Old Herb Barleywine | Southampton Publick House

Your Rating: None
Want it   Got it 
Old Herb BarleywineOld Herb Barleywine
119 Ratings
Old Herb BarleywineOld Herb Barleywine

Brewed by:
Southampton Publick House
New York, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 02-17-2003

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 119 |  Reviews: 91
Reviews by cretemixer:
Photo of cretemixer
4.32/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2003 vintage Bottle 125 of 500

It almost feels like a sin to open such a limeted offering. I say almost, because the real sin would be never opening it at all. Beer is for drinking!
Pours a murky russett color with a thin, dense head. Ultra fine bubbles rise slowly.
The aromas are noted even before pouring. Chocolate covered raisins, vanilla and caramel.
Not as sweet as many barleywines, not at all cloying. A big, full bitterness fills the mouth. Creamy texture with a full body. More of an English style barleywine, more earthy than most too. Becomes dryer by mid-glass and saharan towards the end as a peppery spiciness kicks in. Masterful!

 652 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of StonedTrippin
4.22/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

a highly limited, and now very old barleywine. i think 2011 was our bottle date, a dinosaur to say the least. i love english and am neutral on american barleywines, so i was glad to see this as decidedly english upon first whiff. its murky as they come, thick and caramely, notes of citrus too though to cut it, and seemingly has to be aged in a barrel with the vanilla mellowness i am getting, but i dont think it is. the flavor matches the nose beautifully, and the real achievement here is all this grain character, including sweetness, but so little residual sugar. there is also almost no alcohol thats obvious, and i have to assume because of this, that time has done this quite a few favors. no way it could have been so relaxed and approachable when it was fresh. did not know these guys got down with beers like this, makes me happy they do, or at least did, its near the top of my list in the category, thats for sure. maybe a little overpowering for our seafood dinner, but the grill flavors on the fish and the smoky charred notes in the back of the malt bill here come together nicely. as evolved as it can be, i think consumed at the peak of ageing. there cant be many of these left out there, so if this sounds like your jam, go find one quickly! i loved its richness but resolve, and even picked up a little coconut to take me away. lovely.

 1,356 characters

Photo of RoyalT
4.05/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance – This one was very cloudy and heavy in appearance with tons of sediment at the bottom of the glass. There’s no head, which is not uncommon for the style.

Smell – The sharp, sticky malts are first to leap from the glass. The big wine is all over the place. Some barley wines don’t have a big wine flavor (as strange as that sounds) but this one is very dominant.

Taste – This is big for a style that’s known to be big anyway. The giant red wine flavors come out huge at the taste and the sugars are enormous. This reminds me of a wine-based punch I made once that called for a lot of added table sugar and booze.

Mouthfeel – This full-bodied Barley Wine will pucker your mouth. The sugars are so raw you can almost feel the granular texture on the tongue. What a ride.

Drinkability – This was terrific as is but will probably improve with a bit of cellaring.

 889 characters

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.15/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle No. 296 of 500. 2005 vintage per the gold sticker on the top of the 12oz bottle. Pours from the bottle, which is filled to the brim, into my tulip a deep cloudy brown with a big red tint. An inch of tight creamy white head sits sturdily atop the beer. Enticing. Aromas of lush caramel malts that come across a touch nutty. Brown sugar, molasses and dark fruits elegantly comingle. Plenty of piney, resinous, spicy hops are lurking within the rich aroma.

First sip brings a sweet caramel toffee maltiness upfront that segways into a mix of dark fruits, brown sugar and a touch of bread dough. Flows down with a nice bitter piney hop kick that fairly subtle. Finishes with a delicate caramelized fruitiness. Overall, a tasty well balanced barleywine to be had here. It's hard to believe this is 11% as the alcohol is not noticeable. Good brew.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and a bit creamy. Good strong maltiness here, but I do think there's a bit too much fast paced carbonation going on here that detracts from the mouthfeel a tad. Drinkabilty is good for a brew of this size. Another winner from Southampton. I have another bottle to sit on and see how it ages. Thanks to goodbyeohio for the opportunity.

 1,216 characters

Photo of Billolick
3.42/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2004 version, 12 ouncer sampled. Pours auburn, slight haze, classy loose lacing. Nose is unique, wonderful perfumy malt. Sadly a slight sourness picked on the first few sips, then just more sourness noted messing up the usual lovely malt/hop balance, heady alcohol running throug the mix. This is tasty, distinctive stuff, worth seeking out, paying the $, and savoring. This bottle had turned a wee bit. It had been sitting in my closet for about 6 months, not sure exactly what the problem was.

 495 characters

Photo of acurtis
4/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of Sammy
3.8/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2005. Dark wood colour with good head. Very citrus, very creamy mouthfeel. Very drying finish. Herbal and hoppy aroma. I thought this was a fine beverage, a good old ale, but nothing extraordinary as a barleywine. And it's expensive for a small bottle, but I wouldn't want any more.

 282 characters

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.34/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2003 vintage. Bottle number 494 or 500. Beyond its hazy amber-chestnut body and short head of light tan froth; sweet, caramelish malt dominates "Old Herb". Peppered with leafy, herbal, and spicy hops, the rich toffee-like malt is luxuriant and mesmerizing in the nose; and it could almost be enjoyed on its own! In the mouth, it's full-bodied and creamy with just a light tingle on the tongue from it's very-fine-bubbled, bottle-conditioned carbonation. The flavor starts with rich, caramelish malt and a splash of yeasty fruitiness awash in alcohol; warms to become even fruitier and more sugary; and then - BAM - the hops hit with full force... bitter and flavorful with notes of dried leaves, pine, grass, and mild spice. The flavor is so intense at the swallow that it segues into the finish without hesitation or notice; allowing its flavors of deeply (and just-borderline burnt) caramel and herbal, leafy hops to roll and tumble amongst themselves and a spritz of alcoholic spice and drying bitterness. It's quite interesting, and turns almost licorice-like after a few moments. With the exceptions of its limited head and poor retention (which are to be be expected in a higher alcohol beer), and its clear impression of alcohol, this is a brilliant, full-throttle barleywine that really deserves some attention for its syrupy/piney mix and take-no-prisoners attitude. Buy it and age it! This will be a winner with a few years under its belt.

 1,449 characters

Photo of beerluvr
4.32/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage 2004, bottle 196/500.
Massive and long lasting cream colored head resting atop murky light brown liquid. Rich and fruity intense malt nose. Flavors of sweet fruit, malt sugariness and faint winey sourness then a tremendous hoppiness, then some but not too much alcohol tasted. Finishes herbal and dry and lightly winey again. Superb.
Thanks to HappyHourHero for this one.

 381 characters

Photo of Kegatron
3.58/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle into a snifter. 2011 release. Bottle # 67/500. Big thanks go to Stakem for grabbing a few of these for me while up at the RIS release last January.

Pours a clear coppery amber, with a bit of an aggressive foaminess to it as this goes into the grass. Once things settle down, this sits with a finger of creamy off-white head. The retention here is pretty darn good, continuing to release for a while, maintaining a rich thin frothiness, and leaving back a good bit of spotty lace that slowly creeps down the sides of the glass. The aroma smells flowery, herbal, and citric up front (and surprisingly fresh), before giving way to notes of brown sugar, caramel, and dough. Unfortunately, alcohol notes take this over a bit too much as this warms up in the nose.

The taste is mix of toffee sweetness, additional brown sugar notes, ripe citric fruit, and a leafy and herbal bitterness. Fusel alcohol lends the profile some extra sweetness, which leads into a very dry finish of leftover sugars, roast, and a leafy earthiness. The mouthfeel is full bodied, with a mellow creamy feel to the carbonation, which is undercut by a syrupy slickness that helps this move along despite the high alcohol content that is present. You have to take your time with this guy but the feel here is fairly smooth overall with a well hid ABV.

While I generally enjoyed this, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that there was a definite off-character to this when it was first poured which I believe went hand in hand with the overly foamy carbonation that was present as well. Luckily both diminished considerably as this warmed, enabling me to fully take in what the beer had to offer. This definitely had a boldness to it and was moderately complex for the style but I honestly don’t think that this one was worth the $10 or so that they were charging for a 12 oz bottle.

 1,875 characters

Photo of waddellc2
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.19/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2006 bottle consumed in 2007: Poured a cloudy deep hazy brown color ale with no carbonation. Aroma of sweet vinous malt is dominating. Taste is a mix between some very sweet malt with some light toffee notes. No discernable hops or dry fruits characteristics which I usually enjoyed in this style. Body was full with limited filtration with no carbonation and no discernable alcohol. This is a weird one – almost like drinking a 10-15 year old Thomas Hardy without all the complexities.

 487 characters

Photo of CRJMellor
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

#418 of the 2004 bottling
Pours a dense, heavy caramel color with some streaks of red. Minor ring of head on the chalice with spotty sheets of lace.
Aromas of caramel, dark fruits, raisins, dates. figs and some yeast, spicy tones that I can't quite identify.
Flavors of caramel, dark citrus fruits and a little bit of orange. Lots of zest spiciness and straight alcohol.
Mouthfeel is sweet malt to start but quickly moves to a pronounced but lighter bitterness and finishes with a burning alcohol sensation.
Drinkability is great but heavy burning alcohol hit adn the ends makes this one dangerous.
Special thanks to Davo for sharing this nectar from LI

 659 characters

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.97/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz received from a friend and great trader boatshoes... Thanks a ton Spencer!! Spencer just sent me this bottle and a beautiful blown glass bowl for my wife out of the blue... A good man for sure.

I shared this 2006 bottle with a few beer gnurds a few weeks ago.. reviewed from good notes.

12oz 130/500... pours sorta flat with only a thin tan head... murky amber brew.

Tons of caramel with some nice background piney hoppiness.. raisins at some plum with a touch of alcohol..

Rich maltiness.. some minor hoppiness.. raisins and bruised plums.. bits of cigar wrapper... dusty chocolate...

medium full body with almost no carbonation... not flat .. but close for sure. I feel we cracked this at the top of a steep down slope... overall, a nicely brewed BW, but maybe the bottling was maybe problematic.. Thanks again Spencer... Your generosity will not be forgotten.


 887 characters

3.09/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

No ABV listed

12oz bottle to snifter. $10.00 for the bottle picked up at the 2010 release of Southampton IRS. Hand numbered bottle #214 of 500. Sampled nine months later on 10/15/11.

A: Filled within a centimeter of the bottles rim, Old Herb pours with 1 finger of foamy khaki head which slowly fades to a creamy film and collar. The body is auburn brown in color and completely opaque. Retention is great, lacing is minimal.

S: Heavy malts of caramel, toffee and grain - all moderately toasted. Hop character is herbal/minty menthol and rather muted. Yeast strain is neutral except at higher temperatures when some plasticky phenols become apparent.

T: More English than American (at least at this point). Rendered caramel and light toffee are most prominent while a plum and grape-like fruitiness adds nuance. Mild notes of cardboard and construction paper suggest a little oxidation. Long lasting flavor. Lightly sweet, lightly bitter.

M: Fantastic. Thick and chewy. Full body with the perfect amount of carbonation. The texture is a little more alcoholic than I care for but for an 11% beer, it isn't out of line.

O: This beer changes considerably throughout the glass. The flavor evolves while the nose devolves. All of it is marginal as the highs and lows still hover around average.

 1,295 characters

Photo of lou91
3.77/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up in Brooklyn at the American Beer Co. in Brooklyn . Bottle #142 of 500. The gold cap cover read 2004. Unfiltered amber glow with a great hoppy/malty nose. This is on the malty side of the barley wine style with caramel dry sweetness. The hops help out the malt with a crisp clean bitterness bolstering the malt. The alcohol is evident but not overpowering. Given their reputation and the price this was not a strong showing and I don’t think aging would help.

 474 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
4.28/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

brown, though you can see some light through it, no head and a nice lace top it off. Smell is hopped for sure, but with a subtle sugary undertone, and a hint of alcohol too. Taste is not very strong at all. There is the natural piney hoppness you would expect from a barley wine, but not too strong, there is also a sugary, nuttiness about it as well. The alcohol is there, and that keeps this a sipper. It is actually nicely carbonated, and not harsh going down, has the warm feeling on the way. Overall this was a good brew

 525 characters

Photo of Rastacouere
3.21/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

2002: Dark Copper, not much foam. Mostly hoppy aroma, bold hops really, reminding me of Chinook with plenty of piney and grapefruity nuances. At the same time, a nutty and interesting chocolatey aspect aspires to more room, though it never manages to attain the hops’ intensity. On the palate, it comes out rather earthy, pretty mineral and somehow salty. Taken globally, it feels rather uncohesive which is really not Southampton at all, lacking in flavour and balance. Stone-like dryness clears out the rest in its boldness. At the same time, mouthfeel is adequate at best, a thin-medium body with sharp carbonation.
2004: Integration here was superior to 2002’s. Much more malt is around to balance out a lesser amount of hops resulting into a much more tolerable dryness level. It’s mostly full bodied, bold, smoky with pinesol like hops in the finish. This one would score 3.7 while the 2002 would score 3.3.

 918 characters

Photo of mntlover
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2005 Vintage #98 of 500 Nice treat from GoodbyeOhio B&G BIF

Pours a deep red color with a tan head falls to a ring that leaves some lace, 2nd pour puts some suspended yeast in the mix. Drinking out of a little snifter.

Aroma is sweet caramel nice and sugary, some fruit figs, pears mixed with some underlying citrus hops and spice.

Taste is nice more English in nature then American for me. Rich caramel almost molasses like. Some nice fruit figs, plums, and dates very nice big sweet but not cloying nice deep fruitiness. Finish is a deep underlying hops some citrus mixed with sappy pine, deep as not in your face bittter but tastes like lots of aged hops even though its not that old.

Mouthfeel is nice fullish with good mellow carbonation.

Drinkability is good a nice enjoyable Barley Wine, a great treat.

 824 characters

Photo of Zorro
3.51/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Sample through Brewfan and Secret Santa BIF 2007.

2006 vintage, bottle number 147 of 500.

Hazy red colored ale with no head formation.

The smell is quite sweet and fruity with lots of fig and prune scent. Spicy rye grain scent and the smell of cognac. Lots of heady ethanol vapors carry grape and cherry scent to my nose.

The taste starts out quite sweet and nutty and woody with vanilla and caramel candy in the finish. Very sweet did I mention this was sweet? There is a slight sour flavor here if you hold this on the tongue for a while, possibly because the sweetness is overloading the taste buds. Bitterness shows up in the aftertaste but it is slight compared to the sweetness.

Mouthfeel is OK barely carbonated though.

Not all that drinkable the sweetness is the problem. I like some sweetness in a beer but this is just too much. No reason to try this one again I think.

 885 characters

Photo of GreatPondBrewer
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

#20 of 500 of the 2004 edition poured a fine, bright amber color boardering on a tint of orange/cherry color with a pillowy white head in my Piraat glass. Lacing aplenty. Smell was something similar to a strawberry shortcake. Sweet esters with a berry like note that went up the nose, but the smell all in all was rather subdued. The taste was just a tad raw(it could use maybe a year of aging) and full of more malts... big juicy malts with a strong brandy like finish. The hops were only a slight lingering bitterness in the back of the tongue. All in all this was a tasty and drinkable barley-wine. I can say unequivicably that this in cask would be something close to sheer velvet in the throat.

 699 characters

Photo of ChrisPro
2.76/5  rDev -32.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2011 Vintage Bottle # 316 of 500.

A - Pours a crystal clear orange with a quickly dissipating light khaki head.

S - Aroma is extremely earthy with lots of pine and grass. Some hints of caramel and dark fruit as it warms, but they still are taking a back seat. Dried golden raisins show up eventually.

T - Some sweetness, but then a big earthy vegetal finish. The first sip is incredibly offputting and almost made me gag. Definitely some piney hop bitterness on the finish. Would actually be pretty well balanced American Barleywine if I could get over the weird vegetal taste. It does get much better as the beer opens up, but not completely enjoyable.

M - nice carbonation. Pretty full bodied and appropriate for the style. The heat definitely lingers and this may be better with age.

O - The first sip made me want to drain pour the beer. Glad I didn't save this for a tasting or special occasion. Much better as the air helped to open it up and the weird vegetal flavor died down, but this is not a beer I'd seek out again.

 1,034 characters

Photo of Dithyramb
4.35/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 12 oz brown bottle via BIF 18. It had a cartoon on the cover of the beer’s namesake and a plastic coated cap. It was from the 2005 year. There was a hand written numbering—I had bottle 102 of 500. Interesting and different, will we see these as collector’s items on eBay?

View: Hazy amber hued chestnut. Had a short-lived light tan head that quickly dissipated. No ring to leave any lacing. Didn’t take off points though, once I realized the alcohol level it was packing.
First sniff: Caramel malts and herbal hops with a little hint of the alcohol from the high ABV
Tastiness: Mmmm, mmm good. The malts run the show here—even for a young barleywine—with significant caramel and toffee notes. However, there is a load of hard core hops keeping their back, with a spicy/herb kick that gave me a couple of piney belches. A definite mix of hops is in there, giving a nice complexity to the bitterness. Not American, not British, but a fine mixture.
Mouthfeel: Full bodied brew that is creamy smooth going down. Alcohol is completely clandestine.
Overall: Old Herb was an extremely drinkable barleywine beer, well worth having a few. In fact, I wouldn’t mind finding a few more to stash down in the basement. I think I may have to check out more of the Southampton brews.

 1,295 characters

Photo of meathookjones
4.12/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a 04 12oz bottle with no number in the spot where it was written on the 03’s. Deep amber body with a light tan head that leaves little scatterings of lace as this was consumed. Big sweet malty aroma. Notes of dark fruits, such as figs where present. Alcohol was there but not too strong. Light syrupy aroma as well. The flavor is rich with sweet malt, fruit notes and a light bitterness. A bit sticky sweet after a while. Lingering sweetness with a slight alcohol bite at the end. Sticky sweet with a creamy thick feel. Pretty easy drinking stuff. Tastes good but might benefit from another year or so of aging. The alcohol is hidden remarkably well for an 11% brew. Great stuff pick it up if you get a chance. Thanks go to Steve for the bottles of this.

 763 characters

Photo of ppoitras
4.41/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle obtained via trade with shippos. Thanks for the opportunity. 2004 vintage, bottle 181 of 500.

Poured into a Rapscallion glass, formed a spacious 2" beige head over the slightly cloudy reddish amber brew. Head exhibits extraordinary staying power, especially for the style, with solid heavy foam lacing. Aroma is sweet fruits and alcohol, with a certain maltiness apparent. Taste is as well sweet fruits, coupled with reasonable amounts of grain, and nary a taste of the alcohol we all know is present in great force. A bit sedate on the hopping front for an American Barleywine, but I'm ok with that. Mouthfeel and drinkability are excellent, especially for the style, which can sometimes be a bit brash and brazen. This one shows a deliberate matureness, not unlike the gentleman the bottle speaks of, I assume. A must find for barleywine aficianados, and everyone else as well.

 894 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Old Herb Barleywine from Southampton Publick House
Beer rating: 4.07 out of 5 with 119 ratings