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Olde School Barleywine - Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

Not Rated.
Olde School BarleywineOlde School Barleywine

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,024 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,024
Hads: 2,491
Avg: 3.92
pDev: 20.15%
Wants: 248
Gots: 722 | FT: 47
Brewed by:
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Delaware, United States | website

Style | ABV
American Barleywine | 15.04% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: UnionMade on 10-10-2002

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

85 IBU
ABV varies from 13-16%.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Olde School Barleywine Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,024 | Hads: 2,491
Photo of Antg8989
4.57/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a rich hazy amber. Certainly smells of figs and dates - tastes like it too. A little more than you'd expect from a barleywine. Not my favorite, but very good nonetheless. At over 15%, it's quite enjoyable, although it may not be for everyone.

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Photo of mchegash
4.23/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - 4/5
Pours a nice, fairly clear deep orange. About a single finger of head upon pouring, dissipates down to a thin layer on the top of the beer. Can see an average amount of carbonation rising up the beer.

Smell - 4.75/5
The smell is very strong--when I first poured, I could smell from like 2 feet away. The smell is hard to describe, but I know it smells very similar to Bell's Expedition Stout. They both have this unique, sweet, slightly fruity, very alcoholic smell. The first time I had an Expedition Stout, I wasn't that big a fan of the smell/flavor, but it's grown on me. So now for this beer I can give it quite a high rating. After taking my first sips, I also noticed that the smell had a noticeable metallic tinge to it.

Taste - 4/5
Sweet malts, the unique fruity/alcoholic flavor I mentioned above, though it's not as strong in the taste as in was in the smell. The beer has a noticeable metallic taste, but I feel it only slightly detracts from the flavor.

Mouthfeel - 4/5
Medium bodied, smooth, moderate level of medium-light intensity carbonation.

Overall - 4.25/5
Overall this was a great beer. Will definitely probably get again, some time in the future. The only downside is it's fairly pricey--$17 for a 4-pack.

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Photo of boilermakerbrew
3.85/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottled on 10/27/14.

This one pours into the snifter a beautiful copper-brown in color with a small head that leaves as much lacing as it can. Hazy in body all the way through. Huge boozy and dark fruit notes hit the nose at first sniff. The second whiff reveals the dates and figs in a very fruity and nutty aroma that resembles raisins. At first sip, this beer really displays its alcohol and adjunct contents. Big alcohol and slight hop bitterness hits the tongue and then morphs into the dark dates and figs. Again, the fruits turn into a raisin-like flavor and combine with the alcohol to give that classic, alcohol heavy barleywine taste. Mouthfeel is rather thick and this is a really slow sipper due to the alcohol content.

Overall, this is an incredibly strong and complex beer. It really reminds me of DFH Raison d'Extra, except with less offense and aggressive flavors. I really want to take the advice of the label and bury this in my yard for 2 years, but I guess my cellar works fine as well.

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Photo of Vne0
4.4/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pour is a light amber with a half finger head. Smell is very potent alcohol with figs and dates. Bold taste yet very palatable. Similar to the Dogfish 120 in many ways.
Overall a fantastic barelywine.

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Photo of weltywm
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look: Dark amber with about a finger of thick head. Lots of lacing on the glass.

Smell: Raisins and figs, spice, alcohol, some sort of "holiday" smell that reminds me of cookies. Sugarplums maybe?

Taste: Caramel, sugar, and molasses; red fruit - cherry and figs; a hint of bourbon or whiskey. A little bit of spice tying it all together.

Feel: Maybe a bit on the thin side, especially given the ABV, but it's smooth and very drinkable.

Overall: A good barleywine, and the addition of figs and dates is a nice touch. Would love to see how it ages, but for now, it's a nice one to sip on a winter evening.

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Photo of Ale-Be-Damned
3.25/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

The first taste is first alcohol heavy with a gentle warming of my mouth, and throat upon swallowing. The feel is heavy and slightly syrupy. After the alcohol there is a presence of richer fruits like raisin and fig, some apple. This is definitely a sipper. I like it though, and have put some bottles in the cellar to rest. Cheers!

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Photo of OrangeMen
4.54/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- Pours a lighter amber, deep orangish hues, glistens. Half finger thick white to slightly off white head, soapy bubbly. Moderate lacing on sides of glass, but for most part fairly clean in the glass.
Aroma- Fermented fruits, figs, dates, apples, soaked in alcohol. Slight caramelized malt base, rich and decadent in aroma. Pungnant alcohol presence, but not overpowering and detracting.
Taste- Caramelized and alcohol soaked fruits, follows nose, sour apples, figs and dates. Sweet and warming alcohol notes, rich and decadent, molasses, brown sugar, syrupy sweet.
Feel- Full bodied, syrupy thick and chewy. Moderate carbonation fine for style.
Overall- This beer is very hot right now, but still very enjoyable. Alcohol almost creates a sourness in the fruit flavors, but the underlying malts and fruits blend perfectly together. Sugary sweet and syrupy, with lovely apples, figs, dates, raisins fermenting in it all. An obvious sipper, but lovely.

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Photo of Harvest06
4.11/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Fresh this is not an overly hot ale despite the 15% abv. But it is tight and undeveloped fresh. It has great potential and the dates and figs are currently subtle but should become more dominant after several years of aging. I'd cellar this (or follow the instructions on the bottle for burying it) for at least 2 years.

Currently mine is cellaring and my review reflects the 2013 version consumed fresh.

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Photo of cjgiant
3.39/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

2014 bottle:
Lightly hazy light orange brown. Head is nice fluffy white, and stats well across the surface throughout the pour. Nose is a bit of light brown sugar, date and raisin, perhaps a hint of wood, but behind a shroud of alcohol.

Taste is unfortunately alcohol heavy as well. Their is alcohol soaked plum and raisin, some light brown sugar sweetness underneath. The depth seems lacking or obscured, the feel is hit and mildly effervescent.

Gonna have to let this age and retry to see if it mellows out a bit.

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Photo of Gear54
3.78/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap served in a snifter.

Look is great. Cloudy amber in color with a finger of thick head and light lace.

Very booze heavy in smell and taste. The dates and figs are present but almost totally over powered by the alcohol.

I almost feel like this beer was a big young. I will try this again, next time fr a bottle with a date.

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Photo of Pawoto
3.1/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

I like DFH, I like barley wines and I like big beers...so this should have been a slam dunk...but this was a miss for me. Nose is pure booze, up front the taste is all booze...i think there were some yummy flavors in there somewhere, but totally overpowered. I bought 4 and drank 1 so I'll see how the others do in the cellar for a couple of years.

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Photo of ZebraCakez
3.98/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a deep golden amber color, small one finger head of light colored foam

S: Alcohol, with a fruity note buried in there somewhere.

T: Initially, it's all booze. If your a person who can't handle straight shots at the bar, don't bother. Find your way through the alcohol and your rewarded with a fantastic sweet fruity finish.

F: Light and well carbonated, a pleasant feel.

O: As with all of DFH's Caution Cap series, this is just a crazy strong, blown-up take on the style. Not the best barleywine on the market, but it's an absolute blast to drink. At 15%, it is not for the weak.... but if you like a brew that challenges you, this is totally worth a shot.

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Photo of Bowers-Brew
3.65/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Served @ 50deg. F. in snifter. Bottled on 10/27/14

I wanted to try one fresh, but maybe I shouldn't have tried it quite this fresh. It's very hot, dates and figs are washed out from the alcohol. I won't touch the remaining bottles for at least 1 year. I hope it cleans up with age. Prost!

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Photo of Apellonious
3.67/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle bought this week (assuming 2014 but no bottle date )poured into a tulip glass.

A - Semi cloudy amber orange with one finger head. Moves to a thin lace.

S - Off. Sure, its boozy. If you sniff real hard you may pick up something else, maybe fig?

T - Let it sit. Booze, fig, some dark fruit, metallic notes. I have another bottle, not planning on opening it for quite some time.

M- The mouthfeel is interesting. Not as sticky as most barleywines. The carbonation is average, right in the middle.

O - I'll be honest, never drank a 15% before, but the initial smell and some of the notes were off to me. Have to assume this is new, but I have no idea. Will try it again in 12 months to see if it evens out.

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Photo of marchoftheclouds
4.75/5  rDev +21.2%

I could drink this all day. We'll maybe until I fell down! Smooth, smooth, smooth. Hard to believe at 15% ABV. Wonderful, unique flavor. Not perfect or my favorite style, but very, very close.

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Photo of BMMillsy
3.7/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from Tipples. Pours orange with a small off white head. Aroma of booze, sweet caramel, figs, fruits. Big and sweet. Flavor is also huge sweetness, fruit flavors, honey and caramel, booze, and a little more booze. Heavy bodied, medium carbonation, hot on the throat. This was decent enough I guess. Wouldn’t pay the $5 or $6 again for a bottle again though.

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Photo of outdoor7or24
3.88/5  rDev -1%

12 oz bottle poured into snifter. Purchased at CBX in Charleston, SC.
A: pours a deep orange copper, very thin white foam head, few spots of stringy lacing
S: tropical fruits, malty, some booziness, sweet orange, brown sugar
M: medium creamy body
T: spicy, slight sweet orange, malt, tropical fruit, can get some dates on the taste buds, oak, burnt sugar, booziness, a burning hot spice towards the end, some hops creating a slight bitterness
O: good brew, a sipper at 15%, maybe letting it age will take some of the alcohol heat bite off.

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Photo of bnes09
3.96/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Dense orange color. Half finger head on the pour with pour retention and minimal lacing when poured into snifter glass as recommended on the bottle. Super dense, rich, malty aroma with nice dark fruits mingled within. Did I mention boozy in the nose? Wow! The flavor is intense. Heavy malt character hits right away with a maple syrup-soaked biscuit quality. Intensely sweet dark fruits hit mid drink. Figs and dates, of course. Hops are mild, even at 85 IBU, underneath the malt fortress. Hops are earthy with a pine-like, herbal tone. Medicinal quality in the finish, almost like Nyquil and probably a result of the alcohol. Dense, syrupy body. About as thick as beer can get, I think. Very different. Would serve well as a winter warmer. Will try to cellar and compare. Drink with the utmost care and respect. Take small sips!

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Photo of iTunesUpdates
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I don't see why this gets so much hate. I absolutely love the taste of this beer. I think the upfront burn is what makes it so great. I'll be cellaring the other 3 to see how this one develops!

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Photo of embass
4.02/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz poured into a snifter

A: amber color.

S&M: smells of toffee, raisins and booze. Taste is similar with some hops.

M: medium-bodied with a higher than normal amount of carbonation for a bw.

O: very good overall; like the abv and smoothness.

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Photo of PaulyB83
3.37/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Bottled 10/27/14
Poured into a snifter

A- Pours a hazy medium-dark amber but clears nicely as it warms. Thin off white head that dissipated quickly.

S- Smells like a sweet Marsala wine but with more alcohol presence. I get those date and fig sweet dried fruits but there is a big alcohol aroma that really covers them up. The alcohol aroma is very reminiscent of the one in World Wide Stout, they probably use the same yeast.

T- Dried fruits, getting even a little hop presence but the alcohol is again pretty overwhelming. I realize it's 15% but I just had too many other high ABV beers that hid the alcohol better to not consider it a detraction. It does leave a nice fig and date sweetness flavor in the aftertaste.

M- On the lighter side of medium, more carbonation than I would expect.

O- I didn't care much for this one and I don't really get all the high ratings for it. It seems like another beer Dogfish Head wants you to age before you drink but my belief is a beer should be good fresh first and if it gets better with some age well that is a bonus. Would like to try this with some age but I really don't think I'll be buying another bottle anytime soon.

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Photo of SomethingClever
4.71/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

12 oz poured into a snifter

A: color was not what I was expecting the clarity is amazing and a amber color...are we sure thus us a Barleywine

S: toffee, dates, figs and booze lots of booze actually has a very nice smell

T: this is borderline sherry but smooth no bitterness or even harshness from the booze you get just a lot of apricot,fig, dates, and jam flavors with deep toffee candy like tastes

M: not as viscous as you would think it's got a nice body but it's not cloying or thick

O: this beer floors me for 15% I remember having it on tap a year ago and thinking this is great. The bottle version had done nothing to change that opinion. It has tastes for days and the booze for being 15% is well hidden.

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Photo of treznor
4.37/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Still somewhat hot (though not all that unexpected for a 15% beer), the flavor was quite mellow (hmm... maybe mellow isn't quite the right word...) and malt-forward. The hops were there but not over-powering at all. All around, a very solid beer.

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Photo of briandaube
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%

My first shot at one of these, but I figured since I keep seeing people complain about those not reviewing beers and just "ticking" I'd try one out.

For an American barleywine I wasn't slammed with hops, which isn't a bad thing. Definitely picked up some of the fruit on the finish quickly followed by a nice alcohol warmth. I haven't had a ton of barleywines but this is already a favorite. I'm thinking ill pick up a couple to age.

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Photo of Poti0nseller
4/5  rDev +2%

The bold body accented with a semi-fruity flavor gave this beer a great overall profile. I personally found the aftertaste to be similar to that of honey...I love honey.

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Olde School Barleywine from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
88 out of 100 based on 1,024 ratings.