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Lunker - Steel Toe Brewing

Not Rated.
LunkerLunker

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

36 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 36
Hads: 172
rAvg: 4.21
pDev: 9.74%
Wants: 125
Gots: 58 | FT: 5
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: 36 | Hads: 172
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. (655 characters)

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. (428 characters)

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.52/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Steel Toe Brewing Lunker Barleywine Ale Aged in Rye Whiskey Barrels. 14.4% ALC/VOL. Al Capone fishing off a pier, sitting on a Templeton Rye barrel. Verbiage on the side, which we'll read later. Now, to uncage, de-cork, and drink it up. I've been saving this for several months, anxious to give it a taste.

Look of it: Solid black, tight ring of negligible head.

Smell of it: Massive malt, rich as Romney, laden with bourbony aromatics. Deep and decadent. Everything's in here. Vast and awe-inspiring.

Taste of it: Super-rich. Thurston Howell the Fifth. Dark, dank, delirious. Chocolate malt, caramel, with some bitter hop presence on the palate, but minor at most. Then along comes the barrel effect, it's vanilla and toffee, sweet, liquor-y and lovely. Yum-tastic barley-wine lays just below the bourbon.

Intensely indulgent, a sold nightcap. This evening is done. Time to put the cap on this one. Mmmm. A little bit of everything. Oh. Yeah, and…mmm. Ah… (964 characters)

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! (232 characters)

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. (342 characters)

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. (751 characters)

Photo of ZAP
4.92/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A-Deep, dark brown....minimal carbonation, head or lacing.

S-Incredible. Massive aroma of nougat, vanilla, toffee, and toasted caramel....

T-Rich and malty....nice sweetish malty English style Barley Wine with outstanding barrel notes from the Templeton Rye barrels used. Overflowing with strong notes of nougat, vanilla, caramel and toffee. Offers a real subtle unique spicy rye dimension as well.

M-ABV is 14.4% You gotta be shitting me. This is smooth drinking, with a velvet like texture. Not much of a pure alcohol bite at all. Has some whiskey notes from the barrel aging but over all I would have guessed this to be more of a 9-10% Barley Wine.

O-I do not buy the high end bombers much anymore. It has to be really special to get my attention. I tried a 5 ounce pour or whatever it was at the brewery and was hooked. I had to drive at the time and since I live 200+ miles from the brewery I decided to pull the trigger on the 750 to go. Pricey but in this case well worth it. Top tier beer. Maybe the best new beer I have had this year. (1,048 characters)

Photo of egrace84
4.78/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

So I don't review beers too often anymore unless they completely blow me away... Just easier to be a typical, lazy American and give hads, but once I had a taste of this baby I realized I had to do right by her.

A: almost looks a lot like prune juice. No head to be found whatsoever, it's definitely the only un-becoming trait that this beer carries.

S: smells of the smoothest rye whiskey, butterscotch, toffee, caramel, etc. it's all there and easy to differentiate.

T: just as the nose promised and then some! This thing is so smooth and packs so much flavor. Rye whiskey, vanilla, caramel, toffee, heaven... (Yeah you can taste that in there too.)

M:low, medium bodied. Smooth, velvety, not much carb, but wouldn't have it any other way w/ this one.

O: this is in the top three Barleywines that I've had the luxury of enjoying. The nose and taste of this one rival, maybe defeat King Henry IMO. I hope to God that I have the chance to drink this again someday. (971 characters)

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. (1,338 characters)

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. (1,345 characters)

Photo of trxxpaxxs
4.4/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to KWMiles for this bottle...

A: Pours a deep dark brown with red-ish hues around the edges. There is about a half finger of a light tan head that fades fairly quickly over times. There is no lacing left on the glass as it drinks.

S: The nose is caramel, toffee, fig, prune, mild vanilla, and a good bit of barrel aged booze. It smells nice.

T: Mmmm. It starts out sweet with a generous helping of toffee and caramel. The vanilla and stone fruit notes shine in the middle, but toffee is the dominate flavor. As it moves to the back end, the barrel treatment makes itself known with a touch of oak, spice, and some alcohol. The barrel never really dominates the beer. It's very well balanced.

M: Full bodied beer. It's sweet and coating, but moves off the palate well. The flavors envelop the palate and it finishes clean with a mix of sweet and spice.

O: I really enjoyed this beer. I don't know if it's on the level of Sucaba, but it's darn tasty. I would happily drink this beer again at anytime. (1,014 characters)

Photo of morimech
4.49/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from the second Lunker release. Pours a dark caramel color with not quite one finger of head that slowly settled to a thin cap. Moderate amount of sticky lacing is left down the glass. Very good looking for a massive ABV beer.

Strong aroma of caramel, rye whiskey, vanilla, and earth. Picking up some fruity esters as well. The alcohol is present but not obviously overpowering.

Surprisingly gentle on the palate despite the alcohol. Probably helped by the bottle having some age on it allowing the heat to die down some. The big malty flavors are complimented by the barrel not overpowered by it. Flavors of caramel, toffee, and toasted bread. Hints of earth, wood, and some fruity esters. The Templeton Rye barrel adds more flavors of caramel as well as some vanilla. I would of liked a little bit more whiskey flavor. Alcohol in the finish has some heat and flavor but does not seem as harsh as many beers with an ABV half as much. Very impressive flavor.

Big body with low carbonation. Nice gentle, smooth texture that makes for a good sipping drink.

The only improvement I would want is for the whiskey flavor to come out a little more. Otherwise a full flavored, expertly crafted barleywine. I never had this fresh, and I think I would not like it as much. (1,273 characters)

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. (593 characters)

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. (175 characters)

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 (747 characters)

Photo of CuriousMonk
4.63/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Pours deep brown along with a creamy off white head that dissipates slowly and leaves a nice lacing throughout. Aroma is sweeter caramels, dark fruits, vanilla, rye whiskey, and a light toasted wood. Flavor is similar. Smooth, sweeter caramels with some toffee bread up front as well as a nice rye spice, a good amount of dark fruits, and a pleasant whiskey note. Some vanilla, touches of toasty coconut, and a nice woodiness that helps dry this out with some rye in the finish as well. A light warmth before leaving a lengthy delicious aftertaste. Full body and a soft, light carbonation. Excellent barleywine, if not, one of the better ones out there. (653 characters)

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. (930 characters)

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! (963 characters)

Photo of gatornation
4.43/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a cloudy rusty dark brown color with a thin khaki head stripes of lacing on glass
S-toffee rye whiskey dark fruits vanilla slight dankness
T-superb melding of above smells subtle whiskey with sweet toffe caramel some fruit simply delicious
M-mellow medium carbonation ABV well hidden
O-superb English BW well crafted (329 characters)

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. (780 characters)

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. (657 characters)

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. (914 characters)

Photo of Mdog
4.59/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: Dark brown, small head.

Smell: Deep chocolate/vanilla/bourbon.

Taste: Sweet, rich, tootsie rolls, chocolate. Just beautiful. Nice feel, not too heavy, not too light, alcohol is well hidden.

Overall: Finally got to try Lunker as I had missed the previous releases. This is an awesome beer, just wonderful combination of barrel and barleywine. Tootsie roll chocolate/vanilla flavor for the win. (415 characters)

Photo of ThickNStout
4.51/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Maroon wax capped 750mL bottle from PowderhornPhil (thanks man!). 2015 vintage, no bottling date. Served in a Wicked Weed snifter.

Pours an extremely dark chestnut hued brown with a little over a finger of pale, almost tan head. The bubbles recede to a thin veneer and halo, leaving almost no lace behind.

Aromas of sweet whiskey, oak, berries, dark fruit and plenty of sweet grains. Pretty nice up front and grows more inviting as it warms.

We have all the flavors of a classic barrel aged English barleywine here. Whiskey, raisins/ dates, toffee, singed caramel, toasted oak, hints of vanilla, leather, earth, marshmallow, cereal grains and mild spicy rye, all under a soft blanket of alcohol. The flavors work well together and the booze is not nearly as hot as might be expected from the abv. Rich and delicious, particularly as this reaches room temperature and those sweet grains, dark fruit, toffee and barrel notes really shine.

Smooth, creamy, full body with subtle carbonation. There is a little cool alcohol in the mouth initially then a boozey warmth in the gut shortly after swallowing. Then whiskey soaked dark fruit, toffee and oak rest on the palate for a sweet, long lasting finish.

Steel Toe has a great barrel aged English barleywine here in Lunker. Without any name-dropping I'll just say that this is quite close to the top tier for the style. There is a delicious harmony of flavors that is oh, so close to the "big boys". I'm very glad that PowderhornPhil recommended this so I've had a chance to try it. In turn, I highly recommend Lunker to any fan of the style and I sure hope to acquire more at some point. (1,643 characters)

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. (1,688 characters)

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Lunker from Steel Toe Brewing
92 out of 100 based on 36 ratings.