London Balling
Against The Grain Brewery & Smokehouse

London BallingLondon Balling
Rate It
Beer Geek Stats | Print Shelf Talker
Style:
Barleywine - English
Ranked #34
ABV:
12.5%
Score:
93
Ranked #2,395
Avg:
4.18 | pDev: 7.42%
Reviews:
93
Ratings:
454
From:
Against The Grain Brewery & Smokehouse
 
Kentucky, United States
Avail:
Rotating/Seasonal
Wants
  48
Gots
  68
SCORE
93
Outstanding
London BallingLondon Balling
Notes: English style barleywine brewed with Maris Otter pale, Aromatic and caramel malts, then balanced with English Nugget and Kent Goldings hops. Aged in Angel's Envy bourbon barrels for nearly 3 months.
Reviews: 93 | Ratings: 454 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of brentk56
brentk56 from North Carolina

4.03/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a hazy burnt orange with a thin cap that fades to a ringlet; legy with dots and a few streaks

Smell: Burnt caramel, vanilla, and earthy hops tones complemented by the Bourbon

Taste: Burnt brown sugar, toasted oak and earthy hops forward with a hint of vanilla; the Bourbon builds, through the middle, but the burnt tones dominate from start to finish

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation

O: In your face for an English barleywine between the hops and the burnt caramel flavor; has some nice elements but lacks the finesse I look for in the style

Mar 19, 2021
Photo of Eddieeight
Eddieeight from Ohio

4.83/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Purchased for $8.99. This'll be the second time i've had this beer, but the first time i'm reviewing it. Pours out into a snifter a rich dark beautiful deep caramel color, with nearly a reddish hue to it. Not much head on it, which dissipates quickly and clings to the edges of the glass with just a light film across the surface. The smell, oh wow, the smell. This is incredibly candied and sharply sweet. A waft of bright red cherry, butterscotch, caramel, a slight sting of alcohol, it's just a very sweet bright smell. Taste is almost exactly like it smells, cherry, butterscotch, caramel, it's like liquid candy. Well balanced with some other dark fruits like dates and plums, figs. There is a wonderful warming sensation throughout the palate as the alcohol gently burns. The barrel aging really shows up. Not a whole lot of carbonation, mouthfeel is generally warm and tingly, and it's like it has little fingers that reach into every nook and cranny of my mouth. Overall, i think this is highly delicious and very thirst quenching. I daresay it's better than that rochefort 10 i just drank, but perhaps that's just my personal palate preference. Outstanding!

Mar 13, 2021
Photo of JohnnyEd
JohnnyEd from Georgia

3.49/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bought a can of it (for $9.99) thinking it would be a good barleywine - tastes more like a bourbon barrel aged than a real barleywine - it's not what I was looking for....

Nov 29, 2020
Photo of Fordcoyote15
Fordcoyote15 from Kentucky

4.42/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pretty damn good. Blurs between American and English style, could have guessed either one. Hops are more present than most English and less pronounced than most American versions. Tons of toffee and burnt sugar. The whiskey is there but faint. Finishes with a lingering apricot.

Good value for a ba barleywine at $8.50 for a 16oz can. Definitely not a jw lees but I think i like this more than straight jacket.

Sep 07, 2020
Photo of StonedTrippin
StonedTrippin from Colorado

3.63/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

an enormous beer, crazy to see a barrel aged barleywine in a can, what a beast! looks dense and slightly sedimented, brick red in color, frothy khaki headed high rising for the style, lots of viscosity, and some light oxidation in the nose, this may have been in the can awhile, although i didnt look for a date on it. in addition the the light wet cardboard thing in the nose, i also get fresh milled lumber, sweet and boozy whiskey, and some english yeast character, bready and fatigued here. this is really alcoholic and sweet, both to smell and to taste, and it seems almost just like a baseline for the style, nothing overly unique about it aside from the packaging, not at all what i am used to from these guys, who always seem to do something weird to each of their beers. its good, but its a small doses thing for me, palate coating and rich, hot and boozy, and seemingly not really mellowed much by the barrels, only intensified. subtle burnt sugar, rotting wood, and bread crust to this, light molasses and maple notes, and some hops in here too at the end for some contrasting bitterness as it warms up. heavy beer, the whole can would be a mission by myself, so glad to be sharing it. always fun to drink beer from these guys, but i would not rank this among their most compelling. just a big mean beefy bruiser of a barleywine here, not overly well refined or distinctive to me...

May 27, 2020
Photo of EmperorBevis
EmperorBevis from England

4.34/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Canned in a big old imperial pint crafty craft can
Pours a rich ruby hued hazy amber body with a big foaming white head
Aroma is carob in burned sugar
Flavour is burning wood alcohol tart embers and sherry

Apr 20, 2020
Photo of Treyliff
Treyliff from West Virginia

4.05/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

16oz can poured into a snifter
2016 Vintage

A- pours brown in color with a one-finger foamy off white head that reduces to a ring around the edge

S- more hop presence than expected for an english barleywine, mostly faded hops at this point, followed by caramel, toffee, brown sugar, sweet tobacco, leather, raisins and light oaky bourbon

T- as with aromas, hoppier than expected. Plenty of caramel and toffee up front, followed by notes of raisin, fig and tobacco. The finish brings out just a hint of oaky bourbon, lingers of faded hops and caramel

M- medium body with moderate carbonation leads to a creamy mouthfeel that continues into a velvety, slightly warming finish

O- drinks more like an American barleywine, due to a big hop presence

Apr 01, 2020
Photo of ajm5108
ajm5108 from Pennsylvania

4.45/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Nice balance of hop & malt, lots of suped-up American style barleywine hopiness, underneath plenty of bourbon / carsmel goodness. Maple molasses, overripe peach, sweet / savory

Mar 08, 2020
Photo of kitch
kitch from Hong Kong

3.72/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A 1 pint can, with no clear canned on or best before date. Poured into a snifter glass.

Appearance: A rusty orange brown colour with some floating sediment and a thin beige head that dissipated fairly quickly, but left some spotty lacing.

Aroma: Sweet malt, caramel, toffee, oak, vanilla, and grapefruit hard candy.

Taste: Sweet, sweet malt, caramel, toffee, vanilla, bourbon, dried dark fruit, raisin, dates, brown sugar, slightly bitter and a touch boozy.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied with moderate carbonation.

Overall: Not my favourite English Barleywine as sweet and boozy doesn’t really work for me. It’s ok to sip, but a whole 1 pint can, took me a good while to finish.

Feb 29, 2020
Photo of MikeWard
MikeWard from Pennsylvania

3.96/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz stubby bottle into a goblet. No clear freshness dating that I could find.

When held up to the light, we have a clear dark body with amber, brown, and reddish notes. Initially there is a decent off white head which eventually shrinks to a ring and covering leaving little in the way of lacing.

There is a strong aroma of boiled sweets. It's also a little musty.

Upon tasting, there is a lot going on. Vanilla, dried fruit, toffee, candy. There is a serious warmth from the abv, and it's a little harsh. It's woody at times, and there is a touch of bitterness toward the end.

Mouth closer to full than medium, finish a bittersweet warmth that spreads through the throat and chest.

Overall, a nice enough drink, good example of an English Barleywine with a hint of american bitterness. Would have enjoyed it more without the overburn.

Nov 02, 2019
Photo of q33jeff
q33jeff from New Jersey

4.24/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

**
09/05/2019

Can to Snifter. Welcome back NFL.

LOOK: Brown and clear; hint of red, 20% muddy look. Small head fades fast and has poor retention.
AROMA: apple, spice, fruitcake, brandy, light touch of squash or pumpkin.
TASTE: plum and apple, some oak and leather come a tad later moving this from sweet to bold. Finish is more fruit and brandy, with a little hint of sappy hops that does not clash.
FEEL: a bit of a carbonation kick that is not seen in the appearance. Smooth. Medium to full body.

Yum. Very impressed. Wasn't necessarily looking at this like a world class Barleywine, but it is better than some others I've had with more hype.

**

Sep 06, 2019
Photo of jkblr
jkblr from Indiana

4.21/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

16oz can stamped 02/11/24 (best before?) poured into a snifter at fridge temp 12.5% ABV. The beer pours mostly bright medium amber in color with orange/red highlights and khaki colored head. The head recedes to a thin cap and leaves a little lacing. The aroma is sweet brown sugar & caramel with just a trace of bourbon and oak. The taste is more semisweet caramel, Maris Otter malt and lighter amounts of earthy hops, oak barrel, vanilla and bourbon. The finish is mostly dry with low to medium bitterness and a touch of alcohol heat. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with average carbonation. Overall, very good. Never cloying, with real English malt and the barrel is not overdone. I'm not sure how long this one sat in the cooler at the store, but it's a fall or winter release & could have more barrel influence when fresh.

Jun 30, 2019
Photo of drdiesel9483
drdiesel9483 from Ohio

4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

look - clear hazle amber color with a slight head
smell - pale caramel english
taste - easy going pale caramel english slightly sweet a little woddy
feel - lots of body with a light carbonation
Overall - pretty yummy beer

Apr 09, 2019
Photo of TreyIsWilson
TreyIsWilson from Michigan

4.18/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Pours a murky amber with a one finger creamy off white head. Light soapy lacing.

S - Aroma is caramel, toffee and raisins.

T - The taste is caramel, toffee, plums, raisins, vanilla, bourbon and some light piney hops.

M - Full body with medium carbonation. Creamy mouthfeel with a sticky dry finish.

O - Very nice BBA Barleywine. Nice sweetness with a light hop kick. Drinks very easy for being 12.5%.

Mar 30, 2019
Photo of mntlover
mntlover from Tennessee

4.5/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep rich murky copper hued brown sugar looking brew that just looks thick and sugary with a finger sized darker tan head, doesn't' lace much but a good looking brew.

Aroma is rich big sugary malty goodness, loads of caramel, molasses, brown sugars floating around dark fruits sugar coated figs and plums. All mingled into sweet goodness and topped off with bourbon barrel and vanilla notes just to round out this perfection.

Taste is like the nose big on malts, caramel lots of free floating sugars and dark fruit notes with some good bourbon, oak and vanilla thrown in for good measure. Some hops to keep this from being cloying but but don't do much more then that maybe some spiciness. Alcohol notes blend very well and don't distract and are hardly noticed.

Mouthfeel is big and chewy on this baby carbonation is mellow and hardly noticed except for a mild tingle in the tongue in the finish.

Overall love this beer, why is it so hard to find an English Barley Wine, why don't more peps make this wonderful style. Not sure if I am just in the mood for this on this cool evening or this is a fantastic treat, Either way hoping I can find more of this locally or guess I'll have to be going back to Boone for more.

Oct 25, 2018
Photo of hman43
hman43 from North Carolina

4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Look: It pours brown with a full light brown head. Head retention is good.

Smell: Thick, malty rich aroma with plenty of caramel and nuts. There are background hints of bourbon, a touch of spice, and a whiff of dark fruits.

Taste: The flavor is full of nuts with a dark caramel flavor. The nutty character carries throughout the finish. There are background notes of plums and a slight bit of spice. The bourbon is also in the background.

Feel: It is quite full bodied on the chewy side. The alcohol warming is quite pleasant without any harshness or being hot.

Overall, this is a malt balance barleywine with plenty of flavor and alcohol without the harness that many in the category display.

Jun 17, 2018
Photo of 2beerdogs
2beerdogs from California

4.27/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Without going into the breakdown, this is one helluva English barleywine. Copper to amber in hue. Sandy foam cap. Good lacing. Smell's brilliant. Malty, a hint of bourbon barrel, and a round rich dark fruit note. Taste follows nicely. Great barleywine, and in a CAN no less!

Jun 12, 2018
Photo of clayrock81
clayrock81 from Florida

4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a copper-hued body with minimal head and little lace. Boozy, tad malty, and some dark fruits are noticeable in aroma. Thick, sticky, oaky, some vanilla booze sweetness, strong beer but not overpowering with hints of dark fruits like figs and raisins (black cherries?) with clean finish. The heat from the alcohol is only noticeable on finish and is good finishing touch. The balance between sweet malts and woody notes is good and overall a not overly complex but enjoyable beer.

Apr 26, 2018
Photo of BigGold
BigGold from Mississippi

4.31/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

First had poured from pint can, bottom stamped (drink by?) “29.12.20,” into brandy snifter. London Balling is malty, fruity and oaky, with a surprisingly smooth finish for a 12.50 ABV barleywine, probably assisted by the barrel aging.

Apr 10, 2018
Photo of avalon07
avalon07 from South Carolina

4.25/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: Poured from a tallboy can to a pint glass. Had a rust-brown color and a cloudy texture. There was a half inch of foamy, off white, fairly long-lasting head. Fair lacing.

S: A very good aroma of caramel, bourbon, hops, malt, oak, and vanilla.

T: Tasted of a good shot of hops (more than expected), some malt notes, lots of caramel (always welcome), light vanilla notes, some oak, a good amount of bourbon, and an herbal quality. This is a vibrant, interesting, complex flavor. It has to be one of the more balanced barleywines I've tried before. Delicious.

F: A well-carbonated beer with a lively finish. Medium-bodied.

O: An extremely well-made and likable beer. Big, brash, and tasty. Drinkable.

Mar 06, 2018
Photo of AyatollahGold
AyatollahGold from Indiana

4.41/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pouring from a 2019, 16 oz. can into a snulip glass, this beer pours out absolutely beautiful. A lightly brewed tea in color and it forms a brilliant, two finger width of a light butterscotch colored crown. Crown is tight and holds well.

The nose is a well balanced mix of some apricot, light fruit hop aspects and sweetness layers of light caramel and toffee.

The taste has tea aspects, along with the light fruit like apricot, slight pine. Some vanilla, caramel, thick brown sugar meld into a dry, oak wood. Very balanced, touching kiss of bourbon.

Mouthfeel is thick, ABV is present, warm bourbon and dry oak.

Overall, this is a balanced monster. The layers all meld together greatly, while not being too strong on any aspect.

Dec 10, 2017
Photo of dbrauneis
dbrauneis from North Carolina

4.23/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a clear, almost opaque deep reddish brown in color with moderate amounts of active visible carbonation rising from the bottom of the glass and moderate ruby red colored highlights. The beer has a two finger tall dense foamy tan head that reduces to a medium sized patch of medium thick film surrounded by a large patch of very thin film covering the remainder of the surface of the beer and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate to significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of toffee, caramel, toasted, and bready malts with a slightly heavier than moderate amounts of toffee + caramel + brown sugar sweetness. Moderate aromas of vanilla, toasted oak, and bourbon booziness. Light aromas of earthy + herbal hops.

T: Upfront there are moderate to strong flavors of toffee, caramel, toasted, and bready malts with a slightly heavier than moderate amounts of toffee + caramel + brown sugar sweetness. Slightly stronger than moderate flavors of vanilla, toasted oak, and bourbon booziness. Light flavors of earthy + herbal hops which contribute a light amount of bitterness which fades quickly leaving a lingering woody + malty sweetness in the finish.

M: Medium to full bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Slightly sticky with a moderate amounts of alcohol warming in the finish.

O: Very enjoyable BBA Barleywine - really nice complex malt flavors with lots of sweetness and nice complementary bourbon + barrel flavors. Drinks a bit easier than the 12.5% ABV but definitely a slow sipping beer - I wish I was sitting by a fireplace on a really cold evening when enjoying this one.

Nov 24, 2017
Photo of Tsar_Riga
Tsar_Riga from Indiana

4.04/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Hazy brown-orange body, moderate head, lots of lace.

S - BOOZE. Wood and vanilla. Hints of tea, hop resin.

T - BOOZE. The barrel notes hit with vanilla and lush sweet caramel and tea notes. Close brings a spicy hop snap.

M - Sharp and hot. A bit sticky. Close is warm and lingers.

O - Solid. Not my style, but very well done.

Nov 06, 2017
Photo of DrDemento456
DrDemento456 from Pennsylvania

3.95/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Not going to lie if you told me this beer was bourbon barrel aged I wouldn't have believed you since both the smell and taste got little to no bourbon. This is the only way I could see the price point at 8 dollars a pounder (16oz) it makes it a little easier to justify.

Not saying this beer is bad at 12.5% it packs a punch and smooth caramel, figs, and oaky toffee goodness with no ethanol or hop bite.

I guess I would pick it up again if it had more of a pronounced barrel character or just skip the barrel and have a 10-12% barleywine in a pounder for around 5 bucks. That works too.

Oct 04, 2017
Photo of Eamonn-Cummings3
Eamonn-Cummings3 from New York

4.25/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 16oz can into a speiglau BA glass.

Look is a dark amber bordering on cola colored with a big thick head.

Aroma is dark fruits, vanilla, and a definite barrel note.

Taste is a lot of vanilla bourbon and a ton of molasses malt.

Aug 24, 2017
London Balling from Against The Grain Brewery & Smokehouse
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 454 ratings