Great | Alpine Beer Company

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Brewed by:
Alpine Beer Company
California, United States

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

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Reviews: 159 | Ratings: 657
Photo of dvmin98
4.6/5  rDev +3.8%
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.

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Photo of Lochnessmonster
4.42/5  rDev -0.2%
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.

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Photo of fireazzi
5/5  rDev +12.9%
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.

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Photo of Fireman_RK
4.54/5  rDev +2.5%
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.

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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.

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Photo of BucannonXC5
4.44/5  rDev +0.2%
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.

4.44 | 98 | A

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Photo of Rothobinide
4.86/5  rDev +9.7%
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.

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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.

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Photo of worldsworstextra
4.82/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

On tap at Alpine 12/22/2015
An outstanding barleywine. This is a big improvement on good which I have always felt was overly sweet. With great, the sweetness is definitely toned down with the barrel aging. The mixture of caramel, raising, and apricot preserve is very well done. Some bourbon upfront with oak on the back end. This is a very rich barleywine that has a very bold, yet smooth flavor profile. I only wish it had the luscious dark red copper color that the mostra great had, which was also on tap. Other than that, it's hard to find anything I dislike about this beer. Very well done alpine!

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Photo of WI-Beer-Man
4.8/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Amazing Barleywine. One of the best beers I've had. Pours a tad flat, but expected for the style and from other reviews.

Hard to describe how GREAT this is. It is the perfect level of sweetness without being too sweet. Light bodied and extremely smooth. The barrel is subdued and works perfectly to balance the sweetness.

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Photo of Morey
4.63/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Low carbonation affects the appearance and mouthfeel, but this beer smells and tastes absolutely amazing. Big sticky toffee, caramel, bourbon, dates.....etc. Worth seeking out. Up there with the best for sure.

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Photo of Davepoolesque
4.44/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

No head. Smells earthy, lots of brown sugar, vanilla, woody and alcohol. Yum! So smooth. Dark fruits, brown sugar, toffee, caramel. Getting no alcohol heat. I'd say my only complaint is the mouthfeel. It's just a hair thin for the style.

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Photo of CuriousMonk
4.64/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours a beautiful brown coating with a very thin off-white head that dissipates rather quickly into the abyss of fine barleywine. Aroma gives off a phenomenal smell of pure barleywine - wood, sweet figs, and slight alcohol. The flavors replicate the aromatic qualities very well along with toffee and raisins. By grace, this is a delicious beer! This is just a tad below Cigar City's Leon, but a cut above Steel Toe's Lunker - both world-class bourbon barrel barleywines in my book! Very impressive coming out of a brewery that is well known for IPA centric beers.

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Photo of dar482
4.86/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

The beer hits of figs, dark fruit, raisins, dates. Then onto toffee sweetness. There's a touch of hoppiness and woodiness to balance the beer on the back end.

The alcohol is extremely well hidden. Having a '12 and '09 vintage, the fresher bottle was much better. A beer that really does live up to its hype.

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Photo of IrishColonial
4.07/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2013 Vintage

A: very dark brown, almost black like molasses or dark maple syrup; slight creamy head
S: mostly toffee, maple, brown sugar; slight vanilla and bourbon; a bit of raisin and fig; when cold, slight vinegar smell but disappears as it warms; a bit of oxidation underlies everything
T: very sweet and malty; brown sugar and caramel dominate mixed with figs and raisins; not much bourbon flavor but a bit of heat on the back end
M: soft creamy carbonation; decent mouthfeel but a bit thin
O: not sure why this is classified as an American barleywine, seems like an English style through and through; good flavor profile and well balanced but the sweetness is a bit overpowering; starting to oxidize and the bourbon was much less than I expected. A good offering and worth trying but not in my top echelon of King Henry, Cognac Church on a Hill, Sucaba, and Mother of All Storms

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.63/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Curran last night.

Pours a hazy russet brown color, with no real head, or lacing. Looks really nice.

Smells like toasted malt, caramel, toffee, and breadiness. Smells delicious.

There's a nice dark Belgian chocolate and roastiness to this barleywine that's unexpected, on top of the classic toffee and caramel flavors in perfect unison. There's a bit of bourbon, not a whole lot, and some oak and vanilla. Absolutely delicious.

This barleywine has a body of medium thickness, with a low amount of carbonation. It's a little bit syrupy, not a whole lot, keeping it still very drinkable.

This one seems to fly under the radar a bit, it's amazing, but not a whole lot of people talk about. People should talk about it more.

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Photo of mrn1ceguy
4.75/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

When a bourbon aged Barleywine is done right, with a lot of bourbon and some heartiness from the barleywine, you get this beer. Great was truly GREAT, with a perfect heartwarming finish.

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Photo of cpetrone84
4.2/5  rDev -5.2%

Pour is extremely dark burgundy with a small amount of tight tan head. Nose has some light bourbon notes up front, chocolate maltiness with figs and raisin. Taste is bright and tight, bourbon is subtle but helps balance the malt sweetness. Figs and raisin play a strong role with chocolate and dark malt presence with berry notes, caramel, and brown sugar in back. Full bodied with soft carbonation and a very creamy inviting palate.

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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!

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.38/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to jwk7324 for this beer.

12oz bottle sealed with pressure cap; vintage 2013.

poured into a SP wine stem.

Appearance: murky and opaque dark brown bodied beer with a thick cap of dirty white head that drops down to thin cap and thin ring around glass that remains the entire time while drinking the entire 12oz pour.(drank this 12 oz pour of beer over the course of 2 hours)

Smell: Very malty and sweet aromas like all "GREAT" barrel aged barleywines. The nose has tons of caramel, bourbon, oak, and dark fruits. Hint of hoppiness. Robust yet balanced and nuanced aromoas from this brew!

Taste: This beer is loaded with caramel and bourbon which has very strong flavor profile in the front of this beer. Hints of wet oak, coconut, and honey. Lots of dark fruits, brown sugar, and light toffee. The beer finishes fairly sweet with a light bitterness lingering long after each sip.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied beer with low carbonation. Rich and mouthcoating. Its a bit boozy even straight out of the fridge before this beer has warmed up. I could also use a a few more bubbles because this is almost has a syrupy mouthfeel and some bubbles would help to break that up developing syrup feel of the beer.

Overall: Alpine Great very much reminds me of Kuhnhenn BA 4D. Great is also reminicent of really fresh Mother of all Storms. I think that Alpine Great is not an American Barleywine; rather it is more of a cross between a barrel aged English Barleywine and a barrel aged Old Ale in my opinion. This beer is huge and flavorful; my recommendation is to split a 12 bottle with a friend because 6oz of Great is enough for one sitting.

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Photo of Stevedore
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A- Dark caramel brown body, minimal head, a bit of lacing. Looks like a barleywine, to be honest which already isn't a striking style in terms of A.

S- Caramel, toffee, sweet whiskey, oak, cocoa, dark fruit, a touch of citrus and pine. But the hops come nowhere near dominating the malt and whiskey.

F- Complex yet sweet. Caramel and toffee dominate, strong bourbon flavours add complexity and some bitter burnt malt. Hop character is present more as a balancing ingredient to all the sweetness. All flavours have melded very well.

M- Thick, caramelly and almost syrupy but not quite to the point where it would be off-putting. Smooth, sweet and balanced. Zero heat.

O- An American barleywine that drinks more like what an English barleywine does; little American hop flavours come out yet its just enough to make it interesting. Importantly, it balances out the sweet malts that would otherwise make it too cloying. Great mouthfeel and very drinkable.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
4.12/5  rDev -7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Murky brown amber. Small khaki head. Not much going on after a bit.

Smell - Brown sugars. Fruity specialty malts. Bourbon. Raisiny. A hint of hops, maybe?

Taste - Bourbon much stronger. Still very sweet. Brown sugar. Sweet and raisiny. Oaky in the back end.

Mouthfeel - Heavy and sweet. Medium low carbonation.

Overall - Reminds me of JW Lees. Not a ton of bourbon, but it does allow the base beer to shine.

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Photo of zac16125
4.66/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

12oz bottle into a snifter
2013 vintage

A big thanks to socalbrewlvr for sending over this long time want in a trade!

A: Pours a very dark brown, with reddish hues when held to light. Tan colored head builds, but not even enough to cover the entire surface, as just a ring is formed around the outer edge. Leaves only a trace patch of lacing.

S: Aroma is heavy bourbon along with sweet dark fruits and caramel. There are some cocoa notes, as well as vanilla and faint oak from the barrel. I also get some boozy ethanol.

T: Incredible right from the first sip. Lots of sweetess, with candied sugar and a huge caramel/toffee presence. There are also some rich dark fruits, like dates. The bourbon notes aren't strong, mostly on the finish, with a bit of oaky-vanilla. There is a subtle hop bitterness, but this certainly drinks more like an English-style BW than an American-style BW (which is a good thing in my book).

M/D: Very smooth, carbonation appropriately low, a bit chewy. It has a whole body warming sensation. Maybe a touch syrupy, but the ABV is non-existent, and drinkability is great.

O: Fantastic beer. One of those rare beers that I take the first sip, and literally say "wow". Easily in the top handful of barleywine's Ive ever had. Well worth the wait. A must try. Thanks again socalbrewlvr!

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Photo of Jeffo
4.53/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle provided by Vanlingleipa recently and drunk last night while breaking in GTA at Doopie's place. Cheers!

From a bottle into a snifter
Vintage: 2013

APPEARANCE: Pours a small, medium looking white head that quickly recedes to a bubbly ring only. A hazy mahogany red in color with no real carbonation evident. A light ring remains until the end but leaves no real lacing down the glass.

SMELL: Wonderful nose. Bourbon, oak, coconut, some caramel and toffee sweetness, with lots of fresh maple syrup over the whole thing. Really decadent.

TASTE: Very flavorful again. Bourbon, oak and lots of maple syrup sweetness the whole way through. A touch of spicy alcohol at the swallow, then a big and lingering finish of bourbon, maple syrup, coconut and caramel sweetness. No heat lingers at all. Could use a little bit of bitterness as balance, but this is decadently sweet and delicious. Desert in a bottle.

PALATE: Fuller body and medium levels of carbonation. Creamy on the palate, goes down great and finishes sticky on the palate. No bite or heat at all; the 14% is nowhere to be found. Impressive.

OVERALL: This was outstanding. Awesomeness in a bottle. The flavor could use a touch of bitterness to help balance the overwhelming sweetness, but in small doses, this isn't an issue at all. I'm also surprised this was just aged in Jack Daniels barrels and there was no use of maple anything in its creation. Wonderfully flavorful and decadent with an impressive, non boozy feel to go with it. A real treat. Thanks again Vanlingleipa. Good times Doopie!

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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.

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Great from Alpine Beer Company
4.43 out of 5 based on 657 ratings.
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