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Blunderbuss Barleywine - Cambridge Brewing Company

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Blunderbuss Barleywine
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42 Reviews

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Reviews: 42
Hads: 112
Avg: 4.31
pDev: 8.82%
Wants: 81
Gots: 2 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 05-10-1999

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Blunderbuss Barleywine Alström Bros
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Reviews: 42 | Hads: 112
Photo of Jason
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

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Photo of francisweizen
4.2/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

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Photo of carln26
4.05/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had this on tap today while down at CBC for lunch. It poured a deep clear brown with ruby highlights. It had a decent cream head. The nose was filled with citrus floral pine along with a little hard candy. The taste was sweet candy up front with figs and floral hop. Some black cherry midway through the flavor profile. This beer realy reminds me of a Pinot Noir with layers of cheery, black cherry and the figs. Smooth mouth feel good drinkability. My only complaint was serving size. It was a small snifter that they only poured 3 quarters full. Come on, I'm a big boy !

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Photo of alexgash
4.82/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

'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!

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Photo of waughbrew
4.84/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Dark red with orange highlights and just a ring of white head when served. Smells of sweet caramel cherries. The flavor is the longest, most complex, most evolving flavor ever tasted in a barleywine, even when a little too cold. A lot of apple action and definitely on the sweet side despite the bunch of hop bitterness in there. A fresh fruity hop flavor is there but does not get in the way of the dominating malt. It grows, then declines, with the vanilla taking over from the hops and no uncomfortable moments at all. Thick and smooth. Exceptional.

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Photo of Truh
4.17/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Declaimed haughtily with this one on 1/4/2005. Told it was a 8-oz. pour in a beguiling snifter, 12% abv, and let the rabbit run.

Initial fingernail head releases to a whitewash of squee-geed opulence. Rock candy sugar, high fruit sunny-ness, and germinating malt bawdiness, like a decaying nose gay to scent; alluring. As Boktech stated, there must have been some dry hopping, and I didn’t question his stance. Schism of malt court jester and apple-sweet tartness flay the dental roots on first contact, but lovingly; grape effects are noted and duly appreciated but the jam sandwich with lightly sifted brown sugar and just a hint of Toblerone are the added, finishing touches to this one. Would have loved to while the rest of my night away with this one, bent spoon, and a lump of sugar slowly dissolving into a green wash.

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Photo of PatandDavid
4.32/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

CBC had the '02 version at their most recent beer dinner, and I was lucky enough to partake of Todd's glass (thanks!). Served in a small snifter, it was the color of rich chestnut and raisins, and really, so nicely aged, it didn't need to impress with a big head or everything (I find these beers over-all don't creat big heads...they are concentrating on other things). Aroma was a deep, rich, thick layer of malt meets alcohol. Mouthfeel, I would say was medium +, and extremely smooth, considering the abv. I didn't know the abv until this review, I would have thought it was single digits. Tastewise, I enjoyed the rich, deep malty character, with touches of raisins. While not overly sweet, there was some fruity touches (dark fruit). Again, very smooth and enjoyable. A treat. Special note for Sakaroo: porkchop sandwiches.

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Photo of taez555
4.38/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a small little snifter this beer poured a translucent clear amber body with a small white head that died quickly.

The nose was rich with sweet malt tones. Rather fruity smelling. Very light hops. The alcohol found it’s way through here and there.

The taste was very much along the same lines. Beautifully rich and malty. Full bodied and rather heavy. Malt and caramel dominate. Sugary sweet with firm but hidden alcohol that sneaks up on you by the end. The hops are perfectly balanced and the bitterness sits evenly in the mix.

Simply an amazing barleywine. Malty, not overly hoppy. Perfection. This and other special offerings make me want to get an apartment right across the street so I can come to CBC every day.

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Photo of AllThingsNinja
4.47/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a snifter, this barley wine had a very modest head crowning a rich mahogany body. The aromas were quite woody, with a hint of fruit. The flavors were rich and complex ranging from a crisp hoppy bitterness to oak, and roasted malts. The smooth drink ended my visit to the CBC on a high note.

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Photo of zerk
4.37/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber with a thin and whispy head. Aroma is quite complex with notes of fig, vanilla, and oak. Much the same in the flavor profile, with a sugary sweetness at the front and subtle herbal bitterness in the finish. I could notice the alcohol in the finish as well... made for a nice warming effect. Body is full with with very low carbonation. All in all, a quite enjoyable beer worth seeking out.

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Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A mighty thanks and raised mug to Will for allowing us to sample this creation at the post-AOBF jazz brunch at the CBC. Aged for 2 years...this is going to be good.

The appearance is of a rich amber, with an ever-so-faint head. Stunning. Wonderfully fragrant, too. All sorts of scents weave an impressive tapestry of the complexity of this beer. Lots of fruits, sugary sweetness, alcohol, and flowery/fruity/spciy hops. It's the taste that reminds you just how special this beer is. A almost perfectly-balanced beer, with everything coming together on your palate....the chwey malty sweetness balanced with the hoppy bitterness, with the alcohol providing a nice warming effect. Mouthfeel is silky smooth and very drinkable. An excellent way to finish off the brunch with my fellow BA's.

Hats off and mugs raised again to Will. I may have to make a special trip to Boston again just to visit the CBC.

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Photo of purplehops
4.28/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Blunderbuss poured a deep rosewood brown with a thin light beige head that left some lacing on the glass. The aroma was floral hops, mace, apricots, caramel, and some evergreen notes. The taste started with a bold combination of caramel malt, mild brown sugar, and fig flavors. It then moves on to blend more flavors of pear, clove, and citrus along with the original flavors into a wonderful balanced complexity of goodness. The finish is smooth with a nice alcohol warmth balanced with malt and mace flavors and a hint of hop bitterness trying to make an appearance. Aftertaste is a sigh and a grin. Mouthfeel is a smooth medium full body that is a pleasure to watch swirl in the snifter (or maybe that's the alcohol that makes the swirls so pretty).
Overall a very nice Barley Wine that is well balanced with plenty of complexity and alcohol warmth. Well worth going out of your way for one.

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Photo of UncleJimbo
4.18/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

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Photo of CharlesRiver
4.47/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I have been waiting for this one to go on tap and it's here! They pour this beer into a 9 oz. snifter. Reddish dark brown in color with a small head that left a nice lace. The smell is a lot of hops (Cascade?) and some fruity notes. The first thing I noticed was how smooth this beer was. No harse edges. Malt, caramel, bark and a bit earthly. More complex than I had imagined. Obviously has a great warming effect.

One thing I did notice was this barley wine was smooth NOW so you don't have to wait a couple of months to sample. I have had barley wines on tap that needed more conditioning time. This one IMO is ready to go! Great job CBC!

(This year the ABV is 11.3%)

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Photo of Alewife
3.93/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Beautiful dark copper color. Taste reminds me of being in the woods. Kind of a piney flavor. Complex, lots of flavor. Starts sweet, mellows, hints of citrus. Nice full body, medium smooth on the tongue. Finishes dry. Easy to drink.

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Photo of Bierman9
4.47/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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


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Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

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Blunderbuss Barleywine from Cambridge Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 42 ratings.