Heavy Seas Cabernet Barrel Aged Below Decks | Heavy Seas Beer

Your Rating: None
Want it   Got it 
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 184 |  Reviews: 90
Photo of LambicKing
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%

Photo of carrollmel7
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of Jparkanzky
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of GrindFatherBob
3.25/5  rDev -17.1%

Photo of guillemiro
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%

Photo of JakeDebus
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of the38raven
3.91/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into white wine glass from bomber. Stored about a month after purchase.

A: Poured a hazy, muddy brown. Mostly opaque and oddly dull-looking. Thin, quickly fading white head.

S: A lot of wine/grape, with an underlying note of chocolate.

T: About the same. Wine and chocolate, with a distinct bit of alcohol. Some astringency at the tail end that lingers a while.

M: Slick, oily, medium thickness. Not a whole lot of carbonation.

O: Very interesting brew -- seems to be halfway between beer and wine. I like the fruitiness imparted by the cabernet barrels. Makes this into something I would almost call a "dessert beer."

 630 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 russwbeck
3.52/5  rDev -10.2%
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 argock
3.65/5  rDev -6.9%
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 pmarlowe
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage. Tulip glass.

A: Pours a dull, deep copper color, with rust around the rim, with a little greyish sand colored head, good retention and pretty and persistent swirls on the surface.

S: Lots of toffee, fruit (currant and cherry), some molasses, and in the secondary, oak, coconut, and sweetish red wine.

T: Caramel and red wine meld together tightly, supported by the wine barrel, the wine lending some subtle bright acidity. Slightly tannic on the finish, and very dry.

M: Light carbonation and medium-light body. Really light for a barleywine, which adds to the drinkability.

O: Really drinkable for a ba barleywine, and quite tasty, although the flavor is mild and not in-your-face. Doesn't show a single point of the 10% ABV; this feels like a session ba barleywine.

 787 characters

Photo of wagenvolks
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%

Photo of zaphodchak
4.24/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thinnish offwhite head, murky red-brown body. A bit of lace. Head fizzles away like cola.

Smells like aged malt, some grape must, and a bit of shoe leather. Awesome.

This is definitely on par with the bourbon barrel version-- sweet and slightly tart grapes take the place of coconut, oak is sublime throughout. The toffee and malt backbone is phenomenal.

Nice and smooth, but kinda lingers on/coats the palate, but this is only a slight negative. Just drink water afterwards (which is a good policy anyway).

This ends up drinking like one of the best English style barleywines south of J.W. Lees. And a hell of a lot cheaper at that.

 637 characters

Photo of VncentLIFE
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Soda like fizzy head. Eggshell colored. Very opaque brown, near black body.

the smell is completely dominated by sweet caramelly dry grains. The aroma fills the room as soon as you take the cap off.

Oooo the flavor. milky caramel, sweet grains, and toffee. The nice part is the cabernet barrel. Not so oaky, but it adds to the body, giving it a full this mouth-filling body that flashes in somewhere in the middle. The grape flavor is mingled with the toffee and caramel.

Finishes clean for a barleywine. Chewy toffee lingers around, and the slight bitterness stays on the back of your tongue.

 597 characters

Photo of Kromes
4.12/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A hazy dark brown with a thin tan colored head.

S: A big earthy and malty caramel aroma with lots of oak.

T: Starts very caramel and sweet and then fades to a nice vanilla and oak along with a sweet alcohol flavor and burn. The alcohol lingers in the finish.

M: Medium-heavy body with a good amount of carbonation.

O: I thought it was a good oak aged barleywine. Flavors are very nice and I think that additional aging would benefit the beer and help mellow out some of the sharp alcohol in the finish.

 509 characters

Photo of VelvetExtract
4.35/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-This beer pours a light-blocking brown. When held up to the light, there is only mild penetration. Despite an aggressive pour, the head is nothing more than a bubbly, disconnected peninsula of carbonate.

S-This is a very, very interesting nose. The majority of the nose represents the Barleywine aspect. This aspect of the beer is rich with molasses, brown sugar, and rich toffee maltiness. There is a hefty wave of warm chocolate too. But the other semi-substantial percentage of the nose is characterized by the Cabernet barrel aging. The aging lends an extremely pleasant vinous and earthen aroma dimension. I cannot tell if I am more intrigued or satisfied by the nose of this beer.

T-I may be equally as impressed by the actual flavor as I was by the nose. To me, this beer tastes like grape-flavored maple syrup. This has elements of: grape jam, brown sugar, toffee, tobacco, and tree bark. The Cabernet barrel aging really added a spectacular dimension to this beer. There are simply too many flavors to discuss. It is a bit rough around the edges, but I love the coarse finish of this beer.

M-Heavy body. Soothing carbonation. Alcohol is obvious. Sticky and syrupy. Dries the tongue.

O/D-This beer is very impressive. The Cabernet barrel aging added a shocking amount of complexity to this beer. Its a big, rough, yet deep brew. I suggest you try this beer. Under $7 dollars for a bomber too. The mixture of intense Barleywine sweetness and decorated vinous flavors make this beer an absolute gem.

 1,511 characters

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle - $6.99 at Olde Crabapple Bottle Shoppe in

Alpharetta, Georgia. 2011 bottling.

Appearance: Pours out a dark brown body with a short-lived, light ecru head.

Smell: Tannic-scented, oak barrel-laden, sweet-scented, vinously fruity Cabernet nose over the charred bread and lightly toffee-edged malts.

Taste: Tart, tannic, fruity, and reasonably sweet with the Cabernet fully taking the lead ahead of the basic breadiness, lowly roasty from the malts. Modest inclusion of hops and bitterness. Small spiciness from the overall alcohol. Just vinous and sweet (but not quite too sweet) throughout and into the smooth finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium carbonation. Slightly sticky mouthfeel.

Overall: While not a grand slam home run cue-the-fireworks beer, it is a marked, appreciated improvement on the dreary base barleywine I had over five years ago. Sometimes, barrel aging actually brings down the initial beer, sometimes it's a toss-up, sometimes it can make a good beer even better, and, sometimes, it can even revive a real dud. Consider this dud revived, friends!

 1,096 characters

Photo of marvin213
4.48/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Another especially dark barleywine for me, I appreciate the frothy head. Head with lasting power and beautiful legs that spread with a swirl, it looks oh-so-appealing.

I like the nose. I reach for more of a Cabernet influence, but something tempers that English-style toffee that predominates most barleywines of this style. I like that.

It's neat. There's more oaky dryness than is typical, and I attribute that to the wine barrels. In fact, I think it balances the barleywine perfectly. Many of us love beer so much because of the seemingly infinite ingredients, and I must say that the wine barrel-aging evidences that beers are the alcoholic cream of the crop! Can you imagine aging a wine in a beer barrel? It's its adaptability that makes a good beer go great. Again, it's the oaky dry touch tampering that sweetness that makes this one spot-on. A well done, mutiny style beer to which I'm likely to return--for me, the flagship of the Heavy Seas Fleet.

 963 characters

Photo of jsanford
4.21/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a Snifter. 2011 Vintage.

A - Pours a muddy mahogany with a short-lived off-white head that settles to a very slight ring and precisely 2 spots of haze.
S - Big, rich aromas of dark wine grapes, raisins, oak, brown sugar, vanilla, toffee, and caramel. Fantastic nose, already I'm thinking I may have to grab a couple more bottles...
T - Taste is right there with the nose, big, vinous flavors of red wine, oak, dried fruits (prunes and raisins) and vanilla, all backed up with sweet, malty flavors of caramel, brown sugar, and toffee. Incredibly smooth, I'm not feeling any heat from the 10% ABV.
M - This is the only spot that I can really criticize, mouthfeel is a bit thinner and crisper then I'd prefer, with a touch too-high carbonation. Perhaps age would help here, I usually like a bit stickier, syrupy mouthfeel in my Barleywines.
O - Overall an excellent Barleywine, I'm definitely gonna pick up more of these (and give the Bourbon version a try)!

 980 characters

Photo of jacewg
3/5  rDev -23.5%

Photo of abraxel
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tasted blind as part of Blind BIF #6, courtesy of mdfb79. It's a bomber labeled "Maybe share :)", shared with my roommate.

A - The stream is a murky chestnut, rather dark and opaque in the glass. I have to force a head with a vigorous pour, and end up with about two inches of pillowy, creamy foam.

S - Smooth bourbon smacked me in the face as soon as the cap came off, but with a silk glove -- no boozy bite at all. Lots of salty caramel and sweet vanilla, and I think some hazelnut. It reminds me of BA Old Ruffian, but I'm pretty sure the bottle is wrong.

T - Definitely a bourbon-aged something, but it doesn't seem like a stout or barleywine. The vanilla-y, burnt-caramel-bourbon layer isn't quite dominant, and there's a fruity yet slightly dry maltiness that I'm having trouble describing. There's almost some cinnamon? This is reminiscent of Old Viscosity, but definitely not it.

M - Moderately full, very smooth. A decent amount of tingly carbonation, basically no alcohol feel to speak of.

Now this one I've almost certainly never had. The bourbon character is really nice, and blends in well with the base beer. It complements without dominating. Both of us approve. Also, neither of have any idea what this is. I'm gonna guess that good ol' catch-all American Strong Ale.

Non-blind comments: Hmm, neither of us are even remotely wine drinkers, so I guess the oak combined with Cabernet made us both think bourbon. Oops. It seemed a little thin for a barleywine, but oh well.

Regardless, this was a very good beer I probably never would have thought to try. Thanks!

 1,583 characters

Photo of Hopfenpeter
4.42/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very interesting beer! Poured into my crystal mug, I was surprised of how cloudy the beer was. I almost wondered if it was not a spoiled specimen. The color was deep brown with a little red. A two finger high tan head was building and left ok lacing.
The smell was very complex and was dominated by dark fruit and especially by a woody, earthy flavor, like the sediment in a wooden wine barrel.
Tasting the beer those flavors are confirmed, but softened by some caramel notes upfront. In the middle the wine and grape notes dominate, and at the end some mild hops give some balance.
I liked this beer and would buy it again.

 624 characters

Photo of tclapper
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of hellcatsjg
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%

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