omnivore (270) - San Francisco, California, USA - MAR 3, 2003
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
These ratings were for a bottle of the 1998, but several were sampled.
2003: Yeah, or should I say, no. Just no.
2002: Hearty, but quite a bitter linger for a barleywine.
1999: More of a mellow, musty taste with a richer, broader flavor.
1998: VERY rich aroma, and a much more mature, sweeter taste than the others.
Lesson Learned: Let this stuff age, and it'll be okay.
jbak (111) - Torrington, Connecticut, USA - MAR 3, 2003
4.8 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
Pours a cloudy rusty amber color with a thin tan head that dissipates quickly, but has decent lacing. Aroma is a sharp fruit citrusy hop bite, probably Cascades or Centennial. Taste is, again quite bitter and quite malty too, well balanced. Bitterness lingers through the mouth with the malt giving substansial body. Aftertaste is quite bitter but it finishes with a touch of maltiness. Alcohol only apparent in the the finish. I thought last years was balanced just a bit better, not quite as bitter but goddamn, I love BIG hoppy beers and this is top notch!! Still a classic.
Silphium (3111) - East Lansing, Michigan, USA - MAR 1, 2003
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
This is a good beer, don't get me wrong, but I fail to discern how this is much different from an IPA. In fact, this beer has very similar taste and feel to the brewer's Celebration Ale, which I prefer over this brew, which must be its mutant cousin. I prefer my barleywines a bit less hoppy than this one. The hops tend to cover much of the flavor...perhaps aging does this one well.
elnadeau (786) - Laguna Niguel, California, USA - FEB 28, 2003
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
UPDATED: MAR 2, 2004 Wow, could not find one review that mentions this, but I think Bigfoot must have stepped on a campfire. This one starts out very promising but finishes not only *very* bitter but just plain BURNT! To the point of giving up on the glass before half of it was gone - I do like bitter and I really did try to hang in there with this but the burnt flavor was way too prominent. Something was wrong, could I have gotten a bad bottle? Re-Rate 2/04: Had the sampler or 98', 03', & 04' draft at Stuffed Sandwich. All were better than the 03' bottle I had last year, nothing really seemed 'burnt'. BUT, the 98' was so much better and mellowed than the more recent vintages I would venture that this stuff could not really be considered "finished" until you cellar it for some time.
JasonG (776) - Salt Lake City, Utah, USA - FEB 25, 2003
3 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
The hops from this brew will bowl you over. Huge hops in the aroma and the flavor. Pours a deep red color, with a pretty big tan head. Aroma has slight citrus notes, and lots of hops. Flavor is dominated by hops and is pretty bitter overall. Have I mentioned that it's hopy? I like barleywines, but this seems more like an imperial IPA. Way hopier than a barleywine, and it's missing a lot of the malt and sweetness that seems to characterize most barleywines. I did not taste any of the maltyness that others have noticed. If you like big, hopy brews, this one's for you, but I was not crazy about it.
howie (549) - DeForest, Wisconsin, USA - FEB 25, 2003
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: FEB 6, 2004 2003 - Beautiful brown color with red highlights. Thin, but long-lasting, rocky, off-white head. Big fruity and citric hop aromas, caramel apple. Quite bitter, but not so much that this can't be enjoyed young. I wouldn't call this "balanced" due to the high bitterness, but the robust malt flavors do hold their own. Bitterness dries out the finish slightly.
2004 - Seems a bit sweeter and fuller bodied, slightly less hop aroma, but still as bitter as all hell. Beautiful lasting head, which I don't remember seeing before.
Ni209 (67) - Tennessee, USA - FEB 24, 2003
5 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 20/20
UPDATED: APR 15, 2003 this beer is awesome. ive started a collection of barleywines to age and this is one. best enjoyed outside in the dusk of the mountains. bitter as hell. a little bit of bottle conditioning adds to the texture. the foam lace clings to the glass like glue. bravo
ToadMan (559) - Washington, Washington DC, USA - FEB 23, 2003
4.2 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
2003: Dark brown color with a slighty ruby hint, decent lace. Nice aroma of hops and alcohol. Powerful flavor, lots of malt and lots of chewy hops, tied together nicely by the alcohol. Has a carmel/nutieness to it that is excellent. Extremely bitter finish, which is normaly not my thing, but I realy like it here. Far and away the most powerful beer I have ever had, I wouldnt mind the biterness toned down a little, but this is excellent stuff.
WabashMan (1004) - Noblesville, Indiana, USA - FEB 22, 2003
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
2003 VINTAGE: A nice light red-brown color and generous off white head start this one. Aroma is lightly hoppy, and quite nice. The flavor is quite hoppy with a medium bitterness...very nice, but a lot of hops wear down the palatte by the end of this pint. A good barley wine, and one that I suspect might get more depth of flavor with aging.
bender (293) - Reynoldsburg, Ohio, USA - FEB 21, 2003
3.4 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Deep red-brown body with a nice, beige head.
Sweet, malty aroma with some hop bouquet..
Sweet and malty big intial taste with an intense hop bite in the end. Extremely sweet. Notes of alcohol can be detected in the very bitter aftertaste.
Huge, full body. Smooth palate.