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Chicken Killer Barley Wine | Santa Fe Brewing Company

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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: 358
Photo of BeerAdvocate
4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From BeerAdvocate Magazine Volume II, Issue V:

Bright and clear reddish-amber color, looks like a sunset off of the East Coast during late summer. The head leaves a nice drop of lacing down the glass, sticky lace at that. Sweet malty aroma with a solid tone of caramel wraps itself around the faint alcoholic ester and hop nose. Stodgy, thick body, creamy and a little slick in the mouthfeel as the malt flexes. Bam! This is such a malt bomb! Caramel, Portuguese sweet bread and honey covered biscuits come to mind. Not overly sweet with the hop flavor, some hop bitterness and a bit peppery alcohol help to balance. The end is sweet and bready but with some lingering hop flavor and alcoholic bite.

Awesome, an American Barleywine that is not hopped to the hilt. Refreshing to see a balanced Barleywine that does not have to rely on extremes. Hooray for balance! A pleasure to sip.

 884 characters

Photo of lordofthewiens
4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice barley wine.

Bomber poured into a tulip. Cherry amber color with a medium-sized off white head. Pretty color.

Sweet caramel aroma, dark fruit, hops. A whiff of alcohol.

Taste followed form. Caramel malts, raisins, late citrus hops. Didn't notice the alcohol that I thought I smelled.

Nicely hopped, nicely balanced.

Enjoyed this a lot.

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Photo of prototypic
4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to csmiley for this one. A Barleywine from New Mexico? Who knew?

Chicken Killer pours a reddish copper color. It's a little hazy, and has quite a few yeast particles swimming around. Interesting. A vanilla head caps it off and stands over two and a half fingers tall. It's slow to recede, and leaves a thick, sticky coat of lace lining the glass.

The nose is good. It starts out with a strong caramel/toffee scent. Nevertheless, it doesn't smell overly sweet. Dark fruit is rather prominent. Raisin and plum add nice depth and work well with the malts. There's also a hint of apple. Interesting mix, but it works. I've had this bottle for quite a while, so the lack of hops doesn't surprise me. Hard to tell if there was ever much. Alcohol is masked well for 10%.

The flavor is likewise pretty good. This is pretty impressive stuff. It has a nice, strong caramel malt base. It's sweeter than it smells. Raisin and plum flavors are prominent, and add a really nice, slightly tangy flavor to the mix. There is a bit of golden fruit, as well (mostly just apple). The mix of dark and golden fruits, while novel, works well. I like the flavor quite a bit. There's not much going on in the hop department. Perhaps I sat on this bottle too long. Perhaps they were never here. Their presence is missed. Alcohol is noted, but isn't overly strong.

Chicken Killer has a medium body that feels thicker with a little warming. Carbonation is relatively light, and it is smooth. Drinkability is good. The flavor is surprisingly nice, and it goes down relatively smooth and easy for a big beer.

I'm pretty impressed with what I believe is my first beer from New Mexico. Chicken Killer is quite a flavorful American Barleywine that's mild mannered, and relatively balanced. I would prefer a little more in the hop department, but that's my preference for the style. For those who like their American Barleywines more balanced, check out Chicken Killer. You'll likely enjoy it.

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Photo of SammyDavisJrJrJr
4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to my parents for bringing this back to me. Into the snifter...

A - Rich amber body with an average head, that left nice lacing.

S - First notes are of cherry and apricot, with cinnamon and sweet English malts. Piney hops are present, but do not overpower the rest of the aroma.

T - Starts out sweet, like angel food cake, followed quickly by cherry, melon and apricot like fruitiness. Alcohol adds to the flavor, and seems to lend a cinnamon like spice quality. Hops are balenced and piney.

M - Silky and full, no complaints here.

D - This is deffinately one for people who like a nice English style Barleywine. Very nice example that I would recomend. Deserves it's name.

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Photo of fostwal
4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a really nice barley wine. The color is a dark and cloudy amber. The smell is slightly sweet and very much in keeping with barley wines. The taste and mouthfeel are excellent. A nice caramel taste with low carbonation. You really can't tell that its 10% alcohol. The brew is also feels thicker than a regular beer and has a nice finish. Definitely would order one again.

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Photo of Enola
4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Obtained in a trade with Grumpy a while back.

This beer is a nice ruby red with a small head that is sustained in my new Samuel Adams glass. The smell is malty and there are hints of apricots as well as other fruits. The taste is sweet and the abv shows a litte. The mouthfeel is smooth, much like a cask ale. This brew is a real pleasure to drink but it is a sipper for sure. Try to rush this one and you'll end up with warm ears and red cheeks. I would drink this beer again.

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Photo of GClarkage
4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12/20/07- Purchased at Sun Devil Liquors in Mesa, AZ.

Presentation- 22oz botle with no freshness info on the bottle. Poured into an oversized wine glass.

Appearance- Mid to deep golden color with a full one inch head upon pour. Fades fairly quickly with just a very light rim remaining. Leaves nice lace trails behind though.

Smell- Seems like more sweet roasted caramel malt than hops. Although, hops are both pine and grapefruit in nature and come through as well in the nose.

Taste- At first it seems like the perfect balanced barleywine. Then after a few sips the hops kick in with avengence. Fairly smooth toasted caramel candied malt combines with a pretty potent hit of grapefruit bittering hops. This one is simple and straight forward.

Mouthfeel- Smooth, fuller mouthfeel with a lingering hoppy flavor remaining.

Drinkability- Simple recipe...hops and malt, both frolicking together hand in hand. They make a great team in this beer. Nothing over the top incredible, but pretty damn good nonetheless.

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Photo of Wasatch
4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to mhewes for this brew.

22oz. Bomber

Pours a nice cloudy golden brown color, nice carbonation, nice little fizzy tan head, with some nice sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, a nice touch of hops, some slight spices. The taste is slighlty sweet, malty, hoppy, and a touch of spice. Medium body. Drinkable, this is a very nice Barleywine.

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Photo of brewandbbq
4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage 2007, 22oz undated bottle at 50 degrees.

Pours clear, dark burgundy, with a dense two-inch head of beige. Ultra-fine bubbles keep a solid skim coat afloat for the duration, and plenty of ripped sheets of lacework.

Aromatics lead off with red fruits, ripe malt, and caramel-drizzled figs. Melons, plumped raisins, and toffee step forward.

On the full side of medium bodied with a chewy, sticky mouthfeel.

Malt-forward on the palate with plenty of clean fruit underneath. Bitterness is low and alcohol is slow to warm.
Mild citrus with resin-drizzled raisins in the middle.
Heavy caramel and toffee bits follow through.

Finishes with lingering juicy malt, a mild but persistant bitterness, and fading ripe fruit.

Tasting quite clean and English-style. Low hopping rates with well hidden alcohol. Zero oxidation.
Not far off from being a Strong ale.

Big "way-back" props out to BA gbontrag for the hookup.

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Photo of drpimento
4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pretty good beer. I let it warm a bit from the fridge. Poured with a small to medium size, thick, creamy, light tan head that lasts a long time and a little lace. Color is a clear cherry orange amber and some bubble trails. Aroma is a pronounced blend of malt, caramel, toffee, hops, fruit, yeast. Flavor is similar to nose and has a very good balance between sweet, bitter, and tang. Body is also very good, full and round with a few high points while carbonation is perhaps just a tad light. Finish is like flavor, has good length, and has some alcohol. A slow sipping brew over the course of a bomber or two.

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Photo of MOB210SA
4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1/2 finger head dissipates slowly for a BW and keeps large bubbles and a circling ring around. Dark hazy amber.

Swet sugar and caramel nose.

Semi Sweet for BW. Semi sweet let you know alcohol is there for sure. The finish to me is something that I just didnt like. A strong hop bitterness. Caramel malt starts to come through when warming.

High Carbonation and decent MF

Pretty drinkable but I find other BWs a lot more enjoyable.

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Photo of EricCioe
3.98/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to schmittymack for sending this one up.

This pours deep amber with a nice, really pretty looking two finger head that left some lace on the way down, something I don't expect in a barleywine. On the nose there is a siginificant presence of caramel malt with something like rum-soaked dates providing the badass bottom note, and a definite hop presence that intermingles with the sweetness. One reviewer said candied oranges and that sounds just about right. In the mouth it's more of the same, with perhaps a bit more bitterness than anticipated. The body is medium, a little lighter than I would have expected, with a long finish with a touch of the heat I like in a big beer.

Overall, this is a nice brew and I was glad to get a couple bottles. I wouldn't have sought it out but for my pal Jon, a former Santa Fe resident living up here who said this was his favorite brew. I gave him one of the two bottles I had, and we shared the other one over Thanksgiving dinner turducken. A good beer enhanced by a good time.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
3.98/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I acquired this in a trade from turbine2475. Thanks for the chance to try it. Pours dark orange with some ruby highlights. The head fades a bit but settles to a thin cap for the life of the beer. Smells a bit sweet, and a bit hot, a tiny bit bready, and with some spiced pear on the finish. The taste is not nearly so hot and the flavors are more integrated than is indicated by the nose. Some tangy, spicy malt, earthy hops, caramel, pear, honey , and a dry finish that caps it off nicely. Fairly dry and smooth and integrated in the mouthfeel. Pleasant to drink, but you can definitely feel the alcohol creeping up on you.

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Photo of thekevlarkid
3.98/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewing a hometown favorite, as un-biasedly as possible. But acknowledging openly that I have a will like this beer. Poured out of the bomber into my glass with a two finger khaki colored head. The head display nice retention in a cobweb like way and it does lace quite well. The brew color itself is wood stain brown. Aromas of malts and ripened fruits. Flavors are sweet and the ALC % is clearly masked (purposefully) by the on-display esters. Fruit flavors, most notably pineapple, in the middle, strong malt presence, and at the end enough hop presence to cut with out doing so sharply. Well thought out, but not subtle. Still, I do consider this as a good example of the style and a well balanced drinkable Barley wine. If you can find, you have to try it.

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Photo of TheWhiskerReview
3.97/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

100th review! Make that 1% less liver function!!

Pours a mahogany brown with a dense 1-finger head. Retention and lace are minimal, as expected.

The nose, naturally, is all about the malt with caramel, bran flake and coffee aromas mixed in with dark estery notes of raisin, ripe fig, baked apple and fresh apricot. Touch of peppery booze too.

The full-bodied palate has an immeasurably long presentation- waves and waves of complex, rich and chewy malt are joined first by a little peppery booze, then the moderate bitterness before a return to the dry bran-like malt on the finish. Flavors up front include bran, nut oils, ripe fig and light roast coffee, while the finish sees little beads of toffee-like sweetness surrounding the boozy spice and final hints of cherry tucked into a lingering caramel.

Overall, needs some smoothing out around the edges (touch too boozy) but still rather wonderful now. I would love to see a year or two of age on this one. And I particularly like how it manages to be incredibly malty, but not syrupy and never too sweet. Very drinkable and enjoyable.

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Photo of csmiley
3.97/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - This one pours a muddy orange color that turns to amber around the edges. The light tan head comes to a quarter inch and fades rather quickly to a thin cap that almost coats the top. Lacing is just above average.

S - Starts out very sweet and malty. Caramel and toffee take the lead. Raisin come in pretty quickly too. Lots of bread dominates on the tail end. Toasted dark bread is what I'm getting. Just a hint of butterscotch that finishes it up.

T - Taste follows aroma for the most part. Malt absolutely dominates this one. Cooked caramel and toffee on the front end. Some dark fruit comes through midway - cherry and raisin. Light bitterness is present but it stays well out of the way. Bread comes through toward the end and is best described as buttered toast. Alcohol is downplayed pretty well but it's still pretty warm overall.

M - Fuller bodied with an average carbonation level. Finish is sweet on top of sweet. It hangs out on the palate for a while but not too long.

D - Drinkability is good for the Chicken Killer. I had no idea what to expect from this one and have to say, it's pretty solid. It could use something. What that something is, I can't really tell. Hops? I don't think so. The big malty profile seems to work. 9% instead off 10%? Not really. The alcohol never gets too warm to take anything away from the brew. Anyway you look at it. It's good. Glad I got to try it out but I'm not sure I'd seek it out again given the obvious New Mexico - Ohio distro. hurdle.

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Photo of midaszero
3.95/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from bomber bottle into pint glass

A - Very clear amber pour with ridiculous amount head and a ton of lacing. The head is the most dense I have seen to date.

S - Decently strong cherry vanilla scent

T - Sweet cherry taste with a good presence of alcohol. Not nearly as hoppy as most other American barley wines.

M - Smooth medium body. The head and lacing appears to be high carbonation but doesn't come through in the feel.

D - While tasty and worth trying I don't think I could drink it often but definitely a very drinkable barely wine.

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Photo of ONovoMexicano
3.94/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Had on tap at the brewery in early February 2014. Served in a snifter at an 8 ounce pour.

A good appearance to start things off. There's a finger thick, frothy head that I'd call very foamy. Beneath is an opaque, dark amber and brown liquid.

The nose is citrusy hops, orange peel, sweet malt and floral hops. I like what I smell.

I get a bit of an offtaste on the tongue at first, something metallic, but then the taste improves dramatically. Citrusy hops come in, followed by sweet creamy malt, then the floral hops show up and complement the citrus. A good mix. As the beer warms a bit I detect notes of vanilla and caramel too.

Aside from the metallic taste that is a bit harsh on the tongue initially, I found this beer to be smooth, sweet and creamy. If not for that offtaste, I'd absolutely love this beer.

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Photo of Rayek
3.94/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a 2010 dated bottle into a Snifter.

A: The beer pours a very cloudy chestnut brown. An extremely dense head is slow to form, but has great retention and leaves good lace.

S: Quite fruity initially with plum and green grape aromas. Toffee, pine and very light citrus start to seep through as the nose lingers.

T: First off, let this beer warm up before drinking. It really lets all of the flavors through. For an extremely powerful beer, the alcohol is well masked and only adds a little warmth going down. Sharp toffee is the first flavor out of the gate. Bitterness is piney and not too strong. I imagine that after a few years in the bottle, the hops have faded somewhat. The toffee and pine flavors linger through the long finish.

M: Dense and soft, with a slight stickiness.

O: This is a nice Barleywine that aged nicely. Letting it warm is definitely the key to success.

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Photo of Crosling
3.93/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle. Amber colored with a small white head. Initially I was thinking this was a pretty average barley wine. Then it seemed to smooth out and open up. It turned out to be a really excellent malt accented barley wine, with hints of vanilla and caramel covered fruits.

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Photo of tone77
3.91/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a brown 22 oz. bottle. Has a dark amber color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of dark fruits, malts. Taste is malty, alcohol, dark fruits, easy drinking considering the abv. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a quality beer.

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Photo of charmcityboh
3.9/5  rDev +7.1%
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 +7.1%
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 +6.9%
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 tpd975
3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
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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Chicken Killer Barley Wine from Santa Fe Brewing Company
3.64 out of 5 based on 358 ratings.
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