ThisWangsChung (836) - Leonardtown, Maryland, USA - MAR 13, 2013
3.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
Reviewed 3/2/13. 12 oz bottle poured into a snifter.
A: Pours a ruby red color with nice clarity. The head is quite good for a barleywine; a one finger light cream color. Retention is pretty good, and even after fading, the collar on the side of the glass is quite nice as well.
S: This one comes across as being very caramel-forward. I also detect notes of toffee and brown sugar. The bourbon barrel influence is certainly present, as well, providing tones of vanilla, coconut, and pleasant booze. Quite nice.
T: The bourbon presence is what first sweeps across the palate at first. Vanilla and coconut - even if itís not as distinctive as, say, Sucaba - are certainly an enjoyable sensation on the palate. I swear I detect the most subtle hint of chocolate on the midtaste. The aforementioned midtaste and finish is where the barleywine proper breaks away from the barrelís influence; caramel, toffee, and prune notes gradually build from the midtaste all the way to the finish. Itís certainly good - but it lacks the proper depth to be elite.
M: The feel is both moderately thick and a bit syrupy; the latter is no big deal given the styleís conventions. The sweetness does a decent job of covering the alcohol presence without being an overbearing expression. The aftertaste provided by the oak barrel tannins give a bit of a dryness without exasperating the alcohol harshness significantly or gutting the flavors.
O: Truth be told, Iím the kind of person who prefers my barleywines to be simple and non-barrel-aged, but Iíll be damned if this one isnít pretty good. Iíd even go so far as to say I (slightly) prefer it to Sucaba. So sue me. The relative cheapness and ease of attainability are just gravy, really. All in all, itís really good, but not amazing.
Angelmonster (179) - Colorado, USA - MAY 24, 2016
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Review is of 2 and a half old bottle dated Jan/2014
Pours a copper hazy color, head is very thin and egg shell white. For a barleywine, the lacing and head retention were surprising.
Smells of dried fruits, figs, prunes, and dates. Toasted and caramel malts are also present, as well as alcohol, diacetyls like a chardonnay. Hops arent really there, sweetness dominates this beer.
Main flavors in this beer are butterscotch, caramel, dried apricot and plum. Alcohol is definitely there, sadly not getting a ton of oak. Biscuity malts are the base of this beer, almost like an Imperial fat tire. Cant really pick out hops as in the aroma.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, carbonation is good, small head added a substantial froth to coat the mouth.
Overall, this beer was on my want list for a long time so maybe the expectations were too high. Thought it was a solid barleywine but nothing phenomenal. Didnt get much from the oak barrels, alcohol was a bit messy, almost medicinal. Dont think this beer is too far off from Blithering Idiot.
tightslice (835) - Redwood City, California, USA - MAY 17, 2016
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottle from Whole Foods Market in Winter Park, FL. Aroma is caramels, herbal candies, strong booziness. Taste is sweet caramel and toffee, very malty and herbal, earthy. Booze is intense but fitting and adds a great warming quality.
oldrtybastrd (4914) - Fort Walton Beach, Florida, USA - APR 10, 2016
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Pours a hazy reddish brown. Aromas of hops, caramel malts, kind of medicinal. Flavor is malty, big alcohol taste, smooth bourbon with a citrus taste.
Booga (56) - Michigan, USA - MAR 28, 2016
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
12 oz bottle date 1/19/15. Pours murky light brown opaque color with frothy cream colored one finger head that persists. Deep caramel notes. Boozy and bitter. Pretty good but hot.
sinfull (1358) - Brooklyn, New York, USA - MAR 25, 2016
3.9 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Dark, brown color. Thin , off-white head . Aroma of raisins , bourbon , oak , caramel . Sweet, malty taste with bourbon and vanilla notes. Full , creamy body. Warming finish.
altonbrownd (5298) - Chevy Chase, Maryland, USA - FEB 21, 2016
4.2 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bottle from Beer and Wine. Dark brown body with thin, tan head. Nose of bourbon, vanilla and anise. Taste also anise up front, and caramel, and malts and bourbon. Really nice beer with great, alcy finish.
dlovell2 (1626) - Columbia, Maryland, USA - FEB 2, 2016
4.1 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Pours an amber brown color with a tan head. Aroma is fruity, raisins, dates, vanilla, bourbon, and oak. Flavor is amazing. Rich fruity start, raisins, candied dates, coconut, vanilla, oak, and bourbon. Lots of boozy vapors. Creamy mouthfeel. Fantastic.
iggynelix (132) - Pennsylvania, USA - JAN 27, 2016
2.6 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 4/20
Strong alcohol on the nose with vanilla and caramel. Nice mouthfeel, but the alcohol is over present.
tom10101 (5005) - Quebec, CANADA - JAN 5, 2016
4.1 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bottle (12 oz) at home. Received as an extra from John in May 2013, so itís probably 3 years old by now. Hazy dark amber with a small quickly fading tan head leaving no lacing. Aroma is intense and well rounded with bourbon, molasses, vanilla, dried fruits (figs, dates, plums), malt, mild spiciness, mild boozy presence... really complex. Taste is moderately sweet with loads of flavors again, molasses, bourbon, vanilla, dried fruits, mild spiciness, moderate boozy presence, oak and hints of tobacco. Full body. Moderate carbonation. Liquorous and a bit oily mouthfeel. Dried fruits finish with a well dosed alcohol warmth. Easy drinking, I easily drank the whole bottle by myself and probably a tad too fast. Really complex but also super well balanced. One of the best barrel-aged Barley Wine I have ever had. The age isnít showing, or at least not in a bad way.
HuskerTan (1524) - Kearney, Nebraska, USA - NOV 10, 2015
3.6 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 1/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
A- Bourbon, black cherries, oak, dates.
A- Mahogany color, hazy liquid with lots of sediment, off white head.
T- Bourbon, oak, dark cherries, dark fruits.
P- Medium full body, average texture, average carbonation, smooth finish.
O- Hate all the sediment in here but hey. The aging in oak barrels surprisingly didnít create a boozy mess. The bourbon and oak are present but soft enough that the other notes come through. While I donít like the looks of it, I did enjoy the taste of it.