Holly King
Green Man Brewery

Holly KingHolly King
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Strong Ale - American
Ranked #59
Ranked #7,217
4.1 | pDev: 7.07%
Green Man Brewery
North Carolina, United States
Very Good
Holly KingHolly King
Reviews: 18 | Ratings: 64 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by NeroFiddled:
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NeroFiddled from Pennsylvania

4.09/5  rDev -0.2%
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
More User Reviews:
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ThickNStout from Georgia

3.16/5  rDev -22.9%
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
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Jason from Massachusetts

3.93/5  rDev -4.1%
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
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oberon from North Carolina

4.09/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours into an imperial nonic a deep rich bronze with a larger than expected slightly off white head atop.Bourbon stands out in the nose along with mild fruity esters.The flavors are not a backhanded bourbon punch wich I thought it might be,yes the bourbon barrel is there but it provides a nice vanilla tinged flavor to go along with chocolate and alcohol dipped fruit although the alcohol never gets too big for me.A fuller chewey feel compliments the beer nicely,a great job here.

Dec 24, 2014
SPLITGRIN from Kentucky

4.24/5  rDev +3.4%
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
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ChainGangGuy from Georgia

4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
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
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dirtylou from New York

4.25/5  rDev +3.7%

Dec 31, 2013
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bcrossan from North Carolina

4.5/5  rDev +9.8%

Aug 08, 2014
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paultierney1 from Ohio

4.36/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I'm out of IPA, so I'm finally drinking this mega bomber. The label says, "Drink now or age for later." From Asheville, NC. Such a great town. I probably paid a fortune for this 25.4 ounce gorgeous bottle.
Talk about bourbon! Wow. 10.1 abv. This is no spicy Christmas ale. This is hard-core bourbon. There's not much else there, but I'm into it. Maker's Mark, here I come. Wow. Just delicious. The nose hits you right away. Great mouth feel. Smooth, heavy boozy taste. There's no way this is under 10%. You gotta work your way up to this one. I started with a Brew Kettle White Rajah. Big step up to this Green Man. Good luck finding it!

Jun 03, 2014
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cjgator3 from Florida

4.5/5  rDev +9.8%

Dec 29, 2013
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Georgiabeer from Georgia

4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Dec 30, 2014
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deac83 from Texas

4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Dec 29, 2015
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rangerred from Tennessee

3.98/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Jan 18, 2018
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dbrauneis from North Carolina

4.06/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a relatively clear deep reddish brown in color with light to moderate amounts of active visible carbonation rising slowly from the bottom of the glass and some moderate amber highlights. The beer has a finger tall sudsy foamy beige head that reduces to a large patch of mottled medium thick film and a medium thick ring at the edges of the glass. Significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of bourbon, vanilla, oak, and caramel sweetness with a light amount of holiday-like spices (nutmeg).

T: Upfront there is a moderate to strong flavor of caramel and toffee malts with a light amount of sweetness and some hints of dark fruit (plum). That is followed by moderate flavors of bourbon, vanilla, oak, and hints of chocolate. Finally, there is a light flavor of spices (nutmeg) and herbal hops in the finish. Light amount of bitterness in the finish which lingers slightly.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Light hints of alcohol warming in the finish.

O: I liked this beer and I could easily see it being either an American Strong Ale or a Winter Warmer - interesting flavors from the bourbon barrel aging over the top of the dark fruit and spices typical in a Winter Warmer. Hides the fairly high ABV well making it fairly easy to drink, though this is still a slow sipper.

Jan 08, 2015
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chinchill from South Carolina

3.77/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

750 ml bottle (repeated in December 2015) pours clear and dark reddish-brown.

Aroma: bourbon with hints of wood, dark fruits and brandy.
Flavor: lots of bourbon flavor without the harsh alcohol that accompinies it in raw form.

Feel: near medium body seems a little thin; warming.

The bourbon is quite obvious in the aroma, and perhaps slightly overdone in the flavor. Still, quite tasty and easily recommended to anyone fond of this style.

Feb 10, 2014
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Smakawhat from Maryland

4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
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
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BirdsandHops from Oregon

4.04/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dec 09, 2015
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Apellonious from North Carolina

4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
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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joemochas from Florida

4.16/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Jan 17, 2016
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TonyLema1 from South Carolina

3.6/5  rDev -12.2%
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
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mikepcarney from Ohio

4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Mar 07, 2015
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AlexFields from Tennessee

4.06/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Jan 11, 2015
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mtpHokie from Virginia

4.5/5  rDev +9.8%

Dec 26, 2013
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AngusOg from North Carolina

4.04/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Jan 05, 2015
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wvsabbath from West Virginia

4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dec 14, 2015
Holly King from Green Man Brewery
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 64 ratings