Old Birdbrain | Black Raven Brewing Co.

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Old BirdbrainOld Birdbrain
102 Ratings
Old BirdbrainOld Birdbrain

Brewed by:
Black Raven Brewing Co.
Washington, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
This robust strong ale features pale malts and generous hop additions. After primary fermentation, several American rye whiskey barrels are filled and cellared to age. The remaining beer is then cellared in a stainless steel tank. After many months of aging, the barrels are then blended into the remaining batch aged in the stainless steel tank.

Added by barleywinefiend on 03-07-2010

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 102 |  Reviews: 23
Reviews by TheBronze:
Photo of TheBronze
4.5/5  rDev +4.7%

More User Reviews:
Photo of NWer
4.97/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2010 vintage at the brewery.
I first tasted this at their birthday celebration but my senses were too overloaded to make an accurate review.
Revisited at the brewery today. Very nice young lady allowed me to taste both the 2009 and the 2010 before I decided on the 2010.
I am overwhelmed.
This beer should be shared with the world but alas it isn't bottled. Not even growlers to go.
Nice deep red/brown/black appearance subdued head typical of a high abv beer.
Bourbon. Bourbon notes. Bourbon smell. Bourbon taste.
Taste lingers exceptionally well making this the perfect sipping beer.
I can't wait for Black Raven to re-offer this beer at a celebration of some sort next year to see how it ages since I don't have the opportunity to put some away myself.
Did I say I'm overwhelmed?
Try it if you get the chance. Savoring this beer is one of life's great pleasures.
edit: original review 5/27/2011 revisited 6/5.2011.
Went with the 2009 this time and similarly overwhelmed but even though the 2009 gets all the accolades, I like the 2010 better. I'm sure they will have some around next year to do a nice vertical with the 2012. Can't wait.
Edit 1/27/2012 Tapped a keg today and rushed over. This is my most sought after beer except for Pliny the Younger. Two glasses, savored every drop. Damn I love this beer!
edit 1/25/2014 2012 vintage bottle release snagged my limit of four and had a glass. Forgot how much I love this beer. Been a while. Hasn't missed a step.

 1,472 characters

Photo of sourdog
3.93/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Seattle_Suds
4.5/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of jpbebeau
4.65/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Preview of 2011 vintage on tap at the brewery during Washington Beer Open House. To tulip. 10.9% ABV.

From notes.

A: Clear golden amber with beautiful slow-release carbonation rising from the bottom. Very fine bubbles collect at edges of the glass. Minor head and lacing. Legs consist of those fine bubbles.

S: Malts, mild sweet whiskey, floral hops, honey. Lovely.

T: Gorgeous hop/malt balance. Lingering, perfect hop finish. Never over-sweet. Never too bitter. Went well with the provided paired cheeses.

M: So smooth. Such fine carbonation. Not too thick or heavy, but definitely substantial.

Wow. If this is the young preview version of this beer, I can't wait to get a taste of it matured, or, hopefully, the 2010 and/or 2009 vintages.

Black Raven does not disappoint.

 780 characters

Photo of kevwcamp
4.75/5  rDev +10.5%

Photo of kslsc400
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of mdaschaf
4.4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Review from notes. Thanks to Greg for sharing! 2011 vintage.

A: Pours a clear amber/ruby color with a small off-white head on top that reduces quickly to a thin ring on top. Thin lacing forms down the sides.

S: Rather sweet upfront, lots of caramel right away. There is a vanilla and a bit of oak, a bit of alcohol as well.

T: Again, on the sweet side with plenty of caramel and toffee mixed with vanilla and oak. Some caramelized brown sugar as well.

M: Medium to full bodied, slightly hot, but still pretty nice.

O: A pretty good barleywine, definitely one I want to try again.

 587 characters

Photo of Dogfishipas
5/5  rDev +16.3%

Photo of Tuckersmth
4.75/5  rDev +10.5%

Photo of dirtylou
4.38/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

on-tap, brouwers. I believe this was the first keg to kick at hard liver 2012

1x12oz pour, 1x3oz pour

appearance: served in unbranded snifters - clear golden orange body, one of the lighter ales served up at the festival.

smell: sweet malts, oak, vanilla, booze

taste: black raven is quite popular in this area and it seems like whenever their kegs hit Seattle mainland, they disappear immediately, probably because nobody wants to drive to Redmond. This was a very HQ barleywine - nice balance of hops and malt, great oak/vanilla presence, citrus, bourbon and caramelized sugars

mouthfeel: creamy medium body

overall: solid stuff

 636 characters

Photo of jmccraney
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of DOCRW
4.5/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of Bunuelian
4.21/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of drone
3.89/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of ford0626
4.75/5  rDev +10.5%

Photo of cyrushire
4.5/5  rDev +4.7%

4.5/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of itracy63
4.59/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of TysonA
4.75/5  rDev +10.5%

Photo of imbibehour
3.82/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a snifter at Smoke & Barrel DC for the dc bottle share. From notes.

A real nice light orange amber body, with an off tan somewhat creamy head. Makes a decent collar that always sticks around.

Nose is very small and closed, but there is that pickle brine again, with some indistinct mild hop presence I can't determine.

The palate opens up though on first sip with a good caramel sweetness. Thick malt action with a real crackery mix of crispness and toasty brown sugar. Feel has a good thick body but doesn't get into a huge over kill of sugar and alcohol boozy rush. Coats the palate nicely with it's caramel and lingers nicely.

Overall a real nice solid barleywine, like the toasty angle on this quite a bit.

 742 characters

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.67/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a Reuben's Brew snifter. Pours a medium orange amber with a thin white, persistent film of a head. Aroma is intense caramel, vanilla with light caramel malt and oak, inviting. Oh, man what great flavor. Caramel, vanilla, sweet dark fruit, syrup, light apple and pear developing before a caramel malt, oak, whiskey and light hop finish. Nice weighty medium to full bodied. An excellent, flavorful barley wine in the English style, although there is a bit of hop kick in the finish. A bit on the sweet side, but skirts being cloying by great depth of flavor. The alcohol is somewhat noticeable in the finish, but actually seems to fit in with the flavor profile quite well because of the light whiskey character. Perhaps the most caramel I've noticed in a barley wine. Superb. In my top five barley wines and at the moment, with the alcohol kicking it, my favorite.

 875 characters

Photo of Eighty
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of VashonGuy
4.39/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of ShanePB
4.5/5  rDev +4.7%

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Old Birdbrain from Black Raven Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.3 out of 5 with 102 ratings