Blunderbuss Barleywine | Cambridge Brewing Company

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Blunderbuss BarleywineBlunderbuss Barleywine
BA SCORE
4.27/5
Outstanding
Blunderbuss BarleywineBlunderbuss Barleywine
BEER INFO

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

Style: British Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
None provided.

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#1,741
Reviews:
52
Ratings:
142
pDev:
8.2%
 
 
Wants:
96
Gots:
4
Trade:
0
 
User Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 52 | Ratings: 142
Reviews by darktronica:
Photo of darktronica
4.23/5  rDev -0.9%
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.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of Slatetank
4.35/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this on tap at Cambridge Brewing Company - the barleywine is the 08 version aged in Buffalo Trace barrels. Served chilld in a snifter

A - A hazy golden w/ amber hues, thin cap of pale color and tiny bead w/ rocky surface to the head w/ slight lacing that has good stickiness factor

S - The aroma is very fragrant w/ smell of floral citrus hoppiness w/ subtle aroma of alcohol and mild tangerine candy-like malt aroma. The nose has slight vanilla/caramel w/ slight spice and mild mix of astringent notes and esters of stone fruit

M - The feel is full and has strong malt influence w/ warming alcohol and moderately bitter back w/ hop acidtity balancing - the finish is dry w/ toasted spiced nuances and slightly creamy sweetness - the finish has a drying quality that lingers

T - Blunderbuss is packed w/ sweet malt which doesn't quite reach sugary in the flavors, the bourbon steps in early w/ a gentle complimentary taste that doesn't overstep its bounds- but adds to the taste. Vanilla from the oak is accompanied by a spicy and citrus taste from the hops, mildly astringent and balanced bitterness-wise. The hops add flavor to the woody barrel notes and give a lift to the booziness w/ a mild pine flavor in the back end. The barleywine finishes smooth with a very nicely balanced quality allowing the flavors of bourbon, malt, hops and oak to comingle -delicious

D - For a 11.5% barleywine this drinks very easy almost TOO easy. It has all the elements that make you want another - but yet the alcohol is mild in the overall flavor -very pleasurable to sip and the barrel usage is masterful -truly great barrel aged barleywine

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

On tap @ the Cambridge Brewing Company on 2/20/10. 2009 edition served in a snifter.

Pours a deep hazy amber with a thinner looking covering of creamy bright-white froth. Retains mostly with some thin foamy ringing but this does have a rich and sturdy flareup to it that leaves a robust cascade of lacing along the sides of the glass. The aroma is rich in the nose with honey, bread, vanilla, and fruit coming out the strongest, while spice, green citric tones, and woody tannins pull up the back. More subtle accents of herbal hops and even a smidge of brown sugar work their way in as well.

The taste stars with a big sweet base of toasted bread, caramel, honey & brown sugar, and fruity accents. The remnants of the hops are mostly herbal with some extra notes of bitter citrus and spice that lingers in the back of the throat with a dry feel. A smack of vanilla and wood hangs on the palate as well, along with some leftover residual sweetness. The mouthfeel is full bodied, with a big mouth-filling creaminess up front that then descends into a much more slick and sticky feel to the carbonation more towards the back of the swallow. There is some definite beef to this and I would say that it feels, body wise, like the posted 13% ABV but I'm pleased to find that the alcohol taste itself for the most part was held in check.

This was good take on a barrel-aged Barleywine. Maybe not quite as interesting as the description on the beer menu may have had me initially believe but the aroma and feel on this for such a big beer were enough to hold my attention through the duration of the glass. Another solid offering here from the CBC.

 1,646 characters

Photo of Odysseyalien
4.22/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of bpfrush
4.5/5  rDev +5.4%

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.35/5  rDev +1.9%
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.

 658 characters

Photo of Adamostella
4.25/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of markeyri
4/5  rDev -6.3%

Photo of kinopio
4.5/5  rDev +5.4%

Photo of thstevens12
4.09/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

08 blunderbuss bottle on location at CBC

Appearance: Cloudy, orangeish brown. No head or lacing.
3.5

Smell: Vinous - smells akin to a sour. Wildflower honey and tropical fruit (pineapple?). Warm booze. Really great nose.
4.5

Taste: First thought is honey drizzled bread. Syrupy sweet, almost cloying. The apricot character brings to mind dessert wine.
4

Mouthfeel: Slick and thin. Doesn't coat or cling-surprising given high abv
4

Overall: Good beer - glad I had chance to try. Reminds me of white port. Would love to try bal-aged iteration (09/10 vintage I believe)
4

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Photo of resistdefy
4.25/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of axeman9182
4.4/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Served in a snifter at CBC's 21st anniversary party. Pours a lovely dark caramel color, with an off white head that could stand to leave a little more lacing behind. Smells mostly like an English barleywine, though there's some hop bitterness lurking in the background. The beer is an interesting hybrid, caught between being an english and american barleywine. It's plenty sweet up front, but finishes with a bitter kick. There's also a nice vanilla flavor coming through from time spent in port barrels. The beer is nicely carbonated, and has a suitably creamy mouthfeel. A 12.5% barleywine shouldn't drink anywhere near this smooth, the alcohol is practically nonexistent and I could nurse this all night long.

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Photo of oline73
4.07/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had this on-tap at the brewery during EBF weekend. Served in a snifter.

Appearance: Pours a reddish amber color with a ring of off white head that goes away completely.

Smell: Sweet caramel with some raisins, brown sugar, and some heat from the alcohol.

Taste: Similar to the smell, which is a very good thing. Sweet with caramel and some vanilla notes. Dark fruit and smooth, warm alcohol wound things out. The finish is mildly bitter.

Mouthfeel: The body is thick and the carbonation is a bit high given the style. The finish has a touch of dryness to it.

Overall: This is a very good barleywine and I would love to have it again. Very complex and delicious.

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Photo of Pahn
4.5/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

500ml flip top growler (but they call it a bottle, so I'll call it a bottle) of 2008 Blunderbuss barleywine, drank on premises at CBC.

Appearance: Looks still. Hazy brown orange. No lacing. Attractive nonetheless.

Smell: Booze, faint musty note, lots of sweetness, some grape and some raisin. As the beer warms, the smell really coalesces into a beautiful whole.

Taste: Somewhat white wine like up front, leading to a deep "well aged English barleywine" set of raisin and sugar notes, ending with a long, chewy toffee finish.

Hard to fully describe the flavor of this one. Not a lot of notes I can name besides "Raisin, some darker malts, toffee." Still, the overall flavor approaches perfection. The flavor *is* without any overt flaws. If it's rightly a 4.5 instead of a 5.0, it's just that more things could be happening.

Mouthfeel: On this front, the beer really is perfect. It's medium bodied and a little sugary and chewy, but everything is in balance. Just enough carbonation. Every aspect of the feel elevates the flavor.

Drinkability: Huge, well aged barleywine with barely any discernible alcohol in the flavor, great depth, great balance. These are the beers that draw me to master brewers, so I can't give it below a 5.0 for drinkability. I wouldn't just order it again, I'd go out of my way to find it.

I thought I'd be sick of Arquebus and Blunderbuss after trying their various (brilliant) iterations at the recent CBC barleywine festival. The bottled 2008 stands with the best of them, and illustrates why 1 to 2 base beers can be enough to merit an entire event. Of the beers I had at the fest, I'd say only Blunderbuss aged in port barrels beats this one. Excellent stuff (par for the course for CBC).

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Photo of VelvetExtract
4.25/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Streetcore
4.75/5  rDev +11.2%

Photo of superspak
4.35/5  rDev +1.9%
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.

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Photo of bceagles39
4.6/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had on draft at CBC on Monday May 10, 2010. The 2009 Blunderbuss.

Beautiful pour, frothy head, serious lacing. Amber color.

Oaky smell at first, then onto the fruits.

Taste is sweet at first, grows in complexity with each sip. Rich flavors of raisins, caramel.

Heavy mouthfeel, which I loved, but yet still very smooth and highly drinkable.

Great example of the style, my favorite CBC beer.

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Photo of rowingbrewer
4.25/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of kjkinsey
4.31/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of hopmopped
4.75/5  rDev +11.2%

Photo of doof116
3.5/5  rDev -18%

Photo of aorloski
4.75/5  rDev +11.2%

Photo of ajcormier
4.25/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of beenitty
4.5/5  rDev +5.4%

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Blunderbuss Barleywine from Cambridge Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.27 out of 5 with 142 ratings