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

very good
288 Reviews
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

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Reviews: 288 | Ratings: 380
Photo of MexicanSkittel
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 vintage bottle, picked up at bottle works in Seattle.

Poured into a pint glass, a slightly hazy coppered, amber rusty red. Hints on caramel with red wine soaked brown sugar. A gental 1/4 inch head sits on top fading to a thin layer the lingered the rest of the way through the beer, leaving great rims on the glass after every sip.

Smells of citrus, barley, a bit of yeastyness, oak, caramel, slight toasted hops and a little banana.

I'm tasting a little pine from some hops, an orange lemon peal aspect. Popsicle stick...? Maybe more mouthfeel there, but if I remember what a popsicle stick tastes like, this has a remembrance of that. All of the flavors were strong, bright, and available. You don't have to hunt to find flavor in this beer. I'm getting some brown sugar on the finish...fairly sweet flavors all around, got the banana again.

Great mouth feel very solid carbonation. Not very viscous, or mouth coating. The alc is apparent, but not overpowering. A nice contrast to the sweetness of the beer. Balanced well hopped, and all around tasty.

I want more, and when I said sweet above, not over the top, just sweeter sides of the flavors. All in all I really like this beer and can't wait to try some more aged barley wines.

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Photo of ChadQuest
2.18/5  rDev -43.4%
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 MrDonQuixote
3.45/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22 ounce bomber into an oversized wine glass:

A- Light copper color with a medium head

S- Smells of sweet barley and grains. Hops make the smell quite sweet

T- Taste is quite sweet. Taste of barley and maly. Nice finishing hops make for a bitter and nice finish.

M- Quite smooth, maybe a bit too carbonated though for my taste

O- Believe it or not this is my first of the style. I quite enjoyed it

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Photo of ptykozoon
3.22/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Light brown with red highlights.

Caramel mostly. Subdued hops, honey, toffee.

Caramel, dairy - vanilla. Light cocoa, faded hops. Tastes a bit watery; 4 years have killed off some complexity methinks.

Light carbonation, ABV still strong.

Suffers from a lack of umph. 4 years was too much for this one I think. Solid beer though.

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Photo of AlexFields
3.15/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a really pure copper color, very little haze or anything, very thick looking.

Smells like odd tropical fruits--passionfruit, I think. Also some hops and candy like malt.

Tastes like passionfruit as well. Also herbal hops, sticky malts. Not all that sweet, it's a hop forward beer but the hop profile is very unique.

Overall it's a unique beer and I'm tempted to rate it higher just for being an original, but honestly I thought it was merely decent and not great. Reminds me of passionfruit flavored starburst candy.


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Photo of FosterJM
3.53/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

639th Review on BA
Bottle to Snifter
22 oz

2010 Vintage

App - Golden, Amber, Honey colored with a one finger head. One small line of lace and the beer falls. A streak of bubbles across the top of the beer.

Smell- It's a barley wine but with a twinge too it. To me its slightly hoppy with some honey notes and a little sub dude malts.

Taste- So the hops got kicked up on this one and then it's matched by some bitterness and then a soft sweetness. An odd flavor is behind it that I can't place. More of a DIPA or some other flavor. Very hard to place for me.

Mouth- Medium bodied and almost high carbonated. A slightly bitter taste with some hop notes remain.

Drink- It's more like a DIPA than a barley wine but it's still better tan average. I think with age this would mellow but fresh it's too hoppy/bitter. Would like to have a bottle to age but won't lose sleep over not having one.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.73/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased at Argonaut Liquor in Denver, CO.

2011 Reserve.

Pours the color of iced tea with a 1 inch light beige head that fades to an oily film. Random thick smears of lace form on the glass on the drink down. Smells of sweet malt, tea leaves, and citrus zest. The overall smell is somewhat muted. Taste is all about the hops. Citrus zest is the dominant flavor with some herbal qualities and malt on the finish. Pretty assertive hop bitterness lingers on the palate after each sip. This beer has a very dry and acidic mouthfeel from the hops. Overall, a pretty good barleywine that is dominated by hop tastes. I am glad I got to pick one of these up as I have never seen it in CA.

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Photo of bs870621345
3.97/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 vintage with a huge thanks to Toby for this one...slowly working my way through his box.

Pours a cloudy orange/brown color. Slight head rises but nothing too much and no lacing is present.

Smells like candied hops, alcohol, caramel, toffee, plums and a hint of apple.

Taste opens up with a bright apple, caramel, citrus, and pine, moving into a sweet caramel apple with a nut flavor. Finishes dry and refreshed with a hint of alcohol. Interestingly dry sort of like an IPA.

Mouthfeel is full and finishes clean, endlessly drinkable.

Overall, its really good, never had it fresh, but I'd imagine its a little past prime. Some things seem a bit muted.

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Photo of katybee
3.51/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

American Barleywines are different than the English it seems. I had to go back and review the definition, because this "barleywine style ale" struck me as much more hoppy than I would have expected, and it was also thinner than some creamy malty types. I would have called it a "strong ale" not necesarily "barley wine". Classification aside, it's a great beer!

Reddish orange, it's the prettiest color I've seen in a while. Spunky head, with lacing around the rim of the glass.

Very light smell, citrus if any.

Taste was the confusing part. Very little malt at all. Nicely balanced hops, between light citrus and peppery notes; very intense flavor of hops predominant. No odd residual tastes or smells, just peppery pungence. Nice.

Somewhat medium-thin bodied. Lacked the smooth creamy character I look for in a barleywine,[like Victory Old Horizontal or Old Foghorn barleywine style ales] which was it's only flaw for me.

Overall very nice, flavorful beer with hop character, which packs a punch with its high abv. Reminded me of some of Lagunitas' and Fat Tire ales.

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Photo of youradhere
3.09/5  rDev -19.7%
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 HugePlume
4.75/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2009 series, served at 53 degrees on 5/6/11.

A- Pours a rich cherrywood color, with a tanish rocky head with excellent retention. Pretty heavy sediment. Good lacing.

S- Exotic. Can't put my finger on the exact essence, but its somewhere between apples, pears, candy and sweet malt perfection.

T- Supremely complex, sweetness on the lips, with a buttery oily bitterness that follows, The apple sweetness comes through again towards the end with a bitter alcoholic finish to cap the experience.

M- Buttery, thick, appropriately carbonated. Supreme.

O- Fantastic execution and complexity.

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Photo of bagpiper2005
3.35/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pour: Clear deep red-orange in color. Two fingers of tan head with good retention and lacing.

Smell: Big aroma that you catch as you open the bottle. Citrus hops up front. Sweet caramel malty and fruity backbone supporting it.

Taste: Wow this is one-dimensional. The front end is very light with some fruity sweetness, but not much there at all. Big grapefruit/pine bitter finish though that lingers, and a bit alcoholic.

Mouthfeel: Thin for the style and ABV (more medium-ish I suppose). Smooth and with medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Man, this just isn't doing it for me. It's a smooth drinking beer but the taste just isn't there.

Final Notes: I've had better barleywines than this. Whereas this beer definitely has the hops, it's rather lacking in the malts. Tastes more like an IPA to me, quite frankly. It doesn't taste bad or anything, just not a solid example of the style.

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Photo of grittybrews
3.85/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2010 bottle, opened 04/2011.

Poured a murky, slightly reddish dark amber into a tulip with a finger of eggshell head. Aroma dominated by sugar cookie and caramel with a touch of orange citrus.

Lowish carbonation and a creamy, thick mouthfeel. Biscuity notes up front that blossom into toffee sweetness followed by orange/pineapple and increasingly bitter notes of pine on the finish.

A decent barleywine. I found it to be a little sweet overall, although the nicely bitter finish provides some balance. The alcohol was very well-masked. I have another 2010 sitting in the basement but I don't feel compelled to stock up on a bunch more (although the price of around five bucks is very reasonable).

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Photo of kagent777
4.47/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle Reserve 09, aged for several more months after purchase. Poured into a snifter.

Appearance: Hazy dark gold amber. Very little head, just a ring around the edge. Laces nicely.

Smell: Dried fruits (cherry and raisin) dance with the malty sweetness. I sense leather and sweet pipe tobacco in the nose also. The alcohol is present but not overwhelming.

Taste: The taste mirrors the smell. The end of the taste is finished with a noticeable bitterness from the earthy/ herbal hops. The alcohol is present but does not burn. Very solid beer.

Mouthfeel: The carbonation is on the lower side of medium perfect for the style. The body is thick without being syrupy. The finish is long and pleasant.

Overall: This is a very good beer. The price point is perfect, at about 4.50 I dont mind picking several of these when they are available and aging them.

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Photo of julian
3.38/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2010 Vintage

A: Perfectly clear deep reddish amber color with a limited showing of off white head that quickly disappears. Not what I expected from a barleywine.

S: tropical fruits, dark sweet malt, little bit of booze.

T: Taste is rather weak...almost watery at first, then opens up and yields some malty dark tropical fruit flavors, but subtle. Slight alcoholic tickle, but nothing impressive.

M: Good carbonation for the style, smooth, creamy taste, slight hotness from the booze. Thin-medium bodied.

O: Overall this looks like a good beer, smells like it could be a good beer, although the aroma is not very pervasive. Mouthfeel is a bit watery as is the taste. Overall this is an average barleywine.

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Photo of Daniellobo
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Soft US barleywine, rather drinkable without much complexity either way. Maybe a generic entry point barleywine?

Presentation: 22 oz brown capped bottle. Label offer the seal layout of Full Sail with a red background, green center shape, and general typography. Side narrative offers an overview of the intent, and ingredients. Notes IBU´s (68), and Alc. by Vol. (6.5%), and vintage as 2010 brewmaster reserve. Served in a snifter.

A -Hazy dark amber pour, short head, medium/low retention, short surface memory, almost no lacing.

S - Soft nose with caramel malt, fruity dash...

T - And the taste follows with a surprising soft flow of malty notes, touches of hopped fruit, light candy and citric range... A bit too like and generic as a whole but relatively pleasing.

M - Medium to medium-light body, and moderate carbonation with a late emerging bitter note in the finish.

D - It drinks OK, a bit boring towards the end but overall not displeasing.

Notes: It sort of didn't do it for me... I appreciate the smoothness, but a lack of complexity, and with only a final bitter note emerging, it felt a bit forgettable. Again, maybe I would offer it to someone willing to try a barleywine out of the blue. But it may not be such a good idea after all...

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Photo of Brewbro000
3.35/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

2010 - Reserve - Poured from the bottle into a Duvel Tulip to be shared.

A: A crisp clear red when held to the light, with a short one finger head of nearly white foam that recedes to a thin layer of large bubbles with a a decent amount of lacing around the glass.
S: Grains are forward on this beer, it has the scent that many of the Full Sail brews exhibit but allows the floral hops to shine.
T: First sip is very clean. I have had quite a few barley wines lately and this one is not as sweet. I enjoy this limited sweetness as it allows some of the hops to shine and the alcohol to balance the whole thing a bit better. Carbonation is moderate and helps to clean out your mouth a bit. Hop bitterness comes through on the end making this beer finish a little drier than i expected
M/D: This beer is thinner than other barely wines i have had lately but that makes it far easier to drink. It goes down smooth and makes you want another sip. The apparent alcohol isn't as well covered because of the lack of sweetness so it's balance is a little thrown off. Not a bad pick, especially for it's price - $4.99!

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Photo of Durge
3.65/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A deep cloudy amber color with a decent fluffy oatmeal colored head and nice lacing. The aroma is a pretty hardy caramel cherry with whiskey-oak and nutty backbone. Very nice and bodes of some happy danger. The taste it brings is not as pleasing as the aroma. It has a grassy overtone with light cherry and honey heather. It's flowery sweet and an odd combination of medium bodied but a somewhat resinous though watery in feel. Pleasantly carbonated. It's fairly drinkable for the style. It's nice but not my favorite for a barleywine.

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Photo of SFLpunk
3.37/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to Dany (glouglouburp on RB) for this one! 22oz brown glass pry-top bottle. Reserve 08. Opened at around 49 degrees.

Pours a hazy orange amber with some creamy (but sparse) light tan head. Some spotting.

Nose is big, rich and sweet smelling. All about sticky stringy caramel chews, green hop leaves, some high notes of alcohol (maybe an oloroso sherry), a little herbaceous quality and some candied orange.

Palate is medium- to medium-light-bodied and prickly from alcohol and hop bitterness. Herbaceous notes dominate the caramel malt and the brew is surprisingly dry. Orange essence & pomace come to mind (like GoJo hand cleaner). Boozey, dry and bitter. Lacking in density.

Notes: Based on the nose, I thought I was going to love this brew. But I found the palate to belie the nose and was left with a brew that feels thin and bitter, lacking the dense chewy notes that I was expecting. Some might dig this for a change from thick barleywines, but not me.

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Photo of Brad007
3.83/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Received in a trade. 2010 edition.

Pours a cloudy amber color with a hint of blonde. Very nice presentation and quite a contrast from an example I had earlier.

There's a muted hop presence that actually works in its favor, since this style seems to be over-hopped anyway. Just a hint of sweet malt as well.

A good amount of hoppiness is present, a mix of citrusy/grassy. Mellow with a hint of plum.

Mouthfeel is full of lingering citrus/grassy notes. Lots of alcohol warmth still present.

I'll be certain to compare this against the '08 bottle that I have to see how far it's come. This barleywine is decent but still quite strong.

A: 4 S: 3.5 T: 4 M: 3.5 O: 4

2008 Edition (also received in a trade)

Pours a mild reddish/amber color with a one-finger head into my glass. Hard to tell at first until you hold it up to the light.

There's still a good hint of citrusy hops with a bit of plum as well.

Taste has faded just a bit with less alcohol heat and less hops too as well. Only a hint of the citrusy, grassy hops remain. The rest is all caramel/plum.

A decent hop bite remains in the mouthfeel. Alcohol heat is practically non-existent, which brings out a decent toffee (caramel) flavor to it.

It's aged pretty well. The only thing is the lack of hops. Otherwise, a better sipper now than when fresh. I still prefer it fresh for the hops.

A: 4.5 S: 4 T: 3.5 M: 4 O: 4.5

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Photo of Jeriba
3.8/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2010 bottle

A: Amber and brown, with a bit of tan foam.

S: Nice barley and malt aromas, along with some dark chocolate and grains.

T: Sweet malt followed by dry bitterness, and some booziness.

M: Bubbly, creamy and full-bodied.

D: High ABV makes it tough to finish off a bottle alone, and there's too much heat. This barleywine would definitely benifit from some age on it.

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Photo of Briken
2.74/5  rDev -28.8%
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 Nerudamann
3.83/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a snifter glass.

Look - extremely clean looking amber or dark copper color, clear, with about 2 fingers of slightly dark off-white colored foam that rises fast and dissipates slowly.

Smell - definite hoppiness, but in a clean and crisp way. I'm not personally familiar with the hops, but an efficient mix seems to have been made.

Taste and Mouthfeel - a bit "grapey" in the feel as it sits in the mouth, already tingling a bit. Definite bite from the hops, which aren't cut back down by much. Still, the abv isn't permeating as much as it could. Texture is a bit fizzy but well-balanced.

Drinkability - bitterness is a little intense, but not in a bad way. Very nice complexity, and overall very drinkable.

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Photo of ocelot2500
4.18/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy copper color with a slow rising, tight white head that leaves a good amount of lacing.

Smells of citrus and some sweetness.

Tastes of big fruit notes rounded out with sweetness and hops. Fruits are mostly orange and grapefruit with apricots a little more in the background. Caramel sweetness swoops in and adds to the fruits to make them more convincing. While hops are noticeable from the citrus, the finish has a decent amount of bitterness, but I would like some more.

Mouthfeel is medium full with a creamy amount of carbonation.

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Photo of zeff80
3.97/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a clear, copper color with a small, tan head of foam. It left minimal lacing.

S - Aroma is typical of American Barleywines - rich malty sweetness with some mild hop/floral aromas.

T - It tasted of some spicy hops with a rich malt backbone. Good caramel and toffee flavors.

M - It was soft and smooth with a fairly dry finish. A medium bodied barleywine.

D - This is pretty good. A great value at $4.39 for a 22oz beer.

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Old Boardhead Barleywine Ale from Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub
3.85 out of 5 based on 380 ratings.
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