Unobtanium Barrel-Aged Old Ale | Straight To Ale

BA SCORE
91
outstanding
54 Reviews
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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
Reviews:
54
Ratings:
230
Avg:
4.11
pDev:
12.17%
 
 
Wants:
81
Gots:
63
For Trade:
8
User Reviews
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Reviews: 54 | Ratings: 230
Photo of Dope
4.18/5  rDev +1.7%
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 Bloodbuzz99
3.5/5  rDev -14.8%

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 iheartmyTHO
2.75/5  rDev -33.1%

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 Zach136
4.41/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Black with deep ruby edges.

Aroma: Big toffee notes, bourbon and oak.

Flavor: Dark fruit, caramel, and oak with a toasty background.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and silky

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Photo of ThickNStout
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

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 jeranbrews
3.75/5  rDev -8.8%

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 BigRedDog
4.1/5  rDev -0.2%
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 patre_tim
4/5  rDev -2.7%
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 brewskifan55
4.3/5  rDev +4.6%
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 SanFranJake
4.41/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Enjoying what my trading partner has labeled as a 2012 release, poured into a snifter.
A: Pours a deep dark mahogany color, very minimal cream head.
S: Very delightful. Some sweetness and a nice, lightly detectable hint of bourbon.
T: Very enjoyable. Like the smell, a light sweetness, a hint of bourbon and maltiness.
M: First sip was so rich and creamy. As I'm finishing this bomber, it's still nice and thick.
O: Very glad I was able to get try this beer. Wasn't even on my radar but my trading bud offered it up, I read the reviews and said hell yeah and I have no reservations what so ever. I'd gladly buy and consume this were it available for me. I think it was less than $15 for a BA Old Ale bomber...I'd buy this all damn day!

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.56/5  rDev -13.4%
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 Rbroccoli
4.48/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Served out of a chilled bomber poured into a nonic pub glass.

A: Very dark brown with decent 1/2 finger head, low retention. Looks like the ideal old ale.

S: Slightly boozy with sweet confectionary undertones.

T: Starting out cold I picked up on a lot of the sweetness. The flavors of this old ale are perfect for an Alabamian like myself. Sweet syrup flavors such as sorghum molasses and clover honey, balanced with a subtle nuttiness that tastes like a southern pecan pie and an oak like woodiness. As it warms, the sweeter flavors hide underneath the woodiness and a nice bourbon flavor begins to move in. Not too boozy, but some booziness. Very good.

M: This is where it gets tricky. It is good when it is cold: a nice slight viscosity with light carbonation. However, as it warms up, the mouthfeel seems to thin out and almost takes on the texture of diet cola. This is my only complaint about the beer-- it doesn't seem to warm well.

O: It's a great beer! I would definitely buy it again, and drink it cold. It may age well, and that may give the mouthfeel that extra boost.

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Photo of cvm4
3.88/5  rDev -5.6%
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 zookerman182
4.16/5  rDev +1.2%
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 UCLABrewN84
3.68/5  rDev -10.5%
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 richj1970
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 22 oz bomber into snifter glass.

A: Pours a ruby tinted brown with smallish head that settles quickly to a thin ring around the edge. A bit of lacing but not much.

S: Bready malts, caramel, and a bit of spice. Reminds me a bit of toffee.

T: Sweet malts mixed with bourbon and oak. Dark fruits and a bit of spiciness in the back.

M: Medium body and nicely carbonated. Coats the tongue nicely. Perfect after dinner drink.

O: One of my all time favorite Straight to Ale offerings. When I find it, I buy it all.

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Photo of MasterSki
3.98/5  rDev -3.2%
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 MacQ32
4.45/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A - pours deep deep mahogany with less than a finger of light toffee head. ok retention and lacing

S - Tons of brown sugar and heavy dark fruits. Slight warming alcohol

T - Dark fruits (rasins, prunes, etc) and Chocolate, brown sugar and sweet malts

M - medium bodied or less fairly easy drinking

O - Huge dark fruits sweet chocolatey malt taste, really nice belgianesque brew

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Photo of AgentMunky
4.44/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle into a St. Bernardus goblet.

A: Pours matte nut-brown with light head. Fades fast. Opaque.

S: Sweet raisins. Loads of malt and brown sugar.

T/M: Phenomenal! Lots of flavours -- spice, fruit, brown sugar, strong yeast. This is excellent. Powerful and Belgian-esque, perhaps due to whatever yeast strain made it old. Sweet, but not too much so. The barrel ageing really shine through The aftertaste is dryish, lingering, alcoholic, and pleasant.

O: This beer was unexpectedly excellent! It only improved with drinking. Highly recommended; I can't wait to get my hands on another bottle.

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Photo of sommersb
4.34/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Tasted On: 05-10-2013
Freshness: Not indicated
Packaging: 22 oz. brown bottle, swing-top
Glassware: Signature glass
Purchased: Single from The Bottle Shop, Franklin

Appearance has a cloudy dark brown beer with a small tan-colored head. Retention is low and the lacing is minimal, but I think that's to be expected on a beer with this ABV.

Smells start with sweet, dark fruits and then include malty caramel notes, some wood, vanilla and then alcohol spirit aromas.

The taste is strong and rich, with vanilla, bourbon alcohol, sweet malts, and dark fruits such as dates, raisins and figs. No bitterness is evident, although it's not super sweet so I think the hops are there for some balance.

Mouthfeel is thick and chewy, with a strong alcohol warming effect. Finishes sweet and full of malty and dark fruit flavors.

Overall a real treat of an English stock/old ale I highly enjoyed and would recommend!

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Photo of bcostner1
4.55/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: deep, rich mahogany brown. Moderate khaki head. Viscous pour.

S: Vanilla, bourbon, baked bread, dark fruit

T: Awesome. Melange of: vanilla, caramel, caramelized brown sugar, bourbon, wood, molasses, and a little maple syrup. No real hops present to speak of.

M: A little on the sugary sweet side. Viscous and thick; sticky. Satisfying but a sipper for sure. Still a little hot; some age would probably do this one great.

Overall, awesome brew. Worth trying for sure. Can't wait to try some more stuff from these guys!

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Photo of kencarman
4.63/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This example was not LISTED on bottle as barrel aged, but it tasted so and a bit oaky. The head was pillow and faded fast. Light barely shines through with deep ruby highlights. Aroma: classic Old Ale. Taste was exactly what an OA shpould be wit carmelized malt, little to no hops and nice, woody, slight tang. Mouthfeel a tad slippery.

Another Straight to Ale hit. 11 plus abv? You'd NEVER know..

I have yet to have a bad, or even mediocre, STA beer;.

Taste is oak and sweet malt with a hint of orange-LIKE fruitiness.

EXCELLENT. BUY IT.

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Photo of beerman240
4.34/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

A. Pours dark red and dark caramel..looks like rootbeer without as much head.
Thick and rich with a creamy head, and thin lace.
S. Roasted plums, raisins and ruby red grapefruit...weird...good fizzy tickle in my nose.
Love this smell by the way.
T. The first sip had a sharp bitter..all the fallowing sips did not..boozy...good stuff.
Malts..strong malt, kindof tobacco-ey. This beer slides into a mellow smooth finish.
M. Boozey fix..sits on back of tongue and plays a song.
O. Enjoyed this beer..I'm really glad a "good" beer come out of Alabama. I live in Clay and would definately stop in to drink all of their Onobtanium. Would definitely recommend this beer..I'm drinking this poured rrom a bomber into my OMMEGANG large tulip I got in a gift pack for Christmas..ENJOY!

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Photo of mattsdenney
4.38/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Purchased from the first shipment of bombers to make it to Nashville. I wasn't aware that this is barrel aged but as there is no other option available so I'll rate this one (I did have some actual barrel aged cask unobtanium @ the 12 South Winter Warmer).

Anyways, this one pours dark, oily, looks black but is actually a dark brownish red when held up to the light. Finger thick brown head with no lacing or retention. The pour releases a great smelling beer. Heavy dried fig and fruit, maple syrup, toasted caramel, and smoky malts. The taste of this beer is rich and strong and leads with earthy, malty goodness. Follows with hints of dark cherries and dried fruit and finishes with a nice syrupy, boozy sweetness.

The mouthfeel on this one is thick and heavy bodied. Perfect for an Old Ale as it forces you to drink slowly and savor the taste. Overall a really flavorful and filling beer that is nice and warming on a cold winter evening.

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Photo of Reaper16
4.72/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

served on-tap @ Alcove, Tuscaloosa, AL, into a pint glass

Pours a rich, ruddy, muddy red-brown color. Like silt and clay. It's pretty dark, but there's plenty of redness to the overall color. For an 11.5% ABV beer there is a lot of head; slightly greater than one finger of off-white foam. Decent lacing. A fine looking Old Ale.

There's plenty going on in the aroma, most of which is reflected in how the beer tastes. So...

Straight up: this beer is one of the most complex, enjoyable beers I've ever had. The layers of flavor here are numerous. Unobtanium begins by throwing an entire bakery at you: sugar cookies and oatmeal-raisin cookies and Hamantashen cookies and fruitcake and Ho-Hos. So many baked goods! So many combinations of sugar and cooked dough. Brown sugar and barrel, too: oakiness, trace vanilla. There's a very slight bourbon flavor here from the Buffalo Trace barrels, but it mostly blends into the other malty flavors. What takes this beer over the top is its mint component. I don't know what is causing the mint flavor, but that cool, herbal note helps to balance out the richness of the malt bonanza. The mint also plays well with the barrel characteristics. The finish is an amalgam of every flavor that's already been mentioned, as well as some red grapes. This beer is incredible.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side of medium-bodied. It isn't what I'd consider to be "thick," but it carries its weight around enough to suit the heavy flavor profile. It's a very sweet beer, and the mouthfeel reflects that. And it needs to be said: you could never tell that this is an 11.5% ABV beer. It's as smooth as the day is long, with not a single trace of alcohol burn.

Overall, this is absolutely, bar none, the best Old Ale I've ever had. I first tried it well over a year ago, at a beer festival here in Alabama. It blew me away, but I was too drunk to properly review it. Now that I've tasted it again, I see that I wasn't just remembering a big-fish-story. Unobtanium Old Ale is the very best beer that the state of Alabama brews. It is the best Old Ale that I've ever had, and it is worth the trip into Huntsville or Birmingham in order to drink it.

One last note: a lot of Alabama beers, be they from Good People or Avondale or what have you, are overrated by the local reviewing public. I tend to find that Alabama beers have inflated BA scores relative to their quality. This is NOT the case for Unobtanium Old Ale. I'm not a homer, and I think this beer is absolutely world-class.

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Unobtanium Barrel-Aged Old Ale from Straight To Ale
4.11 out of 5 based on 230 ratings.
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