1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  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.
very good

281 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 281
Reviews: 102
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 8.77%
Wants: 32
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:
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: 281 | Reviews: 102 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jondeelee
4.33/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bourbon Barrel Aged Below Decks opens to a sweet, fruity nose bearing loads of fruit esters, including very nice bits of plum, fig, orange, grape, and berry, as well as a touch of raisin and prune. These aromas – especially the darker ones – mix well with a light overtone of vanilla, oak, and bourbon from the barrel aging, lending the beer very strong tawny port overtones. In fact, in a blind smelling test, this could be easily mistaken for a light, sweet port, with just a faint hint of extra-vanilla-laden bourbon about the edges. The grains also bring in supporting layers of pie crust and floury baguette, as well as touches of multigrain toast crust, to help offset the sweetness, and touches of brown sugar and amber agave nectar add further dimension to the sugars. As a whole, the nose here is very nice, bearing little in the way of beer aromas, but boasting a full-bodied port-like aroma that is very enticing. The nose can be almost too sweet at times, the fruits coming across like Jolly Rancher candies, but there’s just enough darkness and breadiness to prevent it from becoming cloying.

On the tongue, the beer’s bourbon barrel aging is immediately obvious, the opening notes being a shot of heavily vanilla-laced bourbon that mixes almost instantly with a huge array of fruits, including plum, cherry, berry, orange, fig, and prune, lending the beer an immediate cocktail-cum-tawny-port overtone that is quite delicious. Further sugars make themselves known after a few seconds, including brown sugar, agave nectar, wildflower honey, and even thin threads of super sweet confectioner’s sugar. These sweet notes are lightly held in check by woody overtones from the barrel aging, as well as toast crust, cereal grain, biscuit, and yeasty rising whole wheat dough, though the bready notes occupy much less than half of the flavors. There is an alcoholic vapor that hangs over everything, but it mainly passes off as bourbon – though it can border on vodka. The aftertaste is a continuation of the main mouthful, with a stronger bourbon vapor presence, lingering on the tongue in fruity, alcoholic goodness for a good while. Mouthfeel is medium, and carbonation is medium.

Overall, this is a very nice Barleywine, and the bourbon barrel aging has added a nice layer of complexity that was sorely needed in the basic Below Decks version of this beer. There is perhaps a bit too much sweetness in here (admitting that such a profile fits with the style), and the alcohol vapors do get very strong after a few sips, but on the whole this is very worth trying.

jondeelee, Jun 19, 2013
Photo of Devi0us
3.75/5  rDev -6%

Devi0us, Jun 15, 2013
Photo of DCH
3.25/5  rDev -18.5%

DCH, Jun 12, 2013
Photo of warnerry
4/5  rDev +0.3%

warnerry, Jun 08, 2013
Photo of josephwa
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%

josephwa, Jun 06, 2013
Photo of DRBiser
4/5  rDev +0.3%

DRBiser, Jun 04, 2013
Photo of Chugs13
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Chugs13, Jun 03, 2013
Photo of buzzy
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%

buzzy, May 28, 2013
Photo of djrn2
3.75/5  rDev -6%

djrn2, May 26, 2013
Photo of AOShabaz
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%

AOShabaz, May 25, 2013
Photo of mikeincharleston
4/5  rDev +0.3%

mikeincharleston, May 22, 2013
Photo of DrDemento456
4.23/5  rDev +6%
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.

DrDemento456, May 12, 2013
Photo of jsurfs82
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%

jsurfs82, Apr 29, 2013
Photo of Gobzilla
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Gobzilla, Apr 28, 2013
Photo of BTFU
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%

BTFU, Apr 28, 2013
Photo of Jeffo
3.88/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bomber of this stuff from SliverX. Cheers man!

From a bomber into a snifter

APPEARANCE: Pours a small, medium looking, light tan or off-white head with decent retention. Mahogany or rust in color, transparent with medium levels of carbonation. Head fades to a splotchy wisp and ring. A ring remains until the end and leaves some dots of lacing down the glass.

SMELL: Nice bourbon, vanilla, oak, with some caramel and toffee notes as well. Light melon notes as well. Well integrated barrel and bold enough as well.

TASTE: Caramel and toffee up front with bourbon and oak flavors through the middle into the finish. Bold and lingering aftertaste fo bourbon, oak, vanilla, leather notes and some toffee, nutty sweetness. Melon flavors from the hops as well. Pretty well integrated, much like the nose.

PALATE: Medium body and medium levels of carbonation. A little light perhaps and only semi-creamy on the palate, goes down okay and finishes a touch sticky. A bit of a burn lingers on the palate. Too light, unfortunately, but creamy and smooth enough.

OVERALL: Pretty solid for sure. This one is certainly enjoyable, complex, and very well balanced with a good blend of barrel flavors and base beer. A thicker, heavier feel would make this outstanding. Still, it's very nice as it is and I would definitely drink this again. Thanks again SliverX. Recommended.

Jeffo, Apr 17, 2013
Photo of Zuidman
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%

Zuidman, Apr 15, 2013
Photo of MaseFace
4/5  rDev +0.3%

MaseFace, Apr 15, 2013
Photo of egrace84
3.75/5  rDev -6%

egrace84, Apr 14, 2013
Photo of kevdemers
4/5  rDev +0.3%

kevdemers, Apr 14, 2013
Photo of Morey
3.75/5  rDev -6%

Morey, Apr 13, 2013
Photo of CaptDavyJones
4.31/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 22 oz bomber (2012) in to an oversized snifter.
Amber colored with ruby red hues and a thin film of a head that dissipates fairly quickly.
Aroma is extremely bourbony; with notes of vanilla, coconut and some alcohol sweetness. The aroma is pleasant, not overwhelming.
Taste is similar to the aroma, very bourbon forward. Slight sweetness upfront, giving way to subtle bitterness all the way from the middle to the finish. Some char notes towards the finish. Alcohol is very well hidden and its surprisingly easy to drink.
A very good barrel aged beer, one of Heavy Seas better servings. Definitely worth a try.

CaptDavyJones, Apr 13, 2013
Photo of McUbermensch
4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.25

2012 bottle.

This beer is underrated. I was unsure of it when I purchased it but after I had it I got a few more for my cellar. Anxious to see how it ages. Strong vanilla notes. A wonderful and readily available barrel aged barley wine. Also, for the price 7.99, it's at least worth a try.

McUbermensch, Apr 12, 2013
Photo of thegerm87
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%

thegerm87, Apr 12, 2013
Photo of JAHMUR
3.75/5  rDev -6%

JAHMUR, Apr 08, 2013
Heavy Seas Bourbon Barrel Aged Below Decks from Heavy Seas Beer
89 out of 100 based on 281 ratings.