JMerritt (1770) - Macomb, Illinois, USA - MAR 11, 2003
4.5 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
2003 vintage. Pours a dark, apple-ciderish red-brown color. Small head that leaves nice lacing. Aroma is initially candyish and intensely hopped; take a very deep sniff and you'll also get a hint of alcohol. I swear, every time I smelled it, it smelled better. Smooth, syrupy and velvety texture. Very bitter, yet not overpoweringly so. Finish is somewhat fruity, but the hop bitterness lingers. One heck of a good beer, and it's only 3 months old! Ooh, do I have plans for the rest of the case! Should be excellent as it ages.
goz (359) - Chelmsford, Massachusetts, USA - MAR 11, 2003
3.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
2003 Bottle: Pours a slightly hazy ruby, maybe more mahogany in color. Head is large and tan, slowly diminishes and leaves sheets of lace. Aroma is room filling with piney hops, some slight fruity/malty sweetness sneaks in, but is overpowered by the hops. Flavor is pretty much the same, it's almost all hops, lots of citrus (grapefruit), and strongly bitter. Again, some fruity and malty sweetness comes through, but the hops just smack it down. I consider myself a hophead, but this seemed a little too one-dimensional for me at the moment. We'll see how it is after having some time to mingle in the bottle for a while.
jeffwhalen (45) - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA - MAR 10, 2003
4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
I had a pint of this with luch the other day, a very pleasnt and buzz worthy surprise....a good bite in the taste which is product of the ABV...a fairly thin head and a good translucent burgundy color
Panzuriel (1287) - Westerville, Ohio, USA - MAR 9, 2003
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Deer burgudy color nice small head. Aroma slightly sweet with nice bitters. Subtily sweet and good strong finish. Nice texture. 2003 vintage rated.
IslandHaole (1091) - Yokosuka-Shi, Kanagawa-Ken, JAPAN - MAR 9, 2003
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
This is the one I've been waiting for. My 1 year anniversary as a "Ratebeerian" as well as my 200th rating. 2003 vintage-How do they get so much flavor in to one bottle? The commercial description says" This ale is superbly balanced between an almost overpowering maltiness and a wonderfully bittersweet hoppiness". I disagree, I think it is the hoppiness that is nearly overpowering with a wonderfully sweet maltiness. Not much of a head, The cascades are prominent, no....industrial strength. The scent of the Sierra Nevadas in a bottle. Wild flowers in bloom, the pine resin, citrus peel and some dry grass in the nose.
Initial sweetness with caramel flavors but that gang of hops jumps out and goes medieval on your taste buds. Like a twisted masochist, you go back to that black leather clad dominatrix and ask for more, more abuse of your palate. Pain and pleasure intermingle. The hops are disgustingly wonderful. So this mellows with age? I have two more of these gems that will be bedded down like a precious newborn....can't wait! A very fitting beer to mark my 200th with!
beerslayer (753) - New Jersey, USA - MAR 8, 2003
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Vintage 2001. This is a really good Barley Wine. Hoppy, malty, and fruity flavors. Finishes smooth and bittersweet. Recommended aged.
crazyvin (1906) - 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 (11349) - 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 (3664) - 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.