Class Of '88 Barley Wine
Deschutes Brewery

Class Of '88 Barley WineClass Of '88 Barley Wine
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American Barleywine
3.69 | pDev: 12.47%
Deschutes Brewery
Oregon, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Class Of '88 Barley WineClass Of '88 Barley Wine
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Reviews: 69 | Ratings: 301
Photo of stevoj
3.62/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle from Albertsons. Aroma hints at alcohol warmth, clear golden with a skin of ahead, mostly barley malt in aroma and taste. Smooth yet strong, nice winter warmer.

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Photo of Slatetank
3.99/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I tried this side by side with the North Coast -Rogue not available at the time.
The color is amber with great clarity small white head.
THe smell is mostly caramel malt with a slight aroma of hops and mild alcohol.
The feel is moderately sweet yet a nice balance of toasted and light spice in the hops with semi-dry finish mild alcohol.

The taste is very good, nice layers of malt with mild alcohol the toast in the malt is present with a slight alcohol in the back with mild hop flavor adding balance. This is a decent Barleywine in the American Style worth trying glad I got to taste this

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Photo of James_Michaud91
3.63/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

best before Feb, 2014 according to the bottle. Tried on 7/9/15. Still had a good amount of malt sweetness (more so than the drier north coast bottling from the same release). A little too sweet and one dimensional for me, but still enjoyable.

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Photo of boilermakerbrew
3.16/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Pours a medium to deep orange, but still rather light in color for a barleywine. A small, foamy head forms and retains for a good while and laces an adequate amount. The body of the beer is fairly hazy and rather bright for the style.

S- Right off the bat, the scent of this one is a mashup of booze, hops, and bitter malts. Booze and somewhat piney notes come to the forefront of the smell with the medium to slightly dark malts dancing around in the background of the sniff.

T- If you were expecting a big and boozy mess like the scent was, that taste of this beer is a real surprise. The first thing that hits the tongue is mild malt sweetness. Then the alcohol bitterness and hops kick move in during the middle of the drink, but a subdued and mellow. The end of the drink is a blend of all of these flavors with the malts' brown sugary sweetness ramping up a little before the hops finish the drink with a bit of a bitter push.

M- This beer may be a little past its prime in terms of freshness because the feel on the palate is low in the carbonation department and a little thin, but not distractingly so. The alcohol heat is barely there as well, but this beer drinks pretty smooth still.

Overall, this barleywine is a little past its prime, but not a bad iteration on what I will call a blonde-ish barleywine. The lighter color and flavor of this beer really lends itself to feeling almost like a heavy, double or triple IPA.

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Photo of Jeffreysan
4.6/5  rDev +24.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle, poured into a goblet

Appearance: Pours a very pretty, hazy, almost opaque, but not quite, golden, amber color, speckled with orange and reddish highlights, and a finger of white-colored head that quickly dissolved away into a thin lacing of foam that almost completely covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Very aromatic, with strong aromas of toasted malt, candied sugar, stone fruit, such as apricots, nectarines and plums. Finally, I get some aromas of floral, grassy, hops. Very fruity, very nice.

Taste: Very nice flavors of toasted malt candied sugar, stone fruit, such as apricots, nectarines and plums. I also get notes of honey, black pepper, and orange zest. There’s some very nice, beautifully balanced, floral, grassy hops at the finish

Mouthfeel: Slightly-chewy and very smooth as there is very little carbonation. With an ABV of 10.2%, there is a very nice, slight alcohol warmth on the palate, but overall, the alcohol is pretty well masked.

Overall: This is a very nice barleywine, with good, fruity, flavors and a very pleasant mouthfeel. Its hop/malt ratio is really well balanced, which, considering that this is an Oregon beer, is a little surprising, pleasantly so, as beers from Oregon have a reputation of being quite hoppy. I look forward to trying the Class of ’88 Barleywine from North Coast that I have to compare, as well as my bottle of Mirror, Mirror.

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Photo of samtrillo
4.05/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Best By 3/07/14! I bought it two weeks ago. I'm not even mad the shop left it on the shelf. It is a Barleywine after all, right?

The nose is a sweet malt citrus-orange blast. Makes me want to chomp into some dried mango and apricot chunks.

Big sweet malt taste that blends nicely with citrusy hops. I will say this beer is a bit flat. Very smooth and easy drinking for the 10 ABV but it could use some carbonation and hop kick. I have a feeling that this was one Barleywine the brewers wanted to be had fresh given the emphasis placed on the hops on the label. The flavors from the hops are still somewhat present, but something about this beer definitely feels dead. I still like it because fruity hoppy American Barleywines are my jam, but I think I would have liked it more with fresher hops... I'll never know. It was still a great drink.

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Photo of scottfrie
4.25/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle into imperial pint.

A: Pours a lightly opaque honey amber color with a thick, greasy, and dense light tan head that faded into a lasting thick and dense film that lasted the whole beer through. Wispy lace was left down the glass.
S: Spice, citrus, and bread crust dough, slight booze, orange zest, and something sugary sweet, maybe honey.
T: Follows the nose, sweet citrus juice, honey, bread crust, sugary malt, slight dried fruit, biscuit dough, and earthy finish. Sweet aftertaste toffee, woody, touch of apple juice. Toast.
M: Thick body, chewy mouthfeel, thick and greasy, slick, soft, and fluffy carb. Drinks very creamy and smooth. Very good. Hint of warming booze. Smooth overall.
O: Better than expected. Super smooth. Very easy to sip.

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Photo of woemad
3.75/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

22oz bottle purchased last fall at Total Wine on the northside of Spokane. I’m unable to reference the cost because of the death of the computer I had used to store that information. Apparently this beer was collaboration between Deschutes and their fellow brewers at North Coast and Rogue. I’m a fan (to differing extents) of all three of these breweries, so I have high hopes for this. According to the label, this is best by 03/07/14. I suspect it’s still good considering it’s strength.

Poured into a large new-model Sam Adams glass, this beer appeared a hazy, orangey amber color, taking on a more burnt orange shade when held up to light. A medium-sized, sudsy beige head was perched atop the beer, but subsided somewhat quickly, leaving some sticky lace on the sides of the glass while retaining a foamy collar.

The nose was floral, bitter and sweet. Lots of fruity esters with hop aromas. Both were mixed with what seemed to me to be a scent not unlike vanilla. Caramelish malts are present with the hops, but at a more subordinate degree.

Big fruity and hoppy flavors were at the forefront of the taste. There were also elements of pine sap and sugary fruit juice. This was like a fruit-forward take on a DIPA but with a big blast of sugary malts thrown in. There was some boozy heat in the background as well. Things ended with a dry zap. There was a lot going on in the taste of this beer, but I think it could have melded together a little better.

Full bodied, with a coating, sticky mouthfeel.

An interesting take on a barleywine – fruitier than most I have encountered. I wish I had another to lay down for a longer period of time to see if things might have melded together more satisfactorily over a longer period of time. For now, one is definitely enough, as I harbor hopes to be productive later on in the day, and a second bottle of this would probably prohibit that!

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Photo of GeezLynn
4.01/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Cloudy golden blond with a weak white head/collar that is easily revived.
S: Aroma is sweet with very prominent fruity esters. Orange and pineapple - odd (to me) for the style but nice just the same.
T: Opens with loads of sweet caramel malt, balanced by citrus hops. Lots of grapefruit a little pine and eventually orange showing. Finishes with a mild bitterness, slightly dry and resinous. Alcohol is not overly apparent. Almost a touch too sweet.
M: Mouthfeel is smooth, with full carbonation. Body is on the lighter side for the style.

This is a lighter version of the style, and much more fruit forward. I enjoyed it much more than I expected to, though I am not a fan of many of the massive, rough, overly bitter and hot American barleywines out there. For $8/22oz, I’d happily buy this again.

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Photo of Brenden
3.59/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

This Barleywine is a thick but bright orange with moderate hazing leading to translucency. Its lightly tinted head achieves half a finger of head with consistent retention and a modicum of patchy and spotty lacing.
Lots of citrus is the main focus in the nose over some malty backbone, semi-sweet overall. Orange pith, peel and flesh blend with caramel and dark fruits. Alcohol, though strong, is integrated fairly well but the fusel notes ultimately end up coming off a little strong.
Where the fusel notes are strong in the aroma, they seem to build up to a somewhat medicinal quality in the flavor that has the overall effect of marring it in the whole. It's more doughy and sweet up front, with the caramel, citrus and dark fruits still coming on strong but after a dose of thick breads and molasses that continue through. Some leaf comes out and ends up with a woody sort of pith.
The body is nice and full, almost "chunky" and certainly what could be called chewy. It's got some heat but doesn't thin too much at the end. Crispness adds a tingly nip all the way through. It strives for smoothness, but something keeps it from reaching it fully.

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Photo of bum732
3.89/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

S: Rich, grainy, maltiness, clean grapefruit hoppiness, medium low. Very caramel. Woody notes.

L: Slightly hazy, golden amber. Creamy white head that dissipates to a ring of foam. Solid lacing.

T: Sweet caramel maltiness up front with a slightly citrus, woody hop backbone, faint. Medium woody hop bitterness into a bold, grainy maltiness. Finishes slightly hoppy, semi-dry.

M: Medium bodied, medium carbonation.

Not bad, like a blond barleywine.

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Photo of archyquaffer
3.83/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a half-pint sampler. A moderate pour produces about 1/2 inch of a wispy head that recedes quickly. The beer is definitely cloudy, and of a pale amber color with moderate carbonation.

I get some citrusy hops in the aroma, along with some caramel, and a slight fruity apple. The taste is pretty darn malty, as one might expect, with just enough bitterness to balance nicely. I also get undertones of caramel, butterscotch, and citrus rind. The alcohol is masked without any overbearing hop flavors, and the beer is surprisingly light in body and easy drinking. Warming alcohol as the beer progresses, yet it's hard to believe the ABV.

This is mellow for a barley wine, which I like. The flavors meld well, without any overbearing flavor-aromas. I think I paid over 9 bucks for the bomber, which is a little pricey but worth it, as there are not many barley wines to choose from in these parts. This beer was available in only one store in a community of about 35,000. Send more beer!

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Photo of notchucknorris
3.67/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a burnt orange color with a one finger tan head. Recedes down pretty quickly.

S: Off the pour, I got apricot preserves, tangerine rind, caramel and honey. As it warms a bit, those fade into more generic barleywine aromas. Lots of malt, caramel and some herbal hop aromas.

T: For me, this one just never really goes anywhere. Tons of malt, some sticky citrus, caramel, herbal hop resin and some tobacco. Slightly burnt grain on the finish. It's ok.

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Photo of Florida9
3.54/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A: Red tinted orange in color. Clear. Forms a modest light yellowy-white colored head that fades fairly rapidly, leaving just a faint surface coating and a thin ring around the edge. Very light lacing.

S: Aroma is somewhat oxidized. Citrus, citrus peel, and orange with a light cardboard or paper note.

T: Taste is okay. Nothing too exciting here. Dry grainy malts, apple skin, and burnt caramel. Herbal, almost medicinal hops. There is a bit of citrus in the mix, primarily orange.

M: Medium bodied. A bit light for the style. Crisp, dry, and slightly chalky. Mild-to-moderate bitterness.

O: Got to admit, I was expecting a lot more out of this beer. It's a decent BW, but there's a lot better out there. Paired it with some pate and Carr Valley Bessie and the food helped round it out nicely, but it falls flat on its own.

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Photo of BucannonXC5
3.57/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Type: 22-oz. bottle
Glass: Sea Smoke oversized wine glass
From: BevMo in La Mesa (San Diego), Calif.
Price: $7.99
Purchased: Sept. 26, 2013
Consumed: Sept. 29, 2013
Misc.: Best by March 7, 2014

Poured a caramel orange murcky color with about one finger of white bubbly head. Some sporadic spots of grayish white lacing on the sides. Average retention.

Smelled a surprisingly amount of hops right away. That gives way to more of the barleywine feel. Got dates, raisins, plums, figs, orange, tangerine, dark red wine, tobacco and some type of strong liquor.

Tasted pretty close to the smell. The 10.2 percent ABV was not hiding for sure. The mix came with dates, raisins, figs, plums, spices and honey. Not as dark a red wine as the smell, maybe a cab? (I don’t really know wines that well).

Light body. Oily texture. Average carbonation. Long, warming finish. Best part of this beer.

Pretty disappointed overall. Not nearly as good as I hoped it would be.

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Photo of Spikester
3.74/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Clear red amber with a modest white head. Some spots of lacing.
Smell is big caramel malts.
Taste is similar to smell. Candy sweet malts with very minor hops.
Mouthfeel is chewy and thick with decent carbonation.
Overall a tasty malt bomb. Would have liked some hop push back. This is what Deschutes malt liquor would taste like if they made one. Too much sweetness for me.

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Photo of Fcolle2
4.13/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours deep amber in color with a slight red hue. Thin half finger offwhite head that had good retention

Lots of malt in the nose. Caramel malt and some nice lightly toasted malt. Some very light spicy phenols bond nicely with some spicy hop notes. Very faint hints of toffee are also present.

Malt is forward in this and is very rich. There is a very light sweetness from the malt along with bold grainy husk characteristics and some nice hints of caramel. There is a nice floral hop presence in the finish that balances out the rich malty flavors.

Mouthfeel on this is moderately thick and has a sticky feel from malt. There is a mild hop bitterness that balances it all out.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.98/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into an Elysian snifter. Part of horizontal tasting of all three versions (North Coast, Deschutes and Rogue) of this interesting project to revisit a classic 1980s recipe. Pours a clear orange tinted golden amber with a thin white head and thick ring around the glass with good retention condsidering its depth and slippery lacing. Aroma of tropical and stone fruit, light plums, caramel malt, light piney hops, moderate, almost medicinal ethanol. Flavor is sweet caramel malt, toffee, light apple and pear juice, mildly floral, light piney, grassy hops. Finishes with a pleasant grassy hop bitterness. Alcohol, obvious in the aroma, is fairly well covered in the flavor. Medium bodied with light creaminess. An interesting take on a barleywine. Like the others in this series, seems to take the basic form of an English barleywine, but without the dark fruit elements and adding an almost Belgian fruit component, without the Belgian yeast and also the more intense hopping of the American style. Nicely balanced and interesting to drink, but lacking the intensity of most English or American barleywines. This one was in the middle of the pack of '88s, and enjoyable. Like the others, I think the lighter flavors do not promise a long, successful aging, although I might try it for laughs if I find another bottle. Glad to have participated in this walk down memory lane.

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Photo of Shabedue
3.19/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

First critical tasting of a barley wine so keep that in mind.

A- I really like the color, orange-gold with some depth. Not much head but lacing persists quite a while.

S- crystal malts, citrus, heat, and notable yeast smell.

T- Bland. The malt tastes muted to me. Present are caramel, toffee, and maybe a little roast at the end. One can taste alcohol from start to finish. Tastes syrup-y but maybe that belongs in mouth feel.

MF- I would call this thick but I have pretty limited experience with barley wine.

Overall- It's ok... I thought it was a little boring on the tasting front and a little harder to drink than I'd like.

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Photo of angrybabboon
3.47/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Consumed 8/30/13

Cheers to Goblinmunkey7 for sharing this

Appearance: Pours a crystal clear golden orange - starts with a medium-sized off-white head, fades to a wispy cap, leaves some nice streaks of lacing

Smell: Rich, cooked, caramelized malts - loads o f caramel malt, caramel, toffee, and malt extract - nice depth to the malts - grainy and earthy, with some light fruity esters as well, like pears and apples - some citrusy hops are well

Taste: Rich, big malts - not a remarkable amount of complexity for a barleywine, but some nice depth to the malts - big caramel malts and straight-up caramel - syrupy at times, very dense - grainy, earthy, kind of dirty - some light fruits and some honey - some citrus as well - alcohol is pretty obvious, overall seems like this could use some time to age

Mouthfeel: On the heavy side of medium, sticky and syrupy, finishes with some heat and sugar

Overall: Might be better if this were actually brewed in 88

This is a good barleywine, but it's not spectacular. Big malts here, but a lot of the flavors don't quite meld together. This tastes young, like it could use some time to age and develop more depth. It's not bad now, and it seems like it could get better.

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Photo of Goblinmunkey7
3.23/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: Glowing clear orange. Small white collar. Moderate carbonation. Standard affair.

Smell: Citrus and earthy hops. Malts are sweet and bready, if a bit mellow. Some hop spice and alcohol on the back. Peppery. Caramelized malt sweetness. Heavy citrus with orange flesh and some grapefruit. Doughy.

Taste: Mega bready malt base. Sweet caramel malt with caramelized sugars. Some toffee and raw sugar. Alcohol and hop spice work well together. Solid punch of citrus from the hops. Some light pithy bitterness and an herbal element. Biscuit dough and a slight peppery finish. Building sweetness as it warms, but it doesn't really meld with the hop profile. Drinks like 2 beers layered.

Mouthfeel: Medium body and a moderate carbonation. Surprisingly clean.

Overall: A balanced barley wine...because that makes sense.

Intro barleywine. Has the malt profile, but lacks real depth. We'll see what it does in a year or two.

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Photo of Derek
4.16/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Copper-bronze with a white head, slight ring of retention shows some leg.

S: Candied pineapple, marmalade, sponge toffee, gooseberry and mango.

T: Resiny pine, sponge toffee, gooseberry, candied pineapple, marmalade, hint of biscuity malt, quite bitter.

M: Moderate to full body has some resiny hop oils and a bit of hop acidity.

O: An interesting BIG brew. It's boardering on briny and harsh, but doesn't cross that line.

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Photo of russpowell
3.49/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up at Brown derby in Springfield MO. Hope this is better than the North Coast version; BBD of 03/7/14

Pours an effervescent orange/amber with a pinky of pearl colored head. Pretty decent lacing & average head retention

S: Leafy hops, figs, fusel alcohol

T: Follows the nose,, plus raisins & a touch treacle up front, a touch of bubble gum too. Orange marmalade & doughyness as this warms, a touch of banana taffy as well. Finishes with woody hops, dryness, more treacle & bit more banana taffy & some grapefruit finally shows up way too late

MF: Chewy, light carbonation, fairly warming. Carbonation turns a tad prickly as it warms

This is another letdown in this series. Almost drinks like a Quad; would've rated higher in fact... Not horrid, just not to style, American Hops are MIA. Would love to see how this ages, but this is never turning into an American BW

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Photo of draheim
3.69/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

22oz bottle (best by 3/7/2014) into a tulip. Pours a murky copper color w/ a thin off-white head, minimal lacing. Lazy carbonation.

Aroma is a blend of fermented stone fruits (peaches and apricots mostly, maybe some mango), citrusy hops, and booze. Not your typical barley wine; reminds me more of a very old imperial IPA although the hop presence is still definitely there. Unique but not sure I like it. Maybe it will grow on me.

Taste follows nose. Strong pale fruity malt and citrusy hops. Copious alcohol warmth. I'm actually liking the balance here and I like the grapefruit, although I wasn't expecting it in a barleywine. Rating to style I would give this lower marks (kind of like The Stoic in that regard), but it's an interesting interpretation and I'm enjoying it at least as much as I expected.

Mouthfeel is medium to heavy bodied, coating and sticky, as it should be. Carbonation is about where it should be. Nice lingering aftertaste, just mildly bitter.

Overall, I actually like this beer. It doesn't hide the booze particularly well and it's not really a tradtional American barleywine. I see why other reviewers dinged it a little bit. But I'm enjoying it. Not outstanding and nowhere near Deschutes' best, but it's still a good beer.

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Photo of ADZA
3.84/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a hazed orange amber hue with a one finger wispy head and a swirl of lacing around the sides,the smell is piney hops,caramel,toffee,candy and booze,the mouthfeel is full bodied with above moderate carbonation and has tastes of caramel candy,burnt toffee,boozy raisins and finished with a hoppy piney bitterness and overall this is a hoppy as hell barleywine and I for one will be buying it again as will age well cheers.

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Class Of '88 Barley Wine from Deschutes Brewery
Beer rating: 84 out of 100 with 301 ratings