crazyvin (1836) - New York, USA - MAR 8, 2003
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
UPDATED: APR 28, 2007 re-rate, a 2005 bottle recently sampled. Mohogany body with a thin white head, minimal carbonation. Aroma was rather sweet with some rich hop notes. Flavor was sweet and seemed to be more mellow from aging. Alcohol presences was warming. Full bodied indeed.
hvac4sl (31) - Dowling, Michigan, USA - MAR 7, 2003
3.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 4/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
Ouch! This beer hurt me. I don't know why they release this beer before it's time. The appearance, color, aroma was all there, but when I took a drink it was all over. This beer was bracingly bitter. Too bitter to enjoy. Too bitter to taste any alcohol, malt or anything. I don't have the means to age some of this, so I can't comment on that. If you do, I highly recommend it.
argo0 (11163) - Washington DC, USA - MAR 5, 2003
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
UPDATED: FEB 11, 2005 (2001, sampled 2/11/05) Small beige head atop a clear dark copper body. Aroma is moderately sweet, caramel, pine. Taste is rich, sweet, caramel, pine/mint, finishes with moderate alcohol. Full body that supports the big alcohol in this one. It tastes fine, but I think it might already be past its prime. (7/4/7/4/15). (2003, sampled 3/5/03) Clear copper body with a big beige head. Aroma is pine hops, with mild sweetness. Taste is, well, for lack of a better word, BIG! Big malts, big hops, mild sweetness. Surprisingly, it’s fairly smooth. Nice beer that I’ll enjoy trying as it ages (got lots more where this one came from). (7/4/8/4/16)
Nuffield (3612) - Roseville, Minnesota, USA - MAR 3, 2003
3.3 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
UPDATED: MAR 11, 2006 Bobby Johnston was a gawky 16 year old in 2003, perhaps a bit young to go to the prom, being an oversexed and over-eager American boy from Northern California, but he had a drivers’ license, daddy’s car, some cheap cologne, and a pimply-faced date with a carnation pinned to a faux-satin gown that would easily fall off her chest when in the backseat. As for the "activities" that prom night, well, it wasn’t pretty--indeed, it was clumsy--but Bobby did enough to say that he "did it" and his pride was disproportionate to the magnitude of the accomplishment. Translation: although I drank it a bit young (2003 edition), this is an overhopped IPA that doesn’t have the complexity or grace of the better barleywines. // Re-rate of the 2006 (again perhaps too young). Same result. Cloying sweetness, too heavy on the palate, although a lot of nice flavors are there to distinguish themselves.
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 (3156) - 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.