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London Balling - Against The Grain Brewery & Smokehouse

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London Balling
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BA SCORE
93
outstanding

156 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 156
Reviews: 22
rAvg: 4.19
pDev: 7.16%
Wants: 23
Gots: 15 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Against The Grain Brewery & Smokehouse visit their website
Kentucky, United States

Style | ABV
English Barleywine |  12.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
English style barleywine brewed with Maris Otter pale, Aromatic and caramel malts, then balanced with English Nugget and Kent Goldings hops. Aged in Angel's Envy bourbon barrels for nearly 3 months.

(Beer added by: JDizzle on 03-01-2012)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 156 | Reviews: 22 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by TheBrewo:
Photo of TheBrewo
4.36/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This brew was served on tap at One-Eyed Betty’s in Ferndale, Michigan. It arrived in a generic stemmed tulip, showing a murky apricot coloring. It held a one and a half finger tall head of eggnog colored bubbles, showing nice retention into crystalline spider webs of lacing left around the glass. An intense haze cut clarity persistently, while no sediment was noted. Carbonation appeared to be light. The aroma gave notes of sourdough bread, thick ale yeastiness, and rye, pale, and amber malts, with sweeter caramel richness on the back as its grainy base. This was laid over with notes of authentic lemon juiciness, sharp booze that was only initially reminiscent of bourbon, soured wet oak, creeping moss, warm buttery diacetyls, airy sweetness of Vermont maple syrup, intense honey sugars, dryness of red wine grape skins without the fruitiness, and tannic leafy teas. With warmth came an enhancement of the booze to bring more burn, but of the harshest alcoholic cider. Our first impression was that that flavoring was beautifully warming, with sensational buttery representation of the barreling blending seamlessly with the base grain and sugars of the barleywine. As we sipped, the taste opened up with heavily fumy bourbon, rich roasty caramel and red maltiness, paper towel dryness, candied cane sugar, massive melted butters, steely metallics, big oaky depth, granite, and graphite. The middle came forward to meet, with a blend of cloying syrups of liquid caramel, tannic breakfast teas, mild cloven phenol, black pepper, citric and herbal hop bitters, deeper grainy roast of caramel and coffee maltiness, blackstrap molasses, and a shoe polish burn to transition us to the finish. The end followed with a final punch of big woody mossiness, with vanilla slick across its surface, with massively buttery diacetyls, spicy burn on bourbon, rich caramel sweetness, chalky yeast, cough syrup cherry depth, candied almonds, and butter-soaked doughnuts. The aftertaste breathed of heavy toffee stickiness, bitter oak barrel, musk and dust, echoing bourbon bite, massive vanilla bean, corn husk, ground lemon seed, burning sea salt, general rumbles of hollow chemical ethanol, and chalky English ale yeastiness. The body was full and chewy, while carbonation was higher, with a hearty, lingering prickle. Each sip afforded syrupy thick cream, slurp, smack, froth, glug, and pull to the finishing pop. The mouth was completely coated, with slow, eventual chalky bitterness. The abv was high, and it sipped appropriately.

Overall, the most enjoyable thing about this brew was the quality of the barreling throughout the flavoring. Top notch. The wood added undisputable authenticity of bourbon and heavy, heavy, heavy oakiness, both of which lent a balancing bitterness to the cloy of the malts and residual alcohol sugars. The nose and feel complement the taste well, comfortably marking this beer as a knockout. There are so many layers to the aroma, and it just becomes stickier and stickier with each passing moment. We also loved how it left your mouth both cleanly sweetened and dryly chalked, without offense from either the bitters of the cloy. This is a stellar English barleywine, and should be a foremost example, along with the likes of Artic Devil, of how to properly utilizing barreling.

TheBrewo, Apr 12, 2014
More User Reviews:
Photo of LambicPentameter
4.35/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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.

LambicPentameter, Jun 10, 2014
Photo of braugon
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%

braugon, Friday at 09:08 PM
Photo of DanGeo
4/5  rDev -4.5%

DanGeo, Jun 26, 2014
Photo of sabitu
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%

sabitu, Oct 06, 2014
Photo of 77apm
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%

77apm, Oct 28, 2014
Photo of mikejonze
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%

mikejonze, Mar 29, 2014
Photo of jeonseh
4.23/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 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

jeonseh, Jun 10, 2012
Photo of justme
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%

justme, Nov 15, 2014
Photo of JamesStreet
4/5  rDev -4.5%

JamesStreet, Jun 14, 2014
Photo of PBRmeasap1980
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%

12 oz bottle ( I think...small and fat) into snifter

A- Dark brown, but still able to see through it... a bit like dark iced tea. No head
S- Big bourbon nose. Like smelling a shot of bourbon or a fresh barrel. Oak, booze, smoke
T - A lot like it smells. Sweet malts that work with the sweetness of the bourbon. Oakiness is great. Nice finish
M- Medium.

O- Nice suprise on this one. Picked it up at Bo & Luke day 2014 from AtG.

PBRmeasap1980, Sep 14, 2014
Photo of woodchip
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%

woodchip, Mar 17, 2014
Photo of Gonzoillini
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%

Gonzoillini, Oct 22, 2014
Photo of sourman
5/5  rDev +19.3%

sourman, Sep 14, 2014
Photo of BigJim5021
4.66/5  rDev +11.2%

BigJim5021, Oct 26, 2014
Photo of gr8zehaman
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%

gr8zehaman, Mar 21, 2014
Photo of richj1970
3.75/5  rDev -10.5%

richj1970, Mar 21, 2014
Photo of Kmlund
4/5  rDev -4.5%

Kmlund, Apr 29, 2014
Photo of rhynosorus
3.25/5  rDev -22.4%

rhynosorus, Oct 16, 2014
Photo of gillagorilla
4.01/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

M: Smooth.

O: This was some good stuff and my first beer of the festival. Very good use of the barrel and not overpowering.

gillagorilla, Apr 21, 2014
Photo of nnutthowze09
4.56/5  rDev +8.8%

nnutthowze09, Oct 17, 2014
Photo of emerge077
3.88/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

emerge077, Sep 08, 2012
Photo of johnjohnbeer
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%

johnjohnbeer, Oct 25, 2014
Photo of bigaddy
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%

bigaddy, Mar 22, 2014
Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%

TheSevenDuffs, Oct 03, 2014
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London Balling from Against The Grain Brewery & Smokehouse
93 out of 100 based on 156 ratings.