Blunderbuss Barleywine
Cambridge Brewing Company

Blunderbuss BarleywineBlunderbuss Barleywine
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Cambridge Brewing Company
Massachusetts, United States
English Barleywine
Ranked #54
Ranked #2,162
4.26 | pDev: 7.98%
Jan 29, 2022
May 10, 1999
Blunderbuss BarleywineBlunderbuss Barleywine
Notes: None
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Photo of Sheppard
Reviewed by Sheppard from Massachusetts

4.08/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
This review is for the 2022 version of the beer. Pours a medium brown like an apple cider color (the juice, not the hard cider). Ther's caramel, vanilla, char, cinnamon. It's a little hot right out of the gates. Melds together like a boozy burnt brûlée'd marshmallow. It's nice but time might do it good.
Jan 29, 2022
Photo of CHickman
Reviewed by CHickman from New York

4.16/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Pours almost opaque reddish brown color with a small tan head that faded quickly and left basically zero lacing. About what I expected from an oak barrel aged barleywine.

Smells and tastes of caramel, charred oak, molasses, brown sugar, vanilla, butterscotch, bourbon, dark fruit like rotting grapes and cherries, then the flavors amp up and include malt like syrup soaked bread, piney notes, orange peel, raisins, floral hops, mild spicy aspects and dark rum as it trails off.

It’s quite boozy with the vanilla and dark fruit lingering after each sip, blending with the sweet malts and toasted oak. Pretty complex in every way, but the 12.75% ABV listed on the bottle never lets up. It’s the type of beer that might develop differently in every bottle, which is what makes it exciting but a roll of the dice.
Jan 28, 2022
Rated: 4.15 by bschmidt_37 from Illinois

Jul 12, 2021
Photo of EmperorBevis
Reviewed by EmperorBevis from England

4.25/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
supplied via a meet the brewer exchange that I was friends with the brewer
[pours a red hued amber body with good off white head
aroma has hints of lime
the flavour has that nod towards butterscotch booze with citrus hoppiness
Jan 30, 2021
Photo of Brutaltruth
Reviewed by Brutaltruth from Ohio

4.34/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
From the shorty corked bottle in a snifter. This nice little barley wine
pours a murky and muddled orange tinged dark brown with light
tea highlights and a modest head of white foam that settles to a
thick ring, and a thin light film. Nose of spicy hops, citrus elements
of orange zest, touches of golden raisin, light brown sugar, and herbal
notes of pine. Flavors hit a better note with pine, oak, vanilla, light
brown sugar, dates, figs, and orange zest. Nice mouth feel; medium
body, smooth, rich, warming, low carbonation, and a medium dry
finish showing notes of cherry (!?!) and citrus.

Overall, a very nice barley wine worthy of laying down for a few years.

Oct 05, 2020
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Reviewed by StoutElk_92 from Massachusetts

4.63/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75
Pours cloudy maroon red with a creamy khaki colored foam head. Smells super concentrated, absolutely rich and amazing, notes of dark jammy berries, grape bubblegum, fresh figs, black cherry, plum, dark dried fruits, prune, caramel malts galore, dark caramel, toffee, toasted brown bread, molasses, hints of chocolate, vanilla, coconut, marshmallow, oak barrel, rye whiskey, with some earthy herbal hops. Tastes dark, roasty and fruity with notes of concord grape, dark berries, fig, black cherry, plum, prune, raisin, dark dried fruits, roasted caramel malts, some chocolate, toasted brown bread, dark caramel, dark toffee, molasses, char, vanilla, coconut, marshmallow, oak barrel, rye whiskey, grainy spice, with some earthy herbal hops. Feels medium bodied, slick with smooth moderate carbonation. Overall a really nice barrel aged barleywine.
Jun 29, 2020
Photo of GreesyFizeek
Reviewed by GreesyFizeek from New York

4.21/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
This is the 2019 vintage, Union horse reserve bourbon barrel finish. On tap at Cambridge Brewing Company in Cambridge, MA.

This smells like honey malt, toffee, spicy oak, port, bourbon, biscuits, raisin, caramel, and a slight hop character.

This has a bit of similar feel to JW Lee's, with that honey/port/maple syrup/caramel type tones. It's got a pretty sweet backbone, but the spicy oak and bourbon reign that sweetness in. There's a touch of warming booze as well. It feels very old school, and very well done in general.

This is medium bodied, just a touch syrupy, but it finishes surprisingly dry on the back end, due to the barrel character.

I've been curious about trying this beer for a while now, and it's an impressive and under-the-radar barleywine for sure.
Feb 17, 2020
Rated: 3.99 by Sammy from Canada (ON)

Feb 10, 2020
Photo of LiquidAmber
Reviewed by LiquidAmber from Washington

4.35/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
Poured into a Fremont small snifter. Pours a medium to dark reddish orange with a fine, one finger khaki head with great retention and thick lacing. Aroma of caramel malt, fresh and dried plums, raisins, dates and cherry. Flavor is dry caramel and mildly biscuit malt, dates, figs, mild plum, oak and whiskey. Finishes with rich biscuit and caramel, a bit dry. Medium bodied with light creaminess. A beautifully brewed English barleywine that has elements of both the dark fruit styles and the biscuit ones. Richly malty with nice barrel notes of oak and whiskey; well balanced. This bottle is listed as 12.5%, which is well covered. Excellent and well made.
Mar 08, 2019
Rated: 4.25 by VelvetExtract from Massachusetts

Jan 27, 2019
Rated: 4.14 by Prost76 from New Hampshire

Jan 04, 2019
Photo of mike22ne
Reviewed by mike22ne from Massachusetts

4.46/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
Poured from a bottle, 2018 vintage fresh from the brewpub.

Looks sub-par, opaque brown with no head.
Excellent smell and taste, lots of caramel toffee, biscuit dough and sweet honey and toast. A bit of dark earthy herbal hops, but this is a big malty beer. A good subtle touch of rye whiskey from the barrels.
Feels is full bodied, medium heavy, strong but well rounded in depth of flavors. Very low carbonation and some warmth but the alcohol is well hidden. Some dry oak in the finish, leaves me wanting another sip.
Overall really delicious, a fantastic beer for sipping on a cold winter's night.

Glad I could have some, will be worth getting more!
Dec 08, 2018
Rated: 4.25 by shelby415 from Oregon

Oct 21, 2018
Photo of jbertsch
Reviewed by jbertsch from Massachusetts

4.21/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.25
Cork and cage bottle poured completely flat. Aroma and flavor were still nice though. Lots of toffee with hints of caramel, peaty cherry, bread and more.
Oct 13, 2018
Rated: 4.25 by unclekeith from Alaska

Sep 18, 2018
Photo of Smakawhat
Reviewed by Smakawhat from Maryland

4.2/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass.

Color and appearances seem to hit on a lighter and murky shade. Copper muted, closer towards orange than dark expected browns, but a nice touch of copper orange if a bit muddy. Minimal head creation, faint tan possibly, and a small flat top, slightly slick.

Very impressive aroma. Bursts of marmalade and sticky syrup aromas. Jam like touches of citrus and caramel rich toffee. Hints a little bit of herbality to this as well which compliments the marmalade quality so nicely. Flirts with darker fruits such as plum and raisin too, and a bit of possible Amerian hop expresssion?

Oak aging may have not contributed too much in mouthfeel, but it sure seems to hit with dominant flavors. Richly fruit forward and a soft caramel mixed warmth, with a light texture. Simple malt backbone, not too supportive but enough to get by, and doesn't seem to carry much of an oak quality. However, the mid palate is rich in plum, cherry, and orange marmalade qualities, with an excellent sweet not overbearing toffee flavor.

Pretty solid barleywine, flirting and going between American and English flavors too. Fun times!
Apr 15, 2018
Rated: 4.4 by wshinevar from Massachusetts

Apr 09, 2018
Rated: 4.25 by paulish from New York

Mar 31, 2018
Rated: 3.99 by dannycohen62 from Illinois

Feb 06, 2018
Photo of Rimbimhoot
Rated by Rimbimhoot from Illinois

3.99/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Oak, dates, fig, grape, red apple
Feb 05, 2018
Rated: 4.44 by Vicirus from Massachusetts

Feb 01, 2018
Photo of superspak
Reviewed by superspak from North Carolina

4.35/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
375 ml bottle into snifter, no bottle dating. Pours hazy dark ruby red/brownish color with a thin cream colored head with decent retention, that reduces to a minimal spotty lace cap that lingers. Light spotty lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of big raisin, plum, prune, fig, cherry, date, apricot, red apple, red grape, caramel, brown sugar, toffee, brown bread, biscuit, and toasted oak; with lighter notes of oaken vanilla, nuttiness, chocolate, pepper, sherry, leather, tobacco, herbal, and yeast/oak/toasted earthiness. A bit of booze in the aromas as it warms, but not overwhelming. Damn nice complexity and balance of fruity yeast, dark/bready malt, oak barrel, and light earthy hop notes; with great strength. Taste of huge raisin, plum, prune, fig, cherry, date, apricot, red apple, red grape, caramel, brown sugar, toffee, brown bread, biscuit, and toasted oak; with lighter notes of oaken vanilla, nuttiness, chocolate, pepper, sherry, leather, tobacco, herbal, and yeast/oak/toasted earthiness. Light herbal/grassy bitterness and oak tannin spiciness on the finish. Lingering notes of dark fruits, cherry, apricot, red apple, red grape, caramel, brown sugar, toffee, brown bread, biscuit, toasted oak, vanilla, sherry, leather, tobacco, herbal, yeast/oak/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity, robustness, and balance of fruity yeast, dark/bready malt, oak barrel, and light earthy hop flavors; with a great malt/bitterness and oak spiciness balance; with zero cloying/astringent flavors after the finish. Slightly increasing dryness from bitter/spiciness. Mild carbonation and fairly full body; with a very smooth, creamy/silky, and slightly slick/sticky/chalky/tannic balanced mouthfeel that is fantastic. Alcohol is extremely well hidden; a mildly increasing warmth of 12.75%, with zero booziness lingering after the finish. Overall this is an amazing English barleywine! All around incredible complexity, robustness, and balance of fruity yeast, dark/bready malt, oak barrel, and light earthy hop flavors; very smooth and dangerously easy to sip on for the huge ABV; even with the mild carbonation. Huge fruity yeast complexity, rich malts, and awesome oak barrel presence. All exceptionally balanced, never overly sweet. Wish this was vintage dated, but it definitely tasted a few years old to me. A highly enjoyable offering, and amazing style example.
Jan 20, 2018
Rated: 4.1 by CraftFan5 from New Jersey

Jan 09, 2018
Photo of SABERG
Reviewed by SABERG from Massachusetts

3.99/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Poured from a recently purchased bottle into the test glass at 40 Deg.
A - Hazy, caramel colored backdrop, tiny spheres meander top side. a thin ring of off white clings to the glasses edge.
S - Hints of toffee, white grape skin, toasted oak, some worn leather.
T - That cigar wrap tobacco starts and quickly makes way for caramel, toffee, a bit of bourbon note. Vanilla and fresh fig
M - Full on, hefty and oily, sweet but not cloying
O - An excellent offering from CBC, this has the classic elements, and is accentuated by fresh fig and stone fruit
Nov 27, 2017
Photo of ManapuaMan
Reviewed by ManapuaMan from Massachusetts

3.84/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
The air is chilled...and #bil. Picked up a bottle and cracked it open a couple days later. Local + BA barleywine is a special combination.

Pours a honey-colored gold with minimal head. Starts off pencil thin then fades to swirls then random clusters of small bubbles in rapid order. Impressive clarity and hue.

Aroma on the lighter end of the spectrum, which is surprising. Candied fruit, light dates, caramel and a wisp of oak. Seems lighter-bodied.

Taste follows the aroma - candied fruit, Werther's original, toasted malts, dark fruit. Underlying earthy and nutty profile. Slightly piney and grassy hops present in the background. Low bitterness.

Finishes slightly flat and watery. I don't expect a great deal of carbonation from the style but it was less than I was geared up for. Didn't get that rich, sweet (caramel) and bitter (hops) taste. Moderate warmth from the ABV.

I'll need to give this another try at some point. Surprised my experience deviates so far from the BA community and my experience with CBC's barrel-aged beers in general. Maybe Central Waters' expanded barrel program and distribution has set a new (and higher) reference point. Who knows, but don't sleep on CBC and take my review with a grain of salt...
Nov 13, 2017
Rated: 4.22 by Odysseyalien from New Jersey

Oct 14, 2017
Photo of jdhilt
Reviewed by jdhilt from New Hampshire

4.44/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
Pours a two finger khaki head that fades quickly to a thin layer leaving no lace. Deep brown color, no highlights. Medium carbonation and medium bodied. dark fruit nose and flavor malty, dark fruit, smooth. Higher ABV, now 12.75% is mostly hidden. Expensive at $10.95 for a caged and corked 375ml bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, Ma.
Jun 08, 2017
Photo of darktronica
Reviewed by darktronica from Indiana

4.23/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
Quite fruity for an American barleywine, innit? Not much hoppy counterpoint to balance things out, but on the other hand, the bottle does not make any claim of American or English style, so I'm inclined to give a pass on that. Brewing notes online mention a mix of American and British malts, with six types of hops, aged in Heaven Hill bourbon barrels: quite a complex undertaking. The nose and palate are both well in line with the brewery's description, with tart berries (I get grape, mulberry, and hints of blue- and rasp-) matching up against some lighter caramel and vanilla flavors, partly from the malts and partly from the barrel. I get some fusel notes on the finish which are a bit of a letdown, but overall, I quite like this as a pretty distinctive take on the style.
May 22, 2017
Rated: 4.15 by Bunuelian from Minnesota

May 19, 2017
Rated: 4.5 by Grinky from Illinois

May 12, 2017
Rated: 4.45 by qcbrewer from North Carolina

Apr 21, 2017
Rated: 3.75 by newbeeraday from Pennsylvania

Apr 09, 2017
Rated: 4.25 by Hopstout from Minnesota

Feb 28, 2016
Photo of Durge
Reviewed by Durge from Connecticut

4.19/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
It's murky mahogany in appearance with a fair light malt colored head that fades to a wisp with consistent coverage in recession. The aroma is bright sour grape rhubarb with a maple malt blend. There's a neat green hop that melds with an alcohol element. The taste brings a heavy port and cedar hop blend that is accompanied by a pleasant warming as it slides down the gullet. There's a brandy edge as well. Body is medium full with a somewhat viscous feel but there's enough crisp carbonation to keep it drinkable for the style. A very nice offering.
Feb 24, 2016
Rated: 4.02 by Petegrieco from Massachusetts

Feb 18, 2016
Rated: 4.02 by Masters from Massachusetts

Feb 18, 2016
Rated: 4.25 by jtk21351 from California

Feb 11, 2016
Rated: 4.15 by Abe_Froman from Massachusetts

Feb 05, 2016
Rated: 4.2 by mltobin from Connecticut

Jan 16, 2016
Photo of Uncwest96
Rated by Uncwest96 from North Carolina

3.03/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75
Not a big fan of the barley wine. It was way too heavy and fruity. Like a fig newton suspended in a PBR.
Apr 16, 2015
Blunderbuss Barleywine from Cambridge Brewing Company
Beer rating: 94 out of 100 with 150 ratings