Old And In The Way
High Water Brewing

Old And In The WayOld And In The Way
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English Barleywine
Ranked #212
Ranked #28,379
3.78 | pDev: 14.55%
High Water Brewing
California, United States
Very Good
Old And In The WayOld And In The Way
Notes: Old and In The Way Barley Wine Style Ale is brewed in the traditional English Barley Wine Style. Flavors of toffee, treacle and caramel emerge as the beer opens up. Enjoy this beer a little warmer to fully appreciate the depth and complexity of flavors in this beer. Brewed to be enjoyable as a sipping or fireside beer. Share one with a good friend.

11% ABV 95 IBU
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Reviews: 19 | Ratings: 65 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of LiquidAmber
3.93/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Fremont small snifter. Side by side tasting of properly cellared 2013 and 2016 bottles. Both poured into Fremont small snifters.
2013: Pours a dark, hazy orange brown with a quarter finger light khaki head with good retention and lacing. Aroma of caramel malt, dates, figs, dried plums, light oxidation. Flavor is dry biscuit and caramel malt, dates, figs, slight dried plums, a hint of oak and cocoa. Medium bodied with light creaminess. Flavor is dominated by dry biscuit malt and dates, closer to an old ale at this point. Fairly mellow, but not too complex.
2016: Pours a medium reddish orange with a thin, persistent light khaki head and light lacing. Aroma of caramel malt, dried plums and citron, a little orange and raisin. Flavor is mild caramel malt, candied fruit with orange, plum and citron, toffee. Medium bodied with light creaminess. This one has a more American style profile, with lighter fruit notes, however not with any of the hopping of that style. I'm not sure I've had a barleywine with this flavor before. It's a little sweet and relatively uncomplicated, but quite enjoyable.
Summary: these are two completely different barleywine and because High Water has some of their beer brewed by different breweries, I'm have to assume that these are two different recipes and actually different barleywines.The 2013 is closer to a classic English barleywine, but of the biscuity, maltier style rather than the more common plummy one. At five years, it has a clear aged large old ale profile and a nice mellow one at that. I regret not reviewing this one fresh, but I'm guessing that the original was biscuity too. It has aged well considereing that it is somewhat less complex than others of the style, but I'm a big fan of aged old ales, so this hit the spot. I'm not sure it would improve with any more age, but it seems to be holding its own very well. The 2016 is also a bit on the uncomplicated side, and as mentioned above, has more of the "triple IPA/American barleywine" profile of the base malt, but with slight hopping. That's probably a good thing for me because I'm not that enchanted with aged hoppy beers any more and this is probably more enjoyable at two years without strong hops. Despite the basic flavors, I liked this quite a bit. I probably would not age this much further as the flavors are nice and balanced right now and probably would not improve.
One of the more unusual of my comparisons of two aged beers due to the fact that the base beer was probably not the same. Fortunately, tasting barleywines is a reward in and of itself.
The rating is a rough amalgam of the two barleywines. Since I liked them both and they were relatively straightforward for each of their styles, the ratings were similar.

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Photo of Jeffo
4.02/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this one in Buffalo

From a bomber into a snifter

APPEARANCE: Pours a 2 finger, medium looking, creamy, off-white head with great retention. Opaque dark maroon red in color with no carbonation evident. Head slowly fades to a full wisp leaving some lacing on the glass. A splotchy wisp remains until the end leaving traces of lacing on the glass as it empties.

SMELL: Caramel and toffee with some spicy booze and red fruits on the nose. Slightly bread with bubble gum as well. Bold and boozy.

TASTE: Caramel and toffee sweetness up front with some spicy booze and piney notes up front. Bold finish of malty sweetness, piney hops, bitterness and some boozy alcohol too. Flavorful and plenty of bittersweet character.

PALATE: Medium body and medium levels of carbonation. Creamy on the palate, goes down fine and finishes somewhat mouth-coating. Some spicy booze lingers. Creamy and weighty for the style.

OVERALL: Really good stuff here. This reminds me of Laguintas’ Gnarleywine. Top notch flavor and feel here with lots of sweet malt character and hoppy bitterness as well. Really enjoyed this and will be picking up more next time I see it. Give this one a shot if you’re a fan of the style. Recommended.

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Photo of d3davies
3.86/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

this was a 2011 model, it was a B+ in my opinion. it was more alcohol on the front than barrel aged goodness. lacked those toffee, vanilla, caramel notes you come to expect from a 4 year old bba

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Photo of ClavisAurea
4.09/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2013 vintage served in a snifter at cellar temps.

Appearance: deep garnet with a very sticky off white head that lingers. Lacing galore.

Nose: dark fruits, caramel, almost butterscotch, toffee, creamy and rich, chocolate, well integrated and balanced but still has some boozyness in there.

Taste: very chewy, toffee, dark fruits, Malt forward with some residual bitterness for balance. No hot alcohols at all but there is some booz on the tongue.

Overall: my only bottle. Need more. This is a fantastic English barleywine, not hot or solventy but the booz is still very present just not like what I'd expect from an 11% beer thats almost 2 years in the bottle.

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Photo of Beerswag
3.51/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown with hints of ruby, slightly murky. Smell is roasted noted with chocolate. Taste is chocolate, roasted malt, carmel, no fruit notes. Mouthfeel is heavy, and abv is hidden. Getting some bourbon notes on the end. Pair with nuts, sausage, or lamb stew.

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Photo of Mightykingmalard
4.03/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

13 vintage.

A: tan head, stays for a while. Very dark amber color. I love barleywines that are super dark. 3.75

S: sweet smelling, you smell the barrel. 3.75

T: only a hint of barrel in the taste, but it's awesome. Sometimes barleywines are too oaky, and this is a great barleywine with just that last good hint of wood. 4.25

M: great chewy mouthfeel for a barleywine. It's almost creamy. Leaves a great malty aftertaste. 4.

O: I had the 12 when it came out and have a couple saved. Can't wait to see where they, and this years, go in the future. 4.0

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Photo of BierJager89
4.2/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Black with a tan ring of head.

S: Old malt, oak, vanilla, malt, dark fruit, red grapes, red wine, a touch of brandy in the nose.

T: Orange, lemon, grapefruit peel up front, followed by malt, then oak, vanilla, followed by red wine and red grapes with the borbon character and a touch of cognac and brandy in the finish.

M: Medium bodied and smooth, though the alcohol is a tad harsh.

O: I really like this beer. I'd love to try the Buffalo Trace version. It's perhaps a bit flat, but I feel like the alcohol astringency offsets that a bit, and like my beer smooth.

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Photo of James_Lockhart
2.04/5  rDev -46%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

I had this beer on tap after just getting into Barley Wines.

Everything appeared great until it hit my tongue.

It tastes like candy floss (fairy floss). That is literally it. I would have enjoyed this when I was 5, but as my palette has matured away from sugary sweet, to savory depth; I couldn't handle this, nor could anyone else.

This is the second beer I haven't been able to finish, and that's rare.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.95/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to whoever brought this to our Nov. '12 bottle share.

Somewhat hazy brown-leather color, a small tan head receded mostly, and left little to no lacing, as would be expected. Nice aroma, not quite full, but nice, with notes of toffee and vanilla, caramel malts, sweet dried fruits, and a touch of earthy hops. More of the same in the taste, with toffee and vanilla being the major players, sweet malty sugar, mellow bourbon, fig-like fruit essence, earthy hops and slight oak for a woody but not quite dry finish. Body was a little on the thin side, and kind of made this beer off-balanced with the big sugary flavors going on; some alcohol heat in there. A good brew, and quite drinkable overall.

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Photo of Gobzilla
3.87/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle 55 of 216

A: poured a. A translucent dark brown with ruby highlights and a vary thin head that left very little lacing sticking to the glass.

S: the buffalo bourbon barrel dominates the aroma with some caramel, toffee, oaky, a little bit of brown sugar, boozy heat and hints of sugary sweetness

T: the bourbon barrel character also dominated the taste alongside caramel, toffee, oaky, maple syrup notes, slight lactic quality, boozy heat and a touch brown sugar.

M: the brew was medium in body with a low amount of carbonation which had a sweet, boozy, and stickiy finish.

O: thought it was going to be way better then it was. Did't really care for it.

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Photo of DovaliHops
3.73/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Vintage 2011. Pouts a dark brown with a mahogany red hue. Small, light-tan head. Scent immediately heavy with English hops and malt. Hints of toffee and barrel characteristics...vanilla and sherry wine. A bit of dark chocolate with some brandy and dark fruits. Taste is almost exactly as it smells. Hoppier than I expected. English hops at first with some mellow vanilla which quickly turns to heavy vanilla and toffee. Dark malt and caramel malt with some bitter dark chocolate and sweet brandy flavors. Lots of booze. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and quite boozy. Nice carbonation. Drinkability is fair. Overall, this is a fairly good BA Barleywine. I've had much better, but from an up and coming brewery, this is a good start.

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Photo of DefenCorps
3.08/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Bottle received in a trade with Chebyshev. Thank you, Aaron. I've been curious to try something from Highwater, given I enjoyed some of Steve Altimari beers from his Valley Brewing Co days. Labeled 10.5%

Pouring a dark ruby red-brown with a dense, light brown head with rather excellent retention and nice lacing, this looks like a nice barleywine. The nose has a moderate barrel character right up front, rather brandy-like and quite vinous. This pairs well with the toffee and nutty aromas that are present. This does lack the depth that some better barleywines do have, though, the malt character does seem a little thin. A rather tannic astringency is noticeable. Decent. Once it breathes, it does get a nice buckwheat honey note that does add depth.

The palate opens plenty bitter with a lot of citrusy hops (especially bitterness), a moderate alcohol bite and a blend of malt flavors. The high alcohol has thinned this out on the palate. There's burnt toffee, jam, almonds, some brandy and quite a bit of tannins on the back end. The bitterness and the tannins linger on in the finish, and without much sweetness to help temper the bitterness or astringency, this just feels messy. Medium in body , moderately carbonated this beer is just OK. If anything, it makes me want to drink the last Summer Love in my fridge.

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Photo of shleepy
3.65/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served from bottle (bought at Whole Foods in Redwood City, CA) into snifter glass.

A: Very dark but red-ish brown. Medium, off-white head.

S: Lush, sweet mix of various flavors - grapes, toffee, vanilla, and maybe a bit of hot alcohol.

T: Far more bitter than the smell would have you believe. But then, it's a barleywine. Although the sweeter notes mentioned above (e.g., toffee) are in there, I'd say that the bitterness overpowers them. Barrel flavors are very prominent, creating a kind of "twig" flavor when combined with the bitterness level and the other flavors. I'm not quite sure if the bitterness is from hops or high alcohol content + barrels, or something like that. The bitterness remains in the aftertaste to some extent, but does fade away eventually.

M: Nothing too unexpected here. Heavy-bodied. Carbonation seems to be on the low side, or maybe I've just let it sit around in the glass (and open bottle) for too long.

O: It's complex and multifaceted, but the excessive bitterness lets it down. I wish the vanilla and toffee flavors would shine through in the taste, but they do not.

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Photo of ngeunit1
4.42/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a dark brown color with a finger of frothy khaki colored head. The head fades down at a normal pace leaving behind some light lace.

S - Aroma is full of rich sweet caramel malts, with some brown sugar, vanilla, oak, dark fruit, licorice, and just a hint of booze.

T - Starts off with some rich sweet caramel malts with some dark fruit, brown sugar, vanilla, and a bit of black licorice. Through the middle, some oak comes through alongside some stronger dark fruits and a bit of molasses. The finish is a mix of sweet caramelized malts, vanilla, oak, brown sugar, dark fruit, and a bit of booze.

M - Full bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels smooth with a syrupy, warming, and sweet finish.

D - Very drinkable. Really nice malty English barleywine. The sweet caramelized flavor balance really nicely with the barrel flavors.

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Photo of brotherloco
3.7/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber. Vintage 2011. Bottle is labeled 10.5% ABV. Served in a snifter.

Reviewing this beer side by side with the Healthy Spirits Buffalo Trace Single Barrel Edition. (The regular version was aged in 12 Year Heaven Hill Bourbon Barrels.)

Pours a slightly translucent dark matte brown with slight red highlights. A little over a finger of tan foam, settles to a thin covering and a small ring. A little bit of lacing is left behind.

Aroma is soft and somewhat restrained. Vanilla, dark fruit, a little sour fruit. Very earthy. Sweet caramel malt. No real apparent booze.

Flavor is a little more full on than the aroma. Dark fruits with a little bit of sourness. Caramel, vanilla, oak, and some spice. Finish transitions into bitter floral hops and some alcohol, although pretty well buried given the high ABV. You do feel the heat build after a few sips though.

Medium-full bodied with low carbonation. Stays pretty thick and somewhat creamy. Decent for the style.

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Photo of BerkeleyBeerMan
4.09/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark leathery brown. Complete opacity. Nice thin khaki head.

Smell: Smokey. Tobacco, rough leather. Fig and raisin. Stiff dark chocolate.

Taste: Malty, coffee. Licorice and anise. Banana bread. The alcohol is well concealed.

Mouthfeel: Stiff and chewy. Leather. Nice full flavored barleywine. Balance is nice. Not exceptionally sweet.

Overall: A great after dinner barleywine. Mature. This should age marvelously.

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Photo of illidurit
3.58/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at burger. in Santa Cruz. Pours opaque dark brown with crimson corners. Pruney iodine aroma with some evident booze, maybe a little raisin. Not the best aroma, nor is it very robust. Flavor is much better. Earthy chocolate with burnt brown sugar, a touch of soy, and a buttery toasted coconut finish. Not sure if this is bourbon barrel aged but it sure seems like it. A sweet warming beer that captures the English style pretty well.

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Photo of largadeer
3.22/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Ruddy brown with some chill haze. Clarity is pretty good as it warms up. Lightly carbonated, with little head formation.

Smell: Pretty good, very promising. Heavy on the toffee and vanilla, with mild barrel notes, faint fusels, a little earthy fruit. Not a huge aroma, but it's nice.

Taste & mouthfeel: A letdown compared to the nose. Like Aphotic, it's pretty thin and light on the barrel, but while that worked for a Baltic porter, it doesn't work so well for a barrel aged English barleywine. It does open with some decent flavors, toffee-heavy as suggested by the aroma, with plenty of vanilla and some fig jam fruitiness. The finish is where the beer misses a step; aside from being thin, it's overly bitter for the style, and fusel alcohol and tannins attack the tongue after the swallow.

Overall: Drinkable, but no means awful, but not something I'll revisit. One glass is plenty for me.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.92/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the ColLAboration beer fest at the Belasco Theater in Los Angeles, CA.

Pours a slightly hazy dark brown with a foamy tan head that settles to an oily film on top of the beer. Tiny dots of lace form on the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, vanilla, wood, and bourbon. Taste is very much the same with a woody aftertaste that lingers on the palate. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good barrel aged barleywine with some nice aromas and flavors.

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Old And In The Way from High Water Brewing
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 65 ratings