Tail Wagger Barley Wine
New Glarus Brewing Company

Tail Wagger Barley WineTail Wagger Barley Wine
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Barleywine - English
not listed
3.99 | pDev: 10.53%
New Glarus Brewing Company
Wisconsin, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Tail Wagger Barley WineTail Wagger Barley Wine
Reviews: 66 | Ratings: 68 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by TheLongBeachBum:
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TheLongBeachBum from California

4.22/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: A 12 ounce standard brown glass bottle that has a high quality cream colored cartridge type paper with a dark brown picture and lettering with the words ‘New Glarus Brewing Co. Tail Wagger’ emblazoned across it. Dark green and brass colored crown cap. Cream colored neck label that simply says ‘Barley Wine’. No strength or freshness listed.

Appearance: Exceptionally clear dark copper brown body with hints of chestnut. The first pour produces a 1” deep off-white uniform head, it looked great in my McEwan’s Scotch Ale Thistle Goblet, but sadly it all disappeared far too soon. Thin whispy head leaves only a broken halo and no lacing. However, a gentle swirl reveals a sturdy conditioning.

Nose: Biscuit malts with some oily pine driven hops. Has a light fruity essence with some toffee and butterscotch. A little medicinal.

Taste: Toasted malts with some toffee and alcoholic caramel lay low but the hops really take this to a new level. Touches of sweetness never take control. Warming at first, especially on the tongue, has a thermo swallow that gently raises the temperature in the epiglottis. The swallow also reveals a pungent hoppy alcohol vapor which rises back up the throat and nose to warm the nostrils. Even the burps

Mouthfeel: Warming effervescent and smooth. The alcohol dominates a little too much but the high oily bitterness rescues and balances the high octane nicely.

Drinkability: Has a little too much heat and strength to take a full six pack down, but I could manage a few bottles and do some damage with a few of these for sure.

Overall: I chose my McEwan’s Scotch Ale goblet by accident, yet it seems suited for this one has some warming traits from a good Scotch Ale mixed with the classic aspects of a very English Barley Wine in its profile. Damn tasty and bloody drinkable.

As usual, I have to thank my personal New Glarus supplier BigHuge for this one.

Nov 25, 2005
More User Reviews:
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ZAP from Minnesota

4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Hell of a tasty BW that borders close to DIPA range....not a big BW by any means...I'm amazed at how clean and clear this looks....did they lager a f'n BW? Great nose too..biscuity malt and some british stye hops...also a slight piney element on the nose.

Taste is unique...you can taste the Golden Promise..also some toffee....nice english style hop flavor....I like East Kent Goldings and they fit nicely with the malt load...

More of an English style BW...not real big but tasty...great value too...I keep pulling these out of the cellar as a night cap one by one and drinking them at room temperature and they are fantastic..

I drank it side by side with old Ho and this one falls considerably short but that is the benchmark IMHO. This is enjoyable in its own way.

Apr 22, 2006
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Bighuge from Minnesota

4.48/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Crystal clear copper appearance. Thin off white head leaves sparse lace. CO2 bubbles surface at a slow to moderate rate. The aroma leads one to believe that this will be a hop-driven barleywine. Greasy, oily hop resins. Pungent cannabis. Smoky and tarry. Pretty nice. When the nectar finally hits the tongue, you find out there's more to this beer than hops. The malts are very sturdy and quite rich. Golden Promise was used quite extensively for this one and the richness comes through. The hops still contribute on the palate, but less of the pungent, oily character and more of the herbal, flowery and citric variety. Alcohol is noticeable, moreso on the aftertaste, but in reality is hidden quite nicely during the drinking. The richness of the malts agree with??? cover up?? The alcohol that is present. For $6.29 a six pack, you just cannot go wrong with this one. Should age for 5 or more years gracefully as well.

Oct 29, 2005
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cokes from Wisconsin

4.3/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Glassy cider bronze with a soiled butter creme froth.
Odored of wet iron, lemon-herb cough drops, toffee, stale muffins, and blood.
Begins with a deep and pervasive toffee malt magma. In tow are caramel and butterscotch, and wisps of gummy fruitiness via golden raisins, peaches, and starfruit. Semi-drier and breadier in the middle with a quick mouth-filling sponge of buttery French bread. At this point, malt ensures that it is the featured back here. But hopping is by no means minor, full of wintergreen, rust, raw grass, lemonpepper, and eucalyptus. Some wandering brown sugar coated pears linger past the swallow.
The body is medium-full with a shy carbonation. Given what it contains, it remains thoroughly consumable.
This gives Fuller's Vintage a run for its money, and given that a 6pack of Tail Wagger goes for about the same price as a single of Vintage, the choice is easy.

Update: 2+ years later, and my supply is dwindling. It's aging beautifully. It's more or less the same, with deeper Scotch-like malt and booze nuances. I can't believe that this sold for less than $7 a sixer (and less than $6 at a couple places, during specials). I bought 2 cases and now I feel stupid for not securing more. This was great fresh, is great after a couple years, and will go strong for the foreseeable furture.

Oct 05, 2005
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TastyTaste from Minnesota

4.08/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Medium dark brown color, small tan head that lingers as a 1/8" solid layer.

Smell: Sweet malt, raisin, brown sugar.

Taste: Smooth and warming, a lot of alcohol, and a good shot malt sweetness. Hops present and add a lingering fruitiness. Not bad.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and creamy, very full. Alsohol is warming. How a barleywine should be.

Drinkablity: $6.99 for the 6 pack. Unheard of for a barleywine. For the money, it is very good, although against the style it has some flaws and isn't the greatest.

Dec 20, 2005
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feloniousmonk from Minnesota

4.4/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Clear crimson coloration, thick, creamy head, slow to settle, very impressive apprearance. Lovely.

Aroma is sweet and rosey, notes of cherries, berries, grape, apple, melon,...wide open and gorgeous...big malty feel, voluminous, velvety, viscissitudinous... (??)

Delciousness from the start, sweet and smooth, creamy and bold. Fruity factor continues from the nose, blended with blissfull, huge malt. Golden Promis. Little hops,(East Kent Goldings) and creeping alcohol content (once again, New Glarus doesn't tell us, so we're left guessing.)

Dynamic flavor, mellow mouthfeel, classy, sophisticated taste, overall a genius beer, leaving me wishing I had a case to last me a year or three, not just the one bottle for tonight.

I like this quite a bit. I'd like to like it more. I'll have to lovingly indulge these last few ounces in the glass. And hope I get to try another, someday.

Most impressive.

Dec 09, 2005
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Redrover from Wisconsin

3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz brown longneck with no freshness dating.

The beer is copper with a beige head. Looks a lot like an Oktoberfest.

Rich toffee, sugar and malt nose. Almost reminds me a bit of kayro syrup. The alcohol hovers in the background.

The taste is very malty with toasted grains. The beer is sweet with minimal hoping. I get caramel, tootsie roll, raisins and alcohol. The alcohol is not harsh or overpowering, but you can’t miss it. Slightly thick mouth that helps the taste linger.

This reminds me a bit of a winter warmer. One an evening is plenty, but it is a beer you may want to revisit once in a while.

Aug 26, 2006
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tavernjef from Minnesota

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

Very clear pumpkin tinted copper color with a smallish softly firmed cap of light tan foam. Capping slips away quickly to a thin collaring and thinnly placed strings of minimal consistency.

Aroma is light to the nose with some chewy/gummy fruits that are melonish and dull. Some light notions of toffee, pear, apple, mint, and a whisp of medicinal cherry cough drops. Gains undesirably strong alcoholic phenols as it sits.

Taste is semi fruity with a sliding toffeish backing. Brimming warm tones abound and around a soothing malt profile of butterscotch, toffee, and lighter mixing raisin and fig. Delicately chewy in the fruits, doughy, breadish, and fulfillingly long in the finish with durably softened warmth, gradually darkening toffee, and pinches of brown sugar and oily mint. Nice finisher. Not much hops noticed here as the malts stay true to the English style. Perhaps a bit of tobacco breeze in the background under the mint. Akin to a great Scotch Ale without much cloying action. Quite nice.

Feel is smooth, silky, and warm. Very tender to the palate. Welcoming and nearly full, especially from midway to finish. Has a great crescendo in character. A very excellent sipper that grows and grows on ya. A definate showcase of the English variety Barleywine.

Nov 11, 2005
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assurbanipaul from Texas

4.08/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a rather light brown with a decent but thin head. Aroma is rich and sweet, lots of malt with a little candied fruit.

Taste is more rich, sweet malt. Nice woody flavors, lots of butterscotch toffee and caramel. Doesn't necessarily improve as it warms up, one of the few barleywines that I enjoyed more cold. No flavors of alcohol but some mild hop bitterness shows up in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is medium, not too heavy, extremely drinkable. Not terribly complex for a barleywine, not real distinctive, but quite enjoyable. I would buy this again if I could.

Aug 10, 2006
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clvand0 from Kentucky

3.8/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an amber color with a very small head that falls fast and doesn't leave any lacing on the glass. The aroma is very malty with some English hops and sweetness. The flavor is sweet and malty with a toasted character, but there is something odd about the flavor that I can't put words to. It leaves a really strange flavor on the palate. The body is moderate and the drinkability is ok, but there's just something about the flavor that doesn't do it for me.

Dec 12, 2005
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lampkins from Wisconsin

3.3/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is probably my least favorite beer still brewed by New Glarus. Beer had a decent aroma of sweet malt and very little or now head to this beer. Could not get past the sharp alcohol in this beer. Even when I let it sit a bit, it did not improve with time. Very dissapointed.

Feb 25, 2006
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jahred from Illinois

4.17/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Wow - what a cheap ($10!) 6-pack of a barley wine from New Glarus? I hope this is good and worth a trip back to Madison.

Pours a dark reddish copper color a with thick off-white foam. Lots of pretty bubbles are rising to the top of the glass, despite the minimal carbonation of the beer.

I raiste my nose to the glass, and I'm greeted with fantastic aromas of fresh english hops. Grass, hay and expectations of bitterness. Honey and bready biscuit aromas round out the scent. Next I put the beer to my lips - chewy biscuit flavors greet me with quite a big hoppy
punch (East Kent Goldings?) in the aftertaste. The pleasant bitterness does well to balance the sweet malt flavors. The beer is still very fresh, but already quite tasty. Makes me appreciate the Golden Promise malt used for the beer (so sez the bottle). Gives this some time to mellow and will be even better. Now if only I had the willpower to save some.

beer is warming - caramel notes, lots of pretty white lace on glass

Dec 11, 2005
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rajendra82 from Georgia

3.91/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Many thanks go to orbitalr0x for this Wisconsin Barley Wine. The beer came in a brown, 12 oz. bottle, with a plain but informative label. When poured into a wine glass, the beer looked anything but plain. The body was deep reddish amber in color, and the ample carbonation resulted in the formation of a one finger thick persistent head.

The aroma was sweet and rich, and was laced with a latent spicy smell due to the hops. The taste was malty and smooth, and was backed by a good helping of peppery hops, and a little touch of diacetyl. Alcohol was well hidden and caused very little burn. Carbonation was active and a little prickly.

I found this to be a very enjoyable English Barley Wine. Very appropriate as a late night sipper, which is how I enjoyed it.

May 19, 2006
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merlin48 from Kentucky

4.47/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle pours a clear copper body with a creamy, one finger tan head. Retention is only fair, but leaves attractive patches of lace behind.

Complex aroma opens with an English style maltiness. Waves of malty molasses, toffee, and caramel please the nose. Some sweet and fruity pineapple and orange marmalade add to the delight. Hops lend an earthy and herbal note.

Mouthfeel is thick, creamy, and chewy. Low carbonation adds to the smoothness. A bit of warming alcohol, as expected.

Taste features toffee, rum, and tropical fruits marinaded in Calvados apple brandy. Earthy hops bitterness compliments the serious malt complexity.

Very tasty and well balanced. An ideal sipper that is an excellent example of an English style barleywine. Thanks to kmpitz2 for the sample.

Nov 28, 2005
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Imbiber from New York

3.83/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From what must be a much-travelled bottle (thanks Chuck from VA!).

Pale amber, minimal but sufficient head, carbonation decent. Aroma is unusual, prunes? Vine fruits anyway, with a little mustiness - interesting and a little perplexing. Not bad though.

Taste is a little harsh at first though enjoyable: malt, hops and fruit notes collide somewhat. The finish is more restrained and is even approaching smooth.

Good beer, but I think would be better with a little age on it.

Jul 24, 2006
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Skidz from Wisconsin

4.43/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out bright golden amber and sits a brilliant ruby tinted amber with a large, creamy off-white head. Absolutely beaming through the glass. Head fades to a thin skimming with a few minor lacings.

Smells of toasted figs and plump, golden raisins. Drooping pears and spiced apples. Snags of sharp, lemon tinged, grassy hues produced through the hoppy background.

Tastes moderately sweet up front, depths of toasted grains throughout. Browning apples mix with dates and caramel soaked raisins. Sweetness dissolves into a rush of spicy, herbal hops giving way to pepper and bright leafy flavors. Alcohol only minorly noted in the moderately bitter finish.

Smooth, creamy and fluid body pronounced with fine and delicate carbonation that takes you to its limits. Body can be described as medium-full.

Not only am I impressed with the ease and drinkability of this beer, but I'm also impressed with its affordablility. When most barleywines are thrown out for special releases and given an elevated price-standing, this blows them all away on those regards alone. A case will cost you less than $30. Why not enjoy as much of this as you can, it certain is worth enjoying.

Oct 07, 2005
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ALESwhatCURESya from Wisconsin

3.8/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer should simply score a 100 just because Dan and Deb at New Glarus released this in their regular year-round line up at regular price. Anyways, pours beautiful, clear rust color with thin, but strong white head that clings very nicely. The aroma is fruity with a stick, resinous smell. The taste is fronted with a huge dose of alcohol sweetness and backed with a load of flavoring and bittering hops. The mouthfeel is remarkably smooth for such a strong brew. The alcohol is definately present, but not cloying. Careful with this one, it is surpriningly addicting and can floor you with just one bottle. I have already went through a case of this and it was just recently released. This beer could age extremely well. I will be putting a few sixers of this away for a few years.

Nov 23, 2005
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Sammy from Canada (ON)

3.84/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Malt whiskey appearance with minimal head. Super barleywine and malt aroma. Alcohol impact on tongue. Not complex taste, but decent mouthfeel. Warming alcohol. Honey aftertaste. A good barleywine while young. Thanks HogTown Harry. Another good New Glarus.

Mar 22, 2006
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Zorro from California

4.07/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 Oz bottle sampled through the efforts of dirtylou and The No BS BIF.

Pours a cloudy amber bordering on red beer with a fast fading light brown head.

Smell is fruity and mildly spicy with some faint apples and cinnamon aroma. Brown sugar and faint tea scents. As this warms the smell gets more spicy and less fruity.

Taste is fruity and quite full of hops in the first taste. This is a little sweet with lots of tropical fruit flavor to it mostly pineapple. Prickly and spicy on the tongue like ginger or black pepper. Noticeably bitter hops in the after taste a lot like SN Bigfoot; this is a good thing. Hops are not over done here they are just about right.

Mouthfeel is good.

Easy to drink barley wine here that is a bit similar to SN Bigfoot. Not nearly as harsh as Bigfoot in the hop level, this one is just about right. A beer I do recommend.

May 21, 2006
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Mdog from Minnesota

3.61/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Very nice amber with lots of carbonation and a good head.

Smell: Raisins, caramel, alcohol.

Taste: Very malty, caramel and fruits, not a lot of bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Not too heavy for a barleywine.

Drinkability: This is somewhat strong or at least tastes like it, so probably shouldn't have more than a couple.

This is a pretty decent barleywine. Definitely not as hopped-up as many American examples, but still a good beer. And a really good value at $6.99 a six-pack!

Jul 27, 2006
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ppoitras from Massachusetts

3.65/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle obtained via trade with kmpitz2. Thanks for the opportunity...

Poured into a Rapscallion glass, formed 1/2" beige head over the clear dark copper brew. Head lasts quite nicely, especially for the style, and lacing is average. Aroma is vinous and sweet, with alcohol apparent, and the first whiff even seemed to include some green hops. Taste is sweet and syrupy to a fault upfront, and changes to fruity alcohol for the remainder. Mouthfeel is a bit cloying on this one, overplaying both sweetness and alcohol, and drinkabilty is limited in the same manner. Not a bad BW, just a bit voer the top for me.

Dec 05, 2005
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beveragecaptain from New Jersey

3.75/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle. This beer pours out a clear, light brown color with a small head. The aroma is hoppy, spicy, and a little salty. Some fruit in the aroma, but not the dark fruit of most barleywines. This is more like apples. Caramel flavor with more fruit. Hops come in in the middle. Unlike most barleywines, this doesn't have a strong finish. Mouthfeel is thin for the style. This is an interesting barleywine, but it seems to lack something.

Oct 21, 2005
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SkinnyElvis from Pennsylvania

4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to jj21 for this brew off my Wants. Bottle was brewed in the Fall of 05 (thanks to jj21 for the info!). Pours with a thin head. Has a malty and slightly boozy smell. The taste is not boozy at all IMO & is a very nice balance of malt with some sweetness. Mouthfeel is smooth & it is a drinkable brew. I will drink this slowly since this is an excellent English barleywine.

Highly recommended.

Oct 24, 2007
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Beertracker from Oklahoma

4.3/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

New Glarus Tail Wagger Barley Wine is best served at cellar temperatures (50-55F) from a brandy or cognac snifter. Tail Wagger pours up quickly smart with ample carbonation creating a medium, cream colored head that collapses rather quickly under the alcoholic weight. This deep copper-orangish amber colored barleywine is very bright & appealing to the senses. The aroma is definitely tilted to the caramel-sweet malty side, but there's plenty of fruitiness e.g. dried apricots, Seville orange, lemon meringue pie, etc... & some signature East Kent Golding floral hop character that comes through all of that nougaty malt. The flavor starts-off just as fruity with plenty of sweet-bread character and lots of rich toffee & caramel notes along with a cashew nuttiness. The maltiness has a clearly defined cracker-like toastiness that adds an extra dimension to this grain fed monster. There's a modest amount of underlying bitterness that seems to evenly keep check and prevents this one from being too cloying. The finish is smooth & warming with a spiced rum-laced kick. This full-bodied English-style barleywine is a rich & chewy, caramel dominated treat that has a suppleness that's sure to keep any sophisticated palate entertained and keep any old dog's "tail wagging" for more. Definitely worth seeking out if you're a malt lover!

CHEERS! Beertracker

Nov 13, 2005
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DaPeculierDane from Wisconsin

4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A few notes before reviewing: Tuck a couple of these away in your cellar for 3 years and they will make your mouth drool wildly with pleasure when you open them up.

Besure not to drink it too cold. This one really needs to warm to let out its full aroma.

Only $6.99 a sixer!!! Holy crap dude.

Appearance: Deep glistening amber. Off white – yellow head. Thin, short lived. No lacing.

Smell: Order a Stoli Martini extra dry, up with a lime. Drink 90% of it. As the last sip warms to room temperature and the lime begins to come apart in the last grams of vodka and H2O, stick your nose to the glass and inhale deeply. The scent that you get is very close to the smell of this barley wine.

As I explore the wine a bit more I pick up definite hints of something that I couldn’t make out until I read Cokes’ review…wet iron, that’s absolutely it. Also, lemon cough drop, raisons, and figs.

Taste: Sweet up front with immediate hits of fermented grains or potatoes. This guy tastes a bit like vodka too. It then gives way to figs, then pepper and leafy hops. Then the alcohol comes out pretty strong and dry in the finish, slightly bitter.

Mouthfeel: Like warm, watered down vodka. Warming and drying. Camouflaged carbonation that isn’t visually so apparent but really does a number to the lips and tip of the tongue.

Drinkability: Considering an abv above 10%, not to bad. If I was in the mood for some hard stuff, I down quite a bit of this. In most situations, however, I wouldn’t want more than one. I will reiterate that at roughly a buck a beer, this is insanely affordable so I might find myself drinking more than I think.

Oct 10, 2005
Tail Wagger Barley Wine from New Glarus Brewing Company
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 68 ratings