Griffin's Bow
Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)

Griffin's BowGriffin's Bow
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Barleywine - American
Ranked #368
Ranked #45,182
3.56 | pDev: 17.7%
Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Massachusetts, United States
Griffin's BowGriffin's Bow
Notes: From the aroma and notes of sweet honeysuckle, pineapple, and grapefruit, to richer hints of burnt sugar, and toffee, this intriguing brew is full of complex flavors. The distinct character of toasted oak adds depth and contrasts the light fruit sweetness. This unique take on a barley wine ale surprises with its smoothness and balance of fruit, hop citrus, and warmth.

Hops: Nelson Sauvin, Zeus
Malts: Two-Row Harrington, Metcalfe, Copeland Pale, Paul’s Caramalt
Aged on toasted oak
Reviews: 235 | Ratings: 665 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by TheSarge:
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TheSarge from Virginia

3.01/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Wow. Seeing the ratings already, I hope I made a good choice on this one.

Poured this one into a sniffer and the brew made a good two finger thick white colored foam crown, and the body is copperish gold in color with perfect clarity.

The aroma is piny, dry and arid.

Caramel in taste, but with a weird cardboard flavor. WTF? This had potential.

Feels full in body with lots of carbonation. Chewy, and dry in the end.

This is a horrible barleywine. Almost a drain pour. I should've known there was something up with the amount of foam on this brew, that this was going to be off, but way the hell off?

Feb 25, 2012
More User Reviews:
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BMoney575 from Texas

3.11/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Sampled on 5-27-12
Batch no. 2

Appearance: a clear, golden amber color, with an immense white head that settles to a thin layer of bubbles, leaving thick rings of lacing behind.

Smell: very sweet and buttery, with a bit of piney hops poking through. The hops are subdued and the malt is light, making for a rather boring beer.

Taste: just like the smell, except with a metallic quality at the end that ruins any good points. What is there is sweet and all over the place. Not very enjoyable.

Mouthfeel: Seems good, but it's hard to gauge against the unpleasant flavors.

Overall: a miss.

May 27, 2012
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DannyDan from Michigan

2.41/5  rDev -32.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pours out a copper color hue with a thin whitehead that has decent retention and some lacing. The aroma has some hints of burnt sugar, toffee, oak and some fruitiness. The taste starts out with pineapple, grapefruit, and a couple other fruits and some burnt sugar and toffee come into the taste and finishes off with an oak taste. The aftertaste is a very bad taste since none of the tastes seem to balance very well and also the alcohol taste is throughout it giving it bad taste. The mouthfeel is a sticky, chalky feel and overall this was a rather disappointing "experiment" from Sam Adams that does not work out very well. Even though Sam Adam's usually makes some very good beers this is one of the few that did not work out.

May 05, 2012
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3.75/5  rDev +5.3%

Nov 09, 2012
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Lupin from Connecticut

3.23/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

First review in a while, but this one stood out.

Had this one after a ska show on a Friday night. 22oz bottle split into smallish tallish glasses with a good friend. Poured much lighter than expected for the style and, in general, I don't think this one really ticks most of the boxes in the barleywine profile, but it's still pretty unique.

Scent is apparently the sense most associated with memory. I bring this up only because if you've ever done nitrous oxide cartridges, you know that the gas itself has a faint odor, as do the sealant oils. During an unfortunate phase in my life, I went through quite a few of these catridges for non-cooking purposes. This beer is that scent. This beer is that memory. This beer is none of that fun.

I suppose that, if you've never gone through two dozen whip-its at an outdoor festival in the summer, you probably don't know the smell. But if you do, you do. And you will think of nothing else when you drink this beer.

Aside from that, not bad. Overall, a bit on the sweet side and well balanced except for a strongly floral nutty/fruity note that I really can't connect to anything else. A little bit of pineapple freshness. Friendly up front but that finish is just a disaster for me, it really is.

Say no to nitrous, kids.

Mar 24, 2012
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BEERMILER12 from Maine

3.77/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a golden yellow color with a 1/2" head that fades to bubbles fairly quickly

S: Strong caramel malt and oak presence, along with some hops. Very interesting and intriguing

T: Follows the smell, very fruity as well. Pineapple for sure, with oak, caramel, vanilla, malts, alcohol, and some more citrusy and grassy hops at the end for good measure. Extremely complex, with multiple layers

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Not syrupy or cloying by any means

O: A very interesting barleywine, it's on the lighter side yet has enough umph behind it to give it substance. Although it's extremely complex, the taste throws me off a little.... It is more of a hybrid style, though

Nov 07, 2011
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Lincolnman from New York

4.25/5  rDev +19.4%

Nov 11, 2012
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fank2788 from Connecticut

3.68/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle served in a couple of pint glasses
A huge foamy head tops a bright gold to amber beer, a bit pale for a barleywine. The head is slow to settle and tends to throw a lot of lace. The smell is a little weak, there is a good deal of oak, a bit of light fruitiness along with pale malt and a note of alcohol. The taste follows the smell with the oak in the forefront followed by a juicy sweet almost syrup like flavor. Hop character is relatively light and is only really prevalent in the finish. The body of this beer is very smooth with low to moderate carbonation. Up front things are very sweet but the finish is slightly bitter and quite dry. The alcohol is restrained at first and masked by the sweetness but it builds with time, it's a big bottle. Overall this is an interesting barleywine. I am put more in mind of a restrained English style barleywine than it's typically more robust American cousin. Maybe with some time the flavors would blend a bit and mellow out some overall it's a good offering and I'm glad to have gotten a chance to sample it.

Feb 12, 2012
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pirmannt1 from Illinois

3/5  rDev -15.7%

Dec 15, 2011
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4.25/5  rDev +19.4%

Nov 07, 2012
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Pencible from Virginia

4.02/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: This poured clear gold with some off-white head.
S: It smelled like fresh mango and apricot, with toasted oak and coconut, and a bit of honey malt and hibiscus.
T: It tasted like apricot and mango and coconut, with toasted oak and honey malt and floral hops. It had a clean and bittersweet aftertaste.
M: It was fairly thick with lots of carbonation. Nice fully body.
D: This had a very nice scent and taste, with an interesting blend of toasted oak and tropical fruits. The body was a little bubbly for me, but it was otherwise nice. The alcohol was noticeable but not bad, so it was pretty easy to drink. This may improve with age, but it was really good fresh. A bourbon barrell version would be excellent.

Dec 30, 2011
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Thickfreakness from New York

2.61/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A- Pours a crystal clear honey/amber into my DFH glass. Tons of carbonation, nice fluffy white head that fades fairly rapidly and leaves a touch of sticky lacing.

S- HUGE piney, grapefruity Nelson hop punch in the nose! That's pretty much it. It's like a one note guitar solo. All im picking up is the hops... no oak, malted barley, vanilla or anything else. Kinda dissapointed with the smell.

T- Bright, fruity hops right up front. Somewhat bitter before the sweetness starts creeping in. I'm not getting Barleywine at all... malty IIPA, yes indeed. Just way to hop forward for a BW. I wonder if the hops will mellow with some time. It doesnt taste bad, but they shouldn't have called this a BW IMHO.

M- Bitter and citrusy up front. A nice sweetness comes in but gets overpowered by the hops and alcohol. Kinda creamy and oily on the tongue, but then it gets ripped apart by the pine and hops.

O- I was really looking forward to this, but it's really kind of dissapointing as a Barleywine. If they called it a IIPA, I would have scored it much higher. Not a bad beer, but it's so hopped up that nothing else shines thru. Maybe a year or 3 in the cellar will help this one.

Nov 13, 2011
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Craigory from South Carolina

5/5  rDev +40.4%

Nov 22, 2012
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prototypic from Ohio

2.83/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Batch #2

Griffin’s Bow pours a gold color. It’s very clear. Looks slightly copper with backlighting. A really nice vanilla colored head tops it off. It stands over two and a half fingers tall and is very slow to dissipate. Waves of sticky lace cling to the sides as it descends. Looks pretty good.

The nose is rather average. It’s not very aromatic. Needs more strength. It kicks off with a sweet caramel/toffee scent. It’s followed by an interesting pineapple and grapefruit combo. Those could be attributable to hops, but it’s tough to tell. Honey is definitely noted. Alcohol is there, but doesn’t seem overwhelming. Eh. It doesn’t smell bad, but it’s not exactly good either.

The flavor is below average. Not very impressive. The malt base is definitely sweet caramel…and it’s here in abundance. Oak is rather strong in flavor. It seems to be at odds with the strong caramel malt base. It’s just not a good mix. Fruit flavors of grapefruit and pineapple are okay, but don’t improve things much. Neither does the honey. It’s all just a very convoluted, confused mix of flavors. None of it works together to produce something worthwhile. Alcohol is actually blended pretty well. It ‘s a little noticeable in flavor, but isn’t warm or hot. Finishes sweet and fruity.

Griffin’s Bow has a medium body. Carbonation is light and restrained. Honestly, it feels smooth. Mouthfeel is its strongest attribute. As good as the feel is, it’s a slow sipper. The flavor really slows you down. Finishing off an entire bottle will be challenging.

Griffin’s Bow is not one of Boston Beer Company’s finer moments. It’s a jumbled mix of flavors that never really materializes. It really needs a good bit of work to materially improve it. Until the recipe gets reworked, I’d suggest skipping this one.

Apr 28, 2012
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SuburbanDuke from North Carolina

4.75/5  rDev +33.4%

May 08, 2012
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BanditoJunkie from New Jersey

3.25/5  rDev -8.7%

Nov 10, 2012
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rodney45 from New York

3.73/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First beer back from a lenten hiatus.

22oz poured into a chimay goblet.

A: Jonquil or jasmine yellow with a lingering paper white head.

S: Floral and earthy notes, with a backbone of munich and caramel malt.

T: First subtle notes of apple juice, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg. Secondary hop kick with a caramel or crystal malt backbone. Hints of perfume, floral notes, and plum.

M: Thick and creamy with heavy carbonation. Alcohol notes throughout the duration of the beer.

O: Not a bad blond barleywine. I actually enjoyed this beer, and for all the bad ratings it got, If i had consulted BA in the beer distributor, i might not have picked this up... Im absolutely glad I did, and i'd recommend it.

Apr 12, 2012
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Rschis16 from Maryland

4.12/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amber hued beer, great clarity and a nice 2-3 finger head on top that dissapates slowly and leaves lacing as it goes. Reduces down to a sea foam sheet, nice retention. Touch of booze in the nose, which accentuates very nice fruity smells and a big shot of piney hops. There is a nice little spice to it as well, almost saison-esque. The sweetness is fruity and flowery, bringing about a very complex nose, but not incredibly potent.

The taste is fairly different from the nose actually. Big and boozy, but soft in its flowery composition. The floral hops are a little bitter in the back, a bit citrusy, but not very intense, which is ok. There is that oak taste as well that gives it a woody feel, adding a spicy character to the beer. Booze is definitely an essential part of the taste, especially being a barleywine. It fits the style and integrates into the beer pretty well. There is a overreaching fruity taste that is not really sweet at all, but does permeate all aspects of the palate, including the linger. It's a little distracting and makes the finish less dry than it would be without it. Only a little bit of a water-like mouthfeel, but the prickliness of the booze and hops makes up for it.

Overall, pretty good beer from Sam Adams, and a series that I'm excited for. I've always had a soft spot for BBC because they got me into craft beer, and this series has the potential to bring them more respect in the more extreme styles. I'll definitely be trying the others.

Nov 07, 2011
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HavasuDG from Arizona

2/5  rDev -43.8%

Dec 15, 2012
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MrHurmateeowish from Maine

3.33/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle purchased at Shaw's in North Hampton. Pours a crystal-clear amber body with a good inch or so of khaki-colored head that leaves some terrific stickage/lacing. Cereal grain and lemon-orange hops waft from this beer. Lemon, lime, grapefruit, grass come at first with caramel and cereal grain straggle in toward the end, albeit ever so lightly. Medium to heavy bodied with moderate to low carbonation. Not bad, but my least favorite of the series so far. Could probably stand to be aged a bit.

Feb 16, 2012
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Spiderbeerman from New York

4.93/5  rDev +38.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

My brother-in-law had a bottle at a party he was hosting. I usually don't go for barley wine and like a product with a little less alcohol content but Griffin's Bow was a pleasant surprise. It was smooth and didn't taste like it was strong. I would certainly buy this myself and will enjoy every drop!.

May 11, 2013
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3.75/5  rDev +5.3%

Nov 20, 2012
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JohneHoodlum from Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev +12.4%

Mar 21, 2012
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BigPlay1824 from New York

2.86/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Enjoyed in a tulip glass

A: pours a medium golden color that is entirely clear with minimal carbonation bubbles and two fingers of off white head that is creamy in character with large bubbles, lingers a bit, leaves a thin amount of lacing
S: vanilla, alcohol, some sort of syrup and an unfortunate smell like insect repellant
T: interesting, kind of odd, not bad i don't think just odd, some flavors i cant place, definitely recommend letting it warm up to release some better flavor notes or at least more discernible ones, the first flavor i find is vanilla in the middle with a bit of the oak in the end, beginning is sweet and slightly smooth aside from the alcohol burn
M: burns on the lips, mouth, and throat from the alcohol, to be expected but not enjoyable
O: eh, drinkable but bordering on the line of being a beer i would dispise, scent and mouthfeel are off putting, taste its decent as is the appearance, nothing to write home about, tempted to do some aging but i just not sure it even deserves a spot in my tiny little cellar, idk

Dec 20, 2011
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Aaron_Ramson from California

3.03/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Tried about 7 different barleywines at a tasting last night with Griffins Bow being the 4th bottle opened. Compared to the dark richness of Aleworks Old Numbskull, the agressiveness of Sierra Nevada Bigfoot, or the balanced nuances of Avery Brewing Company's Hog Heaven, Samuel Adams barleywine was completely pedestrian and did nothing to impress us or stand above the competition. It wasn't that it was a bad beer, but Griffins Bow lacked any of the characteristics that I enjoy in a barleywine. Interested in trying it again on it's own; maybe i'd enjoy it more if i didn't have exceptional barleywines to compare it to.

Dec 16, 2012
Griffin's Bow from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Beer rating: 81 out of 100 with 665 ratings