Schlafly Oak Aged Barleywine | The Schlafly Tap Room

very good
274 Reviews
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Schlafly Oak Aged BarleywineSchlafly Oak Aged Barleywine

Brewed by:
The Schlafly Tap Room
Missouri, United States

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.20%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Our Oak Aged Barleywine has a deep copper color and an intense malt flavor balanced by assertive hops. Fermentation with American ale yeast allows the caramel malt to shine. We age the beer on new, medium toast Missouri Oak to enhance its complexity and to develop its smooth, luscious character.

Barleywine is a classic English-style hearty ale. The term refers to a beer with the potency of wine and is often vintage-dated.

This beer will continue to age well in a cool dark place for several years, but it is ready to enjoy now.

40 IBU

Added by maxpower on 11-22-2002

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Reviews: 274 | Ratings: 582
Photo of alleykatking
2.2/5  rDev -44.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

I think this 750ml was busted open by VinnieVanGogh. Anyways, thanks for sharing this one!

A- Pours a darker amber with hints of orange when held to the light. Half finger off white head shows low retention. Some light lace that falls back into the beer.

S- The booze on this really comes out in the nose right off the bat. Darker fruits come out next with hints of plum, fig, and darker cherry. Light vanilla with a big barrel tone comes out in the middle of the aroma. Ending shows some light yeast with a heavy dose of warming alcohol to tingle your nose. Very heavy on the alcohol which distracts the overall aroma.

T- Darker fruits in the front show more of plum forward flavor in the front with a strong hint of hot alcohol. Vanilla shows up as the next flavor mixing in with the darker fruity malts. Barrel notes come through next with light yeasty notes. Alcohol shows up next and sets the tone for the ending of the beer which just seems like alcohol and that is all. A hint of darker malts but mostly hot alcohol mess in the ending.

M- Medium mouthfeel. Carbonation is a little light for the style. Darker fruit, alcohol, and barrel notes are left on the palate. Aftertaste is mostly hot alcohol with a hint of darker fruit. Flavors were not very well blended as the alcohol kind of wrecks this one to me. There is some light oxidation in the form of off flavor. Heavy alcohol drying on the palate.

O- This beer was a hot mess to me. The bottle from 2008 did not sit well with me. The alcohol came out a little too much and the barrel did as well too. The malts did not really balance out anything from the barrel. The ABV is high and the alcohol makes it seem a lot more higher. This one was a one and done for me. Don't think I'll be looking to try this one again for a long while.

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Photo of ShanePB
2.31/5  rDev -41.8%
look: 1.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

Vintage 2008, courtesy of Mike. Opened for a video review, transcribed from the footage. Poured into a globe glass.

A: Hazy copper/red body with absolutely no head whatsoever. No lacing, no retention - horrible looking beer. And there's really not much else to say about it than that. This is going to be flat.

S: Dark sweet fruits, faint oak aroma from the barrel aging, some nice spice notes and light caramel malts on the back end. This had been chilled entirely too long, so I fear it may be masking a lot of the flavors. As it warmed though, it didn't improve much.

T: Extremely one-dimensional, oak, oak and more oak. Overwhelms the palate and doesn't really allow much of anything else to come through. The sweetness from the dark and red fruits come out towards the back end of the palate. Nothing horrible but pretty bad nonetheless.

M: Flat, completely flat. There's no body on this beer really at all. It's thin, watery and you can only get some bubbles by swishing it around in your mouth.

This sucked pretty bad if I'm being completely honest. I think I gave this a much better score in our review but after watching and remembering the appearance, aroma and taste I feel I can justify this score. I'm not sure if this was just past its prime, not cellared properly at the store or what - but this bottle is flat out bad.

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Photo of kaips1
2.75/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

750 ml into an Anderson Valley tulip/snifter

a-dark brown to amber, slight head, more lace on the first glass than on a couple glasses later,looks lively still at 2 yrs old
s- very wine like, strong alcohol, strong malt, strong chocolate and sweetness
t- very similar to the smell, strong alcohol and lots of chocolate
m- slightly heavy, still very tingly on the tongue
d- this is a sipper, i dont see anyone taking big drinks of this repeatedly

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Photo of ChadQuest
2.8/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Color is a dark amber, an aggressive pour creates a finger of delicate head that fades out quickly.
Aroma has a more earthy and nutty nuance then typically given off by a barleywine, there is some mild sweet malt notes but overall this appears to be more well attenuated it seems, some heat and some light connecticut cigar wrapping.
Taste and feel are indeed both a bit lighter body and lower in stickiness, helped out by the oak cutting it down some. The normal barleywine malts here most identify with a toffee character, and earthy almonds. There is heat, and some other flavor on the finish i cant nail down, but it is slight off putting.

I am led to believe this one is not improving lately, and peaked a year or two ago. Not bad, but simply mediocre at this point.

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Photo of jar2574
2.89/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

2007 reserve. Average head, amber color. Nothing exceptional about the appearance.

Sweet, malty, sugary smell. And the taste is sweet, and creamy. You're drinking a malty, flat, syrupy concoction. Maybe it's the style, but it ain't my thing.

Not much carbonation in the mouthfeel. Tough to drink, too sweet at first. The sweetness becomes overwhelming quickly.

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Photo of mntlover
2.92/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2

Pours a reddish brown with a nice two finger tan head, it falls to a ring. Some light lace left behind not as much as the head would suggest.

Aroma is nice, dark fruits that are over ripe good barrel notes nice vanilla alcohol notes mingled underneath it all. Smells lightly boozy which is fine but not as huge in the malt department as you would expect.

Taste is little hot alcohol notes upfront dark fruits and plenty of barrel notes. Seems little simple and not in a good way. No great big malt flavors that are even present in American Barleywine might less English ones. Just little one sided.

Mouthfeel alcohol makes it seem lighter then it probably is, carbonation is good though.

Overall blah wouldn't even recommend trying this one. Sad it smelled alright not great but alright.

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Photo of Erdinger2003
3.08/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A light, clear amber color this beer has a tiny amount of head with a good lacing. The smell is pretty light and hard to get flavors from. The taste is pretty nice and has a great hop taste, but it also has some other flavors it ends with. The mouthfeel was alright I guess, a little too carbonated too me. Overall I wouldn't have this ever again.

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Photo of IntriqKen
3.13/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

2006 Vintage.

Deep amber tea colored...foggy...with a nice off white head that seems to stick around a long time and leave sticky lacing in it's wake.

Aromas are brown sugar sweet amber malts with only a hint of oak...maybe some mincemeat.

Taste us sweetly candied dark malts with brown sugar, dark raisins and other dark fruits, and only a hint of oak or maybe boubon.

Still too sweet and lacking a comforting balance to be either drinkable or even 'enjoyable' for more than merely a glass.

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Photo of mlockman
3.14/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Not much oak flavor to speak of, and while there is little to no hop-flavor, there is neither an accentuated malt profile as to be expected of this style.

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Photo of cbutova
3.16/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

2008 vintage thanks to Chico1985.

A- Orange-red body to a beer poured into a pint glass. Big creamy white head has good retention and a nice texture. Good webs of lace around the glass.

S- A sweet raisin and grape fruit feel is the main thing in the aroma for me, wine-like. Vanilla, toffee and oak provide a nice backing to the fruits.

T- Grapes and that wine profile make up the main flavor for me, it was dominant to begin with but seems to mellow after a few sips. The addition of oak provides a nice vanilla and toasty wood presence which only gets better with each sip. Bread, yeast spice and sweets as well.

MF- Very thinned out for a Barleywine, doesn't provide that thick oily body. Carbonation is moderate and there is a spicy bitterness. A bit watery.

Definitely unique for a Barleywine, thinner and more fruity than most. The oak is the best thing about this one.

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Photo of Odysseyalien
3.16/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

2009 vintage opened New Year’s Eve 2012. I opened this bottle with an open mind thinking I might actually like it. It was fine except for the bitter finish. That killed it for me and turned me off to it. I poured the balance of the bottle down the sink. I have the new 2012 vintage now in the cellar aging. Hopefully it will be an improvement from the 2009.

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Photo of AJacob81
3.18/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On-tap at Churchkey in our nation's capital. Served in a snifter.

A - Deep, golden copper with a thin, lively off-white head and delicate lacing. A great-looking barleywine.

S - Great bouquet of fruity aromas and baking bread. Plums, oranges, a little bit of cherry.

T - Starts wonderfully, with flavors present in the nose hitting right away. However, these are quickly replaced by what I assume is the oak barrel, but in this tasting it came across as an almost coconut-like flavor. A very jarring transition, and it completely changed my experience with this beer after just a couple of sips.

M - Decent texture, but the alcohol burn soon becomes prominent, and not in a very pleasant way. Very dry in the back of the throat. Low carbonation isn't masking the increasingly unpleasant taste at all.

D - The coconutesque flavor of the oak and the booze overwhelm the more subtle flavors as the beer warms. I finished it rather quickly, but not because I was particularly enjoying it. Highly disappointing.

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Photo of charlesw
3.2/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Interesting and not bad. Not exactly what I'm looking for - I want more body, more flavor and more bitterness. It's interesting that the bottle says that this one would age well... It doesn't need to age and may not even benefit from that at all - it's already very mellow and even. Mellow and even... Enough not to really be a barleywine, IMO. At least it's not syrupy like an English BW (syrupy without the bitterness) but... It's just so much less intense than a BW should be. IMO IMO IMO.

I think this would make a decent winter warmer but for a BW I want so much more in terms of everything!

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Photo of CuriousMonk
3.2/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 2008 750ml bottle into a snifter glass. Pours a dark orange color. Aroma is wood, vanilla, dark fruit, a touch of yeast, and booze. Flavor is a nice mix of malt, yeast, and hops, supported with plums, clove, spice, sugar, vanilla, and wood. Too much booze, in both the aroma and the flavor, just kind of overpowers everything. Expected better from this expensive bottle.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.2/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle pour provided by myself at the blind barrel aged barleywine tasting hosted by DarthKostrizer.

Thanks to dazedandconfused for sending me this one!

2010 vintage.

Pours a clear orange-brown with a beige head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, and alcohol. Taste is of malt, brown sugar, and some very woody flavors. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty average barleywine that seems to be put together poorly.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.21/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From BeerAdvocate Magazine Volume II, Issue I:

2007 Vintage

Aged in both American and French oak barrels. A proper two fingers of head rises with a firm pour, clear and tawny. Clean aroma for the most part, some very mild fusel alcohol is clouded by sweet caramel malt and a crisp snap of wood. Full bodied with a very creamy mouthfeel, massive caramel and bready flavors from the malt. Hop bitterness is modest, yet does lay down a balancing bitterness that seems to couple with the drying oak character. The alcohol comes across a tad hot with fusel and vague tropical-fruit flavors. Finishes semi-dry with a solid oak flavor, perhaps with some biscuity grain and certainly the warmth from the alcohol.

The brewery says it will age well for several years or it is ready to drink now. This all depends on if you like the alcohol to be mellow or a little hot. Our preference would be to age the beer at least a year, but drinking it now is not a bad thing.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.23/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass at DC bottle share at Smoke & Barrel. Vintage 2011, from notes.

A nice mild creamy top, thin bubbles make up the puck produced. Clear red amber body with a hint of chestnut like brown. Solid.

Nose doesn't bring much going on. Very subtle slight stickiness with some mild caramel. Not much else going on here, but pleasant.

Palate seems to match the nose with the mild malt caramel sense, nothing syrupy or thick. There's a faint liquor sense of cinnamon toast going on but also there's some strange sour astringency going on by just a "hair" too. Palate feel is slightly wet without much to cary flavor forward for what little there is.

Overall it's ok, but it's not really impressive at all and doesn't bring much to remember. It almost feels like it's past its prime for something only one year old.

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Photo of Chico1985
3.26/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2008 vintage.

Pours a light amber with purple tones and a haze. A thick bubbly off-white head retains pretty well leaving good lace, impressive for the age/alcohol content.

Smell is straight up grapes, with bread, sweet malts and more fruit coming out with warmth. Reminds me of fermented fruit juice.

Taste brings out more flavor. Red grapes first and foremost, toffee, light+dark fruits, toasted oak, bread+butter malt, apple?, notes of white and red wine. Very sweet and fruity.

Slick mouthfeel with medium carbonation, a bit thin for a barleywine. Feels big not too bad as far as booziness goes.

This is quite an odd barleywine, not sure if the age has come into play here, but the big ol grape presence threw me off. It'd probably be best to split this 4-5 ways.

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Photo of klewis
3.3/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A; Pours a hazy copper with a big foamy head. Moderate sustain, but little lacing on the snifter.

S: Sweet smelling, but non-descript. Just OK.

T: Malty, sweet, and a bit cloying. Slightly fruity but with a flavor that is mostly sugary and candy-like.

M: Full-bodied with light-moderate carbonation. Finishes a bit dry.

D: Worth $10 for a 750ml, but it falls short of its contemporaries. I like sweet barleywines, but his one is too sugary for me. If I hadn't shared the bottle, it might have ben undrinkable.

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3.32/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pour reveals a maple syrup colored body with some carbonation bubbles sticking to the glass. Head is a light tan standing at an inch and a half that leaves signifagant lace. Nose is a sweet mix of yeasty malt with creamy fresh fruity notes, almost mellon like. A faint initial zesty fruit feel quickly yields to the huge overpowering oak palate. The shoe shine woodsy taste of the oak is so dominant it is almost like sucking on a piece of wood. Mouthfeel is an oakey bitter. Drinkability is harmed by the overaly oak feel for me. I cant imagine that this is the extreme they were going for. Does mellow a bit as it warms to room tempature.

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Photo of claspada
3.32/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2008 bottle.

Pours a viscous hazy brownish amber color. No light can escape actually. Zero head which is unfortunate. A millimeter of white foam/cap, but it's pretty weak.

Aromas are quite typical of the style; light caramel sweetness, golden syrup, citrus peel and just an additional bit of dried fruitiness along with a prominent oakiness and even some fusel alcohol wafting around in the nose.

The tastes begin with caramelized malts layered in sweet, sticky treacle. Leafy, citrusy dose of hops deliver a fair amount of bitterness. Hint of golden raisins. The moderate oak wood character imparts some vanilla, just a touch of tannins and an overall dryness to the brew that carries you to the warming finish. Fusel alcohol flavors emerge more as it warms and becomes quite undrinkable to be honest.

The mouthfeel is quite thick to say the least. There is a mild-low level of carbonation. Finish is overly sweet for my taste and I am a barleywine/old ale fan.

Overall, this is not my first rodeo with this beer. I sampled this at Savor 3 years ago and I enjoyed it then, but my palate has become more refined since then. It's too one dimensional and sweet with not enough balance overall.

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Photo of maximum12
3.35/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Well, since there's another package on its way from beandip right now, I figured we ought to take this one out, immediately, to close out his last box. Nice big 750ML bottle split with my wife, her happy-to-be-home-with-good-beer-beer. 2007 vintage.

Pours an odd color, a muted amber/red mix. Smell is a powerful mix of barrel & sweet malts.

Schlafly Reserve Barleywine is much earthier, much more subdued that I imagined from the smell. The barrel is fairly prominent, but there's a strong Mother Earth component, very fall-rain, fallen-leaves kind of thing. Low levels of vanilla, the creepy beginnings of oxidation, & scatterings of toffee & raisins. Alcohol still prominent after four years in the bottle. Quiet in the glass, a swirl brings no head. Too big & boozy to be terribly drinkable, but I can certainly hack through this half-bomber.

Overall, pretty good beer, but doesn't stand out in the constellation of barrel-aged barleywines. Enjoying it, but I really dig their Reserve Stout, & this one just isn't in the same class.

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Photo of CharlatanSin
3.35/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Ooh...fancy. Poured from a 750ml bottle that came in a box into the old Hold Steady pint glass. This is the 2008 edition.

Appearance: A blending of orange, red and brown. It pours with a super fizzy one finger head that goes away really fast.

Smell: The booze almost knocks me off my feet. It's extremely boozy, with some fruit as it warms.

Taste: Extraordinarily boozy, which overwhelms everything else. It's akin to a decent bourbon. After a few sips to get used to the alcohol taste, that oaky bourbon taste is still front and center, but I can also pick up a good amount of vanilla and a bit of plum, with some fruity hops on the back end. The heavy booze taste makes it all a search mission, though.

Mouthfeel: Low carbonation, a bit syrupy for my taste.

Drinkability/Overall: I like the boozy taste, I really do. But it's a bit much. I split the wine-sized bottle with the lady friend, and that half bottle was about my limit. People say it needs more time to age. Not having sampled a good aged barleywine yet, I'll have to take their word.

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Photo of Reaper16
3.4/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750mL bottle - 2007 vintage - served into a tulip glass

Pours burnt orange color that goes scarlet at the edges. If you look closely you can make out some small yeast particles floating throughout the glass. A finger and a half of white head quickly recedes, leaving behind spotty dots of lace.

This smells like an old double IPA, actually. Spoiled hops and loads of caramel malt bring up the brunt of the aroma. Some toffee and bread crust too. This isn't very deep for a barleywine, especially one which should be exhibiting some complexity after three years of aging.

This is certainly an American Barelywine, isn't it? Even after three years the hops haven't died off. They are pungent in the way that older IIPAs tend to be, and with a trailing essence of pear. The malt is a bit sour but mostly gloopily sweet. This barleywine has been aged in oak barrels and the vanilla quality from the oak runs throughout the drink. It isn't that different from a year-old Sierra Nevada Bigfoot, only less nuanced.

I do like the mouthfeel here. It is big and bold and thick. The flavors here are too much like an old IIPA for me to really love it; ABV% hampers the drinkability too.

I was expecting to enjoy this 3-year old barleywine a lot more than I did. This bottle was messy. Surprisingly, it needs even more time in the cellar to reach a tasty equilibrium.

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Photo of NittanyBeerFan
3.41/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A bottle of the 2008 vintage that I picked up in 09 and has been stored in my cellar since. Decided that I might as well drink it tonight.

The body is clear and crisp; the color a rich coppery garnet red. The only head, if you can even call it that, is a small circle of bubbles that forms around the point of the pour. It is coarse and wispy. A swirl leaves oily legs.

The aroma is pretty average. There is a light toasty undertone to the caramel, hints of booze, but a nice underlying nutty sweetness. Vanilla comes in once this hits the palate. The toasted oak notes also come through to complement the caramel notes. Some brown sugar also comes through with some light esters of dates. It is still a bit hot, even after 3 years in the bottle.

Somewhat thin, as the carbonation is significantly higher than the appearance would have indicated. The body doesn't have enough to stand up to the high level of carbonation. Slick on the palate and dry in the finish, which is surprising. A solid beer, but with the abundance of very good barleywines out there, I think I would pass on it next time I see it on the shelf.

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Schlafly Oak Aged Barleywine from The Schlafly Tap Room
3.97 out of 5 based on 582 ratings.
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