Old Godfather | Speakeasy Ales & Lagers

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Old GodfatherOld Godfather

Brewed by:
Speakeasy Ales & Lagers
California, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Re-emerging from the shadows, Old Godfather is the first of the Infamous. Old Godfather pours a light amber with a beige lacing. Aromas of fresh pine and citrus dominate, giving way to deep flavors of nutty maltiness and burnt caramel. A spicy hop bite of citrus peel rounds out the rich mouthfeel. Bittersweet English malts and cut-throat West Coast hops make Godfather a barley wine that is not to be taken lightly. This re-release of Old Godfather is the first vintage of its kind. As a brazenly robust brew, Old Godfather will benefit from years of cellaring, developing new refinements in character over time.

Added by frank4sail on 02-18-2003

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Reviews: 152 | Ratings: 222
Photo of LiquidAmber
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Properly cellared 3 year old bottle. Pours a medium orange amber with a half finger light khaki head with good retention and light lacing. Aroma of caramel malt, light stone fruit, figs, raisins, aged grassy hops. Flavor of light caramel and biscuit malt, light stone fruit, figs, raisins and grassy hops. Lingering, somewhat astringent grassy hop finish. Medium bodied with light creaminess. I regret not having had this barleywine fresh, to compare. At three years, it seems to have reached its peak. The malt leans more towards a biscuit than caramel profile, the fruit notes are attenuated and the hop bitterness is rather intense with little herbal flavors, which is to be expected at this age. Surprisingly little evidence of oxidation. Although this has survived aging with no overt flaws, I think the malt character is not robust enough to support the aging hops, leaving it a bit unbalanced. I would be happy to try this again to see what it is like fresh, but would probably not age another bottle. I took this out of the cellar for review due to the imminent closure of Speakeasy, but it is for the best as I don't think more years would improve it.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.39/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Nice caramel and copper appearance, looks like one of those barleywines or imperial amber ales. Aroma is just concentrated sweetness and alcohol.

Taste is a rich barleywine as expected experience. Middle of the road hopping, guessing 80ibu territory, lots of crystal and maris otter malt in here I suspect. Not roasty, more sweet. All of the 10% abv is up in here.

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Photo of anon
3.99/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a gorgeous deep brown/burgundy/leatherish hue. Finger width of frothy, thick, creamy foam that sticks relentlessly to the glass. Smell is a hammering of dark fruits; plum, figs, grilled peach, along with fresh baked bread. A deep presence of earth that follows right through into the taste. Plum, fig, raisins, nectarine, caramel, toffee, pine, soil, grass, slight coffee roast and baked bread chewiness. Finishes borderline medium-full bodied with a lingering lick of sweetness and slight toastiness.

Seems this one might fall victim to inconsistency, but I thoroughly enjoyed this take on the style.

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Photo of Nomstep
3.13/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A - Thick dirty off white head. Absolutely gorgeous ruby red amber coloring. I could look at this beer all day!
S - Chocolate malt with a hint of vanilla, smell the syrup. Lightly toasted nut smell, almost hazelnut.
T - Subtle flavors. Lightly toasted vanilla. Malt forward.
M - A little syrupy for my taste, but nice thickness. Well carbonated.
O - I was expecting a little more from Speakeasy Brewery, but it is one of the more beautiful beers I've seen in awhile, with that bright amber. I'd put this in as a mid level barleywine. Not too sweet like many barleywines, a little too syrupy. I wish it was a little smokier to go with the vanilla/hazelnut tastes.

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Photo of seedyone
3.15/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

On tap at Blind Tiger, NYC. To this point, I'd rarely met a barleywine I didn't like, but I I walked away from this one. There was the smell of a grain, not sure how much was barley or how much was malt but it lacked any roasty/toasty attributes at all. The texture was weak, near watery & the finish was a bitter burn.

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Photo of Beerpope273
4.02/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Admittedly I am a big barleywine fan so this rating may be biased but it seriously was one of the best beers i have had recently. Pours a deep reddish-brown with a quickly disappearing white head and has floral and fruity aromas that doesn't overpower the senses. The taste for me is exactly what a barleywine should taste like, strong malty flavor with expressed dark fruit and sweet flavors. I am going to have to add this to my wants or make a quick trip up north to try and find some more.

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Photo of arizcards
3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Picked up a bomber at the Tempe Bevmo in early August for $8.99. No freshness date.

Beer poured reddish brown with a nice off white head on the initial pour.

Nose is dark fruits and citrus hops.

Taste has a large malt backbone that is complemented by a nice citrus and pine hop. Unfortunately there is a huge resinous oil slick that is left behind.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and very smooth.

Overall this is a solid beer that is worthy of a try.

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Photo of Fatehunter
3.44/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a half finger of head on a hazy light brown body.
The aroma has a little caramel, lots of hay, barnyard and plowed dirt.
The taste is grainy, a little caramel sweetness, more dirt and grains.
The texture is fairly light with nice fizz.
The aroma is great, the flavor fine.

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Photo of Beermanmiles
3.41/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

This beer is a very good price, I will start with that. 6 dollars for a pint of barleywine is unheard of. That being said, the beer more than reflects the price. I get upset when I get a thick barleywine. Unless a barleywine is barrel aged, I do not expect thickness. This beer taste like straight carbonated grain syrup. It's really a beer that you wanna be drinking during the winter if any time because it would just make you uncomfortable in the summer, spring or fall, provided you are outside. It is also darker than you would expect and the flavor reflects the color. This is not good for barleywine (in my opinion) because barleywine is meant to be one of the only high alcohol beers with a light snap. This is not to say do not buy this beer. This beer is very cheap. If you want a high alcohol craft beer but you are strapped for cash, pick up this or a 32oz of lagunitas sucks for 10 dollars.

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Photo of mactrail
3.33/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Dark burnt orange color in the St. Bernardus globe. A low head but big and tingly in the mouth. This is more hot than malty. Winey and woody at the same time. Insistent barrel flavor with a woody aftertaste.

Rather sweet at first, but more tart and hot at the finish. More like an American Strong Ale than and kind of Barleywine. Overall, this is a strong and intense sipping brew. From the 22 oz bottle purchased at Liticker's LIquors in San Diego for $8.49.

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Photo of metter98
3.79/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: The beer is clear but very dark reddish amber in color (black when viewed from afar) and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high beige head that died down, leaving a patch of bubbles on the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Light to moderate aromas of burnt caramel malts and piney hops are present in the nose.
T: The taste has flavors of piney hops along with caramel malts and toffee. The hops also contribute a light to moderate amount of bitterness and mask any sweetness from the underlying malts. The pine becomes a little stronger in the finish once the beer warms up.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation. The alcohol lends a bit of warming to the mouthfeel. No stickiness is perceptible.
O: I felt that this beer has a good balance between the malts and hops as it is not overly bitter from the hops or too stick from the malts. It also does a good job at hiding a good portion of the alcohol from the taste, lending relatively good drinkability..

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of jellikit
4.34/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: deep orange-copper. Thin, fuzzy, white head.
Smell: caramel and toffee. Light alcohol.
Taste: caramel, toffee, orange peel, slightly sweet. Followed by light alcohol and light pine.
Mouthfeel: medium to medium low carbonation. Medium-big body. Slightly sweet.
Overall: I like this beer. It is a great representation of a West Coast Barleywine. Balanced well. Will buy again.

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Photo of Pencible
3.18/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.25

A: This poured a cloudy mahogany with thick tan head.
S: It smelled like copper hops and nutty malt, with some earthy toffee.
T: It tasted like copper hops and earthy caramel, with some roasted nuts and pumpernickel bread. It had a clean earthy aftertaste.
M: It was somewhat thick with moderate carbonation. Decent body.
D: This was a mediocre brew, with subpar scent and taste and body. The finish was a bit hot too, so it was better to sip. Age may help. I don't recommend it fresh.

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Photo of samtrillo
3.96/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - deep translucent woody amber with a good bit of lacing.

S - sweet caramel malt and somewhat some hop resin.

T - smokey sweet! Roasted caramel malt flavor and hop bitter finish. More bitter than I've had recently with Barleywines and I like that.

M - medium to full. Very smooth. Limited carbonation. Sweetness sticks around on the roof of my mouth for a couple seconds and moves into the bitterness.

O - very drinkable American Barleywine. Balanced. Check it out!

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Photo of SportsandJorts
2.91/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Appearance: a deep brownish, orangish red. 2 fingers a tan head that leave a strong lacing behind. Strong haze but still able to see through it.

Smell: chocolate? Herbal hops, some dark fruits and other dark crystal character. Good bitter to sweet balance in the smell

Taste: opens up with herbal hops. Transitions to an astringent alcohol mixing with some dark crystal malts. Slight dark fruits and sweetness. Also some chocolate

Mouthfeel: bitter hop and astringent alcohol. Very hard to drink.

Overall: the malt bill in this beer leaves me scratching my head. Why chocolate? And the alcohol astringency is not made up for with any of the tastes

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Photo of Mightykingmalard
3.41/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A: dark red. Mostly transparent. Cream colored head that burns away quickly.

S: oaky, slight malty ness.

T: woody malt. Quick finish.

M: decent feel. Sits on the tongue nicely.

O: eh, not terrible. A good beer without knowing its a barleywine. But it is not a great example of it. I'd drink it standardly if it wasn't as expensive. But it isn't something to write home about.

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Photo of Greywulfken
3.92/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: mahogany-amber and clear ale; will produce as big a head of tan fluff as you want; lines of lace left behind

S: deep resinous pine and malty caramel; dark and earthy, slightly herbal

T: hearty malt and bittered caramel sweetness up front, accompanied by hoppy notes of resin and pine; sweetness up front mellows as the malt grains come forward; hops assert themselves slowly and provide a nice bittering finish.

M: medium-to-full bodied, slick up front but chewy throughout; subtle coating effect like a bittersweet pine varnish on the tongue; didn't notice any alcohol or heat in this at all, despite my bottle's 9.5 abv.

O: nothing flashy, but a well-crafted "America-style" barleywine - runs on the sweeter side of the spectrum, but the subtle bittering, especially as it warms, will mute the sugars and deliver an enjoyable ale. Drank mine in a pint.

Give it a shot.

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Photo of seand
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a dark clear amber with a fair amount of light tan head. Just a touch of film retains on the surface, leaving mild lacing.

S: Floral honeyed sweetness with a deep malt background.

T: Deep, full, sweetness, with a boozy and slightly hoppy bite towards the finish.

M: Full body, medium carbonation.

Overall, a nice barleywine. Good balance, and deep complex flavors. Very enjoyable.

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Photo of elNopalero
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Updated 4/2015:
This pours a dark malty caramel color. It’s a heavy beast of a beer, with more malt present than hops. I found it off-kilter and out of balance, and I’m not sure some age would improve things.

Speakeasy’s barleywine has returned!

This has an intense caramel-amber hue to it. Aroma smacks of toffee and caramel notes, with an underlying herbaceous hop presence. The flavor is malty, with toffee and a touch of bittering, but overall smooth. Hops are present here but not center stage like in other Speakeasy brews.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.99/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Eureka Burger in Redlands, CA.

Pours a clear dark orange with a foamy khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Foamy rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, citrus fruit, and citrus zest aromas. Taste is much the same with citrus zest on the finish. There is a medium amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good hop forward barleywine that is tasty and easy to drink.

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Photo of BlurryVisi0n
3.96/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Served in an over-sized wine glass(not my doing, bartneder's choice).

Appearance: straight amber (clear and transparent), simple. Head maybe 1/8" rising off the body coming off white settling quick with simple lacing.

Smell: Little bit of rum hints, with a sweet notes of vanilla.

Taste: heavy alcohol, slightly overdose of sugar but still good beer. Feel the scotch but comes off woody. Little oak which is rare I mention with any barely wine but this brew had it.

Mouth: medium, slightly light with ultra stickiness to it.

Overall: Good brew. There's better out there but of you want a tongue twister of beers this light just do it to you! Complex with the right touch of sweetness. Grab a glass and you're good...Salud!

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Photo of Durge
4.12/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a clear but fairly dark mahogany colored brew with a decent light tan colored head that mellows to a frosting and leaves a respectable trail of lacing. The aroma is full of deep roasted malt, vanilla and root beer with a goodly dose of sherry and even a lick of chocolate. Sweet but a little boozy and just real nice. The taste test results in more of a whiskey edge, immediately warming with alcohol but buried in more deep caramel malt with a neat herbal hop coming through. Approaches an evergreen idea at times. This stuff is pretty much full bodied with very gentle carbonation. I would call this fairly cloying with a pretty thick, wine-like feel. So it's not out of whack as a barleywine, very flavorful, not a session beer, but great with a slice of Swiss cheese and an appreciative palate. A pleasant surprise.

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Photo of jondeelee
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Smells of syrupy malts and caramels, heavy sugars with a hint of flowery hops.

On the tongue, there's an immediate explosion of floweriness, which expands quickly into a lovely grapefruit-bitterness, strongly reminiscent of a low- to medium-grade IPA. Then the malts hit, bringing in huge maple-syrupy flavors, along with dark fruits and chocolates. Some reviewers have said there's a deep tobacco flavor underneath; I'm not getting that, but I do get a hint of grains toasted to the point of blackness/burnt. Then, somehow, the hops kick back in, leaving the tongue slightly tingling after the beer has left the mouth.

Categorically, this is a barleywine, pure and simple. But it does have *notes* that are strongly reminiscent of IPAs, and I think those notes set this brew apart from the field, and make it worthy of discussion. Purists might not like the bitterness in here, but I find it charming.

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Photo of bohemiandonut
4.36/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was the first Barley Wine I ever tried (about a year ago) and it knocked my freakin' socks off. Have been looking for it ever since and FINALLY I find a 4-pack of it in some random bottle shop in Carlsbad.

At 10%, this doesn't pour like anything immaculate, but Holy Christ does it smell just utterly amazing. Toffee malts and candied spruce make up the mainstay, but it's hard to convey exactly why this makes my nostrils drool with happiness. It's like Bigfoot without cloying sweetness, a hoppy beast that screams of everything a Barley Wine should be.

Alas I'm not disappointed in this consummation of my quest. Speakeasy remains an underrated brewery in my opinion, and OG is perhaps their greatest offering. You WILL drink this beer slowly, simply pausing to take enormous whiffs of it between each sip. The ethanol is absolutely flattened by the sweets and malts and hops that make this beer into the bad ass gangster that it is. From the tinge of citrus/pine in front to a frothy aftertaste of chewy caramel, this is a highly recommended beer that will leave any fan of Barley Wines totally agape.

Good luck finding it.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.69/5  rDev -2.9%

This barley wine is decent. It's pours out as a muddy brown color with a white head on it. The aroma of this beer is kind of boozy with a lot of malts. It's got a little bit of a hop aroma too. The taste has a lot of barley in it, with some hops in the after taste. The mouthfeel is kind of smooth with a dry aftertaste. Nothing really shines through in this brew that makes me impressed with it. It's an average barley wine to me.

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Old Godfather from Speakeasy Ales & Lagers
3.8 out of 5 based on 222 ratings.
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