Class Of '88 Barleywine Style Ale
North Coast Brewing Co.

Class Of '88 Barleywine Style AleClass Of '88 Barleywine Style Ale
Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
American Barleywine
3.85 | pDev: 11.43%
North Coast Brewing Co.
California, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Class Of '88 Barleywine Style AleClass Of '88 Barleywine Style Ale
View: Beers
Reviews: 78 | Ratings: 397 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of EMV
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a cork'n'cage bomber into a Dogfish Head tulip

L: Hazed caramel colored pour. Thin white head... very modest lacing.

S: Sweet. Brown sugar, caramel, toffee, and earthy hops.

T.F: Follows the nose. Sweet up front. Caramel and brown sugar... earth and spice with modestly bitter hops. A little pine mixed in. Bread and belgian candy sugar. Slightly boozy and a bit warming. Medium bodied.

O: A solid collaboration effort and a nice take on the American Barleywine. A flavorful sipper.

 513 characters

Photo of jlindros
4.15/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a decent fizzy foamy head decent lacing and retention, hazy reddish orange color

Nose big sweet candy malt, candy reddish sweet candy apple, big caramel, hint of alcohol, big spicy hops, fruity esters apple raisin and touch pineapple

Taste big sweet candy malt, big caramel, reddish candy, toffee, little nutty, sweet candy apple, fruity esters little apple, raisin, pineapple, big spicy hops, fair bitterness, but balanced, finish mild sweet, not too sticky, hint of warming alcohol, big spicy hops

Mouth is fuller bod, decent although lighter carb, very light alcohol

Overall nice balance, big candy sweetness but balanced with big spicy hops, would like to see some barrel aging

 691 characters

Photo of DrewSnyc667
3.8/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - Deep amber, almost dark brown ale like, with a robust head. Good lacing.

S - Alcohol, funky basement, sweet grape-wine, honey.

T - Astringent stone fruits, caramel, molasses.

M - Hoping cleans the palate nicely.

O - A tasty treat after 5 years of aging. Wish I had a chance to try it fresh for comparison.

 315 characters

Photo of Brutaltruth
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

From the 750 ml bottle in a snifter. This beefy little beast pours a nice lightly
cloudy deep amber with a nice head of off white foam that settles to a thick ring, thin
pooling layer, and showcases some nice sticky lacing. Nose of hefty alcohol, subtle
cherry notes, brown sugars, woodsy hops, and dates. Flavors follow the nose with light
notes of dates and cherries layered with sticky woodsy pine laden hops dashed with brown sugars
wrangling in the moderately aggressive hop notes with subtle dark breaded notes that fade
away into a warming booze finish. Decent mouth feel; medium light searing carbonation,
medium body that is lightly sticky, and a warming lightly dry and hoppy finish.

Overall, a decent little barley wine.


 749 characters

Photo of HopsAreDaMan
3.94/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this after Thanksgiving dinner at Helen's. People liked it (a couple of people asked for seconds), and over I would say it was good. It was sweet, and smooth, but nothing about it stood out.

 194 characters

Photo of scottfrie
4.13/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

750ml bottle from the release a few years ago.

A: Pours a fairly clear woody amber color with a finger of soft tan foam. A nice fuzzy lace a collar persisted and left a few spots of soapy lace down the glass.
S: Nose is full of rich scents of toasted malts, caramel, and hoppy spice, along with peppey scents and a touch of musty oxidization. Raisins, figs, and candied dates poke through, as well as a touch of warming alcohol.
T: Follows the nose with flavors of caramel malts and spicy and peppery hops up front, with nuances of raisin, toffee, leather, red grape skins, cocoa, and toasted bread crust near the finish. The finish itself is full of a leafy bitterness mixed with a touch of alcohol, and the aftertaste has notes of bread crust, toast, and a peppery herbal spiciness (maybe even rye?) that lingers long after the swallow. Oxidization is actually fairly unobtrusive, and there are some pleasant hints of sherry and musty cardboard.
M: Fuller, chewy body, very soft and easy carbonation, with a rounded and polished mouthfeel from the age. There is still quite a bit of hop bitterness, and this mixed with the spice give a clean spicy texture to the mouthfeel.
O: Flavors were very smoothed out and well-rounded in this bottle. A very easy to drink and pleasant sipper. The alcohol is hidden well, and the oxidization was at a pleasant level. This is drinking well.

 1,384 characters

Photo of JiminKY
4.12/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I think highly of North Coast, and enjoy their regular offerings. That, combined with the fact that I love Barleywine and was a member of the "Class of '88," had me hoping this would be one of the better Barleywines I'd ever had. Unfortunately, other than it's easy drinkability for a 10% brew, it registered rather mediocre in it's appeal to my other senses. Glad I got the opportunity to taste a reasonably-priced draft, rather than shelling out the big money for a bomber.

 476 characters

Photo of snaotheus
3.76/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

750ml corked/caged bottle split between a pair of snifters. Don't see any dates or anything like that, but I think it was a one-off, so it's probably obvious. I kept most of the sediment in the bottle, but some of it made it into the glass.

Pours fairly clear orange-amber with a moderate amount of fairly fine particulate drifting around. Head is small but persistent, in the form of a ring with a few small islands. Small amount of carbonation. Smell is boozy and rich. Something fruity about it. Maybe like overripe pears and bananas.

Taste is super boozy, wood, vanilla, so much alcohol. But, there's something bright in there. Maybe it's maple? Maybe it's citrus sweetness?

Mouthfeel is dry, moderate. Overall, pretty good beer.

 747 characters

Photo of PatrickBeebe
3.7/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Seems kind of light/thin for a barleywine. It pours a very clear golden amber color. Not very malty or hoppy. None the less, still taste good. Just not very barleywine-ish.

 172 characters

Photo of pat61
4.44/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From notes. L: Pours brilliant golden amber under a 1”clingy white foam collar.
S: Grain, fresh barley, light fruit, faint compost.
T: Rich malt flavors, caramel, a suggestion of bourbon, alcohol, with bitter hop accent.
F: Extraordinarily creamy and smooth with a rich, full body, slight alcohol burn.
O: Marvelously balanced between big malt, alcohol and hops. Almost like a mixed drink.

 396 characters

Photo of James_Michaud91
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

opened 7/9/15. Very nicely dry and still very drinkable for it's age. Tried next to the deschutes bottling of the same beer and preferred this iteration.

 153 characters

Photo of craftbeersweden
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bought September 5, 2014. Best before June 2019.

Hazy deep orange beer with a two finger high, beige head that leaves lacing on the glass.

Nose: Orange, butter, marmelade, honey, caramel malt, dried fruit and fruity hops.
Taste: Sweet malt, a lot of hops, citrus, pine, brown sugar and grapefruit.
Body: Medium to full body. Oily texture. Creamy and thick with a great balance of sweetness and bitterness. Soft carbonation.

Soo good!

 441 characters

Photo of Ohiovania
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Cellar aged since release.

Looks nice and smells pretty decent. Sweet with a tiny bit of hops still lingering. Taste is not so great. It kinda starts a little sweet then quickly moves to hops with alcohol heat and then drops off very quickly.

 244 characters

Photo of CTbrew32
3.54/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- Very light in color for a barelywine with a golden orange amber color. Pours barely a finger worth of head.

Aroma- Sweet malts and a surprising amount of fruity hop notes.

Taste- Once again those hops are very prevalent in taste as they are in the aroma. Hop flavors lean on the fruitier side with citrus,pineapple, and oranges. A lighter malt balance than I would expect for the style with more a paler dry malt than caramel sweetness.

Mouthfeel- Medium, carbonation, full bodied, and a clean dry finish.

Overall- Add a little more hops to this and I could have confused for a malt DIPA. Its a good beer with solid flavors, but I want more richness and sweetness from by barleywines. Solid pickup, but not worth repurchasing.

 749 characters

Photo of bluejacket74
3.73/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

750 ml caged and corked bottle. Served in a snifter, the beer pours a hazy orange/amber color with about an inch light tan head. The head stuck around a little while, and there's a decent amount of lacing. The brew smells like citrusy hops (grapefruit, orange peel), caramel and bready malt, candied oranges and some raisins. Taste is similar to the aroma, but with the addition of some pine hops, brown sugar and some general fruitiness. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit creamy with moderate carbonation. Overall I liked this brew. Maybe I should have drank this one fresher, but it's still good now. $10.99 a bottle.

 630 characters

Photo of chinchill
4.15/5  rDev +7.8%

Shared 750 l bottle.
Slightly hazy deep amber with a good head.
Modestly strong aroma followed by a much richer and more complex flavor. Great balance, as barrel aging effects meld with a generous load of mostly medium roast malts and a precise level of hopping.
O: highly recommended.
3.8 3.3 4.1 3.7 4.1

 313 characters

Photo of mdfb79
3.74/5  rDev -2.9%

Have had this one for a while...750ml corked and caged bottle poured into my Duvel tulip.

Pours a somewhat hazy deep amber-orange color with one and a half fingers of fluffy light tan head and moderate to high carbonation evident. Lot more hops to it than I was expecting. Citrus hops, fruity malts, caramel malts, breads malts, dough, burnt malts, floral notes, and dark fruits. Taste has more malt than hops. Medium body and low carbonation. No alcohol bite, easy to drink.

Overall a decent barleywine but hoppier than I was expecting...wonder what it was like fresh. Nose is quite hoppy but the taste gives way to more malts. Worth checking out but wouldn't go too far to seek it out.

 689 characters

Photo of JMS1512
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%

Appearance: Lush opaque amber with an off-white head. Tiny, tiny bubbles from the bottom of the glass. Head recedes to a moderately thin rim, leaving behind sine-wave like lacing.

Smell: Bright citrus, perhaps oranges. Most likely from the hop choice. 75 IBUs? Check.

Taste: Lots of hops, plus citrusy, floral wave. 75 IBUs? Double Check. A touch of sweetness. I don’t taste any roasted notes, or caramel, nor did I smell them at the outset. I do get a sugary finish as it warms.

Mouthfeel: Somewhat coating, medium bodied. Not sure where people are getting “sticky” as a descriptor. I can however, feel the bubbles.

Overall: Enjoyable for an American, though I still prefer English. A tasty collaboration.

 737 characters

Photo of alpinebryant
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%

A: Deep caramel orange color with sticky lacing and heavy head

S: Aroma of sweet citrus, fresh oranges, roasted sugars, and caramel.

T: Wow is this sweet and citrusy. Grapefruit, fresh naval orange and caramel mixing with some bitterness but overshadowed by the tangerine and fresh floral hop characters. There is a nice cotton candy like sugary flavor as well, mashing with a very dry finish.

M: Mild bodied, thinner than Bigfoot but with very similar carbonation levels.

O: Overall this is a solid barleywine. It would be great to find this in smaller bottles so you do not have to plan your timing on opening it quite as much but well done nonetheless.

 669 characters

Photo of superspak
3.9/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle into snifter, bottled on 03/2013. Pours slightly cloudy deep orange amber color with a 2 finger dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice dense soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a good amount of streaming carbonation retaining the head. Aromas of golden raisin, pineapple, orange peel, apricot, brown sugar, light caramel, toasted bread, floral, grass, pine, and floral/toasted earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of citrus/pine hops, yeast fruitiness, and pale malt sweetness; with good strength. Taste of golden raisin, pineapple, orange peel, apricot, brown sugar, light caramel, toasted bread, floral, grass, pine, and floral/toasted earthiness. Fair amount of pine/earthy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of golden raisin, pineapple, orange peel, apricot, brown sugar, light caramel, toasted bread, pine, and floral/toasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice balance and complexity of citrus/pine hops, yeast fruitiness, and pale malt sweetness; with a great sweetness/bitterness balance and no cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a smooth, fairly crisp, and slightly creamy/sticky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a light warming present after the finish. Overall this is a very nice blonde barleywine style. All around good complexity and balance of citrus/pine hops, yeast fruitiness, and pale malt sweetness; and very smooth and fairly crisp to sip on for the big ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

 1,593 characters

Photo of puboflyons
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

From the corked, caged 750 ml. bottle. Sampled on July 12, 2014.

It has a lovely looking amber-reddish pour leading up to a full cream colored head. Excellent clarity. Not a whole lot of lacing left in its wake.

Fine barley malt and caramel malt aromas with a rich sweetness and mellow to little booziness. 10% ABV but it does not feel like it.

The body was medium to full.

The taste is mellower than I might of anticipated. It feels like this has already been cellared for a year or more. Rich malty and sweet character with a moderate bitterness coming up at the end and staying around.

 592 characters

Photo of Pencible
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: This poured a nearly opaque light copper with thick white head.
S: It smelled like sweet candied oranges with wild honey and golden raisins.
T: It tasted like sweet candied oranges and copper hops, with some wild honey and vanilla. It had a clean bittersweet aftertaste with some alcohol warming.
M: It was oily with smooth natural carbonation. Nice slick body.
D: This was a solid barleywine with enjoyable scent and taste and body. Nothing really unique about it, but still nice to drink. The finish was a little hot, so it will likely improve with age.

 558 characters

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Served in a snifter)

A- This beer pours a clear bright copper body with strands of big bubbles gently pushing to the surface. There is a sticky creamy off-white head that has a touch of lacing with each sip.

S- The sweet pale malt aroma has some light caramel notes and a hint of butter in the finish.

T- The nice rich pale malt is sweet with a dry green woody hop finish and some cream flavor in the finish with a touch of sweetness.

M- The medium mouthfeel has a gentle crisp fizz and a nice soft alcohol warmth.

O- This classic barleywine has more of a "blonde barleywine" character to it. It is rich and sweet but not the luscious malt depth that I would expect from a barleywine. It is still a very nice sipping beer.

 732 characters

Photo of deschutes_fan
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750mL Bottle, aged for a year

- Pours a deep golden orange with a thick frothy head.

- Smells of citrus/orange peel, some floral hops and malty aromas too.

- Taste consists of some nice caramel malts, sharp/bitter citrus hops. Mouthfeel is decent, but a little thin compared to some of the better barley wines. The 10% + ABV is well hidden.

- Overall a good summer barley wine because of the refreshing citrus notes and the lighter body for the style. Nothing too special here, but still enjoyable. The high ABV sneaks up you...

Side note: I had this side by side with the deschutes version of the same beer. Though similar, the flavors were a bit more rich on this one and I liked it better overall. It was also more expensive @ $11/bottle (vs $8 for Deschutes).

 769 characters

Photo of draheim
3.76/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

750mL into a snifter. Pours a hazy honey amber (lighter in color than most barleywines) w/ a thin head that settles to a film, some sticky lace clings to the sides. Moderate carb.

Aroma is herbal and floral up front, with sweet dried apricots and dates in the background.

Taste is likewise dominated by floral NW hops and sweet fruity sugars, a soft lingering bitterness on the finish.

Mouthfeel is good, thick and chewy but not syrupy.

Overall a decent, if not superlative, American barleywine with a good balance between the hops and malt.

 545 characters

Class Of '88 Barleywine Style Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 397 ratings