Beer Review: Schlafly Reserve Barleywine (Vintage – 2009)

Beer Review: Schlafly Reserve Barleywine (Vintage – 2009)

Barleywines – The King of Ales

Barleywines, often referred to as the “king of ales,” represent a regal and robust beer style characterized by their high alcohol content and complex malt profiles. Originating in England, barleywines have evolved over the centuries into a diverse category that includes both English-style and American-style variations. These hearty ales are typically brewed with a substantial amount of malted barley, resulting in a full-bodied and sweet brew that boasts a higher alcohol by volume (ABV) than most other beer styles. The malt bill contributes rich caramel and toffee notes, creating a luscious sweetness that can be complemented by undertones of dark fruits such as raisins, figs, and plums.

One distinguishing feature of barleywines is their aging potential. Much like fine wines, these beers can benefit from extended cellaring, with flavors developing and maturing over time. Young barleywines often showcase a pronounced hop bitterness that balances the sweetness, while aged versions tend to mellow, allowing the malt complexities to shine. This aging process transforms barleywines into cellar treasures, with vintage releases offering beer enthusiasts the opportunity to embark on a flavorful journey through time. Whether enjoyed fresh or aged, barleywines are a testament to the brewer’s artistry and the capacity of beer to mature into something truly extraordinary.

Barleywines are one of my absolute favorite styles; and I can drink them year round, regardless of temperature. At the 2022 Atlantic City Brewfest, after just having won a 5K to get into the brewfest, in upper 80 degree temperature – the first beer I got was an 15% barleywine from Broken Goblet Brewing – and I promptly chugged it down, and then got a refill to enjoy.

Schlafly Brewery

Schlafly Brewery, based in St. Louis, Missouri, has been a stalwart in the craft beer scene since its founding in 1991. Founded by Tom Schlafly and Dan Kopman, the brewery has been a pioneer in bringing quality craft beer to the heart of the Midwest. With a commitment to traditional brewing methods and a passion for innovation, Schlafly has become a beloved name among beer enthusiasts.

Schlafly’s dedication to brewing excellence is exemplified in their Reserve Series, a collection of limited-edition releases showcasing the brewery’s expertise and creativity. The 2009 Reserve Barleywine is a shining example of their commitment to aging beer to perfection. Known for their attention to detail and respect for beer styles, Schlafly has garnered a reputation for producing beers that stand the test of time.

Brewing Process

The Schlafly Reserve Barleywine 2009 is a testament to the brewery’s meticulous brewing process. Crafted with precision and care, this barleywine begins with a foundation of quality malt, carefully selected to impart the rich and complex flavors that define the style. The use of traditional brewing techniques, combined with a keen eye for detail, results in a beer that can withstand the aging process and emerge with enhanced depth and character.

The decision to release a barleywine as part of the Reserve Series speaks volumes about Schlafly’s commitment to providing beer enthusiasts with unique and memorable experiences. This particular vintage has been patiently maturing in the brewery’s cellars, allowing the flavors to evolve and develop into something truly special.

Community and Innovation

Beyond their dedication to brewing exceptional beer, Schlafly Brewery has been an integral part of the St. Louis community. They actively engage with local initiatives, events, and charities, fostering a sense of community that extends beyond the beer itself. Schlafly’s commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility also adds an extra layer of appreciation for their contributions to both craft brewing and the world at large.

In conclusion, Schlafly Brewery’s Reserve Barleywine 2009 not only reflects the brewery’s passion for crafting exceptional beer but also invites beer enthusiasts to partake in a piece of brewing history. As you savor the nuances of this vintage barleywine, you’re not just enjoying a beverage – you’re experiencing the culmination of decades of brewing expertise and a commitment to quality that defines the Schlafly legacy. Cheers to the brewers who have patiently shepherded this beer through time, delivering a truly exceptional drinking experience.

Beer Review: Schlafly Reserve Barleywine (Vintage – 2009)

Schlafly Reserve Barleywine (Vintage – 2009)

Beer: Schlafly Reserve Barleywine (Vintage – 2009)
Brewery: Schlafly – The Saint Louis Brewery
Style: Barleywine – American
ABV: 10.2%
IBU: 40
Untappd Description: Our Oak-Aged Barleywine has a deep copper color with intense malt flavors and assertive hops for balance. Fermentation with American ale yeast allows the caramel-flavored malt to shine. After fermentation, the beer is infused with American-made Oak chips, where it is aged for several more months to develop its smooth, luscious character. The higher alcohol level in the beer allows the flavors to develop and mellow over time. Aging also creates raisin and port-wine characteristics in the finished beer.

Schlafly Reserve Barleywine 2009 – A Vintage Delight for Connoisseurs

Welcome, beer enthusiasts! Today, we dive into the cellars of brewing history with our review of the Schlafly Reserve Barleywine 2009. This vintage gem has been patiently aging, promising a sensory journey for those lucky enough to savor its rich complexities. Join us as we uncork the past and explore the aged wonders of this barleywine masterpiece.


As we pour this 2009 Reserve Barleywine into a glass, the deep amber hue immediately catches the eye. Its clarity is impressive, and a subtle effervescence hints at the carbonation still present after all these years. The modest but persistent off-white head adds an elegant touch, showcasing the beer’s longevity.


The nose is a symphony of aged malt sweetness, with caramel and toffee leading the way. Layers of dark fruit, such as figs and raisins, emerge, intertwining with hints of vanilla and oak. The aromatic journey takes us back to the roots of traditional barleywine craftsmanship, promising a decadent experience.


Upon the first sip, it’s evident that time has been kind to this barleywine. The malt backbone is robust, offering a velvety texture that coats the palate. The caramelized sugars have matured, bringing forth a delightful sweetness that’s balanced by subtle bitterness. Dark fruit notes dance on the taste buds, revealing the beer’s evolution into a complex elixir. A gentle warmth from the alcohol emerges, adding a comforting touch to each sip.


The mouthfeel of Schlafly Reserve Barleywine 2009 is luxurious and full-bodied. Despite its age, the carbonation remains lively enough to lift the flavors, creating a silky-smooth texture. The beer’s viscosity contributes to a lingering finish that invites contemplation.

Overall Impression

Schlafly Reserve Barleywine 2009 is a testament to the magic that occurs when patience meets craftsmanship. This vintage beauty delivers a sophisticated and well-rounded drinking experience. The interplay of malt sweetness, dark fruit, and nuanced oak character makes this barleywine a treat for seasoned beer aficionados and those new to aged brews alike.

Food Pairing

Pair this barleywine with equally rich and robust flavors. Consider indulging in a charcuterie board featuring aged cheeses, prosciutto, and fig preserves. For a decadent dessert pairing, try it alongside a slice of dark chocolate cake or a creamy blue cheese cheesecake.

Final Thoughts

In the world of aged barleywines, Schlafly Reserve Barleywine 2009 stands as a beacon of timeless craftsmanship. Whether you’re a collector seeking to unearth a forgotten gem or a beer lover eager to experience the evolution of flavors, this vintage brew is a must-try. Embrace the past, savor the present, and let the Schlafly Reserve Barleywine 2009 be your guide through a taste of brewing history.

My Untappd Rating: ****
Global Untappd Rating: 3.96 (as of 11.2.23)


This weekend we’ll be up in State College for Amy’s Walk to End ALZ. Hopefully we’ll be hitting a few breweries while we’re up there, but not sure how many as we will be very busy with the walk. We will most likely be eating at Ottto’s Pub and Brewery on Friday night. Not sure if we’ll get a chance after the walk on Saturday to visit any. Hopefully we will. Or at least maybe hit one on the drive back home.

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