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Chicken Killer Barley Wine - Santa Fe Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Chicken Killer Barley WineChicken Killer Barley Wine

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BA SCORE
82
good

167 Reviews
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 167
Hads: 337
rAvg: 3.61
pDev: 11.63%
Wants: 26
Gots: 34 | 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:
Beer added by: amicar on 03-07-2006

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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 167 | Hads: 337
Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.66/5  rDev +29.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Santa Fe Chicken Killer Barley Wine has a medium-to-thick cream-colored head, a murky, highly bubbly, rust-orange appearance, with low-level lacing left on the glass. The aroma is of sweet & sour sauce, sourness, light fruits, sharp hop resin, and lots of barley malts. Taste is of those same elements, with noticeable bitterness to offset the malt sweetness. Very bready. Mouthfeel is heavy and chewy, and Santa Fe Chicken Killer finishes between wet & dry.

RJT (464 characters)

Photo of sjdevel
4.57/5  rDev +26.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Look: Upon pouring out of the bomber, there was decent 2-3 finger head soon diminished but was left with some continuing lacing. This brew displays a very nice amber glow that is quite hazy but still lets some rays of light through.

Smell: First waft is of caramel with notes of fruit. With this brew being 10% ABV, I expected to pick up on more of a piercing alcohol smell, but not the case here. There are just some slight floral notes, but not very aromatic for a Barley Wine.

Feel: There is a nice medium-full bodied mouthfeel with this one. It is quite effervescent on the tongue. It is a tad on the dry side but still very smooth.

Taste: There is an immediate tartness, but not overly bitter (as in not being overpowered with hop bitterness). The tartness is soon offset by some malt sweetness and not a high level of hoppiness as you would expect kicking in at the end.

Overall: This Barley Wine is very pleasing to the tongue / palette. This is a well rounded Barley Wine that has a near perfect balance of bitterness and malts, but I am left wanting a little more hop flavor. I have not been displeased with a Santa Fe creation yet and I would purchase Chicken Killer again. (1,202 characters)

Photo of joepais
4.45/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to JVD for sending this along
Bottle over a year old poured into a few snifters produced a tan colored head that settled out to nothing. The color of the brew was a nice caramel or copper depending who you ask.

The aroma was nice and sweet the caramel malts are in the forefront now with some brown sugar thrown in for good measure. The flavor was great nice and sweet a true sipper and a great desert brew. Caramel candy came to mind, with some butterscotch flavor as well every one in a while. The mouthfeel was great as well, nice and syrupy with little carbonation, just the way I like my barleywine's.

I was impressed by the brew. I will assume the age did nothing but help it in my scores as well. There were no hops present in this thing at all and the alcohol was hidden extremely well by the flavors and aromas. I enjoyed every drop of my glass. I even saw a craft beer Noob grab the bottle to wring the last few drops from it. I guess we have a convert (972 characters)

Photo of kirok1999
4.3/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a cloudyt reddish, orangish, brown with a nice thick and sticky head. Smells wonderfully sweet with a little hop citrus.
Taste is massive fruit, plums, raisins, dates, figs, citrus hops. Very nice carbonation and mouthfeel, slick and very creamy. I really like this one, just wish I could get more. (305 characters)

Photo of azdback
4.28/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is my third bottle of this beer but my first barley wine and I'm curious if they are all this easy to drink. It pours a hazy amber or burnt orange color with a one finger off white, creamy head. Smell is sweet, barley and a hint of alcohol. Taste to me, is a "brown" on steroids or an American Strong with more alcohol. I think it is well rounded though. Just remarkable in the mouth. It is sooo hard to believe this is 10% abv. Drink ability...now here is where we need to talk....I have tried many10+abv's in my time, ie. Double Bastard, 120 minute ipa, and quite a few Russian Imperial Stouts, but none of these were as easy to drink as this. It is scary to me that this beer is so good and so easy to drink. If I could afford it I would make this my session beer and pass out enjoying it every night!!! Thanks to Rim Liquor for finding this for me! (857 characters)

Photo of champ103
4.25/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a cloudy and dark amber brown color. A two finger beige head forms, but quickly recedes. Some patchy lace is left behind.
S: A big malty and fruity aroma. Some dark fruits. Bread, biscuit aromas. Some rum like alcohol is in the nose as well.
T: Malt up front. Dark fruits that follow the nose. A light hop twang as the taste lingers. This is a nice tasting barleywine.
M/D: A medium body that is kind of over carbonated for the style IMO. Just a touch of warming alcohol. Though this is a great beer to sip on.

This is a very surprising hit for me. Lots of wonderful malt, and the drinkability can't be beat for the style. This ranks as one of my favorite barleyines now. (681 characters)

Photo of Snorlax
4.23/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bomber into vintage Jax mug. This is a stout, delicious and fairly complex beer. I am a fan of barleywines and must say this is probably the most balanced one I have ever had. Pours a beautiful amber red with a quickly dissolving 3 finger head. Pretty nice lacing. Tastes of honey and cherries with a biting but not unpleasant aftertaste of pure alcohol. Great mouth feel, almost a nectar. Smells mostly of cherries. This is one of the easiest to drink barleywines I've ever come across. About as close to a session beer as this style could ever be, not that that's saying much. Excellent, would buy again, cook with and even save a spot in the cellar for. (668 characters)

Photo of Tilley4
4.23/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

What's with the low scores on this one? Big thanks to both tayner and hopsleeroy for sending me this brew!

Pours out beautifully dark amberish red with a persistent eggshell head..plentiful small bubbles floating up as well as some damn good lacing..

Wonderfully citrusy aroma that's loaded with hops...it smells like a DIPA and I'm loving it..

Wonderful blend of sweet sweet malts and grapefruity citrusy hops meld together to make this ridiculously drinkable..those hops bitter up on the finish and leave me longing for another sip..

I have another bottle that I will reluctantly age. This was so good that it will be hard to keep my hands off of it. (656 characters)

Photo of beergoot
4.22/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Deep mahogany red body with a very thick, very creamy off-white head. Dark fruit, malty nose; slightly licorice, slightly sugary; hint of cinnamon and coriander. Smooth and delightful mouthfeel; silk and glass; semi-treacly and medium-heavy body. Flavors run from sweet, heavy, fruit-like notes to a slightly spicy and decently boozy combination that melds nicely with an interesting spicy bitterness midway through the finish.

A fine heavy yet intriguingly tasty malted beverage. Your palate gets treated to a variety of malt, hop, and boozy flavors that mix well together, always providing nuanced taste treats when allowed to coat the palate. Yes, a damn fine beer... (671 characters)

Photo of barefootbrewer
4.2/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: This beer poured a cloudy brown color with a big off white head. There was nice lacing.

S: The aroma is mainly of malt and caramel. There are hints of raisins and fruits. The hop presence is noticeable (slight pine/evergreen). The malt/caramel/raisin smells deepen as the beer warms.

T: Initially (while cold) this beer is alcohol hot and tin tasting. As it warms, it transforms into a most delightful mixture of caramel, malt and dates.

M: The mouthfeel is medium bodied and viscous.

D: After this beer warms, it is a total delight. (540 characters)

Photo of grumpy
4.2/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hey! Where’s the love for this beer? OK, I know – only two reviews. So I am going to give this Barley Wine some props, and then hopefully when it totals 5 reviews, it will get the rating I think it deserves. And, no, I am not in any way associated with the brewery!

I travel frequently to Santa Fe, and have been sampling this barley wine for many years, bottled and on tap, fresh and aged. I think it’s consistently quite good, but consistently inconsistent in style. It has ranged from resembling a dry-hopped Imperial IPA, to being a soft, fruity, sweet beer in the acceptable range of the Barley Wine style. Even taking aging and bottle-conditioning into account, this stuff varies. It’s produced year round, so it isn’t an issue of changing the recipe for a new release.

So, for bottled CK, from 2005:

Appearance: Dark orange-amber, and cloudy without agitating the yeast. Beige colored moderate head with moderate lace.

Aroma: Very fruity – plums, maybe peaches? Sweet malt and underlying hops.

Taste: Again, very fruity. Substantially malty and sweet with a hop bittering that falls somewhat short of complete balance. Complex and enjoyable.

Mouthfeel: Fairly full-bodied and soft. Carbonation is moderate.

Drinkability: If the flavor profile works for you, this is very drinkable. The alcohol is definitely noticeable, but not overpowering. The sweetness is not cloying.

I plan to try the latest batch on tap this weekend at the brewery. And by the way, the brewery has moved and expanded and added restaurant service. So get out there and support these guys in their new investment. I don’t want to see this place go under from the added weight! (1,685 characters)

Photo of standardcherry
4.16/5  rDev +15.2%
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. (501 characters)

Photo of emmasdad
4.1/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Ratman for bringing this one over to the house last weekend. 2007 vintage. Poured a slightly hazy caramel color, with a short white head. Aromas of prunes, caramel and dark fruits. Full bodied and very smooth, with caramel, dark fruits and sherry. (257 characters)

Photo of BigMcLargeHuge
4.1/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12/02/06 Walk the Line Barleywine Festival, Dunedin, FL. 2005 vintage. This beer poured copper with off white head. The aroma was fresh sweetness that seemed to be a combination of sweet caramel malts and grapefruit hoppiness. The flavor was light in the malt department with a sweet caramel taste along with a more dominant sweet and slightly tart orange citrus hops

12/02/06 Walk the Line Barleywine Festival, Dunedin, FL. 2002 vintage. This one had a milder hop aroma. The flavor was very good with a bit stronger dark fruit note and smoother hops. Very drinkable. (568 characters)

Photo of russpowell
4.09/5  rDev +13.3%
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?? (960 characters)

Photo of DmanGTR
4.09/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Amanda for this treat!

Poured maple brown, slight murkiness with scant head. A couple minutes later and it looked quite still, although it did have a very smooth carbonation. Lots of sweetness here. Caramel, brown sugar, and a hint of figs. Very light bitterness in the finish and the sweetness definitely carries further. Quite smooth and delicious. Overall, it's a good American barleywine. I would have appreciated a touch more bitterness, as the sweetness is quite prominent. It did indeed make for a great post-exam celebration. :) (547 characters)

Photo of chocosushi
4.08/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 Vintage
6oz->Duvel Tulip
A ~ Pours a murky brown color akin to burnt caramel. The silky eggshell head is sufficient & eventually settles into a constantly morphing cap/ring. Lacing is 100% solid.

S ~ Dark wheat, bread pudding, tree bark, granola, buttered toast, fig, & a touch of Wassail. Touch of yellow apple.

T ~ Fantastic. Toast & Buttered Bread notes follow through in a fantastic way. Prune, Cooked Apples, Cinnamon stick, & Berry Jam all make an appearance in the complex flavor profile.
Hop profile is all but diminished, but sappy/organic notes remain. Splash of brandy & vanilla bean that becomes more present upon warming. Great melody of flavor.
The nose is great, but does not do the taste justice!

M ~ Fantastic carbonation that is very smooth throughout & wicks away unwanted lingering flavors. Hops have faded in aroma (for the better) but still contribute bitterness. This is almost better when it looses carbonation (less astringent), but both have their advantages in flavor.

D ~ Better than the OG. The booze has mellowed out quite a bit over the course of two years, which is a very good thing. Very glad I have a few more to see how it's doing, but it's really at a sweet spot right now. Seek out this vintage. (1,247 characters)

Photo of depechemode1983
4.05/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- The beer pours cloudy dark orange brown in color. The head is minimal and tan. Lacing is also minimal with just a few uneven splotches.

S- Right up front your hit with bitter pineapple carried on with sweet milky notes. You also get pine resin and a little bit of oak. The nose finishes bitter dry. For being 10% ABV the alcohol is surprisingly well hidden.

T- Malty upfront with just the right amount of pine bitterness. The malts come up through the middle even more with a caramel sweetness toning down the pine to subtle. The finish is sweet and malty with little alcohol warmth.

M- Smooth as hell. Carbonation is most excellent bubbly but not over the top. Goes down great.

O- Excellent interpretation of the style. Not overly complex but not overly dull. it had just the right amount of complexities to keep the nose, the taste and the mouth feel in check . Its very surprising how they got the alcohol so well hidden with a 10%ABV. Worthy of multiple purchases. (978 characters)

Photo of ZenAgnostic
4.03/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1 pint 6 oz bottle poured into a Duvel snifter. No date.

Appearance - Medium brown, cloudy to the point of near total opacity. Tan pancake batter head with fine lacking that slides off momentarily; decent to good retention.

Smell - Vinous. Oaky. Sweet like fresh fruit. Apple cider. Smooth and inoffensive.

Taste - Leather. Yeasty. Relatively dry apple cider. Hides its alcohol well.

Mouthfeel - Slight alcoholic bite. Mildly solvent. Astringency is pretty minimal.

Overall Drinkability - Very smooth. Nt very complex, but very drinkable for the style. Deceptive alcohol. Not very (586 characters)

Photo of angelmonster
4.03/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is at least 2 years old.

Pours a translucent amber with ruby highlights. Head is 1 inch and khaki colored. Head retention and lacing are pretty good.

Smell is of sweet Belgian candied sugar and dried figs/plums. Apricot jam is also detected, no hops and little alcohol is detected. This beer is all about malty sweetness.

Taste is of sweet toffee, bready malts, and dried fruits. Has similar flavors to a fruit cake and would probably pair nicely with one. Aftertaste is of some bitter hops and very light alcohol.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied but has nice amount of carbonation. Head didnt contribute much to texture, this barleywine is one of the lighter ones I've had.

Overall this beer aged nicely, very smooth, sweet barleywine. Price was also good, cheap quality beer. Nothing in the top 10 for its style but solid enough that I would order one again. (870 characters)

Photo of mikesgroove
4.02/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked up this bottle last year and have been sitting on it for what seemed like forever. I decided to open this one up last night. Served chilled and poured into a pint glass, this one was consumed on 11/25/2008.

The pour was nice enough. Rich dark amber in color with a smooth look to it. Nice cloudiness to it. Some carbonation could be seen streaming up from the bottom of the glass, with a nice amount odd white head sitting on top of it. Smooth settle, left behind only trace amounts of side lacing. The aroma was rich, light notes of alcohol and a ton of bready malts. Hints of pine resin hops and a nice, touch of grain mingling in throughout the profile. The flavor was smooth as could be, a very mellow barley wine with hints of caramel and a muted hop note. Interesting balance here, with the alcohol mostly hidden in amongst the profile. Easy to sip, the carbonation was spot on.

Overall an enjoyable barley wine that I am glad I had the chance to try. I would say this would be worth another look. (1,013 characters)

Photo of Kemmerlin
4.01/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Unfiltered dark amber color with very low head even after a strong pour.

S: Light fruit/citrus smells with malted caramel and hop notes.

T: Strong hops with astringent alcohol taste that quickly falls to the background and roasted caramel.

M/D: It is slowly getting harder for me to write this because the ale was so drinkable I took to much before writing and now the 10% abv is taking effect. The mouth feel is thick but smooth and kinda creamy. I think the astringent value could have been taperd down a little bit but it is still good. The drinkability is awesome and will definitely by it again. (607 characters)

Photo of BeerAdvocate
4/5  rDev +10.8%
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. (884 characters)

Photo of lordofthewiens
4/5  rDev +10.8%
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. (346 characters)

Photo of prototypic
4/5  rDev +10.8%
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. (1,974 characters)

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Chicken Killer Barley Wine from Santa Fe Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 167 ratings.