Three Judges Barleywine | New England Brewing Co.

40 Reviews
no score
Send samples
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.

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
firstprev| 1-25 | 26-50  | next → last
Reviews: 40 | Ratings: 52
Photo of Crosling
3.7/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Cloudy brown/orange color. Rich, malt driven aroma, with hints of caramel and toffee, as well as a hint of mint and sherry. The flavor reveals a nice, balanced malt character, with caramel, toasted malt flavors and heavy hints of fruits and sherry. Fairly thin body. A nice beer overall.

 287 characters

Photo of Dewey0603
3.78/5  rDev +3%
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 ybnorml
3.32/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

OK it took me 15 minutes to get the bottle open. As if the heavy plastic coating on the cap was not enough. I had to cut through reinforced tape also. A slightly hazey brown beer with ruby highlights. Has small beige head that evaporates quickly. A strong alcohol character to the aroma hides some maple and dried nuts notes. Some dried fruit (raisins), a hint of maple again, an odd wood note here and there in the flavor. Just a hint of tabaccoo on the finish before the alcohol starts to burn every thing.
Date on the bottle "2004"
Date of tasting 2/2/06

 560 characters

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.54/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

2004 bottling, Sampled January 2006
Pours a lightly hazy, rich amber-red hued color. It has barely a wisp of a head to it, mainly just a couple of large bubbles. The aroma is incredibly rich, interestingly enough it already has some aged characteristics to it; I get notes of sherry, rich caramel malt, prunes and raisins as well. The aroma really is rich and meaty with a thick malty sweetness to it that screams that this beer better be quite satiating and satisfying.

The beer is quite sweet up front, there is no real carbonation and this keeps the beer relatively light. The finish is quite interesting; hints of roasted malt, caramel, sweet sherry, and even some hints of port. I think that the lack of carbonation ultimately hurts this beer; the extra carbonation would add sum much needed body to this beer, which would help balance the sweetness. The finish really reminds me of coffee, it is not strong, but comes on in the finish and lingers. The alcohol is actually quite well hidden though, but its effects are definitely not. In the end, this beer is just lacking a richness and a body that would make the flavors in this beer really shine. With more body this would be a stellar beer.

 1,203 characters

Photo of AlexJ
3.78/5  rDev +3%
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.

 822 characters

Photo of warriorsoul
3.93/5  rDev +7.1%
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 kmo1030
3.66/5  rDev -0.3%
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 jdhilt
3.23/5  rDev -12%
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 sulldaddy
3.84/5  rDev +4.6%
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 rajendra82
3.2/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This 12 oz. bottle of 2004 vintage beer received from Counselor as part of the Blue and Gray BIF was covered with an attractive but challenging red wax neck and top coating. After cutting that away, and popping the underlying cap, I poured it out in an 16 oz. wine glass. The body looked cloudy copper-amber and lacked any carbonation whatsoever. Needless to say there was no head to speak of. The smell was very hot with red cherries, figs, and black pepper aromas riding alcohol fumes. The hops were also a bit evident with their earthy spicy bouquet.

The taste was sweet and spicy, with every bit of the 11% alcohol present at the start of each sip. The flavor was not overly complex despite the massive grain bill. The dark skinned dry fruits were supplemented by a dose of pepper, but once the alcohol heat came though, everything else faded.

The beer felt thick and sticky on the palette, and the aftertaste was quite peppery with a hit of hop bitterness. The after-aftertaste was like swallowing burning embers.

Quite young at the time of consumption, I believe the statement on the label about this beer improving with age for up to 20 years. I’d love to keep some more in the cellar if they ever get local distribution here.

 1,243 characters

Photo of goodbyeohio
3.66/5  rDev -0.3%
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 feloniousmonk
3.6/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Once the annoying red wax is cut away, I'm ready to open this bottle and imbibe...that Herculean task has been completed and I'm anxious to pour my reward:
Murky deep crimson, little head.
Big booze dominates the nose, associations include cognac, cherries, whiskey, port wine...with all that in there, it feels a trifle flat, though, and uninspired...we'll see how it tastes.
Mad, bad, and on the attack when it hits the palate. Huge and on the loose. Just body-slams the tongue...thick, twisted, and over-arching in alcohol.
11%? That feels about right, but I've had others around the same that didn't bark so loudly, at least, not so quickly out of the starting gate.
Full in body, deep, fruity flavor, sweetness from malt matched by alcoholic heat...bright and occasionally stinging, thick and treacly in the mouth...
nice, but lacks a certain character, just misses the mark somehow...however, the label informs me that it can be aged for 20 years, give or take, and perhaps that was my mistake?
not bad, but the booze is too big, and the flavor doesn't match it well...a nice nightcap, though, for evening's end.

 1,125 characters

Photo of clvand0
3.45/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Special thanks to sulldaddy for sending this one my way. This one pours a cloudy brown with no head and it doesn't appear to have much carbonation (if any). The aroma has a raisin and bread character with a lot of alcohol pushing through. The flavor is much the same as the aroma - lots of alcohol with a raisin flavor. The body is right where it should be, but the drinkability suffers for the overly apparent alcohol. Still, pretty tasty.

 440 characters

Photo of kmpitz2
3.58/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thsi comes to me through sulldaddy and clvand0. Thanks guys. It pours a murkey brown color without any head at all. The nose is big in alcohol, with a spiced raisiney and brown sugar sweetness. A little more alcohol punch for me in the nose. The flavor is also a bit strong in the alcohol. Behind it is a molasses covered raisin, with a slight peppery spice from the alcohol. This is not bad. I like it. The feel is thick and slightly syrupy, with no carbonation. The apparent alcohol keeps this from being highly drinkable. Overall, a very respectable beer.

 558 characters

Photo of Fish113d
3.61/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

REceiving this bottle from my buddy Sulldaddy, I saw the bottle, saw it was from New England Brewing, saw the wax seal on top, and I began to salivate! Pouring at room temp into a tulip glass, it poured a caramel color with almost no head at all (appeared flat); not much happening in this one to look at. I can tell it is full-bodied, but that is about it. Aroma is of cherries or berries, spice with a brown nutty aroma with lots of alcohol on the nose. Taste is creamy and sweet (cherries) with no carbonation, which was a little strange to me. Very smooth witha slight warming feel in my mouth and a bit of alcohol on the finish; I expected much more from the taste and feel of this one. It is an interesting barleywine, but I expected much more...give it a try for a cool bottle, but I wish I would have let it age for a year or two. I think it would be better that way.

 875 characters

firstprev| 1-25 | 26-50  | next → last
Three Judges Barleywine from New England Brewing Co.
3.67 out of 5 based on 52 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.