1. BeerAdvocate on your phone?! True story. Try the beta now.

Irish Walker - Olde Hickory Brewery

Irish WalkerIrish Walker

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

202 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 202
Reviews: 79
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 9.41%

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)
View: Beers (44) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Irish Walker Alström Bros
Ratings: 202 | Reviews: 79 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of mjtiernan

New York

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.

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2012 02:16:20 | More by mjtiernan
Photo of Khazadum


3.7/5  rDev -5.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2012 02:06:42 | More by Khazadum
Photo of homebrew311


3.8/5  rDev -3.3%
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

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2011 06:34:29 | More by homebrew311
Photo of mikesgroove

South Carolina

4.38/5  rDev +11.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2011 03:25:25 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of Viciousknishs


4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2011 00:13:00 | More by Viciousknishs
Photo of jlindros


4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-13-2011 22:47:05 | More by jlindros
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-08-2011 02:30:13 | More by mntlover
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-06-2011 00:18:46 | More by scottfrie
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

Serving type: bottle

09-27-2011 00:37:08 | More by Gushue3
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.

Serving type: bottle

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

New Jersey

3.9/5  rDev -0.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

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


3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

08-27-2011 16:52:50 | More by ChainGangGuy
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.

Serving type: bottle

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


3.95/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

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

North Carolina

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!

Serving type: bottle

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


3.8/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

Serving type: bottle

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

South Carolina

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

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!

Serving type: on-tap

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


3.28/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Serving type: growler

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

New York

4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Serving type: bottle

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


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

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...

Serving type: bottle

06-10-2011 13:33:24 | More by OakedCanuck
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.

Serving type: bottle

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

South Carolina

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

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.

Serving type: bottle

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

North Carolina

3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

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

Serving type: bottle

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

New Hampshire

3.55/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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%.

Serving type: bottle

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


3.6/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Serving type: bottle

04-25-2011 02:08:56 | More by Bendurgin
Irish Walker from Olde Hickory Brewery
88 out of 100 based on 202 ratings.