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King Henry - Goose Island Beer Co.

Not Rated.
King HenryKing Henry

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,318 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,318
Reviews: 308
rAvg: 4.71
pDev: 8.92%
Wants: 1,699
Gots: 502 | FT: 23
Brewed by:
Goose Island Beer Co. visit their website
Illinois, United States

Style | ABV
English Barleywine |  13.40% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Brewer's notes:
Aged in Pappy Van Winkle 23 bourbon barrels, previously used to age Rare Bourbon County Brand Stout. King Henry is a burgundy hued English-style barleywine with aromas of vanilla, oak, and dark fruit. Caramel and toffee flavors blend together with bold notes of bourbon delivered in a smooth body followed by a malty finish. No matter the occasion, King Henry promises a regal drinking experience.

(Beer added by: Kegatron on 08-16-2010)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,318 | Reviews: 308 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by dbc5:
Photo of dbc5
4.95/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

22 ounce bottle poured into 10 out Kentucky Bourbon Stout snifter.

A: Pours a deep brown with ruby edges. Held to light, some amber tones shine through. Color is beautiful (although I'm sure some would complain of it being too dark for the style). Very minimal head, even with fairly aggressive pour. No lacing to speak of, but do get some alcohol legs with each swirl of the glass.

S: So much going on in the nose. The bourbon is present and yet not overpowering, letting oak, vanilla, candied caramel, dark fruits, graham cracker, and a brown sugar sweetness push their way through. Phenomenal nose.

T: So much complexity. I am experiencing the beer differently with each sip. Caramel, toffee, dark fruits, vanilla, coconut, marshmallow, brown sugar, and of course bourbon. It seems that with each sip, a new flavor takes the prominent role. The use of dark malt (chocolate I believe) imparts an interesting element that isn't present in your typical English barleywine. I'm picking up some interesting flavor similarities between this and Dark Horse's BB Monster 29, although they are clearly different beers and the Monster 29 is far sweeter.

M: Sticky, thick, and tongue coating. Carbonation is mild and appropriate for a barrel aged barely of this size.

O: Hands down, the finest barleywine (barrel aged or otherwise) I have had to date. I'm honestly not sure that I have ever enjoyed a beer more than this one. Were there slightly more head and lacing, this might have been my first ever perfect 5. Simply phenomenal.

dbc5, Jan 18, 2013
More User Reviews:
Photo of tectactoe
4.4/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to Ron for opening this one with us... I don't know how he does it. Dark brown and mahogany on the pour, with a light-tan head that settles to a collar pretty quickly. Still, thick, somewhat viscous and slightly menacing as it sits in the glass quiety. Good clarity when held up to the light, with not much haze detectable at all.

The aroma is absolutely huge... whether it's good or not, that's one thing... but the size of it is captivating. Sticky caramel, toffee, brown sugar, sweet molasses, deep figs, heavy oak, prunes, a big, boozy underbody, handfuls of woodsy raisins and a polished dusting of cocoa and chocolate in the end. Huge. Robust. Sticky sweet and largely complex. The best nose on the planet? Probably not... but still, pretty damn fantastic.

I'm a little more blown away by the first sip, as the flavor is even more omnipotent and commanding than the aroma (and even a little better, if you ask me). Lots of oak up front, sticky, heavy toffee, molded vanilla and caramel drizzle, warm bourbon and booze, cavity-inducing brown sugar, more dark fruits like figs and prunes, with a mild touch of cola in the finish, quickly survived by a touch of chocolate and the faintest addition of roast.... Wow.

King Henry is a monster of a beer. I guess that's what happens when you take an already massive barleywine and age it in Pappy 23 barrels that previously held a badass stout for two years. The bourbon character itself is relatively tame, I'm guessing since this is the second usage of the barrels, but King Henry still retains that barleywine-ish boozy character throughout - not to a menacing degree, rather just enough to let you know exactly what you're dealing with here.

There's no doubt this beer is a slow sipper, and the mouth feel is more justification of that. Thick and viscous, such a large body that has a sticky and almost (I repeat, *almost*) syrup-like retention to all sides of your mouth, leaving you with the lasting impression of oak, dying dark fruits, and huge brown sugar and molasses sweetness. Something that must be savored, one sip at a time.

So - King Henry. What a damn fine barleywine. While I do believe the hype train took hold of this one long ago, and it still may be *slightly* over-hyped, it is still a fantastic beer... I just wouldn't give up the farm for a bottle. It still deserves recognition as an incredible beer, although it wanders pretty far from the realm of English barleywines. In any case, it was still a lovely treat and I can't thank Ron enough for letting me indulge.

tectactoe, Sep 27, 2013
Photo of mlhyatt
4.8/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Poured from bomber into tulip glass.

A- black but not quite jet black if that makes sense. Abiut half inch of head but it wasn't as frothy as I expected it to be. The head dissipates rather quickly as well.

S- tons of bourbon with some fruity undertones. Lots of sweet malt xoming forward as well.

T- delicious. The bourbon hits first strong even after 3 years. Then there is a smooth sweet malt that follows and really holds this beer together. The aftertaste is definitely fruity but not like backyard rye or actual fruit, if that makes sense. Hint of vanilla and oak in there as well.

M - a little bit thinner than I thought it would be but still has a medium body feel and little carbonation. The sweetness of the beer is a little strong but it just makes it a sipper.

O- extrenely well made beer. I can definitely see the hype behind it. Glad I got a few in the trade!

mlhyatt, Jul 03, 2014
Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.74/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Wow, thanks Curran for the big ol 11 oz pour of this. Big time want.

Pours an opaque, murky brown, small film-like head, under a quarter inch, and no lacing.

Smells like dark fruit, smooth seductive bourbon, vanilla, brown sugar, and toffee, in large amounts. Smells quite concentrated and sweet.

Even at 3 years out, the flavors here are so bright and vibrant. Very, very sweet, almost to the point of cloying, but it finishes slightly dry, keeping it from being too much. The bourbon flavor here is to die for, as expected given the PVW 23 3rd use barrels used. Even though it's 3 years later and 3rd use barrels, the bourbon is still present and forward. Huge notes of maple syrup, toffee, caramel, burnt brown sugar, dates, figs, raisins, port, chocolate covered cherries, with a slight boozy twinge that integrates well with everything else and warms you right up. Sipping this on a porch on this cool summer night was just about perfect.

Medium bodied, sticky sweet mouthfeel, there's a bit of tingly booze and woody bitterness on the lips throughout the session for me. A slow sipper for sure, due to ABV and strong flavors.

This is everything I hoped it would be. At times it was a tiny bit too sweet, but that's the only knock for me. Otherwise, perfection.

GreesyFizeek, Jun 14, 2014
Photo of SkiBum22
4.88/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Pours a dark mahoganey color with a thin ring of cream colored head. Nice lacing.

S - Very nice barrel aged barleywine smell. Some lightly toasted malts, burnt brown sugars, caramel, slight hops and wonderful pappy barrel smell. The barrels bring out some mild vanilla, wood, and a touch of coconut.

T - Similar to the smell, very sweet. I can feel the carbonation and taste it. The spices are very prevalent in the taste along with some subtle bourbon notes. I am getting some oak here as well.

M - Medium bodied with medium carbonation. astringency from the hops. big boozy feel all over my mouth and throat.

O - Wow, this is easily the surprise of the year for me. I had no idea about this beer until last week and can now say with ease that this is in my top 5 of all-time. I just got into barley wines this year and didn't think anything could beat abacus and this blows it away.

SkiBum22, Dec 14, 2011
Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.63/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz brown bomber with a bottled on date, also states that it will develop in the bottle over five years. Bottle #1028. 13.4% ABV ... this should be interesting.

LOOK: Opaque brown, head is virtually non-exsistant.

SMELL: Booze soaked fruit, barrel char, bourbon, vanilla, maple, wood, melon rind, peppery.

TASTE: Viscous, creamy, sherry, toasted wood, heavy char, ink, gritty, dark chocolate, bready, ripe cherries, toffee, vanilla, bourbon, lost leafy hop bitterness, boozy, spicy peppercorn, barrel dryness in finish.

Does it live up to the hype? Hell yeah! Massively complex. English Barleywine meets American bourbon barrel-aging with a nod to Old Ales as a byproduct. Goose Island once again proves their mastery of maturing beer in wood. Even King Henry would be impressed.

BeerAdvocate, Mar 08, 2012
Photo of newk340
5/5  rDev +6.2%

newk340, Feb 04, 2012
Photo of supa0525
4.75/5  rDev +0.8%

supa0525, May 14, 2013
Photo of joel66
4.25/5  rDev -9.8%

joel66, Mar 07, 2013
Photo of warnerry
4.5/5  rDev -4.5%

warnerry, Nov 01, 2013
Photo of Todd
4.5/5  rDev -4.5%

Todd, Mar 08, 2012
Photo of Jared14
4.5/5  rDev -4.5%

Jared14, Sep 10, 2014
Photo of Callmecoon
4.75/5  rDev +0.8%

Callmecoon, Aug 26, 2012
Photo of jisom123
4.5/5  rDev -4.5%

jisom123, Sep 18, 2012
Photo of megamass
5/5  rDev +6.2%

megamass, Jan 05, 2013
Photo of Jason
4.5/5  rDev -4.5%

Jason, Mar 08, 2012
Photo of codysjb
5/5  rDev +6.2%

codysjb, Sep 01, 2012
Photo of Mora2000
4.43/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to jjfoodie for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours a brown color with a very small tan head. The aroma has a ton of maple and bourbon in it, with some nice toffee and caramel notes thrown in. Even with all of the alcohol in the aroma, the beer manages to not smell that boozy. The flavor is great as well. I get a ton of molasses, whiskey, caramel and maple, as well as a good amount of oak. All of the notes go very well together making this an outstanding beer. Medium to thick mouthfeel and medium carbonation. Very happy I got to try this one.

Mora2000, Jun 16, 2012
Photo of jeebus23
4.5/5  rDev -4.5%

jeebus23, Mar 17, 2012
Photo of BigE90
5/5  rDev +6.2%

BigE90, Mar 16, 2012
Photo of 1Adam12
5/5  rDev +6.2%

1Adam12, Jan 01, 2012
Photo of fo1ksguitar
5/5  rDev +6.2%

fo1ksguitar, Jan 04, 2012
Photo of PDZ
5/5  rDev +6.2%

PDZ, Nov 09, 2012
Photo of standardcherry
5/5  rDev +6.2%

standardcherry, Nov 23, 2012
Photo of kingcrowing
4.33/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle poured into a sampler.

Pours a deep Ruby/dark brown with really no head at all. Nose is sweet and a bit winey and boozy.

Taste is sweet caramel, oak, vanilla, booze and Bourbon. Mouthfeel is is full and rich, a nice bitterness on the finish. Really tasty.

kingcrowing, Feb 11, 2012
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King Henry from Goose Island Beer Co.
100 out of 100 based on 1,318 ratings.