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!

Irish Walker - Olde Hickory Brewery

Not Rated.
Irish WalkerIrish Walker

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

221 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 221
Reviews: 81
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 9.41%
Wants: 41
Gots: 86 | FT: 14
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Irish Walker Alström Bros
Ratings: 221 | Reviews: 81 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Gushue3
Gushue3

Massachusetts

4.03/5  rDev +2.5%

2011 vintage waxed bomber poured into my snifter.

A- Really big 2+ finger head that's a very light brown/ off white. The retention is something else and seems as if it wont go down. The body is a deep brown/red/mahogany that has carbonation bubbles jetting up when held to the light. as the head finally starts to go down there's lacing left all around the glass. This looks really nice.

S- The first thing i get is a sweet dark fruit and heavy sweet malt. Really sweet but not over the top in any way. theres a small murky earthy scent hiding behind all the sweetness

T- Big sweet malts take over. Caramel, toffee, and a very subtle chocolate make the sweetness very nice. Dark Fruits are there but definately take a back seat to the sweet malts. The finish is somewhat bitey and has a cross between hop lingering and leathery taste.

M- Nice full mouthfeel that doesnt have to much carbonation. The body feels great and is thick and creamy. very nice feel

O- Sat on this one for a while and worth the wait. Not my hands down favorite English Barleywine but definately will be looking for this again

09-27-2011 00:37:08 | More by Gushue3
Photo of Ryan011235
Ryan011235

Ohio

4.03/5  rDev +2.5%

Poured into an Arcadia flute on 8/21/11

2011 vintage

Thanks to PDXHops

Copper-crimson color; very pretty. One thumb head. Impressive, thick retention. Very nice swaths of lace.

Hefty aromas of caramel, brown sugar, earthy hops, butterscotch, raisin, prune and plum. Nice amount of complexity throughout. Tastes just like it smells; that's a good thing. Dark fruit notes - raisins and prunes. Toasty sugars - brown sugar and caramel. Earthy hops of moderate bitterness. Full bodied. Fluffy carbonation but not harsh; I reckon you could call it pillowy. Rather dry, too.

Pretty good all around. I like it now and I think it could hold up over time.

09-06-2011 03:28:55 | More by Ryan011235
Photo of koopa
koopa

New Jersey

3.9/5  rDev -0.8%

22oz bomber given to me as a gift by grassblue thanks!

Appearance: Pours a cloudy burgandy tinged chestnut with a 1 finger medium khaki crown that displays good retention and some lace.

Smell: Light toasty malted notes, figs, dates, and a hint of grassy herbal hops.

Taste: Deep toffee, hints of fig, some toasty notes, a bit of toasted brown sugar, and a bit less hop presence. A fairly nice malt driven barley wine.

Mouthfeel: Thin side of thick bodied with decent carbonation. It falls a little flat in the finish which is surprising considering it's fairly thick and lush in the beginning.

Overall: Not a bad English Barleywine but it doesn't rock my socks off.

08-30-2011 02:22:10 | More by koopa
Photo of ChainGangGuy
ChainGangGuy

Georgia

3.88/5  rDev -1.3%

2011 Release.

Appearance: Pours a deep, deep, dark mahogany body with a goodly foamy, yellow-beige head.

Smell: Sweetish scent of toasted sugars, toasted barley, and a mix of dark fruits and berries with an underlying note of sturdy English hops.

Taste: Commences with a big sweetness, though not overly sweet, and with a toasted maltiness, faintly nutty, and, in the distance, a very, very small hint of roast. Splash of liquor. Dark fruits. Spicy, earthy hops with ample bitterness. Bittersweet on the drying, warming finish.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied. Medium carbonation. Creamy mouthfeel.

Overall: This one kinda makes me think of an Imperial Irish Red Ale, though maybe I'm taking too much away from the word "Irish". Decent flavor, though the appearance and texture were quite nice.

08-27-2011 16:52:50 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of srandycarter
srandycarter

California

3.75/5  rDev -4.6%

A - Dark cola, murky, tan head, leaves to ring fast. Some cling lace.

S -BIG malt profile, dark fruits, heady.

T - Taste pretty much matches smell, with added hops at end to make it a little less sweet. Boozy.

M - Errs to the sweet, low carb, High ABV.

D - One is definitely enough.

08-16-2011 02:29:54 | More by srandycarter
Photo of RickS95
RickS95

Indiana

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.

08-13-2011 03:11:49 | More by RickS95
Photo of marvin213
marvin213

North Carolina

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!

08-08-2011 19:00:01 | More by marvin213
Photo of DavoleBomb
DavoleBomb

Ohio

3.8/5  rDev -3.3%

Poured into a snifter. 2011 vintage. Lovely presentation. Thick copper colored wax with an insignia stamped into the wax covering the cap.

4.5 A: Clear or nearly clear medium to dark brown color. Two fingers of beige, frothy/creamy hybrid head. Retention is very good given the ABV and lacing is bountiful. Good looking brew.

4.5 S: This smells like tobacco with caramel and toffee drizzled all over it. Behind that there is plum, prune, raisin, and a light spiciness. Light toastiness and brown sugar. Hops are barely detectable, but offer a touch of earthiness. Booze is very well hidden. Rich and decadent.

3.5 T: This is a lot like the nose, only a bit weaker overall. Caramel, toffee, and tobacco are the strongest flavors again with the same secondary flavors. More toastiness than the nose. Booze is again well hidden. The problem is that right now this is way too bitter, especially for this being an English b-wine. Still, it's not bad.

4.0 M: Heavier medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Reasonably creamy, though the bitterness reduces the smoothness slightly.

3.5 D: The sweetness to bitterness balance is tilted heavily toward bitterness. This might have been the design for all I know though. I heard this ages well and would the strong bitterness now will prevent this from getting cloying down the road. Anyway, this is a decent drink fresh. I have another bottle, so I might check it out again a few years down the road.

08-07-2011 19:26:36 | More by DavoleBomb
Photo of thagr81us
thagr81us

South Carolina

4.05/5  rDev +3.1%

2011 Vintage! Served from tap into a flared pilsner. Poured a deep red-orange with a half finger off-white (slight light brown hue) that subsided to a minimal amount slowly. Maintained phenomenal lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, bitter hop, sweet alcohol, and caramel. The flavor was of sweet malt, dark chocolate, sweet alcohol, caramel, and bitter hop. It had a medium feel on the palate with medium carbonation. Overall this was a pretty good brew. The flavor profile on this one was quite nice and complex. With this being a barleywine, it had all of the flavors one would expect to find in one without a doubt. The aroma was quite nice as well for the style. Definitely worth trying if you have the chance!

07-22-2011 19:25:01 | More by thagr81us
Photo of Thorpe429
Thorpe429

Illinois

3.28/5  rDev -16.5%

Thanks to a generous BA for providing this growler at the Friday night pre-BA Sexual Chocolate tasting. Served in a Foothills sampler glass.

Pours dark brown with a short tan head that quickly recedes to a thin collar. The nose brings some light whiskey character along with caramel and a bit of booze. Nothing much else than that. This is especially apparent in the flavor, which unfortunately tastes mostly like watered-down whiskey and doesn't have malt or other backing. Light to medium body without too much booze, which is fairly impressive. Decent enough overall, but I'd rather stick with some of their other beers.

07-19-2011 10:52:03 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of mdfb79
mdfb79

New York

4.15/5  rDev +5.6%

From 06/25/11 notes. Shared by nmann08 at a recent tasting I believe; thanks Nate. Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into my Bruery tulip. 2010 vintage.

a - Pours a hazy, dark brown color with one inch of off white head and moderate carbonation evident. Very light spotty lacing on the glass.

s - Smells of caramel malts, toffee, light hops, toasted malts, oak, vanill, and bready malts. Lots of malts, especially caramel.

t - Tastes of caramel malts, vanilla, oak, toffee, and bready malts. Again a lot of malts, but the vanilla is very nice in the taste.

m - Medium body and light carbonation. Very smooth and creamy, and very easy to drink.

o - Overall I thought this was a really good barleywine and something I would love to have again sometime. Lots of caramel and vanilla, which are some of my favorite characteristics.

06-30-2011 14:36:30 | More by mdfb79
Photo of OakedCanuck
OakedCanuck

Washington

4/5  rDev +1.8%

22oz bottle into tulip. 2010 vintage

This beer pours a deep brownish red murky colour with a decent sized fluffy white head. Average lacing with a few rings left behind. The nose is a heavy sweetness of caramel and candied sugar. This beer is not as sweet as the nose suggests. Nice dark fruit body (plums, raisins) with some accompanying hoppy bitterness (pine). The caramel and toffee sweetness is definitely still there but more of a supporting role. Well balanced beer with sticky mouthfeel. Overall I thought this was a good beer but it is still a touch hot as it is still 'young'. I would like to get another bottle and open it in 3 years or so...

06-10-2011 13:33:24 | More by OakedCanuck
Photo of coldmeat23
coldmeat23

Oklahoma

3.85/5  rDev -2%

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.

05-30-2011 04:12:13 | More by coldmeat23
Photo of PDXHops
PDXHops

South Carolina

4.03/5  rDev +2.5%

Bomber poured into an oversized snifter. Note: The 2011 vintage labels indicate 10.14% ABV. Poured into an oversized snifter, Irish Walker is a deep amber, almost mahogany, with an impressively structured and long-lasting light tan head. Speckly lacing up and down.

Butterscotch, caramel, a touch of toffee in the nose. Raisin-studded bread pudding comes to mind. A surpsing bitter streak cuts through the smoothish and coating blend of butterscotch, molasses, toffee and fruit. The hops are jacked to a surprising level; this is a beer that very well may respond well to aging. After the swallow, the bitterness calms down and the smoothness returns for the afterparty. Could stand to be a touch more warming, and perhaps with age it would be. Easy recommendation.

05-18-2011 02:16:33 | More by PDXHops
Photo of brentk56
brentk56

North Carolina

3.88/5  rDev -1.3%

2010 Bottling

Appearance: Pours a cola color with a smidge of a head that fades away altogether too quickly though it does leave a splendid array of viscous dots

Smell: Fruity aroma, with some citrus as well as apple, pear and raisin elements

Taste: Very different malt character, with a ton of fruit up front; quite a kitchen sink of citrus, light fruits and dark fruits, with a nutty, caramel character underneath; after the swallow, a bit of spearmint enters the picture and lingers into the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with low to moderate carbonation; surprisingly thin for the ABV

Overall: I enjoyed this but am not quite sure what to make of it; perhaps a year has changed its character but this is the fruitiest barleywine I have ever encountered

Discovered the 2009 in my cellar the next day, so here is the comparison:

Appearance: Much better head retention than the 2010; more lacing as well 4.0

Smell: Now there is the malt that was missing in the 2010; the fruitiness is there also, but it is far better balanced 4.5

Taste: Very similar to the 2010 but, as with the aroma, there is a better balance to the caramel malt 4.0

Mouthfeel: Feels more like a barleywine though the carbonation is a bit too prickly 3.5

Overall: So, a year older and with a 2% lower ABV, the 2009 is clearly the better beer 4.0

05-07-2011 01:15:58 | More by brentk56
Photo of andrewinski1
andrewinski1

New Hampshire

3.55/5  rDev -9.7%

Thanks to Bendurgin for sharing! Poured into a tulip. Nice dark amber color. A reasonable head of about an eighth inch.

The aroma indicates plum and raisins. This has a very fruity aroma. The aroma is full of sweet malt.

The taste has a fruity flavor similar to the aroma. The hops are a bit more noticeable and give a bit of a minty flavor.

The body is middling and not particularly heavy. The carbonation is soft allowing the fruitiness to shine.

I like this a good deal. This has a nice full flavor to it. *edit: The ABV on our bottle says 9.6%, not 7.7%.

04-25-2011 02:29:27 | More by andrewinski1
Photo of Bendurgin
Bendurgin

Maine

3.6/5  rDev -8.4%

Got this as an extra in a recent trade with Craytonic. Thanks! Poured intoa tulip. This one pours a nice vibrant amber color. It appears a dark brown in the class with a bubbly light tan head. Thin lace.

A little bit of cocoa in this. Mollasses, brown sugar and a dark fruit. A little bit of citrus hops round it out. The flavor is a bit toasty with some cocoa, citrus, toffee and licorice to this. This one is kind of on the hoppy side.

Good feel here. A big full body with good carbonation. A little bit on the sticky side. Overall not a bad barely wine. I don't really feel like this one is doing anything super special, but it's enjoyable and well made.

04-25-2011 02:08:56 | More by Bendurgin
Photo of Lukafer
Lukafer

Michigan

4.2/5  rDev +6.9%

From notes:

2009 Vintage

Pours a dark amber with a fingers of tan head.  Smells are dark fruits, sweet malts and a little alcohol.  Tastes are dark fruits, malts, really smooth and really mellow.  Mouthfeel is good, drinkability is high. Overall a really good beer I'd like to try again.

04-15-2011 02:55:04 | More by Lukafer
Photo of MasterSki
MasterSki

Ontario (Canada)

4.15/5  rDev +5.6%

Bottle courtesy of the infamous Jason Allen. I'm thinking this was the 2010 vintage based on my memory of the label. Served in a Stone IRS tulip.

A - Quick-dissolving dime of foam that settles to a thin ring and a few wisps, leaving tiny spots of lace. Transparent blood red body.

S - Burnt sugars, toffee, dark fruits, cotton candy, light chocolate, toasted grains, and a touch of citrus hop aroma.

T - Taste is heavy on sugars (brown sugar, caramel) along with candied dark fruits. There's some roasted malt that brings balance and keeps things from being cloying. Hops impart light bitterness to the finish as well. Well-hidden alcohol (this batch was 9.8%) makes this very easy drinking for the style.

M - Slightly overcarbonated for a barleywine, but otherwise quite nice. Full smooth body with minimal warmth.

D - This is quite a good barleywine. If I were feeling ambitious I could probably tackle a bomber on my own. Olde Hickory, please put this in a (PvW?) bourbon barrel as it'd be a big hit.

03-30-2011 02:58:45 | More by MasterSki
Photo of wedge
wedge

North Carolina

3.88/5  rDev -1.3%

2009

Dark clouded chestnut color with a small, bubbly, creamy head. Aromas of bread, dark fruit, raisins, toffee, booze, and slight oxidation. Sweet caramel, ripe fruit, rich bitter chocolate, molasses, tobacco, vanilla, and a surprise balancing hop note. All very smooth and tasty with far less alcohol presence. Slick, creamy mouthfeel. Goes down easy!

02-27-2011 23:47:05 | More by wedge
Photo of prototypic
prototypic

Ohio

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!

02-26-2011 03:37:29 | More by prototypic
Photo of olympuszymurgus
olympuszymurgus

California

3.75/5  rDev -4.6%

Barleywine tasting 2011, the final countdown. 2010 bottle.

A wonderful burnished red, browning sausages and velvet kisses. Smells of large vats of two row, burnt sugars and smooth kisses.

Taste is a bit thin, has almost a soda style carbonation with hints of lemon and butter. Cinnamon, earth, and caramel.

A nice brew, a solid entry in a day of silly.

02-20-2011 18:55:31 | More by olympuszymurgus
Photo of scifan
scifan

North Carolina

4.35/5  rDev +10.7%

This is a review of the 2010 version.
Poured into my Portsmouth ballon glass. Irish Walker is a nice ruby amber with a nice khaki head that leaves some lacing as it recedes into a wispy ring around the glass.
Smells slightly sweet with toffee and caramel dominating the nose. Has some nice dark fruit aromas as I'm picking up some fig and dates. A touch of tobacco and just a tinge of floral hops finish out the nose.
The first sip reveals tasty toffee and caramel flavors, toasted malts provide some contrast from the sweetness. Classis english hops provide a nice clean, dry finish and for such a high abv I can't detect any alcohol.
Has a great big mouthfeel and you can tell its definitely a "big" beer, but it never gets too thick or cloying and has a nice finish. I shouldn't have any problem finishing this 22. Olde Hickory is quickly becoming my favorite brewery in NC with awesome brews like this one.
P.S. I think it would be incredible bourbon barrel aged.

02-05-2011 03:43:14 | More by scifan
Photo of craytonic
craytonic

District of Columbia

3.85/5  rDev -2%

On-tap at Duckworth's

Appearance: Rich vibrant ruby-amber with decent head and lacing.

Smell: Fruits (raisins, figs), brown sugar, honey, caramel, toffee

Taste: Loads of caramel and toffee with raisins, figs, brown sugar, cinnamon and honey. A bit nutty with some maple syrup in the background. Made me think of fruitcake for some reason

Mouthfeel: Creamy, could use a tad more carbonation.

Drinkability: Goes down easy enough, this is a good one that is headed in the right direction.

01-07-2011 02:49:19 | More by craytonic
Photo of blackie
blackie

California

4.25/5  rDev +8.1%

a: wine glass, deep copper-brown in color with something of a murky haze, compact head with some good retention

s: sweet aromas of toffee and heavily caramelized malts, backed with a woodsy citrus hop profile, sweet dried fruits, rustic and within good limits of balance, like

m: carbonation low and smooth, body full and slick

t: big malt-forward barleywine, sweet fruits, rich caramel and toffee flavors, mild alcohol, hops have a nice presence of earthy citrus, finishing with a balancing bitter

d: no problems, a nice barleywine from Hickory

bomber kindly split by a friend back in the 'ville

2012 bomber consumed 01.2014, straight from the cellar: Very rich, lovely beer. Heavy on sweet toffee and brown sugar concentrations with a touch of dark, figgy fruit leather belied by the deep brown hue of the beer. dates. caramel. sticky, sweet, nice alcohol. hops provide a lingering bitterness. very nice after one year. straightforward complexity and very tasty. old scores were 4s

01-05-2011 01:58:52 | More by blackie
Irish Walker from Olde Hickory Brewery
88 out of 100 based on 221 ratings.