Great | Alpine Beer Company

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157 Reviews
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GreatGreat
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Alpine Beer Company
California, United States | website

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 14.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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".

Added by xlperro on 03-01-2005

BEER STATS
Reviews:
157
Ratings:
641
Avg:
4.43
pDev:
18.06%
 
 
Wants:
1,436
Gots:
85
For Trade:
7
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User Reviews
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Reviews: 157 | Ratings: 641
Reviews by portia99:
Photo of portia99
4.28/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle received in trade with srandycarter. Thanks! Poured into a Dogfish Head signature glass.

A - Pours with an ever so slight yeast murkiness in a gorgeous dark amber brown color with reddish tinges to it in the right light. No head forms at all, but a nice thick collar of tan color and a steady stream of bubbles rising up off of the laser etching in the bottom of the glass. This is tempting me to take that first sip.

S - Yeasty and very bread dough-like in aroma...smells like fresh dough before going into the oven. Some malty, caramel, molasses aromas, sweet bourbon in a sorta heavy way...almost like a bourbon reduction sauce. Alcohol is also quite noticeable in the aroma too which isn't surprising given the 14% level here. Overall, a heavy, almost syrupy impression from the aroma.

T - Taste is quite sweet overall. Up front is caramelized sugar, toffee, molasses in a mixture together that blends with the bourbon. Bourbon doesn't have heat to it, just nice flavor added, some vanilla and alcohol flavors. Bready malt and yeast flavors kick in to round things out. Hops do not add any flavor character, just a touch of bitternes, although I think the bourbon edge does more to balance this than the hops do. Good flavors, somewhat unique...a bit heavier, deeper than others of the style. I want to say that there is a smokiness to this, maybe a bit of the char off the barrels.

M - Very thick and syrupy in nature. Mouthfeel is extremely full with only a light carbonation to liven things up. Flavors here are heavy and the body complements this. Smooth, sticky, mouth coating and extremely viscous. Overall heavy but a really nice sipper all around.

D - Hmm, tough call. Alcohol is quite high at 14%, which is a real impediment to drinkability, but the alcohol seems to only add flavor and character without the heat that I would expect (a definite plus). Mouthfeel is rich and full - pretty much a thin syrup. A sipper all the way, and I appreciate the decision to put this in 12oz bottles...this is absolutely the perfect serving. Trying to put down a bomber of this would be enjoyable, but hard work.

This would really be a quite expensive (and debatably a waste of this beer) marinade, but I think reducing this down a bit and using this as a marinade and/or barbecue glaze would on beef, steak tips especially, maybe chicken too would be absolutely amazing.

 2,390 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of brother_kenneth
3.88/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2013 vintage bottle, poured into a snifter glass. The beer pours a typical dark brown with little to no head at all. In fact, it is almost still. Nose is predominantly bourbon, with some nice dark dried fruit and caramel. Not quite as impressive on the aroma as I had expected. Taste is a follow-through on the nose. Had high hopes for this one, and it is good, but not King Henry good. The mouth feel is essentially flat and thin. Fairly standard, if mild, flavors for the style - bourbon, wood, caramel, figs, etc. Super sweet, with some hints of oxidation. Ultimately, it is lacking all the way around when compared to some of it's peers. Don't get me wrong, I like this beer, but considering the hype, there are far better examples of the style out there (King Henry, Blendiculous, etc). Drink 'em if you got 'em, because this one probably won't age well.

 859 characters

Photo of YodersBeerEmporium
4.89/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Best BW I have ever tasted....amazing!

38 characters

Photo of lilreyreyatomic
4.92/5  rDev +11.1%
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.

 446 characters

Photo of Axnjxn
4.61/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

12oz bottle into a teku glass.

dark red pour with a slight head. smell of slight bourbon and dark fruits...quite appealing! taste is smooth as silk with the dark fruits and slight bourbon finish. body isnt even that thick honestly...its really creamy and so smooth. damn tasty. probably the best barrel aged barleywine in existence... definitely worth the hype. so greaT! worth the hype. trade for it NOW!

 406 characters

Photo of tectactoe
5/5  rDev +12.9%

Photo of t2grogan
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of SkiBum22
4.59/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of lateralundertow
4.56/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Callmecoon
3.75/5  rDev -15.3%

Photo of Mora2000
4.2/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to kaiser81 for sending me this beer.

Pours murky brown with no head. The aroma is caramel, brown sugar, some alcohol, oak and bourbon. It is very sweet. The flavor is vanilla, maple, alcohol and brown sugar. Medium mouthfeel and low carbonation.

 254 characters

Photo of olradetbalder
4.25/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of gibgink
4.93/5  rDev +11.3%
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.

 289 characters

Photo of kingcrowing
4.06/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a sampler.

Pours a hazy amber golden color with n head at all. Nose is sweet and malty, a bit oxidized but not too bad.

Taste is a bit oxidized but still sweet and malty. Some diacetyl as well. Slight bitterness and a crisp finish, its quite tasty but a bit good.

 289 characters

Photo of lawsonciv
5/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of bpfrush
4.75/5  rDev +7.2%

Photo of obiwan_k3n00bi
4.75/5  rDev +7.2%

Photo of buyyourfreedom
4.81/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of sourdog
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Cynic-ale
4.41/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of rudylaw
4.25/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of OStrungT
3.8/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This beer pours a redish orange color. The minimal head is light, almost white. It fades quickly leaving minimal laces.

It has a very strong malty, caramel like aroma. The alcohol content is very present in the aroma. Not much in the way of hops. Just a big malty alcoholic aroma.

This beer has a very sweet taste. The alcohol content is very present in the flavor. It warms on the way down. It has a slight fruity taste to it. It has slight wine like flavors. Also, it tastes ever so slightly like bourbon.

This beer is quite thick. It is not very carbonated. It is full bodied. It leaves a stroms alcoholic, sweet aftertaste.

This beer would make a poor session beer. It is way too high in alcohol to drink all night. Also, it is very aggressive. It would wear thin very quickly. As far as a single glass, this beer lives up to its name. It was great.

 865 characters

Photo of stereosforgeeks
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%

Photo of pwoods
4.09/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

Thanks to Fred at Beverages4Less. I hope this bottle was taken better care of than the Nelson and Expo Hop that you sold me.

12oz. brown bottle poured into a GLBC Christmas Ale snifter.

A: Pours a murky brown with orangish amber tinting in the light. Pours kind of thin. A rough pour gets about a 1/4 inch of spritzy head that dies immediately... I'd assume this spent plenty of time in the barrel. No lacing but some oily streaks.

S: Healthy dose of bourbon but even more massive is the huge dank barrel presence. Lots of earthy, dank oak. Some vanilla and molasses sweetness, maybe some pure maple syrup notes. Very woody. Listed as an American BW but I get great aged English Barleywine notes. The bourbon becomes even more potent as it warms.

T/M: Yow. Lots going on here. Plenty of bourbon along with some stronger alcohol complexity and a very satisfying warmth. More of the light molasses and maple flavors, some vanilla sweetness, caramel, toffee, dark fruits etc. Some faded hops, but I still don't know about American BW. I get loads of rich, alcohol soaked dark fruits as I swallow. I also get a sharp sweetness after I swallow, which is a minor flaw that is somewhat covered up by everything else that is going on. Body is actually pretty thin, which is my biggest complaint. It's only about medium light, which seems pretty far off the mark. Carbonation is light, which fits the style well, but doesn't do a hole lot with the lighter body. It actually reminds me of sipping a bourbon or scotch.

D: Massive ABV and a bit of a mouthfeel issue. Pretty damn tasty, though. If you're looking for a 'kick you in the teeth' beer, then this fits the bill very nicely. If you're looking for something complex and subtle... well this could still be for you because there is plenty to find, but the mouthfeel issues really hurt what they were trying to do and turn this from what could have been an absolutely stunning beer to a, still respectable, tasty treat.

 1,968 characters

Photo of acurtis
3.75/5  rDev -15.3%

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Great from Alpine Beer Company
97 out of 100 based on 157 ratings.
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