Burly Wine | Half Pints Brewing Company

Burly WineBurly Wine
BA SCORE
92.1%
Liked This Beer
4.17 w/ 76 ratings
Burly WineBurly Wine
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Half Pints Brewing Company
Manitoba, Canada
halfpintsbrewing.com

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

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#3,291
Reviews:
58
Ratings:
76
Liked:
70
Avg:
4.17/5
pDev:
7.43%
Alströms:
0
 
 
Wants:
31
Gots:
5
Trade:
0
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 76 |  Reviews: 58
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.

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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 Yoonisaykul
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

reviewed this on july 6th 2011.
Might be first taste of Manitoba. Probably my first waxed bottle as well. Thanks again to Bobsy for this! Not sure how old this is but the wax is blue if that means anything.
341ml bottle opened with Taps magazine bbbarfly opener and poured into Taps magazine snifter.

A- Almost opaque burnt orange/hazelnut. Not very much of the grayish head is left but lots of peculiar speckled lacing.

S- A tiny bit of onion is what strikes me first but it doesn’t bother, there’s lots more good in here. Lots of sweet caramel and even something like almonds or marzipan. Alcohol is present but still a bit discrete. Smells very good. Alcohol creeps out as it warms.

T-Less sweet than I thought. Oxidized maybe? There some sort of red wine tartness. Hops are more present than expected as well. Very woody and robust. A little earthy even. The caramel still makes a notable appearance but instead of the butterscotch found in the smell I get more of a maillard reaction, refined sugar reduction type of taste. Very hoppy after-taste. Alchol tastes is a little bit like cognac.

M- A pretty heavy beer. Body is syrupy, medium carbonation fades fast in the mouth and finish is considerably far from dry. Astringent though. Slow drinking.

O- I think this bottle might be a tad bit oxidized but it still is a great barleywine. Full, quite hoppy without tasting like an IIPA. I want more.

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

This beer was sent to me by Shadman from BA. Cheers!

Got the blue label which makes this one the 2010 vintage (Thanks Dave for correcting me, I thought it was the 2009). The beer color is dark amber. Little head forms up. The aroma is light in intensity, I would have expected more. Get some caramel notes and sugar. When the beer warms a little bit, the aroma gets better and stronger with caramel. Complex on the taste however. Sweet. The finish is dry and slightly bitter. This is a true sipper. I started a little bit too cold, but the end was very good, if not extraordinary.

Truly a very good beer.

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Photo of Noxious26
4.92/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I believe this is the 2008 vintage. 341ml bottle with a green wax dip over the cap. Purchased at Willow Park in Calgary in September 2010. Poured in a snifter.

Beige head is just a thin cap on the pour and quickly recedes to a couple of thin islands. Minimal carbonation. Cloudy and reddish amber in colour.

Aroma is rich and full. Dried fruit, caramel, grapefruit, sweet malts. Surprisingly strong with so little head or carbonation. Hints of the alcohol become apparent as it warms.

Big, bold and rich flavours roll across the tongue. The malt is right up front with caramel and dried fruit. Then the hops come in around the middle to make a wonderfully balanced centre. Everything smoothly melds into a hoppier finish. Citrus and herbal hop notes in the finish. Aftertaste is long and drawn out. This has mellowed nicely with age and all of the characteristics blend together beautifully.

Mouthfeel is full bodied and smooth. For this much alcohol, it's amazingly drinkable. Just a little resin-y and oily.

World class! One of the top 2 Barleywines I've ever had the privilege of tasting. The other one was made by the same brewer while at a different brewery/brewpub. Why the heck did I wait so long to crack this?!?

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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 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.
4.5

S - Quite sweet with some delicious caramel notes, touch of earthy, leafy hops. Some bitter espresso is coming through alongside a fruit punch scent.
4

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.
4.5

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.
4

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!
4.5

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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.
4.5

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.
4.0

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.
4.0

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!
4.0

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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 Dawkfan
4.37/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 Vintage

A- Pour is a murky ruddy brown with a small khaki colored head, lacing is ok for a big beer.

S- The nose is really sweet, but good. Toffee, dark treacle, honey, and dark fruits. Underneath the sweetness is a citrus element and a small trace of the alcohol even after more than 2 years in my cellar.

T- More of the sweet stuff without the fruit carries through on the palate, the hops are much more pronounced here, but they're more herbal and slightly bitter on the finish and linger with some heat from the alcohol.

M- Creamy going down, finish is somewhat sticky and drying. Subtle carbonation, average body.

O- This is a rich beer as it should be. I really started to enjoy this near the end, maybe that's because I'm fairly flush in the face. I think Half Pints is in my top 5 breweries in Canada, solid stuff, check them out if you can!

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Photo of MAB
4.55/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The wax coating over the top of the bottlecap is interesting but, ultimately, stupid. I ended up with shards of wax in my beer after pouring it into a glass.

While the aroma is sweet and malty, it is subtle.
The flavor sure isn't though: Big malty goodness, thick, almost syrupy, and with some hops for balance.
Everything I want a barleywine to be. Outstanding.

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

2010 vintage. Pours a dark amber color with some sediment and a modest tan head. Nice aroma, caramel and molasses with a little licorice. Taste has sweet malts, dark fruits and a good balancing bitterness. Average body; the carbonation is quite low. Alcohol is not noticable. Not bad at all, this is a great Canadian Barleywine!

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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.

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Photo of SFLpunk
4.19/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Dany (glouglouburp on RB) for this one! 2010 (Blue label with red cap and clear/tan wax). 341mL brown glass bottle. Opened at 49 degrees straight from the cellar.

Deep dark rich, yet clear amber brown with very little off-white sudsy bubbles.

Nose is like malt extract with hop pellets thrown in it. Dark and woody up front but with some earthy pine-y hop resin. Raisin's come to mind and other dried dark fruits. Wet drift wood and barnboards too.

Palate is really dry, wow. Wasn't expecting that. Some bitterness there, but it's not just from the hops, that yeast dried this sucker out! Woody notes, a little something like cooked steak, molasses maybe (but not sweet) and dark grade B maple syrup. Palate is wide open with flavor but the hops sort of edge in and give it shape in a great way. Bitterness keeps things interesting and there's some resin notes here too.

Notes: Really much more interesting that I was expecting...well, I didn't really know what to expect, but this was pretty friggin great. ABV is well hidden and I'd say this might be a great time to drink this beer (having never had it fresh or aged longer, it's showing very well.) Really well done!

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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 hooliganlife
4.27/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

thanks to alpineclimber for this.

im guessing this is a 2010, it has may 10 written on it. green camo light wax top.

pours a deep murky hazy brown and copper. light creamy head that leaves nearly no retention.

very rich and candy like. big sweet malt and toffee. some nice light raisin and dark fruit.

a tad lighter in the flavor. still a solid sweet malt backbone that is quite heavy. light dark fruit and toffee. nice hoppy finish. lots of citrus through out. light grapefruit on the finish. slight faint hint of alcohol

very full bodied, a bit chewy. feels like i am still chewing after i swallow. very nice. bit of the alcohol tingle in the mouth and around the gums.

this was good, a real treat. for being 10.5%, it could not be hidden any better. drinks a lot like a dubbel in a way.

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Photo of marty21
4.47/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: 2010 vintage. Pours a clear deep copper/light brown with a one finger off white head. Settles to a thin cap. Leaves a little bit of lacing.

S: I get a caramel malt smell with light hops and some dark fruit.

T: For the taste I get caramel and raisins and a good hoppy taste. Finishes with a nice bitter hop bite. You get a slight warming feeling but don't taste any of the alcohol.

M: Light carbonation with a light to medium body but more on the light side.

D: This was my first Burlywine from Half Pints but immediately it became one of my favorites. I bought a few so I can age them, especially since this is the last year they're making them for awhile. It had a lot of traits that reminded me of Half Pints Humulus Ludicrous which is another one of my favorites. This was actually quite drinkable which you need to look out for with the 10.5 Abv.

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2009 Vintage
Reviewed 01/26/11

A: Pours a dakr copper/orange with a small off white head. Settles to a thin cap with a thick ring around the glass.

S: Caramel Malt and citrus hops.

T: Caramel malt with a bit of a hoppy bitterness at the end. The taste is a lot more blendid and mellower compared to a fresh burly wine. It reminds me a lot of their Humulus Ludicrous.

M: Light carbonation with a medium body. Very drinkable.

D: I really enjoyed this one. With just over a year of aging the bite isn't as hard. You don't notice any alcohol at all. Can't wait to try some more 2009 and 2010 vintages with some more years of agiing.

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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.

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

2008 Vintage

Poured into a large wine glass, where it had a thick mocha head atop a a deep red, that could be barely seen through when held against light. Left light lacing on the glass as the head quickly dissipated. Nose has sweet malt, fruit (apricot?) and a bit of spice with evidence of the alcohol underneath.

This has mellowed nicely with age, with the strong alcohol character having been muted (although still evident) since I tried one last year. The beer is malty and slightly sweet, with a bit of spice (cloves?) on the palate. The carbonation is quite low, but it coats the mouth nicely leaving a light bitterness, although a mouthfeel that is lighter than I would have expected. I shall sip away at this for a while on this -20C night.

Enjoyable. We'll see how another year does it...

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

341ml bottle at Volo poured into an oversized snifter.

Pours a murky, dark brown hue with amber edges and a sizeable tan cap. Cloudy with quite a bit of sediment.

Smell and taste are chocolate, cocoa powder, roasted malt, sticky caramel and pale malts, brown sugar, toffee, dried fruit (plum, black berries), mincemeat, cherries, vanilla, maple syrup, and a resinous, herbal hop finish.

Mouthfeel is full-bodied, viscous and lightly gooey. The hops produce a spicy bitterness on the palate with a long, drying finish. More American than English, I'd say. The ABV is undetectable, which is unusual for the style. Hence this is more drinkable than one would expect.

I can see why Burly Wine is ranked as one of Canada's top brews - it's a delectable strong ale that's perfect for sipping on a cold winter evening.

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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.

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

This is the 660ml, red wax 2007 edition of Burly Wine, picked up in a trade with rudge75 at the brewery. Thanks a ton! I never would have thought I'd get to try this. This stuff was brewed a year before I started getting into beer. Consumed December 30, 2009 (aged two years). I've used the scores from this bottle and not the 2009 since this stuff is meant to be aged.

Beautiful dark-orange in colour with tiny bits of suspended solids making the beer cloudy and totally opaque. A thin covering of off-white head and a ring around the glass. Little dots of lacing. 4.5, mostly for the great colour.

Butterscotch, strawberries, caramel malt, floral hops. Smells like a dessert. Awesome.

Not as complex as the 2008 bourbon aged version but much better than the new 2009. The 10.5% ABV shows as maybe 7% usually would, a little hot but still pretty smooth. Nice and buttery (lactic) with quite a lot of both sweetness and bitterness. Very flavourful. Quite similar to the smell actually, with strawberries, caramel and floral hops all obvious in the flavour as well. Hops are much more present here, though, imparting a lingering bitter (pleasant) after taste. There's this peppery/musty quality if you take a big sip. This actually reminds me quite a bit of Gavroche. I'd give this a 4.25 but will have to settle with 4.

Milky full body with a light carbonation. Great feel.

The flavour is too big to want more than one of these 660ml bottles but I'm really enjoying finishing this one. Really smooth for 10.5% but definitely a sipper.

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Consumed 12-26-2009

2009 vintage (blue wax) poured into an over-sized wine glass. Beautiful, opaque, dark copper in colour. An initial frothy, two-finger head settles to a thin, milky-white covering over the whole glass. Good lacing. 4

Big smells of floral hops (similar to the hops found in their Humulus Ludicrous and Little Scrapper), caramel and roasted malt. It smells like it could be an IPA, though certainly smells delicious. 4.5

Very smooth for 10.5% but not all that complex yet. This is of course meant to be aged and is so far only a couple weeks removed from its release. It doesn't taste like an IPA but there is a very noticeable hops presence. Roasted malt and caramel round it out, tasting like a subdued translation of the nose. Kind of like a barley wine version of their Humulus. The alcohol is a little hot for now but not at all overwhelming. Bitter hops at the back of the tongue on the finish. 4

The feel is a little thin but has a nice oily quality to it. Low carbonation. 4

The alcohol is still too intense and the finish too bitter to consume much of this but I'm excited about the bottle I've put in the cellar for next year. I'll be updating this review a year from now to see how it's aged. 3.5

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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.

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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 Cwrw
4.32/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ahh. Finally another Canadian Prairie barleywine contender, to go along with Alley Kat and Wild Rose. Welcome aboard, half pints!

The bottle, wearing a really plain label, sports a green wax covering the top of the neck. First I've seen on a Canadian bottle. Nice touch, Half Pints.

The beer pours a very clear dark honey colour. Excellent solid off-white head, which lasted quite noticeably (with perhaps a couple swirling coaxes from my hand). Nice.

Aroma. You want barley? You got it. This is like sticking your nose into a cup of freshly ground barley...and...rye. Yeah, huge hints of rye here. This aroma is huge on the fat, grainy, cereal notes. Wow. Very different from either Alley Kat or Wild Rose's variety, and actually quite different from most barleywines I've tried, period. Sweet bubblegum notes at first, then huge hits of syrupy cereal. Lots of vanilla and maple syrup, and brown sugar over heated wheat in milk. Breakfast never smelt so good.

The flavour is very similar to what the nose promises, with perhaps not the cloying sweetness the aroma (almost) suggests. Alcohol is not really noticeable. This really puts the "barley" back into barleywine for me--the grainy freshly ground cereal notes are perceived more than Alley Kat or Wild Rose. Reminds me a little of Mill Sreet's version. Very tasty. Nicely dry on the finish but not overmuch. A small grassy hop profile on the way down the gullet. Body is perhaps a tad thinner than expected, but this is a great addition to the Canadian barleywine family. Welcome to the table, half pints.

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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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Burly Wine from Half Pints Brewing Company
Beer rating: 92.1% out of 100 with 76 ratings
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