Fish Tale Leviathan Barleywine - Fish Brewing Company / Fishbowl Brewpub

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Fish Tale Leviathan Barleywine
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BA SCORE
87
very good

107 Reviews
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Reviews: 107
Hads: 123
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 8.95%
Wants: 36
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

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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 107 | Hads: 123
Photo of feloniousmonk
4.35/5  rDev +11.3%
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! (1,190 characters)

Photo of shadow1961
3.82/5  rDev -2.3%
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. (901 characters)

Photo of IntriqKen
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
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. (532 characters)

Photo of jdhilt
3.4/5  rDev -13%
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. (353 characters)

Photo of benito
3.77/5  rDev -3.6%
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. (945 characters)

Photo of Mandrake
4.27/5  rDev +9.2%
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. (926 characters)

Photo of brentk56
4.42/5  rDev +13%
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. (838 characters)

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.46/5  rDev -11.5%
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. (2,132 characters)

Photo of Byeast
4.12/5  rDev +5.4%
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. (1,492 characters)

Photo of Orrshow
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
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. (701 characters)

Photo of RedHaze
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Spawned Nov 2005

Pours a dark coppery color with a quarter inch head that fades quickly to a very thin cap and ring. The lacing that's left behind is this and spotty.

Smell; lots of sweet caramel and toffee malts. There's some hints of citric hops as well as a touch of alcohol.

Taste; the caramel and toffee are present, but there's also a little bit of chocolate and vanilla. The hops are there as well, but they were a little stronger in the nose than they are here. There's also a little bit of a charred flavor in here, with almost no alcohol presence.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability; mouthfeel is full bodied and very smooth, almost velvety, and the drinkability is really good, especially since my glass is practically empty already. (745 characters)

Photo of mcallister
4.07/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This barley wine is a hazey mahagony color with hints of ruby when light penetrates. A adequate sized head, off white fades quickly and leaves a layer of thin lace around it's edges. Great lace retention.

Barley wines don't get much better aroma than this one. Sweet toffee, caramel malt, floral hop, a particular nutty aroma, a sliver of brown sugar, and a finish of maple.

I would consider this one a "success" quoting Frankensteins creator. A medium bodied mouth with slightly too much carbonation. Entry is sweet toffee which flows through to the mid palate where caramel malt, almond, and some toasted brown sugar lead way to the highly floral hopped bitter finish. Finish is of good length at least 45 seconds. Some alcohol does show through on the finish but nothing gotesque

The type of brew I love to sip for quite a while. (842 characters)

Photo of Boto
4.7/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch #4, Nov. 2002: I’ve been holding this one for quite awhile. It ours a rich, cloudy mahogany color. There was about zero head on mine. There was still some carbonation and lacing around the edges. The aroma is rich. Some alcohol to the nose, as well as a complex fruitiness. Caramel notes also. A very smooth taste. A warming alcohol note is the first that is tasted. Hints of caramel and fruits, as well as a sherry-like texture. Extremely nice! (452 characters)

Photo of IronDjinn
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Came in a 650ml brown bottle, 2006 vintage. I like the octopus on the label, although when I visualize leviathan's it tends more towards giant squids, or that big green Kraken monster from Clash Of The Titans.

A deep rustic looking copper in appearance, no real head to speak of on the first pour. However pouring the remainder of the bottle into the glass did produce a light cream spongy head with good retention. Go figure. Sticky ring of lacing at the top of the glass which progressively follows the ale down the glass.

The nose contains a chewy toffee malt with fresh figs, brown sugar, evergreen needles, a hint of bitter orange peel, some raisin. I'm even picking up faint traces of light milk chocolate, or at least some lactose.

Sweet caramel malt up front, dried fruit. Pine and orange/grapefruit rind in the middle, that lingers into a Cascade hop finish. Not overtly complex, but enjoyable, it has it all in the right places, pleasant balance and progression. It may be in my head, but I still get that undertone of milk chocolate in there somehow, especially in the aftertaste, almost right below the radar. A lighter, mellow tasting barleywine, it's very palatable and not overwhelming.

A solid body and mouthfeel, not overtly thick, but has a great backbone to it, it definitely holds its own in that aspect.

Straight 4's across the board, this would make a great introduction and stepping stone into this style, packed in the right places and not too overwhelming and intimidating. A great sipping barleywine, and a great way to spend an afternoon. (1,582 characters)

Photo of brewcrew76
3.55/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Pours a hazy copper with a small tan head.

S - Sweetness, caramel malt, hint of piney hops and alcohol.

T - Starts out smoky, which tastes a little out of place. Sweet caramel malt muted by the smokiness. A faint taste of piney hops to balance it out.

M - Medium with a bit of carbonation. Not as thick or syrupy as I expected.

D - Would be better if I wasn't picking up the smokiness. This one seems to be missing a little bit. (444 characters)

Photo of geetlord
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured a dark coppery amber, with a small head that reduced to little lacing. The aroma carried dark fruits malts like dark molasses, and strong alcohol overtones. The flavor was sweet caramel with a touch of orange rind. The finish was somewhat smoky and resiny with some bitterness and a warming of alcohol at the very end. Overall I found this to be a good strong ale and I would ahve it again. (407 characters)

Photo of kmpitz2
3.6/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle. This one pours a very deep copper color, with a half finger of head over top, that falls to an almost complete coating over top. There is a bit of haze going on in there, along with a fairly steady stream of fine bubbles working up the side of the glass. Not a bad looking brew. Taking a sniff, I get lots of sweetness, in the form of very chunky caramel, along with massive piney hop, with a pretty substantial puff of alcohol in there. The sweetness is really strong in there, and I expect it to be cloying when I taste it. The first sip brings a moderately sweet caramel maltyness, with a little hint of spun sugar sweetness in there too. The piney hop is strong in the flavor, but not overly bitter on the finish. There is a light to moderate alcohol character, but it is not big or offensive. Not bad at all. Better than the aroma led me to believe. Aftertaste is a good combo between pine and caramel. Mouthfeel is moderate with a light to moderate carbonation. I would expect it to be fairly thick. It seems to lack some body. Overall, this one is nice. That being said, it is not really drawing me in, making this probably the only bottle I will have of it. It just seens a little lacking in life overall. (1,227 characters)

Photo of TheBungyo
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2004

Man this pour was somewhat lifeless but the old saying holds true: never judge a book by it's cover. In this case the cover is a body that looks like someone stirred up sand in a normally clear body of water. Very dark, no head and no lacing. Nose is faint but I do detect rummy caramel and nose clearing alcohol. I like the smell but I wish it were stronger. Taste starts with grapefruit and caramel, then segues into pine and bitterness. Yummy.
Mouth is pretty big. I like this barley wine. If the appearane were more on point this would be an amazing experience. (574 characters)

Photo of hoppymeal
2.68/5  rDev -31.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours dark copper to amber in color and slightly cloudy with a small cream colored head. Aroma is of sweet white grapes - golden raisins, sweet sugary malts, ripe berries, a smoky character and alcohol. Taste exhibits some good qualities with some sweet caramel maltiness up front, however a strange, (not in a good way strange), roasted flavor comes thru, like burnt grass or maybe a little like burnt rubber. The beer finishes with large alcohol bite and spiciness. I am not sure if the funky roast-burnt flavor is a contamination or poor handling problem or just plain funkiness, but I will have to try this beer again because the aroma and initial flavors are promising. (674 characters)

Photo of GClarkage
4.12/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

07/13/06- Purchased at Bottleworks in Seattle, WA.

Presentation- 2004 Edition. 12oz bottle poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance- A dark amber in color with some chestnut highlights. One inch full head upon the pour. Levels out at a small soft covering of the liquid. Head is creamy and tight bubbled. Very light streaks and swishes of lace.

Smell- Very sweet caramel malt intensity. A light butterscotch scent as well. Liquor/winelike fusel scent combines with some kind of barrel aged wood in the nose.

Taste- Dark and semi-sweet caramel malt with some coffee infused milk chocolate. Vanilla fudge flavoring comes into play right before the bittering hops finish you off.

Mouthfeel- Medium carbonation, seems a bit woody with a bittering aftertaste.

Drinkability- Have had an earlier version of this (want to say 2001 or so) and it was much smoother, creamier and sweeter. The hops are still here after two years, which was a pleasant suprise. Not as sweet as I would like, but still a very nice barleywine. One that I would picture drinking in a home library with cherry cabinetry, while wearing a smoking jacket and chomping down on a pipe. Very refined. (1,178 characters)

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.7/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

(served in a snifter)

A- This beer has a light aged copper clear body with a thin light tan soapy head. There is no sign of carbonation except for the odd bubble rising to the surface.

S- The smell is slightly sweet caramel malt with a pine hop note in the background but it is pretty faint over all.

T- This beer has a sweet caramel malt flavor followed by a piney bitter hop finish . As it warms there is a slight smoky note that adds a bit of character to the malt.

M- This beer has a medium-light mouthfeel with a light alcohol hint but it is not enough to balance the sweetness.

D- This beer is light and sugary with some hops but it could use a bit more complexity or balance of flavors. (712 characters)

Photo of warmstorage
3.01/5  rDev -23%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle, ~$3.75 from Bottleworks in Seattle (price from memory.) Bottle states "Batch No. 5, brewed November 2004." Poured into beer clean pint glass.

Pours deep amber, almost brown. Limited head, reduces to maintain limited medium dense white head.

Aroma is complex, with plums, smoke, and deep, sweet grain.

First and middle body tastes is slightly sweet, with slightly roasty nut brown characteristics. Next taste and finish is intensely smoky: almost a rauchbier, it's so smoky.

As it warms, it becomes smokier and smokier. It retains a sweet grain body, with high alcohol noticeable in the aroma and body, but drinks like a smoke/rauch beer much more than a barleywine.

A good to very good beer, if it was brewed and marketed as a strong smoke/rauch beer, but as a barleywine, it's wildly out of style. I've dinked it in taste and aroma some, and improved it in drinkablility some, to account for this. I mean, I'd be delighted if I'd wanted a rauchbier, but I bought a barleywine, and this was pretty disappointing. (1,049 characters)

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.7/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours with a hazy, orangish, reddish tinged, amber color. The head when roused summons a three-finger thick tan colored head. The aroma is redolent of hops up front, herbal, citrus like with orange and grapefruit. As I go in for a deeper smell of the aroma I get notes of rich malt lead by notes of toffee, biscuit malt, and a bit of alcohol. Concentrated notes of caramel then become prominent. All in all the aroma is a tad weaker than I would like, but it does have suitably aromatically pleasing components.

The taste is sweet up front, with a solid fruity component that reminds me a bit of tart plums. The hops are nicely up front in the flavor; a mix of bitter hops, with an astringent herbal note, and a citrusy character. This beer has a bit of age to it and it has started to pick up some light oxidation notes which tend to accentuate the malt component. Finishes a bit on the thin side perhaps, but certainly drinkable. (934 characters)

Photo of waldowin
3.82/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Pours a mostly clear golden red, with a thin white head that fades very quickly to nothing, no lacing. Thick enough to have some decent "legs" on it, like wine though.

Smells of raisins, cherries, coriander and grapefruit. Heavy on the sugar and alcohol, no hop smell.

Taste is rum, cherries, brandy, honey, and a hint of cloves.A very sweet beer, it could use more hops in my opinion, but tasty.

Mouthfeel is thick, smooth, creamy and just slighlty carbonated. Spot on for a barleywine. If it weren't for the slightly cloying sweetness, it'd be a 5.

Watch the alcohol! You can't really taste it, but it'll whop you. One bottle does it for me. (655 characters)

Photo of Thrasher
3.73/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber. 2006 vintage. Fresh! ...It's not ready yet. It's tasty, but one-dimensional. The nose is all there -- sweet malts, sherry, orchards of fruit that don't exist -- but the flavor isn't compelling and the sweetness is offputting. It's certainly not bad, though, and it goes down as easy as a 10%abv leviathan could. It's decidedly hopless! And surprisingly so, at this premature age. Instead, a caramel swirl of malts of all shapes and sizes stomp their way across your tongue, leaving muddy footprints. The heartiness of the beer is at odds with the fact that it's not particularly thick, or yeasty. Some oak-aged notes of vanilla bean would do this beer good. Some more minty hops would help too, but these likely will never assert themselves. I'd say this beer has yet to reach full ripeness. In the meantime, get half a dozen friends together, pour everyone half a wine glass full (make sure the glass has ample curvature), dig your nose in and sniff away. The smell is good to go.

Reflecting on the name of this beer allows me to consider that there is not, as yet, to my knowledge, a beer named "Kraken." I humbly assert that this would be the greatest beer name ever, post-10%abv-bomber-haze notwithstanding. If I homebrewed, I would use it. If you are a brewer and want to claim it -- fine. Just send me a case or two. (1,339 characters)

Fish Tale Leviathan Barleywine from Fish Brewing Company / Fishbowl Brewpub
87 out of 100 based on 107 ratings.