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 isaac
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle to snifter.

A- Golden copper with thin, eggshell head. pretty and inviting. thin lacing that fades into small specks on the glass.

S - Smells like hops, but candy coated. very interesting.

T - Starts off bitter, with the grapefruit-like flavor of a very hoppy IPA or DIPA, but then fades into malty sweetness, with slight breadiness in the finish.

M - Very nice, not too heavy, but thick enough to support the big flavors.

D - An enjoyable barleywine, not my favorite style, but pleasant nonetheless.

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Photo of flexabull
3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice clear amber color, a bit of a head, and what looks like a decent amount of carbonization.

Smells are pretty good. Aromas of raisins, sweet bread, and a hint of malts and hops.

Taste is just like the aroma, interesting how it just follows the aromas. There is a tad more of a hop character in the taste, but not too much... pretty good stuff.

Mouthfeel is good. You taste the flavors right away, and they linger a bit too.

A pretty good example of a barleywine... didn't blow me away, but is certainly worth a try.

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Photo of MaltyGoodness
3.45/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle - 2006 edition - thanks to jhammerly

Pours a hazy brown-amber with a very small white head that promptly disappears. Lightly speckled lacing on the glass.

Aroma of piney hops and caramel malt with a slight booziness as it warms.

Sweet caramel malts upfront that slide into a mild bitter bite and a wave of piney hops. Fininshes sweet and malty.

For a barleywine with such a high ABV, the body seems somewhat thin for the style and the carbonation is very low.

A fairly decent barleywine overall.. I enjoyed the bottle and drank it with relative ease, but won't be seeking to trade for any more from this year's release.

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Photo of BlindPig
2.5/5  rDev -34.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

A- 1/4" light tan head. Clearish amber color.
S-Alcohol seems strong. Some malts backing it. Maybe sweet fruits or sweet hops.
T-Alcohol taste with warming. Malty character. Light bitterness in taste and grows in aftertaste. Some strange flavors also.
M-full body, sticky, low carbonation.
D-It's not good at all couldn't even finish a 12oz bottle of it. Some very strange flavors.

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Photo of czechsaaz
3.3/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Very fruity fermentation aroma. I'm getting a big malt backbone with apples, peaches, plums and all kinds of fruit. There's some hop aroma, but it takes a bacseat to the malt. I smell some interesting malt that seems a little like Vienna but it's not easy to pick out. Some sniffs is like Vienna and others seem like dark crystal.

Light amber, on the light end of what I'm used to seeing in a barleywine. Smallish but lasting head with food lacing. Very clear. Small rising carbonation.

Flavor is kind of strange. I get a lot of malt flavors, but there's some overripe fruit thing going on. Kind of like DMS but not really. Kind of like diacetyl, but not really. This is weird because there's something there that my palate doesn't like but I can't quite put my finger on what it is. Hop bitterness is pretty high and there's good hop flavor in the mid palate. But whatever that flavor is keeps me from really enjoying it.

Full bodied and smooth. Creamy on the toungue.

That off flavor keeps me from really enjoying drinking this so it gets low marks for drinkability. It's a tough glass for me to get through.

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Photo of Pooba001
3.52/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from bottle into Corsendonk tulipish glass. Started with a good head, but that didn't last long. Color was a deep golden amber or light bronze shade. Tiny legs. Smell is grain, alcohol, floral hop, malt sweetness, and a hint of citrus.

Taste is unimpressive. Sure there's sweet from the malt and bitter from the hops, but it just doesn't seem like this beer has the depth to measure up to Old Ruffian, Old Guardian, Bigfoot, or Old Numbskull. Just doesn't come together terribly well.

Mouthfeel isn't great. Thin for a big barleywine. My drinkability notes say "this beer isn't worth its ABV."

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Photo of hoppymeal
3.55/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2006. Pours copper to amber in color and clear with a very slight cream head that fades back to nothing quickly. Initial aroma is citrusy hops, sweet vitamin c like orange scent along with some grassiness. There is also a large alcohol aroma, like smelling hard liquor. The nose is pretty much dominated by the hops and alcohol. Taste is similar, there is just a hint of sweet orange before the buds get slammed good with a large bitter and dry hop and alcohol bite. This beer is definitely rough and raw. I do enjoy its kick you in the head aggressive hops and alcohol but it seems very much like a dipa. I'd like to see if some age would mellow this out, although not being bottle conditioned, don't know how long this one can go in the bottle. I enjoyed the raw character here but would like to see a little more on the flavor side as well.

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Photo of blitheringidiot
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

**The eyes are watching you***
Simple engaging classy painted label bottle with the best damn barleywine name ever?

Pours a copper and brass auburn hue with a filtered clarity topped with a strong ABV trounced faded thin khaki head cap.

After stealing a page from Anchor Old Foghorn, the scents are flour biscuit and deep fruit fig and pear. A hint of awl-kee-hawl booziness creeps in under a veil of caramel sweetness.

First swigs: Rugged malt and fig fruit booziness follows through with a cherry, orange peel punch. Big fruit flavors meld with a silky texture to undertake a creeper of a barleywine. Wow! Bitterness is rounded off with a sweetness quickly covered.

Feel is a smooth creature that rolls on and off the tongue despite the sizzle. An oily barley that beguiles as it entertains.

Last swigs: Sweet silky orange pear schnapps barley. Well done fresh, but if this is worthy as a cellar dweller, it would be surprising. Seems to be delicate, but time will tell. Hidden 10.2% ABV. This one is worth seeking. Go forth and seek! Trade if you must all fellow barleywine junkies.

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Photo of cheers2beers
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Boolshot for this bonus beer.

Appearance: Ruby red and a deep orange glow. No head at all except a thin white collar floating around my snifter. No laceing to be found.

Smell: The aromas seems to be piney hops, honey, sweeted caramel maltiness and a pungent alcohol vapor.

Taste: The hoppiness seems to play a great role, this barley wine is very well balanced. The alcohol doesnot get in the way even thou it is fairly potent. Brown sugars , molasses, honey, and nice caramel malt. The hops seems to come back in the finish as well.

Mouthfeel: Well balanced! Slick, and thick and yet dry at the same time. Medium amount of carbonation.

Drinkability: Not bad at all i would love to try this again on a later date.


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Photo of Westsidethreat
3.23/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Looks like a semi cloudy garnett color with a butter cream colored head...most of which has collapsed. Some stray bubbles still rest on the surface with a healthy ring around the glass.

S: Sort of soapy with some pinesol, tangerine, raspberries and graham crackers. Unbalanced IMO

T: Begins malty with some fruity/berry notes. Immediately some soapiness takes shape and dilutes the attractive fruit notes. Unfortunately the soapiness lingers longer than I would like (for the rest of the beer actually). A spark of bitterness occurs and embraces the palate and finishes the finale of the beer.

M: Medium body with a bit of a fluffy carbonation.

D: As far as barleywines go, this one is a miss.

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Photo of Beerzebub
3.99/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Fairly dense looking quarter inch head, but dissipates fairly quickly. Big, lazy bubbles. Red. Delicious nose of fig jam, mild cheese, crusty bread, maybe cherry pie or strawberry rhubarb pie. A beer I want to sink my teeth into.

Alcohol certainly shows itself on the palate, but no more than expected. Fruit and honeylike malt sweetness. Finishes with lingering grassy, floral mint and sage, and alcohol. Refreshing, at least for a barley wine. More fizzy than I expected from the appearance, but not overly so; the creamy mouthfeel works with the honey.

I liked this, particularly for the nose (not to mention the psychotropic firepower!). Had it without food, but it would be perfect for a picnic of cheese sandwiches and bocce (on foot!). This beer's worth a try, even if you're apprehensive of the style, as I am.

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Photo of MLegendre
3.79/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: A clear red/amber. My pour got absolutly no head, and lacing that disapeared so quickly it's not even worth mentioning. Looks like a glass of apple cider.

S: Wow, I can smell it before I even hold it up to my face. Very sweet and fruity, kind of like cherries.

T: First sip, my tongue is attacked by an onslaught of flavor. The hops and alcohol immediately bite the tongue before the sweet malt takes over only to be taken over by the bitter hops in the aftertaste. The hops become stronger as the drink warms. Alcohol is fairly noticeable, but not too overpowering.

M: Medium bodied, not too thick, decent amount of carbonation.

D: For such a big beer it's very easy to drink, maybe too easy. Not something I would drink too frequently, but something I would love to have again.

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

Pours a red orange in tint, pretty light looking with a slight layer of see through head.
Smells malt driven as is typical of barley-wines, however I could still sense hops, which is interesting.
It is extremely malty, I could almost taste cherry. Fruity taste made it an awesome flavor, and there was def. an alcoholic punch to it, which is to be expected in the style.
It feels thick but not too thick for the style. It coats the mouth well but I sensed a little too much carbonation for my liking.
This is very drinkable and capable of warming me up on a cold evening.

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Photo of Phocion
4.09/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 bottle. Poured into a pint glass, dark bronze color with a minimal head which quickly fades into a light lacing.

Smells predominately of citrus and hops, though light for a barley wine. The hops fades away the longer the beer sits and is gradually overpowered by the sweet malt.

Nicely balanced for an American barley wine, but not too complex. Very malty, nutty, and a butterscotch/molasses-like sweetness with a defined but mild hops finish and citrus undertones. Alcohol is evident, but fairly well hidden considering this one passes the 10% mark.

Medium-bodied with very light carbonation and a very smooth and creamy feel.

This one is probably TOO drinkable. Delicious, very smooth and with relatively little hops/alcohol taste for the style and ABV. Actually somewhat refreshing as well, all things considered. This one could be scary.

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Photo of Zorro
4.42/5  rDev +16.3%
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 pjwilson
3.87/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I don't really care for big beers in the heat, but this slight dip down to the 70's means a perfect chance to try a good american barely wine. Will this one live up to the challenge? 2006 bottle.

appearance: pours a very clear amber color. speakeasy doesn't filter their beers, and that it very obvious here, as the beer is super clear, more than any BW i've seen. decent but small head.

smell: some toasted malts, no hop bomb here. deeper sniffs reveal a strong booze element. I nice blended thing. This is reminding me a off North Coast's Old Stock a bit.

taste: quite a tasty malty barelywine. the alcohol presence is huge here, yet just blended enough with the malts to work. the malts bring to mind sheets of toffee, leaving a linger sweetness in the mouth. yet not a thick bw by any means.

mouthfeel: that typical speakeasy lightness in the beer, ie watered down. it's watery for a bw, but again, works for this beer.

drinkability: despite the light mouthfeel, this is a very slow sipper, think scotch. very slow sipper, and i'm glad it's in 12 once bottles.

A nice purchase, for a no sense bw, although, i can't see wanting more than every few months, which is no problem because i'm sure these will cellar great. frankly this tastes a little young at 5 months, i will cellar at least one another full year.

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Photo of BradBLR
2.47/5  rDev -35%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I was a little disappointed in this beer. I am a huge fan of the other SpeakEasy Brews, but this one did not cut it for me. When I poured it into the glass it had nice brownish amber color with a nice pale yellow head.

There was not much of a smell, except for the smell of alcohol. the taste was that of mostly alcohol, a slighty malty flavor foloowed up by some hops. However everything was mostly over powered by the taste of the alcohol. The mouthfeel was fair, but I thought it was failry thin for a barley wine.

Over all not one of my favorities, and I am sad because I have enjoyed all of speakeasy's other beers. I will give it another try after my next bottle has had a chance to age a little bit.

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Photo of clickpush
3.84/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour: bottled marked as 2006 vintage to tulip glass. Comes out w/ absolutely no head and hardly any lacings. It's a transparent burnt-sienna hue and has no visible carbonation.

Nose: The smell is very light and the beer requires a lot of agitation to bring it out, but what does appear is quite pleasant. Smells of vanilla cream, pears and butterscotch before drinking. After getting this beer in my mouth a sweetcorn aroma came up from the back.

Mouth: Bananas and nuts, nice and sweet, up front upon entry. Toffy-ish in the back w/ an excellent balance of sweet and bitter. Also, although it's not visible in the pour, there is a nice amount of carbonation that comes with this beer. It has an excellent, long lasting bitterness in the back of the mouth and slight tanginess on the sides of the tongue - flavors of malts and cereals. This beer, at 10.2 abv, gives a nice, warm alcohol feeling that stayed with me for at least 2 minutes after just one sip. Excellent flavor and great mouthfeel from the carbonation and warming alcohol in the mouth & throat.

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Photo of ReDave
3.01/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottle marked 2006 [probably needs to cellar a bit] Dark dark amber, almost brown. NO head, NO lace. Smell very malty. Taste somewhat sour malt and hops present, but i'm guessing that several months of lagering will help this rather unmelded taste. Somewhat drinkable now, hoping it will be very drinkabe in 6 months

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Photo of IntriqKen
4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

April, 2006
Poured dark amber in a snifter with a small amber colored head that melted to a substantial lacing for the rest of the drink.
Aroma is unusually sweet with a citrus hop and very strong alcohol scents
Mouthfeel is full and syrupy coating on your tongue but very little carbonation.
Taste is strongly citrus/piney/grapefruit hops with sweet toasted malts and dark fruits, finishing back to citrus hops and then heavy alcohol.
Right now this still feels a little rough and unbalanced. I want to cellar a couple of bottles to revisit a year from now.
June 27th, 06 revisit.
As i suspected this has mellowed with age.
Alcohol is still VERY predominate in both the aroma and taste (less in taste than aroma) but overall it has mellowed and become much more balanced.
Revisited my last bottle Aug 1st, 2006.
It has already mellowed and balanced. I hope to find more to drink and keep.
Taste is no longer raw, but rather smoothed with a touch of brown sugar. Alcohol seems almost hidden now. Good job, Speakeasy.
Ok...I admit...I'm in love.
Just kicked TASTE to 4.5 based upon current tasting.

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Photo of Crosling
3.76/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draught tonight @ Toranado in San Francisco, California. Dark burgundy in color with a small and diminishing light purple head. An aroma of honey, mild fruits (huge hints of grapes) and hops (the west coast piney, resinous, grapefruit ones....) Like mostly barley wines....I really can’t complain about the flavor. The malt backing is adequate, showing honey covered dark fruits and caramel and the hops are profound, oily and coating. A pretty tasty beer.

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Photo of DogFood11
4.37/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Copper, golden around the edges. Extremely aggressive pour is reccomended as this is stuborn but does produce a nice eggshell froth that has some oily sliding lace.

Tons of citrus hop presence. Its heavily grapefruit laden, malt presence is sweet and overmatched for the most part. Alcohol aroma is up front and personal. Barleywines are such a wide ranging style, this one is on the hoppy/fruit/citrus end of the scale. A fine offering from a kickass brewery.

10.2% abv, obviously it will pack a punch one way or another. Cool name and good idea to go with the speakeasy brand, easily identifiable and tasty.

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Photo of germaniac
4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Old Godfather
10.25% abv

I was never sure if the same one posted here on BA. The name was slightly different, the abv was lower, and all the reviews were on tap. But someone posted a bottle pic, and it's the same one that's been in my fridge for a week. That's good enough for me!

Poured into my Magnolia Strong Beer Month "balloon glass", this brew is a shiny red brown, clear for the most part, with a little bit of murkiness in it's depths.

A warm, boozy scent radiates, with notes of pineapple, of all things. A quick hop bitterness, and just the barest hint of malt to round things out.

A strong malty base thickens the hop bite of this brew. It's hoppy, but the hops get reined in just enough to avoid total bitterness overload. There are moments when the hops feel like they might take over, but that never fully happens. Instead, the malts and hops riff off each other pretty well. Really not much alcohol presence here in the taste. That's kind of worrisome- way to strong to be this drinkable. The 12oz. bottle I was "sipping" on disappeared pretty quickly after it warmed up a bit.

Maybe Old Godfather isn't the patriarch of West Coast Barleywines yet, but the next few years' editions have some interesting potential.

"Kiss the ring"

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Photo of watermelonman
4.27/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This arrived as a very dark brown with hints of red. The head was very thin but left a fair amount of lace.

The smell is strong, full of hops and sweet malt. The taste adds alcohol up front along with tons of malt, and the finish is bitter. Alcohol starts to come through as well. The mouthfeel is a little light, while drinkability is high.

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Photo of GClarkage
4.59/5  rDev +20.8%
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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Old Godfather from Speakeasy Ales & Lagers
3.8 out of 5 based on 222 ratings.
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