1. Extreme Beer Fest tickets go on sale Sat, Sep 27 @ Noon EDT.
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

276 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 276
Reviews: 102
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 8.77%
Wants: 31
Gots: 60 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 276 | Reviews: 102 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Pencible
4.22/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: This poured a hazy mahogany with a bit of tan head.
S: It smelled like delicious toffee and rich caramel and vanilla bourbon, with some orange and copper and alcohol.
T: It tasted like orange and copper hops and rich toffee malt, with some vanilla and bourbony oak. It had a mellow sweet aftertaste, with a little lingering bitterness and alcohol.
M: It was somewhat thick with subtle carbonation. Not heavy, but not too light.
D: This had an amazing scent with very nice taste and body. Alcohol was noticeable but not bad, so it was fairly easy to drink. Could probably improve with age, but fresh is already much better than the standard Below Decks (or the Cabernet Barrel version). Perhaps the best beer I've had from Heavy Seas.

Pencible, Dec 20, 2010
Photo of jnn4v
4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Chestnut color with a hint of copper hue.

S: Vanilla, oak, and toffee. Really just those three scents are dominant.

T: Flavor matches the scent nearly identically. Very strong vanilla flavors. Especially when paired with cheese or balsamic vinegar.

M: Mouthfeel has good texture but is missing some carbonation from what I'd expect. Slightly flat, even for a barleywine.

D: Good drinkability while cold. Decently balanced. But the flavors just keep getting stronger (in a not-so-good-way) as it warms.

jnn4v, Dec 18, 2010
Photo of Thorpe429
4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

Thorpe429, Nov 09, 2010
Photo of ShadesOfGray
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into my tall Allagash snifter/chalice. Pours a reddish brown color with about a finger to two size creamy tan head, with light retention. Doesn't leave much of a lacing. A very nice start to a great looking barleywine.

Aroma is great. Good amount of hops for an english barleywine! Some charcoal and burnt notes, and BOURBON! Wow, booze is definitely noticeable, and overall a wonderful aroma.

Flavor is very good, but not great. Creamy mouthfeel, decent amount of booze, medium carbonation. The bourbon addition is a stellar addition to the Below Decks barleywine beer! Some hops, fruits, charcoal...possibly some toffee? Overall, a very good beer. I think I liked the wine aged Below decks better, but this was definitely delicious!

ShadesOfGray, Nov 03, 2010
Photo of WesWes
4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
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.

WesWes, Oct 18, 2010
Photo of Mora2000
4.22/5  rDev +5.8%
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 kylehayworth
4.13/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was really exciterd to try this, I don;t even remember where I got it from, but barrel aged barelywine sounds mighty tasty.

A: Pours rich amber/red/burgandy in color. A white'ish head which was really impressive.

S: Smells of mildly burnt caramel apples, with brown vanilla sugar. Becomes very pronounced as it warms.

T: It is a great balance of all the sweetness you can smell in the nose. The caramel/toffee and vanilla. There is an ever so mild "tingle," but very well balanced.

M/D: It is very smooth and easily drinakable. I really enjoyed this beer, a great barleywine. I bet it would be even better a year from now, I just couldn;t wait that long.

kylehayworth, Oct 02, 2010
Photo of prototypic
3.95/5  rDev -1%
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 bruachan
3.03/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

the deep froth in my glass already makes me suspicious of the "english" qualifier to this barleywine. good lacing

aroma is lightly of bourbon and oak. slightly wild smelling and also slightly smelling of brown sugar

tastes mostly of bourbon, to be sure. bigtime cola thing going on. heat, but very little beer character. where is the barleywine under the bourbon? no vinous element, no diacetyl, no roasty, no fruity. i taste what basically amounts to a brown ale...in fact this resembles very closely Tyranena's Rockey's Revenge (a bourbon brown)

my fears this might be an american barleywine were allayed, i suppose, but it doesn't exactly inspire thoughts of an english barleywine, either

bruachan, Sep 04, 2010
Photo of billshmeinke
3.53/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into my Stone Old Guardian glass.

Has a dark ruby body that is semi-opaque. Two finger slightly off white head. Dies down to a slim layer of foam on top. Nice lacing.

Smells of caramel malts apple and apricot esters. Reminiscent of Gratitude.

Taste is fairly subtle and follows smell. Caramel/toffee malts, apple/apricot, some dark berries, subtle vanilla/oak. Bourbon is barely noticeable.

Mouthfeel is on the high end of medium bodied. Low carbonation. Smooth, but too light on the palate for such a big beer IMO. I like my big beers to be a little more assertive.

No heat which is a bit odd. I actually might like a bit more heat. Deceptively easy to drink. Wish it were more flavorful.

billshmeinke, Aug 25, 2010
Photo of bamadog
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Drinking this one before a very long day of work, so I feel it will at least help me sleep well tonight. Review is from notes taken on 8/19/2010 and poured from the bottle to a snifter glass.

Appearance: Pours a ruddy dark brown/murky cidery color; starts with a 1/2 finger off-white head that fades quickly to a thin wisp; body is cloudy/murky and really can't be seen through at all; nice strands and spots of lacing are left behind.

Smell: Pretty solid hints of dark, possibly even burnt, caramel and a bit of an apple-like scent; bit of a vanilla/oaky presence in the nose; and as it warms, there is a bit of a burnt sugary aspect.

Taste: I'm glad the hops are toned down in this one as the last few barleywines I've drank have been more of the American variety -- I really dig the smooth maltiness of the English versions. Very nice caramel/toffee maltiness right up front and a bit of an astringent oakiness and I feel that the vanilla sweetness that I smelled is kind of consumed by the caramel malts; a strong and slightly medicinal hot bourbony alcohol is definitely presence in the mouth and it makes me feel that a little age on this one would do it a world of good, so I'll definitely be picking up another one of these to wax and put away for a while.

Mouthfeel: Body is of medium weight; carbonation is fairly soft and smooth; plenty of thick stickiness is left behind that becomes quite dry and cottony between sips; gums are left tingly and the belly is left warm from the big ABV.

Drinkability: Moderate at best due to the big ABV and bit of a heavy weight after a while; great flavors though and this would definitely be a beer to share; can't wait to try this one with a year or so on it.

bamadog, Aug 20, 2010
Photo of Bung
4.08/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. Murky brown with orange hint pour. Nearly no head, some white bubbles.

Aroma has malt, yellow raisin, vanilla, hint of barrel. Improves as it warms.

Taste shines a little brighter than the aroma. Heavy does of caramel, brown sugar, vanilla. Some oak, raisin and light red fruits later. Finishes with a nice bourbon barrel vanilla and caramel finish.

Smooth mouthfeel, lighter body than it appears even. Just slightly warming, but goes down very easy.

Best thing I've had from these guys in a while, maybe ever.

Bung, Aug 15, 2010
Photo of mcallister
3.98/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A filtered sparkley garnet color with a off white head of a quarter inch that fades into a foamy top. No lace.

Toffee, caramel, hints of bourbon, slight wood but not much else pretty light on aromas.

Ahhh there we go taste is very nice. Much more fruity qualities come out. Red currant, cherry, date, fig, caramel, toffee, vanilla, woodsy notes, with some bourbon on the finish. Slight wood tannins as well. Very nice light bodies barley wine.

mcallister, Jul 28, 2010
Photo of glid02
4.43/5  rDev +11%
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 nova009
4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a snifter

A- pours a dark cloudy amber color, small white head that leaves some neat lacing

S- oak, vanilla, burnt sugar and caramel, dark fruits, slight bourbon notes at the end

T- large amounts of caramel upfront, vanilla and oak, slightly fruity,bourbon and alcohol burn in the aftertaste, almost a little too sweet

M- very smooth, nice medium body that coats the mouth, the alcohol burns the throat a little on the swallow

D- a nice one to sip on, one of the better bourbon barrel aged barleywines i've had, i wouldn't mind picking one of these up again if i can find it

nova009, Jul 09, 2010
Photo of womencantsail
3.45/5  rDev -13.5%
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.

womencantsail, Jul 01, 2010
Photo of darklordlager
3.98/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Courtesy of a generous trader...Thanks Jason.

A: Pours a ruddy amber-brown, somewhat cloudy. Small 1/2" head dies down to a mere covering after 30 seconds.

S: Sweet malt, well worked in bourbon character and some woodyness. Sweet caramel, candied fruit. Spirit-like booziness starting to emerge as it warms.

T: Fruity, light but pleasant dark-fruit character. "Juicy," oddly enough. Nicely worked bourbon character that sneaks up near the finish. Woody vanilla emerges as it warms

M: Medium bodied, with medium carbonation. Relatively thin for the style, with a dry(ish) finish for a barleywine.

D: A very smooth example of the style. The bourbon is complementary, which is a nice change after recently having a number of bourbon-centric brews.

darklordlager, Jun 28, 2010
Photo of jampics2
4.38/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into a Founders snifter. Had to give this a shot after absolutely loving the Cab barrel version.

Looks great in the snifter, fluffy head quickly subsides but that's to be expected with a -bal aged BW. Nice film stays, and some good lacing. Dark brown with red highlights.

Smell is great - lots of bourbon, raisin, fig, caramel, and slight oak and vanilla.

Taste is wonderful. Great mixture between the caramel, vanilla, bourbon, and dark fruits. There's a really nice balance, and the barrel is adding on top of the base, not competing. This is only going to get better with time as well, there's a moderate amount of hops now that need to take just a small step back. I love the caramel/vanilla combo, I'm getting more of this.

Mouthfeel was nice as well - heavy feel with great carbonation.

OK, so it's a HUGE beer, not the most drinkable, but it's wonderful and I would buy again on sight. Great beer from Heavy Seas, the Cab Barrel was more innovative but this is just as good. Nice one!

jampics2, Jun 27, 2010
Photo of lightindarkness
4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown with nice sudsy head. Warm aroma of bourbon, wood, butter, cake, caramel, and grain. Tastes smooth with warm bourbon, grains and butterscotch. Bourbon is rich and complex without being boozy. Barleywine is cut, mellowed, and mild by the aging. Strong on butter, plus a strain of vanilla unique only to barrel aged beers I've had on the verge of infection or souring, but still in their excellent stages. Drinks smoothly, with a fuller medium body that feels a bit lighter. Abv prohibits large quantity drinking, but drinks nicely with some different character than most bourbon aged beers.

lightindarkness, Jun 26, 2010
Photo of cpetrone84
4/5  rDev +0.3%
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.

cpetrone84, Jun 23, 2010
Photo of jojomdma
4.63/5  rDev +16%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearence: Dark Rusty Red in color

Smell: A smooth mild Barleywine aroma

Taste is mild yet fulfilling with a hint of bourbon

Mouthfeel: Thin but it is very quenching to the thirst.

Drinkability: It is sooo easy to drink multiples of this great brew.

jojomdma, Jun 22, 2010
Photo of deereless
4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Angel's hair thickness of head, sporadic spots of foam along the interior of the glass, medium amber to ice tea in color - 4.00, S: Strong bourbon aromas, very noticeable alcohol, smells of golden raisins and dates, lots of caramel, thickly sweet - 4.25, T: Tons of malty sweetness, dark molasses, brown sugar and raisins, clear hop bite, alcohol is evident and provides a slight burn, the palate also has a bit of toffee, bourbon is present but has a lesser role on the tongue than on the nose - 3.75, M: Full bodied and quite silky - 4.50, D: All around a good beer made better by some bourbon barrel aging, certainly worth a try - 4.00

deereless, Jun 19, 2010
Photo of TMoney2591
4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
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.

TMoney2591, Jun 14, 2010
Photo of MbpBugeye
4.28/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My first beer from Heavy Seas. Ive tried sips of friend's bottles but Ive never purchased one. I dont know why, their product line just never really compelled me. A bourbon oak barleywine is a different story...

A- Minimal head, as I expected. The beer is pretty dark, at times it looks almost black. Its a really muddy red/brown. Its pretty clear, light passes through easily and creates deep red highlights.

S- VERY nice smell. Lots of nice bourbon. Vanilla from the oak is also dominate. The bourbon is strong and relatively untouched. It gives off notes of pears and creme and charcoal. Beneath the bourbon and vanilla there is caramel and some hops. Also plenty of alcohol. This is a delightful smelling beer.

T- Lots and lots and lots of vanilla and oak. The bourbon is totally there but its not too harsh. Its sweet, boozy, fruity and caramelly. There is actually a lot of caramel. The hops that are picked up in the nose are barely there but during the finish they give some grassyness. Along with the finish comes plenty of chocolate.

M- Everything up to this point is nice. The body here is a touch watery. The carbonation is low. The feel finishes semi dry which is nice with the bittersweet cocoa on the finish.

D- Boozy for sure. Lots of bourbon here. If you love bourbon this beer will suit you just fine.

MbpBugeye, Jun 13, 2010
Photo of Daniellobo
3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Rather competent and pleasing bourbon aged barleywine, a great step for the regular Below Decks.

Presentation: 22 oz brown bottle. Perfunctory pirate skull themed label on this occasion with a predictable badly designed barrel and a bottle of liquor. This one is already part of the branding overhaul, of which these big bottles have changed the least. The design is still rather poor but ironically through repetition and lack of sophistication they have become rather identifiable and almost likable. On these bombers it works... Side narrative goes over the intent of the brewing series, pirated themed inspiration, main description of the brew, and succinct cellaring notes. Notes vintage date (2010) Shows Alc. by Vol. (10%) Served in a snifter.

A - Clear amber brown pour, with a short bubbly head, average retention with a nice surface memory and persistent touches of lace.

S - Soft vanilla and caramel notes over sweet malts with a tiny hoppy touch. Overall, the nose is rather pleasing and goes in a great direction, just a bit shy of the next level.

T - Dark sugar notes... And around that caramel a nice vanilla touch, and a bit of soft bourbon. An assertive hoppy undercurrent is about to scream out but is pleasantly incapable of doing it and remains threatening like a remainder of how much this is behaving as opposed to a fresh and raw Below Decks. This is remarkably "good" if only for what a great improvement it exemplifies.

M - Medium-full body with brittle smoothness that never quite breaks providing a nice finish. A bit of boozy roughness lingering gently reminds of the freshness of the offering without breaking the rhythm.

D - It flows very nicely and combines all around as a rather pleasing quaffer.

Notes: This is a brew well made, without being extraordinary it covers all the essential expectations of a quality bourbon barred aged barleywine. In fact, it is quite a pleasing surprise since it improves right away the perceived roughness of a fresh regular Below Decks, beyond the expectations of what was too harsh a barleywine. While there is a touch of alcohol edginess it is fairly well integrated with the overall brew and does not give it a too strong off-key note.

Daniellobo, May 30, 2010
Heavy Seas Bourbon Barrel Aged Below Decks from Heavy Seas Beer
89 out of 100 based on 276 ratings.