Sisyphus | Real Ale Brewing Company

BA SCORE
88
very good
644 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score
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SisyphusSisyphus
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Real Ale Brewing Company
Texas, United States
realalebrewing.com

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by aracauna on 12-18-2002

BEER STATS
Ratings:
644
Reviews:
323
Avg:
3.91
pDev:
12.02%
 
 
Wants:
49
Gots:
139
For Trade:
6
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 644 |  Reviews: 323
Photo of Sammy
3.28/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Small bottle, stored many months, gotten in a trade with the tradeable Texans. Barnyard alert! And a superfoamer. After that, medium yellow with white head, and lot of lace. But barnyard smell and somewhat dishrag and hops taste. Understated carbonation. 2007 edition.Drank most of it, for mouthfeel.
2010 edition shipped from Augustgarage was much much better. Smooth mouthfeel, better drinkability, though smell just OK.

 423 characters

Photo of acurtis
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of Texasfan549
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of kylehay2004
4.09/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of jaydoc
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of spycow
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.97/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Exiled for sending me this one!

2009 vintage.

Pours a murky honey brown with a 1 inch fizzy light beige head that settles to a film on the top of the beer. Foamy rings of lace form on the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, caramel/toffee, alcohol, and citrus zest. Taste is of bready malt, brown sugar, caramel/toffee, and citrus zest hops on the finish. There is a very mild bitterness on the palate after each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a light carbonation and a smooth and creamy mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good barleywine with a nice balance between the malt and hops.

 634 characters

Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.66/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

i wasnt overly stoked on this one, perhaps it didnt get cellared all the way correctly, got exposed to some heat or light, it has a mild oxidation to it. copper in color, real hazy and thick, and smells exactly as expected. woody hops, could be centennial, but not enough to cut the sweetness, caramelized and toffeed, its intense. thick in feel, sticky sweet, bitter as heck in the end. its one of those ones, and american barleywine often is this for me, that seems like all the recipe is is an attempt to make the biggest beer ever, just kitchen sink malt and hops, and there is very little refinement. sloppy might he a stretch, but the beer taste like a lot of others, and while enjoy it, its sweetness, bitterness, and overexposed alcohol are all unflattering to it. i keep hearing amazing things about these guys, but the few beers i have had have been just alright. perfect to drink out in the sun if you want to get raucously intoxicated.

 948 characters

Photo of kjkinsey
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of Knapp85
3.25/5  rDev -16.9%

Photo of kojevergas
2.48/5  rDev -36.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.25

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with green label and simple label art acquired at a local HEB Grocery. The cap is a branded green pry-off pressure cap. 2013 vintage; bottled 06/06/13. Reviewed live. Expectations are low; I reviewed Real Ale's Blonde Barleywine last night and wasn't a big fan. No ABV is listed on the label so I can't confirm that it's 11.50%.

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.

No liquid gushed out upon removal of the cap. Carbonation seems adequate.

A: No bubble show forms as I pour.

Pours a half finger wide head of white colour. Okay creaminess and thickness. Little lacing clings to the sides of the glass as the head recedes; it falls without sticking, so I guess it isn't true lacing per se. Head retention is pretty decent considering the high ABV - about 3 minutes; it's above average.

Body colour is a clear translucent copper of average vibrance. No yeast particles are visible.

Looks about right for the style, but there's nothing unique or special here. No obvious flaws.

Sm: Amber malts, English pale malts, caramunich malts, caramalts, toffee, butterscotch (diacetyl?), and a surprisingly prominent floral hop presence. Also some orange rind citrus esters from the hops. Vague grapefruit. Plenty of residual sugars; this one is definitely on the sweeter side. Relatively low yeast attenuation is suspected; I'd guess an American yeast was used as the fermentation doesn't seem to have the clean feel an English barleywine yeast would impart. Vague alcohol. Fruit sugars. Fairly syrupy.

The aroma isn't great for the style, and suggests that syrupy alcohol sweetness I can't stand in barleywines. I'm not certain I'm going to enjoy this one. The aroma is moderate in strength.

T: Plenty of fruity alcoholic sweetness. Orange rind, rough grapefruit, tangerine. Some piney hop character. Generic floral hop character. Cane sugar, brown sugar. Plenty of biscuit malt, caramunich malt, and caramalt sweetness along with unwelcome English toffee character. Plenty of sugars bring this one towards the sweeter end of the bitter/sweet spectrum. This one could do with some age. The fruity alcohol is obnoxious. It's not a pleasant or approachable flavour profile by any means. Has a bit of cohesion, but it's far from gestalt, and I wouldn't call it balanced. I wouldn't say I like it. Lacks complexity and subtlety. There's no nuance or inspiration here. A pretty pedestrian flavour profile for a barleywine. Quite boring.

Shallow depth of flavour. Average duration of flavour. Above average intensity of flavour.

No yeast character comes through. Aside from the alcohol, there aren't any off-notes; the butterscotch suggested by the aroma never surfaces in the flavour profile.

Mf: Sticky, smooth, and wet. Too thick and syrupy. Overcarbonated, but not quite biting. Unpleasant, but not offensive. It's got too much alcohol warmth. The texture doesn't really suit the flavour profile too well, but it doesn't work against it per se. Bad presence on the palate.

Not oily, gushed, harsh, or astringent.

Dr: As pedestrian a barleywine as you'll find. Real Ale's shelf offerings have yet to impress me. I wouldn't get this again, nor would I recommend it to friends or trading partners. Its below average quality coupled with its alcohol presence makes it somewhat difficult to drink. Age would likely help, but I wouldn't waste the cellar space on this. Pretty boring, underwhelming, forgettable stuff.

High D+

 3,590 characters

Photo of brentk56
3.68/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2007 version (tasted 11/9/09)

Appearance: Pours a hazy orange/amber color with just a film of a head despite an increasingly hard pour; the head disappears quickly although it did manage a few strands of lace

Smell: Caramel dominates but there are some fruity hops underneath

Taste: Starts out with a caramel flavor that bends in a fruity, bitter direction by mid-palate; there is an unusual lychee and pineapple flavor in the middle that is quite interesting; after the swallow, the caramel re-asserts itself but is joined by the lychee/pineapple flavors add a nice balancing dimension to the finish

Mouthfeel: Thick and viscous, almost velvety; low carbonation

Drinkability: Despite all of my criticism, the beer is somewhat tasty; just nowhere near the top ranks of barleywines, primarily because of the carbonation/mouthfeel issues; I have tasted this barleywine both when it is fresh and with a year or two of age and I have to say that it takes a couple of years for this beer to shake off some of the fusel characteristics that make it awkward in its youth

Thanks, MiguelMandingo, for the opportunity to re-visit this as it certainly changed my opinion

Drinking the 2009 version in early 2011, I find that this version has resolved the carbonation issues I noted earlier so I am bumping the Appearance and Mouthfeel scores by .5.

 1,343 characters

Photo of oline73
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of zestar
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of dmorgan310
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of superspak
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got in a trade with Cyde. 12 ounce bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 10/1/2012. Pours very hazy orange copper color with a 1 finger dense cream colored head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass. Aromas of big tangerine, lemon zest, orange zest, orange rind, apple, caramel, raisin, toast, brown sugar, floral, pine, and floral/toasted earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of hop and malt notes; with good strength. Taste of big tangerine, orange zest, lemon zest, orange rind, apple, caramel, raisin, toast, toffee, brown sugar, floral, light pine, and floral/toasted earthiness. Light earthy pine bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of citrus, citrus zest, apple, caramel, raisin, toast, brown sugar, toffee, floral, light pine, and floral/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Fantastic balance and complexity of hop and malt flavors; with a great bitterness/sweetness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a very creamy and slick mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a small warming present after the finish. Overall this is a highly excellent barleywine! All around great balance and complexity of hop and malt flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the ABV. A highly enjoyable offering.

 1,398 characters

Photo of mothman
3.56/5  rDev -9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2008 vintage.

Poured into stone old guardian glass.

Pours a light layer of white head. Color is a burnt orange with a ruby hue. There are twigs in this beer.

Aroma: Sweet and malty. Caramel, toffee, bready. Has some dark fruit notes. Some spices. Light booze.

Taste: Very sweet. Toffee with bready and caramel malts. Grassy hops. Some raisins.

Mouthfeel: Sweet and smooth. Medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends with a touch of booze.

Overall, a decent bwine, but not too hoppy. All sweetness and malty. Fairly drinkable.

 544 characters

Photo of jlindros
3.69/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2012 vintage

No real head, hazy bright orange color.

Nose big sweet malt, bright blond malts, still fair grassy hop profile, citrus notes, little grainy malt, sweet floral candy like.

Taste syrupy candy, candied orange citrus fruity, little booze warmth, more grassy hops, quite bitter, golden blond candy malt. Finish little warming booze, dry but sticky, big bitter spicy hop, more blond candy.

Mouth is fuller bod, sticky, little warming booze, decent carb.

Overall not bad, nice heavy blond malt, decent hop profile.

 526 characters

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2003... approximately 2 years old at tasting.

A gentle pour from a longstanding bottle delivers a hazy, reddish-amber body beneath a creamy head of ivory colored foam. As far as barleywines go, the head retention is good, and it leaves some nice splashes and spots of lace about the glass. The nose is bright with floral, fruity and leafy hops over a rich, sweet, light-caramel and biscuity maltiness. It's quite smooth and creamy in the mouth with a full body and a very fine-bubbled, natural carbonation from bottle-conditioning. Malt and hops balance each other superbly in the flavor! Gently caramelish malt is peppered with spicy and piney hops; and then softened by floral hops; always backed by a solid bitterness. It's not overtly complex, but it's rich and satisfying in a big way. Alcohol, however, starts to become apparent after a few sips; and bitterness begins to build in the throat beyond that. Still, it's well worth trying!

 944 characters

Photo of wethorseblanket
3.92/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of Kegatron
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of nathanmiller
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.45/5  rDev -11.8%
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.

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Sisyphus from Real Ale Brewing Company
3.91 out of 5 based on 644 ratings.
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