budznsudz (583) - Audubon, New Jersey, USA - AUG 10, 2012
Pours a very dark reddish brown with a creamy beige head leaving nice thick lacing behind. The aroma is pancakes and syrup, tobacco, chocolate, caramel, a touch of red wine, oak, and hops. The taste is all of the above and manages to transcend all of these individual qualities into something far superior as a whole. Complex yet accessible. Outstanding and perfect in my book. Ionlyrate5s (103) - New York, USA - SEP 23, 2014
Nice pour with big pillow head,slight tannish. Fantastic aroma of vanilla and oak as description states. Flavor is fantastic with rich caramel, hops and bourbon. Such a great all around beer!!! vivalabeer (20) - Collingswood, New Jersey, USA - MAY 27, 2013
Well worth the 100. Perfect body, super flavors. Bourbon to the max with an easy flavor finish. Vanilla and spicy cinammon finish. Best beer ive had from them. onceblind (10327) - Denver, Colorado, USA - MAY 23, 2014
(Had this on tap at Great Divide Brewery; the bartender said it was aged 11 months in Fireside Whiskey barrels, and it seemed redundant to make a new listing) Murky woody copper under a thin rocky cap. Absolutely incredible aroma of toasted caramel and oak char, lots of vanilla chip cookies, and a bright plum and black cherry boozy note. Tastes absolutely magnificent with boozy notes of plum and raisin and toasted caramel, oak, vanilla, char, black cherry, fruity whiskey, more raisin and cherry, more caramel and toasted oak, and a little more sweet candied booze. Amazeballs. Aubrey (3516) - Bellingham, Washington, USA - MAR 18, 2010
Incredible. Smooth, rich and luscious, with notes of toffee, dark fruit and chocolate-covered caramel. Hints of vanilla and nuts follow in the background. It finishes with a healthy dose of hops that balance out the sweetness. Intricate notes of whiskey (Stranahan’s is awesome, BTW) and wood, providing amazing depth and complexity. As it warms, it becomes even more complex. This beer captivated me from start to finish. And to be quite honest, it was one of the finest barrel-aged beers I’ve ever had.
BeerBunker (965) - Burbank, Illinois, USA - JUN 19, 2009
750ml bottle. Pours a strange fecal brown with a foamy tan head. This beer does not pour like a barley wine. The aroma is of oak, whiskey, caramel, malt, chocolate, alcohol, and vanilla. The aroma is very rich in flavors and smells fantastic. The taste is of caramel malt, chocolate, grass, vanilla, and spice. Huge oak and whiskey flavors dominate the beer, but don’t make it seem unbalanced. Lingering taste of oak, alcohol, and vanilla. Mouthfeel is thick and creamy. The alcohol compliments the beer very well, but turns this beer into a definite sipper. Finish is all harsh alcohol. Although it seems to have lost any barley wine characteristics in the barrel aging process, it is still an amazing beer. One of the most enjoyable beers I have had, even though you can do little more than slowly sip on it. I goddamn loved it. Pawola22 (3262) - Woodridge, Illinois, USA - JUN 1, 2012
UPDATED: JAN 23, 2013 2008 Vintage (#78/461) 750ml bottle with a bottled on date of April ‘08 and a 12.7% ABV compared side-by-side with a 2012 (#0860) 750ml bottle that has an 11.8% ABV. 2008 – Pours a murky, deep amber, slightly orange tinted body with a finger-width, creamy, tannish beige head that dissipates slowly and leaves lots of pretty lacing. Gorgeous beer. Aroma seems a bit messy at this point. Its pretty sweet and the malts seem oxidized. The hops haven’t completely gone away, but only a light floral and earthy citrus note remains. A bit of an orange note from the hops mixes with lots of caramel and some toffee. There is still plenty of oak that gives off a bit of a char note, but also seems to accentuate the oxidization of the malts. A light raisin and date note along with some brown sugar. Flavor is similar with the oak really dominating while the malts don’t give off the oxidization that the aroma displayed. Maybe the “accidental” 20-month aging helped with the oak’s presence. The malts aren’t as complex as the fresher bottle, but they have aged nicely with lots of rich caramels, toffees, and a light molasses. A light orange comes out again from the floral and earthy hops mixing with the malts as this makes way for a big, pretty dry woodiness. The beer is sweet enough and big enough to handle the oak, but if this were any thinner the oak would be way over-the-top. A light vanilla and a bit of a whisky note mixes nicely with the oak. Some brown sugar and a touch of chocolate towards the end as some dates and raisins make their way into the mix. Finishes dry from the big woodiness and all-of-a-sudden, lots of vanilla shows up along with a sweet malt backing and light dark fruit note that isn’t nearly as rich and deep as the 2012 bottle. Medium bitterness and a touch of booze before leaving a lengthy aftertaste with lots of wood and vanilla. Medium, smooth body that was probably thinned a bit from the extended aging with a soft, medium-light carbonation. Overall, I was expecting to like this bottle more than the 2012 because I’ve been carefully cellaring it for four years and it was the original release, but this is no where near as good as the fresher version. This may be passed its climax or maybe it was aged too long on wood, but I did enjoy it nonetheless. The aroma seemed oxidized, but it didn’t show up in the flavor. The oak is really dominant and I’m guessing it was way over-the-top when this was first released, but throughout the years it seems to have blended well with the malts that have also settled into their own. I like the bigger vanilla note that comes out towards the end and despite this being thinner than the 2012 bottle, it still has a really nice palate. I’m very glad to have had the opportunity to pick this up in Denver four years ago and hold onto it like I have, but if anyone still has a bottle of the original release, I would drink it now before the flavor gets oxidized (6,5,7,4,13=3.5).jmagnus87 (2912) - Rockford, Illinois, USA - OCT 14, 2013
2012 Vintage – Pours a cloudy, deep amber, slightly orange tinted, but less so than the 2008 bottle with a finger-width, creamy, tannish beige head that’s a bit lighter than the 2008 while dissipating slowly and leaving lots of pretty lacing too. Absolutely gorgeous. Aroma is awesome. Sweeter with lots of heavy caramels and some molasses along with a slight boozy note that dies after an initial whiff and plenty of aggressive hops that are floral and earthy. Pleasant oak and a light whiskey note with some rich dark fruits consisting mostly of dates and raisins. Plenty of toffees come out as this warms along with a nice vanilla, a touch of chocolate, and some brown sugar. Flavor is absolutely wonderful. Rich dates and raisins with deep caramels, toffee, molasses, brown sugar, and a light chocolate up front. Lots of oak in the middle with a soft vanilla that blends so well with the sweetness of the malts. A sturdy amount of earthy and floral hops that also balances the malts while never distracting from the pleasant oak and nice whiskey note that comes out more towards the end. Finishes nicely dry from the oak and hops, but rich, deep, and sweet from the malts and dark fruits with an awesome vanilla note coming out more as this warms. Medium bitterness before leaving a lengthy aftertaste. Full, creamy, smooth body and a soft, medium-light carbonation. Overall, an absolutely breathtaking barleywine. The malts are sweet and complex, but never cloying. Lots of hops to balance, but they never distract from the malts or the barrel aging that offers plenty of oak, vanilla, and a very pleasant whiskey note. Remarkable palate and no hint of booze that reminds me that yes, I do want to drink this forever and ever and ever. Wow…this just might be the best beer I’ve ever had. Drink this NOW. Utterly stunning (9,5,10,5,18=4.7).
Bottle sampled at a tasting. From notes. Boozy with caramel and vanilla. Loads of bourbon and oak. Wow, I would love a bottle all to myself. tennisjoel (1484) - Rochester, Minnesota, USA - JAN 14, 2009
Sampled at Skyview’s tavern. To me this didn’t have many of the qualities of regular Old Ruffian (which is one of my favorite barley wines), but that doesn’t mean it was bad. The barrel aging is very apparent and this baby is super complex with high notes of oak, whiskey, vanilla, light caramel, and subdued hops. It certainly is a challenging beer, and I was up for that challenge.