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King Henry | Goose Island Beer Co.

320 Reviews
King HenryKing Henry

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

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.

For Trade:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 320 | Ratings: 1,458
Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.27/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle pour provided by ehammond1 at the blind barrel aged barleywine tasting hosted by DarthKostrizer.

Pours a clear dark brown with a khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form randomly around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, vanilla, wood, and bourbon aromas. Taste is exactly the same with an alcohol kick in the throat with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good barleywine that is worth the hype surrounding it. This beer was the unanimous winner of the blind tasting.

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Photo of Knapp85
4.39/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

This was sent to me by mjmadsen21, big thanks on this one. This poured out as a very dark burgundy color with a fizzy tan head head on top. The head doesn't last long and only leaves a thin ring around the edge of the glass. Not the most impressive looking beer that's for sure. The smell is big, lots of bourbon, sweet fruity malts and plenty of ethenal heat filling the nose. The taste of the beer is sweet, loaded with dense malt and plenty of sweetness. Elements of vanilla and caramel. The mouthfeel is heavy, creamy and oily thickness with some bubbles that gently dance on the tongue. The beer is smooth and sticky. Overall it's huge, very boozy even after sitting in the bottle for a couple years. Really nice barleywine.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.82/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

As rich, powerful, and succulent as any Barleywine that I have tasted. But with exquisit balance and surpring smoothness- is this the premiere Barleywine going forward?

The beer opens with a rusty garnet pour, very viscous, the beer carries an oily visual texture with cordial-like legging upon modest foam light tan and slight orange barley stains. Its overall appearanc is that of rich ale meets brandy.

Mouthwatering and succulent flavors and aromas of bourbon-soaked plubs, dates, cherries, figs, dates, nuts, apples, raisons, and prunes all layer upon the rich barley malt flavor of toffee, maple, brown sugar, molasses, and chocolate. Barrel-rich caramels, vanilla, and vinous woods also offer all the flavor of bourbon but with little of the associated fusal heat. An absolutely delicious staple that sets the bar extremely high for any barleywine wishing to compete for top honors.

Lush textures depend on the sheer weight of the ale plus the creamy and rich medium carbonation that gives an English-like robust textrue that chases the flavors from start to finish. Growing heat rises to provide a long and tawny finish of Port and Sherry with a long and moderate dryness in finish.

I have never been saddened more to see an empty glass as I was after this one finished. I'm an absolute sucker for sweet barleywines and this one delivers with the perfect culmination of all the Barleywine flavors that I appreciate the most. Marvelous on all fronts!

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Photo of largadeer
4.65/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Another fine tick shared by womencantsail. Thanks, Andrew.

Mahogany body topped by a lasting leather hued crust.

Smells pretty damn great, nutty and caramelized with subtle barrel notes. Bourbon is still surprisingly present for second use barrels, lending a great richness to an already rich foundation.

The palate is boozier than the aroma, but still really nice. Nutty, lightly oxidized with a big caramel malt backbone. Little bit of earthiness, somewhat tobacco/cigar-like. Bit of dried fig fruitiness. Full-bodied, rich, decidedly sweet and malty but not cloying by any means. Nice fruit-oak-caramel finish.

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Photo of brentk56
4.22/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2011 release

Appearance: A small head caps the fudge colored liquid and quickly becomes a ringlet without leaving much lace behind

Smell: Caramel, figs, dates and chocolate

Taste: Caramel and chocolate, up front, with both citrus and bourbon elements arriving by mid-palate; the bourbon dominates the finish, though there is plenty of caramel to go around

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation; a bit of heat in the gullet

Overall: This beer packs a wallop of flavor but at this stage of its development, it is rather hot; I imagine this will improve dramatically over the next year or so

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Photo of emerge077
4.62/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Healthy pour into a tulip glass yields a thin layer of ecru foam on the surface that fades away quickly. Given the ABV, it's no surprise there's not much head retention. Color is a stunning deep crimson when backlit, otherwise a dark reddish copper with perfect clarity.

Sweet and confectionary aromas of rich toffee and bourbon caramel syrup.
Mellow traces of wood and vanilla from the re-used bourbon barrels.

Pralines, toffee, toasted almonds, toasted coconut, vanilla, cajeta. Trace oak woodiness and bourbon traces blend seamlessly, though there is a hint of spirit that bites just a tiny bit. Low carb, somewhat tannic and oaky, lip smackingly sweet upfront like homemade toffee, impossible richness. The flavor lingers so long, it could easily be 5 min. between sips, just savoring it. It may not be Wooden Hell, but it's on the same level for sure.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.62/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle courtesy of Lunch.

Pours a dark copper-caramel color with a good off-white head. The nose brings some very smooth bourbon. So smooth. Great vanilla and caramel in the background. Flavor hits smooth bourbon and light oak tannin. Body is incredibly smooth with a great bourbon character. Really delicious. Absolutely fantastic beer.

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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 zeff80
4.27/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out a burgundy color with little to no head. It did leave some sudsy lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of bourbon, vanilla and oak. It had some sweet caramel and toffee notes, too.

T - It tasted very malt and sweet with caramel and sweet toffee. Nice vanilla, oak and bourbon flavors show off the aging.

M - It was crisp, sharp and relatively smooth. A full bodied ale with a dry finish.

O - This is a delicious English Barleywine. Goose Island can still bring it.

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Photo of oline73
4.78/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

We opened this during the tasting this past weekend. Poured into my Chimay goblet.

Appearance: Pours a mahogany color with a layer of off white head that disappears completely.

Smell: This smells like bourbon and caramel. Quite sweet, but not in a negative way at all. Extremely smooth, the barrels have done wonderful things to this beer.

Taste: One of, if not the best barleywine I have ever tastes. It not only lives up to the smell, it tops it. Caramel and dark fruit along with some cocoa and bourbon. Everything blends flawlessly, just awesome.

Mouthfeel: The body is on the thick side with tingly carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: Just an amazing beer. I would drink this any time I get the chance. Everything works here.

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Photo of jlindros
4.75/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

There are a few very memorable things in life. So trying to find a full day of pure memories, sudden vicarious flashes, pinching yourself to be sure you're not dreaming while trying to survive through long spells of anticipation, which was today as my new daughter was born.
Then cap all that off with a nightmarish hell of driving for 2.5 hours through unplowed many inches of snow with your 4 year old is fidgeting constantly in the back seat asking "are we there yet" every few minutes of the hellish journey, and the only thing you keep thinking is to make sure you get him, and the father of your brand new daughter, home safe. Well, all that is now somehow behind me, and I still think I'm dreaming, which means time to crack the beer that is pretty much how I feel, like King Henry. bottled 10/08/11, so a bit over a year old by now.

The pour flows out in a lush fashion and cascades down the sides of the glass, bubbling up a smooth but fizzy 1/2 finger head which at first looks good for the abv, but then fades fairly quickly to give way to the gorgeous beer below. A light lacing reminds me that it was ever there in teh first place. The beer leaves long gorgeous legs down the sides,and coats the glass enough to make it like a new layer of the glass, it seems to fuse with the glass, and hte beer streams ruby light through super dark molasses brown almost black beer.

Nose was already wafting out of the bottle as soon as the top popped off and just kept racing into my endorphin maker from there. A huge malt orgasmic bomb comes out the glass in waves, my knees would have buckled if I was standing. Darkish malts, reddish sweet malts, nutty, light roast and coffee, but so much of it it's almost unreal. Also plenty of the syrups... caramel, toffee, molasses, brown sugar, little maple syrup, etc. Then the cascades of bourbon, pure sweet bourbon aroma, with plenty of vanilla barrel, oaky barrel, etc. so much vanilla, and just a hint of cocoa, with a bit of brandy soaked raisins, nuts with date, oh and did I mention a little piece of heaven? Just a tad short of perfect.

The taste profile of this just picked up even more from the aroma. It's already one of the most memorable beers I've ever had. Big fluffy malts and thick super rich malts and syrups layer every part of my mouth, and it somehow finds its way into every nook and cranny of each tastebud, as they all rejoice in ecstasy. Malts of heavy and dark origin, a bit of roast with coffee, plenty of reddish sweet syrupy malts, a hint of cocoa, etc, and fairly nutty. Lots of soft aged malts, with a subtle richness but not so subtle greatness. Candy galore, caramelized everything, toffee with nuts, chewy fig, date, brandy soaked raisins, orgasm juice soaked malts, molasses, syrup, etc. Oh and it slowly moves around my mouth like molasses. Light bitterness balances all that fairly well. To continue the epic poem, bourbon, with bourbon layered on top of barrel, with a little oaky barrel, and a bit of delicious vanilla. Booze? Yes it has some warming booze, maybe slightly tingly, but the fair but not nearly overpowering sweetness, big rich malts, and bourbon flavors really balance the booze so that it drinks more like an 8-9% beer. Finish, I keep waiting for the finish, but with the thick mouth coating that leaves a big coating layer in my mouth it never really seems to finish. Fairly rich thick syrupy, a bit sweet, lots of bourbon and vanilla, tons more dark fruits and malts, and everything else awesome you can dream up for a beer.

Mouth again continues the momentum of amazingness. One word, big-thick-rich-creamy-syrupy-smooth-sexy-lucious-transcending-glass-of-pure-awesomness, well more of a Scandinavian style language type of word. also some booze but not a lot, just enough to warm the soul as it tries to invite friends, and a bit of decent carbonation.

Overall, need I explain more. This is very close to perfection, and top 10 beers ever probably. Just a few things it could have done to make it perfect, but otherwise very close, and sooo good. I could sip it for hours upon hours and still be ready for more, that is until the 13.4% abv knocked me on my ass. But until then I'll just enjoy the sh*t out of it! What a way to cap off a crazy awesome and scary as hell day. I can def say this day ranks up in the most memorable of my life!

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Photo of Kegatron
4.74/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

22 oz bomber into a couple of snifters. Massive thanks go to wishuwerebeer for sharing this guy.

Pours a deep ruby in the glass, topped with a ½ finger of dark mocha head. This maintains some rich ringing around the edges and thin wisps that skim the center, leaving back a good bit of sudsy spotty lacing. The aroma smells OMG dense with delicious notes of brown sugar, coconut, vanilla, cocoa, molasses, and then a wee bit of charred oak on the edges. This is just so smooth and flavorful in the nose and is hands down one of the best noses on a beer that I smelled in a LONG time!

The taste is similar to that already fantastic aroma, with notes of cocoa, brown sugar, coconut (which I usually have trouble picking up), roast, and then dry tannic char and a touch of spicy alcohol on the finish. The flavors here are so smooth. I can’t stress that enough. The mouthfeel is full bodied with a mellow prickle to it but then works its way into more of a chewy creaminess along the back. That 13% is just beautifully hid has well and might overall be one of the smoothest feels for a beer this big that I’ve had.

What a phenomenal BA Barleywine this is! When I first added this to the database 2 years ago it was great (this was the version that had just been barrel-aged in regular BCS barrels) but this Rare-aged version just takes things to a brand new level. The brown sugar, vanilla, and coconut flavors just SOAK the profiles and I’m hard pressed to think of a barrel-aged beer that I’ve enjoyed more than this one in quite a while. I’m so glad that I finally got to check this out in the bottle. Thanks again for sharing Bryan!

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Photo of womencantsail
4.42/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks for sharing, Dan.

Pours a dark amber color with a finger of off-white head. Rich bourbon aroma as well as plenty of dark fruits such as raisins and plums. A nice caramel and brown sugar aroma, too. A strong flavor of bourbon, vanilla, and caramel. Heavy on the brown sugar and toffee as well as some dark fruit notes. Medium to full bodied with medium carbonation.

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Photo of Rifugium
4.52/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured a thick, dark, woody brown with garnet hues, with little to no head to speak of other than a few stray bubbles. Aroma big with dark dried fruits, caramel and toffee, chocolate notes. Man, this was one smooth tasting barleywine, among the best I've had the pleasure to imbibe, second perhaps to Mother of All Storms. Heavy on the dark fruits--raisins, figs, raisins, dates, raisins, black cherries, and raisins--smooth caramel and velvety milk chocolate goodness, red Twizzlers, touch of brown sugar, with a good infusion of bourbon coming through mid-palate on, though the booziness always seems to remain just as an implied presence in the background, and never takes over the other flavors present. Very smooth and silky, chewy and full-bodied, highly drinkable, highly recommendable.

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Photo of mothman
4.39/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at the Great Taste 2010

Pours a light layer of tan head. Color is a copper brown with a slight ruby hue to it.

Aroma/Taste: This beer has a lighter bourbon flavor than most -bal aged barlywines. I am guessing it is due to the fact that it was aged in old bcs barrels and the bcs took most of the alcohol notes. It has a lot of malts going on here. Big toffee notes with some caramel flavors. Also there is a decent amount of dark fruits showing. Also has some chocolate and burnt sugar flavors.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and smooth with some warmth to it. A fuller body with a medium amount of carbonation.

Overall, this is a pretty decent beer. I want to try it again when it is released to re-evaluate it, but so far I like it. It is pretty drinkable for how big it is.

Edit: bottle 12-2015

Barrel flavors show nicely. Nice bourbon oak and vanilla. Drinking well for how old it is. Much better than the original tap version I had.

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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 orangesol
4.57/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to stormking47 for bringing this one to our pre ffej of july tasting. I have wanted to try this one ever since I heard about it.

A - Pours copper brown with a nice one finger tall tan colored head leaving small streaks of lace down parts of the glass.

S - Smells of rich bourbon, toffee, caramel, oak, milk chocolate, vanilla, brown sugar and some dark fruits. Booze comes in as it warms up but it doesn't overpower the aroma.

T - Starts off with lots of toffee, caramel and vanilla giving way to hints of chocolate, brown sugar, dark fruits and oak. The rich bourbon is ever present yet not as boozy as I thought it would be, only becoming truly noticeable toward the end of each sip. Finish is sweet with some bourbon heat, not lingering on the palate for very long.

M - Big, full body with a ton of sweet flavors and moderate carbonation. Smooth feel throughout, growing a little hot toward the end of the glass.

O - So is King Henry one of the best beers in the world? I wouldn't go that far, however it is a really nice BA Barleywine from start to finish. I just wish I had a few of these for myself.

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Photo of mdaschaf
4.39/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Review from notes. Had at the Goose Island tasting at BeerThursday's place.

A: Poured a very dark brown/mahogany color. From the side it was sitting next to a bunch of stouts and it was hard to tell which was King Henry. Small white head with no lacing.

S: Strong aromas of caramel and vanilla, with a little bit of bourbon and brown sugar.

T: I got a good bit of bourbony vanilla upfront with some oak, brown sugar, caramel, and a little bit of toffee backing it up.

M: Medium to full bodied, very low carbonation. Alcohol is present and is warming as it goes down, but doesn't really detract from the beer.

O: For not being a huge BW fan, I liked this beer a good bit. The sweetness was a little much, but it drank very smooth.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.65/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

From 02/11/12 notes. Shared with some friends at a tasting. 22 oz. bottle into a tulip. Bottle date of 10/08/11, bottle no. 0816.

a - Pours a very dark reddish brown color with one to two inches of off white head and low carbonation evident.

s - Smells of bourbon, caramel malts, oak, sweet molasses, vanilla, and sweet dark fruits. Very nice and sweet, with a lot of nice bourbon to it. Very nice nose.

t - Tastes of bourbon, caramel malts, toffee, sweet dark fruits, oak, vanilla, toasted malts, roasted malts, and chocolate. Little more bourbon and caramel then the nose, and a tiny bit less sweet dark fruits. Really awesome, even better then the nose.

m - Medium to full body and low to moderate carbonation. Super smooth and creamy body, and very easy to drink. Not hot at all, can't believe this is over 13% ABV. Perfect body.

o - Overall this is a fantastic beer. The nose has a lot of sweet dark fruits mixing with sweet bourbon and caramel. The taste has more carame and bourbon, but it isn't too hot. The body is smooth and perfect...this really is a great beer. Better then MoaS fresh, I think I like this better then Rare too (I know it's a stout vs. a barleywine but they used the same bottles). Probably up there with BCBS and fresh Coffee BCBS as one of my favorite beers from GI so far, can't wait to have it again.

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Photo of billab914
4.62/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another bottle shared by siege06nd. Poured from a 22oz bottle into a snifter. It poured a very dark brown or burgundy like color to it. It had a thin tan head to start with that immediately started clinging to the edges of the glass.

The aroma has a great mix of caramel, brown sugar, vanilla and woody oak. The bourbon really integrates well into the beer excellently. I start to get a little bit of chocolate to it as well. Lots of bold flavors to it, but it really comes together well. Great aroma for the style.

The taste starts off with more of a caramel and candied dark fruit sweetness to it. The finish shows a little more of the woody, barrel character with a little of the bourbon and vanilla. Some dark chocolate also starts to come out in the finish which I really like. Great flavors overall.

The mouthfeel is heavy with carbonation being moderate. Overall it was a really great beer. The used barrels really gave it some cool and unique flavors. The bourbon became a little more reserved but the little bit of chocolaty, BCS flavors that came out were great. Everything really came together very well in it. Extremely flavorful and drinkable beer of the style.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle shared by Lunch. Thanks Paul.

The beer is dark brown with russet highlights. Atop the beer rests an oily beige head. The aroma brings roast, bourbon, malt, oak, booze. Fantastic flavor. Alcoholic warmth but unobtrusive. Well balanced and teeming with delicious flavor. Every drink begs another. I doubt I could ever grow tired of this beer. Medium to full bodied with a silky smooth feel on the palate. Simply put, this is easily one of the best beers I have ever had. My highest recommendation.

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Photo of stakem
4.45/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Dunt for hooking me up with a bottle of this and to wishuwerebeer for opening one during a recent tasting. Poured into a tulip, the brew appears a dark brown with a finger of khaki fizzy head. The cap fades fast to just a ring across the top. When held to the light, this brew shines with deep ruby clarity. Leggy strings of lace stick to the glass when swirled.

The smell includes a lot of coconut quality from the barrel aging. Scents of toffee, figs, dark burnt sugars like molasses and more caramel notes of sugar with vanilla and some oaky bourbon tang. All of this hits the nostrils seemingly without even taking the glass close to my face. It contains a profound amount of barrel characteristics.

The taste of this brew leans heavily on the barrel quality. Vanilla, caramel and coconut are the first flavors I pick up on. It is sweet with dark fruited quality. Some raw barrel tannins are evident with a hint of cardboard-like oxidation. Some herbal hops keep things in check with burnt sugars like brown sugar to molasses. Alcohol is present with an accenting bourbon tang. The aftertaste is a bit like raisins and like "Tandy cake."

This is a medium to full bodied brew with a silky feel from slightly lower level of carbonation. This is one big, sexy sipper of a brew. Fantastic example here with warming alcohol. This was the first "hyped" brew I've had in awhile that met my expectations. While I really enjoyed this, I cant help but fault this a little bit for the overall extreme barrel presence that over-shadowed the base beer a bit.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
4.39/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

650 mL bottle. Bottled 10/8/11. 0801?

Appearance - Deep brown. A few wisps of lace. Not a ton of head.

Smell - Lots of bourbon and barrel. Lots of caramel and vanilla. Boozy and a little bit nose-tingling. A touch of darker malts in there. Smells very nice.

Taste - Caramel all over, but the vanilla permeates. Lots of bourbon, surprisingly. Intense alcohol. Just a touch of those darker malts. Sugary, but never overly intense. Lots of booze, but it's also not offensive.

Mouthfeel - It's viscous for a barleywine. Justifiably, I suppose. Low carbonation. It's boozy, for sure.

Overall - Yeah, it's spectacular. It's got a ton of sugar and a ton of booze, but enough flavor to back it up. There are certainly some barleywines that have more complex flavors, but maybe none that emphasize the great flavors this one does. Poop

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Photo of MasterSki
4.35/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got to the release too late to actually buy bottles, so I just went straight to the pub and got a 5oz sample. Served in a Goose Island taster pint.

A - A thin tan foam settles to a thick collar, a few wisps, and minimal spotty lacing. The body is an attractive brown-ruby color that reveals some transparency when held to the light.

S - Toffee, caramel, red fruits, burnt sugars, oak, milk chocolate, vanilla, a bit of spicy alcohol, and very faint bourbon notes.

T - Taste has less barrel presence, and is heavier on the sweet stuff with intense treacle, toffee, red licorice, Sultana raisins, burnt brown sugar, toasted malts, and a bit of oaky vanilla and coconut. Again, overt bourbon presence is low.

M - Sticky, full body, with an extremely chewy and viscous texture. Stickiness lingers indefinitely actually. Lower carbonation, and minimal alcohol warmth.

D - A very good barrel-aged barleywine that has a lot in common with the base beer. The barrels were second use, so this didn't pick up a lot of additional alcohol, resulting in a nice aged, mellow character. Not quite top-tier, but worth trying for sure.

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Photo of johnnnniee
4.24/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by some guy at the campfire.
Pours a deep copper color with a smallish off white head that dissipates quickly. Wow that smells great. Lots of caramel and brown sugar with some dark fruits like plums and cherries, a bit of oak and bourbon mixed with some oak tannins and a nice shot of ethanol. The flavor is what I expected based on the aroma. Sweet malty caramel and brown sugar, mixed with a fair amount of dark fruits, countered with ethanol and oak. Thick body with a warm sweet syrupy mouthfeel and a light level of carbonation. Very nice barleywine I thoroughly enjoyed it, but I can taste a slight hint of hype in it.

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King Henry from Goose Island Beer Co.
100 out of 100 based on 320 ratings.
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