Talon - True Style Barley Wine Ale | Mendocino Brewing Company

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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: 248
Photo of PatrickJR
3.45/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into oversized snifter.

A - Dark brown, nearly opaque. A half inch or less of light brown head rises and dissipates very quickly leaving a thin collar. Some lace is apparent.

S - Big butterscotch and toffee aromas with a good dose of apple cider and other semi-rotten stone fruit. I'm trying to find the hops to little avail; I can perhaps detect an inkling of mint/pine aroma.

T - This isn't bad, but it certainly is bland for the style. Simple butterscotch/apple cider sweetness starts things off. Some sort of woody/oaky flavor pulls through followed quickly by some earthiness from what I assume to be the hops. I get fleeting tastes of pine and mint from time to time, but I'm not sure if I'm imagining them. Finish is slightly toasty with ample bitterness and burnt sugar/caramel. It tastes pretty good actually, the flavors just aren't bold enough for the style.

M - Medium bodied with a very soft carbonation. I really wish this stuff was more full; I think the taste would jump in numbers.

D - Damn drinkable. I'd personally put this more in the realm of English barleywine rather than American as the hops are all but undetectable, at least in this bottle I have. Not a mind blowing barleywine, but pretty cheap and not too bad.

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Photo of kinger
3.42/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

For some crazy reason this brewer keeps drawing me in. Every time I see a new Mendocino product I grab it, no doubt due to tantalizing abv's and very competetive pricing. Generally it's the hop profile that turns me off but not this time. Halfway through the bomber this barleywind began to grow on me but now towards the finish line I'm second guessing. Aroma is decent, very sweet with an alcohol push. Dark amber pour with a medium brown tint, minimal head and no lacing. Drinking this makes my pucker and the alcohol really stands out as it warms, hate to admit but the alcohol is almost too overpowering. Flavor is very sweet with a touch of sour fruit, has a cheap red wine quality to it once it hits room temperature. The strong alcohol is really too much to bear. Sturdy son of a gun and decent for the clams, but it'll make a man out of ya in a hurry.

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Photo of MisterE
3.17/5  rDev -15%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22 oz bomber - $4.29 at Wards Supermarket

A: not quite transparent, reddish brown with small head that disappears quickly

S: faint bouquet of fruit, followed by hops, yeast, and alcohol!

T: sharp and powerful (like the name implies) - a mild bitterness and evidence of the high ABV

M: edgy but smooth and full, with a little more carbonation than I prefer

D: one is more than enough, even one sip at a time

I've enjoyed this beer a couple of times before today (last winter and over the summer), but don't remember the sharpness of this one. Could be this is a more recent vintage that has not yet had time to mellow.

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Photo of cjgator3
3.94/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle

A- Pours a dark reddish brown color with a light tan head that leaves a ring of lace around the glass.

S- The smell is very aromatic with a lot of dark alcohol soaked fruits and a lot of malt. The lack of a big hop presence in the nose suggests that this will be an English-style Barleywine.

T- Like the aroma suggests, the rich maltiness is the highlight of this brew. There is more of a hop presence in the finish than was evident in the aroma, but it is not overly powering and serves to balance out the malty sweetness. The finish also features a lingering warmth from the high ABV, but it is not overpowering.

M- The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation.

D- Overall, this is a pretty enjoyable Barleywine that I would purchase again. It is definately a sipper, so it is one bottle and out for me. 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 Patrick999
3.92/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Let's try this here barleywine. I have no clue how old this is, though I suspect it has some age on it. Pulled off the shelves at Total Wine, North Miami.

A - Pours nearly headless, a molasses-amber. Into my snifter it goes. A few good swirls gets the head going a little.

S - Very nice. Raisins with very little alcohol in the nose; this *has* to be somewhat aged given its massive strength. Overall rich and malty aroma.

T - Initial hit of raisin-y sweetness and bitter chocolate that gets dried out by the remnants of what hop was once here. I bet this was fairly hoppy when fresh, and probably hot on the alcohol too. As it stands, alcohol and hops taste as though they have receded. Malty barleywine that seems to be taking on some port-like character at this stage (again, I strongly suspect that this is at least a couple years old). I'm surprised that this isn't sweeter. It starts out relatively sweet, but it doesn't stick with me, which I kinda like.

F - A little syrupy and thin, though I would largely expect this. Not entirely devoid of carbonation, though it's pretty low.

D - I'm mildly impressed by this barleywine in what I assume to be its aged state - good one for the snifter. I'd like to try one fresh and compare.

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

Bottle i'm guessing is at least one year old, if not older - picked up at horrocks farm market in lansing and i've seen the bottles there for a while (not to imply it as a bad thing).

22oz to snifter, pours a neatly carbonated deep brown with slight reddish highlights, cream colored head fades to lacing - looks oily and hot!

smells of hot alcohol, apples, heavy sweet malts, very much so a "true barleywine, caramel, bready yeast, deep and heavy.

tastes of a slightly mellower alcohol heat than the smell would indicatem but still quite hot - wonder how this beer is fresh! super heavy malting, barley spiciness, sweet, any hops have faded out pretty much, a great standard for the style - but not my favorite of all time.

mouthfeel is oily alcohol, warm down the throat, a sipper for sure, smooth/sweet/slightly bitter. Delicious.

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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 SkeeterHawk
4.17/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

OK, this beer has been staring at me for at least the last two years from my beer fridge. It has been right in front, and I have kept it there on purpose. For some reason...tonight is the night. Since it just turned August 11th here...happy August 11th fellow BA's!!! It is time to celebrate, so let the Talon begin...

Appearance: Pours a mostly clear chestnut color with a very small head (1/8") of tan bubbles that faded really quickly. I could tell as I poured the beer that it was thick because the bubbles were taking forever to rise. A few seconds after the pour, there is just a small ring around the top of the beer where it meets the glass.

Aroma: Clean and malty with some dark cherries and other fruity aromatics to play havoc on the senses while the beer warms up. British malt type toasty notes are a big player in the aroma as well as the alcohol as a mild spiciness. As the beer warms up some, you notice that the hops and the alcohol are becoming more noticable.

Taste: The flavor is pretty well balanced, but slightly tips toward the bitterness in the end. It is very malty, so there must be a $hit-load of hops in this beer! I am glad that it doesn't dry out your palate. The fruitiness is really in the flavor as well as lots of dark fruits...I can say plums...maybe raisins...heck, maybe even a fig or two. The alcohol is a big player in the overall flavor, and contributes a good bit of spiciness like pepper while adding a bit of heat to the mouthfeel...and finally some burn on the back of the throat in the finish. The finish is tipped slightly toward the hops.

Opinion: I kinda wish I knew how old this beer was. It still has some assertive hops, but I know that it is at least two years old in my fridge. I wonder how drinkable it is when it is first released. It may be like Bigfoot, and IMO will take at least three years to mellow out to where it is even drinkable. Right now, I would say that this beer is in its prime, and it a pleasure to drink. I am glad I waited.

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Photo of Thunderball
3.79/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass from a 1 pint 6oz bottle. Produced a thin head that dissipated quickly to a non-existent one. Nice chestnut brown color. Strong smell of fruit as soon as I poured. Taste of raisins, prunes, bitter sweet chocolate, finishing with black pepper warmth. I'm new to this style of brew, and looking forward to trying some more different BWs in the future. All in all, a very satisfying experience.

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

Aroma is fairly strong and fruity, rather like a cider, with some yeasty hints. Color is a rich, transparent deep brown with a creamy tan head. Flavor is well-rounded and fruity with a touch of sweetness and a hoppy undertone, as well as hints of caramel and smoke. The alcohol bite is strong, as with all barleywines, but not vicious. Texture has a good edge to it, and this barleywine goes down the hatch with fire and sass.

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Photo of RBorsato
3.73/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bronze in color (amber to light) with a nice low light brown head and good slow carbonation for the ABV and the style. Big huge malty aroma and flavor with a nice amount of bittering hops to balance. A bit sweet but not too sweet with a touch of alcohol. Full bodied and smooth with a big malty finish...

Per Label: "Ltd Edition"

Tasted: 06/16/07

(22 oz)

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Photo of scottoale
3.93/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

22 ox. brown bomber with a code on the bottle bottom that reads: 5044/22/1130.

The ale pours a darkish red-amber aith an ivory colored cap of 1/2". Mild carbonation with the creamish head, falling to a ring in less than ten minutes leaving only small traces of lace clinging.

The smell is very sweet and malty with lots of caramel and some fruitiness paving the way. Not much hop or alcohol presense in the nose.

The taste is much more like an English Barleywine with tons of caramel malt bringing on a load of sweetness, with not enough hops to bring balance to this brew. The alcohol is also burried by the massive malty character.

Big body with a somewhat smooth mouthfeel that becomes a bit acidic and brash as the brew warms up.

Good flavor with good drinkability for the style...worth checking out for the barleywiners.

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Photo of SIRIUS2
3.8/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a chalice style glass.

A: Pours a deep brown, mostly clear, with a layer of bubbles floating to the top. The bubbles fade quickly to nothing but they were noticeably large at first, like soda pop. After a few minutes the bubbles reduce to thin trickles rising from the bottom of the glass. No lacing.

S: Malty, some alcohol, hints of prune or dates. Mostly typical of many barley wines but this has that smell of a nice strong abbey dark ale from Belgium. Very inviting.

T&M: Thin but heavy rolling over the tongue with a slight bit of oily slickness. First flavors are malts, a touch sweet, and then the alcohol rushes in and sort of overtakes the malt. The taste is enjoyable still, giving off notes of sherry or something on that order. The finish is long on dry malts with a nice warming linger.

D: If you like barley wine, you will probably find Talon enjoyable. The alcohol is rather noticeable and for some might be a detractor for taste but I found it wasn't overly harsh. If nothing else, at 10.5% it will catch up to you quickly if you aren't careful. Check it out.

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Photo of cvstrickland
3.53/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Double-deuce bomber poured into a tulip yields a hazy brown opaque body briefly capped by a cm of white foam that recedes to a creamy sheet with a large-bubbled ring that leaves some patches of lacing.

Smells richly sweet; caramel, raisins and molasses; with peppery alcohol and an earthy sweet grassy/hay note.

Tastes of caramel-coated raisins and brown sugar with a tinge of acidy tartness. A minerally, almost metallic character becomes more pronounced, as does the alcohol, as the beer warms.

Smooth with very little carbonation. Lingering sweet stickiness marks each sip.

Comparatively inexpensive and readily available at my local Lowe's Foods. Savory and drinkable.

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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 barleywinefiend
3.34/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured a nice copper color with a decent head that disappeared to nothing in about 5 minutes or so. The nose was roasted malts and lots of malt at that, decently hopped, raisins, dried fruits other than raisins haha and some caramel. Taste was a blast of dried fruit, prunes and raisins even, very sticky it seemed, not that full bodied but heavy in malt sense. A pretty up front bwine. Malts!!! and dried fruit.

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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 Bubba83
3.43/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tumbler at 50 degrees.

Appears a nice dark ruby color that is a bit murky yet has nice vibrant glowing qualities. The head is fairly thin and a bit coarse, fairly quick dissipation and no lacing.

Smells just okay, get some feint cherry toffee and esthers in there, but no hop qualities.

Has a huge malt backbone, with some toffee up from that gives way to the warming alcohol and fades into a cherry syrup with hints of fig and prune. No noticeable hop flavor at any part of the sip. Almost cloyingly sweet, but the alcohol still comes through and there are not enough complexities in the malt profile to make it a great barleywine.

This stuff is motor oil. Thick as hell and coats the mouth with a syrupy feel. Pretty smooth with not much carbonation, and a nice chewyness as it swirls.

Drinkability is just okay. It needs a little bit of hop presence at least, as well as a slightly thinner mouthfeel and less alcohol flavor at the end. (hops might help with this) It's a sipper for certain.

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Photo of Pencible
4.07/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This poured a very hazy reddish brown with a fine off-white head. It smelled like orange and hops with some spice. It tasted sweet and spicy with a little bitterness and yeast flavoring. The aftertaste was mild at first, but built as I drank, with an apparent taste of alcohol. The texture was smooth and slightly thick with a good amount of carbonation. Overall it was pretty easy to drink, especially for a barleywine.

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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 dsa7783
3.23/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Large bottle purchased for $3.99 from Buy Rite on Oak Tree in South Plainfield...
"True Style Barley Wine Ale Limited Edition" on the red, front logo sticker...
A hefty pour resulted in a ruby-red, mahogany brown colored hue with an immense foamy and frothy head that exhibited adequate staying power before slowly dissipating...
Ultra-sweet candied, barley, and caramel aroma bursting with a flavorful, strong smell...
Taste strongly complemented the aroma, with an ultra-thick, super-sweet presence of barley, vanilla, caramel, and powerful sugars... This one was a very sweet barleywine, almost to the point of being slightly overbearing with all the added sugars...
Mouthfeel seemed slightly off-balance and not very on-point with an ultra-rich conglomeration of flavors...
Drinkability took a hit due to the slight cloying and overbearing taste... Certainly not the best representation of the style that I've sampled, but for $3.99, I couldn't go wrong... Worth a try at the price...

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Photo of CNeilP09
3.4/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

this beer made me sweat.

appeared as many other barleywines; rich and red and copper and earth and red clay.

smelled of fruit and alcohol.

tasted of honeyed distilled fruit and slack beer. friggin awesome flavor. notes of honey, cherry, anise, pear and salt brine.

felt as though i was swallowing blended chum. i needed a knife and fork. damn near had to chew the beer down.

drinkability--sort of. once in a while beer. not more than two would appease me.

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Photo of Monkeyknife
3.82/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle a deep and earthy mahogany color with a thin tan head.

The aroma is sweet and malty with plenty of hops, caramel, and booze.

The taste is identical to the aroma plus a little extra kick in the booze department.

Medium mouthfeel, slightly hot, and with moderate carbonation.

A bit too much booze as a barleywine but still enjoyable.

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Photo of LittleBreeze
2.46/5  rDev -34%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5


Smell reminded me of gasoline with a little barley wine essence.
Taste heavy brown sugar sweetness followed by a boozy burn. Lacks depth. What is there lacks balance.

Medicinal taste helps knock down the drinkability.

Cellar time might help this one

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Talon - True Style Barley Wine Ale from Mendocino Brewing Company
3.73 out of 5 based on 248 ratings.
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