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Killer Penguin Barleywine | Boulder Beer / Wilderness Pub

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330 Reviews
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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

For Trade:
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Reviews: 330 | Ratings: 722
Photo of TheKingsOfHop
1.68/5  rDev -52.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

22oz bomber poured into snifter glasses:

A: Very little to no head, but what could be seen was off white in color. The beer itself was a light mahogany, but kind of almost cherry like in color.

S: Brown sugar, hard candy, caramel, all in all very, very sweet with a definite alcohol burn. Followed by a slight hint of hazelnut.

T: Absolutely no balance compared to other barley wines we have had in the past. Very nutty dry with a strong taste of alcohol, with no carbonation making this a very syrupy brew. Even after this "barley wine" leaves your mouth it still gives you this horrible after taste, making the next sip almost painful to attempt.

M: Extremely thin, but syrupy mouth feel...odd to say the least. It then proceeded to leave a slight film that coated the inside of the mouth once the sip was fully consumed.

D: Again this beer had no balance, it was to overly sweet with a horrible aftertaste. We would not be able to stomach another glass.

The Kings Of Hop

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Photo of SecondSandwich
1.76/5  rDev -50.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

2010 vintage.
Was excited to try this beer because I like the brewery (mojo, mojo risin', hazed and infused) and I am trying to look into barleywines, but I was very dissatisfied. Actually, this was probably the most disappointing beer I have ever purchased/tasted.

A- Looks nice, deep mahogany. Lots of red tones.

S- Smells a bit weird, just like how it tastes. Has a very sweet smell that, after tasting, makes me feel a little sick.

Taste - No good. Very weird blend of flavors; none of them very appealing. Has a sweet taste and brings cherry cough syrup to mind... not what I want out of a beer that is a bit on the pricey side. I would describe it as a hodge podge of weirdness (in a bad way).

M- Not terrible, has a creamy feeling (kind of nitro-esque).

D - Hard to say because the taste is so poor. I sipped only a little at a time and it didn't seem to go by fast enough...

Final thoughts: Don't bother, seriously, it is not worth it. There is much MUCH better available in that price range.

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Photo of gfreed
1.76/5  rDev -50.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

On tap at Cambridge Common, and has the honor of being the first dud I've ever had there. This is the most un-barleywine barleywine I've tasted: no depth of flavor or aroma, no complexity, not even an interesting color. Very light tone, body and flavor. None of the intensity you'd expect in a barleywine; it's as if it visited the shrink before leaving the tap and had all the mystery reasoned away from it. Letting it warm up for about half an hour didn't even bring out much flavor. Blech.

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Photo of midaszero
1.92/5  rDev -46.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

2008 vintage

A - Crystal clear ruby amber body with one and a half finger of light tan head that leave excellent lacing

S - Faint dark fruits and malts

M - Sweet malts up front. Kinda hoppy in the middle but not much. Boozy throughout and especially at the end. Kinda bland and just not really appealing.

T - Medium body yet feels kinda thin with medium carbonation

D - It is okay. Not all that enjoyable or drinkable but not horrible either.

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Photo of Bitterbill
1.96/5  rDev -45.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

I bought a 4 pack locally for over $16.

It pours a dark gold with a 2 finger head of foam, some nice lacing left behind when I took my first sip...oops.

It has a very fruity aroma with some light notes of hops and malt. Plenty of booze in the smell as well.

First sip in and the alcohol taste is massive. Beyond that, I can taste some hop bitterness but then again, the alcohol takes that away quickly. Ummmm...really? I'm now tasting a smokiness...tobacco like flavour or at least burnt malt and it's turning me off big time. I cannot finish this....end of review.

Come on, Boulder. I had your Black Diamond Chocolate Porter the other day and it was delicious. This is a complete messterpiece.

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Photo of Seanibus
2/5  rDev -44%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

With a name like this, it has to be good, right?

Not so much.

Pours a deep copper with a fluffy, slow-to-develop head that falls away quickly. The aroma is syrupy and thick, like a big pot of hot caramel. The flavor is super caramelly - overwhelmingly so. It's like a mouthful of maple syrup, in fact. There is some dark fruit in there, maybe fig and cherry and grape, but it is sweet with a lingering chemical-like tang to it. Metallic almost.

As syrupy as the flavor is, the mouthfeel is fairly thin, though it does have a sweetly viscous quality.

The overall effect is like a funky cough syrup.

I am severely not enjoying this beer.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
2.05/5  rDev -42.6%
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.

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Photo of ZachHodgson
2.1/5  rDev -41.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Oye! Such a long wait for such a disappointing beer. There are far better barleywines out there for similar prices. Stick with those.

2012 Release

Looks like a barleywine
Smells like a barleywine
Tastes like maple syrup infused with essence of old sock.


There are far better barleywines out there for abut the same price.

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Photo of rsyberg01
2.23/5  rDev -37.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

S - Bomber, '06, from notes, drank fresh

A - Pours a clear burnt orange, head begins at about a finger, then down to an unscathed layer of fine foam.

S - Big spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, slightly sugary, slight alcohol, touch of caramel...interesting.

T - Bitter, astringent, uncomfortable in my mouth (thats what she said), Did not expect it to be like this. Tastes like I'm drinking chemicals.

M - Aside from the taste, the mouthfeel isnt bad.

D - Yikes, period.

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Photo of sacullen
2.23/5  rDev -37.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

2008 poured into a snifter.

A: Pours a deep amber color with only 1cm of head from an aggressive pour. It disappears quickly into a ring that leaves some lacing.

S: I can smell the caramel sweetness, but it seems like most of the aroma is very toned down. Floral hops are evident, too.

T: The surprising bitterness overpowers much of the sweetness. Leaves a strange aftertaste that I can't quite describe, but the bitterness remains minutes after you swallow. Maybe this is just too fresh?

M: Pretty thin, not very lively. Doesn't appear to have much carbonation.

D: Low on the drinkability factor. It masks the alcohol VERY well. However, the taste keeps me from wanting another.

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Photo of turboge
2.3/5  rDev -35.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

2009 Vintage

A: hazy amber, very small head and spotty lacing

S: dark fruit

T: high carbonation, boozy with a slight taste of hops and kind of sour

M: light

D: I will not drink this again, really wasn't impressed. It drinks ok but I am glad I shared the bottle. I felt the carbonation was too much.

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Photo of Edwaka01
2.38/5  rDev -33.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Poured into snifter

A - Deep red-amber, creamy 2 finger head leaving behind lots of lace.

S - Fruity. Caramel malts. Flowery hoppiness.

T - Quite overly fruity, reminds me of juice. Wicked booze burn on the finish, lingers for quite some time after sipping. Again, floral hops.

M - Thin and burns like hell.

O - The alcohol burn is something I like to see in this style, but here its overkill. Without the burn, maybe this is a mediocre barleywine.

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Photo of jsh420
2.46/5  rDev -31.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

2009 vintage

pours dark carmel brown with a 2+ finger head that left some lacing

smells fruity nutty sweet candy carmel malts and booze

taste just like the smell is very sweet nutty candy malts no hops no balance not good

mouthfeel is thin yet somewhat sticky

drinkability - i would never buy this again

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Photo of TheLVBeerGuy
2.48/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

a- clear reddish orange with a thick head that is gone a few seconds after the pour...very active

s- citrus, cherries, malt, a bit of caramel

t- malty front, with fruit through the middle and a very potent alcohol finish...this beer lacks development and does not go together well...rather than being a blend of the good flavors they chose, its a divided alcoholy mess...maybe its this years batch?

m- like a carbonated batch of cough syrup...very thick and syrupy

d- really struggled to finish the glass...im going to give the other bottle I bought a few years to age

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Photo of znichols
2.48/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A-Has a very deep ruby color to it an a very small white head. Not expecting a lot of carbonation. Lacing is minimal. Looks like a standard Barleywine.

S-The smell is subtle. Hints of toast and caramel. Light wood and vanilla are present with some booze and a little bit of herbal hops. Quite a bit of complexity but the overall smell doesn't really entice.

T-If this is a barleywine, it is the Toto of barleywines. While the standard boozy, sweet malt, biscuit, resin, woody elements are here, they are EXTREMELY tough to find and the overall flavor winds up tasting like a shitty amber ale with a shot of gin in it.

M- The mouthfeel seems off. It is sticky and clings to the tongue, really needsto be a little more slick. The body is very very light for the style. Nota fan of the mouthfeel on this.

O-Unfortunately, this is the first beer from Boulder Brewery i have to give a sub-par rating to. They just missed the mark. Barleywines are meant to be big, like WINE! This tastes like a ramped up amber ale with too much going on and the flavors don't explode like they should. Perhaps a year of aging might subdue the booze and bring out the malts, but i'm not seeking this one out again.

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Photo of BB1313
2.51/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.25

2013 vintage. 12 oz bottle poured into a tulip. Pours a dark auburn with slight hazy and nice clarity. Fluffy off-white head that fades slowly and leaves great lacing and retention. The aromas are pretty subtle. Lots of malt, grain, and mineral notes. Very subtle hints of sweet caramel. Flavors are weird. It somewhat has a metallic thing going on. There are hints of cherries. Some caramel and toffee. Some dark fruits. Tons of grains. Very earthy. Some black pepper. Slightly spicy. Finishes dry. Not much alcohol flavor, just some. It's not hot or boozy at all though. Mouthfeel is full-bodied; thin with active carbonation. Ehh..

I'm not really feeling this one at all. Very disappointing. It has a weak nose and off flavors. Not really worth checking out, in my opinion.

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Photo of SitkaSteve
2.52/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

This was poured into a chalice.
The appearance was a hazy muddy brown/burnt caramel color with a thin little white head that dissipated immediately. There was barely any lacing.
The smell was weird, (did I have this too old), hmmm...faded grassy hops (wants to let the caramel malts come forward) but an almost tannic to metallic dark fruitiness. But to me, there's a bit too much of the metallic part as it almost becomes overbearing.
The taste was mostly sweet with barely any "tobacco" flavored hops to embitter and balance as I had hoped for. Long metallic caramel aftertaste leads into the same sort of finish.
The mouthfeel was about medium bodied with a syrupy stickiness over my tongue. Carbonation was barely felt (trying not to sound too harsh since I am aware that this is an old bottle).
Overall, uh...well, I tried it, would I have this again? I say only fresh as time didn't do this any justice.

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Photo of THORN
2.58/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

22 oz. wax covered bomber poured into pint glass.
A: Dark red-brown. No head retention. Little to no CO2 bubbles. Few thin splotches of lacing remain around glass.
S: Citrus hops, sweet malts, strong alcohol.
T: Sweet malts, very thin bodied, finishes with light lingereing heat. Flavor profile on all standards is very thin. Very subtle orange notes in the hops.
M: Not much of anything, slightly warming.
D: In the most literal sense for a barleywine it is drinkable, but I don't want a barleywine that goes down easy. The lack of flavor and weak mouthfeel make this beer disappointing. The beer masks the alcohol well.

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Photo of jfugeman
2.64/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Really boozy, bit of a solvent-like aroma and taste. Not much character or balance in this beer and a bit hard to drink. There are too many other incredible barleywines to spend money on this. Unfortunately I have yet to have a good beer from this brewer.

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Photo of Knapp85
2.64/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Not my favorite barley wine... This beer is an opaque brown color with a solid head on it. The lacing is very nice too.the problem I have with this is the mixture of sweetness and spice. It's not very well balanced. I had a difficult time even drinking the 6oz. Sampler I had. I don't plan on having this one again anytime soon.

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Photo of RonfromJersey
2.69/5  rDev -24.6%
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.

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Photo of brian23456
2.71/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 bottle

A- Copper/reddish color, not really any sort of head or lacing.

S- Try as I might I can't find much to scent.. I do detect a normal BW smell, but not much.

T- Same as the smell, not much goin on here. A little bit of sweetness. I imagine this is what Old Gaurdian tastes like if you poured out a third of the bottle and then topped it off with water. Meh

M- Smooth, typical carbonation.

D- This is where this beer shines, goes down incredibly easy for a 10% BW.
Overall, bland and forgettable, easy drinking though.

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Photo of Beaver13
2.72/5  rDev -23.8%
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.

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Photo of NCSUdo
2.76/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22 oz bottle, 2010

A: Copper bodied under a small white head. Minimal lace and low retention.

S: Sweet malt, dried fruits, but almost no hops to speak of. Maybe some pine character but this one is mostly just sweet malt aroma.

T: More of the same, sweet malt, some fruit hints, slight hint of solvent like alcohol but no warmth to go along with it. Very plain, very little hop character.

M/D: Full bodied, relatively smooth with low carbonation. Drinkability is OK from an "I can drink it" stand point, but not from a "I want to drink it" stance. I wouldn't pour this down the drain, but overall it's just a plain beer.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
2.78/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottle courtesy of Beerandblues2: Poured a clear medium amber color ale with a small foamy head with limited retention. Aroma of bitter hops is dominating with some notes of alcohol and sugar. Taste is way too hoppy for my own taste in barleywine with some medium sugar and light alcohol peak. Body is slightly too light with some medium carbonation. Overall, I thought this was too hoppy and bitter and generally lacking some character.

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Killer Penguin Barleywine from Boulder Beer / Wilderness Pub
3.57 out of 5 based on 722 ratings.
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