Baggywrinkle Barleywine | Cisco Brewers Inc.

139 Ratings
Read the review

Brewed by:
Cisco Brewers Inc.
Massachusetts, United States

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Bierman9 on 12-09-2001

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Ratings: 139 |  Reviews: 84
Photo of NEhophead
3.62/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22 fl oz brown bottle; served in a goblet.
This edition is labeled at 9% abv.

Pours a deep muddy maple with amber-copper highlights. Creamy, porous white head that settles as a stable, creamy sheet. Thin and patchy lacing with pretty good strength.

Creamy caramel and rich toffee. Complex, sherry-soaked vinous fruit: red apple, plum, grape. Very oily hop profile with notes of pine, citrus, and tropical fruit.

Semi-sweet, creamy caramel base that is quickly over-taken by a slick, gaseous alcohol and tartness. Abrasive grapefruit, lemon, orange, and green apple sour-bite. Artificial sour quality with a waxy alcohol comnponent. Big flavors, but too young and unbalanced.

Full bodied; as slick as any Barleywine I've had on account of the hop oils and the gaseous alcohol presence.

A bulky, unbalanced Barleywine. Unusual as the aroma is so inviting. My guess would be to lay this down for 12 to 18 months for the balance to develop and the flavors to round.

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Photo of brewandbbq
3.92/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Vintage 2001 as reviewed on 9/14/06.

Pours murky, dark chestnut, with barely any head coming out of solution.
Meager amount of beige bubbles of various sizes dissapate to just a ring around the edges, with minimal dotted lacework.
Aromatics are largely dried malt, dark fruit, raisins, and some very nice vineous notes.
A small wet paper hint detracts minimally.
Very barleywine-esque in the aromatics and subdued hopping, with heavy-ish malt nods to the brits.
Body is fullish with plenty of chewy, syrupy, malt.
Light carbonation adds to the "wine-like" character.
Pallet is very raisiny, with malt and dark rum.
Underlying citrus fruit is there when you look for it, and bitterness is to balance only.
Finishes with cocoa dusted dark malt and some lingering warmth.

This Baggywrinkle has held up well on it's side for 5 years, but the more current versions are superior, as they are barrel aged.

Edit 1/25/08
another vintage 2001 bottle sampled, and this beer is fading.
Mostly just dry malt and hints of raisins. The vineousity is holding up, but there's some wet paper-board that's starting to detract.
There are some decent sherry notes that are becoming prominant, though.

Vintage 2002 as reviewed on 4/28/08

A boisterous whisp breaks through the cracking of the cap.
A carefull, slanted pour shows dark amber and hazy, with a lively, two-inch head. Dense froth of beige which fell slowly and left some errant dots of lacework.

Dark malts, brown sugar, and caramel lead off the nose. Belgian-like phenols make an appearance. Cloves and a hint of bubblegum. Some faint citrus, leather, and raisins follow beneath along with a hint of smoke and wet cardboard.

Lively, creamy mouthfeel. Sticky and tacky.

Malt-forward on the pallet, with sweet toffee, caramel, cocoa, and figs.
Raisins, dark rum, and alcohol follow through.
Finishes with warmth on the throat with lingering sugary malts and underlying orange oil.

The best aged example I've had, and resembling a large Belgian Dubble. Probably infected, but to a benefit for my tastes.

Vintage 2003 as reviewed on 3/6/09.

Pours dark amber with a slight haze and an inch-plus head of beige into a tulip glass.
A solid skim coat remained on the surface of the brew for the duration as well as some decent lacing.

Aromatics lead off with a blast of vineousity and bourbon. Very Sherry-like and boozy. Cherries, malt, and whiskey. Very nice.

Medium bodied with a tacky but creamy mouthfeel. Crispish with a chewy edge.

Ripe fruit, Sherry, plump malt, and bourbon start the palate. A very high level of vineousity builds and nods to red wine. Hopping is only found in some balancing bitterness, which is followed by some earthy tannins.

Finishes with a lingering warmth, extreme vineous overtones, and boozy-bourbon caramel.

By far this is the best Baggywrinkle I've had. Incredibly complex and probably peaking at six years old. A great example of the art of barrel-aging.

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Photo of smcolw
3.84/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Hazy ruby, dark amber color. Small head that dies out quickly. Low level of lace.

Powerful. Super sweet brown sugar aroma...mild alcohol in the background. No hop.

Potent and sweet, this beer has a surprising hop bite that is completely missing from the smell. Strongly warming from the alcohol level. The body is full without being sugary. The carbonation is seemingly low.

Here's a beer that malt liquors envy. It wasn't designed to get you drunk--the flavor is too good. But it will knock you on your ass. I suggest sharing the 22 oz bottle.

(Note: my bottle says the ABV is 9%, not the 12% listed here. Frankly, the "feel" is closer to the higher number.)

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Photo of orfeu
3.44/5  rDev -2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

8.8% abv, 750 ml capped bottle given to me by a friend last year (September 2006). Not 12% abv, so I'm assuming this is older, like 2005 maybe... Glassy chestnut with way too much sand-colored foam. Head dies incredibly quickly for its initial size. Candied hazelnut scents mix with boozy date and prune aromas. Some concentrated cherry notes peek through in the taste with a cloying alcohol spiciness interrupting the sugar cookie, dark fruit, and toffee flavors. Fairly overcarbonated. Somewhere between slick and chewy. Tastes far more alcoholic than the 8.8% listed on the label. Nothing I'll seek out again.

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Photo of macster
1.67/5  rDev -52.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Really hate to rate an infected or poorly handeled bottle of beer but since I live in FL I’ll not have the availability of re-sampling this beer anytime soon. Poured a somewhat thin looking and fizzy black color. Produced a thin off-white head which disappeared in a flash. Aromas of figs, raisins, prunes and roasted malts which were unfortunately spoiled by a subtle whiff of vinegar. Mouthfeel was thin and fizzy; not a texture one would expect from a Barley Wine. Flavor profile was a disaster; a underlying vinegar sourness dominated the taste. Unfortunately this $6.99 bomber ended up poured down the drain. At 12% I’d love to try a fresh and uninfected botlle of this BW, but there was something amiss with this bottle for sure.

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Photo of mcallister
3.54/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Opaque dark russet. Unfortunately this brew opened and oozed foam for minutes and wouldn't let up. Head obviously was large and highly carbonated. but fades quickly and leaves little lacing.

Toffee and burnt caramel aromas. Maple syrup layered buck wheat cakes with some buttery diacetyl? Candied dried fruits, with a sweet baking bread aroma.

Coconut freshly chopped with cherry, berry, candied truffle, and bready buttery aspects. Not bad but not at its peak. Some minor infection?

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Photo of Bierguy5
3.45/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

750 ml, 8.8 % ABV. Again, thanks to mcallister for bringing this over for a small tasting. Upon opening, this thing spewed foam for several minutes. We were able to get a few glasses out of it. Cloudy, chestnut colot. Huge thick foamy head. Certainly overcarbonated. The airy head disappeared after several minutes.

Butterscotch aroma at the beginning, particularly when all of the foam was involved. Earthy and floral hops, candi sugar, caramel and fruit. Alcohol in the nose. Not too bad of a nose.

Lots of warming alcohol. Candi sugar, some cherry and oak. Caramel, and earthy, floral hops.

Way overcarbonated. A bit warm.

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Photo of barleywinebrewer
3.49/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

not sure the vintage on this one. from my veritable back yard so of course I had to try it.
A - cloudy dark reddish golden color with a monstrous light tan head. Crazy, it was slowly foaming over the top of the bottle after a pour into a 22 oz pilsner glass.
S - Rich sweet toffee caramel malts with a hint of warmth.
T - taste follow's the aroma. classic EBW.
M - full bodied, over carbonated, sweet but not cloying.
D - I would've preferred a 12oz rather than the 750ml bottle.

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Photo of yourunclewalt
3.78/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Not sure if this was a "bad bottle" like some reviewers have complained about, but it did explode when opened...wouldn't stop foaming for quite some time, but we did manage to get a glass out of it...

A - Massive thick tan head, heavy lacing, dead yeast cells actually on the head, impenetrable hazy murky brown, sedement everywhere

S- Sweet fruity esters (pears, apricot), rock candy, alcohol stings the nose so much that I nearly gaged when I first inhaled deeply

M - Lots of alcohol here, creamy mid palate

T - Creamy malts, vodka, toffee, pears, sour apples, butterscotch

D - This was a rough one. It grew on us by the end of the bottle, but definitely one of the hardest barleywines I've ever had.

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Photo of EVLguy
3.64/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I've been away from the big beers for a long while but with a return like this I'm sorry I ever left.

Picked this up at the Whole Foods in Greenville, SC. The bottle says 8.2% abv however by taste alone I could easily put this around 12%. Either way it's odd though as beers over 6% abv should not be allowed in the state until 2007. Anyway on to the review.

Appearance - 3
Poured a substantial tan-colored head which dissipated after 3 or 5 minutes. Very dark-brown with tinges of orange. Light does not penetrate through my pint glass. Little to no foam left around glass.

Smell - 4
Very sweet malt aromas; cider-like

Taste - 3.5
Overall very barleywine, distinct sweet malt and a slight fruitiness. At first the beer is balanced nicely with a light profile of bittering hops, however as the beer warms this is lost to the malt and alcohol content.

Mouthfeel - 4
The expected barleywine characteristics. Heavy-bodied, medium cabonation.

Drinkability - 3.5
Overall it's a smooth barleywine with little alcohol bite, however this brew is best when cold throughout the entire sitting. You may want to use a chilled glass.

This one is best as a dessert beer.

NOTE: No bottle number, batch, or vintage present

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Photo of cbl2
3.15/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

10/15/2006 $8.99 750 mL 12.00% Limited release No. 1456.


Pours a murky dark brown with orange highlights adorned by over 3 inches of foamy tan head, which has me worried, since I've always had carbonation issues with Cisco beers.


A heady mix of plums, cherries, robust sweet malts undercut by some hot alcohol presence.


Chewy, sweet burnt raisin malts intermingled with a burst of alcohol. One glass of this is ok, but I'm struggling with the entire bottle, it's just too much of a not so great thing.

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Photo of Crosling
4.05/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Muddy orange color, with a wispy white head. Coconut, vanilla, frosted fruits, chocolate, caramel, cocoa, brown sugar and cake batter in the luscious and intoxicating aroma. Big gulps reveal an enormous chewy character, with a medium body. Flavor is malt accented, yet reveals interwoven flavors of toasted oak, vanilla and coconut. Hints of banana and fig on the mid-palate, which leads to a mildly vinous, nougat and caramel like finish. I find it delicious, but in a more subtle, gentler way. Not what you would expect from such a montrous beer.

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Photo of barrelman
1.21/5  rDev -65.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

This is a tough one. 8.8% abv. on the bottle. The beer was overcarbonated and had way too much butter scotch aroma and taste (Not one of my favorite things).

I didn't get a good read on the mouthfeel because I really could not get past the taste.

This beer obviously had something very wrong with it. I wanted to say something good about it but I can't. I cannot finish this.

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Photo of francisweizen
4/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

75-ml bottle split with a friend. Label says 2002. Gold plastic around the neck. Pop the cap.

This pours a hazy orangey/brown colour witha substantial head of dirty off-white head that lasts for a bit and than dies its death. Aromas are very sweet for a barleywine, malty and accentuated with sweet tropical fruits like pineapple, and mango, as well as bubble gum notes and sticky cotton candy hops. The taste is herbal and reiny with the sweet fruit mending well with the sweet hops, this is a real sweet tooth beer. The 12% goes pretty much unnoticed and this one is nice and light and fizzy on the tongue. Drinkability is good. This one is quite interesting.

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Photo of WesWes
3.29/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The beer pours a muddy dark gold color with a towering offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is decent. It has a rich, malty scent that boasts of roasted and crystal malts. It's got a nice burnt toffee aroma and as well as a high alcohol kick. The taste is decent also. It has a warm malty flavor that boasts of pale, crystal, and roasted malts. It goes down easy and finishes with some residual caramel sweetness. The mouthfeel is average. It is full bodied beer with way too much carbonation. This is an average barleywine. It looks terrible, but the taste is pretty good. I think their beers are way overrated. The price is way too high for the quality of the product. It's one and done for me.

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Photo of Suds
3.74/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My bottle was marked with # 1499.
Pours a cloudy, silty, rust-brown color with a negligible head. Smells like an English barleywine. Fruit and alcohol. Malt, dried fruit (raisins), bread, caramel. It’s a rough smell, and not as refined as I had hoped. Maybe a little age will do this one some good. Deep, earthy (almost musty) taste. There’s lots of sweetness and hop flavor. It’s heavily tilted toward the malt. There’s a lot going on in there…serious warming, yeast flavors, toffee, caramel, grain, and tons of different fruits. A little chocolate flavor too? Pretty nice balance. Thick, almost chewy mouthfeel. Again, though, this one doesn’t come together the way I’d hoped. It’s strong, and has all of the separate qualities of a good barleywine, but it doesn’t come together in a complete package. Also, the yeastiness and chocolate were a little distracting. This one is strong and tastey, but it’s not rich, luxurious, refined, and complex…those are the qualities that I look for in a barleywine.

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Photo of johnniemarg
3.1/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

It's a 1 Pint 9.4 oz bottle. I like the bottle and label. Classy. Limited release and my bottle is stamped No. 2458. I bought this last weekend at Half Time beverage.

Okay, the appearance of this is comical for me at first. I poured it into my Duvel tulip (freebee last weekend from half time when I bought this) and the head came up and out to the point where I had a 5 inch head on a 2 inch pour. Because of the shape of the tulip it looks like a mushroom cloud. Despite the fact that the head is hanging out above the top of the glass, it's not falling down on the outside of the glass. It's sticking together so I guess that's a good sign. The glass is brand new and I rinsed it well with hot water and let it dry thoroughly, so I don't think it's the glass. To chill it I put it in the freezer for about 35 minutes. Does that make beers pour with too much head? I don't know. I kinda like this look though. I just hope it doesn't mean I'm sucking all the carbonation out of the beer. Almost opaque but I can make out that it's very cloudy and reddish-brown when held up to a light. It's taking me forever to pour this thing but I'm ready to have a taste. That head is firm and persistent. Lots of nice lacing. After a while it does fall down for the most part but stays thick and consistent enough to never let you see the dark color of the beer while looking down into the glass. The head is a nice golden brown.

Smell is plum, chocolate, maybe toasted malt and generally typical barleywine aroma that I can't figure out how to describe.

Tasty at first but I'm having conflicting thoughts. The chocolate is there for sure along with raisins. But the alcohol flavor is a bit unbalanced. I like a beer with alcohol flavor but with this one it doesn't seem to be part of the brew. It almost tastes like grain alcohol, as if it's fortified rather than brewed. After I'm half way down I don't notice this as much.

Way too much carbonation for my taste. It has the same effect hitting my tongue as it did hitting the glass- almost explodes from the carbonation.

I don't know if I got a bad one or what. One day I may try this again. But there's plenty of other barleywines out there that I know and love so I don't need to risk it anytime soon.

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Photo of blitheringidiot
1.96/5  rDev -44.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Picked up an un-numbered bottle from Super Saver in Somerville, NJ.

First the nightmare began when I popped the cap with hardly a *fwsk* then the pour: Dark stagnant midnight topped with nada.

Scents were of a sour lemon. Reminds one of a stout.

First swigs: Not worth much more time than to say porter meets lemon juice. Oh, and flat porter. This was a disaster. Actually, I was all happy bringing a bottle to a fellow BA barleywine appreciator and I only choked down the rest of the bottle to be a manly man watching the Flyers win.

If you tell me that this was a "bad bottle" I will stand by my review because this is the third Cisco bottle that I've bought in the past fw months and if thy are all like this, I've earned the right to gripe.

Only one thing makes this situation worse: I bought 2 bottles.

Last swigs: *GAG!* Boo hoo!

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Photo of GClarkage
4.05/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12/20/05- Received as a gift from BA member Spinlock.

Presentation- 750ml bottle. No dates on the bottle, but assuming it's a 2004 release, as it has been aging for a good year since it had been given to me. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance- Murky milk chocolate colored pour. Maybe like a thick iced tea color. Solid and quickly fading head with minor lace.

Smell- Lots of stuff going on here. Tons of caramel with some vanilla, maybe a marshmallow scent as well. Butterscotch for sure and more caramel.

Taste- Kinda like a liquid caramello bar. Lots of milk chocolate flavor mixed in with truckloads of sweet caramel. Almost brandyesque in flavor. East coast style for sure. No hops in this guy.

Mouthfeel- Heavy mouthfeel as expected. Creamy, thick and slick.

Drinkability- Wonder what this one tasted like fresh? At any rate, it was different, potent and fairly tasty and flavorful. Would recommend.

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Photo of jaymirage
4.25/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

One of the most agreeable offerings I've had in a while. Supremely underrated.

For a number of months now I've been a huge fan of the Whale's Tail Pale. Red label, limited release no. 1242. Pours a color not unlike that of a box of Domino's light brown sugar. The head is thin, disappearing, all to my dismay, too quickly..

Remarkable taste. Really, really, light. The alcohol is masked outrageously well. The flavor is simple, elegant, and refined. Not so much fruity, not so much malty, just clean and engaging. Mild carbonation.

The thin mouthfeel and superbly-masked alcohol lends a dangerous drinkability to this one; quite possibly the most drinkable barley wine I've had. Not as savory as many other barley wines, but it goes down quicker and easier than everything else in its class. This one caught me off guard, in a very good way.

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Photo of CRJMellor
3.5/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to PPoitras for the big bottle.
Pours to color of rusty water with a sheen of lace. Leaves just a residual hint of lacing.
Aroma has a belgian candi malt note with some very bready tones and some caramel notes.
Flavor has a pronounced yeastiness to it that seems a bit out of place but this quikcly replaced by a doughy, grainy bread note along with some caramel and really resined and somewhat piney bittering.
Mouthfeel is highly sweetened with some cnady sugar and molasses notes with some residual earthiness. Finishes pretty dry for a BW with even a touch of salt on the palate.
Drinkability is decent but this was sort of an odd duck. Kind of a Belgian Barleywine is what I would call it. Decent flavors that were a bit bitter cold rather than warmed.

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Photo of goodbyeohio
3.27/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

bottle #0001578 fall 04 release

what a murky, muddy, brown mess.

pours solid and syrupy into my glass.. head is there but limites, the beer's body is a true sign of strength.. fortitude! lacing is so viscous and barely moves.

aroma is purely barleywine. hoppy. burnt sugar screaming out at me. toffee and licorice among layers and layers of caramel sweetness. this beer says "i dare you to drink me"

extremely surprisingly light in taste. predominant thick biscuit breadiness and vanilla cream highlights.. butter leads to a bit of maltiness and that's really it. lacking in the flavor department. good for a dessert beer though.

ridiculous thickness limits drinkability. 6 months mellowed this beer, maybe too much? will try fresh again next year. would like a little less of an ice cream mouthfeel and aftertaste.

this beer wants to be weyerbacher insanity, but goes too far in an attempt to reach that level of complexity. good substitute for a meal perhaps.

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Photo of sulldaddy
4.02/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Well I have sat on this bottle for a while and finally decided to sit down and drink it.
I am sampling a 2003 vintage 1pt 9 oz bottle, in a snifter at room temp. The beer pours a clear mahogany with small fizzy, frothy, beige head that fades quickly to a thin edge and surface layer. Aroma is sweet and fruity with molasses, ripe pears and plums, some caramel and a big hit of hot alcohol.
First sip reveals a fairly thick chewy body with prickly and fine carbonation. Flavor is sweet with brown sugar and ripe pears mixing with some toffee. The beer finishes fairly hot and full of alcohol, some strong warming in the belly. Definately a sipper.

Oh, the next day I had one hell of a hangover and this was the only bottle I had. I am no light weight and drink almost every nite, but this brew gave me a killer headache the next day, maybe I should have listened to the label and shared with friends.

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Photo of WanderingFool
3.6/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This 2003 bottle has been aged in my cellar for about 1.5 years. It pours a dark hazy mahogoney color with a creamy tan head. The strong aroma is filled with oak, apples and yeast.

Each sip of this smooth medium to full bodied beer has a soft fizz that covers the entire palate. The flavor begins with notes of apple, raisin, cherry and oak. Some toasted malt and yeast are present throughout and it finishes somewhat tart leaving an oak-y taste behind.

At first pour I detected some notes of candied sugar and thought my beer went bad. However, after it settled in the glass the true flavor came through. I'm used to my barleywines being very hoppy with strong alcohol flavors. This one was a nice change and reminded me more of a dark belgian ale.

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Photo of carln26
3.48/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This appears to be 2003 bottle I got from Marty’s. It poured a hazy copper to tan color with a light tan colored head, and a lace that stays for a few minutes. The nose is a complex mix of grapefruit citrus, and a wonderful boozy aroma. It reminds me of an old scotch or perhaps a brandy. They taste has a bright sweetness up front. Almost a hard candy in it’s intensity. The alcohol hits you almost immediately. Wow this is a powerful ale. I like more hops in my barleywine. This has a great balanced mouth feel, but loses a few points in it’s drinkability. I’ll have to try this years.

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Baggywrinkle Barleywine from Cisco Brewers Inc.
3.51 out of 5 based on 139 ratings.
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