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Olde GnarlyWine - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Olde GnarlyWineOlde GnarlyWine

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

940 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 940
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: 940 | Reviews: 618 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of gmfessen
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22 oz bomber into a mini snifter, gnarlywine 2009 release is a deep ruby color with a nice off-white head that quickly settles down to just a thin layer of fine bubbles on top of the glass and leaves hella lacing. Being a west-coast barleywine, I was expecting a hop bomb on the nose but it's actually pretty well balanced with the citrusy, piney hops being countered with a toasty, caramel maltiness. Just a hint of alcohol is perceivable. The initial taste confirms the nose that there is a good balance of malt and hops but there is a whole additional level of complexity. Grapefruit dominates with sweet, heavy dextrins as a backdrop that reflect caramel and dried fruits like figs and raisins. The alcohol is much more apparent in the taste than it is in the smell. The mouthfeel is full bodied with a reserved yet creamy carbonation and a dry, alcohol burn finish. I could have used some more west coast hops. Drinkability-wise, this would be a wise brew to sip and enjoy because the 11% could be rough. Excellent beer but I really was surprised that there was not a much bigger hop presence considering this is a west coast American Barleywine and it is only a 2009 vintage; there should be HUGE hops IMO.

gmfessen, Aug 11, 2009
Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.15/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

saw these for a good price at the store, so i nabbed a few for the cellar and figured i'd revisit it.

Pours a very nice looking clear amber orange color with a light tan ice creamy foam head that lingers very well and leaves great lacing.

Nose is full of typical american barleywine. Nice big sweet sticky candy malt sugar in the nose with a copious dosing of ample hoppage. If you looked up american barleywine nose in the dictionary, this is what you find. That being said, it doesn't necessarily means it is the best of that category, despite being textbook.

Taste is right up that encyclopedic alley as well. The big sticky malt presence makes itself known right away and is amplified by a nice chewy viscosity. The malt profile sticks with you the whole way through. The hop profile, however, shows up about midway between the beer touching your lips and the finish, and does that slow..."is this gonna be bitter...not rea...oh, may...ok yeah....oh ok there it is" type of uphill climbs toward the finish. The finish hits nice and bitter, and is a great balance between hop bitterness and the sweet backbone. Then on the flipside, the hop flavor fades, but the bitterness stays, and the malt profile tips the teeter totter back its way asserting its dominance in the aftertaste. I would like a more noticeable hop presence to be honest. Just a tad underbalanced for me as a whole. Right at the finish its perfect, but as a whole the malt sweetness is just slightly too dominant.

Mouthfeel is pretty much right where an american barleywine should be. A very nice and viscous chewy profile, without being soup. The carbonation is where it oughta be.

Drinkability does struggle just a tad. The abv aspect of it is very impressive, but the dominance of the sweetness in the malt profile does hinder it just a tad. Still high marks in this regard.

Overall a very nice and textbook American style barleywine. To be honest, I am not a gigantic fan of it, but it is so accurate to style that i can't help but give it high marks. I'm a fan of it, just not a gigantic fan of it. I know that sounds wierd, but its hard to explain. It is totally to style, but there is just no unique flare to it, I would like the balance to shift a little bit to be more clear. A touch more hops and a touch less stickiness. I don't know what it is but i just can't get really excited about this one. That being said, this is certainly a fine barleywine and one i enjoy and will drink again without a doubt. Glad i picked a few up for the cellar.

AKBelgianBeast, Aug 05, 2009
Photo of farrago
4.38/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Smallish head of cream white to brown, leaves a sheet of lacing which slowly slides down the glass sides, after a minute or so the head has fully dissolved. Strong amber color, as much orange as brown, fairly clean for the style. The nose displays some restraint and doesn't push the sweetness too much, caramel, honey, tangerine and mandarin orange citrus, Indian spices, the plum, raisin fruit scents balanced by fresher apricot and peach notes, while knit into the whole well, there's more general hoppiness than many peers. Full-bodied, sticky, clings to your mouth pores like glue. Things more amplified here, the carbonation helps to separate the elements. The pink grapefruit to tangerine citrus gets out in front of the pack. Brown sugar, caramel and honey compact and not sweeter than any other component. There is a lively dark roasted coffee bean edge. Not bready or doughy really, you get a nice floral lift though. Here the apricot, peach, nectarine fruit leads, you might even discern more pineapple than raisin, date or fig flavors. Has the weight and texture of barleywine but in many respects deviates from the norm. Interesting. (2009 version)

farrago, Aug 03, 2009
Photo of david18
3.23/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I can' t tell this breweries beer styles apart. they have low alcohol strong ales that they call red ales. Hoppy barleywines that they call double ipas. etc. This is another of what I believe to be their hybrid beers, which, like many of their others is a good beer worth trying. Not my favorite barley or Lagunitas brand,this beer has good color and aroma and is worthwhile if you see it on the shelves.

david18, Aug 02, 2009
Photo of charlzm
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Consumed 07/18/09 at Blue Palms, Hollywood, CA.

Beer is a deep garnet hue with a dense, one-finger tan head.

A sweet bready aroma (rye?) and a creamy mouthfeel are leadups to the flavor: big, strong, spicy, sweet, woody and even a dash of solvent. I say that like it's a good thing, but I have to say the solvent character didn't detract at all from my enjoyment. Bitter on the finish.

Super smooth and easy to drink considering the strength of the brew. Deadly.

charlzm, Aug 01, 2009
Photo of ritzkiss
3.93/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared courtesy of Rob, man I have alot of reviews thanking that guy! Pours a mahogany/amber red with some light head perched on top.

Nose is bread, caramel, raisins, toffee, a touch of spice. Yep, this is going to be an English barleywine! A little bit surprised coming from Lagunitas that it isn't more hopped.

Taste is loaded with caramel, bread, a nice sweetness that doesn't overpower but pushes the limits and perhaps limits the drinkability, raisins, plums, a faint earthiness, hops drying in the finish along with a hint of alcohol bite.

Nice barleywine to sip the night away on. Solid example.

ritzkiss, Jul 29, 2009
Photo of bobsy
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice light mahogany with a wispy beige head, and is, for all purposes, a nice looking barleywine. Rich brown sugar on the nose, underpinned by earthiness and a c-hop backing. A touch of alcohol too, but that's to be expected. Good hoppy flavour, with a delightful splash of citrus and pine, and a lasting bitterness. This is balanced quite well by a brown sugar sweetness and a touch of sherry. Full-bodied, medium carbonation and warming. Lagunitas know how to use their hops to good effect. Recommended.

bobsy, Jul 29, 2009
Photo of maximum12
3.18/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up this up in a trade with hero27.

Pours jet sticky red, with a hella lotta suspended sediment. If this were a river, it would be on the EPAs threatened streams list. Smells nice & fruity, with some overtones of oxidation...oh oh.

For a bottle that isn't terribly old, this is showing some signs of early oxidation, which is disheartening. Dark fruits are falling off the tree & hitting a bunch of malt & oxidation that's just making it's move out of the background & into the light, unfortunately, distracting from the more pleasant aspects of the beer. I can taste the goodness, but it's muted & masked. This bottle can't be two years old, why the fast decline?

Gnarlywine is slick & fast in the mouth & oozes fruitiness. Too sweet to drink much of, & the alcohol is prevalent.

Pretty good. Eventually I will have to pick up a completely fresh bottle to compare, but this one seems to have lost some shine pretty quickly.

maximum12, Jul 19, 2009
Photo of dmamiano
4.38/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice, brownish look with a tan head and lacing galore. Swirling in the glass shows this one has plenty of legs and body.
Smell was thick with sugars, residuals are going to take it here. Very sweet and malty, almost candylike. Mixing in with some hops but not dominating.
Taste was huge with an onslaught of sweetmalts and a pungent hopppiness.
Whats not to love here?

dmamiano, Jul 17, 2009
Photo of Jmoore50
4.55/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is one kick ass barleywine. Whoa!

The appearance is a really deep red copper red color. Comes with a tan head that is sticky and forms a one finger head. The bottle graphics are neat, do not know what the dog is really doing but who the hell cares. The brewers notes on the bottle are funny, comparing a barleywine to a little girl growing up.

The smell is good. It has a brown sugar alcohol smell that is a familiar characteristic with barleywines. Also has a dark plumb or raisin smell.

The taste is great. Really great. Alcoholic brown sugar. Dark fruit sweetness. It is actually really sweet, but not overwhelming just enough to be smooth and nice. This overall experience it a very very smooth one. The alcoholic tinge to the entire beverage makes the drinker know that this is a barleywine. There is also a lasting dry feeling on the palate after the brew has been swallowed.

The mouthfeel is great as well as the drinkability. The mouthfeel really involves the sweetness of the tongue, which would be the tip. The back of the tongue is also highly involved, really working overtime on the bitterness of the dark fruits and the pungent alcoholic 'awesomeness'. This really is a gem of a brew. I highly recommend to anyone that has even thought about drinking this one, do it, you won't regret it.

Jmoore50, Jul 10, 2009
Photo of BeerNinja007
3.2/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

$4.99 bomber from Discount Beverages on Hoosick St in Troy, NY. Label claims 11% ABV, 69.39 IBU, 1.096 OG. Dated as "Twenty 'Aught-9", indicating brewed in 2009.

A: Thin filmy tan head following a weak pour. Dark golden honey color that turns deep strawberry red when held to a light. Don't drink barleywines frequently, but it looks a lot darker than what I remember as being typical. Heavier pour with the second half yields a massive 4-finger head that turns rocky as it dissipates slowly.

S: Lots of malt (duh), thick complex sweetness. Silage and livestock grains. Sweetness is big and full, overpowers most everything else. A grassy hop note far in the background.

T: Much like the smell. Lots of sweetness, thick toasty malts. Slight bitter molassas in the finish.

M: Thick and sweet, sugary slick coating on the tongue lingers for quite a while. Carbonation is a little light. Very filling.

D: 11% ABV?? Not sure I believe it... not detected on the palate or felt in the head. Goes down easily, but sweetness borders on being cloying, a little too much for my tastes. 22oz bomber in one sitting is quite heavy in my stomach.

Not a typical barleywine. Hoppiness is replaced entirely with sweetness. More like a sweet quad than anything else.

BeerNinja007, Jul 07, 2009
Photo of cdizinno
4.05/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark red/brown amber color. Mild head and lacing.

S: Slight hop and alcohol scent. Spices, citrus and sweet malts.

T&M: Medium bodied and mild to medium dry finish. Very smooth barleywine with very low taste of alcohol.

Very good beer and I am curious if the bottled version is as good.

cdizinno, Jun 30, 2009
Photo of strengthdoc
3.35/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours into the glass to reveal a hazy amber/maple color. The aroma is very strong and sweet and consists of raisin and apricot. The mouthfeel is about average for a barleywine style but has a nice buttery alcohol feel on the lips. The taste is very sweet with a moderate raisin component. The ale finishes with a good amount of alcohol warmth and a small amount of alcohol taste. There is not much of a hop component to this ale, which I generally like in the finish of barleywine styles.

strengthdoc, Jun 26, 2009
Photo of ArrogantDeadGuy
3.98/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Auburn pour with a scant head that falls
almost immediately.

S: Robust aromas of sweet malt and fruit.
The alcohol scents are obvious from afar.

T: Great malt sweetness that works in unison
with the alcohol. There are great accents
of hop bitterness, and apricot.

M: Great body and character, being smooth and
not slick while holdng such a sweet flavor.

D: Very drinkable gnarley wine both with a meal
or as an after dinner treat.

ArrogantDeadGuy, Jun 22, 2009
Photo of wyattshotmaker
3.68/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

marked 2009,poured into a snifter,this beer is a nice reddish brown hue with a moderate amount of lacing.overall looks pretty appetizing.

nose is malty sweetness with dark fruits and a hint of alcohol.slight herbal hop and kind of earthy scent as well.

malt sweetness dominates the palate,dark fruit esters,slight nuttiness,with a earthy hop flavor and a hint of alcohol in the finish.overall,a nice barleywine.

moderate carbonation and only a slight amount of alcohol make this an easily and dangerously drinkable beer.

wyattshotmaker, Jun 19, 2009
Photo of whoneeds8
3.95/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into chalice an amber red with thin white head. Good lacing. Smells of hints of grapefruit. Taste is sweet up front from the grapefruit flavors, and there's actually a good bite to the end of the flavor. The mouthfeel is low in carbonation. The alcohol level is noticable, but it doesn't take away from the beer. Overall, this is a very easy to drink barleywine, however it could have some improvements.

whoneeds8, Jun 17, 2009
Photo of washburnkid
3.8/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer is a gorgeous color. Dark brown with touches of mahogany on the edges. A small light head dissipates to almost nothing. Aromas and flavors strongly feature dark fruits, especially black currant. It's a medium bodied mouthfeel with a very sweet aftertaste that makes this beer good for dessert. Yet another Lagunitas goody!

washburnkid, Jun 13, 2009
Photo of aerozeppl
3.8/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured a very nice deep red color with a finger and a half of white head. Quite a bit of lacing as well.

S: A weird mix of faded hops and some dark fruit. Deep malt nose with some hints of raisins. A slight hint of booze in the back.

T: A big full malt taste. Some faded hops with a touch of booze in the finish. Very smooth but nothing really standing out.

M: Fairly light for a barleywine but on the heavier side of medium bodied.

D: This bottle is a year old and it is very smooth. The taste does not really have anything that pops out at me and make this beer different though. A solid example of the style.

aerozeppl, Jun 03, 2009
Photo of MaxBrews
4.03/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter, thick brownish head which dissipates into a soapy lacing. Light brown hood, a orangish brown mahogany color. cannot see to other side of glass. Barley see the bubbles.

Can smell alcohol. Creamy toffee and caramel smell with a hint of fruit. VERY strong smell

Taste is very creamy, caramel toffee. Alcohol has a strong presence. Some sort of unidentified fruit thrown in the mix. Extremely complex and mysterious. So many flavors its hard to wrap my head around them.

Mouthfeel: Thick and creamy, lightly carbonated.

Drinkability: Taste is extremely strong, making it a sipping beer. Perhaps too strong for some. Its good in the way that its flavors are complex and it evokes a lot of mystery. However, this makes it a beer that I wouldn't want to drink often, but at times would provide an interesting beer experience.

MaxBrews, May 31, 2009
Photo of truknon
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served from a Bottle into a 23oz. Pilsner glass.

A wonderful sweet, almost fruity smell after opening the bottle. Poured with a full 4 finger head and beautiful cooper/brown color. After a minute or two the head dissipated and some nice lacing formed on the side of the glass.

As the bottle states "the first sip is for thirst, the second one for pleasure" is very true. The third and subsequent sips need to be spaced out due to the 11% ABV!!! (This site says 9.7% but the bottle says 11%)

The alcohol is well hidden but it is definitely a sipping beer and very nice on the tongue. (Or maybe that was the flavor from my girlfriend's tongue!! HeHe)

This is my first Barley Wine beer so I have no comparison, but I will be trying others.

truknon, May 29, 2009
Photo of tj4288
3.98/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

too bad there is not a WOW rating for this beer, on that it would have scored a 5. it is a a powerful beer, and is very interesting to the tongue

poured from bomber bottle into pint glass, shared with my uncle, who picked it up to share at the local beer store for $4.95

a- a dark, slightly cloudy, amber, almost ruby color when held to light, almost no head or lacing

s- nutty, sweet, caramel, mollasses, almost smokey

t- very well balanced, notes of pine, caramel, mollases, very sweet

m- med-low carbonation, very heavy, syrupy, thick, sticky on the lips

d- $4.95 for a 1pint 6oz bottle, went down fairly easy, nice finish, strong alcochol almost leaves the lips numb. i think i am going to pick up another bottle and leave it in the cellar for a while to see how well it ages (as suggested on the bottle)

tj4288, May 27, 2009
Photo of oberon
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

To me there are not to many things better (beer speaking) than a real hopped up American Barleywine,this fit the bill for me.Poured into a imperial nonic a hazed amber/bronze with a thinner off white head atop.Pine resin in the nose lets you know where this comes from and what brewer its from,dark fruit and some brown sugar go along nicel with the hefty hop profile.Complex and immensley flavorful,big fruity malt with some brown sugar flavors meld into big pine and citrus in the finish.Man its juicy and dangerously drinkable,another gem from Lagunitas.

oberon, May 24, 2009
Photo of gameface23
3.6/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2008 vintage

A: Hazy reddish brown, decent sized head for having such a high ABV. Spotty lacing

S: Molasses. Thick, thick molasses.

T: Sweet malts, caramel. Nice bitterness, but I really wish I had this one as fresh as possible to taste more of the flavor & aroma hops.

M: Full-bodied

D: After a while, it became a little cloying, but I'm a hophead so I'm a little biased.

A great value in beer! It's half the price of most barleywines.

gameface23, May 24, 2009
Photo of RunDWP
4.08/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Another good beer from Lagunitas.

Pour a sturdy, frothy like head in my tulip glass with plenty of sheeting and lacework on the glass. Nice dark orange color. Aroma of a little toffee. Flavor is a rather sweet, with a complex, toffee-like flavor and some earthy and resiny hops underneath. Very creamy, silky mouthfeel all the way to the end. Could not taste any of the alcohol. Got a little bitter as it warmed up, but all and all, a strong barleywine.

RunDWP, May 23, 2009
Photo of jsapunor
4.05/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a bomber into a Stone Old Guardian glass. The color is a beautiful dark red. Pouring raises a substantial head.

Smells like toffee and molasses without much hint of the 11% ABV claimed on the label. The taste emphasizes molasses and caramel, very malty with sweetness mixed in. This is one of the sweeter barleywines I've tried and the sweetness balances nicely with the other features of the brew. Again, the high ABV is nicely hidden, at least until you stand up.
The mouthfeel is a pleasantly sweet and sticky.

This is a fine barleywine and a real bargain at the price. I'm going to put one away for next year and see what a little aging does for it.

jsapunor, May 19, 2009
Olde GnarlyWine from Lagunitas Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 940 ratings.