Three Judges Barleywine | New England Brewing Co.

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Three Judges BarleywineThree Judges Barleywine
52 Ratings
Three Judges BarleywineThree Judges Barleywine

Brewed by:
New England Brewing Co.
Connecticut, United States

Style: British Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
None provided.

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 52 |  Reviews: 40
Photo of N1Nkasi
4.47/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of CTJman
4.1/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Can I say port wine

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Photo of PatGreer
4.25/5  rDev +15.2%

Photo of trimtab
3.92/5  rDev +6.2%

Photo of braugon
4.5/5  rDev +22%

Photo of Rochefort10nh
3/5  rDev -18.7%

Photo of RMoeNay
4/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of tobelerone
4.25/5  rDev +15.2%

Photo of jaxon53
3.25/5  rDev -11.9%

Photo of cfrances33
4.02/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2004 bottle thanks to davey101, poured into a Surly snifter.

First, let me say this beer is a bear to open. Thick wax PLUS tape? NEBCO, I didn't plan on using the jaws of life to have a beer.

Pour: Crystal clear deep amber/brown, with no head at all. Some bubble arose from a vigorous pour, but then it just sits there still. Looks kinda like Xyauyu.

Smell: Woah... this smells better than expected. Big toffee up front, plus some heavy raisins, figs, and a touch of plum. I can tell this will be sticky. Booze is still evident.

Taste: Follows the nose with lots of very sticky toffee and caramel. Chewy fruits come in with more raisin and fig. A touch of oxidation, but if anything, it serves to bring out the chewy fruits. Finishes sticky with a lingering toffee and raisin.

Mouthfeel: Insanely sticky, and a huge sipper. Rather sweet, and still rather hot. This is a sipper for sure... I wish I shared this honestly, because I think 4 ounces would be perfect - not because it tastes bad, but it just tastes big with how sticky it is.

Overall: Surprisingly good. This bottle at least withstood the test of time. Thanks Dave!

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Photo of davey101
3.48/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.25

2004 vintage. Huge thanks to tehzachatak for muling this bottle from the elusive Downtown Davis Square store which seemed to magically unearth this beer r. I have some other bottles with cracked wax and various fill lines, but this had the highest and the wax was all in tact. Speaking of wax, it is insanely brittle and a huge pain to remove. After I sliced my hands and managed to scrape all of it off of the cap I was left with a brown New England Brewing bottle cap and a piece of white/clear tape. So, 12 oz bottle into a 668 tulip.

A - Pours a clear red/purple body. A few bubbles form and a very slight khaki edge forms before popping away. Now I'm left with a still liquor like liquid. Holding it up to the light produces a lovely burnt amber body. A swirl does create a thin alcohol lacing. Looks pretty damn inviting despite not looking like a beer.

S - Raisins, and a whole lot of them!! Just gobs of raisins, caramel, and toffee. A touch of citric hops and fruit cake. Finishes with a bit of spice and a tingling alcohol. Sweet and ever so slightly savory.

T - Raisins, caramel, toffee and a bit of oxidation. Muted and tame. Finishes clean and light with no body to carry flavors through. Alcohol warmth on the end.

M - Spoiler alert: Its dead. Zero life and a body that's barely clinging onto "medium". Drinks like a port or sherry, but lacks much of an aftertaste to help things out.

O - A long time want of mine fully met. It's held up well for an 8 year old barleywine. Its certainly not a great beer though. The aroma is burnt raisins muddled in an expired fruit cake and the taste is surprisingly lackluster and light on the finish. This beer has some parallels with Raison D'extra, only its missing the alcohol bite and massive taste that makes that beer so great. Is this worth trading for? Not unless you're either a die hard NEBCO-fan or you enjoy beers that are way over the hill. I wonder how close this was fresh to the new Premeditated Murder barleywine.

edit: I've since opened another bottle that was much better. I would probably rate it closer to a 4.0

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Photo of dirtylou
3.66/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2004 vintage, red waxx, lost abbey glass

9 years has removed any trace of carbonation that may have existed - a still ruby body, placid as an alpine lake. Smells of rich caramel, booze, sweet malts. Very sweet, lush caramel, boozy, old. Held up pretty well for a 2004 release - all thats left is the malt and the booze - this will put hair on your chest

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.32/5  rDev -10%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2004 release poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a coppery brown color, with no head and no lace.

S: The aroma contains brown sugar, molasses, caramelized malts, some fruit and a faint touch of hops.

T: The taste starts with sweet flavors of brown sugar dark fruit, molasses and bourbon. Then a hearty malt character comes in along with a slight alcohol sting. There is very little hops presence left after 8 years as you would expect. There is still a bit of balance and some smokiness is in the background. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and a little crisp, medium body, carbonation is completely gone despite a thread-taped and wax-sealed cap, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, strong kick, good representation of style, this beer is obviously way past its which is quite regrettable. I’m betting this was a pretty good beer either fresh or at about 2-3 years old.

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Photo of Gambrinus1184
3.75/5  rDev +1.6%

Photo of jlindros
3.85/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Huge thanks to Francois for letting my crack this one. 2004 vintage.

No head, crystal clear reddish copper color.

Nose sweet malts, caramel, candy, toffee, light booze, fruits apple pear etc, hint if brandy soaked golden raisins, nice reddish malts.

Taste sweet reddish malts, caramel, light metallic copper malts, toffee, candied apple, pear, brandy soaked golden raisins and apricots, stone warning tingly booze, etc. finish is hot with booze, candy apple, fruits, caramel sweeteners, reddish malts all lingering.

Mouth is fuller bodied, slight syrupy, hot booze, no carb.

Overall nice, well done aged barleywine, nice malts and sweeteners, no carb hurts a little, hot booze, tasty.

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Photo of chrispoint
4.25/5  rDev +15.2%

Photo of JAHMUR
4.5/5  rDev +22%

Photo of Durge
4.74/5  rDev +28.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A rare brew shared by brewmaster Rubby, this 2002 vintage barleywine has a thick, cloudy tea color, milky and swimming with substance. There is no evidence of a head or lacing but I imagine that can be largely attributed to its age. As if to make up for the missing bubblage, the aroma brings huge caramel bourbon, chocolate smoke, heavy creamy malt and tobacco. The flavor is boozy bourbon blended deliciously with chocolate milk and toffee peat. Wow. Both the smell and flavor are just lovely. It feels pretty syrupy with heavy body that is not far past mid-bodied. This is clearly not to be sessioned but just a pure treat to smell and sip. Wish there were more of these on the shelf, and I expect it does continue to improve with age as the label proclaims. Thank you Rubby!

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Photo of MikeyMikee
4.53/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had a 2005 back in January '11 at a Tap Takeover at Prime 16 in CT.

A- Orange sunset with absolutely no head what-so-ever.

S- Sweet caramel malts with some slight citrus undertones.

T- Sweet, heavy caramel and a little spice. Some alcohol is present but not in a bad way. A little bit of orange oil at the end.

M- Very viscous, incredibly smooth.

O- Very drinkable but too sweet to drink all night long..1 or 2 - 8 oz servings was all I could handle in one night. Really awesome beer.

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Photo of stakem
3.59/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Knifestyles for the trade on this unique growler. I cant really think of a time when opening up a 2 liter growler of 11% barleywine from 2006 is a good idea but what the hell. I had a bunch of BA's over for a bottle share on Saturday and that was about as good of a time as any to finally crack this open.

Poured from a growler into a snifter, it appears a deep clear color of brownish burnt mahogany with reddish highlights. When held to the light it displays deep clear ruby coloration and an orange tint around the edges. A vigorous pour years only a few bubbles atop the brew, hardly anything I would consider a formation of head.

The aroma of this brew is sweet and malty with a scent that is very sherry-like. The deep sweetness reveals layers of alcohol laden fruit like raisins, dates, prunes. Lots of caramelized sugars with a light toasted appeal. There is a light indication of oxidation present that leads the way towards a faint cardboard characteristic but not quite because the alcohol comes through to wipe anyway any off characteristics to the nose.

The taste of this brew includes a lightly musty grain characteristic that again brings me back to a characteristic of cardboard-like oxidation. There is a big and boozy appeal to this brew tasting like dark fruits similar to raisins or prunes with a modest backing bitterness that lingers inside the mouth with a faint herbal flavor that pales in comparison to the high octane kick of the alcohol. The aftertaste is somewhat nutty reminding me of chestnuts. More sips reveal a medicinal quality that just never quite comes together for me.

This is a full bodied brew with a very low level of carbonation. It was enjoyable and complex if you took the time to enjoy it without concentrating too much on the negative aspects. The alcohol inclusion in this brew is nearly numbing on the tongue and quite evaporative, it could have easily lasted much longer if aged and melded together to be an ever better brew if the oxidation was not present. A little bit of carbonation would have gone a long way in this offering, just the slightest bit would have been quite welcomed. Regardless, I never had the chance to get a bottle of this, so I was very excited to get to try this from one of the last remaining kegs of this brew. Unfortunately it is gone now except for those who have bottles remaining. I hope Rob and Matt seriously consider revisiting this brew because it has potential.

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Photo of Slatetank
4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

my BeerAdvocate review #1500! Thanks to Stakem for Sharing this growler -poured into a snifter.

A clear copper with no head or legs some head when poured, but vanished immediately. The smell is very candy-like at first with smell of nuts and slight woody accent w/ subtle fruit tinges and light caramel w/ mild alcohol until warm w/ mild spice. The feel is pretty intense with high gravity evident in the dense body and concentrated sugar w/ mild burn in the back of the throat. The sweetness level is good and is balanced by an overal dry warming finish.

The flavor is decent with a gentle flavor of caramel in the big wide barleywine flavor profile -lots of concentrated sugar w/a gentle dry slightly peppery element and slight toasted malt accent w/ a moderate amount of alcohol taste in the finish. What a tasty barleywine, I consider it a solid offering overall. I think it might even continue to mellow with age, but it is potent and still very drinkable for the high abv. I enjoyed the malt quality in the taste.

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Photo of Arenbeer
4.55/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12oz glass on tap at prime 16 here right now for tap takover 2011

A- pours a nice cloudy reddish brown with no head and no lacing.
S- strong caramel malts with a strange dark fruitiness like fig and raisins. Plenty of booze and silliness. Love the old musty wood aroma.

T- strong caramel malts with the dark fruits and spice. Nice heat in there from the 11.5 alcohol. Nice siltiness in the flavor.

M- medium bodied with no carbonation and a nice wet finish.

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Photo of woosterbill
4.09/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Growler of the '04 vintage into a Duvel tulip.

A: Hazy dark orange-brown body with only a slight ring of off-white bubbles. Pretty flat, but a nice color. Not bad for a growler of a vintage barleywine.

S: Rich, sweet aroma of figs, candied dates, and prunes,backed up by deep toasted, nutty malt. Plenty of alcohol warmth, but entirely in a smooth, warming manner. Great smelling beer.

T: Big malty richness. Nutty complexity reigns supreme, with sherry notes backing everything up. The finish is hugely complex, with notes of tobacco, wood, and spicy grains. Crazy. Fruity, nutty, boozy, sweet, and delicious.

M: Medium to full body with very, very low carbonation. Almost flat, but not too bad.

D: For 11 percent, this isn't really that hard to drink. I managed to have three glasses (probably half the growler), and while it gave me a serious buzz I was never struggling to finish it.

Notes: Huge thanks to Matt for hooking me up with a growler of this potentially last keg of 04 in the world. This is a seriously underrated beer, at least as far as my experiences with draft versions go.


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Photo of grub
2.07/5  rDev -43.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Viggo brought this one over. thanks eric!

12oz bottle topped with red wax. not just any red wax, a coating so thick and plastic-like that it took me about 10 minutes to chip my way into it. then i found a piece of string-reinforced tape going up over the cap. what a pain. 2004 vintage, sampled april 3/2010.

pours crystal clear deep dark orange, nearly red until held to the light. no sign of head or carbonation. no lace.

aroma is ok. hot alcohol, including some nail-polish remover higher alcohols. caramel and toffee. lightly toasted whole wheat bread. paint. bit of dark fruit.

taste is not good. boozy and hot, burning on the way down. smoke. sweet caramel and toffee. bit of dark fruit. toasted whole wheat bread. a minute after my first sip and it's still burning its way down to my stomach. less of the higher alcohols than i got in the aroma, but they're still there.

mouthfeel is ok. big body and no carbonation.

drinkability is not good. super boozy, tasting more like a shot of cheap vodka than an 11% beer - especially not one with nearly 6 years of aging on it. sticky sweetness. no carbonation. a mess now and i can't imagine it would have been any better fresh.

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Photo of Viggo
2.19/5  rDev -40.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

12 oz bottle, 2004 vintage. Got this in a LIF a long time ago and don't recall who I got it from. But thanks!

Pours a clear dark reddish orange, neat colour, absolutely no head and no lacing, looks dead flat. Not much else to say about it.

Smell is neat, very sweet and malty, a ton of fruit character, alcohol, raisin and figs, caramel, some brown sugar, some wood, lightly nutty, some whiskey notes, pretty neat.

Taste is not so good, very harsh and boozy, this kind of tastes like nutty vodka, some brown sugar and caramel sweetness, raisins, honey dates, figs, more alcohol, not much flavour besides alcohol.

Mouthfeel is full bodied, syrupy, with almost no carbonation. Wow, this tastes like nutty vodka, all booze and burns like a shot of liquor going down.

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Three Judges Barleywine from New England Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.69 out of 5 with 52 ratings