SoLan (1550) - Florida, USA - JAN 9, 2010
From notes. Dark ruby/brown. No visible carbonation. Huge bourbon oak, vanilla, graham cracker, cookie, caramel, cocoa, nougat. Full body, just a bit smoother than balanced. Awesome barleywine. SQNfan (591) - Wheaton, Illinois, USA - JUN 12, 2008
Growler: Dark brown in color with almost no head. The nose explodes with vanilla bean, bourbon and dark fruit. When warmed it also shows off some alcohol but given the level of power it almost seems expected. In the mouth it is full-bodied with lots of concentration and power. It remains balance but is a powerhouse of a beer with flavors that follow the nose. It is extremely rich ans oily in the mouth while coating every nook and cranny. MoDog (928) - Griffith, Indiana, USA - JUN 8, 2008
On tap at Barley Johns and served in a 6oz snifter. This barley wine poured a ruddy brown with a thin cap of beige foam that slightly lasted. Some faint lacing was left behind. The aroma was floral, fruity, and boozy. It contained sugar coated dried-citrus, whiskey, caramelized sugar, raisins, and plum. The flavor included dried citrus and dark fruits, very mellow orange, whiskey, sugary caramel, and more alcohol. Very strong, but yet quite drinkable and smooth. The mouthfeel was full-bodied and a bit sticky along with very light carbonation. A real pleasure to drink. Complex and smooth. Very, very nice! rayg1 (599) - Charlotte, North Carolina, USA - MAY 20, 2008
On tap at the brewpub. Ok so who goes to Minneapolis without going to Barley John’s? Not me. Came served to me in a tulip glass, reddish brown body with a thin tan lacing for a head. Smells of deep molasses, honey, vanilla, and a touch of bourbon. Very interesting and complex aroma, ridiculously sweet smelling as well. Taste. Good God this is boozy, I had to let this one sit and warm up to near room temperature because if drank cold the way it was served it was nothing but a candy sugar alcohol bomb. 20 minutes later this thing became a whole new world, more honey and molasses combine with brown sugar, raisins, and a big fullness from the oak flavor to create an awesome sipper. The oak really does it for this one, it provides a perfect balance and distraction. Otherwise, this beer would be so sweet and so boozy it would be near undrinkable. Very good stuff but only at the right temperature. sthlm (790) - Blank, Alabama, USA - APR 29, 2008
UPDATED: DEC 23, 2009 [On-tap] Pours deep red with almost no head. Initially, when cold, the aroma is dominated by the raisin with light coconut from the bourbon present, but the alcohol surprisingly subdued. As it warmed, the raisin recedes with the bourbon taking control and the alcohol really opening up. The taste is really sweet at first, with the same bourbon and portlike raisin characteristics as were in the aroma. Like the aroma, the alcohol becomes much more prevalent in the taste after warming for awhile, with it first showing up in the nose and then eventually leaving a light burn on the tongue. The changes didn’t end there though, as the sweetness became more rounded and less abrasive, and more flavors also began to show through: brown sugar and chocolate being the easiest amongst them to pick out. Syrupy thick in a way that left a curtain of beer on the walls of the glass when swirled, very smooth and with a really nice long finish. This obviously isn’t the type of beer that I would want to sit down and drink more than one of, but as a unique, well-done dessert drink to just sit and sip, it was really nice.
Guerde (1297) - Leuven, BELGIUM - APR 29, 2008
(on tap at the brewpub) Pours dark reddish brown with no head at all. Aroma starts out with definite bourbon, coconut, vanilla, along with a lot of raisin that gives the beer a smell similar to port wine. There is also a slightly salty smell, similar to soy sauce that eventually disappears. There are also scents of brown sugar as well. When the beer warms, I also was able to smell some charred oak, and right before taking the last sips, I could smell a large amount of toffee. The taste is very sweet, with a lot of raisin, brown sugar, and caramel. Upon warming, the beer takes on more of a chocolate flavor. The finish is pretty nice with a combination of bourbon, raisin, vanilla, brown sugar, and some light alcohol. The great thing about this beer is the barrel-aging never dominates the other flavors. The mouthfeel is supreme, softly carbonated, and coats the mouth with just the right amount of thickness. A really good beer, and I’m glad I got a chance to try it. Yet another great example of perfect barrel aging from Barley John’s. awaisanen (1304) - Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, USA - APR 4, 2008
From a 22oz Handbottle. Thick, syrupy, dark brown colored pour with hints of ruby, topped by a thin head
of wispy beige. Sweet, intoxicating aromas of sherry, raisins, cherries, brown sugar, and faint chocolate.
Incredibly sweet and boozey, with a distinct bourbon oak and vanilla character. Full bodied, syrupy mouthfeel
with a light carbonation. Texture of effervescent cough syrup, although the flavors, while perhaps frightening to
a diabetic, are much less offensive. Lots of barrel character, along with figs, prunes, raisins, and sticky
caramels. Everything here tastes good, but it’s so excessively sweet it’s difficult to enjoy as a very small
quantity sipping drink. Another twenty points or so would do this wonders. dalekliz (947) - New Jersey, USA - APR 3, 2008
Sampled at the BA Alesmith release, thanks to wetherel by way of WeeHeavySD. Dark red-brown. Very rich aroma, woodsy and fruity. Taste is quite sweet and fruity, with a little bit of an alcohol bite. Huge mouthfeel. Really fantastic. fordest (2469) - Santee/San Diego, California, USA - APR 2, 2008
Thanks to wetherel for bringing this to the Alesmith Release Party line tasting. Sweet nose off this brownish reddish pour. Fruity and sugary on the aromas and flavors. Complex too. Very very yummy. 14%? No way. padrefan98 (854) - (San Diego) Santee, California, USA - APR 2, 2008
Taste sampled at the BA Alesmith release thanks to wetherel for sharing. Wow! What a fantastic surprise. My favorite of the day. The aroma wasn’t as nice as I would expect from such a powerful tasting brew.