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Chicken Killer Barley Wine - Santa Fe Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Chicken Killer Barley WineChicken Killer Barley Wine

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
83
good

298 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 298
Reviews: 159
rAvg: 3.66
pDev: 14.48%
Wants: 26
Gots: 26 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Santa Fe Brewing Company visit their website
New Mexico, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
Chicken Killer Barley Wine is the revolutionary beer that will someday define America's unique Barley Wine style. It is brewed with twice the ingredients of the Santa Fe Brewing Company's other beers, and only half the usual amount of liquid is extracted from these ingredients. This makes one substantial beer. At over ten percent alcohol, Chicken Killer is actually as substantial as wine, but this is not to say that it is difficult to drink. On the contrary; be careful with this one. The flavors of the beer are at first as overwhelming as the intense Santa Fe sun. But in the same way our sun gives us the unrivaled brilliant colors of Santa Fe, the potency of Chicken Killer gives us the remarkable spectrum of flavors that can be found in no other beer, in no other city. If you did not have the opportunity to try last year's vintage, come try this year's!

(Beer added by: amicar on 03-07-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 298 | Reviews: 159 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by TownDunkel:
Photo of TownDunkel
3.74/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Santa fe got to love a local brew... By local one of the closests in west Texas. Hops are prevalant but in this barleywine it shares the light with the malt well. Pipes dark to medium brown with milk chocolate head. Smell is of noble hops and taste is a decent mix between malt and hops. The aftertaste is clean and subtle ipa like. Overall a good local big beer

TownDunkel, Dec 13, 2013
More User Reviews:
Photo of brownbeer
2.88/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Reddish amber with a tall off-white head that rises and falls quickly leaving lacind.

Malty without many hops,rotten veggies.

Sweet, full bodied with brown sugar and too sweet, sugary. Not a lot going here.

Overall, this is a barleywine that's not worth buying.Unless...

brownbeer, Sep 02, 2009
Photo of tbryan5
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%

tbryan5, May 30, 2014
Photo of BeerAdvocate
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From BeerAdvocate Magazine Volume II, Issue V:

Bright and clear reddish-amber color, looks like a sunset off of the East Coast during late summer. The head leaves a nice drop of lacing down the glass, sticky lace at that. Sweet malty aroma with a solid tone of caramel wraps itself around the faint alcoholic ester and hop nose. Stodgy, thick body, creamy and a little slick in the mouthfeel as the malt flexes. Bam! This is such a malt bomb! Caramel, Portuguese sweet bread and honey covered biscuits come to mind. Not overly sweet with the hop flavor, some hop bitterness and a bit peppery alcohol help to balance. The end is sweet and bready but with some lingering hop flavor and alcoholic bite.

Awesome, an American Barleywine that is not hopped to the hilt. Refreshing to see a balanced Barleywine that does not have to rely on extremes. Hooray for balance! A pleasure to sip.

BeerAdvocate, Sep 10, 2010
Photo of lordofthewiens
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice barley wine.

Bomber poured into a tulip. Cherry amber color with a medium-sized off white head. Pretty color.

Sweet caramel aroma, dark fruit, hops. A whiff of alcohol.

Taste followed form. Caramel malts, raisins, late citrus hops. Didn't notice the alcohol that I thought I smelled.

Nicely hopped, nicely balanced.

Enjoyed this a lot.

lordofthewiens, Aug 27, 2011
Photo of Beaver13
3.3/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

22 oz bottle. Pours a hazy tea color with a creamy light tan head that retains well and laces the glass.

The aroma is sweet caramel malts, cola and some dark fruit and melon. It has some spicy medicinal alcohol notes.

The flavor is sweet caramel and cola with a slightly bitter alcohol finish. It's too sweet, almost cloying, and has a bit of an off aftertaste. It is pretty mild tasting for a barley wine. The mouthfeel is full and creamy with velvety carbonation.

Overall, a strange beer. Excellent appearance and mouthfeel, just off on the nose and flavors.

Beaver13, Apr 18, 2007
Photo of Mora2000
3.73/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a hazy brown color with a white head. The aroma is brown sugar, molasses, dark fruit and alcohol. The flavor is heavy on the brown sugar and dark fruit. I also get some caramel malt and a little bit of piney hops. There is also quite a bit of alcohol warming in the beer. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. A nice barleywine.

Mora2000, May 04, 2011
Photo of mattster
3.55/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into snifter from bomber. No date on bottle. Has foamy head that dies down reasonably quick to a lacy layer across top of brew. Nice burnt golden brown, quite hazy.

Smell is of dark malts and some slight caramel. Very nice smell.

Nice taste; I must admit, I've had better barley wines, but this one has a good solid mouthfeel and is a little more drinkable right away. Good finish, I expected a strong aftertaste but was impressed at the lack of such.

mattster, Nov 23, 2007
Photo of magictrokini
3.63/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a thick, clear brown with no head. Molasses, wood, caramel malt, and butterscotch in the nose. Oily mouthfeel. Taste did not live up to the nose. Caramel and bread, with some graininess and a rotten tobacco flavor that, well, doesn't belong in beer. There are far better out there.

magictrokini, Dec 16, 2008
Photo of standardcherry
4.16/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared with a friend, served into two snifters.

A: Beautiful orange/red/brown clear color. Minimal head.
S: Sweet malts and fruity hops smells. Smell is delicious but not what I was expecting from a barleywine. Alcohol is well hidden.
T: Malty flavor with some nice bitterness. Lots of toffee and caramel flavors.
M: Very smooth and easy to drink for 10%. Nice carbonation.
O: really enjoyed this beer, it's definitely very tasty but it was overshadowed by the Leon we had right before it.

standardcherry, Jan 25, 2013
Photo of bpfrush
4/5  rDev +9.3%

bpfrush, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of glid02
3.85/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this courtesy of Ding - much obliged!

Pours a hazy brownish copper color with a one-finger off-white head. The head dissipates into a patchy layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of caramelized malt with sugar-coated pears and hints of citrus aromas. There's also a small amount of booze aroma wafting out.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Caramelized malt flavors up front are soon joined by pear flavors and hints of toffee. The ending is solidly bitter and the alcohol plays a bit more of a role in the flavors than it does in the smell.

Mouthfeel is good. It's just a bit on the thin side but with solid carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I finished my glass fairly quickly and could have a few more.

Overall this is a solid barleywine that's somewhere in between an American and English. Worth a shot.

glid02, May 16, 2009
Photo of rhoadsrage
3.7/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(Served in a snifter)

A- This beer pours a dark dense brown body that glows showing of a strong carbonation of tiny bubbles supporting a thick light tan head that slides down the glass with each sip.

S- The strong aroma of plastic has some fusel notes to it. As the beer warms the smell of plastic grows but a hint of hops does poke through in the finish.

T- The slightly sweet malt flavor has some caramel notes and a soft buttery quality. When the beer warms the finish of minty pine hop cones grows in pine flavor and a bit of bitterness finishes the beer.

M- This beer has a medium-full mouthfeel with a soft alcohol heat in the finish.

D- The flavors are a bit soft and one dimensional and the plastic aroma covers up most other smells. I finished the bottle but it was a but drab to get through.

rhoadsrage, Apr 29, 2009
Photo of Schlafly33
3.25/5  rDev -11.2%

Schlafly33, Feb 28, 2014
Photo of LXIXME
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%

LXIXME, Sep 02, 2014
Photo of jbphoto88
3.78/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz brown bottle. The beer is a hazy amber brown with a thick creamy head that sticks to everything it touches. The khaki head dissipates to almost nothing but a ring that moves with the beer as you drink.

Smell is weakest part of the beer. There is a lot going on here and the nose is conflicted by it. I get floral sweetness, a slight spiciness and big malts. Its all dominated by a metallic alcohol scent thats a little harsh.

Taste is also a little confusing. It starts with a warm sweetness that has a caramelized maltiness and an orange blossom floral flavor. A spicy hop throb moves through that metallic alcohol flavor breaking it up a little. The aftertaste is bittersweet with a nice malt backbone and a warmth from the ABV that isn't bad.

I don't know if its the warming of the beer or the 10% ABV but this one grows on you. I started out thinking it was a little harsh but about halfway through the beer comes together nicely. Add that to a creamy mouthfeel, a nice bite from the carbonation and spicy hops and this is a easy drinker with some character.

jbphoto88, Apr 06, 2008
Photo of Ashinpaugh
4.5/5  rDev +23%

Ashinpaugh, Jul 21, 2014
Photo of ONovoMexicano
3.91/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Had on tap at the brewery in early February 2014. Served in a snifter at an 8 ounce pour.

A good appearance to start things off. There's a finger thick, frothy head that I'd call very foamy. Beneath is an opaque, dark amber and brown liquid.

The nose is citrusy hops, orange peel, sweet malt and floral hops. I like what I smell.

I get a bit of an offtaste on the tongue at first, something metallic, but then the taste improves dramatically. Citrusy hops come in, followed by sweet creamy malt, then the floral hops show up and complement the citrus. A good mix. As the beer warms a bit I detect notes of vanilla and caramel too.

Aside from the metallic taste that is a bit harsh on the tongue initially, I found this beer to be smooth, sweet and creamy. If not for that offtaste, I'd absolutely love this beer.

ONovoMexicano, Feb 06, 2014
Photo of biboergosum
3.85/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle from a nondescript liquor store in southwest Denver. I wonder if I ever saw Walter White drinking any of this brewery's products?

This beer pours a mostly clear, dark red brick amber hue, with a fistful of fingers of rising puffy, densely foamy, and somewhat creamy beige head, which leaves some spectral sudsy lace around the glass as things sink away.

It smells of heady bready, biscuity caramel malt, a hint of crystallized toffee, molasses, brown sugar, maple syrup, earthy, leafy hops, and a mild twinge of sweet alcohol. The taste is still pretty sweet, and complexly so, with more biscuity caramel malt, baba cakes, dry molasses, gritty demarara sugar, a bit of fresh black grapes, laid-back earthy, leafy hops, and a slight booze warming.

The bubbles are generally quite understated, just a dull hum throughout, the body a sturdy medium weight, and so-so in its smoothness, a needling prickliness hovering about. It finishes off-dry, not as sweet as one might have been expecting, as the biscuity character takes center stage, the earthy, leafy hops loitering as well.

A decently understated American barleywine, if we're to take their word for it. I think this tastes exactly what an Imperial ESB might want to taste like, so that would default to English all around in my book. Anyways, well-made, and definitely not too heavy, other than in the ABV, which is conspicuous only in its general absence. Wait for it, I know.

biboergosum, Oct 12, 2013
Photo of aty11b
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%

aty11b, May 14, 2013
Photo of Metalmonk
3.05/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

An amusing name and label, if a little tough on the birds (beaks can't do crap against a gun-toting dog). This is my first New Mexico beer; thanks to msubulldog25 for making it happen.

Served at cellar temp. Appearance is very much par for the barleywine course. Rusted ruby with slow bubbles and a small head.

What happened to the aroma? My sniffer is just fine today, so it seems the aromas have up and died with the chickens. There are incredibly small traces of cherry licorice, alcohol and malty sweetness...otherwise not much else to report.

Flavor isn't much better. Best characteristic is a creamy sweetness like that of real vanilla ice cream (half of the credit claimed by the light, velvety texture). There's a heartier, bigger flavor trying to come through, that syrupy, sweet, boozy base you'll get in a good barleywine. But nothing knocks me over the head and reveals this as a killer of anything. And that's what I want in an American Barleywine. Finishes with some cherry/vanilla tart/sweet elements. Again, the mouthfeel is nice: smooth, fluffy and creamy, somewhat reminding of steamed milk.

For all the boasting on the label ("revolutionary", "will someday define America's unique BW style"), this hardly stands a chance against 100 other better US Barleywines. Maybe they mean "someday, when we actually brew a killer barleywine..." Best thing about it is that the 10% alcohol hides with rest of the expected flavors. And the flashes of vanilla ice cream are nice. But considering the style, this is surprisingly, disappointingly Blah.

Metalmonk, Feb 29, 2008
Photo of Sammy
3.73/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A most drinkable barleywine. Nicely balanced with the caramel malting and the normal barleywine taste,some dates, this one will transition people to barleywines. Brownish colour with good head. Above average mouthfeel, although above average carbonation.

Sammy, Nov 09, 2008
Photo of prototypic
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to csmiley for this one. A Barleywine from New Mexico? Who knew?

Chicken Killer pours a reddish copper color. It's a little hazy, and has quite a few yeast particles swimming around. Interesting. A vanilla head caps it off and stands over two and a half fingers tall. It's slow to recede, and leaves a thick, sticky coat of lace lining the glass.

The nose is good. It starts out with a strong caramel/toffee scent. Nevertheless, it doesn't smell overly sweet. Dark fruit is rather prominent. Raisin and plum add nice depth and work well with the malts. There's also a hint of apple. Interesting mix, but it works. I've had this bottle for quite a while, so the lack of hops doesn't surprise me. Hard to tell if there was ever much. Alcohol is masked well for 10%.

The flavor is likewise pretty good. This is pretty impressive stuff. It has a nice, strong caramel malt base. It's sweeter than it smells. Raisin and plum flavors are prominent, and add a really nice, slightly tangy flavor to the mix. There is a bit of golden fruit, as well (mostly just apple). The mix of dark and golden fruits, while novel, works well. I like the flavor quite a bit. There's not much going on in the hop department. Perhaps I sat on this bottle too long. Perhaps they were never here. Their presence is missed. Alcohol is noted, but isn't overly strong.

Chicken Killer has a medium body that feels thicker with a little warming. Carbonation is relatively light, and it is smooth. Drinkability is good. The flavor is surprisingly nice, and it goes down relatively smooth and easy for a big beer.

I'm pretty impressed with what I believe is my first beer from New Mexico. Chicken Killer is quite a flavorful American Barleywine that's mild mannered, and relatively balanced. I would prefer a little more in the hop department, but that's my preference for the style. For those who like their American Barleywines more balanced, check out Chicken Killer. You'll likely enjoy it.

prototypic, Sep 26, 2010
Photo of russpowell
4.1/5  rDev +12%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Could've swore I reviewed this before, but old age might be tricking me,,, 22 OZ bomber

Pours an effervescent reddish caramel with 2 fingers+ of brownish sandy colored head. Superior lacing & head retention

S: Bready with hints of brown sugar

T: Bready & fruitty (dates) with a little too much boozeyness up front. Some slight chocolate & herbal hops. Oaky dryness & breadyness dominate the finish, with a little fruittyness (dates, spiced apples & some pears) thrown in for good measure & little more dryness & alcohol burn, plus a wee bit of maple syrup sweetness

MF: Chewy with medium carbonation, pretty rich & sticky

Drinks great for the ABV. Skews to an English style BW IMO, fans of those will love this. A little more finesse with the malt & or alcohol taste than this offers or some more hops to get this to the upper ecehelons of BWs. Still way better than the 1st time I had it, but snow is falling, maybe it's all about the weather??

russpowell, May 24, 2007
Photo of beergorrilla
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%

beergorrilla, Jan 12, 2013
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Chicken Killer Barley Wine from Santa Fe Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 298 ratings.