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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: 150
Avg: 3.77
pDev: 11.94%
Wants: 3
Gots: 22 | 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
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Reviews: 43 | Hads: 150
Photo of yamar68
3.25/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark and dim amber/copper. Swelling off-white head, good looking lacing right off the bat.

I smell all sorts of OG... big sweetness. Some booze surfaces immediately, huge malts dominate this thing. Some honey notes, but the aroma doesn't stray far from the massive malt presence.

For how imposing the nose is, the taste is actually pretty dull, and I poured it room temp. It reminds me of a good barleywine on mute. The booze is still full strength though, leaving this one a bit out of whack.

I probably won't revisit this one. Not a fail by any means, they just need to beef this one up a bit.

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Photo of jjanega08
3.36/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Release #3 as per the bottle. 1,800 bottle release?

A= Pours a deep hazy brown color. Pretty typical color for a barleywine. The haziness threw me off a little but nothing too bad. I actually think hazy beers look cooler. The head is a finger and a half high with some sticky spotty lacing and the retention is pretty nice.

S= The smell is pretty typical barleywine was well. A touch of hops and a lot of toffee malt. A snigit of booze and a nice kiss of caramel. In all it seems like the nose is a little quiet for a barleywine however.

T= The taste is about what I expected. A touch of malty sweetness and a nice hop bitterness. The toffee malt character plays a little tango with the hops leaving a sort of overripe tropical fruit taste. Again however I notice that the flavors are a bit muted for a barleywine.

M= The mouth is very good for a barleywine. Just enough carbonation. The flavors still don't last though.

O= This is a good intro to barleywines. It has all the components of a good barleywine but it just seems a little quiet. Worth checking out and maybe it will develop nicely into a sweeter treat with time but for now this is just an average barleywine that is a nice intro to the style.

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Photo of ForWhatAlesYou
3.37/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22 oz bomber bottle pours correctly into a snifter.

A: Pale tawny brown. Drab. Frothy head fades but leaves a little spotty lace.

S: Very hoppy with some tawny aromas. Hops like fuggles. Wood, big alcohol.

T: Very bitter. Woody, strong. Very astringent. Some banana and apricot in the alcohol warmth.

M: Slight oiliness with overwhelming dryness. Med-low carbonation.

O: Actually a little unenjoyable. Not quite to my interpretation of the style.

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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.

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

Appearance: Red-amber, good head, good lacing.

Smell: Surprisingly small aroma. Mild citrus hop aroma.

Taste: Sweet, sugary, and thin at first. As it warms up there is some orange and grapefruit coming through along with some more caramel.

Drinkability: Seems pretty light for a strong beer.

The bottle says it is one of only 1800 released. Wow, a lot fewer than Darkness or other limited release beers. Release #2 from January 2011. This is a decent barleywine, leans toward the sweet side but not as much malt body as some of the better English BW's, and also not as hoppy as most US barleywines.

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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.

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Photo of TheFlern
3.43/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Picked up two bottles on my way out of SLC. Back at my pad in Ketchum on my birthday I decided to crack a bottle open. Lets see how it stands up...

Appearance: A decent amount of white head forms leaving an average amount of lacing. The beer itself is a light amber color and very clear.

Smell: I was a little thrown off here. This barleywine isn't bitter smelling but sweet! It is really sweet in fact much like the English style barleywines. Having had little experience with the English style I was intrigued to take my first sip.

Taste: This brew is sweet up front with a bitterness on the edges (if that makes sense). The taste is very strong and I imagine that with age this beer will become a favorite among English style barleywines that are American brewed by enthusiasts here on BA.

Mouthfeel: Very sharp alcohol. This one needs to be put away for at least a year.

Drinkability: Its hard to drink too fast given the alcohol content and how prominent it is at such a young age for the beer. However, I can feel that this beer was designed to be aged and not drunk immediately.

I suggest picking up a few bottles if you've got the extra cash and putting most of them away in your cellar. Epic brewing has yet to let me down!

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Photo of BigMcLargeHuge
3.45/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Courtesy of douglas88 over on ratebeer. Pours clear deep copper with tan head. The aroma is full with tart grapefruit, spicy hops, earthy hops, a touch of floral hops and faint maltiness deep in the background. The taste is full up bitter hops with bold citrus, floral, pine and spicy hops rider over the top of lesser notes such as earthy hops and faint molasses. The hops have robust bitterness and only a mild level of hop flavor. This hop profile has far more floral in it than almost any hoppy barleywine than I can think of. After having the pleasure of trying countless dozens of hop forward barleywines that are almost exclusively pine and/or citrus this floral component here seems out of place.

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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.

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Photo of trappistlover
3.48/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

(22oz bottle from Total Wine Desert Ridge. Release #2). Pours a clear red-copper color with off-white head. Some small lacing patterns appear when the head falls. Low carbonation. Thearoma has spicy hops, rum (?), pumpernickel, and some dried fruit. Rich and unique. Taste is bitter with a sweet malt backbone. Full bodied with an oily texture. Finish is a bit harsh with the alcohol being noticeable. So far, my least favorite of the Epic beers I’ve had.

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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

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.53/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked this one up tonight at Bier Thirty over in Bown... Damn ... $10!! The boys at Epic are growing very proud of their beers. :-) Batch #3.

Pours with a 1" tannish head that leaves tons of lacing atop a slightly hazed amber red brew.

Nose is toasty malts with some hints of citrus hops... caramel and a bit of something that I associate with old malt extract... Does not seem that "American" to me, but what do I know.

Flavor is again very malty with just a touch more than enough bitterness to balance... Hop flavors are again slightly pithy orange zest and move back into the bitterness then lingers for a while after the finish... In between the front and back, a pretty heavy maltiness shoulders the load... dark toast, malty caramel and some toffee essence.. Nothing outstanding, just a pretty okay example of the style.

The body is a touch thick, but a light/medium carbonation is ever present that makes me remember that we are in BW territory... Maybe a bit boozy with warmth, but no nail polish or jet fuel ever shows.

Overall, this is a nice brew right out of the gate... I don't know how well it would age... I doubt for more than a year or so. I still get bits of oxidation... There are hints for sure in the nose and aroma of unfermented malt extract mixed in water.

I guess I dig it... I may buy another just to cellar and try again in 9-12 months.. but I say drink it fresh.


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Photo of aasher
3.55/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle batch #3.

This beer pours a medium bodied dirty, creek water brown in color with amber hues and a one finger beige, soapy head. The nose consists of slight dry hoppiness, toffee, and raisins. It's not very aromatic and is pretty muted. The flavors are initially dry and bitter. It has moderate hop character initially. It then falls into deep malt of toffee and caramel. It's ok. It's pretty standard for the style, nothing special. It drinks full in body and is surprisingly dry for the style. This is a decent barleywine overall but nothing over the top. If you like traditional American barleywines this one could be up your alley.

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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.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.58/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Release # 5.

Pours a murky dark brown with a 2 inch foamy tan head that settles to a small cap on top of the beer. Thin foamy rings of lace form around the glass on the drink down. There is some floating sediment in the glass after the pour. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, caramel/toffee, and some herbal and citrus zest hops. Taste is the same with some somewhat strong alcohol flavors on the finish. There is also a medium amount of bitterness on the palate after each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slight level of carbonation and a medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good barleywine with a solid set of aromas and flavors. The alcohol is a bit jarring but nothing too bad.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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...

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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.

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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.

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Photo of alexhahn82
3.81/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Release #1

Appearance: Medium Amber with a very thing head.
Smell: EXTREME. From smelling the bottle after opening to the glass after pouring, this barley wine screams HOPS! Very pleasant suprise!
Taste is semi caramelly with a favorable hop flavor with a tame ending.
Mouthfeel: Almost as light pucker of vinegar with a very nice effervescence.
Overall: An impressive almost "west coast" interpretation of a hoppy barley wine, a must try!

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Photo of BeardedBoffin
3.83/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Epic's barleywine pours a mahogany brown with a nice web of foam above it which clung to the glass as it went down. The nose is a mixture of fermented sweet malt and hop bitterness. Fruity alcohol also joins the party. The malt hits the ground running on the palate. Caramel, toffee and dark fruit are joined by citrus rind in the center, some tobacco too. The hops provide some bitterness along with warmness from the booze. Mouthfeel is robust, almost oily as it coats the palate. A fine, drinkable rendition.

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Barley Wine from Epic Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 43 ratings.