Winston Smith's Stranahan's Barrel-Aged Barley Wine - Phantom Canyon Brewing Company
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Ratings: 10 | Reviews: 4 | Show All Ratings:
4.28/5 rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4
Wax-sealed 22oz bomber bought at the brewery poured into a small Swiss wine snifter. Bottle # 98.
A gentle pour yields a half finger of creamy, compact light tan head over a deep crimson (nearly ruby) body. Very good looking beer.
Deep toffee and heavy toasty malts are prominent in the nose. A dry almost pie-crust note pairs with a low level of dark fruit that doesn't manifest as strongly as in some English style barleywines. I also pick up raisin bread aroma, which reminds me very much of a raisin bread that isn't sweet, but instead that dry raisin "bready" smell. With more swirling I pick up some sweeter fruits, but they remain in the dark fruit range.
The flavor is very integrated and balanced. The whiskey barrel shows through initially with a rounded burst of alcohol, heat, and vanilla/oak/barrel flavors. This is quickly rounded up by the slightly sweet deep and this malts. After this point there is very little heat in the flavor, which is nice as I enjoy just the little bit on the front end to remind me of the whiskey barrel this once inhabited. Toffee and sweet sugary dark fruit are outstanding in the middle of the flavor, and near the end some hops show through. The bitterness is still low but there is a little leafy hop character right at the end of the flavor, which is what I would expect for an English style barleywine.
The mouthfeel is smooth and full, with low carbonation that feel creamy but very much alive on the tongue.
Conclusion: I tasted this on tap at the brewery a few months ago and it was very good, but I actually prefer it now from the bottle. Possibly it is that I have more space/time to really let it open up in the glass, or maybe a few additional months of conditioning in the bottle has done it a service. Anyway, I this is an excellent example of this style, and one I respect as much as many of the true English versions. Certainly worth seeking out, but don't expect to be flattened by whiskey flavors or huge hops. This is a refined and subtle sipper. Now the question is; will it age like the great barleywines of England?
Serving type: bottle
02-27-2012 22:47:52 | More by allforbetterbeer
3.6/5 rDev -7.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
Appearance: dark, ruby red; thin head that disappeared to almost nothing fairly quickly.
Smell: Heavy, sweet malt; earthy
Taste: Plum, caramel, and honey; strong alcohol warmth up front and staying throughout; slight astringency and bitterness
Mouthfeel: Smooth, velvety
Overall: A satisfying winter beer that should improve with age (I'll save my bottle for later in 2012).
My original scores: 3.0 3.5 3.5 3.0 3.5
I popped my 2012 bottle on 03/03/2014 and would adjust my scores to 3.0 3.75 3.5 3.75 3.75
The reasons for the slight increase would be that the aroma and mouthfeel come across a tad richer and fuller while the flavor has lost any astringency I detected from drinking at the bar and on tap. A solid barleywine offering...
Serving type: on-tap
12-24-2011 20:45:38 | More by beergoot
4/5 rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5
Had this one on tap at the brewery in Colorado Springs early last week. Aged in a Stranahan's whiskey barrel. Aromas of whiskey, oak, dried fruit, chocolate and caramel. Medium to full bodied, with flavors of oak, vanilla, toffee, whiskey and caramel.
Serving type: on-tap
03-09-2011 01:13:56 | More by emmasdad
4.6/5 rDev +17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5
Just over 100 bottles made, 100 released to the public. Purchased from the brewery for $16.
Pours a nice woody brown with a silky tan head. Nice lace. Notes of oak and whiskey over sweet bready malts, nuts, caramel, toffee and just a touch of hops. Some oxidation present, but not in a bad way. Could age well. Full body lightly carbonated, nice finish. Great beer. I love Stranahan barrels!
Serving type: bottle
02-21-2011 01:18:46 | More by rye726
Winston Smith's Stranahan's Barrel-Aged Barley Wine from Phantom Canyon Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 10 ratings.