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: 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:
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Ratings: 52 |  Reviews: 40
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 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.

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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 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.

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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.

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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).

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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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Photo of EPseja
2.61/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 1 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Served from a wax-sealed, vintage 2004 12oz bottle in a Duvel tulip at just below cellar temperature.

A - Pours initially a vibrant orange color, then switches over to more of a hazy prune-juice hue. There is not one bubble of head visible at all, and neither the etching at the bottom of the Duvel tulip nor a vigorous swirl can make one rise. Needless to say, there is no lacing whatsoever.

S - Big, slightly musty malts with dry, dark fruits like figs and raisins. A monstrous, salty soy note in the nose grows with rising temperature. There are also pleasing maple syrup and pipe tobacco essences that save the day.

T - Sweet, toasty malts up front with a very slight smoked peat note. The middle rounds it out nicely as the hops begin to show. The back of the tongue is where the alcohol comes through with a very warming, yet not "hot" character. The finish is easy, only mildly dry and not very hopped. Slight notes of must are in the aftertaste, but I suppose that's part of what you get with a 2004 vintage.

M - Watery in with only the faintest hint of carbonation (which luckily isn't too bad in my eyes, and it's only saving grace in mouthfeel). Swallow is quick and without any bravado.

D - Barleywines are supposed to take a few years of aging, but I'm not sure if what I'm tasting is a Barleywine that hasn't aged well, or was mishandled in storage along the way. It's tasty, that's true, but it has no other appeal at all other than it's taste. For the style, let's just say that it's a good thing it's retired. Go find another Barleywine.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of MrSeth
3.32/5  rDev -10%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This is a style which I am very fond of.. so I must admit to having high expectations of this ale.. come what may.

App: If I saw an old ale or barley wine in this condition I would normally question if it had oxidized. But on tasting it I'm not sure that that is the problem. Suffice to say that it ain't pretty. Super-hazy red-brown liquid with watery edges.. but looks aren't everything.

Sm: chalky.. like fruit candies rolled in powdered sugar or flour. A fruity dryness hangs over the glass.. not a bad smell, but.. well, maybe in 20 years it will aquire some more character.(?)

Ta: Right for the style! The recipe for this one is right on! It tastes very much like a great english barleywine. And getting to it in this condition, very wet (despite the dry smell) is just wonderful. By the taste alone I could drink this one everyday (in my smoking jacket spinning the globe on the desk in front of me!).

Mf: Unusual. Thick, sticky-icky. Something to be sipped very slowly. Very faint traces of carbonation can be felt, but it amounts to nothing and the brew could really be refreshing with some more. Did I say sticky yet?

Da: Hey, I like it. Don't let the scores be misleading. I just think it could be improved either with age or a slight change in brewing methods.

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Photo of Crosling
3.7/5  rDev +0.3%
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.

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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 ybnorml
3.32/5  rDev -10%
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

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.54/5  rDev -4.1%
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.

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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 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 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.

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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.

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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 rajendra82
3.2/5  rDev -13.3%
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.

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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.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.6/5  rDev -2.4%
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.

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Photo of clvand0
3.45/5  rDev -6.5%
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.

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