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: 223
Photo of Sammy
3.6/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

On tap at the Rattle 'N' Hum. Classic barleywine,unexceptional, with a little bourbon, a tad of chocolate, a tad sour. Dark colour with white head.Mouthfeel a tad above average. Malt complexity draws you in a bit, but taste does not quite live up to it.
Maybe better on cask.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.99/5  rDev +4.7%
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 t0rin0
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed this in bottles on a number of occasions and have had some different experiences. Noteworthy: this is not bottle conditioned and there is no sediment.

Pours dark brown, crystal clear, some tan head but not much retention, mild lacing.

Aroma is very malty, deliciously malty. Lots of pale, maybe some brown malts. Now that I think about it, there might be some parallels to a brown ale here. Some hops present in the aroma but I really enjoy these (properly aged of course) after a year or so.

Flavor is sweet, malty, biscuity, moderately bitter, and a touch nutty. Some hot alcohols distract from the taste when fresh or warm but pleasantly mellow and smooth when cold or aged. Not a real complex flavor but so very enjoyable.

Heavy body, maybe a tad undercarbonated but thats up for debate as this is a barleywine. Great on tap but be careful of skunked bottles. Bevmo leaves them on the shelves for ever.

This used to be my favorite barleywine, but then I tried 50-something barleywines. Still a great beer though.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.69/5  rDev -3.1%

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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Photo of metter98
3.79/5  rDev -0.5%
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 BEERchitect
3.95/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A lazy Thursday night before the 4th of July. I finished off a few Pale Ales with a steak dinner and now for the nightcap. This beer pours with a viscous plop into the glass. Impressive, firm head rises to about an inch and remains. Retention of the tanned froath is very good as well as the lacing. Mixed aromas of caramel and malt swirl around pine and citrus hops that promise power and complexity. Flavors of caramel, malt, toffee, and maple syrup have a moment before the agressive, piney hops dominate. The flavors round together well deep into the finish not allowing either to dominate. The textures are a bit harsh with fusal alcohols, hop dryness, and a lightly syrupy sweetness. Finishes with a blend of hops and malt that linger deep into the throat. A pretty good American Barleywine, but could use a better attenuated malt character and age could round out the harsh alcohols. Otherwise, it's on par with a Horn Dog, Old Crustacian, or Double Bastard.

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Photo of brentk56
3.83/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Version 002, which I believe is the 2007

Appearance: Pours a hazy amber color with a modest head that drops to an archipelago very quickly, while leaving a few strands of lace

Smell: Caramel dominates but covers up some odd off tones that are primarily soapy

Taste: Opens with a caramel flavor that adds a peppery and minty dimension by mid-palate; the pepper flavors start to burn after a while, too; after the swallow, the flavors mellow and fade faster than I would have liked

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied with low carbonation; slightly watery for a barleywine; warmth on the finish

Drinkability: Despite its flaws, the beer is easy to drink and is pleasant enough; lots of hops for a barleywine but they don't dominate

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Photo of oberon
3.92/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep reddish color with a tight formed one finger head that left no lace behind,great balance to the aromas with a pretty big hop presence brown sugar and gummy fruit intertwined with a lingering piney hop really made for a promising beer.Sadly the flavors were more one sided and they really didnt hammer their character home,sweetish brown sugar and cherry notes hit first off,a nutty alcohol soaked cake kinda presence comes thru as it warms,as for the hops they are there but not real big hitters giving off somewhat of a herbal finish.This is a nice barley wine quite flavorful if the hops on the palate would have matched the nose it would be off the charts in my mind.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.56/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The Old Godfather offers a hazy chestnut brown body beneath a beautiful head of creamy tan that holds well and leaes some very nice lacing about the glass. The nose is typically malty with rich caramelish malt, floral hops, and alcohol. The flavor follows suit, but with more heat, and at only 10.2% abv that shouldn't be the case. Allowed to warm a bit, the alcohol diminishes slightly as the malts seem rounder, but it's still there. A touch of piney hops becomes apparent. It's boldly bitter, and with the exception of the heat, well rounded. I'm hoping that next year's version will be better.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.32/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a light reddish brown color, with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of brown sugar, caramelized malts, floral hops and some fruit.

T: The taste is nicely balanced with sweet flavors of caramel, brown sugar and citrus, a strong but not over-powering hops bitterness and a hearty malt character. There's a mild alcohol sting, which is expected for a beer this strong in ABV. The after-taste is slightly hoppy and slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean.

D: Very tasty, goes down very easily, not too filling, strong kick, very good representation of style, this is a great ABW that is worth drinking for a whole evening and seems a bit more poundable than most other beers of its kind.

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Photo of mactrail
3.33/5  rDev -12.6%
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 BuckeyeNation
3.68/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

"I'd gotten to know quite a few mafiosi, and all of them told me they loved the picture because I had played the Godfather with dignity. Even today, I can't pay a check in Little Italy."

--Marlon Brando

Burnished orange with a generous splash of cranberry red. The upper few inches of the snifter contain a quality cap of pale orangish ecru that is more creamy and more persistent than most 10.2% ales that I've run across. This is a beautiful barleywine.

The nose is solid as well, even if it isn't as hoppy as I like beer of this style to be. I'm guessing that there's slightly more pale malt than caramel malt, but it's hard to say for sure. A cherries macerated in vodka fruitiness completes the nasal profile. It smells like Old Godfather will be strictly by the book on the palate.

Tough call. My first impression is that the body isn't big enough for the ABV. The beer feels a trifle thin in the mouth and is a little too harshly medicinal. I'm starting it out close to 55 degrees (which isn't optimal, I know), so I'll reserve final judgment until it comes a little closer to room temperature.

Given the '001' on the back of the silk-screened bottle, my best guess is that this beer is a little over one year old. I'm pretty sure that Speakeasy didn't start bottling this offering until early 2006. Given that, it's still an impressively bitter American barleywine. I wish, however, that more hop flavor had survived intact... assuming it was there to begin with.

Warming helps somewhat, but I'm still not blown away by Old Godfather. English toffee and sugared grapefruit rind are still saturated by too much unchecked alcohol. In fact, tongue numbing is beginning to set in, keeping me from appreciating any nuances that might be developing as the beer gains a few degrees.

The mouthfeel doesn't really come together as well as I'd like. It's on the light side of medium for the style, yet still manages a slick, modestly sticky finish. More malt is the obvious answer to most of this beer's (admittedly minor) faults.

I wish that I had let Old Godfather Barley Wine-Style Ale age for another year at least. More time in the cellar will probably smooth out some of the rough edges, but I can't see how the mouthfeel will do anything but deteriorate. Unfortunately, at this point in time, this is an offer that I *can* refuse.

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Photo of russpowell
3.86/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Can't remember if I picked this up from Liquid Solutions or Bottletrek

Pours an effervescent caramel/orange with 1+ finger of sand colored head. Superior head retention & above average lacing

S: Cakey & piney & bit of booze as this warms

T: Cakeyness, earthy & piney hop, plus a some orangey & grapefruitty hops up front. Leafy hops, a bit of fruittyness, then pine & grapefruit dominate once this brute warms up. Finishes dry, with some peaty notes, plus other whisky notes to include some booze burn

MF: Medium bodied to chewy with a nice creamyness; balanced good for the style. Very warming

Drank a bit slowish, due to the style & ABV. A good, not great American Barley Wine, more malt needs to show up to this party!

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.45/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottled in 2006.

Poureda Vdery deep dark hazy amberwith a small head, this faded quite quickly and left behind a decent lace down the glass. The smell was insanely sweet, like candydippedin alcohol, which was also highly present. Very nice citrus tones lie within once the warming commenced. Orange, tangerine, and pineapple. The taste was very smooth, and left a nice warming in your stomach as it went down.First notes to hit the palate were again very sweet, with a tangerine and orange creamsickle, emersed in a glass of alcohol. Very strong flavor profile. The finish was very dry and long lasting with the bitterness lasting for quite a few minutes afterward. Overall this was really very good and one of my favorite barleywines I have had. I would love to ty some of the older vinatages to see just how smooth this could get as this was just very nice as it was.

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Photo of smcolw
3.79/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pretty, rocky head that leaves ring lace after each sip. Dark amber color and crystal clear. Very attractive.

Biscuity aroma; reminds me of play-dough. Not sure how to explain, because this is quite different from any smell I've ever gotten from a beer. Light alcohol in the background.

Strong notable alcohol on the initial sip through the aftertaste, but it is not dominating. Good malt base that gives me the flavor of brandy or sherry. There is light hop bitterness for balance, perhaps more than the "typical" Barleywine. A very nice offering for my palate once I get by the unusual (but not unappealing) smell.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.13/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My bottle was marked as "2006" vintage and while I probably should have waited for it to age, yesterday's successful tasting left me flush with the confidence to do this right.

This only produced about a finger's worth of a mocha-colored head, but it had good retention. The nose was a sharp mix of alcohol, caramel, and a slight hoppiness. The color was beautiful - about as perfect an amber as I have encountered for a long time, accompanied by NE-quality clarity. Mouthfeel was thin to medium with a hot alcohol intensity on the tongue, accompanied by a sugary sweetness. The finish was very sugary, malty in its execution. The Godfather needs to sit in a cool, dark cell for a little while and mellow out.

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Photo of GClarkage
4.59/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12/23/04- Had on tap at the Toronado in San Francisco, CA

Presentation- Poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance- Smallish head, moderate lacing and a nice deep brownish color.

Smell- Sugary bitter hops. Almost candyish. An amazing scent.

Taste- Wow, my first real hoppy barleywine. This is great. The bitter fruity taste of an IPA with the sweet thick taste of a barleywine.

Mouthfeel- Low carbonated and heavy mouthfeel.

Drinkability- You can detect the alcohol towards the end, otherwise this would be extrememly dangerous. Great beer!

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.83/5  rDev +0.5%
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 Wasatch
3.98/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice amber color, nice carbonation, very nice creamy one-finger off-white head, which leaves some nice thick creamy sticky lacing. The nose is malty, hoppy, nice touch of caramel. The taste is sweet, malty, with some hoppiness, and caramel. Medium body, the alcohol is hidden very well. Drinkable, I have liked the brew's from Speakeasy, recommended.

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

The beer pours a deep amber color with a thick frothy off-white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a warm burnt toffee aroma. It's rich with caramel sweetness, yet bitter as hell with lots of hop aroma. The taste is good as well. It has a smooth, burnt toffee flavor. It's dry and really burnt tasting. It has excellent hop character that's bitter up front and resinates in the finish. There is considerable warmth that really enhances the overall enjoyment. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a very good barleywine. It's solid in all departments; a good drinker.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.54/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours with a frothy, initially one-finger thick, light tan colored head the quickly dissipates to a spotty covering of foam. The beer is a brilliantly clear, amber tinged red color when held up to the light, and it is so clear that it shows just a touch deeper, yet similar coloring just sitting in my glass. As I poured this brew into my glass I seemed to get purely malt notes, yet hops are the first thing I notice when I go in for the first draught of the nose. The hop aromatic notes are comprised of a green herbaceous note and some light citrus character. Really though this beer's nose is about the rich malt character. Concentrated caramelized malt notes dominate with notes of toffee, toasted grain and a fresh cracker / biscuit character. The combination of malt and hop aromatics at times takes on notes of bergamot and even candied orange peel.

Definitely sweet tasting, though not syrupy, but the sweetness tastes as if it has been filtered too much. I get the sense that some malt complexity has been lost to some overly aggressive filtering. A fair amount of hop character has been packed into this brew; notes of citrus are prominent as are sharper notes of menthol and pine. There is a nice bitterness here as well that is quite big at times. The hops actually provide a nice sharpness throughout the flavor profile; at first sharp, tongue tingling, herbal notes are noticed, but these move to a clean bitterness and a sharp citrus note.

This beer is pretty good, but in the end it really seems like it has been filtered a bit too much. This would be much better as a bottle conditioned, unfiltered beer.

Purchased: Liquid Solutions, OR

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz ... another of the cellar clearing project.. I picked this up at Belmont Station back in November.... Tonight it is enjoyed out of the shaped SA glass..

1" head.. descent lace.. splotchy and a pretty nice cap.. the brew is crystal clear amber....

Nose is toasted sweet raisin bread and caramel malts.. hops are still there.. citric yet still sorta mild.. quite a bit of brown sugar...

Palate mirrors the nose with a nice balance throughout.. grapefruit zest hoppiness melds well with all the maltiness... the bitterness and hop flavors do wonders to bind this brew with a good overall quality.. It is reminding me alot of Old Boardhead with a year or so on it.. the hops are reigned in and the malts are starting to become on.. tasty without being over the top..

I like this a bunch... not epic.. not blow my lid off... but still a nice BW that deserves respect.

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Photo of Zorro
4.42/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Carefully poured in to the glass to leave out the sediment. A clear amber to bronze colored ale.

Smell is intensely fruity to the nose. Fruity and quite peppery too. Lots of cantaloupe melon and fig aromas. The intensity of the fruit aroma makes you not quite notice that this is quite sweet smelling also. Lots of black pepper aroma to this one, but no hop aroma.

Taste is neutral spicy and bitter in the first sip. Bitterness however doesn't take over this beer and remain a kick in the back of your mouth in the after taste. Sweet tasting mostly the flavor of brown sugar and mild fruitiness of plums. There is an additional fruity flavor here that I can't ID, basically it is juicy fruit gum. Quite nice flavored if a little lacking in complexity.

Mouthfeel is good.

A thoroughly enjoyable Barley Wine here. What it lacks in complexity it makes up for in great flavor and aroma. I especially like that hops do not take over the taste like too many beers like this do now days. SN Bigfoot is hoppy but not every brewer needs to copy it. Highly recommended.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.53/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a two finger light tan head that fades slowly leaving a good lace. Cloudy amber color. Light carbonation and medium bodied. Hoppy nose. Flavor begins malty but hops come in to dominate a piney finish. High ABV is hidden by the hops. Not sweet enough for a barleywine. $2.19 for a 12oz bottle from Hi-Time Cellars Costa Mesa, Ca.

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Photo of weeare138
3.97/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appears a semi-transparent amber with a small white head that quickly fades into a thin cap and collar. Spotty bits of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of heavy malt, caramel, flowers, and citrus.
Taste echoes the aromas with a sweet, caramel, maltiness with a light hop presence.
Mouthfeel is full bodied, hot with alcohol, chewy, and fruity.

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Old Godfather from Speakeasy Ales & Lagers
3.81 out of 5 based on 223 ratings.
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