Domination Ale | Horseheads Brewing Inc.

very good
18 Reviews
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Domination AleDomination Ale

Brewed by:
Horseheads Brewing Inc.
New York, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by asabreed on 08-07-2012

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Reviews: 18 | Ratings: 69
Photo of jmdrpi
4.31/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22 oz bottle. no date, but bought at the brewery a couple of months ago.

dark amber/light brown in color. thick creamy khaki colored head. good head retention. boozy bourbon aroma. very nice. in addition to the whiskey, also vanilla. the taste is much smoother. bready, toffee notes. bourbon aftertaste. good balance. mild carbonation, very smooth drinking. medium body.

overall - a great barrel aged barleywine.

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Photo of utopiajane
4/5  rDev -2.4%

Pours dark brown the oclor of burnt caramel with a thin head of tan foam that leaves no lace and only a film and thin ring. Nose is burnt sugar, caramel, toffee, vanilla, oak and bourbon. Rich malt depth even on the nose. A hint of booze. Taste is luscious and rich. Toffee and caramel that are smooth and endless. A dark fruit raisin and the sweet bourbon. Vanilla smooths out the palate and there is even a hint of coconut. Full mouthfeel. Sumptuous and very smooth. Hops bring this one home with a spicy herbal finish and a dryness form alcohol. Just a taste of the booziness on the palate. It's actually delightful. Aftertaste is sweet and nutty toffee. I love this.

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Photo of nmann08
3.5/5  rDev -14.6%

From a bottle, pours a dark mahogany brown, quickly dissipating light brown head.

Smell is molasses, bourbon, coconut, a little vanilla. It smells hot, this is a big-time barrel aged barleywine, no mistaking it. The flavor is sweet up front, molasses, caramel, toffee, citrus and spruce hops. The finish is pretty bitter and dry.

This was really boozy, if you have one, let it set and chill out.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.24/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle purchased at Nathaniel Square Corner Store in Rochester, NY.

Pours a deep, dark brown, relatively clear, with no head or lacing, which is to be expected with a high octane BA barleywine.

Smells like bourbon, coconut, vanilla, caramel, toffee, and booze. Really smells awesome, classic barrel-aged barleywine flavor.

This is great because it is exactly how I expect a barrel-aged barleywine to taste. No flaws, but doesn't separate itself from similar versions. Big barrel presence, lots of sweet bourbon, coconut, vanilla, caramel, toffee, and some woody/oaky bitterness near the end, with a tiny bit of astringent booziness near the end. It doesn't detract at all, luckily- not too hot. I can tell this would age well, however, but it's very tasty fresh.

Medium bodied, sticky, but not syrupy mouthfeel on this one. Very low amount of carbonation. A very slow sipper, due to the intense flavors, and high alcohol.

One of the best local beers that we have around here- I've always seen this beer, but have never picked it up. I'm glad I finally did, and shared it.

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Photo of Chickenhawk9932
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%

Pours a burnt umber with a light tan head which quickly disapates.

Bourbon, oak, vanilla, floral hops all show up in a beautiful bouquet.

A strong bitter barley wine with an aggressive resinous pine hops softened and round by a delicious bourbon sweetness. Subtle complex flavors of vanilla, oak, and caramel malt in the back end complete a nice dry finish.

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Photo of jlindros
4.3/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Split with rudzud from a helped trade.

Light fizzy head, dark molasses brown color hazy.

Nose is great, very hazy, dark sweet malts, candy, brown sugar, raisin, molasses, caramel, lots of nice bourbon.

Taste sweet bourbon, dark candy molasses malts, brown sugar, caramel, toffee, sweet candy, raisins, etc. Then mild earthy spicy hops, spicy, esp onto the finish, long earthy spicy hops, fairly to quite bitter.

Mouth is med bod, little thinner than I wanted, but booze is hidden very well, nice carb.

Overall quite nice.

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Photo of rudzud
4.33/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared with JLindros.

A - Poured into a Kate the Great tulip a nice crystal clear dark chestnut hue with a thin creamy of white head that leaves light lacing and a thin blanket.

S - Aromas of brown sugar, bourbon, malts, light dark fruits. Nice.

T - Taste is lots of brown sugar, bourbon, light sweetness, not syrupy, light dark fruits, rich caramel notes. Could use more malt backbone, still delicious.

M - Mouthfeel is nice and lightly creamy, alcohol hidden wonderfully.

O - Overall this was a shockingly good beer. Loads of bourbon, nice sweet malts, nice caramel. Absurdly drinkable. Wish I had more.

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Photo of Jjski
4.38/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2012 (no bottle date , purchased January 2013) cellared at 55f

A- kinda brown for a BW , chestnut. Minimal head

S- Bourbon, bourbon, vanilla oak and more bourbon. Outstanding if you enjoy booze.

T- moderate malty sweetness, brown sugar, bourbon into some hop aromatics. Dry/bitter ending with return of guess what: bourbon.

M- Smooth, well integrated. Perhaps a tiny bit thin for such a huge beer but not cloying

O- great effort and a good way to represent Upstate NY. Thanks to Ryan, at Beers of the World, for recommending. I love barley wines, although my taste is shifting to English styles. At one year old this splits the difference of super hoppy American BW ( Bigfoot) and English BW ( Insanity). It compares favorably to the latter, but lacks a bit of depth and complexity. A true bourbon bomb but not too sweet. I'm aging a few more. Very inexpensive. @ $ 8.00 I believe for 22 oz.

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Photo of rlee1390
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Deep amber, practically black in the glass. A one finger head that slowly rises up. The off white color leaves some lacing.

S-Caramel, vanilla, oak, toffee, bourbon, earthy.

T-Starts with caramel and vanilla. bourbon, oak and chocolate as well. Earthy, some dark fruits good balance.

M-Medium bodied, thick, some carbonation.

O-Wow. An amazing beer from the small local brewery. Horseheads did great with this one.

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Photo of emyers
3.45/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

22 oz. bottle poured into a Founders snifter. No bottled on date.

Appearance: Pours a viscous, murky dark brown with a slowly developing thin off-white head.

Smell: Lots of bourbon up front along with plum, fig, rich caramel, and some fusel alcohol. They definitely went big on the bourbon. It comes off pretty hot, but that's fine with me given the style. I'm liking it so far.

Taste: Yikes. While the smell was pretty hot, the taste puts it to shame. The first flavor to hit was essentially straight alcohol. There's a strong piney hop bitterness in there as well which, in combination with the considerable heat, make this very harsh. There are some good things going on with more dark fruit and caramel, but honestly it's hard to get past the heat. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of some heat in a bourbon barrel aged barleywine, but this just goes way overboard. It's as if someone poured vodka in my beer...

Mouthfeel: Hot. Pretty full-bodied, low carbonation. Lots of alcohol.

Overall: Very, very harsh. In a few years I think this might be pretty damn good, but definitely not ready to drink fresh.

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Photo of tviz33
3.94/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. bomber in to a Duvel tulip because that glass is awesome.

A- Not much of a head at first, but a thin but thick foam cap rises within a few seconds. Dark brown and hazy body.

S- Whewwww! Boozy and bold! Molasses, maple, toffee, everything rich and sweet here.

T- The dark fruits show through here, but the alcohol is quite noticeable, much like a bourbon. The hops arrive next along with an onslaught of other flavors that I can't put my fingers on. Quite aggressive.

M- Huge, thick mouthfeel with low carbonation.

O- Aging this beer coould definitely do it some good. It's just a little too in-your-face right now. Would try again.

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Photo of SLeffler27
3.82/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Dark brown (SRM 26-30) with a light, thin, almond veil that leaves a trace of lacing on the glass. Slight fine carbonation is barely noticeable within this murky beer. Viscosity washes away the lacing almost leaving legs on the Dogfish Head snifter.

Bourbon dominates with light spiciness and little else of note.

Strong bitterness is quickly followed by bourbon, while pine resin is also present. Hints of sweetness drift in and out amidst grapefruit, but bitterness and alcohol are aggressive. Warmth brings out slight roasted and caramel character that lasts long into the bitter finish.

This one is full-bodied and chewy with a velvety texture and fine carbonation. Alcohol is hot and mildly astringent.

As a sipping beer, this one will do, however, the flavors tend to be muddled while the aggressive character assaults the palate.

This beer has a brash character, given its youth. Age will likely do it well, allowing it to mellow.

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Photo of Rifugium
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had at a recent bottle share.

Poured a reddish brown color with a thin ringlet of bubbles around the perimeter; not much to speak of in the way of retention and lacing, but not much was expected. Lots of malty sweetness in the nose, some notes of barrel and booze. Again, a good malty sweetness in the taste, toffee, brown sugar, bourbon-soaked oak, complimented by some herbal hops, and a grainy earthiness mid-palate that leads me to believe there could be some rye in this brew. Heavy-medium body, and a good drinker overall. Doesn't really stand up to the big boys of the style perhaps, but in and of itself, it's still a nice brew overall.

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Photo of kawilliams81
4.29/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a 12 oz glass.

A- pours a dark copper, near brown with a half finger tan head. Minimal lacing.

S- maple, toffee, big dark fruits, bourbon, and vanilla

T- lots of dark fruits, brown sugar, bourbon, and vanilla.

M- medium body and carbonation. Crazy sneaky at 12%. I thought it was closer to 8-9%. Very smooth and mellow.

O- very solid beer. A little more dark fruit forward than most barleywines, but mouthfeel is just insane!

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Photo of Knapp85
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This poured out as a deep brown color with a thin cream colored head on top. The retention and lacing were very thin, not much to look at on this one. The smell of the beer is sweet with lots of big malts and subtle notes of oak in the mix as well. Some boozy ethanol fills the nose give this beer what should be a very warming effect. The taste of the beer has a very nice rich caramel flavor with the oak adding some additional depth to it. The mouthfeel is gently carbonated and has a smooth texture to it. Overall it's a big brew, and quite a tasty one also. I enjoyed this beer and would probably drink it again if I came across it.

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Photo of DovaliHops
4.39/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thank you WagonCircler for this awesome extra! Never heard of this brewery before. Pours a nice ruby reddish brown color with a small off-white head that diminishes quickly. Scent is packed with lovely bourbon whiskey aromas. Dark fruits and caramel malt. Inviting coconut and vanilla aromas with a good amount of oak barrel. A hint of booze as well. This nose is spectacular! Taste is just like the nose. Initially, I get some piney, citrus flavors...a bit of hoppiness. The palate is quickly taken over by sweet bourbon...a bit warming. Delicious notes of figs, prunes, raisins, and a bit of orange peel. Nice coconut, oak, and vanilla. Somewhat leathery. A bit boozy. Finishes with more pine and citrus hops. Mouthfeel is full-bodied...not to syrupy...not too thin. Drinkability is high, but only if you appreciate barrel-aged American barleywines. The hops and pine of this one may throw people off, but I REALLY enjoyed this beer!

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Photo of jzeilinger
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a chestnut red color with a creamy, thick toffee colored lacing and mild carbonation.

S - Candied figs, prunes, vanilla, bourbon, roasted toffee caramel, and cherries.

T - Really matches the nose in every way. Even and balanced throughout the entire sip. Candied figs, prunes, oak, vanilla, toffee caramel, and a nice blend of cherries, slightly spicy, and there's also a significant amount of alcohol warming initially. The oak woodiness and bitter pine finish is bold and with some age should mellow nicely to really add to a nice, rounded flavor.

M - Thick, full, and heavy body but not syrupy. The alcohol effervescence, oak, and bitterness prevent it from being too cloyingly sweet. Cherries, oak, toffee, and light bourbon linger and make the mouth water at the tip of the tongue while the back is dry.

O - This is a well done barley but could use some more time to mature. I definitely need some of this for cellaring, nicely done.

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Photo of asabreed
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a Bomber a few weeks ago at the brewery / store. Fifth Anniversary from Horseheads (as the gentleman behind the counter told us). Purchased for around $10.

Bomber from the fridge, in there for a day, sitting on the counter for about ten minutes before the pour into a Brooklyn tulip glass.

Appearance: A deep red color -- a good sense of bubbles, carbonation, and lacing, going from subtle sheets to pale-white droplets clinging to the middle to the bottom of the bulb part of the glass.

Smell: Both expected and nuanced. A huge fruit component is there, especially dark cherries, backed by some darker malts, along with the caramel, vanilla, and oak going along with the bourbon. More and more I'm starting to think that barley wine might be the style that's best for bourbon barrels these days, as the overt fruit component -- as compared, usually, to the char and sometimes-overbearing bitterness of the RIS style -- goes really well with all the bourbon and barrel characteristics, and here it's no different. So it ends up being a kind of melange of caramel-soaked, ripe fruit soaking in bourbon, and after about a day sitting on the counter, you take off the covering, whatever that may be.

Taste: Initially, what I liked a lot was the good balance between the malt, hops, and bourbon. I don't think this is an easy thing to get right, especially for something so young in the bottle. I'm not sure how they decided that five months was a good idea, but it definitely was, regarding the bourbon-aging. It works well and becomes pretty spicy when meshed with the hop bitterness, but still along you have the dark cherries and strawberries, and even a jammy component underneath that, with some chocolate and mild char coming through also. Spiraled and gyroscopic, it's much more complex than I'd expected, from mildly cold, temperature-wise, to room temperature. Finishes with some earthiness, and the lingering triad of bourbon, hop bitterness, and fruit and spice.

Mouthfeel: Surely a heavy-bodied beer, but even in the glass you can see the concentration of the bubbles and carbonation, from the lacing to what it does when it collapses into the body after a few swirls. It remains creamy and effervescent enough to work well with the nuance of flavors, without anything become unbalanced in the least, all the way until the end.

Drinkability: Comment length at max... get one if you can. Very impressed.

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Domination Ale from Horseheads Brewing Inc.
4.1 out of 5 based on 69 ratings.
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