Pugsley's Signature Series: Barley Wine
Shipyard Brewing Company

Pugsley's Signature Series:  Barley WinePugsley's Signature Series:  Barley Wine
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Barleywine - English
Ranked #238
Ranked #40,286
3.68 | pDev: 12.5%
Shipyard Brewing Company
Maine, United States
Pugsley's Signature Series:  Barley WinePugsley's Signature Series:  Barley Wine
Notes: This addition to the Pugsley's Signature Series collection is a big beer made with six different malts and balanced with a very full hop charge. It is a deep reddish brown in color with a complex fruity nose, a very full body, and an interesting balance between grains and hops which ends with a pleasing dry taste.
Reviews: 169 | Ratings: 254 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Boto
Boto from Connecticut

4.03/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle: This one pours an opaque dark brown color. There was quite a bit of a frothy tan head on it. The more you sniff it, the more you get out of it. Some roast, vanilla, caramel, spices, chocolate, some smokiness. The taste is good. Roasted malts, faint chocolate, some spices, smokey, dark fruits.

Dec 09, 2018
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Lone_Freighter from Vermont

3.64/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

The appearance was a very dark black/brown body with a small white head that dies within several seconds, body was too dark for any carbonation to be seen. Some light spotty lacing is left. The smell had a roasted barley and chocolate come out pretty strong. Some malts and alcohol come out as the beer warms. The taste had a roasted barley and chocolate come out fairly strong but some dark fruits come out in the taste as the beer warms. The aftertaste is a bit smoky. The palate sat about a medium to heavy with a good carbonation felt. Overall, its not bad, there seemed to be a lot of different flavors going on. I liked this and am pretty sure I’d have this again.

Jun 25, 2017
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colts9016 from Idaho

2.42/5  rDev -34.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.75

I have had this beer for quite a while at least 5 years if not longer. I tried to find a date but I did not have any success. A monster 2 finger light tan head with with good retention. The color of the beer is a dark brown with some ruby highlights. Not a bad showing for an English Barleywine.

A musty vinous toffee aroma leaps from the glass. The malt is bready, with some yeast, and , dried figs and some vanilla. The nose seems flat. I cannot detect any hops, ie floral, citrus, or perfumes.

Dried musty figs, toffee, bread, yeast, floral, wood, vanilla, vinous, and some port notes.

Honestly I did not care for this beer at all. I really enjoy barleywines; however, this is downright foul. I understand the vinous notes is from aging. I would have expected a bit more chew in the mouthfeel. I would have expected some harmony and balance in the beer. I still can taste the hop profile after all these year; however, this is just a poorly made beer. I don't understand the better reviews on here. From my studies this beer really misses the mark for an English barleywine. I have tasted better, chewier, balanced English Barleywines.

Mouthfeel: is carbonated slightly bitter, and astringent.

Jul 07, 2016
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stakem from Pennsylvania

3.74/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

2011 vintage. Bomber poured intoa tulip appears a very dark chestnut brown with rich mocha head that fades leaving stringy lace.

Aroma is pretty neutral with a scent of grain like toasted bread, slight citrus hops, mild alcohol and toffee to molasses.

Taste displays quite a dry bready grain flavor, slightly toasty with some lingering bitterness and toffee/smokey molasses lingering long into the aftertaste.

Medium in body with modest carbonation. This has some mineral flavoring going on that reduces its overall drinkability for me but regardless its a decent brew.

Feb 23, 2016
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pat61 from Minnesota

4.04/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

L: Pours clear deep chestnut with 1/2 “ clingy tan foam collar S: raisin and fruit aromas T: Rich dark malts, dark dried fruit, raisin and prune, dark toffee, wine notes, dark biscuit, bitter hop accent. F: Creamy, soft palate, full bodied, medium to medium low carbonation. O: A big beer with a luscious body.

Aug 04, 2015
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scotorum from Massachusetts

4.05/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Another in brewmaster Alan Pugsley's Signature Series of premium issues. XXXX IPA from that line is a personal favorite, so let's see how good the barleywine is!

Bought on sale at the end of November 2013 and aged a year plus.

Poured from the 22 oz. bomber into a Victory Donnybrook Stout nonick.

a; Semi-clear dark brown with copper/ruby highlights at the bottom. Inch and a half tan head receded slowly to heavy surface foam and very dense lacing.

s: Mild caramel and alcohol.

t; Dark roastiness with some very mild ripe dark fruit notes and moderate bitterness which lingers at the sides of the tongue.

m; A very smooth medium to full, considerable carbonation tingle.

o: A flavorful and sexy-smooth barleywine. Aging may have muted most of barleywine's fuirtiness in favor of the malt and a smoother, fuller mouthfeel.

Feb 20, 2015
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samtrillo from California

3.79/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Surprising amount of audible carbonation on the pour and it almost bubbled over when I opened it. The pour is a midnight amber under a London streetlight....

Nose is sweet toffee and caramel. Dried dark fruits. Prune, dark cherry.

Taste is skewed in areas a bit different than a lot of barleywines I've had. Smokey, woody characteristics, a lot less sweet and syrupy than others. Toffee, butterscotch, burnt caramel, brown sugar, prunes, dark raisins. It's all tied together by the dry smokey qualities. No noticeable hops like american styles. The aftertaste on this beer ruins the whole thing, however. There's an obvious bitter-charred-alcohol flavor that's making me wince.

The mouthfeel is crisper and spicier than I'm used to, which was nice at first but difficult to keep going.

Overall, this barleywine is dark smokey treat. Definitely an English version.

Jan 22, 2015
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VelvetExtract from Massachusetts

3.56/5  rDev -3.3%

Bottle. This was several years old when I tried it. Poured a ruddy, dark brown with a minimal head. It has clearly oxidized; raisins are huge in the nose. Brown sugar sweetness. The flavor has eaten the alcohol effectively. Just a soft rap of booze. The flavor is very raisiny. Dark fruits and brown sugar. A slight fruity tartness. Body is surprisingly light. Carbonation has clearly fallen off a bit but the softness works here. Pretty cool, after I'd say over five years of age.

Oct 24, 2014
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Jeffo from Netherlands

4.42/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this one at the LCBO a couple years back probably. It was one of the last ones around Waterloo as well. Perhaps the last. Drunk about a year after the best by date.

From a bomber into a snifter
Best by July 2013

APPEARANCE: Pours a big, three finger, medium looking, creamy light tan head with very good retention. Head slowly fades to a foam cap and leaves lots of lacing down the glass. Deep mahogany red/brown with no visible carbonatin evident. A slight wisp and ring remain leaving touches of lacing down the glass.

SMELL: Caramel malts, dark fruit, dates, brown sugar and spicy alcohol on the nose. Lots of good things going on here. Bold, complex and enticing.

TASTE: Caramel, dark fruits and spicy alcohol up front. Notes of leather and chocolate at the swallow, with a bold and lingering finish of caramel and toffee sweetness, dried dark fruits, brown sugar and some light chocolate bitterness as balance. Spicy hop flavors come forth as well. Flavorful, complex, and very enjoyable.

PALATE: Medium-fuller body with medium levels of carbonation. Creamy on the palate, goes down smooth and finishes slightly sticky. A bit of spiciness lingers. Good feel here as well.

OVERALL: This might better be described as an American strong ale, as the chocolate and leather qualities aren't really appropriate to the barleywine style. Either way, whatever you want to call it, this is top notch stuff. At this point in its expired life, it’s very flavorful, well integrated, smooth, complex and enjoyable. The bomber emptied far too quickly. Well balanced between sweet caramel flavors and dark malt character, making this one to pick apart and savor. Glad I got to drink this at this point in its life. Really enjoyed it.

Oct 16, 2014
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Mr-Cyphyr from New Hampshire

3.74/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

1st know that I love Barley wines, and as such already have a bit of a personal bias as to what I expect. Smoothness with a nice blend of flavors is key. Semisweet, rich developed flavors that last but don't over power, a clean tapering light bitter finish. Smoothness not only in flavor but in carbonation.

OKay, this disappointed me. Not that it was bad, no sir, still on my 10 ten Barley's, but I did not find the smoothness in flavor or "texture" I would have expected. Bit harsh - would have better labeled it an aged IPA. I still like it and would recommend it to any strong IPA lover. Just needed to explain by bias and view point. Great beer/ale, just missed my expectations.

Feb 27, 2014
Photo of Brenden
Brenden from Ohio

3.77/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This barleywine is dark red-brown with bright, almost violet-red highlights through its body. The tan head is one finger tall, shows good retention, and fades very slowly and never completely. There's not as much lacing as I'd expect considering its consistency and stature, but it's more than moderate.
The aroma holds lots of dark fruits with a mix of sweetness and tang, a tinge of alcohol to it, and some roasted grains underneath. It's got an interesting character, especially with the yeast and the slight buttery note Shipyard tends to convey.
The taste is more rounded and complete. It's still got an interesting roasted malt character leaning more toward a different style, and the fruity tang and sweetness are still there. In the flavor, though, there's a good deal more floral and perfumey hops bitterness, and it works. It's certainly on the edge for an English version of the style.
Carbonation's a bit high, but it slows down. Unfortunately, it can only do that by flattening out a little on the end. It's crisp until then, and it's got some smoothness to the medium body.

Jan 06, 2014
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puboflyons from New Hampshire

4.52/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From the 650 ml. bottle. 2012 batch cellared for a year. Sampled on December 26, 2013.

It has a dark brown to deep amber pour with a full, long lasting off-white, soft silky head. Served around 55 degrees.

I love the aroma which not only includes the omnipresent Shipyard Ringwood yeast, but also includes dark malts, raisins, sweetness, melted butter and no booze considering it is a barleywine. Subtle hops.

The body still has a lot of depth to it so I would call it medium to bold easily.

The taste has an array of sweet malts, raisins, brown sugar, dark fruit, and quite subtle hops. This beer definitely got better with age and I am glad I had the patience to wait.

Dec 26, 2013
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mikeyv35 from New York

3.96/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Date: 10/07/2013
Type: 22oz. Bomber
Glass: East End Tulip
Vintage: 2009 ( Personally Aged 4yrs.)

Poured a deep brown mahogany in color, an almost black, w/ a tan 1 finger head that left nice lacing. Aromas of caramel, coffee, nutmeg, and cinnamon. The flavor was of caramel, toffee, and big roasted coffee notes, finishing with molasses and hop bite. Medium bodied and lush. Pretty drinkable as the ABV was well hidden.

Overall, nice brew that was enjoyable, but confusing. This beer drank almost like a black and tan of imperial stout and barleywine. This needs to be reclassified as an American Strong Ale.

Oct 10, 2013
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RickS95 from Indiana

4.54/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

It's a bit darker than I remember most other barleywines being, though that could be because it's an English. Rich, dark brown (very dark brown, not quite black) color. So dark you can't see haze, though I believe it's there. The head is a finger thick initially, but doesn't retain well.

Umm, can you say malts? Splashes of chocolate, licorice, caramel, vanilla fill the nose. Similar to an American version, but with more sweet things. Each swirl is pleasant. As it warms, more fruity scents are released.

For the style, it's right up there. Everything you smell makes its way to the taste. A symphony of desserty items. With the chocolate and fruit, it's like a combination of a porter and a Belgian dark ale.

Smooth and creamy, full bodied. Very sweet, but never crossing the line. Feels like a milk stout due to the sweetness. Minimal hop presence, mostly for balance. Same goes for ABV. It's up there, but gentle. Only a tap of heat, not a punch in the stomach. Very easy to drink with a lingering battle between sweet, bitter and hot in the finish.

Overall, this is not what I expected. I'll start brinking more barleywines of the English style rather than the American style if they're all like this. Tastes great, goes down easy, hidden alcohol content. Not much to improve upon.

Sep 08, 2013
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twiggamortis420 from Texas

3.85/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

22 oz bottle pours a darker than usual hazed brown with a thick cap of tan head. Great retention and lacing.

Nose throws down some serious dark fruit - blackberry jam, raisins and brown sugared figs. I like it.

Taste is lots of fruit and a smooth cache of unsweetened chocolate and brown bread maltiness. Im somewhat impressed with this - I like the varied take on the style, it is something like a quad meets barleywine. Hides the ABV well and really is pretty smooth. I could stand to grab another 1 or 2 of these...seems like it would age fairly well for a year or so.

Aug 10, 2013
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GarthDanielson from Virginia

3.76/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Cask pour in a shaker pint, the beer is a hazy, yellow-brown coloring witth a chunky, frothy, white coating of head. Aromas of biscuit, lemony sweet, rich toffee, and a wet, cedar hops presence. Smells balanced and tasty. Flavors are smooth, with a toffee and apple sweetness quickly cleaned by a bitter, dry ribbon of hops. Slight smoking and oaky character, too. Very dynamic, with a bitter, resiny aftertaste. Clean, smooth finish of a very robust bodied brew. Tasty, and surprisingly drinkable.

Mar 24, 2013
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duracell from Canada (QC)

4.02/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into a snifter.
A - Dark color with 1-finger head disappearing to leave a thin topping.
S - Mild balanced aroma of malty and hoppy notes. Raisins, figs, herbal sweetness.
T - Lots of esters and fruity sweetness. Big dark fruits flavor. Hop shows up after, blends with the rest, and lingers for a while.
M - Smooth mouthfeel. Finishes semi-dry. Bitterness on the low side.
O - A good English barley wine!

Mar 04, 2013
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weonfire from Illinois

3.69/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

A - Much darker than expected. Dark ruby/purple. finger head, dark creme color. small amount of lacing.

S - real pleasant. nice fruits. chocolate, cherry, brown sugar, carmel and toffee.

T - wow, not impressive after the nice scent. bland up front, bitter on the way down. a bit of dried fruit. taste the alcohol more then wanted. do like that carmel malt. dry finish.

M - Very nice froth. most impressive element about this brew. viscosity is medium. does cover well.

O - Very dry. I must admit i am fairly new to the barely wine game. Maybe this is exactly how an 'English' barley wine should taste. I was expecting something much sweeter.

Mar 02, 2013
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mick303 from Canada (ON)

3.73/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter with a good toffee head, good lacing and film. The colour was quite a dark brown-black.

Smell has coffee, thick maltiness, chocolate and an airey floral fruity character that seems a bit out-of-place, a bit tart and candy-like. Fair bit going on here though.

Taste is sweet initially, then plum fruity, and a bit of roasty bitterness. Coffee notes, and leather, unsweetened chocolate. Alcohol is pretty well hidden, but there is a sort of staleness to the malt. Finish is dry, sticky fruit pudding, lingering fruitiness

Mouthfeel is full-bodied, quite big. Carbonation is quite light, sipper. Thick on the palate and a bit cloying, malt is roasty and a bit forward.

A decent English barley wine. Wouldn't have minded a bit more hops, but the bitterness does seem to work alright with unsweetened chocolate and ashy notes. Malt has a bit of char and roasty character and is a bit aggressive at time with the fruitiness trying to offer balance. Has some issues but a respectable beer.

Dec 28, 2012
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Sammy from Canada (ON)

3.63/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A decent beer, brought in to the LCBO for a decent price of $8. Not what I expect from an English barleywine, very bitter finish, dark bodied, chocolate malts. Let’s see how my aged bottle from Maine holds up over the years.Above average carbonation. Good ingredients, but Not as drinkable as it could be.

Dec 17, 2012
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TheSevenDuffs from Canada (ON)

3.65/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle to over sized snifter.

A - Dark copper, brown in the middle. Thin layer of light brown head.

S - Dark caramel, toffee, raisin, lighter fruity notes and a hint of chocolate.

T - Caramel, toffee, raisins, fruity notes and a touch of chocolate. A fairly noticeable alcohol presence.

M - Medium body. Creamy. Light carbonation.

Dec 10, 2012
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biegaman from Canada (ON)

3.4/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The beer's complexion is deep, dark and concealing, making it very difficult to pin any particular colour to it. Whatever the case, it might as well be called black because no light makes it through anyhow. Its head may look soapy but it sticks to the glass like grease.

Neither the malts nor hops make themselves particular known to the nose; it lacks the definition and concentration that this style typically exhibits. Minor notes of raisin, plum and dried berries can be appreciated but they are far from obvious. A hint of smoke may stem from swirling, but it too is frustratingly subtle.

The flavour has a ripe, plump fig and plum taste but also offers a Darjeeling-like quality that features not only black tea bitterness but also notes of honey and meadow flowers. A sticky, port-like dried fruitiness makes for a bone-dry finish that includes roast malt and traces of peat. It, however, like the aroma, is frustratingly vague and also lacks the depth and intensity that typically characterizes the barleywine style.

On a positive note the beer is classically proportioned and features good balance. Then again, neither hops nor malt care to take the lead role. (Summit, Challenger, and Fuggles isn't exactly the sexiest hop bill anyhow.) There's also an absence of alcohol, no rough edges. Given that it lacks dynamics fresh, it promises nothing in the long term. Drink it now (or maybe don't bother buying it at all).

A barleywine that lacks the concentration and complexity of the style is simply not worth drinking. There's nothing inherently unpleasant about Shipyard Barley Wine, but the problem is that there's virtually nothing to it at all. It's far from a fine effort and given the other beers in the Pugsley's Signature Series, we know this brewery is capable of much better.

Nov 23, 2012
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cvm4 from Mississippi

3.32/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a deep, murky brown (not an appealing color) with a tan one finger head. Okay lacing is left behind.

S - Caramel and toffee with bready malts. Comes off somewhat sweet.

T - Roasted, slightly burnt malts. Dark fruits of figs and prunes along with a good helping of hops bring it all together. The flavors though come across as muddled and weak.

M - Medium with somewhat higher carbonation. Finish is dry.

O - It's an okay beer. Nothing to brag about with the muddled flavors that seem to be all over the place.

Nov 12, 2012
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joemcgrath27 from Canada (AB)

4.08/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - very dark brown with just a bit of clear light at the bottom of the glass, creamy head left a ton of lacing all around
S - molasses and cola aromas dominate, mild dark fruit background, touch of leafiness
T - molasses and cherry syrup, cola and some dry nutty flavour, just a touch of hoppiness, and a dry woody finish
M - super creamy smooth, full sweet malty feel with a coffee like bitterness and not even a hint of the high ABV
O - a great tasting brew, although i would like to see them raise the bar on the alcohol for this style just a bit, the result is a ridiculously drinkable barley wine that i would definitely like to try again

Nov 12, 2012
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andrenaline from Canada (ON)

3.95/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Props to peensteen for hooking me up with this treat.

A - Pours a dark ruby red colour, finger of head with decent retention and some nice sheeting lacing.

S - Quite complex on the nose with musty caramel, loads of bready biscuit notes, hints of rye and subtle cocoa and toffee.

T - The cocoa flavours come through off the top, biscuit and burnt toast, hints of boozy sweetness, nutty almonds and a leafy green finish. A touch of tobacco smoke and burnt ash lingers as well.

M - Medium bodied, creamy and dry with a hint of ABV heat.

O - A complex brew with loads of flavour and a nice cocoa malt undertone that complements the style nicely. One of my favourites from this brewer to date and a worthy ale indeed.

Nov 10, 2012
Pugsley's Signature Series: Barley Wine from Shipyard Brewing Company
Beer rating: 84 out of 100 with 254 ratings