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Olde GnarlyWine - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Olde GnarlyWineOlde GnarlyWine

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

939 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 939
Reviews: 618
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 10.32%
Wants: 107
Gots: 72 | 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: 939 | Reviews: 618 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mattcrill
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%

Thanks go out to absolutesites for the chance to try another Lagunitas offering.

Presentation: 2004 limited release (is everything from Lagunitas limited release?). Some fun banter on the side about brewing a barelywine.

Appearance: Pours a crystal clear garnet color with a fluffy tan head. Some small carbonation cascades up the side of the glass. Carbonation throughout the body as well. Head retention is pretty impressive.

Smell: Brown sugar, some pine hops (dare I say Bigfoot?), slight vinous character, cabarnet grapes all come out on the nose.

Taste: Dried cherries, brown sugar, slightly carmel, with some pine/citrus hops in the background and definitely in the aftertaste. Alcohol is present and provides a nice background but is not overdone. This is big, complex, and very nicely balanced.

Mouthfeel: Big, slightly creamy, almost like syrup. It's not that thick but it definitely coats the palate and leaves a warming alcohol presence down the throat.

Drinkability: One and done. A sipper for sure. Take your time and savor this one. This definitely ranks up there as one of my favorite barleywines and by far the best work by Lagunitas.

Thanks again absolutesites!

mattcrill, Jun 05, 2005
Photo of allengarvin
4.08/5  rDev +0.2%

2004 edition. Poured into a chalice glass. Appearance is copper-amber, dark and hazed. Lowish head but nice lacing. Sweet malts and sweet fruits, with ample grassy and spicy hop aroma, make up the nose. First taste is a lot of bitterness, with lemony, citrusy hop flavor, followed by sweet toffee malt. Finish lingers around forever. Smooth, chewy texture and a big mouthfeel.

A great, warming, late-night beer.

allengarvin, Jun 04, 2005
Photo of ppoitras
4.08/5  rDev +0.2%

22oz bottle purchased as somewhere around here...

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1" tan head over the reddish amber brew. Foamy head lasts well for the style, and lacing is also nice. Aroma is malty, with piney hops character sharing time. Taste is dominated initially byt the hops, fading into smooth maltiness and an obvious alcohol warming close. Mouthfeel and drinkability are both good, but could be even better with a bit less hops dominance. To each his own.

ppoitras, May 30, 2005
Photo of sinistermadman
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%

This brew pours an almost transparent amber-orange while emanating a decent size head which lingers quite a while. Leaves a nice lacing on the glass.

Smell is subdued but hoppy. Smells spicy with an alcohol forefront. Taste is dominated by the hops, but subtle fruit and spice tones are evident. Very light body for a barley wine. Slight residual astringent tinges on the tongue from the readily available alcohol content. Simple and straight forward in its approach. Not very complex in my humble opinion, but a solid brew. Quite drinkable considering the style. Mouthfeel is sparse, very crisp leaving a residual hop taste. I guess I am used to barley wines that kick your ass, this one is too polite but it is very good. Cheers.

sinistermadman, May 08, 2005
Photo of stegmakk
4.35/5  rDev +6.9%

Poured a nice carmel color with near perfect head and sweet lacing.
Aroma was of caramel candy like malt and fruity hops...
Taste. Oh wow. Excellent. Great mix. Pine/citrus hops first quickly followed by sweet toffee. Great barleywine. Not too alchoholic to be a kick in the pants, but just enough to notice...damn this is good.
Mouthfeel was a smooth silky brew from a god.
Drinkability..Tough call. While it took me two hours to finish one 22ozer it was because I was enjoying it all. I could drink this all night.

stegmakk, May 06, 2005
Photo of BeerResearcher
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%

22oz dark brown bottle. No freshness date, except the "Twenty 'Aught -4" printed on the label.
It pours a deep ruby-hued amber with a good-sized beige head.
The aroma is a light and heavenly mix of floral hop, sweet malt, along with a hint of vodka.
This is a sweet, deeply malty Barley Wine! Tastes of sweet Sherry and honey come to mind at first, then buttery caramel and a hint of pineapple add to the complex nature of this rare brew. A taste of pears comes and goes.
The hops just leap out and shout for their equal share of attention against this big sweet malty foundation. Pink grapefruit, lemon zest and peppery spices provide an edgy, sharp bite, which comfortably leads to the lush golden rum-like finish.
This is a well-conceived Barley Wine, though I doubt that cellaring will significantly improve this brew's character.

BeerResearcher, Apr 29, 2005
Photo of assurbanipaul
4.53/5  rDev +11.3%

Pours a rich chestnut color with a thick khaki head. Aroma is multifaceted, alcohol fusels with fruit and some maltiness. Nice lacing and head retention

Taste is also rich and multifaceted. Lots of sweet, bready malt and puckering hops but with a fair amount of fruit. Some very light grapefruit, some caramel, lightly buttered toast, biscuits and honey. Not a strong alcohol presence in the flavor, which keeps its drinkability high.

Mouthfeel is velvety and sticky but not weighty enough to slow down. Spot-on, just-to-style barley wine, not overburdened with hops that require years of aging to cool off. Drink this one fresh, it's just perfect as-is.

Twenty 'Aught-4 vintage, 9.7% ABV

assurbanipaul, Apr 25, 2005
Photo of carln26
4.08/5  rDev +0.2%

This beer poured a clear deep copper to ruby color with a thick tam head. The nose has a nice balance of caramel and toffee from the malt in addition to grapefruit and hop flower from the hops. The taste is more malt than hops. I guess I’ve become used to hop bombs, and this has a much more subtle with the citrus and floral in some Barley wines. It has a gentle warming effect (nice as I feel a cold coming on), and a slightly slick mouth feel. Very nice beer. I appreciate the subtle characters.

carln26, Mar 27, 2005
Photo of sulldaddy
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%

I am sampling a room temp 22 oz bottle in a 10 oz snifter. The beer pours a clear red color with a 2 cm creamy soft beige/orange head foaming up. Head fades gradually to a thin surface layer.
The aroma is a mix of citrus hops, biscuity yeast, and some sweet caramel malt and fruity/berry scents. First sip reveals a soft creamy textured brew with very fine and gentle carbonation that adds to the silky mouthfeel of the brew. Very enjoyable physical presence.
Flavor is similar to nose, some toffee and sweet malt mix with the citrusy hops and give off some lemony flavor. Some ripe dark fruit flow through towards the end while a hit of peppery alcohol comes through just to remind you its a barleywine. Overall the beer is fairly smooth, but the alcohol makes it a definate sipping beer. I enjoy this brew, but dont think I will be drinking this bomber very quickly.

sulldaddy, Mar 23, 2005
Photo of WetCoaster
3.85/5  rDev -5.4%

Appearance: A deep bourbon amber with an off-white head. Medium, with good retention. Soaping lacing. Mildly carbonation.

Smell: Powerfully malty with an underlying--but also quite powerful--pine hoppiness. Uh... nope, that's it.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Whoa, shotgun blast of creamy toffee malt and pine resin/citrus rind hops. Sugary, raw and a bit bitter through the finish. The body is lightish for a BW, medium with just a bit of carbonation.

Drinkability: In its current state, it's intensely sweet, intensely hoppy--it's just intense, period. Maybe I'm having an off day, because I seem to be in the minority here, but IMHO it's raw and not particularly interesting at this point. I'd give it a year or so and come back to it.

WetCoaster, Mar 22, 2005
Photo of feloniousmonk
4.13/5  rDev +1.5%

Edition Twenty-Aught-4, as indicated on the label...
gotta quote the label: "The first sip is for thirst, the second one for pleasure, the third sip is for knowing, and the fourth for pure madness." Yeah, they got me pegged!
Dark, devilish, deep crimson color, with a flush, creamy cocoa head atop.
Aroma: big, bright fruits...malt and hops are at work, and at play, and doing well with the account...nice, nice, nice...
Taste: a huge mouthfull, an immense mouthfeel, all the richness of a well-crafted barleywine, dense cherries, plus alcohol, rich in malt, some hops, but so thick with classic barleywinish flavor...just like I like it..too tasty...very nice.

feloniousmonk, Mar 21, 2005
Photo of santoslhalper
4.63/5  rDev +13.8%

Appearence: Pours a wonderful glowing amber with a bubbly, creamy beige head that leaves wonderful lacing.

Smell: The smell is a little hot for this style. The malts are incredibly ncie smelling, but don't mix too well with the alcohol.

Taste and Mouthfeel: This is a wonderfully smooth barleywine. It's well balanced, nothing's out of hand, and it all tastes great. The caramel and bread notes mix will with the spicy hoppiness, and the alcohol really brings it all home. The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy.

Drinkability and Overall: Damn I wish I could get this regularly. This is an absolutely brilliant Barleywine. It's so smooth and balanced, but still complex as all hell, making the drinkability through the roof. This is one of the better barleywines I've had in a while. Thanks to GClarkage for the great beer.

santoslhalper, Mar 20, 2005
Photo of Truh
3.18/5  rDev -21.9%

Felt a storm coming in my bones with this one on 3/17/2005. 10.5-oz goblet pour at Redbones.

Great wall of China buttress of 1/7-inch head made of tightly formed, ionic column bubbles that stick, at least a little. Slight hazy orange/gold hue, though on the darker side, with a fair amount of action. Sweetly oozing melting sugar on nose with a pleasant hop bite and some juice characters – orange and raspberry. A somewhat tinny character is immediately noted on mouth, and an oddly empty malt profile. For a barleywine, I expected a great deal more complexity. Sweet aspects seem to dominate with just echoes of malt and a pin prick of hop presence. Bottom rung on the ladder for this style.

Truh, Mar 18, 2005
Photo of studentofbeer
3.8/5  rDev -6.6%

pours a really nice deep mahagony, with a tan head that leaves lots of lace, though as i drink it falls a good bit.

nose is lighter than i would expect, even at warm temperatures--grapefruit hops, some ripe fruit, jolly rancher and bread, but not all that strong. also a bit boozy--you get a buzz just smelling it, though the alcohol isn't prominent.

hugely thick, syrupy mouthfeel that i worried was going to become cloying, but it's actually very well balanced. some sweet, tangy fruit--watermelon, kiwi, strawberry. Very juicy, you get some juicy fruit and starburst flavor more than actual fruit. But it's the hop flavor that is intense--"only" 69 IBUs, but hops are everywhere, both bitterness and flavor. plenty of grapefruit, a bit of a spicy bite from both hops and alcohol.

this is a concentrated beer, no doubt. strong, warming, and engaging. you could either love or hate the mouthfeel. it really is a syrup that coats everywhere. there's barely carbonation to be felt. overall a very nice brew--i didn't get a lot of complexity but it is pretty well balanced and perfect for sipping with a book. a whole bomber is a challenge though. probably best to share with someone.

studentofbeer, Mar 17, 2005
Photo of RootedFool
4.6/5  rDev +13%

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle purchased at the North Coast Co-op in Eureka, California. The head rises tall and dense, a brilliant very-off-white that leaves some nice thick sheets of lace on the walls of the goblet. The body is bright mahogany.


Heavy waft of orange rind backed by a big brown sugar crust, slightly burned, and finishes on some softer notes of marshmallow (fire-blackened) and lemon grass.


Upfront wack of very juicy hops across the tip of my palate, spreading out into a brown-sugar sprinkled glazed donut sweetness; all the while, the hop power increases and takes over toward the finish, an almost perfect arc, and lingers solidly (mad grapefruit pucker action happening here) on my tongue as the malt sweetness recedes.


Dense. Creamy. Middling carbonation. Perfect for this beer.

A lovely version of the style. Lagunitas hasn't let me down, yet.

RootedFool, Mar 12, 2005
Photo of warriorsoul
4.08/5  rDev +0.2%

Thanks to Redbones for offering this beauty on tap today.
Served in a 10.5oz. tulip glass a bit too chilled for my liking.
Very attractive 1/4 finger of off-white head on top of a ruby cloudy brew.
The aroma is ruled by the hops, as this is almost all I detect at this moment. A hint of cherries and tropical fruits as well with absolutely no alcohol in the nose.
The taste, again is very much controlled by the hops...this I do not mind. It is somewhat similar to SN Bigfoot, but a bit sweeter...a nice blend of oranges and cherries w/ a slight malt flavor to it.
Alcohol taste does appear as this one works its way to room temperature, but does not effect its drinkability one bit.
Mouthfeel is a nice syrupy texture and the carbonation is just right.
I would rate this "unaged" beer in my top 5 of the ones I have tried to date, which is, by no means extensive.
Good thing Nick at Bauer Wine & Spirits has a couple of these on hold for me...can't wait to try after they sit in my cellar for a year or so.

warriorsoul, Mar 08, 2005
Photo of Mark
3.95/5  rDev -2.9%

This poured a beautiful crystal clear deep amber. The nice persistent head left a thick patterned lacing. Aroma of sweet malts, very fruity taste profile with cherries seeming dominant, at least to me. Reminds me of an Old Nick but with twice the power. Thickish mouthfeel is good for the style. Would rate higher for drinkability, but I find the taste, even though rated a 4 a bit too powerful at times and the cherry accents are quite strong. Still a very good BarleyWine style ale

Mark, Mar 02, 2005
Photo of RoyalT
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%

Appearance – Beautiful, thick orange body with a modest head.

Smell – Lots of hops in this one. The citrus and piney hops almost take over the nose, but the malt base it still detectable. There’s some light, fruity sweetness to the aroma but mostly the hops dominate.

Taste – The grapes and malts come out more in the taste, offering a terrific balance to the hops (that stepped back from the nose). There’s also some sugary sweetness to this one that is quite unique.

Nothing fancy here, just a great tasting, well-balanced, hoppy-type of Barley Wine that seems to be all the rage these days. This one has everything except the kitchen sink.

Mouthfeel – Full-bodied and quite chewy. This BW is refreshing and satisfying.

Drinkability – If you like the hoppy type of Barley Wine and want something very unique, give this one a try.

Update – I had this again with a year-old aged bottle and boy was it tasty. The sugars came up big and the hops took a step back, making it more like an English-style BW than an American. It was mighty good though, and I think as much as I enjoy this fresh I actually prefer it cellared and a little “sugared up”.

RoyalT, Feb 26, 2005
Photo of charlatan
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%

2004 edition pours from 22oz bottle a reddish amber with cream coloured head which sticks around for a while. Leaves limited lacing.

Smells of brown sugar, plums and apricots. The smell alone is reminding me of Lagunitas Brown Shugga which if I remember correctly was a botched version of this brew.

The taste doesn't linger as much as with Brown Shugga, but nevertheless the sweetness is what will hit you. It still tastes of light brown sugar, but not quite os blatantly, and the flavour doesn't seem to linger as long.

Lagunitas threw some decent hops into this one (bottle says 69.39 IBU), but they appear very subtle in the present of the cascading sweetness.

Fairly drinkable, but at 9.7% abv I don't think I'd trust myself with a second bottle in quick succession!

charlatan, Feb 17, 2005
Photo of TastyTaste
4.75/5  rDev +16.7%

I had never known that this beer existed until i saw a row of 1999 vintage bottles in a liquor store that i frequent every few months or so. Thinking back to where I was in 1999, a junior in high school, it is amazing that this beer has been waiting for me until I was in my final year of college, makes it pretty special to drink. Pours a scarlet red color, slightly brown, with just a tiny bit of bubbly off white head. Smells vinous and strong, raisins and brown sugar abounding. Taste is smooth and mellow on the outset, which becomes a little rockier at the end where the now-mellowed hops make their presence felt. So many flavors will great you and morph into different ones as you take each sip of this fantastic beer. Mouthfeel is full and slick, low carbonation, and that is just fine. Drinkability is good, i don't think i could session it because of the fact that it so strong, and somewhat pricey. Do i recommend it, if you ever have the chance of buying it? A very enthusiastic "Yes".

TastyTaste, Feb 08, 2005
Photo of beerceller99
4.43/5  rDev +8.8%

22 oz. bottle, 2003 edition cellared about a year.. Pours an awesome, crystal clear copper hue. The off white colored head leaves a nice lacing. Strong smells of raisons, dates, figs and alcohol. Rich, creamy mouthfeel with nice carbonation. Caramel malts highlight a sticky sweet taste of raisons and figs and alcohol. Finishes with a nice alcohol bite followed by a warming feeling inside.
Along with the fireplace the perfect RX for the 10 * F January weather outside.

beerceller99, Jan 09, 2005
Photo of Crosling
3.13/5  rDev -23.1%

Draught. Dark Copper. Pungent, fresh aroma, very reminiscent of Old Boardhead in its nose. Soft but sharp hops, along with fruity malt and caramel. Taste is strongly affected by a major lack of body and texture. Very hoppy (grapefruit, pineapple, orange) along with lacking very sweet malt (fruit, cherries mainly, medicine and caramel).

Crosling, Nov 10, 2004
Photo of shapudding
4.78/5  rDev +17.4%

Nice light amber color with a bit of white head made of tiny bubbles that reduced down to a tiny ring on the sides, leaving the center clear. Nice malty aroma with oaky hints. Smooth and creamy, yet not heavy. Oaky, casky tasting, yum!. Hoppy, bitey. Honey and vanilla. Not too heavy or intense, just so very good and flavorful. Easy drinking, could easily sit back and enjoy a few of these puppies! -pun intended!

p.s. no matter what Brian says, the label is freakin cute!

shapudding, Sep 01, 2004
Photo of BeerAngel
4.28/5  rDev +5.2%

Pours a clear slightly dark golden amber with a modest yet dense cream-colored head. The smell conists of a nice hop and fruit aroma with plenty of malt in the background. The is again a slight citrusy hop with heavy malt and sweet fruit and tails off to a noticeable warming alcohol finish. This is a medium to heavy bodied brew that finishes just slightly sweet.

Notes: A very well done barleywine indeed! I wish I would have found this while we still had some cold weather. I will hopefully have this one again! Cheers!

BeerAngel, Mar 26, 2004
Photo of kbub6f
4.35/5  rDev +6.9%

What a gorgeous looking beer: mostly dark red with amber leanings. A medium-large, yellowish-cream, dense head. Light, sticky, foamy lacing. Beautiful. Tons of hops in the nose with sweet fruit and flowers. The front is fruity, hoppy goodness that gets out of the way for a sweet, sweet, malty, creamy middle. Very fresh, hoppy finish. Hugely bitter. There's a nice, slightly nutty aftertaste. I'm usually not crazy about really sweet beers, but the big hops here perfectly offset the thick sweetness for me. Delicious, big, California taste. Nothing pretentious, just a truckload of fresh hops and syrupy malt. The 9.7%abv is almost totally hidden.

kbub6f, Mar 20, 2004
Olde GnarlyWine from Lagunitas Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 939 ratings.