Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine?

Learn more about beer and save over 53% with a 3-year subscription.

Subscribe now →

Old Godfather - Speakeasy Ales & Lagers

Not Rated.
Old GodfatherOld Godfather

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

146 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
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.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 146 | Hads: 207
Photo of 1whiskey
4.6/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle poured into a stemless red wine glass. Pours out a very pretty reddish-orange with a large, billowing head which quickly dissapaites due to the high ABV.

Nice aroma on first sniff, very sweet and fruity. I detect apricot, pineapple, brandy, even brown sugar almost immediately. Some pine and citrus is in there somewhere, but overall the sweet fruit notes dominate the aroma. I'm really looking forward to tasting this.

Wow. This is really smooth for a young barleywine. Very mellow fruity flavor....all of the flavors noted in the aroma melded together...throw in some orange for good measure...then tone it down into a nice smooth dessert beer. Initial burst of hop bitterness dies out as quickly as the head did, while a sherry-like quality (minus the alcohol, which is VERY well hidden) takes over the palate.This is really easy to drink, not at all what I expected. Most young barleywines slam you over the head, but "The Godfather" takes a seat next to you and settles down for a nice fireside chat. Perfect for a cold winter night.

Mouthfeel is also a suprise for a barleywine. While most barleywines are thick, syrupy, and chewy, this is smoth and medium bodied...almost effervescent (ok not quite) in it's carbonation. As for drinkability, I've never had a barlywine this drinkable. 10.2 % ABV???? Pffft. You'd never know.

This is a must-try. Highly recommended, especially for those looking for a smooth dessert beer.

 1,452 characters

Photo of GClarkage
4.59/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12/23/04- Had on tap at the Toronado in San Francisco, CA

Presentation- Poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance- Smallish head, moderate lacing and a nice deep brownish color.

Smell- Sugary bitter hops. Almost candyish. An amazing scent.

Taste- Wow, my first real hoppy barleywine. This is great. The bitter fruity taste of an IPA with the sweet thick taste of a barleywine.

Mouthfeel- Low carbonated and heavy mouthfeel.

Drinkability- You can detect the alcohol towards the end, otherwise this would be extrememly dangerous. Great beer!

 554 characters

Photo of JamesS
4.55/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this as a Christmas present from a buddy out in California. Excellent barleywine! It has a nice brown coloration with an all right head and decent lacing. Good scent, fairly deep and mellow. While not as strong of a scent as other barleywines, it also doesn't send a huge waft of alcohol, either, which is nice. Excellent taste! A very robust flavor, nice and malty, and without the alcohol overload many barleywines have, even at its 10% ABV. Went down extremely smooth. I love this beer.

 493 characters

Photo of BeerManDan
4.55/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The Best tasting barley-wine style ale this year and last. When poured, it poured a thick amber brown with a reddish hue. No foam or lace at all which is common on more of these ales as you know. The smell was of a sweet fruity nature, but the taste was just fantastic for me. Sweet, not bitter or sour. Just loads of fruit and hint of caramel. Just a great balance of malts, hops and whatever they put together to make this jewel of an ale. My favorite style for now and years to come!

 486 characters

Photo of barleywinefiend
4.54/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a nice deep amber color with a decent head to it. Was it me or did the malt profile have a nutty smell and taste to it. I did not notice to much citrus in this brew but a bigger pine. taste like the nose people and the taste is good. Big caramel and unique!! Easy drinking bwine and one of my favs to sip.

 312 characters

Photo of bitterthebetter
4.5/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours a hazy light light brown with copper undertones and a off white head

rich barleywine aromas of malt, notes of caramel, candied sugars, piney hops, slight fruit notes of lemon and faint apple

sweet caramel malt upfront, with candied sugar, molasses, piney hops leading to lemony and grassy notes on the finish. slight biscuity malt as well on the dry, slighty spicy hop finish

medium bodied, good sweet yet not overpowering malt with caramel and bready notes dominant leading to a crisp, present, solid hoppy finish that really balances the beer out. a truly pleasant warming feeling 2 minutes after the first sip

an excellent American Barleywine. medium body, smooth, malt forward but with a sturdy enough hop backbone to provide structure at exactly the right time, and no trace of the alcohol. many flavors are also present that flow really well into each other creating a truly excellent barleywine, I know I'll be buying more

 939 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
4.45/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottled in 2006.

Poureda Vdery deep dark hazy amberwith a small head, this faded quite quickly and left behind a decent lace down the glass. The smell was insanely sweet, like candydippedin alcohol, which was also highly present. Very nice citrus tones lie within once the warming commenced. Orange, tangerine, and pineapple. The taste was very smooth, and left a nice warming in your stomach as it went down.First notes to hit the palate were again very sweet, with a tangerine and orange creamsickle, emersed in a glass of alcohol. Very strong flavor profile. The finish was very dry and long lasting with the bitterness lasting for quite a few minutes afterward. Overall this was really very good and one of my favorite barleywines I have had. I would love to ty some of the older vinatages to see just how smooth this could get as this was just very nice as it was.

 873 characters

Photo of jmdrpi
4.44/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

not sure of vintage, as no date on bottle. but says "kiss the ring 002" on back of bottle.

A - cloudy deep amber color. thin head, but leaves considerable lacing

S - sweet fruit, apricot, carmel. can smell from several feet away.

T - sweet malty goodness. no hops detected.

M - a little thick, but still goes down easy. moderate carbonation

D - suprisingly not much alcohol detected, so very drinkable for the style.

 424 characters

Photo of Zorro
4.42/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Carefully poured in to the glass to leave out the sediment. A clear amber to bronze colored ale.

Smell is intensely fruity to the nose. Fruity and quite peppery too. Lots of cantaloupe melon and fig aromas. The intensity of the fruit aroma makes you not quite notice that this is quite sweet smelling also. Lots of black pepper aroma to this one, but no hop aroma.

Taste is neutral spicy and bitter in the first sip. Bitterness however doesn't take over this beer and remain a kick in the back of your mouth in the after taste. Sweet tasting mostly the flavor of brown sugar and mild fruitiness of plums. There is an additional fruity flavor here that I can't ID, basically it is juicy fruit gum. Quite nice flavored if a little lacking in complexity.

Mouthfeel is good.

A thoroughly enjoyable Barley Wine here. What it lacks in complexity it makes up for in great flavor and aroma. I especially like that hops do not take over the taste like too many beers like this do now days. SN Bigfoot is hoppy but not every brewer needs to copy it. Highly recommended.

 1,063 characters

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!

 1,669 characters

Photo of DogFood11
4.37/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Copper, golden around the edges. Extremely aggressive pour is reccomended as this is stuborn but does produce a nice eggshell froth that has some oily sliding lace.

Tons of citrus hop presence. Its heavily grapefruit laden, malt presence is sweet and overmatched for the most part. Alcohol aroma is up front and personal. Barleywines are such a wide ranging style, this one is on the hoppy/fruit/citrus end of the scale. A fine offering from a kickass brewery.

10.2% abv, obviously it will pack a punch one way or another. Cool name and good idea to go with the speakeasy brand, easily identifiable and tasty.

 616 characters

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.

 1,135 characters

Photo of toweringpoo
4.35/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - light opaque brown color, with about a finger of custard colored head which leaves quite a bit of lacing. very appealing.

S - Sweet malty fruitiness up front with a definite piney hop background. very unique aroma. me like.

T - This beer is getting better and better. Very complex flavors here. First thing that hits is the fruitiness, grape and citrus and pine from this well hopped barleywine. Then comes the malt, roasted chocolatey notes. The finish is bitter hops with a nice coating on the back of the tongue.

M+D - The mouthfeel is a bit thin, probably thanks to the high alcohol content, but I really enjoyed sipping this beer. Certainly not a session beer but it goes down wonderfully.

This beer feels like an IPA or double IPA-Barleywine hybrid. It's quite hoppy in comparison to other barleywines I've tried. Speakeasy has been going up and up in my book. Glad they broke into Japan.


 917 characters

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.

 407 characters

Photo of scottoale
4.33/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2006 Vintage

From the 12oz. brown longneck, poured into a tulip a slightly hazed orange-copper with a 1/4" beige head. Lots of micro bubbles rising to the surface held the head for several minutes leaving some tight lace behind...great looking brew.

Right off the bat is a healthy overload of malt, followed by some grassy hops and phenols too boot. Nice aroma, strong and malty.

Taste starts off sweet and chock full of malt. The malt starts to taper with with some aged hops stepping up to bat to balance the finish with some chocolaty undertones. The alcohol brings some warmth to the end. Flavor wise this stuff really reminds me of a well aged Rogue Old Crustacian...almost to a "T". Tasty for sure.

Big body with a certain creaminess, ending with a slight bit of tang, then mild warmth.

This really is a tasty Barleywine that is aged to a good state at this point....I've never had it fresh, but would definetly recommend this vintage to anyone that loves a good Barleywine.

 985 characters

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.32/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a light reddish brown color, with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of brown sugar, caramelized malts, floral hops and some fruit.

T: The taste is nicely balanced with sweet flavors of caramel, brown sugar and citrus, a strong but not over-powering hops bitterness and a hearty malt character. There's a mild alcohol sting, which is expected for a beer this strong in ABV. The after-taste is slightly hoppy and slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean.

D: Very tasty, goes down very easily, not too filling, strong kick, very good representation of style, this is a great ABW that is worth drinking for a whole evening and seems a bit more poundable than most other beers of its kind.

 871 characters

Photo of akorsak
4.3/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A 12 oz bottle purchased from Liquid Solutions.

A: The ale is a hazy orange-amber color, closer to orange when light shines through. The head was large on pour, over 2 fingers in size. As it slowly recedes, it laces throughout the glass.

S: The nose is a very concentrated malt, full of cereal grains and alcohol.

T: The flavor is much sweeter than the nose would let on. The malt that emerges from a sip is sugary sweet, grainy with some dryness that sets the stage for the hops. The hoppiness is big, luscious and wet, dripping with citrus flavors of pineapple and orange peel. The hop body is quite pleasing, big without overtaking the malts.

M: The mouthfeel is a well-balanced blend of dry malts and citrusy hops. The hops really jump out at you without completely ignoring the malts.

D: I am very impressed with this beer, the big hop profile packs a great deal of citrusy flavor without letting the malts fade away. This is a beer that is worth seeking out.

 979 characters

Photo of fartingdog
4.3/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2006- aged 1 year.

Pours a rich amber with a thin head. Still smells hoppy with citrus notes. The taste is malty and rich, the hop flavor has subdued nicely- still present, but more subtle. After a year this has become quite a good beer. On the first sampling a year ago, I found it overly bitter and hoppy and hot. With a year of age it has become a very enjoyable barleywine. I'll buy some of this years to sit on for a while. I'm actually surprised the hoppy aroma is still quite prevalent.

 494 characters

Photo of RixBeer
4.29/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice light chestnut color with 2 fingers of creamy tan colored head. A bit light looking for the style IMHO.

Wow that's an awesome smell of Barley and Chocolate malt intermingled with a mellow floral hop and some deep caramel. A really good smell is pouring off the head of this one!

Very smooth and rich up front but extremely balanced. Lots of up front barley, chocolate and caramel leading up to that smooth mellow floral hop finishing up the rear. Great taste! Subtle hints of alcohol throughout make this beer incredible!

This beer feels like it fits better than it looks like it would. It's smooth and rides the tongue to the throat without choking in alcohol or overwhelming in any one flavor. Fills without over-filling.

This is drinkable in a 4pk but even then I wonder how many I could have. This is a sipper. A good sipper though! So far my fave from this brewery! Good job!


 906 characters

Photo of ATLbeerDog
4.28/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a gorgeous red that is a pleasure just to look at. A frothy yellow head crowns the beer. Smells as hoppy as any high IBU DIPA with a ton of C-hops in the nose. First sip is sweet malts that quickly shift to a long powerful lip puckering bitterness. Thick clingy lacing heavily coats the glass. The 10.2% ABV is "in your face" and says hello with every sip. A very hoppy American Barley Wine that has the malt to support this hop bomb. I would love to have this on tap.

 474 characters

Photo of watermelonman
4.27/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This arrived as a very dark brown with hints of red. The head was very thin but left a fair amount of lace.

The smell is strong, full of hops and sweet malt. The taste adds alcohol up front along with tons of malt, and the finish is bitter. Alcohol starts to come through as well. The mouthfeel is a little light, while drinkability is high.

 344 characters

Photo of sulldaddy
4.27/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I am sampling a cellar temp bottle poured into a snifter. The beer pours a clear golden to amber color with minimal beige hed foaming up and fading rapidly to islands and edge layer. The aroma is not robust but is complex. There is some white grape and light fruity notes, mixing wtih caramel malts, a bit of brown sugar pokes around as well. But also a solid dose of herbal and piney hops. The nose is balanced and enticing.
First sip reveals an average body with some stickiness to the texture, but not a lot. Almost no carbonation is present, the bubbles that exist are incredibly fine and barely register on the tip of my tongue.
Flavor is sweet caramel and brown sugar, lite fruit and some herbal tea like hops on the finish. No real hint of ABV anywhere, a very easy drinker for a barleywine. Well crafted and tasty, I would grab this one again.

 852 characters

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.

 554 characters

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

12 oz. bottle to snifter.

A- Golden copper with thin, eggshell head. pretty and inviting. thin lacing that fades into small specks on the glass.

S - Smells like hops, but candy coated. very interesting.

T - Starts off bitter, with the grapefruit-like flavor of a very hoppy IPA or DIPA, but then fades into malty sweetness, with slight breadiness in the finish.

M - Very nice, not too heavy, but thick enough to support the big flavors.

D - An enjoyable barleywine, not my favorite style, but pleasant nonetheless.

 529 characters

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

Pours a darkish amber colour, with a tall frothy head of cream coloured bubbles. Body looks quite thick and viscous in the glass, not so much from the pour. Some lacing. Looks pretty good.

Big, boozy aromas on the nose - port, brandy and cognac. Lots of sweet residual sugar characters, caramel and musk. Certainly smells like a fortified wine, but not in a bad way. Jus big and rich and heavy.

Slick and creamy mouthfeel, with a big sweet alcohol presence. Lots of vinous oak characters, lots of malty rich sweetness, and even a slight alcohol afterburn. Residual bitter character, and a lingering breath of booze fumes - it seems to dare me to breathe in after taking a sip.

A fantastic barleywine. One light on the hops, and focusing just on the big, alcomoholic flavours. Certainly a sipper, but in my opinion, this is what a true barleywine should be. I've had too many that just turn up the hop volume and wind up too similar to a DIPA. Very good indeed.

 964 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Old Godfather from Speakeasy Ales & Lagers
85 out of 100 based on 146 ratings.