Unobtanium Barrel-Aged Old Ale | Straight To Ale

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BA SCORE
91
outstanding
46 Reviews
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BEER STATS
Reviews:
46
Ratings:
210
Avg:
4.12
pDev:
26.46%
 
 
Wants:
79
Gots:
55
For Trade:
5
Unobtanium Barrel-Aged Old AleUnobtanium Barrel-Aged Old Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Straight To Ale
Alabama, United States | website

Style: Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by t0rin0 on 06-18-2010

User Reviews
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Reviews: 46 | Ratings: 210
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.68/5  rDev -10.7%
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.

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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 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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Photo of chinchill
4.23/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

About half of a shared bomber bottle.

Lovely red-brown body with a very good head.

Lightly sweet with lots caramel and toffee. This is a bit boozy, mainly in the aroma, and it has pronounced bourbon barrel effects in the flavor. Still, excellent whisky barrel effects and overall excellent aroma and flavor.

Overall: easily the best beer I’ve had from this brewer, and one of the best old ales I’ve ever had.

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Photo of MasterSki
3.98/5  rDev -3.4%
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.

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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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 SPLITGRIN
4.55/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I was really taken by surprise by this beer. This brew so well represents all the things that are wonderful about bourbon. Bold and approachable with so much complexity and character. Almost looks like bourbon in the class with just a quarter inch of head. Sweet and creamy with the right amount of spice and dark fruit. Excellent overall.

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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 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 T_Hass
3.61/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the hound in Auburn. Poured into a tulip. S surprising amount of head for an old Ale. Beautiful khaki color. Smell is sweet, reminds me of a Bruery beer. The taste... I wanted this to be good but it's too cloying for me with a slight bitter/black licorice flavor on the end. I could barely finish this. A little less sweet and this beer has got a lot of potential.

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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 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 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
3.72/5.00

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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 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 cvm4
3.88/5  rDev -5.8%
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.

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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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Unobtanium Barrel-Aged Old Ale from Straight To Ale
91 out of 100 based on 46 ratings.