Mother Of All Storms - Pelican Pub & Brewery
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Ratings: 1,219 | Reviews: 392 | Show All Ratings:
Reviews by nhindian:
4.4/5 rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5
22oz bottle poured into a large snifter. Bottle provided by yuriruley, thanks Nate!
This is a barrel-aged version of Pelican Pub's Stormwatcher's Winterfest; when finalized, it's a blend of barleywine that spent time in 11-13 Evan Williams barrels of varying ages.
A - As it pours out of the bottle, it appears a rustic orange, as if it's molten copper spilling out of a forge, but as it settles in the snifter, it turns into a murky, tawny brown that's completely opaque save some translucence at the rims. A steady pour releases a 1-fingered, tan head that is nearly gone by the time I reach my table (it almost instantly fizzes away like cola.) There's barely any remnant that the head was even there; perhaps a visualization of what something would look like after 'the mother of all storms' ravages it - complete emptiness. As the head essentially disappears completely, its not surprise that there's a distinct lack of lacing here. Small bubbles stick softly to the glass, but rapidly fall back into the depths. It's possible to see some carbonation slowly rise, but they are few and far between.
S - To be honest, the nose took me off-guard here at first because the bourbon isn't readily apparent at the start. The barrels are more noticeable, in that there's a decent helping of oak and especially vanilla here, but at heart, this beer is still an English barleywine, and there's absolutely no mistaking that as the malts lend their sweetness and depth right out of the gates. Big notes of molasses and even some chocolate join the mix, as well as darker fruits such as grapes, plums and some brown sugar. It's sweet, but enjoyable, and the oak and vanilla definitely complement that. The bourbon comes through about mid-way, and plays to the fruits here, as well as giving off some alcohol. Speaking of alcohol, the 13.5% ABV is masterfully concealed here, not approaching that number in any way in terms of heat.
T - Again, the thing I notice right away in the taste is that the bourbon is exceptionally subtle. I've never had the base beer, Stormwatcher's Winterfest, before, so I can't exactly say if it's because the original beer is overly malty, but I can say that the barrel-aging was careful enough to not completely overshadow it, which is a worthy criticism of some barrel-aging programs. To me, this is barrel-aging done right; performed to add another layer of depth to a beer and is subtle, rather than throwing out all of the characteristics of the original beer. As in the nose, the taste starts off sweet with thick molasses and chocolate, and almost immediately thereafter the barrels shine and give that extra kick of vanilla, oak, and bourbon. It's chewy and earthy, almost gritty, and to me, just screams 'English'. This isn't aggressively hopped in the slightest, and I'm hard-pressed to ink much hop influence out of this beer. The fruits make an appearance here, especially the plums, and the alcohol does come out as it warms and aerates. It's not solvent, but does give off that ethanol taste. Overall, an interesting and grounded flavor profile; this beer isn't aiming for the heavens and it's modest, but it's damn solid.
To note: Pour this beer about 5 minutes after pulling it from the fridge and taste it, then let it transform and note the differences it takes on as it warms. For me, the latter half of the bottle brings much more of the bourbon and barrel, especially the vanilla and to a lesser extent, oak. If you don't like it at first, let it sit a while, and it definitely develops into a different monster in its later stages.
M - Mouthfeel is heavy-bodied with low carbonation (although adequate for the style). Thick and chewy, although not on-par with the heavier imperial stouts, it is deservedly full-bodied. Smooth to say the least, although the lack of carbonation doesn't move the beer easily around the palate. Finish is bittersweet with a touch of bourbon and alcohol.
D/O - Drinkability is high. This beer is very easy to drink, if not for the flavor and smell alone, but the insane transformation it takes as it sits in the glass and the lack of alcohol. While it's a sipper for sure and a bottle will last you well over an hour, it's worth it to taste it at intervals and witness the changes. I found myself drawn back to the snifter time and time again and wasn't disappointed.
Serving type: bottle
05-11-2011 23:35:20 | More by nhindian
More User Reviews:
4.16/5 rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
This is a 2012 vintage I'm drinking. Very deep brown and when the light hits it a deep red garnet color created. Initially a reddish deep brown head is formed and fades away, a thin ring remains around the class. Not surprising given the alcohol content. Aroma is jammy, with raisins. Alcohol is rather present even after two years. Some barrel presence remains. Port like. Flavor is heavy on the booze, port and sherry like flavors waft in and become heavy and prominant. Burnt caramel, raisins, and toffee mingle with the sherry and port flavors. Complex flavor, really it is, way beyond a barrel bomb. Slick, oily mouthfeel. Thick. Not cloying however. The alcohol creates a sharp and clearly burn like quality. There is no doubt this is an exceptional ale. Downsides, the alcohol keeps coming back and reminding me it is there, the burnt caramel flavor is rather strong and can be off putting, the palate is left muddy.
Serving type: bottle
04-20-2014 01:26:36 | More by pmlondrigan
4.04/5 rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
22oz bottle poured at 41 F into a large chalice. Bottled on date is 12.03.13.
Pours dark brown, but translucent, with little or no head, not much carbonation. Doesn't look cloudy, just dark. Smell is mostly alcohol for me (although my wife can't smell it). I get dark fruit, a little smoke. Yeast. Overripe fruit.
Taste is hella sweet. Some alcohol, masked well by the incredible sweetness. Some smokey flavor. Woody. Something is really nice about this, but I can't nail it down with a descriptor. Maybe some slight vanilla.
Mouthfeel is silky and smooth. Overall, I like this beer, but I still can't describe why.
Serving type: bottle
04-05-2014 04:59:06 | More by snaotheus
Mother Of All Storms from Pelican Pub & Brewery
99 out of 100 based on 1,219 ratings.