Our Barrel Ale
Anchor Brewing Company

Our Barrel AleOur Barrel Ale
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Strong Ale - American
4.13 | pDev: 10.17%
Anchor Brewing Company
California, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Our Barrel AleOur Barrel Ale
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Reviews: 31 | Ratings: 108 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Jacobier10
Jacobier10 from New Jersey

4.24/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On-tap @ John Brown Smokehouse in Long Island City, NY.

12 oz pour.

Deep ruby brown color, almost black. Good sized tan head that settles down to a thin ring that hugs the edges of the glass. Sweet, fruity aroma with plenty of complexity and layers. Cherry, raisin, caramel, cola and brown sugar. The whiskey barrel comes out much more in the flavor, but it is restrained and balanced. Finishes bitter with a little spicy kick from the whiskey.

This is a winner from Anchor. Full-flavored and complex yet light enough that it is easy to drink without feeling thin. Nicely done.

May 10, 2017
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dream from Nevada

4.24/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I've tried a few beers from this ancient brewery which I need to revisit and review that were average if I remember, however this one stands out as my favorite offering from Anchor. Dark fruits, figs, raisins, dates, plums, and blackberries for days with that smack of Rye and oak. It tricks the brain into wanting to think it's a stout with it's dark characteristics, but it's something very different, in a good way. Extremely drinkable and smooth at 7.5% . I think why I'm a fan of the American Strong Ale is because it is so diverse in what it can be.

Jan 07, 2017
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mothmanscott from Georgia

4.35/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I aged this for a year & it was well worth the wait. Pours a clear deep brown with ruby highlights producing 2+ fingers of moderately lasting, frothy, tan head leaving rings, strings & streaks of sticky lace. Aroma is dark roasted/toasted malts, pumpernickel bread, wood, caramel, baked sweet potato, prunes, raisin, thin rye spice with faint dark cherry & cocoa. Aroma improves as beer warms with cocoa, wood & cherry coming forward. Taste is rich but watery with a nice balance of sweet & bitter with bitter leading the dance. Dark roast, burnt bread, burnt brown sugar, cocoa, wood, dark cherries & dark fruits leading the way with rye spice, whisky & caramel in the background. Aftertaste is bitter & lightly sweet. Mouthfeel is medium bodied (but thin for such robust flavor) with modeate carbonation, wet & sticky with a hint of warmth in the finish & aftertaste. Taste a little like a barrel aged hybrid of their Porter & Winter Wheat.

Nov 27, 2016
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LMO1190 from Florida

4.67/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Looks like a porter. Smells like big vanilla and malty. Taste like bourbon, cherries, vanilla. Very malty. A nice spiciness come through as it warms up. I never heard of this beer before today. I didn't expect it to be this good. I would diffently get this one again!!!!

Jul 01, 2016
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StonedTrippin from Colorado

4.04/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

been hearing about this one for awhile now, so nice to finally try it. its unique as they go too, and real different from other anchor stuff. much darker than anticipated on the pour, with a short tan head and a real dense ruby to brown color, rich and viscous looking. smells like a old ale, some english yeast and a little tang, the oak is obvious, sweet and woody all the way, and a little more booze there than usually shows up in a beer at this strength. molasses, raisin, prune, fig, dried elderberry, bourbon, and caramel all come in during the flavor experience, whiskey first, hot and a little sweet, followed up nicely by all the dried fruit in this, seriously its like a trail mix in a glass. a bit more sweetness than it needs, but i like the english yeast going on, its not irrelevant here. basically no carbonation at all, it drinks nearly still, more barleywine in this aspect, not bad, just remarkable. not sure how long it spent it wood, and not sure what was previously housed in these barrels, but this is distinctive and interesting beer, even if i am not in love with it. lots of wood, and the malt is darker than many, giving it some cooked sort of depth. layered and strong, this warms up well. cool stuff from anchor, glad i finally got to have one...

May 28, 2016
Photo of BucannonXC5
BucannonXC5 from California

4/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Type: 12-oz. bottle
Glass: Karl Strauss 26th anniversary tulip glass
From: Bine & Vine in Normal Heights (San Diego), Calif.
Price: $3.15 (10 pct. off for 6-pack deal)
Purchased: May 4, 2016
Consumed: May 19, 2016
Misc.: Bottled on Sept. 15, 2015

Have had eight Anchor beers and not sure I’ve been impressed with any. This one, however, had me excited. Not only is it a style I usually enjoy, but most beer critics like it as well. Probably served it too cold.

Poured a very dark mahogany color with 2-to-3 fingers of frothy, tan head. Above average-to-good lacing. Good retention. (Sight - 4.00)

Smelled woody notes, sweet caramel (sweet potato too?), toffee, smooth whiskey, spicy rye, spoiled dark plums, raisins and hints of brown sugar. Anchor’s Porter still is on the mind, but there are some similarities. Somewhere between an American Strong Ale and an American Barleywine to me on the nose. (Smell - 4.00)

Taste followed the nose nicely, maybe even better. Got rye whiskey, oaky wood, sticky toffee, sweet caramel, plum juice, raisins, hints of cherrywood, bourbon and cocoa. (Taste - 4.00)

Medium body. Sticky texture. Average carbonation. Long, boozy, slightly warming finish. (Feel - 4.00)

This was the best Anchor beer that I ever had, but that’s not saying much. I feel like I overrated this one a tad, but I did enjoy it. Still somewhere in between an American Strong Ale and an American Barleywine. (Overall - 4.00)

4.00 | 90 | A-

May 23, 2016
Photo of JohnGalt1
JohnGalt1 from Idaho

4.24/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Been wanting to try this one FOREVER. Got lucky and picked up two at Total Wine in Spokane. Pours nearly walnut brown with good clarity and khaki head.... Nice barrel notes nod politely toward the rye whiskey... caramel maltiness with plenty of dry toastiness is balanced perfectly by the whiskey and wood... subtle dried cherry essence with warmth... This one exceeded my lofty expectations.


May 18, 2016
Photo of RonaldTheriot
RonaldTheriot from Louisiana

4.49/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Anchor Barrel Ale has a thick, spongy, beige head, a dark, reddish-brown appearance, and a touch of lacing left behind. Aroma is of dark malt, brown bread, black cherry, and oak whiskey barrel. Taste is of all that, with brown bread crust, and moderate bitterness. The alcohol level is more subvert, than overt. Mouthfeel is high medium and velvety, and Anchor Barrel Ale finishes wet and rich.


May 17, 2016
Photo of Bitterbill
Bitterbill from Wyoming

4.39/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From a Growler bought at Liquor Shed in Casper.

2 finger head of foam sitting on a pitch black brew. Off white it tis, long lasting it tis, leaving some nice lacing it does.

Our Special Ale nose intact with a small hint of oak. In other words, some spice and a strong malt backbone.

Malty, roasty, mild but there spices, milder oak presence that works for me. By no means too sweet. .like I said, this maintains the qualities of the base beer remarkably well.

Medium for both body and carbonation.

This is a real treat! I'm glad I bought a Growler and not a Howler.

Dec 18, 2015
Photo of tempest
tempest from New York

3.46/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Smooth but boring. I get dry cocoa and sweet caramel, a little booziness, a hint of smoke, but this beer's character is too small for the potential of an 8% barrel-aged beer.

Oct 15, 2015
Photo of Bosoxfan20
Bosoxfan20 from Missouri

3.79/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A- clean near amber with some copper accents. Big 2 finger head with lots of staying power. Tons of scrubbing bubbles.

S- sweet fruity malts. Similar to their barleywine ale. Not much barrel detected in the nose.

T- sweet again to start- caramel, mix of bright and dark fruits, and candy-like confection. Just when u think its going to turn cloying, the barrel makes its presence. Undertones of whiskey and brief vanilla clear the way for a sharp, timely bitterness. A lot going on here, but it works.

M- fairly slick and oily, but not far off for the style. Buttery. Alcohol hidden.

O- unique as it seems to carve out a niche in a relatively lonely style. A great example of letting the whiskey barrel aging complement the beer rarer than dominate it.

Jul 31, 2014
Photo of ArrogantB
ArrogantB from Colorado

3.58/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On draft at Hops and Pie, I was pretty surprised to see this since I knew the bottles were very rare. No wonder given the fact they age it in their own whiskey barrels. Bright amber color, small head. Aroma is weird, sort of sweet, no whiskey, hints of wood. The flavor was sweet, had notes of cola and then dr. pepper, booze and then wet wood. Honestly based on the taste I assumed this was aged in first use oak or something because it tasted like it was barrel-aged but did not taste like any sort of spirits. Overall very interesting but a whole bottle would be quite cloying.

Aug 22, 2013
Photo of dudeman
dudeman from California

4.41/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Served in a pint glass at Toronado.
Bartender said it was aged in Anchor Distillery's Old Potrero barrels which is some mighty fine whisky.
Tan or beige color with very little head.
Anchor malt shows through liberty like hop profile with a very well balanced whisky flavor.
I've always felt that Old Potrero has cinnamon and burnt sugar flavors and I found them here as well. This is dangerously drinkable at 8%. I hope its bottled.

Jul 31, 2013
Photo of UCLABrewN84
UCLABrewN84 from California

4.47/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Father's Office in Santa Monica, CA.

Pours a clear copper color with a 1/2 inch foamy beige head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Thick chunks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, wood, vanilla, and bourbon. Taste is of malt, vanilla, bourbon, coconut, and a very woody flavor. There is a slight alcohol burn in the back of the throat with each sip. This beer has a medium bodied mouthfeel with a crisp and clean carbonation level. Overall, this is a very good beer with an awesome barrel aged presence all around.

Feb 20, 2012
Photo of dsgolovin
dsgolovin from California

4/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at City Beer Store. I had heard mixed reviews about this batch, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Not sure which beer they aged in Old Protero barrels, but it is listed as on Old Ale.

A- tan leather color with half finger head.

S- Oak and whiskey.

T- follows the smell, lots of oak and whiskey. For a thin beer this has lots of flavor, mostly booze. Fairy dry. I wonder what batch of beer this is? Christmas, Liberty? Not sure.

M- not a ton of carbonation, but enough to not be unpleasant on my palate. Again, it's thin, but was not offensive in the least for me.

O- I think it's too bad they didn't bottle this beer. It's a little hot right now, and might be better with additional aging. However I was glad to try it and was happy that it wasn't a huge let down as I drove across the city to get it.

Feb 01, 2012
Photo of drgarage
drgarage from California

3.33/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Had on-tap at Toronado on Jan. 28, 2012. Presumed to be a fairly new batch.

A: Lovely orange-red, like Liberty Ale with some faded age on it. Virtually no head or visible carbonation, like a fairly standard barley wine.

S: Booze and currants, largely. Virtually no hops or barrel to speak of, but very complex in its booze and dark fruit smell.

T: Really nice taste. Subtle and smooth vanilla and a bit of oak. Far from the barrel bombs we've all gotten used to.

M: Big disappointment. The batch is clearly over-carbonated, which makes it totally flat once the foam dies down. From what I could see out of the tap, it was about 80 percent head. Kind of ridiculous. Mouthfeel of flat soda.

O: Worth trying if you've never had it, but I highly doubt this is the best version to try. Old Foghorn is so much better than this batch it isn't funny.

Feb 01, 2012
Photo of mothman
mothman from Minnesota

4.07/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

ahhh one of the whitest wales out there. most people don't even know this exists.

Pours a light beige head. Color is a caramel copper.

Aroma: I smell rye, but get a little bourbon flavors as well. Very oaky. Vanilla flavors and caramel with toffee. Very barleywine like. Plums, raisins, dark fruits. Very sweet. Warming.

Taste: I taste rye more than anything here. Still very oaky. A lot of similar flavors from the nose. Raisins, toffee, caramel, plums, and dark fruits. Not as flavorful as the nose. A hint of chocolate in the background.

Mouthfeel: Dry, but smooth and creamy. Medium bodied with a lower amount of carbonation. Ends a little sticky and cloying.

Overall, it's a nice beer. It's drinkable, but it lacks a little flavor compared to the nose. The carbonation is also a tad low. Still, a real treat to have and something I wouldn't pass down.

Had this on tap July 2015. Lots more carbonation. Sweet caramel and toffee with lots of barrel flavors. 4.15

Dec 13, 2011
Photo of xhuskr
xhuskr from California

4.5/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

had this at Beachwood BBQ-Seal Beach on Anchor night...was not what I thought it would be;
A-clear, bubblier than I thought with the great orange/amber
S-mellow but noseable aroma of bourbon and vanilla...not the overpowering aroma as so many barrel aged brews
T-wow...does not taste like the big bear I thought it would be..it tastes better. Nice light bourbon and english ale flavors
M-smooth and yummy
O-very pleased with this quite a bit

I was more than happy and surprised with this..nice to have a great brew from Anchor as good as this was. Bold, smooth, different, yummy..need I say more?!

Dec 03, 2011
Photo of corby112
corby112 from Pennsylvania

4.55/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Magnum generously shared by ygtbsm. Thanks again Brad!

Pours a dark copper/mahogany colorwith golden ruby edges and a thin half finger off white head that slowly fades into a lasting ring.  Faint lacing left behind.  

Sweet boozy bourbon aroma with hints of caramel, toffee, rye and hazelnut.  The barrel presence with toasted oak, coconut, vanilla and bourbon but it doesn't overpower the malt notes of the base beer.  Lots of biscuit, vanilla, caramel and dark fruit.

Medium bodied and perfectly balanced with a nice amount of sweet bourbon, earthy oak and tons of vanilla sweetness.  Theres also some toasted coconut and faint heat but not too boozy.  Very nicely balanced and the abv is well masked msking it easy to drink.  Malty notes of caramel, toffee, biscuit and rye.  The spirit is perfectly integrated into the flavor of the beer without being astringent or one dimensional.  Amazing.      

Jul 12, 2011
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tpd975 from Florida

4.49/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Huge thanks to Floydster for sending me this uber rare treat.

A: Pours light brown with lots of amber showing through. Small head with some spotty lace.

S: Lots of barrel in the aroma. Oak stands out with mild sweet brown sugar notes. There are hints of caramel and a dash of vanilla as well.

T: Starts out nice and sweet...malty. Lots of brown sugar and toffee. Vanilla comes through in a nice way as well. There are notes of oak and bourbon. The barrel does not overpower this one. It is subdued, but so damn enjoyable. So many people over do it with a barrel this beer is nicely done. Dare I say a sessionable barrel aged beer?

M: On the thinner side for the style. Sort of low in carbonation, but I almost prefer my barrel aged beers that way.

D: The most drinkable barrel aged beer I think I have had.

Score one for Anchor. I like it a lot.

Feb 13, 2010
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brokensail from California

4.42/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Generously shared at the PtY release on 2/5/10

A: The pour is a clear, amber color with a mild carbonation and a small off-white head.

S: A nice combination of sweet caramel, brown sugar, toffee, and dark fruit aromas fills the nose. There is some barrel influence, but nothing overwhelming.

T: A nice, complex flavor which follows the nose for the most part. The caramel and dark fruits lead the way with some undertones of oak and bourbon. There's also a slight spice to the beer which I did not detect much of in the nose.

M: The low level of carbonation lends the beer a slightly slick mouthfeel, even with its medium body. I will say I was expecting this to be a bit fuller.

D: Despite a slight disappointment on the mouthfeel, I found this to be a great offering from Anchor, and one that I've very much wanted to try. I certainly did not plan on having so many of my highly coveted wants tasted in one day.

Feb 08, 2010
Photo of nickd717
nickd717 from California

4.05/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Magnum generously shared by largadeer around the Pliny the Younger release - thanks, Chris!

Pours a slightly cloudy brown color with a very small off-white head.

Aroma is more or less Old Foghorn meets the -bals. Lots of caramel malt and some dark fruit notes as well as some oak and bourbon.

Flavor is nice and complex. Sweet caramel and toffee, very mellow, with sweet figs and dates and oak, bourbon and vanilla.

Medium-full on the palate with soft carbonation and only very mild booze.

Drinkability is good. Great execution on the -bal aging by Anchor for this one.

Feb 07, 2010
Photo of HopHead84
HopHead84 from California

4.47/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Magnum received in a trade with largadeer. Thanks! Consumed on 9/18/2009 and poured into a snifter. The beer appears dark brown with crimson highlights and a one finger wispy off-white head.

The nose is immediately reminiscent of rich caramel with lesser notes of toffee and vanilla. It smells sweet, and the rye whisky barrels have left their mark, contributing vanilla and light oak notes. The caramel is most apparent and it's excellent.

Alcohol is prominent in the flavor, accompanying the rich caramel and toffee. The beer is sweet with notes of slightly spicy rye. Oak is apparent. The booze is strong throughout but it's rather complimentary. The finish is long with a little vanilla and lingering caramel and alcohol. The beer is high medium bodied with a low-medium level of carbonation with a smooth mouthfeel.

The beer is very drinkable for a high alcohol strong ale. I think I drank half the 1.5L myself.

Sep 24, 2009
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ShareANevada from Ohio

3.95/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Generously cracked and shared by a kind gentleman at DLD.

Magnum poured into my Sam Smith stem.

Pour is a nice rich golden-tan, not a ton of carbo going on here, just enough for an adequate, yet fleeting head.

The nose gives way to the anticipated vanilla and wood, with a hint of barleywine peeking through.

The taste begins to showcase just what Anchor can do blending some of their very solid beers. For a bigger beer, it is not overbearing, or aggressive, but shows the rounded character of the bock, accented and enhanced with the Libertys hops. This seems graceful to me, forming
together to achieve a full flavored, yet very very drinkable beer. Perhaps thats why these bottles are so big. As it warms, some more
whiskey and barleywine start to become appear, reminding you just how smooth this beer really is for its makeup.

With so many extreme beers on the markey these days, this was an exercise in restraint and flavor. Very well done.

Jul 17, 2009
Photo of dave020508
dave020508 from Texas

5/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I've always enjoyed Anchor, and this is the cream of the crop. If you can find a bottle of this in CA it is well worth the $30 for a magnum.

If you can't decide between a good bourbon or a serious beer, this is the way to go. The nose and taste were a wonderful marriage of bourbon characteristics with a strong barleywine presence. I could not recommend this beer more highly.

Absolutely fantastic. I'd gladly drink this again and again.

Apr 28, 2009
Our Barrel Ale from Anchor Brewing Company
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 108 ratings