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 StonedTrippin
3.52/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2012 edition, big beer, and probably not the best choice on the first real hot morning of summer, but whatever, it was next in line. this beer is dark amber in color like good maple syrup, and happens to both look and taste a lot like molasses. some yeast particles, and still showing a nice rich cream head. aromas of burnt sugar and slightly stale caramel malt. plenty of sugar, and plenty of booze. almost has an oak aged mellowness to it, and the alcohol never really shows up, which is possibly a product of its age. its a little too sweet for me in taste, lost in the zone between english and american styles with a strange and out of place hop profile too, which was likely more intense when this was fresh. baking spices in the finish, very autumnal, we probably should have saved this one until fall. big body that just gets impassable as it warms up. cloying sweetness and an interesting high gravity ale yeast. it didn't really hold up super well though, as the grains are a bit skunked out. not a bad brew, but not the crown jewel of the cellar by any measure either.

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Photo of metter98
3.83/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is deep brown in color and poured with a very thin off white head.
S: There are light aromas of dark fruits and toffee in the nose.
T: The taste is well balanced and sweet with flavors of caramel and toffee along with hints of dark fruit.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a low amount of carbonation.
O: Considering the strength of this beer, it goes down very easily.

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Photo of oriolesfan4
4.08/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another beer from the Clipper City Heavy Seas Mixed pack ($17.99/12)

What this beer lacks in appearance and aroma, it makes up for in great taste and drinkability. Smells of just alcohol and isn't a very appealing pour, but it has a nice hoppy taste with an slight alcohol warming kick. It finishes clean and smooth as well. One of the better barley wines I've had.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.13/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Release '06:

Terrific beer. Full of malts, hops, alcohol, and flavor. Starts off with a burgundy hue and terrific off-white head retention. Flavors of strong fruits, sweet malts, and rum. Strong fruit flavors of figs, cherries dates, raisons and prunes. All fruits seem fresh and strong, like fruitcake. Malts, though strong, don't seem too syrupy or cloying. Hopping knoks the brew out of the English Barleywine range, but makes for a good American Barleywine. Citursy and piney deep into the finsih. Alcohols are a bit too hot and harsh, but is a quick reminder of the 'kick' that the brew has. Finishes sweet and strong, with a lingering alcohol and hop character.

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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 Phyl21ca
2/5  rDev -44.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

(2005 vintage) Bottle courtesy of Sammy: Poured a light amber color ale with small foamy head with minimal retention and lacing. Aroma of dry malt is quiet weak compared to what I was expecting. Taste is strong on cardboard which is probably due to oxidation (makes me wonder about that label mentioning that this will aged with the best of them). I couldn’t notice any hops and malt was slightly watery with no sweetness at all. Definitely not something I would go back for in the future.

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Photo of zeff80
3.97/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a dark burgandy color with a small, off-white head that left small trails of lace.

S - It smelled very sweet. A good malt presence and hints of floral aromas.

T - It tasted of smooth roasted malt. Also, quite sweet with a nice dose of hoppiness. Some spices were noticeable, too.

M - It was soft yet somewhat crisp with a subtle warm alcohol presence. A medium-bodied beer despite the high ABV.

D - This is a pretty good barleywine. Very well balanced and not overpowering.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.75/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

Poured into a snifter. Color is moderate copper with a thin white head that remains for a bit. Nose brings a good dose of sweet malt along with some light fruits and caramel. The taste is a bit too sweet without enough accompanying fruit presence. Feel is a bit cloying. Drinks well enough overall, but is just too sweet.

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Photo of superspak
3.9/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 ounce bottle into snifter, Fall 2011 bottling. Pours slightly hazy reddish brown color with a 1 finger dense cream colored head with great retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of caramel, raisin, toast, brown sugar, light roast, brown bread, floral, light pine, and herbal earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance, strength, and complexity. Taste of caramel, toast, brown sugar, raisin, brown bread, light toffee, floral, light pine, light roast, and herbal earthiness. Minimal bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, toast, brown bread, brown sugar, raisin, light roast, light toffee, floral, and herbal earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice flavor balance and complexity; though it is not as robust as I would expect for the style; with zero cloying flavors present after the finish. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a fairly creamy and slick mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with hardly any warming noticed after the finish; very smooth to sip on. Overall this is a very nice barelywine. Good balance and complexity; and very smooth to sip on. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of oberon
3.41/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured clear but dulled copper with a white one finger head after a hard pour,aromas are really bland for lack of another word some sweet alcohol with drier malt just nothing going on but not bad like I said bland.As with the aromas somewhat bland but a little more character sweet alcohol is prevalent along with some caramel malt finishing with just a tinge of pine but not enough to get excited about.This beer could be alot better it has some good points but not enough to search out.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.58/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Clipper City's Heavy Seas line delivers an enjoyable and drinkable, if not somewhat basic, barleywine in their Below Decks.

It pours a for-the-most-part clear, deep-copper body that borders on chestnut but reveals some glowing amber highlights at the base of the pint. The head is a short cap of thinnish but still creamy, yellowish tan. The retention could be better, but it's limited life can easily be attributed to its 11% abv, and it does leave some splashes and spots of lace about the glass.

Maltiness with a thin but deeply-caramelized edge to it, and some grassy and citrusy hops (dull pineapple, mango?, papaya) greet you in the nose. Very clean.

The mouthfeel is quite smooth and creamy with a medium-full body and moderate carbonation.

The flavor delivers a dry, and even kind of woody (oak-like), somewhat caramelish maltiness accented by flickers of grassy/citrusy hops and alcohol spice. It's not flabbly, nor thin, but it's overall kind of dull. It's well-balanced by bitterness, and it finishes dry with a spritz of drying alcohol.

Overall.... not bad, but far from great.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.85/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap 5/27/2011 at Doherty’s East Ave Irish Pub in Pawtucket, RI, served in a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a dark reddish brown color, with a thin off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is faint but contains brown sugar, caramelized malts, some fruit and a bit of hops.

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

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, strong kick, good representation of style, it may not be the absolute best EBW that I’ve had but it’s still a solid beer.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
2.79/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2006 Release

Appearance: Pours a reddish-brown body with a thin, bone white head.

Smell: Unappealing, ultra thin aroma of caramelized sugar and little more.

Taste: A thin, sweet flavor leaves the taste a bit wanting, though there are some unmistakable banana esters in the mix and a downright peppery finish. The 10% ABV can be a bit glaring at times. Clearly, this is a rather off-beat barleywine.

Mouthfeel: A dreary, medium-thin body that lacks any of the substance regularly found in other barleywines.

Drinkability: By no means an exceptional beer, or even one that is complex or distinguishing. Just a vague sweetness and some alcohol.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.68/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 vintage. Burnt orange suffused with brick red and dark bronze. A swirling storm of fine yeast adds visual character. Atop the beer is a thick slice of pale brown sugar colored foam that looks whipped frothy and is beginning to deposit an acceptable amount of sudsy lace.

The aroma is nothing special. Maybe time and warming will help, but at the moment it lacks both power and personality. Caramel and a bit of boozy fruit is about it. Hopefully, BD will deliver the goods when it's time to tip up the glass... which is right now.

Despite what seems like a two year difference, this bottle is barely more than one year of age. The brewery releases each vintage in December of the year is question. Below Decks doesn't taste fresh and it doesn't taste long in the tooth. In fact, it tastes and feels like it has taken on just the right amount of age.

That doesn't mean that it's a great English barleywine. It isn't bad, though. The malt flavor is midway between pale and caramel... let's call it golden. Magnum, Fuggles and Goldings hops still have some kick and the alcohol is hidden acceptably well.

Regarding specifics, let's go with toasted grains, English toffee, cherries, orange peel and a wee shot of brandy. This stuff is a cinch to drink, but it just doesn't measure up when it comes to complexity and depth of flavor. A brand spanking new bottle might have been better, though I doubt it.

The mouthfeel is a tough call between 3.5 and 4.0. In the end, it's just big enough and just (lightly) chewy enough to earn the higher score. Besides, the bubbles do their jobs without making nuisances of themselves.

Below Decks isn't the best Heavy Seas brew, but it's an enjoyable little sipper if you aren't expecting the moon and the stars. With easy access, I'd probably grab a single now and again. Thanks to SkinnyElvis for coming through after I dropped my first bottle on my basement floor.

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Photo of billab914
3.55/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Southern Tier glass. Pours a dark copper color with a small head that all but disappeared. Not much lacing on the glass.

Aroma is malty with caramel and some other sweetness with some fruit like flavors such as cherry. Taste is malty and sweet with caramel and dark fruit. Taste is very similar to the nose. Not much bitterness with a sweet finish.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Drinkability is decent for 10% but still not something I can drink that much of. This was ok to drink one of but nothing fantastic I would seek out again.

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Photo of russpowell
4.13/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I believe this is a 2006 bottle from JasonA, cheers jason!!

Pours an effervescent brown, copper when held to the light with a finger of tan head, nice viscosity. Super head retention & above average lacing

S: Oaky & fruitcakey, loads of dark fruit; fades a bit as this warms

T: Leafy hops on the back of the throat, dates, plums, raisins & a touch of vanilla extract up front. Some booze warmth & dryness as this warms, plus loads of jammy notes. Finishes fruitty with leafy hops; almost pulled a 4.5

MF: Slick with medium carbonation & some wetness, that becomes thicker as this warms. Balances well

Great drinkability for the ABV & style. Damn good English BW

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.95/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Believe it or not, I see this one every time I go to the store and it has been on tap at Barleys for months, but for some reason I still had not ever tried it. Now I knew I had one that had been sitting in the cellar for a while, so tonight I felt like digging that one up and giving it a shot. Not really sure what to expect, but I know the style has always been my friend so let us see where this one will take me. A nice 2006 vintage twelve-ounce bottle that was served at around fifty-five degrees and poured into a snifter.

A - Poured a very dark copper colored amber, pretty much a nice light brown with a very nice three finger high head of tan lace across the top. Very good retention as it hung around for a good few minutes before finally settling down to nothing more then a thin film of lace across the top that stayed until the very end. Nice side glass presentation as well on this one, leaving some nice suds like foam up and down the dies of the glass. A good amount of hazy consistency to it as well which served to thicken up the appearance a bit.

S - The aroma was very sweet, not too sweet but loaded down with sugar for sure. Big hints of caramel, sugar and a touch of molasses coming through. No, hint of alcohol in the smell what so ever, which was a bit of a shock given it was a 10% Barley wine. A nice subtle grain fed back was coming out now as was some hints of what was left of some piney hops that were in there at one time. Overall pretty classic for an English Barley wine, not bad at all.

T -The flavor was classic English Barleywine all the way. Very mellowed I am guessing from the year plus of cellaring time, which was quite nice to be honest, and really allowed the hotness to fade, if there was any and allow the true flavors to present themselves and rise up to the surface. First wave came across as a weird mix of piney rsein like flavors and deep caramel sweetness, that just blended together very well. Loads of sugar coming through with almost like a cotton candy sweetness. Very nice. Some nice bready malts way in the back as well, giving it a solid foundation to build on. Very nice overall flavor profile. Finish was nice and long, drawn out flavors of pine and sweet caramel, a touch of some woody flavors coming through as it came to a close, very nice presentation overall.

M - The mouthfeel was very full and thick. It had almost a syrup like consistency to it. Carbonation was decent enough, nothing overwhelming here by any means, but enough to keep it from becoming old and dull. There was a really nice bit of smoothness to it as well. A rich flavor profile was allowed to develop because of the thickness of the profile, very nice.

D - This was an outstanding barleywine to be able to sit down and have a few of. I mean there was literally no taste of alcohol in it at all and the flavors were very kind and mellow. It is a touch over 10% which can sneak up on you in a hurry, but I would see no issue with being able to put down two or three of these in a session.

Overall not half bad at all. I will admit that I have had better barleywines over the years, there is no doubt regarding this, but this was still a solid offering and really well done. One of the more mellow ones out there and if you are just looking to get into the style this might be a good place to start. Definitly worth a try!

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Photo of smcolw
3.8/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Decent start to the head, but it settles to a single layer of fine bubbles.

Strong sugary aroma of molasses and toffee.

A rich, sweet beer. Heavy body with a light amount of carbonation. Interestingly, the alcohol is muted, perhaps due to the extreme nature of the sugar. This finishes like a Port.

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Photo of Slatetank
3.86/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured just above cold into a chalice. A deep copper/ medium brown color with an egg white smooth head.

S - The smell is bready with hints of nuts. Sweet odor resembling graham cracker.

M - Oily, warming vinous quality. Full mouthfeel - it is a chewy ale.

T - Woody with pronounced sweetness. Slightly buttery malty quality with hints of chocolate and caramel. Nice round fullness with alcohol gradually becoming evident as it warms.

D - Very tasty, but wicked. Nice blend of malts and mellow presence at first. Shows it strength eventually. Nicely balanced with a display of vigor.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.7/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From 04/12/11 notes. 2010 vintage.

a - Pours a dark brown color with a reddish tint, one inch of off white head, and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of toffee, caramel malts, roasted malts, bready malts, dark fruits, raisins, and sweet fruits.

t - Tastes of caramel malts, toffee, bready malts, and alcohol. Also some sweet dark fruit and roasted malts. Alcohol comes through in the taste a little bit, but still nice.

m - Medium body and low to moderate carbonation, pretty smooth body.

o - Overall this is an above average barleywine. Little bit of heat in the taste, but could be even better with more time on it. Have bottles of the bourbon and cabernet versions; think I'll sit on them a bit longer and interested to see how they are.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
2.63/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I hate to join the haters but I didn't care for this one either appears caramel amber ruby hued with an off white cream head leaves ample lacing. Aroma has a deep pine cone scented hops touch of alcohol with some fruity highlights touch of caramel malts it tickles my nose hairs. Taste, I think thiis is where the tide turns flavor is discombobulated noncohesive throws me piney hops, tart fruit lighter malt body slight acidity just doesn't combine well alcohol is well hidden just stay away from big beers they proved that with the Peg Leg, to be fair I liked the Uber Pils, both DIPAs, and the Saison. Mouthfeel is medium bodied fuller carbonation lacks smooth texture. Drinkability, this just isn't the barleywine I'm looking for let's just move on and grab an Ol' Ho.

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Photo of tdm168
3.7/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - dark brownish amber with a huge, dense, soft, brownish head that has great retention

S - big bready aroma, caramel, some faint dark fruit

T - very bready, heavy caramel, some dark fruit, alcohol

M - sticky, full bodied, warm, well carbonated

This is somewhat disappointing compared to the two barrel aged versions. This one is very malty which I loved, but the bready malts dominate and the caramel adds more to the sticky mouthfeel than it does to the flavor. The dark fruit notes are there, but they're subtle. I did enjoy this beer, but I think their are better versions of it out there.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.75/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Label on bottle reads 2006. Pours a clear but dark brown. No head. Nose is kind of a roasted thing going on with some fruits in there as well. It’s fairly mild. Flavor has a big zing to it. Noticeable alcohol and an almost meaty texture to it. Feel has a good carbonation to it. Overall this was okay. I feel like it is either way too tight and needs to sleep for a lot longer, or it is just lacking and will never show an interesting side. Nice to try, but probably should have waited at least 2 or 3 more years (or more) to see it at its best (if it can get to that point at all).

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

12 ouncer recently purchased in Fairfield Ct. No freshness indication. Pours clear bright brandy hued amber, with just a slight tan head and leaving minimal lacing. Nose of some brandy and alcohol. notes here of smoky malts, more rum/brandy. Overly sweet in the finish, with some "hot" alcohol notes. Another reviewer mentioned "plastic" flavor notes and this is a good description of what is going on here. Kind of thin in the body and lacking in the flavor and complexity departments. BWines that are not that great really are a waste of brain cells and not very enjoyable to even sip. Glad I only picked up a single bottle

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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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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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