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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 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 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 oberon
4.47/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I gotta say that I have been really impressed with some of Epic's wares, this is one of them.Poured into an over sized wine glass a deep copper color with a thinner but well retained head atop,a great mix of deep caramel malts and resiny hops,I was surprised at such a hop punch this beer gave off,pleasantly surprised at that.Sweetish upfront with caramel malts and boozy alcohol but it melds nicely into a leafy hoppy lingering finish,there is a bit of leather that comes into play adding to the complexity.To me this is a top notch American barleywine its's big and brash with a healthy dose of hops,I loved it.

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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 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".

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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.

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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 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 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 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.

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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 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 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.

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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.

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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 Pencible
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: This poured a hazy dark copper with moderate tan head.
S: It smelled like strong copper and citrus zest, with lots of sweet caramel and a little honey wheat.
T: It tasted like citrus zest and orange hops, with sweet caramel and a little copper and honey wheat. It had a mostly clean and bitter aftertaste with some heat and sweetness.
M: It was somewhat thick with moderate carbonation. Nice body.
D: This had a very nicely balanced scent and taste with good body. The alcohol was noticeable, so drinkability drops a bit. But age would really help mellow it out, and barrel aging would probably really benefit the flavor profile (adding a lot of complimentary complexities). There is really nothing wrong with this beer. Enjoyable barleywine.

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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 Daniellobo
3.88/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Good take on a US barley wine. Eenough range without too hefty a hop punch, while maintaining the overall character.

Presentation: 22 oz brown capped bottle. Paper label with a simple light cream and soft brown range, with name of the brew and series branding . Side narrative Offers a small note about the special and limited character of the brew (1800 numbered bottles, although the number is not apparent anywhere), and encourages to check their website for more details. Notes release #1, and 10.1 % Alc. by Vol. Served in a snifter.

A - Hazy deep amber pour, short frothy head, moderate retention, good surface memory, and some splashes of lacing.

S - Soft fair nose, malty touches, caramel, toffee, floral touches leading to the hoppiness.

T - Flavor is long and delicate with a nice malty undercurrent punctuated with hoppy notes. Caramel, toffee, resin, pine, orange peel...

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation with a smooth emerging booze sense caressing

O - On par with a good version of a US barley wine, without an overtly aggressive hop side.

Notes: Fair offering from Epic, while nothing memorable this is a good standard.

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Photo of ngeunit1
4.3/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a cloudy amber-brown color with a finger of frothy white head. The head fades down at a normal pace leaving behind some lacing.

S - Aroma is a mix of sweet caramel and caramelized malts with some brown sugar with a bit of booze.

T - Starts off with a mix of sweet caramel malts and caramelized sugars with some brown sugar. Through the middle, some grapefruit and pineapple hops come through with some bitterness. The finish is a mix of sweet caramel malts and grapefruit hops and bitterness with some brown sugar and a bit of booze.

M - Medium-plus bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels smooth with a sweet, bitter, and warming finish.

D - Very drinkable. Nice malt and hop balance with good hop bitterness and body to balance.

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Photo of Metalmonk
4.15/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Glassy bronze/maple syrup brown, with a bountiful head that thins to skim and crown in a minute or so. Small dots of lace on glass.

One of those super-caramel-y, candy-like BWs, a bit Bigfoot-ish, less hoppy though, with hints of vanilla, mineral, and root beer, and not much alcohol, surprisingly.

Like the nose, there's caramel, vanilla, mineral, root beer, but also showing the hops, and also a bit of a bitter herbal flair, a bit roasty, and somewhat bitter. Alcohol doesn't intrude at all, although there's just a sweet touch of warmth here. True to style, yet also throws a few tolerable curveballs in.

Slightly sticky and thick-ish, yet with plenty of smoothness and bounce.

If not spectacular then quite solid. Very American take on the style, and that's how it's meant to be. Perhaps a bit on the sweeter side, but there's enough depth here to offer a contemplative sipper for all but the most picky-ass barleywine fan.

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