Fish Tale Leviathan Barleywine | Fish Brewing Company / Fishbowl Brewpub

very good
107 Reviews
no score
Send samples

Brewed by:
Fish Brewing Company / Fishbowl Brewpub
Washington, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 06-03-2002

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 107 | Ratings: 124
Photo of hoppymeal
2.68/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours dark copper to amber in color and slightly cloudy with a small cream colored head. Aroma is of sweet white grapes - golden raisins, sweet sugary malts, ripe berries, a smoky character and alcohol. Taste exhibits some good qualities with some sweet caramel maltiness up front, however a strange, (not in a good way strange), roasted flavor comes thru, like burnt grass or maybe a little like burnt rubber. The beer finishes with large alcohol bite and spiciness. I am not sure if the funky roast-burnt flavor is a contamination or poor handling problem or just plain funkiness, but I will have to try this beer again because the aroma and initial flavors are promising.

 674 characters

Photo of warmstorage
3.01/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle, ~$3.75 from Bottleworks in Seattle (price from memory.) Bottle states "Batch No. 5, brewed November 2004." Poured into beer clean pint glass.

Pours deep amber, almost brown. Limited head, reduces to maintain limited medium dense white head.

Aroma is complex, with plums, smoke, and deep, sweet grain.

First and middle body tastes is slightly sweet, with slightly roasty nut brown characteristics. Next taste and finish is intensely smoky: almost a rauchbier, it's so smoky.

As it warms, it becomes smokier and smokier. It retains a sweet grain body, with high alcohol noticeable in the aroma and body, but drinks like a smoke/rauch beer much more than a barleywine.

A good to very good beer, if it was brewed and marketed as a strong smoke/rauch beer, but as a barleywine, it's wildly out of style. I've dinked it in taste and aroma some, and improved it in drinkablility some, to account for this. I mean, I'd be delighted if I'd wanted a rauchbier, but I bought a barleywine, and this was pretty disappointing.

 1,049 characters

Photo of Halcyondays
3.07/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle, have had Leviathan mean a powerful 10/10 creature from Magic: The Gathering, a philosophical book by Thomas Hobbes, and now a Washingtonian barleywine, unknown vintage, bottle says brewed in November, assuming it is November 2007,

A: Pours a murky burnt umber/beige mix with a surprisingly pearly white head on such a dark beer, good head retention, light lacing.

S: Scent is quite nice. Molasses, Christmas cookies, brown sugar, pine needles, tree sap, cedar.

T: Taste is too thin for this style though it has its good points. Light toffee malt, with a light sour tinge begins the beer. Hops come with a bite, piney, but 1-dimensional, somewhat boring. Off-dry aftertaste of sweet malt, minty hops, and nutmeg.

M: Mouthfeel is light on the tongue, lightly alcoholic, but without the strong viscous presence I like in this style, and not enough solvent ethanol character.

D: An OK barleywine, I expected a little more from Fish after having the tasty Poseidon Imperial Stout, this one is really just average.

 1,028 characters

Photo of slaintemhor
3.13/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This was the 2004 Leviathan which I had on tap at the Bailey's Taproom anniversary in August '09. The colour was cloudy amber with no head at all. The nose was sweet and similar to refined white sugar. On the palate, it was slightly bitter up front with some hops that quickly faded and were followed by a wave of sweetness. The finish was bitter and quite quick.

 363 characters

Photo of BierReise
3.25/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

750ml Capped bottle. Batch#4 bottled November 2002. Poured a cloudy deep red color with a thin head that seems well carbonated. Aroma is unusual and complicated from the aging in oak wine casks. Has a sherry like quality with notes of fruit, sweet malt, hops and oak. This is the second I've had that is aged in wine casks and in all honesty, I'm not a fan of the idea. To me wine and beer do not blend well. Flavor is sweet and syrupy with oak and wine really dominating. Mouthfeel is really smooth and full. I suppose many like this since it's in the top 50, however I really just don't appreciate the wine attributes. I'm guessing it would be a whole lot better if aged in beer casks.

 687 characters

Photo of marc77
3.31/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottled 11/02, consumed 12/04. Hazed dark bronze hue. Lean, but dogged tan head leaves loose lace. Bourbon soaked brittle and overripe grapefruit in aroma. Mild lime like tartness and hints of burnt caramel as well. Rough, yet enticing aromawise. Upfront in flavor is a note of lemon rind. Caramel apples and sourdough biscuit ensue mid palate. As the beer warns, dark toffee sweetness augments offsetting tartness. Persistent grapefruit and sour lemon hop flavor. Moderate in body, with an acceptable light viscosity. Finishes warm, with melted candied orange and sour plum hints lingering. An odd, yet enjoyable brew. Vinous, burly and ragged. A bit of a disappointment considering I cellared it for almost two years, though.

 727 characters

Photo of ccrida
3.33/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22 oz bottle, 2006 vintage, served at cellar temp in my Hommel snifter, Leviathan is ruddy chestnut with a modest, off-white head that settles pretty quickly but leaves tons of sticky lace.

Smell is nice, typical barleywine maltiness, caramel and buterscotch, and very nice, a bit softened. As it warms, it gets fruitier, some really nice fig and grape.

Taste is a bit on the thin side. Never had this before, but I'm thinking it's a bit past it's prime. The malt on the nose is faded, and the hops have a grassiness that remind me of a wet hop beer. Nice bitterness on the finish, but not much more, a bit of leather and smoke.

Mouthfeel is on the watery side, but the lighter body is appreciated.

Drinkability is not bad, in that it's lighter bodied with rounded edges that goes down pretty easily. On the other hand, I don't look for chugability in barleywines, I want complexity, depth, and good taste, which this could use more of across the board. The booze is well hidden in both the nose and taste, but I really need to try this fresher for comparison.

 1,067 characters

Photo of NitroGen
3.38/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

P: 12 oz Brown Bottle Spawned in November according to the date mark, but no year.

A: Hazel Brown that is slightly cloudy with a ½ finger amber foam head that very slowly disapated to a cover and heavy lacing.

S: Deep and dark raisin, brown sugar, grainy witha an alcohol finish.

T: Was taken aback by the intense grapefruit pith that then slowed to a myriad of grainy and more subtle tones as it finished.

M: Starts with a tart and bit bitter attack of the tip of the tongue and then raises hell as it does a few laps around the mouth before settling down. Slick grainy film finish to the tongue.

D: Found the bitterness a bit much and will wait for some time before trying again to see if I can appreciate it a bit more.

 731 characters

Photo of Mdog
3.39/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Murky brown-amber, thin, fading head.

Smell: Enticing floral aroma I've never encountered in a barleywine, some deep caramel sweeness.

Taste&Mouthfeel: Pretty disappointing after the smell. Feels quite thin right off the bat, a little bit of brown sugar sweetness after it warmed up some. Mostly a dry, bitter taste.

Drinkability: Extremely light feel for a barleywine, but high price and mediocre flavor do not help it.

Picked up a bottle on sale, I'm going to guess it is Nov. 2008 bottling. It was in a refrigerator all that time--the store I bought it from keeps everything cool. Not very much to say, other than it is very light feeling for a 10% beer and seems to be lacking in malt balance for a barleywine. Smelled great but not great tasting.

 767 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
3.4/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked these up a while back and had not really gotten around to trying one before. Nice 12oz bottle with a good artwork on the front. I stuck one in the fridge the other night and decided to try it last night to see how it was as I was in the mood for a good nightcap. Served at a slightly chilly cellar temp, this one was poured into my terrapin snifter. Poured out a nice light amber color, some nice hints of red around the sides and a decent amount of haze to it. An unremarkable one inch layer of foam quickly faded and left behind essentially nothing in its wake. A slight white crown clinging to the sides, but that was about it. Some light carbonation could be seen bubbling up.

The aroma was a mixed bag. At first it came off with a slight candy like malt character, which was not out off place, but rather just a touch light. As it warmed some light hoppiness started to come through, with hints of grass, and a biscuity like smell, with a touch of alcohol rolled in there as well. The flavor was a little thin for me, I am not sure what it was, but something just seemed a touch off on this one. Definitely an English style Barleywine, with some decent touches of grapes, and a good dose of candied sugar like malts. Light bitter touch to the end, but the profile was just not strong enough for me at all. The overall carbonation level was decent enough with a slightly thin feel to it though. A little bit light, but the alcohol in this was more then well hidden. I could not find a single touch of it at all, really quite nice I have to admit. I put this one down before I knew what had hit me.

Overall I am really not sure about this one. I had one a few years back that seemed much better, maybe it was the bottle. It was still a decent barley wine, maybe it needs some time to come out of its shell, either way its still decent and worth a try for sure.

 1,872 characters

Photo of jdhilt
3.4/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a two finger cream head that fades to a shallow layer leaving a good lace. Cloudy amber color. Light-medium carbonation and medium bodied. Raisin nose. Starts sweet - raisin/plum, has a drying, slight bitter finish and aftertaste. There are better barleywines like Deschutes Mirror Mirror. $3.50 for a 12oz bottle from Liquid Solutions Tigard, Or.

 353 characters

Photo of blitheringidiot
3.43/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Artistic looking label and cap with a “giant squid” painting done by Dennis Lyon. Batch # 4. Nov 2004.

Ap: Sure pours like a barleywine. Dark ruby brown cloudy from th browner with a thin khaki cap loaded with uneven bubbles.

Ar: Deep malty sugary syrupy scents. Reminds me of Horny Dog. Some fruity citrous scents mix with the pancake malts.

First swigs: More fruity sweet than malty. Dry finish. Warming in the gullet. Dry biscuit malts prevail. Hops are judiciously tame. An English style Barleywine mostly. Some saw dusty woody notes. Some smoky flavors creep out. A 10% ABV, this is a well hidden Awl-kee-hawl brew.

Heavy body and rolls semi-flat on the tongue. Light sticky lip smacker.

Last swigs: Basically a diluted SNBF. Just my thoughts. Neds to be fruity or malty. This is neither. Best aspect is the hidden ABV. $3.39 a 12 oz’er at Johns Market in Portland, OR.

 894 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.46/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Electrified blood orange with more carbonation and a larger head than one typically sees on a barleywine. The upper half of the snifter is filled with a softly creamy mass of pastel orange foam that is amazingly persistent; especially given the ABV. The sloping sides of the glass contain quite a bit of attractive lace as well.

The nose, while far from bad, has to qualify as a disappointment. The beer smells like caramel-covered oranges and Band-Aids swimming in grain alcohol. That description is quite a bit nastier than intended, but it hits the basics. Citrus fruit from the hops, medicinal phenols and unmasked alcohol. I really hope the flavor sets out in a different direction.

Thankfully, it does. I usually find that barleywines taste like cherries macerated in some sort of liquor or liqueur. This beer tastes amazingly like oranges macerated in triple sec. I've never known Chinook (bittering) or Cascade (flavor, aroma) to be quite this orange-like, but I suppose it's possible. I don't know where else that flavor could be coming from.

I'm thankful that the bandage-like phenols have all but disappeared on the palate. It would have been hard to get through all 12 ounces if this big ale tasted like it smells. I'm also a little surprised at the relative lack of bitterness. My best guess is that I'm drinking the 2005 version (which, if true, means that it's barely more than a year old), so the hops should still be kickin'. Except they aren't. That, more than anything, is why the flavor score is what it is.

The mouthfeel is on the light end of the style spectrum. It still has enough chewiness (barely) and enough stickiness (again barely) on the finish to be more than respectable. In fact, I like it more and more as the ounces disappear. An impressive, low carbonation smoothness is its best feature.

When I think of the word Leviathan, I thing of something both fearsome and massive. Fish Tale Leviathan Barleywine, at least compared to its American competition, is neither. It's a worthwhile version, though, and is warming me nicely on this frigid evening. Now I don't need to light a fire.

 2,132 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.47/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of CBA: Poured a clear deep copper color ale with a small foamy head with limited retention. Aroma of sweet malt is domination with some very subtle dry figs and fruits. Taste is dominated by sweet malt on the verge of being disgustingly sweet with again some light dry figs. Body is a lot more watery then I would expect with some low carbonation. Ending is quite bitter but does not attenuate some of the sweetness.

 433 characters

Photo of ffejherb
3.53/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to FooFaa for sharing this growler on 3/5/10.

A - Poured a clear reddish orange, copper-tinted body with half an inch of frothy off-white head that reduced to a patchy film and delicate, web-like lacing.

S - Tea-like hops and herbal notes mingle with caramel malt and a warm alcohol presence. Further back in the mix, some perfumy notes and a hint of citrus oils also emerge.

T - Hoppy up front with a perfumy character and sharp herbal notes, as well as an oily citrus character. Sweet malts balance the bitterness with caramel and toffee notes. Finish is warm and boozy with a bit of phenol alcohol character partially disguised by sweet caramel notes.

M - Medium bodied with a syrupy texture and fair amount of carbonation, although the mouthfeel is a tad thin and oily overall. Finishes warm and boozy on the palate.

D - Pretty solid barleywine overall. Although the alcohol was a little obtrusive and the hops a bit sharp, this was still pretty tasty.

 969 characters

Photo of brewcrew76
3.55/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Pours a hazy copper with a small tan head.

S - Sweetness, caramel malt, hint of piney hops and alcohol.

T - Starts out smoky, which tastes a little out of place. Sweet caramel malt muted by the smokiness. A faint taste of piney hops to balance it out.

M - Medium with a bit of carbonation. Not as thick or syrupy as I expected.

D - Would be better if I wasn't picking up the smokiness. This one seems to be missing a little bit.

 444 characters

Photo of LumpyGuitar
3.58/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Recieved this in trade from MASPuros, thanks again mate!

Pours a light orange with a finger of white head. No lacing and retention was weak.

Smells of sweet malts and brown sugar.

Taste is very refined and sweet. Sweet malt dominates. Light cinnamon spice in the back, some brown sugar and oak notes.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, coats your mouth, very sticky.

Drinkability is alright. This is a good barleywine but theres better out there and this is very hard to get for me.

 480 characters

Photo of TurdFurgison
3.58/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz bottle from mikesgroove (thanks Mike). The beer looks nice, dark amber and hazy with a 2-finger tan foam. The smell is classic American Barleywine ala Bigfoot, lots of citrusy hops in a strong caramel malt matrix, orange peel and grapefruit mixed in toffee. The taste is much the same, maybe a little less rich than Bigfoot but that's not all bad. The up front citrus flavors are nice but the aftertaste is a little odd, hard to pinpoint the flavor but it seems unique and kind of bitterly dry. The body is thinner than usual for such a big beer but that helps drinkability.

 579 characters

Photo of GRG1313
3.59/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours dark clear red copper with a solid and nice thick and firm light tan head.

Nose of sweet creamed coffee with light maple/carmel/toffee notes, although very light and you have to search a bit. Nose is the weakest part of this one.

Nice mouthfeel-bold, full and rich with some creamy character.

Flavors are not what the nose promises! Nose invites an expectation of cooked fruit and sweet tones-not so. Flavors are of bitter light coffee with some malt and roasted grain undertones and a layer of bitter grapefruit. The flavors improve after a few sips and takes on a more complex coffee/malt character.

Finish is bitter coffee and grapefruit skin. This one really grows on you the more you drink it.

This is a quality, complex beer and one that will likely do well with many food flavor profiles.

 810 characters

Photo of Parrotbeak
3.59/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dirty amber with no head, no legs. A lot of sediment floating about. Three years ago I wouldn't have touched this beer.
Bitter hops and fresh, earthy, watery malts. Toffee.
Despite the aroma, there is very little hops profile in this one. A slight bitterness, but heavy stale malts, and some toffee and perhaps some stale milk chocolate. Little bit of alcohol presence, but surprisingly low considering the ABV.
Very smooth for a barleywine. Flat and a little thick and sticky.
Fairly drinkable, though not remarkable enough to make me seek out another bottle of this one.
I found it interesting though. I wish I knew when it was bottled. Something tells me it was at least a couple years ago.

 693 characters

Photo of DrJay
3.6/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle courtesy of mikesgroove. Thanks!
Not quite clear orange/amber colour with an off-white cap of fine bubbles. Sticky lacing, good head retention. Powerful aroma, lots of citrus, orange blossom, caramel, alcohol. A little biscuit malt, a little indistinct fruitiness. Same in the flavour, with moderate bitterness that was a bit acrid in the finish. Light warmth, fine carbonation, quite dry. The body was medium at best, seemingly a little overattenuated. Not bad overall. A decent barleywine, but not enough heft to the body.

 536 characters

Photo of kmpitz2
3.6/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle. This one pours a very deep copper color, with a half finger of head over top, that falls to an almost complete coating over top. There is a bit of haze going on in there, along with a fairly steady stream of fine bubbles working up the side of the glass. Not a bad looking brew. Taking a sniff, I get lots of sweetness, in the form of very chunky caramel, along with massive piney hop, with a pretty substantial puff of alcohol in there. The sweetness is really strong in there, and I expect it to be cloying when I taste it. The first sip brings a moderately sweet caramel maltyness, with a little hint of spun sugar sweetness in there too. The piney hop is strong in the flavor, but not overly bitter on the finish. There is a light to moderate alcohol character, but it is not big or offensive. Not bad at all. Better than the aroma led me to believe. Aftertaste is a good combo between pine and caramel. Mouthfeel is moderate with a light to moderate carbonation. I would expect it to be fairly thick. It seems to lack some body. Overall, this one is nice. That being said, it is not really drawing me in, making this probably the only bottle I will have of it. It just seens a little lacking in life overall.

 1,227 characters

Photo of Westsidethreat
3.62/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Spawned in November…not sure the year. Probably 2005.

A: A lot of pent up carbonation in the bottle. Pours an unfiltered strawberry cider color body with a sandy head that died quick. Only a standard ring remains.

S: Band aids, chocolate brownies, orange marmalade, raw carrots and a hint of cherry.

T: Starts fruity with aspects of red apple, yellow pear and over ripe oranges across the tip of the tongue. Moves to a sweet yet maltier side with raisins, figs and a good amount of brown sugar. The sweetness continues with buttery caramel and some pineapple. Bitterness is readily apparent and quite abrasive IMO. Finishes smoky, I really didn’t see that one coming. More of a cold smoke than a dry smokiness. Finishes alcoholic with an earthy bitterness and lingering smokiness.

M: Medium body, slightly syrupy mouthfeel.

D: Not a bad barleywine. I think it probably smelled better than it actually tasted. Still very sweet with 1.5 years on it, could go a bit longer to chill out a bit. Nothing staggering or noteworthy

 1,039 characters

Photo of augustgarage
3.63/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

I think this was the first barleywine I ever had, back in 2002 or so. Glad to finally see this again where I live. "Spawned" (bottled) in November, probably of '08, but I'm not sure. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a snifter.

Glassy rust colored liquid with a thin off-white collar and iridescent skin, punctuated by a large raised bubble that looks uncannily like the eye of a large octopus. A swirl spreads the collar across the surface. Lacing chatters down the glass rapidly leaving a few thin globules behind, suspended in clear legs.

Intense malt aromatics present as soon as the bottle cap is popped. Dark fruit esters, suggesting old raisins and dates reconstituted in light sherry join the chorus.

The initial taste is of apricots and figs suspended in alcohol served in a leather goblet - with a dash of orange bitters. Biscuity malt in large quantities and very faint cocoa and clove mid-palate. Throughout, there is a dusty note, like a room no one has lived in for several years. Dry and somewhat bitter finish, the hops only really making an appearance in the after-taste.

Low but adequate carbonation, and a bit thin, especially considering the ABV.

Very mild as far as barleywines go, though the flavor profile is enjoyable and unique enough. Would love to try this on cask someday.

 1,305 characters

Photo of MPLS
3.65/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A brewery that Minnesota once got distribution for but now does not from my understanding. I must say the name is amazing, Leviathan, a great reference to Moby Dick and consequently one of my personal favorite metal albums from Mastodon.

A: Cloudy brown/orange accented body, with 3 cm white sea foam cap, lacing is layered, and a small head remains. Perhaps in part to my Duvel glass.

S: sweet Malt, orange citrus, your grandma's perfume, and raisin.

T: Not as hoppy as I was expecting, also not sure of when this was this 12 oz was bottled (2007?) as the hop profile could have faded since then. Tastes like grain that has been wrapped up in 2 week old alcohol soaked orange peels with a cherry twist. The citrus element of this beer isn't big/bright at all and leaves me unsatisfied, but better than average.

M: Slightly thin for the ABV, but nice smooth finish.

D: I can say I found this beer good, but I feel like I have been craving bigger and bolder English Barleywines/Old Ales. Interesting beer that I just purchased tonight.

 1,039 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Fish Tale Leviathan Barleywine from Fish Brewing Company / Fishbowl Brewpub
3.88 out of 5 based on 124 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.