Fish Tale Leviathan Barleywine | Fish Brewing Company / Fishbowl Brewpub

very good
126 Ratings
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 Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 126 |  Reviews: 108
Photo of ffejherb
3.53/5  rDev -9.3%
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 barleywinefiend
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a clear dark amber color with a small head. Nose is dark fruit, booze, licorice, and caramel. Taste is malty, caramel flavor with dark fruits and booze. Also boasts a ceetain earthiness as well. 10% abv is well hidden. Very good and just how I remember it.
06 Vinatge on tap.
Spured and funky. Thin ad past its prime fire sure.

 339 characters

Photo of Parrotbeak
3.59/5  rDev -7.7%
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 augustgarage
3.63/5  rDev -6.7%
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 slaintemhor
3.13/5  rDev -19.5%
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 MPLS
3.65/5  rDev -6.2%
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

Photo of Mdog
3.39/5  rDev -12.9%
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 TurdFurgison
3.58/5  rDev -8%
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 -7.7%
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.

 810 characters

Photo of illidurit
3.65/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of bulletrain76. Pours a slightly hazy amber-orange with an ecru head. Aroma is caramel-based with hop notes of orange and grapefruit, some woodiness, and a little nuttiness. Flavor is woody and earthy in addition to the sweet caramel/toffee from the nose. Bitter lingering finish, somewhat tannic and astringent. Maybe a little too ambitious with the hopping here.

 381 characters

Photo of gford217
3.82/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz bottle courtesy of dave12285, unknown vintage, poured into a tulip.

Pours a murky caramel brown with a deep amber look when held up to light. There is a small cream-colored head that maintains a small collar and a bit of bubbles strung along the top.

The aroma is dominated by caramel malts and toffee sweetness. There isn't much in the way of hops left in this one - maybe some faint citrus if anything. As it warms, I can definitely pick up some chocolate malts and a slight sherry character overall. Great nose.

The taste isn't quite as solid with a less dominant sweetness than the aroma. The hops aren't present and have given way to a slight cardboard bitterness in the finish.

The mouthfeel is where this one falls slightly short for me as it's a little watery on the palate. It's got a low soft carbonation and lacks the thickness necessary to carry the flavor with that low carbonation.

The nose had me excited, but the taste didn't quite deliver and the mouthfeel was definitely a let down. Still, a good barleywine that has probably just seen better days.

 1,076 characters

Photo of LumpyGuitar
3.58/5  rDev -8%
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 John_M
4.3/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

According to the label, this beer was brewed back in 1999. This was generously provided by the cellar master at Max's (Casey) at the BA gathering there yesterday. All of us were stunned by how well this beer had aged and held up.

The beer pours an amber orange color with surprisingly good head retention and lacing. To look at this beer, one would not guess it was 10 years old. The nose is also attractive and is not what I typically expect out of barleywine. There is some noticeable orange citrus, along with some sweet malt. I'm guessing that in it's youth, this was probably one hoppy monster of a BW. On the palate this beer is delicious. The beer reminds somewhat of older versions of Doggie Claws I've had, with the hoppy bitterness seemlessly integrated into the sweet malt and alcohol. While the beer is still on the sweet side, it's not overly so, which enhances it's drinkability I think. This beer is surprisingly light on the palate, and there is no way I would have guessed I was drinking a 10% alcohol beer.

Exceptional. Still can't believe how well this has held up after all these years.

 1,108 characters

Photo of dukedevil0
3.79/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Got this as an extra in a recent trade, thanks Solomon420!

A: Pours dark brown, almost apple cider colored with very little wihte head that settles as a film and leaves good lacing.

S: Smells like caramel malt overload, as expected! brown sugar, molasses, pumpkin bread, etc

T: Much less intense flavor than I expected from the very aromatic scent; definitely a caramel malt bomb, some brown sugar, molasses, and a bite from the malt

M: Only slightly thin, low carbonation, but hey this is a Barleywine

D: Low drinkability for me, I'm starting to gain an appreciation for this style, but I'm a ways away from preferring them. The malt flavor and bite is just too much for my infantile palate I think.

 705 characters

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.

 1,278 characters

Photo of scottoale
4.2/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. brown longneck style bottle with no freshness date or code that I could see. It pours a slightly hazed deep copper with a 1/2" off-white head. Mild carbonation, but right for the style.

The nose is very malty, slightly sweet and earthy. Notes of malted milk balls, bread dough, and a faint hop in the background.

The taste is much the same, with a sweetish caramelly malt, bread dough, malted milk balls, molasses and earth. Tastes very much like an English Barlywine to me...big and malt driven. Tasty.

Big body with a bit of chew too it, alcohol is well masked for a 10 percenter. Overall a very nice Barleywine that's very easy too drink...reminds me a bit of John Barleycorn and the Old Godfather, which I like as well

 732 characters

Photo of DrJay
3.6/5  rDev -7.5%
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 BretSikkink
3.68/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark orange brown in color with a decent taupe head that jumps up pretty quickly but recedes to a thin film. Not much lacing, but a good look overall.

The nose is strongly malty, with mostly caramel notes and a little citric fruit from the hops. Slightly phenolic, clove wafts up as well, along with some boozy fruits.

Flavors of caramel malt, orange-zest hops, and a hint of alcohol. Not bad, but not very unusual either. Pretty run of the mill; the malts definitely lead the way here, in contrast to many West Coast versions of the style.

Fairly light mouthfeel, not very chewy, but pretty sticky from the malts. Low carbonation allows the flavors to really marinate on the tongue. Pretty decent in the mouth, and not bad drinkability either. Just not quite the Leviathan I was expecting.

 796 characters

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

Cloudy orange-brown pour with a flat white head. Oily and earthy. Pine, grapefruit, wood, and musty malt in the nose. Unbelievably smooth and sweet taste of fresh hops, resin, blood orange and orange peel, cane sugar, and caramel. Great balance with the alcohol taste completely hidden. Loved it.

 296 characters

Photo of BigMcLargeHuge
4.15/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2006 bottle consumed June 2006. Slightly hazy copper color with just a wisp of an off white head. Sweet malt, alcohol, hops and a bit of yeasty bread-ness. Carbonation is a little on the light side. Taste has a great mix of caramel, lightly roasted malts with a bit of brown sugar. There seems to be ample amount of hop bitterness to turn around the syrupy sweetness. Has a nice warm alcohol feeling at the end of the sip. Really nice barleywine. After 22oz didn't notice the 10% abv. Doesn't have the overpower sweet syrupy flavor of most barleywines. This one is very drinkable.

 580 characters

Photo of hopdog
4.54/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch #4, 2002. Notes on the Barrel Aged version.

Poured a dark reddish-brown color with a smaller head. Aromas of wood, wine, smoke, oak, and plums. Tastes were vinous with wood, and caramel. Alcohol content overall well hidden.

Notes from and tasted on 10/10/04

 266 characters

Photo of Halcyondays
3.07/5  rDev -21.1%
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 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.

 1,872 characters

Photo of DarkerTheBetter
4.45/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to tytoanderso for this one.

This beer pours a lovely strawberry amber with a frothy white film of a head.

Smells of dry powdery barley with hits of caramel, rid licorice, dry autumn leaves, charred marshmallow and a piney hop for balance.

Tastes sweet with toasty marshmallow and strawberry, balanced with a crisp birch bark and dried leaves. The balance between the sticky sweet and dry is remarkable.

Feels thin and crisp with a frothy carbonation that tends to swell a bit in the mouth.

Nice balance here! I'll have another.

 541 characters

Photo of DIM
3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

a: This was a slightly cloudy ruby tinted golden color. It poured with a huge fluffy off-white head; lots of lace.

s: Sweet citrus smells from the hops dominate here, smelling of orange zest and a bit of lemon. The malts smell of flowery cherry blossoms and plums. The alcohol was surprisingly mild.

t: Things are a bit more balanced here, just a little though. The hops still take center stage. Juicy pineapple and orange peel hops with hints of pine dominate. The malts that do manage to peek through are floral, dry, and moderately sweet. The alcohol is very well hidden. Strangely, I tasted more sweetness from the hops than the malts.

m: The carbonation fades to quickly, leaving this to feel a bit thin.

d: Yet another thank you to JohnGalt1 for this one. I liked this one quite a bit, it was almost great in fact. The hop profile was uniquely sweet and citric. It had no date, but I believe my bottle was pretty fresh. I'm glad for that as the hops here are a real treat.

 983 characters

Fish Tale Leviathan Barleywine from Fish Brewing Company / Fishbowl Brewpub
3.89 out of 5 based on 126 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

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