Killer Penguin Barleywine
Boulder Beer / Wilderness Pub

Killer Penguin BarleywineKiller Penguin Barleywine
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Barleywine - American
Ranked #367
Ranked #44,344
3.59 | pDev: 15.04%
Boulder Beer / Wilderness Pub
Colorado, United States
Killer Penguin BarleywineKiller Penguin Barleywine
Notes: This limited, small-batch release is dark garnet red in color with a candied-fruit like aroma and flavor. At 10% ABV, Killer Penguin is a big barleywine that comes across very smooth and extremely balanced -- the perfect beer to share among friends.
Reviews: 340 | Ratings: 760 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by ThaneMcC:
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ThaneMcC from Germany

3.88/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured a clear deep red with copious khaki head and solid effervescence. Smells piney hops predominant, some dark fruits, toasted malts become more pronounced as it warms. Tastes sweet malt forward, brown sugar/molasses, prune/fig, there’s an herbal quality mid note with a bit of a flat, earthy or woody tang and transitions to a bite of piney hoppyness with a rather clean finish for such a malty beer. Medium bodied – carbonation provides some levity and astringency and a fairly clean finish.

Overall - I rather enjoyed it. Admittedly, I was at one of those big box stores, cart full of toilet paper and bulk items. They have a small craft beer section - offering stuff I'd never heard of at a reasonable price point. Never having had a barleywine ale, I picked this one up (with some stuff from Clown Shoes, Ommegang and Blue Mountain) - good stuff, to my unrefined palate it tasted a bit like an imperial red ale, or a hopped up english barley wine ale. . .

Jan 15, 2016
More User Reviews:
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PorterLambic from Florida

4.16/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2013 vintage bomber opened May, 2014.

Pours a clear, bright, rusty, copper color with a big (from the lousy pour) tan head. Retention is quite good as is the lacing left behind. Dissipation is even and gentle, leaving a thick film eventually.
Smell is malt, seasoned wood, fruits (grapes, pears, figs). Great balance. Caramel and nut notes as the temperature rises. Good complexity.
Taste is malt, wood, fruit (apple, grapes, pear), alcohol (no surprise), light smoke. Extremely nice balance and complexity. Same nut and caramel notes develop as the temp comes up. Always a good idea to let a big beer like this warm up from fridge temp.
Almost full bodied, light-ish effervescence, warming, quite smooth especially considering the 10% ABV. Aftertaste is woody and there is a light drying aspect to it.
I gotta think The Bros. got a bad bottle. This is a really good brew and I would recommend it to anyone. I wish I had bought more than one. C'est la vie.

May 15, 2014
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jpd026 from New York

4.14/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

so they said to write a review even though i use this for my own private catalogue and their new rating system sucks. that said highly delightfyl barleywine, no idea why the bros hate it so much, i loved it and will get it again.

Dec 25, 2014
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tone77 from Pennsylvania

3.61/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a very dark amber color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of dark fruits, malts. Taste is alcohol, grapes, malts, dark fruits, a bit more alcohol. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is an enjoyable beer, but one of these per session is plenty.

Aug 06, 2014
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Bear1964 from Nebraska

4.42/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I picked this up a while back and waited till now to crack it, I checked out this when I got it and I try never to do that so my rating is my own...most reviews we not positive....

Poured from a 22 oz Bomber into a stemmed glass showed off the deep Amber hues and a nice 3 fingered tan head which left great lace as I drank on, aroma was rich with dark fruit with some malty biscuit notes and only a slight hint of alcohol. The taste became deeper and released more layers of flavors as it warmed, hops started to peek through and mixed with the pit fruit and a smokey tart finish almost coats the tongue. The 10% ABV is well hidden even as YOU warm a little as you enjoy this and the mouthfeel is medium/Heavy which is fine for the style, it leaves you with wood hint in the bitter aftertaste or dry coated feeling in the problems and no worries as this was solid and drinkable for a good price.

Jan 13, 2016
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Greywulfken from New York

3.87/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: wax-sealed bottle contains clear deep ruby brown ale with a finger of tan bubbled foam atop; left some trails down the glass

S: shellac and toffee - pine and earthy aromas lean toward something herbal or medicinal; brown sugar syrup sweetness beneath

T: reminds me of an old ale or Scotch ale - something pub-like and English about it, too - clear resin and candied fruits; subdued hop action brings malts forward, but only so far - a very mild-tasting ale. I'd say it works as an ale, but not particularly an American-styled barleywine.

M: slick and slim, slightly sticky; some herbal aftertaste, negligible carbonation

O: not a typical American barleywine - not as dense or heavy, very clear body, lots of pine resin shellac and English toffee. 10% abv for less than $10 makes a good case for the beer - drinks more like an A Fuller's vintage ale than most barleywines I've had.

Jan 12, 2015
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StraightNoChaser from Georgia

4.25/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

appearance: Quite clear copper/red. Nice off white/pinkish head on the pour. Good looking brew.
smell: Smells like a Dipa or maybe an Imperial Red :). Malt and citrus hops. Has that bit of a grapefruity hop sting balanced by malty sweetness. Very nice.
taste: Much like the nose. Guess we don't need a new category but this is Imperial Red nonetheless.
overall: Very pleasantly surprised. ratings have this guy as mediocre i guess (and 80 as i review). Maybe i'm a philistine but this beer deserves better imo.

Jul 21, 2014
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MLoxxer from Nebraska

3.34/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

I purchased this beer in a 22 ounce bomber whose neck had been dipped in red wax. Prior to being dipped a wooden tag noting the year 2015 was tied around it. When poured a very nice cream colored head was produced. This presented nice contrast against the clear, reddish brown liquid. The aroma is quite pleasant, not nearly as hoppy as I had anticipated. There is an almost sangria-like quality to the smell, inviting and unique for this style. The flavor has a good malty start, a middle that is very wine-like, and a clean, slightly bitter finish. At 10% this beer is nowhere near as boozy as I thought that it might be. Although its flavor is much cleaner than what I’ve come to expect from a barleywine I wouldn’t turn this beer away in the future.

Jan 31, 2016
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BeerAdvocate from Massachusetts

2.05/5  rDev -42.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Review from Inaugural Issue of Beeradvocate Magazine.

Touted as Boulder's high-octane cold-weather release. Pours a tawny crimson color, and a lively carbonation keeps the eggshell-colored lace alive. Toasty grain and fresh caramel malt aroma, hints of herbal hop and a fruity, dark fig ester smell in the back. Creamy, smooth mouth feel, light body. Mineral notes. A bit juicy, but dry with a powdery malt character. Some dried fruits merge with a spike of alcoholic esters. Hoppy, but not overly expressive. The hops must have mellowed after the six months of conditioning at the brewery, as the bitterness is very tame. Some signs of oxidation? Leafy, herbal and oily hop flavor, middle to end, with a dried-out herbal and floral finish and an increase of alcohol presence as the beer warms.

This is a Barley Wine with the mute button pressed. Not nearly as much depth as we expected, and quite dull compared to the other American brewed Barley Wines out there. Killer Penguin? More like Dead Penguin.

Jul 23, 2008
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imperialking from Illinois

3.5/5  rDev -2.5%

Jan 09, 2012
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Docrock from Illinois

3.75/5  rDev +4.5%

Mar 17, 2014
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Jason from Massachusetts

2.5/5  rDev -30.4%

Jan 12, 2013
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ClavisAurea from New York

2.97/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

2014 vintage served at cellar temps in a tulip glass. 22oz bottle

Appearance: nice bottle. I like the red wax seal on top and the inlaid year marker, a stamped dime sized wound of wood with 2014 on it, classy. The beer pours an exceptionally clear light copper with a substantial tan head that stuck around.

Nose: fruity, some hop character, sticky sweet smelling, muted dark fruits.

Taste: slight initial alcohol burn from the 10%, weird alcoholic medicinal flavor right up front, not very complex or interesting, some dark fruits but the flavors are pretty much muddled and not well integrated.

Overall: This was a disappointment. I thought this was going to be a winner from the looks of the bottle (bad assumption, I know). I think the hot alcohols need some time to mellow and integrate more into the beer. I probably wont buy this one again.

Oct 09, 2015
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sgttibbs from Minnesota

3.75/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Apr 19, 2016
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jdhilt from New Hampshire

3.37/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a two finger, cream head that slowly fades to a thin layer leaving a good lace. Nose is like an oak barrel. Clear deep amber color. Medium carbonation and medium bodied. Flavor is malty with background hops, sour grapefruit finish. Disappointing barleywine. 2006 vintage, $6.20 for a 22oz bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, Ma.

Apr 08, 2007
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Buggies from Pennsylvania

3.17/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This a bottle of 2009. Probably past its prime, but I'll give it a go.

Pours a murky brown with this fizzy head. The nose is dominated by malt. Very little hop presence. Mostly malt... chocolate and caramel. Some fruitiness to it as well. Alcohol can be detected by the nose.

Once again, the taste is dominated by malt. The fruit and citrus also come through a lot. Bitterness seems about right, but the lack of any sort of hop presence makes this one just boring.

Aug 15, 2011
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JeffTheJuice from Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev +11.4%

Jan 26, 2012
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ZAP from Minnesota

4.12/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours a brilliant cherrywood color

S-Great aroma of sweet caramel, nougat and rich ripe berries

T-Not as impressive or as aggressive as the nose but nice. The caramel malt load is in the forefront but there is also a little citrus hoppiness.

M-Almost feels a little small for a 10% BW....reminds me a little of the new Glarus BW in that regard. Probably on the low side of medium bodied.

D-This is a nice beer. Great aroma and nice flavor. I'd purchase it again but it wouldn't rate as one of my all-time greats.

Nov 28, 2006
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MisterE from Florida

3.25/5  rDev -9.5%

Sep 02, 2013
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Peyton5410 from New Jersey

3/5  rDev -16.4%

Jan 04, 2013
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Bighuge from Minnesota

4.15/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Burgandy tone. Scarlet red accents. Clarity is pretty good. The carbonation appears as finely beaded threads. Nice aroma of thick caramel, nougat, molasses and rich malts. The flavor doesn't quite follow through as nicely, but it's still good. The malts are caramel in nature. Passion fruits soaked in alcohol come to mind. And a little treacle. And a sprinkle of brown sugar. The body is medium at best and the carbonation is appropriately held in check. This is good, but not exactly killer, dude.

Gotta love the name and bottle though. One of my favorite names of all time.

Dec 22, 2005
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BigMcLargeHuge from Arizona

3.93/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber 2006 consumed Nov. 06. Nice clear copper color with tan head. Aroma is light with roasted malts, sweeter caramel malts and an even lighter smell of hops. First taste is true Barleywine flavor. Like the aroma I get roasted and caramel malts. But also some dark cherry type fruitiness thrown in. There's also grapefruit hoppiness that's not too tart but a bit sweet. I also get a slight cotton candy like flavor. Nice tasting Barleywine.

Mar 02, 2009
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Taphouse_Traveler from Florida

3.75/5  rDev +4.5%

Jun 16, 2014
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RonfromJersey from New Jersey

2.69/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Light red body, good clarity, nice carbonation, topped by a fairly level half-inch of oatmeal colored foam. Soon to be a table top, then an oil spill.

Mild sweet candy aroma with some hints of yeast, though over all a rather subdued nose for a barleywine.

Sweet start lightly slides across the tongue, though not cloying, it lacks depth. Subtle hop blunt the sweetness and add a small zip at the finish and a little tingle in the aftertaste. Very mild warmth from alcohol.

Mouthfeel is thin for a barleywine. Drinkability is too easy.

Nothing bad here, but nothing interesting either. I was expecting a fireplace sipper, but this is just too laid back in every respect. Disappointing after Hazed & Confused and Mojo.

Apr 21, 2007
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AMoceri7 from Florida

3.22/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Well second turn around, the same but a realization of sorts.

A: Deep amber/mahogany, minimal head. Nice lacing and plenty of carbonation bubbles oozing from her.

S: Really nothing. This is where I was unimpressed. About as aromatic as DFHs Raison D'Etre. Some faint malty fruitiness. Maybe a little cider.

T: Smooth with a bite. Not what I expected from a barleywine and it might even fall outside of that category if it wasnt for the 10% ABV. Its almost as if the flavors are trying really hard to exhibit themselves but fail to. Crystal Malt, some roast but not much. A little fruitiness, cider and alcohol in the stomach. Oxidize much? Hops dont seep through until the aftertaste. Very hard to pin point much.

M: Bouncy carbonation. Burns slightly at the back of palate and bitters on the way down.

D: Simply put. Good. Could go through a few pints before I ran out or forgot how to drive.

Overall: Aside from the half and hour it took to open it (wax did make it look sexy), this was a smooth winter warmer. Barleywine? I dont think so. Save some cash

Nov 29, 2008
Killer Penguin Barleywine from Boulder Beer / Wilderness Pub
Beer rating: 82 out of 100 with 760 ratings