Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine by selecting auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

Barley Wine - Epic Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Barley WineBarley Wine

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

43 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 43
Hads: 151
Avg: 3.77
pDev: 22.28%
Wants: 3
Gots: 23 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Epic Brewing Company visit their website
Utah, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  10.10% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BigMcLargeHuge on 02-23-2011

The first sip of this brilliant, red-brown beer reveals a robust mouth feel and complex flavors including raisin, dark bread, some sherry flavors sure to increase with age. With the finish comes the flavor of Columbus hops followed by the alcohol warmth that can be felt down your throat.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Reviews: 43 | Hads: 151
Photo of Radome
4.31/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 22 oz bomber bottle into a goblet.

L - Color is medium to dark brown with red highlights. Clear. Light tan head is creamy and fairly persistent.

S - Aromas of bread, molasses, plums, raisins from the malt. The hops are mostly earthy and spicy. Together they give an impression of delicious spice cake.

T - Flavors more balanced toward hops than I expected. The malt is there with molasses, brown sugar and dried fruits, but those flavors quickly get subsumed by strong hops flavor and bitterness. Hops are earthy and spicy. Off-dry finish.

F - Thick body that is counteracted by intense bitterness. Low, creamy carbonation. Strong alcohol presence.

O - This is an intensely hopped American style barley wine that smells more complex than it tastes. Still, very enjoyable.

 801 characters

Photo of pat61
4.25/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Hazy reddish chestnut under a thin tan foam collar, splotches of lace, faint legs.
S: Fruity, estery nose with some rich malt sugars.
T: Dried fruit, caramelly malt, prune and then a medium high bitter hop finish.
M: Big body with a below average carbonation. Slight warming.
O: A big bold barley wine that can probably stand some age.

 342 characters

Photo of HowardTheDuck
4.06/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Release #14 (9/30/13) 10.4% abv. Brewed with 6 different malts and 4 different hops. Poured into a snifter. Very large, off-white head with a heavy sea-foam consistency (thick but airy). Really dark coffee-like color, similar to an Old Ale. This is an older bottle but its tasting significantly better than I anticipated. Very malt forward with the requisite accompanying sweetness, some sherry notes and a hearty breadiness. Slight lingering grassy hop flavor but the hops are virtually nonexistent now. The body is on the heavy side for the style which works to this beer's advantage. While a bit unconventional, this beer is an excellent representation of the English-style barleywines. As a fan of non-hoppy barleywines, I'm really pleased with this.

 754 characters

Photo of Brutaltruth
3.65/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Enjoyed from the bomber in a snifter, this barely wine pours a muddled brown with red tinges and a decent head that dissipates to a thin ring and very light lacing. Nose of caramel malts, some raisins, and resinous hops. Flavors follow the nose perfectly with a strong hop character blending with a moderate malt backbone with hints of raisins and dates. Hop forward barely wine style with a bitter hop aftertaste, moderate carbonation, and an effervescent mouth feel makes it drinkable, yet still very hop forward diminishing from the sweeter side that could be apparent with potential age. Decent barely wine.

 615 characters

Photo of Bowers-Brew
4.04/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Release 14 - Bottled September 2013 - Served @ 50deg F in Snifter

A - Medium brown with red highlights. Light tan head - ~1/2" when poured aggressively.

S - Lots of malt, candied sugar, molasses, raisins, caramel, tobacco - light hop and alcohol notes.

T/F - Brown sugar, raisin, sherry, plums - sweet/bitter finish. Slight alcohol bite - thin finish.

O - Brownish/Red Barleywine that has rich & mellow flavors with each sip. I thought this tasted better than what it's rated, but it needs a little more to make it great. I think this would be a good candidate for bourbon and oak aging. Prost!

 607 characters

Photo of SHODriver
4/5  rDev +6.1%

Release 15

A: poured into a snifter to a deep brown with a finger and a half of dense off white head that retains well and leaves good lacing
S: smells of earthy and herbal hops with some slight caramel and raisin notes
T: taste is bready and caramelly malt sweetness with some stone fruits and herbal hop flavors with a little bit of citrus rind. swallow brings a big and bitter herbal hop note that lingers for some time.
M: big and slightly chewy on the palate with soft well rounded carbonation. finish is oily and slightly drying from the alcohol
O: A little abrasive right now but with a year or two to mellow out this one should be smooth and dangerous. The complexity is there and the mouthfeel is killer but for me it needs a little time for the hops to mellow.

 779 characters

Photo of jwc215
3.9/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours reddish brown with a head that has very good retention for the high abv/style. Some lacing sticks.

The smell is of toffee, raisins, rum-soaked bread and some pine.

The taste is of toffee with raisins. Enough hops give it a piney/citric balance to fit it into the "American" rather than "English" style, though the malt stays ahead through the finish. Alcohol is warming, but not too hot.

It is silky smooth. Carbonation fitting for the general character of the beer.

This is a wonderful American barleywine. Toffee character is strong, but has a hop character in the balance. A great "sipper".

 603 characters

Photo of TheDDO
3.72/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Release #14, poured into a snifter

Apperance- Pours a hazy rusty brown, looks like that rusty nail sticking out of your backyard woodshed. Starts with a finger and a half of cream colored spongy head that quickly dissipates to small bubbles around the outside edge of the beer. Leaves behind a spoty lacing.

Smell- Caramel right off the bat. As the beer warm, a citrus hoppiness develops. Almost Pale Ale like. Not your typical Barley Wine scent, which is not necessary a bad thing.

Taste- As I took the first sip, I had a hard time putting my finger on what what was there, a complex beer indeed. So I went over to Epic's website. They describe this beer as having a "dark bread" taste. That brought it home for me, I did pick up on some dark fruit, pumpernickel taste. Not bad. This beer develops well as it warms. The alcohol is well hidden, but does warm as it goes down.

Mouthfeel- Smooth and sticky at the same time. This beer coats the mouth well, allowing you to try and distinguish what exactly is going on with this brew. Very nice.

Overall- This was a good beer. I may have been expecting a bit more, but I'm not disappointed in any means. If you run across this beer, i recommend trying it. I may pick another up to age, just to see if my mind changes in a year or so.

 1,286 characters

Photo of jzeilinger
3.67/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

In review is a 2012 vintage.

A - Pours a toffee color with a two fingered cream head and modest carbonation. Color is a little on the lighter side for a barley wine.

S - Roasted toffee, a small trace of citrus, caramel, and a hint of booze.

T - Follows the nose with a nice mixture of roasted caramel/toffee, followed by some citrus bitterness on the end and a waft of alcohol effervescence. There's a slight hint of woodiness and left on the palate is a lingering alcohol warmth and a mouth coated with roasted caramel and citrus bitterness that's perfectly balanced.

M - Medium body to full medium body but feels a little light for the style, coats the lips with sticky toffee sugar.

O - I love the Exponential Series from Epic, they do a great job. Solid, but sits in the middle of the pack. Definitely worth trying, though.

 832 characters

Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.55/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle poured into an Epic tulip.
10.4% ABV, Release #14

A - It's hard to see the haze through the deep tarnished copper color, but Epic's Barley Wine definitely isn't clear. It does have a fantastic head though! The ivory foam tickles the glass with wisps of lace before settling to a halo of loose bubbles.

S - Rich and complex maltiness captivates the nostrils, drawing the olfactory in for closer inspection. What's found are plump sherry-soaked raisins swimming in melted caramel cube and toffee sweetness basking under the light shade of earthy hop pedals.

T - The complexity continues as Epic's Barley Wine tastes undeniably malt-forward with silky smooth caramel and toffee sweetness dribbling over the crusts of thickly sliced, freshly baked bread. Subtle notes of toast on the verge of roast make their way into the background with a light kiss of earthy hops that signal resiny pine flavors.

M - With it's medium-full body and exceptionally smooth feel finishing with sweetness, Epic's Barley Wine only offers a slight kiss of hops for balance and a faint trace of bitterness behind the warming alcohol.

O - If I didn't know any better I might forgo the fact this is billed as an "American Barleywine" and accept it as the malty English style with open arms. Malt-forward through and through, the subtle offerings of earthy, almost piney American hops are miniscule in comparison to the rich and forthright malt complexities contained in this beer. It's alcohol presence certainly isn't disguised but it's also not in any way a focal point of the beer, which makes it a bit dangerous on the drinkability scale.

 1,632 characters

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

a good barleywine, squarely in the middle of english and american convention. its a deep copper color, lazy tan head on top, and an aroma of burning sugars, caramel sauce from the can, raisins, and pine hops. an odd arrangement where the malt and all its layers of sugars and grain character comes on the front end, and all of the hops, primarily the bitterness, comes on the back end, the finish, and the swallow. its a dichotomy so pronounced that the beer lacks cohesion, unity, and flow. still, i like the robustness of it all, the no holds barred approach, not afraid to chuck a bunch of hops in a traditionally sweet brew. it makes me happy in some ways, and even though the alcohol is very well hidden for such a colossal beer, this is a bomber to share. intimidating even at 11 ounces, its surprisingly light in body for how big it is, and its full of flavor. not passive beer at all, thats for sure. not my favorite example of the style out there, but a well made one.

 977 characters

Photo of beergoot
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Deep copper-red colored body with a rich, soft and creamy thick head; globs of foam and lacing sticking to the glass. Rich caramel aroma; pecan note teaser; warm bread. Honey and warm whole grain bread flavors; fruity esters; soothing hop bitterness. Medium bodied with an airy softness and delicate smoothness; semi-dry finish.

A very pleasing Scotch ale that packs a lot of pleasing surprises in its deep and complex persona. Light and airy yet exuding a deeply satisfying malt grain and nutty flavor profile.


Additional notes: reference release #15, SLC #1190, ABV 10.2% (3/31/2015 pour date)- basically the same as my original review...rich and tasty...

 682 characters

Photo of Zorro
4.01/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Clear reddish brown colored beer with a tall tan colored head.

Smell is strong with the hops. Strong NW style hops mostly pine with some cedar and cinnamon scent. Scents of brown sugar and caramel. Black pepper and apple skin in the ethanol fraction. Slight chocolate aroma.

Starts out sweet and woody with a big caramel taste. Bittersweet taste with a significant amount of sweetness. Butterscotch taste with a significant ethanol flavor. Bitterness is medium. Brown sugar is present. Tasty but not quite among the best.

Mouthfeel is thick.

Overall a tasty beer but not quite world class. Worth a try.

 614 characters

Photo of AgentMunky
3.4/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle into a Rochefort chalice. Batch #4. At least a couple of years old.

A: No head. Light tracing. Murky dark-tan muddy. Good lacing.

S: Carmelized sugar. Distant, earthy hops are perhaps only wishful thinking. Smells sticky and strong.

T: I think I cellared this too long. Dull and boring. Flat, if chewy. English malts, English hops, English Barleywine.

M: Kinda meh. But sternish and solid enough.

O: I like it, but it was a bit of a letdown after this long.

 497 characters

Photo of barleywinefiend
3.41/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured a burgundy color with good carbonation leaving a nice frothy, dirty white cap. The head retention is pretty good leaving behind some spotty lacing and a light ring clinging to the sides of the glass

S: My first whiff immediately after pour it smelled like dirt and caramel, definitely Earthy. However, as it warmed and settled a touch of bread, dark fruits, pine and citrus arise

T: Initial wallop of toasted bread, caramel, and brown sugar with a pungent bitterness. Some fruits and more bittering hops with a lingering, hop bittering, sweet bready finish and some heat on the end which is pretty stinging

M: Medium bodied, well carbonated, bit sticky and feels warm

O: A pretty decent, safe and common example of the style.

 739 characters

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.47/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Release #5, October 2011; Sampled April 2012
A healthy pour into my Lost Abbey Teku glass produces a three finger thick, nicely amber tinged, full tan colored head. The beer is a concentrated red / amber color that shows a brilliantly clear, paler version when held up to the light. The aroma smells of pine and citrusy hops, concentrates caramelized malt, nutty, slightly toasted whole grain bread, and fruity notes of berries, raisins and perhaps even some cherry notes. The fruitiness can be the dominant note at times, especially as you really dig into the aroma, but there is also clearly a hop character and a concentrated malt character to the nose.

Thick and viscous as it first hits the palate, there is a big burst of bitter, herbal hop character up front that is offset by a rich, caramelized malt character that then comes to the for, but the bitterness again blossoms in the finish as it lingers on the palate. The beer is not nearly as sweet as I might have expected, instead it has a rich, caramelized, concentrated malt character that has a nicely nutty, toasted quality to it that lingers on the palate for quite some time. The hop character has an herbal, somewhat menthol like character to it for the most part. As the beer warms up it becomes quite a bit more fruit focused with notes of berries, perhaps a touch of cherry, and even some candied citrus. The crystal malt character also starts to become more noticeable, contributing a touch of sweet tea like character, a hint of spicy whole grain character and a bit whole grain cracker like note that expresses itself prominently in the oral nasal interface. Interesting notes of licorice somehow get infused along with the herbal / hoppy / piney hop character. The alcohol becomes a bit more noticeable with time as well, at times it can get a little hot even, but overall it remains fairly balanced; Actually it seems that the sediment kicked up into subsequent pours has somehow accentuated the alcohol, so I would recommend pouring this cleanly in one go if you can.

I like that this beer has a fairly big malt presence; the hop character is perhaps a touch more dominant, but this beer is actually pretty well balanced between the malt & hop character. This should age quite well for at least a couple years. This is nicely enjoyable, even pleasantly surprising.

 2,341 characters

Photo of drrone
4.17/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Batch 12

A - pours a dark amber, with light head that faded quickly and left small patches if residual lace.
S- great caramel, malt, bread/biscuit and a great hop presence.
T- Really great taste, more of the nose, but a great hop resin profile. Very impressed.
M-very easy to drink with very light carbonation. Hides the abv very well.
O- fanastic taste, very smooth. This is probably my new go to barley wine. Epic rarely disappoints. Well done.

 450 characters

Photo of kawilliams81
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- pours a dark copper with 1 finger tan head. Tons of spotting and lacing remains on the glass.

S- caramel, brown sugar, vanilla.

T- sweet toasted malts, caramel, and brown sugar.

M- medium body and carbonation. Very smooth.

O- good barleywine. Well balanced, sweet and smooth.

 282 characters

Photo of kagent777
4.06/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bomber poured into a CCB snifter maybe a little too cold. Batch number 1 (brewed September of 2010) has 10.1 ABV. This one has been stored cool since purchase. First beer of 2013, over 2.5 yrs old.

Appearance: A gorgeous red brown with a fluffy white head about one finger tall. The head is cool looking with a few large bubbles but mostly smaller bubbles.

Smell: Pungent hops as soon as the bottle is opened, even at 2.5 yrs old. Nice dark dried fruity notes, black cherry, raisin, and dark spicy bread. Malt smell is rich and a little sweet.

Taste: The dark fruit is most evident with some toffee and caramel. A little sweetness mingling with the smooth booze of 10.1 ABV. Even a touch of cocoa. There is a little barrel woodiness that is lurking in the background. The hops bitterness is also hiding in the background, and not as forward as I imagine it was at bottling. Moderate strength for a BW, but also balanced. One of the most interesting Barleywines that I have had.

Mouthfeel: Very thick and clingy body, with correspondingly low carbonation. Right where it should be.

Overall: A very interesting barleywine, I really enjoyed the flavor. I wonder how much the newer releases of this beer compare? The price is a bit stiff at about 8 or so per bomber, but I could drink this once a winter or so. Marked a 3.5 only for price.

 1,346 characters

Photo of corby112
3.61/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Release #3

Pours a cloudy, dark golden copper color with ruby red edges and a one finger frothy white head that slowly settles into a lasting ring. Streaks of soapy lacing left behind.

Earthy aroma with sweet and leathery malt notes countered by grassy hops, dark fruit and alcohol. Hints of toffee, biscuit, hazelnut and rye as well as some earthy, floral hops, cherry, currant and other dark berries.

Medium bodied with a sticky hop presence that provides a dry, bitter counterpoint to the sweet and earthy malt notes. Earthy, grassy hops up front followed by hints of rye, toffee, hazelnut dark frut sweetness and alcohol. Hints of plum, raisin and dark cherry provides some needed sweetness toward the finish. Decent amount of alcohol flavor but the high ABV is well masked making it pretty easy to drink. One of the better beers that I've had from Epic.

 863 characters

Photo of tdm168
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to jtd1969 for bringing this to the Barleywine tasting.

A - dark orangish amber with a short-lived head with little retention

S - caramel, candy sugar, bread, dark fruit

T - caramel, bread, sugary, alcohol, faint bitter hops, citrusy

M - full bodied, well carbonated, smooth, warming alcohol

This is a dangerously drinkable, complex beer that has great balance and hops character. The malts are forward and it's a bit sticky. On the whole this is a delicious example of the style.

 492 characters

Photo of andrenaline
3.65/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Release #6

A - Pours a slightly hazy copper colour, thumb of head with solid retention and solid sheeting lacing.

S - Heavy citrus hops and earthy pine, hints of cedar, and a touch of toffee on the finish.

T - The flavour is surprisingly mild, given the heavy nose. A muddled earthy pine hop flavour comes through alongside boozy toffee and some salted roasted almonds. The ABV could be better hidden, but the flavour profile is tasty nonetheless.

M - Medium bodied, smooth and dry on the finish.

O - A tasty Barley Wine and worth a try, but the ABV could be a bit more subtle. Decent flavour profile but could use a bit fine tuning to make it world class.

 661 characters

Photo of RblWthACoz
3.78/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Beer #66 in my great Utah Brew Hunt.

At first, there was something really not working about this beer. That quickly faded away. Thankfully.

Overall, this strikes me as an "everyday" barleywine. It's mellow and smooth and carries a nice flavor profile. There could be a more lingering flavor to it all, but it isn't bad or anything. A little bit too malty sweet. Nice to drink, if not uninspiring and uneventful.

 415 characters

Photo of joemcgrath27
3.49/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

props to andrenaline for including this treat in our latest trade
A - hazy copper, tight creamy head retained outstanding with lots of wispy lacing all around
S - big piney hops and booze, some grain and candy sweetness, with a bit of a harshness to it
T - starts with a nutty and pine mix, touch of caramel and booze, finishes with a mild mineral quality
M - medium and creamy, just a touch of boozy heat, finishes full
O - the harsh aroma was a bit off putting but the flavour and feel redeemed it, not great but definitely a good barleywine

 543 characters

Photo of liamt07
3.57/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared by Steve, Release #5. 650ml into a tulip.

Dark brown with OK lacing and light retention. Great toffee and caramel right off the bat, light fruitiness and some relatively generic sweet malt character. Taste is about the same, caramel, bitter citrus, dark breads and alcohol. Heavy feel, fairly dense and relatively intense bitterness. Good but not great, pretty average for the style I thought.

 408 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Barley Wine from Epic Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 43 ratings.