Benedictus | Durham Brewery Ltd

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29 Ratings

Brewed by:
Durham Brewery Ltd
England, United Kingdom

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.40%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Todd on 03-28-2005

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 29 |  Reviews: 23
Reviews by doktorhops:
Photo of doktorhops
4.27/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Durham Brewery? Never heard of it. Nonetheless when there is a Barleywine in the offing (a style I unfortunately have little experience with) I jump at the, err... offering. The brewery itself is the oldest (according to its website) brewer in the Durham county, a former coal mining belt, bordering Northumberland, a part of Northumbria if you watch Vikings - and yes I equate everything in England now to its proximity to the kingdoms portrayed in the TV series Vikings.

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a Chimay chalice.

A: Presents a murky mix of orange and brown body with a thin white ring of lace around the glass.

S: Sweet toffee malts followed by a dark fruits, Christmas pudding and a touch of Marmalade. There is a hint of brandy on the nose as well but considering the 8.4% ABV the booze is fairly muted.

T: Rich toffee, buttery diacetyl, Marmalade and Christmas pudding make a solid base for this delightful Barleywine. Some mid-palate brandy booze intercedes before finishing with a light medicinal hop bitterness. The whole flavour profile is quite even-handed and gentle, not something you would expect from the ABV and style but most welcome all the same.

M: Medium bodied with a flat (English pub) carbonation, could probably do with a bit more heft here, I'm feeling the brevity of this brew.

D: Again I am no expert on the Barleywine style, or even a novice, but I quite enjoy Benedictus - it has a good deal of alcohol (it's right in the Dubbelzone that I love) and it has a smoothness that belies its boldness - like most English Ales. Durham Brewing Benedictus, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship...

Food match: Alright let's get the easy food comparison out of the way: Sticky toffee pudding, anything Christmas related, yep, done. Aside from this Benedictus would feel right at home with a cheese platter or a roast beef dinner, versatile no? Yes.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of biboergosum
3.47/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle.

This beer pours a hazy pale amber hue, with one very skinny finger of soapy off-white head, which leaves a low ring of drooping lace around the glass as it quickly beats it outta town. It smells weirdly fruity, like over ripe orange and unfamiliar tropicals, caramel malt, booze, and musty, floral hops. The taste is sweet, kind of thin, bready malt, more moderately sweet fruit of the generic sort, mild, underwhelmingly bitter earthy hops, and astringent booze, rising up beyond its station, even for the purported 8.4 points on the label. The carbonation is quite sedate, the body medium weight, and adequately smooth, only a slight saccharine booze twinge indicating anything to the contrary. It finishes just a bit sweet, the malt having giving up the ghost, but not for adversarial reasons - the hops are just as yella, in the face of an increasing acrimonious booze factor.

A Yankee barleywine, maybe, if thinned and watered down (flavour, not booze, for the most part). This leaves the still prominent alcohol to run rampant, relatively speaking. Nothing offensive, but nothing near the style standard, and nothing else really good to say for it.

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Photo of Sammy
3.77/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

American barlywine done by an English brewer, so understated hoppiness, and well balanced, nice. Good drinkability. Golden with only a faint head, faint lace. Pleasant malty aroma. The hops kick in on the finish here and its great. Caramel, malty and yet never too sweet. Medium mouth feel, smooth barleywine. A nice brewing job.Thanks Presario for hooking me up. I think sent about a year ago.

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Photo of CrazyDavros
3.58/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours dark amber with a large, lasting white head.
Nose shows orange marmalade, caramel, grapes. Reminiscent of cognac slightly. Interesting.
Very sweet flavours, some grape notes, a bit of booze showing. Somewhat similar to a tripel, the flavours are rather lighter than most barleywines.
Carbonation is too high for these characters.

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Photo of CRJMellor
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy, copper caramel color with golden highlights. 1/4 inch snow white head produces lots of soft, foamy bubbles and a coat of lace.
Aroma of deep caramel, wheat bread and resiny hop notes.
Flavor of caramel, spciy, bready yeast notes and some pale malts.
Mouthfeel is thich, full-bodied and creamy. Light bittering on the finisk hides the relatively high ABV.
Drinkability is good. Very solid beer. An American BW from the north of England, go figure. If you tasted this blind you definitely would never guess country of origin. right out of the Pac NW or the midwest.

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Photo of Beer-Ed
3.75/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of IronDjinn
3.65/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From a 500 ml brown bottle. Pours out a deeply hazed marmalade hue, with a short loose-bubbled head.

Sweet orange esters on the nose (mostly canned mandarins), bready malt and a spongecake character, white raisins, fresh figs, pears, and papaya.

The flavour doesn't disappoint either. White grape skins and raisins, pears, green banana, mild bready malt, spicy, peppery notes, leafy herbal hops, drying, almost musty character from the yeast. There's something of a tannic character to it, it does live up to the name of Barleywine in that sense.

Medium-light bodied mouthfeel, a bit slick and slippery with the texture, low carbonation.

The only way I could pinpoint this as an American Barleywine per se is the more assertive hop presence, yet they are English hops at least. English Barleywine, yes. However when all is said and done this strikes me as what the lovechild would be if a Belgian Dubbel and a Belgian Tripel got it on and made sweet, sweet love down by the fire. A Tribbel? It can be a bit off-putting on its own, but this is a beer that is begging to be paired with food, not to tone it down, but to let it shine. Worth checking out at least once.

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Photo of ppoitras
4.18/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle obtained via trade with CRJMellor. Bottle conditioned, and hoofed back from the UK by him. A hearty thanks for the opportunity... Note that the label also notes that it is "suitable for vegetarians", thank goodness...

Poured into a Rapscallion glass, formed a 1" eggshell head over the dark honey amber brew. Head hangs on well, with heavy foam lacing, both of which very nice for the style. Aroma is sweet malts and some moderate fruity hoppiness. Flavor is smooth malt sweetness, with a fruity middle, some hoppy bitterness, and closes with pleasant alcohol warming. Mouthfeel is smooth, and drinkability is scary good for the style. Search out. Drink. Enjoy.

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Photo of Sigmund
3.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500 ml bottle, bought in Scarborough. Bottle conditioned. ABV is 8.4%. Deep golden colour, huge head. Lovely aroma of hops, orange and oak. The flavour is hoppy and fairly sweet, notes of bitter oranges and spices, the alcohol is noticeable. Bitter finish and aftertaste. Must be a great accompaniment with mature cheeses. Nearly too powerful on its own.

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Photo of mdagnew
3.2/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

500ml bottle bought The Vineyard, Belfast...

Poured a good copper orange colour. Slightly off white head poured big and foamy with a meringue like top then faded to good one finger coating... lots of carbonation bubbles form a constant stream to the surface... some very light lacing...

Aroma - Very "Belgian Tripel" like rather than a Barleywine... spicy and juicy fruits (pear drops, lemons and apples), wet grass, some creamy vanilla notes, very pale malts, peppery, light marzipan, faint aniseed, sea salt hints, some faint musty / earthy notes...

Taste - Mmm... a bit bland and sickly this one... tart overripe fruits (apples, light banana, pears), very noticeable alcohol, peppery hop bitterness, quite grainy, some buttery notes, some almonds, quite salty..

M&D - Very sharp and dry... light / medium bodied... too alcoholic and sickly to be very drinkable...

Overall - A very disappointing brew after i had read so many good things about this... As i said more like a (bad) Belgian Tripel than a Barleywine...

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Photo of womencantsail
3.68/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Overlord for sharing this rather obscure bottle.

A: The pour is a golden color with some amber notes to it and a fluffy white foam on top.

S: An interesting smell to this. I had no idea what it should be classified as until BA told me it's a barleywine. A quite estery and yeasty nose with a distinct sweet fruit component (applesauce?).

T: The yeast character is again present in the nose with some definite sweetness and a mild spice quality. Sweet malts and fruits provide the bulk of the flavor.

M: The body is a bit on the full side with a mild carbonation and a lingering sweetness.

D: Quite a strange beverage. I did enjoy it, but I can't exactly articulate why.

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Photo of hockeybarbie
3.5/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of haz77
4.2/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a light coppery-amber with a golden honey hue around the edges. An inch of bubbly off-white head drops to a thin layer. A few floaties are suspended in the body, with the low carbonation barely moving them.

S - Honey, caramel, fruity hops with a floral edge, slight grass aroma.

T - Sweet caramel malts at first with fruity esters and very slight phenol note in the middle. Alcohol becomes more apparent from the middle onwards and fruity flavours sweeten. Spicy alcohol warmth in the mildly bitter aftertaste, along with a small candy sugar note.

M - Soft carbonation and light-medium body. Smooth.

D - For the strength, this went down frighteningly quickly. A fine brew.

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Photo of Schmoog
3.5/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of vancurly
3.83/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

BB February 2010
a) Hazy apricot, light amber. nice off-white head, thick & persistent.
s) Honey & heather.... slight tea-tree oil note. Honeycomb maltiness.
f) Rich, caramelly, malty. A good strong ale. Alchohol warmth. Slight molasses-cum-licorice allsort hint.
m) Prickly, slightly astringent. Alcohol heat on gums, lips, & tongue. Creamy & textured.
d) Very interesting strong ale. Not sure I'd grant it American Barleywine, as the hop profile of the ABW is not evident in this beer.

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Photo of wordemupg
3.12/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

500ml bottle poured into tulip 24/7/11

A clear amber with zero visible bubbles and a few tiny particles, not much for head or lace

S kinda smells like a fruit cup with heaps of caramel and booze

T some candied fruit with a little cough medicine, way too much booze for 8.4%, slightly sour lemon rind on the finish with some toffee

M flat and a little hot, it has some body but not much life to it

O too hot and it tastes pretty plain, nothing offensive but nothing that great either

I was hoping for more with this one, price tags a little high for what you get

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Photo of Johnq1964
3.5/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of BDTyre
3.62/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I can't see this as an American barleywine. Perhaps an English barleywine, even though the label simply says strong ale. 8.4% ABV is low for an American BW, but normal for an English BW.

Vewry light colour for any BW. Almost like a bitter or an American IPA. Pathetic excuse for a head - some white bubbles, not even like a soda. Very very thin and spares and it disappears to nothing but a thin white ring.

Sweet, creamy smell. A bite of brown sugar, malts, wine and fruit. Light hops and citrus. Definite alcohol scent. Sugary, grape-y taste. Toffee, bread and brown sugar on the tongue. A bit of wine, and some lemon from the hops. Very light alcohol, no burn to it.

Smooth body, a bit on the thin side, but not too much. The alcohol is quite well hidden, despite what the nose suggests.

I like this...its a very wierd BW, and if I were to judge a book by its cover, I wouldn't even bother with this. Looks can be deceiving...but this taste pleasant and is nice to drink.

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Photo of Ed37
4/5  rDev +8.1%

Photo of ADZA
3.25/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This brew pours a light copper hue with average carbonation that leaves behind a half finger head that quickly dissapates and leaves no lacing,the smell is pretty much a cross between boiled candy,caramel and alcohol,it has a light to medium bodied lightly carbonated mouthfeel and to be honest it doesnt have the full bodieness i expect from a nice barleywine and has tastes of caramelized pears,barley,toffee and finishes with a brown sugar sweetness,overall if you want a nice barleywine than this is not for you as it really doesnt come across as one to me and i wont revisit anytime soon.

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Photo of Overlord
3.88/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a golden color, tinged maybe lightly with some orange. Big white foam head.

Smells strangely spicy, with some surprisingly strong apple, pear, and ... I don't know, generic sweet, notes.

Kind of an interesting flavor. A barleywine, eh? I couldn't place the style. It looks like a Belgian pale, but it smells like a ... I don't know, a cider/pale ale blend? And it tastes more like a Belgian Strong Pale or Tripel. Spiced fruit notes, kind of a grain-y cereal background, bursting with sweetness. Alcohol noticeable.

Palatable. Refreshing. Doubt I'll see it again, but would like a chance to try it a second time.

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Photo of Naerhu
3.76/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to RobBeer for bringing this out to Japan.

A - Beautify hazy honey color, with pure white head.
S - Very sweet malt aroma with notes of orange blossom.
T - Following that luscous malty aroma, I am stunned to find this beer so dry. The orange notes still strong. This tastes as if it were aged in wood for a time. A tad too dry for me to really get to excited about this barely wine though.
M - The alcohol was apparent, but the bitterness was there just enough to counter act it.
D - I found it interesting and enjoyable that this beer contained both barley and wheat.

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Photo of TheCrowsEye
4.04/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of shambeano
3.77/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip. shared with a mate.

A- Very little head, basically just a film, basically no bubbles in it. cloudy golden brown.

S- heavy and sweet caramaly malts, touch of raisin and dark fruit, alcohol is there, but in a good way. very nice and well integrated.

T- a whole bunch of malt upfront. biscuity but pretty sweet. malts dominate the flavour, but there are some dark dried fruits in there too, sultana and raisin. finish slightly bitter just rounding out the brew, no real hop profile, but it works anyway.

M- thick, creamy and pretty soft. finishes dry but with a nice length. the malt profile stays for a long while.

O- very nice strong ale, really good flavours, but just lacking a bit of complexity compared to other strong ales. but a very nice drinkable beer for what it is. tasty.

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Photo of Converge
2.93/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

500ml bottle poured into a 22oz snifter. This will be my first barley wine.

A - No head at all off the pour. Deep, hazy copper-amber colored beer. I'm baffled at the complete absence of a head, there was a little bubbles on-top right after I poured, but even five minutes into the review this beer has about as much character as juice.

S - Smells powerful and complex. Big juicy hop character with some toasty sweet malt floating around. Lots of caramel malt and toffee like aromas. Floral qualities are big as well. Overall, this has got me intrigued.

T - Odd. Some buttery caramel malt upfront with some leafy hops floating in the background. Floral qualities are there but muted. Alcohol heat is clear.

M - Bad. Almost terrible. Viscous, but it doesn't really feel "big", just too thick. I wouldn't mind the thickness here if it wasn't for one massive problem with this beer: it has the carbonation of a glass of tap-water. Feels hot, thick, flat and alcoholic with no redeeming qualities...

D - As mentioned, this is my introduction to barley wines, so I don't really have any reference point in terms of style. But looking at it from a general beer drinking standpoint I can say that this was thoroughly underwhelming.

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Benedictus from Durham Brewery Ltd
Beer rating: 3.7 out of 5 with 29 ratings