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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
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(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 292
Reviews: 105
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 8.77%
Wants: 34
Gots: 58 | 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
Photo of russpowell
3.62/5  rDev -9.3%
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...

Photo of oberon
3.63/5  rDev -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.

Photo of Florida9
3.75/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to neorunner for this one:

2010 Vintage

A: Deep mahogany brown in color, yet still fully translucent. Forms a thin, light tan head. Little retention though causes it to reduce to just a thin ring around the edges. Some spotty lacing. 4.0

S: Vanilla and oak. Caramel malts. Aroma was quite pronounced at first, but it seems to have burned off as it warms. 3.5-4.0

T: Lightly sweet caramel malt. Vanilla and oak. A bit earthy with a stewed tea quality. There is a slight bit of alcoholic heat on the end. Finishes rather quick, with even more oak and vanilla. 3.5-4.0

M: Medium in body, but feels thinnish. Lower carbonation level. Oddly clean for a barrel aged beer. Just a little bit of heat on the finish. 3.5

O: A good BA Barleywine. Vanilla and oak are quite pronounced, possibly more so than unsual because the underlying beer seems a little thin. I imagine this one has some age on it as seems to be quite mellow. 3.5-4.0

Photo of maximum12
3.79/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to bb189 for yet another generous trade, made even more so by this fine-looking extra. I hope he enjoyed the avalanche of Furious I buried him in! Split into our two CC goblets & allowed to warm while doing nothing at all. Watching Rock Star, actually, my wife has a crush on that Marky Mark fella.

I would say that technically, this is a very dark brown. The only way to describe the smell is wow, which I uttered out loud. Wow. Bourbon, vanilla, sultry malts with barely anything on.

Heavy Seas Bourbon Barrel Aged Below Decks simply can't live up to the smell, & doesn't. Nice bourbon bang with a penetrating needle of vanilla that sticks around forever; the vanilla seems to permeate everything it touches. There's probably a base beer underneath the rubble somewhere, but it's hard to tease out; there's a hint of sweet malt, maybe flakes of dark fruit, but not much else going on. Beginnings of oxidation are creeping into this brew, too. Very heavy beer, both in the mouth & the stomach; splitting a bomber is more than enough.

Very good beer, & I rarely say this, but perhaps too heavy on the bourbon. I really enjoyed the base beer, & would have liked to see more of it shining through the veil of the barrel. But alas, it wasn't to be. Still very enjoyable!

Photo of gamwich
3.78/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Rust colored, with a dun-colored head. As the head disappears it leaves sheets of lacing. The nose has strong bourbon notes, vanilla, alcohol, and oak. The flavor is good, with lots of bourbon and vanilla backed up by sweet caramel and molasses/brown sugar notes. Also there is a good bit of heat, but hey, it's 10%. There is just enough carbonation, although I feel like the beer could have a touch more body.

Overall, for $7.99 a 22oz this is a pretty tasty bourbon barrel aged barleywine.

Photo of emmasdad
4.12/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I can't for the life of me remember where this one came from, in fact I initially thought it was a different vintage of Greater Pumpkin. That said, I loved this beer. Poured a dark amber/brown color, with a little light brown head. Aromas of bourbon, oak, vanilla and brown sugar. On the palate, this one was medium to full bodied, with bourbon, brown sugar, oak and booze. Very good.

Photo of stakem
4.03/5  rDev +1%
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.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.88/5  rDev -2.8%
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.

Photo of twiggamortis420
3.84/5  rDev -3.8%
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.

Photo of srandycarter
3.94/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Somewhat murky brown with orange hue. Viscous pour achieves only minor tan head - leaves fast. Very little lace.

S - Deep malt, booze, bourbon and wood.

T - Caramel with the wood, booze evident. Vanilla in small part.

M - Light carbonation and more watery than expected for big barleywine. Balance pretty good.

D - Just not a wower. Fun to try.

Photo of DIM
3.79/5  rDev -5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a: This was a dark chestnut brown and just the the cabernet barrel version there were lots of suspended particles.

s: Bourbon barrel first and foremost, but the aromas weren't overpowering. Lots of vanilla, bourbon, and a little oak. Some toffee and raisins managed to peek through as well.

t: A bit more abrasive than the smell would suggest, with a surprisingly strong hop bite. Still, the barrel dominated overall. Very sweet up front with vanilla, booze, and a hint of fruit. The finish was woody with some solventy heat.

m: Pretty nice body for a BA beer and gentle, fizzy carbonation.

d: Its been awhile, but I seem to recall liking the regular version better than either barrel aged version. I did enjoy this, but stronger barleywine elements would have been welcome.

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

Courtesy of markwise over on ratebeer. It pours clear mahogany with tan head. The aroma starts with sweet bourbon and then moving toward mildly harsh boozy bourbon as well as prunes, figs, raisins, molasses and some heat at the end of the draw. The taste is smooth sweet inviting molasses, caramel, vanilla, sweet bourbon, spicy oak, raisins, figs and a thin strata of dates. Yummy.

Photo of chicagobeerriot
2.93/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Pours dark copper with a medium veil. One inch of head quickly settles to a thin gauze on the surface.

The smell is very bourbon forward. With some toffee and caramel underneath. There's a little vanilla and oak, but I'm getting much more straight bourbon than I am getting some of the more subtle characteristics from the barrel.

Mouthfeel is on the thin side. With only light carbonation, I would prefer that the mouthfeel be fuller.

The taste is much like the smell: very bourbon forward without strong complementary flavors to provide balance. To put this in perspective: I like bourbon in my beer. But here, there is not enough of a malt or hop backbone to provide depth (and heft). I'm left with the sensation of just drinking watered down bourbon. That's not the end of the world, but it keeps this beer from fully succeeding.

I'd recommend aging this one for a couple of years to restore balance. The alcohol bite should retreat and some of the sweet malt should develop to give this beer a more rounded and complex flavor profile.

Photo of nezelrac
3.78/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The only information I had about this was that it was "wood aged" - given what I found in the glass I am fairly certain it was the bourbon not the cabernet...

12oz snifter, draft

A - a chestnut-auburn topped with a minimal off-white head that quickly dissipates leaving little on the glass

S - strong woody notes, vanilla, plenty of malt and toffee, hints of dried fruits

T - woody and malty with hints of nuts and more toffee, balanced but favoring the barrel

M - lightish for a barleywine, quite appealing, the wood gives it a dry edge

D - quite easy for the style, the wood may put some off, I would have another

Photo of jrallen34
4.02/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

Photo of augustgarage
3.85/5  rDev -3.5%
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.

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.

Photo of jnn4v
4.07/5  rDev +2%
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.

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.

Photo of ShadesOfGray
4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
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!

Photo of WesWes
4.12/5  rDev +3.3%
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.

Photo of Mora2000
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
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.

Photo of kylehayworth
4.08/5  rDev +2.3%
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.

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.

Photo of bruachan
3.01/5  rDev -24.6%
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

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