East End Brewing Company

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American Barleywine
Ranked #11
Ranked #966
4.29 | pDev: 9.32%
East End Brewing Company
Pennsylvania, United States
Notes: A limited edition Barleywine Style Ale, brewed in November in the American tradition and hand packaged to specially commemorate the anniversary of the brewery each year.

Gratitude Wax Colors:

2005-Red Wax
2006-Orange Wax
2007-Yellow Wax
2008-Green Wax
2009-Blue Wax
2010-Indigo Wax
2011-no wax, blank cap (Flatitude)
2012-no wax, "12" on cap (Flatitude)
2013-Violet Wax
2014 - red wax, label made to look like paper
Reviews: 250 | Ratings: 659 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Sabtos
4.13/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Clear shimmering copper to dark bronze with a tall airy but dense khaki head that recedes to a thick blanket with loads of retention, leaving some tall curtain lacing with wobbly peaks.

I can't believe I haven't had any East End beers prior to today, but this is another old school malt bomb. It's not a bad thing but man is their stuff a blast from the past.

Gratitude 2019, released 3/21/2020 with purple wax, is lightly toasty, hoppy, and in the semi-bitter American vein, while leaving a pleasantly sweet kiss of mapled brown sugar on the lips after the semi-dry swallow. A touch of sticky toffee pudding plus a hint of hard cherry candy comes out as it warms.

This is far more pleasant and drinkable compared to tongue thrashers like Arrogant Bastard, and the frothy, fluffy medium body is impressively clean and smooth, with a touch of heat to it that is reminiscent of brandy with some Brazil nuts on the side.


Only a few days after this initial review, I had the pleasure of opening a 2013 bottle, and the results are as follows:

Appearance is hazier, even opaque brown to dull red, with a short khaki head that quickly fizzles out to a spotty film.

This is certainly fruitier than it's younger sisters, but also toastier, with a pumpernickel cracker influence all over the medium, tingly body. It's no where near as oxidized as I'd imagined it'd be--it seems this was very well packaged and sealed, between the beautiful paper wrap and the solid purple wax job.

Some figgy raisin and cocoa dusted date make up the additional fruit presence, but there's also a nice, mild boozy sting I don't recall from the newest vintage, which helps it deliver a fresh feel to the palate. As it warms there's even a slight cracked black pepper presence almost emulating a barrel aged experience.


As some states tried to scratch and crawl out of the pandemic lockdown on May 2nd, 2020, I opened a yellow waxed, 2016 bottle. It displayed a nice tall tan foam head that was fluffy, lumpy and exhibited excellent retention, clinging in wide waves of lace over a foggy acorn reddish-brown body. A little bit of unexpected heat lies in the fruity sweetness, while there's still some brown toast, a touch of graham and even some winter spices. Again, it almost seems like there's a touch of oak at times. The medium body has a nicely soft, foamy carbonation that comes to a semi-dry finish.

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Photo of Cylinsier
4.19/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22 oz bottle

Pours hazy amber brown, yellowish head is firm and retains as a sudsy lacing.

Aroma is of pine, molasses, honey, toast, grassy malts, cereals and zest.

Flavor is of rich molasses, caramel, maple, brown sugar, pine, walnut, apple and honey.

Full syrupy body, light carbonation.

Rich, decadent and slow-drinking. Very delicious but heavy. Definitely worth trying and something that would age well. Looking forward to trying a bottle with a few years of shelf life.

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Photo of ajm5108
4.83/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2016 yellow wax. Pours a rich toffee brown, eager fluffy cap that settles into about a quarter inch barm. Aroma suggests a harmony between English & American barleywine: leads with fire-roasted nuts, treacle & a hint of caramel before a wave of bright, floral hops hits your nose adding burnt orange, pine & limoncello. Very nicely balanced and deep.

The taste is a little less hoppy, with some of those classic English notes taking the wheel. Toffee brittle, mild butterscotch, caramel. But there is enough of that hop presence to highlight and compliment those more robust notes, adding ruby grapefruit and piney citrus. A tad fusel at the end but that is a minor thing.

The hype around gratitude may have fallen off in recent years but it is a world class barely. Rich, robust and expertly balanced between the malt & hops.

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Photo of gopens44
4.35/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2014 vintage. Terrific nose of plum, fig, cherry and vanilla present from this murky reddish brown opaque beer. Taste follows closely, heavy on fig but add in a touch of alcohol heat and bitterness. Exit taste has a little orange chocolate, as odd as that sounds. Tiny bit of bitterness left on an otherwise dry tongue.

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Photo of kevanb
4.14/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

650ml bottle, 2015 vintage, orange wax, poured into a 14oz snifter glass.

The beer pours a medium amber color, light clarity with a tan head, about a finger tall that has little retention but does yield some soapy lace. The aroma is nice, strong caramel, brown sugar, amber grain, light alcohol, toffee, a bit of candied hops that offer some pininess and stone fruits. The flavors are good, tons of big malty and grainy flavors, brown sugar and caramel, piney hops and candied citrus peel, stone fruits and a bit of fusel alcohol. The mouthfeel is excellent, thick medium body that coats exceptionally well, lively with nice carbonation and a smooth but dry finish.

Verdict: A great American Barleywine. Definitely setting the bar for the style, expresses the hoppy and bitter elements super well and they are so nicely balanced with the deep grains and malty flavors.

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Photo of trygelski1
4.5/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This year's yellow wax bomber poured into an East End Brewing snifter:

Look: Pours a darker amber color with about an inch of head! Plenty of soapy lacing present with great retention!

Smell: Loads of caramel and toffee on the nose along with some floral hoppy notes!

Taste: Notes of caramel, toffee, hops, and maybe even some vanilla! Malty sweetness present but there are some floral notes in the background to balance this out!

Feel: Medium to full sticky mouthfeel!

Overall: Can't believe I never picked up this brew until this year! Glad I grabbed 2 bottles as the other will be going in the cellar for a few years! This is a solid beverage and I will be revisiting this one every year going forward!

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Photo of VeganUndead
3.68/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Red wax of the 2014 vintage so this has had some time to rest. Tastes like it may be a bit past its prime, seems like a solid barleywine, however I'm not sure what all the hype is about

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Photo of 57md
3.82/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a muddy copper with a thin layer of head. The nose is weak especially for the style. There is some malt sweetness leading off in the flavor profile but this offering does not have the intensity of flavor that I'd expect from a double digit ABV barleywine.

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Photo of JohnnyHopps
4.14/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance- The beer was a deep copper color with a white head.

Smell- The nose was both grassy and malty, but did not radiate much sweetness.

Taste - At the front was sweet malt followed by grassy malts. I further detected light caramel, raisins, and a bit of dankness. In the back, the beer was more bitter than sweet.

Mouthfeel- Pleasantly thick, the beer coated the tongue nicely.

Overall- I would like more sweetness in my barleywine, but this is still very good.

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Photo of mschrei
4.44/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2009 release poured into a snifter. Cloudy brown with mild floaties. Sweet tangy malt scents. Sweet applish taste, slight tang and a mild alcohol burn.

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Photo of jzeilinger
4.45/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

In review is a 2013 (Violet) vintage:

A - Hazy dark amber color with a creamy, bubbly/soapy thick ring, thick legs on the sides of the glass.

S - Toasted toffee and roasted caramel aroma permeates the nose with some vanilla.

T - Toasted caramel, toffee, and some light/delicate sweet floral, mild lingering mild floral bitterness (some citrus bitterness mixed in but buried.)

M - Full body, thick, viscous, sticky on the lips.

O - This beer is outstanding. Wish I lived closer to Pittsburgh to buy this on an annual basis.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.49/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle received in a recent trade.

This one pours a tawny dark amber, with a small head, and no lacing.

Smells like toasted bread, caramel, tobacco, piney hops, orange jam, and toffee. Certainly a lot going on here.

This tastes much the same as the aroma. As its a bottle of the most recent vintage, there is some hop character here. It allows for a bit of bitterness to match the sweet barleywine characteristics. The hops provide some pine bitterness, maybe a bit of earthy tea, and some orange. The malt backbone is the real star though, nice caramel, tobacco, toffee, chocolate, and toast features here, deep and rich.

This has a good level of carbonation for the style, present but not overwhelming, with a slightly creamy mouthfeel.

A top tier barleywine that coaxes awesome flavors out with no barrel work.

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Photo of ONovoMexicano
4.09/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bomber poured into a snifter. No bottle date that I can locate but I've had this for over a year at least.

Pours viscous and caramel in color. Head is sudsy with a creamy quality and leaves a wall of lace as it recedes and a thick film over the dark brown, almost plum-skinned body. 5

Sweet and fruity aroma... Caramel, raisin and date. Light hop aroma injects some floral notes. Strong vanilla notes too. Pretty straightforward and attractive, but that also means it's lacking some of the depth or wealth of flavors I look for in this style. Still, very nice to the nose. 4

Love the fruity flavor that reaches me. It's kind of jammy and berry-like more than the expected raisin/fig/date trio. Tons of rich caramel, brown sugar, and there's even a citrusy, orange peel streak that takes this into fruitcake territory. Develops more of a grape flavor as it warms. Very nice but my one complaint is the perfume-y hop character that would be better if it receded. 4

There's an interesting battle between creamy, sweet, rich, and a touch zesty and the more floral, perfume-like feel that reminds me a lot of the Bigfoot that preceded this beer. I didn't check the ABV on this but whatever it is it's well hidden. 4.25

Though this is my first time trying this beer, I almost wish I'd given this a couple more years. Having said that, it's still a damn good beer and drinks just fine with a year-plus on it.

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Photo of unclekeith
4.18/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2015 bomber (red wax) into a Teku

L: Deep clear amber, 1-finger stubborn head
S: Caramel, dark fruits, booze
T: Sweet malt, some bitterness, but more sweet than anything, so hops in the back
M: Full bodies, creamy, a bit hot
O: A great barleywine

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Photo of Bosoxfan20
4.42/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2014 vintage.
Pours a deep amber with a 2 finger khaki frothy head. Aroma remains hoppy and fruity despite the yr+ in the cellar. Some medicinal notes. Aroma reminds me a lot of SN Bigfoot. Flavor is next level. Near perfect blend of hops and malty goodness. Toffee, figs, caramel apples, ripe fruits and a touch of pine. Creamy, buttery, full bodied, and warming. This is everything you want in a BW and possibly the best of the style I have had that didn't see barrels. I think I hit the sweet spot in age given the balance of this one. I have to seek out the BA version.

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Photo of smanson56
4.41/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle purchased at East Enders in July of 2015 with red wax seal. Poured a dark reddish orange with a thick tan head into my tulip glass. Nice smooth mouth feel with a soft nose. A little warm in my mouth from the alcohol but surely not unpleasant. A great Barleywine just wishing I could have gotten a bottle of the barrel aged version.

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Photo of zac16125
4.63/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

22oz bottle into a snifter
2014 Vintage

Thanks to Preluderi for sending this long time want over in a trade.

A: Pours a hazy, dark copper color with some red-orange hues when held to light. Just over 1 fingers width of off white colored head builds then dissipates fairly slowly down to a thick film, and leaves a good amount of lacing. 4.5

S: Super caramelly, really sweet for an American barleywine, candied sugar, cocoa-like aroma, some fruit characters and booze. Wonderful aroma. 4.5

T: Follows the nose in that there’s a lovely sweetness. Tons of caramel, a maple syrup like sweetness, candied sugar, some balancing hop bitterness, subtle booze. This is fantastic. 4.75

M/D: Full bodied, carbonation on the higher end but appropriate, ABV noticeable but well restrained, drinkability is good. 4.25

O: This is probably the best non-BA American Barleywine I’ve ever had, up there with Alpine Great and COAST Old Nuptial as my favorite American Barleywines to date. 4.75

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Photo of trooperp
4.57/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2014 bottle version..Wow.. I was blown away by the beer.. Unexpected hot, bitter hops upfront.. Smooth, buttery, creamy head.. Any evidence of high ABV is well hidden.. Nice, mild sweet finish..despite the high ABV, drank this entire bottle quite easily! Seek this beer!

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.2/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

22 fl oz bottle sealed with pressure cap and red wax. Vintage 2014

poured into TG snifter.

Thanks for the share duff27! Wanted to try this beer for a long time!

Appearance: murky brown bodied beer with thick and creamy khaki colored head. Heavy lacing on the glass.

Smell: hop forward and rich malt profile. Dark fruits, caramel, and toffee. Nice balance between the hops and malt profile.

Taste: hop forward with same malt profile as the aroma. Strikes a nice balance that is slight more hoppy. Citrusy hops and dark fruit, caramel, and toffee malts. Finishes with a moderate bitterness that lingers for a while.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer with low carbonation. Awesome chewy mouthfeel with creamy carbonation. When this beer is chilled there is no booze, but as it warms up it has a slight booze sting. Exceptional mouthfeel; exactly how you want a barleywine to feel on the palate.

Overall: This is a pretty good american barleywine. It is pretty solid fresh and I think it will improve with age as the hops fade. World class mouthfeel on this beer and pretty exceptional for a non barrel aged american barleywine.

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Photo of Steffano
4.26/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2013 vintage (purple wax) split 3 1/2 ways. Sweet, hoppy, and less alcohol heat than what I expected. Primarily has notes of smooth brown sugar and caramel, balanced with a nice usage of hops. Medium-mouthfeel. Extremely easy to drink given the abv and style, this is truly a triumph of a beer. Best non barrel-aged barleywine out there by far. I've had my fair share of barleywines, in all honesty I enjoyed this far more than I did a deal with the devil or mother of all storms. The only barleywine I hold in equsl regard is Sucaba, do yourself a favor and hunt for this beer, impossible to be disappointed if you're a fan of the style.

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Photo of ivegot3Dvision
5/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2006 bottle from @treyliff, thanks buddy!

Look: Nice dark amber, some expected sediment from a 9 year old beer.

Smell: Dried fruit, roasted malt, no hops at all, slight oxidation, caramel.

Taste: First flavor is dried fruit and roasted malt, on par with the nose. Then, a wash of caramel and marshmallow, a bit of soy sauce and light sweetness followed by an intense burnt sugar flavor. The best way I can describe it the aftertaste of a really good chewy caramel. I've never experienced that flavor before in a beer, but maaaan it was amazing. No hop presence.

Feel: Appropriate amount of carbonation, not syrupy but not light either, just the right mouthfeel for a Barleywine.

Overall: I have a thing for Barleywines, and the 9 years of aging made this a superior beer. It tasted like drinking a beer that was brewed with tons of burnt sugar, in a good way. I wish I could have this beer again, but I know that it's probably never going to happen and it makes me sad.

I have had the 2015 version as well, which was definitely a good beer, but a bit of aging turned Gratitude into something magical.

If you can get a 2006 and you like Barleywines do you yourself a favor and get it before they become impossible to find. Superb beer.

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Photo of cosmicevan
4.11/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

wow, no review of gratitude...I feel like I shouldn't post this of the new vintage since last yr we did the full vertical and I have notes from that tasting...will post them when I get around to it.

this is new vintage, side by side w BA

both are identical cept the regular has a nice frothy head that the BA don't got. nose is phenomenal. toffee abd caramel. taste I'd great but a bit young. candy, fruit, caramel, a bit of great by super drinkable. still far and away my fav non BA barley. this could use some mellowing.

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Photo of augustgarage
4.19/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2009 vintage, obtained some time ago in trade (thanks to whoever this was from). Poured into my Dogfish Head oversized snifter.

Clear carmine body with amaranth highlights and a lasting smattering of beige foam. Sandy delicate lacing, and faint sticky legs. Good retention, especially for the age and ABV.

Boozy aromatics waft up from the bottle the moment I free the cap from its waxen grave. Dark fruit, wet leather, hints of sherry-like oxidation, burnt sugar, and some faint floral hop odors join the fray in the glass.

Intense flavor obliterates the palate - mountains of sweetness balanced by a cutting wave of bitterness (though the hop flavors are largely diminished by now) and a hint of sherry-vinegar tartness. Earthy, grassy, and somewhat spicy finish never quite dries out. Alcohol contributes big flavor and a bit of heat without being excessive.

Brisk well carbonated and medium-heavy bodied without being oily or sticky.

Impressive and powerful barleywine, glad I aged it though the fundamental muscular character isn't going to ever age out of this beer. While not as complex as I expected, this is s perfect after-dinner treat on a winter day...that said, a little goes a long way.

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Photo of champ103
4.49/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It is time I put a review down for this. After many vintages, and just recently having the 2013 release...this is a great barleywine.

A: Pours a dark copper orange color. A one finger beige head rises and sticks around for a bit. Light lace is left as this recedes.
S: Toasted malts, burnt sugars, caramel. Baked bread, chocolate. Slightly piney hops in the finish. Incredibly warming and inviting.
T: Like the nose a huge malty character. Toasted malts, baked bread, burnt caramel sugars. Maybe some dark fruits and chocolate comes next. That finishes with a slightly spicy, piney hop bite.
M/D: A full body and moderate carbonation. Smooth and velvety. A great slow and warming sipper to hug all night. I love it.

One of my favorite barleywines. It actually reminds me a lot of aged Real Ale Sisyphus (which is a criminally underrated barelywine in Texas). Always a treat to drink, and I am glad I have had the chance to try it on many different occasions.

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Photo of siege06nd
4.53/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2013 vintage (violet wax) poured into my Great Lakes 25th Anniversary hybrid tulip...

A. Pours an extremely sexy copper with bit of summery haze. Head is robust. About two fingers of light khaki head that settles to a half finger. The suds are thick, creamy, leaving a consistent, tight coating along the glass. One of the prettier and creamier heads I've seen in some time. Beautiful beer.

S. Brown sugar, molasses, cherry, orange zest, burnt caramel. Hops notes are there...slightly citrusy and piney...but faint. This is a highly refined nose for an American Barleywine...the fruit and caramelized sugar is most apparent, while hops take a back seat. Smells like a hearty, thick, loaf of nut bread. Really nice.

T. Opens with cherry, grape, caramel, and brown sugar. Then notes of toffee and hints of pine. Finish is a toasted caramel sweetness tempered with drying hops. Wow.

M. Carb is light-moderate and the body is full, complex, and very creamy. It's on the sweeter side, but what a showcase in malt. It has a thickish mouthfeel, with big biscuit and toasted dough notes blended with stone fruits.

O. One of the best American Barleywines I have had. Easily the best non-barrel aged example of the style. An excellent balance of sweetness, drying hops, and booze. Amazing mouthfeel. Very complex and worthy of its praise. Outstanding.

P.S. The bottle presentation is the best I've ever seen. Truly a work of art. Sorry to see they won't be packaging it like this anymore, but happy to have a few vintages in my cellar to admire and enjoy.

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Gratitude from East End Brewing Company
Beer rating: 95 out of 100 with 659 ratings