Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine?

Learn more about beer and save over 53% with a 3-year subscription.

Subscribe now →

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)

Educational use only; do not reuse.

346 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 346
Hads: 511
Avg: 3.62
pDev: 13.81%
Wants: 31
Gots: 45 | 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:
Beer added by: Higravity on 09-09-2005

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Heavy Seas - Below Decks (Barley Wine Style Ale) Alström Bros
Reviews: 346 | Hads: 511
Photo of farrago
3.52/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2009 vintage.

A little less than a full finger of light tan foam, smaller bubbles on the whole, lacing forms broad sheets yet with little stickiness. Clean liquid, if as much dark brown as any red or orange amber, multiple beads of strong tiny bubbles. The nose is sweet even for the category, molasses, caramel, maple syrup, butterscotch, milk chocolate, spiced orange reduction, it's boozy but not overpoweringly so, peach, apricot and pear close to a dried fruit character, the barley, oats and sweeter grains almost an afterthought. Full-bodied, all credit to the carbonation for trying but not quite tough enough to take the chunkiness out of the whole, has a leaden feel. Still, no lack of cocoa, chocolate, caramel, toffee and maple with a fruitcake to challah bread element as well. Here, a light hoppy bitterness comes through, a welcome addition. Brings sour orange with some lemon. The spiciness is there but without clearly distinct flavors. Wears you down by the end of the glass.

 994 characters

Photo of hdofu
4.17/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Split a bottle with a friend last week, is supprisingly smooth, we split it while having sushi. It poured dark brown with little foam. Taste was smokey bitter sweet. It reminded me of wood in the finish. It was pretty good at hiding alcohol burn for a high octane beer. It was very sudsy. It was fairly good drinkability. I'd recomend it if you want something darker.

 367 characters

Photo of Wamba
4.33/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a beautiful ale. Dark amber brown with an aggressive head on a hard pour from the 22oz bomber. Virtually no lacing.

I had this beer with Pesto Chicken and homemade whole wheat bread fresh from the oven. A perfect combination. The sweetness of the beer went well with the garlic kick of the chicken. The beer was almost a liquid version of the bread.

Malt, malt and then some more malt! Lots of malt with some caramel and dark fruit. Think fresh bread!

On the thick side, mild carbonation and smooth, smooth, smooth!

I was blown away by this ale. Sweet, smooth and strong! A classic malt bomb. I picked this one up on the recommendation of the local Friar Tuck's manager. Listen to your local beer man.

This beer will get heavy rotation at my house!

 763 characters

Photo of Cylinsier
3.95/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark maple brown with an very light off-white lacing.

Smells of rich dark sugar malts. Hints of toastiness.

Taste is equally rich and syrupy. Mild oakiness.

Feel is moderate, on the thicker side, and a bit chewey. Mild carbonation.

Pretty tasty and flavorful. I'm in the unfortunate situation of having had the bourbon barrel version of the tap before trying this, so it's not as good as that. But it's pretty good. Good sipper.

 444 characters

Photo of macpapi
3.79/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2008 vintage.

Have been sitting on this one for over two years. Finally time to open it up and see how it's doing.

Pours a nice amber color, with a small and quickly dissipating tan/white head. Almost murky looking with little visibility through the glass. Not much lacing.

Smell is dominated by biscuit, malt, bready characteristics. There is also quite a bit of dark fruity sweetness here. Figs, raisins, plums, perhaps even a hint of banana on the nose. Pretty full aroma.

Taste is very sweet. There is an almost overwhelming pull of cherries and plum, compensated rather nicely by the full malt flavor. Almost balanced, but still leans a bit too much toward treacly sweetness. A moderate hop presence, but noted. Also a bit of bourbon aftertaste.

Low carbonation with a small bitter bite. Full and flavorful.

Not sure how to categorize its drinkability. It is pretty enjoyable as a sipper. Would be hard to want more than one in the same night. I would tend to want this beer at this age in small doses. With no comparison to more recent vintages it's hard to say if it improves with age. Still a pretty nice brew.

 1,127 characters

Photo of bum732
3.47/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

S: Toffee, dark bread, fruity esters, some spice, cinnamon, touch of lemongrass, bread crusts.

L: Dark reddish brown, fairly clear, light tan head with decent retention and good lacing.

T: Sweet caramal with dark bread notes. Some dark fruits present as well. Medium-low bitterness with some warming alcohol. Herbal like semi-dry finish.

M: Medium full body, medium low carbonation, slick.

A quite sweet barleywine bordering on cloying. Not bad, but pretty one-noted.

 472 characters

Photo of Bierman9
3.78/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I picked up a 22oz bomber of this today at The Liquor Shoppe for $6.99 (plus dep). Vintage 2010, with no freshness info on the label. It's now Below Decks time... Aargh...

Color is a clear, deep, rich rubyish maroon. There are some scattered bubbles slowly meandering topside, where the head is thin, offwhite, and clinging mostly to the rim. There's only a touch of lacework here and there. Aroma suggests sweet malts and dark fruit, though it is a tad on the mild side. Body is middle of the road, and the feel is fairly smooth with light airiness.

The taste is on the sweet side, with smidges of lightly burnt brown sugar coating the palate. Dark fruit is present here, with dates, raisins and black currants coming to mind. Finish is powdery dry, almost like cocoa - almost. A bit too dry, for me anyhow. I wish there was more maltiness, if this is to be an English BW. It almost borders on a Belgian Strong Dark Ale, in my opinion. Not bad overall, but not one I'd seek out. Prosit!!

look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | drink: 3.5


 1,058 characters

Photo of Daktyls
3.58/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2010 "Mutiny Fleet" bottle

A: Pours a clear dark mahogany color with a very small head made up of tiny little bubbles that dissipates quickly into a small amount of lacing on the top.

S: Not a whole lot going on, definitive maltiness with some toffee, light prunes and maybe a little bit of molasses.

T: Malty for sure, sweet and a little bready. Other than that, there's a distinctive boozieness.

M: Low on the carbonation, medium bodied, a little thick but not overly so.

D: Quite drinkable, but not particularly memorable.

 530 characters

Photo of nick76
3.01/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

The aroma is dusty with caramel malt, hops, and a strange off element. The appearance is brown with a large head. The taste is like the aroma. The palate is smooth. The beer is overall not bad but there are problems with it that make it hard to drink at times. I am not really a fan.

 283 characters

Photo of Duhast500
3.73/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 1pt. 6oz. into a Christmas wine glass

The color is a dark amber to brown with two fingers of foamy brownish head and some nice lacing left on the glass.

The smell is pretty malty with some nice caramel and toffee like flavor. Some dark fruits making the aroma juicy but not too sweet.

The taste is sweet at first, some fruit flavor hits and is almost at bit too sweet but after a bit it calms and seems to level out with a a nice bitterness that stays for a time with you but then is gone before it becomes to built up.

The feel of this beer is big but not overbearing. There is not too much to this beer where is claims control and tosses you aside. It goes down pretty easy for a beer with this high and ABV and was pretty smooth going down.

 762 characters

Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.1/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

appearance: Brown with a nice lacey head.
smell: Not over the top complex but a nice pleasant maltiness.
taste: Very smooth for a barleywine. A gentle giant.
drinkability: Very nice, an easy sipper. Got 2 of these. Let's see what some time does to this.

 253 characters

Photo of tone77
3.61/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 22 oz. bottle. Has a dark brown color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is rather mild, some sweetness. Taste is good, malts, dark fruits, some alcohol and a touch sweet, good complexity. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and has good drinkability. Overall a fine quality brew.

 290 characters

Photo of nugget
3.48/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2009 bottle poured from a 12 oz. bottle and served in a tulip glass.

Appearance - Dark reddish amber, minimal carbonation with very fine bubbles

Smell - prunes, toffee, molasses, caramel candy

Taste - malt and sweet, evolves into an alcoholic warmth

Mouthfeel - low carbonation, nice body, backed by dark specialty malts

Drinkability - enjoyable, great for after dinner

 374 characters

Photo of Cyberkedi
3.88/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma is fairly strong and malty with a tasty woody overtone and a bit of spice. It pours a dark, coppery amber with a thin off-white head. Flavor is woody and a little malty, with quite the alcohol bite. Texture is fairly smooth, but has a good alcohol nip - which should be fine for a barleywine! Definitely for barleywine nuts - I hope they give it a good high rating!

 371 characters

Photo of alkemy
2.24/5  rDev -38.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Pours a deep mahogany with minimal off-white head, yet leaves behind generous amounts of lacing. As far as taste and aroma, I can only compare this to soy sauce. Smelled of salty burnt toffee. Taste was overtly salty. I really don't have much good to say about this one. Not at all barleywine-esque. I don't want to degrade the brewery as I've had many other good beers from Clipper City, but this one just didn't do it for me.

 427 characters

Photo of MoreThanWine
3.9/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured a slow to emerge 2" head which slowly dissipated to 1/8". Very dark and clear, kind of like a cola, and with lots of slow tiny bubble action characteristic of a thick barleywine. Yet this sample is lighter in body than others I tried. Smells of barley and malt, and has some caramel, burnt sugar, and sourdough tastes. Goes down easy and I had a lot of fun with it. I'd made a note to myself that it feels like a B but tastes like an A so I'm shooting for a happy median of a B+.

 486 characters

Photo of thedoubler55
3.31/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22oz bottle poured into a pint glass

A - the look of this beer is darker for a barley-wine, it almost reminds me of the '10 Nemesis in color but I feel like it doesn't deserve to be compared to that behemoth beer.

S - I'm not getting much off the nose of this beer, I smell some slight grape presence as well as some barley malts. It all seems very covered up.

T - Very boozy is the immediate thought, it follows into a mid-palate that has subtle orange peel and some spicyness. Not bad, just nothing that is overwhelmingly out of the ordinary.

M - Good amount of carbonation and not very rich in malt, pretty ordinary again.

D - pretty drinkable for a barley-wine, i just don't think it would be worth going out of my way to purchase another one.

 752 characters

Photo of buschbeer
3.58/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle

A - Served in snifter. Brown body with some dark amber highlights. One finger of tan head.

S - Bread. Lots of earthy notes. Also a sweet alcohol smell.

T - Bread, toast, toffee, and very earthy. Surprisingly no alcohol.

M - Nice and thick, but not overly viscous.

D - Even though the alcohol is well hidden it is still a sipper. It is a filling and substantial beer. One of the earthiest beers I have tasted.

 425 characters

Photo of JayS2629
3.85/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Deep mahogany with a thin white sudsy head that sticks around leaving sea foam creamy lace.

S- Faint sweet malt, fruits, wood characteristics far in the background. Muscadine, faint dark cherries. Something sweet and boozy lingering.

T. Sweet malts and rich caramel notes. Hints of dark cherry and muscadine. Slight boozy burn like bourbon.

M- Rich and thick. Creamy. A bit cloying and sticky. Well balanced though the booze taste makes itself known. However, it adds to the profile.

D- Slight burn from boozy high alcohol. A bit too sweet. Delicious but rich. A definite sipper.

 588 characters

Photo of dorkusmaximus
4.39/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I greatly enjoy just smelling this beer between tastes. I get smokey caramel, subtle fruit, and a kick in the nuts. Smells big, and tastes big. I let these four bottles mellow for several months before tasting them, and the finish is silky smooth. My dog is insanely jealous watching me lovingly caress this beer. When drinking this beer, I even savor each belch.

I'm normally a hoppy beer guy, and this is one barley wine I can see me stealing again.

 453 characters

Photo of aventinus829
4.17/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this one on cask at Growler's in Charlotte. (This new restaurant had a great vibe and a pretty awesome tap of 10 or so really good craft beers.)

First barelywine! Had an awesome server, Steve, who brought out multiple samples. Tried this one and had to get it, especially since it was on cask. It was very nice, indeed. Had a lot of similarities to the belgian quads that i've been feeling lately. Plus, being on cask, it wasn't served ice cold, which let all the complexities of the beer come through without numbing your tastebuds. Paired with a beer brat, this brew was delicious!

 588 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
3.75/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

Poured into a snifter. Color is moderate copper with a thin white head that remains for a bit. Nose brings a good dose of sweet malt along with some light fruits and caramel. The taste is a bit too sweet without enough accompanying fruit presence. Feel is a bit cloying. Drinks well enough overall, but is just too sweet.

 343 characters

Photo of terrapinfan88
3.72/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Vintage 2008 at Galaxy Hut for the Oxymoron event.

Appearance: Amber orange Hardly any head.

Smell: Carmel, dark malts, Wood?

Taste: wow the maltiness. its like a chocolate milkshake with carmel in it. soo sweet

Mouthfeel: Smooth, dry and earthy

Drinkability: The ABV is hidden decently enough in the taste but this was a night with three beers at least as strong as this one and even just this pint left me buzzin. Got a little to sweet for me towards the end but nothing a had a problem with

 498 characters

Photo of Arithmeticus
3.7/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage 2008.
A: Copper red; think head, but good carbonation.
S: sweet light fragrance; bouquet is a bit fruity
T: aggressive, sweet barleywine-style; I detect some grape; very nice clarity in the flavor; not cloying as some BWS beers can be
M: thick and rich

 260 characters

Photo of thagr81us
3.58/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Vintage 2008. Served from bottle into a Lucifer snifter. Poured a hazy deep brown with a hint of red hue with an off-white head that was only present around the edges of the glass. Maintained decent lacing throughout. The aroma was comprised of malt, alcohol, sour note, nutty, and a subtle hop aspect. The flavor was comprised of malt, a nutty note, and subtle alcohol. It had a medium feel on the palate with high carbonation. Overall I was glad this one tasted much better than it smelled. The flavors were really nice and had the right intensity. While the alcohol could be tasted, it was not at all overwhelming. Very nice Barleywine. Looking forward to trying the BA versions in the future for comparison.

 711 characters

Heavy Seas - Below Decks (Barley Wine Style Ale) from Heavy Seas Beer
82 out of 100 based on 346 ratings.