Barrel Works Series: Sapsquatch
Southern Tier Brewing Company

Barrel Works Series: SapsquatchBarrel Works Series: Sapsquatch
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Barleywine - American
Ranked #22
Ranked #1,957
4.3 | pDev: 6.51%
Southern Tier Brewing Company
New York, United States
Barrel Works Series: SapsquatchBarrel Works Series: Sapsquatch
Notes: Brewed with local maple syrup, aged in bourbon barrels and on oak. A complicated beast aged on a trio of oak.
Reviews: 49 | Ratings: 97 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of GreesyFizeek
GreesyFizeek from New York

4.14/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This one pours a slightly murky golden brown color, with a small head, and a bit of lacing.

This smells like dark, earthy maple syrup, caramel, oak, and bourbon.

This is one of the best Southern Tier beers in a long time. It's not quite as sweet, somehow, as some of Southern Tier's more well known beers, as there's enough barrel and oak to temper the maple syrup. The maple is done judiciously, and doesn't make this too syrupy. There's caramel, breadiness, and molasses as well.

This is medium bodied, and surprisingly, not all that boozy.

I like this one a good bit - it's much better than most people would assume Southern Tier is capable of at this point.

May 10, 2021
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57md from Pennsylvania

4.4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark brownish copper color with a thin layer if head. The nose has notes of bread with syrup drizzled upon it. The maple syrup really comes out upfront in the flavor profile. The maltiness is hefty and the finish has a punch of hoo bitterness.

Mar 12, 2021
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trevormajor from Ohio

4.75/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

500 ML bottle, born on 3/15/2019, poured into a snifter at 54 degrees F:
L - caramel color with almost no head whatsoever
S - bourbon, caramel, peat, maple syrup
T - caramel and maple syrup, intertwined with bourbon and notes of peat and charred oak
F - smooth, like bourbon, minimal carbonation
O - great beer, flavors blend well together and the bourbon is not overpowering

Feb 20, 2021
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officerbill from New York

4.41/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I usually avoid maple beers, but this one is really nice.
Deep garnet red with essentially no carbonation or head
The aroma is bourbon, oak, caramel, then maple. The taste bourbon, vanilla, oak, caramel, fig & date, maple, rich malts, with a peppery spice background
Tingly and sweet across the tongue with a pleasant, slightly dry and peppery aftertaste
This is really, really good. You can taste the whiskey and the barrel, but the maple takes on a subdued supporting role rather than insisting on being front & center. The alcohol is noticable, but not distracting,
Overall this is an excellent BA barleywine and I'm going to pick up the other three bottles the store has.

Jan 30, 2021
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stortore from Illinois

4.31/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500 ml bottle into a snifter. Bottled March, 2019, had 11/6/20.

Pours a clear copper color, with a brief flash of a head and a few faint specks of cling. Aromas of maple, bourbon, malt, tobacco, oak, raisins, brown sugar, toffee, some plums and vanilla. The flavor is a little more bourbon forward than the aroma, then maple, raisins, malt, brown sugar, oak, some grapes and plums, some caramel, light vanilla and tobacco, faint cherries. Smooth, a very good medium body, well carbonated.

A solid effort. Lots of expressive aromas and flavors, the barrels and maple syrup are really good. Well balanced. Very enjoyable.

Nov 25, 2020
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EMV from Pennsylvania

4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2017 vintage. Poured from a bomber into a Dogfish Head tulip

L: Cloudy/opaque mahogany brown pour with thin fizzy white head. reasonable ring of lacing.

S: Decadent and sweet... malts, brown sugar, maple syrup, and baking fruit. Vanilla and booze.

T.F: Follows the nose. Sweet and malty... toasted sugars. Caramel and maple syrup, vanilla and bourbon, oak, raisin, and molasses. Boozy... and at nearly 15% it should be. Medium to think bodied... sticky on the tongue. Gentle carbonation... complex... a bit of spice and hop coming in later for balance. Warming.

O: A big decadent beer... perfect for a cool night as a dessert or nightcap. Loads of flavor... better as it warms... all around solid effort.

Sep 03, 2020
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Ego from New Jersey

4.09/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

another pull from the ole cellar...

super brief hint of carbonation, fizzles into nothingness quicker than my attempts at speed dating, deep ruby tone, really fetching actually, some carbonation noted (I can count the bubbles if I so choose) rising up in the glass, no real legs or lacing, I was expecting bigger legs from a big foot (oh, sue me over my pun-tificating...), pretty standard stuff here

boozy maple syrup (big surprise eh?), wet oak, prune and dark fruit

taste etc...
subtle - prickly carbonation, really suits the beer well, a layered barleywine, you can taste a normal BW in there deep down but it is only one component, for sure the maple syrup is assertive, initial kick is the carbonation, followed by a bourbon vanilla glaze, then some bittering/warming, finished with strong sweetness from the maple, being maple keeps this just (and I mean just) on the right side of not being too sweet (which is a deal breaker for me), this certainly does not drink heavy (boozy), a sipper because of the big flavors but man it does go down pretty easy

a bomber for one might be a bit much after a while (as I am finding out), this would be nice with some dessert, like some legit vanilla bean ice cream, hell yeah, good beer.

Apr 28, 2020
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DIM from Pennsylvania

4.43/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

March 2019, 13.7% ABV

As much as I love huge bourbon barrel notes, I do appreciate a blended beer where the barrel component is more subdued on occasion. This is plenty sweet, charred toffee, maple syrup, and light bourbon flavors. This is kept far from the brink of diabetes however by a robust oaky tingle at the end. Well balanced overall, and thoroughly enjoyable.

Jan 20, 2020
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Jlabs from New York

4.31/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a tulip glass via bottle

Color is a rusty tan with beige foam

Smell is maple syrup, caramel and faint bourbon

Taste is sweet maple upfront mixed nicely with the bourbon barrel..getting some caramel and butterscotch notes as well

Carbonation is low, mouthfeel is thick but not over the top

A very nice barleywine

Jan 08, 2020
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zeff80 from Missouri

4.45/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottle. Poured out a clear, golden amber color with a small, khaki-colored head of foam. It smelled of maple, booziness, toasted caramel and toffee. So much maple syrup taste with oak, roasted malt, toffee and caramel.

Nov 01, 2019
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Treyliff from West Virginia

4.24/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

500ml bottle poured into a snifter
Bottled March 2019

A- pours ruby-brown in color with a one-finger foamy white head that has short retention

S- big bourbon note on the nose, as well as maple leading the way. Undertones of caramel, toffee, tobacco, leather, brown sugar, pecan pie, vanilla

T- malty, sweet and boozy up front, with big barrel notes of oak, vanilla and barrel juice. Mid-palate brings out the maple sweetness, along with caramel, toffee and molasses. The finish gives notes of tobacco, cocoa, brown sugar and a bit of hops. Lingers of booze, caramel and bourbon

M- medium-heavy body with moderate carbonation leads to a creamy mouthfeel and a warming boozy finish

O- a beast of a beer that has a nice mix of barrel and caramel notes throughout

Oct 19, 2019
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dbl_delta from Pennsylvania

4.06/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Growler into pint glass. Pours a gorgeous clear deep dark amber red with a brief effervescent off-white head. Initial impression is a mix of maple syrup and bourbon - kinda like somebody poured a fifth of bourbon into a gallon of maple syrup. But after a bit you begin to notice dark fruits, blackstrap molassses, oak, and a touch of vanilla - it's way more complex than I thought. Mouthfeel is lighter than maple syrup but heavier than most barleywines within my experience. Alcohol is obvious - it might mellow a little with cellaring but a) it's a growler and b) I'm not that patient anyway, so I guess I'll never know. Trust me - it's pretty good fresh.
This is not going to be everybody's cuppa tea. It's sweet, it's boozy, and it demands respect. It's a lot like drinking that fifth of bourbon in maple syrup, but if you like that kind of thing (and can put up with the next-day carnage) it's worth a try.

Sep 06, 2019
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DrDemento456 from Pennsylvania

3.93/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Had this at the brewery. Deep dark brown clear mahogany at base. Smell is wood, bourbon and a hint of leather doesn't smell too sweet. Taste is big booze, bourbon, wood syrup sweet and midly tannic. Body is thick with the syrup tone it almost drank like syrup so pretty heavy.

Overall big and surprisingly smooth glad to try it!

Aug 30, 2019
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chinchill from South Carolina

3.89/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Summit Beer Station in WV.
Pours near black with a decent beige head.
The aroma has some wet leather and wood... Enough to limit it's appeal. Miraculously, the flavor is quite different and not the least bit challenging. Unlike many beers Brewed with maple syrup, the maple flavor really comes through in this ale. Sweet but not quite cloying, especially with.
Conservstive to moderate bourbon barrel effects.
Smooth medium body that seems a bit too light but that is well carbonated. High ABV is partially hidden.

Aug 06, 2019
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puboflyons from New Hampshire

4.53/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From the 500 ml. bottle dated March 2019. Sampled on July 7, 2019. I could have waited a year.

The appearance is a beautiful 5 out of 5 reddish-dark amber color with a modest tan head.

Oh, that aroma. Let's talk about chocolate, dark malts, raisin, dark fruit, and of course wood from the barrel aging. Low to no hop profile.

The body is full and smooth. Awesome mouthfeel.

The taste is at first sweet and dark roasted but there is a warming sensation that coats the back of my throat. The booze can still be found at this stage but it merges wonderfully with the sweetness and chocolate characters of the malts. This is one that I wish I had picked up a second one to age for a year or more.

Jul 07, 2019
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ScruffySouthpaw from New York

4.33/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a tulip glass from the bottle.

Appearance: Deep dark brown mahogany color coming off with a off-white head rising just about half of fingers length off the body. Zero stickiness to the glass.

Smell: smells like whiskey and toffee strong but light.

Taste: complex Bourbon and maple syrup with hints of vanilla and toffee. Barley with a smooth malt finish becomes seriously addicting and you're halfway through the glass before you even start your beer review.

Mouth: sticky beer and slight dry which I can see some people disliking it because of that but overall overpowers anything you're eating or pairing it with.

Overall: what an awesome beer, I paid $18 for this bottle before tax and deposit but I believe it is well worth it. I do not think I would have this back-to-back obviously consider him the price because it is a touch overpowering it's like having two slices of cheesecake back to back if you know what I mean. Salud.

Jun 17, 2019
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johnnnniee from New Hampshire

4/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared with Paul.
Dark copper with a decent sized tan head that persists. Rich brown sugar and caramel along with bits of maple and woody earthy barrel. Nice sipper.

May 26, 2019
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Buck89 from Tennessee

4.45/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a plastic cup. A slightly hazy medium brown color with a small tan head. Big aromas as expected with sweet maple, vanilla, caramel, and a restrained bourbon presence. The taste took the experience to another level. All of the above flavors were there in relatively equal amounts and bathed in a glorious English, floral, malty Barleywine. Not overly sweet, not too dry or boozy - just delicious. Fantastic.

May 19, 2019
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SABERG from Massachusetts

4.19/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle dated March 2019 into the test glass
A - Deep copper color, translucent backdrop shows spheres struggling topside. A slow steady feed coalesces into a thin ring
S - Burnt brown sugar, vanilla, maple, molasses pie in a sweet crust
T - Well this could take a while, fig, maple spread on canned brown bread comes to mind, then there's strong barley wine base ever so gently coated with bourbon barrel notes of vanilla and toffee.
M- Big, slick, beautiful on the palate. linger is the best kind of maple candy drop
O - A beautiful offering, rich, luxurious, complete, all descriptors for this delight

Apr 25, 2019
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cavedave from New York

4.3/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

3/19 edition

Big off white head kicks back to persistent ring. A bare cap is the eventual winner above this cordovan colored, thidk looking elixir.

Honey, brown bread, herbal cola notes, caramel, bourbon, vanilla, light oaky tannic notes all are here in an aroma that beckons like in cartoons when a cloud finger appears and beckons hypnotically to "come eat that pie." Once it warms maple becomes an equal player.

Oooohhh smooth as silk this is, with all the flavors of the aroma here, in spades, cleanly, balancedly presented, and just fucking delicious. The barrel notes are minor players, but the base beer is so tasty that this seems to be the best way it can be. Just the right amount of booze, barrel, brown bread, honey, caramel, and slightly herbal bitter at sip's end. Maple appears strongly as it warms, in taste and aroma.

Pervfectly viscous, perfectly carbonated, perfect body, perfect drinkability, and a clean killer finish that is more EBW than ABW.

Holy shit, ST hits a home run here. Not like the sugar bombs and high ABV fusel monsters they have made, this is a work of art. Highly recommended.

Apr 07, 2019
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CaptainHate from Ohio

4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 4/17 1 pint 6 ounce bottle into a DFH tulip. Dark ruby mahogany color with a small head which quickly fades to just an outer ring. Etched fish at the bottom of the glass throws up a small circle of persistent bubbles, otherwise not much carbonation. Smell of sweet boozy dark fruit and maple. Taste reflects the smell but unlike other maple ales or stouts, the maple really comes forward as well as the slightly bitter aftertaste you get with pure maple syrup. I've often complained about Southern Tier cranking the sweetness to diabetic coma levels but for me they get this right. I don't know if the aging had anything to do with it but there is almost no hop presence compared to other American Barleywines and that is 100% not a complaint from me; much more like a British Barleywine. The booze is there but not overpowering at 14.9%. Mouthfeel isn't as oily as a British Barleywine but still a nicely thick minimally carbonated (but not flat and syrupy) retention of flavor.

I was very intrigued by this when it came out and it was too pricey for me to buy more, but now I wish I was cellaring more.

Jan 27, 2019
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EMH73 from New York

4.25/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a medium dark brown with red highlights, a thin beige ring of head that leaves no lacing. Smells and tastes of maple, molasses, vanilla, bourbon, oak, toffee and dark fruits. Full bodied with a thick mouth feel, minimal carbonation. Overall a little on the sweet side but an excellent sipper.

Jan 25, 2019
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jlindros from Massachusetts

4.14/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Light fizzy head, no retention, slight hazy ruby maroon red color

Nose big sweet candy, loads of maple and caramel, toffee, little butterscotch, touch of whiskey and vanilla oak

Taste big sweet maple candy, maple creams, butterscotch and big toffee, caramel, some hot fusel alcohol, mild buttery vanilla oak, toasted oak, touch of whiskey at best, spicy hop bitterness, sticky mild boozy finish

Mouth is thicker syrupy heavy bod, lighter carb, some fusel alcohol

Overall not bad, bit too sweet but quite nice, wish the whiskey barrel was bigger too

Dec 10, 2018
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richj1970 from Alabama

4.27/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 22 oz bomber dated April 2017.

A: Rich clear dark brown with copper tones and a smallish one finger head. Fairly short retention and little to no lacing.

S: Bourbon, maple syrup, vanilla, and toasted coconut.

T: Bourbon and maple come through front and center but mixed with some vanilla, coconut, dried dark fruits and some mild hops to round things out and provide a nice complexity.

M: Medium body with average carbonation. Finish has a clean sweetness and some alcohol heat that is not surprising for the ABV.

O: Excellent BA barleywine. I might have preferred a touch more hop presence. I was a little worried that this was going to be too sweet, but it is well controlled and balanced

Sep 03, 2018
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SLeffler27 from New York

4.21/5  rDev -2.1%
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.

Feb 25, 2018
Barrel Works Series: Sapsquatch from Southern Tier Brewing Company
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 97 ratings