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Great - Alpine Beer Company

Not Rated.
GreatGreat

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

469 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 469
Reviews: 143
rAvg: 4.52
pDev: 9.07%
Wants: 1,228
Gots: 67 | FT: 5
Brewed by:
Alpine Beer Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  14.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
The base of this beer was available at a couple of festivals as a barleywine named "Good". The remainder of the batch spent several months aging in fresh Jack Daniels barrels and became "Great".
Available in limited release at the brewery only

(Beer added by: xlperro on 03-01-2005)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 469 | Reviews: 143 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ChadQuest
4.75/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to DSC for bringing the Alpine Great, mucho gracias.

Color looks like almond in hue, a light brown that is rather opaque.
The aroma affirms that this has time in the bottle as the 14% is hardly believable to be true, it's perceptably there but hard to believe it's a 14% powerhouse. It is instead blanketed over with the notion that the flavors are going to have some sweet and creamy flavors, and the nose turns true.
So much rounded out and integrated flavors of butterscotch, toffee, caramel, and toasted nuts mixed and incorperated into one another on an oak canvas, this is a delight to drink.

This is one bottle i'd really love to get a chance to try again.

ChadQuest, Jun 13, 2011
Photo of MADhombrewer
4.4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This was part of a 7 bottle BA Barleywine tasting. Hopsbreath was very kind to bring this even though I knew nothing about it. Shared with Hopsbreath, Tulipsnifter, and witchsbrew. This was a 2009 vintage.

Appearance- A muddy sun tea color. Small off white head. Low lacing. 3.5/5

Smell- Vanilla and maple. Oatmeal comes out after it warms. 4/5

Taste- Fruity vanilla and sweet maple. Some alcohol but not much.
4.5
Mouthfeel- This is where the beer shines in my opinion. I am a sucker for a good mouthfeel. For this particular beer I like the mouthfeel so much that I want to have another sip right away. It is a medium bodied beer that tends to be on the thicker side of medium. 5/5

Overall- This is a very good beer. It is a bit of a sipper, but that is just fine by me. Every sip seems to get better as you go down the bottle. Too bad that Alpine doesn't distribute in this area. I have a feeling I may not get a chance to have another one. But I will be seeking this out. Thanks, Jason!! 4.5/5

MADhombrewer, May 30, 2011
Photo of hopsbreath
4.72/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had a little barrel aged barleywine tasting at MADhombrewer and Witchsbrew's residence last night. Filet mignon's were provided by our host's for TulipSnifter and I. Thanks guys!

In the lineup were Central Waters Bourbon Barrel Barleywine, Hellshire I, BA Hi-Fi Rye, BA Old Ruffian, Abacus, and Alpine Great. Our intention was to also open up Perfect Storm '09, Mother of all Storms '10, Kuhnhenn BBBW, and Arctic Devil but we agreed it best to hold off on those beers for another day due to palate fatigue. Small two ounce samples of the six beers from last night were first tasted and notes were taken before returning to the bottles for more tastes and refined notes.

Thanks to SteelersX for providing a couple of bottles of the ’09 batch.

A: Murky-brown with yellow edges. Very tiny wisp ring with a thick glass coating layer. 3.5/5

S: Maple, tart cherries (not in an infected sense), and warming alcohol soaked wood. It’s pungent and saliva-inducing. 4.5/5

T: Very well integrated. Toffee, some butterscotch, day-old red wine, sherry, and pomegranate with a touch of acid. Arguably the best flavor profile of the night. 5/5

M: Thick, coating, and tongue numbing. Very low carbonation is fine by me. 5/5

O: My personal favorite of the night. A fantastic barleywine that should be able to stand up to any and all competition. I still have a bottle I’ll be looking at opening up next to the other BA barleywine’s I still have to taste. I expect it will look forward to the challenge. 4.5/5

hopsbreath, May 30, 2011
Photo of Urbancaver
4.47/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks normyk for this treat

Pours a fairly pretty light brown. Almost no he on this one. Smells super bourbon heavy. Tons of heavy oak and vanilla on the nose. Tastes thick and sweet. A touch of hops on the back. Lots of sweet maltiness with a nice oak on the tongue. The vanilla on the tongue is solid as well. Overall one of the best American barley wines aged in bourbon barrels I've ever had

Urbancaver, May 21, 2011
Photo of brew3crew
4.47/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Par of the epic tasting at jackie o's with brad and crew

A-light purplish color with no head
S-very sweet bourbon smell. Little bit of hops
T-just like it smells. Sweet and delicious
M-medium body and smooth
O-this beer is nothing short of its namesake

brew3crew, May 21, 2011
Photo of Florida9
4.53/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Flat clear brown - whiskey colored. Absolutely no head.

S: Quite the unique aroma of: Butterscotch! Just a nose full of creamy candied popcorny butterness. Kettle corn. Sugary-good. I've simply never come across a beer that smells like this and it smells so tasty.

T: Starts dry and the alcohol is hot as hell, but some more of the butterscotch comes through. Some light vanilla, toffee, sweet caramel. Almost candy-like.

M: Full bodied and hot with absolutely no carbonation. This is the weak point for this beer, but the texture works for the amount of heat this one is throwing off.

O: A rather unique beer. Lots of complexity, yet still candy-like. I thoroughly enjoyed tasting this beer and hope to come across it again one day.

Florida9, Apr 29, 2011
Photo of homebrew311
4.33/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to Hannydawg for sharing this at a recent tasting.

A: deep amber, good clarity, no head. Thick appearance with some definite legs.

S: the nose features big notes of bourbon along with notes of butterscotch. Notes of raw oak in the background with new aromas coming to the surface with each sniff. Notes of maple, grape, and raisins all join the show with a hint of sherry.

T: this brew is bursting at the seams in flavor with a big notes of maple syrup along with vanilla and oak. This one is pretty hot, but that is to be expected at 14% abv. Not as much bourbon on the palate as the nose suggested.

MF: huge viscous body, this one is almost like sipping on a spirit

O: This brew has a ton of flavor and a ton of complexity. My only complaint is that it is a little heavy on the boozy quality.

homebrew311, Apr 26, 2011
Photo of Vdubb86
4.38/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter

Thanks to hannydawg for getting this beer from parts unknown/California

I was excited that this beer might have some JD qualities too it, but not in that cheesy way like Friday's. The appearance of this beer is a touch hazy but maintains a nice amber color and actually for the first time in awhile is one of the BA barleywines that has a head on it. The aromatics of this particular beer are heavy with oak and vanilla, but rather mild on the bourbon aspects. This allows for the butterscotch and caramel which reign supreme on the palate of this beer, to come through in the nose as well. There is a background flavor that I actually love when I detect it in higher abv beers. Toasted marshmallow, some have said almond, but I'm sticking with my guns on this one. It really wraps up the flavor on this smooth drinking beer. Overall, this beer might get lost in a giant tasting like this one, but I guarantee, if you have a bottle all to yourself, you are truly not going to want to share it.

Vdubb86, Apr 21, 2011
Photo of TMoney2591
4.38/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a tulip glass.

Big thanks to hannydawg for sharing this bottle!

Don'tcha just love the modest beers? This one pours a very lightly murky ruby-amber topped by a half-finger of dirty off-white foam. The nose comprises toffee, graham crackers, light walnut, butterscotch, and a vague sense of alcohol. The taste brings in more of the tasty same, though the butterscotch and alcohol come through a bit more pronounced than before. The body is a stolid medium, with a very light moderate carbonation and a syrupy feel. Overall, a very nice, very tasty b-wine. My only real criticism was that the barrels really didn't impart as much bourbon character as I'd hoped. Despite this, though, this comes through as one damn fine barleywine, straight up.

TMoney2591, Apr 18, 2011
Photo of francisweizen
4.5/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From notes: I've had this at quite a few fests over the years and it keeps getting better and better.

A: Dark copper rust brown, a small barely noticeable head usually forms on the pour. The head isn't white. It's mocha.

S: Big time JD in the nose. Oak and Vanilla as well. The multi layered malt complexity shines as well

T: big up JD bourbon and vanilla. Hot booze, biscuit and butter malts. It's all there....

M: Thick, chewy, and hugely rewarding

O: One of the best American barleywines available.

francisweizen, Mar 27, 2011
Photo of ChrisPro
4.63/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2009 vintage tasted on 3/26/11.

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

Virtually no head. Translucent ruby-brown with hints of gold in the light.

Big bourbon on the nose. Solid brown sugar, vanilla, and maybe some nuttiness? There is some hot alcohol on the nose that somewhat stings the nostrils and detracts from the otherwise perfect aroma.

Deep rich vanilla and a big big toffee finish. There's some very slight roastiness from a complex grain bill. Subtle vanilla/bourbon on the finish.

Little carbonation, full-body, as sweet as it is, there's still a slight tannic dryness from the barrel aging on the finish.

Overall, the most drinkable beer at this ABV. Alpine is one of my favorite breweries, and they killed it with this beer. After having it on tap last year, I had high hopes for the bottle and it delivered.

ChrisPro, Mar 27, 2011
Photo of BearsOnAcid
4.03/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

'09 tick (Grade: A-/A)

My '09 review will be more of a short description and difference between the '05.

Huge amount of toffee. Syrupy. Heavy oak on the nose. JD barrels are less apparent (or maybe weren't used in this vintage?). Great depth of dark and milk chocolate flavor mixed together. Not much heat because the heavy sweetness cuts through it all. Nice thick body.

This was much better than the '05 I had. A lot less of that nasty JD whiskey and it had just the right amount of barrel presence. Lots of toffee and chocolate. I'm bumping my score +0.5 in taste, mouthfeel, and overall to average out my 2 reviews.

'05 tick (Grade: B-/B)

Reddish brown color, not much head.

Huge molasses and chocolate nose. Evolves into a cocoa butter/toffee aroma as it warms. Subsequent whiskey and slight oxidization from the barreling.

Taste was slightly unapologetic. Soy sauce soaked toffee upfront that rounds out into a nutty white chocolate. That must be where that cocoa butter smell came from. Very sweet and syrupy but not extremely viscous.

This beer had way too much of a buttery toffee thing going on to be anything "great." Finish it off with a cheap whiskey barrel and this is what you get.

BearsOnAcid, Mar 26, 2011
Photo of RodneyX
4.75/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

The beer pours a rusty brown color into my Westvleteren chalice. There is a small head that rises up and fades to a ring. A lot of caramel notes with some toffee and oak that is nice. Quite a full body with carbonation that you can feel easily. For the high amount of alcohol it drinks quite easily and I would recommend this again.

RodneyX, Mar 10, 2011
Photo of joshuaseresse
4.6/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Smokepot23 for this brew. I've had this one once before but it was when I was new to craft beer and really didn't know what to expect. 2009 bottling I do believe. Shared with the La Crosse tasting group during out epic battle of the 12ozers. Poured into a snifter:

A - A nice caramely brown with deep mahogany core. Little carbonation, no head.

S - Nice barrel with caramel malts. Brown sugar and oak. Toffee and dark fruits. A little sweet but there is a bit of heat to this one too. You can really smell the Jack Daniel's barrel.

T - Creamy caramel, brown sugar and booze. Really smooth and goes down nicely. The barrel is not offensive but it is there.

M - Smooth but a decent amount of heat from the barrel heat. A decent amount of carbonation, but over the top.

D - This one I really liked. It was a pleasure to try and share. It is totally a sipper but I may have drank this one faster because I liked it so much. A must try.

joshuaseresse, Mar 08, 2011
Photo of wagenvolks
4.35/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review #1100. Ironically, opening this bottle coincided with the acceptance of my first scientific manuscript for publication!

First, a huge shout-out to hamilton23 for hooking me up with this one. 12oz bottle (2009) into a Delirium tremens tulip.

Pours with a murky, caramel-plum body. Viscous body shows a head that only a 14% ABV beer lover could appreciate (that is to say, it's almost non-existent). Slow trickles of carbonation trace the outer edge of the glass as they rise. Plush bourbon and toffee notes hit the nose immediately, with a gooey caramel sweetness, soft chocolate, and breathy alcohol in the background.

The flavor matches both the aroma and the name of this beer--Great. Dusted chocolate becomes more pronounced, as does a big vanilla bourbon presence from the Jack Daniel's barrels. A bit green on the finish with some earthy hops and booze, as well as a hint of sherry and cardboard-like oxidation. Still, I'm guessing that this beer has held up fairly well, and the alcohol is nicely hidden for the ABV. Great is a slow sipper, and hopefully one I get a chance to sip again.

wagenvolks, Feb 27, 2011
Photo of seeswo
4.28/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours cherry brown with very little head comprised mostly of a thin white ring around the top. Smells of brown sugar, caramel, booze and a hint of hops. Smell is very strong, but good. It is quite sweet in the taste with a hint of vanilla. Enjoy this beer pretty warm as, straight out of the cellar, it finishes with the reminder of the flavor of ham, which is unappealing. The people I enjoyed this beer with called me crazy, but acknowledged that the smoky, brown sugar sweet finish my allude to some honey ham. Once the beer warmed more, I was completely able to get over this issue and really enjoyed the beer. It is very thick and heavy in the mouth with low carbonation, but disguises the ABV really shockingly well. The drinkability is not limited by alcohol flavor, but instead intensity and its thick body. Ultimately, I held this beer to the highest of standards because I thought when I acquired it that this might become my favorite barleywine ever. To that, it did not live up to. Is this a really good beer though? Heck yes.

seeswo, Feb 23, 2011
Photo of rye726
4.5/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Glad to have the chance to try this one. Thanks Ryan! Pours amber brown wit a thin tan head. Nose has bourbon, oak, vanilla, sherry, caramel, toffee and malty pecans. Taste is a bit boozy, but barrles mellowed this out nicely. Full body, well carbonated. Should age well.

rye726, Feb 22, 2011
Photo of Huhzubendah
4.38/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Thorpe429 and Amyliz4. Thanks Mike and Amy!

Served in a blind taste test with Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel Barleywine and Central Waters Bourbon Barrel Barleywine.

A: This beer appears copper / orange in color. The liquid is slightly hazy and still. The beer has virtually no head, but does leave a bit of lacing on the tulip. A respectable appearance, given the style and massive alcohol content.

S: The aroma is very nice, with scents of toffee, caramels, sweet malt, and bourbon.

T: Much like the aroma, this beer tastes "Great". The beer is sweet and definitely has an alcohol / bourbon presence, but neither of these aspects are overpowering or become cloying in any way.

M: Medium in body, with fairly low carbonation. Alcohol content hidden very well. I had no idea that this weighed in at 14%!

D: My favorite of the three bourbon barrel-aged barleywines (I realized after the fact), I would definitely recommend this beer.

Huhzubendah, Jan 07, 2011
Photo of drabmuh
4.47/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle provided by Thorpe's for a blind taste test. Thanks.

Beer is copper with almost no head, but some how leaves some lacing behind. There is a haze to it as well. Looks OK.

This beer has an awesome aroma, it's bourbony but it's not overwhelming, it's mostly sweet and like golden raisins and toffee. Yum.

The lead off for this beer is a medium body of malt sweetness and some bourbon comes into the picture in the early midpalate region. There is a nice caramel / toffee flavors that come from the bourbon and malt complementing each other and the finish is good with a moderate oakiness. The carbonation on the palate is low and the feel of the beer is creamy with a nice finish.

drabmuh, Jan 06, 2011
Photo of juhl31
4.47/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

catching up on my SDBW reviews...had on tap at alpine. '09 vintage...

-dark brown with a light brown head. very clear with soda looking carbonation

-big bourbon nose up front followed by some burnt caramel, molasses and special B flavors

-lighter colored sugar flavors - caramel, molasses, butterscotch, bourbon, some dark fruits. the most complex beer of the week

-very clean. not too hot and not as thick as you would think

-again, probably the most complex beer i had the entire beer week as far as total flavor notes involved. very glad to have had it. alpine is impressing me for sure

juhl31, Dec 30, 2010
Photo of CrellMoset
4.08/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle courtesy of a BA whose username has been lost to the ages (and a crashed computer). Been aging this one for a year or so - excited to give it a try.

Appearance: Pours a deep, vermilion rosewood, transparent when held up to intense light, but dark enough otherwise that it's for all practical purposes opaque. Nicely hued, really, but the 14% makes itself known pretty quickly. The half finger of moderately tanned head fizzles and fades fairly quickly, as does the surface lace. And the collar. And the lacing on the side of the glass. I mean, it's not that it's not expected, but a little bit of something here would be nice.

Aroma: Huge sugars, free and intense, suggest caramel, molasses, honey, and whiskey-macerated citrus and stone fruits. Peaches, grapefruit, raisins, and cherry notes intermingle with a ton of sweet, golden vanilla notes, toasty wood, and a slew of rye whiskey.

Taste: Interesting dichotomy, this beer. First, it's definitely well aged - the malts dominate this one, and the sweetness shines through boldly. Sweet, gingery, cookie-like caramel notes, toffee, brown sugar, and molasses coat the tongue and intermingle with a huge slew of slightly nutty, toasty coconut. The barrel contributes a lot more, too - in fact, the barrel notes dominate the hop notes that I know must have once been pretty strong here. Huge vanilla joins the coconut, but both are overshadowed by enormously spicy, slightly sweet, roasted whiskey notes. Lord only knows how much of the 14% of this beer is contributed by pure spirit addition, but I imagine it's gotta be at least a percentage point or so on the top. There're obviously some remnants of hop notes here, but the bitterness has all but faded to a dull, persistent roar in the background, and most of the hop flavor notes have faded similarly. Only a few dashes of herbal spiciness remain, moderately leafy, minty, and slightly citrusy at points, with the free sugars amplifying the fruity aspects that do remain, like canned peaches or grapefruit.

Mouthfeel: Thick, syrupy, and nearly devoid of carbonation. But it works. As an aside, I thought the cap on this one wasn't on quite right - it seemed to flair out in a way that suggested improper capping. But when it was cracked, there was a faint hiss, and I am detecting a faint sizzle somewhere deep, deep within the body of this beer. It's hard to differentiate at times from the sizzle courtesy of the mammoth alcohol bill, but it's there. Somehow, though, the faint carbonation and thick, chewy, fat body work wonderfully with the sweetness of the base beer.

Drinkability: I didn't love this beer. The 14.0% is definitely here, affecting the appearance, and the carbonation level is a little low, even for a beer this chunky and chewy. That being said, there's a lot to like here, and I did enjoy it. The aroma was pretty fantastic, and the flavor profile pretty robust and complex. On the whole, it's a mixed bag, and I'm not sure it's worth the $10.99 that was on the cap ... though maybe it'd be different fresh. Gimme some bolder hop notes, a little more lift, and I think this one would be stellar ... essentially, give it to me fresh!

CrellMoset, Dec 21, 2010
Photo of yourefragile
4.8/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 12 oz bottle poured into a snifter. Can't remember who sent this, but thank you!

Pours a dark, impenetrable yet clear mahogany brown color with a quickly receding, initially two finger thick tan head. Unsurprisingly, the head isn't long for this world and leaves little trace behind. Aroma and flavor are both exceptionally sweet, overly complex and subtly balanced. The nose leads off with a strong boozy whisky and vanilla aroma with softer notes of figs, raisins, plums, brown sugar, caramel and sweet malts. Body is thick and lightly carbonated with a sweet, dry bourbon-y finish. A strong base of caramel, toffee and crisp malts supports the strong oak and woody flavors of the spirits and dark fruits. Incredibly smooth and balanced with surprisingly little alcohol heat throughout, despite the strong booze and spirit presence; this is an exceptional barrel aged beer.

yourefragile, Dec 13, 2010
Photo of prototypic
4.35/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to JessetheHutt for the bottle.

Great pours a darker, caramel brown color. It's quite hazy, and looks dark copper with backlighting. Carbonation looks to be very light, and produces a head that barely covers the surface. It disappears nearly as fast as it appeared. Lacing was very, very light. The 14% abv obviously killed it.

The nose is damn impressive. Initially, it has a strong dark fruit scent. Raisin, plum, and fig are present in abundance. They're complemented extremely well with a moderately strong whiskey (bourbon?) scent. Smells delicious. The secondary level introduces vanilla, oak, leather, caramel, and even a little tobacco. It's extremely complex and deep. Alcohol is certainly there. At 14%, that should come as no surprise. Go big or go home.

The flavor is every bit as tremendous as the nose! It kicks off with a very nice caramel/toffee flavor. The malt base is strong and sturdy. Dark fruit flavors of raisin, fig, and plum flood the palate and feature a tangy twist. The barrel aging imparts a very nice whiskey or bourbon flavor. It's an extremely nice complement to the dark fruit and caramel malt flavors. Oak, vanilla, tobacco, leather, and even a slight hint of herbal hops take up the secondary level. Alcohol is there and is a little warm. It finishes tangy with a twist of whiskey.

Great has a medium to full body. It feels more substantial with warming. Nice and chewy. Carbonation is very light and restrained. Very creamy and smooth? Yes, it is. Drinkability is good. For a big, barrel aged barleywine, this is quite drinkable. Nonetheless, it is 14% abv. That's damn strong. A 12 oz. bottle is more than plenty.

Great is one hell of a nice beer from Alpine Beer Company. As far as barrel-aged barleywines go, it's among the best. The chinks in its armor are so small that they aren't worth discussing at length. This is a damn fine beer that you should seek out.

As an aside, I saw that this was aged in Jack Daniels barrels, and the label plainly styles this as a bourbon barrel barleywine. I've always been fascinated by the debate about Jack Daniels being Tennessee Whiskey, not bourbon. I digress....

prototypic, Dec 11, 2010
Photo of DavoleBomb
3.8/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter. Thanks to mikedashg for this one. 12 oz. bottle, 2010 vintage (I think).

3.5 A: A ruddy dark brown color. One eighth inch frothy head falls almost as soon as it is poured and leaves no lacing. Not really that surprising given the beastly ABV.

4.5 S: Rich caramel and toffee dominate. The bourbon and associated components aren't even close to the magnitude of the malts, which makes sense given the amount of malt packed into this bottle, and that's just the way I like it. Anyway, you can pick up moderate amounts of bourbon, leather, and oak. Some vanilla in there as well. Prune and raisin fruitiness with a port-like vinous component. A touch of herbal hops. Booze is pretty well hidden, but is still somewhat noticeable.

3.5 T: The caramel and toffee are still pretty strong, but not as much so as the nose suggested. Prune, raisin, fig, nuts, oak, molasses, and vanilla are next. The bourbon character is bittersweet in the taste. Bourbon, leather, and vanilla work well, but there is definitely a noticeable tannic astringency.

3.5 M: Heavier medium body. I was expecting (and looking forward to) a heavy ass body. Still, it's thick enough. This could use a bit more carbonation and could be creamier as well. Otherwise, smooth.

4.0 D: This is a good beer, but it isn't nearly as good as the average score suggests. This doesn't hold a handle to 08 BA Old Ruffian or any vintage of CWBBBW. I'll put it on a similar level to Weyerbacher Insanity in terms of quality, with this being a hell of a lot bigger. I gave this a 4.0 to elevate the overall score a bit since I think the taste is right on the 3.5/4.0 border.

DavoleBomb, Dec 07, 2010
Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.28/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the brewery. 09 vintage poured into a snifter.

A: Served with a light layer of fine white head with poor retention. Beer is a semi-cloudy deep brown. Very spotty and sparse lacing with no stick.

S: Nose is very deep and aromatic. Notes of chocolate, booze, brown sugar, caramel, and toffee. Also some light prunes and crushed raisin in the back. Rich, warming, and delicious.

T: Opens vanilla, prune, brown sugar, caramel, and nuttiness. Booze is apparent in the back. Toffee with a slight rich tartness towards the middle. Caramel comes in smooth at the end. Slight hop resin at the end with a sweet, brown sugar finish that sticks to the palate.

M: Medium bodied. Medium carbonation, slightly abrasive, and rather hot overall. Oily and smooth in the mouth and warming going down. Messy finish with a sticky aftertaste.

D: Again, I'm still not a huge fan of barleywines but this, along with a couple of others are helping me to turn the corner. Infinitely rich and complex with a very enticing nose and feel. A very good representation of the style.

SpeedwayJim, Nov 14, 2010
Great from Alpine Beer Company
100 out of 100 based on 469 ratings.