Olde GnarlyWine | Lagunitas Brewing Company

734 Reviews
no score
Send samples
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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 734 | Ratings: 1,610
Photo of paulthebeerguru
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tumbler.

A: Color is a radiant, ruby-ish mahogany. Almost no head at all, but what halo that does remain, is off-white and clings to the glass leaving a fair amount of lace.

S: Very sweet aromas, molasses, brown sugar, and figs or dried dark berries. Some hop aroma is present but masked by the swwet malts.

T: Nice complimenting flavors between the malts and the hops. The malts bring out beautiful sweet flavors, like cherries, figs, and for some reason dark candi sugar. The hops come in and balance this out rather nicely, placing some bite after the sweetnesses.

M: A little thick but it is expected from a high gravity brew. Nice rolling flavor from the front of the palate to the back. Good carbonation level, it fits the style perfectly.

D: A fine example of the style, and as in all my reviews, I love Lagunitas...I have yet to be disappointed. Also, it reminds me of early Saturday at Falling Rock before the early session of GABF, when 11am seemed like a good time to drink two barleywines.

 1,021 characters

Photo of rajendra82
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One of the last Lagunitas beers to show up in Georgia, Olde GnarlyWine came in a Limited Release 22 oz. bomber. The copper colored body was hazy and alive with lots of carbonation streamers. The dense head was good looking at two fingers thick, and growing. The smell was indicative of the generous hopping rate used in the recipe. It was not a piney and bitingly resinous hoppyness in the nose like the Bigfoot I had just yesterday. Instead these were softer, citric, and somewhat earthy hops. The taste was quite a bit sweeter than what I was expecting from one of the big boys from the West Coast. The residual sugars from the wort were still pretty evident, and the spicy and earthy hops could not provide and equal match up. The fruity richness of drizzled pears, apricots, and peaches came in wave after luscious sticky wave. Quite a full mouthfeel with a tinge of sourness in the finish. Rich, rich, rich, but will perhaps prove too sweet for some people.

 962 characters

Photo of ArrogantB
3.63/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The 2008 vintage finally showed up in bombers this year and at $4.49 it seemed like a good deal based upon my previous experience with this beer. The color is dark orange, translucent, with a very foamy head that then fades to a thin film of tiny bubbles. The first whiff I took from from the bottle was very hoppy but now that it is in the snifter it doesn't seem overly hoppy actually a subtle sweetness. Whoa, sugary crazy flavor that ends very bitter. I think I tasted cinnamon. The flavor is almost too sweet for me but I am faithful it will die down over time. Slight astringency in the mouthfeel as well. This is not a bad barleywine at all but it needs some time.

 671 characters

Photo of turbine2475
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a clear copper with a white head that disipated quickly into a moderate lace.
S - Hints of grapefuit, pine, and minty hops that melt away into a toffee/caramel.
T - Citrus, friuty hops, brown suger, with the alcohol coming through in the end.
M - Low carbonation with a slightly milky mouthfeel.
D - Not a bad offering. Would not pass this beer up if offered, but there are better examples of the style avaliable in my area.

 434 characters

Photo of cswhitehorse
3.95/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured the Olde GnarlyWine into a chalice and it gave a amber color with a quickly disappearing foam head the left some sudsy lacing on the side of the glass.

In the smell I got a fruity aroma with browned sugar. It was a semi alcoholic waft with plums and cherries. The taste was definitely sweet and sugary. It has a dry finish and faint hint of oak. In the mouth it was light on the tongue. Overall I thought it was a pretty darn good brew.

 444 characters

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

Appearance - Dark crystal clear copper. Shortish tan head with some sticking power. Leaves adequate lacing down the glass.

Smell - Minty/citrus/grapefruit hop. Touch of spice and chocolate.

Taste - Caramel/toffee sweetness that thankfully isn't too sugary. Loads of grapefruit/minty hops. Theres a lingering green grape quality. A slight touch of milk chocolate makes an appearance late in the game. A nice spicy, warming, bitter finish

Mouthfeel - Full-bodied thick, and chewy

Overall this is one tasty barley wine. Too many barley wines straddle the Double IPA/barley wine line. This one stands clearly as a barleywine. Its sweet with a solid hoppiness, but with out being hop syrup. Another top notch brew from Lagunitas.

 728 characters

Photo of stumac
4.6/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

It was only four bucks for this bad boy! The Twenty 'Aught-8 version (whatever the 'aught' means).

A - reddish brown. Head descipated pretty damn quick. It was kinda greyish brown or something (im sittin in some crap lighting though).

S - nice piny hops, faint citrus due to the hops. caramel, the works.

T - very barleywine-ish. nice hops/malt balance, sweet citrus, almost orangey. caramel. maybe some darker fruits. hides the high alcohol very well. a little dry wood character. quick drying finish

MF - smoothe, low carbonation, very sticky but not syrupy as in it leaves a sticky taste on your lips. leaves a looong lingering after-taste. full bodied.

D - very drinkable. Would I drink it again?. In conclusion, I would

 733 characters

Photo of smttycty
4.92/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I write this having seen nor heard not one other opinion of Olde GnarlyWine. As we tiptoe into spring (Portland had snow today in late March!) I have sampled oodles of great winter warmers and BW's these past blissful couple of months. I believe philosophically in drinking seasonally and winter is the hardest for me to let go.

I have personally logged hundreds of tastings that this good life has offered, but only those given the utmost undivided attention are recorded here, as is the responsibility I feel in the privilege of participating. Often I don't take the time, but I always take it seriously.

I allowed this bomber of Lagunitas' limited release Olde GnarlyWine to come up to celler temp and used my long stem goblet. A rich dark amber body with lively bubbles poured forth with an orange-tinged tan head, smooth and dense, yet not long lived. Not a lot of lacing but very long legs hinting at the high-test viscosity.

The nose was an aria without a soloist. It sang up from a choir with many voices: leather, earthy sweetness, dried fruit, tobacco, chardonnay, cedar. My first sip actually brought the mouthfeel to my attention first. Oily smooth with a very lively carbonation. I brought my palette back into focus: first impression was what I imagined a 100 year old classic port would be. A mellow concoction produced by an old world craftsman aged to perfection. From beginning to end not a single element steps out of line. The vinouos fruit, the sweet peaty malt, the bold hop spice, the warm strength of the fusels; each component supporting the other. Complex and smooth. Balanced. The last room-temp sip just as good as the first. No flaws.

A bit of self-indulgence here, please forgive me. But it is these moments that I search for on my beer journey. A high point that should be noted and remembered. But then again, just my opinion.

 1,864 characters

Photo of timtim
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

dark reddish brown with a tan head that holds very well and leaves some great lace as well. caramel and sweet malt dominate the nose with a citrus hop scent in the background. fairly well balanced taste that exhibits a bit of cherrywood, smoke and leather just before the hoppy bitterness hits you in the finish. a little, little bit on the thin side, but tasted great to me, and was a very easy, pleasurable drink.

 415 characters

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

Pours rusty-orange with a small yellowish head. A robust citrus hop smell. Decent lacing. First sip bites of bitter hops that is well balanced with a strong malt backbone. More malt comes through as it warms up and so does an unexpected oakish flavor? A great showing and a great value at under $4 bucks for a 22 oz. bomber.

 324 characters

Photo of hopsleeroy
4.08/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Shared with a friend from 22 oz bomber.

A-Copper/brownish metallic with 1 inch head in oversized wine glass. Looks very nice.
S-Sweet caramel, Toffee, slight grassy
T-Very similiar to smell, caramel, toffee, with hop bitterness on the finish. Alcohol present but taste good. As it warms more floral and citrus/orange flavor. Very nice balance of sweet malt and hops.
M-Creamy in mouth but carbonated enough for some scrubbing action which was surprising for this beer.
D-Alcohol would keep this from being a session ale and could become too sweet but very drinkable.

Very good barleywine. Tastes like it has already been aged somewhat even though it's fresh.

 660 characters

Photo of dsa7783
3.65/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Single 22 oz bottle purchased from Buy Rite on Oak Tree in South Plainfield...
"Limited Release" on the front logo sticker...
Recently sampled the brewery's Brown Shugga, which was really impressive, so I was eager to give this one a shot...
Lucid, clean, clear, dark-copper, mahogany-brown appearance with a very small head that soon dissipated and left a minimal amount of lacing...
Strong aroma of alcohol, esters, caramel, and barley riding this one...
Taste was sweet without being too overbearing, but slightly watered-down in my opinion and not too rich or thick...
Wouldn't say I was entirely dissapointed by this one, but at the same time, I wouldn't consider this sample to be above-and-beyond...

 706 characters

Photo of ultralarry2006
4.28/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle of 2007 release. Leaves one finger of a tan head that has excellent retention, and leaves webs and webs of excellent sticky lacing. Body is a slightly hazy reddish amber. A very handsome ale.

Smell - citrus, floral, and pine resin, with caramel and toffee, and some spicy and medicinal alcohol, all filling the nose, and making the mouth water.

Taste - much like the smell. Pine resin and citrus flood the tongue, along with caramel and toffee swirled and slathered maltbread sweet rolls. More pine resin and citrus on the finish, as well as spicy and medicinal alcohol.

Mouthfeel - full bodied, very slick from the hop oils, and semi-dry at times from both the hops and the alcohol.

Drinkability - this is a very good ale. Its high abv does limit sessionability.

 795 characters

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.22/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark orange amber with a decent initial head that fades to a thin ring. Transluscent brew with lots of protein floaties. Lots of sweet malt in the aroma along with orange and lemon citrus. The taste echoes these citrus notes, and also exhibits lots of sweet malt. The flavors are clean and pure and really zingy. Honeyed flavor throughout and some apricot flavors sneak in as well. Extremely smooth and a touch sweet in the mouth. Very well hidden abv, just delicious all around.

 487 characters

Photo of pershan
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on-tap at Frisco Grille in Columbia, MD.

The beer poured a slightly cloudy copper with very little head. I could not detect any aroma - very weird - I expected to at least get a whiff of hops. However, the beer had a very nice flavor profile - hop bitterness, full-bodied maltiness, and a wonderful alcoholic warmness at the end. A very nice fruity, malty, alcoholic aftertaste. Good carbonation and lacing. A lot of barleywines can be a bit harsh (too much hop bitterness in an attempt to balance the alcoholic sweetness), but this was a pretty smooth drinker - well done.

 583 characters

Photo of cichief
3.55/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had on draft at the Frisco Grille, Columbia, MD.

A- Pours a dark brown with a decent off-white head.

S- Very sweet smelling, slight hint of citrus.

T- Very powerful, malty sweet, subtle hop finish.

M- Smooth, not overly bubbly, medium to full body.

D- Overall a decent barleywine, but other big beers from Lagunitas were better.

 333 characters

Photo of Pudge43
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. bomber into a pint glass.
A - Nice caramel coloring. Very small head which went away almost immediately.

S - Smell was very woodsy but clean.

T - Somewhat dry but very good. The taste hangs with you until you take that next sip.

M - very full, flavorful taste

D - Very smooth. At 9.7ABV probably not more that a couple in one sitting.

I will definitely purchase this fine brew again

 410 characters

Photo of cokes
4.22/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a translucent amber-brown, glinting more scarlet, under a bleached khaki dome of modest hight and notable retention.
Scented strongly of pine resin, holly, peppermint candy canes and other things Christmas. There's also a heavy underpinning of doughy, warm cinnamon rolls, cooked brown sugar, and boozy, grapey brandy.
Across the tongue, brown sugar is foremost and not entirely apart from their namesake Brown Sugga of similar constitution. It turns spicier (almost rye-like) with an upswell of peppermint and cinnamon and then doughier as it progresses. A middle hinting of wet brown paper bag precludes it from being monumental (and also calls into question its aging potential). A vanilla-caramel-cherry nougat ends the malt reign, as the wintergreen, menthol, and coniferous hops stake their claim, and assert that this is very much West Coast. The booze enters as vagrantly as temperamental, with estery Gin and mellower aged Rum. But never as explicitly hot.
Just lighter than full bodied. The carbonation is appropriately low and trickling. It's drinkable in mouth-stretching pulls, belying it's 9.7% ABV.
Equally mellow and flagrant, it's a quintessential Old West American Barleywine. And is an absolute steal at roughly $4+ a bomber.

 1,253 characters

Photo of dirtylou
3.8/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber, purchased at Steve's - University

not a huge lagunitas fan but have been wanting to try this one. served during the 2nd half of patriots-jaguars

appearance: poured into a snifter...clear amber body with a substantial beige head and very nice lacing left throughout

smell: citrus hops, brown sugar, very floral, caramel, alcohol soaked raisins, molasses

taste: very smooth barleywine...taste is primarily driven by thick caramel malts, brown sugar, raisins and alcohol. typical lagunitas hop profile is buried beneath the molasses/brown sugar/booze. its a nice beer but its fairly uneventful

mouthfeel: smooth, light bitterness, moderate abv burn

drinkability: pretty good

 690 characters

Photo of Murchmac
4.47/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2006 Version

Pours a beautiful ruby red with a nice big head that continues down the glass. This beer looks amazing, bright clear colors. It turns many different colors from dark brown to red.

This beer smells as good as it looks. Classic barleywine smell. Big caramel, toffee, some alcohol, fruits, hops, malts, great smell.

This beer tastes, like it smells. Mostly sweet warm malts, caramel, raisins, grapes, some alcohol, very deep, warm lingering sweet cognac sweet dark sugar molasses aftertaste.

I cant tell you how good this beer is. I have another bottle in the closet I will save for another 9 years.

 613 characters

Photo of DavidEddie
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 release.

Appearance - Ruby amber brown, like ice tea. Off white head. Nice sticky lacing that hung around awhile.

Smell - Carmel, apples, soft pine, and grapefruit.

Taste - Carmel, brown sugar, ripe plums, and grapefruit. Kinda on the sweet side, but there is some bitterness to balance it out. Definitely on the boozy side after each sip.

Mouth feel - Medium bodied. Sticky and coating.

Drinkability - Very good,considering the high AVB. Recommended.

 462 characters

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.08/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(1999 Bottle)

Appearance: Pours a brownish-red body with a very thin, off-white head.

Smell: Aroma overflowing with sweet-smelling caramel along with notes of vanilla and dark fruits. Lightly boozey. Very faint hint of wet paper lurking in there as well.

Taste: Rich, sweet maltiness with flavors of dark caramel. Mild vanilla note. Some dried dark fruits. Only a very, very subtle earthy bitterness remains. A bit of oxidation has indeed taken up residence. A mellow alcoholic finish with an emphasis on the candylike malt sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium carbonation. Nicely warming.

Drinkability: Good stuff! A very well put-together barleywine from Lagunitas.

 682 characters

Photo of NJpadreFan
3.53/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Lagunitas- GnarlyWine

On tap at Circa- High Bridge, NJ

A- Cloudy rustic reddish brown with a thick creamy head. Big messy lacing along the glass.
S- Alc, Figs, raisins, cherries, and prunes.
T- Big sweet fruit flavors burst through, cherry, raisin, and fig dominate with a touch of boozy alc.
M- Sweet and fruity up front with a mild sourness in the end. Alc has a bit of a bite.

Overall- A good sipper. High alc will limit you to only a few of these. Worth the $5 I paid.

 475 characters

Photo of CharlieMopps
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed at Capital Ale House Innsbrook as part of Beer Geek Week '07

Vintage 2004.

A: Murky auburn hue, not much head on top, as is expected, with an orangeish tone to it.

S: Spicy, fruitlike aroma. Very fig-like, with notes of cinnamon and a backing, subtle hop scent.

T: Very much a dark fruit flavor with a nice spicy kick, sweet and pleasing, with the mellow hop profile that comes from aging.

M: Carbonated very well, with a syrupy feel on the palate that was quite enjoyable.

D: Seeing as how barley wines can be rather hit or miss, or rather, just not being able to be easily pinned down, this one was surprisingly good. I'm sure the aging helped mellow out the hops and smooth over the sweetness, which was excellent. Great stuff if laid down for a while.

 770 characters

Photo of Floydster
3.71/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle shared with a few people at Naja's Place in Redondo Beach for six dollars

Poured into a pint glass with a dark red/brown color with a thick head

Smell was not my favorite, but it was strong and filled with sweet malt

Taste was a little dry and had a nice grapefruit aftertaste

Could drink a fair amount of this, had about eight ounces and could have drank at least triple that

 396 characters

Olde GnarlyWine from Lagunitas Brewing Company
4.08 out of 5 based on 1,610 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.