Old Boardhead Barleywine Ale | Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub

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Old Boardhead Barleywine AleOld Boardhead Barleywine Ale
Very Good
382 Ratings
Old Boardhead Barleywine AleOld Boardhead Barleywine Ale

Brewed by:
Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub
Oregon, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Murph on 05-14-2002

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 382 |  Reviews: 289
Photo of kingcrowing
1.37/5  rDev -64.5%
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.

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Photo of harrymel
1.95/5  rDev -49.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Vintage 2011

Red hued copper ale with some yellow peanut foam rim and sheet quality. Excellent clarity leaving some spotty lace. Smells like a souped up Pale ale (english style) with some earthy, grassy hop profiles. A decent sugary toffee tone, but very subdued in the nose. The flavor follows thru with that tone, but is overpowered by a sulfur, ester, sweet alcohol flavor. The ingredients and quality characteristics of a Barleywine are soon forgotten in this beer. Medium bodied with low carb, and a semi dry finish. Not a drain pour, but not a good beer either.

Easily among the lower end of BW's for me. I like 'em to have a little more malt character than this. Too many chemical flavors to make me happy. A disappointment.

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Photo of ChadQuest
2.18/5  rDev -43.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

2011 vintage, so it's a fresh bottle in barleywine terms.
Color is a dark orange color, lighter then typical for a barleywine. pour leaves a finger of head.
The aroma is rather mute overall i find as i literally dip my nose into the head. There is some mild candied fruits mostly.
This one tastes like a slightly more caramelized pale ale, the hops are not strong at all, and this one falls far from having the richness that a barleywine needs to have, neither side of the flavor wheel has it going on. There is a Starburst candy fruit flavor, and the hops i think are citrusy.
Mouthfeel is thinner and dryer then any barleywine should be.

I am going to forget about the other few bottles of this i have for a decade, just for fun, not worth drinking them now.

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Photo of Mitchster
2.46/5  rDev -36.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours out to a cloudy caramel with orange-brown accents, forming a soapy and creamy dark beige to yellow head with good retention and minimal lacing. Carbonation is moderate. Aroma is kinda odd, like a soured barleywine, with a fruity, funky ferment (ungodly amounts of pineapple, and some kiwi)...malts don't really display dark fruit. Mouthfeel is stinging and acidic with a firm carbonation and medium-dense body. Taste is very funky...it's like rotten, soured raisins in pineapple juice, kinda like a friendship cake starter. There is some dark fruit here, but soured like a spontaneous ferment or an infection. The finish is sour, very metallic, raisiny, and ruddy with an oxidized mouthfeel and a touch of green hop oil at the end. Alcohol is perceptable in taste and sensation and becomes louder as it warms.

What I have is an awful barleywine, and I would guess it's infected as Full Sail usually does a good job on their brews, especially the reserves like this one. Unfortunately, this one has to go down the sink. Today, I'll rate it as I taste it, and I probably won't bother re-rating it in the future.

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Photo of faernt
2.62/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

This is #2 and it was brewed on 05.22.02. Today is 04.17.08 so it's been almost 6 years in the bottle. It opened with a hiss and poured with a decent 1" head that subsided into a robust skim. I have lace on the side of my goblet that descends from nearly the top of the glass. It looks well made.

It doesn't have much of a smell. It tastes originally tart and slightly vegetal. I'm put off by this. I had vegetables for supper. My concern seems to be going away by the middle of the glass. The smell is becoming more vegetal, but the flavor is getting sweet. This slight unpleasantry may be me.

The beer is getting sour. I think it has taken a turn for the bad. I'm not ready to pour it out. I'm walking around now and the booziness of this beer is breathing with me. I pour more (it's a bomber) and it's starting to sour again.

I recall this when fresh and this sourness and vegginess wasn't part of the beer then. I don't think it aged well. The pepperiness is coming out toward the last half. It presents quite alot of flavor. Unfortunately, some are not very tasty to me. I think it's past its time.

OK...I just read the reviews and it seems that this batch (02) is problematic. It seems that some of the lowest scores of this beer come from this batch. I have 01 in the cellar. I'm going to try to forget this one and when that is accomplished open 01.

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Photo of RedHaze
2.71/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Reserve 2005.

Pours a bright, red hued, copper with a one finger head that settles very slowly to a thick cap. The cap sticks around for a very long time, and leaves behind a thick webbing of lace.

Smell; very interesting aroma. The dominant smell is citrus, but I'm having a hard time picking any particular fruit out. There's a very solid presence of malts, and quite a bit of alcohol in the nose.

Taste; the fruits are more defined in the flavor than they were in the nose. There's a little bit of apricots, oranges and some hints of apricots. The malts come through nicely in the middle with caramel and toffee, but this has a very strong alcohol bite that really detracts from the flavor of the beer for me. Maybe if I had given this some more time to allow the alcohol to integrate itself more I would have have enjoyed this much more. I could see that this had potential, it just didn't suite me. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied, and with such a big alcohol presence I'm having a hard time drinking this one.

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Photo of Briken
2.74/5  rDev -29%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Red Amber and tan head with great retention. Sweet caramel/barley and floral hops. Very hoppy upfront bitterness with a long linger. Bits of barley and chocolate sweetness come through but does not balance it out. Thin, slightly sticky mouthfeel.

I remember liking this more previously. Either my tastes in barleywine have changed or their recipe has. It's really way to hoppy for a barleywine although that could translate to a more interestingly aged beer. As it is it has an almost bad IPA linger and is not easy to drink. Most of the bite comes from the hops with alcohol being well hidden from the taste and only a gentle warming sensation. Very little redeeming this unless you prefer overhopped versions of every style.

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Photo of ObiWanKushnobi
2.75/5  rDev -28.8%

Photo of OregonPaul
2.76/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A Barleywine should be stronger. Every time you decide to reach for a Barleywine you're taking a gamble. We all generally know what to expect... Strong, overpowering taste followed by a intense kick. Usually the "kick" should get stronger throughout the night.... Hence the 9+% alcohol content in most barleywines. However this one was a disappointment. The only attribute I applaud is the drinkability. Because of it's obvious lack of lingering "barleywineish kick"... we have a barleywine here that's quite enjoyable to enjoy, enjoy and then enjoy some more of. Cheers and watch out for the headache.

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Photo of ZAP
2.81/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

08 version

A-Cherrywood colored...nice whisp of white lace and head

S-Has a mild BO odor...spoiled overipe fruits...a little molasses..not real impressive

T-Lacks a strong malt backbone...some wild fruity notes and a little light molasses...very light molasses....some solid bitterness on the finish...

M-Feels on the light side of medium bodied...needs more heft....drinks a like an ESB almost with more bitterness..

D-Not real impressed with this....the aroma is really a unimpressive...average at best....as is the body...tastes Ok for an ESB or something along those lines but is not up to par for a barley wine...

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Photo of northaustin
2.81/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

pours a hazy/murky amber with minimal white head which has fairly long retention and leaves a stringy lacing.

smell: mega caramel creates a sort of maple syrupy smell that seems like its competing with the hops.

taste: way too bitter at first, all flavor is kicked out of the way. once the bitter fades syrupy malts sort of show up for a brief second. weird.

mouthfeel: bitter bite followed by an oily syrupy undesirable stickyness.

drinkability: worth the money, the alcohol is not present and its worth a try.

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Photo of waldowin
2.88/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a golden amber, with a thin head that fades quickly.
Smells of raisins and rum.
Taste is boozy, sweet, and malty. Hops come in purely for a slightly sour/acidic finish. Not nearly as hoppy or complex as I was hoping for an American Barleywine.
Mouthfeel is thin, sweet, and sticky. Carbonation is light.
Between the ABV and the sweet/sour alternation, this beer is not the easiest to drink. Took me two hours to finish a 22oz bottle.

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Photo of Metalmonk
2.91/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Reserve '08. Thanks to BDLBrewster for tossing this in as a very welcome extra!

Candy-apple red color shot through with a rusty brown--really gorgeous color, and the foam is creamy and thick at first, then gives its thickness to the lace on the sides, which is abundant and mossy.

Pretty bright nose on Old Boardhead, lots of hops, sherry, vanilla, fresh cream. Just a little too boozy and not enough big malt in its center. Yeah, smells like a barleywine, but one that's off-balance somehow. Let's see...

This just tastes wrong to me. I might suspect oxidation, yet what repels me isn't wet paper/cardboard but a sourness that doesn't do much for the too-dominant alcohol. Everything is stretched thin here. It's grassy, medicinal, and definitely lacking in authoritative malt presence. Its good aspects, like vanilla and grapefruit-rind hops, don't get a chance to shine through.

Texture is surprisingly not thick, but having a medium body and an easy glide. Not as round and creamy as I'd hoped, but if the flavor is a turn-off, it doesn't really matter.

Perhaps I've had enough barleywines that my bar is set pretty high, but I've been turned off by lots of my recent new barleywine experiences. Old Boardhead isn't a total disaster, and I'm willing to think perhaps this is just a bad bottle somehow. I got something out of it, but I'd be hesitant to return. Shoulda had one on tap when I was in Hood River last month, but instead I thought "ah, I've got a bottle at home, so I'll try something else." I'm a dummy.

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Photo of doucmehu
3/5  rDev -22.3%

Photo of wrightst
3/5  rDev -22.3%

Photo of optiontwo
3/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

22oz. poured into generic pint glass
Why do barley wines always have old in their name?
Appearance: Clear brown/red with lots of streaming bubbles. A pretty two inch cream colored head sits on top with good retention.

Smell: Lots of American hops. Citrus bouqet, orange, grapefruit, lemon, with some spiciness and plenty of caramel malt. Smells like a pretty solid barley wine, let's find out.

Taste: The hops from the aroma don't come through in the taste as much as I expected making this a very malty barley wine. There's still a little bit of grapefruit and pine poking through but it is mostly caramel driven. Not a whole lot going on. Finishes bitter and dry.

Mouthfeel: Even though I could see all those bubbles in there when I first poured it this beer is lacking carbonation. The fact that it doesn't have enough carbonation makes it too smooth and creamy.

Drinkability: Not so horrible that I won't finish it, but I wouldn't want anymore.

Overall: The feel and texture of this beer is where it really suffers but it could also use a little bit more complexity in the taste. There's so many great barley wines out there, I'd pass on this one. Can't beat the price though, 4 bucks for a bomber.

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Photo of oakbluff
3/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2008 vintage bomber. Pours murky chunky brown with minimal head. Nose- pine and leather, a tad dusty. taste- a hop forward barleywine with an astringent aspirin like bitterness. Some oxidation seems present so the malt has a sweet carboard taste. Dry, kind of lifeless finish. Watery body. Drinkability likely better in a fresher sample, although this is only a year old.

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Photo of Quaffer
3.02/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

22 oz. Bottle

Appearance: The beer poured a slightly hazey, deep orange color. A very thin, coarse head arose and disappeared very quickly. Surprisingly, there was some beading going on. I have never seen a barley wine do that before. However, it wasn't enough to sustain any kind of head on this brew. Therefore, there was no lacing at all.

Smell: There were classic barley wine smells of caramal malt sweetness and dark fruit, though the fruit came through stronger than usual. There was also a light alcohol aroma present that built as the beer warmed up.

Mouthfeel: Relatively thin-bodied and kind of dry.

Taste: I hate to say it, but there just wasn't much to the taste. It was kind of tangy (for lack of better words) upfront with some alcohol in the middle, and hops bitterness well into the aftertaste. The hops had an odd quality to it. Overall, this was rather one-dimensional and dry.

This was kind of a disappointing for me bacuase I have always liked Full Sail beers. There wasn't much to the flavor, and what was there wasn't wonderful. None of that huge maltiness and hops kick that I have some to expect from brews such as this. Probably on the bottom of the list for me as far as barley wines go.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.03/5  rDev -21.5%
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.

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.05/5  rDev -21%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

22 oz. bomber, '07 vintage,

A: Pours a murky dark amber/red with a nice off-white head, good lacing.

S: Classic barleywine scent, sweet caramel malts mixed with ethanol and light fruit.

T: Strong brunt bitterness, 1-dimensional, piney notes hit immediately, not a great hop flavour for me. The malt has a nice toffee-sweet character to it, but not enough to hold on the hops which run amok.

M: Very soapy carbonation, long lasting bitter aftertaste, ethanol evident.

D: Initially impressed by this beer, I found getting through the whole bomber to be a bit of a chore. I expected more from a classic Western beer.

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Photo of mentor
3.07/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

2007 vintage opened in August 2010. Pours a three finger yellowed tan head over a clear ruby red liquid. Smells strong fruit esters wafting up from the glass. To the nose, brooding grassy hop grassiness, not too differnt form a bigfoot barleywine. Esters a peaches a strawberries. Hop aromas are oranges, pine, and grapefruit.

Tastes malty sweet with tame hop flavor and strong hop grassiness. Powerful carbonation mixes with the hop bitter to wipe the sweet clean in the finish. Malt flavor has a bit of brown character with very mild caramel. Hop flavor is noticable in its absence. Hop bitter is more grassy edge than the clean biter I like in a big hoppy beer. Flavor doesn't hold up to what the aroma promised and, in fact, falls short in general. Woody dry finish with some not so clean alcohol edge jumping in, too. Light body and strong carbonation. I hope this beer develops over time, as I have a vertical from 2003 going.

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Photo of maximum12
3.08/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A bottle of the 2007 split in half. Thanks to wasatch for the bottle, traded for it before I realized it would come to Minnesota this past year.

The Board is a rather murky, amberesque shade of red, nothing clear about this beer, my dear. Smell is nothing special, mostly alcohol.

Taste is a rather unsettling mix of sweet, heavy, & more alcohol. I don't think I could've had the whole bomber if I'd tried.

A rather standard, unremarkable American Barleywine.

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Photo of hopsbreath
3.09/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This was one of 2 bottles my wife and I picked up at the grocery store in the cooler section on March 5. I knew nothing of this beer when I picked it up but it was a value at about $4. We split the bottle on in 2 large red wine glasses on March 6. The appearance was unimpressive. It was opaque and had the coloring of prune juice. About a half finger of tan head floated on top that dissipated quickly. The smell was a little better than the average barley's and I could tell there was still a lot of hops on the front of this similar to Bigfoot. Tasting it confirmed that the hops were present but was overall just average. Same goes for the M/D. There was appropriate carbonation and drinkability was about what to expect in a barley wine.
Not something to pick up again. This was an average and fairly boring example of what a balrey wine is. Bigfoot is similarly priced but way better with similar hops. I would recommend the Bigfoot over this any day.

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Photo of youradhere
3.09/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2008 Vintage

Pours bright and clear ruddy amber, off white head that leaves nice cap of lacing. Smells of mango, sugar, slight booze, cherry, sweet malt. Taste is candy-like artificial fruit, some citrus followed by a pithy hop bitterness that cleanses the sugars from the palate, making this a clean drinker. Carbonation is medium as is the mouthfeel; I think that the carbonation is helping to lighten the body making it seem thinner than it actually is. Overall not bad, but I can tell that the hop bitterness well get to be too much after one bomber.

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Photo of OldSock
3.11/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Appearance – 2005 batch 22 oz bomber poured into a pint glass. The big off-white head holds up well despite the alcohol and leaves a nice sheet of lacing. The beer is clear amber with a subtle reddish undertone.

Smell – Caramel, piney hops, alcohol and a hint of oxidation. It’s a solid aroma, but it doesn’t have that extra something, dark fruit, interesting malt, complex hops etc… to set it apart from the pack.

Taste – The alcohol is a bit hot and upfront, particularly considering that this beer has been aging for a year. The hops provide a lasting firm bitterness and a still fresh piney component. The flavor is similar to the aroma in that there isn’t anything interesting about it.

Mouthfeel – It has a nice full body and medium-low carbonation.

Drinkability/Notes – This was a hard one to drink, just a bit too hot and uninteresting for my taste in barleywines. It really just tastes like a big hoppy amber ale, without the added flavors that normally accompany a big American barleywine.

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Old Boardhead Barleywine Ale from Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub
Beer rating: 3.86 out of 5 with 382 ratings