Gatlin Damnosus
Anderson Valley Brewing Company

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American Barleywine
3.98 | pDev: 13.57%
Anderson Valley Brewing Company
California, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Notes: This sour ale is produced by aging our Horn Of The Beer Barleywine in Wild Turkey bourbon barrels for extended periods of time (up to 2 years.)
Reviews: 26 | Ratings: 72 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of elNopalero
4.15/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Oooh, a sour barleywine!

This pours a ruddy amber.

Tart, sour, with notes of cherry and hints of toffee and caramel malt. Surprisingly light and refreshing for a barleywine. It's the souring. This was delicious.

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Photo of Phil-Fresh
3.98/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4


A: Lots of bourbon, vanilla, light malt sweetness, light red-wine, and wood.

A: Dark brown, clear, with a moderate rocky white head with adequate retention.

T: Strong bourbon flavor, slightly vinous, earthy, with a moderately strong lingering sourness that lasts through the finish.

M: Medium-full body, with moderately-light carbonation. The beer has a moderately light, but pleasing acidity.

O: Solid; the beer has a complex character, but the ample bourbon character almost overpowers the rest of the beer.

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Photo of avalon07
4.11/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a medium brown color and a cloudy texture. There was a massive, off white, creamy, extremely long-lasting head. Excellent lacing.

S: A nice aroma of malt, bourbon, a vinous quality, caramel, and dark fruit as well.

T: Tasted of a bit of caramel, some of the aforementioned vinous quality (more than you expect from a barleywine), a good amount of malt, a woody quality, some bourbon, and dark fruit (plums, in particular). An interesting flavor for the style, mainly due the inclusion of the wine and bourbon elements. Quite flavorful.

F: A fair amount of carbonation with a smooth finish. Medium-bodied.

O: This isn't your typical barleywine, that's for sure, but it is well made and tasty. Drinkable.

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Photo of danasofia
4.67/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a bomber into a tulip glass.

Look - Bordering on black: deep maroon and muddy caramel brown at the bottom as more light reaches through the glass. An almost imperceptible lightness in color above a stout with greater opaqueness.

Smell - Incredibly dry, woody and nutty, a bit boozy, and quite tart with a hint of dark fruit, chocolate, and coffee.

Taste - Bright and juicy/fruity tart flavors (grapefruit and tropical fruit) on the front with a slow bleed into dark fruit and red wine grapes, nuts, chocolate, caramel and coffee, with a broad, earthy tone to the flavor with a sharply sour bite (slightly acetic or reminiscent of vinegar) intermingling with it. Strong alcohol presence throughout. Very subtle bourbon bite that is basically only present due to the high alcohol content.

Feel - Fairly thin, with a slight hint of thicker viscosity that doesn't quite get there. It is, however, helpful in making the beer more refreshing despite its incredibly rich, heavy, and strong flavors (sweet malt, dark fruit and plums, nuts, acetic and dry tartness).

Overall - This is an unusual and unique beer. It has an incredible mix of sweet and rich stout-staple flavors and incredibly dank, earthy English-style flavors, as well as the surprisingly assorted fruit flavors and earthy red wine midrange. If a bit overpriced for its success (around $15), but worth the buy for its unique character. This beer seems underrated for me as it currently stands. The specific range of flavors accomplished by sour-culturing a barleywine using bourbon barrels (as opposed to, say, white wine barrels maybe) is very impressive.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.96/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

havent had a lot of intentionally soured barleywine types, so this was new for me and obviously a bold step for anderson valley, who hasnt gotten this weird all that often that i am aware of. the base beer is super solid, rich english toffee notes coming from the grain base at the center of this, raisin, fig, and caramel popcorn also at the heart. its cloudy but very heady, not quite white, but lacy and lasting. bourbon and oak are high too, the barrel was a nice call for the barleywine, and it makes a huge impact. alcohol and sugar from the barrel, but i get plenty of the wood too, rich and mellowing, slow and steady all the way through. the sourness is where it loses me a little, its vinegar to me, and tastes a little more like an infection than an intentional pitch, but that said, its not a bad thing, and its not so sour that i cant still taste the delicious barrel aged base beer. tart cherry and red wine accents in here, neat with that fruit essence together with the bourbon. some in our group liked it more than others, but one thing is for certain, there is nothing like this out there at all, at least that i have ever tasted. if it was intentional, it could use some softening on the sourness, if it was unintentional, they got lucky that it still tastes really yummy...

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Photo of Moose90
3.82/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Served On-Tap

A — Pours a deeply dark amber/brown with some ruby hues, head is puffy and tan colored, but fades fairly quickly due to the high ABV and acidity.

S — Smells of a rich and wonderful Barleywine, sweet malts and sugars, cinnamon, spice, coffee, malty and rich.

T — Tastes quite tart and sour, vinegar, oak, spice, rich malts, quite a conundrum of flavors.

M — Medium-Full Bodied, fairly long lasting finish, though it is thinner than most Barleywine.

O — A very odd and unique beer for sure, not sure that Sour Barleywine needs to be a style, but hey kudos to AV for making one!

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.37/5  rDev +9.8%

Sour bourbon barrel-aged barleywine? Just had to try this guy.

On tap at the Tap and Mallet in Rochester, NY. 8 oz pour.

Pours a murky muddy brown, with a fizzy small head, and no lacing.

Smells really quite incredible- caramel, oak, vanilla, bourbon, red wine, and lactic acid. Smells like it was aged in a combination of bourbon and red wine barrels, but it's only bourbon.

This one tastes great too, but doesn't quite live up the aroma. The caramel, oak, and vanilla I expect in a barleywine are there, but not quite as strongly in the nose. As it warms, the sourness increases. It's not just *sour*, though, the tartness is more complex than that- lemon, sour red grapes, and vinegar. Quite lactic. Just a really complex beer.

This one has a medium sized body, with a low amount of carbonation, and a crisp mouthfeel.

One of the more interesting beers I've ever had. It seems from the reviews that is a polarizing beer. It seems like you have to catch it at the exact right amount of sourness- it appears I did. Excellent beer.

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Photo of Judicator7
4.74/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Had this on tap a few times in Phoenix at Taste of Tops. Made regularly per my discussion with the brewers, but hard for me to find back in Austin. This melds some of my favorites things under one umbrella...barleywine, sours, bourbon/whiskey barrel-aged ales. Delicious. Incredibly unique, but polarizing.

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Photo of AgentMunky
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Served in a tasting glass at Ale Arsenal.

A: Darkest chestnut, barely translucent. Good lacing.

S: Mmmm. Tart cherries and huge butterscotch with hints of vanilla. Obvious bourbon barrels. Yummy.

T: Interesting! Predominantly tart, with intriguing undercurrents of bourbon and butterscotch. Aftertaste is clean, but yeasty.

M: Thin, and lightly sour.

O: A good, interesting beer that I would not want to drink all the time, but is fun. Good vanilla. Nice mix of sour and sweet. The former wins by a hair.

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Photo of thecheapies
3.84/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Dark red-brown. Foamy residue on top.

Strong whiskey note complemented by a turned tartness. Lots of bourbon corn sweetness, butteriness, milk chocolate, creaminess, dark fruits, and caramel. Not bad.

Somewhat sour with infected notes. An accident that almost works. Some lingering vanilla and oak get pumped up by a prominent bourbon note. The sourness tones down the buttery sweetness and the caramel quite a bit. Sherry notes. Tannic apple skins, maybe grape, raisin, and toffee. Woodiness is pretty nice, because it's noticeable but not over-the-top; just another element of the beer.

Drinks with a a thick, viscous body. A lot of texture, too, that I don't necessarily like. Carbonation is okay, though.

A good sour barleywine. I don't like the approach, but I like the result.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
2.16/5  rDev -45.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.25

Pours a dark amber color. Smells like the breath of a drunk clown after downing cheap whiskey. Booze, cherry, barleywine. Stale smelling.
In the taste, very oxidized and a bit sour. Like an old barleywine that has been inoculated with wild yeast. Medium bodied and well carbonated. Not very good, and I like sour ales. Hot and sour beer! This could not have been what was intended.

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Photo of Auraan
4.26/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured a deep reddish brown, with a half finger off-white head and abundant bubbles on the side of the glass. It looks good, like a barleywine, with a bit smaller a head than usual. Scents of apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, molasses, pecans, oak, rich caramel malt, and earthiness with hints of chocolate. Very rich and complex, the caramel and brown sugar notes showcasing the English Barleywine beneath the sour aging. Quite nice. Taste was sour, with notes of apple cider vinegar. Also present were flavors of oak, sweet, caramel malt and molasses with some honey. Very different. It has the flavors of a barleywine, but it combines them with a wild sour character that melds into a nice complex flavor. Mouthfeel was medium-heavy bodied with moderate carbonation and a crisp, puckering finish. Quite the nice sipper. Overall this was an excellent take on an English Barleywine. The strong sweet malt with caramel, honey and brown sugar notes were present, but placed atop them was a pleasant sourness. Melding into all of this was a nice oak from the barrel-aging. This was an excellent, rich, complex beer that was quite unique and well worth trying.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.81/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Served in a snifter at Sheffield's.

What better beer to go with some pre-Cubs-game barbecue than the menu's lone sour? This stuff pours a deep blood-ruby topped by a half-finger of khaki foam. The nose comprises red wine grapes, light graham cracker, a touch of vinegar, a lighter touch of oak, and a dash of brown sugar. The taste brings in more of the same, with a hint of bourbon and a firm sourness pervading. The body is a lithe medium, with a light carbonation and a sorta/kinda slick feel. Overall, an interesting beer, one I didn't even know was a barleywine until I clicked to the profile, but something I thoroughly enjoyed for what it was.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.92/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Boneyard Bistro in Sherman Oaks, CA.

Pours a murky dark orange-brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to a small cap on top of the beer. Foamy rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is sour, tart, and funky with fruit, bourbon, and acidic aromas. Taste is much the same with fruit, wood, and bourbon flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of acidity on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with a very interesting set of sour bourbon barleywine aromas and flavors.

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Photo of Uncle_Jimmy
3.62/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From Notes

Appearance- Dark Ruby Brown with a fine white head that dissipates to a thin cap of bubbles

Aroma- candy grapes slightly musty and sour.

Taste- full malty and boozy at the front that gives way to a touch of sourness. There is a lingering mellow stone fruit sourness on the end. like an unripe plum. Hops all but disappear and you get more caramel and butterscotch candy as it warms.

Mouthfeel- Full bodied but finishes dry. some subtle warming qualities.

Overall- was not expecting this to be sour, I was pleasantly surprised all though I was just looking for a strong boozy barleywine. Strong and slightly sour

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Photo of metter98
3.55/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On-tap at Beer Authority, New York, NY

A: The beer is clear yet very dark red in color. It poured with a thin off white head that died down and left a thick ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass and eventually completely faded away.
S: There are sweet aromas of caramel malts in the nose along with some hints of bourbon from the barrel aging.
T: The taste is similar to the smell but is slightly stronger and has a slight amount of sweetness from the bourbon and malts.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied on the palate and has a low amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is definitely a lot easier to drink compared to other American Barleywines because it lacks any hop bitterness and isn't overly sweet. The bourbon is also very subdued.

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Photo of ehammond1
2.31/5  rDev -42%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

On Tap

2012 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
Paso Robles, CA

Dark amber, with some purple hues, and a small light brown head that leaves dots of lace down the glass. Good enough.

The aroma is not particularly pleasant or interesting, unfortunately. There's strong red wine and vinegar notes, some caramel and toffee along with bread, a little bit of citrus, wood, and mild cheese. I just can't seem to grasp the intention here.

The flavor too is a mess. Moderate levels of sour and funk are met with cherry, red wine vinegar, toffee, alcohol harshness, and wood. Confused. I can't wrestle anymore with this stuff.

Medium in body with relatively high carbonation.

This was a mistake, right? Had to be.

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Photo of SpdKilz
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Bavarian Lodge. Per the description, “A very limited release, sour barrel aged barleywine. Copper hued, strong and tart, with complex flavors of green apple, vanilla, bourbon, dark fruits, red fruits, red wine, toffee, and oak.”

Appearance – A dark ruby red color with a finger of off white head that dissipates slowly leaving decent head.

Smell – A nice tart cherry and grape aroma mixed with bourbon, slight cocoa, caramel, and toffee.

Taste – Honestly, I really enjoyed this. A slight puckering of sour cherries mixed in with the “normal” barleywine flavors. Slight brown sugar, dark fruits, bourbon, and vanilla.

Mouthfeel – Medium bodied, a bit thin, decent carbonation.

Overall – A very quaffable brew for such a high ABV. Reminiscent of the 2008 BA Decadence that was a slightly soured Barleywine. I enjoyed this beer and would try it again in the future.

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Photo of magine
3.62/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Union Jacks. Listed as a sour beer, not a barleywine.

Pours a dark brown with some ruby red shinning through. Small wisp of lace. Off white lace. Very little lacing. Decent looking brew.

Smells of sweet malts, cherries and berries. Dark fruits and booze. Good nose.

Sour notes; sour cherries and dark grapes. Finishes dry. Wine like brew. Not enough beer like qualities for me in this one. Pretty good. Thick and wine like mouthfeel.

Good stuff for my first sour beer experience. This is a decent stlye to try, but not my thing.

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Photo of ShanePB
2.96/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I can't believe I'm saying this right now, but this is the perfect example of "just because you can doesn't mean you should." A soured American Barleywine, huh? And I'd like to preface this by saying I'm a huge fan of both sour beers and Barleywines. Poured into a 10 ounce goblet at Craft Ale House.

A: Deep brown, maroon colored body with a nice foamy tan head. Some deep purple hues can be seen around the edges, and has some fairly nice retention but minimal lacing around the glass wall.

S: Infected-like aromas are immediately evident. Vinegar, bacteria byproducts, cherry, roasted cocoa and some odd caramel flavor. I mean really, it's not that wonderful smelling and sort of smells like a big, bold infected Barleywine. I understand this was intentional to sour the style but it's just a huge miss for me.

T: Unfortunately, this is even worse than the nose. A milky, lactic and sort of like other reviewers said balsamic vinegar note dominates and wrestles the palate. Some cherry and figs come through but the underlying flavors that make up some of the best Barleywines are all lost. Finishes rather dry, sticky and has a nasty tart linger.

M: Well carbonated, medium-bodied, a bit dry but surprisingly I can't really fault this much, it's a nice mouth feel.

I can see why this keg has been on for so long, you won't order more than one if you even order one at all. In theory it may sound good but it's quite surprising that this product actually made it out to distribution. This is one of those cases where the QC department should have just said, uh NO.

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Photo of weeare138
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Union Jacks on the Manatawny...
Appears a dark chestnut toned brown and a small off white head. It slowly fades into a mild collar. Spotty bits of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of cocoa, bretty tartness, bing cherries, bourbon, and mild traces of diacetyl.
Taste echoes the aromas with standout cocoa and tart flavors and a touch of vanilla.
Mouthfeel is medium full bodied, tart, zippy and dry.

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Photo of ryantaussig
3.71/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

If no one had told me this was a barleywine I'd never have guessed it. In fact, this beer is so sour, I'm tempted to say that it isn't a barleywine at all, but something altogether different. The only note of American Barleywine I picked up was a slight bitterness in the middle of the taste, right before the tart finished comes to dominate. Very interesting beer, but I won't be jumping up for another glass.

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Photo of WoodBrew
2.47/5  rDev -37.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 3

I tried the Anderson Valley Gatlin Damnosis while attending the Hop Juice Fest and had I know this was a Barleywine....I would not have tried it. I do not like Barleywines. So please disregard this review if you are a big barleywine lover. The appearance was a cloudy amber with out much carbonation. The smell was sour mash whiskey/bourbon. The taste was very sourto start, then I tasted a brief vanilla before it turned tart at the finish. There is no way I would drink this...just do not like barleywines...nothing against the brewer or this beer.

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Photo of BretSikkink
4.08/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Papago served this one in a snifter, no head or lace. Burgundy in color, nice look for a big beastly beer. Plenty of sour, vinegar-like notes. Slight hints of cherry juice and grapes on the vine.

The flavor is quite nice, and very sour. Balsamic vinegar drizzled on cherries, a little maple syrup and a hint of grapefruit. Fizzy, but reasonably full. The carbonation quickly whisks the sourness off the tongue and makes me want more.

Very interesting beer, although the underlying barleywine blend is neglected in favor of the bacteria. I don't mind personally...

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Photo of trappistlover
3.83/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

(On draught at Papago). Pours hazy mahogany with off-white head. Aroma has vinegar and lots of it. Taste is sour vinegar. Taste is thin bodied with a dry finish. This is a ver interesting beer and not typical for american sours, which are mostly tart. This is, relatively speaking, a vinegar bomb. Nice job.

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Gatlin Damnosus from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 72 ratings