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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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very good

106 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 106
Hads: 298
Avg: 3.94
pDev: 8.88%
Wants: 37
Gots: 57 | 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:
Beer added by: John_M on 05-18-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 106 | Hads: 298
Photo of metter98
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is quite hazy caramel in color and has a light amount of carbonation visible near the sides of the glass. It poured with a thin off white head that quickly died down, leaving large wispy patches of bubbles on the surface and a thin collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Light to moderate aromas of oak and vanilla are present in the nose along with some hints of bourbon.
T: The taste is similar to the smell and also has some underlying hints of caramel and toffee malts from the underlying barleywine. No bitterness from the hops is detectable, although there's enough hops to mask out any sweetness or stickiness.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation. The alcohol—particularly the bourbon—provides a little warming in the finish.
O: This beer is very easy to drink considering its strength and manages to hide its alcohol very well (except from the bourbon flavors). The bourbon barrel aging definitely makes this beer a lot more interesting compared to its regular version and I particularly liked how the bourbon flavors are not too strong.

Note: 2012 vintage

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.05/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

Poured into a tulip. Appearance is a nice mahogany color with a white head and a tad bit of lacing. The nose is straight bourbon. A bit of light caramel and fruit in the background. The booze goes with the bourbon. Taste is predominantly bourbon again, but done quite well. Really nice feel with booze and bourbon plus a slight sweetness underneath. Much better than the original, though not quite as interesting as the cabernet version.

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Photo of brentk56
3.55/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2010 bottling

Appearance: Pours a tawny color with a rather small head that fritters away rather quickly without leaving much of a trace

Smell: Toasted oak aromatics joined with toffee and vanilla

Taste: Nutty caramel, up front, with the bourbon and vanilla flavors building into the middle; toasted oak and booze wraps up the finish

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with low carbonation

Overall: Nothing particularly wrong with this beer but it lacks the overall depth and power I would expect from a barrel-aged barleywine; the lack of a hop presence is also a detractor

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.95/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Rarely do American breweries really attempt the malt-focused taste, texture, and refined attitude of English barley wine. Coupled with the effects of bourbon barrel aging, the ever-steady Winter Storm takes on new armatures to achived greater strength, complexity, and taste...

Pouring a hazy chestnut-brown hue, the beer's reluctant release of foam yields a dainty creme of swirled foam that comprises the beer's head character. With no real lace to mention, the beer seems more of brandy or cognac with its legging than it does beer- especially after the midpoint of the session.

Bold sweetness emerges immediately from the snifter in the form of maple, brown sugar, and molasses. Its sweet scent is complex with barrel-derived caramels, vanillans, oak, and modest cherry esters that blend into the sweeter and more savory notes with ease. Herbal hops take on soft tobacco notes that add accents and further evoke the notion of savory and succulence as the scent carries on.

In similar fashion, the syrupy malts rise first and coat the mouth with dessert-like maltiness that's lead with caramel and toffee. As the taste of bourbon sets in with boozy oak, pepper, and vanilla- so do the taste of dehydrated cherries, dates, figs, and raisins, A slow recede of estery fruits and malt sweetness allows the balance from spicy alcohol and vinous fruit to signal closure.

Full bodied throughout, the beer's oily viscosity stimulates the early palate, but the cleaner,malty-richness caresses the tongue and lulls the mind into a trance of sweetness that's sure to appease the sweet tooth in all of us. Finishing rich, sweet, and malty-warm, the extended aftertaste begs for stilton and maytag blue cheeses.

The beer showcases malt balance in vivid display- with little rebuttal from hops, yeasty fruit or spice or from water chemistries, the beer is ripe and pungent with all of the glory of English hops. Though done in America, the brewery really shows great command of the style.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.88/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark caramel brown in the center that fades to muddy pumpkin along the margins. The wheat toast colored crown barely reached two fingers, but has settled in to become densely creamy. It's also beginning to deposit thick curtains of finely stippled lace.

Bourbon barrel-aging should have helped the standard Below Decks nose more than this. The spirit, while easily appreciated, does not take over like it does in some ale of this ilk. That could be either a positive or a negative, depending on your point of view. Still holding out hope for an improved taste bud experience.

Bourbon barrel-aging has helped the standard Below Decks where it matters most. The original beer, with its pale-to-midrange malts, seems to be a pretty good blank slate on which to add the somewhat bold chalk strokes of bourbon whiskey.

Double-digit ABV beer at less than one year of age isn't often mellow. HSBBABD is sorta kinda mellow... in a big beer sorta kinda way. The malts, which are sugar cookie drizzled with caramel-like, provide a background sweetness that's easily kept in check by modest hop bitterness. Vanilla bean and lightly charred oak round out the flavor impressions.

The mouthfeel does just enough to earn the good score. It isn't the biggest beast on the barleywine block, but it has a softly silky smooth quality that is lightly peppered by just the right amount of carbonation.

In my humble opinion, the Mutiny Series ales from Clipper City has more misses than hits. The latter includes The Great Pumpkin, Hang Ten, Letter of Marque 2010... and Bourbon Barrel Aged Below Decks. $7.99 is a more than reasonable asking price, considering how much enjoyment I'm getting out of the bomber.

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Photo of oberon
3.63/5  rDev -7.9%
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.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.45/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: The pour is a surprisingly clear amber color with just about no head and minimal visible carbonation.

S: I don't really pick up much bourbon, but some hints of vanilla do make their way into the nose. The nose is mostly toffee, molasses, and a bit of caramel. The usual aromas, but somewhat muted.

T: The flavor is just as flat and one-note as the nose (if not a bit more). There is more bread than anything else on the nose with molasses and a hint of vanilla, along with some alcohol.

M: The body is quite thin for a barleywine and the carbonation is minimal.

D: A rather bland effort for a barrel aged barleywine. I would not really bother with this one.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.12/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

After a very pleasant experience with the carbernet-aged version, I felt compelled to give this one a try (even more than before). It pours a translucent ruby-brown (heavy on the brown) with a pathetic amount of large bubbles standing in for what would otherwise be considered a head. The nose is subtle bourbon, oak, quad-like yeast, molasses, vanilla, and citrus hops. It all melds together very nicely. The bourbon begins very subtlely in the taste, while molasses-dipped citrus hops take the point, immediately backed-up by citrus peel. The sweeter elements make up the next wave, including more molasses, maple syrup, and some oak. Lighter malty elements begin the final flavor stripe, joined by more oak (drier, this time) and the bourbon. It's all pretty tasty, but the striations are, for me, far too clear. The body is fairly hefty, with lightly moderate carbonation and only a slight coating effect. A very nice brew overall, but I prefer caberneted version better.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.86/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap 2/23/2013 at Doherty’s East Ave Irish Pub in Pawtucket, RI, served in a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a dark coppery reddish brown color, with a short dense off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is faint but contains brown sugar, caramelized malts, bourbon, dark fruit and some hops.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of caramel, brown sugar, dark fruit and bourbon followed by some creaminess. The hops presence is mild but complementary and the malt character is hearty creating a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down dangerously easy, not too filling, strong kick, good representation of style, it’s a little bit better than the regular version but not enough to make it an upper echelon barley wine.

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Photo of russpowell
3.62/5  rDev -8.1%
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...

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Photo of superspak
4.3/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle into snifter, 2012 vintage. Pours slightly cloudy deep ruby red color with a 1 finger dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin lace cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass. Aromas of big caramel, raisin, toast, toffee, vanilla, oak, clove, bourbon, brown sugar, and light booze. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of malt and barrel notes; with good strength. Taste of big caramel, raisin, brown bread, vanilla, toast, toffee, clove, oak, bourbon, brown sugar, light chocolate, and toasted earthiness. Lingering notes of caramel, brown bread, raisin, vanilla, toast, toffee, clove, oak, bourbon, brown sugar, light chocolate, and toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible balance and complexity of dark malt and barrel flavors; with a fantastic malt/barrel balance and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a moderately creamy, slick, and lightly syrupy moutfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming present after the finish. Overall this is a fantastic BA Barleywine! All around awesome complexity and balance of malt and bourbon barrel flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the ABV. A highly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.1/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

1/6/12 heavy seas below deck in bourbon barrels
2010 vintage. Drank side by side with a 2010 Cabernet barrel aged Below Deck. Poured into my Brawley's snifter.

a - Pours a pretty dark mahogany brown color with two inches of light tan head and light to moderate carbonation evident. Looks like the Cabernet version, maybe a touch lighter in color but not much at all.

s - Smells of caramel malts, toffee, dark fruits, oak, bourbon, toasted malts, and light vanilla. Definitely more bourbon in this one than there was wine in the Cabernet version, but again, it seems very faded. Nose is no where as sweet as the Cabernet nose. I like both noses, but for very different reasons.

t - Tastes of caramel malts, toffee, bourbon, oak, vanilla, toasted malts, nuts, dark fruits, and alcohol. More bourbon and oak here than in the nose. This is about what I was expecting; taste is very nice and I prefer it to the Cabernet. Again, not as sweet as the Cabernet in the taste as well.

m - Medium to full body and moderate carbonation. Thick, smooth, and c reamy; very good for a barleywine.

o - Overall I preferred this one to the Cabernet version, but I'm not convinced either improves form aging. Both are good beers, with the Cabernet verions being much sweeter, and this version havnig more bourbon (as expected), so I guess it just really depends on what you like in a barleywine. Either way, I'd suggest drinking them relatively fresh as I think they both faded already in a year.

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Photo of stakem
4.03/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a bomber that I believe I found in a shop near the finger lakes in New York last year. Opened this with a couple friends for a side by side tasting with the cabernet version.

Poured into a snifter, this brew appears a hazed amber color with some orange coloration and yellowish stain around the edges. Some particulate is stuck in suspension of this brew. A creamy tan head holds fairly well leaving spotty lacework clinging to the glass.

The aroma of this brew is sweet, soothing vanilla, light oak and a little nuttiness mixed with some minor oxidation quality. The bourbon is very mellow on this brew with a smoothness that is quite enjoyable. The alcohol becomes more evident as it warms with a tingly and fusel aspect to the brew. The nose of this brew is quite enjoyable however the base brew is pretty much dominated by the barrel aging contribution.

The taste is a strong bourbon infused kick of alcohol. The malt inclusion is toasty and a bit nutty like the aroma led on. Some herbal hops are noted mixed with the barrel contributions of oak and vanilla smoothness/sweetness. The finih includes a light oxidized touch that places more emphasis on a dry almost nutty taste yet remains enjoyable.

This is a medium bodied brew with a medium level of carbonation. It is sweet and easy drinking for the most part. The oxidation quality gives it some depth. Overall it's not a bad offering, the 10% abv is hidden quite well. At less than $8 a bomber this is worth having again.

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Photo of WesWes
4.12/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a deep amber color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is great! It has a wonderful mix of burnt toffee and bourbon. It's warm and inviting with a tremendous wood character. The taste is damn good as well. It has a warm, burnt toffee flavor; rich and boozy with tons of caramel malt sweetness. The bourbon barrel aging adds a good deal of vanilla character as well as a fine bourbon flair. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a well brewed beer that has only improved with the barrel aging.

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Photo of tdm168
4.5/5  rDev +14.2%
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.

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Photo of Mora2000
4.2/5  rDev +6.6%
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.

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Photo of billab914
4.07/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It poured a murky, caramel brown color with a thin white head clinging to the edges of the glass. I got a bit of lacing on the glass as I drank it.

The aroma shows a good amount of bourbon to it. I immediately get the boozy, woody, oak barrel character to it. A sweeter, malty, caramel, dark fruit presence comes out as well and mixes very well with the bourbon character. The bourbon was fantastic in it, very flavorful and smooth. The beer was good but didn't bring as much to the table as it could have.

The taste also has a strong bourbon presence to it throughout the flavor. I get more of the sweeter, malty and vanilla flavors to it up front while more of the alcohol and wood character show in the finish. The maltiness really comes through with some sweeter, caramel notes that really compliment the bourbon nicely.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side with carbonation is low. Overall it was a delicious beer, the bourbon and the sweet, maltiness of the barleywine were integrated and balanced almost to perfection. The bourbon especially really stood out to me. The barleywine flavors were very good, but seemed a little overshadowed by the bourbon at times. Excellent beer overall though and an extremely enjoyable one to sip on this evening.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.05/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage 2011. Poured into a large snifter glass.

Barely any head off the pour, with little faint off caramel and tan color whisps of foam. Barely a collar remains. Color is a real nice looking clear and chestnut hued brown with red edges. Lots of red throughout the body too. Too bad the head doesn't really seem to make an appearance other than leaving some whispy top and a little bit of a collar. Really like the body color, but no so much absence of foam.

Nose is sort of strange. A faint hop of tea like sense, some noticeable heat, light sense of malt and body coming perhaps? A bit musty and dark raisin fruit but light.

Taste however is a big improvement. Light dusted brown sugar, and fruit cake tasting palate. Nice light candied and dark coat fruits with a faint molasses sense. A slight sense of playful tight carbonation in feel. Very fruity, with a little caramel tasting action.

Overall pretty solid, but also real easy drinking too. Surprisingly not much barrel aging bourbon character here but no complaints.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.05/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Ontap, medium amber colored brew. Off white foam leaving some lace. Aroma of dark fruits, spiced apple, bourbon, more fruit. Flavor has a base Barleywine sweet maltyness, accented nicely by big oak and moderate bourbon. Rummy raisin notes are more than welcome here. Alcohol is warming but not overdone in the flavor profile. Dry oaky tannins round out the finish in a full bodied ale. The carbonation is at a healthy medium. Overall quite satisfying. Let this brew warm, it took on a new dimension. A fine job of barrel aging, this is a good Barleywine.

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Photo of John_M
3.92/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

On cask at Max's today.

The beer pours a brownish amber color with OK head retention and decent lacing. The nose on this beer is pretty nice, showing brown sugar, vanilla, chocolate and noticeable bourbon. On the palate the flavor profile is pretty nice, with brown sugar and vanilla, with a hint of chocolate and considerable underlying hoppy bitterness. Mouthfeel is soft, plush and creamy, with a long finish. Drinkability is pretty good considering the 10% abv.

Not entirely sure what to think about of this beer. The cask conditioning and barrel aging improve the beer IMHO, but it's still not entirely my cup of tea in a Barleywine. Even with the barrel aging, the beer still shows some alcohol and heat in the finish. Nevertheless, this is still a pretty nice beer.

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Photo of DrDemento456
4.23/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A - A nice deep amber brown with a 1/4 inch of foamy mocha head.
S - Not very bourbon heavy but still pleasant with caramel, toffee, melon rind, and some sweet sweet vanilla.
T - Far from the most bourbon based beer I had from these guys (damn greater Pumpkin was like straight up booze) this beer taste of balanced boozey awesomeness mixed with syrup like caramel, vanilla highlight, and some more bourbon.
M - Heavy for sure but not as heavy as Backwoods Bastard. Very tasty.

Overall after having two bombers for 8 bucks a pop I am convinced this is the best bourbon barrel beer ever made! Even at 10 bucks its a steal.

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Photo of glid02
4.42/5  rDev +12.2%
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.

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Photo of jrallen34
4.02/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber into my Narke glass...Murky dark brown, lots of amber in the light. The head is light tan, but doesn't show much of head. There is a thick ring around the rim, ok lacing...The aroma is too light and almost exclusively just shows off the bourbon barrels. Light toffee and vanilla too, can't tell its a barleywine. Like most in this series, the bw is too light and dominated by the barrel...The taste is all bourbon, light bourbon, at that. A hint of vanilla, tastes good, like a watered down bourbon, no hint of barleywine or beer though...The feel is light on the palate, no burn or aftertaste...Easy to drink.

Another decent bw, but again a Heavy Seas light bw that couldn't hold up and took on all the character of the barrel. If you like bourbon its worth drinking, otherwise skip it.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
3.84/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I believe this 22 oz bombarrr is from 2009. Pours a reddish-copper color with a bubbly tan head. Low retention and lacing.

Nose is a nice balance of sweet malt and spicy bourbon. Low hop aroma and fruit is minimal.

Mmmm, pretty tasty. This along with the cabernet version might be my favorite so far from the Mutiny Fleet. Bourbon and oak flavors are in perfect harmony with the beer, not too overpowering but notable enough. ABV is well hidden, goes down smooth. Gets a bit thin and surprisingly mild as the ounces pass, but this is a fine beer that I would certainly drink again.

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Photo of cpetrone84
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-pours a hazy dark amber color with a fluffy bubbly light tan head that leaves a good lacing on the glass.

S-the oak, vanilla, and bourbon come through nicely up front., toasted caramel malts, slightly burnt brown sugar, and faint notes of sweet dark fruits.

T-the taste is quite sweet up front, lots of caramel and carmelized sugars, a nice plum and cherry sweetness come in behind. the oak is present, a good bit of bourbon, with a nice vanilla sweetness to balance on the barrels. hints of fusels in the back with a touch of heat.

M-smooth on the palate, good carbonation, a little prickly on the back of the throat, medium body and coats the mouth a little.

D-i really enjoy this, the malty sweetness has a nice amount of depth and the barrel aging adds a nice balance to it. the bourbon lingers in the back with notes of fusel alcohol that detract slightly but still well done.

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Heavy Seas Bourbon Barrel Aged Below Decks from Heavy Seas Beer
88 out of 100 based on 106 ratings.