Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine and select auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

Arquebus - Cambridge Brewing Company

Not Rated.
No picture.
Have one? Upload it now.

37 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 37
Hads: 113
Avg: 4.23
pDev: 17.02%
Wants: 35
Gots: 3 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Cambridge Brewing Company visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
English Barleywine |  10.75% ABV

Availability: Summer

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Sycodrummer on 07-14-2006

Described by CBC as a Summer Barleywine. "Arquebus" refers to a heavy portable matchlock gun invented during the 15th century, and forerunner of the rifle.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 37 | Hads: 113
Reviews by Zraly:
Photo of Zraly
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

More User Reviews:
Photo of alienlifeforcecube
4.21/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of bpfrush
4.75/5  rDev +12.3%

Photo of glid02
3.58/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at the brewpub. I believe the ABV listed on the menu was 14%, perhaps it's a different recipe than in years past.

Pours a clear deep amber color with a cream-colored head that leaves decent lacing.

Smells of sweet caramel malts with large amounts of medium and dark fruits – pears, apricots, and raisins. Also present are mild amounts of oak and vinous aromas.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Strongly sweet caramel malts up front are joined quickly by boozy fruit flavors – pears and raisins with hints of plums. Midway through oak and white grape flavors mellow things out a bit before the sweetness reasserts itself and carries through to a moderately sweet ending. Mouthfeel is good, with smooth carbonation.

Overall I found this beer to be too unbalanced for my liking, with too much emphasis on the sweetness. If this beer were a bit drier I think the barrel would be able to shine more.

 909 characters

Photo of sloejams
4.42/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This here is straight up delicious. Barleywine and summer don't seem to fit. Barleywines: thick, syrupy, staggeringly high in alcohol, made for men with beards. Summer: generally none of that ('cept me, me and my beard). Arquebus is aged in chardonnay barrels which give it well, a chardonnay type fruit flavor. This sounds odd and it is, but somehow it all works. It seems slightly lower in hops than most barleywines which allows the tannins slick over the top giving an almost honey flavor. Served in a wine glass, this is far more accessible than most barleywines. A day later I returned to the CBC and this is exactly what I wanted.

 637 characters

Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.49/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2006 Summer. Served in a stemmed wine glass. Barleywine/Oak barrel aged.

Golden/Light amber. Small/bright white head, nice lacing.

Citrusy nose, VERY nice arromatic nose. Pungent fruityness.

Taste's include: Peack, apricot and slightly tart effect with a great white-wine hit going down. Crisp and deep taste. Very impressed.

Feels extremely smooth and mellow. VERY white-wine feeling and equally as crisp. Light to medium body that sparkles.

10.75 % ABV. You would NEVER know it. Amazing.

Aged in french oak chardonnay barrels from the Silverado Winery in Napa.

Go get some!!!!

 599 characters

Photo of asabreed
4.84/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Served at the brewery in what they call a mini-tulip, which is shaped more like a mini-snifter. I think it's a 9 oz. glass, and though the server told me it's pretty much a 7 oz. pour, mine was filled, and thankfully, in retrospect, pretty much to the top.

This batch, whatever number it is, is 14% and not 10.75% ABV. The price was $6.50. This is what it says at the end of the website description: "Aged for one year in French oak chardonnay barrels acquired from the Silverado and Chateau Boswell wineries in Napa, the residual flavors contributed by the wood offer a mellowness of character not provided by stainless steel fermentation, as controlled oxidation deepens its color, enhances its rich texture, and concentrated notes of fruit."

Appearance: I think this may be slightly unfair, considering, as I stated previously, that the glass was pretty much filled to the brim. That said, and maybe it's also due to the high alcohol content, there's not much lacing or head at all, even with subsequent swirls. And thankfully, I just checked: it's served still, meaning without carbonation, to further the wine character of the brew. The color, however, is still very nice, as a lighter brown with copper highlights.

Smell: What an amazingly effervescent and beautiful thing this has going for it. You can smell the white vinous characteristics going on, but what I love is the concentrated vanilla, which almost, because of the French oak, hints at bourbon. And though it's wine, and not bourbon, it's amazing how the boozy oak aromas are coming through more than the concentrated grapes. Wildflowers are coming through too, a raucous and stretched bouquet of petals, along with honey sweetness, but what I like here are those two separate parts combining with, you guessed it, the wildflower honey aromas. There are also notes of tangerine and peach, white grapes, and all kinds of other fruits going on. My wife kept making fun of me every time I went in for a whiff, because I kept telling her how amazing it was.

Taste: For a still beer, this is pretty amazing. Again, the booziness comes out from the wine and oak flavors, with vanilla, caramel, a lot of fruit esters with peach and tangerine, and there's a wonderful acidity mixing in, almost like a sour or wild ale's acidity from Brett being introduced, which it's not here.

Mouthfeel: So if this is a still beer, which I didn't know until I recently checked the website just to make sure I wasn't missing something, how am I getting a good back-end burst of carbonation? I'm not really sure, but alas. That said, the body isn't as heavy as it should be, both for seemingly the method of production and the high alcohol content. But it IS, miraculously, easy to drink, probably due to the lack mostly of carbonation, and the wine-like nature of the brew's body. I would say medium-bodied, and more wine-like, not surprisingly, than syrupy or cloying.

Drinkability: Since I've gotten into wine the last few years, that may have something to do with this, as the beer begins to make you question the nature of the hybrid brew that a lot of the barrel aging is getting us to do these days as beer drinkers. If you can't stand wine, this may be a stretch for you, but if you're also a wine drinker, and like barrel aged beers like I do, this will hopefully be something you'll also really enjoy.

I feel like $6.50 for around an 8 oz. pour is a steal for this brew. As I told our server: "If some big company got the recipe for this and tweaked it, it would be as sought after as anything I can think of," and though many would disagree, I could see this style, the summer barleywine, becoming something big down the road. Wild Ales? Sours? Watch out: this could be gunning for you. That said, if you're around, do try it, it's beyond worth it. One of the best and weirdest brews I've had easily within the last year. Keep it up, Will Meyers.

 3,912 characters

Photo of Sammy
4.12/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Apricot colour, average mouthfeel. Brett in the aroma. Looks and tastes white grapey. Apricot summer fruit in there, you can taste it too. Can the Chardonnay be transfered for the wood, or was it used. Very fruity, sweetish.
Enjoyed on tap at the brewpub, I am still revelling in it 2.5 days later.

 299 characters

Photo of I_heart_beer
3.25/5  rDev -23.2%

Photo of 3leggeddub
5/5  rDev +18.2%

Photo of Kmlund
4/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of GRG1313
3.75/5  rDev -11.3%

Photo of trevorpost
4/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of Franchise
4.62/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It poured a ruby caramel creamy color with a small tan head that quickly faded. The nose is fantastic...honey, chardonney grapes, peach, mango, suttle spices, nuts, and oak. The taste starts vinos in nature, alcohal is warming but not really apparent at 10.5%. This beer has loads of tannins that make you smack the tongue, and the hop presence is right there to give you some balancing bitterness.

The strong malt backbone and the aging in the chardonney barrels are a great compliment making this a smooth sippable brew. I can see why this is called a summer barleywine due to the refreshing nature in terms of carbonation, also the fruit feel on the palate. Anyone that is a fan of barleywines you need to try this brew!

 727 characters

Photo of emerge077
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of Mike
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of jtk21351
4.28/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of cestlavie
5/5  rDev +18.2%

Photo of allstar255
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of HattedClassic
4.28/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of ShanePB
4/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of wethorseblanket
4.13/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes taken during GABF 2011.

43 characters

Photo of IBUnit63
4.28/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

200th review! From tap into a wine goblet...

Pours like a mead-honey-maple-caramel-apple body with thin wispy beige-rose head.

Honey, muscat, champagne-maybe some apple-very light 4 style and cider-ish.

Wow-so clean for style but very very cidery-an easy drinking barleywine with a lot of muscat character and even some fizz-lots like an Aussie sticky. As it warms it does take on more of a true dessert wine character.

Cleaner than an Aussie sticky-sparkly on mouth - alcohol shows up to cut the fat.

Could drink lots more than I should; the emerging sweet wine character tempers drinkability a bit, but this still works very well.

 637 characters

Photo of ChrisPro
4.77/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at CBC.

A - Clear orange-brown with an eggshell colored head. Honey-legs left on the glass as I drank.

S - One whiff and I know that this is exactly why I came to CBC. Tons going on with this beer with caramel, fig, honey, mango and apricot. The grapes/barrel give it a really complex aroma that I can't get enough of

T - Sipping this is like sipping dessert. There is so much sweetness and complexity I feel like it's a complete dessert dish. Tons of caramel sweetness, but just a slight dry tannic finish to attempt at cleaning the palate.

M - Very full bodied and nice carb. Slightly boozy, but it doesn't detract from the beer at all.

O - This is a phenomenal barrel-aged beer and deserves to be up there with the best. If you're in Boston and this is on tap, make sure to find your way to Cambridge. I put away a few of these that night and didn't regret it (well, maybe a little the next morning).

 915 characters

Photo of donkeyrunner
4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A summer barleywine? Sign me up!

Poured still, Arquebus looks like mud. A wine glass full of watery mud. Smells like Chardonnay, light floral hops, and pear.

Tastes is very Chardonnay as well. Apricots and mild caramel with a green apple finish melded together by a permeating earthen wood. Honey, white whine dryness without being cloying. For such a high abv beer, the alcohol is extremely subdued.

More wine than barley but ridiculously creative and different. Would go great with some sun if Boston ever gets any this summer.

 532 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Arquebus from Cambridge Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 37 ratings.