Barleywine suggestions?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by mtvolkens, Mar 23, 2015.

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  1. Preluderl

    Preluderl Zealot (508) Sep 27, 2012 Pennsylvania

    My favorite style. BCBBW is the ultimate example but there are so many good ones.
  2. lg64strat

    lg64strat Initiate (0) Mar 7, 2015 South Carolina

    Sierra Nevada Big Foot... Can't go wrong...
  3. Mshea805

    Mshea805 Initiate (0) Apr 12, 2014 California

    Love BA English barleywines. Sucaba, BCBBW and Central Waters bourbon barrel barleywine CW labels it American but I found the hop flavor to be very mild) as mentioned before are my favorites as well. If you have access to Central Waters distro you simply cant beat it for the price. I got a 4-pack of weyerbacher Insanity and I dont know if all my bottles are infected or what but I found it to be completely awful!
  4. DrStiffington

    DrStiffington Poo-Bah (1,857) Oct 27, 2010 New Jersey

    A lot of great ones on here. I'd add Victory Old Horizontal and Great Divide Old Ruffian.
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  5. NealCassady

    NealCassady Initiate (0) Feb 17, 2008 Michigan

    Can't forget Lagunitas Gnarlywine, great beer at an even better price.
    redrocker and ivorycannon like this.
  6. SawDog505

    SawDog505 Poo-Bah (6,770) Apr 9, 2010 New Hampshire

    If you are into hops you will love Bigfoot fresh, but set a few bottles aside for next year, so you can try them side by side. Also Great Divide Old Ruffian, Victory Old Horizontal, and Lagunitas Old Gnarly Wine all on the hoppy side, English Anchor Foghorn and Flying Dog Barleywine. I prefer American, shit almost forgot Stone Old Guardian.
  7. AndyEdgar

    AndyEdgar Initiate (0) Feb 2, 2014 Illinois

    Sucaba is relatively easy to get your hands on via trading and is IMO the best barrel aged english barleywine for the price. I personally don't care for American barley wines as they are far too hoppy for the amount of malt that is used in them.
    macesq and StartedwithSAM like this.
  8. beeragent

    beeragent Meyvn (1,100) Aug 16, 2005 Texas

    I completely agree with trying SN Bigfoot as a first barleywine! But be careful. My first night trying Bigfoot was awesome, then three hours later, a nightmare as I was unfamiliar with the higher alcohol and was sloppy drunk.
  9. TJSoundguy

    TJSoundguy Devotee (400) Jul 13, 2013 New York

    I liked Heavy Seas "Below Decks", but I don't think it's in production anymore. Among our group, Brooklyn's "Hand & Seal" has taken it's place.

    Love Curmudgeon & Third Coast as well.
  10. BMBCLT

    BMBCLT Poo-Bah (1,867) May 9, 2014 South Carolina

    Brooklyn Hand & Seal
    Firestone Walker ┬žucaba
    Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Barleywine
    Weyerbacher Insanity
    Weyerbacher Blithering Idiot
    Avery Samael's
    Deschutes Mirror Mirror

    Sierra Nevada Bigfoot
    Bell's Third Coast Old Ale
    Rogue XS Old Crustacean
    Uinta Cockeyed Cooper
    Dieu du Ciel Solstice D'hiver
    Southern Tier Oak-Aged Backburner
    Epic Barley Wine
    COAST Old Nuptial

    Old Ale:
    Founders Curmudgeon
    North Coast Old Stock
    Great Divide Hibernation
    Cigar City Warmer Winter Winter Warmer
    #50 BMBCLT, Mar 24, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2015
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  11. aucanuck

    aucanuck Initiate (63) Dec 18, 2010 Georgia

    I had some barely wines when I was first getting REALLY into craft and HATED them. Had pretty much given up ever liking them. A few years ago I was in Chicago and it happened to be craft beer week. Went to a bar that had Behemoth on draft... WOW! It had probably been 5 years since I had a barley wine and I could not believe how much I enjoyed it. Dove headfirst back into the style and it is now my favorite style. If you don't like it initially, you are not alone. But don't be afraid to give barley wines another chance at some point in the future. I think it is pretty common not to like barley wines right off the bat since they are so huge and, especially American barley wines, can be really aggressive.

    If you can find a bottle of Behemoth I would start there, seemed to work for me. For American bws you should be able to find Victory Old Horizontal, Lagunitas Olde GnarlyWine, and Avery's Hog Heaven around pretty easily right now. I second whoever said Clown Shoes Crunkle Sam too.

    For English bws Weyerbacher Insanity should be around but I LOVE Bourbon County Barley Wine. I will be so sad if they ever stop making it. The 2013 version is drinking amazingly well right now.
    TheEpeeist likes this.
  12. AndyEdgar

    AndyEdgar Initiate (0) Feb 2, 2014 Illinois

    Forgot to mention a few others of my favs:

    Goose Island - BCBBW
    Pelican Pub - Mother of all storms
    FW - Double DBA
  13. TurkeyFeathers

    TurkeyFeathers Initiate (0) Jun 22, 2014 New York

    DFH Olde School
  14. Donco

    Donco Devotee (486) Aug 12, 2013 Pennsylvania

    Love Olde School BW. This year's is even good fresh. But at a year it is fantastic.
  15. gratefulstu

    gratefulstu Initiate (0) Dec 9, 2006 Minnesota

    I really love barley wines. Definitely one of my favorite styles. I think Hog Heaven from Avery is a great one that is pretty easy to find. When I lived in Fl, it was regularly available. Its a nice hoppy american style, but not as aggressive as Big Foot.
  16. Kuaff

    Kuaff Initiate (0) Mar 31, 2013 Alaska

    Barleywines may be my favorite style, as they (at least American ones) often walk a line between really hoppy and really sweet beers, and I like that multidimensional quality. There's of course variance in individual examples, but in general English ones will be very sweet and malt-oriented while American ones will have a much greater presence of hops and bitteness along with the maltiness. I find that some American barleywines even border on tasting like malty imperial IPAs.

    Everyone's already named a ton of really great ones. For American style, I echo those who have recommended Avery Hog Heaven, Stone Old Guardian, Old Ruffian, and Bigfoot. For English, I would go J.W. Lees Harvest Ale or Mirror Mirror.

    And though they're probably hard to track down for you lower 48ers, I have to throw in a recommendation of Midnight Sun Arctic Devil, Alaskan Barleywine, and Anchorage Brewing A Deal with the Devil. All are excellent Alaskan ones!
  17. KBS

    KBS Disciple (325) Apr 25, 2014 Michigan

    Anyone know where to get the central waters BBBW in Chicago suburbs? Checked two Woodmans and a binnys and zip.
  18. Brolo75

    Brolo75 Initiate (0) Aug 10, 2013 California

    I'm casting my vote for Sierra Nevada Bigfoot, it should be available in Florida and its price is excellent for the quality.
  19. pagriley

    pagriley Meyvn (1,032) Oct 27, 2014 Illinois

    Came and gone over a month ago i'm afraid to say. Distro to IL was much more limited this year - most Binnys got 1 or 2 cases at best. I imagine there is still some to be had more in central WI closer to Amherst (where the brewery is) but otherwise, I haven't seen any for about a month down here. You might get lucky on beermenus but otherwise a trip up to WI or a trade would be your best bets.
  20. SonictheBeerhog

    SonictheBeerhog Initiate (0) Oct 31, 2013 New York

    2013 Old guardian by stone was my first and I have been hooded ever since.
  21. gillagorilla

    gillagorilla Initiate (0) Feb 27, 2013 Maryland

    Grab a four-pack of Freudian Slip by Evil Twin and then drink over the next 3 years.
  22. ponyyboyy

    ponyyboyy Initiate (0) Aug 15, 2014 California

    BCBBW is the best beer I have tried. Don't even start with it. It will mess up all barley wines in the future for you because they will not stack up against this beer. I'm serious. Ever since I had the stout, stouts I loved before are not getting it done. It made my beer snob pinky finger go crazy on otherwise good tasting well done beers that just couldn't stand up to the bourbon county beers.

    Old guardian has always been a favorite of mine but I do feel like it hasn't been the same beer the last few years. If you like Hoppy beers try the hopped version. The combination of the sweetness and Hops made my tongue feel like a hop cone after awhile.
    Lagunitas Gnarleywine is an excellent choice!! Great beer fresh and even better aged and prices really well for a barley wine at 4.99 a bomber. Fantastic choice!
  23. halo3one

    halo3one Initiate (0) Jun 6, 2014 Georgia

    BCBW and Bigfoot. If you're chasing bigger ones...ADWTD and King Henry.
  24. erushing

    erushing Initiate (0) Dec 4, 2014 Texas

    BCBBW is possibly my favorite "thing" in the world.

    Having said that, I absolutely loved Mirror Mirror and it's still sitting on shelves in Texas all over the place. I have no idea about Florida, but if it's turding up these parts, maybe it's everywhere.
  25. FaradayUncaged

    FaradayUncaged Initiate (0) Oct 24, 2014 Michigan

    Great thread, even more so when I've just recently posted about desperately trying to enjoy this category.

    I had never associated Old Ales with Barleywines...I enjoy quite a few Old Ales, so apparently for me that's my gateway into the style? If so, I need to expand within that category and then push outward.
  26. Lukass

    Lukass Meyvn (1,417) Dec 16, 2012 Ohio

    Bell's Third Coast Old Ale is one of the better American barleywines I've had.

    For English barleywines, I'd go with Weyerbacher's Insanity. I was not a fan of Blithering Idiot, at all.
  27. gopens44

    gopens44 Poo-Bah (2,423) Aug 9, 2010 Virginia
    Society Trader

    Oh dear. This is my beer weakness. my "beerkness" so to speak. Uinta Anniversary seems underloved, but available in FL, Bigfoot is always a crowd pleaser, Old Guardian makes me smile stupidly for hours, Old Gnarlywine is awesome, Third Coast is a must have..... And with exception to the Uinta selection, they all age very well (I cannot emphasize enough - do NOT age the Anniversary one from Uinta....)crimony, I could go on forever. Then we have the "old ale" category......
  28. smanson56

    smanson56 Crusader (793) Feb 15, 2014 New Hampshire

    Drinking a Jackie O's Brick Kiln right now and enjoying it not a big barleywine guy by all means but this one drinks really good.
  29. zappoman

    zappoman Initiate (0) Apr 29, 2014 Illinois

    Yeah! The Beer Temple still has 2014, as well. I pick it up each time I go there. It is amazing what will sit in Chicago.
  30. pagriley

    pagriley Meyvn (1,032) Oct 27, 2014 Illinois

    Or doesn't sit... There are cases of Mirror Mirror sitting around (awesome) but Sucaba sold out like a Hot Shot in Baltimore...
  31. Benjo87

    Benjo87 Initiate (0) Dec 27, 2014 Australia

    I've only ever tried one barley wine, Sierra Nevada big foot ale. I found it way too bitter for me. Not the back end bitterness that doesn't linger like a good ipa, this was upfront bitterness that was a bit overwhelming for my palate.
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  32. green_plastic

    green_plastic Initiate (0) Jun 2, 2014 Wisconsin

    CW doesn't get too far from WI. Waters
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  33. Tanktizzo

    Tanktizzo Initiate (0) May 19, 2014 Illinois

    Drink the the English Style! They are usually way smoother than the American Style which is more in yo face!
    hippieflip and StartedwithSAM like this.
  34. buckslayer50

    buckslayer50 Initiate (0) Feb 20, 2015 Florida

    January of this year is when I decided to truly dive head first into craft beer, and while building a custom six pack at my local liquor store I saw one four pack of Bourbon County Brand Barleywine for $23. I had heard how phenomenal all things bourbon county were so I wanted it but didn't know if I would like it, so I didn't want to drop $23 on the four pack so I included one bottle in my six pack. When I actually went to try it my girlfriend took the first sip and goes "Oh my God! That is incredible!"(she isn't a big beer fan and hasn't liked hardly any of what I have tried) Sure enough I took the next sip and instantly wished I had gotten the four pack lol. That one is awesome if you can get your hands on it. It's a style I am planning on exploring more this year, see Bigfoot, Old Guardian and Old Ruffian in my liquor store so I may be trying those soon.
    StartedwithSAM likes this.
  35. beermeplz

    beermeplz Aspirant (286) Feb 13, 2015 California

    Am I the only one who was disgusted with this year's Gnarlywine? I wish I liked it considering the price, but it was sickeningly sweet to me and just tasted off all around...couldn't get through the bottle. Any chance I got a bad bottle? I originally bought 2 but gave the other one away because I was so put off by the first one.
  36. TheBeerdedCharmer

    TheBeerdedCharmer Initiate (0) Oct 24, 2013 Pennsylvania

    I'm sure it's been said but Stone Old Guardian. It was my introduction to the style and I love them now. Once you get used to them, the variations they do are awesome as well. Specifically this year's Extra Hoppy and 2013's Oak Smoked (my top-rated beer).
    StoneBrewing likes this.
  37. DaverCS

    DaverCS Zealot (589) Dec 9, 2014 Arizona

    I agree that SN Bigfoot is the way to go. If you haven't had a barley wine before, I would recommend sharing it. If not use to it, they can be very tiring to drink because of how thick and flavorful they are. The first time I tried Bigfoot, it tasted like a very thick, flavorful IPA. Not a bad thing, but I did have a hard time finishing it because of that. Also make sure to have a glass of water (or maybe a couple).
  38. NewGlarusFan

    NewGlarusFan Initiate (0) Jun 26, 2013 Illinois

    For a barrel Aged BW go with Central Waters. Trade ya some for some Jai Alai
  39. humuloner22

    humuloner22 Initiate (0) Feb 7, 2013 North Carolina

    Olde Hickory Brewing just released an amazing Barrel Aged Englishstyle barleywine called Omega Point. The base is called Irish Walker, both are really good. Limited to NC and maybe SC though, but you might be able to trade for some. Also, for more readily available barleywine's Old Guardian is pretty solid as is Great Divide Old Ruffian. Sucaba is supposed to be amazing and I have a bottle but I am letting it age a little bit, so I can't tell you from personal experience.
  40. LambicPentameter

    LambicPentameter Initiate (0) Aug 29, 2012 Nebraska

    I hate to be the contrarian, but I would strongly recommend *against* making SN Bigfoot your first foray into barleywines.

    Even by the hopped-up standards of the American take on the style, Bigfoot is over the top. I love big, hoppy beers as much as anyone, but for the longest time I thought I didn't like barleywines because the first one I ever tried was Bigfoot. Honestly, triple-IPA seems like a more apt descriptor than barleywine for that beer.

    I would also avoid Bourbon County Barleywine for the exact opposite reason of avoiding Bigfoot. BCBBW might be my favorite barleywine, but like Bigfoot, it's an anomaly for the style. Not only is it aged in barrels, but those barrels once held BCBS, so it has some of those residual imperial stout characteristics that impart a fairly significant change to the beer. You definitely need to try this beer, but maybe after you've tried a few others.

    While I prefer the English style, there are plenty of American barleywines that are good. My recommendations (non-barrel aged) for a starter barleywine would be:

    Bell's Third Coast
    Victory Old Horizontal
    Great Divide Old Ruffian
    Free State Old Backus*
    Perennial Vermilion*

    *these see a pretty limited distribution footprint, but I'd be happy to help out if you were interested in trying either.
    CowsandBeer likes this.
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