Griffin's Bow | Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)

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Griffin's BowGriffin's Bow
665 Ratings
Griffin's BowGriffin's Bow

Brewed by:
Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Massachusetts, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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

Added by sommersb on 10-28-2011

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 665 |  Reviews: 235
Photo of JJFordick
1/5  rDev -71.6%

Photo of freshtojeff
1/5  rDev -71.6%

Photo of DarkLordPsycho
1.25/5  rDev -64.5%

Photo of jtierney89
1.3/5  rDev -63.1%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours a very light amber color, slightly hazy but still very clear with a thin lace of head that diminishes quickly. Smells like a ton of oak, earthy hops, toast, and a pinch of alcohol.

Lots of flavors, all of which taste as though they've been smoked with oak wood: vanilla, butterscotch, caramel, pine, citrus. Moderate in body and carbonation, slight warming sensation from the high abv. Aftertaste is malty and oaky, but it doesnt linger around too long which is nice. Malt presence is big but is balanced well by the hops which unfortunately to me don't play into to the flavor too much.

flavors are all there but really unbalanced and all over the place, almost couldnt finish it.

drinkable if you're really into the wood flavored things. Definitely far too much oak going on here unfortunately. decent attempt but not something I'd buy another of (except for the one extra I'm going to buy to age).

Speaking of which, does anyone think this beer would benefit from some aging? Would that overpowering oak flavor die down?

but as of right now, this beer is good for nothing but it's high alcohol content

 1,115 characters

Photo of JustinSamuelson
1.75/5  rDev -50.3%

Photo of lauries444
1.75/5  rDev -50.3%

Photo of oriolesfan4
1.75/5  rDev -50.3%

Photo of Goblinmunkey7
1.94/5  rDev -44.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Appearance: Sticking to their adage that beer must be clear, this one pours perfectly clear, even when cold. The color of shiny new pennies. Lacks some of the deeper red tones...but that must be the whole blonde thing happening. Head is bright-white, smooth, and thin.

Smell: Caramel, toffee, oak, and booze. Some toasted notes when cold gradually expand as the beer warms. It's like toasted booze. Lots of booze. Very rough. Touch of biscuit and minerality. Aromas don't really meld, they just assault and then back off making room for the next out of whack aroma. Hits on the English side of things with a big toffee compliment. Also, pears.

Taste: Vanilla, toast and caramel. Toffee and old bread crust. Booze, so much booze and sweetness. Very rough. It's like a shot of oaked vodka with a toasted piece of booze soaked toasted oak thrown in for good measure. Toast your booze son! Toffee struggles to break through. Aggressively full of citrus rind. Tastes like white Life Savers. Is that pineapple and coconut sneaking out?

Mouthfeel: Thin side of medium. Dry on the aftertaste from the harsh ABV. Drinks like bad college vodka.

Overall: This was almost a drainpour. The toasted element sounded nice in theory but what a tragedy it became. No balance and any complexity it may have had was lost when the flavors refused to work together.

 1,347 characters

Photo of NoetheMatt
2/5  rDev -43.2%

Photo of bpfrush
2/5  rDev -43.2%

Photo of broller
2/5  rDev -43.2%

Photo of Joshuwutphilly
2/5  rDev -43.2%

Photo of HavasuDG
2/5  rDev -43.2%

Photo of Dirtyrat91740
2/5  rDev -43.2%

Photo of ThirdEyePA
2/5  rDev -43.2%

Photo of scxcrunner
2/5  rDev -43.2%

Photo of JHendu
2/5  rDev -43.2%

Photo of JAHMUR
2/5  rDev -43.2%

Photo of mattparsons
2/5  rDev -43.2%

Photo of CSFerrier
2/5  rDev -43.2%

Photo of GrindFatherBob
2/5  rDev -43.2%

Photo of ThisWangsChung
2.04/5  rDev -42%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

Poured into a Budweiser pilsener glass (not a word out of any of you)

A: Pours a brilliantly clear golden color with effervescent carbonation. The head is shockingly good, it's a slightly offwhite color with fantastic retention and lacing.

S: There's a distinct scent of pineapple from the Nelson Sauvin hops (possibly?) and some caramel notes, but otherwise it's surprisingly subdued. Not that boozy on the nose.

T: Uh oh. It starts off nicely enough, with some subtle hints of pineapple, caramel, and toffee...until the finish comes, loaded with buttery diacetyl and candy-coated metallic notes. It's a sickeningly sweet, cloying mess on the back end, and it completely ruins what could have been a semi-decent barleywine. I can't give it a 1, though, because of how well the alcohol is hidden. Still, it's pretty bad.

M: Heavy, but not excessively so. This would be pretty drinkable if not for the lousy flavors, honestly. Has a long, lingering finish (bad news given how it tastes) and mild carbonation.

O: I only had a pilsener glass full - and I could only finish half of it before dumping the rest out. There are some nice hints here and there, but this is an otherwise terrible barleywine that's far too experimental for it's own good. Avoid.

 1,255 characters

Photo of Knapp85
2.05/5  rDev -41.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Highly highly disappointing beer. Wanted to try it since I hadn't seen this one on the shelves in PA yet. The sample was poured at the EBF night session. The beer looked good with a nice head on top and golden colored body. The smell wasn't too bad, it smelled sweet and appealing. The taste was awful to me. I don't understand why or how but it was terrible. I had a friend take a sip also and they agreed with me. I didn't even finish the sample of this one. The mouthfeel was decent but nothing too special. Overall just not thrilled with this beer really. I really don't know what happened here.

 599 characters

Photo of angrybabboon
2.14/5  rDev -39.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Cheers to Goblinmunkey7 for sharing this

Review adapted from notes taken 11/12/11

Appearance: Golden orange, absurdly clear, starts off with a nice white head, fades to a minimal ring

Smell: Not good - pure alcohol, pears, other light fruits, straight-up sugar - tons and tons of wood, with more wood

Taste: A rather unpleasant amount of wood with a side of remarkably cloying sweetness - lemon and orange rind - on top of the sweetness, there is a cloying bitterness - with a whole lot of alcohol - totally lacking malt - as it warms, some weirder flavors emerge, like artificial pineapple, coconut, and white Life Saver candies

Mouthfeel: Medium, sticky, cloying

Overall: This kind of tastes like a cleaning product gone bad

This beer tastes like overly bitter citrus rind, alcohol, and wood. I would rather use it to clean my kitchen floor than drink it again. Maybe it will become drinkable in a few years.

 918 characters

Photo of Chaney
2.22/5  rDev -36.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Geez... it looks like the Bros really hated this beer.

Served in a Duck Rabbitt snifter.

A: Definitely on the blonde side of the BW spectrum, with an apple juice-like appearance, a clear disposition, and a slight white head that was a least a bit foamy.

S: Very flat in the aroma department which was very disappointing. I got a tinge of oak that made the beer smell off, bordering on skunky.

T: I got something that resembled thyme on the front part of this, followed by semi-sweet wood that I wouldn't even describe as oak. As I got into it, it got worse and worse.

M: Some carbonation, but I really started to not even care after the taste debacle. I personally thought it was a bit too thin and could have stood for more syrupy decadence, considering this style and ABV. The lacing was moderate, but as bad as this was, nothing really lingered.

O: I'm not really sure what to make of this. To my mind, this is one of the worst so far in 2012.

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Griffin's Bow from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Beer rating: 3.52 out of 5 with 665 ratings