1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Olde School Barleywine - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Olde School BarleywineOlde School Barleywine

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

2,097 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,097
Reviews: 973
rAvg: 3.97
pDev: 13.1%
Wants: 197
Gots: 502 | FT: 25
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Olde School Barleywine Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,097 | Reviews: 973 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of vonnegut21
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%

vonnegut21, May 02, 2012
Photo of JasonB
4.5/5  rDev +13.4%

JasonB, May 02, 2012
Photo of Brodybeer
3.9/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lovely copper pour. Hard pour gives little head
Smell banana. Liqueur. Hard alchohol tase
Complex. Hmm. Interesting. Could use aging for sure but this bottle is young. Heavy yeast bread and old fruit. Slight peppery spice ness
Mouth is smooth first then harsh. Alchohol is strong almost burns
Carbonation overpowers syrupy ness. Mellows as it warms
I think I could give overall 4 or more if this aged. But can't assume
For the abv it is pretty amazingly hidden. I'm going extra .5 point for that. Wild have guessed 11. 15 wow

Brodybeer, May 02, 2012
Photo of TempeBeerMan
3.65/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap poured into a tulip glass

A - Deep copper/amber color with a white one-finger head which lasted an amazingly long time for such a high abv beer.

S - Sweet, medicinal, boozy.

T - Kind of a herbal/medicinal quality similar to the liquor Chartruse. Some port wine fruit sweetness character as well. Very "hot", with lots of booze in the finish. Most of the tastes kind of covered up by the heat.

M - Medium bodied, low carbonation, slightly syrupy.

O - Definitely complex, but I would like to see how this ages, but overall kind of a hot mess right now. A lot of qualities have this resembling a liquor almost as much as a beer. Glad I tried it, but nothing I would seek out again.

TempeBeerMan, Apr 28, 2012
Photo of closisinthehouse
4/5  rDev +0.8%

closisinthehouse, Apr 28, 2012
Photo of nathanb47
4/5  rDev +0.8%

nathanb47, Apr 28, 2012
Photo of Njstoutlover23
4.5/5  rDev +13.4%

Njstoutlover23, Apr 28, 2012
Photo of woodjjacct
5/5  rDev +25.9%

woodjjacct, Apr 24, 2012
Photo of threeviews
4.65/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle (bottled on date: Bottled in 2011 101) at near cellar temperature into an oversized red wine glass.

A- Due to bottle conditioning, the beer pours a very hazy ruby red with barely a 1/2-finger's worth of an off-white, soapy head which dissipates quickly.

S- Aroma is pungent...sweet, sticky and syrupy: raisins, brown sugar, dates, (pine)apple, pear and some very subtle notes of overripe citrus. Not to be forgotten, booze is also detected..

T- Overwhelming on the palate. Dates, figs, apple and pear all hit in concert followed by a mild orange/tangerine citrus. Much like an Imperial IPA, the beer finishes with a tacky, white grapefruit rind bitterness drying you out making you crave another sip...but at 15% ABV, that can be very dangerous! Alcohol warmth is felt when swallowed.

M- Quite viscous and syrupy. Low carbonation which never gets in the way, but just enough to open the tastebuds and allow the flavors to be savored.

O- Olde School challenges the very definition of beer and is another amazing offering from DH. Undoubtedly the most unique barleywine I have ever sampled, this is an intense beer not only due to the high ABV, but also because of the complexity in both aroma and flavor. This a remarkable sipping experience and one that you cannot rush. (Note: It took me over 1-1/2 hours to consume a 12oz bottle)

threeviews, Apr 22, 2012
Photo of nmbr0ne
4.2/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into snifter from 9/19/2011 bottle.

Appearance: Amber body, barely any white head at all. No lacing.

Smell: Cinnamon, toffee, raisins, brown sugar, grapes, slight booze.

Taste: Sweet fruit. Apples and pears. Some more raisins. Figs. Cinnamon. Floral. Pine hop finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied. A bit slick. Good carbonation. Boozy. Warming alcohol feeling that lingers.

Overall: Great barleywine in my opinion because it isn't too sweet for me. I love the hoppy finish. Typical Dogfish beer.

nmbr0ne, Apr 22, 2012
Photo of NEDmiller
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%

NEDmiller, Apr 21, 2012
Photo of atone315
4.5/5  rDev +13.4%

atone315, Apr 21, 2012
Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.55/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter.
15% ABV, serving and burying (seriously) instructions, Bottled in 2009. "This beer ages with the best of 'em."

A - The tall pour creates a head that's long-lasting for a barleywine with this alcohol percent. The good retention eventually leads to a foamy layer and ring with some glass-coating lace. The color is a beautifully clear copper-amber with carbonation bubbles lazily floating up. Legs drape the lace following a hearty swirl.

S - The nose is just bursting with fruity nuances and estery-turned-solvent alcohol that almost makes one's eyes water. White grape and peach compliment a mild apricot, pineapple citrus, and apple fruit concoction. Honey-drizzled English muffin gives a good depth to the malts while "hop" aroma is almost non-existent, rather, it's just fully fruity. The finish has a really light lupulin gland, resiny touch. The aroma really reminds me of Fort, actually.

T - Light solvent hints are complimented by bold, fruity flavors but this is surprisingly lower in alcohol flavor than the nose would suggest. A fruit-basket containing citrusy pineapple, crisp, juicy apple, apricot, peach, and plump white grape all appear in the flavor, soaked in sweet white wine. A mellow hop flavor announces itself towards the finish with just a light harmonious floral and citrus smoothness. Again, the honey-draped English muffins come out of the malts with a bit of caramel too. The booze is there but not too powerful. Just enough to let you know what you're drinking.

M - Initially Olde School is very soft and smooth with a medium-full-feeling body. The alcohol is really warm and the finish is somewhat crisp but sweet like a plump, juicy apple. Very light dryness and mild bitterness finishes out this boozy barleywine with finesse. It might be the solvent-like alcohol, but the finish is just a touch on the thin side.

O - Olde School is a delicious barleywine full of terrific nuances but a beer best enjoyed around 55° F with sipping time to warm up and develop even more. While delicious, it'll certainly take some time to drink. This beer begs to be savored and cherished. I will say, however; for a 15% brew, it's not too hot and the $4 price tag is a complete steal.

[2009 bottle reviewed. This ages incredibly gracefully.]

BeerFMAndy, Apr 19, 2012
Photo of cashmier
4/5  rDev +0.8%

cashmier, Apr 17, 2012
Photo of antoines15
4/5  rDev +0.8%

antoines15, Apr 16, 2012
Photo of savagepm
4/5  rDev +0.8%

savagepm, Apr 16, 2012
Photo of tln13
4/5  rDev +0.8%

tln13, Apr 16, 2012
Photo of Listers
4/5  rDev +0.8%

Listers, Apr 14, 2012
Photo of HamFon
4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this 2011 vintage bottle at Walk The Line On Barleywine.

A: brilliant clarity, nice amber color, small white head of small bubbles disappated quickly

S: alcohol heat, dark fruit, bready, floral

T: alcohol, golden raisins, bready and slight toasty, some Medjool dates, pretty big hop bittering into finish

M: very dry finish, medium body

O: alcohol dominates, nice raisiny fruit flavors give some dimension to the beer

HamFon, Apr 14, 2012
Photo of Texasfan549
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%

Texasfan549, Apr 14, 2012
Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev +0.8%

kjkinsey, Apr 14, 2012
Photo of HungarianCount
4.75/5  rDev +19.6%

HungarianCount, Apr 14, 2012
Photo of nuggetlover
4/5  rDev +0.8%

nuggetlover, Apr 13, 2012
Photo of vbiliyar
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%

vbiliyar, Apr 13, 2012
Photo of Holland
3.75/5  rDev -5.5%

Holland, Apr 11, 2012
Olde School Barleywine from Dogfish Head Brewery
89 out of 100 based on 2,097 ratings.