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

very good
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:
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%

Added by UncleJimbo on 02-04-1999

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Reviews: 355 | Ratings: 605
Photo of Sammy
3.75/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Drinkable and the barley taste is there, it's a typical American barleywine, hopped up on C hop, with citrus taste, a barley dominated substantial aroma. Peachy colour with small and significant head.A bit of bourbon corn sourness from the Jack Daniels barreling of one year. Still, I am glad I cellared it for a year.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.67/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to mjtiernan for sending me this one!

2011 vintage.

Pours a murky brown color with a 1 inch light tan head that settles to a thin film. Random small spots and streaks of lace dot the glass on the drink down. Lots of sediments floating around in this one. Smell is of biscuit-like malt and some citrus zest. Kind of a weak smell overall on this one. Taste is better with some malt, brown sugar, and citrus zest hops on the finish. Mild bitterness lingers on the palate after each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a somewhat thick and sticky mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good barleywine but nothing too amazing going on.

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Photo of metter98
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is hazy reddish orange in color and poured with a thin ring of white bubbles around the edge of the glass and some lacing on the surface.
S: There are light to moderately strong aromas of caramel malts in the nose.
T: Similar to the smell, the taste has flavors of caramel malts and a bit of malty sweetness mixed in with a light amount of bitterness.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. There are some hints of stickiness.
O: This beer is a good representation of the style and has a nice balance between malts and hops.

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Photo of brentk56
3.82/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

2013 bottling; 10.6% ABV

Appearance: A very impressive showering of foam as the head builds up over the clear amber liquid; spotty lacing lines the side of the glass

Smell: Very resinous, with caramel tones buttressing

Taste: Resinous and piney, up front, with an abrasive tobacco bitterness that builds; the caramel malt flavors are overwhelmed by the the hops but linger underneath into the finish

Mouthfeel: Full body with moderate carbonation

Overall: This beer will become much more user-friendly with a year or two of age on it but right now it is brash and abrasive

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.65/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a medium dark copper color ale with a medium foamy head with average retention. Aroma of sweet malt with some traces of dry figs. Taste is mostly dominated by some strong and sweet malt with a nice subtle floral touch. Dry figs and prunes are present though not overly dominant. Body is above average and alcohol is well hidden. Overall, this is a very nice barleywine but lack of complexity doesn’t allow to elevate to great status.

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Photo of superspak
3.88/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle into snifter, 2011 bottle; so it is probably about a year old now. Pours hazy reddish orange color with a nice 1 finger dense khaki head with good retention that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Some spotty lacing on the glass. Aromas of big caramel, apple skin, biscuit, grapefruit, pine, herbal spiciness, citrus peel, molasses, some dark fruit, and a bit of alcohol. Nice and well balanced barleywine aromas here. Taste of big caramel, orange zest, pine, biscuit, dark fruit, grapefruit, herbal spiciness, molasses, toffee, and toasted malt. Decent amount of bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of big caramel, citrus, pine, molasses, and herbal spiciness on the finish for a while. Medium carbonation and full bodied; with a very creamy and slick mouthfeel. At 11.6% this is most certainly a sipper, and I would expect it to be. Good balance of flavors and bitterness; with a nice malt forward profile. Alcohol is fairly well hidden with only a warming present on the finish. Overall this is a very nice and well balanced barelywine. Nice flavor profile and very enjoyable stuff.

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Photo of oberon
3.85/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a deep garnet red with a thinner slight off white head,this is an old school barley wine in the nose meaning mainly big malt sweet cherry and brown sugar dominate I even picked a touch of smoke in there.Nice big chewey mouthfeel but went down quite easy,big malty flavors to go along with the chewey mouthfeel once again rum soaked cherries and vanilla with notes of carmael and brown sugar with just a light smack of pine in the finish letting you know the hops are there.I didnt get the big hop presence of this beer like many others who have reviewed it a nice barley wine none the less.

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Photo of jlindros
4.1/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Part of our central New England Beer Advocate Meetup #2.

A: Light fizzy head fades quickly, bright hazy orange red color.

N: Hoppy! Some sweet malts, slight boozy, sweet fruit, some orange peel.

T: Still hoppy! One, if not the, hoppiest barleywine I've ever had. Chewy hops, chewy malts, some sweet malt flavor, spicy hops. Very bitter and hoppy, almost an aged DIPA. Citrus and ping with a little boozy character. Some tangerine flavor as well.

M: Semi medium, chewy, decent carbonation.

F: Semi sweet, malty, long bitter spicy and chewy hops, some pine, a little orange peel lingering, and hot, a little too boozy overall.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.35/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed at room temperature. Its slightly hazy copper body has a ruby cast and displays deep amber highlights beneath a creamy head of ivory foam. Initially the head holds quite well and leaves wide swatches of lace about the glass, but it eventually fades to just a wide but creamy collar and some cottony surface covering. The nose delivers a variety of fruits (without being very specific about any one in particular) and some grassy and citrusy hops over a caramel-drenched maltiness. The body is medium-full with a very fine, natural carbonation that leaves it quite smooth and velvety across the palate. Rich, caramel malt is equally balanced in the flavor by juicy fruitiness, grassy and lightly citrusy hops, and a brisk bitterness. Its alcohol is noticeable within the first few sips, but it never becomes excessive. It finishes dry as its malt and fruit flavor fade quickly but leave its bold bitterness and some leafy and grassy hop flavors behind. Well done and certainly worth trying, but be sure to enjoy this one at closer to cellar temperature to get its full range of flavors.

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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 dbrauneis
3.53/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on tap at Mugs Alehouse in Brooklyn, NY

A: Pours a slightly hazy golden amber in color with a thin off-white head that reduces to a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing is observed.

S: There is a fair amount of alcohol present in the aroma of this beer along with the sweet caramel malts and grassy hops.

T: Some caramel malt sweetness followed by a good dose of hops and a lingering bitterness in the finish. The hop flavor comes across as slightly grassy.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Slightly sticky and there is a slight presence of alcohol heat in the finish.

O: Pretty decent sipping beer though the presence of the alcohol makes it a less than easy drinker.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.91/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Acquired through a trade made with Muddyfeet way, way back in early 2006.

Appearance: Pours a clear, dark amber body with a full, foamy off-white head.

Smell: Sweet-smelling aroma of oranges and lemons with only a light addition of caramel. Hint of green peppercorns and breadcrusts.

Taste: Sweet caramel maltiness with a slight toasted quality to it. Faint spiciness. The hops provide a rich citrusy flavor, but yield only a mild, reserved bitterness. Finishes bittersweet.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: A good barleywine and another fine offering from Smuttynose.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.81/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2005 release. Gaudy orange-bronze with brilliant tangerine trim. There was near riotious carbonation immediately after the pour, but things settled down nicely within the first few minutes. All those bubbles have created a spectacular looking head that is large, chiseled rocky, creamy and sticky. Except for the color, I could almost believe that I was looking at a Belgian ale. This is a great looking American barleywine.

The nose is good without being hugely impressive. The Brewer's Notes on the Smuttynose website say that they decided to be a little more aggressive in dry hopping the '06 since this nose 'is a bit understated'. I agree with that assessment. The biggest contributors are alcohol, caramel and oranges (in that order).

There's nothing much wrong with the flavor. While I wasn't too impressed with the bitterness during my first few mouthfuls, it seems to be gaining in intensity with each successive sip. It tastes like most of the 80 IBUs that were present at the time of bottling are still present. More hop flavor would be nice. The hop bill (Santiam, Cascade, Simcoe and Warrior) sounds like it might have been a doozy when this sucker was fresh.

The malt backbone is some kind of sturdy. It tastes like a near equal mix of pale and caramel, with an underlying brown sugariness resulting from the addition of... brown sugar. Oranges and candied cherries macerated in Jagermeister fill out the remainder of the flavor profile. Jagermeister has always tasted like cough syrup to me and this beer does as well. Perhaps that's where the association is coming from.

Incompletely masked alcohol doesn't ruin the good time vibe, but it puts a damper on things. Again, more hop flavor would have worked wonders. I guess that's what I get for reviewing an aged barleywine. Not only is my belly warming up, but my mouth and tongue are on the hot side too. As a result, drinkability suffers.

The mouthfeel is closer to medium than it is to full (if style is taken into consideration). It's firmly silky smooth rather than being lushly silky smooth. I may not be able to assess the mouthfeel properly after too much longer because my mouth is becoming more and more numb as the ounces disappear. The somewhat generous amount of bubbles don't annoy because they're so fine.

Smuttynose Barleywine Style Ale would have been a better beer with twice as much hop flavor and half as much alcohol presence. I can understand the former being considerably less aggressive with age, but why didn't the latter mellow as well? If you're cellaring an '05, I'd suggest waiting another year or two at the very least.

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Photo of billab914
3.85/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2009 vintage. Poured from a 22oz bottle into my Dogfish snifter. It poured a deep amber color, with some ruby red to it when the light hits it. It started with a thin, bubbly head to it, and faded to a thin lacing after a few minutes.

The aroma shows a lot of sweet, malty flavors to it. I get some caramel out of it, along with a bit of a dark fruit, cherry like quality. A moderate alcohol presence is there as well.

The taste starts out with the sweet, malty, caramel flavors leading the way. Towards the finish I get a resiny, bitterness starting to come through. I get a little bit of a cherry, fruity presence in it as well.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side, with carbonation moderate for the style. Drinkability was pretty good, it was a nice barleywine to sip on this evening. It had some big flavors, but managed to integrate them together pretty well. A very nice beer overall.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.35/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This lovely 2007 vintage 22oz bottle has been staring at me for quite some time now. I have been dying to try it and decided to pull it tonight when some company was over. Served chilled and poured into a bunch of taster glasses. This one was consumed on 11/14/2008.

The pour was very nice. A rich reddish tinted amber color coming through very clearly on this one. Nice head of white foam reached about an inch before settling down into a thin veil that covered the rest of the glass.

Very nice sugary sweet, candy malt type aroma, your classic nicely aged barleywine. Nice notes of a caramel and a dulled hoppy flare to it still. Light bready malts are coming through nicely now as well. The flavor was very rich. Almost a syrup like feel to it as it rolled across the tonque. Thick with a nice coating feeling to it. The flavor was very sweet, lots of candy flaored malts and a nice and thick pine resin like flavor that was still nicely displayed here. Very mellow with almost no alcohol at all present here. Smooth and again very mellow finish left a long lasting flavor that urged you to go back for another sip as soon as possible.

Overall this was really an excellent barley wine. Very understated and under the radar. I would really enjoy trying this one again, especially fresh. Seems like a real winner.

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Photo of smcolw
4.34/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Small head that settles to a thin layer of bubbles throughout the tasting. The color is dark amber and clear.

Semisweet nose with a nice floral hop balancing presence.

Excellent pale to crystal malt base. There's also an excellent hop counterpoint that creates balance and interest. Creamy, full body but the carbonation fits for this beer. Simply put, this is hoppy barley wine that the masses could enjoy.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.5/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Another beer shared by Drew. Thanks.

A: The pour is a dark orange-copper color with a thin tan head.

S: Smells like stale sugar, brown sugar, caramel, and oxidation. A decent amount amount of grapefruit hops and perhaps even some grapefruit.

T: The grapefruit flavors from the hops are strong here and there's a nice citrus zest quality to it. Decently bitter with plenty of different sugar flavors like brown sugar, toffee, and caramel.

M: The body is medium with a moderate to high level of carbonation, especially for a barleywine.

D: Sort of middle of the road for a barleywine. Not really bitter, not really sweet. And what is there is not really anything that great or interesting.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.6/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

From 07/27/11 notes. Had on tap at Rustico in Arlington, VA at their Smuttynose event. 2011 vintage served in a tulip and sampled side by side with the 2010 vintage of their Wheatwine.

s - Pours a hazy orange color with one inch of off white head and moderate carbonation evident. Not quite as dark as the whitewine, but looks good.

s - Smells of caramel malts, dark fruits, bready malts, and light alcohol. Not as sweet as the wheatwine and a little more alcohol, but still pretty good.

t - Taste is a bit harsher than the wheatwine. Tastes of alcohol, dark fruits, and caramel malts. Way too much alcohol; prett hot fresh.

m - Thick, full body and moderate carbonation, with a good amount of alcohol warmth. Too hot right now.

o - Overall this is a decent beer, but needs some time. I feel like this one could age very well, as my only real complaint was the heat and alcohol in the taste. Would like to get a bottle and sit on it for a year or two and see what happens. I preferred the wheatwine, though to be fair it had an extra year of aging on it.

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Photo of Ciocanelu
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy orange color. Sweet aroma with dark sugar, dark fruits and earthy hops. Taste starts hoppy with earthy notes, walnuts, figs, really nice. Easy drinking, well hidden alcohol, bitter aftertaste.

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Photo of johnnnniee
4.04/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2010 Vintage
Sampled on a what the hell kind of day.
Pours a slightly cloudy orange amber color with a big fluffy white head that recedes quickly but never really disappears. Smells of sweet fruit and citrus hops. Slight touch of alcohol and oranges and apricots come to mind. Taste is hop bitterness right away but almost instantly gives way to some sweetness. Fruits and light brown sugar and caramel lots of hints of citrus mid way through finishing with a long lingering orange apricot and bitter hop finish. Full bodied, sweet sticky almost syrupy mouthfeel, medium level of carbonation. I enjoy this beer every year, its a touch on the sweet side, but I enjoy the hell out of it.

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Photo of jwc215
3.99/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle-conditioned 2007:

Pours orangeish copper with a thin head that quickly recedes o a few bubbles and a thin ring. Minimal trailing lace sticks.

The smell is of citrus/pine. Resiny notes intermingle with grainy, biscuity, caramelish malt and peppery alcohol.

The taste is of caramel/graininess. Hops not quite as full as nose would have them, but they are surely there. Fruitiness becomes pear-like as it warms/progresses. It has a warming, sweetish, fruity/almost boozy finish.

Just about hits full-bodied without being too thickish or sticky, though alcohol does cling to the palate.

A nice, fruity barleywine to sip on.

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Photo of Billolick
4.2/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bomber bottle, no freshness dating found. Pours golden amber, clear, minimal head, tiny buble film, leaves minimal lacing. Nose is faint malt. Taste is smooth, malt. Vanilla, leather,melon and caramel. Hops are subtle, not overpowering. Grainy, grapefruit hop notes come through. Quite warming with Alcohol (10%!) present, but well hidden by fulll flavors of this tasty sipper. well done, seek and enjoy.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.3/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearance: beautiful, rosey, garnet color, with a solid, 1/2" algae-green head o' foam.
Aroma: big, fat, and sugary, fruity, sweet, while still soft, and well-rounded. A lovely fruit-punch in the nose (but not a fruit punch-in-the-nose), with notes of strawberry, cherry, melon, & more. Discernible alcohol, but not rough at all.
Taste: great hops, tasty malt, but potent booze stands tall every inch of the way, traveling through every corner of the mouth, treading every path of the senses. Long presence on the palate, with a resilient boozy finish.
Great taste, full fruit, thick malt, and in the final analysis, the strength proved to be managable, but the alcohol remained long into the finish.
One delicious barleywine!
Large-size thanks to Bierman9 for this beautiful bomber!

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Photo of drabmuh
3.18/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On tap at Pizza P. Ugh, not a fan. Beer is brown with a wispy tan head of small bubbles, no lacing, no carbonation to speak of, low retention.

Aroma is sweet and boozy, lots of alcohol in the nose.

Beer is thin and harsh, very hot, thins out on the end and has a really dry finish, leaves me wanting a glass of water after every sip, I didn't like and won't have it again.

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Photo of Gobzilla
3.58/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a burnt orange in color with pale brown highlights that had a thin head and left a little lacing sticking to the glass. The aroma was pretty hoppy alongside, citrus, caramel, brown sugar, and sweetness I'm assuming are from the malts. The taste was dominated by the caramel brown sugar sweetness but did have a good hoppy bitter punch and had citrusy accents. The brew was medium in body with a good amount of carbonation which had a citrusy, sweet, hoppy, sugary, bitter finish. It drank decent but was a bit too hoppy and bitter for the type of barleywines I like.

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Smuttynose Barleywine Style Ale (Big Beer Series) from Smuttynose Brewing Company
3.97 out of 5 based on 605 ratings.
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