Clown Shoes

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Barleywine - English
4.15 | pDev: 4.34%
Clown Shoes
Massachusetts, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Notes: There are millionaires. Ho, hum. There are billionaires. Yeah? So? And then there's a new breed: 'Nillionaires. A 'Nillion dollars can be earned by being totally committed to the flavor of vanilla, as well by owning powers of super coolness. The base of the brew is Billionaire, which we aged in Rum barrels with Tahitian vanilla beans. We raise our cup to each of you as you search for your 'nillions. Godspeed, dear friends.
Reviews: 19 | Ratings: 47 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of clayrock81
clayrock81 from Florida

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

Poured a ruby-tinted brown with minimal head and lace down ring. Hints of caramel/toffee sweetness in the aroma, but mostly a black cherry/dark fruit boozy aroma with some wood and vanilla. Bready, woody, malty, a fruity port-wine like taste with some vanilla sweetness but mostly a malty, thick, boozy beer. Finishes a little hot and boozy with a sweet edge.

Oct 11, 2019
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Avitra from Switzerland

3.82/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Has a true sweet complexity with cloves, cinnamon. This is a truly "spicy" beer, albeit with no signs detected for malt or hops. Still a very good winter beverage.

Oct 04, 2019
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jlindros from Massachusetts

4.36/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottles 2/02/18
Pours a tan small but dense head with good retention and lacing, hazy auburn chestnut color

Nose big vanilla and bourbon, sweet candy malt, little toasted with big caramel, toffee, brown sugar, vanilla barrel and raw vanilla bean, light vinous oxidation and fig like dark fruits

Taste big bourbon out front, also big vanilla some from barrel and some raw vanilla, earthy vanilla, med spicy hops with mild bitterness, malts bring sweetness with big toasted caramel toffee, juicy sweet malt, mild dark fruits fig date candied apple, light alcohol but not fusel, smooth warming and light vinous oxidation, light drier finish with spicier hops and bitterness, not sticky, light warming alcohol

Mouth is medium to fuller bod, light warming smooth alcohol, medium light carb but fits

Overall very nice barrel aged barleywine, great malt character, smooth alcohol, nice bourbon and barrel, good vanilla, good aging, well done, hops get a touch too spicy and clash a little, but I'm nitpicking

Jul 07, 2019
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PicoPapa from Connecticut

4.06/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

22oz bottle with a Bottled On date of 02/08/18. Pours a murky, muddy brown color with almost no head. Malty aroma of caramel, dark fruits, brown sugar, nuts, vanilla and rum. The taste is more of that malty goodness. Earth, caramel, brown sugar, figs and prunes. The vanilla is more on the subtle side but the rum barrel comes through more as it warms. Medium body with very little carbonation. Good deal of alcohol heat.

May 25, 2019
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bl00 from Pennsylvania

4.27/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours murky, coppery brown. Faint coating of foam, no head. Nose is orange, molasses, wood, faint vanilla and campfire notes. Taste is orange, dark fruit, some vanilla. Finish is fruity and bitter, lingers. Mouthfeel is leaning towards thick, but not quite there. Overall really liking this, it showcases some different dimensions that barleywine can have. Thanks again Brian! Really digging this one.

Sep 24, 2018
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Treyliff from West Virginia

4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle poured into a snifter

A- pours a ruby-brown color with a one-finger foamy off-white head that has good retention after the pour

S- sweet and malty caramel notes up front with notes of coconut, reminiscent of a somoa cookie. The rum barrel seems to enhance the vanilla addition. Undertones of tobacco, brown sugar and dark bread

T- caramel and vanilla lead the way up front, followed by notes of toffee, brown sugar, dark fruits & tobacco. The finish brings out the rum barrel adding notes of wood and enhancing the sweetness. The linger gives more vanilla and caramel

M- medium-light body with moderate carbonation leads to a slightly foamy mouthfeel and finish

O- the vanilla really comes through with this version, perhaps the rum barrel addition helps enhance the sweetness

Sep 15, 2018
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hoptheology from South Dakota

3.88/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Nice burnt orange color from the 22 oz bottle into my snifter. Creamy fingernail of head with bubbly lace on top.

Vanilla and hot boozy barrel, not particularly rum, but just a boozy presence. Slight piney hop presence, some caramel.

Flavor is hot boozy barrel meeting vanilla and pine with slight caramel. Slight roast barley in there probably to help with color but it comes through in the flavor as well. It's mostly vanilla cardboard mixed with boozy barrel and pine.

Feel is somewhat thin but still retains a quasi-creaminess. Hot alcohol on the finish.

Overall, I could have gone for more sweetness. I definitely wouldn't buy it again. It's okay, nothing special.

Aug 09, 2018
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Beersnake1 from California

4.21/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from just under fridge temp. Pours a nice golden yellow with a darker tinge. Head was quite aggressive. Nose immediately reminds me of the big BA barleywines, including previous renditions from Clown Shoes. Tons of toffee, candy, vanilla, figs, and blackberries. A hint of maple and brown sugar as well. Taste is really good. Definitely let this one warm up! A slight bitterness is there, but the sweetness takes over. Toffee, rum, brown sugar, and dark fruit. A step below Billionaire, and the body is a tad thin. Mouthfeel is nice, but again a tad thin. Overall, a fantastic BA barleywine.

May 13, 2018
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stephens101 from Oklahoma

4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark brown with crimson hues and a bubbly tan froth.

Has a deep aroma consisting of caramel, maraschino cherries, rum and various dark fruits.

Tastes of brown sugar, plum, pine and a coating of vanilla at the end. A hint of rum is noticed later on.

Medium in body and smooth all the way to the end. A slight alcohol heat exists in the finish.

A classic style upgraded. A drinker would have to try hard to find major fault with this one.

Apr 26, 2018
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Fordcoyote15 from Kentucky

4.19/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Lacks much aroma, drinks on the bitter end for a English barley wine but still sweeter than an American. Rum is anything but in your face, if anything it tastes aged on virgin oak.

Apr 09, 2018
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darktronica from Indiana

4.13/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours amber from the bomber, dated February 2018, producing a full finger of head with moderate retention and lacing. I've done a side-by-side tasting of all the previous *illionaire variants, which vary according to the barrels used for ageing, but the vanilla and rum produces a different animal altogether. Tasted blind and without any context, I don't think I would have pegged this as a Clown Shoes beer, as the base I'm very familiar with plays third fiddle to the barrel and the vanilla; it also has a slight chalkiness in the mouthfeel that is uncommon in their beers. The [totally speculative] impression I get is of a younger, white rum, which is surprising given Clown Shoes' profligacy with barrels in the past. The vanilla is prominent on the palate but less so on the nose, which has a bright, floral, almost riesling-like sweetness. Quite a different result than I was expecting, but still quite a tasty one.

Apr 07, 2018
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BeerForMuscle from New Jersey

4.14/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pouring a deep ruby, amber color. Excellent head, not great retention, but nice lacing. Smells malty and sweet. I'd say this ranks between an English Barleywine and an American Barleywine in terms of the balance of sweetness and hops, which is nice. Good ABV but blended in smoothly. Definitely vanilla and barrel in the flavor profile. Overall a balanced and enjoyable brew.

Mar 20, 2018
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superspak from Ohio

4.28/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled on 2/6/2018. Pours slightly hazy deep ruby red/copper color with a 1-2 finger dense and rocky light khaki head with awesome retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lasts. Thick soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Fantastic appearance. Aromas of big vanilla, cream, caramel, brown sugar, toffee, raisin, plum, cherry, fig, apricot, apple, rum, toasted oak, and brown bread; with light notes of roast, coconut, butterscotch, herbal, pepper, pine, and yeast/oak/toasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of vanilla, dark/bready malts, fruity yeast, and rum barrel notes; with great strength. Taste of huge vanilla, cream, caramel, brown sugar, toffee, raisin, plum, cherry, fig, apricot, apple, rum, toasted oak, and brown bread; with light notes of roast, coconut, butterscotch, herbal, pepper, pine, and yeast/oak/toasted earthiness. Mild pine/herbal bitterness and rum/oak tannin spiciness on the finish. Lingering notes of vanilla, cream, caramel, brown sugar, toffee, raisin, plum, cherry, fig, apricot, apple, rum, toasted oak, brown bread, coconut, butterscotch, light pepper/pine, and yeast/oak/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity, robustness, and balance of vanilla, dark/bready malts, fruity yeast, and rum barrel flavors; with a nice malt/bitterness and rum/oak spiciness balance; with zero cloying/astringent flavors after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and fairly full body; with a very smooth, creamy, silky, velvety, and rich mouthfeel that is fantastic. Slight sticky hops, oak tannins, and increasing dryness. Mildly increasing warmth of 11%, with zero barrel booziness lingering after the finish. Overall this is an fantastic barrel aged English barelywine! All around outstanding complexity, robustness, and balance of vanilla, dark/bready malts, fruity yeast, and rum barrel flavors; very smooth and dangerously easy to sip on for the big ABV. Perfectly balanced vanilla, malts, fruity yeast, and rum barrels. Never overwhelming on any aspect. Vanilla fits in perfectly with the barrel characteristics as expected. A highly enjoyable offering, and spot on style example.

Mar 17, 2018
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Roguer from Georgia

4.32/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours a gorgeous, transparent deep garnet hue. Head production is solid, with about 1 finger of beige foam. Good retention, especially for the style and ABV.

Rich vanilla and malt tones emerge from the pour. Up front, earthy hops, caramel grains, and brown sugar are prominent, with the vanilla coming close behind. The rum is present but not over the top, and integrates well into the malt base.

Very smooth on the palate, with a present but restrained sweetness. Flavor comes in waves, with malt leading the way (brown sugar and caramel grains), followed by rum and vanilla. That, in turn, is followed by a hoppy bitterness - pine, earthy tones, and tons of oak. Finally, vanilla returns as a final, semi-sweet kiss.

Easy drinking and smooth; big but not burdensome; lively but with little sting, really allowing you to savor the sip. Relatively long wet finish after some initial alcohol effervescence.

Mar 16, 2018
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jzeilinger from Pennsylvania

4.1/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Many thanks to SawDog505 for this bottle!

A - Orange burgundy colored pour, tan/cream colored creamy head.

S - Toasty toffee, rum, vanilla, wood/oak, and some alcohol presence.

T - Rum, vanilla, light spiciness, toasted/roasted toffee, boozy, light acidity, light pine bitterness.

M - Big and thick, silky and slightly frothy around the edges, and very dry on the back of the tongue from the alcohol.

O - Not a fan of Rum barrel aged beers but this is a good one.

Mar 10, 2018
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Brutaltruth from Ohio

4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thoroughly enjoyed this little beast from the 22 oz bomber in a snifter.
This mighty fine barley wine pours a bright medium dark mahogany with
ruby highlights and a fantastic head of light khaki foam that settles to a
thick ring, thick layer, and showcases some nice sudsy lacing. Nose of
butterscotch, rum, vanilla, raisin bread, subtle herbal spice, and a hint of
cinnamon. Flavors follow the nose with light exceptions; butterscotch and cola
mingle with vanilla and rum (of the spiced variety) giving way to a light cinnamon
and brown sugar wave that is given balance from herbal hops that are just right.
Warmth brings forth notes of cherries and figs with touches of pepper corns.
Excellent mouth feel; medium body, medium carbonation that is lively and
searing for the warmth of this beast, and a rich sweet finish that is complex
and lightly spicy.

A winner and a brew I wish would be done again---this is a lovely finisher
to a great evening or a great start to a good night.


Mar 09, 2018
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russpowell from Arkansas

3.95/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a super-effervescent chestnut with with a pinky of tan head. Above average head retention & lacing

S: Oak, vanilla

T: Figs, vanilla, raw rum & dry oakyness up front. More oaky dryness, a litle rum & cola, some vanilla too as this warms. Finishes oaky dry with smoother Rum qualities, more vanilla & a little butterscotch

MF: Medium body, slight carbonation, warming

An interesting take on the style, rough edges keep it from being great, but almost there

Mar 09, 2018
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lordofthewiens from New Mexico

4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

In my teku, the beer is a pretty garnet color with just a film of light tan head.
Strong aroma of vanilla, followed by dark fruit, caramel, and booze.
Vanilla taste to begin with, then caramel and toffee, raisin, and rum.
Medium-bodied, smooth and refined (it is an English barleywine after all).

Mar 04, 2018
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SawDog505 from New Hampshire

4.27/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a 16 oz Chimay goblet, bottled 2/06/18 I believe. Pours a very attractive mahogany with with a 2 finger tan head that leaves bubbly lace all over the sides of the glass.

Smell is dates, vanilla bean, toffee, caramel, biscuit, and oaked bourbon.

Taste follows dark fruit, brown sugar, caramel, biscuit, toffee, vanilla, and a nice shot of bourbon.

Mouthfeel is almost large, mild carbonation, a touch dry, and actually drinks fairly easy at 11% ABV.

Overall this is another very tasty BA beer from Clown Shoes, the vanilla really spruces it up for me. Tasty stuff!

Feb 24, 2018
'Nillionaire from Clown Shoes
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 47 ratings