1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Thomas Hooker Old Marley Barleywine - Thomas Hooker Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Thomas Hooker Old Marley BarleywineThomas Hooker Old Marley Barleywine

Educational use only; do not reuse.

202 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 202
Reviews: 174
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 12.97%
Wants: 47
Gots: 9 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Thomas Hooker Brewing Company visit their website
Connecticut, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: paceyourself on 03-01-2003

This traditional American Ale blends copious amounts of five different malts and various English and American hops to yield a rich and flavorful brew.

We age our Barleywine in oak bourbon- casks to add vanilla and smoky notes, then blend these flavors into a full-blown sensory experience to enjoy on a cold winter's eve.
Old Marley Barleywine is extremely complex and full-bodied in flavor. The drinker will be rewarded by first letting a small amount warm in a brandy snifter , then sipping it, similar to a fine sherry.

74 IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Ratings: 202 | Reviews: 174
Photo of yankeeheel
4.62/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a turbid caramel brown with no head. Swirling it yields a yin/yang sheet of lace...nice. Looks thick. Smells nicely fruity. Perhaps some licorice and fig. Whirls around the tulip glass and I can't stop smelling it. Really ethereal. Brown sugar is the first taste I get, followed by leather and plum. Turns slightly bitter with a solid hop backbone. Doesn't dominate but helps build a well balanced profile. Long vanilla and oak ending caps off an exceptional barleywine. Mouthfeel is great and oily. This is a wonderful companion on a cold Maine night.

Photo of Brent
4.2/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've always considered this sort of beer to fall into either the barleywine or strong ale categories - American barleywine? I've not been too quick to adopt this as a style, but it is probably a good description for this beer, given its incorporation of some serious hopping. Poured a dark garnet brown with nominal head. Aroma was dark fruit and hops. Flavors were complex and layered - first noted was the hopping - bold and a bit raw. An undercurrent of dark fruit and some oak tannin flavor. Bottle notes maturation in oak liquor barrels, but I didn't note whiskey flavors other than some caramel. Alcohol was well integrated into the flavor. Overall, while this beer is nicely drinkable right now, it seems young and rough - a year might help, but I certainly enjoyed it right now. Thanks to far333 for the sample.

Photo of Rastacouere
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

1yr old: Copper see-through body. Almost no head. Very nice nose containing rare to be found aromas like sugar cane though the focus is on centennial like hops which come out quite earthy, orangey, grapefruity though there’s a solid maple/honey malt base in there. Somehow, I was expecting more of an english-style barley wine, so I was stunned by the huge hoppiness this bears. Its palate is very dry, hoppy full of oily hops and a bit harsh ultimately, especially with that weird though slight tin/penny note hiding in a vegetal world. A bit light bodied, low-medium carbonation. Pretty good, especially aroma wise. Cheers Casey!

Photo of CharlesRiver
4.37/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Beautiful 500ml swing top bottle. The sticker on the top clearly states bottled in 2004. Poured into a smaller snifter. Burgundy-brown in color with a small head that doesn't last. The smell is deep and rich. Reminds me a lot of Arrogant Bastard. Huge sweet malt backbone. Raisins and some port notes come through.

Taste isn't exactly what I expected. Some big smokey notes come through in the beginning. Giving way to malt and hops and ending with a nice warming feeling. Carbonation is very low but fits this beer perfect.

A great beer but needs a little time as the edges seem sharp. Time should blend these flavors together nicely.

Photo of wyllder
4.36/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Marley pours a deep, slightly clouded garnet, with a thin caramel head. He might be dead, but he looks quite appealing in my goblet.

The nose has a sharp, poignant edge to it. Behind that edge, it speeks of plums, raisins, chocolate and other scents I had a hard time distinguishing.

The flavor is slightly bitter on the front of the palate. By the midsip, bitter coffee, chocolate and a touch of plum all play out, along with some lovely alcohol hints. The aftertaste is a brilliant bitter coffee with some last, lingering, alcohol notes.

Mouthfeel is smooth, full and round, a delight to sip slowly on a cold October evening.

Drinkability is good, though I couldn't see myself drinking more than one of these in a night. One, however, is mighty satisfying in and of itself.

Overall, a terrific barleywine.


Photo of AlexJ
4.92/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I've had 2 of these babies stashed in the cellar for a while and a cold, rainy, Oct. afternoon "forced" me to open one. Although I've had the pleasure of this glorious elixer before, I wasn't at home to review it.
--Glug-glugs out the sweet blue swing-top a beautiful deep amber/mahogany with a 1 in. head of golden-wheat. Veils of lace adorn my Delirium-tulip. Head dissipates but a thin hood remains.
--Aromas of Caramel, brown sugar, and malted milk sweetness burst from the glass. Then gobs of gooey piney, green hops hit you w/ a definate citrus/marmalade tone. What's this other level of aroma, kinda smells like fresh, heady marijuana. The sweet alcohol aroma is right there, drawing me further in. An alltogether explosive olefactory experience!
--Tasting unleashes a barrage of pure malty delight! Chewy caramel, brown sugar, date-bread, vanilla, and burnt English toffe are followed by an intense, tongue-coating blast of fresh hops. Mouthfeel is very full and lasting. The alcohol is well disguised but very warming. Finishes with a mouthfull of hops that doesn't plan on leaving any time soon!

Superb, absolutely perfect barley-wine! One of the best I've had and this is one of my favorite styles that I enjoy year-round. This definately rivals the grandure and sheer-deliciousness of Paul Davis's Liberator and Imperial Porter. This one will age well, I would like to see the hops a little more subdued by ageing so that wonderful caramel, malty yum-yum can come out and play!

Photo of nogoodreason
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It glugs out of that gorgeous blue bottle and it's garnet beauty with little carbonation.

Rich and sweet, like a pilsner malt on steroids. There are rum-like characteristics, white grape, vanilla, some brown sugar, cinnamon and raisins... there's a doughy bread pudding like malt sweetness. Incredibly drinkable.

I'm glad this isn't a huge bottle or it would kick my ass. I'm left warmed and awed... wow oh wow. My favorite barleywine to date. Incredible.

Photo of mzwolinski
3.82/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Marley was flat, to begin with. Flat as a…umm.. an uncarbonated beer. Well, OK there was a *little* carbonation to be found, leading to thin wisps of tan head floating atop the beer. But not much. And this head ain’t coming back on Christmas Eve, neither.

The scent is predominantly malty, though there’s a fair bit of spice from the alcohol, and the hops give a rather citric character to the finish.

Pretty hot in the mouth. Malt hits first with something of a caramel character, but is quickly overpowered by Heavy citric hops and a big alcohol finish. This yields to a slow, tingly, aftertaste that leaves one smacking one’s lips with the taste of slightly burnt toffee and vanilla.

Moderately full in mouthfeel. Mellows out a bit as it warms, but it certainly needs to age a bit.

Photo of HiroProtagonist
4.62/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Old Marley was served from a really neat cobalt blue flip-top bottle. In my Duvel tulip, the beer was a vibrant orange-ruby tinged mahogany brown color and was blanketed by a thin but persistant tawny head that left nice sheet lacing. The nose was smooth and roasty, with fat n’ chewy musty-caramel maltiness and a stupendous fresh hop bouquet of herbal/ cannabis-like resiny and berry-limey citric notes that envelope the senses. Eagerly, I moved in for a taste. I found bold and roasty sweet cookyish eathy-musty caramel malts, a perfect level of resiny-aromatic and limey citric bitterness, and a rich bitter smokey nutty finish that held a interesting cocoa powder quality. The body was wonderfully smooth and full, and the carbonation was energetic enough to keep things lively. Old Marley is a well-crafted barleywine: big but balanced, deftly bittered, and lucidly aromatic. This beer should age well but its fantastic now.

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.57/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Marley was dead, to begin with, dead as a doornail ...or so I thought,(but what's so dead about a doornail?)and, yet, he's here in this bottle, waiting for me to drink him...funny, huh?
Dark crimson color, nice, if thin, layer of beigish foam on top.
Nose bespeaks of everything I want out of a barleywine, dark fruits, cherries, berries, currants, plums, , with a wicked, alcoholic twist, mingled with maple, spices, anise, more...beautiful....marvelously complex....oh, very nice.
Drink now, if I dare...Big, fierce, buzzing blast on the palate, big hoppiness, huge fruitiness, rich maltiness, no, "rich" doesn't qualify, it's a tonnage going on here. Tasty, tasty, tasty!
This does wonderful things in the month, sets it ablaze and soothes again with delicious flavors. Has great potential to enter my pantheon of favorite barleywine..aw, it's a shoo-in, f'gettaboutit!
Plentiful flavor, not too punishing in alcoholic strength, very warm, with a full body, and a long, fruity, toasty finish, this is a winner. Classic barleywine, all the way!
Happily, I've got a couple bottles (thanks sulldaddy and wyllder!), and can stash one away for a rainy day!

Photo of ecoboy
4.38/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One sentence may be all you need to know about my sampling: I followed it with a Thomas Hardy 1987 and the Old Marley's character and flavors were still instantly memorable. Pretty damned impressive.

Head has rosy and orange tones in the off-white. Very fine bubbles in the carbonation.

Aroma and flavor are matched. Sweet raisin/prune and coffee pervasive. Redolent with dark dried fruit. Still fairly fresh when sampled but noticeable warm and warming. Good bitterness factor above and beyond the expected for style. Outstanding.

Photo of rabidawg
4.58/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Absolutely stunning blood red. Seems to be fairly carbonated for a barleywine, but the head and lacing are fantastic. Creamy, frothy one-inch head that looks like meringue and stays until the very end. Amazing.

Smell: Interesting mix of old and new world aromas, with the interesting mix of hops. Slightly smoky, with big notes of burnt sugar and toffee.

Taste: Extremely creamy in the mouth, so the head was a good predictor. Slight initial alcohol presence, followed by a luxurious sweet malt rush, which itself is quickly swept away by substantial yet gentle hop presence. Sweet and spicy, then dry and oaky, with a noticeable whiskey-like finish. Excellent, excellent beer, even on a warm summer night in Georgia.

Photo of Boilermaker88
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presented in a 500ml swing-top bottle with a thin sticker over the top stating it was brewed in 2004. I poured about a third into a small brandy snifter as suggested, held it in my hands for a couple minutes, and let it warm up a bit.
This barleywine had the color of a brick wall - a nice dark maroon hue - topped with a tiny tan head that quickly melted away to a thin ring but could be conjured up again momentarily with a small amount of aggitation.
The nose was quite enticing. Sweet and fruity with vanilla, sherry and woody notes. Also a bit of caramel and toffee and, as it warmed, some gentle hints of alcohol.
The taste was magnificent. Initially, a sweetness akin to caramel-dipped apples and some pear notes. Then a rock candy flavor briefly presented. As it warmed up an alluring oak flavor washed over my tongue as did a light wood smoke note. Lastly, a balancing hops bitterness came out in the finish. The feel was full, syrupy without being cloying, and gently warming.
I'm not a huge fan of barleywines but this offering by Troutbrook is awesome! First their Liberator d-bock, now this. Hats off to Troutbrook Brewing for delivering such a tasty brew. Big thanks also to pbrian for hooking up this West Coast BA with a CT gem.

Photo of Bighuge
4.43/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Nice looking deep, crimson color. A thin light brown head recedes to a small, bubbly collar. Some nice caramel maltiness on the nose with some notes of toffee, nougat and vanilla as well. The taste starts out with a nice, smooth maltiness. Toffee and caramel derived malt flavors. There's a nice nougat center to this flavor. Sweet flavors dominate but are held in check with a little alcohol spiciness and some bitter hops. The alcohol presence as a whole is fairly light. I don't notice it unless I TRY to notice it. This is one drinkable Barleywine. The body is a little better than medium and the carbonation is right on.

Hats off to Troutbrook. I've had 3 of their's now and all were top notch.

Photo of Boto
4.6/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottled 2004 version (per the label tape): Ahh, this looks nice. The cobalt swing-top bottle is a nice start. Opens with just a little "pffft". The beer comes out a dark reddish-amber color. There is a light head that is gone very quickly. The aroma is lightly sweet, with some oakiness. Maybe a hint of coffee also. The taste is quite good. It's been aged awhile before it got to the bottles, which is evedent by the relative smoothness. It could sit awhile longer, but it is drinkable now. A bit of a roasty/smoky flavor to it. Also, there is a bit of a mellow whisky taste to it. Also hints of fruits. VERY complex, and also quite good. This gets better by the sip! I don't have last years to compare it to, but based on my notes this was much better!

Photo of nixhecks
4.7/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'll agree, the attractive swing-top bottle is what caught my eyes at the store. Poured much darker than most barleywines I had tried, very deep cherry-mohogany color with no head and barely a trace of carbonation. I smelled hints of oak, hard candy, apples, grapes, barley (of course), a bit of cocoa, and the tinniest bit of floral hoppiness. The taste was delicious, unbelievable really. there was a definite woody, chocolate malt essense to it. Syrupy in mouthfeel, this brew coats the mouth with a sweet, fruity, barleywine goodness, and finishes with a warming alcohol affect and a dry hoppiness. I did not expect this, although was surely hoping for it when the 500ml bottle rang up at $6.99. A must buy for barleywine fans, I think this may be my all time favorite. Very easy drinking and well balanced while remaining complex and unique. Awesome!!

Photo of counselor
3.33/5  rDev -17%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a problem offering, some off flavros, Not as up front as some of the other premium barleywines, subdued and subtle - nothing wowish here to make me remember the beer - never the less a decent brew on a cold rainy day. Deep dark reddish color with a thin head. The body was a little thin, slidng past the gums with alcohol and hop notes. Spices, cloves, pepper notes with alcohol flavors dominated. Some off flavors of soap and wood - I wonder if this is right - clean glass? - yes. just something off about this beer that doesn't make it bad, just makes me wonder every once on a while..

Photo of CRJMellor
4.12/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

As others have mentioned Troutbrook makes some of the coolest bottles I've ever seen.
Pours a deep amber hue with some orange highlights. Thin off-white head on the pour with a few spots of lace on the glass.
Aromas of vanilla, peat and scotch with some spicy hops and lighter malt tones.
Flavor is initially dominated by the oak and vanilla notes. Really tastes like some more poured a shot of Bushmills in my barleywine. Some spicy hop notes cuts the strong scotch characteristics and really enliven the palate.
Mouthfeel starts alcoholic and malty and then shifts to a spicy, somewhat tangy middle and finishes with modestly bitter and a warming alcohol hit .
Drinkability is good, but strong oak, vanilla and bitterness sort of takes your taste buds out of action for the night.
Thanks to PBrian for the bottle.
Xaipe Bro.

Photo of tavernjef
4.23/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Solid dark brown, nearly black with mahogany highlights, thin off-white/dusty yellow head that singes away to leave an ever present firm collar and whispy skim, some webby lacing sticks. Aroma is oaky boubon sweetness with ethonal soaked cherry mixed with caramel. The alcoholic vapors really become evident as it warms and gets shallow. Not as potent or as complex as I like, but it gets better as it breathes. The taste has a deep dark cherry sweetness soaked in boubon, coated with caramel and dusted with cocoa making for a nice thick chocolate finish coming through late. Hops are milding with a bit of a floral/piney bitterness in the middle and in areas of the finish where its slightly spiced and loaded with a leveling smooth warming quality thats nice to behold. Feel is nice and smooth, good maltiness, big, bold, creamy, with a warming alcohol thats easy to handle. And again, gets real nice as it sits. A pretty darn nice barleywine here, some nice little boubon notes make for an interesting mix between its sweetness and overall milder hop tone and creamy feel. Thanks goes out to mickeys01 for the classy, blue, swing top bottle!

Photo of marburg
4.62/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Remarkably elegant bottle. Pours with a sophisticated bubbling of thick, syrupy, gel-like brew. Lightly roasty malt aromas dominated by sweet, carmelized brown sugar and some delicate, tickling floral fragrances that lie somewhere between lemon, melon, and tulips. Liquid smoke meets hickory turkey bacon in its sweetness. (Have CPK Jamaican Jerk pizza, which has a very smoky bacon topping to see more clearly what the hell I'm talking about.)

Incredibly fluffy feeling and drinkable for such a rich-smelling beverage. Perfectly balanced barleywine flavors; full bodied. Resinous, astringent finish wipes clean a very sweet caramel flavor with hints of alcohol and spiciness.

This is the definition of a complex brew. It's subtle and refined, and while you can certainly drink right through this, ignoring its greatness, it really begs you to slow down, enjoy the ride, and notice what it has to offer.

Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.47/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: This comes in a fine looking and very distinctive bottle. 500ml, and made from a dark blue glass, the bottle resembles some old sherry bottles I have seen, except for the fact that this one incorporates a nifty white plastic swing top with a red rubber washer. A thin matt gold paper strip covers the swing top has the words ‘Bottled in 2004’ in small red text across it. The main label has the picture of a dog snuggled up in front of a warm glowing open wood fire. The reverse label explains some background to the beer but there does not appear to be any strength or freshness date

Appearance: A slow gluggy pour fills the Chimay glass with a dark brown chestnut body. Held to the light it has a dark ruby shimmer. Little head with the first pour, a light tan brown covering that only clings to the rim to form a halo ring. The carbonation is fine and below average. The second and third ‘top ups’ form a better thicker more traditional looking head

Nose: The oak bourbon barrels used to age this Barleywine for 1 month is particularly evident in the nose. Strong ethanolic odors are mixed with a rather complex mix of malt and hops.

Taste: Malty start with some vanilla sweetness. The middle has a crisp hop-bite set against the buttery malts. The last third develops a liquorice coating on the tongue with a mildy bitter tingle. Finishes with a very soothing warm feel that has a lovely hop bite that rasps the surface of the tongue and the cheeks. The aftermath of this barleywine is quite something and can even produce caramelized hops burps at times.

Mouthfeel: This has a rounded presence and a very alcoholic creamy feel. Quite big in the mouth with a strong malty skeleton wrapped in a fleshy skin of hops with a strong alcoholic blood stream pumping throughout. Big.

Drinkability: Not a quaffer, but a sipper, even so, the half litre was very easily taken down, and went well with some Sharp Australian Cheddar.

Overall: An excellent Barleywine that is well worth seeking out.

Highly Recommended!

Photo of Hagbard
4.55/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Another wonderful beer from these guys! They keep putting out top notch specialties that make me excited to try the next one (in this case the Doppelbock in March).

It poured a dark amber red from the impressive 1/2 liter swingtop bottle. A thin head formed as the carbonation rushed from the bottom of the snifter to the top of the beer. The head didn't stick around very long, but left a nice sticky lacing down the glass.

The aroma and taste were wonderfully complex, stretching my developing palate. Unfortunately, I won't be able to do it justice, but I will try anyway. The aroma was malt, hops, dried fruit, with an alcoholic finish. The taste began as a hit of malt followed quickly by caramel covered plums. The hop bitterness blends with the sweetness to create a much welcomed balance. At the end, immediately before the swallow, I tasted a hit of alcohol, reminding you that a 1/2 liter is plenty for one sitting.

It is very smooth and goes down very easily. The carbonation is high for a barley wine (in my limited experience), but not high enough to be an issue. It helped make the beer feel more substantial sitting in your mouth. I had absolutely no problem finishing the 1/2 liter bottle and would have gladly accepted another glass (though not another 1/2 liter if I wanted to go to work the next day!).

This was an absolutely wonderful barley wine. It's amazing that 2 of the best barley wines I've tried this year have both been made in CT (Fire Drake from John Harvard's is the other). Keep up the good work! The bottle says to allow a bit to warm in a brandy snifter and sip it like a sherry. I'd agree with this advice, you won't be disappointed.

Photo of mikeys01
4.37/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I'm qualifying this as a 2004 Old Marley, since it was bottled in 2004. The Old Marley comes in a beautiful blue glass half liter swingtop bottle, with a seal band across the top reading "bottled in 2004". Pours into the snifter a nice burnt amber with flashes of ruby in the depths, capped with a light layer of off white foam that dissipates quickly but leaves a bit clinging to the sides of the glass, excellent clarity. Aroma is complex and quite different, a bold mix of hops, bourbon barrel oak, and a malty sweetness. Taste is first a good belly punch of bitter hops and then your tongue is drowned in smoky oak and whiskey flavor. It takes a couple more sips to adjust to the raw power and sharp alcoholic bite of this one, at which point sweet caramel malt flavor and notes of vanilla and a bit of roastiness. Finish is dry and bitter and leaves a bit of bourbon on the back of your tongue. This barleywine is definitely still green and in need of a little aging, but very tasty, could't resist trying one. Glad to see another excellent creation from a local brewer.

Photo of UnionMade
3.93/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

After trying the cask version, I was praying that all the beer wasn't aged in the same whiskey barrels, and the bottled version would be better.
Upon cracking the clamptop seal and pouring, I'm already off to a good start. The beer pours the same ochre amber brown, topped with a thin layer of cream colored head. A bit of cloudiness, which is fine with me. The head thins out quickly, more or less dying out after a couple sips. A swirl of the glass generates a light mist.
The aroma is thankfully more beer than booze. The whiskey is still apparent, although much, much milder. Pleasing rich maltiness, with heaps of caramel, and hints of roasted barley, chocolate, and light toasted malt. Rather decadent, even for a barleywine. The hops are intense, although well balanced, barely restraining the malt. An american barleywine, for certain, with a fresh citric odor. A bit of pine and earth. Lots going on in here, gaining in potency as it warms. Hints of cherry, licorice, and fig come through towards the end. The alcohol is still a bit too much for my tastes, but I'm just happy it's better than the cask. Much better.
The sip starts out with a landslide of malty goodness. Lots of burnt and sweet caramel. Some toastiness and a touch of chocolate. A vague suggestion of molasses and brown sugar into the middle, very brief, with awesome estery fruitiness. Definite fig and dates. The hops sneak in, powerful yet unobtrusive, making a smooth transition from the malt. Sort of oily, with a fresh pine flavor. The hop blend is terrific. I have no idea what the brewer used, but it seems to taste a little different with each sip. The resinous pine is replaced by a subtle herbal flavor, with citrus making an appearance. Bold flavor with considerable depth. The finish is excellent, with strong caramel carrying through and a superb hop finish. Strong alcohol presence in the swallow, leaving a warming sensation in your gut. A bit of oak flavor in the aftertaste, leaving you with a woodsy warmth at the end of the glass. Big ass body, with very mellow carbonation.
An incredible improvement over the cask, which is something that I rarely experience. The alcohol is still a bit strong for my tastes, but it's no more than some other barleywines I've tasted, save a mild whiskey zing in the finish. Great stuff. Not something I could drink for days, but it's a nice treat to share with a friend or two.

Photo of jazzmac
4.18/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Cobalt blue swing top bottle. Marked on top with tape 2003. The first thing I can say is LET THIS BEER AGE. I had last years when it first came out and then six months later and the beer totally changed. Pours with a rich burgandy color and a nicely laced head. Smells like vanilla and whisky (the Kentucky kind) with a subtle hop aroma. You are overwhelmed with the alcohol on tasting (that will fade with time) and whisky with sweet maltiness on the tongue. Finishes very dry with a nuttiness that is left on your palate. An excellent barley-wine that will only get better with age.

to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Thomas Hooker Old Marley Barleywine from Thomas Hooker Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 202 ratings.