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Olde GnarlyWine - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Olde GnarlyWineOlde GnarlyWine

Educational use only; do not reuse.

964 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 964
Reviews: 619
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 10.32%
Wants: 118
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:
Beer added by: Todd on 09-22-2001

2011: 10.6% ABV, 69 IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 964 | Reviews: 619 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
3.73/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 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.

Photo of cheers2beers
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into a wine glass

Appearance: Pours a brilliant red to deep orange hue. Little to no head on this offering. A small lonely column of bead is noted. No lacing to speak of either.

Smell: A noteably sweet aroma. Dark sugars, maple syrup, citrus from the hops, raspberry and maybe some red apples as well. An ammonia like alcohol fume cloud makes its way into my nostrils. Not too bad at all aside from the alcohol.

Taste: Buttery...nice and buttery. Large amounts of malted barley with an ample citrus hop profile to wake you from the malt assault. The alcohol is not very well hidden I must admit. This offering was not cloying like I thought it would be. The alcohol really cuts into the meat of this brew and thins out not only its flavor but its body as well.

Mouthfeel: As stated above the alcohol here thins this out a touch giving it a full but not thick body and consistancy. Slick and oily for sure. This is one easy sipper.

Drinkability: Althogh not on par with a classic like Bigfoot, Olde GnarlyWine is a solid example of the style. Once it warms it is a delicious sipper and I will buy it again for sure. Drink up!


Photo of shroompod
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up at Whole Foods/Dublin. 22oz bomber.
Poured a little warm 55f , or warmer than I'm accustomed to drinking.

Good head with minimal lacing. A ruby red color , very clear.

Smell has a faint cherry alcohol note to it. Hops come through too, although not as much as I would expect.

Taste starts with the cherry sweetness , some woodsy flavors , followed by a nice dry hop bite.

Mouthfeel seems very balanced ; not very cloying or thick. Nicely carbonated.

I finished reviewing this beer in about 10 minutes. Somewhat fast for a barleywine, but a testament to it's drinkabillty. I'll be drinking a few more of these on payday.

Photo of phisig137
3.58/5  rDev -12%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a copper amber color, with a one finger head which disappates quickly. No lacing, and only a thin layer of foam on top of the glass.

Smells malty and hoppy, with hints of caramel and flowery hops. Alcohol is present on the nose as well.

Flavor is not at all what I expected. Very malty and caramel filled flavors, with subtle flavors of coffee. Sweet, with only a hint of a bitter finish. Alcohol makes it's presence known after the first glass. Not what I expected from a west coast brewery.

Mouthfeel is spritsy and light, while still maintaining a bit of chewiness. Drinkability is good, despite the alcohol.

I'll be interested to see what this does after a year in the cellar. But.... despite the fact that this is made in America, I really feel that this is much more of an english barelywine. There simply aren't enough hops to be an American barelywine, especially one from the west coast. It is a good beer, but not up to the normally high standards of Lagunitas.

Photo of TheBungyo
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pour is a mostly red with hints of brown. Very little head, and no lacing. In spite of that it still looks pleasing. Nose initially brought to mind alcoholic strawberry preserves. Taste is citrus, caramel, and a hint of cherries soaked in whiskey. Mouthfeel is thinly carbonated, giving it a very full feel. Big on taste, but not to the point of overkill, this has the flavor of something I could session while being the strength of something that would quickly put me down for the count. The label advises you to buy three. After drinking this, I'm pretty sure I'll do that next time.

Photo of czechsaaz
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2006 Bottle

The aroma is thick with cascade hops. Underneath all that grapefruity citrus is nice caramelly/crystal malt and some alcohol. The smell tells you this should be a big ole beer...

Ruby colored and very clear with a very small head. Some, but not a lot of rising carbonation.

First sip, starts off citrussy but that is pretty much blown away by malt. Lots of crystal flavors that seem like brown sugar and maybe maple. Nice hop bitterness to round it out and the aftertastes is a really nice malt/citrus hop combo. The malt is more lingering though. Halfway through a glass and warming up I get some biscuit and bready flavor and good fruity fermentation esters. It's still new so there is a hint of alcohol that is a little distracting to my palate. All in all, it shows incredible balance between the various flavors. A normal sip doesn't really give anything away but wash it around in your mouth and you get lots of different flavors.

Full bodied but not what I would call big or chewy. Nice light carbonation level.

Pretty good drinking now for a barleywine. It's not a hop monster west coast style b-wine so it's perfect drinking young. I've had older vintages that also stand up well. This year's, I'll wait and see, but I supect that the carbonation won't hold out over long aging, but that's fine. Drink it now. There aren't many B-wines that are at their peak right out of the gate, but this might be one.

Photo of DogFood11
4.35/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice shiney copper, easily managed head, eggshell to light tan lacing is ringlike.

Big piney hop aroma, and some light fruity esters. An unusual combination but it was very pleasant to me. Malts are sweet and there is some sugary quality to the whole mix

It loses a bit of that edge I had the pleasure of smelling, hops are a bit more laid back and balanced out by a tangerine, citrus, that is oh so smooth....really a magnificent barleywine and I just love how wide ranging this style can be. Sugary sweetness was well put together and in the end combined with the citrus it becomes enjoyable. This is towards the easy drinking side of the house.

Very different and very good. This is one of those rare barley's that seems like you could session it. Of course this isn't a reasonable suggestion but all I can say is another stud offering from Lagunitas, which is in my opinion "underated". I've yet to have even an average offering. Yes they get solid ratings around the 4.0 mark but there never seems to be all the chat that the big names get.

Photo of Tupperwolf
2.93/5  rDev -28%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

(Aught Six vintage - brand new)

Pours a heavy, syrupy, very clear ruby amber, capped with a very thin lil' tannish head and besmirched with a few bubbles struggling to rise through the thick liquid. The thin, bubbly head leaves a few spotty bits of lace as I drink.

The scent is rich and very sweet - an American maltiness that only a barleywine can produce. There's tons of malts going into this brew, and it shows. Toffee is dominant, and all of those other scents are in there too - a little caramel, a little butterscotch. Some grassy hop and pungent alcohol is noticeable.

The flavor is almost cloyingly sweet, with just enough hop to balance. As a matter of fact, the hops are very bitter, more bitter than flavorful - something I noticed with the Maximus IPA - hopheads of a different bend than I might like them more. Lots of toffee and caramel in the flavor, with a distinct fusel alcohol and a grassy, bitter hoppiness - swallowing is surprising, giving me a huge hit of way overpowering diacetyl sweetness and alcohol combined. I can drink it and don't find it unpleasant, so it gets just under average score. Aging is definitely required for this one.

A syrupy mouthfeel feels almost hot on the tongue with alcohol - it's not dry at all, mind you, but you know the abv is there. It gets everything tingling really pleasantly, and the finish is sticky.

I can drink it now - but I'd rather drink it later. GnarlyWine isn't a very highly hopped American BW, rather intensely sweet and alcoholic.

Photo of Bierman9
4.4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is reviewed from a 0.5l bottle filled "growler-style" from the keg on tap at this past EBF, with the approval of Pat and Ron from Lagunitas. Thnx, guys!

Pours a slightly cloudy/hazy chestnut hue, with a bit of mahogany thrown in for good measure! Tops off with a creamy, 1/2" tan head which promptly shrinks down to a fine layer, though some large bubbles still congregate at the rim. A nice lace curtain is drawn on the sides of the glass. Gnarly has a lovely nose, with a healthy helping of malty sweetness consisting of caramel and toffee. Also taking part here are some striking, citrussy hop notes. A sip reveals the bier to have a solid medium-plus body, with suggestions of chewiness. The bier passes smoothly, silkily over the tongue; a pleasure, indeed!

Rich, malty sweetness invades the palate... lots of caramel, some toffee, plus touches of brown sugar. Super start to the flavor experience... Balanced quite well by a solid dose of citrus hops which cling to the insides of the mouth and last oh-so-well! I'm enjoying the hell out of this! I had a "few" samples of this while working with Ron and Pat at EBF III session 2, but it was late, and I did not truly appreciate what I had. Ahhh, but now, with a clear slate and fresh palate... Yummy!!


overall: 4.4
appearance: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | mouthfeel: 4.5 | drinkability: 4.5


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

Purchased at New Beer in NYC and brought home. '04 bottle.

Pours a reddish brown with a small head. Smells sweet and earthy. Tastes like brown sugar, rasins, and grapefruit, very malty. Great body, smooth and chewy. I could probably finish a few bottles before the alcohol snuck up on me. I wish I would've brought more home.

Photo of GClarkage
4.55/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

01/12/06- Purchased at Beverages and More in San Mateo, CA.

Presentation- 2004 release. 22oz bottle, poured into a chalice like glass.

Appearance- Deep cherry colored pour, would love all the cabinets in my house to be this color. 3/4 inch head which settles to a small ring. Light to moderate lacing along the edges.

Smell- Lots of fruits soaked in brandy as well as some pine and grapefruit hops. Nice!

Taste- Brandy soaked caramel fruitcake with a side of hops. Case closed. It's all good.

Mouthfeel- Carbonation level is perfect. Light, but still lets you know the beer is lively. Smooth, lightly creamy and warming.

Drinkability- Quite the drinkable barleywine. A bit smoother than Bigfoot and Doggie Claws, but not quite as hoppy. Still a top 5 barleywine for me. Glad I have another aging.

***2008 Release

Flavor is very good and will be tremendous when aged for a few years. Malt is considerably roasted, while hops are nice and fresh. Needs a bit of rest due to the cola like carbonation level. Otherwise potent and very good fresh.

***2009 Release

Very disappointed with this year. Extremely cloying and almost syrupy to the point of drain pour. Hoping and crossing my fingers that this one ages well. Not having a good feeling though. Quite sweet and almost sickening. If I only had tried this year it would maybe receive a 3 overall at best. Comon' Lagunista, you're better than this.

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

A big thanks to kramer17801 for this bottle. poured a a nice brown with a off white head that left some lacing. aroma, caramel, alcohol ( one of the things I like about barely wines), malts, med dark fruits. flavor the nic balance of malts and fruits was nice. the alcohol was burn was nice. would like to get some more of this.

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

on tap at the Blind Tiger Ale House in NYC. Pours cloudy soft medium almond, with a slight tan head. This one leaves a world class sheet of very fine lacing. Mild malty nose. This is a tasty barleywine, on the malty side of the beer spectrum. Soft and smooth. Dangerously drinkable. Sweet late. Simply a tasty, sweet and drinkable Bwine.

Photo of AlexJ
4.58/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks for the bottle Warriorsoul!

This bottle from the twenty-aught-four release pours beautifully into my waiting goblet. A deep chestnut brown body with burgundy highlights and a thich rich head the color of oatmeal stays for a surprisingly long time. Thick sheets of lace are left in it's wake.

Aroma is carmelized sugars, spice, dark fruit, candied citrus peel, pine needles, and fruitcake soaked in brandy. Luscious hops are the highlight.

Flavor is certainly no letdown. Thick, chewy caramel malts flavors, loads of dried fruits, delicate spice, and hints of molasses, lead the way. The 70 IBUs have settled down nicely and the result tastes like deeply candied citrus peels drenched in melted pine sap. Complex and delicious. I've never had this fresh, but this 04 bottle is perfect.

Body is just above medium. Enough to support the complex flavors while retaining excellent drinkability. Texture is smooth, chewy, and sticky on the lips. I want more!

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

Appearance: Pours a very clear reddish amber color with a half inch of tan foam. There were very few bubbles rising, but the head looked like it was cast in stone and has no intention of going anywhere. Even after a minute, I can barely tell where the head has fallen a touch. There is obviously a good amount of lacing left on the glass after drinking.

Aroma: Lots going on in the aroma. There is rich resiny malts along with a healthy helping of hops. All this with an assertive spicy alcoholic presence make this beer one to contend with...just in the nose so far.

Taste: The taste is much more assertive than the aroma would suggest. There is a boat load of hops to greet you in the beginning. Lots of citrus and flowers try to mask the malt, but it's coming through! In the middle, there is a good bit of sweetness that is noticeable, but this quickly fades to let the bittering hops dominate the finish.

Opinion: This is a really nice beer. It is balanced a bit too far toward the hops for my taste, but it still has a formidable malty backbone for the hops to contend with. The balance is similar to Bigfoot, but there is a lot more graefruit in this beer.

Photo of RBorsato
3.6/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Rusted copper/brown color with virtually no head. Pours thick ... Sweet malty aromas with a touch of alcohol and sweet malty flavors dominate with an alcohol finish; balanced OK by some aged bitter hop character. Full-medium bodied and creamy smooth.

Reminder to self: Try fresh next time.

Per label: 69.39 IBU & OG 1.096

1999 version
Tasted: 10/26/05

(12 oz. short brown twist-off bottle)

Photo of meathookjones
4.63/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours out of the bottle with a dark reddish color body and a tall off white foamy head. Great head retentions and the lacing just sticks everywhere on the glass. Big hops here, citric hops over a sweet fruity and malty scent. A few different fruits going on with some caramel and a bit of pine resin. Very appetizing aroma. The taste hits you hard with big hops and big malt. Dark rips fruits mix with a variety of hoppy components, grapefruit, pine and floral notes. Caramel and a bit of alcohol. A dry and bitter finish. This is one big smelling and tasting brew. Very creamy and thick. Coats your mouth a bit. Hoppy ass American Barleywine done right. There is plenty going here and it really packs a punch yet remains drinkable as hell. This was a 2004 bottle and still packed quite a punch I would love to get this stuff fresh.

Photo of MuddyFeet
3.83/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this downstairs for the last six odd months and finally decided to give it a go. Much maltier than expected and the hop bill is not what I was expecting for a barleywine. Deep brick red in color with a whole lot of head. Lots of lace edging around the glass. Nose is full of malts. Flavor is slightly pinecone-ish, but the malts kind of outweigh the hops. Very sweet. Feels like apple cider (non-carbonated, non-alcoholic type) if it were not for the alcohol burn. Some dried fruit in there. This beer makes me think of Christmas Day as it is windind day. Slight thin body and perhaps a tad oily.

Photo of jakester
4.75/5  rDev +16.7%
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!

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

2004 vintage. The color is dark ruby brown with an average-sized, light brown head. Gnarleywine's retention consists of bubbles that ring around the insides of my glass. Aroma is of a rich, dark malt fruitness with an ample amount of citrissy hops thrown in as well. A small smell of alcohol is also present. The taste has an intensely rich malt character with the taste of dark fruits. Plenty of citric hops accompany an excellent malt flavor. A touch of alcohol is in the mix throughout and gets just a little stronger in the finish. Speaking of the finish, this beer stays on my tongue forever. Just great! Olde Gnarly has an awesome flavor that is well-layered and just hoppy enough to stay within the bounds of what I prefer in a barleywine. This is one of the best beers I've had in a while, so I've got to say it's highly recommended.

Photo of Fish113d
3.95/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Note: 2004 Edition (Twenty 'Aught-4) in a 22 oz. bottle.

AT room temp, it poors a reddish/ruby color with 1/2" of lightened light tan head into my tulip glass. Wonderfully clean looking with lots of pretty bubbles surfacing to the top. The head begins to dissipate, leaving a nice oily surface layer, with some decent cling to the side of the glass.

This is a very aromatic brew! I can smell some fruit, caramels, and nutty malts at over 16" away! Getting closer, I notice some plum aromas, along with a decent hop bite to it! The alcohol also tingles my nosehair just a tad. A slightly sour aroma comes through as well, reminding me of sour grapes or grapefruit. Pretty complex, but all subtle tones...nice!

Taking a sip, lots of sweet fruit (plums) jump out at me, along with a buttery almond flavor that backs it up. The hoppiness also comes through slightly, but a strong alcohol burn sums up the finish of this one in one word...HOLY BAT-CO-HOL! (Okay...3 words! haha)

Not much carbonation in this full body. Some dryness comes out due to the alcohol, but also nicely smooth as well. I will be trying the rest of this bottle chilled to see what else it gives me!

Although I enjoyed this one, the alcohol makes it a little more difficult to drink a lot of...I think a bomber bottle is plenty for anyone, but it is an enjoyable brew! Drink up!

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.7/5  rDev +15.5%
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!

Photo of jdhilt
3.98/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a three-finger light tan head, fades slowly and leaves some lace. Clear amber color. Light carbonation and heavy bodied. Nose is woody spices. Starts with a semi-sweet flavor, body is quite viscous, almost syrupy, smooth with a bite at the end as some hops kick in. $5.45 for a 22oz bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, Ma.

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

Yellow foamhead an brown and clear beer. Aroma is lots of carramellic malts, C-hops, alcohol and sweetish. Taste is sweet malty, caramellic alcoholic barleyjuice, fine but not 100% fresh.
Mouthfeel is negativly influenced by the enormous sweetness of the brew but further ok. Same for drinkabillity; cause of enormous sweetness stuffin you fast.

Photo of goodbyeohio
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

looks like a raspberry iced tea with a dwarfed barleywine head to it.. swirly-haze clouds on the surface and sticky on the lips and the rim of the glass.

smells delicious in its rich burnt brown sugar coated hop kick. decadent. scotch-like smooth alcohol infestation in my nasal cavity.

starts with a brief bitter jolt, eases into a smooth coating of maple syrup and candied fruit. creamy mouthfeel and hop accents follow, with a mild but encompassing bitterness. has the flavor density and complexity of a fine whiskey.

the drinkability of a crisp cali double ipa, and the sweet malts found in altbier. almost as good as brown shugga' and one of the best barleywines (fresh) ive ever had the pleasure to enjoy.

Olde GnarlyWine from Lagunitas Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 964 ratings.