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Old Boardhead Barleywine Ale - Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub

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Old Boardhead Barleywine Ale
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BA SCORE
87
very good

373 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 373
Reviews: 284
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 11.95%
Wants: 31
Gots: 23 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Murph on 05-14-2002

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 373 | Reviews: 284
Photo of charlesw
4.8/5  rDev +24.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Beautiful deep amber with a nice head. Maybe doesn't last as long as some others... Smells ok - light on the malts and not a lot. It tastes ok, I guess, but I'm not impressed. This is more of an I2PA FOR ME than a barleywine. Flavor and mouth are both way too light. It has an interesting bitterness to it... Not your typical b'wine one, but I'm not dinging it for that. I guess... It's crisply bitter instead of deeply bitter. Ya follow? It is, again, a decent beer, but just so not what I expected it to be... The price out west is reasonable enough that I'd think about drinking it every day. The availability back east says otherwise!

Edit of the review, 7 months later...
Nitrogen, you're nuts! And, hey, THANK YOU for the beer!

Drinking an 07 reserve in August of 08. And, wow, is this the shit. Seriously. Or, I had low expectations 'cause I've consumed this brand-new fresh and not been thrilled but with just a little time this is truly worthy!

Slightly cloudy orange/amber. Small head with pretty little bubbles and lace that is still in the glass 10 minutes later.

Smells like rich caramel malts with a little bit of zesty hops thrown in for fun.

In the mouth it's amazing. I'm blown away. A fantastic balance of sweet and bitter - with plenty of both. Mouth -almost- as rich as an English b'wine but so so many hops - everywhere! They must be citrus hops but they've mellowed enough to make this so smooth and easy to drink it isn't even funny. Hey, if there's a beer that's me TODAY and that hits the mark right on the fricking dot this is it. Yeah, yeah, tastes change and whatever, but this is really good. Hmm. Will you feel badly, then, if I rate my westy 12 higher? Of course not - it's a different style. Well, in the style of barleywine this stuff is amazing.

Photo of beerceller99
4.77/5  rDev +23.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

22 oz. bottle from the cellar. Bottled on date was 12-02-99. Has a red-orange hue with a two finger head. Still has a slight piney hop bud resin smell with bready, spicy alcohols to boot. Full bodied with a super smooth creamy mouthfeel. Fruity taste of plums, blackberries, apricots, and cinnamon. Finishes with a sticky sweet alcohol and tart hop taste.

A total kickass brew.

We did a vertical tasting with a bottle from 2002 . The ' 02 was good but this was the overwhelming favorite.

Photo of HugePlume
4.75/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2009 series, served at 53 degrees on 5/6/11.

A- Pours a rich cherrywood color, with a tanish rocky head with excellent retention. Pretty heavy sediment. Good lacing.

S- Exotic. Can't put my finger on the exact essence, but its somewhere between apples, pears, candy and sweet malt perfection.

T- Supremely complex, sweetness on the lips, with a buttery oily bitterness that follows, The apple sweetness comes through again towards the end with a bitter alcoholic finish to cap the experience.

M- Buttery, thick, appropriately carbonated. Supreme.

O- Fantastic execution and complexity.

Photo of nmann08
4.75/5  rDev +23.4%

Photo of pbrian
4.7/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Quite simply, this barleywine rocks. At first, I thought it was like a beefed up English style barleywine ala Old Ho (fresh, of course. aged Old Ho is boring). Nice malty sweetness up front, more of a earthy hoppiness going on. But as it warms, its PNW roots couldn't help but shine. A rum-soaked raisiny alcohol warmth started to develop, it became more piney and resinous in its hoppy nature. In fact, its bitterness becomes quite agressive. Creamy and chewy mouthfeel. It really has a little of everything, but in a harmonious way. It doesn't hide its 9% alcohol too well, nor its 91 IBUs, but I like booze and hops, so who cares? It's almost gone, and I'm bummed.

Photo of stumac
4.7/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

drank with Brother Onslow...

pours up a darker apricot color, not much head. the nose is sweet malts, lil bit o' caramel, hints of peach. taste of sweet malts, definate hops, red apple, mollasses. the more it warms, the more red apple you can taste and discover. very interesting barleywine.

Photo of mikeys01
4.62/5  rDev +20%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to reddiamond for recommending this one, wish I'd bought more! My bomber of 2003 Boardhead poured into my glass a deep roasted peach color, with a very slight chill haze evident. There is a delicate but slightly viscous head capping this barleywine, settling down into a wispy foam remainder. Aroma brings a mouthwatering vintage barleywine funkiness, impressive for a 2003 ale. Funky musty rotting fruit, rising bread yeastiness, and a hint of spice and alcoholic zip. Taste does have a definite alcohol presence, serving as the base in this barleywine stew of flavors that's mature beyond it's years. A complex mix of malts dances (or perhaps stumbles gracefully) along with figs, dates, smashed brown apples, and brandied apricot. Slight hop bitterness builds on the back of the tongue toward the finish. Very smooth, well rounded barleywine, an excellent example of vintage flavor remarkably achieved in a relatively young beer.

Photo of BierReise
4.59/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz Bomber Reserve '03 Poured a nice clear amber color with a small head that is melting away quickly. Nice array of hops in the aroma along with a strong sweet doughy malt aroma with notes of vanilla and toffy. An aroma to die for. One that allows equal appreciation of malt and hops. Incredibly smooth body that is full and with a low carbonation. Slightly syrupy and sweet. Flavor is sweet and malty with lots of caramel and toffy. Alcohol is well hidden. This is the best Barley Wine I've had in years.

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.58/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2001 Vintage: Brown in color with reddish-orange highlights topped by a thick, foamy, light tan head that drops but holds a good 1/16" covering and leaves some limited lace. A medium body combines with a light carbonation to give a lightly syrupy mouthfeel.. A bold fruity flavor combines summer fruits (melons, berries) and a light amount of dark fruits, with a super malty sweetness of caramel malts and honey alongside sappy, resiny hop flavors backed by a stiff bitterness. Extremely well balanced, with alternating emphasis being given to the sweet fruitiness or the dark, sticky, pine-like hoppiness. Good complexity. Finishes nicely with a combination of the main flavors and a light licorice note, but without ever becoming cloying. The listed alcohol of 10.6% is superbly masked, giving just a not-quite-sherry character. A rich, complex, smooth and remarkably drinkable barleywine - distinct from any other with its unique hop character.

Photo of Jmoore50
4.58/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Drinking a 2007 Vintage. Picked this up by surprise about a week ago.

The appearance is really pretty once poured. I comes with a frothy off white head that poured two fingers and went down to a one finger creamy head that never went away. Also left a thick lacing around my glass once gone.

The smell is good. The taste is even better. It first smells sweet and of some dark fruits. I also smell caramel or a burnt sugar. The taste is... stunning. I have not consumed a barleywine in quite some time, but this brings me back to one of my favorite styles. Really has a dry,sweet, alcohol flavor that is just really driving me nuts right now. Leaves this great mild alcoholic taste on your tongue that doesn't sting, just soothes.

The mouthfeel is great, the foam head gives your mouth some life, while the alcohol in the brew makes your palate work a little overtime. Great drinkability, would love to have this beer again, and will probably buy a few more to age. Really outstanding.

J

Photo of tonistruth
4.57/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Reserve '06

A- a 1 finger frothy white head with good retention rests above an amber brew with red hues, and produce some silky lacing

S- heavy grapefruit, toffee, fruity esters, absolutely wonderful and fragrant aromas!!

T- this is a hop dominant barleywine, though some caramel, toffee and toasted malt flavors provide a nice base. hops flavors include: citrus, pine, leafy, and raw oils. some sweet alcohol comes through at times

M- creamy start that gets torn apart by the hops

D- this is an awesome American barleywine! IMHO one of Full Sail's best beers, and very drinkable at that. Highly recommended

Photo of TheBungyo
4.57/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I like. I like a lot.
Pour gives way to a golden bronze body topped with an intricate cream colored head. Nose starts off syrupy, follows with immense lemon, and pine. Taste is like licking a pine tree but I also get caramel, slight brown sugar, lemon, grapefruit, and a flash of mint. I REALLY like this.
Mouth is very thick and pleasurable. I would willingly drink a lot of this. Very well done.

Photo of cokes
4.55/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Reserve 01 (brewed 12/2/99).
Pours a copper-amber. And when I say amber I am not refering to the reddish-brownish-orange color...I am talking about the stuff they extracted dinosaur DNA from in Jurassic Park. This stuff is thick. Equal parts liquid and solid. Carbonation truly struggles to surface, and some is literally trapped.
Aroma is a sampling of everything in store. Gaudy amounts of greasy, resinous, piney-citric hops. Loads of earthiness and a hefty butterscotch-caramel malt backing.
Taste is a brutally delicate juxtapostion between exotic and dark fruits. Passion fruit, mango, and pear pair with a huge plum and raisin presence. Coupling with the fruitiness are buckets of toffee/butterscotch malty heft. I am not sure whether to drink this or bite into it. Toasted grain is noticed underneath the malty sweetness. A veritable forest of woody/oaky hues as well. Makes me wonder how this is aged. Finishes with a coup d'etat of rustic, pine-sap, citric hops. Very hoppy in the finish, but the arsenal of 91 IBU's only partially offsets the malt dominance.
In otherwords, this is huge, but sublimely balanced. Pinpoint accuracy.
Remarkably thick, yet effortlessly slides around the mouth. Stays away from being cloying. Just meaty and satisfying.
Up there with the best of them. A definitive American Barleywine.

A hearty cheer to captain jreitman for allowing me to sail aboard Old Boardhead.

Photo of electricfields
4.55/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

For clarity's sake, this is a review of the '07 reserve.

A: Pours a beautiful murky golden red with a creamy head, which dissipates rather quickly. Leaves a little bit of lacing on the glass that looks really nice.

S: I smell mostly a subtly sugary malt at first, but a hint of citrus comes through as well.

T: Very nice balance here. Grapefruit hops with a sweet, bready caramel, finish. It's really hard to believe this weighs in at a 9% ABV, because, while I can tell it's there, I really don't taste a lot of alcohol here. This isn't a very complex beer, but it's certainly a good tasting beer, and a really nicely balanced one, too.

M: Light-bodied, but substantial. Much smoother than it feels like it has a right to be. As near perfect as I could imagine for this particular beer.

D: I'm probably going to finish this bottle without even thinking about it, which is probably a bad thing as far as my health and sobriety are concerned. I'll find myself wondering where all that brainpower I had a few minutes ago went, and realize that, yes, I really did drink this whole thing that fast. The drinkability here is excellent.

Photo of kbub6f
4.55/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reserve 02 bought online, ground shipping (unrefrigerated), several weeks in my fridge, reviewed 45F-75F.

Ok... first the clinical detail crap... There's a medium-sized, dense, creamy, cream-colored head. Lacing is thin but sticky. The beer is a deep red-amber and clear. It doesn't take long for the aroma to fill the room. It's sweet, creamy, strong, deep, malt toffee. Some fruity grapes appear in the sweet toffee front. The middle is creamy, sweet, port-like. Some alcohol is apparent, but warming, not intrusive. The finish is hoppy-dry with a little bitter chocolate. Somewhat astringent.

Now the gushy emotional crap... Wow! This is very, very, very good. It's definitely not too sweet (I'm hypersensitive to sweet), but not as hugely hoppy as some of the west coast BWs. Very well balanced. This is a delicious beer that's a pleasure from the beginning to the end.

Photo of Crosling
4.55/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark Orange.

Sticky, sappy and hoppy aroma with notes of deep caramel, dark fruits and pacific northwest hops.

Phenomenal, melded flavor. Seriously, this tastes incredible. The hops and malt coninside so unbelievably well. Sticky, malty bliss with notes of apples, plums and caramel along with hops that provide notes of pine and marijuana.

Photo of alexmpino
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured out of a 22 oz. brown bottle into a pint glass. This is Full Sail's first in a series of bombers that I have actually thought should't just be in a sixer. Bottle label reads "Reserve 07", yet no brew on or best by date; either way this ale pours nicely with a one finger head that seems to stick around. Tiny bubbles ..very persistent. Strong flavor, very good barley wine. Great hop aroma while pouring and throughout. Malty aftertaste is wonderful. Could easily drink quite a few amongst good friends.
With this ale Full Sail has moved it's way back up to where they belong on this beer advocate's top ten list. Also at an astonishing price of $3.29 the price point couldn't be better, especially with the rising price of brewskies.

Photo of beerpadawan
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%

Photo of edwardkersh
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%

Photo of Kelp
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%

Photo of ToddKehoe
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%

Photo of ADR
4.49/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

For 2002...

Creamy, creamy head of decent duration, somewhat murky garnet appearance. Spicy and hoppy aroma, some sense of ginger snap to the malty part of the nose...nice. Wow, another combat scenario between hops and malt, and its close to an all out offensive. Ginger and cinnamon augment a raw cocoa impression but are immediately countered by a sting of oily resiny hop...low carbonation lets this counterpunching complexity have full reign. Finishes with just a touch of a coating diacetyl and with a hiccup of alcohol and aftertaste. Big, big flavor profile here...a cheek twister.

Photo of Derek
4.48/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2005 vintage.

A: Orange-amber with an off-white head; good retention & lace.

S: Orange/grapefruit citrus, apricot, pine and biscuity malt.

T: Orange/grapefruit citrus, apricot, hints of spice & pine. Quality pale malt flavour (biscuity) with a little toffee. Certainly some acidity from the hops. The bitterness is assertive, but not overly harsh (pleasant low-cohumulone, aroma-type hops). Kind of a British-American hybrid. It's hop-forward, but it's still fairly balanced. Alcohol is really well-hidden, it's almost like an IPA.

M: Moderate body is well attenuated, finish is dry; moderate carbonation.

D: Exceptionally easy drinker.

The hops won't knock you out, but an easy-drinking 9% bomber just might!

Photo of kagent777
4.47/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle Reserve 09, aged for several more months after purchase. Poured into a snifter.

Appearance: Hazy dark gold amber. Very little head, just a ring around the edge. Laces nicely.

Smell: Dried fruits (cherry and raisin) dance with the malty sweetness. I sense leather and sweet pipe tobacco in the nose also. The alcohol is present but not overwhelming.

Taste: The taste mirrors the smell. The end of the taste is finished with a noticeable bitterness from the earthy/ herbal hops. The alcohol is present but does not burn. Very solid beer.

Mouthfeel: The carbonation is on the lower side of medium perfect for the style. The body is thick without being syrupy. The finish is long and pleasant.

Overall: This is a very good beer. The price point is perfect, at about 4.50 I dont mind picking several of these when they are available and aging them.

Photo of RockyTopHeel
4.45/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bomber. Reserve '03.

Ruddy brown-orange with a thin, creamy head of tiny bubbles. Aroma of gentle, juicy hops.

Holy crap, this is good. Smooth and easy drinking, with beautiful, juicy hops and a substantial malt profile. The flavor is unique among barleywines I've had, with a white grape-like sweetness that unifies the various layers of flavor throughout the complex brew.

I really, really like this.

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Old Boardhead Barleywine Ale from Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub
87 out of 100 based on 373 ratings.