King Henry | Goose Island Beer Co.

321 Reviews
King HenryKing Henry

Brewed by:
Goose Island Beer Co.
Illinois, United States

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 13.40%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by Kegatron on 08-16-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 321 | Ratings: 1,465
Photo of marct13
3.01/5  rDev -34.8%
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.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.2/5  rDev -30.7%
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.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.25/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Brown liquid, some dark red edges throughout it, almost nothing in the way of head, a very small ring of tan head, but literally less than 1/16". Aroma was massive alcohol heat, for being a high end Pappy Van Winkle barrel, I found the aroma to be indistinguishable from some vagrant's choice plastic bottle purchased behind the counter at a quickie mart. Not so much an off-aroma type thing, just harsh. Wet barrel notes as well, not the dry, crisp type of wood, this was like a soggy piece in the wet rained out PacNW.

Taste, damn, if the heat just isn't all over this one as its number one flavor component. Search for it, you can pull out toffee, caramel, vanilla, but you're gonna have to wade through the massive amount of whiskey. Toffee just doens't seem to absorb 13% alcohol as much as high srm malts. Even though these barrels are on their second use, it really seems like the heat is more noticeable and heavier, perhaps because of the difference between the massive malt used in bourbon county the regular, and the base that has just as much in common with a belgian strong dark ale as it does an English barleywine at times (given the figgy presence, raisins, dark sugar, toffee, there was nothing approaching belgian yeast about it).

Ultimately, this beer was like drinking a boilermaker. None of the undercarraige flavors were off, they were just all subtle compared to the domineering presence of the alcohol.

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Photo of mulder1010
3.25/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

bomber poured into a tulip
Thanks to MrKennedy for supplying the bottle
Hype train comes to Sydney

A-- Poured a deep dark burgundy, nice ruby tints to this. Basically an off white film, when swirled got half a finger of head. Went back to film pretty quickly. Obvious alcohol legs to this and no lacing at all.

S-- Carmel, bourbon, brown sugar, butter, alcohol and dark fruits. Improved as it warmed but a very underwhelming smell and honestly quite disappointing.

T-- Carmel, brown sugar, oak, vanilla, stewed dark fruits, and alcohol. Nice taste to this but nothing mind blowing at all. Not in the class of Rare and how that was.

M-- Slick and rich. Lots of bourbon and the pappy barrel notes. Nice carmel, vanilla finish. Once again it is nice but not crazy good at all.

O-- Utterly overhyped. Would take a few other barleywines over this in a minute. Barrel dominates this and it shows. Good barleywine but would take ABACUS, Arctic Devil, MOAS or a few others before this. Needs more of the base beer. Finished the beer feeling unfilled and disappointed with the hype.

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Photo of fiver29
3.62/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared by Mike. Thanks! Pours a ruddy brownish color with little head. Aroma is sweet vanilla, barrel, booze, and some grain. Heavy mouthfeel. Tastes like it smells. Its just really sweet. If I had to guess this could be Dark Lords cousin its so sweet. So time should do this beer some good.

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Photo of kscaldef
3.66/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Very very dark for a barleywine. Head ranges from small in a HOTD tulip to non-existent in a Bourbon County snifter, with minimal retention and no lacing.

S: Rich chocolate-caramel-bourbon.

T: The taste is not bad, but definitely doesn't deliver here on the promise of the aroma. Some light oxidation, raisin and date notes, but still dominated by a mildly boozy molten chocolate cake profile.

M: Low carbonation. Rich & smooth mouthfeel that pleasantly coats the tongue.

O: Probably not what it once was. (It's not rising to my memories of smaller pours I've had in the past). But, still quite good and unique.

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Photo of trxxpaxxs
3.68/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into my Goose Island Chalice... My 200th review.

A: Pours an elegant deep dark brown, with thin hues of reds around the edges. It's not completely opaque, but darn close. There is a thin khaki colored head that appears from the pour, but it fades into the tiniest of halos along the top of the beer.

S: I'm picking up scents of roasted chestnuts, caramel, soy sauce, seaweed, stone fruits (plums and raisins), and some smooth barrel aged heat.

T: The initial blast is a bit of burnt wood mixed with soy sauce. But as that fades, this beer really starts to develop. I get a good amount of alcohol, sweet caramel, vanilla, and roasted nuts. The finish is a bit stinging and boozy.

M: Full bodied beer. This beer coats the palate and lingers for quite awhile. The flavor transitions are nice, and this beer gets way more complicated as I drink it.

O: I don't see what the big deal is for this beer. The soy/seaweed are a detriment to this beer. I can feel the barrel aging, but It's not as smooth and rounded as I would have expected from a Pappy barrel. Honestly... I think Pelican's Mother of All Storms and Hoppin' Frog's BA Naked Evil are better barleywines. Just my opinion.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.82/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Rogue shaker pint glass.

Big thanks to VDubb86 for sharing this bottle!

Thought I was gonna miss out on this bad boy, but Mike graciously shared with us for the Super Bowl party. It pours a dark ruby-brown topped by about a half-finger or so of off-tan foam. The nose comprises plum, caramel, oak, toffee, light bourbon, brown sugar, clove, light vanilla, dark fruit, and a twinge of madeira. The taste brings in more of the same, but there's a strong gust of booze that topples all in its wake. Some of the complexity remains underneath, but it's all colored by the heat. The body is a strong medium, with a very light moderate carbonation and a kinda dry finish. Overall, a generally solid b-wine, but one that is far too hot at the moment (relatively fresh). I can tell, though, that age will treat this guy very, very well...

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Photo of axeman9182
3.83/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle, #948. This one was bottled on October 8th, and allowed to warm a little bit before being poured into my Duvel tulip.

King Henry pours surprisingly dark. It's almost stout black, with very sparse mahogany highlights. Maybe two fingers of foam, the color of light coffee, rise up and then fall right back down. The nose hits every mark for a bourbon barrel aged English barleywine, and does so nicely. Toffee, vanilla and burnt sugar are the primary aromas, with bourbon and oak providing subtle complexities in the background. The flavor sees those secondary notes come a bit too far in the foreground. Woody oak and boozy bourbon are fairly in your face, while caramel and vanilla are stuck playing second fiddle. Ideally those roles would be reversed. The body is full and creamy, but the carbonation is a bit too subdued, even for a malt forward style. The result is a carbonation that crosses the line at times into syrupy. King Henry's a solid beer, but given how well Goose Island's barrel aged beers usually come out, I'm just a little bit disappointed.

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Photo of jethrodium
3.92/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

650 ml bottle generously shared by redmagik99. Thanks Matt. Pours a dark reddish copper with a small head disappears relatively quickly. The aroma is vanilla, some chocolate, a bit of bourbon, oak, caramel, toffee, and tootsie roll, as well as a bit of alcohol. Quite nice. The taste is very sweet with vanilla oak and bourbon. There is also caramel, toffee and tootsie roll. The finish has light alcohol as well as a light bitterness. Full bodied. A bit sweeter than I would prefer, but not syrupy. Low carbonation. An enjoyable beer. I can certainly see how people love it, but a bit too sweet for me. I preferred the Arctic Devil that I drank next to it.

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Photo of Alpar
3.95/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

***This review was done prior to the Pappy Van Winkle Barrel aging on King Henry***

A: A very rich mahogany red. Little carbonation, barely a ring on the outer perimeter of the glass.

S: Really sweet, lots of malts, spice, bread, pit fruit e.g. plum maybe peach and bourbon. Is there some nutmeg in there?

T: Similar to the smell, very sweet. I can feel the carbonation and taste it. This beer is not flat, although it does appear to be. The spices are very prevalent in the taste along with some subtle bourbon notes. I am getting some oak here as well.

M: Oily yet thick thus very smooth. Coats the mouth perfectly.

O: Very well done. I was expecting a not so great barleywine yet this was phenomenal. I am beginning to realize that I really enjoy almost all of GI's special barrel aged beers. Can't wait for the bottling.

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Photo of phichifiji00
3.98/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Very dark brown with a red hue, very minimal tan head, minimal lacing.

Smell: Bourbon, oak, burnt sugar, dark fruit, vanilla, chocolate covered cherries.

Taste: Bourbon, oak, burnt sugar, vanilla, chocolate, espresso.

Mouthfeel: full bodied, moderate carbonation, silky.

Overall: Fairly complex, drinkability is high for the style.

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Photo of Dubber55
4/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 10/08/11

Pours a clear crimson/brown with 1/4 finger of head that quickly dissipates. Not much lacing.

You can definitely smell the barrels. Not a boozy smell though- oaky, nutty, buttery, caramel, raisins, brown sugar.

Taste is very much the same- nutty, buttery, oaky, brown sugar, raisins, caramel. I notice a little booze in the finish but nothing out of place. Pretty mellow compared to most fresh barrel aged beers.

Low carbonation. Medium mouthfeel. A little oily and syrupy.

This beer is extremely smooth for 13%. If I had to guess, I would say its under 10%. But, I am not blown away like other people. The flavor profile just does not seem to be that complex. I am drinking the bomber myself and the sweetness is kind of wearing on me. It is still a good beer, it just does not live up to all the hype I have been hearing. I preferred fresh Abacus over this.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
4/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This one was served cold and at first there was nothing special about it. Then it warmed and the flavors just came out. I would say that the base BW on this would be lack-luster because the PVW aging really takes the cake.

A smooth yet thin feel to it. Caramel, raisin, vanilla, some sweet apple and oak come through on the taste. There are bold without being over the top. Tastes really good; would like to get more "beer" out of it. It seems the malt is just gone here. Still, quite tasty. The aroma doesn't do it justice.

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Photo of bs870621345
4/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had very high hopes for this beer after hearing the hype and how much people loved it. Disappointing for me.

Pours a dark amber color with a bit of head, not much lacing.

Smelled like a bourbon barrel barley wine with some hints of fruits, booze, raisins, caramel, toffee, and chocolate (which didn't make much sense to me).

This is one chocolatey beer. For me and my friend drinking it, it was more of a stout than a barley wine. Still a lot of the barley wine characteristics, just more like a stout to my tastes.

Mouthfeel is thick and rich, probably too much so.

Overall, its good- no where near the hype. Wish I saved it and traded it instead.

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Photo of Sarlacc83
4/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle courtesy of claspada. Thanks! Reviewed from notes.

A: Placid dark mahogany color with a barely discernible head. Stains the glass with brown sludge.

N: Can smell the caramel and vanilla from halfway across the room. Lots of honey, brown sugar, and a touch of licorice. Candied pecans. Very well rounded.

T: Balanced and well put together. Lots of interplay between the sweetness of bourbon and the underlying bourbon. There's a slight cocoa to this and similar oak flavors to Sucaba. It's a natural for the style.

M: Rich, filling, and the alcohol is actually well-hidden.

O: This is a beer worth lingering over, but it's very much a dessert. In fact, after so much apparent praise above, the reason this isn't getting higher marks is that by the end of my half of the bottle, I'm fairly sick of drinking this. It's really good upon the first impression and through the first 4 oz, but this is not one that goes the distance for me.

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Photo of tarheels86
4.04/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

651mL with a big thanks to Dan Fromson- my favorite beer columnist ;) Saving me the pain and heartache of trading for this bad boy, I strongarmed Dan into cracking this rarity. The pour is a tepid, deep cola generating a weak sauce, fizzling out yellow head. Clear cherry amber SRM. Nose is rum raisin (malaga) gelato with baked black cherry dessert (clafoutis) with hints of oxidation. Stronger umami character comes forth. Taste brings evident BCS barrel character with butter and light coconut. Sweeter barleywine notes of figs, dates, and salt remind of English barleywine. Not hop character. No syrupy sweetness either. Mouthfeel is very silky with rich, buttery bourbon. Aerated, fluffy. Really easy to love and very straightforward. I imagine when batch 1 Angel’s Share came out, it was a similar experience to this. 12/17/2011 8/3/8/5/16=4.0

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Photo of kojevergas
4.05/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

"Bottled 10/08/11 0813." This 650ml brown glass bottle was a gift from Duff27. I love the classy label art. Pry-off pressure cap is unbranded. Reviewed as an English barleywine. Expectations could not be higher; I'm extremely excited and this has been a huge want for a long time.

Served at fridge temp and allowed to come to room temp over the course of consumption. Side-poured carefully.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: Two fingers in width. Pale khaki colour. Retains well for the high ABV - about 2-3 minutes. Surprisingly well carbonated for a 2.5 year old beer. Could be fuller, creamier, and frothier. Leaves a boozy clear lacing as the head recedes - reminiscent of brandy.

BODY: Mostly brown, but it has some reddish hues. Nontransparent. Translucent and rich - decadent, even. Dark. No floating yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible.

Overall, it's quite an extravagant looking beer. The description on Goose Island's website calls it regal; I'd say that's apt. It's not a unique appearance for a barleywine, but I'd say it's special.

AROMA: Dark fruits - plum. Slight oxidation is helping it here. The malts are definitely English in character. Toffee. Marshmallow. Bourbon-wise, I'm not getting much beyond vanilla - but then I do have a broken nose. Cream.

A very appealing aroma for a barleywine; moderate in strength.

Not boozy or hot by any means. I don't detect any yeast or hop character.

TEXTURE: Smooth and wet. Full-bodied. Sticky and syrupy, sure, with plenty of heft and thickness. But it's not too weighty; it's surprisingly approachable. Well-carbonated.

Not oily, gushed, astringent, harsh, or hot. It does have a warm booziness, though, which I think helps the beer. The alcohol warmth does remind you she's a sipper, but also encourages the drinker to savour it.

Good overall presence on the palate.

TASTE: English malts and luxurious teasing toffee set the tone for a grand flavour profile replete with notes of marshmallow and lightly oxidized toasted malts. The bourbon barrel notes are much more refined and elegant than I'm accustomed to in something like an imperial stout; the vanilla is near perfectly balanced against the exquisite yet subtle dark fruits (mainly plum, but maybe there's some currant or fig).

I'm not finding any yeast character or hop notes, nor should I.

The caramel character here is the finest I've ever experienced in a beer period. As it warms, I'm picking up on some leather. Also some tawny sherry notes in the finish. There's none of the cardboard character you'd expect in an oxidized beer, but then this is near perfectly oxidized. Hints of raisin. Maybe even some brown sugar. A kiss of maple.

This isn't too sticky or sweet, but has plenty of well-layered malts. It's delightfully well balanced and pleasing to the palate, with a rich build that doesn't come off too heavy or overbearing. It's as complex as it is subtle, and the bourbon character alone lends it an almost unique nuance. Goose Island reminds the drinker - we popularized (if not invented) bourbon barrel aging - and we still do it best. Wow. The barrel integration is seamless and works with the base flavour profile rather than eclipsing it. I do wish there was more of a toasted oak presence.

The sweetness does pick up as it warms, which isn't ideal.

FINAL THOUGHTS: My expectations were very high, but this is an incredible barleywine. I still believe there are better barleywines out there, but this is a damn good offering from Goose Island and I wish it were more available. I'm far from disappointed. The bourbon integration especially is a highlight. It's simultaneously extraordinarily drinkable for the ABV and a sipper meant to be savoured.

Huge thanks to Duff27 for the bottle.


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Photo of corby112
4.06/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark chestnut brown color that's completely opaque with mahogany edges and thin, off-white head that immediately fades.  Not much in the way of lacing.  

Sweet boozy aroma with a really nice barrel presence that's very nicely integrated into the notes of the base beer.  Some toasted oak with lots of spicy bourbon and sweet brandy along with rye whiskey, vanilla bean and toasted coconut.  Nice spirit presence with a faint touch of oak that isn't too charred or toothpick-like.  Underneath there is some leathery malt and dark fruit sweetness.  Thankfully the barrel presence doesn't completely obliterate the other notes.  I'm slowly picking up hints of biscuit, toasted malt, plum, raisin and fig.  The barrel notes are excellent but I would prefer a bit more barleywine character in the nose.

Viscous and oily with a boozy barrel presence that has a ton of heat and spicy, sweet bourbon character that dominates the palate, lingering over the leathery malt and sweeter notes into a dry finish.  Lots of vanilla bean, marshmallow and toasted coconut along with some dry, toasted oak but it's somewhat faint at this point.  Slightly harsh, boozy and hot but this beer has some really nice barrel flavor.  Underneath, there is decent leathery malt presence along with vinous dark fruit and port-like notes.   Hints of date, raisin, plum, fig and dark cherry but the booze is a bit too strong for my preference, killing off most of the barleywine characteristics.  Solid with good barrel flavors but the spirit/booziness is a bit overwhelming for me.  Lacking in balance and surprisingly still very hot and boozy this long after the release.  

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Photo of brewmudgeon
4.09/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

King Henry
poured half the bomber into a pint glass, the only thing that was clean.

a 3.5-4 dark cola brown, with amber hues around the edges. not nearly as dark (duh) or as thick-looking (huh) as BCBS. a small, less than 1-finger head arose and left quickly, leaving only a spare ring. the look is fine, but not awe inspiring or anything.

s 4.5 vanilla, oak, beautifully rounded bourbon, butterscotch, figs, dates and other dark oozy fruity smells. a little wisp of alcohol. no hops.

t 4 the first wash across the palate is a dance of sweet fruityness, not as dark as expected. almost tropical fruit punchy. there is some burn on the back end which actually helps to keep the sugar from being overwhelming. melted candy. at times reminiscent of pyrat xo rum (which i no longer like), but in a pleasing way. the kinship to BCBS is present in the sweet vanilla notes, but this is clearly a different style of beer and could not be confused with a stout imo, as some have suggested. i want to scream “where are the hops” as even for an English style barleywine they are remarkably absent. something is needed to offset this immense sweetness. starting to taste very much like a sweet style of sherry, but with some fruit punch and carbonation added.

m 4 as expected from the appearance, not as viscous as BCBS. quite a bit of carbonation, which leads me to think i should have poured a little harder and raised more head and possibly triggered some lace in the bargain.

o 4 poured half of this into a 12 oz bottle and recapped. will have again soon and compare notes.
well. hmm. i am not really a stout guy, yet find myself preferring regular ole suddenly-hard-to-find BCBS over King Henry (to compare apples to oranges and prefer a certain orange to a certain apple despite being much more of an apple guy). All this “beer of the year” talk certainly had my expectations high, and I certainly tried to love this. it is a good dessert beer, for sure.

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Photo of DoubleSimcoe
4.11/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

King Henry, bottle bought at Whole Foods Chelsea for $13.99. Within NYC, I have also seen for sale at $9.99 (Flair Beverage in Inwood) and $23.99 (Community Beverage in Queens).

Appearance: The King pours viscous and luscious like a Pedro Ximenez. Deep solid black color with chestnut shades, rather flat in appearance. Barely a finger of very carbonated but ephemeral head that dies almost immediately.

Smell: Incredibly rich, varied and penetrating aroma. Raisins, chocolate powder, mellow spice and candied fruits. Plum cake, old port wine, brown sugar. Toffee and a thick sweetness. So much going on!

Taste: Not as complex as nose and with much more heat and fire. Cola, industrial glue. Heaviness. Liquorice, some wood and bourbon at the end. Caramel, diacetyl. Smoked butter. Smooth milk chocolate, cloying sweetness. A belly-warmer and -filler for sure!

Mouthfeel: Thick, oily, rich. Low carbonation, full body and flavor. A tad flat, but adequate.

Overall: I like this, but it's got issues. Too sweet (I'm sure it will mellow out) and slightly too hot, to start with. Too one-dimensional too! Pappy barrel? Not so much... I enjoyed Abacus and other similarly-barreled barleywines more.

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Photo of BedetheVenerable
4.13/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 22oz brown pop top with gorgeous, classy label. Clearly-marked bottled-on date of 10/08/11. Split this into two oversized wine to share with my wife on my 29th birthday. Thanks to my mom for tracking down (no mean feat) a couple of bottles of this for an AWESOME Christmas present.

Appearance: Beautiful dark garnet brew with a decent dark sand cap which actually sticks around for awhile (surprising with the abv) and settles into a thick ring. Nice looking brew; the pour is one of the thickest I've seen from a brew other than the biggest stouts.

Smell: There's definitely some alcoholic heat up front, but it's warm, rather than hot. Aromas of toasted nuts, almond extract, and dried cherries. No hop aromas to be found (no complaints here, as I actually prefer the English style to the highly-hopped American variety). Quite pleasant, but not the massive depth I was expecting.

Taste: Incredibly rich and sweet. Boozy heat up front, but not quite hot. Where the boozy aromas were almost winey, here a bit of bourbon barrel actually comes through on the palate with creamy vanilla and dry, toasty oak. Brown sugar sweetness. Nutty, with some dried red fruit. Perhaps just a hint of highly-toasted marshmallow on the finish.

Mouthfeel: Rich, sweet, and full, if not quite sticky or viscous.

Overall: While some have claimed that this beer simply will not improve over the years, I tend to wonder. This is quite nice now, especially considering the high abv, and the barrel character is nice, but for me this isn't what makes the beer. I've got one more of these and I think I'm going to hold onto it for a year or two if possible. I think there's a LOT of great stuff going on here in the base beer, and am wondering if the nutty/fruity flavors might become a touch more defined once the heat dies down a bit. Either way, one of the best beers I've had in a long time. A- to A

Also, this is by FAR best at room temperature.

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Photo of GameFreac
4.15/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

$22 for a bottle at the Square Pub in Decatur, GA. Yes, you read that right.

Appearance: Pours a very dark ruby red color with almost no head.

Smell: Smells of caramel, dark fruits, primarily cherry and some hop bitterness. Lots of bourbon and some coconut.

Taste - Taste mirrors the nose. A tiny bit boozy but the age has lowered it. Lots of cherries and syrupy sweet.

Mouthfeel: Medium mouthfeel.

Overall: Really awesome barleywine. I can't help but feel slightly underwhelmed with all the hype but if it wasn't such a legendary whale, maybe I wouldn't put my expectations so high. Still one of the best barleywines I've had, just not the best.

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Photo of beagle75
4.17/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into a tulip glass.

A: Slightly hazy, medium brown color with no foam head. No lacing remains on the glass.

S: Hearty grain is savory, with contrasting treacle and generic dark fruit. Bourbon presence cannot be denied, its infusion throughout the nose being complete. Volatile alcohol matches well with other spirituous qualities.

T: Begins very sweet, with early dark fruit that emphasizes dried plum. Acidity is lively, keeping fruit from becoming too heavy on the palate. Flavors remain very dark in the middle, showing dynamic bourbon and roasted grain. The finish features charcoal that welcomes a late drying trend and a long lingering spirituousness, but only mild bitterness for the style.

M: Medium viscosity, syrupy and acidic at times on the palate, with low carbonation.

D/O: Decadent and very barrel-aged, this barleywine plays dark qualities to its advantage. It seems more like a strong dark ale, but that could just be due to the observation that it is difficult to tell where bourbon ends and barleywine begins. The application of bourbon here is masterful, suggestive of Firestone Walker's Abacus, although the base for that other beer seems more inspired.

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Photo of harrymel
4.17/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 1.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

You know when this was bottled.

Pours ugly. Looks like a dark, tawny port. No carb, brown with ruby tones. Vanilla, nougat, booze, bourbon, sex. Very nice and lovely nose.

Bourbon, vanilla, sugar, barley, dark sugar, molasses, prune, raisin, and other stuff I can't articulate. This is exceptionally well produced beer. A nice, velvet body with moderate carb and a near dry finish effervesces to a lovely bouquet in the mouth. Some bitterness on the finish.

I gotta say, this is the best well defined BBA barleywine I've ever had. But it's ugly. That being said, I would absolutely drink more of this and the alcohol is dangerously hidden in this beer. Danger.

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King Henry from Goose Island Beer Co.
4.62 out of 5 based on 1,465 ratings.
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