Class Of '88 Barley Wine | Deschutes Brewery

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Class Of '88 Barley WineClass Of '88 Barley Wine

Brewed by:
Deschutes Brewery
Oregon, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.20%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by duceswild on 04-07-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 69 | Ratings: 298
Photo of metter98
3.7/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is clear light amber in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high off white head that died down and consistently left a thin head covering the surface.
S: Light aromas of caramel malts are present in the nose along with of some notes of toffee.
T: Similar to the smell, the taste has flavors of caramel and toffee malts along with a light amount of bitterness.
M: It feels a little more than medium-bodied and slightly sticky on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This barleywine is lighter compared to some of the other beers in the style so it is a little more drinkable.

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Photo of leaddog
3.62/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Rogue Public house on my recent US road trip.

Appearance- Pours a light copper with a thin white head.

Smell- caramalts, touch of grapefruit and tropical fruits (hops). Sweet aromas overall.

Taste- Very heavy on the caramalts followed by hint of tropical fruits and light hop bitterness. Finishes on the sweet side.

Mouthfeel- Medium boded with light carbonation.

Overall- A more malt heavy American Barleywine. Although its more malt dominated, it is still enjoyable and is easy to drink considering the ABV.

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Photo of rlee1390
3.79/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Clear/cloudy orange, one finger head with some lacing.

S-Lots of caramel, toffee and malt, grass, wood, alcohol, citrus.

T-Caramel, grass, pine, balance isn't there due to alcohol head, good bit of bitterness. Some citrus.

M-Medium bodied, alcohol heat is the main culprit.

O-Had side by side with the NC version, this was noticeably worse, alcohol was not masked at all.

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Photo of srandycarter
3.23/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

This beer was a little disappointing. Nice honey, apricot, a little murky, some off white lace and head. Then it goes down hill. Smell is overripe fruit, sweet, a little cloying. Hops try to contend but fail. Taste is definately on the sweet cloying side, thick and overripe fruity. Hops again try to balance. and fail. Good carb, balance is off and I won't be having this one again.

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Photo of CHickman
3.45/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Pours cloudy dark orange/amber color with a 1 finger foamy off white head that had a ton of microscopic bubbles in it, fading on the quicker side, leaving good rings of lace and a layer on top around the edge of the glass.

Smells of malt, sweet dark fruit like a red apple or cherry, caramel, light toffee, herbal hop notes and booze; it’s sweet overall with no major aroma dominating except the alcohol.

Tastes like it smells, with sweet malt, caramel, dark fruit like pear, red apple and/or cherry, light toffee, tea leaf, herbs, floral hops, spices like cinnamon, sharp citrus hop notes and bitterness and then the booze; the booze hits hard and each swallow brought heat, seemingly getting stronger as the beer warmed up. The aftertaste has some yeast funk, flowers and brown sugar, but it all goes back to the booze eventually. The ABV is not that high, but the balance is off; Yoda would proclaim a disturbance in The Force after sipping this one.

Mouthfeel is slick, thick and watery at the same time, with a medium to thick body, very mild carbonation and a sweet and slightly bitter aftertaste that trails off with an alcohol burn. The bottle states “Finished Pleasantly Warm Without Overpowering”…I would debate that claim as the 10.2% ABV is very present in every aspect of this brew.

Happy 25th Anniversary to all 3 breweries in this collaboration, I am a fan of all 3 outfits and their beers. However, my conclusion is that as much as I wanted to like this beer more than I did, I just couldn’t as it was just too one sided and hot. Perhaps I should have aged it longer, but at this stage I was pretty disappointed with this beer.

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Photo of dakotaben
3.37/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A 17-18 on the color scale Dark golden- 1 finger of head and appears visibly carbonated.

S Fruitty, nutty smell with some sweetness

T - Definite nut taste with caramel sweetness hints. I can taste the alcohol, but it is not overbearing.

M - Medium, chewy body with moderate carbonation.

O - It has been a while since I have had a barleywine and I love the style, but something seems off about this as a Barleywine. It has many of the characteristics I think of as a barleywine, but maybe the malt is not as intense as I usually expect in this style. That being said, it is still a great beer and I would drink this again.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.66/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Light amber body. White head. Unbalanced collar and a few wisps.

Smell - Caramel malt. A touch of oxidation, strangely. Some hoppiness. It's strangely appealing despite its simplicity.

Taste - Much hoppier. Some grapefruit. Caramel. No oxidation here. Creamy finish.

Mouthfeel - Creamy mouthfeel that defies explanation. Medium carbonation. Medium heavy body.

Overall - This had the potential to be terrible, but I rather enjoy it. Simple beer, but enjoyable.

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Photo of beergoot
3.92/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Crystal clear, copper body sporting a very thick, chunky head; lots of softly rising carbonation bubbles. Toasted grains and caramel grain notes in the nose; bready with a ripe fruit hint (pear). Smooth alcohol warmth riding atop a gentle maltiness; excellent hop bitterness tying everything together. Medium bodied, crisp and dry.

A big beer delivered in a relatively light package of color, flavor, and feel. Excellent complexity and depth, all nicely balanced throughout the tasting experience.

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Photo of Stevedore
3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber from Deschutes poured today 11 July 2013 into Russian River stemmed glasses with Benish.

Aroma: Faint grapefruit hues with a dominating toffee background. It smells sweet and dry. The hops are surprisingly complementary rather than dominant.

Colour: Clear hazy caramel body that pours with a 1cm white head. It is a very clean looking beer. A little bit of lacing but not much. The head is gone after a short time. Nothing special.

Flavour: The best part of this beer. It's surprisingly malty, but the hop contribution is just enough to balance it out and make it interesting. I think it is a little too one-dimensional, but it was definitely enjoyable to drink this one- a grapefruit mixed in with toffee, basically. Follows the nose.

Mouthfeel: A bit thin bodied for a barleywine. It's not dry though; and the aftertaste is mostly the toffee sweetness. The carbonation isn't anything special. There is no booziness in this beer.

Overall: Tasty example of an American barleywine that doesn't have the hops covering everything. It's not bad, not especially complex as it is fairly one dimensional, but it is a pleasantly surprising drinking experience.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.33/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is the Deschutes version - with the pry-off cap, not the hood-and-wire cap over a cork like the North Coast version. Label is classy and straightforward; I dig it. Pressure cap is branded and black in colour. Collaboration between Deschutes, North Coast, and Rogue. 10.2% ABV confirmed per my bottle's label. Best by: 03/07/14. Expectations are high; I really love both Deschutes and North Coast.

Served chilled, straight from the freezer; I don't like my barleywines too cold, so I'm letting this warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a one finger head of healthy white-khaki colour. Fair creaminess. Nice thickness. Pretty good (~5+ minute) retention for the ABV. No bubble show. No notable lacing as the head recedes.

Body colour is a vibrant clear translucent copper. No yeast particles are visible.

A bit bright for the style, but overall above average for the ABV. I'm looking forward to trying it.

I was a bit weary given the current reviews - which are lower than you'd expect - but so far I don't see what could be wrong with it.

Sm: Pleasant. Pale malts, light floral hops, caramalt, some light toffee, citrus fruit, and even wheat (?). Actually comes off more as a wheatwine than a barleywine. Pear. Yeast-derived banana. There's not a great deal happening here, but it's appealing for what it is. A pleasant aroma of moderate strength.

No alcohol comes through.

T: Pale malts, floral hops, some caramalt, and wheat. Light stale citrusy notes. Light pear. Much more phenol-forward than anticipated. Clove honey. Some sugarcane. Melon fruit. A biteen syrupy. Light cinnamon spice. Backgrounded alcohol; I wouldn't call it boozy or hot. It's certainly not balanced, but it's not offensive or horridly put together. I wouldn't say it's a mess, but it does need work. Definitely on the sweeter end, but not cloying. Apricot esters. Clean barley. Flowery. Caramel intensifies as it warms, but never to an exceeding degree. I can see where some may get bubblegum notes. Light peach.

It's definitely more estery than any barleywine I've had, and certainly has less of a pronounced malt focus. There's no toffee or butterscotch or apt-for-oxidation malts here.

Maybe honey or pollen. Cereals. Lightly grassy, lightly grainy.

Overall, it's got a lot going on, but to call it complex might be giving it too much credit. There is some subtlety here. In terms of style criticism, it has a lot more going for it as a wheatwine than it does as a barleywine; the character is out of wack but I do like it. I think some reviewers are being harsh on it purely because it doesn't meet their expectations about a barleywine; sometimes we get carried away with style conventions.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Nicely thin for the style; it's not overbearing or offensive, and errs on the side of drinkability. Good body for the style. Nice presence on the palate; it facilitates full flavour delivery but doesn't feel heavy or obnoxious. Not oily, harsh, or biitng. Good carbonation. Unrefreshing, though one might call it refreshing for the style. Slides down easily enough. Suits the flavour profile well, though it won't match style expectations. Well-executed for what they're going for. Certainly lighter than most barleywines. Acidic.

Dr: Hides its ABV quite well for the style. I do like this brew, but I can see why it's divisive. It's certainly far from a traditional barleywine, but it brings some interesting notes to the table. Drinkable and enjoyable. Unrefreshing. Really comes off more as a wheatwine than a barleywine. I might get a smaller portion on-draught for the right price. These brewer(ie)s have created something interesting, and I applaud them for that. I do expect better from Deschutes and North Coast, however. Intriguing stuff that some have written off unfairly, but either way it's far from among the best beers I've had in the style (and cousin styles). Perhaps a failure as a barleywine if we're being strict, but it's not unworthy of a chance. I think many are being hard on it purely because it doesn't meet their expectations.


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Photo of homebrew311
3.24/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Appearance is a bright orange with moderate clarity. Thin layer of lace present upon pour, recedes to just a thin collar. The aroma features candied apricot, spicy hops, sweet malt character, and boozy heat. The taste is somewhat sloppy, very sweet up front with plenty of candied fruit. This gives way to herbal hop character that lends a bit of bitterness to the palate. This is finished with a stinging boozy burn on the finish. The flavors are all appropriate for the style, they just don't seem to meld that well. This honestly reminds me a bit of Bolt Cutter in terms of its sweetness and booziness. Too many other good barleywines out there to mess around with this one.

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Photo of Fatehunter
3.89/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass. Minimal head on a dark straw colored body.
The aroma is nice. Some fruit: oranges and mandarins. A good dose of grain and hay too.
The taste is great. The fruits follow here too. The mildest bitterness to balance it out.
The texture is crisp with a heaviness and moderate carbonation.
Very enjoyable.

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Photo of arizcards
3.65/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Picked up a bomber at BevMo in early May for $7.49. Best by 3-7-14 - which is odd for a Barleywine.

Beer poured amber orange with a nice white head upon the initial pour.

Nose is primarily is a malt bomb perfumed with some citrus hops.

Taste is very well balanced. Hops are relatively light and leave a bit of citrus oil behind.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, somewhat smooth, and decently carbonated.

Overall this is a pretty decent brew. Not sure if the style is more of an English Barleywine so others may view this in a lesser light. It was fun to try and definitely worth a shot.

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Photo of SHODriver
4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pourd into a snifter to a deep orange with a half finger of off white head that quickly fades to a collar around the edge of the glass
S: smells of caramel, pine and citrus
T: tastes of caramel malts, resinous pine, sweet citrus and citrus rind with a slight earthyness and herbal medicinalness. swallow brings more caramel and resinous hop goodness with a bit more citrus. maybe a slight estery banana flavor as well
M: thick and slightly syrupy with soft and slightly prickly carbonation and an oily hop finish
O: Drinks better than expected for a young American barleywine. Normally beers of this style are pretty abrasive due to a solid load of hops but this one is a bit more reasonable and quite drinkable when fresh. Good assertive hop profile without being over the top. It strikes a solid balance and the flavors are good so for me this beer is a winner.

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Photo of Mdog
3.72/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Hazy gold, good long-lasting head.

Smell: Malty, fruity, boozy.

Taste: Fruity sweetness, big bready flavor. Sweet but not too sweet. Minimal hop bitterness.

Overall: Really reminds me of a big bready doppelbock more than a barleywine. They are somewhat similar in that they are both big sweet beers, but usually BW have a little more hop influence. This beer just seems to lean a little more towards the malty side for barleywines.

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Photo of Zorro
3.28/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Chill hazed orange colored beer with a small off-white head that just doesn't last. 10% beer so the weak head is sort of expected.

Smells strongly of malt melon and strong tea.

Starts out toffee and tea with a slight savory taste. Medium Bitterness. Slight butter taste. And that is it, not very complex.

Mouthfeel is good.

Overall kind of disappointing.

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Photo of ESPNman
3.93/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into a Delirium tremens snifter.

A - Pours a crystal clear amber. Really a nice looking beer. Lightly carbonated, slight head, little retention with surprisingly good lacing.

S - Some citrusy hops, a bit of floral up front. Sweet perfume-like malts with some caramel backbone to really bring a nice balanced nose to this beer. Also an odd bit of grassy smell in there that's a bit off to me. Otherwise good.

T - Lots of that hop bill up front. Citrus bite with a bit more of that grass. Finishes cleanly with a more classic barley wine maltiness. A bit of apricot and juicy pear in there as well.

M - Creamy and well carbonated. A bit more alcohol bite that dries the palate than I would normally like, although not out of character for the style. Decent.

O - This is a good beer that could use a little refining, and perhaps a little bit of time in the cellar. Not a must-try, but if you see it sitting on the shelves, it's not a bad bang-for-the-buck barley wine.

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Photo of mactrail
2.86/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.5

Clear amber in the snifter. Average head and carbonation. Fairly hoppy aroma but not distinctive. Very sweet and perfumey. Spicy and hot with alcohol. Leafy and a little dank, and tastes like some bitter French liqueur. So sweet, it's like sugar cane or a Mexican candy.

At the same time, it's really bitter for a Barley Wine. The aftertaste veers toward the medicinal even while the sugar lingers on the tongue. This is just not very drinkable. Maybe the brewers all had to get their favorite malt and hop in this mess. From the 22 oz bottle bought at Barons Marketplace in San Diego.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.05/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a Surly Darkness chalice glass. Label says best by 03/07/14.

Appearance: Pours a deep copper amber orange with a moderate amount of bubbles. About two fingers of off white head that settle into a thin creamy layer. Leaves a good amount of lacing.

Smell: A juicy hop forward aroma with lots of caramel malt hints. Hoppy upfront with earthy hints of grass and hints of citrus grapefruit, orange, pineapple, tangerine, apricot, and lemon. Big balancing malt presence with hints of caramel, toffee, biscuit, grain, and yeast. Some Belgian like yeast hints along with fruit esters of banana and apple. Some sugar sweetness as well. A decent aroma.

Taste: A balanced combination of hops and bready malts with subtle fruit esters. Hops upfront with earthy, grassy, and floral notes. Citrus fruit notes of grapefruit, orange, pineapple, apricot, tangerine, and lemon. Also some fruit notes of dried banana and apple. Big bready toasted malt presence with notes of biscuit, caramel, toffee, grains, and yeast. Some sweet burnt candy sugar is in the mix as well. A pretty decent taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium to heavy body with a moderate amount of carbonation. Creamy, juicy, and somewhat chewy. Alcohol heat is pretty tame for the style.

Overall: A pretty decent take on a Barley wine. Its a kind of laid back brew considering the style and breweries involved, but it is a nice balanced taste.

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Photo of lighthabit
3.74/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

good head, dies down to thin layer, then to none. color of honey. banana, clove on the nose, with banana, clove, leather and honey for taste. finishes sweet, almost a bit sticky, but i think it'll be one to set aside for a while. this is my second bomber, and i believe it's better that the first.

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Photo of jjanega08
3.31/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Best by 03/07/14
ABV is a little different than above however, my bottle reads 10.2% vs a flat 10%

A= Pours a hazy dark golden color Almost like dirty blonde hair. The head is almost none existant. It rises to a little tiny cap then falls to nothing.

S= Smells pretty hoppy. A nice citrus character with a little malt. Not too much in the nose because the lack of active carbonation.

T= The taste is much sweeter than the nose. There is a certain sort of cloying sweetness that comes through for just a moment. After than the booze and a hop bite come in and wipe the sweetness away making it a relativly balanced barleywine.

M= Actually well carbonated despite the look.

O= This is far from the best barleywine I've ever had but it's not bad either. I would drink it again for sure but I wouldn't seek it out or try to get more to satisfy a craving.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.49/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.25

22oz bomber purchased from Whole Foods SoMa in San Francisco. As far as I can tell, this is not a collaboration, but part of a series of Barleywines from Deschutes, Rogue and North Coast, celebrating 25 years in the craft beer industry.

Pours a lovely clear, bright orange colour, with a bright white, slightly creamy head. The forms exquisite lacing, and sticks around even as a film for quite some time. The body is silky and smooth, and holds carbonation so densely when tilted. It's a really lovely looking beer.

Nose is, in some senses, rather subdued. There's a sharp green hop presence, a definite suggestion of booziness and some sugary malt that comes through like golden syrup. But all up, it's faintly generic, and not at all particularly strong. Some cinnamon arrives slightly as it warms up, but it's not enough to add a great deal of interest.

Taste is certainly stronger, but the booze seems to pick up most of the slack, giving a heat and a bite that mingles with the hop bitterness to make it quite oppressive, especially towards the back. There's a shell of malt to it, but again it has a fragile sugar character to it: not a true sweet, wholesome richness. There are subtleties there, perhaps again like the cinnamon spice on the nose, but the booze and the intensity tend not to let them through.

No matter what I think of the flavours and their intensity, though, the feel is exquisite. Beautifully light, silky and smooth, but with a creamy richness accentuated by fine carbonation. Really, it's excellent, and only needs a better flavour profile to make it perfect.

Overall, though, this is not a beer that won me over, despite its good points. It's heavy, intransigent and somewhat frustrating. I found it needlessly big, without the payoff that a really heavy beer can bring. There are obviously things to love in this beer, but I was too conflicted to completely embrace it.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.29/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Bottle opened on 5.7.13

A - Pours a hazy medium orange with a reddish hue. A light tan foamy head with good retention.

S - Hoppy dark orange, carmel, bready-toast malt.

T - Bitter orange and sweet bready malt.

D - Thin body with medium carbonation.

O - Sweet, bitter and hoppy. Thin, odd, but I guess true to original form?

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.62/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

On tap at 38 Degrees in Alhambra, CA.

Pours a hazy orange with a foamy beige head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, citrus fruit, citrus zest, and alcohol aromas. Taste is much the same with slightly medicinal flavors on the finish. There is a medium amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer but the slight medicinal flavor is odd.

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Photo of charlzm
3.81/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Consumed April 27th, 2013 at 38 Degrees, Alhambra, CA.

Beer is a deceptively light yellow with a fine white foamy head that provides some lacing,

Aroma is more or less apple cider.

Flavor is white grapes and apple cider. Some cinnamon. Alcohol and warmth. Significantly bitter on the finish.

Effervescent and spritzy on the finish.

Unexpected flavors and an appealing lightness of flavor make this one an interesting beer. Not sure if aging would help this one, though. I say drink it fresh.

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Class Of '88 Barley Wine from Deschutes Brewery
3.64 out of 5 based on 298 ratings.
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