New Era Barleywine | Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery

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Brewed by:
Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery
United States

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.30%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BuckeyeNation on 04-27-2010

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Reviews: 3 | Ratings: 4
Photo of DesMoinesMike
4.15/5  rDev +28.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm so glad that Iowa now has the opportunity to brew some higher-proof beer to a. compete with breweries in other states and b. show Iowan's that 6% is a relatively low benchmark.

This beer seemed a bit imposing to me. The 10.3% ABV was intimidating at first, but then the creature appeared in front of me and I began to tremble in my bar stool. It's a very cloudy brown with a tan fiz on the top. The aroma seemed to make me think of a BBQ smoker with the woody smell but there was caramel and maybe fruit in there too. This beer almost requires chewing because it's so thick and rich. My tongue couldn't decide between black liquirosh or butterscotch being the main accent. Whatever it was laid heavy on my tongue and got even heavier as lunch progressed. Two hours later and a breathmint as I'm writing this review at work the flavor is still with me. It doesn't sting on the way down, it just doesn't let go. I like it.

Overall, this brew is fantastic and I hope to see more like this in different styles from RB. Just a note, the higher-proof stuff DOES cost more.

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Photo of jt31914
1.18/5  rDev -63.6%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Frankly, I like Rock Bottom's beer for the most part, but this was BY FAR THE WORST THING I DRANK there; Barleywines are typically my favorite style of beers, and yet this is perhaps the worst American barleywine I've ever had. Overlysweet barley with unbalanced hop flavors left me shaking my head after each drink. Pitifully undrinkable and syrupy.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.18/5  rDev +29%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Roasted pecan brown that lightened to caramel in the middle and sunflower yellow at the bottom. A thick slice of pale gold colored foam melted to thin swirls of light cream atop the surface of the liquid, while the snifter was decorated with finely dotted sheets of lace that became shotgun-blasted in time.

The nose was caramel malty (no surprise given the appearance) and was incredibly fruity. Much more fruity than most American barleywines. It smelled powerful in the high-ABV beer sense, but wasn't as aromatic as it could have been; something that was at least partially remedied by the middle of the glass.

New Era Barleywine was incredibly complex beer and is an amazing first effort at the style for wdmrock (if it actually is his first effort). My default position in most areas of my life is one of guarded expectations. It's becoming increasingly obvious that that philosophy has no business being applied to beer from this brewpub in the recent past. Or, I could keep it and continue to be pleasantly surprised.

The flavor profile was dominated by caramel and overripe apples. Other contributors included candied cherries, earthy tobacco, brown sugar, and hints of vanilla and oak. Drinking the final few swallows with my lunch brought out butterscotch notes. Sweet (moderate) and bitter (also moderate) were in wonderful balance.

This offering was well-mannered without being the least bit wimpy. That's all the more remarkable since it has only been aged since November. The complete lack of raw-hot-fusel alcohol is rare, in least in my experience, in a fresh brewpub barleywine.

Even though the mouthfeel was a fraction lighter than ideal, the rest of its qualities were enjoyable. Each sip was silky, supple, sneakily creamy and pleasantly clingy. Spot-on carbonation was key.

New Era Barleywine is aptly named because it heralds a new, more enlightened era for craft beer in the state of Iowa. This was a fantastic start. Now bring on the Belgian-style tripels, the Russian Imperial stouts, the quadrupels, and all the rest. Highly recommended.

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New Era Barleywine from Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery
3.24 out of 5 based on 4 ratings.
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