Tail Wagger Barley Wine | New Glarus Brewing Company

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Tail Wagger Barley WineTail Wagger Barley Wine
Very Good
67 Ratings
Tail Wagger Barley WineTail Wagger Barley Wine

Brewed by:
New Glarus Brewing Company
Wisconsin, United States

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): not listed

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by cokes on 10-04-2005

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 67 |  Reviews: 65
Reviews by the Alström Bros:

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More User Reviews:
Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.1/5  rDev +4.1%
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.

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Photo of merlin48
4.47/5  rDev +13.5%
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.

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Photo of badbeer
4.12/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Released October 2005. This review is it with a couple years on it.

Nice copper color with an off-white head that retains around the glass and leaves bits of lacing. Smell is quite nice; giving me whiffs of pineapple, caramel, toffee, a little dark fruit, and perhaps some brown sugar. Some definite signs of oxidation setting in; some nice pineapple and caramel join in to keep this one enjoyable. Perhaps a bit past its prime, but definitely still good. Medium carbonation, medium-full body; slightly sticky on the tongue. This is still a good sipping beer that I'm enjoying whilst the snow is falling outside. If you have any left, I'd recommend you give a bottle a try soon to determine whether you want to age it any longer (depends on what flavors you like in your barley wines).

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Photo of SkinnyElvis
4.2/5  rDev +6.6%
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.

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Photo of cokes
4.3/5  rDev +9.1%
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.

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Photo of Sammy
3.84/5  rDev -2.5%
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.

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Photo of Golden2wenty1
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Round 3 of an 8 round American Barley Wine-off with expatsteve. After a couple of West Coast classics (Anchor, SN) we move on to the hometown boy from NG. Blew me away as my first barleywine, let's see how this bottle has aged almost a year later and how it stacks up against some formidable competition.

Pour: very light golden amber in appearance, clear visibility with a middling tan head.

Nose: Sweet and sour sauce (think Chinese food), caramel malt and booze vapors with a English hops finish.

Taste: bubblegum/candy/caramel sweet and then oddly soy sauce salty and vegetal with a substantial booze presence. Sugar sweet, not fruity sweet.

Feel: heavy, maple syrup-esque, with light, smooth carbonation.

Drinkability/Overall: Fresh, this stuff blew me away, but it doesn't seem to the the most graceful of agers or perhaps I was just over-impressed with my first crack at the style. Odd Asian sauce flavors are just a little distracting from any hops or malt developments. Still a solid rendition that I will return to FRESH, that is if New Glarus chooses to make it again...

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Photo of dirtylou
4.33/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

picked up a sixer at sadhanna wine shop, they had cases stacked on cases

appearance: pours a pale amber/orange color, with a mild creamy head and pretty good lacing...fairly see through...it just all around looks great in my tulip!

smell: mmm, lemony hops are in the air, alcohol...the usual barleywine odors of dark fruits are present as well

taste: pretty impressive...sour apples, fig, raisins, plums, toasty malts balanced out by some zesty hops, oak, huge alcohol warming sensation. Some english ipa's i have had have been pretty offensive but this is a pretty solid beer.

mouthfeel: medium bodied, creamy, warming

drinkability: not sure what the abv is on this one but it taste like the 10-12% neighborhood. very tasty and pretty easy to kick back

as mentioned, its pretty great how cheap this stuff is (7 or 8 bucks a 6 pack i think)....im glad this isnt an unplugged beer, maybe it will hang around for a while

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Photo of UncleFlip
4.23/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Caramel-orange, with a thin off white head.

Smell is grainy/malty...quite like the smell inside the brewery where it's made.

Taste is very pungent malt (as I would expect), with hops that hit at a decent level. A little bitter on the end.

Liquid is thick, with tight carbonation that hits right up front, but fades away.

An easy drinker, though maybe a bit thick for some. Not bad at all.

Be well

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Photo of Imbiber
3.83/5  rDev -2.8%
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.

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Photo of Beertracker
4.3/5  rDev +9.1%
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

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Photo of ClearDog
2.52/5  rDev -36%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Picked up a six-pack at Stave & Hoop in Eau Claire while on vacation with my wife. Saw this new release from New Glarus and decided to give it a try. I'm not a huge fan of barley wine so my review might not do this beer justice.

Appearance -- Poured light orangish red into my imperial pint glass. There is a lot of visible carbonation here with very small bubbles. Nice 1& a half finger of creamy head. Thin lacing.

Smell -- Spicy grains. Alcohol. Light whiff of hops. Yeast.

Taste -- I can taste salt, alcohol, grains. Kind of spicy.

Mouthfeel -- You can definitely feel the carbonation on your tongue. The alcohol warms your mouth and throat as it goes down.

Drinkabilty -- As I said, I'm not a huge fan of barley wine. I wouldn't seek this one out again, but I wouldn't not recommend it to someone who enjoys this style. I'll most likely put the other five bottles away to try again later on as they age.

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Photo of Jredner
3.88/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Rich caramel malts dominate the aroma. The color is a lusterous amber that appears to be internally lit to give it a flowing effect. Even has a un-barleywine like thumb thick head that is fairly lasting. Fore flavor is rich with caramel and honey notes. Slight hints of raisins and brown sugar appear as well. Finish is where the alcohol finally comes out in force and leaves a nice warming sensation.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.17/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle split and poured into a tasting glass. 2005 bottle - a twist-off New Glarus! Holy crap!

Big thanks to blackearth for surprising us with this one at his little tasting the other night!

A - Besides the random floaters to be expected with this much age, this was brilliantly clear and cherry mahogany in color. No head at all, it poured like syrup.

S - Tail Wagger starts with a heavily malted nose with scotch ale-like attributes. Lots of bready caramel and a tiny aroma of English-like hops. The alcohol is barely present with a sherry/port-like aroma.

T - Mellow alcohol notes with a port-like flavor spring out with light hop accents to the strong caramel and scotch ale maltiness.

M - With it's age, this is smooth and supple with a light alcohol kiss on the finish. Very nice feel.

D - At this age, this is basically a sessionable barleywine. No one is sure of the percentage, but it sure doesn't seem like any is there!

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.65/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz received back in October '08 from orbitalr0x... Badass extra Donald!! I shared this with the Boise Peeps a couple weeks ago...

Deep orange and clear on the initial pours.. but tons of yeasty sediment made it into subsequent pours.

Nose shows deep caramel... bready... almost no hops left.. some minor ... very minor citrus..

Flavor is a bit oxidized that makes me think of tawny port.. caramel and toffee (lite) .. pretty far gone... I had high hopes for a NG BW, but I figure this one was gone South long before it ever hit my basement.... I would Love to try a NG English BW again at some point... but I would never trade for this vintage.


Thanks again Donald!!! The "magical" bottle you traded me is still waiting unfortunately... The stars need to align... I have hope for early summer :-)

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Photo of blackie
3.95/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

appearance: The pour into my snifter produces a low off white/light tan head that soon recedes to a thin collar. The beer is a rich, reddish amber color.

smell: Definately a malt balanced barleywine, as an English should be. The highly sweet malt aroma gives hints of caramel, figs, toffee, and caramelized light brown sugar. The ethanol is obvious, but is not at all overwhelming, even at higher temperatures. There's a pleasing English (upon reading the bottle over, I notice that EKGs were used) type hop aroma that just compliments the malt, and does not cover up anything.

mouthfeel: The carbonation is a low medium, and the body between medium and heavy, with a slick feeling on the tongue. A sweet stickiness is left on my lips.

taste: Not as good and complex as the smell, but still just fine. Heavy malt flavors, which impart a big sweetness, are present. Hop bitterness is light but does provide some balance, and there's a tealike hop flavor. Ethanol presence is very well hidden, though I am not sure what the ABV is.

drinkability: Tasty, and pretty easy to drink, though the sweetness wears after awhile.

Smuggled a six pack of these back from Wisconsin. A good beer for a great price. The code 5255 B-112:24 is printed on the bottom of the bottle.

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Photo of bubrewer
4.33/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This crystal clear, copper colored beer is very lightly carbonated (as expected), and has suprisingly little sediment for a bottle conditioned bottle.

There is less caramel character and a slightly lighter body than many barleywines. I welcome this departure, as I find others to be too thick and sweet. Aroma is mostly alcohol, with a little pineapple and maybe plums.

I find a peaty, earthy character that may be the EKG hops that are supposed to be there, but there is definitely a resinous character of PNW hops. Bitterness is pleasantly sharp and balances the sweetness of the malt. Although this one is quite fresh, being brought straight from the brewery, I suspect it could cellar well as the hops fade and allow the malt to come forward.

Sadly, I'm a long way from where New Glarus distributes, or I would stock up on this and cellar a bunch.

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Photo of Erdinger2003
2.56/5  rDev -35%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

The beer poured out a syrupy golden brown without a lot of head.

It smelled hoppy and sweet.

The flavor was very hoppy with sweet and malty aftertones.

It felt syrupy and smooth in my mouth.
It's a nice beer to sip on once in a while, but isn't one of my favorites I will try one more of the 5 or 6 I have left again for a second opinion.

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Photo of Zorro
4.07/5  rDev +3.3%
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.

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Photo of meathookjones
4.2/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Dark reddish brown colored body with a good sized eggshell white cap of foam. Scattered speckles of lace were left around the glass. Sweet caramel and dark ripe fruit notes come out first in the aroma. There is also a nice hoppy citric bitterness going on as well. Flavor starts off with some sweet ripe dark fruit notes over some citric hop bitterness. Lightly warming alcohol with a touch of caramel. Finishes with a little alcohol and a nice bitter bite. Pretty hefty body enough so to support the flavor. Very easy drinking stuff for me. Perhaps one of the most drinkable Barley Wines I have had. Good stuff all around that is easy drinking.

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Photo of levifunk
4.08/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks BenC for opening this. We had this and NG Iced Barleywine in the same night (while bottling our iced barleywine concoction).

pours very, very cloudy. floaters everywhere. Its 5 years old, so what do you expect? after it settles down in the glass, it is still quite cloudy. looks like apple cider. smell and taste were not that strong. This beer has aged wonderfully and is the smoothest beer i've ever drank. alcohol is undetectable. all the flavors have melded into one. still a solid malt backbone though.

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Photo of MaltyGoodness
3.97/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle thanks to MUSHROOMCLOUD

Pours a hazy amber color with a small eggshell head that thins. Mild lacing on the glass.

Sweet caramel malty aroma with a nice, mild layer of hops woven in. Alcohol is noticeable as it warms up.

Sweet and rich caramel malty flavor with a noticeable amount of English hops at the finish. A bit boozy as it warms.

Full, rich body. Creamy texture. Light carbonation.

This is a very nice English barleywine. Chocked full of rich malt flavors with a nice offset of hops, I could enjoy one of these on a regular basis (especially during the cold months). I suspect that this will continue to improve as it ages...

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Photo of ppoitras
3.65/5  rDev -7.4%
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.

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Photo of pkkosmatka
4.16/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of battlekow
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A pristine dark amber, capped by a soapy, white head. Primary scent is hops, but there's also some caramel maltiness in there, some apples (and, from Skidz, pears--I like that, had never thought of it for some reason) and even some chocolate. Tastes like a hoppy old ale: some deep, dark, rotten caramel apple sweetness but with some hops thrown in, not for balance, but for contrast, if that makes sense. Tail Wagger is hoppy, but definitely a hopped English Barley Wine, rather than an American Barley Wine.

Look at me, a fucking Barley Wine expert.

A thick, syrupy mouthfeel gives Tail Wagger a great sippability, but as for drinkability, I'd only want one.

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Tail Wagger Barley Wine from New Glarus Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.94 out of 5 with 67 ratings