Pigfoot (2268) - Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA - JAN 29, 2004
Appearance: fully opaque, dark violet hue, with a lush, cocoa-colored ring of foam,like the head on a shot of espresso. Aroma: sweet, dark fruit, cherries, grapes, plums, mixed with brandyish, boozy tinges, powerful and lovely at once, arousing. Taste:Big hops, a blast of bitterness, smoothly sliding off the palate, paired with a barrage of fierce dark fruit,spices, and alcohol. Strength is easily apparent in this one, and the booze keeps time with the flavor. Malt is large, too, let us not forget, and the finish is outsized, sticks on the palate like an all-day sucker, lounges in the mouth, teases the tongue, and stretches around to lick the frontal lobes. Sure, it does, I ain't lying! One utterly amazing, downright delcious barleywine, a great guardian against the insane below-zero temps here in Minnesota. Sampled on tab, in a snifter, where it's more mellow and mature than bottles I've tasted prior. cquiroga (371) - Tujunga, California, USA - MAY 31, 2004
UPDATED: JAN 4, 2006 RE-RATE 1/3/06 from a 12 oz. bottle obtained at Keller’s IGA in Cincinnati, OH 5/25/04. Same delicious beer as before, but the brown sugar aroma is melded together and even more haunting, and the prickly twigs have become entangled with a deep figgy malt richness, reminiscent now of a beautifully aged Hurlimann Samichlaus, only with the perfect touch of juicy hop character and simply beautiful carbonation (even after two years). I’m almost ashamed not to give ’er a 5. In due time. . .10/5/9/5/19/4.8
ORIGINAL RATING: 5/31/04. Poured out of 12 oz. bottle, bought at Keller’s IGA in Cincinnati, OH 5/25/04. Hazy burnt sienna-- dark reddish-orange with hints of brown. Fantastic fluffy and rocky, dark tan head with absolutely terrific, dense lacing. Sticks in uniform sheets and falls slowly down the sides of the glass like brown sugar crystals. Aroma is rich brown sugar, bright hops and caramel; terrific balance and rich complexity. I have a hard time putting into words just what separates this from the others; reminiscent of Doggie Claws for me, but this is like a whole new level of Doggie Claws. Flavor is spicy brown sugar, slightly peppery, well-hopped and with mild dark fruity sweetness. Just about the best malt backbone you could ask for in a barley wine. Fantastically balanced sweetness and dryness, hops and malt, earthiness and heavenliness. Smooth medium body with a warming alcohol glow and nicely drying, slightly twiggy dirty finish. Extremely long. I’d like to see this one round out a bit to take off the little bit of harshness that is still there. I’d imagine a few years on it would make it just about the best barley wine it can be. 9/5/9/5/19/4.7 brewblackhole (1588) - Muskego, Wisconsin, USA - AUG 19, 2006
Huge malt,dark fruit, wood, maple, licorice and alcohol aroma, followd soon by milk and dark chocolates,rich complex full taste consisting of black forest cake stuffed with raisins and prunes and anise liquoer and just a touch of backing hop.The first sample I had of this last year was more coffeeish and the alcohol almost had a vodka sharpness. It has become a little sweeter and the alcohol has really mellowed.P robaly will age nice for some time A classic!!!!! redlem (1306) - Ohio, USA - JUN 17, 2007
UPDATED: MAR 15, 2009 By far the best BW I have had and the only beer I felt inadequate to write a review on as I could never come to a conclusion, the 18 bottles were not enough and went far too fast.
A murky oak color with the light being absorbed by the grains of malt. Every time I would sniff, a different world of aromas would hit me as if I was John Carter. Oaken barrels left to dry, fresh buttered toffee, and a field of woody hops tended by no-one. Each sip would bring me closer to realize that while my wine friends claimed divine intervention on certain vintages of wine a true brewmaster did not depend on how much rain fell on the west side of a mountain to produce a vintage like this.
Alcohol not noticeable and in a lame attempt to get the brewer to make this a regular rotation, one of the best beers I have had, period. MrBunn (2848) - The Wet Side of a Dry Town, Pennsylvania, USA - MAY 22, 2009
UPDATED: MAY 23, 2009 Bottle with huge thanks to Dave. Pours a medium to dark brown with a little bit of head and aromas that are dominated by brown sugar with a little oxidation present. Dark fruit is also detectable. Flavor is simply wonderful, especially considering the age. Oxidation is not very present, but ABV is as is brown sugar and dark fruit. Freaking amazing.
delirium11 (28) - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA - JUN 8, 2010
I was surprised by the brownish tan color, it was lighter than I expected for a barleywine, but the taste was a nice spicy caramel taste. There were layers of different tastes as it sat in your mouth and hit different points as it was going down. Cbuk1013 (255) - Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA - MAY 30, 2013
Why didn’t I save one more for my cellar??????????????????????????? Great barley wine. ClarkVV (6862) - Boston, Massachusetts, USA - NOV 3, 2003
UPDATED: SEP 12, 2005 Dark, rich murky brown, very clouded. Great beige-off-white head. Tons of lacing. Aroma has a nice woody hops smell with some caramel malt and even some alcohol. Wonderful texture, silky with lots of creamy/soft flavors, tiny bit of carbonation. Begins with a big chewy, juicy malt flavor that is medium sweet, quite caramelly and very tasty. Malt develops into a big grapefruit hops flavor. This is the most grapefruit I’ve ever tasted in a beer. Alcohol wonderfully masked. Ends on a lightly dry note with some lighter citrus and hints of orange. Drinking this beer is like biting into a super ripe ruby red grapefruit with lots of brown sugar on top. I tried this at many temperatures and preferred it at room temp. This is going to be even better as it matures, but I was vastly surprised to find it amazingly drinkable this young. My rating is a mixture of how great I thought this was now, but also how much potential I feel it has. On draught MBGSBF 2004. Well the beer is certainly still developing. It hasnt lost it’s big alcohol bite and hugely bitter hops finish, but it’s improving, the flavor is still intact and deepening. Another handful of years or so. . . .