ClarkVV (4645) - Allston, Massachusetts, USA - NOV 16, 2005
2.9 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 11/20
UPDATED: JAN 18, 2007 2005 bottle provided by Muzzlehatch and sampled on 11/6/2005. Pours a foamy off-white to light beige head atop a filtered ruby-amber body (not opaque, Martin). Head shows moderate to low retention with no lacing. Aroma of intense amarillo hops fruitiness. Juicy tropical fruits abound, with a thick caramel sweetness, plenty of ruby red grapefruit and moderately resinous hops bitterness. Being fresh and full of hops, the aroma strength is through the roof. I donít get complex caramel sweetness at all, out of the nose. Rather, I get huge caramel sweetness with a touch of drying yeast. No one mentions more than "sweet" or "caramelly" or "candyish/sugary" malts in the nose deScription, yet everyone seems to love it. Guess most people donít care for malt complexity in the nose.
Flavor bludgeons you with a massive dose of pine resin, bitter grapefruit and other citrus notes, while the sweet candyish-to-caramel malt attempts to balance. In the end, it dosent even remotely succeed, the hops being too acidic, bitter and sticky. The fair amount of alcohol apparency does not help matters either. Notes of yeast bi-product fruitiness are obviously apparent as well. Body is full, mouthfeel has low to moderate carbonation and a syrupy, sticky-sweet texture, but still missing that smooth silky texture that only non-filtration can bring. No attempt at balance, and thatís fine, I realize and appreciate that 3 Floyds doesnt value balance in most of their higher gravity brews. Donít really think it will improve with age either. The hops will die off, somewhat, sure, but the complete filtration, just like in this yearís darklord, will not allow it to hold up to oxidation, nor do I think the alcohol will be able to integrate as well. And ending on a positive note, itís not cloyingly sweet.
2005 bottle consumed on 1/18/07
Well with some 14 or so months of age on it, Iíve got to say I like it even less, or was being generous in my initial rating. I poured myself about 6 ounces and had to dump about 3 of them in to SuIIyís glass. Too much bitterness, sweetness and no real class. I donít even find it that complex, the hops, even having faded somewhat, just steal away the show. Bitter and now soggy with too much acid and alcohol warmth. The body still is comfortable, with lots of sweet, round sugars, but it dosent seem to have improved. Guess Iíll have to wait another 2 or 3 years until the hops have completely faded to see how the malts work. The wax is great though, no oxidation whatsoever.
beerbuzzmontreal (3488) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - NOV 12, 2005
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Clear amber pour with a thin offwhite head. Intense, complex and wonderfull aroma of spruce, hops, candy and fruits. Amaziing flavor of hops, spruce, candy, fruits, maple sugar, caramel and alcohol. Thereís also a perfumey thing in there. The body is light and very liquorous with low carbonation. This is very complex and amazing.
mds (2250) - Toronto, Ontario, CANADA - NOV 11, 2005
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
bottle. I was really looking forward to this and I have to say, I was fairly disappointed. bright ruby red with a small whitish head. aroma has a good share of orange/grapefruit-rind hops and caramel bready malts. very malty and thatís the prominant characteristic. yeasty and VERY HOT. quite a bit of hoppy orange flavour too. this is a huge beer and I wonder if Iíd like it any better earlier in a tasting. Iíll have to get my hands on another taste/bottle, somehow...
Ray1975 (251) - Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, USA - NOV 11, 2005
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
bottled. Poured a clear dark red with little to no head. Aroma was strong on citrus hops with a hint of sweet malt and alcohol. Flavor was huge on hops with a good amount of sweetness to offset the bitter. Finished off with an alcohol flavor that definitely let you know this was not for the weak hearted.
Tmoney99 (12410) - Cincinnati, Ohio, USA - NOV 10, 2005
4.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Bottle. Pours a clear ruby color with a huge creamy off-white head that would not diminish and produced excellent lacing. Second most attractive brew I have seen. Heavy complex aroma of roasted malt , molasses, citrus and brown sugar. Medium to full body with a thick texture. Good flavor with heavy sweet and bitter and a long finish. Great brew for number 800.
Goldorak (438) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - NOV 10, 2005
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
After 4 consecutive "turkeys" at the FantŰmes and more! tasting, somebody finally popped open this bad boy (or should I say, bad girl from the label)
Opaque ruby red, with a light grey head.
Whowza! Like getting smacked in the face by a pine branch with hops duck-taped on it, it was totally woodsy, then turned minty fresh, then it was more like cranberries and strawberries macerated in eau-de-vie. The hops just snapped. I must have smelled it for at least 3 minutes before taking my first sip.
A body so huge I could have just stuck a fork in it and lick it. It knocks you out with a 3-punch combo of massive caramel malt, hop bitterness you feel all the way into the nerve endings of your teeth and a and alcoholic vapor that gets you right in the chest. This is for fans of extra-large Beers, but it is pretty balanced, if in an over-the-top, super-size-me American kind of way. I think my tongue turned white from the dry astringency of the hops. A fun experiment!
Vac (2445) - San Diego, California, USA - NOV 8, 2005
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Pours with a crystal clear, deep amber body topped by a medium thick head with some lacing. Itís slightly sweet and malty wit a nice grapefruity hop note, a touch of pineapple, especially in the nose, and a slight undertone of caramel. This is an amazing Barley Wine. Full bodied, warming and a touch dry.
IPFreely (1470) - Sanborn, New York, USA - NOV 8, 2005
3.2 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 13/20
Bottle. Golden ruby amber color, interesting looking, medium off white head. Abundant everything, massive sweet malt, massive bitter hops, massive alcohol. It is surprisingly well-balance considering how big all of it is. Itís just too much though, the malt is too sweet, the hops are too bitter, and the alcohol drinks like itís 40% instead of 10%. This is not an easy beer to drink at all. This need years in the cellar for it to be approachable. After some years in the cellar I can imagine it living up to its reputation, but as it is young, no way.
footbalm (1219) - Western Minneapolis Suburbs, Minnesota, USA - NOV 7, 2005
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Fuck,it is like some crazy mad botanist grafted an apricot tree to a hop vine an
this is the juice that was squeezed from the resulting fruit.More hoppy than any Barley Wine ever thought about being. Can the taste live up to the aromas?? It is a crazy BW that is for sure. Hoppy,fruity, and rich in candy-like toffee..Raw and rich in flavor.Yeah,it needs a little rest in a cool dark cellar,but it is still damn tasty.
Rastacouere (6162) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - NOV 6, 2005
3.6 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Sorrowfully totally clear amber-orange pour atop which an initially honest off-white cover fades at a constant rhythm. Expressive aroma firstly disarming you through a blast of floral, piney, sprucey aromatic amarillos. The underlying malt is not to be neglected, highly candyish, like concentrated Jolly Rancher juice. Tons of residual sugar components, yet well developed fruitiness, rich with melon and perfumed berry notes. Quite boozy in mouth, if not necessarily harshly so thanks to the cognac-like nature of the alcohol, reminding of a concentrated wine. Thus very sweet and fittingly very hoppy, foresty, fruity, woody and throath-coating. Very malty spirit is betrayed by a rather syrupy palate, certainly fruity and alcoholic, but also rather oily and slick even, the carbonation being restrained to say the least. Far from a favourite among barleywines, just not very mature nor sagacious, it remains an experiment worth seeking out.