Sisyphus | Real Ale Brewing Company

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Brewed by:
Real Ale Brewing Company
Texas, United States | website

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

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Reviews: 321 | Ratings: 634
Photo of DarthMalt
3.92/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

"Ye...Ha. Texas has a real micro."

Well, I'll admit I had some doubts, but, sure enough, this one delivers.

Musty yeast aromas lead the pack, followed by the requisite tannin and rosin flavors. Alcohols pinch nasal and glottal as well but not as strongly as more established barleys. Finish is vague, if non-exisitent. Oh, well.

But, still. A barley from Texas? "Never would'a thunk it."

Keep on truckin' Real Ale!

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Photo of LittleBreeze
4.13/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks JDV for sending this

Color is a warm glow between orange and an amber depending on how the light hits. Nice lace. Sweet candy and fruit aroma. Not overly sweet.

The candy and fruit taste is wonderful. Right now this is a pretty well balanced. seems a little light on the tongue. There is no after taste. Sort of like it is just there.

Beware - the 10-11% is well hidden. Sisyphus goes down (the hill) pretty easy.

I enjoyed this one and I'm interested in tasting how it ages.

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Photo of goochpunch
3.8/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours out an orangey honey with a thin ring of "head" and tiny spots of "lace." Nose is of brown sugar, plums, sherry, and grassy hops. The plums come out in full force in the flavor. High piloncillo sweetness is perceived. I get touches of melon and a grassy hop finish with some nice bitterness on the back. Some alcohol warmth, but it is impressively subdued considering the gravity on this one. Good flavors here, but I'd like a little more complexity, I guess. Mouthfeel is thick, syrupy, and has an ever-so-gentle carbonation. Tasty beer, but the sweetness holds me back from giving this a higher drinkability.

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Photo of MrHungryMonkey
3.85/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Nice hop in the nose - perfume-like and floral with citrus hints. Sweet, chocolate, roasted malt. Citrus and chocolate make a nice pair. Muttled amber/honey color. Good clarity. Very little head. Great mouthfeel, but the flavor is on the light side. Chocolate malt tones mix again with citric hop tones for a neat flavor sensation. Roasted malt is subtle and soft. Hop flavor is quite subtle too, but hop bitterness is pronounced. Body is thick and mostly uncarbonated - borderline cough syrup - which is totally awesome, that insane feeling of viscosity in my mouth. The flavor, though, just never amounts to much - the malt and hop flavors are so light that the hop bitterness overpowers them.
2.5 | 3.5 | 2.0 | 5.0 | 3.0

Vertical tasting 2007 & 2008:
2009-06-22 | 2007 Vintage
Nose is dark and malty with lots of caramel-like sugars. Perhaps mild oxidation. More roasted sugars with each sniff. Some alcohol. Smells good. Pours a deep tangerine color, moderate clarity, almost no head. Looks pretty good. First sip brings a crazy thickness to the tongue. Initial flavor is soft with a good bit of tart floral fruit and bitterness. There's a surprising lack of malt flavor for the body, just some mild chocolate and faint nuttiness.
Lots more malt in the nose as well as vanilla, oaky wood, and some toffee/buttery scrumptiousness. More sour and tart, with an amazingly lusciously thick body. Must have had a hell of an OG! Still little flavor for a BW.
Whiffs now of old books... must be oxidized. Some chocolate comes through.
As it warms it gets increasingly wet/damp/old tasting which is wonderfully interesting. To say it tastes like a moldy piece of wet cardboard would be a gross overstatement, but not terribly far from my impression.
A little yeast cake on the bottle bottom.
3.7 | 3.75 | 3.1 | 4.8 | 3.2

2009-06-22 | 2009 Vintage
Nose is floral citric hoppy with some fruity esters, a mild spiciness, and very mild alcohol. Smells pretty good at best. Pours a deeper tangerine color, almost amber, good clarity, almost no head. Looks pretty good. First sip shows a slightly thinner body with lots more flavor and some carbonation. A moderate dose of hops brings citric, piney, spicy, herbal and pungent oils to the tongue. Carbonation foams the thick body into a creamy mouthfeel. Drinkability is extremely high for this hop lover - which might make this a dangerous ale. Soft alcohol hints, but no real malt flavor yet. How odd.
Bright citrus tones shine though the dark thickness giving light to some very shy darkly roasted malt; impressions of chocolate and coffee over a nutty malt body.
Good, clean, and pronounced hop flavor shining through a reluctant malt base.
A little larger yeast cake on the bottle bottom.
3.75 | 3.55 | 3.85 | 4.8 | 4.3

Far from a good Barleywine, Sisyphus has everything except 'flavor'. It just doesn't taste like much of anything. It feels wonderful, but goes down like thick muddy water. The 2007 exhibits almost no positive flavor; but given the time it's been sitting around since it was bottled, maybe in Majestic Liquor's coolers, maybe not, I can sympathize (this is supported by my review in 2007). The 2008 does have some good fresh hops, but not even enough for an American Pale Ale... so maybe it's an English Barleywine? I still think it's weak. If this is the best that the boys at Real Ale can churn up then they need to hire a real Brewmaster. At least it wasn't really over-priced.

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Photo of RickSawyer
4.32/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sure, 2x months isn't a TON of time, but I can say that even in this short amount of time, this barleywine is really mellowing out. Booze has mellowed and a wonderful, port-like quality is blooming!!!

Nice baseball glove leather coloring. Pours a tiny carmel creamed head that escapes to a thin ring around the glass. Initial smells of sweet bread, very fresh, malty, doughy smell. Don't detect any hop notes in the nose of this barley wine. Nice, thick, sticky mouthfeel. Initial taste is still quite boozy, could use some time to really balance out. Taste is buscuity malts, sweet whole wheat bread flavors. Very faint hint of raisin and lemon zest in the swallow. More than enough booze to light up the throat after the swallow. Some people might not enjoy this but it doesn't bother me too much. Its not overbearing and doesn't deter from the enjoyment of the flavors. This is a very drinkable barley wine as is, but I can't wait to try this in a year or two.

Good job Real Ale.

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Photo of allengarvin
4.53/5  rDev +15.9%
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.

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Photo of Onslow
4.52/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

hahahaha! a case was sent to my local after talking to my head beer honcho of the whole city! Pours a dark tan-brown, has a constent foam layer... The aromas that emanate are fan-freakin-tastic! ... yahoo!..''maybe she's sleepy??'' ... for an american barleywine, this has to be the most drinkable in all of man kind!!! .. i could drink this after a 90 min soccer game or with breakfast in the morning, its that f*ckin good and SMOOTH!!! balnced and tasty, I recommend this to anyone who even considers a barleywine once and a while because this is the definition of: beauty! the way, is this really 11%..????

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Photo of hopsleeroy
3.6/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Tried a bottle right off the shelf. Being in Austin, I've tried quite a few Real Ale brews and have found them to be inconsistant sometimes. Pours a copper body, off white head, and little carbonation A very vicous pour. Smell is toffee, caramel, hints of fruit and alcohol lurking-hops are understated but have a nice bit of pine/citrus aroma to them. Tastes like the smell-fairly sweet with the toffe and brown sugar and almost being too sweet and then being rescued by some piney hops that finish in the back of the throat. Mouthfeel is very full and this beer coats the entire mouth. Fairly drinkable, but maybe a little syrupy to have more than 2. Overall a very good effort by Real Ale.

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Photo of JDV
3.98/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

'07 bottle
Pours dark amber to brown in a snifter with a big creamy head after a violent pour. Pours into itself like dense syrup or oil, in that it doesn’t splash, but rather silently is enveloped. Smell is of rich toffee, caramel, and a hint of fresh hops.
Taste is smooth, creamy, friendly earthy sweetness with a nice mouthfeel and a nice mild grassy hop finish. Not cloying, or overly hopped like many barley wines seem to be. Very balanced, and a bit tame, but the drinkability is high. Hops kick in a touch more as it warms, and the alcohol is extremely well hidden. Nice beer and looking forward to seeing how this one ages.

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Photo of MiguelMandingo
4.32/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow, hard to believe that it has been year since anyone reviewed this beer. This is a delicious barleywine, and definitely my favorite offering from Real Ale. I drink barleywines regardless of the season, so it is a shame that this isn't a year-round offering.

Poured a 12 oz. bottle into a Old Guardian barleywine glass.

Appearance - The initial pour is thick. Really thick. There is no head at first, and then the bubble stream starts - a 1/2 finger head appears and then quickly dissipates again. It gets a point or two knocked off for the head life cycle, but then gets points added for the beautiful lacing it leaves behind. The color is a transparent caramel amber.

Smell - Enticing. Toffee, caramel, vanilla, brown sugar and burnt sugar are contained in the initial scent, and dominate start to finish. There is a fruit scent in there as well - raisins and sweet cherries. The end of the scent is very grapefruity citrusy hops.

Taste - The taste is very similar to the scent. I get lots of toffee, brown sugar and caramel in the initial flavor - very sweet. The hops come in very quickly and last until the end of flavor - very piney, grapefruity and citrus-like. The alcohol peaks through the flavor as the beer warms to room temperature.

Mouthfeel - Full bodied. Very full. The beer is very oily and coats the mouth throughout the entire course of the brew. The carbonation level is a little low for my taste, but suits the beer pretty well. Goes down extremely smooth.

Drinkability - For as strong as this beer is, it is extremely drinkability. The mouthfeel and the flavor just keep bringing me back for more.

I was impressed with this one. Real Ale has never really wowed me until I tasted this beer. I am going to the store tomorrow to buy them out.

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Photo of MaltyGoodness
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle thanks to MUSHROOMCLOUD

Pous a thick orange amber with a small white head that thins. Nice lacing on the glass.

Monster fruity aroma of citrus hops with a sticky sweet malt background. The booze becomes present as it warms.

Sweet and fruity upfront with a big citrus hop flavor. It leads into a caramel malty flavor as it finishes sweet with another blast of hops. The alcohol makes itself known as it warms.

Fat body, slightly syrupy. Good carbonation.

For such a big beer, it's rather drinkable. I wanted to let it sit another year, but curiosity got the best of me. Certainly a good American barleywine, that fans of the style should seek out. Definitely the most impressive beer I've had yet from the state of Texas.

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Photo of apmurphy
4.42/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Opal Devine's in Austin. Pours a deep hazy orangey amber with minimal head. Aroma is sweet with significant fruity hop. 11.5% is well hidden in the tasty malt/hop balance, tons of both. Not unlike a well aged Bigfoot. The best beer brewed in Texas? I can't think of one that's better.

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Photo of Bierschenker
3.58/5  rDev -8.4%
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.

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Photo of bditty187
3.8/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

It is hard to believe that one year ago today (July 11th) I was sitting at my computer finishing a glass of Founders Devil Dancer. I thought it was a damn great beer. Moments later I got a phone call from my dad that my grandfather had taken a surprising turn for the worse. He died later that night. It is funny; I’ll never forget Devil Dancer.

In the wake of my family’s mourning and a delayed trip to Colorado I completed a trade with assurbanipaul. I don’t even remember what we traded or how it came about. I do remember though, a bottle of Sisyphus 2005 with a hand-written note explaining this beer was adding to our trade in memory of my grandfather. I don’t think I ever planned on saving it for a year, it just worked out that way. Well, one year later, on the day my grandfather died I finally opened and reviewed this beer.


Tawny-gold in hue with a smattering of amber as well, the liquid is slightly hazy; while far from turbid it is not clear either. The foam was a modest half-finger tall and the head retention was fairly poor as only after a moment or two all that remained was a thin soapy collar, naked in the middle. There wasn’t any subsequent lacing to speak of. Overall, the appearance is right-on for the style but nothing all that special either.

The nose doesn’t blast out of the glass as I’d like a barleywine to do. I have to work for the aromas a bit but I finally detect a pleasant orangey-plumy fruitiness encased in caramel. Either the hops were never present or they have faded. The alcohol is also well-hidden. Based on the nose either this barleywine is going to bore me or shock me to the core with raw, restrained power that is for some reason, hidden. I am hoping for the latter because the bouquet is awfully soft spoken. What I smell is inviting.

The palate is… very nice. It is not boring (thankfully!) but it isn’t overbearing either. After a few sips I can sum up the palate as “barleywine.” This beer shows everything I love about the style. It has massive alcohol notes and equally large malt sweetness with plenty of devilish caramel. I like the fruitiness… raisins, figs, dates, plums, oranges, and even a random apple. Candy heat near the finish, I swear there is a brief tickle of bitterness which fades back to sweetness for the aftertaste, which is also fairly hot (but in a good way). In some ways the palate is kind of restrained and tame but this beer is tasty nevertheless. This is not one of the better barleywines I’ve tasted and yet it is the perfect beer to drink right now (even sentimental reasons aside). I mean regardless, this is a really solid barleywine.

About medium in body, kind of thin for the style but not detrimentally so; low, smooth carbonation… the mouthfeel works well with this beer. I’d like a richer feel but I’m really picky with barleywines. I mean perfection is hard to attain putting a smile on my face is much easier. I am smiling like the Cheshire Cat.

Drinkable, yummy… tasty as all hell but I do wonder if this would’ve been better fresh? Maybe not. I’ll never know. Regardless, it was fitting I drink this one year removed. I like it very much but I think I like the gesture much more. Sometimes the pursuit of great beer is kind of silly and superficial but I’ll never forget Sisyphus. Thank you again, assurbanipaul. This was a special beer from TX.

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Photo of BeerRun13
4.12/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to kbub6f.
My first barley wine poured a very cloudy copper orange color... looks yellow on the sides of the glass. Minimal head but did leave some lace.
Fruity smells rise out of the glass. Grapes/bananas/pears yet candied or caramel like. I know it's still beer, but it does smell a little winelike. Something in there reminds me of Sake... maybe that's the alcohol.
A fruity sweetness comes first. Very hoppy and strong 10.7%
The bitterness doesn't stay long and it is well balanced.
The sweet flavor grabs every corner of the mouth for a split second then fades to a hop bitterness then a malty finish. Quite a sensation in the mouth.
Sip on this for a while, 'cause it packs a punch.

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Photo of weeare138
4.17/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to hopdog for this...
Appears a hazy light orange with a small off white head.
Smell is of vanilla, oak, citrus, dark fruit, caramel, and tropical fruit.
Taste is of the same aromas.
Mouthfeel is warming but still slightly raw. I would recommend sitting on this for 2-3 years and hope it turns out like that vintage '03.

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Photo of cheers2beers
4.42/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Apperance: Poured into a Brandy Snifter. This beer pours a gorgeous deep rust and cienna hue. A nice two and a half finger head rises and then recedes within five minutes to a beautiful half finger ring around the snifter.

Smell: A wonderful cirtis aroma permiates this brew. Candied citrus (tangerine and blood orange) Just magnificant piney citrus aromas going on here with an ample malt backbone to balance.

Taste: Wow this brew has soo much complexity. Huge sweetened citrus hops. Malts galore and a not too abrasive but definantly potent alcohol presence. Real Ale sure knows how to represent the state with this offering.

Mouthfeel: Huge beer. Coats my mouth with a sticky film. Oh so chewy. Big in every way but not over the top.

Drinkability: This beer is soo huge and flavorsome that I advise that you drink only one per sitting. My god I will need a case of this nectar it is soo good. Ultra quaffable for a Barleywine.


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Photo of mntlover
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy deep amber color with a smaller cream colored head that falls slow, not much lace.

Aroma is caramel malt but lighter then the 04 version some nice fruit thrown in with citrus and piney hops.

Taste is malty caramel again not as big and full as the 04 but nice by itself. Orange, grapes, apricot some grapefruity hops with herbal hints that rise and fall along with some nice pine sap in the finish. Strange this 05 is not as bitter, hoppy, or big and chewy as the 04 know its a different recipe but.

Mouthfeel is a big medium approaching full with nice mellow carbonation.

Drinkability is good a nice barley wine from TxBeer. But if you can find any 04 you would be better off buying it all.

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Photo of Morris729
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage 2004
Pours a rusty orange color with a short white head that fades into a thick and heavy lace, coasting the walls of the glass as you drink. Nose is sweet fruity malts and quite floral hops. Fairly full-bodied and almost chewy in texture. Lots of juicy citrus fruit in the taste up front along with a bit of dark caramel followed by some bready notes. A strong blast of bitter raw hop leaf tannins and resins concludes the tasting, coating the tongue in a bitter oiliness until the next sip is taken. Very nice. I’ve been letting this one age to mellow it out a bit and it still seems rather raw. Thanks to Bentley for the sample!

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Photo of assurbanipaul
3.43/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a dull, hazy dark orange, virtually no head at all. Aroma is hoppy and sweet, almost butterscotch. (By the end of the glass, the beer is a crystal-clear, golden beauty, so I had to bump the appearance up a little.)

Taste is bitter, buttery and smooth. Hoppy caramel flavors, some biting bitterness on the back of the tongue with some unsweetened toffee flavors up front. Mild bready elements, maybe some yeasty bits, heavy candy orange flavors. Some raw, grainy flavors, like sweetened hops chewed like tobacco. Finish is sweeter and lingering, much more than at first taste.

Mouthfeel is heavy, pretty strong yet gentile, not really hot with alcohol but it's definitely a sipper. My impression is that of a hop-whiskey, which may or may not be so good, depending on your preference. Sat in my closet for a year before opening, can't say that aging has really tamed it too very much.

2004 vintage, 11.2% ABV.

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Photo of warriorsoul
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
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.

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Photo of SkeeterHawk
3.33/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Very cloudy orangish brown color with a small dense head at first pour that fell pretty quickly to a small ring around the top of the beer.

Aroma: Boatloads of citrusy hops! There is definitely some malt in here, but the hops rule the aroma. They have more support from the alcohol derived spicy aromatics than they do from the malt.

Taste: Boy, this beer packs a wallop! There is a bunch of citrus that you notice at the first part of the profile. This is quickly replaced by an astringent bitterness that is both hop derived and from the alcohol. If you can manage to get over the alcohol, you can pick out a few other fruits like some mild plum and a hint of cherries. As it warms, you can notice the cherries more. Every sip leaves a warm feeling in the back of the throat.

Opinion: This is a no kidding around kind of beer! This beer comes across as big to me the whole way through. Don’t get me wrong, I like big beers, but this one is almost over the top. The flavor is so assertive with hops right now that your palate is ringing...this doesn’t let you taste much else. It would probably be pretty darn good after two+ years when the hop character mellows out to let the malt through.

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4.17/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2005 Edition

Sisyphus pours a slightly hazy orange. There was no head just a ring that surrounded an ominous looking swirl that looked like a hurricane with one bubble in the middle that depicted the "eye" of the storm(no shit!!)

The smell is dominated by clean, fresh, tangy hops. Good sweet citrus aroma of orange/lime peel.

The taste moves from being tangy in the front, fruity in the middle, into a nice bitter hop finish. Balanced with a nice malty undertone, not over the top like some other American BW's.

This BW has good drinkability now and I think it will improve. Nice warming effect. The liquid is very smooth and it slides right down. Good local beer and one I look forward to having again.

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Photo of grumpy
4.4/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2005 poured from the 12 oz. bottle into a snifter.
Have previously sampled the 2003 and 2004, and find this to be the best of the bunch.

Appearance: cloudy, dark amber with a cream-colored head leaving moderate lacing.

Aroma: dark fruit, caramel malt, and hops.

Taste: More a classic American Barley Wine (has America been producing Barley Wine long enough to employ the term "classic?") than the previous vintages. Substantial malt presence this time around, and good malt/hop balance. The hop blend prevents me from picking out any individual variety with my limited skills in that area. It struck me as tasting more aged than previous offerings. The flavor seemed like a blend of Sierra Nevada Bigfoot and Bell's Third Coast Old Ale - and that's high praise in my opinion.

Mouthfeel: I would prefer a bit more body. I like my Barley Wines fairly syrupy in texture.

Drinkability: As concentrated as the flavor is, the overall effect is mellow and easy to quaff.

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Photo of HardTarget
4.53/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Vintage 2005
Bottle Inspection: Standard Real Ale brown 12 oz bottle, only real info is the 10.7% abv.

Aroma: Very hoppy, standard American Barley wine in that respect. Mostly citric and floral hop notes and the underlying butterscotch-like malt base. Not a whiff of alcohol.

Appearance: Thick amber orange glass that held a small white head longer than expected, but dropped to a thin collared and laced just a touch.

Flavor: Hops on top, but quickly fade away to a sweet pillow of sugary malt. It has just the slightest hint of alcohol that serves to intensify the flavors with spiciness, but has no burn whatsoever. Bright orange juice notes with an allspice and noble hop whispers.

Mouthfeel: Medium-heavy body with a thick syrupy texture. Alcohol slowly evaporates into a clean finish a good 15 seconds after the swallow.

Overall Impression: Man, DANGEROUSLY drinkable. One of the easiest barley wines in this respect. Have to consciously slow down and take enjoyable sips. Alcohol can be noted, but only in a playful way that seduces you into a happy buzz. Flavor is very enjoyable. Me want more. The 12 oz bottle went way too quickly. I normally like to age the Sisyphus a bit, but this one is a gem fresh.
Another reason to be proud of Texas brews!

Vintage 2007 (sampled July 2008)
Bottle Inspection: Considerable sediment at the bottom of the bottle. A careful pour into an oversized pint glass left most behind.

Aroma 4.5/5: Fairly phenolic, a musty floral element, heady with alcohol vapor and a caramel orange candy base.

Appearance 3.5/5: Dark amber copper, murky clarity, only a trace head with a thin halo.

Flavor 5/5: Dried citric peel, orange, lime, grapefruit, hops are still sappy and potent. This was made in the days when hops were cheap and barley plentiful. Real Ale house yeast comes through a bit. Malty caramel sweetness supports all the above and keeps everything fairly well balanced.

Mouthfeel 4.5/5: Medium heavy body dries quickly to an airy finish. Warm alcohol numbs a touch. Some carbonation holds through the glass, but the body grows and takes a syrup like quality which gets a bit phlegmy.

Overall Impression 5/5: Holding up nicely. Checked this bottle due to reports of problems with this batch; this bottle is just fine. Heavy handed, full flavored, lots of hop flavors holding, no oxidation noted, hope the rest in my cellar are fairing as well.

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Sisyphus from Real Ale Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 321 ratings.
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