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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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very good

362 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 362
Reviews: 283
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 12.21%
Wants: 29
Gots: 23 | FT: 0
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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: MrNuggets on 01-01-2005)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Old Boardhead Barleywine Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 362 | Reviews: 283 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of gbontrag


3.3/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Smells of dried citrus peels, honey, fresh cut apple wood. Light brown with some amber thrown in.
Pleasantly sweet and sour, but strangely so. Rich in bittering hops that come off like bitter greens (frisee) and pine sap soap. There's nutty biscuit, and orange blossom honey. Almost like eucalyptus. Rub your tongue with wild bergamot, then dip it in warm honey. Sounds better then it is. Perhaps it needs some age, but I'm wary.

Serving type: bottle

06-19-2005 01:49:26 | More by gbontrag
Photo of Reidrover


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

22 oz bomber bottled on 12/01/2004 , tasted today April 14th 2005.
Gorgeous looking beer, poured into an Imperial pint dimpled mug.,amber/dark red in colour ,slightly hazy, large bubbly cream coloured head.
Quite a rich malty aroma, though touches of alcohol and hops show through also. Hints of dark fruits ,figs,overipe but not rotten plums.
mmnice maltytaste, fruity and complex, a nice bittering hop presence underneath, long lingering liquoricy aftertaste.
Very nice on the palte, though can be rough in places.
Liked this beer found it drinkable for the style..maybe could use some cellar time.

Serving type: bottle

04-15-2005 03:10:16 | More by Reidrover
Photo of canucklehead

British Columbia (Canada)

4.05/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Tawny dark gold with the small head. The nose is tempered with age and old hops. Full mouth with a very nice smoothness this is a classic PNW barley wine that ages well and drink even better It also loves a good cheese. Try also with a cigar I want more bottles to put down.

Serving type: bottle

04-06-2005 18:04:37 | More by canucklehead
Photo of Crotor


4.05/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, dark-cherry red with one finger of white head. The retention is decent for such a big beer.

There's a big, warm, fruit nose, and a light hint of alcoholic warmth. The aroma is slightly vinous, definately sweet, and somewhat like a fruit cobbler - deep, caramelized fruit all the way...

The flavor is substantially sweet with some noticable alcoholic heat. There's some weird fruit elements going on (green rasin?). This beer is aging well... the flavors are well incorporated, an and all hopping subdued, but the alcoholic heat could go down a little more.

Serving type: bottle

02-21-2005 21:36:29 | More by Crotor
Photo of mikeys01


4.65/5  rDev +20.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2005 05:41:02 | More by mikeys01
Photo of RedDiamond


4.22/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Old Boardhead is an elegant staple of Northwest barleywines. It is relaxed honey-gold and initially pours with ample carbonation. The CO2 soon fades to a casual afterthought revealing a luxurious fruity nose that invites leisurely contemplation.

What follows is a composite review based on a comparison of both the '04 and the '02 bottlings. While the recipe for both vintages is presumed to be the same, the aging of the '02 reveals a more tempered bittering with the forward-leaning presence of alcohol noticeably diminished. The most recent bottling initially presents with a harshly bitter and prominent alcohol taste though these properties relax considerably as the ale warms to room temperature, breathes, and gains a more convivial posture. The body of both vintages is broad, somber, and complex with an abundant cache of dried fruits and brown sugar characterizing the flavor and smell. There is a warmth and slowness to Old Boardhead that perfectly offsets the morose gloom of winter. It's like drinking pure gold.

Old Boardhead is not bottle conditioned but improves appreciably with aging. It's also worth noting that at $3.99 for a 22 oz. bomber, this robust barleywine makes for an exceptional value. Be sure to drink it at near room temperature.

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2005 05:25:25 | More by RedDiamond
Photo of RockyTopHeel

North Carolina

4.5/5  rDev +16.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2005 01:50:41 | More by RockyTopHeel
Photo of CRJMellor


4.15/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours kight copper with golden and orange highlights. Puffy white head on the pour fades rather quickly.
Aroma of dark citrus fruits, light caramel and resin, citrus and pine hops. Very big and pleasant aroma.
Flavor of juicy succulent citrus (orange, raisin), some biscuit malt and deep thick hop resins.
Mouthfeel is sweet to start, almost like orange juice, moves to a brief, biscuit bread hit and finishes with varying levels of hop intensity. Well made, flows seemlessly through the progressions of the style. Nicely done.
Drinkability is very high. Really tasty, juicy with right amount of bittering to offset the heavy sweet malts present.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2005 03:13:22 | More by CRJMellor
Photo of MrNuggets


3.43/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This was bottled on 12/01/04, and its freshness shows. The small head soon turned into a faint white ring around the edge. Light brown colour that is trying very hard to be orange.
I love the smell of a barleywine, this one is warm, sweet with a touch of PacNW hops I've be expect in a brew from this wonderful region.
Starts out smooth, full fruity flavors that I am unable to pinpoint exactly.
As soon as the beer leaves my mouth things change. What seemed like a smooth blend of ripe fruits quickly turns to a bitter mess with little of the hop flavors to make it work. Alcohol seems to stand alone before mellow after taste sets in to redeem itself from harshness I just had to endure.
Given some time this brew just may turn out to be amazing. And at $3.49 for a bomber I couldn't help but get a couple extra to hold on to.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2005 02:14:39 | More by MrNuggets
Photo of danadeny


3.6/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear deep orange body. No head and no carbonation. Smells of orange peel, toasted bread, and light peanut butter. Alcohol is doninant flavor along with a tart finish. In the middle is a decent amount of roasted malt. Drinkability and mouthfeel are average.

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2004 18:31:01 | More by danadeny
Photo of Mitchster


2.4/5  rDev -37.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours out to a cloudy caramel with orange-brown accents, forming a soapy and creamy dark beige to yellow head with good retention and minimal lacing. Carbonation is moderate. Aroma is kinda odd, like a soured barleywine, with a fruity, funky ferment (ungodly amounts of pineapple, and some kiwi)...malts don't really display dark fruit. Mouthfeel is stinging and acidic with a firm carbonation and medium-dense body. Taste is very funky...it's like rotten, soured raisins in pineapple juice, kinda like a friendship cake starter. There is some dark fruit here, but soured like a spontaneous ferment or an infection. The finish is sour, very metallic, raisiny, and ruddy with an oxidized mouthfeel and a touch of green hop oil at the end. Alcohol is perceptable in taste and sensation and becomes louder as it warms.

What I have is an awful barleywine, and I would guess it's infected as Full Sail usually does a good job on their brews, especially the reserves like this one. Unfortunately, this one has to go down the sink. Today, I'll rate it as I taste it, and I probably won't bother re-rating it in the future.

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2004 23:24:25 | More by Mitchster
Photo of beerceller99


4.75/5  rDev +23.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-31-2004 18:06:37 | More by beerceller99
Photo of Crosling


4.6/5  rDev +19.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-03-2004 05:29:23 | More by Crosling
Photo of meathookjones


4.15/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was a 22oz bomber from 03. It appeared to have a deep reddish amber body when poured with a surprisingly tall off white head. Fairly good clarity to the body and the head fell rather quickly leaving no lace as it disappeared. The aroma of caramel malt sweetness rose out of the glass with notes of fruits in the background. Decent amount of hops in the nose as well and a touch on alcohol as it warms. The flavor stare with a caramel fruity sweetness with notes of a syrupy molasses type flavor. The after taste is a bit bitter with a small alcohol bite as it goes down. The body here is full and thick with a nice mouth coating quality to it. This went down fairly easy and even as it warmed the alcohol never became the most prominent feature of the beer. Too bad I can’t get these around here because this is one good barley wine.

Serving type: bottle

09-17-2004 14:20:13 | More by meathookjones
Photo of Rastacouere

Quebec (Canada)

4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2003 bottle. Copper to orange body with a diminishing, but foamy and well-laced off-white head. Complex aroma with peaty nuances and a deeply integrated fruity profile (oranges, peaches). Caramel sweetness abund while light alcohol is noticeable, but as powerful as this is, it still appears very balanced. In mouth, there’s more of this caramel goodness going on, although there’s more hops than I expected, not old horizontal hoppy, but it’s west coast all right. Chewy palate with peaches nuances, pears, citrus and a very mild tartness approaching apples which doesn’t quite manage to give a decent fight to the overwhelming and coating sweetness. It’s not cloying, but feels very rich, peaty, earthy. Decadent full body with rather high carbonation to style and plain rich. This is perhaps not as big as I expected it to be, but taken on parallel with quite a few other peers, it definitely strikes as a great example of how to balance raw power. Still, I think forgetting it a few years would help to blend the different elements together even better. Huge thanks to skyhand for this top malty example.

Serving type: bottle

06-09-2004 04:33:22 | More by Rastacouere
Photo of Bighuge


3.85/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice looking scarlet red appearance. Thin, but dense coating of bone white head. This recedes to a rather thick collaring with good staying and lacing power. Alcohol soaked melons and passion fruit on the nose. Sweet drippings of caramel. And perfumey hops. The taste is quite sweet. And perfumey and minty. It's not bad, but this characteristic holds it back from being a great barleywine in my mind. Passion fruits, strawberries and mango find time to make appearances. Alcohol lays low in the background. This is o.k., but I liked the 2002 version a LOT better.

Serving type: bottle

05-28-2004 05:22:51 | More by Bighuge
Photo of pbrian


4.72/5  rDev +22.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-15-2004 02:12:16 | More by pbrian
Photo of BierReise


4.58/5  rDev +19%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-31-2004 04:34:00 | More by BierReise
Photo of aracauna


3.4/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This was a bit cheesey. Almost a little ass. it's perhaps a something a little wrong with it, but it's not so far off the norm that I'm really worried about it. The flavor is pretty good though. It's malty and a bit alcoholic. This was the '02 version and I'll be trying the '01 version pretty soon.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2004 09:07:02 | More by aracauna
Photo of filabrazilia


3.8/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep copper with a beige head that settles quickly. Good lacing.

Aroma - Heavy malt almost maple aroma mixed with an alcohol presence.

Taste - Extremely malty with a slight hop finish. This reminds me of an English style barleywine.

Mouthfeel - Good body with a dry sweet finish.

Drinkability - Very smooth and mellow. A nice sipping beer.

This was a decent barleywine but not one of the best. I think the hops may have mellowed so much that the beer lost some of its balance. I'd like to try a more recent vintage.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2003 05:49:18 | More by filabrazilia
Photo of MJR


4.33/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a wonderfully clear reddish-amber bookended by pale copper edges. It's light tan head begins well enough, then shrinks down to a thin and incomplete covering that leaves scattered lacing.

Smell: The aroma is two-sided in that at any one time you can focus on either the huge, fruity malt, or the green, citrusy hops. The balance between them is quite impressive really. Hiding underneath is a whiff of warming alcohol.

Taste: Begins on the malty side, with a huge amount of fruitiness. A touch of sweet caramel/toffee too. Midway, the hops show up with a fair amount of bitterness and flavor to balance things out. The hops are very citric in taste, with a hint of a flowery character. A tiny hint of tropical fruit darts in and out. On the finish, the attention drifts back to the malt, with a strong charred fruit note. There's a fleeting bitterness, but it plays second fiddle. Ends fruity and bitter, with a hefty alcoholic undercurrent which brings a bit of warmth.

Mouthfeel: The carbonation is quite low, which combines with a medium thick body, to give a slighty syrupy mouthfeel. Finishes dry and long with a tummy warming effect.

Drinkability: Judging by the short lifespan of this bomber, I'd say the drinkability of this brew is pretty good! Of course, I couldn't drink more than one of these in an evening, nor would I want to. This is a well balanced barley wine that would make a great fireside companion come winter.

Serving type: bottle

08-17-2003 06:16:15 | More by MJR
Photo of beerguy101


4.43/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep brown color, medium head. Nose is caramel, malts, apples and dates. Big Bold Barleywine. This puppy reaches up and grab you by the ^#%$!!!!;. Malty and hoppy. The malt sweetness is balanced by it big hoppyness, then the alcohol bite grabs you. The fact that all three are balanced and rotate around on your taste buds is amazing. Complex flavors and very warming. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean, smooth and a little dry. Aftertaste is malty and slightly bitter, with a lingering sweetness. Bottle aging will improve this already excellent beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-15-2003 00:53:24 | More by beerguy101
Photo of tavernjef


4.28/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Color is of a creamy carameled gem or agate, about an inch high head of yellowy puffed creamy foam, faded somewhat slowly to a thinly spotted haze on top, leaves thin whispy stringed lace.

Smell is all dulled up and sort of muted at first of pinewood, caramel malts and some sort of fruit I can't quite distinquish, its a bit citrusy, I think plum and dark orange, subdued and quiet, notes of toffee, molasses and spice with a warmingly strong whisky-like alcohol presense as well. The alcohol nearly jumps out of the glass as it gets warmer. Quite a nose full at that point.

Taste is a warming sweet caramel candy and slight toffee with a darker orange-like presense of citrus. Subtle layers of butterscotch warmth, mild and easy hop bitterness thats lightly piney. A biscuit breadyness that thickens some and then mellows to some kind of cookie dough and buttery thinness and a definate alcohol warmth that fills every sense of your head after half a glass or so.

Surprisingly nice creamy feel, quite full and heavy, not stout heavy, mostly alcohol heavy with a thinning airy sweet finish of caramel lingering. A super sipper of a barleywine and well recieved by myself. Quite subtle and enjoyable when in the right mood. A must try if ya can get it.

Thanks to weefisheads for the 22oz'er.

Serving type: bottle

07-12-2003 20:13:42 | More by tavernjef
Photo of Quaffer


3/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

22 oz. Bottle

Appearance: The beer poured a slightly hazey, deep orange color. A very thin, coarse head arose and disappeared very quickly. Surprisingly, there was some beading going on. I have never seen a barley wine do that before. However, it wasn't enough to sustain any kind of head on this brew. Therefore, there was no lacing at all.

Smell: There were classic barley wine smells of caramal malt sweetness and dark fruit, though the fruit came through stronger than usual. There was also a light alcohol aroma present that built as the beer warmed up.

Mouthfeel: Relatively thin-bodied and kind of dry.

Taste: I hate to say it, but there just wasn't much to the taste. It was kind of tangy (for lack of better words) upfront with some alcohol in the middle, and hops bitterness well into the aftertaste. The hops had an odd quality to it. Overall, this was rather one-dimensional and dry.

This was kind of a disappointing for me bacuase I have always liked Full Sail beers. There wasn't much to the flavor, and what was there wasn't wonderful. None of that huge maltiness and hops kick that I have some to expect from brews such as this. Probably on the bottom of the list for me as far as barley wines go.

Serving type: bottle

07-11-2003 15:36:35 | More by Quaffer
Photo of jcalabre


3.9/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Originally sampled on 17 September 2002. Old Boardhead is clear copper colored w/ a light tan head. It has lots of malty taste up front w/ hoppy flavors at the end. It envelopes your tongue w/ its thick, rich malty flavors & stickness. This is a lovely barleywine

Serving type: bottle

05-30-2003 09:35:48 | More by jcalabre
Old Boardhead Barleywine Ale from Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub
87 out of 100 based on 362 ratings.