Barrel Aged Old Toad Barleywine | Bullfrog Brewery

Barrel Aged Old Toad BarleywineBarrel Aged Old Toad Barleywine
Liked This Beer
4.28 w/ 36 ratings
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.

User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Ratings: 36 |  Reviews: 26
Photo of Sammy
3.62/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep brown with no head, enjoyed on tap at the brewpub. Little carbonation. Chocolate and bourbon,and whiskey with coconut and vanilla residue from the wood.All of this offset a bit of hop flavour. Also brown sugar and tad mollasses. American style barleywine though the brewer himself treats it as an English. Average or a tad above mouthfeel. Its OK.

 352 characters

Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

Photo of largadeer
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
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.

 567 characters

Photo of ygtbsm94
4/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.22/5  rDev -1.4%
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.

 801 characters

Photo of Slatetank
4.1/5  rDev -4.2%
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

 1,103 characters

Photo of orangesol
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

Photo of stakem
4.52/5  rDev +5.6%
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.

 1,308 characters

Photo of MasterSki
3.72/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to iceicebaby for sharing this one. Served in a tasting snifter.

A - Pours with minimal carbonation - a thin ring of bubbles and a few wisps floating on top, with some microscopic dots of lace left behind. Hazy dark ruby-brown color.

S - Apples, treacle, toasted grains, some fruity and estery alcohol, leather, and a little too much oak for my liking. Not very much bourbon/whiskey character at all.

T - Caramel apples, oak, alcohol, and a somewhat unpleasant bitter and astringent finish. Not sure if it's from citrus hops or oak (or both), but it verges on walnuts for me.

M - Low carbonation, sticky and full-bodied, light but appropriate alcohol heat, and a tannic oaky finish. Pretty good for the style.

D - Not a bad beer, but finish is overly bitter and astringent and oak tends to dominate in general. It's not a bad beer by any stretch, but doesn't compare favorably to the other barleywines we sampled - even the overcarbonated 6-year-old BA Old Salty. I'd give it another shot to see if oxidation and storage conditions played a part, but I wouldn't actively seek this out again.

 1,103 characters

Photo of BARFLYB
4.37/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

 1,239 characters

Photo of JohnGalt1
4/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ditmier provided this one... thanks buddy... I appreciate you hanging on to this one for so long.. brewed 10/4/7

Dark cloudy brown... head is sorta yellowish and a bit thin... okay lacing as the glass drops.

Nose is pretty sweet with bunches of caramel and some vanilla that adds to the overall sweetness... smells more oaky than bourbony.

Flavor has a distinct nuttiness with some brown sugar... alot of wood... ahhh there's the bourbon... plenty of vanilla.. raisins and fig ... maybe even some plum... seems a touch English...

Pretty okay carbonation given the pretty hefty body and abundant boozy qualities.

Really glad I was able to try this one.... Very cool of you Eric!!


 695 characters

Photo of HopHead84
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

 1,334 characters

Photo of corby112
4.8/5  rDev +12.1%
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!

 1,121 characters

Photo of akorsak
3.9/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A 750 mL bottle purchased at the brewpub. Brewed on 4-Oct-07 and bottled on 15-Apr-08. In my cellar for close to two years.

A: The barleywine has a ruddy brown-red color seems to glow with dull red notes at times. In my glass, the barleywine generated a few fingers of head before dissapating. Thin wisps of lace hand around.

S: The nose is sweet, intensely strong with the lush barleywine notes taking center stage. Oak scents, vanilla in particular poke through the barleywine morass. Brown sugar follows the barrel.

T: The oak is present from the first sip, a sweet vanilla flavor the runs headlong into the rich barleywine malts. The barleywine flavors, the more I dwell on them, detract from the sweet vanilla of the oak. The thick malts have a molasses flavor that mixes with concentrated dark fruits to create a potent taste. The oak smooths the beer out, softening the maltiness. Caramel and vanilla, as the beer warms, emerge as the competing tastes. A mouthful but I'm enjoying it (just don't ask me to drive anytime soon).

M: The mouthfeel is bourbony smooth, vanilla and all. The barleywine is treacly and full, beast of an ale that needs the barrel to cool it down.

D: At 11.5% the beer is a sipper. My head is spinning and I have 1/3 of the bottle to go.

 1,273 characters

Photo of maximum12
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
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.

 1,543 characters

Photo of ArrogantB
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
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.

 295 characters

Photo of Reagan1984
3.75/5  rDev -12.4%

Photo of deapokid
4/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of PittBeerGirl
3.98/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Old toad 2008

A- Translucent, nearly opaque dark cherry body. Served w/ a one 1/2 finger creamy off-white head. Good retention.

S-Dark Cherry, sour plum, raisin, and molasses come through initially with a slightly funky backbone. Nose is dark and fruity with very little to no notes of alcohol.

T- Sour plum, raisin, cherry pits, and a hint of candied sugar upfront with a substantial barley malt and spicy yeast backbone. The malt characteristics come through much more for the finish and the spicy yeast comes through more as well with a bit of alcohol astringency added. Finish is somewhat dry with a big alcohol heat lingering.

M- Body is quite smooth and creamy with medium weight and medium carbonation-with no alcohol consistency whatsoever. Wonderful and well put together.

D- The hops are long gone and this is more of an english barleywine than an american. I'm not huge on barleywines-but this is one of the best I have had with a smooth and rich flavor. A little bit too boozy to have more than 8 or so oz of-however.

 1,034 characters

Photo of ffejherb
4.67/5  rDev +9.1%
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.

 1,227 characters

Photo of Deuane
4.1/5  rDev -4.2%
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!

 622 characters

Photo of koopa
4.37/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

 486 characters

Photo of oglmcdgl
4.52/5  rDev +5.6%
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.

 894 characters

Photo of sideshowe
5/5  rDev +16.8%

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Barrel Aged Old Toad Barleywine from Bullfrog Brewery
Beer rating: 94.4% out of 100 with 36 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.