XS Old Crustacean | Rogue Ales

705 Reviews
XS Old CrustaceanXS Old Crustacean

Brewed by:
Rogue Ales
Oregon, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Formerly "Old Crustacean"

8 Ingredients:
Hugh Baird Carastan and Rogue Micro Barley Farm DareTM & RiskTM Malts; Chinook and Rogue Micro Hopyard Revolution & Freedom Hops, Pacman Yeast & Free Range Coastal Water.

110 IBU
83 AA
57º Lovibond

Added by BeerAdvocate on 01-03-2001

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Reviews: 705 | Ratings: 1,270
Photo of WVbeergeek
4.02/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very deep amber brown hue with a tan off white head, just from the texture of the pour I can tell this is a very big beer. Well here we go aroma from the beginning I am getting notes of plum buried deep inside a garden of overzealous vinous hops of pine cone slash grapefruit west coast variety but with the deep overly ripened fruit tones this is a definite monster barley wine great. The forefront of the flavor gives an eye-opening rush of hop bitterness mixed with some joyous malt and fruit undertones, just a huge beer from Rogue I admire a brewery willing to go over the top but still create an outstanding example of a barley wine. With deep tones of alcohol and slightly salty sweet shimmering notes of malt this beer is quite an experience bottled in 2002, just amazing. Mouthfeel is thick and syrupy without being cloying in my opinion. Drinkability is well try one and leave it at that what an experience a must try west coast barley wine, let's put it this way Bigfoot is tame compared to this.

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Photo of vfgccp
3.36/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A – Cherry amber. Off-white head holds up well. Nice lace.

S – Soft and sweet. Light molasses, orange, butterscotch, and a touch of herbalness.

T – Soft malt slingshots into booze then sling shots into a big piney bitterness. Bright orange zest and pith on the backend. They flavors are interesting, but overly sharp and poorly integrated.

M – Medium body. Bright boozy, bitter finish.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.45/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

7oz bottled in 2000 Sampled in 2012 so it's got a bit of age on it. Pours a mostly clear dark brown with ruby highlights when held to light. The aroma is filled with caramel dark sugar and lots of dark fruit with some alcohol and a bit of wet cardboard. The flavor is dark sugars and cherries and raisins with a healthy dose of warming alcohol. There's an earthy herbal component in there as well. Medium to thin body with a light level of carbonation and a sweet harsh alcohol type mouthfeel. Its nice to be able to try a 12 year old bottle of barleywine. I've had fresher bottles of this and felt the alcohol was a bit too present, and this proves that age won't fix that. The twist off cap probably didn't help much, but there was still a little bit of carbonation. Nice to try.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.97/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass. Unsure of vintage or dating here.

Muddy murky orange and light brown body, with a faint tan head that falls to a good collar, but a bit of a hazy top.

Nose is warm, inviting. Boozy malt and alcohol, figgy, warm pleasant spices of nutmeg slightly. Good dark sugars hide, not too cloying or syrupy, but big.

A good hop kick to this barleywine on the palate. Bitter mellow astringent hop, hits in the mid palate with a good thick warming malt body. Not much fruit like undertones to this, but a good solid malt backbone provides a good canvas. Mouthfeel is light, but full of flavor. Carries the flavors real nicely. Hints of pine and earth finish on the swallow, with a light bodied malt density. Seems like a contradictory statement, but it works.

Overall quite a good and very different from most barleywines. Nice to grab this one for a change.

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Photo of jwc215
4.62/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours brown with a thin head that becomes a lasting patch. Head briefly reappears upon gentle swirling. Not bad head retention for the abv level.

The smell is of dark caramel, cocoa, dark and citric fruit, brown sugar and some peppery alcohol.

The taste is of cocoa, toffee/caramel - sweet with fruity alcohol. Strong citrus/pine hop presence in background. Long, warming finish.

The feel is rich - full, but not overly syrupy. Smooth for richness and abv.

Wow - this is an AWESOME American barleywine. Delicious, aggressive, rich, well-balanced for style. A work of brewing art - one of the best (if not the best) American barleywines I've had! Highly recommended!

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.38/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2 1/2 years later, it's time for a new review with a new package style. the 26 ounce, swingtop ceramic type. The kind I hate, but went ahead and spent $13.45 on anyway...slap some celophane on me, and call me a sucker. At least I know it's good beer in here.

It poured flame -red, but is a dark mahogany in the glass, capped with a warm, cocoå-toned head, creamy and inviting.

Classy aroma. Cognac, well-tempered, ...strength doesn't scream, and flavor is subtle compared to the dragon's-breath of other, bolder barleywines. Dark fruit and leather, hints of chocolate, a mess of malt, with a friendly fleet of hops.

Taste: big, rich, and bitter are the main traits that jump on the palate and overtake the mouth, but in spite of it's bigness, this is actually a mellow, relaxing affair. Not too hot, not too alcoholic, not too punishing, juuust right.
Burnished brandy meets cocoa and cherries, in a sophisticated blend.

Long finish, very complex flavors, hangs definitely in the mouth, thoroughly full-bodied.

I'm going to run out for some seafood, to match curstacean for crustacean.
But, my, this is a nice reunion!
Truly a standard for the style.

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Photo of Billolick
4.08/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle, brewed in 2002. Pours darkest amber, minimal carbonation and head, Tiny bubles, leaves some lacing. Not much nose detected. Mouthfel is smooth, rich and lucious. Vinious, strong alcohol presence. Lovely malt backbone. Hops more subtle, but grainyness is evident. Very strong BW, well crafted, this is a nice sipper, excellent night capper.

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Photo of MasterSki
3.89/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1998 7oz bottle - an extra from tthomas in a recent trade. Served in my Foothills taster glass (also from a recent trade with Wespatrick).

A - Poured totally flat, although that's not totally unexpected for such an old brew, seeing as it isn't very frothy even when fresh. Murky raisin color with elements of orange and brown. I'd normally be harder on a brew that looked like this, but since it's over 10 years old and from such a high-gravity style I'll cut it a little slack.

S - Tons of caramel, toffee, apple, brown sugar, and dried fruits (raisins, prunes, etc.). The smell is huge and you can even get a sense that there was once a ton of hops in this brew with a few hints of pine and citrus. It smells utterly delicious.

T - Unfortunately, the taste seems a bit muted. There's still lots of caramel, brown sugar, apple, and rumcake, but you can tell that some oxidization has occurred. There's also an odd woody aftertaste that isn't overwhelming, but isn't all that pleasant either.

M - For the style the minimal carbonation isn't offensive, and the texture is silky smooth with a bit of alcohol warmth. There's lots of residual stickiness as well.

D - The 7oz bottle is definitely appropriate for the style, and I had no difficulty drinking the whole thing. I'd even consider having a second one - if I had access to one that is. Obviously the high ABV prevents this from being a session brew.

I think 1998 Old Crusty might be past its prime - it's nowhere as tasty as the '98 J.W. Lees or the 1996 Westy 8 that I've tried. I'd be interested in checking out something from the early aughts to see if that is peaking right now. Still, I was very glad that I got to try this bottle.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
4.07/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a wide mouthed goblet, the beer has a cloudy, almost opaque appearance, with a muddled amber-tan color. Good flow of carbonation present, which is good, because this appears a bit on the thick and viscous side. A very thin film of head that dissipates to residue very rapidly. The beer has initial smells of grapefruit and cotton candy, both characteristics very sweet and forward. Deeper smells reveal more citrus, but also some light spices. The beer has a sour backbone of flavor, but the cotton candy sweetness remains present in the flavor, although much lighter than the smell may infer. Some definite notes of hops, both in the green bitters and slight citrus (grapefruit) notes. Also, a boozey flavor to the beer, although not unpleasant. The beer has a viscous and oily/slick mouthfeel, as it appeared that it would. The aftertaste is slightly sour and toasted. The ABV can also be gleamed from the aftertaste, again not entirely unpleasant. The finish puckers the mouth and dries the tongue a little bit, but that makes it all the easier to follow with another mouthful. It would be difficult to consume this one en masse, and your head might pay for it the next day. Ultimately enjoyable Barleywine!!

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Photo of GClarkage
4.47/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11/23/07- Purchased at Weimax Liquors in Burlingame, CA.

Presentation- 12oz bottle, vintage 2002. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance- Deep amber colored pour with a 3/4 inch or larger head. Settles at a mild rim which leaves above average lace patchwork and streaks.

Smell- Hasn't lost it hops, that's for sure. With a strong grapefruit-pine tree aroma. It also has gained significant caramel scented malt.

Taste- The smell to a "t". About even dispersion between hops and malt. Grapefruit explosion of hops to go with a sweet very dark candied caramel flavor. At points during the aftertaste it almost tastes like hazelnut..

Mouthfeel- I bit highly carbonated, but it worked well with this beer. Even to that point, it was still fairly smooth and left a bitter and lingering aftertaste.

Drinkability- Score one for Rogue...at least 5 year old Rogue. Glad I still have a few of these left to consume over time. Excellent!

Version 2002...yet again! 05/12/08

Still has maintained it's hops...how the hell can this be as hoppy as it is? It's more hoppy than any fresh barleywine I've had! Carbonation has decreased and is much smoother. Just can't believe how hoppy this is.

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Photo of Tone
3.68/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy, dark brown color along the top half of the glass. The bottom is a dark maize color. 3/4 inch head of a pale tan color. Great retention and good lacing. Smells of strong hops, alcohol, sweet malt, slight brown sugar, and slight dark citrus. Fits the style of an American Barleywine. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp with an average carbonation level. Tastes of strong alcohol, strong hops, slight sweet malt, and slight dark citrus. Overall, the alcohol is not well hidden, even in the aroma.

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Photo of stevoj
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Barley wine bottle share on 1/31, 2008 bottle. Pours a cloudy brown with amber highlights and just a faint skin of light off-white head. Hot and hoppy in the flavor. Aroma is great, full of brown sugar and molasses. Complex alcohols change as it warms. Nice hoppy finish, lingers.

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Photo of Gavage
4.37/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a dark brown color with a short 1/4" head. No lacing with this this beer.

Smell: loads of malt and dark fruit sweetness rise from the glass.

Taste: big malt profile with brown sugar, prunes, some mild fig flavors, alcohol, and a nice bitterness. Big and bold flavors that change as it warms.

Mouthfeel: heavy in body. Smooth from start to finish. Aftertaste is long as the malty goodness and alcohol warming last a while.

Drinkability: very nice for the style. A definite slow sipping beer but more than one glass could be had over the course of an evening.

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Photo of tempest
4.52/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Wow, 10 year old keg on-tap at the Blue Tusk in Syracuse.

Red-amber in a 12 oz. glass. Poured without head but still left a delicate lacing. Smells amazing. Very sweet and fruity aroma, almost like a spiced rum. Taste is very complex, almost too much for me. Starts sweet with citrus, then very rich and fruity which fades out as bitterness comes in.

Nice mouthfeel with a pleasant bitterness. Fairly easy to drink for a 10 year old barleywine. Wow, best barleywine I've had to date. Damn!

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Photo of Mebuzzard
3.73/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Another good selection from Falling Rock in Denver. A cloudy brown pour with a thin, yet rick white head.
Smell is tough to discern. Some nuts and raisin it seems. A bit of caramel, too.
Taste is a bit odd for me. Mostly nutty and raisin, some dark fruit perhaps plum, but very discrete. The feel is a bit buttery or creamy, not my cup of 'tea'. Yet it is still good. I prefer some other BWs to this.

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Photo of WesWes
3.83/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a hazy dark amber color with a 1/4" head. The nose is really malty with some hop overtones. There is a large presence of crystal and other specialty malts. The taste is good, but a bit high on the abv.. There is a nice balance between the malt and hop flavor. This makes the elevated abv. more managable. The mouthfeel is good; smooth and not overly carbonated. This a heavy bodied beer. It is a good one and done beer; tastey and powerful.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.35/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2006 Vintage
750ml Ceramic Bottle/Swing Top

Poured into a chalice a nice deep brown color, nice carbonation, very nice one-finger creamy tannish head, which left a nice puddle of sticky lacing in the center of the glass. The nose is malty, hoppy, nice tone of spices, dark fruits, and caramel. The taste is very nice and smooth for a brew this high in ABV, malty, nice hoppyness, slight spice, getting some dark fruits, and caramel. Medium body. Very drinkable, one of the easist drinking BW I've had to date, highly recommended.

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.05/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I tell ya, these 7 ounce bottles in the XS series sure make it easier on the wallet to tick. 110 IBU's? That sounds more Double IPA-esque than barleywine. From a 2010 Vintage, on to the beer:

Little head forms on the pour and it quickly drops into a paper-thin lace, though it does leave some legs on the glass. Glowing dark orange is the best that I can describe this beer's color. The aroma is disspointing as it doesn't jump out at you. Once you find light at the end, there's some tropical fruit punch aroma and cherry cough syrup. Still, I've had worse.

The flavor turns from sweet haven to brutal bitter within seconds of time on the palate. It's got an attractive passionfruit and fruit punch flavor at the begining, and if that were to last all the way through, a 4.5-5.0 score in taste would be granted. Instead, the tastes of ash, resin, and loads of aspirin pill are partially the result of using the hops needed to hit 110 IBU's (for you newbie's out there, Guinness has around 40). It truly is a bittersweet symphony. I want it, I don't want it. My palate is getting thrashed drinking this. Fortunately, some passionfruit and bready malt comes out in the aftertaste. The beer is medium-heavy, and quite tame for an 11.5% ABV beer. All that bitterness, however, is making the idea of a chaser refreshing.

Old Crustacean may be one of the most difficult beers that I've rated. It's got both a lot of good and a lot of bad. This could be a spectacular beer, but additional age may be the way to get there. Right now it's too brash.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.09/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

XS Old Crustacean
Rogue Ales
Style: American Barleywine
ABV: 11.50 %

LOOK: Amber hued brew with excellent clarity. Small, short livid head forms and recedes. Looks like a big Barleywine.

SMELL: Complex nose of fruit, spice, heat, and everything nice. Fruit borders on cherry/dark fruits. There is a peppery alcoholic spice aroma as well.

TASTE: Mildly fruity, strong, and hearty. Brown sugar, toffee, molasses, dates, and cherry all come through. Definitely a barleywine.

FEEL: Full bodied, well carbonated. Fruit, spice and alcohol in the finish.

OVERALL: This was a pleasant brew, strong, but never overbearing or not tasty. This would pair with a solid dinner like roasted pork loin and smashed potatoes.

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Photo of BARFLYB
4.2/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Not sure of the vintage but I got a 10oz pour from the tap which I was surprised to see.

A- Old Crustacean holds a dark mix of brown mixed with some red when held towards the light. From the tap this produced a semi thick tan head that dwindled down to a skim. The head was able to be brought back with a few swirls while this left a sheet of lace.

S- A very intense barleywine with a big malt presense from a few varieties. Big caramel and toffee musk with a less prominent bready scent. Some chocolate even less coffee This would not be a rogue brew without some hops and this one has more than some with a big piney nose. Cant help but to notice some alcohol in this.

T- My god this is big. Crusty is highly hopped up with a big pine taste plus some floral qualities. This could not be that old of a vintage as the hops are still up there. Besides that, big malts on the toasted side with caramel and some bread. Also getting just a touch of dark fruit with some plums but very minimal. The alcohol is expertly hidden.

M- Not as hot as expected as the alcohol is there but does not intrude, there is some heat going down. A bit of bitterness from the hops that would of been much bigger if it was not for the big malt addition. Sweet and a breeze to take down in small sips, it's almost impossible to gilp this. An above medium feel with a good amount of carb.

D- Glad I had it on tap as the bottles are quite pricy and there is no way I could finish a big bottle of this. Even with being so big this was not all to hard to take down and was enjoyable. Being a Rouge product I expected big hops and while they were there they were not a problem actually enhancing the taste. I could see a uber fresh bottle of this being a problem. I need to lay one down for a decade as I would not be to inclined to open it.

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Photo of biegaman
4.57/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sampled a number of occasions now.
While this review is a collection of impressions (as this beer does make so many) I base its marking (the higher marks) on a 2004 bottle I recently had - served almost at 3 years of age.
It was fantastic...
...Mind blowing really. Some trace of head still lingered, leaving something resembling legs (as in a wine) more than lacing. Carbonation still present enough to hold a stern spine to the mouthfeel (altough carbonation is low anyhow in this one) Appearence seems to earn the right to bear the 'Old Crusty' title - a murky, pond water appearence but with lovely highlights to the colour. How these hops haven't weakened in 3 years is beyond me. They are just as ever present as always. More refined - yes. Any weaker? No.
Flavour is chalk full of malt, that coats the mouth like a sweet nectar or sticky candy. A long, lingering resonance is felt as much as it is tasted. Such a balance between hop bitterness and malt finish. Same can be said for the balance in the aroma. One hell of a beast - but ... refined and balanced. Hints of alcohol can come and go, but never disturb the flavour and if anything, compliment the character. A fantastic barley-wine, great candidate for cellar (defintely has improved with age) and one I keep finding guilty pleasure treating myself when going back to.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.18/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

750ml ceramic bottle, unknown Vintage (possibly a few years old), Sampled June 2007
Pours with a frothy, almost two-finger thick (when roused vigorously), dirty, pale brown colored head. The beer is an almost brilliantly clear, deep red color when held up to the light, otherwise it is an opaque, drab, dark amber color. The aroma smells quite sweet and malt focused, with some aged malt notes as well. Notes of sherry and prunes are noticeable around the edges making me guess that this is at least a couple years old. Hop aromatics are still noticeable, with notes of muddy herbs, dulled orange zest, tangelo and some sweet lychee aromatics being noticeable.

The taste is quite a bit drier than I was expecting and it does not have the rich syrup-like body I was expecting. It does have a gripping bitterness in the finish that is almost harshly astringent. Aged malt character definitely shows up here with notes of dusty, toasted grain / chocolate in the finish, and a touch of sherry. In many ways the flavors here just seem washed up, especially considering that I was hoping for gracefully aged.

I have had this beer long ago, and have even heard recently how bitter this beer was, but I was still a bit surprised by how tongue scrapingly hoppy the bitterness of this beer is; even in this obviously aged sample it still dominates the finish with an unwavering grip. With the lightish body, and without the dark color, this would almost pass for a modern day double IPA; though it might perhaps be a mediocre example. I will have to try a fresh bottle of this soon to see what that is like.

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Photo of Zorro
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2003 Vintage.

Pours a cloudy deep red brew.

Smell is of nice herbal hops and malt; the alcohol brings up a faint scent of whiskey. Raisin and prune scents are the dominant sweet scents in this.

Taste is sweet and quite bitter. Brash hops hit your tongue and slap the sweetness down. The bottle says it is 120 IBU and I can believe that. The bitterness kills all the subtle flavors.

Mouthfeel is quite good.

Not a super drinkable brew makes a good one to shock your taste buds.

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.45/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Naja's Place, 2004 Vintage,

A: Pours a murky dark brown with a full tan head into a Chimay snifter, head has good retention.

S: Complex mix of malt and hop notes, some alcohol, pretty typical American barleywine smell.

T: This is really good. Only having had Old Crustacean fresh it was a joy to have it at 4 years old. Great hop character still, in comparison to the '04 Bigfoot I had after which was still excellent but much more a malt bomb. Excellent balance, full pine, grass and terpene flavour. Malt gives strong toffee and caramel, all the flavours are big, definitely aggressive, but they work really well together, excellent.

M: Strong, full-bodied and full of hop resin. Light carbonation after the aging gives it good drinkability.

D: This is an outstanding American Barleywine and the beer I think Rogue really shines in, a must try.

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Photo of John_M
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An old favorite of mine... rare to see this on tap outside of the NW in my experience. On tap at Max's tonight.

The beer pours a copper amber color with pretty good head retention and lacing. The nose is attractive, with cherry cough drop, lots of sweet malt, vanilla, and something of a meaty flavor. The flavor replicates the nose in this sweet beer, except there's even more cherry cough drop, along with some noticeasble alcohol and hoppy bitterness in the finish. Mouthfeel is full, with a long, sweet and bitter finish. Alcohol is noticeable, but is not over the top.

There are better barleywine's out there these days, but this is still an impressive, well made, very well crafted beer from the folks at Rogue. Definitely a walk down memory lane with this one....

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XS Old Crustacean from Rogue Ales
4.01 out of 5 based on 1,270 ratings.
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