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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

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240 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 240
Reviews: 213
rAvg: 3.73
pDev: 12.06%
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:
Beer added by: rkhaze on 03-11-2004

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 240 | Reviews: 213 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jlervine
3.17/5  rDev -15%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured an amber brown with a tan head that hated me and disappeared pretty quick. I'm a likeable guy, why must you hate me, Mendocino Talon?!?

Alcohol, sweet malt, and a hint of hops comprise the aroma. Nothing amazing, nothing substantial.

Whoa, very sweet, spice rub bitterness, burnt malt tones dominate the flavor on the first sip. Insipidly sweet. Hard to get over sweet. Not honey or syrup sweet, just OMGmyteeth sweet. It's a bit much. A great BA once told me that a barleywine is a three-way dance of alcohol, malt, and bitterness. In this barleywine, the malt slung it's partners out the frickin' doors and has taken center stage. But it's not the good kind of malt, and he's not dancing very well. He's more or less doing the Electric Bugaloo to the Blue Danube waltz. Naked. Well, wearing a skimpy thong at least. A thong of alcohol and bitterness that is riding up his buttcheeks and chafing the insides of his leg. But he's not applying powder or anything, he's content with his red, raw, chafed thighs.


The mouthfeel isn't spectacular, and the carbonation barely has enough gumption to cut through the cloying body. Very coating, and not politely so.

Not a good interpretation of the style, in my not so humble opinion. I've had better, I've made better, and I'll buy better. Sure, it's cheap @ $2.29 per bomber, but there's no reason to unless you are a masochist.

Photo of aracauna
3.46/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The alcohol is pretty big in the aroma. There’s barleywine butter in the flavor and aroma along with the standard old fruit. It’s pretty sweet. It’s got a bitter finish. I’m not sure why I don’t like this one. It has all the components for a good, solid barleywine, but they don’t seem to mesh well. Not bad, but a little off-putting at times.

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

Pours a nice medium amber with a soft, billowy light tan head. A very nice hop-driven nose. Very spicy. Alcohol sweetness hidden deep in the back. Quite inviting. The palate is more malty than hoppy, unlike the nose. Rich, slightly sweet, with a hint of hop bitterness in the back. Very nice. Mouthfeel is coating and somewhat thick up front, but drying and slightly bitter on the finish. A very good barleywine, even if on the hoppy side. Good balance, with a West Coast hop profile. Hope to try this one again.

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

A decent barleywine....reddish amber in appearance with a decent head. Smell is a little heavy on the alcohol...but has enough malt aroma to invite you to drink, Taste is likewise a little over the top on the alcohol, but the sweet malt rescues it. Mouthfeel is a bit dry...medium and a bit syrupy. Easy enough on the drinkability scale for 10.5 abv. Overall a decent brew.

Photo of sponberg
3.75/5  rDev +0.5%
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 Crosling
3.78/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Deep Red.

Sticky, fruity, caramel laden malts with notes of pine resin, cellar mustiness, plums and other dark fruits.

Not necessarily English in style but this is definately malt accented. A nice blend of caramel, butter and toffee notes along with notes of earth, bark, grapefruit and red apple skins. Quite tasty.

Photo of blitheringidiot
4.37/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big ole tall boy 22 oz browner with a body & neck label motif. The neck label boasts "True style barley wine ale is grand in flavor and body. It has a rich amber color and a full robust body. Talon has been aged for months and this gives it that intense and delightful traditional warming barley wine flavor. Talon is ideal to bring cheer to the sharing spirit of the season." Glugged into me Duvel pint after only two months escape time from the brewery in Saratoga NY from Bob Craven, himself. Talon shows a hazy orangey coppery pour under a khaki healthy spotty 1/2 " cap that quickly disapates to a slick coating. Decent head lace slides down the glass.

Ripe mixed fruit blasts like apples, bananas, and pears that scream malty base. Candy aroma overwhelms me nose like a bowl of mixed hard candy i.e. Jolly Ranchers and caramel corns. The aroma goes on 'n on 'n on. Unimaginable, the awl-kee-hawl esters, like Vanilla extract creep out as warming hits

First swigs: Sizzled dark fruit blend flavor well warming with awl-kee-hawl pears and ripe red apples. Whew! Perhaps a bit rough, despite the aging from the brewery and from me, but just big in style and flavor. Tart lemony oil and peppery twinges pop out as warming takes over.

This is a drinkable beer with a caveat "Whoa Silver" meaning that you can ride this horse if you can tame the wild nature. A bit unbridled but tame-able if you dare. American vs. English? This walks the line IMO.

Last swigs; Extremely excited to try this Barley Wine, especially since I traded a bottle of Weyerbacher Quad directly in person to Bob Craven, the manager of Saratoga's MENDOCINO brewery. Malts nose reminiscent of Stone IPA. Funny how this ironically reminds me of the Quad that I traded for it. Stone maltiness lemons meets thick hops sizzle.

Beer is good. Happy beering.

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

Poured from 22 oz. bomber into a cognac sniffer. Pours with very little head and is a rich red color that looks like cherry juice. Aroma is full of cherry, almond, and woody (oak?) flavors. It sits in the glass with little carbonation and mostly looks like an odd colored red wine.

The flavor screams of soft fruity malt and a sour barley flavor. It has the light body of a juice. The flavor lacks some complexity. It is overpowering in it's tartness and sweetness, but it's not bad. Some molasses flavors come through that make it a bit too sweet. Overall it is a good barley wine, but not a daily drinker.

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

The beer evacuates the 22 ounce brown bottle a transpicuous burnished copper color with a planetary sized head the is frothy in texture and the color a toothsome light tan color, the resultant lace a thick blanket to cover the glass. Nose is rich in malt, hints of caramel, molasses maybe, plum like, earthy and hearty to the senses this beer. Start is sweet and rich in malt, the top moderate to full in its feel to the palate. Finish is respectably acidic, the hops hail and hearty in their spiciness, and the beer quite dry with a bit of alcohol bitterness, a for sure belly warmer this one and one not made for the palate challenged drinkers.

Photo of CRJMellor
4.15/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep caramel with gold and orange highlights. No real head to speak of but heavy alcohol tannins visible on the glass.
Aroma of heavy malt, dark citrus fruits, raisins, some leather and cigar wrapper, figs, dates and grain alcohol.
Flavor is domianted by the heavy malts but is remarkably balanced by a mild yet powerful hop oil and resin. No real bitterness is present but the hops obviously cut the heavy malt. Very nice.
Mouthfeel is sickly sweet for a nanosecond then cut to a pleasantly balanced well-done barleywine.
Drinkability is very nice. I shared with a non-BA and his only comment was "wow, its powerful and very tasty." Another convert.

Photo of watermelonman
3.73/5  rDev 0%
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 RedDiamond
4.5/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Talon has a malty and complex aroma that projects a mix of dark fruits, fig, and alcohol. The color is a dark mahogany and has the appearance of fine cognac with a few threads of lace. It is capable of producing a sizable head at first, but like most barleywines it is ultimately a heavy, sullen brew and is only modestly carbonated.

Talon is aged for a full year before bottling and very little yeast residue is present in the lees. It has a taste whose balance tips to the malt with a rich tapestry of warm fruity notes. Raisin or black current are among the fruit notes indicated while the broader taste suggests a plum brandy. Alcohol is present in the palate but is not overbearing or intrusive. The ABV potency of this brew makes itself most known in the warmth that stirs the belly.

I enjoyed this hearty barleywine a great deal for its obstinate willingness to praise the malt body. At last, a clear-eyed heathen unwilling to bow to the hop gods! The finish suggests a judicious restraint on bittering while still providing enough hops to gently ply the brakes on what could otherwise be a runaway malty sweetness. The potential drift towards syrupy mass is offset by enough carbonation to keep things relatively light on the tongue. Thus, even though she’s sweet and heavy, she doesn’t brood. (Reminds me of the barmaid at the Seven Swans….. aw, nevermind).

This brew should be enjoyed for what it is, not for what it should be. It is full bodied, complex, and smooth. It is endowed with a profuse and luxurious smell and a relaxed mouthfeel that sits like a heavy blanket on a winter’s morn. This is a premium barleywine – a slow sipping work of considerable craftsmanship.

Photo of lou91
3.65/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I was really surprised to see a new barley wine on the market and even more surprised to see that it was from Mendocino. The beer poured with a nice head and a potent hop nose. The color was dark amber and looked great. The taste was that of a nice rich hoppy barley wine – may be a bit too sweet for some. The taste is long and lingering with definite alcohol warmth. As it warms, the flavors come together much better. There is no vintage dating but some time may help round out the syrupy sweetness. A good attempt and I hope they start brewing bigger beers. Berkeley Bowl

Photo of RootedFool
4.45/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bomber purchased at the North Coast Co-op in Arcata, California.

Creamy and frothy tan head on the pour. The head falls after a minute or two and leaves a few milky scraps of lace on the glass. Body is opaque crimson until held to the light where it's a translucent, yet murky amber.

Smell starts off with strong grassy, hoppy notes, with a malty -- plums and brown sugar -- finish.

The taste begins with a dense flavor of prunes, also some hints of tobacco; the middle is an escalation of hop bitterness, knife-sharp and concentrated in its movement like a perfectly thrown dart, followed by a finish of tingling hops and a gentle fruity maltiness -- like dried apricots.

Creamy, palate-massaging mouthfeel; middling carbonation.

This tastes like a more traditional barleywine, where the malts aren't upstaged by the hops.

Has an interesting progression of flavors, and very balanced.

Photo of rkhaze
3.2/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

First time I've seen a barleywine by Mendocino Brewing. It's being marketed as a limited edition True Style Barleywine Ale.
In keeping with their avian tradition of naming beers, it's called Talon and has a large golden birds foot on the red label sporting four viscious looking talons. That all being said...
Pours a clear bright reddish/amber. Almost looks like it has a bit of marascino cherry juice in it. Small tan head that disappears immediatly. Noticeable carbonation (for a barleywine anyway) Smells of sweet malt, caramel, red licorice and a dry hopped presence.
Taste is a bit strange. Starts out sweet and malty and has a medicinal red fruit middle, kinda like that artficially flavored boysenberry pancake syrup at IHOP, and finishes all out of whack with a dry hop and raw alcohol bitterness that lingers on rather unpleasantly.
Medium bodied for the style. Creamy, slightly syrupy mouthfeel and tingly carbonation. To much stuff out of whack to make this highly drinkable.
Me thinks this one needs to age for a while. Seems a little young and harsh.

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Talon - True Style Barley Wine Ale from Mendocino Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 240 ratings.