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Olde GnarlyWine - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Olde GnarlyWineOlde GnarlyWine

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

708 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 708
Hads: 1,486
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 6.13%
Wants: 130
Gots: 264 | FT: 6
Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  10.60% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Todd on 09-22-2001

2011: 10.6% ABV, 69 IBU
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 708 | Hads: 1,486
Photo of WVbeergeek
5/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Deep ruby caramel amber hue wih a khaki head flowing thick and strong. Cloudy head forms nicely and the lacing forms evenly down the sides of my glass, with big occasional chunks of head stickin' around. Aroma super hopped with pine/citrus/earthy qualities abound I understand they use hop extracts at Lagunitas but they are working it in this brew. Super caramel and barley sweet malts going on with a nice wave of hops. Flavor is excellent a nice collision of malt and hops, an onslaught of pine cone accented hop intensity that I frankly love. Straight up west coast aggressive Barleywine that's bringing it for 4.99 a bomber this can't be beat. Mouthfeel is full bodied carbonation is mellow and I can't describe how nice the bitterness it's the palate in the most abusive yet gentle way. Drinkability is great especially with close friends, imagine a nice tenured version of Bigfoot this is it. Bring it on tell your friends, hell tell your mom. (950 characters)

Photo of depechemode1983
5/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours medium brown with red hues. Its blood red when held up to the light. Fantastic tan head with phenomenal retention. Smells is so much like pineapple. A little citrus hops with some brown sugar and caramel sweetness and a bit of maple syrup undertones. In the taste you get sweet maple with some bitter grapefruit. Ending with cooked sweet brown sugar and semi toasty sweet caramel. Mouthfeel is heavenly. Soft, smooth and pleasant. With outstanding carbonation. Holy Sh#$. Fantastic Excellent Amazing beer. No need for aging. This America Barleywine is ready to be drank. (576 characters)

Photo of smttycty
4.92/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I write this having seen nor heard not one other opinion of Olde GnarlyWine. As we tiptoe into spring (Portland had snow today in late March!) I have sampled oodles of great winter warmers and BW's these past blissful couple of months. I believe philosophically in drinking seasonally and winter is the hardest for me to let go.

I have personally logged hundreds of tastings that this good life has offered, but only those given the utmost undivided attention are recorded here, as is the responsibility I feel in the privilege of participating. Often I don't take the time, but I always take it seriously.

I allowed this bomber of Lagunitas' limited release Olde GnarlyWine to come up to celler temp and used my long stem goblet. A rich dark amber body with lively bubbles poured forth with an orange-tinged tan head, smooth and dense, yet not long lived. Not a lot of lacing but very long legs hinting at the high-test viscosity.

The nose was an aria without a soloist. It sang up from a choir with many voices: leather, earthy sweetness, dried fruit, tobacco, chardonnay, cedar. My first sip actually brought the mouthfeel to my attention first. Oily smooth with a very lively carbonation. I brought my palette back into focus: first impression was what I imagined a 100 year old classic port would be. A mellow concoction produced by an old world craftsman aged to perfection. From beginning to end not a single element steps out of line. The vinouos fruit, the sweet peaty malt, the bold hop spice, the warm strength of the fusels; each component supporting the other. Complex and smooth. Balanced. The last room-temp sip just as good as the first. No flaws.

A bit of self-indulgence here, please forgive me. But it is these moments that I search for on my beer journey. A high point that should be noted and remembered. But then again, just my opinion. (1,864 characters)

Photo of jt31914
4.92/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

From a Growler

A: Dark amber-brown, 1 inch of head; small foam ring with great head retention

S: Strong barley sweetness, just smells delicious; maybe a little citrus.

T: Sweet barley and fruit, mild bitterness on the palate that is softened by some citrus notes on the end.

M: Great mouthfeel smooth and just enough carbonation for a barley wine.

D: Very drinkable, split a growler of it no problem. (405 characters)

Photo of barleywineman
4.92/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Old guardian , and Bigfoot beware!!Lagunitas has made an exceptionally drinkable barleywine! very smooth & sweet. and of course good old California hops !!! clean crisp & piney and lots if brown burnt sugars! and very very smooth. Goes well with some chocolate cheese cake from Cocos! or treat ur self to some Brie cheese and some delicious fig spread!!! from whole foods market it's a beer that is very versitile as far as drinkability and pairing!!!
Amazing beer !!!! go Lagunitas!!! 20 yrs!! The Best 2009 barleywine! (520 characters)

Photo of gurpapete
4.88/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served in a glass mug, drank at my desk. Being a fan of Barleywines, i cant help but be smitten with this beer. The color is exceptional and the transparentcy looks filtered for an unfiltered beer. Wonderfully smooth, Gnarly Wine covers the fire with outstanding carmel malt and the aftertaste leaves you with hops lining the back of your throat. The nose is fruity with a hint of sour alcohol. This beer is dangerously drinkable at 11% abv. (441 characters)

Photo of jjayjaye
4.87/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours surprisingly dark...mostly clear, with regal reddish hues. The head is nothing short of amazing for an ale of this weight; better than two fingers foamy light tan color that fades slowly..sheets of Belgian lacing enjoyed! The smell is classic and killer...huge, malty, sweet, caramel, corn starch, grainy...really suggests a full bodied beverage is on it's way. The mouth is incredibly creamy and full bodied. Full flavored, the sweet malty caramel character of the nose is there in a BIG WAY in the taste. The 9.7% ABV is seamlessly integrated. This is one of the most drinkable bevs out there! $3.99 @ Sam the Beer Man. Are You F* kidding me....I should've grabbed a case. I've been looking for this one for a while. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. (744 characters)

Photo of SpenCycle
4.86/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Awesome barleywine. I actually like it better than Old Guardian. For 10.6% it tastes like an 8% beer. Good malt presence, solid hops, and lighter than I thought it would be. For $4.99 at the local grocery store, you cannot find a barleywine for a better price! A+! (264 characters)

Photo of THORN
4.83/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

1 Pt. 6 Fl. Oz. bottle poured into Duvel snifter. Brewed in 2009. Served 50-55 F.
A: Dark mahogany brown. CO2 trails from bottom of snifter. Pours thick bubbly head. Leaves rings of lace around snifter.
S: Hops dominate. Fresh hop character is present. Dark fruits and sweet malts.
T: Hops, hops, Hops. Fruity, resiny, piney, and floral. Its overwhelming. Paired with robust caramel filled malts.
M: Medium on tongue, slightly warming, and sticky on sides of mouth.
D: Huge flavor matches hardly noticeable high abv. (517 characters)

Photo of greshdoghophead
4.79/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2015 version. Many layers here from start to finish. The ride from hoppy and rich to robust and phenol was delightful with warming. Very great example for the price point especially in Ohio. (192 characters)

Photo of DeanWormer
4.78/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Fabulous barleywine. The sweeter end of a malt presence compared to a double IPA. The initial taste is the sweetness, with the hop complexity following soon after. At $5-6 for a 22 oz. bomber, this is a good value. (216 characters)

Photo of shapudding
4.77/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Nice light amber color with a bit of white head made of tiny bubbles that reduced down to a tiny ring on the sides, leaving the center clear. Nice malty aroma with oaky hints. Smooth and creamy, yet not heavy. Oaky, casky tasting, yum!. Hoppy, bitey. Honey and vanilla. Not too heavy or intense, just so very good and flavorful. Easy drinking, could easily sit back and enjoy a few of these puppies! -pun intended!

p.s. no matter what Brian says, the label is freakin cute! (477 characters)

Photo of jdklks
4.75/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

ABV says 9.7 on here but this bottle says 11%

A- pours thick with a dark amber body and a whitish-tan head that leaves a thick, sticky lacing.

A- The smell is of very sweet fruits. grapes come to mind along with citrus fruits, esp. oranges. thats about all as it dominates the smell.no hint of alcohol, hops, malts, etc., just fruits.

T- WOW. taste comes through with hops and malts and the fruit domination is not nearly as pronounced as it is in the smell. still strong fruit flavors, but it is well balanced, and not nearly as sweet as expected. a hint of alcohol, but not as much as would be expected from 11%. this is a very good beer.

M- This is full-bodied in every sense of the word. has the consistency of hard liquor. ridiculously thick and smooth. perfect carbonation.

D- i cant stop sipping. quick sips followed by long drinks. drinkability for style, abv, and thickness is through the roof!

This one caught me off guard because i have never before liked a lagunitas beer. this, however, is fantastic! im going to have to buy more of this. (1,060 characters)

Photo of oelergud
4.75/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Tall brown 1 pint 6oz glass bottle, pry-off cap. Old style off-white label with the Lagunitas dog centered over the name of the brew.
Beautiful clear redgold body with low carbonation. Large tan, lemon tinted creamy head with medium to large bubbles. Great retention and lace. This is a great looking beer.
Strong aroma of alcohol, sweet syrupy malts and spiked hops. Warm spices and mild nuts, so inviting.
This is a tasty barleywine indeed. Strong malts very well balanced with strong and surprising mellow hops. The alcohol is present but kept in check. The aftertaste is where the hops take over in a long lasting resin like flavor spiked here and there by the alcohol.
Thick body with residual sugars. Plenty of coating and slick.
Highly drinkable, so delicious. This is good enough to move into Bigfoot territory.

-Oelergud (830 characters)

Photo of Gehrig
4.75/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Clear dark auburn body with two fingers of dense amaretto head; excellent duration and ample lacing coating the Duvel tulip leave me somewhere between very impressed and speechless. Densely malted smell, rife with caramel, toffee, and coffee malt, with plenty of sweet fruit; very robust aromas.

Incredible taste! Bold, brawny, chewy yet also semi-sweet. Dark chocolate, caramel, and butterscotch malt govern Gnarlywine, with cherry and orange peel in a secondary but supplementary role. The malt backbone is dense, durable, and thoroughly delicious. There is just no quit in Gnarlywine, fabulous taste through and through.

Rich, gritty mouthfeel with a lush smooth coating provide the best that barleywine offers in a mouthfeel. All texture elements are covered. The ABV catches up near the end, not unexpectedly at 11%, but goodness, what a ride.

I immediately fell in love with Brown Shugga, to me the best I had from Lagunitas--until now. Brown Shugga now finds itself neck-and-neck with this brash, aggressive beauty. Olde Gnarleywine has vaulted into my top five barleywines around.

This beer is nothing short of great. (1,129 characters)

Photo of Jemonster
4.73/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Slightly opaque copper color with light tan head. Tiny bubble carbonation.

S: Sweet and yeasty. Some peach and apricot.

T: FANTASTIC. Just on the edge of being too sweet, long lingering fruity aftertaste. Almost tropical fruity flavors; mango and papaya. Some grains and mild hops.

M: Heavy and ever so slightly carbonated. Sticky.

O: Another great beer by Lagunitas. (374 characters)

Photo of TastyTaste
4.73/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had never known that this beer existed until i saw a row of 1999 vintage bottles in a liquor store that i frequent every few months or so. Thinking back to where I was in 1999, a junior in high school, it is amazing that this beer has been waiting for me until I was in my final year of college, makes it pretty special to drink. Pours a scarlet red color, slightly brown, with just a tiny bit of bubbly off white head. Smells vinous and strong, raisins and brown sugar abounding. Taste is smooth and mellow on the outset, which becomes a little rockier at the end where the now-mellowed hops make their presence felt. So many flavors will great you and morph into different ones as you take each sip of this fantastic beer. Mouthfeel is full and slick, low carbonation, and that is just fine. Drinkability is good, i don't think i could session it because of the fact that it so strong, and somewhat pricey. Do i recommend it, if you ever have the chance of buying it? A very enthusiastic "Yes". (998 characters)

Photo of jakester
4.72/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I got this bomber at Union Jack's on the Manatawny. Has "Twenty 'aught-4" on the label. (2004-get it?) I drank this in a leaded wine glass.

Pours a beautiful clear reddish amber with orang tints. A beige colored 1/2 finger head of small bubbles forms on top. This quickly fades to a ring. No real lacing observed. That is the only slightly disappointing thing about this whole beer.

Smells like super strong toffee apples, big estery fruitiness, and starting to spoil grapefruits and lemons. A huge caramel smell is there also. In other words, smells fantastic!!! Alcohol rears it's head late.

The first flavor is dark gin soaked raisins, followed by very sweet plums and prunes. A pretty big hop bitterness and flavor is present, as well. The hop flavors are citrusy and spicy, like black pepper. For as big as this is, it's very well balanced. The aftertaste is dominated by sweet fruit and heat. Very nice representation of the style.

Mouthfeel is a mouthfull. Lip smackingly sweet, smooth and creamy, with a soft carbonation rolling across the tongue. A nice grab at the back of your throat from hop bitterness, and a warm, soothing hot flash from alcohol. I think I'm in love!

This is a fantastic representation of the style. It's tough to rate drinkability for barley wines, because they knock your dick in the dirt, but this one is really good! (1,367 characters)

Photo of Bookseeb
4.72/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance is a dark ruby red amber with a nice off white head and lace. Smell has a big malty aroma, alchohol with a toffee/caramel sweetness. Taste has a very nice complexity with the malt, sweetness and dried dark cherries and the alchohol is not dominating. Mouthfeel is solid, maybe a tad thin for the style, but slick with the right amount of a lighter carbonation. As well as being complex This is one of the easiest and tastiest barley wines I have drank thus far. (472 characters)

Photo of Gatch
4.7/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Taste of Tops in Tempe, AZ.

A - Gorgeous hazy, ruby-reddish brown with golden accents. No head at all. Burnt sienna if I can get to the detail of a crayon.

S - Syrup, brown sugar, molasses, soy sauce, bbq sauce, teryaki (last three are serious), alcohol. Massive sweet malt and booze. Extremely inviting.

T - Awesome, seriously. Boozy, sugary, malty. Warming, caramelized sugars. Sweet, poached fruits. Not cloying, though. Very complex. Even some roasted coffee flavors in the finish.

M - Smooth, sweet, right amount of carbonation and booze. Like drinking a high quality scotch, but more brandy taste. The alcohol dominates but allows so many other flavors to come through.

O: Epitome of the style. Everything I expect an American Barleywine to be. Well done, Lagunitas!

Update 12/19/12: Forgot that I had drank this in the past. 2010 vintage at Meadhall in Cambridge for 12 Brewers of Christmas. Delicious beer to which the age has contributed nicely. Everything is exquisite. Huge sweet booze qualities and heavy hops. Awesome stuff. (1,044 characters)

Photo of Kuaff
4.68/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

In my snifter at around 283 Kelvin.

Pretty beige cap of foam which lasts long, and a stunning deep crimson color. Dazzling.

It smells sweet and fruity like caramel, honey, lemon, orange, mango, and pineapple, but there's also more. Kind of a dank, herbal, grassy side, with ever so subtle earth and leather. Really really nice!

Fantastic flavor. What strikes me especially is the potency of the citrus, which is delectably tart and zesty. There is definitely some sweet brown sugar or caramel, but it's balanced by a (I want to say savory) quality which is the sum of astringent pine, dank hops, woody earthiness, and a toasty thingy. Yup. Definitely detecting a toasty thingy.

The feel is magnificently full, thick, and sticky. I am pleased.

Truly a stellar barleywine. And it totally has that signature hoppy Lagunitas essence in the finish. Quite a pleasure to have it dressed up in the form of a fine barleywine. (921 characters)

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.67/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2002. Pours a clear dark auburn body with gleaming orange highlights beneath a full head of creamy ivory foam that holds well and leaves short walls of transient lace about the glass.

The nose offers a toffeeish and surprisingly nutty maltiness that's accentuated by a touch of citrusy and slightly piney hops.

In the mouth it's full-bodied, dextrinous, and creamy-smooth with a very fine bubbled, restrained carbonation.

The same toffeeish and nutty malt returns in the flavor - like melted brown sugar drizzled over a nibble of a Butterfinger bar, and topped with a teaspoon of chopped cashews, almonds, and hazelnuts. Some dark-skinned fruit emerges along with the bitterness mid-palate; followed by a flourish of citrusy hops. It finishes raspy dry with a lingering note of caramel-sweet malt that slowly erodes leaving a residue of citrusy/piney hops and dull bitterness behind.

The GnarlyWine is a superbly rounded barleywine with an interesting and unique maltiness. With the exception that, at just 9.7% abv, the head retention could be better and some alcohol sneaks through, this is superb! (1,112 characters)

Photo of waterintobeer
4.67/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2011 release. Poured into a snifter. More red than expected with nice lacing on the side of the glass. Smells strongly of hops, grapefruit and citrus that I can smell after immediately opening the bottle. The taste starts with malty sweetness and develops into a strong hop character, ending with a bit of a burn. End is surprisingly dry. A very good barlywine. (361 characters)

Photo of Mitchster
4.65/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

$4.29 for a 22oz bomber at Jack's. 9.7% ABV, 69.39 IBU, OG=1.096.

Pours out to a clear dark mahogany, forming a tall light yellow-tannish head with excellent retention and solid sheets of lacing. Carbonation is moderate in degree. Oh man, it's been a while since I had a good barleywine. This one sure smells up to the challenge. Starts out with big west coast hops...piney, sweet, resinous, followed by a huge malt body of raisins, dates, prunes, syrupy malts, caramel, brown sugar. The mouthfeel is sooo soft and smooth, like liquid caramel. Big, dense body. The carbonation is actually a little mild which makes this one a wonderful drinker. The taste is a recap of the aroma. The bitterness is mild, but well-balanced, full of malt and hop flavor in perfect harmony. This has got to be one of the best Barleywines in recent memory. This is comparable to Founders, Great Lakes, and Avery, some of my top ten barleywines.

Highly recommended. I will have to pick up a few more of these bad boys. A good deal, too! (1,016 characters)

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.65/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2004 (Twenty 'Aught-4) release. Smoldering tawny with a splash of maraschino cherry juice, a gorgeous hue that is as warm as a tropical sunset. The head is at least as attractive as the beer itself. It's the color of orange caramel mousse and is as thickly creamy as they come. Only now, as the second inch of the glass is revealed, does the thick sheet of lace begin to show any sign of breakage. The appearance is just short of stunning.

The nose is a bewitching combination of caramel, brown sugar, hot buttered rum, cherries and oranges. It doesn't really bring anything new or different to the table, it just smells better than the vast majority of barleywines that have entered my snifter. Maybe that's why the brewery decided to call it Gnarly. If the flavor takes its cues from the aroma, this will be a keeper and then some.

Perhaps I cracked the crown at just the right moment in time. Or perhaps it wouldn't have mattered one way of the other. All I know is, Olde GnarlyWine is outstanding beer, right here, right now. Too many barleywines are too much of one thing or not enough of another to suit me. As Goldilocks so famously said, this one is juuust right.

The malt backbone is colossal and reminds me of a solid line of caramel vertebrae jutting from the earth, as if from some long dead malt dinosaur. The flavor profile mirrors the nose, more or less, with candied orange peel-studded, caramel-coated toffee pudding oozing all through the mouth with each upending of the glass. Buttered rum is still in the house, although there's so little alcohol evident on the palate that the ABV just has to be a misprint.

This is one beautiful, well-integrated, lip smackingly delicious big beer. Hop bitterness is necessarily muted after two years in the bottle, but their citric fruitiness is alive and well. I almost expect to see chunks of candied orange peel, candied grapefruit peel and candied cherries swimming around in my glass. If this isn't the best barleywine that I've ever had, it's damn close. I don't want the bomber to ever run dry.

The body/mouthfeel is as well-mannered as the flavor profile. It's unabashedly full with a heavy silkiness that is pure pleasure in the mouth. It's also sticky without being syrupy and allows the various flavors to soak into the taste buds and make themselves at home until the next sip. The finish should be measured with a calendar rather than a stopwatch.

Lagunitas is one of America's great under-appreciated breweries as far as I'm concerned. I love their Brown Shugga', Imperial Red Ale, India Pale Ale and Cappuccino Stout. Not one of those, however, with the possible exception of the first, prepared me for the magnificence of Olde GnarlyWine. This is a world-class barleywine that I would have bought by the case had I known what magic awaited me on the other side of the label. Highly recommended. (2,884 characters)

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Olde GnarlyWine from Lagunitas Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 708 ratings.