Talon - True Style Barley Wine Ale | Mendocino Brewing Company

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Talon - True Style Barley Wine AleTalon - True Style Barley Wine Ale
252 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 252 |  Reviews: 216
Photo of MattBrooks
4.75/5  rDev +27.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a 22oz bomber, the perfect size for a barley wine.

The cherry red color that poured from this bottle had me intigued right from the start. And the smell that included figs and orange peel really got me going. The taste was sublime, a beer with perfect balance. Not too strong, not too bitter, but doesn't leave you flat either. The finish was strong and very, very long and left me wanting a lot more than just one 22oz bomber. The alc listed was 10.5% abv, but it felt like a lot less. The mouthfeel was good, too-not thin at all and not too heavy. Again, great balance throughout. I'd like to see how well it ages, maybe I'll put a few down in the cellar and try next year...oh, who am I kidding, this beer is too good to wait that long.

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Photo of shabbtastic
4.7/5  rDev +26%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2006 from the cellar, perfect for my 100th review!

A - Poured from a 22oz bomber into a snifter. A cherry red color with a hue of mahogany. Large head to start that quickly faded. Legs of lacing like dental floss lingered all around after a good swirl.

T - Warm fruity malts present themselves up front of fig and raisin. A warm alcohol feeling takes over and follows through out. Hearty, warming that went all the way down to my belly.

M - Medium bodied, not too thin or chewy. Great body, filled you mouth with spectacular flavors

D - Probably one of the better barley wines I've had in a while. Highly drinkable, the alcohol sneaks up on you so be careful. I will have to purchase a new one and do another tasting. Recommended.

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Photo of pmcadamis
4.59/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - This one is a beautiful shade of deep garnet with crimson blood highlights. Looking through this clear brew is like looking into another dimension. The head is a lush and creamy two finger wall of solid whipped cream, and lots of really lush lace is left all around the glass. Head retention is outstanding, especially when considering the ABV of this monster. Good looking brew!

S - Before I even approach the glass, I can smell honeycomb, molasses, and single malt scotch (that classic Speyside "honey and heather" note). Confectioner's sugar notes are there too, and almost give this a Belgian Trappist flair on the nose. Figs, caramel and brown sugar are all there too. This is ridiculously complex and pleasant to my nose. My beer boner is flying at full mast.

T - Heavily toasted malts and honeycomb "tight" sweetness greet my palate, and some toffee and peanut brittle compliment these flavors nicely. On the back end, I'm getting what is almost like peanut butter covered in honey and molasses, with a shot of bourbon thrown in. Aged hops and toast linger in the aftertaste, and I have a feeling that this would be a whole helluva lot hoppier if it wasn't aged for two years. Crackling autumn leaves and buttered toast.

M - Full bodied, sprightly carbonated but never prickly. The tiny bubbles scrub the palate and keep this lively without actually feeling like "soda-pop" carbonation. Big on the booze, this is a heavy hitting beer that will completely humble your palate. I like this...it feels like a ton of bricks on your tongue.

D - This is a good one, but not the best barley wine I've had. That's still saying a lot, since I friggin' love this style and have never had a bad one. This is a great sipping beer that has the balls to stand up to a maduro wrapped cigar...few beers have the nuts to do what a bourbon or scotch can accomplish, but this one might decimate any dish you pair it with so save it for the after-dinner cigar or nightcap.

Note: It's my day off, it's noon, and this thing is whooping my butt. Gotta watch those 10% ABV beers....they'll sneak up on ya like a ninja.

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Photo of auggie
4.5/5  rDev +20.6%

Photo of Mitchster
4.5/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz. bottle, 10.5% ABV, $5.89.

Pours out to a sparkingly clear and beautifully deep red garnet, forming a tall soapy light beige head with very good retention and very nice sheets of lacing. Carbonation is moderate. The aroma is pretty typical for the barley-wine style...lots of hops and lots of malt. Intensely resinous and piney, reminding me of a Double Bastard, counteracted by sticky, chewy raisins and dates. The mouthfeel is viscous and thick with a syrup consistency and a dense body. The taste is an echo of the aroma...at times, this reminds me exactly of a Double Bastard, perhaps with a touch more apple esters and a slight hint of isopropyl towards the finish. The hop bitterness is well-balanced and not too spicy. As it warms, it has a touch of rubbery mouthfeel and the hops become more herbaceous, otherwise this is a very good barleywine. Minimal off-flavors with the exception of a little isopropyl.

A very good barleywine. Pleasantly surprised by this as I haven't really cared for anything else by Medocino BC.

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Photo of RedDiamond
4.5/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Talon has a malty and complex aroma that projects a mix of dark fruits, fig, and alcohol. The color is a dark mahogany and has the appearance of fine cognac with a few threads of lace. It is capable of producing a sizable head at first, but like most barleywines it is ultimately a heavy, sullen brew and is only modestly carbonated.

Talon is aged for a full year before bottling and very little yeast residue is present in the lees. It has a taste whose balance tips to the malt with a rich tapestry of warm fruity notes. Raisin or black current are among the fruit notes indicated while the broader taste suggests a plum brandy. Alcohol is present in the palate but is not overbearing or intrusive. The ABV potency of this brew makes itself most known in the warmth that stirs the belly.

I enjoyed this hearty barleywine a great deal for its obstinate willingness to praise the malt body. At last, a clear-eyed heathen unwilling to bow to the hop gods! The finish suggests a judicious restraint on bittering while still providing enough hops to gently ply the brakes on what could otherwise be a runaway malty sweetness. The potential drift towards syrupy mass is offset by enough carbonation to keep things relatively light on the tongue. Thus, even though she’s sweet and heavy, she doesn’t brood. (Reminds me of the barmaid at the Seven Swans….. aw, nevermind).

This brew should be enjoyed for what it is, not for what it should be. It is full bodied, complex, and smooth. It is endowed with a profuse and luxurious smell and a relaxed mouthfeel that sits like a heavy blanket on a winter’s morn. This is a premium barleywine – a slow sipping work of considerable craftsmanship.

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Photo of Jesse1515
4.48/5  rDev +20.1%

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 RootedFool
4.45/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bomber purchased at the North Coast Co-op in Arcata, California.

Creamy and frothy tan head on the pour. The head falls after a minute or two and leaves a few milky scraps of lace on the glass. Body is opaque crimson until held to the light where it's a translucent, yet murky amber.

Smell starts off with strong grassy, hoppy notes, with a malty -- plums and brown sugar -- finish.

The taste begins with a dense flavor of prunes, also some hints of tobacco; the middle is an escalation of hop bitterness, knife-sharp and concentrated in its movement like a perfectly thrown dart, followed by a finish of tingling hops and a gentle fruity maltiness -- like dried apricots.

Creamy, palate-massaging mouthfeel; middling carbonation.

This tastes like a more traditional barleywine, where the malts aren't upstaged by the hops.

Has an interesting progression of flavors, and very balanced.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.42/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Mendocino's Talon pours a gleaming reddish mahogany with vibrant crimson and orange highlights beneath a good-sized head of creamy yellowed-white froth. The head retention is fairly good considering that it's got an alcohol content of over 10%; and it initially leaves some wide-stretched 'canvases' of lace along the sides of the glass.
In the nose it's mainly malty, caramelish and a touch fruity (apples); with some piney, grassy and floral hops adding depth.
In the mouth it's medium-bodied but dextrinous; and delightfully smooth with just a bit of 'foaming' as the beer warms on the tongue.
The flavor follows the aroma but puts a bit more fruitiness (apples, berries, white grape), some fuller hop flavor (piney, grassy, subtly citrusy), and a healthy dose of bitterness into the mix. A touch of alcohol comes through clearly as well, but it doesn't hinder the experience (nor does it enhance it).
It's not a particularily complex barelywine, but it is well-balanced and easy to drink. If you've got it, enjoy it now as it's not a candidate for aging. The alcohol may soften a bit, and even the bitterness may smooth a touch, but it's really spot-on where it should be and I'd doubt that it'll improve much.

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Photo of plaztikjezuz
4.42/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

bought at odies big ten in lansing, michigan. ($5.89)
pours a wounderful mohogany with a slight head.
the aroma is malty, hint of alcohol (i expected more for a 10.5% beer)
the flavor is very rich, malty, carmelized malt, toffee, hop flavor, spicy.
the mouthfeel is full, creamy, coats the inside of your mouth.
beer is very drinkable, smooth, goes down smooth.
the bottle i have says it was brewed in saratoga springs, ny.

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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 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 scooter231
4.38/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a lovely reddish color, almost rubyish, with quite little head, but the color is so pretty it's forgiveable.

Scent is floraly, slightly citrusy, mostly lemony, subtle though. Tastes very nice- light, a little more intense in taste than smell. Same fruity and floraly flavors. Alcohol content isn't too overwhelming- a feature I really appreciate. Not as bubbly as I'd like, but you can't win em all.

Mouthfeel is nice, chewy, not watery. Pretty darned drinkable for a barley wine- though if you're not careful it'll knock you on your you know what. A Great bargain for 4 dollars- one I'm sure to partake in again.

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Photo of stephendr
4.38/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2005 vintage opened 6/23/07 -22 oz. glass bottle- color of light mahogany, with a thin tan head - nose of maple, chicken bouillon, brown cane sugar, plumbs, and raisins – taste of plumb, maple, raisins, and cherries- body is chewy, and with low to medium carbonation – aftertaste of light malt, cherries, and plumbs

smell 4.5 taste b app 4 mouth 3.5 drink 4
2004 vintage 22 oz. glass bottle sample cellared at least three years- opened 10/24/07 - color of mahogany , with a thick tan colored head - nose of elderberries, brown sugar, bright red fruit, and rich – taste of bright red fruit, maple syrup, sweet maltyness, and some earthy- body is medium, and with medium carbonation – aftertaste of red fruit, caramel, and slight hint of hops

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Photo of kmpitz2
4.38/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a deep red color with hints of brown in there with a ring of head over the beer. The nose is full of sweetness. Hints of raisins drizzled in caramel with some hops thrown in for good measure. Nice. The flavor is dark fruit upfront, followed by alcohol, finishing with a coffee bitterness. Its not what I expect from a barleywine, but I really like it. The feel is very thick. Very good. Drinkability is okay on this one as well. Its a nice and big beer, but I find it easy drinking. I'm impressed. I would try this one if I found it again.

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Photo of rajendra82
4.38/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Back in late 2004, when the wretched 6% ABV cap was lifted in Georgia, one of the first brewers to enter the market with some high gravity offerings was Mendocino Brewing Company. At the time when I first had their Talon barleywine, my cellar was in a nascent stage. I was happy to sample it at under $3 a bomber, and had the forethought of trying to stick a bottle in the cellar as well. It's about 2½ years since then, and many more barleywines have been sampled. So I though it was time to pull out that old Talon bomber, and see how it had held up.

As I popped off the cap, the carbonation formed a head in the bottle. Pouring it revealed a lively beer, with a one finger thick head in the goblet, and a clear, superbly deep, red body. No murky sediment floating in the first pour here, so the unspoilt look was quite nice. The smell was clean, sweet, and toasty. There was ghostly remnant of hop aroma as well, but it was swept aside by the malt. The taste was sultry smooth, and tongue coatingly sweet. Raisins, plums, and roasted almonds were all present in the taste, and were melded together very well. There was no alcohol apparent in the taste, but the warmth that started in my mid section after just a few sips, and slowly radiated to my extremities made it well known, that this was no ordinary beer. A little coarser in the mouthfeel than I was anticipating after aging for this long, but I wouldn't say it was harsh. This double digit ABV barleywine had definitely improved for the better, and I could see it going for a few more years. I believe it's time to pick up the next bottle and start the experiment over again.

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Photo of blitheringidiot
4.37/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big ole tall boy 22 oz browner with a body & neck label motif. The neck label boasts "True style barley wine ale is grand in flavor and body. It has a rich amber color and a full robust body. Talon has been aged for months and this gives it that intense and delightful traditional warming barley wine flavor. Talon is ideal to bring cheer to the sharing spirit of the season." Glugged into me Duvel pint after only two months escape time from the brewery in Saratoga NY from Bob Craven, himself. Talon shows a hazy orangey coppery pour under a khaki healthy spotty 1/2 " cap that quickly disapates to a slick coating. Decent head lace slides down the glass.

Ripe mixed fruit blasts like apples, bananas, and pears that scream malty base. Candy aroma overwhelms me nose like a bowl of mixed hard candy i.e. Jolly Ranchers and caramel corns. The aroma goes on 'n on 'n on. Unimaginable, the awl-kee-hawl esters, like Vanilla extract creep out as warming hits

First swigs: Sizzled dark fruit blend flavor well warming with awl-kee-hawl pears and ripe red apples. Whew! Perhaps a bit rough, despite the aging from the brewery and from me, but just big in style and flavor. Tart lemony oil and peppery twinges pop out as warming takes over.

This is a drinkable beer with a caveat "Whoa Silver" meaning that you can ride this horse if you can tame the wild nature. A bit unbridled but tame-able if you dare. American vs. English? This walks the line IMO.

Last swigs; Extremely excited to try this Barley Wine, especially since I traded a bottle of Weyerbacher Quad directly in person to Bob Craven, the manager of Saratoga's MENDOCINO brewery. Malts nose reminiscent of Stone IPA. Funny how this ironically reminds me of the Quad that I traded for it. Stone maltiness lemons meets thick hops sizzle.

Beer is good. Happy beering.

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Photo of Metalmonk
4.35/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

When reviewing, I try to look at the beer in natural and artificial light. I don't know if it's the light or beer itself, but I didn't realize until I started reviewing how many beers of various styles have a deep-red/burgundy/ruby tint to them. This is another that does, in addition to a foamy head on top, which settles to a thin layer in a couple minutes.

Interesting, complex aroma: maltiness swirled with chewing-gum (traditional Bazooka or baseball card flavor) meets Welch's grape juice. Some hops peeking through too.

Of all the barleywines I've had so far, this has the best flavor. A bit of bite to the hops, but only after some sweet and creamy malt action. Plenty of caramel vibe. There's that concord grape taste again, and a puckery bitterness after the swallow. A work of art. Delicious.

Mouthfeel: solid, tingly, even creamy, lots of fun to swish around, really great heft to this one without being overly heavy.

Not exactly the best session-beer or anything, considering the powerful flavor, volume (1 pt. 6 oz.) and the high ABV. But a definite treat. And ignore the label...it looks like a totally avoidable malt liquor bomber. Don't pass it up!

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Photo of donnierickles
4.33/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I was pleasantly surprised with the smoothness of this barley wine. I will always buy this when I see it.

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Photo of Atron67
4.32/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle from 2007. been sitting in the basement relatively regular temp

A-- pours a ruby colored opaque bodied beauty. thin cream color on top, but a bright red hue through all the color.

S- very rich and inviting. cellaring seems to definitely gone well for this one. crisp and deep scented maltiness and a huge complexity.

T- starts out with a mild maltiness that only seems to grow as the flavor lingers ont he tongue. growing malty characteristics and a big burst of flavor at the end. hops keep it bitter, but seem pretty much faded by now.

M- thick and creamy all around. light carbonation and lingering taste.

D- a great sipper.

cellared this beer develops a great complexity

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Photo of ale1
4.3/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

while perousing isles of Total Wine palm beach gardens, in search of ales worthy , we spotted this 1 in the large singles case and was not disappointed, Served cool and upon opening a good hopy/malt nose , poured in standard tall pint glass medium head with small bubbles.
hop start with malt sweet, malt finish, another fine Barley wine style ale from Talon brewing.

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Photo of Gehrig
4.28/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

It's only fitting that the 300th beer I've reviewed at this splendid website is a barleywine, considering how high this style has risen on my personal consumptive radar. Talon pitches two and one-half thick fingers of dense off-white froth atop a fairly clear brown body with reddish highlights. Moderate rings of lacing coat the sturdy DAB mug as it recedes; splendid.

The nose is good, full of berry, caramel, chocolate, and a hint of coffee. I'm even more fond of the taste and texture, sticky and rich with sweetness, dried fruit combining with chocolate and candied caramel, and yet still nice carbonation. An excellent barleywine, representing the style very well. It's less hopped than others, but that's less a drawback than a stylistic design. This is good barleywine, make no bones about it.

The drinkability is ranked as such only because I've felt a pall within my head as I've entered the second half of this beauty. It's tasty, but the high ABV (10.5%) becomes a bit heavy as it progresses. But let that not detract from what is a terrific beer, a big, strong barleywine more than worthy of attention.

Terrific stuff, more than holding up its end of the bargain for the 300th review.

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

I've had this bottle in the cooler since my July trip to Saratoga, NY.

Pours a nice deep reddish amber wih a mid size tan head that was gone after a few minutes.

Nose was sweet and alcoholic.

Taste was similar to some Baltic porters I've had but with more of a hint of dark fruits (Plums and such) and less of the roasted traits. Quite sweet with caramel and a wash of warming alcohol on the finish. Medium bodied with moderate carbonation that also diminished as the glass neared empty.

This 10.5% ABV malt bomb really kicked in even after a full meal. All in all a very enjoyable brew.

I'll buy this one again!

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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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Talon - True Style Barley Wine Ale from Mendocino Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.73 out of 5 with 252 ratings