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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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very good

168 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 168
Reviews: 86
rAvg: 3.94
pDev: 12.18%
Wants: 17
Gots: 36 | FT: 5
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
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Ratings: 168 | Reviews: 86 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ithinkimasofa
4/5  rDev +1.5%

ithinkimasofa, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of Exiled
4/5  rDev +1.5%

Exiled, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of claytong
3.93/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2010 vintage

appearance - a copper brown with some murkiness. decent beige head. decent lacing.

smell - vanilla, toffee, brown sugar, oak...no wine?

taste - again the same with some fig and no wine is coming to me, a bit sad about this but its still good nonetheless especially for the price

mouthfeel - good body and carbonation for the style but a bit sticky and cloying.

claytong, Nov 08, 2011
Photo of DavoleBomb
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter. 2010 vintage (which I think is the only one anyway).

4.0 A: Dark brown color. Actually more like a purplish black. One finger of creamy beige head that retains okay given the ABV and leaves

4.0 S: The cabernet sticks out, lending a vinous component in addition to oak and a touch of tannic astringency. The underlying beer adds plum and fig foremost, with caramel and toffee following. Not bad.

4.0 T: Again the cabernet is aggressive yielded an almost tart vinous grape. Lots of oak and little bits of tannins. Dark fruits including plum, prune, date, fig, and maybe some currant. Caramel and toffee underneath that. Absolutely no hints of alcohol.

4.0 M: Heavier medium body. Good moderate carbonation. The slightest bit chewy, but smooth overall.

4.0 D: This is incredibly mellow for a beer only around a year old. Flavors are well integrated and well balanced. Plus, $8 for a bomber of barrel aged beer isn't bad at all.

DavoleBomb, Oct 06, 2011
Photo of billab914
4.22/5  rDev +7.1%
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.

billab914, Aug 14, 2011
Photo of Meerkey
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: a finger or two of pale beige head. Very cloudy chestnut.

S: Smells like red wine. Sweet, dark fruit. Some bready malts. Nice.

T: I like it. More red wine. Fruity and malty. Alcohol. Maybe a little spicy and slightly vegetal?

M: Hint of carbonation, but creamy and smooth, heavy. Nice, but nothing exceptional.

O: I'm surprised by how much it tastes and smells like red wine. I enjoy it, I'll have another. Recommend.

Meerkey, Jul 27, 2011
Photo of AgentMunky
4.1/5  rDev +4.1%
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.

AgentMunky, Jul 27, 2011
Photo of ShogoKawada
3.58/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thanks to.... AleWatcher, I think. Can't remember. Poured in to an imperial pint glass.

A- A murky brown with purple and ruby red highlights. Small but respectable sandy tan head.

S- Boozy.. brandy soaked figs and toffee. Noticeable alcohol presence.

T- Dark fruit is strong on raisin. Not sour but tart, for sure. Barrels express grapes several ways- mild brandy/cognac which is complimented by the English malt. Interesting and ultimately successful flavor profile.

M- A bit syrupy/sticky and lethargic. Would benefit from a bit more carbonation.

O- Weird, but enjoyable. YMMV. Not for the unadventerous.

ShogoKawada, Jun 13, 2011
Photo of stakem
3.7/5  rDev -6.1%
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.

stakem, May 05, 2011
Photo of clickpush
3.93/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour: 22oz bottle to tulip. Found this at The Andersons in Dublin, OH, after not being able to find it in Baltimore. Pours a 1.5 finger off-white head over gorgeous red hued body. Lots of carbonation visible within. Head recedes slowly, sticks all over every inch of the glass and leave a soft cap of lacing.

Nose: Caramel malts, a raspberry type sweet/tart to it. A touch of oxidation.

Mouth: Dry yet malty flavors. Some lingering hoppiness. Spices & a touch of tartness. A lingering warmth in the finish. Creamy yet firm carbonation.

clickpush, Apr 10, 2011
Photo of ne0m00re
1.18/5  rDev -70.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Live review of a 22 oz bottle.
A: Murky mahogany, it poured with a cream head with lacing.
S: What the hell... this is a very subtle aroma of fetid grapes, corny biscuit malt, chlorine, cranberry juice and mint. I really don't want to drink this, but I do, and...
T: Watery wine like cheap fruit juice, biscuit malt, some caramel with booze, Marshmallows!, a weird wood flavor. Is this poisoned? I think it's poisoned.
M: Thin with a weird froth.
O: Holy hell this is a mess. Terrible, terrible drainpour. This is a barleywine like Natty Ice is a lager.

It doesn't taste like it was infected... it just tastes like they meant it to be this mess.

ne0m00re, Apr 07, 2011
Photo of srandycarter
3.88/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Reddish murky brown, near white head leaves to ring fast. Some spotty lace.

S - Booze, malt and wine. Cabernet is there. It's pretty nice.

T - Malty, silty, wine notes at near finish followed by malt and hops. Interesting.

M - Medium body, very different flavors meld well together.

D - Even at high ABV, pretty easy to drink!

srandycarter, Mar 17, 2011
Photo of BigMcLargeHuge
4.33/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Courtesy of markwise over on ratebeer. It pours clear mahogany with tan head. The aroma is nice with sweet musty pine hop enhanced malts, wood spiciness, sweet / tart raspberries and molasses. The taste begins with sweet malts, molasses, thick sludgy malts, some caramel and pine hops. I dig this. By midway I get modest levels of red skinned berry fruity, cherry, faint red wine notes and some woody barrelness that provide a pleasing balance to the sweetness. Well done.

BigMcLargeHuge, Feb 13, 2011
Photo of DIM
3.68/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a: This was a coppery golden color and it poured with a medium sized off-white head. There were lots of suspended particles.

s: I've only tried a few wine barrel aged b-wines and this might be my least favorite. I found toffee, grassy hops, a decent amount of naked oak, and muted, musty wine aromas.

t: I liked this well enough, but it didn't quite come together for me. The toffee and caramel of the b-wine were subdued by the wine barrel, but still kind of clashed with it. The finish was dry, with oak, fairly strong heat, and light grassy hops.

m: Nice velvety body on this one.

d: Very glad I got to try this one but, this didn't work as well as I'd hoped it would.

DIM, Feb 10, 2011
Photo of dirtylou
4.2/5  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

dirtylou, Jan 16, 2011
Photo of Cylinsier
4.2/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark reddish brown, mostly opaque.

Smells of caramel and brown sugar malts, hints of dark fruit.

Taste is stout-like in ways, but the wine barrel flavor comes through adding a fruitiness. Buttery malt flavors round out the taste.

Full mouth, minimal carbonation.

A real treat, powerful but decadent. Not something to have a lot of, should be treated like a scotch or a bourbon. But very enjoyable.

Cylinsier, Jan 09, 2011
Photo of jrallen34
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%
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.

jrallen34, Jan 08, 2011
Photo of Pencible
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: This poured a hazy mahogany with a bit of tan head.
S: It smelled like copper hops and toffee, with oxidized sourness and oak and red grapes.
T: It tasted like mellow toffee and brown sugar and orange, with notable red grape and oak. It had a super smooth bittersweet aftertaste.
M: It was somewhat thick with subtle carbonation. Not heavy, but not too light.
D: This was an interesting and enjoyable beer, but it didn't have too bold of a difference from the standard Below Decks (maybe aged 1-2 years). Cabernet was more apparent in taste than scent, which was nice. And the alcohol was decently hidden, so it was pretty easy to drink. Probably not a candidate for aging.

Pencible, Dec 20, 2010
Photo of jnn4v
3.9/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 bottling.

A: Copper / chestnut color with a hint of orange. Slightly ruddy as well.

S: Sweet caramel / toffee malt backbone with a grape and oak undertone. Smells more grape juice than wine.

T: Good cabernet grape / wine taste that both comes before and after the strong toffee flavors from the barleywine. Tastes great at cellar temperature. Oak comes out more and more as it warms.

M: Good viscosity but is lacking some of the carbonation that it could have had.

D: Decent drinkability overall. The alcohol isn't too forward in the flavor.

jnn4v, Dec 18, 2010
Photo of TheHoppiest
3.85/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz bomber into an oversized snifter. Pours a cloudy, ruby-mahogany with a persistent thin tan head.

Smell is weak; slight sweet grape and darker fruits; faint yeast; and sweet malt.

Taste is tannic, yet it quickly smooths out. The grapes are quite prominent, tart and sweet. Some slight bitterness on the back of the tongue as it goes down, but overall not that bitter. As much a wine as it is a beer, this is by far the best Heavy Seas offering I've had to date. Plums, concord grapes, and raspberries are present, with an earthy, leafy finish.

Mouthfeel is thin to medium, with a bit of sharpness as it enters the mouth.

Rather drinkable, I'm looking forward to sipping this through the evening.

TheHoppiest, Nov 17, 2010
Photo of Thorpe429
4.28/5  rDev +8.6%
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.

Thorpe429, Nov 09, 2010
Photo of womencantsail
4/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

womencantsail, Nov 07, 2010
Photo of mikesgroove
4.1/5  rDev +4.1%
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.

mikesgroove, Oct 31, 2010
Photo of Daniellobo
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice Cabernet aged barleywine, a great step for the regular Below Decks, and one of the better big offerings from the Heavy Seas series.

Presentation: 22 oz brown bottle. Perfunctory pirate skull themed label on this occasion with a predictable badly designed barrel and a bottle of wine. Side narrative goes over the intent of the brewing series, pirated themed inspiration, main description of the brew, and succinct cellaring notes. Notes vintage date (2010) Shows Alc. by Vol. (10%) Served in a snifter.

A - Clear amber brown pour, with a fair bubbly head, average retention with a nice surface memory and persistent touches of lace.

S - Caramel notes over sweet malts with a fruity vinous hit. Rather pleasing.

T - Caramel and malt with a nice fruity touch, light woody vanilla hint in the distance, woven back with a light vinous sense.

M - Medium-full body with a nice smoothness over medium to low carbonation.

D - Actually the flow with the cabernet barrels works very well, it is evident and yet subtle, providing a nice range.

Notes: Surprise, surprise, better than any of the other Below Decks offerings, either the regular, or even the Bourbon one, which was good but this is the one I would go for if I had another chance.

Daniellobo, Oct 27, 2010
Photo of mattcrill
3.98/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma: Moderate fruity esters up front. Dried cherries, burnt sugars, carmel aromatics all appear as the beer warms. No hop aroma noted.

Appearance: Cloudy deep amber pour with a thin off white cap. Foam doesn't last long but rings the glass nicely.

Flavor: More fruity esters. Lots of plum, raisin, and cherry notes. Some caramel sweetness noted but balanced well with some earthy hop bittrness and alcohol flavors that are well knit. Just a hint of woodiness but the esters dominate. Balance is towards the malt.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with medium high carbonation. Definite alcohol warming on the back of the palate. I do get a bit of astringency that I attribute to the barrel aging.

Overall impression: Not sure I get much of the barrel-aged presence about this beer but that's fine with me. A little too bitter to be an English barelywine but a nice American spin.

mattcrill, Oct 24, 2010
Heavy Seas Cabernet Barrel Aged Below Decks from Heavy Seas Beer
88 out of 100 based on 168 ratings.