1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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
90
outstanding

297 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 297
Reviews: 117
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 11.53%
Wants: 61
Gots: 89 | FT: 8
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
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 297 | Reviews: 117 | Display Reviews Only:
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
3.7/5  rDev -7.3%
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
4.08/5  rDev +2.3%
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
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
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
4.23/5  rDev +6%
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.

Photo of FreshmanPour77
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%

Photo of t0rin0
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%

Photo of Etan
3.95/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml into a tulip. 2010 bottle (#503/3000).

A: Pours a murky burnt caramel color with a big tan head.

S: Toffee, buttered bread, caramel, light apple, cinnamon, old hop resin, a bit of barrel heat.

T: Syrupy caramel, strong lingering hop notes of apple cider and brown sugar, slightly smoky charred wood and sweet bourbon. A bit of tannic vanilla and dark fruits, brief wave of old bitterness in the finish.

M: Creamy carbonation, medium-bodied.

O: Good, but I definitely prefer barrel-aging in less hoppy barleywines. The old hop character, while interesting in its own right, sort of covered up some of the barrel character.

Photo of JSchock7
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of Khazadum
3.5/5  rDev -12.3%

Photo of ajs4bd
3/5  rDev -24.8%

Photo of thebouch01
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of dtx00
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%

Photo of bump8628
4.23/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to ThirstyHerf for sharing this bottle. A great American-brewed barleywine that still seems to be flying under the radar. Deep amber, khaki head. Big dark fruit notes on the nose - raisin and currant. Toffee and caramel notes are at the forefront too, but the dryness allows the hops to stand firm. Balancing herbal flavors with a smooth bitterness. Complementary fruit from yeast adds a nice depth of flavor.

Photo of Harvey98
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%

Olde Bluehair Barley Wine from Big Sky Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 297 ratings.