Holly King
Green Man Brewery

Holly KingHolly King
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Green Man Brewery
North Carolina, United States
American Strong Ale
4.09 | pDev: 7.09%
Jan 21, 2019
Dec 08, 2013
Holly KingHolly King
Notes: None
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Rated: 4.29 by Abstractspirit from Rhode Island

Jan 21, 2019
Rated: 4.1 by Yeldarb92 from Ohio

Dec 25, 2018
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Reviewed by NeroFiddled from Pennsylvania

4.09/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
Green Man Brewing Co. "Holly King"
1 Pint 9.4 fl. oz. brown glass bottle
$8.99 @ Knightly Spirits O.B.T., Orlando, FL

Notes via stream of consciousness: So this is a Green Man beer - I missed them on my last trip south, and they're also an Asheville brewery which I didn't realize. Anyway, it's poured a hazy body, very hazy even. I'd call it very dark amber or copper. It looks russet brown in the full glass. The head is an inch thick cap of yellowed off-white foam. The aroma has that great super-rich caramel aroma you find in great English-style strong ales. How strong is this? 9.8% abv, yeah, that works. I'm not finding any barrel notes, nor any hops that stand out or apart from what's within the malt base. Ahh, there is a light note of oak to it, maybe I just had to let it warm up a bit. I'm getting a suggestion of vanilla now as well. Nice. I'm a little relieved as well as I wasn't sure if there'd be spices in here but there's not. OK, on to the flavor... that rich caramel malt remains with some added fruitiness, and then some leafy hops. There is a touch of spiciness to it but I think that's just the alcohol coming through. The caramel is mainly a combination of medium caramel and lighter golden caramel, but there's also an edge that's a little bit like almost burnt sugar. Maybe there's even a thin edge of actual burnt sugar flavor there. I'm finding vanilla as well, which I'm guessing is coming from the oak, but I'm not sure, they might have added it, a drip of Bourbon, and an almost light milk-chocolate note in the finish. It's fairly bitter with enough to balance the malt, and although there is some residual honey-like malty sweetness in the finish there's also some dryness from the oak and alcohol. Earthy and leafy hops linger in the finish once the malt has eroded and it becomes dry and bitter. In the mouth it's medium-full in body and gently crisp. I'm wondering if this is bottle-conditioned. I'm guessing it may be, and that I should have stored it upright in the fridge for some time. Oh well. Looking back, the head retention wasn't great, which is a little surprising given the malt but then I just realized it's barrel aged. Also, alcohol can usually cut through the head a bit. Not much lacing either. Again, oh well. I think it's really nice, the rich maltiness reminds me of an Anderson Valley beer, and it's got a nice balance to it. It could probably be a little more refined but I'll chalk that up to my simply buying it, bringing it home, chilling it and drinking it rather than letting the yeast sediment out.

Review# 6,398
Dec 21, 2018
Rated: 3.63 by Zazzi82 from Tennessee

Jan 21, 2018
Rated: 3.98 by rangerred from Tennessee

Jan 18, 2018
Rated: 3.99 by DVMin98 from North Carolina

Dec 21, 2017
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Rated by pathman from Ohio

4.5/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
7/3/17 draft @ Green Man (Green Mansion)
Jul 04, 2017
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Reviewed by tbryan5 from Louisiana

4.17/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
Received in a trade. Huge bourbon and oak notes in addition to being pretty boozy. A really good American Strong Ale with a strong malt backbone that can handle the heavy dose of booze. Highly recommended!
May 03, 2016
Rated: 3.93 by JamieDuncan from Maryland

Mar 01, 2016
Rated: 4.16 by joemochas from Florida

Jan 17, 2016
Rated: 3.75 by ArkyVaughan from New Jersey

Jan 17, 2016
Rated: 4.02 by Chris-1911 from Illinois

Jan 12, 2016
Rated: 4 by tim007007 from Illinois

Jan 12, 2016
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Reviewed by Jason from Massachusetts

3.93/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75
12oz bottle, sample from the brewery.

Thin lacing on top of a slightly hazed garnet hued brew. Big warming figgy nose with hints of boozy barrels, caramel, & fruity alcohol. Low carbonation within the chewy full body, this brew reminds me of a few strong ales from England. A clear sipper, very enjoyable.
Jan 12, 2016
Reviewed by SPLITGRIN from Kentucky

4.24/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
This is the 2016 version that is available in 12oz bottles. Alcohol is listed at 9.8 percent.

This is a very unique holiday ale. Flavor are bold and dark fruit based, almost like a really good fruit cake dipped in bourbon. There is a slight soured fruit thing going on but this is tempered well by the complex bourbon character. I would be very interested to see this beer with a couple years of age on it.
Jan 11, 2016
Rated: 3.75 by earlholman from Maryland

Jan 08, 2016
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Reviewed by TonyLema1 from South Carolina

3.6/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5
L: cloudy Amber color with a thin tan head
S: bourbon
T: a mix of whiskey and malt, no hops
F: good tongue coating and mouthfeel
O: good winter sipper
Jan 06, 2016
Rated: 4.25 by deac83 from Texas

Dec 29, 2015
Rated: 4.09 by Eziel from Ohio

Dec 26, 2015
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Reviewed by ChainGangGuy from Georgia

4.03/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
12 ounce bottle - $3.25 at Tasty Beverage Company in Asheville, North Carolina.

2015 Vintage (these 12 oz. bottles list the ABV as being 9.8%).

Appearance: Pours a muddled-looking mahogany-hued body with an inch of receding off-white froth. Just a meager bit of lacing on the way down.

Smell: An oaken, tobacco-hinting scent, then, some toasted bread and lightly toasted ground nuts and chopped dried fruits glazed with an altogether sticky, sweet-scented dark caramel and dotted with a little orange liqueur.

Taste: Chewy caramel squares with toffee candy and dark toasted breadcrusts, and, just when it seems a little sweet, you're hit with a blisteringly quick shot of Cointreau giving some fast heat and bitterish citrus flavor to temper it. Woodsy oakensheilds, loose tobacco. Dried stone fruits and more of that cutting citrus. Warming, bittersweet finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium carbonation. Rather smooth, tongue-coating mouthfeel.

Overall: Sweet, luscious and delightfully warming, this. It would fit this Christmas Day in Georgia perfectly if it wasn't so unseasonably warm at a tepid 70 degrees.
Dec 26, 2015
Rated: 4.44 by jhawkvol from Tennessee

Dec 24, 2015
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Reviewed by Immortale25 from North Carolina

4.22/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
Poured into a Haw River teku pint. Label says 2015.

A- Pours a light brown color with a 1/2 inch light tan head that retains well before becoming a thick ring around the edge of the glass and a half sheet of sheer surface foam. Semi-resilient lacing leaves large clots behind.

S- Big oak nose that's boozy and borderline astringent but has enough complexity to be somewhat pleasant.

T- And the flavor delivers awesomeness. Great bourbon character with some vanilla sweetness and oak tones. Not nearly as boozy as the aroma lets on. There's a bit of the astringency noted in the aroma but only in the aftertaste. Notes of dark fruit, raisin and marshmallow.

M- Creamy and slick with medium carbonation and a body leaning toward the fuller side.

O- Really good stuff. Don't pass this up if you see it because it'll only be around a limited time.
Dec 23, 2015
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Reviewed by pat61 from Minnesota

4.5/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
I am drinking the 2015 vintage from a bottle poured into a snifter.

L: A dense, slightly murky brown pour with a light red tint kicks up a ½” cream colored foam cap that recedes moderately fast.

S: Dark dried fruit aromas joined by brown sugar, light toast, toasted nuts, lightly toasted malts. Yeast driven fruit aromas are moderate and hop aromas are moderately low.

T: Fruit, stone fruit, alcohol, dried fruit, a trace of citrus leaning towards orange, roasted nuts and light toast, some mild spice and a finishing bitterness. The fruit is medium high, the alcohol is medium, the bitterness is medium and the malt is medium to medium high. Has a little nutty oak character.

F: Full body, medium low carbonation, mild warming.

O: Very nice complex and layered flavors with a mixed drink character.
Dec 19, 2015
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Reviewed by Apellonious from North Carolina

4.15/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
12 oz bottle poured into a tulip glass. 2015 version.

A - Somewhat dense brown with ruby highlights. Little to no head.

S - Vanilla, oak, bourbon.

T - Warming,yes. In line with the nose, with some mild spice and pepper.

M - Carbonation low. Mouthfeel is coating, but on the lighter side, with a touch of stickiness as it warms.

O - A tasty Ashville offering, especially for bba fans.
Dec 19, 2015
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Reviewed by Wiltonj from South Carolina

4.28/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
Pours into the glass with a languid fullness that reinforces the heft of this beer. This is a beer that demands respect and the bourbon aroma has a delicate presence. Full and heavy on the palate, this beer delivers on its promise. Hail to the King!
Dec 17, 2015
Rated: 3.98 by AppaZappa from North Carolina

Dec 15, 2015
Rated: 4 by wvsabbath from West Virginia

Dec 14, 2015
Rated: 4.04 by BirdsandHops from Oregon

Dec 09, 2015
Rated: 4.5 by HopsForBrains from North Carolina

Dec 04, 2015
Rated: 4 by Agentveba from North Carolina

Nov 15, 2015
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Reviewed by ThickNStout from Georgia

3.16/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3
750mL bottle from Bruisin Ales (Asheville, NC). 21.99. 2014 vintage. Served in a Barrel and Barley teku.

Pours a brilliant chestnut with three fingers ecrue head. The foam fades to a partial ring around the edges, leaving a few tiny dots of lace behind. A gentle swirl revives a thin layer of froth but with no better retention.

The nose is a bit muted but pleasant enough. Notes of toffee, soft oaky bourbon and vague vanilla.

Flavor is slightly more lively than the aroma. Toffee, burnt caramel, cereal grains, vegital bitterness, grape skins, wet oak, bourbon, leather, char and a much stronger alcohol presence than expected. Hot, bitter and not terribly flavorful.

Oily, slick medium full feel with light carbonation. Caramel, strangely bitter earthy oak and grains in the finish.

Holly King is not bad but for my tastes was underwhelming and overpriced.
Aug 06, 2015
Rated: 4.24 by agreenman19 from Connecticut

Jun 18, 2015
Rated: 4.43 by Bradaplast from North Carolina

Jun 08, 2015
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Reviewed by Smakawhat from Maryland

4.08/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
Poured from the bottle into a large snifter glass. Vintage 2014.

Hazy and deep orange and honey yellow hued edged, with a creamy two finger banana colored tanned head. Some clarity coming from the sides looking up and a big bubbled collar left while it settles with some lacing.

Big fruity booming aroma. Thick apricot juiced with tropical notes. Thick honey and some slight maple syrup like qualities, barrel vanilla tones as well. Really big and impressive, thick but not overly sweet sensing either. Great stuff.

Palate remains a little bit more complacent instead of the booming big bouquet that comes before. Light bodied oak notes with a taste of more hop forward bitterness and marmalade orange quality. Not as sweet as anticipating from the nose, but still bringing apricot and more fruit qualities that the bouquet hints at. Lighter body than expected for barrel aging, but still manages to coat and bring the flavors out, hints almost a blur between American barleywine and Strong ale.

Not a bad creation, too bad the nose didn't live up to the palate though, which brings some degree of disappointment but not a bad beer by any means.
May 15, 2015
Rated: 3.75 by RKing44 from Massachusetts

May 05, 2015
Rated: 4.41 by SLewis from North Carolina

Apr 08, 2015
Rated: 4.5 by mikepcarney from Ohio

Mar 07, 2015
Rated: 3.67 by jfstilling from South Carolina

Feb 25, 2015
Rated: 4.04 by REVZEB from Illinois

Feb 02, 2015
Rated: 3.77 by Mantooth from North Carolina

Jan 28, 2015
Holly King from Green Man Brewery
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 64 ratings