Jokes (1455) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - DEC 5, 2005
Clear, ruby body with a thin, quickly-diminishing off-white head. An intense aroma mostly dominated by alcohol, but with definite notes of ripe prune, raisins, molasses, cinnamon, licorice, pine, caramel, grapefruit, toffee, bread, alcohol, apple and some pepper. Thick and robust mouthfeel but isn’t syrupy or sticky and the carbonation is soft and supple. The flavor is sweet, but not cloying as the nose would suggest. The caramel, simple syrup, toffee, molasses and other sugary flavors are the dominate flavors and the addition of the fruit adds some interesting complexity and depth. Luckily, this is well hopped-not so American C-hop piney bitterness-and the balance is superb. At this level of alcohol, the hops are really necessary to balance the sweet malt backbone. This is maybe the best balanced Barley Wine at this level I can remember drinking. Nothing dominates the others. I wonder if the name implies that the three ingredients (not called water) are at such levels that they seem off the scale. I don’t know, but maybe the got lucky and balanced this beauty without measuring everything out. Either way, it’s tasty and enjoyable. MI2CA (1340) - Noblesville, Indiana, USA - DEC 2, 2005
12oz - 2005 release - Aroma is sweet dark fruits like cherry and plum mixed with a snappy hop and alcohol presence. Pours a deep reddish-brown with a small ring for head and decent lacing. Flavor is strong with alcohol and hop bitterness. The dark fruit tastes and carmel malt climb out in the end, but don’t quite make it. Palate is bitter and hot from the hops and alcohol. Still very tasty, but I think a little time in the cellar will mellow it out. FoolishMortal (990) - San Diego, California, USA - DEC 1, 2005
22oz. bottle. Turbid dark brown orange with a thin film of tan head. Alcohol, yeasty biscuit, and vinous notes in the aroma. Rich caramel and date flavor. Earthen malt fades to plums and currants in an alcoholic finish. Mouthfeel is thick and hot. atpayne (615) - Zionsville, Indiana, USA - NOV 30, 2005
Crystal clear dark golden amber color with a sizeable tan head that quickly dissapears. The aroma is of large bold hops and a sweet carmel malt, with a faint alcohol presence. Strong sharp hop bittereness lingers as expected all through the mouth. Some malt sweetness is momentiarly noticable, in a carmel form, before the strong piney hop takes over. A syrupy sweetness and a bit of alcohol sting come with the finish. Finish is strong but still nice. To me there is no better beer visual than the last inch of a Barley Wine in a glass. It’s such a unique regal color. rajendra82 (1109) - Alpharetta, Georgia, USA - NOV 28, 2005
This 12 oz. bottle was acquired via a trade with BA TheBlackMallard, and sported an unusual, wax coated cap. After a bit of carving with a knife, I popped off the cap and poured it into an oversized wine glass. The body looked deep copper colored with a one finger thick persistent head, and a decent level of fine carbonation underneath. The aroma was dates, raisins, figs, and other dried fruits. The alcohol was also present in the smell, as were a ton of spicy hops. Taste was that of a very warm alcohol sustaining the flavors of dry sweet fruits, and bitter and spicy hops. Mouthfeel was thick and chewy. The aftertaste was long drawn out and bittersweet. The beer definitely was potent enough to require slow sipping, but not so strong that it prevented the enjoyment of the entire bottle.
badnewsbeers (2312) - Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA - NOV 19, 2005
UPDATED: JUN 25, 2006 ...dark horse is becoming a personal favorite....amberish brown appearance with little, quickly-diminishing white head...aroma is full of caramels, sugary malts, raisons, and a touch of citrus hops...flavor is of caramels, sugars, alcohol...awesome palate, and an delectable treat sprinkle (114) - Arcadia, Michigan, USA - NOV 18, 2005
Good hops on the nose, with the malts in the back. Nice fine bubbles with good head and lace. Rich hoppyness upfront,then slight sweetness with long lingering finish. The hops really stick with you for minutes. Slight alcohol burn but well balanced. aracauna (3705) - Georgia, USA - NOV 12, 2005
I like this brewery and I like this beer. Cloudy, dark brown body with a moderate head. The aroma is complex with pencil wood, figs, raspberries and brown sugar. The flavor heavily malty, but backed up by a sharp bitterness in the back. Sweet, but not overly so. Crosling (1864) - Fort Collins, Colorado, USA - NOV 9, 2005
Rum soaked fruitcake, dark fruits, brandy like alcohol, brown sugar and very mild aroma hops in the nose. Dark copper color. Massive body of creamy and explosive flavors. An array of sugar coated grapes, dates and red plums initially, followed by melted caramel, vanilla and nougat, which leads into hints of madeira and booze.
walleye (1102) - Sterling Heights, Michigan, USA - OCT 29, 2005
from the bottle. poured a cloudy amber, with no head. aroma the alcohol jumps right out there, than got malt, caramel, honey,fruits, apple. flavor, there is that alcohol in 1st again, hops, got hints of toffee. for me this is the best dark horse I have had. the flavors are robust and a nice full smooth mouthfeel.