Olde School Barleywine - Dogfish Head Brewery
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Ratings: 2,054 | Reviews: 970 | Display Reviews Only:
3.7/5 rDev -6.6%
This is a brilliantly clear full copper color that is topped by a frothy, pale tan colored head. The aroma is quite sweet smelling with soft notes of orange, hints of mint, some sort of a funky note reminiscent of tropical fruit, and a bright herbal note. The aroma is nice, but for some reason is not all that inviting.
The taste is quite sweet with lots of fruit notes reminiscent of green raisins, dessert wine grapes, and hints of sweet plums. There is a fair amount of hopping here, but it plays second fiddle to the sweet malt. There is a light (at least relative to the malt) bitterness in the finish, which is preceded by a soft herbal hop flavor that accentuates the sweet fruity notes.
This is definitely has the characteristic flavors of Dogfish Head's other higher alcohol beers; the intense sweet malt and fruit character. This is pretty good, but seems to be missing a lot of complexity that would make this more fittingly a contemplative sipping brew that the alcohol level demands.
01-05-2006 22:20:50 | More by Gueuzedude
3.23/5 rDev -18.4%
Poured from a 12 oz bottle, 2005 vintage I assume, into a large snifter. I used two pours as the bottle recommends. A fairly light colored barley wine is revealed. Bronze in color with great clarity. Little to no head is formed on the first pour, but as I agitate gently before tasting, a nice appearance of bubbles jump to the top and leave a ring around the glass.
Alcohol is definitely present in the aroma. Smells a bit yeasty as well. Raisins and figs, followed by fermented pear. Fruity aromas.
Taste is a little more subdued. The alcohol is well hidden, especially for a 15er. Mediterranean tastes come to mind with this one. Black olives (of which I am not a fan) and sort of a smoky tomato with some capers. Some sort of medicinal qualites are present, like a cough syrup or Nyquil. Sweet tasting.
A really like the mouthfeel. The carbonation make for a pleasant experience. The alcohol will rear its head in the end as the beer warms. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I think I will try this one in another year to see if the flavor improves. Hopefully, it will.
01-03-2006 20:42:20 | More by SaCkErZ9
4.18/5 rDev +5.6%
First off don't pour this beer into a pint glass. Use a wine glass, snifter, etc. The directions recommend pouring into two sifters.
This (bottle conditioned) beer is suprisingly drinkable or should I say sippable for such a high abv. It pours of delicate golden straw/honey hue with a slightly sweet peaty/scotch body with a touch of honey and a good amount of bitterness when first poured. Alleviate much bitterness by aerating the beer...it also pours a nice white creamy one finger head which dissipates to a concentric ring within 10 minutes or so. That's why I like pouring this into a wine glass pour by pour to keep this refreshing.
Olde School should be at the most, slightly chilled, yet allowed to warm while imbibing. A sipper for sure as mentioned above. This barleywine was paired a swishersweet black n' mild (apple flavored) which matched lovely with the peaty scotch undertones in the barleywine.
This can be aged obviously but imho it's highly drinkable now. Although I don't know the year of my bottle but I suspect it's 05. Also am recalling a sweetness to this barleywine and maybe a touch of honey? Medium mouthfeel. Definately worth a try and laying one or more down. Might have to seek out the larger bottle.
01-02-2006 07:20:28 | More by deBeers
3.9/5 rDev -1.5%
Presentation: 12 oz. brown bottle obtained from River City Cellars. Although it does not state it on the bottle, it is from last months release. No freshness date can be found on the bottle, but I dont think I could be less worried. As with the DFH Raison dExtra, I like the artwork on the label.
Appearance: This brew pours with a transparent and deep copper coloration. It appears to have a light carbonation but maintains a light, white lacing.
Smell: Initially, I would say that the aroma of caramel malts and alcohol are most noticeable upon first smell. Of course, this is followed by the more subdued notes of dark fruit and brown sugar. I also detect what might be a hint of pine resin.
Taste: Im surprised that the flavor of the beer is as delicate as it is. Starting off with an almost syrupy/caramel sweetness, it leads into a mixture of light toffee and fig. The light overall bitterness of the beer is found almost entirely towards the finish, which concludes with a hint of honey. Its worth noting that the honey flavor dies out long before the bitter twang does. It has a pleasant and long-lingering finish.
Mouthful: I would think it falls towards the lighter end of the medium spectrum, but its certainly medium-bodied. With its light carbonation and relative sweetness, the texture is akin to a light syrup.
Drinkability: This is a highly drinkable American Barleywine, especially when compared to some of the other examples of the style that Ive had in the past. I dont think I can see drinking more than two glasses of this, however, because the sweetness could become too overbearing.
Notes: For a brew weighing in at 15%, it certainly does not seem like it. I can note the alcohol in the flavor and in the smell, but my senses pick up something more like 9% or 10%. Cheers to DFH for producing a beer with a well-concealed ABV. As with a lot of their beers, the price makes me whimper but the product makes me smile.
12-21-2005 05:35:55 | More by RealityDeviant
3.93/5 rDev -0.8%
Bottled on date of november 11th, 2005: Pours a slightly murky copper color with a thick tan head that retains impressively well for a 15% brew. The aroma is quite malty, with a big rum soaked fruit character (apples, grapes, oranges, plums), some citrus and floral hops, caramel apples, vanilla, toasted bread and ethanol. The flavor starts off with candied fruit soaked in rum, floral citrus and piney hops, toasted bread, vanilla, oak, and a big alcohol wallop. The mouthfeel is medium, with moderate body and light carbonation, and the finish is a bit sweet and alcohol ridden. Drinkability is better than i expected, DFH did well concealing the alcohol in this, though it is still very present. An interesting barleywine, not over the top hoppy like many, could definately age for a few years.
12-17-2005 05:03:02 | More by silver0rlead
3.7/5 rDev -6.6%
This pours a amber color with a nice creamy head.The color is lighter than other barleywines and the head disappears too fast.The smell is alcohol filled with sugar,malt,and hops.The taste has a very strong sweetness to it that dominated.The taste is like baking sugar.There's not the fruit taste that other barleywines have.There's also a carmel and alcohol aftertaste that make this a little rich.It's a good taste,but it's really nothing special.The m/f is medium and not really well balanced.This is a good beer,but I really thought a barleywine from Dogfish Head would be better.
12-17-2005 03:58:06 | More by jmz62565
3.1/5 rDev -21.7%
Pours a clear copper with plenty of carbonation. Leaves no head, just a slight soapy ring around the top of the glass with nice lacing. Smell of carmelized sugar. Tastes are of sweet alcohol with slight bitter and fruityness (it may be the color but apple maybe?). Medium to heavy mouthfeel, carbonation still very present. Pretty drinkable but I expected more from DFH. Not very impressive or exciting.
12-17-2005 02:55:34 | More by TheBlackMallard
4.05/5 rDev +2.3%
Very nice, bright, coppery, golden color. Nice amount of bubbles slowly rising to the top. Mellow, low aroma. Slight hopiness to it. Underlying malty sweetness-mustiness in there as well. Big malt flavor. Nicely (and lightly) hopped. Great caramel flavors. Slight alcohol tinge. Killer body-thick and viscuous though not overly so. The whole package is really well balanced here. A fantastic brew. Really has become quite the beer from the sample I had 3 years ago. A real sipper. I find myself wanting to take large tastes to really enjoy it and after half a glass I can feel its effects. Damn good beer.
12-10-2005 02:08:53 | More by lackenhauser
4/5 rDev +1%
This barleywine poured a golden amber color with plenty of caronation and no head. The aroma suprised me; almost a white-wine nose, a little like the Russian River I rated a while back. Obviously a different style and brewery but just a faint resemblance. Anyhow, atop the white wine thing was apple, spice, yeast and major hoppy tones. I was dying to dive right in, but was somewhat disappointed; the wine taste was gone; replaced by a good ammount of very obvious alcohol, sweet malts, flowery hops, possibly vanilla, and (please excuse going way out on a limb) a mild taste of over-ripe bananas. It was very carbonated and biting, but that, along with the taste slightly improved as it warmed.
12-10-2005 00:51:20 | More by sinistrsam
2.98/5 rDev -24.7%
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.
12-08-2005 11:28:10 | More by Phatz
3.43/5 rDev -13.4%
Peachy in hue with a soft coppery-gold influence, the color is lighter and warmer then I was expecting. I like surprises. The head was white in color, at the apex the foam was almost one finger in height. Head retention was fair; it quickly faded to a soapy cap. This is to be expected as the abv is quite high, still a little bigger head/better head retention would have been nice but at this point it is just nitpicking. The subsequent lacing was spotty but not very widespread. On the whole, this beer looks delightful with the color of the liquid highlighting the appearance.
The nose offers an array of tropical fruit, nothing much noteworthy just some oranges, pineapple, and peaches. Kiss of alcohol at the back the malt profile isnt very rich, especially for the style and this beers power. The hops are largely silent; there is just a tickle of veggie-earthiness. I do detect some random caramel and butter/butterscotch. Low potency. For a barleywine I am not very impressed with the nose.
The palate is very agreeable but it only took a few sips for me to realize this barleywine can not hang with the likes of Old Backus or Old Ruffian. First of all, the malt profile is just not there. This beer is not thin but it is far from rich either. The malt is sweet, caramely with a kiss of molasses but it still lacks depth and richness. The fruitiness is pleasant, oranges, peaches, grapes, some apples, some light notes of banana, and even some pineapple. At the back, the beer is raw but this aggressiveness never works its way to the foreground. So with that said, how aggressive is it? Not very. By the finish the alcohol is the loudest aspect. Sometimes this works. Sometimes not. In this beer it is closer to not. I taste vodka and almost nothing but in the aftertaste. Odd. When all is said and done, this is a good beer but I am very picky with this style. Greatness is hard to attain but once reached it becomes hallowed to me. I like this beer enough I want more of it but I am not going to worship it.
Medium in body, the mouthfeel is neither thin nor filling. It is not beefy but its not anorexic. It is workable but forgettable. There isnt much to savor.
Is it drinkable? Yes, very much so. Is it special? No. I am surprised at this DFH offering, it is one of the least spectacular offerings I have had from them. Still, with that said, this is a good barleywine. It wouldnt make my personal Top 10 but I will like to try it again. I hope I can. I got my bottle from RedHaze. Thank you very much. I did enjoy every drop! Worth a try.
12-07-2005 14:19:45 | More by bditty187
4.38/5 rDev +10.6%
bottled 11/05. so much different from last year's that i had to write this mother up.
looks of a fresh-pressed apple juice, clear with some voluminous force-pour bubbles and not much else, no real lacing either. nose is boozy, bubblegum hints and some cinnamon. mild hoppiness is lost to the scotch-like aroma. light and mild flavors. burns a bit going down, but leans on the crutch of ginger notes, apricot and hop resin. raw malts and sweet syrupy blotches round out the bizarre flavor variety found within. i remember this being buttery and limp- it's transformed itself into a fruity, explosive masterpiece. will drink as much fresh as i can get my hands on.
11-28-2005 00:58:57 | More by goodbyeohio
4.33/5 rDev +9.3%
Appearance: Deosn't look much like your tyical barleywine. Lightly hazed light copper color, with almost no head, very light in hue for the style, also leaves rings of lacing.
Smell: Spicy alcohol, spicy hops, pine, raisin, this is one large beer.
Taste: Holy mackerel. The flavors greet you with an immediate burst of alcohol and sweet sugary malt. Hazy a very clean transition to the aftertaste, which is also a sweet mixture of pine and hard candies.
Mouthfeel: The strong ABV gives this a menthol-style tingle, but leaves a sticky finish in your mouth. Well crafted and unique this beer may actually suffer from the extremely high ABV.
Drinkability: Any beer that says to split it into two snifters on the label must be a whopper, and this one assuredly is. Definitely a sipper, to be enjoyed slowly and allow to warm. Thanks to Px2Grafx for a sample of a beer that I have wanted to try for a long time.
11-25-2005 01:23:54 | More by TastyTaste
3.18/5 rDev -19.7%
Crap, sediment into the glass. "Packaged" hash marks are a bit off their marks, but I'm guessing 1/04. Pours a half finger nearly white head over a cloudy, sedimenty, apricot colored liquid. Smells piney hops, clean alcohol, and overly malted (slightly soured) beer. A little bit of lactose sweet in here. Tastes soured malt with piney hops that also have a citrus character about them. Sweet. Like a clean sugar sweet. Some fruity esters add a pear syrup quality. Thick body and mildly carbonated. This beer is a bit too edgy pine-hopped, with a bit too much alcohol burn, and a bit too much soured sugar-malt. If this beer really was aged a year or two in the store, I'd say it needs another five years. Has an unrefined JW Lees quality about it...the malt can't stand up to the cheap-vodka burn. There's not quite enough fruity flavor that this could be mistaken as a new flavor of "Mad Dog". Actually, this beer tastes very similar to a fresh "Monster Ale" from Brooklyn Brewery. Fresh "Monster Ale", it's not good. But give it two years later and the beer will be refined.
Overall...what I taste in this beer is 'potential'. I'm now planning to pick up more bottles, so I can age them several years and re-review at that time.
Is this fun or what?
11-20-2005 08:53:00 | More by mentor
3.68/5 rDev -7.1%
Highly flocculant yeast - hardly stirred at all. As a result the pour was very clear but I swirled and added yeast back. The beer had rather low head. The color was a deep golden. The aroma was sweet, with a honey note and some kind of citrusy notes too, like lemon rather than the cascade type of citrus- almost wine-like. The flavor was dominated by sweetness, almost cloying, with a touch of bitterness at the end. The beer seemed a little one-dimensional, and was a little disappointing. It was smooth, though, for the alcohol content - maybe too smooth? I couldn't find a bottle date but I suspect it was rather young.
11-18-2005 00:32:05 | More by KroMagnon
3.9/5 rDev -1.5%
12oz single, Thanks to Px2GrafX!, served at cellared temp. to celebrate another Bears victory
appearance: pours a straw/yellow tinted pale amber color, fluffy frothy white head...clean and clear
smell: light sweet malts, toasty, sweet alcohol, pear, darker fruits, brown sugar
taste: sugary sweet malts, warming alcohol, buttery biscuit, warming alcohol, pears, peach, dark fruit, spicy hops. Alcohol is somewhat masked, but at 15%, you still cant hide it. The taste doesn't suffer too much from that though.
mouthfeel: medium-full bodied, oily-smooth, heavy alcohol warming senstation
drinkability: fairly drinkable, heavy on the alcohol
11-13-2005 21:52:40 | More by dirtylou
4.13/5 rDev +4.3%
Presentation: Typical 12 ounce brown glass bottle, but the radioactive lime green crown cap with a dogfish exclamation mark hints at something special here. The high quality cartridge paper main and neck label also lend a quality high end presentation. The main label is a smaller bordered version of the one shown on the 750 in the BA Avatar, whilst the neck label has the same dark blue color as the main label. Described as a bottle-conditioned Barleywine with a declared strength of 15%, ouch! Plenty of hints on the label text that this ages well and needs at least a year, but Im not sure if you really need to bury it in the woods like it recommends.
Appearance: First surprise, a warm glowing coppery amber body that is translucent. The clarity allows the light from my desk lamp to cascade off rising streamers. Thin dispersed vanilla white head that breaks as easily as it returns with a gentle swirl. Soft finely distributed carbonation. Minimal lacing.
Nose: Warming alcohols, pungent spicy hops and malts, some dark skinned fruits and a hint of baked pears coated in brown cane sugar.
Taste: Strong start, the alcohol contributes early on. 15% you say? Mature aged malts are smooth yet powerfully restrained by a biting hop resin character. Light perfume-feel to the middle. Slowly rescinds into a deep bitter raisin soaked finish. Hints of dark skinned fruits linger on the tongue whilst a syrupy hop resin coats and buzzes on the tongue long after the swallow. This has a very unique profile for a Barleywine.
Mouthfeel: Thick yet easily imbibed. Has a hot syrup feel to the swallow at times. 15% you say? Deeply warming, right down in the pit of the stomach very late after the swallow. Marvelous!
Drinkability: 15% you say? Dunno where the Bloody Hell its hiding .I looked for it everywhere. This just went down way too easily.
Overall: Im not sure how old this is, but it has a beautifully rounded edge to the high alcohol, malts and hops. Oh this is so bloody good ..it went down way too quickly for a double digit brew, it could be an early night for me ..a big ass brew that would suit me just right if I was back in England tonight sat in thy dark round the Bonfire celebrating the 400th Anniversary of Guy Fawkes failed Gunpowder Plot. 15% you say? .
11-06-2005 02:44:29 | More by TheLongBeachBum
3.43/5 rDev -13.4%
All right. I have no idea how long this has been on the shelf but I know its been in the fridge for a few months now.
Pours a cloudy orange color with a small head and minimal lacing at best.
Smell is very mellow of fruit
Taste like sweeten fruit also mellow with the slightest hint of hops...and a small warmth from he alcohol.
Mouthfeel is thick, not syrupy thick but it is on the thicker side for a mouthfeel.
Drinability is all right; it is a sipping beer due to the thickness in the mouthfeel.
As high in alcohol as this beer is; its not really all that strong or in your face. Like I stated in the beginning I have no idea how long this has sat on the shelf it was one of the last ones up there and its been in my fridge for a few months so it might have mellowed out.
Either way its pretty good.key word is SIPPING. I downed this beer in 30min as I often do from constant sipping to find the flavor ect...now I feel buzzed.
11-03-2005 04:40:15 | More by LucaBrasi
3.65/5 rDev -7.8%
Pale amber/gold under a snowy white relunctant cap of head that quickly leaves an off-center Australia shaped splotch and ring. Smells sweet and spicy with a hint fo alcohol.
Delicate fruity malt sweetness is quickly overcome with a chemically resinous and abrasive hop bitterness that never gets quite strong enough to be offensive, and hides the strong alcohol that warms my stomach. Moderate to moderately light body is slightly oily, due in part to and abundance of alcohol.
More drinkable than I expected, but I will not likely have this often.
10-31-2005 16:24:16 | More by sopor
4.43/5 rDev +11.9%
Slight small Pffttt when this 12 oz. cellar temp (68 deg. F) bottle was opened.
Pours copper yellow clear with a thin white head that fades in minutes to the thinnest lacing and ring at the edge of the glass.
Smell is rich, sweet and fruity.
Taste is sweet on the front end; with malt, fruits, plums and raisins.
This turns into an alcohol warmth on the backend with a well balanced hop bitterness.
Full bodied mouthfeel.
This is very drinkable; sip-able like a smooth brandy.
It may be too sweet and alcoholic for some persons (like my wife, who does not like it, but is thinking of it as beer rather than a wine, apertif or brandy like drink). I am glad that I have more in the cellar !
10-12-2005 18:03:44 | More by HopHeadKen
3.88/5 rDev -2%
Poured a clear amber with very little head and only thin lacing.
Smell is sweet malts, apples, sugary, mildly hoppy and some alcohol.
After smelling this beer I was a little worried that it would be to sweet, but it's not. Taste is malty, apples, some vanilla, very mild hop bitterness. Has a slightly syrupy mouthfeel.
I's surprisingly easy to drink, for such a "big beer". My face is warm already, and I've only had 2/3 of a bottle to drink.
08-30-2005 03:05:14 | More by RedHaze
4.3/5 rDev +8.6%
12 oz bottle which I've had for 3 months---no date though so I don't know the age. Pours a golden orange with a thin white cap of head, no lacing at all. Nose is a sweet molasses and caramel with a note of dark fruitiness and just a hint of the alcohol about to be consumed. Taste starts out rich and sweet, blends of molasses, candi sugar, plums, and raisins and then a nice smooth rising hoppy bitterness hits in the middle of a sip with a long smooth warming finish with just a hint of the 15% alcohol. Extremely complex tastes balanced beautifully to give a great sipping experience. Mouthfeel is full bodied, thick and syrupy. This is a good sipping barleywine that hides its alcohol well. I don't think I could have more than one in a session, but I will definitely be revisiting this beer again.
08-26-2005 11:17:48 | More by cubedbee
4.47/5 rDev +12.9%
Pours a very clear golden, small head, little bit of lacing, nice legs. Smell is alcohol, citrus, apple, lots of malt, honey sweetness, the smell is just out of control and amazing. Taste is sweet malt, some alcohol, white grapes, apples, tons of citrus hops. Very smooth for such a big guy, mouthfeel is medium, dry bitter finish. This one powerful bastard, almost knocked me on my ass first sip. Excellent.
08-14-2005 22:48:13 | More by Viggo
4.33/5 rDev +9.3%
Mostly clear, medium amber beer with a bit of an orange hue. Thin white head that's a combination of fine foam and large bubbles. Nice lacing and good head retention. Big, malty aroma with lots of caramel and moderate alcohol. Fresh apple fruit character is prominent as well. Nice balance of flavours for such a big beer. Lots of malt sweetness with just enough bitterness to keep it in check. There's also a fruity, grape flavour that adds some complexity. Alcohol flavour is apparent throughout, but becomes more pronounced and spicy at the sweetish finish. Low, soft carbonation with a full body, somewhat lighter than expected. Mellow mouthfeel with plenty of alcohol warmth and a bit of residual sugar that leaves it slightly sticky. Surprising drinkable given the abv, definitely a big, strong brew. I bet this one ages like a champ. Thanks Viggo!
08-13-2005 14:12:10 | More by DrJay
4.43/5 rDev +11.9%
Impressively smooth considering the alcohol content and the hop additions. It picks up on all the plumb-ey, prune-ey, dates, and figs that I expect in a BW. The hop flavors are pronounced, but not overly agressive like most. This makes for an impresively easy drinking beer. I get some molassas and honey flavors into the body and through the finish that I like. Although the flavors are better balanced, this is by no means a lighter BW. It still packs a punch in the flavor, alcohol, and body categories. it's just better balances and aged.
08-03-2005 15:26:32 | More by BEERchitect
Olde School Barleywine from Dogfish Head Brewery
89 out of 100 based on 2,054 ratings.