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Irish Walker - Olde Hickory Brewery

Not Rated.
Irish WalkerIrish Walker

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

229 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 229
Reviews: 83
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 9.41%
Wants: 41
Gots: 88 | FT: 15
Brewed by:
Olde Hickory Brewery visit their website
North Carolina, United States

Style | ABV
English Barleywine |  10.14% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: oberon on 12-25-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 229 | Reviews: 83 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by bcostner1:
Photo of bcostner1
4.5/5  rDev +14.5%

bcostner1, Feb 26, 2013
More User Reviews:
Photo of joe1510
4/5  rDev +1.8%

22oz Bomber
$9.99
Brawley's - Charlotte

2014 Vintage

Irish Walker is chestnut brown as it pours with a ruby hue but when the glass is full it's flat out dark, basically as dark brown as brown can get. A frothy milk chocolate crown sits atop the body. The beige foam doesn't grow much but does stick around for ages and leaves puffy drink lines down the glass.

This barleywine is English all the way. Sugary plum and raisins in spades, orange marmalade, black cherry, a veritable fruitcake in a glass. Deep, rich caramel and a drizzle of molasses bring through some sweetness though a touch of toffee is included as well. Soda bread and cashews add more depth still. This beer just keeps getting deeper and deeper. My descriptors barely scratch the surface but are the most noticeable.

The flavor profile is much the same, staggering in its depth. Deep caramel lays the foundation and gets richer as it works through until you're finally left with molasses. Dark fruits; figs, raisins, plums, black cherries all pop up in the front, that fruitcake again. Soda bread and tea leaf hops join the fray mid palate while flashes of stone fruit hit. The finish is a touch boozy which adds to the overall dessert quality of this beer, port like. With the booze comes back the dark fruits. Depth.

The body on this beast of a beer is full and robust. The sweetness, luckily, vanishes fairly quickly and actually dries up in good time. Carbonation is soft and helps boost the velvety feel. This beer, while most safely served in small sample sizes, is so easy to consume I would consider it dangerous.

I thoroughly enjoy a good English style barleywine and Irish Walker is just that. The complexity is immense. The depth, staggering. The....Nevermind. It's good. Go get some!

joe1510, Aug 30, 2014
Photo of oberon
3.93/5  rDev 0%

2009 Vintage.

Poured into an oversized wine glass a rich deep amber with a clingy one finger slight off white head that left multiple layers of broken lace.Deep fruit in the nose, along with brown sugar and sweet alcohol.Its a bit hot being that its this years vitage,the flavors are deep in fruity malt,mainly raisin with big brown sugar,alcohol dripped plums.Its hot, but its a damn good sipper,I plan on getting one to let sit for awhile.

oberon, Dec 25, 2009
Photo of Spaten454
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Spaten454, Jun 14, 2014
Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.22/5  rDev +7.4%

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #33 (Oct 2009):

Hazy amber glow with a short-stacked head on top. Rum raisins, Christmas pudding and brown bread in the nose. Actually, the aroma screams RAISINS!! Carbonation comes in low- key and smooth but fluffy enough to flaunt the creamy body. Not incredibly warming, a bit mellow for a Barleywine, but a few sips and the alcohol does settle in. Hops take a backseat to the let the malt work its magic as it dances from toasted bread to slightly roasted to grassy. Some timid esters--no doubt they are the way they are after a year's maturation. Speaking of age, there is a slight edge of oxidation that compliments more than anything else, though the chance to cellar this beer might be in question.

While on the shorter end of the spectrum with its less than domineering level of alcohol, it is a damn good English Barleywine.

BeerAdvocate, Nov 15, 2010
Photo of marvin213
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%

A mahogany beer from Hickory, NC: how fitting for arguably THE place to buy real wood furniture in America! The dark brown mud initially has a frothy, beckoning head...but it rapidly mellows to a film.

Sweet toffee and molasses smack the nose. Fresh outta the fridge I might be missing something, but there's a caramel earthiness that's sweet like ice cream but tough like leather.

It's chewy. As is often the case for barleywines, you feel them more than you taste them. It's a malt-sided barleywine, so even new and fresh there's little bitterness. What can I say? I all too often want more hops! It's balanced, and its candied barleyness warms the gut. To its credit, the beer avoids "chalky" and "chemical" despite its big body and 10+ ABV. Tastes good and really feels even better. Overall, I'm pretty pleased!

marvin213, Aug 08, 2011
Photo of TimoP
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%

TimoP, Feb 03, 2014
Photo of merlin48
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%

Bomber pours a clear chestnut body with a skimpy beige head that quickly falls to a collar. A few spots of lace are left on the snifter.

Aroma is toffee and vague citrusy hops.

Medium body is smooth and coating, with a subtle carbonation.

Taste is well rounded. Toffee, molasses, and brown sugar maltiness dominates but is nicely edged by earthy and citrusy hops. A bit of alcohol warmth is present. Finishes with an earthy hop bitterness.

Enjoyable barleywine that might need a few months of age to tone down the heat.

merlin48, Jun 26, 2010
Photo of Mora2000
4.22/5  rDev +7.4%

Not sure why the 2009 and 2010 versions are listed under one rating. It seems like a 2-plus percentage jump in ABV would be enough to earn a split.

2010 version.

The beer pours a red color with a white head. The aroma is brown sugar, molasses and roasted malt. The flavor is brown sugar, alcohol, chocolate, molasses, maple syrup and vanilla. A very complex, but still drinkable barleywine. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Mora2000, Nov 27, 2010
Photo of 1Adam12
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%

1Adam12, Jul 13, 2012
Photo of mjtiernan
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%

2011 bottle poured into an oversized snifter

A: One finger head. Cloudy dark brown with a reddish hue. Speckled lacing dots the glass throughout.

S: Delicious caramel, caramelized brown sugar, vanilla, a little fig and some phenols. Really inviting.

T: The caramel and caramelized brown sugar follow through. Some dark fruit, and then floral hops and grassiness to add another dimension. Finishes with a pronounced, but not-too-bitter hop bite. The alcohol is very well hidden.

M: Full bodied. Drinkability is exceedingly high for a 10% barleywine. The hop bitterness in the finish thankfully helps to keep you in check so you don’t start slugging it down.

O: This is real good. Not overly complex, but crazy smooth and well balanced. The flavors work from start to finish with no single characteristic shoving its way to the forefront. I’d be happy to drink this again.

mjtiernan, Feb 01, 2012
Photo of Mantooth
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Mantooth, Jan 22, 2012
Photo of mondegreen
3.55/5  rDev -9.7%

On tap at Thirsty Monk South in Asheville.

Pours a cloudy brown with a thin off white head. Aroma of molasses sweetness and slight dark fruits. Taste follows with a light sweetness and moderate spice. Pretty true to style in the taste department, but the mouth is way thin. Finishes fairlyclean for a Barleywine. Overall, a good interpretation of an English Barleywine, but a little too light to be called great.

mondegreen, Jul 06, 2010
Photo of chinchill
4/5  rDev +1.8%

chinchill, Oct 07, 2013
Photo of glid02
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Bottle shared by Brodie - much obliged!

Pours a slightly hazy dark copper color with a one-finger cream-colored head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of sweet caramel malts with good amounts of toffee. Also present are very slight amounts of grainy toastiness and heavier amounts of earthy hops.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Sticky caramel malt flavors kick things off and are joined quickly by smooth toffee. Midway through the sip the sweetness fades a bit with the addition of small amounts of toasted flavors and earthy hops. The malt flavors carry through to a moderately bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with smooth carbonation.

Drinkability is also good. I finished my glass without any problems and could have another.

glid02, Aug 08, 2010
Photo of lanamj
3.45/5  rDev -12.2%

On tap at Duckworths park road. Poured into a pilsner glass.

A- Poured with about 1/2 inch white soapy head the dissipate to a thin layer of bubbles that hold nicely. Copper in color and very translucent.

S- Light aromas of toffee, brown sugar, vanilla, molasses, dark fruit and booze. Not to heavy on the nose kinda light.

T- Follows the nose but with the strength the nose was lacking.There is also a hop profile that I didn't pick up on the nose. Very nice.

M- Smooth but thin. I like the carbonation but being a fan of the, chewy, kinda flat barleywines this might be a wee aggressive. In saying that its true to the style of an english barleywine.

O- A great beer I find myself ordering again and again. Good job OHB. I have yet to enjoy aged I bet it will improve 10 fold.

lanamj, Feb 09, 2012
Photo of whitekiboko
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%

whitekiboko, Dec 27, 2011
Photo of Metalmonk
3.65/5  rDev -7.1%

Pours a cloudy, even soupy-looking rusted brown. Light tan head is thin and disappears to a skim quickly. Not a ton of lace.

Aroma is plum, mineral, dusty milk chocolate, slight bit of alcohol. Would have been nicer if the mineral didn't come in and take over as it does.

Notes of chocolate nibs, plum, fig, raisin, mineral/metal, soap, and toffee on the tongue. Hops show up more in the finish than anything, although they're not very bright -- maybe they're already starting to fade and change? (This bottle is from 2009.)

Nice silky smoothness the the texture, bubbles caress and tickle but are primarily soft, with a slight stickiness giving gravity to an otherwise velvety feel.

This is more like a Scotch Ale, but for a barleywine, it's just a "B." But B = Good! Too much of that metallic edge comes in, and probably too fruity-tart as well. But there's enough here to make it worth a try; there's a really good beer in here somewhere. And at 7.7%, it's not gonna totally lay you flat or anything.

Metalmonk, Apr 27, 2010
Photo of twowheelssoar
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%

twowheelssoar, Nov 16, 2011
Photo of jh1982
4/5  rDev +1.8%

jh1982, Nov 19, 2011
Photo of tdm168
4.43/5  rDev +12.7%

Bomber poured into a snifter

A - very dark brownish amber with a thin lacing of off white head that fades quickly

S - figs, dates, plums, candy sugar, caramel

T - caramel, bread, candy sugar, figs, dates, raisins, plums, faint chocolate, alcohol, mild hop bitterness in the finish

M - full bodied, smooth, warm, well carbonated

This is a solid barleywine. It has good flavor and very good balance. I really enjoyed this beer.

tdm168, Jun 08, 2012
Photo of dirtylou
3.78/5  rDev -3.8%

on-tap, Vintner's charlotte

appearance: served in an unbranded tulip, hazy dark amber body, moderate beige froth

smell; dark fruits, rum, spice, slightly aged hops, spicy malt

taste: This english barlewine is of considerably less bulk than many others of the style - the hops tasted a bit faded, caramel and orange peel, bready, rum, cinnamon. The pieces are there, but it doesnt come together in the end

mouthfeel: medium, sticky, boozier than the abv

drinkability: good

dirtylou, Dec 24, 2010
Photo of hyoung41
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%

hyoung41, Jan 09, 2013
Photo of RickS95
3.95/5  rDev +0.5%

2010 vintage

It pours a rich looking brown, a bit on the darkish side, with some red notes. There is almost no head at all.

Smells a bit fruity, if you can get past the alcohol and the malt.

The taste is well balanced between high malt and alcohol, and the dark fruitiness. There's a bit of a red apple flavor that enhances the sweetness and overwhelms almost any notion of hops.

For a barleywine, this is as mild on the palate as I can recall. It starts off sweet from the fruit and that's the sensation until well into the finish with just slight heat from the alcohol. If you didn't know better, you'd not think of this as a barleywine.

This was much better than I expected. It's sweet, but not overly sweet, and that sweetness keeps any hoppiness or alcohol well in check. Would love to drink this again.

RickS95, Aug 13, 2011
Photo of prototypic
4.18/5  rDev +6.4%

Many thanks to the might kkipple for the bottle!

2010 Release

Irish Walker pours a very deep red/copper color. It's a little hazy, but backlighting reveals really nice scarlet highlights. A light tan head forms on top. It's a finger or so deep, and recedes quickly. Lacing was sticky, but definitely light in volume. Not too surprising given the abv.

The nose is quite good. The malt base is slightly sweet smelling, and features mostly caramel malts, cocoa-esque chocolate, and toasted malts. It's a good mix. Dark fruit notes of raisin and plum are noted. Perhaps a little cherry. It definitely has a fruit cake vibe going. It features some light earthy and herbal notes on the secondary level. There are some hop remnants, but they've mostly faded. Alcohol is blended extremely well and is barely noticeable.

The flavor is good. It has a very solid malt base. Caramel, toffee, light cocoa, and toasted malt flavors are all in the mix. It's slightly sweet. Dark fruit flavors of raisin, fig, and plum add quality depth. Cherry is there, but it's very subtle. Light tobacco and leathery notes complement the other flavors well. It's a little earthy and grain late. There are some light, earthy hop flavors. I suspect they've faded to a large degree. It's not bitter at all. Alcohol is masked extremely well. My bottle indicates the abv is 9.8%. I would've never guessed anywhere near that. Finishes malty and herbal.

Irish Walker has body that's on the lighter side of medium. It honestly feels a little thin. Given the wealth of malt flavor, that's somewhat surprising. Carbonation is mid-range. Overall, it feels pretty good. Drinkability is good for such a big beer. The flavor is impressive, and it's deceptive as far as size goes.

Irish Walker is my first experience with Olde Hickory Brewery. I'm impressed. This is good stuff. It's a very balanced, approachable English Barleywine. The flavor is spot-on for the style. If you're into English Barleywines, you simply must check this one out. It's big on flavor, and hides its heft extremely well. This bomber is disappearing surprisingly fast. Easy recommendation. Thanks a ton, Dan!

prototypic, Feb 26, 2011
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Irish Walker from Olde Hickory Brewery
88 out of 100 based on 229 ratings.