Our Finest Regards | Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project

203 Reviews
Our Finest RegardsOur Finest Regards

Brewed by:
Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project
Massachusetts, United States

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
From Pretty Things to you this winter season: “Our Finest Regards”. Four years into our project and we’re grateful and amazed that so many people love and support great beer these days. The fact that we’re still here is a credit to you all.

But for the question of primary importance: What is the beer? Well, it’s our Pretty Things barleywine. Inspired by malted barley, a tribute to the barleycorn. Yes, it’s simple, but that’s what barleywines are all about. Ever since brewing in England, Dann has dreamed of making a barley-focused beer using the malts of Yorkshire (and never hesitates to plug his favorite: Thomas Fawcett & Sons). The American version of a barleywine is normally a sad beer indeed, lots of hops and alcohol but the star of the show is left scratching his chin in the eaves of the theatre. This is not one of those beers. The English invented this style and they’re the only ones who know how to make one, save the rare American brewer.

Give barley a chance and this mysterious little grain can do grand things!
To get the density of sugars needed for this sort of beer, we employed “double mashing”. The brewhouse that we work on can only get to maybe 18 plato for a single running of wort: but we wanted 27 plato! So we combined two brews by running wort into the kettle and then using it to mash in the second batch. We don’t take credit for this idea. We’re certain it has been done many, many times before. But it wasn’t until Will Meyers (the great Cantabridgian Cervecero) brought this method to our attention that we realized we could brew a barleywine of proper gravity… (he never told us that he hadn’t actually performed this sort of brewing before!). Anyway, it works!!
Expect an aroma of juicy sultanas, wet wood, green apple, malted milk balls, marzipan and alcohol deliciousness. It’s got a medium body and is a little more spritsy than we’re sure the Brits would like. Serve over 50 degrees fahrenheit in a stemmed glass.

Very suitable to drink this year or next, or even the winter after that!

Added by jamie2dope on 12-03-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 203 | Ratings: 555
Photo of nas5755
1.99/5  rDev -50.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

A- a dark sugar color with deep amber hues. A nice head with decent retention for such a large beer.

S- very bland with a little malt notes

T- Very bland dark fruits and raisins

M- Carbonation levels are good for the style, on the low to medium end. Not as thick and syrupy as I was expecting. A little heat on the finish(props to dan and martha for keeping the heat at bay. The feel of this beer is very pleasant and should be applauded.

D- I dont know what will happen to this with age but this english barelywine was just lacking complexity. There was nothing to savor in this bland beer and I was shocked it came from Pretty Things. Debating a drain pour and hoping age will do this wonders.

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Photo of stakem
2.84/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bomber of the winter '10/11 release into a snifter. The brew appears a hazed light brown to mahogany with lighter yellow around the edges and ruby through the body when held to the light. A creamy yellowish stained finger rests atop and slowly fades leaving a web of lace sticking.

The aroma is quite candy-like and sweet smelling like belgian candy sugar. A bit of accenting fruity alcohol aspect is also present with a faint citrus to herbal hop element. As it warms up, there is a very soft stale grain aspect that mingles with hints of cardboard-like oxidation.

The flavor is sweet like belgian candy sugar coupled with a strong solvent alcohol kick. The residual grain flavor is a bit dusty or stale tasting bringing out flavors of oxidation and herbal hops. Trying to dig deeper in character just reveals more booze.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. It is sticky sweet and very boozy. For a fairly big brew, it is sadly lacking in complexity and still very alcohol forward for being cellared for 2+ years. I would probably avoid purchasing this again.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
2.99/5  rDev -26%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter. Bottled November 2011.

Appearance - Deep brown body. A little reddish. Sizable khaki head. Retains a few swirls of lace and a thin collar.

Smell - Sweet caramel malt. Slightly phenolic. Fruity esters. Has a Belgian sweetness to it.

Taste - Very sweet. Bananas. Dark fruits. A little bit medicinal in the back. Slightly bitter, but not enough to overcome any sugars.

Mouthfeel - Heavy and sweet. Well carbonated.

Overall - This is too sweet for anything besides a small serving size. Even then, I'm not sure about it. The medicinal flavor doesn't really overwhelm, but it isn't pleasant.

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Photo of ms11781
3.1/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Winter 2010-11 label on cap. 22oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

Pours a ruby reddish color, maybe even close to brown. Minimal head with the pour and what is there doesn't stick around very long.

Nose has a huge malt presence and a decent amount of hops as well. Some caramel malt and some sweetness. Has an earthiness to it that I'm assuming is from some hops.

The taste is sweet malt with some brown sugar and toffee. There is a definite earthiness to it but I'm not really getting much in the way of hop flavor. Maybe some honey(?) or something. There is a sweetness I can't quite put my finger on. Some alcohol at the finish but not as much as one would expect in a 13.5% ABV brew.

Medium to full bodied with carbonation to match. It's possibly that the carbonation is just in the middle but just a tad higher for the style so it seems to be more than it is. However, the ample carbonation keeps it from being syrupy.

As much as this brew seemed to have going for it I must say that the drinkability was a bit below average. Decent enough flavors but I feel this one could use a bit of age to see how the flavors mellow and meld together.

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Photo of Sean9689
3.11/5  rDev -23%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks, Jason. Poured into wine glass.

A - Pours a copper color with a reddish hue, cream-colored head, thin ring, wisps.

S - Caramel, burnt sugars, malty sweetness, pretty big booze. The booze is pretty monstrous with this beer, and really takes away from the other stuff that's going on here. The sweetness is nice, but I think this needs some more time in the bottle.

T - Similar to the nose, big booze and some sweetness in there. All of the 13.5% is evident in this beer, and it shows no mercy on the palate. Carmel, burnt sugars, booze, and sweet malts. Finish is boozy sweetness with a big alcohol bite.

M - Medium body, good carbonation, creamy finish.

O - I can see this one smoothing out and becoming more enjoyable over time, but I think that's about 6-12 months away. Right now, there's too much booze and not enough complexity to enjoy it. I would love to have a bottle with some age, but fresh, I'd have to pass.

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Photo of trappistlover
3.3/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

(sampled at Dak’s memorial day tasting. Courtesy of beerbastard!!). Pours a hazy mahogany with a khaki head. Aroma has some caramel and grains. Taste is sweet with some bitterness. Medium bodied with a slick texture. Finish is slightly bitter. Pretty nice beer but not a tradition barleywine. Glad to have tried this one.

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Photo of jamie2dope
3.34/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I haven't had a single sip of beer this week (unusual for me) so I decided to reward myself tonight with something that packs a punch. Our Finest Regards pours out a beautiful rose color, with a creamy two inches of white heading. A big perfume of alcohol hits immediately as it warms, followed by some stone fruits. Similar taste as there is with the nose, but there is an undercurrent of brown sugar and molasses to be had that reminds me of some of my favorites from this style. Body is not as big as the ABV suggests, but with that being said, it is one to share with others. Although I like the fact that this is a Barleywine with lots of unsympathetic alcohol content and flavor, I would imagine this is going to be even better with two to three years of age on it. A true Winter Warmer we have here from Pretty Things. Cheers

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Photo of garbercury
3.36/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Huge thanks to GoOSU for his continued generosity...Thanks Steve!

A--Nice copper red hue, not too much head or carbonation, but good looking beer.

S--Faint and medicinal, some fruity notes by mainly a medicinal aroma that just seems a bit strong.

T--Mild hops with more of that medicinal flavor on the palate. Not getting a lot of the classic EB notes I would expect.

M--A bit thin, so-so.

D--This beer fell a little flat for me. Just seems to be missing something, a theme with what I have had from Pretty Things. Not a beer I would go out of my way to try. Bummer, this is a favorite style of mine and was super pumped for this offering.

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Photo of JAXSON
3.43/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear garnet with a pretty large creamy head. Nose is thick, sticky malt, honey, some leafy bitterness. Mouth is malt forward, sticky, a definitely leafy finish that could either mean this is a touch oxidized or it's something about this particular beer. Sweet, honey upfront. As it opened the leafy finish kind of calms down, but there's still something there I don't really dig. Feel is super creamy, thick and velvet. Overall pretty nice, but not one of the better English barley wines or old ales out there.

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Photo of kiddynamite920
3.45/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark brown, ruby in color with some minimal off-white head. A bit darker than expected.

S: Caramel, bready malts followed by some strong and sweet booze. Some brown sugar and slight fig aroma. Just a bit overwhelming fresh I suppose. Minimal bitterness as expected.

T: Seems to have more flavor resonating after swallowing the beer. Begins a bit hot and with some sweetness. The caramel comes through late, strange. Alcohol is surprisingly less noticeable on the palate as on the nose. Follows the guidelines of an English barleywine on the low hop character, just seems to lack body.

M: 13.5 abv English BW, you would expect a malty, syrupy treat. Seems to be a bit thin somehow. Carbonation is a bit prickly on the tip of the tongue as well.

O: Seems good English Barleywines are hard to come by with American brewers. Might have to stick with good old J.W Lees when I need my sweet barleywine fix.

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Photo of seeswo
3.48/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a caramel brown with a tan head. Those nose is light caramel, toffee, brown sugar malts. No alcohol to be detected. For such a big beer, the nose is a bit too reserved, foreshadowing a bit. The taste is really mild, smooth and maybe a touch lacking. Just like the nose, caramel, toffee, brown sugar malts. All pretty low-key. The mouthfeel is medium-thin. Not really to style. Medium carbonation. Overall, the accomplishment of this beer is how they turned 13.5% into a smooth, mild, booze-free barleywine. That said, it totally lacked the punch that I want with a beer like this. A bit bland, unfortunately.

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Photo of Treebs
3.48/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bottle split with my dad. Winter 2010/2011 label on the cap. Served in a Deschutes snifter. Thanks to Gushue3 for hitting this want of mine.

A: Pours a dark ruby with purple hues intertwined and light red edges. there a half inch off white head that forms on the pour and it recedes to a nice thick collar that leaves some stick lace.

S: Very light hops actually pop here right at the beginning, but it gives way to quickly to caramel malts, some burnt sugar and some plums and raisins.

T: There is almost a very faint oxidized flavor going on that leans to a sherry like flavor. Interesting to say the least. The toffee and caramel malts from the nose show up here as well the some booze soaked dark fruits and some candied figs.

M: Medium bodied, surprisingly a tad thin. I prefer a thick and syrupy mouthfeel and this didn't quite hit that. Lower carbonation as well.

O: The mouthfeel was a tad of a conundrum for me as I don't know how something this high ABV with all the right barleywine characteristics can be as thin as is it was. Still a nice tasting brew though.

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Photo of tigg924
3.5/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: minimal head, hazy, brown in color

Smell: toasted malt and cinnamon

Taste: toasted malt, cinnamon,fig, bread, and caramel

Mouthfeel: medium bodied, medium carbonation, very sweet and spicy

Drinkability: A tasty barleywine that really hides the abv. I do want this sipper again. The spices are present but not overly done.

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Photo of doughanson78
3.53/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle poured into a snifter. Thanks to wedge421 for this.

A: Dark amber/copper color. Fairly clear. Three quarters of a finger off white head with decent retention and good lacing.

S: Alcohol is very in your face. Toasted caramel and toffee. A earthy hoppiness comes through. Overall on the sweeter side.

T: Toasted caramel and toffee upfront. Earthy hop flavors and a light bitterness in the middle. Sweet caramel and toffee come back in the finish along with a medium alcohol bite.

M: Medium light body. Higher carbonation. A light alcohol burn.

O: A decent Barleywine. Alcohol comes through way to much. I'd like a better hop profile.

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Photo of IdrinkGas
3.55/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled Nov 2011
Pours brownish amber in color with a finger of head. Some spotty lacing. Slightly hazy.
Fig, plum and strong caramel malt.
Cherry, huge molasses, dark fruits, tobacco and some bitterness.
Surprisingly there is no alcohol taste.
Thick body with medium carbonation.

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Photo of AndrewLightning
3.56/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.75

Big fan of Pretty Things... and I really like barleywine style ales... however this particular selection is just too uniform to deliver any unique flavors. It pairs well with butter crackers and brie, as it should, and delivers quite the blow in terms of ABV. Malts, and possibly cherry and cocoa, feel as though they struggle. It's too earthy and drinks like a brandy. Perhaps this one should be saved for 2014 so the alcohol can mellow and allow for the hops and oak to mature. I'll be keeping a few bottles in my basement for then.

With that said: this is a well crafted and delicate offering of higher ABV as expected and a compact palate that excites and delivers.

Don't pass it up and let it breathe for 20mins (I did not and sadly it cost an excellent review)

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Photo of WhyBeNormal
3.57/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

An extra from GoOSU. Thanks so much for this!

Much closer to an English-style Barleywine than the hoppier American versions. Our Finest Regards is dominated by sweet malt, though manages to be far short of cloying. Strong vinous character, lots of dried dark fruit, and balanced by a toasted nutty/caramely flavor. Very good.

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Photo of Rutager
3.59/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

November 2011 bottle, thanks mrbubbler!

Appearance. Pours a rich and hazy rusty-brown with almost two fingers of thick off-white head that leaves some thick lacing.

Smell. Loads of dark fruits; plums, raisins, and dark cherries with some caramel, sherry, and just a bit of orange citrus.

Taste. Lots of dark fruits again and a little sherry, nearly-burnt caramel and brown sugar, booze (maybe rum?), some bitter earthy and floral hops, and a little smokey wood.

Mouthfeel. Full body and a bit warming, smooth medium carbonation.

Overall. A complex barleywine with lots of fruit flavours that I personally didn't dig in a big way. Pretty boozy still too. Maybe not bad, just not my thing.

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Photo of BarryMFBurton
3.61/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A beer to put me to sleep, and it’s about time – this big barleywine has been sitting in my fridge for months. Cheers, and goodnight.

A: Gorgeous magenta body, shining with ruby light as I hold it up to my desk lamp. The head is a thick, creamy inch of beige that adorns the top of the body as pillars of bubbles rise around the glass’s circumference, supporting it quite some time. Thin, intermittent strings of lacing.

S: Smells like an English pub. Darkly sweet, toffee-heavy malt aromas outstretch a plum, date, and candi sugar character, with a healthy dose of bubblegum in the foreground. Flint and kiln-fired grain come up, as well, but there’s not a single hop note to be found.

T: The flavors of dark fruit flare as each drink moves over the palate, conjuring a taste consisting mainly of date, but with candied apricot, bubblegum, and black licorice notes right there at the front. Surprisingly sweet, but in a Jagermeister kind of way; it’s so dark and refined you hardly realize how sweet your drink really is. There’s also a lot more bitters when compared to the nose, but in a spicy taste of cinnamon and pine needles; strange hoppiness for a strange brew. The aftertaste is sweet and boozy like brandy, but blanketed by a medicinal, sticky dryness. Reminds me of cough drops.

M: For some reason, I wasn’t expecting this much sticky thickness as I took my first sip; needless to say, it knocked me back. It’s like cake icing: frothy, but thick enough to know you’re ingesting a ton of sugar. Only very slightly warm on the way down.

O: This is a beer that has a lot of character; trouble is, my tastes don’t agree with any of that character. This tastes more like medicine than beer to me – making it a struggle to get through a glass – and that’s certainly not something I treasure. Overall, its complexities were not lost on me, though I still couldn’t enjoy it; if you really enjoy barleywines (or licorice), this may be right up your alley.

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Photo of MbpBugeye
3.62/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was extra happy to pull this one out of a box from boatshoes. It was kind of a surprise as he is in CO.

Winter 2010/11
A- Perhaps I poured a little on the rough side because I didnt expect a head of this magnitude from a barleywine of 13.5% abv strength. It stood tall for a considerable amount of time, well into the first few sips. It does eventually fade down to a skin, leaving lots of lacing in severance. The liquid below is fairly clear and a glowing shade of dark ruby.

S- I would like to see more oomph behind the aroma of this beer. Its just sort of low volume, but whats there is neatly put in order. There seems to be a great balance between dense hops and a caramel malt base with fruity yeast interjections. There is a little bit of chemically alcohol but nothing that isnt inappropriate for a barleywine that registers so high on the ABV scale.

T- Indeed this beer is very well balanced. The tip of the tongue picks up the sweet fruitiness and smooth caramel base first. Cherries, plums, even some chocolate and a little bit of nuttiness. The nuttiness grows as the beer moves further back in the palate. It shares this space with the floral and citrus hops as well as the numbing effects of alcohol. The finish is warming, and if you arent careful, numbing. Alcohol and bitterness are what linger.

M- Full, almost syrupy. This is perpetuated by a sluggish carbonation.

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Photo of Hojaminbag
3.63/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled November 2011.

Our Finest Regards has a body that is a mix of orange and red hues and is very slightly hazy. The head is about two fingers tall and is light tan in color. The retention is good, and a few splotches of lacing stick to my glass.

The aroma is all malt, with lots of toasted, some toffee, a bit of bread and some dark fruity underneath.

Our Finest Regards is very smooth for a barleywine, and I was absolutely shocked when I realized just how high the ABV is on it. This is a malt bomb. Lots of toasted malt, a good bit of toffee and a lots of bread notes. Perhaps a hint of tobacco also. There is certainly a sweetness to this beer, but it is mostly drier tasting malts; the caramel flavors are paired with a nutty flavor. Up front I do notice a hop presence, however, with fruity English hops and a noticeable bitterness. Dark fruits are also noticeable in the background. The finish is a bit warm, but only a bit. No flavors of alcohol.

Nice body, medium to full for the style with an appropriate amount of carbonation.

Overall, Our Finest Regards packs a ton of alcohol that it hides very well. It's a good English Barleywine. I think with some age on it, this one will improve.

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Photo of brianjay
3.65/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Not much of a looker, as the body is a murky dark brown, topped off by a modest head. It has a thick creamy mouthfeel. The flavor is intense: Notes of caramel and brown sugar. A subtle burnt orange taste finishes.
Let this one sit awhile to warm and open up for a strong but we'll balanced barley wine.

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Photo of NEhophead
3.65/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

22 fl oz brown bottle served in an oversized wine glass.

Deep russet brown, slightly opaque if not for a few auburn highlights. Creamy white head with pools of bubbles and good retention. Spotted lacing with a decent hold.

Creamy vanilla and light notes of toffee that are engulfed by a gaseous, whiskey-tinged alcohol nose. Ripe, dark fruit: red apple, plum, and grape.

Sweet molasses malt with notes of chocolate; not nearly as sweetly interesting as the aroma foreshadows. Strong raisin and prune fruity esters. The alcohol presence is strong throughout the sip and dulls the other natural flavors. The bitterness is moderate yet bland.

Full bodied; smooth and balanced for such a big beer especially given the high alcohol content.

This barleywine's flavors just never shown through past the big alcohol character. It's hard to use the word 'bland' to describe a 13.5% english barleywine, but that's the first thing that jumps to my mind; no creamy malt flavors, no rich, aged fruit, no interesting sharp alcohol flavors, etc. Maybe this one is just too young to appreciate.

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Photo of andrewinski1
3.65/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Bendurgin for sharing! The color is dark copper; a little amber. There is a nice head that is off-white, with some solid lacing.

The aroma is caramel and toffee. I really enjoy the English malty aroma here.

The taste is full of sweet malt, with just enough bitterness in the finish to balance out the taste.

The body is medium to medium/heavy. The carbonation is lively.

This is a nice sipper that emphasizes the quality malts used. I nice take on the style for certain.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.66/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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

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

S: The aroma is faint but contains brown sugar, caramelized malts, dark fruit and some hops.

T: The taste starts out very sweet with flavors of caramel, brown sugar and dark fruit. Then a very hearty malt comes in and for the most part covers up a big alcohol sting. The hops presence is decent for the style but gets over-powered by the sweetness and alcohol. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and a little crisp, medium-to-heavy body, medium carbonation, finish is sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down ok, slightly filling, very strong kick, good representation of style, if you're ok with the heavy sweetness this is a good high-octane beer to sip on for a long time.

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Our Finest Regards from Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project
4.04 out of 5 based on 555 ratings.
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