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)
521 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: British 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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Ratings: 521 |  Reviews: 346
Photo of VoodooBrew
3.55/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Hooray Maryland beer!

Unfortunately, that's about as excited as I can get over this beer, which provides easy, simple malt character in the nose and on the palate, but not much else. This clear amber-colored BW drinks suspiciously easy for the ABV, but in the final analysis I felt that it simply did not have enough flavor for my tastebuds to explore.

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Photo of santoslhalper
2.18/5  rDev -39.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearence: Pours a very dark, dull looking copper with no head at all. It looks dead.

Smell: Feet. I smell feet and some fungus. Dirty Laundry. Diapers. Litter. Ok it's not that bad, there are some nice malt and hop aromas, but something in there smells funky.

Taste and Mouthfeel: It's mostly fruity with some floral hops. There is no malt profile at all. It's completely lacking the big, sticky, sweet, chewy wonderfulness that a barleywine is mean to have. This one's weak. Real weak.

Drinkability and Overall: I love barleywines. I love Clipper City (mostly). This one just didn't work out. Next...

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Photo of WVbeergeek
2.63/5  rDev -27.5%
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 meathookjones
3/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours out a murky dark red with a quick to fade white head. Little lace or foam left on the glass. Very light fruit notes with some malt sweetness in the nose. Some light medicinal alcohol notes. Light sweet malt flavors with more medicine like notes popping up. Some light fruit and dirty earthy notes are about all else that stick out. Body was sufficient and nothing special. Drinkability wasn’t bad as in it went down easy enough. The lack of any real flavor and aroma depth will keep me away from my other bottles for awhile in hopes of something happening with them. Not a bad beer but about as average as it gets.

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Photo of ABV
4.1/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It's been a good year for the Heavy Seas line -- first a very good imperial pilsner, and then two nice ipa's. Their Peg Leg imperial stout, although tasy, is not quite up to the style. Had it been labeled an imperial brown ale I think it would have been very well received. Which brings us to Below Decks, which is getting only fair to poor reviews. I can't quite understand why -- this is a very pleasing dark brew with very nice vanilla carmel notes and is amazing drinkable for 11% abv. (It's also a good deal -- I paid $7.50 for a 4 pack). Perhaps it should have been labeled a strong dark ale rather than a barleywine. Regardless, Below Decks is quite delicious.

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Photo of sacfly
3.2/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz, 2005 on neck label

Pours a clear copper with a tan head of large bubbles. On closer inspection, fine particles can be seen in suspension. Seems very carbonated for a Barleywine. Faintly sweet aroma with a touch of piney hops.

Taste is… light? Some caramel and woodiness. Mild hop bitterness in the aftertaste.

Not much to say. Light aroma, flavor, and body. High carbonation. Would never guess it is a Barleywine. It is very easy to drink and the ABV is barely noticeable. Just don’t expect anything aggressive, which is one reason to drink a barleywine.

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Photo of mrasskicktastic
3.95/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

This review is for the fresh(er) bottle. I stuck in notes for one year of aging.

A - An amber to auburn brew with a small tan head that lingers for about two minutes and leaves no lacing. Some light carbonation is visible (although pretty intense for a barleywine).

S - Smells predominantly of a light-bodied malt, pine hops and faint caramel. Abv is faintly noticable if you are looking for it, can't really punish them for that since it is 11% though.

T - Some light pine and citrus (grapefruit) hops and not much else in the foretaste. Maybe a bit of alcohol. The aftertaste has a lingering hop bitterness, it is potent too. A subtle alcohol is there as well. There is a light sweetness, but those who think that barleywines are generally too sweet, might enjoy this. Aside from the bitterness the flavor is fairly mild.

After a year of aging, Saaz hops really jumped out in the flavor and taste. A lot of the pine an grape fruit had subsided.

M - Harsh from carbonation for the first second, then thick and pretty refreshing.

D - For a barleywine, this category is very impressive. It is mild enough (not outlandishly sweet) that it has potential for food beyond as a dessert beer. Session? No sense in even asking that above 10% (or 7% for that matter). I will let the others stew for a while, but I really don't think this would alter too much with aging. The people who would enjoy this most though (I think), are not the barleywine fans, but those who generally find barleywines to be too sweet. At first, I was not very impressed with this beer. But as I drank more of it, I found the potent aftertaste to be quite pleasant.

One year of aging didn't really help this beer. I preferred it fresh.

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Photo of blitheringidiot
3.18/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

No info other than 2005 label 12 oz bottle opens with a *fwisk!* and pours as a filtered burnt sienna amber carbonationless hue toped with a scant razor thin disappearing laceless beige coating.

Light aromatic nose of metallic copper and cherry. The nose is barely barley. Ha!

First swigs: Woody oak. Man, trying to find flavor here is like trying to find a needle in a hay stack if awards for flavorless barley wine were handed out, this would get the grand prize. Some dry straw. Maybe a smooth touch of cherry and cranberry. Just not a lot of flavor to review here. Really!

Feel is oily and cool without any detection of 11% ABV. If the ABV is acurate, this is the most evaporating 11% ever. Dry aftertaste. Damn near the smoothest barleywine ever, but barleywine should contain some bite and body. What happened? This is just a clean booze inducer.

Last swigs: Cranberry-ish barleywine. To give this a compliment, DogFish Head makes 18% Fort without an ABV struggle. This does the same. After Clipper City Loose Cannon, this seemed like a home run, but alas, this is just average...maybe a little less. [Real Men] Drinkability is a puzzle here. Is it "drinkable?" Well, it certainly goes back easy! For better or worse. Edible, forgetable and not regretable.

Beer is good. Happy small barelywine beering.

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Photo of mpkill
2.89/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle with no freshness date.

Pours with a thick white frothy head. Head subsides after a few sips. Color is amber with a slight copper glow. Little to no hop aroma. Intial smell is slightly malty with a hint of caramel. I allowed the beer to warm up a little which resulted in a slight alcoholic nose. Below Decks has a nice balanced bitterness with a warm finish. For an English-style barleywine, there is very little residual sweetness. The mouthfeel was a little underwhelming. I think the carbonation level was a little high for the style - perhaps masking some of the flavors.

Overall, a dissappointing barleywine.

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Photo of NEhophead
3.08/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Creamy white head with pools of bubbles, that dissipate within a moment. Spotted and thin lacing with decent strength. A burgundy-tinted bronze in color with a few chunks of floating sediment.

Semi-sweet caramel malt aroma with traces of ripe, vinous fruit: grape, cherry, plum, apple. Not too fragrant.

Unsweetened apple, plum, grape. Notes of meaty raisin flavors. A rather bland, light caramel maltiness. Light citrus (lemon and lime) followed by a powdery chlorine-tasting astringency. Noxious bleach-like flavor that leaves a dry finish. The aftertaste is orange and apple soaked in pool water.

Medium bodied; filmy and slick on the palate.

Plain and simple...this is not a pleasant tasting barleywine. The flavors are bland and reminiscent of chemicals. One to avoid and made to walk the plank.

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Photo of ybnorml
2.93/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A clean brown beer with amber highlights. Has a good creamy off white head. Very light aroma, some malt sweetness, hop bitterness and a disturbing corn note in the background. No real distinct flavors. Again some malt sweetness, a light hop bite on the finish, that nagging little corn note in the back and the alcohol burn. Maybe it will blossom next year but it doesn't have alot to work with.

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Photo of hustlemuscle
3.18/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I was disappointed with this beer, a downer from an otherwise solid, solid brewery. I hope that it wants a little time alone in the dark, aging with others of it's kind.

Amber, with golden highlights, but minimal head and carbonation. Hoppy and vineous to the nose, alchohol takes the drivers seat on the tastebuds. A bit bland overall, no real flavor, unfortunatly. Fairly easy to drink, apart from the lack of taste. A bit light and thin.

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Photo of akorsak
3.22/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I am drinking a 12 oz bottle poured into a Ommegang Three Philosophers goblet.

Appearance: Dark amber in color, it is not as dark as I would expect a barleywine to be. It poured with a vigourous head that quickly dissapated.

Smell: A very muted malt aroma makes its way from the glass. As it warms, a pleasant spiciness emerges (combination of hops and spice).

Taste: As with the smell, a little muted and reserved. The taste is more of an amber ale than a barleywine. The malt character is just enough to push it from an ale to a barleywine. A big plus IMO is that the high 11% abv does not make itself known and overpower the already muted flavors.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is where the alcohol makes itself known, leaving an astringent taste in the mouth.

Drinkability: Drinkability is hurt by the 11% abv that knocks one down rather quickly. Despite that, the flavor of the ale is such that one could sit and drink one or two.

I'm gonna lay a bottle or two done for a few months to see if age improves the character of this barleywine. I will re-review the beer then.

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Photo of gbarron
3.35/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Overall, this is a very tasty beer, but a little bit of a letdown considering Clipper City's other tasty offerings recently like Loose Cannon. Your basic barleywine. I was not blown away, but definitely a beer I would gladly drink if offered.

Appearance - perfectly clear, dark ruby. Not much head, just a small ring of bright white. A little bit of lace going down the glass.

Nose - some hops, a little malt. Much less than anticipated given the style. Some sweetness of cotton candy, bubble gum, candi sugar. A little bit of hops, hard to place the variety. Alcohol in the nose, but not overwhelming.

Taste - balance tilts in favor of the hops here, which is unusual (IMHO) for most other barleywines I've tasted (like Dominion's Millenium). Bitterness dominates the malt. Malty sweetness in the aftertaste. Not much flavoring hops, mostly bittering. Some caramel, pine, currant.

Mouthfeel - full bodied beer, alcohol warmth on the tongue. A little bit of tingling from the CO2. Sweet stickiness afterwards.

Drinkability - a very drinkable beer, but not going to be my first choice in barleywines. Two would fill you up (not to mention put you under the table).

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Photo of cubedbee
3.96/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle, poured into a snifter, this is a very dark clear amber with a surprisingly thick finger of head, decent retention, and some pretty nice lacing. Nose is very muted, a slightly sweet malt, some spicey hops, a hint of alcohol. Taste is a light fruity malt, tropical and citrus fruits, slowly giving way to a nice piney hops presense leaving a nice bitter aftertaste awash slightly with alcohol. Mouthfeel is medium with a fairly smooth slick taste. Alcohol stays fairly well hidden, never more than just a hint in the finish. I find most Barleywines to be unbalanced--American ones are great hopmonsters while English ones tend to be very sweet to the point of cloying. This is a very well-balanced alternative, maybe lacking in some of the intensity of flavor a lot of Barleywines have, but a pretty good attempt from Clipper City at the style.

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Photo of ScarletLady
3.95/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had the chance to sample this on tap at Clipper City brewery and was very happy with it. It is no your average barley wine which is why I think I liked it so much. The color was a deep amber, not much head ( I wasn't expecting any). It is thinner than other barley wines and not as sweet, nor did it smell as sweet.

I tried it both cold and at near room temperature. The warmer sample had a much spicier and complex flavor. (forgive me I am still learning to match words with what I taste) But both were very smooth and drinkable. You don't realize the amount of alcohol that is there. I haven't tried it out of the bottle yet but was overall very happy with it.

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Photo of Dithyramb
4.27/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Brown 12oz. bottle and part of a 4 pack. This one is a one-off release as part of the 10 year celebration of Clipper City. Poured light brown with red highlights. The off-white head was very short lived, but there was some clingy drapes of lacing as the brew progressed.

Smell of mostly caramel. Once it warms a bit, there are some herbally hops in there ars well.

Very well rounded flavor. Initially, it is all malt. Comes off mostly a fruity and caramelly mix that is sweet yet not cloying. There is some hop bite that is herbally/citrusy in nature, but it is more subdued.

Smooth, yet average, mouthfeel. Goes down quickly and easily. The high ABV is extremely well hidden--there wasn't any overtly boozy flavor or any mouth warming properties. The run of the mill, balanced flavor is spot on for an English Barleywine and reminds me of several I had while in England. Since it isn't the boozy hopmonster that American Barleywines are, I found it to be highly drinkable. Drank two before dinner just last night. Some interesting things may come about as it ages too.

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Photo of chOAKbarrell
2.75/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Sometimes there's just not a whole lot to say about a beer. This is one of those times.

Really, really average, straight across the board, except for the taste & mouth, which are below average. There's not a whole lot of flavor - just a lot of alcohol and some hops. Somewhat-bitter lingering aftertaste. The mouthfeel is suprisingly thin.

I guess its a good thing that this beer only comes in a 4 pack. I cant imagine anyone would want more than that.

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Photo of Higravity
2.78/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Well I hate to trash a local favorite brewery but this beer is sub-par. Like their Peg-Leg Imperial Stout there are many levels of things that just stop too short of being good.

The apperance is pretty nice a solid depp amber with a whitish head but no lacing and the head leaves the party very fast. The smell is muted, there is a presence of piney hops and alcohol and some maltyness, but everything is dulled. A confused brew, the alcohol shines through and the hops give a decent bite but the malt seems too lax and isn't up to the challenge of containing the alcohol. The body is almost no-exsistant, too watery for style and really hurt the flavor. Best to see if this improves any, I will see another bottle in a few months.

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Photo of MaltyGoodness
3.23/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz. bottle

Pours a clear brown-orange with a white head that fades. Nice lacing on the glass.

Smells of sweet malt and herbal hops. Some caramel tones present as well.

Taste is immediately sweet and malty followed by a big hop bite and a rush of bitterness. Seems a little unbalanced. I'll let the other bottles sit for a while, as the hops should mellow. My guess is that it's young.

Body is average for style.

High ABV and the average flavor will help limit me at one. Just an average barleywine at this point. We'll see how it ages and my opinion may change.

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Photo of Wildman
3.63/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer poured a clear medium amber color with little carbonation present. It formed an off white foamy head that left circular lace as it subsided. An aroma of malts, hops, caramel and slightly burnt butterscotch aspect to it. The flavor was of malt, hops, wood(?pine) with a touch of caramel. The body was a bit thinner than usual for style and the finish had a stlight astrigent, yet burnt aspect to it. As with all barleywines, this one may just be young and improve with age. Will try a bottle later in the season and see if it improves.

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Heavy Seas - Below Decks (Barley Wine Style Ale) from Heavy Seas Beer
Beer rating: 3.63 out of 5 with 521 ratings