1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

458 Ratings
THE BROS
70
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 458
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
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of John Barleycorn Barleywine Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 458 | Reviews: 349 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mcallister
mcallister

Ohio

3.58/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2006 Vintage at 9.5% ABV.

Pours russet colored with some sediment abound. Head of tan arises too around a half inch then fades quickly into spotty clusters.

Sweet toffee aromas with caramel in a close second. Citrusy hops with a great floral touch that makes the nose quite lively. Fig, raisin, dates, and prune with a pineapple, grapefruit twist that leads into a maple brown sugar ester.

Nice hop bitterness on the mid palate and ending of this but it leaves an unpleasant film that hurts both the taste and mouthfeel. Would probably mellow out overtime and be no problem. Cherry, fig, dates, brown sugar, some citrus although not as showing as the nose, hazlenut, and chewy caramel. Mouth is big, full and overtaking but like mentioned earlier some time to rest is needed.

A good barleywine I'd like to lay down for a few years and try again.

Serving type: bottle

07-01-2007 22:12:20 | More by mcallister
Photo of ChainGangGuy
ChainGangGuy

Georgia

3.53/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a clear, bright carnet body with a small, off-white head.

Smell: Whiskey-scented aroma with hints of sweet caramel, vanilla, spiced plums. Some perfumy peach notes.

Taste: Sweet and syrupy, yet also earthy and grainy, with flavors of caramel, stewed plums, and brown sugar. The sweetness is backed by plenty of hop bitterness and, again, hints of peaches which meld with the alcohol is provide a shot of peach schnapps. Ends with a dryish, woody finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Dense, sticky mouthfeel. Relatively low carbonation. Quite warming, alcoholwise.

Drinkability: Paired very well with the movie "The Lost Weekend".

Serving type: bottle

06-24-2007 02:09:16 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of Boppar
Boppar

New Hampshire

4.47/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Vintage 2005.

12 oz. bottle pours into a chalice with a very thin head, but nice lacing. A tawny brown orange. Nice color, but I was hoping for better lace and/or head.

Smell is sweet summer squash and dank, resiny pine hops. An alcoholic spiciness turns into a mild burn about half way up my nasal cavity.

A bold malty sweetness is up to bat first. Good, biscuity flavor, with notes of honey and maybe orange rind. Some nice smokiness in the second half and right on through. Some well-balanced mid-palate hop bitterness kicks in, and transitions seamlessly to a ridiculously long dry finish that tastes primarily like oak, but some residual hoppy pine action and faint citrus notes. There is a little alcohol spice, but the 9.5% ABV is remarkably well-hidden.

Mouthfeel is thick, chewy and moderately carboated. it works great for this style.

Barleywines are meant to be sippers with big, robust flavors. They are also supposed to pack a wallop ABV-wise. This brew is definitely a heavy-hitter in the flavor department, and its well-disguised 9.5% ABV is no small-fry either. So when I say that John Barleycorn accomplishes both of the goals, and yet goes down so nice and smooth that I wish I had another 12 oz. for later, I want you to understand how well-crafted this beer is.

This beer has all the balance and complexity I had hoped to find in Bigfoot.

Serving type: bottle

05-15-2007 19:20:32 | More by Boppar
Photo of Vancer
Vancer

Illinois

4.38/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Solid hitter here, proper ol’ dark oak pour, lacey tan head, nice lacing. Yum.

Cherry and plum in the aroma, sweet malt too. The malty quaff is pleasing me, as I work thru this snifter. Woody and resinous, I’m still drawn back to the black cherry backbone. Sharp and dry, the cherry sweetness doesn’t over power in the finish. Just a top-notch brew. I could drink this all evening long. I sure hope to hell have more of these down the road.

I’m in debt to Dubbercody
for this nice brew, sent for my BA annv.

Serving type: bottle

04-22-2007 23:03:40 | More by Vancer
Photo of russpowell
russpowell

Oklahoma

4.08/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 Pours chestnutwith 1 finger+ of sand colored head. Average lacing & above average head retention

S: Bready, doughy with chocolate & brown sugar

T: Bready & boozey warmth up front. Earthy hops & a little roasted grain. Brown sugar, itense dryness & pecans as this warms. Finishes dry with bakers chocolate, sometimes harsh boozeyness( mellows as it warms ) & piney bitterness at the back of the throat

MF: Medium bodied, slight oilyness & low carbonation

The 9.0 abv is evident here, not a bad one to sip a bottle or 2, but after that, move on! A bit pricey at $12 a sixer (my biggest bitch about this beer)

Serving type: bottle

04-09-2007 03:51:12 | More by russpowell
Photo of Braudog
Braudog

Virginia

3.38/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From a 12oz botle, this poured shockingly dark, although the deep crimson color shows up if you hold it to light. There’s little life to it and almost no head. The aroma is sugary sweet, syrupy and molasses-like. This is extremely rich, sugary and full-flavored, definitely a dessert beer. To my palate of limited range, I’d be forced to say that raisin is the predominate flavor here, although there’s also a tingle of hoppy pine/resin, along with the strong baked sugar strength of the alcohol. (#2770, 4/8/2007)

Serving type: bottle

04-08-2007 23:28:36 | More by Braudog
Photo of GClarkage
GClarkage

California

3.68/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

01/20/07- Purchased at Ledgers Liquors in Berkeley, CA.

2006 Release****

Presentation- 12oz bottle, bottled in late 2006. Poured into my Alesmith tulip.

Appearance- Dark caramel brown pour. 1/4 inch head from a very slow pour. Nice patchy lacing.

Smell- Super dark roasted malt with pine hops beneath. Smells very bready.

Taste- Intense deep roasted malt flavor. John relies more on malt than hops for sure. It does have a nice woody hop profile though. Kind of a nice change of pace for a barleywine. Seems to have a slight touch of a cardboard taste.

Mouthfeel- Pretty smooth with a lower carbonation rate. Very nice malty aftertaste.

Drinkability- Overall a very tasty barleywine. More of a malt bomb than based on hops. Very drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

03-10-2007 18:29:22 | More by GClarkage
Photo of Neehan
Neehan

North Carolina

4.08/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Celebrating the 2006 Harvest. Cheers.

A ruddy and hazy dark bronze with a nice ring of lacing that stays alive with each sip. Pleasant webbing and foamy head. This year's harvest reaps apples, plums, grapes, and perhaps a very slight hint of grapefruit. The taste is very smooth, much smoother than what I remember of last year's offering. With a bitterness that quickly and quietly disappears. A back and forth between sweetness and bitterness with each sip, mellowing more as the drink warms. Very light and foamy in the mouth that eases down quite nicely. Very drinkable for the genre because of its smoothness and relaxing character. Far better than I had expected, this year's offering is fantastic.

Serving type: bottle

03-02-2007 04:55:36 | More by Neehan
Photo of khiasmus
khiasmus

South Carolina

3.68/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A-Deep amber color, with light head that quickly dissipates to a lace. Very slightly cloudy.

S-Almost a three way tie between hops, malt, and alcohol. Very sweet with notes of nuts and honey.

T-Very sweet and malty, with hops almost balancing. Overall very sweet and slightly fruity. Citrus, maple, honey, cane sugar, cocoa, coffee.

M-Slick and buttery, with a slight astringency and dry finish.

D-More drinkable than many barleywines, but once again, unless your a freak for them, you won't have more than a couple.

Serving type: bottle

02-23-2007 03:04:15 | More by khiasmus
Photo of phisig137
phisig137

Virginia

3.93/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle dated for the 2006 harvest. Pours a deep brown with ruby tinges, fairly cloudy, and a one finger creamy head. Decent retention doesn't leave much behind.

Aroma is full and enjoyable. Well balanced between malt and hops, and with only a little hint of alcohol. Nice and pine like hops give this an american spin.

Flavor is quite nice. Huge toffee notes up front, with some complex caramel, malt, and molasses flavors. Finish is firmly bitter, with only moderate hop flavor. Not sweet and not bitter, but very nicely balanced. I can see this aging quite nicely for a few years. Mouthfeel is stick, full, and heavy. Drinkability is quite good for a fresh barleywine.

Without a doubt, this is the best organic beer I've had to date. I'll be very curious to see how this ages in around three years. It's pretty delicious now, but has the potential to be amazing. It's not as in your face as many other american barleywines, but it stand up well to the competition. Recommended.

Serving type: bottle

02-23-2007 01:14:41 | More by phisig137
Photo of barleywinebrewer
barleywinebrewer

New Hampshire

3.88/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

another tasty treat acquired through the wonders of trading!

A - Nice rich burgandy color, creamy tanned head.

S - Rich malts, toffee, ripe dark fruits and a warm alcohol hints.

T - similar to the smell but not heavy sweet. A wisp of hops finishes this one off nicely.

M - full bodied, smoothly carbonated. Nothing better when natural carbonation does it's thing!

D - while not overtaking some all time favorites, this one was quite tasty. I only had two and it was enough for once sitting, not enough in the cellar.

I could see cellaring this for a few years. Of course that is if I could get it in NH. Enjoy if you can get them.

Serving type: bottle

02-12-2007 19:15:35 | More by barleywinebrewer
Photo of Enola
Enola

North Carolina

3.63/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Chimay glass.

This beer is a nice plum color with a fair hed the receded into a thin layer. The smell is a sweet combination of hops and fruit. The taste is sweet and the hops present a slight bitterness. The beer is very smooth, with only a slight sour bitterness in the aftertaste that hopefully will lay down with time. Drinkable for sure, as the bottle lists a slightly higher abv than listed here. Whatever the avb, it does not show at all. A good barleywine that should get better with time.

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2007 01:01:05 | More by Enola
Photo of rallison
rallison

California

3.9/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Rich reddish brown with a nice white head that lasts.

S: Lots of sweetness. Caramel, brandy, etc.

T: Definitely sweet. Tastes of sweet caramel and has some brandy. Some bitterness at the very end, but only barely enough to counter the sweetness. Also get some alcohol burn. Sort of works in this case, since the beer is so rich, but it's there. Although, for a 9% beer this rich, the alcohol could be a little more hidden. You want something after dinner to go with your sweet dessert? This is the beer.

M: Rich, thick, full. No doubt about it. Some carbonation to keep it from being overly syrupy.

D: I like the beer, but it's a bit too rich to be really drinkable. A 12 oz bottle is just about right.

Semi-recommended. If it's what you're in the mood for, it's enjoyable. Just be ready for it.

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2007 09:17:32 | More by rallison
Photo of Foxman
Foxman

New Jersey

3.58/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

It pours a very hazy brownish coppery amber, more orange at the edges. A finger-plus of khaki head lasts a fair while. Scoops of lacing dollop the inside of the glass.

The aroma is disappointingly sparse, and barely indicates roasted malt, some sloe and currants, and a sprinkle of hop scent. Not so sparse is a sinewy tendon of alcohol.

Upon sipping, there comes a quite sweet twist of earthy, sugary malt, caramel, plum, and vanilla. A slightly floral and peppery hop presence tempers a sherry vinous aspect of hot alcohol. A decided turn of gritty bitterness overlaps some biscuit. The finish is dry and very bitter, lingering stoutly. The flavor strives for mainstream, and it does end up being manageably alright.

Full bodied, the slick viscous malt and glowing bitterness impress the palate well.

The nose is very thin and made me work too hard, and the flavor almost did the same, but to a somewhat lesser degree. It is quite bitter, and almost refreshingly dry in the finish, but it doesn't overload the tastebuds with hop lava. The ABV is gutsy and hot, but while it hits hard, it doesn't strike as out of place. The size alone makes it worthy of caution, and the rather mundane presentation leave it moderately drinkable. So while I don't think John Barleycorn must die, he doesn't have to stop around real often either.

Serving type: bottle

01-25-2007 20:28:23 | More by Foxman
Photo of BeerRun13
BeerRun13

California

3.58/5  rDev -4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark ruby brown with some floaties & just visible bubbles. An agresive pour still ony produced a thin film that quickly faded to a ring.
Malty and raisiny in the nose. Something in there reminds me of those Red Hot candies.
Strong malty flavor with a slight alcoholic kick. Nice hop flavor and bitterness. Bittering with a slightly spicy finish.
Full malty body with moderate carbonation. Very warming alcohol down the throat. Bittering finish.
A sipper for sure, but pretty good overall.

Serving type: bottle

01-20-2007 23:06:46 | More by BeerRun13
Photo of TastyTaste
TastyTaste

Minnesota

4.68/5  rDev +25.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Clear maroon body, although very dark, doesn't let a whole lot of light through. Big off-white slow fading head.

Smell: Maple syrup and oak, sugary sweet with nice fruity hops, nice and 'bright' smelling barleywine.

Taste: Rich and malty, strong hops, very west-coast, hops and malt are balanced, and both are very strong. Cereal-grainy flavor smooths things out, alcohol lingers and tinkgles on the way. Finely crafted, has a nice unique flavor.

Drinkability: Enjoyable, another treat from Zorro.

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2007 05:42:43 | More by TastyTaste
Photo of rkuhnel
rkuhnel

California

3.95/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I tend to like most of what Mad River attempts, and being local I can always get this. This was the early 2007 vintage, and they seem to have made this even better. It pours what I guess you would have to call a cross between red and brown, sort of deep mahogany color and up popped a big light tan head that settled slowly and left lots of big chunks of lacing in the glass. What actually greets you first when you take a big sniff is alcohol, then you get caramel malts, piney hops, and fruits like cherry or figs. Mouth feel is somewhat more dry than the nose would suggest. Flavors are of sweet caramel and chocolate. A very decent Barleywine, and it would be interesting so see how it would do if I could just buy a six-pack and leave it alone for a year.

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2007 04:45:15 | More by rkuhnel
Photo of akorsak
akorsak

Pennsylvania

2.42/5  rDev -35.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

A 12 oz bottle from a trade with Boolshot.

A: The barleywine is a deep copper red, very hazy, with a small white head and no lace.

S: The aroma is almost nonexistent, regardless of temperature of the beer. A very grainy, unsweet malt scent manages to waft up but it is weak.

T: The flavor is grainy malts. The body is very light, lacking the intense complexity and malty overload of a good barleywine. On top of that, there are no hops to be found. As the ale warms, it takes on a slightly medicinal malt flavor with some residual sweetness, but it is still lacking for hops.

M: The mouthfeel is bland, lacking a memorable hop or malt body.

D: I would not grab this one again, it seems to come up short in every category.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2007 13:48:09 | More by akorsak
Photo of Zorro
Zorro

California

3.78/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 Bottle with a listed 9.5 ABV.

In the glass this is a clear coca cola brown colored beer. The head doesn't really form here what there is of it is tan.

Smell is sweet and very malty with a strong pine cone scent. Alcohol is evident and adds a black pepper aroma. Fruitiness is in this mostly cherry and prune smell.

Taste is sweet and very bitter at the beginning. The bitterness doesn't get much stronger and this quickly becomes malty and woody in flavor. Not real complex but it is fairly good.

Mouthfeel is good.

An OK Barley Wine that is of the bitter and woody type. If you like a strong woody beer then this is for you.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2006 02:43:42 | More by Zorro
Photo of dirtylou
dirtylou

Washington

3.6/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz single split with blackie, from the these go to eleven bif, 2004 bottle

appearance: poured into snifter...murky/muddy mahogany-amber. foamy beige head with light retention

smell: bitter hops dominate the aroma, heavy pine, strong citrus, boozy plum, light brown sugar, boozy malt

taste: boozy at 9%, bitter pine cones, fig, dark fruit, brown sugar...not terribly complex, but a nice bitter barleywine

mouthfeel: boozy, hop kick is heavy

drinkability: alright

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2006 23:29:03 | More by dirtylou
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
Photo of DogFood11
DogFood11

California

4/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a stone barleywine glass. It formes a rather dense tan head that holds true for a while. Cloudy brown body. Fine swirling carbonation slowly cascades down the side of the glass after a pull...love that.

Very fruity in the nose. Citrusy hops seem to be a big factor as well. Bakers chocolate on the backside.

Taste while similar tends to be swayed by the aggressive mouthfeel. Caramel and dry chocolate tend to stick to the palate and form a sort of layer across the tongue. Malts are somewhat candied but carry a burnt quality to them that I enjoyed. Plenty of hops in this one. It has a nice playfull balance back and forth. This is fairly balanced and the chocolate bitterness is a nice touch to the overall sweet brew. One thing I didn't like too much is the cakey dry mouthfeel that leaves a coat to remember. I expect some of that in a barleywine but this was slightly annoying in that department.

Notes: Winner. Very good barleywine and another product from Mad River that impresses this household. I could see laying some down for a yearly tasting. Was nice fresh!

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2006 05:23:02 | More by DogFood11
Photo of brewandbbq
brewandbbq

New Hampshire

3.4/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Vintage 1997

Pours mostly flat, with minimal carbonation coming out of solution. A brief moment of spritzy bubbles jumping out of the brew, like cola, followed by a placid suface.
The body is light mahogany and clear, except for some stray particulates from the near-bottom of the bottle.
Aromatics are unusual to say the least, especially for a barleywine.
Dried cherries with light malt, followed by a floral note which seems like tarragon or chamomile. Other hints lean in a more asian direction, such as kaffir leaves or lemongrass.
Mouthfeel is flat and puckering, with a lactic twang.
Pallet is laden with cherry and lime juice. Tart and juicy with hints of nutmeg and peppercorns.
I think the lactic quality was non-intentional, and obtrusive in the drinkablity.
Finishes warm with lingering spice and bitterness only from the acid.

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2006 01:22:14 | More by brewandbbq
Photo of EPseja
EPseja

New Jersey

3.08/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served from a 12oz bottle in a Duvel Tulip at cellar temperature.

A - Slightly hazed, medium brown color with ruby highlights. A modest head composed mainly of tiny, frothy bubbles. No lacing, quick head dispersal. All that's left is a thin tan ring around the rim of the glass and a wisp of bubbles in the center, only because of the etching on the bottom of the glass.

S - Juicy, green fruitiness and fragrant citrus hop notes. Some candy sugar sweetness.

T - A touch of ambiguous sweetness on the tip of the tongue that is quickly overtaken by a big, drying piney hop character that numbs the tongue. Alcohol is quite present as if not much effort was taken in trying to hide or subdue it. Yeastily tart and bitter in the back, with an extremely dry finish. Some balance problems with this one, I'm afraid.

M - Low viscosity and medium effervescence for the style, expanding to a decent frothiness in the mouth. More watery than slick. Swallow is unassuming.

D - I've had other barleywines that have heaps more balance than this one. While this beer is still tasty in it's own right, I'd reach for many others before I would reach for this one.

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2006 02:26:48 | More by EPseja
Photo of IntriqKen
IntriqKen

California

3.83/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a deep, deep amber almost black with a respectible thin white head that melts to a sticky ring of lacing.
Aromas are what you would expect for a barleywine...sweet dark malts, dark fruits like raisins, candy sugar, brown sugar, only a hint of hops.
Flavors are again sweet malt and burnt brown sugar but only with a hint of bitter citrus hops at the end.
Aftertaste is a combination of burnt sugar and bitter hops. Hops leave a drying that is pleasing.
Mouthfeel is creamy but slightly cloying.
Nice version of an American Barleywine...not great, but damn good.
***
NOTE: Edited slightly after a second bottle at a later date.

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2006 05:29:27 | More by IntriqKen
John Barleycorn Barleywine Ale from Mad River Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 458 ratings.