Three Sheets Barleywine (Barrel Aged) | Ballast Point Brewing Company

very good
24 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by scottoale on 01-31-2007

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Reviews: 24 | Ratings: 62
Photo of smcolw
3.94/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Little to no head, but there's sone streaky lace. Dark brown where light shines through.

Darker malt aroma. Not really toasted or chocolate, but true to style.

The flavor is high in alcohol, dark malt (without toast or chocolate), and mild hop. Strong alcohol swallow.

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Photo of PacNWDad
4/5  rDev -1.2%

10/18/2014. On draft at Chuck's 85th as part of a 4-Ballast Point beer sampler. Thick and dark, modest amount of off-white head, not much lace. Beer holds its own against the glass. Aroma is caramel, molasses, some herbal notes, a little musty (barrel?). Fairly sweet, with a hint of the bitter from the hops and some spiciness from the alcohol. Body is not as heavy as I would expect for a barleywine, oily, light carbonation, medium-long finish. Overall, very enjoyable for the last beer of the evening, fortunately just samplers or I would be in trouble.

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Photo of WillCarrera
3.9/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Ballast Point's Old Grove location. Poured into a tulip glass.

A- Pours a murky brown color, thin brown head, spotty lacing.

S- Very bourbon forward, lots of bourbon, wood, and a hint of vanilla, also getting some caramel and dark fruit.

T- Follows the nose, lots of bourbon and wood up front, follows with lots of sweet toffee, burnt caramel and dark fruit, quite sweet and boozy overall.

M- Full-bodied, smooth feel, moderate booziness and lingering sweetness.

O- A pretty good barleywine, I had a small pour and was satisfied, probably not my favorite offering from Ballast Point.

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Photo of jlindros
4.27/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tap at prezo

Pours a very light bubbly head covering, over a beer that is super dark, with bits of dark ruby mahogany colored light barely sneaking through.

Nose bursts with bourbon, nice sweet bourbon, light charred oak barrel with vanilla, then dark sweet malts, molasses, caramel, candy, hint of cocoa, candied plum and raisin, and touch of booze.

Taste starts with a bit of barrel, woody esters, light saw dust but none of those overpowering. Bourbon follows closely, as well as the vanilla. Bitter hops really make a presence with earthy hops and slight chewy spicy that bring a fair level of bitterness, like 75-80 ibu, level. Makes take more of a backseat surprisingly, but bring more candy sweetness, molasses, maple, caramel, toffee, etc. and more fruits with candied dates and raisins, and a slight candied walnut. Booze is there but hidden fairly well by the sweetness. Finish is quite bitter, drier and surprisingly not sticky or syrupy, lots of lingering spicy earthy hops, bit of bourbon and some barrel flavors, and a bit of candy and molasses.

Mouth is fuller bodied, decent carb, bit of warning but not tingly booze, not very syrupy either.

Overall pretty good. Out adds a nice bourbon and barrel flavor with some nice malty additions and sweeteners flavors, but stays drinkable and hides the booze well. My only gripe is that the spicy earthy hops cut through the beer a bit too much and the big bitterness clashes a bit with the bourbon and sweet malts. I bet aging this a year or two would be awesome.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.77/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap for Churchill's Renaissance at Churchill's Pub & Grille in San Marcos, CA.

Pours a murky dark brown with a tan head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of malt and brown sugar. There is no barrel aged aromas coming off of this one. Taste is of malt, brown sugar, citrus zest, bourbon, and wood. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good barrel aged barleywine but it tastes better than it smells hands down.

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Photo of Gavage
3.52/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: dark brown in color with a few spotty bubbles, no real head here.

Smell: malt and fruit sweetness with some strong wood tones.

Taste: very sweet malt profile. Brown sugar, bourbon, and burnt oak. Bitterness is moderate and alcohol make this very boozy.

Mouthfeel: heavy in body. Smooth throughout.

Overall: this beer can last a while with the strong alcohol burn and woody flavors. A few ounces is all you need in a session.

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Photo of DoubleSimcoe
3.65/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Barrel Aged Three Sheets, tap at Pony Bar in NYC.

Appearance: Served in their 8-oz glass, Sheets comes with barely a line of head that dies soon. Thick soapy bubbles remain on top. Good lacing, low carbonation. The brew looks hazy and dark, like a homemade dark-fruit smoothie.

Smell: Vinous, sour. Lick a wine barrel and you know. Cranberry-like punch, puckering! A bit of caramel and crème brulee at the end.

Taste: Liquid caramel upfront. Smoke, spoiled grapes (not raisins) and wine cooler. Very wine-y indeed! Dark fruit all around (prune), butterscotch/brown butter at the very end and some chocolate.

Mouthfeel: Way thin for a beer this big. Watery end, low body, average-to-low carbonation.

Overall: Good but not great. Unbalanced, too heavy on the wine barrel. I expected more… but at least it is quite drinkable.

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Photo of xnicknj
3.58/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

on tap at tapestry in philly

Pours a clouded woody brown color with some slightly brighter cherry hues. Thin beige head dissolves, leaving a few spots of lacing on the glass.

A big smack of booze up front in the nose with heavy sweetness and heat. Brandy with vanilla and chocolate and a dash of caramel. Lighter hints of oak and dark malts.

Begins with a dose of bitter hops mixed with the strong brandy barrel character. Vanilla mixes with dark chocolate, caramel, and molasses. Syrupy and boozy with continuing warmth while drinking. Substantial backbone with continued sweetness and somewhat darker malt character. Finishes warm and long on the tongue.

Thicker medium body, decent carbonation, sticky and full on the tongue. I had pretty high hopes for this one but the brandy felt a little off the charts and seemed to muddle everything together with sweetness.

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Photo of claspada
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap @ Sunset Bar & Grill in Boston, MA.

Pours a deep clear amber, with a thin covering of creamy burnt tan foam. Retention stays fairly robust, leaving some thickish lacing back.

Aromas begin with a ton of barrel and oaky wood character. Going deeper reveals fruity esters, toffee, cocoa powder, sweeter smelling Bourbon notes and vanilla. Just a boat ton of flavors going on here in the nose and it is all very smooth overall.

The flavors begin with toffee, cocoa and dark fruits. Sweet Bourbon and burnt woody notes join the party as the finish is dry and lingers with malt, roast and more burnt flavors. The flavor profile is quite barrel forward and oaky. Much less complex compared to an Abacus; more toasty and bready and the base beer doesn't quite hold up to the strong barrel.

The mouthfeel is full bodied but posseses a great mellowness and ease from the aging that it has received, which really helps bring all of those big flavors in together. The big ABV is present but it is held in check, much more so than I initially thought. I could have probably sipped this down much faster than I did but the awesome flavors in this just begged to be savored more.

Overall this was a very good BA barleywine. It is quite potent and flavorful with intense yet restrained barrel flavors. After sampling numerous barreled beers last night at the EBF Night of the Barrels, it is hard to consider this an "elite" beer, but it was quite good. Since it is only available on draft it is definitely worth sampling if you come across it because you may never see it again, but don't break your back to find it.

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Photo of srandycarter
3.42/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Semi cloudy, ring head. Dark.

S- Sharp nose. Spicy quality, some cooked fruit in there too.

T - Very sharp, almost sour. Not what I had imagined and was a little disappointed.

M - Medium body and nice carb and balance.

D- Three Sheets standard was much better IMHO.

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Photo of ehammond1
4.16/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On Tap

Urge Gastropub
San Diego, CA

Dark auburn, nearly brown, with a thin khaki head that doesn't stay for long. Spotted lacing down the glass.

Huge bourbon, wood, and fruit aroma. The wood stands out with a deep earthy character, layered with vanilla and bourbon, and some sweet fruits like dates or figs.

The flavor is highly concentrated toward the bourbon and wood flavors, along with sweet toffee, some date sweetness, and a warm, alcoholic burn, though not nearly as much as I expected.

Thin to medium mouthfeel and incredibly drinkable for a barleywine this high in ABV.

A delicious barrel-aged barleywine and incredibly drinkable for the style. One of my favorite Ballast Point offerings to date.

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Photo of NittanyBeerFan
4.11/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at TJ's. Served in a 7-oz sampler glass.

The body is a hazy deep mahogany highlighted by garnet hues when held up to the light. Thick lace adorns my glass as I sip.

The nose is amazingly complex. Dominated by a dark fig and date fruitiness up front, the aroma gives way to caramel and a comforting aroma of syrupy malt sweetness that we all love in our barleywines. Unfortunately, there were no barrel-inspired characteristics in the aroma. Once the deep brown liquid hits my palate, cherries and raisins, previously undetected, make their presence known. These really round out the fruity profile of the beer. Vanilla, some light bourbon notes, and an accompanying booziness finish out the flavor. The finish leaves sticky caramel sweetness behind.

Very smooth and warming, this is better suited for a November evening than a late-June afternoon. Still a bit green, the texture was a bit overbearing and the alcohol was still very warm. Even so, the great flavor and the fruitiness of this beer make it very desirable.

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Photo of SShelly
4.23/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at beachwood.

Comes out brackish dark brown with a 1" poofy white head that disapears quick.

Aroma is vanilla, dark malt and booze with a little bit of hops poking through.

Big vanilla in the mouth as it warms,lots of rich dark malt, a little bit of oxidation. Balanced by some nice bitterness. fairly boozy but not hot.

I really enjoyed about half of my glass, 8oz. later I had enjoyed it but was pretty much finished, if you see definetly try it.

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Photo of OlieIPA
3.21/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Enjoyed on tap at Beachwood this past night.

A: The first thing I noticed was the thick cream and toffee colored head that was then accompanied by ample amounts of lacing after a few sips. The body on the other hand was pretty much standard, consisting of black/brown hues for the most part.

S: Lots of wood upfront that was followed up with a nice mix of roast and sweet malt sugar. Faint hints of caramel and dark fruit are detectable, adding some complexity to the aroma.

T: Wood once again is the main theme, which I love to find in most barleywines. The roasty notes that were so well developed in the smell seem to take a turn for the worse when it comes to the palate. Instead of a subtle and well balanced roasted malt character, an overabundance of charcoal and burnt malts come through more than anything. I found myself having a hard time finishing the last half of my glass. On top of that, some of the brown/candied sugar qualities I tend to find within this style were hardly noticeable.

M: An overpowering dry quality that added more discomfort than pleasure; full-body with just about the right amount of carbonation.

D: It sounds like I'm trashing this beer, but I'm really trying not to. At best, this beer is average...and at worse, slightly below average. Just about the most "middle of the road" beer I have found for an American Barleywine. That's why I was able to finish my glass, even though half of the experience was subpar.

Overall: Like I said, a perfect example of an average BW. Some things I enjoyed immensely, and other things...not so much. I try it beer. Cheers!

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.55/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Beachwood BBQ,

A: Pours dark brown with a firm white head, excellent head retention with spots of lace.

S: Great malty nose, hint of wine and wood.

T: Dark malt Heaven off the bat. The barrels come in adding great notes of dark fruit/plum and caramel. I originally thought this was brandy barrel aged from the flavour and found out it was Syrah barrels so I was pretty close. Ballast Point is making great beers with these wine and brandy barrels, first Brandy Barrel Navigator, now this. Outstanding note of dark chocolate in the finish which I loved.

M: So smooth and easy to drink. Full-bodied, but silky.

D: I love it when CA brewers go back to the English style of barleywine. Barrel aged BW is where it's at for me right now. This is wonderful.

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Photo of mothman
4.42/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was the second part of the 3 sheets side by side tasting.

This was was stated to be 12-13% abv.

Served in a taster glass.

Served with a tanner head compared to the original. It is a lot dark beer that is colored caramel.

Aroma: The -bal aging sticks out a lot. Nice vanilla and oak flavors. The toffee mixes well with it. It is very malty with caramel. The hops still seem to stick out a lot.

Taste: This beer is very well done. The vanilla and oak blend very well together, especially with the malts, toffee, and caramel. The citrus shows more here and the hops aren't very present.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and creamy. Hardly any heat shows here, which really surprised me. Full bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends dry and malty, with that slight hint of heat.

Overall, this beer is great. I was very impressed with it. Very drinkable and hardly any heat makes a ba b-wine a winner in my book. Highly recommend this if you have a chance to try it.

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Photo of Kaiser81
4.06/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap on 1/14/10 @ the Ballast Point brewery - a full pint!

A - Very dark brown with slight ruby red highlights. there was a thin head (maybe 3-4mm) that left a nice ring on the top of the beer for a little bit. After that, it died to nothing.

S - BOURBON!!!...errr...WHISKEY!!! This stuff was aged in Jim Beam and wine barrels...well, the Jim Beam won. I really get nothing but whiskey smells. Maybe some sweetness, but lots of whiskey. Which does smell good, but doesn't really add to the depth of the beer.

T - The whiskey pretty much dominates. But you can tell the wine barrel addition lightens it up just a bit. There is a boozy aftertaste, but this is just down right tasty for my first barrel aged Barleywine.

M - Heavy and syrupy. But there is a good amount of carbonation; moreso than the regular 3 sheets.

D - Dangerously high. My softball performance in 2 hrs and 45 minutes may suffer a bit.

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Photo of Kegatron
4.59/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On draft @ Ballast Point Linda Vista on 11/9/09 during their "Beer Meets Wood" event. Part of San Diego Beer Week. According to the board, this blend contained 2002 & 2007 Three Sheets, 2007 blend of Bourbon/Syrah barrel-aged Three Sheets, and 2008 blend of Bourbon/Syrah barrel-aged Three Sheets. Whew!

Pours a deep clear amber, with a thin covering of creamy burnt tan foam. Retention stays fairly robust, leaving some thickish lacing back. The aroma is surprisingly still very hoppy, along with a ton of vinous grape notes and woody character. Going deeper reveals fruity esters, cherries, toffee, cocoa powder, sweeter smelling Burbon notes and vanilla. Just a truckload of flavors going on here in the nose and it is all very smooth overall. Awesome!

Hops also surprise in the taste, tingling the tongue with bitterness. The tart grape character of the Syrah barrels is also very evident here, along with toffee, cocoa, and dark fruits. Sweet Bourbon and burnt woody notes mingle in effortlessly here, as the finish is dry and lingers with malt, roast, and more burnt tones. I was pleased to find that the deep I went into the profile, the more dark it got, and it played very nicely off of the barrel flavors. Fantastic stuff here. The mouthfeel is full bodied but posseses a great mellowness and ease from the aging that it has received, which really helps bring all of those big flavors in together. That 9-10% ABV is present but it is held in check, much more so than I initially thought. I could have probably sipped this down much faster than I did but the awesome flavors in this just begged to be savored more.

Wow, oh wow! This was by far one of thee best Barrel-Aged American Barleywine blends that I've ever had. I loved the way that the sweetness of the Bourbon bounced off of the more tart & fruity nature of the Syrah barrel, and the aggressive hop character and deep roasty maltiness of the Three Sheets underneath was nothing to sneeze at either. Just really tremendous stuff here, that I feel very fortunate to have been able to try.

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Photo of BigMcLargeHuge
4.14/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled at Toronado 2009 Barleywine Festival Brandy Barrel Aged Version.
Pours clear brilliant amber with thin tan head. The aroma seems a bit musty with dusty oak, a bit of sweet brandy, then figs and raisins. The taste begins much the same with smooth brandy booze that slowly becomes somewhat harsh to go along with oak notes. Toward the finish dark fruity esters rise up with cherries, raisins and prunes. Nice brew.

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Photo of HalfFull
4.23/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I write this review here as the beer was advertised at 9%, and not the 10% noted in the retired version. Though I don't think this was actually barrel aged, just a brew coming out of retirement for a winter batch.

Poured into a full pint glass, this brew pours a hazy orange chocolate in color and offers a thin, yet resilient, off white head. Smell is a bit still(cold), yet offers a decent caramel malt presence along with fresh shaved chocolate.

Taste is unique for a barleywine and in fact reminds me a bit of a stout. Chocolate and plums are present, yet not in such quantity to be slick and syrupy. Feel is effervescent, with more carbonation than expected. An easy drinking barleywine indeed, becoming more traditional towards the bottom of the glass as the carbonation settles.

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Photo of paytoplay
4.32/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Huge brew. On tap at o'briens SD. Head and shoulders above the cask I had last week. I don't believe the cask version saw bourbon and syrah barrels like this did? Big and chewey, everything is married together and is supurb. "big" comes to mind. masculine. really enjoyed this brew.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.59/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed on tap at O'Brien's. The board said it was aged in Bourbon and Syrah barrels. Dark amber with ruby brown highlights. Small off-white head receded after half a minute, leaving behind little lacing. Aroma has a lot of bourbon in it with hints of dark fruits and syrah grapes. Other aromas are of caramel, peppery spiciness, sweet malt, dark berries (blackberry?), and oak. Hop aroma might be there but I can't detect it among the others.

Taste is very boozy. Alcohol flavor is very pronounced and could be considered hot by some, but I really like strong alcohol flavor in barley wines, and when the booze tastes like bourbon and syrah it's absolutely delicious. The hops make themselves known, imparting a nice medium level of bitterness to balance out the booze and sweet malt. Other flavors are of caramel and dark, bitter fruits. The finish is long, bitter, alcoholic, and dry. This beer is full bodied with a medium level of carbonation.

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Photo of Floydster
4.52/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sampled a few times at Ballast Point's 12th Anniversary Party on 10/25/08, reviewed from notes, have now had both the Syrah and Bourbon barrel aged versions, as well as the blend of both of those which is what this review is based

A-Dark amber color with some brown tint, 1/2 inch creamy beige head that stays around for close to five minutes, decent retention, some lacing at first
S-Big caramel scent, chocolate, toffee, hoppiness, syrah, bourbon, cherries, other darker fruits, some citrus, cream, grapes, and lots of malt
T-Taste is amazing as always, I heard at the festival that this beer is actually a blend of three different barleywine vintages anyways, that makes sense when thinking about its complexty, starts off with a big toffee flavor, dark fruits and malt in the middle, milk chocolate and alcohol in the finish, nice caramel and earthiness from the hops in the next few sips, barrel aging does add some booze to this but they are not strong which is a plus, can be medicinal at times to go along with its dry finish, its balance of sweet and bitter is what really makes this one stand out
M-Sweet, bitter, boozy, chewy, and spicy mouthfeel, great complexity here, medium to full bodied, just the right amount of carbonation, taste lingers very well
D-This stuff is strong and you can taste it, alcohol is not hidden once it warms, more boozy than the standard version definitely, smooth though and not too heavy

Three Sheets is one of my favorite barleywines and there was no exception this last time I had it, stuff is flat out tasty with its big chocolate and toffee presence, I have no idea why they do not bottle this beer or Victory at Sea but there would be some serious hype if they did, too bad all their really good beers are only available on draft, look forward to the next time I get to have it, recommended

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Photo of scottoale
4.7/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I have had this at O'Brien's a few months back, at the Ballast Point 10th Anniversary party, the 10th Annual Strong Ale Fest and the last couple of days at the source. This particular batch was aged in a Syrah wine barrel for a few months at the original Ballast Point Brewery in Bay Park.

I pours a dark reddish-copper with an ivory cream head with solid retention and ample carbonation. Nice sticky lace clings to the glass as you down it.

Heavy on the nose are some sharp hops followed by some earthy malt it warms, the alcohol fumes come into play. A most excellent, rather hop-heavy aroma that just keeps on gettin better (and boozier) as the ale warms.

With the likes of Avery's Hog Heaven and Rogue's Old Crustacean, this is pretty much a hop-bomb of a barleywine at first. A few more sips reveal the mega malt backbone and then along with BA qualities come some oak, a tiny twang from the vino and onto a boozy melding of it all on the swallow.

Smooth and somewhat velvety, this full bodied brew starts reeling you in for flavor and the nice pleasant warming from the the not too strong 9.0% ABV. A truly tasty and well-crafted ale in one of my very favorite styles, definitely worth seeking out.

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Three Sheets Barleywine (Barrel Aged) from Ballast Point Brewing Company
4.05 out of 5 based on 62 ratings.
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