King Henry
Goose Island Beer Co.

King HenryKing Henry
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From:
Goose Island Beer Co.
 
Illinois, United States
Style:
Barleywine - English
ABV:
13.4%
Score:
100
Avg:
4.71 | pDev: 8.7%
Ratings:
1,505
Status:
Retired
Rated:
Nov 24, 2021
Added:
Aug 16, 2010
Wants:
  1,738
Gots:
  488
SCORE
100
World-Class
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.
Recent ratings and reviews. | Log in to view more ratings + sorting options.
Photo of Beer_Economicus
4.81/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
by Beer_Economicus from Ohio

Today is a new beer to me.

Goose Island – King Henry Barleywine Ale (2011)

13.4% ABV

The beer is listed as a “Barleywine – English” on BA.

The beer was removed from a 40ish degree temp fridge after having been refrigerated for approximately 3 years. Beer poured into 2012 BCBS Tulip.

First Impression: Bottle hissed, and an aroma of raisins rose to my nose. Beautiful color. Low carb. 4.5

Appearance: Poured beautifully. A wonderful, deep mahogany with a seemingly black backing. Limited head quickly disappeared. Murky (but it is 3rd use, so of course it is); only visible at the edges. 4.75

Smell: Rich and boozy. Alcohol heat up front followed by sugars (momentarily), before quickly giving way to granny smith apples, cotton candy, gummy candy, and finally raisins. Man is this complex. No barrel on the nose (but never is with BA barleywines compared to stouts). 5.0

Taste: This is heaven. There’s so much here. There’s layers. Heavy and prominent is the classic leather, with tobacco taking a back note (more so than in 2013/2014). The taste leads with vague sweet fruits, followed by sweetness and leather followed by a drying, oakiness. The booziness is subdued compared to a fresh Bourbon County, but the alcohol is warming and “soft”, starting in the chest and moving up.

How does this compare to 2013/2014? There’s a smoothness with more rounded corners compared to 13/14. The same way that a more refined whiskey has fewer harsh edges, the same thing here. In this case, there are no harsh edges. This is rich and decadent without an overemphasis on the raisin, which is where many barleywines suffer. (Yes, Raisin is a common and delicious flavor, but sometimes it becomes overpowering.) 4.80

Mouthfeel: It’s about perfect. It has just the right viscosity, but perhaps once warm – if anything – it comes off a tad syrupy. It feels wonderful in the mouth. (Yep, I said it.) 4.75

Overall: I’ve had this for probably 3 years, and I’ve been scared to open it. I looove 2013/2014, but particularly 2013. I’ve always dreamed of this, particularly after having rare and especially being a fan of wheated whiskies. I’ve built this up to be this monolith that I’ve worried it wouldn’t live up. Turns out, it does, but not at first. When I first opened the bottle, I was disappointed. I said, oh man, this must be past it’s prime. The flavor is every bit as good as MJK (which I had just 3 days ago), but there’s something about it – perhaps it not being as fresh – that just left it feeling like it was lacking. Well, first impressions aren’t everything. After a few ounces, these first impressions faded away. It’s a little low carb compared to what it should be from the age, but that hampers it only a little given that it’s a barleywine (and something like MJK is served still).

This is every bit as good as MJK. Really, the only thing that sets those two beers apart is the age (this is older now), and the ABV. That beer is 20%, and the booziness is noticeable. For some reason it works, though, and it works well. I’m getting a bit lost in this comparison, but the point is that this isn’t just world class, it’s at the pinnacle. I am very grateful that I got to experience this beer, and feel fortunate to have done so. 4.75

BA Review Score: 4.83

Nov 24, 2021
Photo of Beerbom
4.02/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by Beerbom from California

This may be past it's time. It's boozy on the nose. Taste is tobacco and leather.

Jul 25, 2021
 
5 by Rkitchen from Michigan on Jun 19, 2021
 
4.69 by fifreak3 from California on Jan 16, 2021
Photo of VelvetExtract
4.11/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by VelvetExtract from Massachusetts

Bottle. 2011. Pours quite dark. Very old but still held up quite well. Not too oxidized. Still some barrel and booze. Has chocolatey notes, which was cool. Still impressive but probably a bit long in the tooth by now.

Dec 06, 2020
Photo of Sabtos
4.41/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75
by Sabtos from Ohio

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
Photo of Treyliff
4.87/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5
by Treyliff from West Virginia

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
Photo of zac16125
4.68/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
by zac16125 from South Carolina

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
Photo of JLK7299
5/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5
by JLK7299 from North Carolina

Don’t know where to knock this.

Feb 15, 2020
Photo of Momma_Knapp
5/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5
by Momma_Knapp from Connecticut

Fanfreakingtastic!!!! Soooo good

Feb 14, 2020
 
4.91 by edthehead from New York on Sep 06, 2019
Photo of mig100
5/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5
by mig100 from Texas

Bottled on 10/8/11. Bottle #0859.

Jun 16, 2019
 
4.71 by DaveCash from New York on May 18, 2019
 
4.56 by RPM3334 from South Carolina on Dec 02, 2018
 
4.74 by Mikaveli from California on Sep 29, 2018
Photo of Buck89
4.79/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75
by Buck89 from Tennessee

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
 
5 by Winston3737 from Michigan on Jul 22, 2018
 
4.75 by BartS from California on Jul 02, 2018
Photo of Rristow
4.9/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
by Rristow from Ohio

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
Photo of BEER88
4.31/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by BEER88 from Washington

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
Photo of stevoj
4.24/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by stevoj from Idaho

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
 
4.84 by Eddiehop from Texas on Mar 10, 2018
 
4.6 by Chuckdiesel24 from Illinois on Feb 14, 2018
 
4.56 by Bonna from Illinois on Feb 04, 2018
 
4.68 by TboneRN from Minnesota on Jan 07, 2018
 
4.76 by whitenads from Michigan on Dec 17, 2017
 
5 by Narthax from Texas on Dec 17, 2017
 
4.5 by alexsergio from New York on Nov 19, 2017
 
4.59 by cyrushire from Florida on Sep 23, 2017
 
4.5 by PA-Michigander from Pennsylvania on Jul 23, 2017
 
4.84 by jbaker67 from Pennsylvania on Jul 09, 2017
 
4.66 by Fireman_RK from North Carolina on Jun 16, 2017
 
4.03 by Coorsy from Massachusetts on May 25, 2017
Photo of Gambyt20
4.88/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75
by Gambyt20 from Illinois

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
 
4.69 by ellswrth from Oregon on May 14, 2017
Photo of rmpic82
4.56/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by rmpic82 from Kansas

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
 
4.98 by CharlesK from Pennsylvania on Apr 24, 2017
 
4.68 by kylehay2004 from Illinois on Apr 01, 2017
 
4.85 by Jlang2012 from South Carolina on Mar 13, 2017
Photo of yesterdayfaraway
4.71/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
by yesterdayfaraway from Missouri

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
King Henry from Goose Island Beer Co.
Beer rating: 100 out of 100 with 1505 ratings