Unobtanium Barrel-Aged Old Ale
Straight To Ale

Unobtanium Barrel-Aged Old AleUnobtanium Barrel-Aged Old Ale
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From:
Straight To Ale
 
Alabama, United States
Style:
Old Ale
Ranked #18
ABV:
11.5%
Score:
93
Ranked #3,939
Avg:
4.17 | pDev: 11.27%
Ratings:
265
Status:
Active
Rated:
Mar 12, 2022
Added:
Jun 18, 2010
Wants:
  82
Gots:
  67
SCORE
93
Outstanding
Unobtanium Barrel-Aged Old AleUnobtanium Barrel-Aged Old Ale
Notes: Unobtanium is a barrel-aged English-style Old Ale that ages for six months in a bourbon barrel, soaking up all sorts of amazing whiskey character as well as hints of oak and vanilla. The name was taken from an old aerospace/engineering term for a specific material or object (often imaginary, impossible or highly improbable to obtain) needed to complete any given project.

And, before you ask, we did not take the name from the elusive metal in Avatar. James Cameron reportedly named the substance as an inside joke to his fellow techie/gear-heads. Our version is much tastier, though.
Recent ratings and reviews. | Log in to view more ratings + sorting options.
Photo of SLB
5/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5
by SLB

Dark amber, medium to heavy body,
Smooth, molasses influence from bourbon barrels

Mar 12, 2022
 
4.11 by mattjp03 from Alabama on Dec 31, 2021
Photo of hoptheology
4.06/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by hoptheology from South Dakota

12 oz can from late 2019/early 2020 (can't read date). Prairie Rastal Glass. Purchased in Birmingham AL.

Has a dark plummy rooty color with a head of 1/2 finger, receding to a fingernail and leaving slight lace up the sides.

Aroma of bourbon-and-caramel soaked plums, molasses, cinnamon, tobacco, black licorice, more alcohol-soaked dark fruits, and caramel/toffee. Amazing nose but not particularly loud and takes some effort to acquire.

Flavor starts with some piney bitterness and tapers off to some banana bread, dark fig, cinnamon, almond, plum flesh, toffee, grape sucker, and bourbon barrel. Some resins and hot alcohol cling on afterwards.

Feel is slick to start, then grips the tongue with fierceness and punishes it with resins and oils. Hot alcohol completes the picture.

Overall, this can wasn't nearly as amazing as it was at the brewery. Fresh on tap this beer was a straight killer. This can came in punching a little below the belt with muted flavors and disjointed complexity. I know this beer is better - just like Laika, I just don't understand what happened in the can - just like Laika.

Price paid : $13.99 / 4 pack
Would buy again : no, unless they can harness the tap magic into their canned version

May 01, 2020
 
4.08 by MJSFS from Florida on Jan 25, 2020
Photo of Jwale73
3.84/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
by Jwale73 from Rhode Island

12oz. can served in a tulip. 10.1% abv. Pours a deep chestnut hue with a rocky, half inch, khaki-colored head embedded with pinpricks and ringlets. Head eventually disperses into a soapy swirl with swaths of weak lacing coating the bowl of the glass. Nose expresses notes of candied figs, butterscotch and traces of whiskey. Taste consistent with nose; however, the flavors don't really pop - it all comes off a bit muted. Mouthfeel is light in body with an assertive carbonation that leaves a residual burn at the back of the throat between quaffs and a trace of oiliness to the texture. Overall, the appearance and nose are on par with the style. Unfortunately, the mouthfeel comes off a little thin and the flavors don't come together.

Jan 10, 2020
Photo of BEERchitect
3.99/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by BEERchitect from Kentucky

Pulled from the pits of Kentucky, the Straight to Ale team conjure up an old ale to lay in oaken whisky barrels to soak up all its bourbony glory.

Unobtanium pours with a rustic garnet hue, laced with a foggy haze. As a creamy short froth builds on the beer, its scent of suggested toasted sweetness brings a nutty, fruity and spicy medley to the nose. To taste, the flavor of caramel, brown sugar and light toffee come in a malty sweet upstart.

Malt richness marinates on the middle palate, swooning the senses with whisky spice. All the while, the fruit of marmalade, fig, date and apricot all seem booze soaked and of the dehydrated varieties. Peppercorn and whisky spice balance the sweetness and fruitiness while highlighting the oaken tannins, coconut, caramel and light vanilla of the barrels. Modestly bitter, a woodsy sensation brings a late palate of broad resins with a peppery grip of its own.

Full bodied but lightened by the oak spices and the whisky warmth, the beer begins to drink like a Belgian dubbel as the fruit and spice intensify deep into the session. A long linger of bourbon outlasts any hop, fruit or spice for an extended taste of Kentucky.

Feb 12, 2019
 
4.56 by mholdefer from Alabama on Jan 31, 2019
 
4.03 by The_Kriek_Freak from Pennsylvania on Jan 12, 2019
 
3.63 by WickedBeer from Alabama on Dec 26, 2018
Photo of stevoj
3.84/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
by stevoj from Idaho

Bottle at share. Really liked this, not the concensus. Dark, clear brown, kind of flat. Strong, leathery, boozy aroma. Taste is sweet and strong.. Molasses, plums, maple syrup. Boozy.

Sep 22, 2018
 
4.21 by bushwack from Alabama on Sep 19, 2018
Photo of Treyliff
4.21/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
by Treyliff from West Virginia

220z bottle poured into a snifter
Either 2013 or 2014 vintage

A- pours a deep amber-brown color with a one-finger foamy white head that reduces to a ring around the edge of the glass

S- big note of vanilla extract on the nose, as well as plenty of bourbon barrel that adds elements of caramel and toffee. Undertones of leather, tobacco, raisin bread and over-ripe banana

T- rich and malty with an almost-salty character up front. Notes of caramel, toffee, fruitcake and raisin. Mid-palate adds the barrel notes, with plenty of oaky bourbon that continues into the finish, along with notes of tobacco and vanilla. More caramel and barrel on the linger

M- medium body with moderate carbonation leads to a foamy mouthfeel and a slightly warming finish

O- nice and malty with a good balance of barrel, this has held up very nicely

Aug 22, 2018
Photo of colts9016
4.18/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by colts9016 from Idaho

The can has an interesting label and makes me wonder what has been put into this beer for such a devious character to broach the can. The beer is served in a snifter at 53 degrees. The pour was hard and produced a one finger head with dismal results, typical of this style. The head is frothy and creamy and light tan in color. The color of the beer's color is SRM 30 a dark rusty brown color near used motor oil look. The clarity of the beer is transparent. Carbonation bubble dance slowly up the sides of the glass.

The bourbon aroma in the beer is the first aroma I smell, vanilla, citrus, wood and spice emanated from glass. The additional aromas are bready, caramel, brown sugar, dark roasted malt, oak, earth, yeast and alcohol.

The flavors in the beer is bourbon, bready, vanilla, citrus, oak, spice, brown sugar, earthy, yeast, caramel, toasted malt, citrus, herbal, and stone fruit.

The mouthfeel of the beer is chewy and rich.

The body of the beer is full, the carbonation is low, and the finish is long.

The beer aroma is phenomenal, but the taste just is not what I smell. Nevertheless the beer is good, great flavor and follows the beer style. I really enjoy the bourbon barrel flavor in the beer, it really gave it something to talk about. Overall good beer wish the flavors was as strong as the nose.

Jun 20, 2018
Photo of cavedave
4.24/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by cavedave from New York

Thanks richj1970 for these two cans, a 2016 and a 2017.

Pour for both is typical cloudy brown with long lasting tan foam atop. 2017 is darker with bigger head.

The nose on the 2016 is much more barrel influenced and strong, with whiskey, vanilla, and spicy alcohol leading the way for a complex, full strength aroma that also features raisin bread, treacle, and dates.

Interesting that in the 2017 aroma I find the same flavors, but they are dialed back and blended. I say interesting because I am not sure I would have identified them from the blend so readily without the other glass to compare.

Oh, man, this 2016 is fucking delicious. It is a faithful and perfectly balanced version of the aroma, with just enough alcohol warmth to push this taste to 11. Clean, and possessing the strange characteristic of being brightly flavored while also tasting blended, each sip seems to present a little differently.

What a difference a year makes! In the 2017 barrel notes dominate the taste, which is nuts, since they are so much more prevalent in the aroma of the 2016! Strong alcohol presence too, and the fruit bready characteristic is a minor, less balanced, player than the older one. There is bitterness here, not strong, but def. evident in the end of sip, that isn't in the 2016.

The mouthfeel is identical in both 2016 and 2017, even though appearance, smell, and taste are not. Both are med. bodied, highly viscous, low carb, refreshing for style, with a clean, long lasting finsh.

Gee this is a really great and delicious experiment that I love to do, since there is no other way to find out what time does to beers that are big enough to possibly benefit from being laid down. My overall impression of both vintages is--- go get some, what are you waiting for! If you are a fan of Old Ale or BSDA you are gonna love this!

May 01, 2018
Photo of LiquidAmber
4.16/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25
by LiquidAmber from Washington

Poured into a Fremont small snifter. Pours a medium reddish orange with fizzy, half finger khaki head that dissipates quickly to a slight ring around the glass, no lacing. Aroma of light biscuit malt, plums, raisins, bourbon and light oaky vanilla; a bit boozy. Flavor is caramel and mild biscuit malt, bourbon, sweet fresh and dried plums, woody oak and oaky vanilla, brown sugar. Finish is semi-sweet with a nice lingering dark fruit and woodiness; lots more bourbon. Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. I don't recall a barrel aged old ale, although it seems like a likely candidate for barreling. The flavor is quite pleasant, resembling a Belgian quad profile; semi sweet and fruity. Even the yeast leans towards fruity Belgian style. It is somewhat too bad that the deep biscuit malt that makes an old ale so appealing is lost here. The flavors are great, but the biscuit is subsumed into the fruit component. Not quite what I expected, but very enjoyable and well done. I'm going to age one of these for a year and see how it mellows; it seems a good candidate.

Apr 25, 2018
Photo of WOLFGANG
4.09/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by WOLFGANG from South Carolina

Draught. Sweet, smokey, yummy.

Apr 23, 2018
 
4.5 by Radcpa from Washington on Apr 16, 2018
 
4.53 by Mastercamo from Georgia on Apr 02, 2018
 
4.22 by rarigney from Washington on Mar 16, 2018
 
4.25 by NickThePyro from Washington on Mar 16, 2018
 
4.1 by rab53 from Washington on Mar 08, 2018
Photo of Tsar_Riga
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
by Tsar_Riga from Indiana

This is a solid Old Ale, warm with lots of lush molasses and caramel, a boatload of banana, and a brisk close, delivering a full but not heavy feel. Not a favorite style, but very well done.

Feb 22, 2018
 
4.56 by MattSn from Oregon on Feb 18, 2018
 
4.61 by Trojanpony from Alabama on Feb 03, 2018
 
4.65 by lupercmda from North Carolina on Jan 07, 2018
Photo of BeerNCue
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
by BeerNCue from Alabama

Poured a very deep mahogany with a 1" khaki head that lasted 1-2 minutes. Smells of vanilla, dark fruits and a little bourbon. Taste follows the smell, and it has a thick, smooth mouth feel. Alcohol is pretty well hidden for 11.5% ABV. If you like Old Ale give this one a shot!

Dec 24, 2017
Photo of Sabtos
3.76/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4
by Sabtos from Ohio

Muddy opaque copper-brown with a large light tan foam settling slowly to a finger-thick lumpy blanket leaving arches of chunky lace.

Smell is woody caramel with an almost Belgian banana-apple ester, giving off a near bananas fosters aroma with brown sugar, but more like banana bread. This is interrupted by some astringent hop and a brandy-esque heat. Red grape emerges as it warms.

Taste is banana bread for real, melding to caramel tones, then a bourbon heat, swallowing with a pruney dark fruit and figginess, finishing with woody vanilla.

Body is medium slick with a moderate crisp carbonation and a dry chewy finish.

Dec 09, 2017
Photo of JohnnyHopps
4.6/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by JohnnyHopps from Indiana

Appearance - The beer poured a murky brown color with off white bubbles clinging to the sides of the glass.

Smell - The booze seems light in the nose with some sweet stickiness.

Taste - The bourbon is well balanced in the front. What follows are notes of coconut, amaretto, prunes, strawberry, and a mild woody profile. The bourbon created a slightly warm presence in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - The carbonation allowed for a warm sticky feel.

Overall - Being as good as the cognac version is a high standard. Still, this is outstanding.

Nov 23, 2017
 
3.76 by crobinso from Colorado on Sep 23, 2017
 
4.23 by tommy5 from Michigan on Aug 14, 2017
 
4.83 by WesSwift from Alabama on Jun 27, 2017
 
4.13 by sohearn from Alabama on Jun 16, 2017
Photo of Lone_Freighter
4.24/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by Lone_Freighter from Vermont

The appearance has a dark brown close to black colored body with a slim half fingered white foamy head that dies within twenty seconds. There’s not much lacing but what there is tries to coat the glass but slides fairly quickly. The smell has some dark rich malts, toffee and coffee with a large amount of barrel aged bourbon-ness. Once it warms a bit I do start to get some woodiness. The taste is kinda sweet to woody almost a rich sort of maltiness that tries to add a bitterness but doesn’t really cut it. The aftertaste is a pretty rich woody/maltiness with a dry lingering woody finish. The palate sits about a medium to heavy with a fairly low carbonation. There’s a decent sweet wet finish, sessionability - well, ok, not bad, I could see having several pints in a session. Overall, this is a fabulous old ale well worthy of having again if I could ever get it.

Jun 15, 2017
 
4.72 by JintheHam from Alabama on Jun 08, 2017
 
3.93 by A_Rad from Wisconsin on Apr 09, 2017
Photo of Roguer
4.08/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
by Roguer from Connecticut

Pours a surprisingly dark body, very quad-like, with a reasonable head with OK retention. Dark brown brew with deep garnet highlights.

Aroma is also quad-like, featuring dark fruit, cherries, rich toffee, bubblegum, and of course (in this case) woody, sweet, potent bourbon. Deep and inviting aroma.

Flavor is more muted and restrained across the board. Tons of caramel malt, oak, and lighter tannins, complementing the bourbon, brown sugar, and darker fruit character. Little earthy bitterness, but what is present prevents the brew from becoming a hot sweet mess.

Hot brew, not hiding the 11.5% ABV. Smooth feel.

This is a very tasty brew all around. The marriage of an old ale to a bourbon barrel is pretty natural, and it comes off clean here.

Mar 26, 2017
 
4.25 by Narthax from Texas on Mar 13, 2017
Photo of NolaHopHead
4.05/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by NolaHopHead from Louisiana

12 oz can.

Feb 28, 2017
 
4.31 by Irish57 from North Carolina on Feb 15, 2017
 
4.08 by psdonnelly from Alabama on Feb 10, 2017
Unobtanium Barrel-Aged Old Ale from Straight To Ale
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 265 ratings