Big Woody Barley Wine | Glacier Brewhouse

37 Ratings
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Brewed by:
Glacier Brewhouse
Alaska, United States

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.75%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Huge malt and intense fruitiness dominate. No expense is spared with the use of English floor malted barley. Aged in various oak barrels including Jim Beam and Napa Valley wine barrels for a minimum of one year. A true delight.

Added by joedon on 01-23-2006

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Reviews: 17 | Ratings: 37
Photo of Flightoficarus
4.6/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Been awhile since a review, but gave this one a try at the hard liver barleywine fest, and had to throw in my say :)

A - Chestnut brown color, with a tan foam. Retention on the moderate side.

S - Smell is of oak, vanilla, toffee, caramel, dark fruits (prune, cherry), and even some scotch-like notes (Without the alcohol on the nose). There's a whole lot of complexity going on here for sure!

T - Taste is of vanilla and oak, which almost gives this beer a sort of "marshmallow" sweetness to it. Notes of caramel and toffee. Dark fruits and mild hoppiness offer some balance, and keep it from being cloying. Throughout the whole sip, other "woody" flavors seamlessly make their way in with the other flavors. Complex, and amazingly smooth and delicious!

M - Most definitely a full bodied beer, with just the right, modest amount of carbonation. Alcohol is very well hidden, making this one a little too easy to drink.

O - Bottom line, if you can get your hands on some of this, be sure to try some! A truly great barleywine that I can see being a good pairing with some dessert.

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Photo of unclekeith
4.4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2016 vintages aged for 10 months in Heaven Hill barrels
Day 8 of the 12 Days of Barleywine

L: cola colored with a thin khaki head
A: still quite hot - bourbon dominates
T: classic English barleywine- toffee, not too sweet, big malt, bourbon, vanilla in the back that lingers
M: warmth from the alcohol, true to style
O: still hot but still delicious- every version of this beer is world class.

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Photo of jethrodium
4/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Bistro Barrel Aged Beer Fest. Pours a clear copper with a small tan head that has good retention and leaves some light lacing on the glass. Aroma is vanilla, caramel, a bit of oak, some bourbon, a bit of light alcohol, and a little bit of cherry. The initial taste is sweet vanilla, followed by some oak, caramel, a little bit of nuttiness, and some bourbon. The finish is warm with alcohol. Medium bodied. Low carbonation. Enjoyable barley wine. Perhaps a tad too sweet, but very good.

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Photo of nataku00
4.42/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap poured into a snifter. Beer poured a dark copper transitioning to amber and dark red when held up to a light. Thin wisp of a off white head on the surface, with a thick film of alcohol legs when swirled lightly. A bubble here and there, but not too carbonated.

Nose is a delight, toffee, caramel, molasses, cherry, vanilla, coconut, and a light woodiness. As it warmed up further, a hint of floral hops as well.

Taste follows the nose, surprisingly balanced despite the ample sweet toffee, caramel, molasses flavors mingling with the stone fruit and light floral hops at the front of the tongue. As the beer sits on your tongue, the barrel comes through with some coconut, vanilla, and a light burnt sugar bitterness. Light alcohol warmth on the back of the throat, but not too much on the flavor.

Medium body with light carbonation, slightly sticky in the mouth. Very enjoyable sipper.

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Photo of NorCalYeti
4.42/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

great aroma, sweet oak, great vanilla notes

virgin czech oak (straight wood) barrel type aged for seven months at 9.1% abv

aged seven months, flavors of malt, vanilla, figs, and cherry. no expense was spared with the use of english floor malt

sampled this at the bistro west coast barrel aged beer festival november 13, 2010

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Photo of popery
4.74/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

5th Annual Bistro BA Festival. I've tried this at past fests and, as someone who loves English barleywines and restrained barrel-aging, it's one of my very favorite barleywines. This version was particularly interesting as it probably spent a bit less time in the barrel than what they send to Toronado. The flavor is enormous with tons of sugar cane, vanilla, caramel, figs, sweet rum and mild bourbon. It's relatively sweet but wonderfully smooth. In my opinion, the sweetness is just right for the round, full flavor. Mouthfeel is never cloying but fairly thick. Appearance is dark amber, transparent, with a small head. Marvelous stuff.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.32/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


Thanks Chris. Pours dark brown with a small beige head. Aroma displays big caramel and toffee notes, as well as bold oak notes. Brown sugar is evident. I was told they aged this in fresh Czech oak barrels and they really come through. Dry oak on the palate, with warming alcohol and light tannins. Flavor is caramel and toffee, with notes of wood. Booze is restrained. The beer is rich yet dry, striking a nice balance. The finish is toffee and oak. A nice fresh oak barrel aged English Barleywine that deftly masks its strength.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.3/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at FoBAB - this year's edition clocked in at 9.13% and was aged 7 months in new Czech oak barrels.

A - Served with one finger of light tan foam that settled to a collar leaving minimal lace. Body was a light sultana raisin brown color that displayed some transparency.

S - Butterscotch, caramel, prunes and other dark fruits. Quite mellow and not a lot of booze character.

T - Burnt sugars, oak, caramel, and some surprising residual hop character and bitterness that I wasn't expecting from a barrel-aged English barleywine.

M - Perhaps a touch thin, but not totally off the mark for ~9%. This is on the low end of the carbonation spectrum, and goes down quite easy. Not much in the way of alcohol.

D - This is a good oak-aged barleywine but wasn't mind-blowing. I'd like to try the Jim Beam version at some point for comparison, as the version we get at FoBAB always seems to be virgin oak or wine barrels.

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Photo of 4000qtrap
4.27/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Source/Serving: Draft

Smell: Strong bourbon, caramel, and brown sugar notes. Bourbon has an oaky edge. Ripe prunes. A hint of alcohol.

Taste: Well rounded oaky bourbon notes up front that blend into nice raisin/prune notes that are ripe and moderately sweet. Definite alcohol as it warms. Finish is clean, really sweet prunes, and lingers forever.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
4.47/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Hard Liver 2010 and Winner of the crown, #1 Bwine!

A: Poured a nice copper colrow with a small white head and good carbonation.

S: Nose is booze,vanilla, bourbon, wood.

T: Taste is very smooth, balanced and blended.Follows the nose well. Nice subtle bourbon and vanilla, nice sublte hops.

M: Nice, well carbonated, full bodied

O: Well done and my favorite, no wonder it won 1st!

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Photo of nickd717
4.28/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Toronado for Barleywine fest '09, then again at the Bistro in Hayward for Barrel Aged Fest '09. This is another amazing barleywine from Alaska. Big Woody, huhhuh huhhuh (Butthead voice).

Clear dark orangish-brown color with a nice beige head.

Aroma is sweet malt, caramel, port, bourbon, vanilla, and oak.

Sweet and malty flavor with toffee, vanilla, bourbon, spiced cider, wood (huhhuh) and some hop bitterness. Alcohol present but not too dominant. Really long, smooth, and tasty finish.

Medium-full body with a very smooth yet lively mouthfeel, really nails it on the palate.

Drinkability is pretty good. I would like to encounter Big Woody again in the future - the beer I mean, definitely not the other kind.

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Photo of largadeer
4.5/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had 3 pours of this at the barrel-aged beer festival at The Bistro today, this was one of my favorite beers at the fest. 9% ABV, aged for 10 months in Jim Beam barrels. The beer is a dark amber, slightly tawny color, fairly clear and topped by an off-white head that settles to a crown. The aroma is of caramel, toasted nuts, vanilla and subtle fruity hops with a strong but very well-integrated barrel character. The taste shows impressive complexity and balance, bourbon and oak perfectly balanced with flavors of caramel, tobacco, roast and toasted nuts. Hops are still very noticeable in the mid-palate and finish, somewhat fruity at first before transforming into a light resiny bitterness that works nicely with the vanilla-butterscotch finish. The Glacier beers were all good today, but this one was the best of the lot.

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Photo of brentk56
4.68/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Tasted at the Hard Liver Barleywine Fest - 3/21/09

Appearance: Arrives at the bar with a clear dark amber color and a nice head that leaves plenty of lace

Smell: Caramel, some nut elements and an earthy hop quality

Taste: Caramel up front, and then joined by a nutty, tea-like hop character; finishes with a nice blend of the flavors

Mouthfeel: Full body but not syrupy, with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: More English to my palate than American, this was one of the top barleywines of the tasting

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Photo of GClarkage
4.59/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11/15/08- Had on tap at the Bistro during the annual Barrel Aged fest in Hayward, CA.

Presentation- Via the tap into small taster size glasses.

Appearance- Deep roasted brown color. Looks like murky milk chocolate. Microscopic yeast sediment sinks to the bottom. Slight off white rim and light lace spots and rings.

Smell- A very sweet kraft caramel nose. A bit of vanilla, some light butterscotch and whafts of alcohol.

Taste- Very similar to the '06 Angels Share but a slight bit watery. Ultra sweet with a light buttery vanilla-caramel flavored base. Quite sugary and creamy milk chocolate tastes as well. Hops are very muted.

Mouthfeel- Creamy and very smooth, just a touch watery which keeps it from being perfect.

Drinkability- Damn good, but this now tastes like an English Barleywine. Oh so sweet and oh so caramely. One of the top 3 English Barleywines I have had.

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Photo of irishevans
4.45/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

the 08' vintage. aged 10 months in jim beam barrels, and cask conditioned. looks like a dark hefewizen , not much of a head but it dose leave a nice lace. smells like an IPA or a double IPA. the taste is thick and hopy but not at all bitter, it's actually almost sweet, a touch sour on the finish, but it won't make you pucker. the feel is kind of grainy and medium on the thickness area. she's a slow drinking brew.

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Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.52/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

This is one of the cask conditioned versions of the barleywine. It has been aged in jim beam barrels for ten months. The appearance is a dark apricot brown with good head. The nose reeks of hops and sugar, but mostly hops. The taste is very unique. It tastes like a strong IPA in flavor but is not the least bit bitter. Quite an oddity and it honestly confused the hell out of me! It was like someone had shot the hops dead and put their rotting carcasses in the beer. Wow that sounds really gross but that is not what i mean. This is very hard to describe. The mouthfeel is very smooth and goes down easy. Not incredibly drinkable though. A very interesting brew. try it.

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Photo of joedon
4.55/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Glacier Brew House is something of a specialist in high gravity and oak-aged beers. This barley wine is their latest release and was brewed for the Anchorage barley wine festival held earlier in January.

The beer is deep amber color with very little head and only slight carbonation due to the high alcohol content. The aroma is wine-like with vanilla and sherry notes. The brewmaster describes these as coming from the long aging time in new oak barrels.

Taste is complex with layers of malt, fruit, more vanilla and sherry along with port and toffee. Flavor lingers on the tongue and is very smooth. Alcohol in the after-taste.

Very much a sipping beer. Really wonderful stuff to linger with by the fireplace.

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Big Woody Barley Wine from Glacier Brewhouse
4.41 out of 5 based on 37 ratings.
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