Leviathan (Merlot Barrel Aged) | Fish Brewing Company / Fishbowl Brewpub

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Leviathan (Merlot Barrel Aged)Leviathan (Merlot Barrel Aged)

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 HopHead84 on 08-15-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 15 | Ratings: 35
Photo of Alieniloquium
3.82/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle poured into a Teku snifter. Batch 4, November 2002.

Appearance - Deep red amber body. No head. A few bubbles.

Smell - Lots of wine. Caramel. Oxidation. A bit of acidity.

Taste - Wine has taken over. Tangy red wine. Oak. Caramel. Lots of oxidation.

Mouthfeel - Low carbonation. Medium body and some tanginess.

Overall - Had this after Poseidon. Poseidon is far superior, but this is nice. Wine completely dominates the flavor.

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Photo of BucketBoy
4.55/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Wow wow holy shit. Fucking good I can't believe that after 13 years his parents house up so incredibly well great flavored dad know I'm station to speak Italian-year-old American barley wine and I wouldn't doubt it perfect amount of Merlot barrel aging intermingling with fragrant pecan American barley wine delicious Caramel Taj Mahal country chocolate just a phenomenal beer absolutely no oxidation Pres. phenomenal bottle thank you so much Dan for sending this my way. This beer is symbolic, as is my review. Redondo!!!

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Photo of oline73
4.35/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

We had Batch 2 (2000; merlot barrel aged) and Batch 3 (2001; cab franc barrel aged). Both served in a tasting snifter.

Appearance: Pours a cloudy red amber color with a finger of off whtie head that fades to a layer on top of the pour.

Smell: Dark fruit and mild caramel. I'm getting a wine note along with some red fruit. Very smooth.

Taste: This is incredibly smooth but hasn't really fallen apart that I can tell. Wine and some red fruit with a smooth, slightly sweet finish.

Mouthfeel: The body is medium with very smooth carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: This was a treat to try. I'm sure I won't have another, but I would given the chance.

Appearance: Pours a reddish dark brown color with a half finger of off white head that leaves a layer on top of the pour.

Smell: I'm getting lots of malt sweetness with some dark fruit and caramel.

Taste: Quite sweet, I'm getting some dark fruit and brown sugar. Just a bit oxydized, but what can you do? There is a mild wine barrel note. The finish is sweet.

Mouthfeel: The body is on the syrupy side of medium with tingly carbonation and a slightly dry finish.

Overall: It was so cool to try these beers. They've stood up to the test of time quite well.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.37/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Brad for this one. Batch 2 (2000; merlot barrel aged) and Batch 3 (2001; cab franc barrel aged) served together.

Merlot barrel aged. Nose is quite smooth with a bit of wine in the background. Flavor is surprisingly hoppy. Super smooth.

Cab Franc. Nose is hoppie than the batch 1 and the nose isn't as wine heavy. Flavor has a bit more booze. Great caramel and fruit

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Photo of MasterSki
3.73/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Batch #4 from 2002. Served in Hill Farmstead stemware.

A - White foam quickly settles to a few wisps, and thin collar. Ruby-brown body with a glint of transparency.

S - Red fruits, smooth caramel, and not much else. Quite understated, with minimal red wine or barrel presence. The malt character was mildly reminiscent of the Wooden Hell we opened earlier, but this had faded considerably.

T - The taste suffers similarly, with a hollowness mid-palate that's abutted by red fruits and mildly jammy red wine. Minimal oak and no discernible alcohol either. Some bready and slightly toasted grain flavors as well. Super mellow and understated - perhaps too much so.

M - Some light alcohol warming, low carbonation and a slightly water medium-thin body.

D - We had heard this might be infected, and thankfully that wasn't the case. However, this particular bottle was well past its prime, as the vinous and malt flavors are quite faded. The flavor is a tad better than the aroma at this stage, but it's nothing remarkable. Still, quite easy to drink considering the ABV. I imagine some bottles of this are better than others.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
4.45/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2000, Batch 2

Once upon a time, many years ago Fish made great brews...

A: Poured a toffee color with surprisngly good carbonation considering the age, sported a small dirty white cap and light bubbles.

S: Toffee, caramel, wood and Earthy notes. Light red wine and light booze

T: A mixed bag of faded booze and hops, a nice light caramel, toffee, faded brown sugar, oak and Earthy notes. A very minimal red wine comes out. All of the flavors really mesh well and present a fluid taste

M: Medium in body, well carbonated, as balanced and smooth as a barleywine can be.

O: Considering the age of this beer I have to give it a 5. Well crafted and I can only dream of what this beer was fresh. No oxidation or funk. Only if Fish would go back to making stuff like this.

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Photo of scottfrie
4.03/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to cpferris for sharing this magnum at a tasting. 2000 vintage.

A: Pours a hazy wooden brown with a big light brown head that faded into a fuzzy film that lasted forever and left good lacing. Great head retention for being so old.
S: Sweet smelling with notes of raisins, vanilla and spicy bourbon.
T: Sweet, spicy, woody and maybe even a little sour with notes of vanilla, oak, dark fruits (merlot?) and chocolate.
M: Medium body, slick mouthfeel with easy carbonation and lots of sugary sweetness.
O: For being so old this beer is rather sweet. I didn’t pick up much of the wine, but it was pretty good all around. Thanks again for the pour, Chad.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.78/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks for sharing this rarity, Chad.

A: The beer pours amber in color with an off-white head.

S: Big time oak aroma with a bit of red wine to it. Brown sugar and toffee with a surprisingly mild oxidation. Not too much going on in terms of the the aroma.

T: Typical barleywine flavors going on here. Toffee, brown sugar, and toasted bread give the beer its sweetness. Oak, vanilla, and red wine (maybe some red fruits) round out the flavor.

M: Medium in body and a decent amount of carbonation.

O: Considering how old it is, this is pretty good. But, it's not an amazing beer at this point.

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Photo of waltersrj
4.92/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Batch No. 2, Bottled Nov. 2000.

This is finally being consumed after 10 years of aging on Valentines Day with my beautiful wife.

Pour: Deep, opaque, copper brown/red, like a liquified penny with a quickly dissipating white, soap bubble head. This looks moderately syrupy at first but a slosh of the glass shows a perfectly bodied liquid.

Nose: Rich toffee, dark fruits like fig and especially golden raisins comes to mind. Wonderful merlot shines through the rich toffee along with strong oak, alight vanilla and slight sherry like oxidation.

Taste: this is a perfect balance of vinous Merlot and rich toffee of a beautiful barleywine. Initially vinous notes come forth, slightly tart, oak infused, with vanilla followed by rich toffee, raisins, fig, sherry oxidative notes, more oak and finally a garnet of merlot. This tastes better than any beer you can imagine. It is truly a blending masterpiece. This batch no. 2 is the pen-ultimate version of this beer. The 2l, $120 bottle at Bottleworks might just be in my possession soon :)

Mouthfeel: Perfect carbonation (even after ten years), this is like Old Guardian with a bit more bubbles. It coats the mouth but doesn't feel sticky or syrupy. This feels just right to me. They've achieved a beautiful mouthfeel even after all this time.

Overall: This is the most wonderfully amazing beer I've ever encountered. It beats any BW I've had by far and is probably the beat barrel aged beer I've ever enjoyed (and I've had plenty of great ones). If you have a chance to trade for or buy this I would recommend it. It is well worth the money and I think it could cellar for even a few more years but might just be at its best right now. An amazing accomplishment, a feat of supernatural proportions. This is the best beer I've ever consumed. Please make this again Fish Tale (Olympia, WA). A beautiful masterpiece, this beer is outstanding.

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Photo of rhinos00
4.92/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

At long last, the time has come. To celebrate the end of my law school career, I have chosen to pull this gem out of my cellar. Poured from a 750 mL bottle into a snifter.

2000 vintage - batch no.2

DISCLAIMER: serve a little on the cold side and consume as it warms. the beer went from a 4.4 to a near perfect score just by warming up to room temperature. also this is definitely a beer that you need more than a 6 oz. serving to review. so much changed from beginning to end as I consumed this beer.

A- Pours a vibrant, dark amber with a hint of ruby hues throughout. Slightly cloudy. Produced two fingers width of cream colored head. Reduced to a thick ring around the glass. Some lacing as the beer was consumed.

S- Aromatic and complex. The base is rich with carmel, raisins, and sweet malts. Infused is a dark fruit, vinous aroma. With every swirl of the glass, the merlot scent seems to grow. I'm very much enjoying this.

T- Like the aroma, but so much better. The vinous notes are actually more dominant here. It's almost like a light merlot blended with rich barleywine base. The blending is perfect. Just enough toffee, raisin, malt flavor to shine through the merlot. The wine like flavors have a slight tart aspect to them at first, but then quickly fade and develop into full, complex note. Absolutely phenomenal as to the depth and complexity here.

M- Medium bodied, but carries itself a little fuller. Finishes semi-dry on the palate. Perfect amount of carbonation.

D- Off the charts. I can drink this all day...no joke. So flavorful and at 10%, the alcohol is not even noticeable.

Overall, a giant, herculean thanks to Daniel for giving me this opportunity. Perfect beer to celebrate with. So divine and complex...still can't get over the quality of barrel aging in this beer. One of the best beers I have ever had, period.

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Photo of tpd975
4.15/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2002 bottle thanks to Matta.

A: Pours a vibrant amber hue with a small white head. Light retention and no light.

S: Lots of dark fruit, light sweet apple, caramel, and red wine.

T: Very similar to aroma. Lots of fruit, caramel, and light brown sugar. Some nice bold red wine notes with hints of oak and vanilla.

M: Medium in body, sort of light in carbonation.

D: Good, this one has aged gracefully and huge thanks to matt for having a retarded cellar that he is so willing to share.

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Photo of DefenCorps
4.7/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This just might be the best beer you've never heard of. Thank you so much, Shane.

Hazy amber with ruby highlights. There's a dense off-white head with excellent retention and lacing. The head retention is off the charts, it lasts longer than the 45 minutes it took me to drink this beer, and for a 9 year old barleywine, that's truly exceptional

The nose is exceptionally rich. Bready and raisins with rummy fruits, I get plums, raisins and fruitcake. Rich, complex sweetness that's mellow, layered with brown sugar, caramel and the mild alcohol presence lends a pleasing warmth. Oxidation is apparent and is downright intoxicating with a rich sherry character. I can't say I'd peg this as a Merlot-barrel aged beer, but there is a distinct vinous character present, along with a little vanilla. Tannin character is quite low and mellow. At this point, I have to mention that this is one of those very few beers I want to give a 5.5 or a 6 (the others being M and Pliny the Younger)

The palate is almost as fantastic. Intensely complex with mild fruit cake spices, along with plenty of dried fruit, especially dates and raisins. Opening rich and sweet with the oxidation really complementing the sweetness quite beautifully, the vinous, port-like character really melds with the brown sugar, honey, toffee and pronounced nougat character of this brew. Mild chocolate is present mid-palate, along with the fruitiness, rummy raisins and plums as well as some sherry. The finish is exceptionally long with great flavors of complex sugar and fruit cake. While it does dry out a bit, leaving a lot of dark fruit and some tannins. The sweetness just barely manages to balance out the tanninc character, resulting in a breathtaking finish. This is an outstanding beer, one that I might never see again, though I pray that I do.

I got to try the 2001 Leviathan a few months back, and while that was a fantastic beer, it doesn't even get close to how memorable this is. Thanks again, Shane.

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Photo of largadeer
4.53/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Yet another amazing beer shared by HopHead84 last weekend. Thanks Shane, I hadn't even heard of this one before. 2000 vintage aged in Merlot barrels.

A tawny body, slightly hazy, topped by two fingers of dense and creamy off-white foam. Head retention is unbelievable for a 10 year old barrel-aged barleywine, it took me over half an hour to finish my glass and the head retained until the last sip. It left some scattered lace as my tulip emptied.

The nose is full of molasses and spicy oak, some light vinous notes, figs, berries, dried fruit and a beautifully mellow sherry-like oxidation. This has held up remarkably well, it's hard to believe that it's almost a decade old.

Flavors of fruitcake, figs and berries appear first, followed by vinous red wine, sherry and drying oak. There are hints of chocolate and subtle spiciness. This has oxidized in a very pleasant, graceful way. Medium-full body, ample carbonation and semi-dry, the mouthfeel is nearly perfect for the style. The finish is woody, dry, moderately bitter and vinous. The hop bitterness has held up pretty well here, lending just enough bite to contrast the initial blast of fruity sweetness.

I'm generally not a huge barleywine fan, but this is undeniably excellent.

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Photo of BigMcLargeHuge
4.1/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This 2002 beauty is courtesy of RB's very own matta, thanks Matt, I've been wanting to re-try this one for years. Pours hazy garnet with tan head and showing plenty of carbonation after seven years in this 750mL bottle. The aroma is full of dark fruity esters, wine notes, hints of barrel and a touch of sour barrel odors. The taste is smooth and inviting initially yielding notes of prunes, plums and ripe cherries. Those nuances soon mingle with oak, red wine notes and a touch or two of sour barrelness. It gets a bit caramel and vanilla like into the finish. Yummy indeed.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.92/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2000 vintage. Thanks for opening this Torry. This was an incredible beer, with one of the coolest labels I've ever seen.

Pours deep copper into my Duvel tulip. Everyone in attendance that evening marveled at the beauty and grace of the tulip that night. Its majesty was such that it felt the need to get in the way of the back of my hand and place itself into retirement. Farewell Duvel tulip, you will be missed. The creamy beige head is enormous and the retention excellent. When the beer recedes it leaves behind some nice lacing.

It took me some time to take my nose out of the glass and begin writing, but the nose is excellent. The barrel aging doesn't slap you in the face, but it's definitely there. Notes of caramel and toffee are very, very strong. That's a simple explanation because I can't really convey how excellent the rich toffee is. For a 2000 Barleywine, I'm really surprised there isn't even a hint of oxidation. This has held up remarkably. The barrel imparts strong vanilla and some oak, as well as lesser notes of dark fruits. No alcohol is apparent.

The wine notes that were somewhat hidden in the aroma are immediately noticeable in the flavor, imparting notes of ripe grapes, cherries, and plums. The beer is tannic, with notes of vanilla and oak. Bitterness is low and alcohol is well hidden. The rich, luscious toffee that I loved in the aroma is just as fantastic in the flavor. Lesser notes of caramel are evident and there's a touch of tartness that's pervasive. This beer shows no signs of oxidation. The finish seems like infinite rich toffee, with vinous notes and a low level of tartness.

The beer is medium bodied with medium carbonation. The mouthfeel is smooth, chewy, creamy, full, and viscous at times.

This beer is epic. Wow. It was truly incredible and I must have more.

Bottle 2 consumed on 11/7/2009 with dyan and largadeer in a snifter. The only notes I'll add are fruitcake in the nose, as well as a pleasant sherry-like oxidation in the flavor and aroma that I didn't detect in the first bottle.

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Leviathan (Merlot Barrel Aged) from Fish Brewing Company / Fishbowl Brewpub
4.32 out of 5 based on 35 ratings.
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