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

517 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.

For Trade:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 517 |  Reviews: 346
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).

 583 characters

Photo of Atron67
4/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- poured a dark brown ale with a foamy tan head on top that struggled to come out of the really thick body. The head stayed for awhile but slowly fell down to a thin lacing

S- pretty strongly malt, some hops in there preventing it from being too sweet

t- Starts with a pretty solid maltiness throughout, has a nice start, turns into a lightly hoppy slightly sweet finish that isnt as bad as some of the reviews i read.

M- a solid heavy body, not too syruppy if you dont do a too vigourous pour,

D- pretty solid but doesnt quite have the kick of an old guardian or Y2k catastrophe ale, but it is pretty malt driven example as opposed to hops and works quite well on that front

 682 characters

Photo of bboven
2.8/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Head dissipates to nothing after 10 minutes in the glass. Body is very clear and very light for the style; looks like a darkish amber.

Lots of plum/raisin and alcohol in the aroma, not much else.

Initial classic barleywine taste, but there's hot alcohol at the edges. Starts out with good bitterness but turns into cough syrup like flavor at the end.

Mouthfeel is thin. It sticks to your palate in the wrong places.

I think this is a drinkable beer if it were a Scottish ale, but it's lacking a little bit of everything a barleywine needs. Goes down quick because of the light body, at 10%, which I have a hard time believing, this is really a way you could drink quite a bit of alcohol without feeling weighed-down.

 720 characters

Photo of taez555
2.91/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer poured a copper/tan/reddish body with a small off-white head.

Nose was surprisingly dull w/ that vegetable sort of american micro ipa kind of nose. Occasional whiffs of plastic/band-aids. There are mild peaks of caramel and dark molasses.

Taste is medium bodied with a basic micro ipa type caramel backbone. Classic sugary english barley wine, but with the volume turned down. Mild citrus, strawberries, raspberries, some faint mint, earth notes. A mild bitter backbone with a hint of citrus numbing bitterness.

I've had a lot of barley wines, both english and american, and this is quite possibly the tamest one I've ever had. It's like a typical "micro-brew" pale ale, but just up a notch slightly. I wouldn't even know it's barely wine if I hadn't read the label. It's not bad in any way at all, just very tame.

 827 characters

Photo of OWSLEY069
3.5/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a brown-ish, deep amber color with a light tan head. In the aroma, sugary dark fruit. In the taste, a small licorice and sugary dark fruit. A mainly smooth, with small bite in the mouthfeel and a dry licorice aftertaste. Sweet nose to a dry taste. Nice smooth flavors, while hiding the alcohol very well.

 310 characters

Photo of williamherbert
3.28/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The appearance is Coca-Cola brown with a big foamy head. Deep red tint with lots of carbonation.

The smell is heavy liquor/alcohol smell.. Whiff of mild whiskey. Roasted malt with a dark cherry sweetness. Grainy barley malt. Dark and full of alcohol.

Taste is overly sweet like a winter ale, only with more alcohol. More sweet cherry than a typical barleywine. Roasted barley is not enough balance. Too puckery cherry sweet.

Feels thick and heavy. Syrupy. Good texture (too bad the taste doesn't quite live up). Not at all bad, but not something I'd crave. Decent, not fantastic.

 582 characters

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.

 711 characters

Photo of wspscott
3.1/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle in Duvel tulip

A: Clear, dark ruby color with a thin white head that disappears quickly, hardly any lace
S: Sweet malts and hints of raisins, no hint of hops.
T: The malts dominate here, with hints of dried fruit/raisins, there is just enough hops to avoid a sugar bomb,but flavor-wise nothing really jumps out. The alcohol does not dominate but it is definitely there.
M: More carbonation than I expected, it comes across a little thin, a little too much attenuation.
D: This is an ok beer but not one of their best, drinkable but not very memorable. Worth trying if you get a deal or someone else is buying.

 623 characters

Photo of NCSUdo
2.65/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle

A: Clear brown under a small white head, good rentention, minimal lacing.

S: A toasted malt, some slight allspice notes, some sweeter malt undertones, pretty balanced but not much of a head turner.

T: Bitterness that is unexpected and that is probably a little inappropriate for an English Barley Wine. 10% is not hidden that well and is a little solventy on the tongue. Malt makes a short sweet appearance up front and can be found roasted every so slighty in the finish but it is all down hill after that.

M/D: Carbonation is tad high, body is full but could use some bolstering. Drinkability is lower than expected after first look and smell. The taste is just so off.

 688 characters

Photo of kwakwhore
4/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 bottling.
Dark copper pour with a light tan head which subsides quickly but leaves lacing down the glass.
Sweet fruit and candy in the nose.
Sweet malt mixed with some bittering hops in the flavor. Alcohol is not noticeable in the flavor but it does warm the throat on the way down. Flavors are a bit understated for such a strong beer, but pleasant nonetheless. Hops are actually a bit more pronounced as the beer warms.
Some syrupy feel in the mouth with some viscosity, but again not over the top.
This is going down pretty easily for a 10% beer, but I'm sure that I'll be feeling it soon.
A nice example of the style, nothing earthshattering, but still quite worthy. I cellared this bottle for over a year and it does seem to have helped it.

 751 characters

Photo of charlesw
3.53/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Blind tasted and picked out right off as a decent enough example of an English barleywine. That means that it's a bit underattenuated and that this is not balanced out by bittering hops... The light hand on the hops... Is surprising coming from Clipper City. Still, I suppose I haven't had anything really bitter from them so that they wouldn't go really bitter here is probably just normal. This does make me think that I'll have to try Anchor's barleywine again - as I recall it was really sweet and not very bitter. I bet it's just and English barleywine, too.

This one is decent - no off flavors, nothing overpowering. I'd prefer to see it... With less residual sweetness. Like an old ale. A sweet one, that is!

 716 characters

Photo of erosier
3.52/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This beer has a nice dark camber color with a short white head with a copper tint. The beer smells alot like brew made from malt extract. It has a fruity/winey aroma. The taste is pretty good with a sweet hint of barley malt. It has a real fruity flavor like a wine would have. The high alcohol is not readily detectable until later on in the aftertaste. It has a really high carbonation for a beer of this body, but it really does it justice in disguising the high alcohol. It is failry drinkable and probably no more than 1 or 2 because of the high content and very strong flavor. Worth a try.

 595 characters

Photo of Dogbrick
3.13/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This brew pours a dark orange/brown color with a medium thick and foamy light tan head. Aroma of malt and dark fruits. Medium body with a bready malt character. Weak on the hops side for a Barley Wine, and has some biting alcohol and fruity flavors thrown in. The finish is dry and mildly bitter. Overall this beer seems kind of disjointed, not sure I would bother with it again.

 379 characters

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

12 oz. brown bottle from Heavy Seas Sampler 12-pack. Poured into mug.

Appearance: cola colored body with large tan head almost 3" high after vigorous pour. Obviously well carbonated. Head recedes rather quickly with lingering lace.

Smell: alcohol and raisins with maple syrup reminds me of some kind of boozy fruitcake. A bit medicinal too.

Taste: big time sweet candied raisins, dates and caramel saturated in booze. Hard alkaline water. Hop bitterness attempts to balance this beer at finish.

Mouthfeel: A bit too carbonated, chewy and a bit too raw. This beer will probably improve with cellaring.

Drinkability: let this brew warm up and calm down. Alcohol at 10% is very noticeable. I'll drink the next one as a nightcap at the end of a special day, maybe a year from now.

 781 characters

Photo of TurdFurgison
3.03/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Delirium Tremens tulip glass. The appearance was nice, burgandy colored, clear, with a thin white ring of head. The smell wasn't too bad either, sweet and malty with hints of Old Nick or Bigfoot. But everything went to Hell once I tasted it, bleck. The alcohol was really apparent, not masked or anything. And the flavor was intensely bitter in a biting and unappealing way. Just not good at all, maybe I had a bad bottle but I won't likely try it ever again.

 492 characters

Photo of jdhilt
3.83/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a four finger light tan head that fades slowly leaving some lace. Nice clear amber/mahogany color. Medium carbonation and medium bodied. Sweet woody, maybe caramel nose. Flavor has some caramel with hints of the higher ABV then noticeable alcohol finish. $2.20 for a 12oz bottle from Tully's Beer and Wine Wells, ME.

 322 characters

Photo of riversider76
3.8/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep copper with a thin tan head. Not much retention,but a decent lacing. Aroma is of sweet dark fruits,and alchol.Body is thick with some carbonation. Taste is sweet with a little hint of bitter hops.the alchol burns nicely in the finish. Just a hint of an after taste lowered my rating a bit. Worth a try.

 315 characters

Photo of adowney523
3.62/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter-style glass. Color is dark brown with auburn hints. Little to no head and decent lacing.

Smells quite sweet with caramel notes. Other scents include spice, woodiness, and ethanol.

Tastes strongly of raw graininess and molasses with some fainter notes of wood. Hop contrast is faintly of tropical fruits along with warming alcohol in the finish.

Relatively average mouthfeel with a sweet, full-bodied finish.

 460 characters

Photo of hreb
2.88/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle poured into tulip-style Ommegang glass. Refrigerator cold. Bottle reports there's yeast in the bottle, that cellaring is appropriate, and that this is the 2006 release. Beer pours dark red-brown color with a thin, dark tan head. Aroma is of raisins and ripe fruit.

First sip is fizzy, sharp, and strong. What little complexity there was in the aroma does not stand up in the taste. As the beer warms, some flavor develops, but only a simple malty sweetness with an unpleasant bitter aftertaste. The carbonation subsides and the bubbles become finer. The uninteresting bitter hop flavor and harsh alcohol (though maybe not the whole 10% the bottle reports) still dominate. There is also a little sourness, perhaps grapefruit? This is not, I think, a good feature.

Coming up to temperature the beer improves, but doesn't salvage the whole experience. Not a great barleywine. This was simple bottled too soon -- I don't have hope that it's worth the space in my cellar.

 984 characters

Photo of Franchise
4.12/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear caramel body leaving a thin off-white head. The nose is fruity, apple, grass, earthy notes. The taste starts malty upfront, displaying a citrus bitterness that helps to balance this beer. The finish is smooth, boozey, and traditional English style. Overall this is a nice barleywine one that brings a little old world flavor on the palate.

 353 characters

Photo of stereosforgeeks
3.55/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance - Clear dark copper color. Thin head with a little retnetion but good lacing.

Smell - Caramel malt, piney hops, wood chips, and maple syrup.

Taste - Rich caramel sweetness. Some nice piney hops. Alcohol lingers in the background.

Mouthfeel - Light and crisp considering style. Nice carbonation.

Drinkability - Great considering the alcohol content. Im impressed.

 385 characters

Photo of ZimZamZoom
3.11/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

From the Heavy Seas variety pack, bought and consumed in July 2007.

Poured with a thin tan, short-lived head. Shows decent signs of carbonation. Nice deep copper color just as promised on the label.

Some malt character in the nose, with a bit of hop spiciness to it. The spice in the nose is very pleasant at first albeit slightly unusual.

I get the spice first in the taste, then a brief flirtation with sweet malt before being overwhelmed by the hot alcohol which takes over from here, all the way through the finish. Some bitter hops mingle in there with the alcohol a bit.

As I drink on, I am thinking cough medicine, and I can't think of anything else. This barleywine does not warm up very well.

Not too thick or heavy in the mouth, carbonation is light. This will hopefully do much better in a year or more. Gonna save the other two until then.

 867 characters

Photo of beerphan
3.25/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz brown bottle->goblet
no date

Pours a coppered amber with a pulsating thick head, that lacks much staying power. A few floaters are visible. Not much lace at all, just a few dots. Carbonation is sparce.

Nose: Lots of caramel, pear

Body is medium full and creamy. Flavors are mostly the caramel malt, which seems slightly burnt. Alcohol is present both in flavor and heat in the belly. Not much hop flavor, and just a touch of bitterness.

Seems like a good example of the style, but nothing I'll seek out again.

 530 characters

Photo of MrHurmateeowish
3.78/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark red translucent body with a quarter inch of off-white head. Smells like caramel malt with strong hints of alcohol. Tastes sweet, with biscuit and caramel malts playing a strong role. Slightly alcoholic on the finish, as well as having a slight hint of hops. Syrupy and creamy in its thickness. Predictably not as drinkable as many other beers, but more drinkable than some other examples of the style. A pretty solid beer, and a decent barley wine.

 453 characters

Photo of Blakaeris
4/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours caramel-amber in color. Head was modest with decent lacing.

Aroma is toasted caramel malt, with mild tropical fruit and a strong alcohol presence.

Taste is bursting with bready toasted malt. Nice touch of dark fruit. Light smokiness brings a scotch ale to mind. Piney hops and earthy wood unifies with the strong alcohol to balance the malt.Finish is dry and clean.

Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied. Definite hop oiliness.

Overall a pretty decent beer. Alcohol burn may be a little harsh for some people. As with most barley wines, I am looking forward to what cellaring will do to the character. Certainly worth a try.

 640 characters

Heavy Seas - Below Decks (Barley Wine Style Ale) from Heavy Seas Beer
3.62 out of 5 based on 517 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.