Heavy Seas Cabernet Barrel Aged Below Decks - Heavy Seas Beer
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Ratings: 167 | Reviews: 86 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Mongrel:
4.1/5 rDev +4.1%
Not at all what I was expecting with this one...
Upon pouring, it seems to be somewhat thin in body, as there is little head or lace. But it has body - the mouthfeel is soft but pretty heavy. Pours a very dark brown, almost purple.
The nose was a bit odd and nutty at first, but like most good barleywines, this one grows in complexity as it warms and opens up. Further along, it smells very much of dark fruit.
Not much wine comes through per se, but it's very sweet and fruity. Although my first impression was straight caramel. Caramel, strawberry, dark fruits and hazelnut - sums this one up nicely. Very decadent. Hides it booze better than the bourbon barrel aged version, but you'll feel the warmth from the abv rather quickly.
A very nice surprise, overall. Great for dessert or sipping by a fire.
04-07-2013 23:39:30 | More by Mongrel
More User Reviews:
3.53/5 rDev -10.4%
Poured into an impy pint glass a hazed amber infused deeper brown with lacey one finger off white head atop.Aromas were of oak and dark fruit mainly,caramel,and a a tinge of nuttiness as well.Flavors seemed to be dominated to much by the oaky-fruity flavors imparted by the cabernet barel's,I would have liked more of the nuances of the barleywine to come thru,oaky and deeply fruity with a little caramel malt thrown in.Its a pretty good flavored brew,I just want more beer flavor in my oaked beers.
06-05-2010 23:00:23 | More by oberon
4.5/5 rDev +14.2%
Another especially dark barleywine for me, I appreciate the frothy head. Head with lasting power and beautiful legs that spread with a swirl, it looks oh-so-appealing.
I like the nose. I reach for more of a Cabernet influence, but something tempers that English-style toffee that predominates most barleywines of this style. I like that.
It's neat. There's more oaky dryness than is typical, and I attribute that to the wine barrels. In fact, I think it balances the barleywine perfectly. Many of us love beer so much because of the seemingly infinite ingredients, and I must say that the wine barrel-aging evidences that beers are the alcoholic cream of the crop! Can you imagine aging a wine in a beer barrel? It's its adaptability that makes a good beer go great. Again, it's the oaky dry touch tampering that sweetness that makes this one spot-on. A well done, mutiny style beer to which I'm likely to return--for me, the flagship of the Heavy Seas Fleet.
01-22-2012 19:36:09 | More by marvin213
4/5 rDev +1.5%
Thanks to thirdeye11 for sharing this bottle.
The beer pours an amber color with a white head. The aroma is very nice. I get some caramel malt, along with some chocolate, dark fruit and alcohol. I also get a little bit of grape and red wine notes. The flavor is heavy on the caramel, toffee, brown sugar and dark fruit. I also get a little bit of citrus fruit and some alcohol. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.
10-16-2010 06:16:15 | More by Mora2000
3.9/5 rDev -1%
Bottle purchased from Green's on Ponce in Atlanta.
Pours a slightly hazy dark copper color with a half-finger off-white head. The head recedes into a patchy layer on top leaving decent lacing.
Smells of sweet caramel malts with equal amounts of mild toffee and tannins from the wine barrels.
Tastes similar to how it smells. Sticky caramel malt flavors kick things off with good amounts of toffee and lighter amounts of butterscotch. Midway through the sip mild amounts of booze-soaked pears and other muddled fruit flavors from the cab barrels make their way into things. The fruit flavors gradually fade out into an ending that's neither sweet nor bitter.
Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with moderate carbonation.
Drinkability is OK. I finished my glass without any problems however I'm not sure about another.
Overall I thought the bourbon version of this was much better as the flavors from the cab barrel weren't very crisp and didn't work as well with the flavors of the base beer. Still, it's worth a shot.
07-28-2010 01:03:32 | More by glid02
4/5 rDev +1.5%
This beer is a big ruby-red, leaning brown, dark but with flaming red highlights. The off-white head isn't quite frothy but has a nice structure allowing for good retention and solid lacing overall.
Tannic notes with a red wine juiciness that's also dry in a way very particular to certain bigger red wines, this aroma delivers the expectation. There's toffee and caramel as well, and Heavy Seas always seems to bring out the most from their barrels, with lots of oak in there. A touch of toast speaks to the malts as well, and a little leafiness seems to be the hoppy portion. Alcohol adds lots of warmth without being too heavily fusel.
Tannins come out quite expressly without drying it out too much. There's a lot of toffee and brown sugar with some toast/smoke in its sweetness. It's very interesting, a strong red wine (without knowing, I would say it could be either Cab or Zin) with brown sugar making for a unique blend of flavors. It's mildly vinous, too, with a leafy note that could be the wine, the hops, or both. The wood adds a dryness as well, a good counter to the sweetness. It's earthy all the way, and some dark fruits come out toward the middle and into the finish. Alcohol adds heat the whole way without going overboard, but this is for sure a sipper.
There's a smoothness in this beer's appropriately big body, lightly crisp but with a good balance and proper focus. For all the sweetness, the wood and the wine's tannins work to add a nice dryness that evens it out.
12-15-2013 14:03:53 | More by Brenden
3.35/5 rDev -15%
Poured from a 22 oz. bomber into a wine glass.
This is an interesting looking beer, almost resembling mud when poured out. Had a small head that did not last more than 10 seconds. Smell immediately reminds me of red wine (as expected), chocolate - Tootsie rolls to be exact - as well as toffee, apple and a hint of coconut. Taste is bizarre, yet still enjoyable. First thing I noticed is the cabernet, followed by the caramelly malts. Did not taste one bit of hops. High alcohol content definitely shows in the taste, due to the wine barrel-aging, in my opinion. Wine was a bit overpowering and masked the other attributes of the actual beer. Mouthfeel is actually quite nice. I was expecting it to be smooth and dull like a stout, but it was lightly carbonated and left behind a fruity, oaky flavor on the tongue.
Overall, I really enjoyed the complexity that this brew offered on the nose and tastebuds. I have only tried this style of beer once or twice before, and I think this is a nice interpretation. The wine barrel aging definitely throws a curveball - unlike anything I have ever tasted before, but again it's overpowering. Probably will not try again, but no regrets. Cheers
09-27-2012 01:21:50 | More by bensbeers
4.5/5 rDev +14.2%
A - dark brownish amber with a thin white head
S - candy sugar, bread, dark fruit
T - caramel, dark fruit, candy sugar
M - smooth, full bodied, sticky, a bit dry
This is a very nice English-style Barleywine. It's exceptionally malty with a big though not cloying sugary present. The dark fruits come through as well. I couldn't put my finger on it, but raisins and figs and possibly dates all made their presence known. I do love a good Barleywine, and this one had it all: balance, hidden ABV, drinkability, maltiness, full flavor, and full body. This is definitely worth a try.
01-19-2013 20:09:26 | More by tdm168
4.28/5 rDev +8.6%
Thinnish offwhite head, murky red-brown body. A bit of lace. Head fizzles away like cola.
Smells like aged malt, some grape must, and a bit of shoe leather. Awesome.
This is definitely on par with the bourbon barrel version-- sweet and slightly tart grapes take the place of coconut, oak is sublime throughout. The toffee and malt backbone is phenomenal.
Nice and smooth, but kinda lingers on/coats the palate, but this is only a slight negative. Just drink water afterwards (which is a good policy anyway).
This ends up drinking like one of the best English style barleywines south of J.W. Lees. And a hell of a lot cheaper at that.
02-03-2012 02:38:06 | More by zaphodchak
4.2/5 rDev +6.6%
22oz bomber, split and paired with some NFL divisional round playoff action
admittedly, was not looking forward to this one. the base heavy seas barleywine is pretty bad. fortunately, this exceeded all expectations.
appearance: rather light - looks almost watered down, medium amber, rather lifeless bubbly head
smell: very oaky, grapes are potent, a bit boozy but very enticing
taste: the barrel is the show here - extremely vinous, oak, with the cabernet grapes still resonating in a major way. the boring boozy barleywine base is obliterated and saved by the barrel.
mouthfeel: medium, not overdone and not sticky like the base
drinkability: could have drank more
01-16-2011 17:40:42 | More by dirtylou
3.88/5 rDev -1.5%
This BA release of Below Decks pours a very dark copper color. Backlighting gives it very attractive crimson highlights. It's capped with a modest, off-white head that stands about a finger tall. It's quick to recede and leaves a moderate amount of sticky lace behind.
The nose is a little weak and rather uninspiring. It'd benefit greatly from more strength. Having said that, there's definitely a vinous character to it. The barrel-aging certainly left its mark. Oak is also rather strong in the mix. Honestly, I like both of those elements here. What's missing is any evidence that it's a Barleywine. If you really sticky with it, there's a sugary sweet and light malty scent, but not much else. Alcohol is masked fairly well for 10%. Overall, it smells pretty good. I'm probably being a little generous here.
The flavor is interesting. It tracks the nose closely. The first sip features a big dose of red grapes and oak. Actually, so does every other sip. The barrel aging process works well here. I really like the flavors the process imparted. There's a bit of apple and pear here. Perhaps this is one of THOSE Barleywines. I'm always intrigued to encounter them. They seem to be devoid of any dark fruit or hop flavors (which holds true here). It's sweet and a little sugary. Earthy notes and musk are secondary, but add some character and depth. Alcohol is noted, but isn't overly strong. It's blended well for double digit territory. It finishes oaky and a little fruity.
The body here is medium. Carbonation is dialed down nicely. It's overall smooth and relatively easy drinking. Drinkability is good. This is pretty tasty stuff. I like it. For a big Barleywine, it goes down pretty easy. A bomber shouldn't be too much trouble.
I didn't really know what to make of this beer before I tasted it. It's interesting, but is pretty impressive. It's definitely a different type of American Barleywine. It has a distinct apple/pear flavor rather than dark fruit. There's also no hop presence as far as I can tell. But, it is good. The cabarnet barrels gave it a tasty combo of red grape and oak. It works. The nose could use a little work, but it's good otherwise. Check it out.
06-21-2010 03:42:36 | More by prototypic
4.25/5 rDev +7.9%
Pours a deep brown color with a nice tan head that retains really well for a barleywine. The aroma is very vinous with notes of dark fruit, tobacco, and chocolate as well as oak, vanilla, caramel, coconut, brown sugar and rum. The flavor is a little less vinous than the aroma, with notes of brown sugar and caramel upfront, as well as piney and citrusy hops, grape and plum, oak, vanilla, coconut, dark chocolate, and rum. The mouthfeel is medium, and drinkability is good despite the alcohol and barrel aging. This is a very tasty barleywine, and the cabernet aging really makes things interesting.
06-07-2010 05:20:58 | More by silver0rlead
3.83/5 rDev -2.8%
Murky brown with a reddish tinge. The head is fizzy and subsides in a hurry.
Interesting smell of concord grape juice, brown sugar, and prunes. The cabernet barrels add a nice touch.
The cabernet barrel contributes a nice touch of grapes but I wanted more of a tannic quality and it turns out more sweet. Anyway, it's still a nice touch. The finish is a brown sugar with a slightly dirty sweet potato-ish flavor. Slightly boozy, but not to shabby for 10%.
Mouthfeel is heavy bodied and has ample carbonation.
I liked this beer. From what I read in reviews of the base beer, that one's not that impressive. I thought the cabernet barrels added a nice touch to the barleywine and would be curious to see what it'd do with an acclaimed base.
05-03-2013 01:43:21 | More by Vonerichs
4.2/5 rDev +6.6%
22 ounce bottle, 2011 vintage. Served in a snifter, the beer pours a murky reddish/brown color with about an inch tan head. Head retention is good, and there's a small amount of lacing. Aroma is nice, the brew smells like red wine, dark fruit, molasses, caramel, brown sugar and some wood. It tastes like red wine/grapes, dark fruit (figs, raisins, plums), molasses, caramel, toffee, and a little bit of chocolate. I thought it tasted better and better the longer I drank it. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's syrupy and slick with moderate carbonation. I think this is a good overall brew, and it's better than the regular Below Decks (I just had a bottle of it before I drank this one). The cabernet barrel aging works well with this brew and makes it better. Definitely worth a try if you come across it.
12-09-2012 23:41:06 | More by bluejacket74
4.01/5 rDev +1.8%
Thanks for sharing, David.
Pours a murky brown color with a small beige head, no lacing. Aroma has plenty oak notes and a sharp vinous note with mild acidity, some booze, caramel, toasted nuts and brown sugar. Similar toasted wood notes in the taste, caramel, dark fruits, figs, alcohol. Fairly full-bodied and creamy, low carbonation. Drink surprisingly well.
Quite nice. Wine barrel notes and the sweetness from the Barleywine play well off each other.
07-28-2013 17:33:53 | More by EgadBananas
4.04/5 rDev +2.5%
Poured from the bottle into a large snifter glass. Vintage 2012.
Really not much of a head produced at all, hits weak, but makes a little tan presence, and leaves a tiny pencil thin collar on the glass while enjoying. Body color is very cola like in presences with a faint red hint, but it does look like Coca Cola. However it is missing the soda giant carbonation, and this manages the thinnest bubbles around the edges.
Nose is quite varied, and different depending on first sniff and subsequent sips. However it's very sticky on first sip. Hints of toffee and caramel thick. Light oak sensations, vinous sense of wine heat, and hints of salt. Very varied and exploratory. After sips bring some vanilla and hints of soy sauce, and some grapey fruit character.
Very unexpected palate. The body shines with a real nice wine like feel, but with a smooth coating character. Malt backbone brings the depth though. Soy sauce salty character comes out a bit but also with a little sweetness. Aftertaste is varied in vanilla, and the caramel and toffee angle comes throughout. Mouthfeel is very light, lowly carbonated, not taking away from anything taste wise.
Overall there's a lot going on here, but it's quite enjoyable, and not too out of balance. It's a very unique barleywine to explore, but it may not be to ultimate tastes. I said a lot, and there's quite a bit to investigate. Also for 10% it is not very boozy, and very easy drinking. I am also not sure how well this would age. Drinking it now doesn't hurt.
01-09-2013 02:39:21 | More by smakawhat
4.22/5 rDev +7.1%
22oz bottle poured into a Snifter. 2011 Vintage.
A - Pours a muddy mahogany with a short-lived off-white head that settles to a very slight ring and precisely 2 spots of haze.
S - Big, rich aromas of dark wine grapes, raisins, oak, brown sugar, vanilla, toffee, and caramel. Fantastic nose, already I'm thinking I may have to grab a couple more bottles...
T - Taste is right there with the nose, big, vinous flavors of red wine, oak, dried fruits (prunes and raisins) and vanilla, all backed up with sweet, malty flavors of caramel, brown sugar, and toffee. Incredibly smooth, I'm not feeling any heat from the 10% ABV.
M - This is the only spot that I can really criticize, mouthfeel is a bit thinner and crisper then I'd prefer, with a touch too-high carbonation. Perhaps age would help here, I usually like a bit stickier, syrupy mouthfeel in my Barleywines.
O - Overall an excellent Barleywine, I'm definitely gonna pick up more of these (and give the Bourbon version a try)!
01-22-2012 01:05:10 | More by jsanford
Heavy Seas Cabernet Barrel Aged Below Decks from Heavy Seas Beer
88 out of 100 based on 167 ratings.