Cyclops Barleywine - Elysian Brewing Company
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Ratings: 67 | Reviews: 45 | Display Reviews Only:
4.83/5 rDev +21.4%
Rated and reviewed based both on a 12 ounce bottle bought at Elysian Tangletown, and on the two glasses drank on tap at Elysian Tangletown last week. My tasting notes from all three beers are sufficiently similar that I'm combining them, and noting differences, though the immediate glass in front of me is from the bottle.
Medium to deep orange color; poured with a lacy white head, leaves lace film on the glass sides, head dissipated quickly. (On tap, came out with little head, but same lacy whiteness and burnt orange color, so similar impression.)
Noticable carbonation in the glass from the bottle, slightly tingly, remains so even long after finish. Good carbonation for the style: otherwise the sweetness and thick body might be a bit much. Seemed somewhat less carbonated on tap, but still present carbonation.
Aroma is slightly piney, slightly sweet, and hints of vanilla (if you have ever smelled a Jeffrey Pine, it's remarkably similar to that: vanilla but pine but vanilla; sweet, but tangy/sharp, but sweet.) Jeffrey Pine resin, incidentally, is distilled to make nearly pure n-heptane, but in nature is delightful and one of my favorite trees (to smell) nonetheless. Go sniff a tree while looking out at Lake Tahoe, and if it smells like vanilla, it's probably Jeffrey Pine.
Taste is FANTASTIC. Again, Jeffrey Pine: vanilla, citrus piney notes, with a distinct, sharp sweetness to it, and finishes with some hints of honey. Amazing stuff, both on tap and in the bottle (though the tap felt and tasted more mellow to me, but I love both.) This is an excellent blend of the two major styles of barleywines: the first (American, think Bigfoot) being sharp, robust, hoppy, higher carbonated, brews with up front alcohol and (good) harshness); the second (English; think AleSmith Old Numbskull) being sweeter, thicker, more syrupy, more rounded, less harsh, less pronounced hoppy, and _sometimes_ lower alcohol. The Cyclops provides both sets of tastes: distinct, high alpha acid hops, with piney, citrus flavors and aromas obvious, but also a sweet, honey and syrup body and presence. I LOVE THIS BEER. It's about the second best barleywine I've tasted in the last few years, the first being Rogue XS barleywine (also an excellent mix of the styles.)
The mouthfeel is slightly thick and syrupy, but not nearly as much so as some barleywines, and has notable carbonation (see above notes re: difference between bottle and tap.)
The drinkability is EXTREME. I could sit and drink this all damn day. (I should note here that my standard, everyday fridge beer is Sierra Nevada Bigfoot: it's one of the weird hazards of living in Utah.) I'm sure glad I bought a six pack ($12) from Elysian, and I saw it later at Bottleworks in Seattle for $11.
11-04-2005 00:49:00 | More by warmstorage
4.72/5 rDev +18.6%
Best BW I've had yet. I live two blocks from the brewery, so close I can smell it!
Dark brown, little light comes through, nice thick tan head that stays. Taste is sweet and malty, lots of caramel and a little twang. Fresh NW hops bitter/finish it out perfectly and keeps you coming back for more. Extremely drinkable for such a big beer, and in a good way.
Sidenote...this must only be "retired" in bottles, because it's still available on tap, but only to those lucky enough to come to the brewery
06-03-2008 20:25:08 | More by GAPit
4.65/5 rDev +16.8%
Shaded in peach skin with dashes of orange zest and potter's clay. One source says the grist is nearly all pale malt, with only a touch of crystal and Munich added for colour. It shows, this is very light for a barleywine. Fading glints of ivory make for a thin but insistent crowning.
That pale malt bill permits a dynamic fireworks display of hops. The top of my glass is brimming with a wonderful smell both rich and resiny. Each sniff is eruptive. Notes of candied grapefruit, toffee dipped citrus and fully caramelized whole leaf hops! Elysian apparently uses English Magnum for bittering, and finish with Amarillo and Centennial. Whatever it is they do, it creates the perfect barleywine bouquet.
The taste is jammed with with hops as well: some are sticky and honeyed; some are sharp and citric; some are sweet and candied; and some are just plained saturated in that pine-like resin. Not only does it have an ideal flavour for barleywine, it has all the ideal flavours for barleywines: the taste is flush with fruit, pine, and gooey rich caramel.
There is a harmonious blend of sweetness and bitterness that never steps out of balance. Each sip concludes with a brisk, clipping note of dried hops but the taste of sweet candied fruits and caramelized lupulin ring out. This to me just cries out to be drank all winter long, especially for those cold, dark, stormy nights.
The air around it becomes so dewy sweet you don't even have to sip it. Of course you should, it tastes incredible. It's hard to overstate just how enjoyable a drink this barleywine is. I have no doubt ranks near the top for best barleywines I've tried. Surely we must be put on this Earth to enjoy something like this.
If you're a fan of either Old Crustacean or Bigfoot, then you'd love the Cyclops. I can't be sure of the age on this bottle but sadly, it does appear to have since been retired. This is a true loss for the beer world. If I knew exactly how special this bottle was I might have left a little longer. At least I'll always have the memory of one of the best barleywines ever put to my lips.
10-10-2008 19:13:03 | More by biegaman
4.53/5 rDev +13.8%
2005 Cyclops Barley Wine
Appeared light orange-amber with a thin head and smelled of sour pear, dates, alcohol, plums, champagne grape, a little coconut and even (stay with me here) some summer melon and occasional light sweet floral notes. Figs and cloves filled out the flavor, along with peppery alcohol, light toasted coconut, and hops lingering around at the end. This beer was gentle and smooth but the hops were still quite fresh tasting. Truly delicious. I just love this barley wine and it seems to age nicely. Strangely I enjoyed the taste of the 2007 version just a little more. Can't wait to taste that one in a couple of years.
2008 Cyclops Barley Wine, 10 months cellar time
Smelled of sugar cane and molasses, layered with notes of prunes and some lingering stringency. Flavors of molasses and raisins emerged up front, finishing hoppy, though quickly turning peppery and very neat with a clean alcohol vapor on exhale. A silky smoothness and a sugary thickness finished up a fantastic drinking experience.
10-16-2009 05:15:32 | More by jletts
4.47/5 rDev +12.3%
No idea of the vintage.
Pours deep amber, copper in hue with no discernable head, just bubbles on the edge of the class that hang out for near eternity. The nose is full of malty brown sugar, molasses, and dark fruits. Rich flavors of caramel, molasses, and a nice "piney"-ness are the first things I taste. As it nears room temperature a subtle candied grapefruit flavor comes to the foreground. The alcohol is slightly present in the nice warm finish. Mouthfeel is wonderful and creamy, full bodied indeed. This is certainly a stellar brew and many thanks to thethrone for the taste. This is my first experience with Elysian and I hope the others I have in my fridge live up to the high bar this brew sets.
11-19-2008 02:08:53 | More by FrognutUnl
4.45/5 rDev +11.8%
Pours a darktranslucent carmel copper. Some head with lacing. Have to take off .5 for twist top.
Malt and hops ... good start. I prefer more malt than hops for the style. Dark rum raisin, very appealing. Im more than happy that hops is not overpowering this example.
Wow, smooth mellow sweet delicious hops. Faint yet prevelent hops with just enough aroma hops. Maybe some deeper malt, but nothing really to bad to say here.
Sits yummy in the mouth, exactly the reason I love BWs. So smooth for an American. I find they are usually bitter than their English counter parts (as expected), but the hops arent bittering, more aroma, very nicely balanced.
Yes, yes yes. More please. Also, im sure these age well also. Mine is at least 6mo old.
10-18-2009 18:22:02 | More by JasonA
4.4/5 rDev +10.6%
Thanks to ibrew2or3 for this gem.
A: Pours a nice light cloudy orange hue with no head. There are a few bubbles rising to the top but for the most part there is no action going on in the glass, fairly flat looking.
S: Nice sweet fruit aromas up front. Hints of cotton candy, light booze, and a smidge of hops round things out. Very inviting.
T: Matches aroma. Big sweet malt up front. Hints of caramel malt, summer fruits, booze, and a light blast of citrus hops.
M: Full bodied and smooth.
D: Very, this was an 03 bottle and boy has it come of age. The flavors have really melded together to create one tasty, smooth brew. I could sit and sip this one for hours on a cool night.
10-23-2008 14:26:37 | More by tpd975
4.38/5 rDev +10.1%
Orange. Typical, expressive, well aged, barley wine aroma with an equal balance between the malt and hops providing hints of apples, fruits, caramel, harsh hops and honey. Sweet, fruity, candy like malts in the flavor with a sharp but balanced hoppiness that gave notes of pine, resin and orange. Damn, this stuff was tasty.
11-11-2004 16:03:53 | More by Crosling
4.35/5 rDev +9.3%
9.85% on bottle, no date. Dark chesnut brown pour into my nice little Brooklyn snifter. Off white 1/4 inch and that's about it. Poured strictly to guidelines set forth by Brothers Alstrom. Smells like a cross between a heath bar and butterfinger. Nice and bitter on the nose, popcorn molasses and caramel meets hop tasty. Hoppy for sure, big backbone of caramel stiffness. Good and fumey and hoppy as the best of them...piney with the malt flavor. Hops and dark rye real nutty. Pistachio nuttiness. Dry and bitter mouthfeel, love it. If you want a Barleywine, this is it. Simple and difficult.
11-27-2009 03:11:15 | More by RustyDiamond
4.33/5 rDev +8.8%
Thanks to RoryGilmore for this!!! He came through because I have been trying to get my hands on this for a looong time now. Poured a deep orangish with a flat head that kind of took the wind out my sails. However, the nose was sweet, sticky, malty and smelled of caramel and dried fruit. Taste followed suit, dried fruit, caramel malt, earthiness tone too. It was pretty boozy for the ABV. It goes to show you dont need 12ABV to make a good bwine. Mouthfeel was good. Overall, this was just as GREAT as I expected.
1 Aug 2009: Just had the 07 andaAfter two years it was good but peaked for sure.
8 Oct 09: Just had an 08 and she was just right!
10-10-2009 00:19:37 | More by barleywinefiend
4.33/5 rDev +8.8%
Poured a warm golden orange. Head was half an inch. Nose is very very nice. Super sweet caramel followed by a kaleidoscope of hops flavors. Sugary sweet grapefruit, orange and a tease of pine. Taste is almost exactly what you smell. Mouth is massive thick! Carbonation flits over the tongue. A very nice barleywine that I will buy again.
07-09-2006 06:18:35 | More by TheBungyo
4.22/5 rDev +6%
This is a no joke American style BW.Poured into an oversized wine glass a lemon tea color with no head to speak of at all,murky and plain lookin.The aromas woke this beer up,fruity and somewhat floral,very juicy and provacitive to say the least.Flavors of sweet cake and dark fruit turns into bigtime citric and piny hop,its a real shot in the face.Alot of brewers could use this as a an American DIPA but the big fruity malt profile makes it a barleywine,a great beer that folks from other countries need to try to see what a true American barleywine is and should be.
05-07-2011 23:54:39 | More by oberon
4.22/5 rDev +6%
02 vs 03 Cyclopian battle.
a- both poured a reddish/orangy hue, with light, but sufficient, carbonation in each.
s- the 02 had a little caramel, a touch of vanilla and booziness, and a little citrus. the 03 was vanilla dominant with a little caramel and citrus, not much alcohol.
t- interestingly, these two seemed to trade vanilla flavor for smell. the 02 had a strong vanilla flavor with a little bit of caramel while the 03 was a nice blend of all the flavors evident in the nose. the older tastes newer.
m- both coated the mouth well without being too boozy at under 10%. a little warming but the vanilla lingers a bit.
d- very smooth and easy. split many ways, these two disappeared quickly.
12-01-2009 07:34:56 | More by olympuszymurgus
4.15/5 rDev +4.3%
Bottle not dated, but believe to be '08.
A: Classic BW appearance, light on lacing.
S: Fantastic big malt
T: American sweet malt, the hops have faded substantially, to be expected, slight caramel.
M: Wish it had a bit more carbonation, dulled down quite a bit in 3 years, yet has a nice viscosity to it.
O: Man, for $4 a bottle, hard to beat and worth trying if you are a BW person.
10-15-2011 01:35:54 | More by BillHilly
4.13/5 rDev +3.8%
12oz 2011 Vintage, released Winter 2013. From the Hop & Vine PDX, OR
A- Pours a ruddy caramel color with tight little creamy bubbles that form a quick, but thin head. Head dissipates, but still some froth at the edges and lacing. Hazy, but not quite murky.
S - Not a ton in the nose, some oxidative qualities, very faint apple skin, wet malt.
T - A nice, full and developed but melded flavor. Rich caramels quickly give way to a pineapple pine resin note that blends into a smooth toffee finish. Very pineapple juice, but as if bruleed.
M - chewy and full bodied, but the balance brings a serious drinkability to the party. Light carbonation prickles and is just enough to carry this beast over.
O - after the look and nose, I was a tad worried, but this one-eyed wonder came through for me. I don't know if Elysian has made this house-cellaring for two years part of the process or if we just lucked into it (though there appears to be new labels on this aged beer), but it's a great idea and I hope more people start doing it. It's nice and round, pretty much exactly what it should be.
12-20-2013 09:56:52 | More by Gobigvt7
4.08/5 rDev +2.5%
Well my buddy fish113d had a bottle of this and I said hold onto it I want to try some too! Was not dissapointed I visited the pub when in Seattle years ago but was not in BA at the time. . The bottle has a label that says 2000 cyclops barleywine. Like an envelope label. see fish's review for story.
The beer is sampled at room temp in a tulip glass.
Brew pours a cloudy ruby color with no head whatsoever. Aroma is complex with alcohol present, mixing with red grapes, biscuity yeast, some berry scents and dark ripe fruit like plums. Very appealing.
First sip reveals an average body but syrupy texture, almost no carbonation.
Flavor is fruity with plums and raisins dominant, some red grapes and chocolate as well. Iget a faint hint of earthy hops that were probably more in your face when the beer was fresh.
The brew is very smooth and nice, a bit of warming alcohol on the finish, but I often welcome that trait in a beer.
Definitely a nice barleywine!
12-28-2004 02:34:21 | More by sulldaddy
4.05/5 rDev +1.8%
12oz, obtained at bottleworks in seattle - brought back via northwest airlines
"04" written in marker on the cap
appearance: poured into my de koninck chalice, very murky mud-amber body, light beige lacing
smell: lots of sweet dark fruit, boozy, dwindling hops, sugary sweet...not a full on blast on the nose, but nice
taste: this one is still pretty hot even 5 years out...big sweet malty core - really really good. this one resembles a number of old ales...fairly strong bourbon/alcohol presence that warms the body. really smooth, spicy and tight
mouthfeel: smooth, sticky hop resin in the finish
drinkability: pretty good
05-08-2009 02:14:02 | More by dirtylou
4.05/5 rDev +1.8%
09/19/07- Purchased at Bottleworks in Seattle, WA.
Presentation- 12oz bottle with an '07 written in ink on the bottle cap. Poured into my Duvel tulip.
Appearance- Ruby-caramel in color. About a 3/4 inch head on the pour. A very light rim remains after it settles. Light traces of lace remain.
Smell- An equal caramel malt sweetness in the nose as well as a nice grapefruit pine aroma.
Taste- Good amount of caramel malt, but not quite the sweetness that was expected by the aroma. It doesn't quite round out the beer as good as it should because it has a very large, and fortunately smooth hop profile. Mostly some intense pine needle flavors.
Mouthfeel- Medium, maybe a touch higher carbonation. Tastes a tad thin because the malt sweetness isn't as large.
Drinkability- Still a pretty tasty barleywine on the lines of Bigfoot without the balance.
09-21-2007 19:46:38 | More by GClarkage
4.03/5 rDev +1.3%
Appearance: Pours a hazy, dark amber body with a full, fluffy, off-white head. Admirable amounts of lacing on the way down.
Smell: Rich scent that brings you aromas of candied fruits garnished with pine needles and/or caramel-covered bread crusts with each sniff.
Taste: Pale malts, oh-so toasty Munich malt, and a sugary caramel sweetness. Hint of sweetened almond paste. Touch of apricot and dried fig fruitiness. Minimal hints of booze. Tangerine and pine (maybe even spicy) hop character with a solid, medium-high bitterness. Bittersweet, warming finish.
Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium-high carbonation. Relatively smooth mouthfeel.
Drinkability: Reasonable drinkable for a punchy barleywine. While not the best barleywine, it still was a rather enjoyable one.
01-10-2009 02:21:09 | More by ChainGangGuy
4/5 rDev +0.5%
Thanks to 5000 for sending me this beer. Cracked open to celebrate my Rangers going to the World Series.
The beer pours a brownish-amber color with a small white head. The aroma is very heavy on the brown sugar with some caramel and alcohol notes also mixed in. I also get a little bit of orange from the hops.
The flavor is more of the same. I get some extremely juicy orange citrus notes as well as a lot of brown sugar, toffee and caramel malt. The alcohol is definitely noticeable but the beer is still easy to drink.
Medium to thick mouthfeel and low carbonation.
10-16-2011 03:50:53 | More by Mora2000
Cyclops Barleywine from Elysian Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 67 ratings.