Pillar Of Beasts
3 Floyds Brewing Co.

Pillar Of BeastsPillar Of Beasts
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Style:
Barleywine - English
Ranked #51
ABV:
13.7%
Score:
91
Ranked #4,084
Avg:
4.22 | pDev: 6.87%
Reviews:
20
Ratings:
58
From:
3 Floyds Brewing Co.
 
Indiana, United States
Avail:
Rotating/Seasonal
Wants
  1
Gots
  4
SCORE
91
Outstanding
Pillar Of BeastsPillar Of Beasts
Notes: Somewhere in the distance we hear the pounding of native drums. Was it in our minds? We don’t know. What we do know is that we made a salted caramel barley wine, put it in bourbon barrels for 12 months, and added vanilla beans and cocoa nibs. Taste the scrumptiousness.

18 IBU
Reviews: 20 | Ratings: 58 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of maximum12
maximum12 from Minnesota

3.9/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A new barrel aged beer these days is rarer than a free plan ticket to Belgium, so I snapped up this 12 oz. bottle happily.

The pour is dark brown of watered-down dirt behind home plate with a nose to match. No, not really, it’s strong, strong caramel laced with salt. No barrel. Hoping it arrives on the tongue.

Pillar of Beasts! Sounds like a fine D&D campaign theme. The caramel is all over this beer like caramel on beer. And just like the nose, there is a pleasant echo of salt mid-background. Barrel creeps around on nearly silent feet with understated wood & low, stolid bourbon (booziness in tow). Sinuses clearing. Beer level in glass dropping. Brain function decreasing.

Three Floyds: always a crapshoot for me & I’m happy to report this was very good, if not in the stratosphere one might hope at this price point. But hey, caramel + salt + barrel + barleywine was an experiment worth laying out for.

Aug 11, 2020
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ovaltine from Indiana

4.02/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This pours a turbid milk chocolate brown color with a tan head. In my experience barleywines don’t look like a milkshake, so this is a first for me. The nose is led by boozy barrel notes, and the caramel is also prominent, and there’s some cacao aromas as well. Nothing from the vanilla beans.

The taste is fairly scrumptious as described on the bottle, with the caramel and cacao flavors leading the way to a slightly boozy finish that leaves you wanting another sip. But the mouthfeel is flat, almost distractingly so.

I have more of this, so I’m going to age a couple and see if the beer evolves, but this is one Three Floyds beer that didn’t meet my expectations.

Aug 10, 2020
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barnzy78 from Illinois

3.62/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle
no apparent freshness date
L: murky brown with some sludge at the bottom (caramel slurry?); almost no head
S: booze, vanilla, bourbon, sweet caramel, brown sugar
T: strong booze, caramel candy, vanilla, oak, bourbon, brown sugar, caramelized grain, toffee, earthy hops, maybe a hint of salt
F: full & syrupy body, lower carbonation, booze is hot and peppery on the bourbon-y finish
O: loads of flavors going on here, but I am not as much of a fan of this as everyone else seems to be.

Aug 03, 2020
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BB1313 from Ohio

4.19/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 6/19/20. 12oz bottle poured into a tulip. Pours a murky and cloudy dark brown with light brown hues; fluffy khaki head that fades leaving solid retention and okay lacing. The aromas have lots of caramel along with some cocoa, toffee, vanilla and coconut. Lots of dark fruits. Lots of malts. The bourbon is subtle in the aromas but definitely noticeable. The flavors are bold and complex while remaining balanced. More caramel, toffee and cocoa. Lots of raisins. More vanilla and coconut coming from the oak. Some rye giving it a spicy finish. The salt from the salted caramel is mild but noticeable. The bourbon definitely comes through without completely dominating or diminishing the other flavors. Strong malt backbone. It's pretty sticky. Finishes warm, but it's not hot or boozy. Mouthfeel is full-bodied with moderate carbonation. It's slick and smooth.

This is a great barrel-aged barleywine. It's big and bold while not feeling huge. Bold and balanced. Everything is hitting on all cylinders. The craftsmanship is on point. Well done. I really like this.

Jul 30, 2020
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Sabtos from Ohio

4.02/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Muddy brown with a short khaki blanket settling quickly to a fine chain.

This is a fairly piney, woody and splintery barleywine. It's a bit overly hopped to my palate, as well as a bit hot, but with a uniquely intriguing salted caramel, toasted oak and cacao nib backing that keeps me engaged. Light hints of vanilla glide amongst notes of brighter grape and a palate numbingly warming alcohol that emerges on the way down.

The slick medium body has a fine but crackly fizz that comes to a powder dry finish exhaling somewhat astringently throughout. I can't help but think when I get these flavors out of the more old school American style barleywines: "are they using old hops?" It really does have that old school character of almost catty, resinous Arrogant Bastard-ish hops. But at the same time, the aroma remains enticing over the session, consisting solely of salted caramel and chocolate.

It's one dash pastry barleywine (and, I wonder, if this was the first of its kind back in 2018), one dash old school life--with that overly hopped of funky, stale, cat pissy hops. The redeeming qualities slightly outweigh the overbearing hops as it warms, but nevertheless, they persist.

Jul 25, 2020
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jkblr from Indiana

4.23/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottled 06/19/20 (1 month ago) poured into a Spiegelau stout glass after a 15 minute warm up from the fridge, no ABV listed on label. The beer pours murky, medium brown in color with fizzy light brown head. The head recedes rapidly to a pencil thin ring. No lacing. The aroma is moderate in strength featuring bourbon, toffee, fig and old leather. The taste is mildly salty, semisweet caramel with fig, dark dried fruit, oak and bourbon. Minimal bitterness. The mouthfeel is slick from the salt with full to medium body, less than medium carbonation and a somewhat dry finish. No alcohol presence in the aroma or taste, which is a real accomplishment at the ABV. Overall, very good. It's an ugly beer & I could do without the salted part of the caramel, but everything else is just want you want in the style.

Jul 24, 2020
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BEERchitect from Kentucky

4.55/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Salted caramel, bourbon barrels and that special Three Floyds moxy... the classic barleywine style never saw this coming. This three headed monster of flavor takes the British Barleywine and elevates it to beast-like proportions.

This Pillar of Beasts comes with a rusty mahogany brown and capping with a slight sepia stained crown. A rich and rife malt perfume wafts over the senses with a succulent blend of fruitcake, sherry, port, sticky toffee and oaken spice in nearly mouthwatering fashion. Deliciously and cloyingly sweet, the early palate slathers with the density of caramel, toffee, brown sugar and molasses for extra measure.

The complexities keep coming as the ale's lavish maltiness washes over the middle palate; bringing the dark fruit flavors of fig, date, raisin, plum, red grape and light tobacco. Sultry, sweet and toasty, the influence of bourbon highlights the caramel while bringing nuances of charred oak, vanilla, coconut and cherry. A fine salinity only helps to boost the already present umami richness present in the barrel and the beer. Light and woodsy bitterness decorates the finish with a nutty, mesquite spice.

Decadent and lavishly full in body, the twelve ounce bottle is an easy split two-ways as its richness and unwavering sweetness brings palate fatigue quickly. A simmer of port and brandy peppers the throat as this viscous and chewy ale is a slow sipping affair, finishing fat with savory malt sweetness and lingering unapologetically long with much the same.

Jul 13, 2020
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Harrison8 from Missouri

4.24/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a foggy toffee-brown with a finger of khaki foam. It has all the shades and hues of a salted caramel treat. Aroma is sweet, but not overly sugary, hitting with notes of caramel, toffee, raisins, fig and chocolate. Malts are toasty, nutty and earthy, adding a little firmness below the doughy dessert top. Flavor profile is raisins, fig, caramel, toffee, chocolate and molasses with toasty, nutty, earthy and caramely malts establishing the base. It leans firmly sweet, but doesn't stick and cling to the tongue like a syrup. Mouth feel is medium-thick with a rather smooth effervescence that pairs well with the fine crushed velvet texture. Overall, dessert like without being sickly, this is a dense barleywine packing some serious dessert mojo in each sip.

Served in a 15.5oz Speigalau tulip from a 750mL bottle.

May 17, 2020
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stortore from Illinois

4.3/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750 ml bottle into a snifter. 2018 release, had 3/28/20.

Pours an orange/ brown color, mostly opaque, with a quarter inch foamy head and no lacing. Aromas of bourbon, caramel, dates, vanilla, figs, oak, light chocolate, light tobacco, a bit of a spicy aroma. The flavor mostly follows along- bourbon, caramel, malt, vanilla, dates, figs, salt as it warms, some chocolate, some oak, spices. Smooth, a good medium body, well carbonated.

Lots of bourbon and salted caramel, and the vanilla shows well too. Focused and a little straightforward, but very well done. Very enjoyable and well worth a purchase, but it has a high price point.

Apr 14, 2020
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EMH73 from New York

4.24/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a murky orange-brown with a quarter inch tan head that left some blotches of lacing. Smells of bourbon, caramel, vanilla and oak. Tastes of salted caramel, bourbon, vanilla, oak, cocoa, molasses and raisins. Syrupy mouth feel, light carbonation, medium bodied.

Dec 01, 2019
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beersampler6 from Michigan

3.93/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very interesting beer. Pours a honeyed amber color with just a little scant white head and spotty lingering lacing. Smells mainly of some malt, bourbon, oak, vanilla, medium roast coffee, milk chocolate. Maybe a little caramel and nuttiness. Taste follows the nose. A little too boozy for me and I wish it were more balanced and less alcohol-tasting. Smooth, slightly sticky mouthfeel and decent carbonation. Definitely a sipper.

Jul 30, 2019
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Buck89 from Tennessee

4.26/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a FFF Teku glass courtesy of FFFjunkie. A muddy, rusty color with a medium sized tan head that lingered, leaving decent tracks. A lot going on in this one, but each aspect stood out and made for a fun, delicious, and complex beer. Chocolate, vanilla, caramel, bourbon, and salt were all there. The base beer seemed to be an English style lacing the assertive bitterness in many American BWs. Barrel was great and not overwhelming. Big but not overwhelmingly boozy. My only suggestion is to dial back the salt a bit, as it was somewhat distracting from an otherwise exceptional beer.

Jun 23, 2019
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drdiesel9483 from Ohio

4.65/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

look - light brown hazy great color
smell - caramel salty woody boozy
taste - great caramel salty treat
feel - easy drinking at a slow level, syrup, full body with a light carb... warming
overall - incredible, caramel salty treat

May 28, 2019
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REVZEB from Illinois

4.21/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Had on tap. Pours a murky brighter brown. The salted caramel and barrel are the most dominant flavors, and of the barrel the wood is up front with the barley and caramel, while the hot booze is more in feel and finish. Cocoa, vanilla, golden raisin, chewy molasses also present. Smell is boozy caramel and barley.

Dec 22, 2018
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darktronica from Indiana

4.33/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Very muddy on the initial pour, which eventually resembles a hazy caramel-colored brown. Very little head to speak of, just a bit of light burbling. Vanilla and rich caramel on the nose, with some nebulous, very mild Christmas spice--similar to cheap caramel chew candies, but maybe a little classier thanks to real vanilla rather than extracts. The spices disappear on the palate, but otherwise, the aroma carries through to the flavor profile, joined by some bit'o'honey and bourbon booze. The finish does still have a bit of bright acidity to it; this is much needed to keep it from becoming a sugar bomb.

That said, I'm having some cognitive dissonance drinking this. It's FFF, so I'm expecting massive hops, and yet all I've got is a sweet, English-style profile. I can't tell if the beer is a) actually an English barleywine with additives, b) an American barleywine whose hop character is being completely drowned out by the additives, or c) it's secretly a wheat beer that's been sufficiently sweetened and barreled to call it a BBA barleywine. Whatever its true nature, it's delicious. No complaints.

Dec 14, 2018
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jws7968 from Illinois

4.34/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Boozy, salted caramel is not something I would usually enjoy. This one is beyond solid. It looks like the rusted water that comes through old pipes after a water main break. The aroma is very barrel forward. Taste is caramel with some saltiness and a little vanilla. Very nice beer.

Dec 01, 2018
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Luscious_Malfoy from Illinois

4.3/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

poured from a 750mL bottle that’s well over a year and a half old. pours light brown. almost looks maroon, like a fruited saison. smells heavily of chocolate and toffee. a touch of bourbon. taste is more toffee, chocolate, vanilla and some bourbon sting. mouthfeel is semi full; not overly thick but also not thin. overall, this furthers my theory that floyds just doesn’t age well. perhaps this was average to below average to begin with, but i remember enjoying it quite a bit fresh. maybe it has too many adjuncts to stand up to aging. maybe it’s in a weird spot right now. who knows. still a decent barleywine and with new 12oz 4pks going into distro i look forward to having a fresh one very soon.

Nov 27, 2018
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JohnnyHopps from Indiana

3.84/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - The beer poured the color of rust water with visible white bubbles crowning the glass.

Smell - The barrel aging was prominent in the nose with a hint of sweetness.

Taste - My initial impression was bitter caramel, if such a thing exists. Surprisingly, the salt also comes through. I came expecting a sweet dessert style beer, but this was just a bitter mess. Regular Behemoth has more sweetness than this.

Mouthfeel - The viscosity allowed the beer to linger and stay for a while. Unfortunately, only the hops were lingering.

Overall - Maybe I did not get a great bottle. But in the big picture, I was not impressed with this beer.

Nov 24, 2018
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Warren2621 from Indiana

4.43/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The barrel and vanilla shine here. I'm not a huge vanilla fan but FFF does it well. Punch of salt, bourbon, and mild grass initially. Pillowy vanilla sweetness follows with bourbon heat. Finish is warm with the base beer and caramel showing why barleywine lovers love barleywine.

Exciting project from FFF. I will never take a pastry barleywine over a straight up BA one but each aspect of this beer was well executed so I have no reservations saying its excellent.

Oct 31, 2018
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AngEo from Texas

4.33/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

L: Muddy water with really no head to speak of. Barleywines arent pretty. Let's accept that and move on.
S: Very nice. Deep tones of vanilla on the nose that finish with a hot wave if boozyness. Carmel malt, toasted oak.
T: Bourbon soaked vanilla. Sweet but not overpowering. Warms on the way down but doesnt feel 14% Will certainly sneak up on you.
F: Drinks smooth and goes down hot. Good cold weather sipper. This beer excels here.
O: Another solid offering from a brewery that knows their way around a barrel. I bought a bottle to cellar as I an a fan of the style, but if barleywines arent your thing it is at the very least worth trying a pour.

Oct 30, 2018
Pillar Of Beasts from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 58 ratings