Olde GnarlyWine | Lagunitas Brewing Company

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Olde GnarlyWineOlde GnarlyWine
1,697 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

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Ratings: 1,697 |  Reviews: 758
Photo of hero27
4.53/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2007 Vintage
22 oz bomber.
9.7% abv

I'm a sucker for labels I guess...the label goes into a brief story about how brewing this barleywine was like raising a kid..and at the end it says "why not buy three?" So I did. At only $3.49/bomber, this stuff is dirt cheap for a beer of this quality, so no regrets here.
Pours a dark amber color, creamy head of off-white froth. The lacing left behind forms perfectly uniform sheets all-around the perimeter of the glass...it looked so amazing, I actually took a picture of it...that may be a first for me.
Aroma of brown sugar, currants, dark chocolate & caramel..the citrus hops patiently wait to make their first impression.
Good hop profile, lots of grapefruit hop flavor without being overdone. Plenty of sweet malt flavors that really dominate this brew. Coating, thick mouthfeel carries the flavors really well.
For nearly 10% abv, this is very easy to drink. And I'll say it again..this is a helluva bargain at $3.49/bomber. This is a great example of a high-quality American barleywine..I can't wait to see how the other two bottles age. Highly recommended.

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Photo of KingG
4.4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Vintage 05 bottle I've been aging in my cellar.
Served at cellar temp in my Tripel Karmeliet glass

Appearance is very good. Very dark and murky. Clouds of rust colored fluid swarm around. Big chunks of yeast floating toward the bottom.

Smell is very good. Huge caramel and toffee malt bomb fragrance. Caramel Apples and grapefruit hops in the background.

Taste is very good. Huge toffee candy flavor with a large caramel malt finish. Slight tamarind candy taste as well. Hops are basically none existent in this beer but aren't missed. Aftertaste is malty and red apple-like.

Mouthfeel is very good. Carbonation level is perfect; nice and (not too) low. Engulfs the mouth with pillow-like fluffiness.

Drinkability is good. I can easily kill another bomber of this.

Very impressed. I haven't tried this beer fresh to compare but, when aged, it's one exceptional brew. Thanks to Fro for the tip to drink this tonight ;^)

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Photo of lkno301
3.28/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 5 | overall: 2.5

Buy it now and lay it away. I rated low on drinkability because - really folks- this one is a keeper and you'd be robbing the cradle to open this one prematurely.

Appearance: nice warm mapley-sappy wine color and a rapidly dissipating, not-so-chunky head. No lasting lace.

Smell: a little fennel, dried fruits, heavy on spice. (This is likely to mature well. Not so good young. Better aged. Just my guess. %^)

Taste: No hiding the high gravity of this heavy.

Mouthfeel; If this were wine it would be a Cab: nice big balloony mouth-full of volume. Definately a big one.

Drinkability: gosh - give it time.

Will be EXCELLENT in about a year.

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Photo of ccrida
3.39/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

From a 22oz bomber, this is a limited sneak summer release, to tide us over until winter. Served at cellar temp and poured in a Lagunitas shaker pint, it's a clear amber bronze, with a thin, 1/2 finger, big bubbled, light khaki head that quickly flees, leaving the faintest lace. Otherwise, it looke like iced tea, so still and headless.

The is aroma very rich, caramel, vanilla and sherry.

The taste was initially to much, very rich but not as sweet as the nose, lots of diactyle, booze and bitter hops. Once my palate acclimated, it was sweeter and more enjoyable, with flavors similar to nose, although it was still very gnarly (couldn't resist!)...this sucker is seriously young. Glad I have another to cellar, probably needs at least 2 years!

The mouthfeel was pretty thick, with zero carbonation.

This wasn't too drinkable right now, as it's so young. Still, you can sense the potential. In fact, I've had both 2 and 3 year old versions last winter at a barelywine fest, so I've had the pleasure first hand. Have one now if you can't resist, but know you need to save a few and let em run to realize their full potential.

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Photo of John_M
4.37/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The 2004 version of this beer was the grand-champion/overall winner "best barleywine" from the 2007 Hard Liver festival at Brower's Cafe. It was one of three different vintages poured at this excellent festival.

I've had this beer on a number of occasions, and while it's always quite good, there's little doubt the beer has benefited from a few extra years aging.

This beer always has a very pronounced hop profile, but the extra time has softened it a bit, giving it a much smoother/softer mouthfeel. Excellent lacing with good foam head retention in this beer. Lots of vanilla, caramel and toffee on the palate. This is still a very big beer, but the aging process has softened it to the point where it's way too drinkable now. This beer is considerably lighter then it's younger siblings, but still has a very nice light brown/amber color. A beautiful beer, if not my personal favorite at this festival.

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Photo of wcudwight
4.37/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Received in a trade.
Hazy brown/amber color with a 1/4" khaki tan head that recedes to a creamy film on the crown of the beer. Lot's of lacing considering the abv.
I can smell this through my viral infected, sinus filled nose. And it smells mmmm sweet. Lot's of malt in the aroma.
This barleywine has it all in the flavor. Huge malts. Huge hops. Huge sweetness and a touch of fruit. Flavor starts off with a caramel sweetness. Then mild alcohol kicks off some hoppy bitterness complemented with some cherry like flavors. Nice sweet and smooth alcohol finish.
Very creamy and smooth in the mouth.
One of the best and the most drinkable barleywines I've had to date.
Whoever traded this to me....thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!!!

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Photo of Imstillthegman
3.87/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2006 release.

Pours a clear reddish-brown color. It had...for about tem seconds anyway...a thin khaki head. No lacing is present.

Sweet and malty to the nose. Chocolate, brown sugar, caramel, maple syrup, raisins, cherries, and a faint hint of citrus all meld together. Could have been hoppier when fresh...this bottle is almost a year old now.

Dark chocolate covered raisins, burnt brown sugar, caramel, alcohol, and some light citrus zing towards the end. Gets noticeably sweeter as it warms. Again, I'm thinking I should have cracked this open sooner to get more of the hops. But I am not disappointed that I waited since it is still a good, but different, brew.

Thicker medium body, velvety mouthfeel, slight alcohol burn in the aftertaste. Drinkability started at a 4 but fell to a 3.5 because the sweetness is starting to get to me.

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Photo of hustlemuscle
3.93/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I split a bomber with a friend, getting the bottom half of the bottle. The top half was a deep, clear, maroon, the bottom peachy and cloudy.

I didn't get much from the nose, mostly alchohol and sweetness, but my, once you actually drink the stuff, it is a real winner. Sugery, hoppy, fruity, a nice blend of all things barleywine. Plenty of lip smacking, from both the sugery alchohol and the hops. Good stuff.

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Photo of budsboy
4.17/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours clear and reddish with a thin tan head. The second pour from the bottle produced big chunks of floating debris in a surypy mass of fluid.

Smells like candy sugar, brown sugar, berries, raisens and a touch of coffee. Alcohol comes through as expected.

Sweet-bitter-spicey flavor, lingering bittersweet tase, alcohol is there but not overwhelming and the finish lasts about a week. Very nice.

Gummy, full-bodied mouthfeel.

A nicely crafted, solid barleywine. Great for the season and the alcohol does its job quite well. I enjoyed it.

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Photo of CharlesDarwin
3.88/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Originally reviewed on June 4, 2006. 2006 22 Oz Bottle. Aroma is surprisingly subdued. There’s notes of faint chocolate plums, honeysuckle perfume and strong glowing embers of melted raisins. Sugars and musky mens cologne. Hints of West Coast hops. Pour of clear fire red, with orange fringes a carmine center and a swirling head of tanned hide. Flavor is respectable, with heavy cream and sherry. Rich raisined malts are perfuse with more touches of chocolate and long basking rays of caramelization. In the backend, strong alcohol heat senses the humours and carries swift currents of tawny fruits and amber honey. The hops show in resin format, almost entirely, as this long linger subtle reminder of parching dryness and balancing parafin wax. Candy wrapper delight. Alcohol stings just a bit too much, but the hop balance is delectable. Needs a touch more complexity and character. Body is great.

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Photo of BattleRoadBrewer
3.46/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Served cool in an 8 oz fluted glass from tap.
Aroma is very hoppy and rummy. Color is deep mahogany, and clear. Head is tan and a bit thin.
Flavor is thick and complex. This is a beer you can chew. Loaded with piney and citrusy hops, caramel and hot alcohol. Malty finish, but balanced very well by the bitterness. Mouthfeel and flavor work together, thick and warming. Would be even better if the alcohol wasn't so firey.
As it warms, alcohol seems to blend in better, aroma is fruitier.
Drinkability is good because of the balance. Many barleywines are too malty for the IBU, but Lagunitas isn't shy with the hops. Alcohol is a bit too raw. Maybe some aging would do it good. It's a beer that can cause olfactory flashbacks.

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Photo of bruachan
3.67/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

poured this out of a bomber with the classy lagunitas doggy on the label

booya...mos def a West Coast barleywine (the kind that makes Thomas Hardy cry). in-your(my)-face aroma: huge caramels and piney hops. deeo fruits in there, too

brown sugar, dates. it's got a big sweetness underlying the minty, piney hop

it's similar to, though not quite as exciting as, old ruffian

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Photo of rkuhnel
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz Bomber. As this settled into the glass, a rich color somewhere between amber and rich copper I thought now this is beautiful. A nice tan head rose above it and hung around for a while and slowly settled leaving big hunks of lacing in the glass. The alcohol is well masked and the nose was fruity and of sweet malts. The palate is very rich and smooth. As you sip the first drops you get a rush of malts, fruit and a little bit if pine. Good strong finish, even after 22 oz of this one. This was a little bit like a liquour and it would be far too easy to get blasted on this one. All in all a wonderfully executed example of Barley Wine.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.65/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2004 (Twenty 'Aught-4) release. Smoldering tawny with a splash of maraschino cherry juice, a gorgeous hue that is as warm as a tropical sunset. The head is at least as attractive as the beer itself. It's the color of orange caramel mousse and is as thickly creamy as they come. Only now, as the second inch of the glass is revealed, does the thick sheet of lace begin to show any sign of breakage. The appearance is just short of stunning.

The nose is a bewitching combination of caramel, brown sugar, hot buttered rum, cherries and oranges. It doesn't really bring anything new or different to the table, it just smells better than the vast majority of barleywines that have entered my snifter. Maybe that's why the brewery decided to call it Gnarly. If the flavor takes its cues from the aroma, this will be a keeper and then some.

Perhaps I cracked the crown at just the right moment in time. Or perhaps it wouldn't have mattered one way of the other. All I know is, Olde GnarlyWine is outstanding beer, right here, right now. Too many barleywines are too much of one thing or not enough of another to suit me. As Goldilocks so famously said, this one is juuust right.

The malt backbone is colossal and reminds me of a solid line of caramel vertebrae jutting from the earth, as if from some long dead malt dinosaur. The flavor profile mirrors the nose, more or less, with candied orange peel-studded, caramel-coated toffee pudding oozing all through the mouth with each upending of the glass. Buttered rum is still in the house, although there's so little alcohol evident on the palate that the ABV just has to be a misprint.

This is one beautiful, well-integrated, lip smackingly delicious big beer. Hop bitterness is necessarily muted after two years in the bottle, but their citric fruitiness is alive and well. I almost expect to see chunks of candied orange peel, candied grapefruit peel and candied cherries swimming around in my glass. If this isn't the best barleywine that I've ever had, it's damn close. I don't want the bomber to ever run dry.

The body/mouthfeel is as well-mannered as the flavor profile. It's unabashedly full with a heavy silkiness that is pure pleasure in the mouth. It's also sticky without being syrupy and allows the various flavors to soak into the taste buds and make themselves at home until the next sip. The finish should be measured with a calendar rather than a stopwatch.

Lagunitas is one of America's great under-appreciated breweries as far as I'm concerned. I love their Brown Shugga', Imperial Red Ale, India Pale Ale and Cappuccino Stout. Not one of those, however, with the possible exception of the first, prepared me for the magnificence of Olde GnarlyWine. This is a world-class barleywine that I would have bought by the case had I known what magic awaited me on the other side of the label. Highly recommended.

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Photo of kmo1030
3.99/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

ruby brown beer that i'm unable to work up much of a good head with.
very malty aroma, with brown sugar chocolate, raisin, grape, strawberry, a hint of oxidation, and a good portion of booze thrown in the mix.
malty and pleasantly complex taste combining many of the flavors from the aroma, with a more distinctly malty component, and a very cocoa powder-y flavor. the fruits are more lightly than richly sweet than the aroma lets on. the alcohol is more masked here than in the aroma.
full bodied with sluggish carbonation, but not unsuitable in any way.
a good barleywine, drinkability isn't bad, but it's a bit too thick and sweet for good drinkability. nat bad at all though.

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Photo of Grundle20
3.4/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The beer pours a murky deep copper into a pint glass with a minimal bronzed head, which quickly dissolves.

The beer smells very "bready" almost specifically like rye bread. It's not an overwhelming scent whithout burying your face into your glass.

Taste and Mouthfeel:
There's just a touch of carbonation to this, again, very "bready" beer. There's an apparent taste of burnt chocolate with a touch of what I'm calling fig because it tastes like a fig newton. It's pretty smooth and thick almost stout like. There's a slight blast of bitterness and hops flare but it's relitively overpowered by the other potent flavors of the beer.

I'm not seeing it in all honesty. On a cold winter day I could see myself putting a few of these down but I'd really have to be in the mood. I could see where this beer would go great with certain dishes but for flat out drinking this beer is too malty and sweet for me to really enjoy for a length of time.

Bottom Line:
It's a tad too sweet and malty for my liking. It's rocking a pretty high ABV to boot so I would recommend this beer with a meal or when you just want to try something a little different.

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Photo of jabocu
4.02/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a coppery brown with a thin cap that fell to lacings quickly. Aroma is caramel, malt, a little tropical, light tones of raisin, yeast, sour wheat and earthy. Tastes like molasses, raisins, pine and grapefruit. Some sour wheat floats around in the middle and breaks through into earthiness that takes you to the end. Very smooth with a med-full body and medium carbonation. I'm glad I have a few of these sitting around for later on.

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Photo of Bierguy5
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle. Twenty Aught-6 version, 9.7% ABV, OG-1.096, IBU-69.39. I love the stats that Lagunitas puts on the labels. Pours a hazy chestnut color, with some shades of ruby around the edges. Thick tan, almosy yellow head. Head retention is good for the size of this beast. Aroma of candy covered fruit, citrusy, caramel, and toffee. Not too much in the way of hop aroma, or alcohol somehow. Thick, a bit syrupy and warming. This one is malt heave, and tongue coating. Fruity flavors, toffee, with a bit of bitterness at the end. There are really several layers of flavor here. Very nice, another hit.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.35/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Revist: 23 Mar 15
22oz. Bomber

It's been awhile since I've had this brew, and we now get it here in UT, finally.

Poured into a chalice a nice clean/clear ruby red color, very very nice carbonation, very nice creamy almost one-finger light tan head, leaves a medium size island with some sticky lacing. The nose is malty, with some really nice grape, plum, raisin, fig notes, with a nice sweet note.. The taste is pretty freakn' nice, malty, fruity, very light tang. Medium body, with a nice slightly bitter/sweet/dry finish. The ABV is hidden very well. Overall a very tasty brew, it is hitting the spot today.

I have been holding on to this brew for quite awhile, today was a good day to drink it. Poured into a Delirium goblet/tulip.

A - Pours a nice dark amber color, nice carbonation, small foamy tan head, nice lacing throughout the drink.

S - Scents of sweet malt, grapes, caramel, alcohol, and slight citrus.

T - The taste is sweet/malty, and fruity.

M - Medium body. This is a nice complex brew.

D - Very drinkable. Another great brew from Lagunitas (which I think is underated).

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Photo of kirok1999
4.35/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a beautiful dark amber with minimal head that quickly dissapates and leaves very little lacing.

S- Beautiful candy and fruity malts, with a hint of citrus hops. The smell warns this is going to be a malt bomb. Notes of raisins, caramel, figs, dark cherries, sherry and alcohol.

T- Backs up the smell completely. Dark fruit from raisins, figs, and cherries come through, with some sweet caramel in the background. Hops kick in but are washed out by the maltiness. Alcohol is noticable, but I like that in a brew. A very complex barleywine and now one of my favorites.

M- Creamy and smooth with very mild carbonation.

D- What a winner!! I'm letting this slowly warm up and it gets better with every sip. Lagunitas continues to impress me with their quality and very reasonable prices. This is every bit as good as barleywines that cost twice as much.

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Photo of DrJay
4.32/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear reddish amber colour, quite deep, with a thin yellowish beige head. The foam quickly fell, but a solid ring formed. Wow. Big malty aroma with lots of toffee and balanced by citrusy hops and mild alcohol. Grainy caramel/toffee flavour backed up by solid bitterness and mild citrus/floral hop flavour. Still, it's fairly sweet, with alcohol warmth and flavour in the finish. Light fruity esters appear as it warms. Full to heavy body with moderately low carbonation, fairly smooth with some dryness. This is a very nice american barleywine - malt stays at the forefront with hops adding balance and depth. Definitely recommended.

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

Lagunitas never lets me down. I've been holding on to this one for about seven months for the right time. Today was an overcast day and seemed a great choice for my mood.

Sometimes appearance is a difficult category to really judge in a style in which there is so much similarity. However, this one is indeed a standout. What makes it such is its beauty of color and apparent viscocity. Upon pouring, the carbonation creeps up in slow, meandering bubbles, which beyond being a great visual, is an excellent indicator of the character of the brew therein, most especially reflective of its mouthfeel, which is pleasingly full without being cloying or syrupy.

Nose is light alcohol Gewurtz grapes and candied figs in the end.

After being cellared for seven months, this brew may have lost much of its in-yo-face hoppiness, but the effect is a wonderful balance. The bitterness is pleasing and complimentary to the candied fig and dark, slightly carmelized/burnt sugars, creating a bit of internal cut.

This is a barleywine that can be drunk slowly and enjoyed, but still leave you ready for more. I sipped this one for over an hour without concious effort of pacing, and loved every sample. This lets me know that it is time for fall!

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Photo of flexabull
3.84/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Interesting Barleywine.

Pours with a ton of carbonation. It took the beer a little while to settle down... the head eventually got rather small, the beer itself has the typical deep amber color of a barleywine.

Aroma is very nice, it's sweet and somewhat like baked bread.

The taste was a bit off to me, almost slightly sour, but has a lot of malt and some hop bitterness there, this might just need some time to sit. (this is the 06 I am tasting.)

Mouthfeel is big. I think this just needs some to time...

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Photo of akorsak
4.37/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a bomber served in a Three Philosophers goblet near room temperature.

A: The ale is a deep red bordering of brown, with good head and lace.

S: The malty sweet aroma is the first thing to grab you, followed by a strong citrusy hop aroma.

T: This is a hop bomb disguised as a malt bomb. The first flavors are malty sweet and soon blend into a big bad hop flavor that is primarily citrusy. Wow.

M: The beer finishes fairly dry with a long hop flavor. The hops are an excellent counterpoint to the high malt content.

D: 9.70% is difficult to label drinkable, so a few points are lost. Overall though, this is an excellent example of the style.

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Photo of Franchise
4.62/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a maroon brownish color, cloudy in appearance that leaves a thick tan head. The aroma is fresh hops, citrus, earthy spices, cinnamon, nutmeg...wow this is a fantastic nose reminds me of chai tea. The taste is just lovely, caramel malt backbone with a chocolate bittersweet bite, followed by sugared spices of nutmeg and cinnamon bark. This is a malty barleywine balanced with a fresh hop bite. This is now one of my favorite barleywines I've ever had. Great job Lagunitas!

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Olde GnarlyWine from Lagunitas Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.07 out of 5 with 1,697 ratings