Vermilion Barleywine | Perennial Artisan Ales

very good
36 Reviews
Vermilion BarleywineVermilion Barleywine

Brewed by:
Perennial Artisan Ales
Missouri, United States

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by MasterSki on 01-13-2013

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Reviews: 36 | Ratings: 247
Photo of avalon07
4.24/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a medium brown color and thick consistency. There was a small amount of foamy, off white head that quickly dissipated. Not a whole lot of lacing.

S: A solid aroma of hops, dark fruit, malt, and caramel.

T: Tasted of a lot of different dark fruit ingredients (raisins, figs, plums), some malt, a good amount of caramel, a little butterscotch, a good shot of hops, and rum as well. A big, bracing, complex flavor that gets mellower as you go along. Quite tasty and surprisingly easy to drink.

F: An average amount of carbonation with a smooth finish. Medium-bodied.

O: Vermilion has a couple of minor flaws, but it's an incredibly drinkable beer. Well made.

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Photo of ClavisAurea
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottling date 12/2014 served at cellar temps in a tulip glass.

Poured a reddish copper color with a nice and tall khaki head. Smelled like caramel and hop candy. Vanilla, fig, raisin, tons of malt, low hop character, sweet and malty in both the nose and taste. Slight oxidation but nothing crazy for a 2 year old beer. Very nice representation of the English barleywine. This should be a cellar staple!

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Photo of biegaman
4.43/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Vermilion is a brilliant scarlet red colour - like that of the cardinal on this bottle's label - but, despite it name, there's not even a glimpse of it anywhere in the barleywine itself. Quite dark for the style, Vermilion has a shadowy, highlight-free complexion and severely gloomy tone that is not quite black but close enough. Head formed but slowly dissolved.

Pour, smell and let those rich, malty aromatics wash your cares away. Like the best English-style barleywines, Vermilion is mellow, malty, sweet and mighty seductive - and all that can be gleamed standing several feet away, that's how powerfully fragrant it is! Nutty, fruity, sherried notes abound with coffee bean, fig, date, roasted pecan, orange peel and baking spices.

Nothing I write, no description I provide, will come close to capturing the complex characteristics of this beer. Like aroma, the flavour is nothing short of bewildering: macerated and raisiny dark fruits, butterscotch, dark cocoa and roasted nuts, a dash of Christmas spices as well as nuances of cigar boxes or old oak barrels. It's a beer so rich it belongs on Madison Avenue.

Vermilion is very mild-mannered but offers a whole lot of goodness; it's intricate and elaborate but so smooth. Perennial encourages vertical tastings and, indeed, this bottle speaks to the beer's awesome cellar potential; exactly two years after bottling, this 2014 vintage drinks with a complexity and elegance that rivals high-quality port, sherry or single-malt whiskey.

Vermilion Barleywine is the quintessential contemplation beer and demands total surrender. A fantastically soothing, sumptuous offering, it's one of the finest examples I've tasted in years. So very 'fireside', it completely warms the soul at this so very cold time of year - don't go to bed without a glass. Just be sure to treat it with respect or you might suffer the day!

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Photo of SinjaminBentek
5/5  rDev +24.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Look - Dark brown with very little head.

Nose - Rich dark malt, little barrel, little booze and sweet dark fruits.

Taste - This is the highlight of the beer. Really really nice!

Mouthfeel - Rich, thick and chewy. Excellent.

Overall - Highly recommended.

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Photo of jmdrpi
4.06/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle, capped.

Hazy dark brown in color, tan head. Rich malty aroma of molasses, rum, raisins. Similar taste, but not too sweet. Sticky mouthfeel

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Photo of Wasatch
4.38/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottled: 12/2013

2 Years On This One

Poured into a chalice a pretty nice brownish/grapey color, very nice carbonation, with a quick/fizzy small light tan head, which does leave two medium islands and some sticky lacing behind. The nose is very nice malty, with some very nice dark fruit notes (grapes, cherries, figs, raisins, plums). The taste is very nice malty, very nice touch of dark fruits, very nice sweetness. Full Body, ABV hidden pretty well. Overall, this is a very nice brew. I would buy again. This is my first from this brewery, would definitely like to try others from them.

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Photo of AppaZappa
4.3/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

12/2014 bottle into tulip; pours very dark brown / ruby color with generous head that fades into nice thin sheen. Smell is booze, caramel, toffee, plum, raisin, honey, vanilla, bread pudding. Taste is similar, with thick bread pudding, caramel notes, brown sugar, raisin, port, oak, sweet, but not cloying. The mouth is fantastic, subtle carbonation, creamy, rich.

This is a stellar example of the style. Gotta say I'm surprised at some of the lower reviews. Get one, sit tight on it and enjoy on a snow day.

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Photo of infinitebruner
3.96/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

December 17, 2015

750 ml bottle, snifter

A – Deep brown, thick and opaque. Maybe a quarter-inch of chocolate-tan foam forms and disperses immediately. Some very light lacing remains, but the beer is mostly still.

S – Rum raisin and crème brulee, bread pudding. Raisins and plums, brown sugar, caramel, vanilla, and bourbon. Sweet alcohol esters like pears. Very rich but doesn’t smell particularly heavy.

T – Brown sugar, vanilla, raisins, a bit of cherry and bourbon. Alcohol is present, fruity, almost like sake. Minor hop notes, a bit woody and spicy. Only light bitterness, a bit sweet.

M – Medium-full body, lighter than I expected based on the pour and its overall appearance. Carbonation is low to medium-low, which is NOT surprising, in line with the style. Balance is heavily toward malt sweetness, only light bitterness on the finish.

O – Overall, a very well-done Barleywine, just doesn’t quite hit the mark on the flavor.

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Photo of Domvan
4.53/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark hazy brown/black color, has a nice full bodied mouthfeel that makes this beer enjoyable from the first sip. It was a great example of a barleywine that wasn't barrel aged. The sweetness adds to the experience as well. A definite favorite of mine now

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Photo of MakeMineADoubleJack
4.14/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Very enjoyable barleywine with a lot of properties that I would relate to a good Belgian quad. Pours with a thick, dark reddish hue. A latte colored head, no more than half a finger. Smells and tastes of dark fruits: raisins especially. Get a bit of bitter chocolate on the back end. Nose stands out a bit more than the flavor. Mouthfeel is thick and chewy. Overall, a damn good barleywine.

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Photo of oberon
3.97/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled in 12/14.My first Perennial beer to try.Pours into an imperial nonic a deep tawny color with a creamy thick beige head atop.Aromas of port and caramel,big rich and sweet,mild nuttiness comes into play as well.Very thick but still smooth in the mouth,near chewy.Cakey and port-like on the palate and it gets a bit sweet in it's richness after awhile,feels all of 10.5%.Maybe not the best beer to drink when in the upper 90's here in NC but it's good and Iam glad I got to try it.

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

This may be in the English style but it's still quite bitter at the finish. Very dark and charred grain. Smooth and sweet without being syrupy. The Raisin and prune flavors are quite lovely. Deep fruity aroma of fig jam and boozy fruitcake.

Hot alcohol aftertaste. Kind of a plum liqueur taste and a dose of sweet Vermouth with that herbal bitter finish. From the 750 ml bottle purchased at Special Brews in Lynnwood, Wash.

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Photo of mjpolzin
3.8/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A good representation of an English barleywine. So many barleywines are now the American version and heavily hopped. This was a nice sweet, malty English version through and through.

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Photo of Suds
3.99/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a 750 ml bottle, this beer is a rich brown color with a nice tan head. Woody scents...heavy on malt and alcohol. Low on fruit scents, but very earthy. The taste is intense, but pleasant. Warming and stong. Not overly sweet. Not has a sweet spice flavor. Full mouthfeel. Great barley wine.

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Photo of cjgiant
3.89/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On tap:
Pours a deep burgundy that really appears almost a red-tinged black. Head is minimal, thinly collecting at the edges. Initial nose was of grape and raisin. Dark bread notes come out more with warmth, as well as some licorice and hints of the alcohol behind the beer.

The feel is a tad thin, bordering on light, but the dark fig/plum notes are nice and strong. Molasses, licorice, dark cake bread come on to back up the dark color. There is a bit of candy (separate but related to the licorice), but it only peaks through, about as much as the alcohol. The finish is a tad oily.

This is another case of a beer that grew on me. Will definitely have to try this again and expect my rating might rise. Or maybe the fact "the next batch is always worse" will balance that out.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.17/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Fremont small snifter. Pours a very dark mahogany brown, appearing nearly opaque black in the glass with a thick khaki cap that dissipates to thin patches with little lacing. Aroma of caramel malt, fresh and dried dark fruit, particularly plums and raisins, concord grape, fruitier than expected for this style, but pleasant. Flavor is similar, dominated by plums, raisins, dates, currents; light red wine notes of oak tannin, caramel malt, earthy. Medium to heavy bodied with light carbonation. Not an American barleywine (little hops) and not a traditional English one either, with more of a dark fruit profile rather than caramel malt. A nice change of pace flavor for a barleywine. Well integrated flavors and moderately complex. Nicely made and different. Each taste surprises me with the fruit flavors, which I'm still not expecting from what is clearly a barleywine. ABV well covered, but this is warming. The carbonation is a bit weak, and that is the only flaw I found in this. I'm hoping to find a second bottle for ageing, since this has such an interesting flavor; usually the malt is the dominating flavor change in aged barleywines, here it will be the other flavors. Intriguing.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.19/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

BOTTLE: 750ml brown glass. Appealing label art. Branded pry-off pressure cap. Bottled 12/13.

10.5% ABV. Reviewed live as a barleywine per the label. Served cold into a tulip and allowed to warm over the course of consumption.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: 1 finger wide. Pleasant khaki colour. Nice creaminess and thickness. Fairly supple. Has an even consistency and a decent complexion.

No lacing sticks to the sides of the glass. Retention is nice - about 4 minutes.

BODY: Opaque dark brown-black. No yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible.

Appears well-carbonated.

It's a nice enough looking beer, but is far from unique or special, and isn't anywhere near as good looking as some of the best beers in the style.

AROMA: Cream, vanilla, dark malts, chocolate malt, marshmallow, moderate sweetness, a kiss of subtle anise/licorice, caramel, and light toastiness. No hop profile is detectable, nor is any yeast character, alcohol, or off-character. Some molasses sweetness is present, but a faint burnt sugar character helps tame the sweetness.

Overall, it's a pleasant aroma of moderate intensity and evokes a balanced barleywine. It could do with more marshmallow and vanilla, and a richer more evocative presentation of its flavours.

As it warms, I find some fruit emerging - perhaps plum or grape.

TASTE/TEXTURE: Plum and grape are definitely present, and are more prominent than the aroma lets on. I also pick up on some raisin and a hint of anise.

The malt foundation is comprised primarily of dark malts, the gooey cohesiveness of which helps guide the beer and is complemented well by the marshmallow note, which also carries a gooey syrupy sticky feel. It's chewy as well, which accents the raisin nicely. Still, the suppleness of the fruit gets largely left behind - a missed opportunity.

Sticky molasses is present, adding still more sweetness alongside some almost Belgian tasting malts. I might be finding cherry, but I can't be sure. Some caramel and burnt toast notes help tame the sweetness, preventing the flavour profile from coming off cloying.

No hop profile, yeast character, or off-notes come through. Yeast seems mildly attenuated at best judging by the obvious sweetness.

True to style, it's full-bodied and thick, but I could do without the syrupy feel, which lends the brew a clingy adherence to the palate. Predictably smooth and wet, with slight overcarbonation.

Overall, it's nicely balanced albeit a bit too sweet, and vanilla is sorely missed. Marshmallow could be played up, and the introduction of some bread crust would be nice. It's adequately complex, and the fruit is subtly executed, but there's ample room for improvement. Above average depth and duration of flavour. Average flavour intensity.

There is some alcohol-induced warmth, but it's not a hot or boozy beer.

I do like it, but it lacks any stand-out characteristics within its style. Unfortunately, its sweetness grows more problematic as it comes to temperature.

OVERALL: It hides its (relatively) high ABV well, but isn't a beer you'll be quaffing. Somewhere between a sipper and a session brew. It's not a unique or special barleywine, but while it won't impress, it'll scratch the discerning drinker's itch for the style. I won't pick it up again myself, but I'd be curious to try a bourbon barrel aged variant if they ever come out with one. I'm glad I tried it once, but it's far from world-class. Some (likely American) drinkers may observe a medicinal cherry off-note - which coupled with the troublesome sweetness may be a dealbreaker.


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Photo of Wobbly
4.4/5  rDev +9.5%

One of the best barley wines I have had in a while, and easily one of the ten best made in the U.S. that I have ever tried. This is one of my favorite styles, one that I enjoyed often when living in Britain. I feel many craft breweries lose the essence of this style looking for innovation, whereas this brew strikes a perfect balance between ambition and tradition. A really satisfying barley wine.

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Photo of richj1970
3.88/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from 750 ml bottle into Old Guardian glass. No visible bottle date.

A: Pours a deep chestnut brown with slight tan head that settled immediately to a thin ring around the edge. Zero lacing.

S: Caramel, cinnamon, nutmeg.

T: Sweet caramel malts mixed with a subtle spice mix. Some cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg. Maybe a touch of clover honey.

M: Fairly thick with an almost syrup quality to it leaving a lingering sweetness of the tongue. Alcohol fairly well hidden. Very lightly carbonated.

O: Enjoyable but missing that little something to make it outstanding.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to GRG1313 for sharing this one at his tasting.

Bottled 12/2013.

Pours a hazy reddish-brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small swaths of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of toasted malt, caramel, toffee, and honey aromas. Taste is much the same with toast, caramel, and toffee flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of earth bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with nice caramel, toffee, and honey qualities all around.

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Photo of clayrock81
4.08/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured a dark brown body with lace patches stuck to the glass on top of an aroma that is figs and dark fruit along with touches of bourbon and wood, along with some sweetness. The beer is thick/full but smooth and easy to drink thanks to some oakiness (body is chewy at times), and has a real good sweet edge thanks to vanilla/caramel taste notes and possible dark fruits along with figs. I have a sweet tooth and this beer seemed to hit it often and this was complemented by a slightly hot boozy finish. A very enjoyable barleywine.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.77/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

Bottled 12/2012. Consumed 16 months later.

Pours mildly translucent. Nice tan head. Very malt-thick nose. Raisin and a mild maple thing is on there also. Seems a bit boozy also, unfortunately. Flavor is pretty decent. Kind of seems a bit too clogged with a mild boozy edge and a whole lot of malty sweetness. A shame really as it exhibits a lot of characteristics you want to see for the style. After 16 months I wouldn't imagine it to be like this though. Maybe it's just not a good barleywine for aging.

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Photo of cvm4
3.67/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottled December 2013

A - Pours a dark, murky brown with a tan head. It's not pretty, but it definitely works.

S - Sweet, toffee, caramel malts and dark fruits.

T - Sweet taste that follows the nose to a T. Not overly hoppy.

M - Medium bodied and carbonation.

O - To me, the beer is a bit overly sweet. Not something I'd normally go after.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.18/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured on tap at Scion into a snifter glass.

A real nice looker for a barleywine. Cherry wood red and dark with much difficulty to see through. Capped with a coffee and light tan collar that always sticks around while drinking. The body color is to name for real, and real beautiful.

Interesting nose, hints of some old ale fun but really hits of the winter warmer like spices. Cherry, clove and good woody like hop bitterness that matches. Hints of peppery cinnamon angles also come out nicely too.

Pretty decent and diverse palate. Licorice and hot cherry, with lots of root beer like sasparilla warmth and spice. Light bodied palate for easy drinking but integrating and coating flavors nicely all around. Spice angle really turns into a lot of different things, rosehip tea, and some faint floral hints and dark chocolate.

Quite a neat take on a barleywine and drinks very nicely to match and easily. Great solid brew from these guys.

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Photo of LambicPentameter
3.92/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Enjoyed both the 2012 and 2013 vintages on tap at Bier Station as part of a celebration of Perennial's one-year anniversary of distributing to Kansas City. This review will include notes and scores for both vintages, but the "official" scores provided will be for the fresh version. Poured into small Belgian-style tulip glasses.

Appearance (4.0 fresh / 4.0 one-year) - Here, there is no appreciable difference in appearance between the two vintages. Both have a body that is deep oxidized brown, like rust or dried blood with some notes of deep garnet red that only become visible as I drink the liquid down and light has an easier time passing through. The head retains slightly longer on the older vintage, contrary to my expectations. The foam is about a finger thick and dusty white. Lacing is spotty and sticks to the side of the glass for a bit before slinking back down into the liquid leaving no trace of it's former existence.

Smell (3.75 / 4.0) - Honestly, these aren't as different as I expected, but the main difference is in the detection of booze in the younger version. Both give off notes of toasted oats, dates, caramel malt, toffee, and a sort of mineral spirits type characteristic. I suppose that's just a fancy way of saying that it's boozy.

Taste (4.0 / 4.25) - Many of the same characteristics from the smell are present in the taste, but a little more separation has occurred between the two beers on the tongue. The older version has matured quite nicely, with the fruity notes becoming more prominent alongside a sweeter candied fig element. Not overpoweringly sweet, but just a little bit. Hints of maple syrup in the older version as well. The younger version lacks that sweetness, instead having a bit of boozy heat alongside the notes of burnt caramel and dried figs.

Mouthfeel (3.75 / 4.0) - Both are slightly viscous, with a slightly clinging feel. Medium-bodied and low carbonation. Finish is semisweet and there is just a hint of lingering bitterness. Just enough to balance the sweeter characteristics.

Overall (4.0 / 4.0), a really solid barleywine that, if I had my choice, I would drink with about a year on it. I like the added sweetness and the fact that the booze has blended in to create a more cohesive beer. Both are great though--I would encourage anyone who has the opportunity to try them side-by-side. Having tried them both, I will definitely be sitting on my 2013 for a year or so.

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Vermilion Barleywine from Perennial Artisan Ales
4.02 out of 5 based on 247 ratings.
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