Single Batch Series - Barleywine | Sebago Brewing Company

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Single Batch Series - BarleywineSingle Batch Series - Barleywine

Brewed by:
Sebago Brewing Company
United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.20%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
This beer is a blend of Old World influence and modern day ingredients and technique. Domestic malt and distinctly American hops produce this rich, full bodied ale. On top of it all, this beer was barrel-aged in charred oak bourbon barrels for over eight months. The end result is an unfiltered dark ruby colored ale with very intense aromatics.

60 IBU

Added by barleywinebrewer on 05-01-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 71 | Ratings: 155
Photo of celticfutblclub
4.27/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 bottle poured into new belgium glass
big thanks to Reagan1984 for this one!

A - nice chestnut colored body with just a hint of light getting through on the edges. off white head about a finger thick. decent retention and good lacing.

S - bourbon, oak, raisins, pine. it seems to be well balance nose wise maybe the bourbon and oak are a little more pronounced.

T - strong bourbon taste upfront. piny hops lie behind with hints of oak raisins and chocolate.

M - medium bodied with medium carbonation. good astringency from the hops. very very boozy far more than the 9.2% would lead you to believe.

O - its a really good bourbon barleywine. i think bringing out the other flavors a bit more and this would be a superb brew.

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Photo of BEERMILER12
4.32/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a semi-clouded bright red color with a fingers worth of head that fizzles away quickly

S: Now this is a great smelling beer! Plenty of bourbon, vanilla, oak, alcohol, malts, and sugars. Straight-forward, but definitely potently awesome

T: Continues from the smell, big bourbon flavors followed by oak and vanilla. For how high the alcohol is, it is hidden well (that is, if you discount the big bourbon flavors). It's almost like someone dropped a double shot of bourbon into the beer and took the alcohol out of the mix. Definitely enjoyable if you like bourbon

M: Medium body with low-moderate carbonation

O: This is a really good bourbon barrel-aged barley wine. The $8 bomber is definitely worth it, especially, like I said before, if you like bourbon. Pick some up if you stumble across it!

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Photo of gford217
4.17/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Ben for this 22oz bottle.

Pours a hazy amber brown with a small beige head that recedes quickly to a solid collar and some light delicate lacing.

Aroma is really nice, especially if you like bourbon. Along with the bourbon is some sweet vanilla. There is lots of sweet caramel malts, molasses and a hint of hops but it's mostly a sweet aroma overall.

Taste is a little harsher than the aroma with the bourbon hitting the palate hard on the first sip. The backbone is full of molasses and caramel malts with some toffee. The hops are very subtle and swept away by the booze in the finish.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy despite having the bourbon presence throughout.

This is an excellent brew, but you better be ready for the bourbon which is quite prominent in the taste. Enjoyed this one quite a bit.

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Photo of Bendurgin
4.52/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a giant snifter. This one pours a dark mahogany with about an inch of rocky beige head. Nice soapy lace.

Nice rich aroma here. Boozy caramel sweetness with hints of chocolate and raisins. Hints of oak with sweet toffee rounding this out. No doubt about it this one is sweet for sure. Butterscotch and toffee on the pallet with a nice fig and raisin profile. Nice big malts with chocolate flavors in the background.

The body is full and chewy with soft carbonation.

Thanks for putting this one in barrels Sebago, I'm simply in love.

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Photo of Pahn
4.3/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle into Duvel tulip. Note, this is the bottled Single Batch Series that weighs in at 12.5%... not sure why the BA entry currently says 9.2%.

Appearance: Free pour yields a one and a half inch, frothy, offwhite head that dissipates slowly leaving a couple islands of lacing. Pours a hazy dark red and leaves sweeping lacing.

Smell: Bourbon and oak, with a rich cake-like aroma. Some molasses and booziness comes out with warmth. Has some nutty hints, like pistachio. Not too complex, but very inviting.

Taste: Thick caramel and vanilla oak--I'm sold immediately. Some chocolate and lots of toffee. Bourbon barrel influence is strongly reminiscent of Bourbon County stout and its deep pastry and caramel character. Decent hop bitterness and a surprisingly dry finish. Leaves less of an aftertaste than a lingering suggestion of bourbon and oak.

This is a good beer. Lots of pastry like malt depth without any cloying sweetness, some spicy bourbon notes, and a strong vanilla American oak presence. 12.5%ABV? I would believe 6%, the beer is that smooth and hides it alcohol that well. Slight warmth in the finish is the only indication of its ABV. Hop bitterness comes with a slightly ashy flavor that works for me.

I've had deeper barleywines, but the barrel aging really takes this over the top. It's very well done, and the base beer is obviously good.

Mouthfeel: Full side of medium bodied / light side of full bodied. Mild carbonation. Dry finish.

Overall: This is the first Sebago beer I've had after seeing their bottles here and there over the years, and I have to say that I'm impressed. Finely crafted, well thought out, with a barrel influence that approaches Goose Island or Firestone Walker quality.

Despite the bold and rich flavors, this beer is dangerously drinkable. I picked it up on a whim ($9 for this kind of beer? Excellent), and I'm very glad I did.

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Photo of brewandbbq
4.12/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle from 2010.

Pours hazy amber with a tight, beige head of a quarter inch. A partial skim coat and short streaks of lacing for the duration of the glasss.

Aromatics lead off with a blast of bourbon and a hint of malt way behind. Proofing dough, vanilla, nuts, toffee, caramel, and booze follow through.

On the thinner side of medium bodied with a crispish and slightly tacky mouthfeel.

Bourbon, caramel, sweet malt, vanilla, and chipped toffee start the palate. Hopping is subdued and a trace of bitterness is just enough to take the edge off the sweetness.

Finishes with lingering boozy heat, plump malt, and fading vanilla.

Well, if you want a beer with plenty of Bourbon in it you've found it. For me the malt, hops, and body need to be shored up to balance out the massive Bourbon character.
I still would have no problem cellaring several of these to see where they would go.
Nice to see another big beer come out of Maine.

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Photo of DIM
4.17/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a: This was a sightly hazy, deep mahogany color with golden edges. It poured with a small but long lasting off white cap.

s: The huge bourbon barrel presence manages to be surprisingly mellow. It is richly warm but not at all hot. Barleywine elements of toffee, caramel, and fruit liqueur manage to peak through the more dominant vanilla, brown sugar, and subdued bourbon. Pretty much exactly what I hope for when I open a new to me barrel aged barleywine.

t: This is sweet overall and heavily influenced by the bourbon barrel. It is a bit harsher and boozier than the smell suggest, but not by all that much. Overall, this is enormously satisfying and almost warrants a higher score here. Maybe a couple more months in the cellar would have put it over the top. I tasted brown sugar up front that doesn't ever fade completely, in fact it lingers into the finish where it is joined by lots of vanilla. In between there was mild dark fruits, caramel, and some woody alcohol.

m: Gently lush carbonation and a nice, hefty body.

d: The sweetness weighs this down a bit, but this was wonderful to sip on a frigid night in comfortable chair with a good book. Thanks to joepais for this long ago hook-up. Great stuff Joe!

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Photo of WorldWideStout
4.49/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A huge thanks to Dajtai007 who, as a fellow maltmaven brother, felt that I needed to try this.

A: A lovely burnished copper, translucent body. Not much head, but hey, it's a friggin' barleywine.

S: A delightful toffee and vanilla scent is predominant. Interestingly, I also detect some subdued tropical fruit notes, which in combination with the strong malts remind me of a wheatwine. There may be a bit of spice from the barrel aging in there as well.

T: The start is the hardest part to describe. It is sweet, but it somehow hides in the back of my mouth so that I can't describe it that well. In the middle, the rich malts come in, giving me those delightful butterscotch and toffee notes which have made me such a fan of this style. A bit of tropical fruits, spice from the barrel aging, and a touch of heat come in towards the finish. Not much of an aftertaste.

M: Smooth and just the right heaviness, so that while feeling full, I don't have to push myself to keep taking sips.

D: For a barleywine, I would say pretty good. I absolutely would not drink another bomber of this, but I think I could still enjoy a few sips.

Delightful. Not quite world class, as the taste didn't have the depth, but a delicious beer that any fans of this style would very much enjoy sipping. Though I did taste a bit of wood, I didn't really get much in the way of bourbon. The alcohol level was barely detectable.

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Photo of ToasterChef
3.93/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This bottle has been in my cellar since the week it went on sale and I've been eying it lately. Today was the day to crack it open. Poured from the slightly above cellar temperature bottle into a tulip glass.

The beer has a beautiful red/ruby color. It's quite clear and I can see lots of carbonation rising from the bottom of the glass and swirling about as it rises. The head was two fingers in height, colored tan, and made up of small bubbles. Swirling the glass about, the sides of my glass get coated with a film that won't recede. The bubbles leave an even coat of foam, but it slowly drops back down into the liquid. This is a very pretty barleywine.

Most of the nose is made up of bourbon aromas. They are roasty and oaky, like there are some slightly singed wood chips in there. Behind the bourbon are some malt scents. I think I can detect toffee and raisin.

Maybe I'm just looking for it, but I can taste bourbon as soon as the beer crosses my tongue. It's flavors last throughout each sip, but are strongest in the aftertaste. That lingering burn and alcoholic flavor I associate with bourbon is present here. There are some sweet malts as well. Like the aroma, I can identify toffee and dark colored fruits (perhaps more plum or prune than raisin though). Still, it is the bourbon that is strongest (yet not as strong as, say, a cask of Allagash Curieux).

This si a full bodied beer. It is thick and sticky. It leaves a syrupy film on my lips. The coat covers my entire mouth. My tongue tingles after I swallow--I can't tell if its the carbonation or the alcohol. After swallowing, it is as if I can feel the alcoholic vapors collecting at the back of my mouth and evaporating there. The mouthfeel of this beer doesn't hide it's high ABV.

This beer is hard to drink, but it is strong and full of bourbon flavors that limit its drinkability. I would never want to drink it fast, nor would I ever want more than this one 22 oz bottle in a session. If you have a some time, and want a warming, strong beverage, this would work perfectly for you. It isn't too sticky; I don't feel as though I need to accompany the beer with a glass of water. Drinkers who are not fans of bourbon barrel aging or barleywines in general would not enjoy this beverage, but fans of those criteria should definitely seek this one out. I think the beer would be a bit better, and easier to drink, if it were chilled more than I have it (since I started writing this review, I place the open and mostly full bottle into the fridge to cool down a bit).

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Photo of Gobzilla
4.22/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber shared by torino at woodshop 5.1

Poured a dark syrupy brown with a thi head that left very little sticky lacing on the glass. Nice bourbon and caramel aromas dominate the nose with booze and brown sugar and dark fruit notes. Really boozy bourbon and caramel flavors up front with brown sugar and vanilla accents. The beer was full bodied with a low amount of carbonation that had a sweet and boozy finish. I definitely enjoy creative brewed beers like this even though it was pretty boozy. It went down pretty good considering the ABV.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.2/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Bobby for sharing this one.

A: The pour is a dark amber color with a finger or so worth of off-white head.

S: A nice note of caramel, toffee, and burnt sugar up front. The barrel is subtle, but does provide a nice vanilla note that blends nicely with the sugary characteristics of the beer.

T: Quite a bit of caramel and burnt sugar up front along with a touch of alcohol. Not too much in the way of fruitiness, but some nice barrel and bourbon notes.

M: Medium bodied with a pretty decent level of carbonation for a barrel aged barleywine.

D: A very nice beer indeed. I was looking forward to trying this one and it did not disappoint.

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Photo of Jmoore50
3.97/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bourbon Barley Wines are usually a train wreck, being too hot and blended terribly. This one is tasting great right now, but with a year on it will be incredible.

The appearance is a very solid dark ruby color that poured with a one finger white head. It has a very thick ABV leg that reminds me of a fine wine. This thing is thick, and looks like its been in a barrel for a while.

The smell is compiled of sweet caramel malts, bourbon, vanilla, candy sugar, raisins, amazing. Smells delicious.

The taste is solid, and although a little thick and hot, is a great after dinner drink. Booze, caramel, raisins, sugar, plums, bourbon, really sweet. It has lots of complexities that are getting ready to explode. Time is going to be a friend of this one.

The mouthfeel was hot and fairly boozy. It was a sipper and took me a minute to finish the bottle. Pretty interesting beer that I thought was enjoyable.


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Photo of deltatauhobbit
4.57/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

From their limited 22oz bottles.

I had a conversation with one of the peeps at Sebago and they said this recipe differed from the original barleywine they put on-tap a couple years ago. Not quite sure, but I don't think their first batch was barrel aged either, whereas this version was aged in bourbon barrels for at least 8 months. I've had the new version on-tap a few occasions now but I've decided to review the bottled product.

Pours a deep copper/amber color with a thin wispy head, slight tan color to it, leaves a cap on it for pretty much the entire time.

Smell is hugely aromatic, I'm talking a huge caramel malt presence with pronounce bourbon notes, it's not hot or overwhelming but makes itself known, bit of vanilla and other dark fruit, the bourbon really complements and just lends that extra bit of complexity.

Taste is smooth and creamy, I feel a bit of the strength in the aftertaste but it isn't a huge burn, more like a warming sensation but it does become more noticeable as the beer warms up, the caramel melds very nicely with a bit of bourbon, not a bourbon bomb in any regard.

The barrel aging really did wonders with this barleywine, I'm not sure what else changed in the recipe, if anything at all, either way it's a marked improvement. I can see this being even better with some more age on it. Guess I'll need to go grab a few more bottles to hold onto, the wait was definitely worth it. Guess I'll have to bug Kai about something other than this now...

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Photo of Brez07
4.32/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a Brooklyn tulip

A: Dark red/brown with 1 finger off white head. Scant lacing at the top of the glass

S: Wow, that's a pretty potent bourbon smell. I can already tell this needs some aging. I had it on tap a while back so I'm not sure why I thought the bottle would be much different. There is some vanilla/coconut present as well

T: Oh my, this is tasty. The bourbon barrel leaves a wonderful vanilla flavor that mixes with the malts. Hint of spice and caramel. There's a nice warm feeling after each sip. However, alcohol is rather large. Good sweetness in the finish

M: Smooth and creamy. Very slight bitterness from the hops. As mentioned above, I get a nice warm feeling following each sip which I attribute to the bourbon

D: Nice, slow sipper. While this beer is great now, it definitely needs to time to sit. I can only imagine how wonderful this will be in a year or so. Grab two if you can - one for now and one for later

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.03/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to andrewinski1 for this one!

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

When the garnet was first forged by the hands of the gods, they were confident that nothing could match its chromatic beauty. Strangely, though, their foresight has been proven to have been quite weak in this area. Case in point: Sebago Single Batch Barleywine. The pour's divine combination of rich browns and hearty reds apes the garnet's majesty perfectly (or, is it the other way 'round...?). Hell, I'd make a ring out of a solid form of this barleywine, I tell you what. Mirroring this lovely amalgam is the nose, which sweetly combines a sharp hoppy pine with a rich caramel maltiness, while throwing in some toffee and molasses for good measure. Ah, the generosity... When the tongue gets hold of this nectar, molasses, maple syrup, caramel, light smoke, and a hint of oak blitz from up front. Following quickly thereafter a sharp caramel leads the hop brigade, bringing along a nicely harsh bittersness, a piney citrus as sharp as the bitterness, and an intimation of lemon. It all meshes together in the mouth as it coats the tongue below very well, thick and juicy, yet somehow smooth enough to preclude malingering. Dionysus be praised, the gods have another brew to keep by their cloudy sides.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a bottle of this at Tully's the other day. After tasting it, I'll be back for more. In a tulip glass the beer was a deep reddish brown, kind of claret colored. It had a very scant head. Aroma of toffee and bourbon, with a hint of vanilla. Great taste of toffee, oak, and bourbon. The 9% ABV was noticeable but not intrusive. An incredibly smooth mouthfeel, very drinkable.

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Photo of distichlis
4.32/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I don't think I could have chosen a better beer for my first review. Let me first note that the label that states "aged in bourbon barrels" is an apt description of the ale contained therein. Pours with a slightly sweet and pungent bourbon scent. Beautiful dark brown color, and the taste to back up the aroma. If you enjoy the occasional small batch bourbon as I do, this is a truly exceptional beer with similar flavors, mouthfeel, and scent. I can honestly say I've never had any beer like this before; not that I've never had beer which was aged in bourbon barrels before, but none have ever been of this caliber. If you like good bourbon (wild turkey does NOT count!) and good ales, give this a try. This is definately a sipper. It's not that I didn't thoroughly enjoy this brew, but I thought the 24oz. bottle was a little overpowering for one person to drink w/o food.

I'll be headed back to Tully's beer and wine in Wells, ME for several more bottles. The $9-odd price tag for a standard 24 ounce "big bottle" is well worth it. I hope to make it to Sebago's brew pub in South Portland (or Scarborough (it's on the town line and I never can tell just which town it's in) to give this a try on tap if it's available.

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Photo of albern
4.23/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this at the American Craft beer festival and it was one of my favorites. It isn't your typical barley wine and the appearance alone says why. This is the frothiest, most carbonated, least syrupy Barleywine that I've probably had, and that's a good thing. The head is thick, the beer is cloudy (another distinguishing characteristic), and the aroma is sweet malt, oaky, rum like, and citrus. The head also has a tawny white color almost a copper rust color that is unique. The taste has a very unique coconut flavor, with a rummy pineapple, maybe bourbon soaked fruitiness as well. This beer hits all the right notes, but it is strong. There is a bit of a throaty alcohol burn to the beer, and the high ABV is only masked over to a point. You will know your drinking a strong brew no doubt. The brewer in my conversation with him wanted to hide some of the strong ABV, and succeeded but only to a point. The aftertaste was not lingering but the beer is substantial well into the finish. This beer hits all the right notes and is well worth seeking out, which I will in bottle form. L'Chaim.

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Photo of Durge
4.45/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This comes in a proper snifter, a very dark mahogany color with a fair fizzy light tan head and modest lace. It smells like herbal hops and horshound, toffee and malt brandy, pretty complex, very nice. The taste is strong alcohol and brown bread, again somewhat brandy-like. Contrary to the note on this profile page, I believe the post at the bar was that this is actually 12% ABV. I also noted some sharp grass in the back. It feels mildly oily with very fine, tingly carbonation. I'd say this is generally a sipper but it's quite distinctive. Nice effort.

Update from 09-11-08 visit, downtown Portland;
A dark chestnut brown color with a blotchy tan head and similar lacing throughout. The aroma is sweet malt licorice, deep and luscious. The flavor brings a hardy and sharp apple and malt with plenty of alcohol warmth and merriment. It is quite sweet and tart. Pretty much a sipper in my book but it does grow on you as you move through it. Overall a similar grade to my previous taste. Very nice.
Well here's my 2011 update and what an improvement.Many of the same flavor qualities but I find this is much more balance and drinkable than my previous experience. And appearances upgrade to great lacing and a decent head. Though it remains fairly intense, this latest version is sweet but so tasty. It has a cough medicine quality, like Dr. Pepper with plenty of fruit and nutty oak bourbon ideas. Very enjoyable!

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Photo of blackkristos
4.1/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I was really pleasantly surprised by how excellent this is. I had seen it on the board, but I am normally not much of a fan of Barlywine. After a bit of good selling by the waitress, I gave it a go.

A - A nice red color with very little white head.

S - certainly caramel. So much so that I thought it may be too sweet

T - I found it not as sweet as it smelled, but the caramel was indeed strong.

M - Full body with soft carbonation. The sweetness is not quite so prominent.

D - A great sipping beer served in a very nice snifter. I did not have another, but would have if not for the 2 beers previous.

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Photo of barleywinebrewer
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I first heard about this last year on this site and wanted to try it but did not manage to get into portland when it was available. This trip netted 2 glasses of this nice barleywine.

A - rich amber red color, touch of orange at the edges with a soft off white head which quickly settles to a light ring around the edge
S - caramel malts, light citric hops dominate. Tough to tell too much as we were in the bar area with lot's of aromas in the air.
T - crisp light citric hops with a complimentary caramel malt backing. Not over the top with the hops but enough to say not an EBW.
M - medium full body, nice soft carbonation, some heat, good finish.
D - I went back for seconds. Really nice sipper on tap! Sadly, no bottles to go.

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Single Batch Series - Barleywine from Sebago Brewing Company
4.26 out of 5 based on 155 ratings.
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