Class Of '88 Barleywine Style Ale - North Coast Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 293 | Reviews: 58 | Display Reviews Only:
3.53/5 rDev -7.3%
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.
05-13-2013 04:21:15 | More by UCLABrewN84
4/5 rDev +5%
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.
06-13-2013 05:43:55 | More by BEERchitect
4.15/5 rDev +8.9%
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.
11-01-2013 13:39:20 | More by TheManiacalOne
3.76/5 rDev -1.3%
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...
06-27-2013 03:58:17 | More by russpowell
4.21/5 rDev +10.5%
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!
09-24-2013 13:54:20 | More by Slatetank
3.76/5 rDev -1.3%
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.
12-28-2013 20:01:26 | More by smcolw
2.56/5 rDev -32.8%
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.
07-22-2013 01:51:22 | More by kojevergas
3.6/5 rDev -5.5%
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.
02-15-2014 07:30:53 | More by lacqueredmouse
4.03/5 rDev +5.8%
(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.
06-16-2014 21:25:47 | More by rhoadsrage
4.03/5 rDev +5.8%
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.
02-23-2014 23:35:10 | More by jdhilt
3.9/5 rDev +2.4%
750 ml bottle into snifter, bottled on 03/2013. Pours slightly cloudy deep orange amber color with a 2 finger dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice dense soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a good amount of streaming carbonation retaining the head. Aromas of golden raisin, pineapple, orange peel, apricot, brown sugar, light caramel, toasted bread, floral, grass, pine, and floral/toasted earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of citrus/pine hops, yeast fruitiness, and pale malt sweetness; with good strength. Taste of golden raisin, pineapple, orange peel, apricot, brown sugar, light caramel, toasted bread, floral, grass, pine, and floral/toasted earthiness. Fair amount of pine/earthy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of golden raisin, pineapple, orange peel, apricot, brown sugar, light caramel, toasted bread, pine, and floral/toasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice balance and complexity of citrus/pine hops, yeast fruitiness, and pale malt sweetness; with a great sweetness/bitterness balance and no cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a smooth, fairly crisp, and slightly creamy/sticky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a light warming present after the finish. Overall this is a very nice blonde barleywine style. All around good complexity and balance of citrus/pine hops, yeast fruitiness, and pale malt sweetness; and very smooth and fairly crisp to sip on for the big ABV. A very enjoyable offering.
08-13-2014 02:48:58 | More by superspak
Class Of '88 Barleywine Style Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
86 out of 100 based on 293 ratings.