Valkyrie Brewing

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Barleywine - English
Ranked #220
Ranked #32,487
3.75 | pDev: 11.2%
Valkyrie Brewing
Wisconsin, United States
Very Good
Reviews: 40 | Ratings: 44 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of scaliasux
scaliasux from Wisconsin

3.37/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

L - Dark reddish-brown. Short tan head with some persistence.

S - Rich and malty. Caramel, dark fruit, and some alcohol.

T - Again rich and malty. A little bit of a darker flavor than the aroma indicated. Rich winey raisin, carmel, coffee, alcohol.

F - Medium.

O - A powerful beer, but not the flavor profile for me.

Nov 27, 2020
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cheeseheadinMinneapolis from Wisconsin

4.06/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tested from the tap at brewery taproom, and from a 22oz bottle at home. taproom pour was from the 2018 version. Bottle year? Consumed 8/21/2020 and 8/22/2020. I think the draft pour tasted better and is slightly different. ABV is in the 10 to 12% range

Pours reddish brown body. A short fine head that lasted forever and keeps leaving lacing as you drink it.

Smells good: cherry plum.

taste: cherry, plum, plus raisin/fig, slightly burnt toffee/caramel, (sherry?), maybe wood or earth. Smooth, just slightly sweet. A hint of bitterness towards the finish, Alcohol is very well hidden in the mouth even after it warms up some.

Decent mouth feel, malty, slightly syrupy but not overly thick

A solid beer worth trying.

Aug 23, 2020
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Victory_Sabre1973 from Minnesota

3.97/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

This bottle is 2017 vintage, consumed on 8-18-19.
Pours a darker amber color. 1 finger off white head. Head retention isn't so good, but expected with a 12% ABV beer. Nice carbonation bubbles rising in the glass.
The nose has a lot of boozy smelling, but in a pleasing way. I get, I think, a cherry note to it. Some caramel.
Taste - Caramel, cherry, toffee, biscuit. All in pleasing amounts.
This is a full bodied beer. It isn't as boozy as I was expecting, it's actually quite smooth. It does have also a bit of a pop from the carbonation.
This is a very tasty barleywine. I do have 2 more bottles, and I will age them, and try them down the road.

Aug 19, 2019
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Cfred371 from Minnesota

4.16/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Picked up in Cumberland, no bottle date that I noticed
Look: Pours a medium to dark brown, minimal head, but what is there is a khaki. Seems to be some carbonation with it as well.

Smell: sweets come to mind, toffee and caramel, and maybe some malt.

Taste: taste follows the nose: toffee caramel and some vanilla.

Feel: Syrupy, somewhat thick, and little carbonation. Silk like, and not very drying. As the beer warms, bitterness comes through a bit more.

Overall: Grab this because it is a tasty barleywine, and at five dollars a bomber, a good deal

Dec 07, 2016
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Flounder57 from Massachusetts

3.77/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

22 Oz bottle was poured into a snifter.

Appearance: A one finger off white head was poured that reduced to a thin layer. It is a dark crimson color with no vision of anything.

Smell: Caramel, toffee, stone fruit, citrus, dark fruits, herbal, and warm. alcohol.

Taste: Caramel, toffee, grape, herbal, citrus, stone fruit, warm alcohol, and lingering bitterness. Slight off flavor in the rear.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, slight bitterness, warm alcohol, medium carbonation, and medium bodied.

Overall: Not too shabby of a barleywine. Aged well and could age a bit longer. A little more caramel, toffee, and dark fruit flavors would have been nice.

Jul 13, 2016
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joepais from Maine

3.37/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to a awesome BA who sent this to me. I split this bottle among a couple friends. The bottle pored into oversized wine glasses produced almost no head even with a rough pour. I must say I didn't hear much in the way of carbonation coming from the bottle when opened. The body was a dark, dark brown almost black.

The aroma was slightly oxidized. I didn't know the age of the bottle nor is this not expected by me in a barleywine. I did get some nice toffee and fruit notes too. The flavor was sweet and almost candy like with some dark fruits to it. There was not to much in the way of alcohol heat. It had a medium body with almost no carbonation as mentioned before.

It was a good barleywine. Nothing I would go out of my way to look for but, wouldn't mind drinking again

Sep 26, 2010
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Wisconsin from Wisconsin

4.32/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle straight from the brewery. After letting it warm to around 45 degrees I finally cracked it open.

A - A steady pour delivers a rich, dark brown, nearly black body. During the pour I noticed almost nothing for a head and figured it was simply another carbonation deficiency like many of the other Viking beers I have had. However, this one gave off a small half finger head that was tan in appearance. A minute or two later it was nothing more than a ring around the edge of the glass.

S - Dark caramel malts initially standout along with some earthy aspects as well. Sweet fruit joins in even stronger as the beer warms. Plums, grapes and other darker and richer fruits cover up the strong alcohol smell quite well and my mouth watering. Not as full as other barleywines I've had but it has the qualities.

T - Much like the smell here. Caramel malts that I initially smelled were not as pronounced as I had expected but aside from that the deep, rich fruit is present along with some grassy notes. The more this beer warms the less noticeable the 12% abv becomes present. I would like to see a bit more from the fruit and caramel malts, but I am splitting hairs. Overall, this beer has it all, and once it gets to the right temperature this is a great barleywine.

M - Thick and full bodied with a low amount of carbonation, too low for my liking, which is truly the only thing holding this beer back but I am being picky. Dark caramel malts up front quickly mask any alcohol presence. A smooth transition over to the fruit and earthy notes continues the masking of any alcohol. The finish is somewhat dry and boozy but nothing terrible.

D - Could I drink many of these in a single night? Absolutely not. But would I go for this again? Absolutely, and that is not something I could say about all of the Viking beers. This is probably the best Viking beer I have had and I will definitely seek this out again. Once this beer warms up the alcohol is completely hidden and it's smooth sailing from there. The key is making sure it's at the right temperature. I'm not so sure this isn't an English Barleywine either.

Feb 18, 2010
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darklordlager from Wisconsin

3.8/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: As with most Viking brews--no head and very little sign of carbonation. With this style though, it may work to its advantage. Muddy brown colour with a hint of red around the edges.

S: Caramel apple, a little vanilla. Kind of a minty smell, from the combination of the hops and alcohol. Mild cherries and layered caramel. Something I can't quite put my finger on that you wouldn't expect from your average barleywine. An herbal/floral character, perhaps. Taffy.

T: The interesting character from the smell is present in the taste as well--I believe it may be darker/chocolate malts, or maybe a different kind of caramel malt. A light chocolate flavour combined with an herbal element. The cherry/plum dark fruit comes through in the finish, subduing the little alcohol heat present. A little more dark fruit and layered caramel malt come through as it warms, with a little bit of bubblegum/esters as well.

M: A little more light bodied than I was expecting, and is seemingly lighter on the tongue than many barleywines. A little creamy, but a medium mouthfeel for this style. Maybe it's the lack of carbonation. After it sits for a little, it seems to be almost still, though not unpleasant. Not syrupy, but very sweet and a bit heavy.

D: The low carbonation, well concealed ABV, and intriguing flavour profile make this a worthy brew to pick up. Not necessarily my first choice for a barleywine, but refreshingly different.

Jan 14, 2010
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ncvbc from North Carolina

3.69/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Somewhat murky, brownish red and amber hues. Thin head that fades relatively quick, leaving a ring around the glass. Rich, sweet, and full of malt in the nose pretty much. Big toffee especially, caramel, dark fruit, and a touch of chocolate. Light hops in the background. Taste is also big and malty. A light citrus hop presence and hints of pine riding underneath and rising in the finish. Again, toffee is big in the taste. Some dark fruit as well. A nutty flavor is also present. Not as full as I'd expected, somewhat thin and slick going down. Regardless, this is a pretty nice brew and I enjoyed it.

Thanks goes to scoobydank for this extra in our most recent trade...gracias, friend.

Sep 10, 2008
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aforbes10 from Iowa

3.19/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Wastewater brown with barely any head. Looks thinner than I expect. Smells slightly cherry-ish, with dry malt odors. Fruity but astringent and fairly dry. Alcohol hot, with kind of like a pruney fruit mixed in there too. A little too dry for my tastes on the finish, and a little too bitter as well. Nevertheless, it's lighter mouthfeel helps it manage to be fairly drinkable, if not particularly memorable.

Jul 24, 2008
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brewdlyhooked13 from Ohio

3.38/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

An on the spot trade at DLD07 hooked me up with this beer, I can't recall who it was, though. Imagine, not remembering a detail like that, at a beer fest...thanks whoever you are.

Appearance - a murky brownish brew that pours like oil, some reddish-orange notes accent the color. A thin pale cream head forms briefly, then folds back neatly into the beer. I tried to pour some more in the glass from a distance, but the stuff comes out so oily it is bubble-resistant. Some noticeable chunky stuff coming out at the end of the pour. It settles readily per the low carbonation. Some wispy trails across the surface hang around a while.

Aroma - dark fruit, a heavy graininess but not high on the intensity scale.

Taste - big sweet malts, balancing hops on the swallow show some notable but short-lived character. Some alcohol showing along with some timely roasted grain coming through. Warm and pleasant finish with lingering bitterness.

Mouthfeel - thick and viscous, well done. Lower carbonation adds to the big beer feel.

Drinkability - a solid but uninspiring barleywine. Quite the kicker at 12% but I'm happy to have it.

Jul 08, 2008
Photo of emerge077
emerge077 from Illinois

3.5/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Sampled at the Old Fashioned in Madison.

Poured an opaque orangey-molasses brown. Thin head of caramel tinted foam. Very sweet caramel aroma, with some phenolic intensity.

Sweetness is borderline cloying, it's very malty and full-bodied, with low carbonation. Toffee and dried fruit are the major flavors, and it doesn't come off as being very complex. Ended up sharing the bottle, it was a booze bomb I wasn't ready for at 3 in the afternoon...

May 19, 2008
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happygnome from Minnesota

3.9/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

a: poured a very dark brown color with about an eigth inch of head that dissapeared rather quickly, there was a very narrow ring of lace around the edge of the glass
s: sweet caramel malts, nut aromas, fruit aromas hints of the alcohol in the aroma
t: strong malty flavor with a little hops bittering flavor despite the high abv it was very smooth
m: full bodied beer with little carbonation very nice sipping no burn

overall, this is a very good brew that i enjoyed very much so

Mar 05, 2008
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Gueuzedude from Arizona

3.85/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Aged for quite some time, but don't know how long
A very slight hiss is heard as I pop the cap on this. A careful pour produces a light dusting of a head, the sparse bubbles appear to be a dark tan color. The beer is a brilliantly clear, concentrated amber color that shows a cherry red color when held up to the light. The aroma is very rich and meaty; substantial malt contributes lots of umami like notes. Salty aromatics, even a touch of something like peat is noticeable as is some smoky phenolic character. Lots of concentrated caramelized malt aromatics are found here; aromas prunes, toffee, brown sugar and deeply caramelized bread crust. Toasty grain and biscuit-like notes are found in the finish. A touch of muted hop character is perhaps found here and there is also some noticeable rum like notes.

Chewy and fairly thick, though not overly sweet, as the malt character is rich enough to offset any residual sweetness. Aged malt character with touches of sherry adds a lot of complexity to this brew. The hop character, while missing in the aroma, is still quite present in the flavor, though it is a secondary note; the hops contribute a touch of citrus, light pine and a persistent bitterness that adds some balance to offset the malt character. This hides the alcohol pretty well for a beer of this strength; a touch of woody aged malt notes contribute to a touch of bourbon like notes when coupled with the alcohol. The flavor also has a touch of fruit character, made up of berries, a hint of cherry, prune notes and some raisin flavors.

This is a very nicely aged Barleywine. Quite good and it even seems to be peaking right now. The aged malt notes really add a ton of complexity here, on top of the already nice malt character; flavors of peat, smoke, fruit, oak and bourbon are all found here.

Jan 20, 2008
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BuckeyeNation from Iowa

3.88/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

"Berserk is named after the Berserkers, who were the fiercest of all the Vikings."

--Viking Brewing Company website

Dark caramel brown so dark it's opaque. Other than black cherry and orange accents along the bottom edge of the glass, no light is permitted entry. Given style and ABV, neither the small buttered wheat toast colored cap nor the lack of lace is surprising.

Berserk smells like the quintessential English barleywine in that it's dominated by caramel malt and an autumn leaves earthiness at the expense of hops. It's okay, but is nothing really special.

The first second or two of each mouthful is excellent. The beer is sweet and toffee-like with all manner of complementary flavors (pipe tobacco and figs primarily). Before long, however, an odd sourness enters the picture and ushers in a finish that doesn't hold together as well as it might. Things are becoming a little more enjoyable as the bottom half of the 12 ounce bottle approaches.

With warming, a dark fruitiness is becoming more evident and is giving the sourness some context. Thankfully, there's enough malty sweetness and just enough hop bitterness to keep the flavor between the ditches. Not that a crash is imminent, but we're weaving all over the road. Just wait 'til the 12.0% ABV catches hold!

My favorite barleywines favor caramel malt over pale malt (Midnight Sun Arctic Devil is a prime example) because it gives the beer an added flavor dimension and seems to erase the alcohol flavor more efficiently. A positive here is that 12.0% tastes like no more than 8.0%.

Although the mouthfeel favors the lighter end of the style spectrum, it has just enough hang-on to earn the good score. A minimal amount of carbonation helps.

Berserk Barleywine is a cool name, but it doesn't fit this particular beer. The biggest of Viking Brewing Company's offerings is more sedate, more polite, more... English... than a rampaging Norseman with a mean streak and a lust for blood. Like the rest of their lineup, Berserk is different. Unlike a lot of them, it's also good.

Jan 12, 2008
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Atron67 from Wisconsin

4.47/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

had this at the old fashioned in madison tonight

A- poured a very thin head but still had a great retention

S- strong alcohol, maltiness, lighter hops than you might expect but still present. nuttieness and some dark fruits Smelled pretty delicious

T- pretty solid, not quite as good as the central waters one, but still a solid ale, had a strong maltiness throughout, good nutiness and smoothness present despite the 12% abv.

M- pretty thick but not syrup, smooth as hell for 12% and slightly light on the carbonation

D- ill take one anyday

Dec 16, 2007
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ryantupy from Minnesota

3.35/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Has a great pour and ill agree with review below that this may be the most attractive part of this beer. A nut-brown mahogany color with a decent head that eventually dissolves to a nice lace around the glass. The lace does not stick to glass.

S - Alcohol right off the bat. As the alcohol warms there is hints of toasted malts, nut, spiced rum, chocolate (maybe), and a slight smokiness.

T- Alcohol is upfront and never letÂ’s down. But its warming and goes down smooth and does not overwhelm the hints of nut, toffee/chocolate, and light spice

M- A very slick mouth feel that warms as you continue to drink. Very little carbonation and hop character as to be expected with a barley wine.

D- 12%! Wow the alcohol goes down rather smooth for 12%. This beer is good but nothing more. It lacks the complexity that even mediocre barley wines are known for. Viking is a great brewery that is always trying new things. But this particular beer does not stand out for me at all.

May 02, 2007
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Mdog from Minnesota

3.48/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: This was probably the highlight of the beer for me, a very dark brownish-red color topped with a head that you'd swear came from a nitro tap.

Smell: Very rum-like in aroma. Not as hot as rum though.

Taste: Toffee, buttery, some alcohol burn. Not as complex as most barleywines.

Mouthfeel: Slick and coating.

Drinkability: I don't think this is actually 12%, but it's still strong. If it actually is, it's probably the cheapest barleywine around at $1.59 a 12oz.

Not a bad beer but nothing special. I like that Viking tries a lot of different styles, but the individual beers just don't shine. This is ok but there are better BW's around.

Feb 14, 2007
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nvsblman from Arizona

4.47/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep nutty brown flavor with virtually no head. It looked like pouring syrup into my glass. Rich caramel and chocolate in the aroma. Also some raisin and other dried fruits. Almost port-like flavor with some caramel and oak to round it out. Also a little vanilla and just a hint of alcohol. Syrupy mouthfeel with light carbonation. This is dangerously smooth and easy to drink!

Jan 07, 2007
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brewandbbq from New Hampshire

3.75/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Vintage 2005

Pours syrupy brown, with chestnut edging and a tan, dense head.
The tight cap of foam required some encouragement via a tall pour to come out of solution, and faded within two minutes.
A thin ring remains on the placid surface.
Aromatics are malt-forward, heavily british slanted, and fruity.
Figs, raisins, and cherries run under the surface of a thick caramel and toffee nose. Chocolate and dark rum finish out the aromatics with a biscuity sendoff and a whiff of smoke.
Mouthfeel is thickish and tacky. Carbonation is subdued, and the residual sugars keep the brew lingering on the tongue.
Pallet is much less complex than the nose. Berzerk is laden with juicy malt and dark fruit, and light-handed with the hops.
Chocolate, caramel, and brown sugar notes keep it from being within the realm of "barleywine".
Bitterness is moderate, and hopping is negligent in the taste and aroma. Alcohol is well hidden behind the large malt character.
Finishes with chocolate drizzled fruit with toffee chips.

Jan 03, 2007
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lou91 from California

3.95/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to dirtylou for parting with this. The bottle looked very different from the picture so not sure the age. This is a solid representative malty BW with hints of molasses, rum and malt. It looked nice and dark brown and poured thick like it should. Taste is just like it smelled and hid the alcohol well. This is a borderline old ale and a good beer to try.

Nov 08, 2006
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blackie from Oregon

3.75/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

appearance: Pours into the snifter with a very slight, light tan colored head that soon all but disappears. The beer is a slightly hazy, deep orange-brown in color.

smell: Toffee, dark caramel, and a toasted grain sweetness on the nose. A touch of grain husk type aroma. Light hops.

mouthfeel: The carbonation is low, and the body full. Could use a touch more carbonation to balance out the heft of the body.

taste: Sweet, slightly buttery toffee and chocolate upfront. The slightest touch of roast lurks in the background. Moderate, nondescript hops and a very light bitterness.

drinkability: If this is really 12%, then it is exceptionally hidden. A pretty good barleywine. Seems a little more English than American.

Single bottle purchased at Riley's in Madison and smuggled back to NC

Nov 06, 2006
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brewcrew76 from Wisconsin

3.58/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a hazy mahogany with a thin brown bubbly head.

S - Dark fruits, rum soaked raisins, dates and a hint of smoke. I also pick up a cola like aroma.

T - Raisins, dates, and figs. Slightly sweet and a little lacking of complexity. I can feel the alcohol warming but there is no sign of 12% ABV in the taste.

M - Medium body and somewhat syrupy.

D - I was a little disappointed in this one. It was somewhat one-dimensional and I was hoping for a little more.

Sep 25, 2006
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Golden2wenty1 from Wisconsin

4.05/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Round 5 of an 8 round American Barley Wine-off with expatsteve. Tough luck following a monster like Old Crustacean. Viking is the most hit and miss brewery in my short experience, I really had no idea what to expect.

Pour: deep ruby/garnet, clean visibility, minimal tan bubble coating atop.

Nose: smoked, roasted malt, chocolate, funky/tangy fruit and sour lactose constitute a nose that is unique to say the least.

Taste: Scotch ale smoke and caramel on tyhe forepalate, malted grain is followed by a fruity finish of raisin/date and apple skins. If this is 12%, the alcohol is magestically hidden, never distracting.

Feel: Smooth but substantial with crisp, tickling carbonation.

Drinkability/Overall: A nice little barleywine from Viking here. not the most complex of the bunch, but balanced and well put-together for a beer this big. Check this out along with their Big Swede and Whole Stein.

Jul 23, 2006
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expatsteve from Wisconsin

4.08/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Ruby with black notes, and low/medium visibility - great color. Low/medium viscosity. A little suds cover.

Aroma: Chocolate, cocoa, with hints of raisin and lemon peel. Roasted malt notes round out a sweet but balanced nose.

Taste: Chocolate malts, with a few orange and raisin notes; nice grainy malt emphasis that carries apples, raisins and oranges on the back palate. Sweet and refreshing, without much hops at all. Inky finish is the only hint of booze (can this really be 12%?).

Mouthfeel: No alcohol in the finish at all - creamy carbonation and a slightly lighter body carry the flavor well. Cool, chocolate aftertaste.

Drinkability: Not as fruity as I'd expect from the style, but pleasant nonetheless. Definitely a complex but balanced flavor, but the dark malts are almost more reminiscent of a scotch ale and the sweetness might catch a few folks off guard. Check this one out, as it's an interesting rendition of a barleywine and pretty drinkable to boot.

Jul 22, 2006
Berserk from Valkyrie Brewing
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 44 ratings