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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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

314 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 314
Reviews: 63
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 12.37%
Wants: 12
Gots: 53 | FT: 2
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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: SanFranJake on 04-21-2013)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 314 | Reviews: 63 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.53/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Lucky Baldwins in Pasadena, CA.

Pours a clear dark orange with a foamy beige head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Foamy rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, and citrus zest aromas. Taste is much the same with citrus zest flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer but the aromas and flavors are subdued in my opinion.

UCLABrewN84, May 13, 2013
Photo of djrn2
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

djrn2, Jul 12, 2013
Photo of zestar
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

zestar, Aug 01, 2014
Photo of acurtis
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

acurtis, Sep 07, 2013
Photo of BEERchitect
4/5  rDev +5.3%
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.

BEERchitect, Jun 13, 2013
Photo of GRG1313
3/5  rDev -21.1%

GRG1313, Sep 07, 2013
Photo of jaydoc
4.5/5  rDev +18.4%

jaydoc, Aug 03, 2013
Photo of kylehay2004
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

kylehay2004, May 08, 2014
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%

westcoastbeerlvr, Apr 27, 2013
Photo of JAHMUR
3.25/5  rDev -14.5%

JAHMUR, Jun 27, 2013
Photo of SocalKicks
4/5  rDev +5.3%

SocalKicks, May 17, 2013
Photo of zeff80
4/5  rDev +5.3%

zeff80, May 27, 2013
Photo of nickfl
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

nickfl, May 08, 2014
Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.15/5  rDev +9.2%
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.

TheManiacalOne, Nov 01, 2013
Photo of russpowell
3.76/5  rDev -1.1%
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...

russpowell, Jun 27, 2013
Photo of Slatetank
4.21/5  rDev +10.8%
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!

Slatetank, Sep 24, 2013
Photo of mdfb79
3.74/5  rDev -1.6%

Have had this one for a while...750ml corked and caged bottle poured into my Duvel tulip.

Pours a somewhat hazy deep amber-orange color with one and a half fingers of fluffy light tan head and moderate to high carbonation evident. Lot more hops to it than I was expecting. Citrus hops, fruity malts, caramel malts, breads malts, dough, burnt malts, floral notes, and dark fruits. Taste has more malt than hops. Medium body and low carbonation. No alcohol bite, easy to drink.

Overall a decent barleywine but hoppier than I was expecting...wonder what it was like fresh. Nose is quite hoppy but the taste gives way to more malts. Worth checking out but wouldn't go too far to seek it out.

mdfb79, Sep 03, 2014
Photo of beernads
3.25/5  rDev -14.5%

beernads, Dec 24, 2013
Photo of smcolw
3.76/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Impressive head that settles very slowly. Dirty gold color.

Sweet with a raisin aroma. A bit yeastiness in the background. Good hop balance for the style.

Very smooth but less sweet than the aroma. In fact, it's a bit dry. There's a spicy element to this--licorice? The aftertaste is very dry. Thin for the style but still holds up to the carbonation.

smcolw, Dec 28, 2013
Photo of kojevergas
2.56/5  rDev -32.6%
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?

Low C-

It'll definitely get better with age, but I can't see it getting good with age.

kojevergas, Jul 22, 2013
Photo of XmnwildX12
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

XmnwildX12, Dec 11, 2013
Photo of GClarkage
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

GClarkage, Jul 08, 2014
Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.6/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

750ml caged and corked bottle picked up from Whole Foods in SoMa, San Francisco. Shared with @tobeerornottobe in Sydney.

Pours a relatively clear golden-bronze colour, with a filmy, but very fine head of pure white, like snow on the top of a cake. Lacing forms in spritzy strips across the glass. Body actually looks fairly fluid and light, but the carbonation is quite fine and very languid, indicating that it's thicker than I think it is. Looks good.

Smell is barley-heavy, giving a light, sugary malt character above all else. Slight twinges of booze extend it slightly, but also add an eye-watering strength to the brew as a whole. Hops are definitely muted, but there's still something relatively pleasant about it as a whole, even though the complexity isn't really there.

Taste is similar. Smooth, barley-heavy sweetness gives a cleanness to the palate on the front, while the back is peppered by a faint astringency and a slinging heat of booze. Enlivened perks of hops do come forward on the finish, resulting in a slight bitterness to attempt to dry out the beer and add some complexity. It's not bad.

Feel is fairly rich and broad, and with a slickness that is very pleasant. The booze heat harms it a little, but it's surprisingly balanced.

Probably remarkably drinkable for the ABV. It's certainly well-made and with a balance that puts other similar beers to shame. But it perhaps doesn't justify its strength. It's remarkably mild in many ways: that's almost certainly a good thing—a testament to the quality and balance of the brew—but it didn't make me jump up in excitement, and that's what I really want beers to make me do.

lacqueredmouse, Feb 15, 2014
Photo of wrightst
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%

wrightst, Sep 25, 2014
Photo of rhoadsrage
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
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.

rhoadsrage, Jun 16, 2014
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Class Of '88 Barleywine Style Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
86 out of 100 based on 314 ratings.