Full Sail is one of those breweries that has a good reputation in my head, but doesn't always deliver the goods when I pick up a bottle. Like Boulevard, this is a brewery to drink the specials but I ignore their regular line up. So, when I see "reserve" and "barleywine," I figure it's time to give them a chance once again.
Popping the top, the smell of caramel, fig and alcohol wafts up immediately. Thin light tan head dissipates quickly. Apparent alcohol and hop spice over the malty backbone of this beer. Very sweet malt, sharp hop bit and dark fruit that slightly overpowers a thin mouthfeel.
This beer is good but not mind blowing. I won't get it again, but don't regret the purchase. It's a perfectly brewed beer, but lacks a subtly and balance to make it great; I'd be happy if this was my own homebrew for half the cost. Taking a look at BA, I'm being a bit generous compared to other reviewers, but I'm a sucker for big hop so guessing that would explain the discrepancy.