BDR (2535) - Roseville, Minnesota, USA - JUL 21, 2007
Bottle 666. Perhaps the single best Barley Wine I’ve ever tried. Whiskey, malt and rye on this dark brown beer. Faint light brown head. Incredibly smooth body that isn’t cloyingly sweet like so many in the style. Strong rye body with whiskey hints and enough malt sweetness to remind me that it’s indeed a barley wine. Absolutely amazing. Chalsk (1104) - North Caldwell, New Jersey, USA - MAY 16, 2010
UPDATED: JUN 12, 2010 Pours a deep brown color with a caramel colored head. Has an aroma of malt, toffee, and caramel. Has a great taste. Tastes more like an old ale than a barley wine. Sweet toffee and caramel up front and nice bitters on the back end that work well with the abv. Great trade with Damico. Cannot wait to have again. emobassfoo (178) - Webster, New York, USA - SEP 9, 2007
Rated while drinking: 100th! Bottle #700. Pours a ruby-tinged cider color with apparently no head, except near the edge of the glass. Looks almost like blood if held right near the light. Quite aromatic. Vanilla, oak, sourdough bread, with something sweet that points towards cherries. Flavor is tight, pulled together, yet touches on many different notes. Beginning touches on cherries and other dessert fruits, almost like an ice wine. Middle runs into more oak and wooden aspects. Tastes like a old dusty tome. The end rides into dark chocolate and espresso. Aftertaste is mainly vanilla with more touches of oak. Mouth feel is ridiculously smooth up and down, but begins carbonated and ends a bit dry. Alcohol is barely noticeable, but definitely enhances the palate. A sipper. I thought all the other Excelsiors were good, but this one definitely blew them all out of the water. I was a bit hesitant about this because of the rye malts, but I should try to acquire another bottle of this and let it sit for a couple more months. I bet the flavors would be even more pulled together and robust. A very nice beer for a 100th rating. Ithaca continues to impress and impress. DocLock (11189) - Lower Pottsgrove, Pennsylvania, USA - SEP 11, 2007
Bottle from jah noth, #697. Thanks, man. Pours deep brown with 2-finger khaki head. Aroma is very complex, with heavy hops, tropical fruit, rye and pumpernickel breads, slight vanilla and whiskey. Well rounded and just lovely nose on this. The flavor is very hoppy, with a solid dose of dark maltiness, dark fruit, hints of berries, and slight whiskey. Very rich and complex palate, with neither the rye nor the whiskey being overdone at all. It all blended together seamlessly, making this one a true beer for the ages, and another winner from the Ithaca Excelsior series. Try this one with Szechuan Seafood for a true treat. beerinmarch (2830) - Washington, USA - DEC 10, 2009
The bottle started gushing a bit upon opening, starting to get infected for sure. A faint cherry tartness comes through the nose with a sweet rye, berries, and nutty character. Flavor picks up a bit more of the funkiness and the sourness is a bit stronger in the finish, oddly it works wonders with this beer, the play between sweet chocolate, rye, and dark fruit notes against the soft cherry sourness is incredible. Notes of oak, leather, and rum raisin. Truly one of the best winter warmers I’ve had in years.
RblWthACoz (964) - Brooklyn, New York, USA - FEB 2, 2008
Pours a very dark brown that when held to light shows a dark, but perfectly clear ruby. Nose is extremely clean. But not in a bland or boring kind of way. If this were a porter or a stout, I’d say this has a lot of malt qualities. Carries a pretty thick and robust character. Flavor is extremely hearty. Just a mass of robust qualities. It is hard to judge this one as I have not had any rye beers to this point, but it seems extremely well made. Feel has a great carbonation to it and a thick enough liquid feel. This one is extremely drinkable. Even though this is my first sample at this particular style, I feel as though I can firmly say that this is an excellent example of the style and overall a beautiful beer in general. If you see it....don’t hesitate. If you did...you’d be robbing yourself of an experience. Beautiful. One of my most amazing experiences with beer in very recent memory. If Ithaca doesn’t make this a regular in their lineup, I say they are moronic idiots. Pastor (799) - Skowhegan, Maine, USA - JAN 10, 2009
Thanks to Kempleton for this awesome treat
The 2007 bottle pored into a snifter. When held up to the light it produced a wonderful burgandy color brew topped off with a off white head that last for some time before turning to a thick lace
Big bourbon aromas filled my nostrils with each sniff I got more complex smell of spices like pepper and vanilla and a light rye presence is also there as well
This ale is great if you like whisky. The whisky flavor is strong I am glad I went with the snifter for this brew It reminded me so much of a great Rye Whisky I couldn’t get much more from it. I will say it wasn’t warm at all from the alcohol it did hide it quite well. The mouthfeel of this brew is full with light carbonation
I liked this brew I didn’t know what to expect from it. Now that I had it I would search it out again for another bottle for my cellar daknole (11048) - Scottsdale, Arizona, USA - AUG 2, 2009
Bottle from Jimwight! Thanks man!! Pours a brownish color. Good off white head. Aroma is full of spices and caramel malt. Some brown sugar and and raisin/date notes. Flavor has a bit of booze, caramel, syrup, fruit, spices and its just really delicious. MMMM. Slipstream (2719) - USA - MAY 30, 2010
Bottle from Batch E!017. Ithaca has really been impressing me lately, to the point where I immediately grab anything new that I see from them. This stuff is made with 4 different types of rye malts, so I don’t see how why RB calls it a barley wine. Nice little plastic cap cover. Big, foamy brew. Aroma of coffee, wine, fresh bread and a little yeasty funk. Very malty with some sharp hop notes. Old Habit is well bittered, but not abrasive, and it has a dry rye tingle with light, fruity undertones. A truly excellent brew and a noteworthy creation. RCL (2032) - Waltham, Massachusetts, USA - JUL 27, 2007
The best rye beer I have ever had, and I love rye beers. Beautiful mahogany color. The oak is seamlessly integrated. Flavor is slightly nutty with a superb rich mouthfeel.