swanmann (782) - Nompton, Oklahoma, USA - DEC 10, 2006
Bottle pours with slight haze, ruby tinted coffee color, and smooth, medium tan head. Aroma is suprisingly fruity, maybe cherries or bananas. The flavor is lightly hoppy with a bit of bittersweet chocolate finish and a medium-light body. I just had some tortilla soup so any spicey notes are probably eluding me right now. I’m happy to have access to a good warmer in the region. TAR (2802) - Blue Ridge Mountains, North Carolina, USA - DEC 20, 2006
Strawberry crimson. Fluffy, rocky and fully sustained bottle-conditioned foam. Fragrantly airy and hoppy nose. Ample notes of brown sugar, leather, candied plums and black cherries. Hint of roasted chocolate. Super soft and fluffy carbonation. Initially fruity and thick with a slightly medicinal edge of cherrylike fruitiness tempered by brash, cocoa-tinged roasty dryness. Rather juicy and well balanced between malt, hops, and an array of spicy and fruity esters. Malts possess plenty of softness and very little graininess. Juicy tingle of acidity stimulates the palate before seamlessly gelling with the oncoming envelopment of fruitcake and toffee-glazed nutty malt sweetness. Finishes with a smidgeon of graininess, but the malts remain mostly soft and borderline cakey. The level of attenuation is perfect, yet allows just the faintest trace of sweet sugared plums and cherries to remain, beautifully mirroring that of the sweet lingering malts and citrusy hops. Yeast pour augments the body by imparting more nuttiness. An outstanding effort from this brewery. Extremely satisfying, but would serve nicely a session brew thanks to the extremely polished aromas, deep malts, soft/natural carbonation, bitter and flavorful hops, and superb balance. bhensonb (15963) - Woodland, California, USA - JAN 15, 2007
Light piny hop aroma, backed by some sweet malt. Very dark copper color with a vigorous beige head that laces a bit. Starts balanced: hop and malt arrive together. For me this is not a common experience. There is spice and a hint of dark fruit - but just a hint. Medium mouthfeel. The finish is light fruit with malt backing. Yet there is hop presence. Very good. benpickens (544) - Camarillo, California, USA - FEB 16, 2007
Dark reddish brown with a light brown foamy, compact head. Aromas of chocolate, cigars and fruitcake. Creamy malty aftertaste with a hop undercurrent. RblWthACoz (964) - Brooklyn, New York, USA - SEP 11, 2007
Pours a clear, but very dark ruby with a light tan head. Nose is light with a hoppy tone . Flavor is smooth. Slight bitter tone. Strong presence of hops, but nowhere near overpowering. Caramel. Very slight nut character. Overall, a decently complex flavor ride. Feel is good. Not overly syrupy like a lot of other winter warmers tend to be. Good bubble on it too. Very drinkable. Someone could drink a lot of these in a night if they wanted to. Would I? Probably not. It’s good, but it just doesn’t grab me as others have.
troopie (2497) - Munchen an der Willamette, Oregon, USA - OCT 9, 2007
Bottle. Poured Deep mahogany, almost teak with foamy beige head. Malty aroma. Full body with malty backbone and peppery notes. Hoppy and peppery finish, lasting a long time. tomciccateri (1035) - Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA - NOV 24, 2007
UPDATED: DEC 1, 2013 1-Dec-2103 : 12-ounce bottles, Still dark malty flavor with pleasant hop flavor underlying. I still like it.
On draught at old Chicago - Kansas City., pours a clear dark brown with a thick tan head. Medium body with a clean dark malty flavor and even dry/sweet flavor balance. A slight caramel character with a dry finish. A very slight spiciness. Overall - very easy-drinking. Angeloregon (2055) - Portland, Oregon, USA - DEC 7, 2007
1997 bottle enjoyed in 2007 at Ezra’s barley wine gathering. Dark chestnut slightly ruby hue. Nicely retained (especially considering age) almond foamy head. Brown sugar, viscous nose and flavor. Dry, gripping. Nutty, earthy and dark fruits. Petey and grassy. Quite good. neepsntatties (2076) - Portland, Oregon, USA - OCT 23, 2009
UPDATED: OCT 22, 2010 12 oz. bottle of the 2010 release. I’ve had this ale each year that it’s come out for the past ten years and I’ve mostly found it to be so-so, but this year....!
Colour... garnet-amber with a moderately thick head. Nose... boiled sweets, and tropical fruits. Palate... a lovely burst of sweet malt followed by stone fruits, mixed tropical fruit candies, marzipan and anise. In my opinion, the best effort yet, for this ale! ditmier (1508) - Boise, Idaho, USA - NOV 10, 2009
2009 Bottle - Pours a hazy amber with a small beige head...aroma is floral malt, passion fruit? and light yeast...flavour is sweet toffee malt and light roast, finish has an ephemeral hop bitterness...I am really digging this...I haven’t so much in the past...odd...