Pugsley's Signature Series: Barley Wine | Shipyard Brewing Company

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Pugsley's Signature Series:  Barley WinePugsley's Signature Series:  Barley Wine
253 Ratings
Pugsley's Signature Series:  Barley WinePugsley's Signature Series:  Barley Wine

Brewed by:
Shipyard Brewing Company
Maine, United States

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by Jason on 11-12-2008

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Ratings: 253 |  Reviews: 168
Photo of RickS95
4.54/5  rDev +24.4%
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.

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Photo of puboflyons
4.52/5  rDev +23.8%
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.

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Photo of deac83
4.5/5  rDev +23.3%

Photo of charlzm
4.5/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Consumed 09/19/09. Served at 55 degrees F in a Triple Petrus snifter.

Beer pours a deep mahogany brown with almost no highlights. A fine head of tan bubbles a finger thick forms fast and dies slowly, leaving a creamy ring around the edges of the glass.

Beer is aromatic: sweet caramel, vanilla, brown sugar and a woody note. Very slight spicy hop note as well. Delicious!

Flavorful as well as aromatic, the palate is treated to essentially the same flavors as the nose, but with the added feature of some hop bite and a delightfully hot, dryly evaporative finish. Not parching, mind you, but the beer is gone and the spicy burn remains. Unique!

Beer is thick and a little chewy, but not cloying or coating. Fairly clean finish for a brew of this significance.

I'm looking forward to finishing the rest of this bomber with my pepperoni pizza. If I ever see this beer again, I will gladly snap up a pint or bottle!

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Photo of AmandaSchaefer
4.5/5  rDev +23.3%

Photo of patm1986
4.5/5  rDev +23.3%

Photo of yesyouam
4.5/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shipyard Barley Wine is a dark ruby ale with a brown sugar colored head that has excellent retention and lacing. It has a very wooden aroma. It smells resiny and smokey with some sweetness and warmth. It's full bodied and smooth with a chewy finish. It tastes very smokey and resiny with lots of roastiness. It has a whiskey barrel quality. It's mature with some nice complexity. It's a nice late night sipper.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4.47/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a snifter)

A- This beer has a deep dark brown-hued black body with a thick creamy tan head of foam on top. There are tiny bubbles that glide to the surface on the sides of the glass.

S- The aroma is complex with notes of caramel, roasted black malt and a small black coffee note. As the beer warms there are some pale malt notes and a finish that is good dark nougat.

T- Dark chocolatey malt flavors blends with dark roasted flavors and some soft licorice roast notes come through aswell. There are nice dark caramel malt flavors that are slightly sweet that pop through as the beer warms. The finish has a full bitter bite that is part black charred malt and part bitter hops.

M- This beer has a full mouthfeel with a creamy texture as long as the head last and a faint alcohol heat in the finish as the beer warms a good bit.

D- This beer is very smooth to drink but with nice complexity and new layers of flavor as the beer warms. This is a great English style barley wine that is big but shows depth aswell. I don't think I would age this one as it might lose some of its complexity.

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Photo of champ103
4.42/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a dark murky brown color. A small bubbly tan head forms. Light lace is left behind.
S: A great roasted malt aroma. Sweet toffee and caramel. Some coffee as well. Light dark fruits as the aroma lingers. A wonderful oak and wood aroma.
T: This is great. A large roasted malt flavor. Coffee and chocolate. Some sweet toffee again. Dry wood, and dark fruits. There are lots of layers here.
M/D: A rich full body that is creamy and velvety smooth on the tongue. Low on the carbonation end. Very decedent. The alcohol is not noticeable at all. So smooth and easy to drink. A great beer to sip on throughout the night.

This is awesome. A truly great English Barleywine. There are lots of complexities. Something I highly recommend.

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Photo of Durge
4.42/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A very dark mahogany color with a medium fuzzy coffee color head and good lacing. The aroma is a deep rich flowery malty coffee cocoa, more like a porter. Very nice though. The flavor is a smooth chocolate over a thin charcoal, much more like a very drinkable porter. It has a nice complexity with some peanut butter with some grape juice sweetness. Very likeable but no barleywine from my experience.

Update more than 2 years later:

A super dark black brown ale with a ring of light tan big bubbles on top. Good lacing follows. The aroma is deep rootbeer evergreen with bountiful molasses malt and fig/raisin. Thick and bountiful. And wow, what flavor. Again a thick melange of coffee malted milk with more dark fruits and a touch of spruce. Just a beautiful mouthful of deep blended grains and figs. This is medium to full bodied with a very smooth but somewhat resinous feel. Carbonation is minor but perfectly adequate for such a flavorful brew. Outstanding stuff that deserves a slow appreciation.

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Photo of Jeffo
4.42/5  rDev +21.1%
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.

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Photo of tr4nc3d
4.35/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber poured into my snifter

Appearance is almost opaque black with a one and a half inch slightly tan head. Good head retention with lacing left behind as the head subsides.

Aroma consisted of dark chocolate, molasses, figs, dark fruits with cherries and plums, caramel and toffee along with dark candy sugar. Alcohol was quite noticeable on the smell as well.

Upfront sweet cola taste with dark fruits like cherries and plums. Chocolate creeps in with a hint of vanilla and espresso?Roasted slight coffee finish gives it a little bit of bitterness in the end.

Medium bodied with average carbonation.

Overall great barleywine that is not too sickly sweet like some other ones are. This is a job well done and definitely recommend for others to try.

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Photo of BeachRez
4.33/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up from BevMo in LB for $6.99

This poured a medium carmel colored brown. Light head that left a light lacing in the glass.

The smell was mild.

Great tasting, low malty sweetness. Very balanced flavor that seems to try for style versus originality.
Very drinkable. No boozy aftertaste. This is something I would drink OFTEN.

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Photo of smcolw
4.3/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Impressive beige head that leaves some good chunky lace on the glass. Pours dark ruby mahogany color where light barely shines through the edge of the glass.

The aroma is fruity sweet without any overpowering alcohol aromas. Lots of darker malt smells but little hop.

This is a creamy beer. It has many of the elements of a superior English Porter. There's a dark chocolate with cherry flavor that has some notes from a barley wine. Still, this is a strong departure from the style. And I like it. I find it very drinkable without too much alcohol.

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Photo of abriggs1
4.3/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is a very good barly-wine, if not too traditional. It tastes a lot like a porter with the addition of the chocolate malt. Goes down very smoothly and even on this hot summer day, is very refreshing for the style. The alcohol is subdued, which is a welcome attribute as barley wines tend to be a bit too heavy on the alcohol. I realize that high APV% is indicative to this style of beer, but I think too many go a bit too far with it at the expense of drinkability. I appreciate beers like Dogfishhead's Olde School with it's 15% APV, but this is a barley-wine that can be appreciated in the warm weather as well as in winter. By far the best beer I've had yet from Shipyard.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.3/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear super dark brown with a 2 inch foamy khaki head that fades to a small cap. Thin rings of foamy lace cling to the glass on the drink down. Smell is of toasted malt, nuts, brown sugar, toffee, and caramel. There is a fruity smell that I am getting as well. Taste is of toasted malt, roasted nuts, coffee beans, and some burnt sugar flavors. I am also getting some cocoa powder as the beer warms. A medium roasty bitterness lingers on the palate after each sip. This beer has a nice level of carbonation with a crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a great barleywine that is much darker and more roasty than I was expecting.

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Photo of Norfawkers
4.28/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A big smokey flavorful beer appropriate for a cooler night, possibly enjoyed around a campfire

Appearance: Deep dark amber with a foamy tan head

Smell: Sweet malts, barrel, smoke, and earth

Taste: Huge flavor of toasted malt, smoke, and wood with a sweeter malt back

Mouthfeel: Smooth and enveloping with a bitter finish

Drinkability: A crescendo of flavor, complex and sippable reminiscent of a good whiskey

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Photo of StrangeBrewer76
4.28/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a DFH snifter, very dark brown color. Large bubble light tan head quickly fades to a creamy ring with various sized bubbles and and an island of the same in the middle with a tiny bubble skin covering half of the rest of the surface. This is a very impressive looking barleywine to my eyes.

My first smell was musty oak and faint bourbon with something sweet, maybe vanilla in the background too.

There is a lot going on in the taste but it tastes balanced between caramel, chocolate, and roasted barley malts. The label says there are some hops in here but they must be used for bittering only because I don't really get any aroma or flavor. The finish is dry and a little cocoa-like.

The mouthfeel was at first a little sharp with the carbonation but a little warming and swirling later the body is right on, medium density and creamy on the tongue.

Drinkability with this one is a case in point of what drinkability really means. If it means could I have another someday? yes. Tonight? at 8.5 abv I really shouldn't. Can I finish this one without considering a drain pour? Absolutely. Do I wish I had 2-12oz bottles instead of this bomber? Yes.

Overall I really like this one, it bridges the divide between English and American barleywines. If I saw this one again I would probably grab one to have and one to lay down.

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Photo of DIM
4.27/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 vintage

a: Quite dark for a barleywine, it was a nearly opaque brown with mahogany edges. It poured with a short tan colored head.

s: This smells like a darker barleywine, if that makes any sense. I noticed chocolate liqueur with coffee notes that seemed unusual but very appealing. It fit neatly with the more usual suspects like toffee, faint dark fruits, and a little herbal bitterness. I'd call this a barleywine with fairly pronounced porter elements. Works for me.

t: Tastes like a darker barleywine as well with some strong (for the style) roasty notes. Definitely different, but it works quite well. Up front are chocolate and coffee liqueur notes that are joined by stronger toffee and brown sugar flavors towards the middle. The finish adds some dark fruits and herbal bitterness. This lacks both the strong bitterness of an American barleywine and the strong sweetness of the English variety. Interesting.

m: Medium bodied with gentle carbonation, both fine for the style.

d: Decidedly different and significantly underrated. I thoroughly enjoyed this offering.

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Photo of Pugs78
4.25/5  rDev +16.4%

Photo of doof116
4.25/5  rDev +16.4%

Photo of Mycescephalus
4.25/5  rDev +16.4%

Photo of Adrianized
4.22/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I believe this is a 2010 vintage, poured into a Stone RIS snifter.

Pours a rich very dark copper or mahogany, it's practically black though.  Nice one finger foamy tan head slowly settles to a thick layer with big bubbles.  Excellent lacing.

On the nose I get roasted malt, coffee liquor, and espresso.  Some prunes and dark fruit.  I also feel like I smell bourbon, but I don't believe this is barrel aged.  Smells great.

Taste is malty but incredibly balanced.  I get roasted malt and coffee up front, followed by dark chocolate, molasses, and dark fruit... Prunes and raisins.  Finish is crisp, a little dry, and moderately bitter from hops.  Very, very well balanced.

Mouthfeel is full bodied with good carbonation.  Drinks easily for a barleywine.

I held onto this one since last year, bought as a Signature Series pack.  This blurs the line for me for what a barleywine should be, but it was so damn good.  I was pleasantly surprised, I'll be buying this again for sure.

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Photo of jamescain
4.2/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a sniffer, thanks to StoneBrewFanatic for bring this one to the tasting

Appearance: Pours black with dark red hues on the side and a thick off white head about a finger thick that leaves a thin lacing over the top of the beer.

Aroma: Dark fruit, raisins, figs, roasted and bready notes, and caramel sweetness.

Taste: Roasted coffee, raisins, slight citrus with caramel, chocolate and a slightly boozy finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with a creamy mouthfeel and medium-low carbonation.

Overall: I enjoyed this one and kind of wish I had picked up one while I was in New Hampshire, I guess I'll have to next time I'm up there.

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Photo of Blakaeris
4.2/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark burnished copper with a modest creamy beige head that leaves slight lacing.

Aroma is very malty, toffee and brown sugar really stand out. Hops have an earthy, woody nature.

Taste is robust overall. The generous earthy and herbal hops are very green and offer a balancing bitterness to the slightly syrupy caramel malt sweetness and hints of dark fruit. Brown sugar and molasses, and an oak woodyness. Finish is clean, with lingering fusel alcohol burn.

Mouthfeel is medium-full. Slightly chewy initially, but the resinous hop oil then brings a slick feel.

Not too bad. Surprising amount of leafy hop, balanced with generous malty brown sugar sweetness.

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Pugsley's Signature Series: Barley Wine from Shipyard Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.65 out of 5 with 253 ratings