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Mirror Mirror | Deschutes Brewery

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Mirror MirrorMirror Mirror
1,795 Ratings
Mirror MirrorMirror Mirror

Brewed by:
Deschutes Brewery
Oregon, United States

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
30 IBU

Bottled/kegged vintages:
2005 - Released February 2006
2009 - Released April 2009
2014 - Released April 2014

Added by waltonc on 04-29-2009

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,795 |  Reviews: 549
Photo of Sammy
3.49/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

2010 edition.

13 characters

Photo of kylehay2004
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of acurtis
3.75/5  rDev -11.6%

Photo of Texasfan549
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of jaydoc
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.39/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2009 vintage.

Best after 4/20/10.

Pours a hazy honey orange-brown with a 1 inch orange-tan head that settles to a film on the top of the beer. Broken rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of brown sugar, caramel, toffee, apricot, peach, and citrus juices and citrus zests. Very nice smells on this one. Taste is of brown sugar, caramel/toffee, apricot/peach, and sweetened citrus juices. Surprisingly mild bitterness on the palate after each sip, with more of an acidic citrus juice quality than any real hop bitterness. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a medium body and smooth mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good barleywine with some very nice and complex smells and flavors. After perhaps 2 or so years in the bottle this has aged wonderfully.

 786 characters

Photo of GRG1313
3.75/5  rDev -11.6%

Photo of spycow
4/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of kjkinsey
5/5  rDev +17.9%

Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of Knapp85
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured out as a deep amber color with a thin white head on top. The smell of the beer has some nice rich caramel notes and some dark fruit. Not a lot of barrel aroma though for me. The taste of the beer has a good amount of dark caramel flavors with some molasses and dark fruits. The feel of the beer is medium bodied. Overall this beer is pretty solid.

 354 characters

Photo of nmann08
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of oriolesfan4
3.94/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3/5  rDev -29.2%

Photo of metter98
4.16/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of BEERchitect
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A basic, error free Barleywine that is wonderfully balanced on all fronts. A huge malt foundation lays the ground work with strong toffee, caramel, and molassas flaovrs. The texture rides the fence of sweet-syrupy and dry-malty. Fruity esters bring out juicy plumbs, dates, grapes, figs and dried fruits of prunes and raisons. With the malt sweetness the fruits take on a fruitcake taste and complexity. Rum-like alcohols give an aggressive power to the beer but never dominates with fusal or harshness. Hop flavor has a mild herbal taste, but ultimately is used as a bittering agent against the malts. The malt, fruit, and hop character gives the same impression from nose to finish with a long, lingering malt taste. A supurb Barleywine that should age well from years.

 771 characters

Photo of biboergosum
4.41/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz, black wax-capped bottle, 2014 Reserve Edition, once again due to doktorzee's proclivity at seeking out the good stuff on his trips south of 49. But what's with this 'best after' tripe - they actually expect we consumers to wait over a year to drink this? Pfft.

This beer pours a murky, dark red brick amber hue, with three fingers of puffy, thickly foamy, and tantalizingly bubbly ecru head, which leaves some random hovering island mass lace around the glass as it evenly subsides.

It smells of bready, yeasty caramel malt, one more than dusted with toffee and dry treacle notes, further raisin, date, and fig black fruit sweeteners, an edgy, grainy barrel vanillan woodiness, some associated red wine acridity, molasses-tinged reduced brown sugar, cocoa powder, and a sedate citrus and leafy hop bitterness.

The taste is more musty caramel and toffee malt, the Scottish treacle association apparently a figment of my early afternoon association today (hey Scott!), nondescript vanilla and alcohol barrel notes - the particular wine character well and lost by this point - toasted dark sugar, and earthy, leafy, and lightly perfumed hops - that booze has to seep in someplace, and it might as well be here.

Mirror Mirror's bubbles are rather light, and mostly just a comely frothiness for the most part, the body a sturdy medium-heavy weight for the style, and unabashedly smooth, with a tingling creaminess tacked right up in there. It finishes on the sweet side, sure, but in a perfectly moderated sense - bready caramel malt, subtly musty fruit, proper old-world hops, and a gentlemanly booziness - replete with strength, but kind in its wielding thereof.

My oh my - this has been one of my white whales for this brewery (the Abyss having slipped thorough my fingers too many times as well) - and now I have it. Memories of sitting in front of the Mirror Pond in Bend on a Sunday evening, on another brewery's patio are now eclipsed by the headiness of this offering. For a west-coast bred brew of the given style, I am surprised at the accuracy, if not the veracity of the aplomb evident here. I bristle at calling this 'young' seeming, since I was admonished at first from even going down that road - oh well, this is still freaking awesome.

 2,259 characters

Photo of kojevergas
3.14/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Best after 02/24/15. ABV: 11.2%. 2014 vintage. 1 pint 6 fl oz brown glass bottle with black wax-ed over pry-off cap shared by my friend Blakelive784 and served at fridge temp into an EKU 28 stem-snifter in me parents' gaff in high altitude Castle Rock, Colorado. Reviewed live. Expectations are quite high given the brewery. Reviewed as a barleywine because the label clearly identifies it as such.


No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: Two fingers wide. Plush creamy consistency. Lovely thickness. Excellent (~9-10 minute) retention. Leaves a nice even consistent lacing as it recedes. Full and luscious.

BODY: Rich vibrant dark red. Quite appealing. Translucent, with good clarity and average transparency.

Overall, it looks pretty decent for a barleywine, but isn't unique or special.

AROMA: Amber malts. Faint caramel. Has a surprisingly prominent hop presence. Cream. Malted barley.

An inoffensive aroma of mild strength.

TEXTURE: Smooth, wet, overcarbonated, unrefreshing, and medium-bodied. Has weight and heft on the plate. Too thick methinks.

Texture suits the taste okay, I guess. Overall presence on the palate is decent.

TASTE: Cream, malted barley, amber malts, faint caramel, a kiss of marshmallow, a hint of bread crust, and light unevocative generic hop character. Ain't nothing special. I don't even know that I like it per se.

Okay balance. Okay build. Not gestalt. Subpar depth of flavour. Average duration and intensity of flavour. I'm not loving it, but it's alright.

There isn't a lot going on here. Lacks complexity, intricacy, subtlety, and nuance.

O: Drinkable for a barleywine, but far from fantastic. I wouldn't purchase it again. Not Deschutes' strongest work. A faux pas from a great brewery. Hides its ABV decently. I expected better, but maybe it'll develop with age. Not a great beer in the style.


 1,864 characters

Photo of emerge077
3.99/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of brentk56
3.98/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2009 bottling - best after 4/20/10

Appearance: A beautiful barleywine, with a three fingered head that pancakes atop the the tawny colored liquid; the head leaves squiggles of lacing all across the sides of the chalice

Smell: The alcohol leaves a burning sensation in the nostrils, beneath which lie tones of caramel, stone fruit and pineapple

Taste: Dried pineapple and caramel, with a bit of a fruitcake character; by mid-palate, the tropical fruit, hoppy bitterness and alcohol merge together and are joined, after the swallow, by an oaky character; a floral tone emerges in the after-taste

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation; plenty of warmth in the gullet

Drinkability: I think the best days for this barleywine are ahead of it as it still has a bit of harsh character that limits the drinkability; otherwise, there is a lot to like and considerable complexity

 884 characters

Photo of oline73
3.75/5  rDev -11.6%

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.95/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a deep amber color ale with a large foamy head with good retention and minimal lacing. Aroma of sweet malt with deep caramel malt notes and some hoppy grassy notes as well. Taste is also dominated by loads of sweet malt with a nice caramel touch and some hoppy notes with light citrus notes and a grassy feels. Body is above average with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Very well done though a bit more hoppy then what I usually like in my barley wine.

 477 characters

Photo of zeff80
4.14/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a clear, burgundy color with hints of orange. It had an off-white, head of foam that left behind sticky rings of lace.

S - It smelled very, malty with notes of spicy, floral hops.

T - It was very, very sweet and malty. The spicy hops were milder than I expected from the strong aroma.

M -It was very soft and smooth. A full-bodied beer with a dry finish.

D - This is a pretty good barleywine. I don't know if it lives up to the hype. I'd like to try one that has aged a little longer.

 503 characters

Photo of largadeer
4.37/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

First vintage from (I think) 2005, a blend of different barrels including pinot noir, bourbon and port.

Appearance: Dark amber-brown, viscous and oily. A thin quarter-inch head sits on top, slowly settling to a ring. There's a fair bit of haze without being completely opaque.

Smell: Rich and malty with a lot of interesting barrel character. This was allegedly aged in a mix of American oak, pinot noir, port and bourbon barrels and then blended. There's a definite trace of spicy American oak along with a berry-like aroma that could be construed as port. A harmonious blend on the whole, very aromatic and unique.

Taste & mouthfeel: A big malty character hits the palate immediately, chewy and rich but thankfully not cloying and syrupy. Too often I find barleywines sweet in an overbearing way, with no nuance or subtlety. That's not the case here, as Mirror Mirror shows quite a bit of depth and a subtle mix of flavors instead of merely beating you over the heat with residual sugars. All the same, there's plenty of toffee sweetness to balance the notes of tannic oak, toasted grain, dried fruit, red wine and tobacco. Alcohol is only faintly noticed, this is far from hot for weighing in at a hefty 11.5%. Nice firm bitterness in the finish along with a touch of drying oak. Very enjoyable stuff, dynamic on the palate and perfectly balanced. Looking forward to bottles of this.

 1,389 characters

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Mirror Mirror from Deschutes Brewery
Beer rating: 4.24 out of 5 with 1,795 ratings
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