Cyclops Barrel-Aged Barleywine Ale
Elysian Brewing Company

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Beer Geek Stats:
American Barleywine
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3.98 | pDev: 13.32%
Elysian Brewing Company
Washington, United States
Reviews: 6 | Ratings: 8 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of stevoj
3.84/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle from Brewers Haven. Dark, clear brown, head fades quickly. Aroma comes in boozy, sugary. Malty flavor, brown sugar, more booze. Plenty sweet, warm and strong.

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Photo of vette2006c5r
4.36/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Cyclops Barrel Aged Barleywine pours a brownish color, with a very very small head. Big rich sharp malty aroma, with big hints of barrel. Flavor is very earthy, very sharp malts, very very warm, with lots and lots of oak mixed in. Good body and feel. Overall, wow, very good barleywine, packed with flavor, and has a big bite.

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Photo of Danzifer
4.31/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I think this stuff is aptly named Cyclops because it'll have you doing the ol' one eyed squint after having enough of em. Pours deep brown with a glare of amber, no head and very little visible lacing. Large chunks of sediment float throughout like jellyfish in the ocean. It smells strongly of dried fruits and bourbon. Vanilla, cocoa, figs, dates and predominantly... you guessed it, bourbon. Flavor tastes are very prominent all the while being super smooth. It's lowly carbonated and pretty viscous in texture.

Sidenote - I got this ale in winter of 2019, it's "experience by" date was 4/4/24, about 5 years! I imagine a great ale to stash in a dark place and age it, but knowing me it'll be gone in a few days.

Side sidenote - for a staggering 15.1 ABV content, it doesn't totally peel your wig back with the sensation of alcohol. It's subtle, like a gentle giant. If you like quality over quantity, this one's for you!

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Photo of sweetcell
4.51/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

this beer is sweet, malty and has a subtle bourbon character... three things that I love. I fully appreciate that this won't be everyone's cup of beer, but this combo appeals to me. drinking more than one of these would be a chore, but at 15% that's probably a good thing...

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Photo of kojevergas
2.77/5  rDev -30.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

"Cyclops Barrel-Aged Barleywine Ale."

2019 vintage bottle. Brown glass with a black, white, and red label. Pry-off crown cap. "Experience by: 4/4/24." Ran $9.49 USD per 4 pack at a grocer in New Orleans, LA.

"Aged in retired bourbon barrels." 15.1% ABV. No mention of how long it spends in barrels appears on the label, nor does any mention of which bourbon producer the barrels were sourced from.

AROMA: Sweet. Dark fruit is the first thing I notice - fig, date, prune. Barrel sugars abound. Big caramel sweetness, brown malts, 2-row. Hints of toffee and vanillin. Leather.

Not as bourbon-evocative as would be ideal, and it lacks the richer bourbon notes I expect in a great bourbon barrel aged beer/barleywine (e.g. rich vanilla bean, coconut, toasted white oak).

Suggests a warm barleywine with only adequate complexity.

TASTE & TEXTURE: Rich and sweet, emphasizing dark fruits (fig, date) and caramel atop a 2-row, brown malt, and amber malt base. Notes of faint leather and cardboard indicate possible oxygenation.

The bourbon barrel character is there but not in spades. Not redolent of coconut, rich white oak, or just has a sad barrel sugar presence alongside obvious alcohol warmth.

Not as sweet as many trainwreck dessert beers, but still something of a chore to drink a full bottle of in a short sitting.

Coarse, a bit dry, unrefreshing, full-bodied, heavy on the palate. Well-carbonated for the style. This mouthfeel doesn't accentuate specific flavours or elevate the beer as a whole.

OVERALL: I don't know who'd buy this over their almost certainly superior local and regional expressions of the style, and I reckon it's on par with Sierra Nevada's Bigfoot - which is a beer I dislike, but at least it's cheaper. This either didn't spend enough time in bourbon barrels or the selected barrels weren't all that great (or both) given the relative lack of bourbon barrel flavour. Not that the base brings much to the table...this is a chore to drink but it doesn't quite taste as high in ABV as it is, so I guess it gets points for drinkability there. Just a low effort stab at a style that demands more, and not a brew I look forward to finishing 3 more bottles of. Poor work from Elysian, but it seems less an inspired brew and more a cash-in on the marketing potential of the words "bourbon barrel aged barleywine" slapped on a label. Certainly a post AB-InBev Elysian effort.

Low C (2.77) / AVERAGE

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Photo of BrewMaven
4.39/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Somewhat aggressive pour into a snifter. Clear DEEP amber with a one finger off white head that immediately dropped to a ring and is leaving spotty lace. Fall weather ruins my already meager sense of smell..All I can smell here is obvious barrel aging..Maybe a hint of vanilla. Taste is dark fruits, sweet and slightly tart. The oakey bourbon flavor follows this with a lingering finish. Medium body with little carbonation. I hope Elysian makes this at least a seasonal offering. I love it! P.S. This is not a beer you down in 5 minutes..It's a sipper for us cultured types! High ABV chugging types GTFO!

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Cyclops Barrel-Aged Barleywine Ale from Elysian Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.98 out of 5 with 8 ratings