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

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Duck-Rabbit Barleywine AleDuck-Rabbit Barleywine Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

346 Reviews

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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 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 Georgiabeer
2.76/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I'm a big fan of the other Duck Rabbit big beers, so I was really looking forward to trying this one. Unfortunately, this beer is out of whack and in my opinion not at all in the same caliber as their other beers. Next time I'll try it again from the bottle and let it age some and see if it improves. Pours dark amber with a big head that lasts surprisingly long given the high abv. The smell is surprisingly light and has a vegetal note to it, (tomato?) that is a little offputting. The taste has more tomato and on top of that is way too sweet. Strong, alcoholic sugar water with a tomato tinge? No thanks! The flavor is just bizarre. I would put this down to the keg being off if it hadn't been served to me by the brewery at the Hickory Hops fest. The mouthfeel is creamy, but also a little too slick. This one is not utterly bad, but its got some flavors going on that I just don't find that palatable. I'm not sure what went wrong here, but I think this beer probably doesn't belong on draft. (999 characters)

Photo of BlindPig
3.26/5  rDev -14%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A- Thick tan head on a crystal clear amber body. Great head retention.
S- Toffee, mix of fruits going all across the board, light citrus hops, and caramel.
T- Citrus orange hops blended with toffee malts and some other fruits. Almost a weird blend of flavors in this. Some breads come through also. Almost like some apple juice in there.
M- Medium body with medium/high carbonation.
D- Its just not my kind of flavors. Really strange blend of flavors. Looks good though! (475 characters)

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

Reddish brown pour into a snifter. Huge head which took up nearly half the glass and lasted a long time. Spicy sweet malt accents the smell, a lot like a Belgian quad. Flavors are similar. Malt predominates, sweet fruit flavors and just a tiny hint of hops. Seven months of cellaring have seriously improved this beer. Alcohol is concealed pretty well, so this is quite drinkable for an 11% beer. Another excellent seasonal from Duck Rabbit.

2008 Vintage.
Dark copper pour with a cream colored head which lasts for quite a while and leaves lacing down the glass. Some spice in the aroma with a bit of malt and a little bit hop presence.
The big difference in this year's version is the prominence of the hops, especially in the flavor, which provides a really nice balance to what would otherwise be an overly malt accented beer. Grapefruit-like bitterness mixes with extremely sweet maltiness to create a much more American version of a barleywine. At the release party we were told that this year's version had 20% more hops than last year's and I believe it.
Mouthfeel is suitably thick and caresses the tongue with silkiness.
This is a great beer right now, unlike last year's beer which needed six months or so to mature. It comes very close to being an American barleywine instead of an English one. (1,312 characters)

Photo of mcallister
4.02/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Been excited about trying this one. The two previous Duck Rabbits I've sampled have been stellar yet they were higher rated so hopefully this will live up to my hype:)

Hard not to give this a 4.5 for looks. Dark molten copper with scarlet/ruby shinings through. Nice amount of carbonation bubbles, very large make there way toward the large off white bordering yellow head of a good 3 fingers (hard pour). Leaves some very sticky thick spotted lacing behind. Great retention considering the ABV.

Nose is very nice as well. Big and full aromas of melted caramel, toffee, alcohol, dried smyrna fig, prune, brown sugar, buttered baked apple, some dried pear rings as well. RS is noticeable as well. Big complex aromas.

Well I like this beer. Mouthfeel may be bigger and bolder than anything I remember trying. Just a huge round chewy monster of a barley wine somewhat discombobulated with complex flavors lingering on every tastebud of my tongue. First and foremost are a huge thick syrupy caramel, toffee malt. Slight milk chocolate with a fig reduction sauce type flavor. Alcohol plays a large role but doesn't interfere with anything, a nice burn in the chest. White raisin, and maple syrup help round things out with the slightest bit of vanilla bean on the long finish. Such a big beer this is a hard drink but I love the style and could drink a few before passing out. (1,380 characters)

Photo of DrJay
3.61/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Received from derrickt007 as an extra from Double Trouble GIF. Thanks Derrick!

Crystal clear burnt orange topped by a generous beige head. Good retention and nice lacing, especially given the gravity. Looks pretty viscous, bubbles rise very slowly through the beer. Citrusy aroma, some tangerine, a little fruity, slight banana, caramel, light alcohol. Very sweet, lots of residual sugar makes this pretty thick. Alcohol is well controlled, bitterness is very restrained. Orange hop flavour throughout, with pine resin backing this up. Malt is a little crackery. Fairly low carbonation, sticky, some warmth. This is a really strange barleywine. It doesn't quite fit my expectations for the style, but it's pretty good and is an easy drinker. (744 characters)

Photo of Wasatch
4.5/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to slcbrewer for this one.

Poured into a chalice a deep dark clean/clear reddish color, nice carbonation, huge creamy tannish head, tons of sticky lacing afterwards. The nose is of malts, cherries, a tangyness, some caramel. The taste is sweet, slightly tangy, a good dose of cherries, some caramel. The finish is slightly dry. The alcohol is hidden very well. Medium body. Very drinkable, I really like this one, very different from an american barleywine, there's a nice sweetness to it, dark fruits, very enjoyable. Highly recommended. (548 characters)

Photo of jjayjaye
3.56/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear copper color with greater than a full finger light tan head that has maximum fade resistance. 3-d lacing observed.

The smell has some classic elements. A combination of citrus fruit and sweet malty caramel. This one may be slightly oxidized. You get a Trix cereal fruitiness as it warms up.

The medium bodied, the mouth feel presents a tingly from the visible effervescence.

The flavor is unique. A definite sweetness but, it's a fruity sweetness as opposed to a caramel-like character. The creamy texture of the mouth and this particular flavor don't complement each other that well IMO. I'm not sure what that is but i recognize it from the Arcadia Cereal Killer i had last week.

Drinkability - I experienced an immediate warmth from the 11% ABV, but it wasn't distracting. An interesting combination. I'd like to know more about what's going on. Complex, but not compelling. (903 characters)

Photo of FtownThrowDown
1.64/5  rDev -56.7%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

I don’t quite know how to start with this one. It looked fine in the glass. Nice reddish copper color with only a slight ring of head around the glass. But this smelled and tasted completely different than any other BW I’ve had.
It had some kind of a what I was referring to as rotten corn taste and smell. Really perplexing. Like spoiled corn syrup was used to make this beast. It was slightly over carbonated, but the alcohol was hidden fairly well. I’m still lost as to what was coming through in the nose and taste. Never experienced anything like it.
EDIT: After reading another review I agree. The smell and taste is somewhat of overcooked vegetables. Not pleasant at all. (683 characters)

Photo of Alkey
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle poured a clear reddish orange color with lots of foam that made it hard to pour and leaves sticky foam around the glass.

Smell - sweet and fruity with a bit of alcohol.
Taste - some apple and peach with a mild bitterness and slight sour bite in the finish.
Feel - light bodied, sticky, some what dry, seemed a bit over carbonated from the pour but feels a bit flat.
Drinkability - an easy to drink brew, nothing to complex, lots of alcohol but fairly well hidden. (487 characters)

Photo of Crosling
3.12/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Firey orange color. Big head. The nose doesn’t offer anything of distinction...just a very light smell. Flavor brings some super sweet malt and some unusual fruit flavors. Some nice elements in the flavor, such as the caramel-like finish, but for the most part this is weird and below average. (294 characters)

Photo of Metalmonk
4.2/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This wasn't that great when it was really that it's got over half-year of age on it, I'm hoping it'll fare better...

Head is big, creamy and light tan, and it retains relatively well for such a high-alcohol beer. Patient bubbles slowly work their way up in the glassy burgundy-red color. Beautiful. And absolute gobs of lace.

The aroma is simply amazing: big fruit sweetness leaps out of the glass (you can smell it with your nose 6 inches away from the glass at the beginning of the pour); red licorice; musty, wild smell similar to Belgian yeast strains and candi sugars; tobacco leaf; toffee.

Flavor is as sweet as expected, very candylike, like caramel-covered candied apples, also big juicy red cherries, pineapple, sour fruits, and a grassy astringency in the back. Slightly sour finish helps balance the sweetness. Even though they aren't known for barleywines, I would believe this came from Belgium, having several Belgian characteristics that you usually don't find in barleywines.

Mouthfeel is silky and slightly chewy, even kind of creamy, like steamed milk.

Not even close to disappointing or unsatisfying, but it does lack some balance, and maybe it's still too young. It's sweet, that's for sure. Should be interesting to see what more age does to this...and as a self-proclaimed "dark beer specialist" with a great track record, I bet Duck-Rabbit will only improve on this initial recipe. (1,432 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 ArrogantB
3.3/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle received in a trade with leftmindedrighty. The pour was red-brown with a very nice sized white head. The smell was dark fruits and alcohol. The taste was the same with an added medicinal quality as well as cherry cough syrup. I was really let down by this as I have loved DR's porter and baltic. Oh well, it was worth a try. (337 characters)

Photo of ATLbeerDog
3.43/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured golden-yellow-red...almost brown, from a 12oz bottle. Almost no head, slight floral smell. Tasted slightly bitter with obvious high alcohol content. Virtually no lacing. Not the most drinkable beer but I like the kick. If this is your session beer…you are an alcoholic. (277 characters)

Photo of joe1510
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz. Bottle
Courtesy of Mikesgroove

Duck Rabbit's Barleywine poured a beautiful clear mahogany into the snifter. A 1+ finger creamy off white head formed that slowly faded down to a solid cap. As the head faded it let sheet lacing down the glass. A very few carbonation bubbles rise to the surface. Left lacing after each sip. Very good looking beer.

The smell is a mix of dark fruity sugary malts and a mix of hop fruitiness. Right off the bat I pick up brown sugar. Underneath the brown sugar is a plate of fruit including figs, plum, and grapes. The brown sugar goes nicely with the fruit. There's a very mild sweetened grapefruit and orange rind character from the hops. Unique mixture. Very sweet smelling.

Flavor is all the same as the aroma. Figs and plums with a solid dose of brown sugar. This brown sugar is similiar to Lagunita's Brown Sugga. Finishes with a mild bitterness and lingering citrus from the sweetened grapefruit and orange rind. Hardly any alcohol noticeable, something you can't say about many 11% beers.

Body is thick and viscous. Minimal carbonation fits this beverage nicely. The mouthfeel seems to be a little too sticky at times.

This is a tasty beverage but drinking more than one bottle would certainly be overdoing it. The sweetness and viscosity would be too much if you got into the second bottle, of course with the high ABV you might not notice as much.

This is definately an enjoyable barleywine. Not all malt like a lot of English Barleywines but the dark fruits and maltiness do dominate. Nice mild hop finish. Quality brew from Duck-Rabbit. This is my first bottle from them and I'm looking forward to trying some others. (1,683 characters)

Photo of warriorsoul
3.73/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Special thanks to Muddyfeet for sending this one my way...we miss him around MA, but nice to know I can score some NC brews from him.
Cherry rust in color with a full two fingers of khaki-colored head...most of which rests on top like a foamy pillow for quite some time and leaves some thick coated lacing.
Decent in the nose...cherries, vanilla, citrus, some floral (lavender) notes too.
Taste is a bit less complexity...a bitter sweetness grabs the tongue right away, but settles into a candied caramel flavor.
Quite bitter w/ floral hops mainly...slight tart cherry flavor with some orange peel twang in the finish. The alcohol is nowhere to be found, which is very do you totally mask 11% abv?
Mouthfeel is full bodied and the carbonation is a touch high for the style...definitely a sipper and I find myself drinking this one very slowly.
It's good, but honestly, I find myself a bit underwhelmed...will sit on the other to see if this one mellows a bit. (982 characters)

Photo of kirok1999
4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear golden amber with a head that is quick to disappear. No lacing. Smells super sweet, no hops apparent. Taste is super sweet, dark fruits, prunes, raisins, caramel, with slightly fizzy, super tiny bubbled carbonation. Very true to the style, hops are almost non-existent and malts dominate. Very smooth and drinkable. Well done example of the style. (361 characters)

Photo of daliandragon
4.08/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Another funny/cool label from the folks in Farmville. Pours a cloudy light mahogany with a ruby/orange bottom and a thin layer of head and sturdy lace. Nose is highly alcoholic and fruity wiith fig and raisin notes.

Deep, round flavor with a very sweet finish and enough fruit flavor to somewhat coat the intense alcohol. Mouthfeel is velvety smooth and thick with just enough carbonation to keep it from turning to a solid. Some balance but could stand a bit more hop. I suspect this would age well as it has old ale characteristics. This is another fine example of the style and another brilliant effort from DR. (617 characters)

Photo of srrn
3.93/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Vigorous pour yields a quickly diminishing head. Some nice laceing. Clear mahogony color. Typical Barleywine smell, I detect some carmel apple and malt, Sweet malt taste hits the palete first followed by citrus hops and warming from the alcohol. I really enjoy barleywines don't find them that complex but great for sipping and relaxing. Another winner from Duck Rabbit. (370 characters)

Photo of MSchae1017
3.73/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The Duck-Rabbit Barleywine pours from the 12oz bottle into my snifter a dark amber color with a head like cappuccino foam that is just off white. This head refuses to dissipate as it laces down the side of the glass while the beer slowly disappears down my throat. The aroma is dominated by sweetness with a strong presence of toasted malts. This is complemented by the alcohol, some dark fruits and a vinous bouquet. The taste is up front with sweetness, similar to the smell. This is chased by some bitterness without a strong hop presence. There is also a bit of a dark fruitiness in there that is akin to the type found in a Belgium beer, without all of the wheat and yeast of course. The beer has a slightly fuller than medium body with an expected low carbonation due to the alcohol. There is also a bit of dryness on the finish. Overall, the Duck-Rabbit Barleywine is a decent, but certainly falls more along the lines of an English barley wine, without the strong hop presence that consumers have come accustomed to in their American counterparts. Its a nice warming barley wine, but the strong sweetness will keep you from reaching for it night after night, even when the thermometer drops below freezing. (1,214 characters)

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

Deep amber/cranberry color with a head that I don't always get from barleywines; frothy and sticky on its way down the side of the glass.

Plums and hops are the predominant scents I'm picking up with an herbal spiciness and a touch of alcohol that blends into a buttery finish. So far so great.

Wow, a lot of initial sweetness but not done in an annoying way. Hops do come through although there is a honey-like flavor that blends with a mix of strawberry and apple and a load of cereal tastes as well. The aftertaste IS a bit too sweet, almost cloyingly so.

This is by far one of the stranger feeling beers I've had in a while; the carbonation and the thick texture combine to form almost a cotton-y mouthfeel. It's not unpleasant per se, but it is a little odd. Still, I really like the taste of this barleywine and I hardly detect the formidable ABV. This is an absolute keeper. (890 characters)

Photo of tastybeer
3.68/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer is clear, dark chestnut brown and gives off strong ruby highlights in the light. There's a big friendly layer of head that looks like it'll be around for awhile. Nice creamy, frothy texture too. Looking good. Nose is richly fruity and floral. There's something odd but interesting in the caramelized banana cream-like malts. Mixed in the crazy fruit and flowers there's a big thick coating of pine resiny goodness. Taste is fairly insane as well. Similar to the nose but sharper. Not as well mixed. There's a citrus edge and not really enough malty thickness. Alcohol is more apparent in flavor than nose too. Body is a little thin for what I think it needs to be and drinkability ain't too shabby for 11%.

Not a bad barley wine. Pretty interesting but could use a little more balance. (797 characters)

Photo of nriech
4.32/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Trade from Enola.
Appearance: Looks like any barleywine. Amber, sticky on the glass, little head.

Smell: Almost burnt caramel. Sweet citrus, pine, alcohol, yeasty. Very low on alcohol smell.

Taste: Sweet, piney hops, orange. Kind of tart. Alcohol wasnt that noticeable so very smooth. I like the extra hoppiness in this. Good mouthfeel. A little sweet but well within paramaters for the style. A good solid choice. (421 characters)

Photo of flexabull
3.89/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a bright and clear dark amber color. Head is a nice half an inch, and retaining well. Looks great.

Aromas are a bit muted, I notice some sweetness, a raisin like quality, also a touch of ice tea.

First thing I notice on the taste, is how full bodied and well rounded the mouthfeel is. Very nice. Flavors are sweet, but not overpowering. There is a very crispy and carmel like creaminess on the finish. I also noticed just a touch of hop bitterness on the finish as well, but it's very slight overall, the flavors are kind of mellow, and not overwhelming at all.

While I am drinking this I can't believe that this is 11% ABV. This beer is surprisingly subtle for having such a high alcohol level. I could easily drink this again. I like Barleywines to have more of kick, but this one is nice for what it is.

Thanks a lot for this one mikegroove! (862 characters)

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