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Olde GnarlyWine - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Olde GnarlyWineOlde GnarlyWine

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1,110 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,110
Reviews: 648
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 9.83%
Wants: 128
Gots: 139 | FT: 4
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: 1,110 | Reviews: 648
Photo of tedsox31
4.07/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a chalice. It pours a dark red color with a small head and lacing that sticks around.

The smell is of fruits and molasses. I smell a lot of plum and possibly some raisins. I also detect a bit of roasted malts and alcohol.

The taste is great. It is pretty fruity with a thickness to it that I really like. This is balanced out by a taste at the back-end of hops. It is a really good combination.

Mouthfeel is thick with a bit of carbonation. It is warm all the way down.

A drinkable beer, but due to the high ABV I would have to limit myself to one of these. Very good taste though.

Photo of swizzlenuts
4.17/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The nose on the beer has sweet dark fruits in it, like plums and raisens. The beer pours a dark copper with a good two finger head on it. Some carbonation as well. The head is off white and has very good retention. It looks pretty god damn sexy. This barley wine starts off quite like an English barley wine with a lot of sugars with a sweet dark fruit taste; then it turns into a big bitterness with piny hops. The bitterness lasts on your tongue too! There is a slight bit of alcohol, but it's not that distracting. The mouthfeel is thick and syrupy, exactly how I like it. Fairly drinkable as well.

Photo of bv74550p
3.63/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

From a 22 oz. bottle (2008), served in a chalice glass. First observations: Whoa, what a smell! Great nose of roasted malts with some unknown fuits. Possibly pineapple and some melons. This is exactly what I expect from a barleywine.

The appearance is dark, of course....well more of a dark red. Not much head or retention, but I didn't expect much.

This is definitely is a sipping beer as the abv is very high. Hints of caramel maltiness and then you get hit by the fruits. Finishes very tart on the tongue and leaves a sticky taste.

Overall, this is a good beer, but I'm not the barleywine expert in any way.

Photo of Atron67
3.58/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Definitely a solid choice for the price, but I'de prefer if this was aged more. solid choice at the price, but with hog heaven, and old ruffian right next to it, i might stick with those more. has a clear body with slight reddish hue and a solid hue. full thick body with medium carbonation, very malty taste. not as highly hopped as some of the other american versions, but still pretty reasonably strong, though i wouldn't be surprised if it were considered the English version. tasty, and a solid choice though

Photo of changeup45
4.03/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a brown-reddish color with a nice fairly thick off-white head. Piney hops, tangy fruits and balanced nicely with some caramel malts. A little sugary with some alcohol showing but not a lot. A pretty smooth and easy drinking barleywine but with enough complexity. This is solid. An excellent price for what you get too... about half the price as some others I've had recently. Recommended!

Photo of PorterLambic
3.78/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours clear, red, with a solid 1 1/2" off-white head that leaves great lace.
Smell is just hops and malt.
Taste is malt, hops, alcohol, spices.
Warms the throat, smooth, full-bodied with medium effervescence. A good beer, solid performer but no standout.

Photo of biegaman
4.45/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2008 release. All 650ml enjoyed fresh and to myself.

A brilliant, absolutely dynamic looking beer that radiates even away from the light. Its tawny colour is diluted with a high concentration of ruby while a splash of pumpkin orange has sunk to the bottom. The head is minimal but provides sufficient outlining. A good portion of its splatter slowly submerges itself back into the drink, although much is left to admire.

The smell is sticky sweet with a gentle roast to its malts. Exotic fruits, imparted by the hops, have at some point become twisted. Pineapple, coconut, and cantaloupe seethe and fester within a simmer of heated caramel and toasted biscuit. This smells delicious, even by barleywine standards, and warming will definitely amp up the intensity.

The flavour profile is incredibly modest, timid even, for a beer of this style and strength. It is not so forward and actually rather reserved in manner. Pineapple and cantaloupe continue to ferment whilst bready biscuit malts are lightly toasted and then gingerly dipped in caramel.

What astounds me most with the over ripened fruit and caramel coated malts is their tender, relaxed state. This barleywine is so mellow. I have a second bottle I put aside for the cellar, but now I'm scared to mess with a good thing; this already tastes and drinks like it's been aged a few years for Christ's Sake!

To and through, this beer is sonorous but soothing; alcohol absent, bitterness muted and flavours mellowed. Lagunitas is a solid brewery but this far exceeded my expectations. Rather than search for any more words I'd rather just enjoy what little I have left in my glass, and if you're still without some in front of you, then I suggest you go fix that - this stuff is nice.

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

Pours a clear ruby hued brown. Nose is like a hoppy amber. Flavor is intensely hippy. Way too much so. This is like an imperial red more than a barleywine. Über sweet. Lots of hops, sugar, pine. It's intense, but not so much like a barleywine. Like I said, more of a red. Feel is smooth. Good carbonation. Dangerous drinkability. Way too smooth. Just to reiterate: this strikes me as more of an imperial red than a barleywine. (that's the third time I said it) It's still good though.

Photo of BMoney575
4.55/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled on 8-24-08
Twenty 'Aught-8 Edition

Pours a very cloudy orange/amber, with no real head and thin, clingy lacing.

Smell is surprisingly aged, sweet and sour malt balanced by a nice subtle citrus hops.

Taste is fantastic. Super-balanced malt and hops add to the strong alcohol character. Very complex and tastes at least one or two years old. Outstanding.

Mouthfeel is very good, thick to go with the resiny hops.

Drinkability is also very good, super balanced and very agreeable.

Overall, one of the best bareywines I've ever had. Gives Bigfoot a run for its money.

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

Pours a reddish copper with a one-finger tan head that fades slowly to a thin cap and sticky ring. Spotty lacing.

Smells like prunes, dried apricots, alcohol, toasted biscuit, molasses, and piny hops.

Taste begins sweet with some molasses, figs and prunes, then some sweet toffee and doughy biscuit. Peppery alcohol presents itself in the finish, along with a touch of piny hops to dry it out some. This one actually becomes a lot smoother and less hot as it warms.

Full-bodied, creamy mouthfeel. Very smooth, especially after warming up to room temp.

A little hot at first, but that subsides with time. Very smooth, tasty and enjoyable, although one is still probably enough.

Photo of Dodo2step
4.23/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

P- Grape and Gourmet in Va Beach!

22oz poured into a Weizen glass.

A- pours a thick opaque amber and dark brown in color. A slight head that looks carmelized on the top.

S- sweet and sugary. Dark candied fruits. it smells like creme brulee to be honest. Very sweet and mouthwatering.

T- toffee and burnt caramel taste. thick on the alcohol. sweet drak candied fruit as well. raisin and plum it tastes like but i doubt it is that.

M- thick like syrup. full of alcohol and sweet like brown sugar in the mouth.

D- This is a bad boy. I am gonna be knocked on my ass after this. A nice sipper beer but definitely not a chugger. This is a good beer to relax with after a shitty day.

Photo of Mdog
3.96/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Excellent in all respects, color, carbonation, head, lacing. Great looking stuff.

Smell: Toffee, boozy dark fruits.

Taste: Good, but maybe a little hot. Boozy raisin and cherry syrup flavor with an underlying dry bitter citrus.

Drinkability: The alcohol comes on a little too strong, maybe with a little more time to age or more hops to cover it this would improve.

Just an awesome looking beer that just misses slightly being an all star in the other categories. Nice to try a barleywine out of the wintertime too!

Photo of ndekke39
4.53/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tried this one on-tap at Bodega in Columbus, and I was not disappointed. Decanted into a pint glass, this looked like the perfect barleywine: rich ruby red color, clear, with about two fingers of foamy head on it. Great retention.

Aromas are a strong, sweet hoppiness. More of a pine character to the hops. Bit of brown sugar, touch of alcohol.

Taste is a fine balance of a sweet, malty backbone and some piny, prickly hops. Again the sugar, and the alcohol adds a finishing bite.

Big, semi-thick mouthfeel. Great complement to the rich flavors. Really a nice, rich texture that's balanced with some good fizzy carbonation.

Be careful: that 9.7% ABV sneaks up on you! It's pretty well covered by all the flavors and textures that a dancing around. This is a quintessential barleywine to me; a great benchmark to measure others by!

Photo of GbVDave
4.47/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bomber into two pint glasses. Thanks to HeatherAnn for the assist! Thanks to Heidi and Tom Morris for the hook-up!

2008 release.

A: Pours a deep, dark amber-mahogany color with a creamy, khaki-colored, one-finger head that left spotty speckles of lace behind.

S: Dark fruit and sweet caramel. Raisin, grape, and chocolate covered cherry.

T: See above. HUGE sweet caramel flavor along with bitter & piney hops, sweet green grape, and dark fruit.

M: Smooth and velvety with a dry, spicy, and bitter undercurrent. Very sticky.

D: What a surprise this was. Fantastic!

Photo of atsprings
4.38/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a crisp but murky dark orange with a decent cream colored head that lasts as a thin layer and leaves spotty lacing on the glass. Aroma is dense burnt caramel, molasses and some subtle hops. The taste is a nice complex blend of caramel malts, some dried fruits, brown sugar and molasses. The beer is actually on the light side of medium, the alcohol is very well hidden, there is a bit of lingering stickiness, but not what you'd expect. This is a very drinkable and enjoyable Barleywine.

Photo of BradLikesBrew
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a: clear mahogany, big fluffy cream-colored head. great lacing and retention.

s: sweet caramel malt.

t: herbal, spicy, hops, sweet alcohol, caramel malt. biscuity. light for a barleywine.

m: sticky, smooth, and light for the style. dry.

d: easy drinking for the style. light on the hops, but pretty damn good.

Photo of ColoradoBobs
3.82/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

22-ounce bomber as shown.

First pour into my New Belgium goblet: moderate to slow pour produces a light-tan one-finger head over a slightly hazy reddish-amber body. Head fades to a thin cap in a few minutes. Plenty of lacing.

Smell is warm bread dough, caramel candy, milk chocolate, sweet figs, maple syrup and bourbon. Very rich, sweet aroma, with a solid note of booze. If it tastes as sweet as it smells, it may be too sweet even for me.

Taste has all that sweetness described above, but a load of bittering and floral hops as well. Solid booziness you would expect from such a beer. The flavors are a bit too sweet, but the hops and alcohol rise to the occasion.

Mouthfeel is the star of this show -- thick, rich, round, full, all very slurpalicious.

Drinkability is somewhat diminished for me by the heavily sweet character and the alcohol. I would have preferred this in a 12 ounce bottle -- finishing a bomber by myself was a bit of a chore.

Photo of Douglas14
4.47/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a vibrant, ruby-red color with an off-white head that is pillowy and dense. The aroma displays this beer's large malt bill and is accompanied by cherries, orange and alcohol. The taste is big and wonderful and also surprisingly balanced. The intense sweetness from the fruitiness and maltiness goes perfectly with the hoppiness and alcohol that is present. The beer is heavy in the mouth and I suppose "round."

Awesome beer.

fyi - twenty 'aught-8

Photo of Bitterbill
3.25/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This pours a clear amber with a 1 fin..err..1/2"...errr...well, it *was* there but now the foam is just a small ring around the glass with pretty much no lacing. Nice colour, terrible foam retention.

The smell is light for a BWSA. I get small notes of caramel malt and hops.

The taste is at least good. Caramel malt dominates but there's some hop bitterness in the background that helps with the balance some. And...the alcohol is pretty noticeable as a slight burn in the throat and some warming after the swallow.

The more I sip, the sweeter this becomes and even for me, and I love good malty BWSAs, it becomes just a tad too sweet. Cut's down on the drinkablity for me; that and the alcohol. Good thickish mouthfeel though.

Overall, I think it's an ok example of the style but I don't think I'd bother to get any more. It's just not up *my* alley.

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

22 -- Twenty Aught Eight

I don't really buy this as an American Barleywine... but that's no knock. It was just a little less hoppy and a little more balanced that other American Barleywines that I've tried. More in the spirit of an English.

A: Beautiful Amber. I'm partial to this particular color, so I won't claim to be unbiased.

S: Sweet, malty goodness. Just a bit of alcohol, but at 9.6 that is bound to happen.

T: It took a few sips to adjust (I don't make a habit of drinking Barleywine in July so it was a bit of an adjustment from a steady diet of Pils.) but once I got into it this was a great Barleywine. Like I said, more balanced than a traditional American, but this was smooth, really malty and sweet.

M: This was the real highlight for me. Very, very smooth, especially for a Barleywine.

D: Very drinkable for a Barleywine... but I take this as "session beer ability" and at 9.6 a 22 was plenty.

Photo of bort11
4.39/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another kick in the teeth from JohnGalt1 and the Fight Club BIF

22 oz, Twenty-Aught-Six vintage, poured into Boulevard Smokestack Series chalice. Not much head to speak of, a few spots of lacing. Color is a warm cinnamon brown.

Smell has a smooth sweet malt body. Brown sugar, mulled spices, and a hint of orange peel. Taste is also a malt bomb balanced out with some spicy goodness. Caramelized brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon with that added hint of oranges.

Mouthfeel is slick and a little mild for the style. Still a solid medium body. Exellente!

Photo of scruffwhor
4.11/5  rDev +1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a Pour a prettyruby, copper, rusty, brandy, cognac color. No head, lacing, or bubbles, but wow what a color. The nose is a warm fruit. Hints of wheaty cloves, bananas, other light fruits. A very distinct note of cherrywood. The taste has notes of medium toasted bread covered in syrupy melons, bananas, berries, and bourbon barrell notes. Although, as far as I know, this beer is not aged in oak barrels. The beer has a thick, syrupy feel with a great warmth that eleveates the fruit notes of this beer greatly. Great sipping beer.

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

Pours clear; dark amber--on the verge of light brown. Dense, light beige head; good spotty lace.

Not as sweet as some barleywines, although it is there; nice spicy hop background.

Imagine a good BBQ sauce: some spicy heat, some sweetness, and enough complexity to have you reach for more ribs. This is my impression of this beer. It starts off spicy (but not from hop), soon the brown sugar comes through; followed by a light hop for balance. Lots of alcohol oiliness that fits the thick, rich body. There is one demerit from me in the way of an odd flavor that appears near the swallow--I'd describe it as earthy, which I don't find blending well with an otherwise powerful brew.

Very good in almost every sense of the word. At 9.7% ABV, I can't see myself drinking it regularly, though the lower drinkability score is present to correct for the otherwise other-worldly score without it.

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

24oz bottle pored into a chalice.

Dark mahogany with generous tan foam that shows good staying power and leaves sheeted lace.

The nose is more malty than most american BWs. Deep malts braced with fusel notes and enough hop aromas to give balance. Very well rounded nose.

The malts are also in the forefront of the taste. Somewhat english in flavor, but there is enough hop presence to keep it true to style. The alcohol is noticable but not out of place.

Full in the mouth with no residual oils and the carbonation clears the palate nicely. I will buy more and see how this one cellars.

Photo of hoegaardenhero
3.5/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5


a:red-amber w/ very little spotty white foam on top

s: sweet apples and brandy with some darker malts and spice

t: alcohol is dominant; very sweet fruity apple hops; darker caramel/toffee; tobacco; not quite doing it for me; i think alcohol flavor is too high and too much sweetness

m: smooth light carb

d: an interesting barley wine that i was a little bit disappointed in. i felt it was too heavy on the sickly sweet fruity hops and alcohol and not enough of a darker backbone

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Olde GnarlyWine from Lagunitas Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 1,110 ratings.