Old Godfather | Speakeasy Ales & Lagers

very good
225 Ratings
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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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Ratings: 225 |  Reviews: 152
Photo of jackofclubs
3.99/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

from the bottle to a sniffter

A copper with a big fluffy white head

S apricot warm brandy malty and other fruits

T not as good as the smell the apricot was not as pronounced alchohol was present but not overpoweering

M still could be thicker medium for the style

D a good brew the smell was the best part

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Photo of strengthdoc
4.2/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured from the bottle with a hazy amber/mahogany color. The aroma was sweet and malty with an apricot character. There was a nice malty taste, but not overpoweringly sweet as with some barleywine ales. There is a mild taste of hops in the finish that quickly gives way to an alcohol warmth. You can taste the flowery bitterness which hides any alcohol in the taste.

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Photo of supercolter
4.07/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This is one of those beers that I thought was going to thoroughly out-muscle me. It was a long battle but apparently I won. Appearance was very good, nice red color with decent hops and very good lacing. Smell is great, almost scary though- very boozy with a dark fruit plum and fig yeast. Lots of tobacco and very well hopped. Taste is similar but almost too boozy at first for my liking. Only a minimal deduction in my book because the taste is very good. Also brings some spice to the table, peppery.
Mouthfeel is heavy and oily, just the way it should be. Drinkability- a big beer and definately one to session.

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Photo of Wetpaperbag
3.55/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A- A nice redish brown color. A ring of foam around the rim.

S- The smell is very potent with alcohol, gin like for the most part. There is a great rich malty/hoppy fragrance that smells good.

T- There is a strong gin hop taste to this. The hops seem faded in a dead way and not bright and crisp. A cherry taste is slight as well. The alcohol is present in the taste, almost tastes like that of absolute vodka.

M- Thin, too thin for what I like in my BW.

D- Fairly drinkable, would have enjoyed more thickness.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.25/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a darkish amber colour, with a tall frothy head of cream coloured bubbles. Body looks quite thick and viscous in the glass, not so much from the pour. Some lacing. Looks pretty good.

Big, boozy aromas on the nose - port, brandy and cognac. Lots of sweet residual sugar characters, caramel and musk. Certainly smells like a fortified wine, but not in a bad way. Jus big and rich and heavy.

Slick and creamy mouthfeel, with a big sweet alcohol presence. Lots of vinous oak characters, lots of malty rich sweetness, and even a slight alcohol afterburn. Residual bitter character, and a lingering breath of booze fumes - it seems to dare me to breathe in after taking a sip.

A fantastic barleywine. One light on the hops, and focusing just on the big, alcomoholic flavours. Certainly a sipper, but in my opinion, this is what a true barleywine should be. I've had too many that just turn up the hop volume and wind up too similar to a DIPA. Very good indeed.

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Photo of DIM
3.62/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a: This was a clear, peachy coppery color. It poured with a minmal soapy head.

s: Perfumed, alcoholic fruit aromas of raisins and plums. Muted perfumed and piny hops, plus I swear I smelled some oaky tobacco.

t: Dry, perfumed dark fruits, sweet, oaky tobacco, and a little solvent at the end.

m: Maybe a little thin and watery, with very gentle carbonation.

d: There is "002" written on the label, I wonder how old this is? Other reviewers mentioned how hoppy this is, but I didn't get much in the way of hops. This has mellowed into a pretty nice b-wine. I'll look for a chance to try a fresh one.

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Photo of bitterthebetter
4.5/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours a hazy light light brown with copper undertones and a off white head

rich barleywine aromas of malt, notes of caramel, candied sugars, piney hops, slight fruit notes of lemon and faint apple

sweet caramel malt upfront, with candied sugar, molasses, piney hops leading to lemony and grassy notes on the finish. slight biscuity malt as well on the dry, slighty spicy hop finish

medium bodied, good sweet yet not overpowering malt with caramel and bready notes dominant leading to a crisp, present, solid hoppy finish that really balances the beer out. a truly pleasant warming feeling 2 minutes after the first sip

an excellent American Barleywine. medium body, smooth, malt forward but with a sturdy enough hop backbone to provide structure at exactly the right time, and no trace of the alcohol. many flavors are also present that flow really well into each other creating a truly excellent barleywine, I know I'll be buying more

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Photo of sulldaddy
4.27/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I am sampling a cellar temp bottle poured into a snifter. The beer pours a clear golden to amber color with minimal beige hed foaming up and fading rapidly to islands and edge layer. The aroma is not robust but is complex. There is some white grape and light fruity notes, mixing wtih caramel malts, a bit of brown sugar pokes around as well. But also a solid dose of herbal and piney hops. The nose is balanced and enticing.
First sip reveals an average body with some stickiness to the texture, but not a lot. Almost no carbonation is present, the bubbles that exist are incredibly fine and barely register on the tip of my tongue.
Flavor is sweet caramel and brown sugar, lite fruit and some herbal tea like hops on the finish. No real hint of ABV anywhere, a very easy drinker for a barleywine. Well crafted and tasty, I would grab this one again.

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Photo of tigg924
3.7/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: 1/2 inch head, big carbonation, light brown, some salty looking sediment in the pour

Smell: hops, citrus, malt, and sweet fruit

Taste: the taste is complex. hops and malt dominate, but there are tastes of pine, honey dew melon, biscuity caramel, and alcohol

Mouthfeel: predominately strong, bitter, and dry...a semi-sweet finish

Drinkability: I found this to be more and more complex as I drunk it...Initially I was blown away by the hops, but after the first blast, more flavors are apparent...Not sure if I will get this again, but it is wonderfully complex.

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Photo of bbothen
3.33/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into Sam Adams high tech beer glass.

Pours a clear caramel color with a thick & frothy 1 finger deep tan colored head.

Smells of sweet malts, some chocolate, toasted aromas, some faint hops & booze.

Bready sweet malts, citric hops, noticable booziness, bitter, somewhat harsh, strong medininal taste and unbalanced to my palate.

Thick, medium bodied, moderate carbonation, lingering booziness.

The flavor profiles here are not my favorite, so this is a one and done for me. Not bad, just not to my liking so much.

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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 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 jczn
3.02/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Vintage 2006; poured into a pint glass.

A: Not much head; what there is disappears almost immediately. There was a significant amount of yeast in the bottle, some of which made it into the glass. This probably contributed to the cloudiness of the beer. Color is muddy brown with a red/orange highlights.

S: Malty, sweet aroma suggests high final gravity. No hop aroma.

T: The first sensation is the high-alpha bittering hops, followed by a malty sweetness. Not much in the way of hop flavor, but the bitterness is certainly there. It's clearly a big beer and you recognize the warmth of alcohol, but there doesn't seem to be the complexity you expect in this style -- a straghtforward beer.

M: Mouthfeel is decent; I think it may be helped by high FG.

D: Because the style is among my favorites it's a beer that I don't mind drinking. That said, it is not one of the better examples of the style. The simplicity does not suit barlywine, though I suppose it could improve with age. At this point, the beer is hop bitterness, oversweet malt flavor and not much else.

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Photo of rasta16ry
3.56/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked this one up at an unnamed location last week. I've been looking forward to it, and I decided to drink it after work tonight. Poured it into a stemless wine glass.

The color was a lot deeper red/orange than I expected. Nice smooth pour, with a creamy head, not too big but a little sticky and definitely made the beer look nice. The smell was good too, although very, very strong. Sugary at the start, but very incredibly hoppy. Some people have said that the hops are milder but I found them to be really potent.

Hops are less present in the taste, however, and there are certainly some interesting malt textures to the beer. I would call it a harsh alcohol taste though, especially when it's cold. I thought it was more the hops that were bitter at first (and they are), but there is a little too much alcohol in this taste for me, especially at only a little over 10% ABV.

Overall I would say that Old Godfather is not particularly complex, but it is a good barley wine and has some great elements. Appearance for this beer is especially good. But it just didn't do enough for me in terms of complexity or subtlety, and sometimes I find the scent a little overpowering.

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Photo of BDIMike
3.68/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very nice looking brew. A dark copper color that has a nice hazy unfiltered look to it. Also has a little bit of carbonation but a thin tan head with very good retention.
Smell has a very strong malt smell. There is a ton of dark malts giving a pruney fruit smell. Also, the alcohol is noticeable in the smell along with some good hops.
Taste falls slightly short of the great smell. There are the malt tastes immediately and the pruney fruit tastes. However the alcohol comes in strong and leaves a lingering bite that buries the hops.
Mouthfeel is slightly tainted and sharp because of the strong alcohol shot.
Drinkability is not as good as a smoother barleywine. It has a nice smell and a good taste, but not the alcohol is so strong in the beer that there isn't a ton of subtlety to the beer. It is a good beer to try, but I have had better barleywines.

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Photo of u2carew
3.73/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(A) Amber in color. Pours with a controlled head and then settles nicely.
(S) Aroma of bourbon along with figs and dates. Perhaps some molasses... very earthy.
(T) A nice balance of hops, with a slight medicinal tone.
(M) Thick, borderline "syrupy".
(D) Decent drinkability. Not an overpowering barleywine. Goes down fairly smooth.

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Photo of Reino
4.02/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- A nice copper brown body that brightens up towards the bottom of the glass blending with some yellow. An aggressive pour only yields a finger and a half of head that drops down pretty quick leaving some decent lacing. A nice looking body with a so so head. You know, that old chestnut.

Smell- Raisins, sweet bread, grape juice, and a little bit of citrus hops (oranges mostly). I think there is a tiny amount of chocolate and caramel hiding in the background The nose is very sweet and sugary.

Taste- Everything from the nose is there, but on a much smaller scale and not as dominant. There's the addition of some noticeable heat from the booze and quite tannic. There's also more citrus rind bitterness and grapefruit than I was expecting from the nose. I was kind of hoping for some of the sugariness from the nose to carry over to the hops in the taste. Doughy malt makes an appearance and keeps this beer from becoming unpleasantly sharp. Not a "Wow" flavor, but it fits the American BW bill well enough.

MF- Bitterness and some alcohol heat linger on the tongue with every sip. Luckily, this beer pretty much nails the body and carbonation for a BW. It's full bodied but with enough carbonation to keep it from being too heavy.

Drinkability-High abv and bitterness make this beer a one and done for me. It kind of reminds me of Full Sail's Old Boardhead which saddens me because I could have bought a bomber of that for 40 cents more than what I bought this 12oz for. I have no idea how fresh this bottle is so I might revisit Old Godfather when I know I can get a fresh bottle and see if the hop flavors shine more than they are in this one.

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Photo of ATLbeerDog
4.28/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a gorgeous red that is a pleasure just to look at. A frothy yellow head crowns the beer. Smells as hoppy as any high IBU DIPA with a ton of C-hops in the nose. First sip is sweet malts that quickly shift to a long powerful lip puckering bitterness. Thick clingy lacing heavily coats the glass. The 10.2% ABV is "in your face" and says hello with every sip. A very hoppy American Barley Wine that has the malt to support this hop bomb. I would love to have this on tap.

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Photo of magictrokini
3.88/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear mahogany pour with no head. Aroma is sweet with some hops. Thick mouthfeel. Taste is sweet with a lot of hops. The bleeds over into the Imperial IPA style, but with a lot of malt. Alcohol bite kind of hits you in the end, but is well masked. Nice beer, no matter what category its in.

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

12oz bottle. Clear copper color with fluffy tan head. Early the aroma is light with sweet sugary malts and pine hops. Really nice west coast style Barleywine flavor. Caramel malts are big and then pine hops hit. Just beyond midway a faint dark fruitiness emerges to add interest. Really nice drinkable flavor in this 10.2% ABV brew.

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Photo of SFLpunk
3.72/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Brown 12 oz bottle acquired in a recent trip to Wine Gallery in Brookline, MA. No freshness date.

Appearance: Not so clear as I expected. A rich mahogany, reddish brown with a thin cream-colored head that fades quickly, leaving a small lace.

Nose: Super-candy-sweet malt, dark wood, caramelized raw sugar, dark German rye, and a slight, whispering note of flowers.

Palate: A great big smack of sugar followed by a rich bitter chocolate wave, which gives way to dark caramel, and is usurped by lots and lots of hoppy bitterness (without the hop flavors though). I also think of sweet tea made with brown sugar, and that floral note is there, but I can't put my finger on it, and it's not a usual "hop floral" thing either. Carnations? And there's a plug of deep tobacco there, too.

Notes: A big, sweet, and rich barley wine. It's aggressive and a little clumsy in that the individual flavors seem distinctly defined and not blurring into one another. A good beer in the interesting manner, unique even, and I'd definitely recommend it. A pipe-smoker's barley wine, I'd say. And better than I was expecting (I'd never had contact with this brewery before...got a bottle of the IPA to review too!)

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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 SurlyDuff
3.43/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

"Some day, and that day may never come, I will call upon you to do a service for me."

What's that Don? You want me to drink this beer? Well, my pleasure!

A thick dark amber, pours almost like syrup it seems. Tan head, with sticky glass-grabbing lacing on the sides.

Huge aroma of caramel, overripe fruit, honey, and hot alcohol.

Alcohol is jsut to big in the taste, overpowering bite and medicinal hot spice. Some menthol and spice. It finishes up bitter despite a sweet honey and malt begining and middle. I liked it, but its a slow drinker and even a whole bottle was a bit much. Felt like i wasted more of my sobriety on this one than I would have liked.

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Photo of johnnieoz
3.48/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

UPDATE: Vintage confirmed: Nov 2007 on the box.

Kiss the Ring 002 written on the 12 oz bottle - is this the second 2nd bottled batch?
2007 vintage I suspect. I recall seeing another bottle with a prominent 2006 vintage sign as part of the labeling. Not so with this one.

A: Shades of crystal clear dark orange and crimson when held up to the light. The fluffier than usual for the style head is white and stays a finger thick throughout this one bottle session.

S: Fruit, fruit and then some. Mainly ripe, darker ones like plums or raisins. But there are also notes of crisp pear and apple.

T: This is definitely a sweeter, resinous barleywine though there are some hops present. In other words, not as "balanced" as ol' Bigfoot or ye Old(e) Foghorn. Still tasty, but this could be one reason why the alcohol shines through as much as it does.

M: Very chewy, very warming bordering on burning. Carbonation is excellent.

D: The sweetness and noticeable alcohol made this less drinkable than the Godfather's West Coast counterparts.

Cellaring this will be very interesting (have a couple in the beer closet)...the hops are already toned down, but if it mellows out a bit this could be quite the treat.

Pairing notes: Had this with Purple Haze goat cheese, 2 year-old cheddar and (triple cream) Brillat Savarin...Nice, but a sweet dessert or a blue cheese would likely have been even better.

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Old Godfather from Speakeasy Ales & Lagers
3.81 out of 5 based on 225 ratings.
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