unclebleen (620) - California, USA - AUG 31, 2004
This is a nicely hopped barleywine with a nice caramel nose and fruit nose. The flavor is sweet but balanced with a nice hop note. Nice rich mouthfeel. Good beer. Quetzalcoatl (153) - Baltimore, Maryland, USA - AUG 16, 2004
(2003) Has an assertive malty-sweet nose with heaps of dark fruits. Poured a murky reddish-brown with a nearly nonexistent head. The flavor is big and malty, sweetness and molasses. But it finishes surprisingly bitter, aftertaste is almost like dark chocolate. A fantastic beer, I will certainly collect a few to cellar. SilkTork (5923) - Southampton, United Kingdom, Hampshire, ENGLAND - AUG 16, 2004
Mmmm. Pleasant. Has the same heavy sweetness and alcohol as the 1986 version I had last year. But doesn’t have the off flavours. Some people like the off flavours. I don’t. This is much better than the older version. I could go for this again. And it’s cheaper! Joeh (2049) - Buckinghamshire, ENGLAND - AUG 12, 2004
UPDATED: AUG 13, 2004 Beer #600 2003 Bottle from Pitfield Beer Shop, London. 250mll. Served in a snifter. Typical barley wine aroma, rich and sweet with dried fruit. Flavour is sweet, partially balanced by plenty of hop bitterness, dried fruit and apparently alcohol. Would definately benefit from a bit of ageing. Hojou (19) - DENMARK - AUG 7, 2004
POW! Explosive body. Very thick prune and caramel taste. Surprisingly uncomplex but enjoyable finish. This is a "share-beer" - enough taste in it for more than one person imho.
BrockLanders (780) - Panama City, Florida, USA - AUG 6, 2004
2003 bottle. Reddish orange in color, tiny bubbles in the lacing sliding down the glass. Very little head. I’m not too keen on the aroma...almost like over ripe fruit. Disappointment crept in, but was quickly extinguished upon the taste. Big sweet creamy malts dominate with some cherries and plum (maybe prunes) in the taste and the nose. Wood, caramel, and alcohol notes as well. This is a bit young. I can’t wait to try more of them about 3-5 years from now. Oakes (19409) - Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA - AUG 3, 2004
UPDATED: SEP 18, 2005 2004 vintage bottle 44849. Muddy colour with no head....ugly as sin, or as a typical barley wine depending on how you want to phrase it. Light fruits (apricot, pear) dance with heavy but gentle sweets...Lyle’s Golden Syrup sort of malts, softly sugar not at all oppressive. A bit of heat late as well as dark chocolate and wood notes. Very simplistic as of yet. This, unlike the 2003 version, tastes very young after a year. The potential is obvious - this may very well be a great one, but it’s going to take a good 5 years before we’ll see where the potential in this brew leads. beerbuzzmontreal (3486) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - AUG 1, 2004
2003 version tasted end July ’04: A little bit of haze, fiery amber-brown colour. Caramel and molasses in the aroma. Very heavy, sweet, sugary. Some excellent toffee and peach notes. Doesn’t taste particularly young, and seems more immediately drinkable than its predecessor, but let’s see what happens when we convert some of those sugars. Ar 7 Ap 4 F 7 P 4 O 16 = 3.6
2003 Vintage. Brown color with a thin head. Nice aroma of malt, caramel and alcohol. The flavor is cloyingly sweet, caramel and brown sugar with a bitter. Medium body, sticky mouthfeel. Even than young it’s very good, even if a bit too harsh and brash, but it’s obvious that given 3 or 4 years of cellaring it will be amazing. Rastacouere (6177) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - JUL 30, 2004
UPDATED: FEB 7, 2013 2003 bottle drank in 2004: Orange to almond brown hue. Light off-white ring. Ridiculously sweet aroma. Very fruity at first sniff, cherry-like, woody currants, hot almond skin. Big malt base is almost agressively nutty on the palate. Extremely bold, samichlaus-like in its burnt almonds and grapey aspects combined with overpowered heat. Cloying harsh and fat finish. Huge syrupy body is not helped by very low carbonation. I don’t think I would like it yet 5 years from now and I think I’d have more interesting beers to bother keeping for 10yr or above. Enniskillen (2061) - Bakersfield, California, USA - JUL 29, 2004
2008 bottle in 2013: Clearish burnt terracota, beautiful colour. Rich and far more integrated sweetness now. Dense palate with a deep fruity vinous side and a potentially optimal (at 5-year old) oxidized profile with earthy and broadly nutty, shery-like flavours fitting the high alcohol level and associated warmth nicely. I was never very fond of aged beers and oxidized flavours and never really understood how Thomas Hardy’s could be almost the benchmark of the genre, but that bottle is something. Certainly enough that were it not discontinued, I’d buy again at least on a yearly basis. The texture is also great, layered, thick despite its age and just whispering at a background of hops. Contemplative sipper that was great after a freezing jog in -25 C conditions. In the very high 3 to low 4 range, as opposed to 3.0 in its first year. Since it’s discontinued, I’m keeping only the most recent score.
Aroma is of cherries, strong malts, alcohol. Pours a light ruby color that is cloudy, much lighter then I expected. Very very sweet, nice malty character, reminds me a lot of the De Still Noel or whatever because of the extreme sweetness. No head, I am really starting to dig these barley wines. Thanks a ton to EyeDrinkAle for this awesome beer!