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Old Embalmer - Widmer Brothers Brewing Company

Old EmbalmerOld Embalmer

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

137 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 137
Reviews: 33
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 9.82%

Brewed by:
Widmer Brothers Brewing Company visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  10.20% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: freed on 08-08-2004)
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Ratings: 137 | Reviews: 33 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of puboflyons

New Hampshire

3.76/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

From the 2012 batch. Dated July 19, 2012. Sampled on April 20, 2014 so not quite two years old.

Drinking at about 55 degrees. Lovely mahogany-amber-reddish pour leading up to a lingering, lacing off-white head. Invites me in.

Even after almost two years the aroma is still bold and forward with sweet roasted barley malts, a touch of fruit, and a mildly earthy hop sensation.

The body is a little under medium but it is smooth.

The taste also brings out all those barley malt characters and a low bitter finish. The 10.2% ABV has not faded all that much. This still has plenty of alcohol punch but not so much in the taste.

Serving type: bottle

04-20-2014 18:52:18 | More by puboflyons
Photo of Vierenner


3.61/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I once again tried a beer with the hope it would be surprisingly good ... not this beer. Lesson learned is to check Beer Advocate first ... I wouldn't have purchased this one. I prefer and have had more maltier barleywines, so I was hoping to find that quality in this one ... not the case.

Just a hoppy, high potency beer.

Serving type: bottle

04-16-2014 00:27:07 | More by Vierenner
Photo of jmdrpi


3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

22 oz, fresh 2013 vintage

rusty copper orange color, thin off white head that fades to a whisp of a covering. smell is a bit boozy, and strong hop flavor - fruit and pine flavors. taste has a good hearty caramel malt flavor to hold up the bitter hops. slight alcohol taste, good balance. thinner body, but slick oily mouthfeel, moderate carbonation.

overall - a little bit hot, but solid barleywine

Serving type: bottle

01-05-2014 04:54:51 | More by jmdrpi
Photo of BlurryVisi0n

New York

3.56/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Served in a snifter glass. Embalmer '12 bottle dated Jul 18, 12-poured 12/04/2013.

Appearance: Thick bodied cloudy amber body with quite a few bubbles all over the place. An off-white head is quite thin with a vigorous pour rising to maybe 1/8".

Smell: Light rum scent that comes and goes. I am sorry to say but this brew has o potency when it comes to scent.

Taste: Strong alcohol flavors that remind you a bit of wood. It lacks complexity which is okay with with me. Barley notes that feel slightly fruity. That's really about it.

Mouth: Comes off a notch dry, feeling a bit toasty at the end. Is it sticky? maybe just a bit and it is what saves the "feel" rating of this beer.

Overall: Not a bad brew but considering it's price and the at least twenty other barleywines that are out there I would suggest skip. I am not knocking it, i just have had the pleasure of having quality over this brew, grab a glass and judge for yourself...Salud!

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2013 07:13:18 | More by BlurryVisi0n
Photo of kojevergas


2.78/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Bottled July 18th 2012. Featuring Bravo hops. 10.2% ABV confirmed. 22 fl oz brown glass bottle with uninspired label art and branded pry-off pressure cap served into a stem-tulip in low altitude Minneapolis, MN. Reviewed live. Expectations are above average; I'm in the mood for a barleywine. Reviewed as a barleywine because the label clearly identifies it as such.

Served cold - straight from the fridge - and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: No bubble show forms as I pour.

Pours a half finger wide head of nice khaki colour. A bit thin. Poor complexion and consistency. Retention is poor - maybe 40 seconds at best. No lacing clings to the sides of the glass as the head recedes.

Body colour is a decent translucent quasitransparent amber red. No yeast particles are visible.

Overall, it's a bit too much of a clean amber for the style. I've never seen a good barleywine of this hue. I'm looking forward to trying it, but I'm suspicious given the brewery and colour. Not unique or special. No egregious flaws.

Sm: Toffee, caramel, light toasted malt, amber malts. Bread crust. Faint alcohol. Some pear/green apple - not really an orchard character, but enjoyable.

No yeast character is detectable. I'm not getting much hop character - if there is any, it's generic and fruity.

A pretty pleasant aroma of below average strength. I'm not horribly excited to try it, but it's average for the style.

T: Amber malts, light toasted malt character, toffee, caramel, and some very faint apple/pear. Generic fruity hops comprise the entirety of the hop profile. Balance is mediocre. Build is loosely cohesive but far from gestalt. Lacks complexity and subtlety - especially for the style. No intricacy or nuance at all. Not well layered. Below average depth, duration, and intensity of flavour. It just isn't that flavorful or tasty.

No yeast character comes through. Has some faint alcohol presence. I'm unimpressed. There's none of the rich malt foundation you'd expect in a great barleywine, and nothing about the flavour profile suggests it'd handle age well.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Full-bodied and thick without the diversity of flavour to back it. Overcarbonated. Unrefreshing.Okay presence on the palate. Suits the flavour profile okay, but doesn't feel custom-tailored to it.

Not oily, astringent, hot, boozy, gushed, harsh, or weak.

Dr: Drinkable but very unremarkable. A forgettable barleywine from a downright mediocre brewery, Old Embalmer offers nothing of interest to the discerning drinker. I wouldn't get it again and I wouldn't recommend it to friends. Not worth the cellar space to put down. I'm not sure what Widmer thought this was bringing to the already well-saturated barleywine market, but its relatively low quality renders it quite mundane. Barleywine fans will be disappointed.

Low C

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2013 07:44:59 | More by kojevergas
Photo of russpowell


3.4/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

2013 Vintage pours caramel/copper with a sliver of cream colored head. Good head retention & nice lacing, stays effervescent throughout

S: Breadyness, pears & little bit of woodiness, a bit of boozeyness

T: Dryness, woody hops, pears, boozey notes & a little caramel & green appleskin up front. Dryness, pears, booze & oakyness as this warms, plus some pine & citrus hop showing up late to the party, slight butterscotch notes. Finishes dry, piney, boozey & slightly fruity, plus a little bit of caramel

MF: Medium bodied, slight carbonation, actually thins out as this warms

A pretty run of the mill American Barleywine. Rough on the edges. I know these guys can do better. The barrel-aged one is better, but still nothing to crow about...

I am sure this will get better with age

Serving type: bottle

10-25-2013 02:47:32 | More by russpowell
Photo of ISmith87


4.04/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a good beer but I've always kind of not liked the American barleywines as much is the old ales. American barleywines always tastes more like Imperial IPAs to me.

The appearance of this beer is great it's a dark copper amber color with about a a halfinger of head that leaves nice lacing on the glass. it's also very clear. The smell is like an American Imperial IPA w a little bit lighter hop smell, and caramel malt in the background. The taste is about the same as the smell with a lot of hops and malt in the background. The hops have a grapefruit an pine taste but they also have a red fruit smell kind of like pomegranate. The mouth feel is light to medium with alcohol calccompletely covered and an after taste of hops.

Overall this is a good beer but I probably wouldn't have it again .

Serving type: bottle

10-20-2013 23:05:24 | More by ISmith87
Photo of superspak


4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle into snifter; 2012 vintage, bottled 7/19/2012. Pours lightly hazy orange copper color with a 1 finger fairly dense off white head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty lacing clings on the glass, with some light streaming carbonation. Aromas of orange zest, lemon zest, tangerine, pineapple, caramel, toast, brown sugar, biscuit, toffee, floral, grass, light pine, and floral earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of hop and malt notes; with good strength. Taste of orange zest, lemon zest, tangerine, pineapple, caramel, toast, toffee, brown sugar, biscuit, floral, light pine, and floral/toasted earthiness. Slight earthy pine bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of citrus, citrus zest, pineapple, caramel, toast, toffee, brown sugar, biscuit, floral, light pine, and floral/toasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Damn nice complexity of hop and malt flavors; with a great hop/malt flavor balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a moderately creamy and fairly slick mouthfeel that is good. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is an excellent barleywine style. All around great balance and complexity of hop and malt flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

Serving type: bottle

10-11-2013 04:15:34 | More by superspak
Photo of oberon

North Carolina

4.21/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2012 bottle.Pours into an oversized wine glass a deep burnt orange color with a sticky off white head atop,it just looks menacing.Aromas of deep brown sugar and cramel,the hops are "green"and play a role but the malt wins out.Thick and chewy wich I think it should be for the style and how "big" it is.There is a slight rawness underneath the big malts,it has a green leafiness to it that let's you know it's American,it's alcoholic and pretty sweet with caramel and booze but I like the hop profile.Iam one of those that thinks Widmer is underrated in their "big" stuff,I liked this like I like alot of their other stuff.

Serving type: bottle

10-08-2013 22:39:48 | More by oberon
Photo of Danny1217


3.58/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours an orange color with an inch of white head that dissipates over the course of about a minute. Lots of lacing.
Bit hoppy aroma. Definitely smells like an IPA. Floral with some pine notes. Not too much else on the nose, but it's pretty nice though not too complex.
The taste is completely hop forward as well. Fairly bitter with some pine and floral notes. Bitter, floral, slightly spicy.
Medium bodied with lively carbonation.

Not a bad beer by any means, but it doesn't fit my definition of a barleywine. This beer is completely hop forward, so I can really only compare it to a double IPA. As a DIPA, it is a solid beer, but doesn't quite measure up to the competition out there.

Serving type: bottle

09-22-2013 22:27:54 | More by Danny1217
Photo of metter98

New York

3.93/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: The beer is clear amber-orange in color and has a light to moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high off white head that died down, leaving a large patch of bubbles in the center, a collar around the edge and some lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: Light to moderate aromas of caramel malts are present in the nose along with some faint hints of floral hops. Notes of toffee also become apparent as the beer warms up.
T: The taste is similar to the smell and has flavors of caramel and toffee along with hints of sweetness and a very slight amount of bitterness from the hops.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation with notes of warming from the alcohol.
O: I found this barleywine to be quite drinkable compared to other beers in the style because it's not overly sweet or cloying and it also hides the alcohol very well from the taste. If you let the beer warm up, it will become a little more complex and start exhibiting aromas and flavors of toffee.

Note: 2012 vintage

Serving type: bottle

07-12-2013 03:33:22 | More by metter98
Photo of sommersb


4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Tasted On: 05-30-2013
Freshness: 2012 Vintage
Packaging: 22 oz. brown bottle, pry cap
Glassware: Signature glass
Purchased: Received in a trade

The label says my bottle of Old Embalmer '12 was bottled on 07-18-2012.

The appearance has a semi-clear amber/orange colored beer with a nice sized off-white head on top. Both lacing and head retention are very good.

Aromas are very pleasant; first with piney and floral hops, then malty caramel notes, followed by fruits and spices, with perhaps a hint of tobacco.

The taste follows suit, leading off with hop bitterness in the medium range, then a dose of caramel malts and some oak and woody flavors. The alcohol lends a pleasing warming to the taste.

For mouthfeel, the body is thick and full, moderately carbonated, and finishes with an excellent balance of hoppy bitterness and sweetness of rich malts and fruits.

Overall I enjoyed this beer a lot. With almost a year in the bottle, I'm sure the hops are much more restrained than they would have been at bottling, but it seems to have aged very well.

Thanks to my cousin Brian for this one!

Serving type: bottle

05-31-2013 03:31:10 | More by sommersb
Photo of RblWthACoz


4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is super malts. Loads of them, with a fairly firm sweet tone to it. The bravo hops are still carrying a good deal of influence with a noticable spicyness from them. Very slight burn from alcohol. This is a good barleywine as it is now, but I think a very significant amount of time in a cellar would bring out a much different experience.

Serving type: bottle

05-01-2013 03:33:26 | More by RblWthACoz
Photo of Pencible


3.68/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: This poured a cloudy copper with some off white head.
S: It smelled like orange and copper hops, with sweet caramel and earthy bread crust.
T: It tasted like sweet caramel and earthy bread, with some bitter citrus and copper hops. It had a bitter and waxy aftertaste.
M: It was somewhat thick with lots of carbonation. Fairly lively body.
D: This was a decent barleywine with average scent and taste and body. The finish was a bit harsh, and the alcohol was noticeable, so it was not super easy to drink. Age would probably help, but this will likely never be great.

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2013 01:07:24 | More by Pencible
Photo of tdm168

North Carolina

3.99/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A - caramel amber with a soft lacing of pure white head that fades but leaves nice lacing on the glass.

S - bready, caramel, candy sugar; intensely malty aroma

T - bread, caramel, candy sugar, some citrus, bitter finish, some underlying sweetness in the finish as well; spicy alcohol that warms the throat

M - warm, a bit thin at times, medium to full bodied

This is a decent barleywine. Just as advertised it showcases "copious amounts of malts". The bravo hops in this '12 edition offer a big bitterness similar to a vegetable-like bitterness and some citrus notes throughout. My only complaint is that this beer is a bit thin and alcohol is a bit intense. I wish I had another bottle to age for a year or two. Once this beer blends and mellows, I bet it would be fantastic. Even relatively fresh (5 months old) it's pretty decent.

Serving type: bottle

02-15-2013 13:22:02 | More by tdm168
Photo of TheSixthRing


3.98/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewing Old Embalmer '12, bottled July 18th, 2012.

Appearance - Pours a hazy, orangish amber color with a white, finger width head. Average retention. Lacing is spotty at best.

Smell - Loads of caramel notes on the first whiff. Moderate bread. Minor hints of astringency. Faint chocolate.

Taste - Predominant caramel and toffee notes. Hints at berry sweetness. Finishes sweet with a touch of heat, and a lingering moderate citrus bitterness.

Moutfheel - Full-bodied, with light, but tingly carbonation. Sticky on the lips, but goes down like a beer with lesser body.

Overall - At this stage, reminiscent of Mendocino's Eye of the Hawk, with a bit more kick. Loads of caramel flavor backed by strong fruity ester character. Still has a touch of hop character, even with 5 months of age on it. At $4 a bottle, I must have purchased it at a closeout discount. Hopefully there's still another bottle or two, because I'd love to get a good year or two of age on this thing.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2012 04:55:36 | More by TheSixthRing
Photo of GarthDanielson

North Carolina

3.25/5  rDev -16%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

2012 vintage...not sure if there are any others, or if there will be, but there's a '12 on the bottle, so there it is. Poured from a bottle into a snifter, the beer has a very thin, light appearance on the pour. Light, bright, amber-copper coloring with a thin ring of film on the surface. Aromas of tropical fruit sweetness, with some fig and date sweet in the backbone, cherry highlights, and a fairly heavy dose of resiny hops the clean everything up. Flavors have a more roasty and woody characteristic initially, followed by cherry and old world fruit sweetness. Peppery spicings, with a molasses characteristic at the tail end of the palate. Very jumbled flavors jumping all over the tongue. The beer is very thin in mouth, with a sharpness as it nears the finish. The aftertaste has notes of pepper, tobacco, and very light hints of molasses. The finish is filmy and quick, almost watery. From start to finish I do not get Barleywine on this brew. All in all, it's not a bad beer, but it's not a Barleywine, in my opinion.

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2012 02:25:04 | More by GarthDanielson
Photo of Zorro


3.6/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear copper colored beer with a small white head. Looks awfully mild for a barleywine.

Scent is sweet malt and pine with a noticeable alcohol scent. Pine, wood, tea and scent of pecan.

Starts off tasting of toffee and caramel with a buttery after taste. A little sweet it is woody and nutty with malt candy flavors. Slight melon flavor.

Mouthfeel is good.

Mild tasting barleywine that packs a hidden punch. Consume with caution.

Serving type: bottle

12-01-2012 04:04:32 | More by Zorro
Photo of scotttheoldembalmer

4.85/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

To me, this brew by Widmer is great. Another reviewer said to watch out because it creeps up on you. That, beer aficionados, is an understatement. At 10.2% alcohol, this one will flat out kick your ass! (It tastes good, too!) Proceed with caution and enjoy.

Serving type: on-tap

11-22-2012 18:23:43 | More by scotttheoldembalmer
Photo of srandycarter


4.03/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Deep dark clear honey, lots of tan head, leaves pretty quickly. Good amount of spotty lace.

S - Big sweet caramel. Bittering is pretty evident too. Doesn't smell hot even with the ABV.

T - Very similar to smell. The caramel center hits you first, then the hops rein it in. Still deceptive well hidden booze.

M - Medium body, good carb, great balance.

D - Be careful with this one. It will creep up on you!

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2012 02:57:21 | More by srandycarter
Photo of alpinebryant


4.43/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: pours a dark caramel orange with a fluffy white head and sticky lacing.

S: aroma of sticky sweet citrus and a good biscuit malt aroma. Long boil time sugar caramelization and some pine.

T: the taste here is refreshingly sweet and well balanced. This is not overbittered, or too sweet but pleasantly balanced and goes down easy. The end has a cotton candy sweet finish but it is very well balanced with the clementine and tangerine hop flavors. I really am impressed with the Bravo hops here and would love to try brewing a batch with Bravo in the near future.

M: medium body sticky with a light carbonation.

O: this is a clear winner for my favorite beer from Widmer brothers yet. Very well rounded and while it is sweet it is mostly the result of the hops flavor additions I feel. The bitterness is not overbearing with this strong beer you would expect them to be in order to compete however they are pleasantly sweet and mostly flavor additions by their profile. I hope to get my hands on some of these in the future.

Serving type: bottle

10-30-2012 21:03:20 | More by alpinebryant
Photo of SawDog505

New Hampshire

4.03/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a 20 oz Duvel tulip glass, bottled in July. Pours a clear bright orange red, with a off white 4 inch fluffy head, that leaves lots of lace on the sides. Smell is carmel, toffee, biscuit, pine, citrus, and some dark fruit. The smell is very balanced, much less flavor than the nose, but that doesn't make it bad. It almost seems like this beer is aged, not hot, a very easy drinking beer. Body is medium, plenty of life, not dry, and very smooth. This a good barleywine, but for $14 a bomber I want barrel aged or earth shattering, especially when I could get a six pack of Bigfoot and lottery ticket fir the same price.

Serving type: bottle

10-15-2012 00:59:00 | More by SawDog505
Photo of ngeunit1


4.23/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours an almost clear amber-orange with a finger of frothy white head. The head fades down at a normal pace leaving behind some nice lacing.

S - Aroma is a mix of grapefruit, pineapple, tropical, and floral hops with sweet caramel and biscuit malts with a bit of booze.

T - Starts off with some grapefruit, pineapple, tropical and citrus hops with some bitterness and some sweet caramel malts. Through the middle, some resiny pine and floral hops come through with some more bitterness and some sweet biscuit malts. The finish is a mix of grapefruit, pine, and grassy hops, bitterness, sweet caramel and bready malts, and some booze.

M - Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels smooth with a dry, bitter, and warming finish.

D - Very drinkable. Nice hoppy barleywine. Good overall balance and body. Good hop profile.

Serving type: bottle

10-03-2012 05:42:18 | More by ngeunit1
Photo of Gambrinus1184


4.13/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22-ounce bomber into an oversized pilsener glass.

A: Deep, burnished copper color with excellent clarity and a two-finger head of dense, creamy, tan foam that left some nice lacing on the glass.

S: Bitter, sweet and zesty aromas courteous of the Bravo hops blends nicely with fresh, juicy malts and a whiff of spicy, berry-like booze.

T: Heavy, complex malt flavors from the start throw off very fruity and spicy malt flavors ranging from blackberry to citrusy grapefruit pulp. An herbal, spicy and peppery alcohol flavor comes in around mid-palate with a further citrusy hop smack from the Bravo hops. The finish is long, warm and bittersweet with plenty of fruity and floral esters still resonating on the palate.

M: Full-bodied American barleywine balanced with the herbal and citrusy snap of Bravo hops. Fuller as the brew warmed, but also more enjoyable for it.

O: An extremely complex and interesting American barleywine, old Embalmer is big, bold and hoppy, which is something you like to see for the style. The hopping isn't over the top, but if it is at times, it's all for the sake of drinkability with this brew. The bold, spicy fruitiness never breaks your ability to concentrate on the finely chosen hop varietal to showcase. I'd pick one up to age and see what happens over time.

Serving type: bottle

09-23-2012 20:44:34 | More by Gambrinus1184
Photo of lordofthewiens


4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter, this beer was a cherry amber color, very bright. It had a thin white head that left a little lace.

Aroma of sweet fruit and earthy hops. There seemed to be a little oak also.

Nice taste of cherries and some plums. Still sweet. Mildly hoppy.

Nice beer. I'm writing this review while drinking a 2012 Bigfoot. Old Embalmer is milder, smoother, and less aggressive. Very enjoyable.

I think it would be worth cellaring.

Serving type: bottle

09-19-2012 21:45:32 | More by lordofthewiens
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Old Embalmer from Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 137 ratings.