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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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497 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 497
Reviews: 345
rAvg: 3.64
pDev: 14.01%
Wants: 28
Gots: 41 | FT: 3
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: 497 | Reviews: 345 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of malcontent
3.83/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear, brilliant amber with just a little head and a solid ring of lacing.

Mild malt-scent is backed-up by a strong raison aroma to provide an alluring presentation.

Hoppy for what I'm used to from a barleywine. Good spiciness with shockingly mellow alcohol. Still, it warms nicely.

There is an astringency in the finish that I didn't enjoy and put a damper on the drinking a bit. Still, the alcohol is as subdued as I've encountered from a barleywine making this one of the most drinkable I can imagine.

Thanks to kmpitz2 for the taste.

Photo of Foxman
3.8/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

It pours a rather clear orange amber. Perhaps a finger of light tan head de-fizzes soon to tufts of froth. Points of lacing dot the inside of the glass.

The aroma carries a notably sweet maltiness, lifting thin strains of caramel, fig, raisins, and cherry. The merest petal of floral hops bows to a gust of vapory alcohol.

Upon sipping, a cloying malt sweetness speaks of cherry, berry, and caramel. An understated film of gently spicy floral hops brings a muted bitterness against a central column of alcohol. Residual malt sweetness of cherry and apple is promptly dried by a crisp, lingering bitterness. It's sizable, but also soft and pleasant.

Full bodied, the malt is chewy sweet on the palate, and the crisp dryness is a nice closing touch.

It's sweet with a touch of savory. The aroma is a bit thin dimensionally, but once it hits the lips, all is well. It's decently drinkable, almost in spite of an ABV that's meaty and does its best to put a damper on things. Below deck, above deck, whatever deck, this one is worth a try by the side of the fire.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
2.83/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2006 Release

Appearance: Pours a reddish-brown body with a thin, bone white head.

Smell: Unappealing, ultra thin aroma of caramelized sugar and little more.

Taste: A thin, sweet flavor leaves the taste a bit wanting, though there are some unmistakable banana esters in the mix and a downright peppery finish. The 10% ABV can be a bit glaring at times. Clearly, this is a rather off-beat barleywine.

Mouthfeel: A dreary, medium-thin body that lacks any of the substance regularly found in other barleywines.

Drinkability: By no means an exceptional beer, or even one that is complex or distinguishing. Just a vague sweetness and some alcohol.

Photo of jaxon53
3.4/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served at nearly room temperature, in a snifter, from a twelve ounce bottle. Poured a deep brownish red color, with very little bubbly white head. Left very little lace on the glass. Not a very strong smell coming from my glass. Smelled very faintly of brown sugar , whiskey , and some alcohol. Smoothly tasted of cheap whisky, dark dried fruits (mostly cherry), and very well hidden hops. Had a warming alcohol finish. Pretty drinkable , full-bodied barleywine. Worth a shot.

Photo of chilidog
4.13/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had thisone ordered in after seeing its label on the sunk'n samplar box. I wasn't sure id get it, a 10th annaversary, retired!
Thanks Clipper City for bringing thisone up from the deep!!

Not retired...2006 brew.
It poured a deep murky red. Off white two inch head aloft with good retention and fair lace.

The aroma was malt, pine and notes of alcohol.

The taste wasn't what I figured on though after accouple ( at 11%, not at once) the acctual taste grew on me. Sweet malts, pine, rum like alcohol warms this full bodied beer. I like a good Strong beer, thisone is, though I think its balanced with alcohol more than hops. Hops are not a big player here, though the beer isn't to sweet to drink. It is balanced enough to aid the drinkability well. The mouth is left alittle dry but warmed. A smooth brew to be had. Worth the 4-pack price of $9.

Photo of BEERchitect
4.13/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Release '06:

Terrific beer. Full of malts, hops, alcohol, and flavor. Starts off with a burgundy hue and terrific off-white head retention. Flavors of strong fruits, sweet malts, and rum. Strong fruit flavors of figs, cherries dates, raisons and prunes. All fruits seem fresh and strong, like fruitcake. Malts, though strong, don't seem too syrupy or cloying. Hopping knoks the brew out of the English Barleywine range, but makes for a good American Barleywine. Citursy and piney deep into the finsih. Alcohols are a bit too hot and harsh, but is a quick reminder of the 'kick' that the brew has. Finishes sweet and strong, with a lingering alcohol and hop character.

Photo of blitz134
3.55/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer isn't retired as its indicated on here. Picked up the newest release at Green's in Atlanta. $7 for the 4 pk.

Pours with a huge head for a big beer, over an inch thick and it seems to gladly rest at the top of my glass. Head is light tan over a clear caramel, crimson body. Lots of carbonation bubbles come up and there appears to be some fine particles in circulation. Rings of lace form on the glass after each sip.

Smell is rather weak and not very complex. Sweet candy like sugar comes forth immediately. A bit of caramel malts work in with some sweet biscuit malts.

Simple, subdued flavor. The English influence is evident. Biscuity malt predominately with some sweet caramel. Candy sugar sweetness is again evident. Its a lot like the smell except with more malts showing through. Some alcohol flavors are present but not so much to be a turn off.

Thinnish mouthfeel for the style, I like these a bit heavier and slick. Carbonation wasn't as evident as I thought it was going to be. Overall good drinkability. This one is way to easy to put down for its ABV level. Aroma and taste aren't overly spectactular, but the easy of drinking helps this out a lot.

Photo of lou91
3.78/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

ALways good to see people brew the English style BW although they are rarely so freaking strong. Good looking beer with sublte alcohol and malt on the nose. Buried deep underneath both was a maple sweetness. Surprsing it was very easy to drink with great balance and mouthfeel. Not sure why this was retired but I would buy more and sit on it for at least a year. Well done CCB.

Photo of Billolick
3.48/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 ouncer recently purchased in Fairfield Ct. No freshness indication. Pours clear bright brandy hued amber, with just a slight tan head and leaving minimal lacing. Nose of some brandy and alcohol. notes here of smoky malts, more rum/brandy. Overly sweet in the finish, with some "hot" alcohol notes. Another reviewer mentioned "plastic" flavor notes and this is a good description of what is going on here. Kind of thin in the body and lacking in the flavor and complexity departments. BWines that are not that great really are a waste of brain cells and not very enjoyable to even sip. Glad I only picked up a single bottle

Photo of RBorsato
3.55/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark golden to copper in color with a nice light tan head at first and lots of suspended sediment. Big malty aroma and flavor with touches of alcohol. A fairly sweet and alcohol driven version of Barley Wine. Medium-full bodied with a warming alcohol finish.

OK but stick with Old Nick's for an outstanding English BW...

Per CC Website:
Malts: Pale, Crystal and Carapils
Hops: Magnum, Fuggles, Goldings
Created to celebrate CC’s 10th Anniv – extremely ltd and “vintage” dated.

'2005' Edition
'5259' Lasered on Bottom
Tasted: 07/20/06

($7.99 / 4-pack)

Photo of IrishRedRock
2.53/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Translucent copper with very little head, indistinguishable from Yuengling Lager. And surprisingly, the aforementioned Lager has more aroma. Not that this has an unpleasant nose, it just doesn't really have one. Sweet malt and caramel, but I really have to swirl and stick my entire face in the glass to get anything.

Very thin on the palate and in the flavor profile. Nothing bad to speak of (aside from the plastic aftertaste) but absolutely nothing stands out. Some woody characteristics and brown sugary malt, and then booze. And then plastic. Carbonation is low is barely stings the tip of the tongue. Hops? Complexity? Nay! This is more ADV (alcohol delivery vehicle) than delicious barleywine.

Photo of UnionMade
2.78/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Brilliant copper, topped with puffy white foam. The head recedes quickly, though it keeps a dusty coating atop the brew. No lacework. Underwhelming aroma, very mildly scented, none of the pungency I expect in a barleywine. Smells like an amber ale, with a diminutive caramel maltiness and slightly soapy, floral hops. Very meek. Warmth brings forth a bit of estery booze, and the strength gathers somewhat, but it still lacks complexity. The flavor is more in line with a big beer, providing a sweet, sugary malt flavor. Slick and oily, very sweet throughout, with a slightly metallic, saccharine finish. Rather fruity, leaning towards artificial strawberry, the kind you'd find in a wad of bubble gum. The booze is negligible, just a vague, spicy wash in the end. Definite goldings/fuggles presence in the finish, though it's underhopped. Something strange right in the finish, lingering into the aftertaste. Kinda metallic and soapy, with a chemical, artificial fruit aftertaste. What was strawberry syrup in the middle changes to something more in line with bright red cherry sauce. Not my cup of tea (ale?).
Not what I want in a barleywine. Simplistic, which can be fine, but this is in the same area as an amber ale. Generalized caramel sweetness, mild overall, and a bit cloying. There is some bitterness, but it's so incredibly sweet right up front that I found myself gulping sips at the end, to spare myself the sugary feeling sitting on the tip of my tongue. I like to sit and enjoy beers of this strength, not try to get rid of them. Maybe good for someone testing the waters of big beer, not quite ready for the flavor explosion yet.

Photo of sinstaineddemon
4.05/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - a rich root beer brown color, with half a finger of bubbly tan head that slowly diminishes, lots of glass-clinging carbonation at first settles down to a moderate pace

S - typical barleywine style aroma, with hints of dark fruits, alcohol, and surprising and pleasant fresh hop kick

T - much sweeter than i expected, not oversweet, or sickly sweet, like a caramel hint to a great barleywine, a delcious bitter finish makes it even better, a faint hint of a pine-y taste as well

M - smooth and well balanced, sweet and bitter, a great juxtaposition of the two

D - high, one could easily pound this beer, sweet with just enough bitter to keep it honest, a great b-wine

Photo of Beauregard
4.3/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've always enjoyed this beer in bottles; last night I had it on tap and was even more impressed. It starts out with a surprisingly large head, mellow but promising aroma, and great mouthfeel. The flavor is wonderfully malty. Hops are subtle but present. The high alcohol content is not at all apparent due to the overall smoothness of the beer. This almost reminds me of a Belgian strong dark, but as an English barleywine, it is supposed to have that sweetness to it. I'd say this is another success by Hugh, creating another unique take on a classic style that is both complex and incredibly drinkable. An aside: I once had this in firken, dry hopped, and its character was completely different, but also wonderful.

Photo of ppoitras
2.9/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle from hoppedup as part of BIF 25*. Thanks for the opportunity. Neck label notes "2005".

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/2" beige head above the slightly hazy copper brew. Meringey head lasts nicely, with average to good lacing. Aroma is so sedate that I really don't pick up anything. Taste is overly sweet, with bitterness present as well later, and a lingering alcoholic bitter close. Mouthfeel is just too harsh for the usually mellow English style, and drinkability is just not there for me. Not my favorite Heavy Seas brew, for sure.

Photo of NeroFiddled
3.58/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Clipper City's Heavy Seas line delivers an enjoyable and drinkable, if not somewhat basic, barleywine in their Below Decks.

It pours a for-the-most-part clear, deep-copper body that borders on chestnut but reveals some glowing amber highlights at the base of the pint. The head is a short cap of thinnish but still creamy, yellowish tan. The retention could be better, but it's limited life can easily be attributed to its 11% abv, and it does leave some splashes and spots of lace about the glass.

Maltiness with a thin but deeply-caramelized edge to it, and some grassy and citrusy hops (dull pineapple, mango?, papaya) greet you in the nose. Very clean.

The mouthfeel is quite smooth and creamy with a medium-full body and moderate carbonation.

The flavor delivers a dry, and even kind of woody (oak-like), somewhat caramelish maltiness accented by flickers of grassy/citrusy hops and alcohol spice. It's not flabbly, nor thin, but it's overall kind of dull. It's well-balanced by bitterness, and it finishes dry with a spritz of drying alcohol.

Overall.... not bad, but far from great.

Photo of oberon
3.43/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured clear but dulled copper with a white one finger head after a hard pour,aromas are really bland for lack of another word some sweet alcohol with drier malt just nothing going on but not bad like I said bland.As with the aromas somewhat bland but a little more character sweet alcohol is prevalent along with some caramel malt finishing with just a tinge of pine but not enough to get excited about.This beer could be alot better it has some good points but not enough to search out.

Photo of kmpitz2
3.58/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle. Pours a very right amber color with a finger of ivory head that maintains very well. Clarity is excellent and a moderate cascade of bubbles make their way to the top helping the head keep its form. Nose is fairly fruity, with a solid caramel and toasty character. A moderate piney hop and a puff of alcohol are in the backgroud as well. Flavor is right there with the aroma. Solid caramel and toasty British malt with a little alcohol interaction in there that gives it a bit of a chemically flavor. This all fades to a solid earthy and piney hop and a very solid toastyness. This one is a bit drying, sucking all the moisture from the sides of my tongue. Burps are slightly fruity as well. The apparent alcohol is a little detracting. There may even be a little smokey phenols in there. Feel is thick, with a light to moderate carbonation. Very solid feel to this one. Drinkability is pretty good. I just checked the ABV, so its not a surprise, at 11%, that it comes through a little in the flavor. I like the flavor, especially the toastyness that comes through on the finish. Overall, a nice English barleywine. I think some time would mellow it out a bit.

Photo of WesWes
4.22/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours an amber color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a warm, malty scent that boasts of pale and crystal malts along with a dry and slightly bitter hop aroma. It seems to have some breadlike qualities. The taste is good. It has a rich, malty flavor that goes down easy and finishes a bit hoppy and warm. This is a damn good brew that drinks well. It has a breadlike/toasted character that is quite outstanding. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a good barley wine. I love the taste of this one; an easy drinker for a big beer.

Photo of warriorsoul
3.2/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks for this one Josh...
A worn copper color with two full fingers of off-white head...1/4 of which sticks around, leaving behind some sporadic lacing.
Not so much in the nose...some caramel malt, a generous dose of floral hops, spice, a touch of alcohol.
Flavor is decent...some mild burn due to the 11%, but not distracting. A small amount of fruits, raisins mainly...and more of a citrus hop flavor...finishes somewhat bitter and dry.
Mouthfeel is slightly above average and the carbonation could be less for me.
A decent attempt at the style, but I'd prefer to make it richer and throw it in a bomber.
Either way, another brew from CC worth trying...for me, there are many others in the style I prefer.

Photo of mcallister
3.1/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Wine pours a dark caramel with a slight quick to hide head or pure white. not much going on in the nose of this one, just a tad of roasty malt. This is a rather dissapointing barley wine I had high expectations for. A roasty caramel flavor is what you get at the beginning and there is not much to say for the mid palate and aftertaste. Not very complex at all. Very generous hops. Overall an average brew.

Photo of RonfromJersey
2.73/5  rDev -25%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Dark amber/red body, topped by a level finger of beige foam. Head decays rapidly. Good clarity, would have been even better if I had decanted, but I'm a yeast in kind of guy.

Aroma is chameleon-like (to mix a metaphor) - sweet licorice for one sniff, a bit of smoke the next, a bit of bread, then back again. Wish it was a bigger nose though.

Extremely sweet beginning, caramel and pixie stick, could use a bit of dark chocolate. A slow rising tide of earthy and herbal hops cut the sweetness a bit, but never really contain it. Alcohol masked in the taste, but a warming in the belly. A quick, and unpleasant, nip of tobacco in the aftertaste.

Medium mouthfeel. Drinkability is less than I would hope for, and that does not relate to the ABV.

I've enjoyed the Heavy Seas line, but this was a disappointment overall. Not a terrible beer, but one that does not come together. It's just too small, barleywines should be big. Try the other Heavy Seas beers, but look elsewhere for a barleywine.

Photo of tempest
3.83/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2005 bottle, fun graphics, from Spiritus Fermenti

Amber and red body, looks prety nice but poor head retention and lacing. Rich malts and estery aroma, could use a little more hops, but it is an english barleywine. A bit of alcohol in the taste, but its largely big, fruity malts with a little bitterness to finish.

For 11%, and as an english barleywine, it is very drinkable and not too heavy. Overall a little light in flavor, but for a reasonably priced domestic BW, its a nice beer to pick up.

Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.18/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer poured into the glass clear medium amber wtih a low tannish head which lasted barely to lace the glass.

The aroma was malty with a light vegetal character and a fizzy fruity aroma that was difficult to describe. A bready caramel aroma was present as well.

The flavor was too darn dry with nowhere near enough presence to be a barleywine. The flavor was lightly malty with caramel and a decent hop presence with a nice malt and hop balance, but again, missing the characteristics that make a barleywine. There was some fruity cherry flavor and a bittering component that complemented, but did not overpower.

The finish was dry with a lasting bit of bready caramel and bittering into the aftertaste. The body was just above medium and a bit light for the style. Not a bad beer, but not a barley wine.

12 ounce bottle.

Photo of sulldaddy
3.33/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked up a bottle of this brew the other day and am sampling it at room/cellar temp in a snifter.
The beer pours a slightly hazy chestnut color with a frothy sturdy beige colored head foaming up easily but fading fairly fast.
The aroma is some caramel and chocolate with dark fruit, raisins and red grapes, also a fairly boozy nose. No real hop presence that I can detect.
First sip reveals an average to almost thick body with a slightly chewy or syrupy texture. There is very fine carbonation that tingles as it rolls across my palate. The flavor is malty sweet with brown sugar and raisin for bit and then allows for a grassy hop bite and finishes with a fruity funkiness that i cant quite place. There is also a bit of drying alcohol on the finish that really makes me thirsty.
Overall the beer is okay and I am impressed with how well hidden the 11% abv is. But it is not very deep in flavor or nose. It is fairly easy to drink if you just wanted to get drukn on 2-3 bottles.

Heavy Seas - Below Decks (Barley Wine Style Ale) from Heavy Seas Beer
83 out of 100 based on 497 ratings.