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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.

267 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 267
Reviews: 113
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 11.47%
Wants: 59
Gots: 86 | FT: 7
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: 267 | Reviews: 113 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ktrillionaire


2.35/5  rDev -41.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to AgentZero for sharing this unusual brew.

A - It pours a sappy golden hue, and has a big foamy tan head that looks like pancake batter.

S - The nose is strange; it initially led me to suspect that the brew is possibly infected, but as I taste it, and smell it some more, I am convinced that it is just strange. Apricots, dark corn syrup, citric hops and vanilla come together in Olde Bluehair for an unholy communion of unfortunate proportions. Well, its not quite on the 'unholy' level, I just wanted to use the phrase, really.

T - The taste is more bizarre than the aroma; there is something 'off' here, though I cannot exactly put my finger on it. The taste is generally comprised of dried medium fruit, especially apricot and papaya, dry grassiness and rotten oak, grainy corn syrup notes, some weird chalky note and general disagreement between the incongruous elements of the flavor.

M - The feel is unspecial. It is sticky and soft, not tremendously enhancing.

O - Ha! This beer was on my 'wants' for a long time, along with Ivan; glad I didn't trade for this one in particular.

Serving type: bottle

05-13-2011 06:30:05 | More by ktrillionaire
Photo of rab53


2.5/5  rDev -37.7%

03-22-2014 16:19:35 | More by rab53
Photo of snaotheus


2.55/5  rDev -36.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

750ml bottle poured into an oversized snifter

I'm a little concerned about this bottle, there was almost no hiss when I popped the top. Don't know if it's normally pretty still, or if something happened.

Basically no head. Basically no carbonation. This detracts from the appearance. I know that barleywines are not usually that active, but there's nothing going on here. Color is a nice rich deep bronzey brown, maybe slightly cloudy. Smell is alcohol with a background of smoke and wood.

Taste is sweet and sour and smokey, alcohol comes out quite a bit. A little astringent.

Mouthfeel is flat, a little watery. Due to too much alcohol in the flavor and unpleasant flatness, I have not enjoyed this much.

Serving type: bottle

02-04-2011 02:56:52 | More by snaotheus
Photo of matttttYCE


2.65/5  rDev -33.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

2010 Vintage, #2618 of 3000

Appearance - Poured into my Stone IRS balloon/snifter glass. Head is very frothy and luscious, about 1 1/2 finger high and off-white colored. Head fades very slowly. Moderate sticky lacing. Color of the brew is a root beer color with red highlights when held to the light.

Smell - Smell is...interesting to say the least. I get lots of sweet caramel malts, caramel, butterscotch, sweet fruit, apricot, a bit of plum possibly, honey, interesting slight tart notes and slight smell of apple juice or apple cider, along with some light notes of Bourbon and vanilla in the background. Really not at all what I was expecting from the aroma. Seems a bit disjointed as a whole. There's a slight chance this bottle is infected but more so I think it's just the odd way the brew smells.

Taste - Taste is pretty similar to the nose. Lots of sweet caramel malts, caramel and molasses, butterscotch, sweet fruit, apricot, fig, honey, toffee, slight Bourbon and vanilla notes, and again those slight hints of tartness and apple juice or apple cider. It's an off taste to me, but I think that may just be how the brewer intended it to be and not an infected bottle.

Mouthfeel - Consistency is silky smooth, carbonation is higher than I would have liked for a barrel aged Barleywine, round would probably describe it. Body is medium, slightly chewy, finish is medium. Leaves a taste of sweetness, caramel malt, toffee, and fruit/tart/green apple tastes in my mouth.

Overall - If this isn't infected, it's really not to my liking. There's the possibility that I got an infected bottle or that there is a good deal of bottle variation. Whatever I had, I didn't really care for it. I'll try the next vintage I can get my hands on to compare to this one (especially to see if there may have just been an infection in this bottle, but I don't think that's the case).

Serving type: bottle

09-02-2011 22:55:02 | More by matttttYCE
Photo of mendvicdog


2.75/5  rDev -31.4%

04-12-2014 16:39:59 | More by mendvicdog
Photo of waltonc


2.75/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Had a bottle of this with JoeySchlitz a couple nights ago. Pours completely flat and looks like juice. Smells almost good, but there's a slight hint of cheese that is off-putting. If it weren't for that, this would smell good. Tastes rich and buttery, sweet butterscotch notes. Not hoppy at all (no complaints about that). Not a very refined or polished taste, but pretty unique. Mouthfeel is where this is really lacking. Absolutely no carbonation makes this a bit disgusting after only a few sips. Big Sky should do something to fix the carbonation. Perhaps force carbonate it? Why in the world is this sold in 750 ml bottles? 6 oz would be better.

4/24/09 Update: Had this on tap at Monk's Kettle, and it was much better than the bottled version. None of the cheese, and it was well-carbonated. I'd give it a 4.3 overall on tap.

Serving type: bottle

02-15-2009 22:52:28 | More by waltonc
Photo of nmann08

District of Columbia

2.75/5  rDev -31.4%

02-09-2014 05:40:28 | More by nmann08
Photo of Rifugium


2.78/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 1.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle shared at a recent tasting, not sure who brought it. Also not sure of the vintage or number, etc.

This was a very weird barleywine, and I don't really know what was going on with this bottle. Possibly infected. The cap came off with a massive *hiss* and after everyone poured out their share of tan foam, even more foam filled half the bottle as it sat there on the table. I can't say I've ever seen a "barleywine" that carbonated.

Once the massive head settled to a reasonable level, the liquid below it was a dull chestnut brown color, with a gooey murkiness to it. In the nose, phenols and some herbal bitterness, lesser notes of caramel and yeast. The taste was definitely weird and off, but I actually didn't think it was completely undrinkable. There were flavors of caramel and bready (bretty?) yeast, cooking sherry, and actually lots of herbal hops. Not very good, and possibly infected, but as I said, I didn't find it undrinkable, surprisingly. Did I go back for more after my little sampler? Nope. Light-medium body and pretty thinned out in the mouthfeel. Overall, this beer was a huge mess, and not at all what I like in my barleywines.

Serving type: bottle

05-18-2014 11:31:36 | More by Rifugium
Photo of brian23456


2.8/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle #1183/1800, poured into a couple large snifters.

A- Starts with a big head as far as BW's go, dies down to a thin ring. Reddish brown color, not much for lacing.

S- Caramel, brown sugar, raisins, alcohol and a very tiny amount of bourbon. All the smells are very faint though, actually not much smell at all.

T- Hmmm.. I may be tasting everything I smelled. But its hard to tell because the flavor is just as muted as the smell.

M- Light body, low carbonation and some warmth.

D- Goes down easy, very unoffensive and well-balanced.

A little dissapointing overall but definatley not bad. Just really plain and forgetable.

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2009 05:41:05 | More by brian23456
Photo of EricCioe


3/5  rDev -25.2%

03-11-2012 07:06:40 | More by EricCioe
Photo of DrNo


3/5  rDev -25.2%

01-22-2012 10:38:40 | More by DrNo
Photo of ajs4bd


3/5  rDev -25.2%

07-11-2012 02:29:13 | More by ajs4bd
Photo of mattsander

Alberta (Canada)

3.03/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This was a 2012 vintage.

A: Medium brown, decent clarity, thin/large bubbles and a gusher.

S: Brettanomyces infected w/o a doubt, medicinal/cottony, damn and earthy. I cant really detect a lot of the base beer but it smells alright.

T: The brett funk dominated this for me, just ruined by infection. I'm sure the clean bottles are much better.

M: Super thin/overcarbonated.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2013 22:06:33 | More by mattsander
Photo of Alieniloquium


3.13/5  rDev -21.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2012 22:42:21 | More by Alieniloquium
Photo of Spider889


3.15/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Review from notes.

Pours with a super tall head of an off-white linen color. Decent lace.

Smells very sweet for a barleywine. Brown sugar and sweet oaky tannins.

The taste has a mild char flavor to it, oak, cherry and vanilla flavors.

Overall this is just a little 'off' for a typical barleywine.

Serving type: bottle

05-13-2011 06:58:52 | More by Spider889
Photo of kbutler1


3.18/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle. #2062 of 3000. Poured into a tulip glass a murky orange, apricot color with a light tan head. Sweet aroma in the nose of fruit and slight citrus hops. Very subtle aroma for a Barley Wine. Sweet start wtih some latent hops. Pretty smooth but not extremely flavorful. Nice head retention though.

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2011 14:07:50 | More by kbutler1
Photo of leschkie


3.25/5  rDev -19%

04-15-2012 15:31:44 | More by leschkie
Photo of GRG1313


3.25/5  rDev -19%

09-07-2013 20:52:49 | More by GRG1313
Photo of Jameswoody


3.25/5  rDev -19%

02-12-2013 03:11:36 | More by Jameswoody
Photo of KlayWey


3.25/5  rDev -19%

06-02-2014 13:32:49 | More by KlayWey
Photo of harrymel


3.3/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Vintage 2010
Nice dark cherry color with a solid thick sheet of light caramel foam. Smells of toffee, caramel, nougat, vanilla, oak, some hints of alcohol and a touch of graham. Nice nose. Tastes of sweet malts, toffee, a bit of toasted sugar, some grassy hops(?), a little bit of alcohol. Medium on thin actually with low carb and a semi dry finish. A decent beer, not $15 decent, but worth a taste in the right situation.

Vintage 2010
Original review (Jan, 2011): 4/3.5/3.5/4.5/3.5 - 3.63
A: Ale pours a beautiful deep cinnamon building a two fingers maple creamy head. This dissipates over the next few minutes to thick blanket of the same. The beer is like maple syrup, with caramel hues, this is a looker. Laces stick to the sides with little effort.
S: I poured this several times, and each time, the nose is dominated by green apple skins. After several minutes, the beer really opens up and toffee, caramel, malts come through beautifully. Slight tea aromas come through and balance out the sweetness. Vanilla oak low to slight in the nose.
T: A bit warm. No, quite warm. The ABV is not well concealed here. The malts come through and dance among the oak notes which stand out much further than in the nose. Lower bittering on this one, can't say I like this, but not very disappointed either. Can see this one really shining through in another year.
M: Sticky, thick, viscous beer. Wow, super sticky. Heavy with medium carbonation. I'm impressed with the velvety feel with which this presents.
D: I think the beer is good, but not quite as good as maybe say Mirror Mirror or some others. More malt forward than many popular Barley wines, which I like. This is a good beer, but not a great one. Worth a try, but I would split the cost if I could.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2012 06:30:12 | More by harrymel
Photo of Beerontwowheels


3.5/5  rDev -12.7%

04-04-2013 18:51:59 | More by Beerontwowheels
Photo of Zaphog


3.5/5  rDev -12.7%

09-22-2013 02:35:35 | More by Zaphog
Photo of Smurf2055


3.5/5  rDev -12.7%

07-19-2013 01:54:15 | More by Smurf2055
Photo of ygtbsm94


3.5/5  rDev -12.7%

02-11-2012 18:40:48 | More by ygtbsm94
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Olde Bluehair Barley Wine from Big Sky Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 267 ratings.