Pierre Ferrand Billionaire
Clown Shoes

Pierre Ferrand BillionairePierre Ferrand Billionaire
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Barleywine - English
4.2 | pDev: 7.38%
Clown Shoes
Massachusetts, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Pierre Ferrand BillionairePierre Ferrand Billionaire
Notes: What could be more distinguished than our Director of Operations, Matt Smith, gracing a billion dollar bill with a smirk and a neck beard? You! With this rich beer in your belly. The Billionaire is an English Style Barleywine Ale, aged for six months in 30 year old Cognac barrels we got from friends at Pierre Ferrand. Here's to rare beer wishes and caviar dreams!
Reviews: 75 | Ratings: 319 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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JohnnyHopps from Indiana

4.39/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - The beer poured a murky copper color with a white head crowning the glass.

Smell - The cognac really comes through in the nose with notes with boozy raisin malt notes.

Taste - Initially, I noted red grapes from the cognac with a slight alcohol heat. The sweetness from the barleywine was light, but detectable. The malts become more appraent as the beer warms. Then, this becomes a real nice sipper.

Mouthfeel - The aging may have thinned this beer out somewhat, but it had a great body.

Overall - Initially, I thought this beer was really good. As it warmed, it became excellent.

Aug 10, 2019
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Eamonn-Cummings3 from New York

4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a BA speiglau glass.

Look is a slightly hazy cola with little to no head.

Aroma is strong candi malt and a lot of dark fruits.

Taste matches aroma, dry with a candi sweetness and fig.

Feb 12, 2018
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GuyFawkes from Illinois

4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 5/12/15; drank 2/9/18 @ the Yarchives.

Opaque orange/red/purple rust appearance; champagne bubbles throughout.

A rough pour yielded a small khaki head; frothy lace.

Apple cider, caramel & leather notes in the nose.

Medium mouthfeel.

Apple cider, oak & mild caramel flavors up front; mild leather & faint cinnamon notes on the finish.

At over 2.5 years old, this is flavorful...but a bit thin. Not quite God-tier but worthy.

Feb 10, 2018
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FLima from Brazil

3.74/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Murky brown color with a thin head.
Aroma with notes of molasses, oak, toffee, cognac and chocolate.
Flavor with notes of molasses, oak, cognac, vanilla, earthy hops and chocolate. Dry and bitter aftertaste.
Medium to full body with appropriate carbonation. Alcohol of 12% is incredibly well hidden.
Decent English Barley Wine with nice cognac and earthy notes.

Nov 21, 2017
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Roguer from Connecticut

4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Very nice head production. Dark brown brew.

Woody, sweet aroma; the barrel influence is heavy and unavoidable. Brown sugar, toffee, and caramel tones from the malt.

Flavor follows: it's a malty brown brew, with a strong woody edge to it. The cognac adds an extra layer of sweetness to the malt base. It's thick, sweet, and a little hot, but the alcohol is quite restrained for the ABV.

At two years old, this brew is a touch oxidized, but it is clearly a very good beer. I don't recommend aging it more than a year.

Jul 01, 2017
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Alieniloquium from Florida

3.78/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

650 mL bottle. Deep brown body with a medium khaki head. Smells of brown sugar, oak, brandy, a little earthy. Lots of sugar and booze. Taste isn’t that sweet. It is a lot of brown sugar and definitely sweet, but I expected buckets of sugar. Earthy, oaky, brandy. Some vanilla in there too. Earthy and slightly bitter finish. Heavy and a little boozy. They did a good job balancing the sugar here.

Apr 15, 2017
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DIM from Pennsylvania

4.26/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

To the best of my recollection this is a bit better than the original billionaire. This isn't as sweet as the original and cognac notes are more satisfyingly potent. I found musty, boozy vinous grape notes and subdued toffee sweetness. There was gentle warmth at the finish and mild soy sauce.

Very satisfying cognac forward barleywine, glad I got to try it.

Jul 25, 2016
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Jadjunk from Georgia

3.87/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

"What could be more distinguished than our Director of Operations, Matt Smith, gracing a billion dollar bill with a smirk and a neck beard? You! With this rich beer in your belly. The Billionaire is an English Style Barleywine Ale, aged for six months in 30 year old Cognac barrels we got from friends at Pierre Ferrand. Here's to rare beer wishes and caviar dreams!" Brewed in the style of an English Style Barleywine Ale, aged in Cognac Barrels. Available in 22 oz. bottles and on limited draft. Barrel aged variant of the 4th Anniversary Ale, Billionaire.

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle to a snifter glass.

(Appearance) Pours a smooth creamy caramel tan head over a mildly hazy caramel brown body with light carbonation. Retention is very good and there is no visible lacing. 4

(Smell) Smooth malt body of bread malts, caramelized syrups, fruit sugars. Soft fruit tanginess and alcohol are the most notable impact of Cognac at this stage and compliment the aroma well. Potency is moderate. 3.75

(Taste) Smooth bread, molasses and syrup malt body with a tingle of graininess on the back end, thick fruit syrups and a notable puff of spicy alcohol, significantly more exposed from the standard edition of Billionaire, owing to the cognac barrel aging, alongside delicate oak tannins. 4

(Mouthfeel) Texture is smooth, slick, lightly residual, moderately chewy, medium dry. Carbonation is mild, generating a medium frothiness and a lightly crisp finish. Body is medium/high for the style, shy of high overall. Balance is nearly even viscous sweet to earthy bitter, grainy and boozy alcohol. Alcohol presence is moderate and there are no off characters. 3.75

(Overall) An overall unique spin on a barleywine ale adds some notable spicy alcohol notes and soft fruit esters but the end result is a bit harsh in spots when not too ordinary. I do not experience many Cognac barrel-aged beers so this was an interesting experience but nearly on par with Billionaire standard. 3.75

Clown Shoes'
Pierre Ferrand Billionaire

Jul 20, 2016
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GreatStoutman from Texas

4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This pours and looks rather thin, with a chestnut color and no head. The smell is soft dark fruit and mellow cognac.

The taste was the highlight for me, it blended together really well and nothing seemed out of balance. Drank really easy, and only got better as it warmed.

Overall, I'm glad I found this old bottle. I'm not sure that it's got a lot more room for improvement with age, but you never know.

Jul 16, 2016
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brewskis from Indiana

4.24/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a clear dark ruby red, brownish color with a finger of khaki head.

Aroma consists of rich carmel, toffee, brown sugar, nuttiness, plum, raisin, prunes, musty grape and oak, and vanilla. Rich, sweet, and complex aroma.

Taste follows the nose well. The cognac barrel is well-integrated into the base beer. Get brown sugar, carmel, and toffee sweetness to go with a nutty and big dark fruit (raisin, plum) malt bill. The aged, musty cognac barrel brings a funky grape/plum presence, as well as musty oak and vanilla. The finish brings a more of a sharper grape skin quality to go with the aforementioned flavors.

Low full body. Well carbonated to cut through the sweetness and move the beer along. Slightly creamy and chewy. Oily and sticky finish. Warming as it goes down, but not boozy at all which is dangerous for 12%.

This is a well-put-together beer. The old cognac barrels shine on this one and go very well with the sweet, dark fruity base beer. These guys make some good barrel aged offerings and this one is no exception.

Jul 02, 2016
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q33jeff from New Jersey

3.95/5  rDev -6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bomber to tulip. Bottle date is 05/12/15.

LOOK: murky brown, small white head, some sediment. Not pretty, but a full looking beer.
AROMA: apple, raisin, spice, cognac is very apparent, mold,
TASTE: more apple , straight wood more apparent than the cognac, contrary to the aroma.
FEEL: thick, juicy, fruity. Late fizz.

As is my relationship with many barleywines, comfort grows with time and rising temperature. Settling in nicely.....halftime @ cops America semi-final: Argentina 2, USA 0.


Jun 22, 2016
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Damian from Massachusetts

4.56/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Drank from a 1 pint 6 fl. oz. bottle purchased at Berman's Wines & Spirits, Lexington, MA
Bottled on 05/12/15
Served in a snifter

The beer poured a murky, dark caramel color. A small, frothy, light tan cap topped the liquid but it quickly fell to a thin collar and swirls atop to the liquid. Spotty lacing trickled down the glass. As the beer sat, the chill haze dropped and the body turned clear.

The aroma was amazing. Fragrant toffee and caramel notes dominated. Really rich, sweet and robust. Cognac came through big time. Lots of brown sugar as well. Subtle maple notes were detectible. There was an intense dried fruit quality. Raisins and prunes were noticeable. Bit of sweet grape must too.

Caramel and toffee notes also came through strong in the flavor. Super malty and fairly sweet. Quite boozy but not overly hot. Not sure I would have necessarily picked out the Cognac barrels, but I might have guessed bourbon or some type of a dark spirit. Raisins and brown sugar were also apparent. Somewhat nutty. Boozy notes appeared again in the finish.

The mouthfeel was medium bodied for the style and contained a fine zippy effervescence. Frothy and fluffy on the palate. Not quite as viscous or as sticky as your average English style barleywine but still solid.

Pierre Ferrand Billionaire is a fantastically fragrant, super rich and sweet yet surprisingly drinkable barkeywine. The Cognac barrels gave the nose some really interesting characteristics and rounded out what might have been an overly sharp and boozy beer. I find Clown Shoes's barrel-aged offerings to be a bit hit or miss, but this was definitely pretty amazing. If you can get your hands on a bottle or two, I could imagine this improving even more with age.

Jun 19, 2016
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Rcaros from Texas

4.06/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 5/20/2015
Appearance : pinky finger of off white head, super hazy, dark amber color looked like honey, a little carbonation coming off the glass

Nose: plums, apricots, small hint of caramel. . As it warmed more caramel amd honey and wet paper (bought off the shelf with a year on it)

Taste : a lot of oak, definitely get the cognac/brandy (it's delicious). Alcohol is not present. .
As it warmed more ripe plums and more caramel

Mouth feel: very viscous and good mouth coating

Overall : very well made beer, good barreling, very nice drinkability.. awesome.

Jun 13, 2016
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neurobot01 from California

4.32/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle dated 5/20/15 (exactly one year ago) into a snifter at cellar temp.

Look: pours a ruddy brown like caramelized sugar, with a small light tan head that dissipates quickly.

Smell: sharp alcohol, jammy grape, something almost reminiscent of chili peppers. A bit weird.

Taste: initial taste is just super rounded jammy wonder. Vanilla, nutmeg, figs, dates, concord grape jam, red wine, spirits... this is a complex beer for sure. A little bit harsh, bitter, and discordant.

Feel: pretty thick but not overly syrupy, minimal (but stylistically appropriate) carbonation.

Overall: I loved the first iteration of Billionaire, which was the first 100% cognac- or brandy-barreled beer I tried. This one has flashes of brilliance, but is just a bit muddled and harsh in the taste, which keeps it from challenging something like Old Stock Brandy. Quite good nonetheless.

May 20, 2016
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SHODriver from North Carolina

4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Poured into a snifter to a deep brown that's nearly black topped by a dnese two finger tan head that fades to a collar around the edge of the glass with minimal lacing
S: Smells of caramel, toffee, dark fruits, and some congac notes.
T: Taste is caramel and toffee, some dark fruits like plums, a little vinous and some congac notes from the barrel. A little toasted malt at times as well. Swallow is brown sugar, toffee, and bread pudding with some lingering congac
M: Fairly full in the mouth with soft but adequate carbonation and a dry finish
O: This is a very good beer with some nice and complex flavors. The congac barrels put a nice spin on things too. Definitely one to try if you can find it.

May 07, 2016
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bluejacket74 from Ohio

4.24/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22 ounce bottle, bottled on 05/20/15. Served in a snifter, the beer pours a brownish/red color with about an inch tan head. Head retention and lacing are both good. Aroma is nice, the brew smells like dark fruit, brown sugar, toffee, and some booziness. I like the taste too, there's dark fruit, toffee, brown sugar, nutty, earthy/woodiness, bready malt and sweet boozy flavors. Mouthfeel/body is medium/full, it's a bit slick with low/moderate carbonation. I thought this was a good overall brew, I wish I would have drank it sooner but the age hasn't hurt it from what I can tell. Definitely worth picking up a bottle!

Apr 30, 2016
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kemoarps from Washington

3.99/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Rich clean dark cherry red. Much more rosy than I expected. Cool! Like dark cranberry juice or a garnet (but not a Garnett). Turns a brownish red at the edges like old blood. Little to no head. Sure there's a halo at the edges, but that's about it.

Nose has booze and dark fruits. Sharp tart cherry and maybe some sherry?

Yeah there's definitely some sherry to it. Huh. I mean, it IS listed as an English style BW, and I always associate sherry with England for some reason? There's a little bit of booze soaked raisins and some fig perhaps and caramel. Leather/tobacco on the back end as it warms.
And wow so smoothe. Seriously makes my tongue feel like it's swaddled in expensive fur coats and silks. Not just as a joke on the 'billionaire' namesake either, like it's incredibly rich and smoothe and soft on the tongue. There's certainly some heat to it as well, but not overbearing.
Growing on me as it warms and the extremes become less pronounced and some of the subtlety and nuance and smoothe transitions are better promoted. Hoo man that 12% will sneak up on you!

Apr 14, 2016
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Myotus from Texas

4.32/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured at 52°F from a 22oz bottle (bottled 12May15) into a snifter. Consumed on 07Mar16.
LOOK: Pours with two fingers worth of khaki foam that dissipates into a quarters worth of foam within 1 minute and 45 seconds. A moderate amount of thick lacing is left behind from the head dissipation. Brown in color with an extreme amount of cloudiness. Rising bubbles are very subtle in quantity and both small and very small in size. Lacing is moderate in quantity and thick.
SMELL: Strong aromas of tree nuts, toffee, vanilla, and caramel entangle with mild leather, plum, fig, and sweet cognac aromas. Subtle oak and hints of spicy and earthy hops can also be smelt. For being 12% alcohol, I can't smell a single drop.
TASTE: The first sip is undeniably sweet with strong toffee, caramel, fig, plum, and vanilla flavors bombarding the palate. Mild sweet and boozy cognac flavors immediately follow the initial flavors. Mild tree nut flavors along with subtle oak, earthy hop, spicy hop, and leather flavors enter lastly as all previous flavors persist.
FEEL: Full-bodied with hints of carbonation (I have forgotten how wonderful that feels). Goes down incredibly smooth and creamy. Finishes with a pleasant and mild dryness.
OVERALL RATING: 4.32 out of 5.

Mar 08, 2016
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Morey from Pennsylvania

4.19/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Really enjoyed the malt bill on this (lots of caramel & toffee notes). If it had just a bit more cognac, this thing would be approaching world class IMO.

Mar 04, 2016
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ajm5108 from Pennsylvania

3.62/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Pours a deep copper with strong foam head, retention is moderate but it thins out after a few minutes. Aroma has tons of sweet caramel malt, a big oak presence with notes of vanila and definitely some of the cognac (which to me has always been a peach & tannins trip). Taste was actually a little soft to me, especially after such a powerful aroma. The barleywine base notes are bland and anonymous, and while the cognac aging is unique I can't say it coaxed a ton of flavor from it. The oak, which brought a warm vanilla on the nose, is a little too sandalwood on the tongue, and the cognac itself (it always being a sweeter distillation to me) doesn't blend well with the base beer. It isn't bad by any stretch, just is rather mediocre because the sweeter cognac notes (dried pear,apple, peach) don't impart well with the barleywine.

Mar 04, 2016
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ManapuaMan from Massachusetts

3.78/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

That feeling you get when maybe the bottle you drank isn't representative of the beer - it's all over me right now. Didn't pick up much of any cognac in the nose or taste - more of a heavy barley, malt, earthen profile with a sweet, slightly overripe fruit undertone. Picked it up in January and it was bottled in May so maybe it was worn down. I'll give it another go this year.

Feb 22, 2016
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tekstr1der from New Hampshire

4.26/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Ruddy brown pour with minimal head. Aroma is heavy alcohol, thick malty goodness, and a hint of port. The port becomes more pronounced in the flavor, with sweetness and booze dominating. Very smooth, but a sweet burn of an aftertaste.

Jan 24, 2016
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Ozzylizard from Pennsylvania

4.24/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Unable to locate purchase records
Bomber bottled on 05/12/15 at 42 degrees into hand washed and dried JK snifter, allowed to warm to 50 degrees
Aroma of caramel
Head small (< 2 cm, aggressive pour), off white/light tan, frothy, rapidly diminishing to partial one mm ring with some short, stumpy legs, no layer
Lacing - none
Body brown, chill haze, slight effervescence
Flavor of caramel balanced by alcohol, slight diacetyl; no hops; followed by definite alcohol stomach burn
Palate full, almost creamy, soft carbonation

Appearance 4, Aroma 4.25, Flavor 4.25, Palate 4.25, Overall 4.25

Jan 17, 2016
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Chcshammonde from California

3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

One of the few CS dissapointments Ive had. This was a decent beer, but I detected absolutely zero cognac barrel. It was a nice, rich and malty barleywine, very much on the sweet side. Lots of toffee going on. Had I not split it 4 ways, there is no way I would have finished it.

Jan 09, 2016
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zac16125 from South Carolina

4.37/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle into a snifter
bottled on: 5/12/15

Thanks to the super generous tchipharveyslake for sending this one over as an extra in a trade!

A: Dark mahogany with some amber hues when held to light, greater than 1 fingers width of dense appearing tan colored head hands around for a long time before dissipating down and leaves lots of lacing. 4.5

S: Quite sweet, lots of caramel and toffee, fruity notes a bit of apple, some cognac notes, and it has an apple brandy-isn aroma to it, subtle boozy notes to round things out. 4.25

T: Bitterness upfront, and a big very nice sweet cognac notes on the finish. I also get caramel/toffee, green apple, oak, subtle herbaceous characters, and boozy notes. Quite excellent. 4.5

M/D: Full bodied, carbonation on the higher end for the style, ABV well masked, very good drinkability. 4.25

O: This beer is really, really, good. I liked regular Billionaire, but this is notably better in my opinion. Well done brew. Thanks tchip for sending my way! 4.25

Jan 06, 2016
Pierre Ferrand Billionaire from Clown Shoes
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 319 ratings