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Schlafly Reserve - Barleywine Style Ale - The Schlafly Tap Room

Not Rated.
Schlafly Reserve - Barleywine Style AleSchlafly Reserve - Barleywine Style Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

257 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 257
Hads: 485
Avg: 3.98
pDev: 12.81%
Wants: 42
Gots: 105 | FT: 4
Brewed by:
The Schlafly Tap Room visit their website
Missouri, United States

Style | ABV
English Barleywine |  10.20% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: maxpower on 11-22-2002

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

English-style Barleywine aged on Missouri white oak.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 257 | Hads: 485
Photo of pmcadamis
4.82/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this one at the taproom in STL.

A - Served in a snifter, this one is a ruby brown hue, clear with a one finger khaki head.

S - Bourbon, freshly cut wood, BBQ, sugar, and apple cider.

T - Big time hops are very fruity and biting. Lots of piny flavors too. The malts are an equal match for the hops and remind me of a good single malt.

M - Full bodied and muscular on the palate. Heavy and weighty, but spry and lithe due to the alcohol attenuation and massive hop attack.

D - Very drinkable! The ABV might put you on the floor, but this is an outstanding sipping beer that might even be sessionable as long as a session is defined as two or three.

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Photo of ericburnley
4.82/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've had the 2004 and 2005 versions of this limited edition brew only available on tap at the Tap Room (this year it was not even available at the new Maplewood Schlafly Bottleworks bottling plant, only at the downtown location), and I will make an effort to grab a growler or two each year now.

The beer is not quite as heavy as some barleywines I've had (probably mainly due to the style difference in English Barleywines like Old Nick), but does certainly pack a punch. It has a wonderful lighter copper/burgundy color and a well balanced large malt/hop character (to style for American Barleywine), with a fruity sweet hop twinge that keeps me coming back (definite hop head, i am). The closest well-known beer that comes to mind is Arrogant Bastard- a really similar flavor, but with a bit more kick. A definite must for the St. Louis winters, even if they sometimes aren't that cold. Plus, a growler of this Barleywine costs the same as a growler of any other brew so it's some of the most cost effective Barleywine available. Perhaps its popularity will grow and necessitate a seasonal bottling?

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Photo of humanawho
4.82/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2006 Vintage sampled in 2009; a good amount smoother than the fresh version

A - nice dark amber almost ruby color with a good off white head and fair lacing

S - lots of caramel and sugar on the nose some apple aromas reminds me of the taste of dried apple some raspberry as well, good and complex

T - the caramel dominates the back end but there is a strong sweet red apple flavor and some raspberry flavors, very heavy feeling to these flavors that normal feel light; just a hint of the heat

M - nice and heavy like i expect and lively carbonation

D - very drinkable even with the high sweetness

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Photo of wagenvolks
4.64/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This bottle has been on quite a trip. I purchased it in St. Louis while there for my girlfriend's college graduation. Driven to Nashville via her parents while I went on a dig in New Mexico. Then, two weeks ago, her parents brought it to me in Raleigh, NC, as my girlfriend had forgotten it when she first moved out here. From there, I brought it to Huntington, WV where it was shared with my friend Josh (aka trep) after the WVU-Marshall "game". Phew...

2006 Bottle poured into an oversized wine glass.

Pours a dark, brown-amber body with hints of ruby red and a thin, tan head. Amazing retention, despite the dearth of foam. Aroma packs a smooth, vanilla nuttiness with a great hoppy balance. Notes of almond, chestnut, spices, fig, raisin, and alcohol blend together perfectly.

I was expecting alot of hops out of this barleywine, but there were none to be detected. And pleasantly so, despite the fact that I'm a huge hop head. The flavor was full of honey & vanilla, with sweeter notes of white chocolate, marshmallow, and yogurt-covered peanuts. Mouthfeel was smooth and well-carbonated for a beer packing a 10.2% ABV. I'm lovin' the oaken finish, too. This is probably the most drinkable barleywine I've ever tasted. It's complex, it's flavorful, it's....I could go on and on. Do not pass this by if you're ever in the St. Louis area. In fact, I might have to make a trip back out just to get another bottle or two.

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Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.63/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2007 vintage. Thanks to xmarcnolanx for this one.

Pours a clear amber/ruby with a big white frothy head. Smell is hop dominant but malts are clearly present, some unique sort of woody smell in here too. This is oak aged, but it smells like maybe the barrels were fresh wood, unused. This is a very crisp and clean american barleywine with great flavor. citrus/pine hops are nice and clean, but not rip your palate into thirds type of hoppiness. Very very balanced with the malts. There is a kind of light flavor to this which i dig. Hop flavors rise on the finish and aftertaste, and the wood also makes its presence known here much more than in the nose. mouthfeel is on the thin side of things, but still very nice. The abv is absolutely undetectable here. This could be the smoothest american barleywine I've had. Very drinkable. Great, great beer! can't wait to see how the other bottle develops. Can't wait to try the impy stout! Radical. Props to Schlafly and a big thanks to marc for this one!

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Photo of TMB0424
4.63/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

1 pint 9.4 fl oz poured into pint glass.

Pours an intensely hazy caramel/honey colored body with a HUGE creamy, bubbly slightly off-white head. Pillow-like head retains fantastically, leaving tons of lacing along my glass. Absolutely delicious looking.

Smells of spiced up vanilla, with slight oak in there. Rich, liquor-like as well... can definitely sense this was aged in oak if it wasn't labeled. Outstanding smelling. An easy way to sum up the smell is of a freshly baked vanilla cake. Wow.

Taste is out of this world. Creamy vanilla, smooth caramel malts attack right away - followed by a slightly citrus-like, oaky, bourbon warmth. It finishes with a welcomed bitterness from the hops. Absolutely 100% perfectly balanced. Delicious. The hops are ever so delicate but bring such a great aspect to this brew. Carbonation is medium and it fits very well.

Feels creamy, crisp, and smooth on the palate, despite the ABV. It provides a little kick and nice warmth, but nothing overpowering. Thick, full-bodied brew - but in a very good way. Goes down extremely well - perfect sipper. Words cannot describe this beer... it's so complex it's an adventure. I picked this and the Reserve Imperial Stout up and I can't wait to try the Imp. Overall, this is a must buy. Top brew and top barleywine.

Edit: After this brew warmed up a few degrees, the previously mentioned flavors became accompanied by a nice honey character I didn't pick up before. Even better.

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Photo of OzarkElmo
4.6/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Drank August 7, 2009. Pours hazy amber in color with beige head. Sweet tastes of caramel, hops, oak, vanilla and a well-rounded beer. Smooth but yet full of various flavors. The alcohol is there, but hidden nicely through the finish. The second glass was even better than the first - a very good barley wine IMO - Cheers!

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Photo of beveritt
4.59/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Poured from 750 ml brown bottle with screen printed label into a Duvel chalice. This bottle is from 2008, picked it up in TN on a trip south a year or so back.

Appearance: Pours with 1/2 finger of medium tan head. This settles, eventually leaving behind the island of foam above the nucleation point as well as a ring around the glass.The beer itself is muddy brown and completely opaque.

Smell: Intense aroma; sweet caramel malt with strong notes of apricots and an oaky, tannic finish. Quite possibly one of the best smelling beers I have had the pleasure of sniffing!

Taste: Sweet caramel malt upfront with undertones of strawberries and apricots. Hints of honey in the bready malt. Finishes with an impressively high hop bitterness, especially considering its 3-4 year age.

Mouthfeel: Average carbonation level. Body is great; incredibly thick and viscous.

Drinkability: A great barleywine; one of my favorite. Which is good, because a 750 is a lot for one guy.

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Photo of seagis
4.59/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This has to be one of the best barleywines I think I've ever had.

I poured this from a bomber into a standard pub glass to sample with no food to alter my taste sensations. Just me and the beer, as it should be.

Appearance: Not as dark as some others but still nice. It poured up a very nice, ruby tone. It would be a nice color to paint the walls in my man cave. Let's put it that way. :-)

Smell: Indescribably good. There was a certain aroma that was very, very prominent that I couldn't quite put my finger on. I, quite literally, sat there for 10 minutes before I figured it out. I finally determined that it is a blend of caramel and what I believe to be cherries. Someone needs to manufacture a perfume that smells like this beer. They'd be billionaires within a week's time. I guarantee it. This is *the* greatest smelling beer I've ever purchased.

Taste: Very good. Despite the reasonably high (yet normal for a beer of this style) ABV, there aren't really any astringent characteristics at all. There is an undercurrent of something earthy. I can't quite put my finger on what it is, but it isn't unpleasant. Its quite nice, actually. The same caramel and cherry tones that are so prominent in the smell are right there in the front as you taste it, but as you savor the taste it begins to rather fade into this solid, earthy taste that really helps to round out the flavor quite well.

Mouthfeel: Very good. Not thin at all, but not so full that you feel overpowered with every sip. It certainly isn't something you'd want to knock back quickly, but what barleywine really is, though? The feel of it is juuust heavy enough to make you *want* to savor it over a longer period. This isn't your standard barleywine.

Overall, I'm very, very impressed with this. Barleywine is one of my all-time favorite styles of beer, so I'm typically hard-pressed to find fault with most of them. Just the same, however, this one reallly - and I mean *really* - takes the cake. It's worth every penny you spend on it. I promise you that.

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Photo of karst
4.58/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Nearly perfect appearance as far as can be determined in the confinds of the St. Louis City Museum (11% ABV according to brewmeister) @ Schlafly's Winterfest. Truly awsome Barleywind. Its aroma of blended hops, malt, and fruit to its full spectrum of blended tastes - that should only improve with age! Well worth the trouble of driving 100+ miles to taste. One of the top styles loved by many that I talked with. Believe it or not the Burbon Stout surpasses it IMHO !

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Photo of pwoods
4.57/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 capped brown bottle, purchased from Party Town, poured into a tulip. Bottle from '07

A: Pours a glowing amber-orange with some deeper tinting. Medium head forms a bit frothy but has some retention before falling out. Leaves basically no lacing.

S: Lots of alcoholic dark fruits. Alcohol isn't too pungent or sharp, but nicely aged. American hops have been dulled and rounded out. Sweet but balanced.

T/M: Very tasty. The oak has done very nicely. Woody and earthy, a touch of the standard vanilla mixes in well with the pleasantly sweet malts. The alcohol has definitely gained further depth from the wood as well. The hops have a bit of bitterness left in them but have mostly rounded out and melded together nicely to make a wonderful boozy, fruity concoction. Cherries, fleshy plums, tangerines, mango, maybe a touch of less-acidic-than-average grapefruit. Body is medium full with smooth carbonation.

D: ABV is up there a bit, as is normal for the style, and the alcohol is proudly part of the mix, but pleasantly so. Drinkability could be dangerous :)

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Photo of ekardz
4.57/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2009 edition, picked up last year in Kansas City, been sitting on it for a bit.

Pours a deep reddish brown with little to no head, very hazy, average carbonation, looks delicious, and doesn't stop there. Smells of dark fruits, plums & raisins, boozy, some bourbon, picking up some oak and vanilla notes, smells of strong malts with some floral and resiny hops. Taste oak from the get go again with bready malt, bourbon, figs and raisins very sweet yet mellow. Mouthfeel is almost medium bodied, a little lighter than I would've liked. Slight dry finish with a slight booze burn, beer appears to have mellowed nicely, light carbonation. Awesome drinkability, good price, would love to try a different years vintage soon. Strong beer and you feel it fast. Highly recommended.

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Photo of PTB25
4.56/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I poured this one from the 750 ml bottle into a pint - drank about 13 oz and shared the rest.

A - Big and red with some haze. Looked bold and awesome.

S - Mostly fruit, a good idea of the taste.

T - Wonderful. Big malts with a distinct taste of raisins. The maltiness was almost effervescent. Very smooth on the back end, I just wanted to keep tasting it forever.

M - Like the taste, out of this world. It bombed my tongue with flavor and went down my throat very warm. It was almost sparkling.

D - This is a big beer - but it's so totally bad ass. I wouldn't want to drink more than a couple pints because of the weight, but that is not the point with this beer.

Overall - A total victory. Schlafly is for real. This beer would be so completely awesome paired with all kinds of foods, especially cheeses. I almost want to move back to STL just for this brew. It's sooo good.

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Photo of drgonzo3705
4.55/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a bright copper color with a thin filmy head that leaves a little lacing.

S: Not getting too much other than malty sweetness and a pleasant oak aroma.

T: Nice sweet barleywine here. Good maltiness with a slight bitterness on the back of your tongue. The oak rides along very well too.

M: Thick and creamy light carbonation.

D: Well I'm definitely not having any problems finishing this bottle! I would really like to get some more of this, good stuff!

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Photo of despainmakesbeer
4.53/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Awesome dark yellowy caramel color. No head. Some tiny specks of bubbles around edge of glass. Very sweet malty aroma, quite nice, pick up some of the oak sweetness. Sweet mellow flavors, caramely bourbony oak flavor. Lots of mellow sweet malt flavor. Not near as alcoholy as most barley wines I've had. Seems very well balances. Clean finish. Almost pumpkiny aftertaste. Oak is very well balanced with other flavors, not overpowering. Not really any of the alcohol burn you woul sometimes expect. Very drinkable, especially for a barleywine. One of my top two barley wines thus far.

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Photo of MJR
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


Pours deep ruby with perfect clarity. A thick, dense tan head sits up top and holds strong all the way to the bottom, leaving sheets of lace clinging to the sides.

Aroma is rich and sweet, with lots of cherry and strawberry fruitiness on top of a chewy backbone of cotton candyish and toffee malts. Faint raison and plum. Not so fast! Malt doesn't completely rule the day though, as there's a considerable amount of fresh green hops well integrated into the whole. Little to no alcohol detectable on the nose.

Here comes the flavor...

A complex and rich barrage of cherry, plum, strawberry, pomegranate, raison, cotton candy, toffee, resiny hops, and alcohol level a full frontal assault on my taste buds. It leans slightly towards the sweeter side of the balance spectrum, but not nearly as much as in previous years. Many of the offerings from Schlafly have a distinct malt signature, and it's certainly here, adding yet another dimension of complexity.

I find myself licking my lips often with this beer, as its thick and dextrinous mouthfeel leaves plenty of residual sugars for my tongue to explore. Just a hint of dryness on the finish hints at the hefty strength hidden within.

While good and easily drinkable in years past, they really knocked the ball outta the park with this one. Upping the hop presence all around (bitterness, aroma, and flavor) really added a needed balance to this barleywine. Despite that, it still sits towards the English side of the style. I just wish they would bottle some, 'cause this would be absolutely beautiful after a few years rest. Dangerously drinkable just begins to describe it...

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Photo of swamiswamu
4.47/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very much the biggest beer Schlafly makes. In an pinch it could probably fuel your car on the way home from the tap room. The hops are hige in the aroma. The taste is sweet with malt with a great hip finish. This one bears a lot more resemblance to English barleywines than it does American. And by that I mean it is balanced, not a IBU contest. This one is dangerously drinkable, be careful.

Note: this one may come back to haunt you the next day.

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Photo of GeoffRizzo
4.47/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

1/2 gallon growler. An attractive bright amber hue, off-white head, decent lacing noticeable throughout. Sweet malts, raisins, some port and alcohol noticeable. Medium-full bodied. Huge malt based body, thin hop detection. Thick, very sweet and a bit of syrup flavorings. Flavors emerge as she warms, one darn fine barleywine, a great session winter warmer.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
4.47/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a nice,clear copper with a small off-white head. Nose is light but has a wood and malty scent. Taste is think bodied for a bwine with a definite wood flavor with some sugar, syrup. Mouthfeel is caramel with a definite alcohol taste. I still found it light bodied for a bwine. Epected maltier, more complex. I think it was a better than average bwine.
2007 consumed. Wow. This bwine has really developed and the oak, caramel combo is outstanding, even after 3 years its capable of several more and still tasty. Holds up very well and better w/age.

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Photo of meatmallet
4.47/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: A murky medium brown body and a thick tan lacy head.

Smell: Caramel and citrus with some dark fruits in there as well. The aroma is strong but not overpowering kind of similar to a Belgian strong dark ale.

Taste: Sweet like caramel with a bitter grapefruit taste. The alcohol taste is also very strong.

Mouthfeel/drinkability: Creamy with a good alcohol burn. My first beer of this style it is more complex than any others I have ever had.

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Photo of Daniellobo
4.47/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A great oak aged US barleywine.

Presentation: 750 ml bottle. It comes in a cardboard box highlighting uniqueness, status, and maybe even protecting it from light. Cartographic classic dark design on the box. Somewhat lengthy historic narrative background with description of the style and intent of the brew. The bottle follows the box with a concise back description of ingredients and the suggestion of pairing it with spicy dishes and grilled meats. Bottling date as 2007 brew, shows Alc. by Vol. (10.2%) Poured into a snifter.

A - Deep amber body with a creamy head. Medium to short retention with small touches of lace.

S - Malty and bready smell with a great vanilla/oak range of aromas.

T - Rich malty sweetness, caramel and toffee embracing the vanilla-oak character. Hops are almost unnoticeable until one lets the brew linger for a bit and they show up with the smoothest of nods at the end.

M - Medium body with soft carbonation. Very creamy and smooth, with a distant boozy warmth.

D - An extraordinary sipper. Beautifully drinkable for the style.

Notes: Another great reserve brew from Schlafly one to hold, cherish and enjoy.

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Photo of bitterbeerguy
4.45/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A good friend surprised me with this yesterday. Barleywine is one of my favorites and I have never had Schlafly Barleywine before.

Vintage 2008

Pours a beautiful brown red color with a decent head. Small off white bubbles appeared out of nowhere about 5 seconds after it was poured. Really a nice color.

Aroma really made this beer fun. Hints of bourbon and cherry and present from the beginning, but melds into a grain and vanilla aroma as you smell more. I also thought I could find the smell of fresh sweet cream in this one.

Taste was smooth as can be. I was really surprised that it was so smooth, since some barleywines can really show their alcohol character too up front. This did not. The age has made the smooth flavors come out- marshmallow fluff meets bourbon. My only 4 on this was the mouthful- just seemed a little small compared to the bold flavor and aroma. I suspect this came with age.

If I could by this by the case you can best be assured I would have one aging in my cellar right now. Great aged barleywine!


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Photo of johnnybgood1999
4.45/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I believe this is my favorite from Schlafly.

A: Pours a transparant amber that's only slightly murky. A small head bubbles up, but is short lived.

S: A malty aroma with a small hints of hops. The oak is apparant with a subtle sweetnes coming through as well.

T: Pretty malty and slightly sweet. Oak is very much present and mixes well. A very complex Barley Wine.

M: Perhaps my favorite part. This beer is well carbonated and is very smooth. The slightly heavier than medium body of the beer is almost perfect.

D: Pretty good drinkability for a Barley Wine. Incredibly smooth for a beer this heavy. It helps that the acohol is subtle.

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Photo of maxpower
4.45/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Copper color, full body, thick sweet syrupy mouthfeel, sweet malty aroma, very malty with a nice hop bite, balanced with more hops. It gets alot better after aging for at least a year.

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Photo of cschepers
4.44/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 Schlafly Barleywine

25.4 oz. bomber --> pint glass. Initial pour is way too cold for style, but I'm taking my time with this, so it'll warm as I go.

a - Cloudy red-brown. Cream-colored head, some sticking. Aggressive pour brings out a nice two-finger head. Pretty much no lacing as its drunk.

s - Pine, yeast, clove, sweet citrus rind (lemon?). Very nice smelling.

t - Big sweet malt. Very smooth sticky sweetness.. honey-like. pine & citrus (more orange than grapefruit) hops really round it out nicely. Bits of mediciney clove, vanilla, & oak float here & there. The hops stick around a bit longer than the malt. Some bourbon comes out as the beer warms. a bit boozy, but not overly so. Really nice vanilla extract taste in the aftertaste as it warms. Man, that's nice.

m - Decent carbonation, but not quite enough to balance out all the malt & hops. Really sticky sweet.. I'm not getting the dryness that others are mentioning.

d - Good for a big barleywine, but its hard to drink all that much of this. One bomber is going to be plenty enough for me. If all the malt & hops don't get me, the high alcohol will.

Has definitely aged well, a little less drinkable than the 2006, but this retains its kick-in-the-sack-and-sandbag-over-the-head barleywine character. Good barleywine. I have another bottle waiting for me next year.. need to buy a few bottles of the '08 so I can keep the whole cool vertical-tasting thing going.

Not part of the review, but for comparison, some quick notes from my bottle of '06:

2006 schlafly barleywine opened Dec 24, 2008 --> ugly stemless wine glass at my parents' house.

a - Copper penny colored, surprisingly good head for 2 years in the bottle in the basement. Nice lacing.

s - Dark fruit in nose, some phenols.

t - Malt almost disappeared, hops subdued, the booziness is completely gone. Real smooth taste, but a bit on the thin side. Still good carbonation.

m - Mouthfeel is still a bit cloying, a bit of sweetness left over.

d - Alcohol is completely hidden in taste, but hits like a freaking 2x4. Wow. Don't think I could finish a whole bomber of this by myself, glad I have help.

This one's been aged 2 years... I'd have to say, this one was easier to drink than the '07, but I think that's because the hop character is really subdued and the body seems thin. Really, at this point it tastes more like an English Old Ale cranked up to 11 than a barleywine. Good and very very drinkable, but a bit disappointing all things considering.

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Schlafly Reserve - Barleywine Style Ale from The Schlafly Tap Room
89 out of 100 based on 257 ratings.