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Unobtanium Barrel-Aged Old Ale - Straight To Ale

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

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41 Reviews
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Reviews: 41
Hads: 194
Avg: 4.12
pDev: 27.91%
Wants: 79
Gots: 49 | 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: 41 | Hads: 194
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 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 Reaper16
4.72/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

served on-tap @ Alcove, Tuscaloosa, AL, into a pint glass

Pours a rich, ruddy, muddy red-brown color. Like silt and clay. It's pretty dark, but there's plenty of redness to the overall color. For an 11.5% ABV beer there is a lot of head; slightly greater than one finger of off-white foam. Decent lacing. A fine looking Old Ale.

There's plenty going on in the aroma, most of which is reflected in how the beer tastes. So...

Straight up: this beer is one of the most complex, enjoyable beers I've ever had. The layers of flavor here are numerous. Unobtanium begins by throwing an entire bakery at you: sugar cookies and oatmeal-raisin cookies and Hamantashen cookies and fruitcake and Ho-Hos. So many baked goods! So many combinations of sugar and cooked dough. Brown sugar and barrel, too: oakiness, trace vanilla. There's a very slight bourbon flavor here from the Buffalo Trace barrels, but it mostly blends into the other malty flavors. What takes this beer over the top is its mint component. I don't know what is causing the mint flavor, but that cool, herbal note helps to balance out the richness of the malt bonanza. The mint also plays well with the barrel characteristics. The finish is an amalgam of every flavor that's already been mentioned, as well as some red grapes. This beer is incredible.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side of medium-bodied. It isn't what I'd consider to be "thick," but it carries its weight around enough to suit the heavy flavor profile. It's a very sweet beer, and the mouthfeel reflects that. And it needs to be said: you could never tell that this is an 11.5% ABV beer. It's as smooth as the day is long, with not a single trace of alcohol burn.

Overall, this is absolutely, bar none, the best Old Ale I've ever had. I first tried it well over a year ago, at a beer festival here in Alabama. It blew me away, but I was too drunk to properly review it. Now that I've tasted it again, I see that I wasn't just remembering a big-fish-story. Unobtanium Old Ale is the very best beer that the state of Alabama brews. It is the best Old Ale that I've ever had, and it is worth the trip into Huntsville or Birmingham in order to drink it.

One last note: a lot of Alabama beers, be they from Good People or Avondale or what have you, are overrated by the local reviewing public. I tend to find that Alabama beers have inflated BA scores relative to their quality. This is NOT the case for Unobtanium Old Ale. I'm not a homer, and I think this beer is absolutely world-class.

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Photo of kencarman
4.63/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This example was not LISTED on bottle as barrel aged, but it tasted so and a bit oaky. The head was pillow and faded fast. Light barely shines through with deep ruby highlights. Aroma: classic Old Ale. Taste was exactly what an OA shpould be wit carmelized malt, little to no hops and nice, woody, slight tang. Mouthfeel a tad slippery.

Another Straight to Ale hit. 11 plus abv? You'd NEVER know..

I have yet to have a bad, or even mediocre, STA beer;.

Taste is oak and sweet malt with a hint of orange-LIKE fruitiness.


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Photo of bcostner1
4.55/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: deep, rich mahogany brown. Moderate khaki head. Viscous pour.

S: Vanilla, bourbon, baked bread, dark fruit

T: Awesome. Melange of: vanilla, caramel, caramelized brown sugar, bourbon, wood, molasses, and a little maple syrup. No real hops present to speak of.

M: A little on the sugary sweet side. Viscous and thick; sticky. Satisfying but a sipper for sure. Still a little hot; some age would probably do this one great.

Overall, awesome brew. Worth trying for sure. Can't wait to try some more stuff from these guys!

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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 richj1970
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 22 oz bomber into snifter glass.

A: Pours a ruby tinted brown with smallish head that settles quickly to a thin ring around the edge. A bit of lacing but not much.

S: Bready malts, caramel, and a bit of spice. Reminds me a bit of toffee.

T: Sweet malts mixed with bourbon and oak. Dark fruits and a bit of spiciness in the back.

M: Medium body and nicely carbonated. Coats the tongue nicely. Perfect after dinner drink.

O: One of my all time favorite Straight to Ale offerings. When I find it, I buy it all.

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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 Rbroccoli
4.48/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Served out of a chilled bomber poured into a nonic pub glass.

A: Very dark brown with decent 1/2 finger head, low retention. Looks like the ideal old ale.

S: Slightly boozy with sweet confectionary undertones.

T: Starting out cold I picked up on a lot of the sweetness. The flavors of this old ale are perfect for an Alabamian like myself. Sweet syrup flavors such as sorghum molasses and clover honey, balanced with a subtle nuttiness that tastes like a southern pecan pie and an oak like woodiness. As it warms, the sweeter flavors hide underneath the woodiness and a nice bourbon flavor begins to move in. Not too boozy, but some booziness. Very good.

M: This is where it gets tricky. It is good when it is cold: a nice slight viscosity with light carbonation. However, as it warms up, the mouthfeel seems to thin out and almost takes on the texture of diet cola. This is my only complaint about the beer-- it doesn't seem to warm well.

O: It's a great beer! I would definitely buy it again, and drink it cold. It may age well, and that may give the mouthfeel that extra boost.

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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 MacQ32
4.45/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A - pours deep deep mahogany with less than a finger of light toffee head. ok retention and lacing

S - Tons of brown sugar and heavy dark fruits. Slight warming alcohol

T - Dark fruits (rasins, prunes, etc) and Chocolate, brown sugar and sweet malts

M - medium bodied or less fairly easy drinking

O - Huge dark fruits sweet chocolatey malt taste, really nice belgianesque brew

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Photo of AgentMunky
4.44/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle into a St. Bernardus goblet.

A: Pours matte nut-brown with light head. Fades fast. Opaque.

S: Sweet raisins. Loads of malt and brown sugar.

T/M: Phenomenal! Lots of flavours -- spice, fruit, brown sugar, strong yeast. This is excellent. Powerful and Belgian-esque, perhaps due to whatever yeast strain made it old. Sweet, but not too much so. The barrel ageing really shine through The aftertaste is dryish, lingering, alcoholic, and pleasant.

O: This beer was unexpectedly excellent! It only improved with drinking. Highly recommended; I can't wait to get my hands on another bottle.

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Photo of emerge077
4.42/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Jim & Joan for sharing the growler...
Review from notes.

Into a small tulip it pours a tawny caramel copper, surprisingly bright clarity. Initial cluster and ring of bubbles around the edges. Not a whole lot of foam, but a swirl does generate a bit of skim across the top. To be expected for the style, considering the abv.

Rich and sweet aroma of figs, caramel, toasted marshmallow, some wood and vanilla attributed to the barrel-aging.

Sweet and fruity with a mellow feel, slight alcohol prickle and a hint of spirit. Woody cherry pipe tobacco, ripe banana/plantain, caramel, mild bitterness, hints of bourbon in the aftertaste from the Buffalo Trace barrel. A rich sipper that I had to get seconds of. Very tasty! Thanks again guys.

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Photo of evilkalla
4.42/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Serving: Pint jug from Liquor Express on University Drive into a snifter.

A: Pours dark brown with a hint of copper. Not a lot of head and it's left very little lacing on the glass.

S: Smells of candy, molasses, tobacco, and whiskey. Quite good.

T: Very malty at first, with just a hint of the "stale" ole ale character, then we get into whiskey and wood. Very complex. Very good. Alcohol is somewhat noticeable but this is expected.

M: On the thicker side which I expected. Not bad.

O: Not something I would pound back but definitely you would sip on all night. Amazing complexity.

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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 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 mattsdenney
4.38/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Purchased from the first shipment of bombers to make it to Nashville. I wasn't aware that this is barrel aged but as there is no other option available so I'll rate this one (I did have some actual barrel aged cask unobtanium @ the 12 South Winter Warmer).

Anyways, this one pours dark, oily, looks black but is actually a dark brownish red when held up to the light. Finger thick brown head with no lacing or retention. The pour releases a great smelling beer. Heavy dried fig and fruit, maple syrup, toasted caramel, and smoky malts. The taste of this beer is rich and strong and leads with earthy, malty goodness. Follows with hints of dark cherries and dried fruit and finishes with a nice syrupy, boozy sweetness.

The mouthfeel on this one is thick and heavy bodied. Perfect for an Old Ale as it forces you to drink slowly and savor the taste. Overall a really flavorful and filling beer that is nice and warming on a cold winter evening.

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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 beerman240
4.34/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

A. Pours dark red and dark caramel..looks like rootbeer without as much head.
Thick and rich with a creamy head, and thin lace.
S. Roasted plums, raisins and ruby red grapefruit...weird...good fizzy tickle in my nose.
Love this smell by the way.
T. The first sip had a sharp bitter..all the fallowing sips did not..boozy...good stuff.
Malts..strong malt, kindof tobacco-ey. This beer slides into a mellow smooth finish.
M. Boozey fix..sits on back of tongue and plays a song.
O. Enjoyed this beer..I'm really glad a "good" beer come out of Alabama. I live in Clay and would definately stop in to drink all of their Onobtanium. Would definitely recommend this beer..I'm drinking this poured rrom a bomber into my OMMEGANG large tulip I got in a gift pack for Christmas..ENJOY!

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Photo of sommersb
4.34/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Tasted On: 05-10-2013
Freshness: Not indicated
Packaging: 22 oz. brown bottle, swing-top
Glassware: Signature glass
Purchased: Single from The Bottle Shop, Franklin

Appearance has a cloudy dark brown beer with a small tan-colored head. Retention is low and the lacing is minimal, but I think that's to be expected on a beer with this ABV.

Smells start with sweet, dark fruits and then include malty caramel notes, some wood, vanilla and then alcohol spirit aromas.

The taste is strong and rich, with vanilla, bourbon alcohol, sweet malts, and dark fruits such as dates, raisins and figs. No bitterness is evident, although it's not super sweet so I think the hops are there for some balance.

Mouthfeel is thick and chewy, with a strong alcohol warming effect. Finishes sweet and full of malty and dark fruit flavors.

Overall a real treat of an English stock/old ale I highly enjoyed and would recommend!

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Photo of nickthegun12
4.33/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

had this beer last night, 4-22-11, at the aprilfest in auburn alabama...

the appearance is great...nice and black....the head holds up nicely

smells like it has been aged....almost a licorice smell to it...dark malts smelled great

the taste is outstanding....dark malts mixed so well with the aged whiskey barrel....the malts character dominates....but hides the alcohol very well

feel is dry....nice lacing...

overall this is outstanding beer...i would love to see this brewery do well in the years to come

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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 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 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 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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Unobtanium Barrel-Aged Old Ale from Straight To Ale
90 out of 100 based on 41 ratings.