Well, I’ve had the beer…okay, I’ve had two. The first Monster I had was at room temp (this is what the review is based on). The second one I had was chilled, and I enjoyed it with a double Corona cigar. Here is what I thought. On the nose I smelled hops very distinctly. I noted a very noticeable metallic smell. I thought that this was particularly fitting because the beer is copper in color (with a tinge of red). Immediately, I thought of a penny. Because its a barley wine, meaning a malt wine, it had a truly malty smell. Brooklyn mentions that it has the smell of sherry, but I did not think it was as pronounced as the the bottle seemed to indicate. As much as the smell of sherry, I caught a smell of caramel or butterscotch. The smell of the alcohol gave a slight burn to the nose as I breathed deeply into the glass.
As for the drinking of the beer, there was an immediate sweet taste on the front of the tongue. This was promptly followed by a distinctly bitter feel on the back of the tongue. There was a pronounced warmth of alcohol on the mouth and in the nose. If ever there was a long grainy finish to a beer, it is true of a Barleywine in general. This beer was no exception. The 10.1% alcohol in the beer gave off the distinct taste of a vodka. Vodka flavors were re-inforced by the hops, which had the characteristics of grapefruit. It was grapefruity in taste and bitterness. Maybe describing the flavors as a hint of citrus vodka would not be inappropriate. The vodka characteristics do not end there. A beer ending in this type of dryness is not unlike distilled spirits (hence the vodka parallel). Dryness in the beer is, no doubt, given by the extreme amounts of malt used in such a product.
I found this beer to be an enjoyable and appreciable experience. My suggestion would be to drink of these 12 ounce bottles between two friends. I imagine myself drinking the beer with a friend using brandy glasses, admiring the beautiful color and bouquet of the Barleywine.