1. Don't miss our 7th annual American Craft Beer Fest featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers this May 30 & 31 in Boston, MA! Buy your tickets now!
  2. BeerAdvocate on your phone?! True story. Try the beta now.

Single Batch Series - Barleywine - Sebago Brewing Company

Single Batch Series - BarleywineSingle Batch Series - Barleywine

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

120 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 120
Reviews: 62
rAvg: 4.29
pDev: 8.16%

Brewed by:
Sebago Brewing Company visit their website
United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  9.20% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
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

(Beer added by: barleywinebrewer on 05-01-2008)
View: Beers (22) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers
Ratings: 120 | Reviews: 62 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of redleaves


4.23/5  rDev -1.4%
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!

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2012 02:32:11 | More by redleaves
Photo of cosmicevan

New York

4.43/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

thanks to gary for hooking up this delicacy. enjoyed from my maine brewing co wine glass.

a - brew poured a transparent caramel plum color with a thin cream colored head that dissipated rather quickly.

s - REALLY nice. big toffee and caramel with a wonderful hint of oaky bourbon. smells fantastic.

t - bourbon is much more present in the flavor (not that it is hidden in the nose mind you). the blend is really spot on though. toffee and caramel is strong and present...i'm surprised this is considered an american barley, although, not sure when this was brewed, but there is no hop presence...but i like it! really tasty.

m - smooth with a slight tingle.

o - overall, this is a sleeper. shocked you don't hear more about it. can definitely hang with the big boys and probably beat one or two in a blind taste test. worth checking out, thanks gary...really solid pull!

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2012 01:20:32 | More by cosmicevan
Photo of KevSal


4.33/5  rDev +0.9%
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!

Serving type: bottle

03-17-2012 03:08:09 | More by KevSal
Photo of cbeer88


4.43/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber poured into DFH snifter.

Appearance: Dark ruby brown floats into the glass, finger and a half of off-white head. Lacing is very spotted and head has nice thin staying power.

Smell: Toffee, vanilla, bourbon, oak, caramel malt. Very nice.

Taste: Wow. Impressively well blended and balanced with toffee, vanilla, bourbon, brown sugar. The bourbon is in your face and provides a bit of heat, but it's really not over the top at all.

Mouthfeel: Medium-to-full bodied and chewy. Carb is adequate.

Drinkability: I'm questioning if this is really as low as 9.2%, but if that's accurate, then bomber down the hatch… so smooth and drinkable.

Overall: This is a stunner. Sebago makes some solid (if unspectacular) beers and definitely flies under the radar. I've had some of the barrel-aged one-offs at the brewpub before, but this is their best beer, and also one of the best sub-$10 barrel aged bombers of anything I've ever had. I only picked up two bottles - wish I had more!

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2012 00:15:49 | More by cbeer88
Photo of MasterSki


4.15/5  rDev -3.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2012 00:48:01 | More by MasterSki
Photo of jdhilt

New Hampshire

3.9/5  rDev -9.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2012 23:25:15 | More by jdhilt
Photo of Ungertaker


4.2/5  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!).

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2012 05:46:42 | More by Ungertaker
Photo of sulldaddy


4.25/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Split a bottle of this with Stopper. Poured into a snifter at room temp the beer pours a slightly hazy chestnut hue with minimal beige head. The head fades to an edge layer and wispy islands rather quickly after the pour. Aroma is vanilla and bourbon, some caramel and brown sugar. I dont get any real hop hits and the booze is also well hidden.
First sip reveal an average body with silky smooth texture and very mild rolling carbonation.
Flavor is sweet malt bourbon and brown sugar. I get a little booze towards the end of each sip. I still dont get hops and the beer is malty and tasty. Reminds me more of an old ale as a style, but a yummy brew nonetheless.

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2012 05:38:33 | More by sulldaddy
Photo of Reagan1984


4.48/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up in Connecticut and was so pleasantly surprised by it. Truth be told, I have not been the biggest fan of Sebago products. This is definitely an exception.

Light brown amber color, thin head that fades quickly and little/no lace.

Aroma is coconut, vanilla and sweet caramel.

I think the flavor is wonderful. Definitely sweet and the same notes from the aroma are in the flavor. Lots of coconut and vanilla. Below this is a nice sweet caramel flavor. Just a touch of warming from the ABV, but not hot at all. A bot of toastiness in the malt flavor.

A touch sticky and fairly bold.

Nice little beer and one I’ll look for again down the road.

Serving type: bottle

02-20-2012 16:50:30 | More by Reagan1984
Photo of andrewinski1

New Hampshire

4.18/5  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.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2012 02:37:09 | More by andrewinski1
Photo of GregSVT


3.95/5  rDev -7.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-18-2012 04:30:42 | More by GregSVT
Photo of woosterbill


4.53/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber into a Duvel tulip. Split with another BA.

A: Translucent red-amber body under a solid cap of fine tan head. Nice lace. Attractive.

S: Smooth, rich, and supple: vanilla, oak, bourbon, and toffee. So simple, so incredibly enjoyable. I could inhale this for hours. Wow.

T: Very oaky, with vanilla and bourbon leading in to toffee and booze. Great, but a little less smooth than the impeccable aroma.

M: Medium body, moderate carbonation. Fine.

O: What a terrific beer - and for only $9 a bomber! As soon as I took my first sniff of this bottle I made up my mind to buy at least a few more. This is a top-notch BBBW, plain and simple. It doesn't have any truly memorable features (like King Henry's stout nuances, Kuhnhenn BBBW's crazy earthiness, etc), but it delivers spiritous sweetness with the best of them. Everyone should seek out this beer, and Sebago should change their minds about the whole "single batch" thing.


Serving type: bottle

01-22-2012 22:11:12 | More by woosterbill
Photo of silentjay


3.3/5  rDev -23.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2012 06:49:29 | More by silentjay
Photo of drabmuh


3.68/5  rDev -14.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2012 03:48:59 | More by drabmuh
Photo of Thorpe429


3.53/5  rDev -17.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2012 04:48:49 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

4.22/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap 12/11/2011 at Doherty’s East Ave Irish Pub, in Pawtucket, RI served in a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a deep coppery red color with a short foamy off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick on the glass.

S: The aroma contains brown sugar, caramel, fruits, hearty malts, some hops and a touch of alcohol.

T: The taste starts out very creamy for the style and with candy-like sweet flavors of caramel, brown sugar and fruit. The malt character is hearty and there’s a subdued but complementary hops presence that creates a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium-to-heavy body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Very tasty, goes down dangerously easily, not too filling, strong kick, good representation of style, this is a very good Barleywine worth drinking for as long as you can handle it.

Serving type: on-tap

12-16-2011 03:11:18 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of celticfutblclub


4.28/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 bottle poured into new belgium glass
big thanks to Reagan1984 for this one!

A - nice chestnut colored body with just a hint of light getting through on the edges. off white head about a finger thick. decent retention and good lacing.

S - bourbon, oak, raisins, pine. it seems to be well balance nose wise maybe the bourbon and oak are a little more pronounced.

T - strong bourbon taste upfront. piny hops lie behind with hints of oak raisins and chocolate.

M - medium bodied with medium carbonation. good astringency from the hops. very very boozy far more than the 9.2% would lead you to believe.

O - its a really good bourbon barleywine. i think bringing out the other flavors a bit more and this would be a superb brew.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2011 01:20:19 | More by celticfutblclub
Photo of BEERMILER12


4.33/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a semi-clouded bright red color with a fingers worth of head that fizzles away quickly

S: Now this is a great smelling beer! Plenty of bourbon, vanilla, oak, alcohol, malts, and sugars. Straight-forward, but definitely potently awesome

T: Continues from the smell, big bourbon flavors followed by oak and vanilla. For how high the alcohol is, it is hidden well (that is, if you discount the big bourbon flavors). It's almost like someone dropped a double shot of bourbon into the beer and took the alcohol out of the mix. Definitely enjoyable if you like bourbon

M: Medium body with low-moderate carbonation

O: This is a really good bourbon barrel-aged barley wine. The $8 bomber is definitely worth it, especially, like I said before, if you like bourbon. Pick some up if you stumble across it!

Serving type: bottle

12-01-2011 06:50:38 | More by BEERMILER12
Photo of gford217


4.15/5  rDev -3.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-19-2011 05:02:20 | More by gford217
Photo of Bendurgin


4.53/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a giant snifter. This one pours a dark mahogany with about an inch of rocky beige head. Nice soapy lace.

Nice rich aroma here. Boozy caramel sweetness with hints of chocolate and raisins. Hints of oak with sweet toffee rounding this out. No doubt about it this one is sweet for sure. Butterscotch and toffee on the pallet with a nice fig and raisin profile. Nice big malts with chocolate flavors in the background.

The body is full and chewy with soft carbonation.

Thanks for putting this one in barrels Sebago, I'm simply in love.

Serving type: bottle

11-09-2011 03:29:41 | More by Bendurgin
Photo of Pahn

New York

4.33/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle into Duvel tulip. Note, this is the bottled Single Batch Series that weighs in at 12.5%... not sure why the BA entry currently says 9.2%.

Appearance: Free pour yields a one and a half inch, frothy, offwhite head that dissipates slowly leaving a couple islands of lacing. Pours a hazy dark red and leaves sweeping lacing.

Smell: Bourbon and oak, with a rich cake-like aroma. Some molasses and booziness comes out with warmth. Has some nutty hints, like pistachio. Not too complex, but very inviting.

Taste: Thick caramel and vanilla oak--I'm sold immediately. Some chocolate and lots of toffee. Bourbon barrel influence is strongly reminiscent of Bourbon County stout and its deep pastry and caramel character. Decent hop bitterness and a surprisingly dry finish. Leaves less of an aftertaste than a lingering suggestion of bourbon and oak.

This is a good beer. Lots of pastry like malt depth without any cloying sweetness, some spicy bourbon notes, and a strong vanilla American oak presence. 12.5%ABV? I would believe 6%, the beer is that smooth and hides it alcohol that well. Slight warmth in the finish is the only indication of its ABV. Hop bitterness comes with a slightly ashy flavor that works for me.

I've had deeper barleywines, but the barrel aging really takes this over the top. It's very well done, and the base beer is obviously good.

Mouthfeel: Full side of medium bodied / light side of full bodied. Mild carbonation. Dry finish.

Overall: This is the first Sebago beer I've had after seeing their bottles here and there over the years, and I have to say that I'm impressed. Finely crafted, well thought out, with a barrel influence that approaches Goose Island or Firestone Walker quality.

Despite the bold and rich flavors, this beer is dangerously drinkable. I picked it up on a whim ($9 for this kind of beer? Excellent), and I'm very glad I did.

Serving type: bottle

11-05-2011 23:17:51 | More by Pahn
Photo of brewandbbq

New Hampshire

4.1/5  rDev -4.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2011 01:02:22 | More by brewandbbq
Photo of DIM


4.15/5  rDev -3.3%
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!

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2011 14:11:55 | More by DIM
Photo of WorldWideStout


4.47/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A huge thanks to Dajtai007 who, as a fellow maltmaven brother, felt that I needed to try this.

A: A lovely burnished copper, translucent body. Not much head, but hey, it's a friggin' barleywine.

S: A delightful toffee and vanilla scent is predominant. Interestingly, I also detect some subdued tropical fruit notes, which in combination with the strong malts remind me of a wheatwine. There may be a bit of spice from the barrel aging in there as well.

T: The start is the hardest part to describe. It is sweet, but it somehow hides in the back of my mouth so that I can't describe it that well. In the middle, the rich malts come in, giving me those delightful butterscotch and toffee notes which have made me such a fan of this style. A bit of tropical fruits, spice from the barrel aging, and a touch of heat come in towards the finish. Not much of an aftertaste.

M: Smooth and just the right heaviness, so that while feeling full, I don't have to push myself to keep taking sips.

D: For a barleywine, I would say pretty good. I absolutely would not drink another bomber of this, but I think I could still enjoy a few sips.

Delightful. Not quite world class, as the taste didn't have the depth, but a delicious beer that any fans of this style would very much enjoy sipping. Though I did taste a bit of wood, I didn't really get much in the way of bourbon. The alcohol level was barely detectable.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2011 05:49:25 | More by WorldWideStout
Photo of ToasterChef


3.93/5  rDev -8.4%
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).

Serving type: bottle
@ Sebago Brewing Company, 211 Fore St, Portland

09-08-2010 20:52:09 | More by ToasterChef
Single Batch Series - Barleywine from Sebago Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 120 ratings.