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Old Godfather - Speakeasy Ales & Lagers

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Old GodfatherOld Godfather

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very good

197 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 197
Reviews: 140
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 11.58%
Wants: 15
Gots: 6 | 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

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 197 | Reviews: 140
Photo of NeroFiddled
3.56/5  rDev -6.3%
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.

Photo of bort11
4.11/5  rDev +8.2%
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.

Photo of Floydster
3.77/5  rDev -0.8%
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

Photo of ArrogantB
3.72/5  rDev -2.1%
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.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
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.

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.

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.

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

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.

Photo of woodychandler
4.13/5  rDev +8.7%
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.

Photo of Bighuge
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear, fiery orange body. Dense, light beige head. Lacing is quite full. Nice aroma of caramel malts and a little bit of piney hops. Solid flavor to this barleywine. Malts are fairly rich with caramel and toffee coming through. Hops add a touch of grassy, piney nature. Alcohol is noted in the background. It all melds together to create a good barleywine.

Photo of kmpitz2
3.15/5  rDev -17.1%
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.

Photo of dirtylou
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz single, i think obtained from IrishSnake in the "These go to Eleven Bif", that spawned in my mind one night

appearance: somewhat mysterious bottle with the creepy eyes on the neck staring me down as i pour...pours into a snifter a glowing clear garnet body, light beige cream head with little retention and slight lacing...this appearance usually indicates a hoppy monster is on its way...

smell: one dimensional hop blast on the nose even though this was likely released at least 6 months ago, pungent fruit punch cocktail, holiday spicing, big and bold cherry, flashy and energetic

taste: yikes this is quite the barleywine. It's definitely one dimentional as a hop bomb, but the winter season has resulted in me drinking less full fledged hop bombs so this was a nice treat...sharp boozy presence (light gin/vodka trait), fruit punch, dripping green hops, light caramel malt balance provided, strong pine presence. strong and tasty

mouthfeel: pungent hoppy beast, boozy but smooth

drinkability: its tough, but i'll manage

Photo of Jessefive
3.63/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

The first thing I noticed was the clarity. It poured a clear red color. The aroma was very hoppy, although this didn't come through too much in the flavor. There was a very light sweetness, with flavors of cherry, honey, and watermelon. The body was light for a barley wine, but still heavy feeling compared to the subtle sweetness. There was some alchohol in the finish, which is not suprising, given the ABV. This was a very tasty beer, although not as extreme in flavor or body as I was expecting.

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.54/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours with a frothy, initially one-finger thick, light tan colored head the quickly dissipates to a spotty covering of foam. The beer is a brilliantly clear, amber tinged red color when held up to the light, and it is so clear that it shows just a touch deeper, yet similar coloring just sitting in my glass. As I poured this brew into my glass I seemed to get purely malt notes, yet hops are the first thing I notice when I go in for the first draught of the nose. The hop aromatic notes are comprised of a green herbaceous note and some light citrus character. Really though this beer's nose is about the rich malt character. Concentrated caramelized malt notes dominate with notes of toffee, toasted grain and a fresh cracker / biscuit character. The combination of malt and hop aromatics at times takes on notes of bergamot and even candied orange peel.

Definitely sweet tasting, though not syrupy, but the sweetness tastes as if it has been filtered too much. I get the sense that some malt complexity has been lost to some overly aggressive filtering. A fair amount of hop character has been packed into this brew; notes of citrus are prominent as are sharper notes of menthol and pine. There is a nice bitterness here as well that is quite big at times. The hops actually provide a nice sharpness throughout the flavor profile; at first sharp, tongue tingling, herbal notes are noticed, but these move to a clean bitterness and a sharp citrus note.

This beer is pretty good, but in the end it really seems like it has been filtered a bit too much. This would be much better as a bottle conditioned, unfiltered beer.

Purchased: Liquid Solutions, OR

Photo of mentor
3.6/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed about 6 months ago, but just posting now. Thanks to wezil for this one ala BIF33.

Pours a half finger light tan head that settles to a thin layer. Mildly cloudy orange brown liquid. Smells strongly of pine. Pine rides alcohol, giving it a pine-sol character. Caramel malty is beneath and has a mild hazelnut. Some biscuit malt and some plums appeared as the beer warmed.

Tastes piney, but not as strong as I was expecting. Alcohol gives the pine a medicinal quality and some sherry-like characteristics make an appearance. Hop bitterness is fairly low, lower than the sting from the alcohol, which I also consider a bit low for the style. Aftertaste is wet sweet and caramel malty. Some nut and a touch of chocolate. American b-wine is a style I’m not tremendously excited about and this beer is safe all around for the style. Flavor intensity is mild in all regards for the style (hops, malt, alcohol sting), making this perhaps the most drinkable of all American B-wines I’ve tried. Medium body and modest carbonation. Light pitted fruit flavors became more intense as the beer warmed and made a significant improvement in filling out the flavor profile.

Photo of TastyTaste
4.1/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Orange copper color, lighter than usual. White head, slow even fade.

Smell: Light alcohol and brown-sugar malt sweetness. A little raisin?

Taste: A little raw alcohol and malt dominate this flavor, but overall smooth and well-blended, especially when it warms. Peaks with honey drenched sweetness, then fades with some moderate hops. Good, overall.

Drinkability: Nice to try different BW's, and this one is a little different then many out there, mor balanced. Thanks to Zorro for the bottle.

Photo of oberon
3.92/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep reddish color with a tight formed one finger head that left no lace behind,great balance to the aromas with a pretty big hop presence brown sugar and gummy fruit intertwined with a lingering piney hop really made for a promising beer.Sadly the flavors were more one sided and they really didnt hammer their character home,sweetish brown sugar and cherry notes hit first off,a nutty alcohol soaked cake kinda presence comes thru as it warms,as for the hops they are there but not real big hitters giving off somewhat of a herbal finish.This is a nice barley wine quite flavorful if the hops on the palate would have matched the nose it would be off the charts in my mind.

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.

Photo of tcfishler
2.3/5  rDev -39.5%
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.

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.

Photo of flexabull
3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice clear amber color, a bit of a head, and what looks like a decent amount of carbonization.

Smells are pretty good. Aromas of raisins, sweet bread, and a hint of malts and hops.

Taste is just like the aroma, interesting how it just follows the aromas. There is a tad more of a hop character in the taste, but not too much... pretty good stuff.

Mouthfeel is good. You taste the flavors right away, and they linger a bit too.

A pretty good example of a barleywine... didn't blow me away, but is certainly worth a try.

Photo of MaltyGoodness
3.45/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle - 2006 edition - thanks to jhammerly

Pours a hazy brown-amber with a very small white head that promptly disappears. Lightly speckled lacing on the glass.

Aroma of piney hops and caramel malt with a slight booziness as it warms.

Sweet caramel malts upfront that slide into a mild bitter bite and a wave of piney hops. Fininshes sweet and malty.

For a barleywine with such a high ABV, the body seems somewhat thin for the style and the carbonation is very low.

A fairly decent barleywine overall.. I enjoyed the bottle and drank it with relative ease, but won't be seeking to trade for any more from this year's release.

Photo of BlindPig
2.5/5  rDev -34.2%
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.

Photo of czechsaaz
3.3/5  rDev -13.2%
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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Old Godfather from Speakeasy Ales & Lagers
85 out of 100 based on 197 ratings.