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Arquebus | Cambridge Brewing Company

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BA SCORE
92
outstanding
40 Reviews
THE BROS
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BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Cambridge Brewing Company
Massachusetts, United States
cambridgebrewingcompany.com

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.75%

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
40
Ratings:
119
Avg:
4.24
pDev:
16.27%
 
 
Wants:
37
Gots:
10
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 40 | Ratings: 119
Photo of koopa
3.55/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this one on tap this weekend at the 22nd anniversary party. Pours a fairly pale orange to honey. Quite clear with no crown whatsoever.

Smell: Sweet malt, white grapes, diacytel butter, and a hint of citrusy hops.

Taste: Same as nose but with a bit of a boozy quality.

Mouthfeel: Thin side of medium bodied and fairly crisp.

Overall: I just didn't enjoy this one very much...

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Photo of glid02
3.58/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at the brewpub. I believe the ABV listed on the menu was 14%, perhaps it's a different recipe than in years past.

Pours a clear deep amber color with a cream-colored head that leaves decent lacing.

Smells of sweet caramel malts with large amounts of medium and dark fruits – pears, apricots, and raisins. Also present are mild amounts of oak and vinous aromas.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Strongly sweet caramel malts up front are joined quickly by boozy fruit flavors – pears and raisins with hints of plums. Midway through oak and white grape flavors mellow things out a bit before the sweetness reasserts itself and carries through to a moderately sweet ending. Mouthfeel is good, with smooth carbonation.

Overall I found this beer to be too unbalanced for my liking, with too much emphasis on the sweetness. If this beer were a bit drier I think the barrel would be able to shine more.

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Photo of mltobin
3.58/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The appearance is a cloudy amber tone with a thin head.
Arquebus smells of apricot, white grapes, malt vinegar, raisin and some vanilla too. The taste of this barleywine comes through with the boozy aspect, as well as sweet notes like honey, fruit and some herbs. MF is not too thick, the texture on this strong beer is nice and mellow. Overall, it is pretty good barleywine, but some of the flavors seem to be too far spread out.

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Photo of axeman9182
3.78/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a small teardrop shaped glass at Cambridge Brewing Company.

Arquebus pours a mildly clear orange, with almost a finger of white foam. There's no real lacing or head retention to speak of. The nose has a very strong mint presence along with a little bit each of honey and white wine. The flavor brings a bit of caramel to join a honey note that's more intense than I might have anticipated from the nose. The mint comes in mid palate, and while it's still fairly noticeable, it's not as overbearing as in the aroma. There's a subtly fruity white wine finish. The body is shocking, and very impressive in its lightness for a 14%ABV beer. The beer menu advertised the beer as being served still, but it seemed very lightly carbonated to me. Either way the end result is a mouthfeel that lends itself to the beer being way too drinkable for 14%. Cambridge makes some of the best barleywines around, but I have to say this didn't quite live up to my memory of prior vintages. Still, a very nice brew.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
3.82/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer is deep gold, kind of a dull amber. head is minimal and forms a collar of white foam as it settles out.

Aroma is sweet. Vanilla, oak, caramel, pear and alcohol. Being a barley wine I suspected some ethanol and got it.

At first sip, this brew reminds me of Sam Adams' Utopias. It's more like a port/sherry/brandy thing than a beer. The little carbonation boosts this idea. Caramel and vanilla dominate. The chardonnay barrels used (I'm told) come through in a musky kind of way. The taste is good, but I wish some bubbles would provide some zap.

A nice brew nonetheless. Interesting. If you're looking to see what Utopias tastes like, this one is the closest brew that I know of...but keep in mind it's not as strong in flavor or abv.

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Photo of xnicknj
3.89/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

on tap at CBC in boston

Pours a clear burnt orange and caramel color with very little lacing and some wispy film left behind.

Plenty of honey and caramel in the nose, followed by light oak and white wine-like fruit. Definitely sweet, with burnt sugar and alcohol heat. Thick bready malts and caramel as well.

Burly malts with sticky honey drizzled across the profile. Notes of caramel in the thick backbone, with bread and burnt sugar. Oak tannins with soft fruit sweetness, smacking of white-wine from the barrel aging with apricot and pear. Multi-layered with intermittent boozy warmth, especially during the finish. Residual sweetness as well with pear and peach.

Fuller body, mild carbonation, sticky and lingering on the tongue. A fascinating take on the barleywine, although I found the honey and wine-driven fruit a bit sweet for my tastes.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.94/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured on-tap at the brewpub and served in a tulip, the beer is a dark, ruby-brown coloring with a thin ring of white head. Nose of old world fruit, rich and sweet, with wine characteristics of booze and dryness. Flavors are rich and roasted forward, with a fruit cake overlay, sugary and rich. Fig, date, and raisin, with a bready backbone and boozy overtones. Caramel and toffee rich and roasted notes present, too. Very balanced with fruit and sugary sweet characters. Smooth, creamy body. The aftertaste is subtle cinnamon spice, booze, and a rich fruit sweetness. Clean, rich, smooth finish. For the style, this is a surprisingly drinkable beer. Very balanced and tasty.

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Photo of rinhaak
4.01/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at CBC in Cambridge.

Pours a syrupy copper red with no head.

Nose of oak and honey, cherries, and sherry.

Tastes much more like an after dinner liquor than a beer. Lovely, though, and beautifully balanced. Lots of honey and grape on the tongue, very boozy like a sherry.

Overall very nice, very enjoyable, but I question CBC's designation "summer barleywine." All the same, well worth drinking.

As an aside, I should add that when I ordered the beer in July 2011, the listed ABV is 14% - 3.5% more than BA lists.

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Photo of HopasaurusRex
4.02/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

CBC's summer barleywine served in a stemmed wine glass:

A wine glass is definitely appropriate for this ale. Honeyish orange haze with no foam stand. Aromatics of candied tangerine peel, peach preserves, honeysuckle, and honeydew melon. Musky green Chardonnay grapes mixed with vanilla oak tannins in flavor. Subdued hop flavor and aroma. Hops are clearly not the focus. Sticky and syrupy finish to this digestif in the French tradition of an after-dinner port or brandy. A tantalizing take on the barleywine style.

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Photo of steve8robin
4.04/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this on tap while hanging out in Boston. Glad to have gotten to try this...

A: Medium copper color with some hints of deep red blended in. No head with a tiny lace atop the brew. Decent.

S: Awesome. Smells of some sweet caramel malts blended with a boozy character and some port wine scents. I get some apples blended in. It's actually kind of like a spiked caramel fruit salad. Very good.

T: Very dry upfront. Sheesh, I have trouble believing I'm not drinking wine. Tastes heavily of wine upfront with a dry boozy finish. Some caramel malts in the middle blended with a nice balance of sugary fruit. Some cherry tartness on the backend. Good.

M: This one is a little on the dry side. Full bodied with heavy carbonation. Decent.

D: This one goes down good once you get past the dry boozy wall. Good.

All in all, this was a good brew that I'm glad I got the chance to try. It's very much for the beer drinker that enjoys a lot of wine characteristics in their beer.

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Photo of mshallah
4.1/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a wine glass and poured "still"(with little or no head)as stated on the beer menu. Mine had a bit of a creamy head compared to the other glasses at the table. I tried it both ways and actually preferred it with the 1/4 inch of creamy foam to emphasize the brew's beery qualities. Right away the smell and taste are an explosion of fruit. Fresh grape up front,melon in the background. Tropical fruit all around. These intense fruit characteristics make this beer something very special. The chardonnay character is mild in the nose but is more noticeable in the finish. The wine flavors really round out this barleywine and are the same I look for in a white wine. This is one of those beers that crosses lines and pushes boundaries. My first such labeled as Summer Barleywine. Will has the skill in the art of brewing.

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Photo of Sammy
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Apricot colour, average mouthfeel. Brett in the aroma. Looks and tastes white grapey. Apricot summer fruit in there, you can taste it too. Can the Chardonnay be transfered for the wood, or was it used. Very fruity, sweetish.
Enjoyed on tap at the brewpub, I am still revelling in it 2.5 days later.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.15/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From 08/18/12 notes. Had this one on tap at the brewpub up in MA. Menu said it was actually 14% ABV; maybe the earlier batches were 10.75%. They serve it as a 6 oz. pour which was the perfect amount of this one.

a - Pours a somewhat clear amber-orange color with a tiny bit of white head and low carbonation evident.

s - Smells of white wine, oak, citrus, grapes, vanilla, and some fruity malts. Tons of white wine here; very nice.

t - Tastes of white wine, vanilla, honey, smooth oak, fruity malts, green grapes, earthy notes, light citrus. More vanilla and some honey here, so SUPER smooth. Little better than the nose.

m - Medium body and no real carbonation. Body is super smooth and easy to drink thanks to the honey and vanilla.

o - Overall a really good beer. A sipper for sure, and I can see the comparisons some people have made to Utopias, as it is definitely a "have only a few ounces of" dessert beer. If you're a white wine fan you should definitely seek it out, and I'd certainly have it again if I saw it on tap.

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Photo of jlindros
4.17/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at the brewpub.

Pretty much no head, mostly clear copper brown color.

Nose has tons of sweet malts, brown sugar, some caramel and toffee, crystal malts, molasses, and a very light grape must.

Taste is pretty sweet, light buttery oak and vanilla, brown sugar, crystal malts, toffee, little creamy, pretty malty too, some booze but not too heavy, some woody barrel ester flavors, light tart grape flavor and some old white wine. Finishes a bit hot, still fairly sweet, more brown sugar, caramel, and hint of toasty malts, and grapes. Complex and tasty.

Mouth is a bit heavier bodied, decent carb for the style, bit boozy.

Overall pretty good, the grape add a nice touch to the sweet caramelized brown malts, nice malts and flavors overall, a little boozy but decent for 11ish %.

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Photo of Davepoolesque
4.18/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Whenever I drink the Arquebus, I always forget how awesome it is. It's light for a 14% barleywine with massive fruity flavors and a touch of wood. Total malt fruit bomb. Low in carbonation, makes this an easy sipper.

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Photo of taez555
4.18/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a wine glass this beer poured a hazy bright amber body with little to no head.

Surprisingly light to drink at first and only medium bodied. Rich malt, but with layers upon layers of fruit focusing big time on fresh peaches, apricots and loads of coconut. This beer is barrel aged in white wine barrels and it really shines through giving just a mild touch of oak without being overpowering. Bitterness is there to give it some backbone but never overshadows the malt or fruit flavors.

Wow! Summer barleywine, I like it, I like it a lot. The combination of fresh malt, coconut and oak is the most amazing combination on a breezy summer afternoon. It noted that they'll be aging this puppy for a while, it should be interesting to see how it ages, but it's fantastic now as it is.

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Photo of TheBeerCarl
4.19/5  rDev -1.2%
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.

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Photo of Pahn
4.2/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Cambridge Brewing Company. Reviewed from notes taken on August 9th, 2010. Served in a 9 ounce "mini-tulip".

While the BA entry says the beer is 10%~ ABV, this batch was 14%.

Appearance: Light semi-translucent copper with no head or lacing, but nice legs.

Smell: White wine, apricot, a bit of vinegar. Faintly floral. More interesting flavors come out as it warm: some bread, some brandy. Nice.

Taste: Caramel, brown sugar, white wine, apricot. It's deep, fruity, smooth, and hot. Nice toffee-like maltiness. Some tartness is here as well. Kind of funny that the vinegar and white wine notes work together really well. There's a nice, big, genre-bending musty depth to the beer, along with some good spirit flavors.

Fruitiness, caramel, funk, white wine, spirits... sound like a good combination? Well, when done by the Cambridge Brewing Company, it is one. Great tasting beer. Not a 5.0 for me, as I can think of a few better English barleywines and why they're better, but definitely outstanding.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, with almost no carbonation. Juicy and hot.

Drinkability: If I'm at CBC and this beer is on tap, I'm not going to miss the opportunity to have it. If I had been going directly home after my visit, I probably would have bought a growler if they'd let me.

English barleywine is one of my favorite styles, and this beer does it justice.

As a sidenote, I (as always) was ridiculously afraid to eat while drinking this (lest I take away from the flavor of the beer), but as the previous beers and this one's 14%~ were affecting me, I couldn't resist getting some fries with the CBC's homemade ketchup (which were amazing). Salt, tomato, and fried potato are not things I would imagine want to be paired with this beer, but it didn't matter at all; the flavor is huge, and won't be brought down even by a senseless pairing.

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Photo of WunderLlama
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
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

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Photo of SABERG
4.27/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed this offering fully. On trap at CBC

A - Deep gold, with veery little head. Stuck to the glass very much like a deset wine.

S - Facefull of fruit, absolutely stunning. Apricot, honey, melon, pear. Minor malts and very minor hop.

T - Smooth to a fault, alluring and complex. Very similar to a late harvest riesling.

M - Oily and sweet, Muscadet with a long finish.

O - A fabulous sipper, with no sign of the booziness that can trip up a great barleywine.

Fine job by CBC

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Photo of IBUnit63
4.28/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

200th review! From tap into a wine goblet...

Pours like a mead-honey-maple-caramel-apple body with thin wispy beige-rose head.

Honey, muscat, champagne-maybe some apple-very light 4 style and cider-ish.

Wow-so clean for style but very very cidery-an easy drinking barleywine with a lot of muscat character and even some fizz-lots like an Aussie sticky. As it warms it does take on more of a true dessert wine character.

Cleaner than an Aussie sticky-sparkly on mouth - alcohol shows up to cut the fat.

Could drink lots more than I should; the emerging sweet wine character tempers drinkability a bit, but this still works very well.

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Photo of YonderWanderer
4.28/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Cambridge Brewing Company.

This is the first barley wine I've really enjoyed in a long time. I'm not a huge fan of the style, and typically I find them too heavy and syrupy - just a little too much of everything. However, a summer barley wine? I couldn't pass up the opportunity to try this, as the description sounded quite good. It arrived in a wine glass and was a hazy amber color - bright and bold, with little head. The aroma was decent, pleasing without being cloying. Light fruit was the primary scent.

The taste was excellent - fruity with a solid malt base, and with a dry finish. Not much of a hop profile, but the overall taste certainly makes up for it. Mouthfeel was smooth and medium bodied - not syrupy like some barley wines tend to be. In terms of drinkability, this is a sipper - great for a nice evening of sitting outside at the brewery. Very well done.

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Photo of Dope
4.3/5  rDev +1.4%
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.

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Photo of ccrida
4.3/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On draught at the brewpub, served in a wine glass, Arquebus is a hazy peach with a small white collar and no effervescence. Dead still, but great color, I've always liked the lighter BWs, this on has a radiant glow to it.

Smell is lots of chardonnay grapes and alcohol, with a touch of toffee, it seems thick.

Taste is unusually dry and spritzy for a BW, which really cuts the viscosity of the body nicely. Very sweet, candy and apricot esters. I really like this style, fruity but not as thick and sweet as most English BWs do to the apparent minerals to help dry it out. Also, I can't help but wonder about the pervasiveness of the white wine...was this aged in chardonnay barrels?

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and slick, with a nice carbonation when you swish it.

Drinkability is high for me, very tasty and unique as well, I really enjoyed it and am glad I got to spend some time in Cambridge this summer and try this out.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
4.33/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A summer barleywine? Sign me up!

Poured still, Arquebus looks like mud. A wine glass full of watery mud. Smells like Chardonnay, light floral hops, and pear.

Tastes is very Chardonnay as well. Apricots and mild caramel with a green apple finish melded together by a permeating earthen wood. Honey, white whine dryness without being cloying. For such a high abv beer, the alcohol is extremely subdued.

More wine than barley but ridiculously creative and different. Would go great with some sun if Boston ever gets any this summer.

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Arquebus from Cambridge Brewing Company
4.24 out of 5 based on 119 ratings.
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