badgerben (5328) - Blaine, Minnesota, USA - APR 6, 2010
I had no idea this was coming back on tap. Kinda curious if this is the very original batch or a new brewing of. On the other hand, I don’t give a rip. It’s glorious either way. Deep brown, ruby color. Aroma of caramel and molasses. Slightly vinous. Outrageous flavors. Raisins, dates, figs, dark cherries. After a little warming, turns more like port. Grapey and vinous. Notes of candied orange peel and marmalade. Good lord this is nectar in a glass. The only downside was a rather light aroma, even after half the completely filled wine glass was drank. I could die on this beer. jmagnus87 (3302) - Rockford, Illinois, USA - AUG 31, 2013
Draft at the source during rbsg. Wow, awesome beer. Dark fermented fruits, caramel and brown sugar. Alcohol is totally hidden. Great! mnmike (1091) - Minnesota, USA - FEB 12, 2014
On tap from the brewery on Feb. 5 served in (a first time for me) port wine glass thing. Amazing complexity here. Dark brown color, no foam, no lacing. Sweet but not in a bad way. Notes of multiple things going on here. Expensive but worth it. beermatrix (1497) - Twin Cities, Minnesota, USA - MAR 20, 2004
Triple fermented? 28% ABV? Whoa and wow! A nice little sipper we have here...Everything about this beer is everchanging!
Color starts out a dark coffee brown with this beautifully soft rosey caramel glow within the heart of the snifter. Capped with a soft, firm, cream colored froth just over a 1/4 inch high which fades slow to keep a nice collar around the edge and intricately placed spots and random looking sprayed lace sticks well. As mentioned, the color changes as we go into it sip after sip, the dark brown color it starts with turns to a soild golden caramel brown as it gets closer to be finished.
Aroma is all warming and soft with a great reach of oaky sweetness and scotch/whisky-like alcoholic warmth at first. But it changes again and again as we go. Swirling brings out an incredibly deep, dark, old, oak barrel character, as if you were right inside the barrel. As it warms more of the maltier things with dark fruits begin wafting with dry figs, nectarine, tangerine, and smokey cherry. Closer to finished its more like the barleywine that it is with some solid toffee and caramel with little twinges of alcoholic warmth.
Taste is more of this everchanging character from one warm thing to the next. Oaky sweet, dulled dark fruits, semi-juicy, favorably chewy and thick in the malts where tangy toffee, caramel, cherry, rum soaked figs and raisins all meld together over the top of a pleasant warming from sip to sip. Slight citric pineyness for bittering notes. Smooth and velvety slick, nice depth and length, with an alcohol burn and spice sticking late right in the back of the throat were most any high ABV brews will do. It sits there and relaxes all through your senses. Quite a treat and quite a sipper.
It continuely changes all the time, quite remarkable really. It starts out like a big boozy strong/old ale but developes into a barleywine as you go. The drinkability is actually very smooth and easy with a weighty malt laden girth and just the right kick of alcohol which comes and goes and is masked well. Which makes me question whether or not it's truly 28%. And from what I've been told the owner doesn't know for sure and doesn't want to know, but I'm sure the folks at Guiness World records would come out for free to see if it is in fact the highest ABV beer in the world.
Thoroughly enjoyable either/or and will be quite a treat once it ages more in the saved batch. Pigfoot (2268) - Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA - APR 13, 2004
I had a couple beers before this one, during dinner at the pub, for I wasn't going to just leap into the strongest friggin' beer in the world, and the waitress wasn't helping any, with all the little sample snits, unbidden and utterly appreciated.
Then, she finally arrived with these tiny snifter glasses, filled with a dark magneta brew, nearly opaque, but for the sliver of bright crimson at the sides. Only a slim, tight tan cap on this pour, and when I noted that my friend's serving had a larger head, just saying is all, she said, "oh, that was to get more in the glass for you!"
Aroma is flush with dark fruits, cherry, dates, prunes, backed with a distinctive whiskeyish character, like a mellow cognac with an extra spicy kick. I wished I'd asked for a larger glass, to see if the aroma might come out more, from a wider opening, but, alas. Not a very forward smell, either, rather cool and approachable.
Taste: a lush charge on the palate at first, velvety smooth, warm, toasty, the senses immediately sink into the effects of a certain sublimity. Something very good is happening on the tongue, and it's complexity takes time to unwind and work it's magic. Hops make a distinct impression on the taste, but there's hardly any bitterness, flavor is bright, fruity, and rings the palate happily. A medicinal feel comes forward in the taste, but an altogether pleasant one, like cherry cough syrup, but better tasting. Malt is thick here, as you'd guess, but doesn't insinuate itself too much in the profile, either.
The more Rosie's Ale gets at home in my mouth, the more it strikes me as a thoroughly amazing creation. Somehow, they've concocted a barleywine that has a rich cognac,/port/madeira character and a freakishly huge alcohol content, but it's put together so well that it's remarkably easy to put past the lips, and the body is supple and sweet, but never too much so. You know you've got an alcoholic beverage in you, and it slowly slinks into the system, but it never stings you, never knocks you about, as I remember other high ABV brews doing.
I had a pitcher of water brought out to keep me hydrated through this expedition, and when the waitress heard me request it, she nearly choked, thinking I'd asked for a pitcher of Rosie's! No, this tiny, 5 or 6 ounce snifter was enough ($7.25 per!), but it was so good, I'll be back for more. They ought to bottle this stuff and give Remy Martin a run for his money.
"It's what the blood of Christ would taste like," spouted my cheeky, blaspheming dinner partner. I had to quote him on that one. It was divine, and I'm anticipating how this tastes next year. Yep, the brewer, who named the brew after his daughter, is keeping a batch in an oak barrell for a year!
Amazing, that a tiny little box off the freeway in New Brighton is crafting such gigantic beer!
TheHOFF43 (2052) - Robbinsdale, Minnesota, USA - AUG 18, 2013
Tap at brewery for RBSG 2013. This is the best barley wine I have ever had. The alcohol is very well hidden, wow. Pour is a hazy amber, dark red hues. Aroma is malts, caramel but no booze. Incredible flavor of malts and caramel, it is almost sweet. MNBrew (2) - Mounds View, Minnesota, USA - MAR 17, 2004 does not count
UPDATED: JUL 22, 2004 Although I've had several of Ratebeer's top 50, this is my very first rating. The strongest beer in the world in my hometown, how could I resist! My first impression upon receiving the tiny snifter was that it was the wrong glassware to serve it in. However, seeing how this beer is more alcoholic than some liquers, it seems reasonable. It's definately cloudy, very brown with a rosie hue at the edges where the light can penetrate. It must have taken the bartender a step or two longer to get to my table, because the head was completely gone by the time I received it. The aroma was alcoholic (duh), but was not so overpowering that I couldn't register hints of cherry and raisin. The flavor was very balanced, with the honey, candi sugar, and wild rice being noticible but not off-putting. Raisins was the flavor I perceived most strongly. Sweet, but not overly sweet, there was no detectable hop flavor (or aroma for that matter). The mouthfeel would be thin but for the millions of microscopic bubbles that fill up the mouth. There's no way I could (or would want to) hold a 56 proof liquer in my mouth for that duration, which is testament to the mouthfeel/flavor combination of this delicacy. BTW, with the amount of adjuncts this beer contains, Barley Wine may not be the best clssification. It resembles more of a Belgian Strong Ale, but I'm thinking a beer this unique really defies classification. I've enjoyed a few other beers more than this, but not many.
EDIT: I talked to John last night, and he's had the beer labratory tested to 22.5% ABV Syd (921) - Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA - MAR 27, 2004
Small snifter arrives a hazy red brown color, with a decent head and lace sheets. The aroma is of raisins and other dark sweetness. The flavor is of raisins, sweetness, caramel, sweet sherry, port, some yeast, and some - but not too much - alcohol. The palate is rich, sticky as it warms, yet still has enough carbonation to keep it from being syrup. Yes, it is quite warming and heady (glad Wife is driving). Amazing stuff! Bacterial (3051) - Twin Cities, Minnesota, USA - JAN 5, 2013
On draft at Barley Johns - man this is a treat! Dark amber pour with a red hue to it. Off white head, thin. Not much in the nose - some malt. Might be because a little sick and the smell of barley is thick in the air since they are brewing right now. The taste though, hits hard and is unrelenting in its awesomeness. Malty sweet with the heat nicely hidden. Glad I stopped in, apparently only 5 gallons available on draft and the rest is getting aged! nsquishee (641) - Richfield, Minnesota, USA - MAY 10, 2014
Pours a dark brown-red color. Tastes like prunes, cherries, brown sugar, and port wine. Very much like port wine. Best barleywine I’ve ever had.