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Irish Walker - Olde Hickory Brewery

Not Rated.
Irish WalkerIrish Walker

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

90 Reviews
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 90
Hads: 300
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 7.63%
Wants: 41
Gots: 100 | FT: 16
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:
Beer added by: oberon on 12-25-2009

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 90 | Hads: 300
Reviews by coldmeat23:
Photo of coldmeat23
3.85/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

GLASS: Snifter
TEMP: Cellared at approx 45 degrees
Vintage: 2010
Thanks to Onenote81 for this one!

Dark amber colored liquid with nice ruby tinting. A thin head of brown foam appears and dissipates. Lacing is in spots and is quite slippery.

Lots of caramel and brown sugar, along with a good deal of malt sweetness. Hints of toffee and molasses. Lots of dark fruits, especially raisins and figs. Good grainy presence.

Bready, with big notes of brown sugar and butterey caramel. Treacle and toffee, along with molasses. Lots of grainy goodness. Lots of dark fruit notes. Figs, dates and loads of raisins. Finishes with a nice hint of hop dryness.

Medium-bodied and lightly carbonated, this one has a slick and almost chewy mouthfeel. Lacking creaminess which is crucial to the style, in my opinion.

A decent example of the style, but it won't get me to go rushing out to find more. If given the opportunity to get more, I would....just don't feel the need to search it out though. (985 characters)

More User Reviews:
Photo of humuloner22
4.46/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Irish Walker (2014)

I had seen this beer around for years and then last spring I decided I would try it and damned if it wasn’t there. So, I waited around and then it popped up sometime around the summer, at least that is when I bought this one. I had read that barleywine’s do better with some age, so I have waited until now to try this one. So, it’s got like 6 months on it. I had only tried one barleywine previous to this one, at least that I was aware of.

Appearance: Pours with a dark rich reddish brown color. Beautiful in the glass. I decent amount of head that settles into virtually nothing. Just a film over the top of the beer once it relaxes. (4.75)

Smell: Sweet, boozey, and dark fruits dominate the aroma. It almost has a boozy prune juice smell going on. (4.25)

Taste: Dark fruits dominate this one. Its sweet, and it is boozy I would recommend that you share this, as it is 10% abv. Not that you couldn’t but this is a very rich beer. It actually says on the bottle to share with friends. I get, a lot of those winter dark fruits, almost fruitcake like flavors going on. This is called an English style barleywine because it has less hop dominance than American styles and I although I have not had many of this style, I would have to agree there is no hops in this one, if there is, you certainly cannot taste them. Plumbs, figs, cereal notes dominate. In the aftertaste you get a bit of hop assertiveness but it is very mild. (4.5)

Overall: This is a well made beer, by one of my favorite local brewers. I may have to grab a few more up to cellar, before they are gone again. One note they have just began the transition to 12/ 6 packs and they have changed the label style. Personally I kind of like the older labels. I noticed the Lindley Park, which was one of their more sought after beers had the wax omitted and I suspect the Event Horizon will too. This may be the last of the, shall I say “reserve” beers from them that has the wax coating around the cap. If that interests you, I doubt next years will have it! (4.5) (2,063 characters)

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! (1,772 characters)

Photo of tillmac62
3.97/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2014 release. Pours a dark brown, just like a porter. Normal head volume and retention, excellent lacing. Dark fruit nose of plums, raisins and dates over a light note of alcohol. As it warms, molasses is evident along with a caramel note.. Light full body with a nice creamy texture. Slightly below normal carbonation, with a bit of effervescence in the finish, buttresses the body/texture. The flavor profile is intense, very complex and reasonably balanced. It begins with a burst of blended dark fruits that flow into a molasses sweetness. In the middle, the molasses fades into a caramel note that is rather sweet and covers the alcohol that lurks underneath. While reasonably covered, the alcohol still exhibits a slight astringency in the middle. In the finish, alcohol dominates and leaves that nice burn at the back of the throat. As it all fades away, it is a bit dry and prune notes are detected. I'm not a big barley wine fan, but this one hits the outstanding mark. (991 characters)

Photo of oberon
3.93/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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. (444 characters)

Photo of DanGeo
3.54/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Spaten454
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 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. (876 characters)

Photo of marvin213
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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! (819 characters)

Photo of TimoP
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%

Photo of merlin48
3.85/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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. (523 characters)

Photo of Mora2000
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 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. (434 characters)

Photo of 1Adam12
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%

Photo of mjtiernan
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

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. (882 characters)

Photo of Mantooth
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of Cynic-ale
3.79/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of mondegreen
3.57/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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. (414 characters)

Photo of williamjbauer
4.12/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of chinchill
3.38/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Large shared bottle pours dark reddish-brown with a decent head.
The aroma is somewhat boozy with a dark malt base and notes of dates and soft ripe fruits.
The flavor largely follows but has a sou note that seems out of place and a very bitter aspect to the aftertaste.
Smooth, full body with medium carbonation. (315 characters)

Photo of stereosforgeeks
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of glid02
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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. (802 characters)

Photo of lanamj
3.45/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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. (784 characters)

Photo of whitekiboko
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%

Photo of Metalmonk
3.65/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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. (1,007 characters)

Photo of twowheelssoar
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%

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Irish Walker from Olde Hickory Brewery
88 out of 100 based on 90 ratings.