Crunkle Sam | Clown Shoes

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Crunkle SamCrunkle Sam

Brewed by:
Clown Shoes
Massachusetts, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Jason on 05-09-2013

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Reviews: 79 | Ratings: 468
Photo of Mike_Aguirre
4.75/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Great beer, I loved it! Very expensive in Mexico but it´s worth it. Pours deep amber, almost copper with a mild white foam head. Aroma and taste are very complex and hoppy, great barleywine.

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Photo of Neorebel
4.61/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Clown Shoes Crunkle Sam... first of all, it's a clever and humorous name! Personally, I love the comic nature of the names and art direction. I'm a fan of all manner of slapstick humor. Now... the look of this beer is very idyllic. I think this very hue could be in the dictionary next to the word 'auburn.' It's as clear as a gemstone. A very desirable color... Encircling the glass is a nice khaki color head, which recedes a bit but never below 1/4 of an inch. Stubbornly clinging to the side, the head leaves some very nice lacing in its wake as it is consumed. There is a definite low level of carbonation present here, unlike some examples of the style which are for all intents and purposes, flat.

For the aroma, one might mistake this to be a super fresh Imperial IPA... the hop scents are so fresh, they bring to mind the air in springtime, juicy oranges, tropical fruits, and alpine fields. I am not sure of the finishing hop process but whatever was in the recipe produced magnificent results. I'm serious - this fragrance is ethereal! After frantically downing a quantity of this sweet beverage, I can confidently state that the flavor certainly lives up to the nose!

For a split second, my senses are sprayed with tropical fruits , then an earthy, mossy, resinous hop complexity is taken in- consider me a passionate lover of Citra hops. The malt backbone on this one is enormous - similar to raisins, eucalyptus and various herbs, and all nice and tart. The finish is intensely sharp and dry... crisp and numbing. After drinking 22 oz, at various temperatures, I am shocked that the experience is over. The perceived body and ABV is much lighter than it really is.

I don't often drink Barleywines - I've had only 6-10 different selections since I have gotten into craft beer in 2003. The best compliment I can give this brew is that it has re-invigorated my interest in the style, and bolstered my love of big beer. Ultimately, the latest from Clown Shoes defies preconceived notions of Barleywines, displaying a very complex libation that is literally a journey though potent beer sensations. Very true to Clown Shoes' style in general, this is expertly formulated and the antithesis of boring. You need this beer in your life... & Drink it fresh!

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Photo of cfaulman
4.51/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Dark orange hue with minimal white head. Smell was very intense and very good. Rich mango and pineapple followed by bitter hops and ending with sweet malt. This tasted very much like an IIPA but I feel like a lot of extremely fresh american barley wines taste this way. Notes of citrus, pine, vanilla; and very hoppy. As it warmed the barley wine character came though as the sweet malt started to balance with the hops. I really enjoyed the progression of this beer over time and would like to see how it does with some age as the hops will die down considerably.

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Photo of risendragon
4.51/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought at E & A Mart in Hudson. They don't brew this stuff anymore? Shame!

L- Brown, some amber hues, thin white head that dissipates quickly. Great lacing. (4)

S- Sweet, malty, grape notes, cherry, some roasted hints and vanilla too. (4.25)

T- First time drinking a barleywine, so I had to get used to the booze level before getting a good read on the taste. Malty, holy Lord, malty! The malts fade into a dark fruit and vanilla hailstorm with hints of lightly roasted malts as well. The hops are present, but definitely complement the beer instead of overpowering it. The hops bite on the back end. Quite damn near perfect! (4.75)

F- Smooth, easy going down despite the 11% ABV. (4.5)

O- My first foray into barleywine is a successful one! I can close my eyes and see RPG characters knocking off pints of this after a hard day of fighting dragons and demons. I am impressed. (4.5)

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Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: brilliant chestnut to garnet mahagony with a finely bubbled, lacy off white foam cap. Smell: Citrusy hoppy nose. Taste: rich, malty, some caramel, bread, cardamom to cola finishing with a big bitter hop finish balanced by the malt and alcohol. Mouthfeel: Very creamy, big and chewy, slight warming. Overall: Reminds me of a mixed drink.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.5/5  rDev +14.2%

Bottled on 6/4/14 found a 2nd to last bottle at South Hills Giant Eagle Market District...pours into a chalice with a cloudy deep muddled ruby amber body. Creamy textured tan head intricate lacing.

Dry hopped with Chinooks those are basically muted after 6 months of age in the bottle, the aroma comes of with deep pine earthy dankness, big under current of caramelized malts and bread...dark fruit a bit of sherry or cognac.

Flavor way too smooth I'm getting the last bottle to age even longer, dark chocolate in the middle over ripened fruits some apricot and raisin very juicy notes. Big earthy pine accented hops with a big creamy malt finish caramelized sugars a hint of caramel and bourbon esque finish even though this has never touched a barrel.

Mouthfeel is full bodied chewy beer this is Crunkle Sam and I'm really enjoying the beer a star of the base beers I've had from Clown Shoes...really well done to style American Barleywine I'm burping up hops and the booze is way too well hidden one could not tell this is 11% abv.

Overall, world class barleywine this would win most blind tastings out there, can't wait to grab another bottle to store away in the cellar.

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Photo of Beerlover
4.32/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a: looks dark brown but really its a very deep crimson red when held up to the light, with a half inch off white head.
s: hints of citra hops and some strong sweet maltiness
t: very rich and complex, malty sweetness in the forefront. even though its rich and complex its still pretty balanced, doesn't hang offensively in the mouth for aftertaste.
m: has an excellent mouthfeel, pretty low in carbonation compared to some other barley wines I have tried.
overall: this is one of the better barley wines I've had, although I've not had many and don't consider myself an expert on this style but this one stands up to stone's "old guardian" just not as hoppy.

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Photo of mick303
4.32/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at ACBF. This was a really tasty Barleywine, really intense, tons of strong boozy fruit, balance struck me as really interesting and quite nice. I was quite impressed with this, a very tasty Barleywine that has some assertive complex boozy fruits, plums, stonefruits, barrels. Quite nice.

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Photo of davidperez
4.3/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottled in 2014.

Served in a snifter, it pours a beautiful reddish orange of a dark hue, like a dark amber, solid and murky. It develops a one-finger head, ecru, sudsy, with low retention. Some lacing visible in the glass.
Gentle swirling reveals small streams of bubbles eager to resurface.

The bouquet is quite interesting, assertive and complex.
Fruity as in apricot, peach, overripe apple, overripe brown pear. Definitely a malt backbone, slightly toasted. Lots of caramel, brown sugar, and the alcohol is barely present in the form of a sweet liquor. Slight butterscotch.
There are also a lot of hops in this beer. Swirling the glass unveils a very clear earthy and spicy hoppiness. Notes of pine resin and citric fruits as tangerine and orange.

Now this is an strong beer.
Upfront a high carbonation, pleasant.
The flavor is one balanced intensity, very sweet, and bitter at the same time. A booze is definitely felt, mildly hot, which reminds of a spirit in flavor.
The notes follows the nose. Caramel, toasted malts, pine resin, overripe apple and pear, citrusy sweetness.
The aftertaste is long and bittersweet; yet, the sensation in your mouth after this beer is that of dryness. The hop bitterness accumulates after several sips and coats your palate, making you crave for more flavor.
Full body, very smooth, nice carbonation.

I guess two years worked out pretty good. I really liked this beer, and it sort of reminded me of the Arrogant Bastard ales.

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Photo of SawDog505
4.29/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured a 13 oz tulip glass, not sure of the bottle date. Pours a amber brown, with a two inch off white head, that leaves behind excellent lace, with solid retention. Smell is loads if biscuity grains, hard candy, roasted toffee, brown sugar, grapefruit, and some alcohol. Taste starts with toffee, brown sugar, and biscuit and finishes with hard candy, alcohol, and grapefruit. The body is medium large, nice amount of life, a little dry, and drinks way to easy for its 11% abv. I like big hoppy barleywines and that is this. Fans of Smuttynose, Old Ruffian, Old Guardian, and Big Foot will like this tasty brew.

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Photo of EgadBananas
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled 5-15-13

Pours a somewhat mahogany red, fairly opaque, with an off white head. Looks good, nice retention. The nose has plenty of citrus hops, with touches of floral and resiny hops, brown sugar, caramel, and dates. There's a stark, but somewhat mediated bitterness. It's got a punch to it, but its not wrecking. Plenty of citrus hoppiness, florals, caramel, maybe a slight toast character. It's got nice balance and full flavor. Mouthfeel is great. It's full bodied, without feeling ad all syrupy, or overly sticky. Drink smooth and easy.

There's definitely some blurry lines between this and an imperial ipa, but while nice and hoppy, still has a distinguishable American Barleywine feel, and its good.

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Photo of Givemebeer
4.22/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 6/13/13. 200th beer review!

A: Amber copper color with a thin head that fades with barely any lacing left

S: booze, raisins, toffee, and plums

T: booze and raisins with plums lead the way with some hope presence. This one is definitely malt forward though.

M: full bodied thick and a bit chewy.

O: it's described as an American barleywine but it has the malt forward make up of an English barleywine, which I greatly prefer. Don't expect a hop forward barleywine and you'll be rewarded with a real winner.

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Photo of PorterLambic
4.22/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a clouded, hazy medium brown color with a well developed, light tan head. The retention is quite good as it slowly and evenly descends, leaving very scattered lacing behind.
Smell is a nice blend of malt, floral hops, wood, some light and dark fruits. In fact, so well blended, it was difficult to pry out the various individual notes. On to the drinking!
Taste is woody, with light fruits, dark fruits, alcohol, some floral and herbal notes. The balance is extremely good.
This nearly full-bodied, lightly effervesced brew is smooth, slightly drying and takes on a warming aspect fairly early, even before it warms much.

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Photo of Sundrifter
4.21/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I recently celebrated Independence Day with some Clown Shoes Crunkle Sam and it definitely did not disappoint. The beer poured a deep reddish brown color which looked quite interesting and had some very strong notes of citrus, pine and caramel with some hop bitterness to balance it all off. At 11% it's a little on the boozy side but it tastes amazing and would love to try another. Clown Shoes does it again with another excellent brew.

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Photo of Rizalini
4.21/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Decided a nice, big barleywine was the perfect choice for my 250th review.

Poured from a bomber, bottled on 06/12/13, and poured into my Deschutes tulip...

A - Pours a crystal clear mahogany/copper color, very bubbly. 2 fingers of tan head that's leaving some thick, sticky lacing as the head falls.

S - The smell is very carmel malt forward. A nice honey, graham cracker malt nose with some nice citrus notes. Also some hints of some light, fruity esters.

T/M - Follows the nose. Has a somewhat sweet malt taste in the front, then some of the spicy esters follow, with a hop-bittering finish. The resinous hop aftertaste is necessary because the base is almost tongue-coating. Medium-syrupy mouthfeel, perfect carbonation.

O - This is a damn fine barleywine. Clown Shoes amazes me again with this one. It is surprisingly drinkable at 11%, and very little alcohol warmth. This is defenately a brew I would buy again. I do have a 2nd I am keeping in my beer fridge to age for a while. Cheers!

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Photo of EGreen
4.2/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Nice raisin candied yam, and how I don't know.. You may think this is crazy... But ice cream. Maybe its because its hot outside... Anyway... Very malty caramels and toffee. Raisin, prune, blackberry, plum(yes prunes are dried plums but the flavors are different), and somewhat syruppy... Now, not the maple, but if you've ever made syrup at home and tasted before adding any flavorings... Yeah, that. Mild hops on the finish. Bigger bodied and very representative of the style

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Photo of hardy008
4.16/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours cloudy dark orange, with a 1/2 finger off white head, which fades to a small ring of foam, and leaves spotty lacing. The aroma has caramel, citrus, citrus zest, and toffee.

Tastes just like it smells with caramel, citrus, citrus zest, and toffee. Nicely balanced with plenty of hops, and sweet malt to provide balance. The alcohol is well hidden for an 11.00 % abv beer, and is not noticeable.

Medium to full bodied with moderate carbonation. Has a citrus and caramel malt aftertaste. Easy to drink, and worth trying for sure.

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Photo of snowmageddon
4.14/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: Bottled 5/20/14 and consumed 8/13/2014. Pours an attractive amber color with a brownish tint in the right light. A dirty brown head fades quickly.
S: Grapefruit, pine from the chinook dry-hopping is a nice complement to the caramel, molasses, brown sugar you'd expect from a big american barleywine.
T: Hops are very apparent, again with the chinook pine/grapefruit shining through. Sweet molasses, caramel flavors and a strong alcohol taste exist as well. I pick up some chocolate notes linger in the finish as well.
M: fairly big body, medium-low carbonation, dry.
O: I recommend trying this if you are on the fence. I'm happy that I caved and picked one up.

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Photo of DovaliHops
4.14/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bought this beer because of the label... AWESOME! Pours a hazy, brownish-red color with a small white head that goes down quickly. Scent is hoppy at first. The presence of citra hops is definitely noticeable...lots of hops followed by burnt sugar. Lots of citrus and orange peel aromas. Sweet malt and more hops. Taste is sweet malt up front with a heavy hop profile followed closely behind. Quite hoppy...definitely an American barleywine. Bitter hops with a bit of booze and some burnt malt and sugar. Some dark fruits as well. Mouthfeel is full bodied, yet crisp...not too syrupy. Drinkability is high. Overall, I feel this is a solid representation of an American barleywine.

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Photo of wiscokid920
4.12/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Caramel and toffee sweetness which compliments the juicy citrus flavors and herbal tea hop bitterness. The alcohol plays the warming card, but is masked well. A solid, sweet, citrusy barleywine.

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Photo of Pahn
4.12/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle into a Duvel tulip. The year/batch/version dry hopped with Chinook (if there's different versions).

Appearance: Free pour yields a 1.5 inch frothy white head that leaves a wide ring of lacing. Pours a hazy brownish red.

Smell: Caramel and brown sugar American barleywine malt aromas. No Chinook aroma, which is sad since Chinook is one of my favorite hops. Not really very complex, but a nice, persistent malty aroma. Would be great in the Winter.

Taste: Follows the nose, with a nice oily hop flavor and feel complementing the brown sugary malt. Bit too sweet for my taste, but a lot of great barleywine flavors. Enough hot alcohol to cut through the sugar and develop the malt flavor. Again, a good Wintery sipper.

Mouthfeel: Thick side of medium bodied. Slight dryness, moderate carbonation. Pretty hot, which works well.

Overall: If you like Old Ruffian style American barleywines (bitter, with a heavy caramel/brown sugar malt backbone and ample alcohol), you'll like this. If you bought the bottle because it says "Dry hopped with Chinook," you may be disappointed.

As a side note, I'm not sure if this is the base beer for Billionaire, but it would taste great barrel aged. Time, slow oxidation, and wood can only do good to a big flavorful beer like this.

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Photo of arizcards
4.1/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Picked up in mid-August from Total Wine for $8.99. Bottled on 6/4/14.

Beer poured a murky reddish brown with a nice off white head upon the initial pour.

Nose is classic barleywine, citrus and dark fruit dominate.

Taste is classic as well. Citrus and dark fruits dominate with a nice grapefruit rind bite in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is full and smooth.

Overall this is a very nice classic barleywine. Glad i had the opportunity to try it!

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.07/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Clown Shoes "Crunkle Sam"
22 oz. brown glass bottle, "BOTTLED ON 06/12/13"
$8.99 @ Total Wine & More #901, Tampa, FL

Notes: Sampled at cellar temperature. Beautiful looking glass of beer: clear deep copper body with orange highlights beneath a massive head of frothy yellowish tan that slowly drops to a fairly thick, sudsy covering. Wide splashes and craggy, broken walls of lacing are left behind on the glass. Distinctly caramelish malt as expected in the nose with a bit of fruit (apricot, tangerine, nondescript citrus) as well, and some background raspy hops (or is that spiciness from the alcohol? Or a combination with the citrus edge?). As an "American" barley wine I would expect more hop aroma, but the very moderate amount that's there is OK. Medium-full in body... or should that be full-medium? Decidedly dextrinous and creamy with a very fine-bubbled moderate carbonation - thank goodness as too many barley wines are over-carbed these days, 'thinning' the malt and amping up the perceived bitterness with carbonic acid... this softer carbonation works really well to accentuate the malt. And malt is what it's about here, although there are more hops in the flavor, and some clear alcohol (which seems to be the only fault, with some higher alcohols). Rich, with a combination of golden and darker caramel notes that make me think of the color red, not that red is a flavor, but that's how I perceive it - I guess meaning that it's a midway point between the golden and the dark (?). The malt is the main component, but it's malt that's threaded through with hop flavor: dank, slightly resinous, and citrusy (clementine, lemon zest)- almost berry-like in a way (perhaps Simcoe?). But again, as an "American" barley wine it still seems a little light. The balance, however, is quite good; and overall it shines. Given the price of $8.99/22 oz. bottle (and I know you can find it cheaper) it's hard to argue against.

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Photo of zac16125
4.05/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into a snifter
bottled on: 6/04/14

A: Pours a hazy, really dark copper thats nearly brown, with 1 fingers width of tan head which has good retention but leaves only very little lacing. 3.75

S: Candied sugar, toffee/caramel, some sweet dark fruit notes, a bit of booze, some floral and herbaceous hops. Really nice nose. 4.25

T: Boozy up front, with caramel and toffee on the finish. Some bitterness, floral hops, some soapy hop characters. 4

M/D: Full bodied, carbonation appropriate, ABV is noticeable but its not hot. Drinkability is good. 4

O: Not bad, I actually kinda like the booziness, but I could see how others would be turned off. I do think this has the potential to develop nicely with some time in the cellar. 4

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Photo of CalgaryFMC
4.04/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bomber slowly decanted into a tulip glass over the course of an evening. Really quite a looker, a ruby red brown admixture with a well-formed mocha colored head and a rather appealing aroma of well-toasted malts (almost reminds one of burnt popcorn), strong hazelnut, raisins, apples, pears, and some grapefruit, tangerine, and faint pine from the bold hop regime. All the expected elements are there and well-integrated. Some folks have described this as "hot" or "young" in terms of the alcohol flavor and although you can taste the booze, I might have snagged a well-aged example as this ain't too hot at all (but see below). The alcohol flavor peeks out here and there, with the whole package bitter and resinous plus sweet in equal measure. Lots of orchard fruit, butterscotch, nuts, golden raisin, and molasses kiss candy with an astringent tea bag note that comes on strong late. IPA-like hopping in the finish, which veers towards the harshly medicinal but does remain rooted in dried citrus peel and pine territory. Standout features for me include the malt complexity, nuttiness, classic barleywine orchard fruit elements, and assertive hop flavors. If there's a drawback its that things do get a tad harsh late into a bomber, which is probably a good reason to share this sucker with some appreciative aficionados. Still, a welcome introduction to this new to Alberta contract brewer for me.

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Crunkle Sam from Clown Shoes
3.94 out of 5 based on 468 ratings.
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