Argonaut Collection: Anchor Barrel Ale
Anchor Brewing Company

Argonaut Collection: Anchor Barrel AleArgonaut Collection: Anchor Barrel Ale
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American Brown Ale
Ranked #137
Ranked #14,984
3.92 | pDev: 9.18%
Anchor Brewing Company
California, United States
Very Good
Argonaut Collection: Anchor Barrel AleArgonaut Collection: Anchor Barrel Ale
Notes: Anchor Barrel Ale, a tribute to Fritz Maytag, is a blend of four different Anchor beers aged separately in Old Potrero Rye Whiskey barrels and on their staves. The result is uniquely handmade, featuring the complexity, balance, and depth of flavor that are hallmarks of Anchor tradition.
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Reviews: 30 | Ratings: 73
Photo of GuyFawkes
4.09/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottled 9/15/15; drank 1/20/16 @ the Yarchives.

Opaque dark brown appearance.

A rough pour yielded a nice tan head; strong, frothy lace.

Cream soda, mild raspberry & faint booze heat notes in the nose.

Medium thick, creamy mouthfeel.

Cream, raspberry & oak flavors up front; faint booze heat notes on the finish. Brown sugar notes emerged as this warmed.

An interesting amalgam; I'd have another...

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Photo of Stooven
4.37/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Preface: I'm not a fan of barrel-aged beers; usually find the bourbon or rum portion too sweet. This is I thought going to be a brown ale, but looks like a stout. The barrel effect is mitigated, adding sweetness but not dominating. Probably why I like it.

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Photo of scottfrie
4.21/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle into snifter.

A: Pours a cola colored caramel brown with two fingers of soft dark tan head that slowly faded into a rocky film and lasting collar. Wispy, sticky, lace was left down the glass.
S: Toasty rye bread nose with hints of raisin, alcohol, and maybe chocolatey cocoa.
T: This beer has a rich malty profile full of molasses, brown sugar, leather and raisin; molasses really stands out to me, and along with earthy, slightly herbal and peppery hops, I get an almost spiced rum quality to the flavor. The finish is full of woody, musty, damp notes mixed with spicy rye and herbal hops that impart a subtle leafy bitterness. The aftertaste has a touch of warming and sweet booze. I get hints of dark chocolate and a very slight hint of vanilla and bananas foster as the beer warms.
M: Medium body, slick, sweet and sticky mothfeel, with light and splashy carbonation. Smooth and easy to drink with a clean bitter edge before a lingering sweetness.
O: A very flavorful and complex beer with deep flavors but a light and easy body. Highly drinakable.

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Photo of 322wingedfoot
4.17/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From draft at Anchor Brewing, so as fresh as it gets. Very reminiscent of one of Anchor's Christmas Ale in color, nose and palate. There is less spice, and more wood flavor from the barrels used. A little heat comes through in the finish. Nice edition to Anchor's seasonal offerings.

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Photo of Greywulfken
4.29/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Wow - this is a high-class beer - a blend of beers featuring Nelson Sauvin, Citra, Northern Brewer, Nugget and Golding hops; pale 2-row, caramel, roasted and toasted malts; aged in Anchor's Old Potrero rye whiskey barrels... Looks like it might be a brown on the pour, but ends up pretty damn-near black in the glass. Tall fat light brown head. Left lace arms down the glass. Brings together lots of English brown ale flavor elements plus American-style hoppage, and the elegance of whiskey barrel aging. Dark fruits like fig, date, and raisin impart their flavors into the beer, with dark citrus pith bitterness and sweet earthy resins; airs of oak, vanilla, and herbal spice on the roof of the mouth. Chewy nut and toasted brown molasses bread flash on the palate as well. Relatively light-bodied, mildly carbonated, and smooth... It's not truly an "American brown ale" so if you're expecting that, you might be thrown off. Transcends style expectations.

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Photo of ichorNet
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

It's been quite a while since I've caught up with Anchor... I think the last beer I had was Odeprot, which was a decent double IPA that nevertheless didn't really stand out from the pack. This seems to be a rye whiskey barrel (their own barrels, actually) aged darker beer of the brown porter-ish variety, judging from the initial pour and from reading some other reviews. Guess we'll see what it's all about.

Pours a clear deep brown bordering black with a slightly hazy off-mocha head that leaves some average lace as it sinks and as I sip. This has a bronze/copperish tone if held up to intense light, so it's definitely not all dark and stout-like, but it also isn't a lighter brown, by any means. Surface has some tightly-packed foam with small clusters of tiny bubbles here and there, but overall there isn't too much going on here.

Nose is toffee, licorice, molasses, a moderate amount of ethanol heat (likely from the barrel aging) and some deep baker's chocolate notes as well. Seems hearty enough, but the kind of distracting alcohol note knocks this down a few notches. I get some raisin, fig and prune in here as well, meaning this actually comes across a bit more like a Baltic porter on the nose, to be honest. This one seems to like to be warmer, as it opens up once allowed to sit for a bit. I start to get some cinnamon, baking spice, light wintergreen and herbal notes.

On the tongue, this comes across slick, lightly-carbonated and rather flavorful with a lot of deeper chocolate notes, oak tannins, spicy rye whiskey in the mix here and there and a nice helping of molasses-like stiff sweetness. Kind of glad that ethanol note from the nose doesn't appear too much here, instead granting a lot of spicy, earthy and surprisingly yeasty notes, along with some dark fruit that works decently well overall. I'm not really convinced by this overall, though... it feels like it could probably be pushed a lot harder. Anchor's kind of had this problem with some of their recent experiments, though, so it's kind of consistent at this point. It feels a bit too light-bodied and doesn't commit to the barrel-aging well enough for me to consider it anything but a one-and-done.

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Photo of wisrarebeer
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Slightly oxidized taste. Rounded, barrel-aged, medium body with noticeable alcohol but not really boozey. No noticeable hop bitterness. Nothing really unique for BA beer.

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Photo of chinchill
3.81/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle into a tulip glass

Look: Dark brown. Moderate sized tan head. Limited retention except for a durable ring. Minimal lacing.

Aroma: bread, booze, vanilla, toffee

Flavor: bourbon; fairly high sweetness for style. Very little hoppy bitterness. Quite of bit of wood (oak?) in the finish.

Feel: medium-full body; slick; light warmth from the alcohol.

Overall: plenty of barrel aging influence here.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.92/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On-tap 7/31/2016 at Natty Greene’s Tavern in North Attleboro, MA, served in a tulip glass.

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

S: The aroma is faint but contains maple, caramelized malts and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of maple, caramel and licorice. Then a hearty but not too heavy roasted malt character comes in. The barrel-aging essence is certainly present. The hops presence is very mild but complementary and brings a decent balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and a little crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, good kick, good representation of style, this is a solid beer to drink for a while.

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Photo of bark
3.27/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

The colour is dark brown; the liquid is clear. The two finger airy head falls down slowly leaving some lacing.

The smell is sweet with notes of toffee, leather and oxidized raisins. The rather light flavours are kept together. Some delicatessen/smoked sausages and nuts.

The taste is fresh with English-style bitterness. Leather and some raisins. The body is quite light. The aftertaste got some metallic bitterness and light sweetness, notes of wood and raisins, nuts and matured cheese. Hints of bitter almonds and alcohol in the finish.

The carbonation is fresh and medium strong; the mid-sized bubbles are long-lived. The liquid is quite light.

An experienced brewer once told me “The first thing that disappears during barrel ageing is the body. You have to take that in mind when you brew the beer.”. Anchor doesn’t seem to have done that.

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Photo of champ103
4.21/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a dark brown/nearly black color. A dense two finger white head forms with good retention and lace.
S: Fruits like figs and raisins, brown sugar, light cinnamon. Toasted malts, and caramel. Oak tannins are in the background, but mix well with the fruit and malt character. Excellent.
T: Like the nose, some dark fruit up front. Plums, figs, and raisins...all derived from the same thing (I know). A slight cinnamon and clove spiciness. Brown sugar along with toasted malts. Light oak tannins intermingle, but are never the show. Really well done.
M/O: A medium to full body. Good carbonation and smooth at the same time. So easy and enjoyable to drink. Something I am going to want to come back to soon.

I am very happy that I found a 4 pack of this. Really interesting, but beyond that something that is very enjoyable at the same time. The two don't always go hand in hand. Like most offerings from this brewery now a days, very underrated, and just flat out enjoyable all around.

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Holy smokes. This beer pours like chocolate makes me feel. It looks like chocolate teddy grahams pouring out of the bottle, and forms a deep chocolate brown head ( I can't stop saying chocolate). SRM 41. The head is super tight, almost Guinness-like, and stays very firm, very solid at 3 fingers.

The aroma is intoxicating. Rich, decadent figs, and the aroma of the barrel is just so right on. Some woody, twiggy notes, deep, dark cocoa malts, and sappy syrupy prune.

The flavor is not for the faint of heart. Black cherry, currant, fig, black grape...mixed with a forest after a rainstorm, bourbon, bacon, and some classic steam flavors, wrapping up unfortunately metallic on the finish - it's like sucking a copper spoon and drinking prune juice at the same time. By and large, this beer is pretty decent, but the finish does shake things up a bit.

Feel is super huge, very creamy, very present, and fills the mouth like motor oil would. The finish is sappy and dry, a touch oaky, and smokey.

Overall, this is nothing to wag your head at. It's a respectable beer and it means what it does. Very loud, very obnoxious, very up front, but very tasty save for the metallic teaspoon finish. I'd probably try it again on tap, but not rush out to buy it in bottles again.

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Photo of SABERG
3.96/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle dated 5SO into the modified tulip glass. Served cold and allowed to warm.
A - Dark walnut in color, a very light tan cap quickly dissipates, The carbonation lurches through the liquid medium body. Small froth colonies cling to the glass throughout the experience.
S - Starts with a malty, rye whiskey nose, then with time opens, beautifully displaying light brown sugar, toffee, some pine sap, and caramel. Light roasted malts follows, all underpinned by toasted oak and sublime fusel alcohol in the best way.
T - Pumpernickel toast, warm honey and sweet malts. Slightly smokey, has the elements of a barleywine, the toffee and vanilla imparted by the barrel aging, yet the base blend is much lighter in the flavors. The warming brings forward a herbal quality mashed up with earl grey tea and shade tobacco.
M - Starts off a bit slick on the palate, the coating is right down the middle of the tongue, the sweet elements linger. A second pull coats the roof and sides completely, Mid experience, is dryer with a welcome bitterness that keeps things interesting. The body is medium is texture but very light in its footprint. The finish is a lengthy conversation with a friend. Quite delightful.
O - A wonderful creation, enough structure to be bold, aromatics are complex, and the delicate mouth feel could be considered light and airy. This is simply fine craft on display.

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Photo of ordybill
4.59/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 OZ bottle into a pint glass. The appearance is a clear dark brown with a small tan head. The aroma is malt and whiskey, very nice. The taste is malt and biscuit with some hops. An outstanding beer.

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.89/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

It's always nice to see a big brewery like Anchor Brewing put together a barrel-aged ale that's also in a friendly 12-ounce format and not too expensive. On to the beer:

As dark as a stout and topped with a half inch of somewhat creamy head and lace. The beer's aroma is soft, buttery, fruity, yeasty, with a little bit of whiskey thrown in. It's like the Christmas ale that got thrown into a spirits barrel.

This Barrel Ale is a little different. This one doesn't get in your face and instead is relaxed and easy to appreciate. Among the notes are toffee pudding, raisins, whiskey, a little wood, and a slightly astringent aftertaste. Complwting the beet is a nearly full-body and very smooth carbonation.

Here's a barrel aged beer with appeal from the beer novice to the beer geek. You don't need to queue to get a bottle or six of this.

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Photo of seedyone
3.18/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Just a taste on tap at Rattle n Hum, NYC. Looked OK some head nothing specail in color. Aroma was lacking as was any distinctive flaors. This tasted like I had walked into a BYOB w/no B of my own, so I walked around & poured some from everyones bottle without tasting between additions. I'ma scotch alle fan & a barrel aged hound, but this so missed the mark in either specialty.

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Photo of craftbeersweden
3.94/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Released Friday 18 March - 2016 at Systembolaget, Sweden.
ABV: 7.5%

Dark brown to black, clear beer with a two finger high, beige head tjat leaves large, fluffy chunk of lacing on the glass.

Nose: Plum, molasses, dark bread, dried fruit, caramel malt, vanilla, honey, wood and a light sense of oak.A really nice nose!
Taste: Vanilla, caramel, light roasted malt, molasses, raisin, plum and wooden barrels.
Mouthfeel: Medium carbonation. Soft and smooth texture. Medium body. A light bitterness at the end.

Conlusion: I like this brew! The wooden oak barrels is there in the background like a dear friend. Not to much. Just a hint. Great taste and body. This I want more of!

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Photo of Moose90
3.81/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Served On-Tap

A — Pours a nice dark mahogany hue into the glass, a dark but crystal clear color in the glass. A nice oaky hued puffy head forms on top and leaves behind some nice rings of lacing with each sip.

S — Smell is slightly sweet, caramel, molasses, honey, vanilla, light oak.

T — Smoothly sweet notes of caramel, vanilla, rye, molasses, chocolate, fudge.

M — Medium-Full bodied, a nice lingering sweetness on the finish.

O — Nice overall, a real chewy and sweet option without being cloying or too heavy.

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Photo of Fatehunter
3.52/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a thin head on a black body.
The aroma is mild chocolate and wood.
The taste is mild whiskey sweetness and moves to a mild lemon bitterness.
The texture is soft.
It's an easy barrel ale to drink. Very approachable and good.

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Photo of BeerWithMike
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Straight "4.5's" across the board for me. Sampled back on 2/1/16. Comes in a 12-ounce bottle. Bottle chilled down to 36 degrees F in my beer cooler and poured in to a 12-ounce flute glass.

Brew pours a very deep mahogany in color that is so very close to a full pitch-black actually. A good 2-3 finger beige creamy head is seen when poured. Lots of ring-like lacing is seen after each sip. Aroma is of sweet malts, bready yeast with a hint of bourbon-barrel 'red wine' type of aroma which is very pleasant. More going on with the taste as there a hint of dark fruits, hint of vanilla and even some spice. Very tasty sipping brew! Goes down easy with a slight bitterness for the finish that is really nothing at all.Medium+ -bodied with perfect carbonation. Overall, really enjoyed this great brew!

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Photo of Lewarcher1949
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look: Dark Chcolate brown. Good sized head.

Smell: bread, molasses, slightly boozy.

Taste: Malty, with a Bourbon-like sweetness. Even some banana. Very little alcohol or hoppy bitterness.

Feel: Thick and chewy. Very substantial. This is something you can linger on for awhile.

Overall: Pretty damned good.

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Photo of MNJR
4.35/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I do drink the Breckle's Brown, and this at first might seem like they just put it in barrels and presto (!) came up with this, but this is not the same beer. For one, the alcohol is higher, the color is deeper and darker and the flavors are deeper - more chocolate, raisin, and of course the wood and whiskey coming through from the barrel aging. This is a sophisticated and complex beer, with excellent flavor. There isn't one thing negative I can say about it. It drinks and tastes like a porter/brown ale hybrid. Rich and very good.

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Photo of Suds
3.94/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a dark brown beer, topped with a thick light brown head. The aroma is sharply woody, with an underlying malt scent. The taste is sweet, malty, and has a notable mid-taste hop bitterness. The beer is full in body and very enjoyable. The alcohol becomes warming mid-way through the drink. I really liked this one.

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Photo of Tone
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown color. 1/2 inch head of an off-tan color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of sweet malt, alcohol, hint of cherry, hint of syrup, slight spice, and a hint of roasted malt. Fits the style of an American Brown Ale. Mouth feel is smooth and clean, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of strong sweet malt, Belgian yeast, slight roasted malt, hint of liquor, slight alcohol, hint of hops, and slight cherries. Overall, great appearance, good aroma, body, and blend.

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Photo of StraightNoChaser
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

look: Dark copper. Decent size cola head.
smell: Interesting dark fruit. Slightly spicy. Subtle vanilla and yeast.
taste: Much like the nose. Interesting, subtle.
overall: I like it, but a little too understated for me.

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Argonaut Collection: Anchor Barrel Ale from Anchor Brewing Company
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 73 ratings