1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Duck-Rabbit Barleywine Ale - The Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery

Not Rated.
Duck-Rabbit Barleywine AleDuck-Rabbit Barleywine Ale

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

538 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 538
Reviews: 339
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 13.91%
Wants: 111
Gots: 46 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
The Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery visit their website
North Carolina, United States

Style | ABV
English Barleywine |  11.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: SaCkErZ9 on 12-12-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Duck-Rabbit Barleywine Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 538 | Reviews: 339 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of barefootbrewer
3.98/5  rDev +4.5%

A: Clear brown with a tan head. Tight bubbles, but the head soon fell.

S: Malty and molasses with a hint of smoke.

T: Malty sweet with a bitter hop splash. Nice balance.

M: Medium - full and slick.

D: Sweet and hoppy. This would make a great after dinner drink. Will be interesting to try after it has some age.

barefootbrewer, Jun 24, 2008
Photo of Phyl21ca
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%

Courtesy of gford217: Poured a medium color ale with a nice light brown foamy head with good retention and good lacing. Aroma of sweet barley malt is pleasant. Taste is a mix between some sweet malt with light dry fruits notes. Great carbonation with an average full body and no apparent alcohol. Hops presence is quite low but I didn't mind since I prefer English style barleywine usually. Not the most complex offering but still very enjoyable.

Phyl21ca, Jun 20, 2008
Photo of deepsouth
3.95/5  rDev +3.7%

this beer poured an amber color with no head. average looking barleywine. most seem to look like this.

the smell is bittersweet, hops and caramel. must be english style. it is....

the taste is bittersweet and tart and hoppy and leathery.

the mouthfeel is syrupy and a bit oily.

easy to drink, although it is a sipper.

deepsouth, Jun 06, 2008
Photo of drperm
4.78/5  rDev +25.5%

This one is a real treat. The Duck-Rabbit folks consistently brew top-of-the-line products. I can only surmise that living and working in Farmville, NC inspires the brewers to spend long, long hours at their work indoors (where it is presumably air conditioned and has more interesting landscapes..).

Appearance: Russet-copper color. Mahogany, really. And as one would expect, no appreciable head to speak of.

Aroma: A real treasure-trove here: leather, tobacco, hops, cloves, allspice, and even a hint of oregano.

Taste: Banana, clove, caramel, allspice, grapes, brown sugar, and hops. Oy vey pass me another snifter!

Palate: A dry and warming finish.

Overall: Well-rounded for sure. This is one to cellar in bulk! Drinking this makes me long for winter -- seated in front of a roaring fire with my D-R Barleywine in one hand and a nice cavendish pipe in the other. Wearing a wool waistcoat, to be sure.

drperm, Jun 02, 2008
Photo of grub
4.53/5  rDev +18.9%

kkipple hooked me up with this one as a bonus in a recent trade. thanks dan!

pours deep red-brown with a small medium density dark yellow head. the head drops fairly fast and leaves spotty lace behind.

aroma is great. lots of deep caramel. bread and biscuit malt. alcohol. earthy. slightly woody, with a bit of vanilla.

taste is great. big rich caramel. light sweetness. big biscuit and bready malt. medium bitterness level. light alcohol. earthy hops. a bit woody. i just love the layers of caramel and malt in this.

mouthfeel is great. medium very fine carbonation. medium-large body. smooth.

drinkability is great. excellent balance. nice depth. i can't get enough of the malt in this one. this is a beer that i could get into trouble with - great balance hiding the alcohol well, and so good you just want to pour another as soon as the bottle is done. thanks again dan!

grub, May 22, 2008
Photo of Gilgemesh
3.6/5  rDev -5.5%

Look - Pours a nice deep copper, with an off white head. Good lacing.

Smell - A very nice smell. Hints of fruit and sweetness. Pretty much exactly what I would expect from a Barley Wine.

Taste - A good complex tasste. Devlops nicely from start to finish. Hint of the sweetness you get in the bouquet.

Mouthfeel - Great. Medium Body with just the right amount of carbonation.

Drinkability - A nice example of this type of beer. I particularly like the fact that the alcohol level is hidden by the flavors in the finish.

Packaging - A classy label that Hints at the complexity and robustness of the beer. The label deserves a second look from anyone who doesn't immediately get the duck-rabbit. As should this beer.

Gilgemesh, May 18, 2008
Photo of gford217
3.65/5  rDev -4.2%

12oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Pours a dark amber with a small dense head that shows good retention and a little bit of lacing

S: Huge sweet malt smell with caramel, cinnamon, brown sugar, and toffee. Some dark fruits, including raisins, along with a healthy alcohol burn in the nose.

T: Taste actually has a quick hoppy, leafy kick up front which quickly gives way to the sweet malts , molasses and caramel. The finish is actually a bit dry and crisp which I wasn't expecting.

M: Mouthfeel is medium body with strong carbonation and a big sticky sweetness that dominates everything else.

D: This is a decent English Barleywine, though I would definitely term it a sipper.

gford217, May 13, 2008
Photo of hellcatsjg
4/5  rDev +5%

Appearance: Dark ruby with a finger of tan head. Bit of lacing as you go.

Smell: Alcohol is prominent, along with some dark sweet fruitiness and a bit of malt.

Taste: Alcohol is big up front at the start of the glass, but as you go, the sweetness takes the first spot. Bit of oakiness and vanilla is present in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Nice medium body with low carbonation. Nice sweetness and alcohol lingers and there is a bit of warming as you go.

Drinkability: Nice barleywine. High ABV may limit what you can drink, as may the heaviness. Good beer and nice example of the style.

hellcatsjg, May 12, 2008
Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.58/5  rDev -6%

2006 Bottle.

Appearance: Pours a hazy, dark amber body with a small, creamy-looking, beige head.

Smell: Sweet-smelling caramel syrup aroma laced with fruit and citrus and booze.

Taste: Sweet, sweet caramel maltiness with some squashed apricots tossed in. Splash of sweet southern iced tea. A pinch of cotton candy. The mildly bitter remains of some citrusy hops. Vague hint of wood. Warming finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation. Slight stickiness to the mouthfeel.

Drinkability: In all honesty, I've had better and worse bottles of Duck-Rabbit Barleywine. This one was pretty decent. Overall, I've found the majority of them to be kicked up with sweetness and just a bit thin (for me) in the body department.

ChainGangGuy, May 10, 2008
Photo of pwoods
4.22/5  rDev +10.8%

Thanks to kkipple for this brew.

12oz. brown bottle poured into a snifter. BB 12/08

A: Pours a nice brandy color with good visibility for this denseness of color. A short head forms and dies to a fluffy skim. Some wisps of lacing.

S: Thick, sweet, chunky malts with plenty of warm alcohol. Some muted hops. A light smoky or smoked meat aroma.

T/M: A nice alcohol line mingles throughout the entire drink. Hops are again muted but add a nice light citrus flavor and a touch of bitterness. Caramelized sugar in the malts with plump dark raisins and currants. More of the soft smoked meat character. Body is about full and a bit syrupy. Carbonation is moderate with a nice smoothness.

D: Pretty easy to drink for an 11% BW. A good night cap.

pwoods, May 08, 2008
Photo of Viggo
3.68/5  rDev -3.4%

Big thanks to excellent kkipple for hooking me up with some of these, you rock Dan!

Pours a hazy dark red, some orange highlights, thin light brown head forms, settles to a thin ring and a layer, few lace spots on the glass. Smell is nice, very rich, toffee, sweet sugary goodness, alcohol, sherry, almost wine like, bread, bit of toast, pretty neat. Taste is super sweet and bready, caramel, wine, brandy, alcohol, toast, very sweet middle and finish, iron, sherry in the finish. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation, very warm, but pretty drinkable. Different kind of barleywine, but interesting. Thanks Dan!

Viggo, May 05, 2008
Photo of Strix
4.03/5  rDev +5.8%

Clear dark amber/ruby with a good head and lasting lace.

Smells good, sweet and dark with a bit of alcohol.

Dark fruits are present in the taste, along with a bite of alcohol in the finish. Also a woody flavor, vanilla, and malt. A bit of hops in the mix somewhere. Unlike some recent barleywines i've had, no off flavors in this one.

Mouthfeel nice and substantial. Coats the mouth well.

I was impressed by this - quite well balanced and drinkable for a barleywine, with good flavor.

Strix, Apr 18, 2008
Photo of beavers
4.45/5  rDev +16.8%

12 oz. into a snifter.

Ruby brown body with a khaki-colored creamy head. Leaves decent, but sporadic lacing all the way down. Smells of rich bready malts with faint fruitiness that is swept away by an aggressive hop aroma. Some alcohol picked up. Tastes is rich maltiness balanced by a strong bittering hop profile that is reminiscent of the west coast barleywine style. Outrageously drinkable for an 11% ABV. Alcohol is never dominant, hidden within the polar balance of rich malts and heavy hops. A true hopheads barleywine. This is my favorite way to enjoy barleywines...young but balanced.

beavers, Apr 15, 2008
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.15/5  rDev -17.3%

Pomegranate-orange with a frothy, orange creamsicle colored crown that is currently filling the top half of the snifter. The head is now wonderfully melty and is leaving feathery rings of sea foam-like residue on the sides of the glass. Who says that 11.0% is a lace killer?

On a positive note, no alcohol is appreciated in the nose. Unfortunately, the beer smells too much like sour fruit. Sweet would be good, hoppy would be even better, but tart ain't gonna get it done in a barleywine. For what it's worth, I'm almost certain that this bottle is from the original batch (December '06).

Not that it was a difficult call given the nose, but Barleywine Ale is much too sour fruity for its own good. I have no earthly idea why that should be. Go ask a brewer. My hope is that if D-R brews another batch (assuming they haven't already), they rethink things from top to bottom.

Flavors include unripe apricots, oranges, peaches, and maybe even plums, swimming in sugar syrup and caramel. If you like sweet-and-sour barleywines, then Duck-Rabbit has the beer for you. Drinkable? Sure. Enjoyable? Not really. A few months more than one year in the bottle shouldn't have done it that much harm.

Sipping is the only way to go, mostly because of the teeth-rotting sugary sweetness. The mouthfeel doesn't stand in the way of faster drinking since it's thinly syrupy, if that isn't oxymoronic. Little carbonation contributes to a serious shortage of mouth excitement.

Duck-Rabbit deserves some slack since most of their lineup is solid, if unspectacular. Porter and Wee Heavy Scotch Style Ale are the best so far, with only Rabid Duck Russian Imperial Stout to go. I wish the brewers much better luck with the second batch of Barleywine Ale.

BuckeyeNation, Apr 13, 2008
Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
3.58/5  rDev -6%

Got this brew in a trade with GODofALL.

12oz bottle served in a tulip glass.

A - clear, nice reddish amber color with a tight tan head that left some small bits of lacing.

S - sweet malty aroma, some alcohol is detected as well.

T - sweet, sweet tasting brew. as the brew warms the alcohol is much more noticable.

M - medium bodied with light carbonation feel.

D - a little too sweet for me, one and done.

JoeyBeerBelly, Apr 06, 2008
Photo of WVbeergeek
4.05/5  rDev +6.3%

Appearance, pours out from the 12 oz. bottle into my Gulden Draak chalice. Fine stream of beige leather bubbles cascade through the deep Sangria like blood orange body, murky with yeast particles suspended bringing out quite the colloid. Head forms thick and stands up with resilience, lacing is fine even and intricate what a beautiful glass of barleywine lies in front of me. Aromatics deliver with deep over ripened raisin and plums reduced and caramelized in brandy, touch of pear drizzled with light syrup. All that malt is balanced with pine cone and herbal minty fresh hop doses, also alcohol is also evident with vapors tickling the nose and an earthy wood like accent finishes the party. Flavors flood well together drinking sweet right now but guaranteed not to be too cloying upfront sweet citric, caramel richness barrages my senses. Slightly burnt brown sugar really coats the palate, with alcohol soothing the back of the throat like a mild anesthetic. Bitterness streaks through with piney, citrus peel, and herbal mint qualities really impressive flow going on this is real barleywine. Alcohol is evident but maybe I have a high threshold I'm not tasting 11%, that's a good thing no instant headaches here or fusel alcohol, ethanol is just another well coordinated aspect of the brew. Mouthfeel is soothing with residual sugars coating the palate on each sip strong even bitterness is left on the palate carbonation is ample but not overdone body is medium to full in the spectrum of things. Overall drinkability is really great, I like this barleywine from the front to the back in every way a great beer I find it more impressive than the Baltic Porter or standard Porter I've had from them. What an up and coming brewery thanks jcdiflorio for the opportunity to sample this one. I also agree that this beer will only get better with age if your able to hold on to one for that long, because it's drinking pretty good right now and that friggin' red eyed duck with the derby on won't stop staring at me when I open the fridge I had to sample this one.

WVbeergeek, Mar 29, 2008
Photo of jcdiflorio
3.8/5  rDev -0.3%

Thanks to Kwakwhore for the send. 12oz brown bottle served into a tulip glass. 1" light tannish/brown head,very creamy.Nice clear mahogany color had good retention leaving some sticky webby lacing down the glass with a few strands of very tiny bubbles tighly knitted rising.

Clean,dark fruit with dates and figs,slighly musty,earthy,slightly boozy,vinious with dried tea leaves.

Heavy strong maltiness,lots of burnt tastes, bittersweet dark fruitiness with a touch of sourness. Good balance with a very leafy,tea-like hop bite. Feels like a stong beer,the boozyness is well hidden for an 11% beer. This beer could only get better with age.

Thick and cloying with wine-like dryness. Was a bit rough to be real drinkable. Some aging would really do this beer some justice.

jcdiflorio, Mar 24, 2008
Photo of SIRIUS2
3.68/5  rDev -3.4%

Poured form a 12 oz. bottle into a chalice style glass.

A: Deep brown with a fantastic ruby hue. Pours with a light head that reduces to light layer of bubbles and thick ring around the glass. Very nice lacing. This is what a barley wine should look like!

S: Complex aromas of fig, malts, brown sugar, and a whiff of alcohol.

T: Strong malts wash over the tongue teasing it with sweetness slowly giving way to a rather strong alcohol presence. The finish is relatively dry, which is interesting given the relative maltiness on the front side. The linger actually has a hint of bitterness.

M&D: Mouthfeel is rather heavy, which is to be expected and is well matched to the brew. However I found the strong alcohol taste a bit distracting. The carbonation is very light, but persistent. Although the taste on the front end of the drink is quite good, the alcohol linger is distracting to me. I enjoyed the drink, but don't know if I would want to drink more than one at a time.

SIRIUS2, Mar 24, 2008
Photo of bobbyc881
4.18/5  rDev +9.7%

A little on the darker side of barleywines. Brown-orange with ruby highlights. Thin tan head settles down to nearly nothing shortly after the pour. Aroma is sweet and boozy. Sort of reminds me of prunes?

Taste begins quite sweet. Prunes, raisins, vanilla, oak, carmelized sugars and dark breads. Certainly noticeable alcohol right up front. Aggressive bitterness through the middle, finishing up bittersweet with a warming sensation I would expect from a strong barleywine. Bold and aggressive flavor -- I like it.

Thick, syrupy mouthfeel. Coats the entire mouth in that sticky bittersweetness. Drinkability suffers a bit from the boisterous levels of alcohol, but this is still an excellent sipper.

bobbyc881, Mar 21, 2008
Photo of jaxon53
3.9/5  rDev +2.4%

Thank you to brouche, for sending me this beer in NoBS BIF Ultra. Served this one at cellar temperature, in a pint glass, from a twelve ounce bottle.

Appearance: This bad boy pours out a deep copper color with some dark ruby highlights. A semi hard pour yields three massive fingers of tannish head that is quite dense yet pillowy. Great head retention left generous trails of sticky lace clinging to the glass. Loads of tiny carbonation bubbles are noticed rising to the top of the glass.

Smell: Very fruity. Raisin and plum to name a few. Very thick malt aromas with a mild hoppiness attack the nose. Slight notes of tobacco and wood are also noted. A touch of caramel and a hint of booze round out the nose nicely.

Taste: Also somewhat fruity. Rum soaked raisins and cherries come to mind. A sweet maltiness is balanced out by a somewhat bitter hop bite. Brown sugar, yeast, and booze in a finish that is dry and smooth.

Mouthfeel: Nice medium to full bodied mouthfeel here. Not quite syrupy, but some thickness to it. Plenty of carbonation felt in the mouth.

Drinkability: Decent drinkability. The eleven percent ABV and huge sweetness knock it down a few points. A sipper in my opinion. A pretty good beer overall.

jaxon53, Mar 15, 2008
Photo of ewright
3.15/5  rDev -17.3%

A: Poured into a snifter, there is little head. The beer is a slightly murky dark brown.

S: A bit of fig, some sharp alcohol on the nose. I get a little caramel buried in there as well. EDIT (4/9/08): A bit more complexity is showing. I get notes of other dark fruits to go with the fig ... raisin or plum. +.5

T: Good hop bite to balance the large amounts of malt. Finish is a cross between a cloying stickiness on the middle of the tongue and a dry burn on the back. The alcohol is WAY too prominent though.

M: It burns a bit. The alcohol is not nearly as subtle as with other barleywines or RIS.

D: I'll be sipping this one slowly for a couple of hours. Hopefully I'll warm up to it, since I have 5 more to go. EDIT (4/9/08): Not as harsh as I first rated it, but I still think a few more months will do nothing but help this beer. +.5

Overall, not one of my favorite barleywines when young. I think I'll lay down a couple and see how they taste in 6-12 months. There seems to be good potential for aging in this beer.

ewright, Mar 15, 2008
Photo of jbphoto88
3.68/5  rDev -3.4%

Poured from a 12 oz bottle with a best by date of december 2008. The beer is a dark amber, mahogany color. There is a light tan head that is slow to form and dissipates quickly.

Smell is of sweet malty caramel. There is also an alcohol twinge that floats into your nose.

Taste is slick and fruity with a malty caramel middle and then an aftertaste that is slightly bitter and earthy but not super astringent. The higher ABV warms the throat and belly.

Definitely better as the beer warms, this is a fine sipping beer. Not one I could drink all night because of the potency but a nice one to try from time to time.

jbphoto88, Mar 15, 2008
Photo of NitroGen
4.18/5  rDev +9.7%

A: 12 oz. 11% ABV Brown bottle 06-07 date on the bottle written by Davelikesale who gave this to me in a trade. Thank you Dave!

P: pours a stunning brilliant medium amber pour with two fingers of intense light tan foam head that very slowly settles it a thin cover. Huge lacing

S: Huge aromas that I can detect sweet cameral, plums and figs spicy grains and alcohol.

T: Surprisingly thick that starts out really sweet malt, fried fruit caramel and settles on the tongue with some nice alcohol with and settles with a very nice alcohol aroma.

M: This one surprised me as it is a bit thick, sweet and not a huge amount of alcohol that I anticipated as it is evident only at the end. Very well balanced from beginning to end and I would definitely have again.

D: This one is a huge barley wine that I have been enjoying for over an hour just sipping and enjoying the flavors get even more pronounced as it warms. No more than one at a time for me please, but a definite one to recommend to others for a taste treat.

NitroGen, Mar 14, 2008
Photo of cvstrickland
3.93/5  rDev +3.1%

12 oz. bottle aggressively poured into an Imperial pint glass nearly resulted in a volcano of foam... but the explosion of head settled nicely to a sheet of gluey tan lacing that left definitive hash marks at the sip-lines.

Reeks of caramel...gorgeous cranberry color...caramelly flavor with traces of black raisins and green fruit (maybe currants?), sweet, syrupy and smooth on the palate, but with a starkly-bitter, tangy hop finish.

ABV kicking in...a bourbon-like, but nice warming from the alcohol after the finish. Can't drink many of these, but lacking the patience to cellar this interesting brew, I'll try :)

Glad to have Duck-Rabbit down the road in Farmville!

cvstrickland, Mar 11, 2008
Photo of akorsak
3.63/5  rDev -4.7%

A 12 oz bottle courtesy of a trade with unclejedi.

A: The barleywine is a dark red, tawny almost, color. A thick, voluminous head and lots of carbonation resulted in a foam volcano after the bottle was opened. That head has laced nicely in the glass.

S: The nose is malty thick, full of strong cereal grains and a pale (color-wise) fruit aroma that is slightly tart but chewy. There isn't much, hopwise, to be said.

T: Nice and malty, this is a nice sippin' beer on a cold windy March night. You know, the kind that comes in like a lion. The malts have a molasses and alefruit flavor, heavy on the boozy sweetness. The sweetness is most evident at the end of a sip, with the strength and taste of green grapes. There is little in the way of hops, making this a malthead's dream.

M: The mouthfeel is definitely English, lots of malts without the overabundance of hops. The sweetness pushes cloying at times.

D: The high abv and intense sweetness is limiting me to one glass. This is not the best that Duck Rabbit has taken to market.

akorsak, Mar 09, 2008
Duck-Rabbit Barleywine Ale from The Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery
86 out of 100 based on 538 ratings.