Three Judges Barleywine | New England Brewing Co.

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

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

Style: English 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.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 52 |  Reviews: 40
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 Hautacam
4.57/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Quite a treat to see this '05 still on tap at Prime 16 on the 16th of Jan 2010.
Deep,cloudy , reddish brown with no head..little carbonation.
Let it warm before tasting...but the smell, even cold was a nice sherry-port.
Taste is very sweet, fruity and very much like a nice port. Alcohol was evident , but just added another nice layer of flavor. Very, very good ! As it warmed further, it just got better and better.
Overall a great drinking experience....sipped this; actually my girlfriend had most of it, and at 13+%...a good brew to share if you have to drive.
This definitely aged well ! Another winner from Woodbridge.

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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 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 braugon
4.5/5  rDev +22%

Photo of JAHMUR
4.5/5  rDev +22%

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 chrispoint
4.25/5  rDev +15.2%

Photo of tobelerone
4.25/5  rDev +15.2%

Photo of PatGreer
4.25/5  rDev +15.2%

Photo of CHADMC3
4.2/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a murky walnut brown with a tannish head that quickly dissipates leaving no sign of its life.

Aroma is rich and sherry like, also offering caramel and sweet dark fruits traditional of the style. Given the length of time this beer has aged, the sherry was most notable.

Delicious brew, full of the sweet sherry notes noted in the aroma, potent dried fruit, and oddly in the finish, it seemed to be slightly spiced or peppery, perhaps a result of wood.

A bit full-bodied with little to no carbonation with a pleasant sweetness.

I was fortunate to have sampled this beer, a sipper for certain. Given the opportunity to have it again, I would jump. This beer is very rich with tons of traditional style character with the advantage of age at this point.

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Photo of HopStoopid120
4.17/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Prime 16 in New Haven, CT, Jan. 6 & 7, 2010, 2005 vintage, served in a snifter.

The beer is a murky brown, with noticable sediment throughout the glass. Also one of the first things I noticed were the huge legs, and the stillness... An odd but intriguing looking brew.

When taking the first sniff, raisins (maybe even rum soaked) just jump right out off the glass. A caramel maltiness mixed with licorice and a whole lot of booze are also very prominent.

This beer is somehow insanely hot, especially for being 5 years old. Everything I got in the nose came through in the taste, with a bit more sweetness evident. A bit of cherry even, also there were some slight leathery and tobacco flavors floating around in there. As it warms some of the raisins die off the malt does more of its job, become better and better with every sip.

No carbonation to be found here. Completely flat, but that doesn't hurt this beer terribly. On the thicker side of medium, slmost a little chewy at times. The alcohol tickles and tingles your mouth the entire time you sit with the glass.

This is not the most drinkable thing I've ever come across. Quite high ABV over here, I am told by of the brewers at NEB that this particular keg was nearly 13%, and you tast and feel the 13%. A little carbonation might've helped a little, but what are you to expect from a five year old barleywine.

All in all, I am thrilled I finally had a chance to try 3 Judges (actually two nights in a row), and would be happy to drink it again.

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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 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 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 RMoeNay
4/5  rDev +8.4%

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 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.

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Photo of trimtab
3.92/5  rDev +6.2%

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 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!

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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.

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Photo of AlexJ
3.78/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Hazed apple cider brown pour produces a thin patch of khaki froth that quickly disappears without a trace. Absolutely lifeless looking beer.

Aroma is massively malty, filled with notes of caramel, molasses, buttery toffee, toasted bread, honey, ripe fruit, and a whisky-like burn of alcohol.

Flavor is certainly malt forward, with creamy caramel, scorched sugar, praelines, coconut, golden raisins, hints of oaky vanilla, and a tough of citrussy hops in the finish. Has a very "old-world" type of character to it. Alcohol nip is smooth and boozey, warming all thge way to the gullet.

Body is medium, but feels thinner due to the lack of carbonation. Creamy and slick feel, with ultra, mega, mega fine carbonation that tickles the tongue. To bad the mouthfeel is so weak because the flavor and nose are both great.

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Photo of Gambrinus1184
3.75/5  rDev +1.6%

Photo of Boto
3.75/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle, 2004 vintage: This beer didn’t want to be drunk. I have never had so much trouble geting a wax seal off the top of a bottle as I did this one. When I finally got it open, there was no pffft at all when the cap came off. It poured into the glass with absolutely no carbonation or head. The color was a VERY murky mahogany color. I expected it to be a bit more pungent, but the aroma was a bit subdued. I got notes of caramel, raisins and brown sugar. It is a bit syrupy on the tongue. The taste is good. A twinge of alcohol to it. The flavors have really blended well together. It is complex, but the flavors don’t really stand out. I can detect some fruitiness, chocolate, caramel and many others are in there as well. Not bad at all.

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