London Balling - Against The Grain Brewery & Smokehouse
No picture uploaded.
Have one? Upload it now.
Ratings: 76 | Reviews: 14 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by LambicPentameter:
4.35/5 rDev +4.3%
Enjoyed on tap at Bier Station in Kansas City. Poured into a small round tulip glass with no flaring on the lip.
Appearance - Pours a ruddy brown that gives the impression of red clay and is hard to see through due to some murkiness. Atop the body sits a small half finger of beige colored head that dissipates pretty quickly to a ringlet of foam around the edge of the glass, with just a smattering of soapy bubbles on one side of the glass. Lacing is pretty nonexistent.
Smell - Lots of notes of sweetness and grain, with contributions of rich caramel, light molasses, vanilla, and even some syrupy characteristics, like sweet sorghum. There is also a bready presence beneath the sweetness, but it's not savory enough to overtake the dominant notes of sweet. The bourbon and wood components are faint, with just a hint of heat and a touch of oak from the barrel.
Taste - The overarching sweetness from the aroma continues along through the taste, with more syrup, caramel and vanilla on the tongue. Brown sugar and toffee come through on the aftertaste a little more, with a slight bitterness like burnt sugar providing some depth of flavor alongside hazelnut and almond notes. The grain is aggressive enough to be present, but not overpowering, with undertones of toasted barley and rye bread. Please to say that there is a bit more mustiness from the oak, riding on a breeze of vanilla and tannins, with just a touch of boozy heat on the aftertaste.
Mouthfeel - Medium-bodied with moderate to low carbonation and a sticky mouthfeel, but not unpleasant. Lingering sweetness and some viscosity.
Overall, a very good take on the style. There is just enough barrel aging to impart the vanilla and bourbon characteristics, but without drowning out the base barleywine. The sweetness is pleasant and not cloying, enticing swallow after swallow. I will say that the 80 IBUs surprises me on this one, but perhaps that's the key to preventing a sweet beer from becoming overly so.
06-10-2014 06:31:31 | More by LambicPentameter
More User Reviews:
4.23/5 rDev +1.4%
Had on tap and served in a snifter
A - Has a deep brown and burgundy color with a small white head. Light carbonation and a nice clean body. Appears to have a bit of a thin body for the style - 4
S - Light hints of vanilla, toffee, light dates, oak, oats, and cherry. Definitely can tell the bourbon influence on this one. As it warms up, you really get the bourbon presence in it - 4
T - Get hints of vanilla, dates and a slight cherry bourbon aspect to it. Get a nice caramel and toffee in there as well. In the finish, get slight lemon peel, oak, and definitely a slight alcohol presence in the finish that gives it a warming quality. I can see the Angels share presence in this one as it gives it a slight dark fruit presence. Has a complex aspect to it as each sip brings a slightly different flavor - 4.5
MF - Has a nice stickiness to it in the mouth but manages to not be cloying. Light carbonation that goes well. Has a slight bite to it near the end and a light lingering alcoholic bite that sits on the tongue post finish. - 4
O - A solid beer from Against the Grain that makes me want to try to find more of their beers. Has a great smell and a complex flavor profile. I would like it to be just a bit smoother. Like that it takes a strong presence from the bourbon barrel - 4
06-10-2012 14:41:32 | More by jeonseh
4.01/5 rDev -3.8%
Sample had at Max's during their Rare & Obscure Festival (from notes, 4/17/14)
A: Dark amber copper brown. Consistent head and lacing that is quite thick.
S: Sweet with some light roasts.
T: Nice even barrel flavors here. Prevalent whiskey but melds well with the rest of the beer. Quite warming. Light roast and slightly sweet with lots of barrel.
O: This was some good stuff and my first beer of the festival. Very good use of the barrel and not overpowering.
04-21-2014 06:43:17 | More by gillagorilla
3.88/5 rDev -7%
Served in a brandy snifter at Green Lady.
Review from quick written notes.
The beer has a dark reddish brown color with a thin layer of white foam on the surface. After five minutes or so, it breaks to a thin surface veil with minimal spotty lace. Looks the part of a barrel-aged barleywine...
Sweet toffee, caramel, and vanilla in the aroma, sweet with some depth to it. Rich toffee flavor punctuated by an odd sweet candy note like gummy fruit. To be hyper specific: raspberry "Nordic Sweets Forest Berries" gummy candy ... strange. Could be the port sweetness coming through possibly. Smooth feel, rich and not overly cloying, but the candy note is ever present. Dry malty finish. Worth a try, though the flavors didn't really coalesce to me.
09-08-2012 19:05:18 | More by emerge077
4.04/5 rDev -3.1%
Deep, dark chestnut brown under a low, but very sticky, bubbly head. Smooth, sticky dark malt aromas...raisin, wort-like smells, toffee, plum, cherry, and a fairly mellow barrel character with some vanilla creaminess. Smooth caramel, vanilla, oaky spice, dark fruit, black tea, light sherry, nuts, and cherry. Dry with a quick, tidy finish, not cloying in the slightest and the bourbon isn't boozy. Surprising hoppy bitterness in the finish. Heavy and smooth. Not too much barrel or sticky sweetness for its strength. Pretty nice.
03-15-2014 00:52:08 | More by wedge
4.15/5 rDev -0.5%
Poured from my growler into a New Belgium tulip. Appearance is a murky, hazy, burnt orange color with a thin, quickly dissipating head. The nose is syrupy sweet with caramel and dark fruit notes and some oak.
Very sweet, traditional English barleywine flavor with a firm, slick mouthfeel. There is a strong caramel and malt presence up front that is accompanied by a mild hop profile. At mid-palate, you get flavors of cherries and a subtle oaky vanilla note that lingers well in the mouth after swallowing. The oak and cherry flavors provide a nice tart complement to the malty sweetness. Alcohol is noticeable, but not at all overwhelming or boozy.
This is simply an outstanding barleywine. It is quite traditional and not at all extreme, but it has a nice ``tint'' to its flavor. It is very comparable to Weyerbacher Insanity. Do not pass this one up if you are fortunate enough to find it.
One other thing. Dear ATG - please bottle this stuff so I can trade it! It's wrong to keep this good a beer entirely within our state.
03-24-2012 01:15:47 | More by deadonhisfeet
4.34/5 rDev +4.1%
Had this brew at Against the grain and thoroughly enjoyed it.
A- Pours a cloudy deep copper with a creamy off white 1/4 inch head
S- Boozy sweet toffee caramel and vanilla
T- Very nice taste, sweet caramel with oak undertones, but the finish is distinctly smooth bourbon. The 12.5% abv is deceptively contained within the depth of this beer.
M- Full bodied, particularly for the style, with subtle carbonation.
O- Very good beer that I would gladly sip any chance I got. The characteristics of this beer are like a great kindergarten class - it plays well with others and makes even the grumpiest "grown-up" smile and reflect on the the amazing simple joys of life. Very well done.
02-24-2014 14:16:22 | More by bilhelm
London Balling from Against The Grain Brewery & Smokehouse
92 out of 100 based on 76 ratings.