Barley Wine (Pilot Series)
Alaskan Brewing Co.

Barley Wine (Pilot Series)Barley Wine (Pilot Series)
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Barleywine - American
4.16 | pDev: 9.38%
Alaskan Brewing Co.
Alaska, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Barley Wine (Pilot Series)Barley Wine (Pilot Series)
Notes: Alaskan Barley Wine is a full bodied ale, deep mahogany in color and brewed with an array of complementing malts to achieve its high original gravity. Multiple hop additions in the boil and dry hopping during fermentation provide contrast to the big malt character resulting in the smooth balance that distinguishes this specialty brew. Like many fine wines, Alaskan Barley Wine may be aged in the bottle and gains deeper malt complexity and smoothness over time.
Reviews: 301 | Ratings: 624 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of rodbeermunch
rodbeermunch from Nevada

3.58/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This is a review of a 2009 bottle, consumed in early 2019, at Shawn's place for the Royal Rumble. Can't believe I actually thought Kenny Omega would be a surprise entrant, but at least I got MVP right. Was fun watching Shawn get tossed again though.

Pours closer to black than it does dark brown. I guess with 'normal' beers they darken up a bit with age/oxidation(?), so no difference here I guess. The aroma is mostly roasted malt, dark fruit like notes. Not the usual toffee and caramel interplay, or even hops since this is an American barleywine.

Malty domination continues in the taste, still kicking plenty of dark fruit notes, but they aren't uber bitter at this point in the beer's life. The toffee is there, but not huge, but bigger than the aroma. A bit of earth, tobacco and leather note to it. Props to this maintaining its carbonation level a decade later.

You can do a lot worse than these $5 bottles that held up just fine 10 years later.

Feb 24, 2021
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Treyliff from West Virginia

4.46/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2011 Vintage
22ox bottle poured into a snifter

A- pours a deep amber-brown color with a one-finger foamy off-white head that reduces to a ring

S- a nice array of dark fruits up front; raisin, fig & prune. Caramel, toffee, fruitcake, banana bread, tobacco, leather, orange peels, bread pudding and brown sugar

T- bold malty notes up front give flavors of booze soaked raisins & figs, followed by sweet notes of caramel, toffee, brown sugar and molasses. The finish gives notes of Christmas cake, orange peels and earthy tobacco. The linger is long, with fruit and caramel notes sticking around long after the finish

M- medium body with low carbonation leads to a slightly foamy mouthfeel that turns creamy into a slightly warming finish

O- this one has aged well, slight oxidization but tons of dark fruits and caramel. The long linger is perhaps the most impressive part

Aug 25, 2019
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Avitra from Switzerland

3.97/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Interesting how different the nose which is all Stout and the taste which is all red fruit us. Intriguing. Also some charcoal and a hint if chocolate. A little boozy but drinkable

Aug 26, 2018
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GreesyFizeek from New York

4.26/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

2013 vintage.

This one pours a slightly murky dark brown, with a small head, and no lacing.

This smells like bready malt, port, caramel, toffee, and slight hops.

The aging has done this well. It's got a wonderful port/sherry thing going on, with a nice malt complexity- lots of spicy breadiness, caramel, and toffee, and really absolutely no booziness. There's a slight hop character left as well, but it's mostly faded.

This is lightly carbonated, with a somewhat light body and mouthfeel.

This is a really great example of a non-barrel-aged barleywine. I usually don't care for the style much if it hasn't been barrel aged, but this is still awesome.

Sep 24, 2017
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Shawnadams330 from Ohio

4.69/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2010 bottle, opened Jan 1 2017, dark fruits, raisin, sherry aroma. Awesome. Taste follows aroma, more sherry as it warms. Warming alcohol, pleasing. Finishing dry! Held up incredible well for a 7 year old beer. Please make it again!

Jan 01, 2017
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unclekeith from Alaska

3.76/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

From a 32 oz growler into a tulip - 2015 vintage - Old Growth - may be a different recipe

L: Deep reddish-brown, no haze, thin beige head
S: Dark fruit, malt, a bit of sweetness
T: More malt, nice bitterness, a bit of heat, caramel
M: Thin for style, resinous
O: Very nice barleywine - glad this one made a reappearance up here!

Nov 14, 2016
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stevoj from Idaho

3.96/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

barley wine bottle share on 1/31/15, 2008 vintage. What a away to finish the night. Pours beautiful orange-red with thin white head, aroma has awesome notes of rich caramel, toffee, vanilla, some candied fruit, sticky honey, and some slight bread notes. Perfectly aged barley-wine. Taste is sweet and sticky caramel, vanilla, toffee, honey with some slight bitter hay and grass, finishing dry and slightly sweet.

Jan 13, 2016
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mdfb79 from New York

4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From 09/01/15 notes. Thanks to Beerlawyer85 for sharing. 2013 vintage.

Pours a dark mahogany brown color with light brown head and low carbonation evident. Tons of caramel malts, toffee, sugar, toasted malts, some dark fruits, and some coconut. Medium body and low carbonation, super smooth and creamy. Great body.

Overall very good. Tons of caramel, would love to see it in a bourbon barley down the line.

Sep 02, 2015
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jzeilinger from Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

In review is a 2010 vintage.

A - Pours a deep garnet/burgundy color, lacing is thin but dense.

S - Roasted candy toffee, prunes, figs, raisins, and toasted brown sugar.

T - Has a certain buttery character, raisins, figs, prunes and follows the nose pretty much to a "T". At the very end there's some citrus bitterness but it's buried WAY down there.

M - Thick and full bodied, slippery, lip smacking sticky.

O - This aged particularly well.

Jul 25, 2015
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cbutova from Massachusetts

4.16/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 bottle split last night at our Barleywine share.

A- Bomber split a bunch of ways into pint glasses during our Barleywine Share 2014. A deep, brown sugar hue and a light tan cap to about a finger with a frothy texture. Decent retention as a big ring remains leaving a large sheet and some drizzle.

S- Fairly tame here for me, might have to do with the age. Deep caramel and brown sugar with a certain toastiness and some spicy dark fruit feel.

T- Gains a lot of strength here and delivers a lot of flavor. Deep sweet caramel matched by a spiciness that reminds me of raisins and a slight hint of buttery decadence. Brown sugar, hint of cocoa, figs, musty leather, slight alcohol and perhaps a hint of nutmeg.

MF- Thick body with quite a bit of oily slickness on the palate. Carbonation is still quite high and the texture overall is silky. Finishes fairly warm.

Complexity delivered with atop a big malty base. Well rounded with lots of balanced but strong flavors; I like the interplay between the caramel and the spicy raisin notes.

Dec 14, 2014
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schnarr84 from Canada (AB)

4.36/5  rDev +4.8%

2008 and 2013 side by side 11/16/14

2008 - deep mahogany color with an incredible sweet molasses nose with nice slightly bitter maltiness. an incredibly smooth barleywine with some brown sugar/molasses flavor and dark malt flavor. absolutely incredible after 6 years

2013 - very similar to 2008 but with some risidual hop bitterness and a slightly less refined flavor. still incredible and delicious but slightly less so than the aged bottle

Nov 16, 2014
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pat61 from Minnesota

4.5/5  rDev +8.2%

Malt sweetness and alcohol dominate the nose with hints of cola, sherry, and fruit.
Brilliant deep chestnut with a 1" off-white to tan head that quickly dissipates but leaves thin lace. Beer has some legs.
Palate begins sweet with sherry to port, hints of cola, light fruit, balanced on the end with a medium bitter hop accent. Good balance between the yeasty esters, malty sweetness, alcohol and hop bitterness.
The body is smooth, chewy, below average carbonation, warming with a hot alcohol burn.

Sep 11, 2014
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don1481 from Wisconsin

4.12/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into glass.

Appearance: pours a deep copper with a tan head that rapidly dissipates. Fairly transparent with a good amount of bubbling within.

Smell: lots and lots of hops. Slight amount of booze.

Taste: fairly complex: notes of hops, kind of a caramel hint, some booziness, some brown sugar. Pretty darn nice.

Mouthfeel: sticky. Hoppy aftertaste.

Overall: very happy I picked this up. Really good overall.

Jun 28, 2014
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mverity from Florida

3.04/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.75

2010 bottle. Pours a rich deep mahogany brown with a cherry hue. Amazing head retention, great lacing, huge thick collar. Aroma is molasses, toffee, leather and earthy wood. Taste is bitter molasses, stale tobacco, vanilla and wet paper. Nice rich body and low carbonation. I believe this beer must have been left on the shelf in a high light area since 2010. It looked great, but the paper and tobacco really ruined the flavor.

May 25, 2014
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kdahnke123 from Indiana

3.54/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

2013 Bottling poured into a snifter at cellar temperature
A - Pours a deep amber color with a single finger of quickly dissipating beige head.
S - Very hoppy on the nose with a small amount of malt in the background. The hops have a slight sour note to them.
T - Bitter up front with a malty middle and a crisp dry finish.
M - Moderately mouth coating with a medium amount of carbonation.
O - A very hop heavy barley wine. More of a double IPA than a barley wine. If you like over the top Northwest style IPAs then this is for you. If you like English style barley wines avoid this one.

May 06, 2014
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SHODriver from North Carolina

4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from 2011

A: poured into a snifter to a deep mahogany with some red hues and a finger and a half of dense light tan head that fades to a small pool that leaves some lacing
S: smells of caramel, toffee, and whispers of hops with a slight floral, pine and citrus aroma
T: taste is caramel, toffee, faded citrus and pine from the hops, a bit floral but a lot of sweetness from the malts. swallow is lingering sweetness with caramel, slight chocolate and some citrusy hop flavors.
M: this beer is smooth and full bodied with soft carbonation and a clean finish
O: This beer is fantastic. The hops are pretty faded and the nose I was getting off the pour was just straight aromatic hops but once the beer settled a minute it was almost all gone. This beer has aged very gracefully and there isn't the slightest hint of oxidation.

Apr 04, 2014
Photo of champ103
champ103 from Texas

4.29/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: Pours a hazed reddish/brown color. A well formed tightly packed beige head rises to over two finger with good retention. The foam gently recedes in a minute, with plenty of patchy lace left behind.
S: Toasted and caramel malts up front and center. Dark fruits, and a lingering hoppy bitterness. A really well balanced nose.
T: Follows the nose with a great toasted and caramel malt flavor. Caramelized sugars and dark fruits. A bit of bitterness. Again, well balanced and very tasty.
M/D: A full body with moderate carbonation. Just enough viscosity without being over barring. Very smooth. A big beer, but a great enjoyable sipper.

I have always liked this barleywine. One that is great fresh or with some age. A big malty character with enough hoppy bitterness in the finish. Nothing is out of balance, which is a downfall of many American versions. As always, highly recommended.

Mar 23, 2014
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kaseydad from California

4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 vintage.

Pours a beautiful burgundy/brown colored ale with a fluffy, foamy beige head. Loving the color.

Aroma is producing molasses, honey, plums, booze and malt.

Slightly hoppy taste followed by a warming swallow. Some orange and medicine-like cough syrup lingering on the aftertaste. Slight bite on the swallow.

Creamy mouthfeel as expected by the look.

I had been trying to find this elusive BW for awhile. My local Whole Food came through and allowed me to buy a couple. Not sure I would let this age more than a couple years, but it was a good session. Not the greatest BW out there, but one of my favorites from Alaskan Brewing.

Mar 01, 2014
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Unphased from Wisconsin

4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Very interesting! Was expecting something totally different but was pleasantly surprised. I don't know if this follows strict barley wine guidelines but I thoroughly enjoyed. First taste was of the hops. Then everything else set in. Quite complex. I will look for this beer again. Found it on tap but would like to try in bottles..

Feb 05, 2014
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Kuaff from Alaska

4.57/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I enjoyed this fine specimen of a beer at cellar temperature in my snifter.

This has a great, stunning, pure, deep, dark ruby color that matches the aurora illustrated on the label. The one-finger tan head dissipates to a nice frothy ring with a patch in the middle. Lovely.

It's aroma is a splendid mix of cherries, raisins, vanilla, caramel, and an accent of pine.

The taste is terrific and offers just what I like in an American barley wine: a harmonized balance of sweet caramel-like maltiness and bitter but juicy hoppiness. Some definite dark fruit flavors are there as well. The aftertaste has an awesome leathery, dank hoppiness to it.

As befits a barley wine, the feel is thick and substantial.

This is simply a superbly-brewed barley wine that's robust in all the right places.

Jan 20, 2014
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Sludgeman from District of Columbia

3.93/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a chalice. Purchased in October in Minneapolis and shipped home in luggage.

Complex aromas and tastes. An intense beer. Every bit a barley wine but one tilted towards the malt without enough hoppiness. Put this one in the cellar and try again later. 3.75

A – Pours beautiful clear amber with a small tan head that dissipates instantaneously to almost nothing. Some alcohol legs. 3.75

S – Malty, dark fruit, prunes, caramel, a whiff of whiskey, a tinch of spiciness, but all other tastes are overwhelmed by the beer’s malty richness. 4.5

T – Malty sweetness, raisins, alcohol (very evident but in a good way), some citrus tang in the finish, medium low bitterness. 3.75

MF – Warming with a touch of creaminess, full bodied with a semi-dry finish. A bit too hot in the finish for me. 3.75

Jan 03, 2014
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Beersnake1 from California

4.54/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2010 vintage poured from fridge temp to snifter. Pours a beautiful burgundy/dark brown. Looks like a nice English barleywine. Smell is full of caramel, vanilla, and some dark fruit. Amazing. Taste follows the nose perfectly. Super smooth and the rich malty taste of an aged American barleywine is coming through. Lots of caramel and sweetness. Smooth finish, and great mouthfeel. Incredible and highly recommended.

Sep 29, 2013
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C20Percent from Virginia

4.64/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2011 Vintage

Finally broke this out of the cellar, and HOT DAMN is it good.

Looks pretty -- darker than I expected. A dark amber color.

Aromas of dark fruits -- dark cherries -- vanilla.

Flavors of toffee, dark fruits, butter -- wonderful flavors -- beer shines like crazy here. A little smoky.

Feels oily, buttery, velvety.

Not sure that this is the Barley Wine standard, but it's pretty close. Excels at every aspect. Glad I purchased it on a whim -- highly recommended!

Sep 05, 2013
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KFBR392 from Illinois

4.05/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2011 Vintage

Appearance: Pours with a medium bodied thickness and forms a very light head. Dark copper/mahogany color. Above average carbonation active in the glass while drinking. Slight random lacing on the edges of the glass.

Smell: A surprisingly active and bright barley front hits right away. Comes on a little too strong, really overstimulates the nose. Some darker tones pick up on the back end of the beer with some heavy caramel, smoked oak, and honey.

Taste: The front is a honey, caramel, barley sweetness. But the sweetness is kept in check by a full bodied flavor which warms up the palate. Gummy, chewy, sweet barley and malt rides long throughout this brew. The finish is a sweet brightness which lingers for a while on the palate.

Mouthfeel: A great balance of sweet and full bodied flavor.

Overall: A great offering from Alaskan Brewing. They will certainly get a few more looks from me after this one. Drinking incredibly well after a couple years of aging. Hit all the major checkpoints a barley wine should expect maybe for the overpowering barley on the nose. Other then that, no complaints.

Aug 20, 2013
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BirdsandHops from Oregon

4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2007 vintage

A: pours a clear dark ruby with a finger of beige head that fades into a thin ring with little lacing.

S: a lovely mix of caramel, malts, vanilla, burnt sugar, and slight oxidation and sweet fruits.

T: similar to the aroma, a lot of caramel with vanilla, oak, oxidized flavors, and dark fruits.

M: medium body with lowish carbonation, this beer avoids being watery or too sticky sweet.

O: this beer has held up pretty well for 6 years. It smells amazing and is a little oxidized, but still quite tasty.

Aug 12, 2013
Barley Wine (Pilot Series) from Alaskan Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 624 ratings