Olde School Barleywine - Dogfish Head Brewery
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Ratings: 2,050 | Reviews: 969 | Display Reviews Only:
3.23/5 rDev -18.4%
15% alc. by vol.
Appearance clear orange-amber body; white head is sparse and gone almost instantly and lace is very slim both of which I expect at this abv
Smell orange candy; spicy; some dark fruit and alcohol
Taste more alcoholic tones than the 03 WWS at less abv; orange candy flavor and a very light toffee move out for a spicy moment that is blended with a strong bump of alcohol and a reasonable dose of bitterness for close and aftertaste
Mouthfeel medium bodied; stings the tongue and roof of mouth early in the glass; smooths out a bit later; overall the alcohol is brash
Drinkability the biggest warming effect as I have ever experienced from a beer; the alcohol is too brutish to ease drinkability
This one needs to evolve. My slightly burning chest bellows, Cellar this beer. I have had a good amount of better barley wines but this baby needs time.
02-26-2005 23:53:46 | More by Wonka
4.15/5 rDev +4.8%
12 oz bottle
Pours an odd color for a barleywine. Amber/orange hues and a very small (one finger) white head. Retention is terrible (as is to be expected with a beer this large), but there is a nice collar that sticks around for a while.
Smell is cherries, caramel, toffee, some breadiness, and and an astringent alcohol character.
Taste is a little bit hoppy, smooth caramel, and quite a bit of fruit (pears, apples, cherries).
This is a very good cold weather beer, even with the high alcohol, it is masked so well that this beer goes down easily and is quite enjoyable in the process.
02-25-2005 02:53:02 | More by LuckySevens82
3.85/5 rDev -2.8%
12 fl. oz. bottle served in a large snifter
A- warm copper color with medium carbonation and crystal clear. It has a thin pale white head that was almost nonexistent.
S- pils malt with spicy floral hop aroma with a touch of earthiness. A bit of alcohol on the nose but very subtle
T- very light malt flavor with a lot of alcohol and a bit of hop spiciness mix with the alcohol. Very smooth clean taste with a bit of caramel tones aswell
M- medium mouthfeel that is quickly replaced with alcohol warmth
D- Very clean beer but a bit to hot compared for the hops. It would be nice to see some more depth to the hops or malt in this one.
02-24-2005 02:00:23 | More by rhoadsrage
3.78/5 rDev -4.5%
Bottled 2004 and purchased at $14.99 for a four pack at the local liquor store. Not exactly the most price efficient beer out there.
appearance- Downright the most pale of it's style i've ever seen, this appears more akin to Dogfish's Punkin Ale. Light orange with a very small white head to cap it off. Very little lacing.
smell- How odd. The smell seems to take on a more of a tripel's than that off a barleywine. The more i dissect this thing, the more it seems to play on other styles rather than that of what it's defined. Sweet, honey and spicy notes detected. I'm not inclined, however, to take off points sheerly because it's out of style. The smell certainly lends to that of quality, and i'll score it accordingly.
taste- ok, now i'm REALLY starting to doubt the fact that this is, in reality, a barleywine as advertised. Seems to be fused with a tripel if that's at all possible; sugary sweet, spicy with a light and fluffy feel to it. Sweetness eventually gives way to tastes of fig and raisins, but then reappears shortly after. Mild hops, not as much as i'd expect from the style. Nothing extraordinary about it, until you realize one thing that seems to be sheerly impossible;
"wait, this is 15% abv?!"
i've seen beer around the 7% area that couldn't hide it nearly as well as this beer. If there's one thing i've noticed, however, it's that Dogfish is the master at hiding it's alcohol content. How else could World Wide Stout be so palatable despite ranging anywhere from 18-23%? Still, after I was done sipping this one i found myself craving a little more depth of character.
Mouthfeel- clean and crisp on the palate, except for the sugary sweetness that hangs around a bit too long. Fairly light mouthfeel.
drinkability- Light on the mouth, heavy on the booze. A dangerous combination to be sure, as i find this brew to be dangerously drinkable in general.
For once, Dogfish has made a beer and done the exact opposite of what they're infamous for; making crazy interpretations on a classic style. Not to say this brew is bad by any means, but as it stands this beer has no fatal flaws, but nor does it do anything to distinguish itself from the rest. In all honesty, i don't even think this is a true barleywine, but that's just my humble opinion. Good, but not great.
01-31-2005 01:14:03 | More by IrishMike
4.4/5 rDev +11.1%
2004 batch, consumed pretty young.
Temperatures dropped rapidly tonight, when I finally made it in out of the elements I found myself craving a nice solid barleywine to warm me up. I knew Olde School would do the job with its whopping 15% ABV. Ive grown found of drinking Barleywines out of shaker pints (something about the way it warms up, and the feeling of having all that barleywine under your nose at once) so thats what this one went into. The body of this beer is a bit more translucent and less red than many other barleywines Ive seen. Still with the tiny bottle-conditioned carbonation bubbles streaming to the top, it is a sight to see. The robust eggshell head from the pour rapidly recedes into a solid ring around the outside of the pint. The nose is heavy with fusel alcohol aromas, doesnt turn me off though. A closer whiff reveals figs, nuts, berries, grapefruit and pine. This beer is rich with hefty malt flavors across the front of the palate (caramel, grain, toffee). The bitterness level is great, exactly what I look for in a good barleywine and the pine and grapefruit hop flavors are very assertive as well . I also pick up some nuttiness , berries and figs in the flavor, this is right before alcohol crashes on my tongue and hits my nose from the inside out. Warmth rapidly (and welcomely) spreads down my gullet. Personally I think this is a great barleywine. I will say that I love strong beers, but even I feel that the alcohol could be masked a little better here, then again at 15% what should I expect!?
01-28-2005 03:27:43 | More by FormatKid
3.78/5 rDev -4.5%
I found it a cross between a traditional barleywine and an American Pale. It is an attempt to improve on the roughness of American barleywines, and I think by Joev they did it. The smell of barleywine, although surprisingly pale colour. Some hops and barleywine not over the top. Tasty if you care somewhat for the style. I do I do.
Had again 4 years later and found it rather ordinary barleywine, withd ecent mouthfeel and drinakbility.
01-27-2005 03:26:02 | More by Sammy
4.18/5 rDev +5.6%
Now, granted, this is my first barleywine ever, but I've got to say, if they are all like this (and somehow I doubt they are!) I think I've got a new love in my life!
Pours wonderful copper orange color, sparkling and with carbonation immediatly apparent. Smell is sweet and wine-like. The taste and mouthfeel are outstanding, very full mouthfeel for something that looks so light, but it does remain crisp. The taste is complex and very full, but not overbearing, very drinkable and a real treat type beer. A warm alcohol presence is evident but with sharp notes of fruits precede.
01-26-2005 03:16:33 | More by Gaisgeil
3.98/5 rDev +0.5%
12oz bottle: Hazen dull peachy orangeish color with a near to nothing cap of whisped white. Lacing is drippy with some thin strings being left on the glass.
Aroma is pleasantly heated with alcoholic spice and hop oil cindered orange fruit. Notes of phenols strung about. Mellow and melony too with some green raisin and caramel floating underneath.
Taste is good with a nice mellow display of warming caramel laced with a fruity undertone thats got apricot, raisin, and fig. Well heated and thusly so. It searches and reaches for more but doesn't quite get there as the alcohol gets in the way a bit. The finish does pick up and linger with some softer warmth of fruits, caramel, sugars, and hop oils which is nice. The heat comes in quick then kinda singes away letting the rest settle in across the palate.
It gets beyond mellow while it sits. I poured this at about 50 degrees and as it got up to room temprature it was super mellow. Very super mellow. Real nice quality to have as it seems to get more drinkable as you go yet as soon as it hits the lips it demands you sip. Interesting charactistic. This is a seemingly complexing alcoholic beverage that does hide its beefy ABV very well. Its not all that overly heated or alcoholic/boozy, its quite brazenless in that regards. Its smooth and creamy body is a wonderment and maintains a favorable slick texture. Good stuff. Sooo very close to getting the next number up.
01-25-2005 02:10:18 | More by tavernjef
3.75/5 rDev -5.3%
12 oz. bottle. Pours a honey golden color with a thin white head. Seems pretty light colored for a barleywine. Head disappears quickly. Fruity notes present, as well as pine and lots of alcohol. Apricots, mangos and other citrusy fruits. There is some hop bitterness maybe in a pine flavor, but not as much as I expected. Medium body, low carbonation. Did not seem to be 15% ABV. As others have noted, the alcohol is well hidden. NOt as over the top as I thought, and maybe a little disappointing.
01-24-2005 03:30:51 | More by Bierguy5
4.63/5 rDev +16.9%
2002 750, drank on Xmas. Wow, a well aged Olde School, what a treat! Pours a golden honey color with a slight white head that leaves nice lace trails as it fizzles off. Looks thick and chewy.
Mouthwatering aromas of caramel malts, honey, pine cones, yellow raisens, spice, tea, and light citrus florals. Smells sweet and highly alcoholic.
Flavor is initially caramel sweet with note of dates, figs, rock-candy, pear, melon, and candied orange-peel. The creamy malts are rounded by mildly spicey, sprucey hops. Hops definately take the back seat here, malt flavors are predominent.
Mouthfeel is creamy and silky with very little carbonation. Very big bodied and mouth-coating. Finish is smooth and like creamy caramey with a tinge of piney hops. This certainly doen't taste like a 15% beer, alcohol is too well hidden. This is dangerous and delicious. One of the best aged barleywines I'v had!
01-23-2005 18:21:13 | More by AlexJ
4.25/5 rDev +7.3%
Olde School Barleywine is a smooth beer that hides its 15% alcohol very well. It pours a clear honey color with a thin white head that dissolves quickly to a thin ring around the surface.
The aroma is a faint combination of apples, sweet malt and alcohol. Each sip of ths smooth beer is full of sweet malt. The flavor is not as spicy as other barelywines, but instead is a nice combination of apples, cherry's, caramel malt, and alcohol. It finishes with hints of bubblegum and hops leaving some sweet malty flavors behind.
This is an easy drinking high alcohol brew. The alcohol is well balanced and sneaks up on you rather quickly.
01-16-2005 01:05:54 | More by WanderingFool
3.75/5 rDev -5.3%
Pours a deep gold to bronze color with some light orange highlights. Active light beige colored head. Stickily malty sweet with some confectionary nuances come through at times. Sappy, hoppy nose among the all the nostril burning fusel alcohols. Whewee this is strong. No hiding the brandy-like burn in the finish. I little sticky up-front; the transition to alcohol burn is introduced nicely by hoppy dryness. Seems a tad bit overcarbonated with its champagney mouthfeel, but it works well to complement the high alcohol level. A good barleywine, but too robust in alcohol and not in the other areas that make up a great barleywine.
01-15-2005 21:27:10 | More by crookedhalo
3.9/5 rDev -1.5%
Clear and gold, with a slight reddish hue. A slight white film takes the place of a head. Very sweet initially, with turbinado suger, pineapple surrounded by coniferous resin and some floral notes. Rather full bodied slightly carbonated and well-rounded. Grapefruit, pine sap and a generic, syrupy sweetness moving to booziness and finishing with vanila, cream and orange rinds.
A big and boozy example of a barley wine. It had a lot of promise I really wish I could've sat on it for a while longer. Patience is something I lack.
01-10-2005 20:44:04 | More by nogoodreason
4.22/5 rDev +6.6%
On a whim, and because I'm a big beer lover, I picked up a case for about $65. At less than $3 wholesale, it's a really good deal in my opinion.
This is the 2004-2005 year, and though the first bottle was one I had at cellar temperature, I wasn't in the beer drinking mood. However, I'm having this one out of the fridge and have been sipping on it, and it's allowed me to discern a lot more as it warms (rather than being warmed throughout the whole tasting process).
Appearance: Pours a reddish orange with an extremely thin head and a white lace that forms an outer ring around the glass as it's consumed. A small amount of bubbles beautifully and sluggishly float up toward the top of the glass.
Smell: Tropical fruit (like the powerful aroma of Hawaiian Punch of Tropical Fruit HI-C without the sugary fakeness), ripe banana, cherries, apricot. Some yeastiness and bread-like aromas. Altogether fruity. Alcohol is present, but not overbearing in the very least.
Taste: The fruits aren't as evident in the taste as in the smell. However, they're present, especially in the aftertaste. The alcohol hits the tongue initially, and it the taste floats purgatorially (sorry, I just made up a word, but it fits somehow I think) between bitter and sweet. The fruits and powerfully delicious taste are more evident toward the back of the tongue after it's swallowed, so sip slowly. Overall I'd say in its colder temperature the flavors are more contained rather than at cellar temperature; there's less room for them to wander above cellar temperature, and especially at 15% I imagine the containment is warranted.
Mouthfeel: Spicy (despite the nature of its fruitiness), capricious, and flippant. Yet the combination is somehow pretty interesting and beckons one to sip more as if to conquer its slippery nature. Didn't Thoreau say something about letting his neighbors be wild? This is probably his equivalent in beer; it's going in every direction, and I like it.
Drinkability: Come on now, it's 15%. To put it into perspective, it's like filling your glass with 12 oz. of Apple Pucker. Yes, you winced, and you should have. However, this isn't Apple Pucker. At the same time, it's surely not something to mess with. It's "beer" indeed, but some have said it has the more qualities in line with a brandy or bourban, and to a certain degree I agree. Now that I think about it though (especially if you're just buying a 4-pack, because since it's a seasonal / limited Dogfish Head brew it comes in 4-packs), I'd suggest letting it rest in the fridge for at least a day. Then break it out, let it rest outside the fridge for 15 minutes, pour it into a glass, take huge whiffs of both the empty bottle right after poured and the glass right after it's filled, sip slowly, and enjoy both the power and the complex tastes and aromas.
01-08-2005 03:52:56 | More by asabreed
4.1/5 rDev +3.5%
Bottle date is 01/04, drunk one year later.
This is quite light colored for a barelywine. Clear orange gold with a short-lived head. Very nice lacing on the glass. Only a smidge of yeast in the bottle.
Smell is quite complex and pleasing. Honey hits first, then a marshmallow and and graham cracker combo. A slight bit of vanilla and some fusel alcohol. I like this smell combo.
Taste is also very nice. Hits with a sweet honey with a significant amount of hop bite with some warmth from the alcohol mixed in. Sweet without being cloying.
Mouthfeel is nice an thick with some lively micro-bubble carbonation to keep it from sticking.
Hiding this much alcohol in a beer is quite a feat. I could drink this all night if I had the liver of 10 men.
01-07-2005 01:26:27 | More by silenius
3.33/5 rDev -15.9%
Shared two 12oz. bottles of this with two beer-tasting friends of mine. Served in a wine glass at about cellar temperature.
Appearance: Light copper color with wispy thin head. Very slight haze, but with no detrimental sediment. Nothing extra special except for the fact that it's lighter than other Barleywines.
Smell: Graham cracker sweetness, clover honey, light alcohol; not very strong, but we could have served it too cold. Clean hoppiness, slightly floral. Dark fruits are also tossed in there.
Taste: Carbonation almost non-existant. Very thick sweetness. Honey on the tongue, smooth but bitter hoppiness going down, very warming finish. Alcohol is quite prevalent (but not overpowering for a 15% brew), but saves this brew from being overly cloying as a bonus side effect.
Mouthfeel: Thick, almost syrupy mouthfeel. Almost flat. Average for this style.
Drinkability: For all it's alcohol, it's easy to sip provided you are drinking no more than 4-6oz. in a sitting. 12oz. bottles are too big for one person IMHO, so share this with someone else who shares your passion for beer. Would go great over vanilla ice cream. (Note: my drinkability score of 3.0 is based on the slightly "too large" 8oz. serving I drank. This score would go up to 3.5 if served in a nice brandy snifter as a 4oz. serving instead.)
A decent beer overall, but way overpriced at almost $5.00 for a 12oz. bottle! Might be better served at room temperature.
01-06-2005 20:26:57 | More by EPseja
3.7/5 rDev -6.6%
Picked up a DFH Olde School for my 100th review!!!
This beer is a cloudy golden color. The head was small but retained pretty well. Spicy aroma with fruity overtones. Lots of alcohol present in both the aroma and taste. The taste is decent but the alcohol cannot be ignored. Very sweet as well. The high ABV results in a warm mouthfeel. I could have done with a little less carbonation in this one. A fairly drinkable brew despite all the alcohol.
This beer reminded me a lot of a kicked up version of Victory Golden Monkey.
01-02-2005 01:27:42 | More by Jacobob10
3.98/5 rDev +0.5%
Eye Candy: Light amber, slow rising carbonation. Thick, pillowy off white 2 finger head. Superb retention throughout. Looked like a beer instead of typical barleywine syrup.
The Nose Knows: Dark fruit, tart apple, yeasty light alcohol on the champange side of things.
Tongueland: My first warm brew!!! Alcohol dances quick on the tongue, the yeast sweeps it away, left with a champagne- tart apple taste. Clean bitter hop finish. A tad too complex for my buds. Belgian yeast overpowers any of the other flavors. Reminds me of fruit soaked in alcohol. Needs some mellowing out.
Bender: WOW. The 15 ABV is well hidden. I can honestly see myself drinking a 4 pack and waking up naked in the front yard cudding a duck.
12-31-2004 00:40:25 | More by wailingwench
4.7/5 rDev +18.7%
12oz. bottle: I left this one sit in my basement for a year before opening it.
This one is an orangish-golden color. It is quite opaque for its color. There is very little white head to it, which drops off rather quickly. Very potent aroma. It is a sweet malt with fruity nuances. A hint of sourness comes up also. The taste is superb. Quite a rich taste. The malts are strong, but the sweetness is diminished. I get a bit of a whisky tinge to the taste. It does not come through as an alcohol bite as some do. In fact, I have had much more alcohol taste in 7% beers than this. This is really superb.
12-30-2004 18:47:46 | More by Boto
4.38/5 rDev +10.6%
Dogfish Head Olde School Barlewine
Packaged January 2004
Sampled this stellar Barleywine on Christmas Eve 2004. What a great occasion to try this beer out. With a raging fire, dropping temperatues, and vacation on the horizon I'm ready for this beer.
Pours a hazy orange, borderline light copper color. Major pieces of sediment are floating around in the glass. I used a wine glass for this beer. There is a fluffy white head on top. I was not expecting such a true form head. Most Barleywines usually don't have such an attractive head. Fluffy head induced sticky lacings.
Aroma orange-zest hops (similiar to the 120 Minute IPA), Gala apples, and sweet honey.
Bubbly apple flavors up front with a hop bite on the finish. Very syrupy sweet mouthfeel. There is some alcohol warmth mixed in with each sip, but the intensity of this beer blends everything so well.
So friggin smooth at 15% ABV. You'll find the strength of this beer hard to believe. This is one mastpiece of a Barelywine.
12-24-2004 18:19:24 | More by Hibernator
4/5 rDev +1%
quite pricey ($17.99 for a 4 pack of 12 ozers) but considering I enjoyed the 120 min IPA I thought "Ya only live once"...
12 oz brown bottle, typical not too many frills dogfishhead label, label suggests you age this for a year..I will definitely do that with 2 of the bottles of the 4.
pours a golden copper (somewhat strange for this style compared to say Bigfoot or Old Foghorn). clean white head dissipates at a moderate pace. carbonation bubbles rising up from the bottom of the glass (almost looks like ginger ale or champagne). nice solid and uniform lace when tossed around the rim of the glass. very little sediment at the bottom.
nothingover powering but a nice blend of fruits, almost like mild jelly or preserves (without any tartness), also I detect a hint of prune or raisin in there which make themselves more apparent as you sip on.
taste and mouthfeel:
the carbonation signature is very good, just enough to make this non syrupy until the very last bit slides down the gullet. the high alcohol content is not omnipresent in the taste (some reviews mention it is like hard liquor, I don't get that impression myself). a pleasant bouquet of mild fruit flavors pervades, this is much lighter "feeling" than I expected of this style and considering the ABV has remarkable drinkability.. usually I can only drink Barleywine's in snifters of maybe 10oz (or in a big wine glass) or so, this seems way too easy at 12oz. the flavor flattens out more into the raisiny realm as you go.
impressed. worth checking out. nice warmth for those winter nights at home by the fire. the alcohol in this does sneak right up on you.
12-05-2004 03:48:33 | More by Ego
4.2/5 rDev +6.1%
Now Quaffing: Dogfish Head Olde School Barleywine ~ 12oz.
Pours a clear copper which is almost golden when held up to a light. There is a small white head that dissipates rather quickly, with good lacing. Aroma is very candy sweet. Figs, plums, raspberry and strawberry preserves (and preserved they are in 15% alcohol). The taste carrys some of the familiar fruity sweetness from the nose along with a spicy alcohol interlude which reminds you to show respect. In the back end you have the lovely barley taste I look for in the style with just enough hops to balance the whole thing out. I was honestly expecting a hoppier beer because its from DFH and its another one of their "big beers", but I wasn't entirely let down, there's enough acidity to make up for the hops I'm missing. The moutfeel is thick, slick and "chewy" all at once. This one coats everything from the lips down like a fine brandy. Drinkability is high considering this beer is 30 proof. Hop it up some and this would easily increase that to a 5 (as well as some of the other columns as well).
12-04-2004 05:59:51 | More by TripelJ
4/5 rDev +1%
First off, thanks to clvand0 for sharing this beer with me. The beer pours a deep golden amberish color with head that covers over the beer. The nose is all about figs covered in caramel and a good deal of alcohol. The first thing I got was a burst of alcohol, but upon swallowing the beer, there is a nice caramel sweetness and there is an odd bitterness on the back of my tongue that I don't really like. Its almost soapy. The beer is pretty thick and smooth. Overall a nice offering. Drinkability is not as good as it could be, but what do you want from a big ass beer? This is not the best DFH beer I've had, but its overall a good beer.
11-30-2004 23:02:55 | More by kmpitz2
3.88/5 rDev -2%
Poured into a large snifter, this beer is remarkably clear and light in color for a barleywine. What foam is created with the pour falls to ring of bubbles. The first whiff of the aroma is full of an intense malt, with some sawddust-like phenolic notes. I like my stronger beers to have some more intense aromatics than usual and this Olde School Barleywine fits the bill. The first sip is thick, but not cloying, with a slick finish. A slight warming effect from the alcohol (I would expect more this sensastion in such a strong brew) with the intense maltiness found in a fine Scotch. The flavors of this elixir have more in common with bourbon than beer. That's not a bad thing. Think of a highly attenuated Double IPA mixed with a little Scotch whisky and that's what you've got in this beer. I've had some ver full-bodied and complex English barleywines and some powerfully hoppy and complex American barleywines. This beer in neither, and is usual for Dogfish Head, is in a class by itself. It's actually a pretty drinkable beer, for such a high alcohol content, but that's sort of a dangerous thing. Beware: thou art mortal!
11-27-2004 05:45:35 | More by marcobrau
3.98/5 rDev +0.5%
Clear amber, not much head. Extremely enjoyable aroma, I didnt see that one coming. A fine cigar, a campfire and a deep immort ale like maltiness with all this caramel and maple syrup richness and even some kind of meaty goodness going on. Feels 10% or so, great job there! In mouth: melon bubblegum, soothing oily hops, piney, vegetal which develops sip after sip into a larger and larger tongue-coating bitterness. Nevertheless, those huge malts never miss a meeting, it remains very sweet (caramel.. smoked maple), just very bitter at the same time and in good proportions. Oily fuelic body, fair amount of carbonation. Adopt an hypercaloric beer today.
11-21-2004 21:30:12 | More by Rastacouere
Olde School Barleywine from Dogfish Head Brewery
89 out of 100 based on 2,050 ratings.