Dismiss Notice
Get 12 monthly issues of BeerAdvocate magazine and save $5 when you select "auto-renew."

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join our email list →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.

Mirror Mirror - Deschutes Brewery

Not Rated.
Mirror MirrorMirror Mirror

Educational use only; do not reuse.

521 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 521
Hads: 1,679
Avg: 4.2
pDev: 17.38%
Wants: 471
Gots: 729 | FT: 106
Brewed by:
Deschutes Brewery
Oregon, United States | website

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 (161) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Mirror Mirror Alström Bros
Reviews: 521 | Hads: 1,679
Photo of Kadonny
4.24/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2014 bottle poured into a tulip glass. Bottle says 11.2% Abv.

A: A medium brownish color with some red and orange notes. Slight off white head with not much lacing, if any.

S: Dark fruits are strong on the nose with some woody notes and brown sugar sweetness. Slight vanilla and toffee.

T: Darker fruity flavors with raisin, fig, date, some slight dark candied cherry and some grape maybe? The sweetness is rich, but not overwhelming. Brown sugar, toffee, molasses, caramel. The sweetness meets some woody flavors with slight vanilla and some sweeping alcohol to finish. I don't get many hops, if any. Really complex beer here.

M: Very full and coating mouthfeel that lingers with some sweet. Low carbonation with decent alcohol.

O: A real nice beer. Scratch that, a great beer. Nice complexity, fairly easy drinking and just a great sipping beer to enjoy and warm your belly (and heart). This is a terrific barley wine that I'm so glad I finally got to enjoy. Drink this and love it.

 1,011 characters

Photo of HattedClassic
4.12/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours an off-white head and foamy head that dissipates quite readily. The beer itself is a deep and clear amber.

The beer smell has a strong and bitter floral hop note. The hop smell tends to lean towards the orange part of the spectrum. In addition, the smell has a sweet caramel and sugar note to it. Essentially, the smell is very similar to that of a strong pale ale.

The beer taste has a very hoppy flavor balanced (sort of) by a light malt note. The hops come off as floral and orange while the malts are closer to caramel and burnt toast in the aftertaste.

The mouhthfeel is fairly heavy with medium viscosity. The carbonation is biting.

Overall, a fairly good and unique beer. Even though the beer is closer to a DIPA instead of a barleywine, the beer still manages to have a nice malt presence that turn the hops into the carriers of the fruity notes traditionally found in barleywines. Highly recommend.

 928 characters

Photo of superspak
4.47/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle into snifter, best after 2/24/2015. Pours lightly hazy/cloudy dark ruby red color with a 2 finger dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big caramel, toast, toffee, brown sugar, brown bread, molasses, light nuttiness, raisin, plum, fig, apple, date, light licorice, herbal, light oak/vanilla, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Incredible aromas with awesome complexity and balance of dark/bready malts, fruity/earthy yeast, and light-moderate oak barrel notes; with great strength. Taste of big caramel, toffee, toast, brown sugar, brown bread, molasses, light nuttiness, raisin, plum, fig, apple, date, vanilla, light licorice, herbal, light oak, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Slight tannic/oak bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, toast, toffee, brown sugar, brown bread, molasses, light nuttiness, raisin, plum, fig, apple, date, vanilla, light licorice, herbal, light oak, and yeast/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity and robustness of dark/bready malt, fruity/earthy yeast, and light-moderate oak barrel flavors; with a fantastic malt/yeast balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a very smooth, creamy, and lightly slick/sticky mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a light warming lingering after the finish. Overall this is an absolutely incredible English barleywine style. All around outstanding complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malt, fruity/earthy yeast, and light-moderate oak barrel flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the big ABV. An insanely delicious offering.

 1,800 characters

Photo of Bowers-Brew
4.19/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Best after 2/24/15 - served @ 50deg F in a snifter

A - Medium brown body with Amber highlights - Tan porous head ~3/4" when poured aggressively.

S - Sweet toasted malt, cherries, dirt/earth

T/M - Sweet caramel and sour wine notes lead into toasted malt and alcohol bite

O - I'm glad I finally pulled it off the wall and drank it. A little hot on the finish and would like a bit more complexity from the wine barrels. However, very good brew that surprisingly is still sitting on a lot of store shelves in my area. Prost!

 531 characters

Photo of moundbz
4.85/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Looks like a liquid tootsie roll, smells of port wine, tastes super smooth with not much alcohol BAM for a beer that's 11%. Overall terrific. Opened on my b-day, March 22, 2015.

 179 characters

Photo of Samuel906
4.73/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

2014 vintage with a best after date of 2/24/2015. Opened on 3/14/2015

Pours a hazy reddish brown with a small, thin off white head. One of the more opaque barleywines I've seen. Smell is lovely, lemony hops and rich honey, sweet malt and caramel, subtle earth tones. You can really smell the age, and history that this beer has. Taste is absolutely sublime, perfectly complex and robust, but with no overwhelmingly distracting flavors. Brown sugar, bitter chocolate, fig, plum, some notes of aged Tawny Port. Myriad of different flavors to enjoy that subtly change as the beer warms. Feel is full bodied, low carbonation: slick and smooth, but not super sticky. No booziness but some subtle warmth in the gut. Overall, this is absolutely fantastic, the qualities all combine to give this an ancient and timeless presence. One of my new favorites and worth the wait to cellar.

 878 characters

Photo of Jackolope
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Damn good. SF beer week from a tap. I was surprised. I almost went with something else, but I'm glad i chose this one. Delicious till the last drop. Complex and bold. Would order again in a heartbeat.

 200 characters

Photo of Gobearswalter34
4.79/5  rDev +14%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours a hazy dishwater color with a nice creamy one finger tan head.
Sweet, boozy dark fruit with malty goodness.
An extremely boisterous dark fruit taste in which the burst of tastes continues to explode until a bitter finish fades. Malty with a little hop sneaking in.
The mouthfeel is awesome. Smooth till the end this it slaps you on the ass on the way out. Sir might I have another?
Overall- this is not quite the bcbwine, but getting there. It doesn't come together quite as well.

 491 characters

Photo of Jonada
4.29/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

2014 release. 11.2% ABV. Bomber poured into a 22oz snifter

Appearance: Pours a dark red brown color with 2 fingers of a light tan, creamy head. Nice retention and lacing. Body is dark, but translucent when held to light, with some visible carbonation as well.

Smell: Caramel and toffee, raisins, plums, some light oak, red apple. While not overtly wine like, there are definitely some wine like tannins.

Taste: Similar to the aroma. Sweet caramel and toffee, mix of various dark fruits, hint of a roasted character, red grape skin and a very mild bitterness. Moderate wine like astringency as well.

Mouthfeel: Lower end of full bodied with a soft, creamy mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Overall: Really nice barleywine. I think they found a good ratio between the barrel aged and non barrel aged component, as any more would have overwhelmed the base beer characteristics. If they release this again, I'll definitely pick up another.

 940 characters

Photo of don1481
4.57/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

22 oz bottle poured into snifter.

Appearance: Pours a deep ruby red with a frothy off white head that slowly dissipates.

Smell: toffee, butterscotch, and is that... wine? Interesting.

Taste: dry toffee with a little bit of butterscotch. Slight booze Wine balance.

Mouthfeel : dry finish. Crisp.

Overall: been dying to try this for months. So worth the wait.

 369 characters

Photo of guityler83
4.83/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Blood red beer with a cream colored head. foam retention was low to mild and fell leaving behind a corner of larger bubbles. Swirling the glass kicked up a small cathedral window lacing on the edge of the glass that slowly slid down the side. At first the beer looked murky but on further inspection its crystal clear, the maroon hue reflection gives a really cool red color to the beer.

S: Big aroma on this beer. Dark cherry, red grapes and pomegranate with a mild oak and vanilla aroma. An interesting nutmeg and all spice character seems to come through and rounds out everything. The other side of the equation is the big caramel, raisins and melenoidin toasty-ness coming through from the malts. Mild alcohol and a medium-low level of herbal hops.

T: Bitterness is moderate to firm but the hops blend quickly to a blast of cherry, raspberry and red wine flavors. Dates, figs and raisins in the middle malts section with some toast and a touch of roast.Balance is between the wine and the caramel malt and as it warms up it seems to switch sides.Sweetness is moderate with an emphasis on the red wine characteristics. the finish comes in with an oak and merlo blast.

M: A sticky malt sensation washes over the tongue and cheeks. Carbonation is mild to medium with a moderately-full body., Mild warming in the chest - dangerously drinkable. there are some nice tannins that stick around giving a drying sensation and emphasizing the oak, vanilla and red wine.

O:Flavor explosion.. This was a fantastic balance of barley wine and the wine character. the hop presence seemed to pickup as my pallet adjusted to all the different flavors - one things for sure this was complex. and delicious

 1,699 characters

Photo of Immortale25
4.57/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Haw River Farmhouse Ales teku glass. Label says Best After: 2/24/15. Right on time.

A- Pours a light brown color with a 1/2 inch tan head that retains decently before becoming a thick ring around the edge of the glass and a large side patch of bubbly surface foam. Non-resilient lacing leaves tiny specs behind.

S- Big rush of caramel and maple-like sweetness with a solid barrel presence. Toasty malt, treacle, brown sugar. Solid booze fume.

T- Goes down smooth with the first sip as there's just the right amount of sweetness for my liking and the alcohol is well-masked. More notes of caramel plus some toffee and burnt sugar. Plenty of oak shining through as well. I'm glad only 50% was aged on the wine barrels since there's already plenty coming through as it is.

M- Somewhat of a soft feel with medium-low carbonation and a fullish body.

O- This beer is just as delicious as it is drinkable which equals dangerous. So well-balanced between the malt sweetness, barrel character and alcohol content. Also, the mouthfeel is pretty spot-on. I think I like this at least as much as Sucaba, if not more. I know they use different barrels but it's the only other BA English Barleywine I've had that comes close to being as good.

 1,260 characters

Photo of Way2drunk
4.53/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful Amber color with a little fizz poured n2 a red wine glass! It is a barley WINE! Right. Great smell. Flavor nice and smooth. Not 2 sweet like u expect from a barley wine. Paired it with Perez Carrillo La Historia cigar that's spicy. I'm n flavor heaven. Will grab another and revisit this in 2017!!

 309 characters

Photo of wampahoofus
4.85/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Look - Clear amber. Little head but nice lacing
Smell - Boozy and spicy. Can't wait to take a sip!
Taste - Oh Wow! Well balanced oak and malt. A bit of sweetness. Some boozyness.
Feel - Rich and full! Hmmmm. What a great beer to greet a winter night!
Overall - This is what barleywine should be! How did they get it so right?

 334 characters

Photo of Stevedore
3.97/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Darker, muddy caramel body with a half finger white head, minimal retention time, no lacing.

S- Rich, bready aromas much like the base Mirror Pond. Smells quite hoppy with a good bit of earthy and piney aromas.

F- Tastes nice and malty with a reasonable toffee and caramel base, lots of earthy and piney hops abound on the palate. It's reasonably bitter on the backend, which fits what Deschutes' is seemingly trying for. Smooth toffee and caramel flavours are the star here. I don't get any of the red wine barrels, but presumably they didn't age it 100% in wine barrels.

M- Medium bodied, substantial and silky. Reasonably drinkable given the hoppiness that is present in the beer. It's more of a sipper than anything else.

O- Solid English barleywine that doesn't really deliver any of the red wine barrel characteristics, but if you like American barleywines, this is a reasonably hoppy barleywine. I think the English Barleywine designation on this site is definitely a misnomer.

 993 characters

Photo of Anker13
4.59/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2014 Vintage

Appearance: Burnished orange with a short lived off white head, slightly opaque

Aroma: Sherry up front followed by caramel and toffee, slight wine / muscat character on the back end

Mouthfeel: Substantial... Perfect carbonation for the style, very smooth an unabrasive. Sticky and viscous

Taste: As it smells... Sherry and caramel/toffee dominate, enough heat to stand up to the strong flavors. As it warms, the oak, vanilla, and fig flavors become more pronounced. Luckily it never becomes too sweet

Residual: Palate is completely coated, can still taste the beer 15 minutes after finishing

Overall: One of the better barleywines I've had recently. Very well balanced and not over the top. I was worried that the wine character was going to overwhelm the rest of the beer, but it felt like a natural component. I'd love to get another one to cellar for a year or 2

 885 characters

Photo of mactrail
3.8/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Massive and sweet with endless malt. Sugary finish with the hoppy bitterness for the aftertaste. Bitterness is pretty intense, along with a woody taste.

Sharp yet sugary. Brown sugar and cried figs. Pleasing aroma of grain and resiny hops. Baked apples and caramel candy. Hot with alcohol.

This pretty well sums up the Barleywine style. This is the 2014 version. From the 22 oz bottle purchased at Liticker's Liquor in San Diego.

 431 characters

Photo of emyers
4.31/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22 oz. bottle poured into a Great Lakes snifter.

Appearance: Pours a murky copper-brown color with a thin off-white head dissipating immediately into a thin lacing.

Smell: Rich, intense caramel/toffee aroma along with oak. Red wine aromatics fade in and out along with touches of molasses. Tons of depth and complexity in the nose. There is definite alcohol heat, but it doesn't detract much if at all.

Taste: Very similar to the smell, with a dominant caramel/toffee presence mixed with raisins, vanilla, oak, and wine. The wine barrel is quite subtle (which I would say is a good thing in a barleywine) and at no point overpowers the base beer. Finish is fairly sweet with just enough bite from the bittering hops to keep it in check. Not much alcohol heat. Excellent.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied, medium carbonation level. A touch over-carbed for my liking given the style, but has that thick, rich body I love in a barleywine.

Overall: Excellent base barleywine with the wine barrel providing just enough added uniqueness to make this stand out from the crowd.

 1,065 characters

Photo of Absolut
4.57/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured out of bottle into a snifter.

Been after this beer forever. found 3 sitting on a Bevmo clearance shelf. eh?? totally confused.

pours a redish brown with almost no head. smells of caramel, molasses and malt. thick mothfeel with low carb. a lttle warming but zero abv. burn.

taste is much the same, semi sweet and bitter at the same time. perplexing. a hint of coffee as it warms.

excellent beer. excited to see how the other two age.

(added later, oak flavors coming through as it warms. extremely well done)

 532 characters

Photo of lordofstarside
4.31/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Best after 2/24/15, to a snifter

Pours a pretty clear golden brown with moderately red hues. Not much foam, just a thin frothy ring, mild carbonation and good lacing

Smells of oak, toffee, fig, raisin, molasses, caramel, and wine, with notes of chocolate and vanilla. Finishes with a little bit of booze, really complex

Taste follows really well. Upfront fig and molasses with quite a bit of oak. Behind that lots of caramel and toffee, shadowed by white wine. Finishes with a bit of vanilla and some alcohol

Feel is pretty thick and heavy. Not too bitter, easy to sip

Overall I was skeptical about this for too long. Def worth picking up a couple for the cellar

 667 characters

Photo of everythingiszen
4.32/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Potent english malts in the nose and on the tongue. Heavy body. Beautiful rich color. Slightly sour, mildly tanniny, semisweet. Coating mouthfeel. Nice.

 152 characters

Photo of cbutova
3.94/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2014 bottle (12/27/14 notes/scores):

Far less wine and oxidation feel than the 2009 and more overall spicy fig, raisin and caramelized sugars. Lack of wine (some of it still here) allow the rich malts and sweetness to come out more.

2009 bottle (12/14/14 notes/scores):
A- Murky brown body from the bomber to a few pint glasses. A light tan head rises to about a finger with a frothy texture. Decent head retention and webs of lace.

S- Tannins and wine jump off the top even from only 35% being oak aged. Dry, vinous grapes and fresh toasted oak followed by big red fruits and some caramel malts.

T- Wine really is quite large in this brew. It overshadows a lot of the malts with dark vinous grapes and wet oak coming to mind before toasted, musty aged caramel and hints of figs.

MF- Medium bodied for the style, perhaps thinned out a bit by age and the wine. Carbonation is moderately high and it all ends with a dry vinous bite.

More wine forward than I would have imagined being only 35% barrel aged. Perhaps a bit too much but still a solid overall Barleywine.
3.75 3.75 4 3.75 4 (will update with 2014 notes when consumed)

 1,136 characters

Photo of Catracho5
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

22 oz. bomber poured into a brandy snifter

Appearance: light caramel color, pretty clear, head faded quickly, some tiny bubbles are sticking around the glass, looks really good.

Aroma: Getting a big fruity aroma, toffee, caramel, sweetness, really smells like Bigfoot, can't pick up the wine barrel aroma, no alcohol

Taste: Very smooth, easy drinking, a little bitterness on the front end, quickly fades, then I get that big barley wine flavor, sweet, toffee, caramel sweetness, no alcohol burn.

Mouthfeel: It's a medium mouthfeel, not a lot of carbonation, dry finish.

Overall: I have had Bigfoot several times, it reminds of Bigfoot with a year or two on it, for an English barley wine it seems a little too bitter. I've had other English barley wines that were really smoother. I drank it before the best after date, don't know if that matters, but I was expecting more wine barrel aromas, still really smooth, easy drinking beer, worth a try and money.

 962 characters

Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.61/5  rDev -14%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle into a tulip. From yesterday.

Appearance: Pours a dark brown color. The head is two fingers high, with a light mocha shade. With a nice texture, excellent retention, and a nice amount of lacing left on the glass, it creates an aesthetically pleasing brew. (4.25)

Smell: Very caramel-laden, as expected. Lesser notes of brown sugar and dark fruit also exist. To me, this seems closer to an American barleywine, due to how the caramel doesn't come across as sweet as an English barleywine - plus, it still retains a bit of hoppiness to it. The barrel presence in this is mild, but not non-existent. (3.75)

Taste: It opens up with large amounts of caramel and dark fruit on the palate, before developing some notes of brown sugar and piny hops shortly thereafter. Just like the nose suggested, the oak barrel and wine notes are subtle, and require some effort to discern. Sure, I could use more complexity, but I still keep coming back for more sips... (3.5)

Mouthfeel: At first, it seems rather heavy and sweet (like a barleywine should be), but the combination of hoppiness and light oak gives it a dry finish...and good drinkability. 11%? Not here. It's still rather sweet, but hey, it's a barleywine. Carbonation is expectedly low. (3.5)

Overall: I admit, I was mildly disappointed by this. It wasn't quite as complex as I hoped it would be. However, as I kept drinking it, it kept growing on me - I was quite impressed with how easygoing this was. Not an essential barleywine, but well worth a try. (3.5)

3.59/5: Sneakily good barleywine with a subtle barrel approach

 1,588 characters

Photo of StoutFox
4.53/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: Dark caramel color, cloudy, lots of play on the glass indicating higher avb
Aroma: Very sweet, tons of caramel, toffee, little grainy and just a hint of hops
Taste: Lots of sweet caramel, then an overwhelming malty grainy sweetness , toffee aftertaste
Complexity: high level of complex flavors, well balanced
Overall: a very good beer!

 347 characters

Mirror Mirror from Deschutes Brewery
93 out of 100 based on 521 ratings.