Barleywine Style Ale | Green Flash Brewing Co.

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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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Ratings: 845 |  Reviews: 438
Photo of womencantsail
3.28/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This bottle was a 2008 Vintage.

A: A dark amber color with a fairly large off-white head, which was rather surprising for a barleywine.

S: Lots of malt, toffee, caramel, a bit of hop bitterness.

T: This is where this beer really falls short. I normally enjoy barleywines, but this beer is overly boozy, and the malt/caramel dominate all the other flavors. I was hoping to taste some of the hop flavors and dark fruits (that are normally present in a barleywine), but was sadly let down.

M: Full bodied and very light on the carbonation.

D: Dissapointing flavor and the incredibl presence of booze make this beer not all that drinkable.

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Photo of sweetbrew82
2.16/5  rDev -44.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 1

22 oz. into a snifter/ 2008

P: Very dark amber with a cream-colored head that's quite nice! It's thick and dense with a frothy, yet firm crown of foam that shows very good retention for a 10% brew. Sinks to form a thick collar while leaving some notches of lace in its wake.

A: Huge waves of toasted caramel malts, toffee, piney hops, dark fruits, burnt sugar, and booze are present. Damn, I hope this isn't as boozy as it smells because this is reminding me of hard liquor, which is more than a bit worrysome.

T: And now my worries have come to reality. This over-powering booziness reminds me a little of fresh Old Guardian. Its got that solvent-like, vodka quality to it that just scorches everything in sight. Anyhow, there's a bready caramel malt that proclaims itself king right off the bat. But the citrusy, piney hops manage to make their way to the forefront in spots as well. There are also some pleasant notes of toffee and dark fruits in here as well, but you have to dig a little for them. They are pretty sublte, but they remind me of figs and black cherries. Some slight oxidation noted in this bottle as well, but I'm not holding that against this brew as it's not the brewers fault. The absurd amount of unbridled, unmasked alcohol, however, is!

M: Green Flash Barleywine is a medium-full bodied beer that leans more toward full as it warms up a bit. Its got a sticky, creamy, mouth-coating chewiness to it along with a prickly bite from the generous amount of carbonation.

Notes: This is just a boozy mess of a beer that completely fails to work in harmony right now. It's a shame because there are some really good flavors in here, too. That vodka-like ethanol just wore me down and made it a chore to get through even a glass. And considering that I am a cheap-ass bastard in the worst way, it takes a lot for a beer to become a drainpour. Unfortunately, this one pushed me past the threshold and the rest met its fate at the bottom of my kitchen sink. What the hell happened here? Green Flash makes excellent beers, but this just wasn't one of them! Will have to revisit this to ensure that I didn't get a bad bottle.

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

2008 vintage. Barleywine Style Ale is a glorious, glowing shade of cherry red infused with Sunkist tangerine. The upper third of the glass is filled with golden ecru colored foam that features hundreds of sticky bubbles on its upper surface. This much lid longevity and this much lovely lace is unusual with an ABV this high.

The color and the aroma (and the GFBC website) indicate that caramel malt will be one of the beer's major features. Also evident is what smells like a generous amount of American hops. Approximately one year in the bottle will have tamed the beast to some extent, but 85 IBUs was a pretty lofty starting point.

This is good beer. The more interesting flavors provided by the caramel malt (compared to mostly pale malt) help to mask the alcohol. Age undoubtedly helped in that regard as well. In addition, hop bitterness doesn't outrace hop flavor, which is a definite danger in a high alpha acid American barleywine. Nice job all around.

Specifics include English toffee, tea leaves, pine sap, orange and white grapefruit peel, and a shot of white rum. Again, the alcohol is pretty well-integrated, but you definitely know you're drinking a big brew. If you want a decent amount of hoppiness, I'd suggest drinking this particular vintage before the end of this year.

The mouthfeel is built for quick consumption... although that isn't recommended. Time has undoubtedly sapped some of the beer's full stickiness and the bubbles are on the soft and gentle side. None of that is a deal-breaker as far as I'm concerned.

Green Flash Barleywine Style Ale isn't the best American barleywine on the block, but it does more right than it does wrong. If you like caramel malt, citric hops and double-digit ABVs, give this one a whirl. Bottom line: it ain't flashy, but it's as solid as granite.

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Photo of aubuc1
3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2008 Bomber poured in to a goblet.

Pours a sort of hazy brown amber with a steady, clingy light tan head.

Smell is a sweet toffee yeasty biscuit with some light hop. booze.

Taste is big. yeasty biscuit citrusy.

Good mouthfeel. Lots of booze and the whole barleywine qualities keep it from being too drinkable.

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Photo of Arbitrator
3.76/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Chilled bomber into a glass. 2008 vintage. Both the glass and the beer courtesy of alfrantzell. Thanks Arne.

A: Pours a murky mahogany color with ruby tint when held to the light. The head is a couple of fingers' worth of light brown foam, which falls over a couple of minutes into a very thin collar around the brew and leaves faint strands of lacing down the glass. The second pour results in more lacing and leaves a clump of foam that lasts indefinitely on top of the brew, which looks quite nice...

S: Big on caramel, toffee malt, and dark fruit, but it's also very hop forward with a strong citrus bent to it. Definitely some booze sting in there.

T: The dark fruit character really blossoms in the initial taste. I pick up elements of cherry and raisin on top of a thick toffee and caramel malt base. The sweetness pulls into the mid-taste, but you get a dose of contrasting orange rind and grapefruit hops coming into play, as well as pine hops near the finish. The finish is mostly malty, but there is a twinge of alcohol warmth and lingering hop bitterness in the aftertaste.

M: Sticky and sap-like, but medium-bodied with moderate carbonation. You can feel and sort of taste the ABV though.

D: I'd say it's about middling when fresh. A bomber is kind of a bad idea alone and fresh, but I'd certainly enjoy having this again after aging it to let it cool off.

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Photo of Trappissed
3.31/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

One of the most hop-forward Barley Wines I have had. It is Green Flash though, so its not too surprising. Also a big kick of alcohol and bitterness. Some citrus and caramel malts. Burns a little on the way down. Above average, but not very good either.

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Photo of ski271
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear, ruddy medium brown, with a small, tan, creamy head that slowly diminishes to a thick, lasting film. Excellent lacing. The smell is of heavenly pungent hops. So resiny, with whisps of citrus and dark fruit encircling a solid, sweet smelling malt backbone. Damn this smells huge and good! The taste is not as huge up front as I thought it would be, but as it warms in the mouth the complexity comes through. Then the alcohol warmth start to show up, building toward the alcohol-heavy finish. Coming back for more sips, the aroma that I initially found to be so enticing is now a bit overbearing in a way. Still good though. It has a full body, a dry, warm, lightly-syrupy texture, and low carbonation. This one started out with high marks but then fizzled a little. The alcohol is a bit harsh (and this is coming from somebody that LOVES big beers). I had just had an Old Guardian the day before. This one probably has more complexity, but just isn't as well-rounded. I know a big beer like this going to be cloying, and I'm going to enjoy tasting this for several hours after finishing the bottle, but this one is just a little too much . Still definitely worth a try though!

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Photo of david18
3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Green Flash came seemingly out of nowhere with a bunch of beers at all the most popular styles; tripel, double ipa, barley wine, ipa- as well as some unique combos. This beer is as good as any of their beers with a good west coast take on the style, good alcohol content, great color and good carbonation. Worth the price tag if you can find it.

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Photo of JRed
3.65/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep caramel in body with soft off-white head. Pleasant aroma of caramel, dark fruits, booze, sugar. Alcoholic booze starts the drink and stays the whole way through. Caramel sweets, malted grain, toffee, burnt sugar, hop resiny finish. Heavy body: intense on the palate and big on the belly. Definitly a night capper but doesn't quite go that well in the summer heat.

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Photo of Kadonny
3.55/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 22 ounce bomber bottle into my Sam Adams pint glass. 2008 version.

A: A dark brown rubyish color with a big two finger light brown head. Very thick.

S: Dark fruits with a big caramel toffee nose and a piney hop smell. Alcohol can be detected.

T: First sip is sweet with dark fruit flavors of cherry, raisins and fig coupled with a huge malt caramel and sugar sweetness. Sweetness really hangs through the middle of the beer but allows the piney floral hops to come into play with a hefty alcohol taste. Finish stays sweet with a bit of hops bitterness. Sweetness gets a bit cloying. Alcohol really burns on the finish when it warms up.

M: Sticky, prickly and hot. Sweetness and alcohol fight each other to the end.

D: Low. I struggled to finish the bottle, it was very tiring.

I love a good American Barleywine, but even after a year this beer was too hot. The mix of the alcohol and sweetness just seem to fight each other and neither wins. I can't put my finger on it, but this beer just does not meld well, it seems very rough an choppy tasting. Hard to explain. I love Green Flash, but this was not their best work IMO.

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Photo of barnzy78
4.03/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11oz sampling. Pours a thick caramel brown color with a huge frothy beige head. Smells sweet with a pleasant waft of caramel and toffee. Alcohol is noticeable, but not over-whelming. Some piny citrus scents also fill the nose. Tastes are full and extremely bold - caramel, toffee, alcohol with citrus and pine on the finish. As the ale warms, hints of ripe mango peek through the pine overtones. Mouth-feel is thick and syrupy and coats the palate well. Finishes bitter, but sweet as the malts hold up to the large dose of hops in this West Coast version of an American Barleywine. This was exactly as I expected it to be, and a very good interpretation of the style, especially speaking in west coast terms.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.35/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased from Ledgers Liquors in summer 2007 and aged in my cellar for the last couple of years. By this point, it has lost all of its hops, but still has quite vibrant malt in the nose along with some nice apple notes. With a vigorous pour there is also quite a healthy head and a modicum of lacing. Nice, after a couple of years. The taste is rich, nutty, and honeyed. The malt shines beautifully here. Amazingly, there is still a fair hit hops in the finish, with pine and bitter orange. Subtle, but bitter enough to balance the malt and toffee notes. Extremely smooth and creamy with rich notes that are seemlessly integrated and very easy to drink. I liked this young, and I'm usually not one to abuse hops by aging- this was fairly hoppy to begin with- but this beer has really, really come together. Quite nice.

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.03/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Labeled as "2nd Anniversary." Bottle at PPRBSG09. Pours a cloudy brown with a small white head. Aroma of sweet caramel malt. Flavor is super sweet, with some roasted malt and vegetal notes. Very heavy on the palate. It seems that this one has not held up over time. Ugh, not a fan.

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Photo of augustgarage
3.48/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Vintage 2009, 10.9% ABV, poured from a 22oz bottle into my Dogfish Head snifter.

Liquid pours a nearly opaque bole with brilliant ruby/crimson highlights, a light-khaki creamy head which recedes to a thin ring of foam with a small peninsula in the center. Decent lacing, and noticeable leg formation due to the high alcohol.

Complex aromatics, with heavy bread like malt (baked but not toasted/roasted), strong resinous hops, brown sugar, port, pine, and a modicum of solvent.

Bold bitterness, followed by a sweetness like burnt dark corn syrup on the palate. Cloying and astringent all at once on the finish. Hops are most prominent, though their citrus character is obscured by the sugar.

Medium-bodied and sticky mouthfeel, leaving an almost sap-like residue on the lips. Decent carbonation though...

I wouldn't say this was a style known for "drinkability," but even measured against other barleywines, this one is a bit too sweet and unbalanced (the sum of two strong flavors in this case being lesser than the parts).

If you like the pine-heavy West Coast hops, this is worth trying - but otherwise, there are better examples of the style out there.

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Photo of Magpie14
3.78/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: the pour from the bottle is a hazy burnt red with caramel and faint deep orange hues. The head is dingy and yellow with not much retention. Lacing is a shotgun blast array of bubbled yellow color. To put this in the class of barleywines is proper, it looks it. Soft cascading buttery golden bubbles rippled after a vigorous pour

S: sweet buttery brown sugar and toffee whiffs, maybe some burnt peanut brittle smells. Roasted malts remain hidden to the nose as sweetness flows. Also to mention, hop pine notes are floating about. The overall scent of this beer is sweet and sugary

T: from the nose to the palate; the burnt flavors shine through the mix a bit more, reminiscent of charred nutty sugariness. This dominant flavor lingers throughout and plays with burnt caramel, toffee and a hint, just a hint, of butterscotch coated figs. The malt presence is hidden amongst the dominant sweetness and mingles with a charred and roasted grains 'n' malt type of flavor.
This brew also becomes a bit dry and bitter towards the finish. This baby gets a little hot on the tongue as well. Some hop spiciness might contribute to things with pine flavors zipping the tongue

M: this brew has a full body with mild to low carbonation. This boy gets to be smooth as things move about, softly sticky in the finish and on the way down

D: this has some nice flavors. It is fruity, bittersweet, and sticky sweet at times. Overall the sweetness steals the show. Much like the American versions this has a good dose of herbal type hops in the mix and they snap at the tongue amongst the sweetness. Nice brew with plenty of syrupy sweetness

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Photo of bbeane
2.51/5  rDev -35.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

2008 Vintage

A- Poured in 16oz pint glass with about 1/2 inch brown head that leaves heavy lacing. Dark crimson in color

S- Very malty smelling with hints of toffee or caramel... and alcohol. Can't really detect any citrus notes

T- Whoa... burns alittle bit. Very malty tasting, with more toffee than caramel. Slight hop "bite" also. Finishes with an alcohol sensation in your throat

M- Very little carbonation, slightly heavy with a touch of hoppy bite

D- Not real drinkable in my opinion. Tastes ok at first sip, but has an overpowering alcohol taste to it. Anybody who does find this very drinkable is gonna have an interesting night


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Photo of jjboesen
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed this one on New Years Eve 2007. It opens with a thick spongy cream colored head that quickly dissipates atop a garret body. There is minimum carbonation and some splotchy lacing around the glass.

There are notes of raisin and almond. The palate is overwhelmed by bubble gum ester - very complex is this one. The mouthfeel is biscuity, balanced and supplemented by maltiness.

Like most barleywines, this is for sipping slowly - no frat boy guzzling here. A serious beer for serious beer drinkers.

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Photo of WaXHeLL
3.92/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber poured into a pint glass. 2008 Vintage (10% ABV).


Pours a mostly white head with a slight light brown tint. Darker than most barley wines, with a dark reddish tan appearance. Opaque. OK lacing, nothing spectacular.


Aroma of sweet citrus flavored malts and hops. The smell is crisp and fresh. Faint smells of caramel, pine, and toffee. Nice straightforward smell is refreshing.


Toffee and caramel tastes come out strong to start, with the hops ever so present. Finishes surprisingly smooth (but not super smooth) given the alcohol content. Malt and Hop flavors come out stronger near the finish. Good amount bitterness accompanies the aftertaste, owing to the large hop flavor. Surprisingly sweet, but not overly sweet or sticky. Executed very well. Pretty hoppy for a barleywine, but not surprising from Green Flash. Not overly complex, but the hops adds nicely to the kick.


Medium to Full bodied with a very light carbonation. Slight sweet taste/feeling to this beer, but not done excessively.


Although it is relatively smooth for a barleywine, it still is a barleywine, and by style is more suited for sipping. Not bad, and definitely improves as it warms. One 22oz bottle would probably be the limit though.

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Photo of merryjoulton
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark red amber, at points it almost appears as though light does not pass through. Head consists of a thin film atop the deep dark monster. Smells sticky, piny, citrusy, malty, syrupy, sweet, standard. Taste is very bitter with a slight hint of sweet syrupy malt and some citrus hoppy notes. Mouthfeel is very thick and pleasing, drinkability is great for a brew this size.

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Photo of daliandragon
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I am a fan of these San diego brewers based on their body of work so far (Hop Head Red is genius) so this one was a no brainer at $5.99 at Whole Foods.

This starts outstanding, with a mighty tight bubbled, cream colored head atop a multihued maroon to orange body and a balanced but still ridiculously malty nose featuring burnt flavors, dark fruit, and brown sugar. An unmistakeable barleywine and looking good.

Although blasted with hops, the malt profile steams ahead with heavy burnt flavors and alcohol tinge throughout. It's a pretty intense brew but considering the abv, not face puckeringly difficult to drink. the thick, drippy texture is a plus in this regard.

Definitely a sipper by definition and style but I would seek this out when needing some extra octane. Green Flash rides again.

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Photo of bonsreeb85
3.7/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A - a brown/extremely dark orange color, with a fitting beige head and great lacing

S - smells like candy, very sweet malts, caramel, toffee, and apples(also perhaps some raisins) and alcohol. the smell remeinds me of a DAffy Apple.

T - brown sugar, strong alcohol presence, and an abundance of citrus hops. very nice layering. there is a nice blanket of earthy/nuttiness on which the sweet and bitterness mingle. raisins fome through more and more as the beer warms. very tasty and complex layers. i approve!

MF - full very full, huge bodied brew with just the right carbonation that adds up to a creamy and silky smooth mouthfeel

D - tasty, but i would not reach for a second bomber, a bit much on the taste buds, solid beer for just haveing one though.

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Photo of oakbluff
3.91/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a copper/ruby with exceptional clarity. Three finger off white head- good retention and soapy lacing. Nose- caramel and leather and faint pine. Taste- pine and juicy fruit initially, then big caramel malt. Nutty and bready as well. Dry hot finish. Carbonation is on the low side making it an easy sipper. A very sticky and pungent barlewine. Nice stuff

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Photo of merlin48
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Twenty-two ounce bottle, 2008 vintage, pours a crystal clear copper amber body with a medium sized khaki head that hangs around longer than expected. Lavish creamy lacing clings to the glass. Quite a looker for a barleywine.

Succulent aroma has lots of toffee and caramel, accented by citrusy esters of orange and pineapple, with some pine hops in the background.

Medium body has a low medium carbonation.

Taste has ample hop bitterness that is pine and grapefruit. Some earthiness present, as well. Solid malt backbone serves up toffee and caramel flavors. Alcohol is cleverly concealed.

A really nice American barleywine featuring west coast hops in a starring role.

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Photo of jdklks
3.45/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Pours a light gold that turns into a beautiful dark amber/brown body with a perfect-sized tan head that is sticky and has good retention.

S- Caramel, brown sugar, hops, citrus fruits, etc. little or no alcohol. smells great.

T- Little disappointed here. Alcohol blast up front which wasn't expected from the smell. the malt overwhelms all of the other flavors so that the overall taste could be characterized as a malt/alcohol bomb. not much else to it, except for some possible hop bitterness in the aftertaste.

M- Full bodied and well carbonated (both of which are pluses). extremely dry finish that emphasizes hops that are struggling to break through all the malt. however, this does not reflect well on the overall mouthfeel.

D- It drinks okay. i wouldn't have another, and i won't buy it again.

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Photo of aforbes10
3.39/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2008 vintage. Pours a dark red to ruby color with a well retained whitish brown head. Smells strongly of 454-infused cherries, like something served at a frat party. Flavor is a bit harsh and boozy too, with big hot alcohol and strong dry bitterness. A fairly nice balanced malt body is detectable beneath, along with some cherry and grape, but its all a bit buried beneath the hot alcohol and bitterness. full bodied. Drinkability hurt by its obvious strength. I think it just needs a year or two to mellow out maybe.

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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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