Ol' Fog Burner
Garrison Brewing Company

Ol' Fog BurnerOl' Fog Burner
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Barleywine - English
Ranked #131
Ranked #12,835
3.99 | pDev: 10.53%
Garrison Brewing Company
Nova Scotia, Canada
Very Good
Ol' Fog BurnerOl' Fog Burner
Notes: The biggest of all beers, "Ol' Fog Burner" Barley Wine is an exceptionally mellow and complex ale. It's tawny copper colour and subtle sweet spiciness transcend boundaries and expectations. Suitable for cellaring.

60 IBU
Reviews: 38 | Ratings: 58 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by biggsbowler:
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biggsbowler from Florida

3.62/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle - This was a pretty good barley wine. Between the caramel, chocolate, and coffee in the taste and smell, I felt like I was drink a coke. Ver malty, but with equal amounts of aromatic citrusy floral hops to balance it out.The body was medium and highly carbonated. This is my first barley wine from Canada and I have to say they did a nice job here.

Oct 07, 2011
More User Reviews:
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irishkyle21 from Canada (ON)

4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Feb 01, 2020
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ewpass from Canada (PE)

4.18/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Clear copper with a thick head. Complex, spicy caramel malt nose. Medium malt body with some alcohol strength. Worth sipping slowly and enjoying.

Dec 23, 2020
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IronDjinn from Canada (AB)

4.18/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a 500 ml brown embossed bottle, red foil around neck and cap. 2011 edition. Pours out a stunning clear bright coppery hazelnut hue, creamy beige head that is short but retains.

The aroma is just as mesmerizing as well, caramel, licorice, orange, floral notes, currants and dates. It almost reminds me of Turkish Delight.

Perhaps a bit too sweet for my liking, the flavour otherwise delivers nicely. Sweet toffee and figs up front, floral and fruit characteristics in the middle, with orange zest and smooth rum/raisin on the finish. Quite clean for such a big beer.

Medium-bodied mouthfeel, velvety smooth texture, with moderate carbonation.

This would have utterly won my heart had it not been for the extra sweetness, but even beyond that it is a complex and flavourful English Barleywine that should be sought out, and I'll be definitely picking up more to enjoy. So far my favourite offering from Garrison to this point.

Apr 08, 2011
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Phyl21ca from Canada (QC)

4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a deep copper color ale with a light foamy head with some retention and minimal lacing. Aroma of dry fruits with distinctive notes of plums and figs with some well balanced sweetness. Taste is also a quite complex mix between some dry plums and figs with notes of balanced sweet caramel malt. Body is about average with good carbonation and no signs of alcohol. Very well done overall and glad that brewer still see the point of brewing barleywine without throwing a ton of hops at them.

Aug 13, 2009
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Sammy from Canada (ON)

3.58/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2009 version, it may not have aged optimally even over such a short period in its long expected life. Unfiltered look. Taste, a little spicey. Sugar sweet aroma.A tad above average mouthfeel. Hits the style, an above average beer though unexceptional.
Thanks Liam.

Apr 08, 2011
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BDTyre from Canada (BC)

3.92/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This years version is 11.3%. Bright copper, with a nice fluffy light cream head. Creamy, sweet malts. Caramel, raisins, brown sugar and cinnamon. A little bit of butter too.

The creamy scent is tempered by a decent alcohol burn, and this comes through in the taste. Brandy, raisins, alcohol, rum, bread and caramel all mix in the taste. Oddly enough, I even get a definite green apple taste. It hides in there, but after a few sips it becomes quite noticeable. This actually compliments the other flavours quite well.

Smooth body, though the carbonation is noticeable. Definite alcohol burn. Nicely done, a very nice taste.

Apr 26, 2011
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Derek from Canada (BC)

4.11/5  rDev +3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled March 9, 2009.

A: Deep copper with a frothy, light tan head. Excellent retention & lacing. Exceptional for a brew of this strength.

S: A musty, earthy aroma followed by sweet caramel, figs, brown sugar & orange rind.

T: Sweet caramel, toffee, nut, figs, brown sugar, sherry, earthy orange-rind, good bitterness, alcohol is remarkably well-hidden.

M: Fairly full body has some residual sweetness; modest carbonation, smooth & creamy.

D: Highly drinkable for a brew of this strength.

Feb 07, 2010
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biegaman from Canada (ON)

4.02/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottled 03/09/09 and sampled 18/08/11. Thanks Dad!

As is typical for a bottle-conditioned beer, the second pour looks drastically different from the first. What begins a candy-apple red becomes a butterscotch brown and what was clear and lambent becomes absolutely turbid. Having seen both, I can fairly split the different (even despite the fact that what's in my glass now gives the term “blah” new meaning).

This bouquet is sweeter than any dessert you care to name and every bit as sexy as any swimsuit model; candied cherry and butterscotch liqueur resound with decadent richness. If I could capture this in a recipe I'd have the the world's best coffee cake. Alcohol esters are noted but are pacified enough so as to lend complexity without singing any nose hairs.

Two plus years of aging may have tamed the beer, but it hasn't stripped it of its luster; a bounty of flavour inundates with every sip, from the initial chilled state right into the room temperature period. Leathery dried prunes and cherries are met with toffee pudding, as the flavour department abounds with sweetness. The alcohol has a brandy-like complexity.

What I look for in a barleywine is a sweet, slow sipper with a wealth of flavour - and that easily describes Ol' Fog Burner. It is potent enough to force you to take your time but not so much so so as to make the 500ml impractical. Indeed, the fruity, drying, toffee-ish and somewhat pine-y resin that seeps into the gums on the finish is almost enslaving.

Beers are like pillows: the best ones are which ever ones work best for you. Some like their barleywines hoppier, some maltier, some stronger and some more mild; Ol' Fog Burner strikes a good compromise between all camps and is definitely the kind of beer that I, personally, could cuddle into bed (or at least the cold cellar) with. Next time I see it I'll buy at least 3.

Aug 18, 2011
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Mandrake from Canada (NS)

3.78/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber, nearly blood red, with a very nice cream coloured head that lasts well, given the style, and leaves a bit of lacing. Smell is quite fruity, dates and prunes, with a strong note of molasses and some spiciness. Sweet, not overwhelmingly complicated or powerful. Taste is a bit out of whack, too much caramel and not enough fruit or hops, with a definite note of alcohol. Mouthfeel is undercarbonated, and the body not quite full enough for my liking, and drinkability is good enough, given the style, but not great. A middling effort which should have been much better.

Oct 23, 2009
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nighthawk from Canada (NS)

3.85/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500mL bottle with vintage and batch number clearly marked on label. Poured into pint glass.

Ruby to plum body with copper hues, almost clear, with a generous off-white (faintly yellow) head. Reduces to a thin ring that has good retention.

Toffee and alcohol predominant on the nose, with mild spice like pepper or sharp cinnamon.

Mild fruity taste at first (reminiscent of plum and dark cherry), then kicks it up with a sweet caramel and alcohol blast. Mild spiciness near the middle. Potent, yet mellow. When the beer warmed even more, I noticed a leafy, slightly bitter taste on the finish.

Sticky mouthfeel, but not heavy, with light bubbly carbonation. Alcohol's evident on the finish.

A sipper, certainly nice to chase away the fog and rain on a cold spring evening...but it'll put some fog in your head. Drink at cellar or warmer; this beer's a beast when served cool. Seems to hit all the points of a barleywine, but feels somewheat middle-of-the-road.

Edit: Cracked open a bottle at about 6 months. This beer matures wonderfully, mellowing and really letting that sweet fruitiness come through.

May 08, 2009
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MasterSki from Canada (ON)

3.83/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to liamt07 for this brew. Served in a Night of the Living Ales taster pint. Bottled February 17th, 2010. This batch clocks in 10.4%.

A - Pours with a finger of khaki, creamy foam that features good retention and settles to a partial cap and collar, but leaves minimal lacing. Body is a somewhat cloudy sultana raisin brown. A few streams of tiny bubbles are visible at the edges of the glass.

S - The initial impression is residual earthy and piney hops, bread malts, and burnt sugars. As it warms it grows in sweetness, but only slightly, and gains some fruity notes. Some mild alcohol spice as well.

T - Taste is sweeter from the get-go, with a decent amount of raisins and brown sugar complementing the aforementioned bread pudding malt backdrop. Finishes with a nice vanilla note, before mild bitterness lingers into the aftertaste.

M - Overcarbonated for the style - there's a burning sensation and I saw active bubbles throughout as I consumed my serving. Full bodied, viscous, and chewy otherwise, with a lingering sticky mouth-coating residual feel.

D - I split a 50cl bottle with my wife, and it never felt like a chore. I'm curious how this developed in the barrel-aged version, as I can see it being quite successful. As it stands, it's a pleasant above-average barleywine only marred by some over alcohol aroma and overcarbonation.

Mar 31, 2011
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papat444 from Canada (QC)

3.68/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

***2010 Vintage (bottled Feb. 17)***

Thanks to cjbmcdon for this one.

Poured from a 500ml. bottle, batch #'s 1788/1789/1790 on the label.

Appearance: A deep brown body with muddy red tints, like dark honey. Thick, frothy head (light tan) and thick coats of lacing.

Smell: Pungent aroma of raisins, cinnamon, caramel and spices.

Taste: Caramel, spicy, brown sugar, dash of cinnamon, some dried fruits and as it warms, leans towards a wood/leather flavor. Good but i found the spices got a bit in the way.

Mouthfeel: Bitterness plays a part, especially as it warms which makes it a bit harsh. Low carbonation and smooth but the heat is felt a bit.

Overall: Rich and pleasant at first but as it goes on, it gets to be a bit of a chore. I'm torn because it is good but also heavy. I've had higher ABV beers that drank easier. A 341ml. bottle would have been enough.

Feb 08, 2012
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johnnnniee from New Hampshire

3.75/5  rDev -6%

Nov 10, 2013
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ChrisCage from Canada (AB)

4.61/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- This pours the aforementioned tawny/caramel coloration and after the pour it becomes much darker and robust looking! The head starts about two fingers thick and settles slowly into a thick film and ring around the tulip glass I have this in and is a gorgeous creamed brown sugar color. Carbonation is fine looking and the lacing is stunning with many small and large clumps of foam clinging to the side of the glass.....impressive!!

S- This is bold in burnt caramel and heavy toffee/molasses sweetness! There are plenty of rich aromas that follow including raisins, dark rum, chocolatey fudge, butterscotch, yeast/biscuit, assorted overripe berry, cognac, cinnamon and boozy although it is very well rounded on the nostrils!

T- Heavy malt, rum, cognac, subtle baking spices such as cinnamon, peppercorn and nutmeg, slight citrus peel, dark berries, caramel/toffee sweetness, a very well balanced, yet strong alcohol content, raisins & plums, Earth, and the finish has a clean, mild leafy & berry like bitterness/tartness that helps cleanse the richness of what just happened on my palate!

M/O- This is medium-full in body, and there is just a delicate richness that coats the palate from start to finish....the carbonation is velvety and as it bursts, it allows the fruitiness to be experienced! While this is superb and highly drinkable, this will most definitely go to your head and in short order....the alcohol is that well blended! A great beer contribution by this brewery!! Cheers!!

Mar 30, 2016
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biboergosum from Canada (AB)

4.23/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 version, packaged January 18, and 11.3% ABV this time around. Quite a pleasingly tactile and attractive foil-capped 500ml bottle.

This beer pours a slightly glassy, yet bright medium red-brick amber hue, with three fingers of fine, tightly foamy, and creamy beige head, which displays some frustratingly sturdy retention, eventually rendering some frozen sea-spray swaths of lace around the glass for its efforts.

It smells of musty caramel, biscuity toffee, stewed raisins, citrus cream, Fig Newtons, a touch of bitter piney hops, and a not so mild estery alcohol edge. The taste is sweet, Toffifay-leaning caramel malt, reduced brown sugar syrup, softly boozy Bundt cake, a suggestion of Yuletide baking spice, and a surprisingly assertive, while at the same time, rather indistinct hop bitterness.

The carbonation is agreeably subtle, while still working the gentle frothy angle, the body a stout middleweight, verging on full, and nice and smooth, with a crisp creaminess (weird, I know). It finishes still dancing the same extravagantly bittersweet jig - complex, sugary, and well-sauced malt, all entwined with those tongue-tingling, zingy hops.

A splendid-tasting Barleywine, one which blurs the distinction between the American and English styles, so you'd think that I'd dock it a few points for that, eh? Nope, that just makes it oh so Canadian, mais non? In the end, the big booze is remarkably well hidden, and the over-aforementioned balanced nature proves this one to be a winner.

Apr 29, 2011
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grover37 from District of Columbia

3.47/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

500ml bottle purchased from the brewery in July '10. Drank almost exactly a year old on 2/18/11, bottle on 2/17/10.

Appearance (4): Clear, very dark red or mahogany. About a finger of cream head reduces to a ring and a big patch that goes away eventually.

Smell (4.5): Strong caramel and toffee. Some sweet orange mixes with bitter grapefruit along with some darker fruit like raisin or plum and a touch of ethanol.

Taste (3.5): A bit of the fruitiness up front with some bitterness and then comes the caramel and toffee shortly thereafter. The middle is a bit sweeter caramel and the finish is very sweet, almost too much so, with the toffee flavor lingering for awhile.

Mouthfeel (3.5): Medium to full bodied and low carbonation. A bit slick on the palate but very sticky and a bit cloying in the finish.

Drinkability (2): This is not oen to drink all night. I split the bomber and it's taking me a while just to finish 8oz or so. It's a pretty good barleywine, particularly with 12 months on it, but still too sweet.

Feb 19, 2011
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bobsy from Canada (ON)

4.08/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've had Ol' Fog Burner a few times now, and this review comes from the latest brewing in early 2010. Whether its age of tweaks from batch 1 I do not know, but this was a considerable improvement on past experiences, and is a very fine barleywine.

Hazy rich amber pour with a whipped meringue of creamy beige head that had decent retention, and slowly faded to a wispy film in the fine tradition of the style. Sweet, fruity aroma with a big brown sugar component, warming alcohol and some earthy hops.

My strike against Ol' Fog Burner had been that while I liked the flavour, it didn't blow my socks off, and seemed a little tame for the style. I'm not sure if its the aging or a recipe tweak since the original brewing, but this bottle seems to have dealt with my original criticism, and is delivering flavour in spades. Brown sugar forms the backbone, but never comes over as too sweet. Partially, this is because a combination of other flavour elements and a moderate hop bite produce a hefty balance. Each sip is bringing cocoa, dates, figs, spice, sherry, and an earthy warming finish. This melange firmly places Ol' Fog Burner in the traditional English barleywine category, but the piny hops give a hint that this isn't from the old country's shores. Certainly a good interpretation of the style. Full bodied almost slick feel works very well and makes this seem like a decadent treat (something that's helped by the warming presence of alcohol in the finish).

Its tough for me to predict how this one will age, but it seems hefty enough with body and bulk to last for quite a long time. In fact, it will be curious to see what happens once taht hopping dies down and if more Madeira flavours come to the fore. Could be a Canadian classic.

Jul 29, 2009
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ZorPrime from Canada (QC)

4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received in a trade in 2010 with liamt07. Tasted early 2011. This beer was bottled on February 2010.

Tasting notes:

Color is caramel like, brown, thick. Little head, but very dense. Color is a lot like mud. Should be tasty!

Aroma: Intense caramel notes and spices. Very rich in the aroma, complex too. Light notes of burnt. I like this. Tastewise, the beer simply explode in the mouth. Wow, lots of stuff going on and all I like. Spicy caramel. Rich. Warm. Long persisting taste too.

Body is heavy. Alcohol is noticeable just a little. This is a true sipper. Drinkability is good.

Apr 23, 2011
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Ralphus from Canada (ON)

3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I love Garrison's pale ale and imperial pale ale so I thought I'd give their barley wine a shot. This bottle is part of the 2nd Garrison order that came into Ontario.

It looks nice. Ruby red in colour, hazy and a beige head that settles to a smooth ring of foam.

The smell is mostly caramel and fruits with a hint of alcohol. The taste is big, full of brown sugar and caramel with fruit flavours and a hint of vanilla. The finish is slightly bitter.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. I don't get any stickyness.

Drinkability is decent but I still find this is a sipper and have no urge to take any gulps.

May 12, 2010
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Jeffo from Netherlands

4.04/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Got this bottle last summer from a very generous trader. Lost all my info when my computer crashed, so I don't know who it was anymore. Cheers to whoever it was.

From a 500ml bottle into a snifter
Bottled on 18 January 2011

APPEARANCE: Pours a one finger, medium looking, off-white, cream colored head with decent retention. Head fades to a splotchy wisp. Clear mahogany red with no carbonation evident. A ring remains but leaves no lacing down the glass.

SMELL: Caramel malts, toffee, orange peel and some light citrus notes. Floral hops as well as some brown sugar. Bold and enticing. Lots of booze in there as well.

TASTE: Caramel and toffee sweetness, as well as some nice red fruits, such as raspberries and cherry notes. A dose of floral hops at the swallow, with some nice piney bitterness as well. A big, bold and lingering aftertaste of caramel and toffee sweetness, piney hop bitterness, floral notes, and some spicy alcohol. Very flavorful, complex and surprisingly balanced. Really nice stuff.

PALATE: Medium body and higher levels of carbonation. Creamy enough on the palate, goes down fine with a decent burn at the swallow and finishes relatively mouth-coating. A little light and overly carbonated, but passable.

OVERALL: This was really, really good. Lots of wonderful flavor and a big, bold, enticing nose as well. Unfortunately the palate is a little light for the style, as some more weight and creaminess would really make this a world-class treat. Still, as it is, this is a solid beer worth checking out if you get the chance. Cheers for the beers guys!

Aug 29, 2012
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phirleh from Canada (ON)

4.25/5  rDev +6.5%

Apr 04, 2013
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ludachris from Canada (ON)

3.93/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottled February 17, 2010

Pours a marvellous scarlett red hue that hazed by a strong amount of carbonation and bits of sediment that float lazily in no one direction. One finger of creamy beige head tops this beer displaying great retention (considering the ABV) and leaving a pleasing amount of webbed lace.

The nose is complex with notes of caramel, toffee, brown sugar, and hints of vanilla meshing with candied and chewy fruits such as raisons, grapefruit, and even some sugar coated pears.

Sweet and syrupy on the palate with the caramel, vanilla, and brown sugar notes really taking prominence but being nicely balanced with a subtle dose of grapefruity bitterness that sits at the back of the tongue, lingering in the end as the rest of the fruity notes, which play as more of a backbone, die out.

Heavy, syrupy, and very rich in the mouth. A good balance is struck amongst its great depth and complexity, and the 10.4% ABV makes itself only detectable in the warming feel in the stomach. I cracked this one open a half an hour ago and I'm not sure I'm even half way done. This is the epitome of a sipper in my books.

I'm still very new to the Barleywine style, but didn't find it too hard to enjoy this one. I still have an '09 in my cellar and I'm excited to see how it will age over the next couple of years.

May 14, 2010
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juliusseizure from New York

4/5  rDev +0.3%

Apr 15, 2013
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wordemupg from Canada (AB)

4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

500ml bottle poured into chalice may9 2010

A deep ruby red with a few bubbles slowly floating up to a fast falling two finger head that left good lace while it lasted

S heavy caramel and brown sugar with some candied fruit

T again all I smell but a touch of booze but considering it's 10.4%alc the liquors well concealed, I also pick up on a little nut and honey

M thick and syrupy with enough carbonation to fluff it up a bit as it enters your mouth, quite smooth and makes you lips stick together just a tad.

D I like this beer a fair bit but I couldn't see myself drinking it outside of spring (Calgary's spring) it's just a little hot but it's a young barley wine after all and I will drink it again

I'm stoked I have another one of these in the mail to cellar because I could see this one doing quite well with some time under the stairs. I have to thank Moniker for sending this bottle out west

May 10, 2010
Ol' Fog Burner from Garrison Brewing Company
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 58 ratings