London Balling
Against The Grain Brewery & Smokehouse

London BallingLondon Balling
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Style:
English Barleywine
Ranked #36
ABV:
12.5%
Score:
93
Ranked #2,212
Avg:
4.18 | pDev: 7.18%
Reviews:
87
Ratings:
446
From:
Against The Grain Brewery & Smokehouse
 
Kentucky, United States
Avail:
Rotating
Wants
  48
Gots
  69
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: 87 | Ratings: 446 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by Donco:
Photo of Donco
4.43/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A very nice example of a traditional English Barleywine.
Not a lot of bourbon barrel in the nose or taste. But a very well balanced brew between malt and hops. Very nice. Especially since this was given to me as an "extra" in a trade. Highly recommended. I'd love to try other beers from this brewery if I could get them in PA.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of LambicPentameter
4.34/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Enjoyed on tap at Bier Station in Kansas City. Poured into a small round tulip glass with no flaring on the lip.

Appearance - Pours a ruddy brown that gives the impression of red clay and is hard to see through due to some murkiness. Atop the body sits a small half finger of beige colored head that dissipates pretty quickly to a ringlet of foam around the edge of the glass, with just a smattering of soapy bubbles on one side of the glass. Lacing is pretty nonexistent.

Smell - Lots of notes of sweetness and grain, with contributions of rich caramel, light molasses, vanilla, and even some syrupy characteristics, like sweet sorghum. There is also a bready presence beneath the sweetness, but it's not savory enough to overtake the dominant notes of sweet. The bourbon and wood components are faint, with just a hint of heat and a touch of oak from the barrel.

Taste - The overarching sweetness from the aroma continues along through the taste, with more syrup, caramel and vanilla on the tongue. Brown sugar and toffee come through on the aftertaste a little more, with a slight bitterness like burnt sugar providing some depth of flavor alongside hazelnut and almond notes. The grain is aggressive enough to be present, but not overpowering, with undertones of toasted barley and rye bread. Please to say that there is a bit more mustiness from the oak, riding on a breeze of vanilla and tannins, with just a touch of boozy heat on the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - Medium-bodied with moderate to low carbonation and a sticky mouthfeel, but not unpleasant. Lingering sweetness and some viscosity.

Overall, a very good take on the style. There is just enough barrel aging to impart the vanilla and bourbon characteristics, but without drowning out the base barleywine. The sweetness is pleasant and not cloying, enticing swallow after swallow. I will say that the 80 IBUs surprises me on this one, but perhaps that's the key to preventing a sweet beer from becoming overly so.

 1,980 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
4/5  rDev -4.3%

Tightly woven booze spice with malt sweetness allows the Against the Grain brewers to flirt with the commingling of British and ale Kentucky creativity.

Dense and viscous to the eye, the rugged beer layers gently into the snifter with a cloudy tawny and rusty color. As its delicate creme swirls about the surface, the ale quickly reclaims its bubbles and renders into a brandy-like appearance. And those boozy comparisons get started while the rummy sweetness wraps around the tongue and its sultry fruit, spice and savory aromatics pull forth and fully saturate the olfactory senses.

The middle palate overwhelms with rich caramel, toffee and maple. Peps of buttery brown sugar and butterscotch offer succulents while a nutty cashew and candied pecan character counters with its own gentle earthiness. Herbal with tea and softly shaven woods, these become the hook for the introduction of charred oak, vanilla, caramel, cherrywood and unmistakable bourbon empowerment. All the while, estery influence of apple, cherry, plum, date and fig suggest fruitcake and spice cake.

Decadent in finish, the full-bodied taste and texture weighs on the tongue and saturates the tastebuds to utter completion with its piercing booze and understated carbonated lift. Its "barley liquor" character numbs the palate and seduces the taste with its boldly laced savory character. Enjoy much more as an after dinner aperitif rather than a drinkable or refresher of a beer.

 1,457 characters

Photo of Tone
4.18/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a cloudy, brown color. 1/2 inch head of an off-white color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of alcohol, sweet malt, liquor, wood, yeast, and slight dry hops. Fits the style of an English Barleywine. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of liquor, alcohol, sweet malt, slight hops, sight roasted malt, and slight wood. Overall, good appearance, aroma, body, blend, and complexity.

 430 characters

Photo of jeonseh
4.2/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap and served in a snifter

A - Has a deep brown and burgundy color with a small white head. Light carbonation and a nice clean body. Appears to have a bit of a thin body for the style - 4

S - Light hints of vanilla, toffee, light dates, oak, oats, and cherry. Definitely can tell the bourbon influence on this one. As it warms up, you really get the bourbon presence in it - 4

T - Get hints of vanilla, dates and a slight cherry bourbon aspect to it. Get a nice caramel and toffee in there as well. In the finish, get slight lemon peel, oak, and definitely a slight alcohol presence in the finish that gives it a warming quality. I can see the Angels share presence in this one as it gives it a slight dark fruit presence. Has a complex aspect to it as each sip brings a slightly different flavor - 4.5

MF - Has a nice stickiness to it in the mouth but manages to not be cloying. Light carbonation that goes well. Has a slight bite to it near the end and a light lingering alcoholic bite that sits on the tongue post finish. - 4

O - A solid beer from Against the Grain that makes me want to try to find more of their beers. Has a great smell and a complex flavor profile. I would like it to be just a bit smoother. Like that it takes a strong presence from the bourbon barrel - 4

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Photo of dbrauneis
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.

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Photo of PBRmeasap1980
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

12 oz bottle ( I think...small and fat) into snifter

A- Dark brown, but still able to see through it... a bit like dark iced tea. No head
S- Big bourbon nose. Like smelling a shot of bourbon or a fresh barrel. Oak, booze, smoke
T - A lot like it smells. Sweet malts that work with the sweetness of the bourbon. Oakiness is great. Nice finish
M- Medium.

O- Nice suprise on this one. Picked it up at Bo & Luke day 2014 from AtG.

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Photo of Rihup
4/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of Chuckdiesel24
4.01/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Photo of yeaprolly
4.05/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of RMW66
3.96/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of shelby415
4.18/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Peterock27
4.34/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a pint an into a snifter. Appearance is dark Amber in color with a one finger head. Very nice lacing as you slowly sip this beer. Smell is heavy on bourbon / whisky as soon as you open the can. Very powerful scent that makes you wonder if you are sipping straight bourbon...as it warms you get the toffee and vanilla scent on the nose. I honestly waited a few minutes before sipping since the can says to enjoy at 48 degrees. It also said to drink from the can but I ignored that ;-)

Taste is very sweet with notes of vanilla, caramel, toffee, oak and a little smokiness at the end. Mouthfeel is very thick and syrupy. Overall this is a great BBA barley wine. Not quite up there with Sucaba but very close. Would definitely purchase again.

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Photo of KevinmusPrime
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%

Photo of Luscious_Malfoy
4.49/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of TwelveOunces
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%

Photo of AyatollahGold
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.

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Photo of JCam9981
4/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of pateypate
4.4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of HopsMatt
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of aletrailky81
4.34/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Oakenator
4.49/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Sauced4life
4.46/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of bigorange
3.69/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Nograinleftbehind
3.12/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

London Balling from Against The Grain Brewery & Smokehouse
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 446 ratings