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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: 67 | Ratings: 275
Photo of womencantsail
2.16/5  rDev -41.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

On-tap at Strong Ale

A: The pour is a clear golden color with perhaps some notes of orange to it and a white head.

S: This really just smells like a sweet, high alcohol lager, or even a malt liquor. Grape and apple juice with perhaps a touch of sweet apricots, but it's really more "corny" than anything.

T: Flavor is similarly sweet, almost to the point of cloying. The apricot flavor is there a little bit, but it does little more than make this beer more sugary and overbearingly sweet. Pretty much just tastes like white grape juice, apple juice, honey, and corn.

M: The body is medium and sort of syrupy. The carbonation is moderate at best.

D: This was just no good, I have to say. I am unsure as to whether this was the original batch or a re-brew, but either way, I was not a fan.

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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 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 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 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 DarthKostrizer
3/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On tap @ provisions

Look: Golden yellow in color and translucent and a thin bubbly head

Smell: Sugary apricot sweetness

Taste: Again its a bit sugary with apricot in the background

Mouthfeel: Thin body and ample carbonation

Overall: After having two beers today brewed with Apricots I have come to the conclusion that Apricot does not belong in beer PERIOD

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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 TBoneJones
3.05/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

Looks clear and orange, with barely a head, some decent lacing.
Smells of subtle apricot, but with a stale sort of aged and candied funk that's unlike anything I've ever noticed in a beer. Not sure if I like that much; it depends on how it tastes
Taste is lackluster, as it is booze and malty mineral, with some apricot, with a very dry finish and barely a hint of the old fruit that made up the odd nose. The longer I give this a chance, and let this sit a bit, the more off-putting it becomes. This is fair to say, in my opinion, of a beer from a brewery that produces so many world-class examples.
Love the brewery, love the beer names, the label design etc etc.
Just not this beer. Is there a reason it's sold in six packs, of all things, a beer of 12% abv.?

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Photo of elNopalero
3.05/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This was a hot mess. Literally. Pours hot and boozy. A clear gold in the glass. Smells like apricots meets window cleaner. The alcohol hits hard and stings, obscuring a faint fruity note on the back end. Thin bodied and rough.

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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 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 mactrail
3.23/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Quite orange amber in the small tulip at Pizza Port in OB. Strange fruit, I call it. Salty and sweet with an odd syrupy flavor. Sharp and heading towards acidity. Lots of apricot, finally, in the nose. A strange smoky, cardboardy hint. After finishing most of it, I took a sniff of the nearly empty glass- weirdest smell of old fruit and the gym.

I wouldn't call it very drinkable, but it's interesting at least. Not to mention, an alternative to the nuclear hop war. It really doesn't seem that strong, not did it feel alcoholic either. A friendlier version of this, or one less strong with Saison yeast might be more enjoyable.

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Photo of ArrogantB
3.37/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

On tap at the Crafty Fox in Denver. i only got a small sample of this which was enough. Orange color, almost no head. Aroma is a weird peach candy type thing. Flavor is the same but booze heavy, almost like a mixture of rock candy and peach jolly rancher. Weird.

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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 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 cbutova
3.55/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On at Sunset Grill.

A- Clear orange with a small white cap. Tiny ring leaves

S- Hard to put words to. Slight vinegar grape juice. Faint apricot and sweets behind it. Very heavy wine and mead feel.

T- General apricot flavor mixed with honey sweets, bread yeast, grape acetic, apple and faint spice. Once again has a wine or mead feel to it.

MF- Creamy light body with smooth moderate carbonation.
Warm from honey added alcohol.

DB- Different to say the least. The dominant flavor is grape wine and not really sutr how I feel about that, more apricot would be good.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.56/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

a really bizarre beverage from the usually incredibly steady ballast point. this is an oddity, and perhaps a rarity as well based on the really limited number of reviews it has here. not a barleywine, not a belgian strong pale, not like any style really, its unique, but its also not all that amazing, and i dont think up to the very high standard these guys have set. its pale in color, yellow to golden, just in between, without much haze and a pretty solid inch of head on it. smells like apricot jam, but its subtle, not jumping out of the glass by any means, and without any appreciable yeast profile, which is real uncommon in a beer thats this strong. i can smell the booze it made though, fusel and a little hot. i can taste the honey right away, sweet and rich, right out in front of an overripe apricot flavor that i almost have to go looking for its so faint. expected and in the end wanted more fruit from this. its sort of odd, after the initial rush, how the flavor almost goes away entirely, a little tang for a second, but the flavor really does die on it. left is only residual sugar and booze, which really isnt a great finish for a beer with more promise than delivery in the end. good not great, although some may dig it more than me, its just not my palate...

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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 jlindros
3.58/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Tap at Armsby Abbey.

Big fluffy head fades slowly over crystal clear golden orange color.

Nose is very fruity apricot, sour apple, light dry yeast, light Belgian sweet malts.

Taste is very sweet, some fruits again, light apricot, sour apple, touch of pear, lots of light candi sugar and other sweeteners. Light Belgian delicate malts, dries a little bit on the finish leaving a bit of a wild style dry bready gritty farmhouse taste, but the sweetness lingers way too long. A bit of bitterness comes out on the finish as well.

Mouth is a little lighter bodied with decent carb, semi syrupy but still gritty, and touch of warming booze.

Drink is meh, way too sweet and doesn't dry much, and the fruits are a little too bright, but the alcohol feels lighter than it really is.

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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 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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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 colts9016
3.63/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Ripe honey alcohol forward heavy malt. Caramel, yeast stone fruit, vanilla

A very smooth finish slight alcohol warming coating.

A very chewy and very smooth sipping beer.

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Photo of BARFLYB
3.65/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On Tap at Whole Foods

Barmy Ale is a new one to hit the market here on the east, the color of the liquid is golden with a light bronze shade popping through minimally. A clean looking beer with an egg colored firm head up top that does not stick, Some swirls bring back the bubbles when they die off.

Smell is pretty bold and on the fruity side The honey pops out the most with the apricot trailing. I get some grape scent and a bit of peach. Some grassy notes with warming and some alcohol peeping through. The fruit shines through during the whole glass

A strong ale with a fruity twist. Definite strong ale characteristics, one the alcohol is there when it warms, two, there is a strong sense of honey, it rushes through the mouth. Apricot comes through with a small medicinal tone. Some grassy tastes with small traces of pale malt mixing in with the honey. Not overly sweet, but STRONG Some alcohol is noticed, it's right there.

Feel is semi coating to the mouth, body is a sturdy medium, carbonation is there and sort of biting, some heat coming from the 10 percent. I had 7oz of this stuff and called it a day. It reminds me of something DFH would brew. Good for a go, grab some.

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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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Barmy Ale from Ballast Point Brewing Company
3.69 out of 5 based on 275 ratings.
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