The Bruery

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British Barleywine
Ranked #44
Ranked #3,397
4.1 | pDev: 8.29%
The Bruery
California, United States
Notes: An English Barleywine aged in Bourbon barrels, Mash is an intense yet balanced beer with notes of burnt caramel, toasted bread, ripe pear, dried figs, vanilla, toasted coconut and finishes with oak tannin. This has become an instant favorite around the brewery due to its balance, subtle complexities and overwhelming deliciousness.
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Reviews: 88 | Ratings: 587
Photo of GuyFawkes
3.75/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottled 6/20/14; drank 12/4/14 @ California Split.

Murky orange rust appearance.

Khaki head; minimal lace.

Cream soda, vanilla & marshmallow nose.

Medium thick mouthfeel.

Mild flavors of oak, vanilla & caramel; almost no booze heat.

This has the right flavors for the style but not enough 'oomph' to be truly memorable; odd for this brewery!

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Photo of jmdrpi
4.41/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2015 bottle drank New Years Eve 2018, so 3+ years old - 750ml bottle

pours dark amber colored, clear, with thick cream colored head. very nice aroma of vanilla, caramel, toffee, touch of raisin. taste is super smooth for this strength beer, with the complex malt and bourbon flavors melded together nicely. not very sweet. medium bodied.

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Photo of Eamonn-Cummings3
4.23/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a Speiglau BA glass.

Look is a rich hazy red with little to no head.

Aroma is rich bourbon sweet syrup.

Taste matches aroma, bourbon vanilla syrup and a hint of sour.

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Photo of DaveMaciolek21
4.44/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deceptively light body for a complex beer that almost changes in every sip. Startling complexity--caramel, vanilla, fruit with a long oak barrel finish. Oe of my favorite all-time barleywines.

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
4.82/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2013 Edition. I sat on this for FIVE years before finally cracking it. Bottle says age a maximum of 2 years. I figured I'd push the envelope. Couldn't wait any longer.

A caramel color pours from the bottle forming a dark raisin body with a creamy, stable caramel-beige head of 1 finger.

The aromas were evident as soon as I cracked the bottle. Rich, sweet caramel and toffee, bourbon, vanilla, oak, brown sugar, and cinnamon.

This is utter perfection. Carefully aged in the dark, no infection, just beautiful. Flavors of hot caramel, boozy vanilla, bourbon, oak, reticent but present grape, tons of alcohol heat, and a finish of oak barrel and brown sugar.

The heat hits the tummy and warms up the entire abdomen. Perfect. Sappy, rich, caramelly. Nice mild carbonation.

Aging this 5 years has done it wonders. Back before Beer Advocate, I fell into a couple of these bottles as one of my first introductions to the style. It was fantastic as well, but not as great as this. Definitely age it.

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Photo of thebeers
4.13/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours a clearish amber-brown color with a half-finger of light tan head. It has good effervescence, and leaves thin sheets of lacing.

Bourbon, vanilla and some enticing earthy hops are up front in the nose. A little caramel and coconut. A hint of cider and raisin. All relatively restrained.

The taste is mild for a barleywine. A little wood and dull, earthy hop bitterness stand out the most. There's some strong vanilla as well, and to a lesser extent, a touch of cherry and bourbon sweetness and burnt caramel. Raisins and hop bitterness linger in the aftertaste, with occasional flashes of alcohol.

It's on the thin side of medium bodied with just a hint of chewiness and pretty strong carbonation.

It has all the right flavors. Maybe not the in-your-face pow of many BBA brews these days, but still mighty tasty.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Are they still calling this a barleywine or is it now an imperial brown ale? I can't keep up with the marketing changes sometimes. Pours a chestnut brown color, decent clarity given its color, thin beige head on the top 1/3". Aroma hits those maris otter and brown malt notes along with some mild bourbon and oak notes. Fairly restrained for a barrel aged barleywine, but in an appreciable way.

Taste is a smooth bourbon and wood concoction, smooth mellow toffee like malts throughout. Hides the alcohol very well, just enough brown sugar lite like sweetness to not be sugary but allow the beer to proceed without a bitter sense lingering around. Definitely English in execution, this one doesn't hit you with a bunch of hop bitterness the whole time (or any of the time really). Light notes of caramel and coconut continue to bang away on the mouth feel. Tiny bit of vanilla in the wood.

One of the most balanced and best barleywines out there. Underrated. Would share with Dr. Carroll :)

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.39/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

The Bruery "MASH"
1 Pint 9.4 fl. oz. brown glass bottle, "2015 EDITION"

Look: A hazy mahogany brown body rests gently beneath a short head of tan. Better than average head retention and lacing.
Smell: Malty with notes of soft caramel, bread, vanilla, Bourbon, oak, and a dusting of cocoa powder.
Taste: Richly malty with plenty of golden caramel, medium caramel, toffee, soft brown sugar, toasty bread, coconut, oak, Bourbon, vanilla, cocoa powder, apple, and raisin. Sweetish with a moderate bitterness. Very limited background hop flavor. The alcohol is present but never steps forward although it helps to dry the finish.
Feel: Full bodied, oily mouthfeel with a moderate, soft and smooth fine-bubbled carbonation.
Overall: A malt lovers beer that's livened by Bourbon barrel aging. Very nicely balanced and rounded. Superb!

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Photo of macrosmatic
4.34/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Reviewed from notes. 2014 vintage. Poured from 750 mL bottle into a Hunahpu’s Day tulip glass.

A: Very hazy to murky rich leathery brown. Forms a thin tan head with low retention. Only a very few bubbles of visible carbonation. Some “floaters” in here as well (I’m assuming yeast sediment).

S: Bourbon, toffee, and vanilla. Caramel and oak. Mild dark fruits and some brown sugar.

T: Toffee and bourbon with the vanilla and caramelized malts. Vanilla and brown sugar. The bourbon seems well-integrated. It finishes with sweet toffee and mild residual bourbon heat.

M: Sticky mouthfeel with a full body. The alcohol presence seems restrained for style. Low carbonation sensation.

O: Really tasty, especially as it warms some out of the refrigerator. The bourbon is nicely balanced with the sweetness. I would guess this would be in the top ten to fifteen barrel-aged barleywines I’ve had, though not in the top five.

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Photo of TreyIsWilson
4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a clear copper with a one finger off white head. Light amount of soapy lacing.

S - Aroma is bourbon, vanilla and dark fruits.

T - The taste is heavy bourbon, vanilla, caramel, plums, raisins and oak. The finish has a lingering alcohol burn.

M - Medium body with medium carbonation. Creamy mouthfeel with a soft dry finish.

O - This is a big boozy BBA Barleywine. This flavors are rich with the bourbon being the star of the show.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.43/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought On-Line

750 ml
2015 Edition

Poured into a goblet a translucent brownish color, pretty nice carbonation, with a pretty nice small/quick creamy tan head, which leaves a nice small island and some sticky lacing behind. The nose is malty, yeasty, with some (cherries, figs, dates, raisins), nice touch of bourbon, vanilla, coconut, oaky. The taste is really nice, malty, yeasty, nice touch of (cherries, dates, figs, raisins), very nice touch of bourbon, some nice vanilla, coconut, nice oakyness. Full Body, ABV hidden very well, a very nice complex brew, a very nice sipper. Overall, a very tasty brew. Glad I got a chance to buy some.

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Photo of ajm5108
4.6/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Copper color, proper carbonation and barm that settles into a fine lacing. Classic aromas, rich caramel, smooth coconut, a little wood underneath. Taste lacks a little depth, but what is there is well-done and almost unassailable. Warm malt caramel, toasted nut, very faint hop bitterness - a tad boozey, maybe too much tannin at the end, but otherwise a very respectable concotion.

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Photo of PDXAmbassador
3.58/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Was excited to try one with a couple years of age on it, as I'm a big fan of big English barleywines....

Unfortunately my 2015 bottle was infected. Gross sourness, harsh flavors, drain pour. It was hard to discern what the beer would've been apart from the infection. Should've left it unrated, but writing this as warning re: 2015 bottling dates.

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Photo of Flounder57
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750 ml bottle was poured into stemless wine glass.

Appearance: A one finger off white head was poured that reduced to a thin layer. It is an amber crimson color with good clarity when held up to a light. Spotty lacing down the glass as the beer was drank.

Smell: Caramel, toffee, vanilla, bourbon, coconut, dark fruits, raisins, and nice warm alcohol.

Taste: Nice mixture of above aromas. Silky, creamy, light bitterness, somewhat chewy notes, and nice subtle warm alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Silky, creamy, smooth, medium carbonation, medium bodied, warm alcohol, light bitterness, balanced, and light chewy notes.

Overall: 2015 bottle has aged well and brought out good flavors. I'll look forward to more aged versions of this beer.

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Photo of BergBeer
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look: Translucent amber with a thick eggshell head. Mild activity. Plenty of lacing.

Smell: Molasses, warm vanilla, crisp green apple, sharp overripe pear, honey covered dates, caramelized raisins, boozy vanilla bourbon, dried figs, and rich deep oak.

Feel: Big bodied. Sticky sweet. Dominates the palate. Moderate booze with a prickly carbonation on the tongue.

Overall: Wow. This is a big, deep, and complex brew. Waves of flavor envelop the palate with each new note crashing on the palate and giving way to a new note. Yet by the finish all the notes meld to make one beauty of a barleywine. Special not to the rich oak. Outstanding

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Photo of 57md
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a brownish copper with well over a finger of head. The nose has distinct notes of bourbon. The flavor lacks the malty sweetness that is indicative of this style. There is a residual sweetness upfront that likely comes from the bourbon but the finish is quite dry - perhaps too dry for the style.

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Photo of KensWorld
4.61/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Quite different than expected. Bourbon forward. Somewhat tart without any of the typical sweetness expected in this style. Actually refreshing and easy drinking. Will seek out again.

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Photo of CHickman
4.45/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Split the bomber, it pours cloudy copper brown color with a foamy 1 finger beige colored head that was full of tiny bubbles and faded slowly, leaving really nice spotty lacing.

Smells of bourbon, caramel, brown sugar, toffee, piney hops, maple syrup, sweet malt, orange peel, graham cracker and all things malty. Really nice to inhale.

Tastes of toffee, caramel, bourbon, brown sugar, sweet malt, toffee, vanilla, oaky notes, dark fruits and maple syrup. Really damn smooth and complex, the malts are rich and bring out a tremendous amount of barrel aged favors. True to the English barleywine style there seemed to be great balance between malt and hops, but they were both pushed to the side so the bourbon barrels could be the star of the show.

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Photo of OrangeMen
4.34/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2015 vintage
~1 year from bottling date

Appearance- Pours a murky, muddy brown color, hazy. Half finger thick, off white colored head, soapy bubbles. Alcohol legs coat glass, some spotty head lacing clings as well.

Aroma- Toasty malts, huge rich caramel, mild molasses, and brown sugar sweetness. Mild bourbon, vanilla, drying oak, spice, nuttiness. Hints of dark fruits.

Taste- Rich sweetness, caramel, molasses, mild vanilla, ripe dark fruits, plum, raisins. Underlying toasty rich malts and nuttiness. Smooth bourbon, oak, touches of dry spice on the finish.

Feel- Medium bodied, very sticky and sweet, slight creaminess. Moderate carbonation.

Overall- Sweet and decadent beer. Lots of rich sweetness up front, dark fruits, and then the beer finishes w/ the barrel characteristics. Good amount of bourbon, barrel notes are more subdued. Very enjoyable.

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Photo of HopHunter19
4.75/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A - pretty impressive brown clear body, head surprisingly sticks forever at 12.5%, I guess it's deserving of its name!
S - big caramel, toffee, vanilla, light milk chocolate, bourbon, oak, wholesome zucchini bread
T - big caramel, caramel, and more caramel, toffee, like a heath bar in beer form, vanilla, just absolutely a Bba English barleywine that's perfectly done in all respects
M - heavy mouthfeel, alcohol covered for all intensive purposes, although it's a 12.5% barleywine so some may disagree, aftertaste is vanilla, caramel, cream, bourbon
O - great barleywine. Honestly I stood there for a second between this and Sucaba to start my Friday off, and I'm not dissapointed in my decision at all..great beer! This is definitely underrated at 90.

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Photo of jopezu
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours a cloudy burnt sienna with a large head that hangs out a minute. nose; sharp bourbony oak, fig, tart fermented dark fruit, & very light lemon hops. taste; easy caramel malt, grape must, toffee, tart berry, banana, vanilla, lemon zest, & big oak. extremely vinous overall, a tad tart, & the ethanol does warm a touch. medium+ carbonation & heavy, velvety mouthfeel. extremely tame for 12.5%abv and drinks like a wine. very nice.

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Photo of Boccu
4.55/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Great white head. Infected. Total let down. Not happy at all. Was really looking forward to this. I will try again if I see it but I won't look for it.
2nd bottle thanks chickman. Pours nice white head. Head hangs to sides of snifter. Aroma is sting and has tones of malt, caramel, molasses, vanilla and bourbon. Taste follows the nose with raisins, dark fruits,oak and bourbon. Excellent, very well made. Look forward to more from them.

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Photo of BlurryVisi0n
4.17/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Served in a tulip glass right from the bottle.

Appearance: Looks alone this brew looks like a beast, deep mahogany color with medium bubbles. Off-white head with a slightly orange tint rises to maybe half a finger's length. Drops nice and steady, almost no lacing.

Smell: Light toffee scent, you know if you ever caramelize sugar this has that feel. The whiskey notes are a bit heavy but dissipate quick through the nostrils.

Taste: The brew is a little all over the place, sweet whiskey and light vanilla. Toffee and did I mention the whiskey, it's strong my friend and the alcohol is absolutely evident.

Mouth: Ultra stick, let it warm a bit and you will notice it's like maple syrup. Sweet finish, carbonation is medium at best but the just hugging your cheeks.

Overall: Great brew, I have had a quite better English barleywine but this one definitely in the top five category, hard to compare to Arctic Devil, King Henry, and Lervig's Brewer Reserve Barleywine...but still delivers. I don't like to mention other beers ever in a review but you need to understand the devil I am dealing with. Personally as pricey as it is I am happy I bought regrets. Salud!

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Photo of Immortale25
4.3/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Dogfish traditional oversized snifter. Label says 2015 Edition.

A- Pours a medium brown color with a 1/2 inch light tan head that retains well before becoming a thick ring around the edge of the flass and a mostly full sheet of sheer surface foam. Semi-resilient lacing leaves a solid ring behind.

S- Rich bourbon nose with some woody tones and toasted malt.

T- Sweet bourbon-y vanilla character at first which turns to an oaky, boozy finish. Very drinkable for the ABV. I don't usually get the coconut notes from BBA beers but this one actually has some. There's also caramel, fig and a bit of raisin.

M- The only part of the beer that's non-optimal. Hardly creamy at all with medium carbonation and a body leaning toward the fuller side.

O- Good flavor and balance, but the higher level of carbonation and lack of creamy feel keep this beer from being exceptional.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
4.34/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

In an improvised snifter the beer was ruby red in color with a small tan head.
Aroma of biscuit and caramel, burnt sugar. Oak.
Caramel and toffee taste. Biscuit. Vanilla. A hint of alcohol.
The flavors married well. Not a lot of evidence of the 12.5% ABV.
A beautiful beer!

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Mash from The Bruery
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 587 ratings