overall
98
94
style
Serve in Snifter

bottled
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on tap
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RATINGS: 1602   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.79/5   EST. CALORIES: 330   ABV: 11%
COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION
Vast in character, luscious & complex. Brewed with peat-smoked barley, this strong ale is brewed with organic juniper berries, vanilla & maple syrup. It’s aged on oak and fermented with a blend of English & Belgian yeasts.

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ThisWangsChung's rating

3.6
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
ThisWangsChung (836) - Leonardtown, Maryland, USA - MAR 2, 2014
12 oz bottle into a pint glass. A: Pours a dark brown color with decent (not spectacular) clarity. The head is about three fingers high, cream shaded. Its retention is really fantastic, and the texture isn’t half bad either. It leaves behind some nice lacing on the glass, too. S: PHE. NO. LIC. One can definitely tell that this is a peaty brew. Let it warm up a bit, though, and its sweet malt backbone develops nicely. In particular, it brings caramel, brown sugar, and maple sugar notes. Vanilla is slight but definitely evident. I’m having trouble picking up the oaky tones, though; that or its blending itself with the peat to create a ham-like smokiness. Nonetheless, this nose is telling me a lot - but there’s one thing it isn’t telling me. Alcohol. This is a shockingly un-boozy nose. T: Like expected, phenolic peat notes hit the palate immediately. This sensation tends to melt away around the mid-taste, being replaced by flavors of caramel and brown sugar. There’s some slight vanilla in the finish; just like in the aroma, it’s pretty subtle. Some faint tobacco qualities are peppered throughout. Once this warms up, its boozy qualities pretty much evaporate. My only real problem is this: take away the peaty notes, and this one is...kind of mundane. It only really develops complexity after many, many sips - and by that time, there’s practically none left in the glass. M: It’s not exactly chewy, but it does have a decent body. While the sweetness has a negative effect on the general balance of the flavors, it does a great job of hiding the alcohol. There is absolutely nothing here to suggest it’s 11%. O: Okay, I’m really impressed with its lack of booze - and how the supposed peat isn’t really that bothersome to my palate. This has some elements of a nice scotch whisky. Having said that, it’s not quite as deep as I like my big, boozy monsters to be. Still, this has great aging potential, even with its currently well hidden alcohol.


4
Bill Becker (1779) - Casper, Wyoming, USA - OCT 26, 2017
From Aug 2007 I got this one in a trade with Wasatch. Thanks, John! It pours from 12oz bottle a hazy deep amber with a very small head of foam with a bit of lacing. The smell is huge on the caramel malt...reminds me of taking a whiff of a JW Lees Harvest Ale or similar brews. The taste is as big on the caramel malt as the nose. Sweet? Yes it is. Too sweet? Not for my palate. There be big Oak flavours here as well and some vanilla.(says so on the label and it's true) There's also a good presence of dark fruit like fig and a touch of plum and it has just a wee bit of hop bitterness that shows up right before the finish. But as far as the style goes, I don't *want* much of a hop presence; the malt is king here and rightfully so. Great sipping brew and at 11%abv, that's the way to handle this baby though, I have to say, DFH has done a remarkable job of keeping the potent alcohol out of the taste and it doesn't really warm me at all as I swallow this nectar.The mouthfeel is thick and chewy and the carbo is light, just right for the style. I've had this one before, years ago, and I'm *still* enthralled with how well of a crafted brew this is. Ok, I'll go ahead and say it. It's one of my favourites. Thanks again, John!!

3.1
oobawa (1738) - Tennessee, USA - SEP 30, 2017
Not sure I'm on board with using juniper berries in a style as sweet as barleywine, especially one with the added touch of maple syrup. Starts with a nice, breakfast-like friendliness, the syrup and vanilla giving off a waffles-n-whipped cream vibe backed up by notes of apple and smoked tea. Bitterness on the back end shores up any cloy notes, but the juniper takes the brew in an odd herbal direction, like somebody stashed some pine needles in between your pancake stack. I'm a fan of hoppy-as-hell barleywines and juniper beers, but mixing the two ain't for me. Nose is caramel and toffee and juniper. Pour comes out a viscous, opaque brown with a modest off-white head and little lacing. Good texture; a year in the basement takes away any boozy heat. Too bad I can't reconcile the juniper and the sweetness.

4.8
beern (200) - Alabama, USA - SEP 4, 2017
Pours dark, orange/amber-whiskey color and nearly opaque with a 4 finger off white to tan head with an aroma of malt, vanilla and maple syrup. Tastes of malt, vanilla and maple syrup with an oak and Belgian yeast, clove finish with perhaps resin and bitter pine taste from the juniper berries. It has a sticky, viscous palate with little to no carbonation. It's full-bodied and exceptionally complex and a little smokey.

4.4
AndyW68 (1602) - Louisville, Kentucky, USA - AUG 11, 2017
Deep brown with tan lacing head. Aroma is maple wood and berry. Taste is like a raisin liquor followed by some bitterness, ashy wood and alcohol burn. Like it.

3.1
PanMarek (463) - Pennsylvania, USA - JUL 25, 2017
Dark orange / brown pour with scant foam. Lots of malt in the nose along with some spice and some earthiness. Medium, slick body with a sweet finish. Complex flavors all rather sweet: maple, berry, and woody. Strong alcohol finish. The flavors are very well balanced, but ultimately too sweet.

3.7
willisread (3651) - Nashville, Tennessee, USA - JUN 2, 2017
Bottle from Old Town. Pours a clearish copper with a finger of foam that dissipates quickly. 2016 version. Big berry notes on the nose, dates and some faint peat aromas. Vanilla bean, earth, apricot & peat on the palate. Bitter w/ tart young strawberry-like quality. Almost like an old ale. The maple was kinda muted for me.

4
bnokk (545) - Lee, Massachusetts, USA - MAY 24, 2017
2007 bottle sampled in 2017. APPEARANCE- dark ruby color. NOSE- sweet & nutty. totally boozy. FLAVOR- sweet, slightly dry. dark fruits... fig. NOTES- almost like drinking a liquor.

3.8
MadRobin (2988) - Silver Spring, Maryland, USA - MAY 21, 2017
On tap at Frisco Taphouse and Brewery in Columbia, MD. Clear, ruddy copper with a thin off-white head and good lacing. Aroma of vanilla, toffee, maple, plums, prunes and oak. Taste of caramel, alcohol, vanilla, maple, oak, prunes and plums. Full/medium body and medium carbonation. This might be a great beer after cellaring. As it is, on tap, it still has a hard edge. ---Rated via Beer Buddy for iPhone

3.8
SG111 (2033) - New York, USA - APR 14, 2017
UPDATED: APR 14, 2017 Tap at Clubhouse BFD. Pours sticky Burgundy copper, tan head. Aroma is cherry, caramel, toffee, vanilla, citrus. Solid. Flavor is cherry, boozy, quite smokey, caramel, vanilla, some citrus. Boozy burn. Pretty hot. I like it, but it?s kinda sweet and smokey.

3.9
jeremyh70 (1115) - Missouri, USA - APR 7, 2017
Slightly smoky with sweet malt, maple and a bit of oak. Boozy and warming. Strong with nice flavors.


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