westvandan (4) - West Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA - APR 27, 2013 does not count
Amazing beer. Can you buy it is 6 or 12 packs? As good as any Belgian beer! A Canadian winner......... lotsalaughs (175) - Alberta, CANADA - SEP 1, 2016
One of the best beers I’ve ever had. Heavy pour gives enough force to bring out two fingers of white foam on top of amber. Toffee, biscuit, dark fruit, and some citrus arise with alcohol heat permeating throughout. Taste is subdued bittersweet, but after each swallow, a rush of dark roasted warmth fills your nose. Lower carbonation forces you to get up close and personal to appreciate the aromas as you sip. Mouthfeel starts slick but ends clean and pleasantly warm. Finishes dry and intoxicating! Powertrip (1000) - Calgary, Alberta, CANADA - MAY 3, 2011
Limited Edition bottle number 513 of 1100. Purchased on March 11, 2011 at the Howe Sound Brewery in Squamish, BC. Colour: Slightly deep red with low but stubbornly durable slightly brown head. Nose: A wonderful collection of fruits...crushed red grapes, peach, summer cherry, nibs. Swirling brings out a suttle butterscotch. All of this among mounds of candied barley. Taste: Medium-high sweet, medium sour, light bitter. An instant touch of soap that quickly vanishes and opens up a chest of vanilla and creamy caramel. The middle crackles with barley and a slight spice emerges. The finish has a distinct aged rum note that is absolutely delicious. Quite sweet but Howe Sound has recognized this by making the bottle size 187ml, so never does it become overbearing. Absolutely stunning stuff. WheatKing (1338) - Phnom Penh, CAMBODIA - JAN 31, 2013
UPDATED: FEB 25, 2013 Wow... why do they make so little of this? An incredible barleywine, intense malt / earthy / nutty aroma and velvet mouthfeel with alcohol, caramel malt flavours. Not aggressive, just exquisitely balanced. EDIT: I’ve shared a couple bottles with barleywine virgins and it’s getting unanimous approval. Each time better than the last. I’m raising this a few points. Gluepot (684) - Ottawa, Ontario, CANADA - JUL 28, 2014
UPDATED: AUG 23, 2014 Powerfully rich nose with caramel, roasted malt and rich dark berries. The current version is a much bigger, American style barleywine than the original more European version a few years ago. This version is rich with dark, heavy flavours. The caramel malts are heavily roasted and sweet. Ripe dark fruit and raisins support the taste. Hops balance the rich, thick and full body. One of the best barleywines I have ever tasted.
Gerbeer (3894) - Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA - DEC 13, 2012
341 ml bottle. 2012 vintage. Pours a deep red/mahogany with medium lasting head. Aromas of wood, caramel, roasted malt and licorice. Smooth and almost creamy for a barley wine. Beautiful balance and 11% well hidden. Flavors of dark fruit/plums, roasted malt, burnt sugar, and way in the background a bit of pine. Excellent. presario (4916) - Stampede City, Alberta, CANADA - MAY 25, 2014
A dark drink. Thin layer of foam. Oooohh, hops, dark fruit malt, alcohol, sugary edge, spices. Aroma almost as good as the flavour. Thickens nicely as it warms. A royal treat. crazy_cat_lady (678) - - MAY 18, 2014
May 14, 2014. Bottle from LCBO. Deep chocolate brown, cloudy. Off-white head. Raisins and toffee in aroma. Big fluffy head. Lovely aroma. Sweet raisins and toffee flavours. Bit of a bite in the aftertaste. This is more mellow than I recall it being when I drank a bottle 6 months ago. This bottle was aged for about 6 months. dslam (103) - surrey, British Columbia, CANADA - SEP 26, 2014
Poured from a cask at a pub. Very beautiful dark bodied beer with a good amount of head. Very delicious! Coats the pallete and leaves a long lasting taste. Good taste of caramel and has a full body. fiulijn (21022) - Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA - MAR 29, 2011
UPDATED: AUG 29, 2016
2016-08-25, vintage 2010, 6 years old, 7-4-8-4-16=39
Having the 2011 still fresh in mind, actually the 2010 is holding up better; the lack of carbonation is negative, but it’s not much oxidised, and it has enough malt epth and hops.
2016-08-22, Vertical Tasting
Vintage 2011, 341ml, 11% ABV, 5 years old, 6-3-7-3-13=32
The carbonation is low, not much head, but softer mouthfeel; it starts to show too many signs of age, oxidization in the nose, milder in the flavor; decent flavor, malt, a bit nutty, but shallow compared to what it was, and weak in the final. A decent drink, on a slippery slope now.
Vintage 2012, 341ml, 11% ABV, 4 years old, 7-4-7-3-15=36
A bit more carbonation, hence more head. Not much oxidization in the aroma, but it has a slight soapy trace, and roasted nuts; later, chestnut honey. Better mouthfeel than the 2011, but not as robust as a Barley Wine should have; malt and dark caramel flavor, mild residual sweetness, roasted nuts, and enough bitterness; basically the Barley Wine elements are there, just not very prominent anymore. Rather than a Barley Wine, it tastes like an old time Westvleteren 12.
Vintage 2013, 375ml, 10.5% ABV, 3 years old, 8-4-8-4-16=40
At this age, it can’t be considered too old yet; it has the right carbonation, nice aroma, rather American, with deep roasted nuts (this takes me back to the late 90’s), the body is bolder, at the lower limit of Barley Wines, the dark caramel and malt flavor have enough depth, and the hopping is quite pungent. Warming alcohol feeling. Very good.
2015-04-02, bottle, vintage 2010, 4 years old, bottle 583/1100; 7-3-7-3-14=34
The nip bottle uses a screwcap, this was not the best choice for aging beers, hence the beers pours flat; murky brown color. Malty aroma, dark fruits, raisins, but also unmistakable signs of oxidization, chocolate, dust. Sweet, with good malt and caramel flavor, a bit of fudge; the bitterness is lowering, it seems more nutty than usual, and it lacks of depth.
2014-06-12, draught at Alibi Room, Vancouver, vintage 2013, 7-5-8-4-17=41
Hazy dark amber color with compact beige head. Mild malt and caramel aroma with light nuttiness; later, some aroma of cereals and country bread (7+). Good body strength, not heavy, with round mouthfeel, and moderate sugar content; dark caramel flavor with notes of roasted nuts and hazelnut brittle; strong bitterness, well integrated, with some hop resins, not aggressive as other American examples; nutty final. Balanced, harmonious, easy to drink.
Such a good beer, every time.
2014-01-10, bottle from Boundary Crossing, Vancouver, vintage 2013, 10.5%, 8-5-8-4-17=42
The new bottle, 375ml, is very nice with old style graphic. It pours a dark mahogany color with Medium sized creamy head. Aroma of treacle, roasted nuts, leather. Full bodied; nutty caramel flavor, correct sweetness, with strong bitterness (75 IBU); there is some leather feeling; long final.
It confirms itself as one of the best Barley Wines in British Columbia, and the best one for this year.
2012-12-28, draught at St. Augustine’s, Vancouver, vintage 2012, 6-4-8-4-16=38
Dark brown color, with small creamy head, but wrongly served in a tall tumbler. In such glass the aroma doesn’t come out easily, there is some roasted malt and roasted nuts. Full bodied, with moderate carbonation; the main flavor is given by the caramel, with some dark caramel, and mild roasted nuts; it has a moderate sweetness, with some better maltiness coming in, and more nuts; quite high bitterness level.
Very good, and definitively better than last year’s draft samples.
2012-12-24, bottle from Firefly, Vancouver, vintage 2012, 7-5-8-5-16=41
Beautiful color, dark amber to brown, bright, with medium sized creamy and persistent head. The aroma takes a moment to develop; there is some dark caramel, dry wood, a hint of aniseed and celery. Good body strength; the mouthfeel is round; the flavor of malt, caramel and darker caramel is very good, with strong bitterness, moderate but evident hop resins, and a light nutty touch in the end. A beer with strong flavor and yet an excellent balance.
Very good, better than last year, ready to drink, and probably not really necessary to cellar.
It’s a bit too expensive.
2012-01-21, draught at St. Augustine, Vancouver, vintage 2011, 6-4-7-3-12=32
Dark mahogany color; small creamy head. Anonymous aroma, some nuts and caramel. The body is lighter than expected; caramel flavor, with some chocolate; correct bitterness, with roasted nuts and roasted malts in the final; there is some alcohol warmth, but not too evident. Indeed, not exciting.
2012-01-14, bottle from Liberty Wine on 10th, vintage 2011, 7-5-8-4-15=39
Beautiful dark mahogany color, with creamy head, but short retention. Aroma of nutty caramel, hint of grains and chestnut honey. The mouthfeel is smooth, the body structure is average, more was expected; very good dark caramel flavor, malt, with roasted nuts; quite strong bitterness. Elegant, balanced; more English style than American.
2011-01-11, draught at St. Augustine’s, Vancouver, 7-4-7-3-13=34
Red, dark amber color, with small creamy head. Caramel aroma, with some fudge, maybe buttery, and some cereals. Good body strength, with caramel flavor, some sweetness; there is maybe some butter and phenol; correct bitterness. Imprecise.
2011-03-20, bottle #574 from the brewpub, vintage 2010, 7-5-8-4-16=40
Clean dark amber color with red shades; small creamy head; no sediment in the bottle (filtered). Mild aroma of malt, caramel and toffee. The body is not too strong, but the mouthfeel is well balanced; very good and calibrated caramel and malt flavor, with a pleasant nutty touch; the sweetness level is not exaggerated, just right to pair well with the quite high bitterness and the alcohol warmth. Long final.
Overall, a beer appreciated mostly for it’s great balance.