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Nils Oscar Barley Wine - the Nils Oscar Company

Not Rated.
Nils Oscar Barley WineNils Oscar Barley Wine

Educational use only; do not reuse.

66 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 66
Hads: 108
Avg: 3.66
pDev: 16.39%
Wants: 4
Gots: 3 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
the Nils Oscar Company visit their website

Style | ABV
English Barleywine |  10.40% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: brewdlyhooked13 on 10-22-2002

20.3° Plato.

Also sold as "Swedish Barley Wine-Style Ale"
View: Beers (34) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 66 | Hads: 108
Photo of JDV
1.74/5  rDev -52.5%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Bought at Greens in Atlanta. Bottle pours a nice amber color with basically no lasting head. Smel is sweet strange malt. with a mustiness about it. Taste is sweet and tart in a sweaty, body odor like way. Bland overall, but what is there isn't particularly pleasant. Dirty malt flavor with very light bitterness and not very good at all.

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Photo of Rocko
2.7/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a dark copper color with a tiny head that fades after a few seconds. Very sweet smell of cherry and other fruits. The taste is the same, TOO sweet imho, there is also quite some taste of alcohol. I didn't like this at all. :( The suruppy taste already described in earlier reviews is too much for me, yuk.

I'm very disappointed, for some reason my expectations where quite high..and it didn't fulfil them at all. In the end I think Barley Wine aint my thing at all, so if you like this style give it a go...if you can find it.

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Photo of charlesw
2.82/5  rDev -23%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This is a barleywine? Since when? Yeah, unfortunately, it says it's one right on the bottle... Really too bad. It might be OK as a 'light' I2PA but barleywine? Never. No color, no head. Weird caramel and straw smell (not like I'd expect - still, I give this an average grade). Taste? What taste? That went with the color... Flavor 'light' - light sweetness, light bitterness, light malt. Bah. I feel cheated!

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Photo of ForWhatAlesYou
2.83/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

11.2 oz bottle into a snifter

A: Doesn't pour much of a head, just a bunch of loose bubbles. Cloudy amber with red tones and sediment evident.

S: Aromas of cooked vegetation, alcohol, sweet malt, and caramel.

T: A little rough around the edges. Deeply roasted grains and burnt vegetables. Alcohol is dominant. Any sweetness is immediately countered by huge amount of umami.

M: Chewy, syrupy. Carbonation is nice vehicle. Dry on the finish.

D: I really like barley wines but this one is not the best. For the $6.99 I paid for this one bottle, I could've found a few much better beers to try.

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Photo of taez555
2.88/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer pours an extremely clear orange body with a small white head.

Nose is almost non existent. At first I thought this was BMC. You really have to inhale deeply to get any malt. Very disappointing.

Taste is medium to full bodied, with an immediate strange pepper/spice flavor. It has a very tea like quality to the taste. It's as if instead of malted barely, they used Hibiscus or something. It's familiar, yet uniquely different. It leans more towards an English BW, but with touches of heather ale or something. Ends with a unique earthy lingering bitterness.

As a swede I'm curious to see how my ancestors do the barleywine. Gotta say, I'm glad I've got some English in me as well. It's very unique, not bad at all, just not great.

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Photo of ksmi116
2.93/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A - Poured into a goblet, it is a hazy orange with little to no head from a typical pour.

S- Almost sickeningly sweet. Dark fruits, heavy malt, and a bit of sweet orange.

T - Sooo malty initially. Crazy. Very sweet, and eventually you can taste the darker fruits. As it warmer the sweetness mellowed out a bit

M - Syrupy and you can feel the carbonation, despite not being able to see it.

O - Not a fan, but I feel that some of that is the style.

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Photo of rastaman
2.94/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Well, probably not my style, quite a thick, sweet, malty palate, quite suruppy, doughy and sticky, bordering on cloying, but not quite, had it on a warmish day here in sydney, so maybe that affected my rating, slightly enjoyable, but not my style.

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Photo of Odysseyalien
3.01/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottle. Age unknown but it looks like the one in the picture at this site. No head when poured. Thin lacing...almost cirrus cloud-like formations as it’s sipped away. Golden in color in my snifter...a few bits of light sediment accumulating at the bottom of the glass. The taste comes on in fine British barley wine style -- malts up front...raisins...pepper...light hops...yum. Unfortunately, it’s a bit too thin on the palate for my taste. Almost like sipping water on the backend. Too bad cause this might otherwise have been one of the best British barley wines out there for the price. The "thiness" of the backend killed it for me. Not sure if I’ll buy this one again.

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Photo of stcules
3.15/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Light cherrywood color. Slightly hazy, an half inch of head.
At the smell there is a sharp malty and fruity note: dry fruit, raisins, some woody-tannic, and some alcohol. Cheery, and some sweetness.
Better taste: dry fruit, vanilla, raisins, woody, and some light alcohol hint. But it slips away, very fast, although it is quite warming, leaving a feeling of warmness in the mouth.
Notes fruity of tangerine, and bitter orange, something like a punch.
The body is average, and so it is scarce for the style.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.16/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

"The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected."

--Swedish proverb

Polished persimmon with honey colored highlights along the edges of the glass. The upper third of the snifter is filled with a creamy chunk of pale lemon colored foam that is doing a fine job in the lace department. Does it look like a Swedish barleywine? Sure, why not?

The nose isn't very distinctive, which is frequently the case when it comes to primarily pale malted beer of this style. Each sniff delivers whiffs of apricot fruitiness and Absolut. Too bad there's almost nothing to go on.

This Nils Oscar brew is too simple and is way too tame. It tastes like both malt and hops are in short supply. Water and ale yeast never do add much, so we're left with... an extremely lackluster barleywine that is in dire need of a flavor hook. On a good note, it isn't the least bit boozy.

Describing the flavor profile will be a challenge, albeit a short one. Specifics include rock candy, a teensy bit of apricot and orange, and a small shot of vodka. Sweetness and bitterness are moderate in amount and are balanced throughout. Talk about a lack of excitement.

The body/mouthfeel started out impressively thin and is now beginning to fill out and smooth out just enough with warming to eke out an average score. Soft and gentle carbonation helps.

Nils Oscar Swedish Barley Wine-Style Ale is too easy-going for its own good. Maybe the Swedes like it, but I find it hard to believe that it sells very well in the American and U.K. markets, considering what else is available.

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Photo of SShelly
3.21/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle.

Pours a medium golden with small white head with zero retention, shows lots of legs when given a swirl.

Medium malt aroma with little complexity and basically zero hop aroma.

Decent malt flavor upfront with some balancing bitterness, and a slight lingering aftertaste. Not as complex as I would want out of a barleywine. Some dark fruit as it warms, quite a bit of alcohol and warming in this beer, not really unpleasant.

overall for the price this doesnt hold up to other barleywines on the market, uk or american, kinda a boring Bwine.

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Photo of rarbring
3.31/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A clear orange copper toned beer, a small off-white head with good curtains.

The smell is quite boozy, glue/solutions with orange marmalade.

The taste is sherry, orange, alcohol, and a bitter rye feeling.

Little carbonation, soft texture, a medium body, a slightly coarse dryness.

A bit thin, the alcohol presence implies that some storing is needed. This was the early 2011 batch.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.32/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A reasonably vigorous pour produces a scant, half-finger thick, pale, off-white colored head. The beer is a brilliantly clear, amber color that shows bright, copper highlights when held up to the light. The aroma is quite malt focused and is somewhat sweet and chewy seeming. Aromas of caramelized apples, light toffee and caramelized bread crust character make up the most dominant malt notes. There are some light herbal hop notes here as well as a touch of warm alcohol aromatics, somehow though the aroma seems quite a bit more restrained than one would expect from a beer of this strength. As my nose gets used to it this becomes more and more vegetal in character and also has a green apple note to it, while never overwhelming it is a bit disappointing.

Not overly sweet, but what malt sweetness is here is fairly rich and complex, though not overly flavorful. Again, the flavor seems light for a beer of this strength; somehow a malt richness that I would expect seems to be lacking here. There is some hop character here, though it is light, but it seems to add a bit of astringency and play up some light phenolic notes. Fruity notes of green apples, and regular apple notes, some green-grape notes. A touch of toffee up front, yields to some soft toasty, bread-like, and cracker leaning malt character towards the finish. Somewhat light for a beer of this strength, though it of course has a heft to it. The flavor is more fruity than anything, though there is some astringent hop character here.

A very interesting beer, not at all what I was expecting, and really it doesn't seem to really work for me.

Purchased: Plaza Liquors, Tucson AZ

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Photo of csmiley
3.32/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Color is somewhere between gold and orange. A vigorous pour gave up little to no head. This one is just not quite cutting it in the appearance category.

S - Mainly sweet on the nose. Some caramel and butterscotch aromas start things out with some bread coming in quickly after. A hint of the abv finishes off the smell. Overall it is mild.

T - Good solid malt backbone in the flavor. Caramel, honey, and pale malt all show up first on the palate. Lighter bread flavors are in the background. A nice combonation of alcohol and fruity hop bitterness finish things out.

M - Medium bodied with average carbonation. Finish is just a little dry with some bitterness that hangs out for a short amount of time.

D - Drinkability is average. Nothing really stands out about this barleywine. Overall balance is decent but the beer remains just a hint above bland in most categories.

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Photo of kirok1999
3.33/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours pretty light for an English BW, very slight head that fades quickly. Smell is pretty mild with just a little sweetness and some fruity malt notes. There's some mild citrus hop notes too.
Taste is a mostly sweet, mild dark malts, it tastes a little like malt extract. There's a little oxidized taste too, just a hint of paper that is a little unusual in the middle of the taste. Aloohol is slightly noticable. Sweet and smooth with almost no carbonation.
This isn't worth the $5.95 I paid for it. There are many better English BW's out there.

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Photo of erz316
3.37/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

11.2 floz bottle into maudite snifter

A - not a lot of foam on this brew, I dont remember whether BWs are supposed to have head or not, I think not though. the body is a dark amber orange colour with a bit of brown, the head is a light off white with some hints of orange. what does form of the head soon dissipates and leaves a whispy but solid layer on the top. the BWs ive had have all been a muddy turbid brown, this one is diaphanous and orangey.

S - a slight but overall fruity nose. the fruits are apricot and somethign much sweeter like a fig note, but not the actual fig-ness of a fig, just the sweetness. the only other note is a slight herbal hoppiness.

T - it kind of tastes like a barley wine, it has that strong punch but the lack of any body really de-concentrates the intensity. the initial taste is not really like a barleywine, but it kind of it: it is quite malty sweet, with a pinch of herbal hops. there is a fruitiness that is a bit astringent at times, like granny smith or unripe green grapes. the sweetness is not too much, but it is at a good noticeable level. the finish is astringent and a bit sour, with a strong underlying sweetness. the aftertaste is just a light malty sweetness.

MF&D - the body is too thin, while the carbonation level would have made for an interesting feel for a thicker bodied brew. the drinkability is low because if i wanted an barleywine I would go for something else.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.38/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Walter Payton shaker pint glass.

Gotta love the classiness on display with these labels, man. Within, the beer pours a clear copper-bronze topped by a finger of off-white foam. The nose comprises biscuit, mild booze, light walnut, and a twinge of cardboard. I'd check the freshness of this thing, but, alas, not a hint of an intimation of information to be found. Well, onwards, as many such beers are purposefully oxidized, sherry-style, so who knows? The taste actually brings forth some sherry-like notes, all backed by some biscuit, toffee, and toasted wheat. It's an odd combination when scrutinized (and whilst looking at the bottle of Lustau sherry sitting on the shelf across the room), but it kinda works. Go figure. I have no idea if it was meant to taste like this, but I'm not gonna overthink this any further. The body is a limber medium, with a very light moderate carbonation and a slightly slick feel. Overall, something tells me this is a bit long in the tooth, but it still works (just likely in a different direction than intended).

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Photo of dgallina
3.45/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

11.2 ounce slim brown bottle. No obvious dating.

Pours clear gold with faint carbonation, no head or lace. Smells like caramel and honey with woody alcohol overtones. Simple, but clean and fresh. Very sweet flavor. Honey and toasted malts come to the front, with some dry woodiness in the finish. Alcohol is restrained for the style and only appears significantly in the lightly warming aftertaste. Body is on the light side; smooth and unobtrusive.

A pleasant drink that doesn't especially distinguish itself.

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Photo of SkeeterHawk
3.45/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I picked this beer up at Knightly spirits in Orlando and it rode back with me on my motorcycle back to Texas. I thought that it was interesting that they do all of the ingredients on site. Lets give this one a try:

Appearance: Pours a really clear light orangish golden color with no head even after an aggressive pour. There was some sediment on the bottom that I managed to keep out of the glass. When swirling, the beer looks thick.

Aroma: The beer is really cold right now, but I am getting a REALLY reserved aroma for the style. I am getting a little bit of caramel malts and some alcoholic spice, but that about defines it when the beer is cold.

Taste: The beer is dominated by the sweetness with some toasty notes and a little bit of caramel to define that sweetness. There is some hops in here, but they are providing more balance than anything they are adding to the flavor. The beer is medium bodied with very low carbonation even for this style. There is alcohol present in the flavor and the finish, and it is rather noticeable in such a light colored/flavored barley wine. The finish is ever so slightly balanced toward the bittering, but it is very mild. The sweet malt is a big player in the finish up until the end when there is a subtle dryness from the hops that comes and and settles down for the long haul.

Opinion: Well, I am not quite sure what to say about this one. It is a pretty good beer overall. There are no fermentation or process flaws. The overall presentation is rather light for this style, but I am sure that it fits in somehow. It is just that it is so reserved it comes across like a "session barley wine", if there was such a thing. I am not one for the huge, and over-the-top Barley wines that screw up your palate for two days...but I like one to be more assertive than this one was in my glass. It is nice to try considering that they do everything at the brewery, but I'd try it more for novelty than for flavor.

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Photo of illidurit
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Orange amber color with a pretty small ecru head. Aroma is caramel and citric hops that slightly mask some alcohol notes. Flavor is a little light in every category except for booze. A little dried stone fruit, a little caramel maltiness, a bit of spice and bitterness, and a substantial hotness. Body is medium-full with good carbonation.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Wow, this was one of the more glowing barleywines I've seen, usually they take on a brown appearance, this was more yellow and orange. Aroma was minimal, but sweet and non offensive.

Taste, sweet again, but not overpowering. A lot of different fruit, maybe licorice and vanilla to it as well. Unnecessarily complex, but appreciated and not completely out there. I don't know what to call this, isn't like any BW I've had before. Tastes like some middle ground between hard alcohol and beer. Its like a mixed drink. Someone made barleywine & gin, together at last!

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Photo of rsdaugherty
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle into pint glass
A – Half a finger light tan head to a crown on a hazy/sediment brown amber with maroon tones and golden edges. I really like the color 4
S – Caramel malts, dark fruit, cherries or currants, slight spice, oak 3.5
T – Unique. Earthy and peppery with nuts, slight fruits, subtle overall almost too much so for such a high ABV barleywine. Slight alcohol on the finish. 3.5
M – Medium body is smooth and a bit boozy, small bubble carbonation, not as big as most barleywines I’ve had 3.5
O – Was hoping my Swedish ancestors would teach me something about Barleywine, oh well… decent but not exciting. Would not advise a fellow BA to seek this out. 3.5

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Photo of Rastacouere
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Orange coloured, no head basically. Fruity aroma (oranges, apricot), mostly on the malty side of things, made me think of an old foghorn considering those understated mellow hops. Big toasted bread maltiness dominates the palate at first, but the hops come in with surprising energy, vigorously green and vegetal. Heavy bitterness. Medium oily body, low carbonation. Pretty good. Thanks again Per!

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Photo of Mora2000
3.58/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours an orange-amber color with a white head. The aroma has a ton of sugar and bready malt in it. The flavor is also very sweet. I get a lot of brown sugar and molasses, as well as some pine and grass from the hops. There is also a lot of caramel and biscuit malt in the flavor. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

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Photo of akorsak
3.58/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A 330 mL bottle purchased at Stateline Liquors.

A: The ale is a brilliant golden orange color, bright with no turbidity. A finger or so of white bubbles emerged on pour and quickly whittled away.

S: The barleywine has a thick congealed aroma, full of intensely concentrated barley and cereal notes. Not much hop-wise appears but there is a faint bitterness overtop of the malts.

T: Interesting first sip. Based on the nose, I was expecting lots of grains, a cornucopia of bready thickness. Surprisingly, the body is mild. Sure there are big malt flavors, lots of grain and cereal, but they aren't completely in your face. In fact, a touch of smokiness runs throughout a sip, adding a nice flourish of flavor. The effect is a smoked ham sandwich with the cured meat and bready grains. The hops don't add much to the body.

M: The mouthfeel is full of grains and the result is a sweet, biting flavor that isn't half bad.

D: The booze is well hidden for a 9.5% offering. That being said, one glass is enough because the strength can catch you off guard.

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Nils Oscar Barley Wine from the Nils Oscar Company
83 out of 100 based on 66 ratings.