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 kylehay2004
4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

single finger rapidly dissipating head on a very nice dark amber body. a little lacing. aroma is very different than most barley wines. this one has more of a chocolate and yeasty aroma with earthy notes. more of the same in the taste without the boozy flavoring that so man y barleywines seem to have. medium body and moderate carbonation. this one is very differnent from other barley wines I have had and one of my favorites.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.97/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to erichxedge for sharing this one at drewone's tasting.

2011 vintage.

Pours a murky orange-brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, caramel, brown sugar, and citrus zest. Taste is much the same with a fruity finish and an alcohol kick on the finish. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that is tasty but pretty strong.

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Photo of metter98
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is clear dark red in color and poured with a thin white head that quickly died down and left lacy patterns of bubbles covering the surface.
S: There are aromas of malty sweetness in the nose along with notes of toffee and hints of alcohol.
T: The overall taste has a slight amount of malty sweetness and has notes of spices and hints of dark fruits and caramel.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied on the palate and is quite smooth and viscous. There are warming sensations from the alcohol in the finish.
D: The beer is surprisingly drinkable for 13.5%; it definitely tastes strong but no way near the level of double digits.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.3/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Don't let the label fool you- this is not a kind beer. It is not a pretty beer. This is not the kind of beer that displays any finesse whatsoever! This is an aggressively charged, rugged, and powerful ale with impeccable balance and acute craftsmanship.

The barleywine opens with a viscous pour of creamy froth and malty visual weight. Deep garnet in color, its red and brown highlights emit through a semi-dense haze. Its thick blanket of eggshell white foam mimics whipped cream and laces with broken rings and spotted foam as the beer fades.

A quick swirl of the snifter reveals deep aromatics of lightly burnt toffee, maple, vanilla, earthy peat, and citrus hops. Its intense scent is powerfully alcoholic, yet seductively sweet. It invites the taste with little regret.

Strong sweetness greets the tongue with dense caramel, toffee, sorghum, maple, and brown sugar maltiness. Both hearty and sweetly satisfying, the nutty sweetness reminds the taste buds of "Cracker Jacks" candies and peanut brittle. Then come a middle palate of hoppy goodness in forms of pine resins, grapefruit, orange zest, and freshly cut grass. Its smooth bitterness balances the malts and gives a plateau of complexity that delivers new and exciting impressions of taste with each sip. The mild smokiness of peat, damp sod, roasted pecans, oak and toast are just a few varieties of taste that waft the after palate and keep the complexity coming.

Unquestionably full bodied, a swirl of the beer in the mouth delivers a fully engulfed texture, seeming of marshmallow cream. But as soon as the sweet creaminess rises, it begins a slow but consistent decline to a malty-dry closure with tannin-like spice, assertive alcohol warmth, and a long linger of malt textures and hoppy resinous dryness.

"Our Finest Regards" does all that American barleywines are asked to do. Its enormous taste is balanced, complex, and robust. It does all this without a hint of roughness, bite, or harsh textures. Even though the label portrays a kind beer built for drinking; remember- this is a sipper for sure!

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Photo of brentk56
4.15/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottled Nov 2011

Appearance: Pours a clear copper color capped by a rocky, three-fingered head; nice retention that leaves some strands and dots of lacing behind

Smell: Caramelized peanuts, plums, Oloroso Sherry and earthy, English hops

Taste: Burnt brown sugar, plums and caramelized peanuts, up front, with a developing cherry, fig and English hop character, in the middle; tobacco and Oloroso Sherry elements bring up the rear, with earthy hops lingering in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with low to moderate carbonation

Overall: I like to put a little age on my barleywines, so cellaring this one for 1 1/2 years certainly softened the rough edges and allowed the complexity to develop; another fine beer from the Paquettes

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Photo of largadeer
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks, Barry.

Pours a dark, very clear caramel hue. The head is reduced to a collar after a short while. Smells of brown sugar, dried earthy fruit, toffee. Some alcohol too, but it's surprisingly reserved given the high ABV. The palate closely resembles the nose, highlighting flavors of dried fruit, apricot, berry preserves and toffee. Nice fruitiness from the yeast, though it's a clean and malt-forward beer overall. Medium in body, could use a touch more viscosity. I enjoyed this quite a bit, though I think some gentle oxidation would give the beer more depth. Wish I had another bottle to age for a couple years.

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Photo of nickfl
4.22/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured with one finger of off-white foam on top of a hazy, amber-brown body. The head settles slowly and leaves nice lace on the glass.

S - A malty aroma of brown sugar, dark bread, plums, red apple, licorice, cinnamon, and clove.

T - Dark caramel, red apple yeast, and spicy notes of cinnamon and clove up front. Some more phenolic yeast character comes out in the middle with plum and licorice. Finishes with more dark fruit, clove, and a warm, almost brandy like character.

M - A thick, syrupy body, moderately high carbonation, and a sweet finish.

D - Very complex and actually quite drinkable considering how strong it is. The alcohol is noticeable, but it doesn't seem as harsh as one might fear from a beer of this strength. Nicely done, and I'm sure this would age well if given the chance.

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Photo of jlindros
4.18/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've been waiting for this for a couple months, and I'm so excited it's finally here!

Creamy 1 finger head leaves a light lacing as it fades slowly. Lots of bubbles floating up through mostly clear copper orange red rosy.

Nose brings lots of malts, sweet barley malts, light caramel and molasses, chewy malt aromas, and some reddish malts. WIth that is a bit of earthy herbal hops, some grassy bittering hops. Some light butterscotch and toffee aromas as well.

Taste is fairly sweet but overly. Somewhat rich and some warming and light tingly booze. The sweetness balances the booze well. The booze does play a bit more of a role as it warms, but never overpowering. PLenty malts as well, dark caramel, molasses, toffee, some red malts, creamy malts, very light butterscotch and creamy caramel. Some dark fruits poke their head out, but don't make a big bid. Some bitterness, added by some light herbal earthy hops. A bit of a candy like hop flavor too. A slight hint of minerality as well. The finish comes a little bit drier but still a bit sweet. A very slight sticky mouth coating finish as well, and a slight boozy feel on the finish. Long creamy malted barley lingers for a while on the finish with more of the caramel and a bit of molasses.

Mouth is heavier bodied but not too much, with good carbonation, and a bit of warming and tingly booze.

Drinkability is pretty good, doesn't drink anywhere near 13.5%, more like 8-9%. It also has a bit of a drier finish but fairly sweet. It's also creamy and smooth and just plain drinkable. The sweetness, malts, and creamy taste balance the alcohol well, and the hops add a nice touch but don't overdo it.

Well done Dan! A very tasty beer, and very dangerously drinkable for those cold winter nights. It will do well in my cellar as well, which looks like the rabbit hole on the label.

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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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Photo of mactrail
3.71/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Quite delicious big ale. Red, almost cherry amber color in the Affligem chalice. You might wish for more foam. However, there is ample carbonation on the tongue. Sweet and honeyed. Like agave syrup or some kind of unusual tropical tree sap. Enough hops to remind you that it's beer and not a rum liqueur. A hint of peat in the nose, along with cake batter. Full of fruit, dried pineapple and cherries, a touch of canned peaches. Well, it just tastes like dessert, so enjoy it as a great after-dinner sweet.

Turned out to be a good choice for 1,000th review. These guys are what I like in craft beer-- peculiar and idiosyncratic, but competent.

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Photo of Rifugium
4.02/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First had: bottle from Pinocchio's, Media, PA

Served properly into a PT OFR stem glass, a deep garnet brown color, not quite opaque, very effervescent, and topped with a small, creamy tan head that stayed small, but retained forever and left streaks of lacing on the glass. The nose was malty, nutty, caramel, and slightly woody. Taste was similar, bready, nutty, toasted grains, caramel malts, hints of old raisins, brown sugar, herbal hops, and a stiff, woody finish. Booze was felt, but pretty well-hidden, taste-wise. Body was medium, smooth mouthfeel, even if slightly higher in carbonation that I'd have expected. Careful pouring: it's very yeasty towards the bottom, and I could swear the yeast was actually still active. Nice beer overall.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.23/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

dark brown in color with a huge head of tan that just towered over the top of the glass. Settling down smoothly and evenly it produced a thick coating of lace all along the sides of the glass. Rich vanilla and woody aromas are being picked up almost immediately. Huge notes of oak and subtle caramel and toffee and truly dominating here for sure. Warming only brings this out further, rich and decadent, sweet aromas just building off each other here. The first sip is divine, subtle, and rich and perfectly carbonated it simply rolls across the tongue with a gentleness that is unheard of. Vanilla and caramel merging with oak like notes and touches of earthy hops all working together seamlessly.

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Photo of russpowell
4.24/5  rDev +5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this from indiapaleale, cheers russ!

Winter 10/11 bottle pours an effervescent brown/chestnut with 34+ fingers of tan head. nice oily sheen to this; some head retention & above average lacing

S: Plums & other dark fruit, a bit of leafy hops

T: Boozey plums, dark cherry, woody hops, dryness & a bit of cakeyness up front. Plums & dark cherries, plus a touch of Madeira as this warms. Finishes plummy, dry, woody with a kiss of booze soaked cherries & a little bit of brown sugar & leafy hops

MF: Chewy, fairly assertive carbonation, nice balance

Drinks very easy, the ABV is well hidden. This spot on in style & is going down easy as cold weather has returned. I'm gonna finish this bottle with some hard salami & Blue Stilton, I am confident this will pair well

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Photo of Slatetank
4.35/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Eric for sharing this -cheers!
enjoyed from a snifter chilled.

A medium brown shade with caramel hue and thick cream cap that retains well with fine bead. the lace sticks in a wavy pattern. The smell is very nice with lots of malt and vinous/floral ester. There is a graham cracker-like odor with nuttty and sweet malt with light alcohol. The smell has a hint of plum and mild spice with a nuttty almond tinge which gives a fruit and cookie combo in the nose. The feel is thick bodied which is buoyed by a moderate carbonation level. The creamy feel with sweet and dark fruit tanginesshas a nice light bitterness backing with semi-dry warming finish.

The taste has some fruit from the yeast with nutty and spiced elements. A nice plum like tinge with stone fruit tanginess and light caramel notes with light ripe banana accents. The tast has a slight dark sugar like muscovado with gentle fig and hint of melon with mild citrus andd mild alcohol w/ nutty semi-dry hazelnut like toasted accent. The flavor has a sweet honey tip which augments the grain flavor. Overall a very good barleywine with a lot of complexity with fruit flavors that rival some cognacs. The Barleywine is one I could enjoy frequently if not for the relatively high abv Cheers Pretty Things!, thanks cuz!

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Photo of smcolw
3.85/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nearly clear; light brown color. Huge off-white/beige head that settles slowly, leaving chunky lace on the side of the glass.

Brown sugar smell with a strong alcohol overtone. Warm caramel aroma.

Far more earthy than the smell would lead one to believe. Relatively dry as a barley wine. Good hop presence to provide some balance. Lots of alcohol in the swallow. Low carbonation with an almost oily body; in a word, thick.

Are any barley wines easy to drink? This one is interesting but you'll want to share the body with at least one other person.

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Photo of Jason
3.97/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz brown bomber, vintage date on the next label.

LOOK: Hazed tawny amber.

SMELL: Taffy, caramel, toasted pecans, ripe pear, golden raisins, leafy, herbal tea, yeast, candied orange, alcohol.

TASTE: Toasted malt, big warming alcohol, nougat, ripe exotic fruit, figgy, yeast, nutty.

Super tasty, well balanced and a sipper clearly from its size. A massive beer that opens up a little bit more with every sip.

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

Thanks again for bringing me a bottle of this, Barry. Much appreciated.

A: The pour is amber in color with a finger or so of off-white head.

S: Lots of different things going on here. Sweet toffee and caramel on the nose to begin with. There's a lot of fruit notes like plums and raisins, which give the beer a sort of Quad-like aroma. A decent amount of bread and some mild alcohol.

T: Again, toffee and caramel along with quite a bit of bread. The fruit notes are very prominent once again and there's sort of a Belgian character to the beer, all told. Decently sweet, but still somewhat dry.

M: The body is medium with a moderate to high level of carbonation.

D: Really different, especially for an English Barleywine, but quite solid and enjoyable.

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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 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 johnnnniee
3.85/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled Nov 2011
Pours a slightly cloudy deep copper/brown color with a decent sized beige head that shows moderate retention and lace. Smells of toffee and caramel with hints of chocolate and brown sugar. Bready chocolate aroma with a hint of peanut butter? I swear it smells like a peanut butter ball a little. Taste is malty sweet with lots of caramel and brown sugar up front. Dark fruits like dried cherries, plums, and prunes. A hint of warming alcohol comes in but is never harsh. Thick body with a sweet sticky mouthfeel and a low to moderate level of carbonation. This is a big beer that demands respect, but proves to be quite easy to consume. I enjoyed this, but I did find it a touch boring, on the other hand, I'd love to see how this ages.

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

This is a very nice barleywine. Unfortunately, as it was bottled only a few months ago, it is much too young to really be getting the grandeur that I assume it will one day show. And that is what I will leave it at: this is a very good barleywine, though I think it has the potential to be stellar with some age on it.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.46/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a large snifter glass.

A nice ruby grapefruit red body, chestnut brown coming out of the glass. Opaque and super creamy half tan finger head which settles to a good thick even collar. Nice looking barleywine.

Wonderful bouquet on this nose. Turbinado and molasses like sugars, slight nut and hints of milk chocolate. Some crisp husky senses match strangely and buttery smelling toffee and butterscotch. Real nice.

Juicy palate with a large chocolate milky finish. Sense of interesting grapefruit hop action, and tight carbonation. Great mix of malt chocolate sweetness and juicy grapefruit. Lots of treacle sensing syrup with the butterscotch action hinted on the nose much more toned down. Good silky coating in the palate if a tad sparkling sensing carbonation.

Overall a real solid and impressive barleywine. Great barleywine find indeed!

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Photo of Billolick
4.01/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A treat to enjoy via a growler (32 ouncer) filled at Brouwerij Lane in Brooklyn, NY (what a cool little place BTW)

Pours dark honey amber, near clear, under a truly impressive (especially for a 13.5% beer) medium khaki head. Its tightly knit, stays on and on...and on...and.. leaves gobs of thick sheeting and clouds of lace. Nice look to this one.

Nose is the expected waft of malty goodness, not much else.

Large, smooth, somewhat sweet and mostly tasty brew. Layers and waves of honey sweet malts, some vanilla...Alcohol surely present... notes of lime, mouthwash, candied fruits, candy, peppermint.

Heady stuff, righteous night capper....way to go large Pretty Things....gaining major respect for the stones shown on this undertaking..

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Photo of Gobzilla
3.68/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: poured a solid brown in color with yellow highlights and a very thin head that left barely any lacing sticking to the glass.

S: noticed brown sugar off the bat, a little maple syrup, traces of chocolate, caramel notes, and a hint of booze lingering the background.

T: the caramel flavor was more prominent on the taste alongside brown sugar, chocolate, mild hop character, some dark fruits, a touch of citrus, and boozy accents.

M; the brew was medium to full in body with a moderate amount of carbonation which had a sweet, slight fruity, mild citrusy, boozy, and sticky finish.

O: I tought it was an average barleywine but seems like it could probably settle or drink better with a little time on it.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.3/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks goes out to TheManiacalOne for this brew.

22oz. Bomber
Winter 2010/2011

Poured into a chalice a nice cloudy grape color, nice carbonation, nice little fizzy off-white head, which does leave some sticky lacing behind. The nose is malty, grapy, with some figs, raisins, plums. The taste is sweet, malty, grapy, with a nice touch of dark fruits. Medium Body, no way this is 13.5% ABV, goes down very nicely. A very tasty brew.

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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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