Dismiss Notice
Microbrew Invitational
Join us June 3 + 4 in Boston and help us drink 300+ beers, ciders, kombuchas, meads, sakes and more!

TICKETS: beeradvocate.com/micro/

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

very good
286 Reviews
For Trade:
Old Boardhead Barleywine AleOld Boardhead Barleywine Ale

Brewed by:
Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub
Oregon, United States | website

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Murph on 05-14-2002

User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 286 | Ratings: 377
Photo of KensWorld
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2012 reserve bottle. Pours a non appealing mudy brown leaving almost no head. Still has nice carbonation with plenty of boubles. Smell is not to impressive either. Slight malty nose. I was never expecting the taste to be any better, but wow was I wrong. Tastes wonderful, extremely mellow and smooth leaving Carmel, toffy, vanilla and honey notes. Semi Sweet malty aftertaste. Seems to be getting even better as it warms. Overall I'm very impressed by this barleywine, it's one of the smoothest I've tried yet. 3 years has aged this beer to perfection. the 4.50

 562 characters

Photo of pat61
4.69/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: Slight chill haze clears as it warms to a brilliant deep amber to chestnut under a rapidly dissipating ½” off white foam collar that grips the glass producing thin sheets of lace.
S: Sweet big vanilla caramel nose with traces of wine and alcohol
T: Not as sweet on the palate as on the nose – the finish is a cascade of fruit and candy, some citrusy hops in the finish that grow in the after taste
F: chewy, creamy, warming, lacy, medium low carbonation
O: A big, bold barley wine for evening sipping.

 513 characters

Photo of spinrsx
3.7/5  rDev -3.9%

Bomber from Party Source Syracuse NY for $7 - 2011 vintage

Appearance - Brown colour with a good size frothy beige coloured head. There is a low amount of carbonation showing and there is some good lacing. The head lasted for around 3-4 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, caramel, anise, dark fruits

Taste & Mouth - There is a below average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, caramel and hops. There is also some vanilla, anise, booze, and dark fruits.

Overall - A little less sweet than I'm used to for a barleywine, but still a nice full flavour. The hos still have some bite but the beer still seems pretty smooth; guessing the age has mellowed this one. An okay beer but not even close the the heads of the class.

 741 characters

Photo of vkv822
3.18/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

2011 vintage.
22oz : tulip

Pours a murky, burnt-orange, brown color with a thin, foamy off white head.

Aroma and taste are sweet, syrupy toffee, caramel malts.

Medium body, faint, foamy carbonation.

A decent beer when aged, but it just doesn't have a whole lot going on at the 2-year mark in my opinion and I've come to the conclusion that I prefer it fresh.

 362 characters

Photo of Smurf2055
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Runner up in a four way blind barley wine taste.

Pours a light tan.

Smell is a bit mild, more malty and a bit of fruit. Not very carbonated.

Spicy character. Mellow and almost sour hoppy.

Pretty good beer, especially for the price. Worth getting a few to age and for 3.99 a bottle, not a bad go to option.

 313 characters

Photo of shand
3.74/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Old Boardhead is a big, sweet, and slightly hoppy barleywine available for dirt cheap. If those words resonate with you, jump on this beer. It won't blow you away, but it's inexpensive, boozy, and tasty. Sometimes, that just hits the mark. It's almost the malt liquor of the craft beer world.

 292 characters

Photo of King_KongDCO93
3.48/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pour a 2012 reserve bought it for $3.99 for a 1 pt. 6 fl. Oz 9% ABV bottle
A: golden brown, cant see throw the glass and its cloudy and looks like clean mud

S: Has a malty butterscotch aroma mixed in with a floral scents.

T: it is really malty and is a bit too bitter for me. at 9 % the flavor really hides the alch

M: mouth feel heavy

O: for the price its worth it.

 371 characters

Photo of mtstatebeer
3.7/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

02-09-11- 22 oz bottle, 2008, served in a snifter glass. Pours a hazy, red-orange color with a decent, frothy off-white head, lacing throughout. Aroma is sweet, toasted malt, vinous, pine hops, and alcohol. Flavor is sweet malts, resinous, wood, spicy, and alcohol. Mouthfeel is medium, syrupy, almost cloyingly sweet, but balanced with a large amount of bitterness. Overall a decent beer.

Edit: Review of same beer on 21 Nov 12. Similar aroma, much more of a dark fruit/raisin aroma and a bit oxidized, no hops at all in the smell. Flavor isn't as sweet, still wood and spicy, much less of an alcohol bite, Mouthfeel not syrupy or sweet as before. This one aged into a solid barleywine.

 688 characters

Photo of barleywinefiend
3.03/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2006 vintage
May 2009:
Poured a deep copper amber color with a big dirty white head. Carbonation was big on this one. Nose is caramel, brown sugar, astringent a bit. Taste is light cocoa undertones, astringent, caramel, brown sugar and even a cheap wine like taste or texture. Not tasty at all. Mouthfeel is thin and not to pleasing, left a bad taste in my mouth. Wont try again and disappointing.Perhaps past its prime.
2008 vintage
August 2009:
Much nicer and creamier. More character with hop bite, caramel being more pronounced versus the 2006. Two years would be it for this brew.
2012 vintage
September 2012:
A: Ruddy ruby like color with moedrate carbonation presenting a nice white cap which quickly fades

S: Very faint, some sherry like notes and lighter fruits

T: Some sweetness, a fruit basket meets some sherry like wine characteristics but then flavor just sordove falls flat with a dry, lightly sweet finish and light bitterness. Booze is masked well.

M: Medium to big body, well carbonated

O: Average bwine but for $6 a bomber you cant go wrong.

 1,072 characters

Photo of corby112
3.18/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2011 vintage.

Pours a really cloudy, dark copper color with amber edges and a one finger off-white head that quickly fades into a lasting ring. Sporadic spots of lace left behind.

Slight leathery malt aroma with subtle earthy hops caramel malt and dark fruit. Somewhat floral with a faint grassy pine character followed by caramel, toffee, raisin, fig and sweet booze.

Medium bodied with tight carbonation and a very dry and bitter hop presence that lingers over the sweeter notes and malt backbone into a boozy finish. Lots of sticky hops up front that are somewhat stale at this stage followed by leathery malt, caramel, toffee and dark fruit. A decent amount of sweet boozy flavor in the finish but the high ABV is actually pretty well masked. Overall, this beer is easy to drink but it's kind of bland and not very memorable.

 834 characters

Photo of prometheus
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First thing I thought after I tasted this, oh crap this is gunna be a hang over. Second thing, way this is a really light barley wine.

The pour was silky smooth. Small and thick head. Good lacing. Smells like booze and raisons. Taste is mostly malt, cant tell what just booze. Light body for a Barley wine. Goes down like whiskey. Drank the whole bottle me self and it was great!


 394 characters

Photo of beergoot
3.91/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a relatively light-body/light tasting barleywine. Smells almost like a Xmas cookie but without being overly sugary or spicey (although I would say there's a slight cinammon/allspice note in there). A light roasted malt flavor holds this thing together. The high alcohol content is well-hidden within the flavor profile. Certainly an excellent barleywine offering.

 371 characters

Photo of asabreed
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2011 reserve. Bomber into a Brooklyn tulip glass.

Appearance: A nice hybrid of red and copper colors, but the head's kind of non-existent. I always think this could be whatever's in the glass, or if I didn't wash it out well enough, but alas.

Smell: Hops and citrus dominate here, with lemon and grapefruit aromas coming through mostly. Some possible toffee and chocolate coming through from the malt, adding to the balance of sweetness and citrus.

Taste: An initial blast of nice citrus bitterness hits, but it's soon balanced by some toffee-like and mild chocolate candied flavors that come from the malt, and some candi sugar flavors seem to come in also. Finishes with lingering mild sourness and citrus bitterness, with some candied toffee floating in the background.

Mouthfeel: This is the weakest aspect, as it's a little, to me, under-carbonated, which makes it just slightly a bit cloying, though it doesn't detract too much from everything overall. Maybe that had to do with the look in the glass also.

Drinkability: I don't know if it'd be proper to call a 9% barleywine easy-going, but this certainly is. Not insanely intense overall, with a good balance of sweetness and finishing bitterness that makes this one a version to try now, though I'd be interested to see what happens in a few years. With the good PQR, if I find another one, I'll do just that.

 1,378 characters

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.12/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from 3/2011 notes. Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a dark red amber. Dense one finger light tan head and lacing. Nice barley wine aroma of sweet malt and dark fruit. Taste is sweet malt, caramel, hint of orange. Nice medium body, creamy. This appears to be heavier bodied and better flavored than the one I sampled a year earlier. I will return to this again and cellar a few.

 391 characters

Photo of Immortale25
3.65/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Green Flash snifter. Label says 2011 reserve.

A- Pours a dark copper color with a 1/2 inch off-white head that doesn't retain a lot before retreating to a 1/8 inch ring around the edge of the glass with big bubbles of surface foam. Full sheets of lacing that leave spikes down the glass.

S- Smells sweet and malty but not exactly like a barleywine usually does. Faint, musty hops and a twinge of alcohol.

T- Balanced approach to the style as far as the hop/malt combo goes, but nothing exciting or controversial. More on the malty side, with notes of caramel and toasted bread. The hops that are there are more of the earthy type and don't play a huge role. Easy to drink as the booze is quite subdued.

M- Medium carbonation and a medium body.

O- Aside from the appearance, which is lovely, this beer is quite pedestrian across the board (no pun intended). Doesn't taste like a barleywine, doesn't even taste like an IPA. Just a straight-up hoppy imperial brown ale is the only way I can describe it. Not a bad brew by any means, just not what one expects when drinking a barleywine

 1,101 characters

Photo of yamar68
3.36/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 22oz bottle to brandy snifter:

Pours a hazy apricot with a dissipating cap of tannish head and striking lacing. The aroma is much more malt-centric than I would expect. I was anticipating a very west coast, American barleywine but this features mainly dark, sweet malt. Caramel, toffee, reminiscent of an Old Ale. Nevertheless, it’s nice. The taste paints a different picture. The hops are on the front lines, supported by malt bits similar to those found in the nose. This one drinks pretty easy for the style. Pretty good - certainly not "world-class."

 570 characters

Photo of emerge077
3.53/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks Eric for sharing this one, review from written notes.
Served in a goblet. 2007 edition.

Reddish brown copper color, thin layer of frothy tan/brown foam. Very floral still, plenty of sweet caramel and typical aged barleywine notes of oxidized malt and sherry. Sweet upfront with big caramel malt flavors, becoming dry in the aftertaste. Big and burly, low carbonation. If anything, time has muted the alcohol bite. Not sure i'd recommend aging for 4+ years, based on this sample.

 488 characters

Photo of django24
3.28/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Notes From 11-15-11, 2011 Vintage

Appearance: Pours a slightly cloudy amber with little to no head-just tiny bubbles and little bit of lacing. I was expecting a little more head at 9% but its ok. Looks the part overall though.

Aroma: Citrusy hop fruitiness comes out first then the strong, sweet malt takes over reminding me of sweet raisin bread coming out of the oven. Hint of marshmallow maybe? Weird, but nice.

Taste: Following the nose of course with the sweet breadiness and citrus fruit.There's no doubt this is an American style though with a balance toward the hops. Slightly disappointed about not getting the typical barleywine dark, fruity alcohol flavor so much. Good.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body, slightly creamy, followed by prickling hops and a warming finish. Nice.

Overall: Good American style barleywine, reminds me of strong malty IPA. Kinda missing that dark fruitiness that I like. Maybe I prefer English style.

 938 characters

Photo of kingcrowing
1.37/5  rDev -64.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

22oz bottle poured into a sample, 2006 vintage.

Not good. Really not good. Infected and gross.

Pours a golden honey color with a small white head. Nose is sour and funky.

Taste is sour and tart its just a horrible drain pour. Mouthfeel is light and super sharp. Very bad.

 274 characters

Photo of Holland
3.36/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: standard barleywine with good head and nice copper color.

S: pretty easy smell, some toffee and not much else.

T: very dry tasting, not incredibly impressed. Bitter, too, which is pretty good.

M: good carbonation and medium-heavy body.

O: solid beer, but I was surprised at how bitter it was. Very hoppy for being many months old when I drank it.

 357 characters

Photo of keethrax
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Coppery red with a decent tannish head leaving behind some wicked lacing. Seriously, multiple people commented on how pretty it was.

Smell: Caramel and some C-hops. Rum.

Taste: Lots of malt. This is supported by a solid,m but not overwhelming happiness. The malt occasionally gets overtaken, but it mostly holds it's own. Being a West Coast offering, the hop level is a bit higher than it would be elsewhere, as expected.

Mouthfeel: Heavy and thick. Not quite syrupy, but getting there.

Overall: Quite tasty, I prefer a bit less hops in my barleywines. But as mentioned its a west coast offering so I certainly wasn't *expecting* less hops. Overall it's pretty well balanced, just a hair away form being awesome.

 730 characters

Photo of harrymel
1.95/5  rDev -49.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Vintage 2011

Red hued copper ale with some yellow peanut foam rim and sheet quality. Excellent clarity leaving some spotty lace. Smells like a souped up Pale ale (english style) with some earthy, grassy hop profiles. A decent sugary toffee tone, but very subdued in the nose. The flavor follows thru with that tone, but is overpowered by a sulfur, ester, sweet alcohol flavor. The ingredients and quality characteristics of a Barleywine are soon forgotten in this beer. Medium bodied with low carb, and a semi dry finish. Not a drain pour, but not a good beer either.

Easily among the lower end of BW's for me. I like 'em to have a little more malt character than this. Too many chemical flavors to make me happy. A disappointment.

 733 characters

Photo of ChrisPro
3.48/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2007 vintage served 12/16/11 into a tulip.

A - A slightly hazy burnt orange with a buttermilk frothy head that decided to stick around. This was poured gently and still had monster head

S - Nice caramel and apple with vanilla and some cherry. Interesting.

T - Sadly, this is where the beer disappoints. There is a bit of sweetness and it is actually balanced with a solid bitter hop finish. The grassy notes actually taste pretty good, but this beer is relatively simple and not a ton going on. Also, some slight cardboardy oxidation seems to be showing up.

M - Highly carbonated. Maybe a bit excessive for the style. Also, this beer is a bit thin, but at only 9%, I guess it's okay. No heat whatsoever, so that has certainly calmed down over time.

O - A solid american barleywine. Not my favorite style, but I had high hopes for this aged. I've had it a couple times fresh, and this was slightly improved, but still not incredible. I almost think I should've let it go for another 5 years to appreciate it. Oh well.

 1,021 characters

Photo of MexicanSkittel
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 vintage bottle, picked up at bottle works in Seattle.

Poured into a pint glass, a slightly hazy coppered, amber rusty red. Hints on caramel with red wine soaked brown sugar. A gental 1/4 inch head sits on top fading to a thin layer the lingered the rest of the way through the beer, leaving great rims on the glass after every sip.

Smells of citrus, barley, a bit of yeastyness, oak, caramel, slight toasted hops and a little banana.

I'm tasting a little pine from some hops, an orange lemon peal aspect. Popsicle stick...? Maybe more mouthfeel there, but if I remember what a popsicle stick tastes like, this has a remembrance of that. All of the flavors were strong, bright, and available. You don't have to hunt to find flavor in this beer. I'm getting some brown sugar on the finish...fairly sweet flavors all around, got the banana again.

Great mouth feel very solid carbonation. Not very viscous, or mouth coating. The alc is apparent, but not overpowering. A nice contrast to the sweetness of the beer. Balanced well hopped, and all around tasty.

I want more, and when I said sweet above, not over the top, just sweeter sides of the flavors. All in all I really like this beer and can't wait to try some more aged barley wines.

 1,245 characters

Photo of ChadQuest
2.18/5  rDev -43.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

2011 vintage, so it's a fresh bottle in barleywine terms.
Color is a dark orange color, lighter then typical for a barleywine. pour leaves a finger of head.
The aroma is rather mute overall i find as i literally dip my nose into the head. There is some mild candied fruits mostly.
This one tastes like a slightly more caramelized pale ale, the hops are not strong at all, and this one falls far from having the richness that a barleywine needs to have, neither side of the flavor wheel has it going on. There is a Starburst candy fruit flavor, and the hops i think are citrusy.
Mouthfeel is thinner and dryer then any barleywine should be.

I am going to forget about the other few bottles of this i have for a decade, just for fun, not worth drinking them now.

 762 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Old Boardhead Barleywine Ale from Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub
87 out of 100 based on 286 ratings.