Espresso Barleywine – Innis & Gunn (Edinburgh, Scotland)

Espresso Barleywine – Innis & Gunn, 8.4% ABV, 330 ml., (Edinburgh, Scotland)

on the back label:

This robust, oak-aged barleywine has been infused with coffee beans that have been roasted and ground to our own specifications. We’ve finished the brew with an infusion of cardamom, mace and cloves, to create a very full-bodied, warming brew, perfect for enjoying by a fire as the colder nights draw in.


  • Style: (flavoured – coffee bean, cardamom, mace, clove) Barley Wine
  • Taste: Sickly sweet syrupy liquid barley malt mace-clove coffee syrup gag reflex
  • Where I got it : High Point / Vancouver
  • How much: $4.15 CAD (after 20% off) – 330 ml., February 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: what?? no way

Visual: Pours very dark brown with barely any head, a centered island and ringed retention, sporadic fast and slow bubbles surfacing.

Nose: aromatic mace-clove-cardamom, soft roasted coffee beans, alcohol nasal tingliness. (lvl-7)-pungency

Attack: crisp, incoming heavy sugars, thicker viscosity

Mid-palate: syrupy (lvl-9-sweetness), alcoholic heavy, liquid barley malt, mace-clove-light cardamom

Finish: lingering gagging sickly sweetness, coffee syrup

Summary: All the spices are there as well as the coffee, but I find the thing to be just too darn sweet and heavy. I can handle sweet things but this particular brew causes a mildly offensive gag reflex near the finish. Not smooth and one of their worst that I’ve ever had – good aroma but ultimately disappointing.