Trainwreck Barley Wine - Phillips Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Trainwreck Barley WineTrainwreck Barley Wine

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

46 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 46
Reviews: 22
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 9.14%
Wants: 4
Gots: 4 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Phillips Brewing Company visit their website
British Columbia, Canada

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BDTyre on 12-06-2010

On the ale side of the yeast divide, this year’s barley wine, Trainwreck, is set to derail your holidays in the best way possible. Providing a boxcar of big malts and rich, caramel aromas, Trainwreck will run you around the corner on two wheels. Available for a limited time, so don't miss the train.
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Ratings: 46 | Reviews: 22
Reviews by the Alström Bros:

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More User Reviews:
Photo of biboergosum
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

650ml bottle, 2011 version. A good name and imagery for this style.

This beer pours a clear, dark reddish amber hue, with two fat fingers of tight, silky foamy ecru head, which leaves a nice chain mail pattern of lace around the glass as it slowly recedes.

It smells of weirdly dry biscuity malt, kind of nutty, and very faint earthy, leafy hops - like a big ESB. The taste is really just more of the same - nutty biscuit malt, sweet, but not nearly overly so. A bit of black fruit arises as it warms, and the hops are fairly sedate, of the citrus and earthy variety. I'm questioning my powers of perception, because this has all the 'heat' of a standard brown ale, yet the label proclaims a full sawbuck's worth of ABV.

The carbonation, as advertised, is soft, but still lurking, the body dangling in the netherworld between a solid medium and full weight. The smoothness, well, it's just never in question, as clean as this thing is. It all finishes in kind, somewhat sweet, the nutty malt and mildly bitter citrus/leafy hoppiness slowly ceding the floor to a subtle, sneaky alcohol warming.

Well, not exactly the hoppy, big fruity malt monster that I was expecting, but more of a strong brown ale, or a simple version of an English style barleywine. Still quite drinkable, though, partly due to the booze taking a slow, lazy arc in getting around to making itself apparent - first in taste, unexpectedly, then in effect, in a much more predictable manner.

Photo of joemcgrath27
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - hazy brown amber, thumb of tan head retained respectably with some lacing
S - big nutty malt with some toffee sweetness, mildly earthy with a faint hint of booze
T - strong nutty malt with hints of caramel, an light earthy and metallic hop flavour, high ABV is non existent in terms of flavour
M - medium body with a rich feel, no alcohol heat to speak of which is both a positive a negative in terms of what you'd expect for a barley wine
O - I agree with previous comments that this is a more of a strong nut brown ale than a barley wine, but the 10% is so well hidden that you can't help but be impressed

Photo of Rutager
4.2/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 bomber.

Appearance. Pours a hazy amber-brown with a thin, orangy-tan head.

Smell. Sweet caramel, some floral hops and a little bit of citrus.

Taste. Nice sweet caramel and some smooth caramel malts, the hops have really faded but there's a touch of citrus (mainly orange) and very little bitterness. Alcohol is very well hidden.

Mouthfeel. Medium-full body with low+, smooth carbonation. Just a touch sticky.

Overall. Very nice, easy drinking barleywine. I'm curious how this would taste fresh now, but I don't think it was a mistake by any means to age this one a while.

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.65/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to Adam for this bottle.
2012 Vintage to snifter.

A - Medium to dark copper/brown with a thin layer of dirty white head.

S - Sweet bourbon, oak and a hint of vanilla dominate the nose with some sweet caramel, raisins and toffee.

T - The barrel dominates with bourbon, charred oak and vanilla flavours standing out. There is a big caramel presence from the base beer and some lighter toffee, raisin and date flavours.

M - Medium body, creamy. Light carbonation.

Photo of CookstLiquor
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 650ml bomber bottle. Pours a brownish orangey colour with a thin head. On the nose it's an interesting mix of coconut, chocolate, earth and alcohol. Taste is similarly boozy. There's a plenty of residual sweetness as well almost giving it a liqueur-like feel. Huge bitter finish. Probably will age well. Definitely an English-style barley wine, as it lacks some of the big hop aromas of the West Coast style.

Photo of IronDjinn
3.56/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From a 650 ml brown bottle. Pours out a clear deep almond hue, creamy off-white head that settles to a thick cap.

Toasty, nutty malt on the nose, mild tropical fruit esters.

The flavour is very clean for the style, but also very mild. Dry toasty malt character up front, some nuttiness in the middle joined by spicy, leafy hops, the latter of which carries things to the finish.

Mouthfeel is medium-bodied, silky smooth, moderate carbonation.

Honestly seems to me more of an Imperial Brown that a Barleywine, American-style or otherwise. Still enjoyable, it's a very clean beer, however misses the mark on the style the brewery was aiming for. The alcohol content is beautifully hidden though, very smooth for it's punching weight.

Photo of ritzkiss
3.35/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

650ml bottle thanks to EskimoDave, appreciate you sending this new incarnation of the barleywine.

Pours a reddish ruddy toffee brown, finger of khaki head. Nose is toffee, raisins, dark fruits, booze. Appealing enough.

Falls apart in the flavor dept. - a bit of a train wreck actually (why name your beer this?). Boozy as all hell, rough. Toffee, wood, dark fruits, toast, molasses. A little thin which only highlights the roughness of the booze. Light hop bite in the finish.

Phillips, I find, struggles with some of their bigger beers and this one is a prime example. Worse off than other incarnations, this one is not a bad beer but not a good one either.

Photo of papat444
3.79/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

***2011 Vintage***

Thanks to either chickenm or Rutager, can't remember who sent it to me!

Poured from a 650ml. bottle.

Appearance: 2 finger head with average retention atop a copper-brown body that slowly cascades as the pour progresses.

Smell: Musty, leather, dried apricots, pungent fruit, cranberries.

Taste: Light candy, dried plums, brown sugar, dry herbs, earthy minerals, mild candy flavor.

Mouthfeel: Pretty average. Medium body (barely), lacks fullness though does have an initial good impression.

Overall: Decent but nothing more really. Good aroma though.

Photo of WalterWalter
4.2/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Very powerful, of course. I'm not very familiar with barley wine but the character is quite different from other really strong beers I've had (e.g. Belgian Trappist ales).

This has a nice deep orange-red colour with just a little bit of foamy head with a good pour. Complex smell with suggestions of cider and caramel. Flavour is very malty and thick, with just the right carbonation - not fizzy, but not too flat. Full feeling. Slight hints of wine and fruit hiding behind the stronger tastes; reviewer below says "plums" and I could definitely detect that after thinking about it a bit. Bitter hops shine through after the initial malt attack and persist in the aftertaste; the hops taste is basically just bitter without citrus or cannabis tones (which is good, because it would probably clash with the heavy malty flavour of this beer).

Lots of alcohol, at 10%. The label warns you to be careful not to "lose your caboose!" which is an appropriate warning. I had a whole bottle to myself and it practically knocked me off my seat. I'd recommend sharing it!

Photo of Voonder
4.09/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

650 ml bottle
2013

A - very dark brown with copper notes. foamy thick tan head, very beautiful, dissipates slowly lots of lace.

S - sweet, yeasty, earthy. some dark fruit flavours (raisins, plum). alcohol isn't evident. good solid nose.

T - very balanced, starts very sweet, almost chocolaty, a lot of sweet malts, chocolate and some caramel. nicely followed by bitters notes, plums and raisins present all the way through. Alcohol is perfectly hidden within this very flavourful beer.

M - carbonation is on the spot, beer is very smooth and balanced.

O - well, I enjoyed it very much. did not have high expectations and really it was very good. Not as yeasty as I would expect from barley wine, I would even say milder than an average barley wine, but very well balanced, smooth, very drinkable for ABV. Definitely having this again - winters in Calgary are cold and long, so probably on more than one occasion. Great job Phillips!

Photo of Svingjo
3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This poured a nice dark reddish brown with a head that stuck around and laced the glass well. The nose was a sweet caramel, with some dried fruit and malt. Taste leaned towards a sweet brown sugar, molasses with dates and figs coming to the forefront, like a nice plum pudding. There was a hint of chocolate and vanilla as well. It was lightly carbonated and the 10% ABV was pretty well hidden.

Photo of andrenaline
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Huge props to joemcgrath27 for this gem... Looking forward to checking out another Phillips brew!

A - Pours a nice ruby red colour, two thumbs of big bubbled, fluffy beige head, solid retention and chunky lacing with little visible body carbonation.

S - Sweet caramel, musty greens, leafy hops, subtle spice notes with hints of vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg with a peppery finish.

T - Nice caramel malt base, the leafy hop notes come through nicely as well, some raisins, and plum notes also coming through. Some mild molasses and hints of vanilla with a touch of ABV heat and sweetness on the finish.

M - A tad thin, which could be the result of its travels and aging. A carbonation lift would be nice, finishes wet.

O - A tasty barleywine and another winner from Phillips. These guys are cranking out some top quality ales, and this is no exception. Worth seeking out, and at 10% the alcohol is nicely hidden, making is dangerously drinkable.

Photo of leaddog
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 edition.

Appearance - Pours a dark and hazy mahogany brown with a thin white head.

Smell - Plum, cherry, toffee, spicy notes.

Taste - Plum and cherry shines through, with a bit of the fruity sweetness. The spicy notes are noticeable throughout. Very low bitterness in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied barleywine with some good carbonation to it. A little bit of fluffiness to it.

Overall - An interesting take on the barleywine by Phillips. Was really surprised with the plum and cherry notes (more fruit based than hops). The ABV is well balanced within the brew. I would like to see how this ages.

Photo of RBryn
3.91/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

My first Barley Wine ... darn, the local pub stopped carrying it!

Photo of ericj551
4.48/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Trainwreck Barleywine pours a deep red brown with a nice, slightly off white head. The aroma is sweet and malty, with notes of caramel, brown sugar, and dark fruit. There is a slight hint of citrusy hops.

The flavor is sweet, with more rich, caramel and molasses malt flavor. Bitterness is mild, but enough to balance the sweetness nicely. Some mild, earthy and slightly spicy hops show up in the end, along with a hint of alcohol. The alcohol flavor increases as the beer warms, but is mild for the strength.

Photo of wordemupg
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

650ml bomber poured into tulip 23/12/11

A clear reddish amber with lots of bubbles of all sizes feeding a large beige head that quickly falls to a thick film leaving a few partial rings of lace

S heaps of caramel with a little booze, some citrus and leafy tea bag with a little rum raisin

T what I smell but somehow there's even more caramel, the booze is completely gone, I'm impressed how well concealed the 10% is, just a little nutty on the finish with a bready aspect

M pretty thick and syrupy, mellow carbonation and a little sticky

O I wouldn't call it an American BW with not much in the way of hops but I liked the intense malty caramel aspect

this fresh bottle already tastes aged with little hop character and quite malty too begin with, also worth mentioning again is how little booze I can taste, very well hidden booze

Photo of Jeffo
3.97/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From Rutager in this past summer's box. Always a pleasure dude =)

From a bomber into a snifter.
Vintage: 2012

APPEARANCE: Pours a one finger, medium looking, off-white head with good retention. Rust or maroon red with lower levels of carbonation evident. Head fades to a film and ring. A ring remains and produces some falling dots of lacing down the glass.

SMELL: Bourbon, oak, and coconut with toffee and caramel on the nose. Dried fruit with a bit of booze as well. Bold and enticing for sure.

TASTE: Bourbon, oak and coconut up front and through the middle, into a boozy and sweet finish. Bold aftertaste of bourbon, oak, vanilla, coconut, sweet toffee and a touch of bitter-sweet chocolate. Booze and barrel flavors linger on the palate.

PALATE: Medium body and medium levels of carbonation. Semi-creamy on the palate, goes down fine with a bit of a burn after the swallow and finishes a touch sticky. Some heat lingers.

OVERALL: Pretty good stuff for sure. Good flavor and feel and well balanced between barrel and base beer. Another solid beer from Phillips, and I'll be looking to drink more of their stuff in the future. Thanks again Rutager!

Photo of BDTyre
4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

New barley wine from Phillips (seems like they either switch receipes or at least re-label every few years).

Dark copper with some mahogany hues. Creamy, desne but low profile head.

Alcohol and malt in the nose; brown sugar, raisins, wine and faint citrus in the nose.

Big wallop of malt taste with a bit of wine, plums and brown sugar. Slight sweet fruit taste. The alcohol is well hidden. Very smooth body, thick but not under-carbonated. A nice night-cap.

Photo of DaftCaskBC
2.92/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2011 Edition.

A: 1/4" tan head that dissipated quickly over extremely dark brown liquid.

S: That nutty malt that Phillips is famous for as well as some citrus hops.

T: This may sound strange, but this Barleywine intially tastes like string beans to me. As it warms it tastes like shelled peanuts and molasses.

M: Medium viscosity and low carbonation.

O: I couldn't get over the taste. Not very drinkable.

Photo of Converge
4.32/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

650ml bottle poured into a 22oz snifter. 2011 vintage.

A - Pours a deep ruby color with a small light tan head about two fingers high. Minimal head retention, and no lacing to speak of. The color is quite nice though, and the bottle design is fantastic.

S - Cherries, oak, and barley malt upfront. Not much spice and hop presence in the nose, this beer is almost all dark fruits here. Dried cherries, black currant, and light raspberries too. It's got a yeasty character, almost Belgian. Lots of nice toasty malt in the background working with the fruitiness.

T - Okay, now this really reminds me of a Belgian ale. Lots of dark fruitiness, with Belgian candi sugar, cola syrup and yeast. Finishes sweet and slightly bitter at the same time. Big cherry character in this one. Definitely some dried cherries, along with currants, raspberries and plum. Lots of caramel malt and nuttiness as well. Herbal hop character is present but subdued, allowing the malt and dark fruit to take center stage and create a nice sweet flavor profile. For a barley wine, it doesn't have much herbal bitterness or phenolic spiciness in the finish, but the malty goodness is really great here.

M - Nice lively carbonation without feeling prickly, and a smooth and hearty body. This is another area where this one bears some similarities with Belgian ales; it's got a similar smoothness to the body and carbonation. Only con here is that it does get a bit sticky and syrupy, but the alcohol is masked extremely well, and this tastes no where near a 10% ABV brew.

D - As far as barley wines go, this one seems a little off; but I'm not much of a barley wine fan anyways, so I don't really mind. Although this may not be really true to style, I enjoy it a lot. Lots of great malty flavor and dark fruitiness, which I loved. I'll definitely be looking for this one again.

Photo of MAB
3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not a bad little brew!

While it is *only* 10% alcohol, it does a decent job at being a barley wine in the other aspects.
Golden color, with a nice foam head.
Smells malty, as it should.
The taste is very nice. Sweetness followed by a slight bitterness. No alcohol burn.
The mouthfeel is just right. Not too syrupy. Definitely not watery.
Overall, I gave it a better than average score, boosted a bit by the great flavor.

Photo of CalgaryFMC
3.91/5  rDev +2.1%

650 ml (2013 vintage) poured into a snifter over the course of an evening's paperwork (quality may suffer). A dark reddish mahogany with three or four fingers of foamy, creamy beige head. Some mucous-like coagulated proteins floating around. Oh well. Aroma is richly sweet, caramel, mixed fruits, nuts, and a decent dose of citrus and pine hops. Whoa. Taste evokes boozy raisins and dates, whiskey, coconut, toffee, peanuts, almond extract, peaches, maraschino cherries, cinnamon ... A given sip morphs from these sweeter flavors, including a little chocolate, to end dry, floral, and woody. Carbonation is quite mellow as advertized, with a fairly thick body even as the beer nevertheless remains quite smooth and drinkable. Some apple skin and flesh shows up late. Has the requisite American barleywine hoppiness, with some grapefruit, peach, and red berry notes floating above the candy bar sweet malts and some resin in the finish. NOT a super hot example of the style, my belly is warm but I taste minimal booze. I also cellared this bottle for almost seven months. Wonderfully balanced barleywine if on the mellow side.

Trainwreck Barley Wine from Phillips Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 46 ratings.