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

BA SCORE
89
very good
607 Ratings
Smuttynose Barleywine Style Ale (Big Beer Series)Smuttynose Barleywine Style Ale (Big Beer Series)
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Smuttynose Brewing Company
New Hampshire, United States
smuttynose.com

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

BEER STATS
Ratings:
607
Reviews:
355
Avg:
3.97
pDev:
10.83%
 
 
Wants:
85
Gots:
62
For Trade:
3
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 607 |  Reviews: 355
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.

 318 characters

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 spycow
3.5/5  rDev -11.8%

Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev +0.8%

Photo of t0rin0
3.25/5  rDev -18.1%

Photo of oriolesfan4
3.52/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

 585 characters

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 zestar
3.75/5  rDev -5.5%

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.

 1,113 characters

Photo of olradetbalder
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%

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.

 1,093 characters

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.

 597 characters

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.

 629 characters

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.

 1,018 characters

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.

 729 characters

Photo of nathanmiller
4.78/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

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.

 197 characters

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

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.

 896 characters

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 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.

 411 characters

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.

 2,633 characters

Photo of Jason
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%

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Smuttynose Barleywine Style Ale (Big Beer Series) from Smuttynose Brewing Company
3.97 out of 5 based on 607 ratings.
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