overall
93
75
style
Serve in Snifter

bottled
available

on tap
unknown

Broad Distribution

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RATINGS: 100   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.61/5   SEASONAL: Special   IBU: 117   EST. CALORIES: 327   ABV: 10.9%
COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION
R&D Series. In the Ninkasi tradition, this barley wine is hopped to high heaven –using more than 16 pounds per barrel! Critical Hit’s rich, malty expression is balanced by 16 varieties of hops that linger on the palate. Its high gravity nature warms the cheeks and soul. Critical Hit does maximum damage, so you might have to roll to save if you take this ale for granted!

Massive citrus, earthy, resinous, and grassy hop flavor is balanced with the melanoidin complexity of port and sherry notes, creating a powerful and warming taste experience. Big citrus, earthy, grassy, and pine hop aroma with port and sherry notes mingle in this beer conditioned for over a year. Aggressive bitterness dominates up front with a large array of hop flavor spanning citrus, earthy, resinous, grassy and dank. Subtle caramel and melanoidin compounds oxidize (in a good way) to create the port and sherry notes that are a trademark to these extremely strong beers called barley wine. The bitterness of the beer helps round out the intensity of alcohol and the malt complexity to make a non-cloying and very, very tasty beer. This may be the one beer that you still need to sip rather than quaff but it is deceptive for the style.

Hops: Columbus, Millenium, Northern Brewer, Simcoe, Falconers Flight, Galena, Peerle, Santiam, Ahtanum, Fuggle, Glacier, Hersbrucker, Liberty, Spalt, Hallertau

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3.9
DarkElf (3066) - La Jolla, California, USA - JAN 25, 2014
22-Jan-14 (22-oz wax-dipped bottle: Purchased 13-Jan-12 for $14.75 at northwestliquidgold.com)
2010 Release, Bottle # 3261 of 5000.
This beer pours a very hazy, amber body that’s translucent at the edges. The light-tan head rises to half an inch before settling to a bubbly ring and thin, unbroken sheet, and it leaves a wide ring of lacing at the top of the glass. The nose is earthy, woodsy, caramely, and fruity, with dried apricot and ripe apples, but also some dried grass from the hops. On the palate, though, the hops come though more. The beer still tastes very malty, earthy, and fruity, but the hops give the beer a grassy, slightly piney flavor. But what’s most noticeable is the aged, malty aspects of the beer such as decayed forest-wood earthiness; sweet, caramely , and slightly chocolatey malt; and dried apricot, orange marmalade, peach, and fleshy, tropical fruits. It’s full bodied and medium-sweet on the palate, but not heavy or cloying because of the balance from mild, hop bitterness and gentle, earthy acidity and dryness. Carbonation is medium-light, and the mouthfeel is soft and easy. Overall, this Barley Wine has aged superbly, and could be at its peak for my tastes. The hops are still present, the aged-related aspects contribute complexity without excessive oxidation, and it’s a great beer to sip for an hour or two. Very, very enjoyable.

3.9
rmussman (1701) - California, USA - JAN 23, 2014
Sampled in a bottle. Pours deep orange amber with a thin light head on it. Big time malty brew, very well flavored.

3.8
jake65 (3978) - Meridian, Idaho, USA - JAN 6, 2014
2011 Bottle, #4272/6200. Dark amber pour with a creamy finger of beige head. Intense nose of faded citrus, floral, caramel, and hints of the 11.7% ABV. Age has smoothed out any bite this may have had; it sure is smooth. Caramel and toffee flavor, along with the faded citrus and florals. Finish is soft and leaves a lingering bit of toffee behind. Reminds me of Old Boardhead. Probably not much value in aging this any longer… good stuff, but I’d like another to try fresh. A good experience and seemingly a bit dangerous at this point; I feel like I could throw this back like a session ale on a hot day!

3.4
Crit (4039) - Surrey, British Columbia, CANADA - DEC 22, 2013
Cloudy amber,small beige head.Nose of brown sugar & light alcohol.Woody palate of alcohol,malt, with a slightly dry hop finish

3.6
AcctError123848 (778) - USA - NOV 28, 2013
Deep copper, clear, off-white head. Aroma of toffee, burnt sugar, raisins, resiny hops, some leather. Flavor: more toffee, bready malt, raisins, dark fruit, some piney hops, a little grainy astringency in the finish, light oxidative notes.

3.5
Salmoniform (1272) - Sweet Home, Oregon, USA - OCT 8, 2013
A big bomb of a beer from Ninkasi in every sense! Huge malt aroma comprised of caramel and fruits, followed by an in-your-face dose of hops. Nice mouthfeel from this with a bitter finish from the roasted malts and the hops. It will be interesting to see how this ages out with time, seeing as it is a pretty hop-forward barleywine. Drink one now and perhaps save one for later.

3.7
baraciisch (3311) - California, USA - OCT 2, 2013
Brownish with reddish tint... Sticky caramel aroma... Flavor is caramel, toffee, hints of hops, alcohol burn... Nice ---Rated via Beer Buddy for iPhone

3.6
Gription79 (2891) - Bountiful, Utah, USA - SEP 8, 2013
Poured from a 22 ounce bomber, thanks to Mike. A big malt bomb, raisin, plum, prune, resin, a bit astringent, alcohol notes. Not bad, would be very good without the astringency.

3.9
douglas88 (9501) - Portland, Oregon, USA - JUL 31, 2013
Bomber. Pours a clear deep copper color with a medium white head. A big dusty fruity nose. The flavor is on the side of fruity and highly hopped BWs with some caramel, biscuit and light toffee. Very nice brew. Clean and easygoing. No sense of 10%.

3.2
illidurit (2347) - San Francisco, California, USA - JUL 2, 2013
Tangy red maltiness, slight soy, unripe grapefruits, citrus rind, caramel and toffee, pretty middling.


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