Barleywine | Sprecher Brewing Company

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108 Ratings

Brewed by:
Sprecher Brewing Company
Wisconsin, United States

Style: British 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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Ratings: 108 |  Reviews: 84
Reviews by falloutsnow:
Photo of falloutsnow
2.21/5  rDev -40.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Brewed in 2006, 750mL swingtop bottle.

Poured into a wine glass, producing little to no head. No lacing or residue of any sort along glass. The beer is a deep, turgid brown and looks reasonably well.

Olfactory pronounciation is bland, with only a pungent vinuousity. There is nothing else, not even a trace of alcohol (not that this is what I'd expect, just that there is no other presence).

Tasting opens with the same sweet wine-like flavor, fading a bit to some sour or tart fruit, similar to a sharp pear or apple, and then fading into a light alcohol tinge.

Beer is a bit thin for a barleywine, with a relatively dry finish for a thinner beer. Unimpressed by its thin-ness, but the dryness is pleasing and fitting.

I have to wonder if this beer has lost something in its two year aging. Between the lack of scent and poor taste, there is little to recommend here and far better barleywines to enjoy.

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More User Reviews:
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 SkinnyElvis
3.7/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Vancer for this brew for the BA Anny Club. Poured at cellar temp. 2006 Vintage. Looks a little clear for a barley. Smells real boozy and sweet. Tastes of malt, cherry, and booze and more like an English barley than an American barleywine. No hops at all to my taste. Burns a bit on the way down which affects the drinkability. Not bad but not my favorite of the style.


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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.9/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(Served in a snifter)

A-This beer has a crystal clear warm brown body with a hint of red and a head like pancake batter but it fades after a bit to a thick ring around the rim. There is one fine line of tiny bubbles snaking to the top.

S- The smell of sweet malt has a note of oak and port to it.

T- This beer has a sweet malt flavor that is quickly followed by an alcohol bite. There is a green hop bitterness at the end after the alcohol.

M- The tiny fizz is one of the first to hit my tongue with some medium mouthfeel and an alcohol warmth in the finish.

D- This beer has some nice sweet malt flavors with a soft complexity. The alcohol is a bit rough and it is only at 9.71 ABV. I think age would help with the alcohol but might make the malt sweetness overwhelming. It is to bad they don't write the date on the bottle so I could know how long it has aged already.

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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 InVinoVeritas
4.5/5  rDev +22%

Photo of cokes
3.97/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2006. Waxed 16oz bottle.

A deepened amber that nearly edges towards maroon. A khaki head rises and falls and relocates to the outermost edges.
The nose contains all that nut-laced vinousness of marsala, backed with hard toffee and a thick Hawaiian Punch fruit syrup (think pineapple, apple, cherry, and grape juices, from concentrate). Hopping is secondary, or more tertiary once alcohol is considered, but comes through with oxidized copper. Fans of classic UK Barleywines and Vintage Ales will love how this smells.
Fruit comes across first in the mouth, with that same heavily sugared/lightly tart notion of various fruit juices...those same culprits from the aroma: pineapple, cherry, apple, grape, but pear comes through more definitively here. All this Vitamin C is baked in a crusty brown sugar and hard caramel crust. Some biscuit malt ekes out, but even that seems glazed in sugar crystals. Alcohol is present and brings a brandied version of the above fruits, along with the sweetened, slight nuttiness of Amaretto. Hops are virtually shut out of the taste profile, but with all this sweet and sugar, those Tettnangers would have to work overtime to be noticed. All told, this seems aged far more than it's single year in the bottle, both for better and worse.
This is obviously thick, but carries a strange, aloof, airy feel. It clings, but doesn't emphasize. It's a malt maelstrom, but in a weird way, it would be better served if it clotted up with less CO2. Here, it's too much like drinking heavy fruit syrup spiked with 7-Up. It should be more of a chore than it is, and I'm not even sure what I mean by that, aside from the feel isn't quite right.
Simply put, those that enjoy English Barleywines will enjoy this, and those that don't, won't. While it's not a J.W. Lees, nor a Tom Hardy, nor a Gales, it's a fairly solid facsimile.

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Photo of Golden2wenty1
4.25/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Picked up a 16 oz waxed single at Riley's here in Madison for $4.99. A tag around the neck explained that this is the Brewmaster's Premium Reserve 2006 vintage.

Pour: mahogany-cherry red, filtered clear, under a finger or two of frothy khaki foam that fades to a soapy skim.

Nose: sweet caramel malts, vanilla, oaky smoothness, sweet tropical fruits, light minty hops, and a slight alcoholic vapor.

Taste: light and sugary, milky caramel malts with notes of vanilla and oak, with a mild lingering herbal hops bitterness covered in residual sugars. Alcohol makes a fleeting appearance in the mid-palate but is covered before it has a chance to bite.

Feel: light and syrupy-viscous, low carbonation.

Drinkability/Overall: certainly one of the more mellow barleywines I've experienced and definitely among the most balanced as a result. Neither hops nor sweetness (nor booze) assert themselves too much, leaving a light, caramel-vanilla latte of a beer to sip on a chilly Valentine's Day night. A nice contrast to the typical hammer-like delicacy that most barleywines treat their drinkers to (not that I'm not into that kinda thing).

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

2006. 1 Liter swing-top cobalt blue bottle. Clear, deep-amber almost-copper beneath a creamy head of tan that fades rather quickly to an average collar. Full bodied and delicately carbonated. Smooth. Viscous. Aromas of grassy hops and very lightly caramelish malt. Delicate notes of juicy orange. The flavor is rich and full, worty... loaded with malt that is for the most part straight-forward, but also has a caramelish side, scorched brown sugar, a hint of toastiness, and suggestions of smokiness. Grassy hops come and go across the middle and into the finish, helping to keep it from becoming cloying or sweet, lingering into the aftertaste along with some alcohol, a mild bitterness, and a smokey edge. The alcohol, inconjunction with the sweet malt and grassy hops lends some floral character. Very nice. Not overly strong. Full. Supple. Satiating.

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Photo of Kegatron
3.5/5  rDev -5.1%

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

A. Hazy cherry-wood color with 1/4" head which is tan and clingy. Can a beer *look* malty? Yeah, this one does.

S. Figs, oak, dates, currants, and plums.

T. This beer follows suit with the nose as well as any other beer I've had. Same plums, figs, and dates with some raisin, leather, and booze.

M. Oily and sticky in the mouth with relatively low carbonation.

D. Too sweet for me with little hop support. I'd like it a little more bitter, but I guess this is the way this style is meant to be brewed. Oh wait, this is entered as an AMERICAN BW...this is not. The folks below are comparing this to the English styles, and rightly so. This is as English of a Barleywine as I have ever had.

Thanks to ATLbeerDog for sharing this one with me!

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Photo of shbobdb
3.97/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Well, well, well what have we here? I know and love Sprecher's line of lagers, but I've been wary of their ales. A brewery can normally either do one or the other well.
The beer poured a delicious, suprisingly light-looking amber with a coca-cola head. The smell is muted malt, mixed with a light touch of hops and a whiff of fruity yeast esters. A barleywine made with lager sensebilities, perhaps?

When I took my first sip, I wasn't sure whether this was either a terrible barleywine or one of the best I've ever had. I decided that it was the latter; however, as of this date (05/10/06) the beer tastes very young. It reminds me of a homebrew that has just finished priming, but the flavours really haven't melded together yet. There is a lot of malt complexity here. Rich toffee, coca-cola, candied dates, even some ginger! It is a veritable feast of malts. However, it seems like this beer's complexity comes at the expense of crystal malt -- lots of crystal malt and its tell-tale sugary-sweetness.

Actually, it reminds me a lot of a Quad with a clean yeast-profile, if that helps. Both in terms of taste and body. The body is sweet, yet still very light and refreshing. It is, perhaps, a little thin for a barleywine, but it works very, very well for this beer.

Still, the beer was young and that kept it from being totally amazing. I think I'm gonna go out and buy another one and cellar it until ~08. It seems like it needs that time to really come together.

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Photo of jdkitchi
3.75/5  rDev +1.6%

Photo of emerge077
2.94/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

2007 bottle, silver wax and a little metal belt-buckle/plaque stuck on the bottle. I've tried this before, when the bottle looked like the photo, maybe '05-06. Trying again since the bottle was only $2.

Served around 50º into a Duvel tulip.
Gorgeous russet caramel tone, a couple fingers of foam that settle down quickly to a generous ring and floating island of skim. Sort of sweet stewed fruit aroma, butterscotch candy, old oxidized beer and sugar. Fairly syrupy and somehow astringent in the first sips, but generally light bodied for a BW. Huge butterscotch and fruitcake flavor, cotton candy. Sweet is an understatement, this is very cloying. Trying to sip it slowly and get get more from the flavor, but it's just candy all the way. Bleh. Not sure how further aging will improve, the sugar will still be there. On the upside, it didn't feel as high octane as 9.71%.

Don't think i'll be trying again, even if it was only $2.

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3.18/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Very dark amber brown body hosts a three finger solid tan head with very active crackling bubbles.

Nicely fragrant spicey sweet nose is sharp with clean syrupy malt notes.

Super sweet molases like feel hosts a sweet dominant malty syrupy tasste to the palate. An ultra thick mouthfeel is induced by the syrupy sweet feel on the palate. I think you get the picture here, a bit to syrupy sweet for me. Maybe a bit of hop or wheat feel mixed in would have balanced this one out a little.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.49/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

16 oz bottle poured into a Corsendonk "Tulip".

A - A nice fluffy, off-white head sits on top of an incredible delicious looking deep amber color.

S - Smells like a really rich apple juice with pineapple hints. Very fruity smelling. A little wheat and malt undertones with an alcohol hint.

T - A crisp and light malt characterizes this only to be followed by a well-balanced bitter/ tart hint. Smells and tastes are pretty similar regarding the apple juice. Much like an apple, it dries out on the finish.

M - Very smooth and a bit of syrupyness to it. A velvety sweetness flows across the palate!

D - For a barleywine style this is pretty solid. It would make for a very good sit, sip, and relax fall or winter warmer. Probably best shared so its not overdone.

I also waited to see if it would get better as it warmed up. Too many bitter and tart flavors pulled through. 50 degrees was the serving temp I poured at and I'd suggest drinking it right around there.

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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 mikesgroove
3.69/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up this wonderful 1 liter swingtop bottle in the Barleywine BIF last week. Brewed in 2006.Unfortunatly it was a leaker, but I had a little over half left that I just went ahead and stuck in the fridge to try. Served at 45 degrees and allowed to warm up to almost room temp by the end, I drank this is a lovely Terrapin Goblet.

Appearence - Poured a nice honey colored amber, with a decent amount of cloudiness to it. No head, or lacing, or carbonation of anykind unfortunatly. Had a rather dull look, I am guessing do to the leak.

Smell - The aroma was rich on bourbon. Lotso sweet caramel notes with hints of alcohol, honey, and a touch of light fruit. Intresting aroma.

Taste - Theflavor was more of the smae and was actually very good. A little flat, but rich bourbon like flavor washed over the tongue immediatly and caused a nice litter flutter on the tongue. lots of caramel and candied sugar like flavors below that and a long drawn out sweet finish.

Mouthfeel - The feel was very flat, almost a touch too thin as well. No life to this one, which was a bit of a dissapointment.

Drinkability - It was good as far as rich flavor and ability to sip on it for a while, but after an hour or so that flat taste really started to wear on you and it started to turn into an effort.

Overall I would like to get another bottle of this to give a fair review, and will update accordingly when i do. But it seems like it might have been solid provided it had a bit more carbonation.

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Photo of CraigTravor
4/5  rDev +8.4%

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

A: Dark copper color with a 1/2 finger fizzy caramel head that disappears and doesn't leave lacing.

S: Rich caramel toffee sweetness, with a touch of alcohol. Maybe some port too.

T: Definitely a sweet barleywine. Lots of caramel and toffee. Some prunes, and some sherry. Some hops back there to balance the sweetness - but this still leans heavily toward the sweet side. Actually, this is tastier than I expected.

M: Rich, full and slightly alcoholic. Semi-syrupy.

D: For a barleywine, this is pretty drinkable.

Overall, recommended. I was kind of disappointed by their Tripel, but they've redeemed themselves with this one.

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Photo of richbrew
3/5  rDev -18.7%

Photo of mwilbur
4.25/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Premium Reserve 2005 tag. Poured from 16 oz bottle into snifter.
A: Pours a very dark and cloudy amber. 1/2 inch light tan head quickly dissipates.
S: Strong alcohol. Caramel malt, port, and dark fruit notes.
T: I was afraid the alcohol would also be in the forefront here...but not so. Very nice caramel, toffee, raisin, fig, and plum. A concentrated dry fruit note. Alcohol is barely noticeable.
M: Soft and sweet mouthfeel with a mild alcohol bite at the end. I was expecting a harsher feel with the high ABV and the aroma. Surprisingly good. Coats tongue well and lingers nicely.
D: A very nice surprise from Sprecher. Exceedingly drinkable given the ABV. I'm glad I have one more of these!

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Photo of oline73
3.5/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of weeare138
3.15/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to egajdzis for opening up this '05 Brewmaster's Reserve bottle. We enjoyed this while playing roulette in his basement...
Appears a red toned, dark amber with an off white/light tan toned head that quickly fades out into a collar. Scattered spots of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of refined sugar that has been caramelized slowly, cherries, over-ripened dark fruit, caramel, brown sugar, cut apples.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas. There is a rich, sweetness to it that may be a bit too cloying to handle right now, even with a year's worth of aging.
Mouthfeel is full bodied, sugary, raw, and in need of aging. I think the attenuation is about as good as you can get with this style. It just needs about 4-5 years to mellow out and become more complex.

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Photo of RiggerStyle
4.25/5  rDev +15.2%

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Barleywine from Sprecher Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.69 out of 5 with 108 ratings