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King Henry - Goose Island Beer Co.

Not Rated.
King HenryKing Henry

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,304 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,304
Reviews: 307
rAvg: 4.71
pDev: 9.13%
Wants: 1,698
Gots: 500 | 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: 1,304 | Reviews: 307 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of thetomG
5/5  rDev +6.2%

thetomG, Dec 16, 2011
Photo of theCoder
4.93/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Oh boy was this a treat when my buddy surprised me with this after me telling him to pass on it when he called me with the price. He felt it necessary as a pseudo Xmas gift/him wanting to see what kind of a beer could net $28 a bottle (see end of review as to why I'll never share a fancy beer that I pay for with him...).

Pours a beautiful dark almost syrupy mahogany color with a small maybe fingerish head that quickly vanishes.

The aroma slams your nose with wonderful bits of oak, strong bourbon, vanilla and bits of brown sugar.

Initial taste overflows the taste buds with wonderous flavors of oak up front which quickly dives into some Vanilla, brown sugar, bits of molasses, some raisins and toffee. Sweet finish but not too sweet in my mind but I've had some serious English Barlywines that were overpoweringly sweet.

Totally a medium to big body with very little to no carbonation which is perfect for this beast. The alcohol is present but man it does not take away from this one.

Overall - do it, get it, drink it, enjoy it with friends. Boy this was a treat I loved it. I'd love to thank my friend for bringing this over.

Followup why I won't buy fancy beer to share with this guy (EX: not sharing my Kate the Great with him). BUT this dude I poured all into a snifter (quarterish full so we could all three of us enjoy it) this dude powered it down, holy cow I think my heart skipped a beat seeing him tip his head back and pour it all down... OH it hurt me bad, so thanks dude but yea I'll keep that 6-er of Schell's on hand for you next time.

theCoder, Dec 16, 2011
Photo of joefuzz
4.9/5  rDev +4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours deep brown with a very small white head. Smells very english in a sence, big malt upfront with a smooth almost candy like bourbon scent on the end no hops to speak of. Tastes of raisins with sweet brown sugar vanilla and oak coming through. Mouthfeel and carbonation for a great barleywine, thick and low carbonation. Overall amazing, more than likely my favorite beer.

joefuzz, Dec 16, 2011
Photo of pgaveau
5/5  rDev +6.2%

pgaveau, Dec 16, 2011
Photo of discord257
5/5  rDev +6.2%

discord257, Dec 15, 2011
Photo of Azurescens
4.6/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle with bottled on date 10/08/11 poured into snifter reviewed on 12/14/11.

A: Pours a dark amber brown, clear when held to light with thin tan head that disappears about as fast as it appears. No lacing to speak of.

S: Aromas of dark fruit, toffee, oak and vanilla with a fair amount of alcohol which is no surprise here. Alcohol really stands out once it has warmed up a bit.

T: Quite sweet with tons of dark fruit, caramel, oak and alcohol. A fair amount of bourbon, vanilla and brown sugar in there as well. Well balanced and packed with flavor.

M: Medium-full bodied with low-moderate carbonation and sweet finish.

O: Up there with the best barleywines that I have had. Great sipping beer and amazingly easy drinking for how big it is.

Azurescens, Dec 15, 2011
Photo of siradmiralnelson
4.85/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from 22oz bomber into Snifter.

A. Pours about a half a finger of head. Ok retention. Very moderate lacing. Color is as dark of brown as you can get before its black. Really almost looks like I just poured an Imperial Stout.

S. Smells like a bourbon barrel. Definitely can tell it was aged in the same barrels as BCS. Where to begin with this one. Caramel, molasses, oak, vanilla, raisins, brown sugar. The caramel, brown sugar, and bourbon meld into an almost rum like aroma. I still get quite a bit of alcohol aroma at this point in the life of King Henry. Get some dark fruit, and even a little cherry smell.

T. Damn! More flavors than I can shake a stick at. Caramel malt, vanilla, oak, brown sugar, raisins, more vanilla, molasses, toffee. This beer drinks and tastes nothing like a 13.5% Bourbon Barrel Barleywine. I know BCS has never been this smooth for me without a few years on it. There is no booze taste at all. Very super sweet caramel vanilla glory. One word to describe the flavor of the King would be Luscious.

M. Awesome mouthfeel. Full bodied for sure. Lingering sugary sweetness.

O. Amazing beer. The only thing I have had that compares to this beer is Weyerbacher Insanity, which this blows out of the water. The bourbon flavors on this beer I have only tasted in other beers in BCS and BCS Vanilla. This beer is incredibly smooth for 13.5%. The only way you would know the beer was that high ABV would be by the smell. Goose Island might be the "King Henry" of brewers that can barrel age beers. For anyone reading this review you should seek this out.

siradmiralnelson, Dec 15, 2011
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
King Henry from Goose Island Beer Co.
100 out of 100 based on 1,304 ratings.