Northernbrewer (147) - St. Paul, Minnesota, USA - JUL 13, 2002
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
Still have a few bottles of the 2002 tucked away. This year it was over the top with the hops. Not quite to the insane level of Old Crustasion, but still quite bitter. I look forward to a great reward next year. This still is the classic American style barley wine. It is dry enough, it is strong enough, and it has hop character to spare.
benzim (36) - USA - JUL 12, 2002
5 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 20/20
Best barleywine that I’ve had. Potent, but still tastes like beer (unlike Old Foghorn...great, but more like Sherry than beer)
Gunshy (479) - Ohio, USA - JUL 11, 2002
4 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
It poured an amber color and formed a nice light tan head that left some lace. The aroma was of hops, fruit,some alcohol and caramel. The taste was definately of hops, with some caramel and a slight indication of alcohol. The finish was a bit bitter and dry. So far this is best one I have tried so far.
jaymobrown (1586) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - JUL 10, 2002
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
A good strong ale. Smell and taste are good. Dark color beer with full body appeal.
ClarkVV (3579) - Allston, Massachusetts, USA - JUL 9, 2002
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
UPDATED: AUG 2, 2006 1999 bottle sampled in 2002.
The 99 was almost perfect. not too malty for a barley, good classic hops and amazingly not syrupy at all after 3 years of sitting. A wonderful beer with a smooth palette.
2003 sampled in 2003. Way too new. Tons of bitter hops flavors dominate the palate, there is some toffee sweet malt that needs to develop still. Alcohol not overpowering. Good clean flavor, just needs lots more cellaring. Another barley with super potential.
Fresh 2005 draughtPerhaps it’s just me, but this one seemed far less complex than I remembered, though maybe it’s just too young? Surprisingly, the hops didnt blow me away, and there was ample caramel malt and light residual sugar to balance. I much prefer this aged, but this 2005 is much better fresh than was the 2003. A bit thin towards the end. Dropping it a couple of points (1 in flavor and 1 in overall) but some more aged samples are always in order.
2006 bottle fresh. Rather straight-forward caramel toffee with good old pine/citrus hops. Quite a bit less body than I remember, seemingly somewhat more filtered. Gets a bit sweetish/syrupy and then peters out on the end. Flavors are true and good, if somewhat less complex than the best of the best, but the mouthfeel needs work.
MartinT (7288) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - JUL 7, 2002
4.9 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
UPDATED: MAR 23, 2009 A huge mountain to be climbed...All the way up, a plethora of delectables abound...Very bitter but delicious pine sap oozing everywhere...Berries and caramel burst and glare...From the distance, a smelly resin monster, from up close baccate malt and hop glory...(Extremely bitter when young, I prefer aging it a year or two to let the malt and hops reach the same level; and it ages absolutely wonderfully)...
Volgon (2763) - Manchester, New Hampshire, USA - JUL 7, 2002
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: SEP 13, 2010 (1995 drank in 2004) Toffee and caramel, hops mutted byt still present. (1995 drank in 2002). This is 7.5 years old now. I believe that it spent its first 6 years in a cooler, (but who knows?). It sure looked like there was 6 years of cooler dust on it. Well, the last year at cellar temp has really matured this. I spent about half-an hour mixing the yeast up and letting get warmer. (Note: This has been the fridge for about a week) Poured in one big swoop motion, (and still not much head!) except for the bottom 1MM that was whipped up into a yeast-foam that dropped heavily into the beer and made cool looking patterns on its way through. A wine-like hoppiness meets the nose and it is a shock when drinking it, as it doesn’t produce direct Cascade assault as a 2002 model, but rather ends bitter in a whole different/deeper matter. It is ready to give to a wine drinker and get a convert for our team (Go...Beer!) I’m not changing my score as very few of these are around and if you are drinking a new SNBF it will be much different. Anyway this is a 9/5/9/5/19. (2002) drank in 2002: Extreme bitter even when warm. Best wait a year before drinking. (2001 drank on 1/20/02): This brew rocks. After almost one year, this mellows out to an easy drinking barleywine.
(2000 drank in 2001) If you can’t get enough hops, you’ll love this beer. I can find no fault with it, except that there is too much alcohol in it to enjoy it all night.
(1995 drank in 2001) This is a completely different beer after almost seven years in the bottle. The evenly spaced bits of crud in it that where suspended without motion in the glass was a bit worrisome. However, after the first sip I never looked back. Most of the hops taste you would find in a new bottle is gone, and it tastes almost like a wine. A true world classic (wait until it is a few years old before drinking)!
2006 bottle rated 2010, cellar temp: Pours a cloudy dark orange with a long lasting rocky off-white head, aroma is of dark fruits, brown sugar and alcohol, starts and ends lightly bitter with a bitter-sweet aftertaste, oily mouthfeel, ample carbonation, tobacco ending. Ages awesome!
hopsing99 (8) - USA - JUL 6, 2002 does not count
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
This is the real deal. Like everything from Sierra Nevada it is pretty damn good. I prefer the IPA, but if you’re going to have just one beer with dinner this would be a pretty good choice. Only draw back is it’s very-very heavy, almost like a bock.
wdfod99 (4) - Idaho, USA - JUL 6, 2002 does not count
4.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
The aroma seems typical but the intense bitterness sets this at the top for ’hop heads’. Varies year to year but always a great beer.
muzzlehatch (4424) - Burlington, Vermont, USA - JUL 5, 2002
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
2002 bottling. Pours little head, beautiful deep orange/mahogany color. Nose strongly grapefruity/hoppy; this is a barley wine? Oh, a YOUNG barley wine, I get it; on a further nosing I get pleasant sniffs of the plum/port variety I usually associate with higher ABV ’brown’ beers; really grows on you. Flavor just about as wonderful; again you are hit right away with hoppy bitterness and citrus, but mull it on the tongue for a bit and its true deep malty spiciness comes through. Strong bitter-chocolate through the end, perhaps just a bit too much. This might be perfect in a year; as it is I can’t complain too much. I should note that I accidentally FROZE this sucker solid a few nights ago and its right as rain at 55 degrees or so now. A hardy winter brew for a cool rainy night.