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 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 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 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 ALESwhatCURESya
3.8/5  rDev -3.6%
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.

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Photo of OldSock
3.22/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance – 12 oz bottle obtained in a trade from Thomashardy. Poured into my pint glass it has a small soda like head that dissipates almost instantly leaving no lacing. It’s a deep golden amber beer with rapid carbonation rising through it.

Smell – Slightly fruity, with some earthy hoppy in the aroma. There is just a hint of alcohol along with lots of caramel sweetness.

Taste – Rough bitterness on the tongue with heaps of sugar sweetness. Alcohol is faint, but present. The fruitiness is weak as well. The malt is mostly just caramel, maybe there is some toasted flavors if I concentrate hard enough. There just is not much going on in the flavor of this beer, the label indicate that this is a straight golden promise/ekg beer, so hopefully the complexity will develop as this beer ages.

Mouthfeel – Syrupy with low carbonation.

Drinkability and Notes – This is a young beer, but it shows some potential. It does not look like it is bottle conditioned, but the label claims it is and in addition the large amount of alcohol means that this should age well, smoothing out and gaining complexity. I look forward to trying and reviewing another bottle of this in the future.

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Photo of DrZarkov
2.36/5  rDev -40.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

This was really quite a strange brew. It looked and smelled alright, but had an overpowering taste. Something like burnt or rotten barley was present in its taste. I have liked most of the New Glarus Brewing Co. beers I have tried, but this one was certainly not up to par with the rest of their brews.

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

Surprized to find this beer at a grocery store just a couple of blocks from the brewery in New Glarus. Only $6.49 for a six-pack which is amazing for a barley wine!

Immense ivory colored head with massive lace. Head has lots of staying power. Intense amber-gold color and is crystal clear.

Definite hoppy aromas mixed with grain. Very pleasant and a bit unexpected in a barley wine.

The flavor is not overpowering. Perhaps a bit under-hopped for the huge amount of malt flavor. Nicely sweet for this type of beer. After taste of raisins, caramel, and a bit of sour cherry.

Easy sipping beer; very nice for tonight (into the twenties).

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Photo of beveragecaptain
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%
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.

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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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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 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 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 Skidz
4.43/5  rDev +12.4%
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.

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