1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Arquebus - Cambridge Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Arquebus
No picture uploaded.
Have one? Upload it now.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

103 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 103
Reviews: 36
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 10.24%
Wants: 34
Gots: 2 | 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:
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 added by: Sycodrummer on 07-14-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 103 | Reviews: 36 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by wizo:
Photo of wizo
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

wizo, Jun 07, 2012
More User Reviews:
Photo of bpfrush
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%

bpfrush, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of glid02
3.58/5  rDev -14.8%
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.

glid02, Aug 17, 2011
Photo of sloejams
4.43/5  rDev +5.5%
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.

sloejams, Aug 10, 2006
Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.47/5  rDev +6.4%
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!!!!

GratefulBeerGuy, Jul 27, 2006
Photo of asabreed
4.85/5  rDev +15.5%
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.

asabreed, Aug 18, 2010
Photo of Sammy
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
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.

Sammy, Jul 16, 2009
Photo of I_heart_beer
3.25/5  rDev -22.6%

I_heart_beer, Sep 11, 2013
Photo of 3leggeddub
5/5  rDev +19%

3leggeddub, Nov 23, 2011
Photo of Kmlund
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Kmlund, Oct 08, 2014
Photo of GRG1313
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%

GRG1313, Jun 28, 2014
Photo of trevorpost
4/5  rDev -4.8%

trevorpost, Aug 11, 2013
Photo of Franchise
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
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!

Franchise, Jul 24, 2006
Photo of emerge077
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

emerge077, Jun 05, 2014
Photo of Mike
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

Mike, Sep 15, 2013
Photo of cestlavie
5/5  rDev +19%

cestlavie, Sep 30, 2012
Photo of HattedClassic
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%

HattedClassic, Aug 26, 2014
Photo of ShanePB
4/5  rDev -4.8%

ShanePB, Jul 27, 2014
Photo of IBUnit63
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
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.

IBUnit63, Jul 11, 2008
Photo of ChrisPro
4.78/5  rDev +13.8%
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).

ChrisPro, Jul 21, 2011
Photo of donkeyrunner
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
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.

donkeyrunner, Jul 03, 2009
Photo of FunkyMacGroovin
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Served in an 8oz (I think) snifter-style glass. 2010 batch is 14% abv. Pours a delightful golden hue. The beer is served still to accentuate its similarities with wine, so there is no head. Smell is redolent of a winery in the Napa Valley - oak, vanilla, wildflowers, and a bit of acid on the nose. Absolutely enchanting.

The description of the beer says they used white wine grapes in the brew, used malolactic fermentation, and then aged the beer in Chardonnay barrels. These characteristics are immediately and beautifully apparent when you take a sip. Tons of buttery diacetyl flavor combined with the oak and the grapes made me seriously question whether I had been served a wine passed off as beer. It actually reminded me of an over-oaked Chardonnay, which would be a negative characteristic of wine, but is executed so well in this beer I couldn't help but love it. Honey and fruit flavors are also present and further complement the winey-ness (not to be confused with whiney-ness). Acidity is here too, imparted by the grapes - a good thing too, else the finish would almost certainly become cloying. Amid all these flavors and more there is a tinge of detectable hoppiness, just enough to remind you that this is, in fact, beer. Mouthfeel is medium in body, dry on the finish, and even a little effervescent despite the lack of carbonation.

I'm not sure how the abv is hidden so well, but if I hadn't known it was 14% ahead of time I could've easily mistaken it for a 7-10% brew. Incredibly drinkable - I could drink myself into a pants-wetting, bush-puking, cougar-seducing humdinger of a stupor without thinking twice (or stopping to notice that my pants are gone and there's a Sharpie-mustache on my face).

If you told someone who had never heard the term before that this was a barleywine and served it to them, they'd think you were crazy when you told them it was beer. Someone should probably think of a new style to classify this beer, because the moniker 'summer barleywine' doesn't do anything to prepare you for what it is. An entirely wonderful beverage in every way.

FunkyMacGroovin, Aug 23, 2010
Photo of BeerBucks
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%

BeerBucks, Sep 22, 2012
Photo of alpenglocken
5/5  rDev +19%

alpenglocken, Jan 18, 2012
Photo of jlindros
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at the brewpub.

Pretty much no head, mostly clear copper brown color.

Nose has tons of sweet malts, brown sugar, some caramel and toffee, crystal malts, molasses, and a very light grape must.

Taste is pretty sweet, light buttery oak and vanilla, brown sugar, crystal malts, toffee, little creamy, pretty malty too, some booze but not too heavy, some woody barrel ester flavors, light tart grape flavor and some old white wine. Finishes a bit hot, still fairly sweet, more brown sugar, caramel, and hint of toasty malts, and grapes. Complex and tasty.

Mouth is a bit heavier bodied, decent carb for the style, bit boozy.

Overall pretty good, the grape add a nice touch to the sweet caramelized brown malts, nice malts and flavors overall, a little boozy but decent for 11ish %.

jlindros, Jun 25, 2011
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Arquebus from Cambridge Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 103 ratings.