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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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321 Ratings

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Ratings: 321
Reviews: 164
rAvg: 3.67
pDev: 13.9%
Wants: 26
Gots: 30 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 321 | Reviews: 164 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of midaszero
3.95/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from bomber bottle into pint glass

A - Very clear amber pour with ridiculous amount head and a ton of lacing. The head is the most dense I have seen to date.

S - Decently strong cherry vanilla scent

T - Sweet cherry taste with a good presence of alcohol. Not nearly as hoppy as most other American barley wines.

M - Smooth medium body. The head and lacing appears to be high carbonation but doesn't come through in the feel.

D - While tasty and worth trying I don't think I could drink it often but definitely a very drinkable barely wine.

Photo of Goliath
2.98/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Pours a reddish brown with a large light tan head. Decent retention and a touch of lace.

Aroma is ok. A floral hoppiness with a touch of malty sweetness.

Taste is alright. A little floral hoppiness, some lightly toasted malt, a bit of alcohol, and even a little metallic.

Mouthfeel is full bodied and lightly carbonated.

Drinkability is low to moderate. Alcohol is high and flavors are sub par making this beer a little more difficult to consume. As I got further into this brew and it warms I figured out the problem. The floral hop profile just doesn't lend itself to a Barleywine. It's more of an off-balance IPA that is too dark. Had they used a different hop strain they probably would have a successful brew on their hands.

Photo of msubulldog25
3.81/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This 22 oz. (651ml) bottle was purchased at AJ's in Tucson, AZ in late November, 2007, and has rested in the cellar ever since. Poured to a pint glass after dinner.

Label claims (rather boastfully) that Chicken Killer "is a revolutionary beer that will someday define America's unique Barley Wine style". OK, we'll see if I agree...

A: Perfectly clear amber-orange, with a dozen or so miniscule streams of carbonation wriggling to the top. Capped by about 1-finger of light tan froth, the head drops to a 1/4" covering of denser cream. Could hardly ask for a prettier barleywine...

S: Aroma is not robust, but sweet and a little flowery (honeysuckle?), with soft sugared citrus fruit and toffee. Vague earthy/green hops.

T: If there were huge hops in this one, they have mellowed nicely. The result of months of waiting (procrastinating) on this is a balance of grassy/herbal hops and a slightly tangy orange-citrus; the two blend wonderfully and dance on the tongue. Grainy toffee and a slight mint, slightly tart fruit (cherry, apricot???) are present. Oh yeah, there's some vanilla...

M: Creamy, almost velvety/smooth, texture. Medium mouthfeel, well-balanced hops vs. malts.

D: After a 'ho-hum' review by BA Metalmonk (who I sent a bottle to), I decided to give it a while longer resting in the cellar; apparently that did some good as it showed up as a drinkable, although not overly exciting, barleywine. Sippable and modeerately worth savoring. Flavors don't 'wow' but have a nice layering, a balanced warmth, and are complex enough to give this a 'thumbs up'. Good effort by Santa Fe Brewing and, officially, my first New Mexican brew (47th to the Union, 39th on my own list of all 50 US states).

Photo of Georgiabeer
3.98/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I acquired this in a trade from turbine2475. Thanks for the chance to try it. Pours dark orange with some ruby highlights. The head fades a bit but settles to a thin cap for the life of the beer. Smells a bit sweet, and a bit hot, a tiny bit bready, and with some spiced pear on the finish. The taste is not nearly so hot and the flavors are more integrated than is indicated by the nose. Some tangy, spicy malt, earthy hops, caramel, pear, honey , and a dry finish that caps it off nicely. Fairly dry and smooth and integrated in the mouthfeel. Pleasant to drink, but you can definitely feel the alcohol creeping up on you.

Photo of SammyDavisJrJrJr
4/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to my parents for bringing this back to me. Into the snifter...

A - Rich amber body with an average head, that left nice lacing.

S - First notes are of cherry and apricot, with cinnamon and sweet English malts. Piney hops are present, but do not overpower the rest of the aroma.

T - Starts out sweet, like angel food cake, followed quickly by cherry, melon and apricot like fruitiness. Alcohol adds to the flavor, and seems to lend a cinnamon like spice quality. Hops are balenced and piney.

M - Silky and full, no complaints here.

D - This is deffinately one for people who like a nice English style Barleywine. Very nice example that I would recomend. Deserves it's name.

Photo of jjayjaye
3.83/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly hazy iced tea color with a shallow fizzy orange tan colored head that fades quickly, leaving little lacing evidence. Quite a bit more suspended goodness as you progress to the inevitable bottom of the container. The smell is also unique. I get a rich malty corn starch caramel and baked vanilla character. The presence of alcohol is more pronounced as this beverage warms up. Full bodied and adequately carbonated, the mouth feel is significantly influenced by the boozy side of the 10% ABV. I find the taste quite enjoyable..exactly what the doctor ordered tonight. Had this one on the WANTs list for some time now. Really glad that i found it at Whole Foods in Arlington,TX. Recommend taking it for a ride around the block.

Photo of feloniousmonk
3.55/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Chicken Killer Barleywine, Santa Fe Brewing, New Mexico's First Microbrewery.
Interesting: "Chicken Killer Barleywine Is a revolutionary beer that will someday define America's unique barley wine style." Really? Rather a bold statement! "...the potency of Chicken Killer gives us the remarkable spectrum of flavors that can be found in no other beer, in no other city." You don't say! Well, let's try it and see...

Clouded, rich, hazy, garnet hue. huge, creamy head.
Wood, brandy, and cherry in the aroma. Leather and soft spices, with a whiff of green apple, Funky fruit unfolds.

Heat hits right off with the first taste. Highly hopped, but mellow soon enough. Richness and bold flavor hangs long in the mouth. Booze is felt, too, abundant flavor is appeciated, but, despite the boasts, it doesn't go anywhere new, really, nowhere Bigfoot hasn't been. Feels a bit like some British barleywines, not as much of the full hop force of the American style.

This is a fully flavored beast, though, and should be savored at just the right temperature, just the right occasion, sipped slowly, and shared with friends.

Photo of IBUnit63
3.18/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Courtesy of mhewes - from bomber to Cab glass...

Apple cider translucent body with bountiful, creamy 2-finger head. Moderate silky lacing.

Astringent/alcoholic scent in forefront - needs warmth. Background aroma of mild white grapes. Almost a leathery tone - otherwise, aroma is quite subtle.

Creamy, cowhide/earthy tasting on palate. Definitely needs to warm up. Mildly astringent on palate - alcohol is mild but perhaps the most dominant taste. At first not a great deal of malt or hop character here; mild earthy caramel malt emerges with warmth.

Mild in mouthfeel - slight pucker from alcohol in forefront. Finish is rather short - no demonstrable aftertaste.

Style is generally for sipping and savoring; this is no exception. Prefer abundance of flavor to provide more bankg for the buck. This is by no means unpleasant but does not deliver desired flavor profile.

Photo of BretSikkink
3.7/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reddish orange color, frothy tan head is colored lightly by the amber of the body. Clear, with some bubbling.

Big whiff of alcohol on the nose, sugary-sweet caramel malt and dried, spiced orange peels. Lot of hop and alcohol bitterness. Not sure that I like it; probably will be shaded one way or the another by the flavor.

Super sweet, big fusel alcohol fumes assault the nostrils and taste buds. Orange and candi sugar; toast and caramel, brown sugar, slightly smoky. Actually pretty complex, but a bit over the top in the abv department. Resiny, pine hop flavors.

Maybe a little time in the cellar will allow this one to gel a bit better.

Photo of rye726
3.8/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

cloudy amber color with a weak tan head.

Floral hops, candy malts, faint alcohol and some spicy Belgian yeast.

A hybrid of a Belgian double and a barley wine. Malty with some faint hops flavors and again Belgian pepper.

Full body and good carbonation. A nice barley wine, but like most, it needs a fews years to come together.

Photo of searsclone
3.19/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

22 oz bottle into 3 snifter glasses.

3 of us were completely all over the place with this beer. 1 of us loved it, 1 of us hated it, and I was in the middle.

A: Murky cloudy color, I would say a mix between orange and brown.

S: Vanilla, Honey, spices and alcohol

T: I picked up some sweetness, mostly honey and to me the overpowering taste of alcohol

M: thick but not heavy, and smooth, almost creamy

D: I liked this better when it was colder, as it warmed I got much more spice and alcohol out of it. Too much alcohol taste and smell for me, but a good beer none the less.

I suggest trying this beer if you are a fan of the high alcohol beers that let you know from the beginning that they are high in alcohol.

I'm glad I tried it, but this one is not for me.

Photo of jbphoto88
3.73/5  rDev +1.6%
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.

Photo of weeare138
3.62/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Much thanks to witbier for picking this one up while in Texas...
Appears a hazy, semi-transparent, dark amber with a small, off white head. Scattered lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is of cherries, caramel, toffee, brown sugar, and mild citrusy hops.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with a sweet caramel flavor that stands out among the mix of flavors dancing along the palate.
Mouthfeel is sweet, medium bodied, with doughy yeast hanging on through the finish.

Photo of ppoitras
3.53/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle from russpowell via trade. Thanks for the opportunity.

Poured into a heavy glass chalice, formed a 1/4" beige head above the slightly cloudy burgundy amber brew. Head gradually fades to an uneven layer of bubbles, with average lacing. Aroma is sweet fruity maltiness. Taste starts with plenty of sweetness, then goes a bit harsh with the alcohol in the middle, then balances somewhat with fruitiness, and a bit of numbing at the close. Mouthfeel is alright, a little bit harsh, and drinkability is okay as well, improving as it warms.

Photo of Kemmerlin
4.01/5  rDev +9.3%
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.

Photo of JDV
3.38/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Rich and hazy reddish maroon colored pour with an attractive but short lived beige head. Smell is plums, and sweet and tart fruity scents. Medium to thin bodied overall. Flavors of fruitiness and slightly sweet with an abrupt finish and almost drying at the end. A bit warming in the chest, but the alcohol is hidden pretty well for 10%. Very drinkable, and a decent barley wine for sure.

Photo of Metalmonk
3.04/5  rDev -17.2%
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.

Photo of KodyBrannon
3.76/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured this beer into a pint glass. It poured a dark amber, almost brown color that had a very thick white head that left good laceing all the way down the glass. Unfortunatly this is where the excitement ended on this beer. The smell was of malts and a hint of fruity hops. But the first taste ended all enjoyment of this beer for me. It was very very strong on alcohol, that eventually gave way to some malt and hop aftertaste. The mouthfeel was light, but with the alcohol taste, it warms your palate too much.Overall this beer was not my favorite of this style. It is worth a try, but it may not be for you.

Photo of hoppymeal
3.68/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy dark amber with copper hues, a small cream head dissipates quickly. Aroma is some clean perfumy floral notes, somewhat soapy, noticeable hoppiness and alcohol as well as hints of sweet berry maltiness. Taste is slightly fruity maltiness, grainy, somewhat non descript malt sugars before a decent peppery hoppiness cuts through. Mouthfeel is medium to heavy, slightly thick from the maltiness but cut nicely by the peppery hops and a warming alcohol bite. While the aroma and taste didn't blow me away, they were good and I found this to be quite drinkable for a higher abv beer.

Photo of barleywinefiend
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a hazy light brown with orange tinge and slight off white head. Nose was a little funny (not bad) spicy candy smell. Taste is with plenty of malt and perhaps a bit too much on the crystal malt side. Nicely bitter, but not overwhelming. The Taste is again of spices and a tiny bit of bitter orange. Caramel, fruits and brown sugar. Feels quite full in the mouth, and not too sweet.

Photo of DIM
2.95/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

a: This one is a slightly hazy amber orange color. It pours with a medium white head.

s: Candied sour cherries, sugar, flowers, and alcohol. Also some strange sour rye or wheat notes.

t: Chalky sour cherries upfront. Finish combines floral hops, artificial sweetner, and alcohol.

m: Very good carbonation, and decent viscosity.

d: The label reads, "Chicken Killer is a revolutionary ale that will someday define America's unique Barley Wine style." Hmmmm... I hope not. I sought this out just because I liked the name. Oh well. Thanks to JDV for the chance to try this one.

Photo of RblWthACoz
3/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Not sure exactly what happened here. Feels uneven as far as taste goes and it lacks a smooth flavor. Feel is decent, but there isn't much going on here that is really saving the experience. Maybe it wasn’t the best bottle, though I probably won't ever know. I can’t say there is any hope that I would try it again.

Photo of GClarkage
4/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12/20/07- Purchased at Sun Devil Liquors in Mesa, AZ.

Presentation- 22oz botle with no freshness info on the bottle. Poured into an oversized wine glass.

Appearance- Mid to deep golden color with a full one inch head upon pour. Fades fairly quickly with just a very light rim remaining. Leaves nice lace trails behind though.

Smell- Seems like more sweet roasted caramel malt than hops. Although, hops are both pine and grapefruit in nature and come through as well in the nose.

Taste- At first it seems like the perfect balanced barleywine. Then after a few sips the hops kick in with avengence. Fairly smooth toasted caramel candied malt combines with a pretty potent hit of grapefruit bittering hops. This one is simple and straight forward.

Mouthfeel- Smooth, fuller mouthfeel with a lingering hoppy flavor remaining.

Drinkability- Simple recipe...hops and malt, both frolicking together hand in hand. They make a great team in this beer. Nothing over the top incredible, but pretty damn good nonetheless.

Photo of MrHungryMonkey
3.17/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

Nice, crisp fruit and sweet, roasted malt fill the nose first. Splash of citrus rounds it out.

Deep amber/honey color. Good clarity. Little head.

Very rich roast malt is chewy and sticky sweet. Pronounced hop bitterness throughout. So viscous.

It’s alright, but nothing special. There are many far-superior Barley Wines out there, at least to my palate. The label talks it up as though it were the greatest thing since the invention of beer. I will be supremely disappointed if this weak brew will someday define America’s unique Barley Wine style – that would be a travesty.

Photo of mattster
3.53/5  rDev -3.8%
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.

Chicken Killer Barley Wine from Santa Fe Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 321 ratings.