Class Of '88 Barleywine Style Ale - North Coast Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 281 | Reviews: 57 | Display Reviews Only:
2.56/5 rDev -33%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5
750 ml brown glass bottle with straightforward stylish label art and hood-and-wire cap over a cork acquired at a local bottle shop and served into a Mitchells of Lancaster flared stem-tulip in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Expectations are fairly high given the brewery, but I wasn't a huge fan of Deschutes' version. 10% ABV confirmed. 75 IBUs.
Served cold - straight from the fridge - and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.
Cork is difficult to get out. I resorted to pliers.
A: Pours a two finger wide head of greyish khaki colour head (that's 'ecru', for the pretentious). Nice smooth soft complexion. Okay frothiness. Light creaminess. Even consistent lacing as the head recedes. Retention is pretty good, about 4-5 minutes. Supple.
Body colour is a glowing vibrant copper. Translucent, transparent. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.
Overall, it's not looking great for the style, but there are no overt flaws. Not unique or special.
Sm: Some tropical hop ester notes: peach, mango, grapefruit. Getting some resins and pine as well. Clean malt build, with biscuit and light caramalt. Somewhat grainy. Honey. Lightly herbal. An even pairing of hops and malts, but it really isn't to style. Not finding any of the rich notes I look for in great barleywines. No toffee, oak, dark malts, etc. I also don't detect any yeast. Maybe some warm alcohol. A strange build for a barleywine, but I'm optimistic. Mild in strength.
T: Weird, with misplaced tropical hop notes meeting some warm booze - all over a middling clean malt body comprised of biscuit malt, caramalt, and generic malted barley. Grainy. Maybe some pils malts? Definitely not English in character. I get mango, pineapple, peach...what are these notes doing in a barleywine? No rich dark malts, refined toffee, or oak here. Pretty tepid. Sappy. Vague apricot. Green grape with a pleasant grapeskin note. Flavour depth is below average for style. Flavour intensity and duration are about average, I guess. Low complexity and subtlety. Imbalanced as well, with evident booziness. Honey. Salt. Nowhere near as toasty as I'd like. Way too much hop bitterness for the style; direly overhopped. Meh.
Mf: Smooth, wet, salty. Overcarbonated, almost biting. Boozy and tepid. Not a great texture for a beer of this style. Poor presence on the palate. Overbearing and unnecessarily heavy. Burdening. Body is too full for the lack of flavour depth and diversity. Not big on this one.
Dr: Pretty mundane; a disappointment especially for the brewery (and price for that matter). Wouldn't touch this stuff again. Not sure what they were thinking bringing this one to market. Doesn't hide its ABV well at all, and there's not much to enjoy flavour-wise. Quite difficult to quaff as a result. Really misses the mark. Definitely below average for the style. But hey, it'll get you drunk. I appreciate their reverence for history, but reviewers please note that just because you're taking their word that this is what a barleywine tasted like way back when doesn't mean you have to instantly defend it for being mediocre. Last I checked no one needed to defend Rochefort for putting out beer that's bad now but that was considered good in 1600 AD; the beer speaks for itself regardless of the times. I love Deschutes and North Coast as much as the next guy, but let's get a little reality check, people. Let's not hop on the apologist bandwagon, eh?
It'll definitely get better with age, but I can't see it getting good with age.
Serving type: bottle
07-22-2013 01:51:22 | More by kojevergas
2.8/5 rDev -26.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5
Chilled 25.4 oz C&C bomber into 33 cl snifters.
Look- Not-quite-clear deep amber with a finger of dense off-white head, minimal lace but 5 mm or so of suds sticks around for quite a while.
Smell- Fruity, spicy, loads of bubblegum and just a hint of pine. Boozier as it warms, but never really takes on the warmer, rounded malty notes you'd expect.
Taste- Straight off the bat this is definitely an American Double/Triple IPA fermented with English or blended yeast. Light cracker and honey, pine and mild citrus. Vague notion of fruitiness, but the bracing but nondescript bitterness washes it away pretty quickly.
Mouthfeel- Light, crisp carbonation. Just a little sticky on the finish, some booze and warming afterwards. Far too clean for a barleywine.
Overall- Barleywine "style" indeed. An American Barleywine is one thing, but this is barely recognizable as such. Kind of a mixed-up American strong golden ale that succeeds at being inoffensive and uninspiring. Not worth revisiting, particularly at $11/bottle. There are far cheaper and tastier ways to fill a glass.
Serving type: bottle
12-06-2013 01:46:57 | More by Lawl3ss
3.25/5 rDev -14.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25
A - Clear honey, good white head slow to leave, lots of cling.
S - Not that cold, but not much aroma coming off. Like a pale ale.
T - This is NOT a standard barleywine. It barely makes the IPA mark.
M - Good carb, balance and medium bodied.
D - Expensive and disappointing.
Serving type: bottle
06-17-2013 00:23:56 | More by srandycarter
Class Of '88 Barleywine Style Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
86 out of 100 based on 281 ratings.