Billionaire | Clown Shoes

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Brewed by:
Clown Shoes
Massachusetts, United States | website

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
English Barleywine aged in European Cognac barrels.

Added by dwagner003 on 11-12-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 65 | Ratings: 615
Photo of zac16125
4.04/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Found some old notes, figured I'd post them. Better late than never. Guessing these notes/rating are from approximately 1 year ago.

A: dark mahogany, 1/2 finger light tan head, decent retention and lacing 4

S: caramel/ toffee, candied sugar, a bit if spice, booze 3.75

T: very sweet, candied sugar, toffee and barrel notes, booze 4.25

M/D: 4

O: good but a little disappointing 4

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Photo of GOBLIN
4.19/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Sigh . . . I can't believe I finally opened my bottle of billionaire. Oh well, that's why we buy them right . . . To drink them ? This one poured a beautiful rich ruby color with no lacing. Aromas are dark fruits with the cognac lingering around for emphasis. Tastes luxurious and extravagant with caramel, raisins worn leather and oak are pulled together by the cognac barrels. Very little alcohol burn is noticeable. Though a couple of years on this bottle is probably to thank for that smoothness. Overall, glad I picked this up when I did. Billionaire has made for a really enjoyable drink tonight.

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Photo of TreyIsWilson
4.18/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Pours a murky dark reddish brown with a very thin white head. Light amount of spotty lacing.

S - Aroma is plums, raisins, dark cherries, and caramel malts.

T - The taste follows the aroma. Dark fruits upfront with sweet malts. The cognac appears in the finish producing a light alcohol warming.

M - Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. Dry sticky finish.

O - A very good English Barleywine. A year and a half has really mellow some of the alcohol heat.

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Photo of BullDoza
3.89/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle I've been holding on to, bottled 3/19/14.

A: Mahogany, deep red. Awesome looking color. Small white ring of a head, bubbles fighting up the side of the glass.

N: Apple juice with a splash of cranberry. Dark berry. It's almost crisp smelling. Caramel. Malty sweet. Earthiness and woody undertones.

T: Dark fruit and vanilla dominate. Caramel. Sweet. The beer is harsh on the finish. It's bitter, more in line with an American BW...but not in a good way. Honestly, not enjoying it.

F: coats palate well enough. A "good" feel.

O: enjoyed this more fresh. The lingering bitterness on the finish is odd and unexpected - I don't recall it months back. What seems an astringent beer to me, the GF is really enjoying.

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Photo of LAp
4.63/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

On tap, in a 12oz snifter. Pours a dark bronze, with slight head. Cognac on the nose, even reminiscent of a well-sherried scotch and raisins. Taste leads with warming alcohol, and sweet malt, followed with dark fruit and cognac. Mouthfeel is on the thicker side, but not too thick - ideal for a barleywine. Overall this is a great beer. Richly complex - a treat to drink.

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Photo of aoampm
4.59/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Well apparently this brew is retired so I guess this one I'm having has at least a year age on it. That being said, it tastes incredible. Murky amber color with nice lacing. Cognac and sweet fruit aroma which matches the taste in every way. Has the feel of a sweet yet complex and flavorful beer that is a smooth sipper.

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Photo of pat61
4.66/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Reddish chestnut with a slight, tan tinted foam cap and slight legs. Smell: some cognac on the nose with faint sherry Taste: Attacks creamy sweet follwed by a charge of sherry and malts with a growing bitterness wrapped in cognac. The flavor profile is wonderful. There is some fruit in there but the intensity of the cognac, malt, alcohol, and hops make it hard to pull out the fruit. Has an aspect of drinking a bourbon or a congac with the malt and alcohol – very creamy. Mouthfeel: Very creamy and chewy, with some slight warming.

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Photo of JohnnyHopps
4.33/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - The beer was a murky brown color with some bubbles along the sides of the glass.

Smell - A mild boozy aroma was present.

Taste - Toward the front, lime set the tone. It was followed by notes of banana candy, booze, and molasses. In the aftertaste, the booze lingers but does not overpower.

Mouthfeel - The cognac seems to add a clinginess the the taste making it syrupy in nature.

Overall - This us a great English Barleywine. It is a unique take on the style.

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Photo of spacecake9
4.21/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Dogfish Head IPA glass.
A - Pours a muddy amber brown with a thick head that settles quickly.
S - The aroma is of dried fruit like plums or raisins.
T - Sweet flavor of raisins with the alcohol noticeable on finish.
M - Medium mouth feel with low carbonation.
O - I really enjoyed this big, boozy Barleywine. Here's hoping Clown shoes brings it back next year so I can buy more. Next time I'll get an extra bottle for aging.

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Photo of Fcolle2
4.29/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours dark brown with some red hues and a thin light tan fizzy head. Smell has incredibly rich sweet grape, fig, and cranberry. Light oak and vanilla tannins in the end. Taste follows the nose with rich toffee and husky malt forward with fruity notes of fig, grape and slight hints of musky oak. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation and a good sticky sweet finish.

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Photo of antott0523
3.79/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

I was excited to find a few of these in the bottom shelf of the cooler alongside a few other Clown Shoes beers at Berkeley Wine Company, in Berkeley Heights, NJ. I picked up two bottles for $14.99 each.

Drinking this one the day of purchase, and saving one for later.

A: Pours a translucent bronze with a thick, guinness-like light brown head that quickly disappears. A thin ring of foam remains around the edge of the goblet. The color ranges from amber at the edge of the glass to burnt sienna at the center. There is no visible carbonation. 3.75

S: The Cognac aging comes through with sweet notes of cognac soaked pears and bread notes of panettone. For a 12% beer the booze is present, but by no means overpowering. 4

T: Subtly sweet with dried papaya, banana chips. raisins and pears. Sesame seed brittle. Unfortunately these attractive elements slip away as the beer takes a turn toward an unrefined ale with a relatively bitter finish including burnt sugar and a hint of astringent ethyl. 3.5

M: Moderate body that is extremely smooth and airy. Like a pillow on the tongue. Very minimal carbonation. Pleasant warmth from the alcohol. 4.5

D: This beer is a good Barrel Aged Barleywine. I enjoy this style and compared to the recent ones I've had it falls at the less sweet end of the spectrum. This is not my preferred flavor profile for the style, but there is something to be said for achieving subtlety with such a big beer. Unfortunately, for such a big beer there is a lack of complexity, which allows the booze to shine through in an unpleasant manner partially on the nose and predominately on the palate. I hope this beer mellows over time taking it from the level of a good beer to a very good beer. Overall this beer is a 3.75

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Photo of beerbully
4/5  rDev -3.1%

Poured from bomber into HF stemware

A-dark copper with reddish hue showing throw when held up to the light........minimal head 1/4 inch not much retention........moderate lacing that slides quickly down the glass (3.75)

S-Dark fruits, raisins, booze, sweet malts, molasses, some wood, vanilla, mild butterscotch (4.25)

T-somewhat follows the nose but the booze is more pronounced...........malts shine through with lots of dark fruits........cherries, raisins, figs, ................cognac shows itself in the finish........sweet boozy beer.........mild wood (4.25)

M-Almost zero carbonation.........medium body.......sweet.......mild booze (4.0)

O-nice complexity......a bit sweet......alcohol well hidden (4.0)

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Photo of sulldaddy
4.34/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Sampling a cellar temp 22 oz bottle poured into a snifter. The beer pours a rich dark chocolate hue with a little bit of ruby highlights on the edges of the glass. A slightly frothy yet densely packed beige head of 2 cm foams up and fades to a wispy surface layer that leaves some lattice on the glass after each sip.
Aroma is boozy and malty, with molasses, brown sugar and maybe some black licorice. Definitely malt forward on the nose.
First sip reveals a thicker body with some stickiness on my palate with each sip. I also note very fine carbonation. All the physical traits make this a very drinkable beer
Flavor is similar to the nose, all malt and booze, some deep molasses hits and brown sugar, generally sweet and boozy. Maybe a little vanilla in the background, but I dont get any realy barrel aged wood profile from this bottle. I also dont get a lot if any hop profile on this beer. This is a sipper, but I also dont have much problem finishing the bomber solo in short time.
A very drinkable high octane brew that I would gladly drink again if I find another bottle.

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Photo of Mdog
4.18/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Brown, good head.

Smell: Caramel, booze, slight cherry, more caramel, very sweet.

Taste: Big sweetness, cherry candy, lots of extra sweet caramel. Some woodiness in the finish. More dark fruits (raisin, black cherry, prune) as it warms up.

Overall: Decided to try a big bottle of Billionaire. Very tasty and pretty complex flavor. Other than the slight woodiness I didn't get much barrel flavor. Quite sweet but not cloying. A fun beer to try, big malty goodness.

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Photo of StoutHunter
4.31/5  rDev +4.4%

I picked up a bottle of Clown Shoes Billionaire a few months ago for $15.99 at The Lager Mill. Well It looks like this will be my 1,000th beer review, I always try and choose something a little different for these milestones and I thought a Cognac barrel aged Barelywine would fit the bill nicely, so lets see how it goes. 2014 Vintage. Poured from a brown 22oz bottle into a snifter.

A- The label looks nice, in typical clown shoes fashion it's a little weird and it goes with the name, plus it's pretty eye catching. It poured a nice caramel brown color that took on more of a ruby hue when held to the light with a finger and a half of creamy light tan head that died down to a thin ring that stayed till the end and it left a little bit of spotty lacing behind. This is a very good looking beer, I have no complaints at all.

S- The aroma starts off with a higher amount of sweetness with the fruits being the first to show up and they impart a nice dark fruit aroma that has a nice juicy aspect that reminds me of some dark cherry juice with a good amount of a raisin aromas also coming through. Up next comes the malts which impart a sweet malt, caramel malt, light toffee and light butterscotch aromas. Up next comes the cognac barrels which impart a light woody, light vanilla and sherry like aromas. This beer had a really good aroma, it was fairly complex and I think the cognac barrel added a nice touch.

T- The taste seems to be very similar to the aroma and it starts off with a higher amount of sweetness that has a light brown sugar like flavor to it and it's followed by the dark fruits still being the first to show up and they are a little lighter this time and it's the raisin that seems to stick out the most. Up next comes the malts which impart all those nice aspects that it did in the aroma, but this time they show up just a little more. Up next comes the alcohol which is noticeable, but not overly strong and it's a little warming and it's followed by the barrel which imparts a light oak, vanilla and a flavor that's a little sherry like, but it does remind me a little of some of the Cognac I had in my younger days. This beer tasted very good, it had the same complexity as the aroma and all the aspect worked well together.

M- Fairly smooth, the alcohol was hidden decently, just under being cloying, a little sticky, velvety, not too crisp, on the lighter side of being full bodied with a higher amount of low carbonation. This beer had a very good mouthfeel, the carbonation was at just the right level.

Overall I thought this was a very good beer and I thought it was a very good example of a Barrel Aged Barleywine, the Cognac barrels worked nicely and it seems like the flavors that they imparted complemented the caramel, toffee, and dark fruit base flavors of the Barleywine. This beer had nice drinkability, it was fairly smooth, the alcohol was decently hidden, just under being cloying, a little stick, velvety, not too crisp, a little filling and the taste did a great job of holding my attention, this is a great sipping beer and I think I wouldn't mind drinking the whole bottle to myself, but that would be my limit. What I like the most about this beer was the complexity and how well the cognac barrels worked with the barleywine base, those were the highlights to me. What I liked the least about this beer was nothing, there wasn't a single thing I would change about this beer it's great just the way it is. I would buy this beer again if I saw it, it's a little pricey, but it's worth it and I would recommend it to any barleywine or barrel aged beer fan. All in all I was very happy with this beer and a little impressed, I haven't had Cognac in years and I was never a big fan of it, but I thought the barrel really worked nicely with this beer and I think the flavors blended just as well with the base as Bourbon barrels do. So far it's up there as one of my favorite Clown Shoes beers and one of my favorite Barrel aged Barleywines. This beer made for a great beer to celebrate my 1,000th review with, it took me about four and half years for me to get this far, Cheers to a 1,000 more. Great job guys, this was a fantastic beer, keep up the hard work.

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Photo of orcrist_cleaver
3.97/5  rDev -3.9%

A: Not terribly attractive looking. Dark chestnut brown with beet red. Looks a lot like swamp water, very murky. Has some lighter tan notes, and very good depth of color. Short light brown head (3.25/5).

S: Strong raisin, vanilla, burnt toffee, muscat grape, truffle, sandalwood, toasted coconut, perfumey lychee fruit. Nice complexity, but they could be integrated better than just a whiff of raisin jam. (4/5)

M: Medium body with medium carbonation. More drinkable than I expected. Very smooth. Barely noticeable alcohol burn. (3.75/5)

T/O: Dark raisin, grapes, toffee are your primary notes. Delicate floral sweetness, lychee and coconut. Chocolate and vanilla blend with some light charred wood flavor to create a balanced and lightly sweet finish. Has a selenium/metallic tinge at times. It's good, but I don't think it's worth the price tag.(4.25/5)

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Photo of WTKeene
4.32/5  rDev +4.6%

Poured from a batch one bottle into a snifter.

Appearance: Chestnut brown with hints of maroon. An eggshell head, not particularly long lasting or anything. Spotty lacing.

Smell: Boozy, sweet caramel and dark fruits. Hints of amaretto. A little bit of that raisin-y cognac flavor comes through too, but not too much.

Taste: A good bit of amaretto, sugary in a Belgian sort of way, similar to the Westy 8 we opened earlier in the night. Definitely boozy too. Caramel is definitely there, with a hint of roast, almost like a sourish coffee flavor on the finish. Very nice

Mouthfeel: Sticky, as most good BA Barleywines are, with a level of carbonation appropriate for the style (which is to say a lowish level) and somewhat thin for a barleywine.

Overall: Very very tasty, and another excellent barrel aged beer from Clown Shoes, who really knows what they’re doing with this genre of the craft.

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Photo of DIM
4/5  rDev -3.1%

This was a clear dark cola brown; it poured with a short lived fizzy head.

Definitely a barleywine nose, plenty of spicy toffee, raisin, and a little heat. There was a hint of tobacco from the barrel and maybe a small trace of out place booze (cognac?). More heat in the mouth than the nose. This helped blunt the sweetness that might have otherwise been cloying. Lots of rich toffee and dark fruit with some vanilla and a bit of a spicy, woody tingle. The finish was a bit too hot, tasting strongly of raw alcohol. The body was thinner than I would have liked for a beer this size.

I really enjoyed this, but I expected more of a unique experience because of the cognac barrel.

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Photo of Axnjxn
3.95/5  rDev -4.4%

cognac barrels balance out the booziness. still a very big and sweet beer. sip this and share it with friends, you probably wont want more than 4oz to yourself.

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Photo of cpetrone84
3/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pour is dark chestnut with ruby edges and a light brown head. Nose is lots of caramel and dark fruits, a stale herbal note and a bit of booze with a hint of metal. Taste is similar, lots of caramel, brown sugar, some dark fruits, heavy alcohol and a bit of an off metallic note in the finish. Very full bodied and chewy with moderate carbonation.

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Photo of Jmamay22
4.12/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

My first beer from this brewery and I believe the first I've had from cognac barrels.

The beer pours a very cloudy reddish brown. Murky and cloudy and not terribly attractive. The khaki head fights a good fight, but settles to a minimal cap and collar. No lacing, but not expected for such a strong English barleywine.

The scent is absolutely lovely. Notes of raisin, vanilla, honey, allspice, a touch of warming alcohol. It all comes together beautifully. A nice hint of coconut as well. Very much malt forward the barrel aging is well done Nd in balance with the other characteristics, but I could never guess cognac. Interesting choice that works out well.

The taste isn't as complex as the scent, but still well done. Sweet toffee and molasses give way to vanilla and oak. Warming finish, but a little lighter bodied than I had expected. The carbonation is appropriately subdued compared to your average ale. Wishing for slightly more body here. The warming alcohol helps to even out the strong malt forward beverage keeping it from being too sweet.

All around a very well done barrel aged beer. The appearance and mouthfeel (a little thin) are my only complaints, but overall well done.

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Photo of thecheapies
4.39/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Dark burnt caramel color with sticky legs. Thick foam ring circles the outer surface.

Sweet brandied fruits, cognac sweetness, French oak from the barrel, raisin, milk chocolate, caramel, cooked berries, and gooey toffee. So malty and insane. Almost cloying with sweetness, but enchanting to the whiff.

Rich and sweet. Primary flavors are concord grape juice, cognac, dark caramel, and chocolate-covered raisin. Rummy and thick. Nuances of toffee, prune, maple syrup, drunken pound cake, spicy booze, rye whiskey, and so much barley. Awesome flavor. Sipping speed strength and thickness. So goddamn thick and syrupy. I don't mind, I feel like a friggin' billionaire.

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Photo of Jjski
3.82/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Wow, I went to a lot of effort to obtain 2 bottles if this. The first was not impressive. I adore English Barleywine, little puppies, and my wife in a tight white tee shirt

I planned to age the second, but tonight while organizing the climate controlled, deep subterranean beer bunker, the unthinkable happened: I dropped the second Billionaire and the cap began to spit foam.

Protocol alpha was immediately implemented. The Hangar 24 Hammerhead Barleywine was returned to isolation, glass ware was chilled, and the movie was started.

Monthy Python and the Holy Grail, recently obtained by covert negotiation with an anonymous arms and DVD broker from Modesto ( code name netFlix), was loaded and played.

As this ruptured vessel of Billionaire was was enjoyed, I confirmed my initial impression: Double DBA and Insanity are better. Is Billionaire very good ? Yes. Great? Maybe not.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.65/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to GRG1313 for sharing this one at his tasting.

Pours a hazy orange-brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, caramel, toffee, fruit, cognac, and wood aromas. Taste is much the same with caramel, fruit, and cognac flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of wood bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with a cognac presence that comes through a bit stronger in the flavor.

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Photo of Jonada
4.07/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

22oz bomber. Bottled 4/10/2014. Served in a snifter

Appearance: Pours a dark red brown color with less than a finger of a tan head that dissipates to a thin collar. Body is dark with only a faint amount of light penetrating through the glass.

Smell: Dark fruits, particularly raisin, caramel, sweet malt, brown sugar, red grape.

Taste: Caramel, dark fruit, slight roasted character, cognac, sweet malt.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with a syrupy mouthfeel. Carbonation is medium. Not overtly boozy, but definitely a sipper.

Overall: Really nice barleywine. This is the first beer I've had aged in cognac barrels and I think they complimented the base beer nicely. A bit sweet, even by english barleywine standards, but still a really good beer worth trying.

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Billionaire from Clown Shoes
91 out of 100 based on 65 ratings.