Old Godfather | Speakeasy Ales & Lagers

Old GodfatherOld Godfather
Liked This Beer
3.8 w/ 225 ratings
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

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 225 |  Reviews: 152
Photo of PerzentRizen
4.17/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Old Godfather is an excellent barelywine if you are an IPA lover. This ale skirts the line between barely wine and a strong Double IPA. It has a robust hop character. I poured mine into a German tulip snifter. The deep mahogany color and thick frothy head are nicely highlighted by this barely wine's clarity. The head does tend to receed, but it does maintain a prominent lace to the finish.

The Aroma is full of hop character. I can tell this is a heavily dry hopped beer. It somewhat reminds me of Old Foghorn only much less malty.

The initial taste has high acidity, some light sourness, heavy hop bitter finish. The malt, alcohol, and hops all vie for attention and the end result is a beer that is a little out of balance. I am sure that six to eighteen months down would blend these flavors into an insanely complex barelywine.

The mouthfeel is great. It has a thick blood warming heaviness in the mouth. I can definately see this as a winter warmer for those who actually have a winter to speak of (there are some good things about Mississippi).

The drinkability is only hampered by the 10.2% alcohol content. I could easily drink a few of these in an evening before bed. This is the hophead's barelywine. If you love IPA's you will love this.

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Photo of toweringpoo
4.35/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - light opaque brown color, with about a finger of custard colored head which leaves quite a bit of lacing. very appealing.

S - Sweet malty fruitiness up front with a definite piney hop background. very unique aroma. me like.

T - This beer is getting better and better. Very complex flavors here. First thing that hits is the fruitiness, grape and citrus and pine from this well hopped barleywine. Then comes the malt, roasted chocolatey notes. The finish is bitter hops with a nice coating on the back of the tongue.

M+D - The mouthfeel is a bit thin, probably thanks to the high alcohol content, but I really enjoyed sipping this beer. Certainly not a session beer but it goes down wonderfully.

This beer feels like an IPA or double IPA-Barleywine hybrid. It's quite hoppy in comparison to other barleywines I've tried. Speakeasy has been going up and up in my book. Glad they broke into Japan.


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Photo of BeerManDan
4.55/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The Best tasting barley-wine style ale this year and last. When poured, it poured a thick amber brown with a reddish hue. No foam or lace at all which is common on more of these ales as you know. The smell was of a sweet fruity nature, but the taste was just fantastic for me. Sweet, not bitter or sour. Just loads of fruit and hint of caramel. Just a great balance of malts, hops and whatever they put together to make this jewel of an ale. My favorite style for now and years to come!

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Photo of usmittymc
3.16/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a glass.

A: Hazy rosy amber in color. A reasonable off white head forms and gradually fades away to a respectable lacing.

S: Alcohol and grain. Subtle fruit aromas (plum) are present as well.

T: Smooth malt on the front tries to mask the alcohol that kicks in on the back, but doesn't do that great of a job. The alcohol is really present on the palate.

M: Good carbonation, sturdy on the palate. Slight burn from the alcohol.

D: Not a whole hell of a lot, but then again it is a barleywine. High alcohol content and flavor makes for one at most in a session. Not bad, but my curiosity of this beer is now satisfied. Won't be looking for it in the future.

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Photo of weeare138
3.97/5  rDev +4.5%
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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Photo of rye726
4.18/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This barleywine pours a rich amber and has a nice silky tan head. The nose has a good malt profile followed by a floral and fruity hop variety. Some young alcohols in there as well. The flavor is also a nice mixture of sweet malts, fruit, candy and bitter hops. Medium body feels a little light. This is a great brew that will improve in complexity with age.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
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 RixBeer
4.29/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice light chestnut color with 2 fingers of creamy tan colored head. A bit light looking for the style IMHO.

Wow that's an awesome smell of Barley and Chocolate malt intermingled with a mellow floral hop and some deep caramel. A really good smell is pouring off the head of this one!

Very smooth and rich up front but extremely balanced. Lots of up front barley, chocolate and caramel leading up to that smooth mellow floral hop finishing up the rear. Great taste! Subtle hints of alcohol throughout make this beer incredible!

This beer feels like it fits better than it looks like it would. It's smooth and rides the tongue to the throat without choking in alcohol or overwhelming in any one flavor. Fills without over-filling.

This is drinkable in a 4pk but even then I wonder how many I could have. This is a sipper. A good sipper though! So far my fave from this brewery! Good job!


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Photo of mrasskicktastic
4.24/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Deep caramel color to this viscous brew. A small head with isolated flecks of lacing.

S - Thick sweet caramel malty aroma with a lot hops - peppery and general citrus pith aromas - with some hints of vanilla.

T - A hint of vanilla, high malt profile (carmel with hints of biscuits), abv very detectable, hops - peppery and grapefruit pith. In the after taste there is mostly alcohol and peppery hops, but also some lingering caramel malt.

M - Smooth, thin, the alcohol burns a slight bit, but in a pleasant way. Very refreshing.

D - Pretty damn good. I do like barley wines a lot in general, but this one went down so fast that I had to work to get the review finished before the last drop.

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Photo of mattster
4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Opened 12 fluid ounce bottle and poured into snifter.

Poured a nice tea brown brew with very little/no head.

Smell is sweet/malty with hints of fruit and pine. Palate picks up mostly citrus notes, with a hint of earthiness. Bubbles are a bit more active than other beers I've had in this style, but as I let it come to temp, the carbonation dies down just a bit. It does burn a bit on the back palate, but what more can I expect from a 10.2% ABV? Mouth feel is full and coating.

A decent Barley Wine, although I've had a few I'd chose over this one.

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Photo of Wasatch
3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
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 russpowell
3.86/5  rDev +1.6%
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 brentk56
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
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 canucklehead
3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pretty colour with the dark deep brown tones and the big for B Wine head. The nose is hops with the trad B wine nose in the background. The beer is hoppy alright and quite drinkable fot the style. In fact the only quibble is that the beer is not big enough. The finish is quite bitter and in some circles this might be a double IPA. ( There Double IPA is way more citrus and straight hops.). The drinkability is what make this a very nice beer.

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Photo of jdoncbus
3.97/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an amber-brown. Low carbonation with a few big bubbles appearing. Moderate to low lacing leaving an oily film on glassware.

Nose is raisin, plum, and walnuts; toasted malt as well. Sweet alcohol goes along with hazelnut coffee notes. Piney and citrus hops appear.

Bittersweet malt on the palate is rounded out with a nutty and fruity hopiness. Oily mouthfeel accompanied with a very tart alcohol presence that leaves the throat and stomach warm. Mouth is left dry.

An interesting and enjoyable barleywine. It certainly packs a serious punch with the 10.2% and would recommend.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
4.54/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a nice deep amber color with a decent head to it. Was it me or did the malt profile have a nutty smell and taste to it. I did not notice to much citrus in this brew but a bigger pine. taste like the nose people and the taste is good. Big caramel and unique!! Easy drinking bwine and one of my favs to sip.

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Photo of naproxen
3.82/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

fresh squeezed oranges. I must say this is the one defining factor of both aroma and taste for me with this beer. I almost didn't review it, but I had to comment on this taste. It poured a hazy red with a big frothy head which retained for about a minute before subsiding. The nose on this bottle is all orange and alcohol. As for taste, as it comes to warn a little from the fridge the alcohol really became much more prominent. Interesting take on the barley wine.

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Photo of BretSikkink
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very attractive appearance; good inch and a half head, tan, that lasts forever. Tiny bubbles stream upwards, seeming to bolster the cap in perpetuity, even as each sip transfers some from the top to the sides of the glass in lacy rings.

Aroma gives off a top layer of hop leaf, indeterminate origin, a bit grassy and not too oily at all, as I was assuming to get. Fusel alcohols also say hi, getting a little more prominent as it warms to room temperature.

I'm slightly disappointed by the overall flavor profile and mouthfeel; that said, it's an enjoyable drink and a fine 10% abv beverage. The qualms: less of a hop profile than I'd like to see for the style, and the mouthfeel is thin. For the amount of the brew that's based on the grain side, you would guess the beer to have more heft. There's also a fairly pronounced fusel alcohol presence especially in the warm finish.

The good news: English toffee and pale malt mingle amongst the flavors you expect in a strong ale; sticky sweet caramel malt that slightly upstages the hops. These are floral primarily, seem to lend a dry character, and are noticeable if not prominent.

The drinkability is solid from the point of view that looks at abv and how long it took to drink; the malts aren't syrupy at all, and the hops don't leave the drinker looking for some cold water between sips. I only gave the drinkability the 3.5 because I wasn't necessarily racing to finish it. There is a good amount of complexity here, and it certainly shares characteristics with barleywines, but I don't find it among the best of those.

Perhaps for marketing purposes this could just be a stock ale, strong ale, something like that. It's tasty and well-crafted, but just a hair light for the billing.

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Photo of illidurit
3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Color is a muddy reddish brown that turns into brilliant copper when held to light. Good clarity, smallish off-white head. Not much lacing or retention.

Aroma is mainly citrus hops and some caramel sweetness.

Taste is a bit lopsided in favor of hops, with some orangey citrus and pine cutting through the caramel maltiness. Finish is bittersweet and dry.

Carbonation is a bit high for a barleywine, body is medium, finish is smooth and pretty clean. Not hugely complex, but really drinkable.

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Photo of barleywinebrewer
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

thanks to fartingdog for the chance to try this brew! 2007 version.

A - cloudy orange brown body with a nice creamy tan head
S - caramel malts with a strong orange / grapefruit hop note, some warming effects.
T - similar to the nose. alcohol is prominent and the brew seems to be at an inbetween point. the malts are mellowing nicely but the hops seem to be trying to hold onto a citric note but it's more orange juice than strong citric / grapefuit notes.
M - medium - medium full bodied, nicely carbonated, warming effect across the tongue.
D - drank well as it warmed to room temp.

Seemed slightly in transition as it's aging but still a nice brew. Would be interesting to try fresh and then age a few for 2-3 years for comparison. As is, I'm happy to have tried this one.

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Photo of cswhitehorse
3.65/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The Old Godfather poured a a reddish brown color with very little foam head with no lacing or retention. The aroma was high alcohol content with roasted sugars giving off a sweet smell. The taste was spicy with an overly dominant alcohol taste. In the mouth the tongue was sizzling due the dominant abv. Overall not a bad effort but wasn't as relaxing and comforting as some Barley wines have been for me.

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Photo of scottoale
4.33/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2006 Vintage

From the 12oz. brown longneck, poured into a tulip a slightly hazed orange-copper with a 1/4" beige head. Lots of micro bubbles rising to the surface held the head for several minutes leaving some tight lace behind...great looking brew.

Right off the bat is a healthy overload of malt, followed by some grassy hops and phenols too boot. Nice aroma, strong and malty.

Taste starts off sweet and chock full of malt. The malt starts to taper with with some aged hops stepping up to bat to balance the finish with some chocolaty undertones. The alcohol brings some warmth to the end. Flavor wise this stuff really reminds me of a well aged Rogue Old Crustacian...almost to a "T". Tasty for sure.

Big body with a certain creaminess, ending with a slight bit of tang, then mild warmth.

This really is a tasty Barleywine that is aged to a good state at this point....I've never had it fresh, but would definetly recommend this vintage to anyone that loves a good Barleywine.

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

Vintage 2006

Pours hazy, dark copper, with an off-white head of a half-inch. The thinnish head falls within two minutes to a partial skim coat on the surface with some errant lacework.
Aromatics are a blend of grapefruit and caramelized malt, with a pungent edge that promises bitterness.
The mouthfeel is on the full side of medium, sticky and chewy.
The pallet is quite malty with plenty of ridgid bitterness and citrus zest.
Assertively hopped and certainly along the lines of an American style barleywine.
The malt backbone is substantial, as is the bitterness, and hop flavors in general.
Alcohol is warming and the brew has a slight numbing quality on the tongue.

Still pretty brash and aggresive, but there are already some faint wet cardboard notes coming through.

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Photo of tayner
3.4/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

amber color with thin ring.

nose is sweet hops.

The taste is first a citrus/pine and almost musty hop flavor. midpalate there is a sweet malt flavor, and then an alcohol finish.

fairly substantial mouthfeel, although this one reminds me more of a strong ale rather than bw.

I think this is very drinkable for most. I am not into hops much, and although this has a definite hop presence it is not a "hop bomb" so to speak, and i had no problem finishing one 12 oz, although i couldnt take the hops, or the alcohol for that matter, in more than one bottle at a time. I probably wont ever pick one of these up off the shelf again, but it was certainly worth trying once.

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

Poured from the 12 oz. brown bottle ("Hand-Made FRESH; Small Batches"... although NO PACKAGED ON DATE). I have NO IDEA how old this barleywine is. The pour produced a perfect 1" head of creamy, off-white, extremely light beige foam that had good retainage. As it dissipated, it left some rather pronounced lacing on the glass. The liquid is a deep copper color that is clear except for the micron sized particles hanging in suspension (I LOVE PARTICLES!). They just hang there.... not sinking, not rising... teeny tiny little particles.... just big enough for the eye to see (there's a million of them!).

The nose is toasted malt with some hint of a grassy hops.

The taste: Interesting. This is a different barleywine.... more emphasis on hops that the ones I've had. The first taste that I noticed was a grassy hops, then kind of a musty, basement taste.... (don't get me wrong... I LIKE it). This actually has very little malt taste. There is just enough malt taste to provide a bit of balance. In my opinion, this is NOT on the sweet side of the spectrum. You know there is alcohol in there, but you can hardly taste any evidence of it.

Mouthfeel: Somewhat creamy and smooth, just shy of rich and full bodied. Appropriate carbonation (just a tad on the high side for my taste).

Drinkability: This is a barleywine.... I don't think the intent is to be sessioning these or pounding them back all day long. This is a sipper and, I would expect that they are usually enjoyed one-at-a-time. Nothing objectionable.... just a bit of a surprise about the lack of malt taste... maybe loses a point or two on "style"... reminds me a an American Strong Ale (like Stone: Arrogant Bastard) or even a Double IPA (like Stone: Ruination).

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Old Godfather from Speakeasy Ales & Lagers
Beer rating: 64.9% out of 100 with 225 ratings
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