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King Henry - Goose Island Beer Co.

Not Rated.
King HenryKing Henry

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

1,287 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,287
Reviews: 306
rAvg: 4.71
pDev: 9.13%
Wants: 1,699
Gots: 503 | 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: 1,287 | Reviews: 306 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ChadQuest
5/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Super stoked to get to drink this. You know that I <3 Barleywines, especially when they are a high abv and bourbon'd, and that i think Goose is one of the very best barrel breweries in the nation, so this is my Perfect Storm(no pun intended) of beverages right here. Last night i had a long tiring night fighting a fire inside a building and only slept 3 hours, so tonight i am relaxing at home by drinking a bomber of King Henry by myself. Lets get ready to rumble!

The pour shows a body that when held up to light has a strong crimson red color to the body. When absent from light it darkens up into a "pitch red" color i'll dub it. I had heard that at a recent blind tasting the people who tried this at FOBAB could tell this was King Henry by the appearance, and now i see why, it will now be unmistakable. On top of the body is a thin head that fades from the 13.4abv into a super thin collar.

Wow, what an aroma. An aroma this rich and dense is a thing to cherish, and makes me dip my nose into the glass as much as sip it. This is a beer that has that pre-aged aroma, in that the barrels are very full and rich but incorporated, that this was put into a bottle 55 days ago is remarkable. The richness is derived from strong vanilla, brown sugar and caramel, and is balanced by bourbon warmth. The barrels used here are the same ones they aged Bourbon County Rare in, 23yr pappy used for a 2nd time, and must be a large contributor to this beer.

I taste all my barleywines from 4oz snifters that i keep refilling as i go through the bottle, but this really is a beer that a single 4oz pour could last you half an hour. The flavors in this one coat the palate and lingers on. Toasted Caramel and Chewy Nougat flavors smother the palate into oblivion, sprinkled with brown sugars, vanilla, toasted oak and maple,butterscotch, and a deep yet mingling bourbon attribute that brings it all together tighter, and the bourbon heat grows as you go through a bottle.

Wow, fantastic. I have had most all of the big Barleywine releases in the past 3 years, and this one is at least a peer among the very best. let me end our time together with a single word: Phenomenal.

ChadQuest, Dec 03, 2011
Photo of wschmit
4.68/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bomber, bottled 10/08/11, into a New Glarus pint glass.

A: Pours like a thick Coca Cola, with the exact same head that fizzles loudly and quickly into almost nothing. The Wisconsin-shaped nucleation etching on the bottom is doing its job, though--plenty of carbonation welling up the middle. Nearly black until held up to light--a deep, dark brown, which would be clean and transparent if not so black.

S: Holy lord, chocolate. Prominent but gentle bourbon notes, subdued compared to BCS. I could smell this all day. Chocolate and booze, chocolate and booze. Like after-dinner whiskey mixed with chocolate mousse. Just a touch of port-like grape scent.

T: The alcohol tastes a bit stronger than it smells. Sip starts off like Hersheys syrup, followed up by a hit of bourbon. Some astringent bits detected, but they work well and keep things from getting to saccharine. For a beer this big it is not Overly sweet, but it's close. Still, it's packed with dark, roasty flavors.

M: Definitely warms your throat as it goes down. Inky, syrupy, with barely enough carbonation to keep it flowing along. Top tier.

O: Well, it's a big-ass beer, even for a barleywine. It is, however, the perfect size for marriage with even a second-use bourbon barrel. This is a sipper up there with the best of them; glad I had my shot at it. A beer I will remember.

wschmit, Dec 02, 2011
Photo of Viciousknishs
5/5  rDev +6.2%

Viciousknishs, Dec 02, 2011
Photo of DoctorB2B
5/5  rDev +6.2%

DoctorB2B, Dec 02, 2011
Photo of trbergman
5/5  rDev +6.2%

trbergman, Dec 02, 2011
Photo of AmericanGothic
4.45/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into a Sam Adams pint.

A: Pours a dark, copper brown color with a thin, dark brown head. No retention or lace. Active carbonation.

S: Dark fruit, rum, spice, some dry cocoa. Pretty complex and full.

T: Very complex, hard to sort it all out. Port, chocolate, coffee, stewed dark fruits, orange zest. Alcohol is tad strong but not a major flaw, substantial sweetness to balance it. After a while, bubble gum joins in. Then cinnamon takes a turn.

M: Full mouthfeel, a bit of cream and lots of oil, very smooth.

O: This is a great beer. Reminds me in some ways of a high octane doppelbock in the flavor profile, especially the port notes, but with more bitter flavors. Pricey at $13 for a bomber, but well worth giving it a try. My bet is that it will improve with age; glad I have another bottle to test the theory. Will need to look for more.

Update: one year of aging has done wonderful things for this beer-- perfect Christmas brew. Glad I still have a few more in the cellar; taste is a five now.

AmericanGothic, Dec 02, 2011
Photo of FievelGoesWest
5/5  rDev +6.2%

FievelGoesWest, Dec 01, 2011
Photo of wtfuggles
5/5  rDev +6.2%

wtfuggles, Nov 30, 2011
Photo of bstyle
5/5  rDev +6.2%

bstyle, Nov 29, 2011
Photo of 1noa
5/5  rDev +6.2%

1noa, Nov 27, 2011
Photo of spycow
5/5  rDev +6.2%

spycow, Nov 27, 2011
Photo of ChadlyG
5/5  rDev +6.2%

ChadlyG, Nov 27, 2011
Photo of jnikkel
5/5  rDev +6.2%

jnikkel, Nov 27, 2011
Photo of sbricker
5/5  rDev +6.2%

sbricker, Nov 27, 2011
Photo of MasterSki
4.38/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got to the release too late to actually buy bottles, so I just went straight to the pub and got a 5oz sample. Served in a Goose Island taster pint.

A - A thin tan foam settles to a thick collar, a few wisps, and minimal spotty lacing. The body is an attractive brown-ruby color that reveals some transparency when held to the light.

S - Toffee, caramel, red fruits, burnt sugars, oak, milk chocolate, vanilla, a bit of spicy alcohol, and very faint bourbon notes.

T - Taste has less barrel presence, and is heavier on the sweet stuff with intense treacle, toffee, red licorice, Sultana raisins, burnt brown sugar, toasted malts, and a bit of oaky vanilla and coconut. Again, overt bourbon presence is low.

M - Sticky, full body, with an extremely chewy and viscous texture. Stickiness lingers indefinitely actually. Lower carbonation, and minimal alcohol warmth.

D - A very good barrel-aged barleywine that has a lot in common with the base beer. The barrels were second use, so this didn't pick up a lot of additional alcohol, resulting in a nice aged, mellow character. Not quite top-tier, but worth trying for sure.

MasterSki, Nov 26, 2011
Photo of jegross2
4.98/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Reviewing the King Henry from Goose Island Brewing Company. Pleasant surprise: I got to drink this one with the current head brewer of Goose Island (who I made certain to complement).
Score: 99

Sampled a generous glass from a 22 oz bottle at Goose Island's Black Friday bonanza. Later shared a 22 oz bomber in an oversized snifter glass (image to the right).

Appearance: Pours a thin cream colored head that quickly disappears, leaving a pencil-thin ring around the glass. Deep walnut brown molasses color. Largely opaque with ruby-brown highlights around the perimeter. 4.5/5

Smell: Red grapes, oak and vanilla. Sweet molasses and brown sugar. Caramel, some bourbon sweetness. Some major booziness if you take a big, direct whiff. Editor's Note: I had this beer again in June 2012, and the booziness to the nose (and palate) is almost completely gone. What's left is a sublime medley of rich, barrel aged flavors. 5/5

Taste: Very complex and sweet. Vanilla and oaky bourbon. Syrupy brown sugar and molasses. Some caramel. Touch of honey. Red grapes and plenty of dark fruit flavor. Surprisingly balanced. Finishes with a little warming alcohol kick and sweet vanilla-bourbon. 5/5

Mouthfeel: Creamy and sweet. Full bodied, minimal carbonation. Syrupy and smooth. Alcohol warmth in the finish. 5/5

Overall: An absolutely delicious, complex and balanced brew. I am not the biggest fan of barleywines, but this one blew me away. I can't wait to nab a bottle of this stuff and age it. Editor's Note: I had this beer again in June 2012, and the booziness has almost completely smoothed out and the beer is drinking near perfect.

Recommendation: Of the many barleywines I have had to date, this one was the smoothest and most balanced. I can confidently recommend this one all around.

Pairings: An earthy, organic hamburger with a generous heap of goat cheese on it? At least that's what I had this one with. A pumpkin pie would go great with this too.

Cost: $25 for a 22 oz (bomber) bottle.

[NOTE: the original score from the day of the release was 97]

jegross2, Nov 26, 2011
Photo of bozodogbreath
5/5  rDev +6.2%

bozodogbreath, Nov 26, 2011
Photo of dwbrews
5/5  rDev +6.2%

dwbrews, Nov 25, 2011
Photo of Davidpgibbons
5/5  rDev +6.2%

Davidpgibbons, Nov 25, 2011
Photo of markrmoser
5/5  rDev +6.2%

markrmoser, Nov 25, 2011
Photo of ChugginOil
4.5/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured at Goose Island Clybourn for the release event.

Pours a dark mahoganey color with a thin ring of cream colored head. Oily lace.

The nose is very nice. Warm bourbon, caramel, and vanilla dominate. The heat is only noticeable after a huge whiff.

The taste is rich, warm bourbon offering filled with vanilla, oak, caramel, and a bit of heat. There is a charred oak presence as well which adds to the overall flavor profile.

The mouthfeel is creamy and big-bodied. Filling and damn delicous.

Overall, missed out on the BCBS releases but now I dont care. This beer is a bombshell butte.

ChugginOil, Nov 25, 2011
Photo of stbo101
5/5  rDev +6.2%

stbo101, Nov 25, 2011
Photo of Jips
5/5  rDev +6.2%

Jips, Nov 23, 2011
Photo of AgentZero
4.7/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Someone (from GI I believe) shared a bottle of this at the Sour Bitch release at West Lakeview Liquors.

A - Brown color beer with some ruby highlights and hue. Tan head that faded to a decent ring.

S - Wow, just great 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 - Utterly fantastic. Maybe it's the pappy, maybe it's the combination of the pappy and base beer. Whatever it is, this so good. Nice brown sugar and burnt sugar malts. There is a little bit of coconut, mellow bourbon, wood, vanilla. This beer basically has it all. Amazing beer.

M - Full bodied, smooth, soft carbonation. There's a little bit of alcohol heat in this on the end, but all it does is help to bring out and balance some of the sweeter characteristics.

O - Holy hell, let the hype train begin or keep chugging or pick up speed or whatever. One of the best beers I've had this year, and I've drank a lot of beers. The PVW barrels give it such a great barrel quality and the slight bit of heat (which isn't a bad thing itself) just means this one is going to progress and develop in the bottle. I'm so pissed now I'm going to be out of town (damn Turkey Day and friends and family) for the release. Get this beer, it's awesome.

AgentZero, Nov 21, 2011
Photo of TotallyHosed
5/5  rDev +6.2%

TotallyHosed, Nov 20, 2011
King Henry from Goose Island Beer Co.
100 out of 100 based on 1,287 ratings.