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Olde Bluehair Barley Wine - Big Sky Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Olde Bluehair Barley WineOlde Bluehair Barley Wine

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

287 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 287
Reviews: 116
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 11.78%
Wants: 57
Gots: 91 | FT: 9
Brewed by:
Big Sky Brewing Company visit their website
Montana, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  10.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
75 IBU

(Beer added by: JohnGalt1 on 01-24-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 287 | Reviews: 116 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by MrHirschybar:
Photo of MrHirschybar
4/5  rDev +0.3%

MrHirschybar, Jan 02, 2012
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.83/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2010 bottle number #1976 of 3000.
10.5% ABV.
Poured a fizzy brass tinged medium brown,again a rather fizzy one finger off white head atop.Toasty oak and vanilla aromas with a bit of caramel,mainly all barrel aged aromas here,flavors are toasty with heavy vanilla and caramel,just a slight drying earthiness in the finish.As the beer warmed more malt nuances came into play like dark fruit and some cakiness.Its a bit sharp in the mouth but not to annoying,its pretty good but a little one dimensional with the barrel aging really taking over the beer.I dont think its worth the big price paid.

oberon, Dec 27, 2010
Photo of DanGeo
3.25/5  rDev -18.5%

DanGeo, Sep 08, 2014
Photo of brownbeer
4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Deep amber with a lot of rushing bubbles and a huge white head.

S- Vanilla, bourbon, fruity hops.

T- Sweet oak character balanced by subtle, fruity hops.

M- Soft, but with a bit too much carbonation.

D- Not as good as the Schlafly Oak Aged BW but well worth drinking, especially if you can find it.

brownbeer, Sep 16, 2009
Photo of Mora2000
4.43/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to someone for sharing this at the May Freetail bottle release. This is a beer I have been looking forward to trying, hopefully it does not disappoint.

The beer pours a copper color with a white head. The aroma is what I expected. I get a ton of bourbon notes as well as some maple and toffee. The alcohol is also noticeable.

The flavor is similar. I get a lot of toffee and caramel malts along with some bourbon whiskey, vanilla and maple notes. There is also a nice oaked quality to the flavor which melds well with everything else that is going on.

Medium to thick, slightly syrupy mouthfeel and low carbonation. A very nice barrel-aged beer.

Mora2000, Sep 10, 2011
Photo of Lofreqwave
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%

Lofreqwave, Oct 02, 2013
Photo of bpfrush
3.75/5  rDev -6%

bpfrush, Apr 14, 2012
Photo of Seattle_Suds
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%

Seattle_Suds, Dec 07, 2013
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A brownish liquid comes out without much in the way of head. Some bubbles, but didn't amount to much. Aroma was boozy at first, but settled into an appreciable mix of toffee, vanilla, wood and bourbon.

Taste, still boozy, but with each sip, got better and better. Carbonation was better than expected after the not sexy pour. Nice bourbon and vanilla integration, this beer just kept getting better. Waves of caramel complimenting the toffee. By the end of it, you're wondering where the initial notes of alcohol went. Its like they fly out the bottle like the ghosts on Indiana Jones Raiders of the Lost Ark after the first sip and whiff. Sweetness level is just where it should be.

Pretty much a must try for any barleywine fan. Decently priced, picked mine up for $13 I believe in AZ, saw it for the price in Bend, OR as well.

Beerandraiderfan, Dec 15, 2011
Photo of jtladner
3.75/5  rDev -6%

jtladner, Feb 01, 2014
Photo of SPRichard
4/5  rDev +0.3%

SPRichard, Feb 25, 2013
Photo of glid02
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle purchased at Papago Brewing in Scottsdale, AZ - somewhere in the 1600's.

Pours a cloudy orange-brown color with a thin off-white head that quickly dissipates into a wispy layer on top leaving no lacing.

Smells of sweet caramel malts with hints of vanilla and bourbon. As the beer warms some booze-soaked fruit aromas waft out every now and then.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Solid caramel malt flavors kick things off, followed shortly by light bourbon flavors. The fruits don't have as much presence as in the aroma, though they're still there. Ending is mildly bitter.

Mouthfeel is good. It has a very nice thickness with mild carbonation that makes it go down smoothly.

Drinkability is good. I thought this was a pretty well-balanced barleywine and could have polished off the bomber without a problem.

Overall this is a solid barrel-aged barleywine, though it's a bit short of spectacular. Still, it's worth a shot.

glid02, Apr 01, 2009
Photo of striker2160
4/5  rDev +0.3%

striker2160, Jun 05, 2013
Photo of Beerontwowheels
3.5/5  rDev -12.3%

Beerontwowheels, Apr 04, 2013
Photo of biboergosum
3.34/5  rDev -16.3%

750ml caged and corked bottle, 10.2% ABV. 2014 is already getting long in the tooth, so I guess it's OK to pop this 2013 vintage edition of Olde Bluehair.

This beer pours a slightly hazy, medium copper amber colour, with a teeming, barely contained tower of puffy, thinly foamy, and bubbly tan head, which leaves some patchy and sudsy layered cloud formation lace around the glass as it lazily recedes. Not your daddy's barleywine, so far.

It smells of acrid Bourbon barrels - more musty staves and over-proof booze than caramel, vanilla, or spice - reduced brown sugar, edgy molasses, black pepper, gritty pale and toffee-accent malt, dead yeast, wet leather, chewing tobacco, gritty earthy hops, and a swirling, barely restrained booziness. The taste is a lot more rounded, and yet plain - understated grainy caramel malt, still rather woody barrel essences - raw wood (natch), metallic vanilla, muted spice - powdered chalk, weird, fairly unattractive phenols, and herbal, weedy hops - the kind that seem beholden to the not so well masked alcohol.

The bubbles are pretty heady and pervasive throughout in their overwrought frothiness, the body a bit on the lee side of actual medium weight, and smooth, sure, but assailed from unseen vectors on all sides. It finishes mostly dry, the woodiness finally laying waste and claim to victory, all others merely book-ended by the lingering, as ever was, alcohol.

Ok, so, what we have here, is a seemingly and strangely bottle-reconditioned (the froth, she don't lie) barleywine, of English-style extraction (the hops apparently just incapable of speaking for themselves), with some of the titular old-lady's, um, blue-haired musty crustiness resplendent everywhere. Nah, not for me, not for me at all.

biboergosum, Sep 03, 2014
Photo of stallion_air21
4.52/5  rDev +13.3%

stallion_air21, Aug 30, 2014
Photo of augustgarage
3.93/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap @ Blue Palms Brewhouse - served in a snifter.

Burnt orange to carmine gradient with a lasting beige collar and a faint surface slick. Faint sandy lacing, no legs.

Leather, tobacco, prunes, pine, peach pits, and stewed fruit in the nose. Lightly hoppy with a hint of burnt sugar.

White pepper, evergreen, spearmint, alfalfa, and moderate bitterness accompanied by a milky malt note. Complexity suddently vanishes in the woody dry finish, drawing you back immediately to see if the flavor profile was all an illusion...

Tinkgly, well carbonated (almost too much so) and not-quite-slick.

Well balanced, though malt-heads and hop-heads alike may find something missing if they are glass-half-empty types.

augustgarage, Sep 04, 2011
Photo of leschkie
3.25/5  rDev -18.5%

leschkie, Apr 15, 2012
Photo of Photekut
5/5  rDev +25.3%

Photekut, Nov 17, 2011
Photo of prototypic
3.95/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle 285 of 1800 - vintage year unknown

Olde Bluehair pours a nice copper color. It has a distinct crimson look when held to light. Not bad at all. Carbonation looks very active. A gentle pour yielded a light tan head that stands easily over three fingers tall. It's very slow to dissipate. Lacing is sticky and moderate in volume.

The nose is good. It's sweet and full of caramel up front. Bourbon is appreciated, but it's a rather light and restrained scent. It works. There are some fruity notes of apple, apricot, and pear. There are no dark fruits in the house (as far as I can smell). Secondary notes of oak and vanilla are noted, and add nice depth. Alcohol is blended surprisingly well. The label indicates the abv in this vintage is 8.75%.

The flavor is very consistent with the nose. It's sweet and fruity initially. Caramel malts give it a nice base and blend well with the apple, pear, and apricot flavors. I'm not getting any dark fruit here, but the golden variety works nicely. Barrel aging imparted a nice, subtle bourbon flavor that complements the Barleywine flavors very well. Oak and vanilla are definitely secondary, but are flavorful. Alcohol has integrated nicely over time. It's not very noticeable in flavor. Finishes sweet and fruity with a touch of bourbon.

Olde Bluehair has a medium body. Carbonation is active and a little buzzy. It's not quite smooth, but it's not bad either. Fewer bubbles might be the ticket. Drinkability is good. I'm enjoying this one. It doesn't taste or feel like a huge, barrel-aged Barleywine and goes down rather easily.

This is my first experience with Big Sky Brewing Company, and it's been a good one. Olde Bluehair is a pretty impressive barrel-aged Barleywine. The flavor delivers and the subtle bourbon presence works extremely well. A little less carbonation would improve things a little. Maybe a bit of hops would too. I'm curious as to whether they're present in a fresh bottle. Perhaps another day. Easily recommended.

prototypic, Mar 06, 2011
Photo of cjacobsen
4.33/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to sweemzander for opening this one.

(A) Pours a brownish color with a slight bit of cloudiness. Ruby hues when held to the light. The barrel aging definitely took some effect on the coloration of this beer. About a half inch head on this beast.

(S) There area a lot of fruits and sweeter aromas. Fig and dark sugar, but then there is some lighter roasted malt present. As it opens there is a note of licorice.

(T) Taste is a lot like the nose. There is fig and a good amount of dark dried fruits. The barrel wood gives a great characteristic to this beer. Doesn't really hit like a barleywine usually wood and I think it's because the woods toned it down a bit. Other residual sugars linger as well as the hint of a licorice taste.

(M) Solid medium body, slightly grainy, and ends dry.

(O) This was a different one. I really liked it, but it caught me off guard not tasting as I would expect a baleywine to taste. The barrel did wonders for the flavor. It was a solid beer and I look forward to revisiting this one in the future.

cjacobsen, Oct 06, 2011
Photo of jheezee
4/5  rDev +0.3%

jheezee, Mar 16, 2012
Photo of Alieniloquium
3.13/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter. Reviewed from notes.

Appearance - Foamy as hell. Murky red. Looks light and overcarbonated.

Smell - Light malt notes. A ton of bourbon and a little oak.

Taste - Oaky and astringent. Overcarbonated. Caramel comes through more here as the bourbon is lighter. Nothing special in the flavor. Maybe a little fruity.

Mouthfeel - Way overcarbonated. Astringent and dry. Kinda ruins the experience.

Overall - The flavors are ok, but it's mouthfeel is a tremendous let down. Thin, kinda they way I felt about Ivan the Terrible.

Alieniloquium, Dec 29, 2012
Photo of russpowell
4.35/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was a lucky pick up at Goebbels in Wichita.

Bottle #1319 of 3000 opens with a major pop! Pours caramel with a pinky of khaki lacing. Nice viscious look to this, good head retention & some lacing

S: Toffee, dark fruit & slight boozeyness

T: Rich dark fruit, Bourbon, leafy hops, a touch boozey vanilla. Honey, figgyness, a bit of smokey toffee as this warms, along with some booze-soaked cherries. Finishes oaky dry with nice Bourbon notes, figs& sweet toffee. Slight deduction for lack of American BW hop profile, would've maxed this out as an English BW. Wish I had some more bottles...

MF: Chewy, smooth carbonation, great balance, nice warming sensation

Drinks too easy for the ABV & style

russpowell, Mar 20, 2011
Photo of Kegatron
4.15/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750 ml foil topped bottle. # 1349/1800. Thanks goes to beerbeagle for hooking me up with this in the Secret Bunny '08 BIF. Split this one with some fellow BA members. Poured into a snifter.

Pours a brilliant clear ruby red, with a thin foamy off-white head. This bunches around the edges with a thin wispy covering in the middle. Flare-up is very solid, leaving a rich looking latticework of lace back. Bourbon dominates the aroma, with some backing notes of woody oak and vanilla. Floral hops glide underneath, as does caramel, bread, citrus, and a maybe a touch of dark fruits in the back as well.

The taste is once again straight up Bourbon, that is well integrated with notes of citrus, vanilla, coconut, brown sugar, caramel, and dough standing out most to me. Bourbon and alcohol mix with hops and roast to end the profile with a warm and bitter feel that lingers. The mouthfeel is big feeling, with a full bodied and creamier feel. There is also a more tangible vicous layer that runs underneath, that carries a lot of the alcohol and warmth through the profile. A definite alcohol sting is present as well but it seems to come more from the Bourbon character then it does the ABV.

A pleasant suprise for sure, I liked the integration between the barrel notes and regular Barleywine flavors in this. While still a bit warm and a steady sipper, I'd love to see how this one would mellow and age over a couple of years.

Kegatron, Apr 20, 2009
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Olde Bluehair Barley Wine from Big Sky Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 287 ratings.