Cyclops Barleywine | Elysian Brewing Company

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Cyclops BarleywineCyclops Barleywine

Brewed by:
Elysian Brewing Company
Washington, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.85%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by kbub6f on 01-20-2003

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Reviews: 51 | Ratings: 87
Photo of Dogbrick
3.68/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sample at the Pike Street location. This brew is a clear amber color with a compact off-white head that recedes steadily. Patches of lacing. Aroma of malt and butterscotch, along with some hops. Rich and sweet mouthfeel with flavors of caramel malt, dark fruit and toffee flavors. Hops are present, as is some alcohol but both are hidden. The finish is sweet at first with some hops becoming more assertive on the back end. Above average overall.

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Photo of brentk56
3.91/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

'06 Bottling on tap at the Hard Liver Barleywine Fest #7 (3rd place)

Appearance: Arrives with a light amber color and a nice head that laces beautifully

Smell: Toffee and leafy hops

Taste: After the toffee flavored opening, the earthy English style hop flavors emerge to provide a nice balance

Mouthfeel: Medium body and moderate carbonation

Drinkability: This was a decent barleywine, but it would not have ribboned in my book; a bit too light and lacking in complexity, for my palate

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Photo of illidurit
3.82/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Golden orange color with a modest but creamy beige head. Mostly caramel sweetness on the nose but with some pruney fruitiness and a bready crusty earthiness. The use of mostly pale malt allows the hops to shine through nicely. Flavor is sweet and sugary, with some stone fruits to go along with the dark fruits of the aroma. Appreciable earthy bitterness. Body is a little light for the style, which helps the drinkability out.

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Photo of BigMcLargeHuge
3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2003 vintage pours murky orange - brown with thin off white head. The aroma is malty and seemingly wheat or rye along with hints of fruity esters and muted pine hops. The mild carbonation silks in with pretty big blunted pine hop bitterness and coupled with some earthiness, malts and lighter colored fruity esters. Tasting great for an American style barleywine. Still an alcohol sense noted in both the aroma and the taste. Could age even a few more years.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a hazy, dark amber body with a full, fluffy, off-white head. Admirable amounts of lacing on the way down.

Smell: Rich scent that brings you aromas of candied fruits garnished with pine needles and/or caramel-covered bread crusts with each sniff.

Taste: Pale malts, oh-so toasty Munich malt, and a sugary caramel sweetness. Hint of sweetened almond paste. Touch of apricot and dried fig fruitiness. Minimal hints of booze. Tangerine and pine (maybe even spicy) hop character with a solid, medium-high bitterness. Bittersweet, warming finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium-high carbonation. Relatively smooth mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Reasonable drinkable for a punchy barleywine. While not the best barleywine, it still was a rather enjoyable one.

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Photo of badbeer
3.18/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Amber with a white colored head that has decent retention. Pine sap, booze, sweet malt in the nose, though it is a bit watery. Grainy taste with grass, biscuit, and a little bit of earthy hops. Medium body and light carbonation. Drinkability was alright, but I don't know that I'd have too many of these.

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Photo of FrognutUnl
4.47/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

No idea of the vintage.

Pours deep amber, copper in hue with no discernable head, just bubbles on the edge of the class that hang out for near eternity. The nose is full of malty brown sugar, molasses, and dark fruits. Rich flavors of caramel, molasses, and a nice "piney"-ness are the first things I taste. As it nears room temperature a subtle candied grapefruit flavor comes to the foreground. The alcohol is slightly present in the nice warm finish. Mouthfeel is wonderful and creamy, full bodied indeed. This is certainly a stellar brew and many thanks to thethrone for the taste. This is my first experience with Elysian and I hope the others I have in my fridge live up to the high bar this brew sets.

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Photo of tpd975
4.39/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to ibrew2or3 for this gem.

A: Pours a nice light cloudy orange hue with no head. There are a few bubbles rising to the top but for the most part there is no action going on in the glass, fairly flat looking.

S: Nice sweet fruit aromas up front. Hints of cotton candy, light booze, and a smidge of hops round things out. Very inviting.

T: Matches aroma. Big sweet malt up front. Hints of caramel malt, summer fruits, booze, and a light blast of citrus hops.

M: Full bodied and smooth.

D: Very, this was an 03 bottle and boy has it come of age. The flavors have really melded together to create one tasty, smooth brew. I could sit and sip this one for hours on a cool night.

Thanks Dave

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Photo of biegaman
4.67/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Shaded in peach skin with dashes of orange zest and potter's clay. One source says the grist is nearly all pale malt, with only a touch of crystal and Munich added for colour. It shows, this is very light for a barleywine. Fading glints of ivory make for a thin but insistent crowning.

That pale malt bill permits a dynamic fireworks display of hops. The top of my glass is brimming with a wonderful smell both rich and resiny. Each sniff is eruptive. Notes of candied grapefruit, toffee dipped citrus and fully caramelized whole leaf hops! Elysian apparently uses English Magnum for bittering, and finish with Amarillo and Centennial. Whatever it is they do, it creates the perfect barleywine bouquet.

The taste is jammed with with hops as well: some are sticky and honeyed; some are sharp and citric; some are sweet and candied; and some are just plained saturated in that pine-like resin. Not only does it have an ideal flavour for barleywine, it has all the ideal flavours for barleywines: the taste is flush with fruit, pine, and gooey rich caramel.

There is a harmonious blend of sweetness and bitterness that never steps out of balance. Each sip concludes with a brisk, clipping note of dried hops but the taste of sweet candied fruits and caramelized lupulin ring out. This to me just cries out to be drank all winter long, especially for those cold, dark, stormy nights.

The air around it becomes so dewy sweet you don't even have to sip it. Of course you should, it tastes incredible. It's hard to overstate just how enjoyable a drink this barleywine is. I have no doubt ranks near the top for best barleywines I've tried. Surely we must be put on this Earth to enjoy something like this.

If you're a fan of either Old Crustacean or Bigfoot, then you'd love the Cyclops. I can't be sure of the age on this bottle but sadly, it does appear to have since been retired. This is a true loss for the beer world. If I knew exactly how special this bottle was I might have left a little longer. At least I'll always have the memory of one of the best barleywines ever put to my lips.

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Photo of bbothen
3.85/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a snifter.

Pours dark red/brown with a small 1 finger head that dissipates into tiny bubbles around the glass.

Smells of sweet sugar & caramel with some faint citrus hop aroma.

Hop bitterness quickly overwhelmed by a big caramel sweetness. Warming boozy finish.

Medium. Feels smooth & creamy. Moderate carbonation.

10% sipper. Tasty barleywine. Big sweetness.

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Photo of Donnie2112
3.7/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

amber red in appearance nice head that quickly dissipates to a thin film

extremely sweet caramelly, mollasess, toffee smell

a bunch of hops in this, they are mostly very dry and herbal and the sit nicely against the bready mollasses and caramel sweetness in the malt there's also a bit of red hot like alcohol flavor in there, this beer could probably use just a bit more age

warm alcohol full body and medium light carbonation

this is a good solid barleywine, nothing super stand out about it but solid. If I lived in Seattle this would make a decent replacement for my East coast favorites such as Brooklyn Monster Ale and Old Horizontal.

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Photo of wagenvolks
3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Picked up a 6-pack of 12 oz. bottles at the brewery in Seattle, WA. Single into a pint glass.

Pours a clear copper body with a sluggish carbonation level. A thin, gray head retreats to a wispy patch of bubbles...looks just like a Barleywine should. Aroma is rife with deep notes of caramel and toffee, candied sugar, boozy heat, and a hint of resinous hops. I'm liking this one so far.

The flavor is a more muted than the aroma and appearance led on, but still pretty good. (EDIT: Second bottle was much better for some reason) Sugary, candy malts combine with a slight spice and pine from the hop oils. Alcohol warmth greets the back of the palate with a bit of a bitter/sour woodiness. The body is somewhat thin and prickly and, despite the high ABV, surprisingly well-carbonated. Not much of a lasting finish either. Overall, I'm glad I nabbed a sixer of Cyclops, as it's very drinkable for the alcohol level and style. I'm looking forward to the rest...

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Photo of GAPit
4.7/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Best BW I've had yet. I live two blocks from the brewery, so close I can smell it!
Dark brown, little light comes through, nice thick tan head that stays. Taste is sweet and malty, lots of caramel and a little twang. Fresh NW hops bitter/finish it out perfectly and keeps you coming back for more. Extremely drinkable for such a big beer, and in a good way.

Sidenote...this must only be "retired" in bottles, because it's still available on tap, but only to those lucky enough to come to the brewery

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Photo of GClarkage
4.07/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

09/19/07- Purchased at Bottleworks in Seattle, WA.

Presentation- 12oz bottle with an '07 written in ink on the bottle cap. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance- Ruby-caramel in color. About a 3/4 inch head on the pour. A very light rim remains after it settles. Light traces of lace remain.

Smell- An equal caramel malt sweetness in the nose as well as a nice grapefruit pine aroma.

Taste- Good amount of caramel malt, but not quite the sweetness that was expected by the aroma. It doesn't quite round out the beer as good as it should because it has a very large, and fortunately smooth hop profile. Mostly some intense pine needle flavors.

Mouthfeel- Medium, maybe a touch higher carbonation. Tastes a tad thin because the malt sweetness isn't as large.

Drinkability- Still a pretty tasty barleywine on the lines of Bigfoot without the balance.

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Photo of Slatetank
3.82/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I picked up a six pack of this at the Capitol Hill Location on June 26th, not sure why it is listed as retired.

A - Deep hazy amber with a thin tan head. A lattice lace pattern develops as the head settles.

S - A toffee-like caramel with hints of wood and slightly grainy aroma. A sweet booziness is experienced in the aroma later on.

M - Rich, dense w/ a warm boozy and candy-like feel. A dry hop quality and full sweet finish is felt.

T - Dry and malty at first, then sweet with a bite in the bitterness dept. Full sweet candied tastes with rye notes and what comes off as brown sugar with noticeable alcohol in the flavor. A nuttiness and piney earthy taste show a tobacco-like dry quality. This strong barleywine doesn't hesitate to show what it's made of. You know as you drink this exactly what caliber of ale you are dealing with.

D - A viscous bite and a bruiser of an ale make it slightly less drinkable than I would like. I enjoy the flavor, don't get me wrong, but it comes off as a bit over the top. Malty and boozy qualities are emphasized here. I would receommend it for cool winter weather. It will definitely warm you up.

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Photo of John_M
3.91/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tried the 2006 version of this beer at the Hard Liver festival at Brower's.

This was the youngest barleywine I tried in my first flight of 5. The lack of age showed, as this beer was much more fruity (from the hops), angular and hoppy then the others I tried. The nose was somewhat muted, but I did get aromas of butter and toffee. The beer was still very sweet and smooth, but with a noticeable hop bite in the finish. While I didn't think the alcohol was too noticeable, it was still very obviously a big beer.

Very well made barley wine... one that will no doubt only improve with a few more years of aging.

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Photo of ElGordo
3.88/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this one up on my last trip up to Bottleworks. Not sure how much more they have, or if there will ever be any more.
Pours from the 12oz bottle a bright orange color (left the sediment in the bottle). Head is off-white and creamy, subsiding to a rather thick halo after a minute or two. Aroma of tons of sweet caramel malt mixed with dry, grapefruity hops, and more than a little bit of alcohol. Palate is sweet up front, dominated by caramel malt and a touch of roastiness. The hops assert themselves after a few seconds, balancing out the sweetness with a nice level of citrusy bitterness. Finish is fairly clean, with a bit of alcohol warmth that continues to build as the glass gets closer to empty.
The body is thick and more syrupy than chewy, although not too much of either one. A fairly drinkable barleywine. I hope Elysian tries to brew this one again at some point in the future.

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Photo of hoppymeal
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark copper color, bottle conditioned, with a small cream head. Aromas are a nice coconut rolled date smell along with some alcohol, and a little floral and berry when agitated. Taste is at first caramel with a hint of pruniness and a decent size alcohol presence. Further in the alcohol bite wanes and a nice caramel smoothness comes thru in both aroma and taste. Somewhat creamy mouthfeel with an alcohol burn in the finish. Thanks to waltedwards for this one.

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Photo of tavernjef
3.83/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Hazey medium golden orange. Small puffy whitish head of foam lasts briefly to keep a bubbly collar and a broken skim. All sorts of lace in spots and short broken strings glare the glass.

Aroma is a bit muddled in ethonalic warmth wrapped in a light caramel blanket with some delicate hints of orange peel zest.

Taste is favorably medium soaked in a nice warming caramel smoothness with a slight orangey grit and bigger malty grainyness. Throaty warmth is a bit over the top nearer the finish where some piney hops and a slight bread doughy fullness makes for a slow seeping end where a mellower stand of caramel and orange candy remain late across the palate.

Bold warmth with a slight edgey grab of texture are fairly full in the body of this beer. Quick to warm and slow to settle as it peaks in the throat and simmers later in the tummy.

This sucker is a big time sipper of a Barleywine. The warmth is a bit too forward, but the flavors are solid and nice to let sink in as the warmth rolls through your soul.

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Photo of TheBungyo
4.32/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a warm golden orange. Head was half an inch. Nose is very very nice. Super sweet caramel followed by a kaleidoscope of hops flavors. Sugary sweet grapefruit, orange and a tease of pine. Taste is almost exactly what you smell. Mouth is massive thick! Carbonation flits over the tongue. A very nice barleywine that I will buy again.

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Photo of warmstorage
4.8/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Rated and reviewed based both on a 12 ounce bottle bought at Elysian Tangletown, and on the two glasses drank on tap at Elysian Tangletown last week. My tasting notes from all three beers are sufficiently similar that I'm combining them, and noting differences, though the immediate glass in front of me is from the bottle.

Medium to deep orange color; poured with a lacy white head, leaves lace film on the glass sides, head dissipated quickly. (On tap, came out with little head, but same lacy whiteness and burnt orange color, so similar impression.)

Noticable carbonation in the glass from the bottle, slightly tingly, remains so even long after finish. Good carbonation for the style: otherwise the sweetness and thick body might be a bit much. Seemed somewhat less carbonated on tap, but still present carbonation.

Aroma is slightly piney, slightly sweet, and hints of vanilla (if you have ever smelled a Jeffrey Pine, it's remarkably similar to that: vanilla but pine but vanilla; sweet, but tangy/sharp, but sweet.) Jeffrey Pine resin, incidentally, is distilled to make nearly pure n-heptane, but in nature is delightful and one of my favorite trees (to smell) nonetheless. Go sniff a tree while looking out at Lake Tahoe, and if it smells like vanilla, it's probably Jeffrey Pine.

Taste is FANTASTIC. Again, Jeffrey Pine: vanilla, citrus piney notes, with a distinct, sharp sweetness to it, and finishes with some hints of honey. Amazing stuff, both on tap and in the bottle (though the tap felt and tasted more mellow to me, but I love both.) This is an excellent blend of the two major styles of barleywines: the first (American, think Bigfoot) being sharp, robust, hoppy, higher carbonated, brews with up front alcohol and (good) harshness); the second (English; think AleSmith Old Numbskull) being sweeter, thicker, more syrupy, more rounded, less harsh, less pronounced hoppy, and _sometimes_ lower alcohol. The Cyclops provides both sets of tastes: distinct, high alpha acid hops, with piney, citrus flavors and aromas obvious, but also a sweet, honey and syrup body and presence. I LOVE THIS BEER. It's about the second best barleywine I've tasted in the last few years, the first being Rogue XS barleywine (also an excellent mix of the styles.)

The mouthfeel is slightly thick and syrupy, but not nearly as much so as some barleywines, and has notable carbonation (see above notes re: difference between bottle and tap.)

The drinkability is EXTREME. I could sit and drink this all damn day. (I should note here that my standard, everyday fridge beer is Sierra Nevada Bigfoot: it's one of the weird hazards of living in Utah.) I'm sure glad I bought a six pack ($12) from Elysian, and I saw it later at Bottleworks in Seattle for $11.

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Photo of sulldaddy
4.09/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Well my buddy fish113d had a bottle of this and I said hold onto it I want to try some too! Was not dissapointed I visited the pub when in Seattle years ago but was not in BA at the time. . The bottle has a label that says 2000 cyclops barleywine. Like an envelope label. see fish's review for story.
The beer is sampled at room temp in a tulip glass.
Brew pours a cloudy ruby color with no head whatsoever. Aroma is complex with alcohol present, mixing with red grapes, biscuity yeast, some berry scents and dark ripe fruit like plums. Very appealing.
First sip reveals an average body but syrupy texture, almost no carbonation.
Flavor is fruity with plums and raisins dominant, some red grapes and chocolate as well. Iget a faint hint of earthy hops that were probably more in your face when the beer was fresh.
The brew is very smooth and nice, a bit of warming alcohol on the finish, but I often welcome that trait in a beer.
Definitely a nice barleywine!

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Photo of Fish113d
3.77/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

When I was first given this bottle from a friend, I was quite interested in it due to the fact that it had NOT a brewery label, but more of a label you would place on an envelope, which seemed to me that this may have been the product of a home brewer. It was explained to me that at the time the beer was brewed and bottled, they were changing labels and the bottle i have is a result of their temporary labels. Anyway, interesting huh?

Well, I poured this 2000 product into my tulip glass. I noticed during the pour that there was no head at all to this beer and a bright reddish-brown color w/ no light getting through at all! Also, I noticed a good bit of yeast sediment floating and after pouring, a lot of sediment sat at the bottom of the bottle.

Smelling it, I got lots of alcohol ticlking my nosehairs, and a bit of rasberries and baked bread due to the yeast. Taking a first sip, the alcohol left a very nice warming feeling w/ a distinct oaken taste and lots of alcohol that kills the palette. I got the taste of some slight earthen hops, and I can express this tasting as the taste of sucking on a wine cork. The feel is very warm and sugary...alcohol, alcohol, alcohol! It did have a mellow smoothness on the finish w/ very little carbonation. This exceeded my expectations!

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Photo of Crosling
4.37/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Orange. Typical, expressive, well aged, barley wine aroma with an equal balance between the malt and hops providing hints of apples, fruits, caramel, harsh hops and honey. Sweet, fruity, candy like malts in the flavor with a sharp but balanced hoppiness that gave notes of pine, resin and orange. Damn, this stuff was tasty.

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Photo of RoyalT
3.95/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance – Thick orange in the body with a smallish head. Even watching the ale come out of the bottle before striking the glass, it is exceptionally thick.

Smell – The deep malt aroma holds its own against the big hops. There’s a light citrus sweetness as well.

Taste – This is a real heavy hitter. The malt flavors are thick and strong, and the hop balance is in play as well. The malt sweetness is sharp and complex. There’s also a medicinal alcohol tinge.

Mouthfeel – I would like to have seen a little more smoothness to this one. Otherwise, it felt great in the mouth.

Drinkability – I liked this one. It was fun to drink. This is a seriously big barley wine.

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Cyclops Barleywine from Elysian Brewing Company
3.99 out of 5 based on 87 ratings.
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