Burly Wine | Half Pints Brewing Company

58 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Burly WineBurly Wine

Brewed by:
Half Pints Brewing Company
Manitoba, Canada

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
2010 - Tan with new labels (341 mL only)
2009 - Blue (341 mL only)
2008 - Green (341 mL & 660 mL)
2007 - Red (660mL released in 2007, 341 mL released in 2008)
2006 - Tan (660 mL only)

Added by fisherman34 on 12-10-2006

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 58 | Ratings: 76
Photo of nhindian
3.36/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. Generously provided as an extra by alpineclimber, thanks a lot!

2010 vintage (tan wax)

A - Pours a fairly muddy looking brown with dark orange tinges to it. Cloudy body with about a finger's worth of tan head that doesn't have much retention to it. Some spotty lacing as well; it is almost like a leopard print in the way it is laid out.

S - The nose is pretty tame for such a high ABV barleywine. I actually have to work to get something out of it since its not very aromatic in my opinion. As it warms it does start to release aromas easier, starting with caramel but then leading to toffee and even some slightly smoked wood.

T - Luckily the flavors aren't as greedy as the nose in that they relinquish their bounty willingly. Pretty much all malts here, but without over-the-top sweetness. A decent amount of caramel permeates throughout, mixed with some dark pitted fruits and raisins. The wood continues here, as well as a somewhat alcoholic finish.

M - Mouthfeel is medium-bodied with relatively low carbonation. Smooth and yet somewhat sticky.

D/O - Drinkability is moderate. I would love to see this beer get a little more 'burly' and bold as it's currently lacking that extra oomph that I look for in a barleywine. The nose definitely needs some work, but the flavors pave a smooth foundation for that to work on.

 1,364 characters

Photo of presario
3.56/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle received in a trade with Fisherman34. The beer is lightly cloudy and dark copper coloured. Interesting spiced caramel nose. Flavour is MacIntosh toffee, alcohol and hops. Dark spice and hops finish. I don’t think that I have tasted a toffee/caramel taste anywhere near this strong in a Barley Wine. On this day I prefered it to the Fat Cat 06 and an aged Blue Monk!

 373 characters

Photo of papat444
3.58/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

***2009 vintage (blue wax)***

Thanks to kjyost for this one.

Poured from a 341ml. bottle.

Appearance: A nice 3 finger head forms that reduces to 1 and holds. Sticky lacing on the sides. Body is a bit more clear than expected with a reddish tinted body.

Smell: Musty a bit, caramel, lactic a little, plums, old wood.

Taste: A sweet hit upfront and mellows into a herb-like spiciness. Some caramelized sugar and leather.

Mouthfeel: Super smooth, low carbonation but no staying power in the mouth. As soon as the sip is gone, so is the feel. No mouth coating or lingering presence. On the plus side, it has no real alcohol heat.

Overall: A decent barleywine but the body keeps it from being top-tier. Middle of the road for me.

 731 characters

Photo of liamt07
3.69/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottles from both wordemupg and kjyost - (blueish?) wax and a 341ml bottle, so this is from 2009 I'll guess. Into a tulip. Side by side with the bourbon barrel aged version.

Mahogany body, with deep ruby red highlights. A ring of bubbles for lace, whisps of retention. Toasty malts on the nose, bread crust, caramel, toffee, brown sugar and some mild hop character. Slight oxidation notes as well. Taste has caramel and toffee up front, very sweet malt, candy, light chocolate near the end with again some mild hop character. Fairly full feel, sweet with almost no bitterness. Sticky. A nice offering, but not completely outstanding.

 634 characters

Photo of Sammy
3.77/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A young good drinking barleywine served at Volo. Dark amber, with a whisp of head, and leaving lace, served at room temperature. The aroma is liquid fermented bread, like a kvas, you are in a bakery. I can see this getting interesting as it ages. Sweet in initial tastes, the 75 IBU builds up to the finish. Appropriate carbonation, it is a good supper. An above average mouthfeel, though not creamy. Tingling at first. Bitter aftertaste.

 438 characters

Photo of ritzkiss
3.85/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz, 2009 blue wax edition on private order. Thought I'd reviewed this one before but obviously not. LCBO lab testing puts this at 8.6% not the mentioned 10.5%. I understand the costs of lab testing are prohibitive but I wish more brewers had an accurate ABV on the label rather than just an estimate. This one is 2 points off....

Pours a ruddy caramel with hints of amber, pretty hazy. A finger of tight head builds on the pour and leaves some spots of lace down the glass as I drink.

Pleasant nose. Caramel and raisin blend nicely with a fresh citric hop character, I think this is the first time I have had this relatively fresh and the hops come through quite nicely. Nothing overpowering like an American style Bigfoot, but present and adding a nice balance.

Caramel, nuts, raisins, light hop bite. Citric hops again, light bitterness in the finish. Thin, oily body... definitely needs some more heft. Alcohol evident in the back. Pretty rough and hoppy yet, though with the lack of heft I wonder how it ages.... good thing I have some aged ones to try at some point!

A nice drinkable barleywine which is not something you hit on everyday. Wish it was a little more robust and complex.

 1,196 characters

Photo of Converge
3.86/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

341ml bottle poured into a 16oz tulip glass. 2010 vintage (Tan wax).

A - Pours with a nice thick tan head of foam atop a deep burgundy beer. When held up to the light this barley wine glows a bright pink color with lots of haze floating in the body. Nice head retention and relentless lacing.

S - Woody caramel malt, sort of nutty as well. Moderate grassy hops in there as well. It's sort of got skunkiness at first as well. Maybe a bit of oak and vanilla combination playing a role here too. Some dark fruitiness shows up as well, namely dates and apricots.

T - Well, it's certainly complex. I'm getting everything form big earthy wood notes and resinous smoke flavors, to assorted spices and dark fruits. Herbal hops bite the back of the palate as this one finishes. Small alcohol warmth. It's not exactly astringent or bitter, but it's got a big bite of flavor in the finish. Hops, spices and phenolic notes linger long after the liquid has passed. Dates, plums and apricots add a touch of sweetness along with earthy caramel malt, Belgian candi sugar and cola syrup.

M - Thick and full bodied. Definitely a little oily and a little syrupy, but it's still fairly smooth throughout. The alcohol is certainly detectable in the feel of this beer, but it's still pretty good in this department.

D - For me, this beer is a touch too phenolic and herbal. The flavor is powerful and in-your-face, there's no denying that; but overall this isn't quite my idea of a great beer. Still, I enjoyed and I can definitely see myself revisiting this one again down the road, but that probably won't happen due to it being retired. Oh well, at least I got to grab a bottle before they were all gone!

 1,691 characters

Photo of pootz
3.9/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

660mil bomber Thanks Kris.

Another treat from this brewer. This time a Barley wine that;s ready for drinking right away. Not much cellering can do to this thick alcoholic ale.

Pours a beautiful hazey red-copper color with a billowy cap that lasts like malted merigue...laced the glass.

Aromas: Musty-woody...Dried fruits, cinnamon bread, spices, light burnt treacle-molasses tones from demerara... fusil alcohol mingles to create a licorice tone in the aroma.

Massive malt body with massaive hop offset up on the front side of this big ale..mid palate lots of periphery flavors develop to make it more complex..nuts, smoke, tobbacco, sweet cedar,...all this time our old friend fusil alcohol rides just below radar level...finish is drying with the big bitters of piney hopping starting to dominate...then the big warming comes :-) But by God this is smooth as a youngster...too smooth ;-)

Devilishly easy drinking makes this BW dangerous!
This barley wine is ready for enjoying right now but I will speculate a few years will drop the hop edge out of it and make it a malty fruity drink...so I put 2 in the cellar.

 1,131 characters

Photo of BigMcLargeHuge
3.9/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This little waxed twist off bottle is courtesy of tpd975. Wax twist off? I think that's a first for me. Pours hazy deep copper with thin off white head. The aroma brings up muted pine then moving into dark fruitiness, oxidized apricot meat and a touch of heat to the snoot. The taste begins sweet with muddly puddly chewy malts and then turning into a modest sensation of crisp pine hop bitterness and malts. Toward the finish sweet aged muted pine hops and then thin layers of dark fruitiness take this to closure.

 515 characters

Photo of bobsy
3.95/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a great looking barleywine, and defies the typical low retention and lacing. A beautiful mahogany pour produces a large off-white head, with sticky streaks of lacing, and a good covering of foam throughout. The aroma is sweet, but balanced, with strong toffee notes mixing with a bit of citrus and earth. Really nice toffee flavour, which comes and goes. Lots of dried dark fruit drizzled in caramel. Raisins, figs and prunes. Light chocolate notes, and prominent burned black sugar. Moderate bitterness. The alcohol is a non-factor. Medium full body, with low carbonation. The only downside is that it sometimes feels a little light in the aftertaste.

A pretty good English barleywine for an excellent Canadian brewery. While its not the best example of the style in the country, its up there. Good stuff, guys!

After buying a case, my conclusion is that this once is great fresh, when it has a large citrus character, before going through a rough patch as it transforms into more of a hop-restrained barleywine.

 1,023 characters

Photo of joemcgrath27
3.97/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Actually a bottle, BUT this is the 2010 and wanted to compare to the 2009 back to back, I hope this is okay....
A - slightly hazy amber orange, one finger of head dissipated to random islands, respectable lacing
S - very nutty and fruity rich, somewhat spicy/peppery with comfortable alcohol
T - strong tartness and alcohol kick up front, rich nutty malt in the middle, and finishes with a strong spicy hop finish
M - highish carbonation, rich flavour with thin feel, finishes puckering tart
D - this definitely ages well, as I found the 2009 to be more rich and woody compared to a more sharp tart 2010, still a very nice high octane brew, well done Half Pints (as usual)!

 673 characters

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.98/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - pours a reddish caramel, a good-sized head of pale beige foam on top. It falls back to a thin but complete cover, leaving a baby-swiss network of lace on the glass.

Aroma - heavy, thick caramel and citrus. Pretty intense, I like it!

Taste - some mild caramel malt notes at the start. The hops come in easily, not too bitter, and with a slightly sweet, citrusy edge. Could use more of the citrus/sweet. Progresses to the bitter side as it clears mid-palate. The swallow and aftertaste is dry and fairly bitter, the abv is nowhere to be found. Well, some belly warmth at the finish, but for the most part it is well concealed. Hmmm, scratch that; definitely more noticeable with warming. Not the huge flavors of an English bw, and not as sweet as I tend to like them, but the hops are forward and the beer is tasty.

Mouthfeel - some good smoothness and body, the carbonation is pretty peppy too.

Drinkability - thumbs-up from me; thanks to Viggo for sending a bottle my way at DLD09. There's not many bws I'd have two of in one night, but this one's got the goods. A very nice nightcap on my son's 10th birthday. Thanks Eric!

 1,140 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of Piscator34: Poured a deep copper color ale with a nice foamy head with some good retention. Aroma of toffee and caramel malt is quite interesting. Taste is also a well balance mix between sweet malt with some toffee and caramel notes and light dry hoppy finish. Good carbonation and alcohol wasn’t discernable with an almost full body. Very well balance and well done.

 388 characters

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

Caramel colour with a mild haze and thin head. The solid ring of fine bubbles produced a bit of lacing. The aroma was fresh grain, caramel, nuts, cake, and fruity esters. Mild bitterness with just a little alcohol flavour, quite malty with caramel and toffee throughout. Dried fruit (dates, raisins) rounded the flavour out nicely. Medium to full bodied with lowish carbonation. A little on the dry side, solid malty texture. An easy drinking barleywine, quite a good drinker.

 476 characters

Photo of biegaman
4.01/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks again Harry for this treat!
650ml bomber, waxed. Interestingly enough the wax smelt pretty good, like sugary cotton candy. But anyhow...
Pours with pretty good head, a thick white trim that mostly stuck to the outside of the glass. A prestine looking ruby colour. Classy.
A most fitting aroma for a barley wine, but with a considerable unique touch to it. Slightly bewildering, kept me smelling for quite some time before even tasting. Light alcohol with a figgy, bubble gum sense. Alcohol does little to hide, and why should it, it fits in fine lending considerable dimension. Flavours blend from one to the next beautifully. Starts on soft malty note, and transcends over a hoppy spot, then into a bourbon-like, dried fruit candyish sweetness. Some grainyess on the finish. Mouthfeel is immensely smooth considering the depth of flavours offered and alcohol percentage. Held together incredibly well.
Quite fresh flavours and if anything, too drinkable for the style. Overall, this is a great offering for a barleywine. Nice to see the suggested cheese pairing on the label. I look forward to more from this brewery.
Thanks HogTownHarry!

 1,154 characters

Photo of elricorico
4.02/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Deep orange, bordering on brown. Quite hazy. A finger of beige head formed.

The smell is a mix of toffee and citrus on top of a faint whiff of alcohol. Inviting.

One of the most balanced barleywines I've had, caramel maltiness versus an orange citrus hop flavour. There is a slight woody flavour that mixes in throughout the mouth. Finish seems a little wet.

A fairly sturdy body with a subtle carbonation that cuts through but isn't coarse. Pretty much what I like in a barleywine.

No big single flavour keeps it from having a defining character, but also makes for an easy drinker.

 587 characters

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.02/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasting notes from 6/24/11. Thanks to kjyost for this beer.
Poured in to Founder's tulip.

A - Medium amber/copper colour with a half finger of off-white head.

S - Sweet caramel, toffee, dark fruit.

T - Dark fruit, caramel, toffee, some noticeable alcohol and a good overall sweetness with a slight bitterness cutting through.

M - Medium body with a slight chew. Light carbonation.

O - One of the few Barleywines that I have really enjoyed.

 450 characters

Photo of demcorhip
4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to trevorwideman for sending this treat my way, and to Rudge75 for making this tasty brute. Enjoyed in one decadent barleywine session with raider and chonyr, where we managed to take this one side by side Strathdee Old Barleywine (thanks again DrMalt). Not a totally fair comparison as the Strathdee has had the benefit of cellaring slightly more than three years, but it was a special treat to drink the old and the new from Rudge75.

A ruby tinged deep burnt copper hued opaque brew. Yes, some yeast made its way into my glass. Very low level of carbonation, little off white head, and a thin ring of lacings graced the inside of my glass.

A slight mustiness was present, especially evident early on, which lessened as the brew warmed. May have been from the yeast that made its way into my glass. Aromas of butterscotch toffee malt backbone with perhaps a hint of treacle rose from the glass to please my nose, as well as the substantial aroma of good English hops, floral, earthy, and woody.

The mustiness mentioned before was also present, and was detracting but not unpleasant, and was negligible once the brew had a chance to warm and breathe. Butterscotch toffee, hints of treacle, nuts, and slight hints of pitted fruits (cherry, plum) were all there in their raw glory. The earthy floral bitterness was substantial enough to more than assert itself against the hefty malt backbone, thankfully in this case, in the English style as opposed to the over the top biting bitterness or neighbours to the south prefer. Can hardly wait to see how this one ages and the complexities which will only be revealed through the passage of time.

Very nicely balanced full bodied brew with a substantial malt backbone and big hop flavour to form a near perfect counterpoint. Almost no carbonation to detract from the flavour and body of this beer, and while big and full bodied it was never cloying.

A tasty big beer, perfect way to enjoy a cool winter's night with friends, family or a loved one. Sessionable as far as barleywines go, and a great intro to the style, much more approachable than the Sierra Nevada Bigfoot that introduced me to the style, after having bought it more or less only for the artwork on the label. If you havent tried this one I recommend it, and if it ages like its slightly smaller older brother, I would highly recommend it!

 2,422 characters

Photo of MeisterBurger
4.08/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours the sort of ruddy brown you'd expect from a barley wine, with a nice creamy light tan head. Dies down to a thin film. Surprisingly decent head retention and lacing.

I'm just picking up toffee and earthiness in the nose with soft fruity esters.

The taste is like treacle on bread. Dry finish. Present, warming alcohol that is nicely integrated. Biscuity with dry plum like flavors and toffee and an underlying earthiness. A little nutty. Really, a nice complex maltiness with just a mild amount of hop bitterness to balance it out.

It's a little light in body for a barley wine, but that's fine with me.

Overall a really solid barely wine and incredibly drinkable.

 673 characters

Photo of canucklehead
4.1/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Aged this one for about 10 months and I must say it seems to be at its peak. Softened to make it smooth and lush but still full of hops and old fruit. I don't think this beer will age for 5 years plus like Old Crusty or Thomas Hardy but a year in the cellar is just perfect. The beer pours orange gold with a big head. The nose is hoppy and redolent of old leather. The finish is very smooth and complex but not in your face. Nice barley wine and classy as heck

 461 characters

Photo of fisherman34
4.1/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I sampled this one at the release party, but the rating is for the bottle that I consumed at home later in the day.

Clear, medium red/amber in colour with a fairly average amount of carbonation. Aromas of bready malts, UK Goldings hops, some sweet nuts (perhaps pecan), some fruit cake, cherry, and a tiny bit of peppery alcohol.

In the mouth there's a good whack of UK hop flavor, so think floral, with a bit of mild citrus, and earth and some finer sweet grasses. The malt component is seems to weigh in with more lightly toasted characteristics of bready or biscuit characteristics without a lot of the sweeter crystal or caramel notes. While there's a lot of hop flavor, it's not overly bitter. There's a mild warming quality, but it's not as strong as you'd expect from a 10.5% beer. The body is heavy without being to syrupy, which is a good quality as far as I'm concerned.

This barleywine definitely fits into the UK style. It's well mannered and maybe even a little understated, but there's a lot going on. Folks expecting something more brash or over the top would be a bit disappointed, but this is some very drinkable stuff even in its youth. I have no clue as to how well it will age, but it will definitely be a challenge to keep some in the cellar.

 1,272 characters

Photo of grub
4.12/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 and 2007 vintages compared side by side. trevorwideman hooked me up with the '06 and Viggo was nice enough to share the '07. thanks guys!

660ml bottles. the '06 is topped with sort of yellowish tan wax and the '07 is topped with burgundy wax. sampled feb 15/08. score is for the '06 vintage, with scores for each category shown as 06/07 below.

both pour deep red with just a bit of haze that is possibly from the pour. the small tan head drops fast and leaves a bit of spotty lace behind. 4/4.

aroma is great on the '06, and still quite nice on the ;07. alcohol. big caramel kick. lots of biscuit and bready malt. bit of cracker. light toffee, mostly in the '06. i catch just a bit of orange and grapefruit in the background. the caramel and malt combo is great. the '07 is a little more fruity and less caramel than the '06. the '07 is also a bit earthy where the '06 is not. 4.5/3.5.

taste is good. medium bitterness level. earthy. bit of grapefruit. big caramel. bit of toffee. bread and crackers. bit of biscuit. the '07 again has less caramel and a bit more fruit than the '06. the '07 has less malt depth too. 4/3.5.

mouthfeel is good. medium carbonation level. medium large body. the '06 is a bit smoother, with the '07 just a touch rough around the edges. 4/4.

drinkability is good. the '07 isn't as balanced or as complex as the '06, but both are nice. the '07 definitely feels young, only having about 3 months of age compared to the 15 months of the '06. the '06 seems like it'd be even better with another year - too bad i don't have more! 4/3.5.

overall score: 4.1 for the '06 and 3.65 for the '07.

 1,623 characters

Photo of trevorwideman
4.12/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

660ml bottle shared with a friend.

Poured into a tulip glass. Pours an reddish orange colour with a half inch of fluffy head. Subsides to a lovely thin lace. Mild Carbonation. Smell is sweet and flowery, aromas of clover honey. Super hoppy aroma, but a sweet caramel malt is in evidence as well.

Taste is great, and as Barley Wines go, it's so fresh and young and ballsy that it commands respect immediately. The taste is all about the honey sweetness and a humongous hop presence. Malt is sweet and toasted, and the hops are grassy and citrussy. Well balanced but though it seems sweet at first the bitterness creeps up the palate and you realize how much hops are in this baby. Alcohol creeps up as well, it's strong, but dosen't taste it, you just feel the warmth as it goes down. Mouth is thick and dries the palate what with all the hops, and the carbonation isn't overwhelming. A great winter warmer and I'm glad I shared this bottle because it's super hefty. I'm looking forward to coming back to it in a year. A great effort, Thanks be that we have a local brewery that makes fantastic beers like this.

2006 aged 1 year: Carbonation is holding up well. Hop aroma has diminished substantially, but it still quite sweet and floral. Rich caramel malt aromas, a little boozy and very heady. Taste is developing quite nicely. The hops have become much more herbal with some aniseed and pine bitterness. Bitter chocolate notes have become more dominant as well. Alcohol is noticeable, but this is still very balanced. Fantastic. This is holding up extremely well.

2006 aged 2 years: Carbonation is a little less lively, hops are settling nicely into a very herbal and licorice like bitterness and blending with the toffee malt character exquisitely. Still a Winner.

2007 edition: Nose is very fruity-sweet. Some apple, caramel, alcohol, herbal hops. Flavour changes include a much more herbal hop profile, a bit more anise-like flavour. Heavy-duty body and massive hop bill. It's young and fresh and much more herbal than last year.

 2,040 characters

Photo of BasementBer
4.13/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

2010 batch.

A: A nice deep brown hue. The head doesn't linger and mild lacing remains.

S: A rich smell with light raisin caramel undertones.

T: Full flavored barley and a great bittering - no surprise based on the 75 IBU count.

M: Very thick consistency in the mouth and the alcohol is a noticeable tingle.

D: You can have more than one, but your gonna lose the ability to taste this great beer. For me, its a seasonal for a reason, an a one time shot when you want that one desert beer.

 493 characters

Photo of biboergosum
4.15/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

341ml bottle, red wax, so 2008 version. I know it's summer, but I need a Canadian beer this afternoon, and it is kind of overcast outside and all.

After making my way through the chippy wax covering on the bottle's cap, this beer pours a hazy dark red brick amber hue, with one skinny finger or so of densely bubbly, soapy beige head, which takes a surprisingly long while to recede, leaving dense lacing around the glass.

It smells of musty, almost fermenting black raisins, molasses, caramelized sugar, citrus oil, and a mild, yet threatening warming alcohol. The taste is a rather gargantuan caramelized bready malt, citrus zest, a more sultana-like raisin fruitiness, understated earthy figs, subtle floral hops, and a still as yet unmasked booze warming.

The carbonation is on the low side, but without seeming flat like a lot of older ales, the body a big, slick, and bold medium-heavy weight, smooth, and even creamy at moments. It finishes off-dry, but hardly as much as expected, what with the booze lurking very quietly behind it all, unobtrusive to the end.

A very solid and nicely balanced barleywine, full of fruit, caramel, and an overarching sense of being in a dank, unexplored for generations cellar. Neat, creepy, and tasty, all in one tidy little package.

 1,281 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Burly Wine from Half Pints Brewing Company
4.17 out of 5 based on 76 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.