Bluegrass Billionaire
Clown Shoes

Bluegrass BillionaireBluegrass Billionaire
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English Barleywine
4.17 | pDev: 6.24%
Clown Shoes
Massachusetts, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Bluegrass BillionaireBluegrass Billionaire
Notes: ABV varies by batch
Reviews: 79 | Ratings: 236 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of hardy008
4.16/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours reddish brown with a one finger khaki head which settles down quickly to 1/4 finger. Nice smell of Bourbon, caramel, toffee, and brown sugar. I wish more breweries produced an English Barleywine. How many NE IPAs do we need? Tastes like it smells. sweet up front with a little bitterness at the back end. Medium to full bodied with modest carbonation. a real pleasure to drink. Too bad it is retired. I found this in the back of a refrigerator that normally does mot have beer in it. A very nice find!

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Photo of MonDak_Joe1953
4.18/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle. Bottling date is stamped as '05/13/16'.
Ruby brown colored body. Light tan, bubbly head, from about one thin finger width to a thin cap. Big patterns of lacing left behind.
Aroma of toasted malts, caramel, dark fruit, vanilla, and oak barrel.
Taste is sweet, with toasted malts, caramel, dark fruit, vanilla, and bourbon oak barrel. The bourbon is there but mellow.
Mouth feel is medium high. Texture is silky smooth and soft. Very good carbonation.
The beer finished slightly bitter with dryness. Very good to style with the extra touch of the bourbon barrel. Hides the ABV% well. Provides a drinking experience with excellent taste and so smooth in the mouth.

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Photo of SHODriver
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Poured into a snifter to a deep reddish brown topped by a dense finger and a half of rocky light tan head which fades slowly to a collar around the edge of the glass with minimal lacing.
S: Smells of rich maltyness with some dark fruits, toasted bread, caramel, vanilla, and oak from the barrels.
T: Taste is caramel and toffee up front with some dark fruits, oak and vanilla. Almost a raisin like flavor at times but not quite. On the swallow this one is a little hot with oak, caramel, and vanilla from the barrels, brown sugar, stewed fruits, and lingering sugar sweetness.
M: This beer has a fairly full body with a slightly syrupy feel on the palate. Carbonation is apparent and adequate without being overbearing for the style while the beer has a drying finish.
O: Overall I think this is a pretty solid interpretation for this beer with some nice additions from the barrel. This one may benefit from a little more time but it's drinking well. The beer has some really nice flavors and a good amount of complexity but it does drink a little hot at times.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
3.53/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

$ 14.65 (Including tax and discount)/22 oz bottle ($0.666/oz) from Spec’s # 100, DeZavala, San Antonio, TX. Reviewed 1/22/19.
“Bottled On 04/26/16” in green ink on shoulder. On shelf at distributor. Stored at 42 degrees and served at 57 degrees in a hand washed and dried Jester King snifter.
Appearance – 4.
Body – Amber, hazy. When held to the light, very hazy with some faint penetration through the thickest portion.
Head – Small (Maximum 2.2 cm, controlled center pour), tan, fizzy, short duration, diminishing to a one mm ring and thin partial layer.
Lacing – None. As expected for a 12.5% ABV BBA brew.
First pour – Amber, clear.
Aroma – 3.5 - Initially caramel with a fruity finish. Fades to nearly nothing.
Flavor – 3.5 - Begins with a caramel and toffee flavor and ends with just a hint of over-ripe apples and bitterness. No bourbon, no barrel, no alcohol (12.5% ABV), no diacetyl, no dimethylsulfide.
Palate – 3.5 – Full, almost syrupy, soft carbonation.
Impression and interpretation – 3.5 – A slightly above average take on a British barley wine with any bourbon barrel characteristics too well blended to be undetectable. The hoppy happy ending is weak and could easily be overlooked since the slight sour fruitiness tends to overshadow it. Perhaps aging on a fluorescent-lit store shelf has had a detrimental effect.

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Photo of TreyIsWilson
4.2/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A - Poura a murky dark amber with a one finger off white head.

S - Aroma is raisIn, toffee, brown sugar, vanilla and bourbon.

T - The taste follows the aroma. Toffee, brown sugar, vanilla, raisins, plums, bourbon and oak.

M - Medium body with medium carbonation. Creamy mouthfeel with a crisp dry finish.

O - Great BBA Barleywine. Very smooth with a nice depth of flavor.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought On-Line

22 oz. Bomber
Bottled On: 05/03/16

Poured into a goblet a pretty nice cloudy amberish color, very nice carbonation, with a pretty nice small/quick creamy light tan head, which leaves a really big island/oil slick, with some nice sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, hoppy, with some citrus, bourbon, oaky, some dark fruits, vanilla. The taste is really nice, malty, hoppy, slight citrus, with some dark fruits, nice vanilla sweetness, with a very nice touch of bourbon/oak. Full Body, ABV is hidden very well, nice complexity to this brew, with a nice little dry/bitter finish. Overall, this one is really surprising me, very tasty.

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Photo of jopezu
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours an uneven, murky, ruddy caramel with sparse soapy bubbles for a head. nose; immediately vinous - oak, vanilla, ethanol, toffee, & light brown sugar. taste; very light caramel malt, sweet bourbon, toffee, vanilla, dry rye, oak, brown sugar, light dates, & mellowed citrus hops. respectable ethanol heat on the end, but for almost 13%, it's managed well. low carbonation & surprisingly thin mouthfeel (low malt?). a big "whiskey" sipper that stays interesting and is well-balanced.

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Photo of thebeers
3.7/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazed, but still partially clear, light ruddy amber-brown color with a thin, soupy tan head that's quick to dissipate, leaving bubbly suds around the edges.

Bourbony vanilla, caramel, raisin and earthy hops in the nose.

Strongly sweet vanilla flavors stand out up front in the taste, like a bourbon bread pudding or some other dessert. There's also some dark fruit mid-palate, some faint rye-like spiciness and an odd bitterness-and-alcohol mix in the finish. The bitter aftertaste seems disjointed from the overall sweetness of the beer at first, but unsurprisingly, integrates a little better as the high-ABV bomber progresses. Still, it's my least favorite part of the experience.

It's got a medium-bodied, somewhat creamy mouthfeel.

This is perfectly enjoyable, but not all that much above average for a BBA barleywine these days.

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Photo of BWood
4.02/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Nice beer from clown shoes. Looks like a typical barley wine. Sweet malt, bourbon, maybe some brown sugar. Taste is good. Barrel is there but not overpowering. Great job at a barley wine. Not as good as sucaba though

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Photo of Dragginballs76
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - Pours cloudy plum color with a tan head that has really good retention. Spotty lacing around the glass.

Aroma - There is lots of caramel and toffee mildly sweet. There is also a good amount of oak and just a kiss of bourbon

Taste - Wow really good flavors very similar to the aroma. There seems to be less caramel and toffee although they are there and more plum and raisin. The bourbon and oak are also more pronounced.

Feel - Very smooth, nice warmth from the bourbon .

Overall - I really like this, just amazing flavors and so smooth.

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Photo of gibgink
4.77/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottle shared at CBC Como with the crew. Bottled 4-16. Pours a clear brownish amber. Smells of sweet honey on the nose, I could sniff on this one all day. Honey and toffee sweetness on the palate, and this thing finishes so damn smooth. An absolute treat.

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Photo of stortore
4.21/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22 ounce bottle into a tulip snifter. Bottled 5/2/16, had 11/18/16.

Pours an amber color, cloudy, with a half inch head and little lacing. The smell is malt, bourbon, plums, light cherries, figs, dates, raisins, toffee. Smells pretty good. The taste also leads with the malt, then caramel, figs, dates, bourbon, plums, raisins, some oak, some grapes. A light amount of hop bitterness throughout, some alcohol as it warms. Mostly smooth. solid, full body, well carbonated.

This just gets better and better as it warms. Great job of barrel aging, not overwhelming, but adding lots of flavor. Good overall flavor and aroma. Well worth a purchase if it comes around again.

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Photo of StoutHunter
4/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked up a bottle of Clown Shoes Bluegrass Billionaire for $14,99 at Cork N Ale. I've had the brandy barrel aged version of this beer and I'm interested to see how the bourbon barrel version turns out, so lets see how it goes. 2015 or 2016 Vintage, it's not fully known which one this is. Poured from a 22oz bottle into a snifter.

A- The label looks good, it's goes great with the name and it's eye catching. It poured a nice ruby brown color that took on more of a mahogany color when held to the light with a fingers worth of creamy tan head that died down to a thin ring that eventually faded away and it left some really small spotty lacing behind. This is a good looking beer, I have no complaints.

S- The aroma starts off with a lower amount of high sweetness with the malts being the first to show up and they impart a nice caramel, caramel malt, brown bread, bread crust, sweet malt, a little bit cocoa and light butterscotch aromas and it's followed by the dark fruits which impart some nice dark fruit aromas with no single fruit sticking out the most. Up next comes the bourbon barrels which are on the lighter side and they impart more of an oaky aroma with a little bit of vanilla. This beer has a good aroma, it's well balanced and no single aspect stick out too much.

T- The taste seems to be very similar to the aroma and it starts off with a lower amount of high sweetness with the malts being the first to show up and they impart all the same aspects that they did in the aroma with a little bit of grainy aspect this time and it's followed by the alcohol which is noticeable and little warming. Up next comes the dark fruits which show up more than they did in the aroma and they impart some nice dark fruit flavors with just a little bit of a herbal tea flavor. Towards the end comes the bourbon barrels which are on the lighter side and they impart that same oaky aspect that they did in the aroma. On The finish there's just a little bit of bitterness with some sweetness taking it's place and it had malty, dark fruit and light bourbon barrel like aftertaste. This is a good tasting beer, but I wish the bourbon barrels showed up more.

M- Fairly smooth, a little warming, slightly boozy, not too crisp, a little sticky, on the lighter side of being full bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. The mouthfeel is good and it works well with this beer.

Overall I thought this was a good beer and good example of the style, but I was hoping the bourbon barrels would be showcased more and as it stands now I enjoy the Brandy barrel aged version more. This beer had nice drinkability, one glass is a good amount for me, but I think I could take out the whole bottle. What I like the most about this beer is nothing, I didn't think any aspect stood out a being better than the others. What I like the least about this beer is the bourbon barrel aspects, I wish it was bolder and more noticeable to help it live up to it's name more. I would like to try this beer again when I know for sure it's fresh and I would recommend giving it a try also. All in all I liked this beer, but i didn't love it and after having the brandy barrel aged version I was disappointed that the bourbon barrels just weren't on the same level. It's not a favorite Clown Shoes beer and it's a good example of the style. Good job guys, but a little more bourbon barrlel flavors would make it even better.

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Photo of tbryan5
4.34/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Another great barrel aged clown shoes beer. The malt and barrel character and booze all meld together to make this one a nighttime sipper. And it being readily available makes me like it even more. Would buy again.

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Photo of ThaneMcC
4.65/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The best combination of barleywine and bourbon – another Clown Shoes classic.
Pours a murky brown/amber with scan off white head. Smells strongly of vanilla, oak, honey and woody, barrel notes, caramel.
Taste is sweet malts forward, honey, caramel, bourbon notes with some floral and berry notes. Lingering wood notes and bourbon through end note and fairly clean finish.
Mouthfeel is somewhat syrupy, medium bodied, heavy bourbon notes throughout, honey barleywine and lingering bourbon finish.
Overall, the bourbon barrel adds a tasty contrast to the barleywine. Another deliciously complex Clown Shoes Beer – I wish it came in four packs – the high ABV sneaks up on you. . . this makes a great aperitif or desert beer – or something to accompany a cigar around a campfire.

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Photo of Chcshammonde
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Loads better than Pierre Ferrand Billionaire, which was a letdown. This one had good malt backbone, nougat, caramel, great bourbon burn throughout. Enjoyed with my co workers. Would buy again.

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Photo of Treyliff
4.19/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle poured into a snifter

A- pours a deep Amber color with a foamy off-white head, shirt retention

S- smells of caramel/toffee, brown bread, plenty of barrel notes, oak & vanilla. A bit of fruitiness as well

T- sweet caramel and bourbon up front, berry-like fruitiness mid-palate, more caramel and bourbon on the finish

M- medium body and carbonation, creamy mouthfeel and finish

O- plenty of Barrel character throughout, nice sweet caramel

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Photo of Immortale25
4.29/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a teku pint. Bottleneck says Bottled On 05/02/16.

A- Pours a medium brown color with a 1/2 inch light tan head that retains decently before becoming a thick ring around the edge of the glass and a half sheet of sheer surface foam. Resilient lacing leaves a broken ring behind.

S- Booze, oak, brown sugar, vanilla and a hint of milk chocolate.

T- Solid dose of bourbony vanilla sweetness plus some toasty malt and oak. The ABV is insanely well-hidden in this as there's so much balance between the barrel and the base beer that I can sip and sip and feel so little on my palate while feeling a significant burn in my gut. Woody aftertaste. There's also a bit of a hop bite which rounds things out nicely.

M- A bit of slickness but not as creamy as I had hoped. Medium carbonation and a body leaning toward the fuller side.

O- Not a ton of complexity here, but the remarkable way that the beer keeps the alcohol in check is enough to gain recommendation from me.

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Photo of brureview
4.43/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a copper-red color with a 1F head in a Stone snifter.

Brew date 4/16.

Initial serving temp 55°F 13°C

Aroma wafts before I put my nose to the glass: deep oak, cherry.
MF is very smooth and balanced. Almost silky.

Taste: wonderful and complex: cherry, deep oak, sweet, vanilla, chocolate. Balanced complexity.

Finish: oak, cherry, with a sharp bitterness.

Great beer. One of my favorite styles. Deep complexity paired with balance. That's the Clown Shoes signature.

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Photo of jlindros
4.52/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 4/28/16, a little age

Pours a decent fizzy bubbly head that fades quickly, hazy dark maroon mahogany color

Nose brings tons of bourbon, barrel juice, toasted dusty oak and vanilla, dark fruits like fig and brandy soaked raisin, little toasted cereal grain, candy little syrup, brown sugar and candi sugar, toffee

Taste brings sweet candy, thick rich candy syrup, candi sugar and brown sugar, more candied fig, brandied raisin and date, a hint of warming booze, little chewy caramel, a touch of baking spice, into big bourbon again, barrel juice and sweet candy bourbon, touch vanilla and nougat. Finish a little sticky, little bitterness, little booze warmth, more candy and bourbon lingering

Mouth is fuller thicker chewy like, little warming booze, decent carb

Overall pretty nice, loads of bourbon, sweet flavors without being too sweet, fruits, spices etc, Very nice beer and need to age a couple.

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Photo of Roguer
3.81/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Dark garnet-hued brown beer, clear at the edges, topped with a beige head of decent size and good retention. Very nice flat wide lines of lacing.

Big, strong, sweet aroma, where it's tough to tell where the sweetness of the malt ends and the bourbon begins. Tons of caramel and brown sugar, coconut, vanilla, prunes, oak, and tannins. The alcohol is noticeable but not overpowering.

Thinner in both flavor and feel than the aroma indicates. Up front, it's light, dry, and grainy. About halfway, the bourbon notes assert themselves, carrying a dull oak ache along with coconut tones. There's a brown sugar/caramel finish. While this is technically a sweet beer, it's far from the sweetness I've grown to expect in big barrel aged EBWs.

A touch hot, but not bad for the ABV. Disappointingly thin.

In the Billionaire lineup, I can't help but be disappointed in this brew. This isn't to say it's bad, but rather that it isn't better - or even as good - as similar existent brews. Among BBA EBWs, Sucaba and BCBBW certainly come to mind, and this isn't quite at that level. It isn't, IMO, at the level of the original Billionaire.

This is a beer, however, that should appeal to bourbon fans. The malt base is thin and lacking, but that does allow the bourbon to shine through cleanly and clearly.

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Photo of HardTarget
3.99/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Murky brown, opaque past a thin edge. Tan foam quickly drops to a bare line around the rim but manages to lace a bit. Shows a little leg, looks thick as it swirls.

Aroma: Got a whiff at arms length, heavy sweet base is mostly toffee, a bit of buttered toast and a dark purple grape ester give some depth of character.

Taste: Rich sugary malt, boozy bourbon barrel comes through but doesn't overwhelm. Alcohol burns a bit on the back end and slowly dries out the finish.

Mouthfeel: Bit hot, heavy body, firm chew, dry finish, low carbonation.

Overall: A beast. A slow sipper to be sure. It's good but a bit over the top for my tastes, think I'll reach for a more traditional English Barleywine given the chance, but this is a fine take on the style.

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Photo of justme
4.52/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Not quite Billionaire. Not as good as Trillionaire. That said this is a great English style barelywine. Drink up if this is your style and prepare to enjoy.

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Photo of Viaduck
4.09/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Burnt orange in color, nice tan head. Smells like a bourbon barrel. Taste: bourbon barrel first, salty, sweet, vanilla & alcohol flavor. Lots of alcohol & carbonation to numb the tongue. Very good.

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Photo of VashonGuy
3.84/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance is a murky reddish brown, with minimal head. The aroma is mostly bourbon.

The taste is caramel and bourbon. And it's sweet. Really sweet. Too sweet. Now it's still pretty good, because, hey, high ABV and bourbon barrel aging, how can you go wrong? I enjoyed it quite a bit. But it lacks the subtlety and complexity of the better English barleywines. And I wish it weren't so sweet.

22 ounce undated bottle, into a snifter.

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Bluegrass Billionaire from Clown Shoes
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 236 ratings