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Old Birdbrain - Black Raven Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Old BirdbrainOld Birdbrain

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

70 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 70
Reviews: 18
rAvg: 4.37
pDev: 7.32%
Wants: 54
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 kemoarps


4.5/5  rDev +3%

01-10-2014 05:22:35 | More by kemoarps
Photo of TheBronze


4.5/5  rDev +3%

01-01-2014 00:08:44 | More by TheBronze
Photo of Kurmaraja


4.5/5  rDev +3%

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


4.75/5  rDev +8.7%

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


4.5/5  rDev +3%

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


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 Smurf2055


4.44/5  rDev +1.6%

Hard Liver

Pours dark amber with little head.

Candy and licorice, vanilla and caramel, maybe a bit of toffee. Very sweet smell.

Taste is like the smell; lots of vanilla up front, malt, oak, and almost marshmallow comes up after. Bit of booze on the end.

Good carbonation, medium to full bodied. Damned good barley wine.

07-19-2013 01:52:50 | More by Smurf2055
Photo of MaseFace


4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

06-21-2013 02:52:30 | More by MaseFace
Photo of HopsMatt


4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

06-21-2013 02:43:09 | More by HopsMatt
Photo of MasterSki

Ontario (Canada)

4.1/5  rDev -6.2%

Thanks to Alistair for sharing this one. Think this was the 2011 vintage. Served in a tulip.

A - Nice amount of white foam that settles to a thick collar, leaving behind specks of lacing. Transparent amber body.

S - A nice blend of maple, caramel, mild rye whiskey, oaky vanilla, and some bread and dark fruits filling things out.

T - The taste is very sweet; more in line with what'd I'd expect from an English barleywine. Lots of maple, brown sugar, caramel, and some lingering tangy whiskey and spicy rye flavors. There's still a faint trace of alcohol, even after two years of age.

M - Sticky, chewy, medium-full body. Lower carbonation, and minimal alcohol warmth.

D - A well crafted barleywine, with restrained barrel-aging flavors; you can tell this is blended rather than 100% barrel aged. A good beer that I enjoyed drinking, but not unique or amazing enough for me to go out of my way to acquire it again.

06-12-2013 19:04:25 | More by MasterSki
Photo of UCLABrewN84


3.98/5  rDev -8.9%

Thanks to wethorseblanket for sharing this one at drewone's tasting.

2011 vintage.

Pours a hazy honey orange with a foamy tan head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of malt, caramel, toffee, and whiskey aromas. Taste is much the same with caramel and toffee flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of woody bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with a very nice whiskey smell and tasty barrel aged flavors.

06-11-2013 17:07:10 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of drewone


4.5/5  rDev +3%

06-11-2013 06:44:05 | More by drewone
Photo of TheEarl


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 TysonA


4.75/5  rDev +8.7%

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


4/5  rDev -8.5%

04-19-2013 16:39:50 | More by tomholland
Photo of Thorpe429


4/5  rDev -8.5%

04-07-2013 12:54:20 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of mdaschaf


4.41/5  rDev +0.9%

Review from notes. Thanks to Greg for sharing! 2011 vintage.

A: Pours a clear amber/ruby color with a small off-white head on top that reduces quickly to a thin ring on top. Thin lacing forms down the sides.

S: Rather sweet upfront, lots of caramel right away. There is a vanilla and a bit of oak, a bit of alcohol as well.

T: Again, on the sweet side with plenty of caramel and toffee mixed with vanilla and oak. Some caramelized brown sugar as well.

M: Medium to full bodied, slightly hot, but still pretty nice.

O: A pretty good barleywine, definitely one I want to try again.

04-02-2013 00:01:46 | More by mdaschaf
Photo of Treebs


4.3/5  rDev -1.6%

12 oz. bottle served in a Black Raven curved pint glass. Thanks to OakedCanuck for the bottle. Thanks Colin!

A: Pours a clear amber color with some dark brown highlights. A light brown head forms on the pour and recedes very slowly to a thin film. Nice retention. The head leaves some sticky sheets of lace down the glass.

S: Lots of caramel sweetness up front. Some mild dark fruit, mostly raisin, with a little bready malt as well. Slightly boozy as well. Light rye whiskey, but it's hard to pull out.

T: Sticky caramel sweetness. Underlying hops. A little citric in nature, sorta like candied grapefruit. A little booze with some oxidation that has brought out a sherry like character. A little booze with some dark cherry. Some light herbal spice, maybe the rye whiskey barrel.

M: Medium bodied, a little sticky, but surprisingly drinkable. Smooth and sweet finish with a medium low carbonation level.

O: A very nice barleywine that has aged gracefully. I'm glad I have a second bottle to sit on for a while as I think it's going to develop a lot more and become more complex.

03-19-2013 02:25:06 | More by Treebs
Photo of alysmith4

District of Columbia

4/5  rDev -8.5%

03-13-2013 17:16:35 | More by alysmith4
Photo of dctriman


4/5  rDev -8.5%

03-11-2013 15:57:30 | More by dctriman
Photo of smakawhat


3.85/5  rDev -11.9%

Poured from the bottle into a snifter at Smoke & Barrel DC for the dc bottle share. From notes.

A real nice light orange amber body, with an off tan somewhat creamy head. Makes a decent collar that always sticks around.

Nose is very small and closed, but there is that pickle brine again, with some indistinct mild hop presence I can't determine.

The palate opens up though on first sip with a good caramel sweetness. Thick malt action with a real crackery mix of crispness and toasty brown sugar. Feel has a good thick body but doesn't get into a huge over kill of sugar and alcohol boozy rush. Coats the palate nicely with it's caramel and lingers nicely.

Overall a real nice solid barleywine, like the toasty angle on this quite a bit.

03-10-2013 22:45:29 | More by smakawhat
Photo of KevSal


4.44/5  rDev +1.6%

Boom! huge thanks to stx00lax, Jacob your kindness never ceases to surprise me!

This is a huge huge want that I've been hoping id get to try some day or it would be bottled, my wish came true.

12oz bottle into a tulip

A- looks great, nice and dark red. Looks just as expected. Slight beige head.

S-huge! Lots of wood upfront, smells massive and thick. vanilla and very slight cherry in the back end. The oak is prominent and very pleasant

T- oak upfront with vanilla and tons of malts and some spicyness, reminiscent of ba hifi, maybe there's a lot of rye in this guy? Either way it's fantastic!

M- this one is thick, lots of weight and body, one very noticeable characteristic is it's not super chewy or sticky.

O- fantastic! It's a huge contrast to most ba barelywines that are chewy and tons of dark fruits. This goes in another direction, it's a lot more along the lines of ba hifi (which i found out is my highest rated ba barlywine!) and coast nuptial. I have a strong feeling this one will age along the same lines, in 2 years this will be the real deal ba Barleywine. I dot expect to get that chance but I am very greatful to have this one.

Thanks again Jacob, I really hope this wasn't your one and only! Either way Ot was thoroughly enjoyed!

03-10-2013 10:34:32 | More by KevSal
Photo of IrishColonial


3.75/5  rDev -14.2%

03-09-2013 21:58:08 | More by IrishColonial
Photo of BillHilly


4/5  rDev -8.5%

03-06-2013 02:10:01 | More by BillHilly
Photo of jag21


4.5/5  rDev +3%

02-25-2013 21:28:19 | More by jag21
Old Birdbrain from Black Raven Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 70 ratings.