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Mirror Mirror - Deschutes Brewery

Not Rated.
Mirror MirrorMirror Mirror

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,478 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,478
Reviews: 496
rAvg: 4.24
pDev: 9.91%
Wants: 447
Gots: 613 | FT: 91
Brewed by:
Deschutes Brewery visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
English Barleywine |  11.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: waltonc on 04-29-2009

30 IBU

Bottled/kegged vintages:
2005 - Released February 2006
2009 - Released April 2009
2014 - Released April 2014
View: Beers (153) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,478 | Reviews: 496 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of spycow
4/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.39/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2009 vintage.

Best after 4/20/10.

Pours a hazy honey orange-brown with a 1 inch orange-tan head that settles to a film on the top of the beer. Broken rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of brown sugar, caramel, toffee, apricot, peach, and citrus juices and citrus zests. Very nice smells on this one. Taste is of brown sugar, caramel/toffee, apricot/peach, and sweetened citrus juices. Surprisingly mild bitterness on the palate after each sip, with more of an acidic citrus juice quality than any real hop bitterness. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a medium body and smooth mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good barleywine with some very nice and complex smells and flavors. After perhaps 2 or so years in the bottle this has aged wonderfully.

Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of zestar
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of acurtis
3.75/5  rDev -11.6%

Photo of Texasfan549
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of GRG1313
3.75/5  rDev -11.6%

Photo of nmann08
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of Thorpe429
4.22/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes. I should point out that this may very well be my wife's favorite beer and I am always ISO.

Pours a nice red-brown color with a light tan head and a bit of lacing. Moderate retention in my snifter. The nose is quite complex, bringing in a good dose of citrus and pine hops along with some really nice malt--good notes of caramel, sweet bread, cherries, dark fruits, and a bit of brown sugar. The taste isn't quite as out there and this relatively fresh (about four months old when consumed) bottle had a bit of booze. Good body with some booze and a nice sweetness, this was really nice fresh and I'm looking forward to seeing what some age does to it.

Photo of kjkinsey
5/5  rDev +17.9%

Photo of kylehay2004
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -17.5%

Photo of brentk56
3.98/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2009 bottling - best after 4/20/10

Appearance: A beautiful barleywine, with a three fingered head that pancakes atop the the tawny colored liquid; the head leaves squiggles of lacing all across the sides of the chalice

Smell: The alcohol leaves a burning sensation in the nostrils, beneath which lie tones of caramel, stone fruit and pineapple

Taste: Dried pineapple and caramel, with a bit of a fruitcake character; by mid-palate, the tropical fruit, hoppy bitterness and alcohol merge together and are joined, after the swallow, by an oaky character; a floral tone emerges in the after-taste

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation; plenty of warmth in the gullet

Drinkability: I think the best days for this barleywine are ahead of it as it still has a bit of harsh character that limits the drinkability; otherwise, there is a lot to like and considerable complexity

Photo of BEERchitect
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A basic, error free Barleywine that is wonderfully balanced on all fronts. A huge malt foundation lays the ground work with strong toffee, caramel, and molassas flaovrs. The texture rides the fence of sweet-syrupy and dry-malty. Fruity esters bring out juicy plumbs, dates, grapes, figs and dried fruits of prunes and raisons. With the malt sweetness the fruits take on a fruitcake taste and complexity. Rum-like alcohols give an aggressive power to the beer but never dominates with fusal or harshness. Hop flavor has a mild herbal taste, but ultimately is used as a bittering agent against the malts. The malt, fruit, and hop character gives the same impression from nose to finish with a long, lingering malt taste. A supurb Barleywine that should age well from years.

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.95/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a deep amber color ale with a large foamy head with good retention and minimal lacing. Aroma of sweet malt with deep caramel malt notes and some hoppy grassy notes as well. Taste is also dominated by loads of sweet malt with a nice caramel touch and some hoppy notes with light citrus notes and a grassy feels. Body is above average with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Very well done though a bit more hoppy then what I usually like in my barley wine.

Photo of jaydoc
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.03/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

"Behavior is a mirror in which everyone displays his own image."

--Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

2009 Reserve. Gorgeously glowing maraschino cherry red when backlit with the fiery ball of the rising sun. The upper third of the snifter is filled with a creamy chunk of toasted almond colored froth that is impressively long-lived, especially given the ABV and the barrel-aging.

The aroma is classic pale-malted American barleywine. Golden orchard fruit macerated in its corresponding fruit brandy is the olfactory focus. Oak isn't appreciated at this point in the proceedings (35% aged in oak barrels).

Mirror Mirror gets its name from the fact that it's essentially a doubling of the Mirror Pond Pale Ale recipe. My preference is for more mid-range (caramel malty) and slightly darker barleywines, but this one could be interesting. After all, Deschutes is one of the best in the business.

First of all, this big beast has aged exceptionally well. It's interesting that the label has a 'best after' date (4/20/10) rather than a 'best before' date. If the mouthfeel hangs in there, it should be good until well into 2012... and beyond.

Specifics include sticky-sweet apricots with a thin caramel coating, orange and grapefruit zest, a modest amount of oakiness, and a splash of top-shelf brandy. Warming brings out more flavor intensity, a few more flavor nuances, and smooths out whatever (very slight) rough edges were present during the first several ounces.

The mouthfeel was most likely a solid 4.5 when the bottle was newly waxed. Nearly two years since the release has almost certainly have taken some toll in terms of size and viscosity. It's still damn good and makes the beer a pleasure to sip and savor.

Even though Mirror Mirror Reserve 2009 doesn't rise the stratospheric heights of their finest ales, Deschutes has done a great job with this primarily pale-malted American barleywine. Here's hoping Reserve 2012 is in the works at this very moment.

Photo of Knapp85
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3/5  rDev -29.2%

Photo of mikesgroove
3.65/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Finally able to sit down and try this one. Decided to use it as my night cap last eveing. Poured into my six ounce snifter, this one was consumed on 02/13/2010.

The pour was pretty decent for the style. Nice dark brown color with some light highlights of orange and red around the edges. Small off white head rises up and settles quickly with only minimal lacing and a bare top is left after only a few minutes. Aroma is rich, caramel, toffee, light hops and hints of oak all coming through fairly easily. Nice balance here but not getting that overwhelming barrel aged aroma I was hoping for. Warming does not do much now either as it just seems to bring in more of the hop and hints of boozy alcohol. Light carbonation masks the medium body and leaves the flavor to work its magic now. Smooth, even malts are stealing the show. Rich caramel and earthy tones round out a lightly hot flavor. Almost a popcorn like flavor coming through for me mid palate, buttery and creamy with a boozy finish that was slightly dry and coated with grassy and earthy notes.

Overall I have to admit I was a little let down by this one. I was hoping for something truly memorable but it left me kind of lacking. Maybe some time will bring it around.

Photo of womencantsail
4.37/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this awhile back on tap at Stone but I forgot to put my review up.

A: A lovely dark golden brown color with some nice hints of red and a white foam.

S: Nice sweet, brown sugar smell, honey, and some caramel/toffee. A bit of hoppiness, but it's minimal. A bit of vanilla and oak mixed in there somewhere.

T: Great mix of flavors here. Like the nose indicates, tons of sweetness here, but not overwhelmingly malty. Lots of caramel, molasses, and brown sugar. Some dark fruit flavors are present, mainly plums, along with some orange. The oak is again present, and a nice sweet finish. A bit boozy because it is so "fresh".

M: Huge body, nice and smooth, without much carbonation.

D: You wouldn't normally think of a barleywine as drinkable, but this beer is just so complex and delicious.

Photo of largadeer
4.37/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

First vintage from (I think) 2005, a blend of different barrels including pinot noir, bourbon and port.

Appearance: Dark amber-brown, viscous and oily. A thin quarter-inch head sits on top, slowly settling to a ring. There's a fair bit of haze without being completely opaque.

Smell: Rich and malty with a lot of interesting barrel character. This was allegedly aged in a mix of American oak, pinot noir, port and bourbon barrels and then blended. There's a definite trace of spicy American oak along with a berry-like aroma that could be construed as port. A harmonious blend on the whole, very aromatic and unique.

Taste & mouthfeel: A big malty character hits the palate immediately, chewy and rich but thankfully not cloying and syrupy. Too often I find barleywines sweet in an overbearing way, with no nuance or subtlety. That's not the case here, as Mirror Mirror shows quite a bit of depth and a subtle mix of flavors instead of merely beating you over the heat with residual sugars. All the same, there's plenty of toffee sweetness to balance the notes of tannic oak, toasted grain, dried fruit, red wine and tobacco. Alcohol is only faintly noticed, this is far from hot for weighing in at a hefty 11.5%. Nice firm bitterness in the finish along with a touch of drying oak. Very enjoyable stuff, dynamic on the palate and perfectly balanced. Looking forward to bottles of this.

Photo of biboergosum
4.41/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz, black wax-capped bottle, 2014 Reserve Edition, once again due to doktorzee's proclivity at seeking out the good stuff on his trips south of 49. But what's with this 'best after' tripe - they actually expect we consumers to wait over a year to drink this? Pfft.

This beer pours a murky, dark red brick amber hue, with three fingers of puffy, thickly foamy, and tantalizingly bubbly ecru head, which leaves some random hovering island mass lace around the glass as it evenly subsides.

It smells of bready, yeasty caramel malt, one more than dusted with toffee and dry treacle notes, further raisin, date, and fig black fruit sweeteners, an edgy, grainy barrel vanillan woodiness, some associated red wine acridity, molasses-tinged reduced brown sugar, cocoa powder, and a sedate citrus and leafy hop bitterness.

The taste is more musty caramel and toffee malt, the Scottish treacle association apparently a figment of my early afternoon association today (hey Scott!), nondescript vanilla and alcohol barrel notes - the particular wine character well and lost by this point - toasted dark sugar, and earthy, leafy, and lightly perfumed hops - that booze has to seep in someplace, and it might as well be here.

Mirror Mirror's bubbles are rather light, and mostly just a comely frothiness for the most part, the body a sturdy medium-heavy weight for the style, and unabashedly smooth, with a tingling creaminess tacked right up in there. It finishes on the sweet side, sure, but in a perfectly moderated sense - bready caramel malt, subtly musty fruit, proper old-world hops, and a gentlemanly booziness - replete with strength, but kind in its wielding thereof.

My oh my - this has been one of my white whales for this brewery (the Abyss having slipped thorough my fingers too many times as well) - and now I have it. Memories of sitting in front of the Mirror Pond in Bend on a Sunday evening, on another brewery's patio are now eclipsed by the headiness of this offering. For a west-coast bred brew of the given style, I am surprised at the accuracy, if not the veracity of the aplomb evident here. I bristle at calling this 'young' seeming, since I was admonished at first from even going down that road - oh well, this is still freaking awesome.

Photo of zeff80
4.14/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a clear, burgundy color with hints of orange. It had an off-white, head of foam that left behind sticky rings of lace.

S - It smelled very, malty with notes of spicy, floral hops.

T - It was very, very sweet and malty. The spicy hops were milder than I expected from the strong aroma.

M -It was very soft and smooth. A full-bodied beer with a dry finish.

D - This is a pretty good barleywine. I don't know if it lives up to the hype. I'd like to try one that has aged a little longer.

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Mirror Mirror from Deschutes Brewery
94 out of 100 based on 1,478 ratings.