22oz bomber purchased from Whole Foods in Los Altos, CA.
Pours a deep, but quite fluid and soft-bodied black, with a firm head of crema-brown that settles into a ring of large pocked bubbled. Lacing is fine but minimal. There's some carbonation when it's tilted, but again, the body looks relatively light. Not bad overall, though.
Nose is pleasant with roast characters and some sweetness, but also with a definite worty character that suggests a little underattentuation. There's a mild spice coming through as well, perhaps a little pepper. A boozy note peeks through the centre, giving it a mild astringency. Overall though, it's decent without being spectacular.
Taste is a little more pleasant, aided by a ripe, nutty note that gives some sweetness to help paper over the booziness. Otherwise, there's plenty of roasted characters, more pepper—but mostly it's relatively smooth and easy drinking for what is a fairly aggressive style of beer.
Feel is smooth, but with a lightness to it: it doesn't seem to have much residual body, despite the worty characters on the nose and the smooth sweetness on the palate.
Overall, this is decent enough. It's a fairly par-for-the-course Imperial Stout, and there are a few mildly questionable elements to it, but it's a style that's forgiving of a few inconsistencies. By the end of the glass, I liked it just fine.
81 / 100
Pours a darkish amber colour, with a tall frothy head of cream coloured bubbles. Body looks quite thick and viscous in the glass, not so much from the pour. Some lacing. Looks pretty good.
Big, boozy aromas on the nose - port, brandy and cognac. Lots of sweet residual sugar characters, caramel and musk. Certainly smells like a fortified wine, but not in a bad way. Jus big and rich and heavy.
Slick and creamy mouthfeel, with a big sweet alcohol presence. Lots of vinous oak characters, lots of malty rich sweetness, and even a slight alcohol afterburn. Residual bitter character, and a lingering breath of booze fumes - it seems to dare me to breathe in after taking a sip.
A fantastic barleywine. One light on the hops, and focusing just on the big, alcomoholic flavours. Certainly a sipper, but in my opinion, this is what a true barleywine should be. I've had too many that just turn up the hop volume and wind up too similar to a DIPA. Very good indeed.