Bourbon Barrel-Aged Chocolate Barleywine
Moody Tongue Brewing Company

Bourbon Barrel-Aged Chocolate BarleywineBourbon Barrel-Aged Chocolate Barleywine
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Moody Tongue Brewing Company
Illinois, United States
English Barleywine
Ranked #118
Ranked #8,161
4.07 | pDev: 12.78%
Nov 14, 2022
Oct 20, 2015
Bourbon Barrel-Aged Chocolate BarleywineBourbon Barrel-Aged Chocolate Barleywine
Notes: Bourbons and English barleywines often share complementary notes of toffee and caramel flavors, so aging our first barleywine in Woodford Reserve bourbon barrels seemed a natural direction for this beer. The barrels impart a touch of vanilla and oak, and with the addition of Oaxacan chocolate our finished beer sounds more like an indulgent dessert. Like a fuller-bodied Napa Cabernet, our barleywine achieves balance during its twelve months in the barrels. Once mature, this Bourbon Barrel Aged Chocolate Barleywine can be paired with butter pecan gelato or bananas foster.
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Photo of Whyteboar
Reviewed by Whyteboar from Michigan

3.69/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75
Wondering if this would have been better when fresh, it was 3 years old when I got it.
The pour was very enthusiastic but didn’t stay around long at all.
The aroma was malty and more coffee than chocolate, but good.
The taste, I had high hopes for this combination and maybe were it fresh or a different vintage, it would have met those expectations. As it is the flavors were somewhat muddled, I thought maybe there was still some live yeast in there (which would account for the lava like flow of foam right after opening)
The feel was good, very good, but I couldn’t get past the taste. Was it supposed to be like this?
OA, interesting but not sure if I want to try it again.
Nov 14, 2022
Rated: 4.72 by RoyalKaiju

Nov 14, 2022
Rated: 4.05 by HopBelT from Belgium

Jul 22, 2022
Rated: 4.38 by MutuelsMark from Kentucky

Mar 27, 2022
Rated: 4.37 by BMBCLT from South Carolina

Mar 13, 2022
Rated: 4 by archero from Texas

Oct 19, 2021
Photo of ovaltine
Reviewed by ovaltine from Indiana

4.44/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
Pours a beautiful slightly cloudy mahogany brown color with a sudsy tan head that dissipates pretty quickly. The barrel is prominent on the nose with oak and vanilla notes, but there’s room for toffee, stone fruit, and a bit of chocolate as well.

The barrel is also a player on the taste, but the chocolate and stone fruit really come forward and complement the toffee flavors to create a decadently delicious English Barleywine, that drinks exceptionally well with little evidence of the 13% ABV.

The mouthfeel is full and a bit creamy , commensurate with the style. This is exceptionally well done, IMHO, as in world-class, especially if you like chocolate in a hefty beer. Guilty as charged, your honor.
May 12, 2021
Photo of MattDecker
Rated by MattDecker from Texas

5/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5
Thick choclately rich goodness!
Aug 24, 2020
Rated: 4.25 by ruzzal from Texas

Feb 24, 2020
Rated: 3.77 by emerge077 from Illinois

Jan 11, 2020
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Reviewed by WickedBeer from Alabama

4.02/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
2019 Vintage.

Deep, hazy, rusty brown pour. The copper hue compliments a soft, ivory head that bubbles up and settles in a low ring around the inside of the glass.

Really good nose; stewed, dark fruits, caramel, molasses, oak, and barrel sweetness. Everything you want from the style, but missing any chocolate so far.

Similarly to the nose, getting a lot of dark fruit and caramel. Definitely big and boozy, lots of barrel influence. Oak, malt, and bourbon all ring true, finishing pretty smooth for the ABV. A tiny bit of lingering baker’s chocolate, but I’m being fairly generous with its presence.

Pretty heavy, with a low carbonation and a ton of boozy bourbon presence making itself known as it warms its way down. Light residual stickiness.
Nov 05, 2019
Rated: 4 by BdM from Netherlands

Aug 13, 2019
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Reviewed by mntlover from Tennessee

3.85/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75
Pours a deep murky brown with a small one finger tan head that falls fairly slow.

Aroma is big caramel malts, chocolate some dark fruits and free floating sugars smells sweet and strong some alcohol notes from the big amount of malts. The bourbon is really under played by all the sugary sweetness and comes off mostly as alcohol notes.

Taste is like the nose big malty lots of caramel malts mixed with chocolate notes, lots of free floating sugars vanilla and more bourbon barrel notes then were in the nose. Good amount of hops to keep it from being cloying but still sweet. Overall mostly a barley wine, with big chocolate notes and light bourbon notes.

Mouthfeel is a big medium with approaching medium mouthfeel.

Overall a little different having chocolate in a barley wine, but over all not amazing or world shattering either.
Jun 10, 2019
Rated: 4.08 by Abstractspirit from Rhode Island

Apr 22, 2019
Rated: 3.5 by 1971bernat from Virginia

Jan 08, 2019
Photo of REVZEB
Reviewed by REVZEB from Illinois

3.64/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75
I really liked the intentional cocoa flavor with the traditional barleywine elements, almost like a boozy chocolate chip and raisin cookie of some sort. Flavors fall apart quickly, giving way to lots of booze. Has sour finish at end of sips, off putting, possibly infected. Too bad, had lots of potential.
Dec 07, 2018
Rated: 3.91 by Bammer21 from Illinois

Nov 19, 2018
Rated: 4.45 by Scottsbeer from Florida

Nov 12, 2018
Photo of rodbeermunch
Reviewed by rodbeermunch from Nevada

3.45/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5
So I had seen this beer when it was $30/4 pack at our local gas station, sounded interesting, but not at that price point. Subsequent to that, the beer was reduced to $10/4 pack. So a drop from $7.50 per beer, to $2.50 per beer got the purchase ball rolling here as a backdrop that will later have a call back at the end of the review.

Pours brown with a lighter brown head 1/3". I'd say that no one aspect of the smell dominated, I'd prolly have to go with the chocolate as the most noticeable thing, and then there is more of a wet wood than a bourbon presence to it.

Taste is a relatively easy going, smooth, slightly sweet affair. It is definitely a light barely-wine (intentional) base beer to only be 9% "after" barrel aging. Mild bourbon notes and stronger chocolate notes. Not bitter, definitely not an American barleywine. Solid vanilla smooth feel to it. While not the thickest beer or barleywine, it wasn't problematic for me that is was on the more drinkable lighter side of style. Little caramel feels.

Ultimately I thought this beer was a good deal at $2.50 a bottle, but not worth $7.50 or even $5 a bottle.
Nov 01, 2018
Rated: 3 by BrewmanCapote from Illinois

Nov 01, 2018
Rated: 4 by smartassboiler from Illinois

Oct 22, 2018
Photo of KingTen144
Reviewed by KingTen144 from Illinois

3.1/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3
I think I may have gotten an infected bottle. This is a bit of a schizophrenic beverage. The individual flavors are enjoyable, but in combination my palate is confused. The initial taste of the barleywine base is fairly sweet, with a bit of sourness reminiscent of a sour ale. Then the beer confronts you with a dark chocolate and bourbon flavor, which persists along with the sourness into the aftertaste. I have a hard time getting settled with this one. Maybe too much going on for me. It feels a bit thinner than I would expect as well.
Sep 22, 2018
Photo of Ristaccia
Rated by Ristaccia from Nebraska

1.73/5  rDev -57.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1
Infected. Purchase with caution.
Aug 05, 2018
Rated: 3.75 by t2grogan from Arizona

Jul 05, 2018
Photo of randjuke
Reviewed by randjuke from Iowa

1.8/5  rDev -55.8%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5
Looks like some infected batches out there as others have mentioned. Strong sour aroma, taste sour lacto. Tiny hint of caramel and bourbon but not enough to save it. Drain pour.
Jun 30, 2018
Photo of darktronica
Reviewed by darktronica from Indiana

3.38/5  rDev -17%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25
I worry that I may have a contaminated bottle, with sharp fusel notes, the tanginess of lacto or pedio, and some apple cider vinegar or grape must. I only detect a bit of chocolate upon getting to the finish, after the off notes fade out.
Jun 20, 2018
Rated: 2.55 by khargro2 from Tennessee

Jun 18, 2018
Rated: 4.25 by Muss42 from Michigan

Jun 09, 2018
Photo of Zeeck
Reviewed by Zeeck from Illinois

4.4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
Look - This barleywine is a soft, medium brown in color, and is somewhat opaque. It's like a hazy brown ale. It has decent carbonation with a light cream colored head.

Smell - I expected to get a lot of chocolate on the nose, but it wasn't nearly as strong as I expected. Instead I got a lot of caramel, along with cola and pecan notes. It smelled like a rich pecan pie.

Taste - This is very smooth in flavor, if that makes sense. No sharp edges. The chocolate goes very well with the traditional barleywine flavors and is not out of place or overwhelming. The caramel is strong, along with distinct pecan notes, underscored by a consistent vanilla flavor throughout. It reminded me of Cowtails, those caramel ropes filled with vanilla.

Feel - This has decent carbonation that makes this refreshing and enjoyable. When I think of chocolate flavored beers, I usually think of thick, oily bears, but not the case with this one.

Overall - I went into this one a bit unsure. Having never had a chocolate barleywine before, I was hesitant and skeptical. But, this is why we try new things. I really liked this beer. The chocolate was not at all dominant and played very well with the other barleywine flavors. This was excellent!

Pairs Well With - Loyola advancing to the Final Four!!! Ramble on!!!
Apr 15, 2018
Photo of StonedTrippin
Reviewed by StonedTrippin from Colorado

3.98/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
a very neat beer, but perhaps better sounding than it actually tastes, somehow not as complex as it should be for what it is, and while very enjoyable, its not as unique as i hoped it would be, and id be curious to see another brewer take a stab at something like this. a lot of their culinary inspired beers are so distinct and profound, this one is more subtle, but thats probably for the best in the style. the beer is deep brown in color with reddish edges and just some patchy bubbles along the edges of the wine glass but no real head from the tap. it smells sweet at first from the malt and the whiskey, rich vanilla and chestnut, mature oak and molasses, brandy or cognac, and raisin too, less english to me, no obvious yeast character to it, and the chocolate element is really minimal in the nose as well. the flavor reveals a well integrated chocolate profile, nibs, dark chocolate, and baking chocolate, bitter against the sweeter grain, but still not a major influencer for me. i get more barrel and whiskey than chocolate, but also a cool cola note, the oak for sure, dried cherry and prune, and quite a lot of alcohol. its sweet at the end, and doesnt really have enough body for me, a little thin all the way through, but there is nice flavor built here in the base beer, barrel, and chocolate, i just want it all to be a little bit more robust. still a unique take on the style and something special to drink on!
Mar 21, 2018
Rated: 4.21 by novamat from Illinois

Mar 02, 2018
Rated: 3.38 by Texasfan549 from Texas

Feb 04, 2018
Rated: 3.65 by kjkinsey from Texas

Jan 31, 2018
Rated: 4.21 by sohearn from Alabama

Dec 12, 2017
Rated: 4 by jgunther71 from Illinois

Dec 07, 2017
Rated: 4 by krome from Illinois

Dec 07, 2017
Photo of Treyliff
Reviewed by Treyliff from West Virginia

4.43/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5
2016 vintage
12oz bottle poured into a snifter

A- pours a murky brown color with a thin head that has short retention and leaves nothing behind

S- lots of woody/oaky bourbon on the nose, that gives off underlying notes of vanilla. Bold caramel/toffee notes, followed by earthy leather & tobacco and chocolate. There is also an exotic spicy wood aroma that I can't quite put my finger on, almost like cedar

T- bold caramel and toffee up front is quickly followed by rich barrel notes; bourbon, woody oak, vanilla & toasted coconut. Mid-palate gives some earthy tobacco as well as chocolate and dark fruit notes of raisin & fig. The finish gives more bourbon barrel that meshes with a sweet caramel and toffee linger

M- medium body with low carbonation leads to a slightly foamy mouthfeel that finishes slick but coats the mouth

O- an outstanding English barleywine that showcases the barrel and gives plenty of caramel and dark fruit notes throughout
Nov 15, 2017
Rated: 3.95 by CPAles from Illinois

Nov 07, 2017
Photo of MacMalt
Reviewed by MacMalt from New Jersey

4.34/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
I received this in a NBS BIF box courtesy of @FFFjunkie. It was a "mystery beer" so I sampled it without knowing what it was. I couldn't find a date on the bottle. It was poured into a pint glass. It pours a deep brown with cola hues and a foamy, khaki-colored head and lacing with great retention. This nose features caramel, raisin, cocoa, roasted malt, and a subtle bourbon. When sipped, the first thing I taste is roasted malt and caramel but there's more dark fruit than I smelled. I'm tasting fig as well as raisin. There's also noticeable chocolate taste and the bourbon is discernible but not distracting. All of the flavors are recognizable but none are distracting. This Ale is medium-bodied but fairly creamy. The carbonation is moderate at best, and you can feel the 9% ABV. Overall, this is a wonderful expression of craft brewing. The flavors are bold and pleasing and it's really fun to drink. Sip this one after a good meal which should include red meat and potatoes.
Oct 08, 2017
Photo of Jaybeam
Rated by Jaybeam from New York

4.31/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
Barleywines aren't generally my thing but it was very solid!
Sep 11, 2017
Bourbon Barrel-Aged Chocolate Barleywine from Moody Tongue Brewing Company
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 120 ratings