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John Barleycorn Barleywine Ale - Mad River Brewing Company

Not Rated.
John Barleycorn Barleywine AleJohn Barleycorn Barleywine Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

457 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 457
Reviews: 349
rAvg: 3.73
pDev: 13.14%
Wants: 20
Gots: 22 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Mad River Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  11.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
Same recipe each year. ABV varies slightly 9.5-11.0%

(Beer added by: xlperro on 10-26-2004)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 457 | Reviews: 349 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Cheesemoose:
Photo of Cheesemoose


3.8/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz 2008 poured into a brandy snifter.

Pour was a mistake on my part, at least i thought. No warning that sediment would be a problem. Better labeling would avoid this issue.

Regardless, a dark pour of a barleywine. Murky brown with a khaki head. Head only brings about an inch of head with a strong pour. Lacking in the film and lacing department, and by lacking, i mean none.

Very toffee like sweetness, with a near absent hop presence. Seriously, the hops on this one are near gone. There is a faint grassy note, but you have search long and hard. Alcohol is still faint as well. Maybe another few years would mellow this one better.

Taste is all sweetness. The hops come in the end, providing a small grassy/floral note. No balance to this one what so ever. Big hit from the alcohol in the end. More felt than anything, you definitely get a nice warmth. More one dimensional than anything. A strange bite as well, but I will attribute that to the sediment.

Carbonation is near gone, making for a very smooth drink. ABV becomes a much more dominant presence. One would think that after 2 years, it would been resolved. Perhaps not.

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2011 02:32:49 | More by Cheesemoose
More User Reviews:
Photo of irishpride

New York

3.75/5  rDev +0.5%

07-04-2014 23:51:14 | More by irishpride
Photo of Dan_McNeely


4.43/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Decided to try it from a wine glass. Very strong bold look. It's a bit lighter in appearance at the top. It had a deep brown almost dark toffee color. A very muscular look to it.

S- Roasted Barley smells very fine and smooth. If it tastes like it smells, it will go down easy. I don't smell the booze. It's has a confident aroma, an almost I'm better than you feel. Again, very masculine, in a suave sense.

T- The taste sweeps in letting it self be known. As suspected, much like the aroma it's like Fabio from a romance novel. It holds a welcoming bitter aftertaste that I can enjoy. A bit of a deep chocolate after taste.

M- Heavenly. I've not had a barley wine with this much distinction and just makes my mouth feel good. Light, but not too light. I can tell it's a high percentage, but it's telling me, "Don't worry, you'll enjoy this", in a not so creepy way.

A gentleman's beer, dark, handsome, intelligent, confident something I can be proud to drink. This is a fantastic beer, it really improved my attitude after a long day at the office. Even if you've never had or usually don't enjoy this style, I highly suggest to pick it up.

Serving type: bottle

06-19-2014 01:59:30 | More by Dan_McNeely
Photo of Huhzubendah

District of Columbia

4.11/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from RussianDragon. Thanks Dave!

2012 Vintage

The beer is slightly murky with a chestnut brown body and a half inch of tan head. Aromas include toffee, dates, booze, malt, perhaps prunes or raisins. Thick body with a mild but present sweetness. Big flavor with malt complexity, a touch of brown sugar. A nice beer to sip and savor.

Serving type: bottle

06-15-2014 04:21:06 | More by Huhzubendah
Photo of spinrsx

Ontario (Canada)

3.93/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12oz Bottle from the Total Wine Palm Desert CA for $3.50 - 2012 edition

Appearance - Hazy brown colour with a good size frothy beige coloured head. There is a low amount of carbonation showing and there is some good lacing. The head lasted for around 5-6 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, caramel/molasses/toffee, anise

Taste & Mouth - There is a below average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, molasses/toffeel, and hops. There is also some vanilla, some burnt notes, and anise.

Overall - Pretty solid stuff. The booze is well hidden and there is a nice balance of sweet and bitter. Maybe a little thin for a barleywine, but lots of great flavours. A wood aged version of this would be excellent I'm sure.

Serving type: bottle

06-10-2014 01:33:25 | More by spinrsx
Photo of OBeerMeGreatOne


4.25/5  rDev +13.9%

06-04-2014 00:53:53 | More by OBeerMeGreatOne
Photo of zestar


3.75/5  rDev +0.5%

05-31-2014 08:29:45 | More by zestar
Photo of robear


3/5  rDev -19.6%

05-24-2014 17:16:05 | More by robear
Photo of Latarnik

New Jersey

3.75/5  rDev +0.5%

05-24-2014 12:57:39 | More by Latarnik
Photo of 2GOOFY


3.75/5  rDev +0.5%

05-07-2014 04:26:40 | More by 2GOOFY
Photo of atrocity


4.25/5  rDev +13.9%

04-29-2014 17:59:11 | More by atrocity
Photo of Wesleyfroda11211

New York

3.75/5  rDev +0.5%

04-08-2014 12:27:56 | More by Wesleyfroda11211
Photo of SocalKicks


3.5/5  rDev -6.2%

04-06-2014 18:25:24 | More by SocalKicks
Photo of minterro


3.64/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Bought at Little's Wine and Liquor store. Bottle is from 2011 and store cellared, so anywhere from a little over 3 years old. Never heard of this brewery before, I like the label though (different from the BA pic).

A&S: Almost opaque garnet colored beer. Lots of unfiltered specks floating around. Light tan head that doesn't hang around or leave lacing. Not a whole lot of aroma coming off this beer, but includes sweet maltyness, some alcohol, lacking a hops presence (not surprising with the aging).

T&M: This beer has got to be pretty bitter fresh even after 3 years aging, must be pretty brutal fresh. Alcohol presence is great with this amount of aging. Heavy on the malts with hints of carmel and apple cider. Kind of a nutty finish. Has sweeter elements of an English Barleywine and the bitterness of an American Barleywine. Semi-dry finish. Medium body, low carbonation. Pretty palate cleansing, no real chewy lingering effects.

Overall: Without having it fresh, this seems like a good one to site on so it can cool. Not spectacular, but not bad. At less than 3 bucks and 11% ABV it is work a try, but I personally wouldn't buy it again. Admittedly, this is my favorite of the two barleywine styles.

Serving type: bottle

04-06-2014 03:35:27 | More by minterro
Photo of beerhast


3.5/5  rDev -6.2%

03-28-2014 16:43:12 | More by beerhast
Photo of NCStateAE

North Carolina

4.25/5  rDev +13.9%

03-22-2014 01:08:15 | More by NCStateAE
Photo of Goldndomer


4.5/5  rDev +20.6%

03-21-2014 23:51:38 | More by Goldndomer
Photo of thkrb99


4.25/5  rDev +13.9%

03-19-2014 23:50:20 | More by thkrb99
Photo of ToddGingerich


4.5/5  rDev +20.6%

03-17-2014 00:43:18 | More by ToddGingerich
Photo of zac16125

South Carolina

4.05/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a tulip
no bottling dates

A: Very dark brown, almost black, with just over 1 fingers width of light tan head. Head dissipates down fairly quickly and leaves a decent amount of lacing.

S: Dark fruits, caramel/toffee, cinnamon, bakers chocolate. Pretty sweet, with some balancing booze. Components are very nice, but its fairly mild.

T: Fig like dark fruits, toffee, vinous notes, bakers chocolate, some bitterness. Tasty

M/D: Full bodied, appropriate carbonation, ABV is very well masked, drinkability is good.

O: A solid barleywine. I really enjoyed this one. Worth checking out, for sure.

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2014 03:22:26 | More by zac16125
Photo of Mightykingmalard


4.25/5  rDev +13.9%

02-28-2014 03:55:30 | More by Mightykingmalard
Photo of sia478


4/5  rDev +7.2%

02-12-2014 23:16:55 | More by sia478
Photo of jaydoc


3.25/5  rDev -12.9%

02-12-2014 04:04:27 | More by jaydoc
Photo of Hoppy_McMalt


4/5  rDev +7.2%

02-04-2014 05:24:13 | More by Hoppy_McMalt
Photo of BlurryVisi0n

New York

3.54/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Served in a snifter glass. 2012 batch served 02/01/2014.

Appearance: A very dark brown looks almost opaque in the glass with very little bubbles to it's frame creating an off-white (orange-ish) head rising to maybe 1/8".

Smell: Light wood notes with a strong alcohol scent but dissipates very quickly.

Taste: Strong alcohol feel that almost smothers the rest of the brew, with the right dose of barley and very light bitterness.

Mouth: Nice stickiness but not exactly smooth, little rough and the body is somewhere medium but has a closer to flat feel.

Overall: Not a bad brew but better barleywines out there. Lacks complexity, this is more the "looking for a buzz" brew. Worth tasting I don't think I would keep it. Salud!

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2014 03:52:07 | More by BlurryVisi0n
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John Barleycorn Barleywine Ale from Mad River Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 457 ratings.