London Balling | Against The Grain Brewery & Smokehouse

London BallingLondon Balling
BA SCORE
4.17/5
389 Ratings
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
Ranking:
#1,631
Reviews:
69
Ratings:
389
pDev:
7.19%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
46
Gots:
65
Trade:
9
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
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Ratings: 389 |  Reviews: 69
Photo of kylehay2004
4/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of jaydoc
4.32/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.17/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to mrbubbler for sharing this one at his tasting.

Pours a hazy dark honey orange with a foamy beige head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, caramel, toffee, brown sugar, vanilla, and bourbon aromas. Taste is much the same with caramel, toffee, brown sugar, vanilla, bourbon, and wood flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of wood bitterness and an alcohol kick on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and sticky mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer with really nice bourbon barrel aged qualities all around.

Serving type: bottle.

 701 characters

Photo of GRG1313
3.75/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of spycow
4/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of Knapp85
4.33/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Was stoked to try this one since I'm a big fan of Angel's Envy, This poured out as a brown color with a thin cream color head on top. The smell of the beer has a good amount of malt on the nose, and some subtle bourbon notes. The taste of the beer has some nice caramel and toffee notes with some subtle vanilla and molasses. The feel is smooth and full bodied. Overall this beer is pretty damn good, would drink again.

 419 characters

Photo of oriolesfan4
4/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of BEERchitect
4/5  rDev -4.1%

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 emerge077
3.92/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a brandy snifter at Green Lady.
Review from quick written notes.

The beer has a dark reddish brown color with a thin layer of white foam on the surface. After five minutes or so, it breaks to a thin surface veil with minimal spotty lace. Looks the part of a barrel-aged barleywine...

Sweet toffee, caramel, and vanilla in the aroma, sweet with some depth to it. Rich toffee flavor punctuated by an odd sweet candy note like gummy fruit. To be hyper specific: raspberry "Nordic Sweets Forest Berries" gummy candy ... strange. Could be the port sweetness coming through possibly. Smooth feel, rich and not overly cloying, but the candy note is ever present. Dry malty finish. Worth a try, though the flavors didn't really coalesce to me.

 747 characters

Photo of oline73
3.75/5  rDev -10.1%

Photo of LXIXME
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of superspak
4.3/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into snifter, no bottle dating. Pours hazy deep ruby red/brown color with a 1-2 finger fairly dense khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Aromas of big raisin, plum, cherry, date, apple, caramel, vanilla, toffee, toast, brown sugar, bourbon, oak, light coconut, herbal, and yeast/oaky earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great complexity and balance of fruity/earthy yeast, dark/bready malt, bourbon barrel, and earthy hop notes; with good strength. Taste of big raisin, plum, cherry, date, apple, caramel, vanilla, toffee, toast, brown sugar, bourbon, oak, light coconut, herbal, and yeast/oaky earthiness. Fair amount of herbal hop bitterness and bourbon/oak spiciness on the finish; with lingering notes of raisin, plum, cherry, date, apple, caramel, vanilla, toffee, toast, brown sugar, bourbon, oak, light coconut, and yeast/oaky earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity, robustness, and balance of fruity/earthy yeast, dark/bready malt, bourbon barrel, and earthy hop flavors; with a great bitterness/sweetness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a very smooth, creamy, and lightly slick mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is well hidden with only a small warmth lingering after the finish. Overall this is an incredible English barleywine. All around awesome complexity, robustness, and balance of fruity/earthy yeast, dark/bready malt, bourbon barrel, and earthy hop flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the big ABV. A highly enjoyable offering.

 1,708 characters

Photo of DrBier
4/5  rDev -4.1%

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

Photo of dcmchew
4.21/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of XmnwildX12
4/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of mendvicdog
4/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of PhineasMcClintock
4.34/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of russpowell
4.11/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Picked this up in Arkansas, no one will confuse their offerings as being geared towards the frugal beer shopper

Pours a Faint orange/caramel with 3 fingers of fluffy tan head. Stellar lacing & way above average head retention

S: Bourbon notes, oakyness, & plums, raisins

T: Oakyness, plums, molasses, brown sugar & caramel up front, a little booze warmth/cinnamon. Barrel comes through as this warms, some herbal & leafy hops as this warms, dryness as well, a touch of honey too. Finishes with honey bourbon, dryness, some leafy hops, a little tangerine & Bing Cherry

MF: Medium body at best, over-carbonated, smoothed out a bit once warm, turns a little creamy once room temperature

This might be a beer to age, way too carbonated right now. Not bad, but for this price this is a B- beer selling at A++ prices

 827 characters

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

Photo of woodychandler
4.71/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The CANQuest (tm) has fallen behind in its stated mission, acCANulating a backlog that is embarrassing. It will take a CANcerted effort on my part, but I would like to get caught up. Such is life on The CANQuest (tm)!

From the CAN: "Balls Deep! Big, ballsy, barmy and barrel aged. London [B]alling is not typical. It[']s a skirmish of flavor. The barrel imparts oak and vanilla, mixed with the caramel sweetness from a malt bill with brick, that'll knock your bloody bollocks around. Hey bloke? ... fancy that, and you'll be gobsmacked."

The Crack! unleashed a spray of foam, whether from being overly full or just highly pressurized, it gave me a surprise. Color was Copper-Brown (SRM = > 17, < 22) with NE-quality clarity & I CANnot imagine a more beautiful example. Nose smelled like loads of oak, treacle, vanilla, caramel, walnuts & fusel alcohol. Oh my. Mouthfeel was beyond thick and full. It was downright syrupy! The taste was really oaky, initially, but then the caramel and nuttiness got a turn. To me, this is a Barleywine! I get the idea of super-hopped AmeriCAN Barleywines, but this is what I think of when it comes to the style. Loads of caramel malt with flavors of barrel aging. Phew, but this one was big! The heat of the fusel alcohol was the part that was making it tough for me. Otherwise, it tasted (& felt) like flan (caramel pudding), which was even more amazing! I took Advanced Foods in HomeEc in high school and we got to devise really decadent meals. I made a kick-ass flan that really garnered rave reviews and this was very reminiscent of that dessert. It was absolutely hot & sweet and I have no idea that it would age CANtastically, but I wanted to add mine to The CANQuest (tm) sooner, rather than later. If I CAN score another one, it will go into the basement, but I have no regrets. Finish was dry, if hot is CANsidered "dry". Jeez-O, man, this left me gasping for breath & grasping for the fire extinguisher! Wheee. I may need to wrap it up. Warming, it really took on a great coconut flavor! Double wow!

 2,045 characters

Photo of duceswild
4/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of drewone
4.1/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of Slatetank
4.21/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Brandon for sharing this enjoyed from the bottle chilled in a glass.

The color is amber with slight haze and full creamy khaki head. The smell is great -packed with bourbon aroma with slight vanilla and woody scent. The feel is very good with rich creamy texture with sweet middle and light boozy quality with slight spice and dry finish with moderate carbonation and warming alcohol.

The taste is great with a wonderful layered malt with bourbon enhancement that has a dried fruit quality with slight vinous woody tannin and slight spicy effect of elevated alcohol with nice sweetness level of dried fruit. This is a great tasting mix of bourbon and barleywine, very drinkable especially for a 12% beer. Thanks again Sarz

 734 characters

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London Balling from Against The Grain Brewery & Smokehouse
Beer rating: 4.17 out of 5 with 389 ratings
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