Old Cellar Dweller - Driftwood Brewery

Not Rated.
Old Cellar DwellerOld Cellar Dweller

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

117 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 117
Reviews: 48
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 8.92%
Wants: 55
Gots: 37 | 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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Ratings: 117 | Reviews: 48
Photo of Sammy
4.05/5  rDev -2.4%
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.

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.59/5  rDev -13.5%
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.

Photo of nmann08
3.83/5  rDev -7.7%
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.

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.75/5  rDev -9.6%
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.

Photo of MasterSki
4.02/5  rDev -3.1%
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.

Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev -1.2%
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.

Photo of barleywinefiend
3.97/5  rDev -4.3%
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

Photo of liamt07
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle sampled at Volo, poured into a flute glass. Labelled as being LCBO lab tested at 14.1% ABV. 2010 vintage.

Poured a golden amber with a transient off whtie head that fades quick, leaving behind a small collar. This one has big legs. Nose has a shit load of malt and hops going on here, citrusy, with some toffee and caramel. Some vanilla and a sharp flash of the alcohol also. Relatively complex and full. Opens up thick and viscous on the palate initially, and suddenly the hops begin to take over. More huge citrus notes interplay with the malt, loads of caramel and toffee again. More vanilla, and maybe some oak (?). Alcohol comes through mid-palate and lasts, burning down the throat. Mouthfeel is sticky, viscous and full; alcohol comes through a bit more than I'd like it to. Again, something I'd like to sit on to see how it turns out, but this one was quite good.

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
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.

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a medium red-orange amber, with a nice one finger fine light tan head and lacing. Aroma of piney and citrus hops, faint sweet malt. Flavor is sweet and somewhat aromatic malt with light hints of dark fruit and vanilla. Finishes with creamy caramel malt, citrus and hops. Creamy medium to heavy body. Well integrated and seems already age mellowed; the hops are not dominating, but still have a fresh herbal taste. Alcohol is well hidden (maybe too well, @ 14% !). I hope I can find another bottle to age, because flavors are quite well blended already and it will be interesting to see what happens with a year or two on this.

Photo of Derek
4.15/5  rDev 0%
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.

Photo of Viggo
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz foiled bottle, I think bobsy cracked this one at our barleywine tasting.

Pours a mostly clear reddish amber, nice colour, big and thick off white head forms, settles down to a very thick layer and ring, tons of lace sticks to the glass.

Smell is really nice, citrus and grapefruit hoppiness, tons of caramel, alcohol, dark fruit, earthy, very pungent hops, toffee and biscuit, big malt and big hops, delicious.

Taste is similar, toffee, biscuit, raisin, brown sugar sweetness, grapefruit, alcohol, pine, spicy and herbal bitterness, huge malty middle, great balance.

Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with low to medium carbonation, some warmth going down. This is a fine barleywine, maybe the best example of an American barleywine made in Canada. I look forward to seeing how this one ages. Thanks Rob!

Photo of wordemupg
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

650ml bomber poured into tulip 6/29/11

A dark amber nearly ruby when held to the light with a short lived finger of tan head that leaves a patch of random lace, almost looks like legs on the side of the glass when you swirl

S pine resin and big sweet citric hops mixed up with toffee and booze

T what I smell but a little nutty and even more citric notes and heaps of caramel and toffee, the booze is hard to miss but not unreasonable for a beer this strong, some candied fruit on the finish and grapefruit rind is the lingering flavor

M silky syrup at first then the bubbles cream it up a bit, it has a little bite and burn to it and its sticky on the lips, feels great flavors stick to your mouth just kept from perfection by the heat

O pretty tasty stuff, I could imagine this was quite the hop bomb fresh because there's still a shitload of hops in now, after a little time to mellow out this one would be world class

another thanks to chickenm for sending me a pair of these, I'm thrilled I have another of these to age this one will hold up for years to come.

Anyone with vintage bottles BM me and we can work something out

Photo of dirtylou
4.52/5  rDev +8.9%
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.

Photo of drpimento
4.75/5  rDev +14.5%
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.

Photo of maximum12
3.88/5  rDev -6.5%
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.

Photo of StJamesGate
3.99/5  rDev -3.9%
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.

Photo of Rutager
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance. Pours a cloudy, deep amber red with a finger of sticky looking, light yellow-orange head.

Smell. Fruity, floral hops and sweet caramel. Some pear, grapefruit and a little booze.

Taste. Sweet toffee initially dominates followed by raisins ...and then the bitterness takes hold. Building bitter pine sap, grapefruit rind and lasting a grassy, floral hops. Alcohol present but not overwhealming.

Mouthfeel. Heavy, full body, lower carbonation, warm alcohol.

Overall. Great stuff. If it cools down a bit it'll be even nicer.

Photo of canucklehead
4.45/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Opened a bottle of the 2009 and it is good. Complex and full of big nuances( lots of hops but the malt end is big and creates a long finish). The smoothness on the mouthfeel only adds to the drinkability. One of the best BC barley wines and it will only get better in the cellar.

Photo of andrenaline
4.39/5  rDev +5.8%
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.

Photo of jrenihan
4.07/5  rDev -1.9%
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.

Photo of Jeffo
4.17/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

Photo of bobsy
4.32/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Popped the 2008 at a barleywine tasting a year after its bottling.

Pours the colour of blood orange, with a thin tan cap that had decent retention and lacing.
The nose is really cool, and puts me in the mind of a big imperial ipa. There's certainly a boatload of hops in there, and they come through with strong grapefruit and floral notes. Underneath there's a caramel base mixing in with dark fruit. The hops come through strong on the first sip. They are slightly piny and fruity with an emphasis on grapefruit, and the bitterness they deliver is substantial. Brown sugar and dark fruit provide some sweetness and help craft a delicate balance. Medium bodied and carbonated.

I liked this one a lot. It manages to be big and bold, while also having great balance. Thanks to ritzkiss for trading me the bottle earlier this year.

Photo of peensteen
4.27/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep redish brown colour, light layer of white head not really any lace to speak of. Smell is of caramel and toffee, malty, hops, subtle citrus notes, faint alcohol but surprisingly hoppy. Taste is of caramel, malt, nice bitter hops, vanilla, almost an oak presence, brown sugar, sweet sugar notes. Syrupy feel, great full weight, carbonation is almost perfect. Great american barleywine good example of style. Would love to have a bottle at home to develop further.

Photo of papat444
3.95/5  rDev -4.8%
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.

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Old Cellar Dweller from Driftwood Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 117 ratings.