Anabasis | Side Project Brewing

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121 Ratings

Brewed by:
Side Project Brewing
Missouri, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 14.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Anabasis is our barleywine that was brewed with American malt and hops, but fermented with a strong English Ale strain to provide rich toffees, fruity hops, with a strong leathery, caramel backbone. Bourbon, vanilla and gentle oxidation showcase the 24 months of bourbon barrel aging that Anabasis went through to reach maturity.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 121 |  Reviews: 19
Reviews by aasher:
Photo of aasher
4.49/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

More User Reviews:
Photo of rodmanfor3
4.43/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

There are two things that most craft beer nerds get wrong about Anabasis:

1) The pronunciation of its name
2) The perceived G.O.A.T status of this beer in the realm of barleywines

It took nearly four years to track down a pour of this legendary beer, but only a fraction of that time to realize that I -along with the majority of the craft beer world- had been deceived by the Hype-Lords of the American Midwest.

Anabasis is a largely one-note barleywine that delivers on mild licorice flavors with a prominent bourbon barrel character on the front of the palate and little else. It misses the mark on what a truly great barleywine should deliver in terms of taste. There is no depth of flavor or complexity to this beer (on the palate), falling far short of the flowery "tasting notes" description that C. King offers on the label of the bottle.

Perhaps the saving grace of this beer is that it is remarkably thick, relative to other barrel aged offerings in this style. To this end, Anabasis resembles more of a stout than a barleywine, which sits well with the mouthfeel chasers of the hobby.

If you are a true fan of the barleywine style, Anabasis is sure to disappoint, given the incredible amounts of hype surrounding the beer and the overall underwhelming flavor profile it presents. If, however, your flavor preferences lean more towards simple stouts, this may be the beer for you; the mouthfeel and barrel character that envelops the base beer is world class and worth visiting if the cost of entry is low.

The letdown of this beer reminded me of my first Hill Farmstead Ann experience. A combination of low bottle counts, high trade values, exorbitant secondary values, and craft beer FOMO led to an artificially inflated expectation of the beer, one which ultimately detracted from the overall enjoyment of the drink in my glass.

There are many other barleywines that can be acquired and consumed with far less effort than it takes to land a bottle of Anabasis that likely will yield a more enjoyable tasting experience. I assure you, the rarity of this bottle and its secondary value do not contribute in any way to a more enhanced flavor or a greater overall enjoyment of this beer.

 2,209 characters

Photo of KevSal
4.93/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

had this one blind out of 18 total barleywines.

looks amazing, puddle water. the way i like my bwines! super dark in the glass slight brown head

smells is slightly muted at first but with the whirl of the glass juicy raisin jumps out. great bourbon, you can tell it will be good

flavor is off the charts, layers of flavors over and over. put the nose to shame! every sip brings out more bourbon, dark fruits, dried fruits and the flavor is on high the whole time. great balance of flavors never getting too sweet

mouthfeel is immense. flavor coats the tongue nicely

overall this beer is stellar and i had it blind. it came out on top 3 for everyone out of 18 ba barleywines. beating out so many beers i'm debating on marking it a perfect 5. i don't think it gets better than this

 785 characters

Photo of t2grogan
4.75/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of JayGreezy
4.62/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of mmcurran
4.6/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of gibgink
5/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Batch #2 at the brewery on 3-4-17. Shared 3 ways so my wallet didn't feel the pain that much. Pours extreme dark brown with no head. This is a spectacular example of how barrel aging a barley wine can transform into a whole different brew. Sweet and succulent on the nose, with toffee and caramel notes blended with a light barrel note. Taste is off the chart. There was a grainy particulate or something that my tongue picked up that melted on the tongue and the toffee flavor that became borderline chocolate. Incredible.

 530 characters

Photo of PSU_Mike
4.59/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of rightcoast7
4.71/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Zach_Attack
4.88/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

12/2017 - incredible aromas of bourbon, light anise, plum, tobacco, and earthiness; smooth creamy body with raisin, sherry, tobacco, and nice semisweet flavors; supremely luscious mouthfeel that just blows me away; the finish is surprisingly dry and balanced.

 259 characters

Photo of fthegiants
4.75/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Alieniloquium
4.34/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter. Murky deep brown body with a small khaki head. Absurdly boozy aroma. Brown sugar, raisins, bourbon. Nutty and oaky. Taste is also extremely boozy. Bourbon and oak dominate. Nutty and caramel malts. Bitter. I expect a lot more sweetness. It's sweet, but not absurdly sweet. Heavy body. Medium carbonation. It gets pretty sweet as I drink it, but still really good. Well done.

 424 characters

Photo of tapperm
5/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had bottle 1 during a Barley wine Bottle Share.
L: DARK brown with a tinge of amber
S: Really nice carmelly and malty aroma.
T: Very well balanced of carmel, raisin, roasted malts.
F: Medium to thick
O: This was simply amazing. I love barely wines and this was probably one of the best ones I have ever gotten to enjoy. I had this along with Great from Apline, Aaron, and Brew 1000 from Fremont and was the best of those IMO.

 433 characters

Photo of Fireman_RK
4.82/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Bunuelian
4.22/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of YodersBeerEmporium
5/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Amazing barley wine with wonderful layers of bourbon, dark fruit and raisins with light caramel notes as well . Had this as part of a barley wine tasting with several other world-class barley wines and this one stole the show!

 227 characters

Photo of beefbucket
4.53/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of brandoneast
4.63/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of bennyman12
4.62/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

B2 at the cellar. Traded my first bottle(b1) 18 months and 62 trades ago as my first trade. Thanks Morandi, especially enjoyed befuddlement especially, but I'm happy to finally have this puppy tonight!

It's dark brown. No bubbles. Smells boozy as booze. Rum booze. Booze good. Stell-ahh!

Taste begins with Carmel (autocapitalize as if we're in Carmel by the sea. by the Sea). Quoth my buddy "the booze kind of dissipates. How does he do that? You're writing this down? I'm getting orange. And then the coconut. You have to mention the coconut. Like a toasted toasted pina colata."

Me: "yes! You are killing this beer review. And it has dates." Buddy thinks I'm taking about romantic dates or a beer named dates. Who would name a beer "dates?"

Katie of the cellar: "Yes. review is great. Like ..."

Buddy: "Is this too much? Are they going to lose this?" Buddy keeps insisting this is like derivation. This is not like derivation except in how it is thick with goodness.

Mouthfeel is very good. Full and not bubbly. Nor am I.

Great beer. Beer is great!

 1,060 characters

Photo of Moses_Malone
4.75/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of robertm2152
5/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of rabbott2
4.58/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of HoldenDurden
4.56/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of jaydoc
4.51/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of yesterdayfaraway
4.77/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Batch 2

L: darker brown pour but black in he glass. No head, lifeless.
S: bourbon and caramel sweetness, by not a huge aroma.
T: more flavor as it it warms, but this is bourbon barrel forward. This had some typical caramel covered raisin sweetness, but those flavors are heavily trumped by the barrel. A bit of a let down but still amazing because the barrel is delicious and smooth.
F: medium thickness but so darn smooth. Slight booze and heat but in a good way.
O: fantastic beer, definitely let it warm to bring more of the typical barleywine flavors in balance with the great barrel.

 592 characters

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Anabasis from Side Project Brewing
Beer rating: 4.71 out of 5 with 121 ratings