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Heavy Seas Bourbon Barrel Aged Below Decks - Heavy Seas Beer

Not Rated.
Heavy Seas Bourbon Barrel Aged Below DecksHeavy Seas Bourbon Barrel Aged Below Decks

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BA SCORE
89
very good

279 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 279
Reviews: 102
rAvg: 4
pDev: 8.75%
Wants: 32
Gots: 59 | FT: 4
Brewed by:
Heavy Seas Beer visit their website
Maryland, United States

Style | ABV
English Barleywine |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: John_M on 05-18-2010)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 279 | Reviews: 102 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by jondeelee:
Photo of jondeelee
4.33/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bourbon Barrel Aged Below Decks opens to a sweet, fruity nose bearing loads of fruit esters, including very nice bits of plum, fig, orange, grape, and berry, as well as a touch of raisin and prune. These aromas – especially the darker ones – mix well with a light overtone of vanilla, oak, and bourbon from the barrel aging, lending the beer very strong tawny port overtones. In fact, in a blind smelling test, this could be easily mistaken for a light, sweet port, with just a faint hint of extra-vanilla-laden bourbon about the edges. The grains also bring in supporting layers of pie crust and floury baguette, as well as touches of multigrain toast crust, to help offset the sweetness, and touches of brown sugar and amber agave nectar add further dimension to the sugars. As a whole, the nose here is very nice, bearing little in the way of beer aromas, but boasting a full-bodied port-like aroma that is very enticing. The nose can be almost too sweet at times, the fruits coming across like Jolly Rancher candies, but there’s just enough darkness and breadiness to prevent it from becoming cloying.

On the tongue, the beer’s bourbon barrel aging is immediately obvious, the opening notes being a shot of heavily vanilla-laced bourbon that mixes almost instantly with a huge array of fruits, including plum, cherry, berry, orange, fig, and prune, lending the beer an immediate cocktail-cum-tawny-port overtone that is quite delicious. Further sugars make themselves known after a few seconds, including brown sugar, agave nectar, wildflower honey, and even thin threads of super sweet confectioner’s sugar. These sweet notes are lightly held in check by woody overtones from the barrel aging, as well as toast crust, cereal grain, biscuit, and yeasty rising whole wheat dough, though the bready notes occupy much less than half of the flavors. There is an alcoholic vapor that hangs over everything, but it mainly passes off as bourbon – though it can border on vodka. The aftertaste is a continuation of the main mouthful, with a stronger bourbon vapor presence, lingering on the tongue in fruity, alcoholic goodness for a good while. Mouthfeel is medium, and carbonation is medium.

Overall, this is a very nice Barleywine, and the bourbon barrel aging has added a nice layer of complexity that was sorely needed in the basic Below Decks version of this beer. There is perhaps a bit too much sweetness in here (admitting that such a profile fits with the style), and the alcohol vapors do get very strong after a few sips, but on the whole this is very worth trying.

jondeelee, Jun 19, 2013
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.63/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into an imperial nonic a deep rich amber with a thinner but well formed off white head atop.Aromas of deep vaniila,and caramel eally stand out,the vanilla tinged oak is a bit heavy handed in my opinion.Somewhat boozy and very oaky on the palate,vanilla and caramel flavors add more sweetness,it is very smooth going down though.Another barrel aged beer that gets a little to much of the "aged" flavors,its not bad but it could be better with less aged flavors.

oberon, Jul 27, 2011
Photo of DanGeo
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%

DanGeo, May 16, 2014
Photo of lordofthewiens
3.13/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

In a tulip this beer was a dark amber color, a little on the red side. There was no head.

The aroma was that of some sweet fruit and vanilla.

Average taste. A little bit of everything, but just a little bit. Some dark fruit, some caramel, some vanilla, some alcohol.

I expected this to be a little more assertive than it was. It wasn't bad, it just wasn't that much of a barleywine.

lordofthewiens, Dec 15, 2012
Photo of warnerry
4/5  rDev 0%

warnerry, Jun 08, 2013
Photo of generallee
4/5  rDev 0%

generallee, Oct 08, 2013
Photo of reitzbrewing
4.75/5  rDev +18.8%

reitzbrewing, Mar 21, 2013
Photo of Mora2000
4.22/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to thirdeye11 for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours an amber color with a white head. The aroma is a lot of bourbon and oak, with some brown sugar, maple and alcohol. There is no doubt that this beer was bourbon-barrel aged. The flavor is also heavy on the bourbon. I get a lot of maple, vanilla and brown sugar, as well as some bourbon and oak notes. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

This was sampled alongside the cabernet barrel-aged version, and I thought this was the superior beer.

Mora2000, Oct 16, 2010
Photo of frenchblood21
4.4/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bomber into a goblet. Allowed to sit for approx. 20 minutes outside of fridge before opening.

Appearance- Deep dark ruby red brown color. A beautiful light tan one finger head. It takes its time going away, and leaves a surprising amount of lacing.

Smell- Fruity and malty...barely a hint of bourbon. Apple, pear and fig are present.

Taste- I'm getting way more bourbon in the taste than in the nose. Bourbon, oak and apple in that order.

Mouthfeel- way more thick than it looks. This beer was born to be bourbon barrel aged. Just a slight burn from the high alcohol, but who doesn't like a good bourbon burn?

Overall- There is obviously a good reason people are requesting BA beers. This is a grandslam Heavy Seas! They also make this beer non-barrel-aged, I recommend getting both and doing a vertical.

frenchblood21, Jan 07, 2012
Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.83/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

750mL bottle from Premier Gourmet in Buffalo. Enjoyed shortly after the Ravens' first touchdown at the Super Bowl.

Poured into a red wine glass. Dark caramel copper, little bit of head to this, recedes into a fine ring.

Sweet, pleasant nose - really can get the bourbon barrel on this. Sweet malt, lightly burned sugar, mild hops.

Nice barleywine, sweet bourbon entry, finishes with a dry, slightly rough puckery hop character.

Carbonation a bit sharp, medium bodied.

Might be nice to hold on to for cellaring. Enjoyable barleywine.

JohnnyBarman, Feb 04, 2013
Photo of mikejonze
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%

mikejonze, Mar 29, 2014
Photo of dogfishandi
3.9/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

"2012 Vintage" 22oz bottle at fridge temp poured into a snifter.

Pours out a deep mahghony, dark brown, with slight hues of deep red. A decent looking light tan colored head, average head retention. Not a whole lot of lacing. Lots of small carbonation bubbles rushing to the top. Some legs is noticeable however.

Smells of warming bourbon booze, toffee, caramel, a bit of butterscotch, ripe dark fruits with some fruity esters. As it warms the booziness almost becomes solvent like.

Nice taste, lots of sweet butterscotch and caramel but some nice warming bourbon as well, somewhat boozey, some oaky vanilla and a bit of ripe dark fruits. A butterscotch sweetness really lingers with the warming bourbon into the finish.

Mouthfeel at first was pretty thin, seemed to get a little better as it warmed.

Not a bad bourbon aged barleywine, has a really nice sweet butterscotch flavor that I loved. A bit more body and this could have been up there with the best of them.

dogfishandi, Jul 20, 2013
Photo of Mantooth
4.5/5  rDev +12.5%

Mantooth, Mar 19, 2013
Photo of mtpHokie
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%

mtpHokie, Sep 05, 2013
Photo of glid02
4.43/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Joe - thanks!

Pours a slightly hazy copper color with a one-finger cream-colored head. The head recedes into a patchy layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of sweet caramel malts, toffee, vanilla, and bourbon. As the beer warms the sweetness subsides just a bit.

Tastes very similar to how it smells. Syrupy caramel malt flavors with large amounts of toffee and lighter amounts of vanilla kick things off. Midway through the sip the bourbon really shines as the vanilla flavors intensify and the oak adds a bit of an edge to the flavor profile. The ending is mildly bitter, leaving sweet caramel malt and vanilla flavors lingering on the palate.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with smooth carbonation.

Drinkability is very good. I finished my glass quickly and could easily have a few more.

Overall this is a very nice bourbon-barrel-aged beer for a relatively low price. Definitely worth a shot.

glid02, Jul 28, 2010
Photo of JMS1512
4/5  rDev 0%

JMS1512, Mar 24, 2013
Photo of CloudStrife
4.15/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a snifter. 2012.

A: Pours a clear ruby with a 1 finger off white head. Some visible carbonation in the body. Just a few spots of lacing.

S: Sweet malts and fermented dark fruits blend gracefully with the bourbon. Certainly get the alcohol kick. Plenty of oak, vanilla and toffee to this. Very nice.

T: Am impressed with this malt forward barleywine take on a bourbon barrel aged beer. Kicks with some bourbon on the front, then the malt makes and appearance leaving you with a bourbon aftertaste.

M: Very smooth body with low carbonation. Is really not too hot considering the ABV. Nice sipper here.

Overall Heavy Seas keeps knocking their barrel aged beers out of the park. Give this one a go, or set it down for a few years. Would easily get again.

CloudStrife, Dec 27, 2012
Photo of DruC4
3.25/5  rDev -18.8%

DruC4, Jun 25, 2013
Photo of augustgarage
3.85/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2010 vintage. Big thanks to ShogoKawada for this extra - enjoyed lightly chilled on a frigid (well, by L.A. standards) eve. Poured from a 22oz bomber into my snifter.

Portland orange highlights suffuse the ambiguously colored dark liquid, topped by a lacy pearling yet meager head with a popped dirty snow collar.

Bourbon assails you at first sniff - the mildly acrid tobacco notes are backed by a touch of vanilla, butterscotch, and a light fruity/floral scent. Very slight oxidative notes seem derived from the barrel - though with bourbon this doesn't make a lot of sense.

Candied fruit, chocolate, moderately bitter hops, loam, brandy, and a sharp almost solventy finish. Brown sugar and maybe a hint of maple come out mid-palate. Aftertaste is long and evolving, suggesting burnt sugar, orange peel, plums, and bourbon.

Medium-bodied, slick, and a touch hot with moderate carbonation.

The ABV is unapologetic in this brew - even reaching your sinuses; this makes the flavor distribution that much more potent, yet reduces the drinkability somewhat.

A hefty powerful barleywine - while not overwhelmed by barrel notes, it certainly doesn't seek to balance them.

augustgarage, Dec 31, 2010
Photo of tdm168
4.5/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - dark amber with a thin brown head that has great retention

S - caramel, candy sugar, big malt presence

T - baked apples, caramel, candy sugar, bourbon, vanilla, alcohol

M - full bodied, well carbonated, warm

This is another delicious version of the Below Decks. The beer is fantastic on its own, but the bourbon adds depth and mellows the alcohol. The barrels impart not only bourbon, but also some vanilla notes. The maltiness of the beer is balanced, fruity, and sugary - just the way I wanted it to be. This is definitely a beer worth trying.

tdm168, Jan 19, 2013
Photo of zaphodchak
4.58/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The keg was dated 11/19/11, and I had it earlier this week, less than 2 months later. I was fooled; the taste suggested something that had been patiently cellared and matured well thereby.

A finger of tan head, ruby/amethyst body (almost purple!). Nice lace.

Plenty of bourbon, sticky toffee malt in the nose.

Magnificent bourbon character. Coconut, oak, malt.

Everything I ever wanted in a bourbon-barrel barleywine, and it turned out to be magnificent fresh.

zaphodchak, Jan 06, 2012
Photo of prototypic
3.95/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bourbon Barrel Below Decks pours a darker copper color. It's a little hazy, and has a deep red look with backlighting. A modest off-white head caps it, and stands about a finger tall. It recedes relatively quickly, and leaves a light, sticky coat of lace in its wake.

The nose is good. It starts out with a light bourbon scent. That's followed by a healthy dose of caramel and toffee. The bourbon scent complements the malts nicely. It's not overbearing at all. Oak and vanilla emerge and add nice depth. Light fruit notes are noted. Smells like apple and pear, rather than the typical citrus notes found in American Barleywines. Alcohol is blended pretty well for this big boy. Smells good.

The flavor is probably a little better than the nose, but not enough to trigger a score bump. Sweet caramel and toffee flavors are abundant initially. A light cocoa-ish flavor is also noted. The barrel aging really imparted a nice bourbon flavor. It's light to moderate in strength, but works extremely well with the other flavors. Vanilla and oak are also notable additions. Light apple and pear flavors are noted throughout. Alcohol is barely noticeable in this big boy. Finishes sweet with a touch of bourbon.

This one has a body that's on the lighter side of medium. Carbonation is light, and it is nearly smooth. More body would certainly be a good thing though. Drinkability is good. Despite its stature, it goes down relatively easy. A bomber is probably enough given its strength, but it's deceptive.

Bourbon Barrel Below Decks is good beer. I've enjoyed the bomber and don't have much to complain about at all. It would benefit from a little more body and just a little bit of a hop presence. But, it's good stuff as it is. I like the approach with the barrel aging. I have no idea how long it was in barrels, but it was the perfect time. There's just enough bourbon, vanilla, and oak to make things really click. Easily recommended.

prototypic, Sep 24, 2010
Photo of aleckpa
4/5  rDev 0%

aleckpa, Dec 06, 2012
Photo of russpowell
3.65/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up a Peabody's in Boone NC, sadly the last of my NC mini-haul

Pours chestnut with a finger of tan head. Average head retention & above average lacing

S: Pears & Bourbon, fades a bit as this warms

T: Rich bourbon notes, cakyness & a touch boozey warmth up front. Jammy notes (apricot & pear ) wrap with vanilla, oakyness, a touch of leafy hops & dryness as this warms. Finishes with fruitty notes, nice Bourbon flavor, oaky dryness & a touch of butterscotch

MF: Slightly over carbonated & a touch thin, warming & smooth once nearer room temp

Loved the flavor on this, but other areas fell flat. For the money I'll take Schlafly's Barrel aged BW at a fraction of the price any day. Still, I was thrilled to try it...

russpowell, Aug 06, 2011
Photo of FalconA
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%

FalconA, Aug 02, 2012
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Heavy Seas Bourbon Barrel Aged Below Decks from Heavy Seas Beer
89 out of 100 based on 279 ratings.