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Old Godfather - Speakeasy Ales & Lagers

Not Rated.
Old GodfatherOld Godfather

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

144 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 144
Hads: 203
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 11.81%
Wants: 15
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
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Reviews: 144 | Hads: 203
Photo of Phocion
4.09/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 bottle. Poured into a pint glass, dark bronze color with a minimal head which quickly fades into a light lacing.

Smells predominately of citrus and hops, though light for a barley wine. The hops fades away the longer the beer sits and is gradually overpowered by the sweet malt.

Nicely balanced for an American barley wine, but not too complex. Very malty, nutty, and a butterscotch/molasses-like sweetness with a defined but mild hops finish and citrus undertones. Alcohol is evident, but fairly well hidden considering this one passes the 10% mark.

Medium-bodied with very light carbonation and a very smooth and creamy feel.

This one is probably TOO drinkable. Delicious, very smooth and with relatively little hops/alcohol taste for the style and ABV. Actually somewhat refreshing as well, all things considered. This one could be scary. (852 characters)

Photo of Zorro
4.42/5  rDev +16%
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 pjwilson
3.87/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I don't really care for big beers in the heat, but this slight dip down to the 70's means a perfect chance to try a good american barely wine. Will this one live up to the challenge? 2006 bottle.

appearance: pours a very clear amber color. speakeasy doesn't filter their beers, and that it very obvious here, as the beer is super clear, more than any BW i've seen. decent but small head.

smell: some toasted malts, no hop bomb here. deeper sniffs reveal a strong booze element. I nice blended thing. This is reminding me a off North Coast's Old Stock a bit.

taste: quite a tasty malty barelywine. the alcohol presence is huge here, yet just blended enough with the malts to work. the malts bring to mind sheets of toffee, leaving a linger sweetness in the mouth. yet not a thick bw by any means.

mouthfeel: that typical speakeasy lightness in the beer, ie watered down. it's watery for a bw, but again, works for this beer.

drinkability: despite the light mouthfeel, this is a very slow sipper, think scotch. very slow sipper, and i'm glad it's in 12 once bottles.

A nice purchase, for a no sense bw, although, i can't see wanting more than every few months, which is no problem because i'm sure these will cellar great. frankly this tastes a little young at 5 months, i will cellar at least one another full year. (1,335 characters)

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. (712 characters)

Photo of clickpush
3.84/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour: bottled marked as 2006 vintage to tulip glass. Comes out w/ absolutely no head and hardly any lacings. It's a transparent burnt-sienna hue and has no visible carbonation.

Nose: The smell is very light and the beer requires a lot of agitation to bring it out, but what does appear is quite pleasant. Smells of vanilla cream, pears and butterscotch before drinking. After getting this beer in my mouth a sweetcorn aroma came up from the back.

Mouth: Bananas and nuts, nice and sweet, up front upon entry. Toffy-ish in the back w/ an excellent balance of sweet and bitter. Also, although it's not visible in the pour, there is a nice amount of carbonation that comes with this beer. It has an excellent, long lasting bitterness in the back of the mouth and slight tanginess on the sides of the tongue - flavors of malts and cereals. This beer, at 10.2 abv, gives a nice, warm alcohol feeling that stayed with me for at least 2 minutes after just one sip. Excellent flavor and great mouthfeel from the carbonation and warming alcohol in the mouth & throat. (1,064 characters)

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 (316 characters)

Photo of IntriqKen
4.05/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

April, 2006
Poured dark amber in a snifter with a small amber colored head that melted to a substantial lacing for the rest of the drink.
Aroma is unusually sweet with a citrus hop and very strong alcohol scents
Mouthfeel is full and syrupy coating on your tongue but very little carbonation.
Taste is strongly citrus/piney/grapefruit hops with sweet toasted malts and dark fruits, finishing back to citrus hops and then heavy alcohol.
Right now this still feels a little rough and unbalanced. I want to cellar a couple of bottles to revisit a year from now.
June 27th, 06 revisit.
As i suspected this has mellowed with age.
Alcohol is still VERY predominate in both the aroma and taste (less in taste than aroma) but overall it has mellowed and become much more balanced.
Revisited my last bottle Aug 1st, 2006.
It has already mellowed and balanced. I hope to find more to drink and keep.
Taste is no longer raw, but rather smoothed with a touch of brown sugar. Alcohol seems almost hidden now. Good job, Speakeasy.
Ok...I admit...I'm in love.
Just kicked TASTE to 4.5 based upon current tasting. (1,120 characters)

Photo of Crosling
3.76/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draught tonight @ Toranado in San Francisco, California. Dark burgundy in color with a small and diminishing light purple head. An aroma of honey, mild fruits (huge hints of grapes) and hops (the west coast piney, resinous, grapefruit ones....) Like mostly barley wines....I really can’t complain about the flavor. The malt backing is adequate, showing honey covered dark fruits and caramel and the hops are profound, oily and coating. A pretty tasty beer. (460 characters)

Photo of DogFood11
4.37/5  rDev +14.7%
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 germaniac
4.05/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Old Godfather
10.25% abv

I was never sure if the same one posted here on BA. The name was slightly different, the abv was lower, and all the reviews were on tap. But someone posted a bottle pic, and it's the same one that's been in my fridge for a week. That's good enough for me!

Poured into my Magnolia Strong Beer Month "balloon glass", this brew is a shiny red brown, clear for the most part, with a little bit of murkiness in it's depths.

A warm, boozy scent radiates, with notes of pineapple, of all things. A quick hop bitterness, and just the barest hint of malt to round things out.

A strong malty base thickens the hop bite of this brew. It's hoppy, but the hops get reined in just enough to avoid total bitterness overload. There are moments when the hops feel like they might take over, but that never fully happens. Instead, the malts and hops riff off each other pretty well. Really not much alcohol presence here in the taste. That's kind of worrisome- way to strong to be this drinkable. The 12oz. bottle I was "sipping" on disappeared pretty quickly after it warmed up a bit.

Maybe Old Godfather isn't the patriarch of West Coast Barleywines yet, but the next few years' editions have some interesting potential.

"Kiss the ring" (1,270 characters)

Photo of watermelonman
4.27/5  rDev +12.1%
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 GClarkage
4.59/5  rDev +20.5%
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 donnebaby
3.81/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A tight normal head of light tan color adorns a thinly dark brown body. Nose was bitter, with nothing else jumping out at me at the time. Taste is brutal bitter hoppage, puncturing. Huge fresh mint leaf and fresh hop leaf taste structure. Something vegetal, that is burned away by the hops. An excellent and somehow light and refreshing overall feel, despite hop grating and ABV.

Had this from a keg at the 21st Amendment Brewpub Holiday Beerschool, at which it was called simply "Old Godfather", with a 10% ABV. (516 characters)

Photo of frank4sail
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this at Monk's Cafe' on Tap 2-8-03. It has a deep red color with a substantial white head and sheen esp. for a barleywine (abv). Deep colored attractive brew. Rich malty sweet floral hop nose.. almost too much hops. Smooth medium mouth for a barleywine (maybe a little light). Taste is one of huge hop bitterness. The crazy bitterness mellows into a flowery bitter citrus (orange peel) flavor. The finish is very bitter to the tongue. The brew could be more balenced on the malt backbone.. but overall a good brew. Note: this brew is not for you at all unless you are a hophead, the bitterness is not for everyone. (618 characters)

Old Godfather from Speakeasy Ales & Lagers
86 out of 100 based on 144 ratings.