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

545 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 545
Reviews: 339
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 13.91%
Wants: 111
Gots: 45 | FT: 0
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:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Duck-Rabbit Barleywine Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 545 | Reviews: 339 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ncstateplaya
4.05/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours unbelievably clear, crystal clear crimson or blood red. Very similar to the red on the label. A sweet oatmeal colored head that was extremely creamy and frothy looking. The lacing was exceptional...a very impressive pour.

The nose was dominated by a sweet gummy fruit...possibly plum or fig. There is a musty odor that I wasn't sure where it stemmed from, possibly the yeast? There was just a little bit of hops in the nose.

It had a very caramel like sweetness that paired extremely well with the slight hoppy bitterness. The alcohol is undeniable in the finish, but in no way is it overwhelming.

Medium bodied with lively carbonation and surprisingly smooth. It coats the mouth leaving it feeling pretty sticky. There is a nice bitterness on the finish along with the bite from the alcohol.

I really enjoyed this barleywine, even more so than a year aged bigfoot. It was very smooth and pretty tasty, although being from down east I may be a little biased. I think this is one of my favorite barleywines so far...and very drinkable.

Photo of glid02
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2009 vintage courtesy of Paul - much obliged!

Pours a honey-copper color with an off-white head. The head settles fairly quickly into a wispy layer of bubbles on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of sweet malts with a lot of hops - mostly citrus but with pine and floral hints in there as well. There's also a bit of nondescript fruit smells.

Tastes similar to how it smells, though the malts are a bit more in charge. Pine hop flavors come out more than any other hop flavor, and the fruit flavors are still there. This is an interesting mish-mash of flavors that ends with a nice bitterness. This is fresh from the brewery and I didn't find much presence of alcohol with the exception of a warming sensation.

Mouthfeel is good. It has a syrupy thickness with good carbonation that makes this go down smoothly.

Drinkability is good. I had no problem finishing what I had, but I'm not sure I could drink more than one of these at a time.

Overall I was impressed with how good this was fresh. The older version was certainly more balanced, but the flavors in the fresh bottle were still impressive. Worth a shot.

Photo of JasonA
4.33/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Received in trade from marvin. Hopefully it will bring my Eers luck today vs UofL.

Pours a reddish carmel red. Looks more like a marzen except the head. Med thick, ample lacing. You can tell there is depth. Lots of bubbles, I gotta let this one breathe even though its at 50F.

Medium malt, carmel, piney hops. Smells more like a American BW. Mild ABV, but present.
Solid malt body, wine sweet, little hop character (back to english). Nice level of bitterness, almost ESB, though much sweeter. I bet this could drop to 60F and be just as smooth.

Creamy smooth. Well balanced, sits comfortably. Carbonation pretty high still, need to let cool a bit more.

Over all a great brew. Only downside could be carbonation level. As far as an English BW, this is an excellent example. Would def have again.

Photo of nick76
3.13/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The aroma is full of caramel, syrup, fruit, grain husks, and hops. The appearance is mahogany with a super thin head. The flavor is like the aroma with some muskiness and soapiness. The palate is typical for the style. Overall its better than average but that's all.

Photo of prsguitarsr4me
4.3/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very good - surprising. Nice pour, nice head and amber straw color. Not a ton of aroma, but sweet and thick. Taste is very good. I never would've guessed that it was 11% alcohol. Very, very smooth and sweet. Nothing too bitter or burnt - it may have been better with those qualities, but it was good. Feel is great - good carbonation and it goes down smooth and silky. I'd drink several of these easily, and with this alcohol content I'd certainly feel great afterward. I'm going to try to get some more of this for sure.

Photo of Klgkenny
3.73/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this beer at the 2009 duckrabbit barleywine release party at the brewery. They had a great three year vertical tasting. I am reviewing the 2007 (aged one year) here.

Poured from the tap into a room temp pint glass, a thick creamy head rests atop an amber body. A fairly transparent beer, I can see a few bubbles of carbonation. A decent appearance.

Smells and tastes like equal parts pine sap and malt mixed with a healthy portion of ALCOHOL! The aromas are very simple, but the taste is a bit more complex. Malty up front with a slight buffer of piney hops before that powerful wave of alcohol. Nicely balanced barleywine. A lot of the time, balance is great, but I think here, a bit of something over the top would be great.

The mouthfeel on this was just eh... Slightly oily, it was as if there was actually pine sap in the beer! The flavors lingered, which was nice, but that clingy feel was almost unpleasant.

With all of the above elements falling together the way that they did, this is a drinkable beer, but... If you are a barleywine freak, then give this a shot. It just seemed as if it was one step off the whole way.

SIDE NOTE: I was informed at the brewery that between the 2006 and 2007 season, the recipe for the barleywine changed. The 2006 was UBER-sweet. The 2007 (aged one year) was balanced, and the 2008 was very hoppy. If you are a hop worshipper, then you might really like this barleywine. Otherwise, you're going to want to set this aside for a year.

Photo of LilBeerDoctor
2.83/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle (best by 12/2007) courtesy of my Secret Santa. Pours a murky mahogany with a supper thick, foamy tan head. Aroma of toffee, vegetal notes, an odd sweetness. Flavor of sweet malt and vegetal notes. A little too sweet/vegetal, even for an aged barleywine. This is far past its prime. Hopefully I will be able to rerate this again fresh.
6/4/5/3/12 (3.0/5)

Photo of SilentSabre
3.65/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lovely red-bronze colour with a beige coloured head. Smell is terrific. Very sweet and malty; actually reminds me of breakfast cereal like sugar smacks or something. I like my barleywine to be bereft of any hop bitterness whatsoever, and this one, I'm afraid, wraps up its sweet malty opening with a little bit of a bitter hoppy finish. Still good, though. Mouthfeel is pretty heavy, as it should be, and the 11% is disguised well. A good attempt by an American brewery to replicate one of my favourite English styles.

Photo of maximum12
2.6/5  rDev -31.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to marcpal for this one, I'm always willing & eager to pop open a barelywine I've never tasted before. Let the popping begin!

Well, I've never experienced that before. Pouring the beer leads me to wonder if I'd just poured milk into a bowl of Rice Krispies, the head was popping & hissing clearly for several seconds after the end of the pour. Freaking weird! It's gotta real purty mouth, too, ruby red just the way I like it.

Smell is...rubbing alcohol? I might have to transplant some hair from ears to my nose after a whiff, the alcohol presence is epic.

But who cares about that? What's important is the taste, & it's, it's, got a strange funk to it. After a couple of sips, not a pleasant funk. More like the funk of your scrubbing sponge when it's been sitting wet in the sink for a week or two. Hmmmm. There is some dank fruit, & the alcohol is surpisingly subdued, but the must overpowers the positive aspects. It does get somewhat better as it warms.

Too bad; maybe a bad bottle? The run-up to the actual tasting was great, but ultimately this beer doesn't hold up it's end of the bargain.

Photo of jwinship83
4.05/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle from yesac in trade. thanks!

A- this bottle started gushing as soon as i popped the cap. dark red, almost ruby, colored body with a small lasting khaki colored head. thick lacing left on the sides of the glass.

S- lots of bready malt. some ripe fruits. apples, pears, cherries, and plums. this one smells slightly alcoholic.

T- very bready with alot of fruit. mostly cherries and plums. some grapes apples, and cherries as well. finishes with a touch of booze.

M- medium to full bodied with a low level of carbonation. slight warming from the alcohol. works well when its -4 outside, like tonight.

D- easy to finish, this is one of the better english barleywines that ive tried. the booze is somewhat present, but i could see it sneaking up on you if you have a couple. 3 bottles split between 2 people would be perfect.

Photo of cbros
3.88/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Serving type- 12 ounce bottle poured into a pint glass. Best buy date 12/08

A- Pours a dark murky brown with a small white lace that stays present througout. No activity present in the beer after the pour.

S- Strong hints of alcohol with some accents of a floral piney smell.

T- Strong presence of alcohol at the beginning that mellows into caramel and toffee.Low hop flavor and a light bitterness present. Nothing that overwhelms the palate.

Even though I am not big on darker beers I thuroughly enjoyed this, I have had other English Barleywine selections and wanted to give the local guys a whirl. I tried this for the first time at the Greensboro Brewfest a few months back and picked up a few bottles at the local shop a few weeks ago. I want to try other offerings from them, in my quest to support local flavor, and if this is any indication of the quality of their other stuff I can't wait.

Photo of Wetpaperbag
4.2/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is an 06 bottle via Mikesgroove in the Birthday Beer Club BIF, a huge thanks for this.

A- This is a reddish brown beer, with a nice fluffy thick head. Infact this was a pretty active bottle. I didn't pour too aggressivly and, wow lots of head.

S- Nice sweet dark fruits, honey, port, and very heavy on the raisen smell.

T- Dates, fig, and raisens dominate the taste. I'm also getting some honey, the good high end stuff. This doesn't taste boozy in the least. Very tasty English Barleywine to say the least.

M- This isn't thick at all, there is a slight bit, but the carbination does an excellent job making it great in the mouth.

D- Very drinkable. I would love to see how this is fresh and compare what these two years have done to this in retrospect. But this 06 bottle is drinking very well!

Photo of Bitterbill
4.3/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I got this bottle in a trade with Tayner. Thanks Dana!

This pours a clear deep amber red with close to a 2 finger head of foam.

The smell is plumb full of caramel malty goodness with a light hoppiness in the background.

The taste starts off with that caramel malty sweetness that exemplifies the style and it's quickly followed by some light notes of hop bitterness bringing very good balance and some notes of chocolate and some fruit...cherries. Nice. Easy drinking as well as there's hardly a sign of this one being 11%abv. Just some welcome warming after the swallow. Not overly complex, in my book, just tasty and very smooth drinking. I like.

The mouthfeel is wonderfully thick and goes well with the light carbonation.

Drinkability is very good for a brew of this strength and the very good lacing after each sip encourages me to keep on trucking.

Bottom line: I think this is a great representation of the English Barleywine Style Ale where Malt is King and the hops are only used to balance things out. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Photo of Oxymoron
4.05/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Kind of funny two animals, duck rabbit, and two drinks, barley (beer) wine. Note this beer has been aged for one year. Pours a darker amber to brown color with some reddish hues throughout. A good pour but left a very limited head. A few swirls helps a bit but limited. So goes per the lace.

The nose has a good malty backing with some minor hops notes. The malt has some minor complexity but would have expected more. Some caramel note but mostly a sweet grainy malt aroma. Some alcohol notes but pretty clean yeast wise. Not much hops in the nose either.

The taste has more of that complexity that I look for in the malt. The caramel flavors come out more with some depth. IMO, I would have liked more depth but a good start. The hops also come out nicely with some light earthy and hints of citrus notes. Some esters as well, cherry, apples and pears. Some minor fusels, which is not ok, but some minor alcohol as well. Really a nice rounded out flavor.

The body is moderate to big. So sure this is a year old, but it actually is pretty tasty. I would have liked a bit more complexity in the malt but overall good.

Photo of marcpal
4.2/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a six-pack of this from a trip to Charlotte. Like the other dark beers from the dark beer specialists, wow was I not let down here.

A: Dark brown, thick cherry red that comes out thick like oil. A think foamy head. Oddly attractive- the thinnest of heads that stays on the beer stay in enormous sized bubbles.

S: I didnt catch the hops but sure did catch the cocoa cocvered raisins. Spicy and meaty. Delicious. The dried cherries are reminiscent of three philosophers maybe?

T: Sweet with a ridiculous amount of ridiculous flavors that each. All of the flavors oddly end up in the sweet dried fruit range. There is a hop presence to add to the complex flavors but the raisiny goodness again takes the dominant role. Imagine honey and chocolate teddy grahams soaked in a strong alcohol. If I could ask for anything it would be for some more bitter undertones to finish out the sweet caramel maltiness.

M: Thick, viscous, meaty, clingy and again..thick. Perfect for capping a night in a cold autumn November day spent raking leaves.

D: Nothing short of great. The most complex barleywine Ive had in a while, not necessarily the single best but like a rubix cube of flavors. The alcohol brings down drinkability some. Not hot, just powerful. Very powerful. Get your hands on this beer.

Photo of CWiggins
3.58/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

First, this bottle is dated to be best by December '07, so be aware that I'm reviewing a bottle nearly a year after its "best by" date!

Dark copper color with a very thick eggshell-white head. That head really sticks around; it stayed foamy during the entire drinking experience. There's no mistaking the aroma as that of an intense barleywine: it's full of sweet molasses and honey, with a toasty grain overtone and plenty of alcohol. The flavor sure is sweet, with a mild bitterness at the finish and a deep, syrupy effect throughout. Very strong flavor and a big, warming alcohol presence.

I've had this brew before while within its "best by" range, and I can honestly profess that there isn't much difference. It's good either way!

Photo of thethrone
4.05/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Just cracking the bottle was enough to start the beer foaming. After transporting to the glass, the beer is a mahogany color with a moderate pillowy head. Good retention and lacing.

S - Big aroma of caramel and grains, with a hint of fruit. Noticeable alcohol aroma.

T - Lots of sweetness and alcohol in the flavor. Just enough hop presence to provide some balance.

M - Syrupy mouthfeel, not much carbonation.

D - A very good winter beer, warming and sweet. High alcohol presence is noticeable, but not detracting.

Photo of Rzzzzz
4.38/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to kwakwhore for this. Poured into a wine glass, yielding a nice two finger head on the pour that stuck around for a minute or two, then vanished. Color is a dark mahogony--one of the darker barleywines I've experienced--and the nose provides an intoxicating caramel malt blast that says "drink me NOW". I obeyed.

Flavor is sweet malt up front, with a bitter follow that brings to mind cherries and dark chocolate. Then Mr. Alcohol introduces himself with an authoritative but not overbearing presence. Warmly welcoming. This stuff is perfect for a winter nightcap, but by no means out of place on a warm fall evening.

Photo of shivtim
3.7/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had on-tap at Taco Mac Metropolis.
Looks nice. Hazy, gold/brown with red tinges. Small sand-colored head and solid lacing. Smell is quite sweet. Heavy honey, sugarplums, molasses. Taste is deep roasted malts balanced with dark fruits, and an alcohol finish. Doesn't have the sourness or bitterness found in many barleywines. On warming, alcohol becomes more apparent, and fits the beer well. Mouthfeel is pretty good, feels like a barleywine.

Photo of CrellMoset
4.05/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Stopped by Trapeze after hitting up Five Points Bottle Shop on my way through Athens. They served 16 oz. of this beauty in a traditional American pint glass.

Appearance: A deep, dark ruddy brown body with garnet and ruby hues, hints of orange around the periphery even, a truly gorgeous, foamy tan head - seriously, I had to ask if this was on nitro-tap, it's so immaculate and immobile and meringue-like - with great retention that leaves huge three-dimensional lacing. An amazing-looking beer.

Aroma: Spicy hops dominate, interestingly enough. Tons of light fruit in the followup, white grapes, golden raisins, pears. A faint alcohol permeates the whole ordeal, but blends well with the light fruits and the spicy hops, lending a rum-like note.

Taste: Very sweet, though again leaning more towards the light fruits - pear, sweet cherry, apple skins - with some slightly tosatier qualities (in the form of faint cocoa powder, light springy coffee), hints of toffee, and a little bit of bitterscotch. Plenty of hops too, with piney and citrus zest being the dominant flavors. There's also some rounded nuttiness in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Chewy, thick, syrupy, intense, with low carbonation, and a surprisingly medium body.

Drinkability: What a great beer. One of the few Duck Rabbits I haven't tried, and it's a shame I hadn't before now. This is a complex, balanced, interesting, fruity barleywine, and another very impressive offering from what is, in my opinion, the best brewery in North Carolina (and that's saying a lot). Recommended, along with all their other offerings!

Photo of nrbw23
4.03/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a nice rich looking darkish reddish brown with a nice creamy tan colored head. Head has pretty nice retention and leaves some nice lacing.

S- Smells really nice picked up some dark malts, carmel, honey, and some dark fruits (raisins and plums).

T- Very balanced. Rich malts, raisins, brown sugar, and some fruits. Also has a nice amount of hops to give it some bitterness.

M- Very smooth, light carbonation, not very thin, slick, or thick. Medium in body and feels right on.

D- Really easy to drink. Went down way to fast. Highly recommended on this one.

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

12 oz bottle courtesy of wagenvolks. Poured into a snifter. Russet brown hue that turns brilliant blood orange red when held to light. About a half inch of tan head that recedes a bit quickly.

Aroma is extremely pungent and fruity. Brimming with prune and lush sweet orangey citrus. Malt supports the aroma with toffee notes.

Flavor is sweet up front with candied orange/marmalade. Midpalate is tart and malty, and the finish is roasty with a mild bitterness.

Thick chewy body with light carbonation. A little sticky but the finish is coaxing from the roasted bitter tinge. Alcohol is pretty much undetectable.

Nice beer, not really necessarily spot on for the style, but interesting.

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

This one pours a beautiful mahogany color with brighter red edges. It had about a one finger head of tan bubbles before fading to a sheet. Some light lacing sticks to the glass.

The smell is of caramel malts, dark fruits (plums, dates, raisins) , light sour citrus, and some boozy alcohol in the back ground. Interesting, to say the least.

The flavor combines all of the scents in the aroma adds a nice kick of bitterness to it. Sweet up front, with the caramel malts and a bit of molasses peeking out before the darks fruits hit your tongue. Quickly, though, the bitterness over takes it all. They must have used a big dose of bittering hops, because it's pretty damn bitter but there isn't any flavor to go with the bitterness. Hints if the alcohol come out at the finish.

Medium bodied with good carbonation. Feels heavy on the stomach. Bitter and slightly burning aftertaste. It will be interesting to see this one change over time. Right now, though, due to the bitterness and the abv, one is enough. This is a tasty sipper, so don't get me wrong.

Photo of number1bum
3.65/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this one from BeerTruth. Thanks buddy.

Pours an incredible scarlet mahogany color that is seemingly perfectly clear. An inch and a half of creamy tan head on top, which settles to a thin, somewhat spotty lace and leaves some thick stick on the sides. Beautiful.

Smell is sweet caramel malt, with some dark fruit and a bit of citrus. There's a whiff of booze but not too much.

This one is thick and sweet, but also quite bitter, which is a good thing because it tempers the sweetness. Loads of caramel malt, with a slight nuttiness and some toffee flavor. Then comes an intense bitterness, which unfortunately doesn't include a corresponding splash of fruity or otherwise terribly flavorful hops. There is a bit of herbal and pine flavor, and just a bit of fruit, but I wish there was more hop flavor. Finishes somewhat boozy with lingering bitterness. Mouthfeel is thick and full, quite chewy.

This beer is pretty good, but I don't love it. It's too bitter. A sipper for sure, and worth a try.

Photo of Floydster
2.25/5  rDev -40.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

12 ounce bottle received as an extra in a trade about a year ago, sorry I forgot who it was from, this bottle is from 2006 I know that much, drank tonight and poured into my funky Urthel glass

A-Deep brown and ruby red color, one inch light tan head, lasted forever, great retention, some nice lacing
S-Ash, lots of caramel, other dark fruits, burned sugar, candy, booze, oak, and dark berries
T-Started off with a pungent sweetness, then was dominated by alcohol, where are some dry accents or bready malt to battle out the fruit and toffee, almost repulsive, got even stronger as it warmed and never mellowed out, so much alcohol in here, lacked complexity and needed something else going on other than sheer strength
M-Sweet, boozy, and strong mouthfeel, medium to full bodied, needs more carbonation and crispness, taste never seemed to go away
D-Hard to get down, sweetness and hot sensation ruin it, super heavy on the stomach, ABV is high, overwhelming

I could not even drink four ounces of this stuff and I moved on to another beer shortly after, my dad did not even want it when I gave it to him, worst I have had from Duck Rabbit, will not drink this again, not recommended
I could not even drink four ounces of this stuff and I moved on to another beer shortly after, my dad did not even want it when I gave it to him, worst I have had from Duck Rabbit, will not drink this again, not recommended

Duck-Rabbit Barleywine Ale from The Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery
86 out of 100 based on 545 ratings.