Irish Walker - Olde Hickory Brewery

Not Rated.
Irish WalkerIrish Walker

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

295 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 295
Reviews: 94
rAvg: 3.96
pDev: 9.34%
Wants: 42
Gots: 98 | FT: 17
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 295 | Reviews: 94
Photo of SportsandJorts
4/5  rDev +1%

Appearance: Mahogany color. Almost no head but some tan foam forms. Does not stay around. Completely hazy and opaque. Some redness to it. 3.5/5

Smell: Strong caramel sweetness. Strong alcohol. Hoppy bitterness. 4/5

Taste: Starts with maple syrup. Some caramel and sweetness. Lots of barley and bread. Some alcohol. Good strong hops. 4/5

Mouthfeel: Syrupy. Sweet but balanced by bitterness. Some warmth. 4.25/5

Overall: a good english barleywine, on the hoppier side for the style but in a good way. definetly a good value from what I hear it costs and a good year round big beer. it'd be a good beer to throw in the cellar and play around with.

Photo of joe1510
4/5  rDev +1%

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!

Photo of bcheng
4.62/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This was a nice purchase from my trip to Asheville, NC, recommended by the good people at Appalachian Vintner. Drinking from an Old Hickory glass, at room temperature, the mouthfeel is somewhat creamy, and like a previous reviewer mentioned, has the woody, old ale quality. A little sweet, but definitely not overpowering. Personally I feel it is well balanced, and I very much enjoyed it. Definitely would buy it again if I get a chance to go to NC. Oh yeah, that blue wax covering the bottle top, is interesting, but perhaps a bit too thick for easy removal.

Photo of clayrock81
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a reddish copper with two finger head and lace ring down glass. Boozy, alkie aroma with bourbon, wood, hint of vanilla, caramel/sugary goodiness and touches of dark fruits (mostly figs and toffee). Fuller bodied, chewey, pronounced alcohol bite with a touch of burn on backend, this is a slow sipper b/c it will hit you and hit hard. That being said, well balanced, not overpowering in any sense, love the dark fruit and sweetness that balances with the alcohol and wood for a quality barley wine. Would love to see how this ages so I guess I'm buying another bottle.

Photo of cosmicevan
4.36/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

2011 vintage that i picked up last year when i was in NC (or maybe i picked it up longer ago?) none-the-less, enjoyed from an olde hickory half pint taster glass thingie.

a - brew poured a stunning ruby brown with crimson highlights. to the light you can somewhat see through it...massive cream colored head that hung out for ages and coated the glass as it vanished. pretty amazing looking.

s - nose is amazing. nougat, toffee, caramel...lush english barleywine. butterscotch. just spot on for what i like. really rich and thick with tons of candy.

t - taste matches the nose, just fantastic. really rich and thick and lush toffee butterscotch. caramel, nougat...you get the point. great barleywine.

m - fairly chewy and thick...a bit boozy on the finish.

o - overall, really great english barleywine. this sort of tows the line of old ale...really what i love about the english barleywine style. this is a keeper...would definitely have again.

Photo of chinchill
3.38/5  rDev -14.6%
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.

Photo of zeledonia
3.83/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2011 vintage, which I usually wouldn't review, but this shows few signs of oxidation or decline. Thanks to n2185 for the bottle. Tasted 24 August 2013.

Pours deep rusty brown, dark, but clear with light behind it, which makes it look even more reddish. Half-finger of tan head, okay retention, stellar lacing.

Smell is big and malty, just what I want from an English barleywine. Dark fruit, a bit of molasses, and tobacco. Has both sweetness and depth.

Taste is pleasantly complex. It's less potently sweet, with more leather and tobacco than in the smell. Lots of brown, tannin flavors. In the finish, hops and alcohol come through as a two-pronged bitterness. Just a touch of oxidation.

Feel is good. Medium-heavy body, very sticky. It's a little low on carbonation, but there's enough to keep things active. Lasting.

A tasty beer, with nicely varied malt character. I like it, though some might find it overly sweet.

Photo of davey101
3.93/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2011 vintage into a Founders 15'th glass. Really digging the wax job with the stamp on top of the cap.

A - Pours a very dark brown body. Look more like a stout than a barleywine. Two fingers of light mocha foam sticks around for a long time. Excellent lacing and retention.

S - Now I know why its so dark. Lots of roasted malts, char, and chocolate combined with the traditional toffee, brown sugar, and raisins. A bit of faded piney hops and some booze

T - Toffee, heavily roasted malts, brown sugar, molasses, raisins, and a metallic aftertaste alongside light oxidation. Its pretty tasty but rather lackluster. The mouth feel is great though, rich and creamy.

O - A very roasty barleywine with a lot of good attributes but none that shine too bright. The metallic aftertaste takes its toll and oxidation is starting to creep in. I'm happy to have tried it but it wasn't exactly memorable.

Photo of Teleweizen2
4.1/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A - pours a deep murky mixture of mahogany and burgundy. A thin tan foam rises as the liquid is poured but quickly settles and recedes to a film. leaves a touch of lacing spots on the glass.

S - classic rich fruity, malty sweet barleywine nose. Notes of rich juicy dark and dried fruit like dates, plums and raisins. all that draped on top of grain notes such as bread pudding, rye bread. along with notes of sweet cream, burnt sugar and almond liquor.

T - spicy, doughy, rye-bread like flavor. there is also a nutty toasty grainy character along with a burnt sugar sweetness. hints of dried fruit like dates and raisins are present in the center along with a classic English herbal hop character. more notes of burnt sugar and brown sugar on the backend along with toasty notes of almonds and a subtle alcohol heat. finish is sweet yet smooth.

M - full bodied. thick viscous almost syrupy texture. medium carbonation.

O - very good barleywine. hits all the classic notes of the style. something i would definitely like to have again and see how it develops overtime.

Photo of barleywinefiend
3.74/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: Poured a cola brown color with a tan cap which fades leaving whispy bubbles and light lacing clinging to the edge of the glass

S: Sweet caramel meets toffee meets dark fruits. Rather straightforward and simplistic,l common for the style.

T: Initial but subtle booze sting coupled with toffee, caramel and underlying dark fruits plus residual sugary sweetness. A bit high on carbonation upfront. It finishes smooth, sweet, near decadence and lightly sticky

M: Medium to big bodied but I felt it need a bit more in the middle to make it fuller, well rounded and decadent

O: Good example of the style.

Photo of Wolfpack2005
3.64/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A-Poured a deep mahogany into my tulip glass with about a half finger head that fades quickly.

S-Toasted malts, dark fruit (especially raisins), and a little bit of rye and hops.

T-Follows the nose with the toasted malts and raisins. Strong caramel sweetness. There is also faint notes of hops and a little bit of warmth from the alcohol.

M-Low carbonation creamy medium body.

O-This is a very mellow barley wine not overpowering with either the malts or the hops which is nice but nothing that really stands out and makes this beer unique.

Photo of ChadQuest
3.27/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Looks solid in that there is a small shortly sustained head and a rich color. Not much else to say.
I like the aroma, richness with a faint alcohol, light dark fruits and toffees.
The flavors are less rich, partially cut down by a hint of alcohol but it isn't hot by any means, there is just less richness and sweet density on the palate, still caramel and toasted toffee, just less of it, the dark fruits come out more, a bit of a pomegranate like note that has a faint itty bitty tannin aspect.
mouth feel is medium bodied.

Nice, solid, enjoyable Barleywine, not phenomenal, but a nice beer to drink solo in an evening.

Photo of tewaris
3.5/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks J man!

Hazy amber-raisin hued without much of a head or retention. The taste leans more towards hops than malty sweetness. Somewhat dark character, possibly derived from specialty malt. High carbonation, medium body.

Overall it does remind me of caramel but slightly burnt/too toasted at that. So it is good but not outstanding.

Photo of Onenote81
4.25/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Coming down the 40, and I always make a point to stop by this brewpub for a bite and pint (or 2). I see this one on the shelf all the time at my local haunt, but for some reason I always avoid it. I'm just not a huge Barleywine guy I guess. This time though, I was in the mood so I finished my meal with this one.

Came out in a stemmed goblet. As with most "imperialized" brews, this was not a full pint, unfortunately. A ripe plum color with faint ruby edges. The cap of froth was short in size but not short-lived, as each sip left a perfect ring clinging to the glass. Rich aromas of dark fruits, booze, and some light earthy notes. Clean mouthfeel, rich and deep, envelopes the palate. Subtle carbonation lightens this one up just a smidge.

Great decadent fruity flavors of fig, plum, and raisin. The alcohol add just enough heat to this, but in no way overpowers. Sweet candy-like flavors on the back end keep this balanced, and tone down the richness of it a bit. Bitterness is present, but again, subtlety is king. Definitely sets itself apart from the Americanized versions of this style. This was rich, tasty, and ever so easy to drink. I think I need to pull the trigger on some bottles now.

Photo of Chaney
4.25/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I picked this up in NC many months ago. It will meet its fate today.

A: Burnt sienna brown, with a slight 1/3 finger head that clung to the glass and then some.

S: Moderate in aroma, but I got some melted "Jolly Rancher." Certainly hoppy, but restrained in an English kinda way. A good bit of fresh caramel as well.

T: Excellent taste of wood, caramel (very prevalent), bitter hops (subtle, yet effective), and candi sugar. I personally thought all of this came to life and I was totally in awe of my first sip of this, especially considering my "down the middle" view of the scent.

M: Ridiculous lacing, and pretty drinkable (I find good English BWs usually are), The carbonation was great for this style, and this wasn't too sweet for my taste at all.

O: I don't care what many others have said on here at all. I personally thought this was one of the best English BW's I've had in a long time.

Photo of Dope
3.6/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2011 bottle

A: Pours a dark brown with a good sized tan head. Fades at a decent pace, lacing moderate lacing on the glass.

S: Heavy caramel and raisins. Decent toffee and molasses.

T: Loads of toffee up front and throughout. A bit of caramel sweetens up the middle with a little raisin. Ends very dry with a strong and bitter herbal, earthy and almost tobacco-like character. Maybe even a hint of smoke. Get a bit of leather in the lingering aftertaste.

M: Medium-heavy bodied. Super drying and decently bitter on the back end.

O: Starts out well but the aftertaste is kind of odd for a beer like this. Tasty enough but nothing earth-shattering. Lots of leather between sips become annoying, especially strong once it warms up.

Photo of kawilliams81
3.82/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2012 blue wax bottle. Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a 8 oz snifter.

A- pours a dark brown with a 2 finger ran head. Head and lacing reside immediately.

S- caramel, toffee, tobacco, raisins

T- sweet toffee, roasted malts, dark fruits, hint of vanilla

M- medium body, high carbonation. Bottle gushed after opening.

O- good Barleywine but nothing spectacular. After Saw this was a gusher I was worried about infection, but seems ok to me.

Photo of brystmar
3.83/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 bottle shared by Brendan.

Beautiful pour! So much head and lace, absolutely gorgeous for the style. Malty aroma, hints of bourbon and spice.

Malty sweetness fades into booze and bourbon. More spice than I expected, spikes of alcohol keep things interesting. Unfortunately it doesn't all piece together as well as its competition. Slightly above average, but nothing special.

Photo of Bung
3.62/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2009 version, which matches with the 7.7 version from the Amos & Howard brewpub.
Semi-cloudy dark amber pour, just a thin layer of light cream head.

Aroma, Brown sugary sweet malt. Toffee. Smells English to me.

Taste, very subdued from the aroma. Much more herbal, light citrus to go with the brown sugar and toffee. Not too much breadiness, not quite enough body here. Faint toast in the finish.

Medium body, low carbonation. Drinks pretty easy with its thinness. Alcohol hidden.

I almost wonder if this was just not quite "big" enough for cellering much more than a year or so.

Photo of maximum12
3.92/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to nc41 for a box overflowing with Olde Hickory goodness, a brewery I've grown rather fond of. 22 oz. bottle with 2012 stamped into the green wax.

Before I get to the pour, I had to get out the flamethrower; another brewery that waxes like it's sealing a bank vault. The brew is very dark for a barleywine, only a few strokes of red shy of black. Nose is sweet malts & drip-thick molasses. I swear I smell a sidebar of scotch, too. Repeatedly. Huh. Whatever, it's awful nice.

Irish Walker might be trying to invent a new style, 'cause this ain't my great-grandmother's barleywine. All sorts of things through the grater: right off the bat is a figginess that's pleasantly sprinkled with sugar, no bite, with an echo of darker fruits. More pleasant molasses, & another swig of scotch-like taste - which really sticks to the teeth. Herbs on the backside, pounded with everything else, help give this a unique profile. Stupid drinkable.

Mucho points for the weirding, I've never had a barleywine like this before, & it's felony drinkable with that 10% ABV. Another winner from Olde Hickory, this is a very good beer.

Photo of tdm168
4.42/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of NCBeernut
4.23/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2011 vintage poured into a New Belgium globe.

Dark mahogany. Very impressive creamy-looking khaki head that never goes away despite the double-digit ABV.

Sweet scents of dark fruit (like raisins) and tobacco. This nose is all about the malt - no hint of hops. Definite fruity alcohol aromatics. Warm sugary caramel rounds out the aroma.

It hits with a bang. The first thing my tongue was able to sort out was a solid dose of bitterness that locks into every tastebud well into the finish. A heavy dose of dark fruit complement the bitterness nicely. Definitely more balanced than the nose would suggest. Clean alcohols contribute to complexity. I also get some toffee notes as things settle down. This one defines a sipper. Really full, viscous mouthfeel, but even after a year, that bitterness is pretty upfront. Solid barleywine that will really develop well over the years. I have a 2012 that I think I will hold onto for much longer.

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.64/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I brought this one to share at jmgrub’s tasting.

Thanks to Jzmhector for sending me this one!

Pours a clear brown with a foamy tan head that settles to an oily film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, molasses, and citrus zest. Taste is of malt, citrus zest, and slight brown sugar and molasses flavors. There is a medium sort of medicinal bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good barleywine but the bitterness is a bit weird on this one.

Photo of akorsak
3.8/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to BillyRoss for this wax-covered bomber bottle. A big barleywine from Olde Hickory.

A: The ale is a tawny brown color, deeper and darker, with a thin off-white head. That head doesn't last long.

S: Big big big. The barleywine brings the thick, murky caramel malt aromas, concentrated with molasses in the undertow. Toffee comes along with the caramel, a chewy fullness.

T: The maltiness runs the show, practically no hop bitterness to get in the way of things. The caramel and toffee are there from sip one, full and dense with intensity. Rather sweet at times, the last few sips were a little too toffee-like. A good barleywine, albeit a little too sweet at times.

M: The mouthfeel is a malt assault, syrupy and rich. I recommend splitting it with someone (or two).

Photo of jmarsh123
4.03/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours deep brown with a off-white head with good retention and decent lacing.

Smells of rich toffee with a little bit of molasses and brown sugar. Very malt forward.

Toffee and caramel are again featured in the flavor. A good earthy hop bitterness cuts through and keeps the sweetness somewhat in check.

Mouthfeel is on the light side of medium. Just enough for the style. Carbonation levels are medium.

A very enjoyable barleywine that I had no expectations of going into. A little too sweet once it warmed, but still enjoyable.

Irish Walker from Olde Hickory Brewery
89 out of 100 based on 295 ratings.