Wooden Hell | Flossmoor Station Restaurant & Brewery

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Wooden HellWooden Hell

Brewed by:
Flossmoor Station Restaurant & Brewery
Illinois, United States

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
GABF 2006 Strong Barrel Aged Bronze, Woodford Reserve Barrel Aged Barleywine

Added by mcallister on 04-29-2007

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 88 | Ratings: 152
Photo of cosmicevan
4.58/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Consumed on 7/28 (THANKS A TON to mike for reaching out to me about this BA Barleywine tasting...truly epic!!!).

a - pretty muddy looking. minimal carbonation. murky to the light. opaque. some swirls of carbonation on the surface. very thin ring of head on the surface. spotty lacing that slid down the glass. swirling the glass kind of brings things to life, but not much. looks eerily similar to idiot's drool (GASP).

s - smells awesome! very similar to king henry (which was opened not all that long after this). wonderful figgy smell. great barrel integration. caramel. wood. some vanilla.

t - really tasty. figgy and caramel. some heat, but wonderfully integrated. as this beer warmed it took on a whole new life and the flavor got a lot more complex. at first it was pretty good, but over time it became quite impressive with big toffee notes and a lot more complexity and fullness to the flavor.

m - extremely smooth. some heat is present, but it is well integrated. soft carbonation and dangerously easy to drink.

o - thank goodness the look didn't mean much on this beer! overall, i never had this before so i cannot comment if it is on its way down, but this beer is pretty bada$$ as it was today. the smooth mouthfeel really brings this one to the next level, but other than that, there are many other amazing barrel aged barelywines around today that are on a similar level. the legend and hype of this beer really adds to the luster. aside from the tick, if you are contemplating letting go of a case of king henry or something like that to attain this, i'd recommend not doing it. don't get me wrong, i'm SUPER glad i got to try it, but many others are on this level (in fact, this wasn't the highlight of the tasting flavor-wise for me, alpine's great took the gold)...this one is more about the tick and, a ticker's gotta tick.

right after this was opened and sampled, we opened a BA old ruffian which i thought was a bit tastier, but as the wooden hell warmed, the flavor changed substantially and rapidly took the lead over the BA old ruff. as it warmed, wooden hell filled out and the flavor profile got way more complex with strong fig notes...and in general just a thicker warmer taste...the entire group agreed that it was a different beer cold and at room temp. unfortunately it didn't trump alpine great in the flavor dept.

HUGE thanks to mike for letting me keep the bottle too!

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Photo of koopa
4.79/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From Notes: Tasting @ Beerloco's house on 1/22/11

Appearance: Pours caramel with slightly reddish honey tinged steaks and folds. Minimal slightly off white (dull buttery) crown. Not much retention or lace.

Smell: Layered deliciousnes - caramel, fig, dates, slightest whisper of oxidation, burnt sugar, brown molasses, and a dash of chocolate.

Taste: Same as the nose and equally as delicious!

Mouthfeel: Medium body with a touch of chewiness....nearly perfect. I'd give it a 4.7 if I could so I'm rounding down a bit.

Drinkability: Quite sessionable for the style. I could and would want to drink this as often as possible!

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Photo of FosterJM
4.72/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

1165th Review on BA
Bottle to Snifter
22 oz- Gold Wax

Yes it did happen-- http://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c399/Fr8train63/3ef330fd.jpg

Thanks to Jazzpatel for this one.

Shared with GuruDel, JazzPatel, MrHirschybar & BdubleEdubleRUN

App- This poured from the bottle a murky dark brown. Great color but wouldve liked a bit more bubble activity from this. A little bit of amber mixed in. Zero cling or lace, a bit more smooth looking then King Henry.

Smell- This was really quite aromatic for being such an older bottle. The flavors are still there and very temepered. King needs a few years. This would be more vanilla, bourbon and temepered booze.

Taste- Holy crap! I never thought this would happen. I will say this lived up to the hype. The bourbon flavors are very mellow and relaxed. Great combination of malt and citrus. The resting of this bottle has left a great beer that is still king of the heap. Well worth the wait and no signs of fading but more mellowing. The beer is just so damn good.

Mouth- Medium bodied and medium carbonation. A good bit of barrel and creamy vanilla remain with more citrus than I wouldve thought.

Drink- A very well done and layered beer. I can see why people will never give this up. Thanks again Jazz.

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Photo of GuruDel
4.82/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hmmm... Never thought this would happen, but it did.

Bottle poured to Bruery Tulip.

Many thanks go out to Jazz, Steve and James for making this happen.

A: Dark golden brown, like liquid caramel, little bit of bubble from the pour but no head at all.
S: Amazingly complex, vanilla, bourbon hints, oak and sweet caramel. The nose on this beer is amazing, the group sat around and smelled it from 5 or 6 different glasses, each was unique but still fantastic.
T: There was no oxidation, no off flavors at all, it was pure awesome in a glass. Sweet caramel, oak, vanilla and a hint of booze but in the best way possible.
M: This was basically a still beer with no detectable carbonation, but it was still fantastic. It was not overly thick or sticky, but it still coated the whole mouth.

Again many thanks to Jazz, I owe you one.

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Photo of trodersark
3.6/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle Poured into a Tulip.

A: Pours a hazy light amber, with no head whatsoever.
S: Smells of caramel, light vanilla notes, some oak, and slights hints of bourbon
T: oxidized. oxidized. I can't really taste the bourbon anymore. I taste some caramel, a touch of spice, some vanilla, toffee, and definitely a lot of oak.It tasted really similar for a really old bigfoot. There was definitely a lingering aftertaste that stuck with me long after every sip.
M: flat, no carbonation whatsoever, though drinkability is quite smooth, not hot at all.
O: overall, I thought it was a good beer. Do I think there is good reason for the hype? hmmm. I definitely do believe that if I had tasted this beer a year or two ago, my review and thoughts would have been quite different. If you have a bottle of this, drink it, trade it, do what you will, but it definitely does not need any more time. In fact, I feel as though this beer is definitely on its downhill curve. But don't get me wrong, I am very thankful for getting a chance to try this whale, and I definitely think it's a brew you should 110% try if you have the chance. I just don't quite think it lived up to the hype it still holds.

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Photo of vissai
4.49/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

***TroDersak's review above is based on a hand bottling of Wooden Hell and was drank 4 hours after bottle was opened***

Wow like most people, I didn't think I would ever get to try this. Never say never I guess.

Thanks Alen!

Had this along with the BA Hi-Fi Rye and Brandy Barrel Aged Dark Lord.

Poured 7 ounces directly into a lost abbey tulip.

A: Rusty copper brown, a little cloudy with no head in sight. Had to give the glass a little twirl to create a quarter inch of froth. Body looked pretty typical to its style.

S: The smell was my favorite part, a perfect balance of oak, vanilla, dark fruit dipped in caramel and a little spice at the end.

T: Taste follows the nose with same flavors and coats all parts of the mouth with a very very long lasting finish. I think the lingering taste is what set this beer apart for me. I would take one sip, sit back and enjoy the flavor for 5 minutes to follow.

M: From previous taster of Wooden Hell, he said the beer had thinned out. By no means was it thin but a little more body would have been magical. Its definitely the age that has caused the thinness. Alcohol was not detectable what so ever.

O: I can see where the hype comes from this brew, but if you have one drink it asap as it is thinning out and i am certain age will do no benefit to this beer. The group consenus was that BA Hi-Fi Rye at this moment is a better beer.

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Photo of hopsbreath
4.59/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Well, I guess it's about time I reviewed this. Review taken from literally three lines of notes tapped out on my BlackBerry. Thanks to HoppyMeal for bringing a bottle of this to the pre-Hair of the Dog bottle share earlier this month. He committed to bringing this and a J&J Blauw and suddenly the bar was instantly set. An insane tasting and a great time.

A: Pours a hazy prune/tan with a small beige head that quickly recedes to a glass ring. Moderate legs show the heft of the body. 4/5

S: Brewbro000 said something along the lines of "I'm going to give myself a nose bleed because I'm sniffing this so hard". That about sums it up for me. Warm vanilla, rich toffee, and mellow bourbon. 5/5

T: Sweet caramel, creamy fruits, and smooth bourbon. The richness was only barely delved into from my small pour, but it had great depth. 4.5/5

M: Moderate body with a silky texture. No alcohol burn. 4.5/5

O: This was a superbly aged bottle. Its equal I've never experienced. I'll likely never get the chance to drink this again but at least now I see what all the fuss is about. Worth whatever it takes to trade for a bottle. 4.5/5

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Photo of Kaydogg
4.15/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thank you very much Dan!
couple oz pour

A. Pours brown rust color almost a bronze. no head on my pour

S. Spicy sweet smell almost like a cookie of some sort, bourbon, vanilla, and oak.

T. pretty complex stuff, Subtle sweetness with characteristics of bourbon, spice, oak, a touch of vanilla. Low carbonation. Decent body but i feel its too thin.. I wonder if this is starting to move past its prime.

O. Overall the beer was excellent...no doubt
live up to the hype? Gonna have to say no. Again maybe this beer is starting the down hill trip. Dare I say I prefer Mother of All Storms...I dare. Thanks again for this rare treat..

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Photo of RodneyX
4.89/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had to give up half my cellar to land this one, let's hope it's worth it.

It pours a little red amber color with just a tiny bit of head. Smell is sweet, the barrel is great barrel with bourbon that has calmed down over the years. The taste is just a stunning example of a bourbon barley wine. Vanilla from the barrel is there but it is not too much. Good brown sugar. Drinks quite smoothly and I was sad when the bottle was exhausted. Will now start search for second bottle.

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Photo of seeswo
4.37/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks Cam!

Pours a nice light brownish color with a very minimal tannish head. Smell is really nice - well integrated bourbon/vanilla/oak and caramel malts. A touch of toffee and caramelized brown sugar. More reserved, balanced and integrated than in-your-face. The bourbon in the taste is absolutely perfect, with strong identifying flavors or vanilla and oak, but not over-the-top or dominant over the base barleywine flavors of caramel, brown sugar, toffee. Unfortunately, this is the sad part of this review. This particular bottle had clearly started to descend. The oxidation was past the peak of aging for a barleywine, and as such, the base barleywine flavor had begun to retract from what I imagine it would have been a year ago. While the barrel still carries this beer nicely, and the flavor still comes together pretty well, this is definitely not a beer I would keep aging if I intended to drink it at some point. This is made even more substantial of a problem due to the relatively thin body in this beer, such that there is a combination of thin body and thin 'barleywine' flavor that will eventually make this beer mediocre at best. That said, this beer is very good right now, extremely drinkable and really shows off the best of barrel aging (bumping the taste to 4.5 from 4.0 based on this).

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Photo of brew3crew
4.55/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to Cam for this once in a life time tick. When he texts you "get over here now or you will regret it forever" just do it,

A-maroonish in color with no head whatsoever. Looks very inviting

S-bourbon vanilla and oak melded perfectly together

T- follows the nose almost perfectly. Very rare.

M-medium body and oh so smooth

O- this has held up remarkably well and is a very good beer. I tried to take the rareness out, but that is very difficult

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Photo of ColdPoncho
4.59/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Well, thanks for this Cam. Even though you did serve me Hellshire telling me it was Wooden Hell. My memory of this beer is forever tainted with onions. Notes/memory from tonight

A - Clouded dark reddish brown body, with no head by the time I got to it. Very nice color, however.

S - Lots of bourbon, some light notes of wood and vanilla, and a good dark fruity aroma. It's a good smell without a doubt. Not sure I'd ask for more.

T - Well, This is pretty good. Again, I think the bourbon is the strongest thing here, but with a nice balance of caramel and toffee malts. My notes are mostly for the Hellshire and I didn't get too much of this one, but it was just really well balanced, very good malt profile.

M - Nice and thick and smooth. A touch dry. Really quite good.

O - well, this is a good beer. I'm not sure how it compares to the hype, since all I really know is that it is hyped, but not necessarily what the hype is all about. Definitely one of the best beers I've had, but when you get into that upper tier, nothing really blows anything else away.

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Photo of Urbancaver
4.65/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Side by side with sheol

Both pour a rusty hazy brown. Yellowish tint. Almost no head. Smells incredibly smooth and vanilla heavy. Some nice oxidation and raisiny notes. Tastes similar. Vanilla heavy. Some light oak notes. The beer is incredibly well balanced. The oxidation is very nice. Definitely much smoother than sheol. Very rich thick mouthfeel. Low carbonation but still bubbly and enjoyable. Overall this is definitely one of the best beers I've ever had.

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Photo of BeerAndBourbon
4.54/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A. Pours brown with orange moving into yellow at the edges. A wisp of a tan head.

S. Lots of beautiful bourbon, brown sugar, vanilla, and oak.

T. Much less hoppy than the base beer, but has a nice spiciness. Subtle sweetness with characteristics of brown sugar, oak, a touch of vanilla.

M. Dry woodiness with low carbonation. A nice body with only a touch of syrupy body. I could use it just a touch thicker.

D. Supremely drinkable. A nice balance of sweetness and spicy bitterness.

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Photo of jimjim123
4.88/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a dark reddish brown color with some tan foam and decent lacing. Awesome aroma of bourbon, oak, vanilla, caramel, and brown sugar. Flavor is more of the same, with a great sweet caramel/toffee malt background, brown sugar, bourbon, oak, vanilla, and some dark fruits. Amazing palate - smooth creamy, and a little syrupy with medium-full body. Overall this is a phenomenal beer.

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Photo of scottfrie
4.85/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Holy hell it’s a Wooden Hell! A huge thank you to Chad for sharing his bottle. Reviewed from notes.

A: Pours a dark woody brown with a thin dark-tan head that faded into a bubbly collar.
S: Complex notes of raisins, vanilla, warming alcohol and a bit of dark fruit come to my nose.
T: Vanilla, toffee, milk chocolate, barrel spices, earthy hops, and spicy bourbon are easy to pick out. This beer is smooth as hell. It’s also has a subtle sweetness and a touch of warming alcohol in the finish.
M: Really creamy and smooth without an oily or greasy mouthfeel. The body is thick and the carbonation is low.
O: This is one super complex brew and just amazingly complex and smooth. Wooden Hell definitely lives up to the hype. Thanks again for sharing, Chad.

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Photo of jampics2
4.62/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big huge thanks to Paul AKA Dr. Gonzo for the bottle share at our pre-DLD tasting. I got a few oz's and my wife was nice enough to give me most of her pour too. Served at generally room temp into a snifter.

This beer looks nice in the glass. There's a great color - a mixture of copper, amber, chesnut and garnet swirled and decadant looking. Next to no head,- no, make that no head, but that's OK considering the ABV and time spent in the barrel. I'd like for a bit of foam, even a soapy bubble or two, though to make this look less dead.

The smell is intoxicating! There's a huge barrel presence that is expressive and really savory. I get notes of oak, a touch of tannin, some bourbon, and a hint of vanilla atop a nice bed of caramel, burned sugar, toffee and a touch of oxidation. Aside from the bourbon, there's no booze in the nose. Very close to perfection but could be a bit bolder.

The taste is equally impressive. This has aged like a champion and is smooth and silky. The typical Barleywine notes of caramelized sugar and dark fruit start the experience with some sweet notes. Then, the barrel transitions the brew from basic to brilliant. A touch of brown sugar and maple is eclipsed by bourbon and oak. There's a touch of vanilla and just a hint of booze that pairs well with the mild hop bitterness. Some mild oxidation gives sherry notes to the sweet finish. Any rough edges have been sanded by time. This is one giant progressing flavor experience, not separate little bits here or there. On second thought, impressive is weak - this is fantastic!

The mouthfeel knocks me back down to Earth a bit from the high of the flavor. The beer is medium bodied but could have just a bit more heft. The carbonation is just a touch high as well. I'm in love with Kuhnhenn's BA Barleywine and, sure, it's a 15% but has just a certain feel I wish was present here - slick and syrupy but not still and slimey. But the hint of booze at the end is held in check and this finishes well.

Overall, there's not much to say other than this is a worthy beer. I'm not sure it's worth the huge auction prices or trading half a cellar, as there are a few (MOAS/TPS and Kuhnhenn BA BW) that are more easily obtained and just as good. But I highly encourage everyone to find someone as cool as Paul to share a bottle with you! Thanks again for the chance to try a brew I never thought I'd cross paths with!

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Photo of ktrillionaire
4.72/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured up by the awesomeness that is Bryan Shimkos at pre-DLD festivites.

A - It pours a sappy maple-amber hue, and is capped with a polite film of wispy tan micro-froth.

S - Excellent nose; I immediately think of the candy confection called 'turtles'. Notes of toffee, caramel, buttery oak, hazelnut-chocolate and vanilla are astonishingly integrated.

T - My biggest impression is that of mild surprise: despite the candy-like elements of the nose, the flavor is not terribly sweet, given the style. It is more like a collection of sweet-type flavors, expressed with unusual reserve. The relative dryness afforded by the wood makes for sublime and delectable complexity. In addition to the continuation of 'turtle' notes found in the aroma, there is an added impression of maple syrup, and freshly charred wood barrel which seems distinctly apparent.

M - The feel is silky-smooth and softly carbonated, and is quite nice. But it still can't hang with a good JW Lees.

O - Fantastic beer, justifiably esteemed.

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Photo of Lunch
4.55/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Matt (Huhzubendah) happened upon this bottle and figured that we might as well give it a try. Shared generously by Matt at a recent tasting at his manor amongst a fine goddamn group of freaks and noblemen.

Well...goddamn...I never thought that I would get a chance to try this beer as I had written it off long ago. I honestly did not go into this tasting thinking that this would live up to the hype that rarity tends to create. Luckily this guy was very wrong.

As I poured the beer into my Cigar City snifter, I was greeted with a rich aroma of bourbon and some sweet caramel malt. The beer was a beautiful dark caramel with some golden hues. More head than I expected (this is always a good thing...am I right or am I right?). The nose also showed notes of toffee and wood and was very rich and extremely complex.

The taste was certainly wonderful and there was not a hint of oxidation which was also a surprise. Alcohol was certainly minimal and never impeded the flavor or drinkability. Shit is nice as the kids say. Loads of malts with rich layers of caramel, toffee, oak, vanilla and wood. Bourbon and a candied sugar surrounds the flavors.

A very full bodied adult beverage that is slightly syrupy and sticky with a perfect carbonation. This was a great experience and about goddamn time that Huhzubendah brought something tasty to a tasting (just kidding...but not really)

Thanks again Matt for sharing this rare treat at one of his epic (I don't legitimately use this term) tastings and I must say that I'm still a little hard.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.59/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Whoa, bottle opened by Huhzubendah at his place this weekend with some other fine beers. Poured into a wine glass.

There are some beers that you don't think you are going to ever sample or get, and then through some unknown mechanism of karma or generosity or both you find yourself holding a glass of Wooden Hell with a few other guys. It was an awesome experience and great night overall. Also, WH is the best barleywine I've ever had.

Beer is pretty dark brown, mostly clear with a thin off white head of small bubbles, not much retention but it leaves some lacing behind.

Aroma is very impressive. Sweet, sugar, caramel followed by some liquor / bourbon aromas. Some oakiness and mild vanilla. Very inviting aroma.

Beer is medium bodied, not very carbonated on the palate, overall the lead off is this nice candied flavor that fills the palate and balances the beer well with the mild bitterness at the finish. The early midpalate is a liquory / bourbon flavor that fills out the beer without making it boozy, really drinkable. Very balanced, very great. Even my wife liked it when she took a sip and she doesn't like barleywines at all.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.94/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

From 03/19/11 notes. HUGE thanks to Huhzubendah for sharing this one; thanks Matthew, never thought I'd get to try this one! Served in a tulip.

a - Pours a somewhat clear medium-brown color with one inch of off white head and very light carbonation evident.

s - Smells of caramel malts, bourbon, oak, vanilla, and some sweet molasses or sugar. Light oxidation evident but doesn't take anything away from the smell. Absolutely amazing smell.

t - Tastes of vanilla, caramel malts, oak, bourbon, tofee, and syrup/molasses to sweeten the taste a little bit. Again, the taste is amazing and perfect for a barleywine.

m - Medium body and low carbonation. The body is super smooth and creamy, and no real hotness from the bourbno at all. Felt like I could have drank a whole bottle by myself, and would want to.

d - I was a little afraid that this one wouldn't live up to the hype, but it really did. I enjoy barleywines quite a bit and love MoaS, and this one was much better in my opinion; it's one of the best beers I've ever had. The smell and taste were such a great combination of caramel, vanilla, and bourbon, and the mouthfeel was perfect. Very glad I got to try this one.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.64/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A ginormous amount of thanks to Huhzubendah for sharing this bottle. Served in a Bruery tulip.

The pours yields a moderately-dark brown elixir that borders on copper and seems to shine. There is a nice half-finger head that forms after the pour, sticking around for a bit of time. A few slight rings of lacing stick to the glass as it goes down. The nose is absolutely phenomenal. Just wow. It starts off with a strong showing of caramelized sugar and is then followed up by very, very smooth notes of bourbon and the accompanying oak and light vanilla. Slide notes of oxidation carry over well and fit right in.

Flavor is ridiculously good. The strong notes of caramel and brown sugar push to the front and meld beautifully with bourbon undertones. Really quite smooth. A bit of sweetness fades into very light amounts of alcohol alongside fine bourbon. Very mild oak presence pairs with a decent amount of vanilla. The mouthfeel really makes this beer. It's uber-smooth with just a touch of alcohol warmth. Age has treated this beer really, really well.

This was an incredible experience, and huge thanks go out to Matt for sharing this with us. This was perhaps the best barleywine that I've ever had, and I was supremely happy to share it amongst a fine group of friends. Cheers.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.82/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A huge thank you to David for hooking me up with this rare gem. I shared with this with a few good buddies yesterday.

Served in my Cantillon tulip.

The beer appears dark brown and mildly hazy. Crimson and sunburst highlights are evident as the light peaks through the liquid. It's slightly hazy but certainly not opaque, as one can see through the body to some degree. The head measures approximately a quarter inch and leaves some good lacing on the glass.

The aroma is fabulous, with scents of sugary caramels and candies, vanilla, oak, malt, and bourbon.

The flavor is exceptional. Vanilla and oak meld beautifully with a light bourbon note. Sugary sweet caramel tones are amazingly tasty. This is one of the only barleywines I have ever had that has a prominent sweetness about it, yet would never become cloying. Brown sugar and malt flavors are supremely enjoyable.

Wooden Hell really shines in the feel department. Ridiculously smooth, this beer goes down effortlessly. Alcohol content is an afterthought. The aging process could only have assisted what I'm certain was an already terrific beer.

Overall, the best barrel-aged barleywine I have ever had and one of the best beers I have had the pleasure to taste.

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Photo of Arbitrator
4.37/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Chilled bottle into a glass. Generously shared by nerd to celebrate my, uh, nerdy accomplishment. Thanks, Mike.

A: Pours a hazy, dark chestnut body that is essentially opaque in my glass, though it appears clearer in smaller quantities. It's capped by a beige head, 1 finger in height, with decent retention. No lace, and there's only a small bead on the beer when all is said and done.

S: A well-integrated nose of vanilla, bourbon, caramel, and brown sugar. There's a small element of oak, along with something spicy that the three of us feel is similar to Coca-Cola. I suggested cardamom, which isn't quite there; Ted suggested ginger, which isn't it either. Intriguing for sure.

T: While the initial blast is a melange of sweet flavors, ranging from caramel to brown sugar and maple, the taste eventually becomes defined by vanilla and bourbon. The odd thing is that it's not imbalanced in that direction. It's nicely contrasted by a small hop bitterness, which becomes more apparent in the aftertaste, coupled with the small spice (cardamom? ginger?) that we picked up in the nose. The overall effect is reminiscent of honey (somewhere, alfrantzell recaps a Black Xantus). Small, sherry-like notes of oxidation. I see why Mike is in love with this beer.

M: It's quite smooth. The carbonation supports the body just right. While it showcases a number of sweet flavors, it carries enough contrasting bitterness to buoy the experience.

D: I don't give rare beers high scores willy-nilly, but I think this earns it. I like it substantially more than Central Waters Bourbon Barrel Barleywine and Pelican Mother of All Storms. It's not worth destroying the cellar for, but it's a well-crafted beer that shows what well-integrated barrel flavors can do to an English barleywine.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.32/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to a ton of people who traded with me for this one. I consider myself very lucky to be able to open and share one of these and still have another to cellar if I wish. 4oz. pour from a 22oz. waxed and capped bomber into a brandy snifter. Shared at a tasting on 2/19/11. Reviewed from notes.

A: Standard pour yields an clear, amber colored brew with no head and no lacing. Nice legs though. A bit dissapointing but considering the age and style, not unexpected.

S: Very subtle overall. Sweet brown sugar, molasses, caramel, and some toffee notes. Slight bit of booziness here and there that sprinkle the other flavors rather than masking them. Not the most aromatic but very enticing and appropriate.

T: Opens very subtle brown sugar, caramel, and molasses that comes in step by step. Incredible balance and each and every flavor that surfaces complements the whole experience perfectly. Honey with a subtle, amber-maple, sappy hop bitterness towards the end. Brown sugar and toffee notes at the finish with a slightly accented tickle of booze. Aftertaste is sweet but very quickly gone.

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Oily and slick in the mouth with a slight tickle of booze and bubbles going down. Heat is present but it's complementary the whole way and never overwhelming. Slightly spicy finish with a clean, almost evaporating aftertaste. Very nicely done.

D: Is this beer worth the hype? Yes. Absolutely, one of, if not the most subtle and balanced barrel-aged beers I've had to date. Having said that, is this the best english barleywine I've ever had? Probably not... with The Perfect Storm edging it out slightly. Still though, if you're lucky enough to come across this, you're in for a real treat. An astoundingly well crafted beer.

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Wooden Hell from Flossmoor Station Restaurant & Brewery
4.52 out of 5 based on 152 ratings.
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