Lips Of Faith - Blackberry Barley Wine
New Belgium Brewing Company

Lips Of Faith - Blackberry Barley WineLips Of Faith - Blackberry Barley Wine
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Barleywine - English
3.71 | pDev: 11.86%
New Belgium Brewing Company
Colorado, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Lips Of Faith - Blackberry Barley WineLips Of Faith - Blackberry Barley Wine
Reviews: 67 | Ratings: 247 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of woodychandler
woodychandler from Pennsylvania

4.36/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Man, I suddenly became inspired to run through some of my Barleywine backlog & while it may have been ill-advised, it has become rather pleasant. When does NBS start? I have other things to accomplish once it does!

From the Bottle; "

I now realize that I need an armchair & a fireplace to really tie my living room together! Inna meantime, I Pop!ped the cap & started a slow, gentle C-Line pour. I was enthused by the way that it foamed up of its own volition to form two-plus fingers of dense, foamy, rocky, tawny head with excellent retention, refusing to step aside as I was ready for my first sip.

I took the opportunity to raise a toast to my late shipmate, Kenny, who resides in my kitchen as I imbibe. I see him less & less, which worries me. Has he moved on? Am I becoming more sober?

Color was Deep-Amber/Light-Copper to Copper (SRM = > 13, < 17) with NE-quality clarity & deep-amber highlights. Nose was very sweet & perfume-y, like blackberry perfume. Mmm.

After a dry, leathery onslaught, this was a welcome change of pace. It also held a pleasant breadiness that made me think of berry bread, in total. At the end of the growing season, my grandmothers & some of my aunts & I would scour their gardens for any remaining viable berries for pies, preserves & my favorite, bread! We would spend the weekend in their kitchens cooking & baking, but the mixed fruit bread with butter or toasted plain was my fave. The smell wafting from the oven was much like this.

Mouthfeel was medium, but kind of solid, beyond creamy, just still & solid. Wow. The taste was totes blackberry, not sweet like its raspberry counterparts, but berry-like with a distinct slight tartness. Blackberries are for preserves & jams, not for individual consumption, unless you like a puckering tartness at the end of the day. Even in pies, they need some added sweetness. These are the bad boys of the berry world. Blackberry wine? Check! Blackberry brandy? Oh, hellz, yes! Just don't expect any sweetness.

Same here. The blackberry was subtle, not in-your-face tart, but conversely, this made it all the more dangerous. Talk about drinkability - this was so drinkable that I began to lose track, which was not optimal! Ever had blackberry syrup? It is an acquired taste since it tends far away from sweet. Want a really unique taste experience? Douse buckwheat pancakes in blackberry syrup! My late maternal grandfather turned me onto this as a kid & while it will never be my first choice, it remains something in which I will occasionally indulge. IHOP used to offer them, but I have not been to one in a while. 8=(

Finish had a slightly tart, cough syrup-like quality. Man, there was no question but that this had been deeply infused with blackberries. Mmm. I gotta cut back on this kinda thing! Yummy. YMMV.

Oct 13, 2019
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jmasher85 from Maryland

2.01/5  rDev -45.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.75

I didn't pour it down the drain. I sampled the bottle before I opened it and decided it needed time. So I waited a year, and then for good measure another year, and then forgot about it for a 3rd year. Now here we are, it's had plenty of time to sit in the corner and think about what it's done. Has learned its lesson? Has it righted it's wrongs? Aged gracefully? No, it has learned no lessons in its time in the cool darkness of my cellar, watching its friends pass it by one by one, but it wasn't smart enough, didn't have the intellectual capacity to truly improve itself.

So we're stuck with a overly sweet, overly strong mess of a beer that is good enough to drink about 4 or 5 times more of it then I had a few years ago when it was fresh. Unfortunately, all that means is that I had 4 or 5 sips instead of one. But like I said, I didn't pour it out. I poured it into a pond, boiled with some sugar and pectin, and made a delicious jam goes great on bread with peanut butter cream cheese. In fact, it would probably pair well with a much better beer.

Feb 15, 2019
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Parmesan from Colorado

3.5/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

L: Pours a slightly muddy raspberry blackberry red, with a small white head and a very bits of lacing on the glass.

S: Strong notes of blackberry, caramel and molasses, mixed with some other stone fruits. Fairly typical smelling barley wine.

T: Strong notes of blackberry and dark stone fruits, mixed with caramel and molasses, fairly standard barley wine.

F: Fuller body with a higher carbonation.

O: Fairly typical barley wine.

Oct 23, 2018
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Pegasus from Texas

3.81/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Clear, reddish copper in color, with a small, but persistent, coarse white head, and modest, slow-rising carbonation.

Aroma: Very pronounced note of blackberries and sweet, vinous alcohol. There is a note of molasses, also. overall, the bouquet is very sweet, with no hints of hops.

Taste: Opens with profound flavors of blackberry and caramel, soon after, molasses and sweet alcohol present. Malt is present in the bready notes early in the taste. The alcohol is mildly warming, Finishes with a long, lingering note of blackberry.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, rich, and quite full, very soft to the touch.

Drinkability/notes: Overall, somewhat like a blackberry cordial, very pleasing.

Presentation: Packaged in a standard twenty-two ounce enameled brown glass bomber, sealed with a pry-off crown, served in a New Belgium Brewing chalice.

Oct 29, 2017
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chinchill from South Carolina

4.17/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap the brewery taproom in Asheville.
Clear orange-copper colored body with a semi-durable off-white head that's rather bubbly.
Inviting aroma with suggestions of berry jam and candied fruit.
Lovely flavor with good dynamics. I?t starts sweet but finished lightly bitter and mildly tart. Fine, lingering flavor of blackberries and toasted grains.
Medium body; Fairly well hidden alcohol.

Aug 27, 2017
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ShoeIn-BrewWin from England

4.77/5  rDev +28.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Look: Pours a cloudy amber

Smell: Deceivingly light on the nose without any great hints of particular notes. I consider this a plus since it's a 10.% barleywine and I can't even notice the alcohol on the nose

Taste: The purely delectable, slightly sour blackberries pop through with a fresh molasses and nectar. Caramel smooths out the finish to mask all hints of the high alcohol content

Feel: This airy brew is finely and deceptively drinkable

Overall: The balance and the hidden alcohol make this one of the best barleywines I have ever had. Plus, I'm partial to blackberries.

May 21, 2017
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neurobot01 from California

4.04/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bomber into a Teku at cellar temp. Didn't try fresh, either because I intuited it would be cloying or read reviews to that effect, I no longer recall.

Look: distinctly burgundy-tinged brown, with a tiny ring of white foam.

Smell: tart/jammy fruit notes, with some slightly sickly-sweet molasses in the background.

Taste: unsurprisingly, very fruity. Fairly sweet, but not intolerably so. A bit of a chemical/artificial taste lingers. The requisite toffee, caramel, etc are there, but well in the background.

Feel: medium bodied yet somehow a bit syrupy.

Overall: this reminds me a bit of BCBBW, which I also found to be a very fruit-forward barleywine (granted, that was barrel aged and not brewed with fruit). Tasty for maybe 4oz, but a bit of a chore to get through the remaining 18.

Apr 29, 2017
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gobuccos from Ohio

4.31/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Sat on this one for a year. Pours with very little head. Nose has blackberry on it. Taste has less sweetness than fresh. Actually getting the barleywine backbone now that sweetness has subsided. Anyone else who is sitting on one, I would suggest trying now. Definitely better with age.

Apr 16, 2017
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hman43 from North Carolina

3.87/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Look: It pours amber with a burgundy hue. It has a tan head. The head retention in moderate.

Smell: It has aromas that are strong with the smell of blackberries. There is also a fair amount of caramel and bread as well.

Taste: The flavors are very sweet in the beginning with blackberries up front. It has a brandy-like flavor and then the caramel and bread balance it out somewhat with spice.

Feel: It has a heavy feel to it, but not chewy. There is a strong alcohol warming with it accompanied by a somewhat dry finish.

Overall, this reminds me of what blackberry brandy would taste like combined with a barleywine including the strong alcohol kick.

Aug 01, 2016
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SHODriver from North Carolina

3.5/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured into a snifter to a light brown with some orange hues topped by a very small off white head that fades quickly to a small collar leaving some lacing
S: Smells of blackberries with some slight toffee and caramel
T: Taste is caramel and toffee with some dark fruits and blackberries. There's some odd bitterness in here too. Swallow is blackberries with more toffee and caramel with some lingering dark fruits.
M: This beer is fairly full in the mouth with soft but adequate carbonation and a drying finish
O: Not bad but not great. The base beer may have some complexity but it is overshadowed by the fruit addition. It still tastes good and is drinkable but there are better representatives of the style.

Jul 22, 2016
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Radome from Florida

4.45/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Tasted from a bomber bottle.

L - Medium brown color with just a hint of red. Very clear. Tan head is not very persistent, but creates impressive lacing.

S - Aromas of a classic English barley wine (plums, raisins, molasses) get followed by a strong, tart blackberry aroma in the finish.

T - Strong malt flavors of bread, molasses, plums initially. Mid-palate to the finish are dominated by fruity blackberry, turning tart in the end. Low, bready/fruity yeast notes.

F - Medium body with low, creamy carbonation that fits the base style. Moderate hops bitterness which seems higher due to the berry tartness. Alcohol is not evident, despite the high ABV. There is an overriding silky, smooth quality that is very nice.

O - This is an impressive, memorable barley wine with a huge contribution from the fruit, which lends strong flavors, aromas and seemingly smooths the body out.

Jul 20, 2016
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ghouldendrink from Georgia

3.84/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

new to reviewing. to me, it's what delirium red should have tasted like.
this is much less artificial "fruity"flavor. The alcohol is definitely hidden as others stated. tastes best to me on the sip and then after swallowing although there is a blackberry aftertaste that lingers. the only issue for me.

Jun 19, 2016
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Guppy314 from District of Columbia

3.16/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

There is a tart Berry-type flavor with the usual Malt tastes, but this doesn't come off as sweet. Overall there is a "full" mouth-feel that makes this more suitable for drinking with a heavy meal rather than the end of a hot day. Barleywine as a category provides (me at least) novelty without being gratuitously weird.

May 17, 2016
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Windfisher from California

3.52/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Ruby red,Amber two finger head. Plenty of lacing left behind.
I smell bready black berry.
Blackberry, dark fruits. Not as boozy as expected.
Again bready, blackberry on the front end bready, sweet and tart at the same time. Dry finish the Abv will sneak up on you with this one, As the alcohol is well hidden.
Almost drinks like a wine.
Mouthfeel is not what I expected, a little less bold than I would think.
Overall, interesting worthwhile, I viewed as an experience I would repeat perhaps a 4oz nightcap would be just about right.

May 15, 2016
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REVZEB from Illinois

3.44/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had high hopes, ended up disappointed. The smell has a pungent soap smell on the finish, which soured the blackberry, barley, toffee, and molasses. The taste was sludgy blackberry with sticky molasses, strong booze, and grains. Felt like the beer began to fall apart during sips. Not a do over

May 09, 2016
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BWED from Colorado

4.12/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber poured into a snifter.

A- Auburn with some great ruby highlights. Tan head is minimal but leaves behind some legs and delicate lacing.

S- Caramel, butterscotch. Mild berry jam, and some woody notes.

T- Berry comes through more, yet not overpowering. Followed by an oaky caramel vanilla.

M- Full body and smooth. Berry lightens this up a bit, and adds some refreshing qualities. Finish is a little tart and oaky.

O- Well made. The berry doesn't take away from typical barleywine flavors, but it complements these attributes. It also lightens up this usually heavier beer.

May 07, 2016
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michiganmatt from California

4.22/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L: A deep red-orange, some red-beige head, a lot of visible carbonation rising up the beer.

S: Booze, berries and other red fruits, hints of toasty malts.

T: Tastes almost like a red wine—the bottle says aromas of Burgundy…I’ve never had that particular wine, but I’ll take their word for it. A slightly boozy red red fruit and berry flavor dominates. Perhaps some slight malts flavors, and bit of funk at the very end of the sip. I do like red wines a lot but honestly, I’m not super digging this particular taste. Many people might though.

F: Medium-full body. A medium amount of slightly higher than medium-intensity carbonation. Definitely smooth.

O: Overall, this was a very interesting beer. Not sure I’ve had anything quite like it. Its similarity to wine is quite amazing.

Apr 22, 2016
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Franziskaner from Missouri

3.2/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Amber hued with a fingernail of beige resting on top. Heavy lacing. Aroma is of fruity and sweet blackberries and plenty of malt. The taste is a bit of a cloying blend of massive amounts of light malt and fizzy sweet blackberry juice. The mouth is a bit chewy and alcoholic.

Apr 17, 2016
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barczar from Kentucky

3.62/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Aroma is fairly sweet and caramel malt dominant, with soft blackberry notes.

Flavor is tart throughout, with big malt sweetness contrasting a bit strangely.

Apr 12, 2016
Photo of pat61
pat61 from Minnesota

4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: Pours brilliant blue to purple tinted amber with some ruby highlights kicking up a 1” off-white foam cap that slowly descends to a thick, clingy film.
S: The nose starts with berries, a trace of alcohol, some mild hop aromas, citrus and medium low malt.
T: Big blackberry flavors move across the tongue backed by rich malt and a moderate hop bitterness with lingering hop, berry and malt flavors. Very well balanced.
F: Medium to medium full body, medium low carbonation, creamy, moderate alcohol warming, smooth.
O: An interesting barley wine that is better than expected.

Apr 04, 2016
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Mitchster from Michigan

3.78/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

New Belgiums first ever Barley wine. Brewed with Pale, Munich, Caramel Munich, Oats, Blackberry, and Belgian Candi Sugar. Hopped with Nugget. Fermented with ale yeast. 10% ABV.

Pours out to a brilliantly clear ruby, forming a nice creamy off yellow head with superior retention and beautiful lacing. Carbonation is moderate, ~2.5 carbs or so. The nose opens with carob and distant milk chocolate, sour milk, the obvious blackberries, dates and figs. The mouthfeel is lighter than expected for the 10%, owing to the candi sugar, but still a bit cloying and syrupy. There is an odd sourness that I don't care for, probably due to the blackberry tartness. Bitterness is mild-moderate and without any discernible hop flavor or aroma, which is atypical for barleywines but would overpower the blackberry. Finish has caramel, and sour figs, and an odd tart metallic note.

Overall, not all that impressed. I wouldn't be inclined to buy it again, but worth trying.

Mar 21, 2016
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BWood from California

3.42/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

L: Amber red. Typical barleywine color. Minimal carbonation with barely any head and slight lacing.

S: blackberry sour.

T: definitely blackberry forward. I do not get that usual barleywine bite. Almost fruit beerish.

F: very smooth. Goes down easy.

O: not sure how I feel about this. Good fruit character. Hidden alcohol. High abv. It was a lot more blackberry than I expected.

Mar 14, 2016
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Bear1964 from Nebraska

4.37/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into a stemmed glass, great reddish orange brew with a large bubble 2 fingered white head,awesome lace as you drink it down. Aroma is a tad weak on this one as I couldn't really pick up much except for some dark pit fruit and alcohol...maybe some berry in the background. Taste holds a very nice sweet/tart profile with a dry tart finish, it's rich in flavor without being over the top. Mouthfeel was medium with a wonderful tart dry finish, the tang hangs until your next sip. Overall this was very well put together and I really enjoyed how the 10% ABV is so well hidden which allows you to really take in the flavors as they come to you. Winner in my book for sure.

Mar 07, 2016
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UCLABrewN84 from California

3.9/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear reddish-orange with a foamy tan head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. A foamy lattice of lace coats the glass on the drink down. Smell is of toasted malt, blackberry syrup, blackberry jam, caramel, and toffee aromas. Taste is much the same with slightly tart blackberry juice, blackberry jam, caramel, and toast flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of bitterness and an alcohol kick on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with blackberry qualities that come across slightly better in the taste to me.

Serving type: bottle.

Mar 07, 2016
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EMV from Pennsylvania

3.44/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bomber into a tulip glass.

L: Pours a crystal clear dark amber color... hints of ruby red as I hold it up to the light. Three fingers of thick fizzy off-white head that fall rapidly. Great sticky lacing.

S: Blackberry and and sweet malts. Fruity.

T/F: Simultaneously sweet and tart up front. Blackberries and stone fruits. Big time malts... almost saved from being too sweet by the tart dark fruit. Sticky on the mouth and really coats the tongue. Ample carbonation.

O: A bit simple... and almost too sweet. More of a dessert than anything else, and the barleywine character is definitely in the background giving way to a sweet/tart blackberry medley. Not one that I will be likely to revisit, but one that I'm glad I had the chance to try.

Mar 03, 2016
Lips Of Faith - Blackberry Barley Wine from New Belgium Brewing Company
Beer rating: 84 out of 100 with 247 ratings