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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.
View: Beers (31) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 90 | Hads: 300
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 DavoleBomb
3.85/5  rDev -2%
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. (1,446 characters)

Photo of thagr81us
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! (746 characters)

Photo of Thorpe429
3.3/5  rDev -16%
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. (624 characters)

Photo of mdfb79
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. (825 characters)

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... (654 characters)

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)

Photo of PDXHops
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. (767 characters)

Photo of brentk56
3.87/5  rDev -1.5%
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 (1,329 characters)

Photo of andrewinski1
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%. (562 characters)

Photo of Bendurgin
3.62/5  rDev -7.9%
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. (660 characters)

Photo of Lukafer
4.17/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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. (292 characters)

Photo of MasterSki
4.12/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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. (1,008 characters)

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

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! (355 characters)

Photo of prototypic
4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 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! (2,148 characters)

Photo of olympuszymurgus
3.78/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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. (358 characters)

Photo of scifan
4.35/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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. (970 characters)

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

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. (490 characters)

Photo of blackie
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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 (989 characters)

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

Had this on tap at Vintner Wine Market (Charlotte, NC) poured into a Tulip glass

A- Pour a dark amber with a khaki head.

S- Dark fruits, spice and hops. Mainly dark fruits. dark fruits, rum, spice, slightly aged hops, spicy malt

T- Tastes of cherries and raisins . A little bit of hops in the backend.

M- Good carbonation and very smooth almost silky.

D- Not too boozy tasting at all for an almost 10%abv beer.

This is a solid beer that I would like to find a bottle of. I think it would be very good with some age on it. So if I can find another bottle I will cellar it and see how it is in a couple of years.

Another good beer from Olde Hickory, which is becoming one of my favorite "local" breweries. (710 characters)

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

on-tap, Vintner's charlotte

appearance: served in an unbranded tulip, hazy dark amber body, moderate beige froth

smell; dark fruits, rum, spice, slightly aged hops, spicy malt

taste: This english barlewine is of considerably less bulk than many others of the style - the hops tasted a bit faded, caramel and orange peel, bready, rum, cinnamon. The pieces are there, but it doesnt come together in the end

mouthfeel: medium, sticky, boozier than the abv

drinkability: good (476 characters)

Photo of alleykatking
4.02/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz bottle. Thanks to Lukafer for sharing this bottle. 2009 vintage I think.

A- Pours a deep brown color. One and a half finger light off white head shows low retention. Light spotty lacing on the sides of the glass. A nice looking barleywine but a step above average.

S- Light toffee malts and caramel malts make the backbone to this beer. Darker fruits mainly raisins pop through and take hold of the aroma. There is a light bready overtone to the overall nose. No real hops are detected except for very light hints of citrus in the tail end. Alcohol tingles the nose but is not over the top like some barleywines.

T- Darker fruits throw an assault on the tastebuds right off the bat. Caramel bready notes give this beer some deeper flavor from the fruits. Light toffee hints throughout the entire beer. Alcohol is low but from the middle of the beer on to the ending. The hops on the back end of the beer is light and citrusy. There is a dominate flavor throughout though of figs and raisins.

M- Medium mouthfeel. Carbonation is good for the beer and style. Medium high alcohol drying on the palate. Balanced flavors for the style with the malts and darker fruits being the main balancers. Clean tasting as no off flavors presented themselves. Darker fruits are left on the palate with a light alcohol burn in the aftertaste.

D- This beer was a nice drinker. Nothing over the top but a nice darker fruit malty balanced barleywine. A refreshing take on a English style Barleywine. Would love to try this again. Alcohol heat was low and balanced the beer well. (1,580 characters)

Photo of wcudwight
4.41/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 bottle. Dark brown with some amber and burgundy hues in it. Large lasting khaki colored head that holds it's shape until the glass is empty. This beer is pure eye-candy. Smells sweet. I can't quite put my finger on what kind of sweet. Just sweet. It's also very fruity. Cherries, Peaches, Fruit cocktail.
Wonderful malt heavy flavors of burnt toast, sweetness, cherries and peaches as in the nose. Chicory maybe. Hint of pine. With a bourbon finish. Very good beer. I wish I had bought more. Mouthfeel is smooth and full. Very easy to drink for a barleywine. (563 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 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)

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