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Bernese Barleywine Ale - Thirsty Dog Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Bernese Barleywine AleBernese Barleywine Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

32 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 32
Hads: 138
Avg: 4
pDev: 23.25%
Wants: 15
Gots: 28 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Thirsty Dog Brewing Company
Ohio, United States | website

Style | ABV
American Barleywine | 10.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Shankopotamus on 06-15-2013

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 32 | Hads: 138
Photo of ClavisAurea
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Fresh bottle served in a tulip glass.

Typical American Barleywine. Copper color with a nice yam head. Dried fruit and malty sweetness in the nose. Some hot alcohol. Taste is the same but with more heat. This beer needs time to mellow.

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Photo of OrangeMen
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2015 vintage, consumed ~3 months age

Appearance- Pours a burnt orange /amber color, glistening hues. Transparent body, fast rising carbonation bubbles. Half finger thick, frothy, off-white colored head. Moderate head lacing and alcohol legs on glass.

Aroma- Fruity notes of cherry, raisin, grapes, and spiced apple. Sweet and rich bready malts, caramel and molasses. Big dose of piney and resinous hops, subtle notes of orange rind and grapefruit.

Taste- Sweet fruit notes w/ caramalized sugar, cherries, berries, and apples. Toasted bready malts, rich sweetness. Piney and resinous hops, citrus notes w/ substantial bitterness. Touch of alcohol on finish.

Feel- Medium mouthfeel, creamy at times with a little bit of stickiness. Medium carbonation level that really compliments beer well.

Overall- Warming sipper that borderlines on aggressive and abrasive at times due to hops and alcohol. Hops are very forward, delivering a punch of bitterness that lingers into aftertaste. Alcohol is present, which is pleasing at times and compliments rich flavors, but also lingers and adds booziness. Nice balance between fruitiness and rich malts, sweetness helps to balance beer.

This beer will probably get much better with age (says as much right on the bottle).....there is enough there in the fruitiness and sweetness to really come together and shine once those hops take a back seat and alcohol gets in check. Im guessing this could rise to a 4.25 for me, but right now its a 4.0.

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Photo of cbutova
3.81/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A- 12oz bottle pours into a snifter with a fairly murky body and a deep amber-red hue. The head is about two fingers tall with a thick and frothy consistency and good retention. A few very thick sheets of lacing.

S- Largely fruity with a backing of sweet caramelized sugars. Dates, black cherries, apples, raisin and fig come to mind with a bit of alcohol, toastiness and maybe even a touch of citrus hops.

T- Caramel malts are big yet not cloying or even overly sweet. Spiced raisins, figs, dates but not overbearing with the fruit notes as a decent hint of alcohol balances that out. A hint of toast and nuttiness. Apple clash a bit with the rest of the profile.

MF- A medium-heavy body leaning just towards the thick side of things. Texture is slick, silky and even a bit foamy with a comforting smoothness for the style and ABV. Medium level of carbonation and a warming finish.

At first I found it to be a bit on the safe side but each sip made me realize that this beer is well crafted. It has the elements you find in many American Barleywines like the caramel, dark fruits and alcohol and it strikes a great balance between them. Nothing flashy or standout and that actually is a strength here.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
4.34/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Undated bottle at 42 degrees into shaker
$ 3.59/12 oz bottle at the Lager Mill
Aroma of malt and weak piney hops; malt fades slowly leaving the hops aroma
Head large (5.5 cm, aggressive pour), light brown, frothy, slowly diminishing to two cm lacey ring and frothy layer
Lacing excellent! As the level of beer in the glass drops, the lacing just continues down with no discontinuities
Body deep amber, hazy; sediment in bottom of bottle
Flavor of malt with some light piney hoppiness; no alcohol, no diacetyl
Palate medium to full, creamy, soft carbonation

Appearance 4.5, Aroma 4.25, Flavor 4.5, Palate 4, Overall 4.25

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Photo of jasonpeckins32
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tried this on-tap on location at the brewery. Poured a nice auburn shade with brown highlights and decent head retention.

Smells malty and of dark fruits.

Tastes strong of malts. Also tart cherries, figs, raisins, and toffee. Its a bit warm in its finish from the alcohol.

All in all, very nicely done. I wish I would've tried the bba version, but we had other places to go.

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Photo of justinp444
3.97/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip it has a dark amber body with a two inch thick head of off white slight beige foam. Smell is of caramel, sweet malt, earth-y hops, brown sugar, slight vanilla, some dried fruit (fig), and light citrus notes. Taste is sweet caramel malt, toffee, earth, vanilla, nice amount of dried fruit flavor (fig), and lemon citrus. It has a slightly low amount of carbonation that just gives it enough of a crisp moderate mouth feel to be drinkable and a moderate not overly heavy body. A very nice straight forward everyday barleywine, not overly complex but very drinkable.

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Photo of Mikefriedman90
4.46/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Smells like a top of the line barley wine. Tastes like brown sugar, malty and delicious. Drinkable, but easy to sip. Awesome barley wine would recommend

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Photo of 57md
3.8/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Brownish copper in color with over a finger of white head. Sweet malty nose. Malty with a dry finish. The body is adequate - could be more hearty for my taste.

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Photo of Bierman9
4.18/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I picked up a 4-pack of this on 29JAN15 at Krugel's Georgetown Deli, while enroute to Ft Indiantown Gap. It was a bit pricey at $14.99, but it sounded inviting, so wtf...

I enjoyed a couple of bottles at home on 31JAN15. Poured into a small tulip, it was a deep, opaque chestnut-mahogany color. After adding in the yeast sediment from the bottle, it became even murkier. The head was thin and fine, the beige foam mostly clinging to the edge, leaving a bit of lacing. The aroma was nice, with toffee and caramel malt leading the way. Enjoyed the mouthfeel, as the body was medium-plus, and it was very smooth.

Tasted rich and malty, with more caramel and toffee present. Also had notes of dark fruit, like figs and raisins. It also had a rum-soaked brown bread aspect to it. Hopping was also present, with a bit of piney, rindy action in the warming finish. Quite nice, indeed! Prosit!

4.18/5 rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25


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Photo of mschantz
4.07/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amber and somewhat cloudy with lots of sediment. A bit of head with nice lacing. Sweetness and pine on the nose. Piney hops dominate the taste with caramel, golden raisin and malt tones balancing the hops to a perfect degree. All in all a surprisingly hoppy and very tasty barley wine.

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Photo of Brutaltruth
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter, this nice barleywine pours a hazy copper brown with a light off white head and light lacing. Nose of sweet caramel malts, citrus hops, and some dark fruits. Flavors are sweet forward caramel and honey with some dark cherry and raisin flavors. The hops are both citrus and bitter to counter balance the sweetness of this one with a healthy dose of alcohol and moderate heat. A solid offering of a barleywine if you like yours with a good hops dose.

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Photo of beerdedking
4.18/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a mix of maroon and brown. Nose is very faint, but as it warms some caramel and sweet dates start to blossom. Heavy malt flavors of date, fig, cherry, and prune comingle leading to a nice lightly bitter finish with a touch of heat. Swishes nicely on the tongue with no syrupiness (I guess it's a word). Nice BW. Would revisit again.

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Photo of Hoptometrist
4.05/5  rDev +1.3%

Served from the bottle into a tulip glass.

A- Poured a very dark and deep mahogany color with off-white soapy head that left some splashy lace. 4

S- Huge black cherry and bready notes, raisins, citrus, and caramel notes. Very rich aroma with lots of sweetness. 4.5

T- Lots of sweet dark cherry and candied citrus notes. raisins, cinnamon, molasses, and quite a bit of alcohol. 4

M- Full bodied, quite syrupy, big alcohol warming, but not really any alcohol burn. This one is definitely a sipper. 3.5

O- I am not the biggest Barleywine fan, but this is solid. It has a lot of sweetness and is very malt forward and usually Barleywines are often a little too sweet or boozy for my liking. This one has quite a bit of hop character and bitterness though to balance the intensity of the sweetness, but still retaining a very rich and complex malt profile. 4

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Photo of Tone
4.1/5  rDev +2.5%

Pours a cloudy, copper color. 1/4 inch head of an off-white color. Good retention and slight lacing. Smells of alcohol, yeast, sweet malt, hint of roasted malt, caramel malt, hint of dark citrus, and a hint of hop. Fits the style of an American Barleywine. Mouth feel is smooth and clean, with a low carbonation level. There is a noticeable bite from the alcohol. Tastes of alcohol, sweet malt, yeast, caramel malt, hint of roasted malt, and a hint of hop. Overall, decent appearance, great aroma, great feel, good body, and decent blend.

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Photo of orcrist_cleaver
3.98/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I will preface that barleywines are really not a go to style for me, and it's been over a year since my last one. Having no real baseline for this review, and style naivete notwithstanding, I'd go back to this beer again, especially when I can get a full pint for 8 and change.

A: Burnt leather brown with ruby red highlights. 1 finger+ of mousse like head that stayed for a awhile. Consistent lacing for a third of the glass and then a two waterfalls.

S: It was poured cold and initially lots of spicy oak, wood and smoke. It took awhile for the floral and fruity hop character to unfold, but it transitioned nicely to plum, figs, and spicy citrus.

M: Just at full body with a velvety feel. Low-medium carbonation and nice warmth on finish.

T: Hot cinnamon spiced orange, anise, toffee, slight smoky character. Dark but tar cherries. Figs and candied plums. A little pithiness and pine on the aftertaste which is mellowed nicely by the alcohol. Hop bitterness did not seem intense, but definitely present, more on the maltier side of the matter but I have no clue when this was kegged.

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Photo of buschbeer
3.92/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

12 ounce bottle
Served in a snifter

A - It pours tea colored with one inch of tan head.

S - I smell figs, dates, and alcohol.

T - I get some dates and figs. Alcohol is apparent. There are still some hops present to counteract the malt.

F - Full

O - It is a decent barley wine. It is probably better fresh or aged more. It is not as hoppy as it is fresh, and the faded hops may be gone with another year or two of aging.

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Photo of oberon
3.83/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Pours a deep burnt orange with a clingy full one finger slight off white head that seeltes very slowly into a frothy mass,great deep color to the beer.Malty in the nose but not overly sweet,somewhat "cakey" and bready,not much hop presence.Whoo this packs a punch with alot of fusel alcohol flavors,after the alcohol settles some caramel cake notes come into play with a shot leafy hops in the finish not a big citric/resin finish though.This is a sipping barlewine,actually it's been awhile since I have had a barleywine so maybe Iam not used to the booze of the style,still I like it and like most of the Thirsty Dog portfolio.

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Photo of StoutHunter
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked up a bottle of Thirty Dog's Bernese Barleywine Ale last week for $3.59 at The Lager Mill. I've never seen this beer before, but since I like Barleywines I thought I would give it chance, so lets see how it goes. 2014 Vintage. Poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a snifter.

A- The label looks pretty nice and goes nicely with the name with a mountain and Bernese Mountain dog on it, I think it's fairly eye catching. It poured a muddy orange/dark amber color that took on more of a murky dark red color when held to the light with almost two fingers worth of tan head that died down to a thick ring that stayed till the end and it left some nice patchy rings of lacing behind. This was a pretty good looking beer, the color was nice and the head and lacing were really nice especially for a Barleywine.

S- The aroma starts off with a slightly lower amount of high sweetness followed by the hops being the first to show up and they impart a light earthy, floral, and spicy hop aromas with citrus rind hop aromas seeming to stick out the most, but not by much. Up next comes the malts which impart a nice sweet malt, caramel, light toffee and toasted malt like aromas with some dark fruit aromas showing up towards the end. This beer had a pretty good aroma, it was pretty hoppy but the malt profile was nice and it added a little bit of balance to the aroma.

T- The taste starts off with a lower amount of high sweetness followed by the hops still being the first to show up and they impart that same hop profile that I got in the aroma, but the this time the citrus rind hop aromas seem to stick a little more than the other aspects showing up in the background. Up next comes the malts which impart that same malt aspect that I got in the aroma, but this time the toasted malts seem to stick out the most and there's even a light roasted aspect. On the finish comes a light amount of alcohol followed by some dark fruit flavors and a medium amount of bitterness with a sweet malt, caramel, toasted and citrus rind like aftertaste. This was a pretty good tasting Barleywine and it seems to be a little more balanced then the aroma was and I like that.

M- Fairly smooth, not too boozy, a little rich, slightly sticky, on the lighter side of being full bodied with a lower amount of medium carbonation. The mouthfeel was pretty good and it worked well with this beer.

Overall I thought this was a pretty good beer and a good example of an American Barleywine, both the hops and the malts stuck out nicely making for a decent amount of balance and neither one was to overpowering, but the hops were getting close. This beer had nice drinkability, it was fairly smooth, not too boozy, a little rich, slightly sticky, a little filling and taste did a nice job at holding my attention, I think one is the perfect amount for me, but if I was really in the mood for a Barleywine I could see myself drinking two of these and I think this would make for a nice beer for when it starts to cool off in the fall. What I liked the most about the beer was the balance, it was nice and it wasn't completely dominated by hops like some American Barleywines, I could tell this wasn't a DIPA. What I liked the least about this beer was nothing, there isn't anything that I would change to make this beer better, it's fine just the way it is. I would buy this beer again, I would like to put some in the cellar to see how it changes over time. I would recommend this to anyone who likes Barleywines especially if they like them on the hoppy side. All in All I was pretty happy with this beer and it's pretty much just what I look for in a good American Barleywine. It's not my favorite Barleywine, but it's up there as one of my favorite Thirsty Dog beers. Good job guys, this was a very solid Barleywine, keep up the good work.

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Photo of HerdNo1
4.57/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I won't review it it detail. I would simply note that too many American Barleywines end up being nothing but hop bombs. This is a beer that's backed by a huge malt backbone. The smell is nearly what you'd get from a Dopplebock. Indeed, I'm reminded of Sam Adams Double Bock on the nose Still, there are enough hops to balance it and the alcohol is warming rather than harsh. I tend to agree that this beer will get better with some aging. I bought a 4 pack. The first was good enough that I drank another. I'm going to age the other two for a couple of years to see what happens.

Overall, this is a really tasty brew.

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Photo of WesMantooth
3.32/5  rDev -17%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

@WVbeergeek below me hit the nail on the head. This beer is kind of harsh. I think only a hop head would disagree. I put mine in the basement and am going to try and ignore them for a couple years. Hopefully, if I am still alive, it should mellow out. I don't think Thirsty Dog can make a bad beer. Other than Twisted Kilt, this one is the closest, but it still isnt terrible. I just think it is too bitter even for an american style BW. Would really like to see them do a barrel version of this considering how fantastic Wulver and Siberian turned out. As for Bernese, I would try to find an dusty 4 pack somewhere. Will revisit both fresh and aged. May just be me.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.27/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Nice to see some Ohio homebrewer's recipe make it into production on this scale...pours a ruby slightly muddy unfiltered hue with a big soft cream head, dwindles slow fine even speckled lacing left behind. Aromatics has bright hops...citric/piney elements thus far, a bit of booze tickling my nose hairs...luscious malt backbone comes through has caramelized bready malts as perceived sweetness. Flavor hits hard with the alcohol, ethanol train all aboard...big medicinal notes with the loads of malts, a hint of dark ripened fruits raisins plums and a little off band aid element just barely peaks through here. Hops coming home at 75 IBUS, the pine and big dank citric notes slap you around a bit before getting overshadowed with the alcohol content. Mouthfeel is harsh, hopefully this beer mellows with age, I was excited to see another Thirsty Dog brew that was new to me after the last few releases I've been really impressed by Mayan Dog/Citra Dog/Chocolate beer...hard to pass each sip across the palate. Medium to full bodied carbonation doesn't hide anything here or soften the blow of each sip, an assault on the palate that I guarantee will mellow with a bit of age...these bottles are about to get lost in the cellar. Decent priced four pack on the upside, I'm gonna let this warm up some more and update this review if there are any changes.

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Photo of Axnjxn
3.94/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a tulip.

pours a murky reddish brown with a slight head. aroma is raisins..dates. taste is quite bitter with a good amount of heat. quite malty. possibly better fresh. full bodied, mild to low carbonation.

overall a solid barley wine. recommended.

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Photo of FirstBrewsoon
4.01/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A gentle pour into a tulip yields one finger of pale foam which recedes at a moderate pace, leaving sparse lacing on the glass.

A - Very cloudy orange colour with some particulate yeast in suspension.

S - Roasted malts, some hops and dark fruit. Overall, not a powerful aroma.

T - Luxurious, bold flavour with caramel, fruit and an undercurrent of hoppy bitterness. Beautifully balanced, and lingers nicely on the finish.

M - Equally rich, compliments the taste very well. Light carbonation and has the effect of coating the tongue. Excellent.

O - Highly enjoyable, and age would only serve to mellow and refine the flavour. Recommended.

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Photo of ksimons
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-a orange-amber with a fingers worth of white head that sticks to the glass

S-rich malts, sticky caramel, raisins, and light bitterness

T-taste is a bit more bitter than the smell. There is still a large malt body with caramel, toffee, raisins, and then finishes with bitter hops. Alcohol is well hidden.

M-medium body, good carbonation

Overall not a super sweet or super hoppy barleywine, pretty good

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Photo of AwYeh
4.24/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Foggy golden-brown color, dusting of off-white head and spotty lacing. Really froths up though if disturbed.

S: Sweet- dark fruits, caramel, citrus, pine, and just a little grassy.

T: Follows smell nicely; really delicious barleywine flavor, adding in some toffee and enhancing the hop flavors from the nose. Very nice balance of sweet and bitter, I'm having a hard time holding off on sipping this one. A touch of alcohol comes through, adding spiciness.

M: Medium-thick bodied, very creamy owing to moderate carbonation.

O: Really nice offering from Thirsty Dog; I'm glad a barleywine that can be bought in quantity is in the NE Ohio scene (yeah, it is pricy, but it's no $20 bomber), and I'm hoping that it stays around for future years. I only got a single of this but I'll definitely pick up more.

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Bernese Barleywine Ale from Thirsty Dog Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 32 ratings.