Surly Brewing Company

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Barleywine - American
3.82 | pDev: 15.97%
Surly Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Notes: Brewed For Fourteen Years of Beers

Presenting Fourteen, our massive barleywine aged in Parker Heritage Wheat Whiskey barrels and Tattersall orphan spirit barrels. Rich malt character defines this beer, offering notes of caramel, toasted bread, and toffee combined with a kiss of hops, all finished by vanilla, oak, cocktail bitters, and burnt sugar flavors from the barrels.
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Reviews: 24 | Ratings: 48 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of KT3418
KT3418 from Colorado

3.81/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Im trying this today over a year after it was canned. Idk if other barleywines are dry hopped with Amarillo so I wonder if thats where the zestiness of the first few sips was coming from. A lot more herbal to me now than dried fruit and Caramel but as I'm getting through it its becoming more toffee/caramel esque. I've only had one other BA barleywine so not much to compare it too but im glad this one was free. I feel like there's still slightly better creations but this was pretty good. Unlike some other reviews I'd still call it a barleywine, when you taste nothing but barrel in a stout is it no longer a stout? I'd suggest letting it warm up a smidge but it is a very barrel dominant brew especially a year later. Idk. I agree it isn't my favorite and I wish I got more dried dark fruit and all that ish but it's still solid enough. Lot of polarizing reviews on this one.

If you can and actually read this far I'd recommend Living The Dreams BA barleywine, maybe im biased being from Colorado but I think that one was more consistent. Burns Family's Princes Cellar is a BA biere de garde but might also provide what you want, so much raisin, prune, date, etc

Sep 14, 2021
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tigg924 from Massachusetts

4.07/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours hazy, tannish gold in color with one quarter inch head. Taste is big caramel, vanilla, and barrel. Heavy body, sweet, low carbonation. Excellent sweet barleywine. A nice sipper.

Sep 06, 2021
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MonDak_Joe1953 from Minnesota

3.83/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

16oz can, packaged in a labeled box. Can bottom is stamped 'CANNED ON 08/18/20'.
Cloudy, pale gold colored body. Brief off white head, which maintains for a time as a skiff cap. Leaves some lacing spots.
Aroma dark fruit (fig, raisin, prune), sweet toffee/caramel/molasses, and sweet oak whiskey barrel.
Taste is boozy strong, with a barleywine background of caramel, brown sugar, and dark fruits.
Initially on each sip is a slight tongue burn, and then at the end is a slight throat burn. About medium mouth feel. Okay carbonation.
Rather hot and strong with alcohol, after nearly a year of sitting in the bottle. Missing the balance of sweet caramel and dark fruit smoothness of a barleywine. Whiskey dominant.

Jul 09, 2021
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BucannonXC5 from California

4.15/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Type: 16-oz. can
Reviewed as: American Barleywine
Glass: Pure Project 16-oz. snifter glass
Price: n/a
From: My cousin Sam
Purchased: n/a; Received Nov. 23, 2020
Consumed: Dec. 30, 2020
Misc.: Canned on Aug. 18, 2020 at 9 a.m. CT

Thanks, Sam!

Got a pretty sweet haul from Sam and was especially excited to see this one - a barrel-aged barleywine. Long online description read “The traditional 14th anniversary gift is ivory. Two things about ivory you should know is that it’s remarkably cruel to animals and impossible to drink. Barleywines, on the other hand, are perfect for sipping and do zero harm to elephants. Fourteen, Surly’s 14th anniversary beer, is just such a beer. We aged this massive barleywine for roughly ten months in Parker’s Heritage Wheat Whiskey barrels and orphan spirit barrels from Tattersall. Parker’s Heritage crafts some of the most prestigious whiskey in the United States, and Surly acquired the entire run of barrels from their 2020 wheat whiskey in order to age Fourteen. The Tattersall orphan barrels included some Barreled Rum and other spirits, adding to the beer’s complexity. The beer itself is a hybrid between the American (hoppy) and English-style barleywine. It has a nice, dry backbone but a lighter hop presence, making Fourteen a prime candidate for aging. The substantial dry body also keeps it from getting overly sweet as the months/years roll on. The whiskey barrels leaven Fourteen with strong coconut/honey/vanilla notes, with the orphan barrels adding a distinct burnt sugar note along with a good bit of funk, not dissimilar to a Manhattan or a Hanky Panky cocktail. The box/can art depicts Cernunnos, a horned Celtic god and master of wild places and things. Cernunnos commanded predator and prey to make peace, bringing his dominion into balance. Barleywines suffer when they fall out of balance. Fourteen brings a full malt body, pleasing dryness, and barrel character together without tilting into bitterness or booziness. These competing, often divergent aspects all break bread and find favor in Fourteen. Celebrate this balance now and in the years ahead.” Damn. Now that is a description.

Poured a medium-amber clear color with two fingers of khaki-white frothy head. Tons of bubble streams coming up from the bottom of the glass. Almost perfect spiderweb foamy lacing. World-class foamy retention. (Sight - 4.75)

Smelled boozy bourbon, wheat, honey, leathery oaky wood, caramel, toffee, vanilla and hints of toasted coconut. Was getting all of that 11 pct. ABV. In fact, was surprised that it was only 11 pct. ABV. Much of the same from the can. (Smell - 4.00)

Tasted a little better than the nose. Tons of boozy bourbon, wheat, honey, leathery oaky wood, vanilla, chewy toffee, caramel candy squares, brown bread, bitter hops and hints of toasted coconut. (Taste - 4.00)

Medium body. Creamy-to-sticky texture. Average carbonation. Long, smooth finish. (Feel - 4.50)

4.15 | 93 | A-

Jun 06, 2021
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jbolger from Connecticut

3.32/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

There’s a lot going on here. First impression- boozy aroma. Tastes very sweet, Carmel. Malty. Strong wood influence. Yet, it’s thin. It just doesn’t work for me.

May 25, 2021
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jlindros from Massachusetts

4.01/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Canned 2020/08/18
Pours a light almost white airy bubbly 1/2 finger head with med retention, very clear pale honey blond to a light copper color, fair soapy lacing

Nose big sweet malt, plenty of caramel and toffee up front, candied sugar, into light whiskey, toasted and a little buttery oak, hint of fruity esters, crust of sweet bread

Taste comes on sweet, but not overly, lots of sweet flavors, plenty of caramel and toffee up front, candied sugar as well maybe Turbinado sugar, some bitterness kicks in quickly with earthy spicy hops giving that American barleywine character, mild buttery toasted oak, a mild whiskey and soft wheated bourbon like character but not a lot, a little fruity note as well, pome fruit and a little white raisin, more of that sweet bread and a bit of a honey candy glaze on it, some hot alcohol but not fusel, sticky med sweet finish, lingering spicy hop bitterness with sweet candy flavors

Mouth is med to fuller bod, a bit thick as well, med to a bit lighter frothy carb, warming slight tingly alcohol

Overall not bad, the barrel rounded OK but didn't impart as much as I expected, bitterness seemed to clash a bit somehow despite being at the typical level for American barleywine, it just didn't really add up to the sum of it's parts.

Apr 12, 2021
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Victory_Sabre1973 from Minnesota

3.36/5  rDev -12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Pours a beautiful golden color. There's a nice slightly off white head. The head retention was damn good for such a high ABV beer. There's some really nice spiderweb lacing on the glass.
The nose has a bit of caramel, a malty sweetness, toffee, and a whiskey aroma, from the barrels.
Taste - Am I drinking some Buffalo Trace, or Crown here? Yes, there's tons of whiskey, but where's the barleywine? Where's the sweet malts, the caramel, dark fruit, toffee? Not bad, but not a barleywine.
Body is decent. There's a ton of booziness here. A good burn from the alcohol.
This is billed as a barleywine - It is not, I'm disappointed here with this.

Mar 28, 2021
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wtg29 from North Carolina

3.4/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep copper orange with a small lace ring head. Nose is caramel, oak, bread, and booze. Taste is complex, front is warm and sweet: more caramel and oak, before finishing earthy with noticeable bitterness and alcohol. Feels a bit thin. Overall not a bad barleywine but far from my favorite

Jan 31, 2021
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Mdog from Minnesota

4.06/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

From a 16oz can:

Appearance: Cloudy amber, ok head.

Smell: Boozy, wood, caramel.

Taste: Sweet, big caramel note, vanilla from the barrel. Not overly sweet, at least a little balanced. Body feels lighter than expected for 11%, but still a weighty beer.

Overall: For my 1414th beer on Beeradvocate, here's Fourteen from Surly. A nice, if not overly complex, barleywine. Seems to lean a little more to the English style than the American style. A good beer, congrats on 14 years!

Jan 24, 2021
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vette2006c5r from Minnesota

3.82/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Fourteen pours a hazy lighter copper color, with hues of red, with a small, but long lasting lacing head. Aroma is earthy, spicy. Flavor is earthy, toasted bread notes, dry fruits, with a noticeable harsh hop flavor near the end. Good body and feel. Overall, lots of flavors, very warm, more on the bitter earthy side.

Dec 24, 2020
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SpeedwayJim from New York

3.29/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

16oz. can (boxed in a fancy box) into a Brooklyn Brewery snifter.

Nose is caramel, toothpaste, brown sugar, sweet cream, and mint. Alarm bells are ringing here. Beer opens apple, brown sugar, caramel, and mint. More brown sugar and some tree bark in the middle. End is mint and oak. Not bad... but strange. Body is medium with moderate carbonation. Smooth and foamy on the palate and goes down rich with a lingering aftertaste. Not bad.

I'm a huge fan of barleywines and the Parker's Heritage 11 year wheat is outstanding. That being said, this somehow misses the mark and I'm not sure why. I'd like to revisit this in a couple of years.

Dec 24, 2020
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REVZEB from Illinois

3.8/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Dark golden body with a white cap. Huge wheated whiskey and rustic oak in the nose, barley and earth are the next level of intensity, subtle almond, vanillins and orange too. Taste will put some hair on the chest! Big barley and whiskey sit on the palate allowing oak, orange zest, wheat, and toasted toffee to pass on by through the sip. Feel is massive, burly whiskey, wheat, barley and oak dominate the feel, yet finishes bright for style, too hoppy. The wife loved it

Dec 12, 2020
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cbutova from Massachusetts

3.51/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Talk about a divided set of reviews thus far... this shall be interesting.

A- Tallboy pours into a tulip with a surprisingly bubbly and creamy looking appearance. The beer is an orange-amber hue and is somewhat cloudy. The cap is thick and creamy peaking at a finger tall with good retention. A few large sheets of lacing wrap the glass.

S- For me there is a ton of intense whiskey in the aroma as well as toasted oak wood, caramel, vanilla, dark dried fruits and sweetness. There is something really spicy, woodsy and almost solventy about it but in general it is boozy and very heavily influenced by the barrel. Can't really find much info about this Orphan Spirit Barrel but perhaps that is what is bringing the intense herbal, hard to put a finger on, presence. Like a cordial or herbal liqueur. With warmth it actually smells really nice and finds harmony between the vanilla, whiskey and barleywine notes with a touch of the herbal stuff.

T- The barrels are definitely strong with this one. The aroma was one thing but the sweetness, malts and fruitiness of the barleywine still poked through bringing some balance. Here it is an herbal, floral, woody, boozy palate barrage of oak barrel insanity. Gin, fernet, rum, whiskey and you name it, it might come to mind as far as spirits go. Ginger ale does come to mind as another reviewer pointed out. Bitter and spicy, somewhat abrasive overall flavor profile. The vanilla, caramel, dark fruits and malts are much more secondary here.

MF- Lighter than one would expect but multiple barrels and spirits probably add to that effect cutting into the beer's heft. Light-medium carbonation and a fizzy, puffy texture. Ends warm with raw alcohol and bitterness punishing the taste buds.

Feels like an attempt at blending things that in theory would marry and work together but in the end there is just too much going on. I feel like fernet, gin, rum and whiskey are assaulting my taste buds and the base beer ends up lost. The abrasiveness of it all doesn't help.

Dec 12, 2020
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jimmah120 from Minnesota

2.88/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

16oz can in a box. Shared by 'Pense

Lighter than I'd imagine, smell is slight paint varnish. Very hoppy as you'd imagine, but blended well into the rest of this Big Beer for guys with Beards

Not impressed and if I'd have paid for this can I'd try to get my money back. Just not an enjoyable beer, and I love barleywines

Nov 12, 2020
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bbtkd from South Dakota

3.98/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Surly Fourteen BA Barleywine, 11% ABV. Pours thick and hazy orangish brown, with a 3-finger off-white head that left foamy lacing. Nose is caramel and alcohol. Taste is caramel, toffee, and toast, slightly sweet and moderately bitter. Excellent mouthfeel, overall excellent.

Nov 06, 2020
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rye726 from Colorado

1/5  rDev -73.8%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

OK, so the appearance wasn’t half bad, and neither was this aroma. But the taste, the body or mouth feel and overall impression of this beer was a big fat zero. Especially for a beer from a World class brewery, aged in a world class whiskey barrel that cost $11 a pint! From the liquor store! This is by far the worst valued beer I have ever had. I haven’t reviewed anything on this website for a very very very long time. And I am so angry about the quality of this beer that I went through the whole entire process to reset my password just so I can login and tell the world how terrible this beer is.

Election Day! Trump 2020!

Nov 03, 2020
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AdmiralOzone from Minnesota

3.97/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Pours a beautiful clear honey orange with a thin off white cap that lingers and leaves minimal lacing. Aroma is caramel, malt and booze. Flavor follows the nose, sweet up front with only mild bitterness in the finish. Feel is medium bodied with light carbonation. Overall another great beer from Surly although I would classify this in the "English" barleywine category.

Oct 29, 2020
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beergoot from Colorado

4.09/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear, beautiful honey amber body; tons of fine carbonation, rapidly rising; thick, towering head, dense and sculpted. Big toasted grain and honey flavor; slightly charred wood. Honey flavor with a strong bourbon presence; rich caramel; toffee; heavy sweetness. Heavy body; thick and sticky on the palate; huge boozy heat.

The beer is a brute and, overall, pretty tasty. The booziness probably could have been dialed down a bit as it kind of overwhelms the malt character. It's not an ABV kind of thing, it's the the barrel aging that seems a tad over-the-top (and I love a great shot of bourbon, neat). This is one that would probably age very nicely. I think some time would cut the edge off of the whiskey presence. Hmm, may have to buy another one to test this theory out...

Oct 19, 2020
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feloniousmonk from Minnesota

4.18/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Man, I miss bombers. I miss big, bad-ass bottles. The last Surly anniversary beer in a bomber was Eleven. There were eight before that (they didn't bottle One or Three). (Ask me about Two, though, or look it up here yourself.) They didn't release Twelve. Thirteen was the first released as a can in a box for about twelve bucks. The tradition continues.

One tradition I thoroughly enjoy is that of barley-wines, especially barrel-aged ones. Long may they wave.

Clear, bright crimson coloring, slim ivory head.

In the nose: Caramel, vanilla, cherries, oak. Sweetness abounds. And so much more...

In the mouth: A malt monster. Huge and sweet. So many flavors abound: burnt orange, caramel and toffee, candied fruit. Minor hop bitterness, major malt, increasing alcohol every step of the way, and amassing and amazing richness. Juicy, fruity, powerful and potent. A blockbuster and a barn-burner in one neat little can. I was thoroughly struck by this offering, and can highly recommend it. I will even proclaim it Yum a Dum Dum. Even Super YADD.

You know, a 16-ounce can for $12 versus a 25 ounce bottle for $24 is not that bad of a deal. I just miss bombers.

I believer that I will procure more of these and stash them away for future consumption, as has been my habit through the years. This one feels just a little bit young.

Oct 17, 2020
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maximum12 from Minnesota

4.03/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Surly taking a page from Firestone Walker (& others I’m sure) with the box & overpriced specialty beer. Better than a $25 bomber. I guess.

The pour is classic haze-free filtered barleywine; a lovely clear liquid copper. Smells like it’s straight out of the American Barleywine playbook: light malts, light hops, whiskey. Not a bad combo.

Fourteen is delicious. On top is the wheat whiskey which brings heat, whiskey, & a lovely subtle spiciness that is ringing my bell. High level of hops – a lot higher than most NE “IPAs” – brings mid-palate bitterness that melds with the wood in an interesting manner. Also interesting is that the malts play third fiddle here & it’s not close. A little toffee that fades back into the whiskey. I am not unhappy at the sixteen ounce serving size.

It’s been a loooooong time since Surly knocked an anniversary beer outta the park (Five) & there have been some stinkers in there (I’m looking at you Syx). This is better than most – an excellent beer.

Oct 16, 2020
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mothman from Minnesota

3.75/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Can. White head with lace. Clear burnt golden orange color.

Toasted malts. Bready. Orange peel and zest. Toffee with light caramel. Dried apple skins and pears. Oak and whiskey notes. Warming. Seems to lack depth for what it’s supposed to be. Still, pretty solid and enjoyable.

Oct 15, 2020
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morimech from Minnesota

3.76/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Attractive looking brew with the pour resulting in a clear, medium amber with a finger of dense head. The head settles to a thick cap. Interesting aroma of whiskey and wood with notes of dark fruit, caramel, and vanilla. So I am left wondering how something that smells so intriguing results in a flavor that is so muted. I expected a $12 (or was it $14) a can worth of flavor, and I definitely did not perceive that. I get a lot of woody barrel but very little of the better aspects of an oak barrel such as the whiskey that was aged in it and vanilla. I do get some caramel and toffee. Sneaky hidden alcohol as I do not get the impression that this is 11%. Does not feel like a big beer either and it is easy to consume. Has nice carbonation.

Oct 12, 2020
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GuyFawkes from Illinois

3/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Canned 8/18/20; drank 10/10/20 @ the Yarchives.

Cloudy orange appearance.

A rough pour yielded a big off-white head; a thick curtain of lace.

Ginger, dill pickle & mild caramel notes in the nose.

Medium thick mouthfeel.

Ginger ale, dill pickle & mild caramel flavors up front; mild booze heat on the finish.

Everything Revolution does right with barrel aged barleywine, Surly does wrong here; it's too hoppy, which clashes with the barrel and the booze and creates an abrasive experience. Not one I enjoyed.

Oct 11, 2020
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gatornation from Minnesota

3.94/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear light copper color with a khaki fresh head with some lacing. Smell was barrel,wheat,dark fruits,prunes and fig. Taste had an nice barrel presence with dark fruits malts and above smells nothing extraordinary here reminded me of a wheat wine. I’m a fan of wheated bourbon so I’m a fan of the barrel in this.. Mouth feel was on the thin side for the base barleywine but the barrel was nicely infused with the base with some some good fruits with light hops and some bitterness. For and Anniversry brew this was just average + from Surly. As a BA Barleywine it was good. I do love the boxed can format over the 750ML waxed bottles. Overpriced at $13

Oct 06, 2020
Fourteen from Surly Brewing Company
Beer rating: 86 out of 100 with 48 ratings