Mirror Mirror | Deschutes Brewery

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534 Reviews
Mirror MirrorMirror Mirror

Brewed by:
Deschutes Brewery
Oregon, United States | website

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

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Reviews: 534 | Ratings: 1,736
Photo of Way2drunk
4.53/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful Amber color with a little fizz poured n2 a red wine glass! It is a barley WINE! Right. Great smell. Flavor nice and smooth. Not 2 sweet like u expect from a barley wine. Paired it with Perez Carrillo La Historia cigar that's spicy. I'm n flavor heaven. Will grab another and revisit this in 2017!!

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Photo of wampahoofus
4.85/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Look - Clear amber. Little head but nice lacing
Smell - Boozy and spicy. Can't wait to take a sip!
Taste - Oh Wow! Well balanced oak and malt. A bit of sweetness. Some boozyness.
Feel - Rich and full! Hmmmm. What a great beer to greet a winter night!
Overall - This is what barleywine should be! How did they get it so right?

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Photo of Stevedore
3.97/5  rDev -5.5%
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.

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Photo of Anker13
4.59/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2014 Vintage

Appearance: Burnished orange with a short lived off white head, slightly opaque

Aroma: Sherry up front followed by caramel and toffee, slight wine / muscat character on the back end

Mouthfeel: Substantial... Perfect carbonation for the style, very smooth an unabrasive. Sticky and viscous

Taste: As it smells... Sherry and caramel/toffee dominate, enough heat to stand up to the strong flavors. As it warms, the oak, vanilla, and fig flavors become more pronounced. Luckily it never becomes too sweet

Residual: Palate is completely coated, can still taste the beer 15 minutes after finishing

Overall: One of the better barleywines I've had recently. Very well balanced and not over the top. I was worried that the wine character was going to overwhelm the rest of the beer, but it felt like a natural component. I'd love to get another one to cellar for a year or 2

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Photo of mactrail
3.8/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Massive and sweet with endless malt. Sugary finish with the hoppy bitterness for the aftertaste. Bitterness is pretty intense, along with a woody taste.

Sharp yet sugary. Brown sugar and cried figs. Pleasing aroma of grain and resiny hops. Baked apples and caramel candy. Hot with alcohol.

This pretty well sums up the Barleywine style. This is the 2014 version. From the 22 oz bottle purchased at Liticker's Liquor in San Diego.

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Photo of emyers
4.31/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22 oz. bottle poured into a Great Lakes snifter.

Appearance: Pours a murky copper-brown color with a thin off-white head dissipating immediately into a thin lacing.

Smell: Rich, intense caramel/toffee aroma along with oak. Red wine aromatics fade in and out along with touches of molasses. Tons of depth and complexity in the nose. There is definite alcohol heat, but it doesn't detract much if at all.

Taste: Very similar to the smell, with a dominant caramel/toffee presence mixed with raisins, vanilla, oak, and wine. The wine barrel is quite subtle (which I would say is a good thing in a barleywine) and at no point overpowers the base beer. Finish is fairly sweet with just enough bite from the bittering hops to keep it in check. Not much alcohol heat. Excellent.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied, medium carbonation level. A touch over-carbed for my liking given the style, but has that thick, rich body I love in a barleywine.

Overall: Excellent base barleywine with the wine barrel providing just enough added uniqueness to make this stand out from the crowd.

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Photo of Absolut
4.57/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured out of bottle into a snifter.

Been after this beer forever. found 3 sitting on a Bevmo clearance shelf. eh?? totally confused.

pours a redish brown with almost no head. smells of caramel, molasses and malt. thick mothfeel with low carb. a lttle warming but zero abv. burn.

taste is much the same, semi sweet and bitter at the same time. perplexing. a hint of coffee as it warms.

excellent beer. excited to see how the other two age.

(added later, oak flavors coming through as it warms. extremely well done)

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Photo of lordofstarside
4.31/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Best after 2/24/15, to a snifter

Pours a pretty clear golden brown with moderately red hues. Not much foam, just a thin frothy ring, mild carbonation and good lacing

Smells of oak, toffee, fig, raisin, molasses, caramel, and wine, with notes of chocolate and vanilla. Finishes with a little bit of booze, really complex

Taste follows really well. Upfront fig and molasses with quite a bit of oak. Behind that lots of caramel and toffee, shadowed by white wine. Finishes with a bit of vanilla and some alcohol

Feel is pretty thick and heavy. Not too bitter, easy to sip

Overall I was skeptical about this for too long. Def worth picking up a couple for the cellar

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Photo of everythingiszen
4.32/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Potent english malts in the nose and on the tongue. Heavy body. Beautiful rich color. Slightly sour, mildly tanniny, semisweet. Coating mouthfeel. Nice.

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Photo of cbutova
3.94/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2014 bottle (12/27/14 notes/scores):

Far less wine and oxidation feel than the 2009 and more overall spicy fig, raisin and caramelized sugars. Lack of wine (some of it still here) allow the rich malts and sweetness to come out more.

2009 bottle (12/14/14 notes/scores):
A- Murky brown body from the bomber to a few pint glasses. A light tan head rises to about a finger with a frothy texture. Decent head retention and webs of lace.

S- Tannins and wine jump off the top even from only 35% being oak aged. Dry, vinous grapes and fresh toasted oak followed by big red fruits and some caramel malts.

T- Wine really is quite large in this brew. It overshadows a lot of the malts with dark vinous grapes and wet oak coming to mind before toasted, musty aged caramel and hints of figs.

MF- Medium bodied for the style, perhaps thinned out a bit by age and the wine. Carbonation is moderately high and it all ends with a dry vinous bite.

More wine forward than I would have imagined being only 35% barrel aged. Perhaps a bit too much but still a solid overall Barleywine.
3.75 3.75 4 3.75 4 (will update with 2014 notes when consumed)

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Photo of Catracho5
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

22 oz. bomber poured into a brandy snifter

Appearance: light caramel color, pretty clear, head faded quickly, some tiny bubbles are sticking around the glass, looks really good.

Aroma: Getting a big fruity aroma, toffee, caramel, sweetness, really smells like Bigfoot, can't pick up the wine barrel aroma, no alcohol

Taste: Very smooth, easy drinking, a little bitterness on the front end, quickly fades, then I get that big barley wine flavor, sweet, toffee, caramel sweetness, no alcohol burn.

Mouthfeel: It's a medium mouthfeel, not a lot of carbonation, dry finish.

Overall: I have had Bigfoot several times, it reminds of Bigfoot with a year or two on it, for an English barley wine it seems a little too bitter. I've had other English barley wines that were really smoother. I drank it before the best after date, don't know if that matters, but I was expecting more wine barrel aromas, still really smooth, easy drinking beer, worth a try and money.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.61/5  rDev -14%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle into a tulip. From yesterday.

Appearance: Pours a dark brown color. The head is two fingers high, with a light mocha shade. With a nice texture, excellent retention, and a nice amount of lacing left on the glass, it creates an aesthetically pleasing brew. (4.25)

Smell: Very caramel-laden, as expected. Lesser notes of brown sugar and dark fruit also exist. To me, this seems closer to an American barleywine, due to how the caramel doesn't come across as sweet as an English barleywine - plus, it still retains a bit of hoppiness to it. The barrel presence in this is mild, but not non-existent. (3.75)

Taste: It opens up with large amounts of caramel and dark fruit on the palate, before developing some notes of brown sugar and piny hops shortly thereafter. Just like the nose suggested, the oak barrel and wine notes are subtle, and require some effort to discern. Sure, I could use more complexity, but I still keep coming back for more sips... (3.5)

Mouthfeel: At first, it seems rather heavy and sweet (like a barleywine should be), but the combination of hoppiness and light oak gives it a dry finish...and good drinkability. 11%? Not here. It's still rather sweet, but hey, it's a barleywine. Carbonation is expectedly low. (3.5)

Overall: I admit, I was mildly disappointed by this. It wasn't quite as complex as I hoped it would be. However, as I kept drinking it, it kept growing on me - I was quite impressed with how easygoing this was. Not an essential barleywine, but well worth a try. (3.5)

3.59/5: Sneakily good barleywine with a subtle barrel approach

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Photo of StoutFox
4.53/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: Dark caramel color, cloudy, lots of play on the glass indicating higher avb
Aroma: Very sweet, tons of caramel, toffee, little grainy and just a hint of hops
Taste: Lots of sweet caramel, then an overwhelming malty grainy sweetness , toffee aftertaste
Complexity: high level of complex flavors, well balanced
Overall: a very good beer!

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Photo of reebtaerG
4.27/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Had on tap at Rustico Alexandria in a snifter

A-Pours a reddish orange color with 1/2 finger off white head. Nice lacing.

S-Aromas of caramel, figs, brown sugar, oak, and a hint of wine.

T-Taste similar to the aroma very suddle and smooth.

M-Mouthfeel is very well balance smooth to the tongue. Good carbonation.

O-Overall a great barleywine would like to have a bottle to age.

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Photo of Jack_Malts
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

Caramel, tart dark fruits, delectable wine notes that balance the caramel sweetness. This beer is worthy of its reputation, if not more.
The smell is plum/grape/oak along with a bit of a leather/tobacco character.
Satisfyingly med-full body with light, creamy carbonation.
I'm glad I got to try this, and I'm really glad deschutes is now distributing in va!

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Photo of SomethingClever
4.42/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz waxed and poured into Chimay chalice

A: brown brackish hazy

S: deep figs fruit smell, it smells super hoppy and a little toffee

T: very hoppy a lot of mellow bourbon tastes it's soft toffee and Carmel but it's a lot of malty hops

M: It's thick I love the syrupy-layers but it lays hoppy

O: this is an English Barleywine!? It's so far from one it's mind boggling it's pure Hops and it's good with the bourbon but not English

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Photo of Tilley4
4.49/5  rDev +6.9%
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...

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Photo of beergoot
4.29/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle label data: 2014 RESERVE BEST AFTER: 2/24/15 ALC. BY VOL. 11.2%

Hazy, copper-colored body with a thick, sticky head. Heady mix of caramel and toffee aromas. Toasted grain, caramel, brown sugar, and rum-like booze dominate the flavor; mild hint of bitterness and dark, dried fruit sweetness. Heavy and smooth mouthfeel.

Eye-popping and palate pleasing to the hilt! Chewy and boozy, loaded with strong malt sweetness yet very fitting for the style. Huge depth and complexity in the flavor department and well-balanced throughout. This would have been very interesting to try past its "BEST AFTER" date yet delivers a huge pallet of goodness right now. A barleywine 'must-try'...

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Photo of BrewChatKen
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

Just an awesome barleywine, which you know if you've been lucky enough to score a bottle. Aroma was raisins, wine, tart cherries, chocolate, brown sugar, hazelnut and pomegranate. The color was very pretty, a very deep ruby brown, opaque, with a nice beige head. It was a full bodied beer with a heavy mouthfeel that left it sticky. The taste was plums, raisins, cherries, vanilla, dark brown sugar, wine, chocolate and a little booze, but it's wine so whatever, right? This is a big complex barleywine that's just begging to be explored, and luckily it's delicious so you'll want to. Incredible now but I imagine it will benefit nicely from additional aging.

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Photo of barnzy78
4.27/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Mirror 22oz bottle, Vintage 2014, drinking it a bit early than recommended: Best After 2/24/15, 11.2% ABV
A 3.75 - opaque, murky brown with a tall beige head that holds good retention eventually fading to a foam atop the ale
S 4.25 - beer with some wine noticeable, bread, toffee, raisin, oak, a bit musty
T 4.5 - rich and boozy, beer and wine actually pair well here; bread crust, toffee, brown sugar, sultana, earth, oak, vanilla, faint grape
M 4.25 - full bodied, lower carbonation, booze is well concealed, very well balanced
O 4 - excellent English Barleywine with some uniqueness with the wine barrel aging. I wasn't sure how well it would meld, but it works well. Although this is really good, it is a high priced bomber and I'm not quite sure it lives up to expectations, therefore I won't be buying it again.

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Photo of denver10
3.5/5  rDev -16.7%

Pours amberish marron with a dirty cream colored head. Aroma and flavor mirror each other; bready and veering towards doughy, red wine tannins and its barrel, caramel and some caramelized pitted dark fruits mixed with some brown sugar. Medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, I really am not a barleywine fan but I had to give this a try given the rave reviews it has. Plus,I was able to try it on tap and didn't have to commit to a full bottle. Ultimately, not really my thing but a good beer for what it is. I will stick with Firestone Walkers Sucuba if I ever have a craving for another barleywine. At the least I prefer the use of bourbon barrel over wine barrel when paired with a barleywine.

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Photo of kkleu357
4.51/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Dark amber body. Good amount of head for 11% booze. Grainy alcohol sweet smell. Just got done with a CW BBBW, and this one isn't quit as sweet. Still very sweet with some hoppy fruit flavors. Easily 2nd best BW I've had.

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Photo of cvm4
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

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.

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Photo of T_Reeves92
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

A: Deep Copper/Brown Color.
S: Booziness in the nose, along with caramel and malts
T: Booziness dominates the palate up front, while in the middle and back end you get brown sugar, dark fruits, along with hop bitterness and bread flavors from the malt
M: Medium body with no carbonation, light alcohol burn
O: Very good beer, but very rich. Split with a friend.

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

Finally, a good English style barley wine that can hold up to what I am looking for in the style from Deschutes Brewery. Ale pouts a thick brown molasses color with off white foam that has very light clinging lacing. Nose of raisin, plum, caramel, sweet cherries, and light oak. Taste....WOW...I have been looking FOR YOU! Sweet caramel notes up front, golden raisins, and brown sugar to the back with a plum and brandy like quality on the aftertaste. FANTASTIC. Nice silk smooth, yet lightly syrupy mouthfeel, with easy drinkability makes this one beast of a great brew. CHEERS. I have FINALLY found a decent substitute for Thomas Hardy's...reminiscent of some of the early 90's Thomas Hardy's I have tried aged 10 years or so. AWESOME!

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Mirror Mirror from Deschutes Brewery
93 out of 100 based on 534 ratings.
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