willisread (531) - Tokyo, JAPAN - FEB 25, 2015
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
On tap at craft beer market Toranomon. Served in a snifter. Copper rust colored with a thin white head that dissipated fairly quickly. Strong aromas of fig and prune with traces of nutmeg, vanilla, caramel and alcohol. Smooth slightly creamy mouthfeel. Vanilla and cinnamon present. Big bitterness on the palate. Like a nice smooth bourbon on the finish. Dangerously smooth.
GenkiGonzo (524) - Kyoto, JAPAN - NOV 19, 2014
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Draught at Bungalow. Ruby, rusty colour. Very little head. Aroma has dark fruit, some hops. Crazy smooth, and easy drinking. Big bitter hop finish. I love this barley wine because the hop profile is the star.
TheJollyOne (230) - Sydney, AUSTRALIA - FEB 6, 2009
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Deep orange to brown with nonexistant head. Lovely smell of sweet fruits, strawberry, plum. Sweet caramel malt. Sweet start to the taste, very strong in grassy hops. Bold flavored. A heck of a bitter hop finish. Palate is a bit oily and has very little carbon. A smooth, biting barley wine. Nice.
soulgrowl (52) - Kitakyushu-shi, JAPAN - MAY 8, 2008
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
This one boasts a big, eggy white head composed of soapy, fragile bubbles. Retention is fair, no doubt undermined by the 10% ABV. The body itself is a mellow peachy brown, hazy but still quite translucent. The nose is surprisingly meek, offering up some leafy/herbal hops, a bit of Dunkel Weizen-esque banana and clove, warm, Vodka-like alcohol, and lovely caramel/toffee malts - but not much depth and not much oomph. The actual taste has far more impact: big, bad, spicy hops dominate, made more spicy by the volatile alcohol. The hops’ flavor is like a brushfire: hot as hell, wide, and woody - reminiscent of cedar à la Hitachino Nest, in fact. It also carries a nice herbal shadow, something like Campari mixed with root beer, but without so much sugar. And that brings me to the beer’s major flaw: incredibly underdeveloped malts. There is a somewhat sugary backdrop to this beer, but the actual flavor of the malts, that nice caramel aroma, is almost completely dissolved and washed away by the massive hop bomb. There is some nice fruitiness, especially in the finish - grapes and berries come to mind - but I want more from the malts. I also want more from the mouthfeel; this seems thin and far too airy, although I must say the sugary quality may be too much were this any heavier. Overall it lives up to its name - it is an incendiary, devilish brew - but not among my favorite barleywines. Possibly among my favorite DIPAs, though!