RATINGS: 151   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.71/5   SEASONAL: Winter   EST. CALORIES: 297   ABV: 9.9%
The Benchmark is our limited-edition, annual release. It is a pale old ale,with a great malt palate, subtle hop presence, and a high gravity (9.9% alc/vol). We brew it once a year, fermenting half with ale yeast and the other with lager yeast. When it’s ready, we blend the two and finish it with Champagne yeast and age it for many months.

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Falconseye8 (542) - Evans, Colorado, USA - MAR 16, 2008
Was given this bottle in a trade with Indra. Sat refrigerated for a couple of years. Complex flavor. The body was quite full with smooth carbonation and a creamy texture. I enjoyed it.

kp (10881) - Woodstock, Georgia, USA - SEP 1, 2007
UPDATED: JAN 17, 2009
Date: April 21, 2001
Mode: Bottle
Source: Belmont Station, Portland
Appearance: clear amber, thin white head
Aroma: strong hop aroma
Flavor: rich malt with lots of hop flavor, very well balanced, no aparent alcohol for its 9.9%
Overall: a nw barley wine that’s not over the top

Date: November 06, 2008
Mode: bottle
Source: Ale Atlanta
Vintage: 2000
hop character has all but died, caramel malt character is mostly dry, just slight sweetness comes in with a bit of stickyness,

Aroma: 6/10; Appearance: 6/10; Flavor: 7/10; Palate: 6/10; Overall: 14/20
Rating: 3.3/5.0
Drinkability: 7/10
Score: **4

dwyerpg (6368) - Las Vegas, Nevada, USA - MAR 7, 2007
Kind of a malty aroma and no head at all. Taste in not hoppy or bad, just a little grainy and thick. Interesting and a little weird, and definitely has that old charactestic of old ales. Decent. My wife dislikes.

kramer (6682) - Sunbury, Pennsylvania, USA - FEB 3, 2007
22 oz bottle, via dhlesq. Pours a clear dark copper colored body under a smallish fizzy beige head that faded quickly. Moderate visible carbonation. The nose screams of oxidation off the bat. Some caramel and toffee under the papery notes. Light alcohol, and a touch of yeast. The flavor reveals the ravages of oxidation even more than the aroma. Virtually all the malt is obscured by the papery limp cardboard flavor. A little noticable alcohol on the finish. Mouthfeel is quite thinned out with a very soggy feel to it. Moderate slightly fizzy and prickly carbonation. Overall, this has become a complete mess. Must check the bottle to see if I can figure out a date on this guy.

henry3r (586) - Wichita, Kansas, USA - JAN 18, 2007
The 22 ounce bottle poured a clear, perfectly amber beverage with a small fizzy head that was almost entirely diminishing and left very little lacing on the glass. The aroma had a nice balance between hops and malt. The malt character was represented by sweet caramel and a touch of honey while the hops, by citrus in a light floral background. The body was quite full with smooth carbonation and a creamy texture. The flavor started out lightly sweet with the sweetness fading gradually through the long finish until there was a light bitterness left. There was also a nice alcohol warming effect.

ClarkVV (6839) - Boston, Massachusetts, USA - DEC 8, 2006
2003 bomber consumed on 10/6/06. I ordered this bottle from Liquid Solutions in 2003 and have kept it in my possession since.
Oddly enough, this one delivered a fair amount of enamel-colored head that faded to partial-cover, leaving no lacing behind. The body is a dark amber with some chestnut highlights and a bit of copper thrown in when held to the light.
Heavy, heavy oxidation in the nose. Behind that is a plethora of hard crystal malt, crunchy toasted malt and some soft vanilla. But the oxidation is more cardboard-like than not and very disconcerting. Some sweet plums emerge on the finish, after warming, but it’s somewhat sickening and not at all cohesive with the beer. Alcohol is soft, but builds on the nose steadily. Light raisins and dried cherries are present as well. But I keep getting brought back to the oxidation.
Heavily oxidized flavor is even more dominated by cardboard than the aroma. The mouthfeel, further, is lean, seemingly filtered and just dosent have the residual sweetness that an old ale should have to go the distance. Light berries, figs and some chocolate covered coffee beans. Gets thin, grainy/crunchy/bready on the finish. Can’t finish it. Alcohol is definitely notable and combined with the oxidation, ruins the experience.
Not sure what went wrong here. Looks like Csbosox’ bottle of the same age was in fine condition. I even waxed the cap to ward off oxidation. That’s the risk of aging, I guess, as I certainly kept this bottle in prime conditions. Oh well, I’ll try it again another time.

Numenor (871) - Richmond, Virginia, USA - NOV 30, 2006
Sweet and orange aroma. Ruby body. Sweet taste, light hops, clean ending.

maniac (3800) - Baltimore, Maryland, USA - NOV 29, 2006
Sampled at the Richmond Beer Industry Gathering 2006. Clear light amber body with a small white head. Sweet malty aroma. Sweet gentle caramel flavor.

csbosox (1229) - Prairie Village, Kansas, USA - NOV 25, 2006
UPDATED: DEC 8, 2006 2003 vintage. 22oz bottle served up in the NB snifter. 57°. Reddish blond color with a small, nearly non-existent head. Aroma is very malty with caramel, turbinado sugar, dark fruits, some honey, and some light spiciness that I would attribute to the hops. The finish is warming and the alcohol is evident, but not overdone. This is really dead on for the style guidelines, but I love my old ales to have some oxidation, it is hard to fault a beer for being sound, it is my own fault for the lack of oxidation, if 3 years is far too few for this beer to age, what is the right amount? I wish I knew, but this was a trade beer and I will probably not get a chance to have an older bottle. Interesting-blending is apparent in the beer, but only after I was told that it was an ale and lager blended. The Champage yeast left it will plenty of residual sweetness and did not appear to rob the flavor, as I have heard it can, it makes me wonder how much of the fermentation took place after the addition. Thanks to whoever sent this to me. I can narrow it down to 15 people, but that is about as precise as I can get.

decaturstevo (6343) - decatur, Tennessee, USA - SEP 2, 2006
A nice amber pour. A nice fruity aroama. A sweet malty flavor with a finishing tart more than bitter finish. An very interesting beer. I would like to split a bomber with one person and re rate some day. I don’t know who brought this to kps but thanks

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