Barleywine | Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant

28 Ratings
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Brewed by:
Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant
United States

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.60%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Traditional brown, English-style Barleywine with intense, complex malt sweetness and a sherry-like quality. Full-bodied with balanced bitterness and a warm finish.

70 IBU

Added by HappyHourHero on 03-21-2004

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Ratings: 28 |  Reviews: 15
Reviews by Rifugium:
Photo of Rifugium
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First had: on tap at Iron Hill, Media, PA

Not retired.

Poured a light rusty-red-brown, slightly hazy, with a thin white cap of head. Sweet aroma of caramel and cherry candy. Taste was imbued with sweetness, but not sickeningly so, like in some barleywines. Sweet malts, caramel, cherries, a touch of brown sugar, and I picked up a definite pervading sensation of semisweet chocolate. Finished nice with nearly no aftertaste, gentle earthy hops, and the alcohol is well hidden. Medium body, a bit chewy, but not syrupy; quite drinkable, though I'd probably say one glass is quite enough.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of Jeremy_Zim
4/5  rDev +9.3%

Photo of weeare138
4.32/5  rDev +18%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a 3 year old batch unleashed for the Philly BA Gathering...
Apepars a hazy reddish toned brown with a small white head that fades into a nice collar.
Smell is of rich malted barley, cherry, vanilla, with a mild hint of oxidation that comes with an aged veteran like this.
Taste is of a nice high gravity, sugary brew with lots of malted barley and vanilla swirling around with some vanilla and cherry.
Mouthfeel is full bodied with the sugary vanilla grabbing at my tastebuds on the finish.

 503 characters

Photo of DarkerTheBetter
4.37/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a lovely cherry amber color with no head at all.

Smells of cherries, ginger bread and fruit cake with a slight oak that’s faded into a hint of smooth alcohol.

Tastes of cherry jell-o and sweet barley with a hint of chocolate. There’s also a dry leafy green that escorts in a sweet sappy oak and an alcohol tingle.

The mouth feel is very light and thin for the style with minimal carbonation.

This one’s really excellent. Had it been a little thicker and a little more substantial, this could potentially be one of the best Barley Wines ever. The smell, taste and mouth feel all seemed a little washed out, but what was there was fantastic. If only they could be turned up a notch, this could be world class.

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Photo of jwc215
3.89/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Corked bottle that my friends brought back for me several months ago.

Pours slightly hazed copper - no head, just a few wisps.

The smell is malty - sweet candy, caramel, cherry-like fruitiness. Fragrant.

The taste is sweet caramel with cherries and apricot. Earthy hops balance out some of the sweetness, keeping it pleasantly sweet. The alcohol is well-covered.

It's a little lighter in the body than expected for the style, but works well enough. It has a smooth, somewhat grainy, texture.

Tasty, and drinkable for the abv level. A nice after dinner drink.

 573 characters

Photo of Drknight
4/5  rDev +9.3%

Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%

Photo of Samstronaut
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%

Photo of ckollias
4/5  rDev +9.3%

Photo of HappyHourHero
4.27/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this at the Iron Hill (Wilmington) East meets West brewer's reserve night. According to the card it's "light in color, dry and crisp and exploding with hop aroma and flavor" with 80 IBU's. The beer was hazy and light golden brown in color. The small off-white colored head was composed of large bubbles and left scattered lacing as it faded. Light hops and alcoholic malt in the aroma. Light sugary sweet flavor with some piney hops and a bit of alcohol. The body wasn't too thick and it was pretty light on the tongue. Surprisingly easy going for a Barleywine.

 565 characters

Photo of Deuane
3.85/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2005 vintage bottle. Thanks to FooFaa for sharing.

A-Deep orange tinted dark copper body with a thin light tan head that left spotty lace,

S-Rich caramel and bitter orange peel. Aromas are light and are negatively affected by a touch of oxidation.

T-Light caramel with a nice boost from candied orange peel. Flavours are moderately complex with lesser notes of plum, raisin, and brown sugar.

M-Medium bodied, quite smooth with good lingering flavours and a surprising amount of bitterness.

D-Soft and subtle with flavours that meld together quite well. Not really sure if age has helped or hurt this beer but...

 617 characters

Photo of brez8791
2.75/5  rDev -24.9%

Photo of seeswo
2.53/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Bottle shared with a buddy recently.

Almost a gusher, this bottle was over carbonated (non-infected edition) and filled the three-inch tulip with a 2 inch head. Looks right for a barleywine otherwise, hazy golden amber, tannish head. Smell is pretty vacant, malt, dark fruit, a bit of brown sugar. Worrysome in its lack of expression. The taste - well, watery was the first word my buddy and I mentioned after taking a sip. Like, really watery. Devoid of flavor. A small amount of brown sugar, dark fruit, a mild bitterness in the back intended for balance, but there is nothing to balance. Subtle is the wrong word here. Lacking is more appropriate. The mouthfeel is not as thin as the comments above imply, medium body, heavy, heavy carbonation. Overall, we didn't finish all 750 mL and the disappointment led me to pop an Abacus, which was the right call (amazing beer). There is no off or offensive flavor in this beer, it is just way too timid for the style.

 965 characters

Photo of Slatetank
4.25/5  rDev +16.1%

Photo of Kilroy55
4.15/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of JAXSON
3.7/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark guava ruby with an oddly thick, creamy head. Nose is big, round, chewy malt, bubblegum, some dates and raisins, a lot of sugars. Mouth is a lot of sugars up front, bubblegum. The mouth on this doesn't express the malt as well as the nose does, but there's nothing really wrong with it either. Just tasty. Little complexity or depth of flavor. Brown sugar all around, and a touch of hops in the finish. I think this was a recent vintage, I've had this before and it blew this bottle away. Not sure what's going on but at this point it's one of their weaker heavy beers.

 581 characters

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.46/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750ml Bottle
Pours with a thin, frothy, amber-tinged, tan colored head that sits on top of a clear, rich amber colored beer. The aroma has a dank, cheesy note to it that mixes with an herbal and citrus driven hop character that are ultimately drowned out by the funkiness. A touch of caramel malt character struggles to come through the funk aromatics as well.

Cheesy notes continue in the flavor, though they are a touch more muted than in the aroma there is still a really rustic, challengingly, funky French-farmhouse cheese funkiness here that reminds me of really rank toe-cheese. The herbal and citrus hop notes are more noticeable than they were in the aroma and the flavor is slightly better than the aroma was too. Bitter hop notes mix with light phenolics as they meld together in the finish. This would definitely be a nice beer without the obvious infection. It is still exceedingly hoppy and the chewy malt would have been nice if not drowned out by the cheesy funk.

 980 characters

Photo of mdfb79
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%

Photo of BillRoth
4/5  rDev +9.3%

Photo of tpd975
3.78/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to ibrew2or3 for this one.

A: Pours a nice copper hue with an above average head. Shows good retention with spotty lace.

S: Tons of sweet caramel malt with notes of dark fruit and nuts. Very nice.

T: The flavors come through in the taste. Juicy dark fruit with hints of gooey caramel. Light hops add to the enjoyment. The finish is honey sweet.

M: Medium to full in body, pretty smooth.

D: Another fine Barleywine served up by the Barleywine god ibrew2or3.

 468 characters

Photo of BigMcLargeHuge
3.55/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Courtesy of RB's very own GMCC2181.
Pours amber copper with minute long tan head. The aroma has notes of raisins, prunes, figs, crystal malts and some mild alcohol heat. The taste is much the same as the nose with fruity esters like raisins, prunes, apricots and pears. Behind that are solid notes of sweet malts and mild caramel candy. Then a modest sense of alcohol murmurs up and hangs on into the finish. Nice brew that could use a few more years of age.

 458 characters

Photo of MsRif
2.24/5  rDev -38.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Had on-tap at Iron Hill in Media, PA. Poured a dark amber color with a thin off-white head that receded slowly throughout the session. Spotty lacing. Had an aroma of booze, cherry cough syrup and sweetness. The taste was...well, to me, straight up cherry cough syrup. Such a pretty looking brew with such a disappointing taste. I tried several sips of it before passing it off to my husband to finish. Admittedly, I am not the biggest fan of barleywines, but this one was even less quaffable than most.

Medium bodied with low carbonation. I couldn't finish my 4oz sample. If you are a big barleywine fan, try this...but I don't know how anyone could taste anything other than cherry cough syrup in this one. I'll pass.

 719 characters

Photo of Woodysbeard
4.75/5  rDev +29.8%

Photo of Bierman9
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From a caged/corked 750ml bottle, courtesy of Iron Hill (New Wales, PA) brewer Larry Horwitz, at EBF '07.

Pours a slightly cloudy chestnut color, with ruby highlights when backlit. It's topped by a creamy, thin and tight, tan head, which lasts well. Lacing is decent, too. Aroma is very much like Belgian bier, with Rodenbach Grand Cru coming to mind. Seems to have a distinct cherryish quality to the nose. The body is medium all the way, and it has a light, bubbly, airy feel on the tongue, though it never really gets prickly.

The flavor is set in the English style, with the malt much more accentuated than the hops. This can be a welcome break in a BW, after all the hop-heavy US versions (not that there's anything wrong with that!). The malt is steady and lightly sweet, never roaming into the syrupy, cloying area. Gets along with some caramel character, and then there's an element of fruit, most notably cherry (again), which lurks somewhat in the background, though its presence is noticeable nonetheless. Hopping is light, with a mellow floral quality which sits a bit in the finish. Also, this BW is definitely a "warmer". Fairly tasty, though it does have leanings towards a Belgian type of brew which leads me to lower it a bit in rating as a BW....


overall: 3.6
appearance: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | mouthfeel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.5


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Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev +9.3%

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Barleywine from Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant
3.66 out of 5 based on 28 ratings.
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