Gustav1996 (333) - Birmingham, Alabama, USA - APR 23, 2011
Bottle. Vintage 2005. This is a masterpiece. Poured a smoldering copper/brown with a milky film. Aroma and taste are those found in the Harvest Ale... but aged in port casks. One of the most complex beers I have had. All the complexity of their Harvest Ale but in a big haze of port and wood... every thing just lingers on and on. I had this on my B’day - the bartender told me I should save it for last, and I am glad she did: nothing should follow this one. scottyshades (130) - Parkland, Florida, Florida, USA - SEP 20, 2012
A: Pours a semi-opaque toffee/mahogany color with a tiny white cap. Much lighter than I expected. Floaties in the snifter
S: Heavy and rich port wine right off the bat. Plums, cherry, white grape juice, toffee, caramel, leather. Overall very dark fruity and sweet. Unfathomably complex. Impossible to summarize.
T: "Wow" was the first thing that I said. Much richer and sweeter than expected. The beer obviously soaked up that port in the casks. Toffee, butter, honey, tons of candy caramel. To sum it up: port wine, sweetness, delicious
MF/O: Thick, velvety, flat carbonation. Plummy/port wine finish. A masterpiece. TheBeerLover (1027) - DC Metro Area, USA - JUN 14, 2006
9.3 oz bottle, 2003 vintage aged in port casks. Harvest Ale is an incredible barleywine to begin with, and this special version brings this beer to new heights. This beer pours to a slightly hazy, deep amber color, with a slight head that fades to nothing, and a soft carbonation. The nose is complex and inviting with aromas of sweet malt, toffee, vanilla, vinous/oaky aromas, and some peppery alcohol. The palate is soft and fat on the tongue, with rich flavors of sweet malt, toffee, caramel, "plumy" esters, and vinous notes of port wine. This beer finishes with more of those complex malt, fruit, and vinous/oaky flavors, then ends with a soothing, warming burn that lingers. This beer is phenomenal. The age in the port casks give this another dimension. I enjoyed this one with my father celebrating the recent birth of my daughter with some Maytag blue cheese, and it was mind blowing. The combination of the Maytag Blue and the port cask aged Harvest Ale was a magical experience. bubbleflubber (2228) - Swannanoa, North Carolina, USA - JUN 27, 2006
UPDATED: JUL 20, 2008 2004 Limited Edition release, 9.3 oz. This stuff is truly amazing! It pours a misty copper-amber with a quickly diminished head. The bouquet, heavily sweet, contains caramel, honey, vanilla and slight molasses. A snifter is the best true serving method, allowing the brew’s bouquet to open to fruition as it warms. The flavors, which are similar to the nose, drift slightly. I pick up cherry-maple and brown sugar, finishing with true toffee and rum butter (almost latent, but just at the end of the pull). You can definitely feel the ambiance of the port casks, as the vinous notes are subtly integrated, with a finish of just a hint of port wine and toffee-espresso (one of the best attributes of the brew). The alcohol is hidden extremely well for such a high ABV, but provides a comforting warmness, lightly peppering the tongue. Any retentive burn is integrated well into all the complexities at work. The mouthfeel is buttery, thick and syrupy... lathering the tongue with a delightful rock candy/Werther’s Original coating... slick and almost creamy. This feels almost like a buttery, honey, brown-sugar syrup in the mouth, and is extremely comforting!! As it has been aged, this is truly one of the best bottle-conditioned beers I’ve had. Honestly phenomenal. Fans of the barleywine style won’t do wrong to sample this vintage classic. Prost! Nikiel (879) - Portland, Oregon, USA - MAY 18, 2010
It has an initial smell of aged port. The taste that goes from an initial sweet Belgian yeast to an oaked port that fades a little into a /sweet/sour/bitter aftertaste that lasts for a long time. As it warms up, the barley becomes more prominent and the beer tastes more bready.
S_Side_Smitty (775) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - SEP 23, 2013
2005. Pours brown with almost no head and a substantial amount of sediment (due to age, I’m sure). Aroma is a nice blend of port wine and heavy malts. Taste is off the charts! Initially you taste the port, then it goes quickly to an Alvear Solera "Raisin Wine" magnificence with some dried black mission fig. The finish is more of the fig with some faint bitter chocolate. This one is absolutely beautiful, especially if you love port wine. These don’t come cheap, but they are definitely worth it. RblWthACoz (964) - Brooklyn, New York, USA - FEB 5, 2008
Pours foggy brown. Nose is mildly sweet. Flavor is extremely smooth. Firm sweet tones. Just unbelievably smooth. Feel is smooth as well with tiny bubbles of carbonation caressing the tongue. This is just a magnificent beer. Well worth the coin. I would drink this every day if there weren’t so many other things to try. noelcb (271) - Toledo, Ohio, USA - SEP 13, 2005
Sampled the 2004 vintage. Orange red. Pours with a huge, foamy white head, recedes slowly with tons of sticky intricate lace. Aromas of malt, toast, peat, dark fruit esthers, molasses, chocolate, coffee, port, leather, oak and alcohol. Taste was sweet roasted malt, caramel sugar, port wine, alcohol, and ripe dark fruit. Mouthfeel was thick, syrupy, and chewy. Not much hopping, hardly any bitterness, extremely balanced and immensely satisfying. Miguel (1181) - Saint-Ours, Quebec, CANADA - JUL 7, 2006
Robe cuivrée surmontée d’une mousse blanche mince. Arômes de malt caramélisé, de caramel, d’alcool, de noix, de levure, de sucre, de chocolat et de gueleguele... Saveurs de miel, d’érable, de malt chocolat, d’alcool, de houblon amérisant, de levure et de fruits. Wow! Pastor (799) - Skowhegan, Maine, USA - MAR 13, 2009
A 2005 bottle poured into my snifter produced no head at all and not a bubble coming up from the bottom of the glass. The body was amber in color with a few yeast floaties in it
Aroma lets just say that so far all I get is brandy and heavy at that. As it warms I get more raisins and some honey, vanilla, oak and port.
The flavors are incredible, it is sweet but with the warmth of the alcohol it is not to sugary. Frak this is good I can’t believe my wife even likes it. Of course its 8 bucks a 9 oz bottle it better be. To name a few flavors found: honey, dark fruit, figs, plums, and raisins. It has the perfect feel in the mouth for a barleywine.
Wow this is excellent a tad pricy but a quality barleywine. I need another one of these for the cellar