SSSteve (3831) - - AUG 8, 2010
4.3 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
750 ml bottle. pours a deep brown, almost black with ruby highlights under a large, foamy, beige head. aroma is a showcase showdown of toasted malts, black malt, chocolate and hops. flavor is heavy with chocolate and dark malt with some floral hops and a bit of licorice spice. full body. a bit hot right now. need hold one for a couple years. a dark barley wine. another winner from this series.
rajendra82 (960) - Alpharetta, Georgia, USA - AUG 7, 2010
4.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
The only other Sierra Nevada Barleywine I’d had before was the exceptional Bigfoot, so I jumped on this one time chance of sampling a different take on the style from them. The bomber was classy looking, with a nice corked and caged presentation worthy of the 30th anniversary, which resonated a loud pop followed by gun smoke when unconfined. The beer itself poured out very dark brown with shades of red. Not quite pure black, but very very close. The head atop was much more massive for the style, and remained craggy and durable at three finger thick. The smell was very different than Bigfoot, with nose pulled between pine and grapefruit of the hops and ripe fruits of the malt. The taste naturally followed as a big but balanced drink that alternated between sweet apple and bitter grapefruit rind. There were also undertones of coffee and dark chocolate. The body felt very thick and chewy, and was closer to an Imperial Stout than a Barleywine. Very warming in the finish as a result of the unabashed boozyness. I liked it a lot, but Bigfoot is a better assault on the senses.
Rusty (1537) - Mesa, Arizona, USA - AUG 7, 2010
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Pours a thick n chewy deep blackish brown with a creamy tan head and lots of carbonation. Aroma is roasted barley, chocolate, hops, molasses, burnt brown sugar and cocoa nibs. Flavor is chewy cake batter chocolate, roasted barley, a good dose of hop bitterness, dark earthy raw sugars and finishes with some dark roasty malts and choco-hop bitterness. Thick viscous creamy mouthfeel and alcohol is apparent but well masked by this beast. Good stuff.
beerbastard (728) - Mesa, Arizona, USA - AUG 6, 2010
4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: JUL 13, 2012 Got lucky and showed up @ Sun Devil Liquor store today,( Aug. 6th, 2010), and they had just came in. Couldn’t wait so I chilled it down ASAP. Barley Wine or Amer Strong Ale? What a head and lacing on the glass. Very dark, can’t see light thru it. Piney malty nose. Black malt and hop bitterness. A little smokeyness. This should age really good. Hop and a little alcohol bite in the finish. July 2012, two years later. Got to kick it up a notch, hops have mellowed, no smokeiness, more malt with chocolate. Good balance, still burns in the finish and still has bitterness.
JaBier (5011) - Capital City, Ohio, USA - AUG 4, 2010
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
UPDATED: AUG 14, 2010 Sample at the brewpub. Darkest brown with a medium tan head. Aroma of sweet and dark malts with some hops. Flavor is roasted malt and malty, almost syrupy sweetness with grassy hops and a boozy finish.
AleDude (41) - USA - AUG 4, 2010
3.4 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 13/20
Sweet malt on nose. Dark brown with tan head. Taste is hot and booty with roast and some chocolate.
SamGamgee (2452) - down the whirlpool, California, USA - JUL 29, 2010
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Draught at the brewery. Apparenty just released in bottles yesterday. Dark brown color, almost black in the glass, with a medium beige head. Chocolat malt, piney, dewing hops and toasty caramel in the aroma. The flavor has a lot of rich toasty and chocolate malt going on with a rich piney, grapefruit peel hop balance. Very bitter and hoppy through the finish. Full bodied and smooth texture. Like a big chocolatey imperial brown. The description at the brewery called it a cross between an imperial porter and an American barley wine. Tastey stuff, and I brt a few months in the bottle would let the bitterness round out a little and let the malt come through more as well. Definitely better than the bock, and about on par with the stout.