London Balling | Against The Grain Brewery & Smokehouse

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92
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385 Ratings
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London BallingLondon Balling
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Against The Grain Brewery & Smokehouse
Kentucky, United States
atgbrewery.com

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by JDizzle on 03-01-2012

BEER STATS
Ratings:
385
Reviews:
68
Avg:
4.17
pDev:
7.19%
 
 
Wants:
44
Gots:
64
For Trade:
9
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 385 |  Reviews: 68
Photo of stephenlee
4.49/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Franziskaner
3.94/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amber to dark copper colored. There's a fingernail of brown around the rim. I smell dark malt, oak, and sweet bourbon. I taste intensely dark malt,oak, and sweet bourbon. The mouth is thick,sticky, and chewy.

 212 characters

Photo of EMV
3.83/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Picked up a tallboy can at the brewery. Poured into a pint glass.

L: Cloudy caramel brown pour. Thin tan head with spotty lacing.

S: Rich and malty... caramel, toffee, and booze.

T/F: Follows the aroma... sweet caramel and sugars. Notes of fig and raisin. Boozy... vanilla, oak, and char. Not as strong of a bourbon flavor as expected from the nose. Buttery and smooth. Finish is bittersweet.

O: Rich and malty.... a bit overly sweet and under-bourboned but a solid all around effort.

 500 characters

Photo of BrotherDylan
3.59/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer suffers from a severe case of uninteresting-itis. It is dreadfully boring, as the British would say.

The hop flavor is non-existent (Note: The bitterness level is fine, but i expected at least some hop character). The malt is pleasantly sweet, but one dimensional. The classic english ale yeast flavor is severely muted, if present at all.

The cardinal sin is the flimsy barrel character. It adds almost no tannic mouthfeel and the bourbon flavor actually comes off more as a weak port flavor than anything resembling bourbon. For a brewery in Kentucky, that is a shame. I can understand why they would only age it for 3 months (cost savings and the beer already tastes over oxidized), but the beer would have been better off non-barrel aged and 5 dollars cheaper.

Overall, it tastes like a malt soup with no direction or purpose and no synergy between its parts. Save you money... for over $12 bucks, there are 75 better beers that you can find on the shelf.

 975 characters

Photo of BlurryVisi0n
4.09/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter glass from a 16oz can.

Appearance: Semi to full cloudy amber-mahogany color looking very beautiful an slightly resembling a carbonation black tea. Off-white head rises maybe just maybe half a fingers length at best.

Smell: Smell good but light whiskey notes and warm brown sugar to go with.

Taste: Sweet and complex liquor feel which has a light toffee note to go alone with it. The alcohol a bit overpowering but mellows a bit when the beer warms closer to to room temperature.

Mouth: Sticky, and easily the lasting finish is the best part about the beer. Medium carbonation but very full bodied.

Overall: Good take on one of my favorite genres of beer, but English Barleywine in my opinion has only been mastered by very very few. Good, very god but not a classic. Worth grabbing ig you see it though,

 833 characters

Photo of AlexFreudenberg
4.02/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of travelguy
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of ckollias
4.24/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of MickeyHops
3.98/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of pateypate
4.4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of ladle69
4.31/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of WOLFGANG
4.31/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Diet-z
4.23/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Photo of darktronica
4.09/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A great choice of hops to provide an intensity of character, with plenty of spice from the Golding and bitter, herbal botanicals from the Nuggets. More hoppy than expected from an English barleywine, but at least they're authentic in flavor. In that sense, London Balling nails the concept. But I wish more time had been spent in the barrel, as three months is not producing much oak, vanilla, or bourbon spice. Angel's Envy is such a lovely spirit, it would have been great to have lent a bit more to the beer.

Edit: previous review was from an aged bottle. Now, I'm enjoying a can from a fresher batch, and it's a different story. Lots more vanilla, a touch of oak, and less hop character. I don't know which is more typical, but they're both good. Leaving the original score for posterity, but I would otherwise rate this one a touch higher.

 845 characters

Photo of Harrison8
4.46/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a murky deep hue of cranberry red with a finger of off-white head. Lacing forms in tight, but small patches. Aroma is bolstered by notes of caramel, toffee, raisins, fig, and plum with only a whiff of barley below. It has a clear, caramelized aroma that urges a sip. Flavor profile is a sweet swelling of sugary malt notes - caramel, toffee, fig, raisins, and plum. Any sort of earthy, or bitter, or biting malt characteristics have been restricted to the cupboard, and are out of view. Mouth feel is medium-thin with an easy-drinking feel. Overall, a barleywine that both smells and sips extremely smooth. It packs a presence, and yet is reserved in its statement enough to be approachable for all levels of enjoyment.

Served in a teku.

 745 characters

Photo of Thirstygoat
4.31/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Spikester
4.55/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown with one finger of bone color head.
Smell is vanilla oak and alcohol.
Taste is vanilla oak and medium bitterness.
Mouthfeel is medium to full with good carbonation. Finish is dry and lightly bitter.
Overall a fine beer. Is it worth $12 for a pint can? Well compared to the Goose Island biggies it is right in line with those heavy hitters.

 350 characters

Photo of gobuccos
4.64/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

look: Clear handsome tawny. Full tan head head on the pour that almost entirely recedes.
smell: Rich caramel, toffee, vanilla, and dark fruit.
taste: Much like the nose. very nice brew. Just a notch below the superstars (e.g. Sucaba).

 235 characters

Photo of nwhittin
4.31/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of bigred89
4/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of teamwiggum
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Tim725
4.42/5  rDev +6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Photo of peabody
4.02/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of ivegot3Dvision
3.89/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

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London Balling from Against The Grain Brewery & Smokehouse
4.17 out of 5 based on 385 ratings.
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