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King Henry - Goose Island Beer Co.

Not Rated.
King HenryKing Henry

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,263 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,263
Reviews: 306
rAvg: 4.71
pDev: 9.13%
Wants: 1,684
Gots: 495 | FT: 18
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: 1,263 | Reviews: 306 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by russwbeck:
Photo of russwbeck


4.3/5  rDev -8.7%

A: Amber to brown pour that you can see through at points. Only a hint of off white head, but hardly any builds up at all. Some bubbles are noted racing to the top of the glass.

S: Everybody seems to be picking up some soy sauce on the taste, which I can see, but I don't think it's overwhelming. I get mostly caramel malt, only hints of bourbon that are well masked, but come out at random points. Sweet malts are certainly the focus for me. As the beer warms the alcohol on the aroma is WAY more noticeable. It almost drowns out everything else.

T: The taste is very well blended. It doesn't hit on being too sweet, but that's the focus for me. Lots of bourbon and vanilla, which hide the alcohol well. Caramel malts and chocolate add to the sweetness, but also to the balance. The beer has a great balance, but I can't say it's completely knocking my socks off. As it warms up the alcohol comes out more as it did on the aroma.

MF: Medium body with a low to average amount of carbonation and a syrupy quality. The balance and my love for Bourbon make this really drinkable for me, but I would say it might be a bit better after another year or so.

O: Considering the hype around this beer and its 100 rating, I have to say I'm a little disappointed. This beer is phenomenal don't get me wrong, I just thought it was going to blow me away and it didn't. One of the best barleywines I've had, but not one of the best beers I've had.

08-12-2012 02:05:22 | More by russwbeck
More User Reviews:
Photo of tectactoe


4.4/5  rDev -6.6%

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.

09-27-2013 14:00:09 | More by tectactoe
Photo of SkiBum22

New York

4.88/5  rDev +3.6%

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.

12-14-2011 15:30:28 | More by SkiBum22
Photo of BeerAdvocate


4.63/5  rDev -1.7%

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.

03-08-2012 02:09:11 | More by BeerAdvocate
Photo of newk340


5/5  rDev +6.2%

02-04-2012 17:31:00 | More by newk340
Photo of supa0525


4.75/5  rDev +0.8%

05-14-2013 15:22:05 | More by supa0525
Photo of joel66

New York

4.25/5  rDev -9.8%

03-07-2013 02:13:20 | More by joel66
Photo of warnerry


4.5/5  rDev -4.5%

11-01-2013 03:17:52 | More by warnerry
Photo of Todd


4.5/5  rDev -4.5%

03-08-2012 15:58:51 | More by Todd
Photo of Callmecoon


4.75/5  rDev +0.8%

08-26-2012 21:21:14 | More by Callmecoon
Photo of jisom123


4.5/5  rDev -4.5%

09-18-2012 01:02:59 | More by jisom123
Photo of megamass

New Jersey

5/5  rDev +6.2%

01-05-2013 05:25:59 | More by megamass
Photo of Jason


4.5/5  rDev -4.5%

03-08-2012 02:12:17 | More by Jason
Photo of codysjb


5/5  rDev +6.2%

09-01-2012 18:11:57 | More by codysjb
Photo of Mora2000


4.43/5  rDev -5.9%

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.

06-16-2012 15:26:40 | More by Mora2000
Photo of jeebus23


4.5/5  rDev -4.5%

03-17-2012 20:56:38 | More by jeebus23
Photo of BigE90


5/5  rDev +6.2%

03-16-2012 17:47:50 | More by BigE90
Photo of 1Adam12


5/5  rDev +6.2%

01-01-2012 22:19:28 | More by 1Adam12
Photo of fo1ksguitar


5/5  rDev +6.2%

01-04-2012 15:18:10 | More by fo1ksguitar
Photo of PDZ


5/5  rDev +6.2%

11-09-2012 01:49:20 | More by PDZ
Photo of standardcherry


5/5  rDev +6.2%

11-23-2012 08:18:58 | More by standardcherry
Photo of kingcrowing


4.33/5  rDev -8.1%

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.

02-11-2012 16:24:54 | More by kingcrowing
Photo of MicroBeerMan1980


5/5  rDev +6.2%

07-28-2014 03:58:21 | More by MicroBeerMan1980
Photo of mjtiernan

New York

4.5/5  rDev -4.5%

01-13-2012 04:42:37 | More by mjtiernan
Photo of bpfrush


5/5  rDev +6.2%

01-10-2012 20:26:47 | More by bpfrush
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King Henry from Goose Island Beer Co.
100 out of 100 based on 1,263 ratings.