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Lunker - Steel Toe Brewing

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

39 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 39
Hads: 184
Avg: 4.21
pDev: 19%
Wants: 119
Gots: 62 | FT: 6
Brewed by:
Steel Toe Brewing visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
English Barleywine |  14.40% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Steasy66 on 04-14-2012

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 39 | Hads: 184
Photo of Arbitrator
2.76/5  rDev -34.4%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Courtesy of lurchingbeast. Thanks, Frank!

A: Pours a clear, maroon-tinged mahogany body with a very thin film of tan-colored head. Retention is nonexistent; so is lace. The beer is more or less still.

S: Rye whiskey, caramel, toffee, brown sugar, vanilla, oak, some booze. Having sipped on King Henry and Abacus relatively recently, I can't truthfully say this is top-tier, given how much harsher it is than those.

T: Rich sweetness (caramel, brown sugar, toffee) with some vanilla. Strong whiskey and heat. This actually reminds me a lot of fresh [bottled] Abacus, which can be one-dimensionally sweet and boozy, but this is a little more simple and harsher in flavor. Some bitter citrus hops are noted.

M: Boozy. Full-bodied with very little carbonation to suppress the syrupiness.

O: Not worth seeking out, IMO. If you love barleywines, it's probably worth the tick... If you love great barleywines, then don't bother.

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Photo of Nugganooch
3.4/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 2 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

750ml C&C bottle with my Sierra Nevada balloon glass
* notes from 05/17/13

-received as an extra from Mid about a year ago – thanks homie!

A: Pours a dark and murky rusted red color. Call it a ruddy brown that is completely opaque with some particles floating about. There is nothing but a quick flash of dark khaki froth from some struggling carb bubbles. No hang time here and no stick to speak of. A rather drab and unattractive looking brew to be honest.

S: Smells of toffee caramel nougat with fig and ripe dark plum. There is a firm presence of stinging booze and some spicy rye noted. I get a whisper of vanilla mixed in with some earthy minerals and damp wood. But this is big on the fruity ester aromas with a date sugar likeness.

T: Dark toffee and gooey caramels are pronounced with accompanying dried dark fruits like prune and fig. Has a nutty quality overall with a light rye spiced influence and touch of sherry. The whiskey is rather hot with booze and a bit harsh as I find it clashing with some of the other flavors here. It does cut through the sweetness nicely however. There is an actual upper level of bitterness to the beer with a touch earth and herbal hop flavors. Finishes with more booze and more toffee and nougat sweets. Not much barrel action going on really.

M: Full bodied and undercarbonated makes for a big chewy bastard. There is an attempted drying towards the finish but it ends up on the wetter side. Finale is fairly clean.

D: Not a favorite. Big on the malty sweetness and fruity esters. Low on the barrel character and carbonation.
I found this one to be a bit harsh still and think it would benefit from an additional 1-2 years aging.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.71/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to Oneinchaway for sharing this one at his tasting.

Pours a murky brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, caramel, vanilla, and rye whiskey aromas. Taste is much the same with caramel and vanilla flavors on the finish. There is an alcohol kick and a mild amount of woody bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with a solid barrel aged presence but the alcohol is pretty strong in this one.

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Photo of Florida9
3.73/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown in color. Pours like syrup and is visibly viscous. Looks flat. Absolutely no head at all. 3.5

S: Aroma of musty apples and wood. Alcohol and alcoholic spice. 3

T: taste is very nice on the front end. Lots of sweet caramel and molasses. Vanilla. Opens up nicely as it warms. 4.0

M: Full bodied, thick, and viscous. Borderline syrupy. Very low carbonation. Hot - practically burns the throat. 4.0

O: Let me just say, I had this at a tasting and five of us couldn't kill off a bottle of it; there is no way I could have tolerated an entire bottle. When it was first popped, I didn't really care for it too much at first, but I'll admit it opened up pretty nice. Still it is a a bit hot and would probably benefit from some age. 4.0

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.77/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Dark brown. Reddish. Thin collar.

Smell - Some whiskey. Lots of caramel and brown sugar. Rich malt aroma.

Taste - Sweet caramel malts. Whiskey. Some darker malts come through. Brown sugar. Hint of bitterness.

Mouthfeel - Heavy. Medium low carbonation.

Overall - Quite good if too sweet.

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Photo of inlimbo77
3.84/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

750ml, Dec. '12 release
Beeradelphia snifter

A: Dark murky brown with reddish hints. Not a lot of light getting through there. Maybe just a touch around the edges of the glass where it is more reddish. No head at all. Some carbonation because I see some bubbles coming up. Alcohol feet. No lacing sheeting.

S: Booze. Definitely smell that barrel aging coming through here. Dark fruits: fig and raisin. Big caramel and toffee notes. Vanilla. Oak. Spice from rye. Booze.

T: Touch if spice on tip of tongue. Then you get those dark fruits coming in right away. Malt sweetness. Caramel and toffee. Touch of dark chocolate. Spice from the rye is present. This beer is pretty hot currently, and might do well with some age. Still really enjoyed it though.

M: Full bodied and chewy.

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Photo of Bosoxfan20
3.86/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Aroma is molasses, dark fruit, and toffee. Some leathery notes come through. Flavor starts out intense and delightful. Sweet, whiskey, toffee goodness. But unfortunately, the finish is a bit harsh. It ends all booze and some astringency. Body is impeccable though. Full, chewy and warming.
Overall, solid but maybe expected too much.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.88/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured a clear reddish-burnt orange color with good carbonation leaving a small dirty white head which presents some decent head retention leaving some spotty lacing on the edge of the glass

S: Immediate rye, light pepperness, a nice booze tinge with some caramel and whiskey. I liked this because I like rye.

T: A big rye presence upfront with some sugary sweetness from the layers of toffee and caramel. A little bit of whiskey is found with some backseat wood, vanilla and coconut. The finish has a good degree of heat, warmth and light pepperness and sordove a sticky sweetness

M: Medium to big bodied, not as full or robust as I expected but often times heat gives an illusion of thin body

O: Good but not something I would actively seek.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.9/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The pour is a dark amber, almost mahogany in color, with a small tan head. Strong whiskey aroma along with some oak, vanilla, and alcohol. Plenty of caramel, toffee, and a hint of brown sugar. A mild rye aroma and some subtle fruitiness. The flavor has a strong rye whiskey and oak flavor. A touch of charred oak, some brown sugar, toffee, caramel, and brown sugar. Just a hint of green apple along with some bitter orange peel.

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Photo of mrn1ceguy
3.96/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A murky amber color, kind of ugly. The smell is all barleywine, hearty with good rustic notes. The taste has more of the barrel come through, but mainly barleywine. The finish is a little harsh, but still quite enjoyable. An overall solid beer.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.02/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to Jeff for this one. Waxed and capped 750ml bottle into a Cigar City snifter. Shared with schen9303.

Pours a slight whisper of a head that collapses quickly. Beer is a dark, almost opaque brown. No lace and thin legs. Average.

Nose is brown sugar, molasses and lactose. A bit of woodiness and nuttiness make this a very unique and pleasant nose.

Opens molasses, brown sugar and sweet dried plum. Caramel, logan, sweet soy sauce and a bit of nutmeg and hazelnut. Ends sweet booze and more caramel and brown sugar. Same sweet aftertaste. Pretty one dimensional but the barrel aging has added a nice, chewy, tobacco presence.

Full bodied with low carbonation. Rich and buoyant in the mouth and goes down warm and thick. Finishes messy with a lingering, sweet aftertaste. Very nice.

A really good brew from a relatively under-the-radar brewery. Great balance and flavor with a nice, chewy body that carries the different notes nicely. Worth trying!

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Photo of olympuszymurgus
4.03/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.5

I love me some rye, and Templeton is no exception.

Cork fights you to release the brew. Red, deep red with a nice strong white head. Smells is rye, barrel, more rye, and some sugar. Fairly dry, hotter than fuck, and more barrel and rye. I like it, it has a deep earthy flavor with pepper spice and a coffee bitterness. Caramel and deep fruits stay muted but alive and the beer sticks around as a low burn in the belly.

I like it a lot. I think it wil be a 4.5 brew in a year. But now? way to damned hot for human consumption.

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Photo of cbutova
4.09/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to a certain WI friend that hooked me up with this and some other BA Barleywines that I would not normally have access to. I am pretty sure this is the 2014 vintage.

A- Deep brown body like molasses into a few pint glasses at a tasting. A small sheet rises but really isn't a head. Quiet cork pop. No lacing from the small ring.

S- For the style and ABV it is very laid back at this point. Balanced aroma of musty caramelized sugars, brownie desserts, almonds, cocoa powder and raisins. Slight barrel rye whiskey but just a hint.

T- A true Barleywine up front with the barrel being secondary. For the size and ABV it is insanely smooth. A heaping load of caramelized flavors but only a tad sweet. Dusty caramel, spiced raisin, chocolate, almonds, toffee, maple, leather, figs, a hint of phenol spice and slight esters of fruits. Barrel in the backdrop again with vanilla bean sweetness and smooth rye whiskey notes.

MF- Huge and gargantuanly thick body that is super slick and oily. Low end carbonation but it is not a big deal at all because the flavors are decadent. Not even warm, impressively tame alcohol.

Does not skimp in the Barleywine department stylistically. Massive caramelized sugar flavors and some dark fruits as well. Complex malt flavors with what I would call a light-moderate influence from the rye whiskey barrel.

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Photo of Taybeh
4.09/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

at the tap room, into a little snifter

a: dirty hazy rusty brown with hardly any head
s: milk chocolate, vanilla, caramel, brown sugar, figs and other dark fruits.
t & m: follows the nose, though brings flavors out in much more compelling detail, and there is also some breadiness and spiciness. Very sweet but not cloying...nice edge to it, with some of the alcohol (rye whisky) showing but not overly much. Neither too heavy nor too light...even a little crisp at the end.

This was a very pleasant surprise. Quite good.

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Photo of KevSal
4.18/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

the niners beat the packers and go to the championship game! like last year its time for a ba barelywine!! huge thanks to lobo for this guy, came in today, right on time. thanks bt!

a-looks mean, deep ruby red with small half finger egg shell white head. vanished pretty quick to nothing.

s- woa this one reminds me alot of arctic devil with a bit more booze. a little bit of dark fruits, pear and raisin covered in booze.

t- taste is huge! again it closely resembles arctic devil with alightly more booze. i foun this one o be extremely tasty! some of the people i drank it with thought it was super boozy, i didnt feel it as much as they dis (but i like a bit pf booze)

m- huge body, but not super sticky. I personally can't belIeve it's almost 15%! I thought it was drinking 10-11% I was impressed but I guess that's why a few others were overwhelmed.

O- very good brew, reminds me do much of 2011 arctic devil. Big and juicy. I can see this one tasting out of control with a bid of age on it, but fresh is just as good

Thanks for this generous addition lobo, you always send tasty brews my way!

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Photo of CaptCleveland
4.18/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

8oz pour into Hoppin' Frog snifter.

Dark brown, ruby elixir, thin rim of tan head, few wisps of lacing.

Caramel, oak, spice, booze.

Hits the heights here--molasses, caramel, rye/spice, nice whiskey backbone.

Medium body, smooth to slick, balanced.

This one was really hot off the truck, but has balanced nicely with age.

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Photo of Stevedore
4.19/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

750ml bottle of the 2015 release. Served in a stemmed glass.

Pours a darker brown body, slightly murky, opaque, dark. One finger white head, fair retention and minimal lacing. Smells of toffee and caramel, a bit of tobacco, a minimal amount of whiskey, fair bit of oak. Flavour is similarly toffee and caramel-forward, malty, much like an English barleywine should be. Not complicated, but a nice change of pace. Mouthfeel is substantially medium-full; good carbonation, nice toffee forwardness with a minimal tobacco aftertaste. Overall, tasty, not a huge barrel presence but plenty of malt.

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Photo of herman77
4.22/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark, dark brown with a bit of amber. Small khaki colored head. No lacing.

S: Lots of dark rich sweet malts. Figs, prunes, apples and some oak. Whiskey is present.

T: Very rich.. Really sweet but not over sweet since the rye whiskey is very prominent (in a good way) and clears out the sweet richness. Lots of rich toffee and carmel malt. Oakiness, molasses and vanilla with a bit of spice from the rye whiskey.

M: Fuller body, soft carbonation. Nice.

O: Very well done. Drinkability is not too high, but not bad at all. Split it three ways, could of been good with two ways even. Surprised how good this is this fresh, age should do wonders to this.

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Photo of maximum12
4.22/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bomber from the December 2012 batch of Lunker (the second). Given that I'm an avid fisherman who's always on the hunt for my next lunker, I appreciate both the artwork & the nomenclature. Split with my wife.

Well, trying to split with my wife. Unfortunately, the cork was bonded to the bottle with the Glue of Life & made six sizes to big. Hands fail. Pliers break off the cork. The Pro-Bono cork remover strains & appears about to give way..finally! Geez. I've broken into cars with less effort. Pour is minimally carbonated, rusty toffee in color. Nose is wicked sweet with doses of vanilla, toffee, & caramel. Actually fires up my salivary glands before the first sip; hot staggering fuck.

Lunker is hotter than Smaug's breath...though still less fiery than batch one. The biggest toffee hit I've ever experienced in a beer bludgeons the taste buds, managing to out-gun the alcoholic wooziness for the top layer. Lovely mid-palate touch of spiciness from the rye barrels adds a love interest, along with a pinch of vanilla. Dry on the finish. By six lengths the easiest-drinking 14.4% beer I've ever tasted; I could take the bomber myself.

The boldest, most in-your-face English Barleywine I've ever fought open. Hot, tasty, full of flavor, I'll be fascinated to see what this morphs into in a year or two. Excellent beer.

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Photo of Powderhornphil
4.24/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2012 vintage.

Pours a deep amber brown. From a distance, it lets very little light through. One to two fingers of head.

Smells of rye whiskey. Dark fruits and toffee. Really rich scent.

Taste is tons of toffee. Some raisin and fruity flavors. Wood notes and whiskey are also present.

Mouthfeel is thick. Big beer here. Again, very rich. Would go well with cheesecake or something decedent.

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Photo of tewaris
4.24/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared at Steasy66's on the day of its release by Dave, thanks! Poured into a snifter.

Oddly cloudy and rusty hued, appearance is the only downside of this beer. Very very good aroma with plenty of toast, toffee, coconut and barrel notes. The aroma is smooth and rounded out, but the taste is a little rough... and I like it!

Very sharp tasting, with liquor like features, strong toffee and some bitterness. It would be nice to see the bitterness fall off a little, but the sharpness/heat, I don't mind at all.

Someone remarked that the carbonation was low, I thought it was just right. The body is not syrupy because of the booze I think, but some sweetness lingers in the finish.

I was on fence about dropping 20 bucks a pop on something no one has tried before, but I am quite happy.

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Photo of mothman
4.25/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2015 vintage at 13.5%

Tan head with nice retention.

Incredible bourbon flavors. So much oak and vanilla. Chocolate and caramel malts. Not hot which is nice. Toffee. Molaases and raisins.

Smooth and creamy. Ends clean.

Well done!

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Photo of rlee1390
4.3/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Mild oak and bourbon, great bourbon, some dark fruits. A really good BA Barleywines. The balance was very good, the alcohol head is hidden, however it does sneak up on you.

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Photo of FourBetter
4.33/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Goldenjet for sharing.
Poured from the corked and caged bottle into a snifter.

A: Beautiful dark, dirty burgandy with no head at all. Nice lacing on glass.

S: Sweet and enticing - toffee, vanilla and some toast. Subtle alcohol fumage.

T: Lovely. Sweet molasses/caramel with toasted malt flavors and an underlayer of rye. Taste is not impacted by the alcohol at all.

M: Lack of carbonation allows it to coat your mouth like velvet, leaving behind exactly what it should.

O: Dangerously delicious. Entirely drinkable now and curious to see what it will become with age. Well done. Looking forward to other Steel Toe barrel aged releases.

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Photo of jmarsh123
4.4/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours clear deep red with a small off-white head fading quickly. A bit of lacing.

Aroma features sharp rye whiskey notes. Toffee, brown sugar, oak and a touch of vanilla round it out. Lots of booze on the nose.

Strong malty presence up front in the flavor. Toffee, brown sugar and vanilla are the strongest. The strong spicy rye kicks it up a notch and coats the back of the tongue with a bit of a stinging booze essence. Definitely boozy, but the rye is well integrated and doesn't overpower the base.

Big body and light carbonation although there is plenty there to support the flavors. Obviously at 14.4% alcohol is noted, but it's harsher in the nose than the flavor.

I thoroughly enjoyed this one. It's not quite on the top tier, but is decidedly above average even for the high standards of barrel aged barleywines. I'll definitely be seeking this one out to see how it is fresh when the next batch hits.

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Lunker from Steel Toe Brewing
92 out of 100 based on 39 ratings.