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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
Photo of silentjay
3.33/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a deep mahogany brew with a smallish light tan head that settles at one finger and laces well.

veryyy bourbon heavy aroma. kind of an odd peaty smokiness that would lead me toward thinking this was aged in scotch barrels instead of bourbon, but its obvious the bourbon barrels used (not sure of the brand) were very charred. some caramel sweetness and grains.

again, bourbon heavy. charred wood dominates, with some vanilla trying to sweeten things up. boozy, sweet, a touch fruity. the vanilla/coconut bourbon flavors come through even more as it warms with the charred portion being toned down a bit. The barleywine aspects of this are subdued, which is kind of the antithesis of a barleywine.

thinner body than expected for the style with subtle carbonation but tons of heat left after the swallow.

I like bourbon. I like bourbon-heavy beers, but this one just misses the mark for me. Its parts don't quite mesh well into a beer that I'd seek out.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.53/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Part of Blind BIF 6. Thanks to Brez07. Served in a SAVOR wine glass.

Pours a moderately-dark brown with a thin off-white collar and a touch of a spotty lacing. The nose brings through quite a bit of bourbon and some light fruit. Heavy sweetness. Flavor has a good dosing of bourbon and some sweetness. Light oak. Dry tannins in the finish. Some booze. Lots of bourbon and not heavy enough to be a stout, so my guess is a bourbon barleywine.

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Photo of SawDog505
3.68/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Stella chalet. Poured aggressive and got a massive 2 inch tanish red head, that has nice retention and leaves traces of lace on the walls of the glass. Color is a dark amber. Smell is buttery toffee, dark fruits, vanilla, oak, and light bourbon. Taste is very aggressive with bourbon and oak dominating the profile, definitely has some supporting flavors, but barely cameos. Body is medium, good amount of carbonation considering the style, a little dry, and not that drinkable because I would have guessed it was closet to 12% ABV. This is solid, but I wish the barrels didn't dominate the flavor as much.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.7/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thank Mike. This was the last beer we shared from his blind BIF box, served blind in a snifter for ticking.

Beer is brown, hazy, tan head, lazy small, no lacing, low retention, looks fine.

Aroma makes this a barleywine, strong sweet, bourbon.

Beer tastes fine but the aroma was better than the taste. The malt wins out the entire time, mild bourbon in the dry finish competing with some tannic oakiness too. Decent, probably one of the best beers of the night but that's not saying much.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.82/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Shared tonight by Mike, I think, Thanks for the opportunity.
Pours a slightly hazy deep golden/amber color with a smallish off white head that slowly dissipates to a cap. Smells really sweet with lots of caramel and brown sugar, a fair amount of light sweet fruit, a bit of ethanol, and hints of oak and bourbon. The flavor is quite sweet with sugary caramel and light sweet fruits along with a solid shot of vanilla oak and bourbon. Medium body with a light level of carbonation and a sweet almost syrupy mouthfeel. Nice barleywine, if not a bit on the sweet side. Some age should do wonders for this brew.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.88/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a khaki, three-finger head that fades slowly leaving a good lace. Almost clear deep amber color. Light-medium carbonation and medium bodied. Light bourbon nose, flavor is clover and bourbon, higher ABV is hidden. Dry finish. $9.50 for a 22oz bottle from Tully’s Beer & Wine Wells, Me.

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Photo of ToasterChef
3.93/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This bottle has been in my cellar since the week it went on sale and I've been eying it lately. Today was the day to crack it open. Poured from the slightly above cellar temperature bottle into a tulip glass.

The beer has a beautiful red/ruby color. It's quite clear and I can see lots of carbonation rising from the bottom of the glass and swirling about as it rises. The head was two fingers in height, colored tan, and made up of small bubbles. Swirling the glass about, the sides of my glass get coated with a film that won't recede. The bubbles leave an even coat of foam, but it slowly drops back down into the liquid. This is a very pretty barleywine.

Most of the nose is made up of bourbon aromas. They are roasty and oaky, like there are some slightly singed wood chips in there. Behind the bourbon are some malt scents. I think I can detect toffee and raisin.

Maybe I'm just looking for it, but I can taste bourbon as soon as the beer crosses my tongue. It's flavors last throughout each sip, but are strongest in the aftertaste. That lingering burn and alcoholic flavor I associate with bourbon is present here. There are some sweet malts as well. Like the aroma, I can identify toffee and dark colored fruits (perhaps more plum or prune than raisin though). Still, it is the bourbon that is strongest (yet not as strong as, say, a cask of Allagash Curieux).

This si a full bodied beer. It is thick and sticky. It leaves a syrupy film on my lips. The coat covers my entire mouth. My tongue tingles after I swallow--I can't tell if its the carbonation or the alcohol. After swallowing, it is as if I can feel the alcoholic vapors collecting at the back of my mouth and evaporating there. The mouthfeel of this beer doesn't hide it's high ABV.

This beer is hard to drink, but it is strong and full of bourbon flavors that limit its drinkability. I would never want to drink it fast, nor would I ever want more than this one 22 oz bottle in a session. If you have a some time, and want a warming, strong beverage, this would work perfectly for you. It isn't too sticky; I don't feel as though I need to accompany the beer with a glass of water. Drinkers who are not fans of bourbon barrel aging or barleywines in general would not enjoy this beverage, but fans of those criteria should definitely seek this one out. I think the beer would be a bit better, and easier to drink, if it were chilled more than I have it (since I started writing this review, I place the open and mostly full bottle into the fridge to cool down a bit).

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Photo of Beerandboards
3.96/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

22oz bomber into a snifter. Bottled on date is unreadable, but I assume its a 2012.

A - kind of a light brown sugar type brown. Minimal white/tan head that revives with a swirl. Leaves slight to moderate lacing.

S - lots of vanilla, caramel, sweet smelling toasty notes.

T - Starts out a little hot. Loads of toasted marshmallow type tastes, vanilla and caramel. Hop bitterness at the end. Not terribly complex, but tasty nonetheless. As it warms, the flavors open up and mellow out the heat.

M - A little too thin for me. Carbonation is a little above medium, and maybe a little prickly.

O - My original plan had been to age this one. Then I decided to go by the rule of, if you only have one, taste it fresh. At first, my thought was I should have let it sit for a while, the heat and the bitterness seemed like it could use some age. However, I think this may be a good one to do fresh. Its not real complex, so I think age might make it a little thin. Plus, overall, its a pretty tasty beverage. Not quite top notch, but thoroughly enjoyed.

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Photo of GregSVT
3.97/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle into a tulip

A: Pours a ruddy dark red with a decent light tan head that fades to a ring and leaves a bit of lacing on the glass.

S: The nose has wonderful notes of vanilla, toffee, caramel, figs, and brown sugar.

T: The taste is similar to the nose with an interesting hop presence as well. Other flavors that stand out are vanilla, caramel, and brown sugar coated figs.

M: The feel is a bit on the thinner side of medium but it's creamy.

O: The hops in this one try to take over the taste but the barrel flavors still shine through. Pretty good stuff but not the best BW I've had.

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Photo of Jmoore50
3.97/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bourbon Barley Wines are usually a train wreck, being too hot and blended terribly. This one is tasting great right now, but with a year on it will be incredible.

The appearance is a very solid dark ruby color that poured with a one finger white head. It has a very thick ABV leg that reminds me of a fine wine. This thing is thick, and looks like its been in a barrel for a while.

The smell is compiled of sweet caramel malts, bourbon, vanilla, candy sugar, raisins, amazing. Smells delicious.

The taste is solid, and although a little thick and hot, is a great after dinner drink. Booze, caramel, raisins, sugar, plums, bourbon, really sweet. It has lots of complexities that are getting ready to explode. Time is going to be a friend of this one.

The mouthfeel was hot and fairly boozy. It was a sipper and took me a minute to finish the bottle. Pretty interesting beer that I thought was enjoyable.


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Photo of barleywinebrewer
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I first heard about this last year on this site and wanted to try it but did not manage to get into portland when it was available. This trip netted 2 glasses of this nice barleywine.

A - rich amber red color, touch of orange at the edges with a soft off white head which quickly settles to a light ring around the edge
S - caramel malts, light citric hops dominate. Tough to tell too much as we were in the bar area with lot's of aromas in the air.
T - crisp light citric hops with a complimentary caramel malt backing. Not over the top with the hops but enough to say not an EBW.
M - medium full body, nice soft carbonation, some heat, good finish.
D - I went back for seconds. Really nice sipper on tap! Sadly, no bottles to go.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.03/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to andrewinski1 for this one!

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

When the garnet was first forged by the hands of the gods, they were confident that nothing could match its chromatic beauty. Strangely, though, their foresight has been proven to have been quite weak in this area. Case in point: Sebago Single Batch Barleywine. The pour's divine combination of rich browns and hearty reds apes the garnet's majesty perfectly (or, is it the other way 'round...?). Hell, I'd make a ring out of a solid form of this barleywine, I tell you what. Mirroring this lovely amalgam is the nose, which sweetly combines a sharp hoppy pine with a rich caramel maltiness, while throwing in some toffee and molasses for good measure. Ah, the generosity... When the tongue gets hold of this nectar, molasses, maple syrup, caramel, light smoke, and a hint of oak blitz from up front. Following quickly thereafter a sharp caramel leads the hop brigade, bringing along a nicely harsh bittersness, a piney citrus as sharp as the bitterness, and an intimation of lemon. It all meshes together in the mouth as it coats the tongue below very well, thick and juicy, yet somehow smooth enough to preclude malingering. Dionysus be praised, the gods have another brew to keep by their cloudy sides.

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Photo of jammalamma
4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this little gem as an extra- looking forward to it! I love me a good barleywine...

Carefully poured in a Duvel snifter, no head. Small bit of bubbles around the edge is all.
The smell is wonderful, sweet and figgy with booze and a little bit of roast.

Taste and mouthfeel are pleasant. Sweet; creamy (medium density) body; starts with a mild sweetness like a touch of liquid fig & chestnut (no nut skin here), toffee & caramel that finishes with the addition of some mild raisin and a growing, greater booziness. Bourbon booze burn present the whole time, yet, very smooth mouthfeel and finish. Only real "downside" here would be the growing alcohol presence as it warms and as you drink sip after sip... but you can't fault it for being boozy! ;)
Bourbon is a great addition to this beer- it lingers on the back of your tongue with its roasty booze resins, malts and caramelized sugars.

Overall it seems hot, but is a good user friendly barleywine. This bomber would be good to split with someone.

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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.

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Photo of brewandbbq
4.12/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle from 2010.

Pours hazy amber with a tight, beige head of a quarter inch. A partial skim coat and short streaks of lacing for the duration of the glasss.

Aromatics lead off with a blast of bourbon and a hint of malt way behind. Proofing dough, vanilla, nuts, toffee, caramel, and booze follow through.

On the thinner side of medium bodied with a crispish and slightly tacky mouthfeel.

Bourbon, caramel, sweet malt, vanilla, and chipped toffee start the palate. Hopping is subdued and a trace of bitterness is just enough to take the edge off the sweetness.

Finishes with lingering boozy heat, plump malt, and fading vanilla.

Well, if you want a beer with plenty of Bourbon in it you've found it. For me the malt, hops, and body need to be shored up to balance out the massive Bourbon character.
I still would have no problem cellaring several of these to see where they would go.
Nice to see another big beer come out of Maine.

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Photo of andrewinski1
4.15/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip. There is a small bubbly head atop a dark red amber body.

The aroma has a lot of vanilla and some oak.

The taste starts out with a slight bit of malt sweetness that reveals barrel notes of wood and vanilla. There is a slight bourbon bite at the end. I even get a touch of cocoa.

The body is medium with a small amount of sharp carbonation.

This is pretty good. I will drink again.

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Photo of gford217
4.17/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Ben for this 22oz bottle.

Pours a hazy amber brown with a small beige head that recedes quickly to a solid collar and some light delicate lacing.

Aroma is really nice, especially if you like bourbon. Along with the bourbon is some sweet vanilla. There is lots of sweet caramel malts, molasses and a hint of hops but it's mostly a sweet aroma overall.

Taste is a little harsher than the aroma with the bourbon hitting the palate hard on the first sip. The backbone is full of molasses and caramel malts with some toffee. The hops are very subtle and swept away by the booze in the finish.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy despite having the bourbon presence throughout.

This is an excellent brew, but you better be ready for the bourbon which is quite prominent in the taste. Enjoyed this one quite a bit.

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Photo of Ungertaker
4.17/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber poured into a Deschutes snifter.

A- copper with minimal head and a sticky lacing

S- toffee, vanilla, bourbon, astringent alcohol, cane sugar

T- pretty much the same as the aroma, yet much smoother than anticipated with the only alcohol presence being a slight booze in the bourbon flavor. The bourbon is definitely forward in the taste.

M- carbonation is forward with a medium mouthfeel. The astringency is felt, even with the lack of presence in the taste.

O- stevefinny sent this bottle to me in the secret Santa BIF; what a pleasant surprise it was. I have read that this is a $9 bomber. If it is, it is 100% worth it! I have paid much more for beers that pale in comparison to this. I would love to get another bottle to see what a year would do for this (if I could hold into it that long!).

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Photo of MasterSki
4.17/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of Reagan1984. Served in a wine glass at West Lakeview Liquors.

A - Finger of foam settles to a thin partial cap and thicker collar, with some spotty lace left behind. Hazy ruby-brown body.

S - Nice aroma, with tons of butterscotch, caramel, toffee, vanilla, and smooth bourbon notes. There's a bit of dry oak and alcohol as it warms up, but nothing out of character for 9.2%.

T - Taste isn't quite on the same level as the aroma, but it's still pretty solid. Lots of brown sugar, caramel, vanilla, butterscotch, but a bit more rough whiskey and oak.

M - Smooth, medium body, sticky, chewy and bready, with medium-low carbonation and some light tannic dryness. Perhaps a bit of warming alcohol, but nothing excessive.

D - Well, it's the best Sebago beer I've had (although I haven't had many). Quite a deal for the listed $9 price tag. I'd happily drink this if it were local, as it's competitive with many higher profile (and priced) beers.

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Photo of DIM
4.17/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a: This was a sightly hazy, deep mahogany color with golden edges. It poured with a small but long lasting off white cap.

s: The huge bourbon barrel presence manages to be surprisingly mellow. It is richly warm but not at all hot. Barleywine elements of toffee, caramel, and fruit liqueur manage to peak through the more dominant vanilla, brown sugar, and subdued bourbon. Pretty much exactly what I hope for when I open a new to me barrel aged barleywine.

t: This is sweet overall and heavily influenced by the bourbon barrel. It is a bit harsher and boozier than the smell suggest, but not by all that much. Overall, this is enormously satisfying and almost warrants a higher score here. Maybe a couple more months in the cellar would have put it over the top. I tasted brown sugar up front that doesn't ever fade completely, in fact it lingers into the finish where it is joined by lots of vanilla. In between there was mild dark fruits, caramel, and some woody alcohol.

m: Gently lush carbonation and a nice, hefty body.

d: The sweetness weighs this down a bit, but this was wonderful to sip on a frigid night in comfortable chair with a good book. Thanks to joepais for this long ago hook-up. Great stuff Joe!

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Photo of redleaves
4.18/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pour almost headless, dark caramel with a touch of red. Nose starts off wood, caramel, malt, butterscotch. A closer whif does bring up some nail polish and cat food. Don't sniff too hard. Boozy, taste is light sweet, butterscotch, caramel, barrel, char, touch of leaf, maybe green pepper, black pepper. Edges on cloying but bites off the end. Thick on the tongue but enough bite and texture. Abv is there in the taste but that is alright, thank goodness for the barrel, I feel like it wouldn't have done so well. Very nice. Just don't breathe in too hard!

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Photo of womencantsail
4.2/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Bobby for sharing this one.

A: The pour is a dark amber color with a finger or so worth of off-white head.

S: A nice note of caramel, toffee, and burnt sugar up front. The barrel is subtle, but does provide a nice vanilla note that blends nicely with the sugary characteristics of the beer.

T: Quite a bit of caramel and burnt sugar up front along with a touch of alcohol. Not too much in the way of fruitiness, but some nice barrel and bourbon notes.

M: Medium bodied with a pretty decent level of carbonation for a barrel aged barleywine.

D: A very nice beer indeed. I was looking forward to trying this one and it did not disappoint.

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Photo of Florida9
4.21/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Dirty light brown color. Forms just a minimal light tan head that doesn't bother sticking around long. No lacing. Very aromatic. Lots of barrel. Lots of vanilla and oak. Sweet notes. Caramel. Brown sugar. Taste is similar. Quite sweet. Caramel, brown sugar, vanilla, oak, and a light pepper quality. Okay caramel and vanilla. Smooth mouthfeel lower carbonation. Minimal bitterness. A very nice BW.

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