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Killer Penguin Barleywine - Boulder Beer / Wilderness Pub

Not Rated.
Killer Penguin BarleywineKiller Penguin Barleywine

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
81
good

323 Reviews
THE BROS
51
awful

(Read More)
Reviews: 323
Hads: 697
Avg: 3.57
pDev: 22.41%
Wants: 13
Gots: 126 | FT: 4
Brewed by:
Boulder Beer / Wilderness Pub
Colorado, United States | website

Style | ABV
American Barleywine | 10.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 05-12-2003

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Killer Penguin Barleywine Alström Bros
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Reviews: 323 | Hads: 697
Photo of MLoxxer
3.34/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

I purchased this beer in a 22 ounce bomber whose neck had been dipped in red wax. Prior to being dipped a wooden tag noting the year 2015 was tied around it. When poured a very nice cream colored head was produced. This presented nice contrast against the clear, reddish brown liquid. The aroma is quite pleasant, not nearly as hoppy as I had anticipated. There is an almost sangria-like quality to the smell, inviting and unique for this style. The flavor has a good malty start, a middle that is very wine-like, and a clean, slightly bitter finish. At 10% this beer is nowhere near as boozy as I thought that it might be. Although its flavor is much cleaner than what I’ve come to expect from a barleywine I wouldn’t turn this beer away in the future.

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Photo of John_Beeryman
4.31/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This dark ruby red beer pours with a big tan head and tastes like candied plums. It smells good, it tastes good, you should really drink this beer. Interested to see how it ages.

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Photo of ThaneMcC
3.88/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured a clear deep red with copious khaki head and solid effervescence. Smells piney hops predominant, some dark fruits, toasted malts become more pronounced as it warms. Tastes sweet malt forward, brown sugar/molasses, prune/fig, there’s an herbal quality mid note with a bit of a flat, earthy or woody tang and transitions to a bite of piney hoppyness with a rather clean finish for such a malty beer. Medium bodied – carbonation provides some levity and astringency and a fairly clean finish.

Overall - I rather enjoyed it. Admittedly, I was at one of those big box stores, cart full of toilet paper and bulk items. They have a small craft beer section - offering stuff I'd never heard of at a reasonable price point. Never having had a barleywine ale, I picked this one up (with some stuff from Clown Shoes, Ommegang and Blue Mountain) - good stuff, to my unrefined palate it tasted a bit like an imperial red ale, or a hopped up english barley wine ale. . .

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Photo of Bear1964
4.42/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I picked this up a while back and waited till now to crack it, I checked out this when I got it and I try never to do that so my rating is my own...most reviews we not positive....

Poured from a 22 oz Bomber into a stemmed glass showed off the deep Amber hues and a nice 3 fingered tan head which left great lace as I drank on, aroma was rich with dark fruit with some malty biscuit notes and only a slight hint of alcohol. The taste became deeper and released more layers of flavors as it warmed, hops started to peek through and mixed with the pit fruit and a smokey tart finish almost coats the tongue. The 10% ABV is well hidden even as YOU warm a little as you enjoy this and the mouthfeel is medium/Heavy which is fine for the style, it leaves you with wood hint in the bitter aftertaste or dry coated feeling in the mouth...no problems and no worries as this was solid and drinkable for a good price.

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Photo of Beejay
3.41/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Medium brown in the glass with a touch of amber at the edges. A large tan head on top, with numerous larger bubbles.

S: Booze, and almost burnt caramel.

T: Lots of hops, earthy with touches of pine and citrus. Some caramel, a touch of cherry with a touch of tannin and burnt caramel in the finish. The booze isn't as noticeable as I thought.

M: Medium thick, with moderate carbonation. A bit of bitter cling in the finish.

O: Overall not too bad, I feel like it falls between an American, and an English style. But it's a little assertive in an almost unpleasant way.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.58/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

That mix of copper, red, auburn and brown colors. Tan head holds its own in the lacing and retention categories. Toffee, a malt driven woodiness, earthy citrus super mild aroma.

Taste is a mildly sweet malt, hopping seems American barleywine territory. Caramel. Its not a huge barleywine, a good intro to. Not a bad price on it, availability is good. Not bad.

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Photo of JuMa44
4.37/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I'm drinking a 2012 wax dipped bottle, kind of annoyed trying to open the wax seal. Not the best but not the worst barleywine in my opinion. It's easy drinking kind of on the sweeter side, where a barleywine should be but I prefer blithering idiot by Weyerbacher. Sort of tastes like Brooklyn monster but with more body. I am a big fan of barleywine sand would recommend this to another fan who hasn't tasted it but wouldn't recommend a second buy.

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Photo of Kadonny
3.88/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a wax sealed bottle with a "2008" printed on it.

A: A sort of medium brownish color with almost no head. Yes, this a 7 year old beer, but it still holds carbonation some. Nice glass lacing.

S: Dark fruits. Raisins, caramel, some brown sugar and maybe nutty?

T: loads of dark ripe fruits, raisins, dates, figs, some toffee and praline, a decent amount of sweetness, but not overly so. No signs of oxidation, that's what wax does, nice. Not much alcohol on this 7 year old bottle, but it is warming. Not a bad beer just not super complex.

M: Full, coating, very little carbonation and actually drinkable believe it or not.

O: Not the best barleywine I ever had, but I enjoyed it. For a 7 year old bottle I loved that there was no oxidation. I've had younger bottles of other beers that have oxidized, so that's a testament to this beer. I enjoyed it, maybe I am in the minority, so be it.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.06/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

No other style welcomes in colder weather than the barleywine. And with a focus on the barley part, Boulder brewers give the beer an Americanized edge with a healthy, heaping dose of pacific northwest hops. The balance within this beer means that this penguin is ready to play.

Above its bright and deep garnet hues, a rich lather of froth emerges. Capping the session with great resilience, the beer is stately and welcoming to the eye. Its lavish hop bouquet casts aspirations of citrus and pine with a floral note to float above its toasted caramel base.

As the lavishly malted ale unfolds, its cakey smooth center is of toasted rum-cake, toffee and molasses but with a toasted pecan and praline character. With fruit flavors of plum, cherry, raisin and grape pulling from the malts, the ester chemistry of the beer gives it a fruitcake finish. Bitter citrus peel and fragrant pine finish the balance with an even-keel but large portrayal for the palate.

Though full bodied, the enormous flavors of the ale trends malty-dry and with a sticky resinous bittering power supplied by hops. The warmth of rum and peppercorn heats the throat and comforts the soul. With the bitterness outlasting the sweetness, both linger extensively into the next sip.

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Photo of SitkaSteve
2.52/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

This was poured into a chalice.
The appearance was a hazy muddy brown/burnt caramel color with a thin little white head that dissipated immediately. There was barely any lacing.
The smell was weird, (did I have this too old), hmmm...faded grassy hops (wants to let the caramel malts come forward) but an almost tannic to metallic dark fruitiness. But to me, there's a bit too much of the metallic part as it almost becomes overbearing.
The taste was mostly sweet with barely any "tobacco" flavored hops to embitter and balance as I had hoped for. Long metallic caramel aftertaste leads into the same sort of finish.
The mouthfeel was about medium bodied with a syrupy stickiness over my tongue. Carbonation was barely felt (trying not to sound too harsh since I am aware that this is an old bottle).
Overall, uh...well, I tried it, would I have this again? I say only fresh as time didn't do this any justice.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
2.96/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2014 vintage, let's see how well this one aged. Some of the hoppiness is still floating around, though any pretenses of hop flavor are gone - replaced by a healthy tobacco bitterness. If I really focus, I can find some hints of dark fruits, but I'm primarily picking up notes of caramel and leather. Nothing really pops out spectacularly, nor does it improve much after sitting for a while. The hoppiness from the nose is less prominent on the taste buds - instead, this puppy opens up with some caramel sweetness. I said the hoppiness is less prominent; it isn't nonexistent, as it finishes with a gentle pine flavor. There's also an odd finishing musty note I'm not a fan of. This beer's booziness can be tasted more than felt, and I do enjoy the estery character to a degree. It's very full bodied yet dry enough where it's not a chore to drink. It hits many of the basics of the style okay (apart from overt mustiness), it just does absolutely nothing to stand out from the pack - even with over a year on it. While I could take it or leave it, this does become better once it hits room temperature...take the hint, drinkers of this beer!

2.96/5: This penguin has a bite, just a muddled and generally uninteresting one

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Photo of ClavisAurea
2.97/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

2014 vintage served at cellar temps in a tulip glass. 22oz bottle

Appearance: nice bottle. I like the red wax seal on top and the inlaid year marker, a stamped dime sized wound of wood with 2014 on it, classy. The beer pours an exceptionally clear light copper with a substantial tan head that stuck around.

Nose: fruity, some hop character, sticky sweet smelling, muted dark fruits.

Taste: slight initial alcohol burn from the 10%, weird alcoholic medicinal flavor right up front, not very complex or interesting, some dark fruits but the flavors are pretty much muddled and not well integrated.

Overall: This was a disappointment. I thought this was going to be a winner from the looks of the bottle (bad assumption, I know). I think the hot alcohols need some time to mellow and integrate more into the beer. I probably wont buy this one again.

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Photo of ZachHodgson
2.1/5  rDev -41.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Oye! Such a long wait for such a disappointing beer. There are far better barleywines out there for similar prices. Stick with those.

2012 Release

Looks like a barleywine
Smells like a barleywine
Tastes like maple syrup infused with essence of old sock.

Pass.

There are far better barleywines out there for abut the same price.

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Photo of Schimms
3.63/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured into a snifter

L: Deep copper red with thin white head. Retains lacing very well.

S: A little flat for what I was expecting - not the strong raisiny smell I expect/want. Smells a little...grainy? Slight sour.

T: Grainy? -Not in a good way. Mild sour, with minimal dried fruit flavor. Alcohol is present, but not overwhelming.

F: Very (underwhelmingly) average. Too watery.

O: Disappointed with my high expectations (love Mojo, Mojo Risin', Flashback), and I'm also a fan of Barleywine - especially Bell's Third Coast Old Ale (drink that instead). This is drinkable, but not one that I will look for...on purpose. It's just missing that "oomph" you get with good/great barleywines.

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Photo of mrn1ceguy
3.3/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

This was not a good beer, tons of bad flavors with nothing good to counter-act. Each taste lingered for a long time in an unpleasant way. Ended up being a drain-pour.

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Photo of jfugeman
2.64/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Really boozy, bit of a solvent-like aroma and taste. Not much character or balance in this beer and a bit hard to drink. There are too many other incredible barleywines to spend money on this. Unfortunately I have yet to have a good beer from this brewer.

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Photo of sisterofba
3.35/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Not bad, but I greatly prefer Dogfish Head's offerings in this category. Wouldn't pay for it again in the bottle-- might be willing to give it a shot on draft, if that exists.

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Photo of Shade1951
3.7/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

This barley wine reminds me a bit of Blithering Idiot, though I think it falls a bit short of that beer. I like that it's not very hoppy. I like hops, but I prefer that they are not "in your face" in a barley wine.

Color is okay. Not especially appealing. Brown. Maybe some people would call it "copper." The scent is a bit wine-like, which I happen to like. The flavor offers a bit of -- I guess the best way I can describe it is "sour sweetness." I enjoy the taste, though I wouldn't call it complex. Also, it doesn't drink like a 10% ABV beer. To me, the feel is a little on the watery side.

I probably wouldn't go out of my way to get this again, but it is certainly drinkable.

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Photo of BlurryVisi0n
3.72/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Served in a snifter glass.

Appearance: Dark but transparent mahogany with medium bubbles, head is white with a slight orange tinted head (maybe 3/4" off the body).

Smell: Light wine scent, smells to me like a real lighter version of merlot and wood notes.

Taste: Nice conplex taste but the heavy rubbing alcohol feel tells me there's some tweaking to be done.

Mouth: medium bodied, very sticky. But the bitterness and sourness at the end might not appeal to everyone. The jury is still out.

Overall: Good brew, has some pros and cons that would either make your or break you.

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Photo of GrimGuzzler
3.51/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle conditioned in my larder for five months. Served in a glass pint.

A: Pours a crisp amber with dense, three-finger head. Subtle effervescence bubble up through the foam and lacing sticks to glass throughout the drink.

S: An underwhelming smell of roasted malts and dry fruits leaves more wanting

T: Malty nectar pierces the creamy head upon sipping, but flattens out on the pallet. Notes of ester and spice roll to the back of the mouth. Leaves a hint of hops on the tongue.

M: Feels like ambrosia, syrupy nectar of the gods. Small bubbles and a solid head are satisfying in the mouth. Oily and sweet.

Overall disappointed - especially considering the time I'd given the beer to mature. It's a swell brew, however, for a barley wine with a name as such it fell short. The complexity of a barley wine leaves a lot of room for creativity. In this case, the name trumps the drink.

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Photo of bluejacket74
3.96/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce wax capped bottle, 2013 vintage. Served in a DFH snifter, the beer pours a hazy ruby red/copper color with about an inch and a half frothy tan head that stuck around a long time. There's also a good amount of lacing. The brew smells like caramel, dark fruit, bready/grainy malt, candied fruit, and some apples. I think the taste is similar to the aroma, but there's the addition of toffee, citrusy hops and some booziness. Nice mix between the malty and bitter hoppy flavors. Mouthfeel/body is medium/full, it's a bit syrupy and slick with moderate carbonation. I think this is a good barleywine, I'm glad I tried this one!

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Photo of JebBeerFish
2.91/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Barley wines are one of my favorite styles. This one was just too timid, neither hoppy nor sweet, lacking in flavor depth and feel depth. just kinda there. Boulder needs to go a lot bigger on this barley wine.

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Photo of ordybill
3.34/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 OZ bottle into a pint glass.
Aroma- Malt and fruit, has a sweet smell.
Appearance- This is an amber colored beer with medium sized off-white head.
Taste- Malt, toffee and alcohol; not a bad mix.
Palate- A medium to heavy bodied beer with moderate carbonation. Has a strong alcohol aftertaste.
Overall- Not a bad barleywine, my first beer from Boulder Beer. I will drink this again and try their other labels.

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Photo of Thirstygoat
4.02/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottled 1/31/12 Happy Birthday

Pours hazy bronze with tan head that fades quickly.
Some lacing that also fades.
Smell of prunes maybe figs and malt.
Taste, much malt bit of alcohol ,butterscotch not as hoppy as most American barleywine ( I tend to like English barleywines more)
Not chewy thick, but some substance.
I was intrigued by the dreadful rating an early batch received. Methinks revisiting that may be warranted

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Photo of Jeffo
4.15/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Doopie brought this one over for beer night a couple weeks back. Cheers man!

From a bomber into a snifter
Vintage: 2013

APPEARANCE: Pours a three finger, slightly foamy, off-white head with excellent retention. Clear burnt umber with higher levels of carbonation evident. Head slowly fades to a full wisp and coats the sides of the glass. A film remains until the end leaving lots of lacing down the glass as it empties. Looks great!

SMELL: Bold nose of toffee, caramel, dried fruits, apple notes and some mango. Really bold, fruity and tempting.

TASTE: Lots of flavor here, with toffee and dried fruits up front and then some spicy alcohol at the swallow. Bold finish of more sweet toffee and caramel, mango, dried fruits, berries, spicy alcohol and piney hop bitterness lingers on the palate. Flavorful and well balanced.

PALATE: Fuller body with medium levels of carbonation. Creamy on the palate, goes down smooth and finishes slightly dry for a barleywine. Some heat and alcohol linger.

OVERALL: Really good overall. Definitely underrated, which is probably because it’s not 15% and barrel aged. This is a flavorful, enjoyable barleywine with plenty of character, and it drinks away far too easily. Perhaps a little more residual sweetness would help put this over the edge in this category, but as it is, I enjoyed it very much and would gladly drink it again. Thanks again Doops!

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Killer Penguin Barleywine from Boulder Beer / Wilderness Pub
81 out of 100 based on 323 ratings.