Sawyer's Swap Barley Wine Ale | Cape May Brewing Company

Sawyer's Swap Barley Wine AleSawyer's Swap Barley Wine Ale
48 Ratings
Sawyer's Swap Barley Wine AleSawyer's Swap Barley Wine Ale

Brewed by:
Cape May Brewing Company
New Jersey, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.60%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
An American style barley wine, very hoppy but with an ultra rich malty flavor. Use of the word" wine" is due to its similar alcoholic strength as a wine; but since it is made from grain rather than fruit, it is, in fact, a beer. This is a big beer with big flavor!

Added by touchmeimsac on 06-06-2013

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 48 |  Reviews: 16
Photo of George2744
4.49/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of StevenH
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Eamonn-Cummings3
3.73/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Look is a lot darker than a regular barleywine more like an extra dark brown ale with little to no head.

Aroma is sweet molasses with a little dark fruits (candied cherry) at the end.

Taste is very sweet giving way to a medicinal bitterness.

It's too bad the taste really ruins this one. I had such expectations with the look and aroma.

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Photo of oriolesfan4
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of wonothesane42
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of MacMalt
3.92/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I had this on draught at the brewery. It pours cola brown with cherry hues, and a foamy khaki-colored head and lacing. It smells and caramel, raisin, brown sugar, and floral hops. The taste opens with a dose of sweet caramel, plum, and raisin, and finishes with a refined hoppy bitterness. The flavors compliment each other and blend well. It has a fairly thick, creamy mouth feel, with mild carbonation, and a noticeable ABV of 9.6% Overall, it is a very nice interpretation of the American Barleywine style. It would pair nicely with a meal but it is great for casual drinking, as well. I think this is one of Cape May Brewing's finest offerings.

 653 characters

Photo of Latarnik
3.49/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Bouleboubier
3.99/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(12 oz bottle, no date, unfiltered... poured into a wine glass)

L: finger+ high foam stand, loose/open on the edges, satiny/rocky toward the middle... deep black cherry burgundy hue to the liquid, fair-good clarity... a couple splashy streaks of lace, no lasting head retention, only a thin collar

S: artifacts of some piney and citrus hops linger at the top, slightly roasty and mid-dark caramel malt aromas lumber beneath... overall, reminds me of a shade-darker Bigfoot... a booze dawn is just poking out over the horizon... the overall blend is appealing

T: bold fruity hops, no doubt in concert with some high fruity esters, with a slowly unfolding woodsy bitterness clinging to the tastebuds... the malt base is rich, again, leaning roast-forward, which leaves a nice balance against what is thankfully not a vibrant malt sweetness

F: medium-full bodied, on the medium side, but with a subtle, sumptuous slick slide of sugar in the finish... mild bit of warmth, but its essence seems to hover slightly under the dull stinging bitterness of the hops helped by the alcohol... pretty consistently (and borderline too) dry in the back end each time I've tried it... drinks more like a dry stout than an RIS

O: one of a small few of their beers I feel like they do pretty well, and I love that one of their winners is a high-powered malt vehicle, though they could get away with eking out as much as a 1/2% more abv... I've sampled this at the brewery a couple times and always enjoyed it and, now having finally had a full glass, I can certainly anticipate grabbing a full 4-pack fairly soon, a few packs of which I've seen sitting in some stores down here for a long while and have hopefully aged well

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Photo of sallorific
3.6/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Photo of tzieser
3.82/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass. Dark brown/tawny color with a thick off-white head that slowly subsides into a modest sized lace. Toasted malted barley aroma with undertones of herbal, earthy (grassy/hay) hop aromas. Sweet toasted malts again with more flavors of burnt sugar as well as a bit of spicy rye/tobacco. Finishes with some earthy hop bitterness.

Overall it's a good American barleywine. I love the history behind the name. Recommended

 461 characters

Photo of enorc14
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of wpreynolds
4.18/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

Photo of Blaze5445
3.81/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of justintcoons
3.77/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter.

Deep chestnut (near black) with ruby highlights. 1/2 finger of tan head dissipates quickly.

Molasses, toffee, prune, raisin, caramel, cocoa, and light pine.

Molasses, toffee, and caramel. Prune juice and raisin. Hints of cocoa. Light earthy hop flavors with slight pine and grapefruit zest.

Medium-plus bodied, smooth, oily, and balanced.

Molasses, toffee, and dark fruit. A well balanced Barleywine that hides the abv well.

 505 characters

Photo of wise456
4.06/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of gr0g
3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, served in a snifter. Deep brown with reddish highlights, encroaching on porter/stout levels of darkness. Short head, little lace formation. Floral and citric aroma with just a hint of alcohol. Hop notes overshadow malt contributions to a degree.

Quite a bit of hop bitterness on the palate. Again, a bit too heavy on the hops, as the rich flavors of ripe fruit and caramelized sugar that I'd like to taste in a barleywine are muted. A little bit of booziness on the finish that's not out of character for the style. Mouthfeel is fine but suffers from too much fizziness. Flavor improves as it warms. Maybe some age would show this in a better light.

 663 characters

Photo of SocalKicks
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.84/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

From BeerAdvocate Magazine #90 (July 2014):

Malty, Heavy, Bitter, Boozy

A bit of a malt bomb to start with layers of caramel and dried plums, some yeast kicks around a quite noticeable alcohol. Bread but then soon bitter from a heavy dose of hops, mild tobacco and citrus rind flavors come to mind. A few sips in and this beaut really starts to grow on us. We’d opt to drink it fresh.

STYLE: American Barleywine | ABV: 9.6% | AVAILABILITY: Rotating

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Photo of farrago
4.23/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Gives less than a half finger head, tan foam but no retention, leaves a thin dusting dusting across the surface, can’t call it powerful but there’s actually more lacing than expected. Noticeably clear brown-orange hued liquid, actually a beautiful color, close to zero visible bubbles. Caramel, honey, scones and caramelized brown sugar make the first impression in the nose, dried cherries and golden raisins, old school country style bread, the kind of rip off in chunks, light wood smoke, remarkable for its freshness and ease in flowing forward through your nostrils. Full-bodied, here it has enough density that just maybe it loses that effortless grace. Peat, smoke, spent yeast, cola bean, caraway, by now the herbal qualities may have seen their best days. Tar, graphite, campfire embers, as it warms the inner mouth pungency grows. The carbonation could stand to have more kick but this is a minor quibble. Cherry, golden raisin, date and fig, this all manages to step lively. Booziness held in check throughout, tingly finish without any well intentioned lurching forward. This could prove versatile at the dinner table.

 1,134 characters

Photo of smi69
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%

Photo of Wayne17
3.84/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of ArtZan
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of caw76
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of devilfluff
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of sulldaddy
4.01/5  rDev +3.9%

I am sampling this 12 ozbottle cold and poured into a snifter. The beer is a gift from my brother Curt. Thanks!
The beer exhibits slightly hazy chestnut hue with minimal head that is only an edge layer almost immediately after the pour.
Aroma is lots of malt with molasses and brown sugar dominating and some rich bakers chocolate. I do get a little bit of citrus hop, like orange peel or maybe grapefruit. the description here on the site says this is a hoppy, but this is a maltforwad beer for certain, almost more strong ale than barleywine.
First sip gives me a slightly chewy body and very fine yet tingly carbonation. Flavor is similar to nose with malt strength. No real booze hits which is impressive at 9.6%. Hops are subdued on the flavor too. Maybe a little citrus again, but generally a malty brew here. I find it very easy to drink and wish I had another bottle.
Go grab this if you see it and like robust beers with a hefty malt base. Worthy brew.

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Sawyer's Swap Barley Wine Ale from Cape May Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.86 out of 5 with 48 ratings
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