ElGaucho (2374) - Minnetonka, Minnesota, USA - OCT 6, 2003
4.1 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Victory continues to impress me with every beer of theirs that I sample. This one starts off with a rich, molasses nose that is more malty than hoppy. Rich, reddish amber color, murky, with an very small off-white head. Good lace. Initial mouthfeel is malty rich with molasses. Tastes like it smells. Finish is somewhat hoppy and very good. Hops come out increasingly as it warms. Surprisingly drinkable for an 11% BW. An excellent beer that makes for a premier winter warmer.
aaronh (201) - McMurray, Pennsylvania, USA - SEP 29, 2003
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
This is a reddish colored beer with amber highlights. It pours with a thin tan head that quickly dissipates. The remaining ring of foam leaves a very fine lace that gradually slides back down the glass to join the beer. The aroma is of cherries, alcohol, and a hint of apple. Very appetizing. The first sip presents a very thick feeling beer with sweet cheery flavors mingled with some hop bitterness and citrus flavors. The alcohol is very apparent in this young beer. After a few sips, some chocolate flavors become apparent, reminding me of chocolate covered cherries. The sweetness dominates this beer, and it is definitely a sipping beer.
ChazyRPh (583) - Chazy, New York, USA - AUG 31, 2003
4.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: JUL 30, 2004 Pours a cloudy orange-red with medium pale head. I like the smells I get, berries and fermented pit fruits. Very pleasant nose. Initial mouthfeel is smooth with berry tastes. It moves to some hoppiness with hints of the 11% ABV, but finishes nicely to a sweet berry/fruit flavor. I very nice beer, the best barleywine style ale that I have tasted.
Re-Rate - (7/28/04) 1998 vintage on draft at Monk's Cafe in Philadelphia. All I can say is unbelieveable. This barleywine ages so well, all the flavors meld together it is sweet and smooth. There is no wonder that they limit 2 glasses per patron.
Re-Rate - (7/28/04) 2001 vintage on draft at Victory Brewery. Well, I must have gone to Old Horizontal heaven, they had 2001, 2002 and 2003 vintages on tap here tonight, however I have only tried the 2001 to compare with the 1998 I had earlier today. There is a noticable difference, however it is by no means a step back. Wonderfully blended and smooth, I will cellar some of this to experience again in a few years.
DYCSoccer17 (3590) - Woodland, California, USA - AUG 31, 2003
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
Pours a murky tan/orange/brownish with a moderate off-white head that has decent staying power. Aroma is fruity--maybe peaches/apricots? Berries too? Start is a sweet fruityness like the aroma, which then turns into a lillte hoppiness/alcohol burn very briefly, then turns into the pleasant sweet fruityness at the end. A very smooth and drinkable beer with a great palate. 11% is hidden very nicely.
GreatStelle (363) - Chico, California, USA - AUG 29, 2003
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
nice medium dark color. ALOT of flavor in this beer. Very chewy, a bit sweet. Good barley wine.
snoot (286) - Anaheim, California, USA - AUG 28, 2003
4.1 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Pours a amber-red, I couldn't coax very much head out of it. Aroma is fruty, malty, with a small but noticeable alcohol nose. Sweet at first, then some hops followed up by an alcohol finish. Nice barley wine.
baobubba (454) - Starkville, Mississippi, USA - AUG 24, 2003
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Sexy red-orange-amber color with an apricot head. Amazing aroma that reminds me of fruit stands in Eastern Washington - sticky, dusty, cooked earth, hay/farm grain, with some dehydrated apricots and prunes. The brew is sweet and full bodied, but not syrupy. The earthy, hay, and caramel/toast aromas come out on the taste. Slight bitterness on the finish. Excellent barley wine.
SG (465) - Valley Center, California, USA - AUG 24, 2003
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Red/brown tint with no head worth speaking of. Definitely smells like a hopped up barley wine. Some fruity tones hiding in there as well. The flavor is very nice. Balanced. This is such a pleasure to drink.
MAP (1133) - Lakewood, Ohio, USA - AUG 11, 2003
4.9 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 20/20
UPDATED: AUG 10, 2005 Origional Rating: 8/11/2003 :Smells very sweet and citrusy, much like many IPA’s. IT has a fine amber color and a little modest bit of head to it. It has a very smooth taste to the barley malt and only get more smooth when it warms up. The only down side to this in my eyes is that it makes me feel more tired than i should be after such a long day.
ReRating: 2.12.2004: Bottle of 11/18/2003. The aroma of this is wonderful, full of strong cherries, caramel, banana, and all sorts of malt sweeetness. The flavor of this is something that ir rarely comprimised. It has the perfect blend of sweetness, hearty malt, and sublt alcohol. (Granted this is an aged bottle, but I had one of my ’02 bottles and it was something out of this world.)
Another tasting of the 11.18.03: I really feel wrong for not giving this top honors in my ratings. So I am going to correct that. -9-4-10-4-20-
---Magical find of a sixer of 1.6.01for only $10. Cracked open to a small bit of foam in the bottle. No age signs so far. Yeah, Im expecting a true gem here. Just out of the bottle, aroma is intoxicatingly good. Barley malt is flowing out in a sugary sweet way. A touch of red apples and hay comes with it, as well as cold honey and fresh tilled earth. The pour of this thing is still amazing. It comes out a dark red with a soft layer of foam and trails of bubble feading it. Just holding this up to the side of a sheilded halogen light makes it glow red. Beautiful. So, after 4 and a half years there is no touch of alcohol really noticable. Soft taste, like a camprfire roasted marshmellow it just settles down on the tongue. Malty caramel flavor seeps in all around my mouth. Just fantastic. The hops are still present at the very end, but its just telling me, hey, this still has a shelf life of another 5 years or so. Christ. What a find. What a beer. It just keeps getting better. -10-4-10-5-20-
1more4dessert (334) - Upstate, New York, USA - AUG 10, 2003
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
like a fine cognac, burnt umber color, good hop presence as accent on sweet malt background.