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Portsmouth Barleywine - Portsmouth Brewery

Not Rated.
Portsmouth BarleywinePortsmouth Barleywine

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very good

53 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 53
Reviews: 32
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 10.34%
Wants: 26
Gots: 1 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Portsmouth Brewery visit their website
New Hampshire, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  11.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Bierman9 on 09-04-2007

A deep amber, full bodied, intensely bold beer that is made to show off the true qualities of the malts used. Flavors of figs and dates and malt sweetness predominate with enough earthiness from the hops to balance this beer.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 53 | Reviews: 32
Photo of spycow
3.25/5  rDev -16%

Photo of oberon
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Brought this home from my trip to New England earlier this month,poured into an oversized wine glass a deep burgundy/brown color with a thinner but pretty well sustained white head.Deep fruit in the nose like prune,raisin,and sweet cherry some sweet alcohol and a passing whif of leather,bid and sweet up front with that dark fruit and brown sugar coming through that leather component is more pronounced on the palate a decent dose of resiny hop finishes it off.It packs a malty punch it made me sleepy like alot of the style do,I liked the hop punch it gave in the finish,pretty darn good.

Photo of Kegatron
3.85/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

64 oz growler into several glasses. Thanks go to ClockWorkorange for bringing this to a recent tasting.

Pours a deep hazy amber, with a thin covering of off-white foamy head. Retains with some fizzy wisps across the top, leaving a good bit of spotty lacing behind that coats the sides of the glass. The aroma is deep with fruit and bread, and caramel sweetness. This was aged for approximately one year, so the American hop profile has been reduced to some lighter herbal accents. There's a stiff waft of heat as well but it doesn't seem too overpowering considering that this has a nearly 12% ABV.

The taste is thick with roasted malts but is off-set nicely by some much sweeter accents of toffee and molasses. Some fruity notes and herbal hops work themselves in as well, giving this some earthy background character. Warmth and roast linger well in the finish, with a good bit of leftover stickiness hanging around as well. The mouthfeel is full bodied, with a chewy and viscous nature to that falls right in line with the heftier flavors that are involved in this. The heavier ABV is present to a degree but this is one of those ones that is more workable with one's palate in smaller quantities.

Even with some age on it and the hops having faded a good bit, this was still some tasty stuff. Lots of depth and richness here, with a pretty good drinkibility on it for such a large Barleywine.

Photo of Slatetank
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to clockworkorange for sharing this growler
poured chilled into a 1/2 pint. The growler had been aged for approx 1 yr - so take it with a grain of salt

A - Ruddy brown, chestnut hued with good clarity and very thin head

S - Fruity, caramel, toasted malt and mild floral esters w/ subtle alcohol notes

M - A dry slightly spiced and strong feel, substantial body w/ sweet middle and mild bitterness. The sweetness is pretty prominent 1/2 way in w/ hints of tangy fruitiness from the yeast and caramel textured malt w/ mild residual sweetness

T - Taste is nutty, dry and slightly fruit tinged w/ toasted and caramel malt notes very dominant and mildly alcohol tasting w/ more stone fruit and toffee-like essence that lasts into the finish. The flavor has plenty of caramel sweetness and subtle berry effects from the yeast throughout

D - I appreciated sampling this barleywine, which is pretty tasty in small doses, at 11%+ you can't say it is highly drinkable, yet for the style I consider this a barleywine I wouldn't mind having again. It does suffer from a bit too much malt , but for those who enjoy malt bombs I recommend this

Photo of MasterSki
3.43/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared by Mike (AgentZero) - not sure why we're drinking barleywines on a hot summer day, but thanks I guess? Served in a Russian River tulip.

A - A finger of quick-dissolving light tan foam settles to a thin ring and some wisps, leaving tiny spots of lace. Partially transparent ruby-brown body.

S - Treacle, alcohol, light roasted grains, chocolate, and brown sugar. This is on the darker side of things for barleywines, with more roast and less overt sugary sweetness. The alcohol isn't very well-hidden, but otherwise it's a solid and interesting take on the style.

T - Taste is somewhat dull, but largely contains caramel, brown sugar, and light milk chocolate. Some obvious alcohol in the finish.

M - Medium-full body, creamy texture, lower carbonation, and some warming alcohol. Quite style-appropriate and pleasant actually.

D - It's a fairly average take on the style with a few redeeming qualities. Much better than the Uinta offering we had next to it, but not something I'd actively seek out either. I finished my glass, but chose to abstain from a refill.

Photo of Rochefort10nh
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of barleywinefiend
4.2/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 Vintage: Poured a nice golden amber color with good carbonation and a dirty white head.Nose is toffee, booze, caramel and chocolate. Taste is a whirlwind of flavor with chocolate being up front then caramel, toffee,booze. Mouthfeel is nice, balanced but still hot after 3 years. Good bwine indeed!!!

Photo of brandoman63
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of Kelp
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of Dicers
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of johnnnniee
4.26/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy brown with murky red highlights when held to light. Smallish off white head dissipates quickly. Smells of dark dried fruit, caramel, toffee slight alcohol. Taste is sweet, a bit hot, syrupy dried fruit and caramel. Aftertaste of alcohol and a slight hop bitterness. Mouthfeel is syrupy Body is thick, carbonation is ample. Great sipper Still my favorite brewpub!

Photo of JohnGalt1
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 bottled from tap. Received from CooperEllis. John says he thinks this is an "oaked" variety that wasn't available for too long... I don't have the chutzpah to enter this in as a "new" beer... but I will certainly review it as a damn fine Barleywine.

Clear deep amber... long lasting off white head... plenty of caramel and something that I perceive as vanilla... good bitterness up front... nice hints of toffee and even some cocoa.. some pronounced dark dried fruits make me think of sweet cherries... minor citrus hoppiness shows mid-late palate and lingers to meld well with a bit of brown sugar essence... body is about perfect for the style... carbonation seems a tad lacking, but no real complaints.... this honestly reminds me of Full Sail's Old Boardhead with a solid year in the bottle.

If somebody at Portsmouth is reading this and can comment to the "oaked" character, please message me... I would love to hear from one of the professionals.

Thanks again John... I thoroughly enjoyed this one... That said, I am keeping it on my wants... I want another or 3.

All 4's... but probably deserves more.

Photo of claspada
4.09/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2008 bottle I believe from my memory; sampled Spring 2013.

Pours a deep copper color with a medium sized off white head that recedes rather rapidly to leave some spotty lacing.

Aromas begin with sweet caramel maltiness, dark fruits (figs and dates), ripened red fruits and a slight red grape vinious note which emerges more as it warms.

The tastes begin with the same sweet caramel maltiness, ripened red fruits, toffee, brown sugar and some lingering, slightly oxidized sherry character.

The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with moderate to low carbonation. Finish is farily sweet thanks to the substantial age. and a touch of bitterness to the finish.

Overall this was a very quality American Barleywine. At this point it reminds me more of an English style because of the lack of hop character but that is to be expected from the advanced age. Reminds me a great deal of an aged Alaskan Barleywine, which is great praise because I think that is the best American Barleywine on the planet.

Photo of GraduatedCashew
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of AgentZero
3.08/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

One of these days Portsmouth is going to make a beer that blows me away. Today was not that day.

A - Reddish brown color with a little bit of an off-white head that didn't leave anything on the sides.

S - Dark fruit, caramelized sugar, crystal malts, little bit of citrus. Something smells a little off on this one, might be the unexpected roast presence.

T - Taste is pretty much in line with the nose, and kind of dead. Caramel, dark fruit, blah blah. It's really just a boring, and not exceptional, beer.

M - Fuller side of medium bodied, soft carbonation, a little gritty.

O - As Ethan said, "Fool me 19x, shame on you..." I keep waiting for that awesome Portsmoth beer, and keep getting disappointed. Here's to next time.

Photo of gford217
4.37/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber courtesy of MrRetardedMonkey poured into a snifter.

Pours a deep reddish brown that shows a clear copper when held up to the light. There is a small short-lived off-white head that stays on as a swirl of bubbles and a collar.

The aroma is very sweet, like caramel apples, and definitely more fruity than most barleywine aromas. There is plenty of dark sugar sweetness as well, with only a hint of hops.

There is more of a citrus presence in the taste, especially up front. The taste also has more of the toffee sweetness I was expecting in the nose on top of the caramel malt base with lots of apples and raisins in the there as well. The alcohol is not hiding much in the finish and leaves a noticeable burn going down.

The mouthfeel is on the fuller side of medium-bodied and has some soft carbonation that helps the sweetness stick on the palate between sips.

This is a very good barleywine and, despite the alcohol presence, is still very drinkable. The fruitiness makes it a bit original and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Photo of lordofthewiens
4.38/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A wonderful beer. Poured into a tulip glass, it was a golden brown color with a medium head that dissipated quickly. Sweet, caramel/toffee aroma with a hint of malt. More malt evident in the taste, also dark fruit and caramel. The alcohol is noticeable, but not in an unpleasant sense. A good mouthful, very drinkable,

Photo of whartontallboy
3/5  rDev -22.5%

Photo of mklisz
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%

Photo of Bierman9
4.35/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Stopped in for a Labor Day lunch with Alewife yesterday... Both scored a couple of snifters of this, enjoyed in their open-air inner courtyard patio. First recipe from new assistant-brewer Tyler, we were told by our server, Anna.

Was poured in a tulip-style glass, perhaps a 12oz fill. Color was a clear, deep chestnut/mahogany hue. Minimal carbo espied within, and the bier was topped by a thin, wispy, light tan layer of bubbles. Belgian lacing was quite nice. Very malty nose, hints at sweetness, with a solid base of caramel evident. Bier itself was silky smooth on the tongue, while the body was easily medium-plus, bordering on chewiness. A nice feel, oh yeah.

Flavors kicks off with lots of sweetness, brown-sugar like, yet not cloying at all. Caramel and toffee are right up front, too. Hoppiness is not in-your-face strong, but still easily noticeable, with rindy, piney characteristics. Hints of dark fruit waft about on the palate, and the abv is well up there. Gives me the impression of a rum-soaked fruit cake. Overall, malt is more pronounced than the hoppage, though it is a lovely combo. Scarily drinkable, despite the high alcohol content. Nice job, Tyler!


overall: 4.3
appearance: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | mouthfeel: 4.5 | drinkability: 4.5


Photo of ffejherb
3.59/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to FooFaa for sharing a growler of this on 12/11/09.

A - The barleywine emerged from the jug as a deep ruby-colored liquid with a thin, off-white sheet on top that settled into a patchy retention and left virtually no lacing at all.

S - Sweet and boozy aroma with dark fruit notes, candi sugar and a hint of tobacco. An underlying citrus/orange character is also apparent, albeit more subtle than the other components.

T - Sweet, sugary and floral with a prevalent alcohol warmth. Dark fruit isn't as apparent in the flavor as the aroma, however. Orange oils and a citrus peel character is also present but subtle. Finishes with a moderate floral and perfumy hop bitterness.

M - Medium bodied with a slight bristly texture and moderate alcohol warmth on the palate. Slightly dry, bittersweet finish, although not overly hoppy at all.

D - I found this to be a little too sweet overall, but otherwise this was quite enjoyable. The alcohol remained fairly restrained despite the big ABV%.

Photo of Deuane
4.02/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to FooFaa for sharing his GAtM booty---->from the "Maine" man Joepais!

A-Deep reddish-brown with some ruby highlights along the edges. A small off-white head disappears to a whisper of a veil and leaves spotty lace.

S-Sweet caramel and toffee with brown sugar all smothering a bowl of fresh cut oranges.

T-Brown sugar covered oranges with a lovely underlying toffee/burnt caramel roastiness. Some astringency from dark fruit in the drying finish.

M-Medium-heavy bodied and VERY smooth! Nice lingering flavours with a candy like effect.

D-I like the heavy handed orange flavour pairing with the toasted caramel. Like a Christmas cookie in a glass!

Photo of Satchboogie
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of DIM
4.44/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a: This was a very hazy ruby/mahogany color. It poured with a medium sized but short lived off-white head.

s: Lots of rich toffee, and fresh citric hops. In smaller amounts I also noticed some raisins, molasses, and a hint of chocolate.

t: This started off with some sweet, slightly smoky toffee. Some citric, mildly piny hops came next. The finish was very sweet, but in a wonderful way. Brown sugar, molasses, and just a trace of chocolate. The warmth from this one was surprisingly gentle.

m: Thick and juicy with gentle carbonation.

d: Thanks to joepais for the chance to try a stellar barleywine. I had high expectations for this one and it was as good as I'd hoped.

Photo of portia99
3.93/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle purchased direct from the brewery. Poured into a Portsmouth goblet. Sorry Chris...couldn't stare at this in my fridge any longer and had to crack it open...

A - Pours a dark brown color with attractive amber highlights around the edges and a thin half finger of cream colored foam that falls quickly to a thick layer and collar - both of which never disappear thru the glass. Some sparse, loose lacing decorates the glass too as the beer level sinks to the bottom.

S - Rich caramel aroma with some light molasses. Some light citrusy hops that fade out and a bit of bready, maybe a touch yeasty aromas too. Aroma is on the low side in intensity...really need to get your nose down in the glass to appreciate it.

T - Molasses and dark caramel are very much out in front of the flavors. A bit of fruitiness (I'm thinking cherry, but not sure) with a slightly tart touch come next. Nice touches of brown sugar, a quick hit of alcohol flavor and warmth, the smallest hint of vanilla kicks in too...and as it warms I think I'm tasting a bit of coffee too. Hop bitterness is really nice in this one. The bitterness is at a medium level that really blends nicely with the sweet, sugary malts at the base. It provides a good offset to balance things out but doesn't interfere with the malt flavors at all. You can catch all of the malt complexities without them getting lost in the hops.

M - Medium bodied...not as thick or heavy as I expected (and maybe desire in a barleywine). There is enough thickness so the beer sits on the tongue and coats the mouth nicely with all of the various sweet, caramelly, sugary flavors found in this one. Carbonation is on the light side, which fits perfectly here. Slightly foamy at first, but resulting in a smooth, creamy feel. A bit of alcohol warmth to round things out.

D - Really liking this barleywine. Lots of complexity in the malt flavors...nice balanced and complementary hop presence. After nearly completing the bomber of this, I'm feeling it a bit (not complaining tho), but the alcohol really gave just the right amount of presence...I really knew it was there, but it wasn't hot or distracting...really just enhanced the flavor and feel. Overall, very nice barleywine...gotta get a growler of this next time it shows up at the pub on tap.

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Portsmouth Barleywine from Portsmouth Brewery
86 out of 100 based on 53 ratings.