Ofortuna (322) - Grafton, Wisconsin, USA - APR 16, 2006
2 AROMA 3/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 2/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 10/20
Was told by the salesrep at the brewery that itís made with a french red wine yeast culture and that the brewers wanted to go with very little hops to make a sweet barley wine.
Pours a decent amber hue with very little head and a thin lacing. Dominant alcohol smell with sherry like tones. Body very thin for this style and mouthfeel battered down by a bit too much carbonation. Palate is that of apple cider vinegar and cheap vodka. Very odd sourness to it, like this batch was contaminated with Lactobacillus and not in the belgian way.
I can appreciate the type of yeast strain used and is very unique to this style. It gives a faint impression of red wine on the finish. However, overall and for this style, I think something happened at the brewery and this batch is flawed.
Cornfield (5504) - Oak Forest, Illinois, USA - APR 14, 2006
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Sprecher never replied to my e-mails concerning this interesting brew that I had at a beer fest, so Iím glad someone else got it into the database.
Vintage 1999 - Not much on looks, but the aroma captivates. Having an almost wild yeast sourness to the nose, itís supported by caramel/toffee accents with alcohol and a light fruitiness - cherries, plums, apples. It has one of those complex, sweet/sour tastes, malty and fruity and just a bit funky. The finish is a prolonged sourness. A very enticing twist on the barleywine style that makes me wish that more brewers would experiment with the yeasts that they use and not rely only on being malt heavy or hop heavy. And I agree with Joseph - aging seems the way to go with this ale. Iíd definitely be interested in stocking up on what was originally described to us as a "Beglian barley wine."
<font size=-4><a href=http://www.ratebeer.com/events-detail.asp?eve Beer Fest at Delilahís, Chicago, IL 02/25/2006<font size=-1>
frankenkitty (1959) - Oak Lawn, Illinois, USA - APR 14, 2006
4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Poured a dirty bronze with an ecru halo. Huge alcohol in the nose with very rich sweetness showcasing caramel and sweet fruits. Carl says, "Belgian yeast" and I nod in agreement. Flavor finds a sour start, a rich, malted center and a heady, sour finish. Aftertaste made me think I had eaten some cheese. Maybe a nice cheddar. A killer beer... very interesting. Iím glad it finally got entered into the RB database and must say by reading the other reviews that aging is the way to go with it.
<font size=-4>Sampled at <a href=http://www.ratebeer.com/Events-Detail.asp?Eve Vintage Beer Fest 2006<font size=-1>
DavidP (1747) - Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA - APR 7, 2006
3.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
2005 Bottle. Pretty stuff - clear red-amber body under a creamy a persistent light tan head. Strong aroma of raisin, prune and cane sugar mixed with alcohol. No hops, really. Odd for a fresh bottle. The flavor has a nice raisin/sugar/wine sweetness vivisected by a distracting dry stale bread thing. The finish brings about some apricot, smooth sugary sweetness and a drying red wine quality. No hops on this radar screen but thatís OK, the flavor does will w/o them. Iím torn on getting a second bottle for aging as there arenít any obtrusive flavor components that need smoothing out like hops, alcohol or one kind of malt. Itís already well-blended together but just not that interesting. Perhaps my palate needs that unbalanced sample first in order to be able to appreciate the aged version.
brewblackhole (1588) - Muskego, Wisconsin, USA - APR 2, 2006
3.1 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
Aroma pretty one dimensional,alcohol and dark fruit, light amber color fruity estery raisiny sweet with alcohol and vinegar overtones,slightly overcarbonated but this should balance out in time Body too thin for a barleywine
KingpinIPA (841) - Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA - APR 2, 2006
3.2 AROMA 4/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
Bought a 16oz and saving a 33.8 oz. for 3 or 4 years. Pours an amber color. Carbonation was lively. Still bubbling after 5 minutes. Not that very potent but could smell the alcohol. Smell of fruit, raisins and rusty nails. Tastes better than it smells. Fruity, hoppy, bitter and the alchol aftertaste. It was sweet but still carbonated. A good barley wine.
JPDIPSO (4956) - Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, USA - APR 1, 2006
2.2 AROMA 4/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 4/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 8/20
Copper color with a soft beige, slowly diminishing head. Aroma is quite strong, and quickly loses some of the volatiles (a good thing). My first thought was that of german sauerkraut, with sugar and caraway. Some heavy overripe fruit abound, with pineapples, peaches and pears. Seems to be developing a mild stomach acid scent. Cheese and rice, is this sweet. Full fruit syrup and brown sugar dance slowly in the mouth. Some hints of a mild cigar late in the quaff. There are some triple qualities. but the sweetness continues to overpower things. Oloroso sherry is one thing, (I was never a big sherry fan (well there was that one Sherry in in high school)but a barley wine that seems to miss the mark and lack a presence of hops doesnít make sense. Strike two on the anniversary brews. There will be a verticle with their BW of ~10 years ago.
Ughsmash (7154) - Pewaukee, Wisconsin, USA - MAR 23, 2006
3.1 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
16 oz. bottle picked up at the brewery. Clear, deep fiery orange pour with a short cap of yellowy-beige head. Nose was quite pervasive with a tripel-like light fruit profile (sliced apples and pears), strong yeast, and Port wine esters. Flavor was very sweet with crisp light fruit sugars, slightly darker berries, and Port. Palate began crisp, but a fruity sugar explosion and powerful alcohol hotness threw the balance out of whack.. which resulted in a cloying finish. Overall too sweet and too hot.. but may mellow with some cellar time.