Fish Tale Leviathan Barleywine | Fish Brewing Company / Fishbowl Brewpub

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Very Good
126 Ratings

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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 126 |  Reviews: 108
Photo of Sammy
3.92/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

batch #5 bottled in Novemeber 2004. I agree with the manufacturer that there is hop bitterness, long hoppy finish. That there is lots of malts, chocolate malts, there is quite a bit of carbonation. Smells like a barleywine. Looks like an IPA. Drinkable and would definately want to try again in years. Most unusual, thanks Joe McPhee.

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Photo of GRG1313
3.59/5  rDev -7.7%
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.

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Photo of Taphouse_Traveler
3.5/5  rDev -10%

Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of brentk56
4.42/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2006 Vintage - sampled in March 2007

Appearance: Pours a hazy amber color with a modest head that failed to hang around (I was not surprised, given the abv) but did dot the chalice with specks of lace

Smell: Caramel, roasted nuts and a vague pear fruitiness; the alcohol is certainly present, as well

Taste: Opens with a caramel flavor that is has some roasted nuts and pear to it; after the swallow, an earthy bitterness kicks in and joins the sweet and fruity flavors into a long waltz to the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body; moderate carbonation

Drinkability: A bit of an ugly ducking when I opened the bottle, it soon developed into a swan of a barleywine. What's with the octopus on the label? Remembering my Melville, I always thought a leviathan was a whale but I guess it now refers to any large sea creature.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.47/5  rDev -10.8%
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.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.34/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle - simply capped. Batch No. 3. Bottled Nov. 2001. "Aged in Hungarian Oak casks previously filled with Cabernet Franc". Hazy brown in color with light mahogany highlights. The light tan head drops quickly to a limited collar. The aroma is quite unique: winey, woody/oak, lightly peppery, piney/resinous hops, with a licorice note. Estery. The body is full with a limited carbonation; leaving it fairly viscous on the palate. The flavor is quite bold but not really complex. It's richly malty but well-heeled by bitterness, hop flavor and notes of alcohol. This is a beer best served at @ 60F to bring out its sublte flavors. Once warmed it reveals a gentle dark fruitiness, burnt sugar, dark subtle caramel, licorice, and lots of resiny hop flavors that carry straight through into a long finish. The barrel conditioning becomes more apparent in the aftertaste with a wine-like character and clear notes of wood. Someone remarked to me that "'s more like a wine" - that's not far off the mark with the exception of its full hoppiness. The alcohol is clear from the start but not offensive in any way. It's got some sweetness, but it's also quite dry (probably due in part to the oak aging). I'd imagine that this would most likely benefit from additional aging. I found this quite easy to drink as the flavor is rich but straightforward. It left me looking for some more depth. I found it quite unique, and enjoyed it quite a bit, but don't think that I'd buy a case of it or put away more than a few bottles for aging.

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Photo of zestar
4/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of oberon
4.17/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a ruddy brown with an off white one finger head that settles slowly,aromas of doughy malt and raisin with anunderlying piney hop wich stood out nicely.Very nice complexities and bold flavors quite fruity mainly plum and raisin mixed with caramel and sweet cookie dough finishing earthy and spicey a hint of black pepper.Very nice barleywine big and flavorful full of complexities and pretty easy to drink for the high alc%.

Bottled November 2004.

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Photo of Kegatron
3.86/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Pours a deep, clear, rosey amber with a finger of beige colored head that'a also got a bit of burnt orange highlights to it as well. Retains with a 1/2 finger creamy layer that leaves a beautiful looking frothy cascade of lacing back. The aroma is floral and spicy on top, with an extra bit more of earthy accents and oaky tannins underneath. I'm also getting some citrus, a big oat presence, caramel, and candied sugars. There are lots of good flavors packed in this nose but none of it seems to pop out like it should.

The taste is surprisingly mellow (or maybe not) with a mix of bready malts, oats, caramel, and sugary notes. Very malt forward. Additional sugary notes and oaky wet tobacco comes out after a bit and the more malty sweetness of this dies down. Hops finally arrive in the finish with a drying leafy feel but not a lot of overt bitterness. The mouthfeel is extremely mellow and creamy in the mouth. It's all actually feeling a bit thin to me but if that's the case, then that 10% ABV is magnificantly hidden. So we'll call it a wash on the body.

All in all, this was a good stab at an English Style Barleywine. There were definitely decent flavors present but I just wish that they had been a bit more assertive at times.

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Photo of ygtbsm94
4/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of mdaschaf
4/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.46/5  rDev -11.1%
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.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.4/5  rDev -12.6%
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.

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Photo of Lone_Freighter
3.66/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes. Growler share. My portion was poured into a chalice. The appearance was a hazy burnt orange to ruddy brown color with a slim finger’s worth of white foaminess that quickly dissipated leaving barely any lacing. The smell was slightly boozy caramel, lightly roasted coffee to a rich nuttiness. The taste was mainly sweet with the boozy caramel coming about into the coffee - esque and almost a tad of woody, slightly tobacco. On the palate, this one sat about a medium on the body with a fairly decent sipping quality about it. The carbonation seemed appropriately styled and was good to me. Overall, I say this was a pretty good barleywine that I would have again.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.67/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2005 Bottle from Mike's Barleywine tasting, thanks for the opportunity!
Rich fruit and caramel with some faint cardboard and sherry notes. Decent aged barleywine.

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Photo of GClarkage
4.12/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

07/13/06- Purchased at Bottleworks in Seattle, WA.

Presentation- 2004 Edition. 12oz bottle poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance- A dark amber in color with some chestnut highlights. One inch full head upon the pour. Levels out at a small soft covering of the liquid. Head is creamy and tight bubbled. Very light streaks and swishes of lace.

Smell- Very sweet caramel malt intensity. A light butterscotch scent as well. Liquor/winelike fusel scent combines with some kind of barrel aged wood in the nose.

Taste- Dark and semi-sweet caramel malt with some coffee infused milk chocolate. Vanilla fudge flavoring comes into play right before the bittering hops finish you off.

Mouthfeel- Medium carbonation, seems a bit woody with a bittering aftertaste.

Drinkability- Have had an earlier version of this (want to say 2001 or so) and it was much smoother, creamier and sweeter. The hops are still here after two years, which was a pleasant suprise. Not as sweet as I would like, but still a very nice barleywine. One that I would picture drinking in a home library with cherry cabinetry, while wearing a smoking jacket and chomping down on a pipe. Very refined.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.3/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz. Bomber
2006 Vintage

Poured into a chalice a hazy ruby red color, some carbonation, little fizzy off-white head, some oil slicks are only left behind. The nose is malty, oaky, slight spicyness, and some caramel. The taste is slightly sweet at first, then the malts kick in. There is a nice oakyness to this brew, also some spices/caramel. The alcohol is kinda upfront on this one, otherwise very very nice. Medium body, well-rounded brew. Very drinkable, a nice one from Fish Tail.

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Photo of jwc215
4.17/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

"Spawned in" September:

Pours dark copper with a thin head that leaves trailing lace.

The smell is of caramel, citrus, pine and spicy herbal notes.

The taste is of caramel/toffee with balancing citrus and pine. Malt accented with balancing fruity/earthy/piney hops giving this a wonderful complexity. Alcohol present, but well-controlled. Finishes dry.

The body is rather thin for what it could be, but hangs on to medium. However, it is smooth and has enough to get by.

This is a tasty, well-balanced barleywine.

Thanks to jcwattsrugger for bringing this back from his trip to the West!

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Photo of NickThePyro
4.5/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.35/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Leviathan Barleywine Reel Ale...have I really never had this before? Is this truly my white whale, in a bottle? Eh, must be...

12 oz bottle...please recycle...

Tawmy crimson color, dusky, unclear, with a slim, perfunctory head....rosy look, all around...nice...

Nose abounds in wondrous, vinous sweetness, very wine-like, rich, burgundy-like, cherries and berries blessed with the richness of malt.... a deep feeling, rich and luxurious...cognac-like...decadent....

Taste: fullness to the exteme, plump, rich, fruity, beautiful, ....everything
I really want from a barleywine...all my slots are punched, here....I'm gettin' it...damned tasty!
Full-bodied, long, malty, hoppy, delicious finish...those seeking a sensous beery experience won't be disappointed here.

Lip-smackingly good!

After all of the years I've heard of this beer, I finally get it and it's not through, trading, no, it just shows up at Surdyk's...and now it seems like a regular ol' barleywine...nothin' wrong with that...once upon a time, we didn't have so many of those....this is also the year I never bought a 6-pack of Sierra Nevada Bigfoot, too!

Quite a nice barleywine, highly recommended!

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Photo of sendbeer
2.75/5  rDev -29.3%

Photo of Gobzilla
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: poured a dirty orange brown with pale pineapple yellow highlights that had a very very thin white head and left almost no lacing sticking to the glass.

S: caramel malts and booze are quite noticeable on the first whiff alongside slight honey, brown sugar, toffee, and faint chocolate notes.

T/M: upfront on the palate caramel malts and a mild hop bite strike first with dark fruits, slight honey, and brown sugar accents but it did have some booze as well. The brew was medium in body with a low amount of carbonation which had a sweet, boozy, and sticky finish.

D: it drank really good considering the ABV and was noticing that the booze has been mellowing out with time; pretty tasty barleywine.

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Photo of Rochefort10nh
4/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of Georgiabeer
4/5  rDev +2.8%

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Fish Tale Leviathan Barleywine from Fish Brewing Company / Fishbowl Brewpub
Beer rating: 3.89 out of 5 with 126 ratings