JohnnyJ (5400) - San Diego, California, USA - AUG 23, 2009
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Sampled at the stone 13th anniversry party. Amber pour, slighty red. Small off-white head. Caramel malt, definetly some fruit probably from the wine. Some oak and red grapes. Vanilla, tannins, and mellow hops. Really tame for a barleywine, and in some ways I donít like it for that. Itís alright.
FlacoAlto (4152) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - AUG 22, 2009
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
1 liter growler; Sampled August 2009
A vigorous pour into my 25cl tulip glass produces an almost four-finger thick, lightly amber tinged, tan colored head that leaves lots of lace on the sides of my glass as it slowly subsides. The beer is a nice amber hue that shows a clear, copper-amber color when held up to the light. The aroma has notes of caramelized malt up front and a warm, spicy alcohol note to the finish. Fruity notes of dates and raisins are joined by light oak contributions of coconut as well as some toasted malt notes in the finish. There seems to be a fair amount of vanillin noticeable as well as a touch of buttery oak and even some spicy oak notes that combine with the alcohol to produce a sense of Bourbon character. There is quite a bit of malt character here with lots of toasted pale malt notes, biscuit like aromas, lots of crushed whole grain cracker notes, some caramelized pale malt aromatics as well as some toffee. After a bit it seems like the hot alcohol gets a bit too dominant in the, in fact I am soon questioning that I ever was able to notice the up front complexity that was first found in the aroma. After coming back to the aroma after some time I notice some nice fruitiness again as well as some herbal hop notes that get a bit grassy and green at times.
The beer tastes lightly sweet with caramel malt notes (though not overly so) and some toasted grain flavors. Bitter hop notes are joined by hot alcohol, and some spicy oak character in the finish. Bitter, green, somewhat astringent hop character in the finish can really linger on the palate. Up front there is a nice fruitiness, some of which seems to be hop contributed (citrus), but there is a bit more to it than that, but I canít quite put my finger on the other notes right now. There is a nice toasted malt character to the flavor with biscuit like notes, crushed malt notes and crystal malt flavors; this last plays a supporting role and does not too heavy as crystal malts can so often get.
Coming back to the nose makes me wonder if I imagined the oak influence; hop character and fruit notes are all I notice in the nose now. Even the flavor doesnít seem to have any real barrel character to it. The fruitiness is nice and might be from the Red Wine barrel, but I could easily be convinced that this is not the case. Overall this beer has certainly softened a bit with age as it is not as aggressive as when it is fresh. The beer does become much better as it warms up, despite starting at a 50ļF / 10ļC initial temperatures; it becomes more fruity, with more berry like notes and some notes of lightly spicy oak, a even a hint of vanillin seem to come out even.
I let this beer sit for a whole hour in the hopes of it getting more complex, finally I seem to get confirmation that this was aged in a Red Wine barrel; there is a definite red wine fruitiness (though it is soft still) and even some grape skin and tannin notes towards the finish.
Interesting, my second pour of this has me noticing more of the red-wine berry notes in the nose again. Letting this beer breath quite a bit certainly helps with the flavor as well. Still, the red wine character in this beer is easily missed, especially if you didnít know it was there. This beer really wasnít all that great during my first, full pour of this beer; despite starting out at only a cool 50ļF / 10ļC. I easily could have poured this beer out. I am glad I stuck with it though as it really starts to open up after warming up and being allowed to breath. In the end though, I waffle between enjoying a complex, interesting beer and not really finding this beer all that drinkable.
cbkschubert (2901) - BFE, Arizona, USA - AUG 12, 2009
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Hand bottle from growler courtesy of FlacoAlto - Served in a Brandy snifter at approx. 65 degrees. Pours a clear reddish-copper color with a one and a half finger thick off white head. Nice lacing. Soft carbonation. Aroma is mostly sweetened toasted malt, esters, a dash of hops, and a hint of wine/oak. Really have to search for the wine/oak presence. The flavor is full of toasted malt with a decent amount of hop bitterness still present. I also get a good dose of vanilla and a faint amount of oak. The alcohol is quite noticeable. This is quite enjoyable. All elements seem to be fairly well balance. Another couple weeks in the barrel may bring out more of the wine. A nice beer. Thanks Sebastian.
daleharshman (1042) - Escondido, California, USA - JUL 30, 2009
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Growler fill from brewery. Pours a dark reddish amber color with about a finger of beige head that soon disappears. Aroma of sweet and sticky caramel along with hop-inspired fruitiness and just a hint of red wine. Flavor of mild caramel, fruity hoppiness, and some red wine including tannins. The hops push through in the relatively bitter finish which is also somewhat dry due to the tannins from the red wine. Altogether, itís rather on the bitter side considering the sweetness in the nose. Been quite a while since Iíve had the regular OG, so canít compare. Good, but seems to be lacking complexity compared to other barley wines, especially considering the barrel aging.
Hophead22 (2879) - Redlands, by way of Wisconsin,, California, USA - JUL 30, 2009
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
1ltr growler picked up for me by DuffManSW, thanks man. Poured kindof an orangish/dark yelow color. Good dose of hops and some caramel in the aroma. More hops for flavor, a little malt undertone, slightly rich with dark fruits and just a little of the wine barrel in the finish, pretty good.
JoeTheYounger (1182) - Lake Arrowhead, California, USA - JUL 29, 2009
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Growler from mspindler and DuffmanSW pours a golden reddish color with small diminishing head. Aroma is a little sweet with some caramel. Taste of vanilla, a bit of oak, nice aftertaste. The wine barrel really mellowed this beer out , but beware it sneaks up with you at almost 12%. Really good and smooth
mspindler (489) - Alta Loma, California, USA - JUL 27, 2009
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Growler shared with DuffmanSW and JoeTheYounger. Pours a dark amber color with a beige film. Aroma is caramel and vanilla first, then pine, oak and citrus, a hint of red wine, somewhat subdued actually. Flavor is caramel and good deal of oaky vanilla and red wine tannins. Hops are mellowed significantly compared to the original, but still provide a good deal of bitterness. Slight alcohol heat. Full bodied, sticky, low carbonation.
DuffManSW (436) - Riverside, California, USA - JUL 26, 2009
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Growler Fill.. Pours orange amber with a off white head...Caramel, citrus, faint smell of grapes and alcohol..Lots of caramel, woody, it seems like the one really mellowed out from the aging.. Not sure what year went into the barrel but this one is not very harsh.. Good stuff
3fourths (9136) - Boulder, Colorado, USA - JUL 20, 2009
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Draft, Brickskeller. Unfiltered brandy colored body, thin dark tan head. Nose is woody/nutty oak and a mix of caramel and red grapes. Body is oily and full, texture is somewhat harsh and abrasive, with a husky bite on the back of the tongue, combined with the high alcohol presence itís a little bit annoying. Rich and sticky toffee, caramel, red grapes, plums and sweet tobacco round this one out. Nice.
danielcurtis81 (1519) - San Diego, California, USA - JUL 12, 2009
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
On tap at Hamiltonís 2nd Saturday. Pours a nice rich amber. Oak, vanilla, caramel. Nice sweetness. The red wine notes did not come out to me. I had this one after the French Oak Double Bastard and I think that was still heavy on my palate so i will have to re-rate this one someday.