Raspberry Strong Ale | Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.

very good
178 Reviews
Raspberry Strong AleRaspberry Strong Ale

Brewed by:
Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.
Massachusetts, United States

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 06-08-2002

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Reviews: 178 | Ratings: 306
Photo of brureview
4.34/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2015 bottle date:

Poured a raspberry-copper color in a Stone Snifter with a 1F head.

Deep raspberry aroma, highly unusual for the style. With warming , light chocolate.

Very carbonated-piquant.

Complex taste: deep raspberry, fruit overtones, light chocolate which settles in with warming.

Spicy, hoppy, tart finish, with light bitterness.
Different approach to the style. Another excellent beer from Berkshire.

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Photo of muchos
4.01/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L. Clear ruby-tinged golden, ample head recedes to just a ring in minutes.
S. Noticeable tart raspberry, nice sweet malt balance.
T. Juice. Big dominant raspberry, somewhat tart, sweet caramel, peanut brittle. Sweet raspberry aftertaste. Is there alcohol in this?
F. Smooth, below average carbonation.
O. Would be excellent for dessert. Big sweet ripe raspberry flavor. I thought it was a real treat, but expect a sweeter beer than you expect, if that makes any sense. Cheers!

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Photo of Oldejoe
3.99/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Looks. Nice ruby-red, golden brown, with little head.
Smell. Strong fruits a tad into the over-ripe stage, a bit sharp.
Taste. Strong fruits, mild spices, a bit too syrupy and floral, very little hop touch. Not much of a barley wine character.
Feel. Fairly sparkly for no head, medium-full body,
Overall. Pretty good at the fruity part, weak on the barley wine; probably just needs to sit in the cellar for a year

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Photo of Johnct
1.78/5  rDev -52.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 1.5

Really bad. I want to believe it was a bad bottle, because it tasted like old cranberry juice mixed with bud light. I honestly can't imagine this is the same beer as the one the rest of the reviewers had, but it is.

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Photo of Jmc181
4.33/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I'm not typically a fan of fruit themed brews, but this is quite tasty. The fruit is very aromatic, but still very balanced to taste. Great if you're sitting down for one or two.

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Photo of BeerEsquire
4.08/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

This is not your girlfriend's gateway fruit beer! Well balanced (malty, sweetness, bitterness) strong ale that is cloudy in appearance and supports a healthy dose of fresh raspberry tart w/o being too sweet - can have more than one pint.

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Photo of LeRose
3.48/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from notes.

Pours a reddish/brownish color with a short-lived maybe one finger head.

The smell - malty and boozy, not too much raspberry at all. Very much malt forward with the fruit minimally present.

Taste - I found the alcohol present immediately with significant malt character. The raspberry did not show up for me until well into the swallow, and I found it to be more of a raspberry jam flavor than a fresh raspberry component. Lacked the brightness I like about raspberry. Felt this was quite sweet, with just a hint of acidity on the finish.

The feel was sticky, but carbonated well enough to clean things up a little.

Overall, I did not like the raspberry flavor as much as I expected to given how much I enjoy raspberries. It seemed to lack the fresh pop of the fruit and had very little of the tea character I associate with raspberries. The alcohol seemed pretty prominent to me as well, and I thought the beer ever so slightly out of balance with the raspberry flavor building up during the drinking. It's kind of like a barley wine but not quite there, so the categorization makes sense.

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Photo of puboflyons
3.71/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From the 650 ml. bottle. Sampled on June 14, 2014.

The pour is a reddish brown color with a short-lived off-white head that really simmers down and leaves almost no lacing.

In the aroma I do pick up a little raspberry but overall the scent is barley malt and barleywine boozy. The fruitiness feels less so.

Medium body mostly.

The raspberries really kick in more so in the taste than the aroma suggests. It certaInly has a boozy and malty quality to it but the raspberries introduce themselves with a passion. This will leave a mark. Spinning head.

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Photo of KYGunner
3.78/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Light cognac to maple in color this poured with a deep cleanliness in body. The head was bright white and dense.

The nose is malty at first with a natural raspberry, almost vegetative. The aroma finishes toasty and biscuity.

The flavors hold a deep maltiness with toast, barley, biscuit and grain. The sweet yet sour raspberry finishes with a very natural earthy tone.

The feel is light, almost watery, and doesn't really hold barleywine properties.

This is a tremendously novel approach and kudos for the effort. For the most part it's got barleywine character with natural raspberry flavor.

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Photo of gonzo000
3.9/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

a. Cherry wood in appearance. Beer has 1 finger head on the pour. Thick lacking.

s. Raspberry alone on the nose.

t. Sweet on the front, malt in the middle, tart in the back. It has a fermented wine taste.

m. Good, the carbonation stays atop the beer, as the thin head remains.

o. Debated a long time between a 3.75 and a 4, but I would say this pushes the boundaries of an outstanding raspberry brandywine style ale.

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Photo of Abra
4.5/5  rDev +19%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

BBC can do no wrong!

Pours a very beautiful clear mahogany, cherry wood color.
Smells exactly like a raspberry chocolate bar.
Taste is perfectly balanced. As the name suggests it tastes exactly like chocolate and raspberries but it doesn't register as a "sweet" beer...the hops provide a very nice balance so you get the flavor but not the heavy sweetness that can sometimes be a little too much. As you first sip it, it's sweet but then the tartness mellows it out beautifully. A very drinkable beer.

Thank you BBC!

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Photo of SawDog505
4.02/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a 16 snifter, not sure when it was bottled, but I am sure it wasn't too many months ago. Pours a bright ruby red, with a one inch white head that settles fairly quickly, leaving behind little streams of lace. Smell is raspberry, biscuit, dark fruit, caramel, honey, and hints of vanilla. Taste is tart raspberry up front, vanilla, biscuit, caramel, and plum. Body is almost medium, nice carbonation, a little dry, and very drinkable for 9%. This is solid, can't wait to try the normal barleywine.

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Photo of scotorum
3.73/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from the 22 oz. bottle into a Samuel Adams nonick.

a; Clear reddish copper with an inch tall offwhite head which receded to even surface foam and dense lacing.

s: Mild fruit.

t: Raspberry flavor which does not register until first swallow. Some tartness lingers at the back of the tongue. High ABV is amazingly well covered.

m: Moderate, good body, sticky.

o: A tasty though tart brew, raspberry flavor is strong but not very sweet. Interesting to try, but although I am a huge fan of raspberry flavor,the tartness here is too sharp for my taste. However those who like Belgian saisons and lambics should really enjoy this.

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Photo of chahliemoah
4.24/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I love raspberries, prompting me to buy this guy and cellar it for a few months. Just popped it open and I love what's happening to my taste buds right now.

A: Hazy blood orange color. Two finger head that sticks nicely to glass but dissipated quickly. The color is gorgeous.

S: Raspberries on raspberries. Quite sweet smelling. I like where this is heading.

T: There's a ton going on in this beer. Plenty of tart raspberry flavor, honey sweetness, some definite sour characters going on. All fortunately backed up by what tastes like a hefty amount of hops. It's a dessert wine, but a nicely balanced one at that. Dangerous at 8%.

M: A little thick, but maybe that's me drooling over how tasty this beer is. Nice, mild carbonation.

I love just about everything BBC puts out (except their American Wheat, I thought that was terrible). This is another great beverage of theirs and is the first barleywine I've tasted that I've really enjoyed.

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Photo of notchucknorris
3.81/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a hazy reddish amber color with a nice two finger beige colored head.

S: Loads of sweet candied raspberries. A lot of sweetness backing it that seems to be coming from the malt. Caramel, marshmallow and an almost rotten fruit smell that is a mix of raspberry and red apple. A faint tartness as well.

T: Opens with a lot of puréed raspberry sweetness. Almost a hint of chocolate in there as well, like a raspberry truffle. A bit of tartness before a lingering finish of unripe red cherry, some caramel malt and some cherry pit. Finishes a touch dry. The mouthfeel is slightly under carbonated and really smooth, which brings out even more of the sweetness. Definitely a dessert beer. Not getting barleywine from this, but it's pretty tasty.

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Photo of MistahBeah
3.41/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: Clear ruby hued brownish. No head just a thin rim of tiny bubbles. Small carbonation pressence. Interesting color.

Aroma: Tart raspberries. A little toastiness. Sugary booze

Taste: Follows the nose. Toasty barley malts followed by juicy raspberry tartness. A tad boozy on the finish. Usually not a fan of fruit beers but this one is pretty good.

Mouthfeel: Juicy. A little acidic. Some carbonation. Nothing special

Overall: Good for a fruity beer but nothing like a barleywine. Good dessert beer but not an all the time thing at all

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Photo of nquigley16
3.84/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a nice redish-amber-brown with a pretty good golden white head. The aroma is extremely strong rasperry with a tiny bit of booze and sweet malt in the background. The taste is quite nice, starts with raspberry and ends with a bit of malt and booze, very similar to the smell. Nice mouthfeel, pretty good level of carbonation.
One very nice thing is the raspberry flavor doesn't taste artificial at all- it tastes like fresh raspberries.

Overall a nice beer, not very barleywiney or strong, but nice.

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Photo of macrosmatic
3.25/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to ActonBrewer for this one. Reviewed from notes. Poured from bomber into CCB pint glass.

A: Pours a slightly hazy, ruddy deep copper, with minimal visible carbonation leading to a thin tan head.

S: Alcohol boozy raspberry, sweet fruitiness, a bit tart, and not much malt presence.

T: Fruity sweet tart and some caramel malt. Despite that, still with a dry finish. The raspberry flavor tastes artificial, almost like a Boone's wine.

M: Thin body, somewhat undercarbonated, and only a mild alcohol presence, especially for a barleywine.

O: This wasn't awful (not a drainpour), but certainly not great. The raspberry flavor was not right. And, despite the label, it had very little, if indeed any, barleywine characteristics.

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Photo of KTCamm
3.13/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a twenty two ounce bomber into a pint glass.

Pours reddish amber with thick head of white foam that settles down to 1/4 inch. Fruity raspberry smell. Tart astringent thin taste. Some cough syrup flavor at the close. The fruit keeps the flavor in check, but the aftertaste is a bit too much. Light mouthfeel. Overall, not great. Would not buy again.

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Photo of Krakistophales
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours red with just a hint of white head that recedes right away and leaves a halo and some bubbles

S: Raspberry. Other assorted fruit jam scents and mostly just sweet, tart aromas.

T: Raspberries up front, some mixed fruit sweetness in the middle, and a tart zing at the end. Quite nice, but one note.

O: Pretty tasty for a raspberry ale, but it doesn't have any of the barleywine notes I normally look for. Still, quite nice.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
3.8/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A-Pours ruby with an orange undertone. Minimal head. Head does not lace too much and the body is mostly transparent.

S-Smells firstly of raspberries. Quite sweet with no hop presence. Maltiness is cut by a trace of alcohol. Aromatic and pretty attractive.

T-Akin to the nose. Raspberries first and foremost. Other sweetness components too. Again, no hop presence. Alcohol is noticeable. A pretty tasty brew nonetheless.

M-Very rich and sugary. Creamy feel with mellow carbonation. Alcohol is drying.

O/D-I have wanted to try this for a while. I enjoyed it (as I do most raspberry-themed beers). One glass was enough because it was very rich. Altogether a nice Barleywine.

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Photo of MoreThanWine
2.85/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a 1.5" pale flesh colored head, average lifespan. The body in masstone looks like brown iced tea, but held to the light it's an amber verging on maroon. The smell reminds me of instant vitamin drink we bought once from Colombia - like a fortified fruit. The taste is a little malty but has some flat raspberry in there. All in all it's kind of like a weak fruit pastry. And the bottle says barleywine but I don't see any of the barleywine style in this.

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Photo of ryan1788a5
3.67/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber poured into an oversized snifter.

A: Pours a clear deep raspberry color. A quarter of an inch of white head sputters out almost as fast as it formed. No lacing beyond the odd spec here and there.

S: Freshly crushed raspberries stop just short of being jammy. Fruity, estery profile almost gets lost amid all the raspberry. Typical malty barleywine aromas of bread crust and caramel underneath.

T: The nose is very deceiving, as the raspberries are much less prominent than it suggested. They share an equal role with the beery tastes. Raspberry on the attack, and it's hard to tell where the fruit itself ends and the esters begin. They blend rather seamlessly. Caramel and bread crust begin to take over mid-palate, and by the time the finish comes around they are the dominant taste. Just the slightest hint of spicy alcohol. The finish is rather weak and abrupt, with bread crust and a hint of raspberry lending a dessert-like impression.

M: On the lighter side of thick, and somewhat chewy and syrupy. Little to no carbonation. Just what I'd expect from the style.

O: Not exactly a thinking man's beer, it isn't very complex. A nice dessert beer though, and good for what it is. It would go great with a fruit pie or any other fruity, crusty dessert. I can think of a few cheeses that would pair nicely with it too. And just as advertised, it is dangerously drinkable.

Notes: Glad to see this get back to being a barleywine. It has been years since I've had it, and the last time I did my palate was certainly not as developed as it is now. I seem to remember it being a bit out of control back then though; just a raspberry bomb and not much else. It was much better this time around. Certainly worth a try, and at $6 a bomber you have nothing to lose.

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Photo of lemonlime311
3.73/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Excellent looking with a perfect head when pours into a beer glass. Reddish amber tones to it. Almost has a cognac look to it. So it looks good, let see how it smells.

Smell: Very potent smell, dark tones and you can smell the raspberries, and it does have a fortify wine scent to it. I smell the barley. The smell is very true to it's title.

Taste: Very strong taste but I have to say this is a acquire taste if barley wine style beer are not for you I suggest you don't try it. Very heavy beer a little sour but I think that is do to the raspberries. Very creative. You can taste the barley and the raspberry finish.

Mouthfeel: Considering that this beer is 9% ABV it goes down quite smooth it would go well with cheese and crackers. Nice light raspberry aftertaste.

Overall: Ok $6.00 out the door not so cheap. But it is BBC and it also is 9%. And the beer is quite good. Not the best BBC I have every had but above average for BBC but also $2.00 more a bottle then most BBC beers.

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Photo of shredsofautumn
4.62/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Looks like I'm the first review of the 2012 batch! Alright!

...Truth be told I've been calling every local package store since Monday when this elixir was released. It's my all time favorite seasonal, and I live about 20 minutes away from the Brewery so I'm usually one of the first to purchase it and have my ways of getting my hands on it early.

Anyway- Here we go.

Date: 2/8/12
Time: 6:20pm
Glass: 22 oz. Hefe Glass (shoot me)
Music: Thrash!! "Tetrastructural Minds" by Vektor, off of the new album Outer Isolation.

Appearance: Looks a little darker than it did last year. Murky unfiltered amber with shades of red and pink. Not much of a head on this which isn't surprising due to it's ABV and the mild pour I gave it. Despite my bad pouring etiquette, it's still an astoundingly good looking vixen.

Smell: Like opening a box of raspberries that you picked yourself. Completely real raspberry flavor. No fillers or synthetic crap here! Nice malt backbone but it's tough to smell through the raspberry kick in the face.

Taste: Mid-bodied malts hit you with a nice sweet hit and then the raspberries come through in full force. No hops really to speak of but between the vicious fruit and malts, it's got a hell of a balance between the two.

Mouthfeel: On the heavier side. Coats the mouth with fruit resins and malt. Creamy. Absolutely perfect for what this beer is.

Overall: This isn't a sorority house fruit beer. This one will invite you in with its seductive looks and scent. Then it will knock you on your ass. A sipper that begs the unknowing to quaff. Amazing.

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Raspberry Strong Ale from Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.
3.78 out of 5 based on 306 ratings.
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