Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Shipyard Barley Wine Style Ale (Pugsley's Signature Series) | Shipyard Brewing Co.

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
167 Reviews
Read the review
Shipyard Barley Wine Style Ale (Pugsley's Signature Series)Shipyard Barley Wine Style Ale (Pugsley's Signature Series)

Brewed by:
Shipyard Brewing Co.
Maine, United States

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Jason on 11-12-2008

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 167 | Ratings: 250
Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.69/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - a tawny amber pour, good clarity, and a light mocha head. Pretty sticky with good lacing. A nice looking brew.

Aroma - a whiff of hops at the initial pour, but now nothing. After a minute of setup, I get some light roast and at length, some mild citrus is in there.

Taste - mild sweetness on the malt side. Then, a most unexpected hit of roasty grain, lots of coffee character. The hops come in with notable bitterness but not a lot of citrus character. Some grapefruit pith perhaps, but this reminds me of an Indian Brown ale with components of malt roast and hop bitterness. Styles be damned, I like this. The aftertaste is consistent, same flavors, just some drying added. Finishes slightly warm.

Mouthfeel - good crispness and dextrin-induced smoothness. Body is above average for weightiness but could use even more.

Drinkability - excellent brew for fireside. No English butteriness that I was wondering about, just great flavors from the malt and hops.

 976 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
3.03/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The pour was decent, though a bit lifeless for me. Rich amber color, almost copper in hue with a nice touch of cloudiness to it that really gave it a very thick look, nearly opaque at times. No real head though, and it almost looked flat at first pour, not really encouraged right off the bat. The aroma was rich and sweet. Nice notes of bready malts, hints of almost honey like notes and a nice fruit touch toward the finish. The flavor though really perked me up a bit. Sweet, mellow, with all notes of ABV long gone by the wayside. Lots of biscuit like notes, a touch of faded hops and a load of grain all combined to really give quite a nice show overall. Very impressed here with the way it tasted, especially in the finish, which was again very sweet, and nearly perfectly placed. An easy sipper I almost went through this one too quickly as it had mellowed to the point of being equally rich and subtle.

 910 characters

Photo of fastpass17
3.15/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz Brown bottle from 2009

A: Almost mahogany in color, a slightly brown head about one finger in the glass. A good amount of carbonation that lasts the entire drink.

S: Carmel malt, mixed with brown sugar, blackberry's and some spice in the beginning. This finishes off with a slight bit of oxidation and port.

T: A classic English style barley wine at first sip. A nice malt backbone with a fair amount of sweetness and complexity. Then towards the end of the drink all the complexity fades and the taste becomes muted.

M,O: Drinkable for the style, nice start but the overall appeal for me is lost towards the end of the drink. There is a sharpness that takes away from the feel of this beer. A fair offering for the style.

 731 characters

Photo of mdcrouser
3.11/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Hearty, like old engine oil that has recently seized - dark brown, but with hints of ruby red at the edges. Legs of lace stick to the glass.

Alcohol and a crispy char - a bit like the first whiff of that first charcoal grill of spring.

The first impression is lighter fluid, but it recedes to reveal plums, and further char. Not terrible, but it deceives the tongue by offering uncharacteristic flavors from the outset - it does though mellow over time - the char mutes somewhat. I'd prefer less char and just a bit more sweet in the many malts.

Tastes much higher in alcohol than it actually is - dry finish. Some hoppiness adds just a bit of a burn.

Take it or leave it - there are better barleywines to be had.

Edit: As an earlier review notes, let this beer warm a bit before reviewing - it changes greatly.

 820 characters

Photo of SDtastentune
4.12/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark dirty red, some head when pored faster, no lacing.

S - Smells of alcohol, and some malty'ness.

T - Alcohol, chocolate, bourbon/malts. Caramel candy.

M - Feels a little carbonated, more at mid way down. Aftertaste is rich and flavorful.

D - Drinks great for a night/dessert beer, very unique flavor and different for the average barleywines out there. Over all I enjoy it, but not my favorite.

 406 characters

Photo of DoctorDog
2.87/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Presentation: 1 pint 6 oz bottle into a snifter. Twist off cap lies beneath the golden foil cover. Bottle courtesy of one from my network of enablers; beveritt.

A- Dark, murky mahogany, with ruby highlights...nearly opaque. ~1 finger of off-white head, which fades quickly into a island of bubbles. No lacing noted.

S- Caramel sweetness, roasty malts, dark fruits.

T- Smoky, tannin, astringent bitterness coats the tongue, and seems to mute the other flavors. Some herbal hops. Left to warm up some more for ~15 min, and return to some notable improvement. A bit of dark fruits and maltiness is now able to slip past the astringent characters. Moral- let this one warm up a lot, and it won't be great, but at least will at least be drinkable.

M- Moderate carbonation, and med/full body.

D- Not so great. This is a pretty astringent beer, and is a bit of a chore. A slooow sipper, one-and-done'r.

Future outlook: Nah. Even if it were available here, no need to have again.

 978 characters

Photo of FreshHawk
3.65/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Deep, deep, dark brown almost black with a touch of ruby hue on the edge. I had to check to make sure this was the barleywine and not the porter. Decent sized, very creamy, thick, meringue-like, cafe colored head. Fairly good retention leaving a very nice creamy lace.

S - Strong caramel and brown sugar malt aroma. Also has a bit of a chocolate/mocha aroma along with a touch of earthy and nuttiness. Some citrus hops as well in the background that comes out a bit more as it warms. Touches of dark fruit with raisin date and prune. Like the appearance, not exactly what I was expecting.

T - Like the nose and appearance suggested, this isn't really what I expected. Dark caramel, brown sugar, and a touch of chocolate malt dominates leaving the hop flavors in the background. Some citrus and tea hop flavors show up, but they are overshadowed. Some earthiness from the malt and hops as well. Some dark fruit just as the nose suggested.

M - Medium body with about average carbonation. Fairly smooth.

D - Drinks fairly easy but nothing overly exciting. Not really hoppy or bitter. I finished the bomber no problem, but I wouldn't exactly go after another.

Notes: Interesting barelywine. Plenty of dark malt that overshadows the hops. Some citrus and tea hop flavors come out but it is definitely a malt forward barleywine. Not horrible, but nothing I would be really excited about drinking. Maybe a hoppy porter? Worth a try if you can get a good price.

 1,462 characters

Photo of StaveHooks
3.29/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Pours a dark ruby brown with a 1 finger mocha head that forms a ceiling. Good lacing patterns.

S - Chocolate covered raspberries, fruity malt, roasted/burnt grain, alcohol vapors.

T - Dark fruits-figs, berries, sweet toffee malt, the chocolate seems to stay in the background, brown sugar, toasted brown rice. An herbal cocoa bitterness starts early grows towards the finish.

M - Full bodied with moderate carbonation. The alcohol is hidden well.

The hops kinda threw me off. Moderately hopped for an English Barleywine. I didn't mind too much though. Drinks good. I would buy this again if it was cheaper.

 616 characters

Photo of biggred1
3.83/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark, coffee-brown with a dense sand colored head that leaves fine lace on the glass. Chocolate and dark fruit in the aroma. Chocolate covered cherry and deep roasty malt flavors with a mild herbal hop flavor in the finish. Shipyard BSA tastes and feels like a hybrid Barley Wine/Stout to me and is not what I expected but is not bad at all..it just doesn't seem to fit the given style. An easy drinker at 8+ ABV, the alcohol is barely detectable. Good beer but a bit overpriced.

 479 characters

Photo of emmasdad
3.58/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked this one up at a tobacco shop, on the outskirts of Old Town, in San Diego. Poured a robust reddish-brown color, with a good tan head. Aromas of chocolate, caramel, dried fruit and light brown sugar. Medium bodied, flavors of caramel, dried fruit, leather and light hops. Nothing special, but drinkable.

 309 characters

Photo of MoreThanWine
3.7/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a reluctant 1" head which dissipated to a trace. Clear but dark as coffee color in masstone. Lot's of tiny effervescence going on. Body was much lighter than I expected. Aroma and flavors of coffee and chocolate and sweet malt. Really this has more in common with stout than barleywine.

Enjoyed it nonetheless. For the most part the beers in the Shipyard Signature Series are a good value.

 397 characters

Photo of ButterScotch
2.8/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

From a 750ml bottle. Not sure of the year since it is apparently not printed on the bottle....

This is not a barley wine....more like a crossover barely wine/stout or something...akin to the GM Aztek car/minivan/whatever monstrosity...even the 8.5ABV indicates something may be amiss. Whatever this is....I wish they would call it something other than barely wine.

 365 characters

Photo of GeezLynn
3.45/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22oz. bottle purchased fall 2009 at Bruisin' Ales.

Pours out dark brown, not quite black. Sparse white head makes a brief appearance and before retreating to glass edges. Smell starts out pretty nice with sweet apples, pear, raisin, brown sugar, and little chocolate malt. But it becomes more stale and metallic as it sits out.

Flavor is not quite what I was expecting as it's lacking much in the way of caramel presence and sweetness usually associated with English BW's. Taste is also not as fruity as the aroma. What you do get is earthy hops, pale malt and unusually roasted ashy malt that seems to work okay for this beer. Degree of bitterness is well done - assertive, but not tongue-lashing. Body is lighter with soft carbonation.

Overall, this was a little bland, but not bad. At $10/22oz., I wouldn't purchase it again.

 832 characters

Photo of muttyd
3.51/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Deep brown/amber body with a huge offwhite foamy head. Big boozy aroma. Reminds me of almost a blended scotch whiskey. Burns the nosehairs even though this one is just 8.5% abv. Slightly burnt malt/caramel aroma too. Big caramel/toffee malts dominate the palate. Very grainy, sweet, and sticky. Booze is actually well hidden (despite the nose). Slight yeasty spiciness as well. Chewy, creamy body with moderate carbonation. Not the best barleywine I've ever had, but still solid.

 479 characters

Photo of Gueuzedude
2.55/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

~2009 release; Sampled October 2010
A solid pour produces a voluminous, glass filling, almost five-finger thick, lightly browned, amber-tan colored head. The beer is a deep burnt amber color that shows a clearish, dark red-amber hue when held up to the light. Hmm, another interesting yeast influenced nose; this smells slightly funky in a sort of musty, not quite cheesy, berry like chocolate leaning, moldy dried dates, sweetened tamarind, sweet red Chinese bean paste that has been slightly fermented or perhaps even like the center of a Chinese mooncake that includes a salted duck egg. The nose is quite fruity with notes of fermented prune juice, slightly tart plums and a touch of jail-house pruno. Some toasted malt notes add a whole grain note to the middle, though this is often overwhelmed by the other aromatic notes. There is clearly something else going on here, it is interesting & even fun to explore, but really not what I want in a Barley Wine.

Lightly sweet tasting up front and this gets increasingly phenolic and plastic like as the beer rolls across the tongue. By the time the beer has left my mouth it has coated my mouth in a flavor that reminds me strongly of curing plastic. Slightly medicinal and this also has some hot higher alcohols as well as notes of nail polish; this last accentuates some fruity notes of prune and raisin. I spent so long with the aroma that the excessive carbonation is not really noticeable in the flavor. This is likely quite a bit lighter than was intended, but it still has some heft to it and definitely sticks to the palate, but it is on the thin side (now at least) for a Barleywine.

While the aroma is quite interesting and enjoyable to explore, the flavor of this is just not very appealing. I wonder if a lot more age will turn this into a really funky old ale? The carbonation is already getting a bit excessive though and I would worry about the integrity of the bottle after a few more years of age.

 1,967 characters

Photo of bort11
3.7/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle poured into a Smokestack chalice. There was an initial dark tan head, but it quickly receded to a thin ring around the surface. No lacing on the glass, it's all on the surface. Color is a very dark, ruddy brown. I don't have the greatest light in this room, so it is hard to see the highlighting. Dark brown highlights show up with the tilt of the glass.

Smell has a sweet mix of dark grains, dried fruit, and chocolate. Very malt forward and appropriate for an English barleywine. Taste has more of a roasted grain, wood-burnt bitterness. The bitterness is balanced out by the vinous fruits.

Body is mild compared to the strong flavor profile. Still goes down smooth, but leaves an acidic/charcoal after taste. I don't mind that at all.

 752 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Burnt pecan brown with no visible highlights. To be fair, the sun has not yet risen above the horizon. A thick slice of brown sugar colored creaminess tops off the snifter in fine fashion, leaving small scraps and dots of lace as it deflates.

This might be the most chocolate-like beer of this style that I've ever sniffed. In fact, it doesn't smell like an English barleywine at all. There are subtle hints of dark fruit and no alcohol is a plus. In the end, though, it's incredibly simple and doesn't really fit the style guidelines.

Even though chocolate malt is less prominent on the palate, it still takes too much of the flavor focus. At least Shipyard BWSA tastes like a barleywine, though not an especially well-brewed one. The balancing effect of a lack of malt sweetness *and* a lack of hop bitterness doesn't do it any favors.

Flavors include dark chocolate, dark caramel, medium-dark fruit, and a sprinkling of black tea leaves. That makes it sound like a stout, but there's more barleywine-like fruitiness than stout-like roasted maltiness. On a good note, the next lowest taste score wasn't even considered. Then again, the next highest wasn't either.

The mouthfeel spins its wheels as well. It loses its so-called big beer way long before the finish, which is when slightly too sharp carbonation makes its unwelcome appearance. Time and warming help on both counts, but don't expect mouth pampering.

It looks like Imperial Porter is the best of the four Pugsley's Signature Series beers. XXXX IPA, Smashed Pumpkin, and now Barley Wine Style Ale are merely better than average. Given the $10 price tag... not recommended unless you're a big fan of the style or the brewery.

 1,692 characters

Photo of russpowell
3.89/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked this up at mid-town Tulsa

Pours an effervescent mahogany with 4 fingers of mocha colored head. Great lacing head retention

S: Dark fruit, vinous notes, slight tobacco hop signature, all tail off after a while

T: Follows the nose, serious fig action, herbal hoppyness that is bordering on astrigent, not a very good start so far...Smooths out a little as time goes by, hints of Baker's chocolate & coffee too. Dark fruit, a touch of booze,dryness & tannins are there as this warms, plus a touch of chocolate. Finishes dry, fruitty & with leafy/tobacco hoppyness

MF: Chewy with firm, perhaps a bit too much carbonation. Warming sensation kicks in after a while, good balance

Drinks easy once a bit of up front astringency passes. Stays true to the style, maybe the best beer from these guys I've had...

 812 characters

Photo of MTNboy
3.95/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer poured well into sifter. There was a lot of head and lace. The body was deep amber with a reddish hue. The aroma and the flavor were both rich. It was not as hopped as most barley wines which I appreciated. There was a warm like chocolate alcohol presents in the flavor. This is a sweet after dinner or late evening beer. There is a very heavy mouthfeel.

 364 characters

Photo of StoutKing0104
3.87/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - A rich, clear amber body that has a red hue when held up to a light, topped with two fingers of creamy tan head. Head held nicely and left decent lacing on the glass as it receded.

S - Aroma of fruits, molasses and roasted malt. Really enticed my senses and got my mouth watering.

T - Dark fruit starts the game, followed by the roasted malt, molasses, a hint of smoking, and a distinct wine taste.

F - Light carbonation gives a smooth, rich feel on the pallet.

D - God taste and feel, I could probably drink this for a while. HOwever this would not fall under the old standy beer category.

 598 characters

Photo of bruachan
3.82/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

rich mahogany. sudsy bubbles after the creamy foam dies

rich caramelized. brown sugar, molasses, dark fruit, slightly vinous: classy

very roasty tasting up front. with bitterness and earthy hop flavor, and winey richness to follow. bready. funny aftertaste for an english barleywine...oh yeah, it's strong bitterness. too much hop for an EBW, though that's not to say it isn't tasty. good flavors, although it's a little quick on the tongue (flimsy)

by the way, i've never had a barleywine form a bottle with a screwcap

 522 characters

Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from BeerAdvocate magazine Vol. II Issue XI:

Here is another regional brewer getting into the whole "Big Beer Series" thing, foiled top and fancy labeling to boot.

Dark brown in color with a glowing ruby red when put up to the light. Good lacing here with tan stickage on the glass. Trademark buttery Shipyard aroma fills the nostrils with some edgy, roasted grain and dark fruitiness closely following. Damn smooth with a slick, full-ish body. Roasted grain character is pushy, trying to show that it is in charge with a flaring of charcoal. Hints of caramel, dried fig and faint black currant fruitiness. Maltiness pulls in more suggestions of fresh-roasted coffee and unsweetened chocolate. Hops are modest and let the malt do most of the job. About midway the alcohol pops up with a warmth and claims ownership to the fruitiness. Finishes with a mild note of char and fruitiness and lands just about semidry.

Respect to Shipyard for sticking to their guns, in their true manner of sticking with English styles and not jumping on the Extreme Beer wagon. A job well done with a less respected and underrated beer style.

 1,131 characters

Photo of Gosox8787
3.06/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served on tap in a Shipyard snifter glass. Served chilled and allowed to warm a little over an hour.

Appearance: Dark brown to black in color. Nice two finger mocha colored head with pretty good retention. Almost looks like a stout to me.

Aroma: Espresso and bitter coffee beans. A slight citrus note from the hops. Almost more like a porter or stout than a barleywine.

Taste: Espresso and coffee upfront. Some pine and citrus from the hops, but not enough to counter the really astrigent roasted malt. Even as it warms, there is not much complexity here. the depth of flavor and the things I look for in a barleywine were just absent.

Mouthfeel: Oddly thin mouthfeel. Decent carbonation and a really dry finish.

Drinkability: The ABV is pretty well hidden, but the astrigent, burnt malt makes this one a one and done for me.

Overall, I really severly underwhelmed by this beer. It was one note and overly burnt, not to mention it missed out on all the complexity and great flavors that go along with this style. I thought this was closer to a porter with a decent hop note than a barleywine. Not my cup of tea.

 1,117 characters

Photo of tr4nc3d
4.35/5  rDev +18.9%
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.

 761 characters

Photo of stephens101
3.77/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A light pour results in a dark tan and fairly bubbly head that sits atop a garnet brew. The one-finger of froth retends for about a minute, and then recedes, leaving a spattering of lace. The nose is sweet, earthy and bready with some dark chocolate mixed in at the end with some flickering hop notes.

The aroma is very involved and bodes well for the future. Initially tastes sweet and a bit grainy with a mixture of sweet and sour cherries evolving slowling into the equation and a hefty hop presence that coats the palate.

Leans toward heavy in the body; and has a creamy core. Medium on the carbonation with a well-blended and slight alcohol heat.
Glad to see Shipyard putting some of their bigger brews on the shelves here in Oklahoma. Give us more!

 757 characters

Shipyard Barley Wine Style Ale (Pugsley's Signature Series) from Shipyard Brewing Co.
3.66 out of 5 based on 250 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest┬« Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!