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Sisyphus - Real Ale Brewing Company

Not Rated.
SisyphusSisyphus

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

550 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 550
Reviews: 311
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 12.47%
Wants: 40
Gots: 119 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Real Ale Brewing Company visit their website
Texas, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  11.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: aracauna on 12-18-2002)
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Ratings: 550 | Reviews: 311 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.3/5  rDev -16%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-11-2009 23:17:01 | More by Sammy
Photo of t0rin0
t0rin0

California

4/5  rDev +1.8%

12-17-2012 01:13:33 | More by t0rin0
Photo of UCLABrewN84
UCLABrewN84

California

3.98/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Exiled for sending me this one!

2009 vintage.

Pours a murky honey brown with a 1 inch fizzy light beige head that settles to a film on the top of the beer. Foamy rings of lace form on the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, caramel/toffee, alcohol, and citrus zest. Taste is of bready malt, brown sugar, caramel/toffee, and citrus zest hops on the finish. There is a very mild bitterness on the palate after each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a light carbonation and a smooth and creamy mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good barleywine with a nice balance between the malt and hops.

Serving type: bottle

09-20-2011 03:37:28 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of djrn2
djrn2

New Jersey

4/5  rDev +1.8%

02-01-2012 01:07:13 | More by djrn2
Photo of BuckeyeNation
BuckeyeNation

Iowa

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

2007 vintage. Hazy ripe apricot with a wee splash of cherry juice. This tropical sunset-like hue is one of my favorite beer colors of all-time. The upper third of the snifter is occupied by a creamy crown of pale caramel colored foam. Even though less than one inch of the glass is visible (so far), it's coated with a thin sheet of unbroken lace.

It's obvious from both the appearance and the nose that this is a golden fruity barleywine as opposed to a medium-dark fruity barleywine or a quasi-old ale. Orange and peach are most prominent, along with their respective fruit brandies. Very nice.

Sisyphus is a fairly gentle version of the American barleywine style. I was going to say that it's a gentle giant, but it isn't that big. More malt would have given the beer more intensity and depth of flavor, a longer finish and a more lush mouthfeel. On a positive note, the alcohol is hidden exceptionally well.

Apricot and peach take over on the palate, though bitter orange peel is still present and accounted for. I'm betting that Amarillo hops are at least one member of the five member hop bill. A sugar cookie and English toffee-like sweetness is prevented from being cloying by a still considerable hop bitterness. This '07 vintage probably has at least a few more good years on it. This particular bottle has another 30 minutes on it... max.

Given the absence of overwhelming sweetness, the well-hidden alcohol, and the light to medium mouthfeel, drinkability is anything but Sisyphean. Warming brings out a bit more viscosity and a subtle lushness that allows the beer to get into my good graces by the midway point of the bottle.

Given what else I've had from RABC, my hopes for Sisyphus were less than high. Having said that, I'm pleasantly surprised. This is a good little sipper that should warm the bones of craft beer lovin' Texans during those frigid, 35 degree winter nights.

Serving type: bottle

08-16-2008 15:10:17 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of brentk56
brentk56

North Carolina

3.73/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2007 version (tasted 11/9/09)

Appearance: Pours a hazy orange/amber color with just a film of a head despite an increasingly hard pour; the head disappears quickly although it did manage a few strands of lace

Smell: Caramel dominates but there are some fruity hops underneath

Taste: Starts out with a caramel flavor that bends in a fruity, bitter direction by mid-palate; there is an unusual lychee and pineapple flavor in the middle that is quite interesting; after the swallow, the caramel re-asserts itself but is joined by the lychee/pineapple flavors add a nice balancing dimension to the finish

Mouthfeel: Thick and viscous, almost velvety; low carbonation

Drinkability: Despite all of my criticism, the beer is somewhat tasty; just nowhere near the top ranks of barleywines, primarily because of the carbonation/mouthfeel issues; I have tasted this barleywine both when it is fresh and with a year or two of age and I have to say that it takes a couple of years for this beer to shake off some of the fusel characteristics that make it awkward in its youth

Thanks, MiguelMandingo, for the opportunity to re-visit this as it certainly changed my opinion

Drinking the 2009 version in early 2011, I find that this version has resolved the carbonation issues I noted earlier so I am bumping the Appearance and Mouthfeel scores by .5.

Serving type: bottle

03-05-2008 23:21:35 | More by brentk56
Photo of mikesgroove
mikesgroove

South Carolina

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

Received this one a little ways back in a trade, and being that it was a nice barley wine and I had never heard of it, I had to get a hold of it. Simple bottle, with a blue reflective label with just the name and the 2007-year on it. The pour was rather uninspiring if I am going to be honest. There was a nice amber orange with a decent amount of cloudiness to it, however, it looks rather lifeless to be honest. No head to speak of, no lace at all. No carbonation visible. Not sure, what's up with that, but one of my pet peeves is the lifeless liquid look, I know some are supposed to be that way, but I still cannot get past it. I would like to see something in the glass.

Anyway, the aroma was very sweet, bordering on sickeningly sweet at times. With a huge sugary, cotton candy like aroma coming off it, that was blended in with a light floral hoppiness. This reminded me a lot of Burton Baton when it ages a bit, and the hops come down, really coming on strong. The flavor was a dead ringer for the smell as well. Really sweet and rich. There was just loads of sugar dumped down upon a very hoppy profile, or what might have been at one time. I could pick up still the faint traces of a piney like hoppiness that were still lingering way in the back, but was overrun with this candied sugar like flavor. The body was fairly light, and not as flat as I was expecting it to be, but still needed a little more weight behind it to push it through. I was easily able to polish off the bottle, not sure what the ABV is one this one, but if its high, it was well masked.

Overall, it was not bad by any means, just a little too sweet for my tasting. Maybe it was better fresh, or maybe it needs a couple years to figure it self out. Either way it was an above average beer, but nowhere near, the big flavorful barley wines I have had in the past. I would say grab one and sit on it and see what happens.

Serving type: bottle

04-06-2008 14:57:56 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of acurtis
acurtis

New Jersey

4/5  rDev +1.8%

05-15-2013 22:46:11 | More by acurtis
Photo of womencantsail
womencantsail

California

4.08/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 vintage courtesy of Michael.

A: The pour is a cloudy orange color with a very minimal white head forming from a vigorous pour.

S: Plenty of sweet caramel notes with some toffee and brown sugar. Some milk dark stone fruit notes as well as some citrus and pine hops to add a bit of balance.

T: Despite the rather sweet and caramel and toffee heavy base of this beer, there's a nice hoppy character. A moderate level of bitter pine and grapefruit rind.

M: The body is medium with a low-to-moderate carbonation.

D: Not overly sweet, though leaning that way, still a good bitterness and balance. This could be good fresh or with age.

Serving type: bottle

09-28-2010 04:38:17 | More by womencantsail
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kjkinsey

Texas

4.25/5  rDev +8.1%

06-07-2012 21:46:52 | More by kjkinsey
Photo of ChainGangGuy
ChainGangGuy

Georgia

3.45/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2007 vintage.

Appearance: Pours a clear, amber, near-still body. Keepin' it simple!

Smell: Caramel maltiness backed by triple sec, a few tired raisins, and fresh-cut lumber.

Taste: Grainy, dry caramel malt taste with a fairly restrained sweetness. Light hint of dark fruit. A sip of orange liqueur followed by a few drops of grain alcohol. Medium-high, earthy bitterness. Touch of wood. Warm, bitterish finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Rather mild carbonation.

Drinkability: While not a bad barleywine, it doesn't quite display the grace or complexity I look for in the swanky barleywine style.

Serving type: bottle

05-12-2008 01:51:33 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of Texasfan549
Texasfan549

Texas

3.75/5  rDev -4.6%

05-02-2012 10:14:09 | More by Texasfan549
Photo of jaydoc
jaydoc

Kansas

3.75/5  rDev -4.6%

06-11-2014 02:49:12 | More by jaydoc
Photo of spycow
spycow

Illinois

4/5  rDev +1.8%

01-12-2013 19:36:55 | More by spycow
Photo of TMoney2591
TMoney2591

Illinois

4.33/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Devil's Backbone willibecher.

Big thanks to Hophead101 for this bottle!

2009 Vintage. Reviewed blind as part of the Blind Beers BIF. Here we go: It pours a cloudy amber, closer to the browner side of the spectrum, topped by a nice finger of creamy foam. The nose comprises mandarin oranges, caramel, honey, orange peel, biscuits, and a touch of rye bread. The taste starts with a nice bite of citrus and pine, followed quickly by rush of heavy caramel and toasted biscuits. The body is a solid medium, with a lightish carbonation and a feel that borders on the chewy. A very tasty ABW, one I wish I had access to on a regular basis.

Serving type: bottle

07-23-2010 23:42:30 | More by TMoney2591
Photo of NeroFiddled
NeroFiddled

Pennsylvania

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!

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2005 01:29:23 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of RblWthACoz
RblWthACoz

Pennsylvania

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

Pours a clouded orange brown with a creme head. Nose is very reminiscent of Hitachino XH. That odd woody fruity thing. Flavor has a very unique roasted smoky thing to it. Kind of an alcohol-tar aftertase that rests in the back of the mouth. Feel is well bodied on the liquid and the carbonation is appropriate with an oh so slight bite. A very unique barleywine. Definitely worth trying for it's unusual qualities.

Thanks to ballewblake for this one.

Serving type: bottle

10-06-2008 20:37:31 | More by RblWthACoz
Photo of feloniousmonk
feloniousmonk

Minnesota

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

Sad to say, my notes on this impressive ale were taken after a hefty session of others, (I was really thirsty for a barleywine!) and therefore lacked technical precision or minute dissection of any kind. We can only arrived at the barest conclusions, but yet I offer them up...
"Appearance: bright, bold, reddish hue, nice, finely toasted head.
Aroma: rich, fruity, bready, bold, flavorful, delicious and delirious, holding all the right notes that a barleywine ought to.
Delicious, full flavored, happy, fantastic hops, lush, earthy, fruity, hoppy, malty, perfect
Oh!!! Rich, tasty, delicious, satisfying..."
and there it trails away, penmanship becoming more atrocious and alarmingly indecipherable. This bewildered, stream of consciousness train wreckage can only prove that it was a damn fine barleywine and did the trick, doublegood.
Not a bit of futility involved in the production of this great beer. Now to try it under more optimum conditions, to reconfirm this inebriated appeciation.
thanks to kbub6f

Serving type: bottle

06-07-2003 02:51:07 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of russpowell
russpowell

Oklahoma

4.08/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Cheers to Finnman for this 2007 vintage offering!

Pours an effervescent orange/caramel with a rapidly disappearing off-white head, that settles in as a layer of bubbles. some oily aspects to this as well as some haze at the bottom of the bottle.

S: Cakeyness & some dark fruit

T: Fruittyness (dark fruit & orange slices), honey dryness, raisins & much cakeyness up front. More dryness, a hint of pinapple,oranges, some lemony & piney hops. Finishes with piney, leafy & orangey hops, plus oakyness, cany sugar & caramel also there; almost pulled a 4.5

MF: somewhat chewy, with minimal carbonation, some slickness as well, balanced great

Drank really easy for the ABV & style, but should be consumed with caution, could prove a wolf in sheep's clothing.

American BW aspects showed up subtly versus in your face. I let this one warm up, quite a bit too prior to consumption, so this late game hop surge took me by suprise

Serving type: bottle

04-16-2008 05:17:53 | More by russpowell
Photo of Kegatron
Kegatron

Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev +1.8%

12-09-2013 23:42:55 | More by Kegatron
Photo of drabmuh
drabmuh

Maryland

4.13/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sent to me by JohnQVegas I'm pretty sure. Poured into my DFH signature glass. Beer is thick and amber with a big off white head of small and medium bubbles that leaves a lot of lacing on the glass. Beer was mostly clear before I poured the sediment into it, then it got cloudy.

Aroma is mostly malty and mildly hoppy. Pine hops, smells good.

Beer is thick and surprisingly not very sweet up front. There is some heat at the back and it finishes mildly dry, but doesn't dry me out. There is some mild sweetness in the mid to late palate. Minimal hop presence throughout. The more I drink the more the taste creeps forward. Its a pretty drinkable beer for its size, I'd say its well above average, I'd have it again.

Serving type: bottle

10-09-2010 04:23:11 | More by drabmuh
Photo of Mora2000
Mora2000

Texas

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.

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2010 04:05:34 | More by Mora2000
Photo of oline73
oline73

Maryland

3.75/5  rDev -4.6%

12-03-2013 03:36:18 | More by oline73
Photo of mdfb79
mdfb79

New York

3.35/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into my Duvel tulip. 2007 vintage. Received as an extra in a trade with SSW117; thanks Sam!

a - Pours a mahogany amber color with less than one inch of white head and very light carbonation evident.

s - Smells of caramel malts, dark fruits, sweet fruit and malts, and bready malts. Quite enjoyable.

t - Tastes of caramel malts, bready malts, dark fruit, and light alcohol. Tastes very watered down, which hurts it a bit. It doesn't taste bad at all, just watered down.

m - Medium body and no carbonation at all. Very smooth and creamy, unfortunately this beer is flat.

d - Considering this is 11.5% ABV, it is insanely drinkable. Not sure what happened to this one over the past 3 years, but it was somewhat flat and something seemed off in the taste; as I noted before, it seemed watered down. Would like to try a more recent vintage to compare it to, but probably wouldn't want to try a 2007 again.

Serving type: bottle

10-31-2010 00:31:40 | More by mdfb79
Photo of jwc215
jwc215

Wisconsin

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

Thanks to armock for this one!

2007 vintage, poured into snifter:

Pours hazed caramelish orange with a thin wisp of a head and a ring. Small dots of lacing stick.

The smell is of caramel, fruity rum-soaked dates (a hint of coconut?) with a piney/resiny/citric touch.

The taste is of caramel, fruity rum-like booze (touch of coconut?) with herbal notes. It has a growing bitterness, though this has been aged. Sharp finish, a bit chalky.

The feel is lighter than expected, though sharp and fairly coating. Low carbonation. I had left this one out to warm to room temp, hoping for more body - it grew a bit. On the syrupy side, though not too sticky.

A sipper - herbal bitterness mixes in as it goes despite the aging. Alcohol shows, but doesn't dominate.

Serving type: bottle

02-23-2009 23:32:07 | More by jwc215
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Sisyphus from Real Ale Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 550 ratings.