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

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
85
very good

346 Reviews
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 346
Hads: 562
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 10.55%
Wants: 111
Gots: 49 | 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:
Beer added by: SaCkErZ9 on 12-12-2006

The Duck-Rabbit Barleywine is the hoppiest of all the Duck-Rabbit brews. This is a Farmville-style Barleywine, crafted the way brewers in Farmville have always done. Loads of Amarillo hops give a piney citrusy bitterness that's supported beautifully by a toffee malt backbone.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 346 | Hads: 562
Photo of Sammy
3.72/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Fresh from Bruisin' Ales. To complete my six-pack, it was between this and some French Broad odd yeast thing. Knowing my preference for new and interesting and being a Belgium-lover, one would forecast the latter, but here I went conservative.
This is a sweet one, it does however taste like a barleywine and gvien the sweet profile, I think that they thought it would be drunk early.
Very boozy, and an early spring cold night seems so right for it. Pours a dirty blond with fantastic splattering of lace. Smells and taste like a boozy barleywine, drinkable after all.A bit of substance to the mouthfeel. (608 characters)

Photo of kylehay2004
3.26/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: no head as expected on a hazy to cloudy copper with golden hues body.

S: sour cherry, almost sour beer like, sugar and candied fruits.

T: not your typical barleywine. subtle smokiness. this one is very sour beer like with the malts taking a back seat to the sweetness. metallic after taste.

M: medium body and moderate carbonation. thin compared to many other barely wines.

Overall: very drinkable for the style and hides the alcohol well but this one is strange and may be infected especially considering the recent reviews describing this though I suspected it before reading those reviews. (600 characters)

Photo of Thorpe429
3.65/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

Poured into a snifter. Body is a moderate copper color with a very small white head. Some legs on the side of the glass. The nose is some brown sugar, a bit of fruit, booze, and caramel. Taste is pretty good with some sweet bread and fruit plus a bit of booze and caramel. Feel is slightly boozy but the flavors combine and have a nice body. Drinks well but could use some age. (399 characters)

Photo of brentk56
4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a tawny brown color with a rocky beige head that is surprisingly lacey

Smell: Rich caramel aroma with a plenty of piney hops adding an unexpected dimension

Taste: The caramel flavor jumps out, although there are piney orange hops tones in there from the outset; by mid-palate, other dark fruit flavors add complexity; after the swallow, all of these flavors blend together into the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation and a bit of warmth in the gullet; a little thin, however, for a barleywine

Drinkability: Nicely balanced flavor profile makes this a solid barleywine, although I would place it in the American rather than English category (690 characters)

Photo of BEERchitect
4.4/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A very nice Barleywine, done in true Duck Rabbit fashion. Deep mohogany color with brilliant clarity. Off white head persists for the duration while leaving ample lacing and legging behind. A classic look. Strong barley flavors take over from there with a sukist grain taste and aroma that completely dominates the beer. Molassas, maple syrup, sorgum, nuttiness and plump grain flavors combine with plumbs, raisons, grapes, dates, figs, and nuts for a rich and complexly flavored ale. Hop flavor gives an herbal, grassy note without interferring with the barley taste. No phenolics or unnecessary alcohols to detract. Very nice malt texture sets the stage for the mouthfeel while a light syrup feel reminds us of a beer that isn't quite dry. Sweet without cloying, rich without sticky, and full without thickening, the beer has a bold but delicate texture. Perhaps the hop rates here are a bit high compared to J.W. Lees or Tom Hardy's but the toasted barley gives a bit more complexity than lighter Barleywines. Another world class beer by Duck Rabbit. (1,053 characters)

Photo of Knapp85
3.58/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This barley win pours out as a murky looking brown color, the head is an off white color and leaves a pretty good lacing also. The smell of the beer has a good hoppiness to it, there are some boozey aromas coming off of it also. The taste of this has a good malt base with some pine nots in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel is pretty good here, it's got a nice thickness about it. Overall it's not a bad barley wine at all. Found it to be pretty enjoyable. (453 characters)

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.73/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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. (446 characters)

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.18/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 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. (1,737 characters)

Photo of mikesgroove
3.4/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured a deep ruby red with a small head that faded to a long lasting lace down the glass. Smells very sweet, with a hint of citrus. The taste is very rich, this seems odd, but almost tastes like a toffee or candy flavors. Very intresting flavor, I have never tasted this in a beer before. Very nice feel going down, not too thick and just the right carbonation. This is an odd one. I can't really describe the taste, but I cannot put it down either. Gonna have to come back to this, but overall this was definatly good. (520 characters)

Photo of oberon
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into my trusty Red Oak nonic a deep auburn with a tight formed 2 finger of white head that left spotty lacing as it settled slowly.Brown sugar and almost cinnamon-like spice hit upfront in the nose also quite floral with hints of minty leaf hoppiness.A bit thinner than expected for such a big beer ,not big and chewey like I would have liked still not a major flaw,dark fruit and alcohol warnth standout after the first few sips along with some honey sweetness with decent herbal smack of hops showing thru late.I detected quite an alcohol zip thruout from beginning to end making it a one and done for me for sure still its got good flavors and well it should be a sipper anyways. (689 characters)

Photo of womencantsail
3.23/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: The pour is dark amber color, leaning towards the red side of things. The head is minimal and off-white in color.

S: Sweet oranges and brown sugar are present on the nose as are some light caramel and toffee notes. There's a fair amount of alcohol present as well.

T: Quite sweet and sugary with lots of caramel, brown sugar, and toffee on the front end. The sweet oranges are there again, too, and so is the rather noticeable alcohol (unfortunately).

M: The body is medium, not quite as thick and full as I would expect for such a high gravity beer.

D: I purposely let this beer age a little bit before drinking it because of hearing about the alcohol strength. Even with several months on it, I still find the beer to be on the harsh side. (748 characters)

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.58/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

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. (729 characters)

Photo of wethorseblanket
3.97/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received as an extra from Grant.

Pours a very hazy carmel color into tulip with fine carbonation and slight head which coats with an oily sheen. Smells sweet and fruity with malt and alcohol. Tastes of carmel, malt, resiny sweetness, figs and raisins. A bit boozy. Nice grain and citrus notes also. Slightly spicy with a hoppy bitterness in finish and a lingering dryness. Mouthfeel is rich and full. First Barleywine review for me and was well pleased overall. A strong ale and one is plenty. Thanks Grant. (508 characters)

Photo of nickfl
3.15/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Pours with a small head of white foam on top of a hazy, dark golden body. The head settles fairly quickly and leaves light lace on the glass.

S - A spicy, mustardy aroma with notes of black pepper, clove, and perhaps a touch of acetone.

T - Bready malt up front with some sour cherry and pine. Spicy notes of clove and juniper in the middle with a touch of acidic grapefruit. The finish has some smoky notes that intensify in the aftertaste and almost end up as a band-aid like note.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation, and a dry, acidic finish.

D - Weird, this almost seems like a sour with the level of acidity and the odd, yeasty notes. I'm really conflicted about whether this is infected or not, it has some really strange characteristics and it is oddly dry for an English barleywine. The smoky character is really odd for the style and almost to the level that it would be unpleasant. Not something that I would drink again except to confirm that it is supposed to taste like this. (999 characters)

Photo of TMoney2591
3.08/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

What a jaunty little cap. This brew pours a translucent burnt amber topped by a finger of off-white foam. The nose comprises caramel, toffee, booze, rye bread crust, and a bit of medicinal aromas. The taste also carries that medicinal astringency, along with some sharp citrus hops, toffee, and maple syrup. The body is a heavy medium, with a moderate carbonation and a gooey feel. Overall, I think this is the least of the Duck-Rabbit brews I've yet had. It seems as though something went awry, I just can't put my finger on it. (564 characters)

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.42/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Duck-Rabbit's barleywine pours a clear, ruby-accented dark chestnut body beneath a short head of creamy tan foam. The rich aroma rises up at you: malty, fruity, hoppy - it's English in nature, but with more fruitiness than you'd normally expect. The head drops steadily to an average collar, but walls of spotty lace are left behind - it's kind of nice... almost like polka dots. The flavor bears out what the nose suggests, and it's malty with a healthy cereal characteristic and lots of sweetish caramelized sugar. There's a touch of toffee and nuttiness to it as well; and the yeast has left a small puddle of reddish fruit juice and lots of dark-skinned fruit as its calling card. The alcohol is kept in check, but it helps to dry things along with a very moderate astringency and solid bitterness. It finishes dry and a bit spicy and earthy or mineralish with a combination of lingering hops (leafy, grassy, floral) and dark skinned fruit. It's well-balanced, well rounded, and well polished, yet all of its components remain able to shine on their own. Very nicely done!!! Certainly worth trying. (1,102 characters)

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.27/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Acquired from svosie so a big “Thank You” goes out to her. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep golden brown color, with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains citrus fruits, honey, caramelized malts and some hops.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of caramel, citrus and honey. Then a hearty malt character comes in along with a hint of alcohol sting. The hops presence is strong for the style and makes the beers seem very IPA-like. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Very tasty, goes down dangerously easily, not too filling, very strong kick, good representation of style, this is a very good stronger beer to drink for as long as you can handle it. (857 characters)

Photo of russpowell
4.06/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Ding for this one!

Pours effervescent brown/orange into a duvel tulip with 1 finger of sand colored head. Average lacing, some oily shimmer & average head retention

S: Some cakeyness, plummy notes, & oakyness. Boozeyness, caramel & a touch of smokeyness once warm

T: Caramel, dryness, & leafy hops up front with some boozeyness. A little vanilla, oaky dryess, along with piney & leafy hops once warm. Finishes a bit too dry, with some brown sugar, & some maple syrup

MF: Chewy & slick with minimal carbonation

Drinks good, between the boozeyness & the dryness, slows you down a bit. This BW has some American traits that detract a little, but this will only improve with age (690 characters)

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.06/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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. (2,069 characters)

Photo of MasterSki
3.78/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Can't even remember who sent this - one of my Carolina/Tennessee hook-ups I'm guessing. Served in my Day of the Living Ales taster glass. Split with the wife. Best before 12/09.

A - One finger of slow dissolving creamy orange-tan foam with tons of lacing. Murky orange with a hint of brown. Pretty good looking for a barleywine.

S - Burnt sugar, raisins, caramel, dark fruits, some residual floral hoppiness. There's a slight rye bread sourness to the bready malts as well.

T - Taste is a litlte bit less complicated - lots of caramel, booze, dark fruits, and bread. The aftertaste is kind of hot with some roastiness to it as well.

M - Full-bodied, low carbonation, super sticky residual feel, some alcohol warmth. It's what I expect from the style.

D - Too hot to really have more than one bottle. Otherwise it's pretty easy to drink - the aftertaste isn't too strong. I suspect this will be good well beyond December. (925 characters)

Photo of mothman
4.09/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into Great Lakes snifter.

Pours a very small layer of white head. Color is a clear copper.

Aroma: A fairly big amount of malts here. No big hop profile... def English. Caramel and toffee sweetness in the malt profile. Candy sugar. Dry fruits. Raisins stick out a lot.

Taste: Very sweet and malty. An awesome English bwine. Caramel, toffee, plums, raisins. Nice flavors that blend together very well.

Mouthfeel: Dry and warming. A light amount of booze shows, but in a good way. Full bodied with a lower amount of carbonation. Ends fairly dry.

Overall, a very drinkbable english bwine. I like all the fruit flavors in this beer. For 11%, this drinks amazing. Nicely done. (682 characters)

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to djrn2 for sending me a handful of Duck-Rabbit beers.

The beer pours a dark red color with an off-white head. The aroma has a lot of piney hops in it, as well as some heavy caramel and brown sugar notes. There is also some alcohol in the aroma. The flavor is similar. There are some pine and orange notes in the flavor which go well with the heavy caramel malt backbone. There is also some brown sugar-like sweetness. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. (469 characters)

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.47/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Best By Date December 2007, Sampled July 2007
Very well carbonated, the beer almost explodes as it first hits my glass. After a very careful pour, I end up with a four-finger thick, amber tinged, tan colored head that sits atop an absolutely brilliantly clear, cranberry red colored beer. The aroma has a distinct fruitiness to it that mixes with the alcohol and reminds me of a mix between brandy and sherry. Almost has a buttery like, toffee-esque, definitely caramelized malt character to it. At times it even smells like sweet grape juice. I am not sure what it is, but something about the aroma is a bit off-putting; something like a mix of green, macerated raisins, some sourish-bitter herbs and a distinct, yet, can't-quite-put-my-finger-on-it vegetable-like thing.

The beer is very thick, at least it should be. The excessive carbonation causes it to froth up immediately as it hits my tongue; luckily this is easily fixed by a couple of vigorous swirls of my glass. The beer is fairly thick and quite sweet; that sort of off aroma is noticeable here in the flavor as well, but I think that it is just a combination of the ample hops and sweet malt. The malt here tastes simplistic and overly stripped, like it had been heavily filtered (though I am not sure this is really the case here). Herbal, definitely grassy, somewhat reminiscent of green grapes, the hop character is quite prominent here, though it seems to manifest itself a bit atypically from your typical hoppy Barleywine. Rich, brown malt, caramel flavors linger in the finish; somewhat similar to a brown sugar encrusted, richly browned, rustic bread crust.

This is certainly not a bad beer, but it just seems a bit weird to my taste buds. It definitely hides the 11% alcohol quite well. (1,767 characters)

Photo of BARFLYB
4.13/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a tulip for good measure. DR just came into philly, I for one am glad.

A- Duck-Rabbit claims to be a "dark-beer specialist" and they ain't lying. Darker than expected this was a dark mahogany color with some red highlights up towards light. A nicely formed dark tan head formed on top sticking around for a while. Very nice lacing on this sucka.

S- Dark malts giving off caramel. A nice hop nose in the beginning but gets sucked up by the malts with warming. Dark fruits out the wazoo including plums. Breadyness from the malts and alcohol from the 11%

T- I was surprised by this one. The hops are there and have a bite on the 1st few sips but that subsides fairly quickly. I really like the dark fruit action with the plum and deep cherry combo. Malts upon malts giving off sweetness. Of course the alcohol is tasted, it is 11% after all. Not overly complex but I like it.

M- Sweet and smooth after time but you have to drink a few ounces before the initial bigness comes in which includes some heat. The alcohol is high but well hidden. A very sturdy body on this but a little thinner than I was expecting, which is probably why I like it so much.

D- Very drinkable which is dangerous. I felt the alcohol half way through my chalice. Im not big on barleywines in general so I really don't know what im looking for in one, but I throughly enjoyed this one. One and done and a bottle or two in the cellar. I think this is past it's "best by" date but who cares, maybe they just have to put that on there. (1,533 characters)

Photo of tdm168
4.03/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Southern Tier tulip.

Pours a dark, ruby amber with a thing layer of off white head. The nose is complex; there are notes of bread, citrus, fruity, caramel, and an underlying cherry, medicinal note. The flavor is similar; big malty body offers caramel and bread but the hops are intense with a very strong grapefruit juice and pineapple citrus character. The mouthfeel is warm, smooth, full bodied, and well carbonated.

This is a good beer. It's a sipper but it's highly drinkable. It's balanced, hoppy, and a little sweet. I think a little age would mellow it out more, but it's good as is. The citrus quality is intense and may not be for everyone, but I liked it. (681 characters)

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Duck-Rabbit Barleywine Ale from The Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery
85 out of 100 based on 346 ratings.