King Henry | Goose Island Beer Co.

BA SCORE
100
world-class
1,474 Ratings
King HenryKing Henry
BEER INFO

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

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.

BEER STATS
Ratings:
1,474
Reviews:
325
Avg:
4.62
pDev:
9.09%
 
 
Wants:
1,746
Gots:
491
For Trade:
23
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 1,474 |  Reviews: 325
Photo of acurtis
4.25/5  rDev -8%

Photo of Texasfan549
4.75/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of GRG1313
5/5  rDev +8.2%

Photo of kylehay2004
4.68/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of jaydoc
4.53/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of spycow
5/5  rDev +8.2%

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.

 604 characters

Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev -13.4%

Photo of kjkinsey
4.25/5  rDev -8%

Photo of t0rin0
4.5/5  rDev -2.6%

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.

 729 characters

Photo of nmann08
5/5  rDev +8.2%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.75/5  rDev +2.8%

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!

 1,461 characters

Photo of SocalKicks
4.5/5  rDev -2.6%

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.

A-

 3,765 characters

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

 604 characters

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.

 739 characters

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.

 861 characters

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.

 616 characters

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.

 479 characters

Photo of WillieThreebiers
4.57/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of zestar
4.75/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of olradetbalder
4.5/5  rDev -2.6%

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.

 339 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
King Henry from Goose Island Beer Co.
4.62 out of 5 based on 1,474 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.

    Subscribe