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Sawyer's Swap Barley Wine Ale | Cape May Brewing Company

very good
12 Reviews
For Trade:
Sawyer's Swap Barley Wine AleSawyer's Swap Barley Wine Ale

Brewed by:
Cape May Brewing Company
New Jersey, United States | website

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.60%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
An American style barley wine, very hoppy but with an ultra rich malty flavor. Use of the word" wine" is due to its similar alcoholic strength as a wine; but since it is made from grain rather than fruit, it is, in fact, a beer. This is a big beer with big flavor!

Added by touchmeimsac on 06-06-2013

User Reviews
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Reviews: 12 | Ratings: 35
Reviews by DIM:
Photo of DIM
3.56/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

a: Dark for a barleywine, this was a clear chestnut brown. It poured with a firm off-white cap.

s: Different, but pretty appealing. Lots of roastiness and a fair amount of astringent heat dominate. I also found molasses, raisin, charred molasses, and faint citrus.

t: I probably wouldn't have called this a barleywine had I tasted it blind. I did like it though. Strong roast and charred caramel all but overwhelm traces of dark fruit and molasses. The is hot hoppy, the roast lingers along with biting, bitter heat.

m: A bit sticky but kind of light.

o: Interesting take. I liked this but I bet some time would improve it. Maybe I'll find out.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.84/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

From BeerAdvocate Magazine #90 (July 2014):

Malty, Heavy, Bitter, Boozy

A bit of a malt bomb to start with layers of caramel and dried plums, some yeast kicks around a quite noticeable alcohol. Bread but then soon bitter from a heavy dose of hops, mild tobacco and citrus rind flavors come to mind. A few sips in and this beaut really starts to grow on us. We’d opt to drink it fresh.

STYLE: American Barleywine | ABV: 9.6% | AVAILABILITY: Rotating

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Photo of Stigs
2.5/5  rDev -34.6%

Photo of tempest
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of JT99125
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of fourstringer
3.96/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Stone old-fashioned glass. Moderate hand. No identifiable date. Dig the Civil War themed label.

A: Dark amber body with orange tint when held up to the light. 1/2 finger light tan head. Average retention. Light lacing.

S: Sweet caramel, brown sugar, lighter cherry/raisin/berry notes. I'm picking up the distinct essence of Terry's chocolate orange - you know, the kind you get at Xmas. Hops are present, with a dark, subtle character. A hint of smokiness.

T: A flash of bitterness leads into a strong chocolate, coffee presence and roasted malt nuttiness. Well balanced hops return for a mostly dry finish. Alcohol is light for almost 10% ABV. Lingering bitter chocolate in the aftertaste.

M: Moderate carbonation with a moderate-to-light body for the style. Could be a bit fuller, a bit silkier, but overall not bad at all.

O: Picked this one up randomly on vacation, trying to sample some local brews. I was not disappointed - this one was quite enjoyable. Think barley wine cum porter with some well-integrated fruit/citrus character and you have the idea. Glad I have another in the cellar.


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Photo of ArtZan
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of weeare138
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of IPAchris
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of sulldaddy
4.01/5  rDev +5%

I am sampling this 12 ozbottle cold and poured into a snifter. The beer is a gift from my brother Curt. Thanks!
The beer exhibits slightly hazy chestnut hue with minimal head that is only an edge layer almost immediately after the pour.
Aroma is lots of malt with molasses and brown sugar dominating and some rich bakers chocolate. I do get a little bit of citrus hop, like orange peel or maybe grapefruit. the description here on the site says this is a hoppy, but this is a maltforwad beer for certain, almost more strong ale than barleywine.
First sip gives me a slightly chewy body and very fine yet tingly carbonation. Flavor is similar to nose with malt strength. No real booze hits which is impressive at 9.6%. Hops are subdued on the flavor too. Maybe a little citrus again, but generally a malty brew here. I find it very easy to drink and wish I had another bottle.
Go grab this if you see it and like robust beers with a hefty malt base. Worthy brew.

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Photo of smi69
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%

Photo of Wayne17
3.84/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of March_of_99
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of Oakenator
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of justintcoons
3.77/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter.

Deep chestnut (near black) with ruby highlights. 1/2 finger of tan head dissipates quickly.

Molasses, toffee, prune, raisin, caramel, cocoa, and light pine.

Molasses, toffee, and caramel. Prune juice and raisin. Hints of cocoa. Light earthy hop flavors with slight pine and grapefruit zest.

Medium-plus bodied, smooth, oily, and balanced.

Molasses, toffee, and dark fruit. A well balanced Barleywine that hides the abv well.

 505 characters

Photo of SocalKicks
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of wise456
4.06/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of InspectorBob
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of orangesol
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of stakem
3.94/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Thanks to Slatetank for saving me a pour of this. Poured into a snifter, the brew appears a clear dark mahogany color with ruby to more orange/yellow around the edges. A finger of tan cap comes out of solution and holds with a thin film across the top. As the brew is swirled and the cap fades, it leaves spotty lace all over the glass.

The aroma is a pleasant mix of fruity alcohol and hops. A little bit of bready malt somewhat toasty with hints of molasses and raisins.

The flavor has some burnt sugary aspect but isnt that sweet. It has some orange rindy bitterness and solvent alcohol. A bready grain feel contrasted by herbal hoppiness.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest level of carbonation. Overall a hoppy and boozy barleywine. A nice sipper that I enjoyed getting a chance to try. Thanks Matt.

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Photo of caw76
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of ColForbinBC
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of Slatetank
4.09/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

enjoyed this bottle chilled with my brother for our thanksgiving get together, bomber into a tulip.

The color is deep brown with translucent clarity with a 2 finger ecru head that settles to a ring with very fine bead, spotty lace sticks. The smell is very woody with a toffee-like malt aroma with mild alcohol in general and light yeast ester and toasted grain presence. the feel is very good with mild sweetness in general a more dry barleywine which I like, but not very hop forward, might be straddling the line between english and American with a moderate toasted texture.

The taste is good with moderately smooth malt flavor with some roasted flavor and mild caramel/toffee taste with a slight molasses element and light woody hop flavor I really enjoy the way the alcohol is subtle and seems to only come forward as it warms with low heat and mild spice. The taste of the yeast plays a secondary role giving a light dried fruit taste with light fig-type depth. Overall I really enjoyed this as it was a beer I picked up on vacation and got to share on one of my favorite holidays. I really like the layered malt and drinkable considering it is a 9% ale and the alcohol is pretty well hidden. I would drink this again if it were available on a recurring basis -well done Cape May.

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Photo of sjbarleywine
4.25/5  rDev +11.3%

Photo of farrago
4.23/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Gives less than a half finger head, tan foam but no retention, leaves a thin dusting dusting across the surface, can’t call it powerful but there’s actually more lacing than expected. Noticeably clear brown-orange hued liquid, actually a beautiful color, close to zero visible bubbles. Caramel, honey, scones and caramelized brown sugar make the first impression in the nose, dried cherries and golden raisins, old school country style bread, the kind of rip off in chunks, light wood smoke, remarkable for its freshness and ease in flowing forward through your nostrils. Full-bodied, here it has enough density that just maybe it loses that effortless grace. Peat, smoke, spent yeast, cola bean, caraway, by now the herbal qualities may have seen their best days. Tar, graphite, campfire embers, as it warms the inner mouth pungency grows. The carbonation could stand to have more kick but this is a minor quibble. Cherry, golden raisin, date and fig, this all manages to step lively. Booziness held in check throughout, tingly finish without any well intentioned lurching forward. This could prove versatile at the dinner table.

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Sawyer's Swap Barley Wine Ale from Cape May Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 12 ratings.