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Class Of '88 Barleywine Style Ale - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Class Of '88 Barleywine Style AleClass Of '88 Barleywine Style Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

341 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 341
Reviews: 65
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 12.07%
Wants: 16
Gots: 68 | FT: 6
Brewed by:
North Coast Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: SanFranJake on 04-21-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (20) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 341 | Reviews: 65
Reviews by whoneeds8:
More User Reviews:
Photo of SanFranJake
4.21/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Found this caged and corked 750 at a local shop after some searching.
This is the North Coast version of the collab with Deschutes and Rogue.
Sales guy tells me it's "not really a barleywine for aging because its more of a double IPA."
Got it home and sure enough, it's nothing like a BW IMHO.
Pours a darkish golden brown, akin to a DIPA, pretty good amount of head that sticks around, again, like a good fresh DIPA should.
Flavor however isn't like a DIPA, nor is the nose. Not really sure what's going on here...but it's good.
The more I sip it the more it tastes like a BW, but only after its been swallowed, not in the mouth.
Looking forward to trying the Deschutes and Rogue versions, both of which I have, so see how they each out their spin on this interesting, yet unique, barleywine.

Photo of lordofthewiens
3.99/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter this beer was a cherry amber color with a small tan head. There was a smidgeon of lace.

Aroma of caramel and honey. Some dark fruit as well as a bit of citrus.

Caramel and toffee taste. Figs. Some grassy hops. Couldn't really appreciate the citrus noticed in the aroma.

Very smooth and easy to drink. The alcohol was not at all noticeable.

Photo of NWer
4.28/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served on-tap at local watering hole.
Nice bronze clear appearance.
Abundant two finger head holds up well. Good lace.
Not your typical barleywine.
Obviously not the intent of brewer to produce a knock your socks off numb the senses with tastes.
Very subtle. Flowery & very smooth up front with a nice surprising hint of hop flavor and alcohol sneaking up on you in the finish.
Too easy to treat this beer as a drinker not a sipper. Had to remind myself to slow down.
Very enjoyable. They pulled off something very different. A nice change.

Photo of chinchill
4.15/5  rDev +8.9%

Shared 750 l bottle.
Slightly hazy deep amber with a good head.
Modestly strong aroma followed by a much richer and more complex flavor. Great balance, as barrel aging effects meld with a generous load of mostly medium roast malts and a precise level of hopping.
O: highly recommended.
3.8 3.3 4.1 3.7 4.1

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.03/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Served in a snifter)

A- This beer pours a clear bright copper body with strands of big bubbles gently pushing to the surface. There is a sticky creamy off-white head that has a touch of lacing with each sip.

S- The sweet pale malt aroma has some light caramel notes and a hint of butter in the finish.

T- The nice rich pale malt is sweet with a dry green woody hop finish and some cream flavor in the finish with a touch of sweetness.

M- The medium mouthfeel has a gentle crisp fizz and a nice soft alcohol warmth.

O- This classic barleywine has more of a "blonde barleywine" character to it. It is rich and sweet but not the luscious malt depth that I would expect from a barleywine. It is still a very nice sipping beer.

Photo of JMS1512
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%

Appearance: Lush opaque amber with an off-white head. Tiny, tiny bubbles from the bottom of the glass. Head recedes to a moderately thin rim, leaving behind sine-wave like lacing.

Smell: Bright citrus, perhaps oranges. Most likely from the hop choice. 75 IBUs? Check.

Taste: Lots of hops, plus citrusy, floral wave. 75 IBUs? Double Check. A touch of sweetness. I don’t taste any roasted notes, or caramel, nor did I smell them at the outset. I do get a sugary finish as it warms.

Mouthfeel: Somewhat coating, medium bodied. Not sure where people are getting “sticky” as a descriptor. I can however, feel the bubbles.

Overall: Enjoyable for an American, though I still prefer English. A tasty collaboration.

Photo of ONovoMexicano
3.59/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a snifter.

A- This beer pours a beautiful amber color and leaves a considerable head and beautiful lacing on the glass's sides. In the glass, it looks like a dark amber beer.

S- A very fruity profile, something like earthy fruits like prunes and pears. A mild hop and malt profile is present as well.

T- Very similar to the smell, prominent citrus notes give way to piney, earthy hop resins and hints of spice. The booze emerges on the finish, but is not overbearing.

M- A bit more carbonated than would be expected. A bit of burn from the booze at the backend.

O- A good barleywine, but one with some noticeable flaws. Certainly could mellow out a bit and I'm sure aging would do this, so I'd revisit a few years down the line.

Photo of ThatFatBeerGuy
4.03/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A friend brought a bottle over and was kind enough to pour me a tumbler glass as a sampler.

A: Cloudy with a medium head. Almost reminds me of a hefe with a bit more amber color.

S: Very fruity with some earthy wood smell I couldn't quite make out. The fruit is the main attraction here anyway.

T: The fruity aroma supported by an almost tropical mix of fruit flavor. Lots of citrus flavors chased perfectly by a wave of hops.

M: Smooth with low carbonation and a near-perfect amount of lingering hop flavor. There is a touch of alcohol burn, but not nearly what I expected from a 10%. This one could be dangerous.

O: "Barleywine Style Ale" represents this one perfectly. It's not what I expected from the "Barleywine" label, but it's a very worthwhile detour if you're looking for a bit of a curveball. If I encountered a bottle on the shelf, I'd grab it without a second thought.

Photo of russpowell
3.74/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a brilliant/effervescent orange/copper with a thumb of tan head. Better than average lacing & head retention

S: Pine, tangerines, both fade as this warms

T: Follows the nose, pineapple, leafy hops, figs & pears up front. Some dryness, a touch of cakeyness & slight boozeyness, leafy & woody hops as this warms, plus a touch of winesap apple. Finishes dry, fruity, with leafy & woody hops, backed by some grapefruit & tangerine

MF: Medium bodied, slight carbonation, good balance

A solid barleywine, doesn't totally thrill me, but nails the style & will knock the chill off of you, provided you wait for some cold...

Photo of puboflyons
3.95/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

From the corked, caged 750 ml. bottle. Sampled on July 12, 2014.

It has a lovely looking amber-reddish pour leading up to a full cream colored head. Excellent clarity. Not a whole lot of lacing left in its wake.

Fine barley malt and caramel malt aromas with a rich sweetness and mellow to little booziness. 10% ABV but it does not feel like it.

The body was medium to full.

The taste is mellower than I might of anticipated. It feels like this has already been cellared for a year or more. Rich malty and sweet character with a moderate bitterness coming up at the end and staying around.

Photo of bluejacket74
3.73/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

750 ml caged and corked bottle. Served in a snifter, the beer pours a hazy orange/amber color with about an inch light tan head. The head stuck around a little while, and there's a decent amount of lacing. The brew smells like citrusy hops (grapefruit, orange peel), caramel and bready malt, candied oranges and some raisins. Taste is similar to the aroma, but with the addition of some pine hops, brown sugar and some general fruitiness. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit creamy with moderate carbonation. Overall I liked this brew. Maybe I should have drank this one fresher, but it's still good now. $10.99 a bottle.

Photo of smakawhat
3.84/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass.

A creamy white easily two finger and thick whipped almost fluffy top of a head is presented. Sits on a real nice deep orange, with a decent amount of clarity but still has a nice opaque character. Thick ring whipped up lace to match, real good looker.

Creamy hints of malt on the nose, and citrus subdued warmth. Hints of melon and orange fruit with some slight candy brown sugar. Fruit comes more forward on a nice hop bent aromatic. Fairly solid.

Light bodied presence, but with easy drinkability. A slightly wet feel with an emphasis on the fruit and hop character. An interesting aroma and palate of apricots, nectarines and yellow stoned pitted fruits. Slightly peach warmth and a nice easy mouthfeel but with not much malt depth here. Some fizzy carbonation, but luckily subdued and not distracting.

Overall a decent barleywine, but nothing earth shattering either.

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.58/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Think about your review... This one has history.. Tastes change... 25 years ago is a looong time ago.

750 picked up at Bier Thirty over the weekend for about $12... poured into my slim tulip with a nice 1" white head.. the brew is fairly clear orange. good lacing drapes the glass.

Aromas show citrus hops and some lesser fruity esters... light apricot and green grape... The nose is honestly pretty light given the big ABV... maltiness is light and only delivers the hops and yeasty notes.

Flavor is pale maltiness with an EtOH bite then a hoppiness comes out swinging... light citrus with a clean malt bill.. no real esters are there.. hops and malts fight very well and nobody wins.

Body is light for the BW style ... carbonation is high for a BW...

Overall, I beg folks to "THINK" about what 'barleywines' were 25 years ago. This is NOT a modern BW... North Coast pulled out a decent pale malt centric DIPA.. but a couple decades ago, this would be a game-changer.

3.75/3.75/3.5/3.5/3.5

Photo of peabody
3.47/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours out a very clear light amber yellow with 1 finger of very fine white suds. Some lacing.
Smell is malt and alcohol with just a hint of spice. Slight breadyness.
Taste is malt and alcohol. Very strong phenol qualities. Not a lot going on here but the bitterness does shine through the high abv.
Mouthfeel is slightly sticky and with a slight hop resin left on the palate.
Overall this is decent but I think it needs more flavors.

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.02/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into a Maudite snifter. Part of horizontal tasting of all three versions (North Coast, Deschutes and Rogue) of this interesting project to revisit a classic 1980s recipe. Pours a clear coppery golden amber with a fine half finger white head with good retention and light lacing. Aroma of caramel malt, light fruit, pineapple, mild piney hops, light ethanol. Flavor is sweet caramel, well melded stone and light fruit juice, mild citrus, slightly floral. Finishes with sweet caramel and a hint of grassy hops and citurs. Alcohol is well covered. Medium bodied with light creaminess. Like the others in this series, seems to take the basic form of an English barleywine, but with less of the dark fruit elements and adding an almost Belgian fruit component, without the Belgian yeast and also slightly more intense hopping of the American style. Nicely balanced and interesting to drink, but lacking the intensity of most English or American barleywines. This came the closest to the English barleywine style (and I would personally list it under that style), it has the mildest hopping of the three '88s. This one was my favorite of this series, well balanced and enjoyable. Like the others, I think the lighter flavors do not promise a long, successful aging, although this is the best candidate for aging and if I see another bottle, I would consider it; possibly interesting in a few years. North Coast's experience with Old Stock Ale served them well in brewing this English influenced barleywine, in my opinion. Glad to have participated in this walk down memory lane.

Photo of Immortale25
4.12/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on-tap at Ancora New Orleans. Served in a New Belgium goblet.

A- Pours a orangeish medium amber with a 1/2 inch off-white head that retains well before becoming a thick ring around the edge of the glass and a mostly full sheet of surface foam. Resilient lacing trickles slowly down the glass leaving a jagged ring behind.

S- Abundant notes of sugary cereal grain malt plus some mild hop fume.

T- The sweetness continues in the flavor as it sets the stage for the pithy, slightly citrusy hop presence. Notes of black pepper and orange. Insanely drinkable for the ABV.

M- A bit sharp from the hops. Medium carbonation and a body leaning toward the fuller side.

O- Nothing amazing but damn is it a smooth barleywine. Could knock em back all day.

Photo of mfnmbvp
3.83/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle, with no apparent bottled on date present. Excited to have gotten my hands on this bottle. Keeping my expectations clear and unbiased. Hoping for a better beer than the Deschutes / Great Lakes Class Of '88 Imperial Smoked Porter.

Poured into a clear balloon snifter glass.

A - Pours two fingers of khaki colored head on top of a coppery burnt sienna orange colored body. Has more of the appearance of a DIPA than it does an American barleywine. No sediment, and hardly any noticeable carbonation. Still, it looks very nice.

S - Smell is nice. Bready biscuit malts, grapefruit hops, pineapple, alcohol fumes, mild earthiness, some cinnamon, & some cream.

T - Taste follows suit of the nose: bitter grapefruit hops, mango, pineapple, oranges, bready malts, some sugary candied sweetness, bit of soapiness, hint of spice, and alcohol heat on the finish.

M - Feel finishes off cleaner than expected with only minimal hop bitterness lingering on the palate. Alcohol heat phenols are noticeable on the finish.

Overall, nothing overly complex or extraordinary, but drinkable. Reminds me more of what a DIPA might be instead of a barleywine, but that's just me. Not a beer I would go out of my way to get again, but it was worth the try, and was better than the Deschutes / Great Lakes Class Of '88 Imperial Smoked Porter. Worth trying once, but that's about it. Happy 25 years to us.

North Coast Class Of '88 Barleywine Style Ale ---4/5.

Photo of SHODriver
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours a clear and vibrant golden orange with a finger and a half of eggshell colored dense head with good staying power that leaves a good amount of lacing
S: smells of caramel interwoven with some piney and citrusy hops
T: intense caramel sweetness on the front end with some piney, earthy and citrusy hop flavor. a bit of toffee on the back end and the swallow brings a good dose of oily piney hop flavor with some residual sweetness
M: silky and smooth with a decent amount of carbonation. neutral finish that coats the mouth well
O: I can't believe how well this beer drinks for being less than a year old. I'm not a fan of really abrasive hop profiles so this one works very well to me.

Photo of rlee1390
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Clear ruby orange, not much carbonation, one finger head with some lacing.

S-Good deal of caramel, malt, grass, coconut and citrus.

T-Much better balanced than the Deschutes version. Caramel, grass, pine with some bitterness.

M-Medium bodied and thankfully no alcohol heat.

O-The main difference between the two was the alcohol heat. NC didn't have any.

Photo of deltatauhobbit
3.96/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a clear golden orange color with a good sized head, fades at a slow rate but leaves only a few small patches of lacing.

Smell is not overly complex with a strong sweet malt backing, nicely hopped though with the pine aspect shining through the most.

Taste starts out with a light sweetness on the tongue, carbonation explodes and fills the mouth, the sides of the mouth pick up a decent resiny pine in the aftertaste, body is a bit thing otherwise, strength is fairly well hidden outside the slight warming sensation.

Photo of smerrell
4.33/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into Midnight Sun Brewing Stem glass.
A: lighter in color that I anticipate from a Barleywine. Head dissipates quickly, but the lacing along the glass lingers.

S: Sweet-smelling, hints of honey and flowers, and perhaps a touch of butterscotch.

T: hints of dried apricot and dried peach, and perhaps a bit of raisin.

M: lots of carbonation on this one. A dry finish.
O: I expected to like this a lot, but it isn't as robust as other barleywines I've enjoyed before. I would have liked a fuller flavor profile, and less dryness from the high carbonation.

Photo of colforbin73
4.12/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

i agree with the previous reviewer (seand)... this drinks a little more like a DIPA or maybe an IESB?

the pour is excellent with a nice off-white head, a copper colored ale, very clear looking.

the smell is a little boozy with bourbon and maple overtones.... the drink is outstanding.. for 10% abv this is an amazingly refined ale. not aggressive at all... the malts are sweet and welcoming... with a good bite of piney hops. the alcohol is warm on the palate but not hot.

a great beer to pair with food. DRINK at just below Room Temp. this ale is no good if too cold... at room temp (65-68) it really opens up and is delicious.

off style but it's great - hence barleywine style. a good value at $10 for the quality of the brew.

Photo of BarryMFBurton
3.65/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Three badass brothers-in-brewing in one big bottle of barleywine – bitchin’. Bottoms up.

A: Phenomenally bubbly. As I pour, the copper-colored body is overtaken by a bold white head of fizzy foam. It pops and falls with speed, but an incredible rush of bubbles from the nucleation site keeps it up indefinitely – seriously, it looks like someone turned on constant stream of air at the bottom of my glass. It’s quite a show.

S: A nose with a surprising amount of fruit, melding bright hop scents of lemon and cherry candy with a thicker, residual sugar aroma of grape jam and stone fruit. Herbal zest, with scents of toasted grain, fresh-cut grass, and pepper show to a lesser extent. Get close enough and you can sense the well-hidden booze note, merely peeking through the cracks of an otherwise sweet nose with a drying woodiness.

T: Beer to clear the sinuses! Opens with a fiery hop note of crackling pepper, pine, and chili powder, lead to a bitter high point in a flash. At the same time, a sticky syrup quality builds, adding cola, artificial vanilla, and a little bit of butterscotch to the thickening hop profile; the sweet syrups help contain the bitters, but never come close to matching their instant intensity. A taste of actual grain – odd for an American barleywine, though not unwelcome – and a touch of maple-aged booze bring this beer to a well-balanced finish.

M: Feels as frothy and foamy as the head implied, though not a crisp bubble in sight. Goes down like a 7% beer, maybe less, with only a moderately thick body.

O: A one-dimensional barleywine, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t well-crafted; there’s a lot of balance in that one dimension, that peppery hop character on a bed of (plain) sugar. This isn’t mixing the best from all the breweries, but it’s as palatable as the Rogue/Deschutes/North Coast flagships – which still makes a pretty good beer.

Photo of deschutes_fan
3.88/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750mL Bottle, aged for a year

- Pours a deep golden orange with a thick frothy head.

- Smells of citrus/orange peel, some floral hops and malty aromas too.

- Taste consists of some nice caramel malts, sharp/bitter citrus hops. Mouthfeel is decent, but a little thin compared to some of the better barley wines. The 10% + ABV is well hidden.

- Overall a good summer barley wine because of the refreshing citrus notes and the lighter body for the style. Nothing too special here, but still enjoyable. The high ABV sneaks up you...

Side note: I had this side by side with the deschutes version of the same beer. Though similar, the flavors were a bit more rich on this one and I liked it better overall. It was also more expensive @ $11/bottle (vs $8 for Deschutes).

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.13/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On-tap 10/31/2013 at Track 84 in Warwick, RI, served in a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a deep reddish amber color, with a large off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains caramelized malts, brown sugar, citrus and some hops.

T: The taste starts out very sweet with flavors of caramel, brown sugar and fruit. Then a good hops presence comes in. The malt character is hearty and brings a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Very tasty, goes down dangerously easy, not too filling, good kick, good representation of style, this is a nice stronger beer to drink for as long as you can handle it.

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Class Of '88 Barleywine Style Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
86 out of 100 based on 341 ratings.