Stoudt's Barrel Aged Old Abominable - Stoudts Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 67 | Reviews: 44 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by CrellMoset:
4.25/5 rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
750 mL corked and caged bottle courtesy of urwutuh8, vintage unknown - 2007, perhaps? Thanks! Poured in to a snifter.
Appearance: A foggy, smoky ruby, crystalline, not hazed but dark enough that it's practically impenetrable. Direct light - you know, like, with a flashlight - reveals numerous streams of dancing bubbles, lively and frisky, racing up with such an energy that they don't even bother following the path of least resistance up the sides of the glass, instead zipping straight to the surface with the utmost haste. Lacing on the sides of the glass leaves a little to be desired, clinging in only a few places and then only halfheartedly.
What's most remarkable about this beer, however, is the height at which the head levels out to and how long it stays at that height. From an initial peak of about two inches, this one began to gurgle and foam downwards, and I assumed it would fade quickly in to oblivion as so many high-abv%/barrel-aged barleywines do. Not this one. Settling down in to a gorgeous one finger of sandy, raw ecru, the surface of the crown is fine and uniform but not without its imperfections, sort of how a freshly fallen snowfield looks on the coldest of mornings. I presume it's being continuously replenished by four years of pent up carbonation in a thinned out body, but: 1) I can't tell due to the opacity of the body, and 2) who cares? It looks great.
Aroma: Plums, raisins, cherries, all glazed in an abnormally springy brown sugar and macerated with 30-year-whiskey. A very cola-like nose, equal parts prune juice and Dr. Pepper, with hints of vanilla, cocoa, stone fruit, coconut, and cinnamon oil mingling with herbal hops and wet cardboard oxidation.
Taste: Dry and vinous, malty and fruity, spicy and smooth, this is a beer of contrast and dichotomies. This one's all over the place in a good way (that's another way of saying it's complex). First, speaking to style, it's decidedly English - strong fruityness, roasted and toasted malts, and a lightly bitter and herbal hop backing provide a great palette for the whiskey. But more on that in a moment.
The malt base is dry but robust: glassy, dark toffee is halfway between caramel and toast and bookended by both of the aforementioned, along with hints of raw and brown sugar. The fruit sugars are even more fantastic - the interplay between yeast esters, hops, and malt sugars gives suggestions running the gamut and hitting every stop in between. Plum, apricot, cherries, and the slight tartness of figs are some of the most prominent notes, but definite raisins bring up the rear. Sherry-like oxidation weaves in and out of the fruit notes as well as the whiskey and barrel overtones, a masterful if inadvertent side effect of aging this one for what I believe to be about four years now. The barrel adds plenty of vanilla and coconut, though the spice, heat, and burn of the whiskey has certainly faded with age - it's now a well-refined tingle, with the spice mingling well with the aforementioned flavors. It's almost cola-like at points, maybe reminiscent of root beer
Mouthfeel: A little overcarbonated at the beginning and a little undercarbonated near the end for too long, this one spends a little too small a block of time in that nice sweet spot. The body itself is generally not that sticky, fairly well attenuated, with a tad hint of slick oilyness contributed by the hop addition, perhaps. I imagine it's also thinned out slightly by the barrel contribution.
Drinkability: An interesting bag. My one biggest complaint was that - after 4 years - despite what this one had gained in mellow smoothness and maturity, it had lost a lot of its bang, its flavor, its panache. It's at a good point now, though I'm not sure it's at a great one, and I can't tell in which direction it ought to improve (i.e., if it's past its prime or coming in to it). I'm inclined to say past its prime, due to the relative lack of intensity contributed by the whiskey and the slight oxidation and high attenuation of the base beer. As it stands, it's a 9% abv English barleywine - with no hint of heat, and only slight spiciness and hints of estery alcohol notes suggesting its true alcohol content - that's not all about the whiskey, though it may have at one time been. If you got 'em, I'd say drink 'em now - it's likely not dropping downhill quickly (as it's still quite good), but it may get there eventually.
Serving type: bottle
02-24-2011 06:24:11 | More by CrellMoset
More User Reviews:
4.71/5 rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75
Landed this through a trade about a year or two ago. Stoudt’s hasn’t brewed the barrel aged version in quite a while so this must be an old bottle.
Copper color with a huge white foamy head that came out of nowhere like the old abominable snowman sneaking up on an unsuspecting victim. Huge pop when I pulled the cork – didn’t expect that from such an old bottle.
Some nice barley, malt, and surprisingly some hops as well. Smells like I’m hiking in deep dense forest during a snowstorm. I can almost smell the old abominable lurking in this beer just like he does in depths of the woods.
Barley and malt up front with a nice hop finish. This beer has held up very well. A big thanks to Stoudt’s for having the courage to venture into the snowman’s territory and bottle this rare gem.
Chances are I will never have this beer again… especially with this kind of age on it. Very smooth and enjoyable. Def a sipper. Split with R Moe Nay and Greg. We went out onto the balcony and called for the old abominable to give him a sip… but our yells did not reach him.
Serving type: bottle
12-16-2013 14:01:26 | More by DNICE555
4.2/5 rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4
I have had this bottle since Xmas 2010. Stoudts is a great stop after going to Hershey.
Nice copper color with a great nice white foam head.
A nice barley smell.
The barley at first with a nice hop finish.
A nice smooth mouthfeel
This is a great English Barleywine.
Serving type: bottle
01-16-2012 00:30:29 | More by shamrock1343
Stoudt's Barrel Aged Old Abominable from Stoudts Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 67 ratings.