DrnkMcDermott (2845) - Downers Grove, Illinois, USA - SEP 26, 2004
4.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: DEC 3, 2007 Draft, at RB Chicago. First thing I get is a great big maply taste. Then I paid attention to the look: a sort of thin dishwasher soap head that sticks around, unusual for a barley wine. Color is a deep sensuous brown. My best description of the taste would be "mellow as hell." I also catch a sort of IPA hop nose here, not big, but just enough to make you pucker and to keep the maltiness from overwhelming. Next I find a touch of honey creme, light oakiness, and barley wine flavor so strong you can just pick out the bourbon. Walking out the door, my lips are still just a little puckered.
Crosling (1863) - Loveland, Colorado, USA - JUL 29, 2008
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Draught. Recovered notes while cleaning out some drawers! Don’t really even need notes though, as I have a vivid memory of the beer. Such a bad ass brew. Brown color. Complex nose, very vibrant, with notes of the original beer and the barrel in an integrated way. Flavor is bold, very sweet, massively flavorful and complex. Notes of toffee, caramel, bourbon, toast, chocolate, vanilla and wood. Classic offering from a great brewery and one of the pioneers of barrel aging.
Cornfield (5570) - Oak Forest, Illinois, USA - MAR 2, 2006
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Sweet and thick, a barley wine to savor. Perhaps too much Bourbon in the aroma, a strange statement from an old juice hound, I know. Toffee and caramel in the taste, sweet (I think I said that before), with a mild woodiness and much Bourbon and alcohol. A tastey treat. More!
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ElBorracho (472) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - MAR 1, 2006
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Sampled at Delilah’s Vintage Ale Fest. Pours a dark cloudy brown. Vanilla and caramel in the nose along with a slightly tart note. The taste is dominated by alcohol and Bourbon which seem to fight too much with the other "normal" barley wine attributes.
RAYBOY01 (2012) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - FEB 28, 2006
4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Thick oily texture. Bourbony alcohol dominates the nose. Very strong bourbon flavors with caramel/toffee/and dried fruit contributing. Very powerful alcohol kick. Remarkable barley wine.
Styles (2014) - Lincoln Park, Michigan, USA - FEB 5, 2006
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
FoBAB: hazy medium brown with no head. Huge sweet malt aroma, caramel, toffee, chocolate and light bourbon. Flavor much the same, all caramel and toffee, with some dark fruit and bready/yeasty middle, finishes with a bigger bourbon kick than aroma would indicate. Very oily-sticky mouthfeel.
CaptainCougar (7132) - Columbia, Maryland, USA - JAN 22, 2006
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
On tap at the brewpub 12/16/2005: Pours a dark mahogany with a thin off-white head. Rich, sweet caramel and bourbon aroma has lots of raisin and fig flavor. Very rich, sweet dark caramel body reveals more bourbon toward the sticky finish. Has a ton of complexity and decent bittering hoppy presence, but is too cloying to drink more than a few ounces.
beervana (781) - Libertyville, Illinois, USA - JAN 8, 2006
4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
(12.27.05) Woodford Reserve bourbon barrel aged version (aged two years) available on tap at Rockbottom Chicago, Chicago, IL. Clear brown hued barleywine having a small diminishing white head with no discernable lacing. No discernable carbonation. Sweet malt and caramel aromas. Full bodied that starts with smooth rich malt sweetness and complex flavors of chocolate, dried fruit (cherry?) and caramel flavors. Port-like. Finishes with pleasant light malt aftertaste Delicious, smooth and rich.
Lubiere (10551) - Ottawa, Ontario, CANADA - DEC 30, 2005
4.1 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Murky brown ale with reddish hues, no head. In aroma, vanilla beans and soy sauce, with light licorice notes. Wonderful rich sweet licorice malt, restrained hops, and figs in mouth, a wonderful fruity taste. Rich and smooth, with tingling in mouth, oily texture. On tap at RB, Nov. 12, 2005.
DavidP (1747) - Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA - DEC 27, 2005
4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Clear brown body. Big plummy pale malt aroma with some chocolate notes. Super-sweet flavor: plum, melon, condensed grape juice and bready yeast. Thick mouthfeel, hint of alcohol at the end. A cloying BW but tasty enough to be interesting.
Frank (3098) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - DEC 21, 2005
4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
On tap at the Chicago brewpub. Pours a very dark brown--maybe slightly cloudy but hard to tell w/ as dark as it is. No head but that’s not a serious negative in such a high gravity beer. Big nose--a lot of vanilla up front w/ big malts, molasses and maple syrup. Barrel aged character is a definite centerpiece here w/ a subtle but not all overwhelming American oak flavor. Mouthfeel is big and full, slightly syrupy but not sticky and just a little bit salty. A bit of bitterness finishes it out but, again, nothing approaching overwhelming. This is a giant beer but the good folks at Rock Bottom put forth a hell of a show in making no one flavor stick out and keeping it complex in subtle.