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

Old Boardhead Barleywine AleOld Boardhead Barleywine Ale
Liked This Beer
3.85 w/ 380 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

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 380 |  Reviews: 288
Photo of ColoradoBobs
3.93/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 ounce bomber

Pretty beer, slightly cloudy from carbonation: amber body under a large light-tan head that lasts and tightens nicely.

Big hops are evident in the nutty buttery smell, with a sweet malt foundation.

Taste is sweet malt and long-lasting hoppy bitterness.

Nice smooth and round mouthfeel.

Nicely drinkable.

Overall, a bit below what I was expecting, but them maybe I was expecting too much.

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Photo of goodbyeohio
3.8/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

05 reserve says 9% @ 91 ibu's.

deep orange color with some sunset reds on the surface. foam is a bubbly conglomeration of force-pour. racks of lace gather, cascade, and spot all over the place. looks like a barleywine alright. man, what the hell am i doing drinking barleywines in the summer? gotta get these out of my fridge in order to make room for some summery beers.. that's what.

smells of sweet malt sugariness with lupulin grapefruit accent. heavier on the hops and lighter on the malts. nice balance, definitely west-coast inspired. toasted wheat bread burnt sweetness exists as does a breath of licoricey booze. overall an inviting aroma for a b.w.

tastes sweet. brown sugar cookie dipped in rum. hops bring up the finish in a fresh way.. high acid in a pathetic attempt to balance this big beer. a noble effort for sure, but not necessarily the most well-conceived barleywine. seems like the majority of the green-flower addition was for aromatic purposes while the overall profile reeks of averageness. no doubt i enjoyed this beer, but it simply fell in line with alot of other good american-style barleywines.

hey, i recommend it.. i was just hoping for something a bit more exciting.

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Photo of ElGordo
4.12/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a pretty amber-orange color topped by a sizeable creamy off-white head that subsides very slowly, leaving some pretty lacing on the glass. Very nice aroma of spicy, floral hops blended with partly roasted caramel malt, a hint of sweet bubblegum yeast, and a touch of astringency. Palate is well-balanced between assertive floral hops and sweet-yet-subdued roasted malt. Fleeting notes of brown sugar and very light sweet fruit. Body is a bit sticky and syrupy, but not overwhelmingly so. The high alcohol content (of course to be expected in a barleywine) is blended rather well into the overall character of the beer. While not exactly the easiest drinking beer around, this one is quite enjoyable and is an experience worth repeating.

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Photo of loren01
4.21/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2005 Edition bought at Osco Drug in Billings, MT
A: Pours a light amber color with small white head.
S: Smells sweet/fruity/sugarry.
T: Nice and sweet up front, then wholly crap...kicks you in the butt with a bitter hop/alcohol flavor.
M: Moderate to heavy mouthfeel
D: Smells was awesome, taste was too much for me. I didn't find it as easy drinking as some people did on here, not bad though.

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Photo of masikon
4.1/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazed amber-orange with a fuzzy off-white head on top. Smell is rich of sweet caramel and peppery alcohol, less hop aroma than expected. Taste is massive with a very full mouthfeel, licorice is very present and easily detected along with plenty of earthy malt....hop profile is present but not overdone, comes through with a slight citrus profile and the finish is tingly with spicy alcohol. A very good barleywine, full sail should be proud. This was the 2004 edition...perhaps that accounts for the more mellow hop profile than other American barleywines I have tried?

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Photo of VoodooBrew
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2005 release.

Pours golden-copper in color, and surprisingly clear. The nose provides that familiar "anitquated" smell along with a healthy dose of hops. Initially on the palate there is a rush of semi-sweet elements, followed in turn by the firm structure of a reliable BW bitterness that lasts through to the aftertaste. In the mouth this brew is somewhat spritzy and expectedly bitter, but it drinks fairly easily, even for a BW. Here's a beer I can't say No to.

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Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
3.7/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

'04 edition.

Color is a copper-infused dark honey. THICK head here. Lasted forever and really soaped up the glass. Lots of sweetness in the nose: brown sugar, Heath bars. There's just a faint note of a citrusy hop character as well. Flavor is decent. Very sweet. Lots of alcohol burn (too much?). The hops are able to poke through moreso than in the aroma, but don't do much to stop the avalanche of sweetness (bottle says 91 IBU...). Thick and creamy mouthfeel. Sits on the palate nicely and sticks to the ribs. Not as drinkable, due to the fiery burn in the belly. I wonder what older versions taste like after some additional aging?

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Photo of charlatan
3.44/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is from a 2005 edition bottle. It pours a brilliant dark amber with a big head which sticks around for the long haul leaving a little lacing. I note a lemony citrus smell but also a more dirty lentil type smell.

Initial white sugar flavour fades and then comes back with pleasant alcohol induced warmth. Then the hops kick in and I am reminded of kendal mint cake. This is kendal mint cake for grown-ups though!

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Photo of GClarkage
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12/6/05- Purchased at a specialty store in Missoula, MT.

Presentation- 22oz bomber bottle. 2004 Edition bottled on 12/1/04. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance- Chestnut-amber colored pour. Large foamy head which disipates fairly fast. Small amounts of patchy lacing.

Smell- Alcohol soaked dark fruits, brown sugar and caramel malt. Some light hop scents as well.

Taste- Have heard this was supposed to be a hop bomb. Not really super hoppy like a Bigfoot though. Some hops, but not a huge amount. Mostly nice roasted and sweet caramel malt. Light alcohol taste that sneaks up on you.

Mouthfeel- Lightly creamy, semi heavy mouthfeel.

Drinkability- A very good barleywine which is a bit overshadowed by the malt rather than the hops which seems prevelant these days. Good beer I would buy again...and probably age for at least a year to see what happens.

****Vintage 2006

Pretty much the same except not as much caramel goodness. Also seemed a tad stale. Maybe it's just not "ripe" yet. Would drop my score down if this is the first sample I had to go off. Probably to a mid 3's.

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Photo of Sammy
4.1/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2004 edition. A very well done barleywine, nicely hopped and malted. Cloudy peach to amber with pretty head. A great complement to the food and very quaffable. Noted caramel, citrus juice, fruit, slight licorice, candy, bittersweet great combination.
A year later had the 2005 edition and it wasn't as enjoyable, bitter.

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Photo of MaltyGoodness
4.12/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz. bomber, 2004 edition

Pours a hazy brown-orange with a cream colored head that fades.

Smells richly of sweet malt and hops. I also get some caramel and buttery tones as well. Wonderful.

A blast of sweet malt and hops hits upfront with a nice bitter, yet smooth, aftertaste. The alcohol starts to show itself as it warms. Quite well balanced.

Big full body that matches the monster flavor.

Quite easy to drink. The ABV really sneaks up on you.

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Photo of mattcrill
4.32/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to cmaruschak for the chance to sample this west coast dandy...

Appearance: Cloudy orange with a minimal ivory cap.

Smell: Candied oranges and grapefruit, any and every combination of brown sugar and citrus. Blended very well together and niether dominating the other.

Taste: Brown sugar and orange juice sprinkled with some molasses. No alcohol presence noted at all. A wonderful balance of sweetness and citrus hop bite to keep the sweetness in check.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied and a tad slippery.

Drinkability: Very well done. One of the better barleywines I've had. No alcohol presence noted and immensely balanced. Strongly recommended.

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Photo of sulldaddy
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I got this bottle from Mickey and split it with Stopper. THis is an 04 bottle.
Pouring into a snifter the chilled beer exhibits a clear chestnut color with thin off white head mostly as an edge layer.
Aroma is mild toffee and pears with some earthy hops.
First sip reveals average body with a slight syrupy texture and very fine tingly carbonation.
Flavor is generally sweet caramel, pears and white grape and a hint of chocolate. SOme bitey alcohol on the finish as well. The beer is lighter than expected and has a milder mouthfeel as well.
THis is a decent beer but not outstanding, could be a little more robust.

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Photo of oberon
4.05/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

04 reserve bottle:Poured a rich bronze with a big 2 finger fluffy head that leaves sheets of lace as it settles into a nice frothy top.Whoo the Pacific NW presence hop profile is defiently in the aroma extremely piney and cedery its presence intermingles nicely with a juicy fruit and brown suger malt characterisitics.Very balanced barleywine quite sweet caramely upfront with a hint of brown suger but a real big piney,resiny hoppiness finishing alcoholic and warming.A real Pacific NW style barleywine here hopped to the tilt 91 IBU's,very tasty but one bomber is plenty for me as it sneaks up on ya.

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

As I drink this beer, I realize, "Damn, I've been drinking a lot of barley wines lately..."

In the grand scheme and pecking order, Full Sail's 2004 vintage ranks towards the middle. Amazingly, this beer is not that BIG. To me, it seemed more like a robust American Amber than a Barley Wine. It was not that assertively hopped or did not have the typical wine-like characteristics and esters of the style.

It did, however, have a really nice fruity complexity to it. This beer definitely got better as it warmed.

The finish ended a bit malty, and I wish it were a bit more assertively hopped to cleanse the palate.

Overall, a very drinkable Barley Wine, but not one I would savour.

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Photo of RoyalT
4.08/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance – This ABW was a dark and murky orange in color with a moderate but very retentive head that left white foamy pits on top of the liquid.

Smell – The sugars here are huge for an Americanized BW. I’m guessing that it has really “malted up” over the last year or so. The sugars are winey, more like a dessert Riesling, then anything else.

The hops are light and hard to find. I can pick up some nice, sappy pine though and some rather strong spicing. The moderate alcohol notes rounded out the aroma nicely.

Taste – The taste follows the smell. This ale has big, granular sugars, light summer fruits, a piney hop balance (that is certainly a compliment only to the huge sugary base), and a sharp but respectful alcohol taste.

Mouthfeel – I really enjoyed the mouthfeel of this ale. It was full-bodied for sure, with a lot of sensations from the sugars and piney hops that released tons of saliva with every sip. The flavors were consistent right through to the finish, and the stiff but mindful alcohol was just right for a heavy beer like this.

Drinkability – This ale will go with just about any big dish but I really enjoyed drinking it on its own. It’s extremely well balanced (not a heavy-handed PacNW ABW . . . not that there’s anything wrong with that) heavy-hitter that proves itself to be the real deal year after year.

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Photo of WesWes
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a burnt orange color with a thick frothy white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a rich and warm, malty scent that boasts of pale, crystal, and roasted malts along with a mild hop aroma. It has a raisin scent; very nice. The taste is great. It has an intensely malty flavor that goes down smooth and slow and finishes warm, dry, and bitter. It has a toastey feel. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a fine barleywine. It has good flavor and aroma. It's not in the upper tier of brews, but it drinks well nonetheless.

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Photo of AlexJ
4.45/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Mickey for the trade!

Old Boardhead 04 pours out a fiery sunlit copper color that is brillient when held to light. There is a rather small, light beige head of tiny fine bubbles that settles into a veiled ring.

Malty aromas lead the way with caramel, brown sugar, vanilla, pecan pie, and bittersweet candied grapefruit and tangerine peels. Smelld malty, creamy, and good. Smells more English than American in profile.

I am not let down in the flavor department as my mouth fills with chewy caramel malts, scorched toffee, nutty pecan pie a la mode, cinnamon biscuits, lots of light and dark fruits, leather, dry wood, a hint of sherry, and a massive rush of Pac NW hops rounding it out. Tingling hop bitterness in the guise of candied citrus peels drenched in melted pine sap. A hint of something slightly sour and wine like at the end. It's well hopped, but does not taste like the claimed 91 IBU's. Well balanced and would be even better with another six months on it. There's no hint of the 9% abv, it's dangerously drinkable.

Body is medium to large with tiny pinpoint carbonation and a silky smooth mouthfeel. Good drinkability for such a new vintage, only 7 months old. I would scoop this up by the case if I lived where it's available. Apperently usually under 4 bucks a pop, great value.

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

Smells of dried citrus peels, honey, fresh cut apple wood. Light brown with some amber thrown in.
Pleasantly sweet and sour, but strangely so. Rich in bittering hops that come off like bitter greens (frisee) and pine sap soap. There's nutty biscuit, and orange blossom honey. Almost like eucalyptus. Rub your tongue with wild bergamot, then dip it in warm honey. Sounds better then it is. Perhaps it needs some age, but I'm wary.

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Photo of Reidrover
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber bottled on 12/01/2004 , tasted today April 14th 2005.
Gorgeous looking beer, poured into an Imperial pint dimpled mug.,amber/dark red in colour ,slightly hazy, large bubbly cream coloured head.
Quite a rich malty aroma, though touches of alcohol and hops show through also. Hints of dark fruits ,figs,overipe but not rotten plums.
mmnice maltytaste, fruity and complex, a nice bittering hop presence underneath, long lingering liquoricy aftertaste.
Very nice on the palte, though can be rough in places.
Liked this beer found it drinkable for the style..maybe could use some cellar time.

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Photo of canucklehead
4.05/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Tawny dark gold with the small head. The nose is tempered with age and old hops. Full mouth with a very nice smoothness this is a classic PNW barley wine that ages well and drink even better It also loves a good cheese. Try also with a cigar I want more bottles to put down.

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Photo of Crotor
4.05/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, dark-cherry red with one finger of white head. The retention is decent for such a big beer.

There's a big, warm, fruit nose, and a light hint of alcoholic warmth. The aroma is slightly vinous, definately sweet, and somewhat like a fruit cobbler - deep, caramelized fruit all the way...

The flavor is substantially sweet with some noticable alcoholic heat. There's some weird fruit elements going on (green rasin?). This beer is aging well... the flavors are well incorporated, an and all hopping subdued, but the alcoholic heat could go down a little more.

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Photo of mikeys01
4.62/5  rDev +20%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to reddiamond for recommending this one, wish I'd bought more! My bomber of 2003 Boardhead poured into my glass a deep roasted peach color, with a very slight chill haze evident. There is a delicate but slightly viscous head capping this barleywine, settling down into a wispy foam remainder. Aroma brings a mouthwatering vintage barleywine funkiness, impressive for a 2003 ale. Funky musty rotting fruit, rising bread yeastiness, and a hint of spice and alcoholic zip. Taste does have a definite alcohol presence, serving as the base in this barleywine stew of flavors that's mature beyond it's years. A complex mix of malts dances (or perhaps stumbles gracefully) along with figs, dates, smashed brown apples, and brandied apricot. Slight hop bitterness builds on the back of the tongue toward the finish. Very smooth, well rounded barleywine, an excellent example of vintage flavor remarkably achieved in a relatively young beer.

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Photo of RedDiamond
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Old Boardhead is an elegant staple of Northwest barleywines. It is relaxed honey-gold and initially pours with ample carbonation. The CO2 soon fades to a casual afterthought revealing a luxurious fruity nose that invites leisurely contemplation.

What follows is a composite review based on a comparison of both the '04 and the '02 bottlings. While the recipe for both vintages is presumed to be the same, the aging of the '02 reveals a more tempered bittering with the forward-leaning presence of alcohol noticeably diminished. The most recent bottling initially presents with a harshly bitter and prominent alcohol taste though these properties relax considerably as the ale warms to room temperature, breathes, and gains a more convivial posture. The body of both vintages is broad, somber, and complex with an abundant cache of dried fruits and brown sugar characterizing the flavor and smell. There is a warmth and slowness to Old Boardhead that perfectly offsets the morose gloom of winter. It's like drinking pure gold.

Old Boardhead is not bottle conditioned but improves appreciably with aging. It's also worth noting that at $3.99 for a 22 oz. bomber, this robust barleywine makes for an exceptional value. Be sure to drink it at near room temperature.

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Photo of RockyTopHeel
4.45/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bomber. Reserve '03.

Ruddy brown-orange with a thin, creamy head of tiny bubbles. Aroma of gentle, juicy hops.

Holy crap, this is good. Smooth and easy drinking, with beautiful, juicy hops and a substantial malt profile. The flavor is unique among barleywines I've had, with a white grape-like sweetness that unifies the various layers of flavor throughout the complex brew.

I really, really like this.

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Old Boardhead Barleywine Ale from Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub
Beer rating: 68.7% out of 100 with 380 ratings
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