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Blunderbuss Barleywine - Cambridge Brewing Company

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Blunderbuss Barleywine
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BA SCORE
94
outstanding

109 Ratings
THE BROS
96
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 109
Reviews: 43
rAvg: 4.29
pDev: 8.62%
Wants: 76
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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 05-10-1999

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 109 | Reviews: 43
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4.5/5  rDev +4.9%

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4.5/5  rDev +4.9%

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4.5/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of Pahn
4.5/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

500ml flip top growler (but they call it a bottle, so I'll call it a bottle) of 2008 Blunderbuss barleywine, drank on premises at CBC.

Appearance: Looks still. Hazy brown orange. No lacing. Attractive nonetheless.

Smell: Booze, faint musty note, lots of sweetness, some grape and some raisin. As the beer warms, the smell really coalesces into a beautiful whole.

Taste: Somewhat white wine like up front, leading to a deep "well aged English barleywine" set of raisin and sugar notes, ending with a long, chewy toffee finish.

Hard to fully describe the flavor of this one. Not a lot of notes I can name besides "Raisin, some darker malts, toffee." Still, the overall flavor approaches perfection. The flavor *is* without any overt flaws. If it's rightly a 4.5 instead of a 5.0, it's just that more things could be happening.

Mouthfeel: On this front, the beer really is perfect. It's medium bodied and a little sugary and chewy, but everything is in balance. Just enough carbonation. Every aspect of the feel elevates the flavor.

Drinkability: Huge, well aged barleywine with barely any discernible alcohol in the flavor, great depth, great balance. These are the beers that draw me to master brewers, so I can't give it below a 5.0 for drinkability. I wouldn't just order it again, I'd go out of my way to find it.

I thought I'd be sick of Arquebus and Blunderbuss after trying their various (brilliant) iterations at the recent CBC barleywine festival. The bottled 2008 stands with the best of them, and illustrates why 1 to 2 base beers can be enough to merit an entire event. Of the beers I had at the fest, I'd say only Blunderbuss aged in port barrels beats this one. Excellent stuff (par for the course for CBC).

Photo of AllThingsNinja
4.47/5  rDev +4.2%
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.

Photo of CharlesRiver
4.47/5  rDev +4.2%
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%)

Photo of Bierman9
4.47/5  rDev +4.2%
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

50

Photo of axeman9182
4.4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Served in a snifter at CBC's 21st anniversary party. Pours a lovely dark caramel color, with an off white head that could stand to leave a little more lacing behind. Smells mostly like an English barleywine, though there's some hop bitterness lurking in the background. The beer is an interesting hybrid, caught between being an english and american barleywine. It's plenty sweet up front, but finishes with a bitter kick. There's also a nice vanilla flavor coming through from time spent in port barrels. The beer is nicely carbonated, and has a suitably creamy mouthfeel. A 12.5% barleywine shouldn't drink anywhere near this smooth, the alcohol is practically nonexistent and I could nurse this all night long.

Photo of taez555
4.38/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

Photo of NEhophead
4.37/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at CBC's 20th anniversary.
Served in a snifter.

Pours a muddied, oak-tinted maple beneath a creamy, mild head. Delicate rings of lace around the snifter. Creamy caramel, milk chocolate, and toffee aromatics over a subtle aged fruity character. The flavors are smooth and balanced: creamy, semi-sweet. Toffee, caramel, and dulce de leche. Notes of raisin and fig amidst a faint, mellow alcohol presence. The flavor combinations are heavenly. Full bodied; smooth, creamy, and unobtrusive. Although the alcohol content is above 11%, it seems odd that it is above 7%. A fantastic offering!

Photo of zerk
4.37/5  rDev +1.9%
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.

Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.35/5  rDev +1.4%
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.

Photo of Slatetank
4.35/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

Photo of IBUnit63
4.33/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at CBC and into a snifter it goes...

Clean light bourbon body topped with buttery 1-finger head-good lacing.

Almost estery scent-at least more than expected for a BW. Lighter than expected...good English-style grassy hops in there at first, but floral notes emerge. Slight sweet alcohol burn.

I like this-borders on a Triple IPA feel, it's so light. Grassy hops on nose become floral and even citrusy-CBC mentioned there were Cascade, Centennial and Galena in here and it was dry-hopped. It shows. Malt feel is light with mellow sweetness-alcohol burn is negligible.

Mouthfeel is comforting-a little cool-gets sweeter with warmth. Tingly from carbonation. Clean finish.

Whoooa, camel...wayyy too drinkable at 11% ABV. A "crisp" BW? Whodathunkit?

Photo of smcolw
4.33/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

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Blunderbuss Barleywine from Cambridge Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 109 ratings.