Mirror Mirror
Deschutes Brewery

Mirror MirrorMirror Mirror
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Barleywine - English
Ranked #18
Ranked #1,056
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: 570 | Ratings: 1,846 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by TXhomebrewer:
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TXhomebrewer from Texas

4.5/5  rDev +5.4%

Jul 15, 2014
More User Reviews:
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superspak from Ohio

4.47/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle into snifter, best after 2/24/2015. Pours lightly hazy/cloudy dark ruby red color with a 2 finger dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big caramel, toast, toffee, brown sugar, brown bread, molasses, light nuttiness, raisin, plum, fig, apple, date, light licorice, herbal, light oak/vanilla, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Incredible aromas with awesome complexity and balance of dark/bready malts, fruity/earthy yeast, and light-moderate oak barrel notes; with great strength. Taste of big caramel, toffee, toast, brown sugar, brown bread, molasses, light nuttiness, raisin, plum, fig, apple, date, vanilla, light licorice, herbal, light oak, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Slight tannic/oak bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, toast, toffee, brown sugar, brown bread, molasses, light nuttiness, raisin, plum, fig, apple, date, vanilla, light licorice, herbal, light oak, and yeast/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity and robustness of dark/bready malt, fruity/earthy yeast, and light-moderate oak barrel flavors; with a fantastic malt/yeast balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a very smooth, creamy, and lightly slick/sticky mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a light warming lingering after the finish. Overall this is an absolutely incredible English barleywine style. All around outstanding complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malt, fruity/earthy yeast, and light-moderate oak barrel flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the big ABV. An insanely delicious offering.

Mar 29, 2015
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cvm4 from Mississippi

4.5/5  rDev +5.4%

2014 Reserve

A - Pours really cloudy/hazy muddled brown color with a slight tinge of red mahogany. The khaki head is one finger that dissipates to around the glass.

S - Raisins, ripe plumbs, dark cherries, caramel and malts. There's a hint of alcohol booze and oak overlapping it all.

T - Sweet caramel, brown sugar, malts and dark fruits (raisin/plum) abound with the ever slightest wine character along with oak that comes out at the end.

M - Full bodied and medium to low carbonation. Has a thick mouthfeel that is sticky, velvety and a wet finish.

O - Well done here! A stellar English barleywine by itself, but the addition of wine barrels brings complexity and another dimension.

Aug 28, 2014
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Strix from Wisconsin

4.55/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

2014 vintage, best after 2/24/15.

Pours a murky brown, big initial head that leaves a slight ring and some lacing.

Delicious smell: raisin, wheat bread, fig, caramel, brown sugar.

Sugar, raisin, caramel, oak, a wash of citrus hops. Just a touch of alcohol and hint of red wine in the aftertaste. If this is based on doubling Mirror Pond, it doesn't scream that, but it's complex and excellent.

Super smooth, just super smooth.

I've had my eye on this since I heard about it and it delivered. Really nicely done.

Jun 05, 2015
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amano_h from Oregon

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.

Dec 16, 2017
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StraightNoChaser from Georgia

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

look: Handsome clear mahogany. A fairly thick tan head on the pour.
smell: Malty caramel and something like cherries I guess imparted from the Pinot barrel aging.
taste: Much like the nose. After more than a year, this is a very mellow brew. Not on the decadent, rich side but a understated (ok, it's 11% plus so it's not to be trifled with but it's a gentle giant).

Sep 07, 2015
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Tilley4 from Tennessee

4.49/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It's a cold rainy Sunday afternoon here in TN and a perfect day to pull this beast out of the fridge for an afternoon/evening warmup... I found this one while on a trek to KY a few weeks back and my intentions were to cellar this for a while but I can't resist...

Pours into my CBS snifter dark and murky... thin wispy carbonation... looking the part for an English for sure....

Sweet pineapple aromas come rolling off of this one... hints of the wine barrel here and there as well... lots of dark fruit which I attribute, in part, to the barrel... A touch of booze as well... Quite a bit more hops in the aroma dept than I would expect from this but it isn't unpleasant... Unexpected but not unpleasant... As it warms, the beer begins to open up and really shine... The raisin and fruit aspects that were rather muted at first begin to expound and bring an almost Christmas pudding feel to them...

A bit too cold at first, the beer didn't really have a chance to show what it was made of... The booze was prevalent and the sweetness was rather disconcerting... I left it sitting while I made my daughter a mid afternoon snack and when I came back to it, it had warmed up a touch and the aromas and flavors had really started to shine... The booze is still evident but in a warming to the belly role as opposed to just being too hot... the sweetness of the malts had transformed this into the Christmas pudding that I referred to earlier... hints of the wine barrel came and went, giving the beer a vinous feel in spots. Sweet, fruity, warming, delicious.... a definite sipper as drinking this too fast really brings the booze home... I was reminded in spots of a Belgian Strong Dark due to the prevalence of the raisins and figs and sweetness... a perfect compliment to a cold and blustery day here... Hell yes! This thing got super delicious on the second snifter pour and had me pleasantly warm and toasty next to the Christmas tree...

I liked this beer quite a bit... In error, I did not let this one fully open up before I started in on it but as it sat and warmed, it really got to be excellent... An excellent effort from Deschutes here... Glad that they are in KY so I can make a short jaunt up to sample their products without having to trade for them... I can't remember what I paid for this but, at this point, it was well worth every penny... simply amazing and very enjoyable...

Nov 16, 2014
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Jonada from New Jersey

4.29/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

2014 release. 11.2% ABV. Bomber poured into a 22oz snifter

Appearance: Pours a dark red brown color with 2 fingers of a light tan, creamy head. Nice retention and lacing. Body is dark, but translucent when held to light, with some visible carbonation as well.

Smell: Caramel and toffee, raisins, plums, some light oak, red apple. While not overtly wine like, there are definitely some wine like tannins.

Taste: Similar to the aroma. Sweet caramel and toffee, mix of various dark fruits, hint of a roasted character, red grape skin and a very mild bitterness. Moderate wine like astringency as well.

Mouthfeel: Lower end of full bodied with a soft, creamy mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Overall: Really nice barleywine. I think they found a good ratio between the barrel aged and non barrel aged component, as any more would have overwhelmed the base beer characteristics. If they release this again, I'll definitely pick up another.

Feb 28, 2015
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barleywinebrewer from New Hampshire

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

of course I love to try barleywines. I had this on my wish list but noted as never going to wander my way. What did you say? You snagged me a bottle. MH you're a barleywine mad man! Thoroughly enjoyed last night as a cap to a milestone. oak, an almost whiskey character and sublime malt notes. Yup, this one has aged well. Lucky are those witha few still sitting in their beer cellars!

Mar 27, 2009
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cwd from Kentucky

4.5/5  rDev +5.4%

Aug 04, 2014
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masterofsparks from Ohio

3.5/5  rDev -18%

Sep 01, 2014
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Kevlee722 from Washington

4.53/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

This was based on a 2009 bottle drank on 5/24/15.

May 14, 2014
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Stevedore from Oregon

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

A- Darker, muddy caramel body with a half finger white head, minimal retention time, no lacing.

S- Rich, bready aromas much like the base Mirror Pond. Smells quite hoppy with a good bit of earthy and piney aromas.

F- Tastes nice and malty with a reasonable toffee and caramel base, lots of earthy and piney hops abound on the palate. It's reasonably bitter on the backend, which fits what Deschutes' is seemingly trying for. Smooth toffee and caramel flavours are the star here. I don't get any of the red wine barrels, but presumably they didn't age it 100% in wine barrels.

M- Medium bodied, substantial and silky. Reasonably drinkable given the hoppiness that is present in the beer. It's more of a sipper than anything else.

O- Solid English barleywine that doesn't really deliver any of the red wine barrel characteristics, but if you like American barleywines, this is a reasonably hoppy barleywine. I think the English Barleywine designation on this site is definitely a misnomer.

Feb 14, 2015
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LightnerLiquorKS from Kansas

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

Jun 17, 2014
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YOSHl from Louisiana

4.8/5  rDev +12.4%

Sep 06, 2014
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cjgator3 from Florida

4.42/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle - 2014 Vintage

Black waxed covered top with best after 2/24/15 printed on the label. Mirror Mirror is a barleywine with 50% aged in wine barrels.

Poured into a snifter. The complex aroma is dark fruits, plums, grapes, and oak. The taste like the aroma features a lot of complexity that starts out with a lot of sweet malts, dark fruits, and a hint of tartness. The finish continues with the lingering sweetness and some warmth from the alcohol. The mouthfeel is medium-full bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Overall, Mirror Mirror is a fantastic brew that I enjoyed. I have not had a bottle fresh, but it is extremely solid after two years of aging.

Jul 11, 2016
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quinlin from Oklahoma

3.88/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - pours a deep amber/red, has about an inch of frothy tan head

S - smells of sweet malt, vanilla, oaky, pine, citrus

T - taste reflects the nose with the addition of honey and dried fruits

M - smooth and full bodied with a sharp bitter finish and med/full carbonation

D - yes, very drinkable, i could go another...

May 29, 2009
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FosterJM from California

4.53/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

183rd review on BA
bottle to snifter
best after 4/20/2010

App- The color of a garnet in a glass. A deep crimson red with two fingers of head on it. Lacing all over the glass.

Smell- So many smells on this one. Hard to discerne them all. Big inhales reveal a little vanilla, caramel, sugar, candied malt and a slight hop note.

Taste- One of the best Barleywines I have ever had. So creamy and big. The caramel is the biggest taste to this one with a slight vanilla and sweet sugars.

Mouth- Medium bodied with a low/med carbonation. So sweet and it covers all the flavors so well.

Drink- A very good beer. I loved it. Drink it if you can find it. A 4.5 only because not everyone will get to try it.

Jan 13, 2011
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Holland from Illinois

4/5  rDev -6.3%

Apr 08, 2014
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Dbrulet from Iowa

4.25/5  rDev -0.5%

Apr 18, 2014
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seifer1886 from Texas

4.5/5  rDev +5.4%

Jul 31, 2014
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3.76/5  rDev -11.9%

Aug 31, 2014
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davod23 from California

4.48/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2009 Vintage. Best after 4/20/10. Poured from the bottle into my Stone IRS tulip.

Very nice, brilliant, burnt orange color. Perfect clarity. A yellowish head billows up a bit, but recedes to a thin cap for about half the beer's life before it whittles down to nothing. Pretty beer.

Smell is good. Sweet hand fruits (apricots, apples), dark dried fruit, and a whit of bourbon and oak. Brown sugar.

Taste follows the nose for the most part. The bourbon barrel is very understated - I would like to see this base beer completely aged in the barrels. Sweet brown sugar notes are more pronounced here, backed with the fruit. Caramel. Exceedingly well balanced beer.

Mouthfeel is very good. Smooth and full-bodied without being thick, perfect carbonation, fairly dry on the finish.

Drinkability is really amazing. I couldn't believe how quickly this one went down.

Very nice beer from Deschutes. Highly recommended.

Oct 04, 2010
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randylangford from Pennsylvania

4.75/5  rDev +11.2%

Apr 16, 2014
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DovaliHops from California

4.17/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2009 Vintage. Pours a clear reddish-amber color with a minimal off-white head. Scent is TONS of sweet malts, molasses, dark fruits, no alcohol whatsoever. Taste is initially lots of caramel and candy sugar. Lots of molasses and such complex dark fruit flavors. The alcohol/booziness is very much there once this beer starts to warm up. Lot's of cheery flavor at the end. The mouthfeel is VERY NICE! Not to syrupy at all. The drinkability is fairly high.

Aug 15, 2010
Mirror Mirror from Deschutes Brewery
Beer rating: 95 out of 100 with 1846 ratings