Darwenus (1134) - Virginia, USA - MAY 17, 2017
My bottle of the 2016 batch is labeled 13.1% ABV. It’s a fantastic example of a high ABV, oak aged barley wine. Strong, rich, and smooth without being overtly hot or medicinal. I don’t know if it would have been this good had it not been aged a bit, but as it is right now, this is a damn fine bottle of beer. It pours bronze/brown with a bit of foam that quickly fades. The aroma is great; bourbon, oak, vanilla, butterscotch, a little pepper, a little bit of citrus. The flavor is all of that and closes strong and very rich, with a little alcohol curl in the nostrils. I completely enjoyed every drop of this beer. MadRobin (2988) - Silver Spring, Maryland, USA - MAY 17, 2017
On tap at Gillys Fine Wine and Craft Beer in Rockville, MD.
Hazy, caramel-brown with a small, fine off-white head and very good lacing.
Aroma of caramel, vanilla bourbon, tangerine and sweet tropical and stone fruits.
Taste of caramel, vanilla, bourbon, tangerine, sweet tropical and stone fruits and alcohol.
Full body and medium/low carbonation
I've had this before, but this year it has more character. It's a rich, sweet and thick barleywine, but not as complex as some of the great ones. The complexity may increase with cellaring--but this is a tap beer.
---Rated via Beer Buddy for iPhone jrodooo5 (1672) - DOVER, Delaware, USA - APR 16, 2017
Not the prettiest but this is sure powerful! Pours cloudy copper w/ a tiny white head & next to no lacing. The aroma screams bourbon w/ hints of vanilla & booze. The taste is quite smooth up front w/ the vanilla & lighter flavors coming through. It finishes w/ a strong bourbon flavor, a touch of bitterness, & a hint of its potency. Complex, delicious, & relatively smooth for 13.1%! Ravishing! tillmac62 (734) - Gaffney, South Carolina, USA - APR 13, 2017
No bottling date. Cloudy pour of dark amber with a healthy dash of garnet. Normal head volume. Retention and lacing are poor, but are acceptable for barrel aged barleywines.
Quite outstanding nose that delivers a strong bourbon burst right off the bat. Molasses rides underneath with a strong dose of caramelized sugar. These aspects form the base - bourbon over a richly sweet enticing substrate. A bit of smoky oak lies subtly underneath.
Medium body with an extremely slick and oily texture that actually gives a pseudo creamy effect on the palate. The carbonation / body balance is world class. The level of effervescence is surprising based upon the pour. The middle has just enough effervescence to free the complex flavor profile. The finish leaves a soft prickly sensation that enhances the body effects.
The flavor profile is quite outstanding and nearly makes the world class mark. Had the bourbon been a bit less intense, the complexity would be more pronounced. Like the nose, bourbon, molasses and caramelized sugar take center stage. The middle is the apex of molasses influence. After which, caramel forms the primary substrate coupled with a subtle mild bitterness. It is from here to the finish that the complexity of this beer fights its way through the bourbon to the surface. Rich notes of dark fruits (date, prune and black currant) emerge. Vanilla was subtle prior to the middle, but gains in intensity as the sweetness becomes "softer" via caramel. Near the finish, oak emerges with a very subtle note of smoky char. The finish is a slow sweet fade of bourbon, dark fruit and a slight alcohol astringency. Oak lingers. S_Side_Smitty (773) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - APR 10, 2017
Pours brown with a minimal white head. Aroma is hoppy in a grapefruit kind of way with malts and bourbon taking the back seat. Taste is opposite with malts up front followed by sweet (too ripe) grapefruit/tangerine rind. It’s kinda wierd - in a good way - because the bourbon barrel flavors meld with the hops in a strange exotic dance. Very good for what I would term an American style barley wine.
Renobob (2064) - Besançon, FRANCE - MAR 30, 2017
Bue à la pression. Couleur marronnasse peu ragoutante. Pas de mousse. Nez alcooleux. Gros barleywine qui tache. Sucre, caramel et alcool. Coté boisé également. Pas très subtil. cheap (5855) - Beaver Valley, Beaver County, Pennsylvania, USA - MAR 25, 2017
From a cheap bottle in market district this stuff pours with a thick rich visual darker pale appeal. Aroma of volatile malt. Way too much flat viscous high alky effects causing dizzy affects. Almost gets cloying, but is not. WOoooOW on this one. Hell, yes, wood can’t find. Some whisky flavors haunting the back of my palate but never get slimed. Not sure if aging would make this like a REAL old country barley wine. I don’t think it could ever be trained to be civil & sweet. Another wannah bee but at least its cheap, and a good bzzzzzzzzzzzzz. In the end its rude and in yer face, ballz all the way to the wooden wallz, I guess. Drink 2 and get shit canned. Domestic barley wine fer sher. We ned to make 2 categories of barley wine; European & other countries or more likely euro and american barleywine. How about this for 2 categoris of BW; real and wannah beeeezzzz? Fuckin’ hell. DocJitsu (1974) - Pensacola, Florida, USA - MAR 22, 2017
Best beer I’ve had in five years! Simply fantastic! Dull bourbon color with a short white head. Caramel, coconut, vanilla, oak, and mildly fruity nose. Thick, sticky, oily mouthfeel. Coconut, vanilla, faint chocolate, oak, and very ripe apple flavors. Some alcohol burns through as well. Very, very good effort. PorterPounder (7961) - Tallahassee, Florida, USA - MAR 18, 2017
Tallahassee, Fl - Lucky’s Market - 12 oz bottle. Pours a sparkling medium copper, light off white head, slight lacing, Aroma of molasses, bourbon, and dates. Full bodied flavor, sweet date like accents, baked brown canned bread, raisins, a hint of molasses, an inviting twinge of bourbon, not overdone at all. Thick, creamy mouthfeel. Extremely solid barley wine, not over the top and cloying at all. chinchill (4993) - South Carolina, USA - NOV 15, 2016
12 oz bottle served in a Belgian snifter.
Pours with a murky copper-brown body topped by a thin, mostly short-lived head. Minimal lacing.
Powerful bourbon and bourbon barrel aspects to the aroma and only a little less pronounced and dominant in the flavor. Still, there’s a strong barleywine base that is clearly evident in the flavor. There are vanilla, wood, dark soft and dried fruits, hops and, of course, bourbon, notes in the flavor. Good complexity.
Overall: Boozy, with a clear presence of the 10+% ABV. A strong ale for bourbon lovers.