Barmy Ale | Ballast Point Brewing Company

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Barmy AleBarmy Ale

Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Made with 2-row malt, Galena hops, house yeast, apricots and carmelized honey. On old sailing ships, barmy was the foam on top of fermenting fruit.

Added by HopHead84 on 06-11-2009

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Reviews: 66 | Ratings: 270
Photo of SteveS1111
5/5  rDev +35.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Really great stuff. It's 12 percent alcohol, so not something you'd generally want to drink more than one or two of. However, it's really amazing and truly unlike any beer I've ever had. It has a flavor that has some similarities to mead, yet it's still a beer in it's own way. The smell is also somewhat mead like. It has somewhat of a head, but it quickly settles down. However, this isn't the most important attribute of this beer. The taste is really what sets it apart in my opinion, and it more than makes up for not having a large and foamy head. The overall mouthfeel is quite strong, yet doesn't have the "edge" that most 11%+ beers have.

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Photo of superspak
3.78/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 7/6/2016. Pours fairly crystal clear deep golden yellow color with a 1-2 finger dense off white head with good retention, that reduces to thin cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Aromas of big honey, apricot, peach, pear, apple, white grape, mango, cracker, biscuit, floral, and herbal/yeast earthiness. A bit of booziness in the aromas as well. Nice aromas with good balance and complexity of apricot/honey, fruity/spicy yeast, and pale malt notes; with great strength. Taste of big honey, apricot, peach, pear, apple, white grape, mango, cracker, biscuit, floral, and herbal/yeast earthiness. Light-moderate herbal bitter/spiciness and light tart/tangy fruit notes on the finish; with lingering notes of honey, apricot, peach, pear, apple, white grape, mango, cracker, biscuit, floral, and herbal/yeast earthiness on the finish for a while. Very nice complexity, robustness, and balance of apricot/honey, fruity/spicy yeast, and pale malt flavors; with a great malt/bitter/tart/spiciness balance, and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Light dryness from bitter/spiciness as well. Medium carbonation and medium-full body; with a smooth, bready/grainy/creamy, and slightly slick/syrupy/sticky balanced mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with a small warmth lingering after the finish; with minimal booziness. Overall this is a very good fruited imperial golden ale. All around good complexity, robustness, and balance of apricot/honey, fruity/spicy yeast, and pale malt flavors; very smooth and easy to sip on for the big ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of OldManMetal
3.19/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Billed as a Golden Ale brewed with apricots and honey, Barmy certainly looks the part: the golden body is crystal clear and very effervescent; a thin, brief-lived off-white head leaves fair lacing consisting of rotten, skeletal bands. The nose is medium in intensity; it leads with ephemeral stonefruit notes that leap ahead of a very nice blend of tart apricot and peach, backed by more subtle sweet florals and a modest yeast character, with the dry bite of the yeast and the tartness of the fruit combining to produce a Sweet Tart-like aroma. Modest alcohol overtones belie the ABV. The palate is initially a sweet blend of apricot, peach and more subtle caramelish malt, but is quickly overtaken by bitter, fumey alcohol. The finish is a boozy hit of indeterminate fruit, followed by a modest solvent bitterness that lingers for a good while. Mouthfeel is biggish for the medium body, and is very warming and fairly astringent from the alcohol; the texture is thin and solvent-like, and very slightly peppery from the mild carbonation. This beer is way too boozy for its own good. (12 oz bottle, 49 days after pkg)

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Photo of LeRose
3.01/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This is a fabulous beer visually...looks like carbonated brandy. It's Jurassic Park amber, no head to speak of, but a steady mist of super-fine bubbles rising up through the crystal clear liquid. Looks stunning.

I get mostly honey on the nose, almost no apricot, prevalent alcohol, and a little sweet malt. The beer is definitely hot - the alcohol is hardly blended into the flavor. Then there is kind of a honey flavor, and an artificial, nasty apricot flavor that lingers and turns unpleasantly sour, astringent, and bitter.

The feel is medium bodied, mildly carbonated. There is a residual flavor that is apricot like in the negative sense - bitter, harsh, and astringent. Extremely drying and honestly it numbs the tongue.

Overall, I do not find this beer pleasant and would not recommend it.

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Photo of greengumby
3.71/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

L - Pours a deep burnt orange with a light, white head. The pour is quick and despite the apricot and honey, it does not appear thick.

S - Pungent. Apricot is the most prominent smell but there is a bit of alcohol, malt, and honey.

T - Big on the alcohol upfront. You can tell that it is 12% up front. That taste dissipates quickly and there are touches of apricot, yeast, and a honey finish.

M - Not as syrupy as one would imagine.

O - Worth drinking, but not nearly as exciting as I had hoped. The whole thing was a little flatter than such a big boozy ale should be.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.62/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

The aroma reveals some subtle apricot, but the combination of pale malts and alcohol also give it a boozy pineapple juice vibe similar to a triple IPA. Alcohol also lends it a subtle, almost fungal sourness (not sour as in tart, sour as in musty) Letting it open up will reveal more apricot goodness - a lot more, actually. Honey remains subdued. It's a strange-smelling beer (redolent of something Dogfish Head would make), but it comes together pretty nicely. The opening sip brings plenty of apricot flavor. It finishes with some honey and a slight kick of alcohol, sandwiching some of the pale malt flavors nicely. Honey is the X-factor here - it defines the sweetness of both the fruit and the general massiveness, while drying the finish enough so that it doesn't linger on the palate cloyingly. It's nonetheless a very sweet and bulky feeling beer that will take a bit of time to consume. Honestly, this was a pleasant surprise: as big as it is, it doesn't get too over-the-top at any point. I doubt I'd buy it again considering how pricey a six-pack is, though.

3.62/5: Expensive, yeah; barmy, no

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Photo of jeffjeff1
3.5/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- clear copper color, thin head dissipates quickly
S- apricot, honey, boozy
T- apricot, honey mostly
M- medium bodied
D- I thought it was pretty good. For the price, I probably wouldn't buy it again though. Good beer but not worth the price.

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Photo of martinpfal
3.67/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours golden - almost like the honey that's in it. An inch of head at least that takes its time to dissipate. Nose gives way to fruity (likely apricots) notes. Boozy but hidden well. Maybe a slight bit too malty for my preference. This the rating. And 3.99/bottle makes it pretty expensive.

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Photo of ThrewRedButter
3.84/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

L - Glowing dark orange with a transparent body and a finger of white head

S - Intense apricot flavoring and some banana. Boozy on the nose.

T - Again with the apricot flavoring, but it is mixing with the booze better than expected. Some slight cinnamon and banana too and then an odd green apple juice finish. Not much actual honey flavor aside from an overall sugary presence.

F - Bordering on syrupy, but doesn't quite get there and stays medium on the feel. Surprisingly no alcohol taste even though it is a big, boozy monster.

O - I say if you like the fruity-flavored intensity of Ballast Point's other shandy-esque brews, then this one will suit you fine. The 12oz serving if perfect to sip over the course of an hour or so.

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Photo of bnes09
2.77/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Clear yellow. No head. No aroma. Super sweet, dense malty, boozy, honey flavor. Minimal hop character. Dense body. Sticky and syrupy. Too sweet. Not my thing.

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Photo of Czequershuus
4.03/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This beer pours a very cloudy gold with a medium head. The aroma offers up apricots, as one would expect, as well as toffee, almond, nougat, clove, and something very buttery and creamy. The flavor leads with rich fruit, banana, apricot, mince, sweet bread, cinnamon, nougat, and pistachio. The mouthfeel is very full, almost syrupy. Overall this really does work as a beer, but is is teetering on the edge - any more body and it would be too much.

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Photo of parkeak0
2.77/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

This was a drain pour for me. Thin on the nose, thin on the palate, alcohol is really overwhelming. Hoped it would evolve/open up as it warmed, but just got sweeter. At 12 percent ABV simply not worth he alcohol or the calories (and I rarely say that about a beer!). Glad I only got a single.

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Photo of justintcoons
3.82/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter.

Golden yellow with 1/2 finger of off-white head that dissipates quickly. Excellent clarity with light carbonation.

Cinnamon, clove, golden apple, pear, spent grains, and honey.

Sticky honey and caramel covered spent grains. Doughy with a spicy bouquet of clove, coriander, slight white pepper, and slight cinnamon. Light golden apple and pear. Finishes with a hint of earthy hop bitterness.

Full bodied, sticky, warming, and oily with a light finishing bitterness.

A big bomb-ass Golden Ale. With the current trends of everything IPA and Kettle Sour, it sure is nice to see something else.

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Photo of JuicesFlowing
2.68/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Poured into a shaker pint glass.

Look: Clear copper body with minimal slowly rising bubbles. A white head recedes to nothing, no lacing.

Aroma: Booze, faint cedar, carmelized honey, just a touch of apricot.

Taste: Sour up front, with honey more than anything coming through with any sort of flavor. Apricot is hard to detect as the beer goes down, a syrupy mess of hot alcohol and grassy-like sourness.

Mouthfeel: Thick, syrupy.

Overall: Another example of how high alcohol volume ruins the taste of beer.

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Photo of edward_boumil
3.79/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

L: Orange/yellow colored beer, pretty clearly, little to no head, no lace.
S: More like a wine/mead than a beer, sweet apricot smell and booze. Honey is definately apparent as it almost smells like mead. I get hints of vanilla as well.
T: Overall, very boozy, definately has apricot as well as other dark fruit flavors, somewhat akin to a strong doppelbock or barleywine. Quite boozy, although not hot or solventy. To me, has hints of oak and vanilla again in the taste. Finishes with a dryness
F: Quite crisp, somewhat balanced despite the very high ABV. Definately a sipper despite a light body.
O: Sort of not what I was expecting, certainly a good beer with great flavor, but it is somewhat confusing as it sort of drinks more like a wine or a mead. Definately worth a shot.

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Photo of beergoot
3.13/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Sharp and clear golden body; mild carbonation; thin yet creamy head attempting to leave foam and lacing along the glass. Dull apricot smell; grassy. Tangy and sweet flavor that quickly gives way to a hot alcohol flavor and phenolic bitterness. Medium body; somewhat glassy; hot with a heavy sweetness.

Too much booziness in this beer to make it very enjoyable. It brings on a somewhat sour tang that is quickly lost with the alcohol and almost acrid aftertaste. Interesting but rough...Sure, it's a high ABV beer yet nothing really mixes or blends well to bring about any balance. A one-shot wonder for me...

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Photo of StoutElk_92
4.14/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz. bottle dated 6/14/16

Pours clear golden amber orange with a creamy frothy white foam head. Smells like fresh apricots, grass, caramelized honey, with slightly boozy sweet bready grain malt. Tastes like sweet, slightly tart apricot, caramelized orange blossom honey, slightly boozy bready grain malt, with fresh earthy grass lingering. Feels medium-light bodied, creamy with moderate low carbonation. Overall a nice, strong abv malty fruit ale.

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Photo of dcotom
3.57/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12-ounce bottle into tulip glass. Very attractive pour, a crystal clear golden color with a medium white head that dissipates in short order, leaving spotty lacing and a thin ring. Aroma is heavy on the apricot and honey, with a little alcohol present on the nose. Lots of fruit and sweetness on the palate, leaving the base beer in the background. Sweet aftertaste, fading to a surprisingly dry finish. The alcohol in this is very prominent. If you like sweet and hot, this isn't bad. Use caution!

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Photo of Skrumpy
3.38/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Golden orange color with a bubbly, white head that dissipated quickly. Aroma is sweet fruit, apricot, honey, and caramel malt. The flavor is apricot and honey. This beer kind of tastes like an energy drink with some alcohol heat. Not really something I could drink on a regular basis, but interesting to try.

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Photo of jopezu
4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a clear amber with a medium head that poofs. nose; bubble gum & rotted fruit. an easy nose that gives little indication. taste; sweet malt, apricot reduction, gentle ethanol, banana ester, gum, light citrus hops, & light honey. low+ carbonation & slightly heavy mouthfeel. i want to say this one is too sweet... but, it just barely isn't. it's still indulgent, sort of a hoppy apricot mead and has to be among the gentlest 12%ers around. an enjoyable departure from my usual, especially after the glass is almost done. :)

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Photo of teromous
2.69/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

The bottle date (born on date) is on the bottom of the bottle. It is listed as "BA 17 16165 07:56" so according to the Ballast Point website that means BA is Barmy Ale, 17 is the batch number, 16 is the year, and 165 is the julian date." That would make this born on the 14th of June 2016.

Appearance: It has a wonderful looking dark gold colored body with hints of bronze and lighter gold. There is a ton of visible carbonation releasing itself from the glass like an upside down waterfall. The body is very transparent but the darkness makes it hard to see anything. The short-lived white head can't stay afloat despite the ample carbonation. No lacing.

Aroma: It has a bit of an eggy smell. I am not getting any apricot despite the label saying "Golden Ale with Apricot and Honey." I am also not getting any honey. Really it just doesn't have much of an aroma at all. Pretty unimpressive if not disappointing.

Taste: There is a fairly strong alcohol flavor that makes an appearance immediately. I can't call that a negative given that it is carries a bold 12% ABV but it should be noted that it does not hide the alcohol. There is a bit of sweet malt flavor in this like Kellog's Corn Pops. Again there is no presence of apricots. Really it just tastes like a high alcohol blonde ale without the requisite hop character to support the beer.

Mouthfeel: Drinkability is slightly hampered in this sweet beer. Carbonation is high and the body is medium with a slight syrupy stickiness. It does not have a very dry finish often found in mead despite being made with honey.

Overall: As a fruit beer it is highly disappointing. It simply does not taste like apricots. The honey might have contributed to just the higher alcohol or even possibly some of the sweetness but overall the beer just didn't work well. Not considering the fruit, the beer is just too sweet and it is a bit of a mess. It's not a beer I would drink again and I wouldn't recommend it unless you are hunting for some non-standard high alcohol beers.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.39/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a chalice.

Appearance: Pours a deep amber orange with a moderate amount of bubbles. Slight finger of off white head that quickly fades away.

Smell: A fruity and sweet malt forward aroma with a scent of apricot and honey. Pale malt with a scent of caramel, biscuit, grains, and cracker with yeast. Sweet scent of honey. Fruit scent of apricot and orange. Subtle earthy hop hints. A solid aroma.

Taste: Like it smells, a fruity and sweet malt driven taste with notes of apricot and honey. Pale barley malt with notes of caramel, grains, biscuit, and cracker along with some yeast. Sweet taste of honey. Good fruit notes of apricot and orange. Light notes of earthy hops. A pretty nice taste.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Fairly chewy and pretty smooth for 12%. Alcohol heat is minimal.

Overall: A pretty solid brew. Nice sweet mix of citrus and honey that avoids becoming overly syrupy or boozy.

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Photo of tlema1
3.59/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

L: beautiful gold, with a thin white head, that quickly dissipates
S: apricot marmalade and honey
T: sweet, very boozy, almost like a dry mead
F: oily, boozy
O: definitely a sipper, but not one I find all that enjoyable

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Photo of threeviews
4.52/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 12oz bottle (BOD: 16179 = 27 June 2016 into a 13oz Brussels glass (aka: Belgian Snifter/Balloon)

A - Pours a perfectly clear, apricot orange color with a 1-finger, ephemeral white head. I am a sucker for clear beers, so this one receives my highest mark. (5.0)

S - Certainly not pungent, but the adjuncts are immediate: mild aromas of Apricot and Orange Blossom Honey. As it warms, the malt sweetness becomes noticeable and is reminiscent of a blonde, confectionery cake (aka: poundcake). Absolutely no hint of the 12% ABV. (4.25)

T - Like the nose the flavor is sweet and restrained. Apricot marmalade would be my best descriptor. However, the sweetness does not linger long and finishes with an earthy hop bite. Like the aroma, alcohol content is hidden somewhere in the nautical depths where the ponderous fish which decorates the label resides. (4.5)

M - For being 12% ABV, the mouthfeel is an impressive Medium+ with a pleasantly spirited carbonation. Barmy finishes massively dry which (unless disciplined) will have you reaching for the glass time and again. (4.5)

O - Traditional Belgian Golden Strong and Tripel ales are my favorite styles and Barmy provides a really great and uncompromisingly American twist: Orange/Golden in color, heavy on the adjuncts, fruity in aroma and flavor along with a deceptively high ABV. IMO, BP nailed it this time and hope they brew it again. At ~$16/6-Pack, this is a great (and tasty) value and one of the best fruit-inspired beers I have tasted of late. (4.75)

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Photo of 57md
3.6/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a straw color with about a half finger of head. I'm not getting apricots or honey on the nose but there is something that is tart. There is some honey in the flavor along with an undertone of alcohol. The body and mouthfeel give one the clear indication that this is a high gravity beer.

I'm not sure what BP was going for here. When I saw the description of a "golden ale with apricot and honey," I was thinking that this would be summery and crushable - I was obviously wrong (should have peeked at the ABV). I'd place this as an attempt at a Belgian Strong Pale.

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Barmy Ale from Ballast Point Brewing Company
3.69 out of 5 based on 270 ratings.
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