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

Not Rated.
Heavy Seas - Below Decks (Barley Wine Style Ale)Heavy Seas - Below Decks (Barley Wine Style Ale)

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484 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 484
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
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Heavy Seas - Below Decks (Barley Wine Style Ale) Alström Bros
Ratings: 484 | Reviews: 344 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Beauregard


4.3/5  rDev +18.5%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

05-06-2006 17:08:57 | More by Beauregard
Photo of ppoitras


2.9/5  rDev -20.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-01-2006 23:57:28 | More by ppoitras
Photo of NeroFiddled


3.58/5  rDev -1.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-26-2006 22:59:42 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of oberon

North Carolina

3.43/5  rDev -5.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-16-2006 01:56:50 | More by oberon
Photo of kmpitz2


3.58/5  rDev -1.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2006 00:29:41 | More by kmpitz2
Photo of WesWes

New York

4.22/5  rDev +16.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-07-2006 01:24:12 | More by WesWes
Photo of warriorsoul


3.2/5  rDev -11.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-04-2006 00:57:43 | More by warriorsoul
Photo of mcallister


3.1/5  rDev -14.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-31-2006 21:27:30 | More by mcallister
Photo of RonfromJersey

New Jersey

2.73/5  rDev -24.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-29-2006 05:42:03 | More by RonfromJersey
Photo of tempest


3.83/5  rDev +5.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-17-2006 05:36:18 | More by tempest
Photo of GCBrewingCo

North Carolina

3.18/5  rDev -12.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2006 00:45:15 | More by GCBrewingCo
Photo of sulldaddy


3.33/5  rDev -8.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-11-2006 02:27:09 | More by sulldaddy
Photo of RedwoodGeorge


3.53/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a light caramel brown with a thin head, quickly collapsing into no head at all...

Nose is sweet, alcoholic and somewhat spicy with hops. Hints of nutmeg but nothing really stands out.

Taste is good but again, nothing outstanding. Soft malt body primarily of caramel and toffee. Big enough hop notes of herbs and flowers leaves a lasting impression at the end of each sip. As the barleywine warms notes of cinnamon and nutmeg are in the background.

Mouthfeel is fine, there's enough carbonation to leave a bit of a tingle on your tongue and the hops do a pretty good job of drying out each mouthful. Medium bodied brew with a hint of oilyness on the tongue.

All in all a drinkable barleywine but nothing that'll leave a lasting impression. It does leave you wanting 'more' of something: malt or hops would have been good choices.

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2006 02:05:44 | More by RedwoodGeorge
Photo of VoodooBrew

South Carolina

3.55/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Hooray Maryland beer!

Unfortunately, that's about as excited as I can get over this beer, which provides easy, simple malt character in the nose and on the palate, but not much else. This clear amber-colored BW drinks suspiciously easy for the ABV, but in the final analysis I felt that it simply did not have enough flavor for my tastebuds to explore.

Serving type: bottle

02-26-2006 18:35:39 | More by VoodooBrew
Photo of santoslhalper


2.15/5  rDev -40.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearence: Pours a very dark, dull looking copper with no head at all. It looks dead.

Smell: Feet. I smell feet and some fungus. Dirty Laundry. Diapers. Litter. Ok it's not that bad, there are some nice malt and hop aromas, but something in there smells funky.

Taste and Mouthfeel: It's mostly fruity with some floral hops. There is no malt profile at all. It's completely lacking the big, sticky, sweet, chewy wonderfulness that a barleywine is mean to have. This one's weak. Real weak.

Drinkability and Overall: I love barleywines. I love Clipper City (mostly). This one just didn't work out. Next...

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2006 04:33:52 | More by santoslhalper
Photo of WVbeergeek

West Virginia

2.55/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I hate to join the haters but I didn't care for this one either appears caramel amber ruby hued with an off white cream head leaves ample lacing. Aroma has a deep pine cone scented hops touch of alcohol with some fruity highlights touch of caramel malts it tickles my nose hairs. Taste, I think thiis is where the tide turns flavor is discombobulated noncohesive throws me piney hops, tart fruit lighter malt body slight acidity just doesn't combine well alcohol is well hidden just stay away from big beers they proved that with the Peg Leg, to be fair I liked the Uber Pils, both DIPAs, and the Saison. Mouthfeel is medium bodied fuller carbonation lacks smooth texture. Drinkability, this just isn't the barleywine I'm looking for let's just move on and grab an Ol' Ho.

Serving type: bottle

02-22-2006 19:03:00 | More by WVbeergeek
Photo of meathookjones


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

Pours out a murky dark red with a quick to fade white head. Little lace or foam left on the glass. Very light fruit notes with some malt sweetness in the nose. Some light medicinal alcohol notes. Light sweet malt flavors with more medicine like notes popping up. Some light fruit and dirty earthy notes are about all else that stick out. Body was sufficient and nothing special. Drinkability wasn’t bad as in it went down easy enough. The lack of any real flavor and aroma depth will keep me away from my other bottles for awhile in hopes of something happening with them. Not a bad beer but about as average as it gets.

Serving type: bottle

02-16-2006 16:45:04 | More by meathookjones
Photo of ABV

New York

4.1/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It's been a good year for the Heavy Seas line -- first a very good imperial pilsner, and then two nice ipa's. Their Peg Leg imperial stout, although tasy, is not quite up to the style. Had it been labeled an imperial brown ale I think it would have been very well received. Which brings us to Below Decks, which is getting only fair to poor reviews. I can't quite understand why -- this is a very pleasing dark brew with very nice vanilla carmel notes and is amazing drinkable for 11% abv. (It's also a good deal -- I paid $7.50 for a 4 pack). Perhaps it should have been labeled a strong dark ale rather than a barleywine. Regardless, Below Decks is quite delicious.

Serving type: bottle

02-15-2006 08:04:42 | More by ABV
Photo of sacfly


3.2/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz, 2005 on neck label

Pours a clear copper with a tan head of large bubbles. On closer inspection, fine particles can be seen in suspension. Seems very carbonated for a Barleywine. Faintly sweet aroma with a touch of piney hops.

Taste is… light? Some caramel and woodiness. Mild hop bitterness in the aftertaste.

Not much to say. Light aroma, flavor, and body. High carbonation. Would never guess it is a Barleywine. It is very easy to drink and the ABV is barely noticeable. Just don’t expect anything aggressive, which is one reason to drink a barleywine.

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2006 18:30:34 | More by sacfly
Photo of mrasskicktastic

New Jersey

3.98/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

This review is for the fresh(er) bottle. I stuck in notes for one year of aging.

A - An amber to auburn brew with a small tan head that lingers for about two minutes and leaves no lacing. Some light carbonation is visible (although pretty intense for a barleywine).

S - Smells predominantly of a light-bodied malt, pine hops and faint caramel. Abv is faintly noticable if you are looking for it, can't really punish them for that since it is 11% though.

T - Some light pine and citrus (grapefruit) hops and not much else in the foretaste. Maybe a bit of alcohol. The aftertaste has a lingering hop bitterness, it is potent too. A subtle alcohol is there as well. There is a light sweetness, but those who think that barleywines are generally too sweet, might enjoy this. Aside from the bitterness the flavor is fairly mild.

After a year of aging, Saaz hops really jumped out in the flavor and taste. A lot of the pine an grape fruit had subsided.

M - Harsh from carbonation for the first second, then thick and pretty refreshing.

D - For a barleywine, this category is very impressive. It is mild enough (not outlandishly sweet) that it has potential for food beyond as a dessert beer. Session? No sense in even asking that above 10% (or 7% for that matter). I will let the others stew for a while, but I really don't think this would alter too much with aging. The people who would enjoy this most though (I think), are not the barleywine fans, but those who generally find barleywines to be too sweet. At first, I was not very impressed with this beer. But as I drank more of it, I found the potent aftertaste to be quite pleasant.

One year of aging didn't really help this beer. I preferred it fresh.

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2006 04:32:59 | More by mrasskicktastic
Photo of blitheringidiot


3.18/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

No info other than 2005 label 12 oz bottle opens with a *fwisk!* and pours as a filtered burnt sienna amber carbonationless hue toped with a scant razor thin disappearing laceless beige coating.

Light aromatic nose of metallic copper and cherry. The nose is barely barley. Ha!

First swigs: Woody oak. Man, trying to find flavor here is like trying to find a needle in a hay stack if awards for flavorless barley wine were handed out, this would get the grand prize. Some dry straw. Maybe a smooth touch of cherry and cranberry. Just not a lot of flavor to review here. Really!

Feel is oily and cool without any detection of 11% ABV. If the ABV is acurate, this is the most evaporating 11% ever. Dry aftertaste. Damn near the smoothest barleywine ever, but barleywine should contain some bite and body. What happened? This is just a clean booze inducer.

Last swigs: Cranberry-ish barleywine. To give this a compliment, DogFish Head makes 18% Fort without an ABV struggle. This does the same. After Clipper City Loose Cannon, this seemed like a home run, but alas, this is just average...maybe a little less. [Real Men] Drinkability is a puzzle here. Is it "drinkable?" Well, it certainly goes back easy! For better or worse. Edible, forgetable and not regretable.

Beer is good. Happy small barelywine beering.

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2006 05:59:22 | More by blitheringidiot
Photo of mpkill


2.9/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle with no freshness date.

Pours with a thick white frothy head. Head subsides after a few sips. Color is amber with a slight copper glow. Little to no hop aroma. Intial smell is slightly malty with a hint of caramel. I allowed the beer to warm up a little which resulted in a slight alcoholic nose. Below Decks has a nice balanced bitterness with a warm finish. For an English-style barleywine, there is very little residual sweetness. The mouthfeel was a little underwhelming. I think the carbonation level was a little high for the style - perhaps masking some of the flavors.

Overall, a dissappointing barleywine.

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2006 23:40:37 | More by mpkill
Photo of NEhophead


3.08/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Creamy white head with pools of bubbles, that dissipate within a moment. Spotted and thin lacing with decent strength. A burgundy-tinted bronze in color with a few chunks of floating sediment.

Semi-sweet caramel malt aroma with traces of ripe, vinous fruit: grape, cherry, plum, apple. Not too fragrant.

Unsweetened apple, plum, grape. Notes of meaty raisin flavors. A rather bland, light caramel maltiness. Light citrus (lemon and lime) followed by a powdery chlorine-tasting astringency. Noxious bleach-like flavor that leaves a dry finish. The aftertaste is orange and apple soaked in pool water.

Medium bodied; filmy and slick on the palate.

Plain and simple...this is not a pleasant tasting barleywine. The flavors are bland and reminiscent of chemicals. One to avoid and made to walk the plank.

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2006 02:38:34 | More by NEhophead
Photo of ybnorml

Rhode Island

2.93/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A clean brown beer with amber highlights. Has a good creamy off white head. Very light aroma, some malt sweetness, hop bitterness and a disturbing corn note in the background. No real distinct flavors. Again some malt sweetness, a light hop bite on the finish, that nagging little corn note in the back and the alcohol burn. Maybe it will blossom next year but it doesn't have alot to work with.

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2006 00:08:10 | More by ybnorml
Photo of hustlemuscle


3.18/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I was disappointed with this beer, a downer from an otherwise solid, solid brewery. I hope that it wants a little time alone in the dark, aging with others of it's kind.

Amber, with golden highlights, but minimal head and carbonation. Hoppy and vineous to the nose, alchohol takes the drivers seat on the tastebuds. A bit bland overall, no real flavor, unfortunatly. Fairly easy to drink, apart from the lack of taste. A bit light and thin.

Serving type: bottle

01-05-2006 02:27:44 | More by hustlemuscle
Heavy Seas - Below Decks (Barley Wine Style Ale) from Heavy Seas Beer
82 out of 100 based on 484 ratings.