HogTownHarry (7287) - Toronto (Harbourfront), CANADA - JAN 8, 2009
UPDATED: JAN 18, 2009 Bottle (12oz). Shared with blankboy and garthicus, via trade with JJPM74. 2004 vintage. Hazy orange-amber, not much head. Aroma of alcohol, orange extract, toffee and dry woody herbal bitterness - unbalanced, a little rough around the edges, but strangely appealing - reminds me of some of the Gales ESA offerings. The taste is a little more floral and juicy - sweeter, hides the alcohol nicely, lots of rosehips and tangerine. Sugary, slightly slick and astringent, strongish alcohol - yummy. ClarkVV (7050) - Boston, Massachusetts, USA - NOV 8, 2005
UPDATED: NOV 16, 2005 On cask at NEBF, 10/29/05. Very nice pour to this, a fluffy beige-tan head atop a mahogany-auburn-orange body. While it hasnt exactly dropped bright, it’s not terribly murky. Head is not well-retained with little to no lacing. Aroma of sweet cherries and raisins, musty, almost sourish-like yeast and tons of caramel and toffee as backbone. Light notes of vanilla-creme and a hint of sherry. Flavor is a rather basic toffee-caramel charged English barleywine. Alcohol warmth is highly present and adds a good deal of bite on the finish. Light caramel covered oranges, playful fruitiness and a touch of dry chocolate on the end. I think the cask nature of the beer really helped. I have no doubt this is rather thin in the bottle, as it wasnt exactly thick and chewy on cask. But the lack of carbonation and the thinner palate were not as much a hindrance on cask as they would be in the bottle. Borderline creamy texture, though quite loose on the end. I can see the flavor improving with age, and mellowing out and gaining more sherry/madeira notes, but if the body is as thin as everyone says it is in the bottle, then we’ve got quite a problem. There’s certainly no excuse for having a thin texture. I’ve had 25 year old Thomas Hardys that has a much better texture than this. kramer (6991) - Sunbury, Pennsylvania, USA - OCT 22, 2007
12 oz bottle, 2004 Vintage. Pours a clear garnet red body under a very quickly disappearing fizzy head that looked like what you get from a Pepsi. I could actually hear the head fizzing away. The nose is very sweet, candi sugar and dark brown sugar, and showing off lots of alcohol. Some peppery spiciness and dark fruits. The flavor is super sweet at first with brown sugar and molassas, but then fades to a soy sauce and cardboardy finish. Lots of earthy clay and minerals plus a boatload of alcohol on the finish. Mouthfeel is a little thinner than expected with a little too much fizzy prickly carbonation. Very warming on the finish. Overall, this was pretty bad, not sure why I held onto it for two years. Suttree (6575) - Knoxville, Tennessee, USA - AUG 1, 2005
Man, this was a pain in the ass to open!Murky brown, no head. Tangy, spicy aroma, like a spiced tea, or perhaps fruit cake, plus some cinnamon. . Nicely syrupy sweet, with notes of molasses, caramel and maple, plus hint of allspice and finishes with a pronounced alcohol bite. As it warms, however, the alcohol becomes all consuming and dominates the entire experience. Thanks to Springslicker for this one! Cletus (6351) - Connecticut, USA - APR 15, 2005
UPDATED: OCT 11, 2006 From their inaugural run 2004 vintage (actually released early 2005). Comes bottled in a graphically attractive waxed bottle along with a nice historically accurate explanation of the history of the Three Judges in New Haven. Pours brown with a trace of a tan head, but otherwise flat. Smells of oak, honey, sherry, apples, and rasberries. Palate is very slick and viscous like a nice warming whiskey. Taste is slightly bitter, but inviting and surprisingly lively for a beer with almost no carbonation with caramel and toffee present. Though young, this one leaves a great lasting buttery aftertaste that lingers for quite some time.
kappldav123 (6182) - GERMANY - FEB 24, 2008
Update 5/26/05 opened up a bottle that has been cellared for a few months. On opening, the bottle poured out with a nice thick lasting head that left excellent lacing throughout the enjoyment of the beer. The interesting thing is that this was the first bottle that didn’t pour almost flat with no head. The astringent alcohol taste still dominates the beer. It’ll be interesting to see how this one develops over time.
Update 10/11/06: Pour is flat. Aromas of caramel and some metalic elements seem to dominate. Taste is somewhat bitter with some caramel and toffee notes. The mothfeel is lacking and the alcohol bite is more pronounced. I’m not seeing how this one will develop for 20 years.
Big thanks to jjpm74 for the bottle. Looks incredible. The beer in the glass is okay, no foam. Starts really strong, very malty. The finish is too bitter, I think. Not very drinkable. Only an average beer! notalush (5983) - Lakewood, Colorado, USA - FEB 17, 2007
2004 bottle purchased at Julio’s, which is apparently the only place that still carries (or ever carried!) this beer - the rubber (wax my ass) seal nearly broke my damn bottle opener, even after I removed a lot of it with a knife - completely still, dark amber pour - musty, cellared aroma, with notes of fig, brown sugar, flaked oats, toffee (actually not too bad a start) - very sweet up front, with a relatively light body - toffee and raisins, followed by a boozy, alcohol burn - some roasted malt and, I swear, wet cardboard - artificial, almost chlorinated qualities (like drinking pool water) - the otherwise pleasant qualities of the beer are all subordinated to this HUGE flaw - finish has slight roastiness and artificial sweetener sweetness - kind of a lame-ass beer. badgerben (5387) - Blaine, Minnesota, USA - FEB 28, 2006
2004 Vintage: Dark copper color with no head. Oddly salty aroma. I don’t think I’ve ever actually smelled that in beer before. Very dry malt taste with an oddly offsetting syrup taste. The salt is back on the finish. Definitely an English variety of barley wine. Not too bad at all. muzzlehatch (4976) - Beloit, Wisconsin, USA - FEB 14, 2006
12 oz bottle, 2004, capped and (heavily) wax-sealed, with a little tag around the neck so you KNOW this is something more than "just beer." From Julios in Westborough, MA for the low-low price of $5...this better be good. The liquid at cellar temperature in the Maudite glass is still, solid and syrupy-looking dark brick-red, with no head whatsoever....the nose, sweet and port-like, rather indistinct at first, but charred oaky notes show up eventually along with raisins, bitter chocolate and cowboy coffee -- robust and stern, this aroma is....the first thing you notice in your first sip is syrupy sweetness, and the next how acute my tendency to love alliteration...but soon, a bit of that tarry/charred character arrives from up in the nose, though not enough to keep this from slickly cloying and coating the tongue rather unpleasantly....as it warms, increasing medicinal and alcoholic qualities are apparent, a bit of cherry cough-syrup I guess, along with burnt gree tea leaves....at the finish, stinging, bitter, and pasty. Pretty difficult to get down the whole bottle...rather a wreck. goldtwins (4319) - Nesconset, New York, USA - NOV 12, 2005
Poured hazy brown with an orange tint and no head. Malty aroma is sweet with sugar, raisins, and apple. Sweet malty flavor with caramel a touch of fruit and spicy alcohol finish. Very warming with an alcohol bite at the very end. Mouthfeel is flat and smooth with a full body.