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Arquebus - Cambridge Brewing Company

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Arquebus
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BA SCORE
93
outstanding

105 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 105
Reviews: 36
rAvg: 4.19
pDev: 10.02%
Wants: 35
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:
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 105 | Reviews: 36
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Photo of rye726
4.88/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

'07 Vintage

This is some tasty stuff. Pours a rich rusty brown with a thin tan head. The nose has big sweet malts, delicate hops, oak and chardonnay wine. The taste is equally complex and delicious. A huge white wine and oak presence over candy malts, ripe citrus fruits and spicy alcohol. Superb balance and drinkability. Full body silks over the palate and enhances the drinking experience.

Photo of mcallister
4.85/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Let me say that I worked at a wine shop and love wine and have never had a beer with this much wine character. Like a dessert chardonnay almost.

Liquid caramel color or melted gold with a faint white head.

Great bready nose absolutely filled with candied fruits, peach, apricot, pear, so chardonnay in aroma. Great nose.

Most wine like beer I've ever tried. Amazing smooth creamy mouthfeel. Huge candied pear, apple, hints of oak, vanilla, mineral qualities, apricot and candied peach. Somewhat reminiscent of a peach dessert reduced with chardonnay. Nicely sweet in no way cloying. I would pay mucho money for cases of this wine....er beer.

Photo of asabreed
4.84/5  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.

Photo of Hojaminbag
4.84/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I had this one on-tap at the brewery for the CBC barleywine fest. This review is of the 2006 vintage, batch NO.1. It was just too damn good not to review.

A hazy dark orangish color with no head to it. Not a lot of life in the body.

The first sniff really surprised me. Lots of fruity sweetness with a good tart edge to it. Green apples are in there for sure. Also a nice floral aroma in there. I said "this smells amazing" from the first whiff.

This stuff tastes as good as it smells, which is impressive. Pretty sweet up front with fruits like apricot and a touch of honey. Not a cloying or powerful sweetness, just a mild, light fruit sweetness that I find to be refreshing. Then flowery notes that are more herbal than hoppy come through. I don't really notice any hop presence in here at all actually. A touch of woody oak is in there too, preceding a tart finish. The finish tastes like tart green apple, and is a nice touch of flavor, complexity and balance. An absolutely great tasting beer.

A pretty thin mouthfeel closer to a champagne than what I think of as a barleywine. Not highly carbonated though, rather low.

I would have stayed and drank this all night if I had the money (I also wanted to try some other of the Barleywine offerings). This one is balanced, interesting, and tasty. No alcohol is noticeable at all. I would guess that it was around 6-7% ABV and not 10.75. Overall, this is a phenominal beer. Everytime I go to a CBC event I find something that blows my mind and this is one of them. Probably the best English barleywine I have ever had.

Photo of ChrisPro
4.77/5  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).

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4.72/5  rDev +12.6%
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.

Photo of Franchise
4.62/5  rDev +10.3%
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!

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Arquebus from Cambridge Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 105 ratings.