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Berserk - Valkyrie Brewing

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

35 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 35
Hads: 39
Avg: 3.71
pDev: 11.59%
Wants: 7
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Valkyrie Brewing visit their website
Wisconsin, United States

Style | ABV
English Barleywine |  12.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Bighuge on 09-05-2002

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 35 | Hads: 39
Photo of tavernjef
3.02/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Terrific deep, dark, nearly blackened burgundy color, super thick and opaque like a bucket of paint. Small tight tan head settles slowly to a thin haze of a different shade of off-white at first then eventually to a thing ring and very minimal lace that doesn't stick.
Smell is quite off, no real beer related aromas, smells like leather cleaner or polish mixed with Armor-all and alcohol. Super light dark cherry notes hidden underneath the mask of potency and musk.
Taste has a malt laden front thats very sweet and cherryish with a bit of molasses and burnt roastyness, moist wood hints with a settled mellow draw of hop bitterness. All taken in quick with both its pace and in its heft. Nothing sticks around long enough to really take any effect or notions of hold. Feel has a light velvety touch close to medium body. Can't say I really enjoyed this one. Don't know if this was a bad bottle or needs to be aged more or what but it reminded me of my dissapointment of the IPA by Viking. Regardless of its awesome pour and color, again, I'm sad, cuz I am a fan of quite a few of their brews and this sunk my respect some.

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Photo of KarlHungus
3.04/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This brew pours an opaque black color. The head is about one millimeter in height and receds into nothing but a thin ring around the edge of the glass within seconds. The aroma is more like a macro lager than a barley wine. I cannot believe that this beer is 12% ABV. It isn't that the beer is too cold, I let it warm for twenty minutes before opening the bottle. The aroma is simply watery and faint. The only thing I can detect is a mild sugary smell. Thank God the taste is far superior to the aroma, which sreamed drain pour. Actually, the taste is pretty damn good. It is more toward the sweeter end of what a barley wine can be, but there is enough of a hop bitterness to keep the sweetness for being overwhelming. The mouthfeel is full bodied, well carbonated, but quite sticky. Overall, this is a wierd beer. If it had an aroma I would certainly have it again. As it is, however, I am glad I only bought a single bottle of it.

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Photo of alexgash
3.05/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Dark rusty brown/red with a creamy, small, ringy, off-khaki head. Rich, sweet fruits, brandy, dates, plums, maybe licorice. Alcohol is there too. Some spicy hop resins as well. Can’t pick up any weird Viking-esque funk. Fruity malts up front with oaky, winey notes (maybe from aging/oxidation). Almost tangy toward the finish along with herbal hop bitterness. Slightly astringent with the tanginess. Not as warming as I wish it was. Medium bodied, with a soapy feel and not quite big and velvety enough. Carbonation is a little meager as well (see small head). Could be better.

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Photo of ZAP
3.11/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I just read BigHugey's glowing review of this and I must assume my brother drank this after just getting laid or something because this is far from an elite BW...It is charcoal black with a small nose...I get mainly alcohol on the nose...The taste is malty and sweet, but has some homebrew qualities to it...a bit of an off-taste...not at all complex or challenging...pretty bland....no hop profile to speak of....I may be rating this too high...It is strickly average (if that)...

*As a sidenote, BigHugey consitently rates products from this brewery higher than I do...

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Photo of TastyTaste
3.15/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. brown bottle, the final seasonal Viking I have yet to try (and coincidently the one I have been anticipating the most)

Appearance: Glowing maroon color, practically no head.

Smell: Raisin, brown sugar, alcohol, and a strange pineapple sweetness.

Taste: Easy drinking for supposedly having 12% ABV. Sweet, too sweet, with raisin, brown sugar malt, and a hop finish that is very underwhelming.

Mouthfeel: Pretty good mouthfeel: Full and creamy.

Drinkability: Pretty good, nothing spectacular, one of the better Vikings, this brewry still leaves a lot to be desired.

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Photo of aforbes10
3.19/5  rDev -14%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Wastewater brown with barely any head. Looks thinner than I expect. Smells slightly cherry-ish, with dry malt odors. Fruity but astringent and fairly dry. Alcohol hot, with kind of like a pruney fruit mixed in there too. A little too dry for my tastes on the finish, and a little too bitter as well. Nevertheless, it's lighter mouthfeel helps it manage to be fairly drinkable, if not particularly memorable.

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Photo of ryantupy
3.35/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Has a great pour and ill agree with review below that this may be the most attractive part of this beer. A nut-brown mahogany color with a decent head that eventually dissolves to a nice lace around the glass. The lace does not stick to glass.

S - Alcohol right off the bat. As the alcohol warms there is hints of toasted malts, nut, spiced rum, chocolate (maybe), and a slight smokiness.

T- Alcohol is upfront and never let’s down. But its warming and goes down smooth and does not overwhelm the hints of nut, toffee/chocolate, and light spice

M- A very slick mouth feel that warms as you continue to drink. Very little carbonation and hop character as to be expected with a barley wine.

D- 12%! Wow the alcohol goes down rather smooth for 12%. This beer is good but nothing more. It lacks the complexity that even mediocre barley wines are known for. Viking is a great brewery that is always trying new things. But this particular beer does not stand out for me at all.

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Photo of joepais
3.37/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to a awesome BA who sent this to me. I split this bottle among a couple friends. The bottle pored into oversized wine glasses produced almost no head even with a rough pour. I must say I didn't hear much in the way of carbonation coming from the bottle when opened. The body was a dark, dark brown almost black.

The aroma was slightly oxidized. I didn't know the age of the bottle nor is this not expected by me in a barleywine. I did get some nice toffee and fruit notes too. The flavor was sweet and almost candy like with some dark fruits to it. There was not to much in the way of alcohol heat. It had a medium body with almost no carbonation as mentioned before.

It was a good barleywine. Nothing I would go out of my way to look for but, wouldn't mind drinking again

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.38/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

An on the spot trade at DLD07 hooked me up with this beer, I can't recall who it was, though. Imagine, not remembering a detail like that, at a beer fest...thanks whoever you are.

Appearance - a murky brownish brew that pours like oil, some reddish-orange notes accent the color. A thin pale cream head forms briefly, then folds back neatly into the beer. I tried to pour some more in the glass from a distance, but the stuff comes out so oily it is bubble-resistant. Some noticeable chunky stuff coming out at the end of the pour. It settles readily per the low carbonation. Some wispy trails across the surface hang around a while.

Aroma - dark fruit, a heavy graininess but not high on the intensity scale.

Taste - big sweet malts, balancing hops on the swallow show some notable but short-lived character. Some alcohol showing along with some timely roasted grain coming through. Warm and pleasant finish with lingering bitterness.

Mouthfeel - thick and viscous, well done. Lower carbonation adds to the big beer feel.

Drinkability - a solid but uninspiring barleywine. Quite the kicker at 12% but I'm happy to have it.

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Photo of Mdog
3.48/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: This was probably the highlight of the beer for me, a very dark brownish-red color topped with a head that you'd swear came from a nitro tap.

Smell: Very rum-like in aroma. Not as hot as rum though.

Taste: Toffee, buttery, some alcohol burn. Not as complex as most barleywines.

Mouthfeel: Slick and coating.

Drinkability: I don't think this is actually 12%, but it's still strong. If it actually is, it's probably the cheapest barleywine around at $1.59 a 12oz.

Not a bad beer but nothing special. I like that Viking tries a lot of different styles, but the individual beers just don't shine. This is ok but there are better BW's around.

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Photo of emerge077
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Sampled at the Old Fashioned in Madison.

Poured an opaque orangey-molasses brown. Thin head of caramel tinted foam. Very sweet caramel aroma, with some phenolic intensity.

Sweetness is borderline cloying, it's very malty and full-bodied, with low carbonation. Toffee and dried fruit are the major flavors, and it doesn't come off as being very complex. Ended up sharing the bottle, it was a booze bomb I wasn't ready for at 3 in the afternoon...

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Photo of brewcrew76
3.58/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a hazy mahogany with a thin brown bubbly head.

S - Dark fruits, rum soaked raisins, dates and a hint of smoke. I also pick up a cola like aroma.

T - Raisins, dates, and figs. Slightly sweet and a little lacking of complexity. I can feel the alcohol warming but there is no sign of 12% ABV in the taste.

M - Medium body and somewhat syrupy.

D - I was a little disappointed in this one. It was somewhat one-dimensional and I was hoping for a little more.

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Photo of budgood1
3.68/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours out a completely opaque brown, with scarlet highlights. a thin, tannish red coloured head leaving really no lace. not much carbonation to be had, either. pleasant ripened fruit aromas from the malting, somewhat winey and a bit solvent. multidimensional flavour to this one...of course the sourish yeast appears and ducks away, quickly. brandied fig newtons are awash on my taste buds next; rum soaked raisins, chocolate flavoured cherries drowned in vodka, and other whiskey doused fruitcake flavours appear. there is a nice dose of bittering hops to be had too. mouthfeel is smooth as silk, with a heavy dose of warming alcohol. finish is fruity, spicy and zesty from all the booze in this barleywine. this is a raw, rough and brash brew, but tasty, too. i'd buy this bottle of booze again.

i didn't find myself going "berserk" drinking this...just relieved that i actually liked another one of these viking concoctions. i was starting to lose hope. kudos to the fiancee for bring this back from wisconsin.

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Photo of ncvbc
3.69/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Somewhat murky, brownish red and amber hues. Thin head that fades relatively quick, leaving a ring around the glass. Rich, sweet, and full of malt in the nose pretty much. Big toffee especially, caramel, dark fruit, and a touch of chocolate. Light hops in the background. Taste is also big and malty. A light citrus hop presence and hints of pine riding underneath and rising in the finish. Again, toffee is big in the taste. Some dark fruit as well. A nutty flavor is also present. Not as full as I'd expected, somewhat thin and slick going down. Regardless, this is a pretty nice brew and I enjoyed it.

Thanks goes to scoobydank for this extra in our most recent trade...gracias, friend.

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Photo of BeerBuilder
3.73/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours to a ruby-brown color with a tan head that leaves spotty lacing.

The aroma is fruity...plummy, with an alcohol caramel malty sweetness.

The flavor is sweet and plummy...rum soaked raisins and fruit cake.

It is full bodied and syrupy. Not a bad brew at all.

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Photo of blackie
3.75/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

appearance: Pours into the snifter with a very slight, light tan colored head that soon all but disappears. The beer is a slightly hazy, deep orange-brown in color.

smell: Toffee, dark caramel, and a toasted grain sweetness on the nose. A touch of grain husk type aroma. Light hops.

mouthfeel: The carbonation is low, and the body full. Could use a touch more carbonation to balance out the heft of the body.

taste: Sweet, slightly buttery toffee and chocolate upfront. The slightest touch of roast lurks in the background. Moderate, nondescript hops and a very light bitterness.

drinkability: If this is really 12%, then it is exceptionally hidden. A pretty good barleywine. Seems a little more English than American.

Single bottle purchased at Riley's in Madison and smuggled back to NC

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Photo of brewandbbq
3.75/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Vintage 2005

Pours syrupy brown, with chestnut edging and a tan, dense head.
The tight cap of foam required some encouragement via a tall pour to come out of solution, and faded within two minutes.
A thin ring remains on the placid surface.
Aromatics are malt-forward, heavily british slanted, and fruity.
Figs, raisins, and cherries run under the surface of a thick caramel and toffee nose. Chocolate and dark rum finish out the aromatics with a biscuity sendoff and a whiff of smoke.
Mouthfeel is thickish and tacky. Carbonation is subdued, and the residual sugars keep the brew lingering on the tongue.
Pallet is much less complex than the nose. Berzerk is laden with juicy malt and dark fruit, and light-handed with the hops.
Chocolate, caramel, and brown sugar notes keep it from being within the realm of "barleywine".
Bitterness is moderate, and hopping is negligent in the taste and aroma. Alcohol is well hidden behind the large malt character.
Finishes with chocolate drizzled fruit with toffee chips.

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Photo of darklordlager
3.8/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: As with most Viking brews--no head and very little sign of carbonation. With this style though, it may work to its advantage. Muddy brown colour with a hint of red around the edges.

S: Caramel apple, a little vanilla. Kind of a minty smell, from the combination of the hops and alcohol. Mild cherries and layered caramel. Something I can't quite put my finger on that you wouldn't expect from your average barleywine. An herbal/floral character, perhaps. Taffy.

T: The interesting character from the smell is present in the taste as well--I believe it may be darker/chocolate malts, or maybe a different kind of caramel malt. A light chocolate flavour combined with an herbal element. The cherry/plum dark fruit comes through in the finish, subduing the little alcohol heat present. A little more dark fruit and layered caramel malt come through as it warms, with a little bit of bubblegum/esters as well.

M: A little more light bodied than I was expecting, and is seemingly lighter on the tongue than many barleywines. A little creamy, but a medium mouthfeel for this style. Maybe it's the lack of carbonation. After it sits for a little, it seems to be almost still, though not unpleasant. Not syrupy, but very sweet and a bit heavy.

D: The low carbonation, well concealed ABV, and intriguing flavour profile make this a worthy brew to pick up. Not necessarily my first choice for a barleywine, but refreshingly different.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.85/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Aged for quite some time, but don't know how long
A very slight hiss is heard as I pop the cap on this. A careful pour produces a light dusting of a head, the sparse bubbles appear to be a dark tan color. The beer is a brilliantly clear, concentrated amber color that shows a cherry red color when held up to the light. The aroma is very rich and meaty; substantial malt contributes lots of umami like notes. Salty aromatics, even a touch of something like peat is noticeable as is some smoky phenolic character. Lots of concentrated caramelized malt aromatics are found here; aromas prunes, toffee, brown sugar and deeply caramelized bread crust. Toasty grain and biscuit-like notes are found in the finish. A touch of muted hop character is perhaps found here and there is also some noticeable rum like notes.

Chewy and fairly thick, though not overly sweet, as the malt character is rich enough to offset any residual sweetness. Aged malt character with touches of sherry adds a lot of complexity to this brew. The hop character, while missing in the aroma, is still quite present in the flavor, though it is a secondary note; the hops contribute a touch of citrus, light pine and a persistent bitterness that adds some balance to offset the malt character. This hides the alcohol pretty well for a beer of this strength; a touch of woody aged malt notes contribute to a touch of bourbon like notes when coupled with the alcohol. The flavor also has a touch of fruit character, made up of berries, a hint of cherry, prune notes and some raisin flavors.

This is a very nicely aged Barleywine. Quite good and it even seems to be peaking right now. The aged malt notes really add a ton of complexity here, on top of the already nice malt character; flavors of peat, smoke, fruit, oak and bourbon are all found here.

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Photo of DaPeculierDane
3.86/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12%...This beer is 12%??? No fricking way, this beer is 12%. This tastes and feels like one of the weakest barley wines I’ve ever put my lips to. I’m thinking 6%, 7% maybe, but 12%? No way. How is the ABV covered so well? This is a dangerous brew.

Grape juice brown with a disappearing tan head that clings to life on the edge of my tumbler. Rich and creamy caramel, fruity esters, and syrup. Light bitterness but without any distinct hops. Balanced. Not very barleywinish but damn good all the same.

Oh…and I’m starting to feel that 12% even though I still can’t taste it….

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.87/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: Like all of the four previous Viking beers I have tried over the last few days, a thick golden foil completely wraps the crown cap and the entire neck of this 22ounce brown glass bottle. The top of the foil has a red round sticker with the words ‘Something Special from Wisconsin’. The main (and only) label has a nice shiny silver metallic background with black text. A Viking Longboat rides the froth atop a large Mug. Listed as ‘Berserk’ and described as a ‘Barleywine’. No strength or freshness date listed. Bottle-Conditioned it seems.

Appearance: A very murky dark brown, powerfully lit from behind it had some rusty red hints that swirled amidst the turbid body. The head fizzled out quickly on the first pour from the Bomber into my half-pint glass. Subsequent pours however, released dissolved carbonation and helped to form a more plausible ¼” thick smooth tan collar head. But this too soon evaporated sadly.

Nose: Strange nose, strange as in hard to describe but strange as in nice as well. Thick smells that reminded me of the odors so often experienced when entering one of those old-fashioned Family run Cobblers that can still be occasionally found. Deep French polished woods, buffed leather, shoe polish, ground man-made soles, sweaty insoles, malts, sour alcohols, dark caramel coated well-worn horse saddles. It’s an Eye Opener (OO) for sure.

Taste: Massive malt attack that licks the face and tongue, bolstered by big but smooth alcohols and a creamy feel. The middle develops a light sourness that is far from off-putting but adds a nice dimension that balances the massive malts. Like sitting on a classic Triumph motorcycle, this has a feel of Old School British Barleywine.

Mouthfeel: Big, alcohol feel, as is to be expected. Smooth & creamy in texture. The fine carbonation assists in smoothing out the big alcohol feel and helping to take the edge of off the sour-ish twang.

Drinkability: For a 12% (?!) Barleywine, I managed this all rather too easily. Its funky sour character in the back-end only added to the enjoyment for me.

Overall: This is definitely not a ‘run-of-the-mill’ Barleywine; it has lots of individuality and character all of its own. I have to say that it reminded me of ‘fresh’ samples of English Barleywines that I have sampled whilst back in the homeland, in particular it reminded me of Bullard’s Old Ale (a long gone brew) for some reason, maybe it is the sour aspect that it exhibits. I enjoyed this one, but like Bullard’s I can’t help thinking this will either completely fall to pieces, or improve immeasurably with age. It’s one of those sorts of Barleywines. Hope it is the latter.

A BigThanks to BigHuge for supplying some excellent brews in his last Tuck Box to the West Coast, including five of Vikings great brews. Go Berserk!!

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.88/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

"Berserk is named after the Berserkers, who were the fiercest of all the Vikings."

--Viking Brewing Company website

Dark caramel brown so dark it's opaque. Other than black cherry and orange accents along the bottom edge of the glass, no light is permitted entry. Given style and ABV, neither the small buttered wheat toast colored cap nor the lack of lace is surprising.

Berserk smells like the quintessential English barleywine in that it's dominated by caramel malt and an autumn leaves earthiness at the expense of hops. It's okay, but is nothing really special.

The first second or two of each mouthful is excellent. The beer is sweet and toffee-like with all manner of complementary flavors (pipe tobacco and figs primarily). Before long, however, an odd sourness enters the picture and ushers in a finish that doesn't hold together as well as it might. Things are becoming a little more enjoyable as the bottom half of the 12 ounce bottle approaches.

With warming, a dark fruitiness is becoming more evident and is giving the sourness some context. Thankfully, there's enough malty sweetness and just enough hop bitterness to keep the flavor between the ditches. Not that a crash is imminent, but we're weaving all over the road. Just wait 'til the 12.0% ABV catches hold!

My favorite barleywines favor caramel malt over pale malt (Midnight Sun Arctic Devil is a prime example) because it gives the beer an added flavor dimension and seems to erase the alcohol flavor more efficiently. A positive here is that 12.0% tastes like no more than 8.0%.

Although the mouthfeel favors the lighter end of the style spectrum, it has just enough hang-on to earn the good score. A minimal amount of carbonation helps.

Berserk Barleywine is a cool name, but it doesn't fit this particular beer. The biggest of Viking Brewing Company's offerings is more sedate, more polite, more... English... than a rampaging Norseman with a mean streak and a lust for blood. Like the rest of their lineup, Berserk is different. Unlike a lot of them, it's also good.

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Photo of happygnome
3.9/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

a: poured a very dark brown color with about an eigth inch of head that dissapeared rather quickly, there was a very narrow ring of lace around the edge of the glass
s: sweet caramel malts, nut aromas, fruit aromas hints of the alcohol in the aroma
t: strong malty flavor with a little hops bittering flavor despite the high abv it was very smooth
m: full bodied beer with little carbonation very nice sipping no burn

overall, this is a very good brew that i enjoyed very much so

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Photo of lou91
3.95/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to dirtylou for parting with this. The bottle looked very different from the picture so not sure the age. This is a solid representative malty BW with hints of molasses, rum and malt. It looked nice and dark brown and poured thick like it should. Taste is just like it smelled and hid the alcohol well. This is a borderline old ale and a good beer to try.

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Photo of dirtylou
3.97/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz single, $1.99 at Riley's...Viking strikes me as a very strange brewery and I had always been looking for this and Big Swede, both of which i finally got

appearance: pours a cola-mahogany, garnet tinted, light creamy tan head that doesnt last long...light lacing

smell: smell is sweet dark fruit, raisin, fig, powerful booze factor, strong sourness comes through above all else, brown sugar...unlike any barleywine i have ever smelt

taste: very interesting...alcohol is actually quite well hidden. In fact, there is absolutely no way this is 12% ( i guess i'll let you know in a half hour). Sourness comes through in a delicate way, rich dark fruits with a booze undertone, thick caramel, brown sugar, fig, raisin, date, nutty, big thick and syrupy malt backbone...an interesting interpretation

mouthfeel: thick and syrupy, medium-full body, bitterness in the aftertaste

drinkability: good

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Berserk from Valkyrie Brewing
84 out of 100 based on 35 ratings.