Old Cellar Dweller | Driftwood Brewery

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Old Cellar DwellerOld Cellar Dweller
140 Ratings
Old Cellar DwellerOld Cellar Dweller

Brewed by:
Driftwood Brewery
British Columbia, Canada

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.60%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
This intense concentration of malt and hops is delicious when fresh but can be layed down for years. Enjoy with care!

Added by BDTyre on 12-26-2008

Bros Score:
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 140 |  Reviews: 51
Reviews by polloenfuego:
Photo of polloenfuego
3.96/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear amber color with a small but persistent head. Upon break there is decent lacing that sticks around the entire time I was drinking. The smell is a quite pleasant, a nice bit of piney hops, some lovely caramel malts, toffee, and brown sugar. Taste follows nose, however the hops come in much stronger, and there is a strong bitter/astringent presence from them. Malts come in second, and seem muted. Feel is quite nice, with a sticky and sweetness, along with a full body and about medium carbonation.

A nice beer, this was a 2015 bottle and I think it has probably changed from what others describe. Still, quite nice, and would definitely seek it out again.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of biboergosum
4.2/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

650ml red wax capped bottle (2015 edition), thanks again to rogerdandy for laying this bad boy on me - very generous, as always! No time for this to spend dwelling in my cellar, no-sirree!

This beer pours a mostly clear, medium copper amber colour, with a teeming tower of puffy, loosely foamy, and somewhat bubbly ecru head, which leaves some random splatters of chunky lace around the glass as it slowly sinks away.

It smells of semi-sweet, bready caramel malt, musty toffee, sharp piney esters, brown sugar, concentrated orange and white grapefruit citrus, and a bit of vinous alcohol heat. The taste is gritty and grainy caramel malt, a twinge of earthy yeast, complex light and honeyed orchard fruit (apples, pears, oranges, and red grapefruit, I guess), edgy pine resin, more dark syrupy sugar, and a further leafy, weedy, and grassy green hoppiness.

The carbonation is adequate for the job at hand, manifesting in a trim and solid frothiness, the body a decent middleweight, and generally smooth, even with those prickly pine and testy boozy characters flitting about. It finishes on the sweet side, but in a running gun battle with the lingering hops and alcohol - ergo, s'all good, man.

Overall, this is a pretty pleasant and agreeable barleywine for we unapologetic hop-heads out there - no char, no sour, no funk, no 'sessionability', just a big, brash malt monster, and its unholy bittering harem (bride? fuck that!). Drinkable in its own crazy-ass manner, which is all I (and maybe you) need to know about this incarnation of Cellar Dweller.

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Photo of Coronaeus
4.1/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

2014 - 13.1% ABV - 650 ml bottle.

A: Deep reddish amber. Negligible head that disappears quickly to a millimetre at most.

S: Sweet syrupy aroma. Mild alcohol. Hint of citrus.

T: Heavy alcohol that hits you off the bat. Surprising hop bitterness that blends nicely with the sweet malt backbone.

F: Thinner than expected with more carbonation than the average barleywine.

O: The alcohol is a little too pronounced for my taste, but the rest of the beer is quite pleasant. Definitely a slow sipper. I prefer English barleywines generally, but would be happy to give this another go with future vintages. Pleased to have received this in a trade from Corson.

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Photo of atomeyes
4.94/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Tried this side by side with the Old Barrel Dweller.
I actually liked this more.

The dry hopping was amazing. A beautiful tangerine nose with a faint hint of raspberry. The beer had a great balance of sweetness with a bit of hoppiness. the alcohol was there but not too hot.

a beautiful sipper on a cold Ontario winter night. would drink again and again. one of the best barley wines i've had.

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Photo of olradetbalder
4.28/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of chickenm
4/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of acurtis
3.92/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of JonnyBeers
4.5/5  rDev +9%

Photo of mdaschaf
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%

Photo of Tmappin
3.38/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Sammy
4.05/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very tasty stuff. The alcohol is well hidden but warms as you sip ourself through the bottle. Rich malt, fairly high IBU, lots of citrus flavour. This is several months old and may be even more interesting with a few years behind it.Full mouthfeel.
Thanks Rutager.

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Photo of dirtylou
4.52/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber, 11.5% abv per the bottle

Served in a lost abbey teku - rich garnet body, nice bubbly beige lace. Layered aromas of dark fruit, sugars, caramelized grapefruit, booze. The 2012 vintage I had on tap recently was noticeably hoppier than this slightly aged bottle - I tend to prefer the fresher batches it would appear (surprise, surprise as aging beer is stupid). Regardless, this is exceptionally complex and layered - glazed citrus, sugars, pine sap, booze soaked dark fruit.

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Photo of FalconA
3.75/5  rDev -9.2%

Photo of sammytag
4.43/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The 2010 Edition. @ 11.8% abv.

a - Beautiful. A clear, deep amber. A torrent of tiny bubbles rise from the walls of my glass. A firm, white head hangs around. First barley wine of the season. I'm psyched.

s - not what i'm accustomed to as far as barley wine goes. very fruity. Powerful grapefruit note and a blast of herbal hoppiness dominates. I'm getting ready for a big hop bite.

t - Wow! Huge hop flavour, a rich malty backdrop serves to exalt the interplay of hops. i'm at a loss for words as to how to characterize the absolute forcefulness of grapefruit and apricot. So prominent, aggressive and palatially challenging. Unique for a barley wine, in that there are no detectable dark fruits (date, prune, raisin) that i've come to expect from a BW. This is all light fruit, married to a robust, peerless hop symphony. The hops are aggressive in flavour, but the bitterness is light, and just right. A boozy sweet alcoholic finish is the perfect conclusion. Very complex. Poetic, almost.

m - perfect. there's no other way to describe it. The carbonation perfectly compliments the flavour explosion occurring in my mouth as this thick, thick beer hits the tongue.

d - i would drink this every day if it wasn't $12 a bottle. Being from edmonton, I declare this brew the Yin to Alley Kat's Olde Deuteronomy's Yang. My god. Unbelievable.

I would recommend drinking this at cellar room temperature - cool, but not cold. It's truly symphonic. Drink with dark chocolates and rich desserts, or all on its own. Tastes like it will definitely stand the test of time. Try it.

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Photo of GJKerr
4.33/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of DaveBar
4.12/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got on trade! 650ml bottle served at 10deg C in a tulip. 2012 vintage so should be as good as it gets.

A- Opens well and pours no head at all. Medium brown colour and unfiltered

S- Lots of complexity here. Sweet

T- Substantial amount of spice. Nice cardamom. Has a heavy malt base. Lots of bittering hops. Nice blend

M- Sticky and sickly sweet

O- Nice brew but not my style. With 4yrs on the bottle it's not going to get any better so it's a pass for me. Don't seem to enjoy these barely wines as a whole. Some good examples out there but more often they are not go good.

Food Pairing

This pretty good brew went well with....... BBQ hot dogs! Grill them over coals then onto the bun. No toppings. Try it, you may like it. You would be surprised.


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Photo of StormAles
4.71/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of jellikit
4.15/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Good barley wine. Sweet. Hoppy. Boozey. Balanced though. Will buy again.

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Photo of Rutager
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance. Pours a cloudy, deep amber red with a finger of sticky looking, light yellow-orange head.

Smell. Fruity, floral hops and sweet caramel. Some pear, grapefruit and a little booze.

Taste. Sweet toffee initially dominates followed by raisins ...and then the bitterness takes hold. Building bitter pine sap, grapefruit rind and lasting a grassy, floral hops. Alcohol present but not overwhealming.

Mouthfeel. Heavy, full body, lower carbonation, warm alcohol.

Overall. Great stuff. If it cools down a bit it'll be even nicer.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.75/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle: Poured a dark copper color ale with a medium size foamy head with OK retention and light lacing. Aroma of residual sugars notes with some warming alcohol notes and some light caramel and toffee notes. Taste is also dominated by caramel malt with light woody notes with port and some light warming alcohol notes. Body is not as full as expected with good carbonation. Well brewed thought maybe a tad too much alcohol is apparent.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.3/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to Chris for this bottle.
2012 Vintage poured in to tulip.

A - Poured murky dark brown and settled almost completely opaque with just a slight ruby glow around the edges. A thin layer of cream coloured head formed on the pour.

S - Sweet caramel, toffee, brown sugar and a big hop profile with a citrus aroma.

T - Follows the nose. Sweet caramel, toffee and brown sugar with some generous hopping that lends a big bitterness and some citrus flavours.

M - Medium, almost full body. Chewy. Light carbonation. Excellent mouthfeel.

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Photo of jaydoc
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.38/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a medium red-orange amber, with a nice one finger fine light tan head and lacing. Aroma of piney and citrus hops, faint sweet malt. Flavor is sweet and somewhat aromatic malt with light hints of dark fruit and vanilla. Finishes with creamy caramel malt, citrus and hops. Creamy medium to heavy body. Well integrated and seems already age mellowed; the hops are not dominating, but still have a fresh herbal taste. Alcohol is well hidden (maybe too well, @ 14% !). I hope I can find another bottle to age, because flavors are quite well blended already and it will be interesting to see what happens with a year or two on this.

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Photo of mtomlins
4.35/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2013 Vintage, Poured Feb 2015 (2 years of age)
Big thanks to FondueVoodoo for the bottle!

Pours a light copper color with an orange hue, 1-2 fingers of creamy off-white head, persistent and leaving nice lacing. The nose is dominated by sweet toasted malt, a little toffee and a hint of sweet citrus. On the palate, the grains dominate again, sweet and toasty with a enough hop additions to balance it all out. The body is big and creamy smooth with just the right amount of carbonation to keep it lively. Based on other reviews, I think this beer needs a year or two of age because it is drinking extremely well now!

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Photo of largadeer
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%

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Old Cellar Dweller from Driftwood Brewery
Beer rating: 4.13 out of 5 with 140 ratings