Imperial Barley Wine
Ridgeway Brewing

Imperial Barley WineImperial Barley Wine
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Ridgeway Brewing
England, United Kingdom
English Barleywine
Ranked #159
Ranked #22,039
3.74 | pDev: 14.97%
Jul 16, 2022
Oct 08, 2013
Very Good
Imperial Barley WineImperial Barley Wine
Notes: As the name suggests, this beer is flavoursome, with perhaps more bitterness than a typical brew of this type. It is dry hopped with English whole hops for extended periods. This gives characteristics that are not immediately significant, but which develop with age and mean that the beer is excellent both fresh and aged. To be enjoyed slowly, savouring the flavours, and drunk from a stemmed glass just as you would with wine.
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Photo of stcules
Reviewed by stcules from Italy

3.86/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
Vintage 2015.
Dark copper, some beige foam.
In the smell malt, molasses, caramell, some grassy notes, candy fruit, dates.
Citrussy and candy orange, warm spicy notes, pepper in the back.
Chestnut honey, floral (heather).
Full malty taste, caramel, marzipan, raisin, hazelnut.
Some ethilic notes, but well controlled.
A lot of grass and herbal notes in the aftertaste, heather, candy orange. Orange marmelade.
Very well balanced.
Jul 16, 2022
Photo of trevormajor
Reviewed by trevormajor from Ohio

4.68/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
11.2 oz bottle, vintage 2015, poured into a snifter at 55 degrees F:
L - tan caramel in color with a white head that lingered around the edges
S - toffee, caramel, dark fruits
T - follows the nose
F - thick with minimal carbonation
O - very nice, this beer seems fresh although it is 7 years old
Jun 14, 2022
Rated: 4 by paulish from New York

Nov 06, 2021
Photo of JonnoWillsteed
Reviewed by JonnoWillsteed from England

3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
L- Deep amber, clear, pours with 2mm white head.
S- It seems to have a liquor-ish edge to it... do I get a hint of Cointreau orange liquer? ...
T- ... unsure, maybe, then a notably high ABV% liquor-ish brush glides over my palate making it's presence clear.
F- It's quite rich but that's balanced by it's 10% 'brush'. Definately not a session beer, but more an occasional after dinner 'Dessert beer' or similar.
O- Deep, pungent yet refined none the less. I wouldn't drink a beer like this too often but I doubt I'd ever tire of the occasional one or two... Lovely, something different, most interesting to try.
Bought from Beers Of Europe/UK. 330ml bottle £2.91 BB: 'There is no recommended Best Before' [!?]. 'Vintage 2015 - Bottle Number 32710'.
Jul 22, 2020
Photo of emerge077
Reviewed by emerge077 from Illinois

3.22/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.5
2015 vintage, lot no. 264.

Brilliant saturated honey amber, thick foam and ample lacing coating the glass. Cluster of bubbles and a broken skim on the surface.

Oxidized malt aroma initially, a lot of honey in the glass, slightly musty. Touch of oxidized white wine fruit esters.

Odd flavors, envelope glue, dried apricot, fruit leather, bitter aftertaste. Bitterness overshadows the vague sweetness. Desiccated rotten fruit, grape stem tannic bitterness. Medium bodied, drinkable in the sense that Malort is drinkable. Interesting enough to try, but doesn’t seem to be aging well. Seemed to improve slightly after sitting in the glass for an hour, but who has that kind of time?

The label makes some odd yet spot-on claims. “A long, long way from mainstream beer.” “Pronounced vinous character” and “a golden fusion of Russian stout and traditional barley wine.”
Jan 12, 2020
Photo of vinicole
Reviewed by vinicole from England

3.59/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5
Bottle conditioned. Dated 2015. Golden amber. Little to no head.
Rich fruity aroma. Grain, light caramel and boozy smell.
Light apricot with a rather harsh alcohol flavour.
Thin considering the ABV. Light carbonation.
The ageing has not subdued this beer enough.
Dec 20, 2019
Rated: 3.93 by cozmo from New York

Oct 20, 2019
Rated: 4.13 by Trmmilwwi from Illinois

Oct 03, 2019
Rated: 4 by wisrarebeer from Wisconsin

Jan 15, 2019
Rated: 3.05 by Chico1985 from Massachusetts

Dec 09, 2017
Photo of metter98
Reviewed by metter98 from New York

3.64/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75
A: The beer is clear light amber in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with just a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface and a
S: Light aromas of golden raisins are present in the nose along with hints of whiskey.
T: The taste follows the smell and has flavors of raisins along with faint bits of whiskey. Hardly any alcohol is perceptible.
M: It feels medium-bodied and slightly sticky on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer seems to be light in body for a barleywine and drinks rather easily compared to other beers in the style. The alcohol is not very prominent.

Serving type: bottle
Dec 02, 2017
Rated: 3.62 by dbrauneis from North Carolina

Dec 02, 2017
Rated: 3.6 by smithj4 from New York

Dec 02, 2017
Photo of tigg924
Reviewed by tigg924 from Massachusetts

2.75/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75
15 vintage. Pours clear, gold in color with 1/4 inch head. Taste is soap, English malt, and honey wafer. Medium-heavy bodied, moderate carbonation. Mix of sweet and sour. Not great, perhaps better fresh. A big pass for me.

Aged for 5 years since first review. I now get more pale English malt and less soap. Touch of apple cider too. Still not a favorite but better than my initial impression.
Dec 02, 2017
Photo of GreesyFizeek
Reviewed by GreesyFizeek from New York

2.11/5  rDev -43.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 2
'15 vintage. This aged atrociously.

This pours a completely clear light orange, with a small head, and just a little bit of lacing.

This smells like pure rubbing alcohol, wet pine needles, and cardboard.

This is basically flat, with a very prominent and harsh booze character. It's also complete cardboard- you'd think a barleywine would age well, but this has completely and utterly oxidized, making it completely disgusting. It's also surprisingly hoppy and bitter, for an English barleywine. What in the world went wrong here?

This is very thin, with a flabby and just wet feel to it. It's basically undrinkable.

This is honestly vile. I have no idea how it is fresh. When you have a barleywine that doesn't age well, you have a serious problem.
Nov 29, 2017
Rated: 5 by OzmanBey from Massachusetts

Oct 24, 2017
Photo of LiquidAmber
Reviewed by LiquidAmber from Washington

3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
Poured into a Fremont small snifter. Pours a medium orange amber with a thin white head that dissipates to a bare ring around the glass with no lacing. Aroma of caramel malt, fresh and dried light stone fruit, raisins and plums, toffee, a little boozy; appropriate for the style. Flavor is light caramel malt, fresh and dried light stone fruit, a little orange citrus and plums, hints of toffee alcohol, finishes a little hot with light fruit notes. Medium bodied with slight creaminess. The aroma was classic English barleywine and most of the traditional flavors are present here, but somewhat muted and oddly skewed towards light fruit like apricot and orange. The malt seems a little thin for the size of this barleywine. Although a decent barleywine, this suffers from what I've noticed in a lot of their offerings: nice flavors, but not robust enough to be really interesting. This one does have a good cross section of fruit flavors, but the malt lets the high alcohol take the lead. This would probably improve with age, but there are other more worthy candidates for the cellar. I enjoyed this, but it is a one and done. Nice bottle graphics; looks very classy and interesting.
Aug 15, 2017
Rated: 3.37 by Cpmitchno1 from Virginia

Dec 01, 2016
Photo of WhiskeyMax
Reviewed by WhiskeyMax from Iowa

3.95/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Poured into tulip from a 12oz. bottle. Just enough head to cover the glass and dissipated quickly. Smells of caramel, toast, and oak. I'm tasting golden raisins, caramel, whiskey? Good carbonation and not too syrupy for a barley wine. Overall it was enjoyable but I don't know that I would seek it out again.
Nov 18, 2016
Rated: 4.25 by RochefortChris from North Carolina

Oct 22, 2016
Photo of Smakawhat
Reviewed by Smakawhat from Maryland

4.29/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
Poured from the bottle into a large snifter glass. Vintage 2015, Bottle 00041. Lot 264

Crystal clear body with a glimmering amber orange, touches of yellow and to a polished shine. Head is fluffy white, a minor one finger head, to a whispy top and creamy and bubbly collar. Great looking barley wine.

Excellent aroma. Fruit orange, slightly marmalade, with some dry grains and almost bakery flour. A minor touch of alcohol and sharp honey.

A nice soft and fruited palate. Honey lip coating smacks of orange and marmalade. Slight pitted cherry with dry barley and nearly stout like creamy mouthfeel. Rich sensing thick grape as well, nearly into white port.

Flavors feel a little muted and aged out, but a real tasty brew.
Aug 13, 2016
Rated: 3.75 by lucat from Italy

Nov 21, 2015
Photo of sejorules
Reviewed by sejorules from Sweden

4.08/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
Poured from a 33cl bottle from 2015 vintage, so fairly new.

A: Pours into a dark golden color. Clear, and with just 2 small lines of bubbles going up. Very small, dirty snow white head of half a finger. Not very thick, and it melts within seconds. After a minute, there was just a whitish thin layer of foam.

S: The smell is very citrussy, and fresh. Grapefruit, grass. There is a hint of strawberry bubblegum. Really powerful, complex and pleasant.

T: The taste doesn't follow the smell that much. It certainly starts with some grass and grapefruit, mixed with some slight tartness that reminds of wine. Also, there is a very subtle hint of bubblegum. Then, in the middle, is clearly malt. It is so strong it's like chewing malt. Finally, it ends with a faint bitterness. I like how powerful the tastes are. You just go from one to another, in a very clear way.

F: Full of flavors, medium carbonation. The feeling in mouth is very pleasant. Again, I love how the feeling changes during the time.

O: This was my first experience with barleywine, and so far, I have enjoyed it a lot. Will buy again!
Oct 17, 2015
Photo of craftbeersweden
Reviewed by craftbeersweden from Sweden

3.11/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25
Clear amber beer with a HUGE four finger high, fluffy, white head.

Nose: Orange marmelade, caramel malt, dried fruit, sweet syrup and raisin.
Taste: Caramel, orange, apple, vanilla, pine, alcohol and toffee.
Body: Medium to full body. MEdium carbonation. Smooth, soft texture. Boozy.

It's an ok Barely Wine but nothing I'm going to look for again.
Sep 07, 2015
Rated: 3.83 by Evil_Pidde from Sweden

Aug 08, 2015
Rated: 3.38 by oysbot from Norway

Jul 25, 2015
Photo of Hoppsbabo
Reviewed by Hoppsbabo from England

4.4/5  rDev +17.6%
Bottle no. 1629.
Mine's a 2012 vintage so at least a year and 11 months old.

A: Bright light amber body with a healthy off-white head.
S: Very scenty. From the bottle it has a Belgian yeast headiness, but in the glass it's all caramel and dried fruits.
T: Very full flavoured and sweet, with hoppy caramel at the forefront. It's actually hop-forward, with orange marmalade in place of the usual dried fruits. It's also hoppy bitter and there is a slight whisky burn which I like. Nice and muddy towards the end and a bit of an ashtray-like hoppyness in the aftertaste. Some orange rind towards the end of the glass.
M: Velvety and sticky with a nice level of effervescence.
O: A good one. Definitely going to stock up next time I'm in Beers of Europe and set them aside to age.
Nov 24, 2014
Rated: 3.5 by windypete from England

Apr 26, 2014
Photo of DIM
Reviewed by DIM from Pennsylvania

3.63/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5
2012 vintage #6785. I am surprised this had not been added yet. Am I missing something?

a: Clear, pale golden copper color; pours with a short lived head.

s: Roasted, nutty toffee; kind of sugary. Muted leafy hops. Weak tea and faint alcohol.

t: Still a fair amount of hops thankfully, this is a sugar bomb. Definitely one to drink fresh I say. Very sweet toffee and some faintly fruity tea with leafy bitterness. Lingering sugar.

m: Not as substantial as one would expect from a beer this size. Gently carbonated.

o: An okay sweeter barleywine, not one to revisit.
Oct 08, 2013
Imperial Barley Wine from Ridgeway Brewing
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 29 ratings