Frank (2929) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - FEB 24, 2003
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 16/20
UPDATED: FEB 12, 2005
2000 vintage sampled 02/05: Not nearly as expressive as when fresh. Just big and thick, well hidden alcohol. I’d like to try a vintage aged maybe just a year or two to compare. By five years, it’s definitely losing life.
Original Rating: Barley wine is not for the weak. It is a pleasure reserved for an elite few--for beer-geeks and other assorted nonconformists and intellectuals. Who else could revel in the opaque reddish brown color? The massive, rocky head and complex lacing worthy of the finest hand-worked masterpiece? What kind of a madman would subject his palate to mind-numbing malts and body-rocking hops? I will and I shall revel in the hint of melon peaking out from behind an aroma of sweet malt and piney hops. My toung will swim through this viscous brew, pausing but a second to notice the fine carbonation and get stuck in sticky molasses and caramel. I welcome the alcohol into my stomach and praise it for it’s bold nature before initiating conversation. "Hello good sir. Won’t you stay a while?"
igneous1 (1500) - Davenport, Iowa, USA - FEB 23, 2003
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
deep brown with a thick creamy beige head that lasted the whole glass. aroma is of citrusy hops with a sugary sweetness to it, caramel-like. flavor is similar with a slight metallic quality to it.
Nuffield (3691) - Roseville, Minnesota, USA - FEB 19, 2003
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
Oh my, what a beer. I've been jaded recently about beer, and this one shocked my conscience. With the first two sips, I wanted to stop drinking--I was worried that the wonderful aroma and first flavors would be drowned out by a sea of acidic and bitter flaws. I was wrong. This drinks like food--toast with butter, molasses beans, caramel desserts, and others. The alcohol hit me quickly, and it warmed me through, so that by the second half of the bottle I was a submissive and willing enthusiast for the full mix of flavors, aromas, and palate. It doesn't look like anything special, but on every other account, this is well-rounded, enjoyable, and easy-drinking lesson in barleywine.
rodolito (163) - San Diego, California, USA - FEB 13, 2003
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Poured a hazy cinnamon brown/orange with yeast particles. Was a clear color before the bottom of the bottle was poured (when lit from behind it was a clear amber with a red tinge, minus the yeast). Thick light tan head with big bubble. Gradually subsided and left a small amount of lacing. Rich malty aroma with caramel, alcohol, and a light floral hoppiness. Flavor dominated at first by a rich, malty sweetness that was balanced by a hop bitterness. Aftertaste dominated by hops but had some caramel flavors. Slightly acidic and astringent. Full mouthfeel and a dry finish. Moderate carbonation. Alcohol warmth hit me after the first drink. Quite enjoyable.
WabashMan (1013) - Noblesville, Indiana, USA - FEB 11, 2003
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: FEB 26, 2003 This great beer starts out with a dark reddish brown color and nice head. Aroma is hoppy but not overpowering...very nice. Flavor is also very nice, delicious really, and has a medium level of hoppiness that doesn't assault the palate too much and makes this beer highly drinkable. Very nice indeed!
JCW (1275) - Cincinnati, Ohio, USA - FEB 6, 2003
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: OCT 23, 2003 Very dark in color. Malty taste with some bitterness. This is not my favorite barley by a long shot. I do think it would benefit from aging, but for right now I think it is a little harsh (acidic) on the finish.
Re-rate: 10-22-03, I don't know if it mellowed or I have, or I had a bad bottle, I've had several bottles of this since the one that I rated and I really like it. Big malt, vinous, consider it almost an Olde Ale. Sweet finish Excellent barley.
BückDich (5464) - McCall, Idaho, USA - FEB 2, 2003
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
Aroma is chocolate malt and sweet fruit, hints of bitter malt and hops. High carbonation with a large retentive head, dark blood red color with suspended yeast. Complex flavors, large overtones of alcohol with a bitter malt finish, palate not as barleywine as some. Dry on the palate with a sweet refreshing finish. A very good barleywine compared to others i've had, full of flavors and not much alcohol.
krisbierjaeger (844) - dolores, Colorado, USA - FEB 1, 2003
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
a cauldron of micro-particle studded witche's elixir, a bubbling plum-rouge cloudy murk with edges of ochre-brown like german mustard. looking down on the head you'll see a wispy weather pattern of cirrus clouds spiraling out from a weak line of thunder storms, all very thin and the color of safari slacks. indeed, not much head, nor does it require much in the way of visual blandishments, because the aroma is so strong you can almost hear it roar, it bends your nostril hairs like divining rods. there are stuffed persian saddle bags of dried fruit and teas from the orient, exquisitely arromatic brown sugar brandies, or perhaps bourbon holiday cookies concocted by a crazed alcoholic baker. no concealing or apologetic masking of alcohol here: this is a thoroughly adult libation, a ship-christening blast of glorious intoxicants wedded to vintage port wine full-palette sophistication. it's alive and redolent in the celebration of the fifth great ingredient of beer: alcohol! sweetness and bitterness are everywhere at once, like a multi-front blitzkrieg flavor onslaught, yet pacifist in it's palettery proclivities: kindly carbonation is the conduit to distribute saturating flavors, dominated by angostura bitters and raisins. a huge beer that kneads your tongue like a turkish masseuse with indelible bravado.
Racegoer (353) - Indiana, Indiana, USA - JAN 31, 2003
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Thanks Raindog,Thick full lacing,aroma of slight alcohol and floral . Heavy and sweet, bananas, caramel,extremely malty, reminds me of a subdued JW Lees, smooth and rich. This is in no way in the class of a Old Horizontal or Behemoth as they are so much more in a defining way crisp, clean and clear.This still is a sweet and rich BW, easy to drink and enjoyable, a top 50 ?, Not really in my opinion but still recommended and enjoyable.
bigbish (539) - California, USA - JAN 29, 2003
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
What a suprise, another great brew from Bell's. I dark amber color, with just a little head that sticks around. A strong aroma that is very pleasing. This beer packs a punch! A mouthful of malty goodness balanced with some hops. A true explosion in your mouth. A new favorite!