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: 124 | Ratings: 543
Photo of mdfb79
4.35/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From 01/08/12 notes. Shared with some friends, 22 oz. bottle into a tulip.

a - Pours a dark mahogany brown color with one finger of fluffy off white head and moderate carbonation evident. Looks pretty good.

s - Smells of bourbon, oak, coconut, vanilla, caramel malts, toffee, and alcohol. Very nice nose and the bourbon is up front. more coconut than I was expecting.

t - Tastes of caramel malts, bourbon, coconut, vanilla, oak, sweet toffee, sweet dark fruits, toasted malts, a maybe a tiny bit of light, sweet chocolate. A major step up from the nose to me. The bourbon and coconut are there but don't dominate as much, and there is a ton of caramel. Awesome taste.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation, it's very smooth and creamy. Did not taste like 10% ABV; great moutfeel.

o - Overall I thought this was a great barleywine. Taste is very complex and balanced, and it has a g reat mouthfeel. a great beer that I'm glad I have another bottle of. just makes me more excited to crack my King Henry.

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Photo of JayS2629
4.45/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a murky brown with no head or lacing, but carbonation within the beer is fine. Its got legs like a wine.

The aroma is amazing and complex. A full, rich toffee backone with vanilla and conconut, bourbon, oak, and dark fruit. Loads of caramel.

The flavor is also amazing and complex following the nose with coconut, oak, bourbon, vanilla and sweet toffee and caramel. Dark fruit notes of plum, cherry and raisin with a spicy hop finish keeping it balanced and not cloying. Chocolate and coffee hints appear as it warms.

Very warming with a soft burn in the finish. Medium body and smooth.

Absolutely amazing sipper. Share this one.

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Photo of RodneyX
3.28/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours nicely with a good head and some lace. Smell is like bread, kind of strange. There is too much heat on this one at 10% and the wood is harsh, makes it hard to drink a lot of it. This was okay but I don't know why it is getting the ratings it is.

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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 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 drabmuh
4.27/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared by Thorpe, at the time of this review, this is the #4 top beer on the "Top Beers - English Barleywine" list. Fun. Poured into a Stone IRS snifter. We did this beer a huge disservice by serving it immediately after King Henry, this is a fine beer, very good in fact but King Henry blew it out of the water by a lot.

Beer is reddish brown, a little hazy, thin tan head, low retention, low carbonation.

Aroma is sweet, liquor, oak, biscuit, mildly fruity.

Beer is medium in body, sweet on the front, gives way to a nice rounded character of oak and mild liquors. Strong but nice throughout. I really enjoyed it. I'd have it again.

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Photo of potbeercollege
4.38/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've been drinking the shit out of this for the last few months and honestly i must be missing the hype because it is a solid, but slightly above average BA barleywine. I do still keep going back to it though...Pours murky dark brown, big molasses/dark caramel action in both nose and taste. Very sweet, not lots of barrel character, stranahan barrel plays more of a support role which i like in a BA barley (too many have overwhelming whiskey character IMO). Chewy mouthfeel.

Its funny to me how some beers become so hyped, most people who want this beer have never tried Dry Dock staples but for whatever reason they are obsessed with attaining this beer. I;m certainly guilty of doing the same with other breweries but to me the hype surronding this beer is particularly unfounded and seemingly random. The hype train needs to slow down a little bit, but undeniably a great beer. Wish i had more, but its all out now.

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

Pours a dark amber/brown color. Half a finger of off white head. Great lacing and retention.

Smells of caramel, oak, vanilla, brown sugar.

Taste follows smell. Caramel, toffee, some brown sugar, oak, vanilla, some ripe berry notes and cloves on the finish.

Mouthfeel is a touch thin for the style. Low carbonation. Pretty sticky.

Pretty solid, but I definitely wouldn't trade for it again. Not to say that I don't think it was worth trading for the first time. Worth trading for a bottle if you really like BA barleywines.

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Photo of kscaldef
4.46/5  rDev +3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to RuckusDu for the trade

Pours ruddy brown, whisps of cocoa head. Big whisky nose, followed by brown sugar and dates; bit of plum and cherry as it warms. Lots of molasses in the taste, vanilla, mild oak. Just the right amount of sweetness, good linger but not sticky. Very drinkable 10%.

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Photo of yourefragile
4.17/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Shared by sideshowe at the Rosso release and by thorpe last night. 22 oz 2011 bottle.

Pours a murky dark brown with a thin tan head. Boozy, earthy aroma with a strong barrel presence. Strong caramel and toasted malt, vanilla, whiskey, and oak. Medium thick, chewy body with strong strong carbonation and a hot alcohol finish. Whiskey, vanilla, coconut, dry oak and raisin dominate the flavor. This is a nice take on the style, but the body is a little odd and it is very barrel forward this fresh. Sampling this immediately after King Henry amplified these flaws, but regardless this is well worth trying.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of kkrez. Served in a SAVOR wine glass.

Pours a medium brown color with a good off-white head and a nice bit of a tan collar. The nose carries some pretty good bourbon with some caramel in the background. Flavor carries a nice bit of bourbon and oak with caramel there as well. Not too many characters but a great combination. Quite well done, but not an amazing bourbon barrel barleywine, though that includes the best of the best.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.35/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Thorpe429. Thanks Mike.

The beer is dark brown with a small tan head. Aroma of toffee, bourbon, oak, malt, caramels. Nice flavor. Well balanced and flavorful, but not in the upper tier for the style. Lots of toffee and caramels. Bourbon component is well integrated. A solid beer. Recommended.

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Photo of corby112
4.22/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to sideshowe for sharing.

Pours a murky, dark chocolate brown color with a one finger light beige head that quickly settles into a lasting ring. Spotty lacing left behind.

Slightly earthy aroma with a lots of sweet booze, barrel and dark fruit notes. The barrel character is prominent with hints of toasted oak, vanilla and whiskey but it doesn't overpower the other notes. Hints of chocolate and caramel as well as some fig, plum and other dark fruit.

Chewy medium body with a bit more carbonation than expected. There's and excellent balance of booze, barrel character and sweet and leathery malt. Hints of dry oak, sweet boozy whiskey, vanilla and toasted coconut followed by some caramel, toffee, hazelnut and dark fruits, notable fig, raisin and plum. Well balanced with a well masked ABV considering it's strength. There is a lot of alcohol flavor/sweetness but not much heat. Really flavorful and dangerously drinkable. Recommended!

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Photo of Gtreid
4.31/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml. bottle thanks to boatshoes via the Double barrel shotgun BIF. Poured into my Founder's tulip.

A: Murky, brownish apple cider color. A minimal head popped up after the pour and quickly faded to a thin collar.

A: This is a caramel bomb! Caramel is forward, but there are also great notes of oak and buorbon barrel. Vanilla, toffee, and some light earthy hop scents round out the nose.

T: Pretty much follows the nose. Huge caramel notes, vanilla, toffee, bourbon, and oak. The beer finishes sweet with a noticable alcohol heat.

M: A touch light on the carbonation, so it becomes a bit oily. Heavy body.

O: I really enjoyed this beer. The barrel does a nice job of complimenting the base brew without taking over. If you like caramel, this is the beer for you. Cheers.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.68/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks for sharing this, Javi.

Pours a dark amber/copper color with a fairly sizable off-white head. Smells overwhelmingly of dark fruits such as prunes, plums, and raisins. There is a bit of whiskey and vanilla on the back end. Sweet caramel and brown sugar add to the cloyingness. The flavor is also intensely sweet. Heavy on the brown sugar, caramel, and toffee notes. Lots of dark fruit flavors with only minimal whiskey/barrel notes. Medium bodied with surprising carbonation for the style.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.31/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to holden303 for sending me this one as part of the N00B BIF 6!

Pours a murky dirty brown with a 1/2 inch foamy tan head that quickly fades to nothing. No lace to speak of. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, toffee, fruit, vanilla, toasted coconut, oak, and some subdued whisky aromas. Taste is pretty much spot on with the smell. A slight bitterness accompanies each sip and there is an alcohol warmth in the back of the throat as well. This beer has a low level of carbonation with a slightly flat and smooth mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good barleywine with a ton of complex smells and tastes. I am really glad I was able to try this beer.

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Photo of Centennial
4.53/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz. bomber into snifter.

A. Reddish brown, on the clearer side with a small head of foam around the rim.

S. Vanilla, Charred Bourbon and caramel. Very Sweet and inviting.

T. Caramel and Maple is subdued by charred oak and a dry tobacco laced bourbon flavor. This finished is excellent as the alcohol is completely hidden.

M. Smooth with mild carbonation which is perfect for this beer.

O. This is excellent, it might be the top barrel aged barley wine to date for me.

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Photo of HopHead84
4/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


Bottle shared by Javier at Strong Ale 2011.

A: Dark reddish brown with a small beige head.

S: Dark toffee blends with brown sugar, caramel, and a pleasant vanilla profile. Whiskey is pronounced, and I get big booze and oak notes. Dark fruit reminds me of plum and prune. 

T: Rich toffee with a little brown sugar. Whiskey is well integrated. There's a decent amount of alcohol heat blending with strong oak notes. The finish is fusel alcohol, caramel, and whiskey.

M: Upper medium in body with moderate carbonation.

Overall: Good, but nothing really sets it apart or pushes it above the B+ range.

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.47/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

thanks to daniloknezic for this beer! I have really wanted to try this one since he told me about it!

poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance: brownish orange bodied beer with a thin cap of tan colored head.

Smell: Big caramel, butterscotch, vanilla, and oaky bourbon! smells great! Nothing that really unique, but the beer smells just like a great barrel aged barleywine should smell.

Taste: Caramel notes are big and the barrel is shown off well in this beer! The vanilla, oak, and bourbon seem to effortlessly blend together with a nice malty beer. Also getting figs, raisins, and toffee.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer with carbonation thats at the low end of moderate. The beer has superb balance, nice complexity, super smooth, and carbonation is right on. This beer is also really drinkable for the style, at 10% there is practally no detectable alcohol presence.

Overall: YES! Dry Dock does this beer style really well. Its in the same class as FSW Abacus! I found myself sipping and savoring this beer. Do not pass this beer up, it is phenomenal!

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Photo of woosterbill
4.47/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber into a Surly Darkness glass. Huge thanks to Chris for sharing this, freshly delivered by the hype train.

A: Hazy, deep orange-brown body under a thin, transient layer of fine tan foam. Solid.

S: Very sweet and fruity, with coconut, oak, whiskey, and vanilla backing up the rich dark fruits. There's some booze, but it's fairly restrained. Terrific.

T: Follows the nose: candied vanilla/coconut/whiskey barrel notes on top of sweet, raisiny malt. Toffee, alcohol, and bitterness on the finish. Delicious.

M: Medium-to-full body, moderate, slightly prickly carbonation that quickly settles into smoothness. Very nice.

O: This is a delicious beer, entirely worthy of acclaim. It's as close as I've experienced to the Platonic ideal of a BA Barleywine - big, rich, sweet, and well-balanced between barrel and malt. This cleanness and focus, however, somehow kept me from truly falling in love with the beer. It just lacks any individuality of character, and doesn't stand out like, say, Kuhnhenn BBBW/BB4D or MoaS. Time will tell whether it's truly deserving of being in the pantheon of great Barleywines; it certainly has the potential, but I'm not convinced it has the soul.


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Photo of mulder1010
3.58/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bomber poured into a Great Divide tulip (blatant homerism)

Thanks to Phillyswear for the bottle

A-- Poured and settled a dark cola color. Lots of ruby tints when shown to light. Active carbonation on pouring but not much in the head department. Decent ringed light brown collar, but really at best a short lived light brown film. Not much more really on swirling the beer.

S-- Fig, Carmel, Oak, Vanilla, Coconut and slight bits of alcohol. Reminds me a bit of a dessert here in Australia called sticky date pudding. Just softer in the nose than I expected, or hoped.

T-- Rich Carmel, Fig, Vanilla, and coconut. Alcohol much more noticeable in the taste.

M-- Slightly higher carbed than I would want but it does work. Higher medium bodied. Flavors stay pretty consistent all the way through on this. Just slight bits of tannins here and there but this also a bit boozy in the finish. Drinks bigger than what is is.

O-- Good beer. Not great. A little hot and much preferred the taste and feel as opposed to the soft nose with this. Reminds me a lot of a sherry and this this will develop into something really good as it feels bigger than what it currently is.

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Photo of Rhettroactive
3.99/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

From 22oz bomber to snifter on 11/29/11

-- Many thanks for cracking this one, Johnny --

A: Rich crimson amber. It's got a clarity to it that's surprising. Not nearly as dark and brooding as I'd hoped. I pour down the center of the glass and in return I get a frail .5 finger head. It fades quickly and yields zero lacing. Luckily there's a decent collar rimming the snifter.

S: Killer. Just mounds and mounds of toasted coconut, warm vanilla, booze and sipping whiskey.

T: Delicious, yet out of balance. The characteristics of a quality barleywine aren't up front, it's literally a bourbon bomb from the start. Which is a-ok by me, as this isn't overly hot by any means. What this lacks is the rich, syrupy essence, the real soul and spirit of a top notch Barleywine. In the end, I'm a whiskey fanatic, so I find this absurdly approachable for such a young barrel aged brew.

M: I get the feeling that the barrel really did a number on this. It's thin, like a traditional casked ale. I'll say that the thinner body allows this to be much more quaffable. Yet I want more from this, as I crave a more textured and layered offering.

O: Dry Docks Bligh's Barleywine is a really top notch beer, one where I can actually understand some of the hype. But stepping back from it, and looking at all the components, this barrel aged barleywine is pretty unbalanced, and it simply doesn't reach the upper echelon of the style. Worth trading for? Without question, just keep your whitest of whales at bay.

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Photo of MasterSki
3.88/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Chris (spycow) for opening this one, and big thanks to DividedAvery for trading me a bottle. Served in a Cigar City snifter.

A - A half-finger of light tan foam settles to a thin ring, wispy cap, and tiny spots of lace. The body is an attractive opaque ruby-brown color with some purplish highlights to it.

S - Tons of barrel here - oak, toasted coconut, red fruits, toffee, dates and figs, and plenty of overt booze and whiskey. Subtle, this beer is not. The flavors are quite nice, but the beer is very harsh at this stage, with intense oak and brash alcohol dominating the flavor profile.

T - The taste features more of the base beer, with lots of toffee and caramel flavors, as well as some vanilla and butterscotch notes from the barrel-aging. There's significantly less alcohol presence, with a greater emphasis on sweet malty goodness. I enjoyed the taste significantly more than the aroma, but I don't find this to be superior to other beers of the style.

M - Full bodied, with surprisingly active carbonation. Sticky, chewy, and viscous, with a low amount of tannic dryness. Quite enjoyable, except for the obvious alcohol presence. Drinks more like a 12-13% beer than a 10% one.

D - I hate to say this but: Over. Rated. Not a bad beer by any stretch, but well down the list of barrel-aged barleywines I'd want to drink. I struggled a bit through my 4oz, as the alcohol is pretty fierce at this stage. I can imagine this being quite enjoyable in 6-12 months and will likely revisit my evaluation, but in my opinion this beer is definitely not an A+.

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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 jrallen34
3.48/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

bottle... once again, hopefully the hype train stops in Chicago for another pretty average beer... dark caramel with a whispy tan head, nice coloring... the aroma is pretty good but too much oak dominates, some really nice sweet malt but has a wort or bready character to it, a bit of molasses as well... the taste is all over the place, and just weird, very syrupy, lots of oak and alcohol, ok for a 3-4 ounces but after that tough to drink... might be great in time, now its merely a slightly above average ba bw

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Bligh's Barleywine Ale from Dry Dock Brewing Co.
4.33 out of 5 based on 543 ratings.
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