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Stormwatcher's Winterfest - Pelican Pub & Brewery

Not Rated.
Stormwatcher's WinterfestStormwatcher's Winterfest

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82 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 82
Hads: 164
Avg: 4.14
pDev: 13.29%
Wants: 127
Gots: 48 | FT: 4
Brewed by:
Pelican Pub & Brewery visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
English Barleywine |  13.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Shaw on 10-12-2003

32.1 degrees Plato
Alcohol: 13.0% by volume
Bitterness: 31 IBU
Color: 54 SRM
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 82 | Hads: 164
Photo of Impfan
4.77/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Absolutely tremendous berry profile...blackberry, blueberry, marionberry , boysenberry, and lingonberry. There’s also some fig, raisin, rhubarb, and a reasonably hefty helping of very floral hops to dry out the finish. The body is slightly syrupy, but not overly so. I like this even more than Mother of all Storms.

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Photo of olympuszymurgus
4.77/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

04,05,08,09 vertical at the brewery.
"the only way you can taste the perfect storm is to get the vertical of all these and then the perfect storm," says the bartender. "oh, how much is that?" "10 bucks." i respond by smashing everything in the vicinity and leaving angrily.
what a beautiful dessert. like a flight of ports after an excellent meal, and yeah, what an excellent meal, those guys do it right.
04 - oxidation leads to beautiful dates and raisins, heavy on the dates. caramel and the honey is still there in flavor but the sweetness is mostly gone.
05 - more dark fruits but a little less prevalent, tobacco, daytime stripper sweat, and a touch of sweetness. a little caramel and chocolate.
08 - the things that gods would do to drink this. its a good thing they don't know about pelican yet. dark fruits - always the same, dark fruits - still bringing a little heat. didn't remember that this was so strong until this one. alcohol almost nonexistent in the 04 and 05. a little toasty as well.
09 - much fresher, a bit boozy, vanilla, caramel, hops still pushing their cones through.

all of these were individually excellent and it was amazing luck to be able to have this on tap. not what i was expecting from such a small town brewery.

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Photo of matthewalee
4.67/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 version. Poured into a Deschutes Tulip glass...onward

A - Really nice brown, mahogany pour. sticks to the glass.

S - A bunch of candy and toffee. Awesome deep tones with little alcohol.

T - Taste is a dark fig/fruit up front, followed by almost bananas and brown sugar...delicious!!

M - FULL....stays with you until the next drink. This beer is amazing right now and really doesn't come off as a 13% barleywine.

D - Best Barleywine I have had hands down. (thanks Evan) Pelican is no joke and they know what they are delivering to those that seek out their beers...GREAT job!!! (from one of the few lucky bastards in Indiana who actually may get to try this beer!!!) Have a Perfect Storm waiting....also 2008

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Photo of Bookseeb
4.67/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

WOW!, caught me a little offguard there on my first sip thinking it was just another winter type ale that turned into a barleywine ale. This 2006 bottle pours a cloudy dark brown that you can tell has some viscosity to it that carries a thin head. Smell is rich in malt, honey liqueur, dark fruits and alchohol. Taste is what is expected from a barleywine big and bold with a good alchohol bite, with a thick and rich mouthfeel. Now that my palate is in tune to what I am really tasting and letting it warm a bit, I can get the true style of this beer and really appreciate it's warming effect.

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Photo of czechsaaz
4.66/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2006 Vintage, nice silk-screened 22oz bottle.

Lots of molasses malt aroma and floral hops. A little bit of spicy hop aroma and lots of fruity esters and a hint of bread yeast. Toffee notes and some chocolate. Very complex and pleasing.

Deep red colored but with very little head. A little bit on first pour but that's gone almost immediately leaving just the smallest rim around the rim of the glass. Nice clarity for something this dark.

First sip is big and powerful. Lots of butterscotch/toffee flavor (but not diacetyl, more of a treacle malt effect.) Some fruity wine esters. Initial hop bitterness is pretty high but it balances out with big doses of malt in the finish and aftertaste. I get honey characters and prunes and raisins in the ester profile. Again very complex and big. There is a little bit of alcohol flavor that is kind of overbearing which is the only thing keeping me from a 5.

Big bodied with smooth but on the light end of carbonation level. But the carb level is perfectly appropriate for the style. A little more alcohol warming than I would like but it is a barley wine so some alcohol is expected.

Really nice complex and huge barley wine. Drinkable but in the long savoring way that a great barley wine should be. Very highly recommended, need to get more!

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Photo of ricke49
4.65/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A fine English Barleywine. Flavor is complex, finishing with a distinct hop bite, combined with alcohol warmth...essentially a perfect balance between the two. If you are looking for a well-crafted domestic example of this style, this is a recommended starting point. Mouthfeel is ideal with a very satisfying body and oily slickness. A great young brew (this was the 2009 vintage from a 22 oz. bomber).

Similar to Anchor Old Foghorn, but slightly richer.

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Photo of pixieskid
4.63/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Finally getting around to trying this beer, picked up a couple of bottles this summer while visiting Pacific City. 2010 vintage.

Pours rich dark brown, with a thin creamy tan head, dissipating semi-quickly.

Nose; dark ripe fruits, some roastiness, and a bit of chocolate.
Taste; raisins, plums, dates, and a surprising milk chocolate note amidst all the rich malts. Finishes with a somewhat challky medicinal note and herbal hop presence.

Overall; a really solid barleywine with a killer mouthfeel. Alcohol is well hidden but the finish is slightly off-putting.
Having had MoAS this summer, I'm not sure which I prefer because I found the bourbon note in MoAS to overpower the majority of the base beer but I don't recall it having the medicinal finish that Stormwatcher's does.

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Photo of sweemzander
4.62/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz. bottle poured into a snifter. 2010 Vintage. Huge thanks to hopsbreath for the bottle!

(A)- Pours a fairly dark mahogany color with reddish highlights. Produced some nice (and surprisingly) tan froth with additional surprising retention despite its hefty ABV.

(S)- A wonderfully rich aroma of toasted almond and walnut with raisin, burnt caramel, dates (currants?), and brown sugar.

(T)- Similar to the smell. A wonderfully sweet and rich raisin, brown sugar, caramel, dates (currants again?). Subtle bits of vanilla lingers as it warms.

(M)- A mellow carbonation level, but it fits this perfectly. Rich and sweet with a solid ABV integration considering this is 13%. Was expecting this to be much thicker, but is surprisingly a tad thinner which helps this out alot I think.

(D)- What a great Barleywine. Rich and sweet without being too cloying, thick, or boozy. Really a great profile for the style. I can definitely see how this becomes Mother of All Storms; possibly the greatest Barleywine I have ever had!

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Photo of ccrida
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle, 2006. Poured into a snifter, Stormwatcher's Winterfest is a beautiful, seriously dark garnet with slight chill haze. There is a tight khaki collar with light surface skim. While it leaves barely any lace, a gentle swirl coats the sides of the snifter with foam, sliding down the sides with cognac-like viscosity.

The smell is rich but not overwhelming caramel malt, lots of dark fruit, cognac, semi-sweet and a little nutty. Maybe more plum brandy then cognac actually, but I haven't had that as recently...

The taste is rich yet restrained. Not as sweet as the nose, but not an uber-bitter barleywine that takes years to calm down either. Complex without smacking you over the head, the taste follows the nose, and also has a touch of smoke, leather. The finish is boozy but surprisingly clean. This is one masterfully made barleywine, so well balanced. You know it's big, but +13% ABV? I've tasted 8 percenters with more heat!

This mouthfeel is very thick and syrupy, yet equally luscious and creamy.

Well this was one excellent Barleywine, so it's very drinkable, relatively to being a big rich +13% beer. The smoothest big beer I've every head. After the first half of the bottle, I had smell and taste as 4s, but bumped them both up a 1/2 a point as it warmed. I'm sure they'll both be 5's after some quality cellar time. I really like the fact that I just saw this at my local beer spot and it's the 2006 vintage - I'm assuming Pelican aged this for a while themselves before releasing it, probably 8+ months old. Makes the $12.99 price tag a little easier to swallow!

A fine choice for my 200th review, I'm really glad I have another one of these in the stash, I bet it'll keep maturing for years. We'll see just how patient I can actually be!

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Photo of Metalmonk
4.47/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy (stormy?) dark brown with an amber/ruby hue, lots of bubbles swirling up to the light tan head that retains incredibly well, considering the high ABV.

The aroma, or, should I say THE AROMA, is exactly what I want in a barleywine. Big bold maltiness, hyper-graham cracker, ultra-juicy plum, lots of caramel/toffee, big vanilla, and curiously, a kind of peaty edge that I'd expect in a hi-test Scotch Ale.

Flavor offers as much depth as the aroma, with a chocolatey sweetness peeking through. Dark fruit notes are smacked around by a soothing alcohol warmth, tons of toffee and vanilla extract. The alcohol is felt but doesn't overstay its welcome...an achievement at 13+ %. If I have only one criticism, it's a tiny one: flavor tilts slightly toward some badass Scotch Ale as much as it does a barleywine. Maybe that's because this isn't an overhopped/ultra-hopped barleywine. Big as it is, the hops are kept in the background. Very interesting.

The mouth is big, thick and chewy...slightly sticky too. This was already a sipper, but the bigness and thickness of the body make it even more so. Never thought I'd say it, but this could've probably been an even better beer if the mouth were a little less like pure melted chocolate.

On par with most of the Pelican beers I've tried (most of them on tap at the brewpub), and that means it's a superb bit of craftsmanship. It's survived a year in the bottle quite well. Could use even more aging, no doubt. So I'm sipping this on a brisk, sunny, beautiful autumn afternoon, with nothing but fall's colors around...and I'm wishing I were standing on the beach in a mighty wind watching a storm off the pacific coast in Pacific City. It happens. Wish I could find this beer without travelling cross-country to get it.

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Photo of GClarkage
4.47/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

06/07/09- Shared at a recent tasting.

Presentation- 22oz bottle, not sure of the release date. Poured into my Orval chalice.

Appearance- Cola-like deep brown colored pour. About a 3/4 inch head on the pour with a large bubbled head. Leaves some light chunks of lace and other markings behind.

Smell- A good amount of tart grapefruit pith and pine hop aromas. A bit of toffee caramel as well as a decent hit of alcohol.

Taste- Hopped up pretty well. Caramel malt is pretty deep and roasted with a toffee flavor. Alcohol can be detected, but works pretty good with the mix of flavors. Also a bit of dark fruit notes as well.

Mouthfeel- Pretty heavily carbonated with some burnt malt and hops in the aftertaste.

Drinkability- Not a bad barleywine, but not really English style IMO. Worth trying though...interesting mix of flavors.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.47/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2007 Vintage. Thanks snojerk321.

Poured into a tulip. The beer is really dark brown, with a ruby hue near the bottom of the glass when held to the light. The light toffee head is creamy with nice retention.

The aroma is extremely rich toffee, a little nutty, with a slightly toasted character and a hint of caramel. A little alcohol is noticeable. Notes of sugary dried and dark fruits are present: plums and figs.

The flavor is sweet, sugary, and lightly toasted. Rich toffee is dominant and delicious. Other flavors are of candied sugar and dried dark fruits. A little alcohol is noticeable, but I wouldn't have estimated it as high as 13.3% because it's hidden well behind the richness of the beer. Bitterness is at a low level. The sweet and complex finish reveals warming alcohol.

The beer is full bodied with low-medium carbonation. The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. This is a quality English Barleywine.

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Photo of brentk56
4.47/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 bottling

Appearance: Pours a caramel color with a tan cap that drops to a ringlet but leaves a dancing pattern of lace

Smell: Rich aroma of caramel, dark fruit (fig, date), leather and nuts

Taste: Opens with a caramel and dark fruit flavor, that adds a pithy and earthy hop element by mid-palate; nuts and toffee smoothness after the swallow, with a bit of booze on the finish

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, with a creamy mouthfeel and low to moderate carbonation; warmth in the gullet

Drinkability: Really drinking nicely now, with great balance between the elements

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Photo of Reagan1984
4.47/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ok, I can’t drink this bottle without longing for some “Mother of All Storms”. My understanding is that this is the base beer and I have to say this is great as well. Picked this up on my last trip to the Northwest. I’ve been waiting for the right time. This is it...

Pours with a thin head that settles rather quickly. No lacing.. A tiny ring of bubbles remains around the edge. Deep ruby color with plenty of dark amber tones.

Light booze, deep sweet malt and tons of chewy caramel. A slight toasted nut quality.

Mmm, mmm. Chewy caramel mixed with a dark toasted malt flavor. More nuts. Like the dark roasted peanuts. Just a hint. Doesn’t really taste like peanuts. But a bit of the aftertaste from the dark roasted ones. Just enough sweetness to balance the bitterness and booze.. Not hot at all. Warming and wondeful.

Silky smooth, warming as noted above. Very thick body

Man this is a nice beer and one that grow on me as I work through the glass.

Another great job by Pelican Pub. Awesome work folks!!

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Photo of alcstradamus
4.45/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a nice ruby/brown with a small head

Aroma is light, but still has a nice caramel and nutty character

The flavor is absolutely incredible. Rich maltiness, mostly caramel and raisin. Lots of subtle flavors that blend together into a perfect melange of flavor.

The body is on the full side of medium and carbonation is perfectly low.

Overall this is one of the best barleywines I've drank, it is no surprise that this holds up so well to barrel aging and morphs into the perfect storm.

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Photo of jakon
4.45/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22oz. bottle purchased for $12.99 on 7-15-7 at Tanasbourne Haggen.

I thought about saving this one for awhile but decided to try it and see how many I might want now that I know there's plenty on the shelf.

Pours a very dark burgundy/mahogany color with an adequate roasted marshmallow head that recedes steadily while leaving zero lacing. And yes, this glass is beer clean. The yulesmith I just drank out of one of it's kin left a nice thick layer. Anyway, the aroma is malty. Kinda bready and nutty at the same time. The taste reveals more depth. I get hints of caramel, alcohol, butterscotch, various nuts, fig and other flavors I'm unable to identify. Upon warming, the alcohol really comes out. First sip was at proper serving temp, but the alcohol was almost non-existent. I wondered if this was really as big as advertised. But now I know. It definitely is. I initially criticized the mouthfeel for a lack of carbonation, but soon became aware of the thick syrupy body that I love so much with these huge barley wines. This is well-crafted and all the components seem to be enjoying a nice harmony. I can't knock it. It got better with each sip until I realized I now need to go purchase a few more before the shelf is empty. Considering its strength, this brew is off the charts as far as drinkability is concerned. This beer should be spectacular for years.

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Photo of PDXHops
4.45/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2008 and 2007 served side-by-side in small snifters at the brewery.

Dark brown opaque body with red highlights. A finger of off-white head. Head retention and lacing are surprisingly substantial considering the massive ABV.

Massive bready and sweet malt and boozy aromas up front. After my nose becomes acclimated, a host of other smells join the party: lots of dark and overripe fruits, bitter chocolate, cherry pie.

BIG flavor. Just like the nose, this one starts out in the mouth with huge sweet and bready malt up front. Lots going on here. Fresh baked dark bread, hints of bitter chocolate, wood and cherry. The 2007 in particular has bold molasses and toffee flavors. Really nice.

Mouthfeel is quite thick, and the abundant carbonation really brings out the chewiness and spiciness in the beer.

Drinkability is dangerously good at this ABV. Put down these 2 snifters slowly, but with ease.

Overall impression: BIG English barleywine that seems like it could hold up for a long time in the cellar. Could be great in a few years.

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Photo of joedon
4.43/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

What a huge, bad-ass, winter beer!

On-tap with a smallish tan head that fell quickly. Perfect, dark-brown, crystal clear pour with nice lacing.

Aroma of malt, sugar, burnt caramel.

Powerful, complex taste: lots of malt, toffee, raisins, sherry, burnt sugar. Nice hop balance. Flavors linger on the palate to a blend of cream sherry and chocolate.

Rich mouthfeel, very thick body but just right for this strong winter beer.
Very drinkable; in sips on a cold winter day.

What a pleasant surprize to try this on a winter day in Alaska!

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Photo of augustgarage
4.42/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2010 vintage. Poured from a 22oz bomber into my Spirit Sippers snifter.

Very dark carmine body with faint crimson highlights and a lasting earth yellow collar and surface slick. Rich sandy lacing and fast running legs.

Immense yet subtle aromatics suffused with dark fruit, leather, tobacco, toffee, brown sugar, leaves, loam, and light (English?) hops. Deep multi-layered malty skeleton.

Intense black bread, char, plums, prunes, apricots, figs, demerara rum, clove, violets, and more. Hefty alcohol kick and mild bitterness offset the roasty astringency and sweetness. Bitter chocolate, burnt sugar, and plenty of toast in the finish. Remarkable depth.

Medium-full bodied, slick, and faintly oily with mild carbonation.

One of the best domestic examples of the style...happy to sample this first before cracking one of barrel aged versions. Perfectly suited for the environment it was produced in...takes me right back to the Oregon coast.

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Photo of superspak
4.42/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled on 12/17/2012. Pours hazy nearly opaque dark reddish brown color with a 1 finger fairly dense tan head with decent retention, that reduces to a ring of lace that lingers. Light spotty lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of huge raisin, prune, fig, pear, apple, caramel, molasses, toffee, toast, brown bread, light chocolate, tobacco, leather, herbal, light pepper, and yeast earthiness. Incredible aromas with great balance and complexity of dark/bready malt and fruity yeast ester notes; with great strength. Taste of big raisin, prune, fig, pear, apple, caramel, molasses, toffee, toast, brown bread, light chocolate, tobacco, leather, herbal, light pepper, and yeast earthiness. Lingering notes of raisin, prune, fig, pear, apple, caramel, molasses, toast, toffee, brown bread, light chocolate, tobacco, leather, herbal, light pepper, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity of dark/bready malt and fruity/earthy yeast ester flavors; with an awesome malt/yeast balance and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and very full bodied; with a very creamy, slick, and lightly syrupy mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is well hidden with only a small warming present after the finish. Overall this is an insane English Barleywine. All around incredible complexity and balance of dark/bready malt and fruity yeast ester flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the big ABV. An extremely amazing offering.

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Photo of macpapi
4.41/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked a bottle of this beauty up while visiting the Northwest recently. Actually didn't have in stock at the Pelican, but I found it at a bottle shop in Seattle. Lucky me!!

Pelican Stormwatcher's Winterfest pours a dark brown color with reddish tints. Has a light brownish head.

Aroma is bold and full. Very malty pull with deep hints of booze--brandy, I think, but will leave that up the liquor aroma experts. Also there are strong whiffs of caramel, toffee, and a bit of dark cherry. Very full and inviting.

Taste is deep, dark, and boozy. Lots of malt, dark fruit flavors, and plenty of alcohol bite. Also noted flavor of both caramel and toffee, making this a strong-flavored yet pretty sweet beer.

Full flavor with plenty of bite. Carbonation is moderate. But this beer has quite a presence on the tongue. It does not sneak up on you!!

Overall this is a bold and extremely flavorful sipper. Meant to be enjoyed at a slow pace and in moderation. This is one hell of a beer!!

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Photo of paco1029384756
4.4/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very dark burgundy color, nearly black with a small bubbly white head and a perfectly thing ring of lacing.

Scent of caramel is prominent, molasses, bitter, earthy hops come in behind it with a hint of cinnamon and a bit of heat from the alcohol. Some bitter chocolate and oatmeal lie deeper in the scent. Nice complexity, but nothing amazing at this point.

Taste of bitter hops and caramel initially, leading to dry bitter chocolate, a hint of alcohol, sugars, and molasses. Doesn't match the complexity of the scent, but the bittersweet rush of flavor initially is very nice. I am really looking forward to how this will age.

Mouthfeel is heavy, dense and oily with a big bite adding to the bittersweet flavor, wonderful.

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Photo of CuriousMonk
4.39/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark amber and mahogany color capped with light brown foam. Aroma is a mix of molasses, black cherry, raisins and tobacco. The flavor starts with a hefty dose of brown sugar, toffee and cherry liqueur followed by some date, plum and grape juice notes. There is some chocolate, fig and currant in the background as well. Mouthfeel is thick and syrupy with soft carbonation and more malt and booze in the finish. Overall, a sweet and potent English-style barleywine with a unique blend of dark fruit and malt flavors. Want more of this especially on a cold winter day!

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Photo of gford217
4.37/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 vintage.

Pours a deep reddish brown that shows through as a clear copper when held up to light. The head is small and leaves a small collar with little lacing.

The aroma is thick and sweet with caramelized malts, brown sugar and toffee. There are all kinds of dark fruits as well, figs and raisins

The taste is also chock full of caramel malts sweetness, brown sugar and some run-soaked fruits. But I also get a deep earthy hop bitterness up front and in the finish. The alcohol starts to show up after a few sips and starts to leave a pleasant burn.

The mouthfeel is full bodied and chewy with low, soft carbonation and a completely decadent, dessert-like mouthfeel. Super smooth.

I'm a sucker for a great English barleywine and that's exactly what this is. The sweetness is dominant but with a hop profile that makes things more complex and a completely massive mouthfeel. A fantastic dessert beer.

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Photo of John_M
4.36/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Was fortunate enough to stop by the brewpub this weekend, when they happened to have 5 different vintages of this excellent beer. The 2004 and 2003 (the latter in pinot barrels) were long gone, but they still had on the 2003, 2005 and 2007. The 2005 had just kicked, but I was able to get a sample glass. All three beers were oustanding, but the 2005 was incredible.

These beers showed the outstanding aging potential of this beer. The color lessened over time, but it became increasingly smooth and refined as well. So based on the 2005, which was the best of the lot.

The beer pours a darkish brown color with outstanding head retention and lacing. The beer looks very rich and, not surprising, smells incredibly rich, sweet and malty. The alcohol is also prety noticeable on the nose, but the beer is not inordinately boozy or heavy.

On the palate this beer is just wonderful. I get a soft, silky smooth flavor of milk chocolate, with some underlying honey and brown sugar. This beer is altogether delicious, and is very light, soft and creamy on the palate. The beer is mouthcoating and rich, with a long soft, lingering finish. This beer is so polished and refined, with an abv. that is very well disguised. I gueess I've had better barleywines, but I'd be hard pressed to name them. Just an outstanding BW from this top flight brewpub. Well done.

12/28/09 edit. Stopped by again today, and was able to taste the 2004 through 2009 side by side, along with the 2009 perfect storm. While all were excellent (and once again, the 2005 was the standout), all of these beers were quite different as well. So I think it's kind of sad that this beer is not entered into the data base by vintage, as each vintage was noticeably different. In any event, regardless of the vintage, winterstorm is an excellent beer, one worth sampling and enjoying. The winter storm flight, at $10 for 5 beers, was an especially good value IMHO (not exactly something Pelican Brewing is known for). Definitely try the flight if you happen to have the chance.

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Stormwatcher's Winterfest from Pelican Pub & Brewery
91 out of 100 based on 82 ratings.