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

Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States

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.

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Ratings: 814 |  Reviews: 436
Photo of jminsc76
4.42/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at SideDoor in the Corona Del Mar district of Newport Beach. First off, it's a BLACK barleywine. Now, I take it they are mentioning it's color because barleywines are typically amber/orange/mahogany? No idea, but the body is black alright, with plenty of head rising off the top as it's poured, and as I agitate.

Aromas are feint at first, with some good maltiness in the nose as well as citrus, slight chocolate, and hints of caramel. As it warms, the aromas become much more floral and piny.

Tastes great, very filling. Flavors are initially much sweeter, with plenty of that malty caramel on display and some excellent grapefruit notes. Somewhat similar to Stone's Sublimely Self Righteous, a beer I adore and love. Especially when it's aged.

Aaaand there it is, that booziness that comes with many an American Barleywine, grrr. So, this too will most likely require some time down to really derive all of the potential flavors. As it warms, a lot more of the hops and piny, citrusy notes start to take over and it becomes much more of a rustic hop bomb than a dessert beer.

Mouthfeel, as mentioned previously, is somewhat thick but not extreme. As I swish, there is a slight silkiness but more esters are exhibited than anything.

Overall, a delicious "black" barleywine (would it have been called a mahogany barleywine if it were that color, hmmmm?). I speculate this will be even more incredible if laid down for at least six months to a year. Rivals the deliciousness of SN's Bigfoot Barleywine, with much more chocolate and roasts on the palate than the hoppy/caramel-laden Bigfoot. Plus, and this is big for me, the balance (sans the slight heat) is phenomenal at almost every stage of the warming process, and I am impressed at the flavor spectrum revealed within 10 to 15 minutes of consumption. Even at hop bomb status near the end there is still enough maltiness for me to enjoy it as a finely balanced (American) barleywine.

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Photo of Bierman9
3.96/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a bottle of this at Ayotte's today, setting me back $9.99 for 750ml. I had heard of the 30th Anniversary beers from SN, but thought it was only the stout. Am thrilled to see a barleywine in the series (and an Imperial Helles Bock, too!). Here goes....

Poured into a small Delerium Tremens tulip, this "black barleywine" is indeed quite opaque. When looked at under normal lighting conditions, hardly anything but black is seen. Only when held up to a spotlight can some ruby be seen amidst the deep chestnut liquid. Head is abundant, frothy and tan, ebbing slowly while leaving very nice lacing behind. Aroma has some roasty qualities, plus some hops wafting about, though it is a bit subdued, all-in-all. This one is quite thick and chewy, well above medium and closing in on being full-bodied. As for the feel itself, it is satiny smooth.

Some caramel and chocolate are first to hit the palate. There's a decent amount of warming from the alcohol, and it gets a little into rum-soaked fruitcake territory. It's a bit roasty here, too, along with some nice earthy, floral notes filling in the gaps. This one is pretty solid, yet not overly complex; tastes quite like the black IPA I had from Portsmouth recently. Though a touch pricy, I'd consider having another some time. Prosit!!

look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | drink: 4


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Photo of alexgash
4.41/5  rDev +7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle, corked and caged.

Very dark cola brown body, with a voluptuous, overgrown, three fingers of thick, creamy, dark khaki brown head. Great lacing. Plenty of hops on the nose. Notes of fresh pine, and mandarin orange. Plenty of malty goodness too: dark chocolate, earthy tobacco, carob, coffee, and a bit of licorice.

After a brief roasted malt intro, bracing hop bitterness takes over. Big, in your face hop cones dripping with pine sap and citrus. Joining the fray is deep roasted coffee, sweetish dark fruits, tobacco, and slightly smoky malts. Light notes of dark chocolate lead into a dryer, very hoppy, coffeeish finish. Lots of lingering bitterness that lasts forever! Full-bodied with a slightly creamy feel. A big, assertive, triumphant brew, that I am really liking "fresh." Will be interesting to see how this ages over the years. Happy 30th SN!

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Photo of beertunes
3.15/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

The label calls this a " Black Barleywine" OK, isn't a black barleywine an Imperial Stout? Whatever, let's jump in. Poured into 16oz goblet. Poured black with a tall, over 2 inches, medium tan head that had very good retention and moderate lacing.

The aroma had a very noticeable roasted malt scent, with hints of chocolate and coffee in the background. Surprisingly for SN, there wasn't a strong hop scent. The flavors were very similar, nicely crisp roast, the traces of chocolate and coffee and a bit of a bitter aftertaste. Yup, SN brought the hops, but much subtler than is their habit.

The body was far too thin for either a BW or a big Stout. Drinkability was pretty good for a 10% brew, the 22 went down a bit too easily.

Overall, a nice beer that isn't really a true BW, but is certainly worth trying. I'm going to stick 2-3 bottles aside and see if some time helps.

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Photo of July2Nov
4.58/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bought from Tamura's Wines & Liquors for $12.99.

Appearance: It's everything I like my beers to look like; Dark (no light comes through at all!) with a with a frothy, rich 1/2 inch of foam resting on top (lasted the entirety of the beer).

Smell: Sweet fruity notes, slight hops....very enticing.

Taste & Mouthfeel: Smooth and velvety! Like butter melting in the mouth. For a 10% abv this one is a subtle deceiver. Slightly hoppy upfront, and balanced nicely with a robust maltiness. Pepper notes come through. The taste is great, but I can't get over the mouthfeel of this one....one of the best I've ever tasted. You must experience this one yourself.

Drinkability: So glad I bought three of these, because I'm going to revisit this. This is one of those special beers that need to be savored with friends or for special occasions...though, I would argue that drinking this IS the special occasion. Please do yourself a big favor and find this. It's well worth your trouble. Sierra Nevada does it once again!

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.98/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big bottled presentation works for these 30th Anniversary releases add to the fact that it's corked and caged and you have an experience. When I decorked it had a great loud pop, that has been absent from many recent corked and caged micros, I was thoroughly impressed by their quality control.

Pours into an official 30th Anniversary chalice, pitch black body no light is allowed through this stuff, dark tan fine bubbled head carbonation keeps it mellow. Large chunky patterned bands of lacing stuck to the sides of my glass.

Aroma has deep roasted barley malt tones with hints of dark fruit soaked in alcohol, rush of underlying hops coming up with pine/earthy/citric notes through the dark roasted malt layers.

Flavor has wrapping layer of dark nearly burnt sugar flavors a mix of molasses and brown sugar caramelization with hops and alcohol adding a rough backing edge to the malts. Hops are very citric earthy and abrasive on the palate, this stuff is big bold black barleywine. Deep fruit over ripened plum/raisin soaked in booze notes.

Mouthfeel is dry with a rough bitterness alcohol and hops are fighting in this dark brewed barleywine, it's so abrasive untamed and hot thus far. Either let it age or mellow or take on the assault this full bodied dark brash barleywine has to offer. Hop burps are deep and make you whole mind think whole coned hops and dark barleywine is a job.

Drinkability overall like I stated the concept it better than any of the components of the whole, who doesn't love dark beer. Who doesn't love barleywine, who doesn't like really hopp beers...I don't love really dark hoppy barleywines except for the new Founders Nemesis Ale of 2010. That one works this one is competing with it's own components.

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Photo of steveh
3.6/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Number 3 in the series.

Massive pop from this one when corked... waited for a gusher, but none.

A -- Deep, dark black with ruby highlights from a flash. Very dense, slow settling tan head.

S -- Roasted barley, dark fruit esters, spicy hops, earthiness from yeast and/or English hops, some chocolate and toffee peaking through. Note: Lots of fusel in the glass after finished -- big alcohol.

T -- First taste is hot alcohol, followed by dark fruit esters, toffee characters and roasty malts. Spicy hops mix with peppery alcohol in the finish and some citrus fruit esters in the aftertaste. The spicy alcohol and bitterness from hops don't blend well on the palate and become harsh, though the flavor melody keeps you trying more.

M -- Heavy body and syrupy mouthfeel.

D -- While full of character and interesting to drink and study, this beer is big and massive at 10% and you can tell that sipping is the safest procedure. A bottle to share or attempt at re-capping to save for later.

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Photo of yuriruley
3.19/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance - Darker brown, with a decent amount of head and lacing. Good head retention.

Smell - Malts, piney hop aroma, mild bready barleywine smell.

Taste - Malty flavor, some chocolate, with a piney bitterness, and hot alcohol. The barleywine flavors I enjoy so much are kind of muted to me. I wasn't a fan of the bitterness on the tail end of this one.

Mouthfeel - kind of creamy, good carbonation, thicker body.

Drink - Not bad, but not great, given the ABV and the bitterness in the flavor I was sipping on it for quite awhile.

Was an okay beer in my mind. Not what I was hoping for, I thought founders nemesis had much better flavor as far as "black barleywines" go. I think this might be great if it had a year on it, but right now it's not something I'd want to drink a ton of. I enjoyed my first glass, but my brother passed me half of his and that was too much.

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Photo of ShogoKawada
3.84/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml, 10.99 @ Nikki's I do believe. Into newport storm tulip.

A- Dark brown pour, large head on this one, slowly rising to 3-fingers. Pretty good staying power and thick brown-sugar lacing on the glass.

S- Sweet malt- caramel and chocolate- and piney hops. Nice enough, I suppose, however not 'wowing' me either.

T- The hop flavors are here but the bitterness is in check, nice strong, dominant malt presence here. Roasty malts, a bit of coffee, and the usual NorCal hop profile- nice piney hop bill with a dash of citrus.

M- Thick, heavy, good carbonation, really a bang-up job.

D- Fairly high. Bottle was no problem. I'd buy another one if I saw it. Good stuff.

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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 bgjohnston
4.43/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The bottle pops open with a resounding bang, and pours with vigorous carbonation, producing a very tall, creamy, light brown head. The beer itself is a dark coffee color, and overall it appears much like a good stout. The head persists, and is a very attractive beer in the glass.

The smell is inviting, hinting at a solid chocolate sweetness that does not disappoint. It is also very stout-like in flavor, but the bite of a strong barleywine comes through after that nice chocolate flavor sits on the palate for a while. When I think of Sierra Nevada, I think of Bigfoot, but this barleywine is much tamer in flavor, and much less hoppy. Also, does not seem as hot as a fresh Bigfoot, despite being just as strong.

Mouth feel is full and satisfying, as it should be with such a substantial brew. Drinkability is very good for what it is, but the rich flavor is a bit fatiguing toward the end.

These anniversary beers are definitely something special, and I hope to see other big anniversary celebrations from this brewery in the years to come.

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Photo of HalfFull
3.66/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 ml. bottle opens with a firm pop and pours an opaque brownish black into a wine glass. Touch of ruby in the light but even that is a bit of a reach as this brew is solid dark brown. A bit of haze keeps any peripheral light from breaking through. A nice cap of tan foam holds well.

Nose is a bit nontraditional and lacks the depth of character I would normally associate with a barleywine. In place of that you get more chocolate malt with a hint of roast and a robust hoppiness. Some caramel and alcohol reveal themselves with warming but remain secondary. In a year this may balance out better, rather subdued at this point.

Flavor is subdued as well. Pleasant but a bit too thick for the style and with an aggressive carbonation and just a hint of brown sugar. This makes it quite drinkable however, masking the ABV to a large degree. As others have alluded I think a year in the bottle will help this beer in that the carbonation will mellow and the hops will fade. In the meantime let the beer breathe and warm up to fully enjoy.

An interesting brew, a cross between a Barleywine and a Black IPA. OK, an American Double/Imperial Black IPA....A Barleywine in strength perhaps, but not really in character..

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

Having enjoyed the other two members of this limited release trifecta, I had high expectations for the black barleywine. Unfortunately, it fell a bit short. Nice dark color, darker than any other barleywine I've sampled. Roasted malt flavor as far less pronounced than the color would suggest. Moderate roasted malt with moderate caramel sweetness. Finish was clean, but, overall, the beer was reserved almost to the point of being bland.

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Photo of stakem
4.12/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from notes taken on 10/6/10, on tap at Al's.

Appears a dark brown color with decent clarity. Some lighter brown coloring shines through around the edges. The head dissolves fairly fast leaving legwork of lace around the glass.

The nose is a sweet blend of dark roasted malt and somewhat dark skinned fruity alcohol notes. Chocolate and indications of black licorice come through to finish out the smell of this brew.

The taste is a drying thick roasty flavor of burnt grains tasting minorly like licorice, coffee and bitter chocolate swollen with alcohol. A flavor that tastes minorly fruity like raisins or prunes and a hint of smokey molasses is included.

This is a medium to full bodied brew with a moderate amount of carbonation. It is a pretty solid barleywine with little to no hop inclusion.

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Photo of argock
4.21/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from brown magnum into a clear oversized wine glass. No freshness date. Purchased at Wine Warehouse (Charlottesville, VA) for $11.29.

A: Very dark brown to black with enormous 2-finger frothy tan head with good retention and a healthy amount of crusty lacing.

S: A bit muted but still brings bitter chocolate, coffee, roasted black malt matched with floral, citrus hops. ALcohol makes an appearance but is not overwhelming.

T: At first, the alcohol is too much, but with some time, this brew really comes together with an interesting mix of black malt, roasted barley, citrus hops, an a layer of dark malt hta tlaces this brew as dangerous. Alcohol fades with warming. This is a high-residue brew -- big gravity with big malt and citrus hops flavor all the way around.

M: Solid mouthfeel, but surprisingly good body for the thinness of the pour. Aftertaste is long and malty with an accent of citrus hops.

D: A very interesting brew -- it is too easy to drink to be called a barley wine and I would go with strong black IPA, but the fact that people can't categorize this brew adds to its mystique and attractiveness. THis easy tops the list of 30th anniversary SN brews. Despite the steep price, I'll be finding a couple to put away for 6-12 months and see if the alcohol fades and the hops hang in.

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Photo of gordavidson
3.94/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

A- A monstrous, creamy light brown head sits atop a deep, dark brown liquid. The head retention is astounding. A black barleywine if I have ever seen one.

S- Pine, citrus, a bit of roasted malts, and some alcohol. A bit simple but well done.

T- Sweet roasted malt, citrus, and pine. The flavors work nicely together.

M- Extraordinarily creamy with a great carbonation level. There is some lasting roastiness and bitterness on the finish.

D- A bit of a sipper. Rich and a tad boozy. This may age well, but it is also pretty good as it is.

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Photo of PeprSprYoFace
3.91/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up one to try before I out away some for age. I think I will get a couple more.

Pours a deep black. Not quite super imperial stout black but very stout looking. Nice tan head lasts a long time. Decent lacing.

Aroma is not super strong but it smells alot like a stout. Pretty roasty and a little of that deep caramel you get from a good barley wine but not a ton.

Tastes like a stout. I would not think this was a barleywine if you never told me what it was. Very roasty flavor for what it is suppose to be. It does have a barleywine type flavor but it kind of takes a back seat. I think it should be in the front. It tastes great just not like a barleywine.

Mouthfeel is kind of thin for a barleywine but still good. Good carb.

Overall a good beer but not what I was expecting. I'll probably buy a couple to put away.

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Photo of xnicknj
4.13/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750 mL bottle poured into pint glass and shared with other BAs. thanks to Wiid.

Pours a midnight black with a thick, buoyant toffee brown head with solid retention and copious amounts of sticky lacing.

Dark malt, chocolate, caramel, and some faint hops all pop out from the nose.

Begins with dark roasted malt, a touch of coffee, and a hint of bitter dark chocolate. Hops bite through with some more bitterness, moving into some caramel malt sweetness. Toffee and molasses continue to linger, before the beer finishes with more hoppy bitterness and a firm alcohol warmth.

Full bodied, bitter, and chewy in the feel. Slow drinking but great flavor, although the alcohol is fairly heavy. I can see this being even better with some age, especially since the 10.2% is pretty hot right now.

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Photo of Hamsteroceros
3.88/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sampled in a tulip glass.

For better or worse, this beer definitely hit on a few characteristics outside its style.

Deep, dark brown color with a slight ruby tinge to it. Nice thick light brown head.

Smelled alcoholic. Faint hop notes behind a rich coffee aroma.

Coffee and chocolate dominate up front. Very reminiscent of a stout. There was a nice bready flavor that complemented a sweet maltiness, as well. Tiny bit of pine. For whatever reason, I expected it to be a bit sweeter.

Very rich and velvety in the mouth. Huge beer mouthfeel-wise - maybe too big. It almost felt grainy.

Overall a very drinkable beer with many redeeming qualities, but I just couldn't help but feel that something was lacking somehow. It felt like SN had made a barleywine that wanted to be a stout and somewhere along the way managed to lose the best characteristics of both. It almost seemed like an "average" of the two styles.

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Photo of WesWes
4.13/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a pitch black color with a beautiful tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has excellent balance; lots of bitter hops, roasted and black malts. It has a wonderful burnt toffee feel with a rich caramel aroma. The taste is good. It has a smooth roasted malt character with plenty of hops and a rich caramel finish. It's quite a hoppy brew, which is AOK by me. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a delicious beer. It's as easy a drinking barleywine as I've ever had.

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

Served from a cellar temperature bottle into a tulip glass. The beer pours dark and opaque. It's colored ruby brown. As I pour, a large tan head forms; it is easily 2 inches tall. After a bit of time, the foam is forming into a series of bubbles or various sizes. Looking into the head gives the appearance of Swiss cheese. Very good lacing is left behind as I swirl my glass.

This barleywine has a nice toasted malt aroma. There is a little sweetness, perhaps toffee or caramel. I can detect plenty of plum aromas. There are some nice hops that give off the essence of pine. A bit of alcohol rounds things out and lets you know you are about to sip a strong beer.

The flavor is robust. Roasted malts are present that posses flavors of plum, raisin and a touch of black licorice. Some brown sugar sweetness comes to the front as I swallow. Alcohol flavors the after taste, along with a touch of roasted malts. It is not quite charcoal, but it certainly tastes charred to me.

The mouthfeel is very impressive. The beer is thick and creamy, but not sticky or viscous. The carbonation is crisp. A little bit of sweetness coats my mouth after I swallow, but it doesn't feel like a large coating. There isn't any warmth from the alcohol, which is surprising to me, as it id readily apparent in the nose and taste.

I enjoy this ale. It is certainly a sipper. I'm also not upset that I'm splitting this bottle; I could drink it all, but it would take a while. I will savor this bottle, and I have a second aging in my cellar, but I don't think I will get any additional bottles. Bigfoot, although not for sale right now, will be my SN barleywine of choice.

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Photo of BMoney575
4.21/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled on 10-23-10

Pours a very cloudy and thick looking deep red/brown, with a great tan head that hangs around forever. Lacing is very thick, and slowly slides down as you go.

Smell is sweet and fruity, lots of hops, with a great earthy malt to keep things sharp. Aromas of caramel and a little alcohol are there, but very well balanced.

Taste is very good, lots of hop flavor and bitterness, but with a great malty backbone. Not overly complex, but very well made, and just the right balance. The booze is well masked, showing itself a little in the finish.

Mouthfeel is good, very thick and sticky, accenting the hop flavors nicely.

Drinkability is very good, very tasty and easy to drink. The abv could catch up with you in a hurry.

Overall, an outstanding beer that they should add to their lineup.

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Photo of afksports
4.05/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Absolute creamy goodness on a barleywine. Felt like a stout. I had it on tap at Amity Hall in the village, and it was the start of a night where I bought a 101 beer passport and a dream to have a plaque on the wall. So that either means it's excellent or blameworthy.

From notes on the fateful evening of 8/24. It's so smooth. A fruity sweetness to it. Like chocolate and figs. It's near black, but almost has a purple hue. A full finger tan head grabs the glass on the pour and retains well. It sits in the mouth fully and finishes clean. It's like a charred malt on top of a fruity barleywine.

I'm a fan. Props to Sierra Nevada for still making something that I want to drink after all these years of craft brewing (and my short time of craft drinking).

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

750ml bottle into Duvel tulip.

Appearance: Moderately careful pour yields a giant three inch frothy light tan head that dissipates very slowly. Pours solid black and leaves sparse splotches of lacing.

Smell: The Sierra Nevada 30th anniversary site mentions that they used 100% Cascade hops to make this beer, and you can definitely smell it. I recently bought 2 oz of Cascade pellets, which were very strong and pungent smelling to say the least, and I'm smelling all the same things in this beer. Citrus, grassiness, tropical fruit, along with some sugary caramel from the malt. Some booziness comes out with warmth, and the strong hops and caramely, cakelike malt aromas marry with it beautifully, creating an aroma worth lingering on between sips.

Taste: First sip: Smooth and bitter, creamy at first, then a little fruity, then a strong roasted malt finish. Less hops and way more malt than the smell would have you believe. There's some toffee and caramel up front, then some mild tropical fruit notes, then a roasted malt and dark chocolate finish. Aftertaste is all alcohol burn and dark chocolate. The bitterness from both hops and malt definitely adds up, but isn't too much.

As I get deeper into the bottle, I can taste the flavor of the hops a lot more throughout the beer, kind of coloring the more dominant flavor of caramel, roasted malt, and dark chocolate. The fruitiness sort of rises and falls, but is never as strong as the roasted flavors.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a fair amount of carbonation. There isn't much to say... it approaches creamy but doesn't get there (except for the first sip), approaches juicy, is a little dry but not very. The mouthfeel isn't the standout aspect of this beer. Personally, I think it would be better if it were a lot silkier.

Drinkability: This beer is basically a cross between a good barleywine and a good American stout. An enjoyable sipper that brings a lot of goodness from both styles and stays interesting throughout.

This bottle is the first I've really taken my time with (I've had it on tap and loved it, and at a rather drunken party), and the beer rewards the attention. It's not world class, but I strongly suspect that it will be in 2 years or so. It will be a shame to lose some of those beautiful hop notes, but this beer should be amazing with age.

edit: cellaring note: had a couple bottles of this in 2013, and they were truly amazing. If you like a good barleywine and you see this in some obscure bottleshop somewhere, don't sleep on it; might be best score you ever come across.

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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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30th Anniversary - Jack & Ken's Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.12 out of 5 based on 814 ratings.
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