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Olde GnarlyWine - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Olde GnarlyWineOlde GnarlyWine

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

938 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 938
Reviews: 618
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 10.32%
Wants: 107
Gots: 71 | 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: 938 | Reviews: 618 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of CharlesDarwin

Rhode Island

3.9/5  rDev -4.2%

Originally reviewed on June 4, 2006. 2006 22 Oz Bottle. Aroma is surprisingly subdued. There’s notes of faint chocolate plums, honeysuckle perfume and strong glowing embers of melted raisins. Sugars and musky mens cologne. Hints of West Coast hops. Pour of clear fire red, with orange fringes a carmine center and a swirling head of tanned hide. Flavor is respectable, with heavy cream and sherry. Rich raisined malts are perfuse with more touches of chocolate and long basking rays of caramelization. In the backend, strong alcohol heat senses the humours and carries swift currents of tawny fruits and amber honey. The hops show in resin format, almost entirely, as this long linger subtle reminder of parching dryness and balancing parafin wax. Candy wrapper delight. Alcohol stings just a bit too much, but the hop balance is delectable. Needs a touch more complexity and character. Body is great.

12-11-2006 18:10:41 | More by CharlesDarwin
Photo of BattleRoadBrewer


3.48/5  rDev -14.5%

Served cool in an 8 oz fluted glass from tap.
Aroma is very hoppy and rummy. Color is deep mahogany, and clear. Head is tan and a bit thin.
Flavor is thick and complex. This is a beer you can chew. Loaded with piney and citrusy hops, caramel and hot alcohol. Malty finish, but balanced very well by the bitterness. Mouthfeel and flavor work together, thick and warming. Would be even better if the alcohol wasn't so firey.
As it warms, alcohol seems to blend in better, aroma is fruitier.
Drinkability is good because of the balance. Many barleywines are too malty for the IBU, but Lagunitas isn't shy with the hops. Alcohol is a bit too raw. Maybe some aging would do it good. It's a beer that can cause olfactory flashbacks.

12-07-2006 21:54:02 | More by BattleRoadBrewer
Photo of bruachan

District of Columbia

3.65/5  rDev -10.3%

poured this out of a bomber with the classy lagunitas doggy on the label

booya...mos def a West Coast barleywine (the kind that makes Thomas Hardy cry). in-your(my)-face aroma: huge caramels and piney hops. deeo fruits in there, too

brown sugar, dates. it's got a big sweetness underlying the minty, piney hop

it's similar to, though not quite as exciting as, old ruffian

12-05-2006 05:12:43 | More by bruachan
Photo of rkuhnel


4.5/5  rDev +10.6%

22 oz Bomber. As this settled into the glass, a rich color somewhere between amber and rich copper I thought now this is beautiful. A nice tan head rose above it and hung around for a while and slowly settled leaving big hunks of lacing in the glass. The alcohol is well masked and the nose was fruity and of sweet malts. The palate is very rich and smooth. As you sip the first drops you get a rush of malts, fruit and a little bit if pine. Good strong finish, even after 22 oz of this one. This was a little bit like a liquour and it would be far too easy to get blasted on this one. All in all a wonderfully executed example of Barley Wine.

11-28-2006 03:44:04 | More by rkuhnel
Photo of BuckeyeNation


4.65/5  rDev +14.3%

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.

10-20-2006 21:58:05 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of kmo1030


3.98/5  rDev -2.2%

ruby brown beer that i'm unable to work up much of a good head with.
very malty aroma, with brown sugar chocolate, raisin, grape, strawberry, a hint of oxidation, and a good portion of booze thrown in the mix.
malty and pleasantly complex taste combining many of the flavors from the aroma, with a more distinctly malty component, and a very cocoa powder-y flavor. the fruits are more lightly than richly sweet than the aroma lets on. the alcohol is more masked here than in the aroma.
full bodied with sluggish carbonation, but not unsuitable in any way.
a good barleywine, drinkability isn't bad, but it's a bit too thick and sweet for good drinkability. nat bad at all though.

10-12-2006 23:56:23 | More by kmo1030
Photo of Grundle20


3.4/5  rDev -16.5%

The beer pours a murky deep copper into a pint glass with a minimal bronzed head, which quickly dissolves.

The beer smells very "bready" almost specifically like rye bread. It's not an overwhelming scent whithout burying your face into your glass.

Taste and Mouthfeel:
There's just a touch of carbonation to this, again, very "bready" beer. There's an apparent taste of burnt chocolate with a touch of what I'm calling fig because it tastes like a fig newton. It's pretty smooth and thick almost stout like. There's a slight blast of bitterness and hops flare but it's relitively overpowered by the other potent flavors of the beer.

I'm not seeing it in all honesty. On a cold winter day I could see myself putting a few of these down but I'd really have to be in the mood. I could see where this beer would go great with certain dishes but for flat out drinking this beer is too malty and sweet for me to really enjoy for a length of time.

Bottom Line:
It's a tad too sweet and malty for my liking. It's rocking a pretty high ABV to boot so I would recommend this beer with a meal or when you just want to try something a little different.

10-08-2006 15:39:54 | More by Grundle20
Photo of jabocu


4.03/5  rDev -1%

Pours a coppery brown with a thin cap that fell to lacings quickly. Aroma is caramel, malt, a little tropical, light tones of raisin, yeast, sour wheat and earthy. Tastes like molasses, raisins, pine and grapefruit. Some sour wheat floats around in the middle and breaks through into earthiness that takes you to the end. Very smooth with a med-full body and medium carbonation. I'm glad I have a few of these sitting around for later on.

09-29-2006 21:48:04 | More by jabocu
Photo of Bierguy5


4/5  rDev -1.7%

22 oz. bottle. Twenty Aught-6 version, 9.7% ABV, OG-1.096, IBU-69.39. I love the stats that Lagunitas puts on the labels. Pours a hazy chestnut color, with some shades of ruby around the edges. Thick tan, almosy yellow head. Head retention is good for the size of this beast. Aroma of candy covered fruit, citrusy, caramel, and toffee. Not too much in the way of hop aroma, or alcohol somehow. Thick, a bit syrupy and warming. This one is malt heave, and tongue coating. Fruity flavors, toffee, with a bit of bitterness at the end. There are really several layers of flavor here. Very nice, another hit.

09-19-2006 16:56:16 | More by Bierguy5
Photo of Wasatch


4.47/5  rDev +9.8%

I have been holding on to this brew for quite awhile, today was a good day to drink it. Poured into a Delirium goblet/tulip.

A - Pours a nice dark amber color, nice carbonation, small foamy tan head, nice lacing throughout the drink.

S - Scents of sweet malt, grapes, caramel, alcohol, and slight citrus.

T - The taste is sweet/malty, and fruity.

M - Medium body. This is a nice complex brew.

D - Very drinkable. Another great brew from Lagunitas (which I think is underated).

09-17-2006 18:14:32 | More by Wasatch
Photo of kirok1999


4.38/5  rDev +7.6%

A- Pours a beautiful dark amber with minimal head that quickly dissapates and leaves very little lacing.

S- Beautiful candy and fruity malts, with a hint of citrus hops. The smell warns this is going to be a malt bomb. Notes of raisins, caramel, figs, dark cherries, sherry and alcohol.

T- Backs up the smell completely. Dark fruit from raisins, figs, and cherries come through, with some sweet caramel in the background. Hops kick in but are washed out by the maltiness. Alcohol is noticable, but I like that in a brew. A very complex barleywine and now one of my favorites.

M- Creamy and smooth with very mild carbonation.

D- What a winner!! I'm letting this slowly warm up and it gets better with every sip. Lagunitas continues to impress me with their quality and very reasonable prices. This is every bit as good as barleywines that cost twice as much.

09-04-2006 00:10:04 | More by kirok1999
Photo of DrJay


4.33/5  rDev +6.4%

Clear reddish amber colour, quite deep, with a thin yellowish beige head. The foam quickly fell, but a solid ring formed. Wow. Big malty aroma with lots of toffee and balanced by citrusy hops and mild alcohol. Grainy caramel/toffee flavour backed up by solid bitterness and mild citrus/floral hop flavour. Still, it's fairly sweet, with alcohol warmth and flavour in the finish. Light fruity esters appear as it warms. Full to heavy body with moderately low carbonation, fairly smooth with some dryness. This is a very nice american barleywine - malt stays at the forefront with hops adding balance and depth. Definitely recommended.

08-26-2006 00:51:21 | More by DrJay
Photo of unklesyd


4.35/5  rDev +6.9%

Lagunitas never lets me down. I've been holding on to this one for about seven months for the right time. Today was an overcast day and seemed a great choice for my mood.

Sometimes appearance is a difficult category to really judge in a style in which there is so much similarity. However, this one is indeed a standout. What makes it such is its beauty of color and apparent viscocity. Upon pouring, the carbonation creeps up in slow, meandering bubbles, which beyond being a great visual, is an excellent indicator of the character of the brew therein, most especially reflective of its mouthfeel, which is pleasingly full without being cloying or syrupy.

Nose is light alcohol Gewurtz grapes and candied figs in the end.

After being cellared for seven months, this brew may have lost much of its in-yo-face hoppiness, but the effect is a wonderful balance. The bitterness is pleasing and complimentary to the candied fig and dark, slightly carmelized/burnt sugars, creating a bit of internal cut.

This is a barleywine that can be drunk slowly and enjoyed, but still leave you ready for more. I sipped this one for over an hour without concious effort of pacing, and loved every sample. This lets me know that it is time for fall!

08-24-2006 23:15:35 | More by unklesyd
Photo of flexabull


3.8/5  rDev -6.6%

Interesting Barleywine.

Pours with a ton of carbonation. It took the beer a little while to settle down... the head eventually got rather small, the beer itself has the typical deep amber color of a barleywine.

Aroma is very nice, it's sweet and somewhat like baked bread.

The taste was a bit off to me, almost slightly sour, but has a lot of malt and some hop bitterness there, this might just need some time to sit. (this is the 06 I am tasting.)

Mouthfeel is big. I think this just needs some to time...

08-21-2006 05:18:35 | More by flexabull
Photo of akorsak


4.38/5  rDev +7.6%

This is a bomber served in a Three Philosophers goblet near room temperature.

A: The ale is a deep red bordering of brown, with good head and lace.

S: The malty sweet aroma is the first thing to grab you, followed by a strong citrusy hop aroma.

T: This is a hop bomb disguised as a malt bomb. The first flavors are malty sweet and soon blend into a big bad hop flavor that is primarily citrusy. Wow.

M: The beer finishes fairly dry with a long hop flavor. The hops are an excellent counterpoint to the high malt content.

D: 9.70% is difficult to label drinkable, so a few points are lost. Overall though, this is an excellent example of the style.

08-15-2006 02:12:03 | More by akorsak
Photo of Franchise


4.6/5  rDev +13%

Pours a maroon brownish color, cloudy in appearance that leaves a thick tan head. The aroma is fresh hops, citrus, earthy spices, cinnamon, nutmeg...wow this is a fantastic nose reminds me of chai tea. The taste is just lovely, caramel malt backbone with a chocolate bittersweet bite, followed by sugared spices of nutmeg and cinnamon bark. This is a malty barleywine balanced with a fresh hop bite. This is now one of my favorite barleywines I've ever had. Great job Lagunitas!

08-04-2006 18:19:13 | More by Franchise
Photo of TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

4.05/5  rDev -0.5%

Poured from a 22oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep coppery red with a thin off-white head that fades at a normal rate and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is mostly of caramelized malt, but some fruitiness, hops and alcohol come through as well.

T: The taste is more of the same caramelized malt coupled with a decent hops bite and followed by an alcohol burn that is mild considering the degree of ABV. After-taste is bitter but pleasant.

M: Smooth and very crisp, medium carbonation, medium body, finish leaves a bit of stickiness behind.

D: It’s very tasty and about as filling as you would expect from the style. I think it’s more of a sipper than a pounder, but it’s really easy to forget the difference when you drink this beer.

07-30-2006 06:55:55 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of grub

Ontario (Canada)

4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

twenty 'aught-6

pours a deep amber/red colour with a bright yellow head. the 1/2 inch of head drops away quickly to a thin ring around the glass.

aroma is rich and malty, with just a hint of alcohol coming through.

taste is good. nice rich maltyness, but not to the point of being sticky. really nice balance between the malt and alcohol. the bitterness on it is fairly low and mostly comes through at the finish.

mouthfeel is good. it's somewhat thick, but not as much as i'd expect. the low carbonation level is typical for a barleywine.

drinkability is pretty good. it does a decent job of hiding it's alcohol. really enjoyed this one.

07-22-2006 23:43:30 | More by grub
Photo of cbl2

New York

4.4/5  rDev +8.1%

Winter Twenty 'Aught-6.


Pours a beautiful brown that is strewn with a glowing red/orange. Topped by a half inch of tight tan foam that settles very slowly.


Redolantly sweet malts burst forth from the glass with dark ripe fruit (fig and date), coupled with a tinge of alcohol.


Supple and smooth with an almost glycerin feel to it, flavors are dominated by raisin, fig and sweet candied malts, with a touch of dry sherry. A dose of hot alcohol mars the otherwise perfect finish. Label proclaims IBU's of 69.39, but they are pretty much obliterated by the upfront sweetness (though balanced) of the malts. Can't wait to try this again in a few months!

07-11-2006 19:37:51 | More by cbl2
Photo of taez555


4.38/5  rDev +7.6%

This beer poured an dark amber/reddish tan body with a small white head that died quickly.

Nose has a rich thick caramel malt smell with a slight alcohol and hop prick. Really just a classic american barleywine smell. Not overly hoppy and yet not pure malt, a nice balance.

Full bodied and nice and thick. Dark burnt caramel, toffee, nice roasted malt, toast and just layers of thick gooey malt syrup. Hops are up front peaking through the malt yet never overtake it. Minty citrus hops and touches of citrus peel, juice and even some earth. Bitterness is big, but never even comes close to overtaking the malt. Finishes with a nice mellow hop linger that doesn't kill the palate.

Really a fantastic example of an american barleywine. Big and hoppy but the malt still completely dominates. It shows a lot of respect to the original english style while still maintaining it's american touch. Very nice.

07-08-2006 01:25:37 | More by taez555
Photo of ampzilla


4.33/5  rDev +6.4%

Twenty' Aught-6 Release. Dark amber, served in med. size snifter. Yes it’s an American barley wine, this is for sure. Hops are prevalent. But this one gives the malt an impressive role that many in it’s style lack. The malt’s voice is sweeter and funkier (a good thing) than other ABW’s. Almost English in character. But then again, every single one of the sixty-nine IBU’s are accounted for and up to the task. Bitterness is crisp and tangy. The flavor seems to linger longer than it should (again, not a bad thing). Aroma was truly inviting. This one was worth a sniff between sips. As much as I enjoyed it fresh, I will certainly try to acquire more of this for the cellar.

07-03-2006 04:46:41 | More by ampzilla
Photo of mcallister


3.43/5  rDev -15.7%

Deep burgundy with bricking around the edges. A hard pour resulted in a lackluster off white head. Little retention, littler lacing.

Subdued toffee, sweet caramel malt, nose tingling hop, but it seems like everything is place behind a curtain. A woodsy, earthiness also in it's aroma.

Again in the mouth something is left to be desired. Rich caramel malt, chewy toffee, sour hops that I think interfered with the structure of this beer. A good amount of RS but once again not my style of barley wine.

I like something a little more bolder. This one was just to thin in the mouth. Would like to cellar one for a couple years and see how it transpires.

06-19-2006 23:38:59 | More by mcallister
Photo of Zorro


4.08/5  rDev +0.2%

This pours a red colored beer with no real head.

Smell is sweet with a trace of banana in the scent. Scent is a bit spicy to the nose with woody and tea smells.

Taste is fairly sweet and spicy and very fruity upon the first impression. Quite a malty beer here and spicy from the hops. Nothing at all harsh about this beer it is all smooth strong beer.

Mouthfeel is good.

I thought about just giving this beer a 4 for drinkability but this has absolutely no rough edges at all. Drinks like a Belgian Witbier and kicks you in the head like Whiskey. Above average beer.

06-12-2006 05:25:42 | More by Zorro
Photo of Higravity


4.63/5  rDev +13.8%

2004 Vintage. Nice orange-brown with a decent head of tight tan, lacing everthing it touches. Smells of heady caramel with piney tones citrus is also swilring around with complex malt characteristics. The first taste is everything I would want in a BW, complex malt flavors with a touch of alcohl and sweetness with a good hop bitterness and good piney hops flavor. Just about perfect. Nice creamy mouthfeel. I would drink this regularly if only it would be sold around here. Thanks to assurbanpaul for the bottle.

06-08-2006 15:58:30 | More by Higravity
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.73/5  rDev -8.4%

Complex aroma, with barley,malt, wood, hops,citrus mint. High bitterness and drying finish. Dark colour, much head. Alcohol was strong and hardly tamed by food. Nutty, citrusy, drinkable. Good for it being young and will seek this out aged, down the road.
Had 3.5 years later and about same overall, great lacey appearance, aroma not as great.

06-04-2006 03:06:18 | More by Sammy
Olde GnarlyWine from Lagunitas Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 938 ratings.