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Killer Penguin Barleywine - Boulder Beer / Wilderness Pub

Not Rated.
Killer Penguin BarleywineKiller Penguin Barleywine

Educational use only; do not reuse.

316 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 316
Hads: 675
Avg: 3.56
pDev: 22.47%
Wants: 13
Gots: 121 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Boulder Beer / Wilderness Pub visit their website
Colorado, United States

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
Reviews: 316 | Hads: 675
Photo of flagmantho
3.97/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: medium amber hue with a light haze and a pretty strong effervescence. head is a thick finger of frothy light-tan foam. Quite attractive.

Smell: rich and malty with a nice caramel character and a little bit of an alcoholic bite. Not a lot of complexity, but clean and well-executed.

Taste: very malty with a nice raisin and date character right up front. There's definitely an alcoholic fruitiness here, but it's not so hot as to be over the top. Hops are earthy perhaps a little fruity; it's no citrus bomb, though. Bitterness is high but quite smooth in character. I find myself quite liking it.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a decent carbonation and creaminess. A little bit lighter body than I would expect in the style, but not disastrously so.

Overall: I'm really enjoying this beer; I particularly like the smooth, fruity nature of the Penguin. I feel like I could accidentally get into a lot of trouble drinking this, based on how easily it goes down.

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Photo of SeanDonahue
3.63/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I decided to open my 2011 Killer Penguin to try it out and to also give my first review of a barleywine since I don't frequent any too often.

The aroma on this beer gives off a ton of sweet notes. I'm getting big fruity notes mixed in with caramel.

The appearance on this beer looks auburn in color. When poured into a tulip glass, it didn't produce that much of a head.

The taste is very sweet. I don't think that this beer has much of a body to it but the sweetness in this barleywine really comes out. Big hints of malt come into play while a hint of cherry also comes out in the middle of the mouth.

Overall, this is a solid barleywine that is great for aging. I've never opened a Killer Penguin yet right after purchasing it but if you have the patience to age it for a year or two, I'd recommend it.

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Photo of dbossman
3.85/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This is the 2009 vintage:

A: Cherry-caramel hue with a large steady, cream-colored head and decent lacing

S: So much dark fruits at play here: cherries, raisins, etc. but also sweet candi sugars and subtle boozy--almost whiskey characteristics; so much sweet fruity, bready undertones--I am excited because this smells amazing

T: Burnt sugars, roasted bready malts; some subtle fruity qualities--but much more bready and malt forward flavors than the aromas indicated; just not as balanced and boozy and awesome as the aromas hinted toward

F: Fairly creamy with a medium body; a little thin on the back end

O: A decent barleywine that I'm assuming has mellowed in its 3 years; I need to try it fresh but I sure wish it tasted as good as it smells

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Photo of Phelps
3.36/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed at the Boulder tap room at the Denver airport. Enjoyed in a small mug.

Colored like a year-old penny -- tarnished copper with just a bit of haze. One finger of silky tan film sticks around a long time and grips the walls in full blankets.

Big caramel, a touch of roast, orange, toffee, sherry. Hops are fairly mild, just a little orange peel.

Smooth and a little sweet. Lots of sugars -- caramel and alcohol. A bit of toasty bread rolls as well. Long-lingering notes of slightly overripe orange.

Small body for a barleywine, a medium light. Very fizzy, but mildly carbonated. Spike of alcohol at the swallow, big bitterness on the sides of the tongue.

Very middle of the road. Balanced and inoffensive.

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Photo of SHODriver
3.75/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: pours a slightly hazed reddish brown with a half finger of off white head that fades to a collar around the snifter
S: smells smells of caramel, toffee, and herbal hops. very sweet with a bit of fruity alcohol on the nose
T: herbal and slightly piney hops with a syrupy caramel flavor. surprisingly sweet and not a lot of hops. a bit herbal toward the end and the swallow brings a lot of warming alcohol, some fig flavor and a bit more caramel and brown sugar
M: full bodied and slightly syrupy. carbonation is light but slightly prickly. dry finish
O: Not bad but not great. for a fresh american barleywine it's pretty light on hop flavor. the alcohol is there for sure and the malts are pretty solid. a bit more english than american in my opinion

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Photo of BeerDawgs
3.93/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A 22oz bomber with a vintage 2011 sticker glued into the wax covering of the bottle top.

A - A dirty cloudy red amber with a finger of head and lots of lace left on the glass. Plenty of sediment floating around in the glass. Impressive appearance

S - Big fruity dank hops with lots of caramel and burnt brown sugar. Great aroma!

T - Very sweet, with huge malt backbone. Grapefruit, sugar. Very good, but not quite as good as the aroma.

M - Well balanced, medium carbonation.

O - A good brew no doubt. Much better than the Bros rating would leave you to believe.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.62/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours out a color that I will describe as copper, amber, mild red and brown. Beige head, not substantial, but what gets there does leave above average lacing and holds down its retention with the best of 'em.

Nose is fairly toffee-esque with plenty of earthy notes to it. Some old aged oak and vanilla going on. Mild citrus tinge.

Taste yields itself to a good amount of earthy and sweet malt, with a good amount of hopping to it. Alcohol was hid pretty well on this beer. The dark bread breadiness was a nice touch, caramel running throughout it. Nothing real exotic going on, this is a straight up middle of the road barleywine. The hops aren't massive, the body isn't massive, the flavor isn't massive. With all that said, I think its well done and above average for a barleywine. Right in the middle in terms of whether this could be classified as an American or English barleywine. Straddles that line quite nicely. Love the chewiness. Bitterness seemed just right, as was the carbonation.

Tend to enjoy this one more in the winter.

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Photo of draheim
3.24/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz (2011) into a snifter. Pours a clear amber w/ moderate carbonation and a 1-finger head of foam that sticks around for a bit.

Aroma is nicely floral and malty-sweet. Caramel and brown sugar. A little subdued.

Taste is pretty harsh up front. Alcohol burn, followed by thin caramel malt and bitter hops. Not very complex.

Mouthfeel is, again, pretty thin, almost watery. Not right for a barleywine.

Overall a disappointment. Closer to an American strong ale than a barleywine. Too many really good ones out there to pick up this one again.

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Photo of FosterJM
3.59/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1746th Review on BA
Bottle to Woodshop snifter

Purchased @Famous Liquors

App- A deeper orange with a bit of wood stain browns and gold’s intermixed in behind it. The head was a smaller ½” with a little bit of bubbles as it fell. The cling really wasn’t there but the density of the center made up for it.

Smell- A very straightforward barleywine to me. Had a good amount of citrus and floral fruits with a thicker malt balance on the aromatics. A solid amount of candy like sugars and the 10% really comes out as well.

Taste- Opens on the palate with a good amount of thicker citrus flavors. The orange, grapefruit flavors dominate and then move into a bit of grassy flavors. As the flavors warm a little bit some creamy sugars come out with a bit of caramel.

Mouth- Solid medium body with a nice medium carbonation level to it. A bit thick on the palate but was still really nice IMO. The residual flavors are those of deeper citrus and thicker caramel malts. Drank again like the Serendipity like a bit of cough syrup, just orange and caramel flavored.

Drink- A pretty good barleywine with a lot of flavors that blended well and were fairly citrus forward. I have liked the few Boulder beers I have had and then this was no different. The booze wasn’t that over bearing. Would like an aged bottle to try.

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Photo of JuicesFlowing
3.73/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a balloon glass.

The beer is a ruby amber. A cream head recedes to big bubbles. Soapy lacing.

Aroma is oaky, sweet and malty with hints of toffee.

Tastes sweet with honey and toffee up front, then a woody body, faint hops.

Mouthfeel is sticky.

Overall, not bad for 10% ABV.

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Photo of kaseydad
3.84/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

First time seeing this locally so had to purchase and consume. 2013 Vintage. And I did not get a wax top! Boo!

Pours a very clear tan/light burgandy pour with a big off-white colored foamy head. Teeny bit of lacing. Definitely a unique pour. Wasn't expecting the see-through appearance. Kinda cool though.

The smell is candied sugar, rubber, plums and moderate booze. Nothing overly complex here. Could be a little early in the bottle process.

Gots some hops in this BW. Decent amount of hops in the taste and also booze comes through immediately. Really get some alcohol soaked fruits as well. Big burn sensation on the swallow. Definitely a tummy warmer during these cold days. Pretty flavorful. And smooth too....if that makes any sense.

Mouthfeel is big and full. Chewy and almost heavy. For a clear liquid, this packs some punch.

Overall I dug this. Based on the reviews I wasn't sure how this would be going in, but I enjoyed my session. It's big and bold and different. Will look to purchase again and set the bird down for a year or so. The 10% is evident but enjoyable.

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Photo of woosterbill
3.42/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

2006 bomber, the last, oldest, and best of a 6-year vertical. Thanks Chris!

A: Clear copper body, 1/2" fine tan head. Solid.

S: Old, sweet, and fruity. Basement, cherry, toffee, and sherry. Pleasant oxidation.

T: Less impressive here, with simple caramel malt and soem apple. Ok.

M: Creamy medium body. Good.

O: Mediocre barleywine, even at its best. The fresher vintages ranged from forgettable to moderately gross; this one at least had enough age to be a bit more complex.


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Photo of Flightoficarus
3.31/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

A - Pours a murky chestnut brown, with a single finger tan head. Head retention is about average, lacing is creamy.

S - Smell is of faint pine, bready caramel malts, and spices.

T - Taste is of bready caramel and toffee malts, spices, and finishes with balancing piney hops. The basic idea here is good, but for some reason, the flavor is strangely lacking in flavor and complexity for a barleywine.

M - Medium body and milder carbonation. Slick and smooth. This stuff is strangely drinkable for a barleywine too. The 10% is well hidden.

O - Overall, this beer is like an odd blend of trying to be big and flavorful/strong, but somewhat drinkable at the same time. At the end of the day, it's just not packing the punch I've come to expect from the style. It certainly isn't bad, but there are plenty of other, better options in this style.

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Photo of Holland
3.41/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: brown color, clear, small head with a thin layer of foam that covers most of the top.

S: aging hops, heavy malt

T: Lot of fruit flavor and some sweet malt. some alcohol.

M: thick body with medium carbonation.

O: pretty standard American barleywine, but not as hoppy in taste as I wanted to balance the sweetness.

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Photo of Rizalini
3.75/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Opened a 2012 bomber bottle, and poured into my Stone goblet...

A - Pours a crystal clear garnet/ruby color, with about a finger of light tan head. Lots of lacing grips the side of the glass as the head falls.

S - Smells of candied fruits. Cherries, dates, figs and caramel malts.

T/M - The smell transfers to taste, but is kinda muddled by an underlying sweetness. I get notes of the fruits, along with a somewhat sweet bubblegum flavor. Medium mouthfeel, good carbonation.

O - Not a bad barleywine. The 10% is not that noticable at all, which is kinda scary. Easily drinkable, but could probably benifit from some aging. I would probably buy this again.

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Photo of mjpolzin
3.06/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Okay, I will try and say something nice about this beer to start...
1. Not a hoppy barleywine which was good because I prefer the maltier, sweeter barleywines.
2. The color in the glass was a cloudy, thick, amber color which made it look impressive enough.

But seriously, this wasn't good. The only real taste and smell I got was of a harsh alcohol burn. I don't mind tasting the alcohol in a beer (actually I kind of enjoy it) but it needs to be smooth and this wasn't. I let the beer warm up quite a bit hoping to get some other flavors but I didn't get much. Maybe by the end I was getting some sweet fruit and caramel tastes but not much.

I have 4 bottles of 2012 left and a bottle of 2011. My only hope is that the alcohol in this beer mellows out over time and it becomes better. We shall see.

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Photo of vfgccp
3.17/5  rDev -11%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2012 bottle opened Dec 2012.

A - Imho this is what a barleywine is supposed to look like. Beautiful, crystal clear deep orange amber body with a cream off-white cap of foam. Great retention and lace.

S - Sweeter than I'd typically like with a bit of a sour twang, but not bad. Muscat gummies, yellow raisins, Riesling, and a touch of caramel.

T - Caramel, bready malt, yellow raisins, cilantro bitters, green grapes, wax, milk chocolate, and a nice cognac finish.

M - Medium body. Smooth and light on the palate.

O - Surprisingly little booze at 10% abv. The flavor profile is a little too sweet, and there's a light waxy note that feels off, but other than that it's not bad. If I came across another I'd put a few years on it before opening.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.85/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a very drinkable barleywine in my book. 2012 vintage enjoyed in a snifter. the pour is mostly clear copper color with lazy but hearty off white lacing. the nose is quite fruity, dried cherries stand out, but red apple and plum may also be present. lots of alcohol, as well as light vanilla and oak notes tickle the nose. points off for it being a little too boozy, but it smells decadent all the same. the flavor is fruit first, with the cherries again being the main player. toffee and english caramalt round out an otherwise caustic alcohol sting, and a little whiskey sweetness lingers on after the swallow. the alcohol becomes even more of an issue as it warms, stopping short of cleaning solvent, especially in the nose. feel is fine, rather light in body for the style, but not thin or watery at all, just not as heavily clad with malty heft as these usually are. gentle carbonation does not detract from the flavor experience. overall a cool holiday barleywine, i enjoyed the fruit forward side of this, but a few years in the cellar might help get the booze under control. an easy bomber to split with a loved one some night when you plan to stay in.

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Photo of Bitterbill
1.96/5  rDev -44.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

I bought a 4 pack locally for over $16.

It pours a dark gold with a 2 finger head of foam, some nice lacing left behind when I took my first sip...oops.

It has a very fruity aroma with some light notes of hops and malt. Plenty of booze in the smell as well.

First sip in and the alcohol taste is massive. Beyond that, I can taste some hop bitterness but then again, the alcohol takes that away quickly. Ummmm...really? I'm now tasting a smokiness...tobacco like flavour or at least burnt malt and it's turning me off big time. I cannot finish this....end of review.

Come on, Boulder. I had your Black Diamond Chocolate Porter the other day and it was delicious. This is a complete messterpiece.

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Photo of SLeffler27
3.27/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A thin ochre head dissipates quickly from a rocky beginning, leaving no lace and a hazy, reddish copper beer that glows from within a Hoegaarden snifter.

The aroma is rich with raisins and plums, as some notes of sherry and orange populate the background.

Killer Penguin is quite bitter with prominent alcohol. Aside from raisins, little else can be found. The finish is long with a hint of tartness.

A medium body with warming alcohol and prickly carbonation.

This is a fine beer, however, it sacrifices flavors for hop bitterness and high alcohol. Best sipped while enjoying a meal.

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Photo of nickfl
4.09/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours with one and a half fingers of off white foam on top of a clear, amber brown body. The head settles pretty quickly and leads nice rings of lace on the glass.

S - An aroma of caramel, molasses, and spicy mustard like hops.

T - Sweet, moderately dark malt up front with some caramel and dark bread. Brown sugar and light molasses in the middle, it finishes with light, peppery hops a bit of bitterness, and lingering cola notes.

M - Medium thick body, moderately low carbonation, and a fairly sweet finish.

D - Not bad, it has a really promising aroma, but doesn't have the same level of hop character in the flavor profile. Still drinkable and smooth, this one was over a year old and seems to have aged favorably.

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Photo of kylehay2004
3.8/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: no head really on a clear deep amber body.

S: rich caramel and toasted malts, toffee, hint of chocolate and only a little boozy.

T: this one is pretty sour off the bat. Usually the beers of this genre start boozy and sharp for me. Overall pretty mellow for the style. A little fruity with some earthy hop character.

M: medium body and moderate carbonation.

Overall: certainly more drinkable from the start than your average barelwine with the ABV well hidden. Although drinkablitly improves because of these characteristics, this one comes across a bit watery.

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Photo of tdm168
3.7/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - dark amber with a soft, off white head

S - candy sugar, caramel

T - caramel, brown sugar, bread, baseball card bubblegum, alcohol

M - full bodied, well carbonated, warm

All the flavors here are pretty faint, and it's a bit boozy. What flavor does get past the alcohol is good, but I'm looking for much more from a Barleywine. I'll look elsewhere.

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Photo of brewdude1982
4.39/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

This was a bomber poured into a snifter.

This pours amber with low retention. It smells sweet with figs in the nose. It has a big boozy taste and then it fades to a sweet after taste. It is decently carbonated and has a big body. This is an ok barleywine.

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Photo of mactrail
3.2/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Coppery reddish brown in the little Mort Subite globe. Decent foam but very little lacing in the glass. Canned peaches in the nose. Quite sharp and verges on the acidic.

An anorexic and overheated sort of Barleywine. Slightly woody. An odd candy flavor with some sweet vermouth, but all rather dry. The sugar seems to have been fermented most of the way out. If this was a Belgian quad I'd say it had some wild yeast and a couple glugs of Oud Bruin in the mix. Quite dry and bitter finish. A mineral taste, like an astoundingly strong and dry Saison. This is certainly an unusual variety of Barleywine, and the brewers have been making it since 2002, so they must like it that way.

From the 22 oz bottle, 2011 vintage, so this one's going on a year old. From Grapevine Liquors in Denver.

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Killer Penguin Barleywine from Boulder Beer / Wilderness Pub
81 out of 100 based on 316 ratings.