Old Knucklehead Barleywine - BridgePort Brewing Co. / Brewpub

Not Rated.
Old Knucklehead BarleywineOld Knucklehead Barleywine

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BA SCORE
89
very good

181 Ratings
THE BROS
99
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 181
Reviews: 91
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 12.06%
Wants: 36
Gots: 9 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Todd on 12-16-1998)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 181 | Reviews: 91 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Lionhearted1987
5/5  rDev +25.6%

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 RBorsato
4.88/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Tasted at the BridgePort Brewing Co./Brewpub in Portland, OR on 06/15/06.

Mahogany in color with a low tan ring for the head. Aroma was primarily malty with a hint of hops shining thru. Very well balanced strong malt profile with lots of hops and any alcohol character was well hidden. Perfect balance of hops and malts. Full-medium bodied and smooth with a warm lightly bitter finish.

A wonderful ABW without trying to be over the top on ABV !! Much more enjoyable than some of it's jet-fuel counterparts.

Per BB website:
11th vintage (?)
ABV: 9.1%, OG: 20.8, IBUs: 60

Photo of freed
4.83/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Horse Brass Pub has this firkin in an oak cask. Got it for the 2003 Oregon Brewers Festival. Well then I'll have to try it!

Deep cherry and currant color with no head but a few bubbles, it shows a slight change of color when lifted to light. Even over the ambient smoke in the room, the rich malt, fruit, and spice aromas are obvious. A taste reveals flavors along the same line, rich sweet malts, tart apple, smooth melon, and bright spice notes. Rich and warm in the mouth, it swallows much easier than it should, but the small glass is just the right size for desert. Thanks to the waitress for bringing this one out.

Photo of russpowell
4.75/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

vintage unknown...

Pours a light tan to white thick head that drops off, but has a fantastic lace chase the beer all the way down the glass. Body is amber with some floaty bits that don't detract.

Smells of honey, treacle, malt & alcohol!

Large Carmel tastes with stingy hops on the tounge. Honey, bread, and fruit cake and & yum....

Just superior mouth feel, chewy,

Photo of JakeH3K
4.75/5  rDev +19.3%

Photo of MadeInOregon
4.75/5  rDev +19.3%

Photo of weerezboy
4.75/5  rDev +19.3%

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 Sir_Goatman
4.75/5  rDev +19.3%

Photo of Thrasher
4.7/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I believe Old Knucklehead was last released in Jan/Feb of 2003 so I presume this was a sample aged approximately 22 months. However it was sampled from the firkin at the brewpub, and I have no knowledge of how an aged cask beer is served. Do they add fresh yeast to an aged batch? Another possibility is that they brew fresh Old Knucklehead year-round for the brewpub and only release bottles intermittently. Regardless, I shall assume the sample was aged, since it was smooth, refined, and alcohol and hop flavors were kept well in check. It was just about the most drinkable barley wine I've ever had. From the cask, it was a ripe, vinous beer, appearing a very dark shade of amber with big-bubbled foam. Alcohol was lightly present on the nose but not really in the taste. The flavor was smoky, peaty, woody, full and malty with varnish hints. A light hop sparkle popped up on the finish, and while the substance of the beer is unmistakeable it is as user-friendly as a sessional amber ale. Despite the beer's hugeness it quickly disappeared from the tongue, requiring another sip to keep ahold of the fantastic flavor... and another, and another. Awesome.

** edit: the bartender at BridgePort told me they brew OK year round even if it's not being bottled.

Photo of halvbeerson
4.64/5  rDev +16.6%
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 lsiberian
4.59/5  rDev +15.3%
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 N3rdM3t4l
4.58/5  rDev +15.1%
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 godlessape
4.54/5  rDev +14.1%
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 NeroFiddled
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

From a bottle marked No 011 2003 BOTTLING. Fred Eckhardt on the label. Well, I listened to my beer as Fred suggests... ....only the crinkle of the cap at the opening of this... and not much more during the pour! But maybe he has something there, bacuse that's the way this beer is, smooth and subtle, and under the radar.

It poured a clear, dark ruby-almost-brown robe beneath a short head of creamy yellowish foam that held well and left some nice spots of lace about the glass. Upon inspection of the bottle I thought that it had been filtered, but a peek at the base of the goblet revealed otherwise. There, nestled tightly, were the very compacted remains of whatever yeast had been in the bottle at the outset... and there they stayed, never rising up into suspension.

The nose was restrained for a barleywine, particularily one from the Pacific Northwest of the United States, but it expressed a nice shot of yeasty fruitiness over some mildly caramelish malt and some citrusy/piney hops. In fact, the combination of its fruity, citrusy hops and lightly sweet, caramel drizzled malt made for an appealing nose that was more loaded with soft summer fruit than anything sharp like pineapple of grapefruit.

In the mouth it was superbly smooth, bordering between oily and creamy... I guess you could say it was silky. Medium/full bodied with a restrained, natural carbonation.

The flavor was very much as the nose indicated, and also like the way it felt in the mouth. This is one rounded barleywine! Now, whether 2 years of cellaring did that (or even could do that) I'm not sure... let's just leave the credit to their brewmaster! It started fruity and immediately pulled in its caramelish and lightly nutty malt before quickly revealing more fruit (strawberry, grape, cherry). Some bready and toasty malt appeared across the middle, and then lingered in the aftertaste with some dull, piney hops and a mild bitterness. Each sip brought out more character (at one point I even tasted watermelon), but it's not really that complex. The balance, however, is astounding! If this could offer more flavor, it would be a knockout, but I fear that in doing that it might spin off course. As it is, however, it's one of the most remarkably drinkable barleywines I've ever had. Splendid!

Photo of reaganrvltn
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%

Photo of Kroehny_Loves_Hops
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%

Photo of kinupanda
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%

Photo of Kurmaraja
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%

Photo of RHVC59
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%

Photo of Cjtytler
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%

Photo of hansendc
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%

Photo of Nick4444
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%

Photo of abex44
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%

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Old Knucklehead Barleywine from BridgePort Brewing Co. / Brewpub
89 out of 100 based on 181 ratings.