Mirror Mirror
Deschutes Brewery

Mirror MirrorMirror Mirror
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English Barleywine
Ranked #16
Ranked #1,002
4.27 | pDev: 9.37%
Deschutes Brewery
Oregon, United States
Mirror MirrorMirror Mirror
Notes: Bottled/kegged vintages:
2005 - Released February 2006
2009 - Released April 2009
2014 - Released April 2014

The Reserve Series romance all began with our first release of this limited-edition brew. Mirror Mirror, born of a double batch of Mirror Pond Pale Ale, is an inspired barley wine ale layered with intriguing nuances. Explore this latest incarnation and enjoy its delicious complexity in every sip.

30 IBU
Reviews: 568 | Ratings: 1,845 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of BKotch
4.43/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2014 vintage. Along with Not the Stoic, an amazingly well-ageing beer. Balanced, smooth, great mouthfeel. Barleywines aren't among my favorite styles, but this is outstanding.

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Photo of jmdrpi
4.23/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2014 vintage, 22 oz bottle, waxed cap

Pours a muddy brown color, but thick layer of tan colored head. Aroma is rich caramel malt, a touch fruity. Taste is similar, but I don't really pick up any red wine flavor. Either way, good de pool th of flavor, not just a one-note sweetness. Medium bodied,very smooth feel.

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Photo of Hopheadjeffery
4.27/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2014 Reserve tasted in a Rastal Teku from a 1 pint 6 fluid ounces bottle on March 23, 2019. Best after 2/24/15. ABV 11.2%. Barley wine ale with 50% aged in wine barrels. Very good.

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Photo of Sabtos
3.03/5  rDev -29%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Burnt reddish-brown with a short, fuzzy khaki blanket settling to a speed bump collar.

I can't believe I've never had this before, but as per their own written description, it's basically just a "big" (and stale) IPA.

First, it definitely shows its American bent with hoppy, dank, and sticky characteristics, but it just comes across like an over-powered IPA ala Dogfish Head.

The medium body is syrupy, with sharply woody and resinous pine that's unable to suppress notes of toffee and a cat pissy heat.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.25/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Fremont small snifter. A long overdue two year comparison of vintages. I should have done a fresh 2014 vs. 2009, but forgot the bottles in the cellar and then decided to wait until the newest presumed version (2019). But it looks like that is not going to happen, with Black Mirror showing up instead (it was quite nice). So here is a side-by-side of a slightly overdue 2014 bottle and a long overdue 2009 bottle.
2009: Pours a slightly hazy, medium to dark reddish orange with a fine, three finger light khaki head with good retention and lacing. Aroma of caramel malt, fresh and dried plume, dates and a little white wine. Flavor is caramel malt, apple cider, plums, raisins, oak and oaky vanilla; finishes a bit boozy with fortified white wine notes and residual oak with a slight astringency. This not longer has much of an English barleywine character any more, but is interesting.
2014: Pours a medium to dark reddish orange, light head dissipating to a thin filme and light lacing. Aroma of dry caramel malt, plums, dates, raisins and oaky vanilla. Flavor is dray caramel malt, dates, raisins, dried plums, a little citrus, oak and mild wine tannin. Finishes a bit brighter with oak, light plum and apple juice, lingering wood and tannin; a suggestion of oxidation. Medium bodied with light to moderate creaminess. Very nice. This tastes great and has aged well. I'm guessing this is approaching its age limit, but it tastes fine right now. I'm grateful that the wine barrel character is mild; it does add some interest, but I'm not a fan of strong red wine tannins in beer and this flies under the radar.
Well, the 2009 is over its aging time. It has lost its deep dark fruit character and oddly has assumed vinous notes even though this version was apparently not in wine barrels. It actually has the brighter light fruit notes of an American barleywine, but I don't know if that was the case while fresh.
The 2014 is excellent and aged gracefully. It has some oxidation, but retains the dark fruit character of the style enhanced by a very mild vinous character that was well handled. I look forward to slowly opening the last bottles of this over the next few years. I've always been a fan of Deschutes and this is a worthy barleywine from a fine brewery. I regret I did not try this fresh. If they brew it again, I will not miss that opportunity. But when it comes to waiting too long, this turned out quite nicely.
My review score is for the 2014 bottle; it's not fair to make any assumptions about the 10 year old one.

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Photo of GuyFawkes
4.34/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

"Best after 2/24/15"; drank 3/30/15 @ the Yarchives. (2014 vintage.)

Muddy plum appearance.

A rough pour yielded a nice tan head; decent lace.

Raisin, brandy & a sweet booziness in the nose.

Smooth, medium thick mouthfeel.

Smooth caramel & rich raisin flavors up front; a warming booze heat & slight carbonation on the finish. Oak notes emerged as this warmed.

A complex beast of a barleywine; substantial & very enjoyable.

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Photo of Treyliff
4.5/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2014 Vintage
22oz bottle poured into a tulip

A- pours a dark amber color with a one-finger creamy off-white head that has great retention long after the pour

S- bold caramel and toffee aromas up front, followed by stewed berries, figs, raisins & dates. Undertones of tobacco & leather, as well as red apple skin. There's a vinous oaky note that closes it out, with a hint of red wine which seems to compliment those berry-like notes

T- melted caramel and toffee dominate up front, along with an aged hop note that you typically find in an American style barleywine. Mid-palate gives earthy notes of tobacco, followed by dark fruit notes of black cherry, raisin, fig and stewed blueberry. The finish brings out the barrel, adding oak and vinous red wine. The linger gives more caramel and toffee

M- medium body with moderate carbonation leads to a creamy mouthfeel that continues into a velvety, slightly warming finish

O- very little oxidation, considering the age. Caramel and fruit throughout, with just enough barrel note to compliment, outstanding

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Photo of drdiesel9483
4.48/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It's 2019 and I'm try a 2015.
Look - hazy reddish brown slight film
Smell - booze and caramel
Taste - not to boozy not to sweet but good caramel maltiness
Feel - medium body really light carb
Overall - incredible beer!

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Photo of lordofthewiens
4.34/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

In my teku, the beer was a burgundy color with a small tan head that was apparent only at the circumference of the glass.
Aroma of caramel/molasses, dark fruit, and wine.
Taste followed the nose. Toffee, dark fruit, red wine, and some oak.
Medium-bodied, somewhat sticky mouthfeel.
Nice beer!

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Photo of DesMoinesMike
4.32/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2014 Release. Bought at downtown Portland brewpub. Brown and cloudy, nice and thick, malty with some wine flavor, warms me up on the way down. A bit more carbonation than I was expecting but still fantastic.

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Photo of SHODriver
4.25/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2014 Edition

A: Poured into an oversized wine glass to a dark brown with a slight reddish hue topped by a dense finger and a half of light tan head which retains well and leaves excellent lacing
S: Smells of dark fruits and sticky caramel with a little red wine and some oak influence
T: Taste is dark fruits with a little spice, red wine, and some peppery notes, nice dry oak notes as well. Hints of vanilla with some caramel and more red wine. Swallow is more red wine and oak with some toffee and lingering dark fruits
M: This beer is big and sticky on the palate while still being a little silky. Carbonation is low but adequate for the style while the beer has a drying finish.
O: Overall this is a really great beer that time has done well. This one tastes fantastic without any sort of off flavors from the age. I'm honestly surprised by how well this one is drinking. Definitely worth a try and really happy to have ten more of these.

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Photo of TreyIsWilson
4.32/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2014 vintage

A - Pours a murky reddish brown with a one finger off white head. Nice amount of soapy

S - Aroma is caramel, toffee, plums and oak.

T - The taste is caramle, toffee, plums, raisins, oak and piney hops.

M - Medium body with low carbonation. Creamy mouthfeel with a soft dry finish.

O - This is a top notch barleywine. The flavors are rich and inviting. The alcohol is hardly noticeable making this dangerously drinkable.

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Photo of JohnnyHopps
4.19/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - The beer poured a murky copper color with a khaki colored head.

Smell - The beer smelled like a barleywine with the grain bill coming to the front.

Taste - The initial impression was the distinct grain profile of a barleywine. Dry toffee and light brown sugar are noted. There was some sweetness, but not a ton. The barrel aging come through with a slight red grape note at the back. Despite the high abv, there was little warmth in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - The cloudy grainy appearance carried through to the thick mouthfeel.

Overall - This is not an elite barleywine, but its very good.

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Photo of Harrison8
4.5/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a murky burgundy-brown with a finger of khaki head even after aging 4 years. Head retention is good. Aroma is malty biscuits, toast, oats, and caramel. Light notes of grapes and wine. Caramel and toffee as well. Flavor profile is caramel, toffee, and molasses. It's sweet, but with hearty malt undertones. Malts hit notes of biscuits, caramel, and toast. Wine is apparent in the flavor profile, but not prominent. Mouth feel is a touchy fizzy, but otherwise creamy and refined. It has a medium-thick thickness. Overall, a hearty barleywine with pleasant wine notes, but overall just a good, malty barleywine.

Served in a Teku 3.0 from a 22oz bottle. 2014 vintage reviewed in 2018.

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Photo of jvgoor3786
4.25/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Reviewing this about two years past the Drink After date.

Pours an opaque, deep tan color with almost no head, a thin ring, and minimal lacing.

The smell is bright raisin, plums, molasses, and a hint of oak.

The taste is deep, sweet molasses, tons of dark fruit, and a very inquire, dark, deep red wine and aged oak on the finish. It's incredibly complex. There's even a hint of chocolate in it. There's no hint of alcohol.

The mouthfeel is thick, smooth, medium carbonation and lingers forever.

Overall a very complex beer with flavors that change over the course of each swallow.

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Photo of hopsputin
4.51/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2014 vintage. drank 12/31/17

a: super murky dark ruby red and light brown mixture of color. a little purple in there as well. head poured 1/2 finger tan, but disappeared very quickly, but bubbles continue to stream up from the bottom

s: leather, oak, tobacco, fig, plum, molasses, oak, sweet berries, caramel and toffee. there is a slightly roasted malt quality in the back as well. extremely complex aroma that is all sweet and malt

t: leather, and huge notes of figs and plums up front. behind that is that leather and tobacco that i picked up in the aroma. caramel, vanilla, and big sweet berries are also present in here as well. the finish is caramel, sweet berries, and oak. awesomely complex flavor

m: heavy, syrupy sticky mouthfeel. very low carbonation level. this is a definite sipper due to the body and the sweetness

o: almost 4 years on this, and this is a fantastic beer. it is deep, rich, and complex. excellent to crack open on a special occasion, or share. sip and enjoy

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Photo of glass_house
4.39/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Been sitting on this for almost 4 years, and Christmas Day seems like a good time to let it finally emerge from the confines of the cellar.

The waxed cap is middle of the road on the annoyance scale. It eventually relents easier than some, but puts up enough of a fight to earn a lump of coal. Pours a beautiful dark mahogany with amber highlights and two fingers of creamy khaki head that retains a solid collar.

Aroma is sweet caramel, toffee, and ripe dark fruits. So is the flavor--raisin, fig, plum, dark bread, vanilla, toffee and caramel all meld nicely. Perhaps a bit too sweet for my taste, but not overtly so. Body is medium and creamy. Just a hint of oaky earthy hops and a touch of warming alcohol on the finish.

Great example of what an English barleywine should be. Nothing really stands out, but a solid sweet sipper. Would definitely drink more of this.

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Photo of oberon
4.23/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2014 bottle.Pours a murky deep russet brown with a thinner but well sustained light beige head atop.Caramel and nuts stand out most upfront in the nose,lingering pine resin comes thru as well.Caramel covered nuts with a big spicy/resiny element on the palate,yeah big malts but big hops as well.I haven't had a beer where both malt and hop come together as much as this beer does so much good stuff goin on here.

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Photo of amano_h
4.35/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2014 Vintage, aged three years prior to consumption.

I don't think this is correctly classified as an English Barleywine.

BeerAdvocate and the 2015 BJCP guidelines suggest that American Barleywines, like many other "American" styles of beer, are continental recreations of the historically English styles, often times brewed with American (high-alpha acid) hops that elicit a high-bitter, drying sensation. Mirror Mirror, according to the description provided by Deschutes, is a barleywine-ification of their excellent Single Hop Cascade Pale Ale Mirror Pond, with the addition of super alpha hops Millenium in kettle.

Whether a beer is American or English at its taxonomical core, however, seems ultimiately trivial and irrelevant when it ages beautifully beyond all expectations.

A sturdy combination of malt-inspired aromas in the form of toffee, nuts, caramel, apple skins, and jammy dark fruits form the base layer of the olfactory pyramid. Atop the solid foundation of the sweeter, English, spectrum of beer aromas lay a more complex and unexpected melange of barrel and hop nuances: tannins, oak, apricots and faint resins surpringly leap out toward the back reasserting American hop-driven dominance.

The flavors match the aroma in the best possible way. Toasted wood chips, toffee-dipped apples, vanilla, and jammy figs compose the main palatal impression of the brew, but there's a substantial amount of highlighting accents in the form of oak, and a good chunk of dry, bitter, resinous hops.

Medium body with a low simmering carbonation expected from the style. There's a brief syrupy kind of sensation that's incongruous with the general mouthfeel that features intermittently in between sips, but I wouldn't characterize this beer as being sticky. A creamier texture would probably nudge this brew closer to five stars.

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Photo of q33jeff
4.11/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle to snifter. Bottling date = 04/24/14 so this guy is roughly 3.5 years old. Not sure how a fresher sample would fare as this seems to be an "ager". My other bottle of the same date will wait at least another 2 years.

LOOK: Dark brown; sturdy beige head that lasts throughout. Excellent retention.

AROMA: Raisin. Brown Bread. Brown Sugar.
TASTE: Raisin, Fig. Brandy. Tasty, but some minor earthy bitter notes that don't seem to fit..
FEEL: Very thick, with amazing carbonation for the age.

While not perfect, a very good Barley wine.


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Photo of gcamparone
4.5/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2014 bottle, acquired in a trade 2 years ago, been sitting in my fridge since then. 22oz bomber into a Deschutes tulip.

Muddy brown body, two finger white head that reduces moderately to leave spotty lacing and a small layer of retention.

Aromas of vanilla and smoked malt, caramel and toffee, sweet dark fruits, lightly vinous.

On the tongue is sweet malt, caramel, cocoa and leather upfront, followed by char and coffee, finishing sweet and sticky, butterscotch and vanilla. Medium body with low carbonation.

A real treat, this beer has aged nicely. Not a super syrupy thick barleywine, but nice complex flavors.

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Photo of avalon07
4.03/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

L: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a medium brown color and a thick, murky consistency. There was a small amount of off white, foamy head that quickly dissipated. Not much lacing.

S: A good aroma of hops, wine grapes, malt, caramel, and fruit.

T: Tasted of a good amount of malt, a bit of hops (mostly in the finish), a vinous quality (not as much as expected), some caramel, and a bit of apricots as well. An interesting flavor for a barleywine, one that's much fruitier than what you usually get. Not quite as powerful as you might expect, but still a good flavor.

F: A low amount of carbonation with a smooth finish. Medium-bodied.

O: This is a solidly made American version of an English barleywine. Very much drinkable.

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Photo of Lone_Freighter
4.5/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was poured into a snifter. The appearance was a decent looking dark amber to brown color with a one finger white foamy head that dissipated within less than thirty seconds. A nice thin lacing sticks finely to the glass. The smell starts off with a nice caramel malt to it and eventually allows a nice blended tobacco (English Barleywine, maybe?) to cocoa to vanilla to light citrus all combining themselves fairly nicely. The taste was sticky sweet through all of the previously mentioned flavors smacking themselves together in a sticky sort of mess, but a mess in a good way. On the palate, this one sat right at a medium with a fairly good sipping quality about it. I almost wanted to straight up just drink this, but honestly for the most part, this one is a sipper. Though the carbonation comes across fairly subdued, there’s a good deal of nice creamy smoothness all over. Overall, this was a really nice Barleywine probably closer to the English style. I would definitely love to have this again and can’t wait to open up my other bottle.

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Photo of vette2006c5r
3.97/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Mirror Mirror pours a brownish color with a small lacing head. Nice sharp malt notes. Taste is smooth, with a sharp malt note, and subtle hints of earth. Nice body and good feel. Overall, a very decent drinkable barkleywine.

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Photo of -Andrew-
4.88/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Got a bottle of 2014 reserve as a reward/gift from work. Finally got around to cracking it a couple months later.

Smells of grapes and stone fruit, most notably apricot. Tastes very sweet, and largely of the same fruits on the nose. Has a sort of deep brown/reddish color and a tan head like you'd see in a glass of cola.

It's overall excellent, and I'd drink it again if I were to ever come across it.

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Mirror Mirror from Deschutes Brewery
Beer rating: 95 out of 100 with 1845 ratings