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.
SpaceMonkey (182) - San Diego, California, USA - FEB 20, 2003
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Smells like a sack of grain with a few hops tossed on top. Nice burnt copper profile with a substantial, lasting head. In the mouth: Wow, much more than I expected from the aroma, a big, big taste, much like a chimichanga made from barley tortillas and hop guacamole. The hops just last and last, like a good hot salsa. A big hoppy barley wine. Eat up.
gerdy555 (163) - Ohio, USA - FEB 19, 2003
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
rating 2002 nice brownish red color. i don't know much about barley wines but this is pretty good. very hoppy i probably could have aged it more but oh well. citrisy and hoppy flavor.
tbookman (618) - Ephrata, Pennsylvania, USA - FEB 19, 2003
4.5 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
2002: Deep amber/red color, thinly laced head, and HOPS HOPS HOPS! Needs to age some before it's at it's peak - the first few sips are acidic and almost unpleasantly bitter. Settles down a bit after that, though and is terrific. This beer give you a lot to chew on. Very nicely done Sierra!
urbnhautebourg (997) - Annapolis, Maryland, USA - FEB 18, 2003
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
UPDATED: MAY 25, 2003 Fresh sample exhibits overpowering bitterness--the most bitter beer I've ever had. Tremendous, lovely fresh hop character and big sweet burly malt. Historically one of my favorite beers, but with the advent of Old Horizontal, Dogfishhead, and others that exhibit all the flavor without the over-the-top bitterness, this one suffers. Obviously, this will age nicely, when the bitterness softens it will be great.
desurfer (1279) - Melbourne, Florida, USA - FEB 15, 2003
4.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 16/20
UPDATED: FEB 19, 2006 2006: Seems to me less hoppy and more alcoholic than previous vintages. There’s lots of rich, syrupy maltiness with a smoky character which completely overwhelms whatever hops are present. Still great. 2005: A perennial hop monster! I’ve finally put a bottle away so I can see how well it ages. 2004: This years version has toned down the hop attack tremendously. I think it is a much better beer now due to this. 2003: Wow. Poured a deep caramel red with a small tan head. Rich fruity aroma, a complete hops explosion in flavor, with a bitter aftertaste and some malt sweetness. Alcohol content is very well masked.
bubslang (438) - Kentwood, Michigan, USA - FEB 15, 2003
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
2003: poured a dark amber with a medium sized tan head. strong floral hop aroma with a hint of sweet malt. taste is of hops, some caramel malt sweetness, and fruit. alcohol is well hidden. a very tasty brew that should only get better with age
apoptosis (1317) - Denver, Colorado, USA - FEB 15, 2003
4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
2003: Very hoppy and only fraction of the sweetness I usually find in Barley Wines. Aroma is highly alcoholic, fruity and full of caramel. The combination of the hops and the fruits works well, I think, although it takes a little getting used to. Dark amber body, lush, frothy white head. Decent, but I am looking forward to aging this a little bit more.
dorkasaurus (15) - Madison, Wisconsin, USA - FEB 14, 2003
4.1 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
wow...I shouldn't even be rating this now but its killer. I'm talking about the 2003 but all bottlings back to my first in 1995 have been similar. Huge, hoppy and robust. Full of flavor with a long finish and no complaints. This beer is steady. At 9.6 it should burn but it doesn't its just lucious.
notalush (5716) - Denver, Colorado, USA - FEB 13, 2003
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: FEB 15, 2003 OK, I love hops and all, but does Seirra Nevada have to put so many into ALL of their beers, regardless of style? The hop character is great in their pale ale and celebration ale, but it ruined the stout for me, and it pretty much ruins this one for me, too. It has a fruity, almost vinous aroma, with hints of alcohol. The flavor has some malty, sticky sweetness, with some fruity esters, but the hops kick the crap out them, steal their lunch money, and force them to hide in the background. I think this will be great with some age, if the hop character mellows out, but my young sample isn't all that great. [re-rate, original: 3.4] Alright, after some consideration, and several additional tasting, I must appraciate this beer for what it is, and not penalize it for what it is not. I am quite the hop head, and this has hops out the wazoo, and it has enough malt to satisfy the malt lover as well, so it is really the best of both worlds. I need to pick up SEVERAL more six packs, some for drinking, some for aging, because I know this will be great for years to come.