Irish Walker - Olde Hickory Brewery

Not Rated.
Irish WalkerIrish Walker

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

295 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 295
Reviews: 94
rAvg: 3.96
pDev: 9.34%
Wants: 42
Gots: 98 | FT: 17
Brewed by:
Olde Hickory Brewery visit their website
North Carolina, United States

Style | ABV
English Barleywine |  10.14% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: oberon on 12-25-2009

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 295 | Reviews: 94
Photo of scifan
4.35/5  rDev +9.8%
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.

Photo of craytonic
3.85/5  rDev -2.8%
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.

Photo of blackie
4.25/5  rDev +7.3%
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

Photo of GehenHerzog
4.05/5  rDev +2.3%
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.

Photo of dirtylou
3.8/5  rDev -4%
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

Photo of alleykatking
4.02/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

Photo of wcudwight
4.41/5  rDev +11.4%
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.

Photo of Mora2000
4.2/5  rDev +6.1%
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.

Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.2/5  rDev +6.1%
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.

Photo of ktrillionaire
3.73/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to jahuneyc for the hook-up. 2010 vintage, gold wax.

A - Deep maple-brown, translucent, somewhat slight head of soapy tan bubbles

S - At first I get some charred caramel and herbal-catty hop, then strudel-like impressions. Really, this smells a lot like an Old Ale.

T - The taste is really just like an American Old Ale (i.e. fresh GD Hibernation or Bell's Third Coast...) I get a lot of charred sugar, herbal hoppiness, and oxidation. There is also a bitter astringency that reminds me of the digestif Fernet-Branca, and it lingers extensively on the finish.

M - Thinner, for a Barleywine, though this is very much akin to an Old Ale (as oft-noted by yours truly) and as such it is very reasonable in feel.

D - This kind of grew on me after a bit. I was not a huge fan at first, but I re-capped the brew and had several pours over a two-day period and found it to be quite nice after a while.

Photo of cpetrone84
3/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A-pours a dark mahogony brown with ruby edges and a tan creamy head.

S-the nose has lots of caramel, hints of chocolate malt and slightly burnt toasted malts, notes of citrus hops in the back.

T-big time caramel and chocolate malt, hints of meat, slightly ashy, prunes, raisins with a decent bit of hop presence in the back, juicy grapefuit and citrus. So new but seems a little oxidized in the flavor.

M-medium body, slightly thin, creamy and soft with lower carb but enough to hold.

D-messy and slightly oxidized already, very singular with a dirty malt overload. not offensive but certainly not good.

Photo of SFLpunk
3.87/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2010 vintage. 9.8% ABV. Purchased at Bruisin' Ales in Asheville, NC. $7 and change.

Appearance: Pours really dark brown/red with very thin off-white head.

Nose: Sticky sweet and somewhat smoky in a wet charred wood. Lovely old wood, tanned leather, and cream.

Palate: Medium bodied and very earthy. Leathery fruit, prunes, dried figs, dates, and other dried berries. Malt is darkly roasted and I wouldn't be surprised to find some black patent in there, even just a small amount. Hops play a supporting role and some citrus/pine is sneaking through but that will fade soon. The main flavors are of rough-cut pine boards, cherries, and dark amber malt.

Notes: An interesting twist on the barley-wine style and unique for sure. It's a little cloying, though. Despite the dark chewy flavors there is a certain "lifted" quality to the beer which is great and helps keep it from being totally syrupy.

Photo of Crittervision
3.52/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

vintage 2009, consumed 3-12-10

opaque brown, ruby edges, a wonderful head with fluffy, yellowy bubbles.

aroma is of raisins, fig newtons, ultra sweet, delectable, and reminiscent of these raisin filled cake bars that used to be ever-present in my parents pantry when i was younger.

tastes of raisins, minerals, celery, smoky, with a vinous touch.

mouthfeel is a bit powdery and a bit watery. i definitely expected more from the smell.

this one turns into a sipper rather quickly, and not because of a heavy body or high alcohol content.

Photo of atsprings
3.95/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2010 waxed bottle into a Hopus glass pours a crisp brown with a thin khaki head that diminishes to a ring and leaves slight lacing on the glass. Aroma is loads of burnt caramel, leather, dried fruits and a bit of charred wood. The taste is loads of dried fruits with some molasses and an interesting earthy hop finish. The beer is a bit on the heavy side, but smoother than I expected for a young 9.8% Barleywine. This is certainly an enjoyable beer, one I would love to pick up another bottle of for the cellar.

Photo of steve8robin
4.3/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Extra in a trade. 22oz bomber 2010 vintage...

A: Super deep blood red that is hard to see all the way through because it's so dark. 1 inch tan head that fades at a decent pace. Very good.

S: I get a blend of earthy hops and some sugary dark fruits. Some booziness on the backend with some awesome sugary malts, raisin, caramel, and hints of cherries blended in. Very good.

T: This kind of tastes like a chocolate covered cherry. I get, obviously, a sugary chocolate and sweet cherry upfront blended with some hints of dry earthy hops. Hints of raisin and raspberry on the backend. Good.

M: A very good balance of carbonation and flavor. Very good.

D: This goes down super easy. Great brew.

This one kinf of surprised me. I've only tried the Imperial Stout from Olde Hickory and that was phenomenal. Now I try this one, which is not rated amazingly on BA, but this brew is really awesome. Definitely give this a try if you like big beers and barleywines. I think I want to try some more brews from OH now.

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

2009 vintage

Pours a deep chestnut cant see through it...1 finger of off white head falls to a ring with spots of lacing on the glass.

I smell toffee and sweet fruits...there is also a musty odor.

I taste toffee, burnt caramel, nutmeg, dates, and pecans. Both the flavor and aroma remind me of pecan sticky buns.

Heavy but not too heavy, sticky, and dry.

It is one to sip.

Photo of glid02
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Brodie - much obliged!

Pours a slightly hazy dark copper color with a one-finger cream-colored head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of sweet caramel malts with good amounts of toffee. Also present are very slight amounts of grainy toastiness and heavier amounts of earthy hops.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Sticky caramel malt flavors kick things off and are joined quickly by smooth toffee. Midway through the sip the sweetness fades a bit with the addition of small amounts of toasted flavors and earthy hops. The malt flavors carry through to a moderately bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with smooth carbonation.

Drinkability is also good. I finished my glass without any problems and could have another.

Photo of russpowell
4.23/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on draft before & it was pretty good, will be interested to see how this compares...hate the wax sealing

2010 vintage pours chestnut with 2 fingers of mocha colored head. Sheets of horizontal lacing & above average head retention

S: Breadyness & dark fruit

T: Follows the nose, plus cakey notes along with treacle , dryness & even more figs & just a kiss of woody hops & booze up front. Figs, cherries dates, dryness & leafy hops, carob & wisp of booze as this warms, as well as short bread. Finishes figgy, dry, with a raisins & leafy hops & just a hint of plum brandy

MF: Pretty chewy with low carbonation & great balance, nice warming sensation overall

My bottle states a 9.8% ABV, this is well hidden. I like this better than the draft version I had last summer. This is a faithful take on the style that is working for me. I am digging the bigger bottled beers coming from NC hometown!

Photo of mondegreen
3.57/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Thirsty Monk South in Asheville.

Pours a cloudy brown with a thin off white head. Aroma of molasses sweetness and slight dark fruits. Taste follows with a light sweetness and moderate spice. Pretty true to style in the taste department, but the mouth is way thin. Finishes fairlyclean for a Barleywine. Overall, a good interpretation of an English Barleywine, but a little too light to be called great.

Photo of merlin48
3.85/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber pours a clear chestnut body with a skimpy beige head that quickly falls to a collar. A few spots of lace are left on the snifter.

Aroma is toffee and vague citrusy hops.

Medium body is smooth and coating, with a subtle carbonation.

Taste is well rounded. Toffee, molasses, and brown sugar maltiness dominates but is nicely edged by earthy and citrusy hops. A bit of alcohol warmth is present. Finishes with an earthy hop bitterness.

Enjoyable barleywine that might need a few months of age to tone down the heat.

Photo of Metalmonk
3.65/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy, even soupy-looking rusted brown. Light tan head is thin and disappears to a skim quickly. Not a ton of lace.

Aroma is plum, mineral, dusty milk chocolate, slight bit of alcohol. Would have been nicer if the mineral didn't come in and take over as it does.

Notes of chocolate nibs, plum, fig, raisin, mineral/metal, soap, and toffee on the tongue. Hops show up more in the finish than anything, although they're not very bright -- maybe they're already starting to fade and change? (This bottle is from 2009.)

Nice silky smoothness the the texture, bubbles caress and tickle but are primarily soft, with a slight stickiness giving gravity to an otherwise velvety feel.

This is more like a Scotch Ale, but for a barleywine, it's just a "B." But B = Good! Too much of that metallic edge comes in, and probably too fruity-tart as well. But there's enough here to make it worth a try; there's a really good beer in here somewhere. And at 7.7%, it's not gonna totally lay you flat or anything.

Photo of callisbeers
3.73/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle. Poured a nice brown color with, good head and lacing. I have come to realize that I am not the bigest fan of barleywines because I think the smell and taste of alcohol stands out too much. However, I drank (sipped) this during the boring first half of the Super Bowl and I was pleasantly surprised. This was a great beer to just sit and enjoy during a long first half of a football game. I am not sure how much drinkability this one has because of the alcohol (even though it clocks in at 7.70 %). With that said, I would have another is given the chance, nice beer for the style.

Photo of bdupree
4.35/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Nice dark golden brown, very good head.

S: Aromas of brown sugar and several kinds of fruit, a little bit of alcohol in the nose.

T: Very surprising for a Barleywine, of which I am not the biggest fan. Bartender recommended, and should be commended! Tastes much more like a Wee Heavy/Scotch Ale since ABV is a little lower. Great blending of the brown sugar and raisin... a little like drinking a pecan pie!

M: Smooth as silk.

D: So very drinkable if you let it sit out for 8-10 minutes before popping the cap. Almost gets a little like great single malt scotch.

I highly recommend picking bottles of this up, but you have to get it from the brewery in Hickory. Well worth the trip up there.

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

2009 Vintage.

Poured into an oversized wine glass a rich deep amber with a clingy one finger slight off white head that left multiple layers of broken lace.Deep fruit in the nose, along with brown sugar and sweet alcohol.Its a bit hot being that its this years vitage,the flavors are deep in fruity malt,mainly raisin with big brown sugar,alcohol dripped plums.Its hot, but its a damn good sipper,I plan on getting one to let sit for awhile.

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