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Olde GnarlyWine - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Olde GnarlyWineOlde GnarlyWine

Educational use only; do not reuse.

975 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 975
Reviews: 620
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 10.07%
Wants: 126
Gots: 77 | 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: 975 | Reviews: 620 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of flexabull
3.84/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

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...

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

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.

Photo of Franchise
4.62/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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!

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.07/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

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

Photo of cbl2
4.4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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!

Photo of taez555
4.35/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of ampzilla
4.32/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 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.

Photo of mcallister
3.43/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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.

Photo of Zorro
4.07/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

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

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.

Photo of Sammy
3.75/5  rDev -7.9%
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
3.98/5  rDev -2.2%
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
3.57/5  rDev -12.3%
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
4.49/5  rDev +10.3%
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
4.32/5  rDev +6.1%
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
2.97/5  rDev -27%
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
4.38/5  rDev +7.6%
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
4.42/5  rDev +8.6%
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
3.88/5  rDev -4.7%
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
4.53/5  rDev +11.3%
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!

Olde GnarlyWine from Lagunitas Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 975 ratings.