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Unobtanium Barrel-Aged Old Ale - Straight To Ale

Not Rated.
Unobtanium Barrel-Aged Old AleUnobtanium Barrel-Aged Old Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

43 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 43
Hads: 197
Avg: 4.12
pDev: 27.18%
Wants: 80
Gots: 48 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Straight To Ale visit their website
Alabama, United States

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  11.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: t0rin0 on 06-18-2010

Unobtanium is a barrel-aged English-style Old Ale that ages for six months in a bourbon barrel, soaking up all sorts of amazing whiskey character as well as hints of oak and vanilla. The name was taken from an old aerospace/engineering term for a specific material or object (often imaginary, impossible or highly improbable to obtain) needed to complete any given project.

And, before you ask, we did not take the name from the elusive metal in Avatar. James Cameron reportedly named the substance as an inside joke to his fellow techie/gear-heads. Our version is much tastier, though.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 43 | Hads: 197
Photo of Jadjunk
3.72/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

No label information. Unobtanium is brewed in the style of an English Old Ale. Available in 22 oz. bottles and on limited draft.

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle to a snifter glass.

(Appearance) Pours a crisp, frothy tan-caramel head over a densely hazy burgundy body. Retention is below average and lacing is light and spotty. 3.25

(Smell) Raisin, fig and plum syrups, light candied sugar, some mild tanginess and undertones of delicate bourbon barrel aging, lightly toasted oak and trace vanilla with some calm but detectable booze. Potency is moderate. 3.75

(Taste) Many of the aforementioned fruit and candied sugar characters from the aroma, very profound, plus some malt complexity of caramel breads and a touch of light roast, finishing on a light fruity tanginess with some bourbon barrel character, a nip of sharp alcohol. Enjoyable, but a bit untamed and slightly gruff. 3.75

(Mouthfeel) Texture is smooth, modestly syrupy and slick, mildly grainy and medium dry. Carbonation is medium, generating a light frothiness and a lightly crisp finish. Body is moderate for the style, medium/heavy overall. Alcohol presence is medium+ and there are no off characters in this style. 3.75

(Overall) It's an enjoyable ale with a lot of yeast and fruit character and complexity, but add in the complex sugars, malt bill and bourbon barrel characters plus booze and it becomes difficult to tell the components you like in this beer from those you don't. The alcohol bill is quite discernible in this ale, and the results may vary. I found it a bit too busy and gruff to be truly enjoyable but might consider sampling a fresher batch in the future to be sure (I have as of yet to see bottling dates on these bottles, so I am not sure how old Straight To Ale's ales are). 3.75

Straight To Ale's
Unobtanium Old Ale

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Photo of tbryan5
4.48/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

FINALLY hitting one of my long time wants. Big thanks to @gpharris for sending this beer (and many, many others).

A- Pours a dark brown with little to no head.

S- Alcohol, huge dark fruits. Plum and raisins. Pretty sweet on the nose.

T- Wow. The alcohol is surprisingly subdued on the palate for such a big beer. Very, very good!

M- Low, low carbonation. Slick and coating.

D- A big beer but surprisingly drinkable. A definite sipper but I don't want it to end.

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Photo of FriedSlug
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber bottle into a Duvel tulip. It had a nice tan thick head but left minimal lacing in my glass. The color is a deep reddish brown that allows minimal light to pierce the depths but it has nice clarity. It smells like raisins, prunes, booze and massive amounts of honey. It tastes the same with a pleasing sweetness that is countered by a hint of bitterness that lingers on the tongue at the end. Such a great beer. So glad I was able to try this.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.13/5  rDev -24%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.25

650 mL bottle poured into a wine glass. Deep amber body with a medium khaki head. Nose is dark fruits and booze. Bourbon. Tastes really sweet. Brighter fruits, but still fruity. Bourbon in the back end. Heavy sugars in this one. Well carbonated and very sweet. Way too sweet for me.

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Photo of OrestesMethuon
4.21/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Nice, deep reddish brown depth; chocolate, molasses, and—especially—raisin on the nose; good, plush, creamy-tan head, which lingers nicely in the tulip; the body is thick, but not unbecomingly so, and the bourbon notes really shine through: corn whiskey, woodiness, and velvety vanilla. Very drinkable, even mellow in its way, for an Old Ale—a nice melding of Old Blighty and Old Bluegrass, fresh and very obtainable in the Straight to Ale footprint.

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Photo of elektrikjester
4.45/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from an undated bottle purchased in mid-2014. My guess on a date for this beer is 9 months to a year. Green cap and not the newer Straight to Ale cap. Decanted into three glasses.

Appearance - Pours a clear dark amber that is just beautified when held to the light. Thin beige head quickly settles to a wisp of lacing that remains.

Aroma - Butter toffee, vanilla, cola, and cordial alcohol (think maple and a vague dried fruit flavor). In short, bourbon is driving the aroma here. Sweet, bready malts (think Wonder Bread) show up as the beer warms.

Taste - Very sweet with oak, vanilla, (again) cola, and a general bourbon profile dominating. Very refined, however. Sweetness from the malts follows (again, that Wonder Bread taste). Everything you'd expect from this style.

Mouthfeel - A tad bit syrupy, bit with a fair amount of carbonation.

Overall - Unobtanium is an excellent beer fresh, but the additional time has deepened its character further. I simply cannot believe this beer lingers on the shelves the way it does. A credit to the fine brewery that is Straight to Ale.

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Photo of cjgiant
4.38/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle (no known date):
Beer pours a deep auburn brown, with a moderate amount of deep tan head. The head does last, though, thickly at the edges. The alcohol may prevent lacing. The nose is strong, dark to burnt sugar, and spice: biting like cinnamon or licorice or ginger.

The taste is more raisin and grape, plum even. The sugar notes are there, adding a cola-like flavor to the beer. The alcohol is present, but far from dominant. Carbonation is a tad strong, body is nicely medium-heavy. The beer changes a bit as it warms, a cherry or berry tartness comes out.

A very enjoyable beer, but one to be sipped and savored.

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Photo of Nicknackpaddywack
5/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I go between non-barrel aged Laika & 6-12 month aged Unobtainium for all occasions. Unobtanium Old English Ale takes Laika "gruel" to another level. But, don't spill either. Like molasses, if it dries on your clothes it will make your clothes STIFF ;-)

These beers make Goose Island's bourbon barrel [heroin addict Black Friday marketing] beers seem like Lite beer.

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Photo of tempest
4.22/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Great balance here. I don't know if you'd want to drink an 11.5% old ale without the barrel cutting down the sweetness. This pairs big fruity dark malts — lots of jammy berries and caramel — with dry, almost crisp vanilla oak notes. There's a hint of heat to remind you you're dealing with whiskey. Overall, a wonderfully executed beer.

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Photo of Ohiovania
4.52/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Looks great

Smell of Deep oak, rich ripe cherries and dark fruit

Taste follows smell with a little caramel from the barrel aging, dark biscuity bread, and alcohol.

Mouth feel is disappointing. A little thin and a little over carbonated.

*Mouthfeel edit - after about 30 minutes it cooled down more, I poured the other half of the bottle, and the mouth feel seemed to not be so thin due to the carb calming down. Very odd but I'll take it since I enjoyed it much more.

Over all I wish I had got a couple more for aging. Looking forward to picking more up next time I'm down south. Very Nice job, StA.

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Photo of WoodEscobar
5/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

As someone who has stepped away from regular draft and stepping over to Craft and Local brews, this was a good decision...I like the taste, the smell and not to mention the ABV is always a good thing.

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Photo of Beer_Loving_Brandon
1.61/5  rDev -60.9%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Pours without being easily upset. Upon pouring immediately smelled what first seemed like bananas. Thought it was the bananas beside me. Nope, it was the beer. Feels smooth going down and has significant bite followed by that warm feeling of whiskey.

Poured into and drank from a chilled 22oz stein.

Overall, I despise it. I love Bourbon and I love beer, but this Bourbon beer fad is terrible. It literally tastes just like someone put a shot of terrible whiskey into a marginal beer. Granted, this one is better than some, but I would not characterize any of this genre as "good" beer.

Another brewery in the area produces a similar beer called "Wee Heavy Ale." It is even worse. Same concept, beer mixed with whiskey.

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Photo of Franziskaner
4.05/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown in color with a fingernail of khaki colored head that doesn't last. Nearly impenetrable to light. Strong aroma of bourbon greets my nose along with loads of dark malt. The taste is packed with sweet bourbon and dark malt. The mouth is thick and chewy.

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Photo of kirok1999
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%

Just what an Old Ale should be. Rich, dense and creamy. Sweet malts dominate the nose and tongue. Very mild carbonation makes it an easy sipper and the taste lingers for minutes. More like a fine dessert wine. Notes of dark fruit mixed with caramel and dates. The barrel aging does it well adding notes of vanilla and bourbon but the alcohol is just barely noticable. Seek it out.

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Photo of Dope
4.18/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

No bottling date that I can find. I assume to be the most recent batch.

A: Pours a very dark brown but not quite black. Dense but small medium brown head. Head fades quickly with no lacing. Appears almost still with no head retention at all.

S: Huh. Big and fruity maltiness. Smells more like a sherry barrel or maybe brandy. Sweet dark fruits abound. Cocoa and maybe even marshmallow? Layer of caramel over everything. Smooth, sweet and inviting.

T: More of the same. Big, ultra-heavy and sweet caramel up front. Lots of dark fruits, raisins, berries and maybe even cherries? Caramel and heavy breadiness in the finish, all with a dusting of cocoa. Little bit of alcohol bite in the finish with a hint of oak and more dusty cocoa.

M: Heavy, thick, sweet. Alcohol bite helps cut it substantially.

O: Hell of an Old Ale. Super malty with nice layers of complexity only furthered by adding bourbon barrel aging. Very sweet and smooth but cuts nicely with the sharp alcohol content.

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Photo of Bloodbuzz99
3.5/5  rDev -15%

big and boozy, like the holiday treat 'burbon balls' in liquid form; it's a sipper and one I wish I was sharing rather than knocking back solo; Great example of the style, but not a personal fave that I will seek out again

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Photo of iheartmyTHO
2.75/5  rDev -33.3%

Yeah, I'm not a fan of this particular beer. You definitely can taste the bourbon. But as I've experienced before with these high alcohol content beers, they just taste like fancy malt liquor, and it's just not something I'm a fan of.

To be fair, I primarily only bought this beer because of the label. I'm a chemist and I just can't resist science-y inspired booze.

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Photo of Zach136
4.41/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Black with deep ruby edges.

Aroma: Big toffee notes, bourbon and oak.

Flavor: Dark fruit, caramel, and oak with a toasty background.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and silky

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Photo of ThickNStout
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%

22oz bottle from Dogwood Growler (Acworth, GA). 12.00. No bottling date. Served in a Barrel and Barley teku.

Pours an opaque, ruby tinted deep mahogany with a half finger of quickly fading head. Almost no retention whatsoever and no lace.

Smells of caramel, dark fruit jam, brown sugar and soft bourbon.

Taste follows the nose with raisin, currants, mildly charred brown sugar, subtle bourbon, caramel and a sharp alcohol bite. The bourbon barrel is present but lingers well behind the dark fruits and booze.

Slick, medium body with low carbonation. Aftertaste of fusel alcohol and whisky soaked raisins.

Unobtanium is good stuff for sure but pales in comparison to its cognac aged brother, Illudium. Still worth a try for sure and I look forward to enjoying the other couple bottles in my cellar.

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Photo of jeranbrews
3.75/5  rDev -9%

A - pours a very unique yeast yellow brown body. Dark burgundy in the glass but murky sulphuric yellow in the pour. Thick sulphur yellow head that died a bit quickly. 4.5/5

S - rich complex. Fig and plum. With a hint of banana bread and sour apple. 5/5

T - sour. Chemical. Tiny hints and pecks of complex bready and ester notes are muffled by the hazmat tastes.3/5

M - too loose. Watery. As evidenced by the lack of lacing 3.5/5

O - wonderfully unique appearance and world class aroma ultimately fall short with the overly caustic tastes 3/5

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Photo of BigRedDog
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bomber poured into a pint glass.

Pours a very dark brown. Not much head, and it doesnt stay for long.

Smells is booze at first. Definite notes of barrel aging as well. Fades into some dark fruit.

Booze, wood, and dark fruits, like raisins, and maybe even some dark berries. Almost a sweetness to it, but cut by booze. Nice warming sensation on the way down, as well as a bit of a spicey, peppery finish.

Mouthfeel is thick and creamy.

Good beer. The ABV definitely shines through. Good with the pork tenderloin I'm having tonight too.

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Photo of patre_tim
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown with an amber tinge of about 1 cm only when held to the light, lots of gunky brownish grey sediment, on cap upon opening, and in chunks on the bottom of the glass. A finger of deep beige head.

S: Scotch whiskey, butterscotch, caramel, woody oak quality, ice cream, brown sugar, pecan pralines. Maple syrup.

T: Caramel, maple syrup, whiskey, moderate sweetness that seems to have mellowed out leaving a relatively dry finish. Praline, ice cream, big woody oak quality also comes in.

M: Medium thick chewy body, medium low carbonation. Dry woody finish.

O: Excellent, well done brew. Bought in in Pensacola, FL and it was the last bottle in the store. Wasn’t able to find it in Alabama or even in Birmingham, so I’m glad I grabbed it. Well done brew. Not sure if I’ll ever see it again. Drank Aug 1st, 2014 in Decateur, AL.

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Photo of brewskifan55
4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a pint glass. Thanks for sharing, CorgiDad.

A: Dark brown with a tan one finger head that dissipates fast. Light lacing.

S: Sweet, bourbon-y with molasses, brown sugar and chocolate malts.

T: Knocked me out of my tree. Easily, the best thing we had at our tasting. Follows nose with a bourbon kick and cane sugar. Hearty, robust. Unputdownable. And yes, the alcohol is well hidden, as it pounded me later.

M: Medium with medium, frothy carbonation.

O: A sublime sipper from a stellar brewery. Recommended. I liked it as much as the Illudium.

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Photo of SanFranJake
4.41/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Enjoying what my trading partner has labeled as a 2012 release, poured into a snifter.
A: Pours a deep dark mahogany color, very minimal cream head.
S: Very delightful. Some sweetness and a nice, lightly detectable hint of bourbon.
T: Very enjoyable. Like the smell, a light sweetness, a hint of bourbon and maltiness.
M: First sip was so rich and creamy. As I'm finishing this bomber, it's still nice and thick.
O: Very glad I was able to get try this beer. Wasn't even on my radar but my trading bud offered it up, I read the reviews and said hell yeah and I have no reservations what so ever. I'd gladly buy and consume this were it available for me. I think it was less than $15 for a BA Old Ale bomber...I'd buy this all damn day!

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.56/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Slips out a dark brown, opaque body, with a slim, scant head the color of yellowed beige.

Smell: Darkened aggressive toastiness, charred nuts, caramel and molasses. Already, there's a bit of sting from the alcohol, like getting caught by a spritz of hairspray. Fruity yeast esters throwing off notes of cherry, grilled plums.

Taste: Darkened bread crusts ground by a pestle and mortar. The dark caramel sweetness is robust. Earthy, nutty tone throughout. Touch of molasses. Maybe some oak qualities, but very little in the way of tastes I would have expected (or even half-expected) from the barrel aging. Moderate fruity esters. Sharp pop of alcohol, a little solventy. The finish is smooth, sweet and presents more of the belly-warming alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium carbonation. Fairly smooth mouthfeel.

Overall: Big deal.

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Unobtanium Barrel-Aged Old Ale from Straight To Ale
90 out of 100 based on 43 ratings.