Twisted Reality Barleywine | Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery

22 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery
Minnesota, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.90%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
This is our American style barley wine. It has a fair amount of hops and a big malt heart to balance out the alcohol, deliciously perfect for the cold winter months.

Added by feloniousmonk on 02-03-2006

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Reviews: 22 | Ratings: 52
Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the brewery. Arrives in a snifter with a 2” cream colored foam cap with a very fine bead. The malt and fruit aromas are found on the palate with just the right mix of alcohol, hops, caramel, toffee, dark malt and dark fruit. Medium full body and medium carbonation.

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Photo of KarlHungus
4.34/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

(Re-reviewed 1/14/17, original score 4.0)
Arrives a amber-brown color. The head is small, lacing is minimal. The aroma is of molasses, toffee, nugat, and faint hints of oak. The taste is well balanced between the barrel and the barleywine. The caramel and vanilla of the barrel blend well with the toffee of the malt. The mouthfeel is full nodied with a chewy texture, and appropriately low carbonation. Overall, this is a really well made beer. I would drink it again.

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Photo of woosterbill
3.83/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Growler into an Old Engine Oil tulip. Major thanks to Chris for supplying this and its BA counterpart!

A: Clear, warm red-amber body with a solid cap of fine tan froth. Delicate lace. Nice.

S: Wow, that's hoppy. Pretty much nothing but pine, grapefruit, and tropical fruit hops. Pleasant, but disappointing for the style - I want some malt complexity, dammit!

T: Better here, with some toffee and marzipan giving depth to the serious fruity bitterness. Quite tasty.

M: Fairly full body with slow-developing carbonation that provides surprising frothiness. Ok.

O: I really enjoyed this beer, but I think I would have enjoyed it more as a less-malty DIPA or a more-malty Barleywine; as it is, it's stuck in the no-man's-land in between the styles, lacking a clear identity.


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Photo of CuriousMonk
4.45/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ontap at the brewery poured into a goblet glass. Pours a medium orange gold color along with a small sized white foamy head. The lacing lasted well throughout. The aroma is fruity, bready and sweet with a touch of smoke. A medium to full bodied barleywine. The malts are caramel, sweet and orange. The hops are earthy. Lots of orange and orange rind flavors. There is some maple and smoke in the background. Nice balance. Touch of alcohol bite. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and smooth. What a delicious barleywine!

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Photo of MattyG85
4.42/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the brewpub. Poured into a 10 oz. snifter.

Appearance: Pours a deep brownish amber orange/ruby red with a moderate amount of bubbles. About one finger of off white head with decent retention and a moderate amount of lacing on the glass.

Smell: A fairly sweet aroma of bready caramel and toffee malts with a lively presence of fruity esters. Hints of grapefruit and orange peel. Also some hints of maple syrup, earthy hops, and alcohol. The fruits smell really nice here.

Taste: Starts with a bright taste of citrusy fruity esters up front with hints of orange peel, grapefruit, and grapes. Bready malts follow with good hints of caramel and toffee. Light hints of maple syrup linger around with a little bit of alcohol. Finishes with some moderately bitter earthy hops.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with a moderate level of carbonation. Somewhat chewy and creamy. Very smooth for a bigger beer. Alcohol heat is barely felt.

Overall: A very solid American style Barleywine. Very nice fruit presence and very smooth for a Barleywine.

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Photo of Sean9689
3.73/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks, Alex! Poured into tulip.

A - Pours a burnt orange/brown color, tan-colored head, thin ring.

S - A huge hoppy beer from Town Hall? Why, I can't believe this. Big on the hops up front while the sweet malts take a back seat. Mostly just hops with some burnt sugars and caramel in there ever to lightly.

T - Similar to the nose. Resinous hoppy dankness, slight pine, some light caramel, light malts. This is a palate-brusing American Barleywine, to say the least. The almost 10% is pretty well-hidden, but that's probably because my tongue is being bombarded by hops.

M - Medium, good carbonation, oily/creamy finish.

O - Well, TH has a (good) reputation for their hoppy beers, but I think this one was just over-hopped for an American Barleywine. While I thought my pour was good, but really didn't want to go back for more. Good, not great.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.06/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Growler courtesy of younger35. Served in a Hill Farmstead glass.

A - Superb looking beer. Voluminous yellow-tinger foam settles to a thin cap, leaving behind tons of splotchy lacework. Lightly hazed brown-amber body.

S - Holy hops! Tons of pine, earthy, and herbal hops with a touch of cheesy CZT dankness as well. Underneath all that there's a unusual malt bill with toasted coconuts, icing sugar, cherries, and only mild amounts of caramel and brown sugar.

T - Toffee and caramel come out a bit more flavor-wise, mingling with cherries and brown sugar. Hop flavors are again quite present, with mild bitterness in the finish. Apparently there is maple syrup in here, but it didn't come to mind.

M - Smooth, medium body, chewy, with pleasant but surprisingly active moderate carbonation. Light warming alcohol in the finish.

D - I liked this, although it wasn't what I was expecting based on my experience with Twisted Jim. Enjoyable stuff that warranted multiple pours for me - I ended up taking home the growler remnants. For some reason, my friends seemed to be lukewarm to just about every beer yesterday. Oh well, more beer for me!

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Photo of Chriscrundwell12
4.1/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

10 oz pour on tap into a snifter.

A- One finger off white foamy head dissipates slowly, brown burnt orange color, nice looking beer, decent lacing.
S- Nice mellow aroma, toasty malt, bready notes, caramel, toffee, brown sugar, slight fruity aroma.
T- Really nice, warming as it goes down, balanced, toasted malt, nice dark fruit notes, toffee, caramel, brown sugar, slight maple syrup notes, very enjoyable.
M- Medium mouth feel, decent carbonation, smooth drinking, warming as it goes down, sticky finish, although its warming, it’s pretty easy drinking for being 10.4%.
O- Really enjoyable barley wine, warming and smooth drinking, nothing too original or outstanding, be definitely a quality barley wine.

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Photo of mothman
4.42/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2012 edition

Pours half finger of beige head. Color is dark copper gold.

Aroma: a lot of fruity esters. Orange peels. Caramel and toffee. Lots of bready malts. Very sweet. Maple syrup. Some citrus and floral hops.

Taste: floral and grapefruit flavored. Very hoppy and sticky. Caramel and bready malts. Sweetness with the maple syrup.
Oranges and a creaminess to it.

Mouthfeel: smooth, creamy, and bitter. Full bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends sticky.

Overall, a really nice bwine. Very enjoyable. Malty but still very hoppy. This is a very well done beer.

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Photo of MBrausen
4.41/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured on-tap at Town Hall into a 10oz TH snifter.

A. Pours a deep hazy red, a nice 1 finger head that resides at a nice ring with amazingly thick lacing, really beautiful.

S. Smells of sweet grapes, wheat, mild hops with a roasted barley finish.

T. Tastes of nice heavy wheat, heavy grain, sweet grapes and some strong rye.

M. Medium thick body, very chewy and thick, medium-high carbonation.

O. A very good beer. Super easy to drink and very smooth. Hides it's 10.4% very well under an amazingly well rounded taste. It really does change as it sits on your tongue.

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Photo of Ungertaker
4.85/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

10 oz pour at Town Hall on January 24, 2012.

A- This brew has the color of an old penny at the top with a gradual transition to a bright copper at the bottom due to light penetration. A 1/8" head bubbles over the crest of the glass and leaves a sticky lacing with each sip.

S- campfire, roasted pecans, caramel, and vanilla.

T- The taste starts with a nutty malt. A scotch profile (complete with the boozy burn) comes is shortly after. Apple cider and pecans finish it off.

M- medium body with a medium carbonation level that compliments it perfectly.

O- I am just starting to get into barleywines, but I have to say that this is one of the most perfectly balanced beers I have ever had. The 10.4% ABV is not entirely masked, but enough so that it does not come across as a booze bomb. I am buying a growler of this in hopes that I can sit on it for a while. However, the prospects of keeping it for more than a couple weeks are slim.

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Photo of zhanson88
4.13/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Twisted Reality pours a very deep ruby color with just under a finger of white head. Reduces to a very fine, thin lacing.

Smell: Lots of caramel malts, light cherry and spices, as well as some oak and booziness. It's hard to pick the scents apart for me, nothing really stands out much.

Taste: Caramel malt, dark fruits/cherry, oak, light booziness booziness, and vanilla. Very nice.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: Medium bodied with low carbonation, very syrupy. Despite the high ABV of this beer, it is very drinkable. It gets my vote.

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Photo of KeefD
4.15/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Best by date on the lid is 3-19. No worries though. Pours a dark mcolor with a small light tan head that left quickly leaving behind some spotty lacing. Aroma is very boozy, light oxidation, lots of caramel and apples, a hint of chocolate rounds things out. Taste is very sweet, alcohol heat is upfront, nice fruitiness, a hint of rum, and some more light chocolate comes out. Very tasty. Medium-full bodied, appropriately low carbonation. A very nice and somewhat drinkable barleywine, but the alcohol heat is a bit much.

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Photo of deliriumfest
4.37/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Consumed on 3/2/09

Poured a nice copper/amber color with a small white head. Aroma is that of dark fruits, brown sugga, vanilla and especially caramel. Taste is that deep caramel flavor from the aroma along with the dark fruits and malt peeking through. Alcohol really shines through on the finish providing a bit of perceived spiciness. Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy and drinkability is good although a little lower due to the rather high alcohol. For my first Bwine at Town Hall I am pleasantly surprised. I'm definitely going to grab a growler tonight to cellar for a year.

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Photo of brewseum
4.45/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've been keeping a growler of this tucked in the back of my fridge since it was offered about 3 months ago.and lemme' tell ya-its been hell.Everytime I open the fridge and then bend DOWN,I spy my brown growler and a devil and angel appear simultaneously upon each shoulder."DRINK IT you stupid fool-you could be DEAD tommorrow-what are you,a teetolling SISSY??" tempered by "Oh,wouldn't that be such a treat to share with your beer buddies on a special occasion?"

Off with the hallucinations and onto the review.

Well-last Friday night I finally got to try it.Town Hall had saved some for the Winterfest beer festival and they had it on tap.Like any good beer geek,I bragged to the tapmaster "I've got a growler of that in my fridge!" Unimpressed,he told me to "hang on to it."What else was he gonna' say? Engage some geek in conversation when he had a line ten deep behind him? (he tremensed with delirium and was wiser than Bud)

I carefully caressed the 3 oz. Winterfest sampling vessel in my shaking hands,and contemplated the job I had in hand.This tasting,and subsequent review,might make or break Town Hall Brewpub! There are beer lovers worldwide that might buy a ticket to Minneapolis simply to visit the mecca of malt maceration based on my verbal effusiveness!! Fer CHRISSAKES,I needed to inhale,observe,ingest and then REMEMBER and DOCUMENT these 2 ounces of bountiful,barrel aged brewski!!!

Drum roll...trumpeters blare....crashing of cymbals....silence.

(author nearly drops glass from orgasmic tremors,eyes roll upward into numbed skull,single drop of Twisted barleywine drips from lip but Toy Story II hazmat team vacuums it and returns it to the proper orifice)

Twisted Barleywine is the singlemost essential liquid to everlasting life and eternal goodness.Its that simple.And good.But theres little chance you will ever try it,because people like me have hoarded,drank and then bragged like this about it,screaming "nanner-nanner boo-boo" to anyone that can't to Town Hall.

In fact,I will need a remedial course in beer adjectives before I can do justice to this here beer.I'm wondering if I should have even posted the TOWN in which I live in my profile,because of the growler sitting in my fridge.Its good...but its GONE!

Me too-see you at Town Hall sometime.I'll be the guy with the little devil on his shoulder..

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Photo of ZAP
4.97/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Burgandy brown color...excellent aroma of sweet, dark fruits (plums,dates, black cherries, raisens..even a little strawberry), also molasses, brown sugar, some slight vanilla and big smell of caramel.

Very rich, and malty tasting...a lot of caramel...along with molasses and sweet dark fruits...hopping is very minimal...I love my BW's this way....this is loaded with a rich malty goodness.

Body is full..carbonation is about perfect....

Flat-out one of the best BW's I've had and one of the best beers I've had from TH...a personal favorite of mine...thanks the Big Huge Person for stashing a growler of this for me...what a treat....

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Photo of badbeer
3.97/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Murky brown color with a cream colored head leaving no lacing in the glass. Caramel, plum, and other dark fruits make up the aroma, I also smell brown sugar and molasses. The hops are present but definately playing second fiddle. Plum and raison flavors at the forefront with brown sugar in there as well. Same case here in the taste, as expected, malt over hops, only a small amount of pine like flavors perceived which helps to balance it out. Full bodied, thick and heavy, and small amount of carbonation, pretty nice mouthfeel. Pretty good on occasion but I probably wouldn't have it very often.

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Photo of Bighuge
4.6/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Deep burgandy tone. Scarlet red comes to mind as well. Thin, yet compact, the head is a tannish color. Aroma is thick with gooey caramel malts and luxurious fruit tones. This carries through to the palate. Smooth and silky, this one is quite easy to drink for such heft. The high a/v is noticeable, but not to a great extent. It fits nicely with the caramel,vanilla, toffee and fruit tones. Slight woody tones add a bit of a dryness to the overall effect. Alcohol gives a bit of a spiciness to the aftertaste. Hops are present for balance. This is more sweet than bitter, but nowhere near cloying. This is a high quality barleywine.

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Photo of Erdinger2003
4.57/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The head is fine, but falsl into a thin head. Dark brown in color. Lacing is present the more I drink.

Smell is very mellow hops with sweet fruity, but mellow flavors that have a slight licorice smell at first.

Taste is very hoppy and very sweet, not fruity, ubt very sweet. Dark fruit undertones with slight coffee aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is excellent, notcreamy smooth, but very nice on the palate.

Drinkablility is wonderfull, but I drank too much and lost my taste after a while, but it was very nice.

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Photo of alexgash
4.55/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I was delighted to find this gem on cask while I was home for a short time. Good timing, methinks. Delicious barley wine. Served in a snifter. Cloudy, cask shoe leather brown with a creamy, light khaki head. Nose is rife with toffee, brown sugar, caramel, ripe fruits, rum, yum. Full-bodied, thick, smooth feel. Malt flavor dominates, which I like, but the hop presence/bitterness is sufficient to keep this from being cloying/overly sweet. I wish I could have gotten a growler of this, but I had to "settle" for a growler of Ol' Jack Frost instead!

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Photo of tavernjef
4.58/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On-cask at the brewpub: Chestnut brown with ruby glowing highlights. An everlasting smooth topping of light sandy browned foam sits with substantial staying power. In fact, it never left. It stayed about a pinky high the entire glass down; all the the way down to the bottom so instead of seeing a completely empty glass you see a glass decorated in foamed lace and a surf of foam at the bottom. F*ckin' awesome appearance to this twisted reality of beerdom.

Aroma is quite nice, full and prevalent with malts, robustly set with apple/dark cherry/yellow raisin fruit cake covered in lovely caramel sauce. Hints to cinnamon, brown sugar, and a light leafy hoppiness adding a soft little hint to pine and dark citrus. Quite a complexing aroma.

Taste follows right along with what the smell states. Malts, cookie sugars, caramel, fruits, and a soft, tender blanket of warming smoothness the whole way through. Again, complex and flowing with a big caramel malt depth decorated with maple and all kinds of fresh, chewy, dried fruits of apple, raisin, dark cherry, and orange. Soft bitterness in the hops help add to the warmth with a leafy soft pine resin and some floral spices.

Feel is spectacularly set in a full cask laden velvetyness. Warm, like a blanket of caramel malts rolling around in a bowl of fruits and cookie dough sugars. There really is a whole lot going on in this reality of a brew that its nearly impossible to keep track of it all. Malty with caramel and dark, chewy fruits; spiced with cookie sugars, cinnamon, and vanilla; hopped with floral hints, soft pine wood, dark citrus, and a leafy resin. All wrapped delicately and warmly in a great texture of all things soft, smooth, and warmth without ever being brash, over done, or anything...its perfect for a barleywine on the cask.

A superb barleywine! Everything about it speaks to the craftwork of the style. Nicely done!

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.45/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Went into Town Hall merely to grab a couple growlers, and noticed the regulars drinking out of snifters a beer that wasn't entirely, it's not the Imperial Stout, what is it? The Twisted Reality barleywine that they debuted at Winterfest, which I missed, on cask! I had to have one...

Beautiful magenta hue, deeper in the top 2/3 of the glass, a clearer crimson at the bottom, under an attractive, lasting creamy head. Nice!

Aroma is lush and fruity, while never too sweet, brimming with flavor, enticing one to drink!

In the taste, a cornucopia of the usual barleywinish flavors, cherries and cognac, leather and burgundy wine...the cask-conditioning keeps it mellow, and the various characteristics roll around the mouth with careless abandon, yet somehow perfect balance. Plumb malt, and tasteful hops. Lush and luscious, a deep, dreamy ale one can savor at length. Gorgeous texture, keeps the mind active and the palate abuzz.

I wish I could compare this against the tap offering, which I never had, but on cask this is about near perfection. Plenty strong, though, but a delightful nightcap. I will have to go back for more before this disappears.

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Twisted Reality Barleywine from Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery
4.33 out of 5 based on 52 ratings.
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