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 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 vandemonian
4.32/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Goose Island King Henry is a delicious complex, barleywine.

I had this at the Goose Island event at Meridian Pint in DC a few months ago.

A: Dark brown colour and no head. 3.5

S: Very malty with some autolysis. 4

T: Malty with a little autolysed yeast along with some lovely woody, bourbon flavours and brown sugar. Super complex. 4.5.

M. Thick with low carbonation. 4.5

O. 4.5

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Photo of bigaltemple
4.68/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 2.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Huge thanks to chugalug06 for opening this one up.

Extremely dark, almost black. Doesn't really allow any light through. No real head or any other characteristics to speak of. Appearance falls a little flat, but that's definitely the least of my concerns.

Brown sugar and vanilla. Very sweet smelling. Oak, raisin, and dark fruit come around, but the sweeter notes are dominant.

Bourbon forward. Definite sipper. Again, the sweetness is there, but never cloying. Didn't want my glass to ever end. Full bodied, with just enough carbonation.

I will back the hype. Completely worth it! So glad I got the opportunity to try it.

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Photo of chugalug06
4.69/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 2 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

It's about that time... #5 for the night of cellar diving:

Nice snap from the bottle opening when let sit the bottle began to over flow with coffee colored foam. Brew is deep roasty mahogany. No lacing. Looks flat and mostly unappealing. Not as tanic as I imagined it would be.

Amazing aroma of sweet burnt oak with sides of deep vanilla and leaves a delightful scar in the nostrils.

Incredibly smooth and drinkable. Definitely due to the uniqueness it becomes a sipper. High carbonation, good sharp bite, bitterness is incredibly level and forgiving, sweetness is solid and forthcoming. Drinks almost as a stout; lots of milky chocolate.

Drinks great and super smooth. Better like whiskey though... E says. Lots of malty goodness buried within oaky vanilla. Lots of mouthy flavors that linger and continue to draw you back. Thanks for the stellar Bronco glassware Al!!!

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

Huge thanks to Ron for opening this one with us... I don't know how he does it. Dark brown and mahogany on the pour, with a light-tan head that settles to a collar pretty quickly. Still, thick, somewhat viscous and slightly menacing as it sits in the glass quiety. Good clarity when held up to the light, with not much haze detectable at all.

The aroma is absolutely huge... whether it's good or not, that's one thing... but the size of it is captivating. Sticky caramel, toffee, brown sugar, sweet molasses, deep figs, heavy oak, prunes, a big, boozy underbody, handfuls of woodsy raisins and a polished dusting of cocoa and chocolate in the end. Huge. Robust. Sticky sweet and largely complex. The best nose on the planet? Probably not... but still, pretty damn fantastic.

I'm a little more blown away by the first sip, as the flavor is even more omnipotent and commanding than the aroma (and even a little better, if you ask me). Lots of oak up front, sticky, heavy toffee, molded vanilla and caramel drizzle, warm bourbon and booze, cavity-inducing brown sugar, more dark fruits like figs and prunes, with a mild touch of cola in the finish, quickly survived by a touch of chocolate and the faintest addition of roast.... Wow.

King Henry is a monster of a beer. I guess that's what happens when you take an already massive barleywine and age it in Pappy 23 barrels that previously held a badass stout for two years. The bourbon character itself is relatively tame, I'm guessing since this is the second usage of the barrels, but King Henry still retains that barleywine-ish boozy character throughout - not to a menacing degree, rather just enough to let you know exactly what you're dealing with here.

There's no doubt this beer is a slow sipper, and the mouth feel is more justification of that. Thick and viscous, such a large body that has a sticky and almost (I repeat, *almost*) syrup-like retention to all sides of your mouth, leaving you with the lasting impression of oak, dying dark fruits, and huge brown sugar and molasses sweetness. Something that must be savored, one sip at a time.

So - King Henry. What a damn fine barleywine. While I do believe the hype train took hold of this one long ago, and it still may be *slightly* over-hyped, it is still a fantastic beer... I just wouldn't give up the farm for a bottle. It still deserves recognition as an incredible beer, although it wanders pretty far from the realm of English barleywines. In any case, it was still a lovely treat and I can't thank Ron enough for letting me indulge.

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Photo of gueuzedreg
4.8/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

King Henry poured into a CS snifter having on Black Friday with the release of Bourbon County Barleywine.

A- Deep deep mahogany with no transparency. Minimal lacing with good amount of retention.

S- Chocolate, dark fruits, caramel, vanilla, dates.

T- I think the only perfect taste I have given on this site. This beer is so complex. I am not a barleywine expert; but this is top 5 beers I have ever had. Taste follows the nose, with oak as well.

M- Again, maybe the second perfect score for M (with Framboos). So rich, smooth, barry white, all that.

O- My favorite barleywine by far. I have only had White Chocolate, Bligh's Barleywine, Bourbon County Barleywine.

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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 ironchefmiyagi13
4.91/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

After a long summer in the restaurant business, Labor Day is the time when we finally get a moment to ourselves, and I wanted to spend it with my good friend, King Henry.

I honestly don't have any bad things to say about this beer. At 2 years old, I don't think that it could have possibly fallen off. Anything this delicious and perfect at 2 years must have been even better or not yet at its peak when it first came out.

Big vanilla, charred oak, chocolate, toffee and caramel in the aroma and taste. Finish is long and even the next day I can smell and taste it.

A wonderful experience and as close to perfection as it gets.

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Photo of John_M
4.64/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Finally had an opportunity to crack open a bottle purchased several years ago at Fishpaws in Md.

The beer pours a tawny, caramel amber color with very good head retention and lacing. The nose is very impressive as well, as I pick up cosiderable vanilla, chcolate, caramel and light coffee. The flavor profile replicates the nose, but if anything, is even better. The beer is sweet of course, but it's not at all overdone, and the soft creamy mouthfeel in this beer is amazaing. This is like drinking some decadent creamy candy nougat, but again, one where the sweetness doesn't overpower the rest of the flavors in the candy. Also, it's nothing short of amazing that this beer is so drinkable for a 13.4% beer. Certainly you can tell the alcohol is up there, but the beer is not at all hot, heavy or tiring on the palate. I can see where drinking an entire bottle of this might be a chore, but otherwise, it's amazing how easy this is to drink.

Very, very impressive, and clearly the two years in bottle has done this beer no harm. This beer is very deserving of all the accolades it's received over the years, and I'm glad I had a chance to try it.

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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 Rutager
4.29/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Review #1000. Big thank you to Black13 for hooking me up with some of my biggest wants from the midwest. Great trader, highly recommended.

Appearance. Pours a deep amber brown with a thin off-white head.

Smell. Sweet vanilla, bourbon and caramel, a little bit of sweet chocolate, maple syrup and old wooden barrel and maybe some dried dark fruits ....dates, yep dates.

Taste. Toffee and chocolate, smooth woody bourbon and vanilla, some nice caramel malts and again, just a bit of dried dark fruits, I would say dates.

Mouthfeel. Full body with low, very smooth and fine carbonation. Very little stickiness considering how sweet and full bodied this beer is.

Overall. Great stuff. Don't trade your cellar away for it though, luckily (thanks again Black13) I wasn't destroyed on my trade for this bottle as many trades for it seem to go. I found many bourbon barrel barleywines to be more enjoyable, notably Midnight Sun's and Kuhnhenn's ...both of which should be much more easily obtained and appropriately valued.

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Photo of Stevedore
4.7/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

22oz bottle shared by Shawn at our recent beer tasting, poured into a GTMW cylinder glass (yeah, we ran out of good glasses at this tasting), tasted alongside Arctic Devil and Sucaba.

Damn, this smells quite a bit like the BCBS Rare that I had last week. Except its sweeter in a different malt type of way- less of the sweet chocolate marshmallows and more of the caramel toffee. There's a good bit of vanilla in this beer also. Smells like Bourbon County for sure- or is that just the second-use Pappy?

The beer poured a hazy-ish golden brown body with a solid 1cm brown head that recedes fairly quickly into a thin collar. A decent bit of lacing but not a ton. Looks good, looks like a barleywine and that's about it.

As I start sipping on this beer, all I can think is- dang, this is really good. It's like BCBS mixed in with an excellent Belgian quad. There is a decent bit of dark fruit sweetness, but this is full of toffee and caramel- not the roasty kind that you get in stouts, but the sweeter kind you get in most barleywines. Much of the bourbon barrel shines through along with some dark fruit and that malty sweetness. Good bit of oak, vanilla and caramel. It honestly reminds me a ton of BCBS, in that there are BCBS characteristics mixed in with an English barleywine. It is delicious and extremely complex.

As I swish it around my palate, I find this beer to be incredibly thick and creamy, as you would expect from a Bourbon County family member. Aftertaste is probably best described as marshmallow caramel toffee. Smooth and not boozy at all. Definitely an amazing feel to it.

So, now I see why King Henry is a whale. It can be hard for a beer to live up to the hype it has gotten on BeerAdvocate, but King Henry is one of the rare few that has a shot at it, and it does live up to the hype for me. It was, to steal the phrase, a regal drinking experience. I'm glad to have tried this (thanks a ton Shawn), and this is more intense than Sucaba or Arctic Devil- when tasting these, I couldn't taste anything out of the Sucaba or Arctic Devil- it was King Henry all the way. Very complex beer and at this point, it is still well worth any effort it takes to get this one.

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Photo of emyers
4.94/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

22 oz. bottle at Ball & Biscuit in Indianapolis, IN. Review from notes 5/13.

Appearance: Pours dark brown color, near black, with a thin light brown lacing. Not much head retention.

Smell: Wow. Bourbon, oak, vanilla, rich caramel malt, a healthy dose of fig, some dark chocolate, and hints of toast. There are layers upon layers of aroma here. Incredibly complex. I wish I could be smelling this all of the time, forever. OK, that might be a very slight exaggeration, but really, this smells impossibly good.

Taste: Unreal. Rich, top shelf bourbon, fig, date, caramel, some dark chocolate, vanilla, and toasted oak. Slight bit of alcohol heat on the finish (which only adds to the deliciousness). In order to imagine this flavor profile, take a world class barleywine and add some imperial stout characteristics and a healthy dose of bourbon. Then make it exponentially better. There may come a day when I taste a beer better than this, but I honestly doubt it.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and extremely smooth. Rich and velvety going down with an appropriately low carbonation level. Once again, wouldn't change a thing.

Overall: Based on some of the comments I read about this beer on the forums, I didn't think it could possibly live up to the hype. Then I tasted it, and it blew the hype out of the water. Words cannot describe how good this beer is.

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Photo of BobZ
4.94/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22oz. bottle poured into a Bourbon County Snifter, split the bottle with Davey101. Bottled on 10/08/11. Another huge thanks to kdmcguire10 for the bottle.

Appearance: Reddish brown with a 1/2" head that recedes to a cap and leaving curtains of lacing.

Smell: Dark fruit sweetness (raisin & plumb) with bourbon is up front, a malty chocolate is also noticeable.

Taste: This is nothing like any barleywine I've ever had, it's almost like a BA Belgian quad in some ways. You get the dark fruit followed by a chocolaty bourbon mixture. The chocolate element makes it different than a quad, then there is a caramel maltiness at the finish. This beer has more flavor diversity than any other beer I have ever tasted, so much going on, and all of it good. This is a bottle you don't want to end.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth and clean on the palate.

Overall: Yet another beer that I had no idea what to expect. We had this right after BCBS Rare and King Henry was still the favorite of the night. Extraordinary beer that yet again I thought I'd never get the chance to try, so again a huge debt of thanks to Kris.

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Photo of jeonseh
4.64/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75


A - Dark brown and ruby body. Looks a bit like whiskey actually as it has a warming look to it.

S - Slight dates and dark fruit initially. The barrel really shines through as you get lots of sweet bourbon and a good oak presence

T - Dark fruit and a strong date presence comes through initially. There is a ton of bourbon and butterscotch that give it a nice sweetness along with a nice bourbon presence. There is the most chocolately barleywine that I've had as well which is where you can tell that this was aged in second use BCBS barrels. This adds such a nice complexity that you don't normally find in BW's. The finish is pure bourbon and oak.

M - Medium body with light stickiness that makes this easy to drink but helps deliver the flavor. The finish has lots of oaky spiciness to it.

O - Great barleywine with tons of barrel and chocolate presence to it. Definitely lived up to my expectations. This one is still drinking great and is super balanced.

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Photo of mindspin315
5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is seriously a beer to end all beers. If any barrel aged English BW can get better, let me know? (Ok, I see you lurking Kuhnhenn BBBW).

Appearance: Dark ruby hued brown body. A sort of head forms quickly and dissipates equally as fast. Lots of lacing and legs.

Smell: Huge fresh oak, caramel, toffee, bourbon, and hints of dark chocolate. Other aromas come through; such as dark fruits (raisins, figs, plum, black cherry), vanilla from the wood, toasted coconut, sweet apple skin, and a faint roasted nuttiness (pecans), tobacco. Light sherry and port wine presence as well. Incredible aroma. You could pull plenty of different aromas with each smell.

Taste: The light aroma presence of sherry/port wine comes out big in the flavor. Sweet apple skin, caramel, toffee, and figs upfront. One of the biggest tastes is toasted coconut. The palate is left with plenty of flavor. Everything from sweet caramel/toffee, dark fruits, bourbon, char, and vanilla. Along with a mild dark chocolate presence.

Feel: Low carb...not flat, but not gonna tickle your tongue. Incredibly smooth, glides across the palate with a heat that would never tell you this is 13%. Def knows how to coat the palate and stick around. Mild alcohol heat (incredible for the high ABV).

King Henry is absolutely amazing. It is worthy of all the hype it gets! From aroma to feel, I can't name a beer that does it better for the style. This is most def a sipper to be enjoyed with company. Although going solo on this wouldn't be a bad decision either!


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Photo of Doogermeister
4.88/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Pours a very dark/dark amber almost black color.

Smell is mild when comparing it to a BCBS but has a similar aroma to it.

Taste is a much smoother more refined bourbon county. The beer I feel is like a grand reserve BCBS but with little bourbon barrel flavor. One of the greatest stouts I've ever had and at 50 dollars a pop, still well worth it.

The mouthfeel starts out thick then rapidly thins out due to high alcohol content. The mouthfeel isn't as thick or as syrupy as a BCBS. I feel that it is much more refined. In every way

King Henry is one of those super rare beers that should never be passed up at almost any price. It is a rare find and well worth the money. Best stout I've had, hands down.

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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 weonfire
4.31/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle date: 10/08/11

A - Dark Brown/Mahogany, tiny amount of head around rim, tiny amount of carbonation rising, zero head.

S - Sweet bourbon, vanilla, toffee, chocolate, carmel, brown sugar, touch of biscuit, aged fruits: prune, figs,

T - Bourbon, vanilla, toffee, chocolate. Finish: dry biscuit, bitter vanilla and booze (4/10)

M - Heavy, extremely thick, very full body, super cream, frothy, syrup, chest gets warm from booze

O - This is the heaviest, fullest, closest to syrup beer I've ever consumed. So much that it wasn't even drinkable until just about room temperature. Yes, the nose is excellent. The taste doesn't have the bourbon one would expect but is very pleasant, vanilla is very dry and bitter with a rather hot finish. No matter- the overwhelming characteristic is the over exceeding thickness, syrup. I cannot get past that.

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

Bottled bomber served in snifter, shared with my dad to celebrate the birth of my son.

Caramel brown fairly clear with half finger brown head that quickly dissipates and leaves some minimal bubbly lacing and nice alcohol legs. Aroma is the nectar of the gods with sweet caramel, molasses, alcohol, bourbon, vanilla, oak, and chocolate with a touch of toasted coconut. Taste is the finest sweet caramel malt I have had in a barleywine. Vanilla, oak, smoke from the bourbon but not as pronounced as I expect in this beer's debut. As the beer warms the chocolate character from the Rare starts declare itself. Full body, minimal carbonation. Best barleywine I had to date. Hope the GI barleywine will be somewhat close to this.

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Photo of jzeilinger
4.43/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark brown burgundy in color with a minimal head and light lacing ring, barely sticks to the glass when swirled.

S - Maple syrup, oak, bourbon, figs, dark fruit, light peat moss, dark chocolate and molasses.

T - Follows the nose, boozy.

M - Thick and full bodied, slick, viscous.

O - So glad for the opportunity to try this rare beast of a barley.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4.92/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

(Served in a snifter)
10/09/11 on bottle
A- This beer pours a deep hued walnut body with a nice thick head of light tan that last for most of the beer.

S- The full aroma has some spun sugar aromas blending into toffee and dark prune hints that lead to a luscious caramel malt finish with some hints of golden raisins. There is a slight buttery aroma to the caramel that comes through as it opens and makes it hard to stop sniffing and start drinking.

T- A big sugary flavor but not overly sweet starts as a maple burnt sugar malt flavor with a more light roasted malt underneath and some buttery oak barrel flavor that really comes alive in the finish. The finish has a nice sweetness that is balanced by a bourbon barrel character that is not really alcoholic but does cut the sweetness nicely.

M- This beer has s medium-full mouthfeel with a crisp little fizz and a gentle alcohol warmth that shows through when it is pretty warm.

O- This is a big luscious barleywine that is sweet and tasty with layers of big barrel and bourbon character that keep coming out as the beer opens. It was sad to see this one end. Thanks emerge for sharing.

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Photo of popery
4.24/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours dark brown, lighter at the edges. Little to no head. Quite murky. Aroma is a great blend of huge molasses, vanilla and oak. Sweet bourbon note. A bit hot still. Tons of caramel, treacle and other toasted sugars. Taste is similar. Tons of molasses and caramel. Pretty big booze note. Good vanilla and other barrel notes. Some of the bourbon delicacy is gone but it's still a nice sweet flavor. Thick feel. A bit syrupy but it works well with the flavor. I think it's not quite as good as it was fresh but still a delicious beer and it's a shame that more barley wine/old ale style beers aren't made in this style. Great stuff.

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

Poured 22 oz bottle dated October 2011 into snifter glass

Pours deep mahogany with light carbonation that creates no head even with a swirl. Opened this bottle to celebrate birth of our first child and shared with three non-BA drinkers that were blown away by the flavor.

The beer smells of bourbon but without the heat on the nose. You can smell some toffee and fruit. The appearance and taste almost reminds me of a high end Belgian Quad. The sweetness from the dark/dried fruits, some caramel flavor from the oak and vanilla combo from the bourbon barrels, and only the best essence of bourbon. This beer never fades throughout the entire bottle. You can leave the beer sit and the temperature doesn't impact the flavor either. It never thins out. The mouthfeel in terms of viscosity is right on point as well. Not heavy but nowhere near thin. This is truly a marvel. Easily one of the top 5 beers I've ever had. You get it in every single drink. It is as consistent as it is fantastic.

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Photo of Hugonaut13
4.92/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22oz bottle poured into Bourbon County snifter at cellar temperature. Has sat in a 50 degree fridge for over a year. Let's see how it's drinking.

A - This is a dark BA Barleywine. Looks like an extremely thin stout with ruby tones when held to the light. Minimal carbonation. Some bubbles around the edge of the glass. No lacing.

S - Smells of bourbon soaked dark fruits with some vanilla splashed in. Smells fantastic.

T - Bourbon soaked chocolate covered raisins right off the bat, fading into a rich vanilla oak. Leaves with some sweetness that hangs around well after the sip. This is absolutely delicious.

M - The 13.4% is not present at all. This is an easy drinker. (admittedly, to those who like BA beers) Not much in the way of carbonation, I'm also not finding that to be a problem here. If this was more carbonated, it would seem out of place.

O - It's bittersweet that this is my last bottle as it's probably my favorite beer I've ever had. I truly hope the new Bourbon County Barleywine can even come close to resembling this. If you have a chance to try/get one, do it.

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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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