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Olde GnarlyWine - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Olde GnarlyWineOlde GnarlyWine

Educational use only; do not reuse.

709 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 709
Hads: 1,487
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 9.07%
Wants: 131
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: 709 | Hads: 1,487
Photo of TruePerception
3.76/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Lagunitas's Olde GnarlyWine. 10.6% ABV.

A: Two fingers of slightly cream colored head. Rosy red-amber. Very clear. Yellow in the dimple. Decent lacing.

S: Decently strong hop aroma. Mostly pine. Slightly resinous. Fruity note in the background, but it's hard to make out against the pine. Plum and/or orange, maybe.

T/MF: Definitely too hoppy for me. I thought 10.6 might enough to balance out 70 IBU, but I guess not. Molasses/tree sap flavor is the only remnant of the beer, itself. Plenty of resin, cigarette ash, and pine. Note my favorite flavors to find in a beer. Still a bit cold, so we'll see how it settles.

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle, into a Belgian tulip glass. (678 characters)

Photo of kojevergas
2.61/5  rDev -36%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

BOTTLE: 1 pint 6 fl oz. Brown glass. Branded copper-colour pry-off pressure cap. Classic Lagunitas label design.

10.6% ABV. 1.096 O.G.

Cost was...$5.00 USD? Ah, Lagunitas.

Served cold into a pilsner glass and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Expectations are well above-average given the brewery.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: ~2 inches wide. Off-white colour. Creamy and soft-looking, with a nice even consistency. As full and thick as it should be. Leaves no lacing as it recedes.

Retention is stellar - ~12+ minutes at minimum - shockingly good.

BODY: Clear copper of average vibrance. Clean, with no yeasty or hoppy muck to be seen.

Overall, it's a typical appearance for a barleywine.

AROMA: It's quite hoppy, actually...shockingly so. Pine, floral hops, light hop oils, some resins...why is this so hoppy? Must definitely be an American barleywine. All I get hopwise is some (surprisingly light) caramalt and some pale malts. If I didn't know better, I'd think it was an IPA. There's no toffee, marshmallow, graham cracker, et al.

Aromatic intensity is average.

I'm a bit taken aback. It's just plain not a barleywine aroma. Way overhopped, but appealing outside of stylistic conventions.

TASTE: Has a caramalt and pale malt backbone. And damn, is it hoppy for a barleywine. Heavy notes of pine, resin, and floral hops provide the bulk of the flavour, with hop oils a distant second. There's a bit of biscuit, but no real toffee, marshmallow, etc. The faint brown sugar is a nice touch, I guess, as is some muted citrus zest. It's actually surprisingly plain and shallow overall, with no real intricacy or subtlety to its execution. Not a gestalt beer by any means. Too bitter to be well-balanced.

Average duration and intensity of flavour.

I don't dislike it, but it's not on par with the quality I've come to expect from Lagunitas. Has an obvious booziness that doesn't do it any favours.

TEXTURE: Smooth, wet, somewhat creamy, sticky, a bit soft in the third act, overcarbonated, and full-bodied. It gets the job done, but it doesn't accentuate specific notes or elevate the beer overall. A decently executed mouthfeel for a barleywine, but not one that harmonizes with the taste to any special effect.

OVERALL: I thought $5.00 for a barleywine was a steal, but now I'm not so sure. This is overhopped to its detriment, and misses stylistic fundamentals. Drinkable for what it is, but I do wish I had a friend or three to help me finish it off. Maybe it'd get a bit better with age? Not a beer I'd revisit, but I guess for its price you could do worse. A rare miss from the cats at Lagunitas. Very pedestrian.

C- (2.61) (2,675 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 Bosoxfan20
3.96/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Quite simply the best BW value out there at $3.50/bomber. Delicious fresh with an incredible balance between the pine hop notes and the caramelized sugars. Sweet, piney, toffee, earthy. Further evidence that no one does it better when it comes to great beers at a great price. (279 characters)

Photo of justinp444
4.36/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Snifter glass on draft, it is a clear amber with a nice white head. It smells of sweet malts and earthy hops. Taste is of the same with some apple and dried fruit notes (182 characters)

Photo of Beer-Revelry
3.94/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Brain Dead brewing, Dallas,TX in a snifter glass.

A - 4.50 - Dark caramel in color with a half finger of slightly off white colored, quickly dissipating head.
S - 3 - Quite simple and basic in smell. Just getting mostly a hop and malt sweetness here. To be fair it was quite chilled from the tap.
T - 4.25 - Sweet malts and hops, touches of caramel. Seems more like a strong old ale to me than a Barleywine.
F - 4.50 - Nice creamy mouthfeel.
O - 4 - A good brew, but not a perfect representation of the Barleywine style. (536 characters)

Photo of Lucnifter
4.54/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful garnet color with lovely off-white head that hangs out for a bit.
The nose is phenomenal. Simcoe and Nelson hop aroma up front with some caramel malt and a touch of alcohol on the nose. The flavor is malty, fruity, and moderately bitter. It kind of stradles the line between American Barleywine, Double IPA, and Imperial Red. I have been hesitant to support Lagunitas after the whole Sierra Nevada debacle and I bought this one primarily because I wanted to try beers I haven't tasted yet and the price was reasonable, but this thing has surprised me and more than surpassed expectations. If you enjoy hoppy barleywines or even strong, amber Double IPAs, this beer is worth the try. (693 characters)

Photo of DrewV
4.36/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

An interesting take on an "American Barleywine" style beer. Frankly, I'm not even sure if that's a real category, but it certainly seems to fit. Aroma is heavily infused with citrusy hops that loosely translate to the flavor. The flavor is fairly bold and leans towards the hoppy side. Nothing boozy, everything is in good balance. At 10+%, this is a real winner in the high-ABV category.

I've seen many reviews that say this beer is "the same as Brown Shugga", but let me just say that this is completely not true. I have had a Brown Shugga immediately after drinking Gnarlywine and the Brown Shugga is MUCH sweeter and less hoppy. Brown Shugga is more finely carbonated and has a smoother mouthfeel. The difference is night and day. If anything, it is closer to Undercover Shutdown, but still is not the same beer.

Bottom line is that this beer stands alone by itself in the Lagunitas lineup. Definitely worth a shot at $5 for a bomber. (950 characters)

Photo of clayrock81
4.05/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured a clear copper body with one finger head and left a lace ring around glass. Aroma is a little boozy, with touches of dark fruits (figs, prunes). Hoppy beer, smooth, medium strength body, little bit of heat on the finish. a little sticky from the malts, mostly some toffee or caramel sweetness and these balance with citric, hoppy, earthy flavors and touches of dark fruits. Pretty well built and strong, holds up and I like the extra hop notes. (454 characters)

Photo of irongator
4.31/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Wow! I wouldn't really think this is a barleywine. It's way more of a hybrid for me. Reminds me of their WTF which they stopped making for some stupid reason. Hoppy but not overly so. Great balance. Not really a good representation of a barleywine, so if that's what you are looking for choose something else. (309 characters)

Photo of Immortale25
4.35/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Haw River Farmhouse Ales teku glass.

A- Pours a reddish dark amber color with a 1/4 inch light tan head that retains well before becoming a thin ring around the edge of the glass and a sheer crescent shape of surface foam. Resilient lacing clings to the glass leaving large clots behind.

S- Sweet nose full of dark fruit, caramel and burnt sugar with the pungent hops rounding everything out in a way that suggests orange peel.

T- Also sweet with the malt providing a bready backing. Moderate hop bitterness bounces off the sweetness. Every element works harmoniously to create as balanced a drink as possible with the ABV being as high as it is.

M- Somewhat syrupy but also prickly from the medium carbonation and a body leaning toward the fuller side.

O- Of the sweeter Lagunitas offerings (Undercover Investigation, Brown Shugga, Hairy Eyeball), this is my favorite. The sweetness actually accentuates the hop flavors and bitterness rather than muddling it, resulting in a high drinkability factor. (1,027 characters)

Photo of tekstr1der
4.48/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Ruby-copper pour, with dense off-white foam. Slightly sweet, metallic aroma of alcohol and caramel candy. Sweet, nutty, alcoholic flavor. Finishes nicely with subtle grapefruit. Smooth and scrumptious! (201 characters)

Photo of ajm5108
4.21/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Very similar to Brown Shugga, has a nice crisp pine hop aroma followed by a semi-sweet malt / burnt sugar taste the leads into a medium dry grapefruit finish. (158 characters)

Photo of WesMantooth
3.77/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I enjoyed this a lot, but it really isnt much of a barleywine. American or English. Fairly sweet with a strong caramel malt base and dark sugars. Tastes very similar to Brown Shugga. (182 characters)

Photo of preago
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2015- Citrus & piney nose almost like Nugget Nectar. Sweet though nicely balanced with the hops & alcohol at the end. Needs a few more months to mellow out a bit. Lagunitas never disappoints in terms of value, will pick up a couple more & break them out around Christmas. (274 characters)

Photo of CHickman
4.06/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Twenty-Fifteen version pours red copper color with 1 finger creamy tan head that was full of bubbles and faded about average time that leans towards slow, leaving really good spotty lacing as it went down.

Smells like a fresh hopped IPA with an initial blast of citrus hops and some fruity sweetness that then turns to rich malt, caramel, brown sugar, toffee, syrup, piney hops, booze like rum, some fig or raisin and then some peat moss or earthy notes. The way this started I thought it would be very hoppy, but the malts settled it down and kept it smelling like a barleywine with nice balance. I expected aggressive hopping and it turned out enjoyable, as I suspected it would.

Tastes of zesty citrus up front like lemon and grapefruit that are bitter, followed by some caramel, brown sugar, maple syrup, piney hops and then a mix of fruit like cherry, rotting pear and an old orange. A second wave of flavors start with some toffee and booze, then include biscuit, buttered wheat bread, Sweedish Fish candy and butterscotch. The booze seeps through like dark rum and is warming, but not offensive as it adds a nice kick to the brew. The aftertaste is like pineapple and toffee and borders on too sweet, but this young bottle has enough hop bitterness to hide the ABV enough that it was a nice sipper.

Mouthfeel is creamy and almost milky on the tongue, with a heavy, chewy body, mild carbonation and a sweet finish that was slightly bitter. The liquid has some weight to it, but if you take it down slow it goes down pretty easy with minor heat.

Overall a nice hoppy American Barleywine that I would definitely have again. I’d like to see what a year of age does to this so I’ll buy another Twenty-Fifteen bottle, especially at this price point - very reasonable. It was Doggone Good. (1,801 characters)

Photo of KevBot89
3.84/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Look: Amber color with a small cream-colored head.

Smell: Grassy, bitter herbal and earthy hops. Some caramel and copper notes as well.

Taste: Rich malts of sweet caramel, copper pipe, earthy hops. This is very sweet, malt abundant with mild hop flavors and a touch of alcohol.

Feel: Moderate carbonation with a thick mouthfeel. Very solid.

Overall: Solid barleywine. Wish the hops were as prominent in the taste as they are in the aroma. But nonetheless, this is enjoyable and certainly worth a try. (505 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 elNopalero
4.04/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I’ve had this fresh and aged, as I somehow acquired a bunch of 2011 Gnarlywines at a nice discount. Fresh, I get a rich malty toasted coconut caramel malt flavor contrasting with a ton of sticky citrusy hops. There’s a smoothly sweet finish. The age mellows out some of the rough edges. (290 characters)

Photo of osupuck19
4.61/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Nice barely wine with lots of character. Lagunitas sweetness comes through for a great mouthful and finish. Would drink again. And again. And again. (150 characters)

Photo of arvidkoval
4.43/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L- Ruby red-orange, white head.

S- fruity, malty, berry like, honey

T- Sweet! More berry characteristics, a bit piney, sweet malt, good bitter backing.

F- Thick and creamy. Lightly carbonated.

O- Bitchin'! (216 characters)

Photo of HoneyLamb
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bought 22oz bomber from Lambrecht's in Stevensville, Michigan for $4.99. Loved the flavor of this barley wine. Another great Lagunitas brew. March 2015 (152 characters)

Photo of KevChiTown
4.12/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2015 version. Crazy cheap bomber. Great head, with a sticky syrup mouthfeel. Bittersweet, but more towards the sweet side. Hides the booziness, but you can feel the warmth. Fantastic beer. (188 characters)

Photo of jopezu
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

deep amber, zero head. nose is slight citrus and pine. massive malt sweetness, citrus notes and piney hops battle over the taste, with the malts eventually winning and carrying over into the aftertaste in a sweet and almost rye-like finish. like all lagunitas bombers, this one is arguably UNDERpriced. a big sipper that shines as it warms, isn't overly complex, and gets the job done. =) (392 characters)

Photo of vic21234
3.84/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber poured into a snifter. 2015 Vintage.

A- Pours a clear amber color with a good amount of off-white head that hangs around awhile.

S- Lots of caramel along with some pine hops.

T- Caramel and sweet malts lead to some piney resin hops on the back end.

M- Medium bodied, nice carbonation, hoppy at the back of the sip.

Nice example of an American Barleywine, especially at the pricepoint. (406 characters)

Olde GnarlyWine from Lagunitas Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 709 ratings.