Pompier | Pennichuck Brewing Company, Inc.

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31 Ratings

Brewed by:
Pennichuck Brewing Company, Inc.
New Hampshire, United States

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.10%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
English Style Barleywine Ale aged in oak whiskey barrels.

Added by johnnnniee on 01-13-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 31 |  Reviews: 29
Reviews by jwc215:
Photo of jwc215
3.88/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to jcwattsrugger for bringing me back a bottle of this brew from New Hampshire.

1 liter, swing-top bottle, poured into a snifter.

Pours reddish orangeish brown with a bubbly white head with a nice retention for the abv. Some lacing sticks.

The smell is yeasty (champagne?) with roasted nuts and caramel.

The taste is of caramel and an herbal bitterness that becomes more hidden as it progresses. An interesting yeast taste mixes in. Earthy with pepper and whiskey notes. Something fruity (in a general sense) comes through. Some woody mustiness is there, as well. Caramel turns toffee as it warms. In fact, as it warms to room temperatures, the flavors and complexities unfold more vividly, making it more enjoyable as it progresses.

Nearly full-bodied (close enough to call full-bodied) with just enough carbonation to stave off any stickiness.

Very drinkable for a 12.1% abv. Alcohol noticeable in a peppery, whiskey-like way, but not harsh or raw at all. A unique brew that I enjoyed having. Thanks again, John!

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More User Reviews:
Photo of Wespatrick
2.49/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

poured from a 1L swingtop into a chalice
wrapper indicates 2008 vintage
Pours burnt sienna with very little carbonation.
A small ring of bubbles lines the outside edge of the glass after a few minutes of sitting. Nose is mainly malty sweetness, some dark fruits and a faint offering of alcohol. There is a very odd flavor in the finish of this beer; maybe from the French hops, maybe some funk from the wood? Bottle says whiskey barrel aged, but I am getting nothing. I would believe oak aged, but there is zero whiskey present. I am barely 6 oz in and I am already regretting my decision to go this alone. I was excited when I found a barrel aged barleywine for $10, but I guess it was too good to be true. Major disappointment!

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Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.05/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

1 liter swing-top and very hefty bottle > Snifter/Chimay Glass

Oh Yeah, Ruby red, and it's vibrant. A loose, lacy, mocha froth colored head with a totally smooth and even crown is very lively and dissipates slow as molasses.

The nose has a rich caramel and maple syrup in the malt, brown sugar, vanilla from the Whiskey barrel's coupled with fresh herbs and spices from the hops. Heat tingle's the nose, but you can really smell the vanilla and mellow woodiness. The hops add a very unique earthiness...mild chocolate as the temp goes up.

The flavor with this one is as good as I would hope, light brown sugar, not super heavy thick malt but it is smooth and full bodied, just not as hefty feeling as some. The Whiskey Barrel aging brings out the most dominant flavor's of mild, earthy woods and big-time Vanilla, like fresh Vanilla bean...purhaps a bit too much Vanilla. The heat is very warming but not sharp in the least. Very mellow heat flavor and feel. These French Hops add the most interesting part of the flavor spectrum, with a balance of rich, earthy, tangy, musty and spicey effects. The hops end with a nice smokey bitterness. The flavor's overall are very nice, they will in time, blend and mature. The balance is a bit wild, but has the potential to become very good together.

This is full bodied but it's also very crisp, not as slick and smooth as some but my lips are sticky.

I shared this bottle with my fiance, who is a big beer lover in her own right and found it very easy to drink for such a big ABV %. I think it needs cellar time, but was enjoyable as is.

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Photo of Sammy
3.38/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Brown body with big soapy head. lace is observed later. Some sounress in aroma, not an english barleywine. Stout, sourish, lactic, not too drinkable. The oak whisky has absorbed some wild elements, or we can say infection problem. here ia also some sweetness, lactose, coconut.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.72/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

$14.99 at Charles Street Liquors in Boston, MA.

Pours a deep mahogany body with ruby-orange accents beneath a limited head of bone-white. Minor lacing... just tiny spots. Alcohol, however, limits head retention, and at 12.1% I guess that's understandable.

The nose is malty and fruity with notes of caramel, apple and berries - as well as a little spice (alcohol?) and even a hint of coconut.

In the mouth it's medium bodied with a gently bristling carbonation and moderate heat from the alcohol.

The flavor is as the nose suggests with a good blend of berry-like fruitiness and caramel maltiness, but there's also a very solid backing bitterness (that steps right up to the edge but doesn't over-step it) and some grassy and leafy hop flavors. Spice enters mid-palate and continues through the swallow and into the finish, leaving it spicy and dry on the palate except for a mild residual not of caramel.

Similar to an English style Barleywine in flavor and aroma, but pumped up in alcohol, this is kind of an American-British hybrid. Its saving grace is that its alcohol is not overly hot, yet at the same time it's the alcohol that brings it down. A higher mash temperature could easily soften this beer and leave it a little bit more rounded, but as-is it's simply average.

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Photo of Amalak
3.88/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Normally, these are the kinds of beers I really don't care for. But while extremely sweet, this beer is quite smooth. I think it definitely benefited from coming off the tap into a nice cold mug, as well.

This very, very sweet beer had a wine and sourish aftertaste. It was also quite expensive, $10. I don't know if it's a good thing that I like this barleywine beer, or bad, because I usually don't like them.

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Photo of barleywinebrewer
4.13/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've been wanting to try this for some time. I love english barleywines and I think this is a first on two fronts - whiskey barrel aged and strissel spalt hops.

A - nice clear dark amber color, solid off white head which lasts the full drink

S - spicy hop notes, oak, vanilla, whiskey and alchol

T - strong influences as noted in the aroma with a nice caramel and almost light smokey effect.

M - barely into the full bodied category. Nice carbonation, smooth across the tongue with a nice complex whiskey / oak / spices aftertaste.

D - Probably best split with a friend as this is a big bottle of beer! that said, as it warmed up to room temp it really showed a nice complex side that did not overwhelm my tastebuds or leave me with a feeling too much which I've had happen with other ambitous brews.

Definitely one that must be tried!

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Photo of awall422
4.25/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bought this at Julio's back in December, been letting it sit a little while.

Opened the flip-top to barely audible hiss, then poured a clear, reddish-brown with a good finger of light tan head into a sam adams glass. head had decent lasting power for a strong beer. lacing was ok, with a bit of legs.

smell was pretty much just the oak. pleasant, but not complex.

taste was better than expected, vanilla jumped out at me right away, with the oak barrel adn a little spiciness following. virtually no hops beyond that bit of spiciness, but it's an english barleywine, so that's ok.

mouthfeel was really nice, creamy and rich, much thicker than any other barleywine i've had.

for the style, drinkability was good, goes down really smooth. don't try to drink one of these big bottles yourself though.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.65/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 1-Liter swing-top bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep brown color, with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma has that unmistakable scent that comes from oak barrel aging along with caramel, whiskey, alcohol, brown sugar, dark fruit and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts with sweet flavors of caramel, brown sugar, whiskey and a little fruit. The oak barrel aging comes though quite strongly and there's a significant alcohol sting that comes in. The malt character is hearty and the hops presence is mild but complementary. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: A little tasty, goes down pretty easily for a beer with 12.10% ABV, not too filling, strong kick, good representation of style, I had sampled this beer at a tasting shortly after its original release and did not like it very much. It tasted a lot better this time around and even though I've had better beers in the style, this is a decent high-octane beer that would appeal to those that like the oak aging.

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Photo of ppoitras
3.77/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1L swing-top bottle purchased at Yankee Spirits, Sturbridge, MA.

Poured into a large glass chalice, formed a 1/4" light tan head over the slightly cloudy burgundy brew. Head holds on well, with better than average lacing for the style. Aroma is berries, vanilla, and alcohol. Taste is really follows the nose, with fruity maltiness upfront, creamy vanilla and barrel notes in the middle, and a warming alcohol close. Does seem to have a bit much in the higher alcohol presence, introducing some harshness, but I think the the other flavors keep this somewhat at bay. Mouthfeel is smooth, and drinkability is pretty nice, both limited somewhat by what I perceive as the slightly off alcohol tinges. Overall a good brew, could be a great brew. Have to keep this one on my radar.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.94/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a one finger, off-white head that goes quickly and leaves some lace. Almost clear amber color. Nose is malts and alcohol. Good carbonation and medium bodied. Flavor is sweet alcohol, malty, smooth, warming. Lingering alcohol after taste. Pricey at $14.99 for a 1L flip top bottle from Capitol Convenience Concord, NH.

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Photo of johnnnniee
2.28/5  rDev -34.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a clear dark copper that shows ruby highlights when held up to the light. Two finger off white head dissipates quickly lacing the glass on the way down. Aroma is of oak and spicey, perfumey hops. Has a medicinal or solvent smell and taste. I couldn't finish the glass I poured. I hope that I got a bad bottle because their stuff is usually pretty good!

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Photo of zeff80
3.9/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured out a clear, dark copper color with a thin, small, off-white head. It left some soapy residue on the glass.

S - It smelled very malty sweet and sugary.

T - It tasted of maple syrup, sweet caramel malt, licorice and some subtle fruity flavors.

M - It was soft and smooth. A full-bodied beer with a warm alcohol presence.

D - This tasted great, but is a lot to drink (both in quantity and potency).

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Photo of WesWes
3.58/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a dark amber/brown color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is decent. It has a strong whiskey barrel aroma. It covers up most of the malt scent except for some light burnt toffee aroma. The taste is decent as well. It has a smooth flavor that's not too sweet. It warms all the way down and finishes bitter from the oak. The oak works well with the malts, but the whiskey element is a little much. I prefer whiskey barrels with imperial stouts. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is an interesting beer, but not one I'd seek out again. Thanks to jjayjaye for the opportunity to try this one.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.03/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to ybnorml for this brew.

750ml Swing Top

Poured into a tulip a very nice dark amber color, very nice carbonation, very nice two-finger creamy off-white head, which did leave some nice sticky lacing a small islands. The nose is malty, nice little touch of whiskey, slight figs, plums, raisins, maybe some vanilla, and some caramel. The taste is big and malty, very nice touch of whiskey, dark fruits, some nice sweetness (vanilla), and caramel. Medium body. The alcohol is hidden pretty well though, but the whiskey does sneek through. Very drinkable though. This is my first from Pennichuck, and it is pretty tasty. Thanks Wayne.

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Photo of Brad007
4.85/5  rDev +38.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The swing top on the bottle gives a reassuring pop.

Pours a reddish-brown color with a nice one-finger head into my chalice.

Aroma is full of raisins, currants and mild alcohol warmth.

Taste is full of raisins, brown sugar and a mild alcohol warmth. As it warms up, I notice oak and whiskey from aging in oak whiskey bottles. It adds another dimension to this barleywine.

Mouthfeel is pretty easygoing and it goes down very smooth. The oak and whiskey lingers at the back of the throat followed by raisin.

A very nice, very easygoing barleywine that despite the ABV, is quite drinkable. With aging, this will be a killer barleywine to savor down the road. Well worth the price to me as I enjoy English barleywines more than their American counterparts.

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Photo of ericmunley
3.66/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Got a 1L swing top bottle from Jessup Beverage (highly recommended) here in Northeast Pennsylvania. Wanted to deviate from my usual stouts and porters, so I went with this oak aged English Barleywine.

A: Poured into a Chimay glass. Color is a deep brownish red with a quickly dissipating head. Didn't expect much in the head department, but I like the color.

S: Smells boozy and oaky. Seeing as this beer is an oak aged English Barleywine, there wasn't much of a surprise there. Faint hints of bourbon and fruit as well.

T: First thing that hit me as far as the taste of this beer goes is the oakiness. It reminds me a lot of Southern Tier's Cuvee #2 as far as oak is concerned. Right after the oak taste backs off, an abrupt, sweet alcohol taste warms the back of your throat. This was very pleasant on a cold, fall day here in PA!

M: This beer definitely has body, and the mouthfeel certainly complimented this beer's complexity.

D: Coming in right over 12% ABV, this is no session beer! However, I did enjoy two goblets with no complaints. Very suitable beer for cold nights in front of a fireplace!

Overall, I would recommend Pennichuck Pompier for those looking for a different, complex drinking experience. Fans of Belgian beers and oak ages beers alike will appreciate this beer. If you can get it for $11 like I did, jump at the chance!

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Photo of alpinebryant
4.28/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I have copied my Tap review but am updating it to reflect the differences I saw in bottled form just popped.

Poured a dark ruby amber color with a very thick cream white head with heavy lacing.

Smelled a bit of barrel oak funk, slight wine aroma, sweet malt backbone

Huge sour bite from the start, I would say that this is a great sour beer in addition to it being a Barleywine. I had a coworker take a sip who immediately puckered up which I got a kick out of(on tap). A nice wine flavor , more oak presence in bottles IMO , some funky sour and what I thought to be the best barleywine I have had in this style.

Bottle had a little bit of bubbling at the top of the rubber gasket which worried me after having a Thomas Hooker Imperial Porter that was vinegar. Sure enough though, this Pompier tasted great and I was lucky to find it .

Drinkability is I think the only thing I think is less in bottled form because of the very strong oak flavor.

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Photo of whartontallboy
1/5  rDev -71.4%

Photo of BigMcLargeHuge
3.78/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Courtesy of RB's own jcwattsrugger. Liter swing top pours clear copper with nice tan head. The mild aroma brings up notes of douglas fir mixing with medium to pale colored fruitiness and a bit of mustiness. The taste is interesting to say the least. I get sweet prunes and apricots before it becomes more berry like and tart. It seems a bit like a barleywine that blends into a berry like sour beer. Very interesting. I think it works well.

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Photo of meday
4.45/5  rDev +27.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the 1L swingtop (with "2008" covering) into two snifter chalices.

Beautiful dark mahogany color with tan head

Sweet, maple sugar aroma.

Beautiful, deep, rich flavor, filled with sweetness, caramel, rum-raisin, and possibly a bit of caramelized onion. The depth of the flavor changed quite a bit during my taste and would also changed with the food pairings.

Although sweet and alcohol, the mouthfeel is good. This beer has a body to it.

I was worried that my wife and I would not be able to finish this beer in one sitting (possibly the reason for the swingtop?), but it was very drinkable.

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Photo of kirok1999
3.48/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Love the bottle, hope the beer is as good.
Pours a murky, dark amber with a wisp of lacing.
Smells mildly sweet, just a hint of dark sugar, molassas, some faint notes of citrus and pepper.
Taste is smooth and mild, very mild carbonation. Hints of caramel, dark sugar, and a lot of hops in the finish. I think my bottle was slightly oxidized, when I picked it up there was a slight fizz from the cap. This might have led to the slight wet cardboard taste.
Felt very smooth and creamy and yet a little thin. Easy enough to drink but there are way more tasty English Barleywines out there.

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Photo of DIM
4.2/5  rDev +20%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a: This was a pretty, slightly hazy, dark coppery ruby color. It poured with a huge, sticky, fluffy, off-white head.

s: Fruity aromas of apples, pears, and plums that have a syrupy sweetness to them take center stage. There is also some tobacco and a yeasty aroma that has an alluring musky quality. The gentle warmth radiating from this one does not suggest an abv of 12.1%.

t: This is drier and not as sweet as the smell would suggest. This tastes of of faint malty, smoky toffee and oaky tobacco. The finish brings a juicy, sweet, candied fruit flavor that is soon blunted by a very dry and bitter herbal hop note that seems a little out of place.

m: Full bodied with long lasting, gently creamy carbonation.

d: I liked the oaking and the yeast choice, but the French hops don't add much. Still, this was unique, interesting, and delicious. That works for me.

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Photo of jophish17
1.5/5  rDev -57.1%

Photo of Yetiman420
4.2/5  rDev +20%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Prime16 in New Haven CT. Bartender confirmed it was 2009.

12 oz. Sniffer.

Ruby brown - not too dark. Thin quarter finger head.

Aroma is very malty sweet.

Poured 10 minutes in advance to warm.

Creamy mouthfeel. Very enjoyable and drinkable for an 09 barleywine.

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Pompier from Pennichuck Brewing Company, Inc.
Beer rating: 3.5 out of 5 with 31 ratings