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Chicken Killer Barley Wine - Santa Fe Brewing Company

Chicken Killer Barley WineChicken Killer Barley Wine

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

267 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 267
Reviews: 156
rAvg: 3.66
pDev: 13.39%

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: 267 | Reviews: 156 | Show All Ratings:
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-16-2009 19:57:46 | More by glid02
Photo of biboergosum

Alberta (Canada)

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.

Serving type: bottle

10-11-2013 23:17:46 | More by biboergosum
Photo of TMoney2591


3.84/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Served in a tulip glass.

Thanks to twiggamortis420 for this bottle!

I've heard too much about bachelorette parties; now, gimme a beer, dammit! This stuff pours a murky sunset auburn topped by a finger of khaki foam. The nose comprises rye-ish biscuit, light toffee, mild tobacco-like greens, a twinge of candied orange peel, and a hint of celery. The taste continues the trend, with a spicy biscuit backbone riding high in the saddle, surrounded by mixed greens that don't pack much of a bitter wallop, but still serve as a minor balance to the malt. There's a slight twang of booze, but nothing that distracts from the main attractions. The body is a hefty-leaning medium, with a rather light moderate carbonation and a smooth feel. Overall, a nice, surprisingly easygoing barleywine, one that showcases a balance and a restraint you don't normally find stateside. Good times.

Serving type: bottle

08-06-2013 02:24:48 | More by TMoney2591
Photo of msubulldog25


3.83/5  rDev +4.6%
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).

Serving type: bottle

06-20-2008 05:29:15 | More by msubulldog25
Photo of Malina


3.83/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - gorgeous copper, almost red. A nice healthy head.

S - sweet and a somewhat floral citrus.

T - Slightly sweet, almost fruity, with a delicious floral hoppiness.

M - A little tingly, and incredibly light for a barleywine.

D - Scrumptious! The alcohol content precludes drinking too many, but it is very tasty.

Serving type: bottle

07-14-2008 15:58:29 | More by Malina
Photo of scootny

New York

3.83/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Some chill haze at first but it clears up and reveals an amber liquid with a light white head. Not much sticking to the glass. Smell is rich and full sweet alcohol and toffee. Taste is kind of the same with a good balance of firmly bitter grapefruit hops. A bit of warm fresh brown bread. Some notes of leather, tobacco, and wood in the finish with touch of vanilla. While not hidden, the alcohol is well integrated into the taste. Feel is somewhat slick and syrupy with a gentle carbonation. Some warming from the alcohol as well. Goes down nicely.

Serving type: bottle

05-02-2010 03:25:56 | More by scootny
Photo of bmwats


3.83/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 650 ml bottle into a snifter.

A: Dark amber. Pours a pretty large, foamy, brown-white head. Settles very slowly. Substantial beer ring lacing remains.

S: Syrupy malt, raisin, a little molasses, and nutmeg.

T: Very woody, with just a slight sweet tinge. A little peaty, but more pungent. Raisin and licorice in there.

M:Thick, syrupy feel. High alcohol, sweet in the front, dry finish.

D: Sip and savor.

Atmosphere is pretty solid. Deep amber color, great foamy head, and very nice lacing. Nose is a little malt, with great sweet tones. Flavor is hearty, woody, and a little sweet. Great balance and body. Overall, this is a really good quaff.

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2011 06:16:26 | More by bmwats
Photo of belgbeerdrinker


3.8/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: hazy amber color, good-size head settles to veil, good lacing
s: heavy sweetness like syrup
t: sweet sweet malts and dark fruit flavors with a soft hop finish
m: creamy mouthfeel with good carbonation
d: very enjoyable and one easy-to-drink barleywine given the subtle hops. nice output from our new mexican neighbors

Serving type: bottle

11-08-2007 23:34:44 | More by belgbeerdrinker
Photo of StoneBrewFanatic


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

A - Has a dark copper color with about an inch of foam when poured into a class

S - Plenty of hops, malt and alcohol, a barleywine for sure!

T - Tastes heavily of malt, with subtle notes of spice and honey, and of course the alcohol

M - Very syrupy, lingers with a full feeling throughout the mouth

D - This is not my favorite barleywine, but I certainly would not be opposed to drinking it again some time

Serving type: bottle

06-30-2010 22:31:19 | More by StoneBrewFanatic
Photo of wcudwight

North Carolina

3.78/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Enola for sharing.
Nice ruby/amber in color with some orange hues when held up to the light. This is what I imagine a Santa Fe sunset may look like. 1/2" lightly tanned head slowly recedes to a thick lace on top of the beer.
Smell is huge malt sweetness. Brown sugar.
Big on the malts in the flavor with out overdoing it. Caramel and brown sugar again. There is just enough balance to keep it from being cloying.
Mouthfeel is thick, chewy, and filling. Typical for the style.
A sipper for sure but a good beer to drink.

Serving type: bottle

09-16-2007 05:49:31 | More by wcudwight
Photo of NitroGen


3.78/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

P: 1 Pint 6 oz. 10% Alc./Vol. Pours a cloudy reddish amber with a nice foamy head that slowly dissipates with lacing.

S: Deep caramel grains and yeast

T: Piney astringent bite of hops that turns to a slight sweet taste of raw sugar sweetness and alcohol finish.

M: Starts out great on the tongue but a bit thin on the palate with a slight sweet and oily finish. I wanted to really love this beer, but feel that reaching a 10% Alc/Vol. was done at the expense of taste and mouthfeel. I had wished it would have with a slightly sweet and a bit oily finish.

D: Defiantly not a session beer. Would try this again and recommend to others to see if their tastes differ than mine. Have a few to see if some of the rough edges smooth out with some time.

Serving type: bottle

10-31-2007 02:59:49 | More by NitroGen
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-06-2008 01:28:08 | More by jbphoto88
Photo of rye726


3.78/5  rDev +3.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-28-2008 02:39:31 | More by rye726
Photo of OakedCanuck


3.75/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle poured into snifter

This beer pours a reddish mahogany with a very nice off white to light yellow head. Minor bubbles and good lacing. Smell of candied sugars, hot caramel, plums, raisins and cinnamon. Taste is pretty sweet of caramel and toffee malts. The dark fruits are picked up along with some cherries and bitter orange peel. Mouth is medium, sticky and bit hot. Overall a bit unbalanced and hot but I enjoyed this one and would have it again, maybe with a year or two on it.

Serving type: bottle

05-04-2011 18:52:10 | More by OakedCanuck
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

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2013 01:45:16 | More by TownDunkel
Photo of barleywinebrewer

New Hampshire

3.73/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to the beerfly I found this brewpub and beer for my business trip. I happen to be a big fan of english style barleywines and this one was definitely in that vein! Kudos to the brewers for being this far west and resisting the urge to out hop the west coast brewers!

A - rich ruby red, draft carbonated head 1/2" which quickly dissipated. light lace on the glass.

S - rich wonderful malty smell. reminds me in some ways of having a youngs old nick in England at the brewery.

T - Very good. Lighter on the malt that the smell indicated. Well balanced with enough hops to keep this from being sweet, but not so much that it takes away from the wonderful malty / toffee flavor. at 10% ABV, it hides the alcohol very well.

M - Medium bodied brew. very smooth!

D - Easy to drink and deceptively strong. I enjoyed it enough that I am bringing a growler home to New Hampshire to share with friends.

Serving type: on-tap

06-21-2006 16:46:44 | More by barleywinebrewer
Photo of KodyBrannon


3.73/5  rDev +1.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-13-2008 15:49:01 | More by KodyBrannon
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

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.

Serving type: bottle

11-09-2008 02:48:47 | More by Sammy
Photo of JohnGalt1


3.73/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Received from stopbarking in our recent trade... Thanks Daniel!! Poured into my Chimay goblet.

3/4" head dies back fairly quickly... spotty lacing... brew is hazy orange.

Caramel and citric hops with some spicy alcohol notes... a little bit of yeasty fruitiness.

Flavor has more of a fruitiness than the nose... more floral hops than citric on the palate.. still a fair amount of caramel and maybe even some brown sugar.. again some spicy EtOH... Body is deceivingly light... and the carbonation is pretty much perfect.. Strikes me alot more of an English BW... fruitiness is sorta like a lite apricot or pear as it warms.

Thanks Daniel... I have one more of these that is about a year old and will probably age it for another 6 months or so... I'm glad I got to try a fresh version... but this guy could use some time in the bottle to mesh the flavors... it seems like a little of a mash-up right now.

Serving type: bottle

03-17-2009 05:42:13 | More by JohnGalt1
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-04-2011 04:46:25 | More by Mora2000
Photo of zeff80


3.73/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A - Poured out a clear, burgundy color with a one-finger, off-white head of bubbly foam. It left some sticky rings of lace.

S - It smelled malty with notes of toffee and caramel.

T - Very malty and sweet. Caramel and toffee flavors dominate with some spicy bitterness.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium to full bodied ale.

O - This isn't a bad barleywine, but its not a great one either. Good.

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2013 02:25:41 | More by zeff80
Photo of tronester


3.7/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a dark, hazy reddish amber, with a super creamy light tan head. Smell is very malty and of alcohol. Taste is super sweet, a lot of maltose here, as well as Carmel and biscuits. Bitterness is only to balance, as the super malt flavor overwhelms, but in a good way. There is also an interesting hop flavor as well. Mouthfeel is super creamy, nice smooth carbonation. Not very drinkable though, half of a 22oz bomber is plenty, the super sweet taste is good, but gets cloying after about 10oz. The alcohol starts to bite at that point too. I would definitely drink this again though, as it is nice to have a non-super hoppy barleywine for once.

Serving type: bottle

04-03-2009 23:57:53 | More by tronester
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-29-2009 19:52:45 | More by rhoadsrage
Photo of hoppymeal


3.68/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2008 03:30:34 | More by hoppymeal
Photo of BretSikkink


3.68/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-30-2008 04:01:19 | More by BretSikkink
Chicken Killer Barley Wine from Santa Fe Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 267 ratings.