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Killer Penguin Barleywine - Boulder Beer / Wilderness Pub

Killer Penguin BarleywineKiller Penguin Barleywine

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

513 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 513
Reviews: 281
rAvg: 3.53
pDev: 15.86%

Brewed by:
Boulder Beer / Wilderness Pub visit their website
Colorado, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 05-12-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 513 | Reviews: 281 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of BigCheese


3.65/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber, 2011 edition, paired with steak tips.

A: Mohagany copper color, big tan head, wall of lacing, head retention was pretty good.

S: Malty, caramel, toffee, hint of piney hops, nothing to crazy.

T: Hits with a wave of hops up front, piney/floral, then moves towards a brown bread, malty, oaky/whiskey finish. Flavors seem a bit mild for 10% barley wine.

M: Meh, seems a bit watery thin, abv has a bit of burn.

O: A bit underwhelming, not overly complex or interesting, its decent don't get me wrong, but for a 10% barleywine with a wax coated cap i expect more. Probably a good barleywine for a new/novice craft drinker.

Serving type: bottle

03-05-2012 03:06:29 | More by BigCheese
Photo of claspada

New Jersey

3.23/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2010 Bottle, best by Jan 31, 2012, yeah okay it's 10% barleywine, I think it will hold up.

Pours a viscous translucent dark dark honey amber with the smallest khaki head that immediately dissipates leaving some spotty lacing.

Aromas begin with a bit of earthy and citrus hops. Once they subside a little you get a solid pale malt and caramel malt sweetness. As it warms further I get a little light unripe plum and white grape notes, interesting.

The tastes begin much less desirable than the aromas. It starts with bready, biscuity and caramel maltiness. The hops join in once again with a little earthiness, orange rind and light generic citrus juice. As it warms I get a golden dried raisins, unripened stone fruits, then a minerally quality and emerging ethanol alcohols which become slightly unpleasant.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation. Not sure if it has dissipated overtime over if it was like this originally. Maybe that is why they have the drink by date... Finish is dry, thanks to the abundant alcohol. Lightly sweet but much less so that other examples of the style.

Overall this is an okay beer, but a substandard barleywine. Flavors are not complex, nor will they become complex overtime. This may have been better fresh with more hop character but maybe the ethanol was more dominant then as well. IDK, just not a well made beer in my opinion.

Serving type: bottle

03-02-2012 01:26:34 | More by claspada
Photo of Edwaka01

New York

2.28/5  rDev -35.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Poured into snifter

A - Deep red-amber, creamy 2 finger head leaving behind lots of lace.

S - Fruity. Caramel malts. Flowery hoppiness.

T - Quite overly fruity, reminds me of juice. Wicked booze burn on the finish, lingers for quite some time after sipping. Again, floral hops.

M - Thin and burns like hell.

O - The alcohol burn is something I like to see in this style, but here its overkill. Without the burn, maybe this is a mediocre barleywine.

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2012 05:24:31 | More by Edwaka01
Photo of MoreThanWine


3.93/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I was surprised this wasn't scored higher. Poured a 2" beige head with decent lifespan. The body is a hazy burnt sienna brown in masstone but held to the light there's a deep amber. It smells nicely of malt, caramel, and toffee. The taste mirrors the smells, and is a little salty. The body during the aftertaste is a little watery but it does have a long finish as well as a subtle low note of hops lasting in the end.

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2012 01:45:16 | More by MoreThanWine
Photo of Cylinsier


3.5/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The pour is translucent and surprisingly cherry red in color. The head is off white, and foams to about two inches, holds there, then dissipates down to a lacing, which it retains indefinitely.

The smell is a mixture of notable piney hops, apple fruit sweetness, some mild citrus tartness, a hint of spice of undetermined type, and a mild tinge of alcohol. The taste starts with the hops, which are mostly piney and tangy, lower on the bitterness than the nose suggested, and somewhat floral in the aftertaste. A bit of bready malt character follows, but is secondary and dry.

The feel is fuller and a bit viscous with a low tingle of carbonation on the roof of the mouth. There is some alcohol warmth as it goes down.

Overall, this is an enjoyable beer but not a knockout. The presentation does add something, and the beer gets good points on the pour and nose from me. The taste leaves something to be desired; even among the American styles, I like to detect some richer malts in a barleywine. The hops in the taste are perfect, but they aren't probably balanced by the malt.

Serving type: bottle

02-16-2012 23:13:56 | More by Cylinsier
Photo of NittanyBeerFan


3.58/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter. Bottle is from the 2009 vintage.

The aesthetic of this beer is one of the best I have ever seen in terms of barleywines. Rich mahogany in color, and it lights up a deep ruby when illuminated. The head is a creamy froth 1 cm high...well retained for a big beer. Incredible lacing -- delicate, spotty, and full -- forms all over the glass. Just a gorgeous beer.

The remainder of the beer is enjoyable, but nothing special. Sweet and sticky aromas of caramel, toffee, and a little bit boozy even after a slumber in my cellar. The flavor is similar, and it lacks some punch, complexity, and depth. The texture is a touch thin, but the carbonation is on point. A reasonably well-done barleywine, I am happy I passed on the case before trying a bottle.

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2012 02:19:52 | More by NittanyBeerFan
Photo of Daktyls


4.38/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured from a 22oz "2011" bottle that (when held up to the light) is a nice ruby red color with a one fingered light tan head that dissipates slowly leaving a ring around the outside edge of the glass and a small patch of bubbles in the middle.

S: Caramel is predominant here, with some dark fruits in the background. Some sweet sugary notes are present, perhaps molasses and brown sugar, with a ever so slight bit of spice.l

T: Upfront is some nice malty goodness with a light bit of brown sugar from the nose. The finish, is fantastic. A combination of red velvet cake and candied cherries makes a nice close to this beer. A slight amount of light fruits is present as well, apples mostly.

M: Pretty smooth for a high ABV beer, moderate amount of carbonation with certainly a lot of flavor happening.

O: Overall, fantastic. I had actually been looking for this beer for quite some time, not having realized that it was a 'every two years' release. Very good.

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2012 21:29:58 | More by Daktyls
Photo of smerrell


3.68/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a snifter. This beer is missing something, although I can't put my finger on exactly what it is. The aroma is sweet with caramel, and the lacing is heavy on the head that lingers for a long time. The color is deep mahogany. The hops are noticible and pleasant, and the taste is pleasant but lacking - perhaps it needs a bigger malt presence? I'm not quite sure. I like the flavor, I just wish it was bigger in this beer. Certainy not disappointing, but not quite what I was looking for.

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2012 01:21:02 | More by smerrell
Photo of VaTechHopHead

3.25/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a slightly hazy deep orange/light brown. Not much of a head but the lacing is pretty good. Somewhat inviting appearance

The aroma isn't very strong when its cold but it is mostly rich malts, biscuits, earthy hops, and a refreshing yeast scent

Not a bold flavor and lots of hints of aged hops. Slightly sweet from some sort of sugar or hop cloying. Slight booze flavor in the middle and finishes on the sweet side with aftertastes of sugar and alcohol

Medium body and low carbonation lead to a weak aftertaste that doesn't last and leaves an alcohol clean feel on the palate. Doesn't really beg for another sip

An ok beer, for the price not really worth it and I was hoping for more. The barrel treatment is virtually unnoticeable

Serving type: bottle

01-15-2012 22:26:12 | More by VaTechHopHead
Photo of GarthDanielson

North Carolina

3.75/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured on-tap into a snifter, the beer is a deep, dark, auburn coloring, with ruby highlights and a fluffy, small bubbled, light tan head of a good half inch. Malty and rich aromas, with a good boozey highlight, some light spicing, and a touch of hops. Good, bold flavors that are very well balanced. Good hops profile that touches the tip of the tongue, but settles in on the mid-tongue. Malty profile is rich, with a crystal and roasted caramel palate. Good, toasty characteristics to draw everything together, leading to a peppery hopped aftertaste, with a little kiss of the booze again. Decent cling along the glass while you drink. The finish is surprisingly light, with only a slightly sweet linger that is very tasty and pleasant. Good tasting brew, but I'm not sure how it would hold up over time. I am curious enough to try it...

Serving type: on-tap

01-04-2012 19:01:21 | More by GarthDanielson
Photo of 9InchNails

New Jersey

4.5/5  rDev +27.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 Bottle

Copper color red with decent amount of bubbles. Beige creamy head that fades rather quickly forming a ring around the snifter. It leaves nice lacing on the glass.

Caramel, dark fruits, tropical fruits, grapefruits, brown sugar and a hint of alcohol.

Caramel, brown sugar, tropical fruits alongside some dark fruits, just a hint of alcohol in the taste, quite sweet yet slightly a bitter dryness at the end.

Creamy medium body with light to prickly carbonation, it leaves the lips feeling sticky, some alcohol warmth as it goes down. Kind of dry at the end.

This is a tasty barleywine! Some alcohol is present but it works well with the taste.

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2012 06:34:11 | More by 9InchNails
Photo of siradmiralnelson


4.1/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 Vintage was dipped 22oz bottle poured into Snifter.

A. Poured 1+ finger head of orangeish tint head. Good retention. Moderate lacing. Color is orangeish brown.

S. Smells like a pretty yummy barleywine. Caramel, brown sugar, molassess, raisins. Pretty sweet smelling, but still has some booziness for 3 years of age.

T. Raisins, brown sugar, caramel, figs, molasses. Pretty smooth at this age. Not extemely flavorful, but flavors are pretty well fused together.

M. Medium bodied. Low carbonation. Finishes sweet.

O. Overall I think this is a pretty solid Barleywine. Granted I need to try this fresh as comparison, but with 3 years on it, it is pretty tasty. Nothing earth shattering, and having King Henry a few days ago not much would seem to compare. However I have read a lot of negative reviews of this one, and I guess I don't get that in this bottle.

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2011 02:23:51 | More by siradmiralnelson
Photo of BedetheVenerable


3.48/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Presentation: 22oz brown pop top, nicely waxed. The best-by date says Feb 2011, but this is 10%, so I think we'll be ok. 2009 vintage, poured into my Black Sheep half-pint goblet. This is quite attractive packaging, really.

Appearance: A light nut-brown beer, with pretty nice clarity, this shows burnt orange highlights when held up to the light. Capped with a very respectable, long lasting light tan crown. Overall, nice looking beer.

Smell: Butter toffee, holiday toasted nuts, ghost of American citrusy hops. Sweet, sticky, caramel notes. This smells pretty nice. Very sweet smelling.

Taste: Immense buttery, toasted nut flavors. Not what I would expect in a barleywine typically, but quite pleasant. Then there's a big hit of caramel apple. Just a hint of tart, green apple and toasted caramel as well. Maybe a hint of stone fruits as well? A bit odd, overall, but not unpleasant really. Medium hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel: On the light side of medium-bodied...not as thick and sticky as it should be for 10%. Maybe this is partially a result of almost 3 years in the bottle?

Overall: An odd little barleywine. I think this retailed for around $10 or so a bottle. For that price, it's not bad. The toasted nut flavors are really nice, if a bit odd. Yet the thin body and a bit of residual alcoholic heat take away from this a bit. Also, there's very little depth. I dunno what this is like fresh, and I could almost justify buying it again, if it wasn't for the fact that Schlafly makes an oak-aged barleywine for around $11 that, with 2-3 years on it is sublime.

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2011 04:30:56 | More by BedetheVenerable
Photo of chugalug06


3.43/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Brew is nice clean crisp amber color, very dark. Cream colored head sits rather foamy too.

Lots of heat and caramel malts.

Nicely hopped. Bitter, but in a good way. Lots of heat. This brew would benefit nicely from a few years put away.

Big heat and bitterness! Slightly thin too

A bit overpriced, not the best bwine yet still a good one. A bit basic.

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2011 01:50:52 | More by chugalug06
Photo of GallowsThief


3.9/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured out of a bomber into my tulip. 2011 wax sealed bottle.

A – Pours a light caramel brown color with good clarity. One finger of tan head produces a nice lacing down the glass.

S – Caramel malt smell with dark fruit along for the ride. Fairly light smell all together.

T – Initial hop taste followed quickly by a nice caramel malt. Has some brown sugar and molasses tastes. Gives off just a bit of sweetness. Raisins and apples also work their way in to the taste. Nice boozy flavor at the end.

M – Creamy mouthfeel and smooth. Medium bodied. Medium carbonation.

O – Liked this one. Easy drinker despite the 10% ABV. Subtle for a barleywine. Aging one and curious to see how it does. I would definitely have this again.

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2011 00:47:35 | More by GallowsThief
Photo of hippityhops85


3.33/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

2009 wax sealed bottle

After reading the wide range of reviews on this, I decided to pop it open Thanksgiving night and take a taste for myself.

Pours like a typical barleywine, bottle conditioning yeast very present. Minimal head that dissipates quickly.

Smell is of dark fruits, muted hops, lots of malt. Looking forward to tasting.

Ah, I see what everyone is talking about. The flavors are excellent with dark fruits married to a sherry-like flavor. The biggest problem with this beer is that it is just too thin. Alcohol is still very present as well.

Overall, it was an enjoyable beer and may do better with even more age on it (4-5 years) but I probably wouldn't buy it again.

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2011 16:04:35 | More by hippityhops85
Photo of andrewinski1

New Hampshire

3.58/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This bottle is about a year old or so. Poured into a tulip. The color is very red, almost ruby like and clear. There is a half inch fluffy white head.

The aroma is full of dark fruit and raisins. There is some nice malt aroma.

the taste is mildly sweet with some dark fruit flavor and a slightly minty hoppy bitter finish. This is a nice balance here.

The body is mediumish; could be considered light for a barleywine. The carbonation is on the mellower side.

Not bad here, nothing too spectacular, but one I'd be happy to have again.

Serving type: bottle

11-06-2011 21:28:55 | More by andrewinski1
Photo of Bendurgin


3.5/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip. This one pours amber brown with a finger of beige head. It settles to a cap of solid foam.

The aroma has some boozy raisins in the aroma with some caramel sweetness in the aroma. Hints of of metallic hops finish this one off. The aroma leads me to believe this one will be kind of sweet. The Flavor is a bit sweet. Kind of fruity it reminds me of grape skins. A little bit of toffee with a bit of a metallic hop finish.

The body is medium and a little bit sticky. Good carbonation. Overall not bad, but I think I'd pass in the future. There are just more available barelywines that I enjoy a bit more.

Serving type: bottle

11-06-2011 21:19:41 | More by Bendurgin
Photo of jlindros


3.45/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a light fizzy head, semi clear reddish copper color.

Nose has sweet malts, caramel, toffee, reddish toasty malts, hint of earthy hops, syrups, basic barleywine like.

Taste is malty, chewy earthy malts, reddish malts almost syrupy, toasty malts, hint of earthy hops, syrupy caramel and malts, slight bitter and fruity. Plenty of warming booze.

Mout is med to heavier bodied, syrupy, decent carb, plenty of warming booze.

Overall kinda meh, not too bad but sweeter and very syrupy, decent malts but not great, hops are there but meh.

Serving type: bottle

10-16-2011 22:03:06 | More by jlindros
Photo of rudzud


3.25/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Saw this stuff for dirt cheap (like, $3.99) a few months back and got a 2010 bottle. Thanks to JLindros for sharing his 2009 one so we could do a lil verticle.


A (3.0) - Typical barley wine pour, clear and such, with a super light film of a head. Nothing impressive.

S (3.0) - Classic and average. There is a slight off aroma, maybe metallic or something. Either way, its just okay.

T (3.0) - This stuff is average at best. It isnt quite drainpour, but, its damn near close.

M (3.0 ) - Just falls flat. Very little carbonation, like barley wine water.

O (2.5) - Someone else said it best, its like a red ale gone wrong. If we didnt know this was a barleywine, would have had no idea.


A (4.0) - Usual barley wine colours but this time there was some nice head retention.

S (3.0) - Aroma again is average, though now without the odd metal. Light carmel sweetness and super super light hops.

T (3.5) - Better than the 09, this is still average but a bit too sweet for my liking. Its a barleywine though.

M (3.0) - Still way too low on the carbonation for me. Just falls flat.

O (3.5) - Slightly better than the 09 version, the lesson learned was to drink this stuff as fresh as possible, as with age it becomes garbage.

Serving type: bottle

09-05-2011 15:57:15 | More by rudzud
Photo of Gushue3


2.85/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A- pours red with a small brown tint. 1 finger head that has smaller retention and leaves almost no lacing. Body is amber copper red and looks pretty good.

S- big sweet smell thats full of malt. Toffe like scents are all over the place.

T- sweet malt thats somewhat bland in the middle. Intense sweetness in the finish thats way too much. Big messy flavor that i cant get too into.

M- medium feel with similar carbonation.

O- i couldnt enjoy this one. Maybe it was netter when fresh, but way too sweet and pretty much no hop character.

Serving type: bottle

08-15-2011 23:41:17 | More by Gushue3
Photo of Buggies


3.15/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This a bottle of 2009. Probably past its prime, but I'll give it a go.

Pours a murky brown with this fizzy head. The nose is dominated by malt. Very little hop presence. Mostly malt... chocolate and caramel. Some fruitiness to it as well. Alcohol can be detected by the nose.

Once again, the taste is dominated by malt. The fruit and citrus also come through a lot. Bitterness seems about right, but the lack of any sort of hop presence makes this one just boring.

Serving type: bottle

08-15-2011 01:28:46 | More by Buggies
Photo of russwbeck


3.98/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 Vintage

A: Clear amber pour with a short lived off white head. Very bubbly at the start, the head completely disappears within a few minutes. Bubbles continue to rise from the bottom of the glass, however.

S: Big fruity smell, orange is noted, combined with a ton of booze and malts (mostly caramel). It isn't offensive, but quite potent.

T: The caramel malts and booze start the beer off, with the fruitiness following only in order, not in strength. The finish is very clean.

MF: Big hit of carbonation every time I take a sip. Very light body.

O: Pretty good beer honestly. The ABV is only sort of noticeable and the flavor is nicely balanced. Went well with dinner.

Serving type: bottle

06-29-2011 22:43:47 | More by russwbeck
Photo of CFHMagnet


3.28/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A sliver of wood in the wax seal proclaims "2010", and it was a best by date of jan 31 2012. Poured into a snifter.

A. A vigorous pour got me a finger of fizzy head that dissipated within two minutes. Body is a dark apple cider color.

S. Smells of caramel malts and dark fruits. Get a bit of hop in there as well.

T. Initial taste is well balanced caramel malt and hop. Very mellow flavor until the alcohol hits you. This quickly fades into the dark fruits, I distinguish raisin, plum and something sweet.

M. Weak honestly. Medium bodied, alcohol packs a punch. But it leaves me wanting more.

Serving type: bottle

06-29-2011 01:42:18 | More by CFHMagnet
Photo of MbpBugeye


3.93/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to boatshoes for this. I've seen it around, and have almost bought it a few times. Vintage 2010.

A pretty clear ruby red. The head is nice and sticky with a thick collar of retention.

Nice malty fruitiness. Cranberry, candied orange, dried apricots, figs and raisins. A toasted malt base is noninvasive. The aroma is really nice, but not as powerful as many barleywines.

At first I get a big note of lemon and grass that I find a bit odd. There is a lot of the dried fruits, oranges, apricot, raisins and figs. Caramel plays a much larger role in the flavor than in the aroma, where it was nearly hidden. The finish is long and bitter, largely composed of citrus rind. Everything is well placed and nicely blended.

This barleywine is creamy and smooth on the palate. Carbonation is low, and tried to be prickly, but a gentle swish around the mouth smooths it out.

This is much better than I anticipated. I am enjoying this beer thoroughly. Perhaps this beer is at its prime, for my taste anyway. I'd guess that its probably 7-8 months old. I'd say this one is worth sitting in your cellar, it doesn't cost much after all.

Serving type: bottle

06-27-2011 05:26:24 | More by MbpBugeye
Killer Penguin Barleywine from Boulder Beer / Wilderness Pub
80 out of 100 based on 513 ratings.