Cucapá Barleywine | Cucapá Brewing Company

very good
46 Ratings
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Cucapá BarleywineCucapá Barleywine

Brewed by:
Cucapá Brewing Company

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
This one was retired, although the Cucapá guys decided to brew it as a Winter seasonal.

The bottle was changed, though

Added by rallison on 01-28-2007

For Trade:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 46 |  Reviews: 38
Photo of spatendan
5/5  rDev +28.9%

Photo of beergeekjoey
4.8/5  rDev +23.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

On tap at Stone World Bistro and Gardens.

I thought that this beer was phenomenal - it is probably the best balanced and most complex American style BW I have tried that is this young. It was not identified as to vintage on the menu, but the bartender said it was a 2006. 8 oz. serving in a snifter-style glass.

Lovely ruddy appearance -- crystal clear.

Aroma is deliciously complex. There are notes from malt, hops, and a variety of sweeter alcohols, without overpowering NW hops or harsh alcohols. Many of the complexities associated with aged BW are already present - raisin, plum, date and leather aromas are noticeable. No oxidation notes -- sherry or the like.

Taste follows the aroma. The flavor is rich and complex, with no hint of harshness from high hopping or fusel alcohols. The balance in phenomenal -- neither hops nor malt dominate, and the interaction between them simply brings out the best in each. The malt is rich without being cloying and the hops balance with bitterness and add perfumy and fruity flavors.

Mouthfeel is very full and creamy. It is rather surprising that this is identified as a 10 ABV beer -- the alcohol is noted mainly as flavor and a warmth as is flows down the throat -- there is little heat up front.

It is certainly strong, however, but it is sneaky -- it seems less potent than it is because of that superb balance. That makes it very drinkable, but dangerous.

VERY enjoyable -- highly recommended.

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Photo of davidtarantino
4.75/5  rDev +22.4%

Photo of jazztoloc
4.5/5  rDev +16%

Photo of barleywinefiend
4.5/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 vintage

A: Poured a glowing but ruddy orange color with good carbonation and a nice white head.

S: Smells of sweet malt, butter and some citrus

T: Wow. Good, very good. Lots of sweet malt, apricot, butter, bread, some wood, candy sugar

M: Nice body and well carbonated

D: I would love to get my hands on another one!

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Photo of BigMcLargeHuge
4.35/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Courtesy of ratebeer's jarspag. Thanks Jared. Pours amber with ruby edges and tan head. The aroma is sweet English style barleywine with caramel covered red apples, prunes and dates as well as some yummy molasses. The taste is smooth and sweet with malts, caramel and some muted yet bitter pine hops. It seems to smell like an English style but tastes like the hoppy American style barleywine. Very nice stuff either way in my book.

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Photo of Vanlingleipa
4.35/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This barleywine's taste is soft compared to most barleywines and that's a relief. Too often, my tastebuds feel battered by the intensity and denseness of several other barleywines that approach the strength and consistency of syrup concentrate.

The Cucapa BW is thin only by comparison to the black holes of the barleywine world, however, it doesn't lack flavor. There is a brightness to the roasted malt/molasses that is the dominant flavor here - bright and strong, but not to the point of overkill. A slight edge of bitter hops comes in towards the end and lingers, a nice counterpoint to the sweetness of the malt and molasses.

Everything said and done and tasted, this is a quality brew - the first I've ever sampled from Mexico. Tip of the hat and I'm looking forward to trying their other offerings.

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Photo of fido
4.35/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cucapá Barley Wine pours a nice dark amber color with two fingers of white head; Smells of sweet, bread, malt, bit of alcohol, some fruit, caramel and hops; Taste very nice, deep sweet fruity malt flavor; Mouthfeel is creamy; Considering the alcohol, is a very drinkable beer.

I recommend it.

Por esos 25 años.


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Photo of karait95
4.33/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: excellent looking, a very dark amber color more like reddish brown, good head formed by light brown mixed bubbles, dissipates not fast and leaves traces behind on the glass. Carbonation is medium and body looks also medium.

S: alcohol and some dark fruits are sensed at once but hops are not to hidden behind for a penetrating aroma.

T: flavor is very good, it is balanced between malts, fruits and hops but alcohol and hops are the main part, as expected for the style this one is complex for the palette.

M: this starts with some sweetness that changes very quickly into bittersweet and at last a long bitter ending.

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Photo of srandycarter
4.25/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Dark orange amber, small off white head that clears to ring fast. Fairly clear, lots of cascading bubble around top ring.

S - Brown sugar alcohol and deep sweet wort like malt.

T - Brown sugar very apparent, butterscotch definitely there as a backup flavor, caramel and sufficient bitterness not to make it super cloying.

M - Fairly dense, coating, good carb, and pretty nice balance considering how thick and sweet it is.

D - Good stuff. Would fill me up eventually. Pretty heavy. Thus far, my FAVORITE Mexican beer!

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Photo of rderedin
4.25/5  rDev +9.5%

Photo of DaveHS
4.2/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours the color of burnt orange peels, with ruby highlights and an inch or so of creamy, khaki colored head. Leaves almost no lacing, just a few traces of streaky foam cling to the glass.

S- Aromas of burnt caramel, roasted peanuts, figs, butterscotch and biscuity malt.

T/M-The first sip is doughy and sweet, with a touch of booziness. This soon yields to mouth coating earthiness, reminiscent of old leather, stale tobacco, and musty old wood. An undercurrent of hoppy bitterness runs from beginning to end, keeping the butterscotch sweetness from overwhelming the more subtle flavors. The finish is piney and bitter. My one problem with this beer is that the finish is unrefined. It's on the boozy side, and this serves to amplify the bitterness, making what should be a lush, lingering finish dry and somewhat abrupt.

D- I think a year or two in the bottle would smooth things out. This is a minor complaint, considering how many other elements are successful.

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Photo of steve8robin
4.2/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this as an extra in a trade. Thanks Matt. 750ml bottle...

A: it looks like super dark murky iced tea that's hard to see through. Small tan head that quickly fades to a lace atop the brew. Decent.

S: Kind of a little watery caramel toffee upfront blended with some malty banana in the middle. Some faint raisin on the backend. Decent.

T: Heavy caramel sugar malts upfront. Blended with some nice boozy raisin. Hints of almost a bready cracker taste on the backemd. This is surprisingly good. Very good.

M: Medium body with a great carbonation feel. Very good.

D: This is surprisingly easy to drink with the abv.

All in all, this is a good brew. Solid barleywine for sure. I would definitely try this one again.

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Photo of Pepeton
4.2/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My bottle was from a last Winter batch that some local BAs got directly from the brewery. We bought several cases of their offerings and got them via freight truck 'cause it's illegal here in México to send alcohol thru standard couriers.

Now the review:
Pours a dark amber-reddish, with a tiny head with no retention. It left a very nice lacing, though.

Smell is a complex mix of caramel malts, ripe dark fruits, some spices and noble hops. Amazingly I don't pick up any alcohol, despite it's 10% ABV. Nice.

Taste is very balanced. Malts are, no doubt, it's backbone, then you begin to find whre all the aroma complexities come from.

Mouthfeel is intense, being such a big beer. Thick body, almost oily. Has a good bitter aftertaste. Very well rounded beer.

Drinkability is certainly high --one beer once in a while.


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Photo of hellbilly
4.12/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

served on cask at papago...

clear burgundy brown with a soft toasted almond colored head and random spots of lace.

very comforting aroma... chocolate, toasted nuttiness, roasted grains, muted orange, faint pine, nearly burnt caramel/brown sugar and lots of perfumey flowers.

surprisingly, the palate is not sweet... or harsh... or alcoholic... i'm confused. it's lightly astringent from the roast but it is so well proportioned and smooth... seemingly like it's already aged! flavors of orange, raisins, caramel-y butterscotch without the sweet, chocolate covered toasted nuts, faint pine, a light spiciness (cinnamon, maybe pepper), grassy herbal hops and a dry floral finish. buttery texture from the cask. medium to full bodied without any stickiness.

low residual sugar makes it crazy easy to drink... even without carbonation or bitterness.

it does lack a bit of complexity but this is the beez neez...

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Photo of gerardoluna
4.1/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

mmmm! mmm! mmmh!!! great beer, trust me, i eat some bread with "ahuacate" a mexican vegetal before try this beer and Booom! An extraordinary flavor round in my mouth [ i leave the veggie and take a chaiser of coffe liquor mmm!!!! try it!!]
Great flavor, amazing balance in the malt and hop this beer is called over here Cucapa "Barley Wine" please put the cd of miles davis and cannonbal aderley and turn on the volume with the song called "atumn leaves"

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Photo of sleazo
4.05/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On Tap at O Briens

A--Reddish brown, minimal head, consitent with the style.

S--Sweet raisins, caramel or even toffee notes

T-Very tasty-Good sweet notes, followed up by a dry finish. This one is not cloyingly sweet like many other barleywines. The alcohol is there, but it doesnt dominate. There is alot going on here, besides the aforementioned aromas, you also get some toasted malt, and a good hop backbone which plays in the background.

M- Syrupy, this one really sticks to your tongue. Very nice, especially after the watery porter i just had.

D-Way too easy to drink this Barleywine down.

notes-I wouldnt have expected a Mexican Barleywine to taste this good, a surprise indeed. I will search this one out.

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Photo of scottoale
4.03/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml. green champagne bottle with gold foil over bottle cap and neck. It pours a darkish amber-copper with good clarity and a finger thick, creamy beige foam. Good carbonation and decent head retention. The head fluffs back up with a few swirls of the tulip while enhancing the aroma.

Smells of sweet bisquity malt, vanilla, earth and oak. As it warms a bit, molasses comes through...sweet malty brew with some earthiness.

The flavor doesn't disappoint, starting off full of malty goodness. Not too sweet bisquit doughy malt with notes of molasses and vanilla that soon turn tobacco like with oak tannins and some earthy hops. From there to the finish the hops bitter things nicely, bringing a solid balance to the big brew. The alcohol is there but never makes a spectacle of itself. A very well composed barleywine here.

Fairly full body with active carbonation from start to finish, I didn't see this in the brew on tap which had very subtle carbonation. I definetely prefer this bottled version to the draft version which I have had several times in the past.

A very drinkable and solid barleywine that I will happily buy again in the future...and brewed in Mexico!

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Photo of rallison
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Liars Club. This beer impressed me. By far the best beer I've had from Mexico. Nice very dark brown color. Not much of a head. Smelled sweet, not very hoppy. Taste was similar. Lots of caramel/toffee sweetness, but also not overly sweet nor cloying. Mouthfeel was rich and creamy. Drinkability at first was low for me, but as I kept drinking, I kept enjoying more.

This would have been a very good barleywine attempt from an American brewer. So, to have this come from Mexico, a country with basically no experience with such a style, is impressive. I am really looking forward to other ambitious attempts from this brewer. I know this barleywine is popping up at a few places around southern California - you owe it to yourself to give it a try.

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Photo of Overlord
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Much like being the tallest dwarf, being the best Mexican produced beer is a dubious distinction. But, for what it's worth, this brew is it! Compared to its brethren, it stands heads and shoulders above someone standing heads and shoulders above a dwarf.

Pours a slightly ruddy orange. Cloudy. Maybe half an inch of off-white head.

Smell is the best thing about the beer. As others note, there are some alcohol aromas, but there are also some pleasant grapefruit-y and earthy hops, and a big sweet brown sugary caramel malt backing. I'd give it a 4.25. But, I can't, so I will round up some other score.

Taste is nice. I mean, I'm not going to write a poem about it, but it's a solid, nice tasting barleywine. Caramel malt, some bracing hops to back it (the hops are definitely taking second stage to brown sugary sweet malt), and a nice little bit of a earthy, almost smoky aftertaste.

Juicy. Pleasantly quaffable.

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Photo of ObiWanKushnobi
4/5  rDev +3.1%

Photo of cervezale
3.95/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Intense dark red copper color. Good head formation and good lace retention. It denotes legs on the glass representing its nice alcohol content and character. Aromas of sweet malts and caramels. The initial taste is very profound on sweet malts with a little dose of hops which do not overthrow its sweet maltiness and alcohol. A nice onterpretation of the style. Good with a nice cigar on a chimey.

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Photo of seaoflament
3.93/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sampled during Stone's 11th Anniversary event. I have to say that I was hoping to see this one at the event and was glad to try it.

Color is a light maple syrup with great amount of foam. Nice lacing and head retention as well.

Aroma, had to let this one warm up a bit, is of alcohol, caramel malts, fermented grapes and dark fruits like prunes, raisins and figs. Slight hop presence in the finish.

Tastes sweet and malty, a bit of dark fruit mix and a slight hop finish. Warm alcohol sensation. Not at all simple but not overly complex. Very nice beer to see coming from down south, more should be brewed this good.

Mouthfeel is slightly syrupy and tingly on the tongue. Warm on the finish, very good. Carbonation is also very well played in the beers profile.

Drinkability--It's a hitter, you can feel, but not so much taste, the alcohol in this one. One would probably be enough for me.

Great surprise.

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Photo of nickd717
3.92/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by someone at the Bruery Reserve Society Initiation.

Pours a mostly clear orangish-amber color with a decent off-white head.

Aroma is caramel malt, wood, dark fruits, and faded hops.

Flavor is pretty solid with caramel, toffee, vanilla, fruity notes, mild sherry oxidation, wood, and citrusy hops.

Medium body for the style with some booze and a some slight hop oils.

Drinkability is high for the style. This may be the best Mexican beer I've had, not that that is saying too much.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.92/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a slightly cloudy medium to dark red amber. Active lively thin off-white head forms on pouring, but dissipates rapidly, leaving no trace nor lacing. Aroma has all the barley wine characteristics, sweet caramel malt, dark and dried fruit. Flavor follows, dominated by sweet malt, dark fruit and alcohol. Finishes with hints of vanilla, whiskey barrel and moderate hops. Medium bodied, but the lack of carbonation detracts from the overall mouth feel. A nice barley wine with no real stand out qualities. A bit more carbonation and less booziness would bring out the good flavor a bit more. Glad I tried this and hopefully a promising hint of good things to come from south of the border.

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Cucapá Barleywine from Cucapá Brewing Company
3.88 out of 5 based on 46 ratings.
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