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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: 299
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.
View: Beers (31) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 90 | Hads: 299
Photo of maximum12
3.92/5  rDev -0.3%
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. (1,126 characters)

Photo of tdm168
4.42/5  rDev +12.5%
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. (430 characters)

Photo of NCBeernut
4.23/5  rDev +7.6%
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. (943 characters)

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.64/5  rDev -7.4%
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. (620 characters)

Photo of akorsak
3.8/5  rDev -3.3%
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). (778 characters)

Photo of jmarsh123
4.03/5  rDev +2.5%
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. (534 characters)

Photo of gford217
3.72/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle, 2012 vintage.

Pours deep mahnogany in the glass that shows through as a cleat copper when held up to light. There's a small fizzy tan head that doesn't stick around long.

Aroma is sugary sweet with caramalized sugar, toffee, and some overripe dark fruits.

Taste has a slight bitterness up front with at least a hint of hops which is more than I got in the nose. It's still mostly about the caramelized sugars and malt sweetness with light vanilla and toffee notes.

Mouthfeel is slick and smooth with low carbonation and little bitterness. It's probably a tad lighter bodied than most in the style.

A solid if unspectacular barleywine with little complexity but a nice sweet body with some fruity notes. (720 characters)

Photo of beerenjoyer1
4.47/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A well round beer that acquired at Peabodys in Boone, NC.
I always look forward to the Irish Walker, this being the 2011 brew. The foam is medium brown and nice lacing durung the taste. The smell is malty with a hint of hops. The taste is full malt, slight sweetness, and some hoppiness with nice finish of alcohol. The feel is full of flavor and very good. Overall, as I said before I always look forward to an Irish Walker Barleywine by Olde Hickory. (452 characters)

Photo of Kegatron
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz wax topped bomber into a couple of snifters. Thanks go to Barscream for sharing this one with me. 2009 Edition.

Pours a ruddy amber, with a thin frothy head of light mocha foam. This retains with some rich edges, leaving back a smattering of spotty lace down the sides of the glass. The aroma smells of brown sugars, toffee, herbal hops, a touch of more burnt feeling grains, and then alcohol notes of spice and warmth.

The taste is similar to the nose, with caramel, green citrus, grainy roast, brown sugars, and some additional herbal tones. This finishes dry, spicy and bitter. The mouthfeel is fuller bodied, with a firm creaminess on the tongue that then spreads out into the rest of the mouth. I’m getting a little sweet and spicy warmth here out of the body but its overall pretty smooth if maybe a little thin feeling.

This was decent. The complexity seemed to be there but the flavors themselves just didn’t leave much of a bold impression on me, which coupled with the thinner feel of the body to make for a moderately enjoyable but ultimately forgettable drinking experience. This one seemed liked it’s spent enough time in the bottle already. (1,172 characters)

Photo of sulldaddy
3.77/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I sampled a cellar temp bottle of this beer poured into a snifter. The beer pours a clear rich deep mahogany color with minimal beige head foaming up and leaving only an edge layer fairly rapidly after the pour.
Aroma is rich and malty with brown sugar and caramel mixing with a bit of earthy hops and some booziness that warns of the 10% ABV.
First sip reveals a very drinkable smooth beer with minimal carbonation and actually a thinner body than expected.
Flavor is malty as advertised by the nose with caramel and brown sugar, but also pretty mild on the taste. I do get some earthy hops and some peppery booze that reminds me this is a big beer. Otherwise I could get snuck up on by this beast.
The beer is very drinkable, but the flavor is not robust and in my opinion leaves a little to be desired. I enjoy the beer but was hoping for more. Give it a shot but dont expect to get wow'd. (892 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 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 Khazadum
3.71/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Looks good. Simple appearance, cherry nohogany. Sticky, lacing. Long Kk lasting retention and carbonation.

Apples, caramels, cardboard, sweet caramel, and sharp molasses.

Tastes like insane sweetness and earthy hops. Very extreme earthy power, the bitterness is lingering, muggy, vegetal, and lingering. Finishes off oddly hoppy. Why?!?!

smooth, full body, crisp, middle, lingering, bitter ends. (400 characters)

Photo of homebrew311
3.83/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received via trade from both McNuts and Rhode17- thanks guys.

A: pours a clear deep mahogany, initially there is a covering a butter colored head, this disappears quickly and leaves sparse bubbles, no lacing

S: nose features ripe malts, notes of molasses, leather, and grape skin, bitter hops are present towards the end

T: tastes starts out with intense malts, notes of grape nuts, molasses, and maple come through, caramel malts in there as well, a bit of booziness in the middle and a bitter hop finish

MF: thick body, medium carbonation

O: nice flavorful English barleywine, a touch boozy, nice flavors (613 characters)

Photo of mikesgroove
4.37/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

dark brown. Very thick looking on the pour with a minimum amount of head coming up through it. A bout a half inch of off white foam rose up through it

Hints of raisins and figs, light earthy, roasted malts and a good touch of alcohol. Very complex nose, and unique for the style.
Rich tastes of oak and vanilla, hints of roasted malts and caramel. Lots of bourbon like flavors swirling around. Very tight and nicely done. A bit of alcohol, just enough to thicken it up a bit. A really nice and very full barley wine. Finish was strong, with a healthy dose of bourbon and spice lingering in the mouth for what seemed like forever. (631 characters)

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

A- pours a tawny color with a light tan head. Decent retention.

S- smells of toffee, caramel chew and dried red fruit.

T- sugary spice upfront with a huge sticky toffee, caramel chew and dried red fruit. Slight warmth alchohol with a dry herbal hop tinge.

MF- syrupy silky mouthfeel with a medium heavy body and low soft carbonation.

D- very drinkable. The 10% ABV is hidden very well.

Overall a delicious English barleywine. (431 characters)

Photo of jlindros
4.22/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to cwguy5 for this one.

Very light fizzy head, touch of lacing, mostly clear dark molasses ruby brown color.

Nose tons of dark malts and fruits, aged brown malts, caramel, toffee, molasses, etc. touch of oak and a bit of light whisky. Fruit bring fig, date, brandy soaked raisin with brown sugar, hint of creamy malt.

Taste starts rich and lush, creamy darker malts, brown malts with tons of brown sugar and molasses, caramel, toffee, chewy granola bar. Then fruit with more brandy soaked raisin, plum, fig, date, soft aged malts. Hint of a whisky flavor. Towards the end brings a light earthy hops. Finishes semi sweet with tons more juicy fruits and dark malts and sweets, still decent sweetness with a nice spicy hop bitterness.

Mouth is a bit bigger bodied, decent carb, hint of warming booze.

Overall very nice, great fruits, hint of whisky and barrel, good sweetness and malts, balanced fairly well. (917 characters)

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

Pours a deep murky brown with some red highlights a khaki two finger head falls to bubbles that leave some lace behind.

Aroma is big fruity malts, bready with toffee notes with big dark fruits raisins playing real big part in the nose.

Taste is on par with the nose nice sugary malts, toffee notes and dark fruits playing a big part. Some peat like notes and anise hints, finishes with some earth hops. Alcohol notes are light and don't play a big part.

Mouthfeel is good big medium almost full like but carbonation lightens it up some.

Overall pretty tasty not a great but an enjoyable brew. (597 characters)

Photo of scottfrie
3.53/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle into Portsmouth tulip. 2010 vintage.

A: Pours a very deep wooden brown with reddish highlights. The head is thin and khaki and quickly disappeared into a bubbly film leaving a few bubbles of lace.
S: Big toffee and rich dark fruits including prunes, plums and raisins. I also get notes of vanilla, wood, caramel, red grapes and roasted malt.
T: Follows the nose with rich notes of ripe fruits, spices, caramel and a bit of booze. I get more grape than the nose. The finish has a note of tobacco and a hint of leafy hops. The aftertaste is a bit roasted with a hint of vanilla and booze.
M: Medium-full body with a good chew to the mouthfeel. The carbonation is tingly and bubbly. No alcohol warmth.
O: Pretty good English Barleywine although not overly complex. I would drink this again but there are better out there. (835 characters)

Photo of Gushue3
4.03/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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 (1,104 characters)

Photo of Ryan011235
4.03/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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. (651 characters)

Photo of koopa
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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. (670 characters)

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.86/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

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. (790 characters)

Photo of srandycarter
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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. (286 characters)

Photo of RickS95
3.93/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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. (814 characters)

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