Holidale | Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.

very good
319 Ratings

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

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Bierman9 on 03-07-2001

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Ratings: 319 |  Reviews: 183
Photo of portia99
3.88/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle (2009 edition) poured into a Brooklyn snifter.

A - Pours A hazy and translucent copper orange color with some particles suspended in the liquid and a thin cap of creamy foam that migrates to the sides of the glass to form a low collar.

S - Some sugary sweetness, fruity hops, some caramel, a hint of vanilla. Overall aroma is a bit subdued.

T - Taste follows the aroma closely. There is an underlying sugary sweetness beneath all of the other flavors. Surprisingly hoppy though...fruity hop flavors and the hop bitterness really sit on top of the sweet malt almost as an entirely separate layer. Some nice caramel flavors with a creamy vanilla-y smoothness at the edges. Very good array of flavors, however they don't seem to form a cohesive unit - they don't taste blended together, all somewhat separate and competing with each other. A little bit of age might bring these together a little more while sacrificing some of the nice hop presence tho.

M - Medium to full bodied...definitely not syrupy. A bit oily in appearance and feel...slick on the tongue, a bit viscous. Very fine carbonation, perhaps the slightest touch on the high side - fairly smooth but I think lowering the carb just a little bit would really make this a smooth barley wine.

D - Although 9.5% in alcohol, this is a pretty easy drinker. Alcohol isn't noticeable in the flavor or aroma. Really nice barley wine. Well balanced - not too hoppy or too sweet. I passed on this last year and regreted it...only bought one bottle this year...maybe next year I'll learn my lesson a pick up a few of these to enjoy throughout the year.

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Photo of KeefD
4.37/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks go out to Knifestyles for this extra! Pours a hazy burnt orange color with a small white head that fell quickly, but left a few splotches of lacing. Aroma is sugary sweet, liight caramel, and surprisingly low hop aroma for an American Barleywine. Great flavor on this one. Nice candy-sweet flavors, a touch of spicy breadiness, some caramel, and very well-balanced hopping. There's almost a citrusy, orange/lemon-lime type thing going and is reminiscent of sweet tart candies. This is an American Barleywine that I can get into because it's not ridiculously, over-the-top hopped, which I think really can get in the way of what a barleywine is supposed to be with other brews in the same category. Great, slick mouthfeel, coats the tongue, and the high ABV can barely be felt. I'm really digging the balance on this beer and I have to say it's probably the best barleywine I've had in a very long time. Excellent stuff, and I'm sure it's recieved lower ratings because some people think that if doesn't offend your palate with hops then it must not be good. My first Berkshire brew, and I say well done!

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Photo of ShogoKawada
3.71/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz purchased at Yankee Spirits, Swansea, MA. Poured into a White Birch flute.

A- Clear amber rusty brown with a slightly off-white head. 3 fingers easily and not going anywhere. Thick, dense formation. Very nice pour. Thick, gooey lacing.

S- Plums! Dark, boozy fruit. Sweet malts for sure. Light, unoffensive, delightful. Almost like fruit punch. Dash of caramel and a hint of cognac.

T- Follows the nose. Fruity, the alcohol grabs you here. Similar to Brooklyn's Monster Ale but not nearly as harsh or astringent. A bit solventy, but not bad. Sweet berries, cognac/sherry, and a bit bready. Hop bite combines with the ABV to make it a bit harsh, but nothing that puts me off.

M- A bit boozy, good balance between bitter/hot and sweet notes. I like it.

D- Moderate. A big boy beer, had me sipping it slow, but I enjoyed it. Recommended. A unique barleywine.

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Photo of far333
3.61/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Hazed and burnished orange color with a thick inch high head of fine foam that lingers long and slowly settles down to a low cap and rises up on the sides of the glass. Sheets of lace rise up as I drink.

Low aroma of ripe fruit and honey. Subtle flavor of marshmallow and grainy malt, straw huskiness, some fusel alcohol notes. Slight cherry tang, mild bitterness, subtle citrus hops, plus caramel and toffee. Surprisingly not rich and not complex. Even and full mouthfeel, moderate carbonation. Becomes tastier as it warms, but could have more depth of flavor.

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Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.25/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bomber > chimay goblet

A deep red-copper color, really very nice color with a lively body and large 2" head, tons of froth, very well retained, leaves a huge amount of clumpage kicking around.

layers of hoppy madness!! fruits galore with some garden veggie like greens and radishes. Candy apples malt with some brown sugar. strawberry rhubarb pie!!! black pepper in the heat with a slight tingle. zesty and herbal, fruity and malty...wow.

The balance of flavor's is sublime here; dry, earthy and herbal flavor's helf down to a mdeium to full feel, very copmlex in the malt and hop department. rye and wheat bring a wonderful dryness, grainy earth effect from the fuggles and mild but wild flavor's from the northern brewer hops. Semi-bitter effect, well within the balance spectrum though. not sure of the abv% here but it's very well hidden and pretty mellow. This is not a thick, and heavy malty feel, it's full but with a lively, young effect.

A strange american barleywine with a more earthy hop balance and not so much big-bitterness, which i know people love but i'm down with more gentle hoppy barleywine's and stouts for that matter.

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Photo of cbutova
3.63/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2009 bottle reviewed a few nights ago, from notes. Pours an opaque coppery amber with a one finger head that has low retention. The head is nice and creamy looking and leaves medium lacing on my glass. Pillows cover the top after the head is gone. Smell needs more strength right off the bat. Notes of fruits, malts and a tiny bit of hops. The fruits smell pretty sweet but the malts smell nice. Hard for me to pick up much here. The taste is pretty much like a standard ale. Huge malt backbone, almost rye tasting. The hops add some fruity and bitter flavor and even some spice. The strength of the hops is not too high, which I like in a Barleywine. The fruity flavors are tasteful and add a nice aspect to this one. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a nice creamy texture. Moderate carbonation works well here and a huge coat of fruity malts is on the tongue. No warming, very smooth. Alcohol comes into the taste later on in the beer and starts to take away from it. The price is OK but more expensive than other BBC offerings which I like more. Would like a better aroma and less alcohol take over.

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Photo of mostpoetsdo
4.35/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at Pitcher's Pub in Cumberland.

A: Awesome dark orange amber. Little hazy. Very small head, and okay lacing.

S: Fruity, cherry, peppery.

T: Homerun. Peppery hops and tasty cherry. Haven't had many Barleywines, so didn't know quite what to expect. But this was so good it's a high bar to compare with.

M: Incredibly smooth, a nice bite of carbonation. Goes down easy.

D: Can drink this all night long. Can't believe it is 9.5 percent.

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Photo of Jwale73
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 vintage served in my Old Guardian glass. Poured a translucent amber/copper with a one inch, tight, bone white head that settles into a broken skim with thick trails of lacing in its wake. Nose reveals dark fruit (your typical plum & prunes), as well as a sugary, berry jam quality. Taste consistent with nose; however, much more balanced and blended with just a kiss of hops bittering at the finish. Mouthfeel is medium-bodied and sparklingly effervescent with a dry finish. In the last month, I've had this on-draft, from the cask (incredible) and from the bottle. A really excellent seasonal with a deceivingly well-hidden abv (espcially on-cask). Probably one of my favorites from BBC.

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Photo of sisuspeed
3.46/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured this into a small 0.3L pint glass. Red, amber-brown hue with less than a finger of white head.

The aroma holds a fairly large malt base. A good amount of sweet malts, but also a little bit of spice from the rye malt. Some faint citrus and earthy hop aroma.

Good, strong malt taste, but then BBC spices it up with a bit of peppery hop flavor. Very interesting. I can see how they market this as more of a winter holiday beer. Going back to the malts, they are pretty chewy, sweet and the rye malt is what makes the malt profile more unique than most American Barleywines. As the beer starts to warm I can pull out some candied fruits and bready malts as well.

Mouthfeel is smooth at first, but then jumps around with the peppery hop spiciness. Carbonation is about right. Not lacking, but not over done.

Drinkability is knocked down some for me, because of the peppery hops. I would struggle to finish a bomber of this by myself, but with a friend or two, this a nice seasonal barleywine. I look forward to trying some more brews from BBC.

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Photo of abuliarose
4.06/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark honey brown with some buttery head and decent bubbling. Looks pretty refreshing for a barleywine and not as thick as I'd expect with the bubbly. Smells not so much and like ripe guava (combination of the hoppy cirtus and sweet frutiness?) with hints of peppered rye. Pretty lacing (for a barleywine? I know, crazy...).

Tastes delicious. Good citrus and sweetness up front with a lingeringly bitter, intensely malty ending, meaty rye flavors throughout. Carbonation is small and tickling in otherwise smooth mouthfeel. Unexpectedly, it is just as thick as the next barleywine I've come across. Sizeable alcoholic warmth. For a barleywine, this is dangerously drinkable but also a fair sipper. The rye is pervasive but not offensive and I would expect more overall intensity for a sipper-type.

This one's a keeper, worth getting more of.

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Photo of UA8
3.63/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a dark reddish amber with a thin tan head.

S- Candied fruits, peach and citrus, sweet malts.

T- Leads with citrus and fruits notes, midpalate is semi sweet malts. Finishes with a spicy sweet vanilla taste and orange rind. I feel like the flavors might come together a bit more if this had a bit more time in bottle right now its a bit sweet and disjointed but not bad.

M- Medium bodied a bit lighter than I like for a barleywine. The carbonation is a bit high for the style but is at least soft which saves things a bit. However the high carbonation makes the body seem even more light which isn't so good.

D- It's a solid beer. I would almost rather they just call it a strong ale because it lacks some of the essential characteristics of most barleywines I enjoy (syrupy and viscous, bold flavors, light carbonation). It has some notes on the palate that are very similar to their winter warmer and I wonder if that is intentional or not. I'll buy another and see if this gets any better with age.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.68/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 version - pours a one-finger white head that fades to a ring and leaves only traces of lace. Nose has hints of spice. Nice, nearly clear amber color. Good carbonation and medium bodied. Starts sweet, spicy and some alcohol, finish is spice, alcohol and some hops. Their 2002 version was better, maybe it is to late to drink this even though the ABV is 9.5%. $2.99 for a 22oz bottle from Beverage Warehouse Winooski, VT.

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Photo of Duhast500
4.32/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz. bottle into a stemmed glass.

The color is a somewhat cloudy reddish/maroon with three fingers of off white head with a bit of lacing left on the glass.

The smell is a very sweet with some spicy hints of clove and some rye.

The taste is mild with some nice rye flavor and a nice floral hoppiness. Some nice dark fruit flavor and is bit of a creaminess that is slight but present.

The feel is light with a bit of age on it. The burn has calmed and is now a bit warming and ticklish. Has a medium body but is easy to handle.

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Photo of chinabeergeek
2.81/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

22oz bomber. 2008 release. tasted in mid-may 2009. poured into tulip, at cellar temp.

very dark, ruby amber tones. gemstone clear on first pours. 1.5-finger off-white head, fades to wispy thin layer. good first ring of lace, then just splotchy after. (later pours give some yeast sediment, but give better lacing.)

faint aroma overall. weak pine and citrus rind, watery caramel. trace of cherry esters. a little more citrus notes as it nears 60 degrees F.

flavor is watery as well. weak caramel base with some resiny hop bitterness (moderate), but the hop flavor itself is subdued too - just enough to give an american character, but that's it.

feel is light and somewhat thin and watery again, esp for a barleywine. relatively smooth, w resins in finish, and the moderate carbonation is tingly upfront and gives some body, but all of this never really compensates for the wateriness.

not horrible. just quite mediocre. a disappointment from an otherwise solid local brewery.

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Photo of alovesupreme
3.43/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Very dark scarlet red when held to the light. An offwhite head of 1 and a half fingers sits for a few minutes before dissipating to a pleasant foamy ring, with nice lacing.
Medicinal, Scotch with alcohol and bread. A hint of sweetness.
Alcohol, some fruits, maybe apple? A little caramel with a bready finish.
A full body but not as syrupy and thick as I prefer my barley wines.
A pretty good barley wine.

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Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.83/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Much thanks to brothercannon for bringing me a bottle back from VT. 2008 vintage. Poured from a 22 ounce bomber into my nonic pint glass. Appears a cloudy, deep copper color with more than two fingers of creamy light tan colored foam. Moderate lacing sticks to the inside of my glass with each sip. Smells and tastes of sweet caramel apples, biscuits, berry preserves, bitter grassy hops, rye spiciness, orange and lemon peels, maybe a touch of nutmeg, and alcohol. Medium to full bodied and sticky with a lingering bitterness and warming alcohol. This barleywine has medium carbonation. A tasty example, one that I'm enjoying on a chilly early spring evening along with a nice sharp cheddar.

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Photo of Vancer
4.08/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks go out to pproitras for the brew, sent via NoBS4. NICE!

Pours a hazy deep amber, almost copper, with a frothy tan head in the ol' Corsendonk tulip - sticks almost an inch high.

Winter spices of nutmeg and clove, mixed in with the Barleywine orange liquore. Very spicy quaff, with dark fruits (plum), toasted biscuit, and no shit - candied sweet potato. Woody resions and hops kick the finish.

Lots of warm ethanol in the quaff - but it doesn't distract, and actually adds to the enjoyment. Tasty brew, drinks well on a cool and rainy Masters Golf Friday.

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Photo of JohnQVegas
4.2/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle into red wine glass, 2008 vintage. Thanks to ppoitras for this one.

Pours a very hazy, almost murky red-brown, with an off white head that starts off small and disappears quickly.

Nose starts off sweet and fruity, apples come through along with a bit of caramel, and quite a bit of rye. Even more rye as the beer warms. Some ripe red berry as well, underneath.

The taste, however, makes up for it. Dominated by sweet, rich, spicy rye with some sweet caramel and nicely prickly hops, which grab onto a fruity sweetness that hints at apples and maramalade. Hops seem to be integrated in - the whole flavor is rather seamless, hops and malt and rye and sweet and bitter all kind of melding together. Leads to a couple of things: one, this isn't what I'd call a complex beer. There seems to be one rather integrated flavor rather than multiple flavor profiles hitting separately, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Two, coupled with nary a hint of alcohol, you get an insane smoothness that makes the beer stupidly drinkable. Drinks like a 6.5% abv beer. Finish is lightly bitter, a bit warming.

Mouthfeel is thick, a bit syrupy, with a fluffy, prickly carbonation that just matches perfectly with the prickly hops and the spicy rye.

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Photo of htomsirveaux
3.7/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bottle tried 9 Jan 2009. Courtesy of indiapaleale, thanks!

Poured in 0.5 L Adambrau becker. Medium sized light tan head. Clear reddish brown color. Aroma is bready sweet with toasty malt which fades to orange peel and strawberry jam. Initial brown sugar start is quickly followed by a good bit of resin and a hoppy bite. Lots of strawberry jam, orange and resin throughout to the finish. Ethanol is quite warming in the aftertaste. Medium body, sticky mouthfeel.

Would try this again if given the chance.

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Photo of thekevlarkid
3.95/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

After getting pierced again I needed something stiff so I headed to the Daily Planet where I got this American Barleywine off the tap. It was a classic copper color with one finger of tan head. The retention was moderate, the lacing consistent. The aroma was of caramel malt, pleasant spices, a little mustiness and some alcohol. The flavors were well balanced, caramel malt with some buttery notes, almonds in the middle, the spices again, hints of wood and a nice grapefruit and orange presence from the hops. The mouthfeel was ultra smooth, the body medium/full and the carbonation dainty. Enjoyable and punchy. Just was the piercing artist ordered!

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Photo of iceball585
4.67/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Dark reddish brown color, semi-clear, one finger thick cream color head, some bubbles rising throughout

S- Raisens, caramel, molasses, herbal, dark fruity auroma, hint of alcohol

T- Caramel malts, dark fruits, bready, creamy, grains, light herbal hops finish

M- Medium body, low/medium carbonation, smooth, flavorful, well balanced

D- Definitely worth buying again

My buddy brought me a bottle back from Vermont and I really wish he would have brought more. Great flavors and not too overpowering as some barley wines can be. This is instantly one of my favorite barley wines.

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Photo of williamherbert
3.9/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The appearance is cloudy deep red. Some debris floating. Head disappears quickly. Cherry red.

The smell isn't very strong, so there's not much to say about it except some grainy barley malt.

The taste is gritty, almost musty malt, but not skunky. It's funky and appropriate. A really nice hop accent. Slight sourness and leather. Raisin and sweet cherry comes out too. Some sweet honey too.

It's thick and chewy, but smooth, buttery and oily too. It's a thick and rich beer. A smooth barleywine.

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Photo of aerozeppl
4.3/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Nice super deep brown color with a half finger of white head.

S: Nice mix of spices and malt. Bisquit malt is there and lends a nice mix to the beer to mellow things out.

T: Tastes like fresh homebrew. Nice big malt taste with some spices thrown in. Super well balanced and nice.
M: Very nice and crisp medium mouthfeel.

D: Very drinkable for what this is. We split this and it was enjoyable. Really nice example of the syle.

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Photo of jstilwell
3.3/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Dark brown, copper, amber with frothy white head that grabs the glass before slowly dissolving.

S: Fruity, citrus, oak, hops, slight bananna

T: Mildly syrupy sweet with some fruity hops, strong malt overwhelms.

M: Smooth and carbonated somewhat watery considering it is unpasteurized and unfiltered

D: Could not drink more than one. The 9.5 alcohol is hidden but the beer has harsh undertones.

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Photo of yossarian14
4.1/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz Bomber in true BBC fashion. Dark reddish-brown, a little murky, with a great two inch cream colored head that remained a while and left sticky lace rings. Why do we love that so much? Smells of caramel malt, and herbal hops. Tastes strongly of the caramel and finishes with the hops and alcohol.. The full-bodied creamy mouthfeel and warming alcohol make this sipper a solid holiday barleywine. Hoppy for the style but...Hops are so hot right now.

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Holidale from Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.
3.88 out of 5 based on 319 ratings.
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