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Olde GnarlyWine | Lagunitas Brewing Company

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Olde GnarlyWineOlde GnarlyWine
1,623 Ratings
Olde GnarlyWineOlde GnarlyWine

Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.60%

Availability: Winter

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

Added by Todd on 09-22-2001

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 1,623 |  Reviews: 736
Photo of Mark
3.96/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This poured a beautiful crystal clear deep amber. The nice persistent head left a thick patterned lacing. Aroma of sweet malts, very fruity taste profile with cherries seeming dominant, at least to me. Reminds me of an Old Nick but with twice the power. Thickish mouthfeel is good for the style. Would rate higher for drinkability, but I find the taste, even though rated a 4 a bit too powerful at times and the cherry accents are quite strong. Still a very good BarleyWine style ale

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Photo of RoyalT
4.3/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – Beautiful, thick orange body with a modest head.

Smell – Lots of hops in this one. The citrus and piney hops almost take over the nose, but the malt base it still detectable. There’s some light, fruity sweetness to the aroma but mostly the hops dominate.

Taste – The grapes and malts come out more in the taste, offering a terrific balance to the hops (that stepped back from the nose). There’s also some sugary sweetness to this one that is quite unique.

Nothing fancy here, just a great tasting, well-balanced, hoppy-type of Barley Wine that seems to be all the rage these days. This one has everything except the kitchen sink.

Mouthfeel – Full-bodied and quite chewy. This BW is refreshing and satisfying.

Drinkability – If you like the hoppy type of Barley Wine and want something very unique, give this one a try.

Update – I had this again with a year-old aged bottle and boy was it tasty. The sugars came up big and the hops took a step back, making it more like an English-style BW than an American. It was mighty good though, and I think as much as I enjoy this fresh I actually prefer it cellared and a little “sugared up”.

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Photo of charlatan
3.9/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2004 edition pours from 22oz bottle a reddish amber with cream coloured head which sticks around for a while. Leaves limited lacing.

Smells of brown sugar, plums and apricots. The smell alone is reminding me of Lagunitas Brown Shugga which if I remember correctly was a botched version of this brew.

The taste doesn't linger as much as with Brown Shugga, but nevertheless the sweetness is what will hit you. It still tastes of light brown sugar, but not quite os blatantly, and the flavour doesn't seem to linger as long.

Lagunitas threw some decent hops into this one (bottle says 69.39 IBU), but they appear very subtle in the present of the cascading sweetness.

Fairly drinkable, but at 9.7% abv I don't think I'd trust myself with a second bottle in quick succession!

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Photo of TastyTaste
4.73/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had never known that this beer existed until i saw a row of 1999 vintage bottles in a liquor store that i frequent every few months or so. Thinking back to where I was in 1999, a junior in high school, it is amazing that this beer has been waiting for me until I was in my final year of college, makes it pretty special to drink. Pours a scarlet red color, slightly brown, with just a tiny bit of bubbly off white head. Smells vinous and strong, raisins and brown sugar abounding. Taste is smooth and mellow on the outset, which becomes a little rockier at the end where the now-mellowed hops make their presence felt. So many flavors will great you and morph into different ones as you take each sip of this fantastic beer. Mouthfeel is full and slick, low carbonation, and that is just fine. Drinkability is good, i don't think i could session it because of the fact that it so strong, and somewhat pricey. Do i recommend it, if you ever have the chance of buying it? A very enthusiastic "Yes".

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Photo of beerceller99
4.43/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle, 2003 edition cellared about a year.. Pours an awesome, crystal clear copper hue. The off white colored head leaves a nice lacing. Strong smells of raisons, dates, figs and alcohol. Rich, creamy mouthfeel with nice carbonation. Caramel malts highlight a sticky sweet taste of raisons and figs and alcohol. Finishes with a nice alcohol bite followed by a warming feeling inside.
Along with the fireplace the perfect RX for the 10 * F January weather outside.

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Photo of Crosling
3.2/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

Draught. Dark Copper. Pungent, fresh aroma, very reminiscent of Old Boardhead in its nose. Soft but sharp hops, along with fruity malt and caramel. Taste is strongly affected by a major lack of body and texture. Very hoppy (grapefruit, pineapple, orange) along with lacking very sweet malt (fruit, cherries mainly, medicine and caramel).

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Photo of shapudding
4.77/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Nice light amber color with a bit of white head made of tiny bubbles that reduced down to a tiny ring on the sides, leaving the center clear. Nice malty aroma with oaky hints. Smooth and creamy, yet not heavy. Oaky, casky tasting, yum!. Hoppy, bitey. Honey and vanilla. Not too heavy or intense, just so very good and flavorful. Easy drinking, could easily sit back and enjoy a few of these puppies! -pun intended!

p.s. no matter what Brian says, the label is freakin cute!

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Photo of BeerAngel
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear slightly dark golden amber with a modest yet dense cream-colored head. The smell conists of a nice hop and fruit aroma with plenty of malt in the background. The is again a slight citrusy hop with heavy malt and sweet fruit and tails off to a noticeable warming alcohol finish. This is a medium to heavy bodied brew that finishes just slightly sweet.

Notes: A very well done barleywine indeed! I wish I would have found this while we still had some cold weather. I will hopefully have this one again! Cheers!

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Photo of kbub6f
4.35/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

What a gorgeous looking beer: mostly dark red with amber leanings. A medium-large, yellowish-cream, dense head. Light, sticky, foamy lacing. Beautiful. Tons of hops in the nose with sweet fruit and flowers. The front is fruity, hoppy goodness that gets out of the way for a sweet, sweet, malty, creamy middle. Very fresh, hoppy finish. Hugely bitter. There's a nice, slightly nutty aftertaste. I'm usually not crazy about really sweet beers, but the big hops here perfectly offset the thick sweetness for me. Delicious, big, California taste. Nothing pretentious, just a truckload of fresh hops and syrupy malt. The 9.7%abv is almost totally hidden.

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Photo of Morris729
4.38/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is in celebration of Ticket Stock 2004 weekend (I hope to see some North Texas BAs there).
Vintage 2003; O.G. 1.096; ABV 9.7%
Bottle reads as follows:
“The first sip is for thirst, the second one for pleasure. The third sip is for knowing, and the forth for pure madness.”
“Making a Mondo Ultra Mega Super Premium Barelywine is a little like having a kid. The first part is fun and messy, it takes a while to ferment, and then a while longer to mature. It is expensive and takes up a lot of space. You worry about how it’ll grow up and whether or not you’ll still be friends. Eventually it stays out all night and comes home with it’s skirt on backwards. You know how it is. Usually we package our ales within 15 days of brewing. This one we aged in tanks for over a month. Why not buy three? Drink one now, keep one in the fridge for a month, and one for another year! Yummy…”
Pours a reddish orange-amber color with a head that plays opossum at first and then erupts into a tower of foam that just doesn’t ever want to recede. Floral hops and pine are the main aromas with some sweet and fruity malts in the background. Fairly full-bodied with a bit of a sticky texture in the finish. Taste begins with notes of sweet caramelized malt followed by some bready flavors that give way to a wonderful mix of raw hop leaves and grapefruit rind blended with some vanilla extract and warming alcohol. Bitter hop resins remain on the back of the tongue in a lasting aftertaste. A very nice barley wine and another winner from an outstanding (and somewhat crazy) brewery.

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Photo of tavernjef
3.88/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice color of clear deep ruby copper, finger high head of fluffy cheese cake, resides sort of fast, a thin ring maintains around the edge and lacing in thin whispy strings and sheets. Mild aroma of soft and sweet malts with some light dried hops that have a small pineyness, phenol yeasty notes and alcohol start to mop up all in its path as it warms. Taste has a nice warm backing finishing with some light hoppy bitterness thats fairly mild in a piney dried faction. The front is a little slippery and weak but draws through a nice light caramel malt and some slight sweetness til it gets to the end where it beefs up a bit and the hops come in. Feel has a thinnish start but picks up some nice medium body, nearly full with some of its carbonation and hops coming in just past the halfway point; and then dries out slowly with an abundant but calming piney resinous hoppyness thats quite nice and lasting. A decent barleywine, could use a bit of a nudge in its overall character with some thickness, but its pretty smooth and has a good little hop profile thats nice. Thanks to Gusler for the bomber!

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Photo of SeanChouffe
3.93/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance is a copper color with light carbonation, a full rocky head and clinging lace. The aroma is of hops (grassy) and bread -fresh. The taste has a sweet start with a quick hop finish. The mouthfeel is smooth and syrupy, yet also creamy, with a smooth hop bite.

IMHO: I am not normally impressed with the very hopped American brews. This, however is the most well balanced beer of the genre. The dudes at Lagunitas have maintained a well-balanced high gravity beer ? sharp presence of hops and a smooth sweet body. A great winter warmer.

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Photo of Reidrover
3.97/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ok just bought this baby yesterday
Usual 22 oz brown bomber..with typical lagunitas label..and spiel on the side.
Nice bright amber almost deep red beer..tiny head that goes fast..some lace.
Very earthy aroma..malts hops and a smell like freshly dug soil..i kid you not!,..i like it.
Tste is pretty sweet..malt dominated..but later a liquorcy alcoholic heat..and a good bitterness appear.
Pretty good on the tongue..very invigorating..great after taste.
This is a nice barleywine..its drinkable..but onlt one bottle at a sitting.

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Photo of aracauna
3.62/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This amber-brown beer has a surprising head for a barley wine, especially one that's been aged for a few years like my sample. It has that good fruity barleywine aroma with a hint of smoke, although I doubt it used smoke malt, I think it's the complexity tricking my nose. The flavor has mellowed a little more than it should, but it's still a tasty barelywine.

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Photo of beerguy101
4.24/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2002 version. Medium amber color. Medium head. Aroma is malts and nuts. A full bodied Barley wine. Malts are nutty and sweet, Hops are slightly bitter and somewhat citrusy. Well balanced. Very smooth. Body is very full and thick. Kind of chewy. Finishes very well. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is slightly dry. Aftertaste is slightly sweet

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Photo of Quaffer
3.97/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. Bottle

Appearance: This beer poured a relatively clear, amber-orange color with a one-finger, apricot head. It dropped down quickly, leaving a single floatie in the middle of the snifter. This, too, was gone in no time, dissipating into a few thin wisps of foam and then into nothing. What was left in the snifter at this point could easily have passed for brandy.

I poured my second snifter much more aggresively to see what kind of head I could get out of this baby. At first nothing was happening, so I poured rougher and harder. Well, all of the sudden this thing took off and before I knew it, the snifter had turned into an erupting volcano that would have made Peter Brady proud. After things finally calmed down, I was rewarded with a dense and long-lasting head that left a significant amout of lace behind.

Smell: A big malt aroma dominated the smell of this beer. It was combined at various times with subtle hints of fruit, hops, alcohol, cinnamon toast, vanilla, and peppermint (yes, I said peppermint). The hops aroma was very mild.

Mouthfeel: A chewy medium-full to full-bodied feel. There was a little tingle on the tongue that I think came from the alcohol more than from any carbonation

Taste: Upfront were big, sweet-malt and creamy vanilla flavors that, as time went on, really expanded to fill the mouth. As the fullness of the flavor developed, it became more roasted and nutty. Towards the end, the malt component finally settled into a doughy, bread-like flavor. Overlying this whole development was a fruity sweetness. As the bread flavor emerged on the finish, a nice hops bitterness arose to join it, along with hints of vanilla and oak. While the alcohol aroma really started to develop as the beer warmed, it was never a major contributing factor to the flavor.

Compared to other offerings that I have had, this barley wine is much sweeter and not nearly as hoppy. It was not overly sweet, though. I do not like sweet beers, but had no problems at all with this brew.

The one thing that I really noticed about this beer was that as I was drinking, new aromas and flavors kept developing and fading away. This was totally independent of the temperature of the brew. There were times that I could have sworn I was drinking a completely different beer than I was ten minutes earlier.

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Photo of philipt
4.29/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a 1999 edition (purchased at a phenominal beer/wine retailer in Charlottesville - look for the beerfly review) which came highly recommended.

The beer is slightly hazy and dark red/copper in color with a minimal off-white head. The aroma is wonderful -- very malty, bread and cookie aromas are dominant. Some floral hoppiness is noted but not as much as expected. Taste is sweet and malty. There is much more hop bitterness present in the flavor than in the aroma. It cuts through the sweetness and sticks around in the aftertaste. This beer is thick and "chewy" -- just how I like it.

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Photo of Gusler
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Release 2002:
The beer pours a beclouded burnished copper color with the head mastodonic in size and the texture spumescent, the color a winsome tan, after desiccation the lace forms a thick and glutinous sheet to meld with the glass. Hints of pineapple, bubble gum, and sweet malt, fresh and appetizing is this nose, start ambrosial, thick malt, the top middling in its feel to the palate. Finish is spitefully acidic, the hops biting in their spiciness, the aftertaste alcohol bitter, long lasting and a nice “Belly Warmer”, and a fine beer from a fine brewery.

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Photo of marc77
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2002 version. Clear ruby hue. Topped by a initially thick, light roux colored head that recedes into a spotty layer. Sparse, oblong foam aggregates trail. Waft of rich, lightly buttery toffee upfront in aroma yields to notes of sweet, almond sprinkled croissants. Swirling releases heaty ethanol, raspberry like fruit esters and subtle tangerine citrus hops. Subtle, yet complex aromawise. Uniquely aromatic. Raw, dark, turbinado sugar esque sweetness is perceived at first in flavor, then widens into an enveloping, sweet tooth satiating impression of buttered biscuit drizzled with dark caramel syrup. A combination of candied almonds and fructose rich dried dates emerges mid palate, then is transiently contrasted by a snap of bright, sun drenched tangerine hops, which itself succumbs to the dominating malt presence. Hop bitterness is subservient and deferential to malt as well, leaving overall balance skewed towards sweetness. Approaching full and heavy in body, with a full, diluted Irish Cream like mouthfeel. Finishes sluggish, with lingering suggestions of carob and mellow, oily brittle. Gnarley Wine is a flavorful, unique brew. Despite the understated hop bitterness and dominant sweetness, it doesn't sit too heavily on the palate due to the depth of malt character. With a more pronounced hop profile this would be outstanding. It's a very enjoyable sipper, nevertheless.

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Photo of BeerManDan
4.38/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally, a beer from Lagunitus that I enjoyed. It poured a reddish amber hue with a thin film of foam that disapated in not time at all. The only bad part of this beer was the smell. It was very suttle and not over powering. But, I could slightly pick up the aromoa of fruit and hops, along with a hint of sweetness. The taste, for me, was a big surprise. I could taste a complexity of citrus, fruit, hops and a hint of caramel on my first sip. This beer was not overpowered with an alcoholic bite, but the taste of alcohol was there, just not overpowering. Also, it had a smooth creamy bittersweet finish.

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Photo of sinistersteve
2.81/5  rDev -31.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Well, Lagunitas finally did it. They made a so-so beer. I tried this barley wine one night at the pub with some friends of mine and we couldn't even finish the entire pitcher.
Upon the initial presentation of our pitcher I thought for certain we would be blessed that would live up to its name. The appearance was normal enough. Dark and non-transloucent like what it's supposed to be The sweet aroma was interestingly enough, but the scent of a strong, butt-whooping barley wine wasn't there.The flavor also lacked that over abundance of hops and/or malt that is so typical of beers of this genre. In the end, this beer was way too sweet for our bitter tastes.

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Photo of Bighuge
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle reads 1999.

You can tell that this beer has some viscosity as you pour it. This deep garnet brew kicks out a nice little dense head that has nice retention. Lacing follows. Beautiful, big malt nose. Maybe a titch of brown sugar. This beer seems to be predominantly malt and alcohol on the buds. This beer is nearly 70 IBU but may have mellowed over 3 years. The alcohol is not strong by any means. The malt taste is very nice. Deep caramel sweetness and almost a bock-like smoothness. This is a pretty full bodied brew. A very enjoyable barleywine.

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Photo of mattmaples
4.4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is some good barley wine!!! Nice and malty, like I think a barley wine should be. Even though it has 69 IBUs you wouldn't know it. It is slightly sweet (not much) maltyness tends to overpower the bitterness. Unlike some other barley wine this one is ready to drink right out of the gate. I'm sure it will improve for a year or so but I do not see ageing this for extened periods. Unfortunately it is already gone for the year in my neck of the woods and I can't wait for its return.

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Olde GnarlyWine from Lagunitas Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.08 out of 5 with 1,623 ratings
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