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Heavy Seas Bourbon Barrel Aged Below Decks | Heavy Seas Beer

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Heavy Seas Bourbon Barrel Aged Below DecksHeavy Seas Bourbon Barrel Aged Below Decks
BA SCORE
4/5
Exceptional
301 Ratings
Heavy Seas Bourbon Barrel Aged Below DecksHeavy Seas Bourbon Barrel Aged Below Decks
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Heavy Seas Beer
Maryland, United States
hsbeer.com

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by John_M on 05-18-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

BEER STATS
Ranking:
-
Reviews:
108
Ratings:
301
pDev:
8.5%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
35
Gots:
54
Trade:
4
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 301 |  Reviews: 108
Photo of djrn2
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%

Photo of nmann08
4/5  rDev 0%

Photo of t0rin0
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%

Photo of oriolesfan4
4/5  rDev 0%

Photo of metter98
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is quite hazy caramel in color and has a light amount of carbonation visible near the sides of the glass. It poured with a thin off white head that quickly died down, leaving large wispy patches of bubbles on the surface and a thin collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Light to moderate aromas of oak and vanilla are present in the nose along with some hints of bourbon.
T: The taste is similar to the smell and also has some underlying hints of caramel and toffee malts from the underlying barleywine. No bitterness from the hops is detectable, although there's enough hops to mask out any sweetness or stickiness.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation. The alcohol—particularly the bourbon—provides a little warming in the finish.
O: This beer is very easy to drink considering its strength and manages to hide its alcohol very well (except from the bourbon flavors). The bourbon barrel aging definitely makes this beer a lot more interesting compared to its regular version and I particularly liked how the bourbon flavors are not too strong.

Note: 2012 vintage

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.95/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Rarely do American breweries really attempt the malt-focused taste, texture, and refined attitude of English barley wine. Coupled with the effects of bourbon barrel aging, the ever-steady Winter Storm takes on new armatures to achived greater strength, complexity, and taste...

Pouring a hazy chestnut-brown hue, the beer's reluctant release of foam yields a dainty creme of swirled foam that comprises the beer's head character. With no real lace to mention, the beer seems more of brandy or cognac with its legging than it does beer- especially after the midpoint of the session.

Bold sweetness emerges immediately from the snifter in the form of maple, brown sugar, and molasses. Its sweet scent is complex with barrel-derived caramels, vanillans, oak, and modest cherry esters that blend into the sweeter and more savory notes with ease. Herbal hops take on soft tobacco notes that add accents and further evoke the notion of savory and succulence as the scent carries on.

In similar fashion, the syrupy malts rise first and coat the mouth with dessert-like maltiness that's lead with caramel and toffee. As the taste of bourbon sets in with boozy oak, pepper, and vanilla- so do the taste of dehydrated cherries, dates, figs, and raisins, A slow recede of estery fruits and malt sweetness allows the balance from spicy alcohol and vinous fruit to signal closure.

Full bodied throughout, the beer's oily viscosity stimulates the early palate, but the cleaner,malty-richness caresses the tongue and lulls the mind into a trance of sweetness that's sure to appease the sweet tooth in all of us. Finishing rich, sweet, and malty-warm, the extended aftertaste begs for stilton and maytag blue cheeses.

The beer showcases malt balance in vivid display- with little rebuttal from hops, yeasty fruit or spice or from water chemistries, the beer is ripe and pungent with all of the glory of English hops. Though done in America, the brewery really shows great command of the style.

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Photo of brentk56
3.55/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2010 bottling

Appearance: Pours a tawny color with a rather small head that fritters away rather quickly without leaving much of a trace

Smell: Toasted oak aromatics joined with toffee and vanilla

Taste: Nutty caramel, up front, with the bourbon and vanilla flavors building into the middle; toasted oak and booze wraps up the finish

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with low carbonation

Overall: Nothing particularly wrong with this beer but it lacks the overall depth and power I would expect from a barrel-aged barleywine; the lack of a hop presence is also a detractor

 568 characters

Photo of WillieThreebiers
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle: Poured a clear light copper color ale with a small foamy head with limited retention. Aroma of grainy malt with some bourbon notes and vanilla is pleasant enough. Taste is a nice mix between some woody notes with vanilla and bourbon and some grainy and caramelized malt notes. Body is a bit thin with good carbonation and some warming alcohol notes. Quite pleasant barleywine and very little oxidation for a 2011 vintage tasted in 2016.

 444 characters

Photo of superspak
4.3/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle into snifter, 2012 vintage. Pours slightly cloudy deep ruby red color with a 1 finger dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin lace cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass. Aromas of big caramel, raisin, toast, toffee, vanilla, oak, clove, bourbon, brown sugar, and light booze. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of malt and barrel notes; with good strength. Taste of big caramel, raisin, brown bread, vanilla, toast, toffee, clove, oak, bourbon, brown sugar, light chocolate, and toasted earthiness. Lingering notes of caramel, brown bread, raisin, vanilla, toast, toffee, clove, oak, bourbon, brown sugar, light chocolate, and toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible balance and complexity of dark malt and barrel flavors; with a fantastic malt/barrel balance and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a moderately creamy, slick, and lightly syrupy moutfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming present after the finish. Overall this is a fantastic BA Barleywine! All around awesome complexity and balance of malt and bourbon barrel flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the ABV. A highly enjoyable offering.

 1,298 characters

Photo of zestar
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.86/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap 2/23/2013 at Doherty’s East Ave Irish Pub in Pawtucket, RI, served in a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a dark coppery reddish brown color, with a short dense off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is faint but contains brown sugar, caramelized malts, bourbon, dark fruit and some hops.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of caramel, brown sugar, dark fruit and bourbon followed by some creaminess. The hops presence is mild but complementary and the malt character is hearty creating a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down dangerously easy, not too filling, strong kick, good representation of style, it’s a little bit better than the regular version but not enough to make it an upper echelon barley wine.

 885 characters

Photo of oberon
3.63/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into an imperial nonic a deep rich amber with a thinner but well formed off white head atop.Aromas of deep vaniila,and caramel eally stand out,the vanilla tinged oak is a bit heavy handed in my opinion.Somewhat boozy and very oaky on the palate,vanilla and caramel flavors add more sweetness,it is very smooth going down though.Another barrel aged beer that gets a little to much of the "aged" flavors,its not bad but it could be better with less aged flavors.

 467 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
4.05/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

Poured into a tulip. Appearance is a nice mahogany color with a white head and a tad bit of lacing. The nose is straight bourbon. A bit of light caramel and fruit in the background. The booze goes with the bourbon. Taste is predominantly bourbon again, but done quite well. Really nice feel with booze and bourbon plus a slight sweetness underneath. Much better than the original, though not quite as interesting as the cabernet version.

 459 characters

Photo of vfgccp
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%

Photo of billab914
4.07/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It poured a murky, caramel brown color with a thin white head clinging to the edges of the glass. I got a bit of lacing on the glass as I drank it.

The aroma shows a good amount of bourbon to it. I immediately get the boozy, woody, oak barrel character to it. A sweeter, malty, caramel, dark fruit presence comes out as well and mixes very well with the bourbon character. The bourbon was fantastic in it, very flavorful and smooth. The beer was good but didn't bring as much to the table as it could have.

The taste also has a strong bourbon presence to it throughout the flavor. I get more of the sweeter, malty and vanilla flavors to it up front while more of the alcohol and wood character show in the finish. The maltiness really comes through with some sweeter, caramel notes that really compliment the bourbon nicely.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side with carbonation is low. Overall it was a delicious beer, the bourbon and the sweet, maltiness of the barleywine were integrated and balanced almost to perfection. The bourbon especially really stood out to me. The barleywine flavors were very good, but seemed a little overshadowed by the bourbon at times. Excellent beer overall though and an extremely enjoyable one to sip on this evening.

 1,259 characters

Photo of smithj4
4/5  rDev 0%

Photo of atrocity
4/5  rDev 0%

Photo of nathanmiller
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of XmnwildX12
4/5  rDev 0%

Photo of mendvicdog
4/5  rDev 0%

Photo of russpowell
3.62/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up a Peabody's in Boone NC, sadly the last of my NC mini-haul

Pours chestnut with a finger of tan head. Average head retention & above average lacing

S: Pears & Bourbon, fades a bit as this warms

T: Rich bourbon notes, cakyness & a touch boozey warmth up front. Jammy notes (apricot & pear ) wrap with vanilla, oakyness, a touch of leafy hops & dryness as this warms. Finishes with fruitty notes, nice Bourbon flavor, oaky dryness & a touch of butterscotch

MF: Slightly over carbonated & a touch thin, warming & smooth once nearer room temp

Loved the flavor on this, but other areas fell flat. For the money I'll take Schlafly's Barrel aged BW at a fraction of the price any day. Still, I was thrilled to try it...

 732 characters

Photo of duceswild
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.88/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark caramel brown in the center that fades to muddy pumpkin along the margins. The wheat toast colored crown barely reached two fingers, but has settled in to become densely creamy. It's also beginning to deposit thick curtains of finely stippled lace.

Bourbon barrel-aging should have helped the standard Below Decks nose more than this. The spirit, while easily appreciated, does not take over like it does in some ale of this ilk. That could be either a positive or a negative, depending on your point of view. Still holding out hope for an improved taste bud experience.

Bourbon barrel-aging has helped the standard Below Decks where it matters most. The original beer, with its pale-to-midrange malts, seems to be a pretty good blank slate on which to add the somewhat bold chalk strokes of bourbon whiskey.

Double-digit ABV beer at less than one year of age isn't often mellow. HSBBABD is sorta kinda mellow... in a big beer sorta kinda way. The malts, which are sugar cookie drizzled with caramel-like, provide a background sweetness that's easily kept in check by modest hop bitterness. Vanilla bean and lightly charred oak round out the flavor impressions.

The mouthfeel does just enough to earn the good score. It isn't the biggest beast on the barleywine block, but it has a softly silky smooth quality that is lightly peppered by just the right amount of carbonation.

In my humble opinion, the Mutiny Series ales from Clipper City has more misses than hits. The latter includes The Great Pumpkin, Hang Ten, Letter of Marque 2010... and Bourbon Barrel Aged Below Decks. $7.99 is a more than reasonable asking price, considering how much enjoyment I'm getting out of the bomber.

 1,694 characters

Photo of mdfb79
4.1/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

1/6/12 heavy seas below deck in bourbon barrels
2010 vintage. Drank side by side with a 2010 Cabernet barrel aged Below Deck. Poured into my Brawley's snifter.

a - Pours a pretty dark mahogany brown color with two inches of light tan head and light to moderate carbonation evident. Looks like the Cabernet version, maybe a touch lighter in color but not much at all.

s - Smells of caramel malts, toffee, dark fruits, oak, bourbon, toasted malts, and light vanilla. Definitely more bourbon in this one than there was wine in the Cabernet version, but again, it seems very faded. Nose is no where as sweet as the Cabernet nose. I like both noses, but for very different reasons.

t - Tastes of caramel malts, toffee, bourbon, oak, vanilla, toasted malts, nuts, dark fruits, and alcohol. More bourbon and oak here than in the nose. This is about what I was expecting; taste is very nice and I prefer it to the Cabernet. Again, not as sweet as the Cabernet in the taste as well.

m - Medium to full body and moderate carbonation. Thick, smooth, and c reamy; very good for a barleywine.

o - Overall I preferred this one to the Cabernet version, but I'm not convinced either improves form aging. Both are good beers, with the Cabernet verions being much sweeter, and this version havnig more bourbon (as expected), so I guess it just really depends on what you like in a barleywine. Either way, I'd suggest drinking them relatively fresh as I think they both faded already in a year.

 1,480 characters

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Heavy Seas Bourbon Barrel Aged Below Decks from Heavy Seas Beer
Beer rating: 4 out of 5 with 301 ratings
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