1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Old Embalmer - Widmer Brothers Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Old EmbalmerOld Embalmer

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

192 Ratings
THE BROS
85
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 192
Reviews: 43
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 11.26%
Wants: 9
Gots: 30 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Widmer Brothers Brewing Company visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  10.20% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: freed on 08-08-2004

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (73) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
to view more.
Ratings: 192 | Reviews: 43
Reviews by srandycarter:
Photo of srandycarter
4.03/5  rDev +5.5%
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!

More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.21/5  rDev +10.2%
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.

Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

From BeerAdvocate magazine Issue #70 (November 2012):

This years version is brewed with a relatively new hop (Bravo) for the aroma addition. Very intense both in hopping and alcohol, there lies the conundrum. Do you age this one to mellow out the alcohol and hope the hops don’t wither too quickly or throw caution to the wind and drink it fresh now. We can say that drinking it now was well worth it though have a spare bottle to see where this one goes.

STYLE: American Barleywine
ABV: 10.2%
AVAILABILITY: Limited

LOOK: Deep copper hue, crystal clear, showy lacing display

SMELL: Spicy, citrus rind, passion fruit, pipe tobacco, marmalade, estery, catty, evergreen, fresh grass

TASTE: Incredibly smooth, creamy, full bodied, bitter throughout, pungent, citrus zest, grainy, brown sugar, ripe peaches, boozy warmth, leafy, hop resin, pithy, drying finish

Photo of lordofthewiens
4/5  rDev +4.7%
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.

Photo of biboergosum
3.73/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle, the '12 version, mit 'Bravo' Hopfen.

This beer pours a slightly hazy, medium copper amber colour, with one fat finger of weakly puffy, loosely foamy, and generally bubbly ecru head, which leaves some melting snowbank lace around the glass as it speedily abates.

It smells of semi-sweet bready caramel malt, candy sugar, reduced apple compote, dark orchard fruit - fig, date, and prunes, mostly - and still heady earthy, leafy, and floral hops, with more than a soupcon of bristling booziness. The taste is gritty, grainy pale and caramel malt, weak toffee pudding, a certain musty, been stored way too long red wine fruitiness, further fig, date, and cherry cordial notes, a mildly clammy yeastiness, a faintly acerbic woodiness, some late-arriving drupe esters, a touch of wet tobacco, and understated weedy, leafy, and floral hops - the north of 20-proof alcohol doing well to remain in the shadows.

The bubbles are fairly underwhelming in their middling, pithy frothiness, the body a decent medium weight, but like the aforementioned yeast, kind of clammy in its stab at smoothness. It finishes off-dry, as the grainy caramel malt starts to apply itself towards the English side of things, given the turtling behavior of the purported Yankee Doodle Dandy hops here.

Yeah, two years (+) on, and the hops are not peppy and do not get all American on my palate, you say? Big fucking surprise. Anyways, the teetering towards British quarters is thus duly understandable, especially given the otherwise well-rendered, and enjoyably drinkable maltiness, one which is easily quaffable, with the only caveat being that, damn, girl, this is one boozy mo-fo, once you get up close and suitably tight with it!

Photo of TheSixthRing
3.97/5  rDev +3.9%
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.

Photo of tdm168
3.99/5  rDev +4.5%
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.

Photo of russpowell
3.4/5  rDev -11%
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

Photo of jellikit
3.8/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: A semi-cloudy, amber ale with little to no head.

S: fig. Caramel. Flowers.

T: figs and raisins. Caramel. Alcohol. Bitter at the end but not too much. Sweet'ish.

M: Medium carbonation. Big body.

O: pretty solid Barleywine. Would buy again.

Photo of puboflyons
3.78/5  rDev -1%
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.

Photo of JohnGalt1
4.2/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

New review from the "Alchemy Project" 22's... Picked up at the COOP for a pricey $13.. poured into my slim tulip.. Decent enough light tan head... nice lacing and retention.. the brew is a crystal clear light amber.

Nose shows some hoppiness that reminds me of orange blossoms.... floral and somehow a bit earthy.. balanced backbone of pale malt and pieces of toasty malt... no real "caramel or toffee".. pretty damn good.

Very balanced... not bitter ever.. good malt presence and a nice floral hoppiness... palate mirrors the aromas.

Body is a slippery medium and carbonation is light yet makes me want another sip.. liquid velvet.

Very drinkable out of the gate... The label suggests "cellaring"... I am torn, I have my doubts it will do any good, but you never know. Damn tasty and drinkable.. no element overwhelms any other.

4/4/4/4.5/4.5

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 09-14-2012 04:28:42

***

On tap tonight at The Front Door... poured into a probably 10oz goblet... nice looking frothy off white head.. the brew is lighter than many barleywines ... sorta a medium orange color.

Nose is pretty piney backed up by buckets of maltiness...

Flavor pretty much the same... chewy big maltiness with just enough caramel is hammered pretty heavily by hop resins... the body is on the medium side with a lighter than expected carbonation.

This was really damn good.... I wish they would bottle this up again... It really reminds me of Full Sail's Old Boardhead with about a year in the bottle.

4/4/4.5/4/4

Photo of metter98
3.94/5  rDev +3.1%
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

Photo of DoctorZombies
4.12/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Medium amber plus (12+), thick beige foam with good lacing. Toffee notes. Toffee start, alcohol on the exhale, caramel candy and lite fruity middle, some bitter pear in the finish. Medium lite mouthfeel and warming. Much lighter than I was expecting. Very interesting feel vs. flavor juxtaposition. Intrigued!

Photo of Zorro
3.6/5  rDev -5.8%
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.

Photo of Danny1217
3.59/5  rDev -6%
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.

Photo of csiewert
3.65/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very sweet barley wine that gets the job done. Pours a nice red color with very sticky white foamy head. Smells very sweet and fruity. The taste is thick with fruity flavors and malty sweetness. Almost a little too sweet for my liking. Mouthfeel is a little harsh but finishes with not much harsh aftertaste. This beer is a good change of pace.

Photo of GarthDanielson
3.24/5  rDev -15.2%
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.

Photo of jmdrpi
3.95/5  rDev +3.4%
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

Photo of kojevergas
2.78/5  rDev -27.2%
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

Photo of ISmith87
4.05/5  rDev +6%
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 .

Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +7.3%
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.

Photo of mactrail
3.98/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The old Embalmer is back for 2012. Bottled July 19, thank you Widmer for a clear date. Something about that golden light brown color is quite appealing. Poured in my Crooked Line 1/3 litre tulip. Not a tall head but a nice cap of foam and loads of fine prickly carbonation on the tongue.

For a strong beer, this is extremely pleasing and highly sippable. A nice balance between the inevitable sweet malt, the hot alcohol, and some bitter hops. It is not as bitter as Bigfoot, say, nor as sweet as the typical Barleywine. If you don't like Barleywines, try this one. It borders on being acidic, but with the spritzy mouthfeel and dry, fruity finish, it's a winner. Just a whiff of raisins and canteloupe, a nutty taste, and the long malty aftertaste prickled with those hops.

This is more like a mixed drink, some kind of dry whiskey liqueur and club soda. "This year's version features Bravo hops that lend earthy and floral qualities..." according to the label. Bravo, which I had never heard of, are described as a "super high alpha variety."

Photo of Cylinsier
3.87/5  rDev +1.3%

22 oz bottle

Pours a clear amber color with a yellowish white head, fine and about a quarter inch thick, retains well and dissipates to a lacing.

Smells of rich caramel and apple malts along with fruity and piney fresh hops.

Taste is of caramel and sweet crisp apple mixed with piney fresh hops and a hint of maple.

Full body with stinging carbonation on the roof of the mouth. Warms a bit going down.

A good but not quite great hoppy barleywine. Definitely worth a try for fans of the style or for hop heads, but there are better barleywines out there.

Photo of HopHead84
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12/17/10

On tap at the Widmer Gasthaus. The bartender initially refused me a four ounce pour, adamant that  10oz was the only serving option. Eventually he could no longer brook my wistful visage, and he relented.

Dark golden with a frothy off white head. Hope are assertive in the nose, grapefruit and pine resin with some earthy notes. Malt is caramel and lightly sweet, and alcohol is evident. An aggressive yet pleasant aroma, not unlike Old Guardian. The flavor is very bitter with prominent notes of pine and grapefruit, and a balancing caramel malt base. Alcohol is definitely present in the flavor and the warming aggressively bitter finish. Medium body with moderate draft carbonation and a sticky, dry mouthfeel. Overall, an aggressive and very bitter American Barleywine, akin to Old Guardian.

Photo of sommersb
4.14/5  rDev +8.4%
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!

to view more.
Old Embalmer from Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 192 ratings.