Mirror Mirror - Deschutes Brewery

Not Rated.
Mirror MirrorMirror Mirror

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

506 Reviews
THE BROS
96
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 506
Hads: 1,609
rAvg: 4.19
pDev: 5.73%
Wants: 456
Gots: 680 | FT: 109
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 (149) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 506 | Hads: 1,609
Photo of Haybeerman
4.32/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Deep ruddy ruby red color. Poured a 2 finger beige head with fair retention; settling to an even skim. Thin lacing washed down the glass slightly.

S: Very sweet up front. Dry alcohol and woody aromas follow.

T: Sweet, but not cloying as some. Brandy and dark fruits are very apparent; wet oak in the background. Dry in the finish punctuated by the alcohol. Must be bittering hop as sweetness does not linger.

M: Light side of medium body. Medium carbonation; lower than a couple others I've tried, but I like it. Surprising balance for sweetness and many flavors. Finishes dry and hot, but leaves a nuetral coating sensation behind.

D: Flavorful and interesting. Goes to 11 (% abv) makes it a good beer to share. (719 characters)

Photo of BEERchitect
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%
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. (771 characters)

Photo of DavoleBomb
4.59/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter. Got this as an extra from scray24. 2009 Reserve.

4.0 A: Beautiful cherry amber color. Clear as a bell. Whispy semi-tan head has less than average retention, but I'll let it go since it's at 11% ABV.

5.0 S: Smells like a homebrew shop. There's many different malts blending perfectly, though it's hard to pick out each one. There's also a fruity aspect where cherry sticks out like a sore thumb. Wonderful.

4.5 T: This is one hell of a brew. It's not nearly as cloying as most barleywines out there even though this one is still fresh. Tastes include brandy, dark fruits including cherry again (though not as strong as in the nose), and a mild oakiness to it. Sweet with lots of caramel malts, though not too sweet. Some alcohol is apparent. Excellent.

4.5 M: Heavy body. Very creamy and smooth. Warming on finish.

4.5 D: This is by far the most drinkable barleywine. It is jam packed with flavor, but doesn't have that cloying sensation like many other barleywines. (994 characters)

Photo of YonderWanderer
4.2/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a ruby red color with hints of darkness throughout. Slight lacing and a bit of foam. Solid in appearance.

S: Bready malts, lots of dark fruit. A hint of booze. Smooth in the nose.

T: A hint of bourbon and oak, a touch of hops, bready malts, some fruit I can't name. A hint of booze.

M: Smooth. A bit sweet. Finishes somewhat dry. Booze is a bit hot at this point.

D: Very tasty. Very balanced. A bit warm, but this should mellow wonderfully with age. Well done Deschutes. (487 characters)

Photo of deltatauhobbit
3.95/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to mlaroche for bringing this over from Cali.

Best after date of 04/20/10, couldn't wait, oh well.

Pours a dark amber color with a thin tan wispy head, no lacing along the glass.

Smell is mostly malty, hints of caramel, very faint traces of dark fruit, some boozy heat.

Taste is fairly creamy, soft carbonation, good malt backbone with hints of oak and vanilla, the heat isn't as strong as it was in the aroma but I can imagine with that additional year on this it would be even better. (501 characters)

Photo of Metalmonk
4.57/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Am I breaking sacred beer-geek law to open this before the "best after" date of April 20, 2010? Maybe so, but you go ahead and resist this high-proof cosmic milk. I can't.

Pours a glowing candy-red rust color, and while the head isn't long-lasting, it's creamy/bubbly right at the pour. Are the legs a little thin? Seems so, for the style anyway, but I do think this is a beautiful color regardless.

While the aroma offers a huge hit of alcohol right from the start, it's not overwhelming thanks to other strong impressions. I'm reminded of vanilla, black pepper, scotch (probably the oak talking), vibrant pine-leaning hops, maple syrup and unripe sour cherries. It's quite the exotic melange.

Oh, this baby tastes incredible. It's slightly green and young, but already a winner. This hop-forward barleywine exhibits incredible balance, achieved with the succulent sweetness of cherry and peach, notes of earthy molasses, caramel and maple syrup, a light glow from the alcohol (very well-incorporated 11%!), with the wood from the oak barrels influencing the flavor in just the right measure (ie. not overly so). Interesting that this beer originates with their Mirror Pond Pale Ale; I've never had that one, but this definitely screams "west coast," likely due to the hop variety/varieties used. Complex, balanced and utterly delicious.

This is intriguingly medium-bodied--not as syrupy or tacky as so many other barleywines, and I really appreciate that about it.

Had a snifter of the 2005 in early May, and it was transcendent. Is this younger version equally awesome? Oh yeah, definitely...it tastes simply excellent now, but I guess it'll be excellent in a different way after April 20, 2010. (1,704 characters)

Photo of Kemmerlin
4.17/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: dark amber red filtered color with a thinner head than expected from a barleywine.
S: has strong hop smells with sweet vanilla and caramel notes.
T: for 11% alcohol you really can't taste it bit it is super sweet more so than I like for a barley wine the vanilla from the oak barrels smooths out the bitterness but provides to much sweetness. I beleive this brew will improve each year they use the barrels which will hopefully reduce the sharp sweet vanilla flavors.
M/D: the brew is smooth but feels sugary on the tongue and coats the mouth. Although sweet it is more drinkable than normal barleywines. (607 characters)

Photo of JamesP123
4.2/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz bottle, 2009 reserve batch, poured into a tulip glass.

A. Pours a deep/dark ruby red with a thin but lingering off white head. Moderate lacing.

S. Fist off you are hit with a sweetness followe dby bits of acohol and little oakiness. PIcking up a somewhat herbal tone from the hops.

T. Very balanced, wouldn't say it tastes mild, but very very smooth. Now I'm really wondering what this will be like in a year or two from now. I beleive they said 35% was barrel aged, this makes for a near perfect balance between the beers natural flavors vs. those picked up frmo the oak aging. Getting a little vanilla and oak flavor, but not over the top. There is a little tartness to the beer, and also picking up some citrus type hops. Very nice.

M. Medium to full bodied for the style, it leaves a sticky coating through the mouth after each sip.

D. A very tasty beer, but at $12 a bomber my drinkability score cannot go above a 4. At 11% abv. this is definately a good choice for sharing. A beer I would definately recommend to try. (1,049 characters)

Photo of bluemoonswoon
3.45/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Best after 4/20/10 right after I opened it up I noticed this little etching. But being as I be in Hawaii and don't really want to run the risk of this breaking in my luggage I guess this will have to do for now.

A: Golden cherry wood stain with a frothy beige white head that sticks close into a cap a few minutes after the in the glass.

S: Does smell a little bit like bubble gum, like bubble gum and alcohol and oak.
ay
T/MF: Big boozy fist in my face! Wow. Finish is lonnng with a slight chocolate tinge and a grabby hop bitterness. There is potentially a lot of interesting things that could be happening in this beer, the malt bill alone is enough to deal with, but at the moment things seem a bit muddled, mixed together in such a way as to take away from the complexity that I know this beer can display but is just not at the right place right now unfortunately. The combination of booze, oak, earthy hops and sticky sweet malts comes off as a bit heavy handed at the moment, but given time in the cellar could really open up into some interesting places.

D: Give it a year and I imagine it could be something out of this world. Would like to trade so that I might be able to rerate this beer again. (1,211 characters)

Photo of paco1029384756
3.9/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a lightly cloudy ruby color with one finger of off white head.

Scent of sugars, fruit, alcohol, oak, and bubble gum.

Taste of caramel, sugars, vanilla, oak, fruit, and alcohol. Nothing amazing, but this is a solid Barleywine that I would like to try with some age on it.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with good carbonation. (329 characters)

Photo of DIM
4.33/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a: This was a clear coppery color with amber highlights. It poured with a sticky, frothy, light tan colored head.

s: This is gently warm overall with aromas of toffee, cotton candy, raisins, oak, and mild citrus. Nothing overpowering here, this is subtle and enticing. As it warms a little solvent does emerge unfortunately.

t: Deschutes got this just about right, no one element takes center stage. The restrained use of the barrel, the balance and complexity on display here are magnificent. Flavors of toffee, candied sugar, and dark fruits give way to a finish of citric, herbal, hops and oak. Also, there is a little tobacco at the end. This is warm, but thankfully not at all boozy.

m: The carbonation is long lived, but a little on the fizzy side. This is fairly viscous without being syrupy.

d: Wow, and they say this is best after april 2010? I'm glad I have a couple of bottles for the cellar. One of the best b-wines I've had in a long time. (956 characters)

Photo of bunnyhustle
4.4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

09 and feelin fine! What a lame way to start a review. Pours clear and dar ruby in color, rocky off-white head. Good retention and lacing. Smell is a very sweet, boozy, citric, and fruity bonanza. Very complex and unique. Taste is a blend of booze, pineapple, pear, apple, sweet malt, and some candi sugar. Again, incredible intense and complicated. A very smooth warming effect as it goes down. Slightly fuller body, but not too bad. Overall an amazing beer. The alcohol, though present, is a great aspect of this beer. I'm curious to see how my other bottle tastes in a year or two. (584 characters)

Photo of Proteus93
4.37/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This was another that was brought back from the West to me by misterdmac. Thanks again, Dustin. I was sitting on it a little, but came home from a 14 hour shift and it looked all too inviting!

A: More of a bronze hued amber, with some reddish highlights. A modest head tops it - somewhat late to form, but it does become quite creamy and pleasant. Plenty of lacing is left behind to decorate the glass.

S: Sweet and sugary malts, with a nice vanilla aroma rolling around in it. A warm scent of the barrel wood, along with an alcohol presence - but not so spicy. The sweetness in it is almost like a toffee, and it almost has a quality of a 'leafy tree.' Resinous, almost. All scents are moderate and just come together into a nice, complex mix.

T: There are all sorts of things that I detect in this one, and it's hard to make it all out. A fruitiness that sits somewhere between tart and sweet - or a little blend of both. There's like a tart (not sour) apple flavour, paired with some dark fruit notes of fig and/or plum. Some hops are present, as is a toffee-like profile. All of these flavours balance one another beautifully! The barrel aging has added a rather modest (in contrast to the overall taste), but very pleasant flavour to the beer. Am almost sappy wood flavour, with hints of vanilla. Alcohol is certainly there, but it blends in so nicely with the other flavours that it doesn't come across as being anything ridiculously intense.

M + D: A richer body, thick and even a little 'clinging' without being syrupy. The alcohol warms the throat more as the beer itself is given time to warm, and makes for a very pleasing drinking experience. Considering the content, iit's amazingly smooth and easy to drink. Quite an exceptional beer from an exceptional brewery. Very nicely done, and I hope I can come across more of it. (1,841 characters)

Photo of Jmoore50
4.87/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Well what has to be said that has not been said already. Deschutes Brewery gives me a little hardy every time I drink some special brew that they put out. The COMPLEX flavors are the thing I love love about this big gem.

The appearance is great. It comes with a stunning off white tan head that just fights for staying power. Although the head is strong, the alcohol prevents the head from staying around for too long. The color is awesome, a solid dark amber color, no difference around the edges, this brew is solid all the way around. Stunning.

The smell is jaw-dropping. I knew that flavors can be complex, but this smell is one of the most complex that I have smelled. It smells of dark fruits, really nice burnt or brown sugars, a lovely bourbon and subtle alcohol smell. You can also smell figs and dark burning malts.

The taste is exceptional, outstanding, and unique. At first there is a nice dark fruit sweetness, but then a nice smooth small bourbon flavor also resides on the tongue. I also get brown sugar, a hop characteristic that really adds to the great mouthfeel. The sweet fruit smell also translates into a sweet taste, that can be felt on the tip of the tongue.

The mouthfeel is great. All different taste sectors are hit with different intensities and different characteristics. The dark fruit smell and taste gave the tip of my tongue a fizzy bubbly feeling. The bourbon gave the back of my tongue, my throat, and my stomach a really warm feeling. The sides of my tongue are caressed with a hop punch or dance that I love in IPA's, but with a barleywine, just adds to the overall experience.

The drinkability is good, but at eleven percent, it is like drinking a bottle of wine. I cannot believe the best after concept, but after I drink a few more, I will age a few for the years to come. With that being said, this brew is obviously a repeat, and should be enjoyed by all who love or remotely like the style. Bravo Deschutes, Bravo.

(1,971 characters)

Photo of alexgrahamlv
4.46/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2009 edition

Pours a beautiful deep amber color with a hint of brown that is brilliant in clarity. Not much head is built up nor retained. Appears to have very low carbonation. Hint of chocolate on the aroma, maybe a hint of cherry. Flavors of fig, plum and chocolate. Wonderful flavor and well balanced. Mouthfeel is medium to heavy, a bit of astringency on the finish. With age this is going to be magnificent. Very good, highly recommended. (444 characters)

Photo of emmasdad
4.59/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 vintage. Poured from the 22 oz bottle into my Duvel snifter, this one poured a deep, burnished copper, with a nice, decent head.

The aroma offers and incredible mix of bourbon, oak, raisins, citrus, vanilla, chocolate and pure fusel alcohol.

The alcohol really dominates the flavor of this beer, although in a good way. A nice sweet mix of caramel and honey is present up front, although huge citrus notes (orange, tangerine) quickly develope as it warms, leading to a very pleasant finish.

Although this beer is somewhat hot right now, it is still quite drinkable. Strong and alcoholic right now, this should mellow quite beautifully with a little age. SO happy to have quite a few more of these on hand. (713 characters)

Photo of kinghotpants
4.57/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a beautiful deep red, darkening to red-brown. Just coming out of the bottle, it looks syrupy. Very thin halo of head around the glass, thinning to almost nothing. No carbonation to speak of.

Smell: Oak, caramel, vanilla, alcohol. Oh, the alcohol. It doesn't smell like 11%, that's for sure. As it warmed, more fruit aroma.

Taste: flavors of dark fruit, some vanilla from the oak, and plenty of residual sweetness. Almost no hop flavor. Slight carbonation on the tongue, fading to that alcoholic vapor in the nose again. Let this one warm up a little and drink it slowly. It's a treat.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, thick, creamy. Liquid silk.

Drinkability: Take this one slow, because the alcohol will sneak up on you. A great selection to share with some friends after dinner. (788 characters)

Photo of magictrokini
4.2/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber. Ugh, the annoying waxed cap. Pours a warm mahogany with a frothy tan head. Thick lacing. Caramel and candied fruits in the nose. A bit of port and wood, along with boozy sugar. Heavy, full mouthfeel with nearly no carbonation. Long, sticky finish. Very sweet and boozy taste. Sugary, caramel/molasses flavors dominate. Background of oak and candy. A piney hop flavor comes in the finish. Was rough at first, but smoothed out as it warmed. The 11% is as masked as it can be, but you do feel the full brunt of the alcohol early on. (537 characters)

Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.1/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Cool bottle, capped and wax coated. Mind you, it was a pain to open with just a bottle opener.

Pours a gluggy thick port colour, red-amber with a miasmic head of yellowish foam. Despite the heavy appearance of the body, lacing is minimal. Gotta love that colour though, it really is something beautiful to see.

Amazing boozy notes on the nose. Fair amount of oak, portwine, caramel, bourbon-vanilla and a sharp poppyseed note. Sweet, but with an underlying phenolic note from the alcohol that threatens to shear off the inner layer of your nose. Big and heavy, for sure.

Lots of heat on the palate, just a sip leaves a phenolic note squirming around my mouth wherever it has been touched. Big boozy notes of port and brandy, with a subtle sweet malt or molasses character reminding me that despite all appearances, this is still beer. Finish is slick with sweet alcohol, mouthfeel generally is shiny and chewy.

Whew. What a beer. I've barely made a dent in the glass and already I'm overwhelmed by it. Big and rich, heavy and boozy. This needs to be sipped from a port glass or a snifter, there's no go to be drinking this by the pint. Very rich, very heavy, very sweet, very boozy. You have been warned. (1,208 characters)

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

Thanks to fishdawg71 for hooking me up with this one in a trade. I poured from a 22 ounce 2009 vintage bomber into a snifter. It pours a deep caramel with red highlights, slight white head, minimal lacing. The aroma is of dark, candied fruit. The flavor is very sweet, dark fruit hints predominate, minimal bitterness. The alcohol is there but is well hidden. It is a medium bodied beer that is meant to be sipped. The brewer recomends cellaring it for a year, but I think it is pretty tasty now. (496 characters)

Photo of ChadS99SVT
4.15/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Dark Cloudy Amber, little to no head.

S-Licorice

T-Semi-sweet soft nose, alcohol is very subtle if any is tasted at all.

M-medium carb, soft smooth lingering finish.

D-drinkability is pretty good. One 22 will be good to share, however if you are a fan of barley wines it's not to overpowering that you couldn't finish it yourself. I will be.

overall I would definately recommend as a solid barley wine. (409 characters)

Photo of yemenmocha
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 bottle enjoyed June 2009. Young but ready.

Pours deep ruby amber with tan head. Nose is delightful mix of chocolate candied oranges at Christmas, miscellaneous dark fruit, and soft malt. Alcohol is somewhat masked on the palate, and the body is very smooth/creamy, as it brings forth a rich malt sweetness with dessert-like hoppy candy flavors to balance it out. This one is on the sweeter, softer side - which is what I prefer. (434 characters)

Photo of Teke0611
4.05/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2009 Vintage, served from waxed bottle in a NB chalice.

Overall impression, this one isn't ready just yet. Quite boozey. I don't think it's balanced enough yet, although many others think it's ready.

I wish that I would have shared this one, as I was disappointed enough that I didn't finish it. Don't get me wrong; it's a good barleywine. The hop characteristic seems spot-on, so I am a little reserved on cellaring any more.. But, the malt should come through and make it even better.

This is an odd review, to be sure. Cheers! (532 characters)

Photo of Alphadog
4.03/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at The Trappist, Oakland CA, served in house goblet.

Bright copper color, big bubbley froth disappating to persistent ring.

Aromas of pear & apple, oak, and big booze, very little in the way of hops.

Flavors are pleasantly light for a bw, slight dryness in the finish w lingering tartness - many bws require effort to chew through, this slips down all too easily.

Overall, very nice though a bit young - looking forward to this in a year or five. (459 characters)

Photo of IronDjinn
4.26/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From a 22 oz. brown bomber, black wax around the neck and cap. Pours out a bright translucent dark ruby amber, tall frothy light beige head with great retention.

Effervescent nose, light brown sugar, light toasted and caramel malt, flowery and slightly spicy hops.

The flavour is very, very smooth and masks the actual high alcohol content extremely well. Smooth sugary, carmelized malt up front, sugary malt in the middle, with very mild leafy green hops on the finish, the latter of which lingers on subtly with a sweet brown sugar presence. Not the most bold or intense flavour profile, yet is equally impressive how contained and reserved it all is while maintaining such a palatable and unassuming taste that packs such an underlying punch. Deceptive is the key word regarding the drinkability of this barley wine.

Smooth, full, and rounded is the mouthfeel, with a very low alcohol warming that can nearly fly under the radar. Once again, deceptively drinkable and smooth given the abv%.

Not overly malty, not overly hoppy, not even all that intense, but damn near the realm of Baby Bear's porridge of just right, one of the smoothest and enjoyable Barleywines I've tasted, it tends to pack a whollap more in hindsight than at the present time. I can't necessarily say that this is worth the hefty price tag, but that cash has already been laid down, and I enjoyed the ride all the same. (1,397 characters)

Mirror Mirror from Deschutes Brewery
93 out of 100 based on 506 ratings.