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 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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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 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.

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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.

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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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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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