Olde GnarlyWine | Lagunitas Brewing Company

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Olde GnarlyWineOlde GnarlyWine

Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company
California, United States | website

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

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Reviews: 727 | Ratings: 1,594
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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...

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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Photo of mnapier
4.45/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Service Temperature, 50 degrees. Service Glassware 12 ounce German Balloon. Purchased this at Whole Foods in Bellevue, WA

Appearance, is dark rust & lacking any clarity. It pours a subdued white foamy head & with a slight mild lace.
Swirling the glass around produces a waft of pininess, some brown sugar, a slight raisin is present. Pouring some of the ale into my mouth, produces some creamy pine & grapefruit, along with some raisin and some carmel. A medium mouthfeel is evident and give this beer a nice overall pleasant experience within.


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

2006. Pours dark copper, hazy with some good sized chunks, a fairly small butter cream colored head that fades quickly. Aroma is a nice fruity maltiness, some grape, raisins and prunes. Soft sugary caramel and cotton candy as well. Taste is very sweet caramel, raisins and grapes. Mouthfeel is medium to heavy, nice and soft sugariness from the malts, just a hint of drying hops in the finish along with a trace amount of warming alcohol, although the alcohol is extremely well balanced. Fantastic barleywine, mouthfeel is great, my favorite by lagunitas to date. This is one that I will definitely age some and see what develops.

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Photo of hero27
4.53/5  rDev +11%
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 +7.8%
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 -19.6%
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 -16.9%
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 +7.1%
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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Olde GnarlyWine from Lagunitas Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 727 ratings.
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