Scratch Beer 4 - 2007 - Tröegs Brewing Company
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Ratings: 75 | Reviews: 68 | Display Reviews Only:
4.85/5 rDev +13.6%
Scarlet red smeared in blackberry puree - this is perhaps the most sensual and seductive beer I've laid eyes on. Its rich, deep tone and clear, velvety complexion lure the eyes in. Its garnish and emphatic highlights are simply arresting, they arouse temptation.
The head is far more prominent than is customary for a beer this style and strength. It is not only resilient but ornate considering the trail of lacing that is left behind. On the whole, it's extravagant, it's absorbing, it's heart-wrenchingly gorgeous - and I am in love with it.
Oh and its smell! Once again, if it were possible to score the category higher than perfect I most certainly would. You'll have to forgive this review for being self-absorbed, orgasmic blabbering but this is truly becoming an all-engrossing, quasi-mystical experience.
The beer smells and tastes like candied fruits, finely conched chocolate, rich creme caramel and an assortment of tropical sorbets. A secondary cast includes herbal teas, orange peel, creme brulee, cheesecake, roasted pecans and figs. No beer in recent memory has displayed this much flavour and have all of its parts come together into something so seamlessly, impeccably balanced between sweet and bitter.
The beer was released September 2007 and I'm enjoying it April 2009. I had friends caution against its aging. I had other friends who swore it couldn't possibly get any better than it was at the time of our conversation. Well, it turns out both groups were wrong. I'm glad I wasn't aware of what exactly I had all this time ... this is perfect right here and now.
One's enjoyment of any beer really will change on any given day. I'm not sure what factors added up or what set of stars aligned to grant me the enjoyment, savor and gratification I've extracted from this ale. Whatever the case, I'm left at a loss for words. This is among the most beautiful beers that I believe may have ever graced my lips.
Someone get me a phone, I have to call the Troegs brothers and ask them why in God's name was this only made once? Will it be back? This could undoubtedly be the greatest addition to any beer lineup, even one already as impressive as this brewery's. No doubt, Troegs is accomplished, but this is most certainly the brightest jewel in their crown.
04-08-2009 22:08:58 | More by biegaman
4.75/5 rDev +11.2%
I got the first two cases on 9/28 (release date)
a: Much darker than most barleywines, a very deep brown with some ruby hilights when held up to the light.
s: Wow! Almost too hoppy. A citric punch in the face. A bit of sweet alcohol is barely perceptible. Incredible.
t: The sticker slapped on the generic case this comes in says that the Troegs brothers describe the taste as, " pushing Nugget Nectar off the side of a cliff". At "100ish" ibu's that sounds about right to me. The well balanced sweet malt start has about half a second to shine before being shoved aside by a perfectly obnoxious hop assault. I haven't had such a great first impression of a beer in a long time. A standing ovation (if I could) for Troegs.
m: Excellent, coats your mouth with sticky wonderful hoppy goodness. Lingers for a long time.
d: I want more but my taste buds hurt.
09-30-2007 13:00:21 | More by DIM
4.72/5 rDev +10.5%
I was lucky enough to get the chance to try this one last night. Broke it apart from my complete set, because I really just wanted to see how it was holding up, and have been hearing this is now drinking wonderfully. Needless to say that was all I needed to here, and away I went.
Appearance - The pour was very nice, with a deep rich brown tinted amber taking the lead on this one and really putting on a show. Lots of cloudiness and haze, so thick making it almost opaque, but enough light was getting through to showcase the honey brown color of it. A nice two finger high head of white foam formed on the top, and gradually settled down into a thin layer that coated the top of the liquid for the remainder of the session. Very nice residual side glass presentation, overall this was looking like it was going to be a beast.
Smell - The aroma was much more hoppy then I was expecting, but definitely well enough balanced to stay within the style. Rich smells of deep citrus hops, which were coated in sugary malts just whiffed off the top of this one. Some candy like sugar smell way in the back, and earthy tones of grasses and grains. Very complex and sweet. As it warmed, some touches of maple syrup like sweetness were coming out, as was the slightest hint of almost what seemed like a color smell.
Taste - The flavor was really top notch, especially for such a young barley wine. Rich, deep, complex flavor profile that came off like I had been cellaring it for a few years. I was utterly shocked by how good this one was. Extremely well balanced, the first notes to hit were a mellowed and subdued citrus hoppiness. Shadows of how hoppy it must have been at first, this was now just aged perfectly. Lots of sweet hints rolling around throughout it, really showing off how good it could be now. Nice grainy malts making up the base of it, and just this nice sweet fruity vibe running thought-out. As it warmed hints of pears, and apples now becoming intermingled with a candy like sweetness and a really nice touch of warming alcohol. This was what a barley wine should taste like. Nice clean finish, with a touch of bitterness and just enough drying to bring you back for another round.
Mouthfeel - A very nice medium, bordering on full-bodied ale here. The carbonation was decent, but it did tend to lend itself to the syrup like side of things. Really quite nice though with never a thin moment to it.
Drinkability - Outstanding on this one. This was dangerously good. It was so ridiculous smooth that it was impossible not to take bigger and bigger sips as the night went on. I would have loved to have had another one of them right after I finished.
Overall, this was absolutely excellent and easily one of the best, sweeter barley wines I have had. I would have no issues at all recommending this one to anybody who is a fan of the style. By far my favorite of the scratch series to date, I would have to tell them to make this one again.
04-15-2008 23:40:58 | More by mikesgroove
4.7/5 rDev +10.1%
A 12 oz bottle from one of the last cases of Scratch 4 sold (thanks to ksak for taking the boys on a brewery trip to grab the case).
A: The barleywine is a deep red brew, looking like brown creekwater with some brighter red notes at the base of the glass. The head has left a small band of slow-drying lace around the mouth of the glass.
S: The nose is a delicious blend of citrusy and piney hops. The nose only faintly betrays the malty presence. This is a hop lovers dream.
T: The beer reveals an immense depth of flavor from the very first sip. Thick malts pile on dry, slightly tart malt flavors, including green grape and grape nuts. The maltiness is strong enough to take on a Belgian-like flavor, with dark alefruits buoying the grains. Interspersed with the malts is a ginormous hop bill. Citrus notes abound, thick grapefruit and pineapple, sticky pine (not citrus but it is there), bitter orange peel, all swirl together to create one hell of a taste. The finish nicely mixes the hops and malt, leaving a thick taste long after the sip is gone.
M: The hops, oh how the hops tickle me! The bitterness betrays hints of the alcohol, but not so much that it diminishes the enjoyment. To quote Yo Gabba Gabba, that was awesome!
D: This is the best of the Scratch series to date, it may even be the best beer in the Tröegs stable. I really look forward to revisiting this beer regularly as I work my way through the case.
11-22-2007 01:53:58 | More by akorsak
4.68/5 rDev +9.6%
This poured a dark brown and hint of red into my goblet glass. There's some lacing that's light brown and sticking to the walls of the glass.
The aroma is very sweet and malty with a hint of hops and citrus. There are some spices too. When I sip the beer, there's a sweet medium taste with a hint of alcohol on the finish. The carbonation is present but not overpowering. The flavoring is hoppy with a sweet malt backbone. It tasted bready, fruity (dark fruits) and some berries and caramel.
This is an outstanding barleywine - hopefully they will bottle this regularly.
05-11-2008 18:15:34 | More by bgramer
4.68/5 rDev +9.6%
I got a few samples on tap at the Brewery while picking up a few cases.
A- Interesting--swirls around in the glass like a dark amber lava lamp--there is a lot going on here! Nice frothy cream colored head.
S- WHOA! Good morning HOPS! Wonderful hop bouquet that smacks you right in the olfactory! Glade Air Fresheners or Yankee Candle Co. should take notice!
T- Again with the big ole citrus smackdown---and then the malt comes in and sooths things out a bit--but the hops never really leave you.
M-- Big and chewy--this is not a brew for the faint of heart--as the case sticker states--like pushing Nugget Nectar off a cliff--more like Nugget Nectar pumped up on steroids!
D-- Are you kidding? This is a big hoppy beer that I could drink all day--or at least till I lost control of my senses. This is by far the best of the Scratch beers yet.
10-02-2007 14:29:38 | More by Deuane
4.65/5 rDev +8.9%
Big thanks to DIM for tossing this in with the Wild Devil Growler.
Pours a dark chestnut into my giant snifter with the tiniest head that disappears quickly leaving some lacing.
Smell: The best nose on a barleywine I've smelt in a long time, maybe it's the huge snifter, but I doubt it. Really Earthy, Citrus and Caramel dominate with Rum, Rasins, and Toffee.
Taste: Sweet, Fruity, Caramel, Woody(I'd swear this was oaked), a little bit of Dark Fruits, Pine, Citrus, Burnt Sugar aftertaste. Heavy and Smooth.
I want more!
05-23-2008 02:52:31 | More by TheBlackMallard
4.63/5 rDev +8.4%
Thank you Adam (akorsak) for hooking me up with this and other Scratches a few months back. This is one that I had been waiting on for a good cold day.
12oz bottled poured into mini goblet.
Bottle Graphics: 9/10. Not many better than the Scratch series.
A: Beatiful mahogany body with bubbles creating spherical orbs on the surface. Decent lacing.
S: Sweetest of malts. Vibrant alcohol goes right through the nasal passage and into the brain. With all this, the hops still come through, even with the sugar, even with the time. I have come across several beers that I have thought smelled of dates, nothing quite to this level though.
T: Chocolate and dried fruit. Super sweet like a potent barleywine should be. Intensity is awesome and over the top, love the details. Letting it warm smooths it out and had all the best characteristics of a chocolate sugar cookie.
Like the taste, the taste of liquor soaked dates prepping for a quality fruitcake. Time I am sure did it a favor but did not destroy the hop flavors.
Never before can I remember the taste of mango hops coming through in a barleywine until now. That, my friend, is cratfsmanship. Awesome.
M: Medium to heavy body, the website sums it up well with "sweet burn". Marvelously smooth,creamy and delicate.
D: Another fine edition of the Scratch series that the brothers really would do themselves a favor by at least making a seasonal. Yet to have a Scratch I did not like and all have been even better on tap so I could imagine what wonders this would be like in that form.
Well done. Thanks Adam.
12-18-2008 00:17:24 | More by marcpal
4.6/5 rDev +7.7%
Big thanks to DIM for this bottle via trade.
a - pours a deep brown with maroon highlights around the edges, one-finger khaki head with retention around the edges, little lacing
s - big orange aroma along with tropical fruit and lemon, slight maltiness, hints of alcohol - very intense and fruity overall
t - sweet orange and citrus up front, some grapefruit, mid-palate has a nice maltiness mixed in with the hops, some dark bread, finish is intensely bitter with little malt, nice alcohol accents letting you know this is a barleywine, citrus notes linger long after swallowing adding some sweetness to the bitterness, very complex
m - medium-bodied, coats the mouth very well, moderate carbonation, finish is quite bitter but the dryness is cut by the citric sweetness, warming from the alcohol
d - this is definitely a sipper barleywine, while the alcohol is not overwhelming in the taste, you can definitely feel the warming effect, pretty good for a big barleywine
One of the best American Barleywines I've had - has everything I like about the style. Very aggressive with the hops, but it still has enough maltiness to balance out the bitterness. Too bad this is just a one-off brew from Troeg's.
10-20-2007 00:35:34 | More by WeisGuy
4.6/5 rDev +7.7%
12 oz bottle poured into a tulip - Served at cellar temperature
Appearance: Removal of the cap results in a distinct pop. The beer pours a slightly cloudy brown with flat red highlights. The tan head gains over two inches of height as is reluctant to fall.
Smell: Floral and grapefruity hops are the core of the aroma. Cedar, malt, fresh apple and spruce.
Taste: Juicy hops and bitterness. Both the malt and hops are tackling each other in an attempt to make it into the end zone. Plenty of fresh and floral flavors of lemon peel, bitter hops, mint and peppercorn. Malt flavors are plum and cherry. Great balance in this brew. Quite complex too.
Mouthfeel: Bop bitterness, malt profile, alcohol burn, complex flavors; this beer has it all. It still maintains a fairly medium body and has a nice sweetness to it. Bitter and dry finish also accompany an alcohol burn that provides a warming belt.
Drinkability: Very nice. Multifaceted and complex. Would be a great beer after a few years also. Fun to drink and explore, not to mention its enjoyable. Nicely done.
11-06-2007 01:30:33 | More by Risser09
4.58/5 rDev +7.3%
A: deep copper color, decent head
S: smell was a classic, English-style BW without all the smack of citrus hops, very, very good
T: taste was classic English BW, deep roasted chewy malt, treacle undertones with a good balance of hops. almost had an advanced age in balance to it, no over-the-top citrus hops, reminded me of an aged Bigfoot (5+ years)
M: for a BW, very good, easy drinking, well-rounded
D: I'd buy a case for aging if I could!, but I don't think it would last like TH or Bigfoot in the 10+ year category
01-08-2010 00:55:41 | More by wisrarebeer
4.55/5 rDev +6.6%
Reviewed from a growler fresh form the brewery on 10/1.
Pours a deep, dark reddish brown with a thick tannish head that left fantastic lacing. Aroma is pure hops up your nose with a faint hint of sweetness and alcohol buried in the back somewhere.
The taste is unreal. Strong, pungent hops and citrus that melds nicely into a powerfully chewey but still silky smooth malt backbone. The hops linger with a little bitterness the whole way through. Drinkability is off the charts for a nearly 10% Barleywine and fondly reminded me of a slightly beefier version of some of the West Coast Double IPAs I've had.
Troegs has outdone themselves with this Scratch releases. I'd love to see them attempt to get this guy out as a limited edition every year. Big thumbs up!
10-05-2007 16:57:34 | More by Kegatron
4.55/5 rDev +6.6%
12oz. bottle poured into a snifter on 11/17/07. No date on bottle.
A - Very dark body with tones of plum and dark brown/chestnut. Almost has the appearance of a cola, minus all of the carbonation. Extremely thin tan head with mild carbonation. Virtually no head retention or lacing.
S - There's a lot going on with this one! First whiff reveals earthy and piney hops, sweet chocolate malt and raisins. Subsequent smells bring out some additional sticky hops similar to Nugget Nectar. Hop profile definitely smells like a Troegs. Just a tinge of alcohol in the nose as the liquid warms.
T - Man, this is a complex brew! It's extremely hoppy, but very well balanced by the malt. Earthy and resiny hops prevail, with traces of raisins and currants, dried fruit and maybe even some bitter chocolate. The overload of flavors hides the high alcohol content.
M - Medium to full body that's surprisingly creamy at first, but quickly turns bitter and a bit prickly as it coats the tastebuds. Definitely not as harsh as other barleywines I've had. Hops linger in the finish and stick with you for a while.
D - Good sipping beer that will warm you up. It's got a wonderful flavor, but I wouldn't recommend drinking more than two of these in one sitting. My wife and I shared a growler when it was first released, and by the end, it was like drinking liquid sandpaper. Still, this is a truly delicious, top-notch brew!
11-17-2007 21:25:01 | More by ffejherb
4.5/5 rDev +5.4%
A - Burnt caramel, good head leaves fast, ring remains. Sudsy, leggy lacking
S - Sugar bomb in the nose. Malty sugar goodness. Beware of flies and bees.
T - Wonderful thick sweet malt core, not cloying at all, balanced with heavy bitterness.
M - Heavy, coating, great carb.
D - ABV not listed, but it must be high. However, I could see having a few of these.
12-19-2008 05:55:13 | More by srandycarter
4.5/5 rDev +5.4%
thanks very much to tenderbranson69 for sharing this w/ me.
Poured cool into a snifter.
A - The color of mahogany w/ a thin tan head that clings well as lace.
S - Very much as described -like Nugget Nectar's crazy aroma this goes a little further w/ a scent that is both floral/citric w/ vibrant, bold energy and acidity that wants to jump up your nostrils. A hint of booze in the malty afterscent, but the focus is big dose of hop joy.
M - Plenty of citric acidity from a great blend of hops. Nice blend of sweetness and warmth for good measure. The carbonation is ample and pleasing.
T - A nicely faceted American Barleywine flavor w/ piney/citrus blend of flavor at the initial sip. The taste is sharp at first and slightly jagged w/ a bite that mellows, it hangs in the back of the throat. The malty, semi-sweet and grainy taste helps keep the hops from tasting overly bitter. The taste of orange-like citrus in the hops keeps you coming back w/ sunny flavors. A bit of alcohol in the middle lingers but the whole flavor is even and it lingers until the bittersweet finish. I like the way the malt shadows the hops and anchors this ale so well.
D - This is an insanely drinkable barleywine, much like Nugget Nectar has a bouquet and balance, this scratch beer follows suit. The relationship w/ Nugget Nectar is a plus here, so much hop freshness in the flavor and a great balance for such a big ale. Another excellent offering from the brothers Trogner.
10-05-2007 05:11:08 | More by Slatetank
4.5/5 rDev +5.4%
Only about 3 left of a case of this one so I figured I better review it soon.
Pours a cloudy dark brown slightly amber color. A nice head cascades up to a nice 1-2 inch head that then slowly drops to a thin cap. Some lacing slides quickly back to the surface of the beer.
First smell was a smack of caramel malt that is quickly followed by some grapefruit hops. The hops smell slides to piney as you breath in more.
Taste matches the smell nicely and manages to have a nice balance of malt and hop. Many barleywines come off as way to sweet to me but this is one of the few that achieves some balance. Don't get me wrong, the malt is still the primary flavor.
Mouthfeel is big and chewy. As expected another top notch beer by the Troegs brothers. The scratch series has been awesome and I was glad to hear that it is going to continue. I look forward to trying every one of them. Too bad for you if you didn't get some of this very limited release. If you haven't had it yet, I doubt that you will be able to get it now.
01-09-2008 01:18:52 | More by beermanbrian
4.5/5 rDev +5.4%
Thanks to Slatetank for this one
Poured a murky deep amber with a small off-white near tan head. Nose is sugary, sweet, fruits, caramel toffee. Taste is sticky with dried fruits, caramel, brown sugar. ABV is just right and so is the balance. Really good barleywine
Another one down...
Still very good with lots of dark, dried fruits and brown sugar, molasses, booze still a big hit too. Not over the hill yet, prime drinking now.
04-15-2010 01:30:26 | More by barleywinefiend
4.47/5 rDev +4.7%
12oz received in trade with DIM.. big thanks. poured into my New Belgium snifter... Listening to John Digweed Transitions 3.
3 finger yellow/tan head dies back slowly leaving pretty sticky lacing. Brew looks thick.. dark brown with a distinct haze
Smells thick.. alot of hops.. mainly citrus with touches of floral... also more than enough caramel malts... but mainly the powerful hops.
Flavor is very smooth.. more malty than expected with still a big resinous hop palate midway through the swallow.. great caramel mixes perfectly into tongue coating oily hoppy goodness... finishes with an unexpected and pleasant yeasty fruitiness... sorta a mix between a kumquat and an overripe green grape... finish on this one is long and very nice.
Mouthfeel is thick with only enough carbonation to make me really want another sip. One of the best "easily" available Barley Wines out there... and better than many where the hype overruns its actual worth.
This is 2nd time I've had this.. the first was at our Boise BW tasting earlier this spring... I know this was one of my favorites.. but my palate was pretty shredded and I was pretty shredded by the end of the night.
Daniel is an excellent trader.. and I honestly wish I had better beers available to me here in Boise so I could tempt him more often. Huge Props to Daniel and Troeg's!!
06-18-2008 07:22:45 | More by JohnGalt1
4.47/5 rDev +4.7%
Poured from a 12oz bottle just purchased from the brewery. For $35/case, it's an absolute steal. It was poured into a tulip glass at 46 degrees.
A- One and a half finger head goes down to a coating quickly. Very dark, coffee looking color. Cascading lacing throughout.
S- Hops,plums,citrus, and alcohol. Piney, coffee, and some hints of chocolate are flying around. Also, smells sugary.
T- Wow, a serious hoppy barleywine. Chocolate and roasted nuts, but can definitely taste some piney hops in the background. Lots going on here with nothing standing to far out. Very well-balanced and delicious. Alcohol does come on at finish.
M- Thick but carbonated. Chewable and a little numbing from the alcohol. Again, nice.
D- This needs to be a regular offering fom Troegs. Absolutely amazing. I think the alcohol will definitely sneak up on you because the hops kind of gives this beer a different feel. I got one case and wished now I had gotten more. Maybe the best Barley I have ever experienced.
Cheers You Queers,
10-06-2007 23:47:04 | More by shertz
4.45/5 rDev +4.2%
A: Cloudy brown with very little head.
S: Malty and caramel with a slight citrus/hop note.
T: Malty initially with a bitter hoppy finish. The alcohol is noticeable, but not detrimental. Great balance in this concoction.
M: Full bodied and supportive.
D: Excellent balance and an alcohol tinge that isn't overpowering make this a great drinking barleywine.
04-15-2008 13:44:37 | More by barefootbrewer
4.45/5 rDev +4.2%
Huge thanks to phnphilly for hookin me up with this beer.
Appearance: Pours an opaque red brown, with a thick creamy tan head. The head fades to a 1cm cap that last for a long time then fades to a solid cap for the duration of the beer. The walls of my glass are lined with lacing.
Smell: Earthy caramel and toffee malts sweet and toasted with a big sprinkling of lively beautiful bitter hops. Citrus and pine with just a touch of booze poking through.
Taste: Dark toasted caramel and pine. It has a rich sweet ripe dark fruit with toffee and an earthy wood that keeps the beer grounded and balanced because the swallow coats the palate again with citrus pokes and prods. The The woody earth bread base on which the very vibrant bitter hops build make this beer truly a masterpiece. The alcohol plays a roll in the flavor but certainly does not overwhelm.
Mouthfeel: It is pleasantly sharp with bitter acidity and warm alcohol but beer never becomes cloying. It has a big sugary element and a big bitterness but in the end it all works well together.
Drinkability: I really can't wait to give this beer some time in the cellar but I am glad I had the chance to have a few pints fresh first. This is simply brilliant!
Hope this is helpful.
10-20-2007 05:05:04 | More by Phatz
4.45/5 rDev +4.2%
this beer poured a cloudy brown with no head. there is a tan film over the top of the glass that looks like oil.
the smell is citrus hops, malty sweet, clove, spices.
the taste starts sweet and finishes hoppy with a very nice balance and noticable carbonation and alcohol.
the mouthfeel is chewy and oily.
i really enjoyed this barleywine and i'm glad i have a couple more of them.
05-08-2008 15:20:47 | More by deepsouth
4.43/5 rDev +3.7%
Bottle courtesy of akorsak poured into a snifter.
A: Pours a dark, murky amber with hints of orange. The head is small and short-lived, quickly leaving a collar and traces of lacing.
S: Smell is big and complex, with citrus hops up front giving way to a sizable caramel malt backbone. There is also a big dose of sugar and toffee in the nose as well.
T: Like the smell, citrus hops are the first thing I notice. There is an even bigger sugar presence in the taste with dark fruits as well. All of this is on top of the caramel malt backbone.
M: Mouthfeel is medium bodied and has a slight hop bitterness that tickles the tongue. A little on the thin side, but still nice and creamy.
D: Drinkability is very good on this one and I'm glad Adam gave me the opportunity to try this one. Very, very good beer.
08-04-2008 02:15:43 | More by gford217
Scratch Beer 4 - 2007 from Tröegs Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 75 ratings.