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Old Birdbrain - Black Raven Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Old BirdbrainOld Birdbrain

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
95
world-class

70 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 70
Reviews: 18
rAvg: 4.37
pDev: 7.32%
Wants: 55
Gots: 17 | FT: 4
Brewed by:
Black Raven Brewing Co. visit their website
Washington, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  11.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
This robust strong ale features pale malts and generous hop additions. After primary fermentation, several American rye whiskey barrels are filled and cellared to age. The remaining beer is then cellared in a stainless steel tank. After many months of aging, the barrels are then blended into the remaining batch aged in the stainless steel tank.

(Beer added by: barleywinefiend on 03-07-2010)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 70 | Reviews: 18 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of beefandbean22
beefandbean22

Washington

5/5  rDev +14.4%

11-19-2011 03:06:36 | More by beefandbean22
Photo of piclee
piclee

Washington

5/5  rDev +14.4%

03-17-2012 05:15:35 | More by piclee
Photo of NWer
NWer

Washington

4.98/5  rDev +14%

2010 vintage at the brewery.
I first tasted this at their birthday celebration but my senses were too overloaded to make an accurate review.
Revisited at the brewery today. Very nice young lady allowed me to taste both the 2009 and the 2010 before I decided on the 2010.
I am overwhelmed.
This beer should be shared with the world but alas it isn't bottled. Not even growlers to go.
Nice deep red/brown/black appearance subdued head typical of a high abv beer.
Bourbon. Bourbon notes. Bourbon smell. Bourbon taste.
Taste lingers exceptionally well making this the perfect sipping beer.
I can't wait for Black Raven to re-offer this beer at a celebration of some sort next year to see how it ages since I don't have the opportunity to put some away myself.
Did I say I'm overwhelmed?
Try it if you get the chance. Savoring this beer is one of life's great pleasures.
edit: original review 5/27/2011 revisited 6/5.2011.
Went with the 2009 this time and similarly overwhelmed but even though the 2009 gets all the accolades, I like the 2010 better. I'm sure they will have some around next year to do a nice vertical with the 2012. Can't wait.
Edit 1/27/2012 Tapped a keg today and rushed over. This is my most sought after beer except for Pliny the Younger. Two glasses, savored every drop. Damn I love this beer!
edit 1/25/2014 2012 vintage bottle release snagged my limit of four and had a glass. Forgot how much I love this beer. Been a while. Hasn't missed a step.

05-27-2011 21:18:30 | More by NWer
Photo of TheEarl
TheEarl

Washington

4.9/5  rDev +12.1%

I had this most recently at Black Raven's 2013 Flock Party. It was served in a 12 ounce snifter.

Appearance: The beer is a clear, orange/amber with white lacing.

Aroma: Aggressive notes of caramel, vanilla, apple, and oak with a bit of alcohol on the end.

Taste: The taste mirrors the aroma with an initial sweetness that fades into the more complex flavors and finishes with some alcohol heat.

Mouthfeel: Birdbrain is viscous, chewy, and more carbonated than I'd expected. Very nice.

Overall: Old Birdbrain is a masterpiece of a beer. This is easily my favorite barleywine and one of my favorite beers overall. The flavors and aromas are so distinct but also blend together quite well.

05-15-2013 22:53:37 | More by TheEarl
Photo of kevwcamp
kevwcamp

Washington

4.75/5  rDev +8.7%

11-17-2011 05:15:47 | More by kevwcamp
Photo of Tuckersmth
Tuckersmth

California

4.75/5  rDev +8.7%

09-19-2013 12:42:07 | More by Tuckersmth
Photo of ford0626
ford0626

Washington

4.75/5  rDev +8.7%

05-19-2014 20:00:55 | More by ford0626
Photo of TysonA
TysonA

Washington

4.75/5  rDev +8.7%

05-12-2013 21:15:07 | More by TysonA
Photo of ScreamForMe
ScreamForMe

Washington

4.75/5  rDev +8.7%

03-12-2012 05:59:23 | More by ScreamForMe
Photo of laminam
laminam

Washington

4.75/5  rDev +8.7%

04-24-2014 22:37:03 | More by laminam
Photo of benbjb
benbjb

Washington

4.75/5  rDev +8.7%

11-09-2012 06:48:39 | More by benbjb
Photo of adkieffer
adkieffer

Washington

4.75/5  rDev +8.7%

10-05-2012 22:29:00 | More by adkieffer
Photo of BillRoth
BillRoth

Maryland

4.69/5  rDev +7.3%

Just when I'd thought I'd been there/done that with American Barleywines...yet another pleasant surprise from Seattle. Had heard about Black Raven and Old Birdbrain, but still...

Thanks to Paul! Had finally made it to Black Raven during a recent NW Beer Safari and was enjoying a wide range of BR IPAs, a Saison and an amazing infused porter...when I asked about OB. I was told that the keg had recently kicked, and I was understandably bummed.

But thanks to Paul...he said they had 2012 bottles available, and grabbed me one before I left.

OK...push forward 13 days and I'm back home chillin to Olympics and the beer is calling me...

From what I've read..this has been pretty much all said before, but just to add my big thumbs up...

Caramel, but not sweet; threads of molasses but not bitter, hints of nougat and maybe dried apricot... all enveloped in a warm rye vanilla background.

I thought the blending and aging was masterful. Perfect alcohol. The very moderate buzz just excited all the flavors...did not overwhelm or distract.

Don't really care to compare. Just sign me up for more.This is one top notch winter warmer.

Highly recommended.

02-19-2014 01:32:12 | More by BillRoth
Photo of LiquidAmber
LiquidAmber

Washington

4.68/5  rDev +7.1%

Poured into a Reuben's Brew snifter. Pours a medium orange amber with a thin white, persistent film of a head. Aroma is intense caramel, vanilla with light caramel malt and oak, inviting. Oh, man what great flavor. Caramel, vanilla, sweet dark fruit, syrup, light apple and pear developing before a caramel malt, oak, whiskey and light hop finish. Nice weighty medium to full bodied. An excellent, flavorful barley wine in the English style, although there is a bit of hop kick in the finish. A bit on the sweet side, but skirts being cloying by great depth of flavor. The alcohol is somewhat noticeable in the finish, but actually seems to fit in with the flavor profile quite well because of the light whiskey character. Perhaps the most caramel I've noticed in a barley wine. Superb. In my top five barley wines and at the moment, with the alcohol kicking it, my favorite.

03-11-2014 03:07:52 | More by LiquidAmber
Photo of jpbebeau
jpbebeau

Washington

4.65/5  rDev +6.4%

Preview of 2011 vintage on tap at the brewery during Washington Beer Open House. To tulip. 10.9% ABV.

From notes.

A: Clear golden amber with beautiful slow-release carbonation rising from the bottom. Very fine bubbles collect at edges of the glass. Minor head and lacing. Legs consist of those fine bubbles.

S: Malts, mild sweet whiskey, floral hops, honey. Lovely.

T: Gorgeous hop/malt balance. Lingering, perfect hop finish. Never over-sweet. Never too bitter. Went well with the provided paired cheeses.

M: So smooth. Such fine carbonation. Not too thick or heavy, but definitely substantial.

Wow. If this is the young preview version of this beer, I can't wait to get a taste of it matured, or, hopefully, the 2010 and/or 2009 vintages.

Black Raven does not disappoint.

02-26-2012 05:52:47 | More by jpbebeau
Photo of czechsaaz
czechsaaz

Washington

4.59/5  rDev +5%

2011 Vintage. The brewery held on to it and bottled in 2013. I then stashed it away for another six months. I bought my limit on release day and this is the first one.

Aroma is seriously malty with lots of fruity yeast. Not much hop aroma. Big crystal/caramel malt nose.

Dark amber colored almost red. Thin white but persistent head with decent lacing. Perfectly clear with lots of rising carbonation bubbles.

HUUUGE caramel malt flavors right off. Balanced very well with hop biterness on the back of my tongue and finishes with a solid malty flavor that lingers for a long time with each sip. If there was hop flavor it's dropped out with age. I get yeast esters of pit fruit like ripe plums. But the big deal is the caramel flavors and vanilla notes.

Big body, kind of chewy with just enough carbonation to keep it from syrup. There's no alcohol harshness in my mouth but a nice warming in my stomach.

Overall, this is a stellar beer. The fact that they aged it for so long before bottling really shows. Totally well balanced big-ass barleywine. Drinking this makes me happy. I will stand in line whenever they release future vintages.

08-16-2013 06:56:44 | More by czechsaaz
Photo of Seattle_Suds
Seattle_Suds

Washington

4.5/5  rDev +3%

03-01-2014 22:23:00 | More by Seattle_Suds
Photo of DOCRW
DOCRW

Washington

4.5/5  rDev +3%

01-25-2014 04:08:39 | More by DOCRW
Photo of cyrushire
cyrushire

Florida

4.5/5  rDev +3%

02-21-2014 06:31:09 | More by cyrushire
Photo of CHILLINDYLAN
CHILLINDYLAN

Washington

4.5/5  rDev +3%

04-29-2014 17:48:03 | More by CHILLINDYLAN
Photo of ShanePB
ShanePB

Pennsylvania

4.5/5  rDev +3%

06-05-2014 12:29:05 | More by ShanePB
Photo of dionito
dionito

Washington

4.5/5  rDev +3%

02-20-2014 05:08:13 | More by dionito
Photo of CaptainQ
CaptainQ

Washington

4.5/5  rDev +3%

09-05-2013 00:14:18 | More by CaptainQ
Photo of Kurmaraja
Kurmaraja

Washington

4.5/5  rDev +3%

12-18-2013 20:40:04 | More by Kurmaraja
Photo of 510a
510a

Washington

4.5/5  rDev +3%

02-15-2014 17:05:43 | More by 510a
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Old Birdbrain from Black Raven Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 70 ratings.