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Barley Wine - Taps Fish House & Brewery

Not Rated.
Barley Wine
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BA SCORE
92
outstanding

25 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 25
Reviews: 16
rAvg: 4.26
pDev: 9.86%
Wants: 11
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Taps Fish House & Brewery visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
English Barleywine |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Boilermaker88 on 12-24-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 25 | Reviews: 16 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by OlieIPA:
Photo of OlieIPA
5/5  rDev +17.4%

A winter seasonal beer that the guys over at TAPS do an amazing job with! Served on cask and poured into short-stemmed flute glass.

A: The initial glance came across as a simple dark brown (almost black), but with further investigation and better lighting, mahogany hues where then encountered and observed. This body supported a beautiful 1-finger cream colored head that also had a substantial amount of head retention, followed by thick lacing.

S: The first characteristics I stumbled across were sweets malts (similar to those found in a Wee Heavy/Scotch Ale) and a heavy hop presence. Both of these qualities were not overdone, but melded nicely with the dark fruit aroma that immediately followed.

T: Dark sweet malts, caramel, dark fruit/fig, hop flavor, mild chocolate and a touch of roasted malt. All the flavors came together beautifully and created complex, robust and soft flavor profile all at the same time.

M: Soft and thick on the palate with hint of carbonation. The finish was a little dry, which may be contributed to some of the heavy hop flavor, but the beginning and middle left a cream-like impression on me.

D: For a 10% ABV beer, it was more than easy to down to say the least! Very little alcohol presence and with multitude of bold flavors this beer exhibited, TAPS Barleywine made quite an impression on me.

Overall: Feel extremely lucky I've had the pleasure to try this out for several years now! With every vintage that comes out, I find very little change from year to year....and I hope it continues to be this way. Might be going out on a limb here, but thus far, this has to be one of the best examples of a Barleywine. A must try! Cheers!

OlieIPA, Jan 28, 2011
More User Reviews:
Photo of JasonFromLA
4.75/5  rDev +11.5%

JasonFromLA, Mar 16, 2013
Photo of MASPuros
3.5/5  rDev -17.8%

MASPuros, Feb 22, 2012
Photo of Boilermaker88
3.3/5  rDev -22.5%

Another recent offering cycled onto the half dozen taps at Taps Fish House in Brea, their barley wine had a clear russet color and a miniscule head that barely left a skim and no lace.
The smell was rich of malt but missing the big hops aromas expected from a barleywine. The taste followed a similar pattern. Lots of sweet malt and a touch of dark fruits made for a very sweet flavor up front. The hops follow-up I anticipated was almost completely absent. The alcohol content, as yet unknown, was well disguised. The feel was medium/full bodied, smooth and slick.
Having already tried barleywines from Stone, Victory and Sierra Nevada, I'd have to say this one just doesn't quite measure up. The hops profile inherent in a good barleywine seems to be missing on this one.

Boilermaker88, Dec 24, 2003
Photo of wolf_switzer
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

wolf_switzer, Jun 17, 2014
Photo of PluckyDucky
4.75/5  rDev +11.5%

PluckyDucky, May 04, 2012
Photo of womencantsail
4.18/5  rDev -1.9%

A: The pour is a deep, dark brown color with plenty of red highlights throughout the beer. The head is small, but a good looking off-white color.

S: We're definitely on to something here: toffee, caramel, and dark fruits. There is a nice balance with some slightly piney hops coming into play as well.

T: Like the nose, the sweet malt and sugar flavors are really the biggest players. But, there is also some light chocolate and dark fruit. Again, there is some mild hop bitterness to keep this one from being overly sweet.

M: The body is quite full with a low level of carbonation. The alcohol doesn't really come through at all, so no heat to speak of.

D: Easily the best beer I had, and not a style that you usually find on tap at a brewpub. If I was to go back for a pint, this would be my choice.

womencantsail, Jan 31, 2010
Photo of Imstillthegman
4.43/5  rDev +4%

Thanks to BeerRun13 for this growler.

Poured a deep mahogany color with a light tan head. Nice lacing left behind. The aroma was a very nice blend of sweet fruits, roasted malts, and some spicy hops. The flavor was to me a very nice combination of an English and an American style barley wine. Sweet and spicy. Roasted malt nuttiness, fresh pine hops, and sweet fruits all blend together quite nicely. Solid mouthfeel with good carbonation. Bitter aftertaste had me wanting more. Very drinkable. This is one growler that would disappear quickly even if I was the only one partaking from it.

Thanks, Jason!

Imstillthegman, Jan 24, 2008
Photo of FosterJM
3.95/5  rDev -7.3%

405th review on BA
Draft-

App- This had that dark red you see in tail lights, nice deep red, a little bit of head to it but not a lot of cling.

Smell- This was very fresh in the glass, a lot of malts and hops fighting over the direction of this Barleywine.

Taste- A very young barleywine, fresh, vibrant and a little bit of that green apple taste.

Mouth- A bit thin for me in terms of a Barleywine, was still a soft medium with a matching carb level.

Drink- Overall, still a very decent barleywine. I liked the big abv and the taste but needs some time to mature.

FosterJM, Apr 14, 2011
Photo of MacTeo
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

MacTeo, Jan 03, 2013
Photo of HopHead84
4.47/5  rDev +4.9%

4/10/2011

On tap at Stone.

A: Crimson tinged brown with a small beige cap. Nice color.

S: Rich caramel with light toffee notes and an earthy quality. Subtle date notes accompany brown sugar, pine, and prune. I detect a little apple and pear, which seems odd but actually smells quite nice. Malt has a mild toasted character and a light nuttiness.

T: Earthy caramel with dried date, prune, and toffee. Lightly nutty and toasted. Alcohol is deftly masked. The flavor is rich but manages to avoid being overly sweet. Bitterness is low. Really nice flavor. Sticky caramel finish.

M: Upper medium to lower full in body with lower moderate carbonation. Mouthfeel is smooth, chewy, silky, and sticky with substantial warming.

Overall: A very nice English Barleywine. High quality stuff. Recommended.

HopHead84, May 05, 2011
Photo of Rollzroyce21
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

Rollzroyce21, Mar 18, 2012
Photo of beerpadawan
3.75/5  rDev -12%

beerpadawan, Aug 25, 2012
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.58/5  rDev -16%

On tap at The Surly Goat in West Hollywood, CA.

Pours a clear dark copper orange with a tan head that fades to nothing. No lacing on this one. Smell is of malt and brown sugar with some nice citrus zest aromas. Taste is of malt and brown sugar up front with an herbal and almost vegetal hop finish. There is a mild level of bitterness after each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good barleywine but it smells better than it tastes in my opinion.

UCLABrewN84, Mar 09, 2012
Photo of DoubleJ
4.22/5  rDev -0.9%

Served in a wine glass with my jambalaya, on to the beer:

Deep, dark, and red. The nose brings plenty of fruity esters, sugars, and a tropical fruit note. Like the aroma, the taste follows a similar suit. Quite sweet overall, but with moderate hoppiness to keep it honest (and tasty!) Caramel, fruit esters, tropical fruit, and a little resin to taste, but the alcohol is buried masterfully. It's still a slow drinker, but I would have no problem asking for another one.

Probably my favorite of the beers brewed by Taps, and one of the better American-made barley wines I've had in a long time.

DoubleJ, Feb 07, 2010
Photo of PuckLSHS
4.38/5  rDev +2.8%

First off, let me just say that this is not your normal everyday barleywine. Victor definitely did not stick to the standard procedure on this one, leaving me with a bit of happiness. I tend to prefer brewers who explore a little bit. It gives my palate something new to enjoy.

I happened to like this barleywine offering and drank quite a bit of it while it was up at TAPS this spring. Like boilermaker88 said, this beer has a lot of sweet hops and dark fruit tones to it. Not a lot of hop in the finish, which definitely makes this one a bit different than the other CA offerings like Stone, Marin, Moylan's....

It poured a dark brown and left a very small head that dissipated quickly leaving very little lace on the top. The mouthfeel was creamy and smooth going down. It gave a nice warming feeling, but not overpowering as the alcohol was nicely covered up by the dark fruit tones.

I don't know...maybe I am just not a purist, because I really liked this brew and I think it holds up for me in the barleywine category. I also think Victor will be able to tweak it a bit and it will be coming out strong for years to come. I say up the ABV Victor :).

PuckLSHS, May 04, 2006
Photo of Retsinis
4.33/5  rDev +1.6%

Got a chance to try this one on tap at Tony's Darts Away.

Served in a snifter, believe it was a 6-8 oz pour.

The beer pours a rich, hazy brown with ruby red hues at the edges when held to the light. The head is about a quarter to a half inch beige color that laces the glass walls, with light retention.

The scents in the aroma are like a caramel covered almond, dipped in a sweet pine, or fruity syrup. Some toffee notes, and the alcohol bite tie in the contrast of sweet to hops that whiff off the beer.

The flavors in the taste also mirror the nose. Initially it is a sweet draw, caramel malt flavors, with a sweet nutty toffee note and fruit. The fruit notes are a contrast between candied mango, and dates to me. The hops are of wood, like cedar, herbs, and pine. None in your face, but still potent that they are there.

The mouthfeel is full, but not overly carbonated. At 10% ABV, it is well blended, a nice sipper.

Overall, more of what I expect from a barley wine, sweet, but not like candy. Far too many barley wines these days are overly hopped, and much closer to DIPA's. Glad I had the time to stop in while they had it at TDA's since I don't live that close to Brea. Would order again if I came across it.

Retsinis, Feb 16, 2011
Photo of Slatetank
4.3/5  rDev +0.9%

I appreciate the chance to try this unique ale, thanks imstillthegman for sharing it. Decanted from the growler into a snifter cool.

A - A mahogany shade of brown w/ light sandy head that makes great lace.

S - Sweet, fruity notes w/ a subtle nutty aroma and noble hop spiciness.

M - A balance of booze and bitter w/ roasted malts and a full fusel w/ a nice sweet finish.

T - The piney hops come out swinging on top of the subtle fruitiness and gentle nutty malt flavors. Rich toasted malt and berry sweetness w/ a bit of woody and herbal notes linger on.

D - A fine ale, unique west coast traits for this barleywine one of the most roasty examples I have sampled. The hoppiness is pleasant, not the most intense, yet plenty of malt to anchor and the sweetness is not overdone, a great West coast example -kudos.

Slatetank, Jan 22, 2008
Photo of Floydster
4.1/5  rDev -3.8%

Glass at the Taps in Brea on 1/11/09, had one of these while my growler was getting filled, reviewed from notes, color is a medium to dark brown, 3/4 inch creamy vanilla colored head that lasted almost ten minutes, great retention, good lacing, aroma is made up of toffee, dark fruits, brown sugar, earthiness, grains, some alcohol, smokiness, and raisins, flavor is sweet at first, caramel and raisins make up the middle, finish is mostly brown sugar and some booze, somewhat hoppy at times but more dependent on malts, sweet, slightly dry, and hot mouthfeel, medium bodied, low carbonation, could have drank a few more glasses, enjoyed how thin this was at times while still being so creamy and flavorful, smooth for its style, glad to finally catch this one, always seemed to miss it, their best in my opinion, wish I could have had more, will be drinking again when I get the chance, recommended

Floydster, Feb 07, 2009
Photo of Beerbeer101
4.75/5  rDev +11.5%

Beerbeer101, Jan 14, 2013
Photo of Huhzubendah
4.05/5  rDev -4.9%

Bottle shared by durwoodx. Thanks Darrell.

The beer is light brown with a lasting beige cap. The aroma offers toffee, malt, alcohol, followed by a piny hop presence. Surprisingly smooth, with a balance of hops and malts. Alcohol presence is there, but unobtrusive. Great feel. Strong, yet soft on the palate. My first brew from Taps, this was tasty. Recommended.

Huhzubendah, Oct 02, 2011
Photo of t0rin0
3.98/5  rDev -6.6%

This was the 2004 version. The bartender said that they only kept 3 kegs of this for aging. It poured a nice dark brownish color with some redness in there but it wasn't very clear anymore and didn't produce much head.

It smelled real nice and of chocolate and crystal malts. It had that caramel/toffee qualities that some people have mentioned but with out much of the hops. I guess that is to be expected after 3 years of aging. The hop smell that was present was of milder aromatic hops as opposed to the bitter varieties. The taste followed the smell closely with the exception of there still being some bitterness present. It was nice that this barleywine still had some kick to it after a couple years in the keg. The chocolate sweetness was balanced quite well by the hop presence.

Despite appearing old, the body hasn't broken down yet on this beer. It is still smooth and thick, not muddy like beers get after they've it their peak. Definitely drinkable but I doubt that I'll get another chance to try that particular vintage again.

t0rin0, Jan 24, 2008
Photo of Dreadnaught33
4.35/5  rDev +2.1%

A very nice example of English Barleywine, thanks to Darrell.

A: Nice super dark crimson color. Almost dark brown. Head of a pinky dies to a ring of off white head with some lacing.

S: In the pocket for a barleywine- toffee, brown sugar, heavy hops, alcohol complexity without the heat, ripe fruits (like ones on cheese plate), wet grain. Some smoke and of course burnt caramel.

T: Taste follows the nose but with some nice hop esters clearly making a dent in all the malty flavors. Caramel and toffee, some other sweet flavors i can't put a finger on. Alcohol is not and not hot just complex.

M: Not super thick in feel, slick and non-hot alcohol. Juicy.

Great beer, would love to have aging in the cellar! A great barleywine.

Dreadnaught33, Oct 05, 2011
Photo of miadw3
5/5  rDev +17.4%

miadw3, Jan 10, 2013
Photo of PatronWizard
4.4/5  rDev +3.3%

Dragged here by OlieIPA and Aimstatus who insisted I have to try this barleywine on cask. I put up little to no fight.

Not a brightly lit place, not that I'm complaining as the atmosphere is awesome, the beer looks quite dark. Might be a very deep shade of burgandy or really deep caramel. Even formed a head. Lacing all about.

First sniff brings about excitement as there is definitely a big IPA-like hop presence. Unbelievable and awesome at the same time. Light whiff of booze. That works for me too.

Taste is a big bite o'hops over fine barleywine and a substantial booze punch, prompting the question "what's the ABV?" Bartender says about 10%. AWESOME!

Cask makes this smooth as can be. ABV all up in my mix just where I like it. Can't wait for it to move to tap so I can get a growler.

Overall: one of, or the, best barleywines I've ever had. Thanks Amy!!

PatronWizard, Jan 24, 2009
Barley Wine from Taps Fish House & Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 25 ratings.