Hellshire I
Oakshire Brewing

Hellshire IHellshire I
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Barleywine - American
3.41 | pDev: 21.41%
Oakshire Brewing
Oregon, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Hellshire IHellshire I
Notes: "A bourbon barrel aged barleywine. It is 10% abv and spent 10 months in Heaven Hill Bourbon Barrels."

Released May 2011
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Reviews: 58 | Ratings: 108 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of BBThunderbolt
BBThunderbolt from Kiribati

3.55/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to Tyler for this one. 22oz bottle poured into 10oz goblet. Poured a muddy brown color with thin cap of tan head that had low retention and lacing.

Bourbon was at the front of the nose, along with some wood, with the base beer showing up behind. There may have been a hint of cardboardy-oxidization as well.

Very similar on the tongue, with the cardboard being a bit more notable.

The body was fairly typical for the style, smooth, and had a medium finish.

Drinkability was very nice. I don't think I would have enjoyed a whole 22 to myself, but the 12 or so oz I got was nicely enjoyable.

Overall, a very nice beer. It's likely well past prime, so if you have one, or see one, drink it now,

Jan 07, 2020
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Goblinmunkey7 from Massachusetts

3.52/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to robbrandes for the bottle.

Appearance: Ruddy copper reddish brown. Small off-white head drops to a tiny collar almost immediately. Crazy smooth pour with moderate carbonation off the bat.

Smell: Malts for days. Caramel, toffee, hints of molasses, vanilla, coconut, and a solid punch of oak. A slight hint of oxidation adds some sherry and an hint of raisin. Alcohol and caramelized malt sweetness. Some nice roasted malts as well. Complex sugars. A hint of dirt and damp wood thrown in for good measure.

Taste: Oak soaked caramel shortbread cookies. Biscuits, slightly buttery, and oxidized. Sherry coupled with alcohol spice and heat. Cooked and caramelized malts. Hits the full gamut of malt sweetness: sugar, caramel, toffee, a hint of molasses and brown sugar. Oak is heavy, but works to compliment the sweetness. Woody with some dirt and earth thrown in for good measure. Warming drops mega oak bombs.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with a moderate carbonation. Ends up on the clean side. A bit more snap than expected.

Overall: Significantly better than a visit from Pinhead.

It's a big oaky bourbon barleywine. Hits hard on the oak, and it wears a bit too much by the end, but it's not a certified oak bomb.

Oct 13, 2013
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angrybabboon from Massachusetts

3.24/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Cheers to Goblinmunkey7 for sharing this

Consumed 10/12/13

Appearance: Somewhere between medium brown and dark amber - cloudy and hazy - pours with a small, off-white head, fades to just a few wisps of a cap, leaves some nice spots of lacing

Smell: Big, cooked caramel malts, and some booze - very cooked, very caramelized, with a touch of straight-up malt extract - some substantial graininess - lots of oak, with some vanilla - a load of booze as well, some whiskey, mostly just alcohol

Taste: Boozeshire? - yes, the big malts from the aroma are here, but the alcohol seems to be the very core of the flavor profile - so, so much alcohol - some whiskey, but it's more like vodka - tons of wood - earthy - extremely cooked malts, dark caramel, molasses, and some general roastiness - did I mention this is boozy?

Mouthfeel: On the full side of medium, smooth, hot with a lot of hot booze

Overall: Just tasting this drunk makes me feel beer

The aroma suggests that this barleywine has some potential. But the actual taste is so boozy. I'm not necessarily opposed to booze, but this is a bit much. I would say this might need more time, but it's already kind of old. Interesting regardless.

Oct 13, 2013
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eagles22 from Pennsylvania

3.86/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Big thanks to BA steakem for this bottle had it over a year now !... Appearance very dark brown with a nice tan head
Smell- is awesome loads of bourbon and vanilla with a hint of pine and citrus
Taste -loads of vanilla and bourbon with hints of coconut and at the back of the throat good amount of alcohol
Mouthfeel-very chewy and slick alot of alcohol in the back of the throat that makes of dry at the end
Overall- this is one hell of a barleywine I really like the warming affect I get from the alcohol and love the vanilla and coconut flavor
I get this really suprised
Me cause I just heard awful things about it

Jul 31, 2013
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xnicknj from Pennsylvania

3.13/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

22oz bottle poured into tulip

Pours a lightly hazed brilliant copper gold color with a thin layering of beige head. Retains with a cloud of film and some spotty lacing.

Bitter pine hops in the nose with oaky vanilla and bourbon. Some oxidized notes with heavy booze warmth. Bread crust, caramel and burnt sugar.

Despite the age, piny hops still persist with sticky resin and bitterness. Charred oak, oxidation, slick vanilla and bourbon. Warm and sweet with bread crust and caramel. Thick malt backbone with some slight metallic notes and some roasted undertones. Finishes bitter, boozy and slightly harsh.

Fuller body, decent carbonation, dry, chewy and lingering on the tongue. This isn't quite as off as some people made it out to be, but this is definitely not a top-tier barleywine by any stretch of the imagination.

Sep 24, 2012
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cpetrone84 from Pennsylvania

3/5  rDev -12%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

pour is a murky dirty copper brown with a tight beige head and fair amount of lace. The nose is actually a rough, notes of bourbon and some cardboard. Rather malty, chocolate and toffee and some stale hop, very messy. Taste is heavy malt, roast and chocolate, notes of bourbon but light. Almost no heat, very little balance. Full bodied, a touch chalky, light carbonation. The malts are overpowering and unpleasant.

Aug 21, 2012
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RuckusDu from Colorado

4.04/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - maybe a finger of light tan head. Some yellow in it. Body is a dark amber with some clarity. Light lacing.

S - sweet barleywine deliciousness. Caramel, licorice, and only slight bitterness. Beautifly done. Some alcohol on the nose.

T - a lot more hop flavors but really a nice cross between American and English. Good vanilla, bourbon, and caramel. Well done.

M - A nicely carbonated beer with medium body. Does not distract.

O - A much better beer than the ranking. Nice and sweet with balance from the hops. A great beer where the bourbon is there but doesn't dominate.

Aug 19, 2012
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lurpy1 from Minnesota

2.36/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Sample at a tasting. Take with a grain of salt because it was such a 4 oz pour only, but based on findings, no way I would have been compelled to drink a pint.

Screw how the beer looks, the big failing were the metallic notes. Barrel is present, obvious, and yummy, but in the nose and on the tongue, the barrel is battered by a fork-in-the-mouth sensation. Oxidized, distracting, hard to get rid of. Mouthfeel is fine, heck, better than fine maybe, but the long-lasting metal aftertaste runs interference there as well.

Waste of good bourbon.Not recommended.

Jul 29, 2012
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vkv822 from Oregon

2.58/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

22oz : snifter

Clear amber red, with medium-thin foamy off white head.

Quite boozy, oaky, vanilla bourbon.

Again, lots of boozy, bourbon.

Medium body, low, fizzy carbonation.

While fairly one-dimensional and forgetful for the style, I didn't pick up any unpleasant characteristics.

Jul 08, 2012
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Sean9689 from Illinois

2.41/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Bottle at Alex's Birthday Bash @ Pipeworks.

A - Pours a reddish/brown color, off-white head.

S - Weird vegetal notes, oxidization or some sort, booze, light dark fruity sweetness. Just smells "odd".

T - Harsh booze, super-oak'd, vegetal notes...tastes old and oxidized. Not your average taste for a BA barleywine, that's for sure.

M - Medium body, good carbonation, harsh dry finish.

O - Not a really good beer, at all. Was hoping for more from the creator of Wooden Hell, but this is about as far as you can get from that.

Jun 28, 2012
Photo of sweemzander
sweemzander from Illinois

2.3/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

22oz. bottle poured into a snifter. Thanks to Jason for the bottle!

(A)- Pours a murky reddish caramel color. Some white bubbles.

(S)- Booze soaked raisin and caramel with a strange cardboard bit in there.

(T)- Similar to the smell. Some booze soaked caramel with a strange cardboard thing.

(M)- A good carbonation level. The balance is ok, but is definitely a little strange overall; both in taste and feel.

(D)- Its not off, but just a little strange. Disjointed and just a little bizarre. Maybe it needs more time to balance and smooth out?

May 19, 2012
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litheum94 from California

3.89/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed 1/15/12.

Murky, auburn body. Small brown head that dissipates quickly.

Caramel and vanilla toffee. Oaky with some tropical fruit.

Flavors of caramel and vanilla with some root beer tones. Super bourbon burn, comes on warming and biting. Tart green apples pop up on the finish.

A pretty good barley wine, and I honestly don't get all the flak this beer is getting. Not the most amazing beer in the world, but I was not disappointed at all.

Feb 08, 2012
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ChadQuest from Illinois

2.13/5  rDev -37.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

This is the 2nd bottle i have opened. First one was last summer shortly after its release at a tasting, this one alone as i don't watch the super bowl.

The color is a reddish amber hue, some fine bubbles but no real cap or head.
The aroma has some positive flavors incorporated, quite a bit of nice caramel, some light barrel notes are evident, but there is something really bad in here, that smells partly like steamed vegetables/cabbage and partly like summit hops. I cant figure that out.
The flavors have all the same notes as the aroma, but with more rough alcohol on top, creating a bigger mess. Some rye like spice notes going on, caramel, and damp wood, a bit musty.
Mouthfeel has s good amount of carbonation and body, but that doesn't help the flavors.

Not the next Wooden Hell. Not even another good barleywine.

Feb 06, 2012
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craytonic from District of Columbia

3.42/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: cloudy amber/brown pour with a touch of lacing, not much head

Smell: A bit oxidized, lots of grain and some harsh booze with brown sugar and vanilla. Rye? I am not particularly impressed.

Taste: Grain, rye, alcohol/booze, brown sugar, vanilla. A bit oxidized and not really that well put together. Also a bit hot.

Mouthfeel: A bit hot and thin

Overall: Not really impressed with this one, didn't live up to the hype.

Dec 28, 2011
Photo of Mora2000
Mora2000 from Texas

4/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to ericandersnavy for sharing this bottle.

With all of the negative reviews here on BA, I was expecting the worst. Luckily the bottle we had was very good, but a little bit hot. I think it would have calmed down with some more age on it.

The beer pours a hazy brown color with an off-white head. The aroma has a ton of bourbon and toffee notes, with some oak notes mixed in as well. I also get a little bit of vanilla. There is no mistaking the fact this is a bourbon barrel aged beer.

The flavor follows suit. The dominant flavors are bourbon and oak, with some vanilla, maple and toffee mixed in as well. The alcohol in the beer is somewhat hot and could use some mellowing out. Still, I think all of the flavors work very well together and make for an enjoyable beer.

Medium to thick mouthfeel and low carbonation. Very glad I got to try this one.

Dec 16, 2011
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thagr81us from South Carolina

3.47/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks goes out to 67couple for sharing this one with me! Thanks Jon! Served from bottle into a Mikkeller taster flute. Poured a hazy reddish brown with a half finger off-white head that subsided to a minimal amount quickly. There was no lacing evident throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, vanilla, dark chocolate, wood, and sweet alcohol. The flavor was of sweet malt, bitter hops, wood, sweet alcohol, and subtle dark chocolate. It had a medium feel on the palate with mild carbonation. Overall this was a decent brew. Unfortunately, I was really expecting more out of this one. Based on the nose I was really looking forward to taking my first sip. However, the first sip kind of let me down slightly. While it wasn't bad, it wasn't what I was expecting based on the aroma. I would be glad to try this one again in the future, but wouldn't go out of my way to do so again.

Dec 09, 2011
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largadeer from California

2.13/5  rDev -37.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Thanks Arbi!

Muddy amber pour with minimal head formation. Musty, oxidized nose; very nutty with moderate booziness. Somewhat resiny, light caramel. The aroma isn't bad, but the palate is pretty awful. Thin, sharply boozy, with a ton of harsh oak, sticky resiny hop bitterness and nutty oxidation. Caramel and bourbon flavor are pretty faint. Really a godawful finish, a painful combo of excessive bittering hops and harsh wood tannin. Just a bad beer overall.

Dec 03, 2011
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GregSVT from Texas

3.13/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

22oz bottle into a tulip

A: Pours a very hazy reddish brown with a decent off-white head that fades to a ring and leaves only a tiny bit of lacing on the glass.

S: The nose is full of vanilla, toffee, and musty/earthy hops in the form of pine and grapefruit. Not much barrel aging in the nose which is kind of dissapointing.

T: The taste is probably one of the hoppiest Barleywines I've had next to Big Foot. I'm not getting much else besides the huge boozy hop flavors in the form of grapefruit and pine...maybe a touch of sweet malt and vanilla on the finish.

M: The feel is about the only thing good about this one. Thick and oily with a big finish.

O: This definitely needs about 2 years or more to balance out the huge hop flavors. Not sure why they put so much hops in this one to where it drowns out the barrel flavors. I have another one I plan to hold for at least 2 year.

Nov 29, 2011
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msubulldog25 from Oregon

3.26/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Decided to open a bottle tonight after about 6 months in the cellar - poured half to a snifter with a flank steak and arugula dish, then half afterward.

Back label: "An American Barley Wine Ale aged for nearly 9 months in freshly emptied Bourbon barrels"
Red wax seal.

A: Ruddy caramel pour, slight murky haze. Very little head, a forgettable ringing sliver and a whisper of film. Barely any lace, just a slim string that quickly droops. Virtually still, almost no visible carbonation; furthermore, there's a fair amount of suspended yeasty dust. Pretty color, but otherwise pretty disappointing.

S: Likable aroma: sweet oak, toffee, a toasted woodiness, something like cherries and a faint 'tropical' sweetness (pineapple?). 'Bourbon' scent is pleasantly spicy, even a bit leathery. Wish it were a little stronger (even after almost an hour of warming, the aroma doesn't jump from the glass), but it's a pretty fine noseful.

T: Oy! Intense bitterness, like chewing a hop cone served on a barrel stave - there's a brazen 'greenness' that attacks upfront, herbal and medicinally dry. Wood chips keep popping into mind, more specifically cedar shavings. More bourbon (vanilla and oak, black pepper, earthy spice) develops, but the overall impression is one of harsh, almost pithy bitterness.

M: Very smooth (a lessening of the boozy heat felt last spring), subtly carbonated - yet a little on the thin side. A coating does build from sip to sip, but overall feel seems 'medium' at best... more viscous than many barley wines. As mentioned, alcohol heat has lessened over the months, but there's still a slowly smoldering warmth on lips and back of tongue.

O: I recall trying this back in the spring, soon after the release, and (after being rather disappointed) vowing to 'give it some time' to develop. A half year later and I don't think it's mellowed much nor achieved as much complexity as other barrel-aged barley wines I've enjoyed. With two bottles left in the cellar, I'll try another in 6 months or so and revise the review if warranted. As such, this is still a borderline 'miss' for Oakshire in my honest opinion.

Nov 02, 2011
Photo of jdense
jdense from Oregon

3.97/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured at Oakshire beer dinner at Wildwood, PDX, 10.21.11. Many thanks to Paul and Matt for a superlative gastronomic experience. Paired with beef and chanterelle pot pies, yummy.

Dark brown body, minimal head and no lacing, no visible carbonation. Nose is bourbon but not booze, some raisin and molasses notes, oakiness from barrels and floral hops. Taste mirrors nose, a bit on the sweet side, re burnt brown sugar, not much in the way of bitterness. Mouthfeel is almost syrupy, a bit of stickiness, on the full side of medium. I know there were a lot of complaints/concerns about this beer being too hot re alcohol at release, and that's now water under the bridge. This beer is ready to drink now. I'd be interested in seeing Matt replicate this with some other Bourbon barrels. Tasty, but I'm gonna sit on my two bottles for a bit longer.

Oct 29, 2011
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kscaldef from Oregon

3.03/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Clear garnet with a modest, loose head that receeds within 30 second to a ring of foam

S: Raisin, plum, and cedar. Light bourbon and vanilla.

T: Surprisingly sharp woody taste off the bat, then raw sugar and harsh bourbon. With a little time the harshness recedes and a little more sweetness comes out, but it stays pretty bitter and woody.

M: Fairly high carbonation for the style and considering the barrel aging, feels pretty foamy in the mouth. Lingers, but not so much in a mouth-coating way that you might looks for in a barleywine.

O: Definitely not the boozy mess that early reviewers described, but what's come out over time isn't all that great either. I'm hoping the overly woody flavors might mellow with still more time in the cellar.

Oct 29, 2011
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barleywinefiend from Washington

2.36/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A: Poured a murky cherry color with good carbonation leaving a dirty white cap

S: Booze, faded hops, caramel, tofee and remnanats of an old spent American BBN barrel. I know where this is going

T: Booze, bourbon, wood, Earthy notes, caramel and toffee but it is sordove murky, syrupy and the taste fades the longer it sits in the palate

M: Big body but thinner mouthfeel and hotter than I was expecting from this beer

O: Glad I was able to try it but nit exactly a beer I would not be touting this, charging anything above $10 or dipping in wax. Just sayin..

Oct 16, 2011
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dgilks from Australia

3.65/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Cloudy, dark amber colour with a nice creamy tan head. Fair head retention. No lacing.

Lots of bourbon aroma with plenty of caramel sweetness. Quite nice on the whole.

Nutty, earthy flavour with some piney hops. Big sweetness with no real bourbon flavour but some oak. If anything it is a bit muddled and confused.

Medium body with moderate carbonation. A touch too thin.

It's okay for a BBW but it doesn't live up to the hype. A decent caramelised note is okay but the fuss still isn't justified.

Oct 05, 2011
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DaveHS from California

3.83/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-Pours attractive ruby color, with stained dark oak highlights. Foamy khaki head dissipates quickly, leaving minimal soapy lacing.

S-Plenty of buttery, sweet bourbon and vanilla, with a bit of heat. Smells sweet, like butterscotch pudding. Little bit of diacetyl, but it's not to the beer's detriment.

T/M-This is a little hot, and there's some dry booziness in the finish, but overall it isn't nearly as bad as people are making it out to be. Full bodied, with some bitter dry hops mid-palate. Well integrated bourbon oakiness that allows a perfectly fine barley wine to shine through.

O-Just because it isn't Wooden Hell doesn't mean it's terrible. This is an above average barrel aged barley wine. Not an excellent one, but a good one. Try to separate yourself from the hype and give it a chance.

Oct 01, 2011
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Arbitrator from California

1.75/5  rDev -48.7%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Chilled bottle into a glass. Courtesy of Rebecca, Brian, and Frank. Thanks!

A: I sauntered in from the scorching mid-day heat of low 70s Bay Area weather, looking for a refreshing beverage to slake my thirst. I requested a beer. I received it. I also received a little glass of this. Hellshire I. In the glass, it's unremarkable. Pours a clear, cola brown with no head, but perhaps the bottle has been open a while.

S: Strong alcoholic note that assures me that this was, indeed, aged in barrels. I look for such booziness to quench my skepticism. The beer is surprisingly hoppy; in the rancid, onion/garlic style of GUBNA. I thought this was made by the same dude who made Wooden Hell. DUBYA TEE EFF, dude. Caramel, some toffee are evident.

T: Toffee, caramel, a mild presence of vanilla... Now that that's out of the way, the beer blasts you over the head with bitter, tea-like, oniony hops and oaky astringency. Despite the harshness, the beer is sweet and underattenuated. It's actually an engineering marvel in some respects; so many flaws in one body.

M: It's harsh (tannic, astringent, boozy) and sweet. The best descriptor for the mouthfeel is "upsetting." I was upset after having this. I thought briefly of being picked last for dodgeball.

O: I'm told this is pretty hard to get. I think it runs $15 to $20. I wouldn't pay more than $5 for a bottle of this. It's a crappy, transparent attempt at cashing in on hype.

Sep 28, 2011
Hellshire I from Oakshire Brewing
Beer rating: 81 out of 100 with 108 ratings