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Unobtanium Barrel-Aged Old Ale | Straight To Ale

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BA SCORE
91
outstanding
47 Reviews
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Unobtanium Barrel-Aged Old AleUnobtanium Barrel-Aged Old Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Straight To Ale
Alabama, United States | website

Style: 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.

Added by t0rin0 on 06-18-2010

BEER STATS
Reviews:
47
Ratings:
213
Avg:
4.12
pDev:
12.38%
 
 
Wants:
82
Gots:
61
For Trade:
8
User Reviews
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Reviews: 47 | Ratings: 213
Photo of Beer_Loving_Brandon
1.61/5  rDev -60.9%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Pours without being easily upset. Upon pouring immediately smelled what first seemed like bananas. Thought it was the bananas beside me. Nope, it was the beer. Feels smooth going down and has significant bite followed by that warm feeling of whiskey.

Poured into and drank from a chilled 22oz stein.

Overall, I despise it. I love Bourbon and I love beer, but this Bourbon beer fad is terrible. It literally tastes just like someone put a shot of terrible whiskey into a marginal beer. Granted, this one is better than some, but I would not characterize any of this genre as "good" beer.

Another brewery in the area produces a similar beer called "Wee Heavy Ale." It is even worse. Same concept, beer mixed with whiskey.

 722 characters

Photo of iheartmyTHO
2.75/5  rDev -33.3%

Yeah, I'm not a fan of this particular beer. You definitely can taste the bourbon. But as I've experienced before with these high alcohol content beers, they just taste like fancy malt liquor, and it's just not something I'm a fan of.

To be fair, I primarily only bought this beer because of the label. I'm a chemist and I just can't resist science-y inspired booze.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.13/5  rDev -24%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.25

650 mL bottle poured into a wine glass. Deep amber body with a medium khaki head. Nose is dark fruits and booze. Bourbon. Tastes really sweet. Brighter fruits, but still fruity. Bourbon in the back end. Heavy sugars in this one. Well carbonated and very sweet. Way too sweet for me.

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Photo of Bloodbuzz99
3.5/5  rDev -15%

big and boozy, like the holiday treat 'burbon balls' in liquid form; it's a sipper and one I wish I was sharing rather than knocking back solo; Great example of the style, but not a personal fave that I will seek out again

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.56/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Slips out a dark brown, opaque body, with a slim, scant head the color of yellowed beige.

Smell: Darkened aggressive toastiness, charred nuts, caramel and molasses. Already, there's a bit of sting from the alcohol, like getting caught by a spritz of hairspray. Fruity yeast esters throwing off notes of cherry, grilled plums.

Taste: Darkened bread crusts ground by a pestle and mortar. The dark caramel sweetness is robust. Earthy, nutty tone throughout. Touch of molasses. Maybe some oak qualities, but very little in the way of tastes I would have expected (or even half-expected) from the barrel aging. Moderate fruity esters. Sharp pop of alcohol, a little solventy. The finish is smooth, sweet and presents more of the belly-warming alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium carbonation. Fairly smooth mouthfeel.

Overall: Big deal.

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Photo of T_Hass
3.61/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the hound in Auburn. Poured into a tulip. S surprising amount of head for an old Ale. Beautiful khaki color. Smell is sweet, reminds me of a Bruery beer. The taste... I wanted this to be good but it's too cloying for me with a slight bitter/black licorice flavor on the end. I could barely finish this. A little less sweet and this beer has got a lot of potential.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.68/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to GRG1313 for sharing this one at his tasting.

Pours a clear brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to an oily film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, caramel, toffee, and banana aromas. Taste is much the same with caramel and fruit flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of toasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is tasty but doesn't really give off any barrel aged aromas or flavors.

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Photo of Jadjunk
3.72/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

No label information. Unobtanium is brewed in the style of an English Old Ale. Available in 22 oz. bottles and on limited draft.

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle to a snifter glass.

(Appearance) Pours a crisp, frothy tan-caramel head over a densely hazy burgundy body. Retention is below average and lacing is light and spotty. 3.25

(Smell) Raisin, fig and plum syrups, light candied sugar, some mild tanginess and undertones of delicate bourbon barrel aging, lightly toasted oak and trace vanilla with some calm but detectable booze. Potency is moderate. 3.75

(Taste) Many of the aforementioned fruit and candied sugar characters from the aroma, very profound, plus some malt complexity of caramel breads and a touch of light roast, finishing on a light fruity tanginess with some bourbon barrel character, a nip of sharp alcohol. Enjoyable, but a bit untamed and slightly gruff. 3.75

(Mouthfeel) Texture is smooth, modestly syrupy and slick, mildly grainy and medium dry. Carbonation is medium, generating a light frothiness and a lightly crisp finish. Body is moderate for the style, medium/heavy overall. Alcohol presence is medium+ and there are no off characters in this style. 3.75

(Overall) It's an enjoyable ale with a lot of yeast and fruit character and complexity, but add in the complex sugars, malt bill and bourbon barrel characters plus booze and it becomes difficult to tell the components you like in this beer from those you don't. The alcohol bill is quite discernible in this ale, and the results may vary. I found it a bit too busy and gruff to be truly enjoyable but might consider sampling a fresher batch in the future to be sure (I have as of yet to see bottling dates on these bottles, so I am not sure how old Straight To Ale's ales are). 3.75

Straight To Ale's
Unobtanium Old Ale
3.72/5.00

 1,820 characters

Photo of jeranbrews
3.75/5  rDev -9%

A - pours a very unique yeast yellow brown body. Dark burgundy in the glass but murky sulphuric yellow in the pour. Thick sulphur yellow head that died a bit quickly. 4.5/5

S - rich complex. Fig and plum. With a hint of banana bread and sour apple. 5/5

T - sour. Chemical. Tiny hints and pecks of complex bready and ester notes are muffled by the hazmat tastes.3/5

M - too loose. Watery. As evidenced by the lack of lacing 3.5/5

O - wonderfully unique appearance and world class aroma ultimately fall short with the overly caustic tastes 3/5

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Photo of cvm4
3.88/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

They should really update the label here. There's no mention of being barrel aged on the label. I wasn't sure if this was the base beer (which there isn't one) or the barrel aged beer.

A - Pours a murky deep with with tinges of red to it. Has a one finger tan head.

S - Malts, toffee, caramel and banana esters. For a barrel aged beer, not much barrel on the nose.

T - Ahh, there's that bourbon and oak kick. It's present, but doesn't take over. Also has vanilla, sweet malts and dark fruits.

M - Medium to full bodied with low carbonation. Has a wet finish and low abv burn.

O - The barrel nose is weak. It's a solid beer though and the base beer does shine through as well.

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Photo of MasterSki
3.98/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Thanks to Chip for sending this my way. Shared at Todd's place; served in a snifter.

A - White foam settles to a collar, wisps, and a few splotches of lace. Transparent ruby body that's quite attractive.

S - Very English, with sharp and fruity notes, treacle, red fruits, toffee, and bready malts. Oak is mild, and there's some alcohol present, although not excessively so for 11.5%.

T - I like the taste better, as the alcohol is better contained and there's less of the 'sharp' English character. Nice mix of caramel, vanilla, fruity ale yeast, and only faint bourbon character; not sure what barrels were used, but they don't contribute a ton of flavor.

M - Medium-full body, pleasant carbonation, chewy texture, lightly toasty and dry in the finish. Alcohol is better concealed here as well.

D - I wish there was more bourbon character, as it might cut some of the sweetness. Might appeal to lovers of English ales, as the oak is more in line with something like Fuller's Brewer's Reserve. Solid, but not digging it as much as some of the other reviewers.

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Photo of ncfranklin
3.98/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at The Nook on 03/07/11.

A: A dark dirty brown with a small tan head that dissipates quickly. Looks thick.

S: Feint bourbon, maybe dark fruit. Not very potent.

T: Dark fruit up front, before a big burst of alcohol, sugary sweetness, and a caramel note. The Barrel aging ads just a peek of wood and vanilla, giving this a slight bourbon tang. Very complex, with flavors blending together very quickly.

M: Thick and tacky, sticks to the jaws.

D: Overall, a delicious old ale. But one is enough at this alcohol level.

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

A: Dark brown with an amber tinge of about 1 cm only when held to the light, lots of gunky brownish grey sediment, on cap upon opening, and in chunks on the bottom of the glass. A finger of deep beige head.

S: Scotch whiskey, butterscotch, caramel, woody oak quality, ice cream, brown sugar, pecan pralines. Maple syrup.

T: Caramel, maple syrup, whiskey, moderate sweetness that seems to have mellowed out leaving a relatively dry finish. Praline, ice cream, big woody oak quality also comes in.

M: Medium thick chewy body, medium low carbonation. Dry woody finish.

O: Excellent, well done brew. Bought in in Pensacola, FL and it was the last bottle in the store. Wasn’t able to find it in Alabama or even in Birmingham, so I’m glad I grabbed it. Well done brew. Not sure if I’ll ever see it again. Drank Aug 1st, 2014 in Decateur, AL.

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Photo of ccg
4.04/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Opened June, 2016. Latest batch, but aged a few months. No bottling date printed on the bottle. Oddly, Straight to Ale also does not print on the label that this beer is bourbon-barrel-aged.

Look: dark amber color, thick legs, decent head retention leaving a ring of bubbles. One of the better-looking old ales I've seen. 4.25

Smell: Tons of oak and vanilla and barrel character on the nose. Also a hint of orange marmalade. Smells sweet and boozy. 4.0

Taste: Sweet vanilla leads, followed by caramel and roasted malt and bourbon, and finished with charred oak. Fortunately not as cloyingly sweet as the smell suggested it would be. 4.0

Feel: Nice viscosity, smooth, slick, tongue-coating. Not much carbonation coming through, but it doesn't really need it. 4.25

Overall: A few months of age have tamed some of the sweetness. It's drinking pretty well right now. Still pretty sweet and bourbon-forward, but it's dangerously smooth. 4.0

 940 characters

Photo of Franziskaner
4.05/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown in color with a fingernail of khaki colored head that doesn't last. Nearly impenetrable to light. Strong aroma of bourbon greets my nose along with loads of dark malt. The taste is packed with sweet bourbon and dark malt. The mouth is thick and chewy.

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Photo of BigRedDog
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bomber poured into a pint glass.

Pours a very dark brown. Not much head, and it doesnt stay for long.

Smells is booze at first. Definite notes of barrel aging as well. Fades into some dark fruit.

Booze, wood, and dark fruits, like raisins, and maybe even some dark berries. Almost a sweetness to it, but cut by booze. Nice warming sensation on the way down, as well as a bit of a spicey, peppery finish.

Mouthfeel is thick and creamy.

Good beer. The ABV definitely shines through. Good with the pork tenderloin I'm having tonight too.

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Photo of zookerman182
4.16/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a murky red/brown color with almost no head at all.
Aroma is dark fruit, vanilla, oak, with a little Booze.
Flavor is the same as the aroma times two.
Strong vanilla with bready, dark fruit notes.
Warming alcohol throughout but not as boozy as Laika.
Fantastic beer that becomes more complex as it warms.

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Photo of Dope
4.18/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

No bottling date that I can find. I assume to be the most recent batch.

A: Pours a very dark brown but not quite black. Dense but small medium brown head. Head fades quickly with no lacing. Appears almost still with no head retention at all.

S: Huh. Big and fruity maltiness. Smells more like a sherry barrel or maybe brandy. Sweet dark fruits abound. Cocoa and maybe even marshmallow? Layer of caramel over everything. Smooth, sweet and inviting.

T: More of the same. Big, ultra-heavy and sweet caramel up front. Lots of dark fruits, raisins, berries and maybe even cherries? Caramel and heavy breadiness in the finish, all with a dusting of cocoa. Little bit of alcohol bite in the finish with a hint of oak and more dusty cocoa.

M: Heavy, thick, sweet. Alcohol bite helps cut it substantially.

O: Hell of an Old Ale. Super malty with nice layers of complexity only furthered by adding bourbon barrel aging. Very sweet and smooth but cuts nicely with the sharp alcohol content.

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Photo of OrestesMethuon
4.21/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Nice, deep reddish brown depth; chocolate, molasses, and—especially—raisin on the nose; good, plush, creamy-tan head, which lingers nicely in the tulip; the body is thick, but not unbecomingly so, and the bourbon notes really shine through: corn whiskey, woodiness, and velvety vanilla. Very drinkable, even mellow in its way, for an Old Ale—a nice melding of Old Blighty and Old Bluegrass, fresh and very obtainable in the Straight to Ale footprint.

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Photo of tempest
4.22/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Great balance here. I don't know if you'd want to drink an 11.5% old ale without the barrel cutting down the sweetness. This pairs big fruity dark malts — lots of jammy berries and caramel — with dry, almost crisp vanilla oak notes. There's a hint of heat to remind you you're dealing with whiskey. Overall, a wonderfully executed beer.

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Photo of chinchill
4.23/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

About half of a shared bomber bottle.

Lovely red-brown body with a very good head.

Lightly sweet with lots caramel and toffee. This is a bit boozy, mainly in the aroma, and it has pronounced bourbon barrel effects in the flavor. Still, excellent whisky barrel effects and overall excellent aroma and flavor.

Overall: easily the best beer I’ve had from this brewer, and one of the best old ales I’ve ever had.

 416 characters

Photo of ThickNStout
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%

22oz bottle from Dogwood Growler (Acworth, GA). 12.00. No bottling date. Served in a Barrel and Barley teku.

Pours an opaque, ruby tinted deep mahogany with a half finger of quickly fading head. Almost no retention whatsoever and no lace.

Smells of caramel, dark fruit jam, brown sugar and soft bourbon.

Taste follows the nose with raisin, currants, mildly charred brown sugar, subtle bourbon, caramel and a sharp alcohol bite. The bourbon barrel is present but lingers well behind the dark fruits and booze.

Slick, medium body with low carbonation. Aftertaste of fusel alcohol and whisky soaked raisins.

Unobtanium is good stuff for sure but pales in comparison to its cognac aged brother, Illudium. Still worth a try for sure and I look forward to enjoying the other couple bottles in my cellar.

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Photo of kirok1999
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%

Just what an Old Ale should be. Rich, dense and creamy. Sweet malts dominate the nose and tongue. Very mild carbonation makes it an easy sipper and the taste lingers for minutes. More like a fine dessert wine. Notes of dark fruit mixed with caramel and dates. The barrel aging does it well adding notes of vanilla and bourbon but the alcohol is just barely noticable. Seek it out.

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Photo of brewskifan55
4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a pint glass. Thanks for sharing, CorgiDad.

A: Dark brown with a tan one finger head that dissipates fast. Light lacing.

S: Sweet, bourbon-y with molasses, brown sugar and chocolate malts.

T: Knocked me out of my tree. Easily, the best thing we had at our tasting. Follows nose with a bourbon kick and cane sugar. Hearty, robust. Unputdownable. And yes, the alcohol is well hidden, as it pounded me later.

M: Medium with medium, frothy carbonation.

O: A sublime sipper from a stellar brewery. Recommended. I liked it as much as the Illudium.

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Photo of nickthegun12
4.33/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

had this beer last night, 4-22-11, at the aprilfest in auburn alabama...

the appearance is great...nice and black....the head holds up nicely

smells like it has been aged....almost a licorice smell to it...dark malts smelled great

the taste is outstanding....dark malts mixed so well with the aged whiskey barrel....the malts character dominates....but hides the alcohol very well

feel is dry....nice lacing...

overall this is outstanding beer...i would love to see this brewery do well in the years to come

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Unobtanium Barrel-Aged Old Ale from Straight To Ale
91 out of 100 based on 47 ratings.
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