King Henry
Goose Island Beer Co.

King HenryKing Henry
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Barleywine - English
4.77 | pDev: 8.6%
Goose Island Beer Co.
Illinois, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
King HenryKing Henry
Notes: Brewer's notes:
Aged in Pappy Van Winkle 23 bourbon barrels, previously used to age Rare Bourbon County Brand Stout. King Henry is a burgundy hued English-style barleywine with aromas of vanilla, oak, and dark fruit. Caramel and toffee flavors blend together with bold notes of bourbon delivered in a smooth body followed by a malty finish. No matter the occasion, King Henry promises a regal drinking experience.
Reviews: 332 | Ratings: 1,500 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Sabtos
Sabtos from Ohio

4.41/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Muddy dark brown with a short tan film washing out to a thin chain.

In our group tasting the first words to come out of anyone's mouth were my old lady noting pecan pie, and that was a good first impression.

Several varieties of caramel develop on the nose, contrasted by tons of splintery oak, but it somehow manages to be exceptionally smooth on the palate, with no unpleasant notes of any kind that you might expect out of such an old brew. 9 years out, (or 11 from the brew date?), this is definitely showing its age with a dusty, walnutty oak character continuing to pervade in flavor, which is accented by a hint of red grape, but it's still incredible.

As it warms, the slick heat of the medium body comes with a light, fine yet crackly carbonation that lifts milky chocolate and a touch of coconut from the barrel. After coming to a dry finish, the exhale brings forth some peppery char as a tingly numbness teases the palate.

Sep 29, 2020
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Treyliff from West Virginia

4.87/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

22oz bottle poured into a snifter
Almost 9 years old

A- pours deep brown in color with a one-finger foamy light khaki head that reduces to a ring around the glass

S- bold aromas of leather and peppery tobacco jump from the glass with notes of pipe tobacco & black licorice. Malty notes of caramel and toffee and followed by dark fruit aromas of dark cherry, figs & blackberries. Undertones of molasses & burnt brown sugar. The barrel matches the rest of the aromas, adding notes of spicy oak, vanilla bean and barrel juice. All ingredients combined add a dark wine aroma, very similar to port, the complexity seems to open more as it sits

T- the complexity of this beer blows me away. Opens with and onslaught of malty caramel and toffee, with equal parts figs, raisins and dark cherries to compliment. Mid-palate brings out a spicy and peppery pipe tobacco note, as well as dark chocolate fudge brownies, black licorice, tootsie roll & black strap molasses. The cherry note continues throughout, before the barrel finishes it out, adding seasoned oak, vanilla coconut and delicious barrel juice. Lingers of caramel, cherries and bourbon

M- medium-heavy body with moderate carbonation leads to a creamy mouthfeel that continues into a viscous, almost chewy finish, just a hint of alcohol warmth lingers

O- lived up to the hype in every aspect, the best English Barleywine that I've had

May 03, 2020
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zac16125 from South Carolina

4.68/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

King Henry Barleywine
22oz bottle into a snifter
Bottled on: 10/8/11
Cellared at fridge temperature
Consumed in Tampa, Fl, Christmas Eve 2019.

Big thanks to @jportillo for sending this over in a trade several years ago.

Special Beer for a special milestone,, BA Review #1,000!

A: Pours a very dark brown, nearly cola colored in the glass with fizzy light tan head just under a fingers width. Looks like no issues with carbonation even with all these years on it. Some nice ruby hues when held to light. 4.5

S: Aroma is excellent, it has huge wonderful bourbon notes. Wonderful char, some subtle vanilla, an almost peat-like character. The base beer barleywine notes are quite subtle at this point, with some dark fruits and candies sugar. 4.5

T: Very complex and incredibly delicious. Not gonna lie I was super worried about oxidation with 8 plus years on it but amazingly it is absent. This is a bourbon bomb. Dark fruits up front, then tons of barrel characters with charred oak and rich vanilla. Subtle bitterness, some cocoa notes on the back end. The flavors linger forever on the finish. It’s incredible. 4.75

M/D: Full bodied without being heavy, carbonation perfect, ABV exceptionally well masked, dangerous drinkability. 4.75

O: Phenomenal. Worth the hype. The depth of the barrel notes are impressive. So psyched it held up strong after all these years. Makes me curious as to how it was fresh. Feel privileged to be about to try to this gem. Merry Christmas!

Mar 23, 2020
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Buck89 from Tennessee

4.79/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a snifter. A murky rusty, muddy copper-brown color with a modest tan head, Nice scant lacing in the glass. The aroma was smooth whiskey, caramel, sweet malt, and cherries. The taste was incredible. Silky smooth caramel and stone fruit but balanced perfectly with a subtle bitterness and ever so slightly tart cherry note. Vanilla and toffee on the finish. The 13% ABV virtually disappeared on the finish. Just incredible.

Jul 24, 2018
Photo of Rristow
Rristow from Ohio

4.9/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Wow! Pours dark brown with little to no tan head. Huge aroma of toffee, maple syrup, brown sugar, bourbon, honey. Taste is heavily sweet with no alcohol taste what so ever. Chewy mouthfeel. Flavors of brown sugar, honey, bourbon, maple syrup, caramel, toffee, dark fruits like cherries, and a little nutty flavor. Probably the best barleywine I’ve had.

May 28, 2018
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BEER88 from Washington

4.31/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Not a barelywine guy, but it was broke out at a bottleshare so I had to taste it. Classic barleywine look on the pour. The smell is sweet molasses, figs, dark fruits, fudge, oak, smoke, candy, bourbon. The taste to me was sweet and boozy, lots of dark fruit and bourbon, and heat. Feel was liter but not lite or weak. Overall not my style but the others enjoyed it lots!

Apr 02, 2018
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stevoj from Idaho

4.24/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle at barley wine tasting. Murky brown pour, small ring of head. Nice mellow sweetness, maple, molasses and woody barrel notes. Taste brings some booziness, more sweet heat, syrupy, slick, smooth. Great all the way around.

Apr 02, 2018
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Gambyt20 from Illinois

4.88/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

At DLD, buddy saved me a pour of this whale from the early am bottle sharing in line. The BEST and I mean the BEST friend ever as this isn't the first time he has saved a pour of a whale for me to try. Had a beautiful rustic orange brown color and even looked thick. Had a great balance of the barleywine flavors with the used BCBS Bourbon barrels. Just something else I can't describe partially due to lots of other beers during DLD. But easily this was the one I recall and stood out from all the other great beers. That alone tells ya how great this one is.

May 14, 2017
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rmpic82 from Kansas

4.56/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Cola color with burnt orange outer rim when held to light. Beautiful butterscotch on the nose. Luscious, full front palate that fades a bit too quickly. Perhaps the age is starting to get to it, but I was looking for more depth and mouthfeel. Very easy drinking and a very solid BW.

May 10, 2017
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yesterdayfaraway from Missouri

4.71/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

L: pours dark brown, medium syrup looking thickness, no head
S: sweet and sharp dark fruit, mellow bourbon.
T: big flavors...not lacking at all after 5 years. Big sweetness, bourbon still hugely present. Still has a bit of alcohol bite, not harsh but not as smooth as I figured / hoped.
F: medium thickness, smooth as can be. Coats well.
O: an awesome babw! But a step behind Ba vermilion's richness and thickness.

Feb 18, 2017
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JohnnyHopps from Indiana

4.65/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- The beer poured a murky brown color with a mocha colored head.

Smell - The beer had a muted sweet malt nose.

Taste - The sweetness of the barley wine and bourbon blend together perfectly. Notes of vanilla, chocolate, sweet malts, and candied prunes are present. Any burn from the bourbon is masked. It may be the aging but any hotness is gone.

Mouthfeel- With the style in mind, the feel is both malty and creamy. Any sense of carbonation has disappeared.

Overall- For purposes of comparison, I would've liked to of tried this fresh. Even five years later, this is a darn good beer.

Jan 23, 2017
Photo of nawpnawp
nawpnawp from California

4.55/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very flat brown that let's a little bit of light through. The smell is very sweet raisin, vanilla and Rare like; a lot of the barrel comes through on this. Surprisingly there is still some heat in the nose. The taste is a lot of the same. It is impressive how well it has held up for 5 years. It could easily do another 5 IMO.

Honestly, I don't think it's much better than a BCBBW -- not in the way Rare triumphs over regular BCBS. If I were given one of the two randomly, I don't think I'd be able to get the answer right every time. I'm happy to have gotten to try it, but for what it takes to get one, I'll have a BCBBW instead.

Aug 26, 2016
Photo of Jaunty
Jaunty from Wisconsin

5/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

10/08/2011 Bottle of King Henry. Opaque sable brown poured, creamy 1/4 inch head. The aroma was delicious. Just heavenly! Taste- Nutty, caramel, bourbon. Like a smooth liquor, warmed me to my soul. Substantial mouthfeel, but not too thick. Syrupy smooth and very fine. Shared with friends, all had enthusiast words of praise. Wish I had another, but the first taste of the fruit will always be the best.

Jul 11, 2016
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KevBot89 from Pennsylvania

4.8/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Dark, murky brown. Burnt caramel, dark fruits (plums and raisins), figs and dates, tobacco, toffee. Some bourbon, significant oak but not overwhelming. Some earthy and herbal notes in the background. The mouthfeel is super creamy. Somehow, after all this time, there's still a slightly boozy presence both on nose and taste.

This beer is worldly. Very glad I got to try it.

Feb 28, 2016
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rudzud from Massachusetts

4.55/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Shared with JLindros. He's already had this, but, this is #3000 and I can't think of another person I'd like to share this with.

A - Poured into a Kate the Great tulip a nice clearish darker brown hue with a thin head that fades to leave thin wisps and a light halo.

S - Aromas of caramel, super rich bourbon, malt sweetness, nice dark fruits, nice vanilla. Quite aromatic.

T - Taste is similar to the nose. Loads of caramel, nice malt sweetness. Really good bourbon notes that are really pleasant and sweet. Loads of vanilla too with tons of juicy bourbon and barrel.

M - Mouthfeel is nicely carbonated, alcohol hidden very well.

O - Overall, this was an excellent barleywine. That being said it was still rather sweet, heavy malts. Realistically, this beer is past it's prime. There is good dark fruit with nicer sticky toffee. The bourbon here shines though.

M - Mouthfeel is lightly carbonated, sweet, alcohol hidden well but it was a bit sticky.

O - Overall this beer was really good, great bourbon notes. That being said it really is a shell of the beer it once was. Delicious barleywine though with great bourbon qualities.

Serving type: bottle

Feb 03, 2016
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tclipse from Virginia

5/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is the first 5/5 I have given out since April '15 (DB Hunahpu). This is unquestionably the best barleywine I have ever had, and it is drinking amazingly well right now. Now is the time to open it. Do it, you can thank me later.

Jan 02, 2016
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rodbeermunch from Nevada

3.2/5  rDev -32.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Dark brown, moves to red towards the edges. Small beige head. Boozy as hell aroma. Lots of roast. Not a lot of hops.

Taste, dude, for all the Pappy hype, Pappy barrels sure do seem hot. More toffee, more mouthfeel needed. Seriously. Needs some sweetness or something. A little bit of chocolate in it. Just hot and some dark fruit stuff to it. Don't believe the hype.

Dec 23, 2015
Photo of JamLand
JamLand from District of Columbia

5/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Looks exactly as you would want a barrel aged, English Barleywine to look. Brown, yet clear.

Smell was a great combination of roast, dark stone fruits and brown sugar. I could smell this all day during the winter.

Taste, a perfect example of this style. How you hope the barrel would add to a barleywine without taking anything away. So smooth. Sweet without being overly so. Everything someone who likes a good barleywine and good bourbon could hope for.

Feel exactly as I expect this style to be. Smooth, with a little alcohol heat at the end, but not overly so.

Overall, an amazing beer. I'd heard this was starting to fall off. Well, if this is falling off, I'm happy to go with it. A great beer and the best BA English barleywine I've ever had. It was a treat to try this and I recommend anyone who has the chance to, do so.

Nov 09, 2015
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ThrewRedButter from Massachusetts

4.73/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Having this for no good reason on a Monday afternoon. Why? Because screw it, that's why!

A - Almost completely black, but actually dark burgundy with zero head

S - Overpowering dark fruits: figs, raisins, plums. Sweet, sweet bourbon, toffee, caramel, butterscotch, and a fair share of malts.

T - Sweet, sticky bourbon first and foremost followed by some vanilla, toasted coconut, and caramel. Heavy malt presence with a slight alcohol sting.

M - Smooth as all hell. Pretty thick and viscous like a stout. Some lingering malt flavors and a minor warmth on each sip

O - I mean, overall, this is a fantastic BA Barleywine, but I can't help but think the hype precedes it. Again, it's superb in every way, but just don't sell the farm to get a bottle. Bourbon County Barley wine is just as good and won't cost you an arm and a leg.

Jul 13, 2015
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pufftuff312 from Illinois

4.9/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

L- poured into 12oz shifter. Faint head dissipates almost instantaneously. Liquid when swirled appears to stick to the sides and pour down it like a syrup.

N- Bready , sweet maraschino cherries. Booze. Caramelized sugar, caramel, slight oak

T- Light bubbly carb. Sweet meat, berry, preserved dates, boozey barrel character ("dat pappy"). thick caramel. Smoke , with wonderful bourbon notes finishing . Very very complex, evolving flavor.

F- Mouth feel is perfect. Light carb, thick and viscous. warms you up like a brandy. Just a pure pleasure to drink.

overall, a perfect barleywine. Goose island shows their masterful understanding of the barrel aged beer! wish I could drink glass after glass.

Jun 21, 2015
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marct13 from Pennsylvania

3.01/5  rDev -36.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I think that part of our feeling about this is the hype behind it, and I don't feel like it lived up to it. The bourbon was overpowering, and I don't feel like the base beer really made an appearance. With beers like ADWTD, Aaron, and Leon the barrel is a compliment and adds complexity to the beer with King Henry, I feel like it completely took over. Also, the mouth feel was lacking. It seemed thin for a barleywine, let alone a BA barleywine. I'm very glad I got to try this, again, I just don't feel like it lives up to the hype. Maybe we just had a bad bottle.

May 28, 2015
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SierraFlight from Virginia

4.65/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Bottle poured into taster glass at Hunahpu’s Day 2014. Brown body that lets no light through. No head or lacing. Dark fruits, bourbon, barrel notes - vanilla, coconut, charred staves, wood - booze, raisins, and brown sugar. Taste is sweet with all the same flavors followed by a touch of woody bitterness, and a blast of alcohol on the throat. Full body, smooth creamy texture, average carbonation, and a long boozy finish.

Feb 25, 2015
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timc100 from Illinois

4.88/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This bottle was properly cellared for all these years, and it has held up incredibly well. No real signs of oxidation.

Incredibly rich aroma of oaky bourbon and bright, sweet dark fruits. Tobacco, wood, molasses, vanilla, and brown sugar as well. Incredibly smooth, slick full mouthfeel.

Fantastic beer with one of the best bourbon barrel integrations.

Feb 14, 2015
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Fcolle2 from Illinois

4.72/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours black in color and viscous. Smell is incredibly rich with aromas if bourbon, sweet caramel, loads of English toffee ,blight amounts of cocoa, vanilla, and oak barrel. Taste is equally as decadent with rich caramel, toffee, dusting a of chocolate, saddle leather, tobacco, vanilla, bourbon and oak barrel. Mouthfeel is thick wit medium amounts of carbonation.

Jan 24, 2015
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mlhyatt from Georgia

4.79/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Poured from bomber into tulip glass.

A- black but not quite jet black if that makes sense. Abiut half inch of head but it wasn't as frothy as I expected it to be. The head dissipates rather quickly as well.

S- tons of bourbon with some fruity undertones. Lots of sweet malt xoming forward as well.

T- delicious. The bourbon hits first strong even after 3 years. Then there is a smooth sweet malt that follows and really holds this beer together. The aftertaste is definitely fruity but not like backyard rye or actual fruit, if that makes sense. Hint of vanilla and oak in there as well.

M - a little bit thinner than I thought it would be but still has a medium body feel and little carbonation. The sweetness of the beer is a little strong but it just makes it a sipper.

O- extrenely well made beer. I can definitely see the hype behind it. Glad I got a few in the trade!

Jul 03, 2014
King Henry from Goose Island Beer Co.
Beer rating: 100 out of 100 with 1500 ratings