Real Ale Brewing Company

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Barleywine - American
Ranked #161
Ranked #9,631
3.97 | pDev: 11.84%
Real Ale Brewing Company
Texas, United States
Very Good
Reviews: 328 | Ratings: 662 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by burnerfinger:
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burnerfinger from Texas

4.6/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

bought myslef a single bottle of this having no idea what I had found:

A: poured from the 12 oz bottle into my new belgium goblet. Thin yellowish head leaves, well, heroic lacing. nice oraange-amber hue - noticable sediment at the base of the goblet

S: HMMM! nice, sweet malt (caramel?)

T: (think of Mr. Burns) Excellent! Nice tart showing of hops, with a huge malt backbone.

M: lots and lots of body here. easy on the carbonation - almost no ABV burn.

D: this is the best example of a barelywine that I have found!! really, reallyl great. But I cant honestly give it hi marks for drinkablility - what with the hi abv and huge body this is just too rich for sessioning.

Aug 15, 2010
More User Reviews:
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Douglas14 from California

4.37/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours out a rich, tawny color with almost no head whatsoever. Because there is now head, there is no lacing or retention, obviously. The smell is heavily of malted barley with alcohol also. The taste follows the smell identically. It is an incredibly rich taste, nothing over the top, but very well done. I'm really happy I was able to try this. Great beer.

Aug 11, 2008
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oline73 from Maryland

3.75/5  rDev -5.5%

Dec 03, 2013
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Theortiz01 from Texas

4.5/5  rDev +13.4%

Aug 22, 2013
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allengarvin from Texas

4.53/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2007 vintage, just arrived in Dallas yesterday. Poured into a wide-mouthed chalice, at first it looked like no head was going to develop... but then as it settled, a large, rich, creamy topping of foam formed, long-lasting, with excellent lacing. Very rich, malty aroma, with some piney hop notes and a moderate fruitiness. Likewise, a thick, sweet, caramel-toffee flavor is evidenced on first taste, sweet and sticky, but there's a good deal of bitterness to balance it out. Hops never completely come to the forefront: the emphasis is on the malt. There's a honey-fruity yeast character, with a lingering mix of flavors at the finish. Texture is exceptional: creamy smooth, not too big despite the strength. Very drinkable.

This gets better each year. It's a shame it gets such a small, limited release.

Nov 30, 2007
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Brez07 from Maine

4.02/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2007 vintage. Thanks to callmemickey for sending this to me. 12oz bottle poured into a mini snifter

A: Pours a dark reddish-orange. Slightly murky. There is a scant amount of head that disappeared before the pour was finished. Swirling gets 1/4 inch, but that also leaves quick. No lacing left

S: After all this time, still has a decent hop presence. Definitely fading, but some citrus starts this off. Love the amount of dark fruit, specifically figs. Balancing this all out is a great amount of sweet bready malt. Pretty sure there is some chocolate here too

T: The nose is a perfect preview of this beer. Brief start from the hops, which have some citrus left but are mostly slighty bitter. Again, very balanced with the amount of malt, which has flavors of bread, caramel and raisin. Wet cardboard flavor in the finish, although given the time this has aged it doesn't have that much oxidation

M: Medium bodied. Not much carbonation left in this one, but enough to notice. Slight bitter hop and malt finish

D: A solid barleywine, that has aged well. Maybe a year past it's prime. Would like to try this fresh to see how far it's come

Jun 19, 2011
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blastoderm55 from Texas

4.25/5  rDev +7.1%

Nov 13, 2014
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orbitalr0x from Illinois

3.92/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 vintage. Pours into my glass a deep hazy red/orange with a small off white head on top that falls to a thin layer atop the brew. A bit of a syrupy pour. Aromas start out with roasted malt along with rich nutty scents. Dark fruits, molasses and sweet bread. Lots of caramel and toffee accents as well. Herbal, earthy sort of piney hops sit in the background. A rich, deep aroma for sure.

First sip brings roasted malt upfront that moves into big caramel and toffee flavors. Quite a bit of sweetness upfront as it flows down the nutty, fruity flavors come out more as well. Sweet bread melds into a herbal, piney hop bitterness on the finish with some citrus accents as well. The bitterness can't cut through the sweetness here though unfortunately. Good barleywine, just a bit too sweet/syrupy for my taste.

Mouthfeel is quite thick and viscous with a slight syrupy quality to it as well. This one really takes hold, coats the palate and doesn't hold back. Mellow carbonation works in well. Overall, a tasty barleywine from Texas, albeit a bit on the sweet side Thanks to dmeadows for sending this my way. I wish I had another one to hang onto for a bit.

Jul 22, 2008
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Duttonic from Texas

4.12/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was my first barleywine experience. It was the 2008, and I can't wait to get my hands on some more of it. It is absolutely amazing. I drank it out of the bottle, so I can't say anything about the appearance.

It has an amazing taste and mouthfeel. I never knew a beer could be so smooth. I assuming true to style that because it is a barleywine is the reason that it is so intriguing and slightly fruity.

This is a must try.

Oct 01, 2009
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ACB from California

4.25/5  rDev +7.1%

Dec 24, 2013
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warriorsoul from Pennsylvania

4.05/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big props to TxBeer for hooking me up w/ this one...really been looking forward to trying this barleywine.
Pours a cloudy, ruby color w/ a full finger of off-white head...leaves some impressive lacing on the side of the pint glass.
Aroma is real enjoyable...a nice dose of raisins, grapes, cherries and some cotton candy-like sweetness.
The taste is awesome...right where I like them. Sweet flavors with a bitter aftertaste and just the slightest twinge of alcohol to let you know to respect this one. A boatload of hops have been added to this...yet very well balanced.
Mouthfeel is great...a touch syrupy, but not overly so and the carbonation is spot on.
A very refreshing barleywine...definitely American-style. I would have no problem putting back one or two more of these in an evening, but instead I will cellar the other I obtained for a year or so...time will make this offering from Real Ale that much more enjoyable.

Aug 22, 2005
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nathanmiller from New York

4.5/5  rDev +13.4%

Oct 29, 2014
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Canada_Dan from Colorado

4/5  rDev +0.8%

Jul 02, 2014
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satowns from Colorado

3.49/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

First, thanks GregMcQ for the quick and easy trade!

Small pssst upon opening; poured into a pint glass...this beer is viscous! Sisyphus is topped with an extremely minimal and quick fading head. It has a beautiful coppery orange color.

Caramelized malt and a touch of chocolate are immediately noticed in the nose. Deep inhalation reveals a sharp EtOH aroma and a little solvent. Hop presence is indistinguishable; based on other reviews I was left scratching my head on that.

At a reported 11% abv, this beer still has a ton of body. I'm guessing the final gravity was in the 7-8 Plato range. Pretty complex flavor profile, its hard to identify the individuals, but I get a bit of white bread crust, oak and nice repasado tequila in the finish.

A nice barleywine, but not typical of the style of barleywine or strong ale I would normally gravitate towards. I wasn't wowed by the aroma. I wasn't impressed by the flavor either (at first), but it quickly grew on me. Although, I think the price of nearly 4 bucks a bottle might send me elsewhere.

Music enjoyed whilst sampling: Maggie's Farm by Bob Dylan

Feb 01, 2008
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elNopalero from California

4.17/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2010 vintage.

Pours a roasted tan color, like darkened straw. Caramel would be apt, as it also describes some of the aroma and flavor I picked up. There’s a wonderful smell to this that’s sweet and complex. Some earthy leather that balances the sweetness, just enough effervescence to keep it light, a malt backbone to mellow things out, and no discernable alcohol despite being a strong beer.
I’m looking forward to my planned vertical down the road, and I’ll be sure to update my tasting notes at that time.


2011 vintage (reviewed Dec 2011)

I don’t know if this should have a separate entry for each vintage. But I just found out that the recipe has gone through some changes over the past few years. Apparently the rye bill has dropped, but it’s still present. For 2011’s vintage it pours a light caramel color. There’s some light, pleasing aromas, a delicate hoppiness, with a chew, big DIPA flavor. It’s piney and slightly sweet, not warming for it’s ABV. More hoppy but with a touch of rye spice. It warms exceptionally well and I can only imagine it improving with age.

Below are my notes from my Sisyphus “vertical” –cellared Sisyphus, enjoyed periodically.

2011, aged 2 years:
This is cloudy gold tan in color with thin foam.
Aroma is a bittered orange marmalade with piney evergreen and a hint of toasted coconut. The bitterness is still present. Somewhat off.

2010 Sisyphus, aged 4 years:
This was what I had hoped for. Even at the 4 year mark it held up exceptionally well. The hops became dialed down, with a nutty toffee character complementing candied oranges and a caramelly malt backing. Warms wonderfully, without heat or any of the off notes I caught in the 2011. Wish I had more.

2009 Sisyphus, aged 5 years:
This pours an intense copper color with light foam.
The flavor mellowed out but still maintains an intensity. I get candied orange, some light chocolate dusting, a present bitterness but the hops have faded. Some light oxidation and a long, long finish. A surprising treat.

Final bottle update:
Sisyphus 08, enjoyed 10/15
This might very well be the oldest beer I’ve tasted. At least at this point. And for a six and a half/seven year old barleywine it held up pretty well. However, it did not reach the high points of the 2010 and 09. I get thin foaming, a muddled, faded aroma with a big upfront bitterness and a drying finish. The chocolate and coconut notes I expect to find don’t appear, even after warming to ambient temperature. Might have sat on this one too long.

Nov 08, 2011
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Wsherry1 from Illinois

3.63/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Jun 23, 2015
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deg from New Hampshire

4.07/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer poured a good amber color, and I could smell the hops. The smell had a fruit tang, like citrus, more like orange than grapefruit. I could taste the hops. I could not pick up much of a malt taste. The beer had a creamy feel to it. I felt very little alcohol warmth. Since I don't like American Barleywine (I prefer English Barleywine when I get Barleywine style beers), I probably would not buy this again. If you are someone that likes American Barleywine style beers, this would be a good one to try out since it matches the style (with the exception of alcohol warmth) well.

Apr 04, 2013
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jale from Michigan

3.77/5  rDev -5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2009 bottle thanks to my great friend Eric.

A: Pours a thick cloudy amber with very little white lacing.

S: Sweet smelling malt with a hint of hops.

T: Initial sweet malt followed quickly by nice herbal hop bitterness. The alcohol is well hidden. I get a little grass in the finish.

M: Medium body with a small amount of carbonation.

O: Glad I was able to try this.

Aug 25, 2011
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StevenLaValley from Texas

4/5  rDev +0.8%

Oct 31, 2013
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Bierschenker from Belgium

3.58/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Traded this with HardTarget. Thank you very much!

When I opened the bottle I was overwhelmed by American hops.
Poured out in a pilsner glass, but I didn’t receive a head. There is some lacing on top, a very thin layer.
The colour is a dark misty peach. No carbonation present.
The odour gives a very strong hop odour, alcohol, spices (coriander) and orange peel.
Very deep hop tones, combined with malt and alcohol. Continues with dark chocolate and scotch orange marmalade.
The mouthfeel is very earthy and meat like.
The aftertaste is less on bitterness and more on mature tones. Oak wood, honey, dried orange peel, sea salt and earth.

Still struggling with the American hops, but I know a good brew when I taste one.

Jul 18, 2006
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hoppymcgee from Maine

3.82/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Thanks to my buddy Bill for this bottle. Poured from a 2007 vintage 12oz. bottle into a NYC Craft Beer Week 8oz. glass.

A: Hazy, orange-ish color with a good amount of tight bubble carbonation that fizzes - impressive for a beer 3 years old.

S: Sweet 'n' sticky maple syrup, yeast, caramel malts.

T: Bitter, caramel, bitter, toffee, bitter, raisins and such. A well-rounded flavor profile at this point.

M: Great carbonation for this style and age. Leads me to believe this could have held up another couple of years, albeit it is a little watery right now.

D: The best feature of this beer. It's very hard to tell that this beer is 11.5%. The bitterness is a little cloying but if you let it sit in your mouth you experience the richness of this beer.

Overall, I didn't think this one was sour or infected as others noted with this vintage.

May 06, 2010
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brett606 from Texas

5/5  rDev +25.9%

Jul 04, 2013
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ChainGangGuy from Georgia

3.45/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2007 vintage.

Appearance: Pours a clear, amber, near-still body. Keepin' it simple!

Smell: Caramel maltiness backed by triple sec, a few tired raisins, and fresh-cut lumber.

Taste: Grainy, dry caramel malt taste with a fairly restrained sweetness. Light hint of dark fruit. A sip of orange liqueur followed by a few drops of grain alcohol. Medium-high, earthy bitterness. Touch of wood. Warm, bitterish finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Rather mild carbonation.

Drinkability: While not a bad barleywine, it doesn't quite display the grace or complexity I look for in the swanky barleywine style.

May 12, 2008
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trojankeg from Texas

4/5  rDev +0.8%

Nov 03, 2012
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derbledraught from Wisconsin

5/5  rDev +25.9%

Jul 10, 2013
Sisyphus from Real Ale Brewing Company
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 662 ratings