Fortunately, they met those expectations and have brewed a really good barleywine; this beer will be fantastic when it ages. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Appearance: Nice deep copper color, fairly clear, with very light tan head.
Smell: Sweet and candy-ish—very appealing. Candy-hop character—flossy and slightly fruity. Some almost-brandy notes. Great nose.
Taste: Very nice—malty-sweet with a beautiful balance of bitterness from the hops, the alcohol, and a hint of roasted/aromatic malts. You can taste lots of hops but they don’t overwhelm or detract… the sweet body shines here, lush and complex with a nice punch of alcohol heat.
Mouthfeel: Full-bodied and nicely sticky. Leaves a bit of heat on the tongue—like a sipping brandy—but very smooth and almost creamy.
Overall: Masterfully brewed and one of the best barleywines I’ve had lately.