1. Extreme Beer Fest tickets go on sale Sat, Sep 27 @ Noon EDT.
  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!

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

Not Rated.
Griffin's BowGriffin's Bow

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
80
good

629 Ratings
THE BROS
68
poor

(view ratings)
Ratings: 629
Reviews: 228
rAvg: 3.52
pDev: 18.47%
Wants: 16
Gots: 59 | 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:
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

(Beer added by: sommersb on 10-28-2011)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Griffin's Bow Alström Bros
Ratings: 629 | Reviews: 228 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Yagman3000
2.9/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Served from a 22 oz. bomber into a 16 oz Kopparberg Cider glass. Wanted a tall pour to watch my beloved NY Giants take on the 11-0 Packers.

Appears an apricot orange with no shade of brown in it at all. There's a big fluffy one inch head despite a conservative pour and giving it time to settle.

It smells of apricots and honey. Light and tropical. I do pick up a faint woody tone... Apparently we're oaked here.

There's something strange about the flavor oaks. It has a wang to it that's reminiscent of overcooked asparagus. It's not hop bitterness either. It's coming from the malt. Musty.

Mouthfeel is heavier than I'd anticipate. Not for the genre... More along the lines of from Sam. I wish I liked the flavor of this because its heaviness is spot on.

Overall I'm not happy here. There's no coming back from bad flavor. Wouldn't get this again. Wouldn't want to drink it again.

Yagman3000, Dec 04, 2011
Photo of mhaugo
3/5  rDev -14.8%

mhaugo, Dec 04, 2011
Photo of zaphodchak
3.58/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Batch 1

Half finger off-white head. Clearish dark golden body.

Smell is full of aromatic hops, but the mellowed, oak-aged kind, sort of fruity.

A bit of vanilla at the forefront, swings into a big old barleywine oaky-aged hop/malt slam, and some grassy hops at the finish. Perhaps a bit of a clash or rush of different elements that cellaring would smooth over.

Mouthfeel is a bit foamy for the style, but not bad.

Probably needs more time. Everything on the label got me really excited, but it doesn't quite succeed, at least not yet. Slightly too bitter as well, but that is also a wound well-healed by time. Maybe batch 2 will improve, too.

If you're still reading, put this one away for a bit and try it in a year.

zaphodchak, Dec 04, 2011
Photo of BDeibs
4/5  rDev +13.6%

BDeibs, Dec 03, 2011
Photo of GRG1313
4/5  rDev +13.6%

GRG1313, Dec 03, 2011
Photo of Kaydogg
4/5  rDev +13.6%

Kaydogg, Dec 02, 2011
Photo of abriggs1
3.33/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This is certainly an interesting recipe. It sounds like it shouldn't work right off the bat, but it kinda sorta does.

Smells like a barley wine with pineapple.

The first sip is of overpowering sweetness. Very distasteful. But once it warms and opens up a bit it calms down. This is a beer that you cannot drink too cold and hope to enjoy. Lots of fruits such as pineapple, kiwi, and mango. Plenty of creamy vanilla from the oak. This is a fairly boosey brew that has a bit of a sour and astringent aftertaste.

This beer is all over the place. I was struck by the difference between the first sip and the flavor profile after it warmed up a bit. At fridge temp this beer doesn't work, but after some space and time it develops a pretty unique creamy pineapple flavor. I would love to age some of this stuff and see what it does. It's very hard to say where it would go.

abriggs1, Dec 02, 2011
Photo of pavpav12
4/5  rDev +13.6%

pavpav12, Dec 02, 2011
Photo of JoeAmerican77
4.3/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Golden blonde ale with a slight white head cover, lots of furious carbonation...
Scents of pineapple and hoppy resin boast a sweet treat. Huge barleywine flavor, sweet, vinous and stone-fruit, lychee, pineapple, beautiful flavor. Mouthfeel is sticky and full, lovely. One of the better beers I've had in awhile

JoeAmerican77, Dec 02, 2011
Photo of Kromes
3.53/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: A clear light copper color with a large off-white head. Good lacing on the glass.

S: Vanilla and oak mixed with caramel and pine/grass hops. A bit buttery in the aroma.

T: The oak and hop are prevalent up front. Vanilla and butterscotch mixed with a grassy hop flavor that fades into a buttery boozy bitterness.

M: medium-heavy feel to it with spicy carbonation and alcohol burn.

O: Not bad, but just above average for the style.

Kromes, Dec 01, 2011
Photo of Ryan1423
4/5  rDev +13.6%

Ryan1423, Dec 01, 2011
Photo of Springdogg
5/5  rDev +42%

Springdogg, Nov 28, 2011
Photo of JamesS
4.18/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a wonderfully deep blonde with copper hints, with wonderful head and great lacing throughout. Great deep malt scent with excellent pineapple hop undertones; deep and dark. Great flavors, with a wonderfully deep malt flavor, nice toffee and raisin tastes, and a great pineapple and citrus-like hop finish; huge oakiness in the finish as well, way more than I typically like, but it does tell me up front to expect that on the label. Goes down very well for such a high abv brew, with with an objectively derived too much oakiness, which slightly hides the other wonderful flavors.

JamesS, Nov 28, 2011
Photo of 2xHops
2.98/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

When I poured this into a snifter glass, I had hope that it would be a good beer that I may enjoy. It looked so appetizing with amber-copper hue.

There's a sweetness to the aroma, and it's good.

My problems with this beer began when I sipped. The sweetness of the barley wine hits you up front, and I couldn't quite tell where I'm supposed to taste the oak coming through. The mouthfeel wasn't much better at all. The alcohol came through too easily and it's too strong for me to truly appreciate the flavors The flavors were easily overpowered by all of the alcohol in this beer.

Overall, I wouldn't buy this again. It was approximately $6 I paid for this, and I feel like there's a lot of better barleywine beers out there than this.

2xHops, Nov 28, 2011
Photo of bigbeers84
4/5  rDev +13.6%

bigbeers84, Nov 28, 2011
Photo of LockeSD
3.5/5  rDev -0.6%

LockeSD, Nov 28, 2011
Photo of Ajlvt
4/5  rDev +13.6%

Ajlvt, Nov 27, 2011
Photo of dananabanana
3.8/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch #1. Split a bomber 3 ways.

A: Dark gold, only slightly clouded. Thin layer of straw-colored foam.

S: Smells pretty alcoholic! Mostly sweet, but there is a little tartness and yeasty smell.

T: Tart and fruity, perhaps apple? Honestly, it reminds me of VeryFine Fruit Punch I drank when I was younger. Hops come through at the end-- not very floral or bitter, just a simple presence.

M: Strongly carbonated and refreshing. The alcohol is definitely present, and really warms it up.

O: Quite pleasant to drink. With such a high ABV, I had to split a bomber.

dananabanana, Nov 27, 2011
Photo of harrymel
2.17/5  rDev -38.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Batch No.1 (Oct, 2011?)

A: Light amber with three fingers of whipped whites which falls slowly to a quilt of the same. Excellent clarity and near cobweb lace.
S: Vanilla, caramel, oak, plastic, nice hints of grapefruit and honeydew melon. Interesting nose.
T: Sweet as fuck. Wow, for such a fresh BW, this is one sugary beast, and the yeast is reminiscent of a dunkelweiss yeast. Sweet and has a ton of cereal (corn pop) flavors for me.
M: Almost too thin and flat for satisfaction. Body like a pils that's been sitting for too long...
O: Not a very good attempt IMO at a fresh BW. Needs some hops for a blonde/american BW.

harrymel, Nov 26, 2011
Photo of 11millsown113
3/5  rDev -14.8%

11millsown113, Nov 26, 2011
Photo of jondeelee
3.78/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Griffin's Bow opens with a nose that is equally hoppy and malty, aromas almost visibly spilling out of the bottle in runnels. On the malty side, the brew boasts huge amounts of sugars, with brown and Candi sugars fighting for dominance against a background of toasted bread crusts, molasses, and fig. The hops bring a good grapefruit, pine, and effervescent lemon counter, obviously present in large quantities themselves. The overall effect is not immediately reminiscent of a Barleywine, but it is heady and demands to be tasted.

On the tongue, the beer opens with a split-second rush of massive sugars, which are almost immediately afterward joined by a huge level of hop bitterness that almost threatens to take over the beer. The sugars bring the aforementioned brown and Candi sugar notes to the brew, and the hops add, again, grapefruit and pine notes. A large amount of black pepper infuses the brew, causing the tongue to tingle. There is, however, a slightly off-putting plant-like taste, the oak aging having added a distinct woody character that is slightly too reminiscent of sucking on twig pith, or biting into grape stems. As well, the alcohol--coming in at a huge 11.5% ABV--is not well-hidden by even the large sugars and hops, giving the beer a distinct tequila-like shooter whang. The aftertaste is a continuation of the tequila and wood flavors, as well as a long-lingering grapefruit and pine hop bitterness. Mouthfeel is a syrupy medium-high, and carbonation is medium to medium-high, adding to the burning sensation on the tongue and soft palate.

Overall, while the nose of Griffin's Bow promised an excellent and well-balanced brew, on the tongue the beer didn't live up to the promise, ending up simply too strong in alcohol and wood-aged flavors, and tasted more like an extra-sugary liquor shot than a beer. So strong are these flavors that a full bottle of the beer--1 pt. 6 fl. oz.--is going to be a little overwhelming for this reviewer, who is going to head downstairs immediately and look for a bland snack such as unbuttered popcorn to help cleanse the palate between sips. Giving the beer a little credit, however, I suspect that a good year or two of aging will help temper these wild flavors greatly, and will likely result in a far more palatable beverage.

jondeelee, Nov 26, 2011
Photo of DoubleJ
4.2/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanksgiving beer! The bottle looks English styled, as does the label. 500 ml bottle consumed around 50-55F, on to the beer:

Orange tinted blonde in color with a large head formed on the pour, leaving a few patches of lacing. The retention is merely okay, however. The nose is a medley of little aromas; there's the toasted oak, the Nelson Sauvin hops bringing canteloupe, tangerine, and the malt bringing toasted sugar.

There is some booze, but that is to be expected at its 11.5% ABV. All the little flavors work in collaboration to make Griffin's Bow a winner. It does seem more hop and oak oriented, with the oak adding vanilla and wood to the profile and the hops creating a fruit salad of canteloupe, orange, tangerine, and sweet grapefruit. In fact, it feels more like an oak-aged Double IPA than a barleywine. Its got a full mouthfeel that has some booze, so show this one some respect.

I was surprised to see Sam Adams creating concoctions like these and putting them on sale, and almost as surprised how well this worked out.

DoubleJ, Nov 25, 2011
Photo of JMBSH
3/5  rDev -14.8%

JMBSH, Nov 25, 2011
Photo of Kbogac
3.2/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a good looking orange/bronze color. Great looking beer. Minimal foam, no lacing, light film with a ring. Smell is fruit & alcohol. Mostly pineapple. Taste is un-barleywine like. Very fruit forward. Sweet, pineapple, malt and some hops. Maybe a little alcohol at the end. Overall unusual. Not my favorite but interesting to try.

Kbogac, Nov 24, 2011
Photo of magine
3.33/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured into a nonic glass.

Pours a clear, gold tinted copper, has an off white fluffy head. Nice patchy lace remains along with a coating of lace for the head. Pretty good looking.

Brew smells very complex. Lots of good notes in here with this one. Honey, grapefruit, bready malts, toffee. Some light roasted characteristics as well. Very good complex nose.

Brew is creamy initially, some moderate carbonation on the middle. Mellow alcohol warming in the end. Dryness coats the tongue in the finish. Very much an oak aged beer here, lots of oaked flavor and feel in that alcohol finish. Damn near a reminder of scotch in the finish. Good oil in the hops, grapefruit and honey flavors are very forward. There is a nice mellow maltiness to this one as well. A bit confusing palate here; too much sweet honey and fruit hops. Maybe even vanilla and a hint of caramel malts in here as well, either way a bit to sweet in malt and hops. The results is an almost overly sweet alcohol flavor. Nice mouthfeel here though. This is an unusual brew, in which I am happy they are experimenting. But in reality this one misses out on me craving another sip.

An ok attempt, but flavors are a bit much, if not even to all over the place. Pretty good to try once, but hard to recommend.

magine, Nov 24, 2011
Griffin's Bow from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
80 out of 100 based on 629 ratings.