Three Judges Barleywine - New England Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Three Judges BarleywineThree Judges Barleywine

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
83
good

51 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 51
Reviews: 41
rAvg: 3.67
pDev: 15.8%
Wants: 11
Gots: 5 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
New England Brewing Co. visit their website
Connecticut, United States

Style | ABV
English Barleywine |  11.00% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 03-12-2005

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
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Ratings: 51 | Reviews: 41
Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.32/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2004 release poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a coppery brown color, with no head and no lace.

S: The aroma contains brown sugar, molasses, caramelized malts, some fruit and a faint touch of hops.

T: The taste starts with sweet flavors of brown sugar dark fruit, molasses and bourbon. Then a hearty malt character comes in along with a slight alcohol sting. There is very little hops presence left after 8 years as you would expect. There is still a bit of balance and some smokiness is in the background. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and a little crisp, medium body, carbonation is completely gone despite a thread-taped and wax-sealed cap, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, strong kick, good representation of style, this beer is obviously way past its which is quite regrettable. I’m betting this was a pretty good beer either fresh or at about 2-3 years old.

Photo of jlindros
3.85/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Huge thanks to Francois for letting my crack this one. 2004 vintage.

No head, crystal clear reddish copper color.

Nose sweet malts, caramel, candy, toffee, light booze, fruits apple pear etc, hint if brandy soaked golden raisins, nice reddish malts.

Taste sweet reddish malts, caramel, light metallic copper malts, toffee, candied apple, pear, brandy soaked golden raisins and apricots, stone warning tingly booze, etc. finish is hot with booze, candy apple, fruits, caramel sweeteners, reddish malts all lingering.

Mouth is fuller bodied, slight syrupy, hot booze, no carb.

Overall nice, well done aged barleywine, nice malts and sweeteners, no carb hurts a little, hot booze, tasty.

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

my BeerAdvocate review #1500! Thanks to Stakem for Sharing this growler -poured into a snifter.

A clear copper with no head or legs some head when poured, but vanished immediately. The smell is very candy-like at first with smell of nuts and slight woody accent w/ subtle fruit tinges and light caramel w/ mild alcohol until warm w/ mild spice. The feel is pretty intense with high gravity evident in the dense body and concentrated sugar w/ mild burn in the back of the throat. The sweetness level is good and is balanced by an overal dry warming finish.

The flavor is decent with a gentle flavor of caramel in the big wide barleywine flavor profile -lots of concentrated sugar w/a gentle dry slightly peppery element and slight toasted malt accent w/ a moderate amount of alcohol taste in the finish. What a tasty barleywine, I consider it a solid offering overall. I think it might even continue to mellow with age, but it is potent and still very drinkable for the high abv. I enjoyed the malt quality in the taste.

Photo of feloniousmonk
3.6/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Once the annoying red wax is cut away, I'm ready to open this bottle and imbibe...that Herculean task has been completed and I'm anxious to pour my reward:
Murky deep crimson, little head.
Big booze dominates the nose, associations include cognac, cherries, whiskey, port wine...with all that in there, it feels a trifle flat, though, and uninspired...we'll see how it tastes.
Mad, bad, and on the attack when it hits the palate. Huge and on the loose. Just body-slams the tongue...thick, twisted, and over-arching in alcohol.
11%? That feels about right, but I've had others around the same that didn't bark so loudly, at least, not so quickly out of the starting gate.
Full in body, deep, fruity flavor, sweetness from malt matched by alcoholic heat...bright and occasionally stinging, thick and treacly in the mouth...
nice, but lacks a certain character, just misses the mark somehow...however, the label informs me that it can be aged for 20 years, give or take, and perhaps that was my mistake?
not bad, but the booze is too big, and the flavor doesn't match it well...a nice nightcap, though, for evening's end.

Photo of stakem
3.59/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Knifestyles for the trade on this unique growler. I cant really think of a time when opening up a 2 liter growler of 11% barleywine from 2006 is a good idea but what the hell. I had a bunch of BA's over for a bottle share on Saturday and that was about as good of a time as any to finally crack this open.

Poured from a growler into a snifter, it appears a deep clear color of brownish burnt mahogany with reddish highlights. When held to the light it displays deep clear ruby coloration and an orange tint around the edges. A vigorous pour years only a few bubbles atop the brew, hardly anything I would consider a formation of head.

The aroma of this brew is sweet and malty with a scent that is very sherry-like. The deep sweetness reveals layers of alcohol laden fruit like raisins, dates, prunes. Lots of caramelized sugars with a light toasted appeal. There is a light indication of oxidation present that leads the way towards a faint cardboard characteristic but not quite because the alcohol comes through to wipe anyway any off characteristics to the nose.

The taste of this brew includes a lightly musty grain characteristic that again brings me back to a characteristic of cardboard-like oxidation. There is a big and boozy appeal to this brew tasting like dark fruits similar to raisins or prunes with a modest backing bitterness that lingers inside the mouth with a faint herbal flavor that pales in comparison to the high octane kick of the alcohol. The aftertaste is somewhat nutty reminding me of chestnuts. More sips reveal a medicinal quality that just never quite comes together for me.

This is a full bodied brew with a very low level of carbonation. It was enjoyable and complex if you took the time to enjoy it without concentrating too much on the negative aspects. The alcohol inclusion in this brew is nearly numbing on the tongue and quite evaporative, it could have easily lasted much longer if aged and melded together to be an ever better brew if the oxidation was not present. A little bit of carbonation would have gone a long way in this offering, just the slightest bit would have been quite welcomed. Regardless, I never had the chance to get a bottle of this, so I was very excited to get to try this from one of the last remaining kegs of this brew. Unfortunately it is gone now except for those who have bottles remaining. I hope Rob and Matt seriously consider revisiting this brew because it has potential.

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.54/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

2004 bottling, Sampled January 2006
Pours a lightly hazy, rich amber-red hued color. It has barely a wisp of a head to it, mainly just a couple of large bubbles. The aroma is incredibly rich, interestingly enough it already has some aged characteristics to it; I get notes of sherry, rich caramel malt, prunes and raisins as well. The aroma really is rich and meaty with a thick malty sweetness to it that screams that this beer better be quite satiating and satisfying.

The beer is quite sweet up front, there is no real carbonation and this keeps the beer relatively light. The finish is quite interesting; hints of roasted malt, caramel, sweet sherry, and even some hints of port. I think that the lack of carbonation ultimately hurts this beer; the extra carbonation would add sum much needed body to this beer, which would help balance the sweetness. The finish really reminds me of coffee, it is not strong, but comes on in the finish and lingers. The alcohol is actually quite well hidden though, but its effects are definitely not. In the end, this beer is just lacking a richness and a body that would make the flavors in this beer really shine. With more body this would be a stellar beer.

Photo of jdhilt
3.23/5  rDev -12%
look: 1 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Straight up pour gets a one finger head that instantly fades to nothing - NO carbonation, medium bodied. Ugly cloudy amber color. Raisin nose. Starts sweet and raisiny, finish is sweet alcoholic. Different from any barleywine I have had; once you get past the cap - who was the sadist that put wax and nylon tape on this - it ain't gonna explode?! $5.99 for a 12oz bottle (2004) from Julio's Liquors Westborough, Ma.

Photo of ppoitras
2.47/5  rDev -32.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

12oz bottle purchased as a single from Julio's, Marlboro, MA. 2004 bottling.

Poured into a Rapscallion glass, formed as much of a head as apple juice ever does, and resembles its color as well, albeit a bit darker. No head, no lacing, no fun. Aroma is syrupy malts, alcohol, with tinges of vanilla and dark fruitiness. Taste is more like a sweet yet bitter wine than a beer. Mouthfeel and drinkability are just not what I want in a beer, even a barleywine. Sorry this one took up space in my fridge this long.

Photo of Viggo
2.19/5  rDev -40.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

12 oz bottle, 2004 vintage. Got this in a LIF a long time ago and don't recall who I got it from. But thanks!

Pours a clear dark reddish orange, neat colour, absolutely no head and no lacing, looks dead flat. Not much else to say about it.

Smell is neat, very sweet and malty, a ton of fruit character, alcohol, raisin and figs, caramel, some brown sugar, some wood, lightly nutty, some whiskey notes, pretty neat.

Taste is not so good, very harsh and boozy, this kind of tastes like nutty vodka, some brown sugar and caramel sweetness, raisins, honey dates, figs, more alcohol, not much flavour besides alcohol.

Mouthfeel is full bodied, syrupy, with almost no carbonation. Wow, this tastes like nutty vodka, all booze and burns like a shot of liquor going down.

Photo of dirtylou
3.66/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2004 vintage, red waxx, lost abbey glass

9 years has removed any trace of carbonation that may have existed - a still ruby body, placid as an alpine lake. Smells of rich caramel, booze, sweet malts. Very sweet, lush caramel, boozy, old. Held up pretty well for a 2004 release - all thats left is the malt and the booze - this will put hair on your chest

Photo of Durge
4.74/5  rDev +29.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A rare brew shared by brewmaster Rubby, this 2002 vintage barleywine has a thick, cloudy tea color, milky and swimming with substance. There is no evidence of a head or lacing but I imagine that can be largely attributed to its age. As if to make up for the missing bubblage, the aroma brings huge caramel bourbon, chocolate smoke, heavy creamy malt and tobacco. The flavor is boozy bourbon blended deliciously with chocolate milk and toffee peat. Wow. Both the smell and flavor are just lovely. It feels pretty syrupy with heavy body that is not far past mid-bodied. This is clearly not to be sessioned but just a pure treat to smell and sip. Wish there were more of these on the shelf, and I expect it does continue to improve with age as the label proclaims. Thank you Rubby!

Photo of woosterbill
4.09/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Growler of the '04 vintage into a Duvel tulip.

A: Hazy dark orange-brown body with only a slight ring of off-white bubbles. Pretty flat, but a nice color. Not bad for a growler of a vintage barleywine.

S: Rich, sweet aroma of figs, candied dates, and prunes,backed up by deep toasted, nutty malt. Plenty of alcohol warmth, but entirely in a smooth, warming manner. Great smelling beer.

T: Big malty richness. Nutty complexity reigns supreme, with sherry notes backing everything up. The finish is hugely complex, with notes of tobacco, wood, and spicy grains. Crazy. Fruity, nutty, boozy, sweet, and delicious.

M: Medium to full body with very, very low carbonation. Almost flat, but not too bad.

D: For 11 percent, this isn't really that hard to drink. I managed to have three glasses (probably half the growler), and while it gave me a serious buzz I was never struggling to finish it.

Notes: Huge thanks to Matt for hooking me up with a growler of this potentially last keg of 04 in the world. This is a seriously underrated beer, at least as far as my experiences with draft versions go.

Cheers!

Photo of CTJman
4.1/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Can I say port wine

Photo of hopdog
3.32/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz, red waxed bottle, acquired in trade with jjpm74 (thanks!). 2004 Vintage. Damn that wax was a pain in the ass to get off. If it wasn't for that piece of tape under the wax, I may have never gotten it off! And how do you think I get rewarded by finally popping the cap? You guessed it, I get sprayed with gushing that spewed out of this bottle.

****Gusher Alert****

Poured a deeper amberish/orangish color with a huge sized off white head. Cloudy. Aromas of caramel, toffee, cherries and some other dark fruits, and sherry. Tastes of caramel, toffee, the same lighter dark fruitiness, alcohol, and sherry. Heavier alcohol burn. Man was this one hot.

Photo of Boto
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle, 2004 vintage: This beer didn’t want to be drunk. I have never had so much trouble geting a wax seal off the top of a bottle as I did this one. When I finally got it open, there was no pffft at all when the cap came off. It poured into the glass with absolutely no carbonation or head. The color was a VERY murky mahogany color. I expected it to be a bit more pungent, but the aroma was a bit subdued. I got notes of caramel, raisins and brown sugar. It is a bit syrupy on the tongue. The taste is good. A twinge of alcohol to it. The flavors have really blended well together. It is complex, but the flavors don’t really stand out. I can detect some fruitiness, chocolate, caramel and many others are in there as well. Not bad at all.

Photo of sulldaddy
3.84/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I am sampling this beer at room temperature in a snifter.
The beer pours a clear chestnut color with ruby highlights. Agressive pour amounts to frothy bubbles that fade immediately to nothing.
Aroma is pretty intense with red grapes, berries, toffee and brown sugar. I also get hot alcohol and a hint of roasted malt scent. Didnt expect that last part.
First sip reveals a thick almost syrupy body with literally no carbonation.
Flavor is big and sweet up front with raisins and red grape and some toffee. These flavors give way to a hot alcohol finish that warms my throat and belly and leaves a bit of a peppery flavor in my mouth. The heat hinders the drinkability as 2 of these in a nite would be rough. But overall I dig the brew.
This is one hell of a sipping beer and probably a palate killer as well. I enjoy the beer, but wonder about the lack of carbonation and will be glad to re review an aged sample in a few years.
If you like big brews you should try this one for sure!

Photo of kmpitz2
3.58/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thsi comes to me through sulldaddy and clvand0. Thanks guys. It pours a murkey brown color without any head at all. The nose is big in alcohol, with a spiced raisiney and brown sugar sweetness. A little more alcohol punch for me in the nose. The flavor is also a bit strong in the alcohol. Behind it is a molasses covered raisin, with a slight peppery spice from the alcohol. This is not bad. I like it. The feel is thick and slightly syrupy, with no carbonation. The apparent alcohol keeps this from being highly drinkable. Overall, a very respectable beer.

Photo of grub
2.07/5  rDev -43.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Viggo brought this one over. thanks eric!

12oz bottle topped with red wax. not just any red wax, a coating so thick and plastic-like that it took me about 10 minutes to chip my way into it. then i found a piece of string-reinforced tape going up over the cap. what a pain. 2004 vintage, sampled april 3/2010.

pours crystal clear deep dark orange, nearly red until held to the light. no sign of head or carbonation. no lace.

aroma is ok. hot alcohol, including some nail-polish remover higher alcohols. caramel and toffee. lightly toasted whole wheat bread. paint. bit of dark fruit.

taste is not good. boozy and hot, burning on the way down. smoke. sweet caramel and toffee. bit of dark fruit. toasted whole wheat bread. a minute after my first sip and it's still burning its way down to my stomach. less of the higher alcohols than i got in the aroma, but they're still there.

mouthfeel is ok. big body and no carbonation.

drinkability is not good. super boozy, tasting more like a shot of cheap vodka than an 11% beer - especially not one with nearly 6 years of aging on it. sticky sweetness. no carbonation. a mess now and i can't imagine it would have been any better fresh.

Photo of Crosling
3.7/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Cloudy brown/orange color. Rich, malt driven aroma, with hints of caramel and toffee, as well as a hint of mint and sherry. The flavor reveals a nice, balanced malt character, with caramel, toasted malt flavors and heavy hints of fruits and sherry. Fairly thin body. A nice beer overall.

Photo of clvand0
3.45/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Special thanks to sulldaddy for sending this one my way. This one pours a cloudy brown with no head and it doesn't appear to have much carbonation (if any). The aroma has a raisin and bread character with a lot of alcohol pushing through. The flavor is much the same as the aroma - lots of alcohol with a raisin flavor. The body is right where it should be, but the drinkability suffers for the overly apparent alcohol. Still, pretty tasty.

Photo of HopStoopid120
4.17/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Prime 16 in New Haven, CT, Jan. 6 & 7, 2010, 2005 vintage, served in a snifter.

The beer is a murky brown, with noticable sediment throughout the glass. Also one of the first things I noticed were the huge legs, and the stillness... An odd but intriguing looking brew.

When taking the first sniff, raisins (maybe even rum soaked) just jump right out off the glass. A caramel maltiness mixed with licorice and a whole lot of booze are also very prominent.

This beer is somehow insanely hot, especially for being 5 years old. Everything I got in the nose came through in the taste, with a bit more sweetness evident. A bit of cherry even, also there were some slight leathery and tobacco flavors floating around in there. As it warms some of the raisins die off the malt does more of its job, become better and better with every sip.

No carbonation to be found here. Completely flat, but that doesn't hurt this beer terribly. On the thicker side of medium, slmost a little chewy at times. The alcohol tickles and tingles your mouth the entire time you sit with the glass.

This is not the most drinkable thing I've ever come across. Quite high ABV over here, I am told by of the brewers at NEB that this particular keg was nearly 13%, and you tast and feel the 13%. A little carbonation might've helped a little, but what are you to expect from a five year old barleywine.

All in all, I am thrilled I finally had a chance to try 3 Judges (actually two nights in a row), and would be happy to drink it again.

Photo of IntriqKen
3.13/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pretty golden dark amber in the glass but with no head to speak of at all.

Aroma is pretty typical barleywine caramel sweet malts with only a hint of citrus hops...it could definitely use more of those.

Taste is very sweet caramel and brown sugar with some toastiness to the malts. Some of the sugars seem to fight with the hops creating a bit of an unpleasant clash. Citrus hop finish is where it should be but isn't quite fresh enough.

Not terrible...but not one of the greats.

Photo of rajendra82
3.2/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This 12 oz. bottle of 2004 vintage beer received from Counselor as part of the Blue and Gray BIF was covered with an attractive but challenging red wax neck and top coating. After cutting that away, and popping the underlying cap, I poured it out in an 16 oz. wine glass. The body looked cloudy copper-amber and lacked any carbonation whatsoever. Needless to say there was no head to speak of. The smell was very hot with red cherries, figs, and black pepper aromas riding alcohol fumes. The hops were also a bit evident with their earthy spicy bouquet.

The taste was sweet and spicy, with every bit of the 11% alcohol present at the start of each sip. The flavor was not overly complex despite the massive grain bill. The dark skinned dry fruits were supplemented by a dose of pepper, but once the alcohol heat came though, everything else faded.

The beer felt thick and sticky on the palette, and the aftertaste was quite peppery with a hit of hop bitterness. The after-aftertaste was like swallowing burning embers.

Quite young at the time of consumption, I believe the statement on the label about this beer improving with age for up to 20 years. I’d love to keep some more in the cellar if they ever get local distribution here.

Photo of AlexJ
3.78/5  rDev +3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Hazed apple cider brown pour produces a thin patch of khaki froth that quickly disappears without a trace. Absolutely lifeless looking beer.

Aroma is massively malty, filled with notes of caramel, molasses, buttery toffee, toasted bread, honey, ripe fruit, and a whisky-like burn of alcohol.

Flavor is certainly malt forward, with creamy caramel, scorched sugar, praelines, coconut, golden raisins, hints of oaky vanilla, and a tough of citrussy hops in the finish. Has a very "old-world" type of character to it. Alcohol nip is smooth and boozey, warming all thge way to the gullet.

Body is medium, but feels thinner due to the lack of carbonation. Creamy and slick feel, with ultra, mega, mega fine carbonation that tickles the tongue. To bad the mouthfeel is so weak because the flavor and nose are both great.

Photo of erosier
3.59/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

L: Pours a very cloudy brown color with hints of purple in it. There is almost no head, but a nice off-white colored ring around the edge and laces some down the glass as you drink it.
S: Smell is of sweet roasted and caramelized malts, vinous fruits, some licorice aromas, and a bit of booze at the end.
T: A very sweet roasted and caramelized malty base followed by a big vinous fruit flavor that really screams Barleywine. The end of the taste is a little alcoholic and is bit hot at the end, but it is a pretty good example of a barleywine for sure.
M: Very warming, a bit hot, the right amount of carbonation for this style, overall not too bad.
D: OK drinkability, it is a very big beer and you can tell how potent it is, this one was pretty good.

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Three Judges Barleywine from New England Brewing Co.
83 out of 100 based on 51 ratings.