Small Batch Series No. 3: English Style Barleywine | Ranger Creek Brewing & Distilling

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Small Batch Series No. 3: English Style BarleywineSmall Batch Series No. 3: English Style Barleywine
72 Ratings
Small Batch Series No. 3: English Style BarleywineSmall Batch Series No. 3: English Style Barleywine

Brewed by:
Ranger Creek Brewing & Distilling
Texas, United States

Style: British Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
This vintage ale undergoes a 3 hour boil to create a complex layer of malt character including caramel, toffee, ripe fruit, and leather. The floral and earth-toned Kent Goldings hops add a soft background of spice giving depth to the malt flavors and providing an overall balance. It has been aged for 6 months in oak barrels to allow time for this big beer to mature and mellow. At 10% ABV, it’s made to be laid down like a fine wine. If stored properly this barleywine should keep well for upwards of 10 years. Drink one now, save more for later!

Added by DRyan on 11-10-2012

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 72 |  Reviews: 16
Photo of csfcmitchell
3.75/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of CDCNAM
3/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of shigg85
3.71/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of XicanoBeerRun
4.33/5  rDev +27.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Smells like a sour beer which surprises me for a barley wine. It works really well though. Great caramalized sugar taste, red wine, earthy wood flavor. Dark orange color. Thick mouthfeel that lingers. Glad I aged this for 3 years.

 230 characters

Photo of nathanmiller
3/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of wethorseblanket
3.35/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of Goblinmunkey7
3.28/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: Slightly hazed burnt orange. Massive pillowy off-white head on the pour. Super sticky. Chunky cap and collar for the duration. Chunks and notches of lacing. Moderate to high carbonation on the pour.

Smell: Reasonably sure the oak barrel threw a bug. Slight lactic push with a sharp acetic bite in the back. Malts are huge and sweet adding caramel, toffee, and dark cooked sugars. Some mild roasted elements coupled with graham cracker. Very slightly bready. Hops are minimal adding a very mild earthy element Some alcohol spice as well. Oak pushes through the back. Pear. Lime zest. Some fruity esters from the original yeast strain.

Taste: Lots of oak. Some small notes of vanilla with a solid push of caramel and toffee. Lots of cooked and caramelized sugar. Malt base is sweet with some roasted elements and a touch of biscuit and bread dough. The barrel definitely added a bug of some sort but it's not necessarily bad, just way out of style. A very mild lactic element in the back but it runs mostly acetic up front. Alcohol adds a touch of heat to the back and an associated spiciness. Very mild earthy hop element. Nutty. A hint of leather.

Mouthfeel: Medium body. Moderate carbonation. Creamy. Smooth.

Overall: A fortunate mishap.

It's not an English was. The oak barrel and the associated bug made for a clean malty "sour." Nothing special but I would drink it again and the malt profile lending itself to an accidental bug is enjoyable.

 1,482 characters

Photo of CTJman
1.75/5  rDev -48.4%

Photo of spycow
3.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of Getalegup
3.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of ThreeFishes
2.75/5  rDev -18.9%

Photo of dfhhead25
2.75/5  rDev -18.9%

Photo of outdoor7or24
3.71/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Opened a bottle dated 10/10/2012 that I've been cellaring. Don't recall my notes from 2012, but I think it has improved or enhanced it.
A: pours a huge 3 finger head, off white in color, some fine carbonation bubbles, a little bubbly lacing
S: leather, musty, oak, wood, vanilla, grape must
M: medium body and kinda syrupy feel
T: big malt, hops, spice, leather, oak, some earthiness, smooth but alcohol becomes more noticeable as it warms
O: good brew,

Updated review: opened bottle on 1-1-2015, bottle date 10/10/2012, poured into dogfish Head glass.
Seems like time has helped even more.
A: pours a cloudy golden copper due to bottle conditioning, great +2 finger foam head n lacing quickly fades.
S: citrus, spice, oak, vanilla
M: medium, slight oil resin sticks on the tongue
T: orange, citrus, sweet malt, oak, boozy, earthiness, hops are a little less than what I recall.
O: good brew, didn't get a bad bottle like others have mentioned.

 950 characters

Photo of Thanx4AllDaFish
5/5  rDev +47.5%

Photo of JGlitz87
3.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of MacQ32
3/5  rDev -11.5%

Photo of BMart
2.75/5  rDev -18.9%

Photo of BGsWo22
1/5  rDev -70.5%

Photo of LittleDon
4.06/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Judging by earlier reviews, I lucked out on this one. Opened 15 months after bottle date and poured into a tulip shaped glass. Two and a half fingers of head eventually subsides into a persistent head with a fair amount of lace. The aroma is oak, vanilla, caramel, bourbon like in quality. Sweeter than I prefer, but in keeping with the style. Caramel, vanilla, persimmons, oak, with a fair amount of bitterness to finish. Medium heavy body and soft mouthfeel.

 460 characters

Photo of Radome
3.75/5  rDev +10.6%

Photo of Lare453
1/5  rDev -70.5%

Photo of greenspointexas
3.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of army01
3.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of kojevergas
2.39/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

375ml brown glass bottle with blue label and waxed-over pry-off pressure cap acquired at me local bottle shop for $6.99 USD and served into an Independence Brewing pilsner glass in me gaff in low altitude Austin, Texas. Reviewed live. Expectations are low; I had Small Batch Series #4 last night and it wasn't very good. It was also a gusher, so I'll be expecting this to gush as well, and will side-pour it very slowly. Bottled 10/09/12 - making this exactly one year old. Reviewed as an English Barleywine because Ranger Creek's website identifies it as such. 10% ABV confirmed. "...Aged for 6 months in oak barrels."

Served cold - straight from me fridge.

As I remove the wax, the cap is revealed - and it's pretty rusted. I'm starting to get concerned.

Removal of the cap yields a brief hiss of carbonation. No liquid surges out.

A: No bubble show forms as I pour.

Even slow pouring yields almost entirely foam; the head is a good eight fingers wide out of a possible nine. White in colour. Decent creaminess and thickness. Has a soft complexion. No lacing at all clings to the sides of the glass; this doesn't have "legs." Head retention is good - about 7-8+ minutes - but I suspect this is more from overcarbonation than careful brewing.

Body colour is a murky hazy nontransparent translucent copper-orange of below average vibrance. No yeast particles are visible.

Not unique or special.

Sm: Wet cardboard, stale biscuit malt, light acetic character, vague wood (with none of the evocative character of oak), light sourness/funkiness, light sour apple, and a generic maltiness - but nowhere near the malty sweetness you'd expect from an English Barleywine. No hop character, alcohol, or yeast character is detectable. Infection is suspected. I really want more from the oak. Nothing mentioned in Ranger Creek's description is emerging here (No: caramel, toffee, ripe fruit, leather, or spice). The difference between the aroma and Ranger Creek's description definitely indicates infection.

An inoffensive aroma of average strength. I'm wary.

T: Definite bacterial sourness along with some fruity notes - especially sour apple. Has a light doughy yeast character as well. Biscuit malt, brown malt, caramalts. Vague oak, but it's not evocative or rich; if you're looking for a good oak-aged barleywine, look elsewhere. No toffee, leather, or spice. Very light acetic character. English hops lend some ripe fruit notes. Has some alcohol presence, but I wouldn't call it boozy or hot. Fair complexity. No real subtlety. Not at all gestalt. Wet cardboard on the finish.

To be frank, I absolutely think it's infected. But the beer isn't a complete train wreck; the sourness isn't bad. Sure, it's an absolute mess - there's no balance or cohesion at all - but it doesn't taste as off as it very well could.

Somewhat shallow depth of flavour for the style. Average duration of flavour. Below average intensity of flavour.

Horrible for an English Barleywine, but merely subpar when viewed outside of any style. If we view it as a sour, it's merely bad - not awful.

Mf: The texture is as much as a mess as the the taste. Rough at some points, harsh at others, dry, coarse, smooth, and wet - it's hard to describe since it isn't uniform. Certainly far from pleasant or refreshing. Overcarbonated, but not biting. It's a bit buttery in the second act. Doesn't suit the flavour profile at all, except by matching its chaos.

Not soft, oily, boozy, hot, or astringent.

Dr: Having had a couple of these small batch series beers now, I can say with confidence that the cats at Ranger Creek's barrel aging program do not have their shit together. This is a grand failure of a purported English Barleywine, and it's only incidental that it's at all drinkable. Even then, it's subpar. Unacceptable at $6.99 USD a pop. I certainly wouldn't get it again, and I'll be wary of Ranger Creek's other barrel aged beers in the future. Too bad I have a couple others in me fridge. I'd strongly recommended avoiding this one, and my view of Ranger Creek is getting more and more negative. Terrible for the targeted style.


 4,134 characters

Photo of Bunuelian
3.5/5  rDev +3.2%

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Small Batch Series No. 3: English Style Barleywine from Ranger Creek Brewing & Distilling
Beer rating: 3.39 out of 5 with 72 ratings