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

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Heavy Seas - Below Decks (Barley Wine Style Ale)Heavy Seas - Below Decks (Barley Wine Style Ale)
520 Ratings
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.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 520 |  Reviews: 346
Photo of treyrab
3.28/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

So...classes start tomorrow and I needed something big to get ready for it. This was the biggest beer in my fridge, so I said what the hell, why not. Poured into my snifter...

A: This one pours a very vibrant copper red with an extremely small head that lasts a nano-second. Hints of carbonation creep up the glass. This actually looks fairly good, and then you put your nose in...

S: The smell is fairly strong, but nothing that says "I'm a damn good barleywine." It smells like heavay alcohol, caramel malts, and fermented brown sugar. Smells pretty sweet.

T: This one is strong, and not necessarily in a good way. The alcohol hits you up front...and this one isn't even that warm yet. It is not very complex, as the caramel and brown sugars come right up front and aren't blended well.

Overall, this is not a great barleywine. It is definitely warming me up on this cold Penn State night, but not one I will reach for again.

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Photo of coldmeat23
3.38/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

GLASS: Oversized Wine Glass
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 50 degrees
Thanks go out to mikecharley for this one

Pours a clear caramel brown color with prominent ruby highlights. Half a finger head of thin foam. Minimal retention and very little lacing.

Good malt presence, though not really hefty. A little nuttiness and some fruity hints. A slight touch of hops bitterness.

Burnt caramel and brown sugar. Dark molasses. Fruity sweetness. Cherries, grapes, peaches and light notes of pineapple. Nice hint of chocolate. Good amount of spice in the finish.
Malty and sweet, but not overpowering, at all. Very good balance, overall.
An unusual barleywine, to me, at least. Hops are very subdued. Malts are mostly deep down, underneath the fruity flavors. Very interesting.

Mouthfeel is nice and thick. Minimal carbonation level, yet it somehow retains a very nice creaminess.

Between the slight sweetness and the 10%ABV, which is very well masked, BTW, this would be hard to put down more than a couple in a sitting. Very good flavor, but it would lay you out, if you gave it the chance.

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Photo of ccrida
4.3/5  rDev +18.1%
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 hustlesworth
3.82/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

*tasted again 4/12/11, same 08 vintage. Same nice color and nice head retention. This smells straight totally 1000% like a glass of canned pineapple juice. You know how those little cans of dole pineapple juice have that nice rich fruity and caramel aroma? This is it. Not hoppy not malty just... Pineapple juice. Incredible. Bitterness is mellow and aged out. Hops have an earthy basement flavor that compliments the burly sweet malt perfectly. Alcohol is only slightly evident as a trailing bitterness with some fruity esters on the backside. Bite a piece of Amish Roquefort and take a sip and the two disappear into one another. Very nicely aged. I'll check back in 2012.

A- thick creamy beige head with frothy bubbles on top. sticks pretty good. mahogany brown with a reddish tinge and orange to golden highlights, mostly clear and somewhat viscous looking.

S- sweet fruity aroma, mineral water, strong orange smell is the dominant fruit, very nice, like fresh squeezed OJ. raisin, grape juice, mango, pineapple, and a dash of grapefruit. some toasted woodsy aromas hide in the background. though very nice especially with the orange, overall aroma is thin and diluted.

T- intense flavor, sweet, tart and malty with a rustic bitter roasted and hoppy finish. fruity up front the thick malt all the way down. same fruits as mentioned above this time leaning more toward the raisin and grapefruit. burnt caramel, cocoa, aromatic wood, pine, and earthy hop flavor finish it off.

MF- full and smooth with medium carbonation and a coating medicinal feel. bitter hops cut through the malty sweetness just in time.

D- tasty with an interesting aroma, but i think one is enough. got it in a multi pack so the other two will go in the cellar!

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Photo of StarlightSeraph
3.65/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 vintage, poured into a glass goblet. This is my first barleywine, so it's difficult for me to know what to expect, or to have a basis of comparison. Obviously I've read about barleywines and whatnot, but without having tasted one its hard to know where to begin. That being said, on with the review:

Appearance: Pours a very hazy, dark reddish-orange-brown, with minimal head that dissipates quickly. Left only a little bit of lacing, but the lacing it did leave stuck.

Smell: Very sweet. Hints of orange and malt. A muted hoppiness, which I guess is to be expected given that this was a 2006. I'd be interested to compare it to a more recent vintage. Hints of vanilla came out as the beer warmed.

Taste: Very interesting. A mild orange and raisin flavor, backed by lots of malt. I wouldn't classify this as a 'malt-bomb' though, for while the malt flavor is definitely evident, it's subdued. Faint tastes of hops linger for awhile, especially in the aftertaste. Very warming as it goes down, the only indication of its 10% APV - if I hadn't known, I don't think I would have guessed this was a 10%. As the beer warms, the malt sweetness definitely comes out, as does some vanilla notes. Despite all of the sweet flavor, the sweetness doesn't overpower. A very well balanced beer.

Mouthfeel: The carbonation hits sharp on the tongue right away, and the beer definitely feels "thick". It needs to be however, to support the depth of flavor. Definitely impressed with the body of this one.

Drinkability: This one is dangerously drinkable, since it doesn't feel like a 10% APV, and it's good enough to make me want another. I would likely buy this again, but again, I don't have much of a basis for comparison right now.

For my first barleywine, I really enjoyed this beer. I would like to compare it to more recent vintages to see the effect that aging had on it.

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Photo of bonbini26
3.43/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On Cask @ the Ginger Man 12-20-08

Pours hazy copper, no carbonation or head. 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 with alcohol in the finish.
The feel is medium with a touch of slickness. 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 Zraly
4.01/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2007 Vintage

Pours a very dark amber with an off white head. Tight, active bubbles.

Smells of malts and alcohol. Not overly impressive. However, the flavor is smooth, sweet goodness. Flavors of burnt sugar and brandy-soaked fruits. Alcohol is present in the finish once it warms up good, but has a nice, creaminess in its finish. Oily, citrus peel tinged hops round out the finish. Semi-dry and very warming.

A year spent in a cool, dark place does this ale just right. Delightful for a night cap with some fruit cake cookies.

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Photo of aubuc1
3.65/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle in to a goblet

Pours a slightly hazy deep brown/amber with a thin, quickly disappearing head.

Smell is pretty sweet. A little grapey with some biscuity malt.

Taste is a little sweet, but pretty mellow for such a high abv. Very smooth and good balance. No great flavors, but nothing to complain about.

Good mouthfeel and great drinkability for an otherwise less than great beer.

edit- with almost three years on it, the heat has faded completely. Very easy drinking beer now.

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Photo of roadhouse
3.28/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a snifter.

Appears dark brownish red in color with a half inch off-white head that quickly sinks to a skim. Some spotty lacing left behind.

Aroma is caramely with some buttery toffee notes, a slight vinous note, and some alcohol heat. Not all that appetizing so far.

The taste is slightly better with some caramel flavors up front, the vinous note still present but not as prominent as the aroma. Now it kind of comes across as a fruitiness perhaps figs. Some spicy hop presence towards the finish. Quite a bit of alcohol heat to the point of hot breath.

Mouthfeel is medium, fairly creamy, could use a bit less carbonation. Not that drinkable, but I will try to drink faster to get to something else.

Overall this is basically straight up average. Nothing exceptional about it, a very blah barleywine. I won't get it again.

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Photo of Clydesdale
3.85/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A nice, slightly hazy copper caramel color with a smallish creamy off-white head. Retention is okay, lacing is above average.

S: Caramel malts, brown sugar, some fruit and definitely alcohol.

T: Lots of sweet caramel and buttery diacetyl up front. Some notes of cherry and ripe plums. Warming alcohol and a nice shot of floral and earthy hops provide a bit of balancing flavor.

M: Medium to heavy in body, light carbonation. Smooth, a touch oily. A lasting dry aftertaste.

D: This one goes down surprisingly easily. It could stand to be a bit more robust and aggressive, but it tastes good and packs a wallop nonetheless.

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Photo of ArrogantB
3.53/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle thanks to vwcraig. Nice ruby color with an oily smattering of a head. This smells like cherries and egg-nog, Christmas oddly. Tastes like more malt candy, hmm. This was a little thin but I am always game for a barleywine. Thanks again for the trade Craig!

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Photo of avalon07
3.45/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a coppery color and a slightly cloudy consistency. There was a quarter inch of foamy head and good lacing.

S: Had a malty, fruity smell. Didn't pick up as much sugar as in other barleywines.

T: Lots of malt, as well as some light fruit. Didn't have any caramel or toffee as you're apt to find in this style. Other than that, it was a little on the thin side.

M: OK amount of carbonation and a slick finish. Medium-bodied.

D: This is a mixed bag of a beer. I wouldn't call it undrinkable, but it wouldn't be my first choice.

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Photo of ByTor2112
3.8/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 Vintage poured to my Chimay goblet.

Pours a ruddy light brown almost amber color with a thin ring of film around the outer edge.

Aroma-dried fruit, some sweet malty aromas, a faint whiff of honey or molasses is present as well.

Mouthfeel-malty sweey with the dried fruit flavors really dominating; fig and raisin. the alcohol is present but warming. had this been drank fresh it would have been hot. A froth on the palate heightens the fruit and alcohol and the flavors stay consistant. The finish leaves a very faint bitterness-the hops were once here but have mellowed-very English. This one aged nicely and was agreat finish to the Thanksgiving Day festivities.

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Photo of corby112
4.05/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving type: bottle.

Pours a dark amber color with foamy white head. Very hoppy aroma with hints of dark fruit and sweet alochol. Very hoppy, balancing out the dark fruit and alcohiol sweetness quite nicely. Sweet with nice alcohol warmth in the finish.

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Photo of drxandy
3.4/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz to snifter, pours an oily reddish orange amber brown (copper?), tan head from heavy pour fades quick to lacing

smells of hot hot alcohol! this beer would be great with some age on it, caramel biscuit malts, spicy hops

taste is first of alcohol heat, folding into sweet malt, slight bitter hoppiness (the english style pulls out in the hop department, as much as i like a hoppy barleywine it's nice to see an american brewer not feel obligated to hop the hell out of it) Nicely balanced, metallic tang fades after about 10 minutes, not a lot of excitement in the creativity department on this one but still a nice straight up barleywine for a good price.

mouthfeel is oily, hot, lingering, sweetly bitter, a nice sipper

price point makes me want to pick up a bottle or two to see how some time on it would be.

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Photo of yossarian14
3.7/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Great color but very little head and even less lacing. Maybe its the guy who poured it, who knows

S - Smells like sticky sweet alcohol.

T - Sticky molasses and booze. Carmalized maltiness. The taste is fuller and better than the nose.

M - Medium bodied with just enough carbonation to keep it from feeling like syrup.

D - A little to sweet to drink many but easy to drink for the ABV

An average Barley Wine from a brewery I've come to expect above average products from. I was a little disappointed.

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Photo of oriolesfan4
4.08/5  rDev +12.1%
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 dfillius
4.45/5  rDev +22.3%
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 pmcadamis
4.72/5  rDev +29.7%
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 Doomcifer
3.4/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

- 2007 Edition -

Poured a ruby color with a decent head that retained fairly well. Aromas of fruits galore; cherries, figs, pie filling, apples, lots of sweet malts. Tastes of more fruity malty goodness. Lots of apples, cherries, plums, etc going on in here with a good dose of hoppiness. Alcohol was definitely detected but less hot than a fresh batch. Fairly warming going down. Mouthfeel was pretty velvety but not as rich as a lot of barleywines, not too much carbonation, and slick. Not a bad example here from Clipper City. Not the greatest of BW's but very palatable and enjoyable.

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Photo of whoneeds8
4.15/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a stemless wineglass. Pours out a ruby red with a finger thick white head that lasts a good amount of time. Very good lacing remaining the entire experience. Smells very woody. Initial taste is of oak with malty sweetness following.

Overall, this is a very good drinkable barleywine. I wish is were available here.

Thanks to CrazyMacHarris99 for the bottle.

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Photo of maddogruss
3.77/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got a bottle of the 2006 Barleywine from my friend.

A: Pours a dark amber body with slight cloudiness with an off-white head with low retention and some lacing along the side of the glass.

S: A very sweet, malty smell with hints of mandarin orange notes.

T: A robust, sweet, rich, filling, malty taste with a slightly roasted and earthy aftertaste. Fairly balanced barleywine. Noted alcohol was warming, but could not really sense in the taste.

M: A little light and watery - possibly due to some additional fermentation because of the aging. Overall, still felt pretty good.

D: A formidable beer. Could have been a little thicker on the mouthfeel, but the taste was pretty good. While the alcohol was warming, you could not really taste it at all, which I find to be a good thing. Overall, a pretty good barleywine and worth a try if you come across it.

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Photo of PatrickJR
3.87/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into oversized snifter.

A - Somewhat transparent, deep garnet colored. Small, 1/4 inch head forms. Moderate retention, leaving nothing but a thin collar. Some minimal lacing.

S - Sweet malt, a lot like brown sugar. Definite alcohol presence as well. Sourish dark fruits are there as well but indistinct. A dose of piney hops hiding as well?

T - Huge brown sugar sweetness with a touch of toffee and chocolate. Figs and black currants make an entrance mid palate, turning slightly sour as the beer dries out a bit. A simultaneous floral/earthy/herbal hop character shines through the malt providing a quick bitterness. Finish is of slight alcohol and chocolate flavors. Overall the ABV is well hidden.

M - Full bodied, quite viscous. Carbonation is on the moderate side costing this brew a better score.

D - A good, if somewhat one-dimensional barleywine. This strattles an interesting line between American and English interpretations of the style. Not as smooth as I'd like, but still a great beer. Wouldn't mind having this again.

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Photo of soupyman10
3.8/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got this one cause I've been fairly impressed with the Clipper City stuff I've had so far. Good price, fairly solid beer (although the imperial stout was a disappointment). This one is more of the same, in my book. A surprisingly hoppy barley wine, especially one pretending (in my book) to be English (which in my experience are usually a lot maltier). This one would seem to be almost a malty IPA. A lot of malt flavor, to be sure - quite fruity, but that hops really dominates. Fairly straightforward in both the smells and tastes, with a strong caramel malt and strong(er) fruity hops, throughout. Definitely alcohol presence in there, but it's not bad. Solid beer, overall.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.03/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Received in trade from Soulfly967
Poured a dark caramel color with almost no head or caronation. Nose was of malts and some caramel. Taste was roasty caramel flavor is what you get at the beginning and there is not much to say for the mid palate and aftertaste. Not Mouthfeel was smooth but not that appealing.

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Heavy Seas - Below Decks (Barley Wine Style Ale) from Heavy Seas Beer
Beer rating: 3.64 out of 5 with 520 ratings