ClarkVV (3900) - Allston, Massachusetts, USA - JAN 9, 2007
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
2002 draught chalice at Redbones on 11/28/06
Still and glassy, not hazy, yet nor is it clear. Small whisp of beige colored head immediately fizzles to nothing. A vibrant auburn-mahogany-magenta color is the body. No lacing.
Crystal malt adds a hardness to the nose, unfolding in to breadiness and even a light touch of doughy yeast. Strong, rather narrowly focused citric-like fruitiness is quite sharp at first, combined with the wheat dryness producing the hard, edgy, rather difficult nose similar to Smuttynoses wheatwine. Alcohol warmth is evident beneath layers of dry caramel and breadiness, with just a pinch of chocolate sweetening things before being cut off by a dry dough and wheat-like finish. But with warming and extended breathing, as is the case with most vintage high gravity beers, the beer takes on a completely new profile. The sharp, focused citric twanginess fully loosens and you get a much more complex, softer array of cherries, oranges, apricots and plums. More caramel/chocolate character can be seen, in a sweeter sense, while the yeast, wheat and breadiness all seem to fade to some extent. Playful spiciness emerges as well, combining with the fruitiness pleasantly, while no fusels come off the liquid and instead the alcohol warmth seems evenly matched by the emerging sweetness/softness. Medium strength of aroma, but it increases as it warms, while oxidation (light madeira) only accounts for about five to ten percent of the nose, and quite inoffensive at that.
Similar story in the flavor; the beer greatly improves with patience. Hard marmalade and crusty/dry crystal malts initially seem too aggressive and unsupported, while wheat is mainly dry and lightly sourish. But breathing allows more varied, softer fruitiness and more sticky sweetness. Fortunately, the dryness never leaves and the beer ends up well-balanced. It achieves the best of both worlds, almost a candied apple sort of flavor. With the hardened candy shell representing the hard, yet still semi-sweet crystal malt and the apple representing the more soft, easygoing fruitiness. Texture is slippery at times, lightly sticky and generally pretty smooth from the wheat. Carbonation is extremely low, would have been interesting to see what it was like with more, but it dosent seem to hurt the beer at this level, just emphasizes its sipping nature. Alcohol warmth is ever-present, but never sharp or obnoxious. Quite complex and in very good condition for four years of age.
goldtwins (4320) - Nesconset, New York, USA - OCT 25, 2006
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
GABF 2006: Clear golden amber color. It had an aroma of aged sweet fruity malt. The flavor was very sweet and fruity. Big flavor with a medium body. Semi-dry bitter finish.
harlequinn (2744) - Tacoma, Washington, USA - JAN 6, 2006
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Holy intense beer! The color was a full on intense cherry wood, with a nice fluffy off white head. Some great lingering lacing. The mouthfeel is so big with intense complexity that it is almost overwhelming. Almost syrupy when it warms, is my only compaint, lots of big malt characteristics, fresh breads, fruits light and dark, with some maple syrup, caramel and cookie dough, the finish is full of raisins, dates and plums. I really love this beer.
beerinmarch (2830) - Washington, USA - MAR 26, 2005
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
On tap at the Lucky Lab barleywine fest. Pours a very clear red/mahogany with a nice off-white head. Sweet caramel and cookies in the aroma with a very heavy body and rich malt taste. As this warms the caramel malts show more over the wheat with a slight date taste in the finish. Very smooth and hid the alcohol very well.
BückDich (5464) - McCall, Idaho, USA - MAR 9, 2005
3 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 12/20
Sampled draught at The Rose & Raindrop, Portland
Tawny color, short head, little lacing. Nose of turbinado & malt pancake syrup. The flavor yields nothing past that, malt syrup at best. Finishes sweet, cloying.
Kaya161 (1128) - San Diego, California, USA - OCT 10, 2002
3.3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
GABF 2002:(Rating is for 1998 vintage) Heady, the aroma is candyish like a tripel. The flavour is intense and warming, predominantly alcohol with some wheatiness to it. Surprisngly light bodied with a clean finish. Interesting beer.