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Heavy Seas - Below Decks (Barley Wine Style Ale) - Heavy Seas Beer

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Heavy Seas - Below Decks (Barley Wine Style Ale)Heavy Seas - Below Decks (Barley Wine Style Ale)

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485 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 485
Reviews: 344
rAvg: 3.63
pDev: 14.33%
Wants: 27
Gots: 38 | FT: 4
Brewed by:
Heavy Seas Beer visit their website
Maryland, United States

Style | ABV
English Barleywine |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Higravity on 09-09-2005)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 485 | Reviews: 344 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of CWiggins

North Carolina

3/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I love barleywines! There's probably no other style I enjoy more for sipping. One bottle of barleywine will keep me entertained for more than an hour. Although I'm completely enamored by one in particular (a secret), I'll try any example.

Below Decks pours a dark amber with a scant off-white head that hangs around for a brief time, then scatters to the outmost regions of the glass. The smell is full and sweet: caramel, brown sugar, and dark ripe fruit all make an appearance. Alcohol is certainly noticeable in the nose as well. It's not as full-flavored as some barleywines I've had, and it's not as sweet. Toasted malts and nuts make up most of the flavor. Sweet fruits make up a fraction of the center, and hop bitterness consumes the finish. The aftertaste lingers to a nice point and is built upon a base of hops, dark malts, and sweet bread. Very nice.

It's not very heavy on the tongue; I'd certainly call it medium-bodied. The carbonation is about right for the style. This is one of the more approachable barleywines, although it can lull one into a false sense of security soon with that 10%ABV.

Serving type: bottle

06-24-2008 02:35:07 | More by CWiggins
Photo of clayrock81


3.9/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A mahogany colored brew with amber tints, good carbonation keeps the two-finger around for a minute and left some lacings down the mug. A slightly heavy alcohol smell with a good base of sweet malts - caramel, honey, syrup - also something woody in there as well. A good hop presence as well. A rather thick-bodied beer, it packs a malty punch on the first sip with the sweet malts kicking in gear but balanced with a dryness from some hops and oak or some wood. Not perfectly balanced, but a sweetness is there as well as the alcohol (hidden for the most part) and hops for a good beer. This is a good beer, I just couldn't session it if I wanted to.

Serving type: on-tap

06-23-2008 17:37:49 | More by clayrock81
Photo of alexgash


3.58/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle. Served at 50 degrees F.

Darkish russet to ruby body. Pinkie finger of gauzy, lacy, light khaki head. Malty nose of toffee, caramel, and rummy fruits. Faint herbal hops. Maybe a slight solvent aroma.

Toasted biscuit malts up front give way to sweet toffee and caramel. Some sugary fruits as well. Singed, almost roasted quality turns into herbal hop bitterness. Gets a little boozy and rummy in the finish. A little bit hot. Full-bodied with a smooth, creamy feel. Not too bad. A little rough around the edges.

Serving type: bottle

06-22-2008 00:08:51 | More by alexgash
Photo of GratefulBeerGuy

New Hampshire

4.22/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle 2007 vintage > snifter

I've come to really love the beautiful, vibrant amber color of English/American Barleywine's, this one is no exception...it's a lovely, shimmering ruby-tinted amber color with lot's of tiny, fast moving bubbles and a good level of carboantion. The crown rises only about 1" high, but it's a nice creamy, tan color that falls slowly to about 1/4" high but remains for the duration. This is a real 'looker!

You don't have to get your nose down to the glass very far to enjoy it's pungent and attractive aroma. The aromatic, sweet malt is amazing, with maple syrup and molasses, french bread, smoked meats, cedar wood smoke, glazed nuts and a bit of brown sugar! There is a spicey, herbal hop effect way down deep. The aroma is intesnse.

The first sip reveals a malt flavor that is soo complex many other little sips are needed just to neail down all of the other flavor's. It's a bevy of sweet and tangy flavor's like, a thick, hefty suagr maple candy malt sweetness but thick like molasses and caramel. The malt is also smokey, with a wood fire effect...almost oak-barrel aged. There is semi-sweet chocolate and the balance of semi-bitter, very dry-earthy flavor's from the hops and an up-front and complexity adding heat, it's 10% and it feels like it! It's a full feel, thick and heavy but also lively bubbles keep it from flatness. For this too be a true English Barleywine I would tone down the bitter, american west-coast style hop profile, but it works and the balance seems right for this brew.

A wonderful sipper.

Serving type: bottle

06-20-2008 19:37:08 | More by GratefulBeerGuy
Photo of toutaboutstout


3.5/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

--2007 vintage--

Appearance: reminds me of apple cider, but more translucent. the head was minimal and disapated quickly into a small film. this suprisingly left an exceptional lacing.

Smell: if the head and the nose are any indication, this is going to get malty.

Taste: malt...earth...fruit. what a complex brew. finishes with a few hops just tempting you to take in some more of that sweet malty goodness.

Drinkablity: given the abv(10%), this isn't that bad. went through one pretty easy, and I wish I had another to keep the 1st one company.

Serving type: bottle

06-13-2008 01:20:26 | More by toutaboutstout
Photo of Gtreid


3.75/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Deep copper color, with a reddish tint. Bone color head leaves some spotty lacing.

A: Sweet malts, candy, toffee, molasses, and vanilla. Hops are present but subtle.

T: Different than an American BW, the hops are a little more subdued, and the sweetness is a little greater. But this one finishes with a nice alcohol sensation.

M: Oily and caramely, medium to heavy body. No carbonation.

D: If you haven't tried Clipper city brews you need to. The Heavy Seas line is outstanding, and this one is no different. 10% packs a punch so don't have too many. But an excellent English barleywine.

Serving type: bottle

05-25-2008 01:05:51 | More by Gtreid
Photo of Durge


4.28/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This barleywine is a pretty clear copper color with a medium light tan head and blanketing lace. It has a beautiful aroma of nutty malt and mild fruit nougat hops. The taste is malty and creamy with a grassy back. I pick up horshound/root beer hints, sweet with good alcohol but not too heavy. Even carbonation and reasonably drinkable for a barley wine. Very nice.

Serving type: bottle

05-23-2008 22:42:51 | More by Durge
Photo of tiger88


3.35/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2007 Vintage
Pours a deep chestnut brown and isjust a little lighter around the edges. The tan white head dissipates quickly leaving a thin white filmy ring that clings to the glass pretty well. Smells of a dull wine with a sweet tinge to it. Tastes pretty much like I would expect a decent barleywine to taste. A little sweet with an earthy malt and sweet bread finish. Mouthfeel is a little thinck as the alcohol hits first and really doesn't let go too easily. It's somewhat drinkable for a barleywine. I really don't think one should make a night out of drinking barleywine unless you want a seriously bad morning.

Serving type: bottle

05-20-2008 01:42:51 | More by tiger88
Photo of mhewes


4.2/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A : Poured a nice cloudy brown with a tan head

S: Raisens, licorice, and alcohol

T : A sweet malt with raisens, coffee, and caramel flavors. Finishes with an alcohol bitterness

M : Syrupy, chewy with a little carbonation

D : It's a good barleywine that definitely is worth having more than one

Serving type: bottle

05-17-2008 01:36:22 | More by mhewes
Photo of Redwood21


3.93/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

3.52? really? great beer imho

A: gorgeous, really, it has an almost nitroesque head on it but without that trick. the brown color is great. i love it

S: sorta the weak point, not much aroma and for a barely wine you would expect more there is a slight dark fruit smell

T: sweet but in a worn out dried fruit sort of way. this may sound bad but it is good it is sweet but not too sweet. it seems to have a taste i can not pick out but it is good.

this is a good beer, at 10% its easy drinking. its a more mellow barley wine. but very good just the same.

Serving type: bottle

05-13-2008 07:13:11 | More by Redwood21
Photo of sstackho

Ontario (Canada)

3.38/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle purchased from Bauer Wines in Boston. Pours a clear dark ruby. The aroma is sweet. Too sweet. I'm scared before the first sip. First taste is not AS sweet as I was worried about (phew) though it still has a good wallop of sweetness, which isn't really my thing. I think it is "sherry" flavours that this beer has, but I'm not sure because I never drink sherry. But it's one of those flavours that used to make me think I didn't like barley wines.

Serving type: bottle

05-03-2008 02:48:18 | More by sstackho
Photo of Twerknasty


3.65/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark copper hue, with little to mention about the head. Smells of Apples, prunes, raisins, and yet nothing to powerful. The palate actually is quite light, really the nose completely dominates everything leaving the palate feel left out. The alcohol shows at the finish in a way thats very clean and not offensive. A very drinkable barley wine, although very simplistic.

Serving type: bottle

05-01-2008 05:19:18 | More by Twerknasty
Photo of quad07


4.13/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

$9.99 a 4 pack of 12oz long neck bottles with pry off caps from Friar Tuck's. I searched through my notes and did not note any freshness date and I'm not digging through my bags of bottles. Sorry about that! This is a winter release but I did in fact purchased this item about four weeks ago. So I just got to trying it last earning.
It poured into my large 23oz beer glass a dark brown color with some burned red high lights. Had a small off white creamy head with a lot of noticeable carbonation. Had some scattered lacing to the bottom as I sipped on it.
I could smell a hint of molasses, dates, anise and notes of ripe plumb. It in my opinion had a low or little hop smell
It tastes a lot like it smells. I did notice a little earthy taste like that taste you get when you're tilling the garden. A hint of wood too with quite an alcohol bite that separates it's self from all the other flavors. It almost seems it was added after the fact.
The Mouthfeel was not bad. Kind of fizzy with noticeable carbonation and a sharp ABV bite. It had a nice warming affect as the fruit and earthy after taste enveloped my palate.
I think the four was a plenty in one sitting...I could have got by with just two bottles.

Serving type: bottle

04-21-2008 22:28:38 | More by quad07
Photo of beerthulhu

New Jersey

3.93/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured a dark, ruby red with a thin, bubbly light tan head that quickly recessed. There were small visible floaties present as well.

S: sweet dried fruit (raisins), some figs, black licorice along with a lingering alcohol presence.

T: dark, sweet malt with dried fruit (raisins, cherries), burnt caramel, and coffee followed by a spicy alcohol presence from the 11.0%abv. There was a light dark candi-sugar sweetness detected. The malting was sweet, syrupy and robust with burnt caramel and finished with a dry roasted hop bitterness. The alcohol well hidden for 11%abv but is noticeably when it warms.

M: The mouthful was lively from the carbonation with a light viscosity and some chewiness.

D: The beer gets bigger as it gets warmer with some boozy alcohol coming through making this a big, warming barleywine style with moderate good drinkability.

Serving type: bottle

04-16-2008 22:16:49 | More by beerthulhu
Photo of indiapaleale


3.6/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark. Very dark. Dark, dark, dark amber, almost brown. The head is thin but very well formed and as it dissipates it forms a perfect, long lasting, halo around the top of the glass. Its quite a sight actually.

Smells sweet, juicy, malty with hints of raisin bread? Sure, why not. Its my glass of beer and I can say it smells like that. Its a rich smell that is complex with lots of things coming to mind. It leads me to believe that this is a beer that will have a lot of taste...

...and it does not disappoint. First taste is very strong malt sweetness followed by alcohol bitterness. Dark, dried fruit and candied oranges come to mind. The high alcohol content consistently comes into play. Its almost brandy-like in some ways. Overall, its a very, very flavorful, full-bodied and voluptuous beer.

Serving type: bottle

04-15-2008 02:16:41 | More by indiapaleale
Photo of brentk56

North Carolina

4.33/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2006 Version

Appearance: Pours a dark amber color with a modest head that quickly fades to a lunar landcape but leaves quite a few craters of lace on the sides of the chalice

Smell: Raisin bread, caramel and a faint hint of citrus

Taste: Opens with a sweet raisin bread flavor, with some herbal bitterness and alcohol kicking in by mid-palate; after the swallow, there is an earthy character that dries out the sweetness and opens the way for other fruit flavors such as figs and plums to shine through

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, almost syrupy with gentle carbonation

Drinkability: Time has treated this well; an easy drinker in the English style

Thanks, vwcraig, for the chance to try the 2008 version, which tastes pretty similar although the hops are more prominent as it has not aged as long as my previous tasting

Serving type: bottle

04-12-2008 18:27:55 | More by brentk56
Photo of neenerzig


4.33/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A 12 oz bottle of the 2007 poured into my oversized wine glass. This beer is a clear dark red/copper color. The head is about 1/2 inch thick when poured. Lots of little bubbles rising to the top of the glass. Eventually settles to a nice thick ring lining the inside of my glass. Nice lacing here too. Sweet, malty aromas of toffee, a hint of roasted maple or brown sugar, and a bit of floral hops. The taste is pretty much the same, Sweet and malty upfront with hints of toasted maple/brown sugar and toffee or butterscotch followed by somewhat mild floral hops. Has a crisp, but very nice and smooth and creamy mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. Drinkability is very good, the 10% ABV is well hidden. I liked this a lot, it is much less harsh than a lot of other non aged barely wines I have had in the past. It seems like it is already mellowed out.


Serving type: bottle

04-09-2008 22:03:49 | More by neenerzig
Photo of Lothar666

Rhode Island

3.9/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Dark red, coppery body with a thick creamy tannish off white head. Lacing was thick and heavy but not overly sticky. Sediment was barely present.

S- Smell is very faint for a barleywine. Mild spices, candy with tiny traces of fruit.

T- Spices, dark fruits, sweet candy and a flavor of English toffee and strong alcohol. Not overly hoppy, but very tasty.

M- Thick, full bodied and very creamy and incredibly smooth. Mouth tingle is almost non-existant- there is no burn from the alcohol to speak of.

D- Goes down extremely smooth and easy- almost too smooth to be called a barleywine. This sweet tasty offering disguises its alcohol content better than most.

Serving type: bottle

04-06-2008 22:39:49 | More by Lothar666
Photo of Pencible


4.22/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This poured a dark clear copper with off-white head. It smelled like honey wheat with a bit of sourness. It tasted like hops and wheat mixed with some honey but not too sweet. It was moderately thick with a little carbonation and a bitter aftertaste. Overall this wasn't easy to drink, but not overly powerful either. One of the more enjoyable barleywines I've had, since it kept its flavor in moderation.

Serving type: bottle

03-27-2008 22:34:11 | More by Pencible
Photo of Ehouse


2.73/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

An exceptionally bland and tasteless barleywine. Surprisingly the 10% alcohol is hardly noticeable. That being said, this beer is good for one thing and one thing only... Getting DRUNK. Forget the 30 of Natty, funnel 6 of these puppies and you'll be felching fatties in no time.

Serving type: bottle

03-24-2008 00:06:25 | More by Ehouse
Photo of Gehrig


3.9/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Copper-orange body is topped by a thick finger of slightly tan froth, with moderate head duration. Citrusy hops greet the nose, but the smell is a bit faint. The taste is bolder, with orange and pineapple washing the taste buds and combining with a pleasant, caramel stickiness. The hop texture is fairly good as well, but with the beer as a whole, I'm left wanting more aroma, fuller taste and more texture.

This is a good but fairly straightforward barleywine. There are certainly better ones around. Yet this is worth having, and definitely enjoyable. Recommended.

Serving type: bottle

03-23-2008 03:09:18 | More by Gehrig
Photo of jbphoto88


3.73/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle from the 2007 batch. No best by date found on the bottle or label.

Look is a dark amber color that is not opaque but also not cloudy. It has a fast forming tan head that only rises a 1/4 inch and settles quickly.

Smell is slightly floral with a citrusy carmel hint.

Taste is initially rough from the higher ABV but transitions nicely into a sweet malty flavor. There is a floral bitterness that yields a slight astringency but doesn't own the beer. A rich warmth fills your pallet and enhances the complexity of the beer.

A representative example of the English style Barleywine. There is no super hoppiness like in American styles and a lighter bitterness, but still a nice sipping beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2008 01:03:38 | More by jbphoto88
Photo of Traquairlover


3.48/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12-oz bottle poured into a chalice.

A = Deep amber, small off white head that quickly dissipates leaving lacing on surface.

S = Very complex but funky, cocoa, earthy farmyard smells, burnt bread, ripe fruits.

T = Smooth smokey malt flavors, more pleasant than I had worried about from the smell, some bitterness from hops but not enough to overpower the butterscotch of the malts.

M = Heavy bodied, good carbonation level, good mouthcoating.

D = This is a pleasant beer, but there are so many other English barleywines I like better, I do not know how often I will have it.

Serving type: bottle

03-11-2008 01:15:45 | More by Traquairlover
Photo of dsa7783

New Jersey

3.55/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Single, 12 oz bottle copped from Total Wine and More in Union for $1.99...
"2006 edition on the bottleneck"
A hefty, aggressive, fast pour resulted in a full, five-fingered foamy and frothy head that almost spilled over the glass before slowly receding and leaving a fair amount of lacing around the glass...
Nice aroma filled with candy, rich malts, sugars, and caramel...
Taste strongly complmented the nose, with an aggressive malt profile nicely balanced by a touch of slender hops, rich caramel, candied sugars, whiskey, rye, and vanilla...
Decent mouthfeel with some alcohol noticeable...
The 10% ABV certainly makes itself known on this one, slowly creeping up on you and evident in the nose and mouth...
Despite that, this wasn't that bad at all, and certainly worth the price..
Definitely not the best barleywine I've tried, but this one was still a solid and enjoyable sample that is certainly worth a try...

Serving type: bottle

03-08-2008 00:43:30 | More by dsa7783
Photo of Metalmonk

North Carolina

3.7/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Looks like a barleywine should, with a thin off-white head and an appealing ruby/burgundy color.

Aroma is almost all fruits, with only a hint of the 10% alcohol showing. Hops are unusually mild for the style (even the English style, if that's what they were indeed going for). Surprisingly underwhelming.

The hops assert themselves stronger in the sipping. It's not a flavor that blows away the world's best BWs, but there's something to it, and it's got good balance. No surprise that it's on the sweeter, fruitier side, aided by politely spikey hops. There's a gooey chocolate-covered raisin thing happening in the background, also bringing in caramel and toffee. Alcohol is felt, but only as part of the entire profile, not at the expense of the other flavors (a common peril in some BWs).

Mouthfeel's on the resiny side, held up by ample carbonation. Rounded and chewy, with a grassy bitterness showing up in the finish.

I wasn't really into this on the first couple tries, but it's winning me over slowly. Maybe my preferences for the aggressive U.S. versions kept me from appreciating its more subtle take on the style. Because of its thickness and higher ABV, and also because if I'm going to choose a barleywine I'd choose many others over this, drinkability is merely okay. All in all, absolutely worth a try. Give it a few chances, it's kind of a grower.

Serving type: bottle

03-05-2008 22:57:39 | More by Metalmonk
Heavy Seas - Below Decks (Barley Wine Style Ale) from Heavy Seas Beer
82 out of 100 based on 485 ratings.