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.

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 517 |  Reviews: 346
Photo of ggaughan
3.5/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Beer poured a hazy amber color into my tulip glass. Looked lika glass of iced tea, very little head, just a slight ring on the edge of the glass. The aroma was sweet and citrusy. Slight hints of the high abv. The taste was malty sweet upfront with some citrus notes rounding things out. The high abv is evident but it does not hit you over the head.

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Photo of Westsidethreat
3.03/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Drab prune juice color with loads of haze. Head has a good ring and a film across the top of tan bubbles.

S: Maple, sugar cookies, veggies, some dark cherries and a little boysenberry. Not a lot of aroma.

T: Starts sweet and cloying with serious licks of alcohol swirling across the palate. Strong but pungent maple flavors cruise across the center of the tongue bringing with it dark honey, pollen, red apple and copper. In the middle, loads of breadiness, toasted corn and acorn add the malty component. Bitterness is present but faint, not as aggressive as most barleywines. Finishes extremely dirty, like there’s a chunk of dirt at the bottom of the glass, leaching out mud into every sip.

M: Medium body and syrupy

D: Lacks balance and has some real undesirable aspects to it. I can’t get this dirty flavor out of my mouth. I’d pass on this one.

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Photo of onehomesickalien
3.81/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This one is better than the overall rating suggests so I felt it necessary to put my two cents in. This is a barley wine with the consistency of a stout and the sweetness of certain Belgian Dubbels I have had. It is a bit too sweet for long term drinking but has a very nice strong malt taste with a bite of alcohol at the end. This one should probably be aged for about a year to get its full potential.

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Photo of DrJay
2.38/5  rDev -34.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

This amber/orange beer poured pretty clear with a light beige foam that quickly fell to a ring and left behind a bit of fine lace. Pleasant enough aroma, oranges and caramel with a hint of vanilla. But it also had a bit of mustiness and vegetal character to it. The flavour was thin, especially for a barleywine. It was sticky sweet, fruity (think tangerine or orange character from hops), with a little alcohol warmth. Thick, low attenuation with carbonation on the low side made for a texture that was a bit of a mess. It wasn't offensive at all, but just not what I consider a good, or even passable, English barleywine. The flavour that was present fell away by the finish and it had little in the way of complexity.

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Photo of BitterLover
4.23/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a very dark amber color, with tiny bubbles rising up from the bottom of the glass. The head is sort of an off-white color, very long lasting, and very dense (reminiscent of Guinness). Pretty impressive head for bottled beer.

Smell: More of a citrus smell than anything else. As it warmed, I got hints of grapefruit and orange, followed by a little bit of a floral note.

Taste: First of all, a caramel flavor while still cool, which got stronger, and slightly sweeter, as it warmed. Flavors of roasted coffee throughout. I was surprised at the lack of hoppiness, but you can taste the alcohol. Very long finish, actually reminscent of a fine single malt scotch.

Mouthfeel: Velvety.

Drinkability: I enjoyed this over the course of about three hours, so it's definately a sipping beer. It became more complex as it warmed, but the roasted coffee flavor was front and center. This might age well, so I think I'll squirrel a few away for about two years.

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

Had this on cask at Max's the other day. I've had this previously on draft, but really think the beer is better on cask (as opposed to the gas).

The beers pours a beautiful amber mahogany color, with excellent head retention and very good lacing. On the nose there is a huge blast of citrus from the hops, along with some undeerelying malty sweetness. On the palate one gets a lot of sweet malt again, but with an excellent citrus back drop from the hops. Flavors included cherry cough drop, almonds, citrus and some addtional nuttiness. The beer has a very nice soft mouthfeel and is suprisingly smooth. The beer is also surprisingly drinkable, and the abv. not all that noticeable. The beer finishes with a long, lingering, hoppy finish. Quite a good beer.

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Photo of cjgator3
3.25/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a dark brownish amber color with an off-white head. The malty aroma displays some caramel flavors as well as some phenols. The taste starts out with some smooth malts flavors and ends with the hops bringing up the dry finish. Overall, this is a pretty decent barley wine but it doesn't really stand out in any way to make it worthy of a repeat purchase.

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Photo of aforbes10
2.56/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

red to crimson with some floaties in there and a soft pillowy head. Sticky hop odor, some cherries, prominent alcohol smell. Taste is a fruity ethanol flavor, harsh in its attack. Some maltiness, but mostly just a cherry and ethanol punch that's not all that enjoyable. sticky and thick and not all that great. definitely my least favorite of an otherwise darn good series of beers.

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Photo of treehugger02010
3.95/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I purchased a case of Below Decks from Kunda Bev. in King of Prussia, Pa. I poured it into a pint glass.
Appearance: It poured a deep amber colored (like the bottle says) with a large tan head. The head produced was large with tons of bubbles and left lots of lace after sitting on top for a while.
Smell: Nice balance of hops and malts, nothing really stands as out of character.
Taste: Either all malty or all hoppy, and switches from sip to sip.
Mouthfeel: Nice and thick creating a decently smooth drink, over all kind of crisp though.
Drinkability: Certainly a good beer.
Don't drink and review.

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Photo of tgbljb
4.18/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a deep copper color with massive tannish head
Smell is significant for fruity malt, but nothing else.
Taste is amazing, with a massive fruity maltiness, that is a true delight in the mouth.
Finishes with more fruity malt.
This is probably the highest alcohol beer I have yet to drink that is able to completely hide the alcohol content.While I was sharing the bottle with fellow BA mtanji, I checked the alcohol content, and neither one of us could believe it.

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Photo of matthewfuchs
3.4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured a deep amber into pint glass. Head settled quickly into a thin blanket of foam.
Smells of woods and nuts, hints of fruit.
Taste of well balanced malt and cherries.
sweet mouth feel, intense alcohol.
overall a good beer to have, wish i would have stored it. i'll try to get another.

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Photo of MmmIPA
3.73/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Chimay chalice as I listened to Suffocation's debut cd Human Waste.I would have put his in my cellar but I only have one of them and I wanna see what a English barely wine is.Thanks to Matt from the Beer Yard for this.

Body is a chestnut color with a white head,very small though and didnt last long and fell to a small ring.Nice ammount of bubbles streaming to the top.

Smells like alcohol and fruit.Maybe some bready malts.

First taste is fruity and then leads to a nutty taste.

Mouthful is a bit thick but isnt bad at all.Quite good really and the carbonation isnt bad at all either.

This stuff is really good and really enjoyable.I was expecting a totally different taste but wow was I wrong.I wanna drink it fast but I know the alcohol will catch up with me so I must sip and enjoy it.

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

12 oz. bottle into a snifter. 2006 on the neck of the bottle.

Appearance: A dark amber with nice amounts of bubbles swirling around. Head dissipates slowly and leaves a thick ring on the out edge of the top of the brew with scant off-white lacing near the top of the glass.

Smell: Very light overall, with little to no alcohol in the nose, and I get some sweet citrus hops, dark fruit and some lighter cherry, strawberry, and orange. Again, nothing crazily complex, but somehow light enough to make me go back to see how it evolves as it warms, or speculatively as it possibly would age.

Taste: The ripe fruit and mild citrus hops are blending fairly decent here, as there are flashes of sourness from the fruit, ripe cherries, strawberry juice, and citrus zest, along with some lemon zest-like hops which provide the longer finish, but I still think it could be better. It's balanced enough, but it lacks any backbone that really makes me want to keep diving in as much as I had hoped. Now I'm ultimately curious how this would hold up in a few years.

Mouthfeel: Rather light considering the style and ABV, and I'm not sure why, considering the medium to heavy body. The carbonation gives it a smooth and velvety feel, though it's dispersed well, which may be a reason for it.

Drinkability: On par with Brooklyn's Monster I think (as I'm a fan of that also), but I would indeed like to see how this ages, especially since it's fairly balanced for the semi-green stage currently. A nice sipper that's pleasant, and one that's not too harsh, though it lacks what many people may be looking for in the style, which is the complexity (which I like to think will come out even more with the aging).

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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 Vancer
3.51/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A pretty hard pour produced a massive tan head of foam on top or a deep mahogany brown brew. Subtle notes of caramel roasted malt leads into a most delightful sip of BW. A well balanced mix of roast and hops, this one hides the alcohol well. Notes of cherry mash pop up thru the mix.

Yeah, somewhat a plain Jane, but drinkable and enjoyable never-the-less.

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Photo of NolateM
3.26/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a Maudite tulip glass. Beautiful classic barleywine color - translucent reddish-brown with a thick off-white head and really nice lacing.

Pleasant fruity malt aroma. Can smell the alcohol.

Flavor is kinda weak, overall. Everything is just kind of dumbed down. Zero hop flavor, a little bit of fruity caramelly malt flavor (and some toffee as it warmed), a little bit of classic barleywine sweetness. Just not that much. It seems pretty watered down. Alcohol is relatively well-masked for a barleywine though.

Mouthfeel is decent. Has a creamy/syrupy sort of texture. Kind of light on the carbonation.

This is kind of an "I wanna get drunk" barleywine. It's easier to drink than most barleywines, but there's really not a whole lot to it. Absolutely perfect appearance, but sort of a sub-par beer. Looks sure aren't everything.

I really liked this brewery's imperial stout Peg Leg (even though other reviewers didn't seem to so much), but I think I agree with everyone else as far as this brew goes. I have another bottle though, so I'll see what it tastes like a year or two down the road. But that's just out of curiosity, as I wouldn't really expect it to improve at all.

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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 cbl2
3.33/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

3/26/2007 $6.99 4 pack 11.00% Vintage 2006.


Pours a nice clear crimson brown with four fingers of tan head that is slow to settle, leaving behind decent lace.


Toasted caramel malts, lychee and a waft of alcohol.


Rather bland mouthfeel and flavor profile with muted dark fruit overtones, hot alcohol, and not much else. With the exception of the gorgeous appearance, and I can't really recommend this one.

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Photo of kms910
2.5/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Read instruction carefully or you may be disappointed:

Created to celebrate Clipper City’s 10th Anniversary – extremely limited and “vintage” dated – this extravagantly malty barley wine will show well upon release but continue to evolve for years.

A - Rust to amber body with an off white lace

S - Apricots and cherries (dried)

T - Some malts at the beginning with a fruit middle and a big alcohol finish

M - Oily and thick

D - Worth a try but I wouldn't recommend it for a Barleywine. May have been too early to drink.

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Photo of kirok1999
3.28/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice dark amber with off whit head and nice sticky lacing. First note from the bottle was alcohol with minimal sweetness. Not what I expected from an English Barleywine. Not as sweet as it should be, not as hoppy as an American Barleywine. In all, it's not as sweet as it should be and a little too hoppy. Amost fits better as a weak American BW. Mouthfeel is a little thin and watery. Easy to drink as it is well balanced, which an English Barleywine shouldn't be.

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Photo of mjc410
3.51/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The pour into my La Moneuse glass raises a one finger light tan head over a deep, hazy garnet body with a lot of suspended yeast particles. The head falls lazily leaving pretty sticky lacing in its wake. Really nice for the ABV. The nose has a strong citrus hop character, but in close balance with a sweet caramel aroma. Kind of simple, though. The taste is medium-sweet, caramely, and without much hop bitterness. Very balanced and talented at hiding the high ABV. The mouth is medium-thick, with very light, fine carbonation. This would make a good intro into barleywines for novices, and would also impress many for its mellow taste and high alcohol.

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

I was highly unimpressed with this beer when first released. However, I think we have a whole new ballgame. Nice, copper color with a sizeable (for a barleywine) head. Mellow aroma-very malty and sweet, treacle like. Flavor is all about the malt-big malt taste to it. Minimal bitterness. Great caramel and treacle flavors. Faint, faint smokiness. Reads like a classic UK barleywine. Good body. Very drinkable. Higher abv then a UK barleywine but this sucker is major league smooth. Very impressive. I have 1 from last year I will explore again but the harshness and low points from the first release are gone.

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Photo of atsprings
3.23/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass with a thin off white head that was mostly diminishing. Aroma was very malty, it had a good sweetness to it. The taste on the other hand was WAY too bitter, even for a barley wine. The alcohol was not hidden at all, fully showing it's 11% volume. Far from the top of my list when it comes to barley wines, but I'm still going to age a couple and see if they improve.

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Photo of mpyle
3.71/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pretty amber color with sparkling clarity. Healthy sized off-white head. Creamy and long lasting, with good lacing.

Subdued aroma. A malty, slightly fruity (raisin) sweetness and some alcohol. No hop.

A metallic note competes with initial maltiness. Balancing bitterness controls the malt sweetness. A lingering alcohol sensation late with some associated bitterness, but also a lingering malty sweetness.

Fullish body and medium carbonation. A bit of alcohol warming, but well conrolled. Generally smooth and slightly creamy - not harsh.

A nicely balanced barleywind. Strong but not overpowering. Neither cloyingly sweet nor a hop bomb - eminently drinkable.

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Photo of SkinnyElvis
3.76/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased at Capones and drank while fresh. Pours a one inch head and is rather dark in appearance. Not much smell to it but a little boozy malt. Tastes pleasant and malty but not very complex. I don't taste a 11% ABV here at all and this is very drinkable. A good English barley wine which is reasonable in price. I would not recommend cellaring this brew.


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