Killer Penguin Barleywine | Boulder Beer / Wilderness Pub

Your Rating: None
Want it   Got it 
Killer Penguin BarleywineKiller Penguin Barleywine
754 Ratings
Killer Penguin BarleywineKiller Penguin Barleywine

Brewed by:
Boulder Beer / Wilderness Pub
Colorado, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 05-12-2003

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 754 |  Reviews: 338
Reviews by TheLongBeachBum:
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.91/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 Vintage

Presentation: A Christmas Gift, all wrapped up and nowhere to go, guess Santa left my presents in the fridge this year, top bloke that St. Nick, I don’t care what the Elves say about him and his drunken abusive nature. Standard 22 ounce brown glass Bomber that looks taller than most. The top 2” – 3” of the neck is coated in a rich thick dark blood rivuleted red wax that would not be amiss on a 17th Century legal manuscript, indeed, inset into this wax collar is a small ¾” diameter light wooden token that has a Fred Perry style symbol inset with the year 2006 burnt into it. Single main label wraps around 300+ degrees of the bottles torso like a corset. An evil looking red-eyed Penguin head is set between the words ‘Killer Penguin’ in a pastel yellow text edged by a blood red border. Listed as a ‘Barleywine Ale” and 10% alcohol by volume. The left hand side of the label reveals some background to the brew; most notably that it is a part of the ‘Looking Glass Series” and aged for 6 months.

Appearance: Big beige head with some tones that look like yellow tobacco stained walls from a young Belgium Brown Café. Perfectly lucid body has a dark amber projection and a myriad of shades from hot ruddy sunsets mingling with crimson-orange flashes when backlit. Devoid of streamers, a soft flick of the wrist produces a swirling cascade of fair sized bubbles that quickly rejoin the underside of the ¼” thick capped tan colored covering. Lacing tends to runs its own race quickly and die away, sliding back down into the glass or just being re-dissolved back into the body with each mouthful. Firm conditioning a decent poise, the frequent “topping-up” into my half pint handled Mug is an old trick to keep this one looking great and fresh in the glass with a big frothy head.

Nose: A little under-par for the strength, I confess to expecting more, much more. What is here is fine, but it’s not the big-hitting aroma I would lay good money on chatting up early on a night from a double digit beauty. Toasted malts, hints of pine, riddling toffee, feint walnuts and little leather. Deeply inhaled it is still hard to get the aromas into a situation when you can play with them and enjoy dissecting their component entities.

Taste: Bitter start litters the tongue with thinning pine oils. The middle builds with some gentle Devon toffee swathes. In and amongst the toasted malt mounds and valleys of caramel coated plum stuffed fruits are a healthy citrus pull which morphs into a refreshingly tart grapefruit finish. The complexity is simple, the profile has many Barleywine traits but none of the vintage intricacies that you would associate with one that has been aged for 6 months and is 10%, this confuses and puzzles me in a way, why not?

Mouthfeel: You know, my first honest ‘straight from the gut’ thought was, “is this *really* 10%??” Clean drinking with a middling Mouthfeel, the texture is of a well attenuated brew with little residual sweetness, or complexity. The cadaver is more of a fresh corpse than one that died a while ago.

Drinkability: The plus points of the Killer Penguin; namely its clean, uncomplicated profile and thinnish texture, outweigh the minus points; the lack of complexity and thick heavy Mouthfeel. This assists in making this strong 10% Barleywine a brew that can be enjoyed with relative ease.

Overall: The label states that this ‘Killer Penguin’ Barleywine, quote: “…uses over twice the malt as other winter beers…….is aged for 6 months…..doesn’t ferment, it hibernates, and wakes up with an attitude.” As much as I enjoyed this brew, its biggest weakness is actually its name and marketing I feel. It’s a good beer, no issues with that, BUT it seemed to be tame when compared to its “image”, its background and perhaps even its price* (I didn’t buy this though so I don’t know). To say this used double the malt and was aged for six months, it seems to play below its possible potential to me. For example, Thomas Hardy Ale is only a degree or so stronger but sooo much different, and I’ll wager a small 8.5 oz bottle probably costs the same as this 22 oz bottle did, maybe less. Faced with a decision between the two I’d have to go with the THA. This is a B-minus beer, good stuff, but when it comes from a potential straight A-student it’s a disappointment, and that’s my angle. When I drink a 10% Barleywine I would expect more kick and much more complexity. Perhaps age will improve this but it feels too thin to start with for that to seem like a credible possibility here.

*A Big Festive Holiday Thanks, as always, to my own Secret Santa, the Champion Receiver of Beers, Lord Giver of Libations, but never a Pimp – always the real Beer Drinker; Sir J of the BigHuge, for allowing me to try this Barleywine. The journey is always far more interesting than the destination, and we’ve only covered the first few miles. Here’s to the next beer swap and 2007.

Cheers and Holiday Beers Joe!!

 5,023 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of PorterLambic
4.16/5  rDev +17.2%
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.

 957 characters

Photo of tone77
3.61/5  rDev +1.7%
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.

 289 characters

Photo of Greywulfken
3.87/5  rDev +9%
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.

 887 characters

Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.25/5  rDev +19.7%
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.

 511 characters

Photo of jpd026
4.14/5  rDev +16.6%
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.

 229 characters

Photo of Bear1964
4.42/5  rDev +24.5%
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.

 910 characters

Photo of MLoxxer
3.34/5  rDev -5.9%
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.

 758 characters

Photo of oberon
4.18/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Let me start by saying its a nice looking bottle with the red wax and 2006 embossed in it but damn its a pain in the arss to get into.Poured into a snifter a deep clear amber with a tight formed slight off white head that stuck like glue to the glass leaving a thick sheet of lace as it settled very slowly.Big complex aromas hit ya up front juicy fruity malt and a big piney hop presence but it fades quickly keeping me from giving it a higher score its great but fades to quickly.I have seen other reviews and expected a big sweet malty bomb but its not at all that nice fruitiness and brown sugar melds into hefty dry resiny piney hoppiness that lingers in the finish.As it warms I get a roasted nut presence upfront more but the hops come thru nicely,sure it might be a bit thin but damn it goes down easy,this has quite a hop profile and its quite brash,damn tasty and better than expected.

 895 characters

Photo of Turbo
3.5/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of MadScientist
3/5  rDev -15.5%

Photo of Schlais
2/5  rDev -43.7%

Photo of wesbrownyeah
3.06/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Killer Penguin by Boulder, Colorado 10% alcohol Barleywine style beer. 22oz. bomber. This is a "heads up" label with blue hued "killer penguin" and an angry penguin in the middle of all this.

A- Poured from a 22 oz. bomber to a German stein. Excellent one inch head that falls to a light froth and beautiful thick lacing that coats the glass ring for ring.

S- Smells of light of plums, apples, and other dark fruits. Strong alcoholic ester sting the nose on the backbone.

T-M- Taste is watery and alcoholic with the same sense of beer like qualities. It has a smooth and sweet plum, rich caramel malt, and brown sugarish flavor but not a defined estery alcohol finish. Not bad on the mouthfeel but smooth nevertheless.

D- Drinkable but not something to write home about.

 774 characters

Photo of GameOfBeers
3.27/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of BeerAdvocate
2.05/5  rDev -42.3%
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.

 1,030 characters

Photo of bulldogg915
4/5  rDev +12.7%

Photo of Beaver13
2.72/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22 oz bottle. Pours a reddish amber with a wispy head that is quickly gone.

The aroma is very sweet melon, fig, caramel and maple syrup with some medicinal alcohol.

The flavor is very sweet brown sugary malts and melon with a light alcohol and hop finish. It's not well balanced at all - way too sweet. The flavors that are there are all rather reserved, making this a little bland, which is surprising for a barleywine. The mouthfeel is medium with light carbonation and a little watery.

Overall, not very impressive. I had this once before and liked it better then.

 576 characters

Photo of shapudding
4.16/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Beautiful coloring, amber/rootbeer... creamy, off-white head. Vineous and hoppy scented. Great hoppy bites with alot of carbination. Smooth mouthfeel. Bit of vanilla in there. Alcohol is lightly noticable, but not overwhelming. Decent amount of carbination in this one, but it really is not too much that it makes it uncomfortable to drink.

 340 characters

Photo of mverity
3.78/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a clear red-amber with a fair amount of tan head. Fair lacing and good legs. Head didn't hold all that well though. Aroma is of sweet toffee malts, earthy hops, and a bit of oak-like wood. High carbonation and medium body give it a pretty enjoyable mouthfeel. Taste follows aroma very closely.

 299 characters

Photo of Doomcifer
3.6/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of iemailjack
4/5  rDev +12.7%

Photo of megamass
2.75/5  rDev -22.5%

Photo of Jason
2.5/5  rDev -29.6%

Photo of merlin48
4/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 edition, bomber pours a mostly clear chestnut body with a beige head that falls into a cap and film. Malty aroma of toffee and caramel with a hint of grapefruity hops. Medium body with subdued carbonation. Taste features toffee and caramel, almost chewy. Red apple notes add a nice complexity. Hop bitterness is understated, but adds some pine and grapefruit. Decent barleywine, but the malty backbone tilts toward the English style.

 438 characters

Photo of warriorsoul
4.3/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Cambridge Common 11/14/06....
Poured in an unchilled glass (at my request) - 10oz. pour.
Arrived a vibrant mahagony color with a full finger of off-white head....spotty lacing at best as all but a fine layer of foam disappeared.
Fruity aroma...with some cherry, raisin and slight alcohol.
The taste is incredible...not overhopped like many American styles and not overly malted like some of the English BW's I've experienced...the best of both interpretations combine to make an extremely balanced, drinkable barleywine style ale. Mildly fruity in the flavor with just enough raisin flavor to stay true to it's name...not bitter at all.
Medium-bodied with enough carbonation to make this extremely drinkable...10% abv is ridiculously masked.
I have had last years version recently and I believe this one is amped just a bit more and I look forward to trying them side by side real soon.
I'd recommend seeking this one out now.

 947 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Killer Penguin Barleywine from Boulder Beer / Wilderness Pub
Beer rating: 3.55 out of 5 with 754 ratings