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Blunderbuss Barleywine - Cambridge Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Blunderbuss Barleywine
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BA SCORE
95
world-class

94 Ratings
THE BROS
96
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 94
Reviews: 40
rAvg: 4.32
pDev: 8.8%
Wants: 74
Gots: 1 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Cambridge Brewing Company visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  11.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 05-10-1999)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Blunderbuss Barleywine Alström Bros
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Ratings: 94 | Reviews: 40 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev -7.4%

t0rin0, Sep 09, 2012
Photo of brentk56
4.13/5  rDev -4.4%

2006 Vintage

Appearance: Arrives at the bar with a copper color with a garnet tinge; the fluffy head leaves good lacing behind

Smell: Toffee, maraschino cherries and pineapple

Taste: Starts with a sweet blast of vanilla and maraschino cherry juice followed almost immediately by the pineapple bitterness; after the swallow, the strong pineapple flavors dominate through a lengthy finish

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: A bit too sweet to drink in any quantity but clearly crafted with skill

brentk56, Mar 01, 2007
Photo of JAHMUR
3.75/5  rDev -13.2%

JAHMUR, Mar 17, 2012
Photo of Jason
4.28/5  rDev -0.9%

This is the 2004 vintage. On tap and served in a snifter glass.

A - Crested lace clings to the glass well, almost like a crown.

S - Mild solvent alcohol, alcohol soaked raisins with a backing of caramel and hop petals.

T / M - Sweet with a light warmth, clean bitterness struggles to balance though the alcohol and toasted grain pitch in. More sweetness middle to end; blood orange, fig, brown sugar. So smooth and creamy.

Notes: Where is the 12% abv? Very deceiving to say the least ... an awesome treat to help bring the spring in.

Jason, Apr 06, 2005
Photo of Kegatron
4.1/5  rDev -5.1%

On tap @ the Cambridge Brewing Company on 2/20/10. 2009 edition served in a snifter.

Pours a deep hazy amber with a thinner looking covering of creamy bright-white froth. Retains mostly with some thin foamy ringing but this does have a rich and sturdy flareup to it that leaves a robust cascade of lacing along the sides of the glass. The aroma is rich in the nose with honey, bread, vanilla, and fruit coming out the strongest, while spice, green citric tones, and woody tannins pull up the back. More subtle accents of herbal hops and even a smidge of brown sugar work their way in as well.

The taste stars with a big sweet base of toasted bread, caramel, honey & brown sugar, and fruity accents. The remnants of the hops are mostly herbal with some extra notes of bitter citrus and spice that lingers in the back of the throat with a dry feel. A smack of vanilla and wood hangs on the palate as well, along with some leftover residual sweetness. The mouthfeel is full bodied, with a big mouth-filling creaminess up front that then descends into a much more slick and sticky feel to the carbonation more towards the back of the swallow. There is some definite beef to this and I would say that it feels, body wise, like the posted 13% ABV but I'm pleased to find that the alcohol taste itself for the most part was held in check.

This was good take on a barrel-aged Barleywine. Maybe not quite as interesting as the description on the beer menu may have had me initially believe but the aroma and feel on this for such a big beer were enough to hold my attention through the duration of the glass. Another solid offering here from the CBC.

Kegatron, Mar 01, 2010
Photo of Slatetank
4.38/5  rDev +1.4%

I had this on tap at Cambridge Brewing Company - the barleywine is the 08 version aged in Buffalo Trace barrels. Served chilld in a snifter

A - A hazy golden w/ amber hues, thin cap of pale color and tiny bead w/ rocky surface to the head w/ slight lacing that has good stickiness factor

S - The aroma is very fragrant w/ smell of floral citrus hoppiness w/ subtle aroma of alcohol and mild tangerine candy-like malt aroma. The nose has slight vanilla/caramel w/ slight spice and mild mix of astringent notes and esters of stone fruit

M - The feel is full and has strong malt influence w/ warming alcohol and moderately bitter back w/ hop acidtity balancing - the finish is dry w/ toasted spiced nuances and slightly creamy sweetness - the finish has a drying quality that lingers

T - Blunderbuss is packed w/ sweet malt which doesn't quite reach sugary in the flavors, the bourbon steps in early w/ a gentle complimentary taste that doesn't overstep its bounds- but adds to the taste. Vanilla from the oak is accompanied by a spicy and citrus taste from the hops, mildly astringent and balanced bitterness-wise. The hops add flavor to the woody barrel notes and give a lift to the booziness w/ a mild pine flavor in the back end. The barleywine finishes smooth with a very nicely balanced quality allowing the flavors of bourbon, malt, hops and oak to comingle -delicious

D - For a 11.5% barleywine this drinks very easy almost TOO easy. It has all the elements that make you want another - but yet the alcohol is mild in the overall flavor -very pleasurable to sip and the barrel usage is masterful -truly great barrel aged barleywine

Slatetank, Mar 10, 2010
Photo of oline73
4.05/5  rDev -6.3%

I had this on-tap at the brewery during EBF weekend. Served in a snifter.

Appearance: Pours a reddish amber color with a ring of off white head that goes away completely.

Smell: Sweet caramel with some raisins, brown sugar, and some heat from the alcohol.

Taste: Similar to the smell, which is a very good thing. Sweet with caramel and some vanilla notes. Dark fruit and smooth, warm alcohol wound things out. The finish is mildly bitter.

Mouthfeel: The body is thick and the carbonation is a bit high given the style. The finish has a touch of dryness to it.

Overall: This is a very good barleywine and I would love to have it again. Very complex and delicious.

oline73, Feb 06, 2012
Photo of Rochefort10nh
5/5  rDev +15.7%

Rochefort10nh, Nov 18, 2011
Photo of smcolw
4.33/5  rDev +0.2%

Served in a tulip glass. Thick head that settles slowly, leaving a blanket of delicate lace. The liquid is dark brown where I can tell it's muddy.

Sweet brandy-like notes--cherry and rum soaked raisins. Blindfolded, I might think I was smelling a cold port. Delicious nose.

Deep roasted malt flavor upfront--the sweetness comes in the swallow along with a good dollop of alcohol warmth. The aftertaste features dark cherries and plenty of alcohol--quite the kick. Very thick body which is enhanced by the nearly non-existent carbonation. Chewy.

One of the best Barley Wines I've ever had.

smcolw, Dec 08, 2013
Photo of Kelp
4.75/5  rDev +10%

Kelp, Dec 29, 2012
Photo of PEIhop
5/5  rDev +15.7%

PEIhop, Jan 27, 2012
Photo of francisweizen
4.18/5  rDev -3.2%

Again. Dark Red/No Head. Aromas are fruity and spicy with many complex notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, and other interesting spices. The taste is malty, and sweet up front with a nice sticky hoppiness that makes itself known in the middle palate of this brew. The spiciness comes back in the finish and coats your palate with interesting flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg, and more. The alcohol is muted, as are the hops, but it works in this brew. Mouthfeel is thick, sweet, and coating and drinkability is good. 11.5% Wow, could have folled me. This drinks like a lower abv, smoother version. A nice sipping BW from a great brewpub. Nice.

francisweizen, Mar 08, 2005
Photo of alexgash
4.83/5  rDev +11.8%

'04-'05 vintage on-tap at the brewpub. This vintage was listed as 12%.
Deep ruby brown body with a faint haze and a small, but persistent, light tan head. Big aromas of fruity esters, caramel, burnt sugar, vanilla, rum, all checked by a spicy, dry-hopped, noble piney, mesmerizing hop backing. Amazing. Taste does not disappoint. Very complex malt flavors: dark stewed fruits, toffee/caramel, brown sugar, vanilla, brandy, light anise/licorice. Never gets too sweet thanks to a hefty hop balance. Bitter enough to subdue the malt, but nowhere near astringent, just great hop flavor: spicy, floral, piney, it's all good! Wow. Finish lingers on forever. Big, chewy malt body, yet luxuriously smooth throughout. Warming and dangerously drinkable. Get this if you can!

alexgash, Feb 10, 2005
Photo of Reagan1984
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%

Reagan1984, Feb 02, 2013
Photo of bpfrush
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

bpfrush, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of Bierman9
4.47/5  rDev +3.5%

Nice dark brown color, but very small head. Rich sweet nose that says "Alcohol", and a bit of hops, too! Medium-smooth tongue, and medium-full body. Not hard to take! Taste has dark fruit, sweetness, more alcohol, and a piney-hop finish. OK by me!! Nice bier!!

overall: 4.4
appearance: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | mouthfeel: 4.5 | drinkability: 4.5

50

Bierman9, Feb 16, 2002
Photo of ffejherb
4.53/5  rDev +4.9%

On tap at Cambridge Brewing on 3/1/10.

A - Very hazy reddish orange liquid akin to cinnamon with half an inch of bubbly beige head that receded to a doughnut-shaped ring of retention then settled into a patchy film and spotty lace.

S - Superbly aromatic nose with a sweet, candy-like sugary character, prevalent borubon character and woody, oaky notes. Aroma is quite hoppy as well with hints of floral notes, fresh herbs and citrus fruit. Wow! There is even a lush vanilla sweetness that is just lovely. What a fantastic smelling beer!

T - Extraordinarily complex with lush vanilla notes and strong bourbon character as well as floral hop notes and a hint of citrus fruit. Malt is swet and sugary with a caramel presence. Oak character is restrained overall, keeping the dryness to a minimum. The citrus attributes really open up as the liquid warms up.

M - Medium bodied with a fairly syrupy texture and ample carbonation, but not too lively. Finishes with moderate alcohol warmth and bitterness on the palate.

D - Blunderbuss is definitely up there with the best barleywines I've encountered in my travels and boasts an amazing bourbon character that just hits the mark perfectly. This is a complex barleywine that remains extremely drinkable without becoming too warm or alcoholic in the process. Fabulous!

ffejherb, Mar 09, 2010
Photo of UncleJimbo
4.18/5  rDev -3.2%

Original review was based on a sample at a beer tasting event.

Appearance: Poured from tap to give a beautiful dark amber-red barley wine with light tan foam that left some lace on the glass.

Smell: Aromas of citrus and hops and malt and sugar. A hint of spice in the smell, too.

Taste: Sweet caramel with nice floral hops throughout, including the finish. Delicious. Rich flavor. Some oak and spice mixed with the sweet malt.

Mouthfeel: Very well balanced sweetness. Smooth, creamy, and rich.

Drinkability: Excellent. I wanted to drink more and more. A very fine barley wine. At the brewpub this is served slightly too cold, but let it have a chance to warm slightly, to just below room temperature to fully appreciate the smells and tastes.

2/09/03 Update
I visited the brewpub and had one of these served in a 12 oz snifter. This much improved the appearance and smell. This is an excellent barley wine, one of the best I have ever had. It will be interesting to see how this one fares after a year or two of aging.

5/10/03 Updated

Sampled the 2001 and 2002 vintages side by side. The 2001 has mellowed and aged incredibly well! I give it 4/ 4.5/ 4.5/ 4.5/ 4.5 .

App: Cloudy, brown with hints of red, thin white foam.
Smell: Richly sweet malt with a hint of floral hops.
Taste: Sweet, sugary, caramel, toffee, a little bite.
Mouth: Smooth, mellow, med. body, low carbonation.
Drink: Very, very nice.

UncleJimbo, Jan 22, 2003
Photo of DrinkSlurm
4/5  rDev -7.4%

Poured from tap at Sunset Boston.
Pours a honey color with a red hue. Thick foamy head.
Caramel, vanilla, raison, and booze aroma.
Taste is very similar, sweet and easy on the palate with a bit of hop bite.
Overall, really nice well balanced and drinkable beer.
I hope to try more of CBC.

DrinkSlurm, Feb 28, 2012
Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.38/5  rDev +1.4%

Presentation: On tap.

Appearance: Deep dark amber with a haze, light tan lace holds well.

Smell: Extreme aromatics, big on fruitiness and alcoholic esters. Some hoppy aromas and a touch of malt and caramel also.

Taste: Huge chewy malt, lots of residual sweetness of ripe fruit(figgy) and caramel. A hoppy oil keeps the enormous malt back bone in check with a sufficing bitterness and yet a bigger hop flavour. Sweet grain and fading hop linger into the after taste.

Notes: A devastatingly great barley wine, blended and balanced to perfection.

BeerAdvocate, May 10, 1999
Photo of Davepoolesque
3.75/5  rDev -13.2%

Davepoolesque, Jan 31, 2014
Photo of kaelingirl
4.75/5  rDev +10%

kaelingirl, Mar 14, 2012
Photo of Fettpopps
3/5  rDev -30.6%

Fettpopps, Mar 16, 2014
Photo of CuriousMonk
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

CuriousMonk, Jun 19, 2013
Photo of Adamostella
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%

Adamostella, Dec 02, 2013
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Blunderbuss Barleywine from Cambridge Brewing Company
95 out of 100 based on 94 ratings.