argo0 (11167) - Washington DC, USA - JAN 8, 2004
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
(compiled notes from a vertical sample of the '01, '02, and '03) All three are opaque amber with minimal head. 01: Aroma is sweet, scotch, caramel. Taste is sweet, raisin, caramel butter liqueur, finishing strong alcohol. Creamy full body with no carbonation. (7/7/7/3/14). 02: Medium sweet aroma, not as sweet as the 01. Taste is again less sweet than the 01, raisin caramel, finishing with a nice alcohol warming. Same body as the 01. (7/3/7/3/14). 03: Aroma is sweet, toffee, raisin. Taste is medium sweet, toffee, caramel, raisin, with a warming alcohol finish. Better balanced than the 01 or 02, and there isn't so much syrupy sweetness. Definitely my favorite of the 3. (8/3/8/4/16).
JoeMcPhee (8168) - Toronto, ON, Ontario, CANADA - JAN 31, 2009
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
2008 version on tap at the brewpub. Deep amber beer with a thin head. Aroma is quite lovely. Soft rich sweetness, caramel and a sweet crystal malt note as well. Sweetish flavour, caramel and a bit of toffee sweetness over the crackery base malt. Fruity and a little bit vineous. Some sweet cherry fruitiness. I find the beer to be quite underhopped really. Sticky and sweet and a little bit fruity.
MartinT (7482) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - NOV 6, 2006
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Any first impressions?
-A ring of foam crowns the obscure brown gown.
-Virile brown sugar is smeared onto deep fruity and earthy caramel maltiness, as citrusy hops render complexity. A storyteller of a nose.
-Fig and strawberry fruitiness evolves from the lavish caramel maltiness.
-The prickly carbonation isn’t comfy enough to match with the sensuous heaviness of the malts, but we still have a marvelous mouthfeel.
What if you dig deeper?
-The determined fruitiness expands onto the tastebuds, ranging from berries and of all kinds to various citrus fruit rinds.
-Alcohol warming is felt, but it is well-positioned and expected at this gravity.
-A brown rum fervor develops peachy undercurrents.
-If its flavor profile were a little cleaner, I would be in love with this exquisite barley wine, but as it stands, I’m definitely aroused.
2003 vintage, on tap at the brewpub.
CaptainCougar (7129) - Columbia, Maryland, USA - DEC 16, 2007
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
2007 vintage: Pours a transparent dark copper amber with a nicely-lacing off-white head. Aroma of sweet caramely malt with a touch of grapefruity hops. Body starts rich and caramely sweet with some light fruity esters and grapefruity hops toward a slightly warming finish. A good barleywine that should age well.
j12601 (6585) - Poughkeepsie, New York, USA - MAR 24, 2011
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
On tap at Willimantic on the way home from a weekend in Boston for EBF. Pours a hazed brown amber with a thin white head. Warm toast, caramel and malt. Lightly sweet. Warm sweetness, dark fruit. Creamy and full of malt and toast. Warm booze, toast and sweet caramel. Very warming alcohol on the finish.
Cletus (6322) - Connecticut, USA - MAY 14, 2006
4.1 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Pours brown with a thin tannish head. Smells of cognac, whisky, oak, dark fruits and earthy hops. Tastes very balanced; not as cloying as I’d expect from a brewpub BW. Wonderful malt presence. 10.1% ABV is very well masked. All around great beer.
Glouglouburp (5929) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - NOV 8, 2006
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Very cloudy brownish-copper body with a small tan head. From the nose, no mistake, it’s a barley wine. A ton of crunchy barley malt. Very very sweet. Candies and citrus in a kind-of-whisky-single-malt rich mixture. Alcohol presence is very much under control. Limited (if any) hops flavours. Brutal yet complex but a bit too much on the sweet syrup side for my taste. Easy to drink despite the high abv. A few pints of this and I would be Dany Hammered on the Willi Whammer.
muzzlehatch (4424) - Burlington, Vermont, USA - FEB 24, 2004
3.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
UPDATED: FEB 25, 2004 12 oz snifter, 2001 edition. Dark amber, no head. This was served way too cold, so I spent some time as it warmed. Candied fruit, caramel, pipe tobacco (dry) and dark chocolte in the nose, also some bitter herbal hoppiness. Surprisingly strong hop presence for a 3-year old, very strong in the front and again at the finish. In between, it's spicy-sweet. The odd, sticks-in-the throat quality is really hard to take at first, but gets easier; the acid seems a bit much. Overall, an ambitious, very interesting aged barley wine, strangely unbalanced and rough; you'd think that time would blend the disparate characteristics more, but it hasn't. Still well worth trying, just not the masterpiece I'd hoped for.
ClarkVV (3766) - Allston, Massachusetts, USA - NOV 8, 2005
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
UPDATED: NOV 10, 2005 On draught at the NEBF, 10/29/05. This version was a blend of the 02, 03, 04 and 05 vintages, aged in a Jack Daniels barrel for 6 months. The barrel was previously used to age their Raisin Old ale.
Appears a completely hazy deep auburn-copper with murky beige and chestnut tinges. Begins with a small amount of very creamy tan-beige head. Not terribly well-retained, but there is some lacing as it recedes. Appearance is not altogether unlike Thomas Hardys ale, though this has a much more pronounced reddish hue to it. Aroma is dry and earthy, with chewy-sweet dark fruits (figs, dates, raisins, black cherries) and a bit of floral hoppiness. Some sweet toffee seems out of place, while soft notes of wood and a hint of whiskey sit in the background. Flavor begins with a moderate amount of acidity, such that you might find in a flemish sour. The flavor includes some candy-like sugar notes, chocolate covered cherries and earthy yeast dryness. Towards the middle, a tartness builds on the mouth and then quickly fades back in to the toffe-caramel and date flavor, with lightly bitter, floral hops and a strong fruitiness. At the very end, and after it has warmed more, can be found a light bourbon note, slightly alcoholic, drying and with a touch of coconut. Not sure what is causing that tartness that gives it more a flemish sour-like flavor than barleywine. I don’t know what they added to their raisin old ale, and I didnt think they did brett beers here, but it is unmistakeably a wild yeast of some sort. Body is soft and supple with lots of caramel-like sugars creating an ample body. Mouthfeel is low on carbonation, smooth, though lightly sticky at times. The flemish sour aspect seems pitted against the barleywine characteristics, but both aspects are done well and make for a very unique and flavorful experience. Alcohol was well-concealed. Lots of yeast apparency.
jkwood04 (3257) - Connecticut, USA - JUN 2, 2013
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
2012 edition sampled at the brewery. Pours deep amber/brown with a lacy, beige head. Aroma of a lot of caramel and sweet malts, a little toffee and chocolate, some floral and lightly citrusy hops and alcohol notes. Flavor the same. Smooth texture. A pretty good barley wine.