30th Anniversary - Jack & Ken's Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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30th Anniversary - Jack & Ken's Ale30th Anniversary - Jack & Ken's Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States
sierra-nevada.com

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.20%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Ghenna on 07-27-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

BEER STATS
Reviews:
434
Ratings:
805
Avg:
4.12
pDev:
9.95%
 
 
Wants:
36
Gots:
221
For Trade:
7
User Reviews
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Reviews: 434 | Ratings: 805
Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.03/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an almost opaque dark crimson brown with a 2 inch khaki head that settles to a small cap. A curtain of solid lace coats the glass on the drink down. Something I have really never seen before on a beer. Smell is of toasted malt, brown sugar, caramel, and citrus zest hops. Taste is of toasted malt/biscuit flavors with a brown sugar/caramel and citrus zest finish. Alcohol flavors emerge as the beer warms. Medium hop bitterness lingers on the palate after each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a thick and smooth mouthfeel. A bit of a sticky feeling as well. Overall, this is a good take on a barleywine and a nice release for the 30th anniversary series.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.35/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a real firebreather. been aging since the 30th anniversary obviously. pours nearly black with a velvety red hue. impressive off white head for its age. smells like a very hoppy barleywine. a black ipa but stronger and older. ive got licorice in here in the taste, dried dark fruit, brown sugar, freakishly complex. the age must have worked on this one hard. tastes like decadence (as my flatmate wilson says). head holds on at about a quarter inch, and it gets woody and malty as it warms. wow. chocolate bockesque in a sense. mouthfeel is bomb, rich and thick and full bodied, bitterish dry hopped sort of creamy roundness. oh man i like it more and more as i sit here and sip on it. this is much mroe than a barleywine, especially in its aged form. i think 2 more years could pop it off even better. a strong rich hoppy black barleywine. very unconventional and very humbling. i feel blessed to cap a night with this thing. ahhh

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Photo of nmann08
4/5  rDev -2.9%

Re-Review. Notes are from 9/4/14 (2010 bottle). From a bottle, pours an opaque dark brown with red hues with a fluffy full light tan head. As I drink, the head leaves lots of lacing on the glass.

The nose is dark fruit, plums, raisins, and figs. It smells a little sweet, molasses, chocolate, with spruce and resin. Faint roast that is clearly mellowing and falling into the background of the fruit and malt notes. The flavor is very balanced, moderately sweet. More plum and fig, a little resin hops and citrus juice. The finish is really clean and balanced.

This has aged very well and is drinking great right now. I would pop a bottle if you can.

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Photo of Knapp85
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was probably my least favorite of the four, I'm not sure why but it's just a personal thing I guess. This brew poured out as a muddy looking brown color, the head was thin and white on top. The lacing was light and not really too impressive. The smell of the beer was hoppy and had a big malt sweetness in there too. The taste of the beer again had a big hop profile along with a hearty malt character. The mouthfeel of the beer was a little on the thicker side, good carbonation and pretty well balanced. Overall I liked the hops in this one a lot, they really knew how to tingle the taste buds.

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Photo of metter98
3.88/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is essentially jet black in color and shows some traces of amber in the corner of the glass when held up to the light. It poured with some lacing on the surface and a thin ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: There are light aromas of dark malts in the nose.
T: Similar to the smell, the taste has flavors of dark malts and a moderate amount of bitterness.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is interesting and seems to taste like a hybrid between a Black IPA and an American Barleywine and is a lot more bitter compared to other barleywines. The alcohol is relatively well hidden from the taste.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Somewhat of a schizophrenic beer that challenges the notion of where an American Barleywine starts, a Russian Imperial Stout begins, and to what extent do Schwarzbiers and Imperial Porters play in the balance of this beer.

This beer is black, with an opaque appearance it carries a delicate and foamy creame similar to espresso. Light lacing and good retention cap the beer well.

Medium aromas of coffee, roast, malted barley, and a bark-like, nutty scent that gives complexity to the nose. Light on caramels, fruits, and sweetness this beer gravitates toward drier roastier beers.

Flavors of true malted barley lead the way while intense dry-roast, char, and heavy toast reside closely behind. Malted milk, resiny hop taste, and bitter cocoa also decorate the periphery of the beer. Still, low on fruit notes and spicy tones, this beer is very clean and controlled.

Froathy/malty early, the beer has a long and slow taper towards to dry toasty/roasty mouthfeel that eventually leads to hop bitterness and a long roasty finish.

The roasty or 'black' part of the beer has a tremendous impact on the flavor where I think I'd prefer a complimentary or cameo-appearance instead. The roast seems to overtake the Barleywine character to the point were it's tough to discern what the brewer's intent really is.

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Photo of brentk56
3.93/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown with rocky tan head; presents a very impressive amount of lacing

Smell: The caramel malt is clearly there in abundance, but barely makes a dent in the pinefest of hoppy aromatics; the alcohol is also present with a hint of burn in the nostrils

Taste: Unlike in the aroma, the caramel lays down a much bigger backbone up front, with the pithy and piney hops adding a fruity dimension through mid-palate; after the swallow, the hops take over and add aspirin-like bitterness to the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Tastes more like a Black IPA than a barleywine but perhaps over time it will change; the strength of the malt and hop flavors compete in a way that makes the beer a bit less drinkable in its youth

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Photo of emerge077
3.93/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Cork discharges with a resonating pop. Into a stemmed wine glass it pours black, with frothy tan foam that has a meringue sheen to the surface. Tons of lace and a full, long lasting head.

Complex malts in the nose, sweet toffee and a little roastiness. Mild earthy pine bitterness in the taste, signature Sierra Nevada hop profile. This bitterness builds with more sips, but is tempered by the rich malt sweetness. Nicely balanced, still some nice hop character on display. Feels light enough to take a bigger sip, but better off slowly sipped. Medium bodied with light to medium carbonation. Nice sipper for winter weather.

Cheers to Sierra Nevada for 30 years of brewing!

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Photo of kojevergas
3.58/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

1 pint 9.4 fl oz brown glass bottle with hood and wire cap over a cork served into a New Belgium stem-goblet in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are merely above average given the brewery, which I've yet to have anything great from. 10.20% ABV confirmed.

Served after a brief period of rest after removing it from the refrigerator. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

Paired intermittently with chow fun noodles (an odd choice, I know - but I'm hungry and all my money goes to beer, okay?)

A: Pours a two finger khaki colour head of lovely cream and thickness, and great retention considering the high ABV. Lacing is good. Body colour is a solid nontransparent black. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. I'm rather impressed. Could this be the beer that changes my mind about Sierra Nevada?

Sm: Caramel, dark malts, cream, floral hop notes, and hints of roast. Some biscuity yeast. And biscuit malt, for that matter. No alcohol is detectable. Maltiness is dominant. A moderate strength aroma.

T: Cream up front, and a quite malty body - definitely nicely layered. Floral hops, hints of roast. Sure, some booziness - but it's well hidden for 10.2%. Some dark malts. Biscuit malt. No real yeasty notes, through. Caramel. Mild spice. It's a tasty little beer, actually. The balance is imperfect but it's a tasty brew. Some middling fruit notes - maybe a hint of fig. Quite the malt bomb, but in a good way. Very pleasant and enjoyable. I like it.

Mf: Smooth, wet, and creamy. Slight overcarbonation. Good thickness and presence. suits the flavours quite well.

Dr: I have to say, I expected worse given the brewery. Sure, it's boozy - but it's also a nice barleywine. I'm glad to have tried it - and while it isn't changing my mind about Sierra Nevada since it's a glorified collaboration, I do fancy it. I'll try to open my mind a bit more to Sierra Nevada, but I've yet to have a truly fantastic beer from them. This is worth a go for barleywine fans, but it's not incredible.

B

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Photo of zeff80
4.17/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out an opaque, jet black color with a thin, sudsy, tan head of foam. It left thin traces of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of burnt toast maltiness with floral notes. It had some sweet rich maltiness, too.

T - It tasted very bitter with a sharp hop bite. Good citrusy notes with a nice roasted malt backbone.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium to full bodied ale with a dry finish.

D - This is a very nice barleywine. I think I like "black barleywines" better than the standard versions.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.07/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours very dark, especially for the style...sort of a Cascadian Dark Ale meets American Barleywine in the mold of Nemesis 2010 or, to a lesser degree, Sublimely Self Righteous. Smells strongly of American hops. Good grapefruit and citrus layered atop roast, sweetness, and hints of coffee and chocolate. The hops come out even more in the taste; really curious how the flavor of this will develop over time. Mouthfeel is a bit heavy on the alcohol, so hopefully that improves with time. Good all around concept and something I'd like to see more like in the future.

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Photo of oline73
4.03/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a goblet.

Appearance: Pours black with no light coming through. There is a two finger tan head that leaves some lacing. Overall a good looking beer.

Smell: There is a roasty sweetness that hits the nose right away. I'm picking up a hint of some cocoa and caramel.

Taste: This one is sweet with a mild roast more in the background. As in the smell, there are hints of caramel and cocoa. There is a nice bitterness from the hops, and some warming alcohol in the finish.

Mouthfeel: The body is on the thicker side of medium. The carbonation is delicate and goes well with the body.

Drinkability: While there is some alcohol, it isn't very dominant given the abv. The roasty and sweet flavors complement each other very well. I would be willing to have this one again.

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Photo of oberon
4.23/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured nearly pitch black except for some deep reddish highlights when held straight to the light,a creamy-like one and a half finger tannish colored head atop that settled into a frothy mass.A good mix of bitter chocolate and piney hop in the nose,there is some dark fruit and roast as well.A big hopped up dark barleywine here,bitter chocolate and French roast coffee flavors really hit hard upfront,there is some dark fruit as well as some sweet alcohol to give the beer sweetness,a heavy dose of resiny/piney hop cuts thru any sweetness in the finish.A great beer here,it has so much going on,I liked it alot.

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Photo of nickfl
4.47/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours with a ridiculously massive, four finger head of medium brown foam on top of an opaque, black body. The head settles slowly and leaves a thick curtain of lace on the walls of the glass.

S - A strong aroma of dark caramel malts with some fruity notes of plum and dark cherry. Subtle notes of bittersweet chocolate and rum in the background with a spicy hop character.

T - Dark caramel malt up front with notes of molasses and plums. Some cola notes sneak out in the middle with spicy, herbal hops that have a little bit of woody character. The grain darkens in the finish with more of a molasses sweetness and some bittersweet chocolate that works well with the fruity notes of plum and black cherry. Moderately strong hop bitterness helps to balance the sugary malt and there is some coffee like grainy bitterness to help as well. The flavor lingers long after the beer is gone, continuing to darken with notes of smoke, oak, chocolate, and cigar tobacco.

M - A fairly thick body, moderate carbonation, and a sweet finish.

D - This is a huge beer, in a disconcertingly huge bottle. The malt character is intense and is transforms from an initially caramel influenced first impression to a very dark, chocolate and tobacco finish. The hops are strongly present, but they play a supporting role by balancing and intensifying the malt and never step out of line in a way that would make the beer less drinkable. The finish is really the aspect that separates the simply passable beers from the truly great brews with this style and it is where this one truly shines. It darkens significantly and develops notes of tobacco, smoke, and wood that are subtly distinct from those that would be found in a stout, but have the same level of long lasting, enjoyable complexity. This is a really great barleywine, and I am all the more impressed that it is so good without the years of aging that most barleywines of this strength and complexity demand.

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Photo of mactrail
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep, dark, and savory strong ale. Looks nice in the snifter, with decent head and dark red-brown color. Sensual mouthfeel, creamy carbonation mixed with the sweet and hot flavors. Big aroma of floral hops with a caramel, fudge note.

This makes me think of the annual barleywine, but this is less bitter and more smooth. Huge dark caramel flavor with an edge of hops. Lots of hoppy aromatics and just a huge spiciness that is what gives this such pleasing complexity. Malty but not overly sweet, with a sharp tang to the aftertaste.

One of the best Barleywines I've had. I can't think of a better one for a late-night sip.

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Photo of superspak
4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle into snifter, bottled on 7/12/2010. Pours fairly pitch black color with a 2 finger dense khaki head with great retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice dense soapy lacing clings around the glass, with some moderate streaming carbonation retaining the head. Aromas of big caramel, toffee, toast, brown sugar, brown bread, raisin, plum, fig, chocolate, cocoa, light roast, citrus zest, light pine, herbal, grass, and herbal/toasted earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/bready malt, fruitiness, and light-moderate hop notes; with great strength. Taste of big caramel, toast, toffee, raisin, plum, fig, brown sugar, brown bread, chocolate, cocoa, light roast, citrus zest, light pine, herbal, grass, and herbal/toasted earthiness. Light-moderate earthy pine/roasted bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, toast, toffee, raisin, plum, fig, brown sugar, brown bread, chocolate, cocoa, light roast, light pine, and herbal/roasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Fantastic complexity and balance of dark/roasted malt, fruitiness, and light citrus/pine hop flavors; with a great malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and full bodied; with a very creamy, slick, and lightly chalky mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is well hidden with only a slight warming present after the finish. Overall this is an outstanding dark barleywine style. All around awesome complexity and balance of dark/roasted malt, fruitiness, and light-moderate citrus/pine hops flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the big ABV. A highly enjoyable offering, definitely aging well.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.08/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

11 ounce goblet - $7.00 at The Fred in Sandy Springs, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours out a near black body underneath an inch-high layer of chunky-looking, beige foam.

Smell: Distinctly roasty black malt nose with notes of bitter chocolate, burnt toast, and ground coffee. The hops are second to the malts in the nose, but still generates scents of fresh pine and citrus.

Taste: Leading charred barley flavors of roasty coffee, molasses, crushed aniseed, and openly bitter chocolate with some lighter tastes of toast and toffee trailing behind. Faint dark fruitiness underneath all this roast. Moderately sweet, though it's curtailed by a solid charge of Cascade hops bringing resinous pine and citrus peel hop character as well as hearty bitterness. Slight acidity. As one might expect, the finish is roasty, bitter, and fairly warming.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium carbonation. Decently chewy mouthfeel.

Drinkability: What say I?? Aye or Nye?! I'll go with AYE. A tad unorthodox, sure, unless we're concocting Black DIPA's now, but it's pretty good for a full eleven ounce goblet's worth. I'll hold off for some time before cracking the bottle I picked up.

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Photo of mothman
3.87/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into Founders snifter

Pours 1/2 finger of beige head. Color is a copper brown. Good head retention with some splattered lace.

Aroma: Roasted malts with notes of chocolate, caramel, and toffee. I get some earthy, piney hopes with some grapefruit citrus. Fairly roasted and malty, but still pretty hoppy.

Taste: Roasted malts with much more citrus here. Grapefruit and orange citrus. Chocolate and caramel malt with a bit of toffee. Grassy and floral. Some dark dried fruits as well.

Mouthfeel: Roasted and bitter with some creaminess. Medium to full bodied with a good amount of carbonation. Ends sticky, yet roasted.

Overall it is an awesome take on the style. Kind of like the best of both worlds. The hop profile is well done which is important with these type of beers. It has a decent drinkability.

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Photo of chinchill
4.07/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: dark mahogany; slightly hazy; squat off-white head has decent retention.

Smell: Spicy hops and roasted malt dominates. High ABV evident but not objectionable.

Taste: Quite smooth and tame (in terms of bite) for a barleywine; some extra aging in effect here, I believe. A nice palette of hops, malt, caramel, and spice flavors also helps mask the alcohol. More hops than usual for style, but not so much as to overpower the nice complex interplay of other flavors.

Mouthfeel: Medium body; light carbonation; slight warming from alcohol.

Overall: Probably my 1st black barleywine, so I can't judge it for style. Certainly quite enjoyable for a beer with this kind of ABV, and better than most barleywines of any variety in my limited experience. Excellent choice if you like a black IPA.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.45/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap 10/1/2010 at Track 84 in Warwick, RI, served in a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a deep black color, with a large off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of roasted malts, dark fruit, some citrus and a good amount of hops.

T: The taste starts out with mildly sweet flavors of chocolate, dark fruit and caramel. Then a strong but not too over-powering hops presence comes in. The malt character is hearty and provides a very good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet with a hint of hoppiness.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Very tasty, goes down dangerously easily, not too filling, very well-disguised ABV kick, good representation of style while adding a nice variation, this is an excellent stronger beer that is worth drinking for a long as you're able to keep up with it.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.03/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My last night of tastings. Sad really, now I will have to wait an entire month before I get to indulge in such things again. But what can you do, figured I would go out with a bang and hit up these new ones and get them off the list and out of the fridge. Served cold and poured into a pint glass, these were consumed on 11/18/2010.

Next up in my three new SN ales was the next installment of the anniversary series. I had been looking forward to this one for a while. The pour was a nice dark color, nearly black with a big head of chocolate colored foam that seemed to stick the sides nearly perfectly before letting itself down. Aroma was deep roasted malts, hints of hops, a burning, alcohol and a nice rounded leather like touch. Interesting mix here and it did come off a touch hot for me, but at the same time really did seem to work quite nicely. Light on the feel so definitely not too syrupy or full it just went down smooth and easy. The abv was hidden enough that it was easy for me to get caught up in it for sure.

Overall a very solid ale for sure, and a good one to be in this series. I was able to go back for seconds quite easily.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.28/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: The pour is a very dark brown color with about a finger's worth of tan head on top.

S: Sweet dark malts, toffee, and slightly burnt sugar lead the nose. Some slightly piney hops along with an alcohol note.

T: The flavor is a bit harsh. The hops and burnt character of the malt give a very bitter feel right away. The alcohol is also noticeable, though this seems like less of a problem to me. The sweetness is there, with some toffee and caramel, but certainly overshadowed by the bitterness.

M: The body is excellent (quite full), with a smooth, low carbonation.

D: I hope this one improves as it ages. As it stands, this is not a beer I would drink fresh.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.35/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this on tap at Brass Rail on Thursday Sept 23rd -served in a snifter.

A - Appearance is an opaque slate color, not quite black w/ a light beige cap which is comprised of tiny beads.There is visible carbonation in the ale and the lace clings well

S - Smell is toffee-like and mildly lactic with some roasted grain presence. A slight buttery odor with gentle fruity scent and mild caramel malt aroma, The nose has light cocoa w/ subtle alcohol and hop notes. A nice accent of spice and an anise tinge are there to add complexity

M - The feel is full and moderately carbonated with moderate bitterness up front as well with gentle sweetness and light toasted feel with semi-dry finish

T - The flavor has plenty of malt with lots of grain flavor and mild licorice and roasted notes w/ slight sweet caramel and dark fruit notes. The ale has gentle pepper and hint of cococa taste w/ mild stone fruit elements and gentle spice: there is a mild orange rind note from the hops and light vanilla quality too. A moderate amount of hop flavor and subtle overall especially for an American barleywine but nice toffee -like flavor and mild alcohol throughout

D - This is a delicious beer and how they achieved such grace in a glass is beyond me - very mild alcohol so the 10% is hidden and I could probably handle a few if it weren't for the strength. A totally unique barleywine to me it actually makes me more of a fan of the style. - Another great 30th anniversary brew from Sierra Nevada

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Photo of russpowell
3.89/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Opened with a might whoosh! Pours an effervescent mahogany/black with 4fingers of rocky mocha head.

S: Herbal hops, breadyness, boozeyness once warm

T: Charred grain, dark chocolate, herbal & woody hops up front. More charred grain, slight licorice, plus slightly astringent grainyness as this warms, toffee & carob notes as well. Finishes dry, woody, with slight figgy & plummy notes awash with charred grain

MF: Chewy, subtle carbonation; balance is a bit outta whack, slightly astringent

Good drinkabilty, I'm betting this one will peak in a year or so, but was looking for west coast hop signature

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.03/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Dirty John's tulip pint glass.

The idea of a black barleywine seemed to stymie VDubb for a bit. It pours a dark ruby-tinted black topped by a healthy sandstone foam. The nose comprises light roasted malts, chocolate, pine, and some light grapefruit. The taste holds more of the same, though the roasted malts and pine are cranked-up a notch, and some coffee finds its way in the back door. The body is a hefty medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a drying finish. Overall, a delightful little experiment in boundary-pushing, one that I hope catches on: I wanna see more black barleywines, dammit!

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30th Anniversary - Jack & Ken's Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.12 out of 5 based on 805 ratings.
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