Berserk | Valkyrie Brewing

37 Reviews
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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

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Reviews: 37 | Ratings: 41
Photo of DaPeculierDane
3.86/5  rDev +3.8%
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 alexgash
3.05/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Dark rusty brown/red with a creamy, small, ringy, off-khaki head. Rich, sweet fruits, brandy, dates, plums, maybe licorice. Alcohol is there too. Some spicy hop resins as well. Can’t pick up any weird Viking-esque funk. Fruity malts up front with oaky, winey notes (maybe from aging/oxidation). Almost tangy toward the finish along with herbal hop bitterness. Slightly astringent with the tanginess. Not as warming as I wish it was. Medium bodied, with a soapy feel and not quite big and velvety enough. Carbonation is a little meager as well (see small head). Could be better.

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Photo of TastyTaste
3.15/5  rDev -15.3%
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 NeroFiddled
4.32/5  rDev +16.1%
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 feloniousmonk
4.15/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Color's as dark as sin, rich, besotted, like a turned prune, caramelly at bottom, near total opacity, with a rich, toffeeish head, good and thick, at the top.
Tastiness in the nose, dark fruits abound, profoundly powerful grapes, dates, figs, and more...nicely roundedbeckons a taste...
In the mouth, it's a mo'fo...12% ABV rings loudly and proudly from the onset, and the taste is rich and smooth...full in body, to say the least, full in flavor, to boot...remarkable...not too sweet, not too hoppy...they have a balance, here, fills the mouth and stretches flavor wide and true...I'm actually impressed by a barleywine that's not too bold or brash in flavor, in hops, in malt, in alcohol, though it is a champ in the last regard...pretty well done, got to hand it to them, especially after sampling one of their lesser offerings.
I'm going to be enjoying this for a while longer, through this bomber, and I'll enjoy every second...nice one, Viking!

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Photo of ADR
4.1/5  rDev +10.2%
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 TheLongBeachBum
3.87/5  rDev +4%
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 budgood1
3.68/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours out a completely opaque brown, with scarlet highlights. a thin, tannish red coloured head leaving really no lace. not much carbonation to be had, either. pleasant ripened fruit aromas from the malting, somewhat winey and a bit solvent. multidimensional flavour to this one...of course the sourish yeast appears and ducks away, quickly. brandied fig newtons are awash on my taste buds next; rum soaked raisins, chocolate flavoured cherries drowned in vodka, and other whiskey doused fruitcake flavours appear. there is a nice dose of bittering hops to be had too. mouthfeel is smooth as silk, with a heavy dose of warming alcohol. finish is fruity, spicy and zesty from all the booze in this barleywine. this is a raw, rough and brash brew, but tasty, too. i'd buy this bottle of booze again.

i didn't find myself going "berserk" drinking this...just relieved that i actually liked another one of these viking concoctions. i was starting to lose hope. kudos to the fiancee for bring this back from wisconsin.

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Photo of tavernjef
3.02/5  rDev -18.8%
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 cokes
4.33/5  rDev +16.4%
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 ZAP
3.11/5  rDev -16.4%
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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Photo of Bighuge
4.43/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This barleywine is damn near black and has some nice ruby edging. A dense brown head tops it off and is very well retained. A nice malt load is perceived on the nose. The first thing that I realize when tasting is that the drinkability of this 10% Barleywine is amazing. No sign of alcohol whatsoever. And the maltiness of this beer is unmistakable. This is definitely a Barleywine that tips the scale on the MALT side of the spectrum. I also get some rum soaked raisins on the buds. Molasses and anise also show up on the palette. The body of this beer is close to full. The mouthfeel is very creamy and silky smooth. This beer is a true joy to consume. And at $2.99 for 22 oz bottle, there may not be a better beer for the price around.

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Berserk from Valkyrie Brewing
3.72 out of 5 based on 41 ratings.
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