1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

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

Not Rated.
Old Boardhead Barleywine Ale
No picture uploaded.
Have one? Upload it now.
very good

373 Ratings

(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
to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Ratings: 373 | Reviews: 284
Photo of Rastacouere
4.22/5  rDev +9.6%
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.

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.

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 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 aracauna
3.38/5  rDev -12.2%
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.

Photo of filabrazilia
3.78/5  rDev -1.8%
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.

Photo of MJR
4.32/5  rDev +12.2%
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.

Photo of beerguy101
4.42/5  rDev +14.8%
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.

Photo of tavernjef
4.3/5  rDev +11.7%
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.

Photo of Quaffer
3.02/5  rDev -21.6%
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.

Photo of jcalabre
3.85/5  rDev 0%
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

Photo of marc77
4.13/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Clear light bronze hue. Initially thick almond white head recedes into a spotty layer than manages wisps of lace. Muted citrus and pine upfront in aroma, accompanied by toffee and molasses dipped currants. Subdued, spicy, festive hints of frankinscence and bubblegum esters. Ethanol heat surfaces with a swirl. Medium lovibond caramel malt sweetness initially in flavor yields to a transiently drying combination of biscuit and moderate, clean hop bitterness. Becomes thicker and lightly sugared mid palate, with mellow notes of pralines and butterscotch well complemented by a rounded, integrated grapefruit hop flavor. Malt character becomes doughy late, and couples with a lately emerging suggestion of scraped vanilla pod, lending an impression of freshly backed white sugar cookie. Full bodied, with a smooth, richly dextrinous, viscous mouthfeel, partially due to the low relative apparent attenuation. Finishes lightly buttery and with a creeping surge of hop bitterness and alcohol warmth. Old Boardhead is flavorful, unassertive, soft on the palate, and superbly drinkable. Dangerously smooth and subtle. Reminescent of a Young's Old Nick / Bigfoot 2001 hybrid. Big thanks to Jaybeerman for the bomber. Bottled 5/22/02.

Photo of Elemental
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not bad at all. A nice copper amber color. Very little head or at least little head retention. Very fragarent with the smell of hops and spices. This beer has a good first taste with a blast of spices which quickly dies into a bitter taste. This taste slowly melts away into quite an aggressive aftertaste thats a little harsh at first but goes away as the palate warms up. Overall a pretty good beer with quite a punch.

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 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 beerluvr
4.3/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours with a minimal dirty white head on top of tawny, hazy orangey-red liquid. Nose is heavy on malt and dark fruit. Taste is a mellowed mix of oxidation, sugary malts and fruit with a nice late emerging hoppy bitterness with an undercurrent of warming alcohols. finishes long and superbly bitter, age has done this beer much justice...a great Barleywine.

Thanks to jaybeerman for the chance to taste this one.

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

I like when it poured a light golden brown with little to no foam and very little lace. The smell was of a malty, citrus, hoppy aroma that was pleasant in the nose. The taste at first was had a sweet malty, caramel flavor with a stong hoppy finish. But after a few sips, it tasted just like another strong ale like so many others. There was nothing outstanding that made this beer standout among any others. Still worth trying, if you like barleywine ale's.

Photo of Jason
4.27/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz brown bomber with a brewed on date on the side of the label, this is a beer to cellar or drink now … I could not wait.

Appearance: Deep reddish amber, hazed from the sediment but the lace is stunning. Almost looks like frothed milk on top.

Smell: Huge woody and veggie hop with a mind pungency of citrus and sweet pin sap. A sugary malty rummy sweetness hits the nose with a side of earthy yeast.

Taste & Mouthfeel: Smoothness is sublime, creamy slick mouth feel lift the heavy malt body down the throat. A whole lot of hops tear through the palate with a pungent bitterness, veggie flavour and citric rind overtones. Maltiness is there with some sweetness but seem to get pummeled by the hops a bit, they don’t hurt the malt that much just more or less make it cry into a soft submission. Good amount of alcohol warmth. Touch of yeast, ripe fruit (pears) and a layered caramel buttery flavour are throughout.

Drinkability & Notes: A godly brew, beers like this make me weep. First of all I can’t get it on a regular basis and may never have this beer again. Secondly I am so sad about the first I can’t remember. This Barleywine rocks! Oh yeah, it went great with some bbq chicken pasta topped with fresh feta.

Photo of Gusler
4.44/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Vintage 2001 - Well this big bad boy has been cellared for almost a year and half, and it shows, lots more of that suspended “Stuff” (yeast).
A translucent deep copper to almost brown color on the pour, the head is or was frothy and modest in size, but it has evaporated to some pretty interesting lace. Aromas of baked apples, malt, fusel alcohol bubble gum tones, caramel, whew what a treat for the old schnozzle. Thickly sweet and lot’s of malt at the start, the top middling and the alcohol starts warming the minute it leaves the mouth and heads for the “Tummy”. Peacefully acidic with the hops warlike in their spicy bite, quite dry and a nice lingering alcohol bitterness. One of the top 5 "Barley Wines" of All Time, in my book at least, WOW!

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

2001 Vintage: The color is amber and a bit lighter than most barleywines. It's got a fairly light hop aroma and a somewhat thin head. The taste is also on the light side for a barleywine, despite the abv. However, it does have a nice malt backbone with residual sweetness and just a hint of fruit. Not bad, but nothing extraordinary.

Photo of Murph
4.42/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a rather light (for barley wines) amber color with almost no head. Smell is of alcohol, huge malt, hops, and a bit of yeastiness. The taste starts with some nice big sweet malt with some fairly substantial warming alcohol present as well. The hops are rather prevalent and provide a floral/spicy flavor that brings out some faint fruitiness when combined with the yeast flavors. I agree with Jaybeerman, thick and chewy like it should be. Not as drinkable as it could be because of it's super chewiness. WOW, what a monster of a beer, damn fine barley wine.
Thanks to Jaybeerman for the sample.

to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Old Boardhead Barleywine Ale from Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub
87 out of 100 based on 373 ratings.