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John Barleycorn Barleywine Ale - Mad River Brewing Company

Not Rated.
John Barleycorn Barleywine AleJohn Barleycorn Barleywine Ale

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462 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 462
Reviews: 349
rAvg: 3.73
pDev: 13.14%
Wants: 20
Gots: 21 | 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: 462 | Reviews: 349 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.1/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Beer poured a turbid medium brown with little carbonation. The aroma is sweet malt, caramel, and floral hops. The flavor is smooth with malt sweetness well balanced by hop bitterness. The finish is slightly bitter and dry, but has a roasted flavor in the background that is quite pleasant. The alcohol is only present in the warmth you feel after consumption.

Not an over the top beer, but well done in regards to the balance between bitterness and hops.

GCBrewingCo, Nov 23, 2003
Photo of beerguy101
3.95/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Medium brown color. Small head. Aroma is malty and slightly sweet. A medium bodied barley wine. A touch of grapefruit is balanced by a slight maltyness. This is a mild flavored barley wine, kind of a nice change of pace from the big in-your-face Barley wine so typical of the west coast. Well balanced. Very drinkable. Would improve with some aging. 9% alcohol not very noticeable. Very smooth. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and smooth. Aftertaste is slightly bitter.

beerguy101, Sep 01, 2003
Photo of pezoids
4.45/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was 2000 Harvest sample. I let this one warm up a bit before sampling. This beer poured a bright and clear amber/ice tea color. Had a long lasting frothy and dense white head. Heavy sweetness in the aroma. Cordial like caramel and toffee. There’s the smokiness of peated malt in the taste. The alcohol peeks through the sweet malt and other complex flavors, including fermented fruits, caramel. Perfectly carbonated and very flavorful. Also getting nice peppery/spicy notes. I enjoyed this beer. An excellent barleywine and very well made in my opinion.

pezoids, Aug 03, 2003
Photo of aaronh
2.58/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours a cloudy orange amber with minimal head and a fairly good amount of floaties. The aroma is very strong and sweet from a distance, but there's a definite malt smell. Up close, the smell becomes more fruity, having a definite apricot note atop the malty sweetness. The taste is like moldy,wet straw that has been sugar coated and doused with rubbing alcohol. High amounts of fusel type alcohols in this one, even after 4 years. A strong bitterness emerges on the finish. Mouthfeel is average for a barleywine. Drinkability is not good. Drinking this brings to mind cokes' review of Doggie Claws, with his apocolypse now theme and hints of napalm. The strong alcohol in this baby makes it a killer. I may try to light it and use it as a torch. Hoping for a rare gem on this purchase and I got burned.

aaronh, Jul 29, 2003
Photo of Loki
3.53/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sampled in a 12 oz bottle from 2001 harvest on May 24th, 2003.

Poured an amber color with a 1/2 inch head that faded to a small covering and left decent lacing.

Aromas of sherry, grapes, sugar, and alcohol from the nose.

Tastes of sherry, buttered kettlecorn, and alcohol. Medium body, but seemed light for the style. Coats the tongue, but not the mouth. Smooth but very sweet and over the top on the alcohol taste.

Loki, May 24, 2003
Photo of RBorsato
3.13/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark Brown/Copper with a low light brown head, lots of sediment and little-no carbonation. Malty aroma; vineous. Also kind of sprucey or piney (?). Sugary sweet flavor with a light alcohol finish; vineous and winey. Full bodied but very flat with a very sweet malty finish.

Not much better than the 1997 version. If I tried a later year of this beer I'd drink it fresh.

Labelled as 2001 Harvest
Tasted: 05/10/03

RBorsato, May 20, 2003
Photo of Darkale
2.93/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Cloudy butterscotch in color, thick and slow-pouring, with a short, tan head. Lacing is good.

Aroma is candy -- butterscotch and caramel.

Taste is just as sweet, even sweeter. Caramel, toffee, hint of coffee. Slightly burning in the mouth, and thinner than one would expect, only slightly chewy. Aftertaste is an odd combination of hops and malt. Pungent, slightly sour, dry and astringent.

Not the best example of a barleywine. Aftertaste is too sour, taste is too thin and cloying.

Darkale, May 04, 2003
Photo of Jordan
4.2/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Potent aromas of complex alchohals and candied caramel. Heavy body; creamy mouthfeel. Sugary sweet butterscotch, burnt caramel and complex alchohals make this one of the maltiest beers I have ever sampled. Perhaps TOO sweet!? I would say yes if you plan on sitting back and drinking a sixer, however this is perfect for a nightcap or for a relaxing drink on a cold winters night. Where are the hops the other two BA's have commented on? Maybe it's the age?

Drink this one at room temp.

Jordan, Jan 09, 2003
Photo of BeerManDan
4.5/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The color is a medium amber with not a medium head that will cling to the glass sides. The aroma is of malts and spices. The taste was malty, with a hint of spices and caramel. The after taste was creamy smooth with a good balance of sweetness and a hint of bitterness. This is my first time tasting this beer and I like it. Not the best but very passable!

BeerManDan, Nov 01, 2002
Photo of Murph
3.73/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly hazy ruby/amber color with a nice, creamy, tan head that sinks but leaves a nice lacing down the goblet. A nice rich malty aroma dominates with some subdued alcohol in the background. Intense chewy hoppiness with a slightly harsh alcohol finish to it. Some slight fruit flavors and a little vinous quality as well. Slightly thin for the style and not quite as warming as I would like it to be but not a bad brew either, just nothing special. I was hoping for something that was going to be able to warm me up a little better than this but it isn't bad at all.

Murph, Oct 24, 2002
Photo of marc77
3.68/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Hazy, tawny bronze in hue, topped by a thin, but dense light tan head. Sugar coated nuts and vinous sherry sweetness upfront in aroma, followed by notes of bitterscotch and deep caramel. Hints of leafy tobacco accompany the earthy and slightly woody hop nose. Dark toffeeish sweetness hits the palate at first, then yields immediately to a citrusy hop flavor and sharp bitterness. The muted malt character surfaces as the hop profile fades, and is dominated by butterscotch and well toasted malt. Mild fruity esters eek in, but are nearly lost to the strong hop profile. Lightly bodied for style, but quite dextrinous and smooth in mouthfeel. Finishes w/ a snap of sweetness and quickly fading bready malt and butter. This has the potential to be an excellent barleywine, and is certainly worthy of cellaring. In its current state, the drinkability is already very good-- perhaps dangerously so.

marc77, Sep 17, 2002
Photo of DOCALYN
2.05/5  rDev -45%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Weirdest beer I ever had. the herb used is rosemary and I can't imagine why one would spoil an othrwise good beer with this herb. I dumped my beer down the drain as the taste was too funky for my tastebuds.

DOCALYN, Sep 23, 2001
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John Barleycorn Barleywine Ale from Mad River Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 462 ratings.