1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

King Henry - Goose Island Beer Co.

Not Rated.
King HenryKing Henry

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,378 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,378
Reviews: 317
rAvg: 4.71
pDev: 8.92%
Wants: 1,740
Gots: 506 | FT: 25
Brewed by:
Goose Island Beer Co. visit their website
Illinois, United States

Style | ABV
English Barleywine |  13.40% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Kegatron on 08-16-2010

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: Ratings & Reviews
to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Ratings: 1,378 | Reviews: 317
Photo of josefnewsong
5/5  rDev +6.2%

Photo of TGS
4.5/5  rDev -4.5%

Photo of DavidEddie
4.5/5  rDev -4.5%

Photo of GrindFatherBob
4/5  rDev -15.1%

Photo of ChrisPro
4.76/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Have had multiple times, but reviewing from blind tasting on 12/23/11 as part of a "BA barleywine" tasting. Consensus #1 in our tasting.

A - very dark with only 2 bubbles on the surface from a decently vigorous pour.

S - Burnt toffee, caramel, brown sugar and maple. Sweet, sweet, sweet smell is exactly what I want.

T - Tast is dominated by a strong maple syrup flavor, with some nice caramel and vanilla. There is still a bit of bitterness to balance and a slight coffee finish to balance.

M - Very full bodied with a slick mouthfeel. Pretty sharp carbonation (despite the lack of head/lacing). Incredibly smooth and no hint of the alcohol.

O - Believe the hype. This beer is one of the best beers I've had in 2011, if not ever. Granted, it is on the sweet side, which works with my palate, but it is complex, balanced and drinking almost perfectly right now. Enjoy!

Photo of dlello2
4.5/5  rDev -4.5%

Photo of pigc
4.5/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a very dark brown, almost pitch black with one inch head. Oily lacing clings to sides.

S - Bourbon, toffee, caramel, fig, oak, raisin.

T - Sweet caramel, fig, dates, bourbon, toffee, raisin, sweet booze.

M - Medium to heavy with oil mouthfeel that coats entire mouth.

O - Wow, can not say enough about this beer. So complex, yet so smooth right out of the bottle with no age on it. Does not drink nearly near 13% abv. Incredibly smooth. Glad I picked up a few of these before they were gone! Highly recommended as you can see by all the reviews!

Photo of jklema
4.5/5  rDev -4.5%

Photo of gorby10826
4.5/5  rDev -4.5%

Photo of MrDanno96
4.57/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a deep deep brown with slight hints of ruby when held to light. A thin ring of off-white head encircles the glass. No lacing to speak of, but significant legs slide down the side of the glass.

S: Lots of bourbon character on the nose. Vanilla, sweet chocolate and brownie mix, cherries, and a good dose of licorice. Molasses. Port-like qualities. Scrumptious.

T: Similar to bourbon county stout in some ways, but also very distinctive. Strong notes of the bourbon barrel and chocolate throughout. This brew distinctly diverges from BCBS mid-palate with strong notes of sweet dark fruit. Alcohol drenched plums and cherries. Black forest chocolate cake. The characteristic hoppiness of an American Barleywine makes a brief appearance in the finish to provide a little balance. An incredible quaff over.

M: Perhaps I expected a little too much since the Rare was like velvet, but this definitely is not as smooth as the Rare BCBS. The alcohol is fairly apparent in the finish with a sharp peppery bite on the sides of the tongue and the back of the throat. Full bodied and syrupy.

O: You can't really ask for much more than this. Incredibly tasty and the bourbon barrel adds incredible layers of complexity. This can only improve with age, but since this is the only bottle of it I will probably ever see, I figured I would open it now.

Photo of LucienDeRubempre
4.5/5  rDev -4.5%

Photo of AJacob81
4.57/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

For the second year in a row, 23 year old Pappy Van Winkle barrels made my Christmas warm and bright. Bottle purchased at the Clybourn brewpub on Black Friday, consumed on Christmas, 2011. Served in a snifter.

A - Deep mahogany with crimson edging with a minimal eggshell head that quickly dissipates.

S - Heaven. Caramelized sugars, vanilla extract, and woody bourbon dominate the nose. A hint of dark fruits that becomes stronger as the beer warms.ck

T - Smooth, buttery caramel and vanilla, warming whiskey, and a slight black cherry character, smoothed and blended in perfect harmony by the remarkable barrel. The melted butter and oak notes become more prominent at room temperature.

M - Medium to full-bodied, a touch syrupy with a slightly sticky, lingering finish.

O - Earlier this year, the beer formerly known as Abacus really opened my eyes to the possibilities of barrel-aged barleywine, and this regal brew trumps it in basically every way. I'd be very interested in seeing what happens when this is aged in the 'regular' BCBS barrels though. I think a great part of the King's quality is due to the exceptional quality of the barrels used for this batch.

Photo of JoshVandy
5/5  rDev +6.2%

Photo of enelson
4.5/5  rDev -4.5%

Photo of YalovaIA
5/5  rDev +6.2%

Photo of Jzmhector
5/5  rDev +6.2%

Photo of YouSkeete
4.82/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Very dark brown, extra thick cloudiness. Practically no head whatsoever. Moderate lacing.

S: Licorice, bourbon, dark bittersweet chocolate, roasted coffee beans. Lots of heavy malts and thick sweetness. Very complex aroma. Hints of dark fruit, cherries, vanilla, molasses and brown sugar.

T/M: Thick, milky bourbon/whiskey blend with strong tones of vanilla, dark sugared fruits and molasses on the first sip. Lingering on the body comes complex combinations of heavy cream, orange peel, dark bittersweet chocolate, and espresso. Heavy on the malted barley throughout. Moderately bitter, rich, creamy mouthfeel. Ultimately complex body. Sweet and sugary alcohol burn on the aftertaste.

D: Truly incredible. A dramatically complex, well-executed barleywine all around.

Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.29/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Opened this one for Christmas. 22oz. bottle into a Surly snifter. Shared with schen9303.

King Henry pours a clear, almost pitch black dark amber. Head is just a wisp of off-white that dissipates quickly. No lace but great, thick and oily legs. Decent for the style.

Nose is moderately aromatic and very balanced. Caramel, toffee, chocolate, maple, plum, and brownie with a touch of barrel heat lingering in the background. Very solid.

Opens chocolate, caramel, grainy brown sugar, and molasses. Again, the barrel presence lingers in the background. Fudge and plum notes towards the middle with a warm, maple and booze end. Aftertaste is brown sugar and caramel. Very complex with just the right touch of barrel character to not only enhance the flavors but accent the richness of each characteristics. Really good.

Medium bodied with low carbonation. Oily, smooth, and thick in the mouth and with a touch of warmth going down. Mellow finish with a nice, sticky aftertaste. Exactly what I'd want.

There's a lot of hype surrounding this brew and at least in this instance, its very well deserved. Very complex with a barrel aging that's just perfect. This one will definitely develop with age though I already don't know how it could get much better. Definitely worth seeking out.

Photo of Brianito
5/5  rDev +6.2%

Photo of FanofHefe
4.35/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My Christmas treat today! Poured from the bottle into Duvel tulip. Deep color that looks like a dark rust color with light red highlights. Only a scant tan head that bubbles up at the end of the pour and almost immediately dissipates.

Very sweet aroma comes through at first with primarily malt and brown sugar. The oak and a light bourbon aroma follow.

Very rich and complex flavor. Dense malty notes blend with the oak, caramel, and vanilla. At first I thought it was going to be too sweet, but there is just a slight bite from the bourbon that helps prevent it from being cloyingly sweet.

Extremely smooth mouthfeel and a surprising lack of alcohol noticeable, even with the very high abv. I would have loved to get a few of these and age them, but was only able to score one from the local bottle shop. Nevertheless, this is a treat and highly recommended to all who can obtain one.

Photo of unclejazz
4.62/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Well now, its x-mas and I have enjoyed much of the fruits of my labor this year, if the form of wonderful beer. This is a good way to top it off. So here we go, 22 oz. bottled on 11/11 pour into vintage crystal goblet.

A-this pour low on carbonation, thin head no lacing over a deep mahogany color almost opaque.

S-this is a many layered process starting with maple and bourbon, some burn sugar and candied fruit comes in along with some brandy, vanilla and port notes. Truly intoxicating.

T-lots of the same but there is some toffee at the finish and raisins.

M-silky smooth but thick, like a good amaretto. The flavors linger on your lips.

O-you would be hard pressed to find a more enjoyable experience. I can see how aging could mellow out the sweetness a bit.

Photo of MarcatGSB
4.77/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from 22 oz. bottle into snifter. Sampled side by side with 2011 Pelican Mother of All Storms on Christmas day with Mike. Bottled 10/08/2011.

A: Pours a deep brown, fairly consistent color throughout, with a bit of thinning towards the edge. A quick swirl brings back a fizzy head, with really no lacing. Has an almost "cola" like appearance. There is some coating to the inside of the glass, but the legs aren't all the impressive.

N: Brown sugar, caramel, vanilla and bourbon dominate the nose. Sweet malt, and dried fruit round out everything nicely. No to very little hop presence.

T: Beautiful notes of brown sugar, toffee ,caramel, vanilla cream and bourbon/oak. This American Barleywine comes off more on the sweet side, with very little hop bitterness. Some pine, but very little citrus. As far as "style" goes, might be a little sweet, but it's delicious.

M: Lush and creamy. This beer feels absolutely fantastic. The alcohol is mild, the mouth is lively, not cloying. Playful. What a treat.

D and O: As a whole, when I drink this beer I can honestly say to myself "This is the best beer I've had in quite some time". Which is saying something, lots of BA Plead the 5th and BCBS lately. Absolutely a delight. Awesome vanilla notes, great balance, maybe a little sweet, but that isn't a problem. Maybe without the barrel aging, the hops would have shown more? Interesting to see. I like the re-used bourbon barrels, as the Rare gave this beer a beautiful roundness, maybe from the muted oak, and less assertive bourbon. Beautiful.

Photo of pmlondrigan
4.29/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Merry Christmas to me and my wife! The king pours into a nice wine glass deep, deep mahagony brown with a quickly retreating one finger light tan head. No retention. This beer has legs. Aroma initially is of big malty sweetness with a hint of hops and barrel presence, oak, and bourbon. As this beer breathes the aroma becomes mostly oak, vanilla, bourbon and rich caramel malt. Caramel malt with a kiss of hops on the palate, chocolate, vanilla and oak barrel. I get some spice too, like warm cinnamon. And closes with a fleeting hint of hops. Thick, slick, and hot the way a young barley wine should be. Amazing overall, though I feel I am tasting too much barrel and not enough beer.

Photo of jjheinrichs
3.5/5  rDev -25.7%

Photo of huadog
5/5  rDev +6.2%

to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
King Henry from Goose Island Beer Co.
100 out of 100 based on 1,378 ratings.