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Old Cellar Dweller - Driftwood Brewery

Not Rated.
Old Cellar DwellerOld Cellar Dweller

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

46 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 46
Hads: 119
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 4.8%
Wants: 56
Gots: 39 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Driftwood Brewery visit their website
British Columbia, Canada

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  11.60% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BDTyre on 12-26-2008

No notes at this time.
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Reviews: 46 | Hads: 119
Photo of RedSunRising
3.34/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

2013 vintage

The first thing I noticed about this year's Cellar Dweller is that it is much hoppier than in previous years.

Pours a dark copper with a small off white head. A bit boozey, hoppiness balanced with a good amount of malty sweetness. Too hoppy for a barley-wine in my opinion, drinks almost like a higher abv double ipa.

Overall this isn't my favorite year for the Cellar Dweller, I don't think this one will get better with age, unfortunately. (457 characters)

Photo of Johnquisssssssy
3.43/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This 2013 is weird; poured from the bottle weirdly heady. Not as strong hop as before; but as soapy head and either unremarkable or ok. Much better than overly hoppy earlier but compare to 2014 it pales (202 characters)

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.59/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to MaxStout for sharing this one at jmgrub's tasting.

Pours a slightly hazy orange with a foamy bone colored head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, caramel, and citrus zest. Taste is much the same with an alcohol kick and a slightly salty flavor on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer but it smells better than it tastes in my opinion. (578 characters)

Photo of BDTyre
3.73/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice inaugural Barleywine from Victoria's newest craft brewery. Brown-mahogany-copper in colour with a thin, tan almost cola-like head.

Very rich malt smell with definite vinous and vanilla hints. Slightly one-sided if served cold, but as it warms, the scent opens up and reveals hints of spice, brown sugar, fruit and wine.

Taste is high on the malts and gives a good balance of brown sugar, fruit and brandy traces. Very low hop profile. Again, starts off one dimensional, but as it warms slightly, it becomes more complex, with the flavours floating in and out and interacting with each other.

Carbonation could be toned down a bit, and the high ABV (12%) limit this to a one-a-night beer. (701 characters)

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.75/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle: Poured a dark copper color ale with a medium size foamy head with OK retention and light lacing. Aroma of residual sugars notes with some warming alcohol notes and some light caramel and toffee notes. Taste is also dominated by caramel malt with light woody notes with port and some light warming alcohol notes. Body is not as full as expected with good carbonation. Well brewed thought maybe a tad too much alcohol is apparent. (436 characters)

Photo of nmann08
3.83/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

2011 Vintage

From a bottle, pours a very cloudy light reddish brown. Foamy off white head sits and lasts a while.

The nose is citrus forward, good malt character. A little toffee and sweet caramel. This smells a bit boozy, but lots of hop character. At 3 years old, this smells really hot.

The flavor is citrus an floral hops, caramel, a little fruit, pretty hoppy still. There is a lot of alcohol... Lots of booze. Good finish, a bit sweet. Sugary aftertaste. Thi is pretty good. Had to double check that it was a 2011 since there is still a lot of hops an the alcohol hasn't toned down. (600 characters)

Photo of DaftCaskBC
3.83/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Casked at the Alibi Room in Vancouver.

A: 1/4" tan head over amber liquid.

S: Pine and citrus hops.

T: The nutty malt taste that many Phillips and Driftwood beers have is quite concentrated in this one. In small doses I enjoy it, but in both of their barleywines it becomes too much for me. This is complemented by citrus and pine hop flavours.

M: Thick viscosity and medium carbonation.

O: Thick and full of rich complex flavours. (436 characters)

Photo of maximum12
3.88/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Rutager for sending me this bottle as well as its barrel-dwelling brother in a receipt of great-looking Canadian beers. 22 oz. bottle split with my wife after a not-so-good start to the evening.

For the second straight bottle I almost have to use a broadsword to remove the wax & get to the bottle cap. Why, why, why? It's an oxygen barrier, not a recreation of the Berlin Wall. Pour has a touch of carbonation, & looks like a horse track after a passing thundershower. Nose is quiet: caramel, toffee, sweet malts.

Old Cellar Dweller is a boozy shot to the nether regions. Alcohol slips almost unnoticed down the throat, before stomping its warm boots all over the inside of my chest. There's some taste here too; lovely caramel & toffee. Brown sugar overload adds to the sweetness. Odd, nice, unfocused fruitiness lingers in the middle. Nice light hop bitterness at the end. My brain is starting to marinate. I like it.

Simple, sweet, straightforward, & enough alcohol to kill the flu virus. Sometimes simple is best. This is one of those times. Very good beer. (1,078 characters)

Photo of CookstLiquor
3.9/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2013 vintage. Poured from a 650 ml bottle. Pours a surprisingly bright lager yellow colour. Nose is dank with herbaceous notes of cannabis, resin and lemon. Taste is similarly unusual for a barley wine with big hop notes of marmalade, resin, and overripe fruit as well as a huge malty sweetness. Punishing bitter finish. Very boozy and, I suspect, bigger than 11.6% ABV. (370 characters)

Photo of papat444
3.95/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

***2010 Vintage***

Thanks to glouglouburp (ratebeer) for this one.

Poured from a 650ml. bottle and split with my wife.

Appearance: Burnished light copper is the color of the body with a nice thick head that latches a bit to the sides.

Smell: Burnt sugar, caramel, malt candy, fleshy fruit and dare i say hops?

Taste: Wow, that's sweet baby! Sweet malt, a rustic feel, intense, bitter orange flesh that reminds me of hops a bit. Sugar throttles in the middle right through the end bringing with it some leafy herb bitterness.

Mouthfeel: The feel is long and it just rakes the palate yet doesn't quite rip it apart thankfully.

Overall: Not for the faint of heart and it needs to be shared. Still, i enjoyed this one quite well. (732 characters)

Photo of barleywinefiend
3.97/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured an amberish color with good carbonation presenting a dirty white cap.

S: Pine, faded and old orange peel,s with toffee, booz and faded caramel.

T: Sordove nutty with toffee, some cramael, light pine and citrus backed with booze and s very bland, sticky, bitter and coating taste on the end

M: Well carbonated but a bit thin and boozy

O: Good, but in no way does this beer match the sticker price (409 characters)

Photo of StJamesGate
3.99/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cola coloured with amber highlights and a film of taupe that trails.
Toffee, woody brandy, dried orange peel, and Marmite on the nose - lots of candy sweetness.
Black rye, treacle, and licorice up front, some chocolate bark, a hit of pine tar, then more dried orange rind hops.
Pledge (citrus, oil, and solvent) finish and humming oily linger.
Medium to full, lots of chew, oily.

Big and mellow. Hops are faded a bit but the IBUs are still there. A bit dark to start for my tastes, but ends up with a bit of a Terry's Chocolate Orange (Dark) going on.

Definitely one for by the fire. (591 characters)

Photo of MasterSki
4.02/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to ChrisPro for sharing this one. Served in a tulip.

A - A hard pour rouses a thin tan foam that settles to wisps and a thin collar. Transparent amber-orange body.

S - This must be fresh, as the Columbus hops are front and center here, imparting earthy and spicy notes with perhaps a touch of orange. Underneath there is a hefty caramel and brown sugar malt backbone that has a slightly burnt character to it.

T - The malt steps up, with more of a bready character and a tad less sugary flavor. Hops add a mild herbal flavor but mostly contribute bitterness in the finish. Gets sweeter as it approaches room temperature, but thankfully never gets cloying.

M - Smooth, lightly toasty, texture, medium-full body, with lower carbonation, and surprisingly little heat for the listed 14%.

D - This is definitely a sipper, between the high alcohol and the fatiguing hop bitterness. If you like barleywines in the Bigfoot tradition you'll probably dig this, but if you prefer sweet barleywines I'd recommend sitting on this for a year or two. Unfortunately my tastes tend toward the latter. (1,095 characters)

Photo of Sammy
4.05/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very tasty stuff. The alcohol is well hidden but warms as you sip ourself through the bottle. Rich malt, fairly high IBU, lots of citrus flavour. This is several months old and may be even more interesting with a few years behind it.Full mouthfeel.
Thanks Rutager. (264 characters)

Photo of MBrausen
4.07/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Dougofthefuture for holding this tasting!

Poured from a bomber into a snifter

A. Red yellowish hue, light foaming, retained a thin head

S. Smells of sweet pine, fruit and and hops

T. Very hoppy for a barleywine, sweet with a tiny bit of booze, a little passion fruit and a tiny bit bitter

M. Medium body, dry all the way through, with a coarse finish

O. Not a bad beer, ripe and sweet, but not something I would keep around. A bit too tart and sweet, not really a barleywine to me. Much more like a hoppy IPA. (525 characters)

Photo of jrenihan
4.07/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2010 Vintage.

Beer is orange/caramel in colour, with a minimal white head that dissipates quickly.

Smell contains caramel and bread, and seems sweet. Very malty. A bit of fruit. Fairly simply but good, quite rich.

Taste contains caramel, bread and some fruit (apple, a hint of cherry). Booze. Sweet. but not insanely so. It tastes as if there was a strong hop component when bottled, but only traces of that are present now, a very slight bitter element.

Full bodied, low to moderate carbonation. Sticky but fairly smooth.

Overall, very good. (548 characters)

Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2300th review! 22 ounce bottle into snifter, 2011 vintage. Pours lightly hazy deep ruby red color with a 2 finger dense and rocky khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a good amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big raisin, caramel, toast, toffee, brown sugar, brown bread, orange peel, floral, grass, pine, herbal, and floral/toasted earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/bready malt and citrus/floral hop notes; with great strength. Taste of big raisin, caramel, toast, brown sugar, brown bread, toffee, orange peel, floral, grass, pine, herbal, and floral/toasted earthiness. Fair amount of floral/pine bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of raisin, caramel, toast, brown sugar, brown bread, toffee, orange peel, floral, grass, pine, herbal, and floral/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Very nice complexity and balance of dark/bready malt and citrus/floral/pine hop flavors; with a great sweetness/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a smooth and moderately slick/sticky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with only a small warming present after the finish. Overall this is an excellent barleywine. All around great balance and complexity of dark/bready malt and citrus/floral/pine hop flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the big ABV. A very enjoyable offering. (1,506 characters)

Photo of Coronaeus
4.1/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

2014 - 13.1% ABV - 650 ml bottle.

A: Deep reddish amber. Negligible head that disappears quickly to a millimetre at most.

S: Sweet syrupy aroma. Mild alcohol. Hint of citrus.

T: Heavy alcohol that hits you off the bat. Surprising hop bitterness that blends nicely with the sweet malt backbone.

F: Thinner than expected with more carbonation than the average barleywine.

O: The alcohol is a little too pronounced for my taste, but the rest of the beer is quite pleasant. Definitely a slow sipper. I prefer English barleywines generally, but would be happy to give this another go with future vintages. Pleased to have received this in a trade from Corson. (671 characters)

Photo of draheim
4.11/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

22oz (2011) into a tulip. Pours a crystal-clear amber w/ a minimal beige head.

Aroma is mostly caramel malt and floral hops. Some light toffee.

Taste is caramelly and sweet, malty, balanced by floral/bitter hops.

Mouthfeel is full bodied and smooth, satisfying.

Overall a pretty good barleywine but, at about $20 as I recall, not that good. Kind of similar to Stone Double Bastard actually. (394 characters)

Photo of FondueVoodoo
4.12/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

***2008 Vintage***
For my 100th review on Beer Advocate we're breaking out a gem.

A: A solid chestnut brown, a bit tawny and ruddy hazed brew with a hint of lacing and variable bubbles, each glass has an island of foam adorning the top.

S: Scent of fruit cake, deep malts, dark dried fruits of raisins, dates and currents and an alcohol ester similar to a dark rum. Some notes of acrid dark coffee and sweet from start to finish.

T: The fruitcake taste is still there with rum raisins especially. Dark acrid coffee with deep dark toffee, not as sweet as the nose would suggest. Alcohol does show through - but that's reasonable at 12%. Really hangs on at the end with an acrid dry flavour that clings to the sides of the tongue.

M: Burst of fizz at the front of the palate, with a pleasant coating throughout the drink that allows those flavours linger. Alcohol esters are vaporized, giving a small amount of heat.

O: Great sipper that is best enjoyed slowly with great cheese, the saltiness allows the sweeter notes to develop. Would be great to try a vertical tasting of OCD vintages to see how it develops in the bottle. (1,132 characters)

Photo of Derek
4.15/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Copper-brown with a light tan head, good retention & lacing.

S: Toffee, apricot, brown sugar, tangerine, raisin, candied fruit. Great nose.

T: Resiny hops, nectarine, pine, caramelized raisins, fruit bread, solid bitterness, alcohol remarkably well-hidden.

M: Slight residual sweetness with a drying, alcohol finish.

D: Very drinkable for its strength. (359 characters)

Photo of Jeffo
4.17/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this one from Rutager in a recent swap. This brewery has done nothing but impress the crap out of me. Cheers man!

From a bomber into a snifter
Vintate: 2011
ABV: 11.8%
98% Pale malt and a touch of caramunich
Columbus hops

APPEARANCE: Pours a one finger, medium looking, fluffy, off-white head with good retention. Head fades to a faint wisp and ring, leaving some lacing on the top of the glass. Opaque burnt umber in color with no carbonation evident. A ring remains until the end but leaves no real lacing down the glass.

SMELL: Bold nose of caramel malts, linght melong aromas, piney hops and some spicy alcohol for sure. Bold stuff and quite nice.

TASTE: Bold flavors again, following the nose nicely. Caramel malts and some melon sweetness up front, then a spicy booze kick at the swallow. Big and intense aftertaste of bitter floral hops, piney flavors, spicy booze and a touch of honeydew sweetness lingers nicely on the palate. Very bold flavors and increadibly balanced as well. Really, really good.

PALATE: Medium body and medium levels of carbonation. Creamy on the palate, quite oily as well, goes down smooth with a burn at the swallow and finishes quite sticky on the palate. Heat lingers as well as a spicy dose of alcohol.

OVERALL: Really flavorful and a creamy, oily palate as well. Bold and surprisingly balanced, this is a memorable beer for sure. Though the style is usually quite boozy, this one is perhaps a little too hot still and could use some time to mellow. It is excellent right now, but will probably be world shattering in a year. Either way, this is yet another Driftwood beer I'd like to drink on a regular basis. Thanks again Rutager. Fantastic beer. (1,700 characters)

Photo of JasonLovesBeer
4.2/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2013 bottle. Drank NYE 2013.

A: Before even opening the bottle you can see this is very light for a barleywine, much lighter than years past. Poured in the glass, it's a shade darker than a double IPA with a deep golden hue. Head is cream coloured and not huge, reduces to trace amounts after a bit. Some lacing.

S: Deep, resiny hops was my first reaction. Pine, sweet honeyed citrus.

T: Big honey sweetness (like a sibling of caramel sweetness) with big, bright citrus and floral hops. Bitterness is all but eliminated by the sweet malt body and alcohol. The alcohol itself isn't really that noticable despite the 11.6% ABV and fresh bottle.

M: Creamy medium body with a fairly dry finish.

O: I really love this new and completely different Old Cellar Dweller but it will disappoint the barleywine die-hards. It is not your typical barleywine, not by a mile! It's also so different than other Driftwood barleywines I've had. It's very much just a barrel aged DIPA, but a very good one. It's bright and sweet. (1,018 characters)

Photo of ritzkiss
4.21/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Edit: 2008 A year later, hops have died down to give a pleasing balance, carbonation doesn't distract, nice balance of roasty and caramel malts - very more-ish. Editing the score up slightly.

New brewery in town, saw it on the shelves and had to try the barleywine ale - not everyday a local microbrew crafts one of these bad boys, 2008 vintage.

Pours a brown/copper/mahogany color with lightish, tight head. Bold, non-murky color with a fair amount of carbonation bubbles. Smell is hoppy with a hint of back sweetness, brown sugar with some hints of fruit.

First sip - the hops nail you head on.

Normally I am not a huge fan of high hops content beers but this one could be an exception. As it glides through the sweetness hits the back of the mouth and there is some complex flavoring going on. As you drink it opens up and you taste the fruits, brandy, a hint of nut.

Still perhaps a little too carbonated for my tastes but this is a nice contender for a new brewery. Definitely going to have to try some of their other offerings. (1,039 characters)

Photo of mikeyv35
4.23/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Rutager for getting me this beer in a nice over-the-border trade!

Date: 02/16/2012
Type: 22oz. Bomber
Glass: Ommegang Tulip
Vintage: 2010

Pours a light mahoghany brown in color w/ a 1 finger white pillowy head that leaves pretty heavy lacing. Aromas of caramel, toffee, citrus fruits, and basement mustiness. The taste started off w/ a blast of sweet caramel/toffee, which lead into citrus and mild grapefruit, and finished w/ basement mustiness and a touch of alcohol burn. Medium bodied and lush. Pretty easy to drink considering the 11.8% ABV.

Overall, I really enjoyed this beer, and super hoppy BWs are not my thing. However, w/ the almost 2 years of age, this seems pretty balanced and more in my style range. Will definately have to acquire a few more bottles of this brew to allow it to do what it was intended to do, dwell in the cellar. (859 characters)

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Old Cellar Dweller from Driftwood Brewery
91 out of 100 based on 46 ratings.