Old Salty Barleywine 2004 | Heavyweight Brewing Co.

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Old Salty Barleywine 2004Old Salty Barleywine 2004
Very Good
47 Ratings
Old Salty Barleywine 2004Old Salty Barleywine 2004

Brewed by:
Heavyweight Brewing Co.
New Jersey, United States

Style: British Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): not listed

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-30-2004

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Ratings: 47 |  Reviews: 44
Photo of t0rin0
4.5/5  rDev +15.7%

Photo of ygtbsm94
3/5  rDev -22.9%

Photo of rab53
4/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of cbl2
4.17/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

6/25/2005 $9.99 4 pack

Brewed 8/22/04 clearly labeled on the bottle, no best by date necessary as this one should have enough alcohol to go the distance.


Pours a relatively still murky dark brown with a thin film lacing the rim of the glass.


Sweet figs and ripe plums compete with the heady aroma of a lot of alcohol. This one is clearly going to pack a punch!


Nice chewy mouthfeel with sweet dark fruit flavors (plum, some cherry) that envelops the mouth followed by an intense presence of alcohol. Finish is slightly nutty, with some similarities to a belgian double. Not perfect for the style, but a rather enjoyable beer nonetheless. Definitely worth picking up and sipping slowly!

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Photo of gbarron
3.8/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

From a 12 oz. bottle, 2004 edition.

A - deep, dark caramel, mahogany. Head is massive as the beer is grossly overcarbonated. Rocky, off-white, large bubbles. Lacing is extensive and head retention excellent, despite the beer's alcohol content.

S - rich, malty, sweet aromas fill my nose. Hints of plums, raisins, over-ripe dark fruits. Candy sugar. Very little hop aroma and strong notes of higher alcohols. Smells like an English-style barleywine.

T - initially very sweet and syrupy, malty. Followed by a decent amount of bitterness but little hop flavor. Reminiscient of a fine port, sherry, or fortified wine. Slightly tangy, lots of rich, deep dark malt and fruit flavors. Old, bruised pears, fermented raisins. Balance is respectable in this beer, but tilts decidedly towards malt with an almost total absence of hops save for the IBU's. Tasty.

M - a thick bodied brew, slightly syrupy but not over the top, leaves some sweet stickiness in your mouth. However, I have to take a significant deduction because every bottle from this four-pack has been very overcarbonated, almost over flowing from the bottle after opening. If you pour it into a glass and let it sit a 10 minutes or so, it dies down. But it is a serious distraction. Noticeable alcohol warming.

D - I love English barleywines and this one is top notch flavor/aroma-wise. Have to take off points, though, due to the carbonation problems mentioned above. Try it while you can still find some.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.85/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a deep mahogany color barleywine with a medium off-white foamy head with good retention. Aroma of plums and prunes with some sweet caramel malt. Taste is quite sweet but not disgustingly so with some nice touch of plums and prunes. Hops are clearly present bit not overpowering on the sweet caramel malt. Body is above average but could be a bit more full. Alcohol is well hidden. Overall a very good barleywine but missing some character to make this a truly great beer.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.13/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Flawless garnet with bright cherry highlights when backlit with afternoon sun. The beer is capped by an impressively creamy golden beige head that crests the edge of the snifter on the pour and then drops back to a tidy one finger within minutes. There's very little lace, but Old Salty still looks gorgeous in the glass; especially when viewed in tandem with Old Sol.

Even though I've smelled more aggressive and more complex barley wines, this one is more than solid. I've been enjoying it since the pour and have discovered that it holds up very well to a few more focused sniffs as well. It's more vinous than most with concentrated Cabernet and tawny port notes. I don't pick up an abundance of hops, but given the style and the fact that it's nearly two years of age, that's not surprising.

It's apparent after a few sips that Old Salty 2004 is a refined, well-mannered, almost apologetic version of the style as opposed the raging beasts that American-style barley wines can be when young or the velvet sledgehammers that they can be when aged. When I saw the 'warning: this product contains lots of malt and hops' on the label, I expected roman candles to go off in my mouth... but didn't quite get them.

That isn't to say that OS is bad beer; far, far from it. It's just that it's a quintessentially English barley wine and, for better or for worse, I happen to be less than wowed by that particular sub-style. Authentically English ingredients have been used, including English pale malt, Challenger hops and (in typical Heavyweight fashion) an ingredient that I'd never heard of before, Lyle's Golden Syrup. Which, as far as I can tell, is a sort of golden treacle.

There's an acceptable amount of malt, although the less than bombastic flavor is matched by the less than huge body/mouthfeel. Nothing wrong with being on the lighter end of the style spectrum; someone's got to hold down that end. The best part of the flavor profile as far as I'm concerned is the bursting berry fruitiness. Cherries, blackberries and winey red grapes are most prominent. Again, vinousness is a distinguishing characteristic.

As in the nose, I don't appreciate the Challenger hops much at all. Hard to believe that they've faded so completely in less than two years, so they must not have been anywhere close to Old Crustacean-like to begin with. The pleasureable warmth that is spreading down to my toes keeps me mindful of the double-digit ABV. There's very little alcohol appreciated on the palate though.

As alluded to above, the body/mouthfeel is something less than 'thicky and sticky'. Given the remainder of the beer's attributes, more viscosity wouldn't necessarily have been a good thing. I always enjoy a beer whose mouthfeel matches its mouthflavor. The carbonation is barely noticed with no trace of flatness or lifelessness.

The goofy Old Salty dog on the label reminds us that beer is supposed to be fun. This 2004 vintage may not be the biggest or the baddest barley wine dog on the block, but it's still a delicious, approachable, easy to sip version that is as comfortable as an old pair of slippers and twice as warming. It's beer like this that reminds me how much Heavyweight will be missed.

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Photo of mrasskicktastic
3.77/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - A cloudy sienna brew with only a minute head and no lacing.

S - Smells like pomegranate and grape juice left out overnight. I have always liked that smell personally, but I am sure a lot do not. There are a bit of the smell from assorted sugary fruit hard candies as well. Like a big jar of lollipops. Slight alcohol as well, but it is low of the aroma ladder.

T - A nice bit of the grape and pomegranate flavor as well, there is a caramel malt backing and a touch of alcohol. I would guess this at about 12%, but it is well masked and tastes like a 7 percenter. There is a sweet and tart aftertaste, like that of grape juice. After a long while a light bitterness kicks in.

M - Fairly high carbonation, but the brew is thick enough that it isn't a major drawback, yet still a bit thinner than most Barleywines. It strikes me as being fairly dry, yet it is doesn't leave me parched. It actually is pretty refreshing. Probably the sweetness making me salivate more than anything.

D - Pretty good. It isn't the flavor bomb that is many barley wines, yet it does have a lot of interesting aspects. It is and all around nice brew. Easier to drink than some barleywines, but nothing too impressive.

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Photo of jdhilt
4.1/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours with a one-finger, light tan head that fades quickly and leaves no lace. Cloudy amber color. Good carbonation. Nose is sweet malt. Starts and finishes smooth and sweet, high ABV is in background. Medium bodied. Good alternative to DFH Olde School. $2.99 for a 12oz bottle from Julio's Westborough, Ma.

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Photo of sacfly
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours an almost opaque dark brown color. What little head it starts with is gone before you can blink. Smell is lightly of sweet cherries and alcohol. First taste is syrupy sweet with over ripe fruit… plums…dates… Strange aftertaste. Somewhat salty as the name implies… Not sure if it is just subliminal… Alcohol again makes an appearance in the aftertaste. Definitely an English style barleywine. Don’t expect any hint of American. A good product from an OK brewery.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.49/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I remember trying this beer last year around this time and I also recall being underwhelmed compared to the two Old Salty's before this one. Appearance: Lively carbonation is evident on the pour so take your time and tilt that glass the body appears ruby plum brown hue slightly opaque with cloudiness from the bottle conditioning forms quite a thicket of foam two fingers plus has a chunky texture to it, and as it slowly dwindles down lacing is left unevenly around my chalice. Aroma: After aging for a year hops do mellow a bit deep alcohol and fruit tones mix with a hoppy edge of pine and grassy notes with a somewhat tart and vinous malt profile. Taste: Big flavor with piney, earthy hops and big juicy alcohol soaked overly ripened fruit meet to wow the senses. It all melds into one flavor very warming still a bit rough around the edges, but much better than it was a year ago. Mouthfeel: Succulent with carbonation lively enought to have to let mellow after decapping, it was a bit syrupy very big body. Drinkability: Tom Baker always has an interesting way of portraying his art Old Salty 04 is no different, a bit heavy on carbonation but flavor and aromatics are all representative of a great barleywine.

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Photo of canucklehead
3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is another beer from Malto. The head on this was huge to the point where it over ran the glass which is a first for a barley wine. The beer is quite nice to look at once the head subsided, as it seemed to glow in the light. The nose is malt and some alcohol. The taste is refined and semi sweet with the malt coming to the fore on the finish. It tasted very English in its presentation and quite drinkable at one year old. A good BW that needs little cellaring to improve.

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Photo of Dogbrick
4.22/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Acquired via trade. 2004 Bottle: Dark chestnut color with a thin wispy off-white head and minimal lacing. Aroma of toasted malt, bread and caramel. Rich and sweet mouthfeel with lots of malt and caramel flavoring. Nice amount of hops and alcohol to balance it. The bitterness is less pronounced by the end of the glass. The finish is sweet and salty with a bit of citrus. This is an enjoyable Barley Wine.

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Photo of ppoitras
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle purchased somewhere, I forget where... Bottle begins to slowly foam out the neck after uncapping.

Carefully poured in a Rapscallion glass, 3" of foam over 1" of clear coppery amber brew. It is obvious that drinking will not be happening anytime soon, as the head is falling V-E-R-Y slowly, leaving sporadic rocky lacing. Nose is heavily malty, with dark fruits, and alcohol. Taste is sweet malts, with a somewhat earthy note, and then lots of fruity alcohol. Mouthfeel and drinkability are along the lines for the style, and this is a nice representation of an English-style barleywine.

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Photo of Sammy
3.65/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Promise of a good brew with barley, roastiness, chocolate malts. Very nice dark appearance. But the second Heavyweight I have had, and I am underwhelmed by the sourness, and in this case heavy saltiness.. Ok in aftertaste. Needs more malty taste to cover up. Or some other good taste. Thanks Lubiere for sending.

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Photo of meathookjones
4.7/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Muddy looking dark reddish brown with a smallish of white head that holds tight. Sweet ripe fruits fill the aroma. Notes of sweet syrup, alcohol and a light musty earth mix in well. Big fruit sweetness over a syrupy back drop. This is definitely a complex malt pack beer if I ever had one. Light caramel and some earthiness. Alcohol is there but not overwhelming but just right. Plenty of over little complexities in there. Lightly bitter and sweet fruity finish with a touch of must. Perfect at room temperature. Pretty damn thick and sticky sweet. Drinkable as hell too. I remember it being good when it was released but it is excellent now, wish I would have bought a case or two.

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Photo of BeerResearcher
3.32/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Short 12oz brown bottle. No freshness date (not that it needs one)
It pours a dark rusty, murky brown color with a small, fast-fading beige head.
It smells like a Barley Wine. A smell of prunes and light citrusy nose. with a hint of port or sherry.
The heavy, nearly syrupy malt body has flavors ranging from figs to honey, from canned fruit cocktail to sherry. A light citrusy bitterness lingers throughout.
There's an odd off flavor of salty cheese that I just can't quite pinpoint. A very noticeable alcohol fuminess seems to increase in potency with each gulp.
Odd beer!

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Photo of goodbyeohio
3.92/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

bought a 4pk of this beer for a friend at work who is referred to as 'old salty,' kept one for myself.

cloudy reddish-orange.. somewhat murky and lacking any head other than the expected bubble ring from a barleywine. aroma is super-malty as promised.. with some real off-notes. something fishy, maybe sweaty? hints of bacterial tartness, like a lambic? all this behind burnt-sugar molasses type maltiness? wtf? i am dreading the first sip.

raisiny malt in the first sip and a hint of something soapy.. light overall with a slight alcohol burn that really doesn't interfere. further, less cautious sips kick that alcohol up, approaching lighter fluid status. i knew i should have held this bottle for a couple years (joe at spuyten duyvil informed me of the 01 and 02 current popularity) but i didn't listen. buyer beware.. if you don't have a cellar.. dogfish this one up (bury it outside in the yard).

very sweet and reaching sherry-like vinousness at an early age. this will be a funky ass yet smooth brew when it's about 4 or 5, and i would love to revisit it then. for now, not bad.. but this has potential.

like licking a cake batter-covered spoon.

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Photo of AlexJ
3.93/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Another interesting offer from an adventurous brewer. Old Salty reveals itself a dark chestnut brown with a brick red cast and is rather hazy. A surprizingly large, frothy head of large, streaming bubbles stays throughout the beer. Upon tasting I will realize this is from over-carbonation.

A generous nose displays assorted fruits, chewy caramel, toffee, molasses, rum soaked fruitcake, a hint of dry oak, light ly fruity hops, and a warming nudge of alcohol.

Flavor follows closely, with lots of dark caramel and lightly scorched toffee, rum-soaked strawberries and dark cherries, oak, dusty leather, a hint of campfire smoke, vanilla, and fruity and floral hops in the finish. Licking my lips, I discover why it's called Old Salty. A briney taste that reminds me of a fresh sea breeze. Interesting.

Body is a chewy medium. Mouthfeel suffers due to the ridiculous carbonation. After many swirls of the glass, it finally settles down. Drinkability is decent regardless.

Thanks to BrewMoose for a chance to try this rare brew.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.5/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The 2004 Old Salty is a little more fruity and alcoholic than the previous vintages were. It doesn't have quite the same, direct, 'all about the malt' quality... and that's odd, because this year was supposed to be all about bumping up the malt! In fact, the Salty Dog is trying to jam just one more bag of malt into the bottle on the label! Or, perhaps it has something to do with the addition of the Lyle's Golden syrup. I think so, but who really knows? Maybe Tom. Regardless, it's left with a bit more complexity, which is nice.

It delivers the same appearance as it has in the past, and it maintains a decent collar. As usual, it's alcohol cuts down on its leaving lace about the glass, but it does put out some effort aroud the collar.

The nose offers a whiff of spicy alcohol over a finely entwined combination of caramelish malt and yeasty fruitiness (run soaked blackberries; oily raisins; figs; and plums). It's almost like some kind of candy! And some leafy and grassy hops do try to make an appearance, but they're basically relegated to the back of the room until later notice.

In the mouth it's supremely supple and smooth like a worn leather chair at the end of a long day. The medium-full body and restrained, natural carbonation massage the tongue lightly, and then simply disappear.

The alcohol returns in the flavor, but actually acts as a catalyst to liven it's fruity and malty sides. It perks everything up with a touch of pepper; and the dark-fruit (that borders on becoming slightly vinous) and light caramel combination is splendid. Some leafy and grassy hops again sneak in, but don't really appear until the finish along with a note of dark cherry that's oh-so-nice.

In essence, the 2004 is softer, but hotter... and fortunately a touch more complex and fruity... but only time will tell where this one will go. It's not my favorite year because of the heat, but it's still very good.

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Photo of SCW
3.37/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Had this one on-tap at Spuyten Duvyil.

The beer poured a turbid brown color; very murky and mysterious.

The aroma was unique; absolutely no trace of hops in this one. Molasses, raisins, toffee. Brown sugar and maybe a bit of maple syrup? A very malt-infused MASSIVE blast to the nose.

The aroma was definitely a prelude of what was to come. No bitterness evident.... malt, malt, malt! MALT! The only bitterness derived was a twinge of alcohol, and perhaps a slight contribution from dark or roasted malts. Otherwise, it was all malt, baby.

The beer was full-bodied and slightly carbonated, and left a lingering cloying sweetness in the aftertaste.

Overall, not my type of barleywine. I just had a bigfoot the other day, and even thought it might seem cliche, you gotta love the hoppy barleywines. Go American!

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.35/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Stubby 12 ounce bottle with Bill Coleman’s inimitable artwork on the label per previous years. Lots of space is devoted to the Nanny States Warning, some generic description of the brew and simply no information at all relating to the strength of this one. The artwork is rather cool though.

Appearance: Rust bloom orange mixes with a murky deep ruddy body. Backlit, it flashes a turbid ruby with some deep kriek redness. Tan colored head builds well but soon relaxes to leave a decent halo that is several bubbles deep but never manages more than the look of a thick rim. Ultra fine carbonation looks fantastic when the glass is gently tipped.

Nose: Rummy nose, warm malt-soaked alcohols, bourbon barrels and mashed plums. Spicy hops break through at times. Initially a sharp nose that works well towards a much smoother rounded ending.

Taste: Sweet, throughout. Minimal but omni-present alcohol feel, rum and raisin mixes with a thick breaded middle. Crumb laden finish has a lingering dark rum alcohol ending. Massive malt feel, the hops are there but they seem completely engaged in the Ying & Yang struggle for balance, it works to a certain extent, but the malts win through and lend most of the characteristics to this fine English style Barleywine. After a few mouthfeels the alcohol develops and acts like a solvent spreading the lower flavors; berries, fruitcake, dark malts, all sorts of exotic spices and a flash of the warm crackling oak burning fire wedged into a traditional English inglenook. Tasty stuff, that seems to be working through its youth just fine.

Mouthfeel: The pour was rather viscous; in fact it oozed rather than poured out. This comes across thick in the mouth too; low carbonation still contributes a lot to the presence. Smooth and boozy but not overpowering. Lovely fireside finish goes well with hot toasted Cinnamon & Raisin English Muffins.

Drinkability: Not exactly a quaffer but I did not put up much of fight and managed the whole bottle in a rather embarrassingly short time. Makes a terrific nightcap!!

Overall: Super stuff, highly enjoyable and if you get the lucky chance to get a few of these I would strongly suggest sticking away one for a cold day, I’m sure your patience will be adequately rewarded.

Thanks to little –e for this most gracious gift that packs quite the ‘Heavyweight’ punch.

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Photo of AsburyParkJMH
3.44/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Saw this one in the store the other day and realized that I hadn't sampled the '04 batch yet. How it slipped by me for so long is beyond me but it did. Old Salty '04 pours a murky iced tea amber-brown colour. The head is basically non-existent here. Appearance is above average at best.

The smell is much better: alcohol hits immediately and mixes with wet wood, a touch of bubblegum, some juicy berry notes and other sweetness as well.

The flavour, while nice and full, is not as well balanced as the smell. Sweetness and fruit/bubblegum flavours are minimal to nonexistent. What donimates here is an earthy burnt malt flavour mixed with a heavier dose of alcohol than expected. The finish is very dry and tart. Mouthfeel is sharp and packs a bite but remains smooth at the same time. It just seemed to be a bit too much all over the map for me. Still good, but could have been better. It's probably my least favourite of the Old Salty series thusfar.

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Photo of Maestro
3.34/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This beer is brown with an orange hue. The head is tan, foamy and leaves a great lacing on the glass. Lots of fizz in this barleywine. The nose has a strong alcohol character similar to whisky, with little to no hop aroma. Taste is quite alcoholic as well. The malts are very complex, but it seems that this baby needs to age a bit more. I also would like to know the abv. Not much to say about this one.

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Photo of Foxman
3.88/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It pours a deep orangy amber, clear and lightly carbonated. A beige head jumps up quickly to a few fingers, maybe more, and lingers long. Lacing textures the glass.

Surprisingly, and disappointingly, the aroma is a sparse blend of malt sweetness and slight hops bitterness. Alcohol actually comes though more clearly than anything.

The first element is the sweet malt, fair and true, with a certifiable nutty-toffee character, rounding slowly to a currant and crusty yeast center. The hops spice the content, delivering a rather gentle citrus hue to the palate. But, while the specific hops notes are a bit vague, the overal hops presence is meaty. Underneath it all is the knowing bite of the alcohol, perhaps snatching away some of the details from the hops. The finish lingers for a bit withthe hops winning out in the end.

Between medium and heavy bodied, the thick malt is almost syrupy, but the hops help slicken the flow. The hops glow on the tongue for some time after a sip.

I'm thinking the cellar would be a good place for this one, for 6-12 months. It might blend things to the point where the hops aren't fighting the alcohol for face time. I enjoyed it, as I do most barleywines, but that thin aroma just didn't do anything to announce what was coming, and the flavor was a little halting in nature. The ABV limits intake as expected, but I'll re-visit this one come November or so, to see if maybe the flavor will make me consider the alcohol a bit less in deciding on another.

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Old Salty Barleywine 2004 from Heavyweight Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.89 out of 5 with 47 ratings