illidurit (2338) - San Francisco, California, USA - MAR 6, 2008
UPDATED: MAR 17, 2014 Rerate 3/17/14: On tap at Beercraft in Rohnert Park. Dark copper with a thin tan head. Deep pudding and coconut aroma. If I liked coconut at all this would be outta sight. But I don’t. Flavor has rich caramel and wood, vanilla and coconut. Really well balanced and smooth for such a massive beer. Hedonically I can’t get too excited due to the coconut but otherwise this is a pretty perfect barleywine. Changing my old score of 3.8.
Original rating 3/6/08: On tap at The Red in Santa Cruz.
10 oz pour into a small tulip pint glass. Deep auburn in color, with a certain coppery shimmer that only high alcohol beers have. Minimal head with no lacing.
Smell is very strong and sweet, sort of like a less extreme Utopias. Whiskey is the main note, maybe with some dark fruits.
The flavor here is really similar to scotch but with less alcohol bite. Peaty and oaky, with lots of sweet malt and booze-soaked fruit.
Mouthfeel is too low on carbonation but the viscosity is spot-on for a big bad barleywine and the finish is shockingly dry on the tongue. Beardface (1517) - Eugene, Oregon, USA - MAR 17, 2009
On tap at the SF Barleywine fest at Toronado. Deep brown pour with a small white head. Very sweet for a barleywine, full of vanilla and a bunch of hop goodness as well. Nice molasses as well and some oaky goodness. Extremely tasty and so damn smooth! BrewDad (5328) - Olympia, Washington, USA - MAY 11, 2009
Fred Fest 2009 – Portland, ORkp (10882) - Woodstock, Georgia, USA - MAY 25, 2009
Aroma: Dark sweet malt with tons of dried fruit in the aroma with an odd chocolate addition.
Appearance: Dark Brown in color, Clear with a thin head.
Flavor: Malty sweet this was a big beer. Tons of alcohol, Chocolate, dried fruit in the flavor
Palate: Dry fruit sweet finish, with a Good Mouthfeel.
Overall: This was a very nice huge beer. Loved the sweetness. This beer held up well and was a delight to drink.
UPDATED: NOV 20, 2011 nickd717 (4680) - San Francisco, California, USA - AUG 17, 2009
Date: April 25, 2009
Source: Tasting, DLD
Appearance: clear dark brown, wispy beige head, drippy bits of lace
Aroma: sweet dark chocolate and caramel aroma, lots of bourbon and vanilla sweetness
Flavor: rich chocolate flavor, lots of bourbon and vanilla, light balancing oak
Date: September 16, 2011
much more the sweet vanilla and caramel, fruity,
Aroma: 8/10; Appearance: 7/10; Flavor: 8/10; Palate: 7/10; Overall: 17/20
Score: ***+ /4
Tap at Toronado 22nd Anniversary. Dark brown color with purplish hues and a small off-white head. Aroma is sweet malt, oak, roast, bourbon, and dark fruits. Flavor is caramel malt, roasted malt, bourbon, plum, fig, raisin, vanilla, oak, and alcohol. Really complex and good. Palate creamy with low carbonation.
elihapa (1553) - Honolulu, Hawaii, USA - OCT 4, 2009
GABF Saturday. I had tried this before, but was not able to rate it. Pours dark dark brown, with a wispy chocolate head. Menacingly dark, even for a Barley Wine. Rich dark fruit and raisin on the nose, with similar flavors plus chocolate in the body. Very well rounded, despite the intensity of it all. I enjoyed every drop of this, and have to say that Abacus is a better “extreme” beer than Parabola (Barrel-aged RIS). HonkeyBra (4044) - Lemont, Illinois, USA - OCT 11, 2009
Sampled at GABF. Murky brown pour with a bit of tan head. Strong, sweet aroma of caramel, toffee, raisins, oak. Flavor is vinous and thick. An orgy of vanilla, maple syrup, oak. Chewy palate, like you want in a huge barley wine. Really impressive. brokensail (16449) - Dublin, California, USA - MAR 8, 2010
A: The pour is a dark, rich amber color with a small off-white (perhaps beige) head.
S: The nose has an incredibly rich fruitiness to it which I really was not expecting. Plenty of sugar, caramel, bourbon, vanilla and oak in the nose as well.
T: The nose gave this one a lot to live up to, and I’m happy to say the flavors delivered! A lot of caramel and toffee sweetness, obviously, but also some really great barrel character as well. The bourbon, vanilla, oak, and even some hop bitterness really round this beer out.
M: The body is very full with a low level of carbonation that works well here.
D: Normally you don’t associate barleywines with easy drinking, but this one is so smooth and delicious that it’s easy to keep going back for more. I can’t wait until this is bottled. sistinas (108) - Mountain View, California, USA - FEB 17, 2011
On tap at the Rose and Crown in Palo Alto (after narrowly missing a Pliny the Younger tapping... doh). Poured black with a sizable, slowly dissipating head. Smelled sweet with figs and raisins. The initial taste was similar, with notes of vanilla, bourbon, and fruit, and it finished with a surprising coconut aftertaste. Mouthfeel was thick and very smooth. This is probably the best barleywine I’ve ever had, and I think one of the reasons I liked it was because it didn’t have any overwhelming hoppy bitternesss to it, nor did it have any heat from the alcohol. Delicious and well done. 5000 (6862) - Hardened Liver, Washington, USA - MAR 4, 2011
Botle:   Deep burnt brown sugar, brownish of sorts, dark burnt caramel hues, thin to moderate off-white head, foamy, sparce lacing.   Huge graham cracker aroma, bourbon, vanilla, and just overall super super malty.   Some slight chocolate covered cherries, in a very alcoholic way.   The heat is very noticeable.   Yeah, this one has some heat on it.   Body and mouthfeel are fairly big.   How can it not be?!   Strong malty and biscuity finish, loads of Bourbon, vanilla, and graham cracker.   Hop profile is minor.   This is one malty example.   Oh, and this one is sweet beyond most others!   Strong bourbon and vanilla on a bed of graham cracker.   This one isn’t overly hoppy, instead its a huge malty sweet bourbon and vanilla styled example.   I am finding it difficult to write about this one because it is just simply kicking my ass.   This one breaks a lot of the rules.   Holy piss is this good!