BBB63 (6426) - La Porte, Indiana, USA - APR 21, 2013
3.9 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
Barleywine throwdown, all served in Duval snifters: Pipeworks Murderous (PWM) a more English styled vs Widmer Brothers Old Embalmer (WBOE) a more American style with Bravo hops vs Stone Old Guardian Oak-Smoked (SOGOS): Each of these represent different takes on the same style of beer!
Appearance: The PWM is a tad murky light brown with a mostly lasting off white head and spotty lace.(3) The WBOE is a honeyed hued amber with a more fading head and very minimal lace. (3) The SOGOS is a beautiful coppery hue with crimson highlights topp by a lush initial head and very good lace. (5)
Aroma: The PWM has notes of caramel, toffee, roast, dark bread, hint of smoke, floral and resiny hops with a slight citrus and herbal vapour. Some booze but not demanding. (9). The WBOE has light crystal, biscuit, apples, tangerine, some resin and a touch of spent grains. Weaker nose than the other two. (7) The SOGOS has a forceful meaty smoke along with plenty of oak, caramel and toffee too. Very light piney and earthy notes along with a fair amount of booze. (9)
Taste and Palate: The PWM is moderate lush of sweet malt but has a nice twang fruity component and just enough hop bitterness. The alcohol while noticed is not forceful. The finish is slightly minerally and earthy. The mouth feel is lightly sticky, some dry finish and warming (8/4) The WBOE is less malty which allows it to be perceived as more hoppy and citric. A nice earthy midsection before a minerally and herbal finish. The mouth feel is less dense and more lively than the other two but also shows a lack of depth. (7/3) The SOGOS taste is just what you expected, heavy smoke, meaty notes, and oak that is ashy and very earthy. Does make is harder to find the base beer underneath. When you do get to experience the Old Guardian base you find some caramel, bready and prune like undertones. The mouth feel is much more aggressive, ashy from the oak and quite warming. (7/4).
Overall views: The PWM seems to be old school but gives a nod to a touch of new school hops. Sadly however I do not feel this will be one for long term aging in fear of a developing sourness. But for now it delivers and met expectations. (15) The WBOE had lower expectations and met them. This beer does display the Bravo hop nicely but does fall short on the malt front, lesser depth of palate. This could be aged for a year or so but methinks the hops fade without the malt will make this taste very oxidized quickly. (13) The SOGOS is vastly different with the smoke overtones that did disappoint me slightly since it seemed to cover up the base beer too much. That said this is the one I feel is best for long term cellaring. I expect the smoke to subdue allowing better balance. (14)
KansaiBeerLvrs (2981) - Kyoto, JAPAN - APR 20, 2013
3.6 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 13/20
I had this twice, once on tap at Devil Craft which was somewhat disappointing, it was more ale like than a barley wine with no real smoke flavor. Possibly as it was served too cold...? From a bottle (shared at Qbrick) it was much smokier than on tap, it had a very nice malt character with whiskey notes. Quite good. I think I will grab a bottle to age...
Cbuk1013 (246) - Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA - APR 19, 2013
3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 10/20
Bomber bottle 2013 vintage. Pours amber smokey head. Aroma of smoke and caramel malt. Taste is smoke, malt and a hint of campfire hops. Finish is smoke. Aging will help. Going to lay one down for a year. Did I mention it smells and tastes like smoke?
nearbeer (4124) - Knoxville, Tennessee, USA - APR 18, 2013
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 16/20
650 ml. Clear red-copper with a lasting film of cream. Nose of light molasses and lightly smoked bacon. Flavor is chocolate, a nice dose of smoke, toffee and light citrus. Medium-heavy body has some warming alcohol. Sweet but balanced by the nearly too harsh smoke and alcohol, and has a bit too much carbonation. Very good, and may become excellent with some aging.
maxwelldeux (4160) - Snohomish, Washington, USA - APR 17, 2013
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bottle. Pours a slightly hazy amber color with a moderate pillowy white head. Nose is definitely smokey with just a hint of sweetness coming through underneath. Taste is dry and smokey up front with some definite wine characteristics, and just a hint of sweetness on the back end. Very interesting drink...
Enniskillen (2044) - Salinas, California, USA - APR 16, 2013
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Why not. Pour is a nice amber/ruby with a tight off white head. Aroma is caramel maltiness, with the normal Old Guardian backbone hops, nice background smokiness, and a tiny background note of bubblegum. Taste is medium alcohol, nice warming balanced by the smoke, the hops are more subdued than I remember in the normal release. Seems a bit hot, but still a solid beer.
RABinCO (1399) - Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA - APR 16, 2013
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
2013 bottle. Poured into a goblet. Pours dark amber/orange with a slight bubbly white head. Aroma of sweet smoke. Taste is fairly hop forward with a big meaty smokiness. Like a smokey DIPA. Dangerously pleasant to drink, though the hop bite followed by a sticky sweet finish does make sipping a must.
prawlie (1267) - Berkshire, ENGLAND - APR 15, 2013
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 13/20
On draught at Beer Revolution in Oakland. Red-brown with a nice head. Light zesty dried fruit aroma. Remarkably smooth for beer of this strength. Not quite as spectacular as I’d hoped though.
Tmoney99 (11826) - Cincinnati, Ohio, USA - APR 15, 2013
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Bottle. Poured clear ruby brown with an average frothy tan head that was mostly lasting with excellent lacing. Moderate complex smoke, caramel, vanilla wood and dark fruit aroma. Medium to full body with a smooth texture and soft carbonation. Solid dark fruit smoked sweet flavor with a medium to hesvy complex sweet smoke finish of moderate to long duration. This is a smooth complex solid beer
jcos (1670) - Maryland, USA - APR 15, 2013
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Location/Date:Bottle split with Dave on 4/15/2013.
Appearance: Pours a medium clear red-brown caramel.
Aroma: Aroma of smoked malt
Taste: Smokey, some sweetness from caramel, faint bitterness.
Palate:Medium light body, light lingering aftertaste.
Summary: As a big fan of smoke beers(and the only person I know who enjoys them), I really liked this one. Pairing a smoke beer with a barleywine is a bit different than traditional smoke beers but I really enjoyed it.