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
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 BEERchitect
4.3/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've had some good beers by New Glarus, but none better than this. A very complex and easy drinking Barley Wine. Very sweet and syrupy even to the nose. The viscous pour releases a film that rides the rim of the sniffer. Equally as sweet and viscous to the mouth. Ripe and over-ripened fruit flavors (fruit cake) in abundance. Molassas-like flavors with honey and cane sugar. Heavy and coating texture-nearly makes the teeth hurt. finishes very sweet and very dry with an alcoholic evaporative quality. It's everything that you don't want in other beers--and I like it that way.

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Photo of imperialking
4/5  rDev +1.5%

Photo of Wasatch
4.35/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Faro for this brew.

Poured into a chalice a slightly cloudy grapish color, nice carbonation, nice little creamy off-white head, which then left some islands and sticky lacing. The nose is sweet, malty, slightly oaky, bourbon, and a nice touch of caramel. The taste is sweet, and malty, nice touch of oak/bourbon. The mouthfeel is slightly oil, nice warming effect from the alcohol. Medium body. Very drinkable, a very tasty English Barley Wine, highly recommended.

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Photo of Duff27
3.63/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2005 bottle

A- Short lived head on a murky brown body. Tons of chunky floaties. Some lacing.

S- Kind of a funky citrus.

T- Slightly oxidized with some citrus. Only a hint of booze.

M- Adequately carbonated, medium mouthfeel.

D/O- Pretty good for 7 years old! Never had it fresh but the old negatives (which are completely acceptable here) are the floaties and oxidation. Thanks mymrnnigjckt!

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.4/5  rDev +11.7%
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.

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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 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 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 DrJay
3.85/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear, medium amber with a light tan head. Fair head retention and a bit of lace. Caramel and malt sweetness prevail in the aroma, but some american hops and alcohol provide some balance. Medium bitterness. Caramel and mild fruit to start, with hops coming in a little later. The finish is an excellent combination of honey sweetness and alcohol warmth. Solid body without being heavy, slightly creamy with medium/low carbonation. A good barleywine, not too complex, but quite drinkable. Thanks HogTownHarry!

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Photo of ZAP
4.1/5  rDev +4.1%
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.

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Photo of Bighuge
4.48/5  rDev +13.7%
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.

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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 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 tavernjef
4.13/5  rDev +4.8%
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.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.22/5  rDev +7.1%
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.

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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 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 tpd975
3.87/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sorry I have no idea who this came from. I made 12 trades in a week and this one came in during that span. Thanks though it is one I had been wanting to try for sometime.

A: Pours a cloudy copper hue with some floaties. Average sized head with little retention.

A: Nice complex aroma with hints of sweet malt. There were notes of molassess, toffee, and caramel. A touch of sweet citrus could be detetected as well. Nice in balance, but this one smells English in nature for sure.

T: Taste is spot on with the aroma. The big sweet candy malts dominate with just a splash of peach and orange juice. A touch of booze can be detected as well. This is a nice sweet malty barleywine.

M: Thick and chewy. Smooth and low on the carbonation.

D: A good representation of the style for New Glarus.

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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 Redrover
3.9/5  rDev -1%
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.

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Photo of kmpitz2
3.7/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep copper color with a complete lack of head. Nose is big sweet...I get a heavy brown sugar, light raisin and slight alcohol puffs. Flavor is very interesting. The hop bitter on the finish really detracts from this in my mind. I don't know what variety they used, but it is not working for me. The sweetness is also very prevalent, but not cloying. Its more brown sugary than anything. An okay flavor. Feel is thick with a very light carbonation. Pretty well much where I expected it. The hopping of this beer is not my favorite, though it doesn't keep the beer down too hard. An okay brew here. I'll take it over others.

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Photo of Overlord
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Many thanks to Mbrasi for the extra. I really enjoyed this. Shame it's apparently retired.

Pours a sludgy, hazy deep amber with some orange highlights. Tan foam head.

Smells like ... caramel cookie dough. Taste is a bready, yeasty, malty, brown sugary sweetness. Mmmmm... Maybe a bit of balancing grapefruit, but this is primarly malt heaven. Somehow, it doesn't become cloying.

Very nice sticky mouthfeel.

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Photo of TastyTaste
4.08/5  rDev +3.6%
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.

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Photo of clvand0
3.8/5  rDev -3.6%
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.

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