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King Henry - Goose Island Beer Co.

Not Rated.
King HenryKing Henry

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,297 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,297
Reviews: 307
rAvg: 4.71
pDev: 9.13%
Wants: 1,700
Gots: 502 | FT: 20
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of King Henry Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,297 | Reviews: 307 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of CummingsK21
5/5  rDev +6.2%

CummingsK21, Dec 15, 2011
Photo of smakawhat
4.43/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a Dogfish Head snifter glass. Bottled on October 8th 2011.

An incredibly oily, vinous and viscous looking pour out of the bottle. Color is a nice chestnut dark brown and red with light orange/brown hues on the edges. No foam and barely a collar produced, some minor leg action on this to show off some texture, the few bits of lacing manage to stick in there briefly.

Nose is an amalgam of typical bourbon aging. Some buttery like oak, but mostly anisette and faint caramel. Barleywine angle brings dark fruits coated in caramel sugars/molasses, anisette, rum angle takes over. It smells... like rum fruitcake.

Taste is more of the same. A quite surprising carbonation tinge on the front tongue, melds and playful in the mouth. Toasted brown sugar and dark raisin rum coated fruits. Some mild toffee, maple syrup, without all the cloying stickiness. Caramel rich, no hint of booze.. More anisette and lots of licorice comes out as the beer warms up becoming dominant taking away more of the brews other flavor and qualities. Aftertaste and finish seems to be missing a little, with everything in the front of the palate. Texture seems about solid, with nothing ridiculously notable or particularly faulty.

Pretty impressive, too bad I've never been a fan of fruitcake so take that into consideration. Overall another barrel aged win for the Goose.

smakawhat, Dec 15, 2011
Photo of pzymali
5/5  rDev +6.2%

pzymali, Dec 14, 2011
Photo of IrishColonial
5/5  rDev +6.2%

IrishColonial, Dec 14, 2011
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 beerhan
4.38/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Yeah this one lives up to the hype. This beer is pretty much fantastic.

A big thanks to stbo101 for this one.

A-An incredibly dark red when looked at in the light. Looks like a very dark brown from a distance. Pours almost flat with a very faint light tan head.

S-Lots of toffee and some chocolate.

T-I was expecting a lot more bourbon upfront but that mostly comes in the after taste. Foremost there is a lot of milky chocolate and toffee as well as some caramel. It is such a different beer than anything I am used to simply because of how balanced this is. There is no alcohol taste, just sweet vanilla and chocolate.

M-This is such a smooth beer. There is a slight burn from the alcohol but it is barely noticeable. Perfect carbonation, there is just a faint linger of bubbles making this so slick. The high abv is not accentuated in the slightest bit.

O-When I finished my glass I really wanted more. It is delicious, worthy of any hype it gets and just so perfect. Rarely are beers of such high abv not booze bombs but this one is too smooth. I need more. I cannot express anymore how shocked I am that goose island made such a beer. This is probably the best barleywine I have ever had.

beerhan, Dec 14, 2011
Photo of PhineasGage
5/5  rDev +6.2%

PhineasGage, Dec 14, 2011
Photo of RayLove
5/5  rDev +6.2%

RayLove, Dec 14, 2011
Photo of BEERchitect
4.83/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

As rich, powerful, and succulent as any Barleywine that I have tasted. But with exquisit balance and surpring smoothness- is this the premiere Barleywine going forward?

The beer opens with a rusty garnet pour, very viscous, the beer carries an oily visual texture with cordial-like legging upon modest foam light tan and slight orange barley stains. Its overall appearanc is that of rich ale meets brandy.

Mouthwatering and succulent flavors and aromas of bourbon-soaked plubs, dates, cherries, figs, dates, nuts, apples, raisons, and prunes all layer upon the rich barley malt flavor of toffee, maple, brown sugar, molasses, and chocolate. Barrel-rich caramels, vanilla, and vinous woods also offer all the flavor of bourbon but with little of the associated fusal heat. An absolutely delicious staple that sets the bar extremely high for any barleywine wishing to compete for top honors.

Lush textures depend on the sheer weight of the ale plus the creamy and rich medium carbonation that gives an English-like robust textrue that chases the flavors from start to finish. Growing heat rises to provide a long and tawny finish of Port and Sherry with a long and moderate dryness in finish.

I have never been saddened more to see an empty glass as I was after this one finished. I'm an absolute sucker for sweet barleywines and this one delivers with the perfect culmination of all the Barleywine flavors that I appreciate the most. Marvelous on all fronts!

BEERchitect, Dec 13, 2011
Photo of curly31989
5/5  rDev +6.2%

curly31989, Dec 13, 2011
Photo of stxSS07
4.75/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A- Pours a deep dark brown/black with a cap of khaki head. Carbonation breaks the surface. Leaves a film/big legs.

S- Sweet sugary caramel covered dark fruits. Some chocolate/toasted vanilla notes mingle with barrel and bourbon. Maybe pick up some cherry and tobacco? Extremely complex.

T- Wow. Follows the nose with caramel, toffee, vanilla, chocolate, dark fruit, and bourbon notes. Finishes with some alcohol and barrel notes.

M- Full bodied with pretty high carbonation. Really helps to clean off the palate, but damn this finish goes for days!

O- Easily the best barleywine I've had and possibly the best beer.

stxSS07, Dec 13, 2011
Photo of CaptainNomihodai
5/5  rDev +6.2%

CaptainNomihodai, Dec 13, 2011
Photo of waltonc
5/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to SpdKilz for this trade.

This is the best barleywine I have ever had. Pours dark brown with tan head. Smell and flavor shine with a perfectly balanced blend of everything you expect and want from a top-tier bourbon barrel barleywine - bourbon, vanilla, toffee, brown sugar, caramel. It's all there and very polished and refined. Body is fairly thick, but not cloying or syrupy. I am giving this a perfect score because I really can't imagine a bourbon barrel-aged barleywine being any better. This beer isn't missing anything.

waltonc, Dec 12, 2011
Photo of ArchEnemyBrew
5/5  rDev +6.2%

ArchEnemyBrew, Dec 12, 2011
Photo of sgoro
5/5  rDev +6.2%

sgoro, Dec 12, 2011
Photo of GRG1313
5/5  rDev +6.2%

GRG1313, Dec 12, 2011
Photo of jsh420
4.85/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

bottled on 10/08/11 0915

pours dark clear ruby brown with a small fizzy tan head that fades as fast as it formed

smell - blindfold me and i would think this is GI BCBS - bourbon vanilla tiny bit of chocolate - more toffee and caramel and some rich dark fruit

taste - oak vanilla bourbon hit me right away then the toffee caramel nutty chocolate next to semi sweet dark fruit

mouthfeel is thick syrupy with the perfect fizzy carbonation that is needed to give it the life and the extra zip

overall - an almost perfect beer and one i might enjoy more then BCBS - however the serving size might have been overkill - 12oz bottles would have been perfect

jsh420, Dec 12, 2011
Photo of schultzi22
4.63/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a tulip on 12/10/11. Shared with the fiance while watching "The Immortals." Thankfully, the beer was better than the movie.

A: Dark brown with minimal head.

S: Enticing nose with caramel and bourbon. A hint of vanilla comes through as well.

T: Buttery caramel and vanilla. The bourbon isn't as prominent as I expected from the nose; it is a smooth and integral part of the flavor, but the whiskey never overpowers. The finish is mostly oak.

M: Full body but not overly viscous. The carbonation is just right.

O: This is one of the best BBA barleywines I've had. Possibly one of the best beers. I expected more bourbon character, but I think they got it exactly right. It's smooth and apparent, but not dominating, allowing the incredible base beer to shine through.

I spent some time to track this one down, and it was completely worth it. I only hope that this will be released again, or that GI will churn out another BBA barleywine during the next BCBS hunting season.

schultzi22, Dec 12, 2011
Photo of Bellabananas
4.45/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A:Appears to have rich red hues with very little light penetration
S: Smells sweet with definite hints of alcohol
T: Tastes sweet rich molasses, needs to be sipped
M: mouthfeel is well balanced, slightly syrupy
O: I have to say the first barley wine I've enjoyed!

Bellabananas, Dec 12, 2011
Photo of siege06nd
4.6/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Jackie O's 6th Anniversary 4 oz. snifter...

A: A super dark ruby brown. A beautiful crimson glow around the edges when held to the light. A tiny creamy white head that vanishes almost as quickly as it appears. It dwindles to a thin ring that rims the edges. The color is simply divine.

S: Well, I smelled the bourbon the minute I opened the bottle. Haven't even held the glass to my nose yet and I'm getting a good amount of vanilla bourbon aroma. Let's go in for a closer look, shall we? Oh. my. goodness. Is this the best smelling barleywine ever? It might be. As strong as the bourbon is, it's surprisingly well integrated, allowing the other notes to really shine in the bouquet. The Pappy barrels just give this an incredible complexity and smoothness. Vanilla, ripe cherry, dark plum, some grape, and a decadent chocolate undertone. A quick swirl yields some nice oak notes. The nose seems to change with every swirl. This is right there with Abacus and in a dead heat with MoAS. Spectacular.

T: Goodness gracious is this a thick and smooth beer. Coats the mouth like maple syrup. Caramel and toffee, vanilla, and lots of oak. The bourbon is very well integrated and not offensive in the least. Finishes with a fairly strong booziness, but it is mellowed by the dark fruit and caramel malt. Dark fruit and a splash of chocolate are also lingering in the background. The oakiness dominates the finish a bit, but I think that will settle with some age. It also helps keep this from being an overly sweet barleywine right off the bat, though I have no doubts it will get there with a year or so. Decadent is the only way to describe this brew.

M: I think the mouthfeel was absolutely crushed. Incredible balance, richness, and smoothness for such a fresh barleywine. Positively coats the mouth, but not in a sickly sweet way. I think the beer needs just a little age to let the barrel aging calm down a bit, as the wood notes are all over this on the finish and it has a bit of burn on the back end.

O: Well, Abacus and MoAS have some competition. GI absolutely hit this one out of the park. It's rich, smooth, and decadent. The barrel aging is surprisingly controlled for such a fresh barleywine, but I still think it could use 6 months to a year to reach its peak. That being said, right off the shelf it currently stands as one of the top examples of the style, IMO. An absolute grand slam home run from GI. Would love to see them continue to release this.

siege06nd, Dec 11, 2011
Photo of rfraga77
5/5  rDev +6.2%

rfraga77, Dec 11, 2011
Photo of Yagman3000
4.55/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz bomber into a CBS snifter. Generously shared by fellow BA CosmicEvan in a Barrel Aged Tasting Extravaganza.

Appears super heavy duty in the glass. It carries practically no head at all but shimmies back and forth like a ruby brown beer pudding.

Smells Insane. Raisins plugged into an amplifier. Its barrel aging is apparent and she smells like she's running on the warm side.

Tastes like the inside of a semi dry fig. There are raisins, prunes, and finishes off with sweet anise (a feat Stone never accomplished!).

Mouthfeel Is outrageous. One of this beer's best attributes. It's so mouth filling it crawls out to your lips and makes them vibrate. It lasts like a chili pepper remains. I also like the way it attacks the back of the throat.

Overall this was an amazing beer that I feel is only rivaled by FSW's Abacus. Goose Island does not let down on this one. Wondering if this was done without too much of the Evil Empire's hand.

Yagman3000, Dec 11, 2011
Photo of cosmicevan
4.97/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

very excited to try this beer...shared with yagman

a - opened the bottle and poured two oversized snifters...poured a shiny ruby red that sat dark in the glass with reddish tints and highlights. one glass poured with a small head, the other nothing, but swirling the glass brought it back to life. lacing stuck to the glass as you move it, but then sludges back down to the surface leaving nary a clue that it was ever there. has a really nice barrel aged shine. (yagman's beer has a foamy heart sitting on the surface after his first sip...for real - )

s - abaca-who? yowza!!! barrel aged barleywine goodness. deep ripened fruits...cherries, figs, plums, yum. i also get a backing of BCBS!!! smells just fantastic. yagman said it is like a raisin through an amplifier...and that is a great way to describe it. good chocolate and sweet notes in there (seems to be from the BCBS barrels?)

t - an incredible barleywine. great grape, plum, raisin flavors...a bit of cloying sweetness in there, but only on the backend and it seems to work really well. the sweetness is very reminiscent of nightstalker and obviously BCBS. the booze is a subtle compliment to the beer and is seemlessly blended in the flavoring. really decadent, like a good malt forward barleywine dipped in boozy chocolate. caramel ooziness.

m - aside from the hugeness of this beer, it is pretty silky and easy to drink. i can take huge gulps of this and find myself yumming from the deliciousness. the heat is kind of invisible to me. tingle in the mouth.

o - when it comes to beer, this sort of embodies what i love about beer. the barrel aging is a *perfect* match for this beer. the barleywine is delightful and the barrel just makes it that much better. the folks at goose island really know how to age a beer in a barrel and i'm not sure if AB was at the helm when this was made, but if so...hats off to you! if not...don't change a damn thing!!!

cosmicevan, Dec 11, 2011
Photo of TheDudeRules
5/5  rDev +6.2%

TheDudeRules, Dec 11, 2011
Photo of JohnPPutz
5/5  rDev +6.2%

JohnPPutz, Dec 10, 2011
King Henry from Goose Island Beer Co.
100 out of 100 based on 1,297 ratings.