FlacoAlto (4125) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - JUL 9, 2007
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Pours with quite a murky, muddy amber color. It is topped by a frothy, bright amber-tinged, tan colored head that starts out almost three-fingers in height. The aroma is quite rich and concentrated; notes of candied orange peel, brown sugar encrusted rustic bread crust, sweet orange spice cake, lychee, and murky caramelized malt (if that last makes sense). This beer really has a pronounced, sweet, candied orange aroma to it. The hops definitely are the dominant character, but there is a ton of malt underneath that just add to a very rich, chewy smelling aroma.
Quite sweet tasting and the sweet orange peel notes play quite a prominent role in the flavor as well. Thick, though not overly so; it certainly sticks to the palate, coating my mouth with caramelized malt sugars and orange zest, which slowly fades after the beer has left my mouth. The malt character here is quite rich; redolent of the afore-mentioned caramel, toasted grain, brown sugar notes and a real meaty malt character. This beer has a nice solid bitterness to it, but it is amazingly smooth; the bitterness is quite clean in the finish. Towards the finish the hops contribute a flavor that is menthol-like, resinous, not quite pine, but definitely a bit green.
This is an enjoyable brew, somehow it is not quite integrated though. At times it can be a touch disjointed; this doesnít keep it from being tasty, but I could certainly see how this could be quite a bit better. All it really may need is a little age; perhaps six months to two years may just be what this beer needs to achieve new heights.
trokini (1025) - San Diego, California, USA - JUL 9, 2007
3.6 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Pours a thick, clear brown with no head. Molasses, wood, caramel malt, and butterscotch in the nose. Oily mouthfeel. Taste did not live up to the nose. Caramel and bread, with some graininess and that rotten tobacco. There are far better out there.
dwyerpg (5225) - Las Vegas, Nevada, USA - JUN 27, 2007
3.9 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Okay, this is a case where the aroma score affects the beer in such a way as to drive up the rating unfairly. It smells wonderful, rich thick molasses. The flavor has a little caramel molasses to it, but is a little thin and shows some alcohol in patches. Really not top of the line, just something to drink and get drunk with.
drewbeerme (3915) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - JUN 22, 2007
2.9 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 11/20
UPDATED: JAN 2, 2008 22oz bottle, thanks to footy for this extra. love the name and label. sorta belgian cartoonish. pours reddish-brown hazy with tan fluffy head. nose has phenols, grassy, wet grains, caramel, toasted biscuit, and very slight tobacco. smells like this was once a hoppy barleywine but 6-12months have faded the hops but not enough time to develop the aged malts. flavor is sweet caramel and bready notes, with yeasty, slight citrus, wet grains, awful tobacco, over ripe dark fruits. oh man the flavors arenít too friendly in this one. carb. is full. alc well hidden. perhaps fresh of with 2-4 years but at this point the flavor is whatís the word iím looking for...? bad.2.9.
1/1/08, thanks to holdenn for this but I hate it. its awful. I dont get why its rated so high. Its one of the worst of the style for me. an awful yeasty, sour bread, citrus mess. barleywine? maybe, but has nothing a good barleywine does.2.8.
kramer (5691) - Sunbury, Pennsylvania, USA - JUN 8, 2007
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
22 oz bottle, via FlacoAlto. Pours a beautiful dark copper colored body under a smallish beige head that fell to a partial covering. Some sticky thick lacing. The aroma is malt dominated with notes of toffee and caramel. Some piney hops tries to balance things out. A touch of alcohol also. The flavor is pretty well in balance. Sweet toffee malt, whisked away by bitter resiny hops. A little hottness on the finish. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and a little thinner in consistency than Iíd like. Moderate fizzy carbonation is quite prickly. This was OK, but not a whole lot of depth or complexity going on.
3fourths (8962) - Boulder, Colorado, USA - JUN 6, 2007
3.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
22oz bottle thanks to FlacoAlto. Garnet in color and murky from yeast, with a tan, almost pinkish head. Nose of red apples, cinnamon, maple and bourbon, assertive and coarse red apple hop nose as well (not citrus or fruity other than these red appleds). Overhopped in my opinion. Sticky and thick palate, turning a bit frothy over the middle... tastes of semi-sweet grapes and red apples, bitter and spicy tobacco flavored yeast, turning more to bitter cedar flavored hops in the back. Reminds me of an overhopped old ale actually. Leaves the mouth peppered with red apple skins and sweet pipe tobacco, almost like the bitterness of tobacco.
LilKem (1213) - Marietta, Ohio, USA - JUN 4, 2007
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
wow. this was an impressive barleywine. if it had a little more age, a little more butterscotch, and some more oak it would be a lot like Drakes BW. Anyway this one had a lot of carmel and cherry licorice flavors with some carmel, butterscotch, and raisin.
Lumpy (1802) - Carrollton, Texas, USA - JUN 3, 2007
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: DEC 12, 2007 Taste-spruce, very clean PNW hops, raisin bran, raisin, maple syrup, cereal, milk, raisin, cherry, light char and smoke. A very well done barleywine. Light choclate malty powder.
jmcguire1969 (161) - Lafayette, Colorado, USA - MAY 26, 2007
3.2 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
This one is a big orgy of flavors. The malts and fruits dominate this one. The aroma is a big hit of toffee and caramel malts. Thereís a ton of dates, raisins and plum in the flavor. ABV is apparent but not burning. For me, this is a good representative of the style but nothing special.
BuckNaked (1230) - Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA - MAY 22, 2007
4.1 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 16/20
22oz bottle: Pours to an opaque deep ruby-amber colored body, though when held to the light it shines a clear deep strawberry-amber color with tiny bubbles visible rising swiftly to meet the huge 2-3in tall, mocha-tan colored head that lasts. The nose is more dominated by rich malt scents than hops, though hops are clearly here as well. I get notes of sweet honey, rich sugary toffee, very mild vanilla bean, lightly roasted milk chocolate, caramelized sugars, sweet fruit that is almost a combination of honeydew and plum, sweet clover, and bits of fruity/pineapple hops, along with a bit of leafy bitter hops and green tea. Taste shows a bit of bitterness, akin to drinking crappy green tea that you left steeping to long in overly hot water - but this is not a "crappy" flavor at all, inotherwords the leafy, grassy bitterness of the hops makes a play right up front (I like the hallertau a lot here). Next you get hit with the alcohol, but to be honest itís hard to believe this is 11% with the way it tastes. Next comes bits of fruit - apple, pear, bitter orange, honeydew - the choice and blend of hops really works quite well in this one and the flavors are not unidimensional. Sweetness from the malt finally comes to the party a bit late but brings some lightly roasted, honey-covered nuts, mild toffee, maple syrup, maple wood, and actually a bit of chardonnay flavors towards the end. Finishes with earthy & leafy hop bitterness and bits of residual sweetness that stick to the teeth and gums. The carbonation in this beer is absolutely perfect - by far the best I have ever experienced outside of a Belgian Lambic in prime condition - itís soft and fine, yet zesty and lively in the mouth. This makes the body feel much lighter and delicate than it actually would be if the carbonation were absent or overdone. Medium-full bodied. As I finish my glass thereís still a good 1/2in worth of exuberantly creamy & thick head that I canít even get out of the glass when I hold it upside down, while the glass itself is covered in lacing. A well-done beer all around, but the head and carbonation make this one really stand out from most other American beers Iíve tried. Itís a weird critique, I know. This one is a perfect barley wine to age.