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 ArrogantB
2.74/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

I grabbed a bottle of this without thinking since it was Deschutes. Bad idea. This really felt like a class of '88 in that it might have been something they would have brewed in '88. Orange color, decent head. Smells grainy. Flavor is very bitter but just not good at all. This seemed like a failed attempt at a barleywine you might find at your newest local brewery. Too bad.

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Photo of n2185
3.82/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

A: pours a clear orange with a finger of off-white head that fades into a thin ring with no lacing.

S: citrusy hop notes along with apricots and oranges followed by caramel, vanilla, and pine.

T: piney and grapefruit hop flavors with caramel and vanilla following. Light bitterness toward the finish.

M: medium-thick body with lowish carbonation, this beer is not too thick and sticky.

O: a solid barleywine overall. Not terribly complex, but enjoyable.

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Photo of Rizalini
3.44/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bomber, dated "best by 03/07/14", and appropriately poured into my Deschutes tulip...

A - Pours a crystal clear golden honey color, with a fluffy finger of off-white color head.

S - Smells of a strong caramel malt backbone, with some nice citrus hops. Has a little faint nose of banana and fig.

T/M - The flavor isn't terribly complex. Just like the nose, the flavor is very caramel/honey forward with some citrus hops trying to make their presence known. A little alcohol warmth as it goes down. Medium slick mouthfeel, maybe just a touch under carbonated.

O - This is a slightly above average barley wine. Nothing fancy, no bells or whistles. Having tried it once tho, I would probably avoid buying another.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.95/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I think probably not what people expected, certainly not what I had in mind, but I ended up really enjoying this one. it pours a way light color, almost like a lighter pale ale or something, definitely not like a big bad barleywine. it does have a honey glow to it, and a nice luxurious sudsy white head. the nose on it is pleasantly sweet, like honey or simple syrup. there is a floral hop profile, but this isn't a hoppy beast like averys hog heaven. it has some orchard fruits to it, maybe peaches or pears, very summer as barleywines go. the alcohol is also invisible, which is a challenge and an impressive feat for the genre. I was told this was made to 1988 barleywine specs. not sure what that means, I guess just that the style has evolved into what we know it as today (bolt cutter etc). this is a much more basic beer, bursting with flavors but absolutely not a kitchen sink operation. I think the lighter malt profile allows some subtleties to come through that might otherwise be lost in big beers of this genre. this is also one of the few beers where the residual sugar is actually right on, contributing something useful, even necessary to the process. I try to be an optimist (as much as I can) when reviewing beers. for that reason, I see only the good in this, more drinkable, more nuanced, more approachable, impressively different, unconventional beer that I really admire. I also however understand those that want the usual. I should grab another bottle and see how this ages, but I have a feeling fresh might be the ticket on this. a ton of nice floral and fruity pollen summer flavors that may not hold up perfectly. get it while you can, anything Deschutes touches is worth my money in my experience.

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Photo of ricke49
4.08/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It's not hard to understand why some have knocked this creation.

High expectations, barleywine-mindset, etc. But, taken simply as a malt - hop - water - yeast product I think it provides a fascinating look (and taste) of what is possible, outside of the mainstream of brewed creations. It has a subtle sweetness, an interesting bitter finish and - overall, a very enjoyable quaffing experience. I was a bit surprised (to say the least when I was in an American Barleywine frame of mind....but thoroughly delighted when I sipped it simple as an alcohol-based creation. I'd buy it again, esp. at the $7.75 price tag.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.68/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Picked up at the COOP for $7.... Seen it as much as $9 at a couple other stores. Pours with a 2 finger sorta yellow tinged head... nice retention and spotty lacing... the brew is a lightly hazed orange.

Nose is sweet and with a light citrus hoppiness... pretty floral and fruity with warmth... something there reminds me of apricot esters.

Flavor is a bit odd... almost like a Belgian yeast was used... sorta spicy and something floral that makes me think of dandelions. Perfumy... heavier residual malty sweetness is unfortunately not balanced by enough hop bitterness.

Really reminds me of HotD Fred which is a compliment.

Many people are going to bash this because it doesn't fall in line with what modern American Barleywines taste/smell like... But I honestly think it is okay as long as you don't compare it to the hopped monsters that weren't even imagined 25 years ago.


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Photo of jimmah120
3.42/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle into tulip. had this big boy at a party where a friend surprised us. review is from notes.

look is a deep ruby amber with little head. smell is sweet apples and alcohol. taste is big an chewy, as expected, with some herbal/earthy hop bitterness and loads of dark fruity malts. then there is the overriding presence of alcohol and oak. little carbonation, good amount of alcohol heat.

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Photo of snaotheus
3.97/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle served in a large snifter

Pours cloudy orange in color with little (almost no) head. Tiny amount of carbonation, very slow. Smell is mild (probably too cold), but floral with a little bit of spiciness. Alcohol is definitely noticeable in the aroma.

Taste is interesting. There's some mustiness, a slight amount of funk, more floral character, alcohol but mixed with some woodiness. Hoppy bitter finish.

Mouthfeel is surprisingly light and smooth. Overall, pretty good.

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Photo of flexabull
3.71/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Great looking beer, pours a bright and clear dark orange/gold color with a nice sturdy white head.

Aromas of cereal grains, hard candies, and apricots.

Taste starts out creamy, soft and sweet. Cereal grains, malts, and some general fruitiness through the middle of the sip. Finish is slightly warm, slightly bitter and dry with some pine. Taste is a bit odd for a barleywine, not bad, but almost more like a wheatwine or something else.

Mouthfeel is full, pretty smooth, with nice carbonation.

Overall, an interesting and tasty enough beer. Not sure it fits the style really well, as I mentioned, it's tasted more along the lines of a wheatwine. But I still kinda like it.

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Photo of Hoptometrist
4.25/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served on tap into a snifter

A- Poured a very clear and bright orange color with soapy white head that left splashy lace

S- Big juicy candied madarin oranges, citrus, and tropical hops. Rich caramel and bready notes

T- Very juicy and bright citrus notes, candy sweetness, some tropical hops, rich caramel and toffee, bready notes

M- Medium body, probably a little light for the style which I liked. Very smooth with nice warming on the finish

O- A really nice hopped up barleywine, that may not be traditional for the style but I really liked it.

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Photo of Halcyondays
2.75/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

22 oz. bottle,

A: Pours a lightly hazy orange with a small white head, fair head retention, some lace.

S: Medicinal notes with booze and some pear, banana and orange.

T: Sweet bready malt with a heavy ethanol phenol play. Estery at times, some nice notes of sugar cane, but in the end not really doing it for me.

M: Full-bodied, boozy, oily slick feel. Soft carbonation.

O: While this beer isn't horrendous, it's incredibly boring and not really fun to drink. Too expensive as well. Pass.

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Photo of harrymel
2.96/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Best by 07MAR14

Warm copper colored with a thin sheet of light cream foam atop. Excellent clarity. Smells like artificial cherry, alcohol, sweet malt, some bits of vanilla and maybe a touch of metal. Flavor is sweet and grainy. Some malt, some floral character, some booze, a little bit of oatmeal (like cream of banana maybe) and a bit of bitterness. Much sweeter than I had anticipated. Medium bodied on simple syrup with a bit of tight carb and a wet finish. Meh, it's sweet, and something I would expect from Rogue quality wise, it reminds me of a more approachable fresh Old Stock. Less boozy, more sweet and drinkable. Not a particularly bad beer per se, but doesn't follow the standards of an American BW, more like and Old Ale.

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Photo of Bitterbill
2.61/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Best by March 7, 2014. An unusual stance to take with a Barley Wine Ale.

A- A very very clear copper colour, 1" head of foam, nice lacing.

S- Served at room temp and it's still tough for me to get the aromas. Lightly hoppy, lightly malty, some fruitiness? Man, I swear, I don't have a cold.

T- Whoah, horsy. This is a Barleywine? Some decent notes of wet like hops followed by a lot caramel malt sweetness, followed by a burnt flavour of what? If that burnt note was supposed to be hop bitterness, imho, it failed. Oodles of alcohol coming through now with a note or 3 of bubblegum. Good grief, will I be able to finish the bottle?

M- Adequate carbonation with a sticky, kind of sickly mouthfeel overall.

O- Not for me. 'nuff said. Or actually, I'll say more. It's cool for breweries to collaborate but not when the end product turns out this way.

PS: And I did get some aromas from the brew after I started drinking it. Almost as disappointing as the taste. Medicinal, big time.

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Photo of chugalug06
2.22/5  rDev -39%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.25

Holy foamy head...overflow for sure. Brew is nicely clear with lots of orange and some light yellow and red. lacing is sloppy and sparse.

Smells like rusty bottle caps and dead hops... sweaty gym shoes.

Flavor is very bland and sweaty. Rather unremarkable. Sweet and sugary. Dry, bland, unfinished... Low carbonation.

I had very high hopes since Deschutes and Rogue brew nice B-wine, North Coast brews great beer, so naturally I figured it would be dynamite. Wrong. Very unremarkable.

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Photo of vkv822
3.85/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz : Teku

Pours and amber orange with a foamy, slightly off white head.

Hop notes consist of herbal, spicy, resiny with citric kick in the finish, blended into light toffee, biscuit malts.

Herbal, spicy pine hops upfront blend into bready, light caramel malts with a pleasant citric finish.

Medium+ body, with foamy carbonation.

A well done collaboration on an American Barleywine. I was surprised at first with the prominent herbal, piney hops, but quickly came to enjoy them. And there is just enough citrus in the end to keep them from becoming overwhelming.

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Photo of imperialbeerdude
1.7/5  rDev -53.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.25 | overall: 1

I had some hope that this beer would be decent, Deschuttes makes good stuff, but it was plain nasty. I poured this sucker out and thought it looked pretty interesting in the glass, orange hues, good carbonation and a decent looking head. The nose followed and once again not too bad, citrus, caramel. Then I tasted this atrocity, cough medicine, faint hops and a gross alcohol taste. One of the nastiest beers I've had in a while and a huge waste of money. It's nasty I'm really hoping the rest of these colabs aren't this vile. Drain pour for me.

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

Appearance - Pours a crystal clear, bright golden orange with an off-white, finger width head. Fair retention, leaving spotty botches of microbubbles on the surface and a ring around the edge. Strong lacing with good stick.

Smell - Sweet, sugared caramel, banana, orange and slight grainy notes round out the aroma.

Taste - Follows the nose. Sugary caramel and modest banana character upfront, while moderate citrus notes come through mid-taste, leading to a mild to moderate bitter orange pith finish with a touch of grain. Subtle hints of heat, but at an even 10%, it's does well to conceal.

Mouthfeel - Full in body with a touch of syrupy character. Moderate carbonation. Goes down smooth, especially considering the ABV.

Overall - A really odd, but unique and delicious barleywine. Taste wise, basically comes across as what I'd describe as an 'Imperial Hefeweizen' without the wheat. Sorry, it's just the best way I can describe it. Excellent balance. Don't get your head wrapped around the fact that this isn't a dark, put 'hair on your chest' type of BW. It's a solid, enjoyable beer.

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Photo of Duomatic
1.96/5  rDev -46.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 1.5

Whoa! With this pedigree, I expected something "phenomenal." Instead, I got something "phenol."

Sure, the flavors were relatively smooth at first, and hid the alcohol somewhat, but an odd butterscotch and banana flavor was there from the start. The aftertaste was immediately and overwhelmingly "banana taffy." I'm no master brewer, but perhaps it was fermented at too high a temperature, or maybe the yeast was under-aerated? Whatever the problem, such high levels of banana-flavored phenols and/or esters (Isoalmyl Acetate?) make this brew hard to swallow, and I drink more Barley Wine than any other style of beer (and this habit goes back to 1983).

I can't imagine that a group of brewers with these chops intended to create an over-the-top "barrel full of monkeys" banana-flavored Barley Wine, so I can only assume it is a quality control issue.

I am a big fan of all breweries involved, particularly Deschutes. Very disappointing, and my hopes were really high. This was the first beer in a long time that I actually poured down the drain after consuming less than half the bottle.

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Photo of duceswild
3.75/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Received as an extra left over from the Craft Brewers Conference in DC. This is collaboration between Deschutes, North Coast, and Rogue.

22oz bottle poured into a snifter. Pours a golden orange color, with a minimal amount of head. Smell is of light hops, orange and slight citrus. Taste is similar with maltyness to it. I don't get much sweetness from this like some barleywines. For a 10% beer it seems subdued and well hidden. Overall decent beer, and I'd be interested in trying the over versions.

The label lists this beer as:
A hoppy, citrus aroma radiates from this pale amber brew. Its sturdy malt backbone is balances with a clear bitterness. Finishes pleasantly warm without overpowering.

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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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