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

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355 Reviews
Smuttynose Barleywine Style Ale (Big Beer Series)Smuttynose Barleywine Style Ale (Big Beer Series)

Brewed by:
Smuttynose Brewing Company
New Hampshire, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.60%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
65 IBU

2007 - 11.4%
2009 - 11.1%

Added by UncleJimbo on 02-04-1999

For Trade:
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Reviews: 355 | Ratings: 601
Photo of kegerator
4.88/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Reminded me alot of Bigfoot only more subtle. i like that :)
poured out a brown amber bronze color with a huge 2 inch frothy creamy head that lingered and lingered. The lacing left by this head was outstandingly beautiful.
Aroma was a little off to me. I could not really pick up on anything specific for some reason. weird.
Taste was of caramel and smoky sweet sugars earthy pine combined with some fruity hop flavors as well. Leaves a slight burn in the chest from the alcohol. Mouthfeel was crisp and quite creamy and finished crisp and very slightly dry. I found this to be very enojoyable. It was subtle and elegant. Worth a try for sure. I will be buying more of this soon.

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Photo of KnNashua
4.85/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: Honey (fall amber), a beautiful gold with just a very slight tint of red, bubbly, small white head (my bottle was not as red or the head off white as others say, maybe a difference this year?)

Smell: citrus, yeast, sweet

Taste: Complex, first, early, mid then after tastes, all strong but none out copete or overwelm, slight sweet fruitness but not too much, good bitter but not overboard.

Mouthfeel: smooth, lasting dry but lingering sudsyness only thing not perfect about it.

At 11+% APV depending on year (not sure about this bottle conditioned 2013) strong but alcohol is not noticable (Beer Adv review says 7%, its clearly not and is ~11% as details above say)

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Photo of sponberg
4.8/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a pint glass, cellar temperature. Deep reddish copper with a thin cream colored head that's thin, but laces for a while. Big aroma of toffeelike malt, spicy slightly earthy/grapefruity hop, and warmth of alcohol.

This, to me, is what a barleywine should taste like. Big, chewy, and round, yet not overblown, with a fruity, toffeelike maltiness with hints of nuts, balanced by a solid hop bitterness. Then a gentle warming surge of alcohol joins in, followed by a spicy, earthy, citrusy hoppiness that is just below the malt. The finish is all of the above flavors happily gliding away. Not the biggest barleywine I've ever drank, nor the maltiest, hoppiest, or most alcoholic; but the balance is spot-on for my taste buds. Special, this one.

One of my three favorite barleywines, no question.

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Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead
4.72/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into tulip; surprisingly light and clear orange; by looks, this could be an amber ale or even a DIPA. Creamy white head, descends very slowly leaving tons of lacing.
Smell is very interesting; very malty, with soft grain and a hint of nutty sweetness with some lighter fruitiness as well, and a hint of wine-like booze.
Taste is tons of toasted grain malt, nutty and soft, caramel and hints of sweetness and fruit. Slight pinch of crisp hops at the end cleans up the sticky aftertaste.
Mouthfeel is smooth and full, well-carbonated.
Overall, every barleywine I've had is unique, and this one continues the trend. It's delicious, malty, smooth, and the alcohol is hidden entirely. Awesome job, not that I'd expect anything less from Smuttynose.

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Photo of alovesupreme
4.72/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2007 Poured at the Smuttynose event at Redbones.
A dark copper with a good head and great lacing.
Lots of malt character in the aroma, caramel and honey with lots of bread. A slight hop presence is also present.
Phenomenal. Honey toast is a dominating character with lots of caramel and pineapple. Hops are in the mix with some subtle citrus hues, but the beer finishes with a fantastic caramel character.
This is the chewiest beer I have yet to have. Absolutely delicious.
I will be aging multiple bottles when I can get my hands on them. This is the best Barleywine I have yet to try.

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Photo of avalon07
4.72/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Poured from a bottle to an imperial pint glass. Had an orangey color and a cloudy consistency. There was a quarter inch of foamy, fairly long-lasting head and good lacing.

S: A big, sharp aroma of malt, sugar, some fruit, and hops. Very aromatic.

T: Tasted of malt, brown sugar, toffee, some kind of lighter fruit, and hops. Extremely complex and easy to like.

M: A well-carbonated beer with a dry finish. Full-bodied.

D: One of the most dynamic and drinkable American Barleywines you're apt to find.

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Photo of Rob315
4.67/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: Dark copper color with ruby / garnett highlights. Minimal head, nice amount of bubbles slowly rise from the bottom of the glass.

S: Huge toffe notes upfrot, bread, figs, caramel, molasses, sweet rum cake

T / MF: luscious creamy mouthfeel presents notes of rich chewy caramels, toffee candies, candied sugar, dark fruits, raisins and plums come to mind, nice thick bready notes,

Overall: Incredibile, very smooth with layers of complexity and a thick but not heavy body make this a brew that commands your attention and respect. I'd love to see what more age would do for this beer. Cheers!

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Photo of ajcormier
4.67/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2004 Vintage on tap @ Portsmouth Brewery
10oz pour into a "bubble glass"

RIDICULOUS... really. One of the most beautiful aged barleywines I've ever had. Started with a nice vanilla off white head but faded quickly leaving some residual legs on the glass. Notes of caramel and toffee with a tinge of sweet fruit like strawberries, little bitterness lingers on the end a little. It had great mouth feel coating the palate until finally cleaning up 45 seconds after the swallow. There was a little more ethanol on the nose than I would have preferred for such a aged beer but the taste and aroma quickly changed that. Tasted more like 6% with little alcohol burn. Mellowed right out over the past 8 years.

Every Sunday they have a special beer on in their down stairs lounge. From Burton Baton and Paolo Santo to vintage Smuttynose beers. Check 'em out.

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Photo of ClavisAurea
4.64/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle in a snifter glass

Appearance: deep orange amber with a thick head and lace

Nose: apricot, fruity, complex, Valencia oranges, spicy

Taste: spicy hops, oranges, complex sweetness, malty finish

This was by far the finest barley wine I have ever had. The complexity of the malts paired with the subtlety of the orange/citrus notes was amazing.

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Photo of danmcg62
4.62/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Poured into a snifter from a 22 oz. bottle. Pours an orangey red color with no real head to speak of (possibly due to the way I poured it). Nice looking barleywine.

S-Fruity smell up front, specifically raisins and grapes, figs and other fruit come in as well. Very nice smell, complex and interesting stuff.

T-Wow! What a mouthful of flavor. Super malty, bananas and figs are around too. Mild alcohol and a bit hoppy in the after taste. The hops are lingering in my mouth even after I have swallowed. Great stuff right here.

M-Thick and creamy. A bit spicy due to the hops.

O-Love this beer. Great stuff from Smuttynose. Complex and pretty drinkable for a Barleywine.

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Photo of sulldaddy
4.62/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I sampled this brew at room temp. I pour a sample into my snifter. The beer pours a reddish copper color. Some sediment towards the end of the sampling. I get a sfot creamy beige head to foam up about 1 cm easily.
Aroma is rich and complex. I get some pine and citrus hops, also mixed with plums, ripe pears, a hint of toffee.
First sip reveals a fairly thick body with creamy texture and mild carbonation. Flavor is complex as well. Sweet caramel up front with maybe a hint of chocolate? Some ripe fruit comes through as well. The finish is dry and hoppy with pine notes, also a little alcohol warmth, first time I realize this is a big beer!
What a smooth brew! Very drinkable for 10%abv. Excellent example of the style.

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Photo of scooter231
4.59/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a fruit, grapefruit-juice type color- ruby red with tinges of orange. Smells very much like espresso- lots of coffee going on.

Taste is like no other barley wine I've had. Tasty, smooth, easy to drink. Coffee, espresso, hints of coffee- yummy and tasty. A good brew. A great brew. Go try. Alcohol is very well hidden- sneaky and good.

What are you waiting for? Taste!

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Photo of beerluvr
4.57/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A minimal dirty white head leaves nice lacing as it recedes, nice looking slightly hazy amber/ dark honey colored liquid with sparse bubbles slowly fighting their way thru the viscous ale. A very fruity nose with a background dark fruit undercurrent and sweet malt, spicy hoppiness...a hint of what's to come! The taste is a lush, solidly chewy and fruity malt base with a powerfully bitter hop bite that's pushed aside by a warming, brandyish alcoholic warmth. Very light note of phenolic "band-aid" tasted after swallowing. Finishes up rich & very strong, very bitter...powerful and ballsy! This is indeed a hop monster, it almost "out-Bigfoots" Bigfoot, my personal benchmark for the style. A great buy for $2.99 per bomber.

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Photo of ggilman
4.55/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bomber (Bottle Conditioned in 2011) poured into a Sebago Brewing Co. Tulip glass.

Beautiful hazy burnt orange/mahogany body, with a thin swirling head that settles to a wisp. Straight vanilla extract and alcohol in the nose. Smells like Scotch. Sweet and malty initially with a sharp alcohol sting to the tongue. This might be what carbonated scotch would taste like. Slick, oily & syrupy mouthfeel. Coats the entire palate, sweetish, and coarse. Bites into your mouth. Not overly sweet at all, some sugars linger, but overall finishes dry. Vanilla cookies and cocoa powder. Powdery malt finish. Maybe a little hard wood and smoke. This would be a winter warmer, but I'm enjoying it in July!

Tried to have my wife share this with me over dinner, after a couple sips she poured it into my glass. She liked it, but felt the 10% came raging through. I'm a little punchy after the bomber.

Exceptional. The best barleywine I've ever had!

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Photo of Imstillthegman
4.53/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A deep, dark, clear amber fills my glass with a small head floating on top. Minimal lacing is left behind. Smell isn't as prominent as I thought it would be. Mostly sweet caramel malts with some alcohol. Taste is much better than the aroma. Again, sweet caramel with a floral, hoppy, bitter finish. Present throughout the experience is a nice warming from the alcohol. Everything a Barleywine should be, as far as taste goes, IMO. Nice body and perfect carbonation. Even better as it warms. I will be getting more of these. I think I my have found a replacement for the Bigfoots in the fridge.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2007 release, poured from a 22oz bottle into a Smuttynose Big Beer Series tulip glass.

A: The beer is a deep ruby red color, with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of strong floral hops, citrus, dark fruits and alcohol.

T: The taste seems to have everything hit you all at once with a bursts of hops bitterness, fruity sweetness, an alcohol sting and a hearty malt character all jumping right out together. The strength of all those flavors can sometimes conflict with each other, but here they are quite harmonious and there’s an excellent balance. Eventually, it’s the piney hops flavor that sticks a bit in a hoppy and slightly sweet after-taste.

M: Smooth and very crisp, medium body, low-to-medium carbonation, finish is clean.

D: Very tasty, goes down quite easily for a 10.00% ABV beer, not too filling, strong kick, very good representation of style. Just like the rest of the Big Beer Series that I’ve had, this is an excellent big beer.

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Photo of beals
4.5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 edition, 22oz bomber, served in a DFH snifter.

a: one finger of light tan head, receded quickly. reddish amber, clear. nice-looking beer.

s: there's an orange/honey touch to the aroma. sweet caramel malt.

t: orange, caramel, cherry, perhaps a bit of tobacco... alcohol presence is quite strong but smooth until the finish, where it bites the back of the tongue.

m: moderate+ carbonation, chewy but not heavy.

overall: I like this one -- more of an English than American-style, but perhaps that's just because more and more American-style barleywines are cranking up the hop presence. this one is nicely balanced and would only benefit from more time in the cellar -- perhaps another year.

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Photo of ericj551
4.5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2007 bottle (reviewed 12/26/2007): Smuttynose Barleywine pours a clear red copper with a fine off white head. The aroma is dominated by hops, mostly citrusy, with tons of grapefruit. There is some malt underneath with hints of caramel and dark fruit. There is a ton going on in the flavor, its hard to describe it all. The same hops from the aroma hit first with lots of bitterness and spicy citrus. The bitterness is followed by a sweet maltiness that seems to come through a bit thin, with a good amount of dark fruitiness and esters. The finish is kind of medicinal, with a lot of harsh alcohol flavor.

I'm somewhat disappointed as I remember really enjoying this beer in the past, and you can't beat the Smutty Big Beer series. I have a couple more bottles that I'll hold on to and see if they improve with age.

5/15/2010 - Bottle from 2007. This beer has aged magnificently! The bitterness is still there but rounded, the citrus is gone and replaced by earthy, herbal hop flavor. Sweet caramel dark fruit is the dominant flavor, with hints of chocolate and toffee. The carbonation is very light and there is some oxidation present, but it really mellows the alcohol, which is hardly noticeable. This is a beer that does incredibly well with age, my review has changed considerably!

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Photo of LOCAL
4.5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2007 vintage... been cellared a year.

22oz bottle into big old wine glass

apperance: pours a deep amber with one solid finger of creamy tan head that fades into a thin soapy head.

smell: sweet malts dominate this one with brown sugar, oak, and floral hops making their presence known.

taste: the taste follows the smell very well with sweet malts up front followed closely by oak, brown sugar, maple syrup, and a faint floral hoppiness. There is a slight alcoholic warming. Becoming very balanced. Can't wait to see what the other two taste like after 2 and 3 years.

mouthfeel: smooth and creamy. medium to heavy.

over all: awesome barley wine. It was enjoyable when fresh and becoming better with age. again, very balanced.

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Photo of bditty187
4.47/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Largely clear, ruby in hue with a slight golden-tawny highlight, this has a very attractive color. A dim white head of almost one finger in height topped the beer. The head retention was very good, after a few moments it faded to a foamy cap and then to a collar. Subsequent lacing was minimal, basically nonexistent. At first the aromas were very bold with its fruitiness, like fresh grape juice mixed with a big red wine. This smell was intriguing. As I when back for more I was rewarded with much malty goodness. Man, was it rich! The supple maltiness was lovely, somewhat sweet with a kiss of caramel and a trace of deep toastiness (I can’t call it roasty). Thankful that was not the end of the bouquet. The hops came to be after a few moments of sniffing like a fool; they offered a mellow but noticeable hint of citrus rinds. Before the nose concluded raisins, plums, and figs became apparent. The bouquet is mouthwatering and obviously inviting. The potency is louder than moderate and my greedy-ass wishes it was even bigger but, atlas, it is top-notch nevertheless. My bottle is a 2001 Edition, aged in UnionMade’s cellar (thanks!). This Big Beer still packs one hell of an alcoholic punch. That is both impressive and disappointing. This is quite a flavorful Barleywine, the maltiness is big and chewy. Plenty amble. There are bushels of plums and raisins. Let me not for get the hops, even after a few years they are noticeable and offer modest bitterness and some citrusy-pine flavors. The weakened hops are no match for the big, malty sweetness (which reminds me of a fresh SA Double Bock). This doesn’t take in to consideration the alcohol punch. As the beer finish a good belt of alcohol heat/spice blends with figs, chocolate, and plums. There are plenty of flavors going on here and they all fall into the realm of what is considered a Barleywine (as expected). Since this sample as been aged I can’t make assumptions about this beer… okay, I will anyway. It seems to be an English-style Barleywine with a distinct East Coast influence. Then again, I might be full of it. When this beer is released next winter I think I might have to trade for a fresh sample, for comparison. This beer is really begging to be paired with aged cheddar cheese or smoked Gouda and some seasonal fruit. I think I will heed its request! I’ve had many great Barleywines and this is Top-5 material! In retrospect I could have aged this even longer, maybe the alcohol would have hid more and the sweetness would have curbed. Maybe not, this might be as good as it gets. Which is fine by me. Almost full bodied, I mean it is really close to full, the carbonation is low but natural, and the mouthfeel is quite pleasant. Even with the alcohol heat and the 10% abv this is very drinkable, granted I needed to sip and savor but it is drinkable nonetheless. Lovely. Thank you UnionMade for allowing me to sampling this gem, straight from your cellar. Awesome stuff.

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Photo of BeerSox
4.47/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle into 8oz snifter. 2007, bottle conditioned.

Hazy ruby red color with a light tan thin head that quickly fades to a thin rim along the glass. Spotty lacing along the class.

Sweet fruit flavors are met by tart and citrusy hops. The overall aroma is somewhat estery and flowery. The malty base is sugary and well mixed in with the fruit and flowers. A little bit of light coffee flavors come in. The high alcohol is well hidden, maybe adding a little sharpness to the scents.

Sweet and fruity malts set up the flavor, along with a strong, but not overpowering, array of tart hops. In the middle some grainy coffee like flavors come in and settle toward the end. Full bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. The feel is somewhat thick with the flavors being able to linger for a while. The end is mostly the citrusy hops.

I find this Barleywine to be vey enjoyable. It's nothing over the top, or anything to be hyped about, but I find myself taking sip after sip and looking forward to the next one. It's complex and well balanced. Just be sure to watch out, the alochol by volume is high, but well hidden. Recommended.

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Photo of devinoconnor
4.47/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very memorable brew. I had this beer over a week ago, and I can still taste it. Calling it a "Big Beer Series" is very deserving.

The smell will immediately hit you. It's sugary, and yeasty, smells like bread that's getting ready to rise. Very complex, and fun.

Taste is sweet, again very sugary, a little sour. Minimal hoppiness. For all the sugar and yeast, it's still very smooth.

Very delicious beer, perfect as an after dinner drink.

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Photo of theWrkncacnter
4.47/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle I picked up while I was in DC for vacation. I had tried their IPA and was very impressed, and I wasn't disappointed with this either. Appearance is what you'd expect from a barleywine: Nice foamy head, with a tiny bit of lacing; a nice ring remained the whole time I was drinking the beer. Pours a deep red-ish brown, the color of maple syrup. Smell is wonderful. A very nice sweet smell dominates all other smells and can best be described as a melon or honeydew. A nice deep maltiness undertones the sweetness. This is one of the best smelling beers I've ever had the pleasure to drink. The taste is nearly as wonderful. A nice sweet taste comes across first, but then fades to a lingering hop bitterness that hangs on the tongue for a while. Mouthfeel is nice and smooth, though because it's a barleywine, I could see some people thinking that it's a little harsh. Drinkability is high, just because it's so good, though a little bit of the higher alcohol shows through as the beer warms.

This is one of the best Barleywines I've ever tasted. If you have a chance to get it, it's a must buy. If I'm ever up in DC again, or any other place that carries this, I'll be sure to pick up more than one bottle.

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Photo of TK5150
4.47/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 bottle held over for release this year.

A- Pours a slightly murky orange with a small off-white/beige head.

S- Grapefruit, orange, mango, apricot, peach, tangerine, brown sugar, and alcohol all up in your face. Smells excellent.

T- Mirror of the nose. This is one hoppy delicious american barleywine. A little caramel shows up as well. Some green apple appears in the aftertaste. Fantastic. Haven't had a bottle since 2007, and boy have I missed it. I remember slightly more apple back in the day, but this stuff is still amazing. If not the best barleywine around, by far the best value.

M- Slightly thin, but good enough. It is 11.1% alc/vol remember, so it is plenty attenuated.

D- Damn delicious. The fact this is such a big beer hurts the score somewhat here.

Overall one of my favorite beers, especially for the price. Incredible barleywine. And at less than $5/bottle, I will be buying plenty of this while I can.

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Photo of bbeerman
4.45/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A 22oz bomber I am nearly done with. Poured into a tulip-style pint glass.

Beautiful light mahogany color. Next to the light, there are hues of amber; in the shadows or darkness, a deep brown caramel color comes forth.

Delightful scent. Very fruit in the nose, but not so in the taste (which I greatly appreciate). Makes you want to dive right in.

Delicious. Perhaps the best barleywine I have had to date. Truly exceptional and a treat to enjoy more than once. Drink this beer - you won't be disappointed.

A bit to bitter on the back end for me, hence just a 4.0 on mouthfeel. Otherwise, very smooth for a barleywine.

Love this ale and my only regret is that I didn't try it sooner.

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Smuttynose Barleywine Style Ale (Big Beer Series) from Smuttynose Brewing Company
3.97 out of 5 based on 601 ratings.
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