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Old Godfather - Speakeasy Ales & Lagers

Not Rated.
Old GodfatherOld Godfather

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

146 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 146
Hads: 207
Avg: 3.8
pDev: 13.68%
Wants: 16
Gots: 13 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Speakeasy Ales & Lagers visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  9.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: frank4sail on 02-18-2003

Re-emerging from the shadows, Old Godfather is the first of the Infamous. Old Godfather pours a light amber with a beige lacing. Aromas of fresh pine and citrus dominate, giving way to deep flavors of nutty maltiness and burnt caramel. A spicy hop bite of citrus peel rounds out the rich mouthfeel. Bittersweet English malts and cut-throat West Coast hops make Godfather a barley wine that is not to be taken lightly. This re-release of Old Godfather is the first vintage of its kind. As a brazenly robust brew, Old Godfather will benefit from years of cellaring, developing new refinements in character over time.
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Reviews: 146 | Hads: 207
Photo of arizcards
3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Picked up a bomber at the Tempe Bevmo in early August for $8.99. No freshness date.

Beer poured reddish brown with a nice off white head on the initial pour.

Nose is dark fruits and citrus hops.

Taste has a large malt backbone that is complemented by a nice citrus and pine hop. Unfortunately there is a huge resinous oil slick that is left behind.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and very smooth.

Overall this is a solid beer that is worthy of a try.

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Photo of Fatehunter
3.44/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a half finger of head on a hazy light brown body.
The aroma has a little caramel, lots of hay, barnyard and plowed dirt.
The taste is grainy, a little caramel sweetness, more dirt and grains.
The texture is fairly light with nice fizz.
The aroma is great, the flavor fine.

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Photo of Beermanmiles
3.41/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

This beer is a very good price, I will start with that. 6 dollars for a pint of barleywine is unheard of. That being said, the beer more than reflects the price. I get upset when I get a thick barleywine. Unless a barleywine is barrel aged, I do not expect thickness. This beer taste like straight carbonated grain syrup. It's really a beer that you wanna be drinking during the winter if any time because it would just make you uncomfortable in the summer, spring or fall, provided you are outside. It is also darker than you would expect and the flavor reflects the color. This is not good for barleywine (in my opinion) because barleywine is meant to be one of the only high alcohol beers with a light snap. This is not to say do not buy this beer. This beer is very cheap. If you want a high alcohol craft beer but you are strapped for cash, pick up this or a 32oz of lagunitas sucks for 10 dollars.

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Photo of mactrail
3.33/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Dark burnt orange color in the St. Bernardus globe. A low head but big and tingly in the mouth. This is more hot than malty. Winey and woody at the same time. Insistent barrel flavor with a woody aftertaste.

Rather sweet at first, but more tart and hot at the finish. More like an American Strong Ale than and kind of Barleywine. Overall, this is a strong and intense sipping brew. From the 22 oz bottle purchased at Liticker's LIquors in San Diego for $8.49.

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Photo of metter98
3.79/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: The beer is clear but very dark reddish amber in color (black when viewed from afar) and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high beige head that died down, leaving a patch of bubbles on the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Light to moderate aromas of burnt caramel malts and piney hops are present in the nose.
T: The taste has flavors of piney hops along with caramel malts and toffee. The hops also contribute a light to moderate amount of bitterness and mask any sweetness from the underlying malts. The pine becomes a little stronger in the finish once the beer warms up.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation. The alcohol lends a bit of warming to the mouthfeel. No stickiness is perceptible.
O: I felt that this beer has a good balance between the malts and hops as it is not overly bitter from the hops or too stick from the malts. It also does a good job at hiding a good portion of the alcohol from the taste, lending relatively good drinkability..

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of jellikit
4.34/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: deep orange-copper. Thin, fuzzy, white head.
Smell: caramel and toffee. Light alcohol.
Taste: caramel, toffee, orange peel, slightly sweet. Followed by light alcohol and light pine.
Mouthfeel: medium to medium low carbonation. Medium-big body. Slightly sweet.
Overall: I like this beer. It is a great representation of a West Coast Barleywine. Balanced well. Will buy again.

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Photo of Pencible
3.18/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.25

A: This poured a cloudy mahogany with thick tan head.
S: It smelled like copper hops and nutty malt, with some earthy toffee.
T: It tasted like copper hops and earthy caramel, with some roasted nuts and pumpernickel bread. It had a clean earthy aftertaste.
M: It was somewhat thick with moderate carbonation. Decent body.
D: This was a mediocre brew, with subpar scent and taste and body. The finish was a bit hot too, so it was better to sip. Age may help. I don't recommend it fresh.

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Photo of samtrillo
3.96/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - deep translucent woody amber with a good bit of lacing.

S - sweet caramel malt and somewhat some hop resin.

T - smokey sweet! Roasted caramel malt flavor and hop bitter finish. More bitter than I've had recently with Barleywines and I like that.

M - medium to full. Very smooth. Limited carbonation. Sweetness sticks around on the roof of my mouth for a couple seconds and moves into the bitterness.

O - very drinkable American Barleywine. Balanced. Check it out!

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Photo of SportsandJorts
2.91/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Appearance: a deep brownish, orangish red. 2 fingers a tan head that leave a strong lacing behind. Strong haze but still able to see through it.

Smell: chocolate? Herbal hops, some dark fruits and other dark crystal character. Good bitter to sweet balance in the smell

Taste: opens up with herbal hops. Transitions to an astringent alcohol mixing with some dark crystal malts. Slight dark fruits and sweetness. Also some chocolate

Mouthfeel: bitter hop and astringent alcohol. Very hard to drink.

Overall: the malt bill in this beer leaves me scratching my head. Why chocolate? And the alcohol astringency is not made up for with any of the tastes

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Photo of Mightykingmalard
3.41/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A: dark red. Mostly transparent. Cream colored head that burns away quickly.

S: oaky, slight malty ness.

T: woody malt. Quick finish.

M: decent feel. Sits on the tongue nicely.

O: eh, not terrible. A good beer without knowing its a barleywine. But it is not a great example of it. I'd drink it standardly if it wasn't as expensive. But it isn't something to write home about.

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Photo of Greywulfken
3.92/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: mahogany-amber and clear ale; will produce as big a head of tan fluff as you want; lines of lace left behind

S: deep resinous pine and malty caramel; dark and earthy, slightly herbal

T: hearty malt and bittered caramel sweetness up front, accompanied by hoppy notes of resin and pine; sweetness up front mellows as the malt grains come forward; hops assert themselves slowly and provide a nice bittering finish.

M: medium-to-full bodied, slick up front but chewy throughout; subtle coating effect like a bittersweet pine varnish on the tongue; didn't notice any alcohol or heat in this at all, despite my bottle's 9.5 abv.

O: nothing flashy, but a well-crafted "America-style" barleywine - runs on the sweeter side of the spectrum, but the subtle bittering, especially as it warms, will mute the sugars and deliver an enjoyable ale. Drank mine in a pint.

Give it a shot.

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Photo of seand
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a dark clear amber with a fair amount of light tan head. Just a touch of film retains on the surface, leaving mild lacing.

S: Floral honeyed sweetness with a deep malt background.

T: Deep, full, sweetness, with a boozy and slightly hoppy bite towards the finish.

M: Full body, medium carbonation.

Overall, a nice barleywine. Good balance, and deep complex flavors. Very enjoyable.

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Photo of elNopalero
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Updated 4/2015:
This pours a dark malty caramel color. It’s a heavy beast of a beer, with more malt present than hops. I found it off-kilter and out of balance, and I’m not sure some age would improve things.

Speakeasy’s barleywine has returned!

This has an intense caramel-amber hue to it. Aroma smacks of toffee and caramel notes, with an underlying herbaceous hop presence. The flavor is malty, with toffee and a touch of bittering, but overall smooth. Hops are present here but not center stage like in other Speakeasy brews.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.99/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Eureka Burger in Redlands, CA.

Pours a clear dark orange with a foamy khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Foamy rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, citrus fruit, and citrus zest aromas. Taste is much the same with citrus zest on the finish. There is a medium amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good hop forward barleywine that is tasty and easy to drink.

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Photo of BlurryVisi0n
3.96/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Served in an over-sized wine glass(not my doing, bartneder's choice).

Appearance: straight amber (clear and transparent), simple. Head maybe 1/8" rising off the body coming off white settling quick with simple lacing.

Smell: Little bit of rum hints, with a sweet notes of vanilla.

Taste: heavy alcohol, slightly overdose of sugar but still good beer. Feel the scotch but comes off woody. Little oak which is rare I mention with any barely wine but this brew had it.

Mouth: medium, slightly light with ultra stickiness to it.

Overall: Good brew. There's better out there but of you want a tongue twister of beers this light just do it to you! Complex with the right touch of sweetness. Grab a glass and you're good...Salud!

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Photo of Durge
4.12/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a clear but fairly dark mahogany colored brew with a decent light tan colored head that mellows to a frosting and leaves a respectable trail of lacing. The aroma is full of deep roasted malt, vanilla and root beer with a goodly dose of sherry and even a lick of chocolate. Sweet but a little boozy and just real nice. The taste test results in more of a whiskey edge, immediately warming with alcohol but buried in more deep caramel malt with a neat herbal hop coming through. Approaches an evergreen idea at times. This stuff is pretty much full bodied with very gentle carbonation. I would call this fairly cloying with a pretty thick, wine-like feel. So it's not out of whack as a barleywine, very flavorful, not a session beer, but great with a slice of Swiss cheese and an appreciative palate. A pleasant surprise.

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Photo of jondeelee
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Smells of syrupy malts and caramels, heavy sugars with a hint of flowery hops.

On the tongue, there's an immediate explosion of floweriness, which expands quickly into a lovely grapefruit-bitterness, strongly reminiscent of a low- to medium-grade IPA. Then the malts hit, bringing in huge maple-syrupy flavors, along with dark fruits and chocolates. Some reviewers have said there's a deep tobacco flavor underneath; I'm not getting that, but I do get a hint of grains toasted to the point of blackness/burnt. Then, somehow, the hops kick back in, leaving the tongue slightly tingling after the beer has left the mouth.

Categorically, this is a barleywine, pure and simple. But it does have *notes* that are strongly reminiscent of IPAs, and I think those notes set this brew apart from the field, and make it worthy of discussion. Purists might not like the bitterness in here, but I find it charming.

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Photo of bohemiandonut
4.36/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was the first Barley Wine I ever tried (about a year ago) and it knocked my freakin' socks off. Have been looking for it ever since and FINALLY I find a 4-pack of it in some random bottle shop in Carlsbad.

At 10%, this doesn't pour like anything immaculate, but Holy Christ does it smell just utterly amazing. Toffee malts and candied spruce make up the mainstay, but it's hard to convey exactly why this makes my nostrils drool with happiness. It's like Bigfoot without cloying sweetness, a hoppy beast that screams of everything a Barley Wine should be.

Alas I'm not disappointed in this consummation of my quest. Speakeasy remains an underrated brewery in my opinion, and OG is perhaps their greatest offering. You WILL drink this beer slowly, simply pausing to take enormous whiffs of it between each sip. The ethanol is absolutely flattened by the sweets and malts and hops that make this beer into the bad ass gangster that it is. From the tinge of citrus/pine in front to a frothy aftertaste of chewy caramel, this is a highly recommended beer that will leave any fan of Barley Wines totally agape.

Good luck finding it.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.69/5  rDev -2.9%

This barley wine is decent. It's pours out as a muddy brown color with a white head on it. The aroma of this beer is kind of boozy with a lot of malts. It's got a little bit of a hop aroma too. The taste has a lot of barley in it, with some hops in the after taste. The mouthfeel is kind of smooth with a dry aftertaste. Nothing really shines through in this brew that makes me impressed with it. It's an average barley wine to me.

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Photo of Lucklys
3.03/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

To start this barley wine off, it poured a deep hazy chestnut brown with golden amber highlights. It quickly built a tight single-finger thick fawn colored head of large bubbles that fell within 30 seconds to a thin island and collar around the glass with no lace to speak of. Initially there were some minuscule streams of tiny bubbles peppering the liquid, but in no time at all, it ended up appearing fairly flat with no visible carbonation.

The nose was predominantly a bourbon-like alcohol that "burns the nostrils." I would be hard-pressed to say that Speakeasy even remotely tried to cover up the glaringly obvious 10.2%ABV in Old Godfather, and I might go so far as to say that all of the grains and malts in it only further exacerbate the ethanol scent. It held barley and oats up front with pale and crystal malts - pale coming through more aggressively than the crystal, but both are definitely present. There were rich dominant caramel malts drenched in super sweet brown sugar molasses and cooked with real maple syrup. No Aunt Jemima here. There was also an odd warm, burnt toffee with chocolate notes that didn't quite seem to fit in, as well as an even odder hint of overripe cherries lingering and fermenting way underneath. I found it hard to tell if there were any hops at all, though through a little research, others claim to have found both pine and citrus quite easily - which I can totally get on board with when I think about it, but otherwise I just can't seem to get past the glaring caramel and alcohol.

Dipping into it, my tongue was washed over with the bourbony alcohol right off the bat. I was actually a little surprised to find it thinner in the mouthfeel with a lighter-medium body, which I expected to be a little thicker due to the high ABV. Even the carbonation was lacking - though it still managed to bite my tongue with a combination of alcohol, something bright and citrusy that I couldn't pick out in the nose, and some bold bitter hops that also hid from the aroma. After the initial bitter overload, the in-your-face pale and crystal malts came out swathed in a rich caramel sauce accented with brown sugar and molasses, which made it very candy-sweet and just shy of syrupy. The flavors didn't last much longer after I swallowed, and it finished very dry with tongue-numbing effects.

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Photo of confer
2.98/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

This bottle was about 3 years old, so I am sure it mellowed quite a bit.
It pours a leathery caramel brown, and it is very murky. No head and a small amount of lacing.
Very sweet smell. It smells like a jar of dark molasses.
The flavor is smooth and sweet with a roasty alcohol finish that hangs around a long time. There is a really creamy feel and very small amount of carbonation.
I find this style a little hard to drink and this bottle is no different. It's definitely a slow sipper in my book.
I had to edit my review after having my second bottle. It went down.

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Photo of DmanGTR
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to a friend for this for my birthday in 09. Been cellared ever since and cracking it open to split with my buddy tonight.

Poured a deep amber, almost like a Maker's Mark type of hue and clarity, with a short lived off-white head. Swirls leave a film over the glass... mmm this is gonna be rich! Lots of caramel and toffee, hint of butterscotch, and a heavy dose of bitterness in the nose. The bouquet is intense and reminiscent of a fairly aged American style barleywine. The fruity and pine hop aromas are diminished, leaving a caramel backbone and bitterness of uncooked sap. Not the most complex or mind bending array of flavors, but a nice, solidly made beer. It is what it is. Drinks very well, alcohol is nearly unnoticeable until it appears as a trickling warmth down your throat. Smooth and moderately carbonated with a heavy, sweet body.

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Photo of DaveHS
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2006, batch 001.

A-Pours dark amber with no head. A thin ring of eggshell white lacing.

S-Smells amazing. Dark sweet fruits, toffee, fig jam, werther's originals.

T/M-Age has really transformed this beer, but I think it has gone a little bit too long. Tastes just slightly oxidized. Soft and lush, with wonderful nuanced flavors of caramel and candied fruit. A surprisingly prominent hop flavor for being nearly 5 years old.

D-Drinking great, but on the verge of peaking. Would probably be perfect at 3 years. In fact, it's really good fresh.

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Photo of DovaliHops
3.97/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage 2009, Pours a cloudy amber color with a nice off-white head that diminishes EXTREMELY fast. Smells of sweet malts, candy sugars, booze, and lots of dark fruits. I also get some bananas, peaches, and cherries. The taste is initially very boozy. As it warms up, the booze mellows and blends nicely wit the figs, plums, and cherries. If this were fresh, I can't even imagine how boozy it would taste. I like boozy when it comes to my ales, so this is very nice tasting. Tons of sweetness and candy sugars as well. There's also faint notes of hops at the end. The mouthfeel is great for a barleywine...a little chewy, but not to chewy. Not really syrupy at all (which is kinda expected for high ABV barleywines. The drinkability is fairly decent for its alcohol content. I would not recommend this beer to anyone who does not like some good booziness.

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Photo of dwilson01
4.4/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz into my arrogant bastard pint glass, a rich dark amber coloration, glows a red-orange in the light, light tan yellow sandy coloring on the head which is composed of small bubbles, makes for a creamy looking goodness that clings to the glass with lacing so thick it's a coating.

I pick up definite fruity notes in the smell; banana, cherry, raisins, which is accompanied by the familiar much loved barleywine alcohol estery smell. Gives the nostrils a nice little tingle of anticipation. Also some woody organic freshness in the smell, like new growth.

The flavor is great, it appeals to all the characteristics of a barleywine. There is a vanilla sweet flavor combined with some oak wood. The fruit is there, mostly get the cherry/raisin part of it in the taste but I also detect a bit of apricot too. The malt is prominent, and the aftertaste warms the throat with the estery alcohol flavor.

The mouthfeel is exactly what I''m looking for in a brew with a lot of alcohol and a ton of ingredients, you notice the thickness of body and fullness of flavor and it combines in this one for an awesome mouthfeel. Drinkability follows from this as being pretty damn good although it definitely is a sipper at over 10%, not to reiterate how densely packed the body is in this brew.

Overall it's great, I recommend this to any fan of the barleywine style, or really just anyone who likes full bodied and complexly flavored beers. This one reminds me greatly of the prohibition ale except it's 2x the abv, 2x the malt, 2x the flavor, and 2x as good? Hell no, as applied to beer the term "good" is equivalent to (malt+flavor)x(abv), and (2+2)x2=8x as good!

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Old Godfather from Speakeasy Ales & Lagers
85 out of 100 based on 146 ratings.