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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4
stantheman (1052) - British Columbia, CANADA - MAY 7, 2016
On tap at Alibi Room in Vancouver. A very dark copper color beer with minimal beige head and tart vinous nose. A big load of bitter hops nicely balanced with sweet malts. Well done! 4

4
rosskyle (723) - Denver, Colorado, USA - MAR 19, 2017
Big bottle. Dark amber color with an off white head. Sweet alcohol with a lot of hops aroma. Sweet plum malt up front with a hops finish that lingers. Heavy body. Nice balance of malt hops that disguise the alcohol content. Not a traditional barley wine but is very good. ---Rated via Beer Buddy for iPhone

3.9
yespr (45508) - Copenhagen O, DENMARK - FEB 17, 2010
From tap at Toronado, Barley Wine Fest 2010. Pours dark golden amber with a small white head. Aroma is light fruity and caramelish. Caramelish and overripe fruity initial flavoured. Distinct hoppy and bitter dry finish. Surprisingly hoppy.

3.9
ansalon (3847) - Stockholm, SWEDEN, SWEDEN - MAR 16, 2013
Quite the understated Barley Wine that is not the extreme sweetness found in most American Barley Wines. Roasted almonds, dark sugars, figs, caramel. Very good! ---Rated via Beer Buddy for iPhone

3.9
douglas88 (9193) - 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%.

3.9
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.

3.9
DarkElf (3062) - 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
thetmaxx (917) - West Sacramento, California, USA - MAR 7, 2014
On tap for Sacramento beer week! Aroma is strong, lots of alcohol and malt. Thin head and dark brown. Flavor is of dark dried fruits. Roasted malts. Pretty good barley wine. This was supposed to be the 2010 version.

3.9
gnashville (4) - Victoria, British Columbia, CANADA - MAR 23, 2014 does not count
2012 reserve, bottled late 2013 The hops in this are practically jumping out of the glass, and are very much the focal piece. Quite resinous, with a touch of oakiness as well. On the darker side of barley wine, but the body is only middling, which I find to be an asset with this much hop going on. One of the few barley wines I’ve had that I think might suffer somewhat from aging; the alcohol is already quite in check, and losing those hop notes would turn this into a fairly muddy beer. Overall, an excellent take on the style.

3.9
trujahwarrior (510) - Monroe, Washington, USA - MAR 23, 2014
On tap, pours a dark amber copper color with a thin white head that leaves light lacing. Smells of dark fruit, caramel, oak, dark malt and citrus. Tastes of the same things. Mouthfeel is medium and creamy with good carbonation and a dry finish. Pretty good aged barley wine. I think it’s the best thing I’ve had from Ninkasi.


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