20 Year Storm
Heavy Seas Beer

20 Year Storm20 Year Storm
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English Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)
3.99 | pDev: 9.02%
Heavy Seas Beer
Maryland, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
20 Year Storm20 Year Storm
Notes: Bourbon barrel-aged Imperial ESB.
Reviews: 20 | Ratings: 79
Photo of Brutaltruth
4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A nicely aged brew in a growler via Jungle Jim's Eastgate in a
snifter. This solid brew pours a muddled brownish cola red
color with a nice head of off white foam that settles to a thin
ring, wispy subtle layer, and sports very subtle lacing. Nose of
mild bourbon, tropical notes of mango and citrus, sweet caramel
malts, and a tropical touch of vanilla. Flavors expand on the nose with
dates and figs awash in caramel to the fore with light bourbon and vanilla
to the aft with a mix of cola and tropical notes of mild pineapple and
subtle mango tinged hops with touches of pine and dark breaded malts.
Nice mouth feel; medium body, light carbonation, and a smooth and
lightly warming sweet finish.

Balanced and darn near a barley wine in character that has aged.



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Photo of BeerAndGasMasks
3.97/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From the older bottle, it pours a hazy darker amber with a small head, soon reducing to a ring. Lots of alcohol in the nose, along with some malt. The mouth gets some tasty malt with a heavy dose of alcohol. A real kick in the mouth!

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Photo of cyclonece09
3.58/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bomber bottle into a snifter. Pours deep red with a small white head. Smells of some citrus hops with a really nice maltiness. Tastes of great maltiness with very slight citrus hops, but heavy on the alcohol. Beer is medium bodied and easy drinking for its ABV, good carbonation. Overall an above average beer.

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Photo of Slatetank
3.83/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

thanks to Mark for sharing this -enjoyed chilled from the bottle in a goblet

the color is deep amber with thick white head with fine bead and rings of lace stick. The smell is herbal with spicy hop aroma and malt with a caramel quality and slight fruity yeast -subtle bourbon odor. The feel has a good balance with moderate carbonation and bitterness with light sweetness and semi-dry with slight residual sweetness in the finish

The taste is very good with a lot of hops and caramel from the malt with a woody aspect and sweet element of bourbon with mild alcohol in the taste and sweetness is low with woody and dry bourbon influenced finish with semi bitter taste throughout -semi strong taste of alcohol. This is very good -was not sure what to expect based on the style description but it is unique, an Imperial ESB -it seems more hop focused and bourbon overtakes the malt. I might have enjoyed it if it was a little less abv and less bitter

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Photo of dbl_delta
4.18/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Undated bottle into pint glass. Pours a cloudy amber-brown with a thin off-white head. Initial impression is a nice blend of bourbon, oak, caramel, and vanilla. Nothing is overwhelming, which is the case with some other BA products. Medium mouthfeel and carbonation - just about perfect. Alcohol is extremely well hidden. Nice smooth finish. One of the best ESBs in my experience.

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

22 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled on 11/14/2015. Pours slightly hazy/cloudy deep ruby red/copper color with a 1-2 finger fairly dense and fluffy light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty lacing clings around the glass, with a light amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big caramel, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, toasted biscuit, nuttiness, bourbon, oak, raisin, plum, cherry, apple, light chocolate, herbal, grass, light pepper, and oak/toasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of dark/bready malt and bourbon barrels; with light-moderate fruity yeast/earthy hop notes; with great strength. Taste of big caramel, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, toasted biscuit, nuttiness, bourbon, oak, raisin, plum, cherry, apple, light chocolate, herbal, grass, light pepper, and oak/toasted earthiness. Light-moderate herbal/spicy bitterness and light bourbon/oak spiciness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, toasted biscuit, nuttiness, bourbon, oak, raisin, plum, cherry, apple, herbal, grass, and oak/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Damn nice complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malt and bourbon barrels; with light-moderate fruity yeast/earthy hop flavors; with a great malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a very smooth, moderately creamy/silky, and lightly sticky/chalky balanced mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a light warmth lingering after the finish. Overall this is a damn nice barrel aged imperial ESB style. All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malt and bourbon barrels; with light-moderate fruity yeast/earthy hop flavors; and very smooth and easy to drink for the big ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.96/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap 3/4/2016 at Doherty’s Ale House in Warwick, RI, served in a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a dark coppery red color, with a large off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains caramelized malts, brown sugar, some dark fruit and some hops.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of caramel, brown sugar and some fruit. Then a hearty malt character comes in. The hops presence is mild but complementary and brings a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down dangerously easy, not too filling, strong well disguised kick, decent representation of style, it seems more like a barley wine but it’s still a solid beer to drink for a while.

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Photo of metter98
3.93/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is relatively clear amber in color and has a slight amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a short white head that quickly died down, leaving only some specks of bubbles on the surface and a thin collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Light to moderate aromas of bourbon are present in the nose; these become a bit stronger as the beer warms up.
T: The taste has flavors of oak and associated vanilla from the bourbon barrel aging along with some hints of toasted malts.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: The bourbon barrel aging really stands out in this ESB, adding nice notes of oak and vanilla to the smell and taste. It does a good job at masking most of the alcohol from the taste.

Serving type: bottle

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

22 oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Dark brown color and good carbonation. You get a little of the bourbon barrel aging on the smell as well as the finish. A well balanced ESB style and very good beer.

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Photo of skiking70
4.11/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This beer pours a nice amber color, with little or no head. There is a faint bourbon smell and a general sweet aroma on the nose. The beer has a nice hop presence and a nice caramel and coconut flavor from the barrel. As with most of the uncharted series the barrel aging is secondary to the flavor profile, so if you are looking for a bourbon bomb look elsewhere. I personally wish I purchased more, this beer is true to style and a style that isn't made nearly enough

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
2.87/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

Pours a dark, slightly hazy copper color. The head is around a finger high (no wait, not even that) and off-white in shade. Low retention and lacing means this isn't particularly good looking in general.

There's a very powerful maltiness on the aroma - file that into the "no shit" category. I get plenty of brown sugar, caramel, toffee, and molasses, along with a twinge of leather. Some fruity esters also pop up nicely. Like many HS barrel-aged products, the actual barrel notes are extremely timid. There's a bit of vanilla lurking around, and that's it. All told, however, it nails the whole "imperial ESB" aspect...by smelling like a classic English-style barleywine.

Again, this is a very malty beer - and unlike what the aroma suggested, the malt backbone is closer to an ESB than a proper barleywine. And that's unfortunate for yours truly. It starts off with a slight amount of dark fruit notes (the highlight of this brew), before transitioning into...toffee. Loads and loads of toffee. The bourbon qualities are even milder than the nose suggested, to the point of being barely present. It needs more fruit esters, it needs a more nuanced malt backbone, it needs more bourbon - it needs a little more of everything, actually.

I do enjoy the feel, though. Though it has a mild burn, it isn't too sweet, and goes down easily. It has a full, thick texture, too. Carbonation causes it to fill the mouth some without being overly slimy. This aspect would score higher if the flavor profile was better.

I don't like how this tastes - but I don't like the base, either, so maybe take my review with a grain of salt. It just encapsulates everything I don't like in an ESB. Plus, the bourbon aspect is way too mild. More for others...

2.87/5: Don't like the base, don't like this

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Photo of DMan80
4.85/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours dark and copper with thin head and hazy malt color on top; taste sweet and robust with plenty of bourbon notes; not overpowering but easy and pleasant on the palate with caramel and licorice flavors; not bitter at all but would have been nice for a little bite or spice of a crisp ale but it works well with the Bbl aging aspect.

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Photo of darktronica
4.28/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours dark, the color of maple syrup and with a relatively thick viscosity to match, producing little head but leaving some legs on the glass when swirled. Smells of heavy barrel influence, with strong vanilla and oak alongside dark plum, cherry, and suggestions of candied ginger. The bitterness is subsumed on the nose but shows up later on in the finish; I would dock this a bit if rating to style, but the barrel-ageing has transformed the beer so thoroughly that I think that would be unfair. In truth, this is quite tasty, but as far as ESBs go, this is strong on the malt backbone and caramel notes, but without as much balancing hop bitterness as is typical.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Cask pour in a shaker pint, the beer is a dark, opaque, caramel brown coloring with a filmy, clingy, low profile, white head. Aromas of rich toffee, roasted overtones, vanilla sweetness, woody notes, and a subtle booze warmth. Flavors are bourbon, vanilla, and woody forward. Smooth and sweet, with an immediate warmth brewing. Some caramel and roasted highlights throughout, too. Smooth and light in mouth, with a toffee and vanilla aftertaste, as well as some building warmth. Smooth, slow, lingering finish. Good beer.

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Photo of delta490
3.94/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a perfect pint. Deep slightly cloudy brown, that somehow goes from darker at the top to lighter at the bottom. The pour barely provides any head and that little bit burns off. The aroma is milder but with just hints of dark fruit and alcohol. The taste is good but the bourbon dominates. If you like bourbon, you're going to like this. If not, the ESB qualities are not strong. They are there (dark fruit, especially), just not a prominent as they should be for an ESB. The body has nice weight and feel to it, heavier and thicker with just a little carbonation.

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Photo of BB1313
3.99/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a tulip. Pours a ruby brown with solid clarity; small light tan head that fades leaving nice retention and little lacing. The aromas are full of caramel and toffee. Lots of dark fruits and lots of cherries. Malts are there. Hints of cocoa as well. The bourbon is subtle, but definitely noticeable. The oak/wood shines as it warms. The flavors follow the nose. Tons of toffee. Lots of caramel malts. More cherry. Chocolate notes are present. Oak/wood notes are definitely there. The bourbon blends with the flavors and doesn't overwhelm. It's really not that bitter, and possibly even on the sweeter side. No alcohol or boozy notes at all. The mouthfeel is medium-bodied, almost full, with very active carbonation. It's very smooth and dangerously drinkable. Fun to drink.

Nice brew right here. It doesn't really remind me of an ESB at all, maybe a little bit, but who cares. It's very enjoyable. It reminds me more of a Scotch Ale, for what it's worth. Congrats on 20 years!

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Photo of Smakawhat
3.99/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a large snifter glass.

Copper amber red to orange body color, kind of looking a little American Barleywine-"ish" is the first thing that pops into my head. Whispy top and not oily with a faint very fine tan collar with a few mixed big bubbles in. Mostly opaque, but does have some see through clarity.

Oaky and aromatic notes of light whiskey and good solid barrel notes. Slight sweetness but also a bit of spice for measure. Seems to brew really accents barrel character on the nose leaving behind any sense of beer style to discern. Interesting, but kind of neutral.

Palate sort of goes for simple. Slightly buttery notes, but with some real nice spiced malt character. Finishes very light and clean, almost crisp interestingly enough. Mild sensing caramel but more dry brown toasty notes that very much take down the sweetness. A bit of sharp cherry tones seem to come out, even some simple stone fruit quality, with more sharp biscuit as it warms.

Interesting brew, kind of hard to pin down, but it is a neat take for throwing in a different style in a barrel than the usual.

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Photo of 2dogbrew
3.69/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a clear amber color. The aroma when cooler was almost like rubbing alcohol. As it warmed the aroma of bourbon was more prominent - thankfully! Can't say the ESB style, even an imperial one, is one I seek out, but get it's the same as their first beer. Overall this was decent.

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Photo of buckeye1275
3.53/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I was overall a little disappointed. I am a big fan of the Heavy Seas Uncharted Waters barrel-aged beers but this beer fell a little flat for me. It was a little thin and lacked depth of flavor. I didn't smell or taste much bourbon, at least not as much as I have grown accustomed to in their other barrel-aged beers. I'm not saying it was bad but it just didn't live up to my expectation.

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Photo of monkeybone7504
4.4/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

ESB work with bourbon barrels exceptionally - this is a great example. The oak and vanilla really co-mingle with the strong bitter and result in a very smooth complex beer.
The smell is sweet- and the alcohol is non existent.
70 days in a barrel is a commitment- had they gone a year this would be on the next level.

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20 Year Storm from Heavy Seas Beer
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 79 ratings