Berserk | Valkyrie Brewing

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41 Ratings

Brewed by:
Valkyrie Brewing
Wisconsin, United States

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Bighuge on 09-05-2002

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 41 |  Reviews: 37
Reviews by ZAP:
Photo of ZAP
3.11/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I just read BigHugey's glowing review of this and I must assume my brother drank this after just getting laid or something because this is far from an elite BW...It is charcoal black with a small nose...I get mainly alcohol on the nose...The taste is malty and sweet, but has some homebrew qualities to it...a bit of an off-taste...not at all complex or challenging...pretty hop profile to speak of....I may be rating this too high...It is strickly average (if that)...

*As a sidenote, BigHugey consitently rates products from this brewery higher than I do...

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More User Reviews:
Photo of DaPeculierDane
3.86/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12%...This beer is 12%??? No fricking way, this beer is 12%. This tastes and feels like one of the weakest barley wines I’ve ever put my lips to. I’m thinking 6%, 7% maybe, but 12%? No way. How is the ABV covered so well? This is a dangerous brew.

Grape juice brown with a disappearing tan head that clings to life on the edge of my tumbler. Rich and creamy caramel, fruity esters, and syrup. Light bitterness but without any distinct hops. Balanced. Not very barleywinish but damn good all the same.

Oh…and I’m starting to feel that 12% even though I still can’t taste it….

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Photo of bpfrush
3.75/5  rDev 0%

Photo of ADR
4.1/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark chocolate brown, deep color for style, almost opaque. Head gives it a shot, eventually forms a ring in a tulip glass with whispery patterns on top. String laces, pretty thick. Malt dominates the nose, suggestion of dry cocoa and plums. Mouthfeel is fullish, carbonation is quite low. Almost a dusty Mexican chocolate flavor to begin with, some breadiness, then becomes lightly fruity with a sweet profile that reminds me most of Fig Newton cookies. Uncomplicated, low in hops, with just a tickle at the back of the throat. The ABV is REALLY well-hidden. Drinkable for me, actually a Barleywine without an incendiary finish is up my alley lately. A little one-sided to call "Berserk" in this style category.

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Photo of cokes
4.33/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

An old dusty, scuffed up liquid leather fills the glass. Opaque, deep, dark brown with a smallish tan head.
Leather appears once again on the nose, along with faint malt sweetness and a stale smoke smell. Some wet paper here too with a few flakes of chocolate.
Seems more of a traditional British barleywine than the hoppy American versions of the style. And in this respect, it is one of the better ones I've had, although a bit ragged around the edges.
Start of with a lightly toasted caramel sensation that mingles nicely (and helps mask) Viking's obnoxious, soggy cardboard yeastiness, They work in compliment to each other. Leathery hues appear once again. Touches of booze soaked raisins and plum pudding sweetness. Impressions of light roasted grain and flourishes of chocolate ice cream towards the finish. Light tea-like hops round it out.
Chocolate-milk bodied. Smooth, creamy and downable.
A winner of an alternatively styled b'wine. Perhaps Viking's best offering.

Thanks to Bighuge for this one. I guess I'd have to side with you in the Battle of the Bros over this beer. And I haven't even gotten laid today.

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Photo of Golden2wenty1
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.

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

The Berserk isn't quite as exciting as the name suggests, but it is a well-balanced and enjoyable brew. Sweet caramel peppered with leafy and herbal hops seems to be its essence; and it's not particularly complex, but it is satisfying. It pours a deep brown with a reddish cast and short-lived, light tan head; but it leaves no lacing (of course it does have 12% abv to help cut that down). Caramelish malt, a waft of fruitiness, a sniff of alcohol, and some herbal/piney hops greet you in the nose and welcome you to imbibe. In the mouth it's full bodied and smooth with a light caress from it's delicate and very fine-bubbled natural carbonation. Rich caramel again dominates the flavor, peppered with notes of darkish fruit, a mild spritz of alcohol, and some restrained hops. It finishes with a dollop of malt and some leafy hops, but still dry; and it's surprisingly drinkable! Not bad at all!!! In fact, it's quite unique.

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Photo of dirtylou
3.97/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz single, $1.99 at Riley's...Viking strikes me as a very strange brewery and I had always been looking for this and Big Swede, both of which i finally got

appearance: pours a cola-mahogany, garnet tinted, light creamy tan head that doesnt last long...light lacing

smell: smell is sweet dark fruit, raisin, fig, powerful booze factor, strong sourness comes through above all else, brown sugar...unlike any barleywine i have ever smelt

taste: very interesting...alcohol is actually quite well hidden. In fact, there is absolutely no way this is 12% ( i guess i'll let you know in a half hour). Sourness comes through in a delicate way, rich dark fruits with a booze undertone, thick caramel, brown sugar, fig, raisin, date, nutty, big thick and syrupy malt interesting interpretation

mouthfeel: thick and syrupy, medium-full body, bitterness in the aftertaste

drinkability: good

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Photo of deanis30
3/5  rDev -20%

Photo of emerge077
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...

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Photo of lou91
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.

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Photo of blackie
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

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Photo of happygnome
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

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Photo of TastyTaste
3.15/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. brown bottle, the final seasonal Viking I have yet to try (and coincidently the one I have been anticipating the most)

Appearance: Glowing maroon color, practically no head.

Smell: Raisin, brown sugar, alcohol, and a strange pineapple sweetness.

Taste: Easy drinking for supposedly having 12% ABV. Sweet, too sweet, with raisin, brown sugar malt, and a hop finish that is very underwhelming.

Mouthfeel: Pretty good mouthfeel: Full and creamy.

Drinkability: Pretty good, nothing spectacular, one of the better Vikings, this brewry still leaves a lot to be desired.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
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.

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Photo of 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.

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Photo of KarlHungus
3.04/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This brew pours an opaque black color. The head is about one millimeter in height and receds into nothing but a thin ring around the edge of the glass within seconds. The aroma is more like a macro lager than a barley wine. I cannot believe that this beer is 12% ABV. It isn't that the beer is too cold, I let it warm for twenty minutes before opening the bottle. The aroma is simply watery and faint. The only thing I can detect is a mild sugary smell. Thank God the taste is far superior to the aroma, which sreamed drain pour. Actually, the taste is pretty damn good. It is more toward the sweeter end of what a barley wine can be, but there is enough of a hop bitterness to keep the sweetness for being overwhelming. The mouthfeel is full bodied, well carbonated, but quite sticky. Overall, this is a wierd beer. If it had an aroma I would certainly have it again. As it is, however, I am glad I only bought a single bottle of it.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.87/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: Like all of the four previous Viking beers I have tried over the last few days, a thick golden foil completely wraps the crown cap and the entire neck of this 22ounce brown glass bottle. The top of the foil has a red round sticker with the words ‘Something Special from Wisconsin’. The main (and only) label has a nice shiny silver metallic background with black text. A Viking Longboat rides the froth atop a large Mug. Listed as ‘Berserk’ and described as a ‘Barleywine’. No strength or freshness date listed. Bottle-Conditioned it seems.

Appearance: A very murky dark brown, powerfully lit from behind it had some rusty red hints that swirled amidst the turbid body. The head fizzled out quickly on the first pour from the Bomber into my half-pint glass. Subsequent pours however, released dissolved carbonation and helped to form a more plausible ¼” thick smooth tan collar head. But this too soon evaporated sadly.

Nose: Strange nose, strange as in hard to describe but strange as in nice as well. Thick smells that reminded me of the odors so often experienced when entering one of those old-fashioned Family run Cobblers that can still be occasionally found. Deep French polished woods, buffed leather, shoe polish, ground man-made soles, sweaty insoles, malts, sour alcohols, dark caramel coated well-worn horse saddles. It’s an Eye Opener (OO) for sure.

Taste: Massive malt attack that licks the face and tongue, bolstered by big but smooth alcohols and a creamy feel. The middle develops a light sourness that is far from off-putting but adds a nice dimension that balances the massive malts. Like sitting on a classic Triumph motorcycle, this has a feel of Old School British Barleywine.

Mouthfeel: Big, alcohol feel, as is to be expected. Smooth & creamy in texture. The fine carbonation assists in smoothing out the big alcohol feel and helping to take the edge of off the sour-ish twang.

Drinkability: For a 12% (?!) Barleywine, I managed this all rather too easily. Its funky sour character in the back-end only added to the enjoyment for me.

Overall: This is definitely not a ‘run-of-the-mill’ Barleywine; it has lots of individuality and character all of its own. I have to say that it reminded me of ‘fresh’ samples of English Barleywines that I have sampled whilst back in the homeland, in particular it reminded me of Bullard’s Old Ale (a long gone brew) for some reason, maybe it is the sour aspect that it exhibits. I enjoyed this one, but like Bullard’s I can’t help thinking this will either completely fall to pieces, or improve immeasurably with age. It’s one of those sorts of Barleywines. Hope it is the latter.

A BigThanks to BigHuge for supplying some excellent brews in his last Tuck Box to the West Coast, including five of Vikings great brews. Go Berserk!!

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Photo of joepais
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

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Photo of expatsteve
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.

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Photo of BeerBuilder
3.73/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours to a ruby-brown color with a tan head that leaves spotty lacing.

The aroma is fruity...plummy, with an alcohol caramel malty sweetness.

The flavor is sweet and plummy...rum soaked raisins and fruit cake.

It is full bodied and syrupy. Not a bad brew at all.

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Photo of darklordlager
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.

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Photo of tavernjef
3.02/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Terrific deep, dark, nearly blackened burgundy color, super thick and opaque like a bucket of paint. Small tight tan head settles slowly to a thin haze of a different shade of off-white at first then eventually to a thing ring and very minimal lace that doesn't stick.
Smell is quite off, no real beer related aromas, smells like leather cleaner or polish mixed with Armor-all and alcohol. Super light dark cherry notes hidden underneath the mask of potency and musk.
Taste has a malt laden front thats very sweet and cherryish with a bit of molasses and burnt roastyness, moist wood hints with a settled mellow draw of hop bitterness. All taken in quick with both its pace and in its heft. Nothing sticks around long enough to really take any effect or notions of hold. Feel has a light velvety touch close to medium body. Can't say I really enjoyed this one. Don't know if this was a bad bottle or needs to be aged more or what but it reminded me of my dissapointment of the IPA by Viking. Regardless of its awesome pour and color, again, I'm sad, cuz I am a fan of quite a few of their brews and this sunk my respect some.

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Photo of ncvbc
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.

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Photo of mjmadsen21
4/5  rDev +6.7%

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Berserk from Valkyrie Brewing
Beer rating: 3.75 out of 5 with 41 ratings