May 29, 2014

Breckenridge Batch #1 Barleywine

Well, this is a little embarrassing. Apparently, I’ve forgotten to post a review of Breckenridge Brewery’s excellent Batch #1 Barleywine. I had another review already to go, when I noticed notes for this barleywine that hadn’t been marked as published. I received the sample from the brewery back on March 11 and enjoyed it a couple of days later (as evident in the following tweets) — I hope that the old adage, “Better Late than Never,” is acceptable this time around.

My lack of a timely review is no indication of the quality of this beer. Quite the opposite. Looking back at my notes and archive on this site for that time period, it appears as though I was juggling more than a few samples from a variety of breweries and this one, unfortunately, got lost in the shuffle.

So enough apologies, let’s get on with the beer.

After just a couple of sips of this 10.1% ABV brew, it’s hard to fathom that this is the company’s first release of this style. Batch #1 Barleywine is cold conditioned for three months prior to resting another six in fresh American oak barrels. The effect is a beer that is incredibly complex in terms of flavor, but also one that doesn’t tax the taste buds as they try to decipher all elements. It’s a big, yet smooth beer and one that I hope to see on East Coast shelves next Winter.

Breckenridge Batch #1 Barleywine photo


Batch #1 pours a deep, dark garnet in color with a small cap of creamy tan foam.


Wood, molasses, dark fruits (plum, cherry), a hint of cocoa and a touch of alcohol come together wonderfully.


This is one of the more uniquely flavored barleywines that I’ve encountered. While most American versions of this style tend to lean heavily on hops, Breckenridge have crafted one that presents an array of fruit-forward flavors. Plum, raisin and dark cherries lead the way as molasses, chocolate, smooth oak, caramel and a moderate sweetness wash over the tongue. This is a full bodied beer that is softly warming and very tasty. With the combination of the fruit and boozy warmth, the beer presents a touch of a medicinal character late in the drying finish.


For their first, publicly available barleywine, Breckenridge Brewery have knocked this one out of the park. Smooth, full flavored, warming and decadent, Batch #1 is a treat of a beer. I’d love to see how the fruits change and the beer develops over time — sort of like the amount of time it took this review to make it on to the site. It’s never too late to enjoy a good barleywine, so be on the look out for a bottle of Batch #1 from this Colorado brewery.

Rating: 4/5

This is a review of a promotional sample.

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