Heavy Seas Cabernet Barrel Aged Below Decks | Heavy Seas Beer

very good
89 Reviews
no score
Send samples
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.

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 89 | Ratings: 181
Photo of ne0m00re
1.2/5  rDev -69.3%
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 -36.8%
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 LordAdmNelson
2.8/5  rDev -28.4%
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 harrymel
3.32/5  rDev -15.1%
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 -14.6%
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 -14.3%
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 -14.1%
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 -13.8%
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 -13.3%
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%

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 ChrisPro
3.41/5  rDev -12.8%
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 russwbeck
3.52/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Clear brown out of the bottle, the beer rests a deep brown to black color with really only a teasing amount of head. The head rises up late in the game and disappears before you can really appreciate it, leaving behind no lacing.

S: The aroma is really nicely blended, but borders on too boozy. Deliciously sweet malts, sugar, and dark fruits. Certainly some hints from the barrel: oak, and maybe a light grape character.

T: The taste seems to be a strange mix of not enough barleywine and not enough from the barrel. Decreased sugary malts from the non-barrel aged version and some dark fruits mix with oak and far too much booze. Perhaps the wine barrels just didn't impart as much flavors as the bourbon barrel did. There's just not enough there.

MF: A bit thin on the body, and low on the carbonation. The finish was dry and boozy.

O: For all is faults I actually didn't mind this. The booze and wine characteristics are pretty interesting. I don't think it's a great beer, but I do like it.

 1,002 characters

Photo of oberon
3.53/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into an impy pint glass a hazed amber infused deeper brown with lacey one finger off white head atop.Aromas were of oak and dark fruit mainly,caramel,and a a tinge of nuttiness as well.Flavors seemed to be dominated to much by the oaky-fruity flavors imparted by the cabernet barel's,I would have liked more of the nuances of the barleywine to come thru,oaky and deeply fruity with a little caramel malt thrown in.Its a pretty good flavored brew,I just want more beer flavor in my oaked beers.

 500 characters

Photo of Gosox8787
3.58/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 22 oz. bomber bottle chilled and poured into my Kate the Great tulip. Enjoyed on a cold, snowy night.

Appearance: Dark mahogany brown in color with some nice ruby highlights. Pours a one finger, medium brown head that sticks pretty well to the glass. Interestingly enough, this is slightly darker than most barleywines.

Aroma: Caramel, figs and more dark fruit. The red wine barrel character is pretty assertive and lends a really interesting red wne, grape quality. Some toasted bread and strong molasses character as well. Definitely some alcohol as well between the red adn the base beer but it isn't too heavy at all. Really interesting.

Taste: My first sip was almost completely cabernet. Tasted so much like wine that I almost had to do a double take. There is absolutely no mistaking the type of barrels used for this as they are front and center. The red wine gives off some fruitiness, a little heat and a bit of a dry finish. As this warms, the base beer becomes clearer and starts to come into view. Some nice caramel and dark fruit. Surprisingly light and drinkable. I don't think this base beer has quite enough flavor to hold up to the assertive barrel. A really interesting beer that is tasty, but it also has quite a few glaring flaws.

Mouthfeel: Lighter bodied than i would expect for a barleywine. The red wine from the barrels seems to give this a drier finish than normal for the style.

Overall, a really interesting beer with a strong barrel presence. The red wine notes dominate this at times and the base beer isn't quite strong enough to hold up to the wine barrels. Not a bad beer at all, but sometimes the wine is so strong, it takes over.

 1,685 characters

Photo of ShogoKawada
3.58/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thanks to.... AleWatcher, I think. Can't remember. Poured in to an imperial pint glass.

A- A murky brown with purple and ruby red highlights. Small but respectable sandy tan head.

S- Boozy.. brandy soaked figs and toffee. Noticeable alcohol presence.

T- Dark fruit is strong on raisin. Not sour but tart, for sure. Barrels express grapes several ways- mild brandy/cognac which is complimented by the English malt. Interesting and ultimately successful flavor profile.

M- A bit syrupy/sticky and lethargic. Would benefit from a bit more carbonation.

O- Weird, but enjoyable. YMMV. Not for the unadventerous.

 613 characters

Photo of crewfan16
3.6/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

2012 vintage. poured from a 22 oz bomber. thanks again to runner440 for some successful trading. been looking to crack this for a while now but no one wanted to share so i said to hell with it and decided to try it by myself. i have high expectations seeing as I think red wine barrels would work nicely with barleywine flavors.

a- pours a very dark black/ruby with a thin layer or off-white head that doesnt last very long. really dark for a barleywine, almost looks like a stout or porter

s- stone fruit, maybe like a cherry or plum, chocolate, oak, molasses, a bit of hop presense. not much cabernet character, maybe the slightest hint of some tanic grape quality

t- there is some wine quality. a slight stone fruit tartness, followed by a bit of hops, more molasses and brown sugar sweetness, oak, finishes with some cherry and a bit of chocolate. as it warms a bit more oaky wine-type flavors emerge, but nothing strong at all. a complex barleywine, but still strikes me as a bit strange for some reason that i cant quite pin down.

m- for how sweet this is, it doesnt have that sticky thick quality that some barleywines have. it actually seems a bit on the thin side. for 10% abv it is not noticeable. very drinkable barrel aged barleywine

overall, i have mixed feelings about this beer. the barrel characteristics are not heavy handed and are not terribly noticeable. Having had the base beer, i cant exactly say that the cabernet barrels improved it. a tasty beer, but as far as barrel aged barleywines go, there are others out there that I can get much easier. im glad to have some more to age a bit, but overall, it didnt meet my expecations.

 1,657 characters

Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.61/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

22 oz bottle into a pint glass. 2012 vintage.

A: Pours a very dark brown color with a bit of murkiness. The head isn't very impressive - not even a finger high (off-white shade), and retention is horrible. No lacing, either.

S: This one smells rich. Aside from the massive caramel, brown sugar, chocolate, and dark fruit the base beer provides, I get not only subtle additions of buttery oak and vanilla, but also a touch of red wine. There's a faint touch of alcohol, too. The barrels have done a good job of taking the edge off the sweetness of the regular offering.

T: It opens up like I expect it to: huge brown sugar and huge dark fruit. Afterwards, the barrel comes out strongly. The oak flavor in the middle is buttery and ever-so-slightly toasted, while the finish has a vague kiss of red wine grapes. While the flavor profile is very enjoyable, I feel like it's missing something extra to make it truly spectacular. I don't know, maybe the sweetness could be a little more defined or it could have a deeper profile. As it stands right now, I think this is a rock-solid BA barleywine.

M: Rather slender in feel, this eschews some of its bulk and sweetness for a cleaner, more tannic, boozier feel. Despite what the pour suggested, it's shockingly carbonated - once that goes, this becomes superbly creamy. Make no mistake, it's still overwhelmingly sweet and hard to drink. Hey, it's an English-style barleywine, this shouldn't be chugged.

O: Being put into (cabernet) barrels was the best damn thing to happen to this beer. It still hasn't quite propped it up into elite territory, but it's a good deal more enjoyable than the base. And it's cheap for a BA barleywine to boot. Hopefully this will be made again, 'cuz I'd pick it up for the purpose of aging it a couple of years.

 1,792 characters

Photo of gford217
3.63/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy caramel brown that shows through as a lighter amber. There is a very short-lived beige head that recedes to a thin collar. Not much lacing.

The aroma definitely has the cabernet presence with lots of red grapes and oak coming through. The underlying barleywine isn't quite as noticeable as I expected with caramel malts and sugar-coated dark fruits. Still, the grapes are what I come back to, almost like a grape juice.

Well, just as in the aroma the grapes from the cab barrels are present up front. The sugary sweet malts, toffee and fruits are there, especially as it warms. The finish is more of the grapes and it seems sweet, not quite as dry as I would expect.

The mouthfeel is light to medium bodied for the style and a tad watery, maybe due to the cab barrel. The carbonation is fairly low and the body is slick overall.

This is a decent beer but there's very little sign of the underlying barleywine. It's mostly just the cabernet barrel and so it lacks the complexity of the best BA barleywines.

 1,022 characters

Photo of argock
3.65/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz brown bomber into a clear glass snifter. 2011 vintage. Purchased at Market Street Wineshop (Charlottesville, VA) for $7.99.

A: Dirty dark brown with scant cap of off-white head that leaves no lacing.

S: The malty aromas of brown sugar, caramel, and woody alcohol are dulled by the sharp, tannic, red grape character from the barrel.

T: The grape character lends a lot more dark fruity sweetness. The oak is also more present in the flavor. The alcohol is pretty well-hidden but does produce a sharp note to cut through the sweetness. The base barleywine brown sugar and caramel notes are again fuzzed out somewhat by the sweet fruitiness and oak character.

M: Lush but with a sharp bite of the tannic grape. Medium bodied with low carbonation makes it a bit of a chore to drink.

O: A unique beer with interesting vinous grape notes on a reasonably solid barleywine base. I think the wine character is too strong and provides too much fruitiness.

 970 characters

Photo of Jadjunk
3.66/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

"This English style barleywine ale has been aged in cabernet wine barrels. Enjoy now or cellar it "Below Decks" as it will become more complex as it ages." Brewed in the style of an English Barleywine ale. Available in 22 oz. bottles and on limited draft. Released as a small batch variant of the annual release Below Decks Barleywine standard.

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle to a snifter glass. Served above 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

(Appearance) Pours a frothy foam head of a medium tan color over a very dark brown body with little transparency. Retention is below average and lacing is light and spotty. 3.25

(Smell) The impact of the Cabernet barrel aging is markedly strong in the aroma, with strong earthy tannins, robust vinous characteristics and a fully dry delivery. Like the Bourbon Variation, the barrel aging is certainly a main focus rather than a component, and the normal aromas of a barleywine play a very minor role. Potency is moderate. 3.5

(Taste) The Below Decks Barleywine components of grain malt, molasses and fruit syrups are strongly accented with the inclusion of Cabernet barrels, a very unique treatment in my experiences with barleywines as well as most barrel aged beers. Strongest in the finish, the barrel impact is very bold, moderate toasted oak and strong wood tannins, finishinglightly fruity and earthy with a mild vinous and tart grape finish, moderately dry with some reserved sweetness. The slight tartness stands out as a welcoming finish. 3.75

(Mouthfeel) Texture is slick, residual, moderately dry. Carbonation is light, generating a modest frothiness and a mildly crisp finish. Body is medium+ for the style, medium/heavy overall. Balance is slightly dry and tart over sweet. Alcohol presence is modest, and there are no off characters. 3.75

(Overall) Considerably more expensive than the Bourbon barrel aged and understandably the standard version of Below Decks, Cabernet barrel aging is simply not all that common in most craft beers, warranting no less than a sample of this beer for me. Coming out, it is my favorite variant of Below Decks by a hair due to the dimension of flavor impact it contributes to the base recipe. Even though this variation of Below Decks isn't quite rich enough to complement the flavor strength of Cabernet barrels, the barrel treatment doesn't sit entirely unmatched. I'd like to see Cabernet barrel aging make a more mainstream impact in other rich, flavorful, malt heavy beer styles, as the tannins, vinous characters and tartness of a flavorful red wine compliments this beer quite well. Stouts, anybody? 3.75

Heavy Seas Beer's
Below Decks Barleywine Cabernet Barrel Aged

 2,666 characters

Photo of DIM
3.67/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a: This was a coppery golden color and it poured with a medium sized off-white head. There were lots of suspended particles.

s: I've only tried a few wine barrel aged b-wines and this might be my least favorite. I found toffee, grassy hops, a decent amount of naked oak, and muted, musty wine aromas.

t: I liked this well enough, but it didn't quite come together for me. The toffee and caramel of the b-wine were subdued by the wine barrel, but still kind of clashed with it. The finish was dry, with oak, fairly strong heat, and light grassy hops.

m: Nice velvety body on this one.

d: Very glad I got to try this one but, this didn't work as well as I'd hoped it would.

 675 characters

Photo of JdoubleA
3.71/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Served in Maudite snifter

Appearance - Cloudy medium to dark brown, slightly amber. Head disappears quickly and leaves zero lacing

Smell - Boozy mild caramel, processed white sugar, some cabernet and wood notes

Taste - Almost cabernet-forward overall as it warmed, mild malty caramel and booze

Mouthfeel - Slick and slightly under-carbonated, but style appropriate

 368 characters

Photo of stakem
3.73/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From a bomber that I believe I found in a shop near the finger lakes in New York last year. Opened this with a couple friends for a side by side tasting with the bourbon version.

Poured into a snifter, this brew appears a gazed ruby amber color with particulate stuck hanging in suspension. A creamy finger of tan head forms and retains well. A swirl revives the cap and forms spotty lacework on the glass.

The smell of this brew is tangy with Brett. It smells of a combination of scents that include cheese, minerals, sulfur and citrus hops. The alcohol stings the nose. Underneath are sweet undertones of caramel malt that accent a minute amount of mellow oakiness and vanilla smoothness.

The taste is brett'd with a tangy kick that includes citrus hops, sulfur and minerals. There is a toasted malt flavor that includes some vanilla smoothness that is sweet underneath the more bold flavors previously described. The aftertaste includes bitter herbal hops.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. It is an interesting take on the style that is complex and enjoyable but in limited quantities. I'm glad I shared the bottle because I don't know how much more I could tolerate beyond 6 or so ounces. For 10% abv it is incorporated very well. I could see the cabernet choice of barrel aging here being something that is not for everyone however I enjoyed it. In the side by side comparison though, I favor the bourbon version as it melds with the base flavors moreso than the clashing cabernet.

 1,523 characters

Photo of lackenhauser
3.77/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Somewhat muddy, hazy ruby color. Ok carbonation, small ring of creamy foam near the edges. Nice "winey" aroma against a heavy malt presence. Vaguely cider like. Decent malty barleywine flavors with a good level of the cabernet mixed in. It actually goes quite well together. Mild oakiness. Somewhat astringent-probably the alcohol. Decent mouthfeel-booziness tends to add a slight burn. Nice twist on the whole barrel aged thing. Worth a try.

 442 characters

Photo of jrallen34
3.77/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

2010 batch, from the bottle poured into my Narke glass...A medium brown with lots of dark amber in the light, unique. A watery light tan head, not much there...Sweet aroma, distinct english barleywine backbone, but lots of wine comes through. Toffee, red wine, caramel, mild hops....The taste is pretty mild shows off the barrel more than anything, vanilla with lots of red wine. This barleywine was too light to hold up, but its qualities, but tastes good none the less.

I can't recommend this, but I drank the bottle pretty easily.

 534 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Heavy Seas Cabernet Barrel Aged Below Decks from Heavy Seas Beer
3.91 out of 5 based on 181 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.