Sisyphus - Real Ale Brewing Company

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very good

618 Ratings
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(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 618
Reviews: 322
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 12.21%
Wants: 45
Gots: 134 | FT: 4
Brewed by:
Real Ale Brewing Company visit their website
Texas, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  11.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: aracauna on 12-18-2002

No notes at this time.
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Ratings: 618 | Reviews: 322
Reviews by starkmarvelo:
More User Reviews:
Photo of DaPeculierDane
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle. $3.50 at Whole Foods Austin. Gorgeous copper body with a steady off white skim. Slightly hazed. Aroma of toffee and oranges. Not particularly boozy. Toffee flavored body with a well hopped spicy/citric finish. Peppery. As it warms rich fruit flavors develop and caramel and biscuit malt flavors become more pronounced. Sweet booze balances well with the hop bitterness. Full bodied. Low carbonation. Smooth and dangerously easy to drink. Mellow for its size. Very good beer.

Review Number 900!

Photo of tectactoe
3.9/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Not sure who brought this one to the tasting, but thanks to whomever it was. 2011 vintage. Murkiness at an all-time high, making the body completely opaque like a solid, gold bar. No head here, just a beige collar, and I'm even hesitant to use the word "collar". So still, menacing, and somnambulant as it just steadily hangs out in the glass, just saying "COME AT ME BRO!"

My expectations for this beer do not exist, mainly because I've never heard of it. That being said, I'm pleasantly surprised as I lean my face in and my nostrils are assaulted by a rush of boozy and tart apples and plums that have been drizzled in warm caramel and rolled in a vat of burnt, brown sugar. Some mild nuttiness in the finish; pretty enjoyable for an "off the radar" barley wine so far.

On the palate, the booze aspect of Sisyphus seems mostly rum-like, but I don't believe this thing has ever been in any kind of barrel, right? So maybe it's just the flavors that have developed over time within the malts. Tart plums, sweet grapes, rum, toffee, brown sugar and molasses, with another touch of nuts in the finish.

Hops are relatively low for an American barley wine / DIPA (see what I did there?) but I'm guessing that can be attributed to the nearly two years of age this bottle has on it. Slight leafy notes hop in and out, but they don't contribute much offsetting bitterness, meaning this big, badass brew is pretty damn sweet. Thick, creamy, heavy, and sticky on the palate with minimal carbonation.

Sometimes, I really enjoy trying a beer that I've never heard of and have no expectations for, because I'm typically a sadistic pessimist and will often go into new, unknown beers thinking they're going to be the worst thing I've ever tasted, and when I try them and find out they're not (usually the case), then it's even more of a treat. Such is the case here - very good brew that I'd have again if it were available to me.

Photo of hopsleeroy
3.6/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Tried a bottle right off the shelf. Being in Austin, I've tried quite a few Real Ale brews and have found them to be inconsistant sometimes. Pours a copper body, off white head, and little carbonation A very vicous pour. Smell is toffee, caramel, hints of fruit and alcohol lurking-hops are understated but have a nice bit of pine/citrus aroma to them. Tastes like the smell-fairly sweet with the toffe and brown sugar and almost being too sweet and then being rescued by some piney hops that finish in the back of the throat. Mouthfeel is very full and this beer coats the entire mouth. Fairly drinkable, but maybe a little syrupy to have more than 2. Overall a very good effort by Real Ale.

Photo of orbitalr0x
3.92/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 vintage. Pours into my glass a deep hazy red/orange with a small off white head on top that falls to a thin layer atop the brew. A bit of a syrupy pour. Aromas start out with roasted malt along with rich nutty scents. Dark fruits, molasses and sweet bread. Lots of caramel and toffee accents as well. Herbal, earthy sort of piney hops sit in the background. A rich, deep aroma for sure.

First sip brings roasted malt upfront that moves into big caramel and toffee flavors. Quite a bit of sweetness upfront as it flows down the nutty, fruity flavors come out more as well. Sweet bread melds into a herbal, piney hop bitterness on the finish with some citrus accents as well. The bitterness can't cut through the sweetness here though unfortunately. Good barleywine, just a bit too sweet/syrupy for my taste.

Mouthfeel is quite thick and viscous with a slight syrupy quality to it as well. This one really takes hold, coats the palate and doesn't hold back. Mellow carbonation works in well. Overall, a tasty barleywine from Texas, albeit a bit on the sweet side Thanks to dmeadows for sending this my way. I wish I had another one to hang onto for a bit.

Photo of warriorsoul
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big props to TxBeer for hooking me up w/ this one...really been looking forward to trying this barleywine.
Pours a cloudy, ruby color w/ a full finger of off-white head...leaves some impressive lacing on the side of the pint glass.
Aroma is real enjoyable...a nice dose of raisins, grapes, cherries and some cotton candy-like sweetness.
The taste is awesome...right where I like them. Sweet flavors with a bitter aftertaste and just the slightest twinge of alcohol to let you know to respect this one. A boatload of hops have been added to this...yet very well balanced.
Mouthfeel is great...a touch syrupy, but not overly so and the carbonation is spot on.
A very refreshing barleywine...definitely American-style. I would have no problem putting back one or two more of these in an evening, but instead I will cellar the other I obtained for a year or so...time will make this offering from Real Ale that much more enjoyable.

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 vintage sampled 2/8/10.

Pours reddish orange with a nice tan head. The beer is somewhat murky. The aroma is sweet malt, alcohol and some fruit, possibly grapes and apples/ The flavor is caramel, toffee, assorted fruit and alcohol. The beer is slightly boozy and the alcohol is warming. The finish is some slightly bitter hops. Medium mouthfeel and low-medium carbonation.

Photo of Intrik
4.38/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a shaker pint glass with a finger and a half of head that left super lacing along the side of the glass as it receded. Alcohol legs still show as it settles further while typing this.

A: Lighter orange/amber compared to what I was expecting with a barley wine, but still very sexy looking. Gives me quick memories of some home brew mead with the golden highlights in the light. Head was great and it stuck to the glass the whole time with a great film.

S: An overpowering fruity sweetness right off the bat. The hops are present, but its a very string citrusy sweet fruit hop presence that gives way to a more caramel/toffee sweetness right away. You can almost get a sense of the mouthfeel when you smell this beer.

T: Hops right in the front that give off a slight piney-ness then move straight into all the sweet fruits and toffee from the smell. Smooths out on the end with a hint of maltiness.

M: Straight coats your mouth in a syrupy thickness. My lips are sticky like I just ate cotton candy. But the sweet fruits linger in all the stickniess and make you want more.

O: Wonderful beer. I'd love to grab a few more of these to age and compare. Most definitely gonna get another pack for celebrations this year.

Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
3.55/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Cheers to AKSmokedPorter for sharing this.

Color is a cloudy-ish copper in color. Barely any off-white head to speak of. Lacing? Nada. Aromas are almost overwhelmed by the distinct medicinal alcohol fumes that boil up. ETOH-soaked fruits and cotton candy abound, with some caramel squares left behind. Flavor, as was the nose, is laced with alcohol. Not a raging inferno, but certainly noted on the palate. A little much. Lots of sweetness in the taste as well. Surprisingly dry and abrupt finish. Full-figured and slick on the palate. Alcohol notes more noticeable as it warmed. Certainly a bottle to share...the small serving size was just right.

Photo of whoneeds8
4.12/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 Bottle poured into Chimay glass.

Pours out ruby red with very little head. Smells very fruity. Taste is very smooth fruit flavor. The lacing from the minimal head disipates rather quickly, much like the head. Good balance of carbonation, the feel is very thick, not quite syrup like, just thick.

Overall, this is a very good example of a specialty beer from the little Real Ale brewery. They've definatly got a good one here.

Photo of glid02
3.9/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle. I can’t recall the vintage but the label was green (2009?).

Pours a slightly hazy dark copper color with a light tan head leaving decent lacing.

Smells of sweet caramel malts with good amounts of fig and pear aromas. Also present are slight hints of butterscotch and leafy hops.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Moderately sweet caramel malts up front with booze-soaked pear flavors. Hints of toffee come into play near the end of the sip. The ending is mildly bitter. Mouthfeel is good, with smooth carbonation.

Overall I think this was closer to an English barleywine due to the pronounced sweetness and fruity notes, but even so it wasn’t near the top of the style. A solid beer but one not worth seeking.

Photo of pwoods
3.94/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Exiled for the nice extra.

12oz. brown bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Pours a tangerine copper with some clarity but mostly glowing. Nice head on the pour with lots of retention and lacing.

S: Sweet strong malts with a nice touch of alcohol. Lots of fruitiness... some from the hops and a bit from the malts and yeast character. Body is about full and is pretty chewy. Carbonation is about average or a touch higher.

D: Tasty brew and a solid barleywine. A nice sipper.

Photo of jbphoto88
4.07/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2008 bottle pours into a glass hazy and orange. The color is a cross between terra-cotta and fired copper. The head is tan but doesn't stick around long. It's only evidence that it ever existed is a thin constellation of bubbles floating around the surface of the beer.

MMmmmm, this beer has a solid nose. It's fruity and more then hints at the bitterness and ABV contained within. The fruitiness ranges from citrus orange to white grapes.

The taste is fantastic. The grain profile is very dominate upfront and gently transitions to a hop monster. Sweet, golden, toasted malts that pinch that sugar sensitive spot behind my molars. The hops beat down the sweetness and makes a healthy bittered brew. Light touches of apricot and orange peak in and out of the taste.

Mouthfeel is soft and creamy despite the pucker from the bitterness. I also enjoy the full bodied feel and the balance between the sweet and bitter. Very complimentary.

I have to deduct points off the drinkability scale because the beer is all around weak for what I expected. Not only that but the flavors get old fast. Pair that with a heavy ABV and it kind of gets to be a chore to drink. Definitely worth checking out but I would only enjoy one every once in a while. Not a bad thing for a good beer that will age very well.

Photo of Brenden
4.17/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I got this one in a trade with JJFoodie. I'm anticipating this one, especially since it's the 2007 vintage. Many thanks for parting with this one to my benefit.

The color is a deep hazy bronze. A small fluffy head forms from a nice cascade, stunted (I'm sure) by the aging process. Not too much lacing is formed, but the overall appearance is good, especially considering the ABV and aging.
The smell is malt, sugars, booze (rum?), dark fruits, citrus and hops. It actually is reminiscent of DFH 120 initially with less of the destructively sweet aspect.
As in the aroma, the flavor is mostly boozy and sweet with a much-needed addition of floral and citrus hops, not to mention the fresh juices in here from some sweeter non-citric fruits. There's really quite a bite going on here, and this is a sipper for more than just the high ABV; there's a lot of character in here that can be missed. I even get some woody notes, something earthy, and a grains presence underneath.
This one is pretty big with a nice, thick feel. A big, full body could use just a little more crispness to even it out, but it's plenty good. I'm sure the feel would be more even if this was fresh.
A big ABV limits drinkabilty, but it doesn't kick the same way some others do, surprisingly.

Photo of BoozerBrad
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Drank one that was about a year old...not sure how the age affected the taste because i've never had this beer before.

a: cloudy, orange coloring w/ light carbonation. not much of a head developed and disappeared quickly
s: sweet apricot aroma, piney hop aroma. possibly a little spice
t: sweet taste that is quickly countered by the bittering hops. hop flavor not overpowering but balances the sweetness very well. i'm an ipa fan so i generally enjoy hops and this beer has it
m: soft without much carbonation
o: good balanced beer. it's borderline too sweet for me, but they loaded it up on hops to save the day! i will be drinking this beer again!

Photo of ONovoMexicano
4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From a 12 ounce bottle into a teku. March 2013 edition.

A- Orange and copper colored body. Exceptionally persistent head that remains even after sipping. Lace is sticky, abundant and scattered. Carbonation bubbles stick to the glass plainly visible in the body. Sexy.

S- Citrusy, sweet, honey-like. Thick sweet malt flavor. Caramel and toffee abound. A very pungent and robust flavor.

T- Continues very citrusy. Caramel, toffee and sweet malt too. The nose and taste are very consistent.

M- I love how creamy this drinks. Quite smooth and mellow. The age must have done this well, because there's zero hint of alcohol. No burn whatsoever. It's sweet as I've mentioned, with only a slight bitterness from whatever citrusy hops it started with.

This beer probably isn't getting the props it deserves. It's delicious. I can't speak to this beer flesh, but a year and four months have aged it well.

Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.29/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

thanks to Rick Sawyer for this!

2007 bottle > Chimay Goblet

Deep red hued amber color, very vibrant. i love how vivid the color of Barleywine's can get! The crown is thin, about 1" high but very sticky, off-white to tan in color. Dissipates quick to a thin, scattered cover to reveal mild carbonation.

Wow, Very aromatic! rich, heady caramel sweet malt, ripe tropical fruits, campfire smokiness, butterscotch candies, fresh, earthy herbs and only a slight heat buzz. wonderful.

The flavor is that of cedar wood smoke, toffee and caramel flavored malt...very smooth and thick feel from the malt. Overall, full feel, smooth and thick. not overlly sweet, in fact, the balance is right on target. The fresh, earthy herbs flavored hops gives a slight bitter hop punch right at the end.

Might fine Barleywine.

Photo of Stigs
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, 2007 vintage...split with my g/f served in mini Chiay chalices

A - very thin layer of light khaki foam which fell to a ring...the beer is a burnt orange color with bubbling carbonation. lacs slightly down the glass.

S - mostly fruits, raisins, grapes, pear, peach/apricot, dates...sweetness from brown sugar malts, hops have all but faded in this one.

T - candy, dark fruits...huge tobacco thing going that just lingers, alcohol is magnificently hidden by now and the hops have mellowed to just a slight earthy bitterness near the end.

M - age has done this one well, carbonation is calm, thick and chewy, no alcohol burn whatsoever (had to confirm this was indeed +11%)

D - a solid barleywine, nothing fantastic...also have a 2008 bottle to open soon and compare

Photo of Metalmonk
2.87/5  rDev -27%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Not sure why this is named Sisyphus. The greek god Sisyphus was sentenced to perform a difficult task over and over again for all eternity, one that was totally futile...and if something is "Sisyphean" it's endless or repetitive. So...a Texas barleywine? I'm not making the connection.

The 2007 bottle (graciously sent by msubulldog25) pours out a magnificent rusty cherry juice that glows with burnt ruby highlights. Don't know if I've ever seen slower bubbles in a beer: these are fat and lazy and take their damn time moving from bottom to top. They eventually reach an insanely creamy head that is thicker than most beers of this style, and huge walls of lace form around the snifter. Looks totally incredible.

The aroma is wonderful, but not at all typical BW. I swear they used a Belgian yeast strain, even something approaching Brett, as there's a distinct band-aid smell, kind of leathery, mildly herbal and fruity, and that's it. No huge hops or big-ass malt sweetness detected. I like it, but it doesn't scream or even whisper "barleywine" to me.

Flavor is also far the funkiest barleywine I've ever had. There's a sourness present, but more like a Belgian sour ale (with funk!) and not really like a poorly-brewed or infected beer. But also not like a great funky/sour Belgian. Darn. Hops are present but hidden underneath the dominant yeast, and a mild malt sweetness has trouble pushing through. Succulent fruits are somewhere in here, big and juicy, yet all but silenced by the dominant Dr. Strange. Alcohol comes through fine with a warming glow. Thankfully it's not overbearing, because that's the last thing this weird, unbalanced mess of a beer needs.

Mouthfeel is just fine, very soft, also creamy, which I always love, but considering the flat-out bizarre flavor, it's hard to gain any lasting impression when fighting through all the stuff that's out-of-whack with this beer.

Not sure about this. If the brewer were in front of me right now, I'd take a sip, look at him with sympathy, and say "Innnteresssting!" It seems wayward, like a barleywine that left home with good intentions but ended up mixing with the wrong crowd and going bad for life. I have no idea what's going on here first I thought maybe it was me, but I'm in fine health as usual, my sniffer and tastebuds seem just fine, I got plenty of sleep, I'm in a good mood, I served this at the right temperature (barely chilled) in appropriate glassware...but it sure looks fantastic! Can't wait to read others' reviews and see if this is just a bad batch or the way it's supposed to be. I dig the funk, so I can't totally trash this beer, as I enjoyed the dirty sweat-sock madness...but I was hoping for a barleywine that actually tastes like a barleywine. Maybe now I'm a step closing to figuring out why this is called Sisyphus...

[In reading the reviews of barleywinefiend, alexgash and JohnGalt1, it seems I'm not the only one detecting a lot of uncharacteristic funk. In reading a lot of other reviews, there's no mention of sourness/funk, so perhaps this is an infected batch...or the guys from Jolly Pumpkin sneaked into the brewery late one night.]

Photo of AKBelgianBeast
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to stopbarking for the bottle.

Pours a very nice looking glowing orange color with an off white head that lingers pretty well and leaves nice lacing.

Nose is full of that signature sweet sticky barleywine malt profile. Hops seem a bit subdued but this is last years vintage (2008).

Taste follows. Hop profile is there, but not incredibly intense. There is some decent bitterness, but its clearly come down. There is even a tiny bit of a spice like character in here. The malt profile is pretty textbook for a the style, a little bit more cloying than i would like, but good. The finish is fairly dry despite the sweetness, and there is a little bit more bitterness in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is viscous as hell, and for a beer this large im diggin it. Carbonation is where it should be, if anything a tidbit low.

Drinkability is damn fine for the abv. Doesn't seem as hot as the abv would indicate at all. I could probably drink two of these if i wanted too, but the sweetness might get in the way.

Overall a nice barleywine, and one i would like to try fresh. That being said, i do see some significant aging potential for this one, and i am glad i have an 07 bottle as well to put some more age on. A nice barleywine, thanks barks.

Photo of Sammy
3.28/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Small bottle, stored many months, gotten in a trade with the tradeable Texans. Barnyard alert! And a superfoamer. After that, medium yellow with white head, and lot of lace. But barnyard smell and somewhat dishrag and hops taste. Understated carbonation. 2007 edition.Drank most of it, for mouthfeel.
2010 edition shipped from Augustgarage was much much better. Smooth mouthfeel, better drinkability, though smell just OK.

Photo of augustgarage
4.03/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to lnashsig for these:

2008 vintage:

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my snifter.

Very cloudy rust body, not quite opaque, which becomes a luminous glowing tangelo orb when held up to the sun. A whispy but persistent head is ringed by a ivory velodrome of cream.

Lovely citrus aromatics with faint toffee, very light brandy, and perhaps a whisper of hops. Rather subdued.

Sweet unctuous palate entry, estery and rich with light oxidization coming out more as the beer warms. Grassy, orange-peel-filled hops evolve into a spicy earthy finish with leather, fennel, figs, and prunes all dancing around the periphery. Again, delicate but well balanced and full flavored. Would rate the taste slightly higher by my own preferences, but being mindful to style, the hops are a little weak for a proper American Barleywine (and the malt isn't as intense as the best examples of English Barleywine either).

Soft, creamy, full-bodied, with light steady carbonation. The ABV is perfectly integrated into the whole, making this dangerously drinkable.

Will compare soon to the '09 vintage and revise my rating if necessary...

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2003... approximately 2 years old at tasting.

A gentle pour from a longstanding bottle delivers a hazy, reddish-amber body beneath a creamy head of ivory colored foam. As far as barleywines go, the head retention is good, and it leaves some nice splashes and spots of lace about the glass. The nose is bright with floral, fruity and leafy hops over a rich, sweet, light-caramel and biscuity maltiness. It's quite smooth and creamy in the mouth with a full body and a very fine-bubbled, natural carbonation from bottle-conditioning. Malt and hops balance each other superbly in the flavor! Gently caramelish malt is peppered with spicy and piney hops; and then softened by floral hops; always backed by a solid bitterness. It's not overtly complex, but it's rich and satisfying in a big way. Alcohol, however, starts to become apparent after a few sips; and bitterness begins to build in the throat beyond that. Still, it's well worth trying!

Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.56/5  rDev +16%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to Joshua (HopSchnapps) for this one. 2007 vintage. Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a Darkness snifter.

A: Tall pour yields a billowy 2 finger creamsicle colored head with fantastic retention. Beer is a semi-clear dark reddish-orange. Lacing is thick and layered with incredible stick.

S: Nose is subtle but noticeably sweet. Sappy resin hops, caramel, brown sugar, and some toffee notes. Also green raisin thrown in for good measure. Tree sap and syrup.

T: Opens brown sugar and caramel. Sweet toffee and dark fruit flavors towards the middle with some lingering resiny hop bite. Sappy towards the end with some syrup and green raisin sweetness. Finish is tree sap and resiny hops with a slightly bittersweet aftertaste.

M: Medium to full bodied with minimal carbonation. Oily, frothy, and substantial in the mouth. Super smooth going down and not the least bit of heat. Hides its ABV incredibly. Finish is subtle with a muted, lingering aftertaste.

D: The new year is still young but this has to be the frontrunner for the surprise of the year so far. An incredible beer from start to finish and it achieves near perfection in every aspect. I've never had it fresh but aged, this one is a masterpiece through and through. Amazing!!

Photo of dirtylou
3.6/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz single, not sure who sent this one over to me...

cellphone notes

appearance: light apricot body, very different from other flagships of the style

smell/taste: grassy hop, lacking the body/depth of a bwine, fresh hops with a touch of spice, a touch of fresh lemony cleanser, grapefruit/tangerine

mouthfeel: nice light body, no booze...nowhere near as strong as other barleywines

drinkability: good, just not memorable

Photo of prototypic
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to csmiley for the bottle.

Vintage 2007

Sisyphus pours an amber color with scarlet highlights. It's moderately hazy, but plenty of light cuts through giving it a reddish tint. An off-white head stands a couple of fingers tall. Retention was pretty good. Lacing was moderate.

The nose is good. It's interesting. It is malty and sweet smelling up front. Caramel is easily noted throughout. It smells rather fruity. There's orange, peach, and a little grapefruit. There's a hint of dark fruit here, but not as much as I would've expected. There's not much here in the hop department, but at three years of age that's not surprising. I'm amazed at how well the alcohol is hidden. I'm not getting much at all.

The flavor is likewise interesting. Sweet caramel and toffee flavors anchor things down nicely. It has a solid malt base. Fruit flavors are prominent throughout. Orange and peach are the strongest. That's new for me in an American Barleywine. Nonetheless, it works. Raisin is very subtle, but it is noted. I expected a stronger dark fruit presence, but it is what it is. Hops are long gone. Shocker. Alcohol is expertly blended. There's no way this is 11.5%. I'm not getting much in flavor at all, and there's no heat. That's impressive. It finishes sweet and malty.

Sisyphus has a medium body that feels more substantial with warming. It is smooth. Carbonation is VERY light. If it weren't for a few light bubbles, I'd be convinced it was flat. I'd like a few bubbles , please. Drinkability is good. For such a big beer, this goes down way too easy. It's deceptively strong, so be careful. The alcohol is masked with precision.

I don't think I've encountered Real Ale Brewing Company beer before. Sisyphus is pretty damn good. It's an interesting Barleywine. I'm not accustomed to such a fruity flavor. But, it works well. I think I'd like a little more dark fruit, but the lack of it doesn't hurt things much. More bubbles would be good, as well. Hats off to whoever figured out how to make beer this big seem so small. Wow! Good stuff. Recommended. Thanks, Chris.

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Sisyphus from Real Ale Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 618 ratings.