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RATINGS: 1640   WEIGHTED AVG: 4/5   SEASONAL: Winter   EST. CALORIES: 330   ABV: 11%
Luxuriously rich in character, this warming winter ale delivers over 10% alcohol in an oh-so-seductive manner. Deliciously fruity flavors lie under a bracing hop nose.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
CaptainCougar (7133) - Columbia, Maryland, USA - JUN 2, 2003
UPDATED: DEC 28, 2005 11/98 vintage sampled on 12/10/05 (7,4,7,4,14): I never thought Id get to try this old of a vintage of this, but thanks to kp I was wrong. Pours a lightly hazy dark copper with a thin-lacing white head. Semi-sweet oxidized toffee aroma still has some mild hoppiness. Body starts sweet and caramely with some nice dark fruity notes and complexity and good viscosity. This has held up pretty well, but has definitely past its prime.

New vintage bottled on 12/14/04, sampled on 6/28/05: This is still one of the most balanced and flavorful barleywines Ive ever had. After aging just over half a year, the hops still have a good piney presence in the aroma and nice bitterness in the body. Malt is nicely caramely sweet and hides the alcohol better than most barleywines do.

Rerate 12/21/04: Same vintage, aged two years: Butterscotch is more prevalent in the aroma with more caramel dark fruity complexity. Hops are still slightly noticeable. Still very balanced and enjoyable. This has aged very well. An awesome barleywine!

Rerate 12/8/03: Same vintage as earlier. The hops have seems to mellow down in the aroma giving way to more sweet caramel malt and some oatmeal. Palate seems to have lost a little of its smoothness as the carbonation has become stronger. Body still has a nice sweetness and the hop flavor is still in force. I think the fresher, the better with this barleywine. Although, even after a year its still delicious.

6/2/03: (bottled on Dec 04 02) Huge hop bouquet upon pouring. Color is dark copper with a thin covering of cream-colored head. Floral hop aroma is complemented with hints of caramel malt and candi sugar. Body is so remarkably viscous, smooth, and full with the softest velvety touch, that Id like to rate the palate a 6. Flavors consist of a sweet and bitter onslaught of the senses. There are enough hops that this could be mistaken as a double IPA. Wonderful balance between the sweet almost chocolatey caramel malt and the floral and bitter, yet not overpowering, northwest hops. There is even a soft red apple fruitiness. Did I mention that my brain sensed the alcohol before my taste buds? Finish is the culmination of sweet and bitter in just the right amounts with dry, woody attributes. This is by far the best barleywine Ive had! Im so glad I bought a six pack of this. Expect re-rates about once a year.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
GermanBrews76 (680) - Richmond, Virginia, USA - MAY 23, 2003
Amber/ruby body, thin white head. Alcohol, fruits and some floral tones in the nose, well rounded. Malt presence is there, caramely sweet, real nice. some grapefruits perhaps. Real sweet flavor, floral and hoppy. GREAT balance, full and creamy, cleans up quickly, but flavor hangs in there well. Supremely drinkable for an 11 % ABV beer.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
Brodie (540) - Boone, North Carolina, USA - MAY 21, 2003
Complex, well-rounded aroma - pear, dark cherries, raisins, peppery spiciness, and rich malt. Ruby-orange-amber in color, thin wispy head. Flavor lacks some of the complexity of that aroma, but is very well-balanced between malt and spicy hop bitterness. Mouthfeel is smooth and full, with some slight warming in the belly, but overall the alcohol is well hidden. Quite a nice barley wine - the complex aroma and outstanding balance really make this one stand out.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
Zach Diesel (906) - Sisters, Oregon, USA - MAY 19, 2003
very balanced fruity hop aroma, light ruby with a thin head, earthy hops up front then slightly sweet maltiness with a bitter and slight metallic finish, overall incredibly well balanced compared to west coast barleywines

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
PorterPounder (7425) - Tallahassee, Florida, USA - APR 29, 2003
Very complex - different flavors encountered upon each sip. Initial aroma - Cherry Bubble Yum -believe it or not. Pour - light amber - but what I notice as I drip the last drops in to the glass are the way the drops bead up when they hit the liquid - does the alcohol make it do that? As it settles, the flavor dissipates in my opinion - initally I enjoyed the way the hops crept their way into the raisiny, molaosses-like maltiness - but it loses its luster after a while. Ending - aroma - sweet molasses. Still, a very good barley wine - but a tad overrated.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Aurelius (5094) - Tallahassee, Florida, USA - APR 29, 2003
Took Austinpowers' advice and tried this head-to-head with Elizabethan Ale. Though this was more drinkable, it got its butt handed to it in terms of complexity. Tangy, smells like powdered orange drink mix -- like Tang with hops thrown in. Warming. A well-balanced strong amber ale, I guess. Alcohol is masked rather well, not too sweet, not super bitter. Nice, smooth palate -- almost like it had used finings. Medium bitter finish, which is citrus and woody.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
BeaverBrown (245) - Portland, Oregon, USA - APR 28, 2003
Brownish orange color with a desipating tan head. Smells like dog. Tangy bitter and astringent.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
winterlager (101) - Orchard Park, New York, USA - APR 27, 2003
This is the very best of the Victory beers. From the enchanting smell and color. It is hard to believe that there is 11% alcohol in this...it is so smooth and the flavors just make you want to keep drinking, you can't put this one down. Each sip gets better and better. Perfect blend of hops with the citrus taste at the end. This is a beer to fall in love with!

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 2/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 15/20
microdyke (360) - Portland, Oregon, USA - APR 19, 2003
A copper color with an off-white diminished head. A nutty aroma with some caramel maltiness and hops. A hoppiness right up front and a few more hops then a few more hops and finally a little citrus. A touch astringent and bitter.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 13/20
jstu9 (402) - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA - APR 15, 2003
(bottle) This is a hard one to rate. I have enjoyed most of the other Victory beers and liked a bunch of them. And I was looking forward to try this one. I guess I rate this lower than others because it tasted of that 11% alcohol. I felt like I was drinking whiskey instead of beer. The beer did seem to mellow as it warmed and I got used to it. And it has a full range of flavors, so I rate it fairly high.

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