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Single Batch Series - Barleywine - Sebago Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Single Batch Series - BarleywineSingle Batch Series - Barleywine

Educational use only; do not reuse.

65 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 65
Hads: 143
Avg: 4.26
pDev: 11.97%
Wants: 91
Gots: 31 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Sebago Brewing Company visit their website
United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  9.20% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: barleywinebrewer on 05-01-2008

This beer is a blend of Old World influence and modern day ingredients and technique. Domestic malt and distinctly American hops produce this rich, full bodied ale. On top of it all, this beer was barrel-aged in charred oak bourbon barrels for over eight months. The end result is an unfiltered dark ruby colored ale with very intense aromatics.

60 IBU
View: Beers (29) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 65 | Hads: 143
Reviews by dpianka:
Photo of dpianka
4.75/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

date of tasting: 4/2/2013
place of tasting: Barley Vine - Bristol, CT
beer: 2011 Barleywine limted release
brewery: Sebago
brewery location: Gorham, Maine
type: ale
style: barleywine
abv: 12.5%
ibu: 60
glass: mug w/appearance test in tasting glass
temperature of beer: 55F

Appearance: rich copper, quite opaque. Head pours rich and heavy

Smell: first hit: coconut and rum, not to be confused with cloyingly sweet coconut rum but like someone took some really good white rum and poured it into a coconut (kind of like the vodka and watermelon everyone used to do back in college) and let it sit for a few days. Then I get a little shot of pineapple and vanilla, the vanilla hits you like a brick once you notice it. Very faint oaky/charred wood. Butterscotch maltiness is also there in every whiff.

Taste: oh-my butterscotch, almost marshmallow-like vanilla, hops are ever so slight they just kind of dance in the background reminding you that they are there. There is a hint of fresh cut grass that kind of just lies back like it’s all lazy and whatnot.

Mouthfeel: creamy, chewy, smooth, moderately heavy bodied.

Overall Impression: So happy I got to try this beer. The bourbon barrels really add some beautiful vanilla and smoothness that is really just wonderful. The beer itself is sweet as I would expect a barleywine would be, yet its not over the top, I can have a beer or two and not feel like I just stumbled out of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory (though I may still be stumbling with the 12.5%abv). So this was a 2011 vintage. We are now well into 2013. I am sure it has rounded itself out and become even smoother than it was originally. I would love to have tried this when it was released just to see the difference. I am curious what flavors have changed since then. Is the butterscotch now more pronounced? Were the hops more pronounced originally? The alcohol isn’t even a little perceivable, it just kind of hits you, as Martha Stewart always says “It’s a good thing”.

Food Pairings: steak, like a ribeye charred hard with an olive oil herb dressing. Blue cheese crackers and sopprassata. strawberry shortcake with an orange bourbon cream.

 2,177 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of lordofthewiens
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a bottle of this at Tully's the other day. After tasting it, I'll be back for more. In a tulip glass the beer was a deep reddish brown, kind of claret colored. It had a very scant head. Aroma of toffee and bourbon, with a hint of vanilla. Great taste of toffee, oak, and bourbon. The 9% ABV was noticeable but not intrusive. An incredibly smooth mouthfeel, very drinkable.

 382 characters

Photo of warnerry
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle received via trade with woosterbill. Thanks Will!

A - Pours a beautiful clear deep amber with a half finger of tan head. Not much head retention, and only small spots of lacing.

S - Smell is a harmonious blend of caramel, toffee, vanilla, oak and some dark fruits. A bit of noticeable alcohol in the aroma, but not distracting.

T - Again, lots of caramel and toffee, with some dark dried fruits, faint hop bitterness, some vanilla and oak. Finshes with a pretty significant oak component that is quite drying. Very nice.

M - Medium/full mouthfeel starts off slightly sweet, but oak tannins soon dominate and lead to a very dry finish.

O - This is an excellent barrel-aged barleywine and the first offering I have had from Sebago. It isn't quite in the class of King Henry, but easily one of the most enjoyable barleywines I've had. Over time, the barrel taste gets a bit too strong, but I would love to have this again.

 931 characters

Photo of mctizzz
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of PressFastF0rward
3.5/5  rDev -17.8%

Photo of alamode
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of SomethingClever
4.56/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2014 bottle poured into snifter

A: fairly good clarity, brownish red tint not much head but soapy quality to it

S: butterscotch, toffee, vanilla

T: very similar to the nose you can get a rush of hops but it is crushed by the vanilla, toffee quite quickly can taste the alcohol decent amount of heat a little nutty on the end and a little bit of a sourish aftertaste

M: tingly lays on the tongue a bit but not syrupy

O: interesting and impressive the look with that amazing clarity had me thinking this was going to be tasteless but it's amazing love it with the toffee and vanilla the hops are very dialed down or the barrel has overwhelmed them quite impressively except for the little bit of heat this beer is amazing

 727 characters

Photo of jh1982
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of distichlis
4.32/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I don't think I could have chosen a better beer for my first review. Let me first note that the label that states "aged in bourbon barrels" is an apt description of the ale contained therein. Pours with a slightly sweet and pungent bourbon scent. Beautiful dark brown color, and the taste to back up the aroma. If you enjoy the occasional small batch bourbon as I do, this is a truly exceptional beer with similar flavors, mouthfeel, and scent. I can honestly say I've never had any beer like this before; not that I've never had beer which was aged in bourbon barrels before, but none have ever been of this caliber. If you like good bourbon (wild turkey does NOT count!) and good ales, give this a try. This is definately a sipper. It's not that I didn't thoroughly enjoy this brew, but I thought the 24oz. bottle was a little overpowering for one person to drink w/o food.

I'll be headed back to Tully's beer and wine in Wells, ME for several more bottles. The $9-odd price tag for a standard 24 ounce "big bottle" is well worth it. I hope to make it to Sebago's brew pub in South Portland (or Scarborough (it's on the town line and I never can tell just which town it's in) to give this a try on tap if it's available.

 1,224 characters

Photo of brian23456
5/5  rDev +17.4%

Photo of SpdKilz
4.33/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A big thanks to HopStoopid120 for this great extra. Cheers!

Appearance – Pours a nice ruddy mahogany color. About a finger of slight tan head is achieved with a moderate pour.

Smell – Heavy vanilla, toffee, and caramel. Slight bourbon and oak. Very nice.

Taste – Wow. The creamy vanilla and bourbon flavors come up front. Then comes the oak and legitimate real toffee flavor mixed with just the faintest of dark cocoa. Finishes with caramel and brown sugar.

Mouthfeel – A very smooth, creamy medium body. Medium to low carbonation that is spot on.

Overall – Well hell. This is one of the better extra’s I have ever received in relation to taste. A fantastic barleywine and honestly one I will seek more out of.

 728 characters

Photo of bonez05404
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of blackkristos
4.1/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I was really pleasantly surprised by how excellent this is. I had seen it on the board, but I am normally not much of a fan of Barlywine. After a bit of good selling by the waitress, I gave it a go.

A - A nice red color with very little white head.

S - certainly caramel. So much so that I thought it may be too sweet

T - I found it not as sweet as it smelled, but the caramel was indeed strong.

M - Full body with soft carbonation. The sweetness is not quite so prominent.

D - A great sipping beer served in a very nice snifter. I did not have another, but would have if not for the 2 beers previous.

 608 characters

Photo of rjp217
4.11/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Photo of scubahood
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of hockeypuck
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of jmarsh123
3.86/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to jamesb7 for the bottle!

Pours murky mahogany with a finger of beige head fading into a wisp leaving excellent legs down the glass.

Smells of sweet toffee with some mild hoppiness. Not a whole lot of bourbon on the nose.

Straight malty. Loads of sweet toffee and caramel. Again a little less hoppy than the typical American Barleywine. Closer akin to the English style. Finishes a little boozy and hot with the bourbon.

Pretty thick mouthfeel and mild carbonation.

Fairly solid beer, but the bourbon comes out a bit hot near the end. Good flavors and a good beer, but I think some time may do this well.

 617 characters

Photo of deltatauhobbit
4.57/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

From their limited 22oz bottles.

I had a conversation with one of the peeps at Sebago and they said this recipe differed from the original barleywine they put on-tap a couple years ago. Not quite sure, but I don't think their first batch was barrel aged either, whereas this version was aged in bourbon barrels for at least 8 months. I've had the new version on-tap a few occasions now but I've decided to review the bottled product.

Pours a deep copper/amber color with a thin wispy head, slight tan color to it, leaves a cap on it for pretty much the entire time.

Smell is hugely aromatic, I'm talking a huge caramel malt presence with pronounce bourbon notes, it's not hot or overwhelming but makes itself known, bit of vanilla and other dark fruit, the bourbon really complements and just lends that extra bit of complexity.

Taste is smooth and creamy, I feel a bit of the strength in the aftertaste but it isn't a huge burn, more like a warming sensation but it does become more noticeable as the beer warms up, the caramel melds very nicely with a bit of bourbon, not a bourbon bomb in any regard.

The barrel aging really did wonders with this barleywine, I'm not sure what else changed in the recipe, if anything at all, either way it's a marked improvement. I can see this being even better with some more age on it. Guess I'll need to go grab a few more bottles to hold onto, the wait was definitely worth it. Guess I'll have to bug Kai about something other than this now...

 1,489 characters

Photo of HopsHopenstein
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of oline73
3.85/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from the bottle into a tasting snifter. This was opened at a BA Barleywine tasting.

The beer pours a cloudy red amber color. This one is sweet enough with a hint of hops. This was one of the better balanced beers we had that night. There is a slight tart note in the mix as well. I'm getting some caramel and a grapefruit peel bitterness.

 346 characters

Photo of wethorseblanket
4.28/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Etan
4.27/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a brandy snifter. Sent to me by the generous Valdieu2. 2010 vintage.

A: Pours an opaque reddish brown with a small off-white head. Tiny bit of lacing. Generic barleywine look.

S: Nose comprised of soft mushed dark fruit (raisin, fig), brown bread malt and sugar, slight sweet caramel.

T: Assertive dark dried fruit, sugar-coated, bourbon-laced. Fig, raisin, banana bread, big caramel and toffee, smoothed out by a bit of solid oak and smooth vanilla. The liquor is there but doesn't overwhelm the malt profile. The alcohol shows itself in a brief flash, but then fades into the sweetness of the beer.

M: Nice, soft body. Still a good tingle of carbonation on it.

O: This is definitely up there with the big ones. Really quite smooth.

 769 characters

Photo of KevSal
4.32/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

huge thanks to Pahn for this gem. man hes sent me a lot of awesome beers and this is the first one i finally review? wtf! Evan needs some recognition!

extra he sent along in a trade. 22oz bomber into 2 snifter

a- pours out a deep orange hue, very light in color for a ba barelywine. small tiny head that dissapears quickly. very clear, and the carbonation is noticeable.

s- holy smokes! as soon as i cracked this one the banquet of vanila and toffe filled the room. very impressive, immediately reminds me more of a ba scotch ale, think backwoods bastard. lots of sweetness and bourbon vanilla. slight alc faintly on the back end.

t- yum this one follows the nose closely. tons of great bourbon character with out the alch at all. this barelywine compliments the bourbon well. im really enjoying this one. very similar to backwoods bastard.

m- medium to thick bodied with maybe a touch too much carbonation, nothing a swirl doesnt fix.

o- wow what a great surprise! this one is very well executed. lots of the flavors i enjoy. looking forward to trying more single batches. again it very similar to backwoods, i think this is exactly what i was hoping from ba full boar to put devils canyon on the map, they need to take notes.

thanks again Evan! youve got me in wee heaven!

 1,282 characters

Photo of calcnerd
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of Massbmx
4.75/5  rDev +11.5%

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Single Batch Series - Barleywine from Sebago Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 65 ratings.