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Sisyphus - Real Ale Brewing Company


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very good

519 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 519
Reviews: 308
rAvg: 3.94
pDev: 12.44%

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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Photo of ChadQuest


3/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2010. Gregg AKA Hannydawg is the man. trade him all your whales.
Pour is a very clear, body is very light in color for what i was expecting, it is a sunburst orange and yellow color. only a small collar is lasting after the cap receded.
Aroma gives off oranges and spices, along with a malt background that balances wit some sweetness and caramels.
Flavors have a bit of a burnt caramel flavor, that slight charred note is easily identifiable, charrred toffee. only a bit of the 10.5% is noticable, the hops bring some balance with the orange notes.
mouthfeel is rather light in body but creamy and is a bit low in carbination for my standards.

An average barleywine, has a few things to work out and it could improve.

Serving type: bottle

09-12-2011 05:51:22 | More by ChadQuest
Photo of eclipse54


3.35/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A 12 ounce bottle that I won in an LIF put on by the generous turfy. He sent me a box of Texas-brewed products and included this 2010 bottle. Thank you! Into the DFH signature glass it goes...

A moderate pour yields about an inch of eggshell white heat, comprised of abundant tiny, nay, microscopic bubbles, atop a burnt orange and copper colored body. The body is rich enough in color to appear nearly opaque, giving off a warm, deep orange glow when held to the light of the computer screen. Legs of wet lacing are left clinging to the walls of the glass.

The smell is prominently of spicy hops, even having been stored this long, some caramel and toffee undertones, and bits of brown sugar. Really, the hops just carry this nose though.

The taste is strongly reminiscent of an older DIPA, with the hops leading on the tongue before some faint caramel takes hold. The toffee that was present in the nose really isn't noticeable on the tongue, and the taste is actually somewhat thin and watery. A warming alcohol presence finishes it off.

Mouth is much lighter than I expected for the style, being quite thin with seemingly little carbonation. Not bad, just unsuspected.

Overall, a decent American barleywine, but it certianly reminds me of why I like their English counterparts so much more.

Serving type: bottle

09-04-2011 23:23:21 | More by eclipse54
Photo of jale


3.8/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2009 bottle thanks to my great friend Eric.

A: Pours a thick cloudy amber with very little white lacing.

S: Sweet smelling malt with a hint of hops.

T: Initial sweet malt followed quickly by nice herbal hop bitterness. The alcohol is well hidden. I get a little grass in the finish.

M: Medium body with a small amount of carbonation.

O: Glad I was able to try this.

Serving type: bottle

08-25-2011 00:36:48 | More by jale
Photo of roodie


3.65/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2010 vintage, poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Great Divide goblet

A: pours a clear orangish brown with almost no head, no lacing, some legs when swirled.

S: malty vanilla, subtle and sweet. bitter hops round out the nose. enticing!

T: as with the nose, sweet and malty vanilla flavor, but a stronger hop presence at the end. very nice!

M: very smooth, due to lack of carbonation. hops linger on the tongue, sweetness is but a memory.

O: a great offering, one I'd seek out again, only wish there was more carbonation. I'd like to try a fresh one to see the true hop profile.

Serving type: bottle

08-17-2011 03:15:09 | More by roodie
Photo of bayougutter


4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle to a snifter, an aggressive pour yielded a large two inch white head that had great retention for abv. Color is a hazy golden color.

Smell is mostly sweet fig-date with some caramel- toffee in the mix. No real alcohol or hop aroma.

Taste is ripe dates, not as sweet as smell, with the caramel and toffee coming thru as well. No alcohol or hop on the palate either.

Mouthfeel is nice and creamy with the abv hidden well. Very drinkable but at 11.5 abv you had better watch it.

Overall a very good barley wine. Taste as if it had a year or two on it, smooth with the taste melding together well. Better than most, not as good as some. Worthy

Serving type: bottle

08-15-2011 01:02:20 | More by bayougutter
Photo of tjkinate


4.35/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a review of both 2009 and 2010 vintages in a 12oz bottle drank at different times, but comparing notes.

A: Pours a creamy, hazy, golden amber that produces a one and a half finger white frothy head. The 2010 produced a slightly larger head, but both colors were similar.

S: Caramel is the most dominant smell and is backed up with sweet heavy fruits. The 2010 has a more robust hop scent, although other scents are still present.

T: Both have slight initial bitterness more dominent in the 2010, but the bitterness is quickly replaced with a potent punch of caramel, plum, and apricot.

M: Medium bodied, fairly high carbonated, but still coats the throat without burning while it goes down.

O: Highly underrated Barleywine, I think that Real Ale has been perfecting their recipe over the years and now it is among the best of the variety. If you are a fan of Barleywines than I suggest you ask for one (or five) during your next trade with someone from texas. They're fairly abundant from what I can tell, just FYI.

Serving type: bottle

08-10-2011 17:36:35 | More by tjkinate
Photo of fatmcb1


3.9/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle from 09 poured into a wine glass

Pours a hazy golden color with a light white head. It leaves a ring and lacing stands strong despite the 13% abv.

Sweet carmely malt and brown sugar are up front. Toasty smell is in the background as well alcohol. A bit of citrusy hops creep in at the end.

Caramel sweetness dominates as it did in the nose. Hop bitterness is more pungent and provides a lasting aftertaste. The alcohol provides a serious warming affect. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, and sticky.

Overall, I enjoyed this beer a lot. It's the first 2+ year old barley wine I've had, so I don't have a ton of comparison. I would seek this out again.

Serving type: bottle

07-22-2011 04:43:54 | More by fatmcb1
Photo of SkipWeathers


4.35/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - brilliant red-orange color, almost luminescent; no head

S - very full; brown sugar, some tart citrus, bread, roasted tomato

T - about like it smells - really good. Caramel, roast, hops, wheat bread, some citrus notes

M - very velvety, not overly sweet but very satisfying, became a little less fizzy as the bottle emptied (drank in a goblet); alcohol noticeable but smooth

O - a diamond in the rough; must get more of this to age. It's not harsh or overly hopped like some barleywines. I'd love to try the French Oak aged barleywine, "Kraken."

Serving type: bottle

07-15-2011 02:27:28 | More by SkipWeathers
Photo of joefuzz

New York

5/5  rDev +26.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Reviewing 2009 and 2010 vintages side by side both sent to me as extras by a very generous Jefferz5000...Thanks Jeff

09-5- Pours a very nice hazy gold with a way larger than expected off white head for the ABV with great retetion.
10-5- Pours same hazy gold as as the 09 with a larger more suddy lumpy off white head great retention and lacing

09-5- Smells of apircots and sweet caramel with a suprising hop presence.
10-5- Fairly large hop presence for the style upfront with rasins and sweet toffe

09-5- Slight hop taste up front that quickly gives way to caramlized sugar and sweet plum tastes
10-4.5- Little larger hop taste than the 09 with lots of sweet candy sugary aftertaste not much fruit presence

09-5- Mouthfeel is perfect creamy and smooth the huge head led me to believe this would be pretty over carbonated but its just right.
10-4.5- Mouthfeel is pretty on point with a fresher barleywine not as creamy as the 09 and a little thinner and more carbonated but still pretty stellar

09-5- Overall very happy with this beer, one of the best barleywines i have had recently.
10-4.5- Overall great beer as well, prefer it with a little more age on it. its nice to see what a beer turns into with a little age.

Thanks again Jeff

Serving type: bottle

07-09-2011 05:56:46 | More by joefuzz
Photo of glid02


3.9/5  rDev -1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-01-2011 18:15:18 | More by glid02
Photo of TenHornsProud


4.22/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 Bottle

Pours a light orange/amber with a small amount of white head.

Smells of sweet, caramel malt and fruity hop. It has a nice bready smell.

Tastes of sweet malt, alcohol, and balanced up front bitterness. The taste is sweet, toasted malt with some lingering hop character. It's quite nice actually...really balanced.

It has a medium body with a sticky sweet character that is great for the style.

I actually like this quite a bit. The malt-forward profile, balance, and booze character is what I want when I think of a barleywine. This years was better than previous that I've had. Recommended.

Serving type: bottle

06-22-2011 01:33:46 | More by TenHornsProud
Photo of hdelavega


3.45/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2009 vintage poured from a bottle into a tulip glass, thanks to lnashsig.

An aggressive pour rendered about an inch head that sat atop this cloudy burnt orange brew.

The aroma on this 2009 brew is very mild for what I normaly encounter in an American barleywine, even after letting the brew warm up for awhile. I do get a slightly warm aroma of malt and barley, a bit of sweet fruit and carmalised sugar.

Taste is sweet with a suprising bitterness. The same carmalised sugars from the nose are apparent in the taste. I am surprised by the hoppy bitterness on this 3 year old beer. As the beer continues to warm the bitterness fades alittle and a sweet malty flavor starts to shine.

Mouth feel is pretty warm with a bright carbonation, and a warm and bitter finish.

Overall I enjoyed this brew but think it could use a couple more years on it.

Serving type: bottle

06-20-2011 06:15:28 | More by hdelavega
Photo of Brez07


4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2007 vintage. Thanks to callmemickey for sending this to me. 12oz bottle poured into a mini snifter

A: Pours a dark reddish-orange. Slightly murky. There is a scant amount of head that disappeared before the pour was finished. Swirling gets 1/4 inch, but that also leaves quick. No lacing left

S: After all this time, still has a decent hop presence. Definitely fading, but some citrus starts this off. Love the amount of dark fruit, specifically figs. Balancing this all out is a great amount of sweet bready malt. Pretty sure there is some chocolate here too

T: The nose is a perfect preview of this beer. Brief start from the hops, which have some citrus left but are mostly slighty bitter. Again, very balanced with the amount of malt, which has flavors of bread, caramel and raisin. Wet cardboard flavor in the finish, although given the time this has aged it doesn't have that much oxidation

M: Medium bodied. Not much carbonation left in this one, but enough to notice. Slight bitter hop and malt finish

D: A solid barleywine, that has aged well. Maybe a year past it's prime. Would like to try this fresh to see how far it's come

Serving type: bottle

06-19-2011 02:05:41 | More by Brez07
Photo of theboozecruise


3.68/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a goblet. Labeled as 2010 vintage.

It's a hazy deep orange color with hardly any head.

The aroma is rich with malty toffee notes and very warm. There's a little hop presence there but not insane.

The hops are much more strong on the tongue, very bitter with floral notes to start out the sip. The toffee malt is there but overpowered by the hops.

The bitter aftertaste leaves a slightly less than ideal mouthfeel.

A good barleywine but not the best I've tried.

Serving type: bottle

06-14-2011 03:26:01 | More by theboozecruise
Photo of DearthVader


3.73/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2010 vintage courtesy of kspongeworthy.

Poured aggressively into my Stone Old Guardian glass. The aggressive pour produced a tightly wound 1 1/2 finger head that was an off white color. The body is a beautiful murky burnt orange that glows brightly around the edges. Leaves tremendous lacing. Very nice start.

Smell is ok. The sweet caramel malts cover up a lot in the nose. I pick up the slightest bit of hops and orange peel when I really get a good swirl.

Upfront with the sweet caramel malts and definitely orange attributes in this one. Nice subtle orange peel bleeding into the slight hopped finish. I enjoy the after taste in this quite a bit. Its mostly of orange rind and slight burnt sugar.

Very nice feel for a barleywine. As smooth as I could ask for. This was still a little hot for me though. Probably could've let it sit for another 6 months and that would've been untraceable.

This was a decent offering of the style. Its good, but nothing to write home about. Always grateful to try beers I can't get here though, so thank you for the opportunity Hector.

Serving type: bottle

06-10-2011 05:24:12 | More by DearthVader
Photo of Phoptos


3.23/5  rDev -18%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Won in a "beer bracket" contest for March Madness. 2010 bottle.

A: Poured into my Pretty Things goblet. One finger off white head that fades fast to a thin lace. Rusty burnt brown color in the body.

S: Toffee with citrus caramel. An almost metallic tinge lingers a bit beyond the earthy sweetness.

T: The alcohol burn is pretty forward with the toffee and sweet dark fruit flavor coming out of it. The burn might be laid back a bit given some age but for now, even after about a year, the booze is anything but smooth. The guy sending it out said to give it a bit of time and I should have taken the advice a little more wisely.

M: Even after the booziness, the creamy smoothness is a nice surprise. The complex and rigid flavor gives way to a subtle dry sweetness that is actually quite pleasant.

O: Being that it's my fault not giving it enough time I can't be TOO harsh. That being said, the harshness of the booze is a bit much. Given time I'd like to try this again.

Serving type: bottle

05-21-2011 07:14:16 | More by Phoptos
Photo of depechemode1983


4.5/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Vintage 2009

A - Beautiful copper color with an fluffy off-white head that last an eternity. There are curtains of lacing all over the tulip glass. Also there are some particle floating around.

S - The nose is of sweet apricots, orange, a little bit of bitter grapefruit. Undertones or caramel, maple syrup and wood. Picking a slight alcohol scent as well. Amazing nose.

T - Very fruity taste. Sweet white grapes, sweet-sour apricot and bitter grapefruit. Along with some woody notes in the middle and a slight boozy finish

M - So damn creamy and so damn smooth. Bordering full bodied with medium carbonation. Coats the palate completely and evenly.

O - If I had regular access to this beer it would be a regular purchase. Worth more than the 3.99 I payed for the bottle. Excellent beer right here.

Serving type: bottle

05-18-2011 03:09:18 | More by depechemode1983
Photo of JayAre46


3.9/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 sisyphus poured into DFH snifter
A - Great amber color with some orange shining throughout the edges, product of a 1 finger egg shell colored head with good lacing.

A - caramel malts up front, hops are rather subtle, more strong caramel and toffee aromas in the back for the last impression

T - combination of toffee sweetness and caramel malt, light hop bitterness that pushes for balance. Biggest surprise was that their is not a lot of heat....

M - medium to full bodied, light carbonation very creamy pretty typical and expected. soothingly covers the palate with great ease.

O - Real Ale has a solid barleywine here, interested what some age will bring. Only a couple a day at most after I noticed the 11.5 abv Jesus Christ this beer could put you in danger with its easy drinkability. It is a definite American style barleywine although brewed with english malts.

Serving type: bottle

04-17-2011 01:05:05 | More by JayAre46
Photo of harrymel


3.03/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

vintage 2010

A: Pours a copper ale with excellent clarity. Medium sheet off-white head with rope lacing. Above avg.

S: Caramel, alcohol, sweet, sharp and little hops. What hops hang out are resiny and pine forward. Fairly simple. A slight hint of green apple skin.

T: Alcohol is a bit strong in this one. The beer is still hot, but has the beginnings of a sweetness and maltiness I enjoy in a well aged BW. The toffee is hiding in there somewhere. There's the slightest hint of vanilla at the back.

M: Medium body with Low carbonation. Middle of the road.

O: Decent BW, could use a little higher SRM to add to some of the malt potential on this beer. Okay. Not the best.

Serving type: bottle

03-29-2011 08:24:36 | More by harrymel
Photo of ejyoung


3.58/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Shared at a tasting with AZ BAs - thanks ottovon.

Poured a dark amber color with no head, lacing or much of anything to note. Just a trace amount of off-white bubbles on the surface.

Smelled of toffee and caramel with some citrusy hop that I caught every once in awhile.

Big toffee notes in the taste, finishing with a bite of bitter hop. Strong amount of alcohol too. Medium body with light carbonation.

Overall, I did enjoy this, but would like to try it with some age to lessen the alcohol presence.

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2011 22:14:39 | More by ejyoung
Photo of Phelps


3.9/5  rDev -1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed at a recent tasting of Arizona friends, this was poured from the bottle into a tulip. Made with five different strains of hops at a rate of two pounds per barrel, Sisyphus was Real Ale's first seasonal product.

Pours a light, rosy amber, perfectly clear, with almost no head and no lace, although there is a microscopic light tan ring.

The aroma is smoothly citrusy, with orange juice, grapefruit peel, caramel and toffee. Smooth, rich and citrusy, like caramel-coated orange slices.

In the flavor, hops drop off at first, replaced by heavy toffee and caramel. Then, orangey hop bitterness returns at the finish with lingering grapefruit. Surprisingly dry finish. Very boozy.

The medium-light body's a little thin. Lightly carbonated, with a very subtle fizziness as it moves. The 11 percent ABV blazes through the nose as well as in the flavor.

Overall, a rather malty barleywine. Not bad, but it seems like it needs a little time to mellow out.

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2011 07:59:59 | More by Phelps
Photo of Fenris244


2.73/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I've. Really been looking forward to having this on tap, finally got my chance with a 2010 version

Light amber in color, 2 finger head, decent retention

Sweet malty character in the aroma and some cherry notes, hops are present but in the aroma at least are subdued.
It's hot and hoppy with some malt on the finish, had one of these that was a few years old and this a far cry from that. Needs some age

Light in body, and smooth, the alcohol inhibits the drinkability and knowing what it could be hurts it as well. With 1- 2 of age it starts to drink fabulously, new however I'll pass

Serving type: on-tap

03-11-2011 01:59:03 | More by Fenris244
Photo of garbercury


3.55/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Beerwolf77 for knocking off another one of my wants, yeah Todd! 2008 bottle...

A--Nice amber hue to this one with sticky lacing that coats my snifter...

S--A little bit medicinal, hops, sweet nose.

T--Tad bitter and though the hops have faded, still present. Good flavor, really nice balance, the age has worked well.

M--Smooth, but a tad thin maybe.

D--Hot beer, would not be able to drink too much of this, but good version of this style, glad to have tried it...

Serving type: bottle

03-06-2011 18:53:35 | More by garbercury
Photo of TurdFurgison


4.63/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this on tap at the Petrol Station in Houston. It's a clear golden color with a thin cap of foam. The thin cap looks appropriate for an American barleywine, but the light color surprised me a little bit.

Really nice aroma, well hopped but not over-hopped. The hops come across as grassy, maybe a little floral, rather than citrusy. Really nice sweet malty notes beneath that, lighter rather than caramelly, maybe a hint of ethanol. Am I starting to come around to this style of beer, or is Sisyphus just my style of barleywine? Probably the latter more than the former. And probably due to a combination of non-citrusy hops and non-caramel malts.

Same in the flavor, this is excellent stuff. All kinds of delicious, there is just not a bad flavor in this barleywine. I so wish I had bought some bottles to take home, damn this is delicious.

As drinkable and approachable an American barleywine as I have come across. Highly recommended.

Serving type: on-tap

03-02-2011 01:18:29 | More by TurdFurgison
Photo of beerpirates


4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2007 vintage , 12oz poured into my stemware glass

It poured a clear amber color with a thin beige head that faded to a ring , very nice lacing , very thick brew

Aroma of sweet malts and a very nice fruity undertone, including hints of orange, apricot, and pear, with a light alcohol on the nose as well. Moderate caramel malts lead into a strong fruit presence consisting mostly of citrus (orange and apricot) giving way to a nice, bitter hop finish. Smooth on the palate, with a nice drying finish.

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2011 19:41:34 | More by beerpirates
Sisyphus from Real Ale Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 519 ratings.