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

very good
352 Reviews
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Duck-Rabbit Barleywine AleDuck-Rabbit Barleywine Ale

Brewed by:
The Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery
North Carolina, United States | website

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by SaCkErZ9 on 12-12-2006

User Reviews
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Reviews: 352 | Ratings: 585
Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +5.3%
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.

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Photo of gkatsoris
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Slightly murky. Tan in color. Thin thin head.

S: Malts and raisins. Vanilla. Bread. Butterscotch. Slight citrus; tangerine.

T: Malty mostly. Really sweet and tangy. Pretty hoppy for a barleywine I think. Tangy.

M: Very nice. Full and thick. Nice coat left in the mouth.

O: A solid barleywine. A big barleywine.

thanks redliner8!!!

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Photo of pokesbeerdude
1.82/5  rDev -52.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

12oz bottle that my sister grabbed for me when she was back in GA. Into a Deschutes Snifter. 6/13 best before date. This is my first Duck-Rabbit beer.

A: Turbid copper in color with a light tan head that foams up to about half an inch and quickly recedes, leaving behind a few spots of lacing and practically nothing reminiscent of a head.

S: Tart, like bretty/lacto infected tart? Um. Huh? Smells infected, and not much else behind it.

T: Infected, there's definitely something not right with this brew. Over attenuated, practically no malt flavors, slightly astringent alcohol, and decent hop bitterness. Definitely bretty and infected.

M: Thin, slightly overcarbonated but not necessarily boozy.

O: Wow, incredibly disappointed. This is clearly infected. If this is the brewer's intention, I have to say that I hate this. Brett and tartness in a barleywine just don't work for me.

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3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

330ml bottle. Snifter glass. Enjoyed on dec´11. Dark ruby in color, orangish to the light. Close & dense crown, yellowish color, small bubbled with good retention. Caramel malt & sweet toasted malt aromas, notes of prune & raisin. Sweet bitter upfront then moderate flavor of malts & gentle warming alcohol.Hues of spices & cask-wood. Full body, medium carbonation. Overwhelmed molasses in the middle lingers into a kind sugary finish. Ripe fruits on the aftertaste. No bothering high ABV.

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Photo of flyers1980
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Mad Elf tulip glass after letting it sit about an hour or so out of the fridge. Aroma is very much like an IPA, which could fool you if you didn't know which beer was in front of you (but how often does that happen). Definitely much more full budied than Old Horizontal or the Appalachian Brewing Co. barleywine I've had (those are the only other two I've tried). Definitely a sipper but also incredibly drinkable for a beer of this style. A nice 6-ounce glass (or a whole 12-ounce bottle if you're me) make for a perfect aperitif before fish or chicken.

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Photo of VaterRoss
3.48/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into New Belgium snifter.

Beer pours a dark orange/copper with a nice clingy orange/white head. Smell is very sweet and so citrus hoppy as to be almost oily. Taste is hard to pull apart due to the extreme hoppiness. Starts with a light sour body that is quickly swallowed by a mouth prickling wave of citrusy hop bitterness. There is also some sweetness in there from the malt. The sourness and citrusyness reminds me of lemon. Beer is actually quite sour and citrusy and super hopped. Mouthfeel is surprisingly light in body and also quite sour.

The sourness of this one really threw me off, also very lightweight for a barley. Doesn't taste like 11% but you can feel it. Not a bad beer but I've had much better barleys. I wish it wasn't so sour.

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Photo of TheRougeBastard
3.65/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a very good brew! I admit was surprised at the smoothness and drinkability having expected more of bite, but found none. The aroma had hints of caramel, citrus, and even cinnamon and molasses. It was very drinkable, not overwhelming in the least with a pleasant aftertaste and none the “heavier” beer note at all. A thoroughly enjoyable beverage, one for my favorites list!

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Photo of FosterJM
4.23/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1216th Review on BA
Bottle to CCB snifter

Thanks to Gurudel for this one

App-  A huge dark orange with ambers, garnets and even some red.  Giant head and keeps the sticky cling going as it slides gently.

Smell-  Really has a lot going on. The malts open this one and then a huge damp pressed cherry note. A bit of tingly booze and thick sweetness. Big candy notes.

Taste-  As I sip on this it really opens up. Huge malty and sweet notes. This seems to be a true BW. Toffee sweet and moves to boozy and dark cherry notes.

Mouth- A full medium with a semi creamy and filling medium carbonation. Residual booze and cherry malts.

Drink-  A very tasty beer. Has a large flavor profile. Complex, tasty and sweet. Classic BW flavors and the ABV is well hidden

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Photo of smakawhat
4.1/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass. Vintage 2012.

A simple pour brings a faint caramel head that settles with a nice top and whispy laced collar. Body color is a gorgeous glowing bronze red, shimmering and just a beautiful color.

Great nose. Candied fruits of apricot, mild brown sugars, sweet malts faint sour lemon and powdered cinnamon also. Real impressive, I love this sweet and sour angle with citrus sense.

Sour angle hits with an interesting palate for a barleywine. Sour lemon pulp, zest and pith with a slight astringent hop character. Body is a little wet even hinting at fizz. On the swallow boozy character only hits in the stomach not on the palate.

Overall I've NEVER had a barleywine that tasted like this, it's real impressive, but perhaps not one I would go nuts over. Great beer.

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Photo of RCK86
4.32/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought a sixer of this off the shelf for $11.99 and set it in my fridge overnight to cool.

A: Hazy brownish-orange, somewhere between bourbon and Grand Marnier. When poured into a Delirium Tremens tulip, it retained a slight head that diminished fairly quickly. Not much lacing at all.

S: The citrus hits you first. I thought I caught floral hint on my first whiff, but upon further review I'm not sure it's there. The alcohol is there at the end, but it's very faint. Smells a lot less boozy than other beers of similar or lower ABV.

T: Strong citrus with a bit of a woody tinge. The alcohol is there, but it's not off-putting in the least. Tastes like a beer of considerably lower ABV.

M: Very, very smooth. It's warm, but no in an alcohol-y way. One of the most drinkable 10%+ beers I've ever tasted. I could down a 6-pack of these quicker than I would feel the effects. I'd be on my ass in no time.

O: Highly recommended. I'm not incredibly familiar with the style and thus can't speak to how well this brew adheres to its tenets, but I know a good beer when I taste one. I love The Duck Rabbit's offerings, and this is my favorite beer of theirs. This could become my new go-to "good" beer.

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Photo of tdm168
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
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.

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Photo of aasher
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a medium bodied dirty, cloudy copper with a one finger soapy off white head. The nose is surprisingly oaky and dry. The matinees is sweet with sme cherry and toffee. The flavors too are pretty woody, especially for a beer that isn't advertised to be barrel aged otherwise it follows the nose with candied sugar and cherry. It drinks between light and medium in body and isn't overly sticky. It finishes dry fr the style if anything. This is an interesting barley wine. Its worth a try and is a nice change of pace for the style.

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Photo of AndyAvalanche
4.45/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a Duvel Tulip Style Glass. Liquid portion comes out sort of a bronze red color, maybe the slightest bit lighter. The liquid has excellent clarity. There's an orange to off-white colored head that absolutely erupts from an aggressive pour. Really nice lacing from the top of the glass to the liquid at the bottom.

Smell is very nice; it actually smells very sweet. Huge, generous amounts of barley and hops. Pretty well blended between the two of them as well. Sort of a natural sugar aroma as well. For 11% there's not overwhelming alcohol aromas either, but it does slightly warm the nose.

Taste is equally as good as the smell. In addition it sort of piggy-backs it. Barley backbone is big again producing hints of ripe, fruity flavors. Also some large portions of earthy hops. Again with the slight warmth of alcohol, but not much of a flavor, again very sweet too.

Mouthfeel and drinkability are really good. Well balanced and well blended. Full bodied with a good carbonation level. Slight warmth from the alcohol, almost a burn to the point where it's slightly hotter than you want it to be, but makes it a nice sipper. All in all a nice barleywine, very tasty!

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Photo of jayfro70
3.94/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours very cloudy, dark burnt orange color. Very little head.

S: Very strong smell of brown sugar.

T: Nice bitterness up front and at the end. Tastes like it smells. Brown sugar and currants.

M: Very smooth, slick mouthfeel. Smooth

O: Despite the nice individual aspects of the beer, overall disappointing. There seems to be a lot going on in this beer, but it doesn't seem to come together for an overall effective beer.

Serving type: bottle

***picked this beer up at a local restaurant/bar that was having a "vintage beer" sale. Not sure when this beer was produced, but the "drink by" date was Feb 2012. Drank on Jan 27 2012. I would have expected a barleywine like this one to have aged better. Decent beer, but not what I was expecting.

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Photo of GregSVT
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a tulip

A: Pours a ruddy orange with a nice cream colored head that fades to a ring and leaves no lacing on the glass.

S: The nose has really big aromas of caramel, toffee, bready malt, and citrusy hops. Smells more like an American Barleywine than an English one.

T: The taste starts with a huge blast of grapefruit along with some sweeter flavors of caramel and toffee. Definitely an American Barleywine...needs to have the classification changed.

M: Feel is medium bodied oily and slick.

O: This is about on par for the correct style. Huge hop presence makes this kinda hard to drink though.

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Photo of BedetheVenerable
2.88/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Presentation: Huge thanks to Alewatcher for throwing this one in as one of MANY extras! 12oz brown pop top with cool DR label; this is my first go at this brewery. Best by 2-2011, but considering the style, I'm not too nervous.

Appearance: Slightly hazy orange amber brew, with a nice dark ivory/light beige cap with nice retention.

Smell: Definitely more in the English tradition, with dark boozy caramel and a bit of dark fruit. Sweet, boozy, and pleasant, but not a lot of depth.

Taste: Perhaps the fruitiest barleywine I've had to date. Boozy medium fruits and...well, more booze. Not really 'hot', but damn close. Not getting any of the big, sticky caramel notes I expected from the aromas. Decent bitter kick on the finish, with a hint of toast.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied

Overall: Really glad to have finally gotten to try something from this brewery; thanks Alewatcher! I must say, however, that this is a bit disappointing. All booze, no real depth of flavor, etc. I know this is out of date, but this really should be ok. Probably not one I'd go back to again.

C = Doesn't particularly offend, but nothing here to make me revisit this, when there's so many better options out there.

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Photo of bs870621345
4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a hazy amber color with minimal head, but leaves bits of lacing down the glass.

Smells like alcohol, raisins, caramel, toffee, and some citrus in there.

Taste opens with an apple and raisin flavor moving into a caramel and toffee sweetness. Bitterness sweeps in and washes the sweetness away into a short lived alcohol aftertaste. For a Barleywine, it is pretty clean.

Mouthfeel is full and nice carbonation.

Overall, its really good. I like my Barleywines malty and this is a good one.

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Photo of Chriscrundwell12
3.36/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a Darkness snifter.

A- Really attractive beer, nice 1 ½ finger foamy off white head that dissipates slowly, really nice lacing the coats the side of the glass. Attractive burnt orange/red color.
S- Big bready/nutty malt aroma, dark fruits, plums, raisins, cherries, brown sugar, caramel, alcohol is present.
T- Big malt presence, bready malts dark fruits, really similar to the aroma, the alcohol is a little more hidden in the taste than the aroma, plums, raisins, cherries, caramel, toffee, brown sugar.
M- Medium/Big mouth feel, smooth drinking, thick, a little heat on the finish, crisp finish.
O- This is a solid beer, nothing more nothing less, I enjoyed it, above average beer but not mind blowing.

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Photo of ChadQuest
3.25/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had this bottle for a bit now, it's at least one year old but i dont know more then that.
Color is a slightly hazy woody looking, about the color of a light maple syrup. some lacing and a thin collar.
Aroma is spiced earthy sweetness. There is a Nutmeg like spice mixed in a caramel and molasses base.
Flavors are rounded toffee and burnt caramel, brown sugar, and a mixture of noble hops and nutmeg bringing in some earthyness to combat the sweetness.
mouthfeel is coating and sticky, low-med carbonation.

A solid English barleywine that i feel is a bit above average.

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Photo of Arbitrator
2.96/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Chilled bottle into a glass. Courtesy of Neffbeer. Thanks!

A: Pours a dark, but clear, maroon body capped with an inch of beige foam. It leaves lacing in its wake, and it maintains a broken swath of bubbles on top of the beer after all is said and done.

S: On the sweeter side: caramel, toffee. It has an herbal earthiness to it as well.

T: The flavor starts off sweet, with a blend of caramel and toffee flavors up front. They segue into herbs and earth in the mid-taste, rounding out with a drying (not dry) finish of earthy bitterness that lingers into the aftertaste. Not particularly complex or special, but if you enjoy barleywines you'll probably get a kick out of this.

M: Sweet up front with a bitter finish. Not a particularly complex flavor, but the flavor that is there is delivered on a medium-full body with low carbonation.

O: This is decent. Nothing to write home about. I found it all right.

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Photo of kbuzz
4.5/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into my trusty snifter. Best by 1/12.

A: Pours a beautiful caramel rust colored beer with a minimal light tan/khaki head that recedes rapidly. Murky viscous looking beer that leaves a bit of lacing. Really pretty Barleywine...almost ideal.

S: Confectionary sweetness with a ton of dark caramel malts. A bit of the dark fruit thing going on, but not as much as some other Barleywines. This is more molasses and brown sugar...lots and lots of sweetness in the aroma.

T: Raisins. Caramelized brown sugar. Molasses. Caramel. Toffee. Just various layers of sweetness. A touch of roast and coffee...just a touch. Some underlying fig and plum, but again not prominent.

M: This is a big, chewy, juicy beer. Full bodied. Thick...coats the mouth and lets the layers slide off the palate unveiling different stages of flavor. Just enough carbonation to keep everything moving.

O: I'm pretty amazed, actually. I wish I knew when this was brewed rather than when it's "best by"...cause I'd say this sucker is perfectly aged. Not that Duck Rabbit makes bad (or even average)beers, but this was surprisingly good. Might have to go drink the other one I bought right after this one. Thick, sweet, but not overly so...complex, challenging and oh so tasty. One of Duck Rabbit's best regulars.

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Photo of harrymel
3.51/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Best by: Dec, ????

A: dark caramel ale with a finger of whipped toasted cream foam. This sticks around for quite some time before barely retreating to a quilt of the same. Sheet lace. excellent clarity.
S: Toffee, caramel, burnt sugar, hints of oatmeal and maple. Nice.
T: Sweet malts, subtle cotton candy tone. Some nice maple syrup notes and a bit of raisin. Maybe a little bit of metal.
M: Medium on heavy for the style. Lower, appropriate carb. Semi dry finish.
O: Nice beer. Flavor a little off. would like a little thinner in the body.

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Photo of nhindian
3.42/5  rDev -10%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a Duck-Rabbit snifter.

A - Pours a cloudy burnt orange mixed with crimson and amber. It glows softly when held to light, but otherwise it looks pretty dark. About a finger's worth of tan head lies on top with good retention.

S - Overall the nose is fairly sweet with some sticky caramel, toffee, and sweet chocolate malts. It has a bit of spice to it as well in that earthy, gritty sort of way, and it has something like a fruity side to it. All malt, with a kick of alcohol at the end.

T - The nose translate faithfully into the taste, with two exceptions. For starters, the fruit comes across stronger here, with a noticeable tangerine and fig flavor. Secondly, the alcohol is turned up a notch. It's a bit hotter here, and while it doesn't make it undrinkable, it does detract a little from the overall experience and balance. Otherwise, it is still pretty sweet with lots of caramel and toffee with a peppery spice to it. The chocolate is more subdued as well, but stretches out over the entire duration of the sip.

M - Mouthfeel is medium-bodied with good carbonation. Like Rabid Duck, I feel it's a bit thin and light for the style, and especially so for the sweet taste. I guess it's a better compromise than having it be syrupy, though.

D/O - Drinkability is moderate. This is definitely on the sweeter side of the barleywine spectrum, but the taste does counteract this a bit with the hops. The biggest grievance I have against this beer is the somewhat hot alcohol burn in the flavor. While bold, the rest of the flavors have a tough time compensating for this.

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Photo of OneDropSoup
3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Duck-Rabbit snifter: Deep russet that doesn't have highlights so much as glows a warm ruby-orange. Finger of sticky head that drops to a thick covering with large, tapioca bubbles.

Heady caramel & toffee in the nose, with a kind of rum-like cane sugar & dark fruit skin character. Raisins - or more accurately, raisin bread - & a slightly prickly alcohol power.

Taste is yow! Some hearty booze with a bit of fusel sting wraps around the dark sugar flavor. Some dryness from booze, plus a tannic quality, but this is far from a dry beer with all the sugars going on. There's a kind of burnt astringency in there, a little husky but not terribly prominent. Not loving 100% of everything here, but some real complexity.

Medium-full-bodied, plenty of sticky sugars, like I said, a little tannic, but also yields pretty easily, not super-thick. A more robust body wouldn't be a bad thing.

Some flaws, but overall this is a worthwhile barleywine. Would love to try it on draft.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.4/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown pour, far from clear, almost no head to it, looked rather rudimentary in a homebrew kinda way. Lacked much in the aroma, a little fusel, tad of nutty smell.

Taste, toffee, barely hopped, low carbonation. Very smooth, not overly sweet, hides the alcohol extremely well. Just is kinda plain tasting, not appreciably sweet nor bitter nor hoppy. Its easy enough to drink, even velvety at times. Takes the toffee and nuts and smooves them out into something that is relatively easy going given its abv.

If you like barleywines, check it out, otherwise, its probably a 50/50 chance you dig it or don't.

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Duck-Rabbit Barleywine Ale from The Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery
86 out of 100 based on 352 ratings.