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Fish Tale Leviathan Barleywine - Fish Brewing Company / Fishbowl Brewpub

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Fish Tale Leviathan Barleywine
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very good

122 Ratings
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(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 122
Reviews: 106
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: 9.51%
Wants: 35
Gots: 4 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Fish Brewing Company / Fishbowl Brewpub visit their website
Washington, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 06-03-2002

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 122 | Reviews: 106
Photo of Wasatch
4.3/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz. Bomber
2006 Vintage

Poured into a chalice a hazy ruby red color, some carbonation, little fizzy off-white head, some oil slicks are only left behind. The nose is malty, oaky, slight spicyness, and some caramel. The taste is slightly sweet at first, then the malts kick in. There is a nice oakyness to this brew, also some spices/caramel. The alcohol is kinda upfront on this one, otherwise very very nice. Medium body, well-rounded brew. Very drinkable, a nice one from Fish Tail.

Photo of ccrida
3.33/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22 oz bottle, 2006 vintage, served at cellar temp in my Hommel snifter, Leviathan is ruddy chestnut with a modest, off-white head that settles pretty quickly but leaves tons of sticky lace.

Smell is nice, typical barleywine maltiness, caramel and buterscotch, and very nice, a bit softened. As it warms, it gets fruitier, some really nice fig and grape.

Taste is a bit on the thin side. Never had this before, but I'm thinking it's a bit past it's prime. The malt on the nose is faded, and the hops have a grassiness that remind me of a wet hop beer. Nice bitterness on the finish, but not much more, a bit of leather and smoke.

Mouthfeel is on the watery side, but the lighter body is appreciated.

Drinkability is not bad, in that it's lighter bodied with rounded edges that goes down pretty easily. On the other hand, I don't look for chugability in barleywines, I want complexity, depth, and good taste, which this could use more of across the board. The booze is well hidden in both the nose and taste, but I really need to try this fresher for comparison.

Photo of drumrboy22
3.67/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Received in trade from psprings. Served at cellar temperature. Poured from 12oz. bottle into Dogfish Head snifter. Had a small, off-white head that left excellent lacing around the glass. Copper in color with moderate carbonation.

Aroma was heavy malts, toffee, dark fruits, orange and pine hops.

Full flavored and fairly sweet with a bitter finish. Well balanced and a nice sipper.

Pretty decent barleywine, but nothing mind-blowing.

Photo of markaberrant
4.15/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - pours clear amber, flashes red when held to a light. Does not pour a thick head, a few big bubbles amongst some islands of foam. A bit of sticky lace clings to my snifter. Looks pretty good.

S - big fat juicy malt, solid citrus hops are strong, but not quite IPA strength. Clean.

T - Not nearly as bitter as I was expecting, but don't worry, the hops are still there! Whenever I get taste basic combination of huge caramel malt and citrus hops, I'm always reminded of orange marmalade or fruitcake.

M - medium body keeps the drinkability up there. barely a hint of alcohol, incredibly well hidden. Finishes with a nice bit of hop dryness, leaves me smacking my lips.

D - This sounds like my last review of their Imperial Stout, but this is an exceptionally smooth Barleywine, I'm having no problems tossing this one back.

I am shocked that this beer is 10%. It's been sitting in my fridge for sometime, mostly because I didn't want to drink a whole 22oz bomber by myself... but it is not going to be a problem whatsoever. I love the simplistic approach, it's brewed so well that the end result is quite enjoyable. I'm hoping to come across this beer again, I haven't seen it on the shelves for awhile (same with their Impy Stout and Olde Woody), do not hesitate if you see it!

Photo of alexgash
3.69/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle served at 50 degrees F.

Hazy ruby copper body with a small, ringy, off-white head. Sweet caramel and brown sugar malt aromas with candied yams, light alcohol (brandy), and herbal hops. Toffee and toasted malt notes up front. Slightly astringent grains and herbal bitter hoppiness around the edges. Rummy fruit sweetness follows with caramel highlights. Yeasty, herbal hop bitter finish. On the maltier side. Could do without the astringent graininess. Medium-full body and slightly flat. Not bad.

Photo of jwc215
4.17/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

"Spawned in" September:

Pours dark copper with a thin head that leaves trailing lace.

The smell is of caramel, citrus, pine and spicy herbal notes.

The taste is of caramel/toffee with balancing citrus and pine. Malt accented with balancing fruity/earthy/piney hops giving this a wonderful complexity. Alcohol present, but well-controlled. Finishes dry.

The body is rather thin for what it could be, but hangs on to medium. However, it is smooth and has enough to get by.

This is a tasty, well-balanced barleywine.

Thanks to jcwattsrugger for bringing this back from his trip to the West!

Photo of kirok1999
3.88/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark copper with little to no head. The smell is nice but not really strong. Smells of a typical barleywine, caramel, fruit.
Taste is darkly malty with a lingering malt aftertaste. There's a good bit of hop present, some citrus and pine, but the malts dominate. There's a mild sweetness that makes it quite pleasant.
Nice smooth mouthfeel.
Had this one by a bonfire and it went down real well.

Photo of NitroGen
3.38/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

P: 12 oz Brown Bottle Spawned in November according to the date mark, but no year.

A: Hazel Brown that is slightly cloudy with a ½ finger amber foam head that very slowly disapated to a cover and heavy lacing.

S: Deep and dark raisin, brown sugar, grainy witha an alcohol finish.

T: Was taken aback by the intense grapefruit pith that then slowed to a myriad of grainy and more subtle tones as it finished.

M: Starts with a tart and bit bitter attack of the tip of the tongue and then raises hell as it does a few laps around the mouth before settling down. Slick grainy film finish to the tongue.

D: Found the bitterness a bit much and will wait for some time before trying again to see if I can appreciate it a bit more.

Photo of franksnbeans
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy amber with ruby hue with an off white head that dies slow. Smells of malt, some hops and a little dried fruit. Lots of big flavors with raisin, fig, sweet malt and some spice. This is a very interesting barleywine that tastes very complex. One sip its a strong beer, another its very wine like. Full in the mouth, the alcohol is hiddend considering the ABV, shes a sipper.

Photo of Westsidethreat
3.62/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Spawned in November…not sure the year. Probably 2005.

A: A lot of pent up carbonation in the bottle. Pours an unfiltered strawberry cider color body with a sandy head that died quick. Only a standard ring remains.

S: Band aids, chocolate brownies, orange marmalade, raw carrots and a hint of cherry.

T: Starts fruity with aspects of red apple, yellow pear and over ripe oranges across the tip of the tongue. Moves to a sweet yet maltier side with raisins, figs and a good amount of brown sugar. The sweetness continues with buttery caramel and some pineapple. Bitterness is readily apparent and quite abrasive IMO. Finishes smoky, I really didn’t see that one coming. More of a cold smoke than a dry smokiness. Finishes alcoholic with an earthy bitterness and lingering smokiness.

M: Medium body, slightly syrupy mouthfeel.

D: Not a bad barleywine. I think it probably smelled better than it actually tasted. Still very sweet with 1.5 years on it, could go a bit longer to chill out a bit. Nothing staggering or noteworthy

Photo of barleywinebrewer
4.39/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

wow! what a neat barleywine. thanks to timtheenchanta for this via the little guy bif.

A - bottle conditioned with a decent amount of yeast at the bottom of the 12oz bottle. A careful pour shows a brilliant ruby / orange color with a 1/8th inch off white head.

S - Oh, intoxicatingly rich vinous malts swirl around the edge of my tulip glass. Few barleywines I have tried show such a wonderful complex swirling of malts.

T - sadly in one way, wonderful in another. Similar to the aroma but much more understated. rich dark ripe fruit, vinous malts combine with a touch of citric pineapple hops for balance.

M - full bodied, creamy smooth.

D - smooth and dangerously easy to drink. Yeah, I'd have a second one and call it an evening happily.

Photo of woemad
4.29/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle of 'Batch no.5," according to the label - bottled in November of 2004. It's a pity Fish no longer puts the year on bottles of this, as I have a more recent bottle, but don't know just how recent.

Pours dark amber, almost tea-like color with an inch of off-white foam. The foam drops after a couple of minutes, but a collar stays intact. Lace is modest and spotty.

The smell is still more sweet than one would think for a barleywine, though there's a hop presence as well, along with a booziness in the background. The honey-ish sweetness is the most dominant scent, though.

The honey-like sweet scent is what first hits the palate, but is then matched by a spicy hoppiness that is just slightly more restrained. The fade-out is alcohol heat. It's all very similar to the review of this beer when it is fresher, but each element is a tad bit more restrained and mellow than before. Seems to be aging well. I believe I have another 2004 bottle stashed. I'll be hitting it in another year or so.

Photo of bort11
3.77/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Recieved as part of the New Anniversary Bomber Bif. Thanks kolohoe!

22 oz bottle, 2006 vintage, poured into a tulip glass. Thin white head with little retention, that's OK. Color is a rich copper red, dark with some clarity.
Smell is tangy and bitter, but does have sweet caramel notes in the background. Taste puts the barley in the barleywine. Tastes almost like a dark pumpernickle bread. there is still a slight dried fruit sweetness in the back.
Body is pretty weak and thin for a barleywine. I would have liked a little more body to it.
Good taste, but I felt this one the next day

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.47/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of CBA: Poured a clear deep copper color ale with a small foamy head with limited retention. Aroma of sweet malt is domination with some very subtle dry figs and fruits. Taste is dominated by sweet malt on the verge of being disgustingly sweet with again some light dry figs. Body is a lot more watery then I would expect with some low carbonation. Ending is quite bitter but does not attenuate some of the sweetness.

Photo of Drew966
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fish Tale Leviathan Barleywine Vintage 2006 pours a hazy orange (yeast came out at the end of the pour) with a thin white head from a brown twenty two ounce bottle. Caramel malt is strong in the aroma. Light bodied, the hops are fairly restrained in this, not your typical northwest barleywine. Alcohol isn't particularly noticeable in the taste, but I'm definitely starting to feel it. I enjoyed this one.

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.35/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Leviathan Barleywine Reel Ale...have I really never had this before? Is this truly my white whale, in a bottle? Eh, must be...

12 oz bottle...please recycle...

Tawmy crimson color, dusky, unclear, with a slim, perfunctory head....rosy look, all around...nice...

Nose abounds in wondrous, vinous sweetness, very wine-like, rich, burgundy-like, cherries and berries blessed with the richness of malt.... a deep feeling, rich and luxurious...cognac-like...decadent....

Taste: fullness to the exteme, plump, rich, fruity, beautiful, ....everything
I really want from a barleywine...all my slots are punched, here....I'm gettin' it...damned tasty!
Full-bodied, long, malty, hoppy, delicious finish...those seeking a sensous beery experience won't be disappointed here.

Lip-smackingly good!

After all of the years I've heard of this beer, I finally get it and it's not through, trading, no, it just shows up at Surdyk's...and now it seems like a regular ol' barleywine...nothin' wrong with that...once upon a time, we didn't have so many of those....this is also the year I never bought a 6-pack of Sierra Nevada Bigfoot, too!

Quite a nice barleywine, highly recommended!

Photo of shadow1961
3.82/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Leviathan pours a finger of tan foam over a deep red brew. Carbonation is
active, and the nose is dark malt and herbal hop. The flavor is sweetish
malt with caramel, molasses, and vanilla notes and more of that herbal hop.
The aftertaste is a dark, grassy, and bitter hop. The mouthfeel is a balance
between fruity roundness and sharp, astringent hops. It is this balance that
moderates the 10% alcohol by volume of this beer The closest equivalent
west coat barleywine I've tried was Rogue's Old Crustacean (another invertebrate!).
I feel Leviathan was a much better balanced beer, fresh out of the bottle, than
Crustacean, which I was told doesn't hit it's stride before a few years in the cellar.
Whatever- if you see a bottle on the shelf, you should expect to be able to drink
it when you get home, though this brew would be a fine candidate for aging. It
really is a sipper, though.

Photo of IntriqKen
4.33/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a cloudy light amber with a faint head that disappears immediately.

Aroma is pretty typical barleywine....sweet malts, sort of tropical fruits, hint of citrus.

Taste is not typical at all. Incredibly fresh tasting. Sweet candied dark malt with some tropical fruits (mangos come to mind) and then nice lemon citrus hops on the finish.

Mouthfeel is perfectly creamy for a barleywine.

Aftertaste stays clean and the alcohol doesn't make itself known until it hits your head.

Very nice Barleywine...one of the best.

Photo of jdhilt
3.4/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a two finger cream head that fades to a shallow layer leaving a good lace. Cloudy amber color. Light-medium carbonation and medium bodied. Raisin nose. Starts sweet - raisin/plum, has a drying, slight bitter finish and aftertaste. There are better barleywines like Deschutes Mirror Mirror. $3.50 for a 12oz bottle from Liquid Solutions Tigard, Or.

Photo of benito
3.77/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I felt like I had won the lottery when I found a 2004 vintage bottle (12 oz) of this in my cellar. I must have picked it up last summer at Bottleworks in Seattle and left it to await drinking. It's day had come...

Leviathan is a fairly run-of-the-mill barleywine in terms of looks, but it has a wonderful bouquet that mixes typical aromas of fruit and syrup with a strong hint of cereal. It also has a distinct honey flavor that softens the initial bitterness of the beer. It has a soft and creamy mouthfeel that mask the beer's strength, though there is a faint alcohol taste in the finish. It has excellent length and the aftertaste is a nice balance of more indistinct sweet and bitter flavors.

For a two-and-a-half year old brew, Leviathan has held up well; I'd love to find the 2005 and 2006 vintages to see how 'fresher' versions of this compare. Overall, this is a solid barleywine with great staying power and a memorable softness.

Photo of Mandrake
4.27/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a medium golden-orange with a fairly small head that dissipates reasonably quickly and leaves virtually no lacing. Quite still once it settles, though a few trails of tiny bubbles can be seen surfacing along the edges of my snifter. Smell is of resinous hops, pine and citrus, along with spices and piles of caramel. Oakey tones as well, and bright fruits. Nice. Taste is along similar lines, with some hot alcohol present throughout and a sharp hop presence in the finish. Pepper is strong in the middle, and it's quite dry throughout. Mouthfeel has piles of body and great levels of carbonation, and drinkability is great for such a big beer. 650ml goes down no problem, and I would love to get more as often as I can. Great barleywine, sharp and bitter without being a total hop bomb. Strikes such a balance that I can enjoy the balls-to-the-wall complexity and my girlfriend can still enjoy a sip here and there too.

Photo of brentk56
4.42/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2006 Vintage - sampled in March 2007

Appearance: Pours a hazy amber color with a modest head that failed to hang around (I was not surprised, given the abv) but did dot the chalice with specks of lace

Smell: Caramel, roasted nuts and a vague pear fruitiness; the alcohol is certainly present, as well

Taste: Opens with a caramel flavor that is has some roasted nuts and pear to it; after the swallow, an earthy bitterness kicks in and joins the sweet and fruity flavors into a long waltz to the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body; moderate carbonation

Drinkability: A bit of an ugly ducking when I opened the bottle, it soon developed into a swan of a barleywine. What's with the octopus on the label? Remembering my Melville, I always thought a leviathan was a whale but I guess it now refers to any large sea creature.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.46/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Electrified blood orange with more carbonation and a larger head than one typically sees on a barleywine. The upper half of the snifter is filled with a softly creamy mass of pastel orange foam that is amazingly persistent; especially given the ABV. The sloping sides of the glass contain quite a bit of attractive lace as well.

The nose, while far from bad, has to qualify as a disappointment. The beer smells like caramel-covered oranges and Band-Aids swimming in grain alcohol. That description is quite a bit nastier than intended, but it hits the basics. Citrus fruit from the hops, medicinal phenols and unmasked alcohol. I really hope the flavor sets out in a different direction.

Thankfully, it does. I usually find that barleywines taste like cherries macerated in some sort of liquor or liqueur. This beer tastes amazingly like oranges macerated in triple sec. I've never known Chinook (bittering) or Cascade (flavor, aroma) to be quite this orange-like, but I suppose it's possible. I don't know where else that flavor could be coming from.

I'm thankful that the bandage-like phenols have all but disappeared on the palate. It would have been hard to get through all 12 ounces if this big ale tasted like it smells. I'm also a little surprised at the relative lack of bitterness. My best guess is that I'm drinking the 2005 version (which, if true, means that it's barely more than a year old), so the hops should still be kickin'. Except they aren't. That, more than anything, is why the flavor score is what it is.

The mouthfeel is on the light end of the style spectrum. It still has enough chewiness (barely) and enough stickiness (again barely) on the finish to be more than respectable. In fact, I like it more and more as the ounces disappear. An impressive, low carbonation smoothness is its best feature.

When I think of the word Leviathan, I thing of something both fearsome and massive. Fish Tale Leviathan Barleywine, at least compared to its American competition, is neither. It's a worthwhile version, though, and is warming me nicely on this frigid evening. Now I don't need to light a fire.

Photo of Byeast
4.12/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My sample of leviathan is a 750 bottled November 2002 , batch #4. Tasted 2007 , awsome artwork on the label , im keeping this bottle.

Appearance: poured an opaque reddish brown with some viscousity, appears slightly darker near the middle of the glass , slight sediment on the bottom. Pretty much no head at all on this very still brew.

Smell: lots of english style barley wine maltiness , fruity , with a slightly wine like scent underneath. Red fruits , brown sugar , hint at nuttyness. I fear that (at its age) this bottle is starting to go south , im glad we opened it sooner than later.

Taste: A very full , viscous body of deep malt , brown sugar, red fruityness and grape pokes in here and there , slight nuttiness , just a little bit of balancing bitterness that just might be from hops, after it warmed up to room temp some oak flavor was detectable , just a tiny bit of winey/vinegar sourness to the finish that suggests this one has maybe reached its peak. At times is was more fruity than malty. Hidden alcohol. A unique taste that kept me coming back for more.

Mouthfeel: mildly viscous , slick , lip coating flavor.

Drinkability: I was very happy to be able to taste this barley wine. My friend won it at a barley wine festival in Dunedin , Fl. I am also very glad he opened it this year , as i think another year would have had more negative effects than positive. I thought it was quite tasty , and quite different as well. One of the fruitiest B-wines ive had.

Photo of Orrshow
4.05/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance – Pours a transparent mahogany with a small amount of off white bubbly head.

Smell – Lots of caramel malt with sweet brown sugar. There is a little citrus fruit, pine, hop, and alcohol in there as well.

Taste – This one packs a big malty punch off the start with a very strong alcohol flavor on top. The malts bring out caramel and toffee flavors. It’s fairly sweet and there is a slight citrus hop flavor complimented by a wood like taste as well.

Mouthfeel – Fairly viscous and a perfect low carbonation.

Drinkability – Pretty good. Went down easy enough but a little less alcohol flavor could help.

All in all a good Barley Wine. I Look forward to aging this one.

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Fish Tale Leviathan Barleywine from Fish Brewing Company / Fishbowl Brewpub
87 out of 100 based on 122 ratings.