willblake (2654) - Bel Air, Maryland, USA - MAY 20, 2005
UPDATED: MAY 22, 2005 05.20.05 One of few 750s bottled around 01/05. First sampled this at the brewery and again a week later from a 750 and I thought it was hot. The wood aging, it seems, had really brought out much of the alcohol spice. Then again, the regular Old Salty 2004 seemed young back then, too. This is turning into one hell of a beer, one that I wish I had more of. Deep bourbon brown is the pour, while a creamy head of fine tan bubbles fades to swirling islands, lazily lacing. Mostly clear. I can’t help but plant my nose in the bowl of this glass for minutes; I’m nearing hyperventillation as I struggle to hoard every sweet, sweet perfume this magical brew presents me. Toffee and nougat with chocolate, it’s reminding me of a red-ribboned box of confections. Aromas and flavors dance in unison, rythmic balance of malty sweetness and fruitish hops. Moderate finishing burn reminds me to keep an easy tempo, to sip slowly, deeply enhale, sip again. Light touches of citrus and berry jam; mineral traces are minute but real. A body so smooth, so soft, and coating, the swallow is invited, welcome and warming. Time in the wood has mellowed this brew, accelerated its age, softened and balanced the untamed edges of a young and restive barleywine. Sublime. My new favorite barley wine, and my new favorite Heavyweight brew. sersdf (1020) - chicago, Illinois, USA - MAR 9, 2007
UPDATED: AUG 9, 2008 thanks nhorween. most barleywine smelling thing ever. i was expecting it to be salty. both really hoppy and malty aroma. definitely tons of caramel. wow. extremely sweet, but not puckeringly so. tons of flavor. i immediately love it. texture is not particularly carbonated but that suits it well. appearance was a dark brown, pretty generic. not at all overwhelming flavor profile, mostly back-ended. not getting much wood out of it, but this is the most balanced in the way i want it barleywine i’ve ever had. nhorween said it’d be salty but it isn’t really. man. i often call really malty beers overpowering, but somehow this is just so fucking perfect. Cornboy (424) - Eastampton, New Jersey, USA - JAN 30, 2005
UPDATED: MAY 24, 2006 Bottled version - rerate - This will likely end up my first 5 once it settles in a bit. The original OS2005 was undercarbonated, but seems Tom added some sugars and blended this with a hoppier version of OS, put it in a barrel for a few months and out came this sublime brew. You only get a few beer experiences in your life where you know it doesnt get better. This was one of them and I enjoyed every last bit of it.
Cask version - Poured very dark. Slight head with a vigorous pour. I pick up very slight notes of bourbon, but it maintains a perfect balance with a overripe plum/raisin malt. Too many bourbon aged brews taste like a shot of JD in a pint with the beer. This one is blended just right allowing you to pick up on the subtle flavors as it warms in your glass.
Surprisingly mellow alcohol notes, this one tastes like its been aged a long time. Very nice caramel malty finish. So smooth, even this young. IrishBoy (4228) - Bakersfield, California, USA - SEP 16, 2006
Bottle shared by Odeed! Best barleywine I’ve had! Nose was like a white merlot wine, with oakiness, plums, and some dominant vanilla; cherry browm color with virtually no head; flavor of oaky bourbon; vanilla, and some dark friut. Alcohol was absolutely covered by the extreme smoothnees of this brew! fordest (2470) - Santee/San Diego, California, USA - OCT 9, 2006
750 ml bottle thanks to JHop. Biggest head I have ever seen on a barleywine. 2/3 of the glass. Dark amber beer beneath the monster. The second pour was much improved now that I know. What a goregeous brew. Aromas were outsanding. Lots of wood and bourbon. Sweetness and fruit. Some hints of flanders at first. Lots of wood on the flavor too, along with all the dark fruit and molassas one would expect. Lot’s of Alcohol warming on the finish. Very Very good.
adrian910ss (2591) - Doylestown, PA, USA - OCT 23, 2006
2005 vintage 750 ml bottle. Pours a dark amber orange color with a small beige head. Aroma is whiskey and bourbon with hints of vanilla and sweet brown sugar. Taste is pleasantly sweet(not too much like some barleywines) with hints of vanilla,barrel wood, bourbon,sweet malt, and brown sugar. Very well done. One of the best barleywines I’ve had to date. Glouglouburp (6103) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - APR 13, 2007
UPDATED: JAN 4, 2008 In short: Fruity and resinous Barley-Wine with a Scotch Ale attitude. Amazingly good.alexanderj (3605) - Branson, Missouri, USA - JAN 27, 2008
How: 2005 vintage bottle HUGE thanks to Dave (dmac621). I had it many times at tasting session but this is an updated rating for my first 750ml by myself.
The look: Partly cloudy ruby body with a little beige ring of foam
In long: Malt profile less focussed on caramel/toffee than most Barley Wine. I’d describe it as somewhere between a Trappist Abt and a big fat Scotch Ale. Barley candies, fresh cherries, fruit salad, a bit vinous. Very full body. Then the resinous bitterness hits you. Overall very resinous and sticky. Alcohol well hidden. Every time I took notes for this beer I’ve ended-up totally re-writing a totally different rating. Either the beer is highly complex or I was always hammered. Most likely both.
UPDATED: APR 29, 2009 Rerate; my all time favorite.
2005 Bottle with a lot of thanks to golubj for finding me this one. Really excited to try it. Poured a very rich, murky brown color with only the smallest hint of head. Aroma was good and well balanced; a nice caramel presence with good bourbon and wood notes. However, what really stood out was a nice vanilla presence. Aroma was a bit sweet with a mild, but noticable hop presence. Amazing flavor and palate. It was like velvet on the palate; soft and smooth. Like the aroma, a great blend of flavor, although the vanilla again stood out positively. The bourbon aging definitely enhances and does not overpower the beer. A great caramel taste, slightly sweet, with a small peppery hop presence. Some nut and fruit elements too. Alcohol dangerously well hidden. A new top 5 beer for me. Thanks again Jon. wavers1 (916) - Notown, California, USA - DEC 20, 2010
750ml courtesy of the baldwizard, huge thank you for this one! nice cloudy dark amber pour with desent head and retention. sweet, salty, dry, syrupy, just a touch of funk. completely delicious! holding up very well. Odeed (1805) - Bakersfield, California, USA - SEP 16, 2006
thanks to someone (?????) for sending me this.poured a beautiful deep ruby red with a small head that tried to form,but just couldnt make it.nice aroma of vanilla,chocolate,caramel malts,bourbon,dark fruit,and oak.flavor blends upthe same with the alcohol well hidden.mouthfeel was like liquid velvet and the palte was long lasting and smooth.this was simply outstanding.