Olde GnarlyWine | Lagunitas Brewing Company

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Olde GnarlyWineOlde GnarlyWine
1,688 Ratings
Olde GnarlyWineOlde GnarlyWine

Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.90%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
2011: 10.6% ABV, 69 IBU

Added by Todd on 09-22-2001

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,688 |  Reviews: 757
Photo of Sammy
3.75/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Complex aroma, with barley,malt, wood, hops,citrus mint. High bitterness and drying finish. Dark colour, much head. Alcohol was strong and hardly tamed by food. Nutty, citrusy, drinkable. Good for it being young and will seek this out aged, down the road.
Had 3.5 years later and about same overall, great lacey appearance, aroma not as great.

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Photo of jaydoc
4/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of acurtis
3.5/5  rDev -14%

Photo of Texasfan549
4.04/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.23/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 vintage.

Pours a clear dark orange with a 3 inch light orange head that fades to a small foamy cap. Nice distinct thin rings of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smells of citrus zest and pine and caramel malt. Taste is of sweet malt balanced by citrus zest/pine hops. There is a bit of brown sugar and caramel that comes out too. Mild bitterness lingers on the palate after each sip. A lower level of carbonation makes for a slightly thick and sticky mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good barleywine that tastes better than it smells. Another good value for the price (I paid $3.99 for a bomber) from Lagunitas.

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Photo of GRG1313
3.75/5  rDev -7.9%

Photo of spycow
4/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of djrn2
3.5/5  rDev -14%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%

Photo of oriolesfan4
4.3/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of Taphouse_Traveler
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of metter98
3.96/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is clear dark amber and was served with a large, beige head. It has an amazing level of head retention and lacy patterns continued to cover the sides of the glass as it was sipped down to the last drop.
S: The nose has aromas of brown sugar and piney hops.
T: There are lots of flavors of caramel malts in the initial taste, which are then followed by bitterness from the citrusy and piney hops.
M: It feels medium- to strong-bodied on the palate and a bit sticky and boozy with some alcohol heat. There is some dryness in the finish.
D: The beer is good to sip, but there's no way that I could have more than one of these in a single sitting.

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Photo of biboergosum
4.42/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle, nice child-raising metaphor for their barleywine genesis in the usual soapbox-emulating side label wankery.

This beer pours a clear, bright medium copper amber hue, with two fingers of thickly foamy, and mildly bubbly beige head, which leaves a nice residue of densely webbed lace around the glass as it slowly sinks away.

It smells of pungent, reduced citrus rind and pine resin hop emanations, toffee/caramel malt, soused raisins, and a further herbal and floral alcohol astringency. The taste is another big war of attrition among fleshy citrus, wet pine needles, very sugary toffee, and an increasing herbaceous quality, with the saccharine malt weirdly pulling out ahead, just barely, which I guess makes sense, overall. What's truly 'gnarly' here, then, is the lack of a genuine indicator that might give away the 10+ points of booze - just a bit of obfuscation with those typically brash hops, is all.

The carbonation is quite sedate, a soft frothiness lazily flitting about, the body a hefty medium weight, and well smooth, but for an interfering bitter, zippy edge, y'know? It finishes off-dry, nothing really capable of truly standing against all that the huge malt puts forth, and the big boy alcohol aiding in the effort, yet without becoming overly suspicious by its actions.

Good grief, what a paragon of West Coast barleywine excellence! Big hops, big malt, big hibernating booze. Nothing too complicated, and that's how we apparently like it on this side of the proverbial Atlantic 'pond'. Rock on, bra, sure, and I am now a little less curious as to what happens when you just age a massive DIPA for a month or two.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.89/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

As the Spring season invites the best of both beer worlds: A fresh hoppy taste that welcomes warmer weather, but a hearty malt backbone and a strong-arm of alcohol to contend with those chilly evenings; it seems that the American Barleywine straddles that fence as well as any beer can.

And Lagunitas' Old Gnarleywine kicks off with a deep but brilliant amber glow. Its creamy khaki head unloads upon the nose both the juicy caramelized malts and the dry citrus hops that overwhelm the senses with superior balance. And its first sip resonates with sweeter caramel, toffee and honey just ahead of the hop onslaught to come.

Sharp white grapefruit, deeply resinous pine and finesse orange, herb and grass gain brevity and slowly but surely begin to balance the malty-sweet taste. Where one finds balance, the other finds conflict as the bigness of both malt and hops go beyond what's expected in complement and begin to fight each other.

Yet, its full and malty-dry body struggle deeper and deeper in finish, the sweetness is able to scrub out the tinny, briny and piquant character of hops. With extensions of citrus peel and crushed pinecone, the beer lingers on and on, begging for a pairing of the sharpest blue cheese possible.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.61/5  rDev -35.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

BOTTLE: 1 pint 6 fl oz. Brown glass. Branded copper-colour pry-off pressure cap. Classic Lagunitas label design.

10.6% ABV. 1.096 O.G.

Cost was...$5.00 USD? Ah, Lagunitas.

Served cold into a pilsner glass and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Expectations are well above-average given the brewery.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: ~2 inches wide. Off-white colour. Creamy and soft-looking, with a nice even consistency. As full and thick as it should be. Leaves no lacing as it recedes.

Retention is stellar - ~12+ minutes at minimum - shockingly good.

BODY: Clear copper of average vibrance. Clean, with no yeasty or hoppy muck to be seen.

Overall, it's a typical appearance for a barleywine.

AROMA: It's quite hoppy, actually...shockingly so. Pine, floral hops, light hop oils, some resins...why is this so hoppy? Must definitely be an American barleywine. All I get hopwise is some (surprisingly light) caramalt and some pale malts. If I didn't know better, I'd think it was an IPA. There's no toffee, marshmallow, graham cracker, et al.

Aromatic intensity is average.

I'm a bit taken aback. It's just plain not a barleywine aroma. Way overhopped, but appealing outside of stylistic conventions.

TASTE: Has a caramalt and pale malt backbone. And damn, is it hoppy for a barleywine. Heavy notes of pine, resin, and floral hops provide the bulk of the flavour, with hop oils a distant second. There's a bit of biscuit, but no real toffee, marshmallow, etc. The faint brown sugar is a nice touch, I guess, as is some muted citrus zest. It's actually surprisingly plain and shallow overall, with no real intricacy or subtlety to its execution. Not a gestalt beer by any means. Too bitter to be well-balanced.

Average duration and intensity of flavour.

I don't dislike it, but it's not on par with the quality I've come to expect from Lagunitas. Has an obvious booziness that doesn't do it any favours.

TEXTURE: Smooth, wet, somewhat creamy, sticky, a bit soft in the third act, overcarbonated, and full-bodied. It gets the job done, but it doesn't accentuate specific notes or elevate the beer overall. A decently executed mouthfeel for a barleywine, but not one that harmonizes with the taste to any special effect.

OVERALL: I thought $5.00 for a barleywine was a steal, but now I'm not so sure. This is overhopped to its detriment, and misses stylistic fundamentals. Drinkable for what it is, but I do wish I had a friend or three to help me finish it off. Maybe it'd get a bit better with age? Not a beer I'd revisit, but I guess for its price you could do worse. A rare miss from the cats at Lagunitas. Very pedestrian.

C- (2.61)

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Photo of zeff80
4.39/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 Edition

A - Poured out a clear, burgundy color with ruby highlights. It had a one-finger head of tan, bubbly head that had some okay retention. It left thin rings of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of sweet boozy maltiness. Caramel, toffee and biscuity malt with some floral notes.

T - Rich malty brew with caramel, toffee and sweet breads. It had just enough piney bitterness to balance out the sweet.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A full-bodied ale with a dry finish and some alcohol warmth.

O - This is a really good barleywine, at a great price. I'm glad I finally got my hands on a bottle of this one.

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Photo of brentk56
4.42/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2006 bottling; sampled at Hard Liver Barleywine Fest 2009

Appearance: Arrives with a nice head atop the clear amber liquid; laces reasonably well, too

Smell: Toffee notes with bubblegum and nuts

Taste: Toffee up front, with developing tea-like hops flavors by mid-palate; very balanced after the swallow

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: With a few years of age, this beer is drinking very nicely; very well blended flavor profile

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Photo of superspak
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled on 2/19/2015. Pours crystal clear deep ruby red/copper color with a 2 finger dense and rocky light khaki head with fantastic retention, that reduces to a nice cap that last. Nice dense soapy lacing clings around the glass, with moderate streaming carbonation. Fantastic appearance. Aromas of big grapefruit, tangerine, pineapple, plum, apple, citrus rind, pine, caramel, toast, brown sugar, light toffee, and floral/grassy earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of citrus/pine hops, dark malt, and fruity yeast notes; with great strength. Taste of big grapefruit, tangerine, pineapple, plum, apple, citrus rind, pine, caramel, toast, brown sugar, toffee, and floral/grassy earthiness. Fair amount of pine/grassy/citrus rind bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of grapefruit, tangerine, pineapple, citrus rind, plum, apple, pine, caramel, toffee, toast, brown sugar, and floral/grassy earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity and balance of citrus/pine hops, dark malt, and fruity yeast flavors; with a great malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a very smooth and fairly slick/sticky mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is well hidden with only a light-moderate warming lingering after the finish. Overall this is an incredible American barleywine style. All around awesome complexity, robustness, and balance of citrus/pine hops, dark malt, and fruity yeast flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the big ABV, even with the noticeable warming finish. A highly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of LXIXME
4.13/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of mothman
3.92/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours 1 finger of beige head. Decent retention with some splattered lace. Color is a copper amber.

Aroma: Apricots, peaches, and grapefruit. Bready malts with some caramel flavors. Earthy floral hops. Solid.

Taste: The same fruit flavors show. I like it. Then the malts hit, followed by some earthy hops.

Mouthfeel: Bitter and creamy. Medium to full bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends sticky.

Overall, this was a surprise to me. Very enjoyable. Good price as well. A solid bwine. Definitely worth a try.

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Photo of largadeer
4/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.67/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2002. Pours a clear dark auburn body with gleaming orange highlights beneath a full head of creamy ivory foam that holds well and leaves short walls of transient lace about the glass.

The nose offers a toffeeish and surprisingly nutty maltiness that's accentuated by a touch of citrusy and slightly piney hops.

In the mouth it's full-bodied, dextrinous, and creamy-smooth with a very fine bubbled, restrained carbonation.

The same toffeeish and nutty malt returns in the flavor - like melted brown sugar drizzled over a nibble of a Butterfinger bar, and topped with a teaspoon of chopped cashews, almonds, and hazelnuts. Some dark-skinned fruit emerges along with the bitterness mid-palate; followed by a flourish of citrusy hops. It finishes raspy dry with a lingering note of caramel-sweet malt that slowly erodes leaving a residue of citrusy/piney hops and dull bitterness behind.

The GnarlyWine is a superbly rounded barleywine with an interesting and unique maltiness. With the exception that, at just 9.7% abv, the head retention could be better and some alcohol sneaks through, this is superb!

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Photo of zestar
4/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of chinchill
4.09/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz 2015 bottle. Revisited in Dec. 2017.
Clear dark copper colored body with a modest size beige head that has great retention. Fine lacing.

Sweet, slightly boozy aroma.
Well-balanced flavor with good complexity for style.
Excellent, smooth mouthfeel for over 10% ABV.

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Olde GnarlyWine from Lagunitas Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.07 out of 5 with 1,688 ratings