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Olde GnarlyWine - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Olde GnarlyWineOlde GnarlyWine

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

961 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 961
Reviews: 618
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 10.32%
Wants: 114
Gots: 73 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  10.60% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
2011: 10.6% ABV, 69 IBU

(Beer added by: Todd on 09-22-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 961 | Reviews: 618 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of prototypic
4.47/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: It's a deep reddish amber color with a frothy, off-white head that's about three fingers deep. It's quite the head. Retention was very good and a sticky coat of decorates the glass.

Smell: Very impressive on the nose. There's a rich combination of caramel malt sweetness and citrus aromas (grapefruit, orange, pineapple, and a hint of cherry). It results in a very sweet smelling brew. Hops are piney and certainly noteable, but they lack the punch that their presence provides in some barleywines. It's doesn't negate any of the fine aspects here. Bottom line, this is an excellent smelling representation of the style.

Taste: It's a bit different than I've come to expect from barleywines. It's flavor is a nice reflection of its smell. Caramel malts and citrus flavors are sweet and slightly bitter. But, the hops are the most interesting component. They are piney and provide a nice, bitter bite. But, they're blended much better than most offerings. It's extremely well balanced and flavorful. Finishes dry and slightly yeasty.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It's medium bodied, leaning thick. It's a nice sipping beer. One to enjoy for a bit. Carbonation is top notch. It's incredibly smooth and drinkable. ABV is listed as 9.7%, but it really doesn't feel or taste like it. Alcohol is masked well and it certainly leaves me wanting more. Too bad I have only the single bomber. This is a great beer that's been an extremely nice surprise. I honestly wasn't expecting a whole lot and it turned out to be a gem. Find one...now.

Photo of jmz62565
4.08/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear deep cherry/mahogony with a giant tan foamy head. This is an impressive looking beer with a head that lasts and leaves great lacing. The smell is pungent with citrus hops,bread yeast,and some dark fruit scents. The taste is very hoppy with citrus and pine flavors,alcohol,bread yeast,and some dark fruit. The m/f is medium with all the flavors mixing very well. A very good beer ,more on the "Bigfoot" line of Barleywines,
Full of flavor,scents and alcohol. You won't regret trying this.

Photo of mrasskicktastic
3.85/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Clear cherry red with a small amount of visible carbonation and a small head, but a good amount of lacing.

S - A bit of dates, plums and cherries, some faint pine and grapefruit pith.

T - Very malty, some fruity flavors, plums and figs, some pine hops and grapefruit. Aftertaste is a bitter fruitiness.

M - High carbonation, thick, not very refreshing.

D - Pretty good. It is an enjoyable barley wine with a lot of potent fruit flavors. I am pleased. I think I will probably have this one again.

Photo of BigJTrucker
4.3/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours an absolutely beautiful ruby mahogany color, Very thin light white head. Aroma has notes of apricots or plums, some caramel malt scents, no noticeable hop aroma. Alcohol aroma is just barely apparent. Taste has an initial hop bite, but then the malty sweetness comes with a vengeance. Very well balanced. Mouthfeel is very smooth from start to finish. A surprisingly drinkable barleywine, and given the price at my local market(3.49 for a 22oz), i might have to get more of this.

Photo of bradybeer
4.6/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a nice copper brown color with an off white head with medium carbonation. Nice hop and malt aroma. Taste is wonderful a mixture of malty sweetness-currants, raisins? Malt sweetness continues through the finish-there is some hop bitterness, but the emphasis is malt, and plenty of it. Mouthfeel is medium, and silky. Drinkability for this 9.70% beer is high. Just bought another bottle to lay down for many years

Photo of barleywinebrewer
4.03/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 vintage
A - nice clear reddish brown color, solid offw white head.
S - Sweet malts, brown sugar, caramel, soft citric hops.
T - similar to the nose, sweet malts, caramel, brown sugar, toffee with a citric hop note providing contrast without any harshness.
M - full bodied, nicely carbonated.
D - a nice sipping barleywine

Photo of Oisin
3.95/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Yeah, Barley wine!

Pours a bloody, copper color. Nice head that clings to the glass and my upper lip.

Malty goodness dominates the fragrance and makes no concession to the hop-heads until taste.

Defintely malty, but has some hop backbone.

Mouthfeel is heavy on the tongue and with little carbonation.

Definitely heavy and rich, but at $2.79 a 22oz, this is certainly a sessionable beer. At prices this nice, I think I'll try it twice--and I did, mmmm, yummy.


Photo of macster
4.22/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bomber. Pours a bright and clear garnet color with crimson highlights. Initial pour forms a thick and creamy beige head with fairly strong retention. No lacing observed.

Nicely balanced aroma profile noted on first sniff between the malts and hops. There is a very fruity nose to this barleywine noted right upfront. However, as with a few of the other Lagunitas brews I've sampled ( Brown Shugga and Hairy Eyeball come to mind) there seems to be a faint, distracting, slightly off background smell of over-ripe fruits. A mild citrusy, spicy hop aroma nicely comes through to balance the sweet caramel candy, ripe fruit and chocolate malt-ball nose.

Mouthfeel was quite big and chewy with a slightly oily texture.

Taste profile was also very well balanced starting off with immediate sweet flavors of caramelized brown sugar, Grape Nuts cereal, red apple, toffee and some molasses. This quickly transcends into a firm grapefruit rind and herbal-like hop bitterness which nicely balances this big, rich BW out in the finish.

Definitely a sipper as the 9.7% has a notable warmth. At $3.79/bomber this is an exceptional deal on a very tasty BW.

Photo of DavidSeanNJ
4.43/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This could be my new favorite barleywine...

A- The beer itself poured a deep copper color with light brown hues. Nice creamy 1 finger head, no lace.

S- Smell was sweet upfront (caramel, sugars) but after a couple of whiffs I really got a nose of hoppy residue.

T- Taste was complex and well-balanced. I would call this one "big foot junior" only because the hops are toned down. Sweet flavors initially "candy like" tastes but a huge hoppy bitter punch in the end. This is my idea of a great barleywine.

M- Mouthfeel was sticky and thick, warmed going down, but not much burning from the alcohol.

D- My new favorite barleywine. Excellent job Lagunitas! Easily finished this bomber in a quick sitting.

Photo of Beerbuddha
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer was a nice copper color with only slightest bit of head which is egg shell colored and left descent lacing throughout life of beer. The smell was very sweet with a slight smell of hops. The balance of malts and hops is nice with the maltiness being slightly more dominant. Great sweetness to it. The mouthfeel was thick with little to no carbontion. overall this beer was great! Wish we had this LA(I say that a lot).

Photo of oelergud
4.78/5  rDev +17.4%
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.


Photo of tpd975
4.22/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Nice copper hue with a bold khaki head. Pretty syrupy with a nice amount of lace.

S: Lots of malt with touches of citrus and pine. There is an underlying brown sugar sweetness to this one.

T: Malty goodness right up front. Tons of caramel with hints of nutty toffee. Charred brown sugar comes next with tinges of grapefruit hops. Really nice with a bit of boozy warmth.

M: Full-bodied brew. Rather thick, and somewhat chewy.

Overall: A very good barleywine and another fine brew in the Lagunitas lineup. These beers are so reasonalbe when you consider the amount of flavor they pack. I have this one in the bottle and I look forward to seeing how it compares.

Photo of paulthebeerguru
4.22/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tumbler.

A: Color is a radiant, ruby-ish mahogany. Almost no head at all, but what halo that does remain, is off-white and clings to the glass leaving a fair amount of lace.

S: Very sweet aromas, molasses, brown sugar, and figs or dried dark berries. Some hop aroma is present but masked by the swwet malts.

T: Nice complimenting flavors between the malts and the hops. The malts bring out beautiful sweet flavors, like cherries, figs, and for some reason dark candi sugar. The hops come in and balance this out rather nicely, placing some bite after the sweetnesses.

M: A little thick but it is expected from a high gravity brew. Nice rolling flavor from the front of the palate to the back. Good carbonation level, it fits the style perfectly.

D: A fine example of the style, and as in all my reviews, I love Lagunitas...I have yet to be disappointed. Also, it reminds me of early Saturday at Falling Rock before the early session of GABF, when 11am seemed like a good time to drink two barleywines.

Photo of rajendra82
4.03/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One of the last Lagunitas beers to show up in Georgia, Olde GnarlyWine came in a Limited Release 22 oz. bomber. The copper colored body was hazy and alive with lots of carbonation streamers. The dense head was good looking at two fingers thick, and growing. The smell was indicative of the generous hopping rate used in the recipe. It was not a piney and bitingly resinous hoppyness in the nose like the Bigfoot I had just yesterday. Instead these were softer, citric, and somewhat earthy hops. The taste was quite a bit sweeter than what I was expecting from one of the big boys from the West Coast. The residual sugars from the wort were still pretty evident, and the spicy and earthy hops could not provide and equal match up. The fruity richness of drizzled pears, apricots, and peaches came in wave after luscious sticky wave. Quite a full mouthfeel with a tinge of sourness in the finish. Rich, rich, rich, but will perhaps prove too sweet for some people.

Photo of ArrogantB
3.63/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The 2008 vintage finally showed up in bombers this year and at $4.49 it seemed like a good deal based upon my previous experience with this beer. The color is dark orange, translucent, with a very foamy head that then fades to a thin film of tiny bubbles. The first whiff I took from from the bottle was very hoppy but now that it is in the snifter it doesn't seem overly hoppy actually a subtle sweetness. Whoa, sugary crazy flavor that ends very bitter. I think I tasted cinnamon. The flavor is almost too sweet for me but I am faithful it will die down over time. Slight astringency in the mouthfeel as well. This is not a bad barleywine at all but it needs some time.

Photo of turbine2475
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a clear copper with a white head that disipated quickly into a moderate lace.
S - Hints of grapefuit, pine, and minty hops that melt away into a toffee/caramel.
T - Citrus, friuty hops, brown suger, with the alcohol coming through in the end.
M - Low carbonation with a slightly milky mouthfeel.
D - Not a bad offering. Would not pass this beer up if offered, but there are better examples of the style avaliable in my area.

Photo of cswhitehorse
3.95/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured the Olde GnarlyWine into a chalice and it gave a amber color with a quickly disappearing foam head the left some sudsy lacing on the side of the glass.

In the smell I got a fruity aroma with browned sugar. It was a semi alcoholic waft with plums and cherries. The taste was definitely sweet and sugary. It has a dry finish and faint hint of oak. In the mouth it was light on the tongue. Overall I thought it was a pretty darn good brew.

Photo of Sweasty
3.93/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Dark crystal clear copper. Shortish tan head with some sticking power. Leaves adequate lacing down the glass.

Smell - Minty/citrus/grapefruit hop. Touch of spice and chocolate.

Taste - Caramel/toffee sweetness that thankfully isn't too sugary. Loads of grapefruit/minty hops. Theres a lingering green grape quality. A slight touch of milk chocolate makes an appearance late in the game. A nice spicy, warming, bitter finish

Mouthfeel - Full-bodied thick, and chewy

Overall this is one tasty barley wine. Too many barley wines straddle the Double IPA/barley wine line. This one stands clearly as a barleywine. Its sweet with a solid hoppiness, but with out being hop syrup. Another top notch brew from Lagunitas.

Photo of stumac
4.65/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

It was only four bucks for this bad boy! The Twenty 'Aught-8 version (whatever the 'aught' means).

A - reddish brown. Head descipated pretty damn quick. It was kinda greyish brown or something (im sittin in some crap lighting though).

S - nice piny hops, faint citrus due to the hops. caramel, the works.

T - very barleywine-ish. nice hops/malt balance, sweet citrus, almost orangey. caramel. maybe some darker fruits. hides the high alcohol very well. a little dry wood character. quick drying finish

MF - smoothe, low carbonation, very sticky but not syrupy as in it leaves a sticky taste on your lips. leaves a looong lingering after-taste. full bodied.

D - very drinkable. Would I drink it again?. In conclusion, I would

Photo of smttycty
4.93/5  rDev +21.1%
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.

Photo of timtim
4.03/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

dark reddish brown with a tan head that holds very well and leaves some great lace as well. caramel and sweet malt dominate the nose with a citrus hop scent in the background. fairly well balanced taste that exhibits a bit of cherrywood, smoke and leather just before the hoppy bitterness hits you in the finish. a little, little bit on the thin side, but tasted great to me, and was a very easy, pleasurable drink.

Photo of ATLbeerDog
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours rusty-orange with a small yellowish head. A robust citrus hop smell. Decent lacing. First sip bites of bitter hops that is well balanced with a strong malt backbone. More malt comes through as it warms up and so does an unexpected oakish flavor? A great showing and a great value at under $4 bucks for a 22 oz. bomber.

Photo of hopsleeroy
4.08/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Shared with a friend from 22 oz bomber.

A-Copper/brownish metallic with 1 inch head in oversized wine glass. Looks very nice.
S-Sweet caramel, Toffee, slight grassy
T-Very similiar to smell, caramel, toffee, with hop bitterness on the finish. Alcohol present but taste good. As it warms more floral and citrus/orange flavor. Very nice balance of sweet malt and hops.
M-Creamy in mouth but carbonated enough for some scrubbing action which was surprising for this beer.
D-Alcohol would keep this from being a session ale and could become too sweet but very drinkable.

Very good barleywine. Tastes like it has already been aged somewhat even though it's fresh.

Photo of dsa7783
3.63/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Single 22 oz bottle purchased from Buy Rite on Oak Tree in South Plainfield...
"Limited Release" on the front logo sticker...
Recently sampled the brewery's Brown Shugga, which was really impressive, so I was eager to give this one a shot...
Lucid, clean, clear, dark-copper, mahogany-brown appearance with a very small head that soon dissipated and left a minimal amount of lacing...
Strong aroma of alcohol, esters, caramel, and barley riding this one...
Taste was sweet without being too overbearing, but slightly watered-down in my opinion and not too rich or thick...
Wouldn't say I was entirely dissapointed by this one, but at the same time, I wouldn't consider this sample to be above-and-beyond...

Photo of ultralarry2006
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle of 2007 release. Leaves one finger of a tan head that has excellent retention, and leaves webs and webs of excellent sticky lacing. Body is a slightly hazy reddish amber. A very handsome ale.

Smell - citrus, floral, and pine resin, with caramel and toffee, and some spicy and medicinal alcohol, all filling the nose, and making the mouth water.

Taste - much like the smell. Pine resin and citrus flood the tongue, along with caramel and toffee swirled and slathered maltbread sweet rolls. More pine resin and citrus on the finish, as well as spicy and medicinal alcohol.

Mouthfeel - full bodied, very slick from the hop oils, and semi-dry at times from both the hops and the alcohol.

Drinkability - this is a very good ale. Its high abv does limit sessionability.

Olde GnarlyWine from Lagunitas Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 961 ratings.