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Heavy Seas Cabernet Barrel Aged Below Decks - Heavy Seas Beer

Not Rated.
Heavy Seas Cabernet Barrel Aged Below DecksHeavy Seas Cabernet Barrel Aged Below Decks

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BA SCORE
87
very good

88 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 88
Hads: 179
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 12.02%
Wants: 17
Gots: 34 | 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: 88 | Hads: 179
Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.18/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to GRG1313 for sharing this one at his tasting.

2012 vintage.

Pours a clear brown with a foamy beige head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, caramel, toffee, red wine, and wood aromas. Taste is much the same with caramel and red wine flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of woody bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer with a great red wine barrel presence in both the aroma and flavor. (628 characters)

Photo of Thorpe429
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

Poured into a tulip. Initial pour brings a pretty good off white head plus some legs. Color is copper, tending a bit toward brown. Nose brings some nice cabernet and oak notes. The taste brings some more complexity with cabernet, oak, grape, hints of dark fruit, and a bit of light roast and general fruit. Really nice feel with a bit of a tannic character. Drinks well and is a solid offering. (416 characters)

Photo of mikesgroove
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

part of the epicness that was the halloween weekend of beer. the last few nights have kicked my ass in every way, but i got to try a bunch of goodies that have long haunted me. served chilled and poured into a 8 ounce taster, this one was consumed on 10/30/2010.

pours a nice ruddy brown color with a small head of off white that came to a climax at about an inch before settling down with a moderate amount of lacing down the sides of the glass.

aroma is interesting. little notes of barrel at first start to come through but then some alcohol an hints of muted hops start to cloud it. warming though brings it through nicely as hints of earthy malts, light touches of dark fruit, an hints of caramel start to take shape. nice clean flavor from the cab barrels gives it just a touch of depth, again very well done here. nothing over the top and takes the heat off the 10% very nicely. smooth finish hit the spot with just the right amount of flavor.

overall a really solid offering and a good treatment on this classic. i would not mind aging a couple. (1,056 characters)

Photo of oberon
3.53/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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. (500 characters)

Photo of womencantsail
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Jason for this one.

A: The pour is a dark amber color with a thin layer of khaki colored head.

S: A very wine forward nose. Lots of red fruits, vinous notes, and plenty of oak (sort of tannic). There is a mild alcohol presence and a decent amount of chocolatey oxidation.

T: Sweet caramel and chocolate (oxidation) start things of. The wood and wine provide a spicy, peppery, note and some sweet red fruit. The alcohol comes through a bit strong at moments, but for the most part it's mellow.

M: The body is medium with a low to medium level of carbonation. Overall, a pretty smooth mouthfeel.

D: The alcohol can be slightly on the harsh side at times, but overall it's pretty enjoyable. I'm not usually the biggest fan of non-sour wine barrel aged beers, but this was good. (789 characters)

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle - $6.99 at Olde Crabapple Bottle Shoppe in

Alpharetta, Georgia. 2011 bottling.

Appearance: Pours out a dark brown body with a short-lived, light ecru head.

Smell: Tannic-scented, oak barrel-laden, sweet-scented, vinously fruity Cabernet nose over the charred bread and lightly toffee-edged malts.

Taste: Tart, tannic, fruity, and reasonably sweet with the Cabernet fully taking the lead ahead of the basic breadiness, lowly roasty from the malts. Modest inclusion of hops and bitterness. Small spiciness from the overall alcohol. Just vinous and sweet (but not quite too sweet) throughout and into the smooth finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium carbonation. Slightly sticky mouthfeel.

Overall: While not a grand slam home run cue-the-fireworks beer, it is a marked, appreciated improvement on the dreary base barleywine I had over five years ago. Sometimes, barrel aging actually brings down the initial beer, sometimes it's a toss-up, sometimes it can make a good beer even better, and, sometimes, it can even revive a real dud. Consider this dud revived, friends! (1,096 characters)

Photo of TMoney2591
4.08/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Y'know, I'm startin' to really enjoy this line. This one pours a lightly translucent ruby brown topped by a quickly-dissipating head of light ecru bubbles. The nose comprises red grapes, rye bread, caramel, oak, and that fake watermelon you find in candy and gum. This would be quite the tasty aroma...if it weren't so damn faint. Na ja. The taste holds notes of rye bread, yeast, light oak, toffee, deep red fruits, a very mild bitterness, and a slight red wine in the back...and on the sides. It's just that subtle. This is some damn tasty barleywine action, baby. The body is a heavy medium, with a lightly moderate carbonation and some light oral coating. I really enjoyed this beer. Period. Get some! (740 characters)

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.3/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap 1/10/2012 at Track 84 in Warwick, RI, served in a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark reddish brown color, with a large off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains brown sugar, dark fruit, chocolate, caramelized malts and some hops.

T: The taste is very creamy and starts with strongly sweet flavors of milk chocolate, dark fruit and brown sugar. Then a hearty malt character comes in and the wine flavor is quite evident. The hops presence is mild but complementary and brings a good balance. The after-taste is sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is sticky.

O: Very tasty, goes down dangerously easily, not too filling, strong kick, good representation of style, this is a nice stronger beer to drink for a while. (812 characters)

Photo of mdfb79
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 vintage. Drank side by side with a 2010 Bourbon barrel aged Below Deck. Poured into my Brawley's snifter.

a - Pours a very dark mahogany brown color with two inches of light tan head and light to moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of caramel malts, toffee, sweet dark fruits, molasses, toasted malts, light wood, and light wine and alcohol. Smells like a nice barleywine, but there isn't much barrel presence at all. Wonder if aging it a little over a year has hurt it.

t - Tastes of caramel malts, toffee, sugar, sweet dark fruits, molasses, raisins, toasted malts, wood, and more alcohol. Tiny bit more alcohol/wine/port like qualities, but still not a lot. Sweeter than the nose too. Pretty nice.

m - Medium to full body and moderate carbonation. Thick and smooth, a very nice body for a barleywine.

o - Overall I thought this was an interesting, pretty good barleywine. The nose and taste are very sweet with that sticky sweet dark fruit quality to them. If you like that you'll probably like this one a lot, and I enjoyed it. The wine and barrel seems to haved faded a lot in a year, so I wouldn't recommend aging this one, but it is worth trying and something I'd buy fresh once a year. (1,208 characters)

Photo of stakem
3.73/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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 bourbon version.

Poured into a snifter, this brew appears a gazed ruby amber color with particulate stuck hanging in suspension. A creamy finger of tan head forms and retains well. A swirl revives the cap and forms spotty lacework on the glass.

The smell of this brew is tangy with Brett. It smells of a combination of scents that include cheese, minerals, sulfur and citrus hops. The alcohol stings the nose. Underneath are sweet undertones of caramel malt that accent a minute amount of mellow oakiness and vanilla smoothness.

The taste is brett'd with a tangy kick that includes citrus hops, sulfur and minerals. There is a toasted malt flavor that includes some vanilla smoothness that is sweet underneath the more bold flavors previously described. The aftertaste includes bitter herbal hops.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. It is an interesting take on the style that is complex and enjoyable but in limited quantities. I'm glad I shared the bottle because I don't know how much more I could tolerate beyond 6 or so ounces. For 10% abv it is incorporated very well. I could see the cabernet choice of barrel aging here being something that is not for everyone however I enjoyed it. In the side by side comparison though, I favor the bourbon version as it melds with the base flavors moreso than the clashing cabernet. (1,523 characters)

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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. (420 characters)

Photo of tdm168
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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. (583 characters)

Photo of billab914
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into my Dogfish snifter. It poured a dark, caramel brown color with a thin white head concentrating around the edges of the glass.

The aroma really shows the Cabernet character to it pretty nicely. I get a grape presence mixing with a little bit of a woody, vanilla like flavor. The barleywine flavors come through as more of a sweeter, caramel, malty flavor. The red wine character is very nice in it.

The taste mixes a red wine, oaky, vanilla flavor and a sweet, malty, barleywine character. It starts with more of the red wine, while more of the oaky, vanilla, caramel flavors come out in the finish. I really loved how the flavors came together in it.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side with carbonation being lower. Overall I really liked what the Cabernet barrel added to the beer. The red wine character really integrated into the beer flavors better than any other wine barrel aged beer I can remember having. It really added a lot of depth and character to it. I expected the bourbon version to be my clear favorite of the two, but this one is pretty damn good as well as being more unique. Very enjoyable beer overall. (1,146 characters)

Photo of smakawhat
4.04/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

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. (1,519 characters)

Photo of John_M
4.17/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On cask at Max's today.

The beer pours a beautiful red amber color with almost no head to speak of, and virtually no lacing. The beer appears to be nearly still. On the nose, the cabernet aging is very, very evident, with the beer showing a considerable winey aroma, that intermixes nicely with the light chocolate and brown sugar. The flavor profile replicates the nose pretty closely, but much to my surprise, the wine flavor blends in surprisingly well with the barleywine flavors. Mouthfeel is smooth and fairly long, and drinkabilty is surprisingly good, with the alcohol very well disguised.

Very nice and at least in my opinion, better than the bourbon barrel aged version. (682 characters)

Photo of barleywinefiend
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Poured a murky crimson brownish color, like a burgundy, with a nice dirty white cap , some moderate head retention and spotty lacing

S: Caramel and toffee with some hints of chocoate, dark fruits, wood and red wine on the nose

T: A candy like base of toffee and caramel; red wine packs a punch. Elements of cocoa, wood and chocolate are mild. The finish is psedu sweet, dry with a lingering light booze and red wine presence

M: Medium bodied, well carbonated, red wine provides a nice texture and flavor

O: Not to shabby (527 characters)

Photo of bluejacket74
4.17/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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. (804 characters)

Photo of glid02
3.9/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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. (1,033 characters)

Photo of jrallen34
3.77/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

2010 batch, from the bottle poured into my Narke glass...A medium brown with lots of dark amber in the light, unique. A watery light tan head, not much there...Sweet aroma, distinct english barleywine backbone, but lots of wine comes through. Toffee, red wine, caramel, mild hops....The taste is pretty mild shows off the barrel more than anything, vanilla with lots of red wine. This barleywine was too light to hold up, but its qualities, but tastes good none the less.

I can't recommend this, but I drank the bottle pretty easily. (534 characters)

Photo of dirtylou
4.17/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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 (672 characters)

Photo of VelvetExtract
4.35/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-This beer pours a light-blocking brown. When held up to the light, there is only mild penetration. Despite an aggressive pour, the head is nothing more than a bubbly, disconnected peninsula of carbonate.

S-This is a very, very interesting nose. The majority of the nose represents the Barleywine aspect. This aspect of the beer is rich with molasses, brown sugar, and rich toffee maltiness. There is a hefty wave of warm chocolate too. But the other semi-substantial percentage of the nose is characterized by the Cabernet barrel aging. The aging lends an extremely pleasant vinous and earthen aroma dimension. I cannot tell if I am more intrigued or satisfied by the nose of this beer.

T-I may be equally as impressed by the actual flavor as I was by the nose. To me, this beer tastes like grape-flavored maple syrup. This has elements of: grape jam, brown sugar, toffee, tobacco, and tree bark. The Cabernet barrel aging really added a spectacular dimension to this beer. There are simply too many flavors to discuss. It is a bit rough around the edges, but I love the coarse finish of this beer.

M-Heavy body. Soothing carbonation. Alcohol is obvious. Sticky and syrupy. Dries the tongue.

O/D-This beer is very impressive. The Cabernet barrel aging added a shocking amount of complexity to this beer. Its a big, rough, yet deep brew. I suggest you try this beer. Under $7 dollars for a bomber too. The mixture of intense Barleywine sweetness and decorated vinous flavors make this beer an absolute gem. (1,511 characters)

Photo of Brenden
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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. (1,491 characters)

Photo of OWSLEY069
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber to black in color with a light tan head. In the aroma, it smells just like cabernet wine. In the taste, cabernet wine, licorice and a nice alcohol taste. A smooth and medium to bigger bodied mouthfeel, with a dry dark fruit and notes of cabernet in the aftertaste. Very much wine like and mellows out the base of Below Decks. (344 characters)

Photo of AgentMunky
4.12/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle into a BrewDog cervoise glass. Vintage 2010.

A: A finger and a half of head. Murky, dark brown beer with a ruddy tint. Not particularly susceptible to light. Nice lacing.

S: Winey-tart and very pleasant. Reminiscent of the brandy barrel Angel's Share, but less intense. Some funky old ale style yeast? Maybe not, but an odd sourness nonetheless.

T: Hrm, much more malty-sweet than yeasty-sour. Definite red wine character to the beer. The mild tartness, a large amount of grapiness, and a wine-like/dry aftertaste with lingering tannin/grapepeel. I wonder if the Cabernet ageing hasn't overpowered the beer. Still, good barleywine, and the alcohol barely shows. Vague hops are never really an issue.

M: Smooth, lightly carbonated, and drying. Nice.

O: Good beer. Recommended; will have again. I still think it was a little heavy-handed with the wine barrelling, but it was an interesting twist. I continue to appreciate the Heavy Seas range. Yum. (981 characters)

Photo of gford217
3.63/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy caramel brown that shows through as a lighter amber. There is a very short-lived beige head that recedes to a thin collar. Not much lacing.

The aroma definitely has the cabernet presence with lots of red grapes and oak coming through. The underlying barleywine isn't quite as noticeable as I expected with caramel malts and sugar-coated dark fruits. Still, the grapes are what I come back to, almost like a grape juice.

Well, just as in the aroma the grapes from the cab barrels are present up front. The sugary sweet malts, toffee and fruits are there, especially as it warms. The finish is more of the grapes and it seems sweet, not quite as dry as I would expect.

The mouthfeel is light to medium bodied for the style and a tad watery, maybe due to the cab barrel. The carbonation is fairly low and the body is slick overall.

This is a decent beer but there's very little sign of the underlying barleywine. It's mostly just the cabernet barrel and so it lacks the complexity of the best BA barleywines. (1,022 characters)

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