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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

189 Ratings
THE BROS
98
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 189
Reviews: 93
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 11.53%
Wants: 39
Gots: 12 | 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: 189 | Reviews: 93
Photo of mentor
4.21/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to someone whoe send this in a trade (but I didn't write the name clearly on the bottlecap, PN???...PisskyNights?). 2003, bottling No 011, stamped 15705 reviewed in April 2005. Hard pour to get a half finger tan head that has already settled to a thin ring around the glass. Beautiful color. Crystal clear and red coppery that's ruby when held to light. Smells caramelly and alcoholic. Really not much else there, surprisingly. Tastes great! Sweet and creamy rich malt with perhaps some hops and a quite guarded 9% alcohol. The mouthfeel is the first thing noticable. Smooth and silky like a rich thick oatmeal stout. Some brighter fruits come in the form of strawberries, peaches, and a hint of cherry sour. This rolls gently into a caramel and toffee pleasantness that's then teased by a rising alcohol. The alcohol rules a gentle reign briefly before caramel returns and lays the foundation for the aftertaste. The aftertaste is sugar sweet malt that's driving me to savor the aftertaste but also get more of this delectible nectar in my mouth. Throughout, the barely detectable cherry hangs around. Quite interesting. The predominant flavor that persists is caramel dipped strawberries. Me likey. Mouthfeel is actually just medium, but it's silky smooth. Carbonation is mild. Nice job, I'd take another any day!

Photo of meathookjones
3.91/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appears a deep caramel color with a good sized off white head. The head has good staying power for such a strong beer and leaves clumps and sheets of lace around the glass. Aroma is a huge bomb of malt sweetness and dark fruits. A little too much sweetness going on without much else to balance it out. Taste starts off with a sweet fruitiness over a touch of alcohol. Some molasses and caramel are mingling about as well. Ends with a nice fruity alcohol bite. Pretty thick and creamy feel to it that leaves flavor coating your mouth. Good drinkability as well. Goes down pretty easy and is smooth. I could definitely have a few of these if given the chance. Bottled in 2003 with a bottle number 011.

Photo of RedDiamond
4.17/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

In comparison to the regular draught, I found the cask-conditioned version of Old Knucklehead slightly more relaxed though less flavorful. The maturity achieved in the cask tempered the taste to more modest contours. The aroma was equally dynamic and comparable to a fruit liqueur in both pours while the mouthfeel of the casked version, with less carbonation, came across as more rounded and plush. It felt like heavy satin to the tongue and did much to take the edge off a late December evening.

Photo of oberon
3.98/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep bronze with a nice creamy head that dissapates pretty quickly leaving a light amount of lace seems to be quite heavily carbonated for a barleywine.Very fruity aroma not much hop presence very juicy and effervescent,maybe a touch of brown sugar.Alot of different malty/fruity flavors going on some caramel and raisin with alcohol cutting hard thru the fruit a light dryness in finish but I didnt pick up the hops as much as others have.Big and bold very flavorful the beer has a prickly feeling in the mouth and it warms the insides.

Photo of Thrasher
4.65/5  rDev +16.5%
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 Mitchster
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hopped with Magnum, East Kent Goldings, Cascade, and Chinook.

9.1% ABV, OG=20.8, 60 IBU's.

Batch No.11 from 2003. Dedicated to Fred Eckhardt. Pours to a very cloudy deep caramel amber, forming a small yellow head with an interesting cinnamon tint. Retention is poor and quickly recedes to a thin layer of bubbles, and the lacing is sparse. Swirling produces a creamy looking head, but quickly fades, and the alcohol lightly stings the eyes. Carbonation is mild to moderate. Aroma is initially of spiced rum, followed by rum-soaked raisins, prunes, resinous oily hops, and caramel. Mouthfeel is stinging throughout, with a dense, syrupy body. Taste begins with resinous hops, rum and raisins, followed by a thick malt body with a moderate amount of roasted barley/chocolate malt/cocoa powder astringency and bitterness, with lingering notes of tobacco and leather through the finish. The finish is dry with moderate intensity woody bitterness. Alcohol is evident in warmth down the gutter, and has a isopropyl sting/astringency in the finish.

This is one of the better barleywines I've had. The tobacco, rum, cocoa powder and leather give it a lot of character that is sorely lacking in many barleywines, and the woodsy/husky finish pulls it all together. I could do without the isopropyl alcohol, but otherwise, this one's a keeper.

Photo of alexgash
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2003 Bottling no. 11
Pours a dark leather amber with a tight, thick, tan head. Great lacing.
Nose is very aromatic. Smells of earthy whiskey, tangy grapes, oak, bread pudding, and a whiff of alcohol leap out of the glass. Tangy/vinuous character is stonger than I would have thought for a barleywine.
Sweet, rich, fruity malt flavors up front. Tangy, musty, grape character comes through stongly in the middle. Hops ride in at this point as well. Bitter, resinous, and spicy pin pricks on the tongue. Bitterness swells into the sweet, caramelly/grape finish. Big, creamy mouthfeel that warms you up real nicely.

Photo of HochFliegen
4.02/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Apperance: Deep red color with small head thin head.
Smell: Strong smell of raisins and the smell of alcohol. Intensely sweet from the malt.
Taste: Very sweet to start and smooth. Not abrasive or overwheliming at all. A nice bitterness in the middle that finishes with a nice warming and alhohol note to it. A very nice ending.
Mouthfeel: Fullbodied all the way. Very good.
Drinkability: It so good and right kinda hard not to drink it.

Photo of MrNuggets
4.37/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Rough pour sets off a small but dense head that fades fast. Tan ring stays around the glass for the remainder of the drinking experience. Nose is full on burnt sugar. Bing Cherries soaked in rum. This is not as assertive as other barley wines I've tried in the past few months. Very plesent mouthfeel, and amazingly drinkable.

Photo of beerceller99
3.75/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

10th bottling from 1999.

Pours a reddish-orange hue with a slight head. Smells of red wine, caramel, and alcohol. Medium bodied, very light carbonation. Has a fruity sweet flavor of fermented plums and dried dates ? Not much hop action here. A strong alcohol kick finishes the drinking experience.

Not bad, but probably past it's prime; still have a couple bottles to find out.

Photo of RenoZymurgist
3.58/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured a deep burgundy with a thin white head that subsides to a thin layer that is constantly replenished by the high carbonation. The aroma is full of prune and sweet malt with a distinct alcohol scent. Very clean in the nose with no offending esters at all this beer was aged just enough even though it is only the 2003 bottling. The flavor is a bit more aggressive than the aroma as there is a hop bitterness that is not revealed in the aroma. An initial bitterness reveals a rich malt background that has a slight chocolate flavor at the end. The body this ale has contibutes to a very nice smoothness which takes some pressure off of the dryer malt flavor and makes it very palateable. The brewer must have used specialty grains in this ale to get these flavors as there is a nice complexity of the malt flavors. The drinkability on this ale is not as good as other barleywines as i think the sample i had could have used a couple years.

Photo of WesWes
3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a dark ruby red color with a thick frothy off-white head. The aroma is good. It has a nice malty scent that dry and bitter. The taste is good. It a rich malty flavor that warms on the way down and finishes dry, yet creamy. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a decent barleywine. It has a warm, malty flavor and good aroma; a fine sessions beer.

Photo of 99bottles
3.65/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

No. 11 ? 2003 bottling

Appearance: This pours an deep ruby color, with a very faint head (1/4") that soon disappears.

Smell: Sweet barley malts with a restrained hop scent.

Taste: Yet another b-wine that focuses on the malted barley over the hops. I taste sweet carmel and decadent fruity sweetness with a good interplay of leafy cascades to even things out. Cherries and Plums. Nothing too complex, just a full barleywine with restrained hops. Think the complete opposite of a Bigfoot.

Mouthfeel: Rich and full body that drinks quite lightly. The alcohol only reveals itself in the aftertaste.

Drinkability: For a barleywine, this went down really quickly and without any effort. Great drinkability, but that may arise from its somewhat quiet flavor.

Muchas Gracias al Weefisheads for this one.

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.5/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Deep ruby caramel tan head speckled lacing lines the snifter. Aroma: Deep alcohol and fruit surrounded by a barrage of caramel toned malts and a mild hop character. Taste: Piney bitterness comes to the palate unbalanced heavy handed on bitterness not enough hop flavor or sweetness to even everything out, plus it lacks a big lucious alcohol infused fruit finish that I was craving from a barleywine. Mouthfeel: Medium body smooth soft carbonation. Drinkability: I have to mark this down due to the unbalance overall a decent west coast b-wine but nothing I would crave to get all the time.

Photo of bditty187
3.44/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

No 011, 2003 edition with Fred Eckhardt on the label.

Murky bloody cherry-brown in hue, when held to a light influences of tawny-gold are found. It is a lovely color. A beige head reached a sad fourth of a finger in height and it quickly faded to a collar. The subsequent lacing was nil. The nose is a big burst of alcoholic fruit juice, strong aromas of cherries, plums, pineapple, and raisins with suggestions of sugar, nutmeg, and bubblegum too. The potency is huge. Big, round maltiness. I really like the bouquet, fantastic fruitiness; I can’t wait to see if the palate can match this intensity. Mouthwatering inviting. It is drinking time. The palate is disappointing. Period. Where are the flavor complexities? Upfront is alcohol heat, sugar, and a bit of yeasty spice, in the middle the maltiness is flat, it tries to be juicy and amble but this attempt is paper-thin. The finish quickly pushes through as a suggestion of tropical fruit and plums find a home. However the alcohol heat reemerges and it just sat on my lips. It burns. The promised fruitiness of the nose is never delivered. Where the hell is the enjoyment? Is this sample just too young? The sugariness becomes cumbersome. This is felt in the mouthfeel too, I found it very thin, especially for such a big beer, medium-light in body. The carbonation is also small. The drinkability is low because the alcohol is harsh and the palate is lacking in complexities and is basically unrefined. Couple this with the fact I can’t see myself drinking this again. There are way to many great barleywines I could spend my money on. I bought one 12-ounce bottle in Loveland, CO. I could not recommend this.

Photo of Reidrover
3.97/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz brown bottle " No 011" Fred Eckhardt on the label 2003 edition. Lovelly malty aroma mixed with a rather resinous alcohol scent.Prunes and figs come to mind for some reason. Dark amber, almost chesut in apprearance, small white head that dissapears fast..leaving small amount of lace. Taste is chocolate, creamy toffee,rum like, bitter near the end, alcohol is pronounced. Nice on the tongue quite warming going down. I liked this ale..one dimensional maybe but its a bloody good dimension!!

Photo of CRJMellor
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear red hue with a slightly off-white one-finger head with tons of lace on the glass.
Aroma deep dark fruits, hint of caramel candy apple and some grain alcohol.
Flavor is somewhat nutty, with caramel and fruit flavors. Some biscuity hits and a spicy, peppery alcohol note.
Mouthfeel is very full and dense with a grainy and somewhat phenolic hit
Drinkability is fairly high. Far some reason this beer didn't work fully for me, the transitions wern't quite right an didn't find the balance between sweet and bitter that appealing. That being said it is still a very good beer.

Photo of grynder33
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Very faint malt aroma,very blackish with a small head, sweet pleasant malt taste, a wonderful smooth texture on the tongue. I was hoping that some other flavors would start popping up as the brew warmed, but it really didn't happen. A nice enough beverage, but I like barleywines a little more compex.

Photo of PhantomVodoo
4.01/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2003 Vintage, Run 011.
Tan head sits atop this very red amber brew. Minimal particulate matter.
Aroma of rich, sweet toffee, caramel malt. Woody and earthy with a bit of alcohol as well.

Taste shows a rich, smooth, caramel malt backbone. Woody and earthy. Solid hop balance. Neutral and not overbearingly sweet like some barleywines. Hint of dark fruit up front. Alcohol is well hidden. Finishes well.

Good mouthfeel, although the body isn't quite as full as many barleywines.
Very drinkable.
Overall, a good, balanced barleywine.

Photo of ark57
4.29/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2003 Vintage - It is ruby with some brown tinges to it. The aroma is very fruity with strong cherry notes and some hops evident. The full body is very malty and fruity. Cherry is the dominant flavor, but there is also some banana. It finishes slightly bitter and has a good warming punch.

Photo of lou91
4.13/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

1996 vintage in 2004. Wow this beer has aged very well showing an amazing mouthfeel and rich thick malty goodness. The beer poured still with a clump of sediment landing at the end. The color was dark amber brown with little nose. It has a similar profile to thomas hardy with subtle sweet fruit and chocolate notes and a thoroughly satisfying alcohol warmth. This is my last bottle of this great vintage and great to see this beer tasting so good for so long.

Photo of ZAP
4.12/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an orange-tinted brown....nose is sweet dark fruits...blackberries...plums....black cherries...fantastic nose..full bodied....smooth in the mouth..some spicy alcohol bite on the finish...sweet maltiness is in the forefront...but a nice dose of hops enters on the finish along with the alcohol..the taste is sweet dark fruits....but the hops really bite off an over-sweetness on the finsih...a real tight chinook type bite on the finish..works splendidly..

An excellent BW...very balanced and tasty....the nose is really nice....everything else is well above average....can definitely taste the ABV on the buds...this one shouldn't sneak up on you...sip it..savor it...and enjoy it...

Photo of sulldaddy
4.47/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I received this one from Weefishheads. Excited to try this years offering. I last has this in 1998 I think.
2003 vintage Fred Eckhardt does the label honors.
I sample this from a snifter I receieved at a recent beer event.
12 oz bottle pours a clear ruby amber color with a small beige head foaming up and fading rather quickly.
The aroma is fruity and complex. I get raisins, plums, ripe pears, some caramel and just a hint of alcohol.
The carbonation is very soft and the body is slightly thick.
I am definitely enjoying this one so far!
Flavor is very similar to the aroma. Plums and raisins lead the beer into my mouthand carry through the middle. But the finish is a little of a surprise, a nice piney hop bitterness comes in out of no where and leaves me wondering where they came from.
The finish is also slightly dry.
A very nice example of the style. I wonder if this one varies from vintage to vintage??
Thanks for a great brew weefisheads!!!

Photo of BeerResearcher
3.55/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2003 Vintage.
It poured an orange-hued dark amber/brown with a thin off-white head.
An earthy barn-like aroma (not in a bad way) houses smells of sweet malt, citrus and alcohol.
The malt has a caramel and candy sugar sweetness mix with a hint of chocolate.
The hops have a peppery spiciness and white grapefruit edge, along with lemon and orange zest bitterness. An unrelenting astringent medicinal taste and white grapefruit rind tang is a bit much and a bit hard to swallow.

Photo of genaro
3.82/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Old Knucklehead (2003) pours out to a brown/copper color. The head is alright and there is decent lace.There was not too much aroma, just some muted fruit and caramel.The taste was interesting- citrusy with hints of apple, figs, orange peels, caramel, and alcohol, of course. The mouthfeel was smooth and a little oily. The finish was dry and a little fruity. A pretty good winter beer to mellow out with.

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Old Knucklehead Barleywine from BridgePort Brewing Co. / Brewpub
89 out of 100 based on 189 ratings.