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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: 14
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 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
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.

Bighuge, Mar 11, 2007
Photo of kmpitz2
3.13/5  rDev -17.6%
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.

kmpitz2, Feb 22, 2007
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

dirtylou, Feb 20, 2007
Photo of Jessefive
3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
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.

Jessefive, Feb 13, 2007
Photo of Gueuzedude
3.53/5  rDev -7.1%
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

Gueuzedude, Feb 08, 2007
Old Godfather from Speakeasy Ales & Lagers
85 out of 100 based on 187 ratings.