Chicken Killer Barley Wine | Santa Fe Brewing Company

Chicken Killer Barley WineChicken Killer Barley Wine
362 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 362 |  Reviews: 171
Photo of sd123
3.9/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of charmcityboh
3.9/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a tulip glass.
Nice medium sized head, faded a little quick for my liking. Perfect color for the style albeit a little light. Fills the nose up, bread like qualities, nice sweet aromas, but a touch too much alcohol in the nose. Taste is the strong point here. Everything I need in an american barleywine is perfectly balanced. Nice layering of the malt, hops, then back to malt with each sip. Good mouthfeel as well. A beer you can chew, as fits the style. Nice job with this one.

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Photo of Bobikel
3.9/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

"Chicken Killer Berley Wine is a revolutionary beer that will someday define America's unique Barely Wine Style", or so says the first line on my bomber... big talk, lets get to it!

Appearance - Pours a deep red/muddy brown with a quite generous head that stays put for quite some time. Lacing is quite good.

Smell - Hops, dark fruit, and spicy alchohol dominate. A little bready malt.

Taste - Very malty, with just a hint of hops in the background. plumbs and prunes dance around the palate somewhere in the middle.

Mouthfeel - Thick and just slightly viscous, a wounderfully smooth barley wine.

Drinkability - Alchohol (although not apparent in the flavor) and complexity minimize the sessionability, it is easy drinking none the less.

Overall - Doesn't quite live up to my expectations. As for the quote above, yes, it is unique. Will it define American barley wines? I doubt it. But still quite enjoyable.

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Photo of Gusler
3.89/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours from the 22 ounce brown bottle, a beclouded amber color with a modest head that is off-white and creamy in texture after desiccation the lace forms a fine covering for the glass. Nose is malt sweet, with a hint of hops and even alcohol. Start is quite sweet with a decent malt profile and the top moderate in its feel on the palate. Finish is delightfully acidic, the hops delectable in their spiciness, sweetness carries through to the end, hops adequate and the aftertaste a bit dry.

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Photo of BillBabbitt
3.89/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of tpd975
3.88/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a rather beautifu amber hue with a nice foamy head. The head dies to a solid collar with nice big chunks of lace left behind. Rather beautiful.

S: Nice big bready malt aroma with a big blast of sweet fruit. Hints of citrus hops mingle with the floral variety. Nice.

T: Similar to the aroma. Big on the malt with over ripe summer fruits pushing thru. Tons of sweet caramel malt with touches of floral hops and a touch of citrus. Not bad at all.

M: Medium to full bodied, smooth.

D: Rather good for a barleywine. I put down the entire bomber myself.

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Photo of Bitterbill
3.88/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one pours from 22oz bottle a clear deep amber with a medium sized head of foam. A couple of minutes in to the session, it shrinks to just a few islands in the middle and it has some lacing.

The smell has a big nose of caramel malt with some hop notes floating in the background.

The taste on first sip is also big on caramel malt but it is not overly sweet. A few more sips in and I'm getting some dark fruit flavours, and some hop bittererness...but not much. I'm also getting some roasted malt, some grain and a bit of an alcohol burn when it goes down but it's not objectionable in my opinion. This is a good BWSA.

Bottom line: I picked this one up on my last trip to Ft Collins and it's a good example of the style. I'd buy it again.

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Photo of BarrelAgedG
3.87/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Phelps
3.85/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on tap at the Arizona Society of Homebrewers Oktoberfest, this barelwyine’s been aged at least a year. Poured into a shaker pint.

Murky maple-orange with highlights of gold. Half a finger of velvety tan head becomes a silky top layer. Murky, almost opaque.

Tons of overripe orange, toasted biscuits and caramel in the nose. What orange peel-y hops were once here have become soft whispers. Hint of honey-like oxidation in the background.

Chicken Killer is a malt monster, but the hops are bigger in the flavor. I get tons of toasted biscuit covered with orange marmalade and caramel, along with some herbal qualities — basil? Burnt sugar is here as well, blending with sticky alcohol. It begins sweet, but finishes impressively dry. Pretty damn complex after a year old maturity.

Moderate, pokey carbonation flashes then fades as the creamy medium body moves about. Good viscosity, not too thick. A bit of booze comes through the nose, but it's pretty well hidden overall.

I'd say aged is the best way to have this beer — if it were fresh, the malt wouldn't be big enough to combat the hops.

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Photo of lackenhauser
3.85/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bronze color though somewhat murky. Not a lot of head though some decent lacing. Malty and caramel aroma right upfront. A very faint whiff of smoke-probably more perceived then actually there. Toffee and buttery flavor. Mildly astringent hop bite. A hair out of balance with the hops. Mildly boozey though not overly so and not in a detrimental way. Sticky and gummy mouthfeel. The upfront sweetness quickly becomes dry. Enjoyable all in. Have wanted to try this for ages. A touch rough in spots but a damn nice US barleywine.

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Photo of Phocion
3.85/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bomber pours into a snifter with a very thick and dark mahogony body. Small beige head which falls fairly quickly into thin, but resilient sheets of lacing.

Aroma is rich caramel malts. Brown sugar and molasses. Bready and a generic "malty" scent. Quite a few dark fruity esters, like rum-soaked dates.

Flavor follows the nose. Malt-forward but with a slight bitter touch. Fairly well-balanced, actually, and not overwhelmingly sweet. Toffee and alcohol, and just a touch bready.

Full-bodied and low carbbonation. Not as chewy as many barleywines, but still somewhat thick. A bit of alcohol warmth but not too hot.

Overall, this is a very enjoyable barleywine, but nothing particularly stands out about it. Good balance, good mouthfeel. Not overwhelming in any way.

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Photo of WhatsNewinBooze
3.85/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A nice well balanced barley wine. This ale pours a golden amber color with some reddish highlights and thin white fizzy head. On the nose I find you get a good amount of barley mixed with some hops with notes caramel, vanilla, red berry fruit, and citrus. The palate shows a nice sweetness from the barley up front but balances out with the bitterness of the hops as you progress.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.84/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Served in a tulip glass.

Thanks to twiggamortis420 for this bottle!

I've heard too much about bachelorette parties; now, gimme a beer, dammit! This stuff pours a murky sunset auburn topped by a finger of khaki foam. The nose comprises rye-ish biscuit, light toffee, mild tobacco-like greens, a twinge of candied orange peel, and a hint of celery. The taste continues the trend, with a spicy biscuit backbone riding high in the saddle, surrounded by mixed greens that don't pack much of a bitter wallop, but still serve as a minor balance to the malt. There's a slight twang of booze, but nothing that distracts from the main attractions. The body is a hefty-leaning medium, with a rather light moderate carbonation and a smooth feel. Overall, a nice, surprisingly easygoing barleywine, one that showcases a balance and a restraint you don't normally find stateside. Good times.

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Photo of Stevereno
3.84/5  rDev +4.3%

Photo of glid02
3.83/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this courtesy of Ding - much obliged!

Pours a hazy brownish copper color with a one-finger off-white head. The head dissipates into a patchy layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of caramelized malt with sugar-coated pears and hints of citrus aromas. There's also a small amount of booze aroma wafting out.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Caramelized malt flavors up front are soon joined by pear flavors and hints of toffee. The ending is solidly bitter and the alcohol plays a bit more of a role in the flavors than it does in the smell.

Mouthfeel is good. It's just a bit on the thin side but with solid carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I finished my glass fairly quickly and could have a few more.

Overall this is a solid barleywine that's somewhere in between an American and English. Worth a shot.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.83/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle from a nondescript liquor store in southwest Denver. I wonder if I ever saw Walter White drinking any of this brewery's products?

This beer pours a mostly clear, dark red brick amber hue, with a fistful of fingers of rising puffy, densely foamy, and somewhat creamy beige head, which leaves some spectral sudsy lace around the glass as things sink away.

It smells of heady bready, biscuity caramel malt, a hint of crystallized toffee, molasses, brown sugar, maple syrup, earthy, leafy hops, and a mild twinge of sweet alcohol. The taste is still pretty sweet, and complexly so, with more biscuity caramel malt, baba cakes, dry molasses, gritty demarara sugar, a bit of fresh black grapes, laid-back earthy, leafy hops, and a slight booze warming.

The bubbles are generally quite understated, just a dull hum throughout, the body a sturdy medium weight, and so-so in its smoothness, a needling prickliness hovering about. It finishes off-dry, not as sweet as one might have been expecting, as the biscuity character takes center stage, the earthy, leafy hops loitering as well.

A decently understated American barleywine, if we're to take their word for it. I think this tastes exactly what an Imperial ESB might want to taste like, so that would default to English all around in my book. Anyways, well-made, and definitely not too heavy, other than in the ABV, which is conspicuous only in its general absence. Wait for it, I know.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.83/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Shared this bottle with a few friends, received in trade from RickSawyer, thanks for the opportunity.

This bottle had about a year's aging on it at the time of review.

Pours a medium dark amber with a fluffy off white head that dissipates quickly. Smells of sweet malts, lots of caramel some toffee, slight citrus hops. Taste is a bit citrus and caramel not a whole lot of depth here. Certainly tasty but kind of one dimensional. Body is a little thin for the style, carbonation is medium, mouthfeel is creamy/syrupy. Alcohol is certainly well hidden. Nothing offensive here, certainly tasty, but there are much better Barleywines out there.

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Photo of jjayjaye
3.83/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly hazy iced tea color with a shallow fizzy orange tan colored head that fades quickly, leaving little lacing evidence. Quite a bit more suspended goodness as you progress to the inevitable bottom of the container. The smell is also unique. I get a rich malty corn starch caramel and baked vanilla character. The presence of alcohol is more pronounced as this beverage warms up. Full bodied and adequately carbonated, the mouth feel is significantly influenced by the boozy side of the 10% ABV. I find the taste quite enjoyable..exactly what the doctor ordered tonight. Had this one on the WANTs list for some time now. Really glad that i found it at Whole Foods in Arlington,TX. Recommend taking it for a ride around the block.

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Photo of msubulldog25
3.81/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This 22 oz. (651ml) bottle was purchased at AJ's in Tucson, AZ in late November, 2007, and has rested in the cellar ever since. Poured to a pint glass after dinner.

Label claims (rather boastfully) that Chicken Killer "is a revolutionary beer that will someday define America's unique Barley Wine style". OK, we'll see if I agree...

A: Perfectly clear amber-orange, with a dozen or so miniscule streams of carbonation wriggling to the top. Capped by about 1-finger of light tan froth, the head drops to a 1/4" covering of denser cream. Could hardly ask for a prettier barleywine...

S: Aroma is not robust, but sweet and a little flowery (honeysuckle?), with soft sugared citrus fruit and toffee. Vague earthy/green hops.

T: If there were huge hops in this one, they have mellowed nicely. The result of months of waiting (procrastinating) on this is a balance of grassy/herbal hops and a slightly tangy orange-citrus; the two blend wonderfully and dance on the tongue. Grainy toffee and a slight mint, slightly tart fruit (cherry, apricot???) are present. Oh yeah, there's some vanilla...

M: Creamy, almost velvety/smooth, texture. Medium mouthfeel, well-balanced hops vs. malts.

D: After a 'ho-hum' review by BA Metalmonk (who I sent a bottle to), I decided to give it a while longer resting in the cellar; apparently that did some good as it showed up as a drinkable, although not overly exciting, barleywine. Sippable and modeerately worth savoring. Flavors don't 'wow' but have a nice layering, a balanced warmth, and are complex enough to give this a 'thumbs up'. Good effort by Santa Fe Brewing and, officially, my first New Mexican brew (47th to the Union, 39th on my own list of all 50 US states).

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Photo of scootny
3.8/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Some chill haze at first but it clears up and reveals an amber liquid with a light white head. Not much sticking to the glass. Smell is rich and full sweet alcohol and toffee. Taste is kind of the same with a good balance of firmly bitter grapefruit hops. A bit of warm fresh brown bread. Some notes of leather, tobacco, and wood in the finish with touch of vanilla. While not hidden, the alcohol is well integrated into the taste. Feel is somewhat slick and syrupy with a gentle carbonation. Some warming from the alcohol as well. Goes down nicely.

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Photo of bmwats
3.8/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 650 ml bottle into a snifter.

A: Dark amber. Pours a pretty large, foamy, brown-white head. Settles very slowly. Substantial beer ring lacing remains.

S: Syrupy malt, raisin, a little molasses, and nutmeg.

T: Very woody, with just a slight sweet tinge. A little peaty, but more pungent. Raisin and licorice in there.

M:Thick, syrupy feel. High alcohol, sweet in the front, dry finish.

D: Sip and savor.

Atmosphere is pretty solid. Deep amber color, great foamy head, and very nice lacing. Nose is a little malt, with great sweet tones. Flavor is hearty, woody, and a little sweet. Great balance and body. Overall, this is a really good quaff.

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Photo of rye726
3.8/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

cloudy amber color with a weak tan head.

Floral hops, candy malts, faint alcohol and some spicy Belgian yeast.

A hybrid of a Belgian double and a barley wine. Malty with some faint hops flavors and again Belgian pepper.

Full body and good carbonation. A nice barley wine, but like most, it needs a fews years to come together.

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Photo of Justin8mypants
3.79/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of patrick68L
3.79/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Malina
3.79/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - gorgeous copper, almost red. A nice healthy head.

S - sweet and a somewhat floral citrus.

T - Slightly sweet, almost fruity, with a delicious floral hoppiness.

M - A little tingly, and incredibly light for a barleywine.

D - Scrumptious! The alcohol content precludes drinking too many, but it is very tasty.

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Chicken Killer Barley Wine from Santa Fe Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.68 out of 5 with 362 ratings
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