Dark Horse Three Guys Off the Scale SOUR VERSION, Apparently if you ruin beer, you can just call it SOUR VERSION

Let’s clear the air right away: I love bourbon barrel plead the 5th. It is one of my favorite BB stouts out there, without qualification. That being said, there have been a series of questionable ass releases from those metal brewers up in depressing ass Norway Michigan. First, Fore Stout was a weird thin smokey mess. Then Borubon Barrel Mosnter 29 was somehow thinner, boozier, yet with a lower ABV than regular Monster 29 and was totally imbalanced. After I opened this actual monster, I figured I would work Dark Horse over with a bicycle chain for a bit in today’s review



Dark Horse Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine | 15.00% ABV (? I guess)
The bottle didn’t say, so I just assumed that the infected mess was similar in attenuation/bugs/vermin levels.

A: Beauty contest winrar alert: a beer this is. Look at that sloppy merlot mess. Are you drinking a 1500 bottle waxed release because the dead flat pour looks like you are enjoying some Kendal Jackson Merlot at an Applebees. No bubbles at all, it’s like a pour straight from a carboy, as lackluster as that dumbass new Jason Bateman movie, and equally predictable. The sheeting is clear and intense, with no residual sugars to balance out this imbalaced ass scale. And look at that janky ass label, was this approved? It looks like some homebrewer printed that shit off a HP Bubblejet printer, I had it in my fridge for like 4 days and the condensation already had that ink running like mascara on a fat girl’s face after prom.

If this is a sign of sours and old ales to come, I am out.

If this is a sign of sours and old ales to come, I am out.

S: Well I hope you like red apple vinegar, now mix in with your Melange 3. That is exactly what is going on here, there is this fusel cherry jolly rancher with a splash of a musky cabernet. It honestly reminds me of “accidentally” soured home brews where it straddles both genres so hard that it barely qualifies as either a wild or an old ale. Leave a fruit by the foot in a locker for a week, then enjoy it, you have just had Three Guys off the Scale, you won the beer game.

T: The rabbit hole goes deeper, take that classic caramel and nice roast from Hair of the Dog Adam, now go ahead and dump some acrimonious vinegar into it, but don’t even blend it to taste, just Bobby Flay that shit from shoulder height. The finish is intensely dry and I don’t know if it is oak or if it just busted open HSV sores in my mouth that I didn’t even know were there. It finishes with a taste I can only describe as “currency.” One time when I was a kid I clutched a bunch of dimes and went to the store and bought some candy, so sweaty ass coins and Skittles, that is basically what is going on here. Not exactly a panty dropper, even by Michigan standards, where a size 10 is literally a dime, that is top of the line.

Give your kids this beer early on, it will Uncle Donald their asses into hating beer.

Give your kids this beer early on, it will Uncle Donald their asses into hating beer.

M: This is dry, cracking, yet sickeningly fusel at the same time. The completely tepid nature doesn’t do it any favors, it just lays there and gets pounded like Ben Kingsley in Gandhi trying to get his vote on. I don’t want to pound this point home further but, there is no way this was intentionally sour, nor could it have passed the QC panel. I tasted “One” and it is a legitimate oatmeal stout, this, this is like if they left the brewing doors open and they let a bunch of disadvantaged Detroit youth try their hand at real world working times as a brewer. Then sold it.

D: On a scale from one to “call an oral surgeon” this is a Bluelady. If you don’t know what that means, you are lucky, this was incredibly difficult to finish and I even let it warm up and well, that was a mistake, this beer went HAM and was like “THIS ISN’T EVEN MY FINAL FORM!!!” and turned into a huge infected hydra, like most people’s ex-wives. I could barely get this down while watching The Room, I was like OH HAI DOGGY.

This beer is off the scale

This beer is off the scale

Narrative: Liz Wilkerson thumbed the elastic waistband of her Lane Bryant stretch pants and looked out over the desolate Michigan winter. She looked over the gazing starlets in US! Weekly and longed to be like Zooey Deschanel, wearing clothes that did not come from Fashion Bug or Tuesday Morning. She ran the tips of her fingers over the smooth fissures of her stretch marks, reminders of where she had been, and where she could not return. Life working at Michigan’s most esteemed winery was fine, for the 4 months of the year that the vines got sun, but the rest of the time she looked out upon the cold dead poplars and wondered what those tropical ass people in Kansas were up to, much less Floridians. She tried her best, but no one wanted her, at least not in her current state, she was on and off the scale, constantly mulling over her appearance, bemoaning other more beautiful girls, girls whose incisors actually made contact. She was big, sour, ungainly, and unwanted, and everyone in Flint knew it.


Alpine GREAT Barleywine, For Those Times When Good Barleywine Just Wont Cut It

Mad props to DJ Butters for this one, a long time wanter, first time drinker. I had this the night I got engaged, I was feeling GREAT. This beer calls back to fonder days of Alpine Brewing’s barrel aging program when it wasn’t managed by the Stone BA IRS oversight committee, too soon? Anyway, let’s start feeling hella GREAT so we can keep on dancing.

This beer is GREAT. The coffee in the background was just good.

Alpine Beer Company
California, United States
American Barleywine | 14.00% ABV

A: This is a turbid but milky little beast that lazily pours out of the bottle with low carbonation and zero fucks to be given. The hazy brown stares back at you and makes a nice little constellation of bubbles that foretell your impending doom. The lacing has a tough time sticking to edges because of the nice sheeting of clear alcohol on the edges pushing the malt crabs back down to the bucket.

This may originally be an English style, but ‘Merica be doing it more better.

S: This has a great smell to it, despite the age and the nose bump set spikes vanilla, caramel malts, oak, macaroom, light coconut and a hint of booziness that has been running the yard inside the bottle for years making people hold its malty pocket.

T: This beer is an automatic DUI machine. The taste has a slight hint of booze but imparts a generous amount of caramello, plum, dark fruits, and bourbon like a massive quad with a sweet entourage. I can see things getting dangerous real quickly with this beer, ex-girlfriends will be texted, the entry way will be soaking wet, these are all side effects of drinking Great.

This is a panacea for all that ales you.

M: Think of all the 14% beers that you have enjoyed over the years AND SHATTER THOSE CONCEPTIONS OF REALITY. This beer is exceedingly still and tepid but the dryness from the oak and malts balances out the sweetness amiably. It isn’t overly sticky, nor is it astringently drying, it comes off like a hug that lasts a little too long from a co-worker, but you’re ok with it because it smells like Rolos.

D: This is exceptionally drinkable and will wrap that Nissan Sentra around a telephone pole for you. Life upgrades thanks to Great. This bottle is small and so is your tolerance, even if you don’t think it is. Kuhnhenn BBBW could chill with this dude all day and they could tell mercenary tales about the core ass 14%+ antics they’ve gotten into. Again, this beer is a bitch to land so “drinkability” is relative to your Scrooge McDuck vault. Then again, if you still have several of these laying around, maybe you aren’t a Great person.

People may judge you for drinking an entire bottle of 14% beer to yourself, but hey, that’s your thing, you can be into it in the privacy of your home and it’s nobody’s GOSH DARNED BZNSS.

Narrative: Ian Ziering never thought that it would come to this. Just two decades ago he was riding high on life, starring in Beverly Hills 90210, loving the jocular stardom and all the pitfalls that Hollywood could bring. “Direct me to the excavation site Mrs. Gower-“ he commanded as a strode through the track home and into the lush backyard. A Labrador sat tied to a tree visibly curious about what had been uncovered. “Sweet Jesus” Ian Ziering gasped and fell to his knees “this is a seriously rare specimen, Yuban coffee can case, aging looks from the late 80’s potentially the golden Nickelodeon era.” Ian had become obsessed with unearthing time capsules. At first blush, it did not make any sense, and his small business model had several holes that warranted fiscal explanation. “You have quite the find here, notebook paper contracts from 11 year olds with what appears to be an agreement to always be best friends, Vanilla Ice cassette tape, Dino Riders toys. . .yes ma’am this is quite the gem.” Mrs. Gower was entirely unsure about what was so Great about unearthing these old gems, but standing in the presence of Steve Sanders in his aged glory held a special resonance.


Oakshire Brewing HELLSHIRE I, Hellshire II Chronicles the Story of the Outbreak

Now we turn our attention from Vermont back to the Vermont of the Pacific, full of greenery and tolerant, socially conscious people. Also, shortsighted artistic hipsters with no post-30’s goals. Way back in the beer timeline, people were super jazzed, Charlie Parker even, for this barleywine to drop. Let’s see how it fairs in today’s review.

Yeah, no pour picture for this one. Boo hoo, now you have to use your imagination. YOU ARE NOW A PART OF THE GREATEST GENERATION.

Hellshire I
Oakshire Brewing
Oregon, United States
American Barleywine | 10.00% ABV

A: This had a deep brown copper color to it with a great clarity considering the amount of frothy carbonation and lacing that it leaves on the glass. It seems pretty par for the course, not exactly turbid, not transparent, just by the numbers like a Jake Gyllenhaal movie.

This isn’t the best barleywine that I have had, but I will always ACEPT MOAR!!!!1!

S: The wood just leaves the bottle and the glass and makes itself right at home in the immediate vicinity. This has more wooden notes nice and boozy bourbon to it than most beers I have encountered, however the bourbon seems a bit imposing and overstays its welcome like basically every character in any Neil Simon play. There is a nice caramel smell with some vanilla and toffee, BUT YOU ALREADY KNEW THAT.

T: This beer dries and imparts a nice booziness to the palate in short order. Each sip is strangely overwhelming and alcoholic for its 10% profile. That’s not to say that 10% is insignificant but this is the life and substance of this beer: booze, oak, and caramel. It is a wire frame drawing stripped down to the component frame of what a barleywine is. I need some more padding before I get double stuffed like an Oreo.

This feels familiar like other BA offerings but unbalanced and strange. Kinda creepy.

M: This has a great caramel body to it that coats nicely, however, no one should smoke around you as you will clearly be a fire hazard. The waft of this is like rubbing alcohol that is somehow abated by the sticky wood and malty notes. Unbalanced, but refined, is how I would describe this beer. Take your Nova II and drop a 454 into it, allow your 16 year old to take it to prom. Post obituary results.

D: This is incredibly shippable, for long periods. Drinkable? I guess that comes down to how much time you have on your hands. Get yourself and old tymie rocking chair, and a Victorian porch, sure you could pass the days away sipping this and telling the neighborhood kids what words “used to fly back in your day.” But for the rest of us, this is just too big of a beast to control. That being said, please send me more of this, for the lulz.

If Martians came to our planet and saw us drinking this, they would assume we were bourbon cyborgs that ran on Kentucky tears.

Narrative: “Well nah….I aint no big city lahyuh!” Atticus Oakwood boomed to the ladies and gentlemen of the jury. “But I say, I say, it seems to me that if you exude negligence, then proximate cause is just gonna, I say follow!” The voir dire went almost as strangely. This man was clearly drunk each day of Trial, reeking of cigars and cheap whiskey, yet somehow, he could articulate the finer points of incredibly dense material. “See now here, hyennnnhhh, see now, if the perpetrator were using the oak resaw machine, wouldn’t the shavings land to the right? Closer I say to the barrel refinery?” Each juror nodded intently and breathed through their mouth to avoid the acrimonius cloud that was imparted upon them with each passing word from Mr. Oakwood. “SO THERE CAN BE NO NEGLIGENCE!” he declared triumphantly and the words resonated against the rich mahogany walls of the courtroom. “Mr. Oakwood, your methods are unorthodox, but I must concur, I RULE IN FAVOR OF THE DEFENDANT!” He wiped his brow and popped a Worthers’ Original into his mouth, just another day in the office for that old boozer Oakwood.


New Glarus Thumbprint Barleywine, The Perfect Beer to Drink Hours Before You Get Your Own Prints Taken

So, New Glarus has no questionable history of amazing beers. Aside from some smokey endeavors and a foray into fruit that I thought was tailored more to a Sorority palate, they bat 1000. So now one of my favorite alemakers turned out one of my favorite styles. You say what you want about Wisconsin but they know how to get Kool Mo Dee faded with the utmost celerity.

If this is 12% abv, then it needs to be pulled from the shelves. This is almost a product liability suit waiting to happen, protip: Google "foreseeable user misuse"

New Glarus Brewing Company
Wisconsin, United States
American Barleywine | 12.00% ABV

This beer looks like a manly apple juice. Dress it in flannel and buy a food dehydrator, because this is a burly beast. It will drive a Ford Ranger but you will still respect it. The lacing is like a 7th grade TP run and the generous white sheeting is, ah, you get the jist. The smell is tame and, for an American barleywine, I am missing the hops that are so extensively alluded to on the label. They also note that the beer uses “floor barley” which, I guess I missed that day of homebrew class, but whatever was picked up off the floor is delicious.

This is a complex beer that leaves many unanswered questions. Pic related.

The taste has a mild bitterness that leans more to graham cracker meets grapefruit juice with a nice malty sweetness on the finish. If you imagine cinnamon getting up in this mix, guess what, he JUST SHOWED UP. It ultimately reminds me of those east coast offerings that they like to call DIPAs but then modded with a sick caramel body kit and a pine cold air intake, putting mad malts on the dyno. I kinda like the light carb level, it’s like playing baby britches with a friend who knows just how hard to sock you, gentle but aggro at the same time. I saw on the news that a guy went missing Kayaking in San Pedro, I am not saying this beer was responsible but, I wouldn’t rule it out.

If they sell this in 4 or (god help us) 6 pack formats, may God have mercy on the population of Wisconsin. Godspeed to their livers.

Knock a few of these back on a weekday and you will be Gucci Mane wasted. Picture related. Weak ass 22 lbs dog could barley [sic] drink 3 of these.



But in all seriousness, I have wanted to tap that Wisconsin mana pool so hard. I am assuming they play Red/White deck for plains and mountains, but, hell maybe there are Islands and Swamps there, the fuck would I know. I love English barleywines, especially when aged in American Bourbon. However, this is that disagreeable hoppy variant, the old AMERICAN BARLEYWINE. Which I don’t dislike but, you just want the toffee and not the grapefruit, myeh, let’s begrudgingly review an amazing beer. So here we go, two of my vices coupled together in sweet harmony. Kisses all around. Also, thanks to Tmoney for this bottle, real talk.

Usually when I am looking for BB BW, I go to craigslist, not Wisconsin, but, same difference.

Central Waters Brewing Company
Wisconsin, United States

American Barleywine | 11.50% ABV

A: This has a beautiful ruby hue to it and minimal lacing, it’s like a Fast and Furious prop car that you know will tear your shit up but looks awesome at the same time. The wispy head leaves and attends to other business, but you don’t miss it after staring into that gemstone center that has a cut not unlike a 14 year old living in Wisconsin. Self mutilation jokes, we’re going there now.

Even this dude would feel like Ryan Gosling after drinking a couple of these BBW's.

S: God. Damnit. Well I guess, that needs a glaring asterix. This is, in fact, a dead on BB AMERICAN barleywine, but I am a fan of the more pale varietal with horrible dentistry. Notwithstanding, there’s a nice juniper and herbal aspect to this beer that sits on top of the bourbon waft like a platelet on top of a CELL THAT ACTUALLY CONTAINS DNA. I don’t get pissed about the hops but it’s more like, YOUR MOM SERIOUSLY HAS TO VISIT RIGHT NOW? SERIOUSLY?

T: Despite my bitchy impressions, the taste is awesome in the way that 3J is way more awesome than Richie. It is tart initially with a raisin front, nice pitted dates going on, almost a quad aspect, and you know how cutty quads get. The hops ease their way in like a barbershop quartet, but as Murder by Death opines, it is sweet Kentucky Bourbon for me. I ride out the foregoing until the bourbon shows up, wasted like Haymitch and the games are not at all hungry. I love the resonant interplay between the hops and the sticky barleywine prisoner left hostage to the hoppy abuse.

M: This has a significant amount of coating and drying at the same time that I would be a hater and knock it for but, wait a second, the mediator, delicious bourbon and butterscotch showed up as the mortar to this strange relationship. The bourbon acts as a MFT to this rocky relationship and smoothes out the jetty currents. It washes away clean and you wonder what all the fuss was about, then you realize, oh shit 11.5% and wait what, who left a Pizza Pocket in the microwave and why is the hallway all wet?

D: Alright you have a tug of war going on here between the drying hoppy aspects and the delivish bourbon that tells you to do bad things. I don’t know what ethical theory that you embrace, notwithstanding, you end up 1) drinking more than you should and 2) the small format makes you feel not even bad at all for selling your child’s Legos to obtain more Central Waters products. I am not saying an escort would accept this beer as payment but, with some artful presentation, bartering could be accomplished. It is that good and god damnit if you don’t convert some of the masses.

After a few of these bad boys, even the most outspoken Communication majors will be all up in Pan's Labyrinth.


I am leaving this narrative up for grabs if someone has 1) tried this beer and 2) is funnier than Kevin James. If you feel like writing a 250 word piece, go for it, see if I care, you can’t get less zero bitches, you cant owe people bitches. Spin the black circle.


Fish Tale Leviathan Barleywine, Leviathan enters the battlefield tapped and doesn’t untap during your untap step

Oh SHIT, Magic the Gathering jokes at the outset? Where do we even go from there? So I was in a local liquor store and I saw this dusty janky bottle with an unreadable label in the cooler and I couldn’t believe that they 1) had distribution of this beer and 2) they had the tiny penis format of it which meant it is a 2009 or earlier. The guy had no idea what it was and said it was here since “[he] started in 2009” and the price tag was illegible. He sold it to me for $4.25. Shit was so cache.

You would expect me to get all Biblical to balance out the Behemoth review and, well, you'll see-

Fish Tale Brewing Leviathan, 10% american Barleywine

I guess this shit is appropriate

A: The appearances goes to an English place really quickly and doesn’t mess around with a whole hoppy beautiful amber hue, fuck that, this beer just reaches straight for the shotgun and starts offing malt zombies. For the age, the beer has a mild amount of carbonation, but I am not trying to be a hater, some beers are born flatter than others, just as God intended. Flashes of light penetrate and show deep ruby hues but for the most part it is so amber that you wonder how your life got to this point, drinking old ass barleywine and typing on a laptop instead of doing something constructive like learning Armenian.

When I walked into the liquor store and saw an old ass bottle of barleywine with no price tag, I was all like-

S: I think that age has strangely helped the bouquet and enhanced the overall sweetness. The hops are long gone, those days have passed and all the hop families have moved out, leaving only the malty discarded remains. But sticky otter malt tagging is beautiful and the toffee, tobacco, butterscotch and gooey marshmallow are welcome here, despite gentrification.

T: The taste is timid, like a beagle that took one too many pisses inside and has been kenneled savagely. This beer has been kenneled for over 3 years so, give it some time. It imparts an initial malty watery paw that has a bit of hops and slowly emerges with a raisin and plum character but gets shy and lets water dominate again, until it finally emerges from the Petco crate and you see that this barleywine is house trained with a beautiful integration present. God damn I wish they had more bottles of this gem. They said there were 3 on premises but it was an archived inventory so god knows where the rest of these beasts are hiding, I would check the crawlspace.

Wait, so a world class barleywine, aged for me, for less than the price of a Coors Light at Applebees. What am I reading?

M: The mouthfeel is thin and the barley is a beaten, abused character that as a result makes sweet love to your mouth. That wasn’t an inmate joke but if you’re going to go there, I wont stop you. The beer is just so damn gentle and pleasant. I usually and the guy who wants to take a beer heads up and get socked up, but this one takes you by the hand and shows you the lanyard and hemp bracelet that it made for you and you can forgive the muted candy notes, the light dates and splishy splashy malt character. It is a shy child but entirely domesticated.

D: This is a such a gentle kitten, so domesticated from the years in the bottle that it makes sweet palate love to anyone who will give it a minute of time. The 10% abv might as well be Coors light platinum given how indetectible it hides within the water profile and just chills out, prison bitch #1. As it warms, those abused ass hops start to speak up in therapy and impart some high alpha acid residue that isn’t off putting, but it is good to see them coming out at all. Applause resounds for their breakthrough. Bottle prison is some serious shit. According to the commercial ddescription: “Leviathan rises out of Pale, Carastan, and Chocolate malts with monstrous additions of Chinook hops for bitterness and Cascade hops for flavor and aroma. This vintage ale finishes quite dry after a long maturation period. As it comes of age in the keg, subtle flavors of sherry, pear, and roasted nuts will develop.” They aren’t fucking kidding.

Even with age and time to ruminate upon the intricacies, this shit is still too complex for me.

Narrative: Levi Nathan’s eHarmony profile was getting no fucking love. Sure he was the heaviest bro on the water polo team but he deserved a hot Charlotte Rousse type of chick because his personality was so clutch. His dad was all like “Hey LEVI! GET A FUCKING JOB!” but Levi wasn’t hearing that shit, while shooting no looker goals he was like “Can you pull in the leviathan with a fishhook or tie down his tongue with a rope?” It was pretty evident you couldn’t wrangle this bad ass. Sure Levi had a matted series of bleached blonde locks and scaly tan, chemically destroyed skin, but fuck that, he was asking Madison Jergens to winter formal. He lumbered up to her all clumpy and collected and gurgled to her, ” Who has a claim against me that I must pay? Everything under heaven belongs to me.” But then that hater ass broad was super not DTF, winter formal or otherwise. Other dudes were clowning the shit out of him from the Trireme that they constructed and Levi told those haters, “Who dares open the doors of his mouth, ringed about with his fearsome teeth?” Then they knew he was super serial, and stopped fucking with Levi. When he got upset, people’s lives were ruined in an almost allegorical manner.