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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.
BA SCORE
84
good

459 Ratings
THE BROS
70
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 459
Reviews: 349
rAvg: 3.73
pDev: 13.14%
Wants: 20
Gots: 22 | FT: 2
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: 459 | Reviews: 349 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by TheLongBeachBum:
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
TheLongBeachBum

California

4.1/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2006 Harvest (Sampled Fresh)

Presentation: Stubby 12 fluid ounce bottle sealed with a twist off standard brass crown cap. Single main label has a light tan brown background with dark brown printing and text. Labeled as ‘John Barleycorn’ but described as ‘Certified Organic Barleywine Ale – Celebrating 2006 Harvest’. Listed at 9.5% Alcohol By Volume, no Freshness Date.

Appearance: Creamy tanned head soon forms a very smooth and uniform looking vicars collar that starts at ½” thick and settles at no less than ¼” when it relaxes, leaving some large bubbles on the surface when it does. A light haze sits like a Victorian London mist in the pastel looking horse chestnut body. The carbonation is broken in places but always finely dissolved. Exhibits a very traditional looking English Barleywine appearance which I love.

Nose: Soothing toffee, alcohol laden caramel, dark fruits, soft chewy malts, brown sugar, hints of raisins and a nice low key bitter hop pinch at the death. Warming, soothing and very relaxing….if only I had a roaring fireplace to sit next to and a clay pipe to smoke on.

Taste: The chewy toffee malts kick things off; there is only the mildest hint of sweetness in this Barleywine, which is rare treat these days. This low sweetness is a positive advantage; it discretely gives way to dark fruits, brown sugars, a little anise, some toasted bread and caramelized raisins in the middle with a firm bitterness in the finish to pick up the excitement in the ending. Dry and bitter with a lovely warm malt presence. A few mouthfuls later and a healthy punch of pine hops and oils coat the cheeks. The bitterness gives way to a thick oily hop death. Super stuff.

Mouthfeel: This doesn’t so much have Mouthfeel, as Nosefeel, a warming waft of nasal alcohol heats up the back of the throat and leads you into the firm body. I think this Barleywine got a Bowflex for Christmas; there are no flabby bits anywhere, nothing but a firm, well toned, mid-rift with some thick calfs for long distance drinking. The alcohol plays its part here, but perfectly balances the traditional English Barleywine character.

Drinkability: I wished this one had arrived in a Bomber, though at 9.5% ABV and with a work day tomorrow, it is probably better that it does not. John Barleycorn has an archetypal English Barleywine composition with a projection that reminds me of the days of the Empire, oh I digress. Suffice to say, this is a very enjoyable brew, a great libation that allows you to forget the days stresses and helps you to sink into a time past and happy memories.

Overall: I haven’t seen this one knocking around before, so it was a ‘so-so’ pick-up. ‘so-so’ because I like some of the Mad River Brewing beers, but not all. I’m impressed by this though, it’s very English, and I would hate that to come across as Xenophobic or biased, but by that I mean that this Barleywine has a solid chewy toffee malt base, a restrained hop character in the middle but a lovely liquorice pine oil hop bite in the rising finish. Lovely. Didn’t seem to be much in the way of yeasty detritus in this one, but I’ll wager it will age for a year or two and improve for sure. $2.49 from Hollingshead Deli of Orange. Recommended.

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2006 06:04:33 | More by TheLongBeachBum
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paulish

New York

4/5  rDev +7.2%

07-30-2014 03:02:33 | More by paulish
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Iowa

3.5/5  rDev -6.2%

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3.75/5  rDev +0.5%

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

Wisconsin

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
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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
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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.

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06-10-2014 01:33:25 | More by spinrsx
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California

4.25/5  rDev +13.9%

06-04-2014 00:53:53 | More by OBeerMeGreatOne
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California

3.75/5  rDev +0.5%

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

Wisconsin

3/5  rDev -19.6%

05-24-2014 17:16:05 | More by robear
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New Jersey

3.75/5  rDev +0.5%

05-24-2014 12:57:39 | More by Latarnik
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3.75/5  rDev +0.5%

05-07-2014 04:26:40 | More by 2GOOFY
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Virginia

4.25/5  rDev +13.9%

04-29-2014 17:59:11 | More by atrocity
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New York

3.75/5  rDev +0.5%

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

California

3.5/5  rDev -6.2%

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

Colorado

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
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North Carolina

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Pennsylvania

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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

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John Barleycorn Barleywine Ale from Mad River Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 459 ratings.