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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

68 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 68
Hads: 356
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 8.83%
Wants: 17
Gots: 72 | FT: 4
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.
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Reviews: 68 | Hads: 356
Photo of elNopalero
4.54/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

This pours an amber tan color with light foaming. There’s a pleasing aroma with a piney, almost herbaceous character comingled with a touch of toasted coconut. I found flavors of orange peel, caramel and orange pith, toasted coconut and a hint of vanilla. Full flavored but light bodied for a barleywine. Fun to share. (320 characters)

Photo of roblowther
4.48/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

750 corked and caged. A perfect evening plan. The cork pops, which says there is more carbonation than I would expect for a barleywine. And I like it! It is a hazy gold with a frothy offwhite head that leaves a bit of nice lace. The smell is like a candy shop, with oranges, sugar, mint and a nice bready base. It has a nice slightly hoppy aftertaste that balances the sweetness really well. Mouthfeel is slick but with nice carbonation, really fantastic. Overall I really, really like this. Really really, really really. For real. (531 characters)

Photo of pat61
4.44/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From notes. L: Pours brilliant golden amber under a 1”clingy white foam collar.
S: Grain, fresh barley, light fruit, faint compost.
T: Rich malt flavors, caramel, a suggestion of bourbon, alcohol, with bitter hop accent.
F: Extraordinarily creamy and smooth with a rich, full body, slight alcohol burn.
O: Marvelously balanced between big malt, alcohol and hops. Almost like a mixed drink. (396 characters)

Photo of Derek
4.34/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Bronze with a white head, light retention, shows a little leg.

S: Sponge toffee, mango, candied pineapple and marmalade, quite lovely & enticing.

T: A bunch of sweetness up front (candied pineapple, mango, sponge toffee), which is nicely balanced by a slightly resiny bitterness through the middle. As it warms, you really notice the alcohol in the finish.

M: Moderate body is well carbonated with a slightly prickly acidity and the light residual sweetness fades to a lightly drying alcohol finish.

O: This does not seem like a 10% ale, and I've probably put more hops in a 5% ale, but this an exquisitely balanced, seriously drinkable, warming brew! It's surprising how every mouthful stimulates from start to finish. Well crafted. (740 characters)

Photo of smerrell
4.33/5  rDev +12.5%
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. (563 characters)

Photo of NWer
4.28/5  rDev +11.2%
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. (542 characters)

Photo of alpinebryant
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%

A: Deep caramel orange color with sticky lacing and heavy head

S: Aroma of sweet citrus, fresh oranges, roasted sugars, and caramel.

T: Wow is this sweet and citrusy. Grapefruit, fresh naval orange and caramel mixing with some bitterness but overshadowed by the tangerine and fresh floral hop characters. There is a nice cotton candy like sugary flavor as well, mashing with a very dry finish.

M: Mild bodied, thinner than Bigfoot but with very similar carbonation levels.

O: Overall this is a solid barleywine. It would be great to find this in smaller bottles so you do not have to plan your timing on opening it quite as much but well done nonetheless. (669 characters)

Photo of SanFranJake
4.21/5  rDev +9.4%
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. (800 characters)

Photo of Slatetank
4.21/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I picked this up at Stateline, enjoyed chilled form the corked and caged 750ml with Drew and JC, sampled from a teku.

The color of autum, tinges of gold and amber with light haze and a thick cream capping iwth average bead and good retention. The smell is very enjoyable, fruity yeast with a mix of floral and dank herbal hops with some caramel complimenting and a light alcohol ester. The feel is very good mostly dry with semi-bitter and mild caramel texture which verges on sweet with a medium level of carbonation and well balanced presence in the general sense with low alcohol influence.

The taste brings a light pine hop element up front with cherry and other stone fruit from the malt and yeast with some light citrus interplay and a generally toasted grain flavor which also carries a mild sweetness in the malt. The light vanilla and gentle yeast flavor is enjoyable with a light alcohol warmth in the finish which also provides some bitter herbal qualities.
Overall it was a pleasure to sip and share this, I consider this a beer that shows the talents of all the brewer's involved it is better than the sum of the parts as it works in the style, yet has a complexity that makes it stand out from most I have had recently. No heavy handed alcohol or hops, just a great collaboration-Cheers! (1,305 characters)

Photo of craftbeersweden
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bought September 5, 2014. Best before June 2019.

Hazy deep orange beer with a two finger high, beige head that leaves lacing on the glass.

Nose: Orange, butter, marmelade, honey, caramel malt, dried fruit and fruity hops.
Taste: Sweet malt, a lot of hops, citrus, pine, brown sugar and grapefruit.
Body: Medium to full body. Oily texture. Creamy and thick with a great balance of sweetness and bitterness. Soft carbonation.

Soo good! (441 characters)

Photo of chinchill
4.15/5  rDev +7.8%

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 (313 characters)

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.13/5  rDev +7.3%
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. (747 characters)

Photo of Immortale25
4.12/5  rDev +7%
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. (752 characters)

Photo of colforbin73
4.12/5  rDev +7%
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. (735 characters)

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
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. (732 characters)

Photo of ThatFatBeerGuy
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
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. (887 characters)

Photo of jdhilt
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a five finger, off-white head that fades slowly and leaving a good lace. Hazy amber color. Good carbonation, medium bodied. Tart fruit nose and flavor is sweet, spicy/tart fruit, high ABV is hidden, smooth finish. Pricey at $14.00 for a caged & corked 750ml bottle from Tully's Beer and Wine Wells, Me. (308 characters)

Photo of Tone
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, copper color. One inch head of an off-white color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of alcohol, sweet malt, slight roasted malt, hops, slight pale malt, and a hint of yeast. Fits the style of an American Barleywine. Mouth feel is smooth and clean, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of alcohol, sweet malt, hint of roasted malt, hint of yeast, and strong hops. Overall, good appearance, aroma, feel, body, and blend. (446 characters)

Photo of Pencible
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: This poured a nearly opaque light copper with thick white head.
S: It smelled like sweet candied oranges with wild honey and golden raisins.
T: It tasted like sweet candied oranges and copper hops, with some wild honey and vanilla. It had a clean bittersweet aftertaste with some alcohol warming.
M: It was oily with smooth natural carbonation. Nice slick body.
D: This was a solid barleywine with enjoyable scent and taste and body. Nothing really unique about it, but still nice to drink. The finish was a little hot, so it will likely improve with age. (558 characters)

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.02/5  rDev +4.4%
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. (1,579 characters)

Photo of Scotchboy
4.02/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Corked & caged 750ml, a gift from my wife when I found out we were having our second child, split into tulips with my brother.

A: Crystal clear gold with white head that leaves good lace.

S: Wasn't ready for this one to be so hop-forward; impressive citrus notes and some pine as well, big orange/orange peel character with plenty of sugary tones and a sweeter bready malt base...caramel maybe too?

T: Big sweet sugary malt and clean grain, mixed with citrusy hops and some earthy notes. Big bready body with decent bitterness. Finishes nicely.

MF: Remarkably creamy, moderately bitter medium/full body.

O: Impressed, wasn't expecting such a pleasant barleywine with the way the reviews seemed to downplay this collaboration. This was enjoyable; big, sweet malt presence and a good dose of juicy American hops - just what an American Barleywine should be. (860 characters)

Photo of SHODriver
4/5  rDev +3.9%
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. (694 characters)

Photo of rlee1390
4/5  rDev +3.9%
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. (359 characters)

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

Enjoyed this 750ml bottle in a Belgian Tulip glass

A: Pours a copper hue with a white frothy head that slowly dissipates leaving a great trail and solid persistent lace.

S: Sweet barley wine malt aroma.

T: Very sweet malty flavor with an alcoholic burn and finishes on the dry side of sweet.

M: Full body and medium carbonation. Pretty boozy.

O: Solid Barleywine – should have aged this longer. (401 characters)

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

Its with a tremendous amount of refinement and class that the epic brewers of North Coast, Rogue and Deschutes put their heads together for a collaborative Barleywine that swirls 25 years of quality brewing into a singular bottle.

The godfather-type ale pours with a deep amber, copper color and deliberately releases its froth from the rich ale below. Capped with a sturdy column of off-white foam, its head structure is tight, creamy and looking somewhat of whipped topping. This appearance is even more impressive as it laces the glass evenly with intermittent rings with each sip taken from the glass.

Strong yet balanced- the aromas are chocked full of caramelized barley scents and in the intensity needed to push the beer to ten percent alcohol. Not to be outdone, the hop complements meet that intensity with grapefruit, orange peels, and a mild resinous pine note. Transitioning to taste, the malty-sweet upstart is straight up caramel with hints of honey and sweet toasted grains. The middle palate shows a formidable hop retribution of citrus, pine, and herbal grasses to balance the bulk of taste. Finishing bitter with those pine resin qualities, the beer retains a starchy malt taste and texture that keeps the beer from any hop command.

Full bodied, the ale is remarkably drinkable because of its smooth and balanced sensibilities. Somewhat salty to taste, this also adds to a rounded feel to the beer that accompanies an minerally finish. A late rise of alcohol warmth signals closure even as the hops and malt seem to linger deep on the after palate.

This is an absolutely classy Barleywine that pays respect to many of those early and more balanced versions of the style. Where many of today's Barleywines intend to overwhelm the palate, this one prefers a more gentlemanly approach- leading to its refinement, drinkability and class. It kinda reminds me of prom. (1,885 characters)

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Class Of '88 Barleywine Style Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
86 out of 100 based on 68 ratings.