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Old Knucklehead Barleywine - BridgePort Brewing Co. / Brewpub

Not Rated.
Old Knucklehead BarleywineOld Knucklehead Barleywine

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

195 Ratings
THE BROS
98
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 195
Reviews: 95
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 11.56%
Wants: 38
Gots: 13 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
BridgePort Brewing Co. / Brewpub visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  9.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Todd on 12-16-1998

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 195 | Reviews: 95
Photo of DeepBrew
4.19/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Number 14, aged for about 6 months. Poured from 22oz bomber into snifter

First pour was a murky cherry color, second one cleared up. Foam was almost inch high, with medium retention, left little lacing behind.

Great malt and dark fruit smell and taste. Hop bitter in the background and aftertaste.

Medium-high strength, medium body.

Very good and drinkable/sippable barleywine.

Photo of Darkmagus82
3.23/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from bottle into a pint glass

Appearance – The beer pours a deep amber color with a tiny head of white foam. The head fades super fast leaving almost no lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma of the beer consists of a mix of a sweet and hoppy smells. The strongest of the aromas is that off a caramel smell, which is mixed with some fruity smells of raisin and plum. The hoppy smells are mainly herbal and earthy in nature, with these aromas all mixing with a decently strong boozy oak smell producing a rather moderately hopped and boozy aroma overall.

Taste – The taste begins a mix of sweet and hop as was depicted in the nose. Some caramel and a little bit of molasses are the forefront of the sweet and are mixed with a hint of apple and raisin at the start. Along with the sweet, is a little bit of hop, with it mainly of an earthy and herbal nature. The two hop flavors grow stronger and stronger as the taste advances to the end and are joined by a decent boozy taste. The boozy taste begins initially as a more warming vodka flavor, with it taking on more and more oak and sharp booze as the taste gets to the end. With the sweet fading a little bit and slight increase in the maltiness, one is left with a rather boozy, harsh, and somewhat sharply hopped barleywine flavor to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is quite thin for a barleywine of 9.2% with a carbonation level that is on the slightly higher side. A thicker body and lower carbonation would have certainly been better for the style and made for a more flavorful and less boozy tasting brew overall.

Overall – Not really one I enjoyed too much. The hops were OK, but the oaky and harsh booze mixed with a little bit of sweetness at the end really took away from the beer as they just did not meld very well. For those reasons and the rather poor mouthfeel, the brew make for one that I will not frequent too often.

Photo of Hopheadjeffery
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasted from draft at Firkin on March 6, 2015.

Photo of Sludgeman
3.55/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Bottling 14

MF - Smooth but thin (-), medown heavy body, semi-dry.

Photo of Dwreck
4/5  rDev +0.5%

#14. Pours amber to ruby red. Nice oak smell with a vanilla hint. Taste loads of vanilla. Very pleasant. Not as much cherry as i expected. Low carbonation makes the taste and mouthfeel feel well rounded. Head dissipated to a thin line around edge of glass. Overall a nice beer. Just odd for a barleywine to have so little cherry to me. But still a nice take. Especially with the oak and vanilla

Photo of lunarnorth
4.75/5  rDev +19.3%

1 pt 6oz brown bottle. Poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Ruby red with a fine-looking, enduring head, tan, two fingers high. Good lacing.

Smell: Primarily fruit -- grape and fig. Vanilla. Oak.

Taste: Loads of malt, vanilla, more fruit, including cherry. Plenty of alcohol, as expected, but not at all unpleasant.

Mouthfeel: Smooth on the tongue, slight stickiness, warming from all that alcohol.

Overall: Wow, this is pretty much a perfect barleywine -- a treat to the eyes and nose that really delivers.

Photo of ilikebeer03
4.09/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle poured into snifter. 12/2013

A: pours a deer ruby red, with nice off white head (about a fingers worth) good retention, and lacing.

S: oaky, vanilla upfront, drank fruits, cherry, raisin, plums,

T: malty sweetness upfront, follow by dark fruits similar to the nose and a nice, dry oaky, vanilla finish. no traces of alochol.

M: good mouthfeel, appropriately carbonated.

O: delicious beer. the oak plays in nicely

Photo of lsiberian
4.57/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The barley wine Old Knucklehead shows a thin brown head on the pour while the beers' body permits presents semi-transparent image through it. On the nose this Knucklehead offers a sweet roasted oak malt that stays throughout the end of the drink. This number 014 bottle tastes like a sweet roasted oak malt that fades into a pleasant bitter finish. In the mouth, this beer delivers a potent sting on the cheeks and tongue while still leaving enough for sensation to enjoy the beer beyond the early drinking phase. Overall this beer delivers an amazing well aged barley wine that represents the style and brewer well. I definitely recommend it to fans of the style or those looking to try the style.

Photo of AlCaponeJunior
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Pretty good looking, brown with amber notes and clear, not a very large head but good lacing.

Aroma is pretty good, oak and lots of caramel malt, some hop notes, brown sugar.

Flavor is really good, as is the body. The malts chosen for this beer were well chosen, it's got a great caramel malt flavor (but not too much), brown sugar, molasses, nuts, and maybe even a touch of chocolate. Carbonation is low but right at the point where it compliments the other aspects of the beer perfectly (note: I really don't like under-carbed beers, so if I say "low" carbonation, but like the beer, that's saying a lot).

Overall this is an amazing barleywine and I plan to go buy several more bottles before the store runs out of it.

Photo of halvbeerson
4.65/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Finally drinking a barleywine after way too long. Went to the store tonight and saw this on the shelf. Bought one to drink and one to age. Here we go.

A: Color is a caramel, wood color but when held up to the light is shows a cherry, amber color. Good lacing after taking a sip. Carbonation is as expected with a barleywine. Half a finger head with decent retention. Moderately cloudy with a color that says drink me, I'm full bodied.

S: Definitely a caramel aroma partnered with a hint of oaky, nuttiness. Hop notes are spicy.

T: The oak really comes out with a full drink, along with the great barleywine taste I was hoping for. Also the caramelly flavor lingers after the gulp is gone.

M: A moderately thick or heavy feel that coats the tongue nicely which helps the taste linger. The carbonation was just right for me considering what I am drinking.

Overall: I am really glad I bought this beer, it's been far too long since I enjoyed a barleywine. I am definitely not disappointed. Every sip is enjoyment.

Photo of artoolemomo
4.03/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance- Pours up little head which has almost no retention. The head is a light to medium beige while the body is a cherry with hints of maroon which appears maroon/amber when held up to the light. Leaves rings of lacing/sheeting.

Nose- Not the aroma that I was expecting from a barleywine. Notes of coconut, vanilla, and toffee from the bottle. But from the glass, it's a whole different ballpark. Apricot which moves to other stone fruits- notably canned peaches. Almost smells like the syrup. Some hints of cherry. Slight notes of caramel, oak, vanilla, and toffee are underneath the strong fruit from the glass but they are minimal in comparison. The aroma from the bottle is the exact opposite for the most part. Swirling reveals a pretty generic stone fruit profile.

Taste- Starts off with the stone fruits of the nose. Apricots being the strongest and then a little bit of coconut asserts itself and becomes very dominant. A good amount of vanilla. Some caramel and toffee. There was almost a leather quality that seemed to accompany the stone fruits of the front. Very noticeable heat in the middle but not really on the finish which was weak in comparison to the flavor profile of my first taste. Cherry as well but is not as strong as the apricots which are seconded by peaches. The dominant vanilla of my first taste seems to fade into strong oak. Some burnt caramel on the finish combined with some matchstick, slight grapefruit. This is very different from the barleywines that I'm used to but I like it. Lots of presence but it really isn't that messy. The noticeable booze, however, does suggest aging. I don't know if I would classify it as a really good beer (the oak is a little off putting) but it is definitely a good beer. Nice pine and resin on the finish to contrast the considerable fruit of the front. Every once and a while, a nice little note of coconut hits me and nudges this closer to being a really good beer.

Mouthfeel- A little more than medium bodied with a good amount of syrup to the texture. Carbonation is low key and fits the style.

Drinkability- Remarkably accessible for a fresh and noticeably hot barleywine. This beer flirts with being dangerous, especially at the price of 6 bucks a bomber.

Overall- I was pleasantly surprised by this beer. I know it's almost a 4 but so is Bigfoot and I find this beer to be much more accessible fresh than that one. This may just be the 2013 version though. My reading of reviews of this beer seems to suggest that this 14th release is a different beast than previous ones. I can't comment on those but I am pleased with this version. I will be buying additional bottles for aging. This is definitely worth a try.

Photo of Kuaff
4.08/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served to myself in a snifter at cellar temperature.

The Old Knucklehead has a one-finger off-white head on a transparent, dark ruby body. Looks attractive.

Smells like butterscotch, raisins, cherries, and some fluoral hops. Very nice, very nice.

The taste gives me sweet and buttery butterscotch (is that redundant?) and caramel at first, transitioning into earthy, woody hop flavor. A nice breadiness in the finish that's both sweet AND bitter. However, the sweetness feels a bit out of balance to me. This may be classified as an American barleywine, but I would have guessed it to be an English one. Definitely tastes more like the sweeter English style to me.

A thick body and lax carbonation. Pretty good feel to it.

Well, there are other barley wines which I think are way better than this, but it's still a very good one. Moderately recommended.

Photo of FadedWonderland
5/5  rDev +25.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I bought this beer out of a genuine curiosity because I have been interested in Bridgeport Brewing for a couple years now and after seeing this on the shelf at my local grocer, I figured I would give it a shot. Needless to say, after buying my seventh one, I'm a firm believer that for the price that this is a great brew. Great smooth taste, beautiful brownish orange color, strong aroma, and a good beer for relaxing and enjoying with some friends.

Photo of Rizalini
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bomber into my Deschutes tulip...

A - Pours a clear, bubbly amberish/burgundy color with 1 finger of light tan colored head. Very nice lacing left behind while I sip on this.

S - Smells of some slight dark fruits, rum raisins, and some slight earthy hops. Nothing extraordinary.

T/M - Some more of the dark fruits, and some toasted oak notes make this one very tasty! Some vanilla notes are present as well. Nice blend of flavors with a little alcohol warmth. Medium slick mouthfeel, perfect carbonation.

O - This a damn fine barleywine. Has a lot of the same charasteristics of Sucaba. Nice warming feel as it goes down, good malt character. If I could get this regularly, I would more than likely get this again.

Photo of arizcards
3.96/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Picked up a bomber in early February from Total WIne for $5.99. From No. 013 bottling.

Beer poured reddish-brown with a nice white head that has some pretty good hang time.

Nose is toffee and caramel with some dark fruits.

Taste is well balanced, dark fruits and caramel dominating up front with a nice citrus hop punch finishing things nicely.

Mouthfeel is medium to heavy and pretty smooth.

Overall a tasty barleywine that is not to far off from being an excellent brew.

Photo of godlessape
4.55/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Used my trusty snifter for this one. The body has a intensely dark ruby red shade with an off white almost beige head.
The aroma's are earthy, like forest mulch after a morning rain. I'm picking up oak of course along with tobacco, an overloaded wicker fruit basket, grains, and alcohol. A feast for the schnoz.
The hops that hide in the aroma profile come out in the flavor rather nicely. I taste a lot of sweet malt and molasses, along with some dark unidentifiable exotic fruits. You'll notice a hint of vanilla and toffee in the mix as well.
The mouthfeel is full bodied with a crisp hoppy finish.
Overall this is a great barlywine, that has all the elements you want in this style to stand up and take notice.

Photo of ubenumber2
4.31/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 22 oz bottle into appropiate glassware , deep redish brown color with one finger off white head and small amounts of lacing

The smell is amazing , vanilla , earthy and lots of fruity , bannana and some cherry just pop out of the glass , really complex

The mouthfeel is amazing , a nice full bodied beer in all the right places

The taste is on par for barleywine types , lots of oak coming through with the alcohol coming in halfway through the drink and hanging around till the end , a bitter sweet bite at the end

Over all a great example of the barleywine style with its own special touches , the fruity smells really set this apart from other barleywines I have had , I will for sure pick up another bottle or two , would like to age one of these

Photo of hreb
3.55/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber of barleywine served in a chalice. Beer is a bright, beautiful amber color, syrupy in consistency, with nearly zero head. Not much in the way of aroma, a little bit malty and rich . Flavor is a big oak plank to the forehead. IBUs are pretty up there in here too, but they balance nicely with the heavy sugar and raw alcohol load in this barleywine. I don't get much in the way of fruity or grape/raisin flavors here, just huge beer with a lot of oak. Does it need cellaring to mellow out? Maybe. The "fresh" version is totally drinkable but it's no A+ / world-class barleywine.

Photo of Fatehunter
4.47/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

No. 013 Bottling from a 22 oz bottle.
Thin head on a hazy, copper colored body.
The aroma is rich and deep: grain, bread and woody, like oak.
The taste is complex. It starts out woody, deep malt sweetness, bitterness in the middle, finishes candy sweet.
Smooth texture, low carbonation and heavy body.
A complex and deeply flavorful beer.

Photo of mdaschaf
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a clear brown/purple color with a small off-white head on top. A little bit of retention, eventually reducing to a thin ring on top. Streaky lacing.

S: Lots of caramel with vanilla and a bit of oak. There is a surprising amount of pine and a little fruit.

T: Good amount of bourbon upfront with plenty of caramel and vanilla. More pine and some dark fruit. Finishes very sweet.

M: Medium to full bodied with moderate carbonation.

O: Better than expected. Lots of bourbon, vanilla, and caramel mixed with a good bit of pine. Really nice fresh, not sure how good it would be with some time on it.

Photo of N3rdM3t4l
4.53/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Brown bomber labeled Batch #13. Slightly chilled into very cold pint glass.

A: clear deep mahogany with ruby hints. slightly offwhite foam forms a ring but no real head or cap. Lots of tiny bubbles coming to the top. Looks pretty good.

S: surprisingly hoppy on the nose, notes of citrus makes me think some cascade in the hop mix. Some alcohol smell and only a bit of that sweetness one expects from a barleywine. At 9.1% I expect either an overly sweet barleywine because it didn't ferment out to much or a really dry barleywine. All in all the hops is a pretty dominant aroma.

T: much to my amazement it is really well balanced. Opens with a burst of northwest hops(those cascades?) never really fades but hides in,the background while a solid malt body rounds out the middle. A hint of the expected sweetness teases then hides behind a second hop wave that finishes off with a lingering but not overpowering bitter. This beer is too drinkable for 9%, dangerous.

M: not as chewy as a stout but has the heft I want from a barleywine. A bit more carbonation than I expect but not too bad.

O: Wow is all I have to say. As far as barleywines go this would be a session barleywine. Really good, surprisingly hoppy (almost like an IPA which I am nlt a huge fan of). not a big sipping beer like Firestone Walker Abacus, you want to get a big mouthfull of this one. This is a DAMN GOOD brew, way to go Bridgestone, I love it!

Photo of brentk56
4.42/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottling No. 013, 9.2% abv

Appearance: Pours a clear tawny color and only builds up much of a head with a hard pour; plenty of squiggles of lace stream down the side of the chalice

Smell: Caramel and oaky/vanilla Bourbon, with rich, fruity undertones (fig and apricot) as well as hints of pine, strawberry and nuts

Taste: The Bourbon and piney flavors jut forward , buttressed by the caramel, dried fruit and strawberry flavors; in the middle and after the swallow, the booze factor builds, as does the fruit, nuts and hops; Bourbon, vanilla and oak tones linger in the finish

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with low to moderate carbonation

Overall: Clearly a barleywine to drink fresh, this beer offers a variety of flavors that come together with finesse; it has been about four years since the last time this was brewed but this one was well worth the wait

Thanks, mdaschaf, for the opportunity to try this infrequently brewed delight

Photo of Braz
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is No.13. Pours a dark amber with a thin tan head that recedes to an outer ring. Smells very nice. Got hints of pine resin, spruce and even some faint banana. Intense flavors. Bittersweet with a strong alcohol finish. banana, amber, clear, frothy, tan foam, Very bittersweet flavor. Intense. Starts sweet, then a sort of bitter fruit flavor. Strong alcohol finish. Thick feel with average carbonation. Definately a big beer with alot going on. I may have bumped taste just a bit if the alcohol was masked just a little more, but then again this is a barleywine.

Photo of LiquidAmber
3.92/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Maudite snifter. Pours a medium to dark red-orange amber. Thin light tan head dissipates to ta ring around the glass with light lacing. Nice oaky aroma of sweet caramel malt and dark fruit. Flavor is a flat sweet malt and slight dark fruit that is oddly dry, but finishes with pleasant oak and dried fruit (dates and figs rather than the plum flavors more common in barleywines) with slight hop bitterness. An unusually flavored barleywine that lacked some malt and dark fruit depth. Medium bodied. An interesting take on an American barleywine that I will revisit, but suspect does not have enough depth to age well.

Photo of woosterbill
3.67/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle from 1997. Big thanks to Tony for sharing this old thing.

A: Hazy mahogany body with a thin, fine tan head. Pretty good for its extreme age.

S: Musty and oxidized to all hell. Caramel and cobwebs. Cool.

T: Musty cobwebs up front, with caramel malt and basement mustiness afterward. Sweet, dusty finish. Very, very, very old tasting.

M: Medium body, moderate, lively carbonation. Excellent life for such an ancient beer.

O: I love old Barleywines, but this is just too old.

Cheers!

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Old Knucklehead Barleywine from BridgePort Brewing Co. / Brewpub
89 out of 100 based on 195 ratings.