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Mirror Mirror | Deschutes Brewery

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538 Reviews
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

For Trade:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 538 | Ratings: 1,756
Photo of MaximalC
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

*2014 vintage with "best by" date of 2/24/15

Pours the color of murky, dirty pondwater with a meager cap of khaki froth. Tremendous, decadent aroma smells of rum-raisin bread, dark fruit, toffee, cherries and red wine--one of the finest smelling beers I’ve ever encountered.

Similarly robust taste features raisins, brown sugar, and warming alcohol up front, while woody, slightly tart notes from the wine barrel manifest on the back end. What little hopping exists is earthy and slightly herbal in nature. Warming reveals some butterscotch, dark fruit, and even char if you look for it. Alcohol is present enough to lend a pleasant warming without over-asserting itself and offers nice contrast to the massive, malty sweetness. A gluey stickiness lingers on the lips between sips. Substantive body and modest carbonation make for a slightly syrupy mouthfeel that works well.

What can I say? This brew has everything I look for in a barleywine: big sweetness, complexity, and luxurious warmth with negligible bitterness. Time to dust off the smoking jacket!

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Photo of Czequershuus
4.71/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Review based on 2014 vintage on tap.

This beer pours a very hazy brown ruby with a small but lasting head. The aroma offers up a host of dark and dried fruit with plum, raisin, prune, fig, date, as well toasted almond and brown sugar. The flavor puts an emphasis on prune and date, with toasted almond and toasted coconut mixing in, and a touch of golden raisin, brown sugar, and tobacco. The mouthfeel is thick, but not syrupy. Overall this was a breathtaking beer - balanced and decadent, this is a desert beer with a serious feel.

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Photo of ThickNStout
3.63/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Black wax capped 22oz bottle from BeerShip.com. 2014 Reserve, best after 2/24/15 so I assume bottled 2/24/14. Served in a Toppling Goliath teku.

Pours a turbid, pale auburn tan with about two fingers of frothy beige head. A milky surface haze remains, as well as a full halo that leaves some small clumps of lacing.

Smells of dark fruit, brown sugar, caramel, wet wood and a hint of faint wine.

The first sip while still cold is a one two punch of oxidation and booze. The flavors open up as it warms. Musty dark fruit, singed caramel, wet wood, bready malts, acidic wine, brown sugar, faintly bitter earthy hops and some cereal grains. The alcohol and oxidation are constant companions to those other flavors but neither are overbearing and it works.

Medium full body, somewhere between creamy and chalky, with moderate carbonation. Oxidation remains at the forefront in the aftertaste with some booze soaked dates and earthy wine barrel.

I'm torn between thinking this has aged almost too long (due to the oxidation and mustiness) and not quite long enough (with it's pronounced heat for the "only" 11% abv even after two years to settle). At any rate Mirror Mirror is still a decent English style barleywine that I would drink again.

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Photo of IvoryFoxhole
4.09/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2014 Reserve, aged for nearly two years, poured into a standard pint glass.

L: Beer is a deep cordovan-brown. Pour gives about a 2 finger head, little retention, no lacing.

S: All sweetness: malts, stone fruits, honey, molasses, brown sugar. Nice, and not cloying.

T: Generally follows nose. I guess my only additional comment is I don't get much wine barrel. Might be the aging.

F: Don't know if the aging did it some good, but the balance is nice. Full-bodied, light carbonation. ABV provides dry finish with only a little burn.

O: An entire bottle of this at one time is a lot, but this is pretty good. My love/hate with barleywine continues and this is on the love side.

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Photo of darktronica
4.47/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2014 vintage, still drinking lovely. Strong malt backbone, with plenty of grain, caramel, orange gumdrops, and vanilla. Oxidation is just starting to take hold, but for now it's a pleasant complement to the other flavors. Probably peaking soon, so I don't think I'll be holding on to my other bottles for much longer.

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Photo of SaxmanRick
4.43/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had originally rated this lower when fresh. But, having just enjoyed a 2014 bottle (two years of aging), my impressions definitely improved. This was best when the beer reached near-room temperature.

As it warmed, the aroma exposed caramels and toffees with a slight hop dankness. Nicely complex English Barleywine flavors - rich sweet malts that are well balanced. Aging produced a fabulous creaminess. I will surely procure and age more of this.

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Photo of Ri0
4.84/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2014 vintage. Poured 22oz bottle into snifter. Color is dark orange with deep amber highlights around the edge. The slightest cap forms and leaves a ring around the edge of the glass. Small beads of lacing fade away after a bit. A wonderful blend of sweet malts, dark fruit, some spicy hops and a touch of wine barrel. The flavor is of brown sugar covered figs, caramel, toffee, spicy hops and wine barrel. Quite complex an very inviting. Very, very smooth with a soft mouthfeel. Heavier body, but lacking in carbonation. Creates a velvety presence in the mouth. Turns out this is one of my favorite BWs!

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Photo of blindtiger24
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2014 Reserve
A: Cloudy, brown, creamy head
S: Raisins, apricots, dried and spiced fruit, cinnamon
T: Raisins, fruit cake, gingerbread, little smack of hops
M: Creamy, sugary, syrupy sweet, a bit of medicinal after taste. Nice warming on the throat.
O: A full of bomber of this is quite a lot for one person. Very true to the English style.

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Photo of leaddog
4.49/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2014 Vintage

Appearance - Pours a chestnut red with two fingers of cream-coloured head.

Smell - Bready malts, plum, raisin, fig, caramel, mild earthy hops, vinous and port aromas.

Taste - Multiple variations of malt flavours, from bready to caramel to toffee. Well accented by dark and dried fruit (plum, raisin) and vinous flavours. Moderate level of sweetness. Hop bitterness is more on the mild side.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with low to moderate carbonation. Silky texture with a touch of warmth. Finishes with lingering vinous/port sweetness.

Overall - This is one that I've been saving in my cellar for some time and it was worth the wait. Deschutes takes their Mirror Pond ale to a whole new level by aging it in wine barrels. The flavours and aromas are harmonious throughout - one of their best beers.

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Photo of bluejacket74
3.82/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

22 ounce bottle, 2014 vintage, best after date of 2/24/15 printed on the label. Served in a snifter, the beer pours a murky reddish/brown color with about an inch tan head. Head retention and lacing are both decent enough. Aroma is sweet and fruity, the brew smells like dark fruit, caramel, toffee, vanilla and some red wine. For the most part I think the taste is the same as the aroma, but it's not quite as sweet as I was expecting. Seems to lean more towards the fruity/wine flavor, although the caramel, toffee and vanilla are noticeable. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit syrupy and slick with moderate carbonation. The alcohol is well hidden, and it's easy to drink. I thought this was good, but was hoping it would be better. Maybe I let it age for too long, but it's still an enjoyable brew.

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Photo of Roguer
3.84/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Murky brown brew; modest tan head with decent retention. There's no getting around that murky appearance; it isn't particularly attractive.

Huge barleywine aroma: tons of caramel grains, toffee, and dark fruit, noticeable from the moment you start prying off the cap, and wafting across the room. Smells like malt soup - what I call that wonderful moment during the boil when beer-in-the-making starts wafting through your garage/kitchen/wherever.

There is a touch of tart wine and oak, but it certainly leans toward the latter, and is overall very subtle behind the malt aroma.

Flavor follows: it's sweet, but more bready and grainy than sugary. Brown sugar and toffee; caramel grains; grapes; prunes; and a touch of oak and a slightly vinous vein lingering throughout.

Very drinkable, especially for a big beer. Medium-thick feel, with a lingering stickiness.

This is a good brew, but I feel it falls short of being truly outstanding. It's enjoyable, but it wouldn't be my first choice for a barleywine.

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Photo of tigg924
4.49/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours hazy, reddish brown in color, with 1/3 inch head. Taste is caramel, toffee, tobacco, alcohol, and oak. Mouthfeel is heavy and smooth. This is a wow beer. Amazing taste and layers of malt. I will pick this up again. Just a great beer.

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Photo of Benish
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2014 vintage.

Appearance: murky brown/burnt orange in color with no translucence. Foam is light orange in color which dissipated quickly to a ring of bubbles around the glass.

Smell: very sweet, strong notes of vanilla, oak, sweet chocolate and just subtle notes of wine. The aroma is rich and decadent.

Taste: again very sweet but with a some hop bitterness. Taste a lot of dark fruits with a little bit of bitter rind throughout. Actually it taste like some kind of fruit pie with raisins. Weird description but that's what comes to mind. Very malty, rich, and dessert like.

Mouthfeel: smooth, rich, and full-bodied.

Overall: I wasn't expecting this to be a great beer after seeing it was aged in wine barrels. I never thought it could work. But I was proven wrong, very good.

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Photo of derftron
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Still on shelves around Portland nearly 18 months after release.

Smell, taste, mouthfeel are all on point.

The unique barrel aging really comes through. Glad I have many bottles stockpiled as this barleywine ranks up there with some of the best I have had.

Much different flavor than a Bourbon barrel Barleywine, but you can tell it has been ages to dan near perfection.

Great beer

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Photo of VashonGuy
4.34/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2014 Bottle, into a snifter.

Well, I waited 9 months after the "Best After" date, and I had to try this. Now I'm sad. Why? Because I guess it will be five years before I can drink this again. Should have bought multiple bottles.

This beer is incredibly smooth, light, and balanced. It's practically feathery, for an 11% beer!

There's a little sweetness, but not too much. There's a touch of hops, just a bit. There's some influence from the wine barrels, but not too much. Just a little bit of fruit. The big ABV is barely noticeable.

In short, the Deschutes brewers have managed to make this a miracle of blending complex flavors, in which the end product is light and ethereal.

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Photo of teromous
3.58/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Cellared past the "best after" date of 7/24/2015 as indicated on the label. It is nearly two months past this date.

Appearance: Dark slightly hazy tea-brown body leaving some orange-brown and dark red-brown colors in the glass as light passes through. Eggshell-white head that rests shallow across the surface leaving a foamy ring that branches into a few pools of large bubbles. Although there is no real head the ring does a good job of leaving spotty lacing on the glass.

Aroma: There is a light sweet caramel scent that is paired with a faint woody scent and a presence of sweet alcohol. No burning on the nose. There is the scent of dates in the beer.

Taste: There is a light caramel taste that has hints of toffee in it which is very nice. It's a candy-like toffee similar to Werther's Original but it only touches the tongue for a bit before leaving each sip. There is a light toasted finish along with an alcoholic flavor right at the back of the palate where bitterness would be found.

Mouthfeel: This is a sipper. Its high alcohol and sweetness make this an enjoyable sipper to sit with and enjoy for an extended length of time. The body is full and smooth but not overpowering.

Overall: This barleywine is definitely on the sweet side, even for an English style. There is a strong presence of toffee and caramel in the mouth but it doesn't overwhelm the palate. It's an enjoyable long-drinking tasty beer. I would recommend it given that the drinker invests the aging period recommended on the beer. I can't say how it is otherwise. I would say that in a bomber format this beer is best shared with at least one other person. Although a single drinker could enjoy this beer over an extended period of time it is sweet enough to set a few speed-bumps along the way.

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Photo of MattXT
4.06/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

21014 Edition, poured at cellar temp, into a Tree House tulip. Gorgeous looking barleywine, with a one finger head that had lasting power. Smell was very malty, with some toffee, caramel, and perhaps fig. Flavor was abundantly malty, with zero hop presence to balance it. To me, it came across as bordering on cloyingly sweet. Perhaps it was a little past optimal aging time. Regardless, I will be happy to try the next edition.

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Photo of philbe311
4.8/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A - An active billowing pour yields slightly more than two fingers of light khaki colored lush froth that is dense yet fluffy with a few big chunky bubbles mixed in... Stellar retention gives way to a slightly lop sided lacing with a moderate to thick collar... The color is a murky medium brown... Almost entirely still with just a straggler of a carbonation bubble here and there... Sheets of lacing cling to the sides of the glass and then roll down...

S - Big nose that can be detected without bring one's nose anywhere near the class... An outrageous mix of toffee, fig and dark fruits... Raisins... Caramel... Brown sugar... Absolutely intoxicating... A faint whiff of booziness and hops linger beneath the surface... The only down side is that any signs of the barre aging are missing in action... Still world class...

T - All of the sweetness alluded to by the nose is present on the palate... A true malt bomb to start... Rich layers of depth and complexity are revealed with each subsequent sip... There's the wine barrels... On the finish the barrel aging rises and adds additional layers of depth and complexity to an already stellar offering...

M - On the lighter side of full bodied... Velvety smoothness through out before finishing with a touch of dryness and chalkiness... Limited carbonation... Elegant and sophisticated...

D - Beyond world class... I'm blown away by this beer... I haven't had anything approaching this level of awesomeness in years... A stellar job by Deschutes... Amazing in all facets... A sipper to say the least... You'll want to savor every last drop... It's a crying shame that the next bottling is still several years away...

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Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.32/5  rDev +2.9%
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).

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Photo of WunderLlama
4.24/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bomber poured into chalice

Brown with ring with foam edge

Aroma of caramel , toffee, raisin

Taste of sweet malt , caramel . Toffee, raisin

Smooth , feel the alcohol,

Great beer

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Photo of mlockman
3.53/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Drank six months after the "best after date" (18 months after bottling), there was not much discernible character from the wine barrels, which was mildly disappointing, but still a very good English barleywine nonetheless.

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Photo of MichaelNeelsen
3.86/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: Holding it up to the light revealed an amber, caramel, apricot color to the liquid. Eggshell head that builds normally but remains throughout the drinking period as a medium-thin rim.

S: My first comment was citrus, candied apricots, caramel, apple juice. There's a carmel-raisin type candy that the smell is evoking in my memory, but I can't quite place it to name it. I'm drinking this in the summer, and there's a fruit fly that greatly desired this bottle.

T: Fifty percent of this barley wine ale is aged in wine barrels, and I think I can detect it, but I wouldn't have guessed wine without knowing that fact. I would've again referenced apricots. The sides of the tongue are the primary target for this bottle. I should note this was a 2014 bottle tasted six months after its "Best After" date displayed on the bottle. I think this explains the lack of a boozy presence even with a 11.2% ABV.

F: Wonderfully smooth. It plays like a high-quality ale, and the aging process has made it feel like silk on your tongue. It doesn't have the carbonation of an un-aged beer.

O: Very good. It's a barleywine, so it's not my first choice as a genre, but it's very good. It kicks the crap out of the Bourbon County Barleywines that I've tasted. Those have almost a syrupy feel and are so sweet they make your teeth hurt. This plays much more like a nice, aged ale... which it is.

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Photo of justinp444
4.7/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

2014 vintage poured into a snifter. It pours a hazy brown amber with a beige 2 inch + head. Smell of wine must, figs, plums, raisins, dried fruit, caramel, vanilla, and a little bit of oak. Taste is smooth delicious caramel, toffee, lots of dried fruit, plum, figs, raisins, oak, a tad bit of vanilla, a bread pudding malt flavor. There is definitely some wine in there, it's balanced and not overly wine-ish, mixes very well with the sweet caramel flavor. A big nice smooth semi sticky mouth feel and complex rich body with just a bit of alcohol.

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Photo of stortore
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2014 22 ounce bottle, best after 2/24/15, into a snifter.

Pours a medium amber, slightly hazy with a small head, some lacing. Smell is malty, some earthy hops, biscuit, caramel, fig, plum. Also some grapes, licorice and molasses. Keeps smelling better as it warms up. Taste is malt forward and a little sweet. Caramel, raisins, brown sugar, oak, molasses. Not picking up any real wine influence. Slightly boozy, a little bitterness on the back end. Big bodied for the style, smooth.

Great example of the style. Maybe a little sweeter than most, but it's not a negative. Wish I had another, five years is a long time.

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Photo of Strix
4.55/5  rDev +8.3%
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.

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Mirror Mirror from Deschutes Brewery
4.2 out of 5 based on 1,756 ratings.
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