Barley Wine
Epic Brewing Company

Barley WineBarley Wine
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American Barleywine
Ranked #340
Ranked #29,228
3.76 | pDev: 11.44%
Epic Brewing Company
Utah, United States
Very Good
Barley WineBarley Wine
Notes: The first sip of this brilliant, red-brown beer reveals a robust mouth feel and complex flavors including raisin, dark bread, some sherry flavors sure to increase with age. With the finish comes the flavor of Columbus hops followed by the alcohol warmth that can be felt down your throat.
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Reviews: 52 | Ratings: 176
Photo of q33jeff
4.11/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4


Bottle to goblet. Not sure of the age. Got it in a bottle shop in Ventnor, NJ (near AC) that had a lot of aged barleywines on the shelf (i picked up a 2011 Schlafly Barleywine in March 2018). Best guess is that this is about 3 years old.

LOOK: Hazy brown; medium off white head.
AROMA: bread; apple; grape, barley. Brown sugar.
TASTE: MORE bread; apple; grape, barley. Brown sugar. touches of mold and brandy in the finish.
FEEL: thick; apple-cider like, full body. decent carbonation.

Very Tasty. A very good barleywine.


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Photo of Lone_Freighter
4.24/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The appearance had a light somewhat clear brown color. bar pour leads to a half finger white foamy head, adequate light foamy lacing. The smell had a llight caramel maltiness leading into an inviting raisinous and also bitter citrusy hoppiness. The taste was bitter and sweet at different times through the caramel malts and raisins to mix with the bitter citrusy hops. not much of an aftertaste, in fact I really don’t get anything, sweet dry finish. On the palate, it sat at/about a medium on the palate. not really sessionable, but its a barleywine so whaddaya expect. The carbonation is good for the style and for me. Overall, this was a good barleywine that I would have again, slightly hoppier than some so that makes me think its an American one.

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Photo of LAp
4.22/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Really impressed with this beer. Though it tastes more English than American despite its claim (the hop presence here is minimal), that's a positive for me. Really nails the dark fruit and toffee notes well. Supremely drinkable - avoids the over-sweetness of so many barleywines.

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Photo of hman43
3.73/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Look: It pours a hazy, cloudy brown with a tan moderate head.

Smell: It has rich malt aromas highlighted by caramel and bread. There is a strong presence of raisin as well.

Taste: The flavors are characteristic of the malt with caramel and bread and a moderate wood taste. There is a bit of smoke with raisin and low sherry elements.

Feel: It has a chewy, full bodied feel with a fair amount of alcohol warmth.

Overall, this is a malt forward barley wine with the added complexity of the wood with enhances the overall presentation.

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Photo of KYGunner
3.78/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Great barley wine components but much more hop bitterness than I like. Underneath the hops is a grainy barley malt, molasses, caramel, brown sugar and pecan nuttiness. The hops are bitter and slightly metallic which transfers to the feel.

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Photo of Matty412
4.47/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very nice malt and hop forward nose, coats your tongue with an almost oily feel. Finishes very smooth and slightly crisp. Very easy drinking for a 10.6% Cheers!!!

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Photo of Benish
3.77/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Batch # 20. Poured into snifter glass.

Appearance: a very deep murky brown. There was an inch of head with a tint of the same color as the beer. Decadent and rich looking.

Smell: its very sweet, smelled tropical nectar juice, raisins and brown sugar. Not so much of the hops - very malty.

Taste: tasted just like what I smelled - some fruity nectar and dark fruits as well as some medicinal-like bitterness. It almost takes after an English barely wine instead. Very sweet and malty, a little bit pungent with some bitterness.

Mouthfeel: medium to full bodied and slick.

Overall: very fruity with the hoppy bitterness following second. Takes more after an English barley wine. Good beer overall.

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Photo of Radome
4.31/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 22 oz bomber bottle into a goblet.

L - Color is medium to dark brown with red highlights. Clear. Light tan head is creamy and fairly persistent.

S - Aromas of bread, molasses, plums, raisins from the malt. The hops are mostly earthy and spicy. Together they give an impression of delicious spice cake.

T - Flavors more balanced toward hops than I expected. The malt is there with molasses, brown sugar and dried fruits, but those flavors quickly get subsumed by strong hops flavor and bitterness. Hops are earthy and spicy. Off-dry finish.

F - Thick body that is counteracted by intense bitterness. Low, creamy carbonation. Strong alcohol presence.

O - This is an intensely hopped American style barley wine that smells more complex than it tastes. Still, very enjoyable.

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Photo of pat61
4.25/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Hazy reddish chestnut under a thin tan foam collar, splotches of lace, faint legs.
S: Fruity, estery nose with some rich malt sugars.
T: Dried fruit, caramelly malt, prune and then a medium high bitter hop finish.
M: Big body with a below average carbonation. Slight warming.
O: A big bold barley wine that can probably stand some age.

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Photo of HowardTheDuck
4.06/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Release #14 (9/30/13) 10.4% abv. Brewed with 6 different malts and 4 different hops. Poured into a snifter. Very large, off-white head with a heavy sea-foam consistency (thick but airy). Really dark coffee-like color, similar to an Old Ale. This is an older bottle but its tasting significantly better than I anticipated. Very malt forward with the requisite accompanying sweetness, some sherry notes and a hearty breadiness. Slight lingering grassy hop flavor but the hops are virtually nonexistent now. The body is on the heavy side for the style which works to this beer's advantage. While a bit unconventional, this beer is an excellent representation of the English-style barleywines. As a fan of non-hoppy barleywines, I'm really pleased with this.

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Photo of Brutaltruth
3.65/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Enjoyed from the bomber in a snifter, this barely wine pours a muddled brown with red tinges and a decent head that dissipates to a thin ring and very light lacing. Nose of caramel malts, some raisins, and resinous hops. Flavors follow the nose perfectly with a strong hop character blending with a moderate malt backbone with hints of raisins and dates. Hop forward barely wine style with a bitter hop aftertaste, moderate carbonation, and an effervescent mouth feel makes it drinkable, yet still very hop forward diminishing from the sweeter side that could be apparent with potential age. Decent barely wine.

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Photo of Bowers-Brew
4.04/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Release 14 - Bottled September 2013 - Served @ 50deg F in Snifter

A - Medium brown with red highlights. Light tan head - ~1/2" when poured aggressively.

S - Lots of malt, candied sugar, molasses, raisins, caramel, tobacco - light hop and alcohol notes.

T/F - Brown sugar, raisin, sherry, plums - sweet/bitter finish. Slight alcohol bite - thin finish.

O - Brownish/Red Barleywine that has rich & mellow flavors with each sip. I thought this tasted better than what it's rated, but it needs a little more to make it great. I think this would be a good candidate for bourbon and oak aging. Prost!

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Photo of SHODriver
4/5  rDev +6.4%

Release 15

A: poured into a snifter to a deep brown with a finger and a half of dense off white head that retains well and leaves good lacing
S: smells of earthy and herbal hops with some slight caramel and raisin notes
T: taste is bready and caramelly malt sweetness with some stone fruits and herbal hop flavors with a little bit of citrus rind. swallow brings a big and bitter herbal hop note that lingers for some time.
M: big and slightly chewy on the palate with soft well rounded carbonation. finish is oily and slightly drying from the alcohol
O: A little abrasive right now but with a year or two to mellow out this one should be smooth and dangerous. The complexity is there and the mouthfeel is killer but for me it needs a little time for the hops to mellow.

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Photo of arizcards
4.26/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Picked up a bomber from Bevmo in early July for $8.59. Release #16 was bottled on 12-19-13.

Beer poured reddish brown with a nice off white head that is still hanging around a bit.

Nose is dark fruits and big west coast hops.

Taste is dark fruits, hints of chocolate, citrus, and pine blended very nicely together.

Mouthfeel is thick, full, and smooth. There is some prickly liveliness from the generous hopping.

Overall this is a deliciios well made brew. Definitely pick it up if you see it on the shelves!

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Photo of jwc215
3.9/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours reddish brown with a head that has very good retention for the high abv/style. Some lacing sticks.

The smell is of toffee, raisins, rum-soaked bread and some pine.

The taste is of toffee with raisins. Enough hops give it a piney/citric balance to fit it into the "American" rather than "English" style, though the malt stays ahead through the finish. Alcohol is warming, but not too hot.

It is silky smooth. Carbonation fitting for the general character of the beer.

This is a wonderful American barleywine. Toffee character is strong, but has a hop character in the balance. A great "sipper".

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Photo of TheDDO
3.72/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Release #14, poured into a snifter

Apperance- Pours a hazy rusty brown, looks like that rusty nail sticking out of your backyard woodshed. Starts with a finger and a half of cream colored spongy head that quickly dissipates to small bubbles around the outside edge of the beer. Leaves behind a spoty lacing.

Smell- Caramel right off the bat. As the beer warm, a citrus hoppiness develops. Almost Pale Ale like. Not your typical Barley Wine scent, which is not necessary a bad thing.

Taste- As I took the first sip, I had a hard time putting my finger on what what was there, a complex beer indeed. So I went over to Epic's website. They describe this beer as having a "dark bread" taste. That brought it home for me, I did pick up on some dark fruit, pumpernickel taste. Not bad. This beer develops well as it warms. The alcohol is well hidden, but does warm as it goes down.

Mouthfeel- Smooth and sticky at the same time. This beer coats the mouth well, allowing you to try and distinguish what exactly is going on with this brew. Very nice.

Overall- This was a good beer. I may have been expecting a bit more, but I'm not disappointed in any means. If you run across this beer, i recommend trying it. I may pick another up to age, just to see if my mind changes in a year or so.

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Photo of jzeilinger
3.67/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

In review is a 2012 vintage.

A - Pours a toffee color with a two fingered cream head and modest carbonation. Color is a little on the lighter side for a barley wine.

S - Roasted toffee, a small trace of citrus, caramel, and a hint of booze.

T - Follows the nose with a nice mixture of roasted caramel/toffee, followed by some citrus bitterness on the end and a waft of alcohol effervescence. There's a slight hint of woodiness and left on the palate is a lingering alcohol warmth and a mouth coated with roasted caramel and citrus bitterness that's perfectly balanced.

M - Medium body to full medium body but feels a little light for the style, coats the lips with sticky toffee sugar.

O - I love the Exponential Series from Epic, they do a great job. Solid, but sits in the middle of the pack. Definitely worth trying, though.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.55/5  rDev +21%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle poured into an Epic tulip.
10.4% ABV, Release #14

A - It's hard to see the haze through the deep tarnished copper color, but Epic's Barley Wine definitely isn't clear. It does have a fantastic head though! The ivory foam tickles the glass with wisps of lace before settling to a halo of loose bubbles.

S - Rich and complex maltiness captivates the nostrils, drawing the olfactory in for closer inspection. What's found are plump sherry-soaked raisins swimming in melted caramel cube and toffee sweetness basking under the light shade of earthy hop pedals.

T - The complexity continues as Epic's Barley Wine tastes undeniably malt-forward with silky smooth caramel and toffee sweetness dribbling over the crusts of thickly sliced, freshly baked bread. Subtle notes of toast on the verge of roast make their way into the background with a light kiss of earthy hops that signal resiny pine flavors.

M - With it's medium-full body and exceptionally smooth feel finishing with sweetness, Epic's Barley Wine only offers a slight kiss of hops for balance and a faint trace of bitterness behind the warming alcohol.

O - If I didn't know any better I might forgo the fact this is billed as an "American Barleywine" and accept it as the malty English style with open arms. Malt-forward through and through, the subtle offerings of earthy, almost piney American hops are miniscule in comparison to the rich and forthright malt complexities contained in this beer. It's alcohol presence certainly isn't disguised but it's also not in any way a focal point of the beer, which makes it a bit dangerous on the drinkability scale.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

a good barleywine, squarely in the middle of english and american convention. its a deep copper color, lazy tan head on top, and an aroma of burning sugars, caramel sauce from the can, raisins, and pine hops. an odd arrangement where the malt and all its layers of sugars and grain character comes on the front end, and all of the hops, primarily the bitterness, comes on the back end, the finish, and the swallow. its a dichotomy so pronounced that the beer lacks cohesion, unity, and flow. still, i like the robustness of it all, the no holds barred approach, not afraid to chuck a bunch of hops in a traditionally sweet brew. it makes me happy in some ways, and even though the alcohol is very well hidden for such a colossal beer, this is a bomber to share. intimidating even at 11 ounces, its surprisingly light in body for how big it is, and its full of flavor. not passive beer at all, thats for sure. not my favorite example of the style out there, but a well made one.

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Photo of beergoot
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Deep copper-red colored body with a rich, soft and creamy thick head; globs of foam and lacing sticking to the glass. Rich caramel aroma; pecan note teaser; warm bread. Honey and warm whole grain bread flavors; fruity esters; soothing hop bitterness. Medium bodied with an airy softness and delicate smoothness; semi-dry finish.

A very pleasing Scotch ale that packs a lot of pleasing surprises in its deep and complex persona. Light and airy yet exuding a deeply satisfying malt grain and nutty flavor profile.


Additional notes: reference release #15, SLC #1190, ABV 10.2% (3/31/2015 pour date)- basically the same as my original and tasty...


Third tasting 1-16-16. Release #19, DEN #2140, ABV 10.9%.

No changes in the ratings. Other than an increased ABV (and somewhat hotter taste/mouthfeel), this is a pretty consistent barley wine offering from Epic regardless of brewing location.

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Photo of Zorro
4.01/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Clear reddish brown colored beer with a tall tan colored head.

Smell is strong with the hops. Strong NW style hops mostly pine with some cedar and cinnamon scent. Scents of brown sugar and caramel. Black pepper and apple skin in the ethanol fraction. Slight chocolate aroma.

Starts out sweet and woody with a big caramel taste. Bittersweet taste with a significant amount of sweetness. Butterscotch taste with a significant ethanol flavor. Bitterness is medium. Brown sugar is present. Tasty but not quite among the best.

Mouthfeel is thick.

Overall a tasty beer but not quite world class. Worth a try.

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Photo of AgentMunky
3.4/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle into a Rochefort chalice. Batch #4. At least a couple of years old.

A: No head. Light tracing. Murky dark-tan muddy. Good lacing.

S: Carmelized sugar. Distant, earthy hops are perhaps only wishful thinking. Smells sticky and strong.

T: I think I cellared this too long. Dull and boring. Flat, if chewy. English malts, English hops, English Barleywine.

M: Kinda meh. But sternish and solid enough.

O: I like it, but it was a bit of a letdown after this long.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.41/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured a burgundy color with good carbonation leaving a nice frothy, dirty white cap. The head retention is pretty good leaving behind some spotty lacing and a light ring clinging to the sides of the glass

S: My first whiff immediately after pour it smelled like dirt and caramel, definitely Earthy. However, as it warmed and settled a touch of bread, dark fruits, pine and citrus arise

T: Initial wallop of toasted bread, caramel, and brown sugar with a pungent bitterness. Some fruits and more bittering hops with a lingering, hop bittering, sweet bready finish and some heat on the end which is pretty stinging

M: Medium bodied, well carbonated, bit sticky and feels warm

O: A pretty decent, safe and common example of the style.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.47/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Release #5, October 2011; Sampled April 2012
A healthy pour into my Lost Abbey Teku glass produces a three finger thick, nicely amber tinged, full tan colored head. The beer is a concentrated red / amber color that shows a brilliantly clear, paler version when held up to the light. The aroma smells of pine and citrusy hops, concentrates caramelized malt, nutty, slightly toasted whole grain bread, and fruity notes of berries, raisins and perhaps even some cherry notes. The fruitiness can be the dominant note at times, especially as you really dig into the aroma, but there is also clearly a hop character and a concentrated malt character to the nose.

Thick and viscous as it first hits the palate, there is a big burst of bitter, herbal hop character up front that is offset by a rich, caramelized malt character that then comes to the for, but the bitterness again blossoms in the finish as it lingers on the palate. The beer is not nearly as sweet as I might have expected, instead it has a rich, caramelized, concentrated malt character that has a nicely nutty, toasted quality to it that lingers on the palate for quite some time. The hop character has an herbal, somewhat menthol like character to it for the most part. As the beer warms up it becomes quite a bit more fruit focused with notes of berries, perhaps a touch of cherry, and even some candied citrus. The crystal malt character also starts to become more noticeable, contributing a touch of sweet tea like character, a hint of spicy whole grain character and a bit whole grain cracker like note that expresses itself prominently in the oral nasal interface. Interesting notes of licorice somehow get infused along with the herbal / hoppy / piney hop character. The alcohol becomes a bit more noticeable with time as well, at times it can get a little hot even, but overall it remains fairly balanced; Actually it seems that the sediment kicked up into subsequent pours has somehow accentuated the alcohol, so I would recommend pouring this cleanly in one go if you can.

I like that this beer has a fairly big malt presence; the hop character is perhaps a touch more dominant, but this beer is actually pretty well balanced between the malt & hop character. This should age quite well for at least a couple years. This is nicely enjoyable, even pleasantly surprising.

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Photo of drrone
4.17/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Batch 12

A - pours a dark amber, with light head that faded quickly and left small patches if residual lace.
S- great caramel, malt, bread/biscuit and a great hop presence.
T- Really great taste, more of the nose, but a great hop resin profile. Very impressed.
M-very easy to drink with very light carbonation. Hides the abv very well.
O- fanastic taste, very smooth. This is probably my new go to barley wine. Epic rarely disappoints. Well done.

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Barley Wine from Epic Brewing Company
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 176 ratings