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

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Alaskan Barley Wine (Pilot Series)Alaskan Barley Wine (Pilot Series)

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578 Ratings

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Ratings: 578
Reviews: 293
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 9.64%
Wants: 132
Gots: 154 | FT: 11
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: 578 | Reviews: 293 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of kleffman
3.38/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a bottle of this at South Bay Drugs, pretty excited to try it due to it's accolades at the Toronado Barleywine Fest, which hosts some incredible beers.

Pours clear dark reddish brown with a head that settled down pretty quickly. Aroma started off with a slight hop but I immediately got some green apple scent. Upon tasting I couldn't get past the green apple, even with the malt and hop flavors trying to shine through. A bit of hot alcohol and strange medicinal qualities. I don't know, am I the only one that doesn't dig this beer? I think it's just too young and needs some time, and then it may be incredible. Not excited about it right now, and in fact I couldn't finish mine.

I'll give it a shot again some time with some age on it.

edit: Had it on tap with some more age, better for sure. Still needs some time. Much less green apple flavor however.

Photo of barleywinebrewer
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

thanks to my wife for picking this bottle up for me as part of my trying a beer from every state. She knows I'm a big barleywine fan so this was cool to say the least. I found this brew to be a solid american barleywine with good bitterness, citric hops buoyed by a rich caramel / toffee body with dark fruit undertones. Full bodied, smooth and very drinkable. worth trying.

Photo of Traquairlover
3.4/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to Colts9016 for this bottle.

22-oz bottle poured into snifters. 2008 Vintage. I must admit, I have the feeling I would enjoy this beer more after a couple years in the cellar but I haven't had it before so I think I should get a basis of comparison for when I do age some bottles.

A = Clear, dark red with fair light tan, orangish head that dissipates quickly into a think foam covering entire surface.

S = Bitter-sweet citrus smells of three fruit marmalade, some almost medicinal alcohol presence, orange swirl hot buns, tree bark, not as well balanced as I would like. Lots of hops presence but less distinctive malt profile than I was looking for.

T = The taste is much more balanced and creamy than I expected from the smell, but there continues to be a medicinal, rubbing alcohol quality that I do not much care for,also some tree bark and pine needles.

M = Luscious, creamy mouthfeel with very good mouthcoating.

D = I actually had trouble finishing this. It's not bad, I just thought it would have been better in a much smaller serving. I look forward to trying it again, but maybe after it has been in the cellar for 2 or 3 years to take the edge off of it.

Photo of GClarkage
4.58/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

02/14/09- Purchased at Ledgers in Berkeley, CA.

Presenation- 22oz bottle, 2008 vintage. Poured inot my St. Bernardus chalice.

Appearance- Deep copper-caramel colored pour. About a one fingered head upon pour. Ultra slight rim of head remains. Really no lacing found, but that is common for such a style.

Smell- Very rich scent of equal caramel roasted malts and pungent grapefruit hops. Can't really beat the nose per style.

Taste- About a even split flavor between the '07 winner from Toronado and an '07 Bigfoot. Has a nice sweet caramel malted base reminescent of an English Barleywine, but has a nice hop punch of an American. Well balanced, even kinda fruity with a light cherry taste.

Mouthfeel- Medium carbonation, just a touch fizzy. Even though, pretty smooth and sticky sweet.

Drinkability- If I wanted a hybrid English-American mix, this would be my go to beer. I will always be more fond of the English style, which the '07 version was, but this is quite good. One of the best Barleywines, not considering style, that I have had.

Photo of Bighuge
4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Beautiful shade of burgandy. Tight cap of beige foam. Lacing is more than adequate for a 10+% beer.

Aroma: Chocolate covered cherries, fresh spearmint like hop aromas and deep maltiness.

Flavor: I notice the heat at first, but it dissipates rather quickly and doesn't get in the way of other flavor attributes. Nice rich caramel maltiness lays the foundation. Subtle layers of chocolate and pine and nougat add depth.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: Even with the slight heat that is present, this stuff is incredibly drinkable. The smooth enjoyable flavor and rich texture make it so.

Photo of Floydster
4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle acquired in a trade with Hoppiness last year, 2007 vintage, excited this was finally bottled and is going to remain that way, split with my dad tonight, poured into my Flying Dog imperial pint glass, color is pure copper with a nice one inch creamy beige head that lasts over five minutes, nice lacing for a while, smell is figs, caramel, light bread, dried dark fruits, pine, caramel, grapefruit, toffee, and mild booze, starts off with some dry bread and hop notes, sweet caramel and berries in the middle, finish is slightly bitter and a fading booze bite in the aftertaste, gets both sweeter and hotter as it warms, malt was prominent and added a silky presence at times, sweet, slightly dry, boozy, and fruity mouthfeel, medium to full bodied, on the lighter side for carbonation, taste lingered, could have drank the bottle which is good for a beer over ten percent, not too sweet or filling, larger hop presence helped that out, liked this better fresh the first time I had it but it would be interesting to try this vintage another four or five years down the road, was not at the Toronado Barleywine Festival but this seems to be worthy of its gold medal and have heard it is even better on tap, one of the better barleywines I have tasted of late, quite solid, not a bad value for the eight dollar price tag either, will be drinking again, hopefully they decide to barrel age some of this in the future, recommended

Photo of Jmoore50
3.95/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This one was another hyped up brew that I was looking forward to. Pretty good brew, but I have a few barleywines that chew up and spit out better brews that this. Good though. Ha!

When you are first introduced to this brew, meaning uncapping, the fruit sweetness pops out. It pours a deep deep amber, like deep dark dirty amber. Really exciting for a barleywine, pours with a nice off-white head that goes away incredibly fast, deff. because of the ABV. Overall a sexy looking brew that comes with a sexy looking head.

The smell is good but scary. Good meaning that it does not smell like alcohol, which is something to be expected with 10.4% alcohol, but cannot be detected at all. Scary because the sweetness and fruity smells made me nervous. It smells sweet, there is nothing debatable about it. Like a big grapefruit, before its ripe and still bitter, was squeezed into this. Really interesting considering that I HATE fruity brews like lambics, ect.

The taste is different in the first sips. The first sip is gross. It tastes like straight sugar. Then the second sip is not very good either because it tastes like sweet barleywine covered in fruit. The third tastes like a sweet and sour barleywine with a sugar aspect and a dry aftertaste. The rest of the brew is good. The rest of the brew is not only good but very drinkable. I think the fact of the matter is that this brew destroys something on your taste buds in order for the sweetness to go away. The best thing about this brew is that its got a really high ABV but during the entire brew you cannot taste it at all. You don't get any hint of alcohol, which is why I think that the sweetness is a double edged sword because it covers the alcohol but is almost too sweet.

The mouthfeel is good and the drinkability is good also. The brew is okay to drink but drinking a six-pack would be too much and after I was done with the bomber I needed a break for two reasons. The first was because the sweetness never went away, it just collapsed and lingered, which was not bad just always there. The alcoholic content of this brew got me a buzz, a good buzz. I don't know why, but I had a good one going for a bout twenty minutes or so. Overall an okay barleywine that is incredibly drinkable and fun to drink. Probably will not spend more money to buy more of.


Photo of magictrokini
3.68/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured hazy copper with a frothy white head. Thick, sticky lacing that took several swig-washes to break through. Very sweet with caramel and dried figs. Some piney hops, but lighter than say, the Stone Old Guardian I had later. Smooth mouthfeel, kind of sticky. The alcohol is well masked, I barely noticed it until seeing the 10% on the label. Very sweet barleywine; not as much hops as the nose advertised. Loads of caramel, grain, and sugar. Tended to build up in your mouth. Could have used a bit more bitterness. Still, very good.

Photo of aerozeppl
4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this as a kicker a while back. Before I wrote down who I got bottles from. Thanks kind BA.

2007 bottle.

A: Hazy copper color. Tons of lacing.

S: Big nose. Tons of hops and barley. The nose really surprised everyone as the hops were still very much up front. Reminded me of Druid Fluid on cask. Really nice.

T: Big malt taste with an absolutely massive hop finish. Again for a 2 year old bottle I was surprised how much hop this beer still had in it.

M: Very nice smooth mouthfeel. A touch syrupy but still smooth.

D: Very nice and drinkable. It really did taste like a fresh bottle. I wish I had a fresh bottle to compare this to. Really nice beer.

Photo of Kemmerlin
4.1/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown root beer color not filtered thin head and lacing.

S: Caramel malty aromas and sweet fruity hops like peaches and blueberry.

T: The malted barley really comes out in the front and mellows into a caramel flavor in the aftertaste. The hops are prevalent throughout and tastes of citrus and berry fruits.

M/D: Wow, this brew is smooth especially for a barley wine but not to smooth to take away from its style. It is a good barley wine to sit down and enjoy with dinner.

Photo of Tolann
3.08/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Brown-slightly copper in the pour. Off white head that thins. Maybe just a little cloudy. Leaves a good lace.

S - Sweet and malty. Piney hops in the background. Kind of mellow to start. I think it will come out more as it warms.

T - Maybe more malt than I was anticipating. Big pine hops follows. Some dark fruityness.

M - Some carbonation and a medium mouth feel. Alcohol isn't overly noticable. After all this is a barley wine with 10.4ABV.

D - I don't know that I'd search this out again. Easy enough to drink, but not totally enjoyable. I was hoping for a lil better.

Photo of Halcyondays
3.63/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

22 oz. bomber, 2008 Vintage,

A: Pours brown with a medium off-white head. Average head retention. Some lacing.

S: Notes of fig and dark fruit, sweet smelling. Burst of piney hops.

T: Definitely on sweet side of ABA's, the knockdown jolt of hops is not really there. Big malt notes, molasses, prune, fermented cane sugar. Hops are evident, and give a passing balance to the malt. Ethyl alcohol present, maybe a little too much so, but this is a barleywine.

M: Quite good, full-bodied and rich. Ethanol is evident, smooth, solventy feel.

D: An interesting barleywine from Alaskan. Needs a bit of age on it right now. Not entirely what I was expecting. 22 oz. is a lot to drink of this style, I'd probably buy it again if I could get 12. Worth a shot if you see it.

Photo of rudylaw
3.93/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Looks a delicious copper with a nice off white head that abandons you a few minutes after pour.

Very, very sweet in the nose. Lots of sweet malt, sugar, caramel. I'm not picking out fruit easily but there could be notes of peach and plum.

Lots of the same highlights in the taste. Now I'm picking up grapes and candy as well. This would make a really delicious, after dinner drink I think. Extremely sweet and creamy.

This beer was very light for a barleywine though as I had no problem putting down my half of the 22oz last night. But, this came up a bit short for me considering I have been wanting to try this for a long time. Perhaps it's the way I process barleywines? There's no doubt Alaskan Brewing is a place I want to revisit. Perhaps aging this one is a good call?

Photo of ScreamForMe
4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Not being a hop head, I wasn't sure what to expect from this barely wine.

Poured into a tulip and M&V in Redmond. Dark amber color. I didn't notice the nose as someone was talking to me and it was quite loud in the shop.

The taste was malt forward with a sweet sugary feel. Hop bitterness was very minimal. Again, not being a fan of hopped up beers, this was a pleasant surprise.

Nice and smooth with an alcohol warming finish. I would have this again!

Photo of jdklks
4.58/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A- Dark amber body with a perfectly colored tan head to compliment it. leaves its tracks with a thick lacing down the glass. this one is pretty.

S- smell is malt dominated, but there is a hint of hoppiness. also a brown sugar sweetness and apples.

T- WOW! punch in the mouth overwhelming. not sure what to think of it yet, give me a second... it is very sweet, seemingly sugary, which i am not usually a fan of. however, the malt flavors balance out the sweetness up front. the aftertaste is reminiscent of apricots, and still very sweet. i usually dont like overly sweet beers, but this one manages to pull it off quite well. this beer is very, very, inexplicably complex. i desperately want to give it a five, but i cant quite figure it out, so it gets a 4.5 for now. very good.

M- there are few adjectives to decribe just how smooth this beer is on the palate. perfectly carbonated for the fullness of its body.

D- this is my first one, so i am not entirely sure how it drinks all the way through. suffice it to say that i will stick to one bomber of this in a night, considering both abv and the $8 price tag. edit: just finished and the drinkability gets a .5 boost, all i want is more of this, there is really no other beer on my mind right now.

overall, an excellent and recommended barleywine.

Photo of jgap
3.38/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a stone old guardian barleywine glass. It's a nice amber with very little head that leaves a small lace. Smell is brown sugar, caramel, slight pine, and amarillo hops. Taste is more like and engish barleywine than American. Strong malt base of sugary caramel. Very light hops for an 'American' barleywine but this leaves a void in the taste progression that the alcohol fills nicely. It's not too harsh though, no burn at all. I will admit that american barleywines like old guardian have destroyed my palate for well crafted, smooth beers like this.

Photo of rye726
4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a rich amber under a thick tan head. The nose has big candy malts, toffee, dark fruits, and citrusy hops. The hops are a bit more prevailent in the taste. Still a solid bready malt and sweet fruit/candy presence though. Well balanced with a nice body... Thats what she said... For sure one of the better beer to come out of Alaskan brewing. Will age very well.

Photo of DoShek
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - aggressive pour into a snifter offered just under one finger of dark tan head that dissipated quickly, very dark brown that has deep garnet highlights when held up to the light, high viscosity

Aroma - dark fruits, resiny/citrusy hops, very malt forward with hops playing accompaniment, brown sugar or molasses

Taste - big malt at the beginning and hops flare up at the end of the sip, molasses and dark fruits are present, the hops have a resinous dirty flavor/bitterness, balance between malts and hops just barely tips to favor the hops, but just barely, perceptible warmth from the alcohol, as the beer warms the malts really begin to shine

Mouthfeel - heavy and fairly smooth, lower carbonation which is to be expected from a barleywine

Drinkability - definitely a sipper, a 22oz bottle is best shared with a friend, already a great beer, but I think this would shine even brighter with some age on it

Photo of popery
4.4/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Delicious, rich, buttery. This beer is drinking very well, already, but I fully expect it to get even better with age. It's just a great American Barleywine. The malt is strong and sweet without any off flavors. There's a lot of caramel and a lot of barley flavor. The hops are still strong but less bitter than flavorful. The hops come through piney and maybe citric or floral. It's hard to tell exactly. It's relatively close to Old Guardian, but it's been awhile since I had one of those. The feel is exquisite, full, velvety, warming. Alcohol warms the mouth and brightens the flavors. There are some notes of honey, but it could be my imagination. It's a delicious beer, a satisfying barleywine.

Photo of BrewerB
4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured into a tulip-style glass this brew was hazy, medium-brown in color with a very light than head that had a fair amount of retention. Lacing left on the glass as I made my way through the delicious brew.

S - Initial impressions of a rich maltiness that included toffee and caramel aromas. Toasty malt present with fruity esters. Hop aroma was also fairly prominent and mostly focused on the piney variety. Citrusy hops played a role, too. A welcoming complexity overall.

T - Moderately heavy on the bitterness lingering on into the finish. Boozy with the alcoholic presence certainly making a showing. Malt flavors focused on toast with an underlying touch of sweetness. Fruity esters.

M - Medium full in body with a moderate level of carbonation. Smooth.

D - For a big barleywine this beer packs plenty of drinkability. Great mix of flavors and aromas combine with an appropriate mouthfeel. I was in a situation where having a second beer would be inadvisable. Otherwise, I'd have had a second and maybe a third. Well done!

Photo of erikm25
4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: 2008. Pours a magnificent ruby and amber charcoal brown. Clear with dark, yet vibrant, hues. Head is pillowing with a slightly off white tint. The retention is very strong. Speckled lacing sticks around the glass.

S: Thick and delightful aromas. Heavy on the sugary sweetness with a nice baked bread undertone. Candy malts with a varied fruited spine. Vanilla, toffee, and raisins all make an appearance. I even caught a quick pine nod towards the end of the nose

T: Sweet, rich, and sugared. Molasses and caramel hold the mouth hostage with UZI clipped saccharine bullets . Fresh cherries and figs with black licorice. A blistering black pepper and honey relish adds to the overall complexity. Yeasty spice with a subtle hops finish. At over 10% this one has a kick but goes down very quickly.

M: Creamy and full. You can almost chew this up since it sticks all over the taste buds. Melts right down the mouth. A real lingerer.

D: One of my more favorite barleywines to date. Price was a little steep but in the end very worth it. I can imagine this one probably gets amazing with age so I will be back to grab one for the closet. Playlist for this included Blue Cheer, Solace, King Crimson, Crossed Out, The Norman Haines Band, and BUZZOV*EN!!!!

Photo of Wetpaperbag
4.03/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I missed out on this last year. I wasn't aware that it was such a hot item at the time, and I passed it up a few times and then it was all gone. So this year I scored a few.

A- This looks amazing. Very luscious ruby red/brown, very tasty looking. When pouring this was very thick looking. The head is a mixture of large and small bubbles with some delicate lacing.

S- There is a great hop smell that hits your nose right up front. The malts and spices blend well together. I'm picking out a caramel smell. I'm excited to try this.

T- Interesting flavors. The hops are sweet and grapefruity, yet there is a pine and gin taste mixed in. Then a candied lemon taste ends in the finish. The malts are a caramel taste that seems to be mixed in with all the different flavors. Very indicative of the American style.

M- The mouth feel is good, there is a thickness, but yet the carbination is there to help support and cut the thickness down.

D- Easy to drink, almost too easy.

Photo of Oxymoron
3.53/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Got to keep warm in Alaska! Pours a crystal clear amber color with some coppery hues through out. A soft white head with a bit of fizz but ok. Decent retention and limited lacing. Both did not last through the tasting.

The nose is malty sweet with a more sugary backing. Some minor caramel but really has a sugary candy aroma. There are noticeable phenolic with some fruity notes. Apricots, pears and sugar plums. Some lighter Belgian notes, but could be off from the phenolics.

The taste is similar. Very sweet upfront and leaves a sugary finish. A sugary caramel almost like a caramel candy thing. Would like more depth, the malt is not very complex. Just like the nose, the phenols really come out. More of a tropical fruit mix, some grape, pineapples, pears and apricots are well present. Even fruity for Belgian standards. Other than that, the yeast is very clean. Some minor hop notes in the finish but hidden by the fruit.

The body is a bit light for a barleywine. Odd with the sugary over & undertones. Would like more complexity on this. It should age well, I hope, but fresh this is a bit disappointing. Would like less sugar/phenols and more of a malt presence.

Photo of Beaver13
3.63/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle. Pours a dark copper with a creamy off white head that diminishes to a thin film that leaves some lacing.

The aroma is sweet sugary caramel malts, fruit, alcohol and some piney hops.

The flavor is sweet and sugary malts and fruits that are well balanced by some bitter piney hops and alcohol in the finish. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with creamy carbonation.

Overall, a nice barley wine. It's a little on the sweet side for me.

Photo of BarleyMine
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This review is for the 2008 barleywine.

Look: Deep ruby red w/a huge pillowy head that takes its own sweet time to receed leaving slow sticky lacing.

Smell: Hops! Very prevelant floral hoppiness with piney tones.

Taste: Very complex flavors. Starts with a sweetness and floral hop flavors up front and starts to have a party on the mid palate. The complexity really starts to become noticable at this point and a fruitiness starts to really show. Can't quite put my finger on the fruit. There's tropical fruits, peach, pineapple, mango, apricot, cherry... Tons of things going on on the finish.

Body: Very smooth, rich, full body with great carbonation.

Excellent brew, well done Alaskan.

Alaskan Barley Wine (Pilot Series) from Alaskan Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 578 ratings.