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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.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

39 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 39
Hads: 191
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 6.24%
Wants: 79
Gots: 50 | 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: 191
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 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 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 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 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 bcostner1
4.55/5  rDev +9.1%
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! (524 characters)

Photo of kencarman
4.63/5  rDev +11%
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.

EXCELLENT. BUY IT. (546 characters)

Photo of beerman240
4.34/5  rDev +4.1%
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! (778 characters)

Photo of mattsdenney
4.38/5  rDev +5%
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. (946 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 evilkalla
4.42/5  rDev +6%
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. (587 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 nickthegun12
4.33/5  rDev +3.8%
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 (512 characters)

Photo of ncfranklin
3.98/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at The Nook on 03/07/11.

A: A dark dirty brown with a small tan head that dissipates quickly. Looks thick.

S: Feint bourbon, maybe dark fruit. Not very potent.

T: Dark fruit up front, before a big burst of alcohol, sugary sweetness, and a caramel note. The Barrel aging ads just a peek of wood and vanilla, giving this a slight bourbon tang. Very complex, with flavors blending together very quickly.

M: Thick and tacky, sticks to the jaws.

D: Overall, a delicious old ale. But one is enough at this alcohol level. (529 characters)

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