Old Conundrum On Wood
FiftyFifty Brewing Co.

Old Conundrum On WoodOld Conundrum On Wood
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American Barleywine
Ranked #56
Ranked #5,903
4.17 | pDev: 8.39%
FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
California, United States
Old Conundrum On WoodOld Conundrum On Wood
Reviews: 13 | Ratings: 44
Photo of rodbeermunch
3.99/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Kind of amazed I haven't reviewed any of these yet. Pours a brown color with a lighter brown or beige head in a 1/4" depth. Aroma was big on the toffee. Booze was next but it was right up against a hearty hop dosage. Its a weird thing with 5050, they are so erratic on their ipas, one time great, another meh, but their dark beers are always heavily hopped consistently.

Taste is less boozy than the aroma, takes on more of a bourbon instead of booze feel to it, expected it to be hotter off the aroma. A little bit of sweetness, brown sugar, caramel feel throughout. I guess there are some "wood" notes, but it just seems the same level as Eclipse has. Throw in some vanilla to round it out.

I don't think its as a good as BART but that is a high standard to meet.

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Photo of gshak
4.47/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very vibrant and lively on the palate. Such a beautiful medley of vanilla, toffee, brown sugar, and traces of toasted grains leading to a chalky finish, but is not a distraction at all. Lip smacking goodness!

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Photo of bshefftz
4.75/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours a muddy, cloudy, orange-tinted brown. Bursting with complex flavors, sticky mouthfeel, bourbon sweetness with mild alcohol heat. Hint of hop bitterness but I’d argue that this taste profile is closer to an English Barleywine (Arctic Devil, Mother of All Storms) than an American Barleywine that’s more hops-forward like BA Bigfoot. As another reviewer mentioned, this is right up there with Arctic Devil and MOAS in all-time, kick-ass barleywines.

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

A: Poured into a snifter to a deep brown that's red around the edges of the glass topped by a finger of dense tan head that fades to a collar around the edge of the glass with minimal lacing
S: Smells of piney and citrusy hops with caramel, vanilla and wood in the background. Hops are still very present on this one.
T: Taste is that pine and citrus with some brown sugar, vanilla and oak. Hops are much more subdued on the taste than the nose leads on. Slight toasted malt quality as well at times. Swallow is a little roasted malt, brown sugar, pine and citrus with some lingering caramel and vanilla with a bit of wood. the roasted malt really lingers along with some oily hops.
M: Fairly full in body but not chewy with soft yet adequate carbonation and a slightly drying finish.
O: This is a pretty good beer. Great complexity with a good hop presence that isn't abrasive. Flavors are on par with what I'd expect from an American Barleywine as well. Definitely on the sweeter side of things though.

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Photo of maximum12
4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I only saw two bottles of FiftyFifty on the shelf in California; both are now in my house. Typical 22 oz. FiftyFifty brown bottle with minimalist screen printing split with my wife.

The pour - hey, it’s not black! That might be a first. Pours like mostly liquefied clay, I’m going to strain this through my teeth for the last few ounces. Quiet. The nose, too, is quite restrained. Wood, sweetness. Minimal.

Old Conundrum on Wood is like a dragon that smells like a kobold. Blast of alcohol that belies the sub-10% ABV greets the palate & acts like Novocain on the roof of the mouth; I should have swilled this before my next dentist appointment. It would have made the whole experience a thousand times better. Post-shot, there’s a full bale of sugar, vanilla that hog piles on more sweetness, woody with minimal bourbon. Caramel comes out of the woodwork on the finish. Rich, thick, boozy. But so easy to sip.

A boozy, sweet, under attenuated mess that’s absolutely delicious. I had a Grape Sprite earlier that was dry & tart by comparison but damn, who cares? Excellent, & I’d expect nothing less from FiftyFifty.

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

22oz bottle poured into a snifter
(A)- Pours a dark burnt sienna brown color. Minimal off-white froth
(S)- Brown sugar meets some vanilla and oak. Very sugary smelling, but inviting
(T)- Quite rich. Brown sugar and caramel meets subtle oaky vanilla
(M)- Quite rich for a 9.8% ABV. It has some seriously rich and sweet characters behind it.
(O)- Good but VERY rich and sweet, even for a barleywine. Thankfully, not overly hopped

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Photo of GRG1313
3.75/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours medium clear brown with a fast fading medium khaki head. Nose is very oak and port. Sweet dark red wine tones in the nose. Little boozy, sweet, fruity. Mouth feel is medium thick and rich. Flavor is rich sherry, smoke,burnt coffee, light charcoal and strong maple. Finish is a bitter maple; bitter smoke and almost an English bitter tone. Lots of whiskey tones throughout.

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Photo of QuakeAttack
4.59/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

FiftyFifty is one of the few breweries which can compete with FW for barrel aged beers. This beer is just as good as FW DDBA and Sucuba. One o f the best barrleywine beers that I have tasted. The BA is in the background and just adds to a very smooth beer. This is definitely a sipping beer. Brown sugar, fruit, malt...As my youngest says "Try it!".

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Photo of cvm4
3.63/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

L - Pours a muddled brown body with a faint head that barely appears. The color is akin to black coffee with just enough creamer in order to change the color. I'm surprised by the little to no head. Just not a huge eye grabber here.

S - Lots of brown sugar, molasses, vanilla and dark fruits. The bourbon barrel is there, just hanging in the background.

T - The taste follows the smell, but it has a big resin/pine hoppy kick to it as well.

F - Medium bodied and light to no carbonation. I really felt more carbonation could liven it up some. There is some alcohol burn as this beer is really boozy and the abv is not hidden at all.

O - So many ups and downs with this beer in each category that one minute I love it and the next I'm disappointed by it.

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Photo of brpendergast85
5/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Great base beer that is really put over the top by the barrel. Better than both Eclipse variants I had this year (Java and Rittenhouse Rye), and a top three BA Barleywine for me overall (behind only MOAS and Arctic Devil).

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Photo of pat61
4.66/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big dried fruit nose – figs and dates, dark sugars tending to molasses, bourbon, and malt. The beer pours deep mahogany brown under a 1” slightly tan tinted white foam cap and produces thick lace on the glass as it goes down. The palate begins very creamy with intense malt, dark sugars, sherry, bread to biscuit, a trace of caramel, bourbon, citrus, dark fruit, and dried fruit culminating in an assertive bitter finish with alcohol, bourbon and vanilla. This is a big, chewy beer but moderate carbonation keeps it from being syrupy. There is sweetness throughout but the hops and bourbon keep the beer from being cloying. The alcohol is evident and warming but it is not sharp, overly hot or solventy. While it has sherry notes there is no big oxidized character. The bread and caramel flavors of the malt season the yeast driven fruit flavors. There are no burnt or harsh roast flavors.

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Photo of SomethingClever
3.64/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle poured into can glass

A: Dark murky brown like looking through mud nice off white head

S: a little bourbon and some wood a little bit of resiny hops

T: The bourbon is nice in this one it makes a resiny hoppy beer very soft and sweet with those vanilla and toffee flavors. You can taste the hoppiness but it is really mellowed with the other flavors then you get the wood smoke taste which isn't really necessary.

M: Has a full mouthfeel that's clingy and lays on your tongue

O: I really want to love this beer but the wood makes it average the more you drink of it the less you can taste the wood smoke but it's still there and brings nothing to the table.

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Photo of LeeEvolved
3.75/5  rDev -10.1%

Really boozy for less than 10% ABV. Probably should've aged it and hope it mellowed a bit. Decent flavor profile for a Barleywine, but still too hot IMO

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Old Conundrum On Wood from FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 44 ratings