Unobtanium Barrel-Aged Old Ale | Straight To Ale

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Unobtanium Barrel-Aged Old AleUnobtanium Barrel-Aged Old Ale
BA SCORE
4.17/5
Exceptional
252 Ratings
Unobtanium Barrel-Aged Old AleUnobtanium Barrel-Aged Old Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Straight To Ale
Alabama, United States
straighttoale.com

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
Ranking:
#1,995
Reviews:
61
Ratings:
252
pDev:
11.51%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
81
Gots:
67
Trade:
7
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 252 |  Reviews: 61
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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Photo of WOLFGANG
4.09/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Draught. Sweet, smokey, yummy.

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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
4.27/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

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!

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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

Photo of WesSwift
4.83/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of sohearn
4.13/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

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

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.

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Photo of JintheHam
4.72/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of A_Rad
3.93/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Roguer
4.08/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

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.

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

Photo of NolaHopHead
4.05/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz can.

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Unobtanium Barrel-Aged Old Ale from Straight To Ale
Beer rating: 4.17 out of 5 with 252 ratings