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Talon - True Style Barley Wine Ale - Mendocino Brewing Company

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

214 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 214
Hads: 245
Avg: 3.73
pDev: 12.06%
Wants: 8
Gots: 12 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Mendocino Brewing Company visit their website
United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  10.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: rkhaze on 03-11-2004

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (37) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Talon - True Style Barley Wine Ale Alström Bros
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Reviews: 214 | Hads: 245
Photo of brentk56
3.73/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a hazy chestnut color with a reasonably frothy head for a barley wine; decent retention and sone spashy dots of foam around the glass

Smell: Strong fusel alcohol aroma dominates the nose; some secondary sweetness and fruit tones

Taste: Starts with a rather woody caramel flavor during the mouthswirl; after the swallow, the bitter hop flavors (rather piney) kick in; the finish balances the bitterness with the caramel, cherry and raisin tones as well as some alcoholic warming

Mouthfeel: A bit thin for a barleywine, with a reasonable amount of carbonation; lots of warming on the finish

Drinkability: A little too much fusel alcohol to be easily consumed but does a good job balancing the various barleywine elements

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.23/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A fair-enough Barleywine. It has the intense sweet barley aroma and flavor. It has the slick and sugary mouthfeel. It has all the hops in the world. The hopping gives too much saltiness and metalic flavors--likely to subside with time. Deep rich fruity characteristics of prunes, figs, raisons, and nuts. Citrusy with lemons and oranges. Good deep copper color with a nice 1" off white head. Still not well melded and out of balance with the hopping. A basic middle-of-the-road Barleywine. Nice for the price.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.5/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

"A wise falcon hides his talons."


Candy apple red beneath a firm dollop of golden ecru. The head lasts a surprisingly long time given the ABV, and looks pretty good on the way down. Not surprisingly, no more than a few dribs and drabs of lace find their way to the glass. Talon is a pretty typical barleywine in the looks department.

Likewise the nose. Caramel malt shares the stage with dried fruit soaked in cognac. I'm pretty sure this bottle is at least two years old, so I'm surprised the alcohol fusels are so prominent. I hope the beer delivers more on the palate or I'll be about as impressed as I am with most of the rest of the Mendocino Brewing Company lineup. That is... not very.

The first few mouthfuls are pretty good, if a bit rough. My hope is that things will improve as the beer loses its slight chill. My first impression is how 'by the numbers' Talon is. It tastes like any number of other American barleywines that use the tried and true ingredients. Several years of aging have to have done TTSBWA a whale of a lot of good. That's one way of saying that I wouldn't have wanted to drink it fresh.

Melted caramel mixed with Cherry Herring makes up the lion's share of the flavor profile. I'm often reminded of Jagermeister or cherry cough syrup when I drink beer of this style, as I am here. Hop flavor isn't obvious, but enough hop bitterness has survived to keep things from turning into an overly sweet, sticky mess. The finish is impressively dessicating, due, no doubt, to both alpha acids and alcohol.

It's odd, but I liked the mouthfeel more at first than I do now. It seemed more full in the first few ounces, more silky smooth. Maybe once I get into the bottom half of the bomber my tongue will be sufficienty numbed to bring back those favorable impressions.

Talon True Style Barley Wine Ale is a respectable effort that, nevertheless, falls short of what I think an American barleywine should deliver. Since there are any number of good versions out there (Bigfoot, for instance, is practically ubiquitous), I can't bring myself to recommend this one.

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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.

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

Picked this one up, I don't even know how long ago or when, but it has been in my fridge for what honestly seems like forever. I had to clear it out of the fridge so I used it in an impromptu fridge clearing the other night. Consumed via a tulip on 08/24/2008.

The pour was very nice, rich with a good dark caramel color and lots of silky and foamy white lace around the top. Nice touches of wispy side glass lace and just the slightest bit of side glass lace around the edges.

The aroma was very malty, which surprised me a bit in the beginning, but I really kind of learned to enjoy it. Some light fruit notes sitting there in the back with a decent amount of grain as well. Hints of hops dancing around, more pine resin like then anything else. The flavor was a bit odd, but I have to admit still more then decent. Nice notes of piney hops, dark resin, fruit with a leaning toward figs and some nice bready malts. As it warmed some hints of spices coming through now as well, almost peppery at the finish. Decent medium Mouthfeel and really nice carbonation were a good side distraction, and a smooth sipper for the percentage is always a welcome sight.

Overall have to say this one was not bad at all, really a tight little barley wine here. Almost an old ale, but not quite, I could see myself having this one again in the near future.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.42/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Mendocino's Talon pours a gleaming reddish mahogany with vibrant crimson and orange highlights beneath a good-sized head of creamy yellowed-white froth. The head retention is fairly good considering that it's got an alcohol content of over 10%; and it initially leaves some wide-stretched 'canvases' of lace along the sides of the glass.
In the nose it's mainly malty, caramelish and a touch fruity (apples); with some piney, grassy and floral hops adding depth.
In the mouth it's medium-bodied but dextrinous; and delightfully smooth with just a bit of 'foaming' as the beer warms on the tongue.
The flavor follows the aroma but puts a bit more fruitiness (apples, berries, white grape), some fuller hop flavor (piney, grassy, subtly citrusy), and a healthy dose of bitterness into the mix. A touch of alcohol comes through clearly as well, but it doesn't hinder the experience (nor does it enhance it).
It's not a particularily complex barelywine, but it is well-balanced and easy to drink. If you've got it, enjoy it now as it's not a candidate for aging. The alcohol may soften a bit, and even the bitterness may smooth a touch, but it's really spot-on where it should be and I'd doubt that it'll improve much.

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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.

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Photo of russpowell
4.2/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is the 1st beer from this brewery that I've had in recent years that didn't dissapoint

Poured Ruby red with a 1.5" offwhite head. Very good lacing and head retention

Smell: Rich fruitty notes, the vinious odors & then oakiness, & vanilla

Taste: Alcohol up front, richy oak, bourbon notes, finshes fruiity

MF: Super syruppy up front & undercarbonated

Ponderous, but true to the style. I would recconmend cellaring this mean but inviting BW

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

22 ounce bottle into snifter, no bottle dating. Pours hazy/cloudy very dark brown color with a small dense khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin lacing cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a light amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of raisin, plum, fig, cherry, caramel, molasses, brown sugar, toast, brown bread, light chocolate, herbal, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good complexity and solid balance of dark/bready malt, fruitiness, and earthy hop notes; with solid strength. A bit strong on fruitiness, but not bad. Taste of raisin, plum, fig, cherry, caramel, molasses, toast, brown sugar, brown bread, light chocolate, herbal, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Light amount of earthy hop bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of raisin, plum, fig, cherry, caramel, molasses, toast, brown sugar, brown bread, light chocolate, herbal, and yeast/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Very nice complexity and balance of dark/bready malt, fruitiness, and earthy hop flavors; with a good malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Light carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a smooth and moderately creamy/slick mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with only a small warming present after the finish. Overall this is a very good barelywine style. All around good complexity and balance of dark/bready malt, fruitiness, and earthy hop flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the big ABV. A nicely enjoyable offering.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.95/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Just cracked the crown on this bomber...the rich, sweet, beautiful barleywine aroma wafts out immediately, and it hasn't even been decanted...let's do that, shall we?
Bright crimson, clear,with a lasting, if slim, layer of eggnoggy foam...
Aroma: niiiice, lovely fruit, cherries and grapes, rich, but not too sweet, almost dry, even.. alcohol opens rather rawly...approachable, not punishing, ...yet.
Big,rich flavor at the fore,well-rounded, aplomb with dark fruits, and a feel of cognac or port. Strength is not shy, getting ...very full in flavor, with a a lean, softly fruity finish. Graceful, actually, finely toned, with the alcoholic heat peeking through on occasion. This Talon has a tight grip, but doesn't cut. Tasty, warming, but shades away from the power of my favorites of the style...doesn't truly kick it like I like it, but slays in it's own way. Nice.

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Photo of jwc215
3.31/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22 oz. bottle - poured into snifter -

Pours orange brown with a thick tan head that immediately disappears to a thin cover. It somewhat slowly becomes a patch, then vanishes.

The smell is of caramel and a whiff of alcohol.

The taste of caramel maltiness really stands out, though there is some grainy maltiness as well. Prunes add some fruitiness. There is a vague hint of earthy, leafy bitterness, but only enough to keep sweetness from becoming overly cloying. The heat lingers.

The feel is thick and sticky, yet not quite in a full-bodied way. The carbonation leaves the scene after a short while.

A slow sipper, as is called for per style (but, this is even slow for style). It doesn't really stand out among barleywines - perhaps a bit more balance would help.

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Photo of WesWes
4.12/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a ruby red color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is great. It has an intense malty scent that boasts of crystal and roasted malts. It also has a bitter hop aroma that adds balance. It is warm and toastey smelling. The taste is good. It has a warm malty flavor that is enhanced with a bitter hop aftertaste. It's a slow drinker that boasts of a complex malt palate. It is sweet with crystal malts and roasted barley. The mouthfeel is good. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a solid barley wine. I love the hoppy flavor. It adds tremendous balance to an already complex malt base. This is a slow, but good drinker.

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Photo of GClarkage
4.2/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

10/23/05- Purchased at Beverages and More in San Mateo, CA

Presentation- 22oz bottle with no freshness info. Poured into a standard pint glass.

Appearance- Murky brown colored pour with a decent 1/2 inch off white head and fair lacing.

Smell- Nice caramel and alcoholic scent. Deep sweet malts and maybe a few spices.

Taste- Very nice hit of caramel as well as some dark malty flavored fruits. The alcohol isn't as much present in the taste as it was in the nose. The hops come through as well with a smooth, but bitter taste. This bottle had been aged for about a year or so.

Mouthfeel- I bit overcarbonated, which I thought the aging would control a bit, but apparently not. So, not as smooth in the swallow.

Drinkability- One of the better flavored barleywines I have had in a while. If I still could find it I may buy a few and age them for a bit longer...maybe 3 years.

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Photo of Billolick
4.05/5  rDev +8.6%
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?

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

Chriminy, are there any hops in this beer? It's freaking sweet. It looks great with a ruby body and off-white head. Smells of massive malt. Sweet, rich, almost a syrup-like boldness to the flavor. It took my a few sips to get used to this beer. There are apple and berry flavors, but the malt is a little much. Maybe it'll mellow out after a few years. To its credit, there isn't much of an alcohol flavor. Split a bomber if you like barleywines.

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Photo of Zorro
3.85/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy reddish orange brown colored brew with a sparse white head.

Smell is a little malt and a lot of fruit scent. Strongest scent is pineapples.

Taste is a little sweet and quite malty. Hop level isn't over the top and gives an earthy and slightly citric flavor. Most of the fruitiness in this is tropical fruit flavor. Pineapple is the dominant flavor here. Tasty but lacking a bit in complexity. Alcohol is not very noticeable. Hopping is much more noticeable in citrus Hop belches after you swallow it.

Mouthfeel is very thick.

Drinkability is good. This is a good pleasant barley wine but not a world class one. I would buy Bigfoot Ale before I buy this but I can see drinking it again. Best attribute to this is it is mild mannered and pleasant.

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Photo of Wasatch
3.85/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Finally got my hands on a couple of bottles a few months back. Pours a nice dark ruby reddish color, nice carbonation, small tan head which does not last long, lacing consists of islands all around the glass. Scents of sweet malts, hops, prunes, raisins, alcohol, and slight caramel. The taste is sweet/slightly tangy, a touch of caramel, ends with a dry finish. Medium body, a nice complex brew. Drinkable, I really enjoy this brew, well done Mendocino, would recommend.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.01/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

22oz from a trade with Wasatch close to a year ago... shared with Steven.. Mine in my New Belgium goblet.

2" light tan head.. short lasting and a deep amber brew with red highlites.

Thick American hops and too much caramel and toffee malts... too much "Ale" fruitiness... big alcohol... metallic.

Bland through the entire glass.. Flavor falls off way too soon. Body is waay too thick.. sweet.. needs more bitterness and hop flavors... a lite coffee late palate tries to keep things in line... but fails.

I've been sitting on this one for a while.. it may be old, but experience tells me this was not a good Barleywine even when fresh. I would never buy this one again.. I don't think age screwed it up that bad.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.34/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured a nice copper color with a decent head that disappeared to nothing in about 5 minutes or so. The nose was roasted malts and lots of malt at that, decently hopped, raisins, dried fruits other than raisins haha and some caramel. Taste was a blast of dried fruit, prunes and raisins even, very sticky it seemed, not that full bodied but heavy in malt sense. A pretty up front bwine. Malts!!! and dried fruit.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.54/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours with a two-finger light tan head, fades quickly and leaves traces of lace. Clear red/amber color. Medium carbonation and medium bodied. Nose is malt and alcohol. Starts with a sweet flavor but the alcohol is there and ends with a lingering alcohol aftertaste. $4.75 for a 22oz bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, Ma.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.25/5  rDev -12.9%
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.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.98/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a moderate cranberry color with a slight off white head and light carbonation.

S: Sweet raisny alcohol nose.

T: Theres a sweet burbon barrel flavor and woodiness as well with lots of caramel, toffee, light chocolate and some dried fruit. For hopping there is some sweet pine resin and alcohol that sneaks in. Overall a solid barelywine with good drinkability considering its alcohol content.

M: medium body with some viscosity on the tongue, lightly carbonated.

D; Spicy, very sweet and drinks very, very well for a 10.5% abv.

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Photo of ppoitras
3.45/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle purchased at Town & Country Liquors, West Springfield, MA.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/2" tan head over the clear orangey amber brew. Head lasts okay, and some lacing, more along the lines of usual for the style. Aroma is slightly sweet with an apparent piney hops component. Taste is upfront with the hops bitterness to go along with that nose, then balances somewhat with light sweetness and an alcohol warming close. Mouthfeel is just too harsh for a barleywine for me, hopefully it will mellow with age, and drinkability is okay, but nothing to break the bank for.

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Photo of Bitterbill
3.68/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This pours from 22oz bottle a clear deep amber with a small but stubborn head of foam with plenty of lacing.

The smell is of caramel and roasted malt...very sweet on the nose.

The taste gives me notes of caramel malt, fig, toffee, roasted malt, some honey, some molasses, and a slight citrus snap in the background. It has a medium to medium thick body and the carbonation is medium. It finishes almost syrupy sweet and the alcohol is fairly well hidden. Pretty good sample of the style. I'm pretty impressed with how long the foam hangs around(it's still a solid 1/2" layer far into the session)...longer than most BWSAs I've tried. I think it could use just a smidgeon more of a hop presence to balance the malt but as is, it's pretty good. Would I seek it out again?(as it's not available locally) Probably not.

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Photo of cjgator3
3.94/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle

A- Pours a dark reddish brown color with a light tan head that leaves a ring of lace around the glass.

S- The smell is very aromatic with a lot of dark alcohol soaked fruits and a lot of malt. The lack of a big hop presence in the nose suggests that this will be an English-style Barleywine.

T- Like the aroma suggests, the rich maltiness is the highlight of this brew. There is more of a hop presence in the finish than was evident in the aroma, but it is not overly powering and serves to balance out the malty sweetness. The finish also features a lingering warmth from the high ABV, but it is not overpowering.

M- The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation.

D- Overall, this is a pretty enjoyable Barleywine that I would purchase again. It is definately a sipper, so it is one bottle and out for me. Recommended.

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Talon - True Style Barley Wine Ale from Mendocino Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 214 ratings.