Three Judges Barleywine | New England Brewing Co.

Your Rating: None
Want it   Got it 
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:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 03-12-2005

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 52 |  Reviews: 40
Reviews by Durge:
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!

 778 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of braugon
4.5/5  rDev +22%

Photo of warriorsoul
3.93/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Nick at Bauer for a couple of these...straight up - these suck to open...
Pours a burnt sienna in head whatsoever...simply looks flat and motionless without sad.
Nice olfactory experience with this one...sweet taffy, cherries, some alcohol and a hint of buttercream.
The taste is pretty darn good...the alcohol is more apparent, but I don't mind a slight burn with my barleywine...especially with the cold weather outside and flurries seen thru the window.
Lots of cherries, raisins, red grapes in the taste with some bitter hops, but the sweet wins out over the IBU's on this one.
The mouthfeel is thick yet not cloying at all...this offering is certainly not flat, but I believe the alcohol does more to affect its texture and gives it a more carbonated feel if that makes any sense.
I really enjoyed this one on cask at the New England Beer Fest and was eager to try it bottled...maybe not as impressive, but I like it enough to have it again with very little peer pressure.

 1,015 characters

Photo of IntriqKen
3.13/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pretty golden dark amber in the glass but with no head to speak of at all.

Aroma is pretty typical barleywine caramel sweet malts with only a hint of citrus could definitely use more of those.

Taste is very sweet caramel and brown sugar with some toastiness to the malts. Some of the sugars seem to fight with the hops creating a bit of an unpleasant clash. Citrus hop finish is where it should be but isn't quite fresh enough.

Not terrible...but not one of the greats.

 482 characters

Photo of Dewey0603
3.78/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This pours a brown red color,it looks like iced tea, with no head. It's not a good looking beer. The smell,however, is very fragrant with a huge fruit and yeast aroma. I could also make out some of the high alcohol. The taste is creamy,mallty, and alittle fruity. This flavor is milder than most barleywines. I like this because it's not as overpowering as others. The m/f is medium and well balanced. This is a tasty beer, I just wish it looked a little better.

 462 characters

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

 354 characters

Photo of Lnedrive14
3.18/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Having read the reviews before drinking this one, I was totally scared. I saw the $5.99 price tag still on top of the wax, thought about the 2 years I'd been sitting on it, and got a little saddened that it was not so well-liked. It pours a thin, brown/amber with absolutely no head. just a few bubbles - looked like thinner apple cider. Smell overwhelmed the room - like i spilled brandy. taste was much better than i expected (but then again, i wasn't expecting much). very strong alcohol sense, fruits, cane sugar, and very smokey.

Pour this in a snifter and share it with a friend. i wouldn't have minded 6 ounces to sip like it was a glass of brandy (with a good cigar of course).

 689 characters

Photo of RMoeNay
4/5  rDev +8.4%

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

L: Pours a very cloudy brown color with hints of purple in it. There is almost no head, but a nice off-white colored ring around the edge and laces some down the glass as you drink it.
S: Smell is of sweet roasted and caramelized malts, vinous fruits, some licorice aromas, and a bit of booze at the end.
T: A very sweet roasted and caramelized malty base followed by a big vinous fruit flavor that really screams Barleywine. The end of the taste is a little alcoholic and is bit hot at the end, but it is a pretty good example of a barleywine for sure.
M: Very warming, a bit hot, the right amount of carbonation for this style, overall not too bad.
D: OK drinkability, it is a very big beer and you can tell how potent it is, this one was pretty good.

 753 characters

Photo of barleywinebrewer
3.35/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I was in the store a couple of weeks ago and noticed this barleywine. Being taped then dipped in wax and from 2004, how could I say no???

Dead on, this is a fine example of a great english barleywine - color smell and taste.

Dead off - almost no carbonation to speak of. A faint whisp as the bottle was opened, but otherwise flat as can be.

If this beer was carbonated, we're talking 4's and 4.5's accross the board. As is, I am putting the second one into the cellar misfit box. May try later, but not any time soon.

 528 characters

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.

 467 characters

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.

 947 characters

Photo of ppoitras
2.47/5  rDev -33.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

12oz bottle purchased as a single from Julio's, Marlboro, MA. 2004 bottling.

Poured into a Rapscallion glass, formed as much of a head as apple juice ever does, and resembles its color as well, albeit a bit darker. No head, no lacing, no fun. Aroma is syrupy malts, alcohol, with tinges of vanilla and dark fruitiness. Taste is more like a sweet yet bitter wine than a beer. Mouthfeel and drinkability are just not what I want in a beer, even a barleywine. Sorry this one took up space in my fridge this long.

 512 characters

Photo of kmo1030
3.66/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

red hued hazy brown with ZERO head and no visible carbonation. aroma: caramel apple, toffee, a little bit of alcohol of alcohol. vaguely nutty. a little bit of molasses. somewhat vinous and very sweet. on occasion a hint of soy sauce. the taste is dominated by a rich caramel syrupy flavor that is followed up with apples and maraschino cherries. dark fruits make up some of the background. alcohol is present here with a lot of flavor in the aftertaste. a lot of warming spicyness at the back of the roof of the mouth, this almost made me sneeze once. the mouthfeel is not as full as i expected but relatively full none the less. there is only the slightest hint of carbonation on the tongue, that could actually quite possibly be tingling from the alcohol. drinkability is about 3. make no mistake about this being a sipper, with a little less booze though, i could drink a couple of these.
this tastes quite young and could be quite good in a few years (maybe more). i would like to pick up another to lay down for a good long while, probably not gonna help the carbonation though. just pretend it's cask beer.
despite a score a little on the low side i'm enjoying this beer, but it's not done yet.

 1,203 characters

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.

 689 characters

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.

 1,184 characters

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

12oz, red waxed bottle, acquired in trade with jjpm74 (thanks!). 2004 Vintage. Damn that wax was a pain in the ass to get off. If it wasn't for that piece of tape under the wax, I may have never gotten it off! And how do you think I get rewarded by finally popping the cap? You guessed it, I get sprayed with gushing that spewed out of this bottle.

****Gusher Alert****

Poured a deeper amberish/orangish color with a huge sized off white head. Cloudy. Aromas of caramel, toffee, cherries and some other dark fruits, and sherry. Tastes of caramel, toffee, the same lighter dark fruitiness, alcohol, and sherry. Heavier alcohol burn. Man was this one hot.

 656 characters

Photo of sulldaddy
3.84/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I am sampling this beer at room temperature in a snifter.
The beer pours a clear chestnut color with ruby highlights. Agressive pour amounts to frothy bubbles that fade immediately to nothing.
Aroma is pretty intense with red grapes, berries, toffee and brown sugar. I also get hot alcohol and a hint of roasted malt scent. Didnt expect that last part.
First sip reveals a thick almost syrupy body with literally no carbonation.
Flavor is big and sweet up front with raisins and red grape and some toffee. These flavors give way to a hot alcohol finish that warms my throat and belly and leaves a bit of a peppery flavor in my mouth. The heat hinders the drinkability as 2 of these in a nite would be rough. But overall I dig the brew.
This is one hell of a sipping beer and probably a palate killer as well. I enjoy the beer, but wonder about the lack of carbonation and will be glad to re review an aged sample in a few years.
If you like big brews you should try this one for sure!

 991 characters

Photo of chrispoint
4.25/5  rDev +15.2%

Photo of jdhilt
3.23/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 1 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Straight up pour gets a one finger head that instantly fades to nothing - NO carbonation, medium bodied. Ugly cloudy amber color. Raisin nose. Starts sweet and raisiny, finish is sweet alcoholic. Different from any barleywine I have had; once you get past the cap - who was the sadist that put wax and nylon tape on this - it ain't gonna explode?! $5.99 for a 12oz bottle (2004) from Julio's Liquors Westborough, Ma.

 416 characters

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

 2,089 characters

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!

 1,133 characters

Photo of goodbyeohio
3.66/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

ugly pour. dirty brown water like the east river with no carbonation and not a hint of clarity. beer vegetable soup.

wax seal is a motherfucking bitch to get off, and what is your reward for doing so? an additional security bitch layer of super-strong tape.

aroma is heavy vanilla and sweetness. nothing too hoppy or otherwise offensive. taste is the winner here, great! wicked smooth, more like a wine or liqueur at such a young age. subtle cherry-vanilla with a slow creeping alcohol burn in the stomach and throat.

body isn't quite there yet... 2 more years i say. right now, a light dessert beer at best for those who like boozy beer. give me a god damn f'ng cigar with this one. in 2 years, gimme a cuban.

 721 characters

Photo of tobelerone
4.25/5  rDev +15.2%

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Three Judges Barleywine from New England Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.69 out of 5 with 52 ratings