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Schlafly Reserve - Barleywine Style Ale - The Schlafly Tap Room

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

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

466 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 466
Reviews: 254
rAvg: 3.97
pDev: 12.85%
Wants: 40
Gots: 99 | FT: 7
Brewed by:
The Schlafly Tap Room visit their website
Missouri, United States

Style | ABV
English Barleywine |  10.20% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

English-style Barleywine aged on Missouri white oak.

(Beer added by: Vancer on 12-31-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 466 | Reviews: 254 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Talisker
4.35/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 vintage, opened and poured (750ml bottle) on 12-25-2008.

Downright superb beer, perfectly to style.

Absolutely English flavor. Not like the American "Super-Double-IPA" Barleywines (I'm talking about you, Bigfoot) - which I also like, just that this isn't the same thing at all.

Still a very lively beer after more than a year - bodes well for longer-term aging. 1+ finger head, dissipates quickly to a thin, attractive lace "film" over the surface, but constant bubbles rising from the bottom. Deep, clear, reddish brown color.

Smells rich and sweet - some spice without being overwhelming. Taste is perfectly integrated, spicy non-American hops, very rich malt, some (pleasant) overtones of oak without being led by the wood. Really wonderful combination of fruits and pepper. This is definitely a big beer, but it's very balanced - nothing dominates.

And not syrupy - a medium mouthfeel, not overly viscous. Alcohol is present, a little prickly even, but that's okay for a "sip by the fire" beer like this. Given the alcohol heat, this beer might actually peak in another year, but it's very good right now.

Great example of a slightly-amped English Barleywine. Absolute winner from Schlafly.

Talisker, Dec 25, 2008
Photo of joe1510
4.08/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4


2007 Vintage

I just recently got this bottle from Redwood21 in Secret Santa '08, thanks again David! Schlafly's Reserve Barleywine fills this snifter of mine with a mahogany brew. The body is slightly hazy with orange highlights when directly backlit. Carbonation rises from all over the bottom of the glass and keeps the head in good standing. The dense, off white head never falls below a finger throughout the entire drink and leaves sheet lacing down the glass.

The nose is all kinds of interesting. Caramel apples, peach juice and a myriad of other fruitiness that I can't quite pick out, jump from the glass. The base of this beer is solid caramel and wrapped tightly around the buttery oak from the barrel aging. There isn't any vanilla like what's found in other barrel aged brews and that's just fine with me. A mild and superbly clean alcohol flutters underneath the big nose on this brew.

Now this is how a beer should be barrel aged. The buttery oak compliments the brew instead of taking over like so many other examples. Smooth caramel backbone never quite reaches sweet while the hops bring along a nice bitterness on the finish. Pine, non-distinct stone fruit and citrus show up mid=palate and ride through the finish. The alcohol adds some spiciness but is fairly clean and adds to the overall flavor of this big barleywine.

The barrel aging has dried this one out slightly with a little help from the alcohol. This dryness helps the hoppy finish bring a solid bitterness. The body is a little lighter than I thought it would be which fits very well in this case. The body is dull but leans toward the middle instead of being sticky and heavy. This beer just flows through like velvet.

The drinkability of this big barleywine is surprisingly high. The velvety feel, fairly hidden alcohol and semi dry finish keep the glass tilted in my favor. My first snifter is disappearing far too fast.

This is a very well made barleywine with the barrel aging done just right. No single flavor overpowers the others while they're all in great balance. Vancer sent me a bottle of this awhile back that will be hanging out in the cellar for a little longer so I can see what changes it brings. In the meantime I'm very happy with my first sampling courtesy of Redwood21, thanks guys!

joe1510, Dec 20, 2008
Photo of Gmann
3.85/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Out of a 750ml capped bottle. Pours a hazy amber color with an average off white head that left some sticky lacing on the side of the glass. The aroma is sweet and fruity. Ripe peaches and other tropical fruit mix with a honey malt, some light vanilla and oak notes round out the brew. Strong oak and vanilla bean flavors, a bready honey malt, and a light bitter hop to somewhat counter the sweetness. The feel is thick, not quite syrupy, but is sticky with soft carbonation. A big malty alcoholic brew fo'sure. Has some real nice oak flavors but is a tad one dimensional on the sweet side. Would like to see more of a hop counterbalance.

Gmann, Dec 13, 2008
Photo of phisig137
3.93/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

07 Vintage

A- pours a beautiful orange color; brilliant gold at the edges, and deep ruby in the center of the glass. 1.5 finger head, and good retention. No lacing left, but only a ring of foam.

S- Malt forward caramel aromas, but dominated by barrel smells. Note the overly vanilla typical oak, but more dry and woody. Bourbon aroma comes through in the depths.

T- Lots going on in there... leather, wood/lumber, toffee and caramel flavors, honey malt, and bourbon. Even a bit of smoke or char (assuming from the barrel toast) comes through on the finish. Seemingly devoid of hops, but still bone dry with vanilla notes on the finish. Incredibly well balanced.

M- thick and creamy. Heavy

D- A sipper for sure. The alcohol warms up and is fairly prevalent from the first sip.

Overall, damn fine. This is my first beer from Schlafly, and judging by this, I'll be buying some more. This is good to go now, but could really use another 2 years IMO.

phisig137, Dec 07, 2008
Photo of Bitterbill
4.22/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2007 Edition

This pours a clear ruby red with a 1 finger head of foam.

The smell has big notes of caramel malt and bread with just the slightest scent of some hop bitterness and a light nose of wood. Is this going to be a malt bomb?

The taste is bready and all caramel malty with some woody notes from the Oak...lots of sweetness in this one but there's a solid grapefruit bitterness that sneaks in mid palate and it dominates near and through the finish. Yum. Alcohol wise, this is on the hot side so some aging would be in fine order for this BWSA. As is, the drinkability isn't that great but in every other category, it's a fine representation of the style.

The mouthfeel is thick and creamy with a light level of carbonation and I'm loving it.

Head retention turns out to be way above average and the lacing excels after each sip as my glass is thoroughly coated with the stuff.

Bottom line: Very good fresh, I can only see this being outstanding with some time in the cellar so the "hotness" of the brew can settle down a bit. I'm going to buy some more.

Bitterbill, Nov 29, 2008
Photo of LittleBreeze
4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 vintage

Deep amber with a white head. Aroma is malty sweet with an oaky backbone and hints of crunchberries. Mouthfeel is silky smooth. No alcohol bite. Nothing but flavor good. Caramel. Fruity. Follows though on what the nose promised and finishes with a hint of scotch.

Drinkability - smooth with a hint of alcohol.

LittleBreeze, Nov 29, 2008
Photo of birchstick
4.1/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Schlafly Reserve - 2007

A - ruby red with a creamy white head. I love the bottle and packaging that came with this as well.
S - very fruity and spicy, also a little tart smelling. There is also some malt present in the nose.
T - tastes as the nose suggested. Pretty good complexity to it. It is very tart and spicy (cinnamon?) with hints of caramel. You can definitely taste the oak this was aged in as well. There are also some faint hops on the finish as well. This is definitely one to sip and enjoy.
M - very full and creamy with a bit of carbonation burn. It leaves an almost cough syrup-like feeling that the oak clings to in the back of my throat after it goes down. The alcohol was also pretty noticeable in the first couple of drinks.
D - This is a pretty good ale. I am not too familiar with this style so I really do not know what to compare it to. This is definitely a lot different from anything else I have had from this brewery and I really enjoyed it. I will definitely purchase a 2008 once it is released.

birchstick, Nov 09, 2008
Photo of champ103
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours an amber brown color. A small bubbly beige head forms that leaves patchy lace.
S: Wood, caramel, honey, bread, and a slight hop aroma.
T: Follows the nose. A large caramel malty flavor with a substantial wood/oak flavor. Very sweet with some honey again. Just a very light hop twang as the taste lingers.
M/D: A full body that is low on the carbonation side. Very creamy and rich. For the style, very easy to drink. A very enjoyable beer to sip on.

I really enjoyed this. The Schlafly Reserve series has another hit. Highly recommended.

champ103, Oct 27, 2008
Photo of lackenhauser
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice amber color-has some great ruby highlights tucked in there. Good mellow and malty aroma-slightly boozy. Solid malt flavor with an underlying oak and somewhat smokey hint to it. Some decent vanilla notes. Slight bourbon taste. Decent mouthfeel. Very drinkable and enjoyable. Couldnt do a lot-nice after diner drink or a fire side sipper.

lackenhauser, Oct 12, 2008
Photo of hoppymeal
3.9/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006. Pours a hazy dark copper to amber in color, a large buttery cream colored head rests atop and very slowly recedes. Aroma is a fruity hoppiness, citrus notes mixing with some sweet berry malts, caramel and bread. Taste shows a nice yeasty breadiness mixing well with some caramel matiness and a good dose of aged hoppy notes. Very much like a hoppy strong ale, ala db, that has a little age on it. Some woodiness from the oak is evident but is very mild. Body is medium to heavy with just a bit of spiciness and dryness towards the finish. Pretty good beer, but not great, maybe just different than I expected. Not sure that this will improve a ton with age, but there is still a strong hoppy citrus profile that may be interesting to see what comes forward as this continues to fade.

hoppymeal, Oct 04, 2008
Photo of srandycarter
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a dark thick caramel, lots of cascading bubbles on the sides, decent head reduces to ring with webbing gobby lacing. I love that.

S - Big sweet caramel core, wood, alcohol and citrus.

T - Taste follow smell. Nice high volume malt balanced well with citrusy hops. Either the wood or the hops give it a slight sour end that is my only detractor.

M - Big, coating, carbed, medium to full bodied. Can't complain.

D - Huge beer that would get tiring on several levels.

srandycarter, Oct 01, 2008
Photo of AMo
4.4/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Schlafly Reserve Ale Aged in Oak Barleywine Style Ale 2007 pours a rubyish amber with a nice froathy head. The smell is medium strong and pleasant of barley and malt. Taste is strong, complex, and dominantly malty. The oak really comes through in the background with a nice vanilla touch. Mouthfeel is a perfect medium dense, with a moderate amount of carbonation giving an ultimate silky smooth feel. The overall drinkability is very good. It's nice and smooth with a strong flavor and oaky kick. Very well balanced and highly enjoyable barleywine.

AMo, Sep 11, 2008
Photo of cvstrickland
4.35/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 Bottling

The drink pours a deep, dark garnet with a mocha cap that retains great and leaves plenty of webby lacing on the glass.

Smell is oaky and malty with with a big bourbon note.

Taste is sweetly mellow with crisp notes of dry sherry accented with a bit of caramel and molasses.

Smooth and wonderful, the drink is definitely a sipper.

cvstrickland, Jul 20, 2008
Photo of brentk56
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Cloudy dark amber color with a spumy ecru head - tight bubbles and a veritable curtain of lace

Smell: Candied apples, underripe peaches and grapefruit pith

Taste: Bready for a moment, and then the candied apple sweetness kicks in, along with a growing peach and grapefruit flavor by mid-palate; after the swallow, instead of all hell breaking loose, there is a nice woody layer of caramel that settles down all of the battling flavors that appeared on the sip

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, slightly creamy, with moderate to low carbonation

Drinkability: This is a nice sipper, but consuming a 750 ML is a bit of a challenge

Thanks, Vancer, for the opportunity

brentk56, Jul 08, 2008
Photo of Traquairlover
4.15/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle, poured into snifters. 2007 vintage.

A = Clear caramel, big frothy bone white head which dissipates slowly leaving medium lacing.

S = Various spices are prevalent in the smell, also some amount of bitter herbs, all with a solid malt ball backgroun underneath.

T = Tastes of toasted malts, herb buttered toast, floral bitterness but with a solid sweet malt backbone. Quite well balanced.

M = Medium-heavy body, very good mouthcoating, pleasant level of carbonation.

D = An easy drinking American barleywine, great for a relaxing drink by a quiet fireplace.

Traquairlover, May 17, 2008
Photo of ppoitras
4.38/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle obtained via NoBS BIF v3 from Vancer. Thanks for the opportunity... 2007 vintage.

Poured into a heavy glass chalice, formed a 1/4" ecru head over the slightly cloudy copper brew. Head is quickly down to an uneven layer of bubbles, with leggy, slow-falling lace. Aroma is dominantly sweet, with booze apparent. Taste starts with the malt sweetness as well, lightly fruity in the middle, and a clean finish. Note that moderate wood character is evident throughout the tasting experience. Mouthfeel is smooth, with enough carbonation for a barrelled brew, and drinkability is great. Happy to have had the chance to enjoy this one.

ppoitras, May 14, 2008
Photo of IntriqKen
3.1/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

2006 Vintage.

Deep amber tea colored...foggy...with a nice off white head that seems to stick around a long time and leave sticky lacing in it's wake.

Aromas are brown sugar sweet amber malts with only a hint of oak...maybe some mincemeat.

Taste us sweetly candied dark malts with brown sugar, dark raisins and other dark fruits, and only a hint of oak or maybe boubon.

Still too sweet and lacking a comforting balance to be either drinkable or even 'enjoyable' for more than merely a glass.

IntriqKen, Apr 16, 2008
Photo of jar2574
2.83/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

2007 reserve. Average head, amber color. Nothing exceptional about the appearance.

Sweet, malty, sugary smell. And the taste is sweet, and creamy. You're drinking a malty, flat, syrupy concoction. Maybe it's the style, but it ain't my thing.

Not much carbonation in the mouthfeel. Tough to drink, too sweet at first. The sweetness becomes overwhelming quickly.

jar2574, Apr 05, 2008
Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.68/5  rDev +17.9%
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!

AKBelgianBeast, Mar 31, 2008
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 vintage. Fuzzy orange with a generous splash of cherry juice. The beige colored cap is large and is wonderfully thick and rich. It melts in appealing fashion and is leaving much more and much better looking lace than expected given the ABV. Very nice.

The nose keeps things positive. It smells like the malt will be roughly equal parts pale and caramel. Is the oak aging apparent? Sure, why not. In addition, the beer has an orange peel fruitiness and hides its alcohol pretty well.

Barleywine-Style Ale is intensely flavored, even if it isn't as complex or as deep as some of the world's best. Unlike the nose, the flavor is incredibly oaky. Tannic even. There's a big blast of wood that leads to an incredibly dry finish. Barrel-aging usually results in good beer, but less time in the the oak might have worked out better in this case.

The flavor profile consists of oak staves saturated with triple sec, caramelized sugar, toasted nuts, unripe peaches, dried cherries, vanilla beans and a generous splash of Stolichnaya. Bitter and sour are at least as prominent as sweet. That's odd for a barleywine that's almost two years of age.

The mouthfeel could be bigger, smoother and slicker. Even so, it's close enough to optimal to earn the above score. The acidity, the puckeriness and the amazingly arid finish keep things interesting. Carbonation? Laid back, baby. Laid back.

Schlafly Reserve Barleywine-Style Ale is a unique American barleywine that probably won't appeal to everyone, even those who love the style. I'd be open to giving other vintages a shot, just to see if the brewery changes things up from year to year.

BuckeyeNation, Mar 27, 2008
Photo of BradLikesBrew
4.15/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2007 batch

a: Clear copper body, with a thin off-white head. Small amounts of lacing.

s: Sweet caramel, vanilla, bourbon, figs and oak.

t: Similar to the nose, toasted caramel malt, brown sugar, some breadiness (as advertised on the back of the bottle), figs, floral hops and noticeable oak/vanilla/bourbon from the barrel aging.

m: Good warming feel. Medium body, medium carbonation.

d: Seems to taste different each time I have it. This time I was quite impressed. Not as aggressively hoped as many American Barleywines, a much more mellow version. A good sipper, excited to try the 2006 bottle I've been aging. Another good one from Schlafly.

BradLikesBrew, Mar 08, 2008
Photo of barleywinebrewer
4.13/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

thanks to vancer for this fine brew! 2007 release, noted as oak barrel aged on the bottle, jim beam barrel on the box. So, how'd it fair?

A - crystal clear orange / brown in color with a nice frothy white head.

S - bourbon, oak, vanilla, sweet caramel malts

T - taste follows the nose with the bourbon staying in a strong but complimentary balance to the other flavors. Some light bitter hop presence but it's all secondary to the bourbon and malts.

M - medium / full bodied, nicely carbonated. Very clean smooooth finish.

D - very approachable, very drinkable barleywine. Quite a tasty treat indeed!

barleywinebrewer, Feb 15, 2008
Photo of Goliath
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear amber with a thin off white head. I poured more aggressively on my second attempt and achieved a larger more luxurious head.

Aroma holds sweet caramel, toasted bread, and alcohol.

Taste is slightly bitter on the finish, but starts with sweet caramel and bready notes.

Mouthfeel is boring, it is thick and syrupy and lacks carbonation.

Drinkability is relatively low due to both the ABV and the strength of its malt and hop profiles.

Goliath, Feb 13, 2008
Photo of akorsak
3.73/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A 750 mL capped bottle from czoch75.

A: The ale opens without a hiss, motionless until a white plume of gas seeps out of the mouth. The ale is a dark orange-brown color that shows off bright red highlights when light is focused on it. A voluminous head resulted from the pour and appears to lace around the glass.

S: The aroma is malty, definitely barleywine, with some hoppiness protruding. The barrel aging is not evident.

T: The hops of the barleywine have gently faded (I am assuming, as I did not have it fresh). They are present in a bittering bite at the front of a sip, but they are quick to hide amongst the malt. Within the malts, which are grainy with a fruity undertone. There is a small measure of oxidation but it rarely makes its way through the oak and malt. That oak, which really wasn't noticeable in the nose, adds a buttery vanilla flavor that cuts into the harshness of the malts.

M: The oak could be a little stronger and the metallic taste could be a little weaker. Other than those two, this is a nice sipper that doesn't push things too far.

D: The abv is too high to make this a go-to beer. One bottle, shared with my wife, is a nice end to the weekend.

akorsak, Jan 27, 2008
Photo of klewis
3.28/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A; Pours a hazy copper with a big foamy head. Moderate sustain, but little lacing on the snifter.

S: Sweet smelling, but non-descript. Just OK.

T: Malty, sweet, and a bit cloying. Slightly fruity but with a flavor that is mostly sugary and candy-like.

M: Full-bodied with light-moderate carbonation. Finishes a bit dry.

D: Worth $10 for a 750ml, but it falls short of its contemporaries. I like sweet barleywines, but his one is too sugary for me. If I hadn't shared the bottle, it might have ben undrinkable.

klewis, Jan 27, 2008
Schlafly Reserve - Barleywine Style Ale from The Schlafly Tap Room
89 out of 100 based on 466 ratings.