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Griffin's Bow - Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)

Not Rated.
Griffin's BowGriffin's Bow

Educational use only; do not reuse.

650 Ratings

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Ratings: 650
Reviews: 230
rAvg: 3.52
pDev: 18.18%
Wants: 17
Gots: 65 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams) visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  11.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: sommersb on 10-28-2011

From the aroma and notes of sweet honeysuckle, pineapple, and grapefruit, to richer hints of burnt sugar, and toffee, this intriguing brew is full of complex flavors. The distinct character of toasted oak adds depth and contrasts the light fruit sweetness. This unique take on a barley wine ale surprises with its smoothness and balance of fruit, hop citrus, and warmth.

Hops: Nelson Sauvin, Zeus
Malts: Two-Row Harrington, Metcalfe, Copeland Pale, Paul’s Caramalt
Aged on toasted oak
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 650 | Reviews: 230
Photo of Bfarr
2.64/5  rDev -25%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Hazy light amber color and thin tan head with poor retention. Sharp, acidic earthy floral aroma. Barley sweetness with hints of vanilla and toffee ending in a dry oak finish. Slick biting feel and overly dry.

Interesting and oddly bold for Samuel Adams. The bottle described the aroma as honeysuckle which I would agree with, which is why I really didn’t care for it. Virtually no warming which is shocking for 11.5% abv. Toffee / burnt sugar is the dominant flavor and the mouthfeel is distracting. Overall, it has a unique flavor but needs some tweaking.

Photo of GrabMeAnAbbey
4/5  rDev +13.6%

Photo of noyellowfizzbeer
2.5/5  rDev -29%

Photo of bespin15
4/5  rDev +13.6%

Photo of Pencible
4.02/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: This poured clear gold with some off-white head.
S: It smelled like fresh mango and apricot, with toasted oak and coconut, and a bit of honey malt and hibiscus.
T: It tasted like apricot and mango and coconut, with toasted oak and honey malt and floral hops. It had a clean and bittersweet aftertaste.
M: It was fairly thick with lots of carbonation. Nice fully body.
D: This had a very nice scent and taste, with an interesting blend of toasted oak and tropical fruits. The body was a little bubbly for me, but it was otherwise nice. The alcohol was noticeable but not bad, so it was pretty easy to drink. This may improve with age, but it was really good fresh. A bourbon barrell version would be excellent.

Photo of bilyboy65
2.29/5  rDev -34.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

It's like a person that just can't make up their mind as what to do with their lives and just floats around the world. There is to much going on in terms of the oak caskness, hops, malts, attempt to make it a barley wine. Just nothing seems to work with together to make a smooth taste. Everything seems to be fitting for the most attention.

It looks nice, but smells and tastes of alcohol. It sits well on the pallet being a medium body beer. Would not recommend.

Photo of jmarsh123
3.01/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a clear caramel with a big white foamy head.

Aroma is full of sweet caramel and brown sugar. Very malt forward.

Starts off with a sweet caramel/brown sugar flavor then recedes into a heavy oak finish and kind of dry.

Fairly thick mouthfeel almost cloying at times with medium-low carbonation.

Not terribly well balanced in my opinion. Nothing is awful about this, but it's a little too sweet and the oak stands out a little too much. Nothing substantially wrong with this one, just a lot of little things add up to make it simply an ok beer.

Photo of mothman
3.92/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a white head. Color is a clear bronze gold.

Aroma: Grapefruit, bananas, and cloves. Toasted oak, honey, and toffee.Very sweet, but very pleasant. Kind of herbal.

Taste: Mimics the nose, but it shows bready malts and caramel. Some vanilla as well. Coconut flavors.

Mouthfeel: Dry, smooth, and creamy. Medium to full bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends dry.

Overall, a very unique brew. Definitely enjoyable. A lot of toasted oak. Good price point here. I'd have this again.

Photo of Keyes88
4/5  rDev +13.6%

Photo of Duhast500
4.2/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz. bottle into a tasting glass.

The color is a light orange with a finger of foamy white head and some nice lacing left on the glass.

The smell is a bit sweet with a nice malts with some candy-like flavor. There is a citrus fruit aroma that is here with a slight hoppy aroma that is spicing things up a bit.

The taste is a big surprise, it pops with a good fruit flavor that is filled with some grapefruit, orange peel, and pineapple as well as some chocolate and toffee flavor. Such an all encompassing flavor that there is layers of nice flavors coming out from under another flavor.

The feel of this beer is smooth and does not seem nearly as big as the ABV says it is. This really has a deceiving mild body and hides the burn better then many big beers.

Photo of cdwil
3.5/5  rDev -0.6%

Photo of fatmusic14
3.9/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Having read some of the reviews about it being so sweet it was undrinkable, I was a little nervous. Unwarranted. Tremendous beverage.

Poured from a bottle into a Goblet.

Appearance - Beautiful golden brown color, nice creamy head. Decent lacing.

Smell - semi-sweet and hops, with a finish of fruit.

Taste - fantastic. Bursts of fruit flavor, but not overpowering or sweet. Hint of raisins and pineapple. Tastes like a barley wine, with no aftertaste kick.

Mouthfeel - leaves a little to be desired.

Overall - Highly recommend. An 11.5% can be intimidating, but don't let it fool you. This is a delicious treat, and was perfect for a Christmas Eve.

Photo of ZenAgnostic
4.1/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

1 pint 6 oz bottle with no date poured into a Duvel snifter.

Appearance - Big barely offwhite head with low stick and great retention. Clear, deep amber body.

Smell - Candy sweetness. Vanilla custard baby food. Banana. Some wet grassy hop.

Taste - Banana kick to the face, followed quickly by stale cardboard and hoppy grassy metal. Does that make sense? It will.

Mouthfeel - Astringent and solvent. Head offers some amount of creaminess, frothy, and texture.

Overall Drinkability- Very enjoyable. Can be a bit too solvent at times, but this is a barelywine after all.

Photo of TempeBeerMan
3.98/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a mug. Batch #1.

A – Deep reddish gold. Just a bit of haziness. Nice eggshell colored two finger head, which faded after a moderate amount of time leaving a very fine sudsy lacing. Looking back now, the look of this beer nowhere NEAR matches the taste.

S – Fruit, yeast, and oak. I would describe the aroma as “faint” overall, with only the fruit aromas being at all prevalent. It didn’t leave me thinking much was coming. I was wrong….

T – Holy crap, I think my mouth just exploded! Pineapple, grapefruit, raisins, oak, maple syrup, date, toffee, caramel, honey, vanilla, sweet breads, cocoa, fig, and carrot cake. I just looked up the ingredients for carrot cake and pineapple and raisins were listed. Go figure. Boozy aftertaste. The 11.5% abv is definitely not hidden in this bad boy. In fact, it slaps you in the face and calls you it’s bitch!! When it warms it can be a bit strong, but if you enjoy boozy beers this shouldn’t be a problem.

M – Prickly carbonation helps the beer almost literally dance all over the tongue. Works well with the plethora of flavors that are going on here. Slightly syrupy finish.

O – A completely unique brew. How SA packed this level of complexity in a golden-yellow package with minimal aroma can only be described as “wizardry”. Taste-wise, this one is ALL OVER the place. Which begs the question: Is it any good? I would say a resounding “yes”. I would gladly take a “messy”, unruly, uber complex beer over a one or two note boring one any day. I can tell you right now that this beer is not going to be for everyone. In fact, it probably won’t be for nearly anyone, but it is for me and I’ll be snatching up every bottle I find. And I encourage beer lovers everywhere to sample one for themselves for a something truly different.

Photo of allengarvin
2.71/5  rDev -23%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Poured into a Val Dieu chalice, this is an aged-brandy colored beer with a creamy half-inch head, and bubbles streaming up from the bottom. The nose... well, an initial hit of hops was promising, but then it was overwhelmed with harsh fusel alcohols--not too promising. The flavor offers incredibly cloying toffeeish sweetness, a lot of oakiness, more alcohol... actually it is so sweet I'm not sure I can bear a second taste.

Ok, I tried a second mouthful. Ugh. Undrinkable. A very unpleasant tasting beer.

Photo of donkeyrunner
3.06/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pristinely clear dark amber color with a large eggshell head. Good lace and retention. While SA 3rd Voyage had a nice explanation to the beer's name Griffin's Bow keeps my wonderin'.

Aroma is a mix of golden and tropical fruit hard candy. A little perfumey, SA says "honeysuckle."

Tastes sweet but dull at the same time like the volume has been turned down on all the flavors. Toffee is muted in a bread flavored syrup and presents itself on as a dull (second time I've used that word) in the aftertaste. Fruit like sliced pears that have been sitting out for awhile (oxidation?).

Very mellow, perhaps too mellow.

Photo of justintcoons
4.15/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter.

A: Pours a golden/orange with 2 fingers of tight laced head. Excellent clarity, thin lacing and low carbonation.

N: Pineapple, peach, mango, papaya, caramel, toffee and light notes of oak and vanilla. Smells great!

T: Upfront there's papaya, mango, pineapple, peach and caramel. Toffee comes in mid-palette with a little booziness along with some oak and vanilla. Finishes with a lot of peach, papaya and oak with hints of peppercorn.

M: Medium bodied, sticky, bitter, dry and warming.

O: A very hoppy American Barleywine. Huge tropical fruit notes all around including papaya, peach, pineapple and mango. Big caramel/toffee notes still keep a pretty decent balance. Light notes of oak and vanilla round out the complexity nicely. An excellent offering from SA and definitely needs to be tried.

Photo of Durge
3.46/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A light yellow amber colored brew with a decent head of frothy white with a blanketing lacing. The aroma brings light vanilla biscuit with some skunk cabbage alcohol. Not crazy about it and definitely not your typical barleywine. The flavor says thick vanilla biscuit cabbage with wheat and cereal grain goodness over fermenting dark fruits and whiskey. This takes a few tastes to get used to, but once you adjust a little to the booziness, you can enjoy this medium-heavy bodied brew with its lively but fine carbonation. It’s a a little bit higher in alcohol than I typically like but it does settle into a slightly buttery oak deal that satisfies.

Photo of lordofthewiens
3.88/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Looks like I'm in the minority here, but I liked this beer.

In a tulip, the beer was a bright cherry amber color. It had medium sized off-white head.

A sweet floral aroma. Citrus. Pineapple.

Taste much more interesting. Oak. Toffe. Pinepple. Grapefruit hops. Warming all the way.

Compelex, probably more than it should be. Smooth, despite the high ABV. Didn't really notice the alcohol.

Would try this again.

Photo of BigPlay1824
2.86/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Enjoyed in a tulip glass

A: pours a medium golden color that is entirely clear with minimal carbonation bubbles and two fingers of off white head that is creamy in character with large bubbles, lingers a bit, leaves a thin amount of lacing
S: vanilla, alcohol, some sort of syrup and an unfortunate smell like insect repellant
T: interesting, kind of odd, not bad i don't think just odd, some flavors i cant place, definitely recommend letting it warm up to release some better flavor notes or at least more discernible ones, the first flavor i find is vanilla in the middle with a bit of the oak in the end, beginning is sweet and slightly smooth aside from the alcohol burn
M: burns on the lips, mouth, and throat from the alcohol, to be expected but not enjoyable
O: eh, drinkable but bordering on the line of being a beer i would dispise, scent and mouthfeel are off putting, taste its decent as is the appearance, nothing to write home about, tempted to do some aging but i just not sure it even deserves a spot in my tiny little cellar, idk

Photo of Zorro
3.28/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Clear amber colored beer with a tall off white colored head.

Smell is sweet and oak with some caramel and vanilla. Little bit of toffee and butter.

Starts off sweet and strongly of oak. Noticeable alcohol burn. Oak and vanilla with a bit of caramel and toffee. Essentially it tastes like it smells. Verdict on the taste is it's OK but nothing you just have to try.

Mouthfeel is full and creamy, easily its best attribute.

Overall, this is OK. Was expecting more flavor than this has. It's OK but not going to buy again.

Photo of Ratman197
4.32/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber from Total Beverage poured a clear golden amber with a lasting ivory head. Aromas of oak, honeysuckle, vanilla, grapefruit, light pineapple and light toffee. Mouthfeel was medium bodied and smooth. Flavors of oak, vanilla, honeysuckle, toffee and fruittiness with a smooth lingering oak finish.

Photo of Pahn
2.4/5  rDev -31.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

22oz bottle into Duvel tulip. Figured it was time to try this before it's gone from stores, especially since I've been on a bit of a barrel aged barleywine kick as of late.

Special note: this beer's name is hilarious. "Griffin's Bow"? What the fuck? The youtube video with Jim Koch explains that they were impressed with the power of the old timey mythical animal, the griffin... but what about the bow??

Appearance: Free pour yields a one inch head that dissipates slowly, leaving thick but ultimately not lasting lacing. Pours a clear orange and leaves a few small spots of lacing.

Smell: From the bottle: yup, Nelson Sauvin hops as advertised. Smells a lot like Anchor Humming Ale, a similarly Nelson Sauvin-forward beer (and an excellent one). In the glass: Same thing. Pungent peach and pineapple. All hops.

Taste: Lots of alcohol, some fruit flavors, and lots of sickly sweetness. Amazingly too hot, too bitter, and too sweet at the same time. Don't find that every day.

Each sip starts with a lot of tropical fruity hop flavor, moving to a blast of bitterness, then ending with unrelenting, overwhelming sweetness (and a building, chest-consuming alcohol heat). The oak is not very present in the flavor, though it eventually comes out to impart some sponge cake character onto the disgusting sweetness (it fails to save the day though).

This beer reminds me that Nelson Sauvin can impart a sort of musty / funky flavor like the smell of molding fruit. Somehow the alcohol and mild oak influence are accentuating this aspect, which is unfortunate.

There's a fair amount of flavor underneath the dialed up bitterness, heat, and awful sweetness... but it's not worth suffering through the shit. Summary: like eating overly sugared dried pineapple dipped in honey, but bitter.

Mouthfeel: Full side of medium bodied. Moderate carbonation. Creamy, sugary, hot. Wish they pulled some Utopias magic and fermented off a lot more of this sugar.

Overall: I love a good barleywine, English or American. I'm considering pouring the rest of this beer into the toilet.

Photo of ejw127
4/5  rDev +13.6%

Photo of KidRagnarok
4/5  rDev +13.6%

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Griffin's Bow from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
80 out of 100 based on 650 ratings.