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Barleywine Style Ale - Green Flash Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Barleywine Style AleBarleywine Style Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

771 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 771
Reviews: 429
rAvg: 3.88
pDev: 11.6%
Wants: 37
Gots: 72 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Green Flash Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  10.90% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: scottoale on 11-08-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 771 | Reviews: 429 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ArrogantB


4.13/5  rDev +6.4%

A 22oz bottle of San Diego Barleywine, I hope its good. This one has a decent head on it and a dark reddish brown body. The taste is slightly fruity, alcoholic, and delicious. As it warms up, it begins to smell a little like caramel (and maybe chocolate), which is nice. I can definitely taste the hops in this. I also taste a faint hint of chocolate. The first glass went a little too fast but it just keeps getting better the more it warms up. The alcohol will catch up with you if you aren't careful. Maybe you are smart enough to share this bottle with a friend, but I wasn't. I was a little afraid after my experience with the Imperial IPA but this one was well worth the purchase price. I am definitely buying more to see what another six months to a year will do.

-update 11/14/07 2006 vintage

So I decided to crack one of these since it is almost been a year since I purchased these bottles. The first smell is perfume and hops, weird and reminds me of an aged Ruffian I had a couple weeks ago. The flavors are like a bitter orange rind. The more I think about it this beer seems like a Ruffian copycat and it would be interesting to have a blind taste-off. This is different than it was fresh and I am not sure i like it aged. I still have five more bottles so maybe this one will improve in the next year or so.

-05/03/08 2006 vintage

Dark, ruby red, almost brown, with a thin but soap-like head. Subtle smells of citrus and toffee, chocolates, a little alcohol. More citrus in the flavor followed by a cereal-like barley flavor and flowery notes with a little bitterness. The only complaint I have is that it gets too easy to drink as it warms.

02-16-2007 01:16:11 | More by ArrogantB
Photo of SkinnyElvis


4.03/5  rDev +3.9%

Thanks to Crosling for this bottle. Bottle is not dated so its age is unknown. It pours a little foamy but settles quckly. Darker in color than most barleys. Smells sweet and a bit hoppy. Taste is dominated by piney hops with some malt. Easy to drink for a 10% ABV. Solid barleywine but not spectacular.


02-08-2007 00:23:23 | More by SkinnyElvis
Photo of rallison


3.78/5  rDev -2.6%

A: Dark ruby red/brown with a wonderful 3 finger off-white head that persists.

S: Sweetness mainly - toffee and malt.

T: Very rich. Nice caramel toffee sweetness followed by a nice piney hop bitterness. Figs too - this does have a very fig-like sweetness. Alcohol is apparent and does make itself known toward the end of the sip. Talk about a malt bomb, this is one!

M: At first, this was a little too thick. As I get used to it though, it's enjoyable. Very full-bodied, with a nice little carbonation kick.

D: Really a bit too rich and slightly on the sweet side to be too drinkable. Splitting a bomber? Just the right amount. A whole one to yourself? Ehh, not the best idea in the world. Although, not the worst either.

A nice attempt at a barleywine by Green Flash. This is a good solid example, if a little on the heavy side. Could use more balance and a little less sweetness in my opinion. Also, aging could help smooth this out.


02-01-2007 06:58:38 | More by rallison
Photo of cbl2

New York

3.58/5  rDev -7.7%

1/30/2007 $5.25 22 oz. 10.00% No best by date.


Pours a murky brown with a hint of orange sneaking through when exposed to the light. Has a thin film of tan head that settles rapidly.


Dark jammy fruit overtones with a robust hot alcohol aroma.


Nice chewy mouthfeel kicks off this barleywine, that improves as it warms, developing a rich chocolate flavor that is cut by some hot alcohol. Dark, ripe fig essence battles with a floral hop bitterness in the finish.

01-30-2007 21:21:25 | More by cbl2
Photo of barleywinebrewer

New Hampshire

3.6/5  rDev -7.2%

got this via trade! definitely a mixed story with this one. One quibble which has nothing to do with the taste - love the Vintage tag but what year??? Apparently its current but if you're going to go to the trouble of printing the word vintage and leaving space above it for a date, put a date in. Ok, off the soap box now

A - Brilliant colors on this one. Deep burgandy color with a light tan head that billows and hand out forever!
S - Strong citrus and pine hops dominate with an underlying malty caramel/toffe aroma.
T - similar to the smell. Odd but the initial sips came across as wet hops. Haven't really had that happen before. a quarter into the bottle and the malts begin to climb up to the hops and create a pleasant mix of flavors.
M - medium to full bodied. a tale of two halves on this one.
D - hides the ABV well, takes your taste buds on a back and forth trip. A slow evening drinking beer.

I have one more in the cellar which I will come back to in about 6 months or so. Curious to see what happens with this one. All told I'd lean towards enjoy it fresh versus aging.

01-26-2007 14:39:49 | More by barleywinebrewer
Photo of Gavage

New Jersey

3.63/5  rDev -6.4%

Appearance: hazy brown color with a a spotty surface head. No lacing develops.

Smell: caramel sweetness and hints of bitterness.

Taste: caramel, raisins, hint of chocolate, alcohol, and a bit of piney bitterness. Some citrus tones lingering around here too and feeling a bit out of place. A touch of dryness hits at the end.

Mouthfeel: heavy bodied. Smooth throughout. Slightly dry at the finish. Relatively short aftertaste.

Drinkability: decent barleywine. Worth giving this a shot.

01-19-2007 14:36:55 | More by Gavage
Photo of blitheringidiot


3.85/5  rDev -0.8%

"Vintage" label 22 oz'er that explains: "...three hour boil to intensify the caramel malts and enormous PacNW hop charge..." 10.0% ABV. Label displays a notch middle left bottom? Hmmm...

Pours with a clear yet mahagony hued pour topped with a beige sandy deflated splotchy dense head cap leaving some drippy lace in the glass.

Nose is robust with a spice cake and orange peel zest that is rather citrus over malts. A boozy hint peeks out with a butterscotch toffee.

First swigs: Chalky citrus orange start. Pastry sweet bready with a peach schnapps suggestion. Middle of spice wafer cookie and dried apricot floral yet grainy chewy bite. Bubble gum and floral aspects. Finish is a lingering dryness with fig and cherry notes.

Full bodied thick syrupy offering. Soft carbonation that blends with a lingering lemon peel sweetness.

Last swigs: Toes the line between 2IPA and barleywine American style. Balance leans 70/30 towards hop citrus. Hidden 10% ABV leads to some easy drinkability. Leaving this one rest in the hole might balance it out, but this seems to be at its peak fresh. Almost could pass as a highly hopped Stone offering.

Beer is good. Happy big beering.

01-18-2007 06:57:36 | More by blitheringidiot
Photo of Bitterbill


4.1/5  rDev +5.7%

Poured from 22oz bottle a clear amber gold with a small head of foam that shrinks quickly but still leaves a fine layer right down to the last taste and....it has plenty of nice lacing.

The smell is a fairly strong mix of hops and malt with some sourish notes.

The taste on first sip has a huge caramel malt presense that is supported by good citrus hops and none of the sourness that I mentioned in the nose. Yum. The more sips I take, the more balanced the flavours become to my palate and it makes for some great drinkabilty despite the 10%abv which, btw, is surprisingly well hidden. I'm liking this one and I'll be sure to seek it out again when I next visit Colorado.

Bottom line: This is one solid BWSA that I have no qualms about recommending!

01-16-2007 23:49:41 | More by Bitterbill
Photo of Matthew


4/5  rDev +3.1%

22 oz bottle. 2006 vintage. Pours a ruby brown color with a tannish good inch of head that settles slowly to leave a decently sized covering.
Malty caramel tones wrapped in alcohol and big potent grassy and earthy hops. The hoppy aroma also contains some citrusy tones as well.
Malty sweet caramel and biscuity backbone tries to stand up against a big incoming wave of bitter hop flavor. The hop profile has some piny and grassy flavors in it and starts to fade to warming alcohol in the tail end of each sip. There are some very slight wood tones that I can pick up and might be more perceivable in this beer after 6 months to a year in the basement. Maybe I'm imagining this.
The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with a medium level of carbonation.
The 10%abv is more perceivable in this beer more so than in some other American Barley wines I've had but I don't really think it takes away from a good level of drinkability in this beer. Nice well proportioned amount of sweet biscuity malt to try to balance out the big hop profile in this west coast American Barley Wine.

01-15-2007 02:59:39 | More by Matthew
Photo of mrasskicktastic

New Jersey

4.65/5  rDev +19.8%

A - Slightly hazy ruby brown with a large head (huge by barley wine standards) that lingers for minutes and leaves big rings of lacing all over the glass.

S - Pure hop resin. Pine and apricot over a strong rose aroma. This smells a lot like Pliny the Elder. I absolutely love it. Abv undetectable.

T - Awesome. A resiny pine hop dominates the foretaste, almost no bitterness. The aftertaste has a linging pine and grapefruit bitterness, but it is subdued with a biscuity overtone. The malt profile is subdued. That is the only drawback. The outstanding hop kick makes you forget all about the lack of malt until the end of the beer though.

M - Smooth, medium bodied, very refreshing too.

D - I would have guessed this was a Double IPA, in the hoppy vein of Pliny or Hop Wallop, and not a barleywine. But I love it either way. I like it more than almost any double IPA or barleywine to date. In fact this is one of the best beers I can remember having. This is so easy to drink and tastes great. The smell is enchanting. I love this beer. If you love hops, seek it out.

01-14-2007 01:45:21 | More by mrasskicktastic
Photo of BlindPig


2.83/5  rDev -27.1%

A- Big tan head on a clear deep amber body with hues of brown in it. Nice lacing that sticks to side of glass.
S- Hops slam the nose immediately. Big citrus and pine hops with grapefruit also. Pine hops beat out the citrus. Smells more like a really big hopped DIPA. Very light malt in there too. Almost like they put pine straw in the fermentation tank. The pine straw just seems to effect the smell not so much the taste.
T- Follows the taste with the big piney hops. They come through right away. Malt backbone. Light alcohol also. Dry aftertaste with a bit of pine in it also. Bitterness is left tingling on the tongue. Doesn't taste much like a barley wine as it does a big DIPA with a tiny bit more malt than usual (also a darker color). As warms the caramel malts come through a bit more as warms.
M- Full body with medium to high carbonation (more on the high side especially for this style).
D- It would be alright if I wasn't in the mood for a barleywine (like I am now). The smell of the pine is overwhelming every time you go to take a sip.

01-10-2007 04:58:23 | More by BlindPig
Photo of Dukeofearl


3.88/5  rDev 0%

22 Oz bottle purchased at LaBodega in Riverside, CA for $4.99 in December 2006, tasted in January 2007.

I'll admit up front I'm not a big barleywine fan. Too big, too rich, too much. "Too many notes" as they say in Amadeus. But having said so, I've been really happy with my recent Green Flash purchases, so I thought I would give this baby a go.

Appearance: Big dark (but translucent) mahogany stained wood with a pretty off-white (almost tan) head that had great retention.

Aroma: Rich, rich malts, hard to describe besides rich. Roasty, caramel, toffee, but also organic (not lambic organic, but vegetable matter) hops.

Flavor: Rich toffee and roasty malts. Very slight sweetness. Some chocolate-covered espresso beans (sweet and bitter). Some hops to offset the malts.

Mouthfeel: Huge syrupy full mouthfeel, somewhat chewy, alcohol heat increases as the glass empties. Actually quite hot by the end of the session.

Drinkability: Too drinkable for a 10% beer. It of course this keeps it from being top marks, but "YES" as the Brain would say (sorry, been watching a lot of Pinky and the Brain lately).

This is a good beer. Too much for me to enjoy on any sort of regular basis, but it's good stuff nonetheless.

01-09-2007 03:31:55 | More by Dukeofearl
Photo of warriorsoul


3.5/5  rDev -9.8%

Scored a pair of these at Stateline Liquors in Elkton, MD.
Chestnut, almost auburn colored with a finger and a half of creamy, light tan head...leaving behind some very attractive lacing as it fades.
Not sold on the nose...some inviting aromas filled with rum raisins, oak, cherries but has something in there that strikes me as odd...almost perfume-like.
Good thing the taste makes up for the scent. Magnificent malt to hop ratio, keeping the sweetness in check and bittering it up enough to stick with America's interpretation of the style.
Flavors of green apple, bubble gum, citrus, burnt brown sugar and an earthy quality to finish it off. A slight amount of heat, but not distracting.
Mouthfeel is medium-bodied...carbonation is a touch high and could be sneaky if the abv goes un-noticed.
Looking forward to sitting on the other bottle for six months or so...could benefit from a bit more sweetness for me.

01-09-2007 01:05:16 | More by warriorsoul
Photo of Imstillthegman


4.1/5  rDev +5.7%

2006 vintage

Pours a clear ruby brown color with a nice thick tan head. Lots of lacing coats the glass. The head tries to stick around a while.

Fresh hop aroma. Spicy pine, floral, and grass with a nice sweet malt scent gaining strength as it warms.

Flavor is right in stride with the smell. Blast of green hops with some citrus not really noticed in the smell coming through. Malts are there, but not as prominant as I am expecting them to be since this is a barleywine. I really like how this one tastes...but it seems more like a DIPA to me. Either way, it's damn good.

Thick, full body goes down nice and smooth. I really like this one, even if they are pushing the boundaries of a barleywine. I wish I had another one here now. Drinkability is up there for me, but if you're looking for a chewy malty barleywine I would suggest you let this one sit for a while or grab the next one down the shelf.

01-01-2007 22:35:19 | More by Imstillthegman
Photo of Foxman

New Jersey

4.1/5  rDev +5.7%

It pours a hazy sunburst of amber, ruby, and cola brown. Two fingers of light tan head slink slowly to a puffy mousse film. Cascades of lacing fall down the inside of the glass.

The aroma wafts a stout strain of citrus and pine hops, zesty and slightly spicy. Underneath is a malty sweetness toting caramel and earthy raisins. A touch of chocolate joins a ventilated column of alcohol.

Upon sipping, in slides a heavy duty syrupy sweetness of toasted malt, uniting toffee and a general fruitiness. The hops center more on citrus here, with exceptionally dry grapefruit leading the way, but a touch of evergreen spice peeks through as well. Alcohol brings a sweet vinous note to the table. A biscuity bit of malt is crisped into submission by an almost oppressive, biting bitterness that lingers rather heavily. The flavor is thick, sweet, and California-hoppy, but it finishes perilously close to acrid.

Full bodied, it's viscous and chewy, with a bitter glow that blinds the taste buds for a while.

It's fundamental, basic, and quite good, though I do wrestle with the exceedingly bitter finish, which borders on gratuitous. In the end, it's just a minor distraction, not a disqualification. the ABV is well-incorporated, flexing smoothly and with a soothing warmth. So, the wince-inducing finish be damned, it's a hoppin' sweet good time.

12-18-2006 22:10:34 | More by Foxman
Photo of phisig137


3.73/5  rDev -3.9%

Fresh 2006 bomber pours a brilliantly clear ruby mahogany color, with a two finger head. Good retention slowly falls, leaving behind a huge amount of lacing.

Aroma is deliciously hoppy. Extreme piney and floral aroma fill the glass, with only a slight hint of alcohol in the back. So piney, it almost smells like a christmas tree.

The flavor is incredible. Very hoppy all around, with just enough malt to back it up. The hop flavor is the most piney grassy hop that I have ever experienced, is very much in your face, yet is incredibly balanced. Malty caramel notes a present in the middle. The finish is fairly dry and bitter, but not harsh at all. Mouthfeel is creamy and very smooth.... great carbonation on this one. Drinkability is quite good. Each sip begs for another.

I am convinced that this beer either has to be late hopped, or west coast has a secret stash of hops with outrageously low cohumulone. This beer is intensely hoppy, both from an aroma and flavor aspect, but is not harsh or overly bitter whatsoever. Very well balanced for a barleywine, although this is another beer that treads the line between barleywine and IIPA. I'll be curious to see how this one ages. Highly recommended beer from a brewery that does a pretty damn good job all around!

EDIT: The more I drink of this, the more DIPA-ish it becomes. I would just like more malt character from a barleywine. I'm starting to think this won't age all that well, but I'll hold onto a bottle nonetheless. This is great in the way that Stone 10th is great... but for a barleywine, I'm not quite sure yet. Perhaps a second bottle will answer my questions.

12-15-2006 02:42:24 | More by phisig137
Photo of ElGordo


4.03/5  rDev +3.9%

Poured from the 22oz bottle into a pint glass. Body is reddish brown with ruby highlights, topped by a HUGE creamy head that leaves tons of nice sticky lacing on the glass. Aroma is an initial blast of sharp, spicy hops, with notes of grass and grapefruit. As it warms the hops become a bit more subtle, yielding a touch to a light caramel malt sweetness.
Palate is well-balanced between sturdy caramel malt and a ton of grassy, floral hops. A sweet raisin character emerges mid-palate, then is overwhelmed by a building alcohol presence that continues to grow long after the swallow. The body is surprisingly and disappointingly thin for such an otherwise huge beer. Nevertheless, this is a pleasure to drink. Watch yourself, though; while it's unlikely this could ever "sneak up" on you, it is pretty powerful stuff. Plan ahead - this should probably be your only beer of the evening.

12-13-2006 06:26:10 | More by ElGordo
Photo of DogFood11


4.65/5  rDev +19.8%

22oz bottle poured into a tulip it forms a loose tan head that has some rather large bubbles burst down to some solid islands. Ruddy Brown body looks sturdy. Spider like lacing for such a high alcohol brew.

Quite the wave of hops hit the nose right up front. Very fresh and vibrant smelling. First impression was that if this had more density and depth of character it would be ranked even higher. The taste is excellent but it lacks some body and is actually kind of thin for a barleywine. Hops are up front and hold true throughout. They finally give way towards the finish and allows a slightly wooded malt bill with some sugared and caramelized finishing sweetness. This one will linger a bit long after each pull. It has a distinct coating of the palate that lends itself to drinking with some food to clean it up or like me just chew on it for a while. The complexity picks up as it warms and this is another one that got better as it went along. A citrusy lemon peel aspect developes late in the aftertaste. Yummy stuff. Green flash is on to something here and I hope to see this more often. This has cellar qualities to it.

Notes: This is a healthy offering, sturdy, big and complex. Basically it is what I want in a barleywine for the most part. The only downside is it could pay a bit more attention to the depth of the malts. Hop profile was awesome. Mouthfeel was nice and I am craving another one as soon as I finished this one so Drinkability has to be up there. Second best offering from Green Flash and that speaks volumes.

12-12-2006 06:19:45 | More by DogFood11
Photo of timtheenchanta

South Carolina

3.98/5  rDev +2.6%

22 oz bomber courtesy of nflmvp in Simply Beer BIF.

Ruby red with a little bit of brown toward the center of the glass. Still translucent and transparent. Thick off white head which smothers the glass as the beer slowly disappears from the glass and into my stomach.

Big hoppy nose which really hides any distinguishable malt backbone.

The taste is along the same lines. They like to blur the line between barleywines and DIPAs out west. I'd say this one falls into the latter. Everything about this beer points in that direction except for the color and that's not too far off.

It's enjoyable either way. It's just not what I was expected.

12-12-2006 03:12:34 | More by timtheenchanta
Photo of lackenhauser


4.35/5  rDev +12.1%

Muted ruby in color. Nice, slightly tan head-great lacing on the glass. Hoppy aroma upfront-sort of raisen like, malty sweet. Very grassy-after it sits a few take a big ole whiff-screams lawnmower!! Big balanced blast of hops and malt in the flavor. Hops extremely pronounced-floral flavors, not a lot of bitterness in there. Syrupy sweet in spots-like liquid caramel. No alcohol evident. Nice, full mouthfeel-as big as the hops are, theres no hashness in the body that you sometimes get. Damn fine brew. Very drinkable and enjoyable. Great representaion of the style. This, Great Divide's Old Ruffian and Sierra's Bigfoot could be a "holy trinity" for me.

12-09-2006 02:29:22 | More by lackenhauser
Photo of scottoale


4.03/5  rDev +3.9%

2006 Release - From a 22oz. brown bomber with the "Vintage" not stated, nor any freshness date...not to worry though as this one can only get better with time.

It pours into my 18oz. tulip a deep burgundy, even ruby, if you will, with a big two-finger ivory-beige head with tints of green. A very impressive looking ale that truly resembles a "fine wine", less the ring of lace, left from the short lived head.

Sweet toffee malt nose in front of some serious pine and citrus hops that finally give way to a rather potent, alcoholic aire...even more so as it warms. Some sulfuric, estery essence as well which should subside with a bit of ageing.

The taste mimics the smell but is more pronounced, fairly well balanced and given a few more months to mature will bump the taste up a notch. There are some serious hop overtones that in time will meld with the massive malt body and become an awesome barleywine to be reckoned with...very promising in my opinion.

Big beer with big flavor that packs a punch...not a good beginners brew into the world of "craft brewing", but one that strong ale drinkers can appreciate...cheers.

11-08-2006 01:41:14 | More by scottoale
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Barleywine Style Ale from Green Flash Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 771 ratings.