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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BA SCORE
88
very good

106 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

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Reviews: 106
Hads: 298
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 5.1%
Wants: 38
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 Kromes
3.92/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: A clear dark copper with a thin line of bubbles on top. Good legs.

S: A nice vanilla and oak aroma with a bit of caramel and butterscoth.

T: Taste follows the nose. Vanilla and oak up front with a bit of caramel and then the bourbon and alcohol flavor and warmth kick in.

M: Medium bodied for a Barleywine. Good carbonation....smooth.

O: The Barleywine does get overpowered a bit by the alcohol. But it is a nice mixture of both. (436 characters)

Photo of mrandypandy
3.49/5  rDev -11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

32oz growler purchased at Hop City in Atlanta.

A - Pours a deep, clear mahogany. Thin white soapy head. Pretty.
S - Caramel sweetness, but not much else. Expecting a bigger bourbon nose on this.
T - Nice malty backbone with a toffee sweetness. Not much bourbon. Almost a buttery aftertaste though.
M - Medium to full body but not too heavy. Surprisingly smooth.
O - Very subdued bourbon treatment on this. A bit on the sweeter side for a barleywine, but still tasty. Doesn't taste boozy but I can feel the alcohol sneaking up on me. Overall, wished there was more bourbon in both the nose and flavor. (606 characters)

Photo of frenchblood21
4.38/5  rDev +11.7%
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. (825 characters)

Photo of mdfb79
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
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. (1,480 characters)

Photo of zaphodchak
4.53/5  rDev +15.6%
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. (464 characters)

Photo of ryan1788a5
4.29/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber poured into an oversized snifter.

A: Pours a deep ruby color. Little head, even after a vigorous pour. No retention at all. A strong swirl of the glass only succeeds in stirring up a few bubbly patches that dissipate immediately. Thin wisps of lacing.

S: Bourbon and barrel scents are prevalent, but not overbearing. Bourbon, oak, vanilla. Underlying caramel and bread crust. A touch of leather and some powdery chocolate. Mild alcohol. Estery scents of raspberry and dried figs. Hops are hard to pick out, but they seem to be English and earthy/herbal.

T: Caramel and bread crust open. Sweet caramel builds. Toffee. Raspberry esters tease the tongue. Bourbon interjects mid-palate, albeit subtly. More rich, sugary caramel. Woody flavors pull through and dry things out a bit. Dry chocolatey taste. Vanilla sneaks out. Long finish of caramel and wood.

M: Thick, chewy, syrupy, and viscous. Little to no carbonation. Just the way a good barleywine should be.

O: A very impressive barrel aged barleywine. Bourbon barrel aging speaks softly, but has a lot to say. It is subtle in just the right spots, and allows the complexity of the beer to pull through.

Notes: Wow, what a steal at $5.99 a bomber. Who ever heard of a bourbon barrel aged beer at this price point, especially one of this quality? I will be stocking my cellar with this. A diamond in the rough for sure. (1,389 characters)

Photo of OWSLEY069
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clean orange-ish to brown color with an off white head. In the aroma, vanilla, oaky, and bourbon. In the taste, oaky bourbon, vanilla sweetness and a dry alcohol presence. An alcohol like bite and medium bodied mouthfeel, with a dry alcohol and bourbon like aftertaste. Big bourbon presence sweet oak and vanilla for a balance. (335 characters)

Photo of smakawhat
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
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. (1,029 characters)

Photo of harrymel
3.47/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2010 Vintage

Moving on from the virgin version, we come to the BBA version. It appears lighter in color than the first and has excellent clarity of a toasted honey graham color. No head to speak of. The nose is not dominated by the bourbon character, and actually takes time for me to find. As it warms this character comes through a bit more, but the base still stands: cocoa, english toffee malts. Simple and satisfying.

The flavor is more bourbon infused than the nose. There is a substantial bourbon flavor, but sans boozy tones. Nice toffee and caramel flavors with a little smidge of prunes in the finish. Nice flavor with medium body and light carb.

A nice beer, but to be honest, if this was more than 10% the cost of the original, I would likely pass it up for the original. (786 characters)

Photo of chodinheaven
4.12/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Snowy off-white head on top of a brown beer with bright ruby red highlights. Decent head retention that reduces down to a white sheet, yeilding some spotty lacing. Deep caramel notes through the nose underneath some juicy dark fruit smells. The bourbon barrel aging lends some toasty grain smells that are reminiscent of bourbon. This aroma combines perfectly with the fruity esters to create a well-balanced nose. The alcohol is present and noticeable but doesn't overpower the other aromas. Very nice nose.

The toasty grains come through nicely in this beer and combine fruity flavors of apples and pears, but not quite as smoothly as with the aroma. It's a taste that grows on you as you go however, especially as it warms. Caramel malts do most of the background work, letting the apple and pear tastes shine. There is a subtle bourbon influence in the alcohol and grain feel and taste that works well in this barleywine. The alcohol and sweet flavors are not cloying, but not far off from it either. The hops work nicely in balancing this sweetness out, also creating a prickly feel with the alcohol and finishing smoothly, but crisp. That alcohol taste is warming and not too hot, allowing the flavors to interact and make for a pretty balanced and flavorful english style barleywine.

Pretty good beer, and I'm glad I picked it up. Some subtle flavors in here that make for a complex beer that works pretty well. (1,422 characters)

Photo of ATLbeerDog
3.48/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a thin rust color with an average tan head that dissipates fairly quickly. Smells boozy, oaky, bourbony w/plenty of sweet malt adding to the nose. First sip is super malt sweetness layered in a ton of oak. There is bourbon in there too but the oak unfortunately is much more dominating. The sweetness that hits first fades rather quickly leading to a bitter finish highlighted almost entirely by the mighty oak. Though very thin bodied there is just enough carbonation to warrant a decent mouthfeel. The 10% ABV is not well hidden at all. It is in your face making one to think it is stronger than it really is. (617 characters)

Photo of AgentMunky
3.7/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle into a St. Bernardus goblet. 2010 vintage.

A: Light off-white forms bubbles before migrating to the sides of the glass. The beer is a murky, reddish sienna. Not particularly translucent. Good lacing!

S: Strong smelling. Boozy fruits, bready chocolates, and a bit of funk that might come from yeast. It smells a bit like a chocolate chip oatmeal cookie. Bourbon isn't particularly present, but alcohol is.

T: Meh, it's alright. The flavours are muted...perhaps because the beer was inexpertly stored before purchase? The maintaste is as murky as the appearance, betraying only a hint of chocolate and a gentle alcohol. A touch of red grape. The end/aftertaste is strongly reminiscent of whisky, not bourbon but some of the older single malts I've encountered -- it's old leather, pleasantly musty and enduring.

M: Sturdy. Musty and musky.

O: Not as good as I expected, but still worth the money I paid for it. I generally enjoy all of Heavy Seas' Mutiny Fleet productions, but this is a qualified exception. I guess it didn't age well. I will withhold any recommendation, positive or negative. I won't buy another it, even if I ever see one. (1,176 characters)

Photo of jamescain
3.87/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a sniffer, thanks pwsoldier for sharing this one.

Appearance: Murky dark riddish-brown with a thin head that fades into a thin lacing and clings a bit to the side.

Aroma: Bourbon, vanilla, oak, caramel, toffee, and slightly bready, mixed with dark fruits.

Taste: Dark fruits with a tough of bourbon and alcohol, pleasing but not overwhelming alcohol contribution.

Mouthfeel: Syrupy but not too chewy, with a noticeable alcoholic finish.

Overall: It was enjoyable and I look forward to comparing it to the red wine version that I have. (551 characters)

Photo of billab914
4.07/5  rDev +3.8%
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. (1,259 characters)

Photo of russpowell
3.62/5  rDev -7.7%
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... (732 characters)

Photo of oberon
3.63/5  rDev -7.4%
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. (467 characters)

Photo of Florida9
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%
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 (942 characters)

Photo of maximum12
3.79/5  rDev -3.3%
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! (1,280 characters)

Photo of gamwich
3.78/5  rDev -3.6%
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. (493 characters)

Photo of emmasdad
4.12/5  rDev +5.1%
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. (384 characters)

Photo of stakem
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
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. (1,489 characters)

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.88/5  rDev -1%
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. (1,694 characters)

Photo of twiggamortis420
3.84/5  rDev -2%
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. (583 characters)

Photo of srandycarter
3.94/5  rDev +0.5%
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. (352 characters)

Photo of DIM
3.79/5  rDev -3.3%
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. (778 characters)

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