JB175 (1665) - Bucks County, Pennsylvania, USA - OCT 13, 2008
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Finally decided to crack one of these - REally nice looking reddish-amber color with a medium head. Aroma is of orange peels, candy, pine, dark fruits, and a plethora of other scents. Flavor is still quite hoppy with a heavy dose of citrus and pine, some wildflowers, a large sugary-dark fruit bite, and a really nice thickness that is present throughout. Nice feel and finish. I think this one will be awesome for many years to come, and could be one of my favorites in 2012 or so. To the brewers - please, please make this part of the regular rotation as I will be happy to drop lots of cash on cases of this stuff - most of which will be cellared for a long, long time and enjoyed as only a beer this fine can be. Its best days are way ahead of it, but I don’t know if I have the patience to wait for this thing to mature!
oreogobbler (228) - Austin, Texas, USA - SEP 29, 2008
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
Nice hop aroma, not bitter but floral and sweet. Strawberries and pineapple. Pours a reddish brown, thick creamy head. It’s has such and interesting look to it. Black current tartness upfront, with strawberries, and cherry sweetness. It has such a great bitter hop finish. Palate is the most balanced barley wine I’ve consumed so far. The hop bitterness is smooth and tingly on the tongue. Sweet and wonderful.
slimchill (1044) - Austin, Texas, USA - SEP 12, 2008
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Bottle. Hops lightly citric and very floral against cherry and strawberry notes. Deeper down there’s a darker muskiness and caramel. Amber-brown, cloudy, and good lacing somehow from nearly no head. Fantastically balanced flavor with loads of depth. Citrus, figs, raisins, caramel, and pine. Bitter and sweet in perfect balance. Mouthfeel is chewy, but gets broken up by a lot of the hop character. An amazing beer, probably at its peak.
thickfreakness (132) - AUSTIN, Texas, USA - AUG 8, 2008
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Thanks to lb4lb for just giving me this bottle to try. Pours a muddy brown with only a slight head that almost instantly left the glass. A little bit of lacing. Smell is huge, sweet caramel. Not entirely complex but quite nice nonetheless. Taste is huge creamy caramel up front with a decent hop bitterness fading into the after taste. Quite viscous. A nice barleywine, I really enjoyed this one.
GAManiac (1944) - Atlanta, Georgia, USA - AUG 3, 2008
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
Pours a dark, murky amber with hints of orange. The head is small and short-lived, quickly leaving a collar and traces of lacing.
Smell is big and complex, with citrus hops up front giving way to a sizable caramel malt backbone. There is also a big dose of sugar and toffee in the nose as well.
Like the smell, citrus hops are the first thing I notice. There is an even bigger sugar presence in the taste with dark fruits as well. All of this is on top of the caramel malt backbone.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied and has a slight hop bitterness that tickles the tongue. A little on the thin side, but still nice and creamy.
Drinkability is very good on this one and I’m glad Adam gave me the opportunity to try this one. Very, very good beer.
DragonsHead (140) - Erie, Pennsylvania, USA - AUG 1, 2008
4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
I love this beer! I’ve tried a few of the scratch series, after not hearing the best reviews, but this barley wine is wonderful! Hops and sugary malt aroma. The flavor of hops dominates, which I really enjoy in this style. Happy when I see a BW without too much sweetness, but just enough.
MrBendo (1064) - Swedesboro, New Jersey, USA - JUN 30, 2008
4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 16/20
6 month old bottle, 12oz. I haven’t been rating lot of the Scratches, but I felt I had to rate this one.
Deep mahogany color with a small head. Aroma is toffee , caramel and lots of spicy hops (the citrus hop taste is mostly depleted) Rich caramel and raisin taste; balanced between sweet and dry. I respectfully ask you to brew this again, Chris and John.
Beerlando (3342) - Orlando, Florida, USA - JUN 18, 2008
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Aged about 9 months. Pours quite dark, deep mauve-brown in color. A frothy, light khaki colored head shows good retention and leaves thick, patchy cobwebs of lacing on the glass. The aroma shows massive malty notes of caramel, toffee, and chocolate, with raisons, dates, and a hint of plum lending fruity depth. A faded, yet surprisingly strong waft of citrus hops and dark, earthy spices complete the nose. Flavors again start on the malty side, with candy sugar, toffee, and caramello leading towards the dark fruit billing. Soon after, earthy and citrus hops deliver their bitter punch, tipping the scales back towards very well balanced. The body is quite substantial, lightly syrupy, and smooth. Finishes with notes of brown sugar and lingering, bitter citrus hops. This is a really nice, hoppy, American style barleywine that is not overdone in any one aspect.
LinusStick (2854) - Moon Twp, suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA - JUN 17, 2008
3.8 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 18/20
Wow...I now know what I must do to love barley wines. AGE THEM! This was aged a year and a few months and is absolutely outstanding as far as barley wines go. The flavors that I usually detest in fresh barley wines are subdued here and make this beer easily drinkable and flavorful. Aroma was all caramel malt. Pour was a nice deep murky brown with a one finger tan head. Taste was strong, but even. Nice caramel malt taste with a hint of light chocolate and a somewhat hoppy aftertaste. Great barley wine!
BlackForestCO (977) - Aurora, Colorado, USA - MAY 27, 2008
3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 12/20
UPDATED: FEB 25, 2009 Bottle shared by lb4lb at his tasting. Poured a murky, light brown caramel color with a thin beige head that diminished to a ring. Aroma of sweet, lightly metallic caramel and some moderate citrus and brown sugar. Light, sweet malt entry with some caramel and a metallic hint leading into a light hop presence with some citrus that finishes slightly dry. Smooth, but a bit thin. Perhaps it is just past its prime, but it just wasn’t that great.