Johan The Barleywine (Bourbon Barrel Aged) | Sun King Brewing Company

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Brewed by:
Sun King Brewing Company
Indiana, United States

Style: British Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
This beer uses Johan the English Style Barleywine as its base beer and is aged for 9 months in a Buffalo Trace bourbon barrel.

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Reviews & Ratings
Reviews: 4 | Ratings: 17
Photo of robwestcott
4.63/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured from the can to a sun king teku, roughly four years after grabbing one of 400 cans released at the brewery... a deep, dark, viscous mahogany brown with a thin hint of a mocha rim hugging the inside of the glass.

aroma is, as expected, huge, sweet brown sugar and molasses, perhaps also dark toffee in the way way back.

carb has held up just fine, and the seal was set only after the beer had reached the tip top of he can's twist top, so if there's oxidation after 4 years, it's crazy minimal and entirely undetectable. super sweet, big bodied barleywine, smooth and slick, yet not at all syrupy. molasses, figs and dark raisins, dark candied brown sugar, a great big malty treat.

the barrel is present, but not overpowering, very nice balance. and that's a balance between the sweet and the bourbon, because that's what we're dealing with here. big sweet and fairly big bourbon.

this one's been waiting a long while to be enjoyed and and enjoyment it is.

two thumbs up and looking very much forward to my last remaining can of johan, though it'll be opened side by side with the upcoming batch.

cheers to sun king.

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Photo of TotallyHosed
4.04/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

The color is a dark brown leather. The color makes me think of raisins and Dr. Pepper. Very little head formed as this was poured. The look almost resembles red wine, due to an almost complete lack of carbonation.

Smell is mostly warming alcohol supported by oak, leather, figs and vanilla.

Flavor is incredibly smooth. I cannot detect the alcohol that I found in the nose. Lots of thick vanilla with some oak support. Some toasted grain lingers.

The feel is medium to thick. No carbonation is felt.

Overall, I'm very impressed by the flavor. The nose indicated a very boozy brew, but this is not the case. At the same time, the flavor far exceeds the nose. The nose is too much like a spirit than a brew. It is complex, yet dominated by the barrel notes.

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Photo of mynie
4.59/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Problem One:
I am a hoarder of beer and of sadness. There’s a bottle of ‘08 Darkness in my cellar that will never be opened and never be sold. Upon my death, I will bequeath to it my child only if that child can be trusted to never open or sell it but will instead bequeath it to his own child. Otherwise I will be buried with it, and before burial the lip of the bottle will be coated in ricin so as to deter the intentions of graverobbing whores.

Why? It’s a double bind, see. I don’t want to sell it because only jerks sell rare beer. I don’t want to trade it because I won’t get what it would be worth in a sale. And I don’t want to drink it because, well, it’s worth too much and what kind of ostentatious jerk would drink a beer that’s worth that much.

Problem Two:
Sun King is the second best brewery in Indiana. Their yeastmanship is unparalleled anywhere else in the Midwest—even at the Floyds. They are rightfully revered among locals. But they don’t get the kind of hype they deserve because they have small area of distribution, they don’t price gouge, and they don’t do any big events wherein people pay far too much for a semi-rare stout.

This is a case where two problems negate one another. Because this is an exceedingly rare beer—only about 400 pint-sized aluminum cans were made. The brewery did a thing where you could reserve a can online and all 125 reservations were gone in about 30 seconds.
But who knows about them? Drunken twenty and thirty-somethings in central Indiana. We don’t got clout.

But… is a beer a whale if there’s no Ahab out after it? Can something taste transgressive if there was never any basis for making it forbidden? How much of enjoyment is personal, localized fully within oneself, and not dependent on knowing that you get to have something someone else wants?
I can’t answer any of those questions. I can say, however, that this is really fucking good.

Full review:

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Photo of HopHead84
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


Can from WBC shared by Chris. Thanks!

A: Reddish brown with a beige head.

S: Dark toffee with lesser notes of caramel. Light citrus character reminds me of orange flesh. Pervasive bourbon presence with a touch of vanilla and oak.

T: Brown sugar, dark toffee, oak, and bourbon. Dry earthy notes with a lower moderate bitterness.

M: Upper medium body with matching carbonation.

Overall: A nice Bourbon Barleywine in a can. What could be better?

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Johan The Barleywine (Bourbon Barrel Aged) from Sun King Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.26 out of 5 with 17 ratings