Alaskan Barley Wine (Pilot Series) | Alaskan Brewing Co.

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Alaskan Barley Wine (Pilot Series)Alaskan Barley Wine (Pilot Series)
620 Ratings
Alaskan Barley Wine (Pilot Series)Alaskan Barley Wine (Pilot Series)

Brewed by:
Alaskan Brewing Co.
Alaska, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.70%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by John_M on 03-18-2007

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 620 |  Reviews: 299
Reviews by EricCioe:
Photo of EricCioe
4.54/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This pours a super deep burgundy with a nice two finger cap that melts away with a hint of lace. On the nose there are caramelized figs and dates with a huge component of floral hops that compliment it perfectly. It took warming to coax this out but this nose is outstanding. In the mouth there is a huge sweet component melding with just a bit of warming, tamed by a slightly bitter floral note. The body is medium full with a bit of stickiness, maybe a bit too much, with a long, warming finish.

Overall, this is an outstanding beer, in my mind one well worth seeking out if you like sweeter barleywines.

EDIT - 6 Feburary 2012: Just had a glass of the 2008 vintage on draft, and it was godly. The nose was absolutely incredible.

EDIT 2 - 20 March 2012: Somehow that 2008 keg is still on and I've had probably a gallon of it. Absolutely incredible aged.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2009 bottle.Poured into an impy pint glass a cherry infused bronse with a large flufy off white head,it really took its time settling.Fruit cake malt aromas,dark fruit with slight nuttiness,quite toasty.Malt driven cakey flavors,some dark fruit and sweetish dough flavors hide the alcohol in check pretty well.Its chewey but the alcohol is not a monster,a real nice sipper tonight.

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Photo of Shawnadams330
4.69/5  rDev +13%
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!

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Photo of don1481
4.12/5  rDev -0.7%
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.

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Photo of RoyalT
3.87/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - This is molten brown, you can see through it under the light, with an off-white head that came up quickly.

Smell - The malt is deep and intense here. It's not a winey ABW but heavy on the malt aroma. Caramel is prominent along with dark fruits like figs and dates. The sugars are very natural, again like what you'd find in fresh dates, and play well with the malty character.

Taste - It's a little less sugary at the taste. This is a big malt bomb that is lightly toasted. The fruity character gives way to raw sugar and struggles to keep up with the heft of malt.

Mouthfeel - This is nearly full-bodied with a surprising amount of bitterness.

Drinkability - I didn't care for this as much as others. I think it would benefit quite a bit from cellaring as I popped mine fresh and it seemed too tight. I'd like to try a two-year-old bottle one of these days.

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Photo of TCHopCraver
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I got the last bottle of this at one of the liquor stores in Haines and I was very happy to find it. This is of the 2010 vintage.

The beer emerges from the bottle a dark mahogany color with just a slight medium khaki-colored head. The body is just dark enough to not be able to see through it.

This Barley Wine has a very heavy, musty aroma of caramel, brown sugar, cereal grains, and figs. There is a slightly spicy aroma, maybe a little clove and cinnamon. A little alcoholic heat is present, too, but not overly much.

The taste is heavy on the decadent caramel and brown sugar flavors. Also, a sizzle of booziness is present on the sides of my mouth. Some fruit flavors emerge as the beer warms a bit, some dried cherry and fig. The finish might have a tiny bit of hop dryness, but I might be mistaking that for some acidic booze taste at the end.

A big and rich feel lands on my palate. This is a very coating, full-bodied beer. The feel is a little cloying and might go a little toward the overly sticky at the end of each sip. There is quite a boozy sizzle at the conclusion of the sip, too.

This is a very solid, tasty barley wine. I don't think it's one of the better ones that I've had, but it certainly was worth trying. Another solid Alaskan offering.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer review from BA Mag Dec 2007.

With a cry out from their fans, Alaskan Brewing has started bottling their Barley Wine in limited amounts. Look for 22oz bombers in AK, OR and WA this winter.

A thick pillow-top of dense rocky head slowly forms off of a hard pour, the bubbles push through the viscous liquid in slow-motion fashion. Deep but clear brownish chestnut color. Big caramel malt nose with a faint whiff of rum pound cake from the alcohol, brown sugar note and thick malty aroma. The full body is nearly syrupy in thickness, creamy and a little bit smooth as the carbonation tries to break from the liquid. Massive malt backbone never goes too sweet as the alcohol slowly sneaks in with a mildly spicy warmth and the hops drop a balancing hop bitterness that never really cuts through the maltiness all of the way. Dried plums, carob powder, burnt raisins and date sugar come to mind. Finishes sweet with a drawn-out malt complexity and slow alcohol warmth.

There should be very little speculating that this barleywine will age well, the hardest part about it is the amount of willpower you can muster while this beer is in your cellar. A sure pick for the barleywine lover or anyone that is into laying down beer.

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Photo of Beaver13
3.63/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle. Pours a dark copper with a creamy off white head that diminishes to a thin film that leaves some lacing.

The aroma is sweet sugary caramel malts, fruit, alcohol and some piney hops.

The flavor is sweet and sugary malts and fruits that are well balanced by some bitter piney hops and alcohol in the finish. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with creamy carbonation.

Overall, a nice barley wine. It's a little on the sweet side for me.

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Photo of Svejk
4.9/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5


Alaskan Amber was the beer that introduced me to craft beer back in the early 90's. Over the years, I have moved on and very rarely will drink the beer that helped me make the jump. I did try their smoked porter several years ago, but for the most part I didn't drink very much Alaskan beer in recent years.

The other day, I stopped in at Uber in Seattle, and they had this on tap so I decided to give it a try. It pours a dark brown with a good head with reasonable retention considering this is a very big beer. As far as the smell and taste go, it is a sweet beer, and shows it, but it isn't cloying.

This is a really impressive beer. I've recently seen that it is available in bottles, so I'll be enjoying this one at home.

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Photo of Ryno3031
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of SmellsofMahagony
3.5/5  rDev -15.7%

Photo of mverity
3.04/5  rDev -26.7%
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.

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Photo of badbeer
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark amber red color with a beige head. The head receded to a ring leaving a little bit of lacing. Very malty and sweet aromas, not a typical American hopped up version. Aromas of dark fruit, figs, caramel, brown sugar, and a little bit of hops. Sweet caramel flavors, with some citrus hops, brown sugar, figs, and biscuit. Medium bodied with light carbonation. Thanks to pepsican for the sample.

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Photo of DoShek
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - aggressive pour into a snifter offered just under one finger of dark tan head that dissipated quickly, very dark brown that has deep garnet highlights when held up to the light, high viscosity

Aroma - dark fruits, resiny/citrusy hops, very malt forward with hops playing accompaniment, brown sugar or molasses

Taste - big malt at the beginning and hops flare up at the end of the sip, molasses and dark fruits are present, the hops have a resinous dirty flavor/bitterness, balance between malts and hops just barely tips to favor the hops, but just barely, perceptible warmth from the alcohol, as the beer warms the malts really begin to shine

Mouthfeel - heavy and fairly smooth, lower carbonation which is to be expected from a barleywine

Drinkability - definitely a sipper, a 22oz bottle is best shared with a friend, already a great beer, but I think this would shine even brighter with some age on it

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Photo of Mora2000
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 Vintage.

Pours a dark brown color with a cream colored head. The beer pours very clear. A very sweet smelling beer with some piney hops in the aroma as well. Flavor is a mix of dark fruit with some hops and quite a bit of alcohol warming. A big beer that is definitely a sipper. Very drinkable for a beer of its strength, but not something you could have more than one of.

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Photo of Chadster1975
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of magictrokini
3.7/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured hazy copper with a frothy white head. Thick, sticky lacing that took several swig-washes to break through. Very sweet with caramel and dried figs. Some piney hops, but lighter than say, the Stone Old Guardian I had later. Smooth mouthfeel, kind of sticky. The alcohol is well masked, I barely noticed it until seeing the 10% on the label. Very sweet barleywine; not as much hops as the nose advertised. Loads of caramel, grain, and sugar. Tended to build up in your mouth. Could have used a bit more bitterness. Still, very good.

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Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

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.

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Photo of bpfrush
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of ehammond1
3.96/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On Tap

Churchill's Pub & Grille
San Marcos, CA

Clear and dark reddish brown. Very thin off-white cap. Some lacing down the glass.

Sweet and somewhat syrupy aroma along with some sweet fruits. Some warm booze as well.

Bitter and sweet, dark caramel along with sweet and dark fruits, perhaps cherries. Intense flavors.

Smooth, even velvetty mouthfeel. Very nice, especially for a beer this big.

A good, relatively simple, and sweet barleywine. A pleasure.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.03/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 22 oz. bottle into a Surly Darkness Chalice glass. 2011 Bottle.

Appearance: Pours a deep dark brownish mahogany red with a moderate amount of bubbles. Decent two finger off white head fades into a thin patchy layer. Decent amount of lacing on the glass.

Smell: Aroma is fairly sweet with some dark fruits including prunes and dark cherry. Hints of citrus grapefruit hops and molasses. I'm even getting a little whiff of apple and banana. Sweet caramel malts round it out. Smells good.

Taste: Like the smells leads, a fruity and sweet taste. Sweet caramel malts with some toffee and dark fruits. Notes of prunes, cherry, apple, and banana. A light taste of citrus hops with some grapefruit ester. Hops are fairly tame and not very bitter. Sweet but not cloyingly sweet. Tame but pretty good.

Mouthfeel: Medium to heavy bodied with a light to medium level of carbonation. Very smooth for the abv. Feels like its already aged a couple years.

Overall: Overall this is a pretty good barleywine. For a fresh bottle it is very smooth with no noticeable alcohol heat. Could of used a little more hop bite, but the fruity flavors are pretty nice.

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Photo of far333
3.85/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Ruddy brown with orange hues. A bright beige head rises up slightly and then settles out to a soapy foam.

Floral aroma, sweet malt, mild hops and ripe fruit.

Rich flavor of overripe pear, honey, caramel, plus some tangy cherry. Semi-sweet maltiness. Hop bitterness emerges midway across the tongue, some subtle grapefruit flavor. ABV doesn't hurt the flavor, but definitely adds some warmth. Cherry tang lingers. Very flavorful.

Even and smooth mouthfeel, moderately carbonated.

Good drinkability for the strength of this one, a good sipper. Many thanks to Sparky27 for sending this along.

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Photo of moundbz
4.23/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

taste and smell alcohol, smooth and strong, kinda like port wine, potent

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Photo of valkyre65
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

Photo of rudylaw
3.95/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Looks a delicious copper with a nice off white head that abandons you a few minutes after pour.

Very, very sweet in the nose. Lots of sweet malt, sugar, caramel. I'm not picking out fruit easily but there could be notes of peach and plum.

Lots of the same highlights in the taste. Now I'm picking up grapes and candy as well. This would make a really delicious, after dinner drink I think. Extremely sweet and creamy.

This beer was very light for a barleywine though as I had no problem putting down my half of the 22oz last night. But, this came up a bit short for me considering I have been wanting to try this for a long time. Perhaps it's the way I process barleywines? There's no doubt Alaskan Brewing is a place I want to revisit. Perhaps aging this one is a good call?

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Alaskan Barley Wine (Pilot Series) from Alaskan Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.15 out of 5 with 620 ratings