White Birch Barley Wine Ale
White Birch Brewing

White Birch Barley Wine AleWhite Birch Barley Wine Ale
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American Barleywine
Ranked #364
Ranked #47,089
3.03 | pDev: 27.06%
White Birch Brewing
New Hampshire, United States
White Birch Barley Wine AleWhite Birch Barley Wine Ale
Notes: Brewed in an American style, this beer is rich and hoppy with malty notes of toffee. It’s full bodied with a smooth finish.
Reviews: 19 | Ratings: 31 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of jlindros
3.13/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Batch 1 held onto for a long time.

No head, clear candy red color.

Nose aged candy malt, sweet candy, little oxidation, nutty toffee with mild dried fruits.

Taste sweet syrupy, mild toffee nutty candy syrup, mild spicy earthy hops, little earthy dried fruit, etc. Quite bitter, chewy, little oxidation.

Mouth syrupy med bod, no carb.

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jlindros from Massachusetts, Aug 05, 2015
Photo of rudzud
2.03/5  rDev -33%
look: 2.25 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.75

Thanks to JLindros for sharing this batch 1

A - Poured into a Kate the Great tulip a crystal clear chestnut hue with no head or lacing.

S - Aromas of sweet malts, caramel, and cardboard.

T - Taste is similar to the nose, sweet caramel malts, cardboard, light sticky toffee.

M - Mouthfeel is lightly carbonated almost flat.

O - Overall this beer was really mediocre. This was really a mess.

Serving type: bottle

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rudzud from Massachusetts, Aug 01, 2015
Photo of Rifugium
2.27/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.25

Poured into a taster, cola brown, with little to no carbonation; some oily streaking on the glass. Aroma vaguely resembling burnt toffee, nutty, with a hit of rocket fuel. Taste of, well, malts/sugars that have been flashed into alcohol by yeast, leaving very little meaningful flavor behind. Light-medium body, thin mouthfeel, not at all exemplary of the style.

I gotta ask...why would they sell this stuff? I mean, they made a beer, it failed, they'll lose money if you don't sell it. But aren't they worried about their reputation?

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Rifugium from North Dakota, Nov 17, 2013
Photo of deltatauhobbit
2.54/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.25 | overall: 2.25

Bottled January 2011
Batch 1
Bottle Count 1080

Pours a rusty brown color with no head at all, viscosity seems a bit thin when pouring out, no lacing or legs on the glass.

Smell is a bit musty, hops have faded with age which is to be expected, roasted malt backing with only the slightest touch of dark fruit on the nose, nothing too complex though.

Taste is definitely on the thin side of things with a toffee roasted malt presence being the strongest aspect, not much bitterness to the aftertaste to balance things out but fortunately it's not all that sweet either, carbonation is nada so age has not improved this aspect based on previous reviews, the flatness really affects the overall mouthfeel into a big disappointment, body is thin, alcohol is pretty well hidden but it's still difficult to drink without carbonation.

Reminds me of Angel's Share, that's not a good thing.

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Photo of SerialHiker
4.09/5  rDev +35%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pours a dark, dark brown…very dense…head is a deeper khaki color made up of a mix of big and little bubbles…with a quick swirl, it livens up to a finger width…settles to a very nice layer…a good looking brew…(4/5)

Smell: Tons of brown malt up front…I’m also picking up a strong earthy/citrus hoppy aroma with an earthy malty bite…not overly sweet or yeasty…sticking my nose in deep, I get some oatmeal, noticeable alcohol heat and a touch of coffee bitterness…very much unlike most barley wines, very earthy, brown and not sweet…nice though…(3.75/5)

Taste: Yum! Earthy brown malts up front, sweeping over my palate…there’s a real earthy/citrusy hops presence that comes in the second phase and plays a background role…the malt flavor though is very abundant and seems to be varied…the more I sip, the more the oatmeal and coffee bitterness show…I think the flavor gets is a bit better as it warms…a very good ale here…(4.25/5)

Mouthfeel: Medium body, with tons of carbonation…this thing fluffs up bringing tons of malty goodness (and bite) and a touch of citrus hops to the palate…each sip coats my tongue leaving flavor for minutes…earthy malts linger well into the after taste…yum! (4/5)

Overall: This is a yummy brew…it’s very much unlike any barley wine I can think of in flavor, that’s for sure…it definitely blurs the lines between black IPA, porter, stout and apparently barley wine…if it wasn’t labeled as such, I woulda considered this a black IPA because of its strong hops presence…as it is, it’s a wonderful beer that’s easy to recommend…I suspect with its easy drinkability and higher ABV, I’m gonna be feeling real good in no time…this is the perfect brew to sit back and watch a game 7 with…very unique in flavor, I highly recommend picking one of these up! (4.25/5)


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SerialHiker from Illinois, Jun 21, 2013
Photo of Arbitrator
1.65/5  rDev -45.5%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 2.5

Chilled bottle into a glass -- thanks, Shogo.

A: The body pours a lifeless, clear maroon. The limpid, bubble-less body tells me that the beer has given up. I don't blame it.

S: It doesn't have much here; some hazelnut, a touch of roast, plum, and perhaps caramel. It lacks presence.

T: The body, like the smell, is weak and ineffectual. I think they're going for a toffee-caramel flavor, but those elements have been watered down tremendously. Nothing hoppy that I can figure out. Maybe some hazelnut.

M: Unbearably thin; this is over-attenuated and flat. Nothing to like here.

O: This tastes like mediocre homebrew. Again, White Birch seems to be stepping up their game; from totally awful to completely forgettable.

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Arbitrator from California, Aug 01, 2012
Photo of puboflyons
4.29/5  rDev +41.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a bottle dated January 2011, Batch One. Sampled on March 23, 2012, fourteen months after it was first bottled. It pours surprisingly dark with a foggy brown color and red hues when held to the light. No head. The aroma is roasted sweet malts with a kind of black licorice note. The hops are thinner on the nose. The body is smooth, creamy, but chewy and in the above medium range. The taste has plenty of barley wine character but mellower a year out. There are sweet malts, sinus-opening bitterness, a vague fruitiness, and subtle hops on the tail end. Rather complex to say the least but also quite likable. I am glad I waited considering the earlier, less flattering reviews.

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puboflyons from New Hampshire, Mar 24, 2012
Photo of mulder1010
2.81/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bomber poured into a tulip
Thanks to Kelp for the bottle
Shared with Mr Kennedy (perpetual trading partner)

A-- Poured a clear light cola color. Not real thick looking at all. I do have carbonation though!! Nice two finger, fluffy, light brown head. Slowly faded to a collar. Decent retention on swirling. Spotty lacing on the sides of the glass.

S-- Thin smell but what was there was good. Chocolate covered hazelnuts, dark fruits, and carmel. Just really thin nose.

T-- Watery carmel, fig, dark fruits and hazelnut. Lots of watery gaps with this but the alcohol is well hidden.

M-- carbonation is spot on but the thinness just really hurts this. Watery carmel really. No real finish to this at all. Could be a sessionable barley wine.

O-- Thin and thin. Was easy to drink and the nose, though weak, was not bad. Otherwise a forgettable beer

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mulder1010 from Australia, Jan 23, 2012
Photo of harrymel
1.27/5  rDev -58.1%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Batch 1, bottled January 2011.

Pours out looking like spiced rum. The Kraken was flat appearing and red hued brown with excellent clarity. I give it a nice shake, no bubbles.... Smells of alcohol (sharp), sugar, toffee, malt (LME actually). Tastes bitter, alcoholic with hints of brown sugar and molasses. I fee like this beer could have tasted good, but they really, really fucked something up here. It's amongst the thinnest beers I've had - and certainly the thinnest BW. The fact that it's as flat as an Angel's Share doesn't help. This beer is not good. I think the recipe is probably pretty good, there are undertones indicated something good coulda happened, but whomever is QC at this place needs to be fired.

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harrymel from Washington, Jan 19, 2012
Photo of ShanePB
2.26/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 1 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

22 ounce bottle shared courtesy of Nick. Purchased on the cheap end at Whole Foods, and poured into a tulip glass.

A: Deep dark burgandy with absolutely no head, lace or retention whatsoever. This is bleak and dismal looking, you can absolutely tell this beer is going to be flat. At a relatively "low" ABV for the style, this does not look good at all.

S: Lots of sweet dark fruits - fig, plum and raisin, rich dark malts with a slight caramel quality to it. Typical for a non-barrel aged Barleywine. A slight woody note but certainly not from a barrel? Not bad, but not the most aromatic.

T: Like the nose, sweet dark fruits come through instantly. Plenty of date, fig and sweet raisin with a solid caramel malt backbone. Not hopped at all, but simply traditionally sweet and malty for the style. Move onto the mouth feel, else this would be just fine.

M: FLAT. Seriously, no carbonation. This is an absolute fail in this category. It's sort of shocking they'd release something this flat. Thin, watery, wow just simply terrible.

The flavor profile isn't horrible but the mouth feel absolutely is the detriment of this beer. Carbonate this one and it might be a bit better. It still could use some work on the nose, but the flavors on the palate weren't terrible. Still, drain pour worthy.

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ShanePB from Pennsylvania, Jan 14, 2012
Photo of Pencible
3.99/5  rDev +31.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Batch 1, reviewed October 2011

A: This poured a nearly clear mahogany with no head.
S: It smelled like sweet raisin and prune and brown sugar, with some honey wheat bread and a bit of orange.
T: It tasted like sweet raisin and earthy honey wheat bread, with some brown sugar and caramel and a bit of orange. It had a smooth and mellow and sweet aftertaste.
M: It was watery with a bit of carbonation. Somewhat weak body.
D: This had a great scent, good taste, and ok body. The alcohol was well hidden, so it was easy to drink. It seemed older than 10 months when I tried it, so I wouldn't recommend this for long-term cellaring. Not top tier, but solid drink.

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Pencible from Virginia, Dec 30, 2011
Photo of johnnnniee
4.2/5  rDev +38.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 11/9/2011 Batch 2 bottle 23 of 65
Pours a slightly hazy dark brown with faint ruby highlights when held to light. Smallish creamy beige head dissipates quickly but leaves some decent lace on the way down. Smell is rich and malty with toffee and caramel sharing the spotlight with some dark pitted fruit and a hint of earthy spicy hops. This smells great. Taste is a bit sweeter than I expected with almost an Old Ale feel to it. Sweet malts of caramel, toffee, and caramelized sugars up front. An earthy hop with a mineral touch midway through mixed with a sweet and sometimes tart dark pitted fruit kind of thing. Finishes with a touch of ethanol to remind us this one in 9.5% abv Medium to thick body with a light level of carbonation and a sweet almost sticky mouthfeel. I quite enjoyed this one, I might have to pick up another bottle or two before this limited run is gone.

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johnnnniee from New Hampshire, Dec 30, 2011
Photo of capeannbass36
2.62/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A- Poured a cloudy mahogany with absolutely no head. No lacing either.

S- Kind of smells like barleywine. Close enough.
The usual dark fruits and caramel.

T- Blah! Nothing special. Can probably classify it as a barleywine. No other positive comments.

M- Flat, flat, FLAT. Absolutely no carbonation whatsoever! What the heck?!

O-Total waste of money. This bottle was stored properly...atleast by me. Two sips....dumped it.
While the flavor was not horrid...it was the flattest beer that I have ever put in my mouth. BOO!! his...booo....

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capeannbass36 from Massachusetts, Aug 26, 2011
Photo of Urbancaver
3.68/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a burnt reddish brown with a touch of white head. Pours not very thick but fairly pretty. The beer is well carbonated but a bit too thin for me. Smells mildly hoppy but not like a typical american barley wine. Malty and rich on the tongue. Overall interesting, a solid drinker, but stylistically off a bit.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.32/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Straight up pour and no head, no lace. Cloudy brown/amber color. Almost no carbonation and medium bodied. Dark fruit nose. Flavor is dark fruit, caramel and alcohol. Needs carbonation. There are much better barley wines like Dogfish Head Olde School barley wine. $11.95 for a 22oz bottle from Bert's Better Beers Hooksett, NH. Bottled Jan 2011, batch one, 1080 bottles.

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jdhilt from New Hampshire, Jun 24, 2011
Photo of steve8robin
2.75/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Got this beer at a local beer store. I was not a fan of the Barrel Aged Barleywine from WB, but I'll give this one a try. Batch One bottled January 2011...

A: A ruby color blended with some hints of brown. No head, just a few bubbles. Decent.

S: A very sugary malt with some apple scents upfront. Some mild toffee and some more sugary malt on the backend. Decent.

T: A weird dirty water and mild bitter hop upfront. A mild sugary malt in the middle and some more watery hop on the backend. Very strange. Nope.

M: Light body with a good carbonation. A bitter finish. Ok.

O: All in all, this one is nothing special. Weird taste. Don't even bother with this one. This is even worse than the BBBwine from WB. Ugh!

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steve8robin from Massachusetts, Apr 16, 2011
Photo of silentjay
3.41/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

muddy mahogany with absolutely no head, no matter how hard I pour into my Duvel Tulip.

leather and toffee aroma with a good amount of hops that bring some tree resin. brown sugar, molasses, and a bit boozy too.

starts with some dark fruits, caramel, leather, toffee, molasses, with a significant hoppy finish thats more resiny than bitter.

maybe medium bodied with no carbonation detected, which gives it a watery finish. no lingering aftertaste. does not fill up the mouth the way I'm used to with barleywines.

with the carbonation and body fixed up, this could be a great beer. As it is, and for the price it goes for, I'm glad I didn't buy one for the cellar. Though maybe age will help? not sure.
not tremendously impressed, but not turned off either.

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silentjay from Massachusetts, Apr 15, 2011
Photo of lordofthewiens
3.32/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled January 2011
Batch One
Bottle Count 1080

In a tulip the beer was a turbid orange/brown color with no head to speak of.
Aroma of toffee and fruit. Not very fragrant.
Improvement in the taste. Toffee, raisins. A little bit of hops presence.
I didn't see anything real special about this beer. Maybe it will improve with age.

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lordofthewiens from New Mexico, Apr 13, 2011
Photo of DIM
4.47/5  rDev +47.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a: This was a dark amber tinted brown color. It poured a smallish fizzy head.

s: Deep aromas of caramel and toffee with some chocolate thrown in. As it warms some dark fruits emerge. I also found piny, resinous hops and some gentle warmth.

t: I didn't expect to like a barleywine this young this much. Gently sweet caramel up front that transitions into a nice chocolate note that has fruity qualities. Stiff, resinous bitterness at the end helps keep the sweetness nicely in check.

m: Gently carbonated with a decadent, chewy body.

d: Hell yeah, I've been waiting for this since White Birch opened! Great barleywine and I'm very glad I have a bottle to revisit in a year or so.

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DIM from Pennsylvania, Feb 24, 2011
White Birch Barley Wine Ale from White Birch Brewing
Beer rating: 81 out of 100 with 31 ratings