badgerben (5283) - Blaine, Minnesota, USA - FEB 7, 2006
Cask. Sure am glad I was keeping tabs on my local raters to notice that this was on tap. Not only tap, but on cask! Dark ruby color with a thin head. Very sweet barley aroma with some maple. Holy smack of barley, Batman! Lots o’ barley up front and center on this one. I’m glad the description confirms the smoke I was tasting. It’s not too heavy, just enough to say hello. Maple too. A bit earthy on the finish and just a little earthy hop finish. Light body, but feels like creamy velvet. Definitely an English style and not a hop monster from the States. Delicious and one of my absolute favorites from Town Hall. beermatrix (1497) - Twin Cities, Minnesota, USA - FEB 5, 2006
On-cask at the brewpub: Chestnut brown with ruby glowing highlights. An everlasting smooth topping of light sandy browned foam sits with substantial staying power. In fact, it never left. It stayed about a pinky high the entire glass down; all the the way down to the bottom so instead of seeing a completely empty glass you see a glass decorated in foamed lace and a surf of foam at the bottom. F*ckin’ awesome appearance to this twisted reality of beerdom.
Aroma is quite nice, full and prevalent with malts, robustly set with apple/dark cherry/yellow raisin fruit cake covered in lovely caramel sauce. Hints to cinnamon, brown sugar, and a light leafy hoppiness adding a soft little hint to pine and dark citrus. Quite a complexing aroma.
Taste follows right along with what the smell states. Malts, cookie sugars, caramel, fruits, and a soft, tender blanket of warming smoothness the whole way through. Again, complex and flowing with a big caramel malt depth decorated with maple and all kinds of fresh, chewy, dried fruits of apple, raisin, dark cherry, and orange. Soft bitterness in the hops help add to the warmth with a leafy soft pine resin and some floral spices.
Feel is spectacularly set in a full cask laden velvetyness. Warm, like a blanket of caramel malts rolling around in a bowl of fruits and cookie dough sugars. There really is a whole lot going on in this reality of a brew that its nearly impossible to keep track of it all. Malty with caramel and dark, chewy fruits; spiced with cookie sugars, cinnamon, and vanilla; hopped with floral hints, soft pine wood, dark citrus, and a leafy resin. All wrapped delicately and warmly in a great texture of all things soft, smooth, and warmth without ever being brash, over done, or anything...its perfect for a barleywine on the cask.
A superb barleywine! Everything about it speaks to the craftwork of the style. Nicely done! Pigfoot (2268) - Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA - FEB 2, 2006
Went into Town Hall merely to grab a couple growlers, and noticed the regulars drinking out of snifters a beer that wasn’t entirely black...so, it’s not the Imperial Stout, what is it? The Twisted Reality barleywine that they debuted at Winterfest, which I missed, on cask! I had to have one...
Beautiful magenta hue, deeper in the top 2/3 of the glass, a clearer crimson at the bottom, under an attractive, lasting creamy head. Nice!
Aroma is lush and fruity, while never too sweet, brimming with flavor, enticing one to drink!
In the taste, a cornucopia of the usual barleywinish flavors, cherries and cognac, leather and burgundy wine...the cask-conditioning keeps it mellow, and the various characteristics roll around the mouth with careless abandon, yet somehow perfect balance. Plumb malt, and tasteful hops. Lush and luscious, a deep, dreamy ale on can savor at length. Gorgeous texture, keep the mind active and the palate abuzz.
I wish I could compare this against the tap offering, which I never had, but on cask this is about near perfection. Plenty strong, though, but a delightful nightcap. I will have to go back for more before this disappears.
footbalm (1219) - Western Minneapolis Suburbs, Minnesota, USA - JAN 22, 2006
Tap at Winterfest 2006.Really sweet and syrupy. A little too much for me. Fruity and a touch of caramel but this was like drinking the juice from canned fruit that had fermented. MilkmanDan (1943) - Eagan, Minnesota, USA - JAN 15, 2006
Sweet and very syrupy, lots of maple syrup and toffee. A little oversweet, negligible hops, some burn at the end. Quite nice, but could use the sweetness to be toned down a bit.