Night_Cap (119) - Southern Highlands, AUSTRALIA - AUG 9, 2016
UPDATED: AUG 18, 2016 Bottle 250ml -2012(?) vintage (at the Redoak) - cellared for 4 years(?). Served at cellar temperature. Pours a hazy dark brown (almost black). Head is small, lightly tanned and quickly dissipates. Aroma is extremely powerful and complex with notes of French oak barrels, roasted malts, burnt caramel sauce, treacle, burnt fruit cake, overripe figs, leather and a touch of smoke and tar. Flavour is vinous with intense notes of toasted oak, pedro ximenez (sherry), vanilla, burnt caramelized dates, overripe figs, dark cherries, rum chocolate, tobacco and notes of tarred cedar in the finish. Full bodied with very soft carbonation, an oily texture and a superlatively long, oaked finish. Wow! fletchfighters (1835) - WEST RYDE, AUSTRALIA - OCT 23, 2013
250 ML bottle
2006 I believe
Dark leather brown color, slight ruby hues on the sides. No head, just slight ringed collar. Good spotty lacing.
Nose is cardboard at first but opens up nicely. Dark fruits, treacle, soft oak, chocolate, and rum.
Taste is smooth. Treacle, rum, dark fruits, port, oak. Booze is well hidden and quite complex taste.
Big feel, prickly carbonation. Smooth but a burly beer it is.
---Rated via Beer Buddy for iPhone nate2g (1548) - Boomtown!, AUSTRALIA - DEC 22, 2009
Bottle 250ml (Vintage 2006) at Redoak, Sydney. I would be lying if I said the anticipation of the Special Reserve wasn’t overwhelming and mind tingling. A sort of non-religious experience for an Athiest. Or perhaps the first sign of spring after a harsh and brutal winter. Considering the limited batch size this is only available at Redoak and comes with a hefty price tag for the privilege. Whether it’s worth the bucks can be saved for another debate, and honestly one I’m not the slightest bit interested in joining. A special beer to be enjoyed on a special occasion, nothing more and nothing less. What was my special occasion you may ask? Well, we only die once so why the fuck not? Served in a Redoak goblet at slightly cooler than room temperature. The pour delivered a dark mahogany elixer with an exhausted beige head that left only the slightest trace. Swirling this around the glass reveals some sexy legs. Good gracious. The aromatics are far from shy as once the bottle cap was popped that sweet nectar wafted through the air like perfume applied to a beautiful woman on a cool Autumn morning. Truly amazing and seriously complex stuff. A lovely blend of sherry aged in French oak, vanilla, chocolate, raisins and oh so spicy and delicate. The oak is very pronounced and provides an elegant touch that may have improved in the bottle over time. You know it’s something special when drinking it hasn’t even crossed my mind and yet it’s been at least ten minutes on the nose. But I digress and finally take the plunge...wow! The flavours are a mirror to the beautiful aromatics. It’s tending more towards the spice but suddenly changes on each sip and as it warms further. The dark fruits now come into play along with chocolate, rum, vanilla oak, nutmeg and cinnamon. I’m surprised just how smooth this is. A slight warming on the palate but never harsh. A touch of sweetness in the mouthfeel too. This finish is stewed dark fruit and spice and lingers well past the last drop. One to sip and savour. A truly remarkable beer. voota (765) - Melbourne, AUSTRALIA - APR 16, 2008
Pretty deep amber with a very light head, not looking too lively. Put simply, the wickedly complex aroma is centered around a port-like vineous character, giving quite a lot of vanilla, chocolate and oak. Almost flat in the mouthful, but the body is fairly lively in character (or alcohol), really tastes like a vintage port, loads of dried fruit and vanilla. Great complexity and a stunning warming finish. bluevegie (3073) - Perth, AUSTRALIA - MAR 5, 2008
$15 sample at Redoak. Tawny amber body with tinges of orange. Port characters of dried fruit on the nose. This was the easiest barley wine I have drunk (sampled really), it was smooth as and I couldn’t really notice the alcohol also I was expecting it more syrupy. Would love to try it fully though it is not easy to pop over to Sydney.
mullet (849) - Melbourne, AUSTRALIA - JUL 25, 2007
Yet another beer courtesy of the incredible generosity of Linc - thanks man! Nice dark brown, clear with not much carbonation and consequently not much head. Oxidation products initially jump out of the glass, but the really rough edges dissipate quickly and it starts to fit in well with an array of dried fruits, nuts and vinous oak. The aroma really reminds me of old Thomas Hardy’s, but better because it’s not so extreme. I inevitably find with beers like this that they smell better than they taste due to the intense sweetness and this one isn’t really an exception, though it’s done a lot better than some others. It starts with a real explosion of sweetness and dried fruits just like a muscat but it dries out in the middle sufficiently to make it drinkable. It’s weird, the dryness is kind of like soda water, it just disappears instead of getting bitter or sour or otherwise, but I’m glad it happens because it would otherwise be cloying. That said, there’s absolutely zero hop character and I think it would benefit from a bit. Alcohol is warming in a good way. Very nicely done, and completely different to all of Redoak’s other stuff - it’s a lot less linear. On the issue of price, I thought that half a bottle was probably a bit too much. So splitting a bottle three ways makes it seem a whole lot more reasonable. It would’ve been great with some cheese and dried fruits I think. Good on em. eczematic (1332) - Adelaide, AUSTRALIA - JUN 26, 2007
credit where credit is due - this is a real achievement. brandy/calvados, oak, raisins, pleasant alcohol, trace of menthol in aroma. and it’s a bloody huge aroma. envelopes your head in vapours. in the mouth super-viscous rich malt fades slowly into plums/raisins/dates, which linger there for about half an hour afterwards. no sharp edges to this beer. like JW Lees harvest without the hops. a great dessert beer. duff (5045) - Copenhagen, DENMARK - FEB 5, 2007
Bottle. Quite an interesting one, and quite different and a lot stronger than anything else being brewed in Australia. As Linc briefly mentions, this is heading somewhere along the lines of a Sam Adams Triple Bock. It has quite an oaky flavour, with notes of caramel/toffee, marmite, soy sauce and has quite salty finish to it. Quite warming, in terms of alcohol and fairly sweet, but not over the top given the strength of the beer. Interesting stuff. Linc (740) - Sydney, AUSTRALIA - JAN 27, 2007
Putting aside the price, as I know this beer is one complex and expensive thing to produce, it is really quite interesting and tasty. I tend to like the fact that it has not gone over the top with regards to alcohol content and it still maintains a really deep flavour with all that vinous fruitiness, the vanilla oak flavour is quite nice and I also like the fact that it is not too sweet. But it is starting to age quite poorly, with yeast autolysis becoming a real issue. I imagine this will start tasting a bit like Sam Adams Triple Bock (AKA Kikkomans Soy Sauce) if it is left to age much longer. DRi (7) - AUSTRALIA - AUG 15, 2006 does not count
A truly special beer. I have been lucky enough to taste this on several occasions now and each time it still manages to amaze me.
It has perhaps one of the greatest aromas of any beer that I have experienced- wonderful notes of rum, sultanas, vanilla and brandy. I have trouble leaving the smell and moving on to drinking it.
The flavour components are largely the same with a slight lick of autolysis leaving its mark as well.
Special reserve feels a little drier in finish than most Barley Wines but this does nothing to adversely affect it.
As I stated earlier this is a truly remarkable beer and I have no hesitation in paying its $15 asking price compared to a glass of decent whisky at $20 a glass (in the words of Cookie monster- Special Reserve is a sometimes beer)
If you get the chance and have the change - TRY IT.