Arquebus | Cambridge Brewing Company

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129 Ratings

Brewed by:
Cambridge Brewing Company
Massachusetts, United States

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.00%

Availability: Summer

Notes / Commercial Description:
Described by CBC as a Summer Barleywine. "Arquebus" refers to a heavy portable matchlock gun invented during the 15th century, and forerunner of the rifle.

Added by Sycodrummer on 07-14-2006

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 129 |  Reviews: 43
Photo of tourdot
3.73/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of fosters9
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Prost76
4.46/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of darktronica
4.55/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Definitely a unique take on a barleywine, it truly is a lovely dessert for a crisp spring night. The honey, grape must and barley, commingled and aged in white wine barrels has my palate so confused. Is this a wine, a mead, or a beer? I had high expectations going in, and this has exceeded them. I've never had a barleywine with this flavor profile, and I suspect I won't encounter another. The ale itself emerges infrequently from the intensity of the other flavors, only occasionally giving a burst of floral hops that complement the honey, or a wisp of biscuity malt.

I love a good sauternes and interesting beverage experiments, like the growing number of brewers distributing beer/wine hybrids of various degrees. I feel like this is pushing the boundaries of the art... a great addition to Cambridge Brewing Company's long tradition.

 841 characters

Photo of spacecake9
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours an opaque orange with a small white head.
S- Aroma is mild but wine-like.
T- Honey and wine barrel dominate the flavor.
M- Above average carbonation, light body.
O - Very good, unique, certainly not your typical barleywine. I would buy again.

 253 characters

Photo of CraftFan5
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Photo of Brutaltruth
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Never had a "summer" barley wine....for that I am game!

This extraordinary ale pours a lightly hazy, glowing, golden pale amber with a
nice head of white foam that subsides to thick ring, thin sudsy pool, and features
some excellent lacing, Nose of strong booze, heavy caramel malts, floral notes
from hops, buttered honey biscuits, and light yeast notes. Flavors exceed the nose
with yellow raisin drenched in honey, herbal hop notes on the middle and rear, yeasty
breaded notes on the middle, and strong booze with grain notes that encompass the
profile without cloying. Fantastic mouth feel; medium body, smooth as silk, warm
as a fireplace in winter, medium carbonation, and a lightly dry warming finish.

Overall a fantastic little brew.


 757 characters

Photo of MonkeyBread
4.24/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of JNForsyth
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of WhiskeyMax
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of paulish
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of TheBeerCarl
4.19/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

The guy that sold me on this beer said it tasted exactly like a Sauternes. While it has hints of this lovely dessert wine, a Sauternes it is not. That being said, still a delicious beer.

The body of the beer has a rich amber color with near perfect clarity. The head is light but has great retention with lacing and an almost white color. Best looking Barleywine I've seen in a long time.

The nose is where this beer fell flat. The nose is heavily yeasty with hints of grapes, honey, biscuit and earthiness. Other than the yeast there is not really a strong nose on this beer which ends up taking away from the experience.

The flavor is sweet and smooth like a Sauternes but has a lot of tannin, oak and a specific bitterness that comes from fermented honey. There a bold malt character and it wouldn't surprise me if wheat was a major player in the grain bill of this beer; it has a weiss quality to it. There is very little heat and so for a high point beer, it is very drinkable.

The mouthfeel is where this beer is spot on with a Sauternes. It's like butter. Rich, juicy, bold and smooth (while apt, I understand that that description can be easily taken out of context). Wonderful mouthfeel to be sure. It's a good thing this bottle is pricey because I could easily see myself drinking 3 or 4 with ease and then being totally smashed.

Overall, I would definitely recommend anyone to try this beer. It's tasty! But it may not be worth the price to do it more than once.

 1,478 characters

Photo of snowmageddon
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of SveNss0N
4.27/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Dope
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Can't find a bottling date but recently released.

A: Clear amber pour with a small tan head. No real retention or lacing.

S: Smells like honey, lots of it. Some grapes too?

T: White wine and strong honey flavor combined. Some grapes in there too. Huge honey flavor in fact, mixing with a bit of caramel on the back end. Light lingering white wine and honey flavor in the aftertaste.

M: Big and sweet.

O: Don't let the wine barrel label steer you wrong, this baby is sweet. Pure honey and grapes from start to finish. Not far from a big mead in fact. The white wine is just an afterthought in comparison. Very tasty, don't get me wrong.

 641 characters

Photo of ichorNet
4.4/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow, the legendary Arquebus is finally being bottled. Brewed at Mystic for CBC, this "summer barleywine" made with local honey and Sémillon grapes (a prominent component of Sauternes wine) and aged in French oak wine barrels has been a mainstay of anniversary fests and barleywine celebrations at the brewery for years, and I'm very excited to be able to review it at home for a change. I've enjoyed this beer many times, mostly surrounded by excellent company, but to sit and savor it alone is a different kind of experience, so let's get into it.

Pours a rather unassuming pale-leaning golden color with an extremely retentive bone-white head that laces moderately as it slowly fades. Surface is murky and hazy with some carbonation rising towards the center of the glass. The creamy head and austere appearance propel this to excellence, for sure, and the color is uniquely bright for such a strong beer. The honey used definitely helps this aspect, and I'm very glad they fortified it this way as this beer just looks gorgeous in a petit glass.

Nose is similarly honey-forward, with notes of white grape, raw barley, light oak and dried fruit. Super laid back and unassuming considering its strength, though, that's for sure. It's not as acidic as some white wines, so it's more on the sweet/fruit end, and that makes sense considering the grape varietal used. A bit musty, yeasty and sweaty in the nose as well. This just seems like a good ol' strong beer to sip after working in the yard all day; forget session beers, relax with something like this and you'll be set!

Flavor is smooth and complex with wildflower honey, light florals, white grapefruit, plum and oak upfront with a finish of semi-sweet wine and tannic oak. Alcohol is relatively hidden, but this is still obviously a strong beer (just doesn't taste like 12%). Superbly balanced with very little hop character to speak of but bearing a rich palate of malty and sweet sensations. Excellent stuff here.

Feel is wonderfully well-rounded with a heavy-leaning body and light carbonation helping spread complex notes of ripe fruit and oak across the palate. Carbonation is even-handed with a rather non-intrusive temperament, instead allowing the incredibly complex flavors to provide coaxing along the tongue. Alcohol heat is fairly noticeable, relegating this to a slow sipper. That's alright, though, as you're going to want to make this bottle last for a while. Awesome stuff. Hope they bottle more of their insane barrel-aged creations... Cambridge Brewing has needed this kind of market exposure for a long time!

 2,589 characters

Photo of Mikeluzzjr
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of WunderLlama
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Draft poured into a tulip glass

Translucent Copper, white foam floating in the middle along with ring

Aroma of honey, sweet fruits

Sweet taste, honey, apples,

Lightly syrupy mouthfeel , medium mouthfeel , low carbonation

No carbonation, feel the alcohol

Very nice beer

 278 characters

Photo of jtk21351
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of alienlifeforcecube
4.21/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of blisscent
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of allstar255
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of mattmarka1
3.79/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of wethorseblanket
4.13/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes taken during GABF 2011.

43 characters

Photo of dabarton
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

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Arquebus from Cambridge Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.2 out of 5 with 129 ratings
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