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

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

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537 Ratings

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Ratings: 537
Reviews: 289
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 9.66%
Wants: 127
Gots: 150 | FT: 10
Brewed by:
Alaskan Brewing Co. visit their website
Alaska, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  10.70% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
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 added by: John_M on 03-18-2007)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 537 | Reviews: 289 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of DIM
3.7/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

a: This was a clear mahogany with golden edges. It pours with a long lasting, sticky, creamy, light tan head.

s: Sharp fruit aromas of cherries and to a lesser extent, grapes. Some perfumed, piny hops and alcohol round things out.

t: Biting acidic cherry flavors and unrefined sugar are the most obvious flavors. The finish is dry, tasting of lemony hops with a bit of pine and alcohol that is a bit too hot. This was a good barleywine, but to be honest, I was expecting a bit more.

m: Above average body and very wel carbonated. A stinging sour sensation lingers for a bit.

d: Thanks to both tayner and mikesgroove for the chance to try this one. I'm going to age my other bottle to see if some time will cool it off.

DIM, Jun 25, 2008
Photo of Crosling
4.38/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2007 bomber. This mahogany colored beauty provides amble aromas of toffee and dark fruits. Flavor is malt accented, with notes of raisins, caramel and honey covered dark fruits. Really well balanced. It's easy to tell why it has so many accolades. Glad I have some to age.

Crosling, Jun 23, 2008
Photo of wspscott
4.53/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

22oz bomber in large Reidel wine glass

2007 batch

A: Dark ruby color with medium tan head and some lace
S: Toffee, light chocolate, earthy, no real hops presence
T: Rich heavy malts, raisiny, dark caramel, toffee, lots of bittering hops but no aroma hops
M: Rich, mouth coating, medium carbonation (a little too much carbonation for the style)
D: Slightly warming, not much alcohol flavor/presence. An English style barley wine with an incredible number of layers (my wife commented on the depth/complexity in one sip and she doesn't like barley wines). World class beer and highly recommended.

wspscott, Jun 21, 2008
Photo of tpd975
4.47/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to ibrew2or3 for bringing this one to the battle of the Alaskan barleywines.

A: Pours a nice reddish brown hue with a nice head that exhibits good retention.

S: Nice sweet malt character made up of mostly caramal and molasses. Hints of both citrus and pine hops can be picked up along with a bit of booze.

T: Nice balance overall. Nice bready sweet malts come out first along with some dark fruits. In the middle the pine and citrus cut thru in equal portions. As it slides down the throat just a bit of alcohol burn can be noted.

M: Not overly thick like it's arctic devil cousin. This one is medium in body, smooth, with good carbonation.

D: Very drinkable even on the hottest Florida summer evening.

tpd975, Jun 17, 2008
Photo of BigJTrucker
4.47/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up this bottle at Corvallis Brewing Supply. 2007 Vintage.

Pours a deep ruby, thin brown head settles very quickly. Aroma is a very nice malty sweet, some raisiny notes, maybe plums? Not much hop aroma. Taste is raisins, peat, some oak notes as well. maybe even faint vanilla & molasses.Mouthfeel is very smooth, moist finish. The alcohol is well hidden behind the malty sweetness, but is still slightly detectable. Very easy to drink, but more than one bomber would be a bit much. A nice evening beer.

BigJTrucker, Jun 16, 2008
Photo of WeisGuy
3.9/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2007 vintage

a - pours a deep brown rusty color, one-finger off-white head with little retention or lacing, not much sediment

s - big caramel and toffee malt aromas mixed with booziness, definite piney and citrusy hop presence, some orange, overall, the maltiness and booze dominate

t - intensely sweet caramel and toffee malt also present up front on the taste, nice citrusy hop bitterness on the mid-palate with some orange zest, bitterness and sweet maltiness linger into the finish, where the booziness emerges, lingering bitterness on the palate

m - medium-bodied, moderate carbonation, dry finish, big warming effect

d - certainly a sipper, but par for the style, fairly balanced though a bit hot, lingering bitterness

Good barleywine overall, though nothing that really stands out as extraordinary. Worth trying.

WeisGuy, Jun 14, 2008
Photo of bkilpatr
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a Chimay glass. 05/18/08. 2007 version.

Pours a deep reddish brown color. A moderate pour produces about one finger of light tan head. Aromas of piny hops and sweet malts, dark fruits (raisin, plum), and caramel.

Taste is a huge combination of piny hops and sweet malt. Very sweet up front with all the caramel and dark fruits (raisin, fig, plum). Nice bitter finish from all the citrusy hops. Slight warming from the alcohol but not unexpected due to the 10% ABV.

The feel is pretty good. Carbonation level is light, and it feels full and slightly chewy. It leaves my mouth feeling rather sticky. Drinkability is pretty good. Definitely a sipper. The alcohol sneaks up on me. Probably best to split with a friend on a cold evening.

A very solid barleywine, and another good beer from Alaskan.

bkilpatr, May 19, 2008
Photo of lackenhauser
4.6/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep copper/burgundy color. Very good looking beer. Heavy sweet aroma. Very full, sweet malty goodness. Nice vanilla notes. Great, great full malty flavor. Warming, treacle like taste. Maple and vanilla highlights. Not the full frontal hop assault like a lot of US barleywines, though has a mellow lingering bitter finish. Nice, viscuos body. No alcohol for the high abv. A great barlewyine for sure. Thanks tayner for this "free" sample-very enjoyable!!!

lackenhauser, May 12, 2008
Photo of garcia2a
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep, roasty ruby-brown. Upon inspection when held to the light, this is a perfect clear beer with great ruby tones. Light carbonation helped to provide a nice light brown head that was retained for about 15 minutes. There was little lacing as the head dissipated.

The bouquet has rich grains and malt. There was a slight amount of exotic dates and figs that complemented the bouquet nicely. At the end of each inhale, a bit of alcohol is present, not a lot, but enough to make it presence known.

The first sip tastes extremely sweet. As the beer is held in the mouth and on subsequent sips, the flavors of raisins, dates, figs, and slightly bitter piney hops really provide a complex tasting experience. As with all US barleywines, the alcohol enters into the taste equation as the cloying begins.

The beer is medium bodied, but as many of this style do, it tends to get seemingly heavier as the cloying begins. This is a very drinkable beer, but as a true sipper or a session beer.

garcia2a, May 06, 2008
Photo of prototypic
4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Acquired in a recent trade with JDV. Thanks for sending this one my way.

Appearance: It's a dark, roasty brown looking color. Traces of light make their way through around the edges. It also has a hint of red bleeding through. It's a nice looking color. Head was only about a finger deep and lacing was relatively light.

Smell: The initial aroma smells like a head on collision of dark fruit (plum, raisin) and citrus fruit (strong grapefruit, pineapple, mango) scents. The results are spectacular. Strong, piney hops and malty aromas complement the initial aromas very well. Alcohol creeps in and makes its presence apparent, as well.

Taste: Initially it tastes extremely sweet. The citrus flavors, brown sugar taste, and caramel malts are almost too sweet. Dark fruit flavors and bitter, piney hops provide quite a bit of balance and even it out a bit. Alcohol has a warming effect and is noticeable, but it's not as prounounced as in smell. It really does have a nice flavor, but it's lacking just enough to hold it back from being elite.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It's medium bodied, but very close to being thick. Carbonation is very well done. It's no doubt a sipping beer, but it's easier to drink than one might expect. Due to its hefty 10.4% stature, I'll stop and one bomber. This is a solid offering from Alaskan. I understand that this the first time this beer has been bottled and I walk away impressed. Perhaps next year the sweetness could be toned down just a bit and really drive it to the next level.

prototypic, Apr 14, 2008
Photo of t0rin0
3.68/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this in a trade last November or December. Can't remember exactly who it was that sent me this beer, when I find out I'll edit this review.

This beer isn't exactly aged at this point as its only 6 months old but it does taste somewhat aged.

The beer pours a nice red/brown color. Plenty clear and has a nice fluffy white head that lasts a while. Not much lacing.

The smell is malty and seemingly bitter but there isn't much hop aroma. That aspect of it reminded me of bigfoot a little bit but not quite as sweet.

The flavor iss along the same lines. Quite malty and bitter but not hoppy. Very much along the American Barleywine guidelines. This beer at 6 months old tastes like it is 2 years old. There is a slight note of potential oxidation and the malt seems to have matured a bit. Overall it is a typical but nice american barleywine.

The body is heavy and sugary. It has the right amount of CO2 and a healthy amount of bitterness if your into that. It is very much to style which I like. Its nice to see a brewery do something the way it was meant to be done rather than trying to make the most extreme example out there.

t0rin0, Apr 10, 2008
Photo of Wasatch
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks goes out to brdc for this brew.

Poured into a tulip a nice dark ruby red color, nice carbonation, nice little creamy tannish head, some nice sticky lacing follows. The nose is malty/hoppy, nice tones of figs/raisins/plums, slight spice, and caramel. The taste is slightly sweet at first, very nice balanced blend of malts/hops, dark fruits round this one out, slight spicyness, and some caramel. The alcohol is hidden pretty well. Medium body, well rounded brew. Very drinkable, another pretty tasty brew from Alaskan.

Wasatch, Apr 06, 2008
Photo of Bitterbill
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I got this in a trade with joe1510. Thanks Joe!

This pours a crimson brown with a large, growing head of offwhite foam. Very good head retention and some very nice lacing.

The smell starts off really sweet with loads of caramel and dark fruit followed by some citrus hops but that's on the light side. It's also just a bit boozy.

The taste also starts off really sweet; big caramel, fig, plum, molasses..it almost gets too sweet but the hops come in and give me good notes of citrus and a touch of spruce that help with the balance. The alcohol is just noticeable for me during the swallow but overall I'd say it's hidden pretty well.

The mouthfeel is medium and nice and the carbonation is lightly done. A very nice sipper here and in fact, the more I sip, the more balanced to my palate it gets. Too bad Alaskan decided to limit the distribution but I guess that goes hand in hand with the limited bottling. Thankfully, Joe came to my rescue. ;^)

Bottom line: This is a very good American BWSA. The hops and the malt work *very* well together here and that makes for a fine drinking experience. Well worth seeking out and highly recommended.

Bitterbill, Apr 06, 2008
Photo of brewandbbq
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours mahogany with a ruby hue, and barely translucent when held to the light.
A humble half-inch head of dense beige stuck around for several minutes, revealing some decent smears of clingy lacework.
Aromatics are a balance of dark fruit, fresh malt, and nougat-like caramel.
Doughy, figgy, and ripe with citrus spritzed juicy malt.
The mouthfeel is chewy, sticky, and tacky. Not too heavy, but substantial for a barleywine.
A firm, drying bitterness leads off the pallet in tandem with spruce-spiked fruit and fresh, clean malt essence.
Alcohol steps forward, but quite mildly and there is no heat.
Finishes with some lingering residuals, bitterness, and caramel malt.

A terrificly balanced and substantial barleywine, albeit a bit sweet and young.
Maybe a couple of years on it's side in the cellar will help dry her out.

brewandbbq, Mar 28, 2008
Photo of JDV
3.48/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours rich maroon with a slight hazed look and a thin beige head. Smell is very fresh with dark malty sweetness comin in along with balancing hops in the form of grassy and vegetal notes, almost. Taste is moderately sweet but not syrupy at all, and balanced by the grassy hop flavor and a touch of alcohol. Something in this beer seemed a bit odd to me, and once I got "vegetal" in my mind, I couldn't shake that and enjoy it as much.

JDV, Mar 26, 2008
Photo of Vancer
4.13/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Almost opaque cola brown, fairly frothy tan head that's leaving a bath tub ring o' lace in my New Belgium snifter.

Very much a sweet smeller of molasses, pine and citrus. Also sweet in the sipper quaff, raisons and plum dominating the fruit section of the brew. A big hop kick in the finish balances this one out, and makes it a winter BW hopper.

Sticky in the mouth, the big booze is not a player in this one - big my rosy cheeks reminded me of it. Just a tad harsh, I bet a year aging would have made this world class stuff.

Vancer, Mar 15, 2008
Photo of Georgiabeer
4.3/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a fairly dark ruby brown with quite a decent head that sticks around as a ring. Swet and somewhat hot aromas. Smells honeyed and fruity with a blend of red and black fruit. Like a good cobbler, not like wine. Fairly complex, and less sweet than the nose suggests. There is still some sweetness, but it is balanced with some hop bitterness that is quite citrusy and produces a long bitter aftertaste tempered by some fruity sweetness. The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy with a slightly tangy finish. Delicious- very easy to drink, and the slight heat in the nose is not evident in the mouth. One of their nicer products.

Georgiabeer, Mar 11, 2008
Photo of Metalmonk
4.13/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Many thanks to msubulldog25 for this one. Served at cellar temperature and not a degree colder. Popped the cap and a bountiful hops aroma was detected from a foot away. While pouring into a snifter the liquid looks remarkably like oil. Color is a deep rusty brown/russet. Head is small and disappears to a thin ring quickly. Gentle swirls offer up new life to the head, and the more I look, and the more I shook, the more I liked. A beautiful thing.

Hops are there in the aroma, but not spiking out...they're incorporated well within the boozy vapor and sweet candy-like malts. Molasses, vanilla, and black cherry emerge nicely.

Flavor is everything expected. The aroma was not only good but very much true to style, and the flavor mirrors that. At first this barleywine seemed underwhelming (considering the hype), but sitting with it and sipping on it slowly reveals some sublime goodness: welcoming warming from the alcohol, juicy hop wonderment, gooey chocolate-covered liqueur-filled cherries. A smidgen too much grassy astringency keeps this from being perfection, but it's pretty close. Maybe 6 or 12 months aging will clinch it.

Mouthfeel is the real star here. Big, viscous and syrupy, yet somehow possessing an airiness that keeps it from sitting too heavily in the mouth (or stomach). Wonderful...can't imagine it being any better.

This is one beer I won't have trouble cellaring for another 6-12 months. Seems like it's going to get better with more time to gel. Glad I have another, thanks again Brian! CHEERS.

Metalmonk, Mar 10, 2008
Photo of unklesyd
4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Really nice. I'd been looking forward to this one for a while, and looked for it for a while before actually spotting it at MOC on Willamette in Eugene for 8.50.

Poured out on the darker side of crimson, leaning toward brown with a dirty white head and good clarity against the light.

Nice piney hop aroma with some sticky cereal huskiness to balance. Not all up in your nostril, but a very inviting aroma that was certainly strong and lingering.

Very flavorful, and surprisingly not as cloying or as woody as I was expecting based on the color. Medium mouthfeel that didn't suggest the actual weight of the beer. Clean flavors that popped off of one another. Some sweet dried fruits after the initial crisp hoppiness and dough of the malt.

I was happy to find that finishing a bottle was not ever a chore, and that even afterward, I didn't feel logy or hazy. My palate was still feeling fresh. A very nice entry!

unklesyd, Mar 01, 2008
Photo of Bierguy5
3.98/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 edition. 22 oz. bottle, 10.4% ABV. Mahogany colored, with some ruby edges. A few floaties roaming about. Thin white head disappears quickly.

Pine and citrus hop combo strike the nose first. Some raisin and plum notes come behind the hops.

Caramel flavors, fig, pine resin and other fruity flovors are happening. A bit of sweetness, not not too much. Citrusy hops in the finish. Not as hoppy as the nose would lead to believe. Pretty well balanced actually.

Medium body, with a lower amount of carbonation. A bit of warming from the alcohol. Very enjoyable once it opened up a bit.

Bierguy5, Feb 21, 2008
Photo of mcallister
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

'07 version. Russet colored with nay a head. Some floaties and not much else.

Damn overhopped barley wines. A earthy hot hop aroma with a syrupy pine heading the pack with some fruity hops backing things up. Some date in and plum with raisiny aspects.

Hops are still big in the mouth but the malt and fruit really challenge and win balancing things smoothly making this a creamy drinkable dried fruit enriched barley wine. Some fig jam comes through, with maple soaked dates, and plumy dark ripeness that sneaks in there. Hops aren't as fruity in the mouth but are very resiny with piney thick bitterness on the long finish.

mcallister, Feb 17, 2008
Photo of sinistermadman
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep brown with crimson highlights and a slight head. Nice complex nose with alcohol, chocolate and fruit evident. Taste is also complex with deep malt flavors of fig, chocolate, leather, smoke and other dark ripened fruits. Rich but not cloying. Medium full with a smooth, luxurious mouthfeel. Slightly resinous. Alcohol is present, but does not detract from the drinkability. Well done sirs. Well done.

sinistermadman, Feb 17, 2008
Photo of JohnGalt1
4.73/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz from Liquid Solutions.. pricey for sure but don't remember. shared with Steven.. mine in a New Belgium snifter.

Beautiful.. light yellow head.. some spotty lacing.. dark brown brew when you hold it to a light.. very nice.

Thick malty aroma.. dark caramel with floral hops and a touch of grapefruit.. toffee and raisins.. dates? Fruity yeasty notes..

Amazingly smooth.. silky malt off the top.. thick caramel.. with more than enough chocolate.. pine and grapefuit hoppy flavors are drawn out from the sweetness.. this BW is a lesson in PNW big beers... dark fruit.. prunes and figs.. balanced beyond compare.. almost certainly the best BW I've ever had. finish is long and layered.. hops.. intermingle with the caramel notes... Steven says it has a :30 finish... I agree. Thickness hides the booze very easily.. spotty carbonation makes for a silky palate.

This is the first time I've had the "Big Nugget".. It won't be the last. Damn it.. why and the hell did we not get this brew in Idaho.. there is a definite market for big barleywines.. and this would almost certainly be the best.. I would buy a case if it weren't for FedEx and LS so much over the price fo the bottles.

JohnGalt1, Feb 16, 2008
Photo of sprucetip
4.4/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful reddish, golden color when held up to a light. Enticing aroma. Very balanced flavor. Sweet up front, but nicely backed, and the 10.4% abv doesn't smack you in the face. Drinkability? Had no problem finishing the 22oz bottle. Had to pace myself, actually. I'd been sitting on this bottle for a few weeks (blessed as we are in Anchorage with great brews), but figured I better sample it so as to know whether to stock up before it is gone. Fully understand why it won a gold at Toronado. Great beer! Please excuse my deficiency in technical description, I'm learning. Cheers!

sprucetip, Feb 15, 2008
Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.03/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear, dark reddish-brown body with a thin, wispy, off-white head.

Smell: Fruity, dark caramel aroma with notes of sap-covered wood and spice.

Taste: Blend of dark fruits (plums, raisins) and dark caramel with a moderate amount of sweetness. Touch of wood and yeasty spiciness. Restrained hop bitterness. There's some brash booziness in the finish, but nothing a little time in the cellar can't cure.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium carbonation. Warming alcohol presence.

Drinkability: A fine barleywine at the moment that should age quite nicely and only improve with time away in the cellar.

ChainGangGuy, Feb 13, 2008
Alaskan Barley Wine (Pilot Series) from Alaskan Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 537 ratings.