Galaxy Hopped Barleywine Ale (Brothers' Reserve Series) | Widmer Brothers Brewing Company

very good
78 Reviews
Galaxy Hopped Barleywine Ale (Brothers' Reserve Series)Galaxy Hopped Barleywine Ale (Brothers' Reserve Series)

Brewed by:
Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
Oregon, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Released Spring 2011

Added by msubulldog25 on 03-23-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 78 | Ratings: 151
Photo of tat2dhllblly
2.76/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I enkoyed the fact that the Galaxy hop was put center stage here and that the Widmer reserve series is something I always look forward to but this was less than my favorite.

Appearance: Slight watered down bourbon color with off white head with moderate size bubbles that vanishes quickly with litte lacing.

Smell: All Galaxy hops with a backing of booze.

Taste: All hops. Strong, herbal, fresh cut grass hops. I really didn't get any true malt profile here. I have read other reviews and I really do not get any malt backbone at all. Reminds me more of a Hopped Stupid IPA than a American Barleywine.

Mouthfeel: Little carbonation but a bit light on the feel. I was hoping for more chewy but this is not even close.

Like I said I really enjoy Widmer beers but this was not my favorite experience with any of thier beers.

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Photo of HopHead84
2.85/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5


On tap at Churchill's.

A: Reddish orange with a fast fading white head.

S: Light grapefruit notes. Brown sugar blends with caramel, pine, and earth. There's evident alcohol and a little prune.

T: Bitter and boozy with astringent dried fruit and alcohol macerated dates. Caramel is evident. The finish is unpleasantly boozy and bitter with aspirin notes.

M: Upper medium body with upper low carbonation.

Overall: Not a very good beer. The flavor is harsh and unpleasant.

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Photo of kbuzz
2.97/5  rDev -24%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured this 22 oz'er into my tulip glass, a wee bit at a time. Can this be considered an American Barleywine even though it's using New Zealand hops? Spring 2011 release.

A: Pours a cloudy rust-colored beer with a minimal off-white head that fades pretty quickly. An average looking Barleywine at best.

S: Following a good swirl, I get massive earthiness here. Earthy hops and a dusty grains. Rum-soaked dark fruits and a good bit of confectionary sweetness in the form of molasses and brown sugar.

T/M: Huh. A little bland for a Barleywine. Nothing overly pronounced. Caramels malts, figs, raisins...more brown sugar...but mostly a lot of a cotton candy type of generic sweetness. Ends up tasting a little like a Belgian Quad...just a random dollop of that fruity sweetness. A solid hop bitterness, but no hop flavor really. Dank and earthy. Mouthfeel is exactly where a Barleywine should be...moderate to low carbonation and plenty of juicy chewiness...leaves a thick coating on the mouth.

O: Nothing earth-shattering here. I was really hoping for more of that hop profile to shine through, but it fell short. Also seems to lack any sort of distinguishing flavor profile in general. Couldn't really ever say at any point that anything took a hold of my taste buds. Taste was muddled for sure. Still...not bad. I do like the low"ish" ABV on it for a Barleywine. Don't get any heat at all on this sucker.

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Photo of 4000qtrap
2.98/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

Source/Serving: 750mL bottle

S: Soft floral/kiwi/citrus hop blend, balanced by cherry cola malts, fresh tobacco, and some alcohol that’s a bit hot for my tastes. Overall, quite nice and just the right balance for a hoppy barleywine that’s meant to be drunk fresh.

T: Nice balance between good hop flavor and malts, but not very dynamic for a barleywine. Malt and alcohol is reminiscent of the nose with cherry cola malts that have a cherry cough drop edge and alcohol that’s a little raw. Unfortunately, I'm not a huge cherry cola fan. Notes of leather, prune, and tobacco. Hops are mellow and smooth with the same floral/kiwi/citrus note as the nose but don't quite match the malt flavor or sweetness, keeping this beer malt forward and quite sweet. Nice, thick mouthfeel. Finish is more of the same but with an unpleasant mineral/medicinal note that lingers.

Notes: Not sure if its my bias against cherry cola that makes me dislike this beer more than everyone else or what, but overall I'm not a huge fan and don't get much nuance or flavor dynamics as expected for a barleywine. And, the alcohol character is quite rough. The hop character is nice, however, and I appreciate the balance of this hoppy barleywine meant to be drunk fresh.

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Photo of ChadQuest
3/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Translucent dark sunburst color. oranges and ambers fading up the glass. Thin cap.
Woody, spice, citrus, brown sugar.
Caramel and sweet toffee, a hint of pleasant alcohol, orange zest, brown sugar and rye bread like spice type of deal.
Mouthfeel is medium, same for carbonation.

Solid and average. If in a 4 or 6 pack i'd buy it now and then to have around, but in bomber it's too expensive to be worth it.

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Photo of Vandint
3.18/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I got a bottle of this from Bristol Farms. It came in a box, but the label on the bottle had several wrinkles in it. It poured nicely - not much head, but nice lacing and a beautiful reddish-brown color. The smell was quite nice - spicy, fruity, and sweet. From the smell, I was a tiny bit worried it was going to be a bit syrupy sweet, but it smelled like it would be quite enjoyable.

In actuality, what I got was hops - quite a lot of them. Too bitter for my tastes, especially the aftertaste. It was a bit frustrating, because I could tell it had more complexity there, but it was drowned out. If I worked hard to combine the smell with the beer, I got a well rounded and interesting beer (until I set the beer down and get the aftertaste) but otherwise all I really got was hops and some sugar - kind of disappointing, but I'm really not a hoppy guy. A strong 9.5 ABV, but I could not taste the alcohol. Carbonation was quite light, but it felt real in the mouth (as a barley wine should).

As time went on, I found myself really liking the initial and middle parts of each sip - if it stopped there, I'd be a pretty happy camper (taste would be 3.5-4) but the aftertaste continued to be very unpleasant to me. That's quite possibly a personal preference - I don't like certain kinds of bitterness. Glad I tried it, but unlikely to try it again.

Edit: I do think it would age well. I would like to try that.

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Photo of FosterJM
3.44/5  rDev -12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

660th Review on BA
Bottle to Snifter
Bottled 3/14/11

App- The color of dirty bronze with a fair amount of highlights on the amber/brown side. A very well done two finer head with a great amount of dotted cling as well as streaks of leg.

Smell- This is a very young barleywine. I believe a year would do this good on the nose. Very medicinal alcohol with a backing malt presence. Not much in other smells.

Taste- The malts really come through on the taste of this beer. Its young as I said so it hasnt mellowed. The malt is very forward without much to balance. Its a bit harsh with ABV and a slight bitter. A little sweet as well.

Mouth- Medium bodied and medium carbonated with a bit of a huge malt and stale fruit after taste.

Drink- A very young American Barleywine. I need another bottle to age for a year or more to see how it mellows. I think this could make a turn and be quite good. Right now a bit rough around edges and not too smooth.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.47/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Thanks to mdfb79 for this bottle!

Reviewed blind as part of Blind BIF Round 5. It pours a murky brown-copper topped by a minor bit o' dirty white soapy foam. The nose comprises pine, toffee, light leek, light mint, dank greens, and light candi sugar. The taste is generally the same, with more toffee character, less mint and greens, and a kinda sharp piney character. The body is a staunch medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a sorta dry finish. Overall, a generally okay b-wine, though nothing really outstanding in any way. It is nice to see a hitherto unknown (to me, anyway) hop variety get the spotlight.

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Photo of colts9016
3.48/5  rDev -11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured the beer into a snifter at 50 degrees.

Appearance: A monster two finger head that is light tan and has good retention. The head is frothy and creamy, it left some lacing on the glass. The color of the beer is a rusty brown and clarity is opaque.

Nose: A rich complex malt that is caramel and bready. The hop is slightly fruity esters, floral, and grapefruit. Other aromas raisins. earthy, hint of chocolate, resins, and alcohol.

Taste: A deep roasted complex malt that is bready, caramel, and biscuit. The hops is prevalent, with a fruity esters,floral and grapefruit. Other flavors in the beer is earth, resins, and alcohol.

The mouth feel is astringent, dry, carbonated, and warm.

Overall: The body of the beer is medium, and the finish is medium full. This beer is much different then what I expected. The hops are overwhelming verses the malt backbone. I have tried other barley-wines that were more sophisticated than this. Good barley-wine, sadly age would not have help this at all.

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Photo of ktrillionaire
3.53/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Ale & Witch

When I drank this, I was unaware that it was intended as a Barleywine, nor did I know it was 9.5%; I though of it as being very much inbetween SNPA and Torpedo. Strange.

A - It pours a brassy golden hue, and is capped with a nice ecru head, depositing plentiful lace.

S - The nose is just generally hoppy: herbal, dank, piney, resiny, and slightly citric. The malt is pretty sturdy as a base, but it is not contributing any big flavors; perhaps a wee bit of spicy caramel if anything.

T - Tastes like a tweener. It is not as hoppy as a big IPA, not as big as a hoppy DIPA, the hops are prominent over the malt like an APA, et al. The flavor is really resiny and herbal, just as with the aroma, and the malt does not go much beyond a supporting role. As I get deeper in the glass, the hoppy bitterness seems to intensify, and the flavor lingers for an extended period.

M - IPA. Pretty good. (Actually not IPA as it turns out...)

O - When I thought this was an IPA, I thought it was decent. As a Barleywine, I am not sure what to say. But it is hoppy, and tastes pretty good.

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Photo of RDHerm
3.53/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep, reddish amber color with marigold highlights. Has a thin, cream colored that retains quite nicely and has good lacing.

Strong but pleasant aroma with strong notes of floral hops and citrus fruits. There are hints of yeast and light malts, as well as a touch of vanilla.

Very strong flavor of floral hops, with good notes of malt, yeast, and bread underneath, as well as hints of spice and a bit of alcohol bite.

Medium in body with a higher carbonation level. Good body, but the carbonation could be a bit much at times, walking the line between creamy and frothy. The bitter aftertaste also lingers a bit too long.

An interesting take on a traditional style, if you're a fan of either barleywine or IPA this is definitely worth giving a shot. It's not something you'd want to drink more than one of, but not bad overall.

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Photo of sailorastro
3.55/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Overall: By the name, I expected an overwhelming amount of hops in this beer. Hoppy it is, but it's set off kilter by its sweet character. Not a bad brew--I would recommend giving it a try if you're into heavy barleywines.

Appearance: Muddled red body with a white, one-finger head. Lots of lace that lasts on the glass.

Smell: Orange peel; honey; anise; hops; pine.

Taste: Upfront thick sweetness, like trying a spoonful of maple syrup. Tart bitterness strikes in the back.

Mouthfeel: As impressed by above notes, the mouthfeel is thick and syrupy. Calling its body "full" might be an understatement.

Sampled from a standard pint glass.

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Photo of bluejacket74
3.6/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22 ounce bottle, bottled on March 14, 2011 (printed on label). Served in a snifter, the beer pours a dark chestnut brown color with about an inch light tan head. Head retention and lacing are both good. Aroma is sweet and malty, the brew smells like candy sugar, dark fruit (raisins, figs, cherries), bready malt, caramel, and some citrusy hops and booze. It tastes like bready malt, candy sugar, dark fruit (figs, raisins), caramel, toffee and a little bit of candied oranges. However, I think it smells better than it tastes. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit slick but it's also thin for a barleywine. Moderate carbonation. It's a solid enough brew, but there are a lot of other barleywines I like better. With that being said, it's worth trying.

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Photo of beerandcycling88
3.6/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bomber into a snifter

A Pours a dark mahogany color with a thin slightly off white head that sticks around.

S Very sweet almost sugary so with lots of fruit, especially grapefruit. A hint of caramel malt also comes through just a bit. But the hops are the dominant note.

T A very balanced brew. The hops stand out with a citrusy tropical fruit like flavor while the malt provides notes of caramel and candy sugar. The alcohol is well hidden. Overall Quite nice

M While it is quite viscous it is a bit thin for the style, but still not bad just nothing special.

Overall this was a solid American Barley Wine that was enjoyable to drink. I would consider getting this again.

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Photo of gopens44
3.62/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark coppery red with a quickly diminishing creme colored frothy head.

S - Hop heavy at first with a touch of a berry like sweetness. Maybe a touch of caramel as well.

T - Again with the hoppy start. After the hop front, there are some nice toffee and vanilla notes coming up. Finish is slightly metallic. The alcohol isn't hidden too well as a nearly medicinal alcohol taste quickly overrides the metallic taste. I guess it was an improvement?

M - Very smooth yet a touch thin. Bitter with relatively low carbonation. Bitter aftertaste.

O - I guess I was looking for a real dandy here but came up feeling a little let down due to the off tastes. This will be one that I buy in a bottle as well, just to see if it mellows out decently over about a year.

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Photo of ferrari29
3.68/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beer poured from bottle into a stemless Tulip shaped wine glass

A - Beer pours with a deep dark burgundy color; not cloudy and somewhat clear; low amount of visible carbonation; beer poured with a 1/2 finger white colored foam; the head did not hold well; good amount of lacing formed

S - Oak; bourbon; sweet notes; fruit and citrus; hops; caramel; soft malty notes; pine

T - Oak; bourbon; has tangy dark fruit flavors like a young wine; finishes with a hop bitterness; licorice; caramel with other subtle malt flavors

M - Thin consistency; dry aftertaste; tangy tart feel on the tongue, a mixture of carbonation and dark fruit sour flavors

D - Too much hop for a Barleywine; I'd prefer something with a bit more flavor up front instead of the hop bitterness at the end of each sip; worth a shot and should not be overlooked when comparing to other beers of the same type

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Photo of olmatty
3.73/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep amber brown with a low white head. Light smell of honey and caramel and some spicy floral hop. Flavor is deep layers of sweet biscuit and earthy, bitter hops. Bitterness is intense for the barleywine style. Long lasting bitter finish. I'm not sure I appreciate the huge hop presence in a barleywine ale.

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Photo of JayQue
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Spring 2011!!! I let this one age a while. Probably affected the hops presence but the beer is still very solid.

Initial pour was an opaque clear amber with a medium size light tan head, Head retention is good. Filmy lacing with some small spots of froth. Subsequent pours were a murky/ hazy/amber.

Smell was sweet caramel malt all the way. Fairly prominent.

Taste is sweet caramel malt up front with some hops bitterness in the finish. I wonder what 3 years of aging did to the hops presence but this is still a very enjoyable brew./

Mouthfeel is crisp and somewhat rich. A little lighter than some of the monster barleywines. There is always a little alcohol harshness in a good barleywine, but it is fairly muted and more smooth here. Aging makes a difference.

A very tasty baraleywine,

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Photo of emcohen
3.78/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: A color the appearance of fine mahogany with a thin whitish head that dissipates quickly. Leaves some lacing when the head disappears.

Smell: Citrus and cherry notes jump out at me right away. I also get some dark chocolate and toffee.

Taste: Reminds me a little of a toffee crunch candy bar with some cherry or raspberry flavors. The hops are very apparent from start to finish, but not overwhelming. Not overly sweet and the hops cuts that really well.

Mouthfeel: The smooth caramel feel at the beginning is replaced with hoppy bitterness at the finish. The hops and malt linger for quite a while but it's balanced enough that it's not a problem. The carbonation is light and prickly.

Overall: This not your usual spring-time ale and I'm surprised it's their limited Spring release. However, the day is cloudy and I have nothing else to do but nap off the 9.5% alcohol. Very hoppy for a barleywine but it's malty enough to balance that out. The further I got into the bottle, the more the malt came out and my enjoyment increased. Not my favorite barleywine but certainly a good bottle. I bet it'd age really well.

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Photo of surprenant1138
3.78/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a bomber into a snifter. This beer pours very dark for a barleywine style, deep mahogony colored with minimal head and excellent, slow lacing. Aroma is of hops, barley, cherries, oakey, and slightly floral. Mouthfeel is fairly heavy. Taste is very hoppy for a barleywine (hence the name). It is flowery, and not so much tasting like a barleywine. There is only a hint of that earthy, farm-like, hay and grassy taste to this beer. That certainly isn't bad, but it doesn't seem to much fit into the barleywine category. It is basically a floral, hoppy IPA, with some barleywine splashed in. That being said, it is very tasty, but more if you are in the IPA mindset.

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Photo of billab914
3.78/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into my Southern Tier 2xIPA glass. It poured a deep mahogany color with a frothy, off-white head taking up the top inch and a half of the glass. The head faded, but left a nice thin covering throughout drinking it. Pretty good lacing as well.

The aroma has a lot of hoppiness to it. I get some pretty big grapefruit and pine flavors to it coming out of the hops. I get a good dose of sweet, malty and caramel flavors to it as well with a little bit of a candied like presence. Pretty decent aroma overall, the hops are definitely the best part of it.

The taste shows more of the caramel and toffee flavors to it. I get amount of the citrusy, bitter, grapefruit and pine flavors to it towards the finish. Pretty nice flavors to it overall, not outstanding but definitely good.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side with carbonation being about average for the style. Overall it was a pretty good beer. I really liked the hoppiness it had, but the malty, traditional barleywine flavors were a little lacking relative to some of the better in the style. Overall a pretty enjoyable beer though.

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Photo of avalon07
3.8/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a copper color and a clear consistency. There was a big, foamy, very long-lasting head. Good lacing.

S: A solid smell of hops, malt, caramel and fruit.

T: Tasted of hops (above anything else), caramel, malt, and lighter fruit. This is the sort of beer that front loads all of its flavor and leaves nothing for the finish. Not bad, but certainly uneven.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a dry finish. Medium-bodied.

D: Despite some flaws, this is drinkable beer.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.83/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a three finger cream head that fades slowly to a thin layer leaving a good lace. Clear amber color. Light-medium carbonation and medium bodied. Nose is grapefruit hops and flavor is grapefruit hops and caramel. Not bad but tart for a barleywine. $10.00 for a 22oz bottle from Tully's Beer & Wine Wells, Me.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.83/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled on 3/14/11.

Pours a clear dark copper color with a 1 inch orange-white head that fades to a thin cap. Thin tight rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smells of citrus zest, tropical fruits, and slight malt. There is also a slight off-scent that I cannot quite identify, almost like stale grains. Taste is of huge citrus zest and pine hops, tropical fruit, brown sugar, and a malt finish. Mild citrus zest bitterness on the palate after each sip. Mouthfeel is slightly thick and sticky with a lower carbonation level. Overall, this is a good barleywine with a huge hop presence. I am glad I picked up one of these to try.

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Photo of jsanford
3.85/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Bomboras Grille in Hilton Head, SC. Poured into a New Belgium globe.

A - Pours a cloudy brownish-red with a thin off-white ring and slight haze.
S - Moderately sweet and malty with a fairly pungent grapefruit and pine resin hop profile. Bit of pineapple and peach too.
T - Caramel-toffee malt heavy, with big notes of pineapple, peach, strawberry, grapefruit, and pine resin.
M - Smooth, slightly viscous and sticky, with a medium mouth-feel and moderate carbonation.
O - A pretty good beer, very unique from the addition of the Galaxy hops.

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Galaxy Hopped Barleywine Ale (Brothers' Reserve Series) from Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
3.91 out of 5 based on 151 ratings.
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