1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Talon - True Style Barley Wine Ale - Mendocino Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Talon - True Style Barley Wine AleTalon - True Style Barley Wine Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
85
very good

239 Ratings
THE BROS
81
good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 239
Reviews: 212
rAvg: 3.73
pDev: 12.33%
Wants: 9
Gots: 8 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Mendocino Brewing Company visit their website
United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  10.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: rkhaze on 03-11-2004)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 239 | Reviews: 212 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Ego:
Photo of Ego
3.45/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

crummy cold day here in jersey.. forgot I had this down in the cellar, so let's give it a shot late in the season...

on the look: clean amber hue, nicely carbonated, good white head that dissapates at a good clip, inviting looking.

on the nose: (hold on a sec, I gotta blow my nose, goddamn pollen) sweet pine and hops sandwich, a touch of dry alcohol, almost has that earthy breadiness of belgian trappist offerings, slight prune detected as well, an excellent olefactory exercise

on the mouth: tastes flatter than it looks, not to a huge detrement mind you. the 10.5% is subdued on the take, nice warming in the gullet however, not as interesting as the nose, solid but nothing to go gaga over imo.

drinkability: for the style it is standard if not a touch boring overall, a nice beer, one to start people out on the style perhaps, the ABV is well hidden here so take some care. personally I think Sierra Nevada BigFoot (which is so much more available) kick's this beer's ass in the taste dept.

More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.48/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I had tried this once before and didnt really care for it but gave it a second chance tonight,poured a deep clear amber with a thinner slightly off white head that is gone pretty quickly.Aromas are not as big and bold as alot of other barley wines in my opinion but there is some definent caramel and brown sugar notes there with a very noticable alcohol presence.Thick mouthcoating mouthfeel somewhat sticky,a very sweet caramel flavor really hits up front and is almost overpowering in its intense sweetness,molasses and brown sugar flavors really keep this brew on the edge of being cloying.There is a real alcohol burning sensation as it goes down even more as it warms,well its big and flavorful but there are alot better American Barley Wines out there for sure.

Photo of RoyalT
3.93/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance – This is a dingy brown in color with a tinge of orange and an orangish-brown head that went down rather quickly, probably due to the 10+ ABV.

Smell – The big, noxious rotten grape fumes could gag a maggot, which is how I enjoy my ABW bouquet. The heavy leafy hops just add to the concoction. The rotten cherries and peaches finish the job.

Taste – Oh, man, this is rank. The alcohol almost splits apart from the rest of the ale just to stand up and get noticed. The hops are actually quite huge and kind of remind me of Mendocino’s IPA. The rotten fruit abounds as well.

Mouthfeel – This is almost full-bodied with a strong alcohol warming and enough big sweets to get your lips smacking.

Drinkability – I can see how someone would hate the heck out of this ABW, but I enjoy obnoxious efforts at the style like this.

Photo of DaPeculierDane
3.4/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bought a single at Wild Oats in Cleveland.

Sweet. Totally unbalanced. ABV is well covered. Lacking in hops. I would think this a British Barley wine rather than an American. Appearance is clear reddish amber with a thick head. Aroma is caramel and toasted malts. Flavor is just sweet, molasses like perhaps and grainy. Mouthfeel is nice, thick and smooth. Drinakbility is high as the palate gets used to the sweetness after a while.

Photo of TCHopCraver
3.98/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Shared on 5/3/10 with TCGoalie. Thanks for bringing the bottle, pal.

A: A light mahogany to red is the color of this big barleywine. There is no head but the white ring around the edge of my oversized wine glass. The small dotty lacing is thin and does not stick.

S: I smell brown sugar, caramel, and musty cellar. This is an interesting must smell that reminds me of something I don't feel comfortable naming on BeerAdvocate (wink, wink, nudge, nudge).

T: This has a buttery, creamy sweetness that really appeals to me right now. Flavors I pick out are brown sugar and cream soda, with just a hint of a hop presence. To me, this is the Platonic ideal of a barleywine. It's not the best I've had, for sure, but it articulates the idea of the style.

M: Talon has a medium to full mouthfeel with a decent hop bitterness that dries the palate at the end of the sip.

D: Good. I would certainly have another if I was craving a solid, characteristic barleywine.

Photo of SIRIUS2
3.83/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a chalice style glass.

A: Pours a deep brown, mostly clear, with a layer of bubbles floating to the top. The bubbles fade quickly to nothing but they were noticeably large at first, like soda pop. After a few minutes the bubbles reduce to thin trickles rising from the bottom of the glass. No lacing.

S: Malty, some alcohol, hints of prune or dates. Mostly typical of many barley wines but this has that smell of a nice strong abbey dark ale from Belgium. Very inviting.

T&M: Thin but heavy rolling over the tongue with a slight bit of oily slickness. First flavors are malts, a touch sweet, and then the alcohol rushes in and sort of overtakes the malt. The taste is enjoyable still, giving off notes of sherry or something on that order. The finish is long on dry malts with a nice warming linger.

D: If you like barley wine, you will probably find Talon enjoyable. The alcohol is rather noticeable and for some might be a detractor for taste but I found it wasn't overly harsh. If nothing else, at 10.5% it will catch up to you quickly if you aren't careful. Check it out.

Photo of sponberg
3.78/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Deep red-amber with a cream colored head that dies down to nothingness within 3 minutes.Estery, alcoholic nose - apples, pears, maybe bananas, vague hop spiciness, alcholic fumes and a dusty smell like when you first fire up the forced hot air heat in the fall.

Initial underlying grapefruit rind bitterness joins with an apple and pear, caramel and toffee bittersweet maltiness. The alcohol is there, not overpowering but definitely making its whiskeyish presence known more as it warms. Malt hop balance carries through to the end. Hints of smokiness in the background. VERY warming. Appropriately chewy mouthfeel. There are other brews of this strength I could drink more of, as the alcohol isn't as up front as it is in this one. Still a nice effort and one of the better brews I've had out of Mendocino.

Photo of Rasputin
4.1/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is my first review here, and further reading will surely make this obvious.

What prompted me to review Talon is the amazing deal you can get it for. Me, I like barleywines. I prefer the ones that are balanced or malty to the hoppy ones, like Bigfoot. Personal choice.

Getting to the point: it's $3. Harris Teeter (NC) has been selling it for $2.50. Find me a better 18 oz barleywine for that price. Hell, find another one period. For that price, you can NOT go wrong.

It looks, smells, and feels about like your standard barleywine. It's really pretty standard. Nothing crazy, nothing new. Just straight-forward BW. But here's the other kicker: It claims to be 10.5%. It doesn't taste like that at all. This is the first un-aged BW that I can quaff. Seriously, it's so creamy and smooth I could guzzle this stuff. Scratch that, I have. And loved every swallow.

Forget the "True-style" on the label. They should have explained that, but they don't (I can't say I'm a huge fan of Mendocino - this is their first to truly grab my attention). Consider it a session barleywine. Give it a try. You can spare $3.

Edit (6/24/06): Forget what I said about the price. Apparently the local distributors pulled their heads out of their asses and realized that they were undercharging for the Talon, and the price jumped everywhere up into the $5-6 range. Damn. It's still an easily drinkable BW, but the cost is much more average than it used to be. On the bright side, when I wrote my original review, BA listed the Talon as discontinued, so I'm happy to see that it's back in regular production.

Photo of Jason
3.55/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bomber with no freshness or vintage date on the label. $4.99 @ Kappy's in Peabody, MA.

A- Good clarity with a reddish amber hue, decent head retention as it takes a while to dissapate ... very little stickage.

S- Big wafts of caramel and toasted malt sweetness. Faint alcohol in the nose.

T- Sweet ... very sweet. Not cloying but still sweet. Toasted grain and an aged hop do little to balance. Malt syrup with a touch of moallssess is all I get. Light husk from the grain ... weathered hop as well. Alcohol for 10.5% has a meek character under the layers of malt.

M- Very creamy and smooth, amazing but pretty damn thick.

D- The thickness makes this a sipping brew ... the high alcohol as well. Drinkable but slow paced.

Photo of merlin48
3.9/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear amber body with a one finger beige head that retains for a few minutes. Minimal patch lace is left behind on the tulip glass.
Aroma is citrusy hops and thick caramel/toffee maltiness. Some fruity notes of overripe bananas and prunes are in the background.
Mouthfeel has low medium carbonation, and is thick, almost syrupy. Some alcohol burn is also present.
Taste reveals a solid caramel/toffee malt backbone, with an assertive citrusy hops profile. Notable warming alcohol is present all the way through. Smooths considerably as it warms to room temperature and a note of maple syrup is picked up. Hops become more earthy and pine toward the finish, which winds up on the dry side. Very interesting, overall, and nicely complex.
This one is an ideal winter warmer barleywine, that makes no effort to disguise the alcohol content. Good flavors, lots of character, and well constructed, but one 22 oz bottle will do nicely for an evening.

Photo of Billolick
4.1/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber bottle, wooohooo, this rich and tasty brew is a bargain. Pours orangy amber, with cherry hues. Not much head, what there is off white. Minimal lacing. Very slight bready nose. This is a full bodied, viscious concoction. Notes of dark honey, maple, vanilla and alcohol. Rich, strong and warming. This one probably wwould take a year or two in the bottle well. Worth a try, especially if you can get a low price on this stuff. $3.99?

Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.73/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22oz-er from Consumer Beverages in New York. This was the random brew from my New York beer haul; I mostly bought this for the label and the price - never heard of Mendocino before.

Poured into a goblet. Black cherry juice in colour, leaves a half-inch of thick head, which leaves a thin ring after a few minutes.

Nose is malty, quite rich, good caramel and fruit notes. Fresh bread and just a touch of hops as well. Smells like a sweet barleywine.

Sweet, bready, good malty base, with that boozy brandy character I always feel in barleywines. Finishes dry and with a mild peppery taste.

Thick-bodied, smooth, mild to low carabonation, slightly booziness.

While not the most complex of barleywines, it's a rich and enjoyable sipper. The peppery taste was a nice addition. However, it almost got to the point of cloyingly sweet; my wife and I had trouble finishing the bottle.

Photo of magictrokini
3.48/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Nice beer. Kind of thin mouthfeel for a barleywine, especially considering the 10.5%. Pours a clear brown with no head. Strong caramel and darker fruits in the aroma, with some brown sugar. Taste is good but not balanced. Syrupy sweet up front that gets more sour than bitter towards the back. Kind of a woody flavor as well. Alcohol is masked well. Good, not great.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.93/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A deep orange pour, not too intimidating like some of the earthy brown barleywines.

Aroma, faint sweetness, no noticeable hop aroma.
Taste, the hop is on the spicy side, malt is sturdy, but not too heavy. A lighter barleywine, not bulky, but enjoyable. Sweet. Grows, into a woodier feel, malt takes a more prominent spot over sweetness. Very drinkable barleywine, extremely affordable.

Photo of stereosforgeeks
3.58/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance – Dark brown coloring almost mud colored. Very little head with almost no retention.

Smell – Mild caramel with some rotten grapes. Hoppy background nose.

Taste – Malty and caramel initial taste. As the alcohol moves the back of the tongue the hops and grapes become apparent. The alcohol is readily apparent across the mouth and dulls most other flavors.

Mouthfeel – Sticky on the tongue. Little to no carbonation.

Drinkability – Not a bad choice, but I'm not sure I will be revisiting this anytime soon. Maybe I will try an aged bottle in the future.

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.23/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

(Served in an American pint glass)

A-This beer pours a clear but dense reddish-brown body with gentle carbonation and a thin wispy off-white head.

S- sweet caramel malt aroma with a faint hint of soy sauce that might be a slight hop spiciness mixed with some earthy malt?

T- This has a hot taste with a sweet malt that follows. It finishes with a slight pine hop spiciness. There is a sweetness of brown sugar or Belgian candy sugar that comes through also.

M- medium mouthfeel with quite a bit of alcohol heat. No hop astringency or fizz from the carbonation

D- This is a pleasant beer without the alcohol heat. If it had more age it could really improve but now the alcohol overpowers the other flavors.

Photo of JMS1512
3.5/5  rDev -6.2%

Photo of watermelonman
3.75/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This poured to a great deep and dark color with hints of purple and red. There was little head and no lace worth mentioning.

The smell is potent, and tips one off right away to this being a barleywine of respectable strength. The flavor is nice, with the alcohol content apparent but not overwhelming. The mouthfeel is a little bit sharp for my tastes.

This is definitely a good one for sipping.

Photo of IntriqKen
3.88/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This was an interesting barleywine offering from Mendocino.
Poured a deep reddish amber with a beautiful solid finger head that slowly melts to thick lacing.
Aroma to me was initially apricots....apricots and then maybe necterine and sweet malt.
Taste is ...wow....sweet, dried fruits, raisins, alcohol, then a sharp, bitter hop bite....grapefruit or maybe lemon. And overall, brown sugar, brown sugar, brown sugar. wonderful. The brown sugar taste fades a little as it warms, but still...yeah...sweet, rich, and there.
Aftertaste is drying bitter hops....and a little strange...can't describe it but not really pleasant (half of the aftertaste is good...half..'weird').
Actually, not a bad barleywine at all...very different...perhaps a little raw and it really doesn't taste like it will mature...but will stay slightly raw.
Still...not bad...better than an average, for sure.

Photo of BrewMaven
4.28/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I've had this bottle in the cooler since my July trip to Saratoga, NY.

Pours a nice deep reddish amber wih a mid size tan head that was gone after a few minutes.

Nose was sweet and alcoholic.

Taste was similar to some Baltic porters I've had but with more of a hint of dark fruits (Plums and such) and less of the roasted traits. Quite sweet with caramel and a wash of warming alcohol on the finish. Medium bodied with moderate carbonation that also diminished as the glass neared empty.

This 10.5% ABV malt bomb really kicked in even after a full meal. All in all a very enjoyable brew.

I'll buy this one again!

Photo of asabreed
4/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber sipped from a wine glass.

Appearance: A deep and darker red with mild haze, possibly from the yeast. Mud-white head that bubbles nicely, leaving some off-white craters on the side of the glass.

Smell: Big fruit punch aromas, cherries, chocolate, maybe chocolate-covered cherries, some strawberry, and some citrus from the hops. Chocolate comes out more as it warms. But a lot of fruit punch and good fruit esters and nice sweetness dominate.

Taste: Like the aroma, big juicy fruit punch flavors, along with cherries and strawberries. Good citrus from the hops. Chocolate grittiness and nice earthy bitterness at the end of each sip.

Mouthfeel: Undoubtedly big-bodied, with enough punch and carbonation to keep it less-than-cloying.

Drinkability: Very solid for a Barley Wine, and probably my favorite Mendocino beer. Wish I would've gotten another bottle. I think it was only around $5 too, which now seems like a steal for this. Wonder what some age would do too.

Photo of Metalmonk
4.4/5  rDev +18%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

When reviewing, I try to look at the beer in natural and artificial light. I don't know if it's the light or beer itself, but I didn't realize until I started reviewing how many beers of various styles have a deep-red/burgundy/ruby tint to them. This is another that does, in addition to a foamy head on top, which settles to a thin layer in a couple minutes.

Interesting, complex aroma: maltiness swirled with chewing-gum (traditional Bazooka or baseball card flavor) meets Welch's grape juice. Some hops peeking through too.

Of all the barleywines I've had so far, this has the best flavor. A bit of bite to the hops, but only after some sweet and creamy malt action. Plenty of caramel vibe. There's that concord grape taste again, and a puckery bitterness after the swallow. A work of art. Delicious.

Mouthfeel: solid, tingly, even creamy, lots of fun to swish around, really great heft to this one without being overly heavy.

Not exactly the best session-beer or anything, considering the powerful flavor, volume (1 pt. 6 oz.) and the high ABV. But a definite treat. And ignore the label...it looks like a totally avoidable malt liquor bomber. Don't pass it up!

Photo of RockyTopHeel
3.78/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bomber.

Red/Amber in color with a solid light brown head that dissipates into a thin layer of foam.

Aroma is deeper than many barleywines - more like an old ale. Sweet, with a strong presence of alcohol, caramel, toasted malts, and syrup.

Pretty good sipping beer, though a little sweet and thick for my taste.

Photo of Sammy
3.5/5  rDev -6.2%

Photo of pmcadamis
4.58/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - This one is a beautiful shade of deep garnet with crimson blood highlights. Looking through this clear brew is like looking into another dimension. The head is a lush and creamy two finger wall of solid whipped cream, and lots of really lush lace is left all around the glass. Head retention is outstanding, especially when considering the ABV of this monster. Good looking brew!

S - Before I even approach the glass, I can smell honeycomb, molasses, and single malt scotch (that classic Speyside "honey and heather" note). Confectioner's sugar notes are there too, and almost give this a Belgian Trappist flair on the nose. Figs, caramel and brown sugar are all there too. This is ridiculously complex and pleasant to my nose. My beer boner is flying at full mast.

T - Heavily toasted malts and honeycomb "tight" sweetness greet my palate, and some toffee and peanut brittle compliment these flavors nicely. On the back end, I'm getting what is almost like peanut butter covered in honey and molasses, with a shot of bourbon thrown in. Aged hops and toast linger in the aftertaste, and I have a feeling that this would be a whole helluva lot hoppier if it wasn't aged for two years. Crackling autumn leaves and buttered toast.

M - Full bodied, sprightly carbonated but never prickly. The tiny bubbles scrub the palate and keep this lively without actually feeling like "soda-pop" carbonation. Big on the booze, this is a heavy hitting beer that will completely humble your palate. I like this...it feels like a ton of bricks on your tongue.

D - This is a good one, but not the best barley wine I've had. That's still saying a lot, since I friggin' love this style and have never had a bad one. This is a great sipping beer that has the balls to stand up to a maduro wrapped cigar...few beers have the nuts to do what a bourbon or scotch can accomplish, but this one might decimate any dish you pair it with so save it for the after-dinner cigar or nightcap.

Note: It's my day off, it's noon, and this thing is whooping my butt. Gotta watch those 10% ABV beers....they'll sneak up on ya like a ninja.

« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Talon - True Style Barley Wine Ale from Mendocino Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 239 ratings.