Killer Penguin Barleywine | Boulder Beer / Wilderness Pub

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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

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Ratings: 754 |  Reviews: 338
Photo of bkett01
3.93/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First ever wax-dipped bottle review, impressive presentation. Poured into my Stone IRS snifter with a billowing head that quickly dies away. Very appealing ruby/amber color, and a sweet malty nose.
Taste is smooth with a hint of spice over a sweet toasty caramel malt. Nothing dominates here, and is somewhat thin with a light mouthfeel. A very nice barleywine here, and amazingly drinkable at 10%. Alcohol is nearly undetectable, and compared to other 10%'s I've had, Boulder did an amazing job at masking it.
Easily one of the better Barley Wine's I've had, very recommended.

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Photo of TrickKnee
4.1/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2006 wax dipped
A--Nice rosey amber with thin head and wonderful lacing
S--very citrusy for a barleywine, great smell
T--Best damn barleywine i have ever had, i could sit down and drink 2 bottles of this if i could. Absolutly amazing
M-Clean and crisp D-licious
D--This is going to be hard to find so if you see it, buy it, treasure it, and enjoy.

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Photo of ElGordo
3.72/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Presented in a 22oz bottle with a red wax seal. 2006 vintage poured into a Maudite snifter. Pours a pretty garnet color with a smallish tan head. Would like for there to be maybe a bit more in the way of head, but overall a pretty beer.
Subdued nose of lightly roasted caramel malt, clover honey, and light fruity hops. The substantial alcohol is masked fairly well. Palate is subtle for such a big beer - sweet caramel malt, fruity hops, and a good bit of alcohol. Notes of plum and brown sugar peek through. Overall, though, flavors are a little weak.
Body is smooth and creamy, although a just a touch thin. Must be one of the best-disguised 10+% beers around, cuz I don't taste much alcohol at all. While the palate is a little lacking, the overall drinking experience is thoroughly enjoyable.

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Photo of bditty187
3.97/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2005, wax-dipped bomber

Lightly hazy, dark brown in hue with a dull ruby, frail coppery highlight; even though this is a darker than normal barleywine it really lacks color depth. Off-white head, at the apex the foam was only a half finger tall and the bubbles quickly subsided to an unimpressive collar. There was no subsequent lacing. Bummer. I am not going to knock the appearance because it is darker than normal but I will downgrade it because it lacks color depth plus it had foam issues. Overall, it’s not a bad looking beer but its nothing magical to look at either.

My god do I love the smell of barleywines and this one is no exception. I was struck but two phenomena upon the first sniff. The nose is not a very rich and the nose is “darker” a typical barleywine. Molasses, caramel, and a tickle of roastiness are found upfront. There are plenty of dark fruits in the middle, it is even fairly tropical. By the finish it seems the fruit has been infused with rum and cheap cognac, which is quite nice. I wish there was more development though. Moderately potency. Even though it is wimpy and thin at times the nose is inviting. Hell, it only took me to pop the cap for the beer to whisper, “I’m a barleywine.” I such a sucker…

Now the palate is quite nice but it is apparent after a few sips this is not a great barleywine. Still, a mediocre barleywine is always a treat in by book. While malty, the palate doesn’t have much depth. The caramel, molasses, and roasty hints are nice but it lacks glue. Dark fruits in the middle that linger to the finish; rum kisses. The 10% abv is very well hidden but I would have liked to taste some more heat to stimulate the palate. The finish is the strongest aspect, it is like all the hints and bits from the first 2/3rds are condensed and squeezed into the finish. As good as this is it still lacks richness. I am bit disappointed but I am a picky ass with barleywines. Nevertheless, this is a tasty drink.

Slightly more than medium in body, moderately low carbonation, the mouthfeel is quite agreeable and fitting but it is hardly special. IMO, the mouthfeel on a barleywine should be big, rich, filling, and soothing. I don’t find much of those aspects here.

Easy to drink… which is not something I deem a good quality in a barleywine. I haven’t been too impressed with this beer but it has been solid throughout. There isn’t much memorable about it. I like it and I am happy to drink any barleywine. I wouldn’t have gotten the opportunity to try Killer Penguin without Todd and Steph, thanks for the bomber!

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Photo of WanderingFool
4.03/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Killer Penguin pours a clear dark ruby color with a thin tan head on top. The foam dissolves quickly leaving no sign of lace behind. An aroma of raisin, cherry and brandy alcohol floats above the beer.

Each sip of this medium bodied beer is smooth with just a touch of chewyness. The flavor is rather fruity with notes of raisin and cherry. Towards the middle some caramel malt moves in. It finishes with some brandy notes and alcohol leaving behind some of the raisin and brandy when it's gone.

This beer hides its 10% alcohol rather well. It's smooth and rather easy to drink for a barleywine. Must be due to the 6 month aging process of each bottle.

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Photo of CRJMellor
3.82/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear dark red or crimson with a thin bit fizzy light tan head that fades away moderately quickly.
Aroma of deep dark fruits and caramel are the first things that strike the olfactory nerves. A hint of prune may be detected.
Flavors of chewy caramel dominate with an undercurrent of dark citrus fruits cutting through as well an alcoholic sherry or almost port-like pop.
Mouthfeel is a tad thin for style but not unpleasant. Little bit to alcholic or "hot" in my opinion but again only a tad. As it warms develops more of a sticky sweet palate coating.
Drinkability is pretty solid, good overall flavors and meshing together of some unique flavors for a BW. Almost a BW lite, not meant to be demeaning but it s good twist on the style.

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Photo of santoslhalper
3.43/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearence: Pours a clear, dark red with a thin, beige head that dies down to nothing. A decent amount of carbonation is present as well.

Smell: Very dark and malty smelling, with plums, dates, raisons, and licorice dominated the aroma. Alcohol is present but subtle. Virtually no hop bitterness.

Taste and Mouthfeel: Rich, chewy and malty. Raisons and dates come to mind, as well as figs. Nice fruitiness, with soft, subtle licorice and caramel notes. The alcohol is damn near impossible to find. But, so are the hops. Ridiculously malt fouces, and semi-unbalanced.

Drinkability and Overall: A nice offering from Boulder, but so malty it reminds me more of an old ale than a barleywine. No hop presence at all. Once it's all said and done though, it's a nice tasting brew, that goes down easily.

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Photo of MrSeth
4.13/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

App: Unusual packaging: red wax seal with a wooden 2005 Vintage embedded on the front.

A dense beige clingy froth forms. Eventually it leaves sudsy concentric rings around the glass. The brew has a copper color.

Smell: Wafts of sweet dried papaya, otherwise a bit dull.

Taste: Black liqourice, dried dates rolled in sugar and dried figs. Finishes with a bitter hoppy bite.. nice length and no nasty aftertaste. Quite clean!

MF: Very wet. The carbonation is there, but not aggresive on the tongue. Smooth, very very smooth.

DA: Highly drinkable! I don't often find a barley wine that is this friendly. This one came well recommended (thanks Beerpanther!) and I would do the same. :-)

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Photo of kmo1030
4.05/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

dark brown cola looking beer with a thin tan head that doesn't stand up that well.
lots of maltytoffee is the most immediately apparent aroma, followed by brown sugar and dark ripe fruitiness including prune plum, and maybe a bit of overripe cherry.
the toffee is a big part of the taste too. this is quite a malt bomb, with a good array of malty complexity, the toffee is combined with brown sugary molasses caramel, and some faint butterscotch. it has a little bit of a spiced quality actually sort of like rootbeer. a little bit of licorice in there too, maybe a little vanilla. much of the fruitiness present in the aroma is not very much so in the taste surprisingly although the fruity aspect does beef itself up as the beer warms quite a bit upon further inspection, so nevermind. something is amiss about the flavor i can't quite put my finger on, not an off flavor, it's just sort of odd.
the mouthfeel is pretty damn full with light carbonation, suiting this beer very well.
good drinkability with a well hidden 10% abv. a somewhat unique barelywine that serves as a welcome break from the ordinary.

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Photo of WesWes
4.27/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a ruby red color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is great. It has a wonderful malty scent that boasts of crystal, roasted, and bisquit malts. It has a nice burnt toffee scent with a sweet, yet warm breadlike aroma. The taste is good. It has a smooth, malty flavor that goes down easy and warms on the finish. It has a toasted flavor with breadlike hints. This is one tastey brew. It's loaded with malts and is quite complex. The mouthfeel is great. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a very good barleywine. It's good great aroma and a wonderful taste; a fine seasonal.

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Photo of sulldaddy
4.79/5  rDev +34.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to MuddyFeet for the hookup!
The beer is wax coated with a cork 2005 circle in the wax cool!
I am sampling a slightly chilled bottle in a tumbler. The beer pours a clear chestnut with dark garnet highlights and a small fizzy off white head that foams up and fades to nothing quickly. Aroma is red wine, brown sugar, raisins. A little on the sweet side.
First sip reveals a chewy syrupy body with nice viscosity, it goes down fairly easy but coats my mouth and palate after each swallow. Flavor is similar to nose, very fruity and malty with red grape, raisins, plums and brown sugar. I even think I find some maple syrup in the back. Very easy to drink with just a faint hit of booze on the finish. A nice malty barleywine that seems to be in the ENglish style more than American. I like it!

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Photo of TastyTaste
4.13/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Ruby red/maroon color, with a very small, fast fading head.

Smell: Raisin, alcohol, wood, brown sugar sweetness, notably not too much hop flavor.

Taste: Has a lot of what you'd typically expect from a barleywine, strong flavors, sugary and sweet, with some butter flavors, but somewhat of a dissapointing hop presence. The lack of hops makes you sense a little minty flavor in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Ok carbonation, full mouthfeel, not bad, but not a great barleywine.

Drinkability: I would have no problem draining this bomber, and being satisfied, but not my favorite barleywine, still, pretty good,

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Photo of MuddyFeet
3.2/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured a dark amber-hued brown. Not much of a head and fairly flat. Malty nose with a tinge of some sort of bittersweet candy. Slight hint of hops towards the back end.

Flavor is licorice cough syrup. Bit of a turn-off. reminds me of when my Mom would force some nasty cold medicine down my throat as a kid. Strong malt presence that gave a very sweet, candy backbone. Kind of a syrupy mouthfeel too. Some chemical-like hops provide a sense of balance. Alcohol provides heat and the Robitussim flavor. Medium body with that syrupy feel I mentioned a couple of sentences ago.

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Photo of Mitchster
4.27/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wax sealed 2005 edition in a 22oz bottle, paid $5.49 in Boulder, CO. 10% ABV. Part of the "Looking Glass" series of beers from Boulder Brewing Company, which IMO are much better than their stock brews.

Requires a hefty pour to achieve a modest head. Retention is less than average and quickly recedes to a fine ring of scum. Lacing is average. Pours to a clear very dark amber. The aroma is as expected for the style...lots of sticky resinous pine-riddled hops intermixed with copious dense amber malts with lots of dark fruits, raisins and prunes being at the front. As it's swirled, vanilla, nougat and port odors erupt. The mouthfeel is silken and soft with no perceptable alcohol. Dense body. The taste is a recap of the aroma, which is good. Chewy with a well-balanced mild bitterness. Not harsh and piney at all (like alot of lesser barleywines), although there is some not-so-subtle oxidized cardboard sheen in the finish which I don't like. It probably was cask aged.

An enjoyable brew that packs a nice warming buzz and fills the belly with a ton of calories, imbueing the drinker with a sense of peace and well-being. Try it!

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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.

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Photo of Bighuge
4.15/5  rDev +16.9%
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.

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Photo of Sycodrummer
4.97/5  rDev +40%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours from the black wax incrusted bomber into a snifter, the beer was a medium ruby-brown color with a half finger of white head. The head quickly faded but left some good lacing throughout the sample. Streams of carbonation bubbles ran up the sides of the glass. Served at cellar temperature.

The smell was innitially malty with caramel, molasses, slight nut and chocolate and faint alcohol in the nose.

The taste was big and rubust malt up front with hints of chocolate, plum, fig, and grape. The alcohol is present but very well balanced and masked so as to not seem as even half of its 10%. Toffee and a carmel nut after taste deliver a slight tinge of bitterness to each sip, but the finish is a big, sweet, malty flavor.

Medium body with very little carbonation.

For a 10% barley wine the beer is incredibly drinkable. Very little hint of its strength in the nose or the taste. Well-rounded, smooth, and filling. Slightly warming, and very enjoyable. One of my favorite barley wines to date.

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Photo of BeerBuilder
4.09/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours to a clear amber-brown with no head, just a ring of tan. Spotty lacing. The aroma is sweet carmel, bready...rum cake. Slight bit of dark fruits in the aroma as well.

The flavor is caramel malts and bread, with a sweet sugar taste as well as a bit of spicy hops. It is full bodied and tasty, not a bad winter brew.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.1/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wax-dipped 22 ounce bomber, baleful bird glares from the label.

Clear crimson color, with a thinnnish, cola toned head, that gently deteriorates.

Bright, bold, dark fruit beams in the nose. Cherries and berries melded with a mildly cognac-y feel.

Smooth and rich on the palate, sweet and luscious. Despite being a 10% biggie, it's not loud, nor brash. Velvety slick. Thick malt, mellow hops, hefty body, dreamy mouthfeel. Soft, solid finish, dries off gallantly.

A very convivial brew, a delight in the mouth.
This menacing bird turns out to be a pussycat, but a very tasty one. I like it, though it doesn't resemble my favorite barleywines, it's a resfreshing change, and one still stocked with character. I'll enjoy this all night long.

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Photo of Dogbrick
3.18/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2005 Bottle: Pours dark reddish amber with a medium thin beige head that lasts pretty well. Thin, stringy lacing. Aroma of malt and raisins. Not very full-bodied considering the ABV, with malt and spice flavors primarily, along with a touch of dark fruit. The finish is kind of syrupy and sweet. All in all this one just didn’t seem to come together for me.

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Photo of ADR
4.45/5  rDev +25.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2005 version, a "Looking Glass" series beer in a bomber bottle with a very annoying wax seal over the cap and down the neck. Clear dark copper appearance, spidery yellowish head of no size or duration. Just dots for lace. Caramel nose, underlying hops give a citrus tone. Carbonation is low, mouthfeel is full and fairly lush. Good taste, starts with a brown sugar and fruit impression and transitions into a hoppiness that is apparent but not as excessive and prickly as many North American Barleywines. Overall, there's kind of a fresh fruit cobbler sense to this beer, slight green raisins as well. Still, clocking in at 10% ABV, its got some girth to it. A nice beer that doesn't brutalize the mouth or back up in your throat. At the top of the drinkability range for Barleywines, IMO...

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Photo of Quaffer
4.2/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This review is in addition to a previous review that I did. The specifics of the beer really haven't changed, but it seems to be fuller.

This year's KP bottles (2005) are now dated (not a previous feature, if I remember correctly) and wax sealed. Both the flavor and the aroma seem to fit better into the barley wine style than they used to. It just feels and tastes bigger this year.

This is still more of a full, malty, and slightly alcoholic barley wine than it is a hop monster. That's a nice change from many of the other American barley wines that dominate the local market. It's more of an English style, in my opinion.

A wonderfully tasty barley wine. I think I will start a new tradition this year and tuck a few of these away in the cellar.

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Photo of mentor
4.08/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bomber provided by Eyedrinkale, ala BIF20, in July 2005. Refridgerated and consumed a couple weeks later. Thanks for the opportunity. I was quite surprised to see this pour as rusty nail colored as, from the description on the bottle, I was expecting an imperial stout. Has a half finger light tanish head over a nearly clear liquid. A couple very tiny streams of bubbles reace to the top. Smells rich malty caramel with pine-sol hops and alcohol. Oh, yummy, it's an american strong ale! Tastes sour malt and sour hoppy with an underlying sweet and a dandy bitter-sweet aftertaste. The draw is pine-sol hoppy with some fruity undertones (oranges, necatarine, canned pear syrup). The transfer from pull to swallow is malty honey-sweet with noticable alcohol and decent carb release. The swallow is grassy hop with rough carb release and the sweetness has settled. The aftertaste is a mix of hop/malt sour with caramel swirled in alcohol and sweet fruity ester that's driving me insane. Goodness, Mike sent me a well cellared beer that I see still improving for a year or two. Damn me for my pre-mature consumption. But, it's pretty tasty as is. Body is only medium, but it does have some silky thick-sugar qualities. Carbonation is moderate when cold, but mild and quite nice at warmer temperatures.

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Photo of rajendra82
3.98/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Received a while back in a trade from eyedrinkale, I am finally getting around to sampling this beer. From the brown 22 oz. bomber, to the glass, the beer looked reddish orange, and clear, with a smallish head, and a steady stream of carbonation underneath.

The aroma was malty, with strong notes of coriander, orange peel, and roasted grain. The alcohol was also pretty evident on the nose. The taste was similar to a Belgian Tripel, with spicy tart alcohol, candi sugar, rum, and orange peel. There was a lot more hop bite here than a Tripel, however.

Although full to medium bodied, and with a very bready character, the beer still managed to come across as light and airy. The alcohol did not detract from drinkability at all.

Well balanced and satisfying in almost every department. Seek this one out.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.08/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Particulate-laden reddish copper with sunset orange highlights. The solidly creamy cap of toasted tan foam descends at a near-glacial pace and leaves the inside of the glass spattered with an attractive array of pocked lace.

The aroma emanating from my glass is not the aroma that I was expecting from a strong ale. It's so much more hoppy than malty that it smells like an IPA or even a DIPA. Chunks of orange and lemon rind crusted with light brown sugar is a fair approximation. I like the nose very much, although it could be stronger.

Now this is more like it! The first thing that I notice when the beer hits my mouth is the mouthfeel. Killer Penguin is a full, sweet, almost syrupy beer that is impressive as hell from the word 'go'. The honeyish, cake-like malt backbone is as solid as a rock with sweet caramel and toffee flavors bursting over the tongue and sliding down like heavy silk.

Bitter, grapefruit pithy hops are present in substantial quantities and give the beer a balanced flavor profile with both sides of the scale weighted down fairly heavily. The more I drink, the more it's obvious that this beer is a barleywine much more than it's a strong ale.

The mouthfeel, again, is luxurious with nary a trace of carbonation. The finish is long and lingering, allowing the drinker to continue to enjoy the flavor well after the beer has met its inevitable fate. It's amazing how well the myriad flavors have melded. That may have something to do with the fact that this bottle has been in my cellar for nearly a year. Far from being harmed by the long wait, my suspicion is that it has benefitted immensely.

Killer Penguin is a great name and the label ensures that the empty bomber will be a keeper. The beer is pretty damn good too. I hope that rumors of the Penguin's demise have been exaggerated (its absence on the brewery's website is not encouraging) because it'd be a shame if this is both my first and last bottle of this quality beer.

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Killer Penguin Barleywine from Boulder Beer / Wilderness Pub
Beer rating: 3.55 out of 5 with 754 ratings