Heavy Seas Cabernet Barrel Aged Below Decks | Heavy Seas Beer

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Heavy Seas Cabernet Barrel Aged Below DecksHeavy Seas Cabernet Barrel Aged Below Decks
Very Good
184 Ratings
Heavy Seas Cabernet Barrel Aged Below DecksHeavy Seas Cabernet Barrel Aged Below Decks

Brewed by:
Heavy Seas Beer
Maryland, United States

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.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 184 |  Reviews: 90
Photo of ne0m00re
1.2/5  rDev -69.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Live review of a 22 oz bottle.
A: Murky mahogany, it poured with a cream head with lacing.
S: What the hell... this is a very subtle aroma of fetid grapes, corny biscuit malt, chlorine, cranberry juice and mint. I really don't want to drink this, but I do, and...
T: Watery wine like cheap fruit juice, biscuit malt, some caramel with booze, Marshmallows!, a weird wood flavor. Is this poisoned? I think it's poisoned.
M: Thin with a weird froth.
O: Holy hell this is a mess. Terrible, terrible drainpour. This is a barleywine like Natty Ice is a lager.

It doesn't taste like it was infected... it just tastes like they meant it to be this mess.

 647 characters

Photo of ChadQuest
2.47/5  rDev -37%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This one is a gusher after opening. Fair warning.
dark ruby red/brown body with a thin cap that fades out into some continent looking bubbles.
The aroma is on the dark fruit side of the spectrum, sweet smelling, with a hint of alcohol.
Taste wise it is jammy, dark fruit, and the cabernet barrels seem to have imparted their likeness into this one. Some alcohol is present, grape, and oak tannins.
mouthfeel is smooth and low carbonation, medium body.

The cab barrels made this one interesting and unique, it was really cool to see what they did, but maybe not the best style to use them on.

 594 characters

Photo of klipper
2.5/5  rDev -36.2%

Photo of Jspriest
2.5/5  rDev -36.2%

Photo of fatlabrats
2.75/5  rDev -29.8%

Photo of LordAdmNelson
2.8/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Pours a dark muddy brown color that raises a bit of taupe head. Smell is a bit odd, the cabernet comes through with some vinous qualities to it, but the underlying sweet barleywine seems to fight with the cabernet. Caramel, toffee, and a bit of booze is there.

Taste just continues the problems for me, I feel like these flavor combos make for a hot mess. The cabernet struggles to peek out from under the sweet barleywine, and when it does, the wine tends to assert itself as an off-flavor rather than an integral part of the beer. I just don't really like the flavor profile here.

Mouthfeel is thick and sticky, making this already difficult process more difficult. I can't really fault that too much, however, as thick is typically the name of the game with English barleywines. Drinkability is dramatically hampered due to the flavor on this one. They just don't seem to meld together. It's got some promise to it, but largely I thought this beer was a mess. I would not buy it again.

 990 characters

Photo of ajtorres311
3/5  rDev -23.5%

Photo of jacewg
3/5  rDev -23.5%

Photo of BeerThursdays
3/5  rDev -23.5%

Photo of MCDub
3.25/5  rDev -17.1%

Photo of csustar001
3.25/5  rDev -17.1%

Photo of kvgomps
3.25/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of GrindFatherBob
3.25/5  rDev -17.1%

Photo of nwatson
3.25/5  rDev -17.1%

Photo of harrymel
3.32/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5


Having just had the regular and BBA versions, it is time to hit this one up. I'm anxious.

Murky, dirty brown with a nougat sheet of foam. There is the slightest, bloody red ruddy tone. The base beer smells profoundly of cocoa, this one has a hint, but mostly I get oak, red wine (cheap red wine), some hints of a tannic, metallic tone. Honestly reminds me of the nose on many Oud Bruins I've had.

Flavor does not follow the nose. Sweet, malty; infused with toffe and caramel tones this is accented with some fruity character, but nothing tannic. Some hints of raisin and if I reach, a little bit of juicy berry, but that's a stretch.

Medium on full bodied with low carb. Somewhat of a velvety feel. I'm unimpressed on how the barrel impacted this brew. It's nice, but I would take the regular, unaged version over either variants.

 839 characters

Photo of watsonmd
3.34/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

served @ 55 F, bottle into snifter.

A: Dark, red brown, little head, no lacing.

S: Oak, brown sugar, not overpowering. Fruit, molasses?

T: Cabernet is very forward. Dark fruits, boozy, full on the tongue. Loose the barley wine characters in the barreling.

M: Dry, sides of the tongue, bitter lingering aftertaste. Much oak tannin lingers from the wine.

O: Different. Nice varietal, but not a go-to BW style wine. Will serve to my wine/cross over craft beer friends...

 472 characters

Photo of FosterJM
3.35/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

1672nd Review on BA
Bottle to Snifter

2010 Release

Split with my brother in law

Side by side by side with Bourbon/Cabernet

App- This was the color of a barleywine. A good and deep mahogany and tinged with red/browns. A bit of a cordial looking beer. A lighter center. Bubbles towards a 1/2" Had zero cling like the base beer.

Smell- This retained a faint note of the base barleywine and instead was more like a pure cabernet or more wine like than what I would say should be. Tannic, oaky, dark fruits and a bit of sweetness. Booze is very tame.

Taste- This was a pretty good barleywine. This was fairly sweet from the wine. A bit of sugars and booze. A good amount of malts on this one with a good amount of tannic flavors and a bit old.

Mouth- A lighter medium body with a creamy wine like flat carbonation. A couple bubbles danced but that was about it. The remaining flavors are of the oak and the wine. Not really picking up the maltiness or the citrus.

Drink- I think this was the least of the 3. The wine didnt do enough to layer but dominated. I liked that we did all 3 side by side. Its a nice beer, but not great. Probably wouldnt trade for this bottle again.

 1,183 characters

Photo of mcallister
3.36/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Slightly hazed ruby red with a nice off white half inch head with suprisingly good retention.

Muted aromas of date, caramel, currant, black cherry, hints of wood and a slight funky aroma?

Nice barley wine. Toasty oak with thick biscuity dark malts. Not overly sweet but the way I like a barley wine....english. Cab doesn't show through only slight notes of currant, black cherry, and bits of leather. A plum character on the finish. Finish is short and the beer lacks pop and resonation. Yet a nice drinker.

 509 characters

Photo of jzeilinger
3.37/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

In review is a 2010 Vintage.

A - Pours a deep burgundy caramel color with some yeast chunks (relatively few although it was carefully poured). Carbonation is light and steady and the appearance is very viscous as the glass is swirled.

S - The aroma is subdued with light caramel, toffee, dark red cab grapes, and some dankness.

T - The Cabernet lends some wine acidity followed with oak and underneath the two is a light caramel/toffee base. Wine presence from start to finish and ends with a subtle to moderate bitter wine bite. Alcohol is not at subdued and is boozy.

M - Thick medium body with a slight bit of wateriness on the finish, slick, and the carbonation creates very light pricklies but never being harsh.

O - It's interesting, 'not sure I would let the next bottle sit for 3-4 years like I did with this one. I predict this would be closer to the sweet spot in the 1-2 year range. Although not totally awful, 'just wouldn't recommend cellaring it this long.

 975 characters

Photo of bensbeers
3.39/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22 oz. bomber into a wine glass.

This is an interesting looking beer, almost resembling mud when poured out. Had a small head that did not last more than 10 seconds. Smell immediately reminds me of red wine (as expected), chocolate - Tootsie rolls to be exact - as well as toffee, apple and a hint of coconut. Taste is bizarre, yet still enjoyable. First thing I noticed is the cabernet, followed by the caramelly malts. Did not taste one bit of hops. High alcohol content definitely shows in the taste, due to the wine barrel-aging, in my opinion. Wine was a bit overpowering and masked the other attributes of the actual beer. Mouthfeel is actually quite nice. I was expecting it to be smooth and dull like a stout, but it was lightly carbonated and left behind a fruity, oaky flavor on the tongue.

Overall, I really enjoyed the complexity that this brew offered on the nose and tastebuds. I have only tried this style of beer once or twice before, and I think this is a nice interpretation. The wine barrel aging definitely throws a curveball - unlike anything I have ever tasted before, but again it's overpowering. Probably will not try again, but no regrets. Cheers

 1,188 characters

Photo of BuckeyeSlim
3.4/5  rDev -13.3%

2011 Release

Nose is really confused at first. Leads off with big red wine notes with toasted malts and dark caramels trying to push through. Bits of chocolate turn up. Creates a chocolate sundae effect topped with a big maraschino cherry. A fair amount of rough oak from the cab barrels winds up framing the nose as the flavors begin to merge into a cherry-chocolate-covered caramel. It's pretty much a big red wine / imperial robust porter mash-up. Toward the end of the bomber, the caramel malts finally take over, but the cherry only fades, never completely disappearing. It seems that, like wine, this beer needs time to open. Perhaps it's the residual wine itself that needs to oxidize and open.

Moderately toasted malts with nibs of cocoa are front-and-center in the taste. Dark, sweet fruits like dates and red cherries follow. Finish shows off caramels with a touch of silky light milk chocolate, but the wine leaves it dry on the sides of the tongue. The only hint of the ABV is in the full, solid body and rich mouthfeel. The issue here is that the individual taste components clash rather than complement.

Not really my kind of profile; I like the sugars, vanilla wood, and ABV from bourbon barrels over the cherry effect this one has from the cab. It has the structure of a well-made beer, though, so if cherry-chocolate sounds appealing, this approach may work for you. Working through the bomber also revealed an effect common with big, oaked cabs – as they warm and open, they move through various stages that emphasize different characteristics. While certainly not as pronounced, the end of the bomber found much less definition in individual components and considerably more nuance. I have a 2012 version of this beer I'll approach more like wine when I taste. It might not be enough to simply pour at a target temperature; the beer could well also need time for the wine in it to open.

 1,927 characters

Photo of Sanderson
3.4/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of ChrisPro
3.41/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Have had previously (and enjoyed it much much more), but reviewing blind on 12/23/11 as part of a "BA barleywine" tasting. Finished #5 of 6 for me.

A - Pours medium brown with a nice light tan head

S - Weird nose with saurkraut, dark fruits and a little vanilla and oak

T - A mild sweetness, then a little bitterness but has a fantastic caramel finish. Taste overall is a bit strange, but not inherenetly bad.

M - Medium body and sharp carbonation

O - Okay, but nothing special. Just not that good. The nose is slightly offputting, but otherwise, just a solid barleywine with unique barrel aging.

 601 characters

Photo of GRG1313
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of kbuzz
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%

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Heavy Seas Cabernet Barrel Aged Below Decks from Heavy Seas Beer
Beer rating: 3.92 out of 5 with 184 ratings