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Thor's Hammer Barley Wine - Central City Brewers + Distillers

Not Rated.
Thor's Hammer Barley WineThor's Hammer Barley Wine

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

26 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 26
Hads: 98
Avg: 4.1
pDev: 18.78%
Wants: 38
Gots: 27 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Central City Brewers + Distillers
British Columbia, Canada | website

Style | ABV
English Barleywine | 11.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: astout on 09-26-2009

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 26 | Hads: 98
Photo of TheBierdimpfe
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Almost opaque ruby color, weak 2 finger head, good legs. Flavors of dark berries, cherries, walnuts, grapes, plum, molasses, toffee, herbal spices. Thick desert like sugary feel. Medium strength finish, well rounded, thick fruity syrupy feel, with an oaky end. Overall high quality stuff. Delicious fruity flavors, a little earthy, very vinous and alcoholic. Really a blast to drink, nicely balanced, well intensified, great appetizer.

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Photo of mothman
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tan head. Caramel ruby color.

Traditional bwine flavors. Caramel, toffee, and chocolate. Green and hoppy with some bitterness.

Medium bodied.

Decent bwine. Nothing crazy, but spot on for not being BA.

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Photo of Hat_Fulla_Beer
4.26/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Day 22 of the Parallel 49/Central City advent calendar. 330ml bottle poured into tulip.

Pours a hazy brick brown with a thin ring of beige head around the edges of the glass that leaves hilly horizon lace as it recedes.

Smells awesome. Freshly baked Italian bread, dried orchard fruit, pancake syrup and bourbon whiskey.

Tastes of heavy dark cake, spiced preserved fruit, candied nuts, dry tobacco, boozy wood and faint, shell-shocked hops.

Feels rich, thick and creamy. Full bodied with mild carbonation.

Verdict: Highly recommended. I tend not to like barleywine, but this is a goddamn winner.

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Photo of utopiajane
4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a hazy rust color orange with a tan head that was creamy but fell fast. Malty nose with a strong scent of nuts, mild dark fruits and some tantalizing citrus form american hops. Reminds me of nougat. Nutty, mild alcohol presence in the finihs as a freindly warming. Spicy peppery hops are the surprise in this one. Citric and a bit tangy they really show off the nuttiness of this beer. They also keep the finish from becoming too syrupy. The scent of bourbon and wood on this one i sso well integrated that it is not that strong at first. You only start to notice the wood as a light airy feeling at first then you can taste a bit of it with some very flowery bourbon. The bourbon is not too strong either.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

this one had gold wax on it. not sure if that is indicative of barrel ageing or not, or whether all of these are in fact barrel aged. its cool beer, english in nature, but still spicy and chunky and bitter and raw and american in some ways. i suppose a good mix of both styles. aside from looking flat, it looks good. a little fluff on the sides, a murky red amber beer, hazy, strong. it smells strong too, boozy and sweet, but with a sturdy english grain base and quite a bit of hops. the flavor is just like the nose, i do get some oak and extra vanilla booze, i guess it might as well have been pushed through a barrel, it has all the right characteristics for that. i somehow expected this to be an imperial stout, maybe the name, maybe the label, but its definitely a barleywine. i was misinformed there. badly really, but the beer is excellent, constantly improving as it warms up. a little oxidation on it even though this isnt old, but its sort of flattering to the malt profile in this instance. i havent liked most of the beers from these guys very much, but this is a tasty offering, a step in the right direction for sure. something i think is fairly priced and a suitable fall brew for a chilly night. packaging looks great too. are they all aged in barrels or are there two different beers?

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Photo of DrSpaceman
3.41/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pours cloudy amber, little to no head. Aroma is caramel malts, dried fruits, and tobacco. Taste is dark malt, caramel, and figs with slight alcohol heat. Body is a bit thin, could definitely use some aging.

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Photo of andrenaline
4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Been sitting on this for a couple years now. Pours like flat cola, no head, nothing at all. Nose is loaded with bourbon, oak, raisins, caramel and leafy green hops. Loads of flavour, heavy bourbon, candied fruit, toffee and caramel, hints of raisins and bitter hops. There was nearly no carbonation, so almost flat body, syrupy and finished wet. An intensely flavourful brew, but the lack of carbonation really was a drawback. Luckily every other aspect of it made up for it's weakness.

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Photo of Greywulfken
4.05/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This was a good bourbon barrel barleywine, English-style, but it was not elite. Dead flat in the glass, cola-brown color. Aromas of bourbon and wet, overripe fruits waft up. Pours like liquid caramel. Tastes of booze and dark, moldy fruit; vanilla and wood weave throughout; lighter airs of bourbon whiskey touch the roof of the mouth; medium-weight, and smooth, with some flash of heat up front, but muted after that first sip. Enjoyable drinking - I mean, who complains about a bourbon barrel barley wine, right? At about $12 though, this is something to get your hands on. Cheers.

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Photo of CalgaryFMC
3.84/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bomber poured into a snifter. 2013 vintage. A muddy dark brown color with five towering fingers of frothy beige foam, recalls tan dish suds or sponge toffee with bigger bubbles. Leaves a slick buttery lacing on the glass.

Assertive aroma that hits sweet, nutty, vinous, and boozy domains ... Whiskey barrel, plum/prune, raisin, burnt sugar, brown apples, hard biscuits, dry nuts. The alcohol is not concealed here. Flavor is a curious combination of nutty, woody, and tart/astringent vinous notes. Huge walnut flavor as advertised along with concentrated prunes, figs, apples, and pears. A little molasses and vanilla. Quite dry and tannic yet thick and reasonably chewy. Robust booze on the palate. Low key carbonation. Finishes semi-dry, with lingering burnt sugar and dark sour fruit notes.

I don't know ... Has ample depth of character yet not my favorite barleywine. Dare I say that this is overly nutty and sour, which produces a bit of a clash. YMMV.

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Photo of Docrock
4.58/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Central City Brewpub, 10 oz serving in a snifter:

A : deep mahogany colored with minimal head that dissipated rapidly. Nice lacing as well.

S : beautiful caramel malt, hint of plums and a deep nuttiness. Only a hint of the alcohol content is evident.

T : wonderful, nice and thick, everything that was on the nose is present, plums, some light candy character and a deep earthy nuttiness like an English walnut, not a flavor I usually get in Eng Barleywines.

M : thick and just slightly chewy. Minimal carbonation which was the only low point of the beer but not overly detracting considering the abv. Very smooth.

O : an outstanding example of a non BA English Barleywine. Can't wait to try the BA version! Well done Central City.

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Photo of Jwale73
3.73/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

22oz. bottle served in a tulip. Pours a dull mahogany hue with a hazy clarity and a sudsy head that immediately disperses into a tight ring around the shoulders. Nose expresses ethanol, wood and prunes with vinous notes on the end. Taste isn't too bad - a bit dull, but less caustic than suggested by the nose with the addition of burnt sugar notes which follow the vinous/acidic figgy/pruney character. Mouthfeel is a bit thin for the style. Light-medium in body with a slight acidity and an almost still carbonation. Finishes with just a kiss of residual heat. Overall, I have to say that I did enjoy this beer. It doesn't have the punch in the face flavor that a JW Lees puts out, but it's drinkable without being cloying while still getting it's point across. Alcohol is extremely well-hidden as well. Not a beer I would recommend cellaring - I could see this one oxidizing fairly quickly.

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Photo of wordemupg
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

650ml gold waxed bomber poured into tulip 21/6/14, big thanks towards Rutager for the personal whale

A dark reddish brown with a tight finger of tan foam that has decent retention and leaves a few random patches of lace

S herbal hops, heavy amounts of caramel and brown sugar, sugar coated raisins, figs, candy crusted nuts, a little booze, vanilla, more brown sugar, smells aged but I'm nearly certain this is a fresh release

T mimics the smell with just a hint of citrus peel and a little molasses, nutty with heaps of caramel, hops come out a little more, just a hint of pine resin, no complaints here

M thick and syrupy, a little heat, enough bubbles to give it some life, very sticky on the lips, just a hint of heat, herbal rind lingers for ever on the finish

O big and malty with hops making an appearance here and there, rich and sweet with well hidden booze, solid stuff

I've been hunting this one for a long, long time, I've seen the price tag on the shelf with no bottles behind it, trades have fallen through, missed out on a tasting where it was poured, I got my hands on the barrel aged version a ways back but still the original version had eluded me. I can't thank Rutager enough for the personal whale, I enjoyed the opportunity to finally drink it more then the beer itself, (and its damn good beer)

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.68/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle: Poured a cloudy copper color ale with a medium size foamy head with medium retention with minimal lacing. Aroma consists of sweet caramelized malt with grainy cereal notes and some warming alcohol notes. Taste is dominated by sweet caramelized malt with some grainy cereal notes and a quite a bit of residual sugar. Body is quite full with good carbonation with light warming alcohol notes. Quite enjoyable but I could have done without the light grainy cereal notes.

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Photo of Jeffo
3.39/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of Rutager last summer. Cheers dude!

From a bomber into a snifter
Vintage: 2011
Had this one and the bourbon barrel version together.

APPEARANCE: Pours a one finger, looser, fizzy, off-white head with lousy retention. Head quickly fades to a ring only. Mahogany red in color, clear, with no carbonation evident. A light ring remains but no real lacing.

SMELL: Caramel malts with lots of fruity aromas. Dried fruits, red fruits, berries, raspberries, toffee aromas and spicy alcohol on the nose. Complex and interesting.

TASTE: Boozy for sure. Caramel and toffee sweetness up front, with lots of dried and red fruits and spicy alcohol as well. Big and boozy finish of raspberries, more dried fruits, toffee sweetness, brown sugar and lots of spicy alcohol. Minimal bitterness and very sweet and boozy.

PALATE: Medium body and slightly higher levels of carbonation. Creamy on the palate, goes down okay with a scratch at the swallow and finishes somewhat sticky on the palate. Some heat lingers.

OVERALL: Boozy and overly sweet. That said, there are lots of interesting and complex sweet flavors for sure, but some more bitterness as balance would make this more enjoyable to drink. In other words, the malt bill works well, but the hops could be re-worked a little. Still, a good beer that I was glad to try, though I would definitely take the barrel aged version of this nine times out of ten.

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Photo of papat444
4.41/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

***2011 Vintage***

Thanks to 4ster for this one.

Poured from a 650ml. bottle.

Appearance: A nice copper body with a decent head that leaves some lacing behind.

Smell: Rich, sweet candy; strong leather; mild whiskey twang; powerful dried fruits, foremost apricots.

Taste: Like alcoholic candy; sweet tempered by fusel alcohol; caramel; lots of pungent dried fruit; real full.

Mouthfeel: Gentle giant with a bite at the end; caresses the palate; bit sticky; warming but never too hot.

Overall: This is a great barleywine. Very happy to have had a chance to try this.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.16/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to Chris for this bottle. 2011 Vintage.
Poured in to snifter.

A - Swampy ruby/brown colour with half a finger of khaki coloured head.

S - Sweet caramel, toffee, raisins and some fruity notes.

T - Sweet and dry with dark caramel, brown sugar, dried fruit, raisins and figs. A very unique and interesting barleywine profile.

M - Medium body. Silky. Light carbonation.

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Photo of Rutager
4.28/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2011, first bottling of this fine brew which I've enjoyed on tap several times.

Appearance. Purs a rich and hazy burnt orange with a finger of thick, orange tinted head that leaves some great lacing.

Smell. Caramel, oranges, brown sugar and some piney, citrusy hops with a little booze and maybe just a little sweet spice.

Taste. Big sweet brown sugar and caramel, floral booze, a touch of molasses, and some pine and citrus in the bitter hoppy finish. Not too shabs.

Mouthfeel. Full bodied to say the least. Thick and a little sticky with some nice warming booze. Medium-low carbonation.

Overall. A nice tasting, hoppy barleywine that's really hitting the spot right now. I don't think I'll get to the BA version tonight (*hic*), but soon my pretty...

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Photo of liamt07
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2011 bottling courtesy of Jason, 650ml into a tulip.

Reddish brown, tan head with nice retention and lacing. Nose of candied dark fruits, caramel, toffee, alcohol and brown sugar. Taste has some hops, candied and caramel notes again, plums and some other similar fruit character. Medium full body, low carbonation. Alcohol is felt, but not too big on the palate. An excellent English BW.

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Photo of FondueVoodoo
4.48/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

**** Vintage 2011 **** bottle conditioned

A: Poured with only a minimal 1 finger of creamy beige head, it's a hazy tawny brew that glows a ruby red when held up to the light.

S: Bloom of alcohol with rum raisins and dark fruits, toffee, and dark malts, like a fruit cake spiked with brandy. Notes of spices, cinnamon & clove.

T: Dark toffee and sweet toasted malts, with lots of dark raisins and fruit married with a brandy alcohol presence.

M: Thick viscosity with a syrupy-creamy mouth feel and just a bare minimum of carbonation up front.

O: Thor's hammer is aptly named, it's a brew fit for a god, strong alcohol profile, bold taste and a thick creamy feel, there is nothing weak or mild about Thor's Hammer. It's a terrific sipper and would compliment a cheese platter. Get out your drinking horn call all your super-hero-friends and enjoy.

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Photo of DaftCaskBC
4.42/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at The Alibi Room in Vancouver.

A: Slight head over deep amber liquid.

S: Sweet malt dominates the smell profile.

T: Sweet malt with a nice addition of a bitter hoppy presence.

M: Medium viscosity and low carbonation.

O: Very tasty and drinkable. Sweeter than most barleywines I have had, but that is fine by me.

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Photo of spree92
4.12/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a 10oz. goblet at room temp. A cloudy, deep red that had a small head. Heavy alcohol aroma with belgian yeast, dried fruit and caramel. The warmth of the alcohol was very strong in the taste. There was also the dryness of the chewy yeast.
A very heavy beer, the high% was a bit to prolific for my taste, but perfect for a nice barleywine.

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Photo of Derek
3.95/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Hazy, deep amber, thin ring of retention, leaves a little leg.

S: Plenty of alcohol in the aroma, dark fruit, toffee, candied pineapple, vanilla and a hint of spice.

T: Alcohol is up front, golden raisins, dates, toffee, light caramel, marmalade, good bitterness, warming alcohol.

M: Well-attenuated, fairly full body has a drying alcohol finish.

D: A bit of a brute. I'd love to see this in a bottle, as it would surely benefit with age.

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Photo of Viggo
4.47/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

500 ml bottle, big thanks to bobsy for sharing this rarity!

Pours a muddy orange brown, relatively opaque and cloudy, thin tan head forms and settles down to a thin ring around the glass, some lace spots stick to the glass.

Smell is intense, hugely caramelized and malty, toffee, raisins, rum, some wood, lots of dark fruit, alcohol, a bit of vanilla and bourbon, biscuit, more caramel, dates, a bit of weird fruitiness but I'm digging it.

Taste is similar, tons of caramel and toffee, Werthers candies, bsicuit, raisin and date, some alcohol, a bit of wood, more rum/bourbon booziness, vanilla, more toffee, very rich and decadent flavour.

Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied, pretty chewy, with low carbonation. Wow, this is a big barleywine. Maybe more in the Hardys Old ale vein, but pretty fantastic stuff, thanks Rob!

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Photo of ritzkiss
4.37/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Shared by bobsy, forgot we had this one! Odd because it is quite a remarkable beer.

Pours a nice rich caramel brown with hints of amber and ruby, good head. Nose is rich (RICH) toffee and brown sugar, hint of dark fruits. You can tell this is going to be sweet. Taste brings you in, the sweetness balanced by a light bittering pinch from the hops. Toffee abounds, toast, dark plums, caramel, a nip of cocoa, a hint of earthy woodiness but not the normal accompanying dryness, bit of booze in the finish. Silky thick mouthfeel. A very rich treat, if anything I wish for a bit more balance in the hops and dryness but that's more personal preference than anything wrong, certainly in the English vein of the style. This is a really nice, deep barleywine, well deserving of accolades. Thanks for the opportunity to try this Rob!

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Photo of bobsy
4.47/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Canadian Brewing Awards beer of the year.

Pours a deep oak with a small hazy off white head that left some decent lace spots. Big sweet malt nose that screams toffee. Lots of brown sugar, some diacetyl and warmin alcohol. Just the part...

Good toffee taste, with a nice sweetness that combines well with the warming alcohol, but is also cut by the presence of some leafy hops. Really, really nice balance and a satisfying flavour. Chewy, smooth body is just right.

Hard to say whether this is the best beer in Canada, but its certainly a contender.

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Thor's Hammer Barley Wine from Central City Brewers + Distillers
89 out of 100 based on 26 ratings.