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Old Godfather - Speakeasy Ales & Lagers

Not Rated.
Old GodfatherOld Godfather

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

147 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 147
Hads: 211
Avg: 3.81
pDev: 13.65%
Wants: 16
Gots: 16 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Speakeasy Ales & Lagers
California, United States | website

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: 147 | Hads: 211
Photo of tcfishler
2.3/5  rDev -39.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Clear reddish garnet with a decent head for its ABV.

Nose is expressive, with a bit of roastedness and a lot of piney hops. A little bit of fruit in the background.

Palate is fairly lively, with a sensation of acidity but also a fair amount of sweetness. Plenty of bitterness courtesy of the hops, and a sharp alcoholic bite too.

A bold hoppy barleywine, for fans of the style only.

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Photo of Overlord
2.31/5  rDev -39.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Wow. I was expecting to be pleasantly surprised by this brew, but was decidedly not.

Pours a sort of ruddy brown with an inch or two of tan head. Not bad looking actually.

Smells like ... pine, rubbing alcohol, and a hint of caramel. Seriously, what's with the alcohol presence? Barleywines shouldn't smell like like cleaning solvents.

Taste basically delivers what the aroma promises. There's a slushy brown sugary-y hoppy and caramel malty flavor to it, but the booziness is raw, unpleasant, and when meshed with a decidedly hop-forward flavor profile this becomes a decidedly unpleasant beer to drink.


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Photo of BradBLR
2.47/5  rDev -35.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I was a little disappointed in this beer. I am a huge fan of the other SpeakEasy Brews, but this one did not cut it for me. When I poured it into the glass it had nice brownish amber color with a nice pale yellow head.

There was not much of a smell, except for the smell of alcohol. the taste was that of mostly alcohol, a slighty malty flavor foloowed up by some hops. However everything was mostly over powered by the taste of the alcohol. The mouthfeel was fair, but I thought it was failry thin for a barley wine.

Over all not one of my favorities, and I am sad because I have enjoyed all of speakeasy's other beers. I will give it another try after my next bottle has had a chance to age a little bit.

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Photo of BlindPig
2.5/5  rDev -34.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

A- 1/4" light tan head. Clearish amber color.
S-Alcohol seems strong. Some malts backing it. Maybe sweet fruits or sweet hops.
T-Alcohol taste with warming. Malty character. Light bitterness in taste and grows in aftertaste. Some strange flavors also.
M-full body, sticky, low carbonation.
D-It's not good at all couldn't even finish a 12oz bottle of it. Some very strange flavors.

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Photo of Ryan011235
2.76/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a snifter on 6/22/09

Poured half the bottle - split with a fellow drinker.

A - Cloudy lighter brown hue; sort of muddy looking - similar to pond water. Poured a negligible head. Minimal lacing.

S - Sweet aroma, plenty of candied malts in the nose with a boozy smell.

T - Hints of caramel, the taste of something burnt & a subdued hop presence. A touch of alcohol in the finish.

M - Moderate carbonation, yet rather slick on the tongue. There was a tingling sensation that had staying power, kind of an boozy numbness.

D - I found this beer to be rather disappointing. It came across as lacking balance or at the very least, one dimensional.

Notes: Aged about 6 months. It just didn't work for me, but I wouldn't be entirely opposed to giving it another shot someday.

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Photo of SportsandJorts
2.91/5  rDev -23.6%
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 scottfrie
2.98/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle into goblet.

A: Dark honey-brown iced tea color with a quarter inch of tan head that left a sheet of lacing on the way down.
S: Hints of sweet malt, grain, alcohol, citrusy hops and some type of sweet fruit. Not particularly smelly.
T: Malt, caramel, hops, alcohol and licorice, especially in the aftertaste. Slight cough syrup flavor.
M: Alcohol warms the back of the throat and is a little sharp at times. The warmth coats your mouth and lingers for a while. The alcohol overpowers the flavor just a tad, but otherwise the carbonation and mouth-feel is fine.
D: A decent beer but the aftertaste is a little off putting. The alcohol seems to dominant the flavor as well. Ageing would probably even out the alcohol and make the flavor more balanced. I may not buy this beer again, but it was worth the try.

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Photo of confer
2.98/5  rDev -21.8%
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 ReDave
3.01/5  rDev -21%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottle marked 2006 [probably needs to cellar a bit] Dark dark amber, almost brown. NO head, NO lace. Smell very malty. Taste somewhat sour malt and hops present, but i'm guessing that several months of lagering will help this rather unmelded taste. Somewhat drinkable now, hoping it will be very drinkabe in 6 months

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Photo of jczn
3.02/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Vintage 2006; poured into a pint glass.

A: Not much head; what there is disappears almost immediately. There was a significant amount of yeast in the bottle, some of which made it into the glass. This probably contributed to the cloudiness of the beer. Color is muddy brown with a red/orange highlights.

S: Malty, sweet aroma suggests high final gravity. No hop aroma.

T: The first sensation is the high-alpha bittering hops, followed by a malty sweetness. Not much in the way of hop flavor, but the bitterness is certainly there. It's clearly a big beer and you recognize the warmth of alcohol, but there doesn't seem to be the complexity you expect in this style -- a straghtforward beer.

M: Mouthfeel is decent; I think it may be helped by high FG.

D: Because the style is among my favorites it's a beer that I don't mind drinking. That said, it is not one of the better examples of the style. The simplicity does not suit barlywine, though I suppose it could improve with age. At this point, the beer is hop bitterness, oversweet malt flavor and not much else.

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Photo of Lucklys
3.03/5  rDev -20.5%
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 degerbah
3.08/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a light brown with almost no head at all. What head there is stick to the glass like glue. The beer smells extremely malty, almost to the point where it smells like unfermented wort. The sweet malty smell carries over to the beer which is so malty it is almost tongue curdling. This beer is the definition of too sweet. I feel that the beer was not properly fermented. Although there is a little bit of hops in the aftertaste this is a malt bomb to the point that it isn't as good as it could be if it was more balanced.

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Photo of kmpitz2
3.15/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle. The brew pours a solid amber color with only a sparse head. Clarity is excellent and carbonation is fleeting. Taking a deep inhale, I get a deep deep caramel mixed with a wood-like character. There is a definite earthyness to it. The flavor is a bit sweeter than I want. It is almost a bit cloying in the sweetness. Behind that, I get a touch of earthy hop, but that sweetness really kicks me hard. I would like this one to be more attenuated. Mouthfeel is thick and syrupy with an apparent lack of carbonation. It sits really heavy. Drinkability suffers from the sweetness and the associated characters. This one is a bit of a let down.

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Photo of usmittymc
3.16/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a glass.

A: Hazy rosy amber in color. A reasonable off white head forms and gradually fades away to a respectable lacing.

S: Alcohol and grain. Subtle fruit aromas (plum) are present as well.

T: Smooth malt on the front tries to mask the alcohol that kicks in on the back, but doesn't do that great of a job. The alcohol is really present on the palate.

M: Good carbonation, sturdy on the palate. Slight burn from the alcohol.

D: Not a whole hell of a lot, but then again it is a barleywine. High alcohol content and flavor makes for one at most in a session. Not bad, but my curiosity of this beer is now satisfied. Won't be looking for it in the future.

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Photo of Pencible
3.18/5  rDev -16.5%
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 Westsidethreat
3.23/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Looks like a semi cloudy garnett color with a butter cream colored head...most of which has collapsed. Some stray bubbles still rest on the surface with a healthy ring around the glass.

S: Sort of soapy with some pinesol, tangerine, raspberries and graham crackers. Unbalanced IMO

T: Begins malty with some fruity/berry notes. Immediately some soapiness takes shape and dilutes the attractive fruit notes. Unfortunately the soapiness lingers longer than I would like (for the rest of the beer actually). A spark of bitterness occurs and embraces the palate and finishes the finale of the beer.

M: Medium body with a bit of a fluffy carbonation.

D: As far as barleywines go, this one is a miss.

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Photo of czechsaaz
3.3/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Very fruity fermentation aroma. I'm getting a big malt backbone with apples, peaches, plums and all kinds of fruit. There's some hop aroma, but it takes a bacseat to the malt. I smell some interesting malt that seems a little like Vienna but it's not easy to pick out. Some sniffs is like Vienna and others seem like dark crystal.

Light amber, on the light end of what I'm used to seeing in a barleywine. Smallish but lasting head with food lacing. Very clear. Small rising carbonation.

Flavor is kind of strange. I get a lot of malt flavors, but there's some overripe fruit thing going on. Kind of like DMS but not really. Kind of like diacetyl, but not really. This is weird because there's something there that my palate doesn't like but I can't quite put my finger on what it is. Hop bitterness is pretty high and there's good hop flavor in the mid palate. But whatever that flavor is keeps me from really enjoying it.

Full bodied and smooth. Creamy on the toungue.

That off flavor keeps me from really enjoying drinking this so it gets low marks for drinkability. It's a tough glass for me to get through.

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Photo of mactrail
3.33/5  rDev -12.6%
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 bbothen
3.33/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into Sam Adams high tech beer glass.

Pours a clear caramel color with a thick & frothy 1 finger deep tan colored head.

Smells of sweet malts, some chocolate, toasted aromas, some faint hops & booze.

Bready sweet malts, citric hops, noticable booziness, bitter, somewhat harsh, strong medininal taste and unbalanced to my palate.

Thick, medium bodied, moderate carbonation, lingering booziness.

The flavor profiles here are not my favorite, so this is a one and done for me. Not bad, just not to my liking so much.

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Photo of bheilman
3.35/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark/opaque brown color. Not the best looking beer. Has a decent scent but nothing that really catches your attention. I think caramel with the wiff. Lots of malted caramel little hops which is somewhat refreshing compared to most of the hop heavy barleywines I've drank recently, but the truth is I prefer the hop heavy drinks. Does have some oak or somewhat woody flavor in the taste too. Aftertaste does bring some hop bitterness and it is sort of alcohol tasting and leaves a warm feeling. Solid beer on a cold winter day. Not all that drinkable though because of the intensity.

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Photo of tayner
3.4/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

amber color with thin ring.

nose is sweet hops.

The taste is first a citrus/pine and almost musty hop flavor. midpalate there is a sweet malt flavor, and then an alcohol finish.

fairly substantial mouthfeel, although this one reminds me more of a strong ale rather than bw.

I think this is very drinkable for most. I am not into hops much, and although this has a definite hop presence it is not a "hop bomb" so to speak, and i had no problem finishing one 12 oz, although i couldnt take the hops, or the alcohol for that matter, in more than one bottle at a time. I probably wont ever pick one of these up off the shelf again, but it was certainly worth trying once.

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Photo of Mightykingmalard
3.41/5  rDev -10.5%
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 Beermanmiles
3.41/5  rDev -10.5%
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 SurlyDuff
3.43/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

"Some day, and that day may never come, I will call upon you to do a service for me."

What's that Don? You want me to drink this beer? Well, my pleasure!

A thick dark amber, pours almost like syrup it seems. Tan head, with sticky glass-grabbing lacing on the sides.

Huge aroma of caramel, overripe fruit, honey, and hot alcohol.

Alcohol is jsut to big in the taste, overpowering bite and medicinal hot spice. Some menthol and spice. It finishes up bitter despite a sweet honey and malt begining and middle. I liked it, but its a slow drinker and even a whole bottle was a bit much. Felt like i wasted more of my sobriety on this one than I would have liked.

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Photo of Fatehunter
3.44/5  rDev -9.7%
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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Old Godfather from Speakeasy Ales & Lagers
86 out of 100 based on 147 ratings.