Portsmouth Barleywine | Portsmouth Brewery

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Portsmouth BarleywinePortsmouth Barleywine
Very Good
57 Ratings
Portsmouth BarleywinePortsmouth Barleywine

Brewed by:
Portsmouth Brewery
New Hampshire, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
A deep amber, full bodied, intensely bold beer that is made to show off the true qualities of the malts used. Flavors of figs and dates and malt sweetness predominate with enough earthiness from the hops to balance this beer.

Added by Bierman9 on 09-04-2007

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 57 |  Reviews: 32
Photo of
4.75/5  rDev +22.7%

You had this beer. Write a review.

Photo of mklisz
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%

Photo of TK5150
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2008.

A- Pours a reddish ruby brown with a small off white head.

S- Very sweet smelling, lots of caramel/toffee, raisins, brown sugar, and molasses.

T- Tastes very sweet with everything from the nose present in the taste. Along with the malt, raisins, brown sugar, and molasses really stand out. Lingering traces of chocolate.

M- Low carbonation enhances the full bodied mouthfeel.

D- So tasty I could drink too much, but not at the $10 price tag.

Overall one of my top 5 barleywines. A very unique version of a style of beer that has too many duplicates IMO. Cant wait till next winter's release.

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Photo of DIM
4.44/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a: This was a very hazy ruby/mahogany color. It poured with a medium sized but short lived off-white head.

s: Lots of rich toffee, and fresh citric hops. In smaller amounts I also noticed some raisins, molasses, and a hint of chocolate.

t: This started off with some sweet, slightly smoky toffee. Some citric, mildly piny hops came next. The finish was very sweet, but in a wonderful way. Brown sugar, molasses, and just a trace of chocolate. The warmth from this one was surprisingly gentle.

m: Thick and juicy with gentle carbonation.

d: Thanks to joepais for the chance to try a stellar barleywine. I had high expectations for this one and it was as good as I'd hoped.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
4.38/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A wonderful beer. Poured into a tulip glass, it was a golden brown color with a medium head that dissipated quickly. Sweet, caramel/toffee aroma with a hint of malt. More malt evident in the taste, also dark fruit and caramel. The alcohol is noticeable, but not in an unpleasant sense. A good mouthful, very drinkable,

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Photo of gford217
4.37/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber courtesy of MrRetardedMonkey poured into a snifter.

Pours a deep reddish brown that shows a clear copper when held up to the light. There is a small short-lived off-white head that stays on as a swirl of bubbles and a collar.

The aroma is very sweet, like caramel apples, and definitely more fruity than most barleywine aromas. There is plenty of dark sugar sweetness as well, with only a hint of hops.

There is more of a citrus presence in the taste, especially up front. The taste also has more of the toffee sweetness I was expecting in the nose on top of the caramel malt base with lots of apples and raisins in the there as well. The alcohol is not hiding much in the finish and leaves a noticeable burn going down.

The mouthfeel is on the fuller side of medium-bodied and has some soft carbonation that helps the sweetness stick on the palate between sips.

This is a very good barleywine and, despite the alcohol presence, is still very drinkable. The fruitiness makes it a bit original and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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Photo of joepais
4.35/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Stopped downtown for a pint today and had Donna pour me a Barleywine. It arrived in a standard pint glass with a nice light skim of white lace. The body of this ale was a hazy brown with reddish highlights.

Aromas of sweet grain and caramel filled my nose from this one. The flavors follow the nose in some ways sweet, and almost like eating toffee. There is a slight warmth to this one but not to much considering the 11.5%. Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy it feels great just sipping away at this puppy.

Great sipability on this, I try to limit myself to just one a sitting, but it is hard to do. Another fine brew from the guys here at the brewery.

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Photo of Bierman9
4.35/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Stopped in for a Labor Day lunch with Alewife yesterday... Both scored a couple of snifters of this, enjoyed in their open-air inner courtyard patio. First recipe from new assistant-brewer Tyler, we were told by our server, Anna.

Was poured in a tulip-style glass, perhaps a 12oz fill. Color was a clear, deep chestnut/mahogany hue. Minimal carbo espied within, and the bier was topped by a thin, wispy, light tan layer of bubbles. Belgian lacing was quite nice. Very malty nose, hints at sweetness, with a solid base of caramel evident. Bier itself was silky smooth on the tongue, while the body was easily medium-plus, bordering on chewiness. A nice feel, oh yeah.

Flavors kicks off with lots of sweetness, brown-sugar like, yet not cloying at all. Caramel and toffee are right up front, too. Hoppiness is not in-your-face strong, but still easily noticeable, with rindy, piney characteristics. Hints of dark fruit waft about on the palate, and the abv is well up there. Gives me the impression of a rum-soaked fruit cake. Overall, malt is more pronounced than the hoppage, though it is a lovely combo. Scarily drinkable, despite the high alcohol content. Nice job, Tyler!


overall: 4.3
appearance: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | mouthfeel: 4.5 | drinkability: 4.5


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Photo of deltatauhobbit
4.34/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2009 vintage on-tap the other night.

Pours into a snifter, a brownish color with reddish hues up to the light, smallish head with not much lacing, after swirling in the glass you can make out some legs though.

Smell has a nice deep malt aroma with a good amount of dark fruit, picking up a bit of sweetness and molasses.

Taste blends just the right amount of sweetness, dark fruit and a bit of roasted malt, at this age pretty much all the hop presence has fades but fortunately this is not an overly sweet or cloying barleywine, the heat is barely evident and I get no warming sensation which is quite surprising.

A good barleywine, wish I had the chance to get a couple bottles of it but at least I enjoyed it on tap for a ghoulishly good time.

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Photo of johnnnniee
4.26/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy brown with murky red highlights when held to light. Smallish off white head dissipates quickly. Smells of dark dried fruit, caramel, toffee slight alcohol. Taste is sweet, a bit hot, syrupy dried fruit and caramel. Aftertaste of alcohol and a slight hop bitterness. Mouthfeel is syrupy Body is thick, carbonation is ample. Great sipper Still my favorite brewpub!

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Photo of AJ01923
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%

Photo of Bicyclette
4.2/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

It's Decadent on a cool, damp eve...

Portsmouth has a cask of Barleywine Ale on Bourbon Oak that they're pouring from one of the downstairs casks. Personally, I am *so* partial to Bourbon finishing...

Lots of Bourbon fragrance. Lightly acidic with a lightly syrupy mouthfeel. Bold but not overwhelming malt. Little chocolate instead of the frequent burnt toast. Just enough hops to balance the flavor a bit.

Finish is warming, spicy and mellow at the same time.

Head was a billowy while foam with reasonable lasting power. Chestnut brown in color and nearly opaque.

On cask for maybe a couple more days... Maybe it'll still be here when it rains next.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
4.2/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 Vintage: Poured a nice golden amber color with good carbonation and a dirty white head.Nose is toffee, booze, caramel and chocolate. Taste is a whirlwind of flavor with chocolate being up front then caramel, toffee,booze. Mouthfeel is nice, balanced but still hot after 3 years. Good bwine indeed!!!

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Photo of brewandbbq
4.12/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage 2007

Pours mahogany with crimson hues and a half inch head of off-white. The humble layer of suds retreated quickly leaving barely a trace on the surface and zero lacework.
Aromatics are malty, figgy, and caramel stuffed.
Tropical fruit lay underneath a massive malt presence, and layers of toffee, wet leather, and nougat rise up as it warms.
Very much in the English vein in the nose.
Creamy, sticky and chewy mouthfeel. Substantial.
Raisins, plump malt, chewy caramel, toffee and alcohol lead off the pallet.
The throat warms as residuals and a firm bitterness linger and ripe fruit pulls through.
Finishes with a blend of resinous pine, boozy alcohol, and leathery malt.

This bottle at cellar temperature is superior to the draught version served fresh and cold.

Not even close to peaking.

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Photo of oberon
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Brought this home from my trip to New England earlier this month,poured into an oversized wine glass a deep burgundy/brown color with a thinner but pretty well sustained white head.Deep fruit in the nose like prune,raisin,and sweet cherry some sweet alcohol and a passing whif of leather,bid and sweet up front with that dark fruit and brown sugar coming through that leather component is more pronounced on the palate a decent dose of resiny hop finishes it off.It packs a malty punch it made me sleepy like alot of the style do,I liked the hop punch it gave in the finish,pretty darn good.

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Photo of claspada
4.09/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2008 bottle I believe from my memory; sampled Spring 2013.

Pours a deep copper color with a medium sized off white head that recedes rather rapidly to leave some spotty lacing.

Aromas begin with sweet caramel maltiness, dark fruits (figs and dates), ripened red fruits and a slight red grape vinious note which emerges more as it warms.

The tastes begin with the same sweet caramel maltiness, ripened red fruits, toffee, brown sugar and some lingering, slightly oxidized sherry character.

The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with moderate to low carbonation. Finish is farily sweet thanks to the substantial age. and a touch of bitterness to the finish.

Overall this was a very quality American Barleywine. At this point it reminds me more of an English style because of the lack of hop character but that is to be expected from the advanced age. Reminds me a great deal of an aged Alaskan Barleywine, which is great praise because I think that is the best American Barleywine on the planet.

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Photo of MrMonkey
4.07/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed on tap at the brewery.

Pours a really deep mahogany with some brighter red highlights. No head initially, but after a couple of sips and some gentle swirling a one finger off-white head forms that faded slowly and left a thin cap. No lacing at all.

Nose of fruity esters, some caramel, toffee maybe?, and some dark fruits like raisins or plums. Definite alcohol presence.

Taste is moderately sweet, with some caramel/toffee malts up front followed by sweet dark fruits and a slightly sour finish. A big alcohol warming in the finish, but it just beckons for another sip.

Medium-bodied and smooth with light carbonation; it coats the mouth a bit, but without being overly sticky or syrupy.

Pretty drinkable for such a big beer. I could enjoy a couple of these at home, but one is enough given the ABV and the fact that I need to drive home.

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Photo of Deuane
4.02/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to FooFaa for sharing his GAtM booty---->from the "Maine" man Joepais!

A-Deep reddish-brown with some ruby highlights along the edges. A small off-white head disappears to a whisper of a veil and leaves spotty lace.

S-Sweet caramel and toffee with brown sugar all smothering a bowl of fresh cut oranges.

T-Brown sugar covered oranges with a lovely underlying toffee/burnt caramel roastiness. Some astringency from dark fruit in the drying finish.

M-Medium-heavy bodied and VERY smooth! Nice lingering flavours with a candy like effect.

D-I like the heavy handed orange flavour pairing with the toasted caramel. Like a Christmas cookie in a glass!

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Photo of Photekut
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of JohnGalt1
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 bottled from tap. Received from CooperEllis. John says he thinks this is an "oaked" variety that wasn't available for too long... I don't have the chutzpah to enter this in as a "new" beer... but I will certainly review it as a damn fine Barleywine.

Clear deep amber... long lasting off white head... plenty of caramel and something that I perceive as vanilla... good bitterness up front... nice hints of toffee and even some cocoa.. some pronounced dark dried fruits make me think of sweet cherries... minor citrus hoppiness shows mid-late palate and lingers to meld well with a bit of brown sugar essence... body is about perfect for the style... carbonation seems a tad lacking, but no real complaints.... this honestly reminds me of Full Sail's Old Boardhead with a solid year in the bottle.

If somebody at Portsmouth is reading this and can comment to the "oaked" character, please message me... I would love to hear from one of the professionals.

Thanks again John... I thoroughly enjoyed this one... That said, I am keeping it on my wants... I want another or 3.

All 4's... but probably deserves more.

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Photo of daythree16
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of brandoman63
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of Stockfan42
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of rowingbrewer
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of Celtics76
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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Portsmouth Barleywine from Portsmouth Brewery
Beer rating: 3.87 out of 5 with 57 ratings