Sisyphus - Real Ale Brewing Company
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Ratings: 561 | Reviews: 311 | Display Reviews Only:
4/5 rDev +1.5%
12oz. bottle thanks to MUSHROOMCLOUD
Pous a thick orange amber with a small white head that thins. Nice lacing on the glass.
Monster fruity aroma of citrus hops with a sticky sweet malt background. The booze becomes present as it warms.
Sweet and fruity upfront with a big citrus hop flavor. It leads into a caramel malty flavor as it finishes sweet with another blast of hops. The alcohol makes itself known as it warms.
Fat body, slightly syrupy. Good carbonation.
For such a big beer, it's rather drinkable. I wanted to let it sit another year, but curiosity got the best of me. Certainly a good American barleywine, that fans of the style should seek out. Definitely the most impressive beer I've had yet from the state of Texas.
09-27-2006 03:48:56 | More by MaltyGoodness
4.43/5 rDev +12.4%
On tap at Opal Devine's in Austin. Pours a deep hazy orangey amber with minimal head. Aroma is sweet with significant fruity hop. 11.5% is well hidden in the tasty malt/hop balance, tons of both. Not unlike a well aged Bigfoot. The best beer brewed in Texas? I can't think of one that's better.
09-20-2006 03:40:09 | More by apmurphy
3.58/5 rDev -9.1%
Traded this with HardTarget. Thank you very much!
When I opened the bottle I was overwhelmed by American hops.
Poured out in a pilsner glass, but I didn’t receive a head. There is some lacing on top, a very thin layer.
The colour is a dark misty peach. No carbonation present.
The odour gives a very strong hop odour, alcohol, spices (coriander) and orange peel.
Very deep hop tones, combined with malt and alcohol. Continues with dark chocolate and scotch orange marmalade.
The mouthfeel is very earthy and meat like.
The aftertaste is less on bitterness and more on mature tones. Oak wood, honey, dried orange peel, sea salt and earth.
Still struggling with the American hops, but I know a good brew when I taste one.
07-18-2006 21:23:30 | More by Bierschenker
3.83/5 rDev -2.8%
It is hard to believe that one year ago today (July 11th) I was sitting at my computer finishing a glass of Founders Devil Dancer. I thought it was a damn great beer. Moments later I got a phone call from my dad that my grandfather had taken a surprising turn for the worse. He died later that night. It is funny; Ill never forget Devil Dancer.
In the wake of my familys mourning and a delayed trip to Colorado I completed a trade with assurbanipaul. I dont even remember what we traded or how it came about. I do remember though, a bottle of Sisyphus 2005 with a hand-written note explaining this beer was adding to our trade in memory of my grandfather. I dont think I ever planned on saving it for a year, it just worked out that way. Well, one year later, on the day my grandfather died I finally opened and reviewed this beer.
Tawny-gold in hue with a smattering of amber as well, the liquid is slightly hazy; while far from turbid it is not clear either. The foam was a modest half-finger tall and the head retention was fairly poor as only after a moment or two all that remained was a thin soapy collar, naked in the middle. There wasnt any subsequent lacing to speak of. Overall, the appearance is right-on for the style but nothing all that special either.
The nose doesnt blast out of the glass as Id like a barleywine to do. I have to work for the aromas a bit but I finally detect a pleasant orangey-plumy fruitiness encased in caramel. Either the hops were never present or they have faded. The alcohol is also well-hidden. Based on the nose either this barleywine is going to bore me or shock me to the core with raw, restrained power that is for some reason, hidden. I am hoping for the latter because the bouquet is awfully soft spoken. What I smell is inviting.
The palate is very nice. It is not boring (thankfully!) but it isnt overbearing either. After a few sips I can sum up the palate as barleywine. This beer shows everything I love about the style. It has massive alcohol notes and equally large malt sweetness with plenty of devilish caramel. I like the fruitiness raisins, figs, dates, plums, oranges, and even a random apple. Candy heat near the finish, I swear there is a brief tickle of bitterness which fades back to sweetness for the aftertaste, which is also fairly hot (but in a good way). In some ways the palate is kind of restrained and tame but this beer is tasty nevertheless. This is not one of the better barleywines Ive tasted and yet it is the perfect beer to drink right now (even sentimental reasons aside). I mean regardless, this is a really solid barleywine.
About medium in body, kind of thin for the style but not detrimentally so; low, smooth carbonation the mouthfeel works well with this beer. Id like a richer feel but Im really picky with barleywines. I mean perfection is hard to attain putting a smile on my face is much easier. I am smiling like the Cheshire Cat.
Drinkable, yummy tasty as all hell but I do wonder if this wouldve been better fresh? Maybe not. Ill never know. Regardless, it was fitting I drink this one year removed. I like it very much but I think I like the gesture much more. Sometimes the pursuit of great beer is kind of silly and superficial but Ill never forget Sisyphus. Thank you again, assurbanipaul. This was a special beer from TX.
07-12-2006 18:24:54 | More by bditty187
4.15/5 rDev +5.3%
Thanks to kbub6f.
My first barley wine poured a very cloudy copper orange color... looks yellow on the sides of the glass. Minimal head but did leave some lace.
Fruity smells rise out of the glass. Grapes/bananas/pears yet candied or caramel like. I know it's still beer, but it does smell a little winelike. Something in there reminds me of Sake... maybe that's the alcohol.
A fruity sweetness comes first. Very hoppy and strong 10.7%
The bitterness doesn't stay long and it is well balanced.
The sweet flavor grabs every corner of the mouth for a split second then fades to a hop bitterness then a malty finish. Quite a sensation in the mouth.
Sip on this for a while, 'cause it packs a punch.
03-01-2006 22:03:16 | More by BeerRun13
4.18/5 rDev +6.1%
Thanks to hopdog for this...
Appears a hazy light orange with a small off white head.
Smell is of vanilla, oak, citrus, dark fruit, caramel, and tropical fruit.
Taste is of the same aromas.
Mouthfeel is warming but still slightly raw. I would recommend sitting on this for 2-3 years and hope it turns out like that vintage '03.
01-19-2006 18:36:18 | More by weeare138
4.43/5 rDev +12.4%
Apperance: Poured into a Brandy Snifter. This beer pours a gorgeous deep rust and cienna hue. A nice two and a half finger head rises and then recedes within five minutes to a beautiful half finger ring around the snifter.
Smell: A wonderful cirtis aroma permiates this brew. Candied citrus (tangerine and blood orange) Just magnificant piney citrus aromas going on here with an ample malt backbone to balance.
Taste: Wow this brew has soo much complexity. Huge sweetened citrus hops. Malts galore and a not too abrasive but definantly potent alcohol presence. Real Ale sure knows how to represent the state with this offering.
Mouthfeel: Huge beer. Coats my mouth with a sticky film. Oh so chewy. Big in every way but not over the top.
Drinkability: This beer is soo huge and flavorsome that I advise that you drink only one per sitting. My god I will need a case of this nectar it is soo good. Ultra quaffable for a Barleywine.
01-15-2006 23:17:07 | More by cheers2beers
4/5 rDev +1.5%
Pours a hazy deep amber color with a smaller cream colored head that falls slow, not much lace.
Aroma is caramel malt but lighter then the 04 version some nice fruit thrown in with citrus and piney hops.
Taste is malty caramel again not as big and full as the 04 but nice by itself. Orange, grapes, apricot some grapefruity hops with herbal hints that rise and fall along with some nice pine sap in the finish. Strange this 05 is not as bitter, hoppy, or big and chewy as the 04 know its a different recipe but.
Mouthfeel is a big medium approaching full with nice mellow carbonation.
Drinkability is good a nice barley wine from TxBeer. But if you can find any 04 you would be better off buying it all.
01-04-2006 17:30:30 | More by mntlover
4.22/5 rDev +7.1%
Pours a rusty orange color with a short white head that fades into a thick and heavy lace, coasting the walls of the glass as you drink. Nose is sweet fruity malts and quite floral hops. Fairly full-bodied and almost chewy in texture. Lots of juicy citrus fruit in the taste up front along with a bit of dark caramel followed by some bready notes. A strong blast of bitter raw hop leaf tannins and resins concludes the tasting, coating the tongue in a bitter oiliness until the next sip is taken. Very nice. Ive been letting this one age to mellow it out a bit and it still seems rather raw. Thanks to Bentley for the sample!
10-21-2005 03:06:49 | More by Morris729
3.43/5 rDev -12.9%
Pours a dull, hazy dark orange, virtually no head at all. Aroma is hoppy and sweet, almost butterscotch. (By the end of the glass, the beer is a crystal-clear, golden beauty, so I had to bump the appearance up a little.)
Taste is bitter, buttery and smooth. Hoppy caramel flavors, some biting bitterness on the back of the tongue with some unsweetened toffee flavors up front. Mild bready elements, maybe some yeasty bits, heavy candy orange flavors. Some raw, grainy flavors, like sweetened hops chewed like tobacco. Finish is sweeter and lingering, much more than at first taste.
Mouthfeel is heavy, pretty strong yet gentile, not really hot with alcohol but it's definitely a sipper. My impression is that of a hop-whiskey, which may or may not be so good, depending on your preference. Sat in my closet for a year before opening, can't say that aging has really tamed it too very much.
2004 vintage, 11.2% ABV.
09-02-2005 02:10:39 | More by assurbanipaul
4.05/5 rDev +2.8%
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.
08-22-2005 01:08:28 | More by warriorsoul
3.33/5 rDev -15.5%
Appearance: Very cloudy orangish brown color with a small dense head at first pour that fell pretty quickly to a small ring around the top of the beer.
Aroma: Boatloads of citrusy hops! There is definitely some malt in here, but the hops rule the aroma. They have more support from the alcohol derived spicy aromatics than they do from the malt.
Taste: Boy, this beer packs a wallop! There is a bunch of citrus that you notice at the first part of the profile. This is quickly replaced by an astringent bitterness that is both hop derived and from the alcohol. If you can manage to get over the alcohol, you can pick out a few other fruits like some mild plum and a hint of cherries. As it warms, you can notice the cherries more. Every sip leaves a warm feeling in the back of the throat.
Opinion: This is a no kidding around kind of beer! This beer comes across as big to me the whole way through. Dont get me wrong, I like big beers, but this one is almost over the top. The flavor is so assertive with hops right now that your palate is ringing...this doesnt let you taste much else. It would probably be pretty darn good after two+ years when the hop character mellows out to let the malt through.
08-12-2005 06:17:00 | More by SkeeterHawk
4.2/5 rDev +6.6%
Sisyphus pours a slightly hazy orange. There was no head just a ring that surrounded an ominous looking swirl that looked like a hurricane with one bubble in the middle that depicted the "eye" of the storm(no shit!!)
The smell is dominated by clean, fresh, tangy hops. Good sweet citrus aroma of orange/lime peel.
The taste moves from being tangy in the front, fruity in the middle, into a nice bitter hop finish. Balanced with a nice malty undertone, not over the top like some other American BW's.
This BW has good drinkability now and I think it will improve. Nice warming effect. The liquid is very smooth and it slides right down. Good local beer and one I look forward to having again.
08-11-2005 03:41:53 | More by MUSHROOMCLOUD
4.4/5 rDev +11.7%
Vintage 2005 poured from the 12 oz. bottle into a snifter.
Have previously sampled the 2003 and 2004, and find this to be the best of the bunch.
Appearance: cloudy, dark amber with a cream-colored head leaving moderate lacing.
Aroma: dark fruit, caramel malt, and hops.
Taste: More a classic American Barley Wine (has America been producing Barley Wine long enough to employ the term "classic?") than the previous vintages. Substantial malt presence this time around, and good malt/hop balance. The hop blend prevents me from picking out any individual variety with my limited skills in that area. It struck me as tasting more aged than previous offerings. The flavor seemed like a blend of Sierra Nevada Bigfoot and Bell's Third Coast Old Ale - and that's high praise in my opinion.
Mouthfeel: I would prefer a bit more body. I like my Barley Wines fairly syrupy in texture.
Drinkability: As concentrated as the flavor is, the overall effect is mellow and easy to quaff.
08-02-2005 15:22:12 | More by grumpy
4.6/5 rDev +16.8%
Bottle Inspection: Standard Real Ale brown 12 oz bottle, only real info is the 10.7% abv.
Aroma: Very hoppy, standard American Barley wine in that respect. Mostly citric and floral hop notes and the underlying butterscotch-like malt base. Not a whiff of alcohol.
Appearance: Thick amber orange glass that held a small white head longer than expected, but dropped to a thin collared and laced just a touch.
Flavor: Hops on top, but quickly fade away to a sweet pillow of sugary malt. It has just the slightest hint of alcohol that serves to intensify the flavors with spiciness, but has no burn whatsoever. Bright orange juice notes with an allspice and noble hop whispers.
Mouthfeel: Medium-heavy body with a thick syrupy texture. Alcohol slowly evaporates into a clean finish a good 15 seconds after the swallow.
Overall Impression: Man, DANGEROUSLY drinkable. One of the easiest barley wines in this respect. Have to consciously slow down and take enjoyable sips. Alcohol can be noted, but only in a playful way that seduces you into a happy buzz. Flavor is very enjoyable. Me want more. The 12 oz bottle went way too quickly. I normally like to age the Sisyphus a bit, but this one is a gem fresh.
Another reason to be proud of Texas brews!
Vintage 2007 (sampled July 2008)
Bottle Inspection: Considerable sediment at the bottom of the bottle. A careful pour into an oversized pint glass left most behind.
Aroma 4.5/5: Fairly phenolic, a musty floral element, heady with alcohol vapor and a caramel orange candy base.
Appearance 3.5/5: Dark amber copper, murky clarity, only a trace head with a thin halo.
Flavor 5/5: Dried citric peel, orange, lime, grapefruit, hops are still sappy and potent. This was made in the days when hops were cheap and barley plentiful. Real Ale house yeast comes through a bit. Malty caramel sweetness supports all the above and keeps everything fairly well balanced.
Mouthfeel 4.5/5: Medium heavy body dries quickly to an airy finish. Warm alcohol numbs a touch. Some carbonation holds through the glass, but the body grows and takes a syrup like quality which gets a bit phlegmy.
Overall Impression 5/5: Holding up nicely. Checked this bottle due to reports of problems with this batch; this bottle is just fine. Heavy handed, full flavored, lots of hop flavors holding, no oxidation noted, hope the rest in my cellar are fairing as well.
07-30-2005 04:43:12 | More by HardTarget
4.4/5 rDev +11.7%
Appearance Thick, hazy amber/copper.
Thin head with nice lace as the glass slowly empties.
Smell Sweet caramel-butterscotch with some raisin, date overtones
Taste A thick but balanced dancing sensation of sweet and bitter.
Those intimately familiar with Real Ales Full Moon Pale Rye Ale will detect a slight bite of rye in this in addition to a bit of hops.
The highlight is the sweetness, which will only get better with time.
Light bits of butterscotch and caramel highlight the malt overtones.
Mouthfeel Standard for a barleywine: thicker body, little carbonation with a slight warming sensation via the alcohol content.
Drinkability - Smooth with a slight edge due to the alcohol attack.
As Sisyphus warms, the edge lessens and the sweet flavors become more pronounced. I prefer the serving at 55 degrees fahrenheit.
Id recommend this after any grilled entrée but a nicely grilled steak would be best, its a good after dinner beer.
Beer Cellaring potential Sisyphus ages incredibly well. Ive had a 2yr.old bottle and it was rich with heavy butterscotch flavor, better than most new and aged barleywines Ive tasted. Wait a year at least as I've noticed no difference at 6 months.
06-22-2005 04:03:16 | More by beerdiablo
4.3/5 rDev +9.1%
Well, over the years I have heard many good things about this beer, but was not able to find it anywhere until TPoling showed up in Phoenix to interview the mayor, so we met up for a few pints at Papago, and of all the beers in the world, guess what he brung? Dats right a Sisyphus 05, and Hell Yeah I am going to drink it as its my 2000th beer on BA.
The beer after its reluctant departure from the 12-ounce bottle sets in my Stone Arrogant bastard glass as this bad boy deserves a special glass, a deep hazy orange with a minimal frothy light tan head and as it evanesces, the residual lazy a fine sheet to surround the glass. Nose is heavy with fusel alcohol, sweet with malt and hints of sugar, light hop spiciness also noted, and a sure presage of whats to come, start is sweet with a thick grain presence and the top middling in its feel to the palate. Finish is modestly acidic, the hops strong and the 10.7 percent ABV makes itself known in the dry and somewhat bitter aftertaste, a real hoot this one and one well worth waiting for, my thanks to Travis for this bottle, WOW!
06-02-2005 19:47:56 | More by Gusler
4.1/5 rDev +4.1%
Sampled the 2004 along with a 2005. This rating is the 2005 offering.
Appearance: Orangey and hazy (got the bottom half of the sample this time).
Smell: Similar to his older brother, however this one has a more floral hop outline, with a bit of pineapple and honey along with the caramel.
Taste: This one the malt took a back seat, the sharp finish is a lot more pronounced, on that teetering limit between Barleywines and I2PAs. Not that this is a bad thing, mind you. It's filling, rich, and displays a creamyness as you swallow but once it goes by your uvula the gripping bitter aftertaste lasts a good long time.
05-30-2005 00:27:28 | More by Goldorak
3.55/5 rDev -9.9%
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.
04-30-2005 22:14:59 | More by OldFrothingSlosh
4.9/5 rDev +24.4%
2005 vintage, fresh.
The head is small, thick and creamy white. The beer is amber-copper-brownish and a touch hazy. Wow! Huge, sweet, buttery, caramel, syrup, fruity nose. Unbe-freakin-lievable. Sweet butter-caramel syrup in front. Super thick, fruity, caramel middle. Substantially bitter finish with alcohol kick. A very bitter aftertaste. Man, this is freaking awesome: so buttery, caramely. Sweet, but not too sweet for me (I'm pretty sensitive to over-sweet beers). Big hoppy finish. Absolutely fantastic.
04-18-2005 21:46:53 | More by kbub6f
3.88/5 rDev -1.5%
Appearance - 2005 batch, with silver label and red lettering. Slightly hazy, light to medium amber in color, with hints of copper. Thin head, but good retention. Not much lace to speak of.
Smell - This one is mostly about the malt. I cannot detect a hoppy smell, but there is an unusual fruitiness to it - like papaya and (red) apples mixed together.
Taste - Strong bitterness follows a tropical fruity taste. Quite strange, but tasty. There is distinct alcohol flavor as well.
Mouthfeel - Thick body, and sticky, with light carbonation. Good for am American Barely Wine.
Drinkability - Smooth overall, despite the kick of alcohol. It gets better as it warms.
Comments - This beer makes me think of lightly fizzy apple juice blended well with alcohol (without being cidery). This stuff should improve well with age (and the taste score will probably go up as well).
04-13-2005 03:21:25 | More by mgdeth
3.98/5 rDev +1%
Finding good craft beer in Texas, or any state your not familiar with, is like being condemmed to the futile and hopeless labor of Sisyphus, who was thought by Homer, to be the wisest and most prudent of mortals.
Not as wise, perhaps, I found beer available only in 6 packs. Consuming 6 Lone Stars, 6 Pearls, 6 Ziegen Bocks (AB), 6 Shiner Bocks, 6 Shiner Blondes - I nodded off wondering if this was hades - Texas heat and thirst and only hopeless beer (by the six-pack) that was drinkable only by virtue of ardent labors.
When I returned from nearby San Antonio's Central Market / H.E.B. (AKA Gucci-B) with singles of local craft brew, I felt like Pluto had permitted me to return to the joys of sea shores, warm sands and springtime sun. The 2005 Vintage 10.7 ABV pours a murky tea color. Stong hops in the aroma with, of course, alcohol. Satisfying medium to heavy mouthfeel in its rough but big bold Malt and citrus 'Cascade' hop blend that for at least an hour put Death in chains. A very drinkable barleywine that probably wants 6 months more aging.
I highly reccomend you try it.
Tomorrow's visit to Brooks Army Medical Center would soon reveal why Pluto, not able to endure the sight of a deserted, silent hades, dispatched the god of war to liberate Death. Our young soldiers returning from Iraq were hanging out to enjoy the warm spring sun. Upstairs WWII, Korea, and Viet Nam vets struggled with their horrors of past battles as they contemplated their death.
Like Sisyphus with his stone at the top of the mountain, no longer able to hold on - the enevitable force of gravity wrestles life from our grasp.
04-08-2005 21:16:31 | More by karst
3.75/5 rDev -4.8%
Pours a yellow'golden copper with a small off-white head that fades to nothing. Spots of lace stay on the edge of the glass.
Aroma is caramel syrup, dark citrus fruits, dates and figs and a hint of grainy alcohol. A really resined hop note also appears as it warms.
Flavor is citrus fruits, caramel and spicy hops.
Mouthfeel is actually a tight light for style. Just doesn't cover the palate the way I would expect but does leave a sharp alcohol hint of the finish almost like a vodka shot. Pretty strange actually. Sweetness really starts to overtake the sharp resined bittering as it warms
Drinkability is good. Really well constructed ale, with some more work this beer has serious potential.
03-27-2005 03:40:04 | More by CRJMellor
4.13/5 rDev +4.8%
Obtained this in a trade from HardTarget. Thanks for letting me sample this tasty brew!
Appearance: Pours a syrupy cloudy amber with a wispy thin white head.
Smell: Mayple syrup, sweet dried cheeries, rum, and raisins. Good smelling stuff.
Taste: Syrup and raisins, dried peaches, and honey. Sweet but not cloying with a tight dry finish. Some cloves or slightly bittering hops leave a nice aftertaste.
Mouthfeel: Thick and slightly carbonated. Coats the throat and warms the cockles.
Drinkability: Suffers some just because it's a big beer. This one should be sipped and enjoyed like a fine port. This is a fine barleywine.
Thanks again to HardTarget for exposing me to all the wonderful beers at Real Ale!
03-05-2005 19:05:06 | More by mattcrill
4.2/5 rDev +6.6%
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!
01-18-2005 01:29:23 | More by NeroFiddled
Sisyphus from Real Ale Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 561 ratings.