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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.

464 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 464
Reviews: 349
rAvg: 3.73
pDev: 13.14%
Wants: 21
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of John Barleycorn Barleywine Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 464 | Reviews: 349 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of vande
3.75/5  rDev +0.5%

vande, Oct 26, 2013
Photo of theCoder
3/5  rDev -19.6%

theCoder, Oct 25, 2013
Photo of harpus
3.5/5  rDev -6.2%

harpus, Oct 10, 2013
Photo of deonreds
3.75/5  rDev +0.5%

deonreds, Aug 09, 2013
3.75/5  rDev +0.5%

WOLFGANG, Jul 22, 2013
Photo of Kevlee722
3.75/5  rDev +0.5%

Kevlee722, Jul 17, 2013
Photo of acurtis
3.75/5  rDev +0.5%

acurtis, Jul 14, 2013
Photo of AnotherBeerGeek
4/5  rDev +7.2%

AnotherBeerGeek, Jul 06, 2013
Photo of ksimons
4.05/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-a light chestnut with visible sediment and a fingers worth of tan head

S-caramel malt, toffee, rum soaked raisins, plums and cherries, and a small amount of hops

T-similar to the smell, lots of caramel and toffee, rum soaked fruits, and ends with a light bitter finish

M-medium body, medium carbonation, bitter finish left on the tongue

Overall I thought this was pretty good, better than the BA scores suggest. Really nice aroma, maybe a little on the hot side, but not overwhelming.

ksimons, Jul 04, 2013
Photo of redleg411
3.25/5  rDev -12.9%

redleg411, Jun 28, 2013
Photo of Dope
3.33/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

2011 batch.

A: Pours a clear dark red with some brown in there. Decent frothy tan head. Nice thick walls of lacing left behind from the slowly fading head. Great retention as well.

S: Very mild aroma. Almost don't get anything. A little orange marmalade maybe? Touch of stinging alcohol.

T: Interesting taste. It's kind of a sharp orange flavor initially, mixed with some raisins and toffee. Bready in the finish with some toasted malt and a little wave of bitterness from the hops. Somewhat harsh alcohol heat in the aftertaste. Orange flavor is odd, almost artificial or medicinal. Like someone dropped some tang in this.

M: Fairly heavy and thick.

O: Huh, very unusual barleywine. A bit unnecessarily harsh and almost no aroma. Not a bad barleywine, just unusual flavors and not quite right. It was okay, I drank all of it but it was kind of a mess if I'm honest.

Dope, Jun 26, 2013
Photo of joshwalt
3.5/5  rDev -6.2%

joshwalt, Jun 22, 2013
Photo of mrfrancis
3.75/5  rDev +0.5%

mrfrancis, Jun 19, 2013
Photo of megamass
3.5/5  rDev -6.2%

megamass, Jun 07, 2013
Photo of Slatetank
3.71/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A 2011 bottle purchased from Half Time, enjoyed chilled from a snifter.

The color is like caramel with a translucent clarity and thin beige cap which rises and settles to a ring with small beading and minimal lace. The smell has a caramel and dried fruit sweetness in the aroma with light stone fruit scent from the yeast. The feel is semi-dry with light sweetness and toasted malt in the texture with moderately high alcohol influence and moderate bitterness and and drying finish.

The taste is slightly caramel up front with a toasted and woody malt flavor with some light spice and dried fruit presence in the yeast profile. The taste has a mild hop accent which contributes to the bitterness in the taste which balances the malt sweetness well, but it also propels the alcohol in the taste forward on the palate adding to the perceived spiciness and warming accent in the semi-dry finish. The overall Impression is that this is a cellar worthy barleywine. I consider it pretty drinkable for the style since it is not intensely sweet, but it does have a strong alcohol influence which detracts slighlty.

Slatetank, May 16, 2013
Photo of CelticAleMan
3.5/5  rDev -6.2%

CelticAleMan, May 13, 2013
Photo of boilermakerbrew
4.15/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Picked up a 2010 vintage from the local store.

A- Pours an opaque, deep, deep, mahogany. Very small, dense head that only retains a little, but leaves a little foam around the top. No lacing.

S- Huge, sweet malt scents with more huge, bitter oak and a little hops. Terribly complex with a lot of booze kicking in at the end. Overall, the combined scents give a barrel-like scent to this beer.

T- Huge boozy flavors hit up front with a fair dose of hops bitterness. Small transition over to some mildly sweet caramel malts. Big oak-like flavors push it back towards the hops and booze. Ends with a pretty strong combination of hoops and alcohol bitterness that lingers. Interesting and complex, just mot entirely good flavor combinations.

M- Thick and syrupy across the tongue. Very low carbonation with lots of alcohol detectable in the taste. Alcohol has a surprisingly low amount of burn for its prominence in the taste.

Overall, this has been aged between 2 and 3 years, and could stand up for years to come. The alcohol is somewhat overpowering the flavors of the malts, but the hops are still prominent.

boilermakerbrew, Apr 24, 2013
Photo of Gregg_Kawakami
4.75/5  rDev +27.3%

Gregg_Kawakami, Apr 21, 2013
Photo of BeerlyLegal
4.5/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had a 2011 12oz bottle poured into a tulip.

In my opinion this is a damn good barley wine and a bit surprised by BA's ratings. Maybe a little bit too sweet for some, but overall a beautiful brew with an 11.1% ABV that sneaks up on you nicely.

I scented a cheese plate with grapes and apples.

I tasted a caramel syrupy flavor mixed with hints of dark fruit, molasses and malt. With that said, you would think this is a sticky beer however it has a very smooth finish that allows you down it quite easily. I would love to get my hands on this again.

BeerlyLegal, Apr 20, 2013
Photo of BGsWo22
1.75/5  rDev -53.1%

BGsWo22, Mar 21, 2013
Photo of nzerbe
4/5  rDev +7.2%

nzerbe, Mar 05, 2013
Photo of evilkalla
3.18/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Serving: 2009 vintage bottle into an ale glass. I drank a couple of these soon after purchase and they were a little harsh, so I've left them on the shelf for a few years. Figured it was time to see if they have improved.

A: Poured thick, slightly hazy, with a small amount of carbonation. Deep amber/brown color. Has a thin film of a head which receded quickly.

S: Has a slightly sweet malty smell to it, but all traces of hops have vanished. Not surprising given the age.

T: The slightest bitterness, with a strong flavor of dark caramel malt. The alcohol is noticeable but not offensive. It has improved a fair amount since I tasted it about three years ago. Overall, a fair but middle of the road barley wine.

M: Thick mouthfeel which is expected given the amount of malt in this beer. Not bad.

O: This is a barley wine that was not very good when it was younger, but improved a bit with a little aging. Still doesn't blow your socks off but it has a relatively mild flavor which isn't offensive.

evilkalla, Mar 05, 2013
Photo of MarkyMOD
3.75/5  rDev +0.5%

MarkyMOD, Mar 02, 2013
Photo of AmitC
4.03/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured the 2011 limited release from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter.

Clouded Brown color. a lot of suspensions and haze. Dirty. About half finger thick tan colored head that stays well as a layer. Decent to excellent lacing on the sides. Almost opaque. Calm.

Aroma still has a lot of hops coming through and at first smell it comes of as an earthy IPA. A good amount of malts and a very typical Barleywine style aroma with a good mix and interplay of earthy, ground hops and strong malts. Very slight alcohol warmth that comes through. A lot of bready and some caramel notes come through in the nose.

Taste is just decent. Again very typical. Some sweetness of malts and hidden yet coming through bitter hops. A good amount of booze and very good alcohol warmth. Finish is semi dry to slightly bitter sweet.

Mouth feel is heavy medium to almost full bodied with a very good chewing texture. Some booze that shines or what looks to be killing the rating of others. No astringency except for 11.1% ABV.

I like it and it drinks good. However, i would not buy it again just because of its price.

AmitC, Feb 22, 2013
Photo of hayesjw
4.25/5  rDev +13.9%

hayesjw, Feb 20, 2013
John Barleycorn Barleywine Ale from Mad River Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 464 ratings.