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 montrealbcr89
4.32/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle into a snifter. A deep orangey-red with minimal head.

S: When I poured it, there was a ton of citrusy/tropical fruits on the nose. Big grapefruit, orange, and pineapple. Smelled similar to an IPA. As it warmed up, however, the malt started to appear. Coupled with the fruitiness, there was caramel, toffee, and brown sugar.

T: Right off the bat there is big bitter, fruity characteristics. Again, ver IPAish. Towards the back on the tongue emerged the malt character. That sweet toffee and brown sugar really made its presence felt towards the finish.

M: Medium to full bodied. Creamy mouthfeel. I started drinking this beer probably seven minutes after taking it out of the fridge. It was super drinkable then. Once it began to really warm up, however, it got a little more boozy, and turned into more of a sipper.

O: Definitely could have drank the whole bottle to myself (really tasty), but is better enjoyed when shared. Have another one that will be sitting in the cellar for a few years to see how this thing changes. Highly recommended.

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 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 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.

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 mikeyv35
4.23/5  rDev +1.9%
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.

Photo of MBrausen
4.07/5  rDev -1.9%
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.

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 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 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 cmadd
4.42/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Fresh 2011 bottle picked up from Brewery Creek.

A: Clear amber nectar. Varies in hue from deep red to light gold. Poured into a snifter with about a finger of head and receded to wisps of lace.

S: Beautiful grapefruit nectarine and citrus hop with an alcohol kick. The hop aroma is a very powerful one dimensional Columbus hop. In the background there's the light nutty toffee of pale malt.

T: Follows the smell pretty directly. Sweet hoppy citrus and nectarine. Pale malt's sweet nuttiness holds up the backbone. This is a huge beer with a lingering bitterness from the hops and malt that plays a little rough. Balance spot on. Not cloying.

M: Mouthfeel was spot on, but not overly remarkable. Still notably good.

O: Wow. This might be one of the best barleywine I've ever had. I enjoyed the fact that it showcased the Columbus hops and the pale malt. I will definitely be putting some down to see what emerges when the beer settles with age and the hops diminish. Driftwood is putting out some really stunning beers.

Photo of DaftCaskBC
3.83/5  rDev -7.7%
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.

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 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 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 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 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 sammytag
4.43/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The 2010 Edition. @ 11.8% abv.

a - Beautiful. A clear, deep amber. A torrent of tiny bubbles rise from the walls of my glass. A firm, white head hangs around. First barley wine of the season. I'm psyched.

s - not what i'm accustomed to as far as barley wine goes. very fruity. Powerful grapefruit note and a blast of herbal hoppiness dominates. I'm getting ready for a big hop bite.

t - Wow! Huge hop flavour, a rich malty backdrop serves to exalt the interplay of hops. i'm at a loss for words as to how to characterize the absolute forcefulness of grapefruit and apricot. So prominent, aggressive and palatially challenging. Unique for a barley wine, in that there are no detectable dark fruits (date, prune, raisin) that i've come to expect from a BW. This is all light fruit, married to a robust, peerless hop symphony. The hops are aggressive in flavour, but the bitterness is light, and just right. A boozy sweet alcoholic finish is the perfect conclusion. Very complex. Poetic, almost.

m - perfect. there's no other way to describe it. The carbonation perfectly compliments the flavour explosion occurring in my mouth as this thick, thick beer hits the tongue.

d - i would drink this every day if it wasn't $12 a bottle. Being from edmonton, I declare this brew the Yin to Alley Kat's Olde Deuteronomy's Yang. My god. Unbelievable.

I would recommend drinking this at cellar room temperature - cool, but not cold. It's truly symphonic. Drink with dark chocolates and rich desserts, or all on its own. Tastes like it will definitely stand the test of time. Try it.

Photo of ritzkiss
4.21/5  rDev +1.4%
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.

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 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 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 BDTyre
3.73/5  rDev -10.1%
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.

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