muzzlehatch (4420) - Burlington, Vermont, USA - OCT 2, 2002
3.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 12/20
1999 bottle. Opaque dirty-brown color, small but lasting slightly off-white head. Nose intensely fruity/hoppy with hints of currants, apricots, brandy and allspice; delightful but rather punchy. Flavor: certainly the hoppiest barley wine Iíve had, and this at 3 years! I donít think this would be drinkable fresh and new. There is a noticeable malt presence, mostly caramel and liqured fruit, but it is nearly overcome by the intense bitterness and alcohol. Long very bitter finish. I expect it to be rounder and smoother in a few more years; at the moment Iím in the middle on this one, glad I had it but not sure when Iíll be brave enough to try another.
CaptainCougar (7133) - Columbia, Maryland, USA - SEP 29, 2002
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
UPDATED: JUL 9, 2004 2004 bottle sampled on 7/9/04: (8,4,6,4,14) Much more bold and bitter than I remember. Tastes almost too fresh and needs some more balance that aging would most likely bring.
2002 bottle sampled on 9/29/02: (9,4,8,4,17) Very dark for a barleywine, almost more like a dopplebock. It has a slightly fizzy head with an aroma bursting with roasted malt and floral hops. This beer uses both its sweetness and high bitterness to mask its alcohol content. The first onset is one of strong maltiness followed by a smooth mixture and then finishing with the bitterness of a pale ale. Very interesting, and a must try for higher gravity beer lovers.
1995 6.5oz bottle (8,3,8,4,16): Pours a flat murky brown with a richly complex dark fruit, soy, chocolate chip cookie and brown sugar aroma. Still has a decent bitterness to it and good complexity. This has aged considerably well.
igneous1 (1530) - Davenport, Iowa, USA - SEP 27, 2002
3.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
7 oz bottle...maroonish/brown with lots of floaties. aroma is very sweet with a slight burnt sugar note. flavor is sweet with toffee and caramel notes offset by an incredible bitterness that doesnt hit you until the finish...very interesting!
MartinT (9063) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - SEP 15, 2002
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
UPDATED: NOV 20, 2006 (1 and 2 years old)...íLetís get ready to Rrrrrrrumble!!í...(crowd roars and laughs at the mismatch supposed to occur)...íIn the now sticky red corner, weighing in at an impressive 120 I.B.U., HopSumo himself, Old Crusty!í...(crowd reaction is mixed...while some cheer his audacity and sheer brutal bitterness, others denigrate his lack of dexterity and malty elegance)...And in the blue corner, weighing in at a meager 190lbs, a renowned hop masochist, the Humble Drinker!...(most snicker at him, thinking of the treatment he will receive in a few seconds)...Both participants crash and immediately a thick foam is released from Crusty, one that will draw back a bit but stay for the reminder of the fight...Vapors of luscious resiny hops hit the Humble Drinker, who is also surprised by the obvious huge body of the Hop Monster...And the bout is disgustingly erotic, the pepper Crusty dusts on the Drinkerís hop wounds excites him more and more and makes him lick his palate until acid citrus notes appear...íThe body on that one!í, he seems to be thinking, reminded of a very plump but immature Bigfoot he had once clashed with...The ballad they dance to is at once sickening and romantic, depending on your interest for balance or not...Oh yes!, and they just stayed there serenading each other until the Humble Drinker had absorbed the mountain-like body of the Hop Monster...He was awed an refreshed, and had gained enough sustenance for many weeks to come...Far from an easy sipping, even at 2-years-old, but nonetheless a very interesting liquid...
jamrun (137) - Sioux Falls, South Dakota, USA - SEP 14, 2002
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: APR 15, 2006 re rate must had bad bottle first time. I can actually smell the sweetness of the malt, first sip interesting bitterness from hops followed by sweet malt charactor glad I picked up a few bottles while visiting family in Mesa, Arizona
morty99 (371) - Maryland, USA - SEP 12, 2002
3.1 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Terminus (3544) - St. Louis, Missouri, USA - SEP 12, 2002
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
UPDATED: JUL 9, 2005 12oz bottle 2002-i was very weary about sampling this one after having the excellent hog heaven and bigfoots. my college graduation was in total barleywine heaven back in may, so i didnt expect much from this beer. Pours a very brown mahogany color, darker than most barleys. nose is piney with pears. the flavor is huge malts up frong followed by a burning 120ibu bitterness that is just way to high. 100 ibuís is about the max i can take-this is just to bitter. i wish i would have aged this one some.
much of the same, but the ibu bitterness has mellowed some, and i emphasize some. Definately still packs a huge punch. this stuff needs to be aged 5 years!!!!
Aurelius (4963) - Tallahassee, Florida, USA - SEP 11, 2002
3.2 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 13/20
Hazy chestnut brown, with healthy sediment at the bottom of the bottle. Cascade-y, buttery aroma. Complex flavor -- sweet, highly-hopped, whiskey-pepper beer. ABV is well-masked except for the warming effect. As it warms, or as I get through the hopshock, the flavor suggests vanilla and pine. Technically, this is a decent brew, but I didnít really enjoy it.
Merc (313) - Pullman, Washington, USA - SEP 8, 2002
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
So I havenít had many barley wines, but this one was definately very different from the others I have had. Very bitter. A 2001 bottling, I wish I hadnít been so impatient to sample this beer. I may have liked it better in a couple of years. The alcohol was too much for me in this beer. Not that I would expect that to improve with age, but maybe it would have mellowed out some more. Still, a very interesting beer.
Gregory (357) - Pullman, Washington, USA - SEP 8, 2002
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
2001. nice strong aroma, very floral, deep brown in color, scotch like, alcoohol really warms you up. and itís very nice.