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 VelvetExtract
3.67/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A-Pours very dark. Looks like soda. Nearly no head involved here. Not much light penetration.

S-Deep, robust and malty. This version was aged on toasted pear wood, and the aging really comes out in the nose. Nice hoppy balance too. Really rich and sugary.

T-Syrupy and sweet. Hop bitterness. Woody and pears, Quite rich and almost sappy. A very interesting flavor.

M-The cask makes this one smooth and flat. Actually more enjoyable than I was expecting it to be. Heavy body. Alcohol is noticeable.

O/D-Interesting take on this beer. Very rich and full bodied. I only had this as a part of a beer flight, and the small glass was more than enough. Too syrupy and boozy to warrant more than a small glass in my opinion.

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Photo of ChadQuest
2.47/5  rDev -31.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

2008 bottle. Post training ride reward.

pour is a translucent dark amber color, head is dense before fading into large bubbles around the edges, looks healthy.
Aroma is faded a lot by now, there is some light malts, and a soft fig newton nose.
Flavors are a little past prime, or maybe in a "dumb" phase as the call it. There is an odd tart cherry note up front that has a quick cut, some alcohol, fruitcake flavors are thrown around, and light toffee flavors to round out the sweet side of the map.
Mouthfeel is thin to medium for the style.

I remember liking the 2009 & 2010 bottles a bit more.

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Photo of jtierney89
3/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Deep deep amber color with a two finger off white head and impressive clarity. Dark fruit bowl scents, figs, undertones of licorice and vanilla. Effervescent and creamy mouthfeel yet stringy and somewhat thinner as well. Stays consistent through out though. Big malt bomb but some bitterness as well, not sure of how fresh this is though.

Dark fruit bowl flavors stay present through out and some tasting notes of an oak aged beer oddly enough. Certainly vanilla, as well as oak or something like it. Detectable booziness plays with the other flavors to give off an imitation bourbon like note underneath it all. Lots of jammy dark fruits. Well concentrated flavors that kind of present themselves all together. They all kind of work together too. The booziness hurts the beer a little as well as the fruitiness as its a big too fruity and can be cloying at times. Not bad though and good value for the price.

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Photo of mltobin
3.47/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On cask at The Real Ale festival in New Haven.

Appearance is a murky orange, short, light brown head. The nose has dark fruit, bread malts, some caramel. Below Decks has a taste of raisins, malts, caramel and salt. The mouthfeel leans towards full with a rather dry finish. A pretty good barleywine, but nothing special imho.

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

A: Pours actually a lot like a can of pop would. Fizzy, with a bubbly white head atop a clear-ish brown pour. Not a lot of retention or lacing.

S: Sugary malts, molasses, plum, caramel, and perhaps some roast as well. Not getting a lot of booze.

T: Taste is sort of muted. Sugar and caramel malts mostly. Some dark fruits maybe. Overall very sweet, and not a lot there.

MF: Low carbonation, medium body with some creaminess. Pretty drinkable for 10% ABV.

O: This was pretty average overall. Just nothing special, price was $5 for the bottle, so I'd say pick it up and try it for yourself. Don't expect much more than what you pay for!

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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 StayWounded
3.6/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Nice reddish brown with a little lacing of what would have been head around the glass.

S: Nice and sweet, maybe some toffee and some plum. Very pleasant.

T: I've had both the Bourbon and Cabernet aged versions years ago so I'm slightly disappointed. Still very good. Good example of the style with a lot of sweetness throughout. Distinct toffee and maybe burnt sugar taste with darker fruits. There is definitely an after taste of alcohol.

M: Lack of carbonation with some distinct thickness. Very smooth. Not fantastic, but not bad by any means.

O: Not a beer you are going to break out on a special occasion, but not bad for after a long day when you want to relax.

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

Off tap at Hop Heads this beer was a ruddy copper color with one finger of white head. The retention was not very good and it left scant lacing. The aroma was a blend of caramel malt, figs, a little honey and general sweet malt. The flavors were rather blasé for a big beer. The caramel and sweet malts were present along with a touch of wood and some balancing citrus and herbal hops. Very middle-of-the-road. The mouthfeel was a bit slick, the body full and the carbonation light.

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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 Ohiovania
3.36/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Vintage 2008

I believe it has a good 3 years on it then since the release is in November.

Appearance - Deep Copper with lots of floaties.

Smell - Light, Tart but sweet fruits. Apple cider-ish with a slight nuance of alcohol still... maybe.

Mouthfeel - Smooth and firm, semi light and bouncy.

Taste - Like a replica of the smell. Kinda falls of at the end though and goes a little musty. Almost like a cider with extremely mild tartness.

I got one more vintage, hopefully that one will be better. Where is that Malt back bone. I guess it didn't survive the time.

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

Appearance – This poured out a chestnut brown with some bright hues around the edges and a modest head.

Smell – The sugary malts here are quite strong at the nose and there’s a nice toasty aroma as well. The wine character is again very sweet more like a dessert wine.

Taste – The sugars are modest but outweigh the malts. They are a mix of light port, early-harvest gewürztraminer, and maybe raw sugar. The malts are very lightly toasted.

Mouthfeel – This is a big medium-bodied to full with understated carbonation and no drying.

Drinkability – This was a rare treat as EBAs are very difficult to come by. I enjoyed it as is but, exactly like it says on the Clipper City website, although approachable upon release this one will benefit from aging. A year in the cellar would sweeten this up just a tad, it’s borderline undersweetened for the style, and open up the malts a bit more.

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

Vintage 2010

Dark, english appearing brown ale with a finger of light caramel foam that falls to a mirrored surface with a rim. Nice cherry hues where light glows. Smells of cocoa, lots of cocoa; kinda weirds me out, but I dig it. Nice caramel, toffee and tea flavors in the beer. I haven't had it fresh, but I like it now as it is. Medium bodied with a semi slick finish.

I would drink this again and again if in my area. Looking forward to the BBA and Cab versions.

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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 GregSVT
4.1/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a snifter - 2008 Vintage

A: This beer pours a hazy dark red with a decent khaki head that fades to a ring and leaves some lacing on the glass.

S: The nose is full of sweet caramel and toffee aromas along side some earthy hop notes as well. Wasn't really expecting the hops to be that prevalent given the age and the English BW distinction.

T: The taste follows the nose with big notes of caramel, toffee, brown sugar, and a slight earthy hop flavor on the finish.

M: The feel is full bodied and a bit syrupy...definitely one of the better feels I've had for the style. The 10% ABV is nowhere to be seen which is amazing.

O: I have a feeling the hops used to be much bigger in the one but the age has mellowed them dramatically. I would love to try this one again fresh.

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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 cbutova
3.67/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2008 vintage.

A- Pours a brown hue into a snifter. Small head forms briefly with a frothy texture but dissipates to random clouds and a ring. No lace but some legs.

S- Rather fruity with a raisin character and a deep, aged caramel feel.

T- As in the nose, there is a grape, wine like fruit presence on top of a big caramel and spicy raisin base. Oxidation and age are felt but not to a large extent, has held up well. Some sweetness.

MF- Higly carbonated moderately thick body. Finishes somewhat bitter and warm from alcohol.

A nice aged Barleywine, I will be sure to add some notes from a fresher bottle but this one held up nicely and I have a nice feel for the beer.

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Photo of 1Adam12
2.69/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours with almost no head. Dark red color. Smells like sugar. Light dark fruit smell as well. Tastes extremely watered down. It's like a barleywine was made, and then 5 gallons of water got added to it. Resembles a barleywine though. Slight dark fruit and fig flavor. Sweet and sugary. Mouthfeel is very very light and watery. Not the creamy sticky feeling I'm used to from barleywines. Overly carbonated. Not because it is actually overly carbonated, but because the carbonation is overpowering to the mouthfeel and the overall flavors of the beer. Overall, flavors aren't very good, and there's no balance. Kind of a mess.

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Photo of gford217
3.8/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, 2008 vintage.

Pours a slightly hazy orangish amber with a fizzy beige head that recedes really quickly to a thin collar.

Aroma is sugary sweet with tons of caramel, vanilla and overripe fruit. No hops that I can sense in the nose but there is plenty of molasses and treacle. The nose leaves no doubt that this is an English barleywine.

Heavy booze-soaked sugary fruits right off the bat with thick caramel malt sweetness underneath. The finish is sticky and almost candy-like. There is barely any alcohol burn in the taste.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation and almost too stick in it's sweetness on the palate. Starts to get overpoweringly sugary.

This is a solid example of an English barleywine but probably a little to cloyingly sweet with less complexity than I would expect.

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Photo of jondeelee
3.46/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Typical of most barleywines, this one has a sugary, malty nose.

On the tongue, the malt still dominates, bringing out sweeter flavors such as sugared berries, caramelized apples, perhaps bananas flambe. There are deeper notes too--toasted rice and lightly roasted Grape Nuts cereal, in addition to a very thin grapefruit-bitter vein. But by far, the sugars are what win out, making this one of the sweeter barleywines I've had. For some, this sweetness might make this particular brew ideal, as its sugary palate does a better job of masking the alcohol flavor (which, at 10%, could be considerable) than the more-bitter examples of this ale. But I find the result slightly off-putting, and end up wanting just a hint more bite.

Still, it is a decent fare, despite that criticism, and well-worth the effort to find and sip. Especially if you prefer, say, ice wines to red wines, this would be a good choice; indeed, it would make an excellent dessert beer.

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

Bottle says 2010 Below Decks

A: Clear Dark brown with a thick tan colored head that dies down to a thin line of bubbles. Nice lacing on glass.

S: Sweet caramel malts and a bit of chocolate. No real hop character in the aroma.

T: More sweet caramel malt. Very sweet and malty with a touch of dark fruit. The hop flavor is minimal and only shows up in the finish with a rather strong alcohol flavor and warmth.

M: Full bodied and low carbonation. The finish has a warming sting from the alcohol.

O: For me it was a little above average. Didn't really enjoy the extreme alcohol in the beer. Could use some more hop to balance out the sweetness. Still pretty good.

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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 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 lordofthewiens
3.45/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2010 version, poured into a snifter.
Pretty garnet color, thin tan head.
Sweet fruit aroma, caramel malt. A bit of floral hops.
More pronounced malt taste, caramel. Some dark fruit. Mild hops presence at the end.
I thought this was rather meek, even for an English barleywine. Much more genteel than I expected.
Still, it was an enjoyable beer.

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Photo of maximum12
3.92/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to msulinski & billab914 for dropping bottles of this in as extras in trade, both a good while back; this bottle just never rotated to the surface of the beer fridge. 12 oz. bottle, 2009 on the neck label.

Poured into a lovely, solid, non-branded tulip. A little pop, no fizz, only slight carbonation rumination is evident along the margins. Dark red spotted with brown. Scent is faint, caramel malts, latent sweetness.

Heavy Seas - Below Decks lowers a heavy boom of caramel, coating the palate with a wet mop. Scorched sugar chipped out the bottom of a pan accents the malts, along with figgy prunes, earthy spices. This passes with a resounding blast of malty sweetness & alcohol, which dominates the middle, end, & aftertaste. Even after a year plus in the bottle, this maintains plenty of heat. Unlike a Minnesota 'spring'. Pretty heavy, but nicely drinkable for a big, malty, English-stinkin' barleywine. I find myself reaching for the glass frequently.

Very good barleywine. I was scarred by my first encounter with Clipper City, & now have had back-to-back positive experiences. Glad to have rec'd this as an extra to further dispel my youthful doubts about this brewery!

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Photo of Tropicalslip
2.56/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Right of the bat I thought this Barley wine appeared a little thin, a little light. To my nose the heavy barley and fruit nose weren't as pronounced and at ten percent I expected my nose to sense the the alcohol beneath it. As far as taste goes, its not that I didn't like the flavor it just wasn't what I hope for in a Barley Wine. I want my pallet to be full, it doesn't need to be excessive, but the flavor should be strong and bold. I found this barley wine balanced and quaffable, for a BW I want bold and reprehensible in strenth and stature. I taste the fruit, but I want it to hit me in the face, and I want to almost have to chew the barley taste. Not as heavy in the mouth as I would like. I will drink it but there are others, if available by belly would put first.

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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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