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Talon - True Style Barley Wine Ale | Mendocino Brewing Company

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Talon - True Style Barley Wine AleTalon - True Style Barley Wine Ale
249 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: 249 |  Reviews: 215
Photo of Sammy
3.5/5  rDev -6.2%

Photo of jaydoc
3.46/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of spycow
3.5/5  rDev -6.2%

Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev +7.2%

Photo of t0rin0
3.75/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of BEERchitect
3.23/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A fair-enough Barleywine. It has the intense sweet barley aroma and flavor. It has the slick and sugary mouthfeel. It has all the hops in the world. The hopping gives too much saltiness and metalic flavors--likely to subside with time. Deep rich fruity characteristics of prunes, figs, raisons, and nuts. Citrusy with lemons and oranges. Good deep copper color with a nice 1" off white head. Still not well melded and out of balance with the hopping. A basic middle-of-the-road Barleywine. Nice for the price.

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Photo of brentk56
3.73/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a hazy chestnut color with a reasonably frothy head for a barley wine; decent retention and sone spashy dots of foam around the glass

Smell: Strong fusel alcohol aroma dominates the nose; some secondary sweetness and fruit tones

Taste: Starts with a rather woody caramel flavor during the mouthswirl; after the swallow, the bitter hop flavors (rather piney) kick in; the finish balances the bitterness with the caramel, cherry and raisin tones as well as some alcoholic warming

Mouthfeel: A bit thin for a barleywine, with a reasonable amount of carbonation; lots of warming on the finish

Drinkability: A little too much fusel alcohol to be easily consumed but does a good job balancing the various barleywine elements

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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 zestar
3.5/5  rDev -6.2%

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 oberon
3.48/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I had tried this once before and didnt really care for it but gave it a second chance tonight,poured a deep clear amber with a thinner slightly off white head that is gone pretty quickly.Aromas are not as big and bold as alot of other barley wines in my opinion but there is some definent caramel and brown sugar notes there with a very noticable alcohol presence.Thick mouthcoating mouthfeel somewhat sticky,a very sweet caramel flavor really hits up front and is almost overpowering in its intense sweetness,molasses and brown sugar flavors really keep this brew on the edge of being cloying.There is a real alcohol burning sensation as it goes down even more as it warms,well its big and flavorful but there are alot better American Barley Wines out there for sure.

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Photo of russpowell
4.2/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is the 1st beer from this brewery that I've had in recent years that didn't dissapoint

Poured Ruby red with a 1.5" offwhite head. Very good lacing and head retention

Smell: Rich fruitty notes, the vinious odors & then oakiness, & vanilla

Taste: Alcohol up front, richy oak, bourbon notes, finshes fruiity

MF: Super syruppy up front & undercarbonated

Ponderous, but true to the style. I would recconmend cellaring this mean but inviting BW

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.5/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

"A wise falcon hides his talons."


Candy apple red beneath a firm dollop of golden ecru. The head lasts a surprisingly long time given the ABV, and looks pretty good on the way down. Not surprisingly, no more than a few dribs and drabs of lace find their way to the glass. Talon is a pretty typical barleywine in the looks department.

Likewise the nose. Caramel malt shares the stage with dried fruit soaked in cognac. I'm pretty sure this bottle is at least two years old, so I'm surprised the alcohol fusels are so prominent. I hope the beer delivers more on the palate or I'll be about as impressed as I am with most of the rest of the Mendocino Brewing Company lineup. That is... not very.

The first few mouthfuls are pretty good, if a bit rough. My hope is that things will improve as the beer loses its slight chill. My first impression is how 'by the numbers' Talon is. It tastes like any number of other American barleywines that use the tried and true ingredients. Several years of aging have to have done TTSBWA a whale of a lot of good. That's one way of saying that I wouldn't have wanted to drink it fresh.

Melted caramel mixed with Cherry Herring makes up the lion's share of the flavor profile. I'm often reminded of Jagermeister or cherry cough syrup when I drink beer of this style, as I am here. Hop flavor isn't obvious, but enough hop bitterness has survived to keep things from turning into an overly sweet, sticky mess. The finish is impressively dessicating, due, no doubt, to both alpha acids and alcohol.

It's odd, but I liked the mouthfeel more at first than I do now. It seemed more full in the first few ounces, more silky smooth. Maybe once I get into the bottom half of the bomber my tongue will be sufficienty numbed to bring back those favorable impressions.

Talon True Style Barley Wine Ale is a respectable effort that, nevertheless, falls short of what I think an American barleywine should deliver. Since there are any number of good versions out there (Bigfoot, for instance, is practically ubiquitous), I can't bring myself to recommend this one.

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Photo of Jason
3.55/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bomber with no freshness or vintage date on the label. $4.99 @ Kappy's in Peabody, MA.

A- Good clarity with a reddish amber hue, decent head retention as it takes a while to dissapate ... very little stickage.

S- Big wafts of caramel and toasted malt sweetness. Faint alcohol in the nose.

T- Sweet ... very sweet. Not cloying but still sweet. Toasted grain and an aged hop do little to balance. Malt syrup with a touch of moallssess is all I get. Light husk from the grain ... weathered hop as well. Alcohol for 10.5% has a meek character under the layers of malt.

M- Very creamy and smooth, amazing but pretty damn thick.

D- The thickness makes this a sipping brew ... the high alcohol as well. Drinkable but slow paced.

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

Picked this one up, I don't even know how long ago or when, but it has been in my fridge for what honestly seems like forever. I had to clear it out of the fridge so I used it in an impromptu fridge clearing the other night. Consumed via a tulip on 08/24/2008.

The pour was very nice, rich with a good dark caramel color and lots of silky and foamy white lace around the top. Nice touches of wispy side glass lace and just the slightest bit of side glass lace around the edges.

The aroma was very malty, which surprised me a bit in the beginning, but I really kind of learned to enjoy it. Some light fruit notes sitting there in the back with a decent amount of grain as well. Hints of hops dancing around, more pine resin like then anything else. The flavor was a bit odd, but I have to admit still more then decent. Nice notes of piney hops, dark resin, fruit with a leaning toward figs and some nice bready malts. As it warmed some hints of spices coming through now as well, almost peppery at the finish. Decent medium Mouthfeel and really nice carbonation were a good side distraction, and a smooth sipper for the percentage is always a welcome sight.

Overall have to say this one was not bad at all, really a tight little barley wine here. Almost an old ale, but not quite, I could see myself having this one again in the near future.

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Photo of Slatetank
3.75/5  rDev +0.5%

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

Bomber bottle, wooohooo, this rich and tasty brew is a bargain. Pours orangy amber, with cherry hues. Not much head, what there is off white. Minimal lacing. Very slight bready nose. This is a full bodied, viscious concoction. Notes of dark honey, maple, vanilla and alcohol. Rich, strong and warming. This one probably wwould take a year or two in the bottle well. Worth a try, especially if you can get a low price on this stuff. $3.99?

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Photo of jwc215
3.31/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22 oz. bottle - poured into snifter -

Pours orange brown with a thick tan head that immediately disappears to a thin cover. It somewhat slowly becomes a patch, then vanishes.

The smell is of caramel and a whiff of alcohol.

The taste of caramel maltiness really stands out, though there is some grainy maltiness as well. Prunes add some fruitiness. There is a vague hint of earthy, leafy bitterness, but only enough to keep sweetness from becoming overly cloying. The heat lingers.

The feel is thick and sticky, yet not quite in a full-bodied way. The carbonation leaves the scene after a short while.

A slow sipper, as is called for per style (but, this is even slow for style). It doesn't really stand out among barleywines - perhaps a bit more balance would help.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.95/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Just cracked the crown on this bomber...the rich, sweet, beautiful barleywine aroma wafts out immediately, and it hasn't even been decanted...let's do that, shall we?
Bright crimson, clear,with a lasting, if slim, layer of eggnoggy foam...
Aroma: niiiice, lovely fruit, cherries and grapes, rich, but not too sweet, almost dry, even.. alcohol opens rather rawly...approachable, not punishing, ...yet.
Big,rich flavor at the fore,well-rounded, aplomb with dark fruits, and a feel of cognac or port. Strength is not shy, getting ...very full in flavor, with a a lean, softly fruity finish. Graceful, actually, finely toned, with the alcoholic heat peeking through on occasion. This Talon has a tight grip, but doesn't cut. Tasty, warming, but shades away from the power of my favorites of the style...doesn't truly kick it like I like it, but slays in it's own way. Nice.

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Photo of GClarkage
4.2/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

10/23/05- Purchased at Beverages and More in San Mateo, CA

Presentation- 22oz bottle with no freshness info. Poured into a standard pint glass.

Appearance- Murky brown colored pour with a decent 1/2 inch off white head and fair lacing.

Smell- Nice caramel and alcoholic scent. Deep sweet malts and maybe a few spices.

Taste- Very nice hit of caramel as well as some dark malty flavored fruits. The alcohol isn't as much present in the taste as it was in the nose. The hops come through as well with a smooth, but bitter taste. This bottle had been aged for about a year or so.

Mouthfeel- I bit overcarbonated, which I thought the aging would control a bit, but apparently not. So, not as smooth in the swallow.

Drinkability- One of the better flavored barleywines I have had in a while. If I still could find it I may buy a few and age them for a bit longer...maybe 3 years.

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Photo of Wasatch
3.85/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Finally got my hands on a couple of bottles a few months back. Pours a nice dark ruby reddish color, nice carbonation, small tan head which does not last long, lacing consists of islands all around the glass. Scents of sweet malts, hops, prunes, raisins, alcohol, and slight caramel. The taste is sweet/slightly tangy, a touch of caramel, ends with a dry finish. Medium body, a nice complex brew. Drinkable, I really enjoy this brew, well done Mendocino, would recommend.

 471 characters

Photo of Rochefort10nh
3/5  rDev -19.6%

Photo of tempest
3.48/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Chriminy, are there any hops in this beer? It's freaking sweet. It looks great with a ruby body and off-white head. Smells of massive malt. Sweet, rich, almost a syrup-like boldness to the flavor. It took my a few sips to get used to this beer. There are apple and berry flavors, but the malt is a little much. Maybe it'll mellow out after a few years. To its credit, there isn't much of an alcohol flavor. Split a bomber if you like barleywines.

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Photo of WesWes
4.12/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a ruby red color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is great. It has an intense malty scent that boasts of crystal and roasted malts. It also has a bitter hop aroma that adds balance. It is warm and toastey smelling. The taste is good. It has a warm malty flavor that is enhanced with a bitter hop aftertaste. It's a slow drinker that boasts of a complex malt palate. It is sweet with crystal malts and roasted barley. The mouthfeel is good. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a solid barley wine. I love the hoppy flavor. It adds tremendous balance to an already complex malt base. This is a slow, but good drinker.

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

Semi-clear reddish amber color, very mild head that fades to almost nothing. Carbonation is so light that it's almost non-existant.

Smell is bready caramel, brown sugar and raisins.

Taste is primarily caramel profile especially up front, a slight touch of chocolate towards the end, then finishes dry with caramel once again followed by a nice balance of hops to take away some of the sweetness. The alcohol is hidden in the nose but does come through at the end of the sip. Also has a little bit of butterscotch on the tongue. A little brown sugar, molasses, and raisins.

Mouthfeel is heavy body, thick, very smooth. Drinkability? At this ABV, not very. However, I have to say, at the start of the bottle I wasn't digging this beer a whole lot, now that I'm half way through, it's really growing on me. I'd like to see more carbonation and aroma to give it a little extra something. I'm not blown away by it, however, it's one I would definitely get a few more bottles of, the bitter-sweet finish is really interesting.

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Talon - True Style Barley Wine Ale from Mendocino Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.73 out of 5 with 249 ratings
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