Barren Wood
Skookum Brewery

Barren WoodBarren Wood
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Barleywine - English
Ranked #70
Ranked #6,516
4.22 | pDev: 5.69%
Skookum Brewery
Washington, United States
Barren WoodBarren Wood
Reviews: 10 | Ratings: 31 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Oh_Dark_Star
Oh_Dark_Star from Washington

4.63/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

I usually save commentary for last but I’m gonna go ahead and state that this is criminally and stupidly underrated. What barleywines are some of you comparing to? Or are you comparing and rating against other styles!?

L: A rich auburn brown. Very thin but dense beige head.

S: Sticky toffee, molasses, char, smoke, leather, massive oak, and dates. On the roastier end of the spectrum and decently complex. A little booze on the nose too.

T: Follow the nose, gets sweeter as it warms but not cloyingly. Enough backbone and roast and char to counterbalance. Great and lasting aftertaste.

F: Not as sugary syrup as some get. Reasonably weighted and smooth.
Carbonation is light but right. Tingling the gums.

O: Mostly covered above. This is a touch sweet but that’s the only fault I find in it.
Can’t wait for the next!

May 31, 2020
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GreesyFizeek from New York

4.61/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This one pours a dark golden brown, with a small tight head, and not much lacing.

This smells like spicy oak and wood, drippy sweet caramel, bourbon, spiced bourbon, toffee, and milk chocolate.

This is really excellent, and I'm jealous about how available this one seems to be for PNW residents. The barrel character is wonderful, giving off spice, wood, wet bourbon, and warmth. It all enhances the gooey sweet caramel, bittersweet toffee, smoke, and chocolate of the base barleywine. It's a perfect mix of sweet, bitter, and boozy, like all the best barleywines tend to be.

This is creamy, slightly (but not too) boozy, with a surprising drinkability to it. Doming a bottle would not be difficult really at all.

Skookum is becoming one of those breweries that I will really need to keep an eye on, pretty fervently. Their beers have been excellent so far.

Mar 09, 2020
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kemoarps from Washington

4.22/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Deep rich russet brown that is almost garnet-red when held up directly to the light. SMall off cream head that settles into the corners right away.

Nose is sweet and rich right off the bat with a fair amount of alcohol backing it up.

Flavour follows the same formula: rich sweet malts with vanilla and oak and toffee and leather and tobacco and bourbon spice on the back end.

Sticky sticky. Bright swell of effervescence that settles back in as quickly as it surges. While I note a decent amount of alcohol heat while examining each individual component, when sitting back and just sipping it, this manifests mostly in the form of bourbon spiciness. Big and sweet and dangerously drinkable. I love barleywines, and this is no exception.

Feb 14, 2020
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Radcpa from Washington

4.28/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Brown Semitransparent appearance with minimal head. Aroma is a pleasant standard barleywine. Taste is a slightly boozy standard barleywine. Need to be aged in bottle for a year.

Nov 27, 2019
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beertunes from Mayotte

4.52/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 5

I just realized, for all the times I've had this brew, I've never reviewed it. let's fix that.

12oz bottle poured into 12oz goblet. Poured a solid very dark brown, almost black color with just the thinnest cap of light tan head that no retention or lacing.

Light bourbon upfront on the nose, with a solid malt/grain scent backing it up. And, just enough wood to be noticeable.

The flavor is equally exquisite, all aspects combine nearly perfectly, with none dominating, but all having a starring role.

The body is the weakest link, IMHO, I would like it a bit fuller, so that I would drink it slower. For the style, the does finish, relatively, dry.

Drinkability is awesome. Just stunning. I've consumed a bunch of these, and they never let me down. Overall, a must-try, worth seeking out. This is absolutely my favorite Barleywine, so I might be a bit biased, but this is a magnificent brew. You owe it to yourself to get ahold of some.

Mar 15, 2018
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LiquidAmber from Washington

4.28/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Reuben's Brew small snifter. Pours a very dark mahogany brown, appearing nearly opaque in the glass with a fine, one finger dark khaki head with great retention and thick lacing. Aroma of dark malt, bourbon, dried plums, figs. Flavor is deep caramel malt, fresh plums, raisins, figs, a hint of lighter stone fruit. Finishes with caramel, bourbon and fresh plums. Medium bodied with nice light to moderate creaminess and smooth mouth feel. A very approachable barleywine. The profile leans heavily towards an English style, but all the fruit flavors are much fresher, as someone else noted, some similarities with a Scotch ale (but no peat or smoke). Starts well and then the lighter fruit flavors develop, making this more interesting than a traditional barleywine. Excellent creaminess in the feel. This looks, smells and tastes great. I'm tardy in reviewing this, but hope I can find a few more bottles of this. The fresher fruit flavors may not survive cellaring as well as traditional dried fruit character, but I'd like to see how this develops. Very reasonably priced too. Although this is characterized as an American strong ale (and that's not off kilter), I'd list this an English barleywine, as that is the closest profile (and it claims to be a barleywine on the label). It's a very fine sipper in any case.

Jan 24, 2018
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ovaltine from Indiana

4.31/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pour is rich, dark chocolate brown, tan head. Beautiful. Aromas are rich toffee, some caramel, and the barrel.

The malt base dominates the taste, with the toffee a most welcome leader. The barrel was very prominent on the first couple of sips, but it stepped back a bit as this warmed, which was a welcome development.

This reminds me more of an imperial BA scotch ale than a barleywine - very similar to Central Waters BA Scotch Ale.

That is an excellent thing.

Sep 11, 2017
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yesterdayfaraway from Missouri

4.02/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

L: pours a murky brown, medium thick syrup look with only a film of head
T: slight toffee, caramel and raisins. Decent barrel presence just not a smooth and rich bourbon profile.
F: quite thin body and a lot of carbonation.

Jun 25, 2017
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EdwardAbbey from Washington

4.08/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very much in the English Style, which is to say the malts are firmly at the forefront. While I liked this, and found it to be smooth and easy-drinking for a barley-wine, with the alcohol unnoticeable, it also struck me as somewhat pedestrian. Lots of caramel and pleasant sweetness, but not a whole lot of barrel or much else. Solid, definitely, but simple.

Jan 07, 2017
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dirtylou from District of Columbia

4.01/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

on-tap @ brewery, half-pour

Barren Wood is a barrel aged version of the the strong ale 'Mule', which I have not had. Notes indicate it spent 6 months in KY bourbon barrels. It seemed like the base-beer was probably akin to a hoppy red ale - notes of caramel, toffee, faded hops collide with some wood and smooth bourbon. Not a terribly refined ale, but it all works, and is enjoyable enough

Jan 30, 2014
Barren Wood from Skookum Brewery
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 31 ratings