b3shine (9143) - Indiana, USA - DEC 9, 2013
Draft to taster. Looks solid; a transparent copperish orange with sticky off-white lacing. Smells sweet and malty with notes of juicy hops and caramel. Tastes like it smells with a nice mouthfeel that’s fairly smooth for the abv. Enjoyable. keanex (1799) - Atco, New Jersey, USA - DEC 23, 2013
It appears that I’ve wiped the dating off, but this is from the fresh 2013 release.Dan269605 (235) - Rocky Hill, Connecticut, USA - JAN 16, 2014
Appearance: The body is beautifully clear with a red body with pink tones through it. The head is short and dense with good retention, slowly settling into an off-white dusting on top with a bubbly ring.
Aroma: The nose gives off juicy grapefruit hop aromas, but it’s not pungent while hints of sweet caramel and bready malts back it up with a light booze presence. The aroma is a bit weak though.
Taste: The intro is very unassuming of the mildly aggressive bitterness that awaits. Bready malts and a mild caramel presence act as a base for a strong floral and grapefruit bitterness that peaks on the finish and lingers for a while. I get some raisin undertones by the finish, slight musky aromas as well. I didn’t remember this being so hoppy.
Palate: Full-bodied and moderately carbonated, a bit snappy on the finish.
Overall: I’m not sure how I feel about this beer. On one hand I find it to be a step above most American barleywines, and on another hand I find that American barleywines teeter on being a imperial IPA. I tend to like my barleywines in the English style, sweet with a complex malt base. I don’t get much here other than a huge hop presence, especially by the finish. Where is the deep and complex malt base here?
Hmm, this is an interesting one. Dark amber, somewhat clear, a finger of beige head. Fruity nose, fruit cake like. The taste has a fairly harsh bitterness followed by an almost cloying fruit cake sweetness, a little weird. This is definitely more of an American style Barleywine, which isn’t my favorite style. It’s alright, but no the best Victory offering by any means. GSH1976 (307) - Delaware, USA - FEB 28, 2014
Growler. Pours a clear orange/amber with a thin head and excellent lacing. Aroma is a candied sweetness, caramel, a hint of hops and booze. Taste is predominantly a candied sweetness and strong malt with some hops in the background but they are overpowered. Medium to full bodied with a somewhat dry finish. A decent barleywine but too sweet for my taste. Ironically this used to be one of my favorite beers which just goes to show how tastes can change over the years. ThisWangsChung (836) - Leonardtown, Maryland, USA - MAR 2, 2014
I’ve been looking forward to this for a while. 22 oz bottle into a pint glass.
A: Pours a clear dark amber color. The head is a two finger off-white shade. Its texture is excellent, and it has good retention as well. Lacing left behind is rather plentiful.
S: It’s actually not quite as sweet as I thought it would be. The hop notes here - as expected - are piny and resinous, balanced by its malt sweetness. In particular, it brings caramel, vanilla, and toffee. It’s definitely a quality aroma, if a bit more ’standard’ than I was expecting.
T: The taste works better, I think. Piny hops hit the palate first - there isn’t much harshness, and the pine flavor is incredibly vivid. It becomes sweeter after the midtaste and especially on the finish, while its hop flavor becomes almost ’salty’ to my twisted palate. The harsher elements of the alcohol are hidden very well. If I have to complain about something, it’s that the sweetness here isn’t well defined - sure it brings plenty of caramel, toffee, and earth, but not much in the way of dark fruits or candy. There’s just the subtlest suggestion of the latter, unfortunately it isn’t quite enough. Every once in a while, there’s a gentle wisp of chocolate that hits the palate.
M: This seems to be even softer than others in the style. Of course, being a barleywine, it’s still sweet and heavy. The finish is, naturally, superbly long and mildly bitter. It’s more salty than anything. Nonetheless, I’m really impressed how well the booze is hidden.
O: Give this a year or two in the cellar and this would kick ass. Right now, though, it’s still drinking pretty damn well. If the sweetness was more defined, then it would be killer immediately. As it stands, I’m really enjoying the hop profile but wished the malt component worked a little better.
brewballs (215) - USA - MAR 28, 2014
Victory are prolific. They put out saisons or ipas that are usually good. And to see a barleywine in their stable is a breath if fresh air. Plum hue. Mild head. It is boozy but not prominent. The wash down is a bit dry. Plus I wish it had more body. Its good but not Rogue Old Crustacean Barleywine good. firemarshal (206) - North Carolina, USA - JUL 21, 2014
Year 2013 22oz bottle. Dark copper with red hue. Aroma is licorice, nutty, citrus, dough, alcohol. Flavor is very malty up front, medium hop flavor, medicinal finish with a little alcohol bleeding through. Smooth, full bodied, sticky. Overall a nice beer for this cool rainy July day. I’ll put a few of these back for winter. AceOfHearts (1374) - Mountain View, California, USA - JUN 8, 2002
Very clear amber and exceptionally weak head. Nice aroma, candylike with notes of caramel. The flavor was a bit too overpowering though, I didn't think that this was nearly as good as the other top 10's. ClarkVV (6862) - Boston, Massachusetts, USA - JUL 9, 2002
UPDATED: AUG 10, 2007 2001 bottle. Consumed fresh. wow! what a beer. tastes like blueberry pie with alcohol in it. Great amounts of barley make this a rich meaty beer. What a great color, the color beats foghorn and bigfoot i think. Deep red/ almost magenta. taste stays with you, and is neither too cloying nor overpowering. yummmmmm. 9/4/10/5/19 ToadMan (559) - Washington, Washington DC, USA - DEC 19, 2002
2003 bottle. Fresh. Oh ya, been way too long. Amazingly rich flavor of sweet barley, rich fruity alcohol esters. Great english toffee flavor with tons of complexity. Lovely grain-like alcohol/cognac mouthfeel and flavor. I absolutely love this, but then English-style barleywines are my favorite. 9/4/9/5/17
Jan. 2004 bottle 14 months old. Slowly working on trying the different vintages. I look forward to trying this beer, as it has long been one of my favorites. However, the 2004 didn’t really do it for me. Still a good pour, bottle conditioned, nice head and all. The flavor was way too forceful, it seems like they have amped up the hops bitterness in recent years, or perhaps this bottle is still far too young. Whatever the case, the flavors seemed blunt, and overbearing, lots of hops, sticky, strong caramel malt. Aroma of strong alcohol, yellow candied fruits, sweet toffee. Rather uninspiring, but hopefully just too young. Looking forward to the 2002 bottle I have in my cellar. 8/5/8/4/15
Dec 03 2004 bottle Consumed 8/3/2005. Incredible masking of alcohol, which is puzzling, as it seems rather filtered. NO sediment whatsoever left in the bottle, and only a slight haze to the body. Though it still looks a lovely auburn-magenta. Aroma, however, had soily, resinous hops, dry earthy malt, brown bread and light toffee. The aroma was not very intense after only 1 year. Flavor was a bit of a let down as well. It’s even and drinkable, with a good integration of malt and hops, but the malt gets rather boring, the finish is way to quick. Too much filtration on this beer now. Caramel and toffee, with some yellow fruits, bitter hops and low carbonation. It was good, though I think it’s gone down hill lately. 7/4/8/4/15
Dec 2005 bottle consumed on 6/22/07
18 months old and not too bad, I gotta say. Pretty much the definition of the American barleywine and still with quite a bit of bitter, citric, leafy hoppiness. The nose seems rather crudely yeasty, with dirty notes and a dull, bland, vitamin-like note. But the malt is bready and caramel-like, with minimal roasty/toastiness. Fruity hops and caramel dominate the beer. Light alcohol, not too bad for its size.
A real hard, woody, bready feel to the flavor, with low carbonation, light chocolate and mostly tons of hard caramel. Bitter hoppiness, green and leafy tending mostly citric. Still that liquerish finish, not as smooth as it was, with too loose a carbonation and quite decadent. Respectable, and one of the first of its kind, but what’s with that dirty yeast nose?? I dont even know how I’ve calculated my overall score at this point.....
Rich hoppy aroma, strong taste of barley, hops and lots of alcohol. Some vanilla and fruit undertones, but the alcohol was just too dominant.