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

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86
very good
72 Reviews
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Class Of '88 Barleywine Style AleClass Of '88 Barleywine Style Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
North Coast Brewing Co.
California, United States
northcoastbrewing.com

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by SanFranJake on 04-21-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

BEER STATS
Reviews:
72
Ratings:
375
Avg:
3.85
pDev:
11.69%
 
 
Wants:
16
Gots:
77
For Trade:
5
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Reviews: 72 | Ratings: 375
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.

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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.

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

2015-09-22
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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Photo of DIM
3.79/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

a: Hazy amber peach color; poured with a decent sized fizzy head.

s: Sweet toffee, brown sugar, honey dew, some booziness.

t: Surprisingly sweet, given the ibu's and relative freshness of the bottle. Sugary toffee with hints of melon and pear; resinous heat at the end.

m: Pretty hefty and gently carbonated.

o: Pretty standard b-wine, but a good one. Hoping for a bit more to be honest.

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

A: pours a clear and vibrant golden orange with a finger and a half of eggshell colored dense head with good staying power that leaves a good amount of lacing
S: smells of caramel interwoven with some piney and citrusy hops
T: intense caramel sweetness on the front end with some piney, earthy and citrusy hop flavor. a bit of toffee on the back end and the swallow brings a good dose of oily piney hop flavor with some residual sweetness
M: silky and smooth with a decent amount of carbonation. neutral finish that coats the mouth well
O: I can't believe how well this beer drinks for being less than a year old. I'm not a fan of really abrasive hop profiles so this one works very well to me.

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

Pours a five finger, off-white head that fades slowly and leaving a good lace. Hazy amber color. Good carbonation, medium bodied. Tart fruit nose and flavor is sweet, spicy/tart fruit, high ABV is hidden, smooth finish. Pricey at $14.00 for a caged & corked 750ml bottle from Tully's Beer and Wine Wells, Me.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.84/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass.

A creamy white easily two finger and thick whipped almost fluffy top of a head is presented. Sits on a real nice deep orange, with a decent amount of clarity but still has a nice opaque character. Thick ring whipped up lace to match, real good looker.

Creamy hints of malt on the nose, and citrus subdued warmth. Hints of melon and orange fruit with some slight candy brown sugar. Fruit comes more forward on a nice hop bent aromatic. Fairly solid.

Light bodied presence, but with easy drinkability. A slightly wet feel with an emphasis on the fruit and hop character. An interesting aroma and palate of apricots, nectarines and yellow stoned pitted fruits. Slightly peach warmth and a nice easy mouthfeel but with not much malt depth here. Some fizzy carbonation, but luckily subdued and not distracting.

Overall a decent barleywine, but nothing earth shattering either.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.61/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

750ml caged and corked bottle picked up from Whole Foods in SoMa, San Francisco. Shared with @tobeerornottobe in Sydney.

Pours a relatively clear golden-bronze colour, with a filmy, but very fine head of pure white, like snow on the top of a cake. Lacing forms in spritzy strips across the glass. Body actually looks fairly fluid and light, but the carbonation is quite fine and very languid, indicating that it's thicker than I think it is. Looks good.

Smell is barley-heavy, giving a light, sugary malt character above all else. Slight twinges of booze extend it slightly, but also add an eye-watering strength to the brew as a whole. Hops are definitely muted, but there's still something relatively pleasant about it as a whole, even though the complexity isn't really there.

Taste is similar. Smooth, barley-heavy sweetness gives a cleanness to the palate on the front, while the back is peppered by a faint astringency and a slinging heat of booze. Enlivened perks of hops do come forward on the finish, resulting in a slight bitterness to attempt to dry out the beer and add some complexity. It's not bad.

Feel is fairly rich and broad, and with a slickness that is very pleasant. The booze heat harms it a little, but it's surprisingly balanced.

Probably remarkably drinkable for the ABV. It's certainly well-made and with a balance that puts other similar beers to shame. But it perhaps doesn't justify its strength. It's remarkably mild in many ways: that's almost certainly a good thing—a testament to the quality and balance of the brew—but it didn't make me jump up in excitement, and that's what I really want beers to make me do.

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Class Of '88 Barleywine Style Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
3.85 out of 5 based on 375 ratings.
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