Smuttynose Barleywine Style Ale (Big Beer Series)
Smuttynose Brewing Company

Smuttynose Barleywine Style Ale (Big Beer Series)Smuttynose Barleywine Style Ale (Big Beer Series)
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Style:
Barleywine - American
Ranked #131
ABV:
11.6%
Score:
89
Ranked #8,576
Avg:
3.99 | pDev: 10.53%
Reviews:
358
Ratings:
616
From:
Smuttynose Brewing Company
 
New Hampshire, United States
Avail:
Rotating/Seasonal
Wants
  84
Gots
  61
SCORE
89
Very Good
Smuttynose Barleywine Style Ale (Big Beer Series)Smuttynose Barleywine Style Ale (Big Beer Series)
Notes: First brewed in England, these potent, malty monsters were frequently aged before being put into small bottles and sold as strong beers or even medicinal tonics. The American version has been blown up with more alcohol, larger bottles and more hops.

Smuttynose Barleywine straddles these two branches of the barleywine tree. When you taste it, you’ll notice deep, rich caramel malt flavors, balanced with hop bitterness. Fruity hop flavors act as a garnish for its amped-up but classic flavor. For a more refined experience, tuck a few bottles away for a year or two. The alcohol will mellow and the hop aromas will fade into the background, leaving the luscious malt to shine on its own.

65 IBU

2007 - 11.4%
2009 - 11.1%
Reviews: 358 | Ratings: 616 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by ChipMurray:
Photo of ChipMurray
ChipMurray from Pennsylvania

4.44/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up in Vermont last week. Absolutely impressed by how good it is. I intend on doing a fuller review when time permits.
A thick, viscous pour, yet a medium mouthfeel, very succulent.
Malty with a hint of sweetness, not cloying.
Definitely hoppy, but overall in great balance.
An exemplary barleywine, and I should have expected no less from Smuttynose.

Feb 24, 2014
More User Reviews:
Photo of connecticutpoet
connecticutpoet from Connecticut

3.23/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Aug 06, 2015
Photo of liamt07
liamt07 from Canada (ON)

3.75/5  rDev -6%

Jun 02, 2014
Photo of Viggo
Viggo from Canada (ON)

4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear red/orange, nice thick off white head, lots of lace, good retention from these guys. Smell is sweet, very malty, lots of toffee, some floral, citrus/pine, pretty standard barleywine. Taste is very malty, nice dark fruit/toffee, some pine and floral, very rich, nice. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation, very nice, and good with food. Thanks Tim (beerfruit)!

Jan 15, 2007
Photo of Daniellobo
Daniellobo from District of Columbia

3.58/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Nice barleywine, with a hefty alcoholic edge, a bit too raw on this incarnation.

Presentation: 22 oz capped brown bottle. Label with a somewhat classic and forced drawing of a woman holding-harvesting hops?and noting main ingredients and style. Side paragraph describes the series, style, and main intent. Shows bottle conditioning date (2011). Served into a snifter.

A - Clear amber pour, with nice frothy head, moderate retention and lacing with a faint surface memory ring.

S - Intense citric notes, grapefruit, and some malty sweetness woven with crude boozy hint.

T - Caramel maltiness, uff the alcohol is quite raw at this point and takes too strong a role. Still nice, with touches of orange and lemon peel, malt sweetness, struggling a bit under the booze..

M - Medium-full body with medium to low carbonation, smooth ride with the boozy punch in the finish.

O - Not too bad a sipper, and the undercurrent is not bad. I typically do not mind the hefty alcohol presence but here I feel it needs some time to integrate itself and earn a better flow.

Notes: Nice barleywine, reminds me of the common ground it shares with their wheatwine, and while different brews, it makes me long for that one. The wheatwine was also rather assertive but the sweeter edge of the wheat made it more drinkable upfront, and I´m missing that a bit here.

Apr 04, 2011
Photo of ZappaCat
ZappaCat from Massachusetts

3.2/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Grabbed the 2007 release as soon as I saw it on the shelf. Generally speaking, I'm impressed with Smutty's Big Beer releases, and I've been enjoying the diversity of barleywines recently, discovering that no two are overbearingly similar. This after going my whole beer drinking career talking shit about the style...

Pours a deep mahogany, with no head whatsoever. Smells fruity like sweet apples (or maybe fresh cut pumpkin even) with a tinge of booze. I'm not sure I've ever smelled apple so heavily on a beer before.

First taste is boozy, which I find a bit disappointing. I tend to go for barleywines with a nice balance of flavor, but upfront the alcohol is steering the ship. That apple does pop up in the middle back of the tongue and lingers slightly, which is pretty nice. On certain sips I taste the fruitiness as being almost grape-like. Also quite pleasant. Unfortunately it isn't the fruitiness that lingers, but an alcoholic bite that makes way for an almost medicine like aftertaste, which isn't hugely pleasant, although not entirely a bad thing either.

I'd say this has the pro of many barleywines, which is every sip tastes somewhat different than the last. The downside is that most of these varying complex flavors are overshadowed by a strong sense of alcohol. 10% ABV is certainly high, but I've had higher that don't taste this boozy. This unfortunately is what drove me away from the style when I first tried it however many years back. I can still appreciate this ale, however there are others I'd prefer to spend my money on. I do wonder how this would taste after a year or two in the basement...

Still, price to quality ratio is quite high. I'll buy another, throw it downstairs, and crack it next December next to the 2008 release. Until then...

Dec 17, 2007
Photo of Wisconsinality
Wisconsinality from Wisconsin

3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber poured into imperial pint.

A- Pours a nice burnt orange with a good amount of haze to it. A finger's worth of head that leaves some nice lacing on the side of the glass.

S- They weren't joking when they said it was a hopped up barleywine. A little bit of citrus to go along with the normal dark fruits common in bwines. A rich malt adds a little sweetness to the aroma.

T- At first sip this reminds me of a DIPA that has a little age on it. Big amounts of hops but not bittering. Some sweet molasses and some dark fruits. Good malt base and some alcohol make itself known.

M- Medium to full body with some warming from the alcohol. A little more carbonation than usual for the style. Just the smallest hop bite on the back of the tongue.

D- If you like really hoppy bwines, this is for you. I prefer mine a little less carbonated and with a bigger malt presence. Still a good offering from Smuttynose.

Jun 27, 2010
Photo of goodbyeohio
goodbyeohio from Oregon

3.62/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

twenty-ought-six

dark red, like illumination through a velvet curtain. clear but dangerously foreboding and lacking any foam retention. thorough brown sugar-malty smell peppered with grapefruity hops in small doses. even some vanilla presents itself in the typical hoppy BW category. very harsh flavorwise.. the burnt sugars start and finish with an abrasive chalkiness running throught the beer's heart. aspiriney coating left in my mouth after each sip, improves fractionally with each degree of warmth. has the potential to be great, but has a wacked malt bill that just can't be explained. perhaps this beer should have been a couple percents less in alcohol to achieve a more drinkable taste.

i think ill age a bottle, although i dont know this will necessarily go in the right direction for cellar gold. disappointing, although drinkable. smutty is always good but this runs along the bottom thread of the spectrum.

Mar 27, 2006
Photo of Kinsman
Kinsman from California

4.02/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Vintage 2007 Review:

Hops have faded, leaving a syrupy sweet desert beer. Alcohol has subsided in flavor, leaving the malt to come through. Seems to have past its prime at this point, not much of an improvement over a fresh bottle.

Original Review:
Hazy copper colored ale fills the glass under neath an ivory colored head. Decent head retention at about 1 finger thick.

Sweet and syrupy aroma gives off hints of fruits like oranges and even grapes. Toffee and caramel also seem to contribute to the syrup like quality that makes this beer smell like something you'd put on your ice cream.

Taste is again very sweet, as one would expect for this style but there is a much more noticeable hop character. Fruity candy like sweetness at first but this gives way to citrusy and slightly bitter hop profile.

Mouthfeel is hearty and a bit warming for this nice winter evening. Overall, Smuttynose has another quality product with this barleywine. While it's not as hoppy as some American Barleywines (Bigfoot), it's well balanced character make it quite enjoyable.

Feb 04, 2011
Photo of bruachan
bruachan from Massachusetts

4.08/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

i love this series!

beautiful pour: a creamy, bone colored head lazes over a decadent and deep sunset crimson liquid. it looks very caramelized

the hop aroma is predictably strong, leaping from the glass with sticky, citrus abundance. a scent of crushed pine needles. bountiful sweetness forms the rack on which the hop decadence hangs

the flavor continues where the aroma left off, delivering to my tongue the sticky, herbal, minty. the hop circus is not entirely the only show in town but the malt doesn't advertise as loudly. it's tasty, to be true, but certainly behind the hop spearhead

drinkability? well, it's delicious though three of these in one sitting would probably prove unmemorable, so i have to dock points for that, i suppose

Sep 22, 2008
Photo of Drknight
Drknight from Virginia

3.97/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Feb 22, 2015
Photo of allengarvin
allengarvin from Texas

4.17/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Fairly cloudy cheerywood color, with good-sized light tan head.

Aroma: Sweet, slightly nutty malt aroma, with a touch of apple or peach fruitiness.

Flavor: Huge mix of intense flavors: sweet, peppery alcohol (and very warming), sweet malts, spicy and earth hops (along with lots of bitterness to offset the malt). Fruity, vanilla yeast characteristics lurk around the edges. Powdery, dry bitterness makes for a very long finish.

Body: Big mouthfeel, lots of body.

Thanks to malto for this very BIG beer.

Dec 19, 2004
Photo of golf4collet
golf4collet from West Virginia

4.5/5  rDev +12.8%

Mar 21, 2014
Photo of warriorsoul
warriorsoul from Pennsylvania

3.92/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a growler freshly filled a couple hours ago at Shoreline Beverage in Huntington, NY (thanks for the tip Malto).
A real attractive bronze/rust color w/ a nice finger full of off-white head that disappears quickly. Lacing is very thin and has no cling at all.
Aroma is real enjoyable...rum raisins, cherries, and some alcohol present.
Taste is packed full of raisins, grapes, and has a decent malt backbone. I was expecting something sweeter from Smutty.
Alcohol is present too, but is not upfront and does not linger...just warms you up perfectly.
The mouthfeel is just right for the style...a bit syrupy and somewhat thick.
Drinkability is average, as I never find the barleywines to be highly drinkable...a perfect one to enjoy this time of year.
I would prefer this particular offering aged for at least a year, and I will do this with the few bottles I just picked up last week...I could simply not avoid picking up a growler of this brew when I saw it available...blame me?

Mar 06, 2005
Photo of grrrah
grrrah from California

3/5  rDev -24.8%

Dec 18, 2013
Photo of medic25
medic25 from Connecticut

4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amber brown color with a thin white head that quickly fades. Hoppy nose. Rich hoppy flavor, nicely balanced with sweet malt. Nice presence of alcohol provides a warming, toasty feeling on the tongue. Highly drinkable for such a potent brew; nice for a nightcap on a chilly night.

Apr 15, 2008
Photo of ElGallo
ElGallo from New Hampshire

4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2009 bottle poured into a balloon glass. Good finger of head that dissipates quickly but leaves a little lacing.

Nose is thick, sweet caramel, which I love. At first sip this beer is delicious. Plenty of caramel notes but still some faint hops for a year-old bottle. A little fruitiness in there, and maybe some mild oak, which was a welcome surprise. There is a dank hop flavor in the aftertaste that I really like.

Surprised to find a bottle still on the shelf after a year, but this was a great find. I have heard this is very hoppy when fresh, but I liked the heavy malt tones when aged.

Dec 08, 2010
Photo of morebeergood
morebeergood from Massachusetts

4.5/5  rDev +12.8%

Jan 14, 2014
Photo of nathanmiller
nathanmiller from New York

4.78/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Feb 07, 2016
Photo of Citadel82
Citadel82 from New Jersey

3.32/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I drank this after having a few Dale's Pale Ale. I was a bit disappointed as I have found the Smuttynose product line to be excellent for the most part.

Poured a murky, ruby brown with a shortlived tan head that left some decent lacing.

Aroma was alcohol and citrus with some sweet malt.

Taste was not very balanced. I know this is a big beer but the hoppiness and alcohol were way over the top and had too many sharp edges. This beer needs to be allowed to mature some in my opnion.

It is drinkable but will be more drinkable given some time.

Feb 04, 2006
Photo of JohnnyBarman
JohnnyBarman from Canada (ON)

4.27/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber picked up on a recommendation at Knightly Spirits in Orlando. 2011 edition.

Poured into a goblet. A hazy amber brew, with visible sediment that suspends in the glass until it finally settles. A thin head is all that survives. Not the best looking brew I'll admit, but few barleywines ever are.

The nose is quite inviting: big caramel, malt, bread, peach, a bit of booze and citrus. Quintessential American barleywine nose here.

Tastes excellent - flavorful and complex. The citrus hops added a lovely counterpart to the sweet malty blast at the beginning. Dry grain to the finish. Notes of peach, apricot, wine. Nice chewy feel, medium bodied, excellent carbonation. Slightly meaty with the sediment.

Great barleywine, highly recommended.

Apr 22, 2012
Photo of AlexJ
AlexJ from North Carolina

4.35/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

OK, I love this beer. I think it is the best value around -3$ for a 22oz. bottle of delicious 10% abv. beer. Let me tell you, I've drank more than a few of em'. Anyway...
Pours a lovely deep amber-brown into my favorite goblet. A chunky peak of beige head quickly recedes into a veil that remains till the end. Lacing is surprisingly adequate for such a strong beer.

The nose is filled with huge aromas of various malts, oak, vanilla, spice, and resionous, pine-drenched hops. There is an underlying presence of citrus notes from the hops as well. The aroma alone warms you up. Alcohol is moderate, but not hot.


A taste reveals huge creamy malts followed by a battle royal between pine and citrussy hops. A lot of candied fruit, dates, and roasted malt flavors abound. Alcohol level is evident, but subtle. Finishes slightly sweet with tongue-coating hops. Body is medium to big with creamy-soft carbonation. I reccomend sharing a bottle, as it is getting harder and harder to type!

Dec 05, 2004
Photo of joedon
joedon from Minnesota

2.88/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I've had this beer in bottles on a couple of tries and was quite pleased. When I had the chance to try it on tap, I was very hopeful to give it a try.

At the Sunset Grill and Tap in Boston today, I had a snifter of the Barleywine. It was a big disappointment. The hot alcohol taste dominated everything and made it very nearly undrinkable. I'm not sure what the difference with the bottled version might be but apparently, something went wrong with this keg. Nice bitterness, good color and lacing and lots of malt flavor and aroma. But the burning alcohol dominated everything else. Also had a bit of metallic-chemical aftertaste.

Jan 04, 2008
Photo of MrSeth
MrSeth from Massachusetts

3.88/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The head has loose bubbles which build a 1/4 inch head. The color is a reddish-orange. The smell is sweet, with a hint vegetal funk. The flavor is like pineapple, cherries, and toasty malt. The body seems light for a barley wine, which makes this offering alot like a strong IPA.

Mar 26, 2005
Photo of chrispoint
chrispoint from Connecticut

3/5  rDev -24.8%

Feb 20, 2012
Smuttynose Barleywine Style Ale (Big Beer Series) from Smuttynose Brewing Company
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 616 ratings