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 JackieTH
3.9/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2010 Bottling.

Appearance: Amber with two fingers of light frothy head.

Smell: Hops..grapefruit rind. Mild malt undertone.

Taste: Surprisingly hoppy and bitter for a barleywine. Again there is the citrus hop which is acidic on the tongue. Once accustomed to the hop there is a definite malty presence which is on the sweet side, but not cloying. Lingering bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Low carbonation and medium-light bodied.

Drinkability: It's nothing like any barleywine I've had before, way hoppier than was expecting, and this isn't a bad thing necessarily, unless you are in the mood for a good barleywine. I probably should buy a couple more to let them mellow with age.

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Photo of Fatehunter
4.07/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2010 Bottling.

A - Poured into a tulip glass. Copper color, transparent, light white head.

S - Concord grapes, light citrus.. lemon, and wet malt.

T - Lightly sweet, lots of bitterness from the hops coming on, and then ending with a sweet note. Fairly simple flavor notes, but done very well.

M - Light body, almost no carbonation. Easy to drink.

D - Very good. A great sipping beer for Christmas Eve in front of the fireplace. I have not had a barleywine in awhile, but this one makes me want to go try some more soon.

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Photo of SurlyMe
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bomber into snifter

A - Pours a slightly hazy deep amber/red color, semi hard pour yields a thin off white to khaki colored head that doesnt last long and doesnt leave much in the way of lacing.

S - Citrusy hops, almost smells like a sugar cane rum in a way, light booze, slight caramel, hint of red licorice as it warms

T - Lots of hops up front with a hint of fruit (apple/pear). this is followed by sugary caramely sweetness and a bitter aftertaste. I don't taste much in the way of alcohol, but a mild warming sensation as it goes down.

M - Semi thick, medium to full body, light carbonation, leaves a slightly oily/resinous feel after a few sips

D - This stuff catches up with you at 9% alc. It's definately tasty but I could only see having a bomber at most.

Overall, this is the first barleywine I've ever tried and I'm impressed. Reminds me alot of a DIPA.

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Photo of bridgetowhophead
3.14/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

$4 for a 22-oz barleywine sounds like a great deal, but this is hardly a barleywine. Pours a dazzling transparent mahogany brown with a puffy white 1" head that shows decent retention and lacing for the ABV. Smell is so-so, mainly caramel malts, cotton candy and toffee. Complex malt and hop flavors, but incredibly underwhelming for a relatively fresh 9% barleywine--this is like bigfoot with the volume turned way, way down. Mouthfeel is actually outstanding, but just too mellow overall. I don't know what happened, but this beer is completely lacking in the instensity and flavor I expect from a barleywine.

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

2009 Reserve bomber.

This beer pours a hazy orange-amber hue, with one finger of creamy off-white head, which leaves an elevated band of lace around the glass. It smells strongly of caramel nougat malt, and citrus cream. The taste is quite in line with the aroma - sweet creamy caramel malt, orchard fruit - cherry and plum, more evident as it warms, and a very mildly astringent alcohol warming. The carbonation is pretty much AWOL, the body big, in a new-money sort of way, smooth, but still tormented by the belligerent citrus hops, which carry through the off-dry, even finish.

A very representative example of what I like in a new world barleywine. Weighty, but well divided between the dousing malt, and supportive, sanity-providing fruity, bitter hops. Still moderately crazy in its own right, and plenty drinkable by the same measure.

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Photo of OregonPaul
2.76/5  rDev -28.3%
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 ebrauser
4.43/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Full Sail BW - Poured into a tulip glass

Appearance: Rich red hue with a thin white head and ample carbonation

Aroma: Cherries and raisins within a strong malt. Faint hints of European-based hops lie behind the fruit and alcohol tones

Flavor: Strong fruit beginning hides the body, though strong and bitter cherry flavors came out in the middle when the beer was warmed slightly. Otherwise it has a very pleasant and not to abrasive flavor. Finish has a lingering sweetness, leaving your mouth wanting more.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, though the fruit masks alcohol very well

Overall: A smooth and delicious barley wine

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Photo of arizcards
4.3/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a 2008 vintage from Magnums on the 4th of July for $4.99.

Beer poured red with a nice off white head that is leaving some lacing behind. Nose is sweet fruits and floral northwest hops. Taste is a huge malt backbone, some brown sugar and dark fruits. It is nicely balanced by a huge blast of northwest hops. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied and somewhat smooth. Drinkability is very good. No sign of the 9.0 abv as this brew has mellowed very well over the last three years. Glad to have tried it!

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Photo of yuriruley
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Red and golden hues, little bit of white head, but not much. Small amounts of lacing.

Smell - fruits, and brown sugar. Not smelling a lot else, but I can't smell very well at the moment.

Taste - Almost a toffee flavor with some sweet fruit notes and a little hop kick at the end.

Mouthfeel - Pretty thick, good carbonation. Has a crisp feel despite it's heaviness.

Drink - I am drinking it slow, not quite a sipper, but wouldn't really want to just throw it back either. But it is quite enjoyable.

I had this last year and I didn't like it as much, because I didn't care for the hops and the sweet altogether. But I have grown to appreciate that combination more and think this is a pretty solid beer. Can't argue with $4 a bottle for a barleywine either.

Edit: had several of these since my review, and while still good they seems to be a little inconsistent in the flavor department.

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

A bottle from 10

Look is a copper colored with a bit of a bright orange.

Smell is alight grape molasses sugar brown sugar very robust. Sweet overall with a tad bit of sharp booze smell. Berry is here rasperyy to be exact.

Taste is a muddled amount of sugary malt, fruit - a variety of them- punch almost very sweet but still hot. I am also factoring in I had. 09 last week that I bought was amazing.

Mouthfeel is very thick great deep carb overall superb

Drink is great if aged that's for sure but new it's still a little hot.

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Photo of SolomonGrundy
3.89/5  rDev +1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours slightly hazy, with a reddish, orangeish amber color. About a half-finger of creamy smooth head, very little carbonation and excellent lacing. Nose is mostly apple cider, with maybe a little vanilla and pineapple floating around in there. Flavor is very apple ciderish: tangy-sweet and carrying a larger malt component. Finishes long and hop bitter in a good way. Very good beer. Also well-priced at $4.49/bomber. Worth tracking down.

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Photo of MadeInOregon
3.83/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured this one--which I let sit for about 2 months--into a wide-mouthed wineglass last weekend...

The body is crystal clear with a brown color and a slight tinge of red. It is much more brown than most barleywines, and therefore pretty interesting looking. It has a bright, light mocha colored-head.

It smells like prunes, hops, yeast, and cotton candy. The smell is very pleasant and not offensive in the least bit. Very barleywine-ish.

The mouthfeel is creamy, but not malty. Pretty standard for this style I think.

The taste goes from sweet to immediately hoppy (Not very complex). In fact this barleywine is quite strongly hopped and tastes more like an imperial IPA in someways. It's good, just less sweet than most barleywines I've had. So, it doesn't seem quite accurate for this style.

The alcohol is hidden well and the beer is crisp and very drinkable. It almost has a green apple or champagne-like crispness to it. I think this really helps with the drinkability since you can definitely feel the alcohol pretty quickly with this one.

An enjoyable beer, for sure, but not the best barleywine I've had. I think Sierra Nevada's is better, as one example.

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

Thanks again to the market of choice for stocking this beer. A nice amber that fades into a dark iced tea color. There was a lot of fruit flavor like raisin and fig. A lot of brown sugar overtones, but doesn't kill the sweetness. Very hoppy. this was a WOW beer to me. I would drink several more of this beer given the opportunity.

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Photo of zhanson88
3.78/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2010 vintage on a re-review.

Appearance: A nice-looking auburn color. There was one finger of off-white head. It didn't last too long, but there was some lacing that stuck around the edges of the glass.

Smell: Lots of caramel, lots of citrusy and piney hops. I can tell that this is a new barleywine.

Taste: Definite caramel malt backbone, with a lot of hops. Very hoppy indeed. Like I indicated before, I can tell this is a fresh barleywine. Pretty solid one at that.

Mouthfeel: The feel is my favorite part about this beer. A bit over medium bodied, with very fine, light carbonation. Incredibly creamy going down. Super. I wish other beers had this kind of feel.

Drinkability: Pretty drinkable fresh barleywine. I wish I had the cellar space to age one or two of these, but alas, things are tight right now. It would be a great one to age for a couple years.

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Photo of WJVII
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass this brew has a nice amber color with deep reds when held to the light along with a 2 finger off white head that left nice lacing on the glass while settling to a decent cap. The aroma is of sweet fruits with plum and apricot present along with a good balance of malts present. The taste is slightly sweet up front with a mild bitterness in the finish. Well balanced. Not too much notice for the alcohol content as masked by the dark fruit taste of raisin and plum. Decent brew but not overwhelmingly good.

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Photo of mentor
3.07/5  rDev -20.3%
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 rallison
4.35/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2006 Vintage.

Tons of caramel and dried fruit in the nose. Excellent lead-in to this barleywine.

Taste follows through with lots of mellow caramel/toffee flavors. Dried fruit and vinous flavors. Very well integrated and balanced.

Just enough carbonation for the style. Excellent mouthfeel.

Very drinkable.

An excellent barleywine..assuming you give it 3+ years of aging. Fresh, it is nothing special. Aged, it is quite good.

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Photo of northaustin
2.81/5  rDev -27%
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 RomaniIteDomum
4.17/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I picked this bottle up at Banana Belt Liquors in Woodland Park, CO. Vintage 09.

Pours dark amber with a massive light tan head. Great lacing.

Smells sweet and floral. Figs, sweet raisins, and brown sugar are followed by flowers and slight pine.

The taste follows almost to the letter, but with a bit more pine. great relaxing flavor with no hint of alcohol. This is a great sipper after a long day.

The feel is creamy with a nice body.

This was a good beer with good drinkability. I would happily enjoy another bottle.

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Photo of emmasdad
3.9/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Along with Lagunitas Olde Gnarlywine and SN bigfoot this is one of the better barley wine values out there. Not as good as the other two, but good nonetheless. Dark amber color with a decent white head. Aromas of raisins, hops and booze. On the palate, pretty similar with a little caramel as well.

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Photo of mobyviacheslov
3.8/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A - Hazy, burn-orange hue, with a thin, lacy head.
S - sweet malt and candied orange, maybe a little ginger, with a slight pine-hoppiness in the background.
T - The standard, candy malt flavor is the first thing to hit your tongue, but is almost instantly covered up with a spicy fruit punch. The finish is very dry and hoppy, with very little of the sweetness lingering. the true barleywine style sweetness isn't very complex or remarkable, but the pale ale hoppiness is interesting. Not quite balanced, but not out of balance either.
M - Very thick and creamy, though the tongue gets a zap from the hops. Maybe a little too gummy.
D - The dryness certainly helps make the sweetness easier to digest. At 9%, this is fairly easy going.

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Photo of flagmantho
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz bomber into a tulip. This is the 2009 Old Boardhead.

Appearance: tawny light-brown hue with quite a bit of haze. Head is a finger of creamy ivory foam. Looks good.

Smell: deep, rich malt aroma with some bitter, floral hops present. The aroma is nice, but it doesn't really jump out at you.

Taste: big malt flavors of pear, plum and cherry with nice floral hops alongside. Bitterness comes on slow toward the end; it's a little less bitter than a lot of American barleywines I've had, but I rather like the level of bitterness here.

Mouthfeel: medium-thick body with a nice dose of carbonation. There's some creaminess here as well as some staying power to make sure the full flavor gets delivered to the palate.

Drinkability: pretty good. As barleywines go, it's neither overpowering nor cloying. It is drinkable for its strength.

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

8 oz. taster at Fredfest 2010- 1999 (not a typo) vintage. I just missed out on the 1998-argh.

Dark brown body, light tan head, minimal head, no retention. Nose is a bit sweet but still a lot of hop presence, floral, caramel and bready malts. The taste was exceptional, very well balanced, not a cloying but pleasant sweetness with a slightly bitter finish. Full mouthfeel, good effervescence, nice job of cellaring. ABV extremely well hidden, quite drinkable. One of the better brews I had a Fredfest. Thanks to John Harris et al for pulling this out of the cellar for this special event. Certainly makes me want to stash a bottle for a decade or so.

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Photo of Tucquan
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this reserve 2009 in a 22 oz bomber in Portland, OR on 2010-01-24

A - Copper with almost no head

S - Light grain, cider, veggies

T - Initial taste reminded me of an apple or pear cider but this quickly morphed into a lush dried fruit taste with a surprising amount of hop itterness, which I really enjoyed. The alcohol is well-balanced in this concoction.

M - Medium body, low carbonation and not creamy.

D - Pretty strong stuff so not a session beer but a very enjoyable treat from Full Sail.

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Photo of blackc5
4.09/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Collins Pub for Strong Ale fest. This was the 2008 vintage.

A - A dark, burnt amber with just a bit of head. A small amount of lacing here.

S - Caramel and raisins are the first to note - definitely sweet. Some creamy malts and earthy hops as well.

T - Surprisingly hoppy - mostly earthiness for me. Yet this is nicely balanced by the toffee sweetness and the grainy malts. Definitely raisins and apricots as well. A real nice balance. Hops provide a bitter finish.

M - Smooth with low carbonation. Could be a touch thicker, but overall quite nice.

D - Surely a sipper as well, the aging has given this beer a real nice balance. I wasn't blown away, but it is a very good barleywine overall.

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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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