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Alaskan Barley Wine (Pilot Series) - Alaskan Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Alaskan Barley Wine (Pilot Series)Alaskan Barley Wine (Pilot Series)

Educational use only; do not reuse.

293 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 293
Hads: 605
Avg: 4.12
pDev: 13.59%
Wants: 145
Gots: 160 | FT: 12
Brewed by:
Alaskan Brewing Co. visit their website
Alaska, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  10.70% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: John_M on 03-18-2007

Alaskan Barley Wine is a full bodied ale, deep mahogany in color and brewed with an array of complementing malts to achieve its high original gravity. Multiple hop additions in the boil and dry hopping during fermentation provide contrast to the big malt character resulting in the smooth balance that distinguishes this specialty brew. Like many fine wines, Alaskan Barley Wine may be aged in the bottle and gains deeper malt complexity and smoothness over time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Alaskan Barley Wine (Pilot Series) Alström Bros
Reviews: 293 | Hads: 605
Photo of tut2528
3.86/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2011 Vintage
thanks to fatbeats18 for this one! I greatly appreciate it man!

A: pours a deep ruby red with a nice fingers worth of thick bubbly, off-white head formation. lacing is very nice and when held up to the light the ruby color is pure beauty

S: toffee, brown sugar, dark fruits (raisins, some figs), wet hops, slight alcohol note, mild citrus.

T: sweet molasses and toffee, brown sugar, alcohol soaked dark fruits, with just a slight hint of hops to create some dryness. But this dryness is immediately blasted away by a huge creamy finish which fits with this brew. In fact, it saves this brew in regards to its balance. I even get a slight flat root beer taste that comes through right before the finish.

M: its medium bodied, but it also has a lightness too it and it goes down rather quick. Minimal carbonation. Unfortunately, it doesnt leave much on the palate as far as taste goes. There is a slight hop bitterness but I feel that I'm reaching for it.

O: I've been looking to try this one out for a while, and glad to finally have had it. Its a nice Barleywine, but it doesn't do much to differentiate itself from other Barleywines. In fact, as I keep drinking this, I find this one resembling Moylans (just not as hop forward, and just a bit more balanced)

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Photo of sukwonee
4.08/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 Vintage.

A: reddish dark brown body with half a finger head.

S: surprisingly I smell piney hops. Dark fruits, caramel, orange zest, alcohol.

T: It really follows the nose. Surprisingly hops are still there. also booziness as well. I had a chance to try this beer fresh last year and I didn't enjoy it much. so i would say it aged well. to add further, i think it could benefit from a few more years.

M: Carbonation is still good. Chewy syrupy thick. slight alcohol burn

O: It's quite good. Like most aged barley wines, this one was quite sweet but it still had some hop bite and heat from alcohol.

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Photo of tobelerone
4.2/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 vintage.

Nice English barleywine, maybe not the top of the heap in terms of complexity, but still quite enjoyable. Lightly hazed burnt orange color, modest cream colored head that settles slowly to a thin band on top and leaves decent lacing. Straightforward aroma of honey, caramel, toffee, faint booze, dark fruits, toasted bread.

Flavor follows nose; sweet but not cloying; honey and toffee, caramel, big bready malt character that’s highly satisfying; distant traces of faded citrus hops lending the slightest bitterness; light fruity notes, mellow but present alcohol. Medium-full body, medium carbonation, nicely smooth and somewhat sticky feel. Made for an excellent night-cap on a cold and rainy winter’s evening.

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Photo of OBeerMeGreatOne
4.28/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I just got my hands on a 2010 Vintage bottle, yee, two years on this beast!

Pours out almost plum with some amber highlights. Started with a half inch of head, dots of lace hang on to the end.

The smell is fruity and full of boozy warmth. Some pine is there followed by a cherry finish. Not bad.

Caramel and fruit start the taste, mild pine and grassy hops follow. I taste a bit of vanilla and minerals as well. The boozy heat shows up around the finish and lingers in the aftertaste. Warm, but not overwhelming. It has a nice medium body, not too syrupy.

A great aged Barley Wine. I've had it fresh but certainly prefer a year or two in the cellar. Pick one up if you haven't.

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Photo of Treebs
4.38/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle served in a FW tulip. 2011 vintage. Big thanks to mfavoino for sending this to me a while back.

A: Pours a very dark ruby color with a light khaki head forming on the pour. It dissipates to thick ringing leaving behind tons of sticky lace. Beautiful looking beer.

S: There's a lot going on here. Some bitter green hops are still present up front with an underlying fig scent with some caramel malts. Brown sugar and raisins as well. Malty sweetness. There is a little alcohol present in the nose.

T: Some bitter hops and sweet caramel and biscuit malts. Raisins and toffee with a definite grilled fig fruitiness. As it warms there are some leathery notes that come out. A little booze as well. The finish is sweet.

M: Medium bodied with a little chew to it. Medium low carbonation with a slick and oily mouthfeel.

O: Very delicious barleywine that has aged nicely. Still a little hop bite to it from the dry hopping, but the dark fruit and malts really steal the show. Wish I had another to age...

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Photo of Chris_Cali_2o9
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 Vintage
Beer Release: January 2011

Poured from a bomber to a sam adams cup

A- Deep brown body (second glass was full of floaty goodness) 2" fluffy khaki head

S- Banana, bubblegum, grapes, raisins, leather, alchohol twang

T- Raisins, grapes, burnt sugar, apple cider, vanilla, toffee, booze, bitter after taste

M- Oily, low carbonation

O- This is my first vintage brew! The first thing that hit me as i poored it into my glass was banana/bubblegum. As i searched deeper, i found this beer to be complex and full of layers. A variety of awesome dark fruits, leather, vanilla, apple cider, and warming booze, that had me checking the bottle to make sure it's not BA (...it's not.) As it warms, sweet malts become more apparent and apple cider begins to take over for the dark fruits. Hop presence is really only apparent in burps, but you get a faint grapefruit bitterness only after the beer has warmed to almost room temp, I'm glad i waited to review this until after the second glass, it's full of glorious floaties and so much more complex flavors have shown themselves, allowing me to write a full review. My local liquor store still has about 8 bottles of this and i plan on grabbing atleast 2 more to see how this brew turns out 1-2 years from now.

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Photo of axeman9182
4.02/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2011 vintage courtesy of mtrutlin. It was allowed to warm a bit before being poured into my Bruery tulip.

Alaskan Barleywine pours a very deep brown, with a decent amount of ruby highlights. Just under two fingers of light tan foam rise up and crown the beer. Head retention is decent, and there's just a little bit of lacing. The nose is nice, with aromas of caramel, fruity esters, and grapefruit all swimming out of the glass. The malt presence that first greets me with each sip is a well defined toffee flavor. Some dried figs and apricots swim through mid palate. The finish features a potent hop bite and a dank, grapefruit peel hoppiness. The hops are holding up fairly well so far, keeping this firmly on the American, rather than English half of the barleywine spectrum. The body, while sturdy, isn't as full and syrupy as some others. While part of me likes that in a barleywine, this does help a lot with drinkability. Carbonation is suitably understated. Alaskan Barleywine is drinking really nicely right now. I think it may be heading towards an awkward phase as it transitions from hop forward to malt forward, but I just find myself wishing I had another bottle to see what this brew's like after it has finished that transition.

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Photo of billab914
4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2008 vintage poured from a 22oz bottle into my CBS snifter. It poured a darker brown color with a thin, sticky head to it. Decent amount of lacing on the glass for the small amount of head though. Nice looking color for the style as well.

The aroma shows some very nice and rich malty flavors to it. Dark fruits with some notes of cherry come out along with some rich caramel and toffee flavors. I get a touch of chocolate to it as well. I get some residual resiny hop bitterness, but most of the hop flavors have faded. Really nice aroma to it overall for the style.

The taste follows with more of the dark cherry fruits to it throughout. The finish is where more of the caramel and slight chocolate come out. Enough hop bitterness is there to help give it some balance but the hop flavors have pretty much faded at this point. It really comes together well and I think it aged wonderfully.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side with carbonation being a little below average. Overall, it was a really good beer. It had a lot of rich and bold flavors to it but managed to stay pretty well balanced for the style. I really liked the way it aged as well. Great beer to sip on this evening.

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Photo of allouez86
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 Vintage poured into my Duvel chalice.

Dark amber in color, as expected. Next to no head, just a very very small white ring around the top of my pour.

Smell is sweet caramel, definitely getting some strong aroma hops. Very slight hint of chocolate as well.

Being probably 3/4 of a year old, the hops are definitely present, though not quite as much as they were when this batch was fresh. Getting some brown sugar on the tongue, slightly less caramel and a good sweetness that comes with this style.

Mouthfeel is still a bit thick and the carbonation is there despite next to no head retention. This is one of my favorite American barley wines. Great beer for the price and relatively easy to find in abundance. Happy that I have three more 2011s to age for years to come.

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Photo of yamar68
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a murky mahogany/copper with a brief finger of pale khaki head. Great lacing and some noticeable legs.

Lots of slightly bitter toffee, very clean - some leather and fresh wood, dark overripe fruits, just a touch of heat from the booze right at the tail end.

All kinds of sweet flavors that remain reserved and in balance with one another and the rest of the beer - spoiled vanilla, toffee, a faint suggestion of rye, a bit of brown sugar on the finish, some maple notes, great stuff.

Overall, what can I say? It's a great barley wine. I can't help but wonder about its potential in a barrel.

If you're on the fence, don't be. Give it a shot.

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Photo of bamadog
4.57/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've been dying to crack into this one - review is from notes taken on 9/6/2012 and poured from the bottle (2010 vintage) to a snifter.

Appearance: Pour is a solid mahogany color with some deep caramel brown notes; starts with a fair 1/4 finger light tan head that fades quickly to a thick ring around the surface and a thin island of skim; body is dark, pretty murky so that it's fairly difficult too far into it; tiny strands of carbonation are present near the sides; a few spots and random swaths of lacing stick around.

Smell: Nice citric hop notes -- some grapefruit, perhaps orange peel; some nice big caramel maltiness is in there too bringing about a nice touch of sweetness -- reminiscent of a candied orange when it blends with those hops; touch of booziness but it seems pretty well blended.

Taste: Fantastic -- nice bitterness that's big and not entirely tamed by those big malts, but fairly well balanced by them; flavors match the scent profile to a T, but the only difference is the alcohol has a much more pronounced presence here, but at nearly 11%, that should expected, and welcome.

Mouthfeel: Between medium and heavy in terms of weight; a nice, thick and sticky coating is left all over the palate; carbonation is still plenty strong and brings life to the body but allows it to be smooth; tingling on the roof of the mouth from the vaporous alcohol, and it also leaves the belly a little warm.

Overall: I would be happy to have this in my fridge every damn night. Great hop presence keeps this one on the American side of the pond when it comes to the Barleywines, but it's not too over the top and has a pretty good overall balance. Bit of a sipper with the big body and ABV, but I'm not going to have any problem polishing it off on my own, and I might be hesitant to share such an awesome offering.

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Photo of sommersb
4.64/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tasted On: 08-27-2012
Freshness: 2011 Vintage
Packaging: 22 oz. brown bottle, pry-cap
Glassware: Snifter
Purchased: Single from Colorado Liquor Mart, Denver

Pours a deep mahogany brown, with a tan head of a finger or so. Features an OK amount of lacing and retention. Fantastic, rich aromas are both malty and hoppy, with pine, oak and sweet dark fruits.

Tastes strong and flavorful, well-balanced between the malty sweetness and bitterness of the hops. Seems less hoppy than other American barley-wines I've had, which is a plus in my book. This might be due to the fact it was bottled in January of 2011 according to the Alaskan website. Nice alcohol warming is present as well.

Body is thick and full, with medium to high carbonation levels. Smooth mouthfeel, with a rich finish that's both sweet and bitter. Seems to improve as it comes up to room temps.

Overall an exceptional barleywine -- one of my favorites in the style and highly recommended in my book.

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Photo of 51mmz0rz
4.45/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a generic tulip. 2011 edition, no specific date, but I don't care for this style.

A: Dense light tan head atop an opaque (very) dark brown body. Retention is pretty good and lacing is also very nice.

S: Immediately hit with the wafting smells of syrup aromas from the malt. Down closer I get some hop aroma along with darker crystal malts.

T: Sweetness hits up front followed by dark fruit flavors. Hot alcohol sweeps in with bitterness to clear it out. Finish is somewhat yeast maybe. Packs a punch.

M: Impressed with the mouthfeel for the style. Medium carbonation, thick body, finish is pretty dry all things considered.

O: Overall a very good barelywine, drinkable right when I bought it. Not over hopped, well balanced, done right.

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Photo of hardy008
4.63/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Clear dark brown with a 3 finger beige head with good retention and lacing. Looks sensational. Smells very nice with caramel, raisins, and dates.

Tastes much the same as it smells. Caramel, raisins, dates, cherries, and a little citrus hop bitterness, which adds nice balance to the sweet flavor.

Medium to full bodied with soft carbonation. The alcohol is well hidden, especially for 10.70 % abv. This is a very underrated Barleywine in my opinion. One of the best I have had.

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Photo of mactrail
3.33/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not much of a head but quite spritzy on the tongue to start. Dark ruby brown color in the Duvel tulip. Caramel in the nose with some spicy hops.

Big flavor and richness. Full and heavy mouthfeel. Lots of sweet malt. Fruity with a range of plums and burnt raisin toast. Plenty of roasted malt with a dark caramel taste. Hoppy notes assert with a moderately bitter aftertaste. Warming and hot after some sipping.

Overall, the flavor is a little flat and dull, but it's quite a mouthful. Label says it's the 2011 vintage in the 22 oz bottle.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle dated 2009

Pours a hazy amber to reddish color, with a light tan head. In the aroma, small fruit presence of dark fruits, raisins, and figs. In the taste, dry dark fruitiness of raisin, with a note of like tobacco in the end. A smooth and medium to bigger bodied mouthfeel with a dry raisin and small alcohol in the aftertaste. Quite smooth, dark fruits, and a small alcohol presence.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.47/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Alaskan Barleywine, 10.7% ABV. Alaskan Brewing, Juneau, Alaska.

Dense, opaque, dark plum/ magenta hue, off-white cappucino-like head, leaving lace.

Aroma: Beautiful. Perfect. Lush, rich malt, overtones of dark fruit, cherries, blackberries, ripe plum. Cognac and port wine. Dark and dense, sweet and strong. Right on.

Taste: more of that and then some. Bursting at the seams and spilling over with malty goodness, oozing rich fruit and a tidy hop buzz. Plenty of alcohol phenols brimming over. There's some balance, but plenty of bombast, which is just want I look for in a barley-wine. Starts out big and burly, plump with deep dark fruit, then mellows out, but never without a fierce alcoholic kick. Boom, boom, boom, it comes a knocking'.

This one I call yum. One of the better put-together barleywines I've had in a while. Color me impressed.

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Photo of jjanega08
3.08/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2011 Vintage

A= Pours a rich amber color with a half finger tannish cap on top with some decent retention and spotty lacing on the glass.

S= Nice mix of hops and sweet malt. A little quieter than I like in a barleywine. It almost has a woody character despite not having wood in it I think. Smells like something familiar but I can't put my finger on it.

T= The taste is again a little quiet for my liking in a barleywine. The light flavor and lack of alcohol flavor makes this a dangerous drinker for sure. There is sort of a solid malt hop mix throughout the drink without too much of a staged drink. The sweet malts definitally take the hops over and seems to be a bit overly sweet for an American BW but too hoppy to be a true English BW.

M= Lightly carbonated with a solid weight.

O= I was a little dissapointed with this beer. Not that it's bad but it just wasn't what I thought it would be with all the talk about it. Alaskan has yet to really impress me outside of their smoked porter. This seems to me like an average barleywine with dangerous drinkablility. It just doesn't have the depth or complexity that I expect when I hear barleywine. A solid drink and worth trying but I won't be putting too many side for later.

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Photo of JackieTH
4.41/5  rDev +7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage.

Pours a clear, dark cola brown with an inch of khaki foam that persists with loads of lace. Very inviting appearance. Smells are floral, fruit, tropical elements, caramel malt. Taste vanilla, fruits including plums, dark cherries, blood oranges; toffee malt, with a slightly resin/earthy hop that keeps it all tied together. Mouthfeel is luxurious with a medium-heavy body that's perfectly carbonated. Very, very nice. Overall, an excellent big barleywine and the best crafted beer I've had from this brewer, hands down.

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Photo of Dope
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage.

A: Pours a dark brown with a good sized dense tan head. Fades at a medium pace, leaving splatters of lacing everywhere.

S: Loads of caramel, vanilla, brown sugar and some toffee too. Some nice floral aroma as well.

T: Again, loads of caramel throughout. Some bread and earth in the middle with a brief hit of alcohol. A tiny bit of nuttiness along with stronger toffee in the finish and aftertaste. Some hops are notable, I get some pine bitterness in the lingering aftertaste especially. Sometimes get a brief hint of dark fruits in the middle as well, might just be the spicy alcohol esters.

M: Fairly heavy but smooth and clean.

O: Definitely a fresh american barleywine. Fairly notable hop taste and bitterness as well as some booze in the nose and in the middle of the taste. It's quite good, lots of complexity with a good balance of flavors to boot. I enjoyed it a lot. I think with a few years on it it could be even better.

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Photo of corby112
3.55/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

09 vintage generously shared by shadowane. Thanks again Rich!

Pours a dark ruby/plum color with mahogany edges and one finger off white head that quickly settles into a thin ring.   Spotty lacing left behind.

Musty, earthy aroma with leathery malt, spicy rye, toffee, caramel and dark fruit.   Also picking up some subtle piney hops.

Medium bodied and still surprisingly hoppy with resinous, bitter and dry piny hops.  This is countered by a prominent earthy malt character. Leathery and slightly boozy with caramel, toffee and faint dark fruit notes.  Malt becomes more prominent as it warns.  Waves of sweet booze come and go and even though the abv is relatively well masked,  I get a strong ethanol rush in the finish.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.13/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5


Nice Barleywine. Good tones of sweet malts that aren't overdoing it. Does seem a little fresh and could use some age to mellow out the slight hot tone (and I do say slight). But I feel like that is applicable to so many barleywines since they are always released so soon after brewing. Easy to drink. I like it.

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Photo of Scotchboy
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008-vintage bomber poured into a Jackie O's tulip.

A: Murky golden brown with hints of amber and a surprisingly resilient light khaki head that leaves some lacing...definite alcohol feet on the glass.

S: Tons of caramel, sugary bready notes, berries, dates, figs, miles and miles of malt.

T: Sugary and almost syrupy malt...toffee and caramel obviously, with a definite presence of some type of berry...no hop presence at all, this baby tastes just like an English-style BW now...a bit of alcohol burn.

MF: Light bitterness...fuller 'syrupy' mouthfeel, low carbonation, light alcohol burn.

O: Couldn't drink a lot of this beast, its still kind of a monster at this age. Though its rounded nicely, I prefer it fresh with a more robust hop presence.

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Photo of jdense
3.8/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle purchased in Boise ID shared with beer buddy in The Big OR.

Deep reddish amber body, clear, one finger tan head. Not much going on in the nose, a bit of roast, lot of hops, citrus. Taste is much more complex than the nose, hop forward, citrus, some light brown sugar, molasses, honey. Mouthfeel is medium, decent effervescence, a bit sticky. Unfortunately, I drank this too young, would be interesting to see how this cellars.

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Photo of drpimento
4.53/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Excellent brew! Served at a good temperature and with a nice, light tan, thick, foamy head and plenty of lace. Color is a clear, dark red amber. Aroma is malt, hop, fruit, taffy. Flavor is like nose, but with a lot more going on - malt sweet is on top with plenty of hop and yeast bitter under, then a little carbonic tang to complete the experience. Body is full and lush but with ever so slight bitter points. Carbonation is spot on. Finish is just as it should be for the style: long, boozy, and satisfying. One or two would be just right. Very well crafted product.

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Alaskan Barley Wine (Pilot Series) from Alaskan Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 293 ratings.