Mill Street Barley Wine (2004-2005) | Mill Street Brew Pub

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Mill Street Barley Wine (2004-2005)Mill Street Barley Wine (2004-2005)
Very Good
25 Ratings
Mill Street Barley Wine (2004-2005)Mill Street Barley Wine (2004-2005)

Brewed by:
Mill Street Brew Pub
Ontario, Canada

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 12-18-2004

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 25 |  Reviews: 24
Reviews by crwills:
Photo of crwills
3.83/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

So today I headed over to Mill Street Brewery and picked up my pre-order of twelve bottles Mill Street Barley Wine. They used the old stubby bottles for these (the bartender said they had "some left over", which makes them fairly unique and a cool edition to my beer collection.

Now, like any beer newbie, I couldn't wait to try out my new stuff. And, although the month old brew was still quite good in my opinion, I think it will definitely improve with age. As such, I'm being a little bit generous with my rating numbers -- hopefully when I review it again in a year or so, I can balance things out in the right direction.

Anyway, on with the review...

I poured bottle #5182 (bottled October 17th, 2005) into a large red wine glass. A good choice -- it showed off the gorgeous red-brown colour of the beer very well. Holding it up to the light adds some amber and gold to the beer's colour. A standard pour results in a 1/4 inch pure white head. Good so far!

The smell of this beer is very pleasant, if a bit weak. Strawberries and some sweet citrus fruits, a hoppy freshness, plus some caramel. The smell is also a little boozy, which is to be expected from 11% ABV (Note: not sure if this is a change from last year's, which I didn't try, or whether the BA listing [at 10%] is just incorrect).

Sadly, as some others have remarked about the 2004 vintage, the taste doesn't quite live up to the smell. It's actually more malty, with very slight fruitiness (maybe sour grapes), some peppery earth tones, spices (nutmeg maybe?), pumpkin, and a hint of sugary candy. Halfway through the glass, I started eating some fairly good Stilton cheese, which brought out a bit more flavour -- farmy hay/straw, and some root vegetables. Went very well with the cheese, and I think it would also be great with some gamy meat. Mouthfeel was pleasant, if a bit over-carbonated.

Overall, the fresh 2005 hides its alcohol fairly well, but it's a bit rough around the edges. "Harsh" is probably the correct word for it. Again, however, I imagine some time will mellow it out, and I look forward to trying it again occasionally over the next year or two. At this point, it's not fantastic enough that I'll have great difficulty keeping my hands off it for a while.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of olradetbalder
4/5  rDev +1.5%

Photo of Sammy
3.7/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

What was this? It didn't look like a barleywine, too blond. But it had much of the taste, with a kolsch creaminess and also hoppiness and strong carbonation. From one of their first bottles (#122), I discover from forums that others too thought they experimented by including some of the parallel batch of their "Helles" Bock. Second bottle will be aged. Thanks Pootz/Pootzboy.

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Photo of CanuckRover
4.11/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

2005 #3875
Probably could have poured a little faster, not much of a top on it, but a nice ring. A murky orange, not particularly attractive.

Interesting smell. A whole lot of malt going on. Sugary fruit, fresh, sticky dates, carmalized apple with noticeable alcohol coming up behind.

This is one malty beer. A whole load of toast, taste stays throughout. Strong sugary character, dates, farmhouse cider. Alcohol is ratehr subdued considering the strength. Really serves to bring the beer back from the edge when the breadiness starts to get a little too much.

Grand body, it's got some weight to it, great carbonation. This is what it says it is, Barley Wine with the emphasis on barley. Great warming beer, wish I had a couple more bottles.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.7/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle 2005 courtesy of Hogtownharry: Poured a slightly hazy deep amber color ale with a small foamy head with minimal retention. Aroma of sweet malt with some dry figs and raisins. Taste is quite sweet, maybe a bit too much for my liking, with some discernable trace of dry fruits with a small alcohol touch at the end. Body is above average but could have been more full. Alcohol is still well hidden for such a high-level of alcohol. Without being ultra complex, this is a well balance barley wine that I would drink again if it were available to me.

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Photo of tatterdash
4.3/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Special 2005 edition gift box at the LCBO provides a special glass as well. Pours a deep clear red-brown with a thin yellowish head the dissipates into a bubbly ring. Aroma was a strong malty profile with some diacetyl or caramel malt (I can never tell those apart). Taste was sweet caramel malty front, with some fruit in the middle, bittering to grapefruity hops in the finish. Quite smooth, but it could be smoother, but the high ABV is extremely well hidden, you only notice it in the warming of the throat. I definitely enjoy this... I'll have to pick up a bunch of them and enjoy them in the years to come.

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Photo of ritzkiss
4.27/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

04 vintage, thanks to Sid who brought it to Rob's crazy barleywine tasting.

Pours an abnormally hazy light golden/straw color with hints of orange, almost looks weizen or hefe like though perhaps not quite as light.

Nose has nice hints of nuts (hazelnut especially), hints of citrus, light caramel notes.

This has held up surprisingly well and is now very smooth and drinkable (compared to newer versions which are pretty rough). Creamy caramel, nuttiness, light earthiness, hint of citrus, lemon, light but still there carbonation, still a faint alcohol bite in the finish. Smooth, feels way lighter than anything else we drank that night, making this one higher on the drinkability scale. Definitely makes me want to sit on my newer versions for a good long while.

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Photo of Rastacouere
3/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Clear gold to light brown hue doesn’t wear much head. Immediately sweet nose abunding with straightforward maltiness proposing brown sugar flavors and mild vegetal notes. Well comprised fruitiness in which naming a particuclar fruit is not easy task. Very sweet palate, sugary and boasting a good amount of vegetal hops and a faint earthy finish. Alright, but no cigar. Is this even bottle-conditioned?

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Photo of baiser
4.05/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Didn't know what to expect. I had my share of Barleywine's while living in California, so when I moved back to the TDot and heard that Mill Street started making a Barleywine, I was excited. Had it on tap at the brewpub, where they served it in a 6 oz glass. No larger serving size was available, which was annoying. At 10% abv, I think a 10 or 12 oz serving size makes much more sense at $5.39 a glass.

Anyway, I had the 2005 on tap which was very nice. Nice cloudy brown body, with a fluffy white head, good lace. Full bodied and very creamy. Nice sipping beer with some caramel and toffee finish, and warming alcohol. Good stuff, and available close to home.

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Photo of grub
4.37/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz stubby bottle, 2005 vintage, bottle #4609. sampled dec 24/07. follow-up to previous review of this vintage.

no lace and almost no head, just a few very fine tan bubbles.

the alcohol has mellowed right out. lots of toffee, caramel, and dark fruit. almost no hop presence now.

low bitterness level. almost no trace of the alcohol, only a little warmth on the way down. more dark fruit, caramel, and malt than my last sampling.

the body feels slightly thinner now. low carbonation works well.

drinkability is great. this one has mellowed very well and really meshed together. now i wish i had one more.

12oz stubby bottle, 2005 vintage, bottle #5321. sampled dec 26/06.
4.5/4.5/4/4/4.5 (4.25 overall)

pours a deep copper colour with a half inch of fluffy head. head is slow to drop and leaves lots of lace.

aroma is great.alcohol is still prominent, even after a year in the bottle. bread and biscuit malt. toffee and caramel. hint of caramel. bit of dried fruit. cranberry and date. bit of resiny hops.

taste is nice. moderate bitterness. some alcohol. lots of malt. bread and biscuit again. bit of vinous character. some resiny hop presence, but mellow otherwise.

mouthfeel is good. nice body and good carbonation level.

drinkability is great. it has mellowed and meshed nicely over the last year. the bitterness is maybe a bit low, but not bad for an english barleywine. the alcohol comes through a bit, but that might fade with more time, so i'll save my other bottle until next year. overall fairly balanced and very enjoyable.

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Photo of Derek
3.94/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Vintage: 2005
Bottle #: 4437

A: Dark amber with a touch of off-white head. Zero retention, only a slight hint of leg/lace.

S: The aroma isn't over-powering, but there's plenty of depth... sherry (alcohol is apparant), raisins, bread, caramel, prunes and brown sugar.

T: A little sweetness upfront, which fades into a pleasant bitterness. Zero hop flavour (as expected from the english style). Predominantly prune & raisin (Belgian special B malt?); pleasant toffee sweetness; a little caramel & dark bread; slight hint of fruity (cotton-candy-like) esters. The alcohol is perceptible, but it's quite smooth & well hidden.

M: Heavy body is somewhat syrupy. Light to moderate carbonation. Despite the bitter finish, there's still a syrupy sweetness left behind.

D: Should be approachable for a novice, but has enough depth for an afficionado. It's a sipper.

Thanks for picking this up DrJay!

Feb 4, 2008 (bottle 4435): After 2 years on the cellar, it's still considerably better than the fresh 2007 vintage. While the aroma has diminished, the drinkability is now at least a 4.

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Photo of Noxious26
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

341ml stubby poured in a snifter. This is the 2005 vintage. I've been saving this for a few months from my CANBIF 2 package from Viggo, thanks for the brew!

Pours out a hazy, deep amber colour. There is a brief, thin beige head on the pour, but it disappates after a couple of sips.

Fairly sweet aroma. Caramel and plums with a slight medicinal background.

Toasted malt and caramel with a light hoppy character at the start. The balance slowly shifts from caramel to piney hops from start to finish. The middle is nicely balanced and the finish has more hop profile with caramel and malt in the background. The alcohol makes itself known toward the finish and adds a touch of harshness. Aftertaste is hoppy and slightly medicinal.

Full bodied mouthfeel adds to the caramel quality. Minimal carbonation. Fairly smooth, but still a little hot and could benefit from more time in the cellar.

All in all this is a good, but unspectacular barleywine. While I think it would be better if it mellowed awhile in a cellar, I found it a little sweet for my liking. Also seemed to be lacking in complexities that I've discovered in other barleywines. Straightforward, simply and sweet, but worth the wait.

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Photo of Niniimaa
4.31/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2005 vintage and 2004 Vintage

'05 - Clear amber/red, not much aroma detected but taste has heavenly rich with full mouthfeel

’04 – Cloudy heather/orange, flowery aroma which entirely different taste structure than ‘05

Both were highly consumable on a cold day, not something I’d drink much once the weather started turning warm; neither had the alcohol flavor I’d expect from a high gravity beer. Bierbistro served them bit too cold.

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Photo of Viggo
4.15/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Mill St. Barleywine 2005, sampled a lot of it on tap at C'Est What? Festival of Small Breweries.

Pours a hazy golden, thick white head forms, lots of sticky lace and good retention. Smell is sweet, toffee, almost breadlike quality to it, figs or dates, little bit of citrus, very malty. Taste is super malty, toffee, sweet dates, cocoa, honey, excellent finish, really mellow and smooth. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with low carbonation. Find this one to be at its best after about a year.

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Photo of chunkylover53
3.91/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I got bottle #4635 of the 2005 batch. It pours a beautiful dark reddish-brown with very little head.

The smell is... well... odd. There's some malt and dark fruits, along with something I can't quite put my finger on. Something that I can smell in the back of my throat. That makes no sense, I know. And yet there it is.

Yup, I just smelled it again and it's definitely there.

The flavour is huge. Very roasty and malty. I can't believe this is 11%. The alcohol is very well hidden.

I'm really curious to see what a few years of cellaring does to this one. I guess I'll have to go pick up a few more.

Goes well with a little Battlestar Galactica.

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Photo of pootz
3.3/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

bottle # 5042 of the 2005 release. Poured a clear chestnut with amber highlights. No cap and no lace. Aroma is fairly uncomplex this year,... Just musty caramel and light grassy tones. Mouthfeel is oily thick body. We have a slightly different flavor profile from last years release. This is more alcohol pronunced. Abundant treacle and fig sweet malts and a nice cedary hop decernment which tries to dry the finish but they do a poor job of hiding the alcohaol which remains the predominnant taste in this ale. This batch can definiately use the mellowing of age/cellaring to beat back the sharp alcohol tasted and bring up the real profile that lurks in the background under all that booze.

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Photo of CAMRAhardliner
3.84/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This years batch is listed as 11%. I got bottle

It pours a slighly hazy red-amber with a nice creamy head that leaves good lace trails. Carbonation isnt visible. The aroma is full of thick malt. There's caramel, banana bread, macadamia nuts and fresh dough. Alcohol is a little spicey but very subdued in the nose.

The taste is rich with layers and layers of different malt flavors, very caramelly and light in the dark fruit department. I dont like strong figgy or prune flavors so it works for me. Theres some toasted malt and a a distinct nuttiness. The alcohol is warming and ever-present but never distracting. The finish consists of fresh bread and some spiciness. Hops are very low throughout, this is low on the hop scale even for an English barleywine. The mouthfeel is medium with some syrupy notions and low carbonation. Quite nice.

This is a great barleywine, one of the better examples Ive tried. Its well balanced and not overly sweet or alcoholic. I just wish it was bottle conditioned.

One Year Later - Bottle #5955

Lots of sediment formed over the past year, a cloud appears when I move the bottle. The pour reveals a puffy head that never leaves and drapes the glass with lace. The thing that struck me most was the carbonation. hundreds of dense streams of miniscule bubbles surge to the surface. Its like no carbonated beverage Ive ever seen.

The nose has a lot of fusel alcohol and some dried fruit and cocoa. The taste is a little boozey, probably more than when it was fresh. Still it looks really really cool.

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Photo of DrJay
4.05/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2005, bottle #5319:
Clear, medium amber with a bit of a reddish hue, this beer developed a short, rocky, pale brown head off a vigourous pour. The coarse foam was a bit short-lived, but settled into a solid ring of finer bubbles leaving spotty lacing behind. Big toffee aroma with a little alcohol hit my nose first, then caramel, bready malt, and figs. Mild bitterness, lots of caramel and toffee maltiness. Alcohol seems to be balancing out the sweetness rather than hop bitterness. Fruity middle with a little citrus flavour and dates that linger. Bread crust. Significant alcohol and warmth in the finish, sort of stuns the tongue. Full bodied with low carbonation (my bottle made a weak little pop when the cap came off). Very fine bubbles make it a little creamy, good texture overall. Pretty good stuff. I had this fresh on tap and it was a little rough and hot. It's really mellowed nicely since, but it would be nice if the alcohol pulled back a little more.

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Photo of biegaman
3.6/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle # 6769 2005 Vintage, saved, cellared and finally enjoyed New Years Eve 2006. Classic stubby.
Poured into a wide ended tulip glass, no head, a lovely blurred auburn in colour and appearence. A sticky, nose tickling caramel malt in the nose. Toffee malt with earthy overtones. Pleasent but slightly timid. Alcohol well hidden, but mouthfeel rather lifeless; no hops and just short of enough malt to carry the beer. Tasty for the most part, some muddy dark malts pinch through at the end, slightly off-putting. A little too much biscuit malt with little complexity or dimension. Very low bitterness and flavours that either seem to have faded, or failed to fully develop alltogether. A nice barleywine but falls short against what others in the same category have to offer.

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Photo of trevorwideman
3.91/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 edition, fresh. 500ml ceramic swing-top bottle, bought two, one for now, one for later. Poured into a snifter.

Vigorous pour gets about 1/2 inch of head, subsides quickly, leaves lots of sticky lace. Mellow carbonation. Deep, hazey blood orange colour, a very rich and robust looking beer. Aroma is downright unexpected and strange. I realize this is a young brew, and I'll do my best to describe it. The Initial whiff reminded me of walking into Canadian Tire, some rubber, wood and WD-40. Luckily enough, it begins to mellow soon after, and you get a massive blast of rich, crackery, grainy barley malt with a light caramel sweetness, some woody vanilla undertones and some meaty herbs. Odd, but full of aroma to be sure.

Taste is very decadent, but thankfully not too sweet as to be cloying. That massive malt bill shows up in spades with tons of lovely cereal flavour, a little maple and vanilla, caramel, peppery and herbal hops that all gets blasted to your brain with a huge shot of alcohol. Drier than expected, sticky with all the malt. Aftertaste is the same as after you eat a big bowl of cereal, extremely grainy. Mouthfeel is about right, pretty heavy and bordering on syrupy with a zippier carbonation than I was expecting. This is a tasty Barleywine, very much in the English category, and it generally sticks to the script. I definitely think this needs some time in the cellar, and I'm going to revisit in a couple years.

After a year: Thankfully this beer has lost it's chemical aroma, but it has also lost a bit of the sticky head it had when it was fresh. Flavour is so much more balanced though. I have one more bottle that I'll report on in another year.

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Photo of slitherySOB
4.12/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Asides from homebrew, this is my first barleywine. Ever. So I did not know what to expect, and my review may be a bit uneducated. So please, bear with me. I was expecting something darker. This was a dark caramel colour, with a bit of red and amber. Very little head to speak of. Basically, none, though there are a few bubbles. Aroma is simple. Caramel malts, butter, and some earthiness. Tastes delicious, and went well with the lamb shoulder blades. Very bittersweet. Plenty of caramel and grass/earth blend along at once, never letting one truly overpower the other. Though, the burnt caramel is slightly stronger, it doesn't overpower at all. Mouthfeel seems a bit heavier than it truly is, due to the lack of carbonation. I'd say medium, full bodied mouthfeel. Not quite syrupy. Dangerously drinkable. At 11% abv(not ten as indicated on the site), it's a dangerous beer. So be warned.

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Photo of bobsy
4.36/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

We cracked a couple of 04s and some 05s at a barleywine tasting I hosted. Pours a hazy yellow with a sparse white film capping it off - nothing special, but fine enough. The aroma is neat, and not really what I would expect from a barleywine. Nuts and bread dominate, with caramel underneath. Nuts turn up again in the flavour, which has a large caramel and bready base. Earth and herbal tones add a bit of complexity and depth, while the alcohol is completely AWOL, and this is drinking nice and easy right now. The body hovers around medium, and I think its lost some carbonation down the years, though its still in a good zone at the moment.

I prefer this to their current version because it seems to have far more balance, lower sweetness, and less apparent alcohol. Thanks to Sid for bringing these along!

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.3/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2005 bottle.

Appearance: Pours a clear, still amber body.

Smell: Sweet-smelling aroma of toasted caramel and a rich, fruity scent of raisins.

Taste: Toasted caramel flavor with a strong, unapologetic sweetness. A touch of what was once a slight hop character. The dark fruits full carry over from the nose. Sure, you can tell the booze is lurking in there, but it's never a bother. Warming, spicy finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Zero carbonation. Quite warming!

Drinkability: Yum! That Mill St. Barley Wine really was a joy to drink, wasn't it?

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Photo of allergictomacros
4.06/5  rDev +3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2005 vintage, bottle 5919

A - Cloudy amber/red with a 1/2 inch head.

S - Very yeasty aroma and a floral hop and heavy molasses. Raw maltiness overwhelms the fruity notes, but I think I notice some pineapple and banana.

T - Definitely on the boozy side. Very sweet, very bitter, and with a coffee undertone. Slightly medicinal, but not very prominent compared to the maltiness. Some herby hops can be noticed in the finish if you try really hard.

M - Heavy and syrupy. Definitely a sipping beer.

D - Overall, it's not something I'd drink everyday. It's certainly quite complex and tasty though.

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Photo of fisherman34
3.55/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2004 vintage. Light amber/orange and a bit cloudy in colour with low carbonation. Sweet wort like aromas mingle with some delicate floral notes. Thick and sweet body... sort of like a tripel without the effervescence. Some interesting flavors going on there though: orange marmalade, clover honey, and some confectioner’s sugar. Well hidden alcohol. Not much hop presence to speak of, which seems a little out of place, but I still enjoyed it.

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Mill Street Barley Wine (2004-2005) from Mill Street Brew Pub
Beer rating: 3.94 out of 5 with 25 ratings