Old Boardhead Barleywine Ale
Full Sail Brewing Company

Old Boardhead Barleywine AleOld Boardhead Barleywine Ale
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Barleywine - American
Ranked #274
Ranked #16,900
3.89 | pDev: 11.57%
Full Sail Brewing Company
Oregon, United States
Very Good
Old Boardhead Barleywine AleOld Boardhead Barleywine Ale
Reviews: 290 | Ratings: 384 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of chinchill
chinchill from South Carolina

3.86/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

22 oz bottle of 2011 Reserve served in a Belgian snifter. (from 2015 notes).
The hazy brown body is topped by a thin weak head that leaves minimal lacing.
Fruity appealing aroma with some biscuit and remarkably little evidence of alcohol. There’s little sign of the alcohol upon tasting either ... at first; but eventually the alcohol builds and the finish and aftertaste are actually rather boozy. While the boozy finish detracts from the flavor it is overall good enough, and complex enough, to deserve a 4. More hops than expected for this style.

Feel: light carbonation in a medium-light body with obvious alcohol warming.

Apr 06, 2019
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Sound_Explorer from Washington

4.42/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2007 (!!!) Vintage that has an amazing aroma with a smooth run down the tongue. After taste is a little almost burnt sugar. Really lucky to get this taste from a friend. Yea I filled spaces for a review.

Dec 23, 2017
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stevoj from Idaho

4.01/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2012 vintage in 22 oz. bottle Darker amber with thin beige head. Wine like malty aroma with alcohol very much in the forefront. Some oak barrel, peat and caramel. Taste (once past the alcohol heat) is malt, caramel and some spiciness. Excellent winter quaff. Recently sampled 2007 vintage also, ages wonderfully.

Nov 03, 2016
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rodbeermunch from Nevada

3.31/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Them mahogany and auburn and crimson red notes all together to make this color up. Lots of caramel sweetness in the aroma, hops later.

This one straddles that line between English and American barleywine, I think it has more of the sweetness and lesser hop character that leans slightly English. Viscosity of a caramel/syrup/molasses vein. A little bit of toffee contributing to the English feels.

A little bit of dark fruit bitterness, not full on quad or RIS like, but you know. One the one hand this is an inexpensive bomber and big beer, but on the other hand, its still a bomber instead of the more convenient (and cheaper) 12 oz format.

Sep 20, 2016
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KensWorld from Florida

4.2/5  rDev +8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2012 reserve bottle. Pours a non appealing mudy brown leaving almost no head. Still has nice carbonation with plenty of boubles. Smell is not to impressive either. Slight malty nose. I was never expecting the taste to be any better, but wow was I wrong. Tastes wonderful, extremely mellow and smooth leaving Carmel, toffy, vanilla and honey notes. Semi Sweet malty aftertaste. Seems to be getting even better as it warms. Overall I'm very impressed by this barleywine, it's one of the smoothest I've tried yet. 3 years has aged this beer to perfection. the 4.50

Nov 29, 2015
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pat61 from Minnesota

4.69/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: Slight chill haze clears as it warms to a brilliant deep amber to chestnut under a rapidly dissipating ½” off white foam collar that grips the glass producing thin sheets of lace.
S: Sweet big vanilla caramel nose with traces of wine and alcohol
T: Not as sweet on the palate as on the nose – the finish is a cascade of fruit and candy, some citrusy hops in the finish that grow in the after taste
F: chewy, creamy, warming, lacy, medium low carbonation
O: A big, bold barley wine for evening sipping.

Apr 09, 2015
Photo of spinrsx
spinrsx from Canada (ON)

3.7/5  rDev -4.9%

Bomber from Party Source Syracuse NY for $7 - 2011 vintage

Appearance - Brown colour with a good size frothy beige coloured head. There is a low amount of carbonation showing and there is some good lacing. The head lasted for around 3-4 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, caramel, anise, dark fruits

Taste & Mouth - There is a below average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, caramel and hops. There is also some vanilla, anise, booze, and dark fruits.

Overall - A little less sweet than I'm used to for a barleywine, but still a nice full flavour. The hos still have some bite but the beer still seems pretty smooth; guessing the age has mellowed this one. An okay beer but not even close the the heads of the class.

Sep 01, 2014
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vkv822 from Oregon

3.18/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

2011 vintage.
22oz : tulip

Pours a murky, burnt-orange, brown color with a thin, foamy off white head.

Aroma and taste are sweet, syrupy toffee, caramel malts.

Medium body, faint, foamy carbonation.

A decent beer when aged, but it just doesn't have a whole lot going on at the 2-year mark in my opinion and I've come to the conclusion that I prefer it fresh.

Dec 02, 2013
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Smurf2055 from Washington

3.5/5  rDev -10%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Runner up in a four way blind barley wine taste.

Pours a light tan.

Smell is a bit mild, more malty and a bit of fruit. Not very carbonated.

Spicy character. Mellow and almost sour hoppy.

Pretty good beer, especially for the price. Worth getting a few to age and for 3.99 a bottle, not a bad go to option.

Jul 15, 2013
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shand from Florida

3.74/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Old Boardhead is a big, sweet, and slightly hoppy barleywine available for dirt cheap. If those words resonate with you, jump on this beer. It won't blow you away, but it's inexpensive, boozy, and tasty. Sometimes, that just hits the mark. It's almost the malt liquor of the craft beer world.

Mar 09, 2013
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King_KongDCO93 from Minnesota

3.48/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pour a 2012 reserve bought it for $3.99 for a 1 pt. 6 fl. Oz 9% ABV bottle
A: golden brown, cant see throw the glass and its cloudy and looks like clean mud

S: Has a malty butterscotch aroma mixed in with a floral scents.

T: it is really malty and is a bit too bitter for me. at 9 % the flavor really hides the alch

M: mouth feel heavy

O: for the price its worth it.

Dec 24, 2012
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mtstatebeer from West Virginia

3.7/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

02-09-11- 22 oz bottle, 2008, served in a snifter glass. Pours a hazy, red-orange color with a decent, frothy off-white head, lacing throughout. Aroma is sweet, toasted malt, vinous, pine hops, and alcohol. Flavor is sweet malts, resinous, wood, spicy, and alcohol. Mouthfeel is medium, syrupy, almost cloyingly sweet, but balanced with a large amount of bitterness. Overall a decent beer.

Edit: Review of same beer on 21 Nov 12. Similar aroma, much more of a dark fruit/raisin aroma and a bit oxidized, no hops at all in the smell. Flavor isn't as sweet, still wood and spicy, much less of an alcohol bite, Mouthfeel not syrupy or sweet as before. This one aged into a solid barleywine.

Nov 22, 2012
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barleywinefiend from Washington

3.03/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2006 vintage
May 2009:
Poured a deep copper amber color with a big dirty white head. Carbonation was big on this one. Nose is caramel, brown sugar, astringent a bit. Taste is light cocoa undertones, astringent, caramel, brown sugar and even a cheap wine like taste or texture. Not tasty at all. Mouthfeel is thin and not to pleasing, left a bad taste in my mouth. Wont try again and disappointing.Perhaps past its prime.
2008 vintage
August 2009:
Much nicer and creamier. More character with hop bite, caramel being more pronounced versus the 2006. Two years would be it for this brew.
2012 vintage
September 2012:
A: Ruddy ruby like color with moedrate carbonation presenting a nice white cap which quickly fades

S: Very faint, some sherry like notes and lighter fruits

T: Some sweetness, a fruit basket meets some sherry like wine characteristics but then flavor just sordove falls flat with a dry, lightly sweet finish and light bitterness. Booze is masked well.

M: Medium to big body, well carbonated

O: Average bwine but for $6 a bomber you cant go wrong.

Sep 14, 2012
Photo of corby112
corby112 from Pennsylvania

3.18/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2011 vintage.

Pours a really cloudy, dark copper color with amber edges and a one finger off-white head that quickly fades into a lasting ring. Sporadic spots of lace left behind.

Slight leathery malt aroma with subtle earthy hops caramel malt and dark fruit. Somewhat floral with a faint grassy pine character followed by caramel, toffee, raisin, fig and sweet booze.

Medium bodied with tight carbonation and a very dry and bitter hop presence that lingers over the sweeter notes and malt backbone into a boozy finish. Lots of sticky hops up front that are somewhat stale at this stage followed by leathery malt, caramel, toffee and dark fruit. A decent amount of sweet boozy flavor in the finish but the high ABV is actually pretty well masked. Overall, this beer is easy to drink but it's kind of bland and not very memorable.

Aug 27, 2012
Photo of prometheus

4.03/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First thing I thought after I tasted this, oh crap this is gunna be a hang over. Second thing, way this is a really light barley wine.

The pour was silky smooth. Small and thick head. Good lacing. Smells like booze and raisons. Taste is mostly malt, cant tell what just booze. Light body for a Barley wine. Goes down like whiskey. Drank the whole bottle me self and it was great!


May 29, 2012
Photo of beergoot
beergoot from Colorado

3.91/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a relatively light-body/light tasting barleywine. Smells almost like a Xmas cookie but without being overly sugary or spicey (although I would say there's a slight cinammon/allspice note in there). A light roasted malt flavor holds this thing together. The high alcohol content is well-hidden within the flavor profile. Certainly an excellent barleywine offering.

May 28, 2012
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asabreed from New York

3.92/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2011 reserve. Bomber into a Brooklyn tulip glass.

Appearance: A nice hybrid of red and copper colors, but the head's kind of non-existent. I always think this could be whatever's in the glass, or if I didn't wash it out well enough, but alas.

Smell: Hops and citrus dominate here, with lemon and grapefruit aromas coming through mostly. Some possible toffee and chocolate coming through from the malt, adding to the balance of sweetness and citrus.

Taste: An initial blast of nice citrus bitterness hits, but it's soon balanced by some toffee-like and mild chocolate candied flavors that come from the malt, and some candi sugar flavors seem to come in also. Finishes with lingering mild sourness and citrus bitterness, with some candied toffee floating in the background.

Mouthfeel: This is the weakest aspect, as it's a little, to me, under-carbonated, which makes it just slightly a bit cloying, though it doesn't detract too much from everything overall. Maybe that had to do with the look in the glass also.

Drinkability: I don't know if it'd be proper to call a 9% barleywine easy-going, but this certainly is. Not insanely intense overall, with a good balance of sweetness and finishing bitterness that makes this one a version to try now, though I'd be interested to see what happens in a few years. With the good PQR, if I find another one, I'll do just that.

May 13, 2012
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LiquidAmber from Washington

4.12/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from 3/2011 notes. Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a dark red amber. Dense one finger light tan head and lacing. Nice barley wine aroma of sweet malt and dark fruit. Taste is sweet malt, caramel, hint of orange. Nice medium body, creamy. This appears to be heavier bodied and better flavored than the one I sampled a year earlier. I will return to this again and cellar a few.

Mar 23, 2012
Photo of Immortale25
Immortale25 from North Carolina

3.65/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Green Flash snifter. Label says 2011 reserve.

A- Pours a dark copper color with a 1/2 inch off-white head that doesn't retain a lot before retreating to a 1/8 inch ring around the edge of the glass with big bubbles of surface foam. Full sheets of lacing that leave spikes down the glass.

S- Smells sweet and malty but not exactly like a barleywine usually does. Faint, musty hops and a twinge of alcohol.

T- Balanced approach to the style as far as the hop/malt combo goes, but nothing exciting or controversial. More on the malty side, with notes of caramel and toasted bread. The hops that are there are more of the earthy type and don't play a huge role. Easy to drink as the booze is quite subdued.

M- Medium carbonation and a medium body.

O- Aside from the appearance, which is lovely, this beer is quite pedestrian across the board (no pun intended). Doesn't taste like a barleywine, doesn't even taste like an IPA. Just a straight-up hoppy imperial brown ale is the only way I can describe it. Not a bad brew by any means, just not what one expects when drinking a barleywine

Mar 14, 2012
Photo of yamar68
yamar68 from Minnesota

3.36/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 22oz bottle to brandy snifter:

Pours a hazy apricot with a dissipating cap of tannish head and striking lacing. The aroma is much more malt-centric than I would expect. I was anticipating a very west coast, American barleywine but this features mainly dark, sweet malt. Caramel, toffee, reminiscent of an Old Ale. Nevertheless, it’s nice. The taste paints a different picture. The hops are on the front lines, supported by malt bits similar to those found in the nose. This one drinks pretty easy for the style. Pretty good - certainly not "world-class."

Mar 12, 2012
Photo of emerge077
emerge077 from Illinois

3.53/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks Eric for sharing this one, review from written notes.
Served in a goblet. 2007 edition.

Reddish brown copper color, thin layer of frothy tan/brown foam. Very floral still, plenty of sweet caramel and typical aged barleywine notes of oxidized malt and sherry. Sweet upfront with big caramel malt flavors, becoming dry in the aftertaste. Big and burly, low carbonation. If anything, time has muted the alcohol bite. Not sure i'd recommend aging for 4+ years, based on this sample.

Feb 29, 2012
Photo of django24
django24 from Washington

3.28/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Notes From 11-15-11, 2011 Vintage

Appearance: Pours a slightly cloudy amber with little to no head-just tiny bubbles and little bit of lacing. I was expecting a little more head at 9% but its ok. Looks the part overall though.

Aroma: Citrusy hop fruitiness comes out first then the strong, sweet malt takes over reminding me of sweet raisin bread coming out of the oven. Hint of marshmallow maybe? Weird, but nice.

Taste: Following the nose of course with the sweet breadiness and citrus fruit.There's no doubt this is an American style though with a balance toward the hops. Slightly disappointed about not getting the typical barleywine dark, fruity alcohol flavor so much. Good.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body, slightly creamy, followed by prickling hops and a warming finish. Nice.

Overall: Good American style barleywine, reminds me of strong malty IPA. Kinda missing that dark fruitiness that I like. Maybe I prefer English style.

Feb 27, 2012
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kingcrowing from Vermont

1.37/5  rDev -64.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

22oz bottle poured into a sample, 2006 vintage.

Not good. Really not good. Infected and gross.

Pours a golden honey color with a small white head. Nose is sour and funky.

Taste is sour and tart its just a horrible drain pour. Mouthfeel is light and super sharp. Very bad.

Feb 11, 2012
Photo of Holland
Holland from Illinois

3.36/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: standard barleywine with good head and nice copper color.

S: pretty easy smell, some toffee and not much else.

T: very dry tasting, not incredibly impressed. Bitter, too, which is pretty good.

M: good carbonation and medium-heavy body.

O: solid beer, but I was surprised at how bitter it was. Very hoppy for being many months old when I drank it.

Feb 04, 2012
Photo of keethrax
keethrax from Minnesota

4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Coppery red with a decent tannish head leaving behind some wicked lacing. Seriously, multiple people commented on how pretty it was.

Smell: Caramel and some C-hops. Rum.

Taste: Lots of malt. This is supported by a solid,m but not overwhelming happiness. The malt occasionally gets overtaken, but it mostly holds it's own. Being a West Coast offering, the hop level is a bit higher than it would be elsewhere, as expected.

Mouthfeel: Heavy and thick. Not quite syrupy, but getting there.

Overall: Quite tasty, I prefer a bit less hops in my barleywines. But as mentioned its a west coast offering so I certainly wasn't *expecting* less hops. Overall it's pretty well balanced, just a hair away form being awesome.

Jan 11, 2012
Old Boardhead Barleywine Ale from Full Sail Brewing Company
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 384 ratings