Hog Heaven: Imperial Red IPA | Avery Brewing Company

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Hog Heaven: Imperial Red IPAHog Heaven: Imperial Red IPA
Very Good
2,100 Ratings
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: 2,100 |  Reviews: 928
Photo of rapidsequence
4.03/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle.

Appearance: Golden-copper with just the slightest haze. White, puffy head with pretty surprising retention, and thick sticky lace. Looks great in my snifter.

Smell: Sweet, candied citrus hops and big sweet malt. Hops are orange and grapefruit. Caramelly malt. This is this years bottle and is very hop-forward. This is not unlike a DIPA. Not as richly malty as my favorite barleywines, but damn good.

Taste: Again, more like an overly sweet DIPA than a big, malty barleywine. Same general flavors as I smelled. Pretty high bitterness, but its not harsh and is fairly well balanced. Very tasty, but not barleywine-y enough.

Mouthfeel: Big and sticky. Resiny coating. Very nice.

Drinkability: I really like this beer. I think I'll buy another and put some serious age on it. Really tasty, hoppy American BW.

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Photo of kzoobrew
3.73/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Caramel orange body sits with an ever so slight haze. The body just glows when held to the light. Moderate pour produced a full three finger eggshell colored head. There is no hurry in the head receding. Gobs of sticky lacing cling to the side of the tulip. Very impressive looking Barleywine.

Bottle does not indicate age though I imagine we are sitting at about a year old but the surrounding stock at the place of purchase. The aroma also indicates this is not a fresh bottle. While the hops are not fresh they are still very aromatic. Strong grapefruit smells dominate the nose. Sweet caramel malt set just behind. The more the beer warms the richer the caramel becomes.

Rich caramel malt and plenty of of it pours across the tongue. Super sweet while stopping just short of syrupy and cloying. Hops still manage to hold up well with age and pack a surprising punch. Pithy citrus and slight piny bite provide a balancing bitterness.

Medium body with low to moderate carbonation. Drinks very smooth with a rather chewy texture. Flavor sticks to the palate and lingers for quite some time.

Very easy to drink and the alcohol is hidden remarkably well. The only draw back I find is the slightly over the top caramel malt. Fresher bottles would probably suit my taste better. None the less this is a very good Barleywine. I would pick this up again though is not the first I would go to.

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Photo of siradmiralnelson
4.25/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 22oz bottle into Tulip.

A. Poured a 3 finger head. Very thick lacing left. Very good head retention. A rich chestnut brown color. Very nice color.

S. Big smells of piney hops combined with blasts of caramel malt. Smell like a barley wine should smell. Some alcohol.

T. Big blast of piney/citrus hops. The caramel malt might just win out over the hops though, to make this a pretty sweet barleywine. Hop bitterness comes out more than individual hop flavors do. More hoppy than some other barleywines which is fine for my tastes.

M. Full bodied. Lingering sweetness. Very smooth barleywine. Not much heat detected on this one.

D. Very drinkable. Avery's big beers tend to taste similar to me, and I am a fan. Hog Heaven is no exception. Not the very best Barleywine, but this is a very good beer.

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Photo of rarbring
4.47/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer, which is dark amber orange and clear, has a thick off-white foam that leaves lots of lacing.

The smell is full of floral and citric hops, some malty sweetness as well.

Taste is dominated by the hops, lots of fruit and flowers, some sweet dried fruits. The rather high alcohol content is fully covered by the bitterness.

A good carbonation gives a fresh, yet creamy mouth feel.

This beer is truly dominated by hops, much more in the typical american DIPA style than in a barley wine. That does not make it a worse beer! Rather one of the better IMHO ...

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Photo of jwillcourt
3.71/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Served from a cask into a goblet. The cask was tapped the night before. I ordered some the next day for a late lunch. The bartender did not know whether any beer remained in the cask. She gave the cask a few pulls, and a lot of foam came out. Then she poured me a glass. Perhaps she should have tipped out the first pint.

A - Hazy, reddish shade of orange. Looks like glowing amber when held to the light. Two-finger, off-white head settles to a quarter inch. Very tight, small bubbles. The head left good lacing.

S - Smell is dominated by pine hops. Slight fruity smell.

T - Hoppy bitterness overwhelms the taste. The first taste is actually a strong, sweet, caramel flavor, but it is not balanced with the bitter hops at all. There is also a strong and unexpected saltiness. I am not sure if it is supposed to be there. It is very assertive, as if the beer was diluted with a shot of sea water. I don't mind it. I like salted caramel, and it almost has that effect. Maybe I got a bunch of yeast in the glass?

In any case, the saltiness soon gives way to the overwhelming hops. The bitterness attacks my tongue, leaving it tingly and numb. I don't taste the saltiness much after the first few sips. I think my taste buds are shot from the hops. When I pause for a few minutes to let the bitterness subside, I can taste the grapefruit and orange-rind citrus qualities of the hops.

M - Mouthfeel is buttery, sticky hops, with a boozy, alchool burn. Very little carbonation.

D - I would not recommend this to anyone who does not appreciate hops. This is really more like a DIPA than a barleywine. I still had the tingly, numb feeling on my tongue an hour after I finished the glass. It tastes good, but one is enough because it is so assertive and boozy. For example, after the bartender tasted it, she puckered her face and wiped her lips with the back of her hand. That's the kind of involuntary response it generates.

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Photo of burnerfinger
4.39/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber poured into9 my new belium goblet during the NFC divisional payoffs jan 17,2010

a almost 2 fingers of head - oragen tinted foamminess. settles quick, with nice modest lacing. This brew has no9 clarity at all but with this super full flavor and 9.5 abv I have no prob with that

s - I have to say this is the bst nose I have EVER found on a brew. more malt to the nose and hops to the palate....IMHO

t: full, perfecxt balance between malt and hops

m: super full just laiek a barley wine should be.

d: the MOST IMPRESSIVE 9.5 does come thru just a bit on the taste. Corbonation is not too heavey at all. hopiness is just enuf to balance the malt. The alcolhol in and of itself, while not direclty affecting the drinkablity, will have me inebriated before I have too too many of these. but that is the one and only limiting factor. Definitley reaching for another.

MANY THANKS TO AVERY on COLORADO for this materpiece.

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Photo of MOB210SA
4.5/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reddish amber in appeareance has a typical haziness to it good looking BW. 1 finger dense off white head slowly died down to nice holding ring around glass.

Nose is very sweet malts and fruits with candied sugars sweetness.

Mostly caramel malts and a sweet honey with a huge hoppiness finish. To say the least this beer is great. A nice hoppy taste and mild hop bite to the finish. Actually this BW smells and taste is tremendus.

Mouthfeel is full bodied, nice carbonation for a BW and decently smooth and very drinkable.

This is a great well rounded BW IMO. Not sure if any 5's but damn close. Not quite Ruffian but its pretty close. I would have either any day.
A definiate pick up if you havent tried yet.

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Photo of ktrillionaire
3.08/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I am a big fan of the style, so I was excited to try a two-year old bottle... Unfortunately, this beer is just mediocre and a bit unbalanced as well, and nothing can change that.

A - Very deep amber hue, a soapy white head with some lacing, slightly syrupy looking.

S – Smells largely of piney, citric and floral hops, smells like Imperial Red Ale, heavy caramel malt and no real booziness. Not exactly the qualities I look for in the style. No dried fruit, no Cognac, no wood, etc.

T – I opened it and wasn’t crazy about it. Too sweet, carrying on where the smell left off... Corked it. Came back to it the next day. Very nice. Much better mellowed.

M – Syrupy, but smooth. Certainly not ‘hot’. But I kinda like my Barleywine with at least a grain of ‘hotness’.

D – I would not buy this over other Barleywines, such as GD’s Old Ruffian or Anchor’s Old Foghorn

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Photo of cbutova
4.01/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Freakin bottle exploded all overy my girlfriends desk, at least it smells good. Poured out from an exploding bottle a pretty dark brown with a murky appearance. The head forms and retains at about two fingers for a good amount of time. Pretty thick lacing already starts to form at the top of the glass around the creamy head. As the bottle exploded I already started to get hints of a massive sweet malt backbone and huge hops. The malts smell of the amber sort with a sweetness that may be a bit over done. The hops are mostly piney but also somewhat earthy. The malts are certainly the dominant factor in this nose. I would like it to be a tiny bit less sweet though. The strength of the nose is something that brews should follow after. Taste is pretty much the same. Massive amount of amber malt and sweetness. The sweets are the only thing I don't like. If it was toned down, this beer would be world class. The piney and earthy hops help balance out the flavor and add a nice aspect to the beer. There are also some fruity flavors in the taste, fruit peels as well. The flavor is big like a Barleywine and lacks an alcohol bite, at 9.2% that is pretty impresive. Mouthfeel has a pretty thick, creamy body with carbonation that is a bit low but suits the flavor. There is a moderate amount of warming, which is nice in this type of beer. The hops leave a huge coat of flavor on the tongue. Drinkability is alright here. The price is decent, the taste is good but the sweetness starts to take over the beer toward the end of my bomber. Good example of a Barleywine, wouldn't mind trying it on tap some time.

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Photo of fjordhook
4.08/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

drank out of a pint glass served out of a bottle

appearance: looks very good, a good foam to the head. the top of the beer is a copper color that fades to amber and opaque in body.

smell: smells very hoppy and that doesn't have much of a distinction from most ipa's ive tasted.

taste: im a fan of a nice hoppy beer and this one delivered. very hoppy in taste and has a nice kick because of the alcohol content.

mouthfeel/drinkability: light in the mouth making it very drinkable.

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Photo of bark
4.1/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

The colour is deep amber with a tint of brown; the liquid somewhat hazy. The three finger head sinks slowly, leaving massive amounts of fine lacing.

The smell is hoppy, creamy and bittersweet. It is in fact very hoppy, more like a DIPA than a barley wine. Sweet notes of exotic fruits, fruit candy and brown sugar. Bitter flavours of grapefruits, bitter oranges and green apples. To that, add some mature notes of raisins and butter.

The taste is very balanced, but still - it focuses more on the hops than the malt, thus I categorize it as a DIPA. Bittersweet notes of exotic fruits (green bananas, carambola, unripe peaches) some salty notes of grilled meat and broth that gives hints of salt candies. Some grapefruits and a touch of vanilla. My only objection is the body: It is just a bit too weak for this kind of beer.

The aftertaste is medium bitter with interesting fruity notes, some fresh hops and a touch of vanilla and cream. But the most conspicuous flavour is the salt in the background. Where does that come from? The yeast sediment?

The carbonation is mild with some very small and fresh bubbles. The liquid is smooth and a bit thick.

A grand and hoppy beer. But the salt disturbed me a bit.

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Photo of OskarL
4.2/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Amber with lace that settles.

Smell - Malt and sweet fruity hops.

Taste - Thick, with caramel malts, a bit metallic the hops are well balanced with the sweet malt, sweet fruits and some bitterness.

Mouthfeel - Very smooth and thick with some carbonation.

Drinkability - Very easy to drink considering that it is a barley wine.

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Photo of lonestar4lunch
4.03/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2005 version drinking on 12/12/2009. Just had the 08 on tap time to try the 05.

Pop the cap of and the sweet aroma begins as it is poured in to my Maudite snifter. A good 1 finger head hangs around then settles to just cover the top. Aroma is plums, dark cherries and hops.

The first sip is surprisingly mellow. The hop bite has really settled after a few years. The caramel flavor is strong along with an almost bittersweet dark chocolate. There is just a slight hop tingle that never really gets very strong with just a hint of bitterness. Drinks smooth as silk and leaves a mild caramel taste in your mouth. This is very easy to drink and has hardly any reminder of the alcohol which each sip.

I think maybe 2 or 3 years is best for this one as it seems to have lost a lot of its character. Still really enjoyed it and glad to have a chance to try it.

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Photo of JoEBoBpr
3.77/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass.

As soon as i cracked it open i smelled the hops.

A - Poured like motor oil, thick and creamy. A dark orange/amber with some reddish hues. Slight quarter inch off whit head that recedes quickly leaving some sticky lace. I could smell the oily resin of hops as I poured it.

S - As state before this beer has an intense nose. Sweet malty and alcoholic esters are immediately present as well as some nice oily and piney hops. Very intense. Extra sweet grapefruit citrus character.

T - Sweet caramel malt, with some strong prune and raisin profiles. Sweet and intense. Hop bitterness is present and you can tell there are tons of hops in the brew. Very complex array of flavors.

M - Creamy, low CO2.

D - Low. Not my fave style, definitely needs some getting used to.

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Photo of rfabian
3.94/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another in my quest to sample the entire Avery line. Just 'cause they are all lined up in the cooler at my favorite store.

Poured into a tumbler it produced a half inch tan head that leaves ample lacing. The appearance is brown and cloudy. The aroma is of malt with a little floral hop. The taste is malty and sweet with moderate bitterness. There is a mild alcohol heat and the alcohol blends well with the taste. The feel is medium bodied with a clean finish. It's a very enjoyable ale.

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Photo of alpinebryant
3.32/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured a hazy amber copper color with a large fluffy amber head

Smelled very strongly of sweet malt, sweet citrus hops, grapefruit, caramel

Taste is caramel, heavy malt sweetness, metallic flavor seems to really come out of this one. I see it more and more with different barleywines, but this one has it too. Perhaps over bittering caused it to become metallic flavored. Seems to be a slight medicinal flavor as well. Had been hoping for a standby barleywine, this is pretty good, its just not great IMO

Drinkability due to the metallic flavor was lowered, but not a bad BW - As the beer warms, some of the metal fades, making it more drinkable

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Photo of kylephillips
3.45/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into snifter glass.

Color is clear copper with minimal head.

Smell is sweet and hoppy. Hops have a floral smell. It also has a bit of a fruit smell. This beer has a very strong aroma to say the least.

Mouthfeel is medium-thick and carbonation is low (partially due to letting it sit in the snifter for a few minutes)

The taste is a lot different than the smell. It is definitely bitter with a robust hop flavor. The up-front taste is breadlike but not particularly interesting. The aftertaste has a good bite of hops and alcohol, but also leaves some sweetness lingering.

Overall it is a good sipping beer, especially on a cold day like today, but it's not as interesting as some other barleywines I've had. It is really not far from being a double IPA (which is not a bad thing).

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Photo of cpetrone84
3.88/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-deep reddish brown in color, very thick and almost hazy not letting a lot of light through, with a thick two fingers of slightly brownish white head that lingers for some time and leaves a nice lacing on the glass

S-big nose of sweet caramel malts with a piney hop backbone to round off the aroma

T-the taste follows the nose, it has a big caramel malt taste first that is slowly followed by a little bit of pine and just a touch of citrus with some bitterness at the finish that is partnered with more malty sweetness. the flavors are pretty big and are relatively well balanced

M-it is relatively crisp and a little syrupy in texture. it shows the alcohol towards the end and has a fair to low amount of carbonation that hits the back of the throat towards the end

D-this is relatively well balanced but shows a lot of alcohol and brings a little bite that takes away from the overall drinkability

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Photo of happygnome
3.92/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

a: pours a nice amber color with defined orange hues around the edge of the beer. the pour produces about a quarter inch of head that disappears fairly quickly leaving a ring of lace around the edge of the glass
s: deep caramel malts slight hints of alcohol which i expect. Piny and citrusy hops provide a nice balance to the malt aroma
t: caramel malts strong piny and grapefruity hop bitterness very nice
m: full bodied beer with good carbonation

overall, wow this was a good brew

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Photo of scootny
4.13/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A 2007 keg with a 32oz. growler from DeCicco's. A huge light beige head and abundant lacing. A reddish copper/amber with just a touch of haze. Smell is big with caramel malts and sweet piney hops. Yeasty doughy multigrain bread and a date like fruitiness.

Taste is like a DIPA really. Big chewy caramel malt and toffee accented sweetness lays a foundation for the huge hop bomb that explodes on you taste buds.. Much grapefruit and dry grainy bitterness. Alcohol is so well integrated. It must be in the sweetness but I can't find it. Finish is grapefruit and hop oil with a touch of mintiness. A light toasted bread crust in the back. A hint of acohol ester when cold ,it gets significantly bigger as it warms giving it a slightly boozy touch of heat. Feel is well carbonated with a touch of cream. Pretty crisp when cold for a brew of this weight. Still a light chewy feel with a gentle fullness and soft velvet touch as it warms up.

Very drinkable. Quite smooth with a big hop personality that balances the huge malt core. Too drinkable when cold as it goes down with the crisp refreshing feel of an IPA. Still goes down easy when warm. The well integrated abv makes this one dangerous.

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Photo of Pahn
4.14/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle poured into a Duvel tulip.

A: Dull reddish amber, with a half inch white head that dissipates quickly. Decent lacing.

S: Beautiful malt sweetness. The smell is big and pleasant, and strongly enhances the taste as you drink. Promises that clear sweetness I expect from a good barley wine.

T: At the very beginning there's a mild, more or less characterless metallic taste that's a bit of a turn off, but is also the only real flaw in the beer. The huge caramel sweetness of the malt quickly blooms, but is tamed by the bitterness of the hops well before it becomes cloying. The taste deepens after a few seconds with sweet notes of dark fruit. All told, the taste gets about 90% there to delivering on the promises of the smell, though there were notes in the smell (particularly the mild banana) that just aren't present in the taste.

As you get deeper into the bottle, the annoying metallic note disappears completely, and the malt and hops marry even more smoothly. There's a beautiful clarity to the taste that starts near the end of the first sip, and doesn't dull at all the whole way through. The alcohol is, unsurprisingly, not particularly well masked, though I personally enjoy the chest warmth it brings as you make your way through the bottle.

The taste ultimately delivers the big, decadent, candied-but-hoppy taste implied by the description on the label and the name 'Hog Heaven'.

M: There's a decent prickle of carbonation (that does its job helping the hops tame that huge sweetness). Though that smooth, wine-like crystal clarity persists, the beer is a bit heavy and at times borders on chewy. Don't think you'd really want it any lighter if you're buying a barley wine though, honestly.

D: Pretty good, but 1 bottle is certainly enough.

All and all, a very strong barley wine. If it tasted as good as it smells, it would be perfect.

I actually had a bottle of this at Publick House in Brookline that had been aged a few years (which cost less than what I paid for a new bottle at my local liquor store!), and it was excellent. The marriage of malt and hops was perfected right from the first sip (instead of taking awhile as did the one reviewed here), and the taste hit an amazing depth. If you like a good, deep barley wine, I'd definitely suggest putting a few bottles of Hog Heaven away, because it only improves with age.

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Photo of krunchie
2.62/5  rDev -33.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Served in a Riedel Ouverture glass at 10.6C (51F). Already when pouring I smell lots of hops!

A: Semi hazy ruby copper colour with a thick fluffy slightly tan head. Stays in there pretty good.

S: Crystal malts and american floral hops. Blood orange and grapefruit, lots of grain aroma. Slightly nutty and syrupy nose. Very fresh and clean smell, hardly any yeast aroma.

T: Wow, REALLY intense! At first I got a huge hop bitterness blast, followed by an alcoholic bitterness and faint grainy background. Lots of hops in this brew, folks! I expected this beer to be more malty and nutty, like the smell. It actually made me slightly dissapointed. This beer is very american in the sense that it's a lot of everything, but it's a bit over the top in many ways IMHO. It's not balanced in any way and I don't understand why it comes in a 650ml bottle - there's no way you can drink that much, it's too much even for two or three people. The overall bitterness is too much for me and I can't pick up anything else but sharpness and cheap booze. It kinda reminds me of not too good Imperial IPAs I've had in the past. Promising, but dissapointing.

M/D: Sharp and crisp, sort of feels like an artifical drink after half a glass. This beer is not for me.

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Photo of olympuszymurgus
4.41/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pair of 07 bottles side by side, one aged properly, one with a little abuse...both quite nice.

a- beautiful deep red/ruby color, perfect carbonation. what i expect a barley wine to look like.

s- columbus hops, a little caramel and a little alcohol.

t- the alcohol is mellow, hops abound with a bit of sweetness. a well balanced profile.

m- feels nice, coats the tongue in hops without being too sharp like the newer vintages. age has done this well.

d- one of my favorite barley wines, very nice with a couple years on it. the columbus hops almost make you think you're drinking an ipa if you're not careful.

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Photo of caresville
3.72/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pours amber to a light brown with a nice white head that laces beautifully through out the glass!! smells of pine, lemons, orange peels and other assorted fruits. taste is overly strong and bitter, quite boozy. heavy on the grapefruit and pineapple with hints of brown sugar, vanilla, pinetree's and some pear. it finishes very strong and bitter, easily can see how certain people would be turned off by this beer or type of beer. but better than average in my opinion.

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Photo of linnet
4.33/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ruby colour, creamy beige head, looks very nice, lots of lacing. Aroma is very hoppy, more lika a DIPA than a barley wine, pine, citrus, lemon, grass, straw. Flavour reminds me of Hercules, big bite, pine, lemon grapefruit resting on amalt backbone. This is good!Mouthfeel is smooth and sticky. I would never have pegged this for a BW nevertheless it is great!

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Hog Heaven: Imperial Red IPA from Avery Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.96 out of 5 with 2,100 ratings