appearance: 6/10; Flavor: 8/10; Palate: 7/10; Overall: 15/20