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 (17664) - 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 (3487) - 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 (2051) - 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!
DrBeer (862) - Solna Stockholm, SWEDEN - JUL 27, 2004
Malty aroma with tones of alcohol, grass and fruits.
Malty flavor with tones of chocolate, fruits, almonds, marzipan and alcohol. Some sweetness.
A star in the making. oli (108) - DENMARK - JUL 27, 2004
Bottle nr 1744.2003 vintage.
A beer worthy of my 100th rating!.I´ve been looking forward to this beer for ages and it really has lived up to my expectations.Thin creamy head,smooth heavy reddish brown body.Taste explodes in the mouth and tongue and warms the throat on it´s way down.Very rich complex taste.Hints of toffee,butterscotch,raisens and more.Becomes more fruity as it warms up.An enjoyment from the start to the finish.I´ll get another bottle soon and age it for years(i have one from 1990 waiting for me-lucky me!). omhper (25108) - Tyresö, SWEDEN - JUL 26, 2004
Bottled, thanks Rauchbier!JCapriotti (1379) - Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA - JUL 24, 2004
Cloudy brownish appearance. Hineyish berry aroma. Sweet and fruity. Not yet mature, but well balanced. Lightly salty finish. The malt character is just wonderful...
2003 bottle, 7/23/2004 tiggmtl (4545) - East York, Ontario, CANADA - JUL 20, 2004
Small soapy off-white head. Clear mahogany body. Lacing is interesting.... it leaves a white sediment-like thing on the glass, even though I don’t think it is sediment. Aroma seems light... fruit, alcohol mostly. Sweet full flavor that reminded me of cherry coughdrops (fruity alcohol). Some licorice with a slight wood bitterness. Slightly sticky and syrupy. It is pretty strong with an unwelcoming bitter alcohol edge on the finish... could be smoother.
Plums, cherries, raisins, chocolate, malty sweet aroma. Dark orange-brown with shy, off-white head. Some lace. Overly sweet and extremely hot. Notes of wood, burnt nuts, dark fruit, chocolate and vanilla. Aftertaste is very roasty. Rather sticky and heavy in the mouth. Very young. Seems like it will be a fine classic beer but a one year old 2003 version was just not ready. Needs a few more years in the cellar. Bottle #09455. Sampled with MartinT and Rastacouere.