aspidites (1271) - manteca, California, USA - MAR 4, 2005
Holy shit this is awesome. big Bourbon nose with brandy and sherry pretentions.I would guess Woodfrords reserve bourbon Just amazing.Almonds and cashews with plums and apricots caramel and pralines. Truly amazing. jsquire (4597) - St. Marys, Ohio, USA - JAN 24, 2004
On tap at the 2004 Great Alaska Beer and Barley Wine Festival. This beer won as the best barley wine at the show. They were saying this was double barrel aged, with time in the oak wine barrels AND Jim Beam barrels. Murky orange/brown color with a nose of carmel, butterscotch and bourbon. Very smooth mouthfeel with noticable liquer alcohol when you exhale. Butter, vanilla, oak, bourbon, wine tanins and other flavors combine for an intense pleasure. Too bad this festival beer isn't more widely available. popery (2231) - San Francisco, California, USA - NOV 22, 2010
5th Annual Bistro BA Festival. I’ve tried this at past Toronado fests and, as someone who loves English barleywines and restrained barrel-aging, it’s one of my very favorite barleywines. This version was particularly interesting as it probably spent a bit less time in the barrel than what they send to Toronado. The flavor is enormous with tons of sugar cane, vanilla, caramel, figs, sweet rum and mild bourbon. It’s relatively sweet but wonderfully smooth. In my opinion, the sweetness is just right for the round, full flavor. Mouthfeel is never cloying but fairly thick. Appearance is dark amber, transparent, with a small head. Marvelous stuff. cquiroga (371) - Tujunga, California, USA - JUL 17, 2004
UPDATED: SEP 16, 2004 2/21/04. On draft at Toronado Barley Wine Festival ’04 in San Francisco, CA 2/21/04. Dark amber in color with very little head and non-existing lacing. Quite a baadasssss looking body to it despite the absence of typical measures of beauty. It’s like the light of God just shines brightly on this beer as it sits in your glass. And it is good. But if I’m at a barley wine tasting and I’m measuring this one against all of the others I’ve tried that day, i’m rating it a 3. It just doesn't look like a barley wine. Suffice it to say, I remember this beer much more fondly than the scores I gave it at the time would suggest. Aroma is excellent, incredibly complex with wood, walnut, sweet malt, and dry marsala wine. Flavor is richly nutty and spicy with a cakey, buttery flavor-- spiced rum cake. Very peppery. But in an awesome way. I can’t believe the avalanche of wood character, but it’s overwhelming in its depth. Body is medium-full. Finish is long and hot but very rich and wonderfully balanced. A very, very interesting, delicious beer. Truly a standout among a field of delicious, exceptional barley wines I tried that weekend. Scores above are my ratings from when I first had it, but if I’m trying to place it in the context of all of the beers I’ve had before and since (and adjusting my previous scores based on my memory of the beer), I’m remembering it more like it’s a 9/4/10/4/19/4.6. But somehow I trust my notes from the day I tried it more than my memory of it since, so that's why I've kept my original scores intact. Anyway, I can't wait to try it again. waltersrj (280) - Washington, USA - MAR 22, 2010
Draft at Brouwer’s Hard Liver 8 (2010). This was a 2007 vintage. The pour was a deep reddish brown with a small dissipating white head. The nose was amazing; toffee, sweet caramel malt, oak, vanilla, and bourbon? The taste was a generous portion of sweet caramel malt and toffee transitioning into oak and vanilla before giving off an earthy, grassy hop aftertaste. This was my favorite at the festival as well, glad it won.
nickd717 (4886) - San Francisco, California, USA - FEB 17, 2009
UPDATED: NOV 20, 2009 On tap at Toronado for Barleywine fest ’09, then again at the Bistro in Hayward for Barrel Aged Fest ’09. This is another amazing barleywine from Alaska. Big Woody, huhhuh huhhuh (Butthead voice). Clear dark orangish-brown color with a nice beige head. Aroma is sweet malt, caramel, port, bourbon, vanilla, and oak. Sweet and malty flavor with toffee, vanilla, bourbon, spiced cider, wood (huhhuh) and some hop bitterness. Really long finish. Medium-full body with a very smooth yet lively mouthfeel, really nails it on the palate. Alcohol present but not too dominant. I would like to encounter Big Woody again in the future - the beer I mean, definitely not the other kind. SamGamgee (2585) - down the whirlpool, California, USA - FEB 17, 2010
Draught at the Toronado Barley Wine Festival 2010. Looked like every other barley wine at the festival. Lots of oak character all around. Rich dried fruit and caramel malt notes in both flavor and aroma. Mild bitterness. Great balance. Full bodied and smooth. A standout for sure, and I’m not surprised that it took home first place. Gription79 (2892) - Bountiful, Utah, USA - DEC 8, 2013
Had on draft at the brewery. Bourbon, vanilla, warming, malty, fruity alcohol. Really enjoyed all of Glaciers big, warming, barrel aged beers. HumuloneRed (765) - Portland, Oregon, USA - MAY 29, 2006
I’d almost forgotten about this beer until I found my notes from this festival. Was only able to take notes on few beers before my palate was blown from all the wood tannins.On tap @ the Barrel Aged Beer Festival in Chicago ‘04. Pours a orange/red color with a thin head and little lacing. The nose is a complex mix of wood, nuts, dry wine, and malt. The flavor is just as complex with notes of nuts, wood, dried fruits, spicy bread dough and hints of pepper. Very nice body and texture. Very good beer. DarkElf (3066) - La Jolla, California, USA - AUG 7, 2008
18-Jan-08 (Draft: 2008 Great Alaskan Beer and Barley Wine Festival in Anchorage, AK) My friend Jim has been raving about Glacier Brewhouse’s Twelve Days of Barleywine for several years, gloating that he could try all the different versions and I couldn’t. Well, I missed it again this year, but thanks to this wonderful barley wine festival, I am finally able to try this renowned beer. The first sniff tells the story: heavy bourbon and moderate oak tend to overshadow the underlying aroma of sweet malts, and a hint of tartness adds a nice contrast. The beer follows through in the mouth; it’s fairly sweet and very malty, balanced by a hint of lemony tartness. Lots of Beam bourbon notes, but also plenty of oak which suggests a long time has been spent in well-used Beam barrels. It’s full-bodied and somewhat syrupy with medium carbonation and light tannins. Golden in color, so lighter than expected, and it shows good clarity. The small, off-white head fully dissipates within a few minutes. Overall, this is a solid, complex barley wine and the skill of the brewer and barrel master is clearly evident. If it were a bit less sweet, it would get a nomination for my personal Best of Show.