Decadence 2011 Maple-Smoked Barleywine - Bourbon Barrel-Aged
AleSmith Brewing Company

Decadence 2011 Maple-Smoked Barleywine - Bourbon Barrel-AgedDecadence 2011 Maple-Smoked Barleywine - Bourbon Barrel-Aged
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AleSmith Brewing Company
California, United States
American Barleywine
4.1 | pDev: 7.8%
May 09, 2021
Feb 27, 2013
Decadence 2011 Maple-Smoked Barleywine - Bourbon Barrel-AgedDecadence 2011 Maple-Smoked Barleywine - Bourbon Barrel-Aged
Notes: Barrel Aged Decadence 2011 is our Maple Smoked Barleywine (brewed to celebrate our 16th anniversary) matured in premium bourbon barrels.
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Photo of hman43
Reviewed by hman43 from North Carolina

4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Look: It pours brown with a bit of clouding. It has a tan head with a low level of retention.

Smell: Heavy malt aromas with caramel and smoke. There are medium levels of bourbon. There is a low level of sweetness in the aroma with the smoke taking on a bacon like character as it warms. There is a very low level of spice.

Taste: The smoke and alcohol are up front in the flavor with caramel and toffee becoming more evident later. There is also a bit of spice and pine in the background with a low level of citrus. This is all blended with bourbon overtones.

Feel: It has a full, somewhat chewy body and strong alcohol with a tinge of hot in the finish.

Overall, a good complex blend of flavors and aromas make this an attractive special occasion beer.
May 09, 2021
Rated: 4.11 by Knapp85 from Pennsylvania

Oct 03, 2016
Rated: 4.55 by jeff1973 from California

Jan 15, 2016
Rated: 3.9 by itracy63 from Washington

Jan 10, 2016
Rated: 4.45 by kevindp9 from Arizona

Oct 04, 2015
Rated: 4.25 by JohnnieNepal from Michigan

Aug 17, 2015
Rated: 4.34 by jfstilling from South Carolina

Apr 28, 2015
Rated: 4 by nathanmiller from New York

Jan 08, 2015
Rated: 4.48 by XmnwildX12 from Minnesota

Dec 24, 2014
Rated: 4.25 by Lucnifter from California

Nov 09, 2014
Rated: 4.25 by Sanderson from Washington

Sep 22, 2014
Rated: 4.25 by funkyaudio from Illinois

Sep 01, 2014
Rated: 4 by LakerLeith from California

Aug 22, 2014
Rated: 4.5 by jmkoller11 from Arizona

Jul 21, 2014
Rated: 3.75 by zestar from California

Jul 19, 2014
Rated: 3.5 by -NESTO- from New Jersey

Jun 28, 2014
Rated: 3.75 by Rifugium from North Dakota

Jun 25, 2014
Rated: 4 by BierCellar from Maine

Jun 23, 2014
Rated: 4 by BarrytheBear from Wisconsin

May 18, 2014
Rated: 4 by madtowndmb1 from Wisconsin

May 18, 2014
Rated: 4.5 by abeeronthebeach from California

May 09, 2014
Rated: 4.5 by Kurmaraja from California

May 04, 2014
Rated: 4 by gmendez1122 from Illinois

Apr 27, 2014
Rated: 4.55 by vfgccp from New York

Mar 17, 2014
Rated: 4 by thegerm87 from Massachusetts

Mar 16, 2014
Rated: 4.25 by Sarge3130 from Pennsylvania

Mar 09, 2014
Rated: 4 by tectactoe from Michigan

Mar 02, 2014
Rated: 4.25 by mrebeka from Michigan

Mar 02, 2014
Rated: 4.25 by imyourhero21 from California

Feb 18, 2014
Rated: 4.75 by HaveUSeenMyCellar from California

Jan 31, 2014
Photo of Jugs_McGhee
Reviewed by Jugs_McGhee from Australia

3.56/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5
750ml brown glass (black glass?) bottle with black foil-ed over unbranded pry-off pressure cap acquired at Alesmith a year ago or so and served into an EKU 28 stem-snifter in me parents' gaff in high altitude Castle Rock, Colorado. Reviewed live. Expectations are fairly high given its current 90 rating, though I wasn't very fond of the base beer. 11% ABV confirmed per the label. The label features gold font and is classy and intricate. Style per the label: "Smoked Barleywine-Style Ale Brewed with Maple Syrup and Aged in Bourbon Barrels." 2011 vintage (obviously).

Served cold - straight from me fridge - and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.

Pours a one finger wide head of khaki colour. Nice creaminess and thickness. Nice smooth even consistency. Little lacing clings to the sides of the glass as the head recedes, and little remains for very long. Head retention is average - about two minutes.

Body colour is a translucent orange-amber of average vibrance. Nontransparent. No floating yeast particles/sediment is visible.

Overall, it's an appealing appearance for the style. I'm looking forward to trying it, but it's not unique or special. What I'd expect from a barleywine.

Sm: The maple is more subtle than I remember from the base beer - or maybe it's just covered up by the bourbon notes, which consists of ample vanilla and oak , but sadly no toasty character. Any smoke character is very restrained/faded. In my experience, smoke recedes with age. Plenty of typical barleywine malts - brown malts primarily. There's also some cream and some hints of fruit - faint cherry and currants mostly. Clearly, a suitable bourbon was chosen given the richness of the oak and seeming extent to which the barrel notes complement (if not develop) the base beer.

No yeast character, hop character, or overt booziness is detectable.

As it warms, the maple syrup emerges a bit more, lending some sweetness up front. The aroma does seem a biteen too sweet, but it's tolerable. It's a pleasant aroma of mild to moderate strength.

T: Ah. So much more well balanced and built than the base beer. The smoke has faded, to be sure, but there is a faint subtle hint of beechwood. The foundation is pretty standard for a barleywine: brown malts mainly, with some biscuit malt, caramel, and cream. The barrel notes are lovely and really complement the base beer nicely; I pick up lovely oak and some wonderful vanilla - neither of which feels artificial. Still, I would like some toasty character. The maple is much more reticent than would be ideal, unfortunately. I'd like it with a bit more wood.

It also boasts some faint burnt sugar, very light hints of leather, and a kiss of dark fruit (which develops as it warms).

Overall, it's a very cohesive build, but not quite a gestalt one. There's abundant complexity here as well as a fair amount of subtlety. The smoke and maple would provide nuance if they were more present, but having tried the base beer I'm glad they've faded. Fairly intricate. Above average depth of flavour. Average duration and intensity of flavour.

No yeast character comes through. It has a pleasant alcohol warmth which fits with the premise of the beer yet admittedly restricts drinkability.

Mf: Has a nice creaminess - especially up front. Smooth and wet. Nice thickness and body. Heavy on the palate, to style. Nice presence on the palate. As well as it complements the flavour profile, the texture doesn't come off custom-tailored to the taste. It's a biteen overcarbonated, unfortunately.

Not oily, astringent, gushed, rough, or hot - though it does have some pleasant alcohol warmth.

Dr: It's a sipper, to be sure, and is best consumed in the winter months. I'm surprised at its quality given the base beer used, but Alesmith has again shown their mastery over barrel aging and heavy American styles. It hides its ABV pretty well, but there's room for improvement. I'll enjoy killing this bottle alone and I almost wish I had another bottle. I'd recommend this to friends, and can verify aging has done it well. One of most improved-with-age beers I've had. I'd definitely buy it again just to see how it develops.

A lovely barleywine with well-integrated barrel notes that will please even the discerning drinker.

Low B
Dec 29, 2013
Rated: 4 by Stinger80OH from Ohio

Dec 19, 2013
Rated: 3.75 by Rhettroactive from Virginia

Dec 14, 2013
Rated: 3.5 by siege06nd from Virginia

Dec 14, 2013
Rated: 3.5 by IrishColonial from Texas

Dec 14, 2013
Rated: 4 by billab914 from Virginia

Dec 14, 2013
Rated: 4 by mdaschaf from Indiana

Nov 06, 2013
Photo of corby112
Reviewed by corby112 from Pennsylvania

4.12/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
Pours a dark chesnut brown color with mahogany/plum edges and a one finger off-white head that quickly settles into a thin, lasting ring.  Spotty lace left behind.

Slightly smokey aroma with a prominent barrel presence yet it doesn't interfere with smoke, barleywine and sweet maple notes.  Dry oak/toothpick with burnt sugar and subtle bourbon along with leathery malts, smoke, toffee, caramel and dark fruit.  A bit of vanilla and coconut from the barrel along with charcoal, liquid smoke, fig, raisin, plum and date.

On the fuller end of medium body with a strong barrel presence that's nicely integrated into the barleywine notes.  Damp oak, strong vanilla bean and toasted coconuts with decent bourbon flavor that's not overpoweringly hot or boozy.  Spicy bourbon, vanilla and coconut followed by leathery malt, boozy sweetness, maple syrup, subtle smoke, date, fig, raisin and plum. Nice integration but still has prominent barrel and barleywine flavor.  Smoke is a bit tame and there is some heat but the high ABV is well masked making this beer decently drinkable.  A complex and flavorful barrel aged beer that doesn't hammer you over the head with bourbon.  I enjoyed this beer and am looking forward to my other bottles.
Oct 25, 2013
Rated: 4 by HuskyinPDX from Washington

Oct 24, 2013
Photo of timc100
Reviewed by timc100 from Illinois

4.64/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75
Beautiful looking bottle enjoyed on a crisp fall saturday.

Not the greatest looking beer. Murky, muddy dirty orange/ruby with a fizzing head that dissipates within seconds - pretty dense amount of sediment, but the alcohol legs around the glass are great. Well balanced aroma, very enticing. Sweet natural maple, boozy caramel, bourbon soaked oak and vanilla, some lighter barrel sweetness of coconut. Burnt brown sugar, toffee, cocoa powder - very light smoky sweetness, hints of cigar smoke when it warms as well as notes of dank attic must. Very light lactic oak sourness It tastes fantastic - sticky toffee, caramel, and maple sap. Big boozy bourbon caramel - vanilla, cocoa, maple.

Truly fantastic beer. I imagine that especially the smoke, but also maple have mellowed out a lot, which was probably was a good thing - they add their own subtleties and enhance the other flavors. Definitely some heat and booziness - works real well, drinking perfect. Truly outstanding barleywine.
Oct 19, 2013
Decadence 2011 Maple-Smoked Barleywine - Bourbon Barrel-Aged from AleSmith Brewing Company
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 92 ratings