Alaskan Barley Wine (Pilot Series) - Alaskan Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 525 | Reviews: 288 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by JamesQuaff:
4.29/5 rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
2011 batch. Poured from a bomber into two Sam Adams tulip glasses and a small wine glass and shared with my lady and my best beer geek buddy. We all stood around my kitchen and poked, prodded, inspected, inhaled, swished, and discussed the brew for a solid half hour. Good times.
Pours a beautiful deep copper-red with a taut light-mocha colored 1/2" head. Medium carbonation. It looks 'dense' when held up to the light.
The aroma is a constantly shifting palette of goodness as the temperature changes. It smells MASSIVE. The initial cold pour had a generous amount of hops with mild buttery notes, malts, dried fruits. As the beer warmed the hop aromas gave way to raisins, plums, dark berries, grains and lightly browned butter - at one point it smelled like a berry pastry. Then it started to veer well into port wine territory. The ABV is well masked at all points. I think we huffed our glasses a good 5 minutes before anyone took a sip.
Oooh, this beer is nice and big. At first the hop bitterness was rather prevalent, getting right up to the edge of "whoa, too bitter" before leveling off into rich malty sweetness. As the beer warmed the bitterness faded considerably and the flavors became much more balanced and complex. Reminiscent of a good port wine. Dark, rich sweetness with loads of plum and molasses, and a long malty finish with a little reminder kick of bitterness at the end. A bit of warmth from the high ABV but the alcohol is hidden very well in the flavors. A true sipper.
Mouthfeel was very agreeable. Medium-full body, a tad sharp on the carbonation at first but as the beer warmed the carbonation smoothed out and by the halfway point it was just about where my mind thinks "mmm, barleywine". Oily, sticky, tongue-coating goodness.
Overall we were very impressed with the Pilot Series barleywine and completely enjoyed it wire to wire. It was my lady's very first experience with the style and she was completely blown away. My beer geek pal and I are a tad jaded and weren't exactly blown away, but it was still an excellent representation of the style. He and I both recently had our tongues scraped raw by a fresh 2013 Bigfoot and were very pleased to be able to spend some time enjoying a really good barleywine with a bit of age on it. The rest of the 2013 Bigfoots (Bigfeet? Bigs Foot?) have been sequestered in deep storage to avoid any further unpleasantness and to hopefully achieve the blissful state that others report is possible. But this Pilot Series effectively wiped away the memory. Will definitely be seeking out another bottle or two for safe keeping.
Serving type: bottle
03-26-2013 17:31:02 | More by JamesQuaff
More User Reviews:
4.13/5 rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
22oz bottle poured into glass.
Appearance: pours a deep copper with a tan head that rapidly dissipates. Fairly transparent with a good amount of bubbling within.
Smell: lots and lots of hops. Slight amount of booze.
Taste: fairly complex: notes of hops, kind of a caramel hint, some booziness, some brown sugar. Pretty darn nice.
Mouthfeel: sticky. Hoppy aftertaste.
Overall: very happy I picked this up. Really good overall.
Serving type: bottle
06-28-2014 00:43:02 | More by don1481
2.96/5 rDev -28.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.75
2010 bottle. Pours a rich deep mahogany brown with a cherry hue. Amazing head retention, great lacing, huge thick collar. Aroma is molasses, toffee, leather and earthy wood. Taste is bitter molasses, stale tobacco, vanilla and wet paper. Nice rich body and low carbonation. I believe this beer must have been left on the shelf in a high light area since 2010. It looked great, but the paper and tobacco really ruined the flavor.
Serving type: bottle
05-25-2014 04:11:04 | More by mverity
Alaskan Barley Wine (Pilot Series) from Alaskan Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 525 ratings.