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Bourbon Barrel Barleywine | Great Basin Brewing Co.

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Brewed by:
Great Basin Brewing Co.
Nevada, United States | website

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 13.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Our Risky Biscuit Barleywine is aged in an old Bourbon barrel for six months – lively, intense, rich & satisfying with a taste of bourbon.

Added by jdklks on 06-05-2010

User Reviews
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Reviews: 3 | Ratings: 8
Photo of Cinderbike
4.72/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Had on tap at the Sparks location.

A - Dark brown, slightly hazy, with a quickly-receding tan head.

S - Boozy, figs, dates, caramel, toffee, toasted bread, coconut, vanilla, MORE vanilla.

T - Slight alcohol warmth, while the chewy vanilla tones coat your tongue. This is a fantastic barleywine. Sweet, malty, with warmth and tons of bourbon notes from the barrel. A hint of oak at the finish.

M - Thick, but not syrupy. Just right. Low carbonation, as it should be in a beer this big.

O - Very impressed. Great Basin is by far the best brewery in Reno, and this is, IMO, the best beer they've ever brewed.

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Photo of jdklks
4.77/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I was thoroughly blown away by this beer. Was not expecting this at all to come from Great Basin, but it did.

It pours a beautiful dark amber/brown with a crisp off white head that doesn't stay around for long. The smell is of toffee, caramel, burnt malts, brown sugar, alcohol, figs, bourbon barrel, etc.

The flavor is ridiculously complex, and the barrel aging is the most impressive example I've tried with regard to barleywines. Very sweet up front with dark fruits, especially fig and some apricot. The middle hits with a blast of toffee, caramel, and brown sugar, and the finish is a perfectly subtle bourbon character that heats up a bit as the beer warms.

The mouthfeel is nice and thick and perfectly carbonated, and the drinkability is limited only by the beer's 13% abv. One of the best barleywines I've ever had, and an extremely pleasant surprise that it's brewed by Great Basin.

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Photo of Jmoore50
4.82/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is actually called Old Fitz Barleywine. It was aged in 27 year old Old Fitz whisky barrels for six months. I know one of the brewers, and he said the reason that this beer received such a good barrel treatment was because the temperature in the storage room was so inconsistent, that the beer expanded and contracted into the wood so often that it sucked out all of the flavor available.
From the other poster jdkls, everyone that had this beer was incredibly surprised that this was produced at Great Basin. It is a good brewery, but it is small and very hit and miss on some of their offerings. I made a few more special visits to the brewery to try this and I do think it is one of the best barrel aged barley wines that I have ever had.

So this beer is amazing, almost every characteristic is perfect. If you read through my reviews you will see that I am not a huge fan of barrel aged barley wines because they are overly hot and a muddled mess. This was straight out of the barrel and it is great. It has a great dark brown heart that gradients out to a nice bronze color. It has no chance of creating a head, too much alcohol and I am sure the bartender did not know that I like those foamy bubbles.

The smell is so amazing, truly great barrel aged beers have some of the best aromas. This pushes out caramel, toffee, chocolate, lots of vanilla, and that sweet liquor called bourbon.

The taste is spot on with the smells. It has a great bourbon flavor that pushes everything through, just copy and paste the smells from above and put them here. The sweet caramelized sugars are just amazing and the bourbon has no harsh tastes, its just the sweetest and most delicious aspects of whisky put into this beer.

The mouthfeel is near perfect. It has a bit of alcoholic breath but it is so clean and smooth that the entire tasting is like sipping on something really special. Just an amazing beer from a local.


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Bourbon Barrel Barleywine from Great Basin Brewing Co.
- out of 100 based on 3 ratings.