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Chicken Killer Barley Wine - Santa Fe Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Chicken Killer Barley WineChicken Killer Barley Wine

Educational use only; do not reuse.

167 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 167
Hads: 343
Avg: 3.64
pDev: 13.74%
Wants: 26
Gots: 35 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Chicken Killer Barley Wine Alström Bros
Reviews: 167 | Hads: 343
Photo of homebrewhawk
3.65/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz. bottle served in a snifter. Poured a hazy, reddish gold with a finger of off white head. Caramelized sugar and hops in the aroma. Medium to full bodied. More caramelized sugar, fair amount of hop bitterness to balance sweetness. Easy drinking for 10% ABV.

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Photo of DRyan
3.45/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark ruddy brown with an off-white head that dissipates quickly and leaves little lacing
S: Smells of malt and alcohol
T: The alcohol is present up front, this is a more bitter version than most barleywines, very malty but not too sweet, with a strong hoppy finish
M: thin and crisp, feels more like a pilsner than a barleywine
D: not as drinkable as some other barleywines, much less “refined”

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Photo of angelmonster
4.03/5  rDev +10.7%
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.

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Photo of ChadQuest
3/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The color of the body has a strong reddish hue with an off white ring around the rosie. Well played Chad.
The aroma is sugary, kinda like those Farley's Fruit Slices candy i used to eat at my grandma's house. Anything that reminds me of Easter at grandma's house twenty years ago HAS to be a spot on description. This is like those candy, but you are only eating orange ones.
The flavors lay in the middle region that could be claimed by either barleywine style and no one would grab their pitchforks. There is enough cascade going on to say "Merica!", but there is enough unfermented sugars and sweet backbone that it is not very bitter and you could mention the English. It has a notable brown sugar texture with a subtle rye like spce, and grated citrus rind lending the matching mild bitterness. There is a notion of alcohol, but nothing to put in bold typeface and warn yo mama about.

Another barleywine slayed.

I <3 barleywines.

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Photo of sitarist
3.39/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a nice ruby color. Short khaki colored head that falls quickly to a dusting. Just a couple spots of lacing.

Smells like rubber, plastic, and vinyl! Not a bad aroma, but its plastic!

Its flavor is much more pleasant than the nose. Pecans, toffee, orange marmalade, and an earthy funk.

Medium, sticky body, with too much carbonation.

Just an o.k. beer. Its easy to drink, and packs a punch, but it lacks the depth a good Barley Wine should have.

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Photo of DCon
2.99/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Received a 1 Pt. 6 Fl. Oz. bottle of this in a trade w/ amcmaho1 & shared w/ friends @ 4 Hands Brewing Co. Poured from the Baby Blue/Yellow Labeled bottle w/ a Dog wearing a Sombrero & shooting off guns (old western style) into a 12oz- 4 Hands Brewing Co Snifter Glass. Has no freshness date on the bottle but know its a 2011 from the brewery when amcmaho1 visited.

Aroma- Hot boozy, sharp, and very rough on the nose... Definitely needed to have this one sit a bit longer or?

Appearance- Pours a 1 finger head that has average retention. The darkest amber colored body you can get while also being viscous and leaves suds behind.

Flavor- Hits the mouth with tons of malt and sweetness but where is the complexity? Very light bitterness at the finish and almost no hops included in the flavor.

Mouthfeel- Medium Bodied, Light-Medium Carbonation, Smooth, and has a malty, bold finish on the palate.

Overall Impression- More like a traditional English Barleywine, this one missed the style a bit. More hop should have been included and should not have been so hot/sharp. Still enjoyed nonetheless and would love to pick up another bottle of this and sit on it.

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Photo of foss69lh
3.42/5  rDev -6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This is a difficult brew to rate, as if considered as an ale, it is excellent, but as a barley wine, not at all. The body is medium full for an ale, but only medium bodied for a barley wine. Additionally, it is far too dry in style to be considered traditional or typical of these styles of brews, and too hoppy, though I have noticed that there seem to be many other breweries passing off similar styles as barley wine these days. Thus I would rate this an A- as an ale, but only a C as a barley wine... maybe not even that, as I consider its style atypical.

A notice to all the micro brews pursuing and passing off this style of brewing as barley wine: a traditional barley wine should be well over 10% ABV -- I've had as high as 18.6 -- and the name implies both the body weight and taste -- comparable in weight to a full-bodied red wine, with a winey mouthfeel and taste defined most by barley, not hops, with an impression of sweetness from the grain. Without these basic characteristics, you're making a full-bodied ale, but not a barley wine, regardless of whether or not barley was used in the brewing.

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Photo of DmanGTR
4.09/5  rDev +12.4%
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. :)

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Photo of Jayli
3.58/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Acquired from mthomas84 via SS '11 so a big THANK YOU goes out to him.
Poured in to a pint glass
Consumed 2/13

A: This beer pours a light brown, amber color with a one finger of khaki head. Head recedes at a decent pace. Sticky lacing left on the glass.

S: Nose is caramel, toffee, alcohol, and a hint of citrus.

T: Taste is fruity alcohol up front. Lots of raising and plum tastes that mingle with a cloying caramel, toffee, brown sugar sweetness. Finish has a very mild, after thought of citrus hops.

M: Medium body, medium carbonation, crisp at first with a chewy sticky finish.

O: Goes down ok, somewhat tasty, not too filling, big kick, ok representation of style. This may have needed some more age on it.

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Photo of obrike
3.7/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bought a bomber at Specs in Round Rock for around 7 bucks.

Poured a murky brown...hints of orange...with a soft fluffy head that did not last. Liked the silky white ring that remained on top for the duration though.

Got a ton of sweet caramel malt in the initial whiff. Booze gets stronger as it warms...stings the nostrils a bit.

Man, a malt bomb! Very sweet, sugary biscuits, orange marmalade...and a splash of hops...A unique aftertaste throws off the taste a bit for me though, a little astringent...not sure if it's the booze coming through or something else.

Beer is a bit hot. Not as smooth as other American Barleywines I've had, but certainly still a decent effort. A big boozy slow sipper.

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Photo of ZenAgnostic
4.03/5  rDev +10.7%
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

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Photo of EricCioe
3.98/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to schmittymack for sending this one up.

This pours deep amber with a nice, really pretty looking two finger head that left some lace on the way down, something I don't expect in a barleywine. On the nose there is a siginificant presence of caramel malt with something like rum-soaked dates providing the badass bottom note, and a definite hop presence that intermingles with the sweetness. One reviewer said candied oranges and that sounds just about right. In the mouth it's more of the same, with perhaps a bit more bitterness than anticipated. The body is medium, a little lighter than I would have expected, with a long finish with a touch of the heat I like in a big beer.

Overall, this is a nice brew and I was glad to get a couple bottles. I wouldn't have sought it out but for my pal Jon, a former Santa Fe resident living up here who said this was his favorite brew. I gave him one of the two bottles I had, and we shared the other one over Thanksgiving dinner turducken. A good beer enhanced by a good time.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to holden303 for sending me this one as part of the N00B BIF 6!

Pours a slightly murky honey orange with a 1 inch puffy light tan head that settles to a thin cap. A foamy curtain of lace coats the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, toffee, and lots of citrus zest. Taste is of malt, brown sugar, and somewhat strong citrus zest flavors. A slight apricot flavor on the aftertaste. There is a medium amount of bitterness that lingers on the palate after each sip. This beer has a higher level of carbonation with a crisp and bubbly mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good barleywine but it's a bit out of balance for my tastes. I wish there was more malty sweetness to go along with the hoppy flavors.

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Photo of Phelps
3.85/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on tap at the Arizona Society of Homebrewers Oktoberfest, this barelwyine’s been aged at least a year. Poured into a shaker pint.

Murky maple-orange with highlights of gold. Half a finger of velvety tan head becomes a silky top layer. Murky, almost opaque.

Tons of overripe orange, toasted biscuits and caramel in the nose. What orange peel-y hops were once here have become soft whispers. Hint of honey-like oxidation in the background.

Chicken Killer is a malt monster, but the hops are bigger in the flavor. I get tons of toasted biscuit covered with orange marmalade and caramel, along with some herbal qualities — basil? Burnt sugar is here as well, blending with sticky alcohol. It begins sweet, but finishes impressively dry. Pretty damn complex after a year old maturity.

Moderate, pokey carbonation flashes then fades as the creamy medium body moves about. Good viscosity, not too thick. A bit of booze comes through the nose, but it's pretty well hidden overall.

I'd say aged is the best way to have this beer — if it were fresh, the malt wouldn't be big enough to combat the hops.

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Photo of lackenhauser
3.85/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bronze color though somewhat murky. Not a lot of head though some decent lacing. Malty and caramel aroma right upfront. A very faint whiff of smoke-probably more perceived then actually there. Toffee and buttery flavor. Mildly astringent hop bite. A hair out of balance with the hops. Mildly boozey though not overly so and not in a detrimental way. Sticky and gummy mouthfeel. The upfront sweetness quickly becomes dry. Enjoyable all in. Have wanted to try this for ages. A touch rough in spots but a damn nice US barleywine.

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Photo of DavidST
3.38/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a snifter.

This pours a nice murky brown color with a decent off white head which quickly dissipates. The smells are of malt and alcohol. The feel is good and somewhat thick. The taste is a little disappointing, I get plenty of the malts, but low bitterness and hops to offset it (i'm too used to the over hopped American barley wines which this isn't) and there is plenty of alcohol heat not well hidden at all.

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Photo of chugalug06
3.02/5  rDev -17%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A - Nice foamy/soapy off-white head. Brew is cloudy orangish-red. Medium body.

S - A fowl homebrew scent. Lots of weird grape scents. No heat or sugar.

T - Very watery. Not too much going on with this one.

M - Nice carbonation, zero bitterness (weak for a B-Wine).

O - Not impressed by this well-named offering from SFB... CKBW doesn't keep up with their canned series. This brew is not highly recommended, but worth trying with a group of friends....

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Photo of chocosushi
4.08/5  rDev +12.1%
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.

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Photo of TheWhiskerReview
3.97/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

100th review! Make that 1% less liver function!!

Pours a mahogany brown with a dense 1-finger head. Retention and lace are minimal, as expected.

The nose, naturally, is all about the malt with caramel, bran flake and coffee aromas mixed in with dark estery notes of raisin, ripe fig, baked apple and fresh apricot. Touch of peppery booze too.

The full-bodied palate has an immeasurably long presentation- waves and waves of complex, rich and chewy malt are joined first by a little peppery booze, then the moderate bitterness before a return to the dry bran-like malt on the finish. Flavors up front include bran, nut oils, ripe fig and light roast coffee, while the finish sees little beads of toffee-like sweetness surrounding the boozy spice and final hints of cherry tucked into a lingering caramel.

Overall, needs some smoothing out around the edges (touch too boozy) but still rather wonderful now. I would love to see a year or two of age on this one. And I particularly like how it manages to be incredibly malty, but not syrupy and never too sweet. Very drinkable and enjoyable.

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Photo of Snorlax
4.23/5  rDev +16.2%
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.

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Photo of drpimento
4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pretty good beer. I let it warm a bit from the fridge. Poured with a small to medium size, thick, creamy, light tan head that lasts a long time and a little lace. Color is a clear cherry orange amber and some bubble trails. Aroma is a pronounced blend of malt, caramel, toffee, hops, fruit, yeast. Flavor is similar to nose and has a very good balance between sweet, bitter, and tang. Body is also very good, full and round with a few high points while carbonation is perhaps just a tad light. Finish is like flavor, has good length, and has some alcohol. A slow sipping brew over the course of a bomber or two.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
4/5  rDev +9.9%
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.

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Photo of allforbetterbeer
2.75/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

22 oz bomber picked up at Coaltrain liquors in Colorado Springs for the very reasonable price of ~$6.00.

Pours with a fine one finger cap of slightly off white head that lasts like the best of them. The body is cloudy and murky, and is riding the line exactly between orange and amber.

Smells delicious, with the prominent smell of American hops tempered by significant amounts of grain and higher alcohol. Grapefruit and especially pineapple are most notable. I am really getting a high dose of sweet pineapple in the nose.

The flavor is somewhat of a letdown initially. There is an unpleasant medicinal/burning plastic flavor that shows up from the very beginning and it is a glaring flaw in this flavor. Wow, thus ends my review, I can't get around this unpleasant flavor. Maybe brett gone way wrong? Someone burned a fermenting bucket and let it drip into the tanks?

Conclusion: I will seek this out again and see if another bottle shows the same flaws, or if this isn't a tasty beer.

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Photo of Beer4Baltimore
3.15/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

- from the notes, a bomber, and a tasting session
A - red/orange brown with a short head.
S - distinct barley malts with an alcoholic hoppy background.
T - Alcohol makes a significant appearance. ABV is just overwhelming the barley and hops.
M - decent carbonation but the alcohol is just too much evident for a heavier bodied beer.
D - can't handle too much of this one.

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Photo of Jazzcrop
3.01/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tastes are chalk, seaweed, sweet malt, barley, flaked wheat, grains, booze, wood, yeast, cloth, strong beer with a little bit of age on them, stuff and hops. Smells are toffee, chalk, mixed drinks, pills, credit cards, aluminum and tin. Mmmmm.... not a sensation, just alright.

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