cherr (162) - Rochester, New York, USA - JAN 18, 2004
This beer pours a dark amber color with a very slight cream head. The smell is dominated by carmel malt. The taste is full with initially noticeable carmel malt then nice bitter grapefruit hops. Excellent beer. Vikingbeau (67) - Albertville, Minnesota, USA - JAN 16, 2004
This bitch smells almost as good as she tastes. Give her to much of your evening and she will F--k you up. She leaves a beautiful head and has a fantastic carmel taste in her high alcohal snatch. cquiroga (371) - Tujunga, California, USA - JAN 6, 2004
UPDATED: MAR 16, 2006 RE-RATE. 3/15/06. Poured out of 12 oz. bottle, bought at The Party Source in Bellevue, KY 5/25/04. Rated blind. 2002 Vintage. Murky brown with a touch of orange shady, mostly dark. Solidly dense cream-tan head with patches of broken foam, diminishes to to a thin patty with a rocky, sudsy ring. Mediocre lacing that breaks in large clumps, but there’s great sub-surface lacing to impress. Very impressive aroma of rich, sweet caramel and fuzzy hints of butterscotch, almost like butterscotch-soaked hop leaves. A bit of soggy earthiness, zesty herbal brightness, and alcohol to outline the fuzz. The initial taste gives a flash-swirl of juicy caramel that is positively intoxicating, but it’s far too quick to subside to a prickly, forwardly alcoholic, potently twiggy/piney bitterness. There’s a soggy, aged malt character that seems like it’s deteriorating a touch (but which I still enjoy), and there’s even still some of that rich caramel-- but it now takes a sad, depressed back seat. Finish is long but lightly leathery and astringent, decreasingly juicy as it goes along. There’s also a papery oxidized character that comes to the fore mostly in the finish. The caramel-alcohol combo is a bit obvious, and the nasal burn from alcohol is clearly evident, but it’s paired with a minty/menthol character that I quite enjoy. The softly introduced fuzzy bitterness takes over throughout the beer, even making me appreciate the aroma less as I work through the glass. Slight hints of smoke with a crackling toastiness that blooms throughout the long finish, together with an interesting but underrepresented figginess that I fight and often struggle to find. Medium-full body and fuzzy carbonation. Somewhat of a disappointment once I found out what it was. I think this bottle has seen some better days. (9/3/7/3/15/3.7)
ORIGINAL RATING 12/3/03. Poured out of 12 oz. bottle, obtained in a trade with Indra on RateBeer 11/18/03. 2002 Vintage. Medium toffee brown color. Aroma is very nice, almost butterscotch but not quite. The smell of barley wine is one of my favorites in the world-- one of those fantastic smells that is so complex and delicate that it’s hard to articulate. This one is no exception. Very nice, bold sweet malt and caramel flavors. Bitter enough, complex and long-finishing. A little bit of fresh, bright hops. Nice and almost minty along with the butterscotch. Just a great brew. Thanks so much Indra! Can’t wait to get more of this stuff. (9/3/9/4/16/4.1)
Final rating is some kind of weighted average of two scores. grant (842) - Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA - JAN 1, 2004
Ruddy, muddy color with effusive yeast bloom, enshrouded by spare heterogeneous head. Aroma is maple syrup, vanilla, and roasted espresso beans. Flavor hits with a blunt sweet edge serrated with a slight acidity. Very malty body shot through with whisps of raisins and bitters. Creamy, slightly alcoholic finish. Thank you, Indra. davesarman (159) - Waconia, Minnesota, USA - JAN 1, 2004
Musty aroma of wood, leather and spice. Very intriguing nose. Color is a nice deep amber. Slightly cloudy, as one might expect with a bottle conditioned beer. Light carbonation. A nice off white head forms, but fades fast, most likely because of the 9% abv. Big, chewy malt makes itself known first, then a myriad of complexities start to intertwine. Some hops, but also figs, raisins, licorice and of course, alcohol. Vinous notes as well. The finish is long and warming, but not overpowering. Body is very full. This is a world class barleywine that becomes much more complex with age. This particular bottle is from 2003. I've had several cellared vintages and they get better with age. Well done! Excellent way to start the new year!
jgb9348 (6478) - Arlington (Pentagon City), Virginia, USA - DEC 31, 2003
UPDATED: JAN 24, 2010 2005 Bottle (Sampled on 24 Jan 2010) Additions:
Crisp aroma of honey, oak and pitted fruits, nice. Medium to partially Full-bodied; Very mellow fruit, oak, vanilla and alcohol in this one - a very mild beer that definitely lost a lot with the age. Good, but I definitely prefer this after a year or so aged - this is a bit too muted for my tastes!
Very nice hazy copper colour with a very thin tan head. Aroma of raisins, caramel, pineapple, peaches, caster sugar and a fruity sweetness. Full-bodied; Very sweet initial taste with fruit and sugar flavours as well as a spicey finish. Aftertaste has some malt bitterness, but is left sweet. Overall, a very nice barleywine- 1+ year on this bottle and the complexity and flavours are brilliant. Alcohol is hardly noticeable to boot! I sampled this twelve ounce bottle purchased from Merchant’s in Dearborn, Michigan on 24-December-2003. bu11zeye (13215) - Frisco (Dallas), Texas, USA - DEC 20, 2003
(Bottle) Pours an amber-brwon color with a thin head. Hoppy, floral, sweet flavor with a warm alcohol finish. Gunny (41) - Dundas, Ontario, CANADA - DEC 19, 2003
UPDATED: JAN 25, 2004 Vintage 2002. Fiery sunset red in appearance. Hops, nuts and caramel with a whiff of alcohol on the nose. Initial bitterness slowly fades into sweet malt, shortbread and candy sugar. Subtle lingering bitterness and warming alcohol in the finish. mixamatt (427) - San Francisco, California, USA - DEC 14, 2003
Yeasty fruity apricot aroma.Dark orange chestnut appearance with full rocky head.Bubbles shoot up the sides of the glass in slow motion.bitter hoppy fruity flavors of peach apricot and strawberries.Thick mouthfeel.Balancing hops and pepper at the finish. frylock (1144) - Atlanta, Georgia, USA - DEC 14, 2003
Copperish brown body, nice tight light brown head. Nice lacing. Rich malty, earthy aroma. Flavor of malts and toffee, lots of hops in the finish. Well rounded and very drinkable.