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King Henry - Goose Island Beer Co.

Not Rated.
King HenryKing Henry

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BA SCORE
100
world-class

314 Reviews
THE BROS
100
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 314
Hads: 1,411
rAvg: 4.6
pDev: 6.74%
Wants: 1,761
Gots: 498 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 314 | Hads: 1,411
Photo of alcstradamus
4.47/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a thin and quickly disappearing head. Aroma is fudge and toffee but not incredibly rich, just smooth and inviting. The flavor is sweet and rich and hot. Luscious caramel, marshmallow, and fudge. The body is full and carbonation is on point for the style.

Although this style has grown somewhat tiring for me, this beer is clearly a standout and worthy of praise it receives. (392 characters)

Photo of DirtBoy929
4.42/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Haven't had a barrel-aged barley wine in a while. Nice beer to make a reintroduction. Pours a silky deep brown that turns translucent carmel at the edges when swirled. A little fizzy carbonation escapes on the pour, but no head develops.
Lovely light molasses and bourbon nose, bourbon is subtle. Mouth feel is thick and sweet and not as dry as some bourbon stouts I've had recently. Flavor is also reminiscent of molasses with a lightly earthy touch, and an earthy bitterness like dark chocolate. Of course there is a note of bourbon, but not hot like the liquor. Taste is more boozy than the smell but pleasantly rounded. Appropriately clean and dry finish. Should develop well in the bottle, I hope the sweetness becomes more dry and adds to the already abundant depth of flavor. (783 characters)

Photo of Agold
4.61/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer is a brown color with just about no head. Almost stout dark, but more of a burnt caramel color with a bit of light that comes through. Aroma is big caramel, toffee, vanilla, and a mild smooth mellow bourbon. Outstanding. This beer is the smoothest -bal beer I have ever had. Smooth rich, caramel and toffee again. Lots of vanilla, more than the nose, warm, but not hot. The bourbon is very well integrated into the other flavors. Mouthfeel could use a touch more carbonation, but it is damn close to perfect. Overall, I love this beer. Great price ($14), great beer. (575 characters)

Photo of ChadQuest
5/5  rDev +8.7%
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. (2,175 characters)

Photo of wschmit
4.69/5  rDev +2%
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. (1,351 characters)

Photo of AmericanGothic
4.44/5  rDev -3.5%
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. (1,024 characters)

Photo of MasterSki
4.35/5  rDev -5.4%
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. (1,123 characters)

Photo of jegross2
4.97/5  rDev +8%
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] (2,057 characters)

Photo of ChugginOil
4.5/5  rDev -2.2%
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. (594 characters)

Photo of AgentZero
4.67/5  rDev +1.5%
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. (1,367 characters)

Photo of homebrew311
4.72/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served on tap at FoBAB.

A: appears a deep burgundy with a light brown collar of head, decent clarity, some lacing

S: the nice smooth toasted coconut character that I loved so much in BCS Rare is prevalent, the PVW barrels shine among notes of leather, raisins, honey, and molasses

T: leather and bourbon up front, notes of marshmallow, cream, honey, and molasses. The balance is impeccable. No heat whatsoever.

MF: smooth and creamy, mellow carbonation

O: the fact that this beer didn't even place at FoBAB is quite shocking. A GI brewpub only brew called Honey B took best in the Barleywine category as well as best in show... I firmly believe that this brew was leaps and bounds better. To each their own I guess. (720 characters)

Photo of Alpar
3.95/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

***This review was done prior to the Pappy Van Winkle Barrel aging on King Henry***

A: A very rich mahogany red. Little carbonation, barely a ring on the outer perimeter of the glass.

S: Really sweet, lots of malts, spice, bread, pit fruit e.g. plum maybe peach and bourbon. Is there some nutmeg in there?

T: Similar to the smell, very sweet. I can feel the carbonation and taste it. This beer is not flat, although it does appear to be. The spices are very prevalent in the taste along with some subtle bourbon notes. I am getting some oak here as well.

M: Oily yet thick thus very smooth. Coats the mouth perfectly.

O: Very well done. I was expecting a not so great barleywine yet this was phenomenal. I am beginning to realize that I really enjoy almost all of GI's special barrel aged beers. Can't wait for the bottling. (830 characters)

Photo of Sean9689
4.3/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Goose Invasion @ Small Bar Fullterton.

A - Pours a rusty reddish color, cream head, thick collar that leaves no lacing or retention.

S - Sweet dark fruits, burnt sugars, caramel, candy. Very sweet and the alcohol is nearly undetectable...very rich.

T - Goose has this listed at 13% on the tap menu, which I really can't believe, I barley get any alcohol from this beer. Super sweet, sugars, light bourbon, oak, big dark fruits. Sweet candy finish.

M - Full, good carbonation, uber rich.

O - I think this might be too sweet for some people, but I really loved this one. The rich sweetness was amazing and if this beer is really 13%, I'm amazed at how well they hid the alcohol. Def want this one again...hope it pops up somewhere soon! (749 characters)

Photo of mothman
4.17/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Great Taste 2010

Pours a light layer of tan head. Color is a copper brown with a slight ruby hue to it.

Aroma/Taste: This beer has a lighter bourbon flavor than most -bal aged barlywines. I am guessing it is due to the fact that it was aged in old bcs barrels and the bcs took most of the alcohol notes. It has a lot of malts going on here. Big toffee notes with some caramel flavors. Also there is a decent amount of dark fruits showing. Also has some chocolate and burnt sugar flavors.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and smooth with some warmth to it. A fuller body with a medium amount of carbonation.

Overall, this is a pretty decent beer. I want to try it again when it is released to re-evaluate it, but so far I like it. It is pretty drinkable for how big it is. (775 characters)

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King Henry from Goose Island Beer Co.
100 out of 100 based on 314 ratings.