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

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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

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Reviews: 235 | Ratings: 664
Photo of NeroFiddled
3.81/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Samuel Adams Griffin's Bow
22 oz. bottle. No apparent freshness date but marked "Batch 1"
$6.37 @ State Line Liquor in December of 2011

As there's no date I'm not sure how old this is, but I know it's at least 7 months old. What that aging has done for it flavor-wise, I just don't know. On the one hand I think it could certainly use a little more cellar time to help soften it and round it out, but if you do that you'll lose some of the hops that are there. Moving forward...

It looks great in the glass. It's a crystal-clear deep-golden amber beneath a frothy head of off-white. The head retention is quite good, and it leaves remarkable sheets of lace that cover the entire glass. Kudos there.

The aroma is malty (bready and gently caramelish), fruity (tropical), and hoppy (leafy, gently citrusy) with notes of vanilla and wood. I know that there's Nelson Sauvin in there, and that's what I keep thinking I'm smelling, but I'm not sure if that's just the power of suggestion. On the other hand, I know there's Zeus in there as well and I'm not finding that specifically (there is a tropical fruit character to it, but that might also be coming from the alcohol and esters)...

In the mouth it's full bodied, but leaning more to the lighter side of it. It still remains a bit creamy. The carbonation has a little bit of a zest to it right at the start, but once it warms a touch it becomes much softer and smoother.

The flavor is the big thing here as, number one, it's a golden barleywine, and number two, it's oak aged. Do the malt and the hops and the oak work together? Let's start with the oak. It's pretty solid. No one's going to miss it, and it leaves the beer pretty drying in the finish. That dry woodiness is definitely there and lingering. Of course it's bitter as well, but the wood actually helps to dry your palate (tannins). So, is it overdone? That's hard to say, but I think a little more aging might help to smooth it. Back to the malt. There's a nice dollop of honey to it, a straightforward graininess/breadiness, and some low-level caramel notes. It's pretty nice, and it certainly allows the oak to come through as opposed to what a darker, more heavily caramelized barleywine might do. Additionally, the hops remain bright. I get some orange and grapefruit that must be coming from the Zeus, and they work pretty well with the vanilla note of the wood and the honeyish malt. Beyond that it's leafy, somewhat tea-like, and a touch minty (even slightly pine-like). Some say that Nelson Sauvin hops are "winey", and I find some of that in the finish, but I'm not sure if that's not just due to the alcohol. So where do we stand with the alcohol? Well it's noticeable. It's not overly intrusive, but it's certainly far from hidden. As I've said before, sometimes you need (or want) that alcohol as it becomes an important component within the beer. But do I think it's needed here? No, it's not really one of those times. On the other hand, for a barleywine I don't think it's really overdone.

Overall it's an interesting beer because of the oak aging and the hops chosen, but other than that I don't find it particularly compelling. I'd like to see it smoother and rounder, and perhaps some more aging will help, but as it is, it's rough around the edges.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.48/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

APoured a honey color with good carbonation and a nice frothy white cap, lots of bubbles and plenty of lacing

S: Bit toasted oak,vanilla with a whiff of butterscotch

T: Holy oak! Wow. Woody with huge vanilla notes, green apples and pears, pretty nice at first and then it becomes rather cloying and abrasive, bit syrupy and too sweet. The finish is warm lingering booze and oak.

M: Medium bodied, well carbonated.

O: Not to bad but room for some improvement

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Photo of Stinkypuss
3.53/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Griffin's Bow
Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Style: American Barleywine
ABV: 11.50 %

LOOK: Clear, deep golden colored brew with an white, soapy head that leaves plenty of lace before it disappears. Pours a thick almost syrup like gold.

SMELL: Strong aroma of alcohol, honey, malts, wood and earthy hops. Smells like a beast of a beer but solid nose all in all.

TASTE: Sweet and strong upfront with more honey, brandied pear, toffee and burnt caramel notes. For a six month old bottle there is still plenty of hop character, with the distinct Nelson Sauvin hops blending with the newer Zeus variety, both doing a good job of being earthy, piney, mildly citric and bitter. The oak notes are very slight with some dry tannins toward the finish. Unsurprising, the beer still finishes with a big lumbering 1 -2 punch of sweetness and alcohol.

FEEL: Full bodied, chewy, and slightly syrupy. Decent carbonation, oaky dry finish.

OVERALL: A nice attempt at a blonde barley wine from Boston Beer Co. Could stand to be little less abrasive with all the estery alcohol and sugary notes. I think the hops used were a nice choice, and overall this is still a fine beverage.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
3.98/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into snifter

Appearance – Poured a amber-orange color with a medium white head. The head faded fast to give a medium amount of lacing.

Smell – The aroma is big of biscuit with citrus and some tropical notes. There is a good presence of alcohol and some light grassy and astringent notes.

Taste – A sweet citrus and biscuit flavor greet the tongue. The citrus is largely of an orange and grapefruit nature. As the taste advances, some of the more tropical fruit flavors enter the tongue. These are of mango, pineapple, and a light banana. These start to take over the citrus flavors while the biscuit remains constant. Toward the end the alcohol that was detected in the nose comes to the tongue. This is mixed with an ever so light green/grassy flavor which with the boozy flavor, fruit and biscuit leave a nice warming feel on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is creamy and soothing while the carbonation level is on the lower side. The thickness and low carbonation allow all the fruit and boozy flavors to really be sensed by the tongue. It is very nice and appropriate for the style.

Overall – One of the easiest drinking barley wines I have ever had. It has more sweetness then the average. While the nose let on to some astringency the taste did not. It was actually a nice easy sipper.

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Photo of ngeunit1
4.3/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a clear amber-orange color with a finger of frothy white head. The head fades down fairly quickly leaving behind some light lace.

S - Aroma is a full of citrus and tropical hops with caramel and biscuity malts, light fruity esters, pine hops, oak, and some booze.

T - Starts off with a mix of sweet caramel malts with lots of pineapple, grapefruit, and other citrus hops with some bitterness and some light fruity esters. Through the middle, some pine and lightly spicy hops come through with some more bitterness and some biscuit malts, oak, and vanilla. The finish is a mix of tropical and spicy hops with some bitterness, oak, vanilla, fruity esters, and some booze.

M - Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels smooth with a warming and dry finish.

D - Very drinkable. Really nice blonde barleywine. I like the hop forward flavor and the malt profile throughout.

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Photo of chefhatt
4/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle batch 2
I poured this one into a snifter glass. It has a nice amber color body with a nice 4 finger head that hangs around a little while and goes to a nice lace. The smell has a nice storng pine/citrus smell with malt in there also. The taste is hop up front with some pine/citrus notes. Also as it warms up a little it also has a sweeter taste to it, almost like toffee. The mouth feel is nice and well carobonated. Overall this is a good beer, and i might go get another bottle to cellar and see what some age will do it.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.1/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 650 ml bottle into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass. Batch No. 2.

Appearance: Pours a deep and clear copper amber orange with lots of rising bubbles. Huge five finger off white head with good retention considering the abv. Leaves a good amount of lacing.

Smell: A very citrus forward barleywine aroma. Sweet and bready malts with hints of caramel, toffee, and a little butterscotch. Subtle woody oak chips and vanilla. Big citrus smell with good hints of orange marmalade, pineapple, lemon, and white grapes. Also some pine resin and floral hops. Quite an interesting smell.

Taste: Tastes like a very hop forward American Barleywine, almost more like an IPA. Big citrus taste up front with notes of orange marmalade, pineapple, white grape, lemon, and peach. Bready malts with some caramel and toffee. Oak and vanilla flavors are fairly subtle. Some honey and burnt sugars. Also some floral hops and pine. Pretty tasty.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with a moderate level of carbonation. Creamy, chewy, and slick. Alcohol can be tasted but the heat is fairly low considering the abv.

Overall: A pretty good take on the American Barleywine style. It is very American with lots of citrus, but it balances out well.

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Photo of Vixie
3.53/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The bottle says Batch No 2 on it, and the ABV is listed as 10%

Pours a very nice looking copper color with a hint of red. Forms a huge white head that sticks around for a bit.

Fairly strong aroma. Citrus, pine, and fresh mowed grass are present, and I can smell the alcohol as well.

Caramel, toffee, and bit of citrus. Fairly strong hop flavor, the hops seem to be adding both citrus and pine notes.

The feel is fairly solid on this one.

This beer is nearly an IPA, tastes more like one than a barleywine to me. It is an in your face beer, nothing to subtle about it. It is a fairly complex brew, the only thing keeping me from scoring it higher is that I am not a fan of a lot of hops, but if you like IPAs, give this one a try.

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Photo of RyanGoodman
4.09/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tasting at Krugel's Georgetown Deli

A - Deep golden

S - You can tell this is a big beer. Malty, yet hops in the nose.

T - Delivers everything in the scent and more. Complex flavor layers. Almost as if this beer already had some time on it. Wonder what age would do to it.

M - Luscious as it crosses the palate.

O - Excellent, possibly one of the best beers from the BBC I've had to date. Well done!

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Photo of BMoney575
3.11/5  rDev -12.1%
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.

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Photo of FlemingVSKing
4.7/5  rDev +32.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This brew was extremely satisfying and while it is a barley wine and Sam Adams other product, the Imperial White, is witbier, I have the same basic opinion of both.

They are each strong brews with bold fruity notes accented by floral hops that finish clean and refreshing.

Griffin's Bow does pour with a much richer and very satisfying head and it's substantial alchohol content is not as prominent.

While it does have bold flavor it likely would appeal most to fans of wheat beers and hoff weizens. And if you're looking to move toward darker varieties a brew this rich might be a good way to experiment with big bold flavors that are still within your range.

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Photo of EkimGram
3.72/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Entry from my beer journal dated Feb. 19, 2012

Appearance: 22oz bottle poured into a standard pint glass. Colour is a mellow brown with a nice garnet/ruby quality to it. Finger-thick head fades quickly leaving a thin, sticky lacing. No visible carbonation.

Smell: Sweet, citrus hops with a nice oaky twinge. Finishes with some bready malts.

Taste: Not as hoppy as I had guessed. It's very sweet in an alcoholic manner with a nice balanced malty-brady character.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, syrupy, silky, and barely any carbonation.

Overall: This brew is amazingly balanced. Sweet alcoholic hops are rounded out with bready malts and a nice hearty body. Bravo to Sam Adams!

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Photo of WoodBrew
3.78/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Interesting oaked, blonde barleywine...good combination and enjoyable. It's a clear, brazed-golden color with a moderately stable white head. It's an attractive beer for sure. The aroma is of hot alcohol, pale malt, earth. There is a woody, oak-like character as well, but it sits behind the other flavors. Some hops in the aroma, but they're restrained. The taste is quite good, however...powerful, sweet, woody, bitter, and mouth-numbing. It's not subtle, but is balanced and enjoyable. The alcohol is notable, but not distracting. Bitterness begins in the foretaste, and doesn't really end. Full in body and extraordinarily heavy. This beer is more heavy-handed than it's appearance foretells.

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Photo of Reaper16
2.7/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

served on-tap @ The Alcove, Tuscaloosa, AL into a tasting glass

Pours way, way lighter than I would expect a Barleywine to pour. It's a translucent, honey-gold color. Lager blonde. It's crazy how light this beer's color is. So much clarity too! It's sort of a trip. a decent, one-finger sized off-white head sits on top (also to my surprise).

Whoo. There's some... aromas here to deal with. It's quite boozy, for starters. Quite. Beyond that alcohol, I pick up on honey, dense biscuits, and white grapeskin. Those white grapeskin notes are a tell-tale for New Zealand hops.

The taste follows the nose pretty well. Lots of booze; it spreads all over my tongue and makes me literally frown. Some beers hide their alcohol; this beer embraces it. Honeycomb and grape flavors. Then there is the oak. It's soggy tasting, like it was soaked in grain alcohol until that natural vanilla flavor was just a ghost of what it could be. A lot of awkward and disjointed sips. Unpleasant.

It's slick and heavy on the mouth, and does little but exacerbate the beer's problem with perceptible alcohol. Overall, this is not a good take on the Barleywine style. Too boozy and too awkward.

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Photo of russpowell
3.63/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Batch#2 pours an effervescent honey color with 3 fingers of cream colored head. Great head retention & lacing

S: Faint butterscotch, breadyness, oakyness

T: Follows the nose, some booze heat, some honey notes up front, along with some grapefruittyness. Dryness, some piney notes, slight oakyness & whisky notes as this warms, more grapefruit as well. Finishes dry, grapefruitty, & boozey & a little too oaky, some toffee sweetness

MF: Chewy, slightly over carbonated, okay balance

A rough hewn American Barley Wine. This perhaps one of Sammy's weaker offerings, but not horrible by any means

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Photo of asabreed
3.95/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle. Batch #2. 10% ABV (I'm assuming 11.5% was Batch #1?). Poured into a Brooklyn Brewery tulip.

Appearance: A nice lighter peach and orange color, with a nice semi-frothy white head that leaves moderate lacing and a good 1/2" head above the body of the brew.

Smell: Heavy on the sweetness, with a lot of candied citrus, orange marmalade or citrus-type jam, some sweet toffee notes, and some vanilla and wood aromas from the toasted oak.

Taste: More like a Belgian Strong Pale than a barley wine in my opinion, with a lot of sweetness and some interesting nuance of sweet flavors with the citrus side, the wood and vanilla characteristics, and the marmalade and jam notes going on, along with a dose of honey coming through also, and maybe some candi sugar. I would've been pressed to say it's a BSP without knowing the style, but I'm not disappointed because the beer's doing things that I like -- it's just not your average barley wine.

Mouthfeel: A little heavy, and a little cloying. It's evident, but not really unexpected, and it doesn't detract.

Drinkability: Certainly a sipper at 10%, this probably could've been a little less sweet in the end with more hops or something else to balance it out, but for around $6 it's nice to get a Sam Adams beer that's more adventurous and isn't out of a 12-pack. I enjoyed it and will try and grab the other styles to try most likely that are in the non-standard 22 oz. bottles.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.27/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle poured into a snifter.
11.5% ABV, "Enjoy now or age it to further develop rich and unique flavors." Batch #1

A - Golden amber in color, this blonde barleywine pours with a pillowy ivory head that's well-retained and decorates the snifter in spotty lacing.

S - Griffin's Bow exudes bold complexity right off the bat. There's exemplary underlying malt sweetness of toasted bread and toffee slivers with bitter, resiny hops laying on top. Great depth and character, but what I keep coming back to is the awkward burnt rubber aroma that lingers throughout the beer. Toasted oak spirals and phenolic alcohol continue the depth nicely; bits of white grape skin finish out.

T - Toasted oak spirals really spring forward throughout this beer! They add great depth to the caramelized sugar and deep malty base. Hops develop low but persistent citrus characteristics that resemble lemon zest and grapefruit emerge. Complexity, thy name is Griffin's Bow.

M - Full, rich-bodied, and very smooth, with a well-carbonated bubble base gives Griffin's Bow a well-balanced finish of lightly dry, citrusy hop bitterness and lingering, warming alcohol.

O - Besides the odd but rubber component to the aroma, this is a very complex, unique Barleywine with great repeat drinkability despite the thin, mildly solvent, phenolic alcohol characteristics of the 11.5%. At a measly $6, it's easily worth grabbing a few of these bottles, one for now, a few for aging. I know I will be!

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Photo of ejfoerst
3.86/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours well from the bottle, a nice coppery color and a thick off-white head that leaves a lot of lace in the glass as it dissipates. At first taste, I got a lot of citrus but it was almost immediately overpowered by the overall sweetness of the beer. One thing I liked about the honeyed flavors of the beer is that it covers up the "hotness" of the 10% alcohol content rather well and makes it pretty smooth to drink.

Overall, I am glad I tried this beer as I am generally not a huge fan of barleywines and I did enjoy drinking it, but I don't see it as something as I would drink on a regular basis. I do have to say it was a tasty change of pace though...

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Photo of tlazaroff
3.24/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On the nose, citrus (orange) comes to mind at first. It was that sharp citrus bite that you get when you squeeze and orange peel and inhale the vapors. There is a sweetness to it too. I would describe the overall aroma as candied orange peel - I wouldn't expect this at all from a barleyine.

A bit lighter in color than expected, but thats alright. It pours a nice amber color, perfectly clear and topped with a wonderfully soft-foamy whit head. Lacing is very attractive on this one.

The sweetness is overwhelming the beer at first, it's all you fast and it's cloying sweet. Then, a few seconds later, the booze hits you like a freight train. I get a little citrus mixed with a bit of chocolate and caramel. It's so hard to over-look the sweetness of this beer.

Carbonation is low with a big thick body. Cloyingly sweet (as said before) and defiantly a sipper. I likely won't be buying this again, it's just too hard for me to drink.. albeit it is tasty.

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Photo of Proteus93
3.48/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Interesting contrast between the Bros. and the general public on this beer. I bought it in part because I was sold on the description the Boston Beer Co. put on the back - go marketing! Now for the real test:

A: This is a surprisingly heady brew, given the alcohol content. I had to slow down when pouring my glass and allow it to form. Retention is good, falling back into some rolling hills... no hurry to go away on this one. The beer itself is a nice, clear golden, with just the occasional bubble rising to join the head on top. One of the 'prettier' beers I've seen in a while.

S: Certainly a sweet scent, one I certainly detect some of the citrus and tropical aromas that they describe (grapefruit zest, pineapple, and such). Some floral notes, as well, with a little bit of a harsh alcohol nose on the back.

T + M: A little bit of bite on the tip of the tongue, opening up into some sweet, fruity flavors with a touch of citrus zest toward the middle. This spreads over the sides of the tongue with a hop balancing act, some vanilla and sugary notes from the oak, and a touch of acrid alcohol that turns it down a bit. At this point, things become a little unpleasant, and it follows through on the way down making for a weak finish.

D: A good start with a somewhat disappointing end... maybe some time would do this well, but I do almost taste a bit of buttery notes that could come through a little more with age, as well. I suppose it would be a good candidate for aging, if only to see what happens, but it's probably not one that I'd be quick to pick up again.

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Photo of optimistictour
4.05/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

So this one captures that amber-hazy ideal with intricate lacing after the luxurious head has receded. It's got body, with room to breathe. It looks serious ut eager.

Smells seriously sweet/fruit/malt with this cutting swipe of bitter grapefruit I'm kind of in love with.

Tastes almost as the nose describes, with the sweetness amped up alongside a gentle hop profile - matching the perfect carbonation with sour/bitter sting. It sounds weird to describe it this way but the flavor list alone can't help us.

Mouthfeel is tops as far as barleywines go in my book. Seriously, even the best would have a hard time keeping up with this bad boy.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.53/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Oaked blonde barleywine. Batch #2.

A: A 2 finger eggshell creamy head lies atop a pale coppery-orange colored body that showed a light to medium rise of effervesce. Head retention was strong, the lacing thick and lustrious on the vessel.

S: Tropical fruitiness on the nose of pineapple-orange, sweet grapefruit and pine. Sweet toasty caramel, and dry toasty oak all of good strength.

T: The flavor was of toasted oak upfront, with a support of toasted grain sweetness. Dry oranges, sweet pine, grapefruit and a dried tropical fruitiness. The toasty oak really comes through and is fairly well balanced that makes its presence known without distracting or taking away from the other subtle complexities of the hops and malt when chilled. Some bright green moments of fresh hops with a bit of pineapple-orange alcohol fade on the finish that is soft and pleasing while on the lower end of the drinking spectrum but becomes a bit less tolerable as it warms up to true barleywine temperature.

M: Medium full body, syrupy feel with a small presence of carbonation upfront that quickly diminishes.

O: Overall a intriguing idea, a blonde barleywine with an oaked aged touch. Best enjoyed at the lower end of the drinking temperature spectrum, doesn’t really drink well at typical barleywine recommended range. When cooler the hop complexity shows more and is like a chilly tropical drink, at warmer temperatures the alcohol takes over and smoothers the tropical fruitiness of the hops and becomes less tolerable at times (and im no slouch that stays away from high abv beers). Just saying it distracts from the flavor to much. I found this intriguing the first half, but it somehow gets muddled on the finish and doesn’t end as sharp, pronounced and fruity as it began, so I would recommend a bomber split to keep things fresh, short and pronounced without getting tiresome.

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Photo of jjanega08
4/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch No. 1

Sidenote: 11.5% ABV

A= Pours a nice deep amber color with a thick off white head on it that rises to a nice two and a half fingers and holds great retention and lacing.

S= The smell is typical barleywine but I would say a step up from most SA offerings. A nice mix of caramal malty sweetness and lively grapefruit hop notes. A bit of an oaky woodiness adds a layer of complexity to it. There isn't much blatant alcohol in the nose but you can tell it's in there a little intermingling with the hop aroma.

T= The taste is a nice mix of flavors. Actually pretty impressive for a SA offering. A nice vanilla and oak flavor hit my right up front. Boom! It's unlike anything SA has ever done. Then a caramelly malt sweetness comes through with a touch of grapefruit and citrus hop bitterness so cut the sweetness before finishing with a long sweetness to it. Most impressive I must say.

M= Medium body and a decent carbonation.

O= I can't say I've had too many beers from SA that are better. This beer is well done with the oaking and the barleywine is also well made. Check this out and I would like to set one down to see how she does with some age. It's a bit harsh now and I can see a few years really smoothing it out to a nice mellow drink.

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Photo of DannyDan
2.41/5  rDev -31.9%
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.

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Photo of puboflyons
4.32/5  rDev +22%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From a Batch #1 bottle that has been stored in my cellar since last fall. Sampled on May 4, 2012. It pours an attractive looking copper-amber with a long-lasting, foamy beige head and good clarity. The aroma is mellow for a Barleywine and balanced with malts, grapefruit, pineapple, sugar, and oak wood. On the palate I get a fuller body. The taste is delightfully sweet and malted with a powerful hopped bitterness creeping up behind and leaving a reminder long after. Alcohol is very well integrated. This is easy to drink and enjoy.

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Griffin's Bow from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
3.54 out of 5 based on 664 ratings.
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