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Stormwatcher's Winterfest - Pelican Pub & Brewery

Not Rated.
Stormwatcher's WinterfestStormwatcher's Winterfest

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

135 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 135
Reviews: 80
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 8.89%
Wants: 116
Gots: 40 | 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:
32.1 degrees Plato
Alcohol: 13.0% by volume
Bitterness: 31 IBU
Color: 54 SRM

(Beer added by: Shaw on 10-12-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 135 | Reviews: 80 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of alcstradamus
4.47/5  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.

alcstradamus, Jan 09, 2011
Photo of seeswo
3.85/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2009 vintage. Having recently had East End Gratitude, this beer is in for a difficult challenge. It pours a very dark brown color and smells almost as good - again, that characteristic toffee, caramel flavor, coupled with a bit of booze. Pelican's offering brings that flavor, but in a bit more muddled fashion. There is also some slightly unpleasant booziness (slight!). I am enjoying it and would probably like it more if I didn't just have the knockout of the style in Gratitude.

seeswo, Dec 17, 2010
Photo of nickd717
4.18/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle of the 2008 vintage (or "maltage" seems more appropriate - wine sucks).

Pours a somewhat cloudy reddish-amber-brown color with a small light tan head sitting on top.

The aroma is excellent, with big-time caramel and toffee malt evident, along with a considerable dark fruit presence, toasty biscuit, and some oak despite the non-bal aging of this beer.

The flavor is very complex and well-done. It has the same oakiness as Perfect Storm, albeit to a lesser extent. Seems this beer has inherent oakiness in it even without being -bal aged. The malts are very toffeeish, not too sweet, with fig, prune, and date notes.

Medium-full bodied with a smooth mouthfeel despite mild tannins.

Great barleywine overall. Had this side-by-side with Perfect Storm '09 and it was tough to pick a winner.

nickd717, Oct 22, 2010
Photo of JohnGalt1
4.05/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

We opened '08 and '09 side by side with an '09 Perfect Storm a while back... reviewed from pretty good paper notes. Thanks Jeremy and Sammy.

Deep amber with a yellow head that drops leaving good sheets of lacing... nose shows quite a bit of raisin and lesser caramel... toasty elements seem to help dry it out a bit.

Flavor is nice and rich... fruity esters make me think dried cherries and prunes... a bit boozy... sorta spicy.. tobacco shows with warmth.. pretty chewy body with small bubble carbonation.

I think we all agreed the '08 was better but only by a bit... not sure on the aging potential with most English style BW's ... but I believe this one has some legs.

Thanks again buddies.

4/4/4/4.5/4

JohnGalt1, Oct 14, 2010
Photo of CrellMoset
4.05/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle as an AWESOME extra courtesy of a great BA - thanks! Poured in to a cervoise.

Appearance: Pours a treacherously dark black cherry, opaque without exposure to direct light, though doing that does allow a few tendrils of luminescence in around the edges of the cervoise. The head on top of this beer is equally dark, relatively, a one finger mass of seething foam that has fairly poor retention, a not-unexpected effect of the 13.3% abv. The fast fade does reveal a huge amount of fast, pinpoint carbonation surging forth from the depths of this brew, rising up the sides and to the surface of the beer and - pop! - popping on the surface. Lacing on the sides of the glass is non-existent, again I suppose due to the ridiculously high abv% - its almost like any semblance of foam that does pop up with agitation or successive sips is trying as hard as possible to return to the body of this beer, racing down the sides of the glass back in to the depths. Attractively hued and forgivable, process-wise, due to the high abv%.

Aroma: Glassy and steely, with that "well-attenuated barleywine" smell that's vaguely malty and moderately astringent and bitter. The hoppiness is pungent here, particularly as it warms (though this, unfortunately, is where the alcohol begins to come through more strongly as well) - tropical fruits, papaya, grapefruits - though it mingles well with dark toffee, faint cocoa, caramel, brown sugar, and molasses and the other hop notes ... mint, tobacco, faint thyme.

Taste: I was pondering out loud why this beer comes across as "hotter" than, say, the Perfect Storm, which theoretically should be this beer plus a bunch of whiskey. Thinking too much on the subject, I'm going to move forward on the assumption that when my tongue tastes whiskey or bourbon and the accompanying heat, my reaction is "hm, this tastes like whiskey and bourbon, and these things are supposed to be alcoholic and hot," whereas when I taste, say, a non-bal beer, the alcohol spiciness stands out a lot more, in contrast, as I don't associate, say, barleywine flavors (always) with heat. This is a long roundabout way of saying this beer has plenty of alcohol heat, unsurprising with only a year or so of age and a 13.3% abv bill, but prominent and slightly detracting nonetheless.

The rest of this beer is classic dark/light barleywine. It's dark in the sense that it's a heavily caramelized, glassy tasting barleywine - dark toffee, dry molasses and caramel notes, faint suggestions of toast, brown sugar. It's equal parts dry and sweet, hitting that nice balanced sweet spot that itself strikes the perfect balance with what's a pretty darn hefty bittering hop bill. It's light in the sense that the hop flavors here are on the higher end of the spectrum, as are the malty fruit notes - tropical fruits, citrus, cherries, peaches, as well as a ton of leafy tobacco notes. The end result is a biting, tongue-thrashing barleywine with a great deal of complexity ... and enough heat that I'd recommend laying this one down for at least another two years before cracking it.

Mouthfeel: Thick and oily, but with enough fine, subtle embedded carbonation to provide a good amount of lift. It's not syrupy or sticky, as the body itself is relatively dry ... but don't let this one sit for too long.

Drinkability: This is no Perfect Storm, in name or in flavor. I think part of that's in my head, what with the increased harshness/bitterness from the alcohol, but also from the lack of balance that the barrel aging contributes. Regardless, I'm still pretty impressed by this beer - it's a well-made barleywine, with tons of complexity and flavor, with tons of dark leafy hop notes and dark, steely malts, and with tons of sweeter, fruitier, lighter notes. This one has the potential to be beautiful with a year or two of age on it - if you got it, sit on it, and if you got two, sit on one and send me the other. Cheers!

CrellMoset, Sep 16, 2010
Photo of djbreezy
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2009 bottle served at Bailey's Taproom in Portland, OR

appearance - pours a rich and dark amber/red, sticky lacing, good retention

smell - caramel, sugar, floral

taste - caramel and vanilla, sugar, floral hops, big sweet malt, some alcohol burn in the finish, would age well

mouthfeel - sufficient carbonation, big body, smooth

drinkability - this one is flavorful but meant to be sipped, too much and it fatigues very quickly

djbreezy, Aug 28, 2010
Photo of wordemupg
4.18/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2007 bomber poured into abbey glass july18 2010

A looks like cola until held to the light where it has a ruby red glow, I don't expect much head from a big ass beer and I got none somehow there's a few patches of lace

S molasses with some prune/raisin there's a small amount of chocolate and some booze

T this is a big beer without doubt there's a fair amount of booze with some burnt sugar and candied cherry to go along with what I smell

M silky with lingering flavors but still very hot

D I like the smell and taste of this beer but the booze burn takes a little from it, don't get me wrong I enjoyed this brew but it's a good thing it was split between a few glasses

I didn't know the alc% when we drank it and I'm not surprised it's listed at 13.3%, another bottle shared by presario at hoser's British Open Sunday tasting

wordemupg, Jul 21, 2010
Photo of Docer
2.93/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Snagged up a 2009 release at The BeerMongers...

- Rich dark black... thin bubbly mocha head... dissipated quickly to a few stray islands.... thin ring.... viscous...

- Smells of molasses, honey.... sweet sugars... light grain and citrus hops.... like a sweet syrup.

- Flavor is much the same... like molasses and honey fermented with some water and a bit of grain and roasty barley... citrus and bitter pine hops and more syrup. I am shocked at the huge 'A' level reviews... this isn't a barleywine at all... and its a syrupy mess of a beer. Overly sweet....

- Sticky and thick... heavy bodied... sticky..

- Overall it's heavy. Super sweet... sticky... and a mess. It's really not that good... and I'd take a real barleywine over this molasses and honey mess any day. I honestly can't see and taste what people are thinking here with this brew..

Docer, Jul 18, 2010
Photo of brentk56
4.47/5  rDev +7.5%
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

brentk56, Jun 19, 2010
Photo of msubulldog25
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A 22 oz. bottle, 2008 vintage, split on a rainy Sunday and paired with a Cowgirl Creamery 'Red Hawk' cheese. Poured to a small snifter, cooled for only about 20 minutes in the fridge after spending the last few months in the increasingly mild cellar.

Nice silk-screened label; design has changed with the last release to be more inline with other Pelican offerings.

A: Deep mahogany with rusty-ruby highlights, quite clear. After a brief fizzle of light tan for a head, any trace of a crown is all but gone within seconds - a pencil-fine line rings the glass. Held to light, the tiniest streams of carbonation ever reveal themselves...

S: Lots of spiced candy, something like red apple skins, minty hops. Strong and tingly in the nose, a good dose of alcohol even with well over a year of aging.

T: Rich burnt toffee, chewy fudge, 'drunken cherry' fruitiness, a present (but fading) spruce/spice hoppiness. A vague sort of meatiness, like brown sugar glaze or marinated jerky ~ cigars and leather in a liquid form. A little green/cut grass and herbs in the finish, something like wild honey, too. Melodic and extremely tasty.

M: Velvety smooth, creamy and coating, sultry and gently carbonated. The slightest sticky maltiness pasted on the lips, a fair warmth glowing on the cheeks and languishing on the back of the tongue. Medium body, borderline full. But for the creeping heat, this is perfect.

D: Sure, the alcohol heat is evident ~ Bah, so what...it's a straight-up delicious barleywine that requires plenty of time to sip and someone to enjoy it with. Could stand a little more time in the cellar to fully calm down; still, it's damn fine right now.

msubulldog25, Jun 07, 2010
Photo of ricke49
4.68/5  rDev +12.5%
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.

ricke49, Apr 19, 2010
Photo of olympuszymurgus
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%
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.

olympuszymurgus, Mar 05, 2010
Photo of gford217
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
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.

gford217, Dec 18, 2009
Photo of paco1029384756
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
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.

paco1029384756, Nov 10, 2009
Photo of GClarkage
3.95/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

GClarkage, Jun 15, 2009
Photo of HopHead84
4.47/5  rDev +7.5%
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.

HopHead84, Jun 09, 2009
Photo of PDXHops
4.45/5  rDev +7%
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.

PDXHops, Feb 24, 2009
Photo of Arbitrator
3.7/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Courtesy of end 0))).

Chilled bottle into a glass. 2007 vintage.

A: Dark, opaque brown with slight purple and reddish highlights. Small head that dissipates quickly, but remains a ring around the glass. Lacing is nonexistent. Decent carbonation up the center of the glass.

S: Raisins, plums, cherries, figs. Wood, vanilla, and a little tobacco.

T: Very sweet. When first tasted, slightly on the colder side, the dark fruits dominated the initial flavor, with the wood, vanilla, and tobacco following after. The finish had a strong alcohol hotness to it. Later, as it warmed, the alcohol moved to the first taste, blending well with the sweetness in such a way that it was cleverly masked. The wood, vanilla, and tobacco remained second. However, the initial sips were of strong cherry cough syrup, and so were the last few.

M: Very viscous and full-bodied, but not sticky. Medium carbonation.

D: Honestly, if they all tasted like this, I wouldn't have another one. I couldn't. They're just too sweet. But the other reviews here seem to center on the 2006 vintage, which tells me something: I had this too young. I regret that.

As it stands, this tastes like a clone of the Old Stock '08 that I had on tap at Toronado. In fact, the tastes are so similar that I'm wondering if I somehow received the wrong thing (at the Toronado) by mistake. This Stormwatcher tastes much more like an old ale than a barleywine, anyway.

I'd have this again, if I aged it a few years. And I'd split it with a friend.

Arbitrator, Feb 07, 2009
Photo of canucklehead
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was a 2006 bottle from my cellar. Pours a cloudy reddish brown with a medium head. The beer smells like Thomas Hardy with all the old fruit and burnt sugar. This is a splendid barley wine with all the big evolved mouthfeel ( 2-3 years in the cellar seem to transform the beer from young hoppy and sweetish to dry and rounded.) As with all Pelican beers this is very drinkable and balanced to a T.

canucklehead, Dec 29, 2008
Photo of hoppymeal
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 Vintage. Pours a slightly ruddy brown, some haziness and a decent sized butterscotch yellow head that slowly recedes. Aroma is a nice sweet caramel maltiness, some fruit sweetness, strawberry, malted milk, bread and raisins. Taste follows with more sweet maltiness and dark and ripe fruit, raisins, prunes, dates, dried strawberries like a fruit roll-up, a hint of citrus hoppiness blends with the malty sweetness. Mouthfeel is medium to heavy, creamy and chewy maltiness, hint of pepperiness, some warmth and a small bite from the alcohol which is otherwise very well hidden. Delicious barleywine, drinking good at this age, would love to try a fresh version sometime, but this beer seems though it could easily go longer. Thank you Paul for the opportunity.

hoppymeal, Dec 15, 2008
Photo of Derek
3.63/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2006 vintage.

A: Dark caramel, tan head, very little retention, slight lacing.

S: Huge alcohol aroma & plenty of floral from the hallertau mittelfruh hops; cotton candy, dark caramel, brown sugar & a little spice.

T: Even after 2 years, the alcohol is very forward. Sherry, brown sugar, toffee and floral hops. I usually love these hops, but in my opinion, they're not quite right for a barley wine.

M: Well-attenuated, moderate body has a drying alcohol finish. Carbonation is on the low side of moderate.

D: I still find the alcohol quite harsh.

Derek, Nov 07, 2008
Photo of Sammy
3.53/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thank you for bringing to our barleywine night, Derek. 2006 is entered on the label. Big off-white head with a cheese appearance and bubbles. Some lace seen. The smell is sour and barleywine. The taste is considerably on the sour side, it is intentional. Primarily it tastes like an average barleywine.Somewhat disapointing for a barleywine with some ageing. Mt. Hood hops. 31 IBU.

Sammy, Nov 07, 2008
Photo of DIM
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: This was a very pretty, deep ruby red color with coppery edges. It poured with a thin but long lived light tan colored head.

s: This had a complex and ever changing aroma. Soon after the pour I smelled lots of sweet chocolate and some cherries. As it warmed and breathed smoky, charred caramel and toffee took over. There was also a fairly strong plum aroma. As expected, there was decent amount of heat here as well.

t: The first sip did not make a good impression. I thought I was in for 22 ounces of cherry cough syrup. Thankfully, as it breathed, the change was quick and dramatic. Some faint floral cherries did stick around along with some sweet chocolate. The dominant flavors, however, became vanilla, toffee, and butterscotch. At times, these tasted slightly charred. There were plenty of dark fruit flavors as well. This was plenty warm, but it was well masked given the high abv.

m: This had a thick, silky body and the carbonation was creamy and long lasting. I lowered the score a bit because of the lingering charred toffee after taste.

d: This was very close to being an outstanding barleywine. Without that lingering charred flavor, this would have been world class. As it was though, I did enjoy it quite a bit.

DIM, Nov 05, 2008
Photo of Georgiabeer
4.18/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2006 vintage bought from John' Grocery in Portland a while ago. Doesn't look like much- pours`a hazy dark brown with little head. . From there it gets much better. Lovely aromas of caramel toffee, spice, sassafras, some roastiness and sweet. Nice. The taste has similar components, but there is also quite a bit of herbal tang, more spice, and a good deal of sweet malt, but all with a very bitter citrus and pine hop finish. All big flavors, but they balance each other rather than conflict. The mouthfeel is a bit sharp and full. Huge and spicy and very high alcohol make this one a sipper.

Georgiabeer, Jun 13, 2008
Photo of John_M
4.38/5  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.

John_M, Apr 28, 2008
Stormwatcher's Winterfest from Pelican Pub & Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 135 ratings.