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Old Godfather - Speakeasy Ales & Lagers

Not Rated.
Old GodfatherOld Godfather

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

187 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 187
Reviews: 139
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 12.11%
Wants: 15
Gots: 4 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Speakeasy Ales & Lagers visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  9.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: frank4sail on 02-18-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 187 | Reviews: 139 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of canucklehead
3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pretty colour with the dark deep brown tones and the big for B Wine head. The nose is hops with the trad B wine nose in the background. The beer is hoppy alright and quite drinkable fot the style. In fact the only quibble is that the beer is not big enough. The finish is quite bitter and in some circles this might be a double IPA. ( There Double IPA is way more citrus and straight hops.). The drinkability is what make this a very nice beer.

canucklehead, Mar 29, 2008
Photo of jdoncbus
3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an amber-brown. Low carbonation with a few big bubbles appearing. Moderate to low lacing leaving an oily film on glassware.

Nose is raisin, plum, and walnuts; toasted malt as well. Sweet alcohol goes along with hazelnut coffee notes. Piney and citrus hops appear.

Bittersweet malt on the palate is rounded out with a nutty and fruity hopiness. Oily mouthfeel accompanied with a very tart alcohol presence that leaves the throat and stomach warm. Mouth is left dry.

An interesting and enjoyable barleywine. It certainly packs a serious punch with the 10.2% and would recommend.

jdoncbus, Mar 27, 2008
Photo of barleywinefiend
4.53/5  rDev +19.2%
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.

barleywinefiend, Mar 22, 2008
Photo of naproxen
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

fresh squeezed oranges. I must say this is the one defining factor of both aroma and taste for me with this beer. I almost didn't review it, but I had to comment on this taste. It poured a hazy red with a big frothy head which retained for about a minute before subsiding. The nose on this bottle is all orange and alcohol. As for taste, as it comes to warn a little from the fridge the alcohol really became much more prominent. Interesting take on the barley wine.

naproxen, Mar 20, 2008
Photo of BretSikkink
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very attractive appearance; good inch and a half head, tan, that lasts forever. Tiny bubbles stream upwards, seeming to bolster the cap in perpetuity, even as each sip transfers some from the top to the sides of the glass in lacy rings.

Aroma gives off a top layer of hop leaf, indeterminate origin, a bit grassy and not too oily at all, as I was assuming to get. Fusel alcohols also say hi, getting a little more prominent as it warms to room temperature.

I'm slightly disappointed by the overall flavor profile and mouthfeel; that said, it's an enjoyable drink and a fine 10% abv beverage. The qualms: less of a hop profile than I'd like to see for the style, and the mouthfeel is thin. For the amount of the brew that's based on the grain side, you would guess the beer to have more heft. There's also a fairly pronounced fusel alcohol presence especially in the warm finish.

The good news: English toffee and pale malt mingle amongst the flavors you expect in a strong ale; sticky sweet caramel malt that slightly upstages the hops. These are floral primarily, seem to lend a dry character, and are noticeable if not prominent.

The drinkability is solid from the point of view that looks at abv and how long it took to drink; the malts aren't syrupy at all, and the hops don't leave the drinker looking for some cold water between sips. I only gave the drinkability the 3.5 because I wasn't necessarily racing to finish it. There is a good amount of complexity here, and it certainly shares characteristics with barleywines, but I don't find it among the best of those.

Perhaps for marketing purposes this could just be a stock ale, strong ale, something like that. It's tasty and well-crafted, but just a hair light for the billing.

BretSikkink, Mar 10, 2008
Photo of illidurit
3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Color is a muddy reddish brown that turns into brilliant copper when held to light. Good clarity, smallish off-white head. Not much lacing or retention.

Aroma is mainly citrus hops and some caramel sweetness.

Taste is a bit lopsided in favor of hops, with some orangey citrus and pine cutting through the caramel maltiness. Finish is bittersweet and dry.

Carbonation is a bit high for a barleywine, body is medium, finish is smooth and pretty clean. Not hugely complex, but really drinkable.

illidurit, Feb 12, 2008
Photo of barleywinebrewer
3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

thanks to fartingdog for the chance to try this brew! 2007 version.

A - cloudy orange brown body with a nice creamy tan head
S - caramel malts with a strong orange / grapefruit hop note, some warming effects.
T - similar to the nose. alcohol is prominent and the brew seems to be at an inbetween point. the malts are mellowing nicely but the hops seem to be trying to hold onto a citric note but it's more orange juice than strong citric / grapefuit notes.
M - medium - medium full bodied, nicely carbonated, warming effect across the tongue.
D - drank well as it warmed to room temp.

Seemed slightly in transition as it's aging but still a nice brew. Would be interesting to try fresh and then age a few for 2-3 years for comparison. As is, I'm happy to have tried this one.

barleywinebrewer, Feb 01, 2008
Photo of cswhitehorse
3.63/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The Old Godfather poured a a reddish brown color with very little foam head with no lacing or retention. The aroma was high alcohol content with roasted sugars giving off a sweet smell. The taste was spicy with an overly dominant alcohol taste. In the mouth the tongue was sizzling due the dominant abv. Overall not a bad effort but wasn't as relaxing and comforting as some Barley wines have been for me.

cswhitehorse, Jan 26, 2008
Photo of scottoale
4.35/5  rDev +14.5%
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.

scottoale, Jan 24, 2008
Photo of brewandbbq
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage 2006

Pours hazy, dark copper, with an off-white head of a half-inch. The thinnish head falls within two minutes to a partial skim coat on the surface with some errant lacework.
Aromatics are a blend of grapefruit and caramelized malt, with a pungent edge that promises bitterness.
The mouthfeel is on the full side of medium, sticky and chewy.
The pallet is quite malty with plenty of ridgid bitterness and citrus zest.
Assertively hopped and certainly along the lines of an American style barleywine.
The malt backbone is substantial, as is the bitterness, and hop flavors in general.
Alcohol is warming and the brew has a slight numbing quality on the tongue.

Still pretty brash and aggresive, but there are already some faint wet cardboard notes coming through.

brewandbbq, Jan 18, 2008
Photo of tayner
3.4/5  rDev -10.5%
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.

tayner, Jan 12, 2008
Photo of TheBierBand
4.22/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the 12 oz. brown bottle ("Hand-Made FRESH; Small Batches"... although NO PACKAGED ON DATE). I have NO IDEA how old this barleywine is. The pour produced a perfect 1" head of creamy, off-white, extremely light beige foam that had good retainage. As it dissipated, it left some rather pronounced lacing on the glass. The liquid is a deep copper color that is clear except for the micron sized particles hanging in suspension (I LOVE PARTICLES!). They just hang there.... not sinking, not rising... teeny tiny little particles.... just big enough for the eye to see (there's a million of them!).

The nose is toasted malt with some hint of a grassy hops.

The taste: Interesting. This is a different barleywine.... more emphasis on hops that the ones I've had. The first taste that I noticed was a grassy hops, then kind of a musty, basement taste.... (don't get me wrong... I LIKE it). This actually has very little malt taste. There is just enough malt taste to provide a bit of balance. In my opinion, this is NOT on the sweet side of the spectrum. You know there is alcohol in there, but you can hardly taste any evidence of it.

Mouthfeel: Somewhat creamy and smooth, just shy of rich and full bodied. Appropriate carbonation (just a tad on the high side for my taste).

Drinkability: This is a barleywine.... I don't think the intent is to be sessioning these or pounding them back all day long. This is a sipper and, I would expect that they are usually enjoyed one-at-a-time. Nothing objectionable.... just a bit of a surprise about the lack of malt taste... maybe loses a point or two on "style"... reminds me a an American Strong Ale (like Stone: Arrogant Bastard) or even a Double IPA (like Stone: Ruination).

TheBierBand, Jan 07, 2008
Photo of JamesS
4.6/5  rDev +21.1%
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.

JamesS, Dec 27, 2007
Photo of DarkerTheBetter
3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours and amber color with a slight cherry to it with an irregular film of slightly yellow off-white.

Smells of tons of hops (Simcoe?) with no booze at all. There's a sweet and sticky caramle adn brownsugar here, but it's balanced well.

Tastes sweet and easy of carmalized sugar and corn syrup but ends up way too sweet. There's an attempt at balance with a dry woody hop, but it doesn't do nearly enough. Fineshes offnice and hoppy at the end of a sugary ride.

Feels glassy and dense with a frothy, thickening carbonation that leaves a slightly sticky film in my mouth.

A sweet, tasty treat.

DarkerTheBetter, Nov 30, 2007
Photo of fartingdog
4.33/5  rDev +13.9%
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.

fartingdog, Nov 19, 2007
Photo of NeroFiddled
3.55/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The Old Godfather offers a hazy chestnut brown body beneath a beautiful head of creamy tan that holds well and leaes some very nice lacing about the glass. The nose is typically malty with rich caramelish malt, floral hops, and alcohol. The flavor follows suit, but with more heat, and at only 10.2% abv that shouldn't be the case. Allowed to warm a bit, the alcohol diminishes slightly as the malts seem rounder, but it's still there. A touch of piney hops becomes apparent. It's boldly bitter, and with the exception of the heat, well rounded. I'm hoping that next year's version will be better.

NeroFiddled, Nov 10, 2007
Photo of bort11
4.1/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to unclejedi for this one.

12 oz screen-printed bottle poured into a Duvel tulip glass. Frothy egg-shell white head that paints the glass with a tight foamy lace. Beautiful dark ruby red color with a slight hint of orange. Very active carbonation.
Smell is sweet and malty up front, with a smokey citrus finish. Taste is like a cherry wood smoke, with an orange peel citrus flavor. Caramel and toffee malt flavors round it out.
Mouthfeel is very smooth. Do not really notice the ABV. Mild carbonation on the tongue. Very nice barley wine. Would like to try more beers from this brewer.

bort11, Oct 06, 2007
Photo of Floydster
3.8/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle from Beverage Warehouse in Los Angeles

Poured into a frosted mug with a deep red/brown color and a super small white head that faded in two seconds

Smell was a mix between coffee, toffee, and sweet fruit scents

Tasted like and ipa and barleywine mix with both sweetness and bitterness, and deep grapefruit taste

Very drinkable for a barleywine style beer, taste lasts pretty long

Grab some of this if you see any around anymore, might not because it is only released in the winter

Floydster, Sep 14, 2007
Photo of ArrogantB
3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2006 vintage. Ruby-red color with a small head. Aroma is excellent, sweet candied malts, mmmm. The taste does not live up to the smell. The taste is some candy sweetness but nothing spectacular. The mouthfeel is too thin and prickly. Overall, this one was not a bad beer but it was not a great Barleywine.

ArrogantB, Aug 27, 2007
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.65/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

"I'd gotten to know quite a few mafiosi, and all of them told me they loved the picture because I had played the Godfather with dignity. Even today, I can't pay a check in Little Italy."

--Marlon Brando

Burnished orange with a generous splash of cranberry red. The upper few inches of the snifter contain a quality cap of pale orangish ecru that is more creamy and more persistent than most 10.2% ales that I've run across. This is a beautiful barleywine.

The nose is solid as well, even if it isn't as hoppy as I like beer of this style to be. I'm guessing that there's slightly more pale malt than caramel malt, but it's hard to say for sure. A cherries macerated in vodka fruitiness completes the nasal profile. It smells like Old Godfather will be strictly by the book on the palate.

Tough call. My first impression is that the body isn't big enough for the ABV. The beer feels a trifle thin in the mouth and is a little too harshly medicinal. I'm starting it out close to 55 degrees (which isn't optimal, I know), so I'll reserve final judgment until it comes a little closer to room temperature.

Given the '001' on the back of the silk-screened bottle, my best guess is that this beer is a little over one year old. I'm pretty sure that Speakeasy didn't start bottling this offering until early 2006. Given that, it's still an impressively bitter American barleywine. I wish, however, that more hop flavor had survived intact... assuming it was there to begin with.

Warming helps somewhat, but I'm still not blown away by Old Godfather. English toffee and sugared grapefruit rind are still saturated by too much unchecked alcohol. In fact, tongue numbing is beginning to set in, keeping me from appreciating any nuances that might be developing as the beer gains a few degrees.

The mouthfeel doesn't really come together as well as I'd like. It's on the light side of medium for the style, yet still manages a slick, modestly sticky finish. More malt is the obvious answer to most of this beer's (admittedly minor) faults.

I wish that I had let Old Godfather Barley Wine-Style Ale age for another year at least. More time in the cellar will probably smooth out some of the rough edges, but I can't see how the mouthfeel will do anything but deteriorate. Unfortunately, at this point in time, this is an offer that I *can* refuse.

BuckeyeNation, Jun 08, 2007
Photo of akorsak
4.33/5  rDev +13.9%
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.

akorsak, May 14, 2007
Photo of jdhilt
3.53/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a two finger light tan head that fades slowly leaving a good lace. Cloudy amber color. Light carbonation and medium bodied. Hoppy nose. Flavor begins malty but hops come in to dominate a piney finish. High ABV is hidden by the hops. Not sweet enough for a barleywine. $2.19 for a 12oz bottle from Hi-Time Cellars Costa Mesa, Ca.

jdhilt, Apr 10, 2007
Photo of stephendr
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle- color of dark blood orange , with a frothy thick off white head - nose of brown sugar , malt , dark milk chocolate , slight spruce , some red fruit , and alcohol – taste of brown sugar , malt , dark milk chocolate , and slight spruce - body is medium high , raw , and with low carbonation – aftertaste of alcohol , malt , and bitter chocolate

stephendr, Apr 10, 2007
Photo of mikesgroove
4.47/5  rDev +17.6%
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.

mikesgroove, Apr 08, 2007
Photo of woodychandler
4.1/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My bottle was marked as "2006" vintage and while I probably should have waited for it to age, yesterday's successful tasting left me flush with the confidence to do this right.

This only produced about a finger's worth of a mocha-colored head, but it had good retention. The nose was a sharp mix of alcohol, caramel, and a slight hoppiness. The color was beautiful - about as perfect an amber as I have encountered for a long time, accompanied by NE-quality clarity. Mouthfeel was thin to medium with a hot alcohol intensity on the tongue, accompanied by a sugary sweetness. The finish was very sugary, malty in its execution. The Godfather needs to sit in a cool, dark cell for a little while and mellow out.

woodychandler, Mar 18, 2007
Old Godfather from Speakeasy Ales & Lagers
85 out of 100 based on 187 ratings.