overall
93
75
style
Serve in Snifter

bottled
available

on tap
unknown

Broad Distribution

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RATINGS: 101   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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3.7
baraciisch (3444) - 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

3.9
DarkElf (3067) - 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
BOLTZ7555 (3028) - Phoenix, Arizona, USA - SEP 23, 2015
Rose gold hue with a small wisp and a ring. Nose is a bit off with loads of alcohol, dark fruit, and some pine. Flavor has a decent amount of berry, caramel, and coffee. This one was a critical miss.

4.5
bpreo (3011) - Eugene, Oregon, USA - SEP 24, 2014
I’ve been waiting 3 years to finally try this beer. It has a perfect Barley Wine taste, high alcohol content, and almost black color.

3.6
Gription79 (2892) - 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.

4.2
bulldogops (2874) - Edmonton, Alberta, CANADA - FEB 12, 2017
Rating #2437 - 2016.04.11 - Draught @alibiroom - Copper&Theory TT. Golden pour with a bubbly tan head, decent retention. Aroma is soft fruits, vanilla,cracked wheat, vanilla, powdered sugar, wildflower honey. Low-medium carbonation, explosive alcohol warmth and depth. Palate is a whirlwind of malty sweet, and alcoholic, earthy dry tones. A phenomenal beer.

3.6
jazz88 (2684) - San Francisco, California, USA - MAY 22, 2013
Bottle of the 2011 Reserve (2760/6200) with 11.7% abv. A dark reddish brown color with a foamy tan head. A sweet caramel, raisin and fruity aroma, with a nice rich body. A full and lush barley wine.

3.2
SamGamgee (2585) - down the whirlpool, California, USA - FEB 17, 2010
Draught at the Toronado Barley Wine Festival 2010. Herbal and earthy hop aroma with a touch of maltiness. Very bitter flavor with almost no malt character in comparison. Hard to drink, as the hops just take it and run all over the place with bitter. Honestly, not that bad, but really not a barley wine I want to drink.

3.8
Zymurgeist2 (2440) - Redwood City, California, USA - FEB 17, 2013
On tap at Toronado for Barley Wine Fest. Pours and orange-amber of slight haze with off-white head. Aroma of hops and sweet grain. Lots of hops and bitterness on the palate leading to a fresh clean beer at this alcohol level.

3
Sarlacc83 (2439) - Portland, Oregon, USA - OCT 26, 2014
Well, this has been sitting in my cellar awhile. 2010 vintage. 0087/5000 A: Brown color that looks red when held to the light. Foamy off-white head. Legs. N: Pine, grapefruit, pineapple, biscuit, toffee, earth, leaves, and bread. Black licorice and peppercorn. T: Very, very bitter. Moderate sweetness. I either haven’t had this fresh or don’t remember it then, but I’ve heard it was pretty brutal, so it seems at least somewhat tamed. M: Sticky medium-heavy body; foaming carbonation, alcohol burns pretty good. O: They call this critical hit - I assume that means they threw a dice and whatever number they landed on, that’s how many pounds per barrels of hops they threw in. Must have been a 15+, and they decided to throw them in earlier rather than later. It’s fine, I suppose. Not very complex, but not horrifying; if still too bitter to enjoy.


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