Hog Heaven: Imperial Red IPA | Avery Brewing Company

very good
2,085 Ratings
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Hog Heaven: Imperial Red IPAHog Heaven: Imperial Red IPA

Brewed by:
Avery Brewing Company
Colorado, United States

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.20%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Formerly Hog Heaven Barley Wine

Or is it hop heaven? This dangerously drinkable garnet beauty was designed to satisfy the most zealous hop devotees. Intense bitterness and the dankest of dry hopped aromas are intertwined with a rich caramel malt backbone. Oink!

Added by BeerAdvocate on 01-05-2002

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Ratings: 2,085 |  Reviews: 924
Photo of TheAlamoWrocker
3.42/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

1 Pint 6 ounce bottle, bottled on January 21 of 2008, into a Blue Star Brewery Pint Glass.


Pours a great two fingered head and wow is that head frothy. The color is also great. The color is somewhere between a Rust, Tawny, and a Sinopia look. The head sticks on the side of the glass all the way down while drinking it. A thin head stays on the top without leaving at all times. A spider web like pattern even begins to appear on this glass and damn it's impressive.


Hops and malts are the most prominent. The sweetness even smells alcoholic, but there is the most oddest smell in here that it's spicy and not at all appealing.


The taste is like a spicy sweet blend and it's really not too enjoyable. The taste hits hard and damn it leaves a hoppy grapefruit aftertaste and I have no clue how I'm supposed to react to this taste. The alcohol is not hidden at all in this drink and damn it's strong. The warmer this drink gets the more like vodka it begins to taste like and becoming warm does not bring out it's taste. This is a different drink that I was not at all prepared for.


The mouthfeel is of a medium body and mildly carbonated. The damned grapefruit sneaks in to just not want me to hold this into my mouth.


I honestly dislike this. It's a different experience though. i guess some people might enjoy this, but I am going to stay away from Barleywines from now on. This is what I would think Vodka Grapefruit taste like, but hey it's not something i would even attempt. If you love Grapefruits then this is the drink for you, but this is the first time I had anything of the Grapefruit variety in years.

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Photo of Humulus85
3.73/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into my snifter. Produced a nice finger and a half, cream head. Decent retention with some lacing. A bit hazy, but no sediment, and a pretty, reddish apple cider color.

Smells of resinous hops, something I can't quite place, and booze. Pretty aggressive nose.

Massive amounts of hops upfront. I consider myself something of a hop head, and this is pushing it. There just isn't enough depth to the hop profile for me. Quickly though, the bruising hops are beat down by an equal amount of malt and alcohol.

When I first smelled this brew I definitely thought it would be a slow sipper. I was totally wrong. This may be the most drinkable >9% beer I've ever had. Obviously this is no session beer, but for how much of a flavor punch it has, it is surprisingly light on the tongue. Very nice.

Overall this is a very solid Barley Wine, and I think Hog Heaven could age gracefully. The hop character could use a bit more complexity, but you can not beat Hop Heavens drinkability. Probably the best non-aged Barley Wine I've had. Cheers!

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Photo of Rschis16
4.3/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep red in color, opaque, with a nice two finger head that slowly appears and dissapates after a moderate pour. Nice lacing and retention. Floral hops and dried fruit characterize the smell, a slight boozy note floats its way up as well. Dried apricots come to mind, as do very pleasant floral hops with a touch of resin. Tobacco leaves seem to round it out in a very slight way at the end of the smell.

Big and bold flavor here. It says 104 IBUs on the bottle, and while it is definitely bitter, it is a very well balanced bitterness. The bitterness seems to come in strong at the back of the palate, and then slowly ease up as complex flavors of dried fruit, caramel malts and a warming breath of alcohol. The dried fruit is very subdued, but I'm getting a taste of apricot from somewhere. As it warms, the caramel comes out more in a way that complements the floral hops very well. The dry-hopping is evident in its dry and crisp mouthfeel but juicy finish, not to mention the huge floral hop taste. Overall, this is a pretty fantastic beer and one of the better barleywines I've tasted. The intense bitterness makes for a very interesting take on the style, and one that I'm enjoying very much. Nicely done Avery.

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Photo of Atlas1
4.18/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked this up in San Antonio about a week ago. I have another bottle of Hog Heaven from 2007 that I've been sitting on since then that I just don't have the heart to crack open yet. I don't know if the '07 version of this beer was dry-hopped or not. But the recent version is and has a new label to boot. Yes, it's summer in Texas and it's a 100 freaking degrees outside, but I figured it was Friday, what the hell.

Poured into a Delirium Tremens snifter. Nice bright amber, copper color. Decent head but it fades fast. The nose on this thing is amazing. There are few aromas in the world that make my heart melt quite like fresh hops do. This beer's scent makes me close my eyes and pause for a moment and reconsider all that is good in the world. Few beers can do that these days. What a great aroma. The taste is big and boozy, as any proper barleywine should be I suppose. But the hoppiness cuts through the richness of the malt and mutes the booze a bit. Just a bit. Mouthfeel is firm.

I like this beer. Yes, it's big and would be better suited (and perhaps more enjoyable) to sip this during a cold winter storm, but I live in the goddam Rio Grande Valley where winter never arrives, so I make due. A solid, flavorful barley wine. Great hop character. Thoroughly enjoyed.

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Photo of Chaney
4.17/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into my DuClaw Colossus snifter because... I'm a badass.... and everyone else thinks so also.

A: Murky bronze color, like an unfiltered DIPA, or... Barleywine, if you will. One of the larger heads that I've seen on a BW in quite sometime.

S: Dry-hopping was most evident indeed. Sort of reminded me of the little sweet candy hearts that are commonly available during Valentines Day. However, these candy critters were saturated with grapefruit and pineapple juice. Very nice!

T: This one skates skates on the teeters on the edge of barleywine vs. DIPA like no other. Honestly, I could have guessed either way in a blind tasting. Intense hop bitterness, with pineapple almost edging out the grapefruit in a pissing contest. My tongue was bruise on the finish.

M: Rough, but not boozy in any way. I dug the sweetness on this one and the way in complemented the intense hop profile. The lacing was surprisingly tame, considering the sugar content.

O: This one surprised the hell out of me, and is one of the best barleywines I've tried in a long time. It's sort of like Marharaja 1.5, if that tells you anything.

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Photo of homebrew311
3.62/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: pours a deep, slightly hazy orangeish red. Thin and dense white head forms and leaves sticky lacing. Decent retention for the styl.

S: smell features robust earthy tones with notes of pine, spruce, and maple syrup, hints of apricot and anise come in as well. Malts and hops seem to work well together in a very earthy and sweet kind of way.

T: sweet up front with molasses and other sweet malts, citrus rind comes through in the middle followed by assertive bitterness. The end is piney and has a slightly hot finish.

MF: thick body, somewhat syrupy, medium carbonation

O: nice robust flavors, lots of complexity, not my favorite flavors in a barleywine, but that is more due to personal preference than the beer.

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Photo of BierFan
3.91/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle into a chalice.

Decent head for the style. Dark hazy reddish body. Head retention is pretty fantastic. Smell and taste are pretty typical for an American barley wine. Hops have begun to fade but it's still rather good.

Pretty fine barley wine overall. Worth the price of admission.

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Photo of harrymel
3.72/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled late February, 2011

A: Pours a ruddy copper ale with a single finger of peanut head, limited clarity and spotty lacing. Decent look. Looks aggressive, hard to explain, but that's how I feel.

S: Spicy hops. Super spicy. Some wood, resin, bell pepper, sweet malts. Smells like it's gonna be bitter and assertive in the mouth - I guess that matches the appearence.

T: Bitter, sharp, slightly chemical. The malts seems absent under the intensity of the hops. I imagine the malts would be able to oxidize and actually benefit greatly in making this a more balanced BW. However, this will take several years in my experience with BW's this assertively hopped.

M: Off heavy body with creamy carbonation. Dry finish. Good stuff.

O: This beer has a special place in my heart; it was my first BW that I enjoyed. I also developed a clone of this beer for my Wedding and modified it slightly to become KimBarley Wine. That being said, I now feel like the hops in this are a little over done, and the beer lacks the malt profile to help balance it in a fashion my palate prefers. I can say, proudly, that as soon as I smelled this, it reminded me of my wedding BW, it's pretty awesome.

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Photo of Klym
4.05/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a lost abbey tulip.

AA Pours a very light brown that piles into a hazelnut brown with very aspects when held up against the light. Spiderweb lacing with a nice head retention.

S: Very powerful hops hang above a salted caramel/dark fruit backing. The hops ontrol so much of the overall character it's almost a little noxious, but at the same time for those who love hops this is quite nice.

M: Light-medium bodied with carbonation that is present but doesn't show off. Good mouthfeel for the flavors but perhaps could be a little crisper considering the powerful hoppiness.

O: Avery does a good job of blending the malty, dark fruit world with the punching-hops world, and this is a good example of such bridge building. Nothing miraculous, but a good beer here I enjoyed drinking to the end.

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Photo of Mora2000
4.2/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

No date, but this is the old label.

The beer pours a hazy brownish-amber color with a white head. This is a beer with a huge aroma. I get a lot of piney hops as well as some brown sugar and some alcohol. All of the things you expect in a big, American barleywine are present and stand out.

The flavor is also as expected. I get a lot of bitter pine with some brown sugar and alcohol mixed in. The bitterness is medium to high and is complimented by a lot of hop flavor.

Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

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Photo of magictacosinus
4.4/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured out of a 23oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: A clear, amber color that resembles whiskey. Pours a giant head, as a barleywine should.

Smell: The aroma is so strong that I could smell it about two feet away from bottle upon cracking it open. When poured in the glass, I caught scents of grapes, blackberries, caramel and toffee. There is a overarching woody smell as well resembling maple.

Taste: Quite literally, every sip of this beverage is similar to biting straight into a honeycomb! Caramel malt flavors truly shine here as well. The fruity, hoppy flavor (with 104 IBUs, no less) is quite overpowering. Did I mention maple?! As it warms up, the flavor more closely resembles maple syrup, and the booziness of this drink definitely sweetens out the flavor.

Mouthfeel: Far drier than I expected, but nevertheless smooth and creamy. Still, it's quite strong and really bites the senses the more that it is consumed. Thanks to the high alcohol and maltiness, however, it really provides a good warming experience that really affected my forehead and cheeks.

Overall: An excellent example of great American barleywines. I would definitely pick this one up again when winter comes around.

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Photo of capeannbass36
3.65/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Opened bottle....river of never ending honey comb colored foam gushing up and out of bottle...everywhere. What a waste! This bottle was NOT mishandled by me...and has been sat on for 5-6 months. Why it simply chose to erupt like a freakin' volcano is beyond me??
Because this seems to be available in most shops...I will have to try again....but...for now...here goes another review.

A- Pours an orange, copper, amber. Just slightly murky. Almost clear, not quite. 3/4 inch honey comb colored head that faded very quickly.

S- I am smelling sweet grapefruit, caramel, and hops.

T- Starts somewhat sweet, finishes somewhat bitter. Certainly not the best barleywine that I have tasted, but not the "worst" either.
Malt, caramel, grapefruit.

M- A little slick...but minimal carbonation...which is probably due to bottle erupting.

O- For me a "run of the mill" barleywine. Will have to try again as I truly believe that the bottle erupting probably downgrades my review. I am a huge barleywine fan, In general, this barleywine style ale is a little on the bitter side for my liking.

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Photo of Krakistophales
4.42/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a ruby red color with a tan head that recedes quickly into some bubbles and lacing.

S: Candied fruit, specifically peach, pineapple and a hint of cherries, piney hops, caramel, toffee malt sweetness

T: At first is a mixture of candied fruit and piney hops, but the hops subside and let the fruity flavors of peach, pineapple and other sweet, light fruits shine, finished with a resiny dryness. Excellent flavor.

O: This is my first take with a hop forward barleywine, and I must say I really love it. Like a really sweet, fruity IIPA. Avery seldom disappoints.

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Photo of JayAre46
3.71/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - 220z bomber poured into a snifter, gives a nice fluffy 2 finger off white head on top of a copper/amber beer with activity moving upward keeping the head strong, shows great retention and lacing all the way down.

A - caramel malt, and good amount of piney hops, credit to the dry hopping, pleasant aroma im a fan of hop forward barleywines every now and then.

T - very fresh piney hops throughout, caramel malt is in and out, defintely a hop dominated barleywine, nice drying finish with a good balancing bitterness in the end.

M - medium body, moderate carbonation present along with a very creamy and coating flowing character.

O - im enjoying this DIPA/barleywine the only reason i feel like im going to rate it a little lower is the class that it is in and im rating it against the style. but other than that it is a good brew and nice change of pace.

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Photo of eric5bellies
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drank from my Stella tulip glass.

A - Pours a clear Amber coulour with an off White fluffy head that retains well and laces.

S - Orange peel, pine and malt.

T - Plenty of sweet grapefruit up front that lingers through to a malty, slightly caramel middle before a slightly boozy finish.

M - Medium body and carbonation.

O - No suprises with this one. Its a very solid ABW, maybe a lttle on tyhe malty side.

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

Poured into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint Glass (notice a theme)

Nice dark amber, good head retention. Solid lacing, first experience for a barleywine style ale

Great smell, nice for a barleywine/barleywine ale. Didn't catch the orange, but definitely caught the grapefruit, lots of citrus on the smell. Balanced nicely by the hops, nice to approach on the first roung

Drier than expected, but smoother than expected also. Feels like an ale, but better - caught some grapefruit and spices on the front and end. The dryness was enjoyable, kinda wish I had aged this bad boy to find its overall characteristics.

Smooth mouthfall, but not much beyond that. Really enjoy beers with bite, but that was missing here.

Overall, a solid beer, but not something I would pursue again. I like the style, but definitely would try other things first

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

So I am new to this whole barleywine style… but this Hog Heaven has been compared to a double IPA. I LOVE IPA, so it makes sense that I would love a double IPA. The beer smells like an IPA, but with an immediate smack of bitterness. I do like bitter.

The beer starts pretty smooth as it moves it’s way across your palate. Then you are just tackled with extreme layers of bitterness. Then, about thirty seconds later, as the aftertaste starts to fade, you get some sublet sweetness. I wouldn’t call it chocolate… maybe a dark cocoa. Love the mouthfeel though, as there is practically no carbonation. There are certain beers that I like carbonated; an IPA isn’t one of them.

The bottle is cute, I really like the label. It has, you guessed it… a hog on the front. The label is also pink (my favorite color), which is fitting considering the name. I feel like I have had this beer before, but maybe not. Not sure… regardless, this is a great beer and has a ton of IPA characteristics about it. It has a pretty big ABV as well, so if you want to drink these maybe only order a couple of bottles. The beer doesn’t smell nor taste like alcohol.

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Photo of emmasdad
2.92/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This is a composite of a couple experiences with fresh bottles; sadly, I have not enjoyed any of them, despite my enjoyment of this one on tap. I might have to give it one more shot someday, but not right now. Poured amber, with a good white head. Nose is all hops, some grapefruit and pine, but mostly cat piss. On the palate this is one is medium to full bodied, lots of hops, although the malt balances them somewhat, and the flavor is an improvement on the nose.

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Photo of Jemonster
4.22/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Murky copper color with white head. Not much visible carbonation.

S: Yeast and sugar. Maybe some tropical fruits. Smells like King's Hawaiian bread.

T: Pretty good. A little bit underwhelming for the style. Some good sweetness and malt, some warm bitterness at the end. Stone fruits.

M: Mine is flat. It could be better here.

O: I like it. Not the best barleywine I've had, but it's pretty good.

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Photo of jayhawk73
3.83/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Medium amber color w/ a really nice one finger cocoa head. Good lacing, and ok carbonation. Great looking barleywine. Really nice for the style.

S- Big time hops, with some orange, grapefruit and malt. Very nice, but would like the fruit smells a little more present. Hops definitely overwhelm everything else here.

T- Super dry. It's almost like the beer disappears as soon as it hits your taste buds- a very weird phenomenon. Hops, malt, grapefruit, orange and some spices are present in this beer. It's so dry, that when you swallow, it almost feels like nothing goes down. A little much for me, but it's still a good barleywine.

M- This is the downfall of this beer for me. It's fairly smooth, but then just disappears into thin air. The dry-hopping may have gone just a little too far. Nothing more than average here.

O- If this beer was a little less dry, I have a feeling I would've liked it better. Still, it's good, and worth picking up if you've never tried it before.

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Photo of gopens44
3.65/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Thick creme colored foam head on top of this murky burnt sienna colored beer.

S - Malty and brown sugar sweetness with a subtle twang of citrusy hop.

T - Molasses, brown sugar and an alcohol taste that is manifested in a circus peanut candy taste. The finish is laden with bitterness and citrusy hops.

M - A touch creamy, well carbonated (beer shot out of the bottle as soon as I opened it....) with a big bitter aftertaste.

O - On par with most any good quality barley wine that I've had, which is to say that I'd seek this one out for a "barley wine" Jones on most any day.

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Photo of July2Nov
4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: It's a very beautiful garnet reddish-orange-brown color with a frothy two-finger head.

Smell: Has that very distinct earthy barleywine scent (wet barn/stable scent).

Taste & Mouthfeel: The dry hops are oh so prevalent, but with a dichotomy of wet/dryness of the hops. Spicy and peppery at first, it then levels out with a mildness of maltiness. The hops are on showcase in this barleywine. Not for the faint at hop-heart.

Overall: First Avery I've ever had. Big thanks to my girlfriend's mother for thinking of me while in Colorado. This beer is very good and different than most Barleywines I've had. If I were closer to their distribution area, then I would be being this by the cart-full....until then, I'll enjoy the one in hand.

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Photo of dtivp
4.18/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice deep clear reddish amber with a one finger light tan head, nice retention with light lacing.

Aroma of citrus, hops and malt.

Taste of hops, grapefruit giving a nice bitter start then a nice balance of sweet malt, caramel and a very slight booziness.

Mouthfeel was medium body with medium carbonation, creamy with some crispness.

Overall this was an enjoyable barleywine, nice job by Avery.

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Photo of mooselvlt
4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 into a pint glass ( I know, but don't have a snifter handy right now)

A - Pours a very deep Amber. Came up with almost a finger's worth of a nice tan head. Retention was very good and leaves plenty of lacing.

S - Citrus upfront then a tinge of a boozy smell towards the back. Pleasant!

T - Caramel, malty, some hint of molasses/candy and then a nice citrus hop kick that lingers at the end. Very nice!

M - Creamy, medium in body with very moderate carbonation. I like it! Very true to barleywine feel.

O - I'm a a huge fan of the style to begin with so keep that in mind. But this is I can say a very good one. Drinkable, smooth and not a hop-bob like some barleywines seem to be going these days. I really am enjoying this one and could see stocking up on a few more bottles. Avery does a good job with their stuff in general and this one is no different.

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Photo of znichols
3.95/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Beautiful clear amber with a tad of white head. Decent lacing that sits for a few minutes. Typical color for a barleywine.

S: Candy sweetness with a little grain. Malty aroma seems to dance with the hop aroma pretty nicely. Very enticing smell; Toffee, Brown Sugar, Earthy hops.

T: First off, let me say, the grain bill on this one is hefty and really gives it a candy-like flavor. I get strong caramel, figs, and even a little soft cinnamon flavor. The hops play a role, but not as much as i figured for a 100IBU+, dry hopped ale. They give a somewhat sharp, earthyness to the beer, but the malt is the star. Finishes with a little old wood and alcohol.

M: Pretty high carbonation for the style, as well as a lighter body. Barleywines are beasts of the creator and can vary. This one's a little more bright and light bodied. Still enjoyable mouthfeel that kind of acts to open up the deep flavors as you swoosh it in your mouth.

D: I Really like this Barleywine. I've never had one with quite as much hop flavor and the sweetness and toffee flavor is really pleasant.

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Hog Heaven: Imperial Red IPA from Avery Brewing Company
3.97 out of 5 based on 2,085 ratings.
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