Portsmouth Barleywine | Portsmouth Brewery

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Portsmouth BarleywinePortsmouth Barleywine
Very Good
58 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:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 58 |  Reviews: 32
Photo of jneiswender
3/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Got this beer at the brewpub. Served as part of a 10 beer 3oz sampler package.

A-ruby, purple-ish, brownish, no head

S-sweet, grapey,

T-sweet grape-like taste, maybe a little tail end bitterness


D-I have to admit, I don't drink much of this style. But for one of my few tries it not bad.

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Photo of whartontallboy
3/5  rDev -22.5%

Photo of AgentZero
3.08/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

One of these days Portsmouth is going to make a beer that blows me away. Today was not that day.

A - Reddish brown color with a little bit of an off-white head that didn't leave anything on the sides.

S - Dark fruit, caramelized sugar, crystal malts, little bit of citrus. Something smells a little off on this one, might be the unexpected roast presence.

T - Taste is pretty much in line with the nose, and kind of dead. Caramel, dark fruit, blah blah. It's really just a boring, and not exceptional, beer.

M - Fuller side of medium bodied, soft carbonation, a little gritty.

O - As Ethan said, "Fool me 19x, shame on you..." I keep waiting for that awesome Portsmoth beer, and keep getting disappointed. Here's to next time.

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Photo of rpstevens
3.15/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Picked up the 08 Barleywine at the store recently. Poured into a dogfish head signature glass.

The beer pours a dark ruby with barely any head at all. There is a slight oily lacing left on the sides of the glass.

The smell is all malty, sugary alcohol. There is a slight citrus hop scent in the background, but not much.

The taste is very sweet, there's almost no hop presence. A lot of sugared candy sweetness and malt with a very present alcohol flavor.

The beer is a bit too sweet for me at this point, I prefer it fresh with all the hops still present. The alcohol is still very present but the citrus character and dry finish are gone.

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Photo of spycow
3.25/5  rDev -16%

Photo of papat444
3.3/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

***2008 Vintage***

Thanks to mrretardedmonkey for this one. Used a bit to bake a sugar pie and split the rest with my wife.

Poured from a bottle (1 pint, 6oz.).

Appearance: Deep reddish-brown body with a tan head that reaches 2 fingers and holds steady.

Smell: Alcohol, malt, toffee and berries.

Taste: Sweet, toffee, dark fruits and ends in a berry fruitiness. Has a lactic finish to it that is not the best.

Mouthfeel: All right as it's smooth and a bit chewy but the body seems to have fallen apart a bit.

Overall: This beer didn't age gracefully but there are glimmers of a good beer do drink it fresh.

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Photo of MasterSki
3.43/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared by Mike (AgentZero) - not sure why we're drinking barleywines on a hot summer day, but thanks I guess? Served in a Russian River tulip.

A - A finger of quick-dissolving light tan foam settles to a thin ring and some wisps, leaving tiny spots of lace. Partially transparent ruby-brown body.

S - Treacle, alcohol, light roasted grains, chocolate, and brown sugar. This is on the darker side of things for barleywines, with more roast and less overt sugary sweetness. The alcohol isn't very well-hidden, but otherwise it's a solid and interesting take on the style.

T - Taste is somewhat dull, but largely contains caramel, brown sugar, and light milk chocolate. Some obvious alcohol in the finish.

M - Medium-full body, creamy texture, lower carbonation, and some warming alcohol. Quite style-appropriate and pleasant actually.

D - It's a fairly average take on the style with a few redeeming qualities. Much better than the Uinta offering we had next to it, but not something I'd actively seek out either. I finished my glass, but chose to abstain from a refill.

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Photo of rderedin
3.45/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Photo of bostonryan
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of JustinJTisdale
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Got this at the brewery and it poured with virtually no head. Whatever carbonation that was visible disappeared after a minute or so leaving no lacing at all.

The smell was good faintly fruity with the slightest hint of what could have been an oak smell.

The taste had a little too much alcohol in it for me but the orange fruity finish was enough to keep me drinking it.

Not sure if I would get it again but it wasnt terrible by any means.

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Photo of Dicers
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of ajcormier
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of BPudd
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of Satchboogie
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of ffejherb
3.59/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to FooFaa for sharing a growler of this on 12/11/09.

A - The barleywine emerged from the jug as a deep ruby-colored liquid with a thin, off-white sheet on top that settled into a patchy retention and left virtually no lacing at all.

S - Sweet and boozy aroma with dark fruit notes, candi sugar and a hint of tobacco. An underlying citrus/orange character is also apparent, albeit more subtle than the other components.

T - Sweet, sugary and floral with a prevalent alcohol warmth. Dark fruit isn't as apparent in the flavor as the aroma, however. Orange oils and a citrus peel character is also present but subtle. Finishes with a moderate floral and perfumy hop bitterness.

M - Medium bodied with a slight bristly texture and moderate alcohol warmth on the palate. Slightly dry, bittersweet finish, although not overly hoppy at all.

D - I found this to be a little too sweet overall, but otherwise this was quite enjoyable. The alcohol remained fairly restrained despite the big ABV%.

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Photo of NEhophead
3.7/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a PB snifter.

Deep brown with a shade of garnet beneath a layer of creamy, light brown head. Delicate lacing with decent retention. Aged, vinous fruity esters: lemon, orange, plum, grape, red cherry. Pine-filled hops with a near intense nose of alcohol. Toasted malts that are soon overtaken by a pine and floral hop character. Assertive, young fruit flavors: plum, grape, and red apple that are overtaken by a sharp, acidic alcohol presence. The aftertaste includes whiskey, rough pine, and slightly unbalanced, aged fruity esters. Full bodied; somewhat smooth prior to a gaseously slick mouthfeel caused by the waves of young alcohol. Flavorful, but too young and aggressive to order another glass.

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Photo of EnronCFO
3.73/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. pour into a tulip glass at the brewery

A: Very dark brown, slight tinges of red at the edges. In the dim lights at the brewery, looked almost black. Only a slight head. Beer really coats the glass.

S: Very sweet, hard to believe it's a 100+ IBU beer, almost no hops in the smell. Brown sugar and alcohol.

T: Similar to the smell, very sweet, no hop bitterness. Booze is very present up front, but the finish is syrupy sweet.

M: When it first hits your mouth, it's almost abrasive as you have to adjust to alcohol and sweetness. Even as it warmed, every sip required a second to hold it in your mouth to let the flavors overcome the alcohol. Leaves a pleasing coating on your tongue.

D: Could not drink more than one of these and be able to drive, so definitely takes a hit there. Really needs to warm up to be able to drink with any ease.

I had this the day after I tried Treblehook at Redhook. Treblehook is like a beginner's Barleywine next to this big boy. Looking forward to drinking some more, will be sure to let it warm up before drinking next time.

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Photo of andylipp
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of Slatetank
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to clockworkorange for sharing this growler
poured chilled into a 1/2 pint. The growler had been aged for approx 1 yr - so take it with a grain of salt

A - Ruddy brown, chestnut hued with good clarity and very thin head

S - Fruity, caramel, toasted malt and mild floral esters w/ subtle alcohol notes

M - A dry slightly spiced and strong feel, substantial body w/ sweet middle and mild bitterness. The sweetness is pretty prominent 1/2 way in w/ hints of tangy fruitiness from the yeast and caramel textured malt w/ mild residual sweetness

T - Taste is nutty, dry and slightly fruit tinged w/ toasted and caramel malt notes very dominant and mildly alcohol tasting w/ more stone fruit and toffee-like essence that lasts into the finish. The flavor has plenty of caramel sweetness and subtle berry effects from the yeast throughout

D - I appreciated sampling this barleywine, which is pretty tasty in small doses, at 11%+ you can't say it is highly drinkable, yet for the style I consider this a barleywine I wouldn't mind having again. It does suffer from a bit too much malt , but for those who enjoy malt bombs I recommend this

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Photo of GraduatedCashew
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of DrStiffington
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of mattparsons
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of Flounder57
3.76/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

22 oz bottle was poured into a large snifter.

Appearance: This beer poured an off white head that reduced to a thin layer. It is a dark ruby brown color with no clarity, but small by bubbles can be seen coming up the side of the glass.

Smell: Caramel and toasted malts, dark fruits, and booze.

Taste: Caramel, biscuity, toffee, boozy, tingly, dark fruits, some banana, and tingly hops.

Mouthfeel: Silky smooth, full bodied, boozy, medium carbonation, and nice and warming.

Overall: Pretty solid barleywine that I have enjoyed on draft and bottles. I love stopping by here on the way through Portsmouth on the way to OOB.

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Photo of drummerdwzp
3.81/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of cleeze
3.82/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had it at the brew pub.

poured s beautiful ruby/amber color. With barely any head but it had nice lacing

smell was kind of sweet and malty. Great combo!

Taste was sweet at first which I loved! Sweet up front , maybe grapey. Then followed by a pleasant warming sensation from the good ole 11.5%! With a good bitter hoppy after taste

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Portsmouth Barleywine from Portsmouth Brewery
Beer rating: 3.87 out of 5 with 58 ratings