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Heavy Seas Bourbon Barrel Aged Below Decks - Heavy Seas Beer

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Heavy Seas Bourbon Barrel Aged Below DecksHeavy Seas Bourbon Barrel Aged Below Decks

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very good

292 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 292
Reviews: 105
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 8.77%
Wants: 33
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:
Beer added by: John_M on 05-18-2010

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 292 | Reviews: 105 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of CloudStrife
4.17/5  rDev +4.5%
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.

Photo of TheBrewo
3.88/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

We pour a brew of dark ruby red coloring. It holds an easily reproducible one and a half finger tall head of fatty light tan bubbles. This shows decent retention, receding into a ghostly film across the top of the liquid. Spots and sheets of lacing are left as it goes. A chill haze exists, but no sediment is noted. Carbonation appears moderate. The aroma gives the bouquet of a veritable malt bomb. There are huge caramel and lighter coffee malts, with syrupy toffee sweetness, and cooked brown sugars. The bourbon barreling is apparent off the bat, with warm woodiness and authentic, spicy bourbon. This also gives some buttery diacetyls, and a sweeter hint of bubblegum esters. Light citric hops, fusel booze, and biting phenolic plastics come out more with warmth. Our first impression is that the flavoring is buttery and strong with woodiness and bourbon, but as in the nose, the background base flavoring is a bit milder. The flavoring does, however, strengthen quite a bit with warmth. As we sip, toffee sweetness mixes with caramel malts, buttery bourbon, and warming woodiness. The booze is fusel and fiery, stinging for the remainder of the sip. The peak comes with more soured, puckered oak dryness, strong phenolic bite, chalky grain, cloying brown sugar sweetness, and smooth caramel malts. We finish on notes of overripe strawberry fruitiness, light and nectary citric hops, big bourbon warmth, those faint aromatic esters, smooth woody oak, and more of those malty undertones. The aftertaste breathes of warmed bourbon, soured oak, green plant freshness, ripe strawberry and fig fruitiness, fusel booze, buttery diacetyls, and chalky mineral. The body is full, and the carbonation is medium. There is great slurp, froth, cream, and smack to each sip, with a sticky, warming coating travelling all the way to the belly. With this coating comes little dryness, except for light astringency on the far back of the hard palate. The abv is big, but appropriate, and the beer sips easily.

Overall, what we enjoyed most about this beer was the flavoring, and the thick and syrupy feel. The flavoring started a bit mild, but once it came to temperature all of the notes and glorious aromatics within blossomed. This full flavored thickness was added to by the physical stickiness and warmth of the beer and the abv. This made for a pleasant feel on each aspect of the sip and follow-through. As with the flavoring, the aroma was also a bit mild in the beginning. This improved only marginally, however, and while all of the expected notes were there, we were wishing for a bit more pop by the end, to fully round this guy out.

Photo of brentk56
3.55/5  rDev -11%
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

Photo of lordofthewiens
3.15/5  rDev -21.1%
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.

Photo of skaboom420
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of laxer8811
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%

Photo of cindyjeffsmith
3.63/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: mahogany. Strong ruby highlights. Off white head, about the size you'd expect from a 10%'er.
Smell: pleasant but quite meek for a big barly, especially a bourbon barrel aged one. Bourbon is present but barely. Some vanilla and pleasant bready hints. Nice enough but frankly weak for a big barrel aged barley.
Taste: different from the nose in that the booze is more present. Similar to the nose in flavor profile. On the plus side it's quite mellow other that a little booze sting.
Overall: a tasty beer but honestly a pipsqueak in the barrel aged barley field.
Edit: had to go in an up the overall a bit. This got better as it warmed.

Photo of Prince_Casual
3.22/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A- I cringe looking at all Heavy Seas labels, and this one is no different, looks like a highschooler made it in M.S. Paint after watching Pirates of the Caribbean + few too many...sorry, let's get to the point:

Once into a tulip this beer looks exactly as it should. Half inch head, nice dark color. Not much to improve on in this department.

S- A lot like smelling a dropper of vanilla extract. Not "bad" but not very beer'ish at all. I've had the non-aged HS barley-wine and this doesn't really remind me of how that one smelled, at all. For me, absolutely no alcohol vapor to speak of, which is more than can be said for a lot of barley wines.

T- Quite sweet. Of course more alcohol is often countered with sweetness, but here the sugars have really taken over, and not very "bourbon-y" at all, more reminiscent of a (melted, quality, Breyers?) vanilla ice cream. No hops to speak of, which I detected in the non-barreled version (and kind of miss). Not perfect but I appreciate what they were going for. It feels "finished" which barley wine doesn't always, for me. ZERO inclination to hang onto this one and "see how it ages." This is ready to drink.

M- Really excels here. While I love a BB-Stout, the way they stick to the back of your teeth, I know it comes with the territory, but it's not something I cherish. Here the added carbonation "keeps it moving" and while I know there's booze there, it doesn't really burn in one spot and it's quite pleasant. The barreling is much more apparent here than in taste, and I remember something like markers mark here. I like that. Barley wines usually "hang out in my mouth" too long and I feel like I just took a shot of rail whiskey... not here, cleans up nicely.

O- I'd easily take this over the Heavy Seas non-aged brethren, by a long shot. This is my first BB barley-wine, although I've had nondescript ales, stouts, porters, etc. from that ilk. Without something to (personally) directly compare this to, I'd say its worth a sip or two. Interested to track down and try the Cab barreled one and compare.

I feel the same way about Heavy Seas as I did before this beer, they're not "world class" but you know what you're getting anytime you order/open one: slightly sweet, minimal hops, low-key (but high-ish) alcohol content.

Would recommend to a discerning friend. If it sounds good to you, worth a shot, not over retail though.

Photo of RuckusDu
4.44/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Says 2010 version. I wasn't going to review it, but tasted pretty good so I thought I would give it a full write-up. Head was pretty minimal and on the light tan side. Body is mostly clear and a deep red amber. Looks good. Aroma is sweet caramel and vanilla. I would put this up against the best English BW's out there. Flavor drops off a bit (maybe a fault of weak body?). Bourbon, vanilla, and marshmallow. Just a hint of bitter as the start. Really quite good. Mouth is wonderful carbonation but weak body. Just leaves the mouth too quickly.

To be honest, I would like a lot more of this. Maybe a trade is in order? Nice bourbon and vanilla and the smell of it is simply amazing. Doesn't substitute for the big guys, but on a value side, this gets the job done.

Tried this on cask today the Ginger Man. At first it was a little unrefined but tasty. Probably what I would expect considering how much I loved the 2 year old version. As I drink more, it gets better and this beer is wonderful fresh, but it could still use some age. Glad I was able to try this on Cask.

Photo of deadonhisfeet
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 bottling. Poured into a Great Lakes snifter. It pours out a clear, fairly dark reddish-mahogany color with one finger of head that quickly dissipates. On the nose, I get sweet toasty malt, vanilla, and bourbon.

Full body and nice slick, creamy feel. The barleywine and bourbon flavors work together nicely here, and the bourbon is very noticeable without being too hot. On the front of the palate, I get the sweet, deep, bready malt and toffee notes of a good English barleywine along with a hint of fruity esters and vanilla. At mid-palate, the bourbon starts to kick in along with a pleasant booziness that brings everything together. There is a slight hop kick right at the finish, but it's nearly lost in the malt, bourbon, and alcohol. The finish is boozy, warming, mildly bitter, and slightly peppery and herbal.

Bourbon-barrel aged barlewines are a style I have really developed a taste for over the past 12 months. I don't drink them very often, but I just cannot pass them up at the store. This one is an exceptional value at only $8.99 per bomber. It's no King Henry, but it's better than you might think. I plan to pick up an extra bottle or two for the cellar to see how it ages. If the sweetness develops and the alcohol dies down, this could be a beautiful beer.

Photo of aleckpa
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of runner440
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of hef
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%

Photo of tbone1384
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%

Photo of stephenjmoore
3.75/5  rDev -6%

Photo of TheJollyHop
3.85/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Draft at Duckworth's in NC.
Opaque chestnut brown hue, steady cascade small bubbles, light tan head.
Heavy sweetness at first sip, malted milk balls, vanilla, bourbon, then it turns into anise, butter cookies and ends oaky. Fantastic taste, if it were not for a slightly soapy hint in the mid palate. Nose is burnt sugar, caramel, bourbon soaked raisins, and vanilla. Not nearly as expressive as the taste.
Medium full body with medium carbonation. This is a tasty sipper. While a bit too sweet it works for my present mood.

Photo of t0rin0
3.75/5  rDev -6%

Photo of 3Hops
3.5/5  rDev -12.3%

Photo of FalconA
3.75/5  rDev -6%

Photo of Birdlegs
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of whallgren
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%

Photo of swh1972
3.75/5  rDev -6%

Photo of twaddlac
2.56/5  rDev -35.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A- Very beautiful. Dark amber color with a nice creamy head. The carbonation in the beer is what I really like about the looks of this beer - I haven't seen this many before.

S- Very sweet and nutty with a hint of banana

T- It has a strong metallic note to it that lingers throughout. You can definitely taste the alcohol which is mildly unpleasant. A very nutty flavor with a strong hop bite at the finish.

M- Very nice (Borat voice). Finishes very dry and the carbonation isn't too bad. Medium bodied.

O- I didn't think that bourbon barrels would complement a barleywine well.. I was right. I would have much rather had the cabernet barrel for this brew.

To note: I don't know if it's just me, but the barrel aging process that Heavy Seas uses seems to not be the best... It's always overly sweet with a very nutty overtone and not much for a bourbon taste. I remember having their octoberfest (or one of their fall beers) and it was almost indistinguishable from this beer. Just something the take caution about.

Photo of claaark13
3.91/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 bottles served at cellar temp. Sent as an extra from Brad in a RB trade. Awesome.

A - Dark brown with a reddish hue. Thick off-white head turns to some nice lacing. The lacing retention is fantastic.

S - Sweet malts, slight oak, slight vanilla.

T - Much like the aroma. Sweet malts, dark fruits, then hints of vanilla and sweet oak push through. Very smooth throughout. There is a little bit of a drag in the flavor before the barrel picks up. The vanilla/caramel/oak almost shows a candy-like flavor from middle to end. The finish gives the slightest amount of heat and dryness, but is fairly smooth.

M - Medium, feels a little thicker and has some carbonation. Pretty nice.

O - Good flavors, not too hot, good finish, good beer. I'm really enjoying this one.

Photo of JakeDebus
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Heavy Seas Bourbon Barrel Aged Below Decks from Heavy Seas Beer
89 out of 100 based on 292 ratings.