Alpine Beer Company

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Barleywine - American
Ranked #4
Ranked #116
4.56 | pDev: 8.11%
Alpine Beer Company
California, United States
Notes: The base of this beer was available at a couple of festivals as a barleywine named "Good". The remainder of the batch spent several months aging in fresh Jack Daniels barrels and became "Great".
Reviews: 176 | Ratings: 756 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Vidblain
Vidblain from Minnesota

4.63/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2015. I was super excited to finally land one of these, particularly an older bottle - it has aged quite wonderfully. The pour is quite a lot darker and more opaque than I'd anticipated. The barrel and light caramel are pungent. Zero sign of oxidization. I really like this beer.

Jun 12, 2020
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CraftFan5 from New Jersey

4.1/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

16 April 2020 - Beer #70 - BA Top 250 Alert!

Corona Day #35

I'm back, baby!

Appearance: 4 - looks like a standard barleywine, but a bit darker and redder. It was pretty clear on the pour but almost completely opaque in the glass.

Nose: 4 - smells like a barleywine on some barrel. A bit fruity. Nothing special so far.

Taste: 4 - still nothing special. It's definitely a very nice barleywine, but I'm not sure why it's so highly regarded.

Mouth: 5 - thick, chewy, and round. A very well-crafted brew.

Overall: 4 - a very fine offering, but not anything I'd write home about. My wife would find it very odd to find a hand-written note about a good but not great BA barleywine.

Be safe!


Apr 21, 2020
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rand from California

4.46/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Toronado SD, left over from Beer Week, into a tulip.

Leather-mahogany in color, viscous complexion dampens any attempt at a head.
Nose is buttery bourbon, floral malts, burnt sugar and a good dose of oak. It’s flavors follow, with a lot more boozy warmth at the front of the sip.

Super tasty, smooth barleywine. From my understanding this was almost an accident, and it’s not quite as tasty as I remember it before Green Flash took things over, but still.

Nov 13, 2019
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RNbeerfan from New York

4.61/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look: Amber, translucent
Smell: Caramel, dark fruits, some bourbon
Taste: Similar to the smell. Caramel and dark fruit dominate. The barrel is there but doesn't take over
Feel: A touch thin, but the carb level is absolutely perfect. Super smooth
Overall: One of my favorite barleywines to date. Really drinkable. Has a great sweetness to it, but still lets the caramel and dark fruits shine.

May 13, 2019
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Sabtos from Ohio

4.08/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Hazy bronze with a frothy, bubbly light khaki head, Great delivers smoky caramel and toffee with nutty marzipan, splintery oak, and pungent aged orange zest on top of an underlying toasted biscuit, all via a crisp bubbliness and a light but solid heat that rides along some peppery whiskey.

Feb 03, 2019
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AllOfTheCats from Wisconsin

4.8/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I was extremely impressed with this beer. Had it on tap at Alpine and then the Alpine pub in 2018. Malty, little to no hops, great barrel character, and smooth finish. Can't wait to try my bottle!

Jan 13, 2019
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Zach_Attack from Massachusetts

4.29/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12/2017 - 2015 vintage - From what I heard, the 2013 vintage is way better than this; that said, this was good - solid bourbon, toffee, caramel, and some vanilla; thinner body than I'd expect from a barleywine.

Oct 03, 2018
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stevoj from Idaho

3.5/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Taster at BW share. Medium, murky amber, kind of flat. Aroma is strong and malty, kind of medicinal. Taste smooths out Abit sweet and dusty. A bit of dryness and some booze.

Apr 01, 2018
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gcamparone from Rhode Island

4.66/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

16.9oz bottle into a tulip. Thanks Ryan for sharing.

Muddy brown body, small head. On the nose is Candied sugar, molasses, dark fruit. On the tongue this is super complex and flavorful. Liquid candy - dark sugar, sweet caramel bark, syrupy molasses, toffee, a touch of aged hops, light bitter aftertaste. Rich body and mouthfeel.

One of the best if not the best barleywine I've ever had. So complex and flavorful.

Mar 13, 2018
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rodbeermunch from Nevada

4.13/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Brown and dark amber pour, ultra thin lighter brown head. Aroma knocks substantial whiskey and brown malt notes all over it. Its boozy. But it blends well with the rest of the brown malt, brown sugar, maris otter and said booziness.

Taste is a sipping experience. Nuts, caramel and toffee all over it. A hint of raisin. I wouldn't say this hid the alcohol, that is pretty much impossible at this abv. But it does what it can. On the back end of the mouthfeel you can pull mild black and tan tobacco notes. Also has a substantial amount of viscosity for a barleywine. It also is on the high end of the spectrum when it comes to stickiness as well. A touch of earth to round it out. While its a very enjoyable beer, I dunno, would just as much if not more prefer something a little easier going like CW or BCS barleywine. This one might be just a tad too big for my ideal tastes.

Mar 11, 2018
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RAlmeida77 from Massachusetts

4.92/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Batch 1 bottle poured in a stemmed bulb. Pours a murky brown color. Minimal head that fades quick. Aromas of dates, raisins, plums, caramel and toffee. Taste is exactly as the aroma. Sweet dark fruits, caramel and toffee just coat the mouth. This is like drinking candy. Absolutely amazing. No booze. Feel is full bodied for the style. Overall, this is an amazing beer. Best barleywine I’ve had to date!

Mar 04, 2018
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yesterdayfaraway from Missouri

4.69/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2012 or 2013 vintage....12oz bottle

L: pours light brown color, syrup look with no head on the pour.
S: typical bourbon soaked caramel covered raisins. Great aroma, it's not a huge aroma, but nice for sure
T: nice barrel on this one and equally as good caramel covered raisins.
F: so smooth, thick and coating

Feb 15, 2018
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edthehead from New York

4.56/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Fabulous Barleywine. The bourbon is really pronounced and at the same time incredibly smooth. Big bourbon on the nose, with hints of molasses caramel and nuts on the palate. Mouthfeel is rich. Must have if you're a Barleywine person.

Aug 25, 2017
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rabbott2 from Illinois

4.46/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2015 vintage drank on 7/8/2017

Look was syrupy with decent lacing and very little head. Smell and taste were in point. Nice caramel, toffee, barrel, raisin and a little plum. Pretty creamy for a bw. Overall a pleasure to drink. One of the best in this style and glad I finally got to try this.

Jul 09, 2017
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moose1980 from Germany

4.75/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Deep amber with a surprisingly thick, white head. Smells like coconut, caramel, oak, a hint of tobacco and a not so subtle hint of whiskey. Tastes is sweet, like raisin sweet, but not at all cloying; like a fine sherry. Thick and sticky, but easy to drink. One of the best.

Jul 04, 2017
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aleigator from Germany

4.35/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Yields a clean hazelnut brown to ember color with a small, light brown head.

Smells of spicy Bourbon with a hint of coconut among scented wood, wrapped up by dried, sugared wild berries. Very intriguing as for its focussed complexity, sweet and decadent, reminiscent to the complexity of a port wine, also as for its prominent fruit quality on the nose. Offers molasses, glazed caramel and a healthy amount of rock sugars.

Has a medium bodied mouthfeel, slick and oily, malty and sweet, with a balancing Bourbon dryness, revealing a satisfying warmth.

Offers sweet caramel from the very beginning, lots of toffee and a whiff of licorice round out the foundation of this. Sweet and full, decadently accompanied by a slowly evolving Bourbon appearance. The Bourbon establishes the balance in this, adding an alcoholic warmth and dryness to the flavors, as well as spicy coconut bark. All of this gets perfected by the berries from the nose, ripe and sweet, giving even more depth to the long lasting toffee.

So this is two things for me at the same time - the beer is dangeriusly drinkable, a most enjoyable, flawless sipper. At the same time, this is challengingly complex with lots and lots of layers, all benefitting from each other. On top of this, there is the whiskey barrel, lending not only more omph to the taste but also a very pleasant and needed balance to the otherwise overly sweet beer.

Apr 22, 2017
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Angerhaus from Rhode Island

4.74/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

It's grrrrrrrrrrrrreat! Seriously, very tasty, and well worth trying. I won't go into crazy details because you've read enough of those, but I will point out the interesting finish that hints toward a maple taste.

Apr 03, 2017
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DVMin98 from North Carolina

4.6/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at NC Rare 1/28/17. Caramel color. Smell was caramel, dark fruit, malts. Tasted more like an English barleywine. No hops at all. Mostly caramel, dates, raisin, mild barrel. Overall, this was a fantastic beer. The barrel was not overdone like a lot of BA barleywines.

Jan 30, 2017
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Lochnessmonster from Florida

4.42/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big, thick, and dark (there's a joke in there somewhere) are the only ways to describe this epic barleywine from Alpine! While overall I found it to be a touch too sweet, it's still a fantastic BA version of the style.

Oct 03, 2016
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fireazzi from Massachusetts

5/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had 2013 Great. This is the best barley wine I have ever had. So thick and tasty, with great caramel taste. Great heavy thick smell. This barley wine changed how I felt about barley wines.

May 19, 2016
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Fireman_RK from North Carolina

4.54/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: Auburn, dark brown hues with a minimal light sandy head
S: Cloves, raisins, and all spice
T: Honestly this tastes so smooth - like the best oatmeal raisin cookie you've ever had soaked in some Pappy or Eagle Rare - wow, beautiful taste profile
F: Medium and chewy
O: To be frank I categorically tend to avoid barleywines, but this beer backs up the 'Great' claim and then some. Awesome beer and great digestif. Well done.

Mar 25, 2016
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gibgink from Missouri

4.93/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is truly a "great" experience. I would not classify this as an American Barleywine, but an English one. I've never had the base, but the barrel transforms this into such a smooth and sweet tasting masterpiece. The alcohol is also masterfully hidden. There are no hoppy notes at all.

Mar 11, 2016
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BucannonXC5 from California

4.44/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Type: 8-oz. draft
Glass: Clear snifter glass
From: Alpine Beer Company pub in Alpine, Calif.
Price: $7.00
Purchased: Dec. 30, 2015
Consumed: Dec. 30, 2015
Misc.: 2015 release

Poured an auburn, murky color with 2-to-3 fingers of khaki tan, foamy head when I got it. Burst of bubbles coming up from the bottom of the glass. Below average wet lacing on the sides. Below average retention. (Sight - 3.75)

Smelled toffee, caramel, dates, leathery tobacco, light Jack Daniels whiskey, light butterscotch, dark peach and light citra rind. (Smell - 4.00)

Taste was so much better than the nose, getting caramel, toffee, earthy rye, flat sweetened iced tea, some kind of woody barrel and light booziness. Alcohol was well hidden. (Taste - 4.75)

Medium body. Oily texture. Soft-to-flat carbonation. Long, smooth, warming finish. (Feel - 4.50)

This is an excellent representation of an American Barleywine. Not too boozy and not too hoppy. Loved it. (Overall - 4.50)

4.44 | 98 | A

Jan 03, 2016
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Rothobinide from California

4.86/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a bottle. 2015 vintage, day after release.

Smells like caramel apples and english toffee. Smooth! Amazingly smooth. Frosting. Melted caramel frosting. The flavors are not overly sweet and overly woodsy, but definitely there. Perfectly layered like a ganache. This is a sipper, and well worth the wait to try.

Dec 28, 2015
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lilreyreyatomic from California

4.92/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at Alpine 12-22-2015 on release day.
Not a big fan of Barelywines I like them but would always prefer a stout or IPA, that being said "Great" and "A Deal With The Devil" are the only ones I would hunt.
Great is amazing this year around they found a way to improve a already great barleywine.
bourbon followed by notes of caramel, toffee, raisins and sweet fruit that are velvety smooth and silky.
the nose is just as amazing as the taste.

Dec 23, 2015
Great from Alpine Beer Company
Beer rating: 100 out of 100 with 756 ratings