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30th Anniversary - Jack & Ken's Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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30th Anniversary - Jack & Ken's Ale30th Anniversary - Jack & Ken's Ale
824 Ratings
30th Anniversary - Jack & Ken's Ale30th Anniversary - Jack & Ken's Ale

Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.20%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
None provided.

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 824 |  Reviews: 437
Reviews by zoso1967:
Photo of zoso1967
4.42/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This snifter of goodness is served up a glossy deep dark brown with a tan head. It looks a lot like an IRS, but a bit more transparent. The foam has nice staying power and leaves pretty decent lace.

The smell is very intriguing. The first thing that comes to my mind is leather. It is roasty and malty sweet with plenty of caramel and toffee. It also has some chocolate notes and a bit of a burnt character as well as some dark fruit.

The flavor is wonderful and full of complexity. The charred character of dark malts mingle with roasty notes, chocolate, caramel and dark fruits. Mixed in with all of this is a nice juicy pine sort of hop character that seems to brighten up everything. The alcohol in this beer is masked very well, an impressive feat. This is a wonderful sweet and roasty sipping beer.

The mouthfeel is on the fuller side of medium with subdued carbonation. I am always concerned about the finish of barley wines, but this one finished very cleanly with some nice roasty notes.

This is a sipper of course, but a great one at that. This really gives the Fritz and Ken's stout a run for its money as far as which one of the 30th brews was my favorite. This is only the second "black" barley wine but I am thinking this may become one of my favorite styles.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of wmartin
4.73/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Brewed once in 2010? Correct.
Retired listing? Yep.
Bought this at the brewery a year ago and just drank it? That's right!

Why were they selling a 6 year old beer at the brewery? As this was a beer they thought would age well in the bottle, they kept some back and sold some of the fridge-aged version a year ago, thinking it was probably peaking. No doubt they sampled it along the way every few months. It kept getting better as the hops mellowed allowing the maltiness to become more forward, while retaining a strong, bitter after taste. I had some a year ago. Really remarkable. So smooth, so delicious. Its 10% ABV, but the alcohol is pretty far back. Dark sweetness and fruity flavors that are amazing. They probably thought that after 6 years it must be peaking. They were wrong, an additional year of closet storage has improved it still, and that would probably be 2 to 3 years of fridge storage. Certainly one of the best liquids to ever pass my lips!

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Photo of jzeilinger
4.17/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A - Pours a very deep burgundy color that makes the beer look almost brown. Head is very creamy, thick, and consistent.

S - Chocolate cream and dark fruit: figs, raisins. The bottle is six years old and the aroma, though very good, shows some signs of that.

T - The ABV makes itself known right away and sticks around from start to finish. Chocolate, raisins, figs, roasted toffee, and some dry oak woodiness. Finishes with a slightly bitter presence from the chocolate malt that's overpowering and balances things ot.

M - Full bodied, slippery, velvety, light syrup stickiness.

O - This aged very gracefully, totally enjoyed this bottle.

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Photo of oberon
4.23/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured nearly pitch black except for some deep reddish highlights when held straight to the light,a creamy-like one and a half finger tannish colored head atop that settled into a frothy mass.A good mix of bitter chocolate and piney hop in the nose,there is some dark fruit and roast as well.A big hopped up dark barleywine here,bitter chocolate and French roast coffee flavors really hit hard upfront,there is some dark fruit as well as some sweet alcohol to give the beer sweetness,a heavy dose of resiny/piney hop cuts thru any sweetness in the finish.A great beer here,it has so much going on,I liked it alot.

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Photo of TCHopCraver
4.12/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review is from notes on 9-7-11.

The beer pours into a large snifter with a big, fluffy khaki head atop a muddy-brown, blackish body, with a little of a ruby tint. The carbonation bubbles are fast-flowing and the lacing is globby and sticky.

The smell yields pure milk chocolate at first. Some caramel, brown sugar, and molasses creep in next. When agitated, a sharp roastiness emerges.

The taste reveals roasty cocoa, with a bit of caramel and brown sugar. There is just a faint hint of piney hops in the vein of the typical Sierra Nevada hop profile. There is a bit of mustiness as well and the finish is bittersweet and slightly chalky.

The mouthfeel is very full and creamy with a definite roasty and hoppy twinge. It is medium-full bodied.

Overall, this is a solid aged black barleywine. It is chocolate-y, roasty, and quite yummy. Good stuff.

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Photo of MadScientist
4.26/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A beautiful beer to look at that is very dark brown and deep garnet with good clarity, without a flash light it looks black. The persistent, light brown head is made of compact mousse-like bubbles

S: The alcohol seems to have mellowed and unsurprisingly the hops have died down over the year. A moderately-light citrus hops aroma that quickly fade giving way to bittersweet chocolate and a rich malt aroma backed by a light, floral alcohol aroma and light dark cherry aroma.

T: The initial impression is flavors of bakers chocolate flavor with a firm hops bitterness and a sweet alcohol. There is light dark stone fruit flavor, mainly dark cherries. The balance is fairly bitter, having only a light malt sweetness against a moderately-strong hops bitterness. The finish is medium and the aftertaste is of hops bitterness and chocolate.

M: A medium-full bodied beer with moderate carbonation and a light alcohol warmth.

O: I loved this bee when it was you and fresh for the rich malt, firm hops bitterness and strong hops flavor. A year or so later and this it's still a great beer, a little mellowed and with the aroma and flavor hops substantially muted. I've got another bottle I check on in a year or two and if I find a magic lamp I wish that this beer be brewed on annually.

 1,289 characters

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big pop when the cork comes out...this one pours into my glass a deep black with an easy two fingers of creamy tan foam that sticks around and leaves some nice lacing. Aromas start with a good mix of roast and caramel sweetness bathed in a forward citrus/pine hop mix. Toffee and dark fruits with a little coffee undertone. Quite nice and I like the hop forward aspect of it!

First sip brings a nice malty mix of roast and sweet caramel upfront quickly followed by vibrant citric and pine hop flavors that roll across the tongue. Toffee and dark fruits mix in with a touch of cocoa and coffee. Flows down with solid hop bitterness on the finish. Yum!

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy with spot on carbonation. Not overly heavy by any means. Quite drinkable for a barleywine of this size. Another tasty brew in the 30th Anniversary series, I wouldn't mind seeing more black barleywines! Cheers to Sierra Nevada, easily one of my favorite breweries of all time.

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Photo of nickadams2
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A_Black with reddish brown hue. Thick , fluffy khaki colored head with lots of lacing.

S_Sweet caramel malt,citric hops.

T_Dark fruits,hints of cocoa and espresso. Rich roasted malt with a dry hoppy finish. Very nice. Very balanced.

M_Thick and creamy. Moderately carbonated.

D_Very delicious and well balanced overall. One bomber should do the trick.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
3.85/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

In a snifter this beer was a nearly black color with a thick light brown head.
Roasted grain aroma, dark fruit. Alcohol noticeable.
Espresso taste, still some dark fruit, late hops. The alcohol was still pretty apparent.
I thought this beer was a little on the hot side. Nice beer, but I liked the other 30th anniversary beers better.

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Photo of NWer
4.7/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass.
Thick rich abundant head in spite of a careful pour that retained extremely well.
Full aroma. Taste even more so. Rich chocolate malt presence alcohol well hidden.
Aftertaste the hops take over leaving a mild sense of dryness.
Very drinkable and would definitely have another except for the high alcohol content.

 338 characters

Photo of warnerry
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of Beaver13
3.63/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle. Pours a dark brown black with a huge creamy light tan head that retains well and laces the glass.

The aroma is roasted chocolate malts, some piney hops and some grapefruit.

The flavor is lots of burnt roasted malts with a lot of residual sweetness and some fruits and a huge roasted piney bitter bang in the finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and kind of watery with low carbonation.

Overall, an interesting beer. Not quite well balanced - there's a lot of sweetness fighting with a lot of hops now. Reminds me a bit of some Black IPAs (esp the bigger hoppier ones).

 587 characters

Photo of generallee
4.09/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of megamass
4/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of BeerIsland
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Still drinking beautifully. Everything is in place and the balance is excellent. As smooth as silk and tons of flavor. I enjoyed the hell of of this one while watching PSU take it to Michigan tonight. One more in the cellar, likely will be gone at the next decent snowfall!

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Photo of merlin48
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Corked and caged bottle. Cork easily twists off, releasing a lot of gunsmoke from the big bottle. Clear mahogany body is topped by a large beige head that insists on staying for the party. Creamy lace patches the glass.

Bold aroma has dark chocolate, raw pine, and grapefruit rind. Hops burn the nose from three feet away.

Mouthfeel is creamy and about full bodied. Carbonation is ample but moderate.

Taste is dominated by malty bitter chocolate and dark roast notes of coffee. Hops are more than up to the task and serve up an in your face bitterness of pine and grapefruit. Alcohol is hidden very well but you know it's there. Finsishes with a flourish of grapefruit bitterness.

Not at all complex, just a bold and powerful tour de force of west coast hops. Like a Black IPA on steroids.

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Photo of Billolick
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A treat to enjoy a few 12 ounce pours into a Belgian style tulip glass at the Birdsall House in Peekskill, NY.

Pours near black, under a frothed up darker mocha head. Leaves thick sheeting and windowpane lacing all over the glass.

Dark malts, vanilla, mocha, molasses, and light smoke in the nose.

Full flavor, intrepid and quite tasty offering from one of the godfathers of American craft brewing. Waves of dark malts, licorice, more molasses, smoke, rum, raisins, and all things barley wine come to mind. Solid hop jolt weaves its way to join the fun.
Quality craftsmanship on display. Go get some, enjoy, then put some away to enjoy in a few more years.

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Photo of locckdown
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to hudsonphotog for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours a dark brown to black color with red highlights and a tan head. The aroma is roasted malt, chocolate and pine. The beer smells more like a hoppy stout that a barleywine.

The flavor is roasted and burnt malt, chocolate, pine and alcohol. I get quite a bit of bitterness from the hops and from the heavily roasted malt.

Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

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Photo of olradetbalder
4/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of Hamsteroceros
3.88/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sampled in a tulip glass.

For better or worse, this beer definitely hit on a few characteristics outside its style.

Deep, dark brown color with a slight ruby tinge to it. Nice thick light brown head.

Smelled alcoholic. Faint hop notes behind a rich coffee aroma.

Coffee and chocolate dominate up front. Very reminiscent of a stout. There was a nice bready flavor that complemented a sweet maltiness, as well. Tiny bit of pine. For whatever reason, I expected it to be a bit sweeter.

Very rich and velvety in the mouth. Huge beer mouthfeel-wise - maybe too big. It almost felt grainy.

Overall a very drinkable beer with many redeeming qualities, but I just couldn't help but feel that something was lacking somehow. It felt like SN had made a barleywine that wanted to be a stout and somewhere along the way managed to lose the best characteristics of both. It almost seemed like an "average" of the two styles.

 916 characters

Photo of sm0key
4/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of bsp77
4.55/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Snifter.

Appearance: Extremely dark mahogany (looks black if not back-lit) with very thick brown head that leaves lacing circles behind.

Smell: Citrus and pine upfront, with deep roasted barley, coffee, caramel and alcohol underneath.

Taste: Smooth roasted barley with an emphasis on coffee and chocolate. Toffee notes underneath supply the expected Barleywine touch. Nice counterbalance of citrus and pine that carries through the finish, but the bitterness remains restrained.

Feel: Ultra smooth and thick with a dry warming finish. This really is about as smooth as a beer gets.

Drinkability: This is a smooth and fantastic beer, and I was unable to stop drinking the 750ml bottle despite my initial plan of drinking it over two days.

Besides the touch of toffee, I am not really sure this is a Barleywine, as it resides in that limbo land of Imperial Stout, Barleywine and Double Black IPA. Other beers with a similar profile would say Imperial Stout, while others go the Black IPA route. Whatever the style is, I like it, but hope that not too many more brewers attempt it, as this should stay a limited, niche "style".

 1,169 characters

Photo of kingcrowing
3.77/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml corked and caged bottle poured into a rock art tulip.

Pours a very dark black color that makes me think stout but with a much lighter body. It has a nice small light brown head with a very aromatic nose - pine and dark malts and a bit of roastiness finish it off.

Taste is quite bitter and sharp, fairly high carbonation with a light body. Resionous pine and dark roast coffee beans dominate with a bitter finish.

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Photo of virinow
4.17/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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30th Anniversary - Jack & Ken's Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.16 out of 5 with 824 ratings