Ol' Redbeard Barleywine | Fitger's Brewhouse

very good
22 Ratings
no score
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Brewed by:
Fitger's Brewhouse
Minnesota, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.30%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
American Barleywine aged six months in a Woodford Reserve barrel.

Added by ADR on 09-12-2004

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 22 |  Reviews: 13
Photo of zeff80
4.1/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured out a clear, copper color with a one-finger, off-white head of foam. It smelled piney and malty with some citrusy notes. It tasted sweet and malty with caramel and toffee flavors. It had a nice bitter piney bite. It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium to full bodied ale with a dry, clean finish.

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Photo of elliott1184
4.05/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of The_Dude_710
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of olafphysics
4.5/5  rDev +10%

Photo of seangibbs60
4.5/5  rDev +10%

Photo of bscalt
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of NilocRellim
2.5/5  rDev -38.9%

Photo of josephwa
4.75/5  rDev +16.1%

Photo of herman77
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of homebrew311
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured in a half pint glass. Pours dark amber, somewhat cloudy, tons of lacing and decent head retention. Nose is mild with notes of rich molasses, chestnut, and caramel. The taste is a malt bomb with sweet grainy character, mild hop bitterness. The mouthfeel is heavy and mild carbonation. Overall, this is skewed in the malt direction of things, but very tasty nonetheless.

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Photo of jewellrunner
5/5  rDev +22.2%

Photo of maximum12
3.37/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Saving the biggest for last to avoid completely destroying our palates, this brew was out of place in the general lower ABV menu at Fitger's, the only one that hit 10%.

Pour is like murky water running over clay soil, which clears up minimally as it settles. Not much in the nose window: spare fruit, sweet malt, not much of either.

Ol' Redbeard is barrel aged? No trace of whiskey or bourbon in the nose or palate. Nonetheless, half a glass made me happy (or maybe that's just all the alcohol). Terrific, sweet caramel malts spread over the entire beer, bits of vanilla, raisins, figs. Sweet malts & an almost honey-like backbone emerges as it warms & takes over the aftertaste. Touch of oxidation creeps up the ladder, eventually marring the taste significantly. Big, heavy, dead, syrupy in the mouth.

A big beer & a pretty good, honest-to-goodness barleywine. Still, if this were aged in barrels, I'd retire them. They're beyond exhausted!

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Photo of mothman
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

After having the 2013 vintage in 2015, I am editing my score. It was very much like a bwine and very enjoyable.

2010 vintage: 2.28
This was the 2nd beer I had at the St. Paul Summer beer fest. The brochure said it was the barrel aged version but when I got to the both they only had the regular version.

Pours a small khaki head. Color is a murky caramel bown.

Aroma: Sweet, malty, and sour a bit. Wine like flavors with dark fruits. It is rather odd.

Taste: Very odd for a bwine. Rich and malty like it should be with tons of sweet fruits to it. But it has sour wine-like flavors as in the aroma. Nothing that I am very fond of.

Mouthfeel: Sour and sweet. A medium body with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends dry and sweet.

Overall, a very odd bwine. I was not able to finish my sample and drainpoured it. It just had so many off flavors for a bwine. My first beer from Fitgers and I was very disappointed.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I received a growler of this one courtesy of a very generous BA. I am always in the mood to try a well aged Barley Wine, and one in a growler none the less. The 2007 edition here, this one was served at cellar temp and poured into multiple pint glasses. Consumed on 05/25/2009.
The pour was very nice. Very cloudy with a rich copper color to it. Small white head crept up to a height of around a half an inch after a minute or so. Never really dropped much below that throughout the session. Nice tight layer of lace surrounded the glass then throughout the rest of the session. Deep caramel aroma coming off here. Rich notes of bready malts, light alcohol note, and a touch of muted hops. Very interesting and quite strong. Smooth carbonation, somewhat like an old ale left me savoring the sips as the rich toffee and caramel like flavor rolled across the tongue. Once it hit room temperature it really opened up and a light pine hop bite hit that back of the tongue and opened it up very nicely.
Overall very solid, and very smooth, with the couple of years of age really doing a very good job on this one. I could have had glass after glass yesterday but this went far too quickly between 5 people. A winner in my book for sure.

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Photo of objectivemonkey
4.15/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sampled on-site, comes in a 10 oz glass, pous a reddish brownish color (it was dark, couldn't see all that great) with a little head when it came that then vanished, not much lacing. The aroma is a malty sucker, sweet caramels, fruits and rum mostly, decent but nothing great. Tastes delicious though, lots of flavor, the mouth is a bit too medium for me, but had a nice feel to it otherwise, good carbonation and such. Lots of malt in this boy, not so much hops, which is a nice break from the BW's I usually have. Again, caramels, fruits, rum, and some vanilla, a little brown sugar maybe, some earthy hops, very nice. In all, high alcohol, great to drink, I'd have it again in a heartbeat.

 692 characters

Photo of ZAP
4.87/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A-poured from a growler....seems very flat...no carbonation evident..Dark reddish brown color...the low carbonation is no unexpected since it is from a growler...

S-This is my kind of barley wine...sure I can enjoy a BW like Old Crustacean but I prefer a big malt monster like this one...I don't think this is barrel aged but it has a lot of nougat, vanilla, oak, caramel, bourbon, and dark fruits (Cherries, dark berries, figs,)...top notch..

T-As good as this smells the taste matches it...a lot of vanilla, oalk nougat,and dark fruits are also there...by reading this, this seems over the board sweet heavy...it is but it works...sure you could toss in some chinook or something to add a dimension but I like this as it is..I wouldn't change a thing....

M-Seems a little syruppy and uncarbonated..but it is from a growler that has been aging for who knows how long..

D-All I can say is this is good shit....reallly good....perhaps the top malty BW I have had...really tastes like it was barrel aged but it was not noted in the brewery notes...if it was not this is really, really something as those characteristics were achieved without barrel aging...

Bottom Line?? a must try BW

 1,188 characters

Photo of cdkrenz
3.63/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Lkarau is nice.

A - Medium to dark brown body with minimal head. However, the head that is present sticks.

S - Malty, alcohol, and pungent fruit.

T - Very spicy served at a ripening 50-55 degrees. There are works of clove over a malt and hop base. The flavor is very rich.

M - Smooth and flowing allowing the flavor to stake its claim.

~ This is a strong charactered brew. One I'm sure will offer its affects as the evening progresses. Thanks to lkarau I have the chance to enjoy

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Photo of Westsidethreat
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to JeffKrenner for the growler

A: Burnt umber color with a lot of haze to it. Carbonation is quite low with no real head on it, but a spin of the glass reveals the hidden bubbles living with in.

S: Maple, raisin puree, marshmallow, cocoa powder, orange marmalade and rootbeer.

T: Starts off slightly oily with a mild malty flavor, leaning towards dulce de leche. Butterscotch sort of peaks then allows really bitter baking chocolate to come forth with soothing milk chocolate under the hood. Some coffee flavors floating around in here as well, adding even more roasted qualities that were first started by the bakers chocolate. Little bit of molasses, maple and bourbon round it out. Finishes alcoholic and estery with notes of raspberry and chocolate brownies.

M: Medium body, soft and syrupy.

D: Nice beer with good flavor. Unlike most barleywines for sure.

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Photo of tempest
4.17/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This batch was listed as 10.7% and the hops really aren't there to call it an American barley wine IMO. The fruity malts really dominated with only the balancing bitterness of a pale ale. The fruit-like esters dominated the aroma with a spiced honey flavor coming through in the flavor. Quite tasty, try it if you find it.

UPDATE: 1/4/09: Had a recently bottled growler of the '08 batch and this is a damn fine barleywine that reminds me of aged Bigfoot. There are subtle cocoa and toffee malts with a little smoke and fruity grapefruit, pineapple, and bitter orange peel. Heck of a beer.

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Photo of CharlesDarwin
3.5/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Originally reviewed April 1, 2005. On tap at the brewpub. A brown, burnt clear pour. A light brandied fruit aroma. Sweet, like candied wine. Deep floral, grapefruit and rum flavors. Alcoholic for sure, with a lost background of honey and chocolate. The BB is much better, which has more body. This beer seems tired and watered down. A nice cramy clean finish, the palate is well finished.

 388 characters

Photo of Bighuge
4.48/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Growler Sample.

Nice looking clear burgandy tone. Thin beige head leaves ample spotty lace. Aroma is fine. Sweet malts dominate. Some rummy alcohol notes come into play with brown sugar checking in as well on the nose. Sweet caramel malts dominate on the buds with some spicy alcoholic notes balancing things out. Some seemingly west coast hops add some balance as well. A little rummy on the palate as well. Molasses tones are ever so subtle. Raisin notes and a slight berry like fruitiness are present as well. Great taste. Body is about medium to medium-full. Carbonation is low to moderate. Damn nice barleywine. And I wouldn't expect anything less when it comes to Big Beers from Fitger's.

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Photo of ADR
4.29/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap, Autumn Brew Review 2004...brewed in 2003...

Clove brown, murky with bubbles locked in suspension. Short yellowish head and nice intricate fine lacing. Aroma is big, but lingers in reserve -- apricot, huge brown sugar to the point of cloying, lots and lots of peppery tones. Thick texture, gravelly mouthfeel and very complex and well-done flavors, smoke, cinnamon, fire-breathing hops and that hard-to-pin-down but slightly sulfurous quality of strong American Barlweywines like Bell's Batch 6000. Plenty of alcohol and texture to boot you in the throat and set the stomach burner to "High". Nice, a little killer for my everyday tastes but its a monster and has been sitting for a year.

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Ol' Redbeard Barleywine from Fitger's Brewhouse
4.09 out of 5 based on 22 ratings.
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