beastiefan2k (3979) - HdG (past: NYC, KS, Rain City), Maryland, USA - JAN 15, 2013
4oz draft at the brewpub. After the lemon zest version, I got this side by side. Eh, maybe some chocolate or bitter sweetness coming through but barely if anything. I just got another boozy disorganized barleywine. Boozy and sweet malt nose with an astringent and thinned out flavor. Looked like crap though, thick muddy and sooty. Not sure if it was the bottom of the keg or just a result of the nibs. hombrepalo (1971) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - DEC 30, 2011
4oz pour. This poured dark brown/almost black color with a white head. The aroma was some maltiness and caramel. The taste was more caramel, malt, wood, whiskey chocolate and nuts. the Regular Right Hook was better. chibuck (3513) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - DEC 29, 2011
draft... I don’t really get this beer, why were the nibs roasted? a bit of cocoa and nuts on the aroma, the taste shows a touch of chocolate... decent but doesn’t improve the base NobleSquirrel (3438) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - DEC 27, 2011
Draft at Haymarket. Pours a deep copper with some haze and a thin ring of bubbles on top. Nose is very bourbon forward with coconut & vanilla from the barrel. Some light roast is noted as well. On tasting, it is very boozy but with a big kick up hops, some noted citrus and a band-aid note as well. A bit of plastic comes across that is off-putting. More of the sweetness and some maple syrup notes, along with the coconut and vanilla. That phenolic component is the downfall here. Weird. TheAlum (7164) - Aurora, Illinois, USA - DEC 25, 2011
4 oz pour on tap at the brewpub event (Chicago, IL). Late night stop. Pours a mellow orange amber glowing hue, darker into copper almost, but sunset fire is the key. A small offwhite head dies to a ring, laces small. A stark contrast to the other treatment. Aromas are mellow sweetness, earthy cocoa, faint roast. Touches of barrel are lighter here, vanilla and oak, gentle spirit, sweet caramel and toffee, biscuits. More cocoa, oak. Initial is medium bodied, offering roasty cocoa up front, chocolate and barrel clash, with warming Bourbon remaining gentle into the middle. Oak, vanilla, coconut much lighter here as the cocoa covers it up. Toffee, caramel, a deadened maltiness kinda keeps the beat flowing. Quite palatable, the flavors don’t jump but they also don’t become cloying, dominant, or rock the boat so to speak. Finish is bakers chocolate lingering on, decent barrel presence, but lighter than the other versions. Sweetness is a bit stickier and thicker, though but still plays well. I liked this but the beer definitely is different, the cocoa takes on a stronger position and also covers up elements of the main barrel aged barleywine and what it offered on it’s own. It’s nice. Not as complex as the Lemon version, but probably more enjoyable and drinkable overall for me. Think I’d still choose the base over both treatments. Though this would be the treatment I prefer overall, but not by much. And it’s the ugliest pour of all of the Clare’s that I can remember..