Great - Alpine Beer Company
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Ratings: 442 | Reviews: 141 | Display Reviews Only:
5/5 rDev +10.6%
2009 aged in Heaven Hill barrels smapled at the Alpine brewpub.
A-Small head that dissipates quickly. Smooth looking hazy brownish ruby color. Nice lacing. Not too thick.
S-Maple syrup, maple wood, lots of vanilla, oak, bourbon.
T-Sweet, smoky oak bourbon barrel. Lots of vanilla, not too much bourbon. Some heat on the finish that warms your belly.
M-Nice and smooth. Medium to full bodied. Lightly carbonated
09-17-2010 04:42:53 | More by ZX6Chris
3.93/5 rDev -13.1%
Poured from the bottle into a Bruery tulip. Thanks, Jason.
As the liquid rushes from the bottle, it appears to be a deep, clear mahogany. A very thin beige cap forms but disappears nearly instantly. 14%, you say? Holding it to the light, it's apparent that the beer is not just brown, but closer to a slightly murky, deep reddish brown. The beer sticks to the inside of the glass when I swirl it. Impressive legs. I wish the head could have stuck around a while longer, and I wish the beer had a bit more clarity. Overall good though.
Smell. The booze stings the nostrils. Bourbon, oak, and vanilla straight up front, with a caramel and sweet malt backing. This smells very sweet - I've had three flies try to divebomb the beer. Very nice, but would be improved with moderation of the booze.
The taste is nice. Boozy, to be sure. This thing could stand to sit a while. Bourbon, vanilla, oak, toffee, and caramel are all present in a sweet conglomeration - honestly, this drinks pretty good, but if it were any sweeter I would have a major problem with it.
Mouthfeel is appropriate. Low level of carbonation, smooth and creamy up front, with a very tannic finish. The finish is actually somewhat bracing.
Drinkability is decent for the style and for the alcohol content. This is a sipping beer, treat it with respect.
I've had this beer on three different occasions. The first was at Stone Oakquinox from a jockey box, and I thought it was the best thing there - I was bowled over by it. The second was both 2005 and 2009 versions at the brewpub, and I was let down - I recall there being a weird smell akin to cat food in the 2005, and the 2009 needed some time to round into form. I'd rate this most recent experience to be in between those prior ones. This is a good beer, but there are a number of other barrel-aged barleywines that are better, IMO. If you can get two bottles of Great, do it, and sit on one of them for about 10 years and see what happens to it.
09-09-2010 01:11:10 | More by davod23
4.47/5 rDev -1.1%
6 oz. pour of 2005 Great on-tap at Alpine Brewing. Review from notes.
One finger off white head that sits atop a super dark ruby body. Head eventually disappears and leaves no lacing behind. Oily legs.
Smells of super rich caramel and toffee. Then some bourbon and oak, but the pungent sweet scent of caramel and toffee are the focus here.
Tastes of raisins, plumbs, and a vinous component. Then caramel/toffee, bourbon, vanilla and oak. A rich, sweet, and complex brew.
The mouthfeel is thick syrupy and nicely carbed. Smooth, but a bit palate crushing by the end.
Alcohol is well hidden, but it is a heavy and somewhat palate crushing brew. A real treat that I was stoked to have the opportunity to try.
08-29-2010 20:42:10 | More by billshmeinke
3.83/5 rDev -15.3%
12 oz bottle via Brian, thanks bud!
A - Very dark brown/deep red with a small half in white head that disappears very quick leaving no lacing
S - Lot of bourbon up front but there is some complexity going on. Vanilla, caramel, and some dark fruits all come into play.
T - Bourbon and booze up front but just like the smell it has the underlying fruit and vanilla.
M - Pretty thick but silky smooth. Unfortunately its flat but that doesn't really ruin a beer like this but it would have been a much better beer with some bubbles.
D - I am glad I have another bottle to try in a year or so, hopefully the booze mellows a bit.
08-24-2010 02:35:46 | More by Bobbydigi
2.95/5 rDev -34.7%
Served on draft at the brewery. This was "Great '05."
Wow. I ordered a 5oz taster of this and thank God I did. Alpine made no attempt to hide the alcohol in this big guy.
S - Scotch, bourbon and whiskey. You pick up a bit of oak but the alcohol is overpowering.
T - This is a strong barleywine. At 14% you really taste it. Tastes of bourbon, whiskey, oak and mild spice.
M - Buttery and whiskey-like.
D - There is no way I would be able to put back a 12oz. Not impressed with this. That being said, the rest of the Alpine arsenal is delicious.
EDIT, 2011: Though for some reason this beer keeps popping in my head. Perhaps I was too "new" to the style and reviewed it low die to my inexperience. Must try on my next visit to the brewery (if I can find it).
08-20-2010 23:38:20 | More by jamex
4.53/5 rDev +0.2%
So happy that this was in a 12oz bottle instead of 22oz. Poured the color of a leaf pile, seemed to change from brown to dark amber to burnt orange over time. Very small head that faded quickly, basically no lace.
Smell was quantitatively intense but qualitatively reserved, unlike many booze aged beers. Sweet and buttery. Raisins, vanilla, a vague hint of fruit, and of course sweet, sweet whiskey.
Taste: Sweet malt, candied nuts, dessert wine, maple, and just enough bourbon to keep it interesting without blowing it. A touch of hops as an afterthought best left in the background, thank god Alpine had some sense.
Perfect feel for a beer like this, clings to the palate for a while.
I imagine this beer tasting like the result of JW Lees Harvest Ale if it was aged in a bourbon cask.
Best bourbon barrel aged barleywine I've ever had.
07-21-2010 07:44:50 | More by 7ways
4.8/5 rDev +6.2%
Major thanks to jhenry04 for his kindness and willingness to send this east.
Pours a thick and cloudy orange-amber with red highlights, topped briefly by a good skim of beige foam. Clingy resin and and a few bubbles coat the inside of the tulip.
Often a prominent bourbon barrel aroma will have a sharp oak/whiskey/alcohol smell that overwhelms, or will lack any of the softness of the bourbon and/or the barrel. Here no. It is prominent, carrying some nice vanilla, but the deep caramel and luscious fruit of this play well, making a complex bouquet that also features fig, and even some floral hop in there.
First sip, prob. 55 deg., is a jolt of flavor. A wave of thick alcohol, deep sweet, bourbon, oak, and vanilla slide onto my tongue in soft resiny goodness. Nice! From there this brew just shines and shines. There is some really luscious cherry, some nice sweet floral tones, other notes I can't identify that kick in and usher the rest of the sip through the finishlands of alcohol and hops. Not the hoppiest barleywine by any means, but the bittering hops are perfect in the mix, and kick in at just the right time to dry a sip you'd think would have none of it. Eight ounces in, warmer, I've tasted remarkable variants of fermented maltsweet, of fruit, peach, nectarine, grapes, also a perplexing variance of alcohol intensity, from not to hot, other elusive and delicious flavors. It all makes for a complex monster of morphing taste. This is off the charts here. My brain's flavor center is ordering my conscious mind to type, "This is the best barleywine I've tasted."
Mouthfeel is almost as good as it get in this style. Where thickness in body yet easy drinking are the target, this is the bullseye. Where a semi-dry finish for a beer made with ridiculous amounts of malts is the goal, this is Wayne Gretzky. Pretentiously named, but right to pretension can be earned. This baby walks the walk.
Drinkability? For a beer this size? Mwahahahaha surely you jest. All that's keeping me from actually killing myself with unbridled continuing consumption of Great this evening is the fact that I have only this one bottle.
Impression: Name of the beer says it all.
07-14-2010 22:14:57 | More by cavedave
4.4/5 rDev -2.7%
375ml bottle shared at woodshop 5.1
Poured a deep dark brown with maroon highlights and a thin head that left good sticky lacing on the glass. The nose was very nice with big caramel and whiskey aromas from the oak. There were hints of vanilla, brown sugar, and booze that was not dominating the nose which was well hidden. Up front the taste was big on caramel and whiskey flavors with vanilla, toffee, and slight booze accetns. The beer was full bodied with a fair amount of carbonation that had a thick sweet syrupy and faint boozy finish. Apline came through with an exceptional barleywine style brew that was really drinkable and made me want to serve up more in my glass every time it was empty.
07-01-2010 00:40:29 | More by Gobzilla
4.3/5 rDev -4.9%
12 oz bottle courtesy of Danny Hipps. Poured into my Bruery tulip 06/16/10. Been looking forward to this one for awhile.
Forms a small head that settles very quickly down to nil. Body is a slightly rosy dark brown. Virtually no lacing is left.
The barrel aromas of vanilla and Bourbon dominate at first followed by some toffee, chocolate, and fruit.
The label says "a Barleywine done the Alpine way". Based on their other beers this lead me to imagine this might be a hop bomb but it seems they simply meant it was big and bold in character. Not to say this isn't hoppy, it's definitely no English Barleywine, just that the other characteristics dominate. Bourbon notes are joined by some sweet dates with some heat and hoppy bitterness on the finish. Toffee comes back and is joined by some subtle cherry flavors once this reaches room temperature.
A little thin bodied but not bad. Looks completely flat but there's a subtle soft carbonation that works here. As much as the Bourbon flavors are a big part of the flavor the alcohol heat is remarkably gentle and is pushed into the background for the most part.
An aptly named beer I'm very glad I got to try. Another winner from the Alpine folks.
06-17-2010 19:35:39 | More by berkey
4.68/5 rDev +3.5%
Thanks to billab914 for this diminuitive bottle of promising-looking brew. I just checked & though we completed our trade over a month ago, I haven't cracked a single bottle. WTF? Let's fix that immediately.
My first non-hop-oriented Alipine brew, which have been great, so my expectations are elevated to a degree. Pour is a lovely, slurry red. Nose is evident from enough paces to quick-draw your six guns - bourbon. Lots of bourbon. Simultaneously overpowering & restrained. That's a neat trick. Nothing else comes through, but it doesn't really need to.
Just from smelling Great, I can actually taste it before any of the beer actually enters the orifice meant for tasting. Massive flows of caramel surprise the palate after the smell, with the vanilla, bourbon, & drying oak taking a back seat, but still strongly present. Scorched sugar, toffee, & a big dollop of syrup round out a huge, complex beer. Alcohol arrives late, & reminds you not to drink & drive.
Thick, like you might need a spoon to ladle it over an entree, & still as a dark night under the stars. One could perhaps quaff this all night, but it would be a short one. And make sure you have a GPS tag so you can be located the next day.
Wow. Top-notch, fantastic beer that deserves its rating. Possibly the most complex, deep, & robust BA Barleywines I've ever had, & wonderful to boot. My opinion of Alpine only continues to rise.
06-09-2010 01:58:25 | More by maximum12
4.25/5 rDev -6%
Had on tap at Stone Brewery today.
A - Pours an orangish-brown with no head or lacing.
S - I get caramel, toffee, brown sugar, and some vanilla. Faint hints of barrel are there as well.
T - Taste is similar to the nose, but there's a slight bite to it when swallowing. It's not a boozy bite, as the alcohol is hidden very well, but it doesn't drink super smooth.
M - Heavy with mild carbonation.
D - It's pretty easy to drink, especially for the 14% ABV. I'll have to crack open a bottle soon to see how it's doing in there.
05-24-2010 04:52:36 | More by Kaiser81
4.43/5 rDev -2%
Served into a wine glass from a capped bottle. Pours a deep brown with deep mahogany highlights. Clear and with a thin and fleeting cap. Vinous on the pour like a Cabernet, yet with a light ring.
Nose of oaken wood and whiskey. I realize that a relatively flat pour fits this pour well. Though one sided this brew is quite interesting in that all your typical barleywine notes are buried beneath the barrel. Crushed by the oak and rendered insignificant, yet allowing subtle influence nonetheless.
Flavor offers subtle notes of wood and charcoal and cherry. Yummy should you prefer the barrel, and yummy regardless.
A very barrel forward approach given the style which settles out to offer a port like quality and improving in complexity with warming.
05-20-2010 07:31:26 | More by HalfFull
4.65/5 rDev +2.9%
A: Pours a dark brown with amber highlights. No head to speak of, save a light ring of bubbles circling the glass and a smattering of tiny bubbles in the middle due to the nucleation point in the glass.
S: Bourbon and oak provide the first noticeable aroma, but are hardly overpowering. The base beer comes through strong with caramel, toffee, molasses, vanilla, some light tobacco, and dark fruits.
T: Amazing...the bourbon comes in at just the right level, subtle enough to not overpower the beer, but strong enough to add depth. The caramel, toffee and molasses base swirls around in the background as vanilla and dark fruits play out over it. The dark fruits are especially stronger than in the nose, with figs and dates really coming through. Finishes sweet, as one would expect, with a linger aftertaste of brown sugar and vanilla. I hesitate to give 5s too often, but wow.
M: A touch on the thin side, but tremendously smooth with a good amount of carbonation to hold it up.
D: The booze is remarkably well hidden and it goes down way too easy.
05-19-2010 05:07:39 | More by Xul
4.65/5 rDev +2.9%
On tap at stone brewery. 4oz serving says it's %15 and not the 14 here.
Pours a deep red with no head at all and no lacing.
Aroma of lots of dark fruits and caramels with a nice bourbon aroma. This is a sticky one for sure.
Taste is excatly as it smells. Sweet toasted sugars and dark fruits with a very nice strong bourbon flavor. Sooo tasty.
Mouthfeel is good. No complaints.
Overall a GREAT beer. Can't wait to get some bottles of this when it comes out again
05-19-2010 03:00:34 | More by PeprSprYoFace
4.13/5 rDev -8.6%
12oz bottle which I was lucky enough to receive from my cousin, love that guy. I split this with two other friends because lets face it, its is strong as hell. My buddy said teh first whiff was like dog-food or rather a dog treat and it did remind me of snausages or soemthing. Luckily as it opened up it smelled like tootsie rolls, very nice and sweet. The flavor was pretty delicious like more chocolate and tootsie rolls, not much wood or spirits but it definitely had a kick of heat on the back end. Very nice barleywine but four ounces was plenty for me. Keep up the great work Alpine!
05-08-2010 18:01:39 | More by ArrogantB
4.4/5 rDev -2.7%
Footbalm pulled this one out of his cellar to share with the Boise Peeps a while back... I couldn't tell with a cursory once over, but Eric says this is the first bottled batch... very cool!! The first batch was a whale of mine for a long time and may have to step back up into those shoes.
I got one of the first pours and it shows deep reddish orange... very clear.. nice tan head.
nose is amazing and only shows hints of EtOH on the finish.. plently of caramel... maple... vanilla prior.. very rich.
flavor has a good oaky tannic aspect that adds a nice drying quality amidst all the malts... vanilla bean with some almonds and toffee.... plummy dark fruits.. maybe some hints of oxidation that mesh well with the overall product....
big body for sure... carbonation seemed restrained as it should be... a very slow sipper.... SAS said this bottle was his favorite after the Veritas.
Seems like a blown out of the water English BW.
Thanks a bunch Eric... I appreciate that you remember after all this time to bring this up to share.... pretty badass.
05-04-2010 07:21:53 | More by JohnGalt1
4/5 rDev -11.5%
Poured from the bottle (with great anticipation) a deep garnet hue, with ruby highlights and absolutely no head. An absolutely huge and wonderful nose on this one, with the expected bourbon, along with vanilla, brown sugar and molasses. Flavors of bourbon, toffee, caramel, vanilla alcohol. Very syrupy and hot, with a somewhat cloying mouthfeel and a huge bourbon presence. A very good beer, one that could take some time in the bottle.
04-29-2010 05:24:13 | More by emmasdad
4.6/5 rDev +1.8%
Pours a dark golden brown color, very murky looking. Not much in terms of head but very appealing in color.
Big, really big. Lots of oak and bourbon in the aroma. Tons of burnt sugar and roasted malts come through. I cannot wait to try this.
Taste is of rich malts and burnt sugars, bourbon comes through and a lot of oak as well. Somewhat of a hot finish, but it goes down well. Toffee and caramel, this beer has a lot of sweet tastes. Very good barleywine, thanks to mothman for letting me try this. I would surmise this is the epitome of a bourbon barrel aged barleywine.
Mouthfeel is big, full, thick and creamy. Medium carbonation, the finish is a little hot, but it seems to finish well.
Given the ABV this is a very drinkable beer, a top notch barleywine which I would like to drink more of in the future.
04-02-2010 17:57:07 | More by pmccallum86
United Kingdom (Wales)
4.58/5 rDev +1.3%
Poured into old guardian snifter.
Pours hardly any head. However there is a ring of foam. Very slight lace. Color is a mahogany brown copper.
Aroma: Massive bourbon oak. Vanilla with a very nice fall flavored spice. The oak is dead on. Tons of malt; caramel and toffee flavors. Burnt sugar. Very solid.
Taste: Rich and malty. Toffee and caramel. Bourbon, oak, and vanilla. Very warm. Burnt sugar with some sweet notes. This beer has a very slight amount of alcohol showing for the high abv. Tons of malt with little hop showing. Great bourbon flavors blending this beer together.
Mouthfeel: Smooth and rich. The carbonation is a little lower, but it really works well with this beer. It has a fairly large body. It is ends sweet and malty, relatively clean. After discussion with my homie Pete dog, I notice the bitterness of the hops. I am glad he picked up on that as it is an American Bwine.
Overall, a very solid bwine. It is big, smooth, and drinkable. Lots of flavor and the bourbon barrels really tied the beer together to make it complex, yet drinkable. I am glad I had a chance to try this one. Very solid.
04-02-2010 17:55:10 | More by mothman
4.3/5 rDev -4.9%
12oz bottle received in trade with srandycarter. Thanks! Poured into a Dogfish Head signature glass.
A - Pours with an ever so slight yeast murkiness in a gorgeous dark amber brown color with reddish tinges to it in the right light. No head forms at all, but a nice thick collar of tan color and a steady stream of bubbles rising up off of the laser etching in the bottom of the glass. This is tempting me to take that first sip.
S - Yeasty and very bread dough-like in aroma...smells like fresh dough before going into the oven. Some malty, caramel, molasses aromas, sweet bourbon in a sorta heavy way...almost like a bourbon reduction sauce. Alcohol is also quite noticeable in the aroma too which isn't surprising given the 14% level here. Overall, a heavy, almost syrupy impression from the aroma.
T - Taste is quite sweet overall. Up front is caramelized sugar, toffee, molasses in a mixture together that blends with the bourbon. Bourbon doesn't have heat to it, just nice flavor added, some vanilla and alcohol flavors. Bready malt and yeast flavors kick in to round things out. Hops do not add any flavor character, just a touch of bitternes, although I think the bourbon edge does more to balance this than the hops do. Good flavors, somewhat unique...a bit heavier, deeper than others of the style. I want to say that there is a smokiness to this, maybe a bit of the char off the barrels.
M - Very thick and syrupy in nature. Mouthfeel is extremely full with only a light carbonation to liven things up. Flavors here are heavy and the body complements this. Smooth, sticky, mouth coating and extremely viscous. Overall heavy but a really nice sipper all around.
D - Hmm, tough call. Alcohol is quite high at 14%, which is a real impediment to drinkability, but the alcohol seems to only add flavor and character without the heat that I would expect (a definite plus). Mouthfeel is rich and full - pretty much a thin syrup. A sipper all the way, and I appreciate the decision to put this in 12oz bottles...this is absolutely the perfect serving. Trying to put down a bomber of this would be enjoyable, but hard work.
This would really be a quite expensive (and debatably a waste of this beer) marinade, but I think reducing this down a bit and using this as a marinade and/or barbecue glaze would on beef, steak tips especially, maybe chicken too would be absolutely amazing.
03-30-2010 22:26:11 | More by portia99
4.68/5 rDev +3.5%
Dark, murky brown pour with only a small sliver of head. Pretty much as expected.
The aroma is a pounding assault of caramel and bready malts. Oh man, this is GREAT (!). Some pine resin, vanilla, and boozy heat round it out. My first impression is that this beer is going to be right up my alley.
First sip and it appears that I am correct. Although this the bottle label calls this a "barrel aged barleywine" I think the American Strong Ale category suits it best because to me it is a cross between an English Barleywine and a Wee Heavy. And it is decadent. Rich caramel and biscuity malts engulf the mouth with full flavor. I'm picking up notes of cocoa powder, toffee, and vanilla which is surely the byproduct of the barrel aging treatment. My throat and belly burn from the high ABV, and the noticeable heat does serve as a reminder that you need to sip on this beast and resist the urge to chug.
The body is full and carbonation is low. The alcohol burn is a bit of a detractor.
Drinkability is extremely high in the sense that I would purchase this again in a heartbeat, but I have to dock this a bit simply because I am already worn out after less than 6 oz.
Overall this is a world class beer in my opinion. Highly recommended.
03-20-2010 22:48:42 | More by alcstradamus
4.22/5 rDev -6.6%
Thanks to kaiser81 for sending me this beer.
Pours murky brown with no head. The aroma is caramel, brown sugar, some alcohol, oak and bourbon. It is very sweet. The flavor is vanilla, maple, alcohol and brown sugar. Medium mouthfeel and low carbonation.
03-18-2010 05:15:33 | More by Mora2000
4.85/5 rDev +7.3%
Notches darker than the norm...pour a deep mahogany amber color with a shallow off white head that fades quickly without leaving much lacing behind. The smell is unique aggressive and amazing! I'm overwhelmed by the complexity...initially comes across with that classic corny butterscotch then an intense maple syrup over Aunt Jemima Eggo waffles or the revelation that an easy way to kick up a pancake batter is to add a dash of vanilla extract follows. Light carbonated, the mouth feel is full bodied with a creamy smooth texture and chewy character...Full flavored, the rich sweet characteristics of the nose are mirrored in taste and enhanced nicely by the body. Maple pancakes with vanilla accents and black licorice, caramel and dark fruit experience. It all lingers quite nicely. The 14% ABV is extremely well integrated. A booziness is present and expected, to some extent in this style. Highly recommended!
03-18-2010 02:58:28 | More by jjayjaye
4.7/5 rDev +4%
Big thanks to Azurelimits for breaking this out at a recent tasting.
A: Pours a fairly-bright dirty copper with a tiny whisp of a tan head.
S: Very rich bourbon alongside some caramel, toffee, sweet malts, and alcohol (although not nearly as much as would be expected from a brew of this alcohol level).
T: Lots going on with the bourbon beautifully complementing the sweet maltiness of the base beer. Some nice woodiness as well as loads of caramel.
M: Medium body with a low level of carbonation and moderate booziness.
D: Very delicious. Not extremely complex, but just done so incredibly well.
03-16-2010 01:03:54 | More by Thorpe429
4.18/5 rDev -7.5%
A big thanks to Joe (steelersxl) for sharing this at his tasting. Review from notes on 1/30/10
A - Poured deep amber, ruby/garnet highlights in the light and no head. 4.0
S - Wow there is lots of bourbon and lots of caramel here. It's like Emeril went BAM with bourbon in this barleywine. Touch of dark fruits and vanilla too. 4.5
T - Very much like the aroma, there is plenty going on here. Everything you could want in a barleywine, plus the bourbon. Pretty sweet too, nearing the cloying department but it just barely toes the line. 4.5
M - Somewhat slick and chewy. Big body here. Very low to no carbonation. 3.5
D - Very good. The alcohol is obvious but for its abv, it drinks very well. 3.5
03-11-2010 19:23:38 | More by DmanGTR
Great from Alpine Beer Company
100 out of 100 based on 442 ratings.