Talon - True Style Barley Wine Ale | Mendocino Brewing Company

215 Reviews
Read the review
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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 215 | Ratings: 249
Photo of TCgoalie
4.07/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Notes from 5/3/10.

The look of this beer is average for a barleywine. Reddish caramel color with minimal head and no lacing. The appearance is nothing exciting, but I don't feel like it is missing anything either.

This has a classic barleywine scent - caramel malts, bready, a buttery quality but the difference is that this is extra musty. It is like the beer has been in a dingy house soaking up the smell. I like it.

The taste starts with a lot of caramel malts and leads to a brown sugary bready taste. The sweet barley and subtle hops meld at the end very nicely. Good balance.

The mouthfeel is medium, I've had bigger as barleywines go. It is satisfying, not too much, not too little.

The drinkability is good for a barleywine...not too syrupy and not too thin. Solid.

 780 characters

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

Bomber sipped from a wine glass.

Appearance: A deep and darker red with mild haze, possibly from the yeast. Mud-white head that bubbles nicely, leaving some off-white craters on the side of the glass.

Smell: Big fruit punch aromas, cherries, chocolate, maybe chocolate-covered cherries, some strawberry, and some citrus from the hops. Chocolate comes out more as it warms. But a lot of fruit punch and good fruit esters and nice sweetness dominate.

Taste: Like the aroma, big juicy fruit punch flavors, along with cherries and strawberries. Good citrus from the hops. Chocolate grittiness and nice earthy bitterness at the end of each sip.

Mouthfeel: Undoubtedly big-bodied, with enough punch and carbonation to keep it less-than-cloying.

Drinkability: Very solid for a Barley Wine, and probably my favorite Mendocino beer. Wish I would've gotten another bottle. I think it was only around $5 too, which now seems like a steal for this. Wonder what some age would do too.

 982 characters

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

a: This was a bright, clear garnet color. It poured with a short lived fizzy head that faded to spotty lace.

s: Very nice combination of sharp, boozy dark fruits like cherries and raisins, suggestions of chocolate, and plenty of grassy, bitter hops.

t: Very assertively bitter overall, it blankets everything. I tasted sherry-like dark fruits along with something sugary at the finish. The heat was relatively moderate here.

m: Gently carbonated with a medium body.

d: Definitely aggressive, but very satisfying.

 516 characters

Photo of nickd717
3.53/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared by dbuckingham at a tasting.

Pours clear dark amber brown with a small light-colored head.

I think this is 2004 vintage and it shows in the aroma. Quite a bit of sherry oxidation evident, along with sweet caramel malt. The oxidation works in its favor in some ways though.

Flavor is pretty standard - caramel and toffee, maybe some brown sugar. Some oxidation, which makes itself evident as a sherry flavor. Not much hop presence. Very sweet.

Medium-bodied and fairly smooth on the palate, more or less par for the style.

Pretty good drinkability. Overall, this is decent, but only slightly above average for the style overall.

 646 characters

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.

 367 characters

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.91/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A deep orange pour, not too intimidating like some of the earthy brown barleywines.

Aroma, faint sweetness, no noticeable hop aroma.
Taste, the hop is on the spicy side, malt is sturdy, but not too heavy. A lighter barleywine, not bulky, but enjoyable. Sweet. Grows, into a woodier feel, malt takes a more prominent spot over sweetness. Very drinkable barleywine, extremely affordable.

 386 characters

Photo of samie85
3.12/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A- Pours and opaque, deep reddish brown color with a one finger head.

S- It smells very rich, reminds me of Samichlaus a little. Deep raisins, rich caramel and maybe a bit of brown sugar.

T- Caramel sweetness upfront and finishes with a wine-like dryness with a hint of chocolate malt.

M- I was expecting it to be a little more viscous in this department. It's thick but pretty well carbonated.

D-This is probably not one that I'd revisit, except maybe with some age on it. The finish is a little too dry for my taste and this really hurts the drinkability for me. I'm having a hard time finishing this one.

 611 characters

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.

 1,025 characters

Photo of bminor7
3.75/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 from EBI in Saratoga.

Mahogany color, clear. Sticky foam down to a few wisps eventually. Smells of sweet malts. Very sugary; molasses. Taste is bready malts followed by brown sugar. ALmost a coca-cola-like sweetness on the back of the tongue. No substantial hop presence...I could liken it to having a very chocolatey piece of cake without anything to drink (esp. not milk). That seems to be a major downfall of the less-than-stellar barleywines. the ABV is well hidden. Mouthfeel is a bit light. Carbonation is smooth. Drinkability is hurt by the lack of a superior balance. Local beer, so I'm proud to have tried it!

 622 characters

Photo of yesyouam
4.08/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Mendocino Talon is a super clear, dense amber ale with a dense yellow head that leaves excellent lacing. It has a sweet, resiny, wooden aroma with notes of stone fruit and black pepper. It's full bodied; smooth and syrupy with a sticky finish. It's very well balanced... a little sweet like plum, a little bitter like pine. The peppery alcohol provides a long finish. This is a great example of a west coast barleywine.

 419 characters

Photo of Redrover
3.8/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass, the beer is brown with amber highlights, It has a slight chill haze. It had a nice sticky tan head and lacing.

The nose is of brown sugar, raisins and more than a bit of alcohol.

The taste was slightly sweet with noticeable malts, dark fruits and brown sugar. The alcohol is present in the finish. Note that even it is 8+ % the beer does not have much of that "hot" alcohol taste that some bigger beers have.

The mouth is smooth and slightly oily.

I had no problem finishing the bomber, but it took awhile. This is a sipper and a good one to add to the "once-in-awhile" roster.

 610 characters

Photo of Durge
4.24/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This shows a golden brown, cream soda color with a decent off-white head and okay slivers of lacing. The aroma is a deep nutty red wine, even a little woodsy root. Very intense and tempting. The flavor comes on with thick, almost chocolatey, nutty merlot. I get some molasses and currant. Fairly full bodied with a slightly satin feel and polite carbonation. This is not a session beer but it's so tasty that it can disappear more quickly than it probably should, one quick sip at a time. A very successful effort here, a great American barleywine.

 548 characters

Photo of homebrewhawk
3.4/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22oz. bottle served in a snifter. Pours a dark amber with a thin off white head. Nice aroma, a good balance of malt and hops. Taste is a little flat. Definitely on the malty side. Some burnt sugar in the flavor. Body is a bit thin. Could use some more hop bitterness to balance out the malt. I found this beer to be lacking.

 324 characters

Photo of Seanibus
3.27/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours hazy turbid purple, with a light fluffy head that fell to sticky lacing. Aroma is plumy, sticky and sweet. The flavor is deep and rich. Sticky with clear caramel. Alcohol is strong and brandylike, though not unpleasant. Hop bitterness is absent but there is a strange pricklyness. Mouthfeel is syrupy. Strange. Tasty. Imperfect. Gets worse as it warms. Brown sugar and molasses becomes progressively strong and it is not an improvement.

 442 characters

Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.4/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 22 ounce bomber bottle into a standard shaker glass. The barley wine appears a clear ruby/amber color with about a finger of quickly dissolving light tan foam. Nose and flavor are of raisins, caramelized grains/malt, brown sugar, red grapes, grassy bitter hops. Medium bodied and amply carbonated for it's style. Got this as an extra in a trade. Can't remember who sent it, but thanks for the chance.

 414 characters

Photo of koopa
3.65/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle purchased by a friend in Vermont.

Appearance: Pours a copper garnet with a slightly off white 2 finger crown. Some retention and lacing.

Smell: Dark fruits, bitter hops, a dash of booze

Taste: Muddled but has the potential to get better. Definitely let it warm up a bit before you drink.

Mouthfeel: full bodied

Drinkability: 10.5% and full bodied...

 370 characters

Photo of coldmeat23
3.3/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

GLASS: Snifter
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 45 degrees

Beautiful dark copper color with ruby highlighting. Three-finger head of off-white/tan colored foam. Retention is great and lacing is full, but slippery.

Big nose, full of sweet malts. Big brown sugar notes. Hints of molasses and butterey caramel. Raisins, figs, dark cherries and other dark fruits. Nice presence of honey.

Taste is not as good as the nose. Good presence of sweet malts. Hint of caramel. Indistinguishable ripe dark fruits. Decent butteriness. Good level of booziness that is unavoidable. Mild kiss of hops keeps moving around the palate.
Hopefully, time will help this one out. Right now it's kind of a mess.

Very smooth and nice. Lacking any real creaminess. Medium bodied with low carbonation.

It's okay, as far as being drinkable goes. I'm glad that I've tried it, but I think I'll wait awhile before trying it again.

 893 characters

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

 698 characters

Photo of Raymond69
3.85/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with a clear reddish hue. Small head , a little lacing.

Aroma is pretty subdued , faint grass , hayfield , and maybe some ABV.

Grapefruit bitterness and sweet malty background make this very tasty.

Mouthfeel is thick , good carbonation.

Overall a pretty decent Barleywine I wouldn't pass up trying again.

 314 characters

Photo of bort11
3.53/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle, poured into a Duvel tulip. Mild light tan hean, pretty quick to recede. Small flecks of lace stick to the glass. Color is a dark ruby red.

Smell is a little on the sweet side. Honey and clover, balanced out with a floral hops aroma. Taste is initially sweet and malty, then a aspirin bitterness kicks in. There is a slightly harsh alcohol finish.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied. Carbonation is smooth. Not the greatest barleywine, though not the worst

Blipped "In Our Talons" by Bowerbirds

 502 characters

Photo of jgap
3.99/5  rDev +7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle pops and I can smell the dark, sugary ripe raisins. Pours a deep drown with little head that fades to a nice lace. Smell is a deep sugary, ripe fruit, and a hint of alcohol. Taste is very sweet. Caramel and brown sugar. Goes down smooth. Not peppery or harsh. Very good!

 277 characters

Photo of BMoney575
3.84/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sampled on 1-7-09
Reviewed from notes.

A: Ultra-cloudy and brown, almost completely opaque, with a fizzy brown head and no lacing.

S: Super malty, with a grapey hops and lots of age.

T: Huge malt like the smell, with a surprisingly bitter kick. The hoppy flavors and bitterness combined with the aged quality give it an interesting edge.

M: Super thick and creamy.

D: Good, but it's big flavors and big abv.

 412 characters

Photo of htomsirveaux
3.62/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bottle.

Tasted 4 Jul 2008.

Pours with a small tan head, well carbonated. Deep dark ruby red color. Quite fragrant, vanilla, oak, resin, rum. Sweet, warming, burnt caramel flavor. Alcohol noticeable but not hot. Buttered toast and raisins. Seems slightly oxidized. Medium body. Moderately bitter finish. Flavorful up front but then starts to fade somewhat.

 364 characters

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

From 06/11/06.
Nice clear amber color with thin off white head. It has a typical Barleywine aroma: rich, sweet, malty, a hint of hops and a bit of alcohol. Seems right on for the style and heightens the anticipation of the first sip. Yep, first sip and it is good. Full mouth feel, chewy. It has the sweet fruity-ness of maybe grapes or cherries. Then comes the caramel and molasses roasted malt flavors. To keep it interesting some hop bitterness is bouncing around the taste profile. The finish has a dry biscuit malt flavor along with some residual bitterness and alcohol warmth.

 582 characters

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

Nice beer. Kind of thin mouthfeel for a barleywine, especially considering the 10.5%. Pours a clear brown with no head. Strong caramel and darker fruits in the aroma, with some brown sugar. Taste is good but not balanced. Syrupy sweet up front that gets more sour than bitter towards the back. Kind of a woody flavor as well. Alcohol is masked well. Good, not great.

 366 characters

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

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.