London Balling
Against The Grain Brewery & Smokehouse

London BallingLondon Balling
Beer Geek Stats | Print Shelf Talker
Against The Grain Brewery & Smokehouse
Kentucky, United States
English Barleywine
Ranked #100
Ranked #4,156
4.16 | pDev: 7.45%
Sep 19, 2023
Mar 01, 2012
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.
Recent ratings and reviews. | Log in to view more ratings + sorting options.
Rated: 4.1 by dd53grif from Michigan

Sep 19, 2023
Rated: 4.29 by Curt3 from Ohio

Sep 15, 2023
Rated: 4.31 by cwd from Kentucky

Aug 06, 2023
Photo of muchloveforhops3
Reviewed by muchloveforhops3 from Montana

4.18/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
Courtesy of jzeilinger (received in box #2)
16oz can poured into a Big Head's Belgian-style tulip
It's been many years since I first tried this one- Definitely looking forward to a revisit!

P deep amber/garnet w a touch of murkiness; small light tan head that recedes quickly
N soft-med; spiced bread and dark sugars; gets bolder as it warms
T sweet sticky malted barley and carmelized sugars in the forward; candied and oaky notes in the finish w/ a bitterness that lingers; a good amount of alcohol warmth reminds you of the 12.5%, but not overbearing; delicious w/ well-balanced, yet well-contrasted flavors between sweet and sharp/bitter
Mf full-bodied and sticky, w/ soft-med carbonation; supports the profile well
O a bold and well-executed barrel-aged barleywine- really good stuff; flavors round out as it warms; thankful to have revisited!

Review date = 08.04.23
Can date = smeared/indiscernable
Aug 05, 2023
Photo of Brutaltruth
Reviewed by Brutaltruth from Ohio

4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
From the growler via Party Town in Florence KY in a snifter. This warm monster
pours a medium burnt auburn with a modest head of khaki foam that settles to
a thin ring and faint wafting film with no lacing...but she's got nice legs. Nose of
bourbon, brown sugar, faint vanilla, faint oak, and pine touched hops....strong
bourbon overtakes most of the nose. Flavors follow the nose but exceed with a
nice presentation of warming bourbon, light vanilla, dates, pine touched hops,
and brown sugars touched with oak. Mouthfeel is medium, warming, light
carbonation, a touch abrasive with the warmth, and a warm pine hop touched

Overall, nice but would excel if it had better balance.

Jun 24, 2023
Photo of beergoot
Reviewed by beergoot from Colorado

3.63/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5
Poured out a clear, dark amber color; dense, slow-rising carbonation; thin, light khaki colored head. Richly sweet, malty aroma; toffee and caramel notes. Densely sweet taste; heavy malt presence offset with a bold bourbon presence; spicy; licorice. Heavy mouthfeel yet not quite smooth for a barleywine; watery stickiness; boozy heat.

Bold yet brash. Too much barrel and not enough barleywine character.

Pouring temperature: 42 °F; canning info:
Source: local purchase (Coaltrain Fine Wine, Craft Beer & Spirits)
May 28, 2023
Photo of jzeilinger
Reviewed by jzeilinger from Pennsylvania

4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
A - Deep garnet colored pour with light toffee colored lacing and light carbonation.

S - Spicy toasted toffee with very subtle nuttiness. Overall aroma is on the lighter side for a beer of this magnitude.

T - Toasted caramel and toffee, some slightly spicy earthiness, nutty, Bourbon, and more alcohol. Finishes balanced with an underlying subtle bitterness.

M - Light syrupy body, lip smacking sticky with a sugary residue, warming in the back of the throat on the way down with some alcohol permeating up to the sinuses.

O - An enjoyable slow sipper, the alcohol isn't shy in this one. Would definitely buy again.
May 22, 2023
Rated: 4.71 by Bartleby91 from Wisconsin

Apr 16, 2023
Photo of bushbeer75
Reviewed by bushbeer75 from Michigan

4.12/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
poured from a 16oz can – packaged on 2/1/2019

Against the Grain London Balling Barleywine Ale poured a dark auburn hue producing a nice 1 ½ finger foamy tan head that held well. A moderate amount of lacing clung to the sides of my tulip glass. The smell was sweet, of caramel, toffee, and brown sugar. The taste follows the smell with added flavors of vanilla, bourbon and hops in the background. Mouth feel is full bodied, has light carbonation, is a little sticky, and alcohol warming at the finish.

Overall, a good English Barleywine Ale that is full of flavor. The drinkability is limited by its high ABV.
Sep 02, 2022
Rated: 3.99 by blissfulNemo from Michigan

Sep 18, 2021
Rated: 3.79 by Gemini6 from Michigan

Apr 26, 2021
Photo of brentk56
Reviewed by brentk56 from North Carolina

4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
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
Reviewed by Eddieeight from Ohio

4.83/5  rDev +16.1%
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
Reviewed by JohnnyEd from Georgia

3.49/5  rDev -16.1%
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
Reviewed by Fordcoyote15 from Pennsylvania

4.42/5  rDev +6.3%
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
Rated: 3.8 by JDavidRice from Connecticut

Jun 28, 2020
Photo of StonedTrippin
Reviewed by StonedTrippin from Colorado

3.63/5  rDev -12.7%
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
Reviewed by EmperorBevis from England

4.34/5  rDev +4.3%
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
Reviewed by Treyliff from West Virginia

4.05/5  rDev -2.6%
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
Reviewed by ajm5108 from Pennsylvania

4.45/5  rDev +7%
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
London Balling from Against The Grain Brewery & Smokehouse
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 464 ratings