Unobtanium Barrel-Aged Old Ale - Straight To Ale

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Unobtanium Barrel-Aged Old AleUnobtanium Barrel-Aged Old Ale

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BA SCORE
91
outstanding

39 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 39
Hads: 189
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 6.24%
Wants: 79
Gots: 48 | FT: 4
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: 39 | Hads: 189
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.68/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to GRG1313 for sharing this one at his tasting.

Pours a clear brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to an oily film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, caramel, toffee, and banana aromas. Taste is much the same with caramel and fruit flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of toasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is tasty but doesn't really give off any barrel aged aromas or flavors. (597 characters)

Photo of emerge077
4.42/5  rDev +6%
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. (751 characters)

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.56/5  rDev -14.6%
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. (856 characters)

Photo of MasterSki
3.98/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Thanks to Chip for sending this my way. Shared at Todd's place; served in a snifter.

A - White foam settles to a collar, wisps, and a few splotches of lace. Transparent ruby body that's quite attractive.

S - Very English, with sharp and fruity notes, treacle, red fruits, toffee, and bready malts. Oak is mild, and there's some alcohol present, although not excessively so for 11.5%.

T - I like the taste better, as the alcohol is better contained and there's less of the 'sharp' English character. Nice mix of caramel, vanilla, fruity ale yeast, and only faint bourbon character; not sure what barrels were used, but they don't contribute a ton of flavor.

M - Medium-full body, pleasant carbonation, chewy texture, lightly toasty and dry in the finish. Alcohol is better concealed here as well.

D - I wish there was more bourbon character, as it might cut some of the sweetness. Might appeal to lovers of English ales, as the oak is more in line with something like Fuller's Brewer's Reserve. Solid, but not digging it as much as some of the other reviewers. (1,064 characters)

Photo of tempest
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
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. (340 characters)

Photo of AgentMunky
4.44/5  rDev +6.5%
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. (618 characters)

Photo of Dope
4.18/5  rDev +0.2%
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. (987 characters)

Photo of Zach136
4.41/5  rDev +5.8%
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 (180 characters)

Photo of MacQ32
4.45/5  rDev +6.7%
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 (382 characters)

Photo of patre_tim
4/5  rDev -4.1%
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. (845 characters)

Photo of cjgiant
4.38/5  rDev +5%
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. The beer (642 characters)

Photo of ThickNStout
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%

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. (807 characters)

Photo of richj1970
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%
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. (524 characters)

Photo of Ohiovania
4.52/5  rDev +8.4%
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. (606 characters)

Photo of brewskifan55
4.3/5  rDev +3.1%
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. (558 characters)

Photo of Franziskaner
4.05/5  rDev -2.9%
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. (266 characters)

Photo of sommersb
4.34/5  rDev +4.1%
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! (908 characters)

Photo of Reaper16
4.72/5  rDev +13.2%
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. (2,517 characters)

Photo of cvm4
3.88/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

They should really update the label here. There's no mention of being barrel aged on the label. I wasn't sure if this was the base beer (which there isn't one) or the barrel aged beer.

A - Pours a murky deep with with tinges of red to it. Has a one finger tan head.

S - Malts, toffee, caramel and banana esters. For a barrel aged beer, not much barrel on the nose.

T - Ahh, there's that bourbon and oak kick. It's present, but doesn't take over. Also has vanilla, sweet malts and dark fruits.

M - Medium to full bodied with low carbonation. Has a wet finish and low abv burn.

O - The barrel nose is weak. It's a solid beer though and the base beer does shine through as well. (683 characters)

Photo of BigRedDog
4.1/5  rDev -1.7%
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. (540 characters)

Photo of kirok1999
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%

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. (387 characters)

Photo of zookerman182
4.16/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a murky red/brown color with almost no head at all.
Aroma is dark fruit, vanilla, oak, with a little Booze.
Flavor is the same as the aroma times two.
Strong vanilla with bready, dark fruit notes.
Warming alcohol throughout but not as boozy as Laika.
Fantastic beer that becomes more complex as it warms. (311 characters)

Photo of SanFranJake
4.41/5  rDev +5.8%
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! (738 characters)

Photo of Bloodbuzz99
3.5/5  rDev -16.1%

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 (222 characters)

Photo of jeranbrews
3.75/5  rDev -10.1%

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 (552 characters)

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Unobtanium Barrel-Aged Old Ale from Straight To Ale
91 out of 100 based on 39 ratings.