Sweetwater Donkey Punch | SweetWater Brewing Company

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Sweetwater Donkey PunchSweetwater Donkey Punch
57 Ratings
Sweetwater Donkey PunchSweetwater Donkey Punch

Brewed by:
SweetWater Brewing Company
Georgia, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by RustyDiamond on 09-21-2007

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 57 |  Reviews: 45
Reviews by kkipple:
Photo of kkipple
3.3/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2007 edition. A massive liter swing-top bottle pops open to disgorge its contents... a real punch awaits, I'm sure.

A. Deep red, clear, 2 finger frothy head. Right purty.

S. Citrus hops, whiff of tropical fruit esters, peaches? Resiny... very sweet malt nose, sugary. Pumpkin spice, oddly. Weird but pretty alright.

T. Hmm. Taste is very sweet with loads of brown sugar. Pretty sure I'm tasting Simcoe hops and and there's definitely some booze to be had here. Grapefruit hops come in after a while but the whole experience is vague and messy... hop bill needs to be changed up on this one, IMO. A little sharp towards the finish. Hm.

M. Lowly carbonated, rather thin, strangely. Not great. Finish is bitter in a bad way and sugary.

D. A disappointment, given the hype and over-the-top name. I'd send Sweetwater back to the drawing board with this, as it is, it's simply a very average American barleywine that we sure don't need another of. The bottle was cool, though.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.18/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2007 release. Conflagration orange with brilliant tangerine highlights when backlit. What a gorgeous hue. The golden ecru colored crown is a tightly-packed collection of sticky bubbles that leave some of the best lace I've seen in quite some time. This is a beautiful barleywine, from top-to-bottom and from side-to-side.

Thanks to an aroma that is still citric hoppy almost one year after bottling, this big ale smells more like an American DIPA than a barleywine. Candied orange peel dominates, there's much more pale malt than caramel, and alcohol is barely detectable.

First impression: Donkey Punch is incredibly well-mannered for the style and for the ABV. It tastes like this bottle has been aged for much longer than 11-12 months. Kudos to the boys at Sweetwater for releasing a beer than must have been hugely drinkable right out of the gate. On the other hand, a high degree of drinkability coupled with a high ABV could spell trouble.

I'm still thinking American DIPA. Hop flavor is generous, although hop bitterness is pretty much neutralized by all the pale malt. Amarillo has to be one member of the hop bill since this is one of the most orange-like offerings in recent memory. Chunks of orange peel soaked in sugar syrup account for at least 97% of the flavor profile. Maybe 97.5%. Melted caramel mixed with pine sap makes up the rest.

In the end, sweetness and bitterness are both moderate and are fairly evenly balanced. It's amazing how effortless it is to drink quickly. Since I need to maintain some motor skills to finish this review, slowing down might be advisable. Appearance update: wide bands of crusty lace look fantastic.

The mouthfeel is the very definition of silky smooth. It isn't thick or overly chewy, and is only lightly sticky. Built for speed, baby. Just enough bubbles (and not one bubble more) is the key.

Donkey Punch does not taste like ass. Okay, that was a bad donkey joke. If you don't already know what the name means, you don't want to know. Trust me. This is a well-crafted effort from Sweetwater that deserves to be released more often and in more manageable bottles. Having said that, the one liter swing-top is pretty cool. Thanks cashew70.

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Photo of blitz134
4.15/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1 L of 10% beer...geez...and they didn't skimp on giving me my bottle's worth...it was filled to within a half inch of the top.

Caramel, red, orange body. Thick and sticky offwhite head on top. Sticks in rings and sheets on the way down.

Loaded with hops, citrus, orange rinds, some floral notes from the alcohol. Sticky caramel and cotton candy malts. Really sweet smelling.

Taste is much like the aroma, but with a little more malty backbone and slighlty toned down hop presence. Has a bit of resin hoppiness in the finish. Overall, much the same though.

Pretty fully bodied, and finishes, not quite dry, but not overly sweet either. Carbonation level is medium or so, pretty on point for the hoppy american style of barleywine.

10%...where's it at? Really hard to detect. This should be a sipper, but it comes across as a 8% american strong ale. Good stuff.

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Photo of SkinnyElvis
4.34/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to nflmvp for this bottle in a trade. Cheers. Pours with a one cm head that settles quick. Color is a bit light for a barleywine. Smells sweet but hoppy. Taste is very interesting with mostly citrus hops with a good bit of sweetness & on the border of a DIPA and a barleywine IMO. Mouthfeel is smooth but you can taste a bit of the booze. I think this beer reminds me of 3F Dreadnaught in a lot of ways. Highly recommended.


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Photo of pwoods
4.05/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Mikesgroove for hooking me up with this brew.

1L brown swing top bottle shared with some buddies awhile back, poured into a snifter. Bottled '07. Review from notes.

A: Pours a pretty orangish copper, crystal clear. A decent head forms and holds for a bit. Nice lacing.

S: Even after nearly a year old, the hop presence is still quite potent. Lots of citrus in grapefruit, orange, and a splash of lemon, with just a touch of oily resin. Malts are more than balancing but not quite as thick as I'd have expected.. which isn't a problem.

T/M: Bitterness level has subdued just a bit but still has a little kick left it in. Citrus still plays a large role in the taste, even more so than in the nose. Caramel and lightly toasted nuts in the malt balance things out but doesn't overstep it's bounds. Body is medium full but not chewy or thick with syrup, which is a huge plus. Finishes lightly dry with some lasting bitterness.

D: Pretty easy to drink for what it is. Mouthfeel really helps with this. If I had to drink the entire 1L myself, well... I could, but I could also be pretty drunk :)

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Photo of IntriqKen
4.29/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Gorgeous Barleywine.
Soft, cloudy orange amber in the glass with a small head that disappears rather quickly.

Aromas are full of fresh fruits...mostly tangerine and oranges with nice mellow, candied amber malt.

Taste is fresh fruit again...tangerines, oranges, candied amber malt, honey.

Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth. Aftertaste is slightly bitter citrus hops and sweet candied oranges.

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Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.28/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Thanks to mikesgroove for the trade.
1L swingtop

Pours a dark peach color with haziness and a good white head that dissipates fast. good lace. The nose is hoppy as expected but the malt blackbone is clear. Taste is maltier and sweeter than expected. I thought this (90 IBUs) would be a bit hoppier, but it is actually very well balanced. Good malt backbone with nice hoppy bite on the finish. Sugariness resides and a kind of fruity flavor is present, citrus but also a sweet kind of almost dirty nectarine. Mouthfeel is good, thin if anything. The drinkability is very good here, and it has a unique refreshing quality to it. Great brew from sweetwater

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Photo of Sammy
3.8/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I am glad I cellared this 1 litre gift from Captain Couger. I think it mellowed, with a bit more balanced flavour from the hops - not in your face from 90 IBU. Initilly a bit sour, then the hops kicks in, a lot of citrus, lots of malt and barley. Very drinkable though not the most complex or impressive barleywine I have had.Big white head on cloudy golden yellow body.

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Photo of russpowell
4.51/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Got this one from ding, cheers! Been sitting on this one liter Beauty for 9 months!

Pours a slightly chill hazed ( cleared quick ) orange/caramel with 3 fingers of tan head. Superior head retention & lacing

S: Fruittyness: loads of apricot, pears & figs; breadyness & citrussy hops

T: Orange slices, dryness, pineyness up front. A touch of brown sugar dryness & breadyness & pine as this warms. Finishes fruitty with pineyness, dryness & more orange slices

MF: Chevy with low carbonation, & dang good balance

Drinks too easy for the style & ABV, glad I sat on this one for a while, damn fine American Barley Wine!

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

A- From the tap, quite a bit darker brown color that I was expecting. Between dark brown and amber. Head is one finger of off white.

S- Smells sweet of fruit and hops to follow afterwards. Very fruit punchy and citrus like.

T- Taste was of the same fruits with a strong following of malty goodness. The bite at the end was not overwhelming, but strong of the alcohol.

M- Mouthfeel was more malty than in the bottle. More carbonation too, but was great!

D- Still a very drinkable 10% ABV beer. The fruityness hides the alcohol well, but it will definitely put a snap in your trunks! Choose a designated driver if you want to session this one, or just do it at home.

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Photo of neddy191
4.7/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

served on-tap - at the brewery

a - clear, deep- red/brown

s - complex, excellent malt/hop blend

t - slightly balanced to the malt side. Great hop presence, not cidery like many american barleywines tend to be

m - medium+ body - just where I expect a barleywine to be

d - this one could fool you. Great smell, taste, etc.. I could easily see this one sneeking up on you

My only complaint is that I went to the brewery primarily for the tour. The little 90lb girl that gave the tour obviously didn't know anything about the beer - and the tour gathering on Friday night was obiously more of an Atlanta meat-market than a gathering for beer lovers.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.42/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A – Poured a nice hazy and very cloudy amber with a very nice two inch plus head on top, a very sticky and foamy off white colored head graced the top of it. Now this was definitely bright in color, much more Double IPA like then I would have thought even from the look. Great head retention as it seemed to have hung around for days. The side glass lace was especially thick and obscured most of the glass in a rather short amount of time. There was ample carbonation visible throughout the session.

S – Super hoppy and sweet. This had no sense of balance to it at all. I was picking up nothing but strong citrus and pine hops from the very start. Some subtle sweetness lay in the back and this caused it to have somewhat of a lighter body to it. A very floral smell, this was definitely not something to be taken lightly.

T – This was definitely a big IPA, no doubt. I did not detect anything that would have led to me calling this one a Barley wine. Not one bit. Huge citus and floral hops dominated this and gave it a very sticky and bitter tastes. A nice amount of sweetness to it as well. What I was shocked was how well the alcohol was hidden. Really a very nice treat and something that was very delicious after dinner, but I still do not see how this was a Barleywine.

M – Very smooth, and I mean very smooth. Great carbonation led itself to this and caused it to go down very well. I was quite impressed with how light the body of this one was. It really did not feel anywhere near as thick as I thought it would have. Great feel all the way down to the last drop and really just super sticky and sweet, made your lips stick to your teeth, very full.

D – Excellent, and for something in a one liter bottle at over 10% abv that is really saying something. This was killer and I would have loved to have some more. I am glad I picked up a bunch as I feel it will really do well when laid down for a while.

Overall I was really impressed with this as a big IPA. I do not really think it fits as a Barleywine but maybe with time some of the mote subtle notes will start to come out and make it a little less hoppy, but for right now this was right up my alley and made me very happy from the time I opened the bottle till I finished.

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Photo of FreshmanPour77
4/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of rallison
3.88/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very malty aroma with lots of caramel and moderate piny hops. Slight bit of bready notes.

Good size rocky head, off-white with lots of lacing. Slightly hazy. Orange color body.

Strong caramel sweetness in the taste. Moderately hoppy (this beer is about a year old at this point). Very light oxidation. Relatively long finish.

Full bodied - slightly syrupy with medium to low carbonation. Moderately alcoholic on the finish.

Overall, well done. Grew on me - I'd like to try it fresh but have a feeling the beer would taste too green with a rough hop character. Good though.

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Photo of AdamSekulow
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of GABrew
4/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of weeare138
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to hopdog for opening this 1 Liter bottle at the post-Kennett dinner...
Appears a dark, orange toned amber with a small white head that slowly fades into a mild film. Streaks of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is caramel, pine, ripe fruit, and some grapefruit rind. Somewhat addictive aroma.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with more caramel and citrus coming through in the flavors backed with some decent piney bitters.
Mouthfeel is medium-full bodied, slightly chewy, mildy bitter in the swallow with a hint of abv present.

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Photo of claspada
4/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of barleywinebrewer
4.2/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

my 400th review. thanks to mikesgroove for this one via trade!

A - slightly hazy amber in color. Thick frothy light tan head that lasts quite some time.
S – fruit punch sweetness - rounded out by a tight strong citrus backbone.
T – Similar to the nose - caramel, brown sugar, ripe tropical fruit / fruit punch bombarded wtih a huge citric orange hops effect.
M - full bodied, creamy smooth warming but only slightly.
D - 1 liter looked imposing until I had finished the bottle and decided to stop watching the red sox playoff game.

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Photo of GeorgiaBeerGuy
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.35/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Acquired from mikesgroove, so a big "Thank you" goes out to him. Poured from a 1-Liter swing-top bottle into a snifter glass.

A: The beer is a murky brown color, with a large off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of fruity citrus, floral hops and caramelized malts, very IPA-like.

T: The taste is very well-balanced with sweet flavors of citrus and caramel up front. There's a strong hops presence, but it's obvious that it has been toned-down somewhat after at least a year of aging since I received it. There's a hearty malt character and a very mild alcohol sting, but it's not quite as boozy as most ABW's. The after-taste is sweet and slightly hoppy.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, light-to-medium carbonation, pretty clean finish for a style that tends to be a little bit sticky.

D: Very tasty, goes down quite easily, not too filling, strong kick, very good representation of style, this is an excellent bigger beer to drink for a long time. I certainly enjoyed it as it really hit the spot after a long, stressful day of working on my new house.

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Photo of ppoitras
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

1L swing-top bottle obtained via trade with MMAJYK. Thanks for the opportunity... Gold foil.

Poured into a large glass chalice, formed a 1/4" beige head over the slightly cloudy orangey amber brew. Head fades gradually, with lacing that lasts like the glaciers. Aroma is heavy sweetness, piercing piney hops, and fruity alcohol. Taste mirrors the aroma to a tee, each step of the way. Mouthfeel is smooth, albeit with a touch of chalkiness on the close, and drinkability is excellent. Great experiemce with this one.

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Photo of RustyDiamond
4.35/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 edition called Sweetwater DP Barleywine Ale, which should be filed under a new entry. Awaiting approval, stay tuned

On tap @ the brewery yesterday. Bright copper appearance with some orange highlights. Head is super creamy & frothy, near white in color. Quite the tangy citrus aroma- tangerine, navel orange. First sip was surprisingly malty, sourdough bread followed by a big citric hop flavor. But not overwhelming at all...very big and very balanced. Good 10.2 vapor to remind you where you are. Noticeable punch of floral, bitterness in the back of the throat. Finishes very nice...some bitterness, some citrus yet not too dry.

This beer not only has a different name than the 2007 Donkey Punch, it has a different malt & hop bill:

DP = 3500# 2 row, 125# munich, 275# 70/80, 100# Victory 4000# total
Hops = 1st Summit 2nd Columbus 3rd Columbus & Centennial 4th Centennial & Cascade
Dhopped- Columbus Cascade & Centennial

Donkey Punch = 2800# 2 row, 100# Munich, 220# 70/80, 100# victory 3220 total
Hops = 1st Nugget & Chinook 2nd Nugget 3rd Nugget & Centennial 4th Centennial & Cascade
Dhopped- Nugget Cascade Centennial

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Photo of DrDogbeer
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks To Atlbeerdog for this big bottle! Poured out into a goblet. Pours a nice hazy orange color with an off white head. Clean looking barleywine. Smells are strong- caramel, sticky & sweet. Some hop smell as well. Tastes great! Good flavors of sweet malts, some alcohol and a good slightly bitter finish. Not my fave style, usually, but this one is good. Very drinkable for a barleywine. Slick mouthfeel- goes down almost too easy. Watch out for this one!

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Photo of jdubjacket
4.1/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Very similar to other SweetWater selections (they love their hoppy beers). However, this one was maltier than its counterparts. It's a little bit subtle at first, but it definitely sneaks up on you. A good buy. I may have to stock up on a few more of these.

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Sweetwater Donkey Punch from SweetWater Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.11 out of 5 with 57 ratings