TheBeerLover (1024) - DC Metro Area, USA - JAN 28, 2006
5 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 20/20
Willi Whammer Barley Wine ’02-’03’-’04’-’05 Blend.
Willimantic Brewing as done an amazing thing in taking five years of vintages of their barley wine Willi Whammer, blending it together, and then aging it for 6 months in a Jack Daniels oak whiskey barrel. Coming in at 10.9+% abv, served at room temperature, and limited to a 12 oz pour, this is an amazingly complex, rich, delicious, barley wine, that is so good it will make you weep with joy. I enjoyed a glass before my meal, and another one to end it, and it was made for one of the most memorable beer experiences I have had in quite a while.
Willi Whammer JD Blend pours to a slightly hazy deep caramel to garnet color with no head, and a very soft to almost no carbonation. The nose on this beer is amazingly complex and aromatic with aromas of sweet malt, toffee, pipe tobacco, raisin, plum, oak, sherry, and peppery alcohol. The palate is rich and full on the tongue with lots of big flavors. Sweet malt, toffee, plum, raisin, tobacco, and oak flavors will have you going into sensory over load. There is just layer upon layer of flavor in this beer, and it is one you will just want to sip and savor, forever. This beer finishes with more of those complex flavors up front, then ends with a vinous/oaky and warming, peppery alcohol edge that lingers.
This beer, this blend, this is what craft brewing is all about. A rare and special brew, WW JD Blend can only be found on tap at the brewpub for a very limited time. I suggest if you are any where near Willimantic, CT you give this one a try. If it were possible for me to have drained the entire keg of this one, I would have. I understand a barrel or two has been reserved for a beer festival or two, so if you see this beer, you would be insane not to try it.
Cottrell (72) - Connecticut, USA - APR 30, 2005
4.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
I figured a Willibrew barleywine would be nutso on hops and neatly balanced in malt. Wrong. This was definitely an English barleywine, and man was it tasty. Came in a snifter a dark mahogany with a finger of head. Aroma was strong and persistant with raisins, sweet malt, figs, and a fair amount of hops. Flavor was strong raisins and figs, and a light hopping. Spectacular stuff, this is the ’04 vintage, sampled fresh.
Immy (1955) - Virginia Beach, USA - APR 27, 2007
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
2007 vintage, on tap at the brewpub. Listed at 10.1%. Murky golden brown with a tan head. Big, sweet malt nose and flavor backed with strong citrus hops. Flavors of brown sugar, earthy, all sorts of fleshy fruits with a tangy orange citrus zing. Very big and bold flavors but well balanced. Rich body borders on sticky, but not quite. Excellent!
TrevorFloyd (309) - Connecticut, USA - JUL 17, 2007
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Color is a bit lighter than many barley wines, which I prefer, but the real story here is the flavor. It comes across as surprisingly tart, not languid like other BW’s. Flavor is vibrant and enjoyable, and hides that big ABV admirably. What a great drink.
jonnabrix (137) - Newberrytown, Pennsylvania, USA - JUL 21, 2007
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
’05 vintage, aged at the brewery. Wow, I wasn’t expecting the brillinant tart cherry flavor. Great tasting, thoroughly enjoyable.
kmweaver (3206) - Petaluma, California, USA - SEP 7, 2008
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Growler, 2008 vintage, generously provided by Dave. Thanks!! Pours a clear, bright amber-brown color; thin off-white head; some oiliness and solid viscosity in the glass. Loads of intense dried candy sugar, earthiness and sweet brown sugar in the aroma; solid, oily sugary malts; great nose. Relaxed carbonation, and served at room temperature. Medium-to-full mouthfeel: loads of candy sugar, oily dried fruits, and chewy earthiness; gorgeous, oily, dense mouthfeel: good balance of earthy and citrus bitterness; really solid, generous, refined barley wine. Excellent stuff. Lengthy finish: earthiness, dried dark fruits, and candy sugar; nicely reserved sweetness at the far end.
hophead75 (2008) - Largo, Florida, USA - DEC 6, 2008
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
12 oz serving at the brewpub. They wont do growlers of Willi so dont drive there thinking you will get one. Copper in color with some reddish amber highlights. Aroma still has a decent amount of citrus in it considering it was a 2007 vintage, also alot of molasses, caramel, toasted malts, and some mild alcohol. Taste has alot of caramel, some earthy citrus hops, nice and full bodied... coats the palate well and finishes with a pleasant piney lasting bitterness as well as a touch of alcohol. some light dark fruits in the taste as well. A really god barleywine for sure.
Cletus (6329) - 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.
OldGrowth (2484) - North Carolina, USA - MAY 15, 2006
4.1 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Barrel aged 04 version at brewpub 4/6/06. Good aroma, like description Whisky, current oak. Clean orangy dark brown color, Small head with good lacing. Bitter tart flavor. Has a nice lambic thing going on with it’s tartness and the whisky is present, but not overwhelming. Medium body, lite creamy mouthfeel, bitter finish. This was a great brew. I thought I saved an email from the brewer, but I can’t find it now. What a great brew.
MartinT (7523) - 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.