auerbrau (3203) - Ithaca, New York, USA - JAN 28, 2005
UPDATED: DEC 7, 2005 2003 BottleA long awaited reacquaitance with an old friend, that brought me into the glorious world of barleywines. I never gave this beer the proper rating respect when I first tried it, because I was young. But I’m so much (beer)older now. Pours a syrupy and dusky amber sunset, with golden fringes, orange middles and a deep pit of murky ruby. This beer is a glorious color, like the first dawn of a Northern Michigan May morning, lacking only a fringe of clouds. Light carbonation percolates on the edges of the glass. Ah, that candied fruit aroma mingled with saccahrin hops, mellowed with time to a gentle breeze of intoxicating and lusty vapors rising from the caldron of sweet gingered malt, cranberry bogs, and fresh dew. Slicing through the fog comes a blow of fresh oyster liquor, lemon thyme, and a hint of kahlua. A devastating blow of aroma. The flavors, the flavors. Such lavicious running caramels and toffee, fresh from the pan the previous days milking, yearning to release the milky butterfats all over my tounge. Never such silkyness and surprise, loaded with the fresh frosting from a pound of butter, fresh creme and that all important lining of a vanilla bean. Here, it plays amongst the roses and tulips, emanating fresh bursts of floral, grasses and a touch of broken White Pine needles in your hand. There are more deviant facets a foot, harder alcohols in the form of braying brandies and scrupulous bourbons, warming the nostrils and tintillating the tounge. A fresh baguette, slathered with sharp young olive oil and spring of oregano round the brew, with memories of freshly aroused yeasts and a bite of wheat cracker. This is a beer train, of grace and civility, with a mouth full of silky seduction and sumptous glowing warmth, rounded with a quick snap of the whip from Mr. Hop, reminding one to pay attention. Left behind, like a whif of train diesel, one gathers a light earth and plant smack. This beer ages to perfection. PWalk (337) - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA - JAN 27, 2005
I tired to keep myself from having this too early as I wanted to age it but a foot of snow drives one to drink.
A deep red brown in the glass with a smooth malty aroma. Flavor is that of dark fruits and malt with some nice heat included. Finishes like a lost lover leaving you wanting more.
Wonderful stuff. willblake (2654) - Bel Air, Maryland, USA - JAN 24, 2005
01.24.05 12oz bottle thanks to trade with doubletriple. Brown pour, opaque, looks like muddy instant iced tea or unpastuerized apple cider. Minimal head. Deep malty aromas of caramel, raisin; lots of alcohol present on nose is a bit spicey. Lightly savory. Very nice flavors showcase a smooth malt balance - plum, raisin, and whatnot. Finishes sweet with just a touch of hoppy sharpness. Warming beer, the booze seems more on the nose than the palate. Thanks for the nifty bonus, George! EdPaulsen (117) - Rochester, New York, USA - JAN 23, 2005
great barley wine, though at first, too hoppy and unbalanced.
at a tasting larry bell noted that all their strong beers should be drunk one year after their release. when asked "why do you release them when we’re not supposed to drink them?" he said "basically i don’t have the room at my brewery".
also could chaulk it up to consumer education.
anyway, lots of nice floating yeast, though it makes for a not super attractive murky brown/red look.
a great alternative to all those old horizontal nuts out there. doubletriple (52) - Illinois, USA - JAN 22, 2005
Snow mobiles over flat snow packed Michigan fields, the horizon dark and red and purple, the sun going down blurred by the clouds driven by the northwest winds off the lake, we cross trails back to the cabin buried under blowing snow, we pack into the front room and crank up the space heaters, play cards all night as I warm myself with this insanely thick and sweet brew from those unholy northern beer fiends at Bells.
badnewsbeers (2312) - Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA - JAN 19, 2005
UPDATED: NOV 30, 2005 aroma was of caramels and dark fruits...medium brown (dark chesnut) appearance...smooth palate...flavor is very dominant with roasted malts, caramels, spices, and some faint hops;
another gem by bells barleyPops (1142) - Quad-Cities, Illinois, USA - JAN 15, 2005
bottle. an impressive aroma and appearance gives way to a rather uninspired flavor and palate. the malt flavor is not balanced by anything else. after being so impressed by Bell’s stouts & porter, I am a little disappointed by this one. erway (1004) - Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA - JAN 12, 2005
pours a deep brown w/ some ruby highlights and a small creamy head. Aromas of burnt fruits and soy sauce.med-heavy body w/ some huge maltiness and a firm dry bitterness. Long lasting finish. Some warming alcohol. Well aged. poivre (14) - Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA - JAN 10, 2005
Great beer, very memorable. Although I would give it some more time to age, already the balance of flavors is striking. DavidP (1748) - Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA - JAN 3, 2005
Very dark brown/purple body, gorgeous creamy foamy off-white head that leaves a ring of soapy lacing. Yeast dusties visible when held up to the light. Chocolate cupcake alongside red wine and pineapple comprise a traditional malty, fruity barleywine aroma with a kick of alcohol at the end. The first thing I notice when sipping is the rich velvelty mouthfeel - 5 on that. Otherwise the flavor mirrors the aroma: chocolate cake, brownsugar, winey and syrupy tropical fruit notes. Long sprucy hop/caramel sweet finish with a short alcohol flast. This is a good barleywine. Doesn’t have the crazy-ass hops of Old Ruffian or Bigfoot, but rather goes with "subdued" hops and yummy sweet flavors. I’ll knock the overall a bit because while this stuff is damn tasty it isn’t terribly unique.