Best Great Lakes area barleywines

Discussion in 'US - Midwest' started by BillHodson, Feb 16, 2016.

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  1. BEERschlitz

    BEERschlitz Initiate (0) Oct 13, 2013 Michigan

    People claiming that CW BBBW is the best are just crazy IMO. Definitely a notch below most of the others mentioned on here. Too hot and too thin.
    Corpsicle664 likes this.
  2. cl3

    cl3 Disciple (338) Aug 16, 2013 Wisconsin

    That is exactly why I prefer CW's Y2K. Great Barleywine flavor without the super boozy heat.
    BEERschlitz likes this.
  3. phildow

    phildow Initiate (0) Jan 6, 2013 Michigan

    I forgot about Saturn and BA Devil's Spear. Those both were definitely closer to the English style than most I've tried.
    Curious to see how the Devil's Spear and BA varieties age (I have 1 regular and 2 BA sitting on a shelf in the garage...)
  4. croush

    croush Champion (805) Mar 20, 2015 Illinois

    And others think you're crazy too. :wink: It's all so subjective. There is tons of love for Straight Jacket, and I really did not care for it at all when I had it on tap at their brewpub. I try not to judge too much based on a one-time drinking experience, but it really didn't make me even want to try it again (that's how I've felt about most of Revolutions barrel aged stuff, though).

    I did a blind tasting last year of Kuhnhenn BBBW, GI BCBBW and FW Sucaba (I know that one isn't a Great Lakes BW) and Kuhnhenn came out on top, with GI just a notch behind. The next night I did blind tasting of CW BBBW with Bell's Saturn and one other that escapes me, but I can't for the life of me remember which one came out on top there. I swear I had some notes for that somewhere, but don't know what happened.
    atone315 likes this.
  5. BEERschlitz

    BEERschlitz Initiate (0) Oct 13, 2013 Michigan

    Seemed like a lot to say when you're agreeing with me. :slight_smile:
  6. dirtyfonzie

    dirtyfonzie Initiate (0) Nov 19, 2015 Illinois

    third coast old ale
    spiteful's barrel aged belligerent bob
  7. westlaunboy

    westlaunboy Initiate (190) Mar 31, 2010 Washington

    I've never had the CW BBBW, but if the analogy is anything like CW BB Stout:Other BB Stouts, I'm totally with you. Way too thin for the style.
    BEERschlitz likes this.
  8. atone315

    atone315 Champion (893) Oct 8, 2008 Wisconsin

    That's going to be an opinion of the minority. CW BBBW is a perfect example of a barrel aged AMERICAN barleywine. Give it 1 or 2 years in the cellar and it is definitely #1 in the category. The only beer that I have not tried that might come close is Kuhnhenn's....I really want to get my hands on a bottle one of these years!
    robear likes this.
  9. bozodogbreath

    bozodogbreath Disciple (367) Oct 19, 2006 Indiana

    ouch! :slight_smile:
    BEERschlitz likes this.
  10. BeerIsLife11

    BeerIsLife11 Initiate (0) Jul 21, 2015 Indiana

    strongly disagree, but to each their own
    BEERschlitz likes this.
  11. SeanBond

    SeanBond Meyvn (1,131) Jul 30, 2013 Illinois

    I'm surprised to say this, but my current favorite (BA) is Moody Tongue's BBA Chocolate Barleywine. Barleywine's aren't my main thing though, so take that with a grain of salt.
    mychalg9 likes this.
  12. croush

    croush Champion (805) Mar 20, 2015 Illinois

    I just picked up a bottle of this today. I was shocked at the price ($9.50) I paid for a single bottle at shop I love. I plan on drinking it soon, though, based on what I've seen about it. It'll be hard to pull the trigger on it again, though.
    Palos likes this.
  13. westlaunboy

    westlaunboy Initiate (190) Mar 31, 2010 Washington

    Kuhnhenn's is an English Barleywine, so I imagine the profile would be pretty different.
    #53 westlaunboy, Feb 19, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2016
  14. RyanMcFly1985

    RyanMcFly1985 Disciple (340) Oct 20, 2007 Ohio

    How is BA Belligerent Bob? I have a bottle on the way
  15. SeanBond

    SeanBond Meyvn (1,131) Jul 30, 2013 Illinois

    It was $30 for a 4-pack (his beers tend to be expensive in general, I've noticed) and $8 for a single at Binny's LP. It's certainly a little expensive, for sure, but the chocolate comes through enough that I feel like I'm paying for quality ingredients, if that makes any sense. :stuck_out_tongue:
  16. atone315

    atone315 Champion (893) Oct 8, 2008 Wisconsin

    Absolutely. The OP didnt signify American or English, so I was following their lead.
  17. scream

    scream Meyvn (1,363) Dec 6, 2014 Wisconsin

    another vote for CW :grinning:
    BEERschlitz likes this.
  18. archiebunkerjr

    archiebunkerjr Aspirant (224) Oct 25, 2010 Michigan

    I'll throw out Founders Curmudgeon Ale. It's not exactly a barleywine but it's closely related enough that I will include it in this thread. JMHO, I think this is Founders most unappreciated beer.
    Robdiesel21 and grr32 like this.
  19. mseitz24

    mseitz24 Initiate (0) Jan 26, 2015 Wisconsin

    Drinking revolution straight jacket for the first time right now and holy crap is this good. I suggested CW and lakefront barrel aged beerline before but this is better. Also better than sucaba, helldorado, ddba and gi bbbw.

    Their barrel aged scotch ale is also the best I've had so I'm not surprised. I need to get my hands on some deths tar, barrel aged stouts are my favorite.
  20. kodt

    kodt Defender (662) Mar 6, 2013 Illinois

    BCBBW but only 2013 (or King Henry in its prime) is the best IMO.
  21. cl3

    cl3 Disciple (338) Aug 16, 2013 Wisconsin

    Had a Blackrocks Gnomas last night. I was blown away by how good this one was. Incredibly easy drinker for a 10% canned bw. If you see one of these on the shelf, give it a try.
    Robdiesel21 and LambicPentameter like this.
  22. mychalg9

    mychalg9 Champion (835) Apr 8, 2010 Illinois

    I've never even heard of this, where in WI can you find it?
  23. cl3

    cl3 Disciple (338) Aug 16, 2013 Wisconsin

    Not in WI. Blackrocks is a brewery based out of Marquette in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. They brew really great beer and totally fly under the radar. I was back home in Escanaba for a wedding this weekend an had the opportunity to try this one.
    Robdiesel21 and mychalg9 like this.
  24. dmbforever

    dmbforever Aspirant (284) May 8, 2013 Wisconsin

    To each their own. I think it's actually one of the best out there and can say that people that think it's not you said...crazy :wink:
  25. WesMantooth

    WesMantooth Poo-Bah (3,161) Jan 8, 2014 Ohio
    Society Trader

    Of the ones I have had that I can think of (other than Bourbon County)

    Straight up:
    Bell's Third Coast
    Jackie O's Brick Kiln
    Arcadia Cereal Killer
    The Brew Kettle Jackhammer

    Barel Aged:
    Central Waters
    Jackie O's Brick Kiln
  26. 4lokogod

    4lokogod Initiate (43) Dec 8, 2015 Illinois

    1) BA Beer Line Organic
    2) Straight Jacket
    3) Cahoots Amen (can't beat the $11)

    Begyle BW is decent, CW is better though.
    DMAN74 likes this.
  27. AstraXtreme

    AstraXtreme Initiate (136) Mar 21, 2014 Wisconsin

    Isn't the point of a barleywine that it's fairly thin (not syrupy), and still has the boozy heat? We're talking pure bold grain nectar.

    Thick stouts work because you're going for the roasty chocolate flavors that's complimented by a thick and creamy texture. A barleywine should be all about the caramel malts and not cloyingly thick and sweet. Personally I think that's where Goose really goes wrong with BCBW. They go too over the top with the barrel and thickness and it veers away from being a solid barleywine.
  28. scream

    scream Meyvn (1,363) Dec 6, 2014 Wisconsin

    I tend to disagree-sorry. For me a barleywine is heavy and thick. That being said there are not many old examples out there these days. I have not seen one in ages. The only ones I have had recently are CWBBBW and Goose. I prefer the Cw. In the long run it's all what one likes.

    It would be nice to see more -Old Ales- out there which would be somewhat similar. When I think of sitting there 15 or so yrs ago and having a Gale's Prize Old Ale at their pub in England at about 10 AM I think I was in heaven !
  29. Vnaald

    Vnaald Initiate (0) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois

    I've had a number, Barrel Chested, AmEn, Moody Tongue Chocolate, Central Waters, BCBW, Straight Jacket and others. I'd probably rank them from worst to best on that list. But my favorite by far was Bells Saturn, that was delicious.
  30. KBS

    KBS Disciple (325) Apr 25, 2014 Michigan

    Lakefront Organic Beerline

    Haven't tried straight jacket but looks like I need to.
  31. Nbrock24

    Nbrock24 Devotee (456) Mar 11, 2016 Illinois

    I am aware of a western burbs liquor store that still has Straight Jacket sitting on a shelf (1per). Ardmore location 2 if someone is looking to try it
  32. 77apm

    77apm Zealot (511) Nov 10, 2013 Illinois

    Not the biggest Barleywine fan but some of my Great Lakes favs:
    Revolution Mineshaft Gap-Cognac Barrel Straight Jacket (only 2 barrels have existed and hope it returns again)
    Revolution Gentlemen's Reserve Coffee Institutionalized (base beer of SJ with Dark Matter coffee beans)
    Revolution Straight Jacket of course
    Kuhnhenn BBBW (toffee and caramel goodness)
    GI King Henry and BCBBW
    Town Hall Twisted Trace
    Crystal Lake Boathouse Reserve BBBW (a local with almost no exposure but damn good)

    But I do need to give mention to Hill Farmstead Aaron. Way better than any of the above and well worth the cost to get it in trade at the time.
  33. LambicPentameter

    LambicPentameter Initiate (0) Aug 29, 2012 Nebraska

    I came here to make sure Blackrocks Gnomas got a mention. Great English style barleywine with wonderful notes of dried fruit and caramel. Bonus points for coming in a can.

    The rest of my faves have already been mentioned:

    BCBBW (pre-2015)
    Third Coast Old Ale

    Bolt Cutter was also good but I think a little past its prime by the time I got a hold of it.

    Witch's Hat also has a couple of nice ones: BB Fear Of The Dark (although it's almost a black IPA...) and BB Well Water
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  34. ddedhed

    ddedhed Guest (0)

    Jackie O's Brick Kiln Nuts is one of my favorite beers period.
    SixThousandDollars likes this.
  35. jRocco2021

    jRocco2021 Initiate (0) Mar 13, 2010 Wisconsin

    Black Husky Head Butter Barlywine. Reminds me of pretty things our finest regards if that means anything to you guys.
  36. FBarber

    FBarber Poo-Bah (6,247) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois
    Moderator Society Trader

    2015 GI BCBW - Im not shitting you, the unaffected bottles were great.

    Otherwise I enjoy FFF Behemoth.
  37. DMAN74

    DMAN74 Initiate (64) Jan 18, 2014 Illinois

    Straight Jacket
    Lakefront Organic Beerline
    BCBBW (13 & 14)
  38. Robdiesel21

    Robdiesel21 Initiate (0) Aug 6, 2014 Michigan

    looks like i have some new beers to search out!!! love me the barleywines!! agree with a lot of the above. GRBC philanthropist may actually represent the English style the best of any of them!! Gnomas is great and Boathouse reserve is a total caramel bomb!! so good!! thanks for this thread!
    77apm likes this.
  39. 77apm

    77apm Zealot (511) Nov 10, 2013 Illinois

    Glad to hear Boathouse Reserve made it out of the area! I sent a few out to buddies. A barrel program from Crystal Lake Brewing came as a complete surprise to me last year.
    Robdiesel21 likes this.
  40. beardown2489

    beardown2489 Devotee (487) Oct 5, 2012 Illinois

    Anyone who didn't say Lakefront Organic Barleywine hasn't had it. That beer blows mind everytime.

    Second teir would be Straight Jacket, The Murderous, and Lunker
    DMAN74 likes this.
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