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Olde GnarlyWine - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Olde GnarlyWineOlde GnarlyWine

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1,137 Ratings
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Ratings: 1,137
Reviews: 657
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 9.83%
Wants: 126
Gots: 151 | FT: 3
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,137 | Reviews: 657
Photo of MaxBrews
4.05/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter, thick brownish head which dissipates into a soapy lacing. Light brown hood, a orangish brown mahogany color. cannot see to other side of glass. Barley see the bubbles.

Can smell alcohol. Creamy toffee and caramel smell with a hint of fruit. VERY strong smell

Taste is very creamy, caramel toffee. Alcohol has a strong presence. Some sort of unidentified fruit thrown in the mix. Extremely complex and mysterious. So many flavors its hard to wrap my head around them.

Mouthfeel: Thick and creamy, lightly carbonated.

Drinkability: Taste is extremely strong, making it a sipping beer. Perhaps too strong for some. Its good in the way that its flavors are complex and it evokes a lot of mystery. However, this makes it a beer that I wouldn't want to drink often, but at times would provide an interesting beer experience.

Photo of truknon
4.37/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served from a Bottle into a 23oz. Pilsner glass.

A wonderful sweet, almost fruity smell after opening the bottle. Poured with a full 4 finger head and beautiful cooper/brown color. After a minute or two the head dissipated and some nice lacing formed on the side of the glass.

As the bottle states "the first sip is for thirst, the second one for pleasure" is very true. The third and subsequent sips need to be spaced out due to the 11% ABV!!! (This site says 9.7% but the bottle says 11%)

The alcohol is well hidden but it is definitely a sipping beer and very nice on the tongue. (Or maybe that was the flavor from my girlfriend's tongue!! HeHe)

This is my first Barley Wine beer so I have no comparison, but I will be trying others.

Photo of tj4288
3.94/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

too bad there is not a WOW rating for this beer, on that it would have scored a 5. it is a a powerful beer, and is very interesting to the tongue

poured from bomber bottle into pint glass, shared with my uncle, who picked it up to share at the local beer store for $4.95

a- a dark, slightly cloudy, amber, almost ruby color when held to light, almost no head or lacing

s- nutty, sweet, caramel, mollasses, almost smokey

t- very well balanced, notes of pine, caramel, mollases, very sweet

m- med-low carbonation, very heavy, syrupy, thick, sticky on the lips

d- $4.95 for a 1pint 6oz bottle, went down fairly easy, nice finish, strong alcochol almost leaves the lips numb. i think i am going to pick up another bottle and leave it in the cellar for a while to see how well it ages (as suggested on the bottle)

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

To me there are not to many things better (beer speaking) than a real hopped up American Barleywine,this fit the bill for me.Poured into a imperial nonic a hazed amber/bronze with a thinner off white head atop.Pine resin in the nose lets you know where this comes from and what brewer its from,dark fruit and some brown sugar go along nicel with the hefty hop profile.Complex and immensley flavorful,big fruity malt with some brown sugar flavors meld into big pine and citrus in the finish.Man its juicy and dangerously drinkable,another gem from Lagunitas.

Photo of gameface23
3.56/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2008 vintage

A: Hazy reddish brown, decent sized head for having such a high ABV. Spotty lacing

S: Molasses. Thick, thick molasses.

T: Sweet malts, caramel. Nice bitterness, but I really wish I had this one as fresh as possible to taste more of the flavor & aroma hops.

M: Full-bodied

D: After a while, it became a little cloying, but I'm a hophead so I'm a little biased.

A great value in beer! It's half the price of most barleywines.

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

Another good beer from Lagunitas.

Pour a sturdy, frothy like head in my tulip glass with plenty of sheeting and lacework on the glass. Nice dark orange color. Aroma of a little toffee. Flavor is a rather sweet, with a complex, toffee-like flavor and some earthy and resiny hops underneath. Very creamy, silky mouthfeel all the way to the end. Could not taste any of the alcohol. Got a little bitter as it warmed up, but all and all, a strong barleywine.

Photo of jsapunor
4.03/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a bomber into a Stone Old Guardian glass. The color is a beautiful dark red. Pouring raises a substantial head.

Smells like toffee and molasses without much hint of the 11% ABV claimed on the label. The taste emphasizes molasses and caramel, very malty with sweetness mixed in. This is one of the sweeter barleywines I've tried and the sweetness balances nicely with the other features of the brew. Again, the high ABV is nicely hidden, at least until you stand up.
The mouthfeel is a pleasantly sweet and sticky.

This is a fine barleywine and a real bargain at the price. I'm going to put one away for next year and see what a little aging does for it.

Photo of TheNightbird
3.8/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Deep red/brown color. With a nice finger of head.

S- Lots of intense carmel, floral hops and alcohol.

T- Strong carmel flavor, floral and pine hops. Malt mixed fruity flavors. At the end GnarlyWine ends up with a strong alcohol aftertaste.

M- Heavy body with not a whole lot of carbonation.

D- Good drinkability having an ABV of 11% could making it hard to pound on down.

Photo of illidurit
3.87/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2009 release. Bomber poured into a snifter. Brilliant ruddy scarlet color with a fluffy tan head. The bubbles seem coarse but the retention is solid. Aroma is maple syrup drizzled on ripe grapefruit. Accents of fresh wheat bread, orange, and caramel. Flavor is candied fruit galore. Pineapple, orange, and especially grapefruit. Some caramel and maple syrup again but those notes are truncated by a substantial bitterness. Finish is warming. Body isn't really full but it's robust enough. Modest carbonation, semidry finish. A pretty solid barleywine.

Photo of Spikester
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear dark amber with a cream color one finger head. Head fades quickly but leaves a ring and plentiful very fine lacings.
Aroma of plums and floral hops.
Taste is sweet plum, some black cherries, very bitter earthy hop finish.
Mouthfeel is adequete carbonation with a sweet wine body. Alcohol is well hidden considering the high abv. A slight burn at the back of the throat. Drinkability is quite good for this style.

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

2009 Release 11% ABV

Appearance: Rich reddish brown body with a dense auburn head. Fairly high carbonation on initial pour but it balances out pretty quickly. Sticky and spotty lacing. Can't help but add some points here for the packaging. One of my favorite clever beer blurbs that Lagunitas or other craft brewers have ever produced. Good stuff.

Smell: Flowery hops and some earthy grassy aromas mashed up against sweet malty notes. The alcohol puts off an almost sweet cherry type smell but it's much less obtrusive than a few underhopped American Barleywines I've tried.

Taste: Hops here also but a little less floral and a little more dry and pungent than in the nose, also strong toffee flavors. The classic battle of the agressive hopping against the intense malt nature of this beer is precisely what I look for in this style. The grassy flavors still come through here and it's obvious this beer could benefit from some age but still better young than many other American Barleywines are.

Drinkability: Drinks lighter than the 11% listed on the bottle but the statement on the label has a measure of truth to it: "The first sip is for thirst, the second one for pleasure. The third sip is for knowing, and the fourth for pure madness".

Photo of gford217
3.97/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber, 2008 vintage, poured into a snifter.

Pours a light clear copper with a small off-white head that recedes quickly to a collar with a swirl on top.

The aroma is thick and sweet with tons of caramel malts, toffee and dark fruit. Definitely figs, raisins and some brown sugar to top it off.

The taste follows the aroma and has a huge sweet caramel malt base that supports the dark fruit and brown sugar. Very sweet overall with the faintest hint of citrus hops up front. There is a bit of alcohol burn in the finish as well.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with soft carbonation and it coats the palate with the mixture of sweetness.

This is a solid barleywine that has all the prerequisites of the style. It doesn't blow me away on any aspects, but it's a good, sweet, drinkable brew.

Photo of angelmonster
4.37/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

2009 vintage, poured into New belgium globe

Pours a huge 3 finger cream color head. Body is clear, honey colored with medium carbonation. Head retention is very good and lacing is great

First smell is of intense, resiny, hops and sweet malt. Candied fruit and some honey is also present.

Wow, the hops punch you in the mouth, in a good way, of course. Its not too bitter either, but rather refreshing. Next the malt and fruit come through, which im assuming is from yeast and hops. Taste is of sweet grapefruit and maybe caramelized fig. Alcohol is very tame for being 11 percent. Flavors arent as medicinal as some barley wines

Mouth feel is nice and thick. A silky consistency with a semi creamy head. Carbonation is good, not too under carbonated like some barley wines.

Over all , best barley wine i've had. Extremely drinkable, most drinkable barley wine i had the pleasure of drinking. Alcohol is subtle and will sneak up on you. For 4 dollars a bomber it ranks up there for best quality cheap beers. Definitely recommend everyone to give this a try, gotta get some more to cellar for a year

edit- 2011 version in 2014 is quite different, better

Photo of rossthefireman
4.36/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- great deep brown hue, expected head from this style

S- Malty Hop smell with an alcohol backbone.

T- nice mix of sweet malt with a hop punch. Its a little 'hot' with the abv being 11%, but it sfits with how young it is.

M- good mouthfeel, nice on the platae , smooth, the heat of the alcohol is a nice touch

D- Very drinkable now, but will be better in the future

I really like this. Although its young, you can taste the potential. This barleywine is going to be great in a year and probably be awesome in two or more years. But even being young I loved the malty sweetness with that hop punch. Its a good balance that I think will age well, mellow out and just be fantastic. Im storing bottle of this for sure!

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

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a glass

2009 vintage weighing in at 11% ABV and 69 IBUs

A- Poured a syrupy deep orange/red and gave rise to a 1/2" tan, dark straw colored head. Foam slowly fell leaving behind think trail of sticky lacing.

S- Smell is of sweet caramel candy with a tinge of alcohol hiding behind.

T- Full of caramel maltiness up front with the 70 IBUs hidden very well. Hop flavor showcasing dry earthy spice and mild dark fruit shows up towards the end in the back of the mouth and pleasantly lingers long after the sip. At 11% ABV the alcohol performs a sneak attack to remind that it is still there and can be felt on the breath.

M- Warm, inviting and lively. Full bodied ale that will leave the lips sticky. The carbonation helps accentuate the hop profile while not detracting too much from the caramel goodness.

D- Great closer. Ideal beverage for a campfire or sitting in a robe, feet near an enchanted hearth. Take you time with this one and don't have any ambitious plans afterward. the last sip remains just as good as the first. Glows as it warms up.

Photo of webmanspidey
4.13/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark caramel amber color with minimal fizzy head. I didn't notice much in the smell.. I thought it was soupy and sweet. The taste was sweet caramel with very light hop bitterness. A heavy mouthfeel with very nice alcoholic flavors. My bottle said 11% ABV, so maybe this year's batch was a little different than the rest.

This wasn't my favorite barleywine, as I think it was lagging just a little behind some of my favorites, but it was still delicious.

Photo of aforbes10
4.41/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

$3.99 for a 22oz. at the Cost Plus World Market in Davis. Can't beat that! Pours a ruby red and perfectly clear with a nice, well-retained white head. Thick, uniform sheet of lacing. A very pretty beer. Nice fruity malt on the nose with a hint of brandy and pine sap. Flavor is quite bitter but balanced by the big full malt body and strong alcohol. Alcohol a bit hot, but manageable, and the malt is nicely laced with cherry and plums. A big, bold American barleywine that I can definitely see improving with age (though its just fine for drinking as is). One of Lagunitas' successes.

Photo of thor638
3.36/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Only a slightly above average BarleyWine. Didn;t real see anything too special in it, had better and certainly had worse.
Mouthfeel was a little too heavy in my opinion, and the flavor was strong but not too flavorful.
Smell was a bit dull.
Only had one and felt it was enough.

On Tap; Andy's Corner

Photo of cvstrickland
4.37/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From the "Twenty 'Aught-9" edition:

From the twist-off topped bomber bottle, Olde Gnarlywine pours a glassy-clear copper-amber color and sports a fine-bubbled lid of off-white foam. The crowning cap relaxes slowly into a creamy-collared sheet and sticks fine filmy webs of lacing onto the sides of my Delirium Tremens tulip.

The aroma is zesty with plenty of tangy citrus and a big fat dose of dark brown caramel. Notes of sugary dark rum stirred with a toffee swizzle stick accent a drizzle of floral honey.

The taste is richly brown sugar-sweet with a silky backing of fruit-infused caramel. Notes of buttery toffee, succulent Ranier cherries, and juicy red apples macerated in strong dark rum are nicely accented with a dry, crisp citrusy hop bite that brings more flavor than bitterness to the proceedings. Alcohol provides a cleansing effect on the palate and assists the hop charge in neutralizing the sizable sugar-factor, their tag-team duo drying the finish quite nicely. Molasses-dressed brown sugar and rock-solid caramel candy come on stronger as the drink warms.

The drink is silky-smooth and fullish in body with a perfect sizzle of carbonation, but the brew is still quite warm and boozy and would surely benefit from a little time in the cellar. A bomber bottle of this delicious stuff is a gracious plenty for me.

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

22oz bottle in Duvel tulip (2009 edition)

A: Dark copper/ruby color with a thick off-white head that leaves a bit of lace. Crystal clear, no haze.
S: West coast/American hops, not obvious what type. The malt backbone is very apparent in the nose, definitely not a dry beer.
T: HOPS, mostly bitter, some citrus pokes through the caramel malt sweetness. A little alcohol heat is present, this becomes more apparent as it warms.
M: Rich and tongue coating. The hops come across as a little astringent. Low level of carbonation that is style appropriate.
D: This is a nice barley wine if you like the American versions. I wish I could get this in KY, it makes a nice change from Bigfoot. Recommended.

Photo of Docer
2.91/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Grabbed a bomber from Fred Meyer... 11.0% Alc. Limited Release..

-Dark red and brown... rather clear and hardly any head as I poured at a 45 deg. angle into a tumbler glass.... mild lacing.. scattered bubbles..

- Smelled it from many feet away... very sweet and earthy smell... bit of alcohol... almost smells like a ham sandwich...

- Wow... way too sweet.. chewy caramel malt madness.. bit of alcohol and a floral hop backbone... but not impressed with this one... may pour it out...

- Sweet chewy aftertaste... earthy.. bit warm and mouthwashy..

- Not very drinkable simply because of the flavor... I'm sure someone out there likes this... but it aint me! Otherwise smooth...

Not at all impressed with this... I'm gonna have to pop open my Full Sail Old Boardhead to gather my Barley Marbles...

Perhaps this is one to age for about 5 years... not gonna buy another one to even try.

Photo of Arbitrator
3.47/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Chilled bomber into a glass.

A: Pours a clear mahogany color with an inch of cream-colored head that recedes quickly into an even film on top of the brew. Leaves some clumps and word bubbles of lacing at first, but loses lacing as I drink. Has active, but slow-moving carbonation that gives it a syrupy and viscous appearance, with some sediment floating down.

S: Raisin, fig, brown sugar, toffee, caramel, and some booze come through. Very pungent and sweet bouquet.

T: Sweet. Raisin and fig create an almost cloying mixture at first, helped slightly by an alcohol sting at the end of each sip. That clears the palate enough for the mid-taste to allow brown sugar and toffee to provide a seamless, and thankfully restrained, sweetness with caramel tones. The finish sees raisin, fig, and plum flavors appearing on top of the mid-taste foundation to create a well-balanced flavor (and IMO, the balance that should have been there at the beginning). Has a bitter, hoppy finish that comes out of nowhere.

M: Full-bodied and slightly chewy, with low-medium carbonation that works well for the style. Has a slightly astringent feeling with alcohol sting, but most of the booze is felt in a tummy warming effect.

D: Great flavors in this one, but they don't blend very well at all. Kind of a trainwreck at the moment. I've had some better variations on this flavor profile, including the North Coast Old Stock and Pelican Stormwatcher.

Photo of jujubeast6000
2.88/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Reviewed 4/9/2009 (Draft at Flying Saucer, Houston, TX):

Pours a strong red color body. Small off-white body, diminishing. Raisin and fig, sickly sweet aroma. This is a barley wine. Sickly sweet taste. Alcohol, sticky sweetness. Strong grape taste. Some roasted notes but mostly sweet. Too much. This needs to age for a long while more, have the sweetness go down.

Photo of cjgator3
4.54/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Underground Bluz in Orlando, FL. This review is for the 2008 vintage which was about 15 months old at the time of consumption. Pours a dark amber color with a nice off-white head. The aroma is fantastic! There is a lot of sweet malt, caramel and brown sugar in the malt dominated aroma. The taste like the aroma has mellowed into a very tasty sweet and malty treat. The hops have faded a bit and the malt is brought into the spotlight, very smooth considering the strength. Overall, this is fantastic on-tap with a little over a year on it! Highly recommended!

Photo of elniko
4.05/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into snifter.

A: Rich, mahogany coloring with light oily looking head. Slight lacing. Nice looking brew.

S: Alcohol and toffee tones coming on the nose.

T & M: This is one well balanced barleywine. Sweet maltiness up from with a wonderful slightly hoppy finish. I pick up some slightly citrus tones as well with the finish and on the mouthfeel.

D: This is one of the most drinkable barleywines that I've encountered. High ABV hardly apparently at all. Very impressive and will definitely be having again.

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Olde GnarlyWine from Lagunitas Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 1,137 ratings.