Talon - True Style Barley Wine Ale | Mendocino Brewing Company

215 Reviews
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Talon - True Style Barley Wine AleTalon - True Style Barley Wine Ale

Brewed by:
Mendocino Brewing Company
United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by rkhaze on 03-11-2004

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Reviews: 215 | Ratings: 249
Photo of rodbeermunch
3.67/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

This is one of the brighter barleywines out there, definitely looks American as opposed to English, comes in orange. Thin off white head, 1/3". Aroma had a minor amount of sweetness from caramel like malt note.

Taste is almost like there is rye in here, has that alleged bready spice. Alcohol kept in relative check. Woody at times. The hops pretty much just provide bitterness, not much in the way of flavor going on in here. Normally I would complain about the bomber format, but here, and with a barleywine, it makes sense, its affordable and a legit 10%+ beer, so it actually works.

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Photo of StoneTSR
3.61/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

No date on the bottle, but I believe this is almost exactly three years old. It has been in my cellar for two years, so it’s at least that old.

APPEARANCE: A slightly darker shade of mahogany than most Barleywines, but shining my phone’s light up to the back of it reveals a few floaties. The brownish head was much more impressive than expected, with a full finger lasting for about a minute before a very quick collapse. A few wisps remained on the surface of the beer making it look more like a big, high-ABV, aged Barleywine. Very little lacing.

SMELL: Huge raison, fig and date aromas hit assault the nose right off the bat. An underlying molasses rounds out the sweeter smells with pleasant spicy notes just beneath it.

TASTE: The nose doesn’t lie on this one. All the dark fruit flavors, the fig, raison, date plus maybe even a bit of cherry, are there. Brown sugar, caramel, cinnamon and some other spices all make an appearance as well. What the nose left out though was a bitter hop character that is far more intense than I could have imagined for this aged Barleywine.

MOUTHFEEL: The first sip seemed a little harsh on the boozy side, especially with a very strong hop character (for a beer this old). It mellowed out quickly though, and instead became a sweet, decedent, velvety, dessert-like beer. Although the booze becomes more mellow, it is still there in full force throughout the whole glass.

OVERALL: The booze is intense. I am a Barleywine fan and a Barleywine drinker. I can drink more than one in a single sitting, but I’m not so sure about this one. With my fiancé not here to help me polish this bomber off, I’m not so sure it’s going to happen. However, it is a very enjoyable beer, especially with a little St. Agur Blue Cheese.

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Photo of Boto
3.77/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

22oz bomber: This one pours a dark caramel-brown color. There was almost no head on it. The nose is pretty good. Caramel, dark fruits, perhaps some rum raisin notes. The taste is OK. caramel, raisin, some dark fruits. Minimal sweetness with a small touch of dryness in the finish. It’s good, but just seems to be missing something I can’t quite put my finger on.

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Photo of superspak
3.78/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 ounce bottle into snifter, no bottle dating. Pours hazy/cloudy very dark brown color with a small dense khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin lacing cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a light amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of raisin, plum, fig, cherry, caramel, molasses, brown sugar, toast, brown bread, light chocolate, herbal, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good complexity and solid balance of dark/bready malt, fruitiness, and earthy hop notes; with solid strength. A bit strong on fruitiness, but not bad. Taste of raisin, plum, fig, cherry, caramel, molasses, toast, brown sugar, brown bread, light chocolate, herbal, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Light amount of earthy hop bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of raisin, plum, fig, cherry, caramel, molasses, toast, brown sugar, brown bread, light chocolate, herbal, and yeast/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Very nice complexity and balance of dark/bready malt, fruitiness, and earthy hop flavors; with a good malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Light carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a smooth and moderately creamy/slick mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with only a small warming present after the finish. Overall this is a very good barelywine style. All around good complexity and balance of dark/bready malt, fruitiness, and earthy hop flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the big ABV. A nicely enjoyable offering.

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Photo of Vierenner
3.18/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a beautiful red color with very little head. Kind of tastes like Redhook Eisbock ... just a bit more flavorful.

Taste is quite syrupy ... caramel candy with a hint of molasses. I think I might be growing tired of sweeter beers as this just isn't doing much for me (a year ago would have been a different story!). There is a very faint bitter finish ... but the sweetness hangs around to the bitter end (pun intended).

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Photo of jtierney89
1.65/5  rDev -55.8%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Murky deep amber/brown color. Potent alcoholic nose already. Can't tell how old the bottle is, got it at a chain liquor store though so I'm sure its been sitting around for a little while at least.

Fodder, caramel and rum covered raisins on the nose. Figs and other dark fruit.

Strangely only a medium sized body.Feels thin in the mouth. Sweet Malted grains upfront followed by astringent dark fruit and caramel flavors. Sharp alcohol throughout with a hot alcoholic finish.

This beer lacks stability and complexity but the flavors go together at least somewhat well. Not a good beer, but at 3.99 it competes with even worse malt liquors for a cheap buzz. Okay for the price, but overall bad.

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Photo of Suds
3.94/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I love a barleywine. This one is a murky, dark brown color. It's mostly still, with just a little carbonation and nearly no head at all. The aroma is all malt and alcohol: sweet, grainy, malt-extract-like, toffee and biscuit, caramel and rum-soaked raisins. The beer is warm and has a bite, but also very sweet. Firm bitterness for balance. The sweetness is lingering...it's a sensation that hangs on for several minutes. Firm body. This is a solid, but not particularly outstanding, barleywine.

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Photo of SLeffler27
3.57/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The pint glass fills with a clear ruby, to dark copper beer and surprisingly abundant carbonation. A big, beige, rocky head sticks around for a long while, ultimately leaving patches of lace.

The aroma is rich with toasted dark malts and molasses. Accents of brown sugar, fig, strong alcohol, raisins, nutmeg and cognac.

Alcohol is strong and up-front, but not harsh. Some cherry and molasses notes are complimented by brandy and dark, dried fruits. The finish, while fleeting, is subtle and sweet.

Alcohol is appropriate for the style. The slick texture, medium body and soft carbonation lead to a smooth mouth-feel. Quite dry.

Equally good as a sipper or with a meal. This is a fine beer, however, it falls short for the style.

Aged 3.5 years.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
2.91/5  rDev -22%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a snifter. 2009 vintage.

4.0 A: Pours a ruddy brown color. Two fingers of creamy beige head. Retention is pretty good given the ABV and a small ring of lacing is left.

3.0 S: Toffee and caramel. Light plum fruitiness and brown sugar. Simple, but pleasant, and average.

2.5 T: Moderate toffee and caramel. Perhaps a touch of dark fruits. Even simpler than the nose.

2.5 M: Medium to heavier medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Lacking the creaminess that I want from a beer like this.

3.0 D: This beer is completely unoffensive and unassuming. It's boring without being bad. I didn't really expect it to be any good either given the brewer. I figured I could get a spot back in my cellar by drinking this and in that regard, this is a success.

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Photo of DrDemento456
3.88/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark murky brown almost black except for a slight red hue and a nice layer of head that has a great sticky lace.

S - Wow that's crazy herbal cherry in the smell! I also get some caramel and wood but hope it doesn't taste too much like cough syrup.

T - Ah thankfully the taste is more balanced than the smell. I get cherry, slightly tart and herbal like a cough drop with a nice bit of oak with very little sweetness of caramel but it's there. I like how the cherry, almost medicine like, covers the ABV up nicely with no burn.

M - Heavy and herbal like cherry tea with a solid bit of tart.

Overall I seem to like this more than others have rated maybe because I like cherry. Certainly not the best Barleywine but well worth the 5 dollars. In fact this is the most obscure Barleywine I have had to date.

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Photo of psuKinger
2.75/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

22-ounce bottle, aged (I can't find a printed date, but I know it's been in my fridge for probably almost a year, and I have reason to believe it may have sat on the shelf at 6-and-Save for a while as well based on the discounted price) and poured into a standard pint glass. The fine print up by the nose of the bottle indicates that it may have already been aged before bottling, as well, so who knows how old this brew is.

A: Pours a darker shade than I would have expected. A dark shade of Ruby-Red. It's giving off a little bit of a *fizz* on the pour, so it's not completely flat, but virtually no head forms at all.

S: Big, sweet, earthy, and boozy. Almost like a sweet cordial/bourbon mix.

T: Taste follows the nose. This is a big beer. Lots of sweetness, with maybe a touch of cherry? Big and boozy, with some *woody* flavors to it as well. I don't know/think that this was "barrel aged", but maybe it was? I pick up on some caramel, as well, probably from the malt bill.

There's a lot of cherry here. And I'm a big fan of cherry beer (my rDev's for Kasteel Rouge and Bell's Cherry Stout speak for themselves). But there's something about this particular cherry flavor here that isn't working for me. It's almost medicinal, like cough medicine. It's not HORRIBLE, but for a reason that's difficult to explain, I'm not digging it the way I do so many other beers that have a touch of cherry to them.

There's virtually no hops to be found in this glass. I don't know if that's because none were there to begin with or if they've dissipated over the ? months/years of aging, but it is what it is. I don't think *hops* would work here the way they do for Flying Mouflon, anyway.

M: Mouthfeel is below average here. For such a big beer, with the kind of sweetness that it has, it's rather thin and watery on the tongue, and doesn't finish with as much of a coating on the tongue as I'd like.

D/O: I didn't find this beer to be terribly drinkable. Over time this became like drinking a boozy-cherry-toffee bar. It's not in balance at all, and is just too sweet for me. The cherry flavor also tastes *artificial* to me. With no help from anyone else, I didn't finish this 22 ounce bottle myself. Life's too short, and I eat/drink too many calories as it is.

Overall, just not a very enjoyable experience.

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Photo of smerrell
4/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: resembles root beer in appearance- the head disappears quickly, cloudy and brown

Smell: rasins and dates

Taste: roasted maltiness. Toffee notes and dried fruits- cherries, dates

Mouthfeel: bright attack and a long sweet finish. Even at 10.5%, you can't detect the alcohol

Overall: this is a pleasant barley wine that is not overpowering and would likely be a good introduction to the style. Aging this one might be a very good idea.

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Photo of surprenant1138
3.7/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a deep mahogany with almost no head and decent lacing. Aroma is of cherries, oak, hops, barley, some chocolate, vanilla, and a hint of a tobacco smell. Very boozey smelling. Mouthfeel is slightly heavy, but tolerable. Taste is of pretty much all of the aroma, and a good amount of booze. However, sometimes, it feels slightly watered down. I prefer a few other barleywines, but this one at least passes.

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Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.72/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22oz-er from Consumer Beverages in New York. This was the random brew from my New York beer haul; I mostly bought this for the label and the price - never heard of Mendocino before.

Poured into a goblet. Black cherry juice in colour, leaves a half-inch of thick head, which leaves a thin ring after a few minutes.

Nose is malty, quite rich, good caramel and fruit notes. Fresh bread and just a touch of hops as well. Smells like a sweet barleywine.

Sweet, bready, good malty base, with that boozy brandy character I always feel in barleywines. Finishes dry and with a mild peppery taste.

Thick-bodied, smooth, mild to low carabonation, slightly booziness.

While not the most complex of barleywines, it's a rich and enjoyable sipper. The peppery taste was a nice addition. However, it almost got to the point of cloyingly sweet; my wife and I had trouble finishing the bottle.

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Photo of Cylinsier
3.98/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4


Pours a deep cloudy brown with a cherry glow when held up to light. Yellowish white head dissipates to lacing.

Smells of rich caramel, cloves, cinnamon, apple, molasses and oak.

Tastes rich as well, caramel and molasses followed by cinnamon and apple and the mildest hint of piney hop without any real bitterness.

Feels thick and syrupy with a mild carbonation on the tip of the tongue.

Very delicious but also rich and potentially cloying, not something to drink a lot of or drink quickly. A little boozy as well. A good treat for fans of English Barleywines (which this tastes much more like despite being called an American BW).

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Photo of Thickfreakness
4.47/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Poured with a fervor into my DFH signature glass (for those that don't have one of these... I suggest it highly!!!) A beautiful cherry/mahogany brew sits still as an almost sunburst head floats quickly upon it... and then fades away. Nice traces of sticky lacing drip and drool everywhere.

S- Vanilla, caramel, dark currants, fresh cut figs, licorice, raisin bread, dark chocolate covered cherries, and hints of citrus peel and grapefruit. Sugar coated nuts, burnt wood and maple sap.

T- Caramel-Licorice spicy apple... dried figs and cherries. Vanilla, roasted pecans, toffee and honey. Nice notes of bitter citrus linger. Brown sugar buttered popcorn. Really nice and warming flow of alcohol.

M- Sticky, gooey, and dripping with notes of caramel-citrus goodness. So tongue coating and wonderfully syrupy!!! Vanilla-Orange Blossom honey. Love the citrus pop, caramel sweetness, and sticky honey goodness this brings to the table.

O- This is a fantastic, and way under-rated Barleywine! You can feel it change as it warms up! Gets stickier, citrusier, and deliciousier!!! LOL!!! All kidding aside... for $4.49/22oz., this should be rated WAY higher than it is! It's not hoppy enough to be an American BW, yet not quite sweet and sugary enough to be an English BW... perfect balance, and so friggin' delicious! I know where I'm going tomorrow! Back to my local to buy the rest of what they have!!!

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Photo of mdcrouser
3.63/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Beltstrap brown, with rough edges of exposed orange. A cake batter tan head in two fingers thick.

Boozy on the nose, with dates, carmelized sugar, and a bit of spice.

Boozy continues with big sweetness - exceptionally warming, with unique honey, waxy chocolate, rolled tobacco. and a hint of cinnamon. Greenery hoppy backbone. Pretty sure I could melt my way out of a snowdrift with this one - feels every bit of the ABV.

One of those beers that with my mouth closed, I exhale broadly, pushing remnants of the beer across the roof of my mouth. Incredibly smooth - nicely carbonated, closing dry and sticky.

Too sweet for my tastes, but a good beer nonetheless.

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Photo of garbercury
4.27/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to my buddy Joe from Mendocino Brewing Co. for this 2008 aged version...Shared with him on visit...

A--Reddish orange hue, not a ton of carbonation.

S--Nice toasted oat and barley, malts.

T--Enjoy this especially because the sucker mellowed nicely, leaving a smooth finish without much hoppy bite.

M--A little thin but fine.

D--Creeper for sure, shared but one serving was more than enough...Recommended.

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Photo of bootlegger1929
4.05/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First review! Hopefully get more into doing this to go along with my beer blog..

Bought this bomber from D's in Pittsburgh. Poured into a unibrou trippel glass. Poured a deep red in the glass with a 2 finger off white head.

Smells of sweet fruits and dark malt. Little bit of a sherry smell as well. Alcohol was masked in the nose by the sweetness. Came off as a little too sweet for my liking in the smell.

Tastes like the smell but there's enough bitter flavor to mask the sweet, which I liked. Finished dry enough to want to take another sip.

Mouthfeel was pretty thick and smooth. Again pretty nice.

Drinkability is good so far. But I have a third of the bomber left in the bottle still. I don't anticipate finishing this will be a problem. Decent brew but I still prefer brooklyn's barleywine and English styles in general.

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Photo of wschmit
3.75/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bomber into pint glass.

A: Slightly viscous pour cascades into a large, frothy, rocky tan head that pops itself out quickly into sticky, patchy lacing. An overall impressive head for something so boozy and old.

S: Classic barleywine nose: bourbon, caramel, vanilla, alcohol; raisin dominates up front, with a hint of bitter malt in the end.

T: Not as good as the smell, but not bad. In fact, the sweetness of the nose is muted in the taste, which I find appealing. The malty opening flows into a lingering, enjoyable bitter finish. Good and dry, actually--refreshing for the style. This does have some age on it, however--a good thing. Could use some more complexity, though.

M: Not too thick, and not too much alcoholic burn, plus decent carbonation make for a pretty nice feel.

D: Pretty high, for 10.5 abv. Not as good as, say, Owd Engwish or Olde School, but certainly quaffable.

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Photo of dudemuskie
4.01/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a small snifter.

Appearance- slightly hazy, deep amber with reddish/orange highlights. Very little for foam and/or head retention. Appears to have very low CO2. Thin off white ring for foam lingers.

Aroma- Rich juicy malty notes, nuttiness, burnt sugar, floral. Deep caramel and slightly grainy notes pop as it warms along with a soft floral/earthy hop character and a sticky toffee aroma.

Flavor- Big malt flavors similar to aroma. Rich mouthfeel, nearly chewy. Big rounded malty body with little CO2 to interfere. Clean bitterness quickly enters palate to help balance with earthy/herbal bitterness. Some warming alcoholic notes that intensify as beer warms. Long lingering finish with big warming sensation.

Mouthfeel- Loads of residual sugar in this brew leave the lips a bit sticky, but the healthy dose of herbal hops give a great balance. Quite hoppy/bitter, but not like American versions (very little citrus) as this falls more in line with English barleywines with herbal/earthy/floral hop flavors/aromas. Low-moderate CO2, warming alcohol, nice balance.

Overall- A great English style barleywine with rediculously rich malt flavor and excellent balance from English hops. Alcoholic strength is definitely evident and slightly limits drinkability, but not overwhelming. Would like to lay a bottle of this down for a year or two just to see how it does, but its drinking nice the year it was bottled!

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Photo of drpimento
4.4/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Quite nice. A more subltle barley wine. Poured a medium sized, light tan, foamy, frothy head that settle out after a bit and some lace. Color is a very nice, clear garnet with red highlights. Aroma is dry and bitter malt with hop. Flavor is similar to nose but has some sweetness behind the up front bitterness. Body is full yet soft. Carbonation seems to work well. Finish is pretty long and like flavor plus a strong alcohol factor. This could sneak up on you.

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Photo of LordAdmNelson
3.35/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Nice look to it, ruby amber brown with an inch of off-white head that leaves a little lacing. Smell is largely caramel and syrupy notes, a bit of toasted malts and some spices (cinnamon?). Taste is boozy and malty, raisin, caramel, syrup, toast. Light mouthfeel, near flat--it could use a little more carbonation. An OK drink, this one follows the English Barleywine style better than the American Barleywine. Booziness definitely cuts the drinkability on this one.

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Photo of Amalak
4.4/5  rDev +18%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My friend, who aged this for a couple years, brought over a bottle.
A--It's almost gelatinous. Brownish red in color with a good head and lacing.
S--It has a nice sweet scent, caramelish. One of the better scented beers I've had in a while.
T-- This is a malty brew that has been aged to perfection. It has a nice tart aftertaste. Very smooth, sugary mixed with alcohol.

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Photo of TCHopCraver
3.97/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Shared on 5/3/10 with TCGoalie. Thanks for bringing the bottle, pal.

A: A light mahogany to red is the color of this big barleywine. There is no head but the white ring around the edge of my oversized wine glass. The small dotty lacing is thin and does not stick.

S: I smell brown sugar, caramel, and musty cellar. This is an interesting must smell that reminds me of something I don't feel comfortable naming on BeerAdvocate (wink, wink, nudge, nudge).

T: This has a buttery, creamy sweetness that really appeals to me right now. Flavors I pick out are brown sugar and cream soda, with just a hint of a hop presence. To me, this is the Platonic ideal of a barleywine. It's not the best I've had, for sure, but it articulates the idea of the style.

M: Talon has a medium to full mouthfeel with a decent hop bitterness that dries the palate at the end of the sip.

D: Good. I would certainly have another if I was craving a solid, characteristic barleywine.

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Talon - True Style Barley Wine Ale from Mendocino Brewing Company
3.73 out of 5 based on 249 ratings.
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