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Fathead Barleywine - Reserve Series Aged In Whiskey Barrels - Nebraska Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Fathead Barleywine - Reserve Series Aged In Whiskey BarrelsFathead Barleywine - Reserve Series Aged In Whiskey Barrels

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

36 Reviews
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 36
Hads: 92
rAvg: 3.95
pDev: 6.84%
Wants: 45
Gots: 26 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Nebraska Brewing Company visit their website
Nebraska, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  12.10% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: mikedashg on 12-06-2009

A rich, full bodied Barley Wine with a wonderfully warming character from the malts & dark brown sugars. Held to the light, its burgundy color is fitting for a bigger beer that has aromatics that hint of the oak, the whiskey, the somewhat sweet nature, and molasses that makes this beer truly unique. The non-barrel-aged version of this beer took Silver in the 2009 US Open Beer Championships. Using Stranahan’s Whiskey barrels, we aged this beer for 6 months to impart a small amount of oak tannins and the whiskey character that combine to elevate this beer beyond its original entry into this world. Excellent to enjoy now and cellerable for years.

34 IBU
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 36 | Hads: 92
Photo of StonedTrippin
4.22/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

alright, not seeing anyone else here with these comments, but my bottle was undoubtedly bretted, i mean, no denying that it was brett in here, supper funked out and really dry and bubbly, i loved it, despite the fact that it doesnt seem to be intentional. the bourbon aroma with the brett is cool, and the whole thing seems awfully light for a barleywine of any kind. not acidic or tangy at all, less mature brett than that, that zone where its saison and cereals and just horsey funk. it really does a good job eating up whatever sweetness was in here, this has to be one of the more dry versions of they style i have had. nowhere does it say wild ale or brett conditioned or anything, but this absolutely is. uncommon, and i like that. i disagree strongly with some of the negative reviews here, this beer is so much better than that. drinkable because its light, because the alcohol is well hidden, and because its just so darn intriguing. i have been really impressed with these guys, especially the big bottle stuff, and while this may be an unintentional infection, it tastes incredible and i like it that much more as a result! (1,134 characters)

Photo of brentk56
4.05/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a tawny amber color with a finger's worth of head that leaves many traces behind

Smell: Sure, it's a bit boozy, but there are a lot of interesting elements underneath, ranging from piney hops to caramel, brown sugar and figgy malts; the whiskey barrel wafts in the background

Taste: The malts command center stage, bringing caramel, figs, dates and golden raisins; by mid-palate, however, the piney hops take over along with the whiskey barrel; hops and whiskey are both prominent in the finish

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied with low to moderate carbonation

Overall: There is a lot to like in this barleywine; it is very well-balanced with a lot of flavors coming together; still, I can't help but say that something is missing that would take it into the top echelon and I think it has to do with the the malt bill (830 characters)

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.2/5  rDev -19%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle: Poured a light copper color ale with a small foamy head with limited retention and limited lacing. Aroma of clear whiskey notes with light warming alcohol and sweet malt notes. Taste is a bit too sweet for my taste with some warming alcohol notes and rounded edge from the barrel-aging. Body is about average with OK carbonation and light alcohol notes. Limited complexity with too much sweetness and good barrel–aging notes. (435 characters)

Photo of zeff80
3.97/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a hazy, dirty burgundy color with a one-finger, off-white head of thick foam. Pretty good head retention and some soapy trails of foam were left behind.

S - It smelled of oak, vanilla and some whiskey. Some boozy heat in the nose.

T - Some dried dark fruit flavors - plum, maybe. Vanilla, caramel some oak. Whiskey flavor is muted but present.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium to full bodied ale with a very dry finish.

D - This is a very good barrel aged barleywine. I enjoyed it. (512 characters)

Photo of womencantsail
3/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to Eric for sending me this bottle awhile back.

A: The pour is almost flat and pours a murky orange-amber color. I don't see any foam/head at all.

S: This is a damn boozy beer. The nose is almost completely dominated by the whiskey aroma. In fact, that, coupled with the intense oakiness, brings out an almost sour aroma. Strangely, I get a bit of pineapple and maybe some green apple.

T: There is a bit of bread, toffee, and caramel here. It's decently sweet, but the whiskey aroma once again absolutely overwhelms this beer. Tons of oak and maybe a hint of vanilla.

M: The body is medium with a very, very low level of carbonation.

D: Kind of disappointing and difficult to drink with all the booze going on. (722 characters)

Photo of oline73
4.03/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a snifter.

Appearance: Pours a clear dark red amber with a finger of fluffy, light tan head that fades to a ring around the edge of the glass.

Smell: Whiskey and sweet brown sugar, vanilla, and dark fruit.

Taste: Follows from the smell. Strong whiskey presence, but it was smooth. Hints of vanilla, oak, and brown sugar. The finish is bitter and warm from the alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with mild carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: This was a sipper, but I was surprised how easy it was to drink after smelling it. A nice after dinner drink. (581 characters)

Photo of russpowell
3.92/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 2 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours an effervescent orange/caramel with a pinky of tan head. Clouds up a bit, some head retention & no lacing

S: Fruittyness & port, a touch of butterscotch, finally whiskey

T: Follows the nose, dryness, loads of figs & some raisin & oaky dryness up front. Whiskey notes, figs, peatyness & pear brandy as this warms, some caramel . Woody dryness, booze bite, pears & figs in the finish

MF: Fairly chewy, light carbonation. Becomes sticky over time, starts thinning out a bit as it warms

This seems awfully subdued on hops for an American Barleywine. Not a bad offering, but now that I've had a few, I'd have have to say these guys are good but way over priced. I will probably be more cautious on future purchases of their product; ABV is well hidden for the most part (776 characters)

Photo of mdaschaf
3.92/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2010 Vintage, Black Label

A: Poured a very dark brown with a decent one finger head. Retention was minimal, reducing to some bubbles on top. Not much lacing.

S: The whiskey definitely shines through on the aroma, hard to say if it had died down after a few months in the the bottle. There was also some oak and vanilla as well as a little bit of molasses and brown sugar.

T: The whiskey was not as heavy in the flavor profile, but certainly present. There is some fig and raison and the malts yield molasses and caramelized sugar. The booze is there, but is not overpowering.

M: Medium bodied, but slightly lighter than I would have expected. Low carbonation with a creamy feel. The whiskey/booze comes through a little bit as well.

O: Quite impressed. For a style that I typically don’t love, this beer was very enjoyable. The barrels added some nice flavors and while the alcohol shows up, it adds more than it takes away. (934 characters)

Photo of tdm168
4.3/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Dunn for bringing this to the Barleywine tasting.

A - dark brownish amber with a shrt, brown head that has little retention

S - candy sugar, alcohol, whiskey, bread, caramel, apple

T - caramel, bread, apples, alcohol, faintly bitter, faint citrus, dark fruit, faint whiskey notes

M - full bodied, well carbonated, warm

This is a great beer. it's complex, but a bit fruit forward. The malt and hops are greatly balanced. The whiskey adds some comlexity. This is definitely worth a try. (499 characters)

Photo of Wasatch
4.3/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks goes out to RedHaze for this brew.

750ml Bottle
Capped

Poured into a chalice a nice cloudy brownish color, nice carbonation, nice little fizzy off-white head, with some big oil slicks and sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, big whiskey note, slight dark fruits. The taste is slightly sweet, malty, very nice whiskey note up front, some figs, raisins, plums. Medium body, the ABV is hidden pretty well, a nice sipper. Drinkable, WOW! this one surprised me, glad to have a chance trying it out. Thanks Chris. (525 characters)

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.2/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Fremont small snifter. Pours a medium to dark reddish orange with a very thin ring of foam and not much visible active carbonation. Aroma dominated by whiskey, with quite mild dark stone fruit, apple and oak vanilla; still inviting. Flavor is caramel malt, whiskey, earthy and woody barrel influence, fresh and dried dark fruit; finishes with more woody vanilla and whiskey. Medium bodied with slight carbonation. This was a very interesting barleywine; the initial impression is that the malt body is lighter than normal, but as the flavor develops, more complex components become clear and work very well with the whiskey barrel. The barreling woodiness is more pronounced in this than usual, and the flavors were quite good and interesting. Although this is listed as an American barleywine, the malt and fruit components are much closer to an English barleywine, although this is not as thick and malt influenced as most in that style. Although it’s a bit off from style, I really liked this barleywine a lot and loved the woody barrel notes. Offerings from this brewery are quite rare in this area, but I would buy this again in a heartbeat. I've been very impressed by Nebraska's bigger beers and look forward to seeing more from them. I also think this would be quite interesting to cellar. (1,313 characters)

Photo of Gobzilla
4.1/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Good lookin out drew for sharing this brew.

A: poured brown in color with yellow highlights on the edges and had a thin bubbly head leaving a little lacing sticking to the glass.

S: lots of whiskey character upfront on the nose with caramel, toffee, booze, brown sugar popping out and hints of molasses as well.

T: the caramel and toffee flavors were more apparent on the taste with whiskey barrel, booze, molasses, dark fruit accents and a touch of cherries.

M: the brew was medium in body with a low amount of carbonation which had a sweet, whiskey boozy, mild fruity, and creamy finish.

D: a sipper for sure but was tasty and glad to see that the state of nebraska has some decent BA aged brews. (703 characters)

Photo of pat61
4.61/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Fresh and over ripe fruit, dark sugars, spice, vanilla and light whiskey on the nose. It pours clean, bright dark amber to light brown under a 2” light tan tinted foam cap that rapidly dissipates to a thick film that leaves gothic window lace on the glass. Enters very creamy on the palate with a blend of dried fruit – predominantly fig and pitted fruit – plum and big malt flavors blending in with whiskey. Gets a little grainy on the finish but the hops and alcohol combine to balance the big malts. Has a very Belgian texture – light for its size and above average carbonation that is is fine and soft suggesting a very light mousse. (645 characters)

Photo of THECPJ
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes:

appearance: dark brown with a orange hue 1 finger off white head

smell: vanilla, whiskey, sweet, caramel sugar

taste: sweet, caramel, malts, alcohol

mouthfeel: mild carbonation, medium body

overall: I'm usually not a fan of american barleywine's but this was tasty and I think it's do to the whiskey barrel aging.

Cheers,
The CPJ (357 characters)

Photo of drpimento
3.38/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured with a medium sized off white, fine head and a little lace. Color was a slightly hazy amber, Aroma was malt, yeast, caramel, hop, solvents. Flavor what exactly like nose plus a little carbonic tang. Body and carbonation ok. Finish is like flavor and on the short side. No hint of alcohol. (295 characters)

Photo of OWSLEY069
4.42/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy orange-ish to brown in color with a light tan head. In the aroma, dry whiskey, small dark fruit and a small alcohol note. In the taste, dry whiskey, brown sugar, and notes of vanilla. A smooth and medium to bigger bodied mouthfeel, with a small dry brown sugar and whiskey in the aftertaste. Not overbearing whiskey at all, and a nice brown sugar flavor to round it all out. (387 characters)

Photo of maximum12
3.45/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to RandomBattle & iasanlee who both answered my call for Nebraska brews. Had a few tasters at the Great Taste of the Midwest in Madison & crowned it the best new discovery of the 'fest. Needed some of their beers. And here one is now. Split this solid bomber with my wife. Vintage 2009.

Pours a slurry brown that looks like something that should be held in great toxic ponds. Smell is knockout whiskey with litters of mild oxidation & apple?

Fathead clearly left a significant amount of whiskey in the barrels it was aged in, hiza. Whiskey oozes out of its pores & leaves a cheery stain on the flesh. There's a bit of char, maybe caramel, malts, but really, nothing of any depth here. Straight-up whiskey, & dry as Trigger Gulch at high noon. Not that that's bad, I just wanted more.

Pretty good beer, but after the beers I've had from Nebraska I was hoping for more. But if all mild disappointments tasted this good, the world would be a much sunnier place. (969 characters)

Photo of BeerAdvocate
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #37 (Feb 2010):

Dull copper color; suds reach two fingers in height. Massive aromatic waft of whiskey, lots of wood with char and vanilla, brown sugar and ripe fruit. Somewhat smooth and extra creamy. Big boozy flavor slams the palate and then lifts it up for a shock of sweet- ness before the warmth sets in. Nutty maltiness tangles with some brown sugar notes; figgy fruitiness in the middle gets a little juicy. Mild barrel char. Whiskey, whiskey, whiskey ... taste like a first use on the barrel, wakes up the palate for sure. Semisweet finish with some faint ester and solvent alcohol residuals.

The beer got a full dose of flavor from the barrel yet does not put it in a stranglehold. A big, beautiful sipper. (757 characters)

Photo of FosterJM
3.83/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

452nd review on BA
bottle to snifter
750 ML
2011 Bottle- Bought at NS in Lincoln, NE

App- A huge pillowy two finger head. A dark dark orange with only dots of cling.

Smell- A lot of citrus dominates this one. Leaning towards orange but could be mistaken for some tangerine. A bit of oaky vanilla as well.

Taste- A good barleywine with nice soft flavors. A lot softer than a lot of the bigger BW's I have lately and leaves itself in the middle. Not a huge booze fest or a DIPA but nice middle of the road.

Mouth- Medium bodied and medium carbonation. Leaves a smooth mamoasa(spelling?) feel. A little orange and booze.

Drink- It's quite different than what I expected. Not a booze fest not a DIPA but right in the middle. I could drink a couple bottles of this one. It's fairly balanced and at the end a little spicy. (821 characters)

Photo of Reagan1984
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Been on a Barrel Aged Barley wine kick lately. Picked this up at Berman’s a couple weeks ago.

Quite a creamy and substantive head forms on top this beer and stays for quite a long time. Eventually gravity wins the battle and a ¼ inch of tight foam caps the beer. Fairly classic beep amber color with just a slight hint of maroon. Good clarity and color.

Whiskey wins the day in the aroma. Some raw wood, coconut and the whiskey itself. A touch of malt sweetness, but very mild.

It bores me to say the flavor follows the aroma and I usually try to avoid that. Can’t here as they are so in sync. Everything mentioned above is there in almost the same ratio. The coconut and raw wood are on stage here. I am more of a fan of bourbon with the vanilla flavors. There is a touch of musty malt at the end here as well.

Not quite as bold of body as I had anticipated.

A decent beer, but not among my favorite. (911 characters)

Photo of Dope
3.49/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

No bottling date that I can see. You'd think for almost $25 they could at least put a date on it.

A: Very dark brown pour with red highlights. Medium sized and frothy tan head. Head fades slowly, leaving very nice wide expanses of lacing. Foam island hangs around forever. Very nice.

S: Super sweet whiskey notes. Caramel, toffee and molasses. Dark fruits, mainly fig I think. Get some other fruit in there too, peach and apricot I think. Very fruity in fact. Some oaky leather too. Very unique for a barleywine.

T: Decent amount of whiskey up front. Heavy on the caramel with a bunch of molasses. Again, very fruity. I'm not sure what's up with the fruitiness, it's very unusual. It is very much like apricot but I think I still get peach. Are there pears or apples too? Huh. Get a little hoppiness, maybe some pine? And some dry, stale bread crusts. Lingering toffee and drying oak in the aftertaste. Some booziness floating around in the finish and between sips too, lending an even more drying feeling. Kinda get some tingly medicinal bandaid-type flavor in the aftertaste once it warms.

M: Fairly heavy but the boozy whiskey cuts it a bit. Quite dry in the aftertaste.

O: Interesting barleywine. Far and away the fruitiest I've ever had. I'm not entirely sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing. Very complex beer regardless, but the flavors just don't work that well for me. It's like a bad mash up of many different flavors. Almost wonder about brewing defects or if it just doesn't suit my palate. (1,514 characters)

Photo of thecheapies
3.6/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Nebraska Fathead

Poured into a brandy snifter.

Mahogany color of a body with a taupe-colored head of not even one finger. It has since fallen to a loosely-knit pattern of bubbles and ring. Not much cling to the glass with the exception of alcohol legs. Can't expect much more from such a big beer.

Dipping my nose into this one (still too cold, mind you), I get the whiskey barrel and loads of fruit. Black cherries, Fig Newtons, brown sugar, and a light caramel. There's not an overpowering oak presence, but there is some definitive vanilla extract as a byproduct. A musty odor with a whale of a malt bill, one can tell. Some faint citrus/pine hop comes wafting in.

Yep, this one's huge. Alcohol is a little numbing, but slowly yields to woody flavors of an oaky whiskey, vanilla, caramelized sugars, and bing cherries. There's also plum, brandy, and heaps of caramel malts and crystal malts. Has a rum cake presentation of the grain bill. I'd be really interested to know what this would have tasted like before it was aged in the barrel. Seems a little thin in taste without the whiskey presence, which is smooth and satiating going down. The alcohol is still intense, and a year or two in the pantry might iron that out. I have another bottle to wait on. Fathead isn't overly sweet, there is a nice biting bitterness that couples with an alcohol burn in the mouth and throat and stomach. That a nice buttery quality that accelerates as it warms.

Hot, hot, hot! A big no-no, even in this fresh bottle. Can't think that the boys of Nebraska brewing intended their barrel-aged barleywine to go down like a liqueur. The carbonation is lacking, in addition. You can't just plow through this one. It's a bold sipper. Milky feel of the body gives it some chewiness.

I'm very intrigued as to see where this one goes after some time laid down. If ya got 'em, sit on 'em. Try it in a year. It's too hot right now. (1,914 characters)

Photo of WanderingFool
3.88/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fathead barleywine pours a clear, dark ruby color with a small head on top. The foam dissolves quickly leaving a few spots and lines of lace behind.

The aroma has notes of caramel malt and cherry, but it has strong alcohol notes. With the alcohol and cherry aromas it reminds me of cough syrup.

Each sip of this medium to full bodied beer is smooth and creamy with light carbonation. The flavor is malty with some spices and alcohol mixed in. Caramel malt dominates, but mixed in are subtle notes of bubblegum, clove, and cinnamon (maybe nutmeg?). It finishes with bread and ripe fruit (cherry). At the end hot alcohol finishes the sip. Once gone the caramel and cherry linger on the palate.

This beer could use some age on it to smooth out the alcohol, but it's very drinkable for 10%+ and quite tasty. (806 characters)

Photo of mcallister
3.63/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Garnet in color with many particulates in suspension. An slightly off white head of a half inch turns into an foamy topper and nice creamy ring around the glass.

Lots of dried fig and date at the forefront of the aroma. Followed by milk chocolate, toasted vanilla, charred oak, raisin and a hint of earth and fresh baked cinnamon bread.

Big and english in style, which I prefer. Big juicy date and fig, raisin and plum. Bourbon comes through nicely with a good amount of vanilla and toasted oak on the finish. An earthy, almost herbal flavor deep into the finish. Fresh baked rustic crusty breads, with a immense deep sweet malt intensity. The middle is slightly missing and carbonation seems a bit off from making this beer really shine. Otherwise very nice. But not near the asking cost of $25 a bottle. (807 characters)

Photo of sholland119
4.12/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-Amber mixed with iced tea brown, a small creamy off white head leaves nice sticky lacing.

S-Dried fruit, caramel, brown sugar.

T-Figgy, with the expected cornucopia of dried fruits. Plums, raisins, some brown sugar and some very light boozy warmth.

M-Very smooth, creamy and almost light, which I would have thought inconceivable in a beer this size.

D-Slides right down. Remarkably dangerous drinkability for the style.

Probably the least good beer I have had from Nebraska, but still pretty good.

HV (511 characters)

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Fathead Barleywine - Reserve Series Aged In Whiskey Barrels from Nebraska Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 36 ratings.