Barrel Aged Old Toad Barleywine | Bullfrog Brewery

very good
36 Ratings
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Barrel Aged Old Toad BarleywineBarrel Aged Old Toad Barleywine

Brewed by:
Bullfrog Brewery
Pennsylvania, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Deuane on 01-27-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Ratings: 36 |  Reviews: 26
Photo of jh1982
5/5  rDev +17.1%

Photo of sideshowe
5/5  rDev +17.1%

Photo of corby112
4.8/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a deep dark cherry ruby red/mahogany color with dark cherry red hues and a one finger off white head that has decent retention, only slowly fading into a lasting ring. Spotty lacing is left behind.

Sweet alcohol and leathery malt aroma with lots of caramel and toffee and possibly some butterscotch. Nice amount of earthy oak that is not overpowering, letting the other aromas shine. Prominent vanilla and very subtle whiskey.

Luscious creamy full medium body with a perfect balance of earthy oak, leathery malt, sweet alcohol, whiskey and vanilla. Pretty smooth with a slight burn toward the end of the swallow and a lot of warmth in the chest but considering the style and high ABV the alcohol is decently masked. Not much tannis but it is still slightly earthy and the oak character is prominent. Lots of vanilla character and a good bit of sweet alcohol and whiskey. Caramel and toffee along with butterscotch provide excellent balance. There's even some sligt dark fruit notes when it warms, especially some slightly tart dark cherry. Very complex and dangerously drinkable. Excellent and highly recommended!

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Photo of afksports
4.75/5  rDev +11.2%

Photo of ffejherb
4.67/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Muchas gracias to FooFaa for sharing a growler of this at Brass Rail Deli on 11/2/09!

A - Poured a deep toffee-colored body with reddish and mahogany hues and half a finger of creamy beige/off-white head that settled into a thing ring of retention and left minimal lacing around the snifter.

S - Initial waft reeks of strong, boozy whiskey, but eventually mellows out as it warmed up, introducing notes of vanilla and woody tannins. Caramel and toffee sweetness is also evident, as well as hints of pitted fruit, chocolate and candi sugars.

T - Whiskey is much more mellow and subdued in the flavor, with the vanilla and oak taking center stage. Gobs of sweet caramel and toffee mingle with sugary candy sweetness. Flavor is rounded out by chocolate and dark fruit notes. Finishes with minimal hop bitterness.

M - Full bodied, thick and chewy with a syrupy texture and soft carbonation, resulting in very little bristle on the tongue. Finishes sweet on the palate with modest hop bitterness.

D - Incredibly drinkable for a 12% plus ABV Barleywine. The whiskey presence isn't harsh at all, but instead I found the flavor to be quite sweet and mellow, yet extremely complex, with lots of vanilla, chocolate and woody notes.

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Photo of StormKing47
4.62/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

The one I traveled to Capone's Black Friday event with cmurren25 and stakem. Unbelievable, but I traveled 2 hours to try it. Enjoyed this masterpiece on tap. Here goes...

A- Appears right on for a beer of this style. It is a simple dirty looking light brown with a reddish tinge that is reminiscent of I hate to say it mud. Does not have the right away noticeable redder color that many thinner barleywines have. This one looks extremely full bodied that is accompanied with a very thin white head. Very odd and enticing.

S- Boom, right away an explosion of vanilla, oak and fruity esters like raisins and some fruit sweetness. Cannot believe that it smells this amazing, has a ridiculous sweet smelling of a deep vanilla from the oak and big malt profile. The fruity tones I am picking up are of raisins and others that are difficult to pick apart because I am overwhelmed with the explosion in my nose. I am going to say plums, darker skinned fruits and almost a brown sugar. Smell is unbelievable.

T- Wooowwweee. I cannot believe I missed the bottle release of this beer. After having Wooden Hell, this is as close as I think I will ever get again to that one. It is ridiculous how much of the in your face oak, caramel and vanilla taste blend with the fruity undertones. I cannot get enough and want to order another as soon as I am done. The warming I am experiencing from the high abv are noticeable, but welcomed in my opinion. The flavors are blending well the oak earthiness, vanilla, caramel, brown sugar, plums, raisins and a little faint hop subtlety are all pleasant experience and create a masterpiece.

M- I am honestly in disbelief. It coats my mouth like syrup and covers your entire tongue so you can taste everything. The carbonation is wonderful, the full body is present and it just wants to stay in your gums, cheeks and under your tongue so it reminds you of how much of a masterpiece it is. All this from a simple oak barrel is blowing my mind.

D- The high abv of this beer is masterfully hidden, I want to drink more and more of this one because it is so god damn tasty. It's similar in taste and complexity to Wooden Hell which I will probably catch shit for, but anybody who has had both can attest it really is a wonderfully drinkable high abv barleywine.

Fantastic job Terry, please bring this masterpiece out of retirement for all to enjoy. If Wooden Hell is the prom queen Barrel Aged Old Toad is the prom queen's smoking hot freshman sister. Can you make that choice?

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Photo of stakem
4.52/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Review from notes taken on 11/26/10. On tap at Capone's black Friday event amongst a few other BA's like Foofaa, murren and stormking47. The consensus between a few of us was that we made this trip pretty much exclusively for this brew and whatever else might have been on tap was an added bonus.

Poured into a wine glass, this brew appears a lightly hazed brown color that has reddish hues. There is little to no head outside of a few tan bubbles that appear when the brew is swirled. Faint spotty lace clings to the glass.

The aroma of this brew is vanilla and fruit. Lots of vanilla sweetness and a pungent amount of alcohol. There are light woodsy notes, a bit of rasins and just an overall candied sweetness that is very pleasant.

The taste of this brew includes a bold amount of whiskey accented alcohol with oak notes and a smoothness of vanilla that is a bit sweet. A contrasting moderate bitterness is included tasting earthy in the finish with the hops and oak lasting. The aftertaste of this brew has a faint nuttiness and a touch of oxidation.

This is a medium to full bodied brew that is light in carbonation. A very bold example with enjoyable depth and complexity. The fruity alcohol taste was very enjoyable making this easy drinking. A mighty fine sipper that I would love to have again.

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Photo of oglmcdgl
4.52/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at capones on black friday.

A- no head just a small ring around the glass and a bit of stick on the sides. Slightly hazy deep copper orange in color with a touch of a red glow.

S- loads of vanilla and toasted nutty malts. The wood comes through and with it some brown sugar sweetness.

T- caramel and vanilla, peaches and plums with bruleed sugar on top. Toasted oak and cashews. Some earthy hops make a move in the middle and add a depth that helps bring it all together. The oak is just beautifully done in this brew.

M- on the fuller side of body with a creamy small bubbled carb that work so damn well with this brew I'm blown away. Some heat does start to claw its way in as it warms but on this cold black friday surrounded by good people its a welcomed heat.

D- a masterfully constructed brew and some of the best use of oak I've ever come across. Blown away by this one.

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Photo of orangesol
4.5/5  rDev +5.4%

Photo of HopHead84
4.5/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours vibrant dark amber with a one finger, off white head. Retention and lacing are both good.

The aroma is full of earthy hops as well as biscuit and sweet caramel malt. The oak is apparent and there is some vanilla to the nose. The hops are still fairly strong in this beer. I haven't had the regular version, but the barrel aged Old Toad is quite smooth with a medium alcohol presence and a medium level of bitterness. The caramel malt is sweet and does well in balancing out the earthy hop bitterness. The oak is a nice touch to this barleywine. The finish is dry, sweet, and bitter, and the alcohol is most apparent here.

Barrel Aged Old Toad is medium bodied with a medium level of carbonation. The mouthfeel is dry and sticky. Overall, a very nice barrel aged barleywine that I believe will improve with age.

2nd bottle 6/2/2010:

Bottled on 5/15/2008 and stored at 55 degrees since then. The beer has waxed in complexity and become a better beer with age. A light sherry oxidation has arrived. The color is beautiful. Excellent stuff. Rich, bold, and delicious. Booze macerated dates and figs, with notes of brown sugar, caramel, toffee, and alcohol. This is reminiscent of an aged English Barleywine, not really much American Barleywine character to it. Age has improved what was already a great Barrel Aged Barleywine.

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Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.5/5  rDev +5.4%

Photo of jimbomill
4.38/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on-tap at Capone's yesterday for their Black Friday extravaganza. It was my first beer of the day and it was a winner as early as I saw it coming - a nice but light reddish tinge to the eyes was co-greeted with a clear nose indicating 'barleywine'. Taste was slightly crisp, a bit of a surprise I found it to be.
The mouthfeel matched the taste and was delicious, finish hinted at some fruitiness, perhaps raisin?
I fought off the desire to stick with this Bourbon Barrel aged offering as there were many other fine selections on Matt's On-Tap list.

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Photo of BARFLYB
4.37/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On Tap at Capone's for their annual black friday event, is there anything this man cant procure, it's baffling me.

Old Toad came to me looking dark brown, or extremely burnt copper that is dead on for the style, much darker than the Gratitude right next to it. Just a bit of white whisp on the top which is nice to see in a wood aged 11 percent monster. No lace. Smell is a boatload of toasted malt coupled with caramel and bourbon scents that's knocking my socks off. If this tastes half as good as it smells, i'll be sitting pretty. My god, the taste is just LARGE. The bourbon is strong, yet not overpowering. The vanilla is up there and Im smiling. Oak as well with some figs, plum, a small roast, and a small, extremely small hint of past hoppings. Barley and a hint of alcohol. At this point this is more English in nature, but brewed here in the keystone state, dagnambit. Feel is above medium approaching full, smooth and not really hot at all. It's a sipper for sure, so gulping is not really an option. It coats up the mouth for a few afterwards as well, all in all a winner. I only had one glass of this and seriously considered another. If your holding bottles of this right now, get to drinking, cause this is gggrrrreeeeat.

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Photo of koopa
4.37/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Capone's Black Friday event yesterday.

Appearance: Pours a caramel brown with a small 1 finger khaki crown that displays moderate retention and lace.

Smell: Caramel, brown sugar, oak, and a hint of vanilla. Very nice.

Taste: Same as nose but with figs, a hint of bourbon, and a bit of plum to add some fruitiness.

Mouthfeel: Light side of full bodied with a slightly hypnotic creaminess.

Drinkability: Very good despite the abv. This brew was a pleasant surprise on tap.

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Photo of largadeer
4.35/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks for sharing this, Jeff.

Cloudy, muddy copper. Low carbonation, no head.

Leather and tobacco on the nose; lot of oxidation, but in a very good way. Fruitcake, dates, mildly mineral and metallic, pleasantly so. Plenty of musty oak barrel, but just a touch of bourbon.

Tastes very good. Molasses, dates, prunes. Really nice port-like oxidation. Some mineral-metallic flavor in the finish. Medium-full body. Brash oak in the finish, subtle bourbon flavors. Little bit of pleasant tannic astringency. This is certainly one of the better Bullfrog beers out there.

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Photo of iasanlee
4.35/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle. Pours a deep caramel amber color with a creamy off-white head that leaves some sticky lacing. Aroma is of sweet caramel malts, toast, vanilla bean, light cherry, and fresh raisins. Flavor is a mirror of aroma with a delicate balancing act with a bourbon tone. Very complex and smooth, hiding the alcohol until deep in the finish. Medium in body, with moderate carbonation, and some astringency. A real treat, the complexity makes this a top example of an English barleywine.

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Photo of maximum12
4.35/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to AgeofQuarrel, a fine BA who seems to have moved on in the world, who shipped me this bottle for a handful of very old Bigfoots quite some time ago. According to the bottle, BA Old Toad was brewed 10-4-07 & bottled 5-15-08, so this baby's been around a while.

Cork comes out fairly swiftly, which is always a blessing. Pours like spring run-off, a sludgy, clay-tinted brownish-red without a hint of clarity & low carbonation. Smells really good. Black holes of caramel, vanilla, malts, & sherry/port notes while away their moments at the edge of the glass. Beautifully done.

Old Toad still packs heat, even after all this time resting in various containers. Alcohol is manning the front-lines here, & jumps me the moment the liquid touches my lips. Yeeezza! But beneath the flames comes all sorts of complex, good things in this massive froggie. Caramel & vanilla both come on strong. Aging & wrinkled, the malts snake their way in, bouncing up the sweetness quotient. Oak, or perhaps sagebrush, or whatever the barrel is made out of, is more than a presence, but infusing the back-end with stacked firewood. Very slight oxidation is starting to show, lending the brew a sherry-like quality. This brew is thick & full in the mouth, perhaps due to age, perhaps not. Dangerous; the sweetness & complexity invite sip after sip, in fairly short order, damn the 11.5%.

Well. Another excellent brew from Bullfrog. I've only had a few, & I know I'm in the wrong geographic locale, but sign me up for the mafia. This is wonderful stuff.

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Photo of vwcraig
4.32/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Caged and corked 750mL purchased at the brewery. Sampled from a Duvel glass. Burnt amber/ruby color with a firm tan cap on top. Hardly any light passes through. Fruity and slightly boozy smell up front. Candied, rummy fruit smells mainly. Smells great. Taste is of oak and dark-skinned fruits, mainly raisins and plums. A quick swirl of the glass raises the head right back up nd makes for a creamier mouthfeel. Pleasant warming effect. Carbonated fairly well for a barleywine that is barrel-aged. Drinkability for me was fairly high, but given the effort it took to get this, I won't be drinking all of mine any time soon.

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Photo of SkinnyElvis
4.25/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Purchased at Capones. I have never had anything from Bullfrog before so I am not sure what to expect. Pours deep amber. Thin head with some carbonation. Smells of faint sweetness plus a light bourbon. The taste is a nice mix of sweet fruit, malt, and the bourbon. Mouthfeel is smooth and the ABV sneaks in at the end. A solid barrel aged barleywine. Recommended.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.22/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a near opaque, dark amber body with a very thin, light beige head.

Smell: Aroma smelling heavily of caramel sauce with lighter notes of fruit, oak barrels, and vanilla, as well as some clean alcohol wafts.

Taste: Sweet, sharply sweet flavor of melted caramel cubes. Roving fruitiness. Eager warming alcohol presence, but, thankfully, it's not overtly boozy. The taste musters up some oak wood and light vanilla barrel hints. Earthy hops and bitterness, both fairly light. Another helping of caramel and toffee. Long, sweet finish with a soothing alcohol warmth.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: I trust you like your barleywines sweet. A pleasant surprise, as I'd never even heard of the Bullfrog brewery until having the bottle shoved into my hand.

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Photo of BigMcLargeHuge
4.2/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Tasted at the big "SeaBass has got to go" tasting and big thanks to askofficerfriendly, over on ratebeer, for this one. Pours kind of amber with ruby copper hues and off white head. The aroma is a bit of grapefruit hops, some spicy hops, sweet malts, mild caramel and some molasses too. The taste has a tasty mix of prunes and molasses and then going toward sweet bourbon and just an hint of wood about midway. To the finish I get the addition of muted aged pine hops, some sugary sweet malts, more bourbon and a sense of oak where the bourbon begins to get a bit harsh but still totally in control and largely smooth and yummy. Deep into the after taste notes of caramel candy, pine hops and grapefruit linger on and on and force you to go back from another taste.

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Photo of ArrogantB
4.2/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle thanks to vwcraig, I appreciate the hook-up! Nice ruby-red color, excellent head. Sweet and sticky smell of vanilla, enstrom's toffee, cake. The flavor is pretty damn good barleywine with almost a bare hint of wood but no real booziness to speak of. This was a very good barleywine.

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Photo of Deuane
4.1/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Barrel aged for almost a full year. Enjoyed as part of the Bullfrog Holiday Bash.

A-Deep copper with a thin light tan head that held on well. Vague,spotty lace left behind.

S-Rich, sweet caramel malt up front with light bourbon notes in the background. Oak dryness becomes more prevalent upon warming.

T-Sweet caramel blends effortlessly with dry oak notes. Nice backing punch of vanilla on the back end.

M-Medium body, quite smooth with a dry oak finish. Nice,long lasting astringency.

D-Dry, sweet and smooth...nice complexity and good melding of flavours. So lovely to have this one a year in the barrel!

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Photo of Slatetank
4.1/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

thanks very much to tenderbranson69 for letting me taste from this growler- poured chilled into a snifter.

A- A dark translucent caramel colored liquid w/ quick escaping head which turns to a ring of tan. The carbonation is still visible and legs cling to the glass as it is swirled

S -The smell is like sticky buns, a really caramelly sweet nose w/ bready and toasted undertones. nuts and mild toffee add to the aroma w/ light alcohol in the nose.

M - A sweet thick feel w/ slight bitterness in the middle and long dry warming finish

T - A sweet dark sugar and walnut-like dark earthy taste. The flavor has mild hop tastes that add contrast w/ mild currant and plum notes and a hint of nutmeg w/ slight vanilla caramel tinges. A buttery toffee taste emerges as the beer finishes w/ dry peppery flavors and mild taste of bourbon and wood.

D - A very intense beer, the 11.5% is not a surprise, but well worth a nice deep quaff on a cool rainy night. The drinkability is very good considering the strength and this comes off slightly hot still. I would probably only go for 1/2 pint to be reasonable

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Photo of JAXSON
4.08/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2009 rate. 750ml bottle poured into a snifter. I probably should have more fully gotten over my cold before I drank this one, but I think my rating is legit. Really malty on the nose with a whiff of bourbon. Pours a really pretty clear garnet with a thin ring of tiny bubbles. Weird cobweb shapes persist after the head fades. Really pretty to look at, like most Bullfrog beers. Heavy malt presence, and a very rich, lush tone. Not overly fruity, but nuanced and refined. Really good, especially as it warms. Cherry skins come to mind. I wish the malt character was somewhat softer, and maybe more thickness in the mouth, but overall this is another great beer from Bullfrog. *In retrospect this beer was much better fresh (2009) as the malt was more prominent and the body more complex.

Late 2010 rate. Downgrading this a bit as the caramel malt has fallen off a bit. This is a bit more disjointed now, though still pretty nice. Released the same time as Wooden Hell and on par with it initially, the two beers have gone in opposite directions. Some leafy oxidation in the finish that's distracting.

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Barrel Aged Old Toad Barleywine from Bullfrog Brewery
4.27 out of 5 based on 36 ratings.
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