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

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

348 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 348
Hads: 569
Avg: 3.8
pDev: 13.42%
Wants: 109
Gots: 51 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Duck-Rabbit Barleywine Ale Alström Bros
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Reviews: 348 | Hads: 569
Photo of nriech
4.32/5  rDev +13.7%
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.

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Photo of flexabull
3.89/5  rDev +2.4%
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!

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Photo of sinstaineddemon
4.42/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

thanks to sackerz9 for this bottle also, what a great trader

A - this barleywine pours a dark amber red, atop sits a thin tan head with surprising retention held aloft by moderate carbonation

S - big grapefruit aroma up front, a nice hoppy-piney aroma, some orange citrus is also there, strong enough to discern it fromt he grapefruit, and underneath it all lies a mellow dark brown sugary sweetness

T - wow, wicked sweet, without being sickly sweet, grapefruit and piney aromas translate well to the taste and battle the deep tofee/brown sugary sweetness, and call me crazy but i also detect a syrupy pineapple flavor

M&D - slick mouthcoat that soothes and warms on the way down, a highly dichotomous beer, warming/soothing, bitter/sweet, its wonderfully balanced and blended, a great barleywine, a nice way to start enjoying a breweries beers, the high ABV darws the drinkability down a bit, but thats it

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

Thanks to ipa2xs for sending this one my way in the No Name BIF.

Appearance: Attractive reddish mahogany in color, very clear. One finger head with good retention and nice lace.

Smell: Sweet and hoppy, although not as much fruit character as I'd expect - more fitting to my expectations of a Double IPA. Hop character is resiny.

Taste: Might smell a bit like a DIPA, but it doesn't taste like it. Sweet and citrus on the front of the palate. Resiny hops. Good bit of dark fruit towards the end. Finishes bitter rather than sweet. Definitely wouldn't have guessed 11% abv...

Mouthfeel: Big bodied, bordering on syrupy. Well-carbonated.

Drinkability: This is tasty beer. Only downside is that it's 11% abv - which I didn't realize when I opened it, whoops!

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Photo of Neehan
4.35/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle into a pint glass.

Poured a dark amber-ruby with a large head and plenty of sticky retention. Very nice nose with citrusy fruits as well as more smooth, less pungent fruits. A nice smoky apple on the front. A damn smooth taste with well-hidden alcohol and warm, spicy undertones. A smoky cinnamon apple flavor with a dark, ever so slightly bitter aftertase. Very enjoyable. A chewy mouthfeel initially that becomes smooth and light on the finish. Very drinkable, especially for the style. Very impressive.

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Photo of atsprings
4.13/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I have to admit, I have only recently gained an appreciation for barley wines. This is one of the first that I really enjoyed. Last year, when I tried several barley wines such as SN Bigfoot and Anchor Old Foghorn, I could barely finish a glass as the taste would diminish with each passing sip. That was not the case with this! Maybe it's just my growingly intelligent palate, but I found so much complexity to this beer. The alcohol is well hidden, yet still has great warming effect that is perfect on a cold January night. The subtle hops provide a great accent to the subtle fruitiness. I will be putting away and entire six pack and look forward to seeing how well this beer ages.

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Photo of dirtylou
3.24/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz single, delivered by Blackie who always keeps me up to date on my mediocre NC beer drinking (not you highland!!)

appearance: very nice appearance...shiny amber body, very clear, big frothy beige head with great lacing. It's a nice looking barleywine, thats for sure

smell: odd...metallic, plasticy pungent hops, sharp candied aromas...unusual and difficult to describe

taste: This is just a wierd beer. Its not particularly offensive but its not one of the better barleywines i have had. Hop presence is a tad sour, not too bitter, and difficult to place (its citrusy, not particulary piney)...artifical cherry flavoring. I'm at a loss for words

mouthfeel: pretty smooth, sour, lacking bitterness, moderate alcohol feel

drinkability: eh

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Photo of wagenvolks
3.57/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thick light tan head dissipating in 2-3 minutes, light lacing. Body is a translucent, clear burnt sienna that turns almost ruby red (think cranberry juice) when held up to the light. Smells like some type of overly ripe fruit, sweet tobacco with molasses and flowery (lilac?) notes. A slight alcoholic tinge present.

Taste is definately not my favorite style...caramel and tobacco...hard to put a real finger on. It's complex, but really just mediocre in its flavor. Mouthfeel is light and crisp up front but kind of lacks a strong finish...is my mouth warming as I take a gulp? weird. Drinkability is okay, I can drink this for a while, surprisingly. Goes great with meat & cheese.

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Photo of merlin48
4.45/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Many thanks to mntlover for sending this fine bottle. Served into a goblet, it exhibits a radiant copper garnet body topped by a large beige head. Retention is excellent and attractive island chain lace adorns the glass.

Aroma is very pungent. Citrusy orange and tangerine notes suggestive of marmelade mingle with hoppy grapefruit and pine sap. Sturdy malt presence boasts caramel, toffee, and toasted brown sugar.

Mouthfeel is medium in body and carbonation and is somewhat slick.

Taste is awash in fruity complexity, with melon and apple joining the citrus noted in the aroma. Caramel, toffee, and brown sugar show up again and lend a sturdy sweet malt base. Hints of dark fruits like raisins are in the background. Finishes with a pleasant sweetness suggestive of orange marmelade.

Difficult to classify as American or English, but a prime example why Duck-Rabbit has emerged as one of the premier craft breweries in the Southern United States. Very well done!

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Photo of wcudwight
3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Nice coloration with lot's of shades of red mixed in. Light tan head that rose to a quater of an inch and then fell to a sticky soap like lace on the top.
Smell's of candied oranges.
Taste: Man this is sweet....but strangely I like it. Caramel, brown sugar, and a sweet fruitiness. This also taste like it has a different hop profile than I'm used to. It has a nice fruitiness but it's not citrus or dark fruits. The sweetness and complexity of the flavors almost completely hide the 11% alcohol.
Mouthfeel is a little light for the style. No alcohol burn in the mouth. I think this adds to the beer and drinkability. Also, the finish is so dry it'll leave your mouth parched.
The lighter body and hidden alcohol add to the drinkability. But the sweetness, which is very good, detracts from it a bit.
Overall I wouldn't consider this to be very true to the style, but it's still a good barleywine.

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Photo of mntlover
3.43/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a deep copper/red mixture with lots of bubbles slowly rising to the top of a nice khaki head. The head falls slowly to ringed scum that leaves lots of sticky lace behind. Nice looking brew I am a sucker for red beers.

Aroma is fruity like figgy citrus. Sugar soaked figs mingled with honey dipped apricots. Lots of sweet malt present, caramel, molasses lots of free floating sugars. But there is that west coast hop presence that kind of throws a kink in the Englishness of it. But it smells good any how.

Taste is like the aroma but even more sugary. Lots of malts caramel, molasses, lots of free floating sugars mingled with figs mainly but some citrus showing up apricot like. Brew is not overly hoppy but seems west coast in nature on an English malt like base so its a little strange. Alcohol is noticed but it does not distract or play negative role at all. I was wanting to like this one hell looks great, smells good but only tastes ok. Just too much sweetness for me, hopefully age will bring it all together soon. The rest are headed for the cellar.

Mouthfeel is not as full as you would expect, a big medium with good mellow carbonation.

Drinkability is ok, not something I would run out and buy more of until I find out how it ages.

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Photo of wedge
3.53/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep, glowing mahogany with a lush beige head that leaves rings of lace all over the glass. Hefty pungent aroma to this barleywine. Sticky, bright fruits and caramel - citrus and pine. Nicely layered though I feel it could use a malt boost and tone down the sunny fresh fruit. With the first sip, there definitely seems to be a stronger malt profile, but in an instant it vanishes under a sweet, candied fruitiness. Ripe, tart fruit coats the mouth not leaving much room for anything else and putting this barleywine in an unfortunate state of unbalance. Its real tasty in the mouth before swallowing, but a tropical twang throws it off somewhat. Full and creamy mouthfeel. All that alcohol is well hidden, but its one-sidedness lowers its drinkability.

This is certainly an interesting and different barleywine. Very potent to say the least, but it needs a lot more malt, which comes as a shock to me seeing as Duck Rabbit usually puts out some supremely malty beers. If they tweak it just a little bit, this has the potential to be fantastic.

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

This is a very different Barleywine.
Typical colors, head and sticky lacing.
Aroma is different though...brown sugar, caramel, fresh fruit (not dark), hops with a hint of oranges.
Taste is fresh and different as well....caramel, brown sugar, maple syurp, oranges, piney hops.
Very fresh and clean tasting without a hint of the 11% ABV advertised.
Traditional? No.
Good? Without a doubt.
Definately not an American Barleywine, but not really an English one either.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.4/5  rDev -10.5%
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.

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Photo of AlexJ
3.87/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Clear, amber brown with a thin, fluffy collar of wheat hued froth that has modest retention and cling. Not too exciting to look at.

The nose perks me up with it's tale of sweetly scorched caramel and toffee with abundant sweet fruit notes. It has a faint notion of pine and plenty of citrus.

Flavor is deliciously different for this style. It definately starts on the sweet side, with caramel and butterscotch malts and loads of juicey, ripe fruit. The fruitiness reminds me of something Belgian. It develops toasty pine and citrus notes and has just enough bitterness in the finish to balance things out. I would never guess this was 11%, it's smooth given it's freshness.

Body is a bit lacking. It tastes big, but doesn't feel so. I need a little more body in my big ales. Inspite of this slight shortcoming, this is a very tastey BW that will make an interesting cellaring candidate.

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Photo of sabrills70
3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz brown bottle with a best before date of 12/07. Pours a medium amber with a 1 finger head with nice longevity and very nice lace. Not you typical barleywine smells. Mostly a fresh hop presence with a fruity sourness mixed in. Very unique as barlywines go. Very fruity and has a nice hop flavor with mild bitterness. Caramel, brown sugar and slight pine notes as well. Alcohol is well hidden especially at 11%. A different but tasty beer. Give it a try.

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Photo of barleywinebrewer
3.8/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

thanks to mikesgroove for this via trade.

A - Poured a cloudy reddish orange. Nice small sized tan head.
S - Citric and piney with a medium caramel / toffee malty presence.
T - similar to the smell. Seemed to be a wrestling within the beer between hoppy and malty through the glass of beer. I felt it was more towards hoppy as the leaning but by no means a hop monster ala west coast style.
M - Medium bodied and smooth. carbonation was light but by no means faint like a Hardy's or gale & co prize old ale.
D - A good drinker. Balanced and a nice american interpretation of an English Barleywine.

I'd prefer a bit stronger malt profile. I think this may cellar well but hard to say. That said I'd easily put a few in the cellar for a tasting every 6-12 months to see how it matures.

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

Poured into my new St. Bernardus Goblet, courtesy of Secret Santa Irishsnake.

Quite a bit of carbonation, especially for a barleywine. Slowly dissipated into a thin layer augmented by some groups of foam floating on the top. Deep orange amber color. Pretty looking brew.

Aroma is quite strong, but I can't put my nose on exactly what I am smelling. It is fruity and has some brown sugar, perhaps a yeastiness and candi-sugar smell reminiscent of a Belgian ale? There is another, spicy component that I can't identify. Finally, some piney hops come through

Taste is quite rough. Sweet, malty, some piney hops and some orange and coriander dominate. Taste is similar to the aroma, with some flavors I can't quite pinpoint. It almost has a wee-heavy-like aspect background.

Mouthfeel is a bit cloying, and has a resiny, sticky and drying finish. It doesn't seem to fit with the rest of the beer.

Overall, I'm disappointed in this brew. Compared to some of the classic barleywines, this one seems out of balance and rough. Perhaps some aging will help. I guess I'll find out, as I have 5 other bottles to stash away in the fridge.

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Photo of MuddyFeet
3.79/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I really liked the color of this beer. A bright and clear brick red that glowed when held up to the light. Christmas tree bulb red. Thin head that dissolved down to a thin film but was thicker around the edges. Lots of filligreed lace working around the glass. Nose was the biggest dissappointment. Only pick up some slight traces of malts.

Flavor is quite nice. Never one of my favorite styles because I usually find the hops under-reaching or the malts a bit over the top. Here though the malts are sweet to the point of being tart but then quickly rounded off with a citrusy, candy hops. The hops remind me of another beer. I cannot recall which one but I was to say it is from Victory. I will have to look around a bit. Alcohol is camoflaged nicely behind the flavors. Full body that raps around the mouth just a bit too much. Can really enjoy this beer.

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.8/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer poured into the glass clear deep amber with a tannish head which rose tall and fell slowly to lace the glass.

The aroma was floral and piney with a earthy and only lightly citrus hop presence. Some orange esters were present as was a backbone of caramel. The alcohol in the aroma tingled the nasal passaged but was not overdone.

The flavor was piney and lightly resinous with a citrus accent of orange. The flavor was mostly filled with caramel and resinous citrus which was well balanced and never obtrusive. The caramel also housed a very slight tartness that may not be welcomed as this one ages.

The finish was heading toward dry with a lasting orange citric flavor and piney resinous hops into the aftertaste. The body was full with a creamy mouthfeel. The citric bite and tartness might be an indicator of things to come. Currently the beer drinks pretty easy but has a muted flavor of malt and hops as if it it couldn't decide which way to fall off the fence. A nice barleywine for sure, but the citric punch could be eliminated for my tastes.

12 ounce bottle.

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Photo of rodrot
3.55/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured an attractive orange amber color with a massive head. I didn't expect such a large head for a beer of this strength. Aroma was of leafy hops, citrus fruit and caramelly malts. Taste was malty sweet with notes of toffee, cherry and some winelike notes. The beer became more winey as it warmed. Hops were much more noticeable in the aroma than in the taste as the bitterness was quite low. Mouthfeel was medium and left a syrupy feeling in the back of the throat. Alcohol was well hidden, but this beer could definitely benefit from some time in the cellar as it seemed a little bland to me. This is my first disappointment from Duck Rabbit.

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Photo of blackie
3.8/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

vintage 2008...figured it was time for a fresh review after a bad first showing

a: Scant khaki head quickly recedes. Gorgeous color to the beer, a rich ruby-red deep amber.

s: Unusual but nice, the only negative I find is a stereotypically homebrew like aroma, perhaps diacetyl. Heavy on the sweet caramel and toffee malts.

m: Low carbonation, full syrupy body...a little too thick but forgivable

t: Big caramel and toffee malt flavors at first, some diacetyl, with a toasty note coming out after swallowing. Hop flavor is low, light-moderate bitterness on the tongue. Nice malt flavors, but missing depth.

d: easy given the abv

overall, a definite improvement over the original batch (I skipped last year's)

12/10/10 - reviewing a Dec 2008 bottle - rich malty nose, heavy on the caramel, smooth boozy tone, rich bread pudding, lightly carbonated and thick, same deal on the tongue but with a weird metal astringency, almost like sucking on an electrode (hop-induced or some bacterial specimen?), very interesting taste nonetheless, very grainy/mealy, booze heavy leave scores the same

vintage 2006

appearance: Topped with a spiffy new D-R logo bottle cap. Pours into my snifter a 1" khaki head. Nice retention. The beer is a clear, reddish medium-amber.

smell: Immediately, it's not as malty as I expected. There's a note of sour mash in the background, with a toffee or caramel malt presence. Moderately sweet notes of candied orange and cherry. Even smells a little Belgian at times, with some spice and yeast. Hard to pick out the hops, but they seem to be papery with a light floral, piney note.

mouthfeel: The carbonation is on the lower side of the medium range, and smooth. The body is full. I would like it to coat the tongue a little more after the swallow.

taste: Toffee and caramel malts alongside a flavor of sour mash. The sourness tastes slightly off, to be honest. Sweet and sour sauce for sure. Light hop flavor and a moderate bitterness in the finish. Lacks complexity and malt character. Even though the sourness detracts in the aroma, it actually makes for a pretty interesting sniff. It doesn't translate so well to the palate, however.

drinkability: The ABV is well hidden, but some of the off flavors hinder.


Not up to par with the other Duck-Rabbit seasonal releases. Might need to revisit and revise later. (resampled on Dec. 21)

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Photo of SaCkErZ9
3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dispensed from a 12oz bottle with the familiar rabbit with a gold label: This time the rabbit is adorned in a brown derby. I love how they keep the labels simple yet different. A brilliant, ruby colored beer emerges with a nice, tight, purple tinted white head of nice size and great retention.

Aroma is fruity and citrus hops as well as a nice caramel backbone and some sweetness. Possibly some fig in there as well. Fruitiness consists of orange, lemon, and pineapple.

An interesting tasting barleywine, to say the least. Some chocolate as well as the fruitiness; but instead of light citrus fruits, darker fruits like plum and cherries seem prevalent. A nice little twang is tossed in to keep one guessing. Some significant hop bitterness in the finish leaves the tongue gasping for air.

Nice body here as well. Full bodied with nice carbonation.

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Duck-Rabbit Barleywine Ale from The Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery
86 out of 100 based on 348 ratings.