1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Mirror Mirror - Deschutes Brewery

Not Rated.
Mirror MirrorMirror Mirror

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,243 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,243
Reviews: 465
rAvg: 4.24
pDev: 10.14%
Wants: 440
Gots: 515 | FT: 84
Brewed by:
Deschutes Brewery visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
English Barleywine |  11.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
30 IBU

Bottled/kegged vintages:
2005 - Released February 2006
2009 - Released April 2009
2014 - Released April 2014

(Beer added by: waltonc on 04-29-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Mirror Mirror Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,243 | Reviews: 465 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ffejherb
4.1/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to FooFaa for sharing this 22oz. bomber that I procured for him in CA this past summer. Enjoyed on 11/23/09.

A - Poured a clear caramel-colored, copper-tinged body with very minimal carbonation and a thin, creamy beige head that reduced to a patchy retention and yielded thin shavings of lace.

S - Clearly an English-style barleywine aroma with lots of sweet malty goodness suggesting caramel, toffee and minimal hop bitterness.

T - Huge malty flavor with gobs of chewy, candy-like caramel and toffee notes. Again, hop bitterness is scant, which allows the malty complexities to shine through. While not very woody in character, some very subtle vanilla notes emerge as the liquid warmed up a bit. Alcohol presence is subdued, remaining well-concealed throughout.

M - Full-bodied with a slick yet chewy, syrupy texture and minimal carbonation, resulting in a sticky mouthfeel overall. Finish is sweet with minimal alcohol warmth on the palate.

D - Although not fully matured (at least that's what the bottle indicated), this proved to be quite a drinkable English-style barleywine.

ffejherb, Dec 03, 2009
Photo of bosco7
4.83/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Gorgeous garnet color topped with a tan head.

Peaches, cherry, caramel, almond and vanilla in the nose. Almost tart. Unique.

Wow now this is a barleywine. Overwhelmingly complex is my first impression upon tasting. Caramel, bread-pudding, toffee, and fig upfront. Full of fruity flavors towards the finish like cherry, currant, sweet orange, and blackberry. Finish is pretty dry for a barleywine.

Mouthfeel is pretty voluptuous and slinky with perfect amount of carbonation. Phenomenal beer here. Best barleywine in a long time. Deschutes is making some of the best beers and I wish I had better access to them. Highly recommended.

bosco7, Nov 26, 2009
Photo of wnh
4.1/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bomber poured into a wine glass. Tasted August 2009.

Pours a clear, copper-red, inviting.

Aromas of brown sugar, lightly burnt caramel, and a light vegetal note. Rich and sugary (decidedly not refined sugar) on the palate, with a complementary earthy, woodsy character. Light to medium in body, which feels off per style, but makes it inviting and drinkable.

Overall a good beer, but seems to be clearly not ready, as the brewers indicate with the "Best after" date on the bottle. Young, good, but shows signs of great potential.

wnh, Nov 25, 2009
Photo of akorsak
4/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to FooFaa for sharing this 650 mL wax-capped bottle.

A: The barleywine is a syrupy copper color, still relatively translucent. The color is such that you'd expect to find a prehistoric insect suspended in it. A small, off-white head, blanketed the ale.

S: The nose is particularly rich, heavy with malts and spices. Cinnamon stands out in the nose, though hops do not. The label references aging, at least a portion of the ale, in a barrel but I'm not getting any of that.

T: The body of the barleywine is as thick as the nose hints at. Syrupy malts, unafraid to show off their strength, are coupled with spices, ripe fruits, pepper, molasses, and caramel, The end result is a warming barleywine that is far more inclined to show off its English heritage (there is little in the way of hops). A good barleywine that doesn't need big American hops to make it work.

M: The mouthfeel is sweet but very thick, loaded down with pale malts and burnt sugars. A good beer for the first snowfall of the year (here's hoping that it comes soon).

D: As big as the barleywine tastes, it doesn't feel like an 11% or so ale. That's good and bad. Good for one glass but bad if I'm trying to get through more than one.

akorsak, Nov 24, 2009
Photo of Bung
4/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. 2009. Cloudy brown pour, just some light cream colored head. Malty, fig and caramel, ash aromas, just a hint of pine and bourbon. Taste is nice malty caramel, toffee, vanilla and oak. Scattered around are molasses, yellow raisin, charcoal and pine. Finish is some bitter hops and charry oak barrel. I just can't go quite above 4 on the taste yet. A few years should make this even more interesting. Smooth mouth, good carbonation. Drinkability is fine for such a large beer, but this is pretty warm yet. Maybe a little closer to English style.

Bung, Nov 24, 2009
Photo of clvand0
3.9/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a copper color with a small head that falls quickly and doesn't leave much lacing on the glass. The aroma has a moderate US hop character, but it's not overpowering. It also smells of caramel malts and alcohol. The flavors are a mix of alcohol, bready malts and a touch of US hops. Again, the hops aren't the star here. The finish is pretty sweet and there isn't a ton of bitterness in there. This is a pretty nice beer.

clvand0, Nov 14, 2009
Photo of srandycarter
4.38/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Deep, nearly clear amber. Good off white, big bubbled head leaves fast to only ring. Minimal spotty lace.

S - Boozy, bready, deep malt. Sharp and fruity as well.

T - Gigantic mouth of booze, sweet malt, dark fruits and lots of bitter balance.

M - Great carb, great coating, nice balance, esp considering how big.

D - Too big to session, but I would try. Delightfully surprised by this beer!

srandycarter, Nov 10, 2009
Photo of boatshoes
4.03/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received this as an extra from JohnGalt1. 2009 vintage. Thanks man, awesome extras so far!

Appearance- Pours a very handsome shade of bronze/amber with about a finger and a half of cream colored head. Retention is quite good on this one and after slowing dying down, about a quarter finger of head stuck around for the rest of the drink. Lots of sticky lacing left down the side of the glass as well as I drank.

Smell- Very sweet with a strong fruity/floral nose. Smelled of candied fruits, caramel malt, a hint of booze, and perhaps the slightest bit of hop resin on the back end.

Taste- Lots of rich caramel and vanilla flavors come through straight out for me. Heavy malt sweetness with a bit of warming alcohol. More of the sweet fruitiness that I detected in the nose. Not a whole lot of detectable hops for me, and I find this to be on the sweeter side of a barleywine. A touch of warming alcohol on the way down.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Feels very nice in the mouth. Substantial and slick but balanced out by very appropriate levels of carbonation. Despite the sweetness, this one went down easy as well, and I polished off a bomber without much of a problem.

Overall, a very solid barleywine at a great pricepoint. Not as good as my favorite barleywine so far (Gratitude) but much more accessible and reasonably priced. Picked it up if you get the chance.

boatshoes, Nov 03, 2009
Photo of cptierney
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from a waxed topped 2009 22oz bottle into a Russian River Tulip glass.

This beer pours a maroon/brown color with an excellent amount of carbonation. The one finger of white foam is slow to dissipate and really tops off a very handsome brew.

The nose is all sweet. There are heavy hits of caramel, candied sugars and that sweet funky smell normally attributed to dark fruits. Very little hop notes though with some heavy sniffing I did pick up some hints of orange citrus.

This brew has a really fine mouthfeel. All I can say is smoooth, as the thick brew goes down with nice carbonation and drinks like velvet feels.

This is a sweet barleywine, as all the flavors hinted at on the nose are present. The dark fruits play out on a biscuity malt background with the residual sweetness barely being counteracted with some finishing hops.

The drinkability of this brew suffers slightly due to its incredibly sweet nature, though the luscious mouthfeel makes you want more. I imagine it might tone down and gain a more refined edge with some aging, but right out of the gate it makes for a fine brew.

cptierney, Nov 03, 2009
Photo of mothman
4.22/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into gobet

Color is a golden bronze with a light tan head. Lacing wasn't noted.

Aroma: A lot of malts here. Oak, sweet fresh earthy hops, caramel. Very nice b-wine with the oak aging.

Taste: Big malty flavor. Boozy a bit. Earthy hops, caramel, oak, vanilla. I dig it for a b-wine.

Mouthfeel: Smooth for the most part, but a little boozy. Medium to full bodied. Good carbonation. Ends fairly clean.

Overall, a nice barlywine. I would really like to age this one and see what happens to it. I really enjoyed the added oak flavors to the style.

mothman, Oct 31, 2009
Photo of projectflam86
4.3/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got the chance to try this one from a061183. Thanks dude!

2009 Reserve

A- Pours a beautiful dark ruby color with a thick rocky off-white foam head. Tons of lacing left behind.

S- Sweet caramel malt and earthy hops. A touch of honey and some oak. Alcohol is quite prominent.

T- Huge wave of sweetness and booze. Lots of oak, vanilla, and honey make up the body. Definitely some caramel malt and syrup mixed with a big bold alcohol burn in the finish. A light citrus flavor lingers throughout with some musty bitter hops.

M- Full bodied with just the right amount of carbonation. Really smooth and juicy with an easy finish.

D- Fresh and at 11% ABV this baby is a bruiser! Has all of the great young barleywine flavors with enough alcohol to really stand some aging. Its too bad I don't have another one...

projectflam86, Oct 20, 2009
Photo of OStrungT
4.45/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a slightly cloudy orangish gold color, with a decent off white head. the head fades slowly, leaving a good lacing.

This beer smells of sweet caramel malt. i can detect some oaky aroma as well. Vanila is present. Some floral notes as well.

This beer tastes like it smells. Pretty sweet, but not overly so. Vanila, and oak are present. Nice.

This beer goes down surprisingly smooth, leaving a sweet caramel aftertaste. the alcohol is well hidden in the flavor and aroma.

This beer might not be the best session beer since it is somewhat high in alcohol. It sure is easy to drink though.

Overall: This beer is a great one. Worht the price. I will but it again if I see it.

OStrungT, Oct 19, 2009
Photo of Oxymoron
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Whose the fairest of them all? Pours a mostly clear amber color with a ruby red hue throughout. A soft white head with good retention and lacing through the tasting.

The nose is a bit young but ok considering they recommend to age for an additional 3 years. Some malt notes with hints of caramel and bready undertones. The esters really come out as well, with big fig notes tied in with raisins and a light plum note. Some fruity notes, granny smith apples, cherries and a light vanilla undertone. There is a light pepper note as well but I mostly picked this out after a few tastes.

The taste is similar. Would be nice to compare this review with a 3 year old version. The malt is balanced very well. Mostly malty flavor with some underlining husky, toasty and caramel notes. The bready character is a bit more distinct than the nose indicated. Some minor chocolate undertones but very light. There is a light hop note, which I would expected more considering the age. Would like a bit more bitterness to balance. The yeast notes are noticeable (also would be nice to compare vs a 3 year old). The yeast itself is light but the esters and phenols are there. Some tart apple cherry note that reminds me of jam. Some noticeable wine/grape notes. Minor citrus orange, and pineapple in the finish. The pepper notes come out after some time.

The body is closer to full than moderate but there is a nice chewiness that helps that out. Would like a bit more complexity but is ok (and should see after some time). Carbonation is good. Overall a good beer now with the fruity notes, but the hop character is missing. So I guess I will have to see this review again in three years.

Oxymoron, Oct 16, 2009
Photo of zeff80
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
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.

zeff80, Oct 11, 2009
Photo of BigMcLargeHuge
4.22/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of tpd975. Pours clear copper with gold edges and off white head. The aroma is yummy sweetness with malts, some caramel and a mild level of dark fruity esters. A big draw brings up malt stickiness, grassy hops and a hint of booze heat. The taste is caramel, malts, some mild spice, earthiness and grassy hops. The maltiness and caramel sweetness grow to midway before hop bitterness and a light sense of booze help bring this to closure. Interesting interpretation without the solid dark fruitiness of an English BW or the hoppy bite of an American BW. Should age nicely.

BigMcLargeHuge, Oct 07, 2009
Photo of russpowell
4.35/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Cheers to Rye726 & Bitterbill for sending me bottles!

Pours an effervescent orange/caramel with 1 finger of tan head. Stays effervescent throughout, above average head retention & average lacing

S: Fruittyness, herbal hops, vanilla, tropical fruit & a touch of banana bread at the end

T: Huge cakeyness, toffee, pineapple & pineyness up front. Oaky dryness. more cakeyness & a bit of woody hops & booze as this warms. Finishes dry fruitty, some grapefruit, woody hops & a kiss of booze

MF: Rich & chewy with moderate carbonation & great balance

Drinks easy for the style & ABV, another winner from Deschutes. If tour looking for a hoppy in your face barley wine, this ain't it, but I love the malt backbone & balance on this

russpowell, Sep 30, 2009
Photo of beertunes
4.08/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into tulip. Poured a pretty reddish-amber color, with just a trace of head and minimal lacing.

A pleasant earth fruit scent is backed up by a solid alcohol burn.
The flavors are similar but bolder and fuller. Those earthy flavors are balanced by the heat, but on the end is lacking in fullness.

The body is as expected for the style, perhaps a little fuller. Drinkabilty is very good for the style. I suggest drinking this now, I don't anticipate this version improving with age. Try it now.

beertunes, Sep 29, 2009
Photo of GilGarp
4.3/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Best after 4/20/10. Oh well...

Served cool in a chalice, it has a striking red color with great clarity and creamy off-white head. Not much lacing but otherwise a nice looking beer.

Aroma is sweet and strong with dark fruits, a little spice, and alcohol.

Flavor is really big with chewy caramel, chocolate covered cherries, dried fruits, and winter spices. In fact, it's this last aspect that has me thinking this is more of a jubelale inspired beer than one from mirror pond.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy with full body and low carbonation - just how this style should be. The alcohol is a little strong but I bet it will mellow out nicely after 2010.

Two bottles in the cellar waiting to find out...

GilGarp, Sep 26, 2009
Photo of jacobseyb
3.83/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A=dark copper color with light loose head of a tan color. less than one finger of head

S=nice smell of caramel and alcohol very malty and sweet aromas

T=much the same sweet, with alcohol on the back end, caramel with maybe a slight fruityness.

M=light carbonation, very loose but nice. alcohol warms nicely

D=good enjoyable beverage with nice smell, taste and aromas

jacobseyb, Sep 26, 2009
Photo of berkey
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 bottle poured into a pint-tulip hybrid. From last nights notes.

Dense and dark copper body with a very large tan head composed of loose soapy bubbles. The head takes a little time fading but eventually goes away almost completely.

Big on the aromatics! The carmel and sweet bread maltiness is backed up by big bitter and citrus hops. Perceptible alcohol is offset by a great earthy wood character. Perfect for the style.

Flavor brings on even more fruity (apples mostly) malt and alcohol sweetness but it's held in check by the equally healthy dose of hopping. Hops seem more bitter and leafy and less citrus than the aroma. Oak is even more present here. This one is slightly "hot" on the palate but not too much for the style.

Carbonation is very low, near flat actually. I'm not one of those who think every beer should have soda-like effervescence, especially on barley wines, but I have to admit I'm missing it here. Just a slight carb would make a big difference. Fairly drinkable for the ABV.

Overall this is a great, but not perfect, barley wine. I'll have to do another review after I age this for awhile and see how it improves.

berkey, Sep 23, 2009
Photo of NorCalYeti
3.38/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

taste- sweet malt, muted hop character, flat

color- deep amber

clarity- clear

smell- yeast, mead, red wine, wood

body- smooth body with a medium length finish, slightly bitter finish

appearance- some active carbonation, little head, no lace, nice color

overall impression- disappointed, i almost think the beer is flat even though it was just purchased, very mediocre. i've had this beer at barleywine festivals and had a different opinion...maybe it doesn't translate in the bottle.

NorCalYeti, Sep 17, 2009
Photo of GbVDave
4.03/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a black wax sealed 22oz bomber into two St. Bernardus goblets. Thanks to HeatherAnn for the assist! Extra special thanks to BuckeyeNation for the trade and hook up...thanks Brad!

Best after 4/20/10

A: Pours a deep and dark, rusty/russet color with an orange colored head that left gobs of sticky, droopy, and specky lace all over the glass. Fantastic looking!

S: Loads of caramel, oak, vanilla bean, and lots of booze.

T: See above with the addition of cherry, dark chocolate, and coconut with more booze, oak, and vanilla.

M: Oily and smooth at first with a hot and spicy alcohol burn that gradually got stronger as we approached the bottom of our glasses.

D: Very nice considering how young it is. I'd love to revisit this after the "Best After" date. It will only get better with time.

GbVDave, Sep 15, 2009
Photo of redneckchugger
3.68/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a duvel tulip. Dark brown color, tan head, bout one finger. Not much lacing
Smells of light hops, mild caramely malt with a mustiness, like an attic with old cardboard. Like oxidation but less intense
More of the light oxidation on the taste , but i like it. Some earthy hops up front, with the caramel in the back, with a big boozey hit on the back.
This beer is good, but not great. I like a good balanced barleywine, and this fits the bill , but the booze is too disjointed. I don't mind a big alcohol flavor but when it blends well. This is too separate from the rest of the flavors. I don't taste the alcohol instill the end of the finish and that that point its just too much.

redneckchugger, Sep 12, 2009
Photo of rayjay
4.3/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Amazingly this was purchased in the small town I live in (Paradise, CA at Ray's Liquor). Poured into a 11oz pilsner glass.

Big marangue head with big sticky lace. Foam initially pours out green and carmel colored. Copper-carmel colored ale with no haze.

Great fresh dry-hopped aroma, a treat since I was expecting the malts to be big and rough. Also limited alcohol presence. Carrmel malt is certainly in there though, and some fruitcake comes through. I was hoping for a bit more from the wood and bourbon, but the hops make the aroma.

Like most big beers from this brewery, it displays some class and the flavors really balance each other well. Lots of dried fruit (apricots and dates), and a nice big fruity hoppy bouquet without being harshly bitter. In fact the bitterness and the sweet carmel malts show a rare balance not seen in many beers this big; both are completely confident and cooperatively modest and share the stage perfectly together. Both come out more as the beer warms. Again I wish the wood and bourbon were showcased a bit more.

Mouthfeel is like hard water with a touch of sugar. Refreshing and challenging; bold but polite. Well-crafted.

Drinkability is good for the style. It's not thick and dehydrating, but there are others more interesting that you will gulp down much faster. A great beer and I'm loving it now...will try again after 4-20-10 to see what the brewer's recommendation tastes like. Cheers!

rayjay, Sep 11, 2009
Photo of mikey711
3.9/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I have received bottles of this from a few excellent BAs in trades and cracked one open for my Dad's birthday.

I poured a bottle into some snifters to enjoy.

A: Its a very nice tan brown with a finger thick head that disappeared quickly but left very nice lacing

S:spicy alcohol with a nice malt backbone. The oak and vanilla come through very nicely.

T: the alcohol is very present in this extremely sweet beer. There is also a nice hint of fruitiness that makes it a bit easier to drink

M: rich and full but definitely could benefit from some time to mellow

D: easy to drink but better to share

mikey711, Sep 05, 2009
Mirror Mirror from Deschutes Brewery
94 out of 100 based on 1,243 ratings.