Heavy Seas - Below Decks (Barley Wine Style Ale) | Heavy Seas Beer

346 Reviews
Heavy Seas - Below Decks (Barley Wine Style Ale)Heavy Seas - Below Decks (Barley Wine Style Ale)

Brewed by:
Heavy Seas Beer
Maryland, United States

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Higravity on 09-09-2005

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 346 | Ratings: 515
Photo of pmcadamis
4.72/5  rDev +30.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - I like the cartoon-y pirate art on Clipper City's Heavy Seas series bottles. This one pours deep garnet hue that looks russet when not in direct light. The head holds at about one finger, and leaves TONS of really sticky fine lace on the glass.

S - Gooey toffee, caramelized sugar, banana flavored Laffy Taffy, dates, honeycomb, almonds, Worther's Original candies, molasses, and raisins. Holy shit. This is outstanding!

T - Much more hoppy in the mouth than in the nose, this is caramely, toffee laden, honey-sweet, but never cloying. Big time pine hops combine with a nice ethanol burn to make a pleasant flavor, but it's much milder than most Barley Wines that I've had. Maybe that's why this one is listed as an English version...I think all of the others that I've tried have been American, West Coast versions (ie Bigfoot).

M - Thick, rich, sweet, and round. The carbonation is luscious to the point of absurdity. This is beyond full bodied...I'd call it fat bodied or maybe buxom. Anyhow, the finish is dry and hoppy with a nice boozy burn in the back of the throat and a long lasting hop flavor that sticks to your teeth.

D - Outstanding beer. Not the best I've had, but damn close. This is definitely hanging close to that highest echelon of good beer. This is however, more drinkable than some more aggressive barleywines, and I could probably drink two or three, though I'd be a little bit tipsy after more than one.

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Photo of beerenjoyer1
4.63/5  rDev +27.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I purchased this bottle at Peabody's Beer & Wine in Boone, NC.

A - Medium dark caramel color with carbonation with a thin foam.

S - Rich malty caramel with the scent of bourbon and alcohol but clean with no mustiness.

T - Nice malts with good blend of bourbon from the barrels with a shot of alcohol in each taste but blended in nicely.

M - Very nice and full of flavor that continue through the taste but is not over powering or intense.

O - This beer is very good and I hope to get more of this. The flavors and ingredients come through each savoring taste without being overpowering. if this beer is purchased as recently bottled it would a good idea to let it age as this bottle is close to 2 years old.

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Photo of oelergud
4.5/5  rDev +24.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2006 Release at 10% abv per the neck label.
Clear translucent golden brown body topped by a big pillowy and creamy off-white head. Low carbonation. Good retention and lace especially for a barleywine.
Some sweet lightly spiced malts carrying prune and raisens along. This brew has not warmed enough yet so I'm looking forward to the full barrage of scents once that happens. Marzipan and cookie dough shows up upon warmth.
Very well balanced. Seems hops are dominant one moment and then the malts appear to take over. Raisens, strong brown sugar, spice, resin hops with a kick of spiked pine and just enough citrus to be noticed. Even the aftertaste is balanced with the jumbled confusion of whats more powerful lasting until the end maybe with the hops finishing slightly higher.
The abv was kept well in check and was mostly noticed by it's effect rather than by it's flavor.
Full body and only a little coating yet leaving a feeling of slick sensation.
Highly drinkable save for the high abv.


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Photo of NNY2DC
4.47/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I was pretty pumped walking in to this new beer bar in DC on 14th street and they had this barleywine on cask. There was a nice two finger head that pumped out along with a nice malty dark base. The smell was roasty, toasty, chocolaty aroma and the taste to boot. I really liked this barleywine's mouthfeel and drinkability although take care with this one's 10% ABV. There's a slight hoppy finish as you put down the snifter and enjoy the complex flavors.

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Photo of jsanto
4.47/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

s - on tap in phila. served in a large chimay glass.

a - light brown, with a little head.

s - i smelled pluims and fruit and a slight alcohol.

t - it started out carbonated, then mellowed into a fruit plum sweet barleywine, as it sat and lost some carbonation that was in there, which was not much to begin with.

m - the same fruit plum, but changed as it sat, since i slowly sipped it down. that was the fruit finish, got better.

d - it was good to get one on the way out. i would not want two a little to strong. but still i would want one.

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Photo of Katahdin
4.46/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured a deep dark mahogany color with a small, subtle head that was creamy. Did not smell like your typical barley-wine.

taste was excellent with lingering dry fruit possibly black currants on the tongue. Nice smooth texture. Very drinkable. Hides the big alcohol in a complex taste.

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Photo of dfillius
4.45/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed in a snifter. This is the best English Barleywine I've had in a long time.

A: 1/2 finger of off-white head subsides quickly. Deep maroon with a chill haze. Easy on the eyes.

S: Rye, rich buttery caramel, toast, apple, cherry. This beer smells great!

T: Sweet with a hint of alcohol. Delightful! Supremely decadent: almost like a Werther's candy flavor. Magically it is not cloying.

M: Smooth, modest and pleasant heat.

D: Outstanding - I continue to want more sips as the last one lingers and teases.

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Photo of CTbeerboy
4.42/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Cola brown, with no head but a bit of khaki lacing on the edges of the glass.
S- I got alot of woodsmoke and mollases on this one. Quite sugary and deep with some great caramel and dark fruit notes.
T- A bit sweet and very dry (astringent). There is a light alcoholic burn that lingers after the swallow.
M- Hits all parts of the tongue quite well. There is a nice smoky/alcoholic after taste that leaves me wanting more of this one.
O- Although a fairly decent Barleywine, Clipper City did nothing special. This is textbook and good, but not outstanding.

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Photo of thekanna
4.39/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Gorgeous chestnut brown, somewhat clear, with not much off-white head.

S: Dates, brownies, tootsie rolls, dark fruits, plums, cocoa powder, and a large sense of chewiness. Phenols are also readily present in the background. Complex!

T/M: Smooth body with date, toffee, caramel, and chocolate flavors. Ends with a slight carbonated hoppy bite.

D: Another excellent offering from Clipper City. This one was great to sip.

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Photo of dorkusmaximus
4.39/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I greatly enjoy just smelling this beer between tastes. I get smokey caramel, subtle fruit, and a kick in the nuts. Smells big, and tastes big. I let these four bottles mellow for several months before tasting them, and the finish is silky smooth. My dog is insanely jealous watching me lovingly caress this beer. When drinking this beer, I even savor each belch.

I'm normally a hoppy beer guy, and this is one barley wine I can see me stealing again.

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Photo of allergictomacros
4.39/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a clear ruby with a decent head. Good lacing.

S - The aromas are fruity, malty and alcoholic with a pungent floral edge.

T - Flavourful and mellow at the same time. Nothing in this is overpowering - sweet, dark fruit, toffee, floral hops and bitterness. Very well balanced.

M - Soft, creamy feel. Carbonation is just right - mild and barely there on the tongue. Finished dry.

D - One of the best balanced and barleywine's I've had. Rich, tasty and drinkable.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.35/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks goes out to jwc215 for this brew.

2006 Vintage

Pours a nice dark golden color, nice carbonation, nice little fizzy tan head, which leaves some nice small islands and sticky lacing. The nose is malty, slightly sweet, some toffee/caramel. The taste is slightly sweet, malty, spicy, and toffee/caramel. The alcohol is hidden pretty well with this one, as in not over-powering. Medium body. Very drinkable, this is a treat for sure, thanks Joe.

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Photo of Brad007
4.35/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an amber-brown color with a thin one-finger head into my pint glass.

Aroma is smooth and malty with a decent whiff of raisin and dark fruit in the nose.

Taste is smooth upfront with a strong amount of raisin and dark fruit upfront. Not cloyingly sweet or too alcoholic. Seems easy to drink as well. Alcohol seems to be at a minimum.

Mouthfeel is full of alcohol heat and raisin at the back of the throat. Otherwise, smooth and highly drinkable.

This is definitely a good example of its' style. It's smooth,drinkable and proof that barleywines don't always need to be aged to be enjoyed.

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Photo of Wamba
4.33/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a beautiful ale. Dark amber brown with an aggressive head on a hard pour from the 22oz bomber. Virtually no lacing.

I had this beer with Pesto Chicken and homemade whole wheat bread fresh from the oven. A perfect combination. The sweetness of the beer went well with the garlic kick of the chicken. The beer was almost a liquid version of the bread.

Malt, malt and then some more malt! Lots of malt with some caramel and dark fruit. Think fresh bread!

On the thick side, mild carbonation and smooth, smooth, smooth!

I was blown away by this ale. Sweet, smooth and strong! A classic malt bomb. I picked this one up on the recommendation of the local Friar Tuck's manager. Listen to your local beer man.

This beer will get heavy rotation at my house!

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Photo of kevman527
4.32/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Let sit for a while before pouring.

Appearance: Poured a big creamy head with decent retention, and has a rich copper color.

Smell: Very malty with notes of caramel, brandy, and brown sugar.

Taste: Sweet and maltly, yeasty with a brandy like taste with notes of cocoa, and molasses.

Mouthfeel: Fairly smooth, low carbonation, easy to drink.

Drinkability: Being at 10%/abv I doubt I would have more than one of these in a sitting, but then again never say never. I would recommend this beer to anyone.

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Photo of bort11
4.32/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2006 vintage 12 oz bottle received as part of my BA Secret Santa '07. Thanks BRoss242! I really dig the label art. Arrgh!

Poured into a Corsendonk glass, also part of the BASS '07. Tan head that does not go very high, but stays very tight and leaves a consistent cap on the surface. Nice lacing on the glass with each sip, but not a lot of stickage. Color is a murky amber brown that only shows when held to the light.

Smell has a great malty dark fig aroma. Lots of sweet brown sugar. Very warm smell. Taste is also very malty. Slight bit of fig, some chocolate, and a bit of peat smokiness.

Mouthfeel is very soft and full bodied. Not syrupy but still thick and velvety. Very nice English style barleywine.

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Photo of CJfromPhilly
4.32/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours from the 12 oz. bottle a medium copper color with a slightly off white one finger head that settles into a thick collar. Medium carbonation. Aroma is of malt, brown sugar, & sweet dark fruit. 1st sip is malty & slightly sweet, with a surprisingly balanced hop bitterness. Some more of the dark fruit (date? fig?) sweetness comes through with a VERY slight alcohol burn. Almost TOO slight for a 10% abv beer. Mouthfeel is slightly tingly from the carbonation. Drinkability is almost too high for a beer this potent. This is definetly a beer that could sneak up on you & bite you in the ass if you're not careful!!! All in all excellent beer, but one to be sipped slowly & carefully!

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Photo of Brent
4.3/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This isn't the most complex barleywine you'll find, but it struck me as being very well rounded, with nice depth of malt and fruit flavors, not overly sweet and potent without being overpowering. Flavorful and drinkable seem a rare combination in this category. Predominant caramel malt and raw cane sugar, with raisin and prune. Alcohol lent some black pepper notes at the end. One of the few barlewines I've wanted more than one of in a sitting, although this might be ill-advised.

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Photo of neenerzig
4.3/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A 12 oz bottle of the 2007 poured into my oversized wine glass. This beer is a clear dark red/copper color. The head is about 1/2 inch thick when poured. Lots of little bubbles rising to the top of the glass. Eventually settles to a nice thick ring lining the inside of my glass. Nice lacing here too. Sweet, malty aromas of toffee, a hint of roasted maple or brown sugar, and a bit of floral hops. The taste is pretty much the same, Sweet and malty upfront with hints of toasted maple/brown sugar and toffee or butterscotch followed by somewhat mild floral hops. Has a crisp, but very nice and smooth and creamy mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. Drinkability is very good, the 10% ABV is well hidden. I liked this a lot, it is much less harsh than a lot of other non aged barely wines I have had in the past. It seems like it is already mellowed out.


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Photo of BuzzLitebier
4.3/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served from a 2010 bomber

It poured almost a cola color with a head that dissipated quickly to a ring and some lacing. The nose had a nice malt and toffee smell, but I also caught hints of the ethanol. The taste was pure English-style barley wine: with no hops and lots of caramel, honey (and hint of chocolate in my opinion). It had a pretty heavy mouthfeel with very subdued carbonation. It was almost syrupy compared to the Full Sail Boardhead sampled immediately before.

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Photo of brentk56
4.3/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2006 Version

Appearance: Pours a dark amber color with a modest head that quickly fades to a lunar landcape but leaves quite a few craters of lace on the sides of the chalice

Smell: Raisin bread, caramel and a faint hint of citrus

Taste: Opens with a sweet raisin bread flavor, with some herbal bitterness and alcohol kicking in by mid-palate; after the swallow, there is an earthy character that dries out the sweetness and opens the way for other fruit flavors such as figs and plums to shine through

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, almost syrupy with gentle carbonation

Drinkability: Time has treated this well; an easy drinker in the English style

Thanks, vwcraig, for the chance to try the 2008 version, which tastes pretty similar although the hops are more prominent as it has not aged as long as my previous tasting

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Photo of ccrida
4.3/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12 oz. bottle, 2006 vintage. Served at 55F in my Russian River chalice, Below Decks is a hazy, ruddy brown with a small egg-shell head that leaves creamy lace.

Smell is rather nutty, some sweetness and fruity, but mainly just nutty, which I honestly don't love.

Taste is very fruity, grapes, a touch nutty, some spice, chocolate, orange and grape, similar to the nose but with a reverse of accent, really quite nice. Very well rounded, I dig the interplay of citrus and cocoa, a great winter warmer, with the high ABV totally hidden. This is my 3rd '06 Heavy Seas beer tonight, wow do these age well, arggh indeed.

Mouthfeel is rather smooth, a nice creamy carbonation and medium body.

Drinkability is high. I really dig this barleywine, and it has huge sentimental value in terms of reminding me of my childhood in Baltimore, and my early adult years in Pittsburgh, where I first discovered (and purchased this particular) beer. Factor in that it's a great value, and you've got a real winner. Sadly I can't get it on any type of regular basis any more, oh well. The good news is I still have friends in town who I will surely hit up for a resupply! While I haven't had this fresh, I'm sure it should be aged at least as long as the two years I did, it certainly didn't taste like it was getting to old, but very well rounded.

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Photo of grayburn
4.3/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

She pours a bit dark for a barleywine, a dark amber with just a moderate head...the lacing and retention are pretty good though.
The smell and taste are both surprisingly citrusy, which is a nice contrast to the sweet maltiness of the brew. Other interesting notes include dried fruit, especially apricot. There is also a good bit of alcohol lurking around the corners of this brew.
The beer is surprisingly lighter bodied, with light carbonation. All of these factors blend together into one of the best drinking barleywines I have had to date. The hoppiness makes this one a bit more american in style. Definitely one I recommend.

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Photo of jwc215
4.29/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 vintage:

Pours hazy copper with a thin, slowly vanishing, head. Some vanishing lace appears on the glass.

The smell is of caramel/toffee and nutty maltiness. Peppery alcohol mixes with earthy and tropical fruitiness/citrus in the back.

The taste is of caramel/toffee - very malty - with a touch of nuts. A balancing tropical fruitiness comes through. Warming, peppery, but soft, alcohol in the finish.

The feel is medium to full with a touch of slickness. A but thick without being syrupy.

There's a nice balance for the style. A nice interpretation of an English-style Barleywine, with a touch more fruitiness. Alcohol noticeable making it a sipper to be sure, but for alcohol level and style it is certainly drinkable - and enjoyable too.

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Photo of wedge
4.28/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4


Clear mahogany under a thick, soapy beige head. Good stick and lacing for such a strong beer. Malty aroma with heavy ripe fruit, molasses, sweet dark bread, and cedar. Bready malt upfront in the flavor. Toast, raisins, strawberries, and light vinous alcohol. A smooth, pleasant sweetness sets in halfway through and lingers through the finish with a bit of dried fruit and peppercorns. Mellow hops too, which is surprising considering the age. Full, chewy, and smooth.

Wow, this was an unexpected treat. I've not had it fresh, but this bottle would seem to indicate that giving it some time to sit around brings out the best. Very nice English-style Barleywine!

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Heavy Seas - Below Decks (Barley Wine Style Ale) from Heavy Seas Beer
3.62 out of 5 based on 515 ratings.
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