Bligh's Barleywine Ale | Dry Dock Brewing Co.

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Bligh's Barleywine AleBligh's Barleywine Ale

Brewed by:
Dry Dock Brewing Co.
Colorado, United States

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by waltonc on 10-08-2011

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Reviews: 125 | Ratings: 546
Photo of Prospero
5/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

So far I've been impressed with a lot of Dry Dock's beers so I had to try the Barleywine (BA Barleywine is one of my fav styles)...

It didn't disappoint. Pours a cloudy deep brown mahogany with a tan head, carbonation was spot on for a barleywine.

The aroma was sweet like caramel with a hint of vanilla, coconut and toffee, and had really nice whiskey notes that weren't overwhelming but complementary... one of the reason I love BA Barleys. Overall a perfect balance of aromas, without any dominating.

The taste is just as amazing and well-balanced. The sweet maple and caramel flavors along with some dark fruit are on the forefront coupled with the complexity of the whiskey and gentleness of the oak. So good, so sweet.

Mouthfeel is so right for this beer, not too heavy, not too light. While it's loaded with flavor and a medium-thick mouthfeel, the beer doesn't seem difficult to drink!

Great beer... probably the top of my BA Barleywine list.... already purchased another couple bottles.

Side note: This beer was aged in Stranahan's Whiskey Barrels, so it's not bourbon your tasting, it's single-malt whiskey made in Colorado, not Kentucky.

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Photo of Reagan1984
4.97/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Well, I am thankful to have a friend in Denver that sent me a couple of these. As it turns out, I am not being so original betting on the BA Aged BW kick… They are so good though. Perfect for winter.

Even with an aggressive pour no more than a ¼ inch of tan foam forms and then fades rather quickly. A spot or two of lace, but not much. (more than most barley wines actually) Color is more of a leather brown color with only a touch of the burgundy that is usually present in the style. I like the color.

Aroma if your first hint that this is going to be special. Vanilla, brown sugar and coconut. Then some sweet (chewy…yes I just described an aroma as chewy) caramel… (this is going to be a 5)

Caramel, brown sugar, vanilla, caramel, brown sugar, vanilla. Repeat. Smooth bourbon… caramel in the finish. The balance here is unreal. Wow, believe the hype. I am trying to communicate that there is a lot of complexity while there is total balance and harmony. Not sure there are other flavor components, but the melding of these is unreal. Now and again the wood come through below the surface. Love this.

Velvet like and silky. A touch of carbonation to bring the flavor to life.

I’ve opened some bottles that were hyped and been really let down. And I’ve open hyped bottles and tried to get up front on the band wagon. I am driving the bus on this one. This is a great beer. How dare they claim to only make this beer once? Seriously….. make this again and again. Awesome.

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Photo of kkrez
4.92/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a murky amber brown with a slight head. Head can be built from a glass swirl.

Aromas of toffee, caramel, stranahan's, wood, vanilla, brown sugar, coconut, nuts(almonds, walnuts).

Taste is amazing. Starts out brown sugar sweet then caramel, toffee, vanilla, oak, figs, raisins, present but never overpowering bourbon notes and an oaky finish that cleans out the palate and leaves you ready for more. Alcohol can be found but I had to dig for it. The taste just lingers on the palate wonderfully

Mouthfeel is medium, creamy, lingering, maybe slightly undercarbonated, but only maybe. Not sure any more would do it any good and more could take away from it.

Overall, possibly my beer of 2011. This is exactly what I want from a barrel aged beer.

note: Not sure I would call it an American Barleywine, I'd say more English. Hops aren't really present

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Photo of buffs9
4.92/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had this at a tasting that included Hunahpu, BCBCS, Old Rasp XII and this was my favorite beer of the night. So wish I had more of it.

A - Dark caramel color w/ some reddish highlights. Not much head to speak of after an initial 1/2 finger or so

S - Amazing bourbon, brown sugar, and vanilla. Not as much booze on the nose as I would expect

T - So smooth for something w/ this ABV and so soon after the barrels. Bourbon, vanilla and some delicate sweetness

M - Light carbonation and again, crazy smooth.

O - I absolutely loved this beer and will be seeking more.

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Photo of karlbronson
4.92/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I have to echo how good this beer is. Being that time of year, I have had quite a few barrel aged beers recently and this one has to be at the top of the list. I am very impressed how well put together and well balanced it is. It drinks exceptionally well now and I have a feeling it will get better with time. I am definitely putting a few of these back.

For me, the nose was dominated by caramel, toffee and vanilla. There is bourbon in the nose, but it isn't as powerful as with some of the others I've had recently. Don't let your guard down though. Although the bourbon isn't that strong on the nose, it definitely comes through on the taste. The taste is as the nose suggests. It's all in there. The flavors are well layered and nicely balanced. Very complex with a lot going on. All of this transitions to a long lingering finish that allows you to sit back and enjoy the many layers in this beer. The carbonation is on the low side, but this fits the style and barrel treatment. No complaints on that here.

This beer is very satisfying. Dry Dock did an excellent job of capturing the best qualities that the barrels had to offer. The balance and thick layers of flavors and smells makes this one of the best barrel aged beers that I have had in quite some time.

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Photo of Knownfactor
4.91/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a Bruery Tulip

From the crack of the cap i smell sweet chocolate brownies. Can't wait to get into this one.

A - vigorous pour shows a merky somewhat cloudy brown beer. Very little head which dissipated rather quickly. Beer leaves very little lacing around my glass.

S - there are the brownies again! sweet milk chocolate, Caramel, Vanilla, Oak, and Whiskey dominate the nose of this one. you get a bit of alcohol peeking through also but its hidden very well. Smells delicious!

T - up front rich whiskey fused with caramel and vanilla as it melts over my tongue i pick up the malt sweetness and a bit of dark fruits, chocolate, and oak. Finish is barely dry but extremely smooth with very little alcohol present. Awesome!

M - Mouthfeel is absolutely perfect. Light to medium bodied, smooth, silky, finishes really nice and leaves a lingering sweet vanilla taste in my mouth

O - Overall this is probably one of the best beers ive had all year. We put this up against 09' Moas recently at a tasting and it blew it out of the water. Really smooth tons of flavor from start to finish and beyond, really complex beer. It sucks that Stranahan's barrels will no longer be used because Dry Dock really nailed this one.

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Photo of RuckusDu
4.84/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - small mocha colored head. Quickly dissipates. Dark rust body which you would expect.

S - Very strong sweet bourbon. Some caramel notes. Smells like candy aged in whiskey barrels. A little boozy.

T - Slow to show itself. Alcohol is present but tastes normal with bourbon flavor. Again some caramel and other candied flavors. A few more years and this could be amazing.

M - light and smooth. A bit over carbonated.

O - Would like to see how this is in a couple years. Just bought this tonight and wanted to see if it is worth getting more to age. Fairly pricey, but one of the best barleywines I have had in a while. I was hesitant when I read it was a BW as this is not my favorite style, but the aging in whiskey barrels really helps.

Update - had this again last night. It is really coming along nicely. 8 months has helped smooth this beer out and it is now magical.

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Photo of stabzmcgee
4.82/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance was pleasant. Nice burgundy brown color. Aroma is sweet and of toffee, caramel. Taste was of vanilla, coconut and sweet pang of caramel. the mouthfeel was exceptional with a sweetness from the alcohol and barrel aging, along with a nice oily texture that went wonderfully with the paired caramel apple cheescake I had with it. Overall, Very impressive.

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Photo of holden303
4.82/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle into a tulip at 57.5 degrees F.

A: pours an opaque deep brown with a twinge of amber hue, half a cm of off-white lacing surrounds the glass.

S: bourbon, caramel, toffee, vanilla, oak, a touch of booze, really a lovely harmony of scents coming off this one.

T: toffee, figs, candied sugar, dark fruit, vanilla, bourbon it has a nice amount of sweetness.

M: very low carbonation which i like although it is a tad thin. maybe due to the barrel treatment and aroma i'm expecting this to drink like bcbs as it smells rather similar but for the style the viscosity doesn't take away from the beer.

O: perhaps one of the best beers i've had all year, by far the best barleywine i've ever had (usually not a fan of the style) this offering from dry dock is truly supreme. with only 1200 bottles of this and stranahans discontinuing their offerings of barrels to anyone but breckenridge, despite my potential homerism i think any bourbon bal fan and/or barleywine fan NEEDS to try this beer!

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.77/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks go out to Schmittymack(Dan) for getting me 2 bottles!

It pours a very dark brownish red with about an inch of offwhite foam. Tilting my glass from side to side, I can see some very good lacing.

The smell, well, it's so full of caramel malt and whiskey, with a side order of toffee, that it is kind of blowing my mind. I'm literally sitting here taking in whiff after whiff.

The first sip in and bloody hell; it tastes as good as it smells. Loads of whiskey complimenting the huge caramel malt profile with plenty of toffee and some dark fruitiness hanging around in the background. Absolutely gorgeous flavours and now, some of the alcohol is popping in and brings a lot of warming. Maybe too much for a 10%abv Barleywine but hey, it's a minor quibble.

For my "major" quibble, I find the carbonation way too low for a fresh BWA that, flavourwise, could go for a heck of a long time; keep this in your cellar for a few years and you won't have any "fizz" at all. For my palate and tastes, this wouldn't bother me but I know there are plenty of folks that would have a real problem with no carbonation.

The mouthfeel is fine; on the upper end of medium bodied, again, with light carbonation that could use just a slight boost.

Drinkability? It was hard to keep the glass on the table. This is some very fine stuff, and maybe the best of the style I've ever tasted.

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Photo of Gosox8787
4.74/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 22 oz. bomber bottle, first batch, split with a friend over the Bruin's game. Really excited it try this one with all the hype around it. Poured into a couple Sierra Nevada XXX anniversary snifters, slightly chilled.

Appearance: Really dark brown, almost black in color. Pours a brown, one finger head that recedes into a nice lacing pretty quick.

Aroma: Big brown sugar, caramel, molasses, oak, bourbon and especially toasted coconut. There is a touch of alcohol heat in there, but it is really subtle and subdued. Everything is remarkably balanced. The coconut note is especially great and works perfect.

Taste: Much like the aroma, tons of sweet, malty flavors you would expect from an english barleywine and a nicely aged barrel aged beer. The bourbon / whiskey note does not overpower and plays really well with the caramel and molasses notes of the base beer. Toasted cocnut again stands out far more than I initially thought. The smoothness and lack of heat here is amazing. This is incredibly delicious and easy to drink.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and plenty of carbonation. Works well and is not distracting.

Overall, this could be my new favorite barleywine. It is incredibly balanced, easy to drink, and full flavored. My 12 oz. pour disappeared way too quickly and I wanted more. It would not be hard to drink an entire bottle by yourself. I will definitely seek this out again. A+.

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Photo of Rochefort10nh
4.74/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

So glad other BAs suggested this beer in a recent thread as I had no idea of it's existence. BA Barleywines encompass some of my favorite beers including MoaS, Arctic Devil, Wooden Hell and Abacus and this beer is right at home in this exalted company.

Bligh's pours a murky, ruddy brown with a very slight collar of quickly fading foam.

The nose is where this beer begins to shine. A deep inhalation brings strong scents of freshly made caramel, vanilla and bourbon char. Further notes of muscovado sugar, maple and cashew can be coaxed with a generous swirl of the glass. A very faint alcohol presence can be detected which carries over to the flavor as well.

The taste continues the smell almost perfectly with caramelized sugars and deep malt flavors coming to the forefront. The sweetness of this beer is spot on as it never becomes cloying but touches all the right notes including toffee, candied pecans and coconut. Fantastic!

Mouthfeel is slightly thin and is the one area that this beer falls short of my favorites. If the carbonation level was increased slightly it would do wonders for this beer.

Overall this a fabulous beer that I will seek out on a regular basis.

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Photo of claytong
4.73/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

appearance - beautiful autumn brown. lots of colors there, good half inch head with great retention and lacing.

smell - whisky, heat, vanilla, oak, dark malts, brown malts.

taste - stranahans whiskey, vanilla, oak, nice malts, exceptional

mouthfeel - only fault here is minor cloying otherwise thick, good carbonation and wonderful

overall - only question is the aging. can this last years and keep up with this? i dont know, but its fucking awesome right now

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Photo of pvtjoker42
4.73/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I've got the last 4 years of this beer in the cellar, and can't wait for this years release! Smooth drinking, rich brown color with a little haze, no boozy bite, has to be one of my favorite local beers.

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Photo of rye726
4.7/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

With all the hype going around about this beer I thought I'd throw in my two cents. Enjoyed on tap a while back. Pours a dark mahogany with a thin tan head. Nose has oak, whiskey, nice English malts, subtle hops, dark pitted fruits, caramel, toffee and a bit of vanilla.

What I really like about this beer is that it is well balanced. I find that most barrel aged barleywines these days, and stouts for that matter, are way too sweet and have way too much barrel character. This one is quite nice, and still holds a good level of complexity.

Medium to full body is well carbonated, not too thick or cloying. Would like to see a bit more depth in the finish. Should age well for at least a few years, but is drinking pretty well right now.

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Photo of emmasdad
4.67/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks Dan for sharing the other night. Poured a dark reddish amber color with a nice tan head. Big boozy aromas, malt, oak, bourbon and caramel. On the palate, this one was full bodied and went down entirely too easy for 10%. Flavors of oak, sweet malt, bourbon and caramel. ™

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Photo of gford217
4.67/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle.

Pours a dark hazy brown with hints of amber when held up to the light. There is a small bubbly beige head that recedes to a thin collar and leaves little lacing.

Aroma is outstanding with equal parts sweet barleywine and barrel character. There is molasses and caramel with toffee and some overripe dark fruits. The barrel character is evident but not dominant with some vanilla and bourbon barrel.

Damn. The taste is a slightly more boozy version of the nose, which is to say it's pretty close to perfection for this English barleywine lover. The first sip was heavier on the bourbon and vanilla than I was expecting. But the underlying beer still coming through with a sugary sweet malt backbone with booze-soaked apples. The finish has some alcohol burn but not distracting. The taste just becomes more and more drinkable as it warms.

The mouthfeel is close to full bodied, dessert-like, and just sticks on the palate after each sip.

This is a sublime beer. I've never had anything else from Dry Dock but I will be seeking some more from them. It's completely balanced with the barrel enhancing the base beer without dominating it. Love it.

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Photo of GregSVT
4.67/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle into a tulip

A: Pours murky dark red with a small tan head that fades to a ring and leaves no real lacing on the glass.

S: The nose is incredibly rich with big notes of vanilla, caramel, english toffee, light toasted coconut, light earthy hops, and whiskey.

T: The taste is very similar to the nose with huge flavors of caramel, toffee, dark fruits like figs, vanilla, and whiskey. This is sweet but not cloying like others in the style. It's also incredibly smooth...probably the best flavors I've had in a Barleywine as far as not too big and not too small.

M: The feel is thick with an oily finish. The alcohol is no where to be seen as well.

O: Incredibly good and incredibly smooth. This ranks right up there with MoaS as one of my favorites in the style.

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Photo of abecall98
4.66/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thank you sexy ScottFrie.

A - eh, cloudy, brown, and weak head. Looks almost like a sour brown ale unfiltered. Just not what I'm used to when seeing my pour of BA Barleywine.

S - smells good. Incredibly sweet. Aromas of sweet apple and cinnamon surprisingly. A little Carmel too, cool.

T - incedible. Makes my nipples hard. A thick Carmel flavor just starts your journey. Some nice woody notes hit from the barrel, and some sweet sugary malts finish. I am getting more Carmel in the dry finish, man, this rocks.

M - perfect to style. It's not overly or under carved. Just the right ammount. Goldielocks would love this. The beer is thick and sweet, yet finishes slightly dry. It's different, and I love it.

O - this beer right here, it's really good.

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Photo of sweemzander
4.65/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

22oz. bottle poured into a snifter. Big thanks to Matt for sharing! 2011 vintage.

(A)- Pours a pretty dark chestnut color. Some tan froth.

(S)- A lovely rich profile of roasted caramel, fig, toffee, and subtle raisin. Some awesome woody barrel notes too.

(T)- Very similar to the smell. An array of richness to it. Roasted caramel and oak. Toffee and fig/raisin. Subtle, yet great barrel characters.

(M)- A smooth and mellow carbonation level. A great balance too with an even better ABV integration. This drinks like pure silk while maintaining a nice richness and barrel characters.

(D)- An excellent English Barleywine that deserves plenty of praise. A top tier example and dangerously drinkable.

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Photo of Domingo
4.64/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a khaki color. Looks very murky and hazy, but has more foam than I expected from something this strong (an barrel aged).
The nose has depth in spades. Everything from vanilla and caramel to coconut, bourbon, and brown sugar.
The taste reminds me of homemade caramel. Like sugar melting and releasing sweetness with hints of coconut and vanilla from the wood. Unlike many bourbon barrel aged beers, the whiskey never overpowers or rears its head directly. Instead it enhances the base beer and the wood takes the natural sweetness and gives it new depth. I still can’t get over that caramel character, either. This beer encompasses that flavor more so than any other I’ve had to date.
Even though this is strong and lively, it’s almost too easy to drink and can sneak up on you if you aren’t careful. The bottle I split was gone in no time.
No matter how much this might seem like a local spin on a beer, I truly think this is one of the best barrel aged beers I’ve had lately and maybe one of the best beers I’ve had in a long time. I actually think that a lot of local barrel aged beers have been a bit of a mess (even DD’s own) but this is something special.
I’ve bought a couple more bottles and while I’d love to save them, something tells me they’ll be gone before I know it!

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Photo of GilGarp
4.61/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

2011 vintage served slightly chilled into a goblet.

Bligh's is a dark redish brown color with good clarity seen through the edges. The head is thin but that doesn't seem out of style for a strong barrel aged beer.

Aroma is very strong and rich with whiskey and oak character. It has a mellowed booziness and pleasant sweetness like an old ale.

Flavor is really quite surprisingly well balanced and just perfectly blended. It has great sweetness up front that follows with mild whiskey flavor. It finishes with mellow barrel aged vanilla and caramel. Dark fruits come through like a nice dark Belgian ale.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and perfectly carbonated. Balanced but full of depth and character.

What a fantastic beer. Barrel aged beers are becoming more and more prevalent but it's still very rare to find one as well done as this. One of the best beers of this style.

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

Pours dark brown without a great deal of head. Smell is as advertised - toffee, bourbon, vanilla, coconut. All of the usual traits of a nice ba barleywine. Tastes great - with those same qualities as the smell, along with a subtle baked apple note that works well here. Body is thick, with low/medium carbonation that is just right. Overall, an excellent bourbon barrel barleywine. I have historically been critical of Colorado offerings, which I often find to be mediocre. But I'd put this up there with MoaS, Abacus, Royal Oil, and Arctic Devil. Barrel-aged barleywines are my favorite style, so take my review with a grain of salt if you're not as big a fan of this style.

My only complaint is that this should be in 12 ounce bottles rather than just bombers. 12 ounces is just right and it's silly to force people to open more at one time. If I'm with friends and sharing, I can easily just open a second 12 ounce bottle. But if drinking by myself, I'd love to just drink a 12 ounce bottle on a week night.

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

Review #22
22oz into snifter

Bottle provided by the generous Bardwashrind, thanks André.

A - Pours mahogany in color with ruby highlights. Thin off-white colored head that quickly dissipates, leaving a faint ring around the glass.

S - I love the nose on this one. Notes of bourbon, toffee, and vanilla. A bit of heat, but surprisingly balanced, I expected more alcohol given this was just released but not so.

T - Follows the nose, toffee, dark fruits, vanilla, and bourbon. As I work my way through the bottle, some heat comes through, but it's quite warming and I enjoy it.

M - Low to medium carbonation, coats the mouth, providing a lingering finish that lets you tease apart the notes.

O - If I lived in Colorado I would have bought a case of this when it was released. Hell, I don't live in Colorado and will do my best to acquire one anyway. This is a great barrel-aged barleywine. I honestly liked this better than MoaS and Abacus, can't speak to others...yet. Seek this out if you can. Great job Dry Dock, you should be proud of this one.

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Photo of spdyfire83
4.59/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

108th Review
Bottle to snifter

From notes. Enjoyed several times, but I finally decided to keep track of my thoughts while sharing with bspringer and mtep13 before flying to Ireland.

A: Murky, medium brown. Barely a quarter (off-white/tan) fingernail head on medium pour.

S: Sweet caramel, butterscotch, and toffee with inviting hints of vanilla, oak, and brown sugar. Pronounced oak character as well. Oh so delightful!

T: Much like the smell, but the whiskey barrels come thru a lot. Booze is not too over-bearing, but it warms your insides quite a bit. Soothing.

M: Full bodied with low carbonation. Just perfect!

O: Of so nice and just about everything I want in a barleywine - intense, complex, and smooth! I think this beer will only get better with age, but time will tell. The various layers compliment each other so well and Dry Dock did a masterful job here.

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Bligh's Barleywine Ale from Dry Dock Brewing Co.
4.33 out of 5 based on 546 ratings.
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