Chicken Killer Barley Wine | Santa Fe Brewing Company

171 Reviews
Chicken Killer Barley WineChicken Killer Barley Wine

Brewed by:
Santa Fe Brewing Company
New Mexico, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Chicken Killer Barley Wine is the revolutionary beer that will someday define America's unique Barley Wine style. It is brewed with twice the ingredients of the Santa Fe Brewing Company's other beers, and only half the usual amount of liquid is extracted from these ingredients. This makes one substantial beer. At over ten percent alcohol, Chicken Killer is actually as substantial as wine, but this is not to say that it is difficult to drink. On the contrary; be careful with this one. The flavors of the beer are at first as overwhelming as the intense Santa Fe sun. But in the same way our sun gives us the unrivaled brilliant colors of Santa Fe, the potency of Chicken Killer gives us the remarkable spectrum of flavors that can be found in no other beer, in no other city. If you did not have the opportunity to try last year's vintage, come try this year's!

Added by amicar on 03-07-2006

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Reviews: 171 | Ratings: 361
Photo of PHBoiler
2.46/5  rDev -32.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Burnt orange to amber colored body with a thin offwhite head. Little to no nose. There is a hint of sweetness. The taste is pure alcohol. Just tastes like grain alcohol and acetone. This beer is way off. Nothing wrong with the bottle and purchased recently as well. No bottle dating. Nothing positive about this beer. I got a light sweetness up front that is destroyed by the grain alcohol/acetone taste.

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Photo of ktrillionaire
2.47/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

A - Caramel brown hue, with a generous khaki head and some decent lace.

S - Bad nose of corn and husky grain.

T - Husky grain. Vanilla and booze are also present. Much better and more integrated as it warms. Still, that is not very good.

M - Big and sticky. Barleywine.

D - I won't drink this again.

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Photo of jneiswender
2.58/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured out of a 20+oz bottle into a "coke" glass.

A-cloudy amber/garnet body and a nice, dense beige head.

S-floral, sweet malt smell

T-flat flavor, malt...check, hops...check, alcohol...check


D-This just didn't do it for me. Very one dimesional. I hate to catergorize a barley wine as weak, but this is it.

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Photo of charlesw
2.64/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Beautiful brown/light brown/amber with a decent-sized head that lasts a couple of minutes. A touch light on the color and I wish the bubbles would last longer.

Smells of left coast hops - light, fruity, citrus. Hints of earthy, sugary tones. I'd be happier with more confrontation and definitely more to the malt nose.

Oh. Bummer. It's so not a barleywine. No body, no bitterness, no sweetness. Bummer. With all they say they put into it (twice the ingredients for half the extraction sounds to me like four times the concentration) they could have done so much more. In particular it needs to be sweeter and more bitter. It also needs more body. This is like drinking Andygator. Not so bad in and of itself, I guess, or as a Belgian something or other but not to style and not interesting.

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Photo of imagineiii
2.7/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Got this in a trade. My first brew from sante fe brewing, or from the state of NM...

A: poured into a pint glass. inch of head, dissipates leaving lace. ruby red tone looks more like the celebration ale i had last night than it looks like a barleywine. surprisingly clear, dont know if thats a good thing.

S: i get ALOT of raisans and other dried fruits, maybe plums but mostly raisans.

T: Thin malt that tastes tart and sour. some dark chocolate notes mixed with dark fruits like cherries and bitter grapes. Im sure most of these notes are off-flavors. Reminds me of the year old killer penguin I recently had.

M: half decent considering... carbonation sparkles and the beer is smooth enough.

D: No thanks. This would be a drain pour if it didnt have alcohol in it.

I love getting beers like this in the mail because there is no other way I would ever get to try it. But I wont be trying it again, in fact, Im going to have another celebration ale to wash this out of my mouth.

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Photo of htomsirveaux
2.7/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

22 oz. bottle.

Pours with a large, tight, peach hued head. Despite the large head, beer is quite flat. Clear deep copper color. Aroma is light, like fresh baked bread with brown sugar and ethanol. First sip is of alcohol. Middle is like alcohol. And some brown sugar. End is like alcohol. Tastes strongly of alcohol. Some hint of raisins and bitterness in finish. Along with alcohol. Did I mention the alcohol? Seems a lot stronger than 10%.

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Photo of allforbetterbeer
2.75/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

22 oz bomber picked up at Coaltrain liquors in Colorado Springs for the very reasonable price of ~$6.00.

Pours with a fine one finger cap of slightly off white head that lasts like the best of them. The body is cloudy and murky, and is riding the line exactly between orange and amber.

Smells delicious, with the prominent smell of American hops tempered by significant amounts of grain and higher alcohol. Grapefruit and especially pineapple are most notable. I am really getting a high dose of sweet pineapple in the nose.

The flavor is somewhat of a letdown initially. There is an unpleasant medicinal/burning plastic flavor that shows up from the very beginning and it is a glaring flaw in this flavor. Wow, thus ends my review, I can't get around this unpleasant flavor. Maybe brett gone way wrong? Someone burned a fermenting bucket and let it drip into the tanks?

Conclusion: I will seek this out again and see if another bottle shows the same flaws, or if this isn't a tasty beer.

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Photo of youradhere
2.76/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours rusty orange, thin white head. Smells of wheat, sort of like a bock. Floral and metallic aromas. Taste is, metallic, hoppy florals, phenolic, medicinal. Thin mouthfeel, high carbonation. Pretty disappointing, I had high hopes for this one. Glad to have tried it though.

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Photo of webbcreative
2.85/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured dark amber color, red brown with more brown, and 2 finger white head. A= smells semi-sweet, and a little bit of floral hops but not a lot. T= has some sweetness from the malt, and has a touch of bitterness from the hops, but overall this is weak for a barleywine, come one! M= thin, and weak, not enough body.

Overall as a big beer, its pretty decent, but as an american barley wine it misses the mark. Needs to be sweeter, hoppier, and needs more body. meh.

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Photo of NewGeneric
2.89/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Poured into my Delirium tremens tulip.

A: Pours a clear, rusty-copper color with 2 fingers of light beige head. Foam takes its sweet time dissipating, leaving plenty of sticky lacing all over the glass. Looks incredible.

S: Smells slightly stale, with heavy malts that deliver some nutty, toffee aromas. Mild hop presence as well. Nothing special.

T: Taste is well defined by the nose. Again nothing special.

M: Pretty thick, with some very solvent-like heat from the alcohol. This would be a fairly decent score otherwise.

D: I'd drink it over some other stuff, but probably won't buy it again.

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Photo of brownbeer
2.91/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Reddish amber with a tall off-white head that rises and falls quickly leaving lacind.

Malty without many hops,rotten veggies.

Sweet, full bodied with brown sugar and too sweet, sugary. Not a lot going here.

Overall, this is a barleywine that's not worth buying.Unless...

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Photo of TheHammer
2.92/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: The body is an opaque reddish brow with decent signs of carbonation. It poured with a finger and a half of head. It did retain admirably but produced minimal lacing.

Smell: A walloping hit of malt with a sandy background. It's fairly clear that it has a high alcohol content. Warming brought it out a bit more, but it really didn't need help.

Taste: Overwhelming malt with touches of grapes and plum. It finishes with notes of piney and earthy hops. The entire beer however doesn't hide it's alcohol content at all.

Mouthfeel: The biggest problem is the solvent note because the alcohol and the carbonation is a bit low. Apart from that though, it seems to carry a nice malt and mixed yeasty fruit aftertaste.

Drinkability: There is way to much undisguised alcohol content, and the overwhelming malt grows tired. Not a fan at how it sits down in my stomach either.

Final Thoughts: As my second barleywine, this doesn't appear to be a style that does it for me. It's like a high ABV Belgian gone wrong. I'll pass, but that doesn't mean you should.

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Photo of DIM
2.95/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

a: This one is a slightly hazy amber orange color. It pours with a medium white head.

s: Candied sour cherries, sugar, flowers, and alcohol. Also some strange sour rye or wheat notes.

t: Chalky sour cherries upfront. Finish combines floral hops, artificial sweetner, and alcohol.

m: Very good carbonation, and decent viscosity.

d: The label reads, "Chicken Killer is a revolutionary ale that will someday define America's unique Barley Wine style." Hmmmm... I hope not. I sought this out just because I liked the name. Oh well. Thanks to JDV for the chance to try this one.

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Photo of Goliath
2.98/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Pours a reddish brown with a large light tan head. Decent retention and a touch of lace.

Aroma is ok. A floral hoppiness with a touch of malty sweetness.

Taste is alright. A little floral hoppiness, some lightly toasted malt, a bit of alcohol, and even a little metallic.

Mouthfeel is full bodied and lightly carbonated.

Drinkability is low to moderate. Alcohol is high and flavors are sub par making this beer a little more difficult to consume. As I got further into this brew and it warms I figured out the problem. The floral hop profile just doesn't lend itself to a Barleywine. It's more of an off-balance IPA that is too dark. Had they used a different hop strain they probably would have a successful brew on their hands.

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Photo of DCon
2.99/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Received a 1 Pt. 6 Fl. Oz. bottle of this in a trade w/ amcmaho1 & shared w/ friends @ 4 Hands Brewing Co. Poured from the Baby Blue/Yellow Labeled bottle w/ a Dog wearing a Sombrero & shooting off guns (old western style) into a 12oz- 4 Hands Brewing Co Snifter Glass. Has no freshness date on the bottle but know its a 2011 from the brewery when amcmaho1 visited.

Aroma- Hot boozy, sharp, and very rough on the nose... Definitely needed to have this one sit a bit longer or?

Appearance- Pours a 1 finger head that has average retention. The darkest amber colored body you can get while also being viscous and leaves suds behind.

Flavor- Hits the mouth with tons of malt and sweetness but where is the complexity? Very light bitterness at the finish and almost no hops included in the flavor.

Mouthfeel- Medium Bodied, Light-Medium Carbonation, Smooth, and has a malty, bold finish on the palate.

Overall Impression- More like a traditional English Barleywine, this one missed the style a bit. More hop should have been included and should not have been so hot/sharp. Still enjoyed nonetheless and would love to pick up another bottle of this and sit on it.

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Photo of Wolfsdenbrew
2.99/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a deep copper, with a lasting tan head and moderate lacing.

The aroma is of sweet malts with little to know hop bouquet.

While barleywines are one of my favorite styles, this one was way too sweet with a huge alcohol burn. It did finish with a bitter hop bite but the hop flavor was lacking.

Medium-heavy body and lightly carbonated as it should be.

Just not a very good representation of the american barleywine style. My least favorite of the Santa Fe beers.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Not sure exactly what happened here. Feels uneven as far as taste goes and it lacks a smooth flavor. Feel is decent, but there isn't much going on here that is really saving the experience. Maybe it wasn’t the best bottle, though I probably won't ever know. I can’t say there is any hope that I would try it again.

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Photo of ChadQuest
3/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The color of the body has a strong reddish hue with an off white ring around the rosie. Well played Chad.
The aroma is sugary, kinda like those Farley's Fruit Slices candy i used to eat at my grandma's house. Anything that reminds me of Easter at grandma's house twenty years ago HAS to be a spot on description. This is like those candy, but you are only eating orange ones.
The flavors lay in the middle region that could be claimed by either barleywine style and no one would grab their pitchforks. There is enough cascade going on to say "Merica!", but there is enough unfermented sugars and sweet backbone that it is not very bitter and you could mention the English. It has a notable brown sugar texture with a subtle rye like spce, and grated citrus rind lending the matching mild bitterness. There is a notion of alcohol, but nothing to put in bold typeface and warn yo mama about.

Another barleywine slayed.

I <3 barleywines.

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Photo of Jazzcrop
3.01/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tastes are chalk, seaweed, sweet malt, barley, flaked wheat, grains, booze, wood, yeast, cloth, strong beer with a little bit of age on them, stuff and hops. Smells are toffee, chalk, mixed drinks, pills, credit cards, aluminum and tin. Mmmmm.... not a sensation, just alright.

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Photo of chugalug06
3.02/5  rDev -17%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A - Nice foamy/soapy off-white head. Brew is cloudy orangish-red. Medium body.

S - A fowl homebrew scent. Lots of weird grape scents. No heat or sugar.

T - Very watery. Not too much going on with this one.

M - Nice carbonation, zero bitterness (weak for a B-Wine).

O - Not impressed by this well-named offering from SFB... CKBW doesn't keep up with their canned series. This brew is not highly recommended, but worth trying with a group of friends....

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Photo of Metalmonk
3.04/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

An amusing name and label, if a little tough on the birds (beaks can't do crap against a gun-toting dog). This is my first New Mexico beer; thanks to msubulldog25 for making it happen.

Served at cellar temp. Appearance is very much par for the barleywine course. Rusted ruby with slow bubbles and a small head.

What happened to the aroma? My sniffer is just fine today, so it seems the aromas have up and died with the chickens. There are incredibly small traces of cherry licorice, alcohol and malty sweetness...otherwise not much else to report.

Flavor isn't much better. Best characteristic is a creamy sweetness like that of real vanilla ice cream (half of the credit claimed by the light, velvety texture). There's a heartier, bigger flavor trying to come through, that syrupy, sweet, boozy base you'll get in a good barleywine. But nothing knocks me over the head and reveals this as a killer of anything. And that's what I want in an American Barleywine. Finishes with some cherry/vanilla tart/sweet elements. Again, the mouthfeel is nice: smooth, fluffy and creamy, somewhat reminding of steamed milk.

For all the boasting on the label ("revolutionary", "will someday define America's unique BW style"), this hardly stands a chance against 100 other better US Barleywines. Maybe they mean "someday, when we actually brew a killer barleywine..." Best thing about it is that the 10% alcohol hides with rest of the expected flavors. And the flashes of vanilla ice cream are nice. But considering the style, this is surprisingly, disappointingly Blah.

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Photo of StaveHooks
3.04/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

22oz bottle served in a Prairie teku

A - Dark reddish brown with 2 fingers of yellowish tan head. Good retention with average lacing.

S - Doughy and bready caramel, mild apples, and some citrus notes,

T - Scorched caramel malts, very yeasty and biscuity, citrus honey tea. Bitterness comes more in the form of peppery notes, not sure if it's from the hops or the alcohol. Sweet upfront but dries out on the finish. Toffee and caramel malts really unfold once warm with some strawberry fruit as well. There's an odd vegetable flavor in there that I can't pin down and don't really love. The finish seems lackluster.

M - Moderate stingy carbonation bites the palate, medium to full body, dry finish.

Smells good and the malts dominate the hops. This is the 2nd time I've had this beer and I didn't love it the first time and I still don't. There is some weird flavor going on that I can't figure out but it seems to ruin it for me.

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Photo of SFLpunk
3.06/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to thekevlarkid for hauling this back for me! 22oz brown glass pry-top bottle. No freshness date.

Pours a mostly clear orange brown with some thin cream-colored head that leaves no lacing. Nose smells a little aged. Pale caramel, wet sand, and aged orange peels.

Palate is a bit shaky. Some citrus rind up front followed by medium caramel, chocolate/caramel chews, and old hops. Super sharp from the booze.

Notes: It seems to me that this bottle might be past it's prime, or that the alcohol burn is way out of whack. A light American style or perhaps English style barley wine. Not the greatest, but a so-so attempt.

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Photo of stevoj
3.07/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Best attribute of this beer is the fact that the ABV is hidden, goes down smoothly. Murky dark amber body with initial high fluffy head. Malty aroma with a hint of mustiness. Taste is more sweet malt, some toffee, but abrupt finish. Not picking up the metallic notes of previous reviewers. Good, but not great.

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Photo of Durge
3.13/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

From the bomber into the pint glass at room temperature, this one pours a cloudy deep copper color with a meager off-white cover and solid lacing. The aroma is very weak, just a hint of wheat and malt, maybe a touch of alcohol. The taste is a fairly high octane grape with wheaty mild malt, ham and pepper. It grows on you a bit but it is not very well balanced. Medium bodied with lively fine carbonation. Not very drinkable in my book. The flavor is too scant and non-descript to sustain the alcohol harshness. Some butterscotch and licorice. Worth a try but keep it room temperature and give it a chance to mellow on the taste buds.

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Chicken Killer Barley Wine from Santa Fe Brewing Company
3.64 out of 5 based on 361 ratings.
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