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RATINGS: 456   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.57/5   EST. CALORIES: 345   ABV: 11.5%
Measuring between 10 and 11% ABV, depending on the year, this barleywine was Real Ale's first seasonal product. It is uncharacteristically smooth for this style of beer, as it is created with five different kinds of hops. It also displays a rich malt character, and the healthy portion of hops gives it a distinctive dry and balanced finish. Sisyphus Barleywine Style Ale, weighing in around 480 calories per 12 ounce serving, is not for the faint of heart. Makes a great nightcap!

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DocLock (11021) - Lower Pottsgrove, Pennsylvania, USA - FEB 3, 2005
Big thanks to fly for this. 2004 bottling. I was impressed by my first Real Ale offering, the rio blanco pale, so I can’t wait to try this one. I must sadly admit to not knowing who Sisyphus was. Beer mail me if you know. Knowledge is power. It pours turbid copper/orange, with a medium white head (certainly a much bigger head than most 11-12% ABV beers). Aroma of huge malt, caramel, tons of dark fruit, cognac, scotch, cabernet, peaches, cheddar cheese. I don’t see how you can give this less than an 8 for aroma. Tastes malty, fruity, with a firm, dense palate. The finish is on the dry side, with a big hop, cognac, and apricot presence. The finish is slightly acrid and dry, but complex. The alcohol definitely appears, but never overshadows the beer. This one is part Impy IPA, part Thomas Hardy, and part Full Sail barleywine. Me likey likey. In my opinion, this is underrated.

kp (10880) - Woodstock, Georgia, USA - JAN 22, 2008
UPDATED: MAY 11, 2008 Date: 01/11/2008
Mode: Bottle
Source: Trade
Vintage: 2007

Appearance: hazy dark copper, fine beige head,
Aroma: sweet dark caramel malt aroma with a nice fruity character balanced by earthy hops,
Flavor: dark caramel malt flavor, a touch of fruity sweetness is well balanced by a big earthy character, lasting bitter finish,
-------- /> Date: 04/05/2008
Mode: bottle
Source: tasting
Vintage: 2007

Aroma: picking up a spicy mint character in the aroma,
Flavor: lots of astrengent earthy flavor with a heavy spicy edge, balancing tartness to go with just a touch of the caramel sweetness,
Overall: not right
-------- /> Date: 05/10/2008
Mode: bottle
Vintage: 2007
Score: 3.4 to 3.5
Words: cellar party

Aroma: developing lots of ripe fruit in the aroma as the caramel sweetness is slowly drying out,
Flavor: dark caramel malt flavor with just a touch of sweetness, fruity character is slowly growing, earthyness is present and balancing but not over powering

Aroma: 7/10; Appearance: 6/10; Flavor: 7/10; Palate: 6/10; Overall: 15/20
Rating: 3.5/5.0
Drinkability: 7/10
Score: **4

alexsdad06 (10784) - West Chester, Ohio, USA - JAN 29, 2011
12 oz.bottle 2007 (from notes). Pours a hazy orange ruby with small white head. The aroma has brown sugar/maple syrup sweetness, caramel and alcohol. The flavor is sweet caramel, brown sugar, with mild earthy notes. The alcohol shows up as does some bitterness in the finish. Medium plus body.

cubs (10714) - Fort Collins, Colorado, USA - NOV 5, 2011
Bottle @ home. 2010 vintage. Cloudy, ruby orange appearance with a light brown head. Very rich, dark fruity, red plum, caramel, toffee, and booze in the nose. Very rich caramel malty, toffee, dark berry, piney hoppy, somewhat boozy flavor. Not bad but very rich and strong.

KyotoLefty (10675) - Kyoto, JAPAN - JUN 23, 2012
2007 bottle. Malty, cereal nose, citrus, orange, grains. Orange-brown color with no head. Delicious toffee and chocolate flavor, vanilla, butter. Very tasty, smooth and lovely. Well aged.

phaleslu (10652) - Cincinnati, Ohio, USA - JUL 20, 2012
2010 and 2011 bottles tried side-by-side. Got both of these as Texas trade bonuses in the past year or so. 2010 has a blue font on a bronze label; 2011 has green on dark silver. Both pour a cloudy orange color and have a small off-white head. The 2011 shows some definite citrusy hops in the nose, along with pine resin and some caramel malts later; 2010 has no trace of hops left, just toffee, sugar cookies, graham crackers, and toast. The flavors line up about the same way, with some hop bitterness and resin to the 2011 and the sweet maltiness in the 2010. Both are medium-bodied, with moderate carbonation. I like both and rate them the same and glad I tried them next to one another.

sebletitje (10293) - Enghien, BELGIUM - OCT 26, 2009
bottle 2007: pours cloudy orange, thin white head, golden lacing. Aroma and flavor, caramel malts, grain, light wheat and bitetr hops. Hints of chocolate, low carbonation with a sweet floral finish. 2008 bottle: same color, cloudy orange, head was a lot thicker. Aroma and flavor had more pronounced hop profile, a little sweeter than ’07 version, and caramel with a thin hoppy presence.

JorisPPattyn (10072) - BELGIUM - DEC 31, 2006
Vertical tasting between 2002 purple and 2003 indigo label
2002 Very smal rim over hazy orange-amber beer. 2003 Small to medium yellow head over brighter orange-amber beer with slight haze. 2002 Rich hopcake nose, fresh US hops, tad of liquorice and sugar syrup 2003 Drier nose, more cake, less hops and certainly less molasses too. A bit of alcohol. 2002 Near harsh bitterish hops taste, hops in a thick cake, marmalade but from something else than oranges. Ends retronasal on a taste that my wife calls smoked, and is more like incense to me. Warming up it gets a moccha character. 2003 Even richer taste, more concentrated cake, vinous, ends harsh too, near metallic, and a retronasal flavour of incense again. 2002 Thick, viscous-slick, pappy. 2003 Generally the same, but even thicker. Maybe alcohol more prominent.
Both very good beers, definitely the same idea, and I’d be hard pressed to say which one I prefer. Marks are an average from both bottles. Thanks for both, Dewberries!

MartinT (10036) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - OCT 12, 2003
UPDATED: MAY 29, 2005 (1-year-old, 2002 bottle)

Like a sonic flare, this explosive pine orchestra throbs frenetic, a palpitating hop organ devouring any thought of silence...An eminent cohort of cantaloups dallies forth, circling the growling core of alcoholic indiscipline, enticing the maple syrup bourgeoisie to salute the screaming conscience of pleasure...Triumphant, plurality is invoked by the monster citrus and the forbidden cacophonic tonalities are averted...8/4/9/4 17/20

(2004 vintage in 2005):

Juicy grapefruit and oranges are solidly grounded in the caramel malts and alcohol warmth...Earthy, resinous hop bitterness dance intensely with the orange rinds and fruity caramel...Another beautiful example of the style, if not unrefined at this early point in its life...8/3/8/4 15/20

(2005 vintage in 2005):

Floral, citrus hops proliferate to Double IPA levels, masking the caramel malts a bit too much for now...Resinous bitterness takes over the last half of the sip, treading over bubblegum sweetness...For now, this is a hop monster with a little too much carbonation and not enough sweet malts for my personal tastes in barley wine...8/3/7/3 15/20

bb (9789) - Alamo, California, USA - FEB 22, 2006
Draft. Amber beer with a nice off-white head. Sweet malt aroma. Rich caramel and sweet malt flavor. Lots of big caramel. Hops are enough to balance and not make it too sweet. Thick and full bodied.

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