Olde School Barleywine - Dogfish Head Brewery
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Ratings: 2,021 | Reviews: 967 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Phatz:
2.98/5 rDev -24.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5
I was surprisingly very disappointed with this beer. It maybe that I am at fault for not knowing what I was getting into. My favorite beer is Victory's Old Horizontal. An American Barley Wine. I also enjoyed Weyerbacher's Insanity. An American Barley Wine. This 'Olde School Barleywine' is supposedly an American Barley Wine. After looking it up I suppose it does meet the criteria BUT it is NOT what I was expecting! If you are a bitter beer fan, or you like that extremely floral yellow flower taste of sour lilies and tart dandelions then you can disregard my negative comments, you will enjoy this. I however, was expecting and easy drinking smooth beer like Old Horizontal and this is NOT that.
Appearance: Pours out the color of apple juice. 1-2 finger white head fades fast. Good lacing lasts throughout the beer. Transparent and thin looking, like champagne. Lots of carbonation.
Smell: The smell is soapy. Orange. Alcohol.
Taste: Bite! Bite! Bite! SOUR, and BITTER (for what I'd expect). This is not a double IPA, where you want super hops on steroids (that has its place), this is not it (for me). Alpha Attack ;) is meant for that. I did not find this an enjoyable Barley Wine. If you can get through the bitter beer facing long enough to hold it in your mouth for a minute; once all the bitey, prickly, bitter taste has dissipated down your throat, there is infact a momentary pleasant taste of sweet caramel. SMACK! Then the bitter is back.
Mouthfeel: The texture of the beer is nice; if only it didn't bite like vinegar, it would be pleasing in the mouth. It is rather creamy and full of carbonation.
Drinkability: This almost got a 3 for drinkability because as long as you cover the bitter, hoppy, rabbit food tastes, the texture and the subtly underlying sweets can be refreshing. With PLEANTY of cheese I can almost quench a thirst and come close to enjoying it. Still, I think I'd rather go with a Victory's Old Horizontal, or a Weyerbacher's Insanity, which I can actually enjoy without needing to hide the taste. They are much more pleasant options, if your like me.
As my palate for hops is maturing I came back to say this is not as unbearable as I first thought it was just surprising to me at the time.
Now 7-8 months in the cellar it is unclear how much of the change in this beer is my palate and how much is the maturing or the beer. The beer is still very shard and boozy with sugar, caramel and alcohol upfront. The pine seems to have faded substantially and now it is really only distracting in the somewhat sour grassy aftertaste. It seems to be lacking the big grapefruit hop I have grown to like and instead the grassy character comes through as a dandelion stem flavor. But it is much more muted than when I had this beer 8 months ago. Everything up to the aftertaste is very nice with sweet caramel sugars and bit of alcohol bite, yet it maintains a chewy syrupy oily slick, texture. I definitely prefer this one wit some age on it.
Hope this is helpful.
Serving type: bottle
12-08-2005 11:28:10 | More by Phatz
More User Reviews:
4.43/5 rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5
A- Pours a burnt orange with a nice light tan head. Head retention doesnt hold for very long.
S- I get dark fruit which obviously comes from the figs and dates. if it wasnt for the label i might say currants.
T- Seriously smooth for 15% with a great dark fruit finish. Sweetness from the caramel malts but a good sweetness.
M- Medium bodied with a great coat.
O- Awesome what they did with this beer. so strong but yet so well balanced.
Serving type: bottle
07-15-2014 02:40:42 | More by Juuroumaru
3.83/5 rDev -3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
Reviewing from notes after drinking on 4/19/14. Enjoyed out of a 12 oz brown bottle with a bottling date of 10/9/13, so this one is sitting right about at six months of age. Poured into a large 22 oz snifter glass.
Appearance - Pours a rich carmine red with vermilion highlights and darker notes of brick where the one finger of khaki foam shades the body from the light source with small, tight bubbles save for a few smatterings of larger bubbles resulting from the froth of the pour. Retention is moderate to slight, with the head slinking away to leave a film of head and a thick ringlet around the edge of the glass. No lacing to speak of.
Smell - Woo, the time this one has sat certainly hasn't done much to the booziness, unless this beer started out as a ethanol bomb. Admittedly, the sweetness from the malt and figs is seemingly working to draw out more of the characteristics of the alcohol. With some time and warmth, the aroma calms down a bit to reveal notes of caramel and molasses as well as candied fig and medium fruits. There are also some hints at hoppy bitterness, but really the malt dominates the smell.
Taste - Similar to the aroma, the ABV is not hidden in the slightest--you taste every bit of the 15%, but oddly it works well with the sweetness from the malt and figs. There is some definite heat to the taste--and no I don't mean spicy heat. The finish has notes of bitterness where I didn't get it before. That's the first sign of the hoppiness that one might expect from a beer that styles itself "American" barleywine. Really, the booze far too overt in this beer for it to be one that I really latch onto.
Mouthfeel - Medium-bodied with a certain thickness to it, almost viscous, along with low carbonation and a burn in the chest after you swallow, like you might expect from a distilled liquor.
Overall, a good enough beer, but one that clearly needs some age to be enjoyable. I'd heard this one was hot if you drink it fresh, and based on my experience at six months, I'd have a hard time disagreeing. I wish I had another bottle to sit on a bit longer and see how it was drinking after a year, but for the time being, it's a decent beer. I'd also change the classification, only because the figs add a sweetness that reminded me more of the English style than the super hoppy, bitter American style.
Serving type: bottle
07-09-2014 06:33:38 | More by LambicPentameter
Olde School Barleywine from Dogfish Head Brewery
89 out of 100 based on 2,021 ratings.