Barrel Works Series: Sapsquatch | Southern Tier Brewing Company

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Barrel Works Series: SapsquatchBarrel Works Series: Sapsquatch
58 Ratings
Barrel Works Series: SapsquatchBarrel Works Series: Sapsquatch

Brewed by:
Southern Tier Brewing Company
New York, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 14.90%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Brewed with local maple syrup, aged in bourbon barrels and on oak. A complicated beast aged on a trio of oak.

Added by smutty33 on 04-21-2017

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 58 |  Reviews: 25
Photo of CraftFan5
4.6/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of SLeffler27
4.21/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours crystal clear, shiny dark copper. A slight, brief, off-white foam swirls with a thick, viscous film, pushing a thin ring of lace up the wall of a Pretentious Beer Glass Company cider glass.

The aroma is sweet with light bourbon and light oak. Vanilla outshines maple syrup initially with the maple building after each sip. Warmth brings out toasted coconut followed by toffee and prunes. Alcohol is prominent in this complex, multi-layered beer.

Surprisingly, the balance is maintained. None of the aroma is lost but the sweet bourbon is elevated. Vanilla is a close second. The flavors develop exceptionally well as it warms. The finish is long, mild and boozy. Extended warmth reveals peat smoke.

Alcohol is high but controlled for 14.9% ABV. Modest, prickly carbonation adds to the nylon texture of this medium bodied beer.

This is clearly a winter holiday beer and pairs nicely with a cold, damp, rustic and breezy day. A wood fire burns in the distance. While not quite solitude, I have my wife and dog by my side amidst a peaceful calm.

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Photo of Taphouse_Traveler
4.29/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of themayorkoch
4.5/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Pencible
4.42/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: This poured a clear dark garnet with quickly dissipating light tan head.
S: It smelled like maple syrup and vanilla and milk chocolate, with some leather and oak and toasted coconut and fig and aged basalmic.
T: It tasted like rich caramel and maple and vanilla, with some chocolate and oak and aged basalmic and fig and toasted coconut. It had a clean sweet aftertaste with lasting alcohol warming.
M: It was thick with moderate carbonation. Great big body.
D: This was a surprisingly good beer with rich and decadent scent and taste. Complex but well integrated, and sweet but not too cloying. The body was solid but the finish was really hot, so it must be sipped. A few years in the cellar would really help mellow this beast. Fresh was still great, just very hot.

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Photo of sendbeer
4.85/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of gobuccos
4.34/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Jlang2012
4.59/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Ryan4120
4.35/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

L - murky brown - opaque with a very slight tan head that doesn't really stick around or leave any lacing behind.
S - definitely maple syrup on the nose with some sweet barley, notes of bourbon and oak, some notes of caramel. I feel like there's even notes of bacon but that's probably me just associating the maple with bacon. Somehow even though the scents seem enticing, the smell really isn't that appealing which is unfortunate.
T - Complex. Definitely typical barelywine style with barely, mild but bitter hops with notes of dried fruits. There's notes of caramel and vanilla. Then on the back end there's notes of the oak and bourbon and of course you can taste the maple syrup which compliments the beer quite nicely. There's a slight note of alcohol, but otherwise it's hidden very well for 14.9%.
F - fuller bodied with a light amount of carbonation. Syrupy and sticky. Thicker.
O - This is one hell of a barelywine. Incredibly complex but everything seems to mesh very well together. At first I thought the maple syrup was going to be offputting but it really works well with the flavor profile. For some reason when I drink this I feel like it just screams red plaid - fitting for the Sasquatch theme. This is definitely something special from Southern Tier.

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Photo of Brianito
4.49/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Dougwillhike
4.54/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of chippo33
4.25/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of SHODriver
4.25/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Poured into a snifter to a deep brown with some slight red hues with a very tiny light tan head which fades quickly into nothingness. This thing didn't even give me enough for a collar around the edge of the glass
S: Smells of maple and bourbon barrels with some caramel and a little fruitiness
T: Taste is maple and caramel with some light citrus and pine hop notes. Slight oak with some vanilla notes and some toasted malts. More faded citrus and pine hop notes with a little alcohol. Swallow is more maple, caramel, vanilla and oak with some more citrus and pine hop notes on the finish
M: This beer is big and syrupy in body with soft carbonation that is adequate for the style while the beer has a dry finish from the ABV.
O: Overall this one is really tasty. Alcohol could be hidden better but the flavors are really nice and the beer has some solid complexity. Definitely worth a try.

 905 characters

Photo of GOBLIN
4.1/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of msscott1973
4.06/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Tony210
4.47/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful rich red mahogany with virtually no carbonation and no head - not a problem. Boozy aroma of caramel, toffee, some bourbon. Very sweet and full bodied, loads of dark fruit, figs, caramel, some bourbon barrel and maple syrup, quite boozy, caramel, vanilla in the background. This envelops your mouth in a syrupy, sticky barrage that lingers for a while. Overall, a great Barleywine that you must allow to warm up to almost room temperature to fully appreciate all the complexities of this amazing beer.

4.5 rating

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Photo of Ozzylizard
4.61/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

$ 19.07 (Including tax)/bomber ($ 0.867/oz) – I can’t locate the sales slip so I have to guess at the tax rate – between 6% and 7%.
Stored on shelf in store, at 42 degrees in my reefer. Served at 58 degrees in a hand washed and dried Jester King snifter.
Aroma – Maple, bourbon, and oak.
Head – None. While the brew is aggressively poured, a five mm fizzy tan head is formed but entirely disappears by the end of the pour, leaving neither ring nor layer. Effervescence produces a slowly growing ring. The lack of head is visually disappointing but is not unexpected for the style.
Lacing – None.
Body – While pouring, the brew is a dirty brown. In the glass it is dark brown/black and opaque. Effervescence is continually present. Chill haze is present.
Flavor – Begins sweet and sticky with a definite maple taste. Neither hop bitterness nor flavors are detected. There is a mild aftertaste of bourbon, but the alcohol sneaks in through toward the end. There is a definite gastric burn followed by maple flavored belches. There is also neither distinct malt taste nor any fruitiness found.
Palate – Full, syrupy, soft carbonation.
Impression: I’m a sucker for brews made with maple or rye. This is definitely loaded with maple goodness. The bourbon seems somewhat of an afterthought. When half-way through the first snifter, an amber hue is evident as the chill haze has dissipated. I kind of think this was brewed to compete with Founder’s CBS.

Appearance 4.25, Aroma 5, Flavor 4.5, Palate 4.5, Overall 4.5.

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Photo of oberon
4.42/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottled in April 2017.Pours into a goblet a burgundy infused mahogany with a thinner but surprisingly well sustained off white head atop,great rich color.Smells like maple sap and bourbon oak barrels,I get a bit of raw nut in there,so rich and inviting.Caramel covered nuts upfront on the palate wich I didn't even expect,maple sap,then the vanilla/bourbon flavors come into play with dark fruits lingering in the finish.A late nightcap sipper with so much decadent flavors going on,just fantastic....really.

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Photo of avalon07
4.45/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

L: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a dark brown color and a thick, murky texture. There was a small amount of foamy head that quickly dissipated. Not a whole lot of lacing here.

S: A big, powerful aroma of maple syrup, malt, hops, caramel, and bourbon.

T: Tasted of a decent amount of hops (more in the finish), some of the bourbon barrel (very oaky), caramel, a big shot maple syrup (always welcome), light malt notes, and vanilla. A massive, aggressive flavor. Unlike a lot of beers that advertise maple syrup, you can actually taste it here. Complex, somewhat boozy, and likable.

F: A fair amount of carbonation with a slick, syrupy finish. Full-bodied.

O: Sapsquatch is not for the faint of heart. It's a high ABV% monster with a lot of character. Highly drinkable.

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Photo of Nunya
3.78/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Greywulfken
4.25/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Brown ale produced just a few bubbles of head, and left a clean glass behind... One third of the beer is aged in bourbon barrels, one third in bourbon barrels that once held maple syrup, and one third aged on "hand-charred" oak staves that "spent time" in whiskey... Brewed with maple syrup, too... Boozy fruit and caramel-like molasses and maple and vanilla on the nose, followed by a big sweet booze and maple-fruit character on the sip... Medium-bodied, smooth, and slick, but not too sweet as to be cloying - a delectable treat... You can taste the bourbon and whiskey on this one, which is totally what I want from a beer like this... A little sticky on the tongue, but quickly disappears on the finish... Delivers what you'd expect based on the label and coming from Southern Tier...

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Photo of Roguer
4.24/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a fizzy, small, and rapidly disappearing head. Brew is a dark, purple-tinged brown.

Everything you could expect from the label is present on the nose: bourbon, oak, caramel, toffee, earthy hops, and maple syrup - roughly in that order in terms of strength. It has that sharp edge along with the caramel malt typical of the heavy hopping of an ABW - vice the soft warmth of an EBW. The bourbon and oak are prominent but superbly integrated with the overall profile.

On the palate, my initial thought is: smooth. Almost immediately, it shifts into ABW territory, carrying strong notes of caramel and hops. However, that lasts for just a moment before the maple syrup adds an insistent sweetness that will linger through the finish. Just as you're getting adjusted to the syrup, the boozy heat makes its delayed appearance, adding a layer of bite previously lacking. And then: it's over, the flavors receding from your palate, a boozy heat and light maple sweetness tinged with oak lingering longer than the other flavors.

When a boat passes, the wake typically has long individual waves of even periodicity and strength. Just ahead of and behind each of these waves are smaller ripples, matching their parent waves in speed. If one could synesthese sight and taste, this brew would be a fair parallel for the experience: a strong crest of depth and strength of flavor in the middle, but bookended by smaller crests of their own character.

In terms of feel, this brew is lacking in bite: the heavy hops are enough to compensate for what must be an insane malt bill (14.9%!), but the syrup puts it over the top. This doesn't just translate to uneven balance; it also presents in a syrupy, slick feel, where it doesn't quite feel "right". However, I can't recall a beer of this strength being so damn easy to drink in terms of the alcohol punch; Prairie Bomb!, at 13%, comes closest perhaps. BCBS, a better parallel in terms of ABV (and BBA), is significantly boozier.

So, going through my review of this roller coaster of a beer, you might be asking: OK, OK, I get it - but do you actually like the beer?

And to your hypothetical inner Socratic dialogue, I respond: Well, yes - with caveats and reservations.

First, my caveats: I am not a fan of ABW (although I love EBW). While I love maple, I find it is often overdone in beer, making for a cloying (but delectable) mess. And BBA beers often work for me.

Next, my reservations: the mouthfeel, as mentioned, leaves something to be desired - some punch, some bite, some extra carbonation. The appearance, as well, is lacking, giving the impression that I've poured a rather suicidally-proportioned glass of high octane spirits.

But finally, my verdict: it's very, very tasty. The hops aren't overpowering - if anything, they're remarkably restrained, as adding more in a vain attempt to balance out the maple syrup would almost certainly unbalance the flavor profile they were shooting for (and likely achieved). The maple syrup itself, while quite sweet, isn't distracting or burdensome in its presentation. It adds a level to the beer putting it on par with a dessert wine (fairly appropriate, it turns out, given the ABV). And the 14.9% is hidden so superbly that it likely qualifies as sorcery.

This beer is a complex, deep, strong beast of a brew, and is well worth the experience. "A complicated beast," states the notes, and I find nothing there with which I am inclined to disagree.

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Photo of White_Whiskey
4.74/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Photo of lordofthewiens
4.37/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

In my teku the beer was a medium to dark brown with some red. A non-existant head.
Aroma of booze, maple syrup, toffee, vanilla, and oak.
Bourbon hits you first in the taste, followed by the maple syrup and toffee. Then the vanilla and oak show up, and the bourbon finishes.
Big beer! Sweet. I think the maple syrup has a calming effect on the bourbon.

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Photo of ManapuaMan
4.16/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Southern Tier puts out reliable shelf beers in MA so I’m excited to give this premium offering a go. Sounds like a beast of a beer with an ABV to match.

Pours a garnet, ruby-reddish hue with a small head that fades. Looks like a glass of port or flat cherry cola after 10 minutes.

Aroma is oak, malt, molasses, alocohol and candied fruit. The barleywine base is present but takes a backseat to the barrel. As has not been the case with many maple-BA beers I’ve tried recently, there is a good amount of molasses in the nose.

Taste is charred oak, sweet candied fruit, smoky molasses, caramel, toffee, figs and sap. Lots going on but it works well together; it’s still a beast of a beer but it’s not a sloppy pig-beast.

Mouthfeel is thick and slightly viscous; surprisingly not cloying or too hot. Lingering bourbon-alcohol and molasses on the tongue. Great sipper.

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Barrel Works Series: Sapsquatch from Southern Tier Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.29 out of 5 with 58 ratings