Raspberry Strong Ale - Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.

Not Rated.
Raspberry Strong AleRaspberry Strong Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

298 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 298
Reviews: 175
rAvg: 3.78
pDev: 15.34%
Wants: 34
Gots: 16 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Berkshire Brewing Company Inc. visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
American Strong Ale |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 06-08-2002

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (44) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 298 | Reviews: 175
Reviews by FLAbeergutinMASS:
Photo of FLAbeergutinMASS
3.98/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Released on the 5th, consumed on the 7th, how's that for fresh! Reviewing without looking at my review from last year.

Awesome color, dare I say breath taking as it poured form a 22 oz. bomber. Brandy, single malt, with slight well, raspberry hue. Head quickly disappated, I am sure this is what the brewer intended. Smell, read the label. Taste is its only downfall, raspberry fail to follow all the way through. What I am left with a syrupy malts, and an aftertaste that is begging to be bitter.

Overall, very nice. Unique and good.

More User Reviews:
Photo of Todd
4.35/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 22oz brown bomber bottle. Area for a freshness date, but it's not marked.

Appearance: A cloudy brown / red / dark amber with a very nice thick and creamy off-white foam head that remains consistent to the bottom. This beer is unfiltered.

Smell: Loads of raspberries and some musty grain in the nose, with an underlying caramel aroma. Smells of a sweet liquor or cordial.

Taste: Very creamy and smooth, with a laid back carbonation. Body is full, heavy, rich, mellow and even. Strong raspberry cordial-like flavour (oh. oh. this is really strong) with some massive alcohol characters and a big malty sweetness, including caramel. Hops lend a slightly citric bitter flavour that complements the raspberries, as well as mixing a spicy character with the alcohol prickle. Alcohol is very present, very persistent and very warming. Beer finishes with a slight grainy feel, a bit dry and with plenty of alcohol and berry residuals.

Notes: A massively complex and tasty beers. Raspberry flavours border overwhelming and contrived, but once the alcohol works its way into your head you won't care. All hail Berkshire Brewing Co.! Hoist one up! I love this freagin' brewery -- or is that the alcohol speaking?

Photo of Jason
3.97/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bright reddish amber with a mild haze from the sediment of yeast and maybe raspberries. Decent lacing stays long enough to make an impression.

Candy like raspberry aroma with a malty backing. Alcohol is quite evident also with a light and clean ester.

Creamy and slightly thick in the mouth, light smoothness within the mild carbonation. Strong alcohol character that the sweetness and tartness of the raspberries ride along with, hopping is mild with little bitterness yet does not leave the brew cloying. Maltiness hits in the middle with a simple lightly toasted grain sweetness and then the alcohol kicks again with a large warming ester.

About time someone brewed a fruit beer with strength, this is no sissy fruit beer you are probably used to. Todd was spot on with the cordial comment. This is an ale to reckon with.

Photo of Homebrew35
4.08/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle dated best by 1-31-13.
Pours a pinkish half finger of mixed sized bubbles, quite lovely. Body is maroon and clear. Smells of raspberries of course, fresh smelling even a few months old, some Carmel malts, phenols or esters I'm not sure, it's a barley wine pleasant alcohol smell. Tastes fruity and tart, some Carmel, English bready yeast. In two different glasses one was poured more vigorously and it mellowed it out quite a bit, it knocked the carbonation down and it accentuated the fruit. The finish is a bit tart, a touch of bitterness and some English bready yeast. Medium full bodied, light carbing. Overall very nice, complex, refined flavors, everything plays well together. I'll easily get this again. $5.50 a bomber.

Photo of jcdiflorio
2.24/5  rDev -40.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

22oz brown bottle served into my Mad Elf tulip glass.

Cloudy glowing ruby red color with brownish highlights with a cidery/nectary look. Poured with a generous creamy white head with good retention leaving sticky webby lacing down the glass.

Strong raspberry aromas right up front,pretty much overpowered any other aromas.

Very tart,syrupy raspberry tastes throughout.Very tart and sour,fruity sourness,not from the beer being bad.Nothing here reminds me remotely of a barleywine style beer.

Thick,syrupy like a liquid dessert. Just too much raspberry tastes for me. I like beers with fruits to be more subtle. Glad i split this one with the WVbeergeek. He felt the same about this beer. Thanks anyway for my good beer buddy Sudsdog for the send. Have really enjoyed all the Berkshire beers i've tried previously,this was the only dissapointment so far. Hope it's the last,I really enjoyed all the other beers i've tried from this brewery and intend to try many more from them. Just wish there beers were avalible in my area.

Photo of boatshoes
3.78/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Received this from brewfan in my Dee Snider BIF package. Thanks again!

Appearance- Pours a dark ruby, translucent brown into my New Belgium snifter. Pour yields about a finger and a half of cream colored head that dies back fairly quickly into a faint coating across the top. A solid amount of lacing left as a drink as well.

Smell- This one is really all raspberries on the nose. Very fresh and appetizing, but apart from some sweet smelling malt as well, I really can't pick up on much else in the nose despite repeated effort. Very nice smelling but wholly one-dimensional.

Taste- Raspberry jamminess up front. Tastes like sweet, fresh, homemade raspberry preserves. Backed but by a thick malt backbone that lends a strong dollop of caramel into the mix. Just a touch of cracker in the mix as well. Nice and a bit more complex than the nose.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Mouthfeel is spot on with nice levels of carbonation and a fair level of thickness; however, drinkability suffers just a bit from the sweetness of the drink.

Overall, a very interesting take on the use of raspberries, and I liked it. Not mind blowing, but I'd have another.

Photo of far333
3.03/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Bomber bottle still has the Barleywine label. Served from a snifter.

Honied plum color with a full inch-high head of lumpy bumpy off-white foam, and a sheet of lace rising up all around the glass.

Sweet and tangy aroma of sweet tarts and mild hints of malt.

Flavor of raspberry dominating immediately, lots of sweetness, nearly cloying initially. ABV contributes a tingly burning vaporous feeling. Some grapefruit rind pithiness pokes through, but the finish and lingering aftertaste are dominated by a bitter, nearly acrid flavor of grape seed.

Semi-slick mouthfeel, moderate carbonation, a bit syrupy. Tannic and powdery finish rides along with the bitterness. Not my favorite from this brewer, the bitter and tannic finish kept me from finishing the bottle.

Photo of BranfordBound
4.02/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the Berkshire bomber into a tulip glass. best before January 2013 on the bottle.

Pours a clear amber with an apparent ruby hue. Small white head of one finger falls pretty fast. Leaves good lacing.

Smells of the wild raspberries I eat in the summer, some malts in the back.

Strong, authentic raspberry taste composes much of the flavor. It would be cloying when mixed with the somehow restrained malts which provide some doughey characteristics, but a slight bitterness stops the sweetness. Malts are a little toasty.

Wet mouthfeel that verges on the side of heavy but it never quite gets there.

Really cool beer, its more of a fruit beer than a barley wine. I agree with the old name that it is a Raspberry Strong Ale. Super cool beer that makes other fruit beers cower in shame.

Photo of WVbeergeek
2.13/5  rDev -43.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Appears a pink ruby tinged copper ale slightly clouded body with an of white pink tinged head, lacing is fine and spreads evenly. Aromatics offer tart raspberry some grainy malt sweetness pretty weak and muted with only raspberry sweetness coming through for me. Flavor is tart sickly sweet raspberry notes masking any traditional strong ale or Barleywine as this brew was labeled, definitely floods the palate with strong fruit presence funk. Mouthfeel is cloying with sticky raspberry extracts this is pretty horrible stuff hard to get off your palate to boot. Drinkability is pretty piss pour not much barleywine or old ale definitely a strong fruit beer the type that I usually detest. The verdict stays the same with this one so many off flavors to my palate.

Photo of mcarroll10177
4.45/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- ruby red with nice white lacing. This is an interesting looking beer.

S- rasberry and alcohol, big booze in the nose with this beer

T- rasberry, but not over the top, sweet- but not to much so. This is a tasty beer

M- balanced- but a little thick for the style

D- a highly drinkable strong ale. The alcohol strength hits your head hard, so not a perfect five

This is a very different beer. A fruit beer that hits like an RIS or DIPA. I really like this beer and LOVE this brewery. BBC is so good that it is my go to brewery.

Photo of mdaschaf
3.97/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from notes. Grabbed this on a trip up to Boston. 2011 Vintage.

A: Pours a reddish/brown color with a one finger off-white head. Decent head retention and moderate lacing.

S: Lots of raspberry, reminds me of New Glarus raspberry tart amazingly. The fruit really dominates the aroma, there is a bit of caramel malt and hint of chocolate.

T: Again, tons of raspberry flavor. Really surprises me that this is a barleywine, easily one of the best tasting I have had. There is some bready malt and hints of orange and orange zest as well.

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Easy drinking and smooth.

O: Surprisingly very good. Was a bit skeptical going in, but really enjoyed this beer. Very drinkable with very little sign of abv.

Photo of shredsofautumn
4.62/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Looks like I'm the first review of the 2012 batch! Alright!

...Truth be told I've been calling every local package store since Monday when this elixir was released. It's my all time favorite seasonal, and I live about 20 minutes away from the Brewery so I'm usually one of the first to purchase it and have my ways of getting my hands on it early.

Anyway- Here we go.

Date: 2/8/12
Time: 6:20pm
Glass: 22 oz. Hefe Glass (shoot me)
Music: Thrash!! "Tetrastructural Minds" by Vektor, off of the new album Outer Isolation.

Appearance: Looks a little darker than it did last year. Murky unfiltered amber with shades of red and pink. Not much of a head on this which isn't surprising due to it's ABV and the mild pour I gave it. Despite my bad pouring etiquette, it's still an astoundingly good looking vixen.

Smell: Like opening a box of raspberries that you picked yourself. Completely real raspberry flavor. No fillers or synthetic crap here! Nice malt backbone but it's tough to smell through the raspberry kick in the face.

Taste: Mid-bodied malts hit you with a nice sweet hit and then the raspberries come through in full force. No hops really to speak of but between the vicious fruit and malts, it's got a hell of a balance between the two.

Mouthfeel: On the heavier side. Coats the mouth with fruit resins and malt. Creamy. Absolutely perfect for what this beer is.

Overall: This isn't a sorority house fruit beer. This one will invite you in with its seductive looks and scent. Then it will knock you on your ass. A sipper that begs the unknowing to quaff. Amazing.

Photo of jmz62565
4.05/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Oours a clear deep dark red with a smallish tan sudsey head. No lacing,but still a decent looking brew. The smell is very pungent with a "bisquity" aroma along with alcohol, raspberries, and sweet malt. The taste is very strong with raspberries,chocolate,alcohol, and bread yeast. This is a very sweet beer. The m/f is light and the alcohol is pretty well hidden,yet all the flavors mix well. This is a very good beer,maybe a little sweet for my taste,but if you enjoy chocolate and fruit this may be your beer.

Photo of augustgarage
3.46/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Obtained in trade from ShogoKawada (thanks!). Bottled on January 17th, 2009 (I think?). Poured from a 22oz bomber into my Dogfish Head snifter.

Reddish burnt umber body with rust and terra cotta highlights. Surprising clarity for an unfiltered bottle conditioned ale (though the last pour was nearly opaque). A wheat colored, prismatic collar leaves behind many verticial streaks of lacing. Thick, fast running legs bunch up along the sides of the glass. A slick peninsula stretches out in the center of the glass and forms small isles when agitated. Subsequent vigorous pours produced a much thicker and satisfying head.

Slightly oxidized sherry notes join plenty of esters in the nose: tangerine peel, rum, juniper, and "berries" (a somewhat generic aroma), simple syrup, and faint hops.

Increasing bitterness on the palate, though without any distinct hop tastes. The raspberry comes on in waves, as a sharp, slightly stale fermenting fruit flavor...but then also a crisp bracing fresh flavor...as well as an earthy, did-they-throw-in-the-entire-bush-roots-and-all? flavor. Odd. The finish is sweet then dry, and brings to mind slightly toasted raisin bread spread with jam. A quixotic profile, that makes me wonder what exactly they were trying to accomplish with this brew. I'm doubtful this would age well either as it doesn't have powerful flavors and is already a bit musty (this beer is playing mind games with me - it has faint lambic notes that I would never expect from a barleywine of any kind). Towards the end of the bottle the beer seemed to improve (the yeast adds balance and richness). Best to let the bottle breath a bit before pouring and not to serve it too cold...

Creamy medium-bodied mouthfeel, with adequate carbonation. Delicately warming - the alcohol is well integrated.

Reminds me of a berry-syrup infused quasi-wheat-wine mixed with Weinhard's long defunct blackberry wheat beer. A creative effort that I'm glad I got to try, but now that my curiosity is sated, this beer is probably not something I'd want to revisit.

Photo of DrewShal9
4.77/5  rDev +26.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: looks like a honeyed raspberry juice
S: honey and raspberries with a hint of booze
T: sweet malts and a huge explosion of raspberries. None of the booziness is detectable
M: thinner than what I anticipated but a moderately bodied brew that is smooth
O: I aged the bottle for a year and I'm annoyed that I haven't seen any other bottles. I hope this wasn't retired because this brew is awesome, get some- if not for you then get it and send some to me!

Photo of prototypic
3.13/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks to ampzilla for sending me this one many, many moons ago. This one is labeled as 'Raspberry Barleywine Style Ale.'

Raspberry Barleywine pours a dark copper color. There's a tad bit of haze, but not much. Backlighting gives it a distinct crimson appearance. The head is off-white, and is about a finger and a half tall. It's rather quick to recede. Lacing is light and spotty.

The nose is very average. That might be a bit generous. A strong blast of raspberry greets the nose, and doesn't really relent. It's quite prominent throughout. So prominent that it nearly masks every other scent in the house. Eh. There's maybe a touch of caramel malt. I'm not getting any hops at all. Alcohol is blended pretty well. For what it's worth, it doesn't smell bad. Just smells like a raspberry beverage.

The flavor isn't any better. It starts out with a strong raspberry flavor. Imagine that. It's not overwhelming in any sense. Rather, it just covers up some of the great characteristics typically present in a Barleywine (or Strong Ale...whatever). There is a little caramel malt that adds a sweet toffee-like flavor. But, that's about it. The remainder of the flavor consists of raspberry. Alcohol is masked well, and doesn't come through very strong. It finishes with a touch of...raspberry.

The body is medium. Carbonation is light, and it does feel pretty smooth. The feel is probably the best part about this beer. Drinkability is very average. The flavor's isn't bad, but it isn't good. It's tiresome. Don't know if I'll finish the bomber.

Raspberry Barleywine Style Ale is not good beer. It's not horrendous or bad. It just doesn't resemble a Barleywine at all. It's much more of a raspberry flavored beverage. I'd go back to the drawing board with this one. Perhaps even scrap it all together. If you're into all things raspberry, you might like this. Otherwise, take a pass.

Photo of UncleFrank
4.12/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A hazy cherry-red liquid fills the lass with a thin but lasting head.
Aroma is all fruit. Raspberries and and Ludens cough drops (in a good way).
The taste is sweet and medium body. Tha alcohol is hiding in the background and creeps up through the malty mix. I keep expecting it to get sour but it doesnt. There is a touch of other fruit there but I cant determine waht it is. The finish a combination of the carbonation and alcohol drying the toungue and Raspberries leaving a sweetness on the cheeks. Whew!
I had this beer at about 11 am while the palate was extremely fresh. What a treat.

Photo of russpowell
3.79/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this from PPotrias, cheers Pete!

Pours an effervescent claret-tinged orange with a pinky of strawberry cream colored head. Very good lacing & good head retention

S: Raspberry juice

T: Tart raspberries, herbal hops whispering at the edges, & cherries up front. Dryness, a hint of vanilla & booze as as this warms. Finishes tart with cherry sourness & berry sweetness, & with oaky dryness

MF: Syrupy, creamy with low carbonation, nice bone warming sensation

Drinks fantastic for a 9% abv, fruit beer, but not a style I go crazy about. A nice change of pace night-cap/dessert beer. The warming booze will sneak up on ya!

Photo of Shumista
3.9/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Received this as a generous extra from kmurray8621. Thanks for sending this unique one along. Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into pint glasses and shared.

Color is a dark ruby amber. I'm impressed how much color from the raspberries this looks like it has taken considering it was probably a darker beer to begin with. Small off white head. The smell is really all fresh raspberries. Great smell but pretty one note. The taste is more fresh picked raspberries followed by a caramel malt background. A little bit boozy as well. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, bordering on syrupy. This is not a beer I could enjoy in mass quantities as the sweetness edges closer and closer to cloying as I reach the bottom of the glass.

Overall an interesting and most of all fresh tasting take on a raspberry ale.

Photo of 6DaysBottomOcean
4.1/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is more complex than your average raspberry beer.

Pours an opaque rose amber color.

Smell is excellent with raspberries dominating and a solid malt profile to back it up.

Taste: Boom! raspberries fresh as can be followed quickly by warming alcohol (not disguised at all, but in a good way) and more complex than anticipated malt flavor, with a smooth and somewhat tart finish.

this is a solid feeling beer, not fizzy like some other rasp. brews (see great divide) it is rich and flavorful.

cant say I would drink more than two of these, but they sure are delicious.

Photo of OldIronLungs
3.51/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured 2011 (Raspberry Barleywine Label) into Duvel deep tulip - nice rosy amber color with virtually no head, what does stick around is a thin white froth.

Upfront sweet liquor raspberry smell - like a fruit soda or Chambourd, almost overwhelming but balanced manageably with a lightly syrupy malt and some light hop character. Lots of warming on the tongue from alcohol. I really think this just tastes like Stoli Raspberry and flat soda to be honest.

Upon letting the glass warm, more of the raspberry is unlocked - it's just a few notches too sweet for me. I can imagine this takes on a whole new personality after a bit of aging, but I won't be buying another bottle to find out.

Photo of KTCamm
3.13/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a twenty two ounce bomber into a pint glass.

Pours reddish amber with thick head of white foam that settles down to 1/4 inch. Fruity raspberry smell. Tart astringent thin taste. Some cough syrup flavor at the close. The fruit keeps the flavor in check, but the aftertaste is a bit too much. Light mouthfeel. Overall, not great. Would not buy again.

Photo of edchicma
4.25/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Great raspberry aroma with similar coloring. Nor much of a head, but flavor makes up for it. Initial sweetness...definite raspberry presence...alcohol presence is there, but definitely not overwhelming. Mouthfeel was an extremely pleasant experience. The initially round and sweet feel mellowed into a slightly tart mid palate feel and ended in a dry, dry waft of lightly alcohol finish. This brew reminded me a barleywine without the extreme kick of alcohol. Definite wine-like notes throughout the experience, especially the dry finish. Very drinkable for the abv. As I am having a 22 oz bomber, I think that is sufficient for one sitting, but I will definitely try again.

Photo of alleykatking
3.7/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 22oz bottle.

A- Poured a light hazy brownish amber color. When held to the light this beer is very deep red. Half finger off white head that dies quick leaving some light ringing lacing on the glass.

S- Raspberry. More raspberry. Raspberry and light malts. This is very sweet as in artifical in the nose. It doesn't smell bad at all to be honest just fake. No real barleywine aromas except for a hint of toffee and big malts here and there.

T- Diving into this beer was no problem. Raspberry, raspberry, and once again more raspberry. Even in the taste the artifical flavoring reigns supreme. Very light malt backing on this with hints of toffee. The alcohol is very well hidden until this warms up but even then this has a raspberry like flavor to it.

M- Medium mouthfeel. Carbonation was good for the beer. Raspberry destroys the palate and long into the aftertaste. Alcohol shows light drying on the palate. This beer was very one sided but that really didn't seem to bother me.

D- This one was a interesting one. The flavor on this beer reminded me of Kool-Aid at times but I tended to drink a lot of it and fast. I would have no problem drinking a ton of this but I think my stomach might hurt afterwards though from the sugary sweetness.

Photo of KYGunner
3.78/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Light cognac to maple in color this poured with a deep cleanliness in body. The head was bright white and dense.

The nose is malty at first with a natural raspberry, almost vegetative. The aroma finishes toasty and biscuity.

The flavors hold a deep maltiness with toast, barley, biscuit and grain. The sweet yet sour raspberry finishes with a very natural earthy tone.

The feel is light, almost watery, and doesn't really hold barleywine properties.

This is a tremendously novel approach and kudos for the effort. For the most part it's got barleywine character with natural raspberry flavor.

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Raspberry Strong Ale from Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.
85 out of 100 based on 298 ratings.