Burly Wine | Half Pints Brewing Company

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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

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Ratings: 76 |  Reviews: 58
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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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 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 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 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 IronDjinn
4.57/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The 2008 edition from a 341 ml brown bottle, nice touch with the green wax around the neck and cap as a seal plus aesthetic addition. However on that note allow the bottle to warm up in room temperature to make it easier to peel that wax off from around the cap, and prevent it from falling in the glass during the pour.

A hazed chestnut brown in appearance, one finger of light beige head that slowly settles to a frothy cap.

Aroma starts out malty with bready and toffee notes, then amps up a bit in the middle with spice and alcohol warmth, and continues along that calibre with some carob, brown sugar and faint wet grassy hops near the end. Not overwhelming, but enjoyable and effective.

My first sip of this barleywine was gorgeous.... The following ones were just as good. Rich chewy malt, bready, caramel and chocolate notes. That spicy alcohol warmth pops up in the middle and continues long into the aftertaste along its own seperate tangent. Just a touch of grassy, piney hops on the finish, which lingers on into the aftertaste on its own tragection as well. As the ale warms a burnt woody character emerges, providing a drying character to the aftertaste. This is a barleywine experienced on several different layers.

Mouthfeel is on the fuller end of the spectrum, but not thick, full in the mouth but with enough viscosity that one doesn't have to choke it down, or take deep breaths between each sip.

Kudos to Dave and crew on another masterful rendition, this stuff must be dynamite when it ages more, as it is excellent now while it's still young. I'll definitely be buying more--hell, I'll get a paper route if I have to in order to afford more of this stuff.

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

Pours very dark amber colour with some ruby notes, thin off-white head. Good looking barleywine. Smell - very strong cognac like aroma, some yeast and some sweet fruity flavours, cherry perhaps. Very strong great flavour. Alcohol is noticeable.
Taste - sweet and fruity upfront - plums, hint of cherry, cognac/brendy flavor is still there but a bit faded. Very complex, creamy, chewy, full bodied. Great brew! This is my first half pint brew and I can't wait to try more of their stuff. This is very solid brew. It is drinkable for style and ABV. Delicious sipper.

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Photo of stagger
4.38/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Reddish, slightly cloudy-looking. A decent head with not much lacing. Love the wax seal, but the wax is dangerously crumbly - take care it doesn't get into the beer!

S - Strong and malty.

T - Sweet and malty as befits the style. A surprisingly rich flavour, reasonably complex but not chaotic like e.g. Brooklyn Monster. Hops light but present in just the right amount to make this more than a dessert beer.

M - Very smooth, medium-bodied and not too syrupy - excellent!

D - I could easily have more than one of these at a sitting. Dangerous.

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

Bomber with a capped, and waxed top. Gotta be careful to leave the wax on the bottle...

A - Hazy, syrupy looking orange with 1.5 inches of light yellow foam. Very dense, long lasting, and rocky head could leave a touch more lacing as it recedes.

S - Big candy and fruit aromas upfront. Apple, and dried pineapple come to mind. Some grassy hops show up later. Not much in the way of pure maltiness in the nose.

T/M - Mmm good. Heavy, but good. Feels oddly light on the tongue until the alcohol and bitterness kicks you in the teeth. Thick mouthfeel with only a hint of carbonation despite the solid head. Again, tropical fruit an an apple flavour in this, but a very solid hop in the back as well. Sweet, as expected, but well balanced between the alcohol, fruit and hops. Doesn't feel nearly as heavy now as my first impression.

D - Very solid brew, and a solid choice for my 500th review. Loaded with flavour and surprisingly drinkable for a big barleywine. Well balanced.

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Photo of BDTyre
4.43/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Wow! One of the better barley wines I've had.

Murky, copper-brown with a good, white head. Rich, malty smell with vanilla, plum and brown sugar toffee hints. The taste is complex, with hints of citrus fruit, raisins, caramel, vanilla, port. Oddly enough, it likes the alcohol warmth and cloying syrup taste I tend to find in most barley wines.

A little low on the carbonation, but by far one of the best barley wines I've ever had.

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Photo of irishkyle21
4.2/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks goes out to oakbluff for hooking me up with an 06 and two 07's! Had the 06 and 07 side by side and I preferred the 06, I found it to be aging very nicely. Probably could go another year (or more) and still be in fine shape.

This review is based on the 07. Pours with small white head that holds up well, very nice lacing. Has a clear burnt orange color.

Smells of caramel malt, fruits, a little bit citrus and alcohol.

Great tasting barleywine. Lots of balance between malt and hop here. Notes of caramel, fruits (orange and grapefruit) and a fiery but also gentle alcohol that makes this beer a very drinkable "sipper".

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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.

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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.

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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!

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

thanks to demcorhip for this via trade. what a rare chance to try a barleywine so far outside the normal distribution range of this beer.

A - rich reddish brown color, not cloudy but a thick almost opaqueness in the body, nice off white frothy head that lasted an eternity.

S - Rich sweet caramel / toffee malts, dark ripe fruits and spicy hop. The hops were prominent but not almost overwhelmed by the malts. Intriguing!

T- similar to the aroma but with a rich warmth and complimentary intermingling of flavors. A marvel at each sip.

M - Full bodied with a capital F. This one is a thick brew that somehow manages to stay just outside of cloying.

D - for such a full bodied, warmth inducing beer this one makes your taste buds cry out for another sip. Incredibly easy to drink.

Not sure when this was bottled but it's definitely a nice drinking barleywine!

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

Bottled in December 06 and consumed in April 07.

Appearance- beautiful ruby/brown with a frothy head and good lacing.

Nose- dark fruits and hops. Very inviting

Taste- real smooth. The hops and malt have blended nicely after a few months in the bottle. Very malt forward with hops showing up on the back end. Sweet dark fruits, but not cloying. Hops are on the piney and bitter side- perfect ying for the malt yang.
Drinkability- quite good. This is a great marriage of english and american style barelywines. Should age marvelously and I'm quite pleased I have a few extra bottles for future tastings. I'm looking forward to putting this up to a fresh 07 next winter. This is the best beer I've had out of my hometown brewery. Well done Dave!

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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 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.

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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 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!

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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 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.

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Burly Wine from Half Pints Brewing Company
4.17 out of 5 based on 76 ratings.
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