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

very good
47 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

For Trade:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Ratings: 47 |  Reviews: 16
Reviews by facundoCNB:
Photo of facundoCNB
4.52/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a clean deep amber/brown in color, finger of off-white head which diminished very slowly - lots of lacing left behind. smells very fruity - strawberries come to mind; lots of sweet malt, caramel, nutty, biscuity. my good ness, this is a DELICIOUS blend of sweet malts, hints of dark fruit, charred barrels, a lingering bitter-sweet profile from the roasty feel/grassy hops and the sweet malts.. lots of caramel malt present in the flavor.. wow - this is phenomenal. one of my favorite barleywines to date.. i wonder what this was like super fresh!? medium in body, low carbonation.. cannot taste nor feel the high abv. a VERY easy to drink barleywine.

honestly - i think this deserves to be on everyone's wants lists. this is fantastic. not sure if there's any left at the brewery, last time i was there i bought 3.. one for me and a few for friends. really wish i went for the 4th to have another on hand for myself.

between the fruity scent and the sweet flavors, this is one of my favorite barleywines by far. this doesn't have the generic "faded ipa" caramel malt flavor you see in a lot of barleywines.. this just tastes super fresh. if i could change anything, and this is me just nitpicking now, i would make it a tad bit hoppier.. personal preference.. but honestly i wouldn't bother touching this masterpiece if i were the brewer.

 1,341 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.84/5  rDev 0%
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

 454 characters

Photo of Stigs
2.5/5  rDev -34.9%

Photo of tempest
4/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of StevenH
4.5/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of JT99125
4/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of Eamonn-Cummings3
3.73/5  rDev -2.9%
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.

 387 characters

Photo of fourstringer
3.96/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Stone old-fashioned glass. Moderate hand. No identifiable date. Dig the Civil War themed label.

A: Dark amber body with orange tint when held up to the light. 1/2 finger light tan head. Average retention. Light lacing.

S: Sweet caramel, brown sugar, lighter cherry/raisin/berry notes. I'm picking up the distinct essence of Terry's chocolate orange - you know, the kind you get at Xmas. Hops are present, with a dark, subtle character. A hint of smokiness.

T: A flash of bitterness leads into a strong chocolate, coffee presence and roasted malt nuttiness. Well balanced hops return for a mostly dry finish. Alcohol is light for almost 10% ABV. Lingering bitter chocolate in the aftertaste.

M: Moderate carbonation with a moderate-to-light body for the style. Could be a bit fuller, a bit silkier, but overall not bad at all.

O: Picked this one up randomly on vacation, trying to sample some local brews. I was not disappointed - this one was quite enjoyable. Think barley wine cum porter with some well-integrated fruit/citrus character and you have the idea. Glad I have another in the cellar.


 1,142 characters

Photo of ArtZan
4/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of tzieser
3.82/5  rDev -0.5%
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 weeare138
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

Photo of IPAchris
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

Photo of sulldaddy
4.01/5  rDev +4.4%

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.

 967 characters

Photo of smi69
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%

Photo of Wayne17
3.84/5  rDev 0%

Photo of March_of_99
4/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of Oakenator
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

Photo of justintcoons
3.77/5  rDev -1.8%
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 SocalKicks
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of wise456
4.06/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Bouleboubier
3.99/5  rDev +3.9%
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

 1,709 characters

Photo of wonothesane42
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of InspectorBob
4/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of sallorific
3.6/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Photo of orangesol
4/5  rDev +4.2%

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Sawyer's Swap Barley Wine Ale from Cape May Brewing Company
3.84 out of 5 based on 47 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.