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King Henry - Goose Island Beer Co.

Not Rated.
King HenryKing Henry

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,336 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,336
Reviews: 310
rAvg: 4.71
pDev: 8.92%
Wants: 1,708
Gots: 501 | FT: 21
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)
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Ratings: 1,336 | Reviews: 310 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of CaptainNomihodai
5/5  rDev +6.2%

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.

Photo of ArchEnemyBrew
5/5  rDev +6.2%

Photo of sgoro
5/5  rDev +6.2%

Photo of GRG1313
5/5  rDev +6.2%

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

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.

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!

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.

Photo of rfraga77
5/5  rDev +6.2%

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.

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!!!

Photo of TheDudeRules
5/5  rDev +6.2%

Photo of JohnPPutz
5/5  rDev +6.2%

Photo of jrenihan
4.53/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on October 8, 2011.

Beer is a dark chestnut brown, close to black. A vigorous pour results in a thin, tan head that disappears immediately.

The bourbon and oak scents are just enormous. Huge scent right from the bottle opening. Vanilla is there as well. A nice and enveloping smell but the barrel aspect is a bit overpowering.

The taste is excellent, much more happening than in the nose. The bourbon, oak and vanilla are right upfront, but toffee, brown sugar and raisin are all there as well. Aftertaste is slightly sweet, a bit like molasses, and leaves a very nice taste. For a beer this strong, and given the barrel aging, it is surprisingly well-tamed. Not overly hot, though clearly a monster beer.

Beer is incredibly full bodied, fairly syrupy. Very mild carbonation. Some alcohol heat, but not as much as may be expected for the strength. Very smooth.

Overall, a really excellent beer. From the nose, I was worried that this one would be overpowered by the barrel and too boozy. Not so. Really well integrated, lovely flavours. Would love to try one after a year or so, but I am happy that I managed to get a single bottle. A real treat.

Photo of cestlavie
5/5  rDev +6.2%

Photo of
5/5  rDev +6.2%

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Photo of joey5cents
5/5  rDev +6.2%

Photo of pperez38
4.75/5  rDev +0.8%

Photo of Vonerichs
4.55/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Dark mohagany color. It appears to be a deep brown unless some light peeks in. The head is off white with a quick lifespan.

Smells of caramel, brown sugar, soy, vanilla, coconut, cola, in no particular order. It's a whirlwind of aromas with no single one dominating.

Wow. What a complexity in the flavor. Vanilla, brown sugar, and oak are at the front, butterscotch, caramel, finished by a cola aftertaste. The most amazing part of the taste is that this is 13.4% abv, aged in bourbon barrels, yet it extracts the flavors without being abrasive.

The mouthfeel is soft, smooth, and mellow. Again, I'm amazed at how little of a burn there is. It's still a sipper because it's heavy and complex so I want to savor every sip.

This is an awesome, awesome beer. I'm going to lay another bottle down for a while and see what it does for it. Put this up near the top of my list of favorites.

Photo of celticfutblclub
4.6/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle poured into a pint glass

A - burgundy colored body with a thin off white head that settles quickly but whats left has good lacing.

S - big whiffs of bourbon oak alcohol heat and a bit of dark fruit in the back.

T - huge tastes of chocolate raisins bourbon coffee. grass hop finish oh man this thing is intense and amazing.

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

O - wow when i first poured this i was not too impressed but man is this one big amazing beer.

Photo of GimmeGumballHead
5/5  rDev +6.2%

Photo of Atlas1977
5/5  rDev +6.2%

Photo of Wisconsinality
5/5  rDev +6.2%

Photo of nknauz
5/5  rDev +6.2%

King Henry from Goose Island Beer Co.
100 out of 100 based on 1,336 ratings.