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Beer Information
Average Review High Score Low Score Reviews Tried Consumed
67 74 56 3 5 4

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John Barleycorn Barley Wine Style Ale by Mad River Brewing Company
American Barleywine
11.00 % ABV

Review by tavernjef on 03/31/10  
Score Appearance Smell Taste Mouthfeel Overall Impression Year
74 3 8 16 3 7 2010
Muted tawny brown color with a nice dense capping of solid medium height if not a bit heftier. The dark ivory foam faints slowly to leave a broken skim and skips lots of lacing in thin sheets and webby patched spottyness.

Aroma is a bit dirty with a soft muted tone of dark rummy dates and cherry. Touches of toffee, caramel, and molasses swirl underneath along with a slender warmth.

Taste is bit low key but has a very nice malt laden grip of soothing chewyness that sticks well to the cheeks with thick, dark rummy dates and molasses. A bit smokey in the middle with that hint of drityness noted in the aroma as well as some maple and brown sugared bacon. Tang level of the malts is very low and soft with a partial squeeze of orange oils and woody spice into the finishing areas as it warms with gentle glide of tingey creamyness.

Body is a malt centered medium with a lush creamy smoothness that carries a good chewyness to it and a nice twisting spicey warm finish.

Barleycorn is a pretty solid little barleywine that has a nice malty thick body with a touch of classy spice and warming to it. It's not as downable as some of the more caramelized yummy west coasters out there, but it sips well enough to enjoy a bottle or two of without much hassle.

Served In: Goblet

Review by SAP on 10/30/08  
Score Appearance Smell Taste Mouthfeel Overall Impression Year
56 3 8 9 3 5 2007
2007 Bottle; Sampled October 2008
A vigorous pour into my 25cl tulip glass produces a tightly beaded, initially three-finger thick, light tan colored head. The beer is a clear amber color that shows a brilliantly clear, fully red tinged, copper color when held up to the light. The aroma is a heady mix of caramelized malt and sticky hop notes. At first notes of toffee, sticky crystal malts, brown sugar glazed grapefruit zest and tangerine are most noticeable, but soon an herbal hop notes starts to play a much more prominent role. Aromas of pine needles and a grassy herbal note become more noticeable as the beer warms. There is lots of biscuit like malt notes towards the end as well as the warm, slightly spicy alcohol character one would expect to find in a beer of this strength.

Thick and viscous feeling up front, this is balanced somewhat by a biting, herbal, green bitterness and hop astringency in the finish that really lingers on the tongue for quite some time. While there is a huge amount of malt here, the hop character is definitely the more dominant note right now. Hot alcohol flavors towards the finish seem to exacerbate the harsh hop notes. Lots of caramelized grain notes seem to mostly get drown out by the herbal hop notes and the vodka like alcohol character in the finish; at times some notes of toffee sneaks through as does some light berry notes and a touch of citrus.

This beer will definitely still age for quite some time. The hop character is still a bit rough right now and the hot alcohol notes could definitely use some mellowing out. I expected this to get better as it warmed up, but it actually got worse, more hot and more harshly hoppy. This really ended up being quite a big disappointment; it really needs at least another two years, if not five, before it might start to get drinkable.

Served In: Bottle

Review by Tip Top on 01/01/08  
Score Appearance Smell Taste Mouthfeel Overall Impression Year
72 3 8 14 4 7 0
"Celebrating 2005 Harvest"

A - Pours a murky dark brown sugar colored body. Starts with a half inch, tan head made up of tight, uniform sized bubbles. Now there is only a whisp on the surface and a ring around the glass.

S - Big sweetness with toffee and brown sugar. Some bitterness might still be in here. Fusel alcohol.

T - Big bold sweet flavors of brown sugar, molasses, and toffee engulf the tongue. All of them come on at once. No real layers of flavor with them. Then comes some bitterness accompanied by alcohol heat. Maybe this could have used more time?

M - Medium to full bodied. Carbonation is fizzy and tickles the tongue.

D - This one really just didn't do it for me. It isn't bad by any means, but there are so many examples of the style that I prefer. Good, not great and still a little bit hot.

Served In: Pint Glass

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