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Class Of '88 Barley Wine - Deschutes Brewery

Not Rated.
Class Of '88 Barley WineClass Of '88 Barley Wine

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
81
good

67 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 67
Hads: 291
rAvg: 3.57
pDev: 7%
Wants: 6
Gots: 42 | FT: 5
Brewed by:
Deschutes Brewery visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  10.20% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: duceswild on 04-07-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
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Reviews: 67 | Hads: 291
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.62/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

On tap at 38 Degrees in Alhambra, CA.

Pours a hazy orange with a foamy beige head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, citrus fruit, citrus zest, and alcohol aromas. Taste is much the same with slightly medicinal flavors on the finish. There is a medium amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer but the slight medicinal flavor is odd. (548 characters)

Photo of metter98
3.7/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is clear light amber in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high off white head that died down and consistently left a thin head covering the surface.
S: Light aromas of caramel malts are present in the nose along with of some notes of toffee.
T: Similar to the smell, the taste has flavors of caramel and toffee malts along with a light amount of bitterness.
M: It feels a little more than medium-bodied and slightly sticky on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This barleywine is lighter compared to some of the other beers in the style so it is a little more drinkable. (653 characters)

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.95/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I think probably not what people expected, certainly not what I had in mind, but I ended up really enjoying this one. it pours a way light color, almost like a lighter pale ale or something, definitely not like a big bad barleywine. it does have a honey glow to it, and a nice luxurious sudsy white head. the nose on it is pleasantly sweet, like honey or simple syrup. there is a floral hop profile, but this isn't a hoppy beast like averys hog heaven. it has some orchard fruits to it, maybe peaches or pears, very summer as barleywines go. the alcohol is also invisible, which is a challenge and an impressive feat for the genre. I was told this was made to 1988 barleywine specs. not sure what that means, I guess just that the style has evolved into what we know it as today (bolt cutter etc). this is a much more basic beer, bursting with flavors but absolutely not a kitchen sink operation. I think the lighter malt profile allows some subtleties to come through that might otherwise be lost in big beers of this genre. this is also one of the few beers where the residual sugar is actually right on, contributing something useful, even necessary to the process. I try to be an optimist (as much as I can) when reviewing beers. for that reason, I see only the good in this, more drinkable, more nuanced, more approachable, impressively different, unconventional beer that I really admire. I also however understand those that want the usual. I should grab another bottle and see how this ages, but I have a feeling fresh might be the ticket on this. a ton of nice floral and fruity pollen summer flavors that may not hold up perfectly. get it while you can, anything Deschutes touches is worth my money in my experience. (1,726 characters)

Photo of mactrail
2.86/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.5

Clear amber in the snifter. Average head and carbonation. Fairly hoppy aroma but not distinctive. Very sweet and perfumey. Spicy and hot with alcohol. Leafy and a little dank, and tastes like some bitter French liqueur. So sweet, it's like sugar cane or a Mexican candy.

At the same time, it's really bitter for a Barley Wine. The aftertaste veers toward the medicinal even while the sugar lingers on the tongue. This is just not very drinkable. Maybe the brewers all had to get their favorite malt and hop in this mess. From the 22 oz bottle bought at Barons Marketplace in San Diego. (586 characters)

Photo of russpowell
3.49/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up at Brown derby in Springfield MO. Hope this is better than the North Coast version; BBD of 03/7/14

Pours an effervescent orange/amber with a pinky of pearl colored head. Pretty decent lacing & average head retention

S: Leafy hops, figs, fusel alcohol

T: Follows the nose,, plus raisins & a touch treacle up front, a touch of bubble gum too. Orange marmalade & doughyness as this warms, a touch of banana taffy as well. Finishes with woody hops, dryness, more treacle & bit more banana taffy & some grapefruit finally shows up way too late

MF: Chewy, light carbonation, fairly warming. Carbonation turns a tad prickly as it warms

This is another letdown in this series. Almost drinks like a Quad; would've rated higher in fact... Not horrid, just not to style, American Hops are MIA. Would love to see how this ages, but this is never turning into an American BW (881 characters)

Photo of kojevergas
3.33/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is the Deschutes version - with the pry-off cap, not the hood-and-wire cap over a cork like the North Coast version. Label is classy and straightforward; I dig it. Pressure cap is branded and black in colour. Collaboration between Deschutes, North Coast, and Rogue. 10.2% ABV confirmed per my bottle's label. Best by: 03/07/14. Expectations are high; I really love both Deschutes and North Coast.

Served chilled, straight from the freezer; I don't like my barleywines too cold, so I'm letting this warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a one finger head of healthy white-khaki colour. Fair creaminess. Nice thickness. Pretty good (~5+ minute) retention for the ABV. No bubble show. No notable lacing as the head recedes.

Body colour is a vibrant clear translucent copper. No yeast particles are visible.

A bit bright for the style, but overall above average for the ABV. I'm looking forward to trying it.

I was a bit weary given the current reviews - which are lower than you'd expect - but so far I don't see what could be wrong with it.

Sm: Pleasant. Pale malts, light floral hops, caramalt, some light toffee, citrus fruit, and even wheat (?). Actually comes off more as a wheatwine than a barleywine. Pear. Yeast-derived banana. There's not a great deal happening here, but it's appealing for what it is. A pleasant aroma of moderate strength.

No alcohol comes through.

T: Pale malts, floral hops, some caramalt, and wheat. Light stale citrusy notes. Light pear. Much more phenol-forward than anticipated. Clove honey. Some sugarcane. Melon fruit. A biteen syrupy. Light cinnamon spice. Backgrounded alcohol; I wouldn't call it boozy or hot. It's certainly not balanced, but it's not offensive or horridly put together. I wouldn't say it's a mess, but it does need work. Definitely on the sweeter end, but not cloying. Apricot esters. Clean barley. Flowery. Caramel intensifies as it warms, but never to an exceeding degree. I can see where some may get bubblegum notes. Light peach.

It's definitely more estery than any barleywine I've had, and certainly has less of a pronounced malt focus. There's no toffee or butterscotch or apt-for-oxidation malts here.

Maybe honey or pollen. Cereals. Lightly grassy, lightly grainy.

Overall, it's got a lot going on, but to call it complex might be giving it too much credit. There is some subtlety here. In terms of style criticism, it has a lot more going for it as a wheatwine than it does as a barleywine; the character is out of wack but I do like it. I think some reviewers are being harsh on it purely because it doesn't meet their expectations about a barleywine; sometimes we get carried away with style conventions.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Nicely thin for the style; it's not overbearing or offensive, and errs on the side of drinkability. Good body for the style. Nice presence on the palate; it facilitates full flavour delivery but doesn't feel heavy or obnoxious. Not oily, harsh, or biitng. Good carbonation. Unrefreshing, though one might call it refreshing for the style. Slides down easily enough. Suits the flavour profile well, though it won't match style expectations. Well-executed for what they're going for. Certainly lighter than most barleywines. Acidic.

Dr: Hides its ABV quite well for the style. I do like this brew, but I can see why it's divisive. It's certainly far from a traditional barleywine, but it brings some interesting notes to the table. Drinkable and enjoyable. Unrefreshing. Really comes off more as a wheatwine than a barleywine. I might get a smaller portion on-draught for the right price. These brewer(ie)s have created something interesting, and I applaud them for that. I do expect better from Deschutes and North Coast, however. Intriguing stuff that some have written off unfairly, but either way it's far from among the best beers I've had in the style (and cousin styles). Perhaps a failure as a barleywine if we're being strict, but it's not unworthy of a chance. I think many are being hard on it purely because it doesn't meet their expectations.

B- (4,162 characters)

Photo of duceswild
3.75/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Received as an extra left over from the Craft Brewers Conference in DC. This is collaboration between Deschutes, North Coast, and Rogue.

22oz bottle poured into a snifter. Pours a golden orange color, with a minimal amount of head. Smell is of light hops, orange and slight citrus. Taste is similar with maltyness to it. I don't get much sweetness from this like some barleywines. For a 10% beer it seems subdued and well hidden. Overall decent beer, and I'd be interested in trying the over versions.

The label lists this beer as:
A hoppy, citrus aroma radiates from this pale amber brew. Its sturdy malt backbone is balances with a clear bitterness. Finishes pleasantly warm without overpowering. (705 characters)

Photo of Halcyondays
2.75/5  rDev -23%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

22 oz. bottle,

A: Pours a lightly hazy orange with a small white head, fair head retention, some lace.

S: Medicinal notes with booze and some pear, banana and orange.

T: Sweet bready malt with a heavy ethanol phenol play. Estery at times, some nice notes of sugar cane, but in the end not really doing it for me.

M: Full-bodied, boozy, oily slick feel. Soft carbonation.

O: While this beer isn't horrendous, it's incredibly boring and not really fun to drink. Too expensive as well. Pass. (493 characters)

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.66/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Light amber body. White head. Unbalanced collar and a few wisps.

Smell - Caramel malt. A touch of oxidation, strangely. Some hoppiness. It's strangely appealing despite its simplicity.

Taste - Much hoppier. Some grapefruit. Caramel. No oxidation here. Creamy finish.

Mouthfeel - Creamy mouthfeel that defies explanation. Medium carbonation. Medium heavy body.

Overall - This had the potential to be terrible, but I rather enjoy it. Simple beer, but enjoyable. (516 characters)

Photo of Zorro
3.28/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Chill hazed orange colored beer with a small off-white head that just doesn't last. 10% beer so the weak head is sort of expected.

Smells strongly of malt melon and strong tea.

Starts out toffee and tea with a slight savory taste. Medium Bitterness. Slight butter taste. And that is it, not very complex.

Mouthfeel is good.

Overall kind of disappointing. (358 characters)

Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.49/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.25

22oz bomber purchased from Whole Foods SoMa in San Francisco. As far as I can tell, this is not a collaboration, but part of a series of Barleywines from Deschutes, Rogue and North Coast, celebrating 25 years in the craft beer industry.

Pours a lovely clear, bright orange colour, with a bright white, slightly creamy head. The forms exquisite lacing, and sticks around even as a film for quite some time. The body is silky and smooth, and holds carbonation so densely when tilted. It's a really lovely looking beer.

Nose is, in some senses, rather subdued. There's a sharp green hop presence, a definite suggestion of booziness and some sugary malt that comes through like golden syrup. But all up, it's faintly generic, and not at all particularly strong. Some cinnamon arrives slightly as it warms up, but it's not enough to add a great deal of interest.

Taste is certainly stronger, but the booze seems to pick up most of the slack, giving a heat and a bite that mingles with the hop bitterness to make it quite oppressive, especially towards the back. There's a shell of malt to it, but again it has a fragile sugar character to it: not a true sweet, wholesome richness. There are subtleties there, perhaps again like the cinnamon spice on the nose, but the booze and the intensity tend not to let them through.

No matter what I think of the flavours and their intensity, though, the feel is exquisite. Beautifully light, silky and smooth, but with a creamy richness accentuated by fine carbonation. Really, it's excellent, and only needs a better flavour profile to make it perfect.

Overall, though, this is not a beer that won me over, despite its good points. It's heavy, intransigent and somewhat frustrating. I found it needlessly big, without the payoff that a really heavy beer can bring. There are obviously things to love in this beer, but I was too conflicted to completely embrace it. (1,905 characters)

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.68/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Picked up at the COOP for $7.... Seen it as much as $9 at a couple other stores. Pours with a 2 finger sorta yellow tinged head... nice retention and spotty lacing... the brew is a lightly hazed orange.

Nose is sweet and with a light citrus hoppiness... pretty floral and fruity with warmth... something there reminds me of apricot esters.

Flavor is a bit odd... almost like a Belgian yeast was used... sorta spicy and something floral that makes me think of dandelions. Perfumy... heavier residual malty sweetness is unfortunately not balanced by enough hop bitterness.

Really reminds me of HotD Fred which is a compliment.

Many people are going to bash this because it doesn't fall in line with what modern American Barleywines taste/smell like... But I honestly think it is okay as long as you don't compare it to the hopped monsters that weren't even imagined 25 years ago.

3.75/3.75/3.5/4/3.75 (903 characters)

Photo of LiquidAmber
3.98/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into an Elysian snifter. Part of horizontal tasting of all three versions (North Coast, Deschutes and Rogue) of this interesting project to revisit a classic 1980s recipe. Pours a clear orange tinted golden amber with a thin white head and thick ring around the glass with good retention condsidering its depth and slippery lacing. Aroma of tropical and stone fruit, light plums, caramel malt, light piney hops, moderate, almost medicinal ethanol. Flavor is sweet caramel malt, toffee, light apple and pear juice, mildly floral, light piney, grassy hops. Finishes with a pleasant grassy hop bitterness. Alcohol, obvious in the aroma, is fairly well covered in the flavor. Medium bodied with light creaminess. An interesting take on a barleywine. Like the others in this series, seems to take the basic form of an English barleywine, but without the dark fruit elements and adding an almost Belgian fruit component, without the Belgian yeast and also the more intense hopping of the American style. Nicely balanced and interesting to drink, but lacking the intensity of most English or American barleywines. This one was in the middle of the pack of '88s, and enjoyable. Like the others, I think the lighter flavors do not promise a long, successful aging, although I might try it for laughs if I find another bottle. Glad to have participated in this walk down memory lane. (1,380 characters)

Photo of Derek
4.16/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Copper-bronze with a white head, slight ring of retention shows some leg.

S: Candied pineapple, marmalade, sponge toffee, gooseberry and mango.

T: Resiny pine, sponge toffee, gooseberry, candied pineapple, marmalade, hint of biscuity malt, quite bitter.

M: Moderate to full body has some resiny hop oils and a bit of hop acidity.

O: An interesting BIG brew. It's boardering on briny and harsh, but doesn't cross that line. (429 characters)

Photo of Bitterbill
2.61/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Best by March 7, 2014. An unusual stance to take with a Barley Wine Ale.

A- A very very clear copper colour, 1" head of foam, nice lacing.

S- Served at room temp and it's still tough for me to get the aromas. Lightly hoppy, lightly malty, some fruitiness? Man, I swear, I don't have a cold.

T- Whoah, horsy. This is a Barleywine? Some decent notes of wet like hops followed by a lot caramel malt sweetness, followed by a burnt flavour of what? If that burnt note was supposed to be hop bitterness, imho, it failed. Oodles of alcohol coming through now with a note or 3 of bubblegum. Good grief, will I be able to finish the bottle?

M- Adequate carbonation with a sticky, kind of sickly mouthfeel overall.

O- Not for me. 'nuff said. Or actually, I'll say more. It's cool for breweries to collaborate but not when the end product turns out this way.

PS: And I did get some aromas from the brew after I started drinking it. Almost as disappointing as the taste. Medicinal, big time. (986 characters)

Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.29/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Bottle opened on 5.7.13

A - Pours a hazy medium orange with a reddish hue. A light tan foamy head with good retention.

S - Hoppy dark orange, carmel, bready-toast malt.

T - Bitter orange and sweet bready malt.

D - Thin body with medium carbonation.

O - Sweet, bitter and hoppy. Thin, odd, but I guess true to original form? (328 characters)

Photo of Brenden
3.59/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

This Barleywine is a thick but bright orange with moderate hazing leading to translucency. Its lightly tinted head achieves half a finger of head with consistent retention and a modicum of patchy and spotty lacing.
Lots of citrus is the main focus in the nose over some malty backbone, semi-sweet overall. Orange pith, peel and flesh blend with caramel and dark fruits. Alcohol, though strong, is integrated fairly well but the fusel notes ultimately end up coming off a little strong.
Where the fusel notes are strong in the aroma, they seem to build up to a somewhat medicinal quality in the flavor that has the overall effect of marring it in the whole. It's more doughy and sweet up front, with the caramel, citrus and dark fruits still coming on strong but after a dose of thick breads and molasses that continue through. Some leaf comes out and ends up with a woody sort of pith.
The body is nice and full, almost "chunky" and certainly what could be called chewy. It's got some heat but doesn't thin too much at the end. Crispness adds a tingly nip all the way through. It strives for smoothness, but something keeps it from reaching it fully. (1,150 characters)

Photo of ArrogantB
2.74/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

I grabbed a bottle of this without thinking since it was Deschutes. Bad idea. This really felt like a class of '88 in that it might have been something they would have brewed in '88. Orange color, decent head. Smells grainy. Flavor is very bitter but just not good at all. This seemed like a failed attempt at a barleywine you might find at your newest local brewery. Too bad. (376 characters)

Photo of scottfrie
4.25/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle into imperial pint.

A: Pours a lightly opaque honey amber color with a thick, greasy, and dense light tan head that faded into a lasting thick and dense film that lasted the whole beer through. Wispy lace was left down the glass.
S: Spice, citrus, and bread crust dough, slight booze, orange zest, and something sugary sweet, maybe honey.
T: Follows the nose, sweet citrus juice, honey, bread crust, sugary malt, slight dried fruit, biscuit dough, and earthy finish. Sweet aftertaste toffee, woody, touch of apple juice. Toast.
M: Thick body, chewy mouthfeel, thick and greasy, slick, soft, and fluffy carb. Drinks very creamy and smooth. Very good. Hint of warming booze. Smooth overall.
O: Better than expected. Super smooth. Very easy to sip. (758 characters)

Photo of Stevedore
3.88/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber from Deschutes poured today 11 July 2013 into Russian River stemmed glasses with Benish.

Aroma: Faint grapefruit hues with a dominating toffee background. It smells sweet and dry. The hops are surprisingly complementary rather than dominant.

Colour: Clear hazy caramel body that pours with a 1cm white head. It is a very clean looking beer. A little bit of lacing but not much. The head is gone after a short time. Nothing special.

Flavour: The best part of this beer. It's surprisingly malty, but the hop contribution is just enough to balance it out and make it interesting. I think it is a little too one-dimensional, but it was definitely enjoyable to drink this one- a grapefruit mixed in with toffee, basically. Follows the nose.

Mouthfeel: A bit thin bodied for a barleywine. It's not dry though; and the aftertaste is mostly the toffee sweetness. The carbonation isn't anything special. There is no booziness in this beer.

Overall: Tasty example of an American barleywine that doesn't have the hops covering everything. It's not bad, not especially complex as it is fairly one dimensional, but it is a pleasantly surprising drinking experience. (1,169 characters)

Photo of rlee1390
3.79/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Clear/cloudy orange, one finger head with some lacing.

S-Lots of caramel, toffee and malt, grass, wood, alcohol, citrus.

T-Caramel, grass, pine, balance isn't there due to alcohol head, good bit of bitterness. Some citrus.

M-Medium bodied, alcohol heat is the main culprit.

O-Had side by side with the NC version, this was noticeably worse, alcohol was not masked at all. (378 characters)

Photo of ADZA
3.84/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a hazed orange amber hue with a one finger wispy head and a swirl of lacing around the sides,the smell is piney hops,caramel,toffee,candy and booze,the mouthfeel is full bodied with above moderate carbonation and has tastes of caramel candy,burnt toffee,boozy raisins and finished with a hoppy piney bitterness and overall this is a hoppy as hell barleywine and I for one will be buying it again as will age well cheers. (426 characters)

Photo of Florida9
3.54/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A: Red tinted orange in color. Clear. Forms a modest light yellowy-white colored head that fades fairly rapidly, leaving just a faint surface coating and a thin ring around the edge. Very light lacing.

S: Aroma is somewhat oxidized. Citrus, citrus peel, and orange with a light cardboard or paper note.

T: Taste is okay. Nothing too exciting here. Dry grainy malts, apple skin, and burnt caramel. Herbal, almost medicinal hops. There is a bit of citrus in the mix, primarily orange.

M: Medium bodied. A bit light for the style. Crisp, dry, and slightly chalky. Mild-to-moderate bitterness.

O: Got to admit, I was expecting a lot more out of this beer. It's a decent BW, but there's a lot better out there. Paired it with some pate and Carr Valley Bessie and the food helped round it out nicely, but it falls flat on its own. (831 characters)

Photo of notchucknorris
3.67/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a burnt orange color with a one finger tan head. Recedes down pretty quickly.

S: Off the pour, I got apricot preserves, tangerine rind, caramel and honey. As it warms a bit, those fade into more generic barleywine aromas. Lots of malt, caramel and some herbal hop aromas.

T: For me, this one just never really goes anywhere. Tons of malt, some sticky citrus, caramel, herbal hop resin and some tobacco. Slightly burnt grain on the finish. It's ok. (460 characters)

Photo of Fatehunter
3.89/5  rDev +9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass. Minimal head on a dark straw colored body.
The aroma is nice. Some fruit: oranges and mandarins. A good dose of grain and hay too.
The taste is great. The fruits follow here too. The mildest bitterness to balance it out.
The texture is crisp with a heaviness and moderate carbonation.
Very enjoyable. (328 characters)

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Class Of '88 Barley Wine from Deschutes Brewery
81 out of 100 based on 67 ratings.