Alaskan Brewing, Alaskan Barley Wine was introduced in 2003,brewed yearly and even won a Bronze medal at the 2008 World Beer Cup. First time I've been able to get a bottle thanks to Alaskan being distributed in Minnesota now.
Thin dirty tan head was tough to pull up. Even with a hard pour down the middle, the head fell quickly to nearly nothing. Iridescent ale that moves between copper and mahogany. Dry hopping apparent in the nose along with a strong alcohol hotness from the 10.7% ABV. Hops smells like a combination of English and northwest hops. Not listed on the website--just a guess. Dark cherry, figs, raisins, and a strong caramel malt--but still hangs below the hops. Heavy fruit and alcohol continue in the taste to support a strong hop bite. While not a lightweight ale, the beer has a subtle balance between big hop, malt and alcohol. Everything is big but balanced, so the effect is sweet and mellow. As it warms, all three elements open up and invade the senses. Drink it slow and enjoy.