Barleywine Style Ale | Green Flash Brewing Co.

very good
438 Reviews
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Barleywine Style AleBarleywine Style Ale

Brewed by:
Green Flash Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.90%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by scottoale on 11-08-2006

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Reviews: 438 | Ratings: 845
Photo of janubio
5/5  rDev +29.2%

This one is pretty impressive. Hazy brown colour, big head with a full lace and crown that leaves forever. Smell of Pine, allspices, cardamom or clove, citrus, brandy, tobacco, wood (oak?)... Not thick and not light in the palate, not too mauch carbonation, it feels really good. Taste is just like the aroma, maybe with some hints of chocolate and a bit more sweet., though bitterness and sweetness come and go on the same level.Very good indeed. Maybe if I can get another one I'll give a perfect ten.

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Photo of Brewji
4.9/5  rDev +26.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

On first pour, it glows with a rich, reddish amber colour, and a lacy white head top. I sniffed this beer like some people sniff flowers (I unfortunately am allergic to pollen). I took in a lot of deep malty scents, and hops, and...that's about it. But not in a bad way, this brew smelled righteous, knowing ahead of time that something big was going to happen. It's like a referee calling a penalty shot in overtime, going in for the big sip was the shot, and the overall taste determined whether or not the deke attempt worked.

Taking the first sip, I expected a train wreck of malty hops. However, I was greeted by a strong, pleasant malty tone, followed by a nice transition into an intense malty flavour, and a crisp, clean after taste. I was so impressed by the after taste, the clean-ish feeling that I got, that it made me want more. This is finally a brew over 10% that will leave you wanting more! Imagine Datsyuk with a highlight reel goal on a breakaway...naturally you'd want more (so long as he's not scoring on your team).

The first, middle, and end tastes are phenomenal. There are no complaints, as everything flows together, while still leaving a memorable taste that would definitely make me want to order this again. If you (or your friends) are new to barleywines, this is a definite first step into the world of 10%+ beers.

The Green Flash Brewing Co. BarleyWine gets a phenomenal penalty-shot-goal-in-overtime 9.5 / 10

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Photo of KShophead
4.81/5  rDev +24.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This was a 2012 bottle that I recently stumbled across. I never had this year fresh but with 3 years on it, it is what I consider to be the best Barleywine I've had yet

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Photo of dmlasp
4.8/5  rDev +24%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From a 22 oz. bottle (about 4.99 at Total Wine) into a chilled pint glass, pours a deep orange-brown with a thick head. Tastes rich and full, with citrus overtones and pine undertones with an IPA-like bitterness. Some caramel flavoring underneath. It's a lot to take, but tasty nonetheless.

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Photo of wampahoofus
4.77/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I let this bottle sit in my basement for almost three years. It was a vintage 2008.

The beer poured cloudy dark amber-brown with a creamy white head with a decent amount of retention and lacing.

The beer has lots of aroma. I smell brown sugar, toffee, and an assertive amount of hops.

The malts have broken down into a sweet, rich brown-sugar sweetness. The flavor is rich and smooth with vanilla, toffee and quite a bit of hops. I am surprised by the level of hops considering the age.

The beer is thick and rich on the palette. The flavor is assertive and rich.

This was worth the time for the aging. I will look for this and cellar a 5 or 6 of these. I highly recommend that you add this to your cellar!

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Photo of bheilman
4.72/5  rDev +22%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Best beer I've ever had. It has such an intense hops presence that I would guess that it was an IPA or double IPA. For days after I was thinking about how good this beer was. It does have a significant malt flavor, but it is matched so well with the bold hops freshness that it is less noticeable. I would say its the best balance of hops and barley that I have ever had, making it a nearly perfect beer. Go out of your way to drink this beer, you won't regret it.

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Photo of McLaughlin5350
4.72/5  rDev +22%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

this beer poured reddish brown. smelled of hops and molasses. the taste was different from the other barley wines i have had. it had a good bit of a hops taste to it but it also still had that typical slight fruitness of most barely wines. I really enjoyed this beer and would not hesitate to get it again. I haven't had anything from this brewery yet that i have disliked.

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Photo of 11millsown113
4.67/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

bought this beer without really knowing about it. the women at the register immediately said it was an excellent barley wine.

poured a nice amber color and had a very nice hop aroma.

it was a very smooth taste with a great hop aftertaste. many barley wines have a very sweet taste to them (sometimes almost sickly sweet). but this is just right. the 10.9 ABV is very well hidden by the hops and is extremely smooth.

overall this was an excellent barley wine, would defiantly buy it again to share with friends.

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Photo of DogFood11
4.67/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

22oz bottle poured into a tulip it forms a loose tan head that has some rather large bubbles burst down to some solid islands. Ruddy Brown body looks sturdy. Spider like lacing for such a high alcohol brew.

Quite the wave of hops hit the nose right up front. Very fresh and vibrant smelling. First impression was that if this had more density and depth of character it would be ranked even higher. The taste is excellent but it lacks some body and is actually kind of thin for a barleywine. Hops are up front and hold true throughout. They finally give way towards the finish and allows a slightly wooded malt bill with some sugared and caramelized finishing sweetness. This one will linger a bit long after each pull. It has a distinct coating of the palate that lends itself to drinking with some food to clean it up or like me just chew on it for a while. The complexity picks up as it warms and this is another one that got better as it went along. A citrusy lemon peel aspect developes late in the aftertaste. Yummy stuff. Green flash is on to something here and I hope to see this more often. This has cellar qualities to it.

Notes: This is a healthy offering, sturdy, big and complex. Basically it is what I want in a barleywine for the most part. The only downside is it could pay a bit more attention to the depth of the malts. Hop profile was awesome. Mouthfeel was nice and I am craving another one as soon as I finished this one so Drinkability has to be up there. Second best offering from Green Flash and that speaks volumes.

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Photo of Pencible
4.67/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This poured a nearly opaque ruby brown with tan head. It smelled like a blend of roasted wheat and raisins, caramel malt, and floral hops. It had a well balanced flavor of cherries, raisins, and floral hops, along with molasses and caramel malt. It was thick with a bit of carbonation, and had a brief but very bitter aftertaste. Overall this was a very rich flavor with nice complexity that results in a quite enjoyable beer. This could possibly benefit even further from aging.

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Photo of mrasskicktastic
4.67/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - Slightly hazy ruby brown with a large head (huge by barley wine standards) that lingers for minutes and leaves big rings of lacing all over the glass.

S - Pure hop resin. Pine and apricot over a strong rose aroma. This smells a lot like Pliny the Elder. I absolutely love it. Abv undetectable.

T - Awesome. A resiny pine hop dominates the foretaste, almost no bitterness. The aftertaste has a linging pine and grapefruit bitterness, but it is subdued with a biscuity overtone. The malt profile is subdued. That is the only drawback. The outstanding hop kick makes you forget all about the lack of malt until the end of the beer though.

M - Smooth, medium bodied, very refreshing too.

D - I would have guessed this was a Double IPA, in the hoppy vein of Pliny or Hop Wallop, and not a barleywine. But I love it either way. I like it more than almost any double IPA or barleywine to date. In fact this is one of the best beers I can remember having. This is so easy to drink and tastes great. The smell is enchanting. I love this beer. If you love hops, seek it out.

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Photo of SamJory
4.66/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

650 ml bomber, 2010 vintage poured into a snifter.

Pours a dark ruby, fairly opaque with an off-white head.

On the nose I immediately get the caramel malt and rich fruity esters along with some hops in there too.

On the palate the fruity esters, caramel malt and hops hit you first, which gives way to a vinous warmth. The aging has given this beer such a beautiful balance - not overly sweet with malt and not overly bitter and more like a double IPA like some other American barleywines. The taste is incredibly smooth, rounded with some piney bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel is full, and the finish lasts and lasts. I had this beer a few months ago when it came in from the warehouse from work, and now it's come back it's even better. A very special experience.

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Photo of ccrida
4.6/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 22oz bomber into my Hommel snifter, Green Flash's barelywine is a clear garnet with a fluffy, 2 finger, light khaki head that is pretty thick mildly long lingering, leaving sheets of foamy lace. Served at slightly below cellar temp. I have to point out how lame it is that the label cites this as a "vintage" BW, yet there's not date to know what vintage it is!!! I assume mine is this years...still, the beer itself look fantastic, further underscoring my assumption of freshness.

Aroma is in classic American BW, gingerbread and brown-sugar caramel malts with a big charge of citrusy hops that come across like succulent jonagold apple - I can almost feel the juice dripping down my chin! Still, it's not as aggressive as some, which I appreciate, although theres not question it's boozy.

Taste is nice and more balanced then I expected. I brought this home from Bailey's Tap Room, and the owner said it was actually closer to an English style then American, but being from Green Flash, I was skeptical...while the hop aromas are distinctly American, the taste is pleasantly subdued, not the bitter, palate buster that you find with, say a first year Old kind of a mix in my mind, which I love. Wow, I'm really digging this! While I can taste the alcohol, I wouldn't have guessed's certainly rich, but with a fairly clean finish. I don't know what it is about San Diego and barleywines, but they kill it...up there with Old Guardian as my all time favorite, although this is only my first bomber, so I'll have to have a few more before I declare that.

Mouthfeel is creamy and only medium bodied for the style.

This is really up there on my list of drinkable barelywines. Paired fantastically with tonights BBQ chicken (nothing but Sweet Baby Ray's). Luckily it's readily available in my market, because I only picked up one, and that won't cut it! I'm sure it won't cellar poorly, but this is really so fantastic right now, I'm not sure I'd bother...might have to pick up a case for snowboard season if my home-brewed BWs for this year don't turn out as good, which I can't imagine they will!

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Photo of asabreed
4.59/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber into a Thomas Hardy's snifter.

Appearance: Ruby-colored with some spotty lacing and a slightly off-white head.

Smell: One of the juiciest barley wine aromas I have ever had the pleasure of taking in. It smells like I just ripped to hell a peach, a grapefruit, and an orange, and smashed them together viciously. Transcendently rich and aromatic, this is unreal. Even the pulp is in there somehow. Is there some malt present? Yes. Does it matter? Not as much as maybe it should.

Taste: The citrus is here to the point where I'm having a problem commenting on it. Where's the hops that should be so present? Or is this all hops minus the bitterness and all flavor? Usually I'm anticipating something insanely bitter, but this is maybe the freshest, most drinkable barley wine I've ever encountered. And as it warms the citrus and slight berries start to emerge, with the finish insanely long, rich, fruity and complex.

Mouthfeel: Juicy, luscious, somewhat creamy, full-bodied, and coating.

Drinkability: Honestly, I'm not sure what kind of a beast this barley wine is, but I love it. The ABV is extremely hidden, the taste is balanced beyond belief in its green state. I think this may actually be detrimental to lay down (as it's fantastic fresh), but alas, I'm very interested to see what will happen, and I'll definitely be buying another bottle or two to see what happens in the future.

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Photo of ChazMania
4.58/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


a) poured into my pint glass, perhaps there is a better glass to drink this from.

s) rather light for such a rich brew, either that or I'm drunk and can't smell.

t) fantastic. Big rich full malty hoppy caramel toffee utter deliciousness.

m) thick and resinous. rather over the top, but in a good way.

d) i used to not like barleywines but this one brought me around. this is maybe my third or fourth bomber and it's consistently tasty.

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Photo of jbphoto88
4.57/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Hazed blood orange color with a fantastic head. Surprising on a beer that has 10+% ABV. Orange highlights are visible on the glass edge. The cap is yellow sand colored and fluffy. Nice lacing and good retention.

The nose is pure joy for a hop head. A sweet smelling combination of juicy fruit gum, citrus and pine. It's all backed up by a solid caramelized malt bill. One of the best barleywine noses I've ever had the pleasure of sticking my snout in.

The taste lives up to the nose with generous amounts of hops and malts. The hop profile ranges from lemony citrus, tropical fruit, floral tea and pine. None of which dominate but are more layered and shine equally strong. The grains are sweet and slightly roasted giving a caramel and honey flavor. Well done.

This beer just gets better in the mouthfeel. Creamy but still with a sharp hop bite. Full body with a lighter carbonation and a sweet yet dry finish. I'm in love, and on the way to a great beer buzz because the ABV is masked by awesomeness. This was a 2010 bottle that I've aged for a few months before opening. If you see it, buy it. This is an exceptional beer and my new favorite in the style.

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Photo of Metalmonk
4.53/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

First tried this on tap at Bailey's Taproom in Portland, was the end of a beer-intensive week, and the night was a long one. This was one of the most memorable beers of the whole trip. Psyched to have another bottle.

Pours out an absolutely beautiful burnt, rusted candy apple red with a fluffy, rocky head on top that has a toasty tan tint to it. The head sticks around a long time, and when it goes, the lace comes on in huge swaths. One of the hottest-looking barleywines I've ever seen.

If the aroma smelled a bit more like an actual barleywine, I'd rate it a "5". But this thing smells exactly like a killer double IPA. Lots and lots of hops, more piney than anything, but a little citrus too, with big, gooey, candy-like malt as its foundation. I guess there's probably a fine line between barleywine and DIPAs, but I'm still amazed how DIPA this smells.

Humongous hops in the flavor, keenly balanced by juicy toffee-like maltiness that's as bold and beautiful as the hops. A little bit of alcohol provides warmth, but this isn't overboard, despite how huge it tastes. That's the beauty and success of it. It drinks way too easily. You can feel the citrus and pine elements of the hops caressing the taste buds with each sip and into the finish. It's all made even better with a gooey, chewy mouthfeel that doesn't wear out its welcome by being too sticky.

Superb. I'll have to go back and check previous reviews, but this might be the best barleywine I've ever had. It does everything right, and it's a great argument for not always cellaring; it's tremendous in its young state.

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Photo of dcook11
4.53/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2010. Poured into a Tulip.

A- Cherry hue. Light mocha head. Good lacing. No visible carbonation.

S- Very solvent forward. Touch of rubber, expo marker, malt, caramel, booze, and a kiss of hops.

T- Bitter at the start. Solvent forward, expo marker, hops on the finish. Not very malty.


O- This need another year or two on it to bring out some complexities and dumb down the slovent/alcohol bite.

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Photo of SmashPants
4.53/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle: solid brown 650mL longneck, with an acceptable non-macro label.

Appearance: deep golden amber-brown in colour, low- to- mid carbonation with a one finger head. Great lacing as it drops slowly over time to a thick, rocky cap. Wonderful!

Aroma: a rich, powerful combination of caramel malts and heavy fruits. The nose alone whets the palate. I'm looking forward to this one!

Taste: where the nose whet my apetite, the palate picks up and delivers. Dark fruit esters combine with those caramel and treacle malts and some spice over the top.

Aftertaste: a lingering light bitterness and some warming alcohol. Overall, a wonderful beer.

Mouth feel: full and lasting, this is a beer for a night-time session. Amazing.

Overall: I've only had one barleywine before (Moylan's Old Blarney Barleywine Style Ale), this was my second. Both are absolutely exceptional. I get the feeling that this will be my favourite style from here on out.

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Photo of SawDog505
4.53/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I got this bomber from wife for Christmas., thanks honey!! Poured into a 13 oz tulip glass. It is a 09. Pours a gorgeous
bright red, with 2 fingers of sticky white head. The Carmel, ,bready, citrusy burnt hopps. Reeminds me of Bigfoot. Just like the smell, I bet these hops fresh would almost over the top, but wonderfull as is. A very nice mouthfeel, sizeable but not over the top, drinks fairly easy considering it's nearly 11% abv. I really like this barleywine, I am very excited I have another one.

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Photo of ppoitras
4.51/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22oz bottle obtained as part of Secret Santa 07 package from RickSawyer. Thanks for the opportunity...

Poured into a Rapscallion glass, formed a 1" tan head over the slightly cloudy reddish amber brew. Thick head holds on strong, with plenty of thick lace. Aroma is sweet yet citrsy. Taste is candy sweet, also countered by ample citrus hops character. Alcohol taste is hidden, but there's no hiding the warming. Mouthfeel is wow smooth, and drinkability is way too easy. Hella nice BW.

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Photo of martyl1000
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I guess I have to talk a little more to get to the minimum number of words for this review to register. on speech to text. We'll see how well it transcribes my voice.
I guess I have to talk a little more to get to the minimum number of words for this review to register.

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Photo of tmcelvain
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A bit dark and hazy for a barleywine, but excellent rusty brown overall. Alcohol and caremel malts are apparent in the smell.
Tastes very hoppy for a barleywine, but delicious balance of sweet toffee and caramel malt flavors. Sweet start and bitter finish.
Mouth is complex and sticky, amazingly bright in the mouth for the hiigh abv. As many barleywines, dangerously drinkable. A lovely beer that I could either sip, or drink all day. Overall very impressed. I like what Green Flash has done with this, one of my favorite styles. Not exactly true to style, but very much true to spirit.

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Photo of HighballurRollby
4.47/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked this one out while looking for a beer with high ABV. This one just happened to be the highest at a solid 10.9 (beat that bud light platinum!) Anyways, on to the beer!

I gotta say, I've only had one other barleywine (Sierra Nevada Bigfoot vintage 2010, 2011), and I'm beginning to release what type of beer I prefer when it comes to these American strong ales. I personally prefer a sweeter taste, because many times these dark brews can be just so dry and woody that I just can't really enjoy a whole 24 ounces of it. This beer offers a very smooth mouthfeel blend of medium chocolate, dark toffee, brown sugar, and a soft hop bitterness. I think the lack of hop bitterness and at the same time the lack of malt grain taste enables the "other" flavors to really stand out to me and add to this beer in a positive way. If you asked me what the ABV of this beer was I couldn't tell you honestly, I can't really taste the alcohol. Overall I'm very impressed with the taste of this brew and I will be chalking this up on my top barleywine list! Great job Green Flash Brewing Company!!

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Photo of PAYankeeFan
4.47/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Like the IPA it is very sticky and an appealing barleywine for hop heads. How is this a barleywine as it seems to lack the malty quality and seems more on the Ruination end of things with a heavy Simcoe-like touch here? I tried this one a second time and now sense the malty quality in here which is like a quilt in a tub of hops. The resin and pine needle aspects are especially strong and I suppose the caramel malt backbone here is a bit more pronounced than their IPA. There is some vanilla and molasses there but the hops blow the loudest horns. I would love to blind taste test this with their IPA as their Imperial IPA seems quite mellow compared to the two. Bottle from State Line in Elkton, MD for $4.99.

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Barleywine Style Ale from Green Flash Brewing Co.
3.87 out of 5 based on 845 ratings.
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