Dismiss Notice
Microbrew Invitational
Join us June 3 + 4 in Boston and help us drink 300+ beers, ciders, kombuchas, meads, sakes and more!

TICKETS: beeradvocate.com/micro/

Old Cellar Dweller | Driftwood Brewery

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
92
outstanding
49 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
BEER STATS
Reviews:
49
Ratings:
129
Avg:
4.18
pDev:
14.83%
 
 
Wants:
62
Gots:
40
For Trade:
1
Old Cellar DwellerOld Cellar Dweller
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Driftwood Brewery
British Columbia, Canada | website

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.60%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
This intense concentration of malt and hops is delicious when fresh but can be layed down for years. Enjoy with care!

Added by BDTyre on 12-26-2008

View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Reviews: 49 | Ratings: 129
Photo of biboergosum
4.2/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

650ml red wax capped bottle (2015 edition), thanks again to rogerdandy for laying this bad boy on me - very generous, as always! No time for this to spend dwelling in my cellar, no-sirree!

This beer pours a mostly clear, medium copper amber colour, with a teeming tower of puffy, loosely foamy, and somewhat bubbly ecru head, which leaves some random splatters of chunky lace around the glass as it slowly sinks away.

It smells of semi-sweet, bready caramel malt, musty toffee, sharp piney esters, brown sugar, concentrated orange and white grapefruit citrus, and a bit of vinous alcohol heat. The taste is gritty and grainy caramel malt, a twinge of earthy yeast, complex light and honeyed orchard fruit (apples, pears, oranges, and red grapefruit, I guess), edgy pine resin, more dark syrupy sugar, and a further leafy, weedy, and grassy green hoppiness.

The carbonation is adequate for the job at hand, manifesting in a trim and solid frothiness, the body a decent middleweight, and generally smooth, even with those prickly pine and testy boozy characters flitting about. It finishes on the sweet side, but in a running gun battle with the lingering hops and alcohol - ergo, s'all good, man.

Overall, this is a pretty pleasant and agreeable barleywine for we unapologetic hop-heads out there - no char, no sour, no funk, no 'sessionability', just a big, brash malt monster, and its unholy bittering harem (bride? fuck that!). Drinkable in its own crazy-ass manner, which is all I (and maybe you) need to know about this incarnation of Cellar Dweller.

 1,562 characters

Photo of DaveBar
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got on trade! 650ml bottle served at 10deg C in a tulip. 2012 vintage so should be as good as it gets.

A- Opens well and pours no head at all. Medium brown colour and unfiltered

S- Lots of complexity here. Sweet

T- Substantial amount of spice. Nice cardamom. Has a heavy malt base. Lots of bittering hops. Nice blend

M- Sticky and sickly sweet

O- Nice brew but not my style. With 4yrs on the bottle it's not going to get any better so it's a pass for me. Don't seem to enjoy these barely wines as a whole. Some good examples out there but more often they are not go good.

Food Pairing

This pretty good brew went well with....... BBQ hot dogs! Grill them over coals then onto the bun. No toppings. Try it, you may like it. You would be surprised.

Enjoy

 760 characters

Photo of LampertLand
4.16/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Driftwood Brewery 'Old Cellar Dweller' @ 11.8% , first sampled on *cask* at GCBF'12 & GCBF'13 , plus cellaring the 2011 gold foil bottle purchased for $12 , opened on Dec 13/15 for somebody's 50th birthday
A-pour is a dark amber from the cask/bottle to a dirty brown/red in the glass with a small beige head leaving a minimal lace ring along the snifter
S-what a nose, fruit , brandy , so potent , layer upon layer , even some hops still
T-big tasting barleywine , a hop bite and sweet smooth malt backbone , the last mouthfull is so potent
MF-ok carbonation , big full body , such a warm feeling inside
Ov-great beer , gets better with some time in the cellar
prost LampertLand

 683 characters

Photo of Coronaeus
4.1/5  rDev -1.9%
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 mtomlins
4.35/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2013 Vintage, Poured Feb 2015 (2 years of age)
Big thanks to FondueVoodoo for the bottle!

Pours a light copper color with an orange hue, 1-2 fingers of creamy off-white head, persistent and leaving nice lacing. The nose is dominated by sweet toasted malt, a little toffee and a hint of sweet citrus. On the palate, the grains dominate again, sweet and toasty with a enough hop additions to balance it all out. The body is big and creamy smooth with just the right amount of carbonation to keep it lively. Based on other reviews, I think this beer needs a year or two of age because it is drinking extremely well now!

 621 characters

Photo of Johnquisssssssy
3.43/5  rDev -17.9%
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 nmann08
3.83/5  rDev -8.4%
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 superspak
4.1/5  rDev -1.9%
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 RedSunRising
3.34/5  rDev -20.1%
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 Phyl21ca
3.75/5  rDev -10.3%
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 draheim
4.11/5  rDev -1.7%
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 CookstLiquor
3.9/5  rDev -6.7%
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 StJamesGate
3.99/5  rDev -4.5%
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 JasonLovesBeer
4.2/5  rDev +0.5%
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 andrenaline
4.39/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2012 Edition. Props to my bro for sending this bottle my way. Super pumped to finally try this beast!

A - Pours a nice hazy ruby mahogany colour, thumb of off-white head with solid retention and some sporadic lacing.

S - Big bold scent, booze is noticeable, dark chocolate, molasses, burnt sugar, hints of blak licorice and tobacco smoke.

T - Insanely smooth at 11.8%, molasses and black licorice flavours dominate alongside earthy hop notes, burnt caramel, and alcohol sweetness. Candied sugar, molasses and milk caramel linger with a touch of ABV heat.

M - Medium bodied, smooth and surprisingly wet.

O - Another high quality brew from a brewer that continues to impress me. Definitely a privilege to have had the opportunity to try it. Worth picking up for anyone who has access, as it will surely not disappoint.

 821 characters

Photo of drpimento
4.75/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Amazing beer! Poured at a good temperature with a smallish, foamy, cream-colored, short lived head and no lace. Color is a clear honey amber. Aroma is malt, caramel, bread dough, resin, pumpernickel.. Flavor's much like nose, complex, mammoth; has sweet/bitter/tang all intertwined and up front along with hop. Body is full and while very bitter, there's enough sweet to round it off and just right carbonation to keep it lively. Finish is like flavor, very long and surprisingly only slight alcohol warmth for its strength. Would love to get some more to lay by.

 563 characters

Photo of SebD
4.28/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2011 bottle courtesy of FondueVoodoo in CANBIF 2013

Appearance: It has a nice hazy orangy/amber color to it. It has a nice light beige head that dies down somewhat fast and leaves some lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitely give out hints of dark fruit, (alot of raisins), bready malts, sweet caramel, toffee, brown suguar, mild hops and some booziness.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has alot of sweet dark fruit, caramel and toffee along with some brown suguar, a nice piney bitterness and a boozy warming feeling at the end. I'm not tasting much of that breadiness that I picked up in the aroma.

Mouthfeel: It has a low carbonation with a very nice overall balance and feel.

Drinkability: It's a very smooth drinkable beer accompanied with great flavors and aromas.

 770 characters

Photo of maximum12
3.88/5  rDev -7.2%
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 dirtylou
4.52/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber, 11.5% abv per the bottle

Served in a lost abbey teku - rich garnet body, nice bubbly beige lace. Layered aromas of dark fruit, sugars, caramelized grapefruit, booze. The 2012 vintage I had on tap recently was noticeably hoppier than this slightly aged bottle - I tend to prefer the fresher batches it would appear (surprise, surprise as aging beer is stupid). Regardless, this is exceptionally complex and layered - glazed citrus, sugars, pine sap, booze soaked dark fruit.

 487 characters

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.3/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to Chris for this bottle.
2012 Vintage poured in to tulip.

A - Poured murky dark brown and settled almost completely opaque with just a slight ruby glow around the edges. A thin layer of cream coloured head formed on the pour.

S - Sweet caramel, toffee, brown sugar and a big hop profile with a citrus aroma.

T - Follows the nose. Sweet caramel, toffee and brown sugar with some generous hopping that lends a big bitterness and some citrus flavours.

M - Medium, almost full body. Chewy. Light carbonation. Excellent mouthfeel.

 539 characters

Photo of atomeyes
4.94/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Tried this side by side with the Old Barrel Dweller.
I actually liked this more.

The dry hopping was amazing. A beautiful tangerine nose with a faint hint of raspberry. The beer had a great balance of sweetness with a bit of hoppiness. the alcohol was there but not too hot.

a beautiful sipper on a cold Ontario winter night. would drink again and again. one of the best barley wines i've had.

 395 characters

Photo of Mages64
4.82/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2012 vintage red wax from firefly.
Appearance: deep brown with Marion edges. Big fluffy head with lots of lacing.
Nose: big pine hop nose, alcohol heat, malty and caramel. Some brown sugar notes too.
Taste: huge hop flavor with a solid malt backbone. Hops and malt are super balanced and play immensely well together.
Mouthfeel: alcohol heat is noticeable but I love my barleywines with some booze underneath. Full and thick with tight carbonation.
Overall: one of the best non barrel aged barleywines I've had.

 516 characters

Photo of GrindFatherBob
4.37/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes. Consumed 3/5/12 just catching up.

2011 Vintage

Thanks to Mages64 for grabbing 2 of these for me, you're a great dude.

A- clear ruby with an inch and a half of beautiful beige head, decent retention, sticky lacing

S- sweet and biscuity malts, huge citrus hop character

T- I can vividly remember the maltiness of this, it was fucking huge and bready. Big hop bitterness, tropical, grapey, citrusy, floral. Alcohol was well hidden for 14%, didn't really burn or anything.

M- Sharp, coating, well integrated heat, lingering bitterness entwined with the giant malt base.

O- probably my favorite of the american variety of barleywines that i've come across. would love to get more if possible.

 718 characters

Photo of FondueVoodoo
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
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 smekermann
4.57/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2011 vintage

My problem with barleywines is that they're generally too sweet and cloying, making them about as appealing as wearing a wet pair of underwear on a chilly winter evening. Admittedly, I'm not a barleywine connoisseur; I've had my fair share of them, but I don't really go out of my way to try them. I've had Thor's Hammer recently, which fit my previous description (sweet, cloying) to a tee and before that I've had releases from Stone, Rogue and North Coast most of which were pretty damn enjoyable, and in Rogue's case, sort of mouth-destroying. I don't mind that, though. I enjoy and respect a beer that can take me down in one bottle, which is why I guess I respect this style of beer.

Old Cellar Dweller is probably the best barleywine I've had so far. This is obviously very subjective, but it hits all the right notes with me: it's dry as a bone, it's bitter as hell (100 IBUs) and it's insanely boozy (again, this is the 2011 version so it's 14%). It doesn't try to hide the booze, which doesn't really bother me. I'm not sure how you'd even begin to hide booze in beers over 12%, really.

The taste is pure malty, roasty bitterness with a hint of sweetness in the aftertaste and maybe an even fainter hint of almond. The reason this beer is somewhat dangerous is that it's not cloying; it's surprisingly dry for being 14% and full-bodied, but given the circumstances, it's outright drinkable. Don't be fooled, however: this is a beer that should be shared between at least 2-3 people or to be enjoyed over a period of several hours, preferably with a nice medium to full-bodied cigar.

Overall, I think this beer is fairly comparable to XS Old Crusty. It's probably a more ass-kicking beer (14% abv versus 11.2% or whatever Old Crusty is nowadays), and it has only 10 less IBUs than Old Crusty. It also is slightly more enjoyable in terms of mouthfeel and aftertaste. Old Crusty pretty much assaulted you with hops and burnt malt. This does almost the same thing but it feels... classier, somehow; more balanced. This is based on what I remember of Old Crusty, as I haven't had that beer in a couple years, so I may be talking out of my ass. Nonetheless, if you like Old Crusty or beers similar to it, you should give this a shot (if you can find it). It's a really impressive take on the style.

 2,320 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Old Cellar Dweller from Driftwood Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 49 ratings.