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Olde Bluehair Barley Wine - Big Sky Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Olde Bluehair Barley WineOlde Bluehair Barley Wine

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

307 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 307
Reviews: 120
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 11.28%
Wants: 61
Gots: 90 | FT: 10
Brewed by:
Big Sky Brewing Company visit their website
Montana, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  10.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: JohnGalt1 on 01-24-2009

75 IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 307 | Reviews: 120 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of spycow
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%

Photo of Gobzilla
4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: poured a burnt coffee brown in color with dark ruby highlights when held to the light with a thin bubbly head that left a little lacing sticking to the glass.

S: plenty of sweetness is noticeable upfront in the aroma consisting of caramel first, brown sugar, a little molasses, toffee with a good amount of booze heat i assume is bourbon and signs of dark fruit;

T: the caramel sweetness was just as intense on the palate alongside more brown sugar toffee sweetness, good bourbon barrel oak character, a little booze, dark fruit accents and a touch of underlying vanilla.

M: the brew was medium in body with a good amount of carbonation which had a bourbon barrel, oaky, boozy, mild dark fruity, sweet and creamy finish.

O: I thought it was a decent barleywine and was worth trying.

Photo of atone315
3.75/5  rDev -6%

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.15/5  rDev -21.1%
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.

Photo of harrymel
3.35/5  rDev -16%
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.

Photo of blindpiggie
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%

Photo of egrace84
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of TheBishopco
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of JLG193
5/5  rDev +25.3%

Photo of bum732
3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

2011 vintage

S: Slight bourbon and oak, caramel and toffee sweetness

L: Cloudy, brown, big light tan head with great retention and lacing.

T: Rich maltiness up front with a sweet bourbon backbone. Medium herbal bitterness with some hints of dark fruits. Some caramel as well, but not too sweet. Finishes semi-dry with some earthiness and slight alcohol.

M: Medium high carbonation, medium light bodied.

Not bad, nice blend of bourbon and malt. Don't know why the wanted the carbonation to be so high. Really detracts from the flavor, IMO.

Photo of BeerHunter76
3.75/5  rDev -6%

Photo of Popeye2012
3.75/5  rDev -6%

Photo of Texasfan549
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of hiphopj5
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%

Photo of GregSVT
3.68/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle into a snifter - 2011 Vintage, bottle #341

A: Pours dark dark red with a huge tan head that fades to a layering and leaves a ton of lacing on the glass. Maybe a bit overcarbed.

S: The nose starts with big notes of dark fruits, citrus, toffee, and an odd rye aroma. Was expecting more bourbon and barrel notes in the nose and didn't get much.

T: The taste is a step up from the nose with flavors of toffee, red dark fruits, vanilla, bread, and malt.

M: The feel is medium with a bit too much carbonation.

O: I was expecting a bit more from this one but it wasn't too bad. It definitely improved as it warmed and I would love to see this with a few more years of age.

Photo of eawolff99
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%

Photo of Dope
4.09/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 bottle, thanks ScotchBoy!

A: Pours a rusty sort of murky brown. Large bubbly tan head. Fades slowly, leaving only the tiniest spots of lacing - almost none at all really.

S: Strong molasses, toffee, brown sugar and caramel. Really nice, rich with a great combination of malty sweetness and bourbon notes. Touch of vanilla and a little alcohol sting.

T: Lots of bourbon up front, heavy on the toffee, caramel and burnt sugars. A bit of oak kicks in in the middle some molasses. Oaky vanilla in the finish with some toffee and molasses. A touch of bitterness from perhaps some earthy hops? Hard to tell under all the bourbon. Lingering oak between sips.

M: Heavy, thick, viscous.

O: A big and boozy barleywine. Bourbon is quite strong in this one, unfortunately overpowers the barleywine aspects a bit I feel. With some age on this I think it could be stunning, however. It's pretty good as is, just quite sharp, boozy and bourbon heavy. Heavy and sweet - a sipper for sure!

Photo of drpimento
4.49/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Whoa, this is some really good stuff and a gift from good ol' Paul B! Poured at a good temperature with a large, billowy, fluffy, light tan head that settled after a bit and no lace. Color is a slightly hazy amber red. Aroma is yeast, malt, dark ripe fruit, burnt sugar. Flavor's much like nose with bittersweet malt balanced very nicely with perfect carbonic tang. Body is perhaps the best I've ever had for a barley wine and despite its power, is quite drinkable with mouth filling textures accented by aggresive appropriate carbonation. Finish is like flavor, of average length, a little boozy, and tasty. Gracias por esta Paulo!!

Photo of Archemedies
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of josephwa
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%

Photo of azdback
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 vintage, bottle number 411/3000. Poured into a Stone imperial glass. First pour almost fizzed out of the glass so I let the head recede, which took forever, and tried it again. A very dark caramel color and hazy. Head is a huge frothy, light tan monster. Lace is huge as well and sticking in very large chunks. Quite nice!

Smell is of caramel malts, some wood and booze. I'm not getting much more from this now. Maybe it will as it warms.

Taste is very sweet, caramel, hard candy, some vanilla and oak way way at the end. I think this is going to be fantastic as it warms. I am also getting some alcohol burn but not too much and quite welcomed.

Mouth is silky and almost chewy, body is medium with mild but decent carbonation. Finish is long and medium wet with lots of boozy burn.

Overall, I must say that this has been a want of mine for a very long time and it didn't disappoint. It could have had some more barrel in the nose and taste but overall a pretty good barleywine. Pick this up if you can but don't trade the world for it.

Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

thanks to egrace84 for sharing this beer! Thanks elliot!

2011 vintage. bottle# 1117 of 3000.

poured into tulip glass.

Appearance: a amber orange copperish colored beer with a giant off white to tan colored head from a gentle pour.

Smell: malty, lots caramel notes from the malt profile. Decent amount of barrel notes in there too.

Taste: Big caramel and brown sugar in the malt profile with some barrel notes mostly oak and sweet bourbon nicely balanced and mellow. Some dark fruits and toffee, but its really subtle. Some fruity esters and a little buttery taste as well. Hops are earthy, spicy, floral. They are really hard to find in this beer and add minimal bitterness or balance.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer with high carbonation. It overcarbonated. It did not ruin the beer, but it just overcarbonated. It is not proper according to the style, but it was a minor thing. A touch of booze in this beer as well.

Overall: Solid offering by Big Sky. It a tasty beer, but its overcarbonated. The beer was not a gusher when the C&C was opened, but you gotta pour this beer really gently. I wonder if the carbonation will get better with sometime.

Photo of Duff27
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of ESPNman
4.22/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750 ml. bottle into a Stone RIS Snifter. 2010 vintage, reviewed on 8/27/2012

A - Pours a deep murky amber. Shocking amount of tan head, leaving virtually zero lacing. The cork nearly exploded out of it, which makes me think this may have been bottled a little early.

S - Classic barleywine with a bit of almost salty bourbon on the nose. Candied fruits, bready malts, and a bit of toffee dominate the nose. A bit of oak, bourbon, and peat-like salt hang around as the beer warms up a bit.

T - The heavy caramelized malt flavor dominates at first, and fades to the more robust barrel flavors. A nice change of pace and take on the classic barleywine. It probably could have sat for another year or two, as it's running a little bit hot, but overall it's quite tasty.

M - This is where this beer loses me a bit. It's crazy overcarbonated. I almost lost 1/3 of the bottle when I popped it and tried to GENTLY pour it down the side of my snifter. I had stored it upright for the last year or so, and had it in the fridge (undisturbed) for the last day or so. I don't know what's wrong here, but something about this brew is slightly off. It's overwhelming and can take a bit of time to really get used to tasting what's there through the raging carbonation.

O - Good beer that could have been great. There are elements of a fantastic barleywine in there that were undone by one glaring flaw. I definitely will pick up another vintage of this when I find myself in Seattle again... hopefully it's sooner rather than later.

Olde Bluehair Barley Wine from Big Sky Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 307 ratings.