Unobtanium Barrel-Aged Old Ale | Straight To Ale

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Unobtanium Barrel-Aged Old AleUnobtanium Barrel-Aged Old Ale
260 Ratings
Unobtanium Barrel-Aged Old AleUnobtanium Barrel-Aged Old Ale

Brewed by:
Straight To Ale
Alabama, United States

Style: English Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 260 |  Reviews: 65
Photo of BEERchitect
3.99/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

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Photo of mholdefer
4.56/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of The_Kriek_Freak
4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of WickedBeer
3.63/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of stevoj
3.84/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

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.

 185 characters

Photo of bushwack
4.21/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Treyliff
4.21/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

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

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Photo of colts9016
4.18/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

 1,325 characters

Photo of cavedave
4.24/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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!

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.16/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

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.

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4.09/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Draught. Sweet, smokey, yummy.

30 characters

Photo of Radcpa
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Mastercamo
4.53/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of rarigney
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of NickThePyro
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of rab53
4.1/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Tsar_Riga
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

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.

 191 characters

Photo of MattSn
4.56/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Trojanpony
4.61/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Photo of lupercmda
4.65/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of BeerNCue
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

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!

 277 characters

Photo of Sabtos
3.76/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

 625 characters

Photo of JohnnyHopps
4.6/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

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Photo of crobinso
3.76/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Photo of tommy5
4.23/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

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Unobtanium Barrel-Aged Old Ale from Straight To Ale
Beer rating: 4.17 out of 5 with 260 ratings