1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Great - Alpine Beer Company

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

469 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 469
Reviews: 143
rAvg: 4.52
pDev: 9.07%
Wants: 1,229
Gots: 67 | FT: 5
Brewed by:
Alpine Beer Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  14.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
The base of this beer was available at a couple of festivals as a barleywine named "Good". The remainder of the batch spent several months aging in fresh Jack Daniels barrels and became "Great".
Available in limited release at the brewery only

(Beer added by: xlperro on 03-01-2005)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 469 | Reviews: 143 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of KevSal
4.75/5  rDev +5.1%

KevSal, Apr 15, 2012
Photo of shoyoroll
4.75/5  rDev +5.1%

shoyoroll, Apr 02, 2012
Photo of Reagan1984
4.2/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Alex (Masterski) for providing this in trade. Served in my Portsmouth Brewery Snifter.

Literally no head, no foam and no lace on the beer. A brown amber deep color.

Aroma is sweet of brown sugar, some bourbon and caramel. Not as much vanilla as some. The ABV is present and some alcohol is noted.

The flavor has many of the same components. Brown sugar really comes to mind along with some honey and yes bourbon. There is a sweet caramel that works nicely with the heat of the alcohol. Not too “HOT” which I don’t like, but more warning and inviting.

Pretty bold body, but not syrupy. Very subtle carbonation. It’s there, but barely.

Very, very good beer. Not among the elite of the bourbon barrel barleywines but certainly a treat to enjoy.

As always, thank so much Alex.

Reagan1984, Mar 20, 2012
Photo of FosterJM
3.98/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1166th Review on BA
Bottle to Triple Karmelit
12 oz

Thanks to BdubleEdubleRUN for this one.

Shared with GuruDel, JazzPatel, MrHirschybar & BdubleEdubleRUN

App- A medium caramel brown with some soft ambers and brown and maybe a touch of sliding bubbles. Zero cling as well.

Smell- It's a pretty good BW note. Its aromatic with soft vanilla, malts and some booze presence. The whiskey notes get lost to me.

Taste- A good and malty caramel citrus flavor. A bit prickly but I didnt get most of the barrel notes. A well layered beer with nice vanilla beside it.

Mouth- A lighter medium with a light creamy medium carbonation level. Nice caramel and oak flavors.

Drink- A very good BW, but just not up to par with some of the heavy hitters we busted out last night.

FosterJM, Mar 19, 2012
Photo of jkane101
4.75/5  rDev +5.1%

jkane101, Mar 10, 2012
Photo of woosterbill
4.9/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12oz bottle (therefore from '09, I believe), courtesy of millerbuffoon, shared at tasting and poured into a medium-sized Duvel tulip.

A: Clear, brilliant copper body with just a handful of coarse tan bubbles. Great legs, spotty lace. Very nice.

S: Gigantic, amazing and hugely enjoyable aroma of sherry, vanilla, bourbon-soaked raisin, oak, and toasted caramel. Really rich, really complex, and perfectly aged. Wow.

T: Follows the nose - rich malts, dark fruits, sweet toffee, vanilla oak, and some heady leather. As it warms, some delicious sherry oxidation shows up. The finish is bittersweet and warming, with the 14% showing up with some smooth warmth and pleasant tingling. Incredibly delicious - this might be my favorite Barleywine...ever.

M: Full body, moderate, creamy carbonation, and light stickiness. Excellent.

O: This beer's name is an understatement.

Thanks again, Miller!


woosterbill, Mar 04, 2012
Photo of barleywinefiend
4/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured a murky brown color with a small tan cap that fades quickly

S: Caramelized brown sugar, toffee, faded hops, bourbon and some booze

T: Bourbon, maple syrup, caramelized sugar, toffee, faded citrus hops, dark fruits and some wood Earthiness

M: Big body, lower carbonation

O: Unsure which vintage I sampled but I felt this beer was falling off and peaking already

barleywinefiend, Feb 20, 2012
Photo of JAHMUR
4.5/5  rDev -0.4%

JAHMUR, Feb 18, 2012
Photo of BarrytheBear
4.78/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Courtesy of the generous jpmclaug..thanks friend!

12 oz bottle shared with madtowndmb1.

A murky rusty brown into a tulip.

Uncannily, the smell of this beer is the essence of southern style pecan pie. It's as if the good folks at Alpine bottled Thanksgiving dessert. Really a great smelling beer.

Taste deviates quite a bit from the smell. Light vanilla segues into a boatload of toffee and caramelized sugars. The barrel is very light and shows up as coconut and wood on the finish.

Overall, this is a really nice barleywine that carries barrel aging that way I like it. The base beer is truly the showcase here. In my opinion, all too often, the barrel overwhelms and swallows the base beer in a bb barleywine. In this case, the base is the star and the barrel lays a gentle subtle layer the melds wonderfully. Not big, brash, or boozy. In fact, if this beer truly clocks in at 14%, it's a gem. Subtlety and grace, thy name is Great.

BarrytheBear, Feb 18, 2012
Photo of chrispoint
5/5  rDev +10.6%

chrispoint, Feb 17, 2012
Photo of stakem
4.05/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle I acquired as an extra in a trade quite a long time ago. My apologies to the generous person deserving of the mention. Shared with friends and poured into mini snifters. This brew appears a clear amber color with some faint bubbles and a ruby to orange coloring around the edges. Leggings of alcohol slowly creep down the wall of the glass after a swirl.

The smell is almost candied with sweet hints of toffee and vanilla. Some oak is evident that brings out a tannic woody quality that lasts inside the nose and mixes with some herbal indications thy minorly form into something that is medicinal.

The taste is sweet with toffee-like maltiness. Boozy with alcohol that blends well into a toasty grain flavor that gets contrasted with an herbal quality and woody notes from the barrel aging. This brew is drying on the tongue despite the initial residual sweetness. The drying effect leves a bit of oxidative quality lingerin in the mouth. A light bitterness and herbal flavoring turns to wood and back to toasty sweet grain in the finish.

This is a bold brew with a solid inclusion of alcohol. It is full bodied with a light level of carbonation. Super easy drinking for a big bold brew that isn't hiding it's abv level. It was well put together and enjoyable. I wouldnt mind having it again for comparison purposes with others in the style. It really isn't totally fair to make this comparison but considering the lack of availability and inflated asking price of this brew nowadays I'd much rather take some gratitude.

stakem, Feb 14, 2012
Photo of kingcrowing
4.05/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a sampler.

Pours a hazy amber golden color with n head at all. Nose is sweet and malty, a bit oxidized but not too bad.

Taste is a bit oxidized but still sweet and malty. Some diacetyl as well. Slight bitterness and a crisp finish, its quite tasty but a bit good.

kingcrowing, Feb 11, 2012
Photo of sisuspeed
4.5/5  rDev -0.4%

sisuspeed, Feb 05, 2012
Photo of beermeX2
5/5  rDev +10.6%

beermeX2, Feb 02, 2012
Photo of Alpar
4.5/5  rDev -0.4%

Alpar, Jan 31, 2012
Photo of billab914
4.83/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 vintage poured from a 12oz bottle into a snifter. It was pretty still with the only traces of a head being some bubbles towards the edges of the glass. It had a great looking, deep, dark caramel color to it though. I loved the color and the stillness of it worked for me given the style and abv of 14%.

The aroma shows a lot of caramel and toffee right off the bat. I get some excellent flavors out of the barrel component with woody oak and vanilla notes really coming out. The bourbon is a little more reserved but gives it some excellent complexity. I started to get a little more dark fruits with a little leather as it warmed. Alcohol is noticeable, but not much for being 14%. Fantastic aroma, everything came together pretty perfectly in it.

The taste has some very good caramel, toffee, brown sugar and dark fruit notes to it throughout. The barrel aging gives it more of the oaky, vanilla flavors with the bourbon being again pretty reserved but also very smooth and flavorful. I get some bitterness in the finish providing some great balance to it. As I drank it I started to get a little chocolate coming out in the finish as well. Some alcohol heat in the finish, but not bad at all for the size of it.

The mouthfeel is pretty heavy and a little slick. Carbonation is very low. The mouthfeel felt pretty perfect for my tastes. At 14% and almost no carbonation it drank a little like a good bourbon.

Overall, I absolutely loved this beer. It definitely lived up to the hype for me. They got such a great balance between the barrel and beer characters and both of them together were just awesome. The low carbonation, high abv combo really worked well for me as well. Extremely flavorful, smooth and relatively balanced beer. At it's size and strength it's definitely a sipping beer, but it lived up to it's name for me. It just may be a new favorite of the style for me.

billab914, Jan 27, 2012
Photo of MASPuros
4.5/5  rDev -0.4%

MASPuros, Jan 03, 2012
Photo of vissai
5/5  rDev +10.6%

vissai, Dec 29, 2011
Photo of Mrpickles
3.5/5  rDev -22.6%

Mrpickles, Dec 27, 2011
Photo of BeerWorld
4.5/5  rDev -0.4%

BeerWorld, Dec 23, 2011
Photo of hoppymcgee
4.5/5  rDev -0.4%

hoppymcgee, Dec 22, 2011
Photo of aerozeppl
4.5/5  rDev -0.4%

aerozeppl, Dec 21, 2011
Photo of ObeMaltKinobee
4.75/5  rDev +5.1%

ObeMaltKinobee, Dec 19, 2011
Photo of imperialking
4.5/5  rDev -0.4%

imperialking, Dec 19, 2011
Photo of rpaul2012
4.5/5  rDev -0.4%

rpaul2012, Dec 18, 2011
Great from Alpine Beer Company
100 out of 100 based on 469 ratings.