Sunturnbrew | Nøgne Ø - Det Kompromissløse Bryggeri A/S

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Brewed by:
Nøgne Ø - Det Kompromissløse Bryggeri A/S

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Brewed at the solstice each year since 2008.

This smoked barely wine is brewed with 30% smoked malt and 20% rye.

26° Plato, 50 IBU,

Added by ClockworkOrange on 01-12-2009

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Reviews: 131 | Ratings: 241
Photo of McNealc31
4.84/5  rDev +25.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Huge ecru head floats on top of a very deep amber color. The nose is full of smoked malt. Even the first sip indicates the overwhelming flavors and complexity. Smoky, but not as much as a Rauchbier, there is vanilla, oak, cherries, rye, and lots of caramel malt. There is not much attempt the hide the whopping 11% ABV.

Complex and eminently unique, it’s one to seek out and experience. Though, not for the week palated. It’s an assault.

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Photo of johnnieoz
4.81/5  rDev +24.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

As others may have noted, this beer sure ain't retired! Thank goodness for that...

500ml brown bottle, which looks like the one in the photo. The Batch nr, Brew date and Best before spots on the label are blank. The importers, Shelton Brothers (kudos!), are mentioned but the label also has information in Swedish, Norwegian and Finnish.

A: 'Tis a lovely crimson tide that cascades into the glass. The carbonation appears ample though the lacing is minimal.

S: Ah yes, smoky...its reputation precedes it, this is the first smoked barleywine I have come across. The smokiness is reminiscent of a nice, peaty Scotch.

T: I love both good American and English-style barleywines. As the hops are playing a second fiddle here, I could say Sunturnbrew is of the latter kind. But the smokiness makes this ever so unique, a new sub-category has seen the light of day. The dark, rich fruit flavors of a barleywine are there as is the booziness. Excellent!

M: As solid as can be.

D: This beer makes me want to consume smoked salmon, venison, moose, reindeer, mackerel...It goes down extremely smoothly, and while it would no doubt be wonderful to imbibe this after a meal as the sun turns in the dead of winter somewhere above the Arctic Circle, it would also pair most excellently with said smoked foods and beyond.

My favorite Nøgne Ø beer so far, and that Kjetil, ain't no small thing coming from a Swede! Quite the turn, eh?! Laeckert!!!
My mind is changed, my perceptions are altered and the sun's direction has definitely been turned.

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Photo of SFLpunk
4.79/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

500mL brown glass pry-top bottle purchased at Knightly Spirits OBT, Orlando, FL. No production date printed. This is my second bottle, the first one was bought in Chicago (West Lakeview Liquors) just over a year ago and I'm surprised I didn't review it then.

Pours super dark for a barleywine. White thin head. Smells of glorious malt extract, wet peat, earthen soil and tree bark. Super dank and dark.

Palate is big and slick. Rich earthy flavors, mulch, and wet grass. Hay comes to mind and so does barley flakes. Thick, dark and brooding. Some booze, but it's in check. Long, steeped-grain-dominated finish.

Notes: I feel like I can't write a proper review of this beer to fully express my love for it. This is one of my top 10 all-time favorites and find it hard to articulate why. I guess I'll end by saying it's FFO (for fans of) North Coast Old Stock, Brooklyn Monster and Sierra Bigfoot.

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Photo of rye726
4.65/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a dark woody brown with s silky tan head. Nice lacing as well.

Nose has toffee, caramel, figs, dates, plums, smokey malts, chocolate, floral hops and a touch of booze.

Taste is equally complex. Rich malts, burnt candy, subtle hops, dark fruits, molasses, cocoa and peaty smoke.

Creamy body is very well carbonated. Lasting finish of bitter hops, sweet malt and smoke.

Another amazing beer from Nogne. Should age beautifully.

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Photo of mazdarx
4.62/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow. This beer is the Teets!! Is that Chocolate I smell? Some sort of syrup or molasses?? This flavor dances on my tongue like a lap dance from a gal in Amsterdam... this beer is like a flood of sunlight for months on end as it probably ages wonderfully. Enjoy!

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Photo of Immortale25
4.6/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Dogfish signature snifter. Label says Batch nr: 474 which I've found through research to mean it's from 2009 and therefore over two years old.

A- Pours a mostly opaque black color with a 1/4 inch head that quickly flutters away leaving a thin ring around the edge of the glass and minimal surface foam. The lacing is active enough for a barleywine that's been sitting this long.

S- Flashes of booze and hops as well as a band-aid-like astringency.

T- The band-aid taste continues and swirls around with smoke and bitterness. As it fades, a slight sweetness emerges to transform the flavor into more of a roasty barbeque. The booze is actually relatively subtle, probably from the aging, as it warms. Lots of woody notes.

M- Oily and surprisingly moist. Medium-low carbonation is more than one could ask for.

O- I read a review where the reviewer said that, in their experience, Sunturnbrew peaks at around 6 to 12 months. Honestly, I don't see how less aging could make this any better. I say, let it sit.

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Photo of biegaman
4.57/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Sunturnbrew's remarkably dark tone plays into the fact that it's brewed on December 21st - the darkest, longest night in the northern hemisphere. While not exactly black, it is too dim to really make out any colour or highlighting; total darkness without total blackness. Not making any sense? Well, the beer does claims it'll inspire "a change in perception".

And "change" is right! I've never smelled a beer quite like this - a tea, yes (the smoky pine tar aroma is nearly identical to that of a lapsang souchong, where the leaves are smoke-dried over pinewood fires); in food, yes (it's eerily reminiscent of smoked ham); in scotches, hell yes (is this not aged in used Islay casks?) - but in a beer, no, nothing quite like this.

Sunturnbrew is different because it's made with 30% smoked malt *and* 20% rye. The spiciness of the latter distinguishes this from other smoked beers. But the beer is truly spectacular, however, by virtue of the fact that it was brewed as a Barleywine - that most rich, intricate and sticky-sweet of styles with tastes of caramel, nougat, figs, dates, plums, and dried apricot. Combined with the smoky pine notes these flavours become almost sedative.

Nøgne says this is best enjoyed in front of the fireplace, but take my word, Sunturnbrew offers enough warmth and relaxation (not to mention, smoke) to simulate the fireplace. The taste of candied fruits is a compliment to the rich texture of sweet, caramelized malt. There's enough juniper wood and botanical flavour to smack of gin, but also such a mellow and nuanced fortified wine-like profile you'd swear it was aged in port barrels.

Perhaps most of all, however, Sunturnbrew is a beer for lovers of peaty, smoky scotches. It may be brewed in Norway, but this beer has the iodine- and sea brine-soaked notes notorious of Islay single malts. This obviously makes it a 'love-it-or-hate-it' beer but, as someone who loves Lagavulin and Laphroaig just as much as J.W Lees and Old Guardian, I consider it brilliant.

There may be no beer better suited to the longest, darkest night of the year than Sunturnbrew. It is a soothing, satiating, distinctively 'wintry' beer that fans of barleywines, smoked beers, smoked meats, cigars, Islay single malts, lapsang souchong tea, fortified wines, artisan gins, or just unique taste experiences in general really aught to seek out.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.54/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured on tap into a small snifter at Churchkey.

Has a very brown red body, if it wasn't so brown and red this could pass as a brandy or whiskey. Very small collar with no head that's present or staying.

What is that smell? What it's smoke almost as if from a peat fire. Big barrel notes and hints of scotch whiskey, slight pepper, even some sweet cola, bacon, malt, wow is this whiskey or is this beer? I am shocked, this has to be the the first beer I have ever smelled that smells like whiskey of ANY kind at all. A small toast malt hint but masked by all the whiskey like feeling.

Upon taste is a dense bacon, whiskey notes mostly of a strong but still soft feeling barrel tannic quality. Mouthfeel though is very numbing and a real sense of novocaine. That might be off putting for some but it's a minor thing that doesn't detract about how special and unique this beer is.

Man this is great I want more. This is truly whiskey beer on tap right here.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very nice dark red colour, almost the same shade as blood, with a filmy but fine head, that forms with extreme difficulty through the heavy and firm body. Lacing is good, despite the nebulous nature of the bubbling on the top, but the extremity of the viscosity probably helps with that. Looks very nice.

Lovely big and smoky characters on the nose. But with lovely roasty characters welling up like the trails from the last charcoal embers of a campfire. It's a lovely aroma. Just delicious.

Initially smooth on the palate, with a huge welling of phenomenally flavoursome and leavened wood smoked goodness. Lovely smokiness throughout the palate, mixed with a generous sweetness to support it, and a hop oil finish which clears out the smoke with a robust bitter/boozy balance. Carbonation is just right; it lifts a little at the start to help accentuate the smoke, then fizzles out to give a smooth and velvety finish.

I love the way it travels through different elements so progressively. By the end, the palate is soothed enough that you want another sip, but every time you do, you get taken on another wild adventure.

This is a really excellent beer; one that cements Nøgne Ø in my mind as one of the great breweries of the world at the moment doing really interesting things. It's smooth, but hugely robust and flavoursome, and supremely balanced between extremities. A really phenomenal drop of beer.

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Photo of josefnewsong
4.47/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is awesome...flavors range from rye, sweet dark prunes, smoke, a hint of nuttiness, some woody flavors, molasses, a touch of wheat, tobacco, and only the slightest bit of bitterness, otherwise very sweet. Ruddy brown in color with tan head that leaves decent amounts of lace. Also some sediment floats around. A very unique barleywine with qualities of an old ale, barleywine, and a doppelbock all with smokey afternotes. I'm becoming more and more impressed with this brewery.

Taste score would have been a 5 but it got a bit cloying. Still great.

...I read a few reviews after reviewing and I have to agree with the comment about the band-aid flavors. Oddly enough, If I don't think about it I don't notice it, but when I do, there's definitely some band-aid there...strange that I don't mind a flavor that sounds so nasty.

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Photo of tavernjef
4.47/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep, black highlighted, rich brown chestnut murk of solidness. A few scrappy bubbles and a thin beige foam laps at the top with a simple oozing off to a thin ring and lots of oily spotted lacing and few thin inky strings.

Aroma is deep and peaty with a tilt towards some molasses, dark caramel, cinnamon roll dough, and earthy smoke that leans a bit meaty/bacon-like. Deep earthy brandy-like warmth trails behind each wiff. Very J.W.-esque.

Taste encapsulates all sorts of dark malty gooey stuff. Molasses, dark caramel, smokey peat ascents and tobacco both escape then reapply into a mold of heavy toned malty things that lingers with a bit of super heavy dates and heavier raisin. A feathery touch to cinnamon and vanilla are minced into the warming belly of its beastly malt body as it chews, coats, and sinks its way into a long finish of malt girth. Yum!

Body is almost full with a incredibly nice play of give and take of both chewyness and warmth as it softens and lightens just a nudge for it to maintain one super fine tone of lush smoothness in malt. The boozish, malty warmth is subtle and not over played at all, it fits right in with the flavors and blanketed tone of ubiquitous maltyness.

Ahhh, I enjoy the fact of this is Norwegian, since that part of my hertiage shows up physically more than most of the others. Well, that and the Irish side. Drinking this makes me think I'm joining someone in the homeland of Norway on a cold December night, much like tonight. Where a bedside lover might not be as warm and giving as this wonderment of malty yummyness. So Sunturnbrew takes her place by my side. Is that so wrong? Well...Unless she's cheaper then $11.29...

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Photo of eric5bellies
4.43/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Drank from my Duvel Tulip

A - Pours a deep Mahogany colour with an off white very creamy head that retains well. A very viscous brew.

S - Plenty of caramel and hops and some rye. Figs and dark fruit also present.

T - Caramel and toffee. At the finish it has some dark fruits before finishing with some smokey notes and nice boozey warmth.

M - Full bodied with low carbonartion, extremely smooth and so viscous that it is almost chewwy.

D - This is a top Barley Winethat is very impressive. Probably my favourite Nogne brew to date.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.42/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - pours a dark, tawny brown. A thick finger of light mocha foam maintains well and has great lacing.

Aroma - distant malt and a smoky blanket. Not near as intense as the Yeastie Boys. has a nice woodsy aroma after setup

Taste - sweet malts, plenty of smokiness, and a side of licorice. Alcohol warming on the afteraste, I like the different play of flavors here. Craft and smoke together, I like it. The finish is warm and lengthy, notes of molasses and some slight drying, even some late flavors of dark chocolate as this warms up.

Mouthfeel - thick and smooth, this is pretty chewy.

Overall - one of the most interesting barleywines I've had. The only smoked barleywine I can remember, but the play and interaction of the dfifferent flavors make this one unique brew, which gets harder to do with each passing year of sampling different beers. Here's to Nogne O for a cool distinct beer.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
4.38/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

In a snifter this beer was a dark garnet color; very pretty. It had a small off-white head that left a bit of lace.

Nice aroma of smoke and dark fruit. A bit of caramel.

I tasted peat and tobacco primarily.T he fruit seemed to be plum and raisin. Some toffee.

A dangerous beer to drink. So smooth and drinkable, but at 11% ABV, you have to be careful.

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Photo of russpowell
4.38/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vigorously poured into a imp pint nonic producing a effervescent chestnut with one finger of chunky mocha colored head. Tons of lacing & great head retention

S: Leafy hops, much dark fruit once warm, plus booze presence

T: Huge breadyness, much smokeyness & ainise up front, this wring but coming out sooo right, leafy & herbal hops too. Not really holding them to style, nothing on the bottle attributes this as an ABW, I prefer to think Arctic circle winter warmer.... Warming & vinious once a touch warmer, brown sugar, some leafy hops & figs, dark chocolate & cherries too! Finishes dry fruitty, smokey & with some baker's chocolate & cherry

MF: Chewy with soft carbonation, very warming

Super drinkability for what it is, but be generous & share, or catch a cab! I don't love everything these guys do, but this is a home run IMO

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Photo of Gueuzedude
4.37/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2009 US release; Sampled October 2010
A solid pour into my 25cl tulip glass produces a two-finger thick amber tinged, tan colored head. The beer is a dark, concentrated brown color that shows a clear, rich red color when held up to the light. The aroma smells malty up front, but quickly picks up a soft smokiness that still manages to be the dominant characteristic of the nose. Somehow this makes me think of smoked dates or perhaps smoked raisins as there is a fruitiness to the nose at the beginning. At times this seems like it has some woody pepper like notes to it and there is also a rich, caramelized, brown sugar like note and toasted grain character up front.

My first sip is sweet, viscous, rich and palate coating up front. Wow, this is one chewy beer, very much a sipping brew as small bits are best at a time. There is a lot of spicy grain character to this; likely the rye contributes this as well as quite a bit of the slick texture. The beer finishes with a mix of phenolic smokiness as well as a touch of bitter roast grain character. Sweet caramelized, brown sugar like notes are tempered by the savory smokiness that dominates the finish. There is a lot of umami flavors going on here, which makes this thick brew that much more a chewy experience; I almost feel like I should be able to stick a spoon in this and see it stand up on its own. The spiciness, when coupled with the sweetness almost reminds me of cinnamon, though not necessarily in an overly distinctive way.

Quite nice, I am really enjoying the intermingling of rich malt, funky / spicy rye, fruitiness and smoke character. This is the consummate cold weather, sitting by the fire, tucked into a blanket and armchair with a good book, sipping brew. I could easily spend a couple hours happily consuming my 500ml bottle and wish I had more of this as this beer is going to age wonderfully.

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Photo of Kromes
4.36/5  rDev +13%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Opaque dark brown with a finger width tan colored head that dies down quick to a thin line of bubbles. Looks very thick.

S: Strong aroma....Caramel, brown sugar, alcohol, figs and hop.

T: More of the same, sweet brown sugar, alcohol, figs, roasted malt, with a nice floral hop. The finish is dominated by an alcohol burn and smoky roasted coffee. It's almost like a smoky anise flavor in the finish. Very nice.

M: As expected it is heavy and thick, but may be a little too heavy. Low carbonation.

O: Very good beer. Nice and flavorful and well crafted.

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Photo of vfgccp
4.35/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Deep amber / red mahogany. Very low head.

S - Smokey. Sherry, raisins.

T - Bourbon, birch smoke, and a hint of soft charcoal. Sweet prunes and dark, dense bread. It's just the right amount of smoke - perfectly balanced. A booze note warms the flavors throughout the profile.

M - Medium body. Big booze and sweetness slow you down a bit, but the flavors keep you coming back.

O - Amazing balance, with complex and endearing flavors. This is definitely emerging as a theme among the dozen or so Nogne O brews I've had.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.35/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

"While most people think differently, Norwegians are convinced that the sun turns and actually changes direction on every December 21st."


Dark chestnut brown that is really lucent black cherry when backlit with overcast morning sky. The upper two inches of the snifter is filled with a tidy crown of ecru hued foam that persists and looks damn good while doing so. A barely audible 'pffft' on crown cracking suggested that that might not be the case.

This bottle is probably from December '09, so the lack of aggressive hops isn't surprising. Smoke is definitely appreciated (while far from overwhelming), and the earthiness of rye malt is noted as well. If it's bold enough, this should be tasty ale.

Nogne does it yet again. Sunturnbrew is a classic wintertime ale that delivers much more interesting flavor from the malt side of the equation than almost any barleywine you'd care to name. The perfectly proportioned use of smoked malt and rye malt was a masterstroke. And the hops haven't been completely overlooked either.

This big brew is growing on me with each passing ounce, mostly because the flavor profile is becoming deeper, wider and most intense. Specifics include pumpernickel toast, raisins soaked in Sambuca (anise liqueur), bitter black tea leaves, and a lovely infusion of sweet smoke.

A gentle (and pleasant) warming of tongue and belly is the only evidence of the 11.0% ABV. The mouthfeel started out good and has become great over time. It straddles the fine line between too big and not big enough in expert fashion. What a lush and lightly chewy treat this is.

Sunturnbrew is fantastic beer from Norway's best brewery. It's a classic (and hugely drinkable) winter ale that puts a delicious smoky spin on the barleywine style. $10 is a little steep for 500 ml of beer, but as I sit here looking forward to the final half of the bottle, it's easily worth that price. Recommended without reservation.

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Photo of GRG1313
4.34/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours black with a super thin head that's hard to get on a pour and just as hard with a quick swirl. Nice looking black with tan when you get it.

Nose is all toasted grain, toast with jam, candi sugar with a bit of carmel, toffee and sugared coffee. Really nice complex and layered smells.

Mouthfeel is creamy with a little buttery mouthfeel.

Flavors are an initial hit of sweet malt/sweet carmel to bitter coffee, bitter black chocolate and toasted malt and grains. Espresso coffee finish.

All in all a layered, well balanced and complex brew that is most inviting. Well made; high quality.

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Photo of shanblur
4.34/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle into a snifter. Freshness date obscured. A - Dark brown to black with little foam to speak of. S - Dark fruit with a good amount of smoke. Some booze smell as well. T - Similar to the smell with dark fruit and smoke with a lingering finish. M - Slick and oily with no carbonation present. A great smelling and tasting beer. Wish I had more. Definitely not easy to come by.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.32/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a medium dark amber color ale with a medium foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of smoked is quite intense with light caramel malt and a touch of sweetness. Taste is quite interesting with some intense smoke which cuts through the sweet malt base. Body is quite full with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Very well brewed with an interesting twist to the barleywine style.

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Photo of avalon07
4.32/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a dark brown color and a thick, murky consistency. There was a thin amount of foamy head that quickly dissipated. OK lacing.

S: A strong aroma of malt, caramel, dark fruits, and some hops.

T: Tasted of caramel, a nice malty backbone, hops, and some dark fruits (plums, raisins). Complex and flavorful. Surprisingly, the alcohol content isn't all that overwhelming.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a syrupy finish. Thick, chewy in texture. Full-bodied.

D: A solidly made, drinkable barleywine.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks goes out to gford217 for this brew.

Poured into a chalice a nice very dark brown color, nice carbonation, nice little fizzy tan head, which leaves some nice small islands and some sticky lacing. The nose is malty, with some figs, raisins, plums, and caramel. The taste is slightly sweet, malty, very nice touch of dark fruits, and some nice smoky notes. Medium body, a nice warming effect going down, a very nice sipper. Very drinkable, a very tasty ABWSA, recommended.

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Photo of popery
4.29/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This isn't the prettiest barleywine at the ball but it's got a big, intense flavor. For the most part, I really don't care about a beer's looks and that is also true here - just nitpicking. It's a muted dark brown beer with little head - looks like a weak cup of coffee. The aroma is velvet punch of caramel malt with notes of raisins, prunes, brown sugar and molasses. The flavor isn't overwhelmingly sweet for the size of the beer. It's not terribly drinkable but good for 11% abv. It's an excellent version of a big American-style barleywine.

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Sunturnbrew from Nøgne Ø - Det Kompromissløse Bryggeri A/S
3.86 out of 5 based on 241 ratings.
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