Beer Line - Lakefront Brewery, Inc.

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Beer Line
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119 Ratings
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Ratings: 119
Reviews: 51
rAvg: 3.72
pDev: 11.02%
Wants: 7
Gots: 8 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Lakefront Brewery, Inc. visit their website
Wisconsin, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  12.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 03-18-2002

This was brought back in 2014.

Beer Line is an off-the-rail barley wine style ale: rich, malty, multi-layered, and copper-amber. The off-white head liberates aromas of strawberry, dried-fruit, grapefruit, and papaya. The smooth, malt-forward flavor is equally complex, with undertones of caramel and toffee. Not overly sweet by any means, organic Bravo hops balance the malt syrup sweetness, finishing slightly spicy with a pleasurable alcohol warmth.
We recommend serving Beer Line as an after-dinner digestif. It will pair well with the sharp flavors of an American-style Gorgonzola or a five year cheddar. Beer Line’s dried fruit flavors will rhyme with the nutty, fruity aroma of a rich Stilton.
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Ratings: 119 | Reviews: 51
Reviews by Graff:
More User Reviews:
Photo of orbitalr0x
3.43/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Beer Line comes enclosed in a little 6.3oz green bottle and produly declars it is certified organic ale. No freshness dating that I can see, but it does state it's best when aged a year. Pours into my snifter with a nice copper orange hue and only a small ring of white bubbles around the top. Some suspended particles are there when I hold it up to the light. Aromas of sweet malt accentuated by caramel, fruit, raisins, toffee and yeast. Not too much in the way of hops here...a bit bland overall.

First sip brings a big blast of sweet maltiness with plenty of caramel and sweet bread notes. Slighty fruity with some raisin and a small hop drizzle on the way down. Not a bad English style barleywine overall with just a hint of alcohol in the flavor.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and slick. A touch syrupy sweet as it rolls down across the tongue. Fairly easy to drink for a barleywine, but a bit too sweet. They should really bottle this is 12oz bottles and sell it in four packs, as I paid $2.49 for this single and I doubt I'd buy it again being that it's such a small bottle and somewhat of a tease. Barleywine or least give me 12oz! :-)

Photo of nj20de
3.2/5  rDev -14%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Tasty barley wine tasted fresh in Milwaukee. A sweet malt barley wine packs a alcohol punch but very little hop presence. Would love to drink a hopped up version considering that the hop presence will fade over time. Might as well over hop so that otherworldly can be reached after a year!

Photo of pat61
4.75/5  rDev +27.7%

Nose: alcohol, sweet, fruit, dark caramel malts, nuts.
Brilliant chestnut tinted amber with a thin head. Has some legs.
Palate: Initial sweet, dark dried fruit, plums with bitter alcohol back, a touch of caramel with a lightly spiced, dry aftertaste. A hint of anise and possibly coriander. A touch of malty grain adds character to the hops, alcohol and malt sweetness in the aftertaste.
Medium to medium full body, oily and warming. Very well balanced.

Photo of kingjames1
3.33/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I bought this bottle about 6 months ago, and only later noticed the disturbingly large chuncks of godknowswhat at the bottom of the six ounce bottle. I can find no bottled-on date on this one, though it tells me to wait a year. A year from when?

Pours a deep orange-amber with little or no head. I think I'll wait for the massive floaties to sink to the bottom. It does sickeningly remind me of battlekow's morbid description of decaying flesh (sorry). Am I crazy to try this? Apparently other brave BAs have gone before me and lived to tell the tale, so here goes...

Smells odd. Moldering fruits, dark and past their prime. Stale, mild cheddar cheese? Not too terribly pungent, but not terribly appealing either. Dare I continue? I'm wondering...

Here goes...the taste, mercifully, is a massive improvement on the smell. Rich, fruity (raisins and apricots), with a definite alcohol presence. Not a bad barleywine, tastewise. In fact, it really grows on you as you sip it. Fruity and sweet (honey?), yet ends with a satisfying, dry finish.

Mouthfeel is pleasant as well, with a perisistent lacing, there is a good amount of carbonation in this one, nicely complementing the fruit-syrup character of this barleywine.

Drinkability - well, barleywines are by no means session beers. For what it is, I find it a reasonably sippable beer.

Photo of OStrungT
4.07/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer was bottled in 1997. It says on the bottle to age at least a year. We will see how it holds up after 8 years. This beer pours a cloudy golden brown. The head is white, and very thin. What little head there is, fades slowly leaving a good lacing. There is a lot of yeast sediment on the bottom of the glass. It has a malty smell. I cant detect any hope. It smells of alcohol. It slightly reminds me of brandy. It smells very slightly fruity. It tastes strongly of alcohol. It warms my throat as it goes down. It also has a fruity taste, like apricots or raisins. I cant taste any hop bitterness. The bottle says 50 IBU's, but after 8 years, it is understandable that all hop presence is gone. This beer has a sweet taste also. This beer is very thick, almost syrup like. It leaves an alcoholic aftertaste. It goes down smooth. If you could find this beer anymore, it would make a good session beer. It is very good. The alcohol content is probably a little high, but it is worth it. I am slightly sad that the glass is almost gone. Thanks karst for once again hooking me up with a memorable beer.

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.07/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

(Served in a snifter)

A- This beer pours a hazy orange-caramel body with big gelatinous lumps falling into the glass throughout the pour. There is a slow carbonation of tiny bubbles that support a thin web of big white bubbles that is the head.

S- There is a nice aroma of sherry and sweet caramel malt with notes of wood, nuts and dry cardboard in the background. There is a nice soft alcohol note at the finish that reminds me of a nice malty port if there were such a thing.

T- There is a clean bourbon flavor with some raw grain notes and some soft sweet caramel malt flavors. The sweetness blends into a cherry note followed by a soft bitter wood note at the finish.

M- This beer has a medium-light mouthfeel with a slight slippery texture and a soft alcohol heat finish.

D- This beer has a nice aroma and the flavor starts good but as it warms it gets weaker or more watery. The last few sips were all gelatinous mass that was undrinkable, I tried, so that meant it was about a 5 oz beer. The size was a bit of a let down as I was starting to enjoy the beer when it was over.

Photo of LXIXME
3.42/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Small off white/tan to light brown head quickly faded to a skimpy lacing if that above a clear caramel orange colored beer.

Alcohol with some caramel malts coming through with maybe some citrus like hops lurking in there somewhere.

Alcohol leads the taste of this for me but once I get past that I can taste both the malts and hops with the malts being on the caramel side things. The aftertaste is similar in that you have this light grainy malt dryish taste left in your mouth, not a bad thing but I just did.

Photo of cokes
3.5/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Phallic, 6.3oz mini-magnum bottle. Year unknown, but likely 1997 due to the blurb on the label about Lakefront's 10th anniversary (1987-1997).
Leathery crimson appearance. Zero head. Strange, plastic looking flakes of sediment.
Nose full of dried berries, smoke, toffee, dust and alcohol.
Taste begins with a toasted buttertoffee aspect, which segues into dry fruit. Berries, primarily raspberry, are the key players. Carmelized peaches and mocha notes enter next with some smoky hues. Touches of cauliflower and strange vegetables...not necessarily off, just weird. Spiciness enters along with alcoholic waves. Medicinal at times. Hopping is noticed in just the faintest of tea leaf colorings.
This is one to decant, since the sediment is texturally observed in the mouth (and unpleasant, in a globular, slimy sort of way). Otherwise, sticky yet smooth.
Averages to decent. Some sips are likeable, others are not.

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.42/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Deep amber body. Ruby in the light, brown in the dark. Small off-white head. Thin collar.

Smell - It is boozy as all get-out. Lots of fruity aromas. Very nondescript, though. Malty sweet aroma.

Taste - Fruity up front again, but hops kick into gear quickly. Grapefruit. Deep brown sugar. Bitterness builds. The finish has a burnt toast flavor.

Mouthfeel - Big and boozy. Medium body. Medium low carbonation.

Overall - Well, it certainly tastes better than it smells. I'm rather enjoying it, though. We'll see how I feel about it after a few more sugary ounces, though...

Photo of bditty187
3.04/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours almost clear but there is a slight yeast haze that has been infiltrated by chucks of yeast, the liquid is coppery in color with tawny influences. The color is attractive. The head reached a very modest fourth of a finger in height; it quickly fizzed away to a bubbly residue. There was some subsequent lacing; it was spotty but not very widespread. It is a shame the bottle only held 6.3-ounces of beer because it just doesn’t look right in my glass. I guess the old question has been answered; I’m a glass half empty kind of guy. The nose smells like old, dusty wood. What? Is it supposed to smell like that? This aroma is very strong and I don’t care for it. Oxidation? Maybe, it doesn’t smelly papery it smells dusty? Same difference, maybe. Underneath is a whisper of fruit, some apricots, grapes, and a wine cooler-like berry blend. This aspect of the nose is nice but too soft. Malt sweetness tries to break the surface. Overall, I really don’t like nose. It is not inviting. It is almost offensive. I decide to take a sip, honestly I feared the worst but the palate is okay. The palate is sweet, malty and tasty. It really is. No flaws. Fruitiness is modestly loud with apricots, plums, grapes, oranges drizzled in honey are the most noticeable tastes. Alcohol is warming and very fitting for this beer. In this case, heat is good. Hops are soft and offer only minimal support; this beer is not balanced as it leans to the sweet side of life. Overall the palate is kind of simple but tasty. It could be improved but “as is” I like it. One thing than needs a fixing is hops; more please! Medium-full in body, very low carbonation, the mouthfeel is syrupy and sluggish. The aftertaste does get tacky and dare I say it becomes cloying. The only thing that stops this onslaught is alcohol heat. Interesting. Is this beer drinkable? I don’t know. I really don’t. It is not fun to drink a beer without smelling it as I take a sip. Then there is the mouthfeel; it is a little bulky. There isn’t much enjoyment when I drink it and I guess that is the bottom line. The flavor profile just isn’t right. This will be a one-time beer for me. I don’t know what year this beer was brewed, maybe 1997? It seems to have aged reasonably well, I don’t know if time has hurt the nose or not. I seen this beer crammed in the beer cooler at Discount Liquor in Milwaukee, WI for $2.49 so I thought I’d give it a shot. Once will be enough.

Photo of marcobrau
3.95/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

An amber color barleywine that pours with little head. Aroma of vanilla combined with more earthy smells, perhaps suede? Low carbonation, but that doesn't bother me in this style, because this stuff is almost as strong as wine -- hence the name. The vanilla in the aroma makes itself known on the tastebuds, too. There's a rich malt flavor with strong caramel flavors. A bit of alcoholic bite towards the finish which is long and full of caramel. This beer drinks like liquid creme brulee.

Photo of aschbren
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This beer was brewed to commemorate the tenth anniversary of Milwaukee's Lakefront Brewery. The name honors the Milwaukee street along which there used to be many breweries. It was last produced in 1997, but there are still plenty of bottles floating around out there. Since it's 2006, the brew was nicely aged prior to drinking -- and, indeed, the bottle recommends aging at least one year prior to consumption. The beer is also certified organic.

The aroma was malty with a wagonload of oranges and just a hint of clove. I appreciated the opaque amber color. It looks red when held up to the light. This beer has virtually no head and no carbonation. Being a novice at decanting beer, I accidentally poured the sediment into the glass.

Your first hint that this is a sipping beer is the fact that it comes in a cute 6.3 ounce bottle -- just enough to fill my wine glass nicely. The taste was pretty typical for an American barleywine. It came on strong with a nearly overpowering bite of American hops which made me shudder slightly with each sip. The hop attack wasn't as strong as other barley wines that I've tasted. The flavor then subsides into a more calm hop-orange flavor that extends for minutes. It plays only a few taste notes, but those flavors that it includes it plays well.

I would drink this beer with any number of strong cheeses that wouldn't be intimidated by the the hop blitzkrieg. A good aged cheddar or manchego come to mind, although the possibilities are likely endless.

Photo of blackie
3.97/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

appearance: My careful pour off of the huge sediment deposit creates zero head, absolutely none, dead still. The beer is a bright copper in color, with some floaters.

smell: Clearly malt oriented. Aromas of caramel, possible esters, fresh bread, various sweet fruits, and heavy sugars abound. Sharp alcohol presence. Light to moderate hop aroma, muted in character.

mouthfeel: The carbonation is around or just under medium, and the body a heavy medium.

taste: Again, malt balanced. Thick, sweet malty flavors of dark fruits and sugars on the tongue. Not too much alcohol burn, but it's there. Moderate hop flavor and light bitterness.

drinkability: Pretty easy drinking for the style, though the ABV is a little more present on the nose than desirable. It was hard to rate it under 4 in any category, but it does seem a little one dimensional at times.

Small 6.3 oz bottle smuggled back from Wisconsin.

Photo of Ri0
3.93/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

poured 12oz bottle into chalice.

A - Dark Mahogony with slight haze. The head is a light tan and very thin, but the lacing on the side of the glass is rather apparent.

S - Dark sugars, malts and dark fruits are present. Raisins, plums, brown sugar, toffee and caramel. Pleasant aroma that would really suite a crisp fall evening.

T - Notes of dark fruit, caramel, raisins, toffee, prunes. Sweet, dark sugars in the middle. Finish has a mild bitterness and even a hint of spice. There is also a nice alcohol warming on the finish, but it is still a bit harsh.

M - Medium body and medium level of carbonation, but not as smooth as I would like it to be. A very sticky mouthfeel on the tongue after a few sips.

O - Nice barelywine and I'm glad it is back as a seasonal. I think it was still a bit harsh and I'm excited to see how it smooths out over time.

After aging for a year the taste has really mellowed out it is even better.

Photo of jwc215
3.58/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Three Cellars, Franklin, WI and in bottle (bottled 16 Dec 2014):

Pours deep reddish amber with a thin lasting tan head. Trailing lace sticks.

The smell is of caramel/toffee with subtle fruit and peppery spicing.

The taste is of caramel and brown sugar - very sweet with a hint of floral/fruity balance. Hot peppery alcohol comes through.

While not as full as some other examples, it's full enough to work.

Not the heftiest or complex as some it's still an enjoyable sweet and boozy, warming sipper.

Photo of Hopheadjeffery
3.5/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tasted from draft at Firkin on April 24, 2015.

Photo of battlekow
3.39/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The decaying, eight-year-old corpse of Jimmy Wynn* sits malevolenty in my glass, glaring at me, triple-dog-daring me to drink. It's headless, turbid orange, and full of yeast clumps of such size that you could flee Cuba on them.

I take a tentative sniff, and get smacked in the face by a rotten caramel smell with an undercurrent of spicy alcohol.

Taste is caramel, raisins and alcohol, with a toasted finish. Alcohol is more pesent in the taste than in the smell. Actually tastes pretty damn good, but quite strong. While rather ridiculous-looking, the clown-sized six-ounce bottle size is perhaps the appropriate serving.

*A former baseball player known for both for his small stature and the great power it belied.

Photo of granger10
3.88/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I got this little guy at Discount Liquor in Milwaukee in the refrigerated section. Small 6.3 oz bottle with a torn up label and a ton of yeast on the bottom. I think this one is actually ten years old. Awesome.

Pours ever so gently into my snifter with a crystal clear copper honey color. Almost looks like a dark mead or a braggot. My pour produced a few bubbles but soon its dead still. I love the color and you really can't expect much from the carbonation standpoint.

Aroma is malt heavy for sure. Traces of caramel and toffee with a bit of nuttyness. Loads of alcohol esters with whiskey bourbon notes. A bit of some yeasty bready goodness finishes the smell.

Taste is also quite sweet. The main flavor I get is a honey taste which again reminds me of a mead. Some strong fruity esters sorround the syrup. Almost like a banana/plum mixture with a bready sweetness underneath. A bit of oak and wine notes follow. Finish is brandy with a pepper kick.

Mouthfeel honestly is cloying. This is really sweet but the alcohol/spice finish helps to cut the sweetness a bit. But I do like the thickness along with a malt flavor profile.

This bottle is quite small yet I am enjoying quite well sipping on this beer. Could I have another? Maybe but this small guy suits me just fine.

This really is a solid beer which has held up over time. I like the organic aspect but moreso this is a strong English Barleywine no matter what. A nice after dinner sipper.

Photo of TastyTaste
3.64/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Tiny 6.3 oz. Hobbit-size bottle, green glass. Thanks to LuckySevens82 for the sample.

Appearance: Barely fills the bottom part of my Schell tulip. A hazy tan color, with visible sediment, and not much head, even after an aggressive pour.

Smell: Smells nice, alcohol, raisins, dark fruit, hops, butterscotch. A lot of good "barelywine" aroma.

Taste: Sweet and strong, malt is somewhat grassy, but also with that slight butterscotch aspect. The sweetness gives way to a sharp alcohol bite, a fairly minimal hops finish.

Mouthfeel: Somewhat watery, but not too bad.

Drinkability: Pretty good barleywine, I have never had a BW with a "grass" flavor that this one had, interesting.

P.S. I just noticed that this is the 10th anniversary edition, 8 years old! That explains about the minimal hops, makes it an even more special sample.

Photo of Sanderson
2.7/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Overly sweet, simple, and very one dimensional.

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

From the cellar after 8 years! This held up pretty well. Pours almost clear copper with little carbonation (no head or lace) in to a etched crystal glass. A little unfiltered yeast and trub remains at the bottom of the 6.3 oz green bottle. The yellowing lable indicates 50 IBUs of "Organic Pride of Ringwood hops" now aged away by the years. Most of the other flavors of the malts remain. A nice medium-heavy mouthfeel (from organic oats?) A brandy like aroma that improves with warming indicates the barleywine ABV which is unlisted but obviously appropriate for the style. Although the CO2 is low, I noted a little "head" in the bottle before the pour and was able to roust up the beer with swirling and saw very fine beads of CO2 that immediately disapated at the surface. Flavors of malts, rasions and alcohol are blended into a single pleasant taste. Alcohol provides a dry finish.

Photo of martyl1000
3.97/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

By the way, 12.5% abv.

Sticky two finger creamy head and lacing. Rouge-brown amber fluid.

My least favorite beer aroma hits the nose first: leather. Milky rice pudding and wonder bread make up the malt bill. Brown sugar and vanilla, plus a mild booziness.

In the mouth the leather greets the palette, first, unfortunately. There's a waterlogged driftwood that seems wedded to a chocolate-toffee sweetness and a nice estery burn. Finishes with nice top-soil and hop bitterness.

Medium- to full-bodied. Creamy and slick, a sticky, bitter finish.

This afternoon, I was overly impulsive buying two 4-packs of this brew. Perhaps my judgement was clouded by the memories of two awesome Wisconsin barley wine discoveries: 1) just last month I cellared three four-packs of the enviable Stevens Point Whole Hog BW; and, 2) last month I was floored by Schell's Stag Series BW, on tap at Mason Lounge.

Still, this is a pretty delicious barleywine, more English-style than American, which is my preference. I'm gonna throw the remaining 7 bottles in the cellar, hoping a year or more might do good things.

Photo of HopHeadKen
4.3/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Karst for this trade; It was one of several very nice beers that he offered in a person to person trade at the Three Floyds Brewery.

This 6.3 ounce bottle is listed as a 10th Anniv. issue, and Karst indicates that it is about 8 years old. This Barleywine is Golden Yellow and clear; not at all what I am normally used to from a barley wine.

A nice 'Brandy-like' taste, fruity hints of apricot; malty, rich, crisp, dry and alcoholic. It is clear that the flavors have been working together for a while.

I do not think I have had a beer this clear and light in color that had a mouthfeel this thick. Very interesting. I would like to try a few more, maybe some newer bottles to see what the original flavor was.

Photo of beveragecaptain
2.81/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Tiny 6.3 ounce bottle. Pours out a hazy amber color with lots of incredibly large chunks of stuff that hold together better than any yeast should. The aroma is toffee, dark fruit, and a little smoke. The flavor is way too much alcohol with not enough malt. This is the only barleywine I've ever had that I'd describe as watery. A little raisin and smoke, but it just doesn't taste good without the maltiness. Weak flavor on top of the scary appearance makes this beer a dud. Not recommended.

Photo of kdog630
3.38/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured to a reddish gold color with a small head that quickly dissapated to a ring. Rich malty aroma with a whiff of alcohol. Many flavors present in the glass that multiplied as the beer warmed. Still tasted the alcohol content in the finish that took away from the overall experience. Rather flat in the mouth.

For the price, this was not as drinkable as other barleywines I've had. I'd recommend an Old Foghorn or a Hog Heaven.

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Beer Line from Lakefront Brewery, Inc.
84 out of 100 based on 119 ratings.