Old Chimneys Good King Henry Special Reserve
Old Chimneys Brewery

Old Chimneys Good King Henry Special ReserveOld Chimneys Good King Henry Special Reserve
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Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Style:
Russian Imperial Stout
Ranked #76
ABV:
11%
Score:
94
Ranked #1,238
Avg:
4.43 | pDev: 8.13%
Reviews:
36
Ratings:
72
From:
Old Chimneys Brewery
 
England, United Kingdom
Avail:
Rotating
Wants
  159
Gots
  17
SCORE
94
Outstanding
Old Chimneys Good King Henry Special ReserveOld Chimneys Good King Henry Special Reserve
Notes:
Reviews: 36 | Ratings: 72 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of stevoj
4.74/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottle from Colin. Absolutely superb! Sublime, mellow , catches up to you fast. Woody, sweet aroma. Taste is a melange is so many flavors, lovely textures, beautiful mouth feel. Heat creeps on you and slowly glows. Just perfect all around.

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stevoj from Idaho, Mar 05, 2018
Photo of unclekeith
4.73/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Paradigm of the style. Thick, creamy - no gimmicks - just a perfectly executed Russian Imperial Stout. Full bodied and roasty. Bitterness balanced with sweetness. Lovely alcohol heat for days.

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Photo of Fux
4.67/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A: Pours pitch black, oily, viscous texture. I feared it would be completely flat but a small dark brown head formed after pouring, that actually has a pretty good retention, leaving a thin collar and some lacings long after.
S: Smell is rich and pretty incredible. It has dominant notes of dark chocolate but most of its complexity comes from its fruit character: mainly dark fruits, prunes, plumes, grapes but also ripe fruits and dry fruits like figs and currants.
T: Taste follows, stronger on the dark chocolate, with cherry and fudge coming next. Dark fruits and ripe fruits are still there, then the barrel character shine through with a dominant vanilla sweetness, notes of grapes skin and cherries. All this being delicately balanced. Finishes on dried fruits and candy sugar with a long aftertaste.
M: High body, oily, velvety mouthfeel, surprisingly mot much sticky despite a high residual sweetness and a low carbonation.
O: Beautiful beer which builds a bridge between classic traditional malty, yeasty beers, like old stouts or Belgian quadruples and more recent experimentations of the craft scene with a subtle but really nice barrel twist.

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Fux from France, Oct 27, 2017
Photo of captaincoffee
4.41/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours practically black with a full brown head that is dense and leaves spotty lace. Nose is quite chocolatey, with a bit of bourbon as well and a touch of smoke. Nicely rounded. Taste is also not as huge as you might expect from a big beer like this, but it has nice rounded chocolate, coffee, and very mild booze. Mouthfeel is sensational...silky like a warm hug on your tongue. Overall a great beer but I found myself wanting it to be a bit bigger.
Edit: The above was the 2012 version, which I was able to get along with the 2014 release. Now that I've had the fresh 2014 as well, I would say the primary difference is that the bourbon is certainly more pronounced in the nose of the fresher beer. It is also a touch boozier, but not in a way that makes it less pleasant.

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Photo of Mar02x
4.16/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I have to say that I expected more. I just had the base beer before this one and that was beer was fantastic. So my expectations were high. Not that the reserve was bad, it just wasn't my taste I suppose. To much honey influence in the taste and it overpowered the barrel character.

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Mar02x from Netherlands, Aug 09, 2016
Photo of Phyl21ca
4.25/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a medium size dark brown foamy head with some retention and minimal lacing. Aroma of roasted malt with nice black chocolates notes is pretty awesome. Taste is a nice mix of chocolate malt with light roasted malt with limited oak presence that rounds off any rough edges to this beer. Body is full with oily like texture and medium carbonation with no apparent alcohol. This is pretty quintessential English style stout with smooth flavours and easy drinking notes and without any extreme cloying flavours.

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Phyl21ca from Quebec (Canada), Jul 06, 2016
Photo of rudzud
4.42/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared with JLindros on my birthday. 2011 vintage.

A - Poured into a Kate the Great tulip dark black hue with a thin mocha head that fades to leave sticky lacing and fat legs. Great retention.

S Aromas of oak, light smoke, almost meat like smoke, earthy, dark fruits and chocolates are very subdued. The tannins are rather up front. No alcohol on the nose

T Taste is similar to the nose, loads of sticky dark fruits, caramel, toffee, light chocolate. The oak is pretty potent, loads of presumably port, sweet red wine vinous notes. Very nice mellow well rounded.

M Mouthfeel is lightly carbonated, silky, alcohol hidden well

O - Overall this beer was rather interesting. Really different from the base beer with loads of oak and port to the point that it kind of washes out the base beer.

Serving Type: Bottle

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rudzud from Massachusetts, Mar 29, 2016
Photo of jlindros
4.37/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Another thanks to rudzud for his birthday. 2011 vintage.

Thick creamy lush dark head fades semi slowly, little lacing and thick sticky legs again, still darker than pitch black.

Nose brings a lot of oak, oak tannins, little red wine thing on there, back to big roasty dark malts, char but not acrid that plays into a bit of a smoke like smoked meat, dusty barrel, the dark fruits are way in the background, nice carb choc cocoa, hint fluffy nougat.

Taste brings lots more oak again, sharp oak tannins and fresh oak, little dusty barrel, a sweet red wine mix with the dark fruits raisin date like, which are all background. More dark roasty malts, dark choc and cocoa, less than the original, thick lush chocolate, chewy, decent bitter hops in the background. Finish dry little sticky, mild bitterness, dark choc, bitter oak tannins lingering.

Mouth nice creamy lush, decent carb, no booze.

Overall pretty nice but the original was a bit better, the sharp oak tannins ripped through the great base beer, need to soak the chips in water first to pull the tannins out. Otherwise a great beer.

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jlindros from Massachusetts, Nov 11, 2015
Photo of KYGunner
4.39/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is amongst the oddest barrel aged stouts I've ever had but it's so Damn good and complex. It starts with peanut brittle, caramel, toffee, honey and honey candy. It slowly moves to molasses, sorghum, and heavy malts. Wow!

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KYGunner from Kentucky, Jul 18, 2015
Photo of pknyc
4.51/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

This review is for a 2011 bottle with a best before date of 09 Nov 2021

A: Three finger espresso crema colored head with an aggressive pour. The head is finer than that experienced with the Good King Henry and dissipates into a ring with a slight film which leaves minimal lacing. The body, like the GKH, is black. I am not seeing any light coming through, even along the sides.

S: While pouring, there was a huge hit of oak. Quite a bit of alcohol, roast, chocolate, anise. I'm not getting the dark fruit that I had in regular GKH. Oak is predominate. Maybe a little peat? It all really blends together very well.

T: Wow. Lots of stuff going on here, and nothing seems to be muddled. Oak, roast, chocolate, alcohol. The oak is supported by a very nice grain bill. There is a touch of vanilla in there as well.

MF: Slick, coating, silky. There is a little more carbonation than I like in the style, but it is fresh in GKHSR terms.

O: This is probably the best English beer I've had, and belongs with the best of the oak aged stouts.

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pknyc from New York, May 31, 2014
Photo of jegross2
4.39/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Reviewing the ever elusive Good King Henry Special Reserve from Old Chimneys Brewery out of England.

Score: 93

275 ml bottle. Brewed 09/11/2011, best before 09/11/2021. Served in a snifter glass and enjoyed on 05/04/14 while camping out for Great Taste tickets. Review is from iPhone notes. Major thank you and shout out to Adam C. for hooking me up with this long time, personal white whale.

Appearance: Pours an ink black color with a thin layer of khaki head that settles to a ring around the glass. Awesome lacing and retention. 4.5/5

Smell: Oaky vanilla, dates, fruity oxidation, dark fruit, tannic woodiness/sherry/red wine, and chocolate. Black currant and cherry comes through more and more as the beer warms up. Also present is a hint of coffee and licorice. Really nice mix of chocolate, dark fruit and positive fruity oxidation that is well-integrated. 4.75/5

Taste: Chocolate, red wine, oak, black currant, cherry and dates. Some licorice towards the finish as well, but this beer is not an anise bomb by any stretch. Lasting fruitiness and oak. Nom nom nom. The nose integrated better than the taste, but the flavor profile is still quite nice. 4.25/5

Mouthfeel: Medium-full bodied, low carbonation. Oily, slick mouthfeel. Very mild sweetness overall. 4.25

Overall: A really lovely stout that, while not one of the best out there, was quite delicious. Ample dark fruit/licorice and red wine define this stout. I would drink this one again, but not go too far out of my way to seek it out.

Cost: Unknown.

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jegross2 from Illinois, May 12, 2014
Photo of cpetrone84
3.75/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

2011 on the bottle. Pour is jet black with a small amount of very tight caramel brown head. Nose is full and well balanced, lots of oak with hints of vanilla and a nice brownie batter aroma. A bit of booze in the back. Taste has much less barrel, a sweetness in back that wasn't there in the nose. Light wood, some rich malt mid palate and berry sweetness takes over. Very full bodied with a boozy finish linger and fairly assertive carbonation. Quite a dry finish with a touch of sweetness lingering.

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cpetrone84 from Pennsylvania, Feb 04, 2014
Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.34/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Huge thanks to Pacamacca for this long time want!

275ml bottle with black pressure cap; label says that this beer was brewed on 3.11.2010.

Poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance: black bodied beer with a medium brown colored head that is 1 full finger high. Head drops down to a thin cap.

Smell: roasty coffee, bitter bakers cocoa, and very woody and oaky. Meaty smoke and ripe dark fruits. Surprisingly, I smell some cinnamon.

Taste: This stout starts out with lots of meaty smoke and dark fruits especially prunes. A hint of soy sauce and black licorice gives this beer an oxidized and vinous flavor profile like a port wine or sherry. Notes of vanilla, tobacco, and molasses offer some sweet and rich flavors. Dark chocolates and woody oak. Peat moss and earthiness. As this beer nears room temperature, all these flavors seem to blend together and balance in an exceptional and unique way. I like how the smoke mellows out and other flavors become predominant as the beer opens up.

Mouthfeel: medium almost full bodied beer with low carbonation. Thick, chewy, oily, creamy, and silky mouthfeel accompanies the flavors of this stout. Such a smooth drinking sipping beer. A slightly dry finish on this stout. The beer thins out a little bit as it warms up.

Overall: This is a really unique RIS. Its not like most RIS that I have tried. Well integrated and balanced stout flavors once this beer opens up. I thought this beer was too smokey when it was cold, the beer get much beer as it warms. This RIS definately has a non-american feel to it. That smoky whiskey barrel notes is something that screams England.

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Photo of EdKing
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From a batch of 2009 picked up personally at Old Chimneys, Suffolk. Black oil out of the bottle. Dark brown at the edges, brown tan head, slight carbonation. Nose is very complex. Deep dark chocolate and black coffee. Vanilla and touch of sweet whiskey off the oak. Leather, cedar wood. Taste is potent, then gives way to some very beautifully balanced yet complex flavours. First was wood smoke, then pure dark chocolate, coffee. Possibly some red berry sour notes coming and going. Tobacco on the tongue. Finish is dark bitter chocolate. But it’s soft on the palate, unlike a lot of US barrel aged ISs. Very good. Grows on the palate with each taste. Something nostalgic about these flavours. Great Christmas beer.

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EdKing from United Kingdom (England), Sep 30, 2013
Photo of KickbacksSteve
4.46/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Brewed on 03.11.10. 275 ml bottle poured into a small snifter. Black body, tudor brown head, low retention. Mostly clear lacing. Aroma includes leather, beef jerky, soy sauce, dates, coffee, chocolate, brown sugar, prune. Mouthfeel is exremely thick and viscous. Warming but alcohol is very well hidden, very smooth for the abv. Tastes closely follow aromas. Nicely treated imperial stout with high drinkability.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
4.31/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

275 mL bottle to a Kate the Great snifter. 2009 vintage, brewed 11/16/2009 (a), whatever the (a) means. Huge thanks to Paul for this bottle.

Appearance - Viscous looking black with almost no bubbles until I begin to pour into the glass vertically. A mocha ring around the beer with some lovely legs.

Smell - Oh my. Easily one of the most compelling stouts I've ever smelled. Chocolate malt and probably the two most dominant aromas, but dark fruits pierce through with oak and a slight smokiness that adds an earthy complexity that is just wonderful.

Taste - Perhaps the nose was a high standard to set. It lacks a bit of the refinement of the aroma. Oak immediately permeates a dark chocolate flavor that becomes bitter and smokey as it lingers. The oak dominates the aftertaste, giving it a slight astringent and vinous character.

Mouthfeel - If I'm honest, I feel it's a touch thin. Maybe the oak makes it feel that way. Low carbonation helps simulate some body.

Overall - It would be unfair to say I was let down by the taste, but it just smells so wonderful. The flavors are all there in the taste, but at different proportions from the aroma. If it lived up to the nose, it would be one of the best stouts out there.

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Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to crusianbeer for sharing this bottle. Brewed 11/16/09.

The beer pours a black color with a tan head. The aroma is heavy on the roasted malt with a hint of dark fruit and some chocolate thrown in. The flavor is similar, with the dark fruit standing out more in the flavor than it did in the aroma. I also get some nice oak and chocolate notes, as well as a hint of soy and once again, some heavily roasted malt. Thick mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

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Photo of thagr81us
4.12/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had as a pre-game to the 2nd Annual Redneck Racin’ & Tastin’! Big thanks goes out to BRoss242 for this one! 2009 vintage! Served from bottle into an Ommegang Three Philosophers chalice. Poured a massively dark brown with a half finger brown head that subsided to a minimal amount quickly. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, dark chocolate, and smoked ham. The flavor was of sweet malt, brown sugar, dark chocolate, wood, sweet alcohol, and smoke. It had a medium feel on the palate with medium carbonation. Overall this was a pretty good brew. While the aroma on this one wasn’t very complex it was just right in the components and intensity. The smoked ham going on in it was almost divine in my opinion. The flavor on this one was pretty good as well as the smokiness was quite pleasant. Definitely glad I got the chance to try this one and I honestly believe that everyone should. Still need to try the ‘OTHER’ King Henry now…

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thagr81us from South Carolina, Jun 12, 2012
Photo of TurdFurgison
4.51/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to Thorpe429 for sharing this in May (thanks a ton Mike!). This backlogged review is now going on-line.

This pours very dark, an opaque blackness with a thin tan foam. One of the richest aromas I've had in a stout, so much more going on here than I expected. Sweet and roasty, cocoa and dark fruits, this seems to have everything. It starts out tasting initially sweet, with plums/raisins and sweet malts, then moves to nicely roasted malts and a dry aftertaste that lasts and lasts. Incredible. This was an incredible treat, the first beer of the night and everything else suffered for it.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.65/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Probably the highlight of the evening at my place, Thorpe popped this bottle out, this is how you do a RIS.

2008 vintage

Beer is black with nearly no head but still manages to leave some lacing on the glass, carbonation low.

Aroma is incredible. Licorice, mild booziness but not offputting, mild vanilla, oak and chocolate, awesomeness.

Beer is medium in body and pretty sweet at leadoff. The finish is smooth and mildly dry with a roasty bitterness to the beer that is quite pleasant and not distracting. The late forward and midpalate are sweet with booze / bourbon chocolate and a little late vanilla. It all comes together so well, a very spectacular beer here. I'd have it again for sure.

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drabmuh from Maryland, May 16, 2011
Photo of Huhzubendah
4.67/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Thorpe429. Thanks Mike!

2008 vintage (13.11.2008)

The beer appears a near black shade, with a small, mocha colored head that leaves a nice sheet of lacing as it cascades down the glass. The aroma is really outstanding and complex, with scents including roast, licorice, dark fruit, light booze, oak, vanilla, chocolate. The flavor is top notch. The beer is remarkably thick and brings a distinctive vinous, dark fruit character throughout. The aftertaste lingers for a considerable time, and coats the palate with a bouquet of roast and dark fruit flavors. Overall, a terrific beer, and a superb example of a Russian imperial stout.

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Huhzubendah from District of Columbia, May 09, 2011
Photo of Thorpe429
4.55/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Huge, huge thanks to Popkas for sending this bottle out my way. 2008 vintage served in a snifter.

Pours near black with a great mocha-colored head that lasts for quite some time. Really nice lacing as it makes its way down the sides of the glass. The nose is really fantastic--chocolate and roast with a nice oak backing. Dark fruits make their way in as well, plus the addition of some light smoke. The taste is on the same level, and is almost vinous with dark fruits, oak, earth, and light smoke coming together exceptionally well. Solid roasted malt base and very little booze at all. Body is thick and creamy with carbonation on the low end. Really a phenomenal beer; the vinous character is amazing in the taste and feel.

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Thorpe429 from Illinois, May 08, 2011
Photo of JohnGalt1
3.92/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Ditmier provided this one at the weekend tasting... Thanks Eric and to the good person who made this possible.

Very short lasting dark tan head.. the brew looks still.

Nose shows good oak and hints of licorice... not as much "roast" as expected instead the dark malts show with deep dark fruits and a minor cocoa.

Virtually still on the palate lends toward a slick and oily palate.. sorta thick and obviously coating.. deep and rich from front to back... rich waves of "standard" RIS flavors.. deep chocolate without too much sweetness... a bit too much smokey char for my liking. I also thought a bit of cigar wrapper showed on the outside but without enough sugar to pull it out.

Body is very nice... carbonation is next to nothing, but is expected and I dig it.

Thanks Eric.. I truly appreciate the chance to try this gem.

3.5/4/4/3.5/4

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Photo of Sean9689
4.37/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks goes to Mike for this one! Poured into Darkness snifter.

A - Pours black, very small tan-colored head which quickly vanishes to a few bubbles and whisps on top of the beer.

S - Smooth booze, dark chocolate, oak, hints of caramel and dark fruits. The chocolate and booze really work well together, and this nose is unlike any other barrel aged stout I can remember.

T - Chocolate, smooth booze, oak, slight dark fruit notes. The booze is much stronger on the nose and it really just a flash on the palate. Quite a lot of wine-like notes from this one, which made this even more enjoyable by adding another dimension.

M - Medium (a tad too light) body, light carbonation, smooth creamy finish.

D - I really enjoyed this one. The booze, wine notes, and chocolate really combined together to create some different and special. I would def drink this one again, if given the chance.

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Sean9689 from Illinois, Jan 19, 2011
Photo of jrallen34
3.79/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Big thanks to Mike for letting us try this on a random Monday night...Pours dark brown with almost no carbonation at all, few bubbles here and there on the side of the tulip...The aroma to me smells like a really expensive bourbon, more of a spirit than a beer. Really nice oak, vanilla, bourbon, very buttery. I'd love this as a bourbon night cap, as a beer, I'm struggling with it...The taste is dead on with the aroma, very spirit like. Butter velvet feel and taste, lots of oak and bourbon.

Everyone else pretty much loved this, I just don't get it. Its not beer like in aroma, taste or texture. Doesn't necessarily taste bad, just not what I'm looking for. A rare tick probably worth trying but I would not actively search this out.

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jrallen34 from Illinois, Jan 18, 2011
Old Chimneys Good King Henry Special Reserve from Old Chimneys Brewery
Beer rating: 94 out of 100 with 72 ratings