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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

473 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 473
Reviews: 257
rAvg: 3.97
pDev: 12.85%
Wants: 41
Gots: 102 | FT: 6
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 473 | Reviews: 257 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of johnnybgood1999
4.45/5  rDev +12.1%
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.

Photo of Gehrig
4.13/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2007 Vintage. Medium brown body with cider orange highlights topped with two fingers of slightly tan head from a moderately aggressive pour. Dense rings of lacing and moderate duration start things off very well. Good aromas, nicely malted, sweeter smelling than I expected--fruity with some lemon sourness. Not too surprisingly, it improves as it warms.

This also characterizes the taste quite well--mostly sweet but with a moderately sour finish. The flavors are good--caramel, fig, grape, and berry preceding the aforementioned lemony flavor. But I'd like Schlafly Reserved to be a little less reserved. I prefer my barleywines to be a little bolder in flavor and stickier in taste and texture. Schlafly Reserve is no slouch and is a solid, tasty pickup without question. But I'd love to see the good folks from Schlafly ramp it up a bit--more sticky sweetness to make the sour finish a little less prominent.

On the whole, this is really good and, at 10.2% ABV, not exactly a sipper. Reserve hides the high ABV very well, a most welcome aspect of good barleywines. This is certainly a good barleywine, a terrific offering from a really good brewery.

Photo of cschepers
4.44/5  rDev +11.8%
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.

Photo of Vixie
4.17/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours an orage-red color with a small white head. The head dissipates quickly into some light lacing.

Smell is sweet with quite a few citrus notes in it. Could also detect some brown sugar and molasses, almost smells like a Belgian strong dark ale.

Taste starts a bit light, then suddenly hits you with a burst of flavor. Hard to pin exactly what the main flavor is here, quite a bit going on. Some sweetness in there, maybe a touch of citrus. Quite a bit of alcohol warming at the finish, along with a good amount of hops. This one is one of the most difficult beers to review I've had, haven't tasted one quite like this before. I just realized one of the flavors I am detecting is a smokiness, likely due to the oak barrel aging.

Mouthfeel was good, this one leaves no doubt it's a serious brew. It somewhat reminds me of a carbonated soft drink, in that it gives you that same burning sensation.

Definitely a different beer. Not something I'd want to drink every day, but also a nice change of pace. The high alcohol content would keep me from drinking a lot of this, but I am glad I got a chance to try something different.

Photo of IBUnit63
4.08/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Courtesy of trade with hwwty4 - thanks Bill! 750 into Duvel tulip.

2 fingers of bourbon-tinged head that is quite bready and custardish. Body is more copper and bourbon. Quite solid indeed. Lacing isn't huge but decent. Carboination is sparse but there. More lively than expected for a barleywine.

Big, vanilla bourbon oak characteristic of a huge barleywine. Hops of mostly pine with a bit of grass and a touch of earth. Some sweet and salty honey-roasted peanuts in there. A little tinge of butter (diacetyl?), but it doesn't detract too much.

There's a nice, huge oakiness to it, of course. Alcohol has a definite nice bourbon feel to it and the bite is welcome. Caramel malt is huge and bountiful-reminiscent of spicy pecans. Hops provide solid pine texture. Lots more dry than typical BW - very pleasant. Slight earth and additional butteriness emerge further with warmth.

Feel of this one is pleasantly dry...cleanliness melds well with the heft of malt and alcohol. Finish is quite balanced from abundance with a little hop pine that morphs into grassy flora after a while...it is a little tight, though. But that's not a bad thing.

Oh yeah...this one has some heft to it. Great for nighttime during the cold season. Have been looking for this ever since EBF 2008 and was by no means disappointed. Looks like almost a year of age has done it quite nicely. Very well done!

Photo of TMB0424
4.63/5  rDev +16.6%
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.

Photo of russpowell
4.14/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this one from Bitterbill, cheers Bill! 2007 Vintage pours caramel/orange with 2+ fingers of khaki head. Above average lacing & head retention

S: Cakeyness & bourbon

T: Cakeyness, Madeira, dryness, a bit of smokeyness & vanilla up front. Leafy hops, boozey toffee & a touch of oaky dryness as this warms. Finishes slightly smokey, with more toffee, & smooth bourbon, at the end, the booze has faded, once warm. Almost pulled a 4.5, too dry

MF: Sticky, low carbonation & chewy

Drinks pretty but the dryness & booze heat do slow me down, a few more years aging would mellow this out nicely ( I rarely can wait ). I did let this one sit a room temp for 45+ minutes prior to decanting, so I'm not sure if you should even chill this...

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.

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!

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.

Photo of phisig137
3.91/5  rDev -1.5%
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.

Photo of Bitterbill
4.21/5  rDev +6%
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.

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.

Photo of birchstick
4.08/5  rDev +2.8%
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.

Photo of champ103
4.22/5  rDev +6.3%
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.

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.

Photo of hoppymeal
3.88/5  rDev -2.3%
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.

Photo of srandycarter
4.01/5  rDev +1%
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.

Photo of AMo
4.38/5  rDev +10.3%
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.

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.

Photo of brentk56
4.23/5  rDev +6.5%
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

Photo of Traquairlover
4.17/5  rDev +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.

Photo of ppoitras
4.35/5  rDev +9.6%
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.

Photo of IntriqKen
3.13/5  rDev -21.2%
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.

Photo of jar2574
2.89/5  rDev -27.2%
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.

Schlafly Reserve - Barleywine Style Ale from The Schlafly Tap Room
89 out of 100 based on 473 ratings.