Whitbread Gold Label
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Barleywine - English
Ranked #242
Ranked #45,957
3.21 | pDev: 23.36%
Whitbread PLC
England, United Kingdom
Very Good
Whitbread Gold LabelWhitbread Gold Label
View: Beers
Reviews: 14 | Ratings: 16 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of vinicole
vinicole from England

3.17/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

It's been years since I lasted tasted this beer. Probably around the mid 1970's.
Amber/orange in colour. Thick head which dissipates quickly.
Sweet and fruity aroma.
The taste is sweet and malty. Slightly metallic.
Initial surge of nostalgic happiness quickly turned into "am I going to be able to drink all this?"
I did but not again.

Nov 23, 2016
Photo of interzen
interzen from England

3.34/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

330ml can - 7.5%ABV, not 10%.

Look: Quite an appealing dark, coppery brown with a slightly off-white head. Not a massive amount of retention, some lacing but falls back to a foam cap fairly quickly.

Smell: Quite sweet, and slightly metallic although not exceptionally so.

Taste: Again, quite sweet - plenty of malt, oddly enough, and some faint fruitiness. I don't get much in the way of an alcohol taste, although there's a metallic hint in the aftertaste.

Feel: Not too bad for a barley wine - good level of carbonation.

Overall: I was given a can of this a while ago by a co-worker who described it as one of his 'guilty pleasures'. It's easy to see why - as such things go this is fairly easy drinking and a good fallback if you want to kick back after work without indulging in one or more of your 'good' beers. Good, not great, although barley wines really aren't my thing.

Mar 30, 2015
Photo of EmperorBevis
EmperorBevis from England

3/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Golden bodied with decent enough white head that retreats to the edge
Aroma is metallic and sweet
There's that in the flavour but since it was nerfed it lacks that nice boozy flavour

Dec 23, 2014
Photo of Zimbo
Zimbo from Scotland

3.18/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

God, when has this last been 10%ABV? This is the current Mark 7.5 % ABV, sadly.

Matched with the Sunday roast this had a restrained generic British barley wine smell and a clear crystal yellow brown copper colour. Head form easy enough and with some density but soon balds to a few stringy white whisps.

Malt driven with a body beyond medium this is smooth with a trace of buttery prune which gives it some morishness. Bit of a dull steely end though the preceding juice was a bit of a welcome surprise. Might have got more too had it not been so tightly filtered.

There's a good chasis supporting this beer which is just begging to be hauled out. Pleasant enough but needs to be pumped up to its former 10.9% ABV before we can see what this little Barley Barchetta can do.

May 06, 2012
Photo of fullsweep
fullsweep from England

3.39/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

330 mL can poured into a pint glass.

Pours a reddish brown with a thick red-tinted mostly beige head of 3 fingers at least.

Smells very sweet and slightly alcoholic. Picking up fruits and candies but difficult to identify which ones.

Tastes very sweet and yet alcoholic--very strong alcoholic aftertastes. Tastes of prunes and dates.

Mouthfeel is heavy, yet carbonated.

Low drinkability for me personally just because of the high ABV, although this is typical of the style. *Note* my can says 8.5% ABV as opposed to the 10% reported here.

Jul 15, 2009
Photo of BlackHaddock
BlackHaddock from England

4.1/5  rDev +27.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Small brown 180ml bottle with a 'very strong' 8% vol brew inside. Best before July 09, drank March 09.

Poured into a 0.2litre stemmed Budweiser Budvar tulip glass.

Deep amber colour, clear and clean looking, with a white foaming head that fell away far to fast for my liking.

Fairly sweet aroma, plums and pears mixed with toffee apple type hints.

Plums in the taste, dates and figs too, not really sweet, but there is a suggestion of sugar throughout the drink.

Rich without being creamy or sickly, sherry like in many aspects, slightly woody feel too, which adds to the sherry idea.

I know old lady's are supposed to drink this in 'snuggs' and back rooms of English boozers, but it is years since I have seen such a thing. More's the pity because this style will die in the UK if someone doesn't start drinking it soon!

Mar 31, 2009
Photo of brewandbbq
brewandbbq from New Hampshire

3.56/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Vintage 1996? Best before date of May 1997, 180 ml bottle.

Pours mostly flat, dark amber, and clear, until the dregs show up.
An exaggerated pour produced a couple dozen or so large bubbles of beige, which dissapated to nothing after the first sip.
The nose is less than subtle with syrupy malt and booze. Ethanol is quite apparent and is intermingeled with caramel syrup and malt extract. Honeyish and a bit floral, with citrus fruits, raisins, toffee, and whisky notes.
Mouthfeel is thickish and sticky. No carbonation to cleanse the pallet, and lingering residuals.
The pallet is fusel-like and malt syrup driven. Dark fruits and scotch underline the warming, alcoholic bite.
No detectable oxidation beyond the boozy profile, and a firm bitterness tows the line on the residual sugars.
Finishes with chipped toffee notes, golden raisins, blossom honey, and lingering heat on the throat.

Jan 24, 2007
Photo of GallowsOak
GallowsOak from England

3.85/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm old enough to have left my student days behind (long long ago) and be able to review this barley wine more objectively now. Then it was the cheapest way to get out of your skull, real park-bench stuff - who cared what it tasted like.

Now I buy it ocassionally and very much enjoy it. No, it's not a lambic, or a trappist, it's a simple mass produced barley wine, and if you like a sweet, strong tasting, and warming drink, there's not much to complain about here. I'll continue to enjoy it for years yet (I hope!)

Jul 14, 2006
Photo of wl0307
wl0307 from England

2.68/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Now at 9.5%abv. BB MAR 06, served cool in a broad-rimmed goblet.

A: light copper-ish hue, with a thin beer head fading away pretty fast; constant and gentle carbonation.
S: syrupy malts, malt candy, apple-ish and faintly honeyish note at the back; hop entry is at the minimum. Pretty soft and not overly done for a Barley wine, yet nothing too exciting about it either.
T: syrupy malts upfront buttressed by lots of creamy fizz, turning bitter and slightly spicy/gingery; residual maltiness with dryish finish in the background, underlined by but a faint touch of alcohol. But a slightly clashing, metallic mouthfeel stays in the deep end of the palate, a bit like that of a fizzy fruit-flavoured soft-drink.
M&D: not overly fizzy for a canned beer, and the lack of burning alcoholic feel makes it quite easy to drink especially given that it's a high-octane barley wine. But for this style the body is still too thin and the flavour too simplistic to be enjoyable. Not a quite impressive beer it is...

Mar 02, 2006
Photo of canucklehead
canucklehead from Canada (BC)

3.48/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The scores for this one are all over the board. I personally like the idea of a barleywine in a can ( at least having one example). This is no Old Crusty or even Thomas Hardy but rather a thinner English version of the style. The colour is mid gold and the nose is mostly alcohol and hops. The first taste is kind of harsh with boozy esters mixed in with some hops. Lo and behold the beer takes shape after sip number two; a balance appears with the finish turning out to be rather smooth. The alcohol is still apparent but more inline with the rest of the flavours. I kind of liked this beer as it became pretty drinkable. There is a big difference between this and some 8.6% euro lager in complexity but don't bother cellaring this beer.

Oct 31, 2005
Photo of Goldorak
Goldorak from Canada (QC)

2.65/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

We asked a friend of a friend to bring us back some Barleywine from his business trip to the UK, and he brings us back this. He paid for this stuff big time too, like 2 quid each.

Appearance: Amber caramel, with absolutely no head.

Smell: Mostly harsh alcoholic vapors, but somewhere in the boozy haze I was able to perceive what I could only describe as "British style hops", to give it a very medicinal aroma altogether.

Taste: Some herbal bitterness, but the hooch is just too strong. I thought it was a little too attenuated, it didn't have any malt profile or residual sweetness you'd come to expect from this style. From a canned Barleywine, I didn't expect much, but it could have been worse I guess.

Jun 24, 2005
Photo of Quaffer
Quaffer from Nevada

4.12/5  rDev +28.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Barley wine in a can (and an ugly one at that). I have to admit that this was the first time that I have ever seen this particular style of beer in that particular container. Generously provided by a group of Londoners touring my workplace.

Appearance: This beer poured out of the can (hehe) a very hazy, amber-apricot color. My shamefully rough pour produced only a one-finger head, but it was dense and slow to dissipate. A thin skin of bubbles remained for most of the drink. There was no lacing.

Smell: A very nice aroma. Strong apples and grapes combined with hints of sweet cherries to provide a solid fruity component. Caramel malt gave a nice bottom end to the nose. Oak and vanilla floated over the top of everything else, along with just a kiss of hops. None of the alcohol came through at all, which I found surprising.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and coating as it moved through the mouth. Nice and smooth with a light velvety feeling provided by some light carbonation.

Taste: Sweet caramel malt and toffee battled it out with tart cherries upfront. The oak and vanilla from the aroma emerged in the middle and really gave this beer some nice character. A little bit of bitter hops rose up on the finish, but not much; just enough to add balance. Some alcohol came through in the aftertaste, but not much considering how strong this beer is and the relative mildness of the flavor compared to the abv. Unfortunately, there was an occasional metallic twang in the aftertaste.

Pretty straightforward but pleasant. A great representation of an English barley wine. Definitely milder than its over-the-top American cousins, but very enjoyable.

Mar 26, 2005
Photo of cypressbob
cypressbob from Northern Ireland

3/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

330ml gold can, very cheap looking, like some sort of bum beer

Pours with a dark amber body, akin to a vienna/amber lager. Foamy head, disaapates soon after forming

Smell is malty, sweet hazy alcohol aroma, strong banana aroma

Taste is sweet and peppery, quite strong taste of alcohol, expected however as it is a high octane brew, slight metallic aftertaste though

Pretty average, little bit harsh and limited in flavour

Jun 01, 2004
Photo of rastaman
rastaman from England

1.32/5  rDev -58.9%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Really bad. Fuel, rubber, dirty socks and a cloying stickyness, all in the one beer, awful stuff, park bench sort of stuff. Horrible. Way too much alcohol evident. Hard to imagine they put much effort into brewing this. Ugh. Like a thicker, sweeter malt liquor. Still can't believe Michael Jackson writes a bout this with such regard.

Sep 10, 2003
Whitbread Gold Label from Whitbread PLC
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 16 ratings