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Sisyphus - Real Ale Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

591 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 591
Reviews: 317
rAvg: 3.94
pDev: 12.44%
Wants: 42
Gots: 126 | 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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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 591 | Reviews: 317 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jordoo
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this one in a trade with mhewes, thanks!

12oz bottle poored into beer mug.

Huge everlasting head for a barley wine nice lacing as well. Comes off as a deep amber with red hughes sporting a hazey look. Smells very nice, floral and piney notes right away with fruity hops and heavy sugary sweet carmal malts smell. Little bread/biskut as well. Beautifully ballanced flavor throughout everything in the nose comes into play. Very thick on the palate yet still drinkable for a barley wine.

Photo of alexgash
1.58/5  rDev -59.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

12 oz. bottle. 2007 edition.

Pours a semi-cloudy apricot copper. Thick, creamy, rocky, light beige head. Nose is fruity, but in a tart sort of way. Medicinal notes. Some caramel. Forgot to mention that there are little white spots on in the foamy head. Hmmm...could this be infected? Let's see. Yep. Big time band-aid and fusel alcohol flavors. Astringent, electrical fire bitterness. Blechh! Sorry, but this is a drainpour.

Photo of champ103
4.53/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I love this beer. This is a composite of several vintages. 2007-2009. Just a wonderful beer that ages with the best of them.

A: Pours a beautiful hazy orange color. A one finger white head gently rises and sticks around for a minute. The foam gently recedes to a ring that sticks throughout. Light lace.
S: Oh man the smell is wonderful. Citrus hops but not overly bitter. Tons of dark malt and dark fruit to make the mouth water.
T: 09: Fresh this is has a Bigfoot like hoppiness. This really mellows and lots of complexities come out as time goes on though.
08: A lot more passion fruits come out. Pineapple, melons, and citrus. A bit more malty toasted flavors are coming out.
07: Tons of dark fruit, and toasted malt. Some chocolate and toffee as well. Ever year is something new.
M/D: A big thick and full body that is very creamy. It is a bit syrupy as well. Fresh the heat is a bit much, but really mellows with less than a year. A treat to sip on.

A really complex beer that I love. A seasonal release that I garb a bunch of every year to enjoy fresh, and age for later. One of the best beers made in Texas. Highly recommended.

Photo of Tilley4
3.7/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to yonderwanderer and hopsleeroy for bottles of this one..

Pours out a typical murky brownish barleywine appearance, not much of a head but at 11%, I wasn't expecting much...

Weakest point of the brew here... Not bad, but not...anything...nosweet malts, no pungent hops, not much of anything...

Nice balance of sweet malts and spicy hops make me forget the non existent aroma... Different than most barleywines I've had but in a good way..

Pretty good little brew here... A good solid little barleywine..

Photo of tpd975
3.63/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Joey R and ibrew2or3 for this one.

A: Pours a cloudy murky orange brown color with a nice big bold head.

S: Wow how can a brewer meld one of the best with one of the worst scents in a beer. The aroma starts of very floral and candy like. Kind of like jasmine laced cotton candy. Just as I am enjoying the flowery sweetness BAM... Cat piss over takes me.

T: Not your average barleywine which to me normally is a good thing. Nice floral flavors with a blast of malt and candied fruit sweetness.

M: Full bodied and smooth.

D: Hmm I am not sure about this one. I think most of the group at the tasting hated it, but I liked it. I have to admit the cat piss aroma is hard to get by but it's a rather unique tasting barleywine.

Photo of JonathanL7890
4.05/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Figured I'd audit my stock of 2007 Sisyphys and I was surprised that I hadn't reviewed it.

Poured into a pint glass. 1 finger head lasted about 3-5 minutes before dissipating. Left good lacing around the glass. Color is a deep amber -- similar to a pale ale. There was some sediment floating around in the glass.

Aroma: I get Gummy bears. Floral, cotton candy. Becomes more citrusy as it warms up.

Taste is very nice. The hops blend nicely with the sweetness of the malt to give a good balance. A little caramel in it.

Moutfeel; nice silky mouthfeel. A nice bit of carbonation to lighten it up.

Drinkability : Very easy drinking for a barleywine.

The only defect I see in this beer is the strange sweetness in the aroma.

Photo of ttu94
4.3/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pretty solid beer. Pours a heavy orange color with small to no head. Love the smell. Full of hops I would almost call this a double IPA but whatever. Very solid tasting brew. Lots of hops followed by some very very nice understated citrus tones. Really a good beer in almost all aspects the ABV is too high but oh well what the hell I'm going to bed now anyway. Best thing made by this brewery by far.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.45/5  rDev -12.4%
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.

Photo of Vancer
3.1/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to YonderWanderer for the brew sent as we BIF race, 2008!
Even at 11%, this brew had a massive tan head on top of a hazy amber.
But the aroma and quaff on this one were quite baffling, lots of soapy woody citrus - I've never had a Barleywine with these aspects. I have to really concentrate to pull some fruit through the soap suds.
Strange brew, and from the reviews, I must have got a weird bottle.

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

2007 Version - Pours a deep a red/orange color with an average head, and below average lacing and slighty under carbonated. Smells of citrus and bitter hops. Tastes of rich malts complemented nicely with a lot of hops. The 11.5% ABV is very well hidden. A great beer.

Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%
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 armock
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured a dark amber color with a tan head that leaves lacing

S - Is of citrus, fruits, hops, and a touch of alcohol

T - Some alcohol bite then the sweet malt comes through and fruit flavors

M - This has a thicker body with medium carbonation to it

D - This is only the second Barley Wine that I've tried and I must say that its pretty damn good I've had it a few other times since I first took notes and I'll be getting more of it again

Photo of wcudwight
4.1/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to wolfman17.
Copper/amber in color with some gold and orange hues. Nice coloration. Large sticky ivory colored head. Recedes and holds at about 1/2". Sticky tight lacing.
Caramel malt and orange juice in the aroma. Also has a creamy smell to it. Maybe orange sherbert.
Big full malty taste. Sugar cane. Tangerine. Also a bit of hop sharpness and alcohol burn in the finish. I love the way the flavors of this one melts together. Very flavorful and balanced like Bigfoot but a completely different beast.
Slick oily mouthfeel but not as filling as other barleywines which I like.
It doesn't taste like an 11.5% beer but it's still an 11.5% beer so watch out.
Very nice barleywine. One of the better ones I've had.

Photo of DaPeculierDane
4/5  rDev +1.5%
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 russpowell
4.08/5  rDev +3.6%
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

Photo of stumac
4.72/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2007, aged, cracked open April '08

Pours a murky orange with very delayed, great ivory colored 1 inch head. Head quickly melts away into an uneven layer of bubbles. Great lace staying all over my Duvel glass. The weight of this beer is tremendous and obviously screaming "I'm so damn full bodied!"
Aromatics of faint, citrusy hops, sweet malt characters, notes of caramel.
Taste is great! Light tangerine flavor, sweet caramel that sticks to your lips, slight spicy hops, floral hops, slight alcohol spice, mellow carbonation, long long long lingering finish.
A great beer. Masks the high alcohol fantastically. You can tell that aging this beer for a really long time will be in order. Snatch the '07 while you still can!

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

Thanks to turbine2475 for the bottle. Pours thick and viscous and a beautiful dark orange color. Very little head but excellent lacing. I wonder if the brewery has some quality issues with this brew. Some of the reviews seem to be reviewing a different beer, and I had this last weekend at the brickstore where there was a pronounced band-aid taste. Happily, my 2007 bottle is clean and fresh tasting. Nice aromas of sweet citrus and honey, but a little light. The taste has more oomph, with the same sweet orange and honey, but with more vibrancy and the addition of some floral flavors reminiscent of wildflower honey. Not overly sweet, as there is a nice bitter flavor to balance on the finish. The mouthfeel is smooth, abit sweet, but very clean and not sticky at all. Quite nice, a pleasure to drink, and no hotness at all even with the fairly big abv.

Photo of mikesgroove
3.6/5  rDev -8.6%
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.

Photo of Atlas1
4.05/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I'm not sure what a barleywine style brew from the Texas hill country has to do with a character from Greek mythology who's punishment from the gods was to roll a huge boulder up a hill for eternity. But let's see.

The Sisyphus pours a pretty copper-orange color with some reddish hues. Thick two-finger head on top with lots of sticky residue lace. The nose holds scents of candied fruit. Strongly malted strawberry and orange. Bold and sweet, with a funky hop scent lingering somewhere in there. Yeah, this smells good, but perhaps a bit too sweet for some. Tastes delicious. Strong but not boozy. Sweet and malty, but with a very nice balance of hops and spice. Lots of dark fruits. Some pleasant tanginess as well. Mouthfeel is thick and creamy.

Definitely the best beer I've had from Real Ale BC. Not that they do any bad beers, but the Sisyphus is a rung higher on their ladder than the others. A fine example of the American Barleywine. Seek this out and give it a try.

Photo of ArrogantB
3.88/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I got a couple of 2007 bottles in a recent trade with mhewes, thanks. Nice simple label, hopefully the beer speaks for itself. The color is a nice cloudy orange and has smells like candy, cherries and syrup, a slight bit of fumes. The flavor is interesting at first and then a little medicinal,aspirin and then hoppy bitterness. It seems hot but it does have a nice cinnamon flavor which is weird and as it wamrs it starts to taste better. It feels warming once it hits the stomach. I am going to let the other bottle sit for awhile to see if this tames it down some.

Photo of Jwale73
3.48/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to JDV for the opportunity to try this one.
Served in my DFH snifter. Poured burnt-orange/copper in color. Quarter-inch off-white head with copious ringlets settled into a thin an oily swirl; no lacing. Scent is sugary sweet, with dark fruit (raisins/prunes) and a slight bready quality. Taste similar to nose (so sugary sweet) as well as a hint of caramel. Extremely viscous mouthfeel, almost syrupy, followed by a little bitterness at the finish. Drinkability is somewhat limited by it's consistency and abv, which was surprisingly well-hidden.

Photo of Overlord
4.43/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

What a sweet, sweet, nectar. Thanks for the trade!

Pours a bright amber/orange. Not much head (maybe a thin white rim). Some lacing. Mouthfeel is thick and syrupy. Not much carbonation.

Smells like sweet/dark fruits with caramel malt. My favorite combination! The taste adds a bit of hops to the sweet fruit backbone. The malt is robust, and caramel-ly. The flavor adds in dark roasted fruits: plums, figs, etc. There may be some tropics in here, too. Mangoes come to mind.


Photo of Bitterbill
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I got this in a trade with JDV. Thanks Deniz!

This is the 2007 vintage:

It pours a clear deep amber/copper with about a 1" head of foam from a vigorous pour. Good lacing here.

The smell is very fruity(dark fruit) and yeasty?
I also get a touch of cramel and some alcohol.

The taste is loaded with dark fruit...plum, black cherry, some fig, and they're pretty tart but tasty but I also get some sweetish notes from the malt and some tobbaco. Nice. I think this is the fruitiest BWSA I've tried so far and it's a nice slant on the style me thinks.

The mouthfeel is kind of on the thin side and the carbonation is low(appropriate for a BWSA)and it finishes on the tart side because of the dark fruit. Pretty tasty fresh and I could see this would be interesting as to where it would go with a bit of aging on it. I'm certainly glad I got the chance to try it!

Photo of Risser09
4.05/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a wine glass - 2007 bottling - Cellar temp

Appearance: Pours a semi cloudy brown with orange highlights. " ivory head with good retention. The lace is sticky and clings to the glass with every sip.

Smell: Strong, sweet caramel, dark fruits of plum, fig, raisin soaked in dark rum. Smells like an aged JW Lees. Dark cherry os a very strong aroma. Very authentic and biscuity.

Taste: Strong tobacco and leather, immensely malted beer has just enough sugar not to be cloying. Bitter coffee finish mixes with an alcohol burn. Slight fruit flavors of cherry and raisin.

Mouthfeel: A big bodied beer with lots of chewiness and biscuity goodness. Alcohol is high and noticable, it provides a nice burn.

Drinkability: This is a sipper, if the taste matched the aroma, it would be a much better beer. I wish I had another one to lay down for awhile. Worth a try!

Photo of DIM
4.45/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

note: This was the 2007 vintage.

a: This poor over-worked bastard is a somewhat clear reddish copper color; lighter than most barleywines. It pours with a thin light tan head that can be revived by a vigorous swirl.

s: Subtle aromas of piney hops and alcohol. Big sweet fruit smells of raisins and plums soaked in brandy. This one is sugary, bitter, and bit sour all at the same time.

t: Very ripe dark fruit flavors dominate, raisins, plums, and cherries. All are sugary and tart at the same time. It has a nicely balanced pine hop finish, along with some very welcome warming alcohol.

m: This is one of the most viscous barleywines I've tried. Fantastic body and some well done subtle carbonation.

d: Big thanks to JDV for the chance to try this one. One of the best so far for me.

Sisyphus from Real Ale Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 591 ratings.