Barleywine | Sprecher Brewing Company

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Brewed by:
Sprecher Brewing Company
Wisconsin, United States

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.71%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by cokes on 12-13-2005

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Reviews: 84 | Ratings: 108
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.26/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Bottle pour at the DTLA bottle share held at Beer Belly in Los Angeles, CA.

Thanks to whoever brought this one.

Pours a hazy orange-red with a foamy bone head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Tiny dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of malt, cardboard, jellied fruit, and metallic aromas. Taste is much the same with malt and candied or jellied fruit flavors on the finish. There is a mild metallic aftertaste that lingers on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is an above average beer that is drinkable but seems fairly oxidized all around.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.54/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

I saw this lonely bottle sitting in the middle of the table, capped, at Stone Soup '13, and after a couple hours, I figured I'd open it. I'm not really sure what the deal with this one was, but the bottle had a sort of metallic badge branded onto it instead of the usual label. Not sure if it was an older vintage or a "special" batch or what.

Poured a cloudy, ruddy brown color with a slight off-white head that receded to a ringlet. Aroma of caramel and brown sugar, ripe fruit, somewhat earthy. More of the same in the taste, dark sugars, raisins and ripe stone fruits, a bit sweet, with some boozy notes, and maybe a dusting of cocoa powder. Pretty mild flavor overall, which is pretty typical for the style, compared to the more hefty--and to me, preferred--American style. Body was medium and carbonation was low. Pretty good overall, but not something I'd reach for again.

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Photo of beerpadawan
3.78/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2006 Vintage.

Poured without much head, though there is some foam and bubble action, even as it sits a ring maintains with fine bubbles, tan, sticking to the glass.

The nose shows age, oxidation. But some nice tart and ripe fruit smells, molasses and brown sugar. Dried cherries, prune.

Flavor is similar: some wet cardboard. Plums. Super smooth with only the softest, lightly creamy effect of carbonation. Some alcohol warmth. Distant and faint sensation of bitterness. Notes of a sweet tawny port. Bittersweet caramel. Grapes and raisins.

A fun beer to find in a random liquor store. I don't think I'll go grab another. But let me know if you're interested: several more 2006 bottles remain in the cooler.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.5/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Brewed 2007. 9.71% ABV confirmed. Acquired at Whole Foods in Glendale, California. 16 fl oz brown glass bottle with waxed-over standard pressure cap served into a scotch ale glass in me gaff in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are high; I'm in the mood for a good barleywine. Per the label, this is ideally aged (it recommends 1-5 years of aging, and here we are at five years).

The label's more than a bit over-elaborate.

Served a bit warmer than refrigerator cold. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

Paired with reduced fat triscuits and morbier (as laughably pretentious as that sounds).

Jaysus, the wax was a real bitch to get through. Difficult to open.

A: Pours a 2.5 finger beige colour head of nice cream, fair thickness, and pretty good retention considering the high ABV. Colour is a strange dark orange. Nontransparent. Non-opaque. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.

Sm: Reminiscient of a good quad or dubbel in some respects: hints of dark fruit are prominent. Sherry and port come to mind per the label. Certainly dessert-esque. Dark fig and plum are highlights. Some caramelized malts. Some raisin. Quite sugary. Very appealing. A mild strength, fairly subtle aroma.

T: Fig, certainly. Plum - certainly not, to its detriment. The sugars are nice, with clean malts coming through for a full yet light body. Bright fruit manifests as well, with mango peel - yes, mango peel - coming through. It's slightly tropical. The yeast is very buried but still present, lending some vague spice that doesn't amount to much. Hopping is restrained but present, and does more than merely add background; I get the sense the hop bitterness has mellowed over the years leaving a light tropical fruit and floral character. Quite a nice effect. Well layered and complex, with notable subtlety. Still, it's a bit underwhelming for a five year aged beer. The sweet sugary quality occupying the climax lends it a very port-esque feel. Luckily, it's not too sweet. I don't know that sherry comes through, but it's possible; it's difficult to interpret what some of these notes are. No alcohol comes through.

Mf: Tingly from the sugar. Smooth and wet otherwise. It's thick but light, much like a port. Suits the flavours and feel nicely.

Dr: A nice all-around barleywine. I wouldn't endeavor to get it again, but I'm glad I tried it. Maybe the best beer I've had from Wisconsin. (I'll leave that to you to interpret). I enjoyed it. Very drinkable for the ABV. The five years of aging does seem a bit over-elaborate - just like the label - but I guess what you see is sometimes what you get. Fans of the style would do well to try it.

High B-

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Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to blutt59 for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours an orange color with a white head. The aroma is classic barleywine, with a lot of caramel and toffee malt, as well as a hint of maple. The flavor is similar, with a lot sweetness from the caramel and toffee malt, as well as a good bit of alcohol and some maple. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. I really liked this one.

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Photo of bennetj17
3.97/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Medium copper/orange color. Thin head, lightly hazy appearance. Sweet, intense malty aroma. Lots of caramel in the nose, with touches of cherry. Suprisingly not alot of balance from the hops, and not much alcohol as this one is on the low ABV end for Barleywine.

The taste is quite sweet, but also has a keen cherry-like tartness going on that makes it very interesting. There is alot of residual sugar and without much bitter balance from the hops, you'd think it was a bit cloying. Thankfully that unique tart cherry character gives it another dimension. The mouthfeel was decent overall, a bit syrupy but not overly so. Medium carbonation.

All in all I was impressed, and I had low expectations looking at the other reviews. Not something I would drink all the time, but this was a Barleywine like none I've ever tasted.

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Photo of clickpush
4.35/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2007 Vintage. Pour bottle to tulip. Orange ruby body topped by one finger of tight off-white head. Plenty of fizzle when I open the bottle. Lots of tiny bubbles streaming up. Looks good for the age. Head reduces to a light cap of lace and white halo.

Nose: Smell is sweet and tart. A hint of oxidation. Lots of caramel, strawberry, mint. While light, it's very nice.

Mouth: Creamy and lightly fizzy. Great flavors of caramel and berries. More strawberry. Warming all the way through. This one has held up amazingly well! Great beer.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.33/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This barley wine from 2010 caught my eye with the gold wax and the embossed label on the bottle. Very cool looking brew. I read that it ages well but wanted to try it right away anyhow. The beer poured out as a deep reddish brown color with a tan head on it. The head faded away pretty quickly leaving just a ring around the glass. The aroma was of fermented plums and heavy barley with some hops mixed in there too. The taste was a little funky, I wasn't digging it too much. I think aging this would benefit this beer a lot. The mouthfeel was thick and concentrated. Everything was pretty good except the taste.

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Photo of meatyard
3.23/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2008 vintage with a gold, waxed top and a 1.75 x 2.5" applied, oval, metal emblem-weird.

Pours a pretty, amber color and has a one-finger, short-lived, white head without lace.

The smell is light malt aroma and is buttery or butterscotch.

A definite butterscotch (diacetyl) flavor along with some lightly roasted malt.

Mouthfeel is medium, ample carbonation and a bit dry.

Overall: Not a fan of the butterscotch in my beer though there is some interesting malt flavor that keeps me from making it a drainpour.

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Photo of Suds
3.25/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This beer is presented in a pint bottle, with a wax coated cap. It's a beautiful, clear golden color with a very slight head. The aroma is nice...lots of pale malt scents...some caramel and a notable alcohol scent. The aroma is most reminiscent of Marsala, and very intense. The scents are also unnecessarily fruity. The taste is malty, warming, and fruity-laden. It's fruity and much to dry to be a proper barleywine. Alcohol and apples. The body is somewhat too light. The smell is enjoyable and pleasant, but the experience just doesn't carry over to the flavor.

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Photo of misinformed
3.37/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

16 oz. bottle, code dated June 18 2008. Reviewed 1/9/2011, pint glass.

A- Poured with 1/4" off white head that faded really fast down to a tiny ring around the edge. Clear medium deep orange colored beer.

S- Strong, sweet, and alcoholic.

T- Really rich, sweet malt. Syrupy dark fruit that is mainly cherry. Very sugary sweet almost to the degree of being like flat soda.

M- Thin body with some alcohol heat on the back of the throat. Surprisingly there is a bit of carbonation still.

D- This is the metal label version with silver wax. I just grabbed this at the store a couple of days ago so I was surprised when I got home and realized that it was from 2008. It definitely tastes aged. Thin with very rich sweet flavor. Almost cloying. I couldn't drink more than 10 oz. or so. One to be shared for sure. After reading the back of the bottle the taste does seem to match their description although any hops are long gone at this point.

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Photo of therobot
3.58/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

2007 bottle poured in a SN snifter.

A - Is a transparent red-orange, little to no head, dissipates quickly.

S - Sweet, fruity nose, lots of citrus, picking up some spices.

T - Strong citrus and sour up front, followed by some malty sweetness hint of some caramel at the finish

M - Very much on the thin side, disappointingly so.

D - Not what I have experienced as a barely wine, highly citrus and sour flavor, thin mouthfeel, does disguise the alcohol nicely.

Liked it enough to finish the bottle, probably not enough to seek out another.

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Photo of mikereaser
4.05/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was reviewed blind as part of the Blind Beer BIF #3

Starting on box 2 from Khazadum

Bottle #1 poured into my surly snifter
had to pry off a thick layer of silver wax

A - pours a murky orangish brown with an inch of off-white foam that quickly faded to a layer of fine bubbles

S - im picking up some malty sweetness and dark fruit, some dark cherries and a bit of honey. nothing overly strong.

T - wow, a really nice explosion of flavors, light malt backbone with alot of citrus and cherries, almost a mix of light and dark cherries, maybe hints of honey as well

M/D - medium bodied with crsip carbonation, its light in the mouth and is just smooth throughout. Its easy to drink and I could definitely have a few.


I really don't know what this is, but i'm curious to find out.

WTF, Sprecher Barley Wine 2007
I had no clue at all, and the almost 10% ABV is well hidden at this point. The flavors really come through. I'm curious what this tasted like when it was released. There is no alcohol to this at all just a very enjoyable easy drinking beer. Love the bottle too. Metal label attached to the front. What a treat!

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.28/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Inflatablechair provided this at the weekend tasting... Thanks Sammy. Label is different now, looks like it is made out of lead or aluminum.... big embossed metal.

Pours with a descent off white head... okay lacing.. the brew is a clear orange.

Nose is malty mainly.. vanilla cookie batter with hints of butter.

Taste is not better with alot of weird, IMO, fruitiness. Apple and pear seem heavy and out of place... not really that bitter and only hints of sorta grassy hoppiness... slick diacetyl in the finish... plenty of body with an appropriate lower end carbonation.

Really don't know what to think about this one, but I had a bottle of this years ago on a trip to Wisconsin, and I remember liking it alot more.


Thanks Sam for supplying this one.

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Photo of WesWes
3.21/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a beautiful dark amber color with a thick frothy off-white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is decent. It has a rich burnt toffee scent that's sweet smelling. However, I detect a well pronounced tartness as well. I'm not sure if it's the yeast esters or some form of bacterial contamination. The taste is much the same. It's smooth and sweet tasting with lots of burnt toffee character. It does carry that tartness as well. It really ruins a perfectly good flavor. Otherwise, it has a damn fine malty taste. The warmth is hidden well, making this a very drinkable winter warmer. The mouthfeel is decent. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a beer that I'd like to try again. It's smooth and flavorful without going to far in the alcohol department.

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Photo of kbutler1
3.26/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle. Pours a slightly murky copper color with a slight head. The smell is actually pretty fruity and malty. Fruit aroma is that if plum and fig with slight soy. Medium/heavy mouhfeel. Zero hop presence. Surpisingly fruit. Not terrible but not great either.

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Photo of mothman
3.17/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2006 vintage.

Pours a light layer of off-white head. Color is a hazed amber copper.

Aroma: Sweet and fruit with a lot of caramel and toffee malts showing. Apples, oranges, and plums. I like all the fruits in this beer.

Taste: Has an off flavor right away, kind of metallic. Then the fruits and malts come in. I get an applesauce like flavor with oranges. More plums, some spices. Toffee and caramel malt.

Mouthfeel: Rich and sweet. Medium bodied with a low to medium amount of carbonation. Ends dry with light roast notes.

Overall, an okay bwine. The nose was nice, but the taste was a little off. 4 or 5 ounces of this will be enough for me. Average drinkability.

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Photo of curtiswvu
3.56/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

2007 pint bottle vintage (silver wax top) into a snifter.

A-Pours a deep, rich, and orange colored body. Almost looks like Grand Manier in the glass Actually retained its carbonation well over 3 years in the bottle, a full finger head, but it dissipated quickly

S- brandy soaked cherries, orange peel, grape.

T- Carmel, butter and thick brandy soaked cherries immediately hit the pallet. A touch of hops in the finish but kind of a lingering orange after taste that might be too sour to my liking but not terrible. 3 years is certainly enough aging on this one and I will likely serve the other two bottles I have soon. I fear it might become too sour a year from now.

M- Surpassingly sweet even for an aged barelywine. Moderate to high carbonation, almost like soda at the finish. Smooth and buttery like a white wine.

D- Good in a snifter for a one off, thats all your going to want or need though. Enough alcohol to let you know you've drank after a bottle.

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Photo of steve8robin
3.65/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this on a trip to IA. Pint bottle...

A: Pumpkin orange color blended with some ruby red highlights. Small off-white head that quickly fades. Kind of a unique color for a barleywine. Good.

S: Kind of smells like a thick old ale. Smells like heavy barley blended with sweet sugary malts blended with some walnut scents. Almost smells like a boozy fruity drink from a Chinese Food restaurant. Very interesting again for a barleywine. Good.

T: Taste follows the scent perfectly. Sweet sugary carbonated toffee. Kind of a metallic tinge to it. Watery lemon flavors. Kind of strange but unique for sure. Decent.

M: Does not really leave any good flavors on the palate. Decent.

D: Goes down good once you get past the strange blend of flavors. Decent.

All in all, this is an ok brew. Kind of a strange blend of scents and flavors. If you're looking for a unique spin on barleywines, then try this one, otherwise avoid.

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Photo of Khazadum
3.89/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I grabbed a 2007 pint bottle of this Barley Wine at my Binny's a month or two ago. Apparently this beer had been sitting in the back of a warehouse somewhere aging, so I thought I'd eventually give it a shot.

Poured into a brandy snifter in two batches. Each time it generated about a finger's worth of head that ran a huge color scheme of white to off-white. If viewed at an improper angle, I saw some tan hues from the liquid's own visual profile reflected on the beer's 'cap'. Its retention is minimal. The head seemed to last a minute or two before leaving. Agitation brings back a small amount, but nothing as impressive as the first pour. The main body of the beverage appears to be a mix of amber and caramel flowing together in a beautiful picture. Its reminiscent of home made apple cider.

First breath brings the many fruity esters into my awareness. Apples.. No, apple cider... No apples. Well, apple is definitely strong here.. everywhere. A minor hint of sherry aromas mix with peaches at the end of the first drag. The ending notes are definitely strong in peaches and sherry rather than apples. Alcohol can be detected if enough sniffs occur in succession. All together it was an intriguing puzzle to weasel apart and as such continues to be a tangled web that I continue to enjoy tracing along.

Flavor Profile
The bouquet leads great hints to how this brew will taste. Apples brush along my lips and tongue causing other fruit flavors to come through. Very faint, but it reminds me of fruity wine cooler-like flavors done right. Nothing overblown. The finish is bitter and reminds me of apple sodas without the cheapness of it or carbonation. Very refreshing. For a 9.71% alcohol brew, it surely doesn't come through strong. About halfway through the first pour, I can get that delicious alcohol warmth in my esophagus, but my palate only detects it in the bitter finish. Many sips lead some to bring about an orange zest hidden underneath the fruity flavors, but I can't wheedle it out. Heck, I can't even find it when I want it. Its just a pleasant surprise each time to find it.

Oral Sensations
Its body is decent. Not watery, not thick. It reminds me of an actual wine's body. So many beers leave me wanting a comfortable liquid to linger around my mouth, and boy does this not let me down. Its not the greatest, but its definitely acceptable.

When it comes to trying new things, I'd say this was a great idea. Sweet, bitter, and it brings enough alcohol to the table to be worth the adventure. I'd definitely purchase again, but alas so much in the world to try before I consider this barley wine again.

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Photo of drpimento
3.37/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Whoa, not at all what I was expecting from a Sprecher barley wine. Poured with a medium sized tan head that quickly subsides and no lace. Color is a clear mediium amber. Aroma is yeast hop malt and fruit. Flavor is a HUGE fruit salad! Peaches, oranges, cherries lemons, grapefruit etc. plus malt a little bitterness and hop. Body is decent and so is carbonation. Finish is like flavor. Doubt that I'd want to have more than one or two at a time.

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Photo of sweemzander
3.25/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

16oz. wax dipped bottle poured into a stemmed glass. Bottled sometime in 2009.

(A)- Pours a cloudy ruby orange amber color. Produced a big off-white to tan head that slowly dissipated down to a light layer of foam.

(S)- Very fruity. Figs, raisin, apple, & pineapple. Touches of toffee, caramel, and brown sugar. Even some vanilla/butterscotch perhaps.

(T)- Again, fruity like the smell. Very honey-like. Thinner than expected.

(M)- A higher carbonation level than expected. A thinner mouthfeel too. The flavor just kinda drops off near the midpalate into a funky dry bitterness. Feels like carbonated soda on the finish.

(D)- I remember this being much better. Usually this should age well, but its clear that this did not. Drink this fresh, or age it carefully; clearly a near constant 55 degree cellar did not help this age well. My opinion is drink this one fresh; dont age it.

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Photo of daledeee
4.09/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another fresh entrant into the Iowa circle. A 16 oz. bottle with a nice emblem, not a label, but an emblem. They also poured wax over the cap.

Pours a tad cloudy with chestnut in color.

Nose is interesting and at first difficult to describe. Very nice dark fruit nose. I would say raisins or dates and possibly cherries and orange.

Taste is nice with more dark fruits and spice. Cherries and raisins with sweet malty flavor.

Mouth feel is nice and full. Overall a sweet beer. Quite drinkable. I did not drink this very cold. The label says to age this. I think it would be a good idea although this was balanced already.

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Photo of tpd975
3.62/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to markwise for this one.

A: Pours a murky brown hue with a small off white head. No retention or lace noted.

S: Aroma of sweet malts and darker fruits.

T: Taste of brown sugar and caramel. Very light chocolate with hints of raisin and apples.

M: Medium in body, pretty smooth, lower carbonation.

D: An okay Barley Wine.

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Photo of THORN
4.05/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2006. Blue 1 liter bottle with flip-top poured into pint glass. Served 50-55 F.
A: Dark cherry brown. Can see through beer. Pours a few bubbles of head. Age in consideration, not bad.
S: Sweet cherries, brandy, oak, and orange.
T: Toasted malts, very faint to no hops, and light brandy. Fruity: cherries and orange peel.
M: Carbonation is still somewhat apparent on tongue. Almost watery.
D: Alcohol isn't very noticeable in taste. Somewhat warming, mostly in my stomach. Flavor profile is very wide.

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Barleywine from Sprecher Brewing Company
3.69 out of 5 based on 108 ratings.
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