White Birch Ol' Cattywhompus
White Birch Brewing

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English Barleywine
Ranked #181
Ranked #22,587
3.86 | pDev: 10.36%
White Birch Brewing
New Hampshire, United States
Very Good
Reviews: 19 | Ratings: 42 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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Lone_Freighter from Vermont

4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter, the appearance was a nice looking mostly dark red/brown color with a small off white semi-foamy head subsiding at a pretty nice pace. Some spotty lace running off decently.
The aroma had some sweet earthy to leathery character strolling through notes of raisin, p!um, iced apples, fig, caramel and toffee malts and a touch of dark chocolate.
The flavor started with a leathery sweetness rolling into some earthy biscuity to fruitiness as it warmed. Dark chocolate tones try to make a decent effort to combine but seem a bit faint. Mild leathery sweet to raisiny aftertaste.
The mouthfeel was about medium bodied with a fair sipping quality about it. ABV felt appropriate. Carbonation felt good. Finish was semi-dry with a touch of raisins and dark chocolate.
Overall, yes, I can see it as a barleywine and would be one I would come back to.

May 15, 2019
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superspak from Michigan

4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled in 12/2014. Labeled at 10.5% ABV. Pours slightly hazy deep ruby red/brownish color with a 1-2 finger fairly dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Aromas of big raisin, plum, fig, apple, caramel, toffee, brown sugar, brown bread, toasted biscuit, light chocolate/nuttiness, herbal, light pepper, and roast/toasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great complexity and balance of dark/roast/bready malt, moderate fruity yeast, and light earthy hop notes; with good strength. Taste of big raisin, plum, fig, apple, caramel, toffee, brown sugar, brown bread, toasted biscuit, light chocolate/nuttiness, herbal, light pepper, and roast/toasted earthiness. Light herbal/spicy and roasted bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of raisin, plum, fig, apple, caramel, toffee, brown sguar, brown bread, toasted bread, light chocolate/nuttiness, and herbal/roasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Damn nice complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malt, moderate fruity yeast, and light earthy hop flavors; with a great bitterness/sweetness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a very smooth, creamy/silky, and lightly sticky/chalky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a light warmth lingering after the finish. Overall this is a damn nice English barleywine style. All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malt, moderate fruity yeast, and light earthy hop flavors; and very smooth and easy to sip on for the big ABV. This was more in line with old ale style overall; but still had well rounded complexity and balance. A very enjoyable offering.

Dec 08, 2015
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Back_in_the_Saddle from Vermont

3.99/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Into a snifter, it pours a gentle amber color with a slim finger's worth of white foamy head that dissipated within a nice slow pace. There's some light speckled lacing running around the glass here and there.
The smell takes in rich sweet malt, some dark fruits, a light amount of chocolate, some grapes and booze. Light vanilla settles in behind it all to balance.
The taste wraps up the previously mentioned flavors to sweeten and stir the pot to blend with a subtle tobacco to earthy flavor underneath. There's a light aftertaste of booze, earth and sweet malt. It's dry on the finish.
The mouthfeel was about medium bodied with a sticky texture clinging to my tongue. Carbonation is quite refined allowing this stickiness to occur.
Overall, nice English barleywine, probably could have just a little bit of earthy/tobacco in the aroma, but other than that, its a nice sipper.

Nov 23, 2015
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sulldaddy from Connecticut

4.35/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sampling a cellar temp 22 oz bottle poured into a snifter. Winter 2014 vintage.
The beer pours a deep mahogany color with some garnet highlights. A creamy beige head foams up about 2 cm and fades slowly to an edge layer and one large wispy island in the center of the glass.
Aroma is rich malt notes with dark fruit and some chocolate mixing. I get red grapes and some plums and raisin notes. With some good hits of general booziness mixed in for a fairly complex nose. I dont get any hops to speak of on the nose.
THe first sip reveals a thick body with sticky texture and fine rolling carbonation. Leaves a sweet sticky coating on my palate after each sip.
Flavor is rich and malty as the nose advertised with dark chocolate and deep fruit. I get plums and raisins again just like the nose. THere is some rich brown sugar as well and some warming booze on each swallow. There arent any hops to speak of on this malty forward beer.
I am enjoying this malty English style beer on a November evening. I would definitely buy this one again if given the opportunity to find this on the shelf again.
Dont expect any hops when you buy this beer but go in and enjoy!

Nov 08, 2015
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pat61 from Minnesota

4.25/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: Pours brilliant deep chestnut or ruby under a 1” rapidly dissipating foam cap S: roast malt, alcohol with root beer notes. T: The palate is midway between an English Barleywine and a Russian Imperial Stout with more roast than is typical of a Barley wine and less chocolate than usual for a Russian Imperial Stout. Along with roast, the palate includes bready, toasty, toffee, molasses, and/or treacle with a hint of horehound. F: Full body and medium low carbonation. O: This big beer is a fulfilling, satiating drink that might benefit from a few years in the cellar to round out some of the roast flavors.

Aug 18, 2015
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fitzy84 from Massachusetts

4.13/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bought at Table & Vine in West Springfield. Label states it was bottled in December 2014 and is bottle count 1600. Served in a pint glass.

The beer has a brown, slightly amber-ish appearance in the light. Overall, very thick and cloudy with patchy lacing and a thin head. Aromas give off a heavy chocolate with a dark fruit/cherry flavoring. Taste includes a cherry aftertaste to a very sweet, but earthy drink. Great mouthfeel; creamy but with a crisp carbonation. In general, I enjoyed this drink.

May 03, 2015
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JebBeerFish from New Hampshire

3.36/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

My first White Birch brew. Restrained but good flavors, toffee, slight caramel, very light malts. I am not as familiar with English Barleywines as I am with American Barleywines, and can't judge it according to the style. I will buy this again.

Feb 02, 2015
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badgustav from New Hampshire

3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

This smells and tastes less like a barleywine and more like a chocolate...porter? It's an odd flavour I can't quite place. The mouthfeel is great. I'm curious how it will age, but as a barleywine it doesn't impress.

Jan 28, 2015
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ChristopherProvost from New Hampshire

3.51/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: deep, rich brown color; opaque; one finger head that dissipated rather quickly and left behind some mild lacing, but not much

Smell: rich, earthy smell; autumn leaves; raisins and dried fruit; cherries

Taste: raisin, prune, other dried fruit; tannins

Mouthfeel: thick, heavy, and rich; tannic; astringency that tends to linger

Overall: Ol' Cattywhompus is an appropriate name for this beer because it definitely has some WHOMP to it. Deep brown and opaque. Upon smelling it, I knew I was in for a heavy beer. Tannic and astringent in the mouth with strong raisin overtones. If you're looking for a refreshing beer, look elsewhere. You can practically chew this one. If you want a beer you can wrestle with and plan on sitting by a warm fire in a New England pub regaling the crowd with your tales of backwoods adventure, you've chosen wisely.

Mar 01, 2014
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puboflyons from New Hampshire

4.19/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From the 650 ml. bottle dated Winter 2014 and numbered 412 out of 1,000. Sampled on February 24, 2014.

It pours brown all the way with no ruby red hues or near black tones. A modest tan head that fades to a ring. There is a touch of cloudiness in this bottle fermented brew.

The aroma is malt forward but also quite subtle. For a 10.5% ABV beer there is no booze in sight. Mildly sweet but mostly malty and a slight earthy bite.

The body is medium to full. It also has a nice creaminess to it.

The flavor is also sweetly malted but mild and subtle altogether. A slight hop finish but nothing overly bitter. In some respects it reminds me of an Old Ale but this is brewed in the English tradition and those tend to be more mellow. Easy drinking but it will catch up to you in the end.

Feb 24, 2014
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JAFoley from New Hampshire

3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A - Three fingers of tan bubbly head over thick cloudy dark amber body. Head quickly settles back into the beer and no lacing to be seen.

S - Cherry, cranberry, chocolate, bread, and alcohol.

T - Big bready earthy malts with sweet sugary cherry yeast. Alcohol heat comes in at the end but is very well masked considering the abv.

M - Full body with fine carbonation. Somewhat sticky and syrupy.

O - This is a great beer for the winter time. This isn't typically my choice style of beer but this was very enjoyable.

Feb 16, 2014
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jlindros from Massachusetts

3.63/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Rises up the neck on the pop, no real head, dark semi clear molasses brown color.

Nose big sweet candy malts, toffee, molasses nutty syrup, light tin, then a sour slight infection aroma, light acetic acid, touch acrid dark malt.

Taste big sweet malts, candy syrup, molasses, toffee, little nutty, syrupy, some hot tingly booze, little metallic, touch of sour infection setting in, hint of choc, little flemmy syrupy. Finish is sweet sticky, light bitterness and light acrid, more syrupy malts, very light sour.

Mouth is syrupy thick, decent fluffy carb.

Overall meh. Even without the hint of infection it doesn't seem to have a ton going for it.

Aug 19, 2013
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SerialHiker from Illinois

4.09/5  rDev +6%
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, toffee 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)


Jun 21, 2013
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DIM from Pennsylvania

4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: This was the dark mahogany color with ruby highlights. It poured with a large, fizzy head that faded to spotty lace.

s: Roasty combo of cocoa and coffee, more cocoa than coffee. Toasted seeds, caramel, figs, and gentle warmth.

t: That roastiness from the smell dominates. Again, more cocoa than coffee. I also found hints of caramel and vinous fruits.

m: Smooth and silky.

o: Tasted blind I would have called this a porter. Regardless, it's a damn good beer.

Jun 02, 2013
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jdhilt from New Hampshire

3.91/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a three-finger khaki head that fades slowly leaving a good lace. Opaque brown (no ruby) color, yeast left in bottle. Light carbonation and medium bodied. Nose is burnt sugar and some malt, flavor is semi-sweet caramel, some dark fruit, higher ABV is hidden. $9.79 for a 22oz bottle from Bert's Better Beers Hooksett, NH.

Feb 16, 2013
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SawDog505 from New Hampshire

4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Lost Abbey tulip glass. Pours a very dark reddish brown, very hazy, with a one inch light tan head that leaves beautiful lace. Smell is loaded with toffee, carmel, burnt brown sugar, some chocolate, vanilla, and some dark fruit. Taste all of that, with a hint of alcohol. Body is medium large, plenty of carbonation, not really dry, and fairly drinkable. This is as nice barleywine, with plenty of complex flavors.

Dec 29, 2012
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Gosox8787 from New Hampshire

3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: Winter 2012 bottle chilled and poured into my Cigar City tulip glass.

Appearance: Dark brown in color with a slight one finger, thick beige head. Recedes into a relatively thick lacing around the glass.

Aroma: Toffee, burnt sugar and roasted pecans. Burst of coffee beans and unsweetened coffee. Really unique and interesting profile. Some booze is definitely there but it is not too prominent.

Taste: The coffee beans and black coffee notes really stand out here. Hard to believe there was not some coffee added to this actually. Burnt sugar, toffee and a roasted bread character add an interesting depth to this. Some unusual nuttiness as well. Interesting and complex. Definitely is suiting my taste more as it warms. Not a typical, big sweet english style barleywine.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied with lower than average carbonation.

Overall, a really interesting barleywine with a unique flavor profile. Definitely not as big and sweet as I would expect. The coffee and earthy notes are nice and hide the ABV very well. Certainly worth a try at the price. A nice warming brew on a cold night but nothing too stand out.

Dec 23, 2012
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PeterIngemi from Massachusetts

3.97/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Split a 22oz bottle winter 2012 release, poured into a duvel glass

A: pours a very dark brown with some slightly maroon hues. Not really any head to speak of more of a tan film, some light lacing.

S: coffe rines, wood, brown sugar, caramel/toffe. Hint of alcohol... The coffe rinds kind of bit me by suprise.

T: deffinatly coffee rines again, along with brown sugar and caramel, flavor follows the nose pretty closely, wasn't really expecting this flavor from a barleywine, but I like it.

M: medium to heavy body with moderate carbonation adding a you h of creamyness to the finish... Well rounded.

O: this is an interesting barleywine, unlike the way the burnt coffe rine flavor offsets the malt sweetness, and adds a bit of bitterness. Deffiantly a deviation from the norm for the style... Quite enjoyable.

Dec 10, 2012
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johnnnniee from New Hampshire

4.22/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep tawny brown color with a good sized khaki head that slowly dissipates to a cap on top. The aroma's are kind of bold and intense with brown sugar, caramel, and chocolate playing the dominant roles. Hints of toffee, burnt sugar, ethanol, and a light bit of earthy hops round out the nose quite nicely. The flavor is rich with a good amount of malty sweetness. Caramel, brown sugar and chocolate again make up the brunt of the flavor. Light dark fruits, ethanol, melanoids, earthy hop flavor round out the flavor. Medium to thick body with a light to moderate level of carbonation and a sweet almost syrupy mouthfeel. This is a very clean well made great tasting beer. It reminds me of a big brown ale at times more than it does a barleywine, but I enjoyed the hell out of it just the same.

Dec 02, 2012
White Birch Ol' Cattywhompus from White Birch Brewing
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 42 ratings