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Burly Wine | Half Pints Brewing Company

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Burly WineBurly Wine
76 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 76 |  Reviews: 58
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.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of mothman
4.27/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this a few months back in Winnipeg, just found my notes though.

Waxed top bottle.

Poured int to a goblet/chalice.

Pours a 2 finger head. Kind of orange tannish. Color is a ruby copper. Good lace.

Aroma is very complex. Carmel, licorice, floral hops.

Taste is kind of fruity and citrus. Heavy on the floral hops. Bready. Some dried cranberries.

Mouthfeel is bitter, but then mellows down. Goes down bitter, however. Little dry aftertaste.

Overall, this is a kick-ass beer. One of the better brews I tried while in Winnipeg. The cost was about $4 American and that was at a liquor store, so it was kind of spendy but I still highly recommend.

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Photo of orangesol
3.75/5  rDev -10.1%

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.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.35/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've had this a few times, but the most recent was at Volo. 12oz 2008 bottle with blue wax. Served in a snifter.

A - Semi-hazed ruby red color with hints of blood orange. Dime-sized film that dissipates to a thin ring. Some legs too. Great color - underwhelming head and retention.

S - Big raisin aroma, some light tannic character, burnt sugars, dark fruits, faded citrus hops. Reminds me a little of the aged bottle of Stone X that I had.

T - The taste is actually better, which is quite the oddity for this style of brew. Liquid caramel, milk chocolate, some fruitiness, roasty and and bitter aftertaste. This has definitely mellowed a bit in the past 6 months, as the ABV is pretty much undetectable. I'd love to see what a barrel would do to this brew.

M - Medium-thick body, very smooth and creamy, dry finish, a bit of warmth after a few sips. Spot on for an English barleywine.

D - It's a sipper, but not a chore. I had no problem putting down 12oz on my own and I'd have been up for another one if not for the price (damn Canadian beer taxes). The only thing really hampering mass consumption is the slight buzz that picked up near the end of the bottle.

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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.

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Photo of Derek
4.45/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Amber with a light, tan head. Some retention, great lacing. Impressive for its strength.

S: Brown sugar, toffee, marmalade, figs, nuts & earthy orange aroma.

T: Figs, plums, candied fruit, brown sugar, nuts, toffee, marmalade, nectarine, assertive bitterness, alcohol is extremely well-hidden.

M: Well attenuated, moderately-full body has a slight residual sweentess & some hop acidity.

D: One hell of an English barley wine & it's incredibly drinkable for its strength.

I've wanted to try this for a while... thanks to Wildone and CanBIF5!

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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!

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Photo of wordemupg
4.35/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

341ml bottle poured into Corsendonk Chalice dec6 2009

A a hazy golden amber with some suspended particles and a thumbs worth of head that had good retention for the style and left some lace

S a little nutty with loads of caramel and a little booze

T the booze is a little more concealed and I pick up on a little cherry but other then that as it smells

M full bodied, chewy and low carbonation

D great for 10.5% a little dangerous if you ask me

green wax over the top so that makes it 2008 I think, a few red wax bottles are hidden safely in my mothers basement where I can't drink them. good example of the style and I love the fact it's Canadian

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Photo of Howlader
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%

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

Bottle from CBA. Thanks! 2008 vintage as an extra. Consumed in honour of the announcement of Winnipeg's new NHL team. Jets fan forever!

A - Poured a dark brown/amber colour with lot's of carbonation and alot of yeast suspended. One finger beige head is creamy. Good retention with a solid thick film throughout. Soapy chunks of lacing.

S - Loads of hops from afar. More inspection brings out a little prickly pineapple. Closer brings out some really, really rich dark fruits. Absolutely lovely boozy fruitcake aroma with syrupy dates.

T - Alcohol is mild with some dustiness. Rich dark fruit is a little less intense. A note I mistook earlier ended up becoming alot more herbal and interesting. Boozy fruitcake again. Licorice in the finish.

M - Significant carbonation and a full body. Sort of an odd mix but it's not unpleasant.

O/D - Quite a nice barleywine. Took some time to open up but after a while it became very pleasant. The great aroma makes it so inviting. A solid beer. Way to go Half Pints. I'd like to try it fresh to compare as I think it might not have held up as well as a more established brewery.

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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.

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Photo of Viggo
4.2/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Harry for this treat! Neat wax covered bottle, I really like the labels on the Half Pints brews.

Pours a hazed red, thick off white head, lace spots, settles to a thin layer, but sticks around. Smell is sweet, lots of toffee, nuts, very fruity, some alcohol, dates, bit of roast, very caramelized. Taste is very nutty, grainy, dates, chocolate, very rich, roasted grains, bit of alcohol, nice bitter finish. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation, very enjoyable, a great barleywine.

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Photo of Rutager
4.3/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle looks just like the pic, so I'll have to say '10? Thanks Wordemupg!

Appearance. Pours a deep and murky caramel-amber with a thin, off-white head.

Smell. Caramel, raisins and some smooth booze with a little grainy malt.

Taste. Raisins and some nice, not too sweet caramel and some light and dark fruits with a mild tartness. A little bit of an earthy mineral taste along with the raisins in the finish. Nice stuff and gets better with every sip! Alcohol almost non-existant.

Mouthfeel. Medium-full body with below medium carbonation.

Overall. A great tasting barleywine. The high abv that is almost undetectable is amazing and can only be partly attributed to the aging. That gives this beer an extra .5 in the overall as far as I'm concerned. Thanks again, wordemupg!

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Photo of andrenaline
4.33/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've been saving the 2009 and 2010 vintages for a back-to-back tasting...

2009 Vintage in a Tulip Glass
A - Pours a nice hazy copper colour with an amber brown hue, solid finger of head with solid retention and some nice sheeting lacing.

S - Quite sweet with some delicious caramel notes, touch of earthy, leafy hops. Some bitter espresso is coming through alongside a fruit punch scent.

T - Quite the tasty barley wine. The caramel flavours come through quite nicely alongside some bitter espresso notes, much like the scent. There's a bitterness that lingers from the hops and leaves a leafy green flavour on the tongue. ABV is incredibly well hidden with only the faintest touch of heat on the palette.

M - Perfect carbonation level, coming off a bit syropy, but in a non-offensive way with small carbonation bubbles. Goes down incredibly smooth and finishes nicely with a touch of dryness.

O - There's a reason this is a top rated barley wine. Easily one of the best I've had the pleasure of trying, and certainly a high quality example of the style. Half Pints pulls off another winner. Top notch indeed!


2010 Vintage in a Tulip Glass
A - Same as the 2009 vintage, nice hazy copper colour with an amber brown hue, finger and a half of head and some nice sticky lacing.

S - Again, sweet caramel notes, some leafy green hops, though a a hint of ABV is detectable this time. Not quite as fruity as the 2009 vintage either.

T - The caramel notes come through nicely with a bit of a toffee flavour, the bitter leafy hops are a bit more prominent this time, though the ABV heat is also more detectable. A maple supgary sweetness lingers alongside the leafy hops.

M - A bit lighter on the palette, coming off a tad thin, but again nothing overly offensive. Still smooth as ice going down though and finishes nicely with a touch of dryness.

O - Perhaps its a mental thing, but I certainly found that aging helped to enhance the flavours, scent and mouthfeel of this barley wine. Don't get me wrong, the 2010 vintage is delicious, but this is definitely something worth putting in your cell for a year to mellow out. Wonderful offering and I'm glad I was able to do a back-to-back on this one. To the extent you can find some, hoard it!

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Photo of jrenihan
4.42/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beer is dark amber/copper in colour. A vigorous pour results in a moderate white head. Head is very thick and full. Good retention.

Smell is alcohol, caramel malt, wood, smoke and a bit of fruit (I get a bit of graoe?). Very full scent, big and bold.

Big malt flavours in the taste; lots of caramel and bread, but not terribly sweet. The hops provide a good counterbalance. Has a very woody flavour, perhaps oak, that make it seem as if it was aged in oak barrels, though not barrels that held booze previously. Booze is noticeable but in a good way. Somewhat bitter finish. Very nice.

Moderate carbonation, full bodied but not as big as many barleywines. Slightly syrupy.

Overall, very nice. Really a good barleywine. Has this beer seriously been retired??? Crazy.

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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.

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Photo of Jeffo
4.42/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Was able to drink a bomber of the the green-waxed 2008 vintage of this; cheers to oakbluff for that one. She was a beauty! This review is off a more recent vintage sent by kjyost, which ended up being equally as wonderful. Cheers!

Fun story too. A mate of mine lived in Winnipeg for a few years while working at the university there. We got into drinking one night and it turns out Half Pints was his favorite brewery and he hadn't had any since moving back to Ontario a couple years back. So, out came the Half Pints! He was pretty surprised to say the least.

From a 12oz bottle into a snifter
Vintage: 2010
IBU: 75

APPEARANCE: Pours a small, medium looking, off-white head with decent retention. Head quickly fades to a faint wisp and ring. Maroon red in color, opaque, with zero carbonation evident. A ring remains until the end leaving some falling dots of lacing down the glass. Good looking barleywine for sure.

SMELL: Lots of caramel and toffee, with some nice red fruit notes as well. Some cedar wood notes and floral hops round it out nicely, though the caramel and toffee aromas steal the show a bit. Bold and enticing. Very ncie.

TASTE: Big flavors of caramel and toffee, as the nose suggestd, with butterscotch in there as well. Some piney hops and sweet honeydew melon notes at the swallow, moving into a big and persistent finish of caramel and toffee sweetness, red fruity notes, and a hint of hop bitterness as well. Quite flavorful. A touch more bitterness would make this other-worldly, but it's a real treat as it is.

PALATE: Medium-fuller body and medium levels of carbonation. Creamy on the palate, goes down fine with a bit of a scratch at the swallow, finishing slightly mouth-coating. Nice here.

OVERALL: This is really well executed. The aromas and flavora are impressive and nicely balanced, and the feel is full with just the right amount of kick to it. Very impressive and extremely enjoyable. Both the 2008 and 2010 bottles went down very easily. Too bad they decided to retire this one. Can I be the first to sign the resurrection petition? Cheers guys!

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Photo of tom10101
3.25/5  rDev -22.1%

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

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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)!

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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!

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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.

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Burly Wine from Half Pints Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.17 out of 5 with 76 ratings
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