Bourbon Barleywine
Hardywood Park Craft Brewery

Bourbon BarleywineBourbon Barleywine
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British Barleywine
3.97 | pDev: 11.84%
Hardywood Park Craft Brewery
Virginia, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Bourbon BarleywineBourbon Barleywine
Reviews: 23 | Ratings: 141 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by DubCo21:
Photo of DubCo21
2.75/5  rDev -30.7%

More User Reviews:
Photo of garymuchow
4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to larryi86 for this 2016 version.
Sweet bourbon aroma with some alcohol and corn. A little intermingling of candy sweet malt and caramel, but mostly bourbon upfront.
A nice tan heads leaves before too long leaving a small bubbly haze on top. The dark amber shines nicely in the light with a brown red gold glow.
Bourbon is still dominant but there is more blending in the taste with the barleywine character showing greater presence esp. up front. An immediate warm shot to the gut and a ping in the prefrontal cortex ("ping"), but that's to be expected with a beer this size. A very long finish of alcohol warmth with enough hoppy bitterness to notice it - it's kinda' nice and then the bourbon. The wood character shows but it tends to be background and not much for any vanilla (and just as I write this the vanilla shows - must have needed a little opening up), more character presence than flavor.
Moderate but not much bigger heft, but nicely smooth and carbonate just enough.
This is a quality drink. While the bourbon is bigger than I prefer, it's still in the range of balanced as enough of the barleywine character shows through.
I may edit this some through the day, as I anticipate a many hour process to get through this one.

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Photo of 2beerdogs
4.16/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2015 version
Pours a slightly hazy toffee brown in color. Slight kahki head that slowly dissipates. Smell is pure heaven. Bourbon comes through beautifully, but does not overwhelm. Slight oak and a hint of charred sugar. Taste is even better. Bourbon is ever present but gives space for caramel, molasses, dried fruit (baked raisin and maybe some elegant prunes-oxymoronic, I know). Really no heat to this one, 13.3% is so camouflaged. Truly an elegant barleywine. Finish is graceful, slightly slick, and finally a little warm. Wow, to live in Richmond...

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Photo of stereosforgeeks
4/5  rDev +0.8%

Photo of BillRoth
3.94/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Pencible
3.9/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: This poured a nearly clear copper with moderate off white head.
S: It smelled like rich oak and toasted coconut and wild honey, with some toffee and oranges and metallic hops.
T: It tasted like orange and metallic hops, with some toasted coconut and oak and wild honey. It had a clean bittersweet aftertaste with some alcohol warming.
M: It was thick with mild carbonation. Very nice slick body.
D: This was a nice brew, but one of the less exciting bourbon barleywines. The scent and taste were good but simple. The body was nice, but the finish was hot, so it must be sipped. Not sure if this could age well or if it would simply fade over time. Enjoyable, but Bourbon Cru was much better.

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Photo of DIM
3.84/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Slightly hazy, golden edged, ruddy red color; this poured a relatively long lived creamy head.

Smells of rich caramel, vanilla, and over cooked raisins. The booze is prominent and well incorporated for the most part. The bourbon aromas are rich and inviting, there was a fair amount of raw heat that was a bit distracting.

Up front this has a wonderful booze-blunted caramel, vanilla sweetness that I love. It's incredibly rich and decadent tasting. Towards the end a nice raisin note emerges. The finish tastes of burned raisin with a lingering too hot oakiness.

This is 13.3% and not shy about it. For the most part it works well, but 750ml is a lot to get through. I've had a lot of great barrel aged beer of late, so these scores are lower than they might have been at a different time in my life. This is a quality BA offering and well worth trying. Big bottle and a price to match means one and done for me though.

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Photo of argock
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750 ml corked and caged brown bottle into a clear glass tulip. 2016 vintage.

A: Hazy chestnut brown with amber edge with minimal head and no lacing.

S: The aroma has grown on me with warming with more pineapple, coconut, and vanilla coming through with fig and date malt components.

T: Flavor is oak barrel heavy and very pleasant with the funky pineapple, vanilla, and coconut joining to leave a very fruity initial impression that is tempered mildly with medium caramel and fig and date. There is a slight boozy flavor component, but in the grand scheme, the alcohol is well-hidden.

M: Silky with even carbonation, medium body. Dangerously drinkable.

O: Enjoyable but a little muted in all areas but very drinkable for the huge ABV.

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Photo of AndrewMichael
4.31/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Corked 750 mL bottle poured into a stemmed glass as recommended. Another outstanding barrel series beer from Hardywood. Maybe it's the barrels they use, but it's never too overpowering and the right balance.

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Photo of oglmcdgl
3.25/5  rDev -18.1%

Photo of mltobin
3.5/5  rDev -11.8%

Photo of Huhzubendah
3.79/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

On draft at Churchkey in D.C.

The beer is light brown with a small, tan cap. The aroma offers booze, vanilla, toffee, oak, bourbon. Mild sweetness with vanilla and toffee leading the way. Medium bodied with warming heat in the finish. A touch of char and caramels in there as well. Overall, this was solid. Worth a try.

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Photo of clayrock81
3.9/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a brownish copper dense color with two finger foamy head and an aroma that has some dark fruits with woodiness and bourbon smells in the aroma. Body is medium bodied, actually smooth, really hot on the finish but not in a bad way (thank you high ABV). There is a dark fruit taste (black cherry, figs or dates are my guess) along with peppery spices and some vanilla sweetness thanks to the boubon barrells. Also some caramel and toffee sweetness and has a little bit of that port wine feel. Little bit of hop bit in the heated finish. Just a little too boozy for me but other than that this is a pretty great beer to sip and relax with.

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Photo of GreenMind
4.2/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of nmann08
3.75/5  rDev -5.5%

Photo of Smakawhat
4.43/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a snifter not unlike the one shaped on the bottle.

Murky and somewhat muddy body color, with a swamp like brown and hints of deep red on the edges. Head is supper creamy, makes a simple one finger and almost nitro like appearance, but then settles down to a nice simple but good sized collar. A little bit of spotted lacing on a tip within the legs.

The brew has taken the barrel well. Real interesting whiskey tones that manage to actually get up ahead of the malts without a lot of heat. Spiced fruit and real soft vanilla caramel, a near sticky toffee really manages to stick out. Good woody oaky notes and almost pine wood and tree sap quality. Muted sweetness as well, very impressive.

Palate comes wonderfully. Great buttery toffee in the mid palate, with just a hair though of distracting carbonation. Mineral finish with the tight carbonation but a good thick caramel really coats and still comes through. Hints of cherry and fruit warmth in the middle, coming with a peppery notes as well. Good almost oily controlled aftertaste and even a little juicy hint of American hop like presence it seems. A mild hint of soy like salinity but actually blends in well with the rest of the brew.

A real unique tasting barleywine, did well with this one very memorable and also unique in the realm. One to look out for in the future.

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Photo of miffsudd
3.5/5  rDev -11.8%

Photo of oriolesfan4
3.69/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of koopa
3/5  rDev -24.4%

Photo of billab914
4/5  rDev +0.8%

Photo of tigg924
4.31/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Pours hazy, orange-brown in color with 1/2 inch head. Taste is big bourbon, vanilla, English toffee, barrel, and light alcohol. No beer this big has any right to be this smooth. One of the smoothest big beers I have ever had. Sweet and tasty. Big winner from Hardywood. I will look for this and try to pick this up again.

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Photo of 01001111
4/5  rDev +0.8%

Photo of imperialking
3.88/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of TheSixthRing
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2016 release

Appearance - Pours ruby brown with reddish highlights. The head is khaki in color and peaks at a finger's width before fading in fair succession. The result is a mostly barren surface with a thin ring of suds around the edge. Not much lacing but none expected for a BA beer.

Smell - Aromatic, with lots of deep toffee and lesser caramel upfront. Hints of fig, oak, molasses and a bit of booze make up the rest of the aroma.

Taste - Flips the script on the nose. More Molasses and dark fruit fig upfront, with lesser notes of toffee and a hint of toffee. Oaky undertone. A bit of vanilla and tobacco come into play. The finish delves into more wood, dark fruit and a hint of booziness that lingers well into the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - Full in body with low to moderate carbonation, A bit sticky in texture with a slightly boozy, bone dry finish.

Overall - A wonderful BA barleywine that's ready to drink now, or just as likely to age with amazing results. Reminds me a bit of some of my favorite old ales, specifically North Coast Old Stock, so I'd pause before trading for it again, but I'd be all over this if it were to become widely available.

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Photo of Beejay
3.16/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.75

Got myself a nice beer to celebrate my birthday, may be a day late, but still...

A: Deep brown and hazy with a small amount of light brown head.

S: Bourbon and oak with hints of vanilla, there is a pretty big hit of hops in there as well as a little bit of a burnt smell in the finish.

T: Notes of vanilla and oak, the hops are earthy and slightly piney. There is a bit of a burnt flavor coming through, might be the barrel aging, but I've had a lot of barrel aged beers as well as whiskies, and it seems a little out of place. The hoppiness seems a little strong for the style.

M: Thick in feel, carbonation is fairly high, the finish is a little syrupy with a lingering bite from the hops.

O: Overall the beer is good, but it seems to me like the mark was a little missed on the style. The bottle says it is decadent and a dessert all by itself. The beer comes off as way to sharp and hoppy for the style, and for that description. Still enjoyable, but not the smooth sipper I hoped for.

EDIT: As the beer warms a bit the sharp edges dull a little and the beer evens out a little, I also start to taste the barrel aging a little more. Th hops are still fairly aggressive, but by far a more enjoyable experience. If you get yourself a bottle, do yourself a favor and let it sit on the counter for 20 minutes (maybe more) before you dive in.

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Bourbon Barleywine from Hardywood Park Craft Brewery
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 141 ratings