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Olde School Barleywine - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Olde School BarleywineOlde School Barleywine

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

2,046 Ratings
THE BROS
86
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,046
Reviews: 969
rAvg: 3.96
pDev: 13.13%
Wants: 185
Gots: 487 | FT: 24
Brewed by:
Dogfish Head Brewery visit their website
Delaware, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  15.04% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes/Commercial Description:
Bold, yet smooth! Fermented with dates and figs, this bone-crushing barleywine has a unique flavor.

85 IBU
ABV varies from 13-16%.

(Beer added by: UnionMade on 10-10-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,046 | Reviews: 969 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by nhindian:
Photo of nhindian
nhindian

Pennsylvania

3.65/5  rDev -7.8%

12oz bottle poured into a Dogfish Head Signature glass.

A - Pours a crystal clear, ruby red with bursts of sunset orange. It's sort of that color of dusk where you have the last few minutes before the sun goes down, where it's bright and vibrant yet streaked with the pending darkness. Tons of carbonation can be seen streaming from the bottom of the glass and it culminates in about a finger and a half worth of tan head with surprising retention given the ABV. It leaves some decent lacing as well, with thick, soapy bubbles clinging to the glass.

S - Even before the glass gets to my nose, I can tell this is one hoppy barleywine. Fresh tropical fruits, pineapple and mango and citrus for sure. Getting a bit of pine resin, but it also comes off as somewhat soapy as well. I think I'm getting grapes or figs too, but it may be the malts. A bit of caramel malts, but actually for the most part, there isn't a whole ton of malts present in the nose. Slight alcohol in the finish.

T - Phew, this is one big barleywine. Definitely getting the malts here, and they are quite sweet. Caramel and toffee are strong at first, but then give way to an almost Belgian sugary-sweet grape, fig, raisin notes. Again, the hops are bold and in your face, resiny and citrusy. The biggest difference I think is the soap and alcohol notes, which are greatly exacerbated here. I seriously think I can light my breath on fire after drinking it.

M - Mouthfeel is medium- to heavy-bodied with good carbonation. It actually feels really solid in the mouth and full-bodied, but the lasting impression is sweet, yet bitter from the hops, and lots of residual alcohol.

D/O - Drinkability is moderate. This is from the newest batch so I would expect it to be a little hot, but this is for sure a sipper in its current state. The flavors are big, but the alcohol definitely combats that to turn it down a notch. I bought two of these for a good price, and may pick up another few and stash them away and forget about them. I can see this turning into something good a few years down the road.

10-11-2011 04:33:15 | More by nhindian
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
oberon

North Carolina

3.88/5  rDev -2%

Pours a murky orange/brown color with a nice sticky head,aroma is malty and buttery with light alcohol notes.Taste is malty and lightly sweet with some burnt fruit flavors ending with a nice buttery taste that lingers in the mouth.Dogfish Head is becoming my favorite east coast brewery (have yet to visit Victory) they pull no punches and make some really good,interesting brews.

10-02-2003 19:48:46 | More by oberon
Photo of RoyalT
RoyalT

Ohio

4.22/5  rDev +6.6%

Appearance – This one is light-colored for a BW. It’s orange and hazy with a moderate head.

Smell – This DFH offering has a light, fruity aroma that reminds me of a pear-based white wine that I had once in Temecula. It’s very delicate but hardy at the same time. The ABV is huge at the nose.

Taste – The malty white wine flavors come out more so at the taste. This one has a lot of raw sugar to it as well. It’s very sweet with a solid, helpful malt base. The big grapes and fermented sugars rule the roost of this flavor profile. There’s a typical DFH hop balance that signs the brewery’s name to this ale.

Mouthfeel – This is medium to full-bodied with some actual carbonation, which is unusual for the style. It has a nice, fluffy mouthfeel.

Drinkability – This is a big ABV monster in its rawest form, although I would guess that this would diminish with cellaring, which is probably highly recommended. In its purest form this one will give you hop burps and a hangover.

09-28-2004 17:56:20 | More by RoyalT
Photo of tectactoe
tectactoe

Michigan

3.89/5  rDev -1.8%

Pours a dark-amber, almost maroon-like color, a bit hazy and cloudy; small off-white head reduced to a ring around the glass quickly and didn't leave any notable lacing. Smell was strong and very in-your-face - dried, dark fruits; figs, plums, raisins soaked in alcohol. Boozy, but not quite leading you to think it's a 15%-er. Some sweetness and caramelized sugar notes abound as well. Taste is full of caramel and toffee malts all around; fruity and sweet with figs and plums and some other fruits that I can't quite put my finger on. Maybe a hint of licorice. Alcohol is warming and apparent; doesn't quite feel like 15%, but it's certain strong and induces sipping rather than gulping. Some hops here and there, may be hard to detect at first over the abundance of malt, but they are a dry, ashy, slightly floral in flavor. Aftertaste is full of burnt sugar, date sweetness, and a touch of toffee and alcohol. Medium-thick body, almost syrupy; sticky, abrasive, low carbonation.

Pretty good American barleywine from DFH. Certainly not anything groundbreaking here, but at 15$ a 4-pack, it's certainly not a bad choice.

12-12-2012 15:46:22 | More by tectactoe
Photo of MadScientist
MadScientist

New York

3.75/5  rDev -5.3%

A: A cloudy dull mohagany, deep amber beer with a quick to fade slight light tan head.

S: A rich malty, raisiny smell with a surprisingly subtle perfume alcohol aroma. The alcohol may be masked by the malt sweetness. There is a slight umami and no diacetyl.

T: A smooth raisin and almost maple syrup with out the sweetness sort of taste going on having a very noticeable alcohol presence. The medium-high hops bitterness takes over next with an orange peel like fruity flavor that seems pithy from the bitterness. The balance is bitter with the bitterness and pithiness lingering long into the after taste. The finish is slight off-dry.

M: There a bunch of heat from the first sip but it doesn't seem to impacting me this far in. Te body is medium-full with moderate carbonation.

O: A much more subdued beer than the one I encountered almost five years ago though I do rather enjoy the huge hops bill that this enormous malt foundation provides when young. It's worth aging a couple years but I review a younger bottle at some time as this isn't an entirely fair score for this beer that while built to last shows better in its youth.
Bottled On 11/21/2008

10-25-2012 00:15:30 | More by MadScientist
Photo of npala86
npala86

Florida

4/5  rDev +1%

11-26-2013 22:41:25 | More by npala86
Photo of kaimcm
kaimcm

California

4.38/5  rDev +10.6%

bottle poured into La Fin goblet
A: gorgeous, deep amber, literally glows in the glass. egg white whipped head, big bubbles, super light and creamy. makes me want to scoop it out and just dollop it on a belgian waffle.

S: raisins, green apples, brown sugar, bakery pastry richness, alcohol.

T: coating malt and sugar up front, vanilla, white grapes, delicate and delicious vinous quality. malt coats mouth with nice balance of sugar and substance. hints of spice on the back of the throat. alcohol really comes out as the beer warms, but is extremely balanced at 15%. finishes warm reminiscent of rum, then dries leaving the palate begging for more.

M: slick and chewy, perfect viscosity, coating. leaves me wanting more. good weight, not to heavy and syrupy.

D: could drink this everynight, and would if it was available.

This is a one incredible nectar, and nectar is the perfect word for it. The biggest little brewery that could...rock on Dogfish.

01-24-2006 03:22:10 | More by kaimcm
Photo of wesbrownyeah
wesbrownyeah

Florida

4.22/5  rDev +6.6%

Oyeah... Massive beers from a great brewery Dogfish Head Olde School Barley Wine 15% alcohol. Bottled in 2009. (*11)

A- Pours a evil thick and hued orangish brown fluid that produce little to none head leaving mild lacing. It looks very good espescially knowing the 120 is excellent.

S- Familier smell of the 120 dogfish ipa heavy does of ester alcohol, grapefruit hops, danky malts and a musky sweetness.

T-M- Taste is as good as i expected by the smell. A beautiful bouquet of fresh grassy hops, thick malty backbone, revved up alcohol content and massive brown sugary thickness. Excellent. I love the mouthfeel of the dogfish neon capped beers. Bold thickness of tons of malt and alcohol put together perfectly to give you that lasting danky sweet feel on the tongue. A true boozer beer that only impresses.

D- I'm going to buy a four pack of this stuff from my local beer store... wouldn't recommend drinking more that a few though. Easy to drink. Use caution.

01-11-2010 19:47:57 | More by wesbrownyeah
Photo of SkiBum22
SkiBum22

New York

4.25/5  rDev +7.3%

03-05-2014 19:19:16 | More by SkiBum22
Photo of JacobMutberg
JacobMutberg

Pennsylvania

4.5/5  rDev +13.6%

10-09-2012 16:17:15 | More by JacobMutberg
Photo of drumline
drumline

North Carolina

4.1/5  rDev +3.5%

12oz bottle served in a tulip glass

Appearance - Pours an orange/amber-ish color, with a head that disappears quickly

Smell - Very sweet aroma. Lots of fruity and caramel flavors.

Taste/Mouthfeel - Sweet caramel malty taste, with a nice citrusy hop bitterness throughout to give some balance. Slight boozy alcohol warmth in the finish. Just the right amount of carbonation.

Drinkability - At 15% ABV, I won't have more than one a night. As with a lot of other high ABV Dogfish brews, the alcohol is hidden very well.

I have one bottle left that I'll be letting sit for a while and see what happens. It should age well.

12-15-2006 23:53:49 | More by drumline
Photo of AdvocateFan
AdvocateFan

Texas

2.35/5  rDev -40.7%

Murky darkish amber. Pours with an admirably sized head for a beer of this ABV. The nose is hugely sweet, but sharp, almost spicy from the massive alcohol content. Big sugar alcohols. Mead-like. Some notes of baked apples. Solvent-like. Acetone (yes, nail polish remover.) The booze actually burns the eyes as the vapors rise. Dark rum-soaked raisins. Cherries. Flavor hits with a rush of hot booze, like ultra-octane apple cider, dark cherries, fig jam, vodka-infused plums, tej/honey-wine-like notes... Shit... this is boozy in all kinds of ways. Spiked maple syrup... There's a late tannin-like astringency that sticks all over the tongue and ushers in the finish, which wraps things up with grape skins, chewed lemon seeds, blonde tobacco, and alcohol burn/heat, and an indefinitely-lasting acetone impression and burn. No lie, this is like nail polish remover in the aftertaste. This batch was bottled November 2008. Reviewed 11 months after bottling. Still very, very hot. I will wait at least 2 years before trying my next bottle. I've had vintages from 2006 or so, when they were still young, and I recall enjoying them much more than this one. Interesting for the shock factor, but this was not a pleasurable experience. There's extreme, and then there's mischief. This beer seems to be headed toward the latter. An odd juxtaposition with the vintage imagery and "olde school" reference in the name--this is not olde school. Nor is it new school. This is out of control do-it-yourself "home school" where you spike your beer with liquor to create a homebrew beer cocktail (while your girlfriend takes off her nail polish...)

10-12-2009 08:37:53 | More by AdvocateFan
Photo of tuckevalastin
tuckevalastin

Delaware

4.18/5  rDev +5.6%

Bottle Dated 11/21/08

I had two of these left from when I bought them around the time the bottle is dated. I decided to drink one now.. the other will age some more. I've had it fresh but this review is of the 13month aged bottled.

A- Looks a little something like Apple Cider with no head to speak of.

S- Strong smell of booze but with a sweet note that makes it quite nice.

T- Nice flavor that's almost surprisingly sweet but boy does it burn. Even after a year of aging this beer bites back.

M- The beer is hot but the flavor doesn't linger.

D- 15% abv makes this a pretty hefty beer but it doesn't show as much as other brews. It's clear that it is a strong beer but it doesn't lower the drinkablility much at all. That said, it is a high alcohol beer so it isn't one to shotgun by any means.

I'm not a huge barleywine follower but I will be excited to open up the last one of these from this pack. Definetly worth trying.

12-17-2009 23:15:42 | More by tuckevalastin
Photo of rwinzing
rwinzing

New Jersey

3.78/5  rDev -4.5%

Poured a 12oz. bottle into my DFH snifter. Beer is a dark amber and has a cream color head. Very small head which vanished quickly.

Smell was very malty with hint of boozyness

T - Very nice barleywine flavor a little hot but not to boozy or hoppy. Will balance with age

M - average not to thin but no much either

overall - good barleywine. Would perfer it a little mellower

03-23-2011 22:39:20 | More by rwinzing
Photo of Kjanisch7
Kjanisch7

New Jersey

3.75/5  rDev -5.3%

07-15-2013 19:21:05 | More by Kjanisch7
Photo of lordofthewiens
lordofthewiens

Maine

4.28/5  rDev +8.1%

It was with some trepidation that I tried this beer. The 15% ABV was a bit intimidating, as was the advice on the label of the 12oz bottle to pour it into two snifters and enjoy. Nevertheless, I soldiered on. The beer was a red/orange color with virtually no head. It had a predominately fruity aroma, banana and raisin. A little caramel. Robust taste. The alcohol was noticeable without being intrusive, and quite warming. I found it to be quite drinkable, as long as it's 6 to 12 ounces at a time.

11-07-2007 15:56:27 | More by lordofthewiens
Photo of warnerry
warnerry

Michigan

3.75/5  rDev -5.3%

04-10-2014 22:33:44 | More by warnerry
Photo of Todd
Todd

Colorado

3.73/5  rDev -5.8%

12oz brown bottle. Packaging date is unreadable. Beer pours bright copper-ish, initially, topped with a very tight white foam head that settles to an even lace with stick along the glass. Appearance quickly becomes cloudy due to unfiltered dregs in the bottle.

Candied fruits, toffee, diacetyl and apples in the nose.

Extremely smooth as the first sip coats the palate with a near syrup-like texture. Bold ripe dark and candied fruits punch out with notes of apricot and raisin. Notes of orange, too. Spicy alcohol stings the palate with an immediate warming effect and vodka-like presence. Sweet with toffee and a sugar-like presence. Loads of apple-ish flavors and feel on the palate with pear and pear skin beneath. Finish dries up a bit.

Alcohol is a bit over-the-top and assertive, but other than that it's a fairly solid Barley Wine. Definitely worth a try.

08-25-2004 04:31:22 | More by Todd
Photo of sponberg
sponberg

New York

4.33/5  rDev +9.3%

Bright amber, slightly cloudy, chance of snow, with a persistent head and a fruity/alcoholic nose.

Starts out really fruity - full of ripe apricot, pear, and sort of tropical (mango? pineapple? Something from the South Pacific) flavors with a yeasty undertone, some toffee/caramel sweetness, and a balancing hop spice/alcohol warmth that makes it VERY quaffable. The finish gets warmer, and that's the only time that you'll notice the alcohol. This is 15%?!?!? Wow. Cannot tell from drinking it. Danger, Will Robinson! Two of these will have you searching for license plates. Sneaky as hell.

A very, very tasty barleywine in the lighter color, fruity-malt vein. Hides its alcohol better than the Raison D'Etre, which is a bit more than half as strong.

02-18-2003 21:29:13 | More by sponberg
Photo of marvin213
marvin213

North Carolina

4.08/5  rDev +3%

It's a dark brown elixir, medicinal particles having settled to the bottom. It looks foreboding, even ominous.  Having basically no head, a small swirl of carbonation slowly circles the cap. It's as opaque as mud, save the very bottom in which I see the solids have settled.  This is serious.

The aroma is so unique. I consistently think of gumballs...not the fruity, twenty-five cent variety that kids clamor for, but a Willy Wonka, everlasting gobstopper sort of smell.  It really smells sweetly concentrated.  Smelling certainly isn't as menacing as looking at this sucker.  There is a stark contrast between nose and eye, and the nose is actually better.

The taste is raw power and, like a fine wine, I'm sure this one improves as it mellows with time. Less than a year old (November bottling date), each sip packs a punch.  I'd like to see some fool chug this. Maybe I'm missing something, but the taste is simple:  it's sweet, sweet alcohol. I'm more familiar with English-style barleywines, but I'm wondering if the American variety is supposed to suggest a militaristic type of superiority. Maybe it has less to do with America (Happy Independence Day, regardless), and more to do with Dogfish Head.

As I mentioned, there's nothing overly complex about the liquid.  It's sweet and, with the alcohol tinge, it tingles the cheeks.  It feels more carbonated than it looks.  I acknowledge, however, that it might be more burn I feel than tingly tickle.  You have to feel it because you can't just swallow it down, so I have to say (at least for this young'n) that mouthfeel is a relative weakness.

Always tough to rate a big double-digit (15%er here) when it comes to drinkability.  After each sip, you have to face that menacing appearance I've described above. As I make my way thru, I sometimes feel like my drink's mean-muggin' me.  For sure, this is an appropriate selection to share. It's also neat (and strong) enough to make that worthwhile.   

07-05-2009 20:51:03 | More by marvin213
Photo of mverity
mverity

Florida

3.78/5  rDev -4.5%

2010 bottle share at Proof. Poured amber brown with almost no head. Aroma is a warm, sweet malty bomb, with a slight hint of dark fruit. Taste is somehow sweet citrus, earthy, and a touch of that dark fruit. Kinda boozey. Medium body, almost no carbonation. Great beer overall.

12-22-2013 04:35:31 | More by mverity
Photo of Doomcifer
Doomcifer

Rhode Island

3.93/5  rDev -0.8%

Pours a pretty clear, copper color...pretty light considering its a barley wine. Not much of a head to speak of. Lacing = nil.

Smells of sweet malts, dark fruits, cherries, raspberries, red twizzlers, bananas, very fruity...couldnt pick up much alcohol in the nose.

Taste is more sweet malts, dark fruits, cherries, and here comes the hotness. Alcohol is pretty prevalent now. The finish may be a little harsh but nothing that bad at all....unlike other Barely Wines I have had that weren't even close to 15% abv. Lots of sherry notes. Slight hop finish.

Mouthfeel is very velvety with mediocre carbonation.

Drinkable? LOL It depends what you mean by drinkable I suppose. There is no way I would drink more than one of these due solely to the high alcohol content. I dont enjoy falling over myself. It is, however, drinkable due to the fact that it is a very tasty and enjoyable beer. Definitely a sipper! This should age EXTREMELY WELL.

12-05-2006 02:41:22 | More by Doomcifer
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iemailjack

Florida

3.5/5  rDev -11.6%

01-08-2013 00:31:01 | More by iemailjack
Photo of megamass
megamass

New Jersey

4/5  rDev +1%

05-18-2013 04:10:23 | More by megamass
Photo of Jason
Jason

Massachusetts

3.93/5  rDev -0.8%

750 ml brown champagne magnum with a “Packaged On” date on the side of the label,

Appearance: Dull and hazy orange amber colour, haze is from both chill haze and very loose sediment in the bottle. Light carbonation creates a thin off white lace.

Smell: Herbal veggie hop aroma with an orangey backing, a touch buttery and alcoholic in the nose as well.

Taste & Mouthfeel : Creamy slick mouth feel with a light to moderate carbonation the provides a little smoothness amongst the semi-dense body. Big maltiness laced with ripe fruit and earthy yeast. A hidden alcohol lays under a twang of fruitiness and earthy yeast. A little buttery and the hops drop a spike of bitterness. Alcoholic warmth comes soon after with a spicy kick.

Drinkability & Notes: Big flavours are bursting with aleish ripeness, where is the 15% abv? There is alcohol there but I have had smaller barleywines that can’t hide the alcohol like this. Watch out on this one as it catches up with you.

02-17-2003 20:33:44 | More by Jason
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Olde School Barleywine from Dogfish Head Brewery
89 out of 100 based on 2,046 ratings.