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Olde School Barleywine | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

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very good
1,027 Reviews
Olde School BarleywineOlde School Barleywine

Brewed by:
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Delaware, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 15.04%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
Bold, yet smooth! Fermented with dates and figs, this bone-crushing barleywine has a unique flavor.

85 IBU
ABV varies from 13-16%.

Added by UnionMade on 10-10-2002

For Trade:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,027 | Ratings: 2,521
Photo of VashonGuy
3.86/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2014 bottle into a snifter. Not too much to look at: just a small head, that dissipates, and a bit of lacing. Pretty strong aroma of dark fruits and alcohol, almost like a hard liquor. The taste is quite sweet, dates and some orange. Curacao anyone? Unlike some folks, I don't get any hoppiness at all. The body is pretty light, for such a strong beer. Overall, I really like it, but it's not as complex as some of my favorites. I agree with those who think this is similar to quads, but it's not quite a quad either.

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Photo of captaincoffee
3.78/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

2012B that I've been keeping for a few years. Pours a muddy brownish orange with a small head that leaves a few bits of lace. Nose is syrupy fruits...dates and dark fruits...and malt syrup. Sweet and straightforward with some booze. Flavor exactly along those same lines. Not nearly as complex as I expected. Overall, and okay boozy sweet barleywine but nothing worth waiting for.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.7/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Comes out glowing orange, 1/2" off white head. Hoppy aroma, boozy, warming.

Thick viscosity to it, a little bit of woodiness from the malt, hoppiest DFH I've ever had (including the not so good 120 minute). A little bit of apple and pear citrus notes. Lots of warming alcohol in the mouthfeel, and why not at 15% its actually relatively speaking not oppressive.

Relatively straight forward for DFH, a brewery I hate on a lot, but this is a solid offering from them.

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Photo of JiminKY
4.19/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Quite a beer. Can't remember ever tasting such a booze-forward beer. Maybe it's the figs—I don't know. What I do know is DFH likes to push boundaries and experiment. This is definitely an example of that. Not necessarily what I look for in a Barleywine, but tasty and interesting as it's own style.

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Photo of MJSFS
4.17/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle dated "2012B" L: dark cloudy caramel color with a thin tan head and spotty lacing A: prune juice with a slight medicinal scent and booze background. T: caramel, dark fruits, alcohol, and a slight medicinal/band-aid note M: heavy and slightly syrupy O: nice representation of the style. this is my first Olde School, I would love to try a fresh one for comparison. *Sam Calagione himself signed this bottle for me*

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Photo of Jadjunk
3.68/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

No label information. Olde School is brewed in the style of an American Barleywine with figs & dates. Available in 12 oz. bottled 4 packs and on seasonal draft.

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle to a snifter glass.

(Appearance) Pours a frothy foam head of a creamy tan color over a deep copper caramel body with light haziness and ample, relaxed carbonation. Retention is below average and lacing is light and patchy. 3.5

(Smell) Rich bread malts, fermented fruit syrups, grain alcohol. Potency is moderate. 3.5

(Taste) Flavors of rich, viscous fruit syrups, biscuity bread malts and caramelized sugars. Lots of residual sweetness, creeping alcohol bite on the finish. 3.75

(Mouthfeel) Texture is slick, moderately viscous, lightly chewy, medium dry. Body is medium+ for the style, shy of heavy overall. Balance is syrupy sweet and boozy over bitter. Alcohol presence is moderate, and there are no off characters. 3.75

(Overall) One of the better balanced examples of an American Barleywine, with a very nice fruit syrup contributing to the richness of the malt body. It's got quite a big alcohol pinch, but the beer is highly drinkable and the alcohol presence is mild enough to warrant this ale dangerously quaffable. Ages very well. 3.75

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery's
Olde School Barleywine

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Photo of Rimbimhoot
3.87/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2012 Vintage, should have drank earlier

Taste is caramel, raisin, toffee, dates, red apple, brown sugar, molasses, light hop bitterness

Overall I would like to try this fresh

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Photo of PaleCale
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a October 2013 bottle. Pours a hazy brownish orange, reminding me of apple cider fresh from the orchard. Smell is boozy and sweet, with the dates coming through. Taste balances the sweetness with some bitterness, so that it isn't quite cloying, and the aging seems to have smoothed out some of the harsher notes. Overall, a solid barleywine that hides its 15% ABV well.

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Photo of stortore
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into a snifter, thnik it's close to 18 months old.

Pours a hazy orange color, only a quick flash of foam for a head, small amount of lacing. Smell starts with lots of figs and dates, malt, grapes, some plum, a light wine aroma. Taste is a little more malt forward, followed by figs, dates, brown sugar, some plum, raisins, a little strawberry. Good body, although lighter than typical for the style. Incredibly smooth for the high ABV.

If you love figs and dates (and I do), this one is a big winner for you. Well worth a purchase, but it is a little pricey.

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Photo of NolaHopHead
4.21/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle, 2 yrs old. Pours opaque amber color with thin white head that disappears. Sweet aroma, raisins, mild booze. Taste is similar with caramel candy sweetness and raisins/dates bring prominent. Alcohol presence in the end, especially as it warms. Medium slick mouthfeel. Good Barleywine that I would definitely have again.

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Photo of jopezu
4.75/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2011 bottle date, poured into a dogfish head ale snifter. pours a murky, ruddy mahogany with visible carbonation that produces almost no head. color darkens ruby towards the bottom. nose; brash, boozy candied fig & dates, toffee, raisin & light hop bitters (centennial & cascade?). taste; easy caramel malt followed by the nose - big figs, dates, sugar, molasses & simple mellowed earthy hops. an almost oaken bourbon barrel sweetness rings on the aftertaste along with raisin and some very slightly medicinal cherry. bitters are definitely second fiddle to the giant, alcoholic dark fruit here. medium carbonation and heavy mouthfeel. a touch syrupy, but still lively. at 15% abv, there is some unavoidable ethanol character here, and i would assume 4 years in a bottle has rounded that as well as could be expected. so, it is definitely warming, but the roving fruit and sugar profiles are worth it. this seems like an incredibly well-balanced barleywine. a big, complex sipper from dogfish head that is among the best in this style; sign me up!

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Photo of Czarkazm
3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottled 10/9/2013. Very nice crimson/blood orange color with an off white head slightly bigger than one would expect from a 15% barleywine. Very sweet smelling, overripe/fermented fruits, prunes, rum raisin bread. Super full mouth feel! The carbonation is really trying making an effort but it's not enough to cut into the candied caramel stickiness. Enjoyably cloying if enjoyed over the course of an hour or two. Flavor is very balanced, the booziness that was there has been tamed. Lots of dried dark fruits in the taste, belgian quad yeasty esters, boysenberry marmalade, and toffee. A thick syrupy treat

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Photo of Jjski
4.24/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 10/9/13
Fresh young things fail to interest me. I like them old, weathered and well experienced.

This is a mouthful of decadent tang, with ripe fruits of figs and dates. alcohol well masked by blankets of malt. Sweet, smooth, balanced

Don't turn on the lights, just keep it dark and enjoy the mature opportunity. It will surprise you: young ain't always the best

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Photo of WesMantooth
4.13/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A 10/9/13 bottle poured into a Dogfish Head snifter.

It is a murky, orange tinted mahogany color with a fairly large off white head that dissipates quickly, but does leave a fine ring.

Smells fairly sour amd musty. Some sweetness, and a little bit of alcohol.

Tastes much better than I expected. Very rich. A strong malt base with sweet caramelized brown sugar, caramel, toffee/butterscotch, a Fig Newton filling, sourness, and some floral hops. The hops are more subdued. It is definitely more on the English side of the spectrum now. There is just enough bitterness to balance out what feels like instant cavity causing sugars. The booze is really well integrated for 15%. I have had several in the 12% range that are hotter.

The body is syrupy, and sort of heavy, but very smooth.

This is an excellent beer. It is a sipper more from the richness standpont than the alcohol. If you are hesitant of American style barleywines, put one of these away for awhile.

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Photo of dro7
3.69/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Little to no head, very boozy and fruity smell. Low carbonation, think taste and feel, very sweet, yet extremely strong taste. Similar to a Belgian quad, but definitely not as carbonated and a sweeter taste. Extremely boozy smell. Overall good taste, similar to a barrel aged beer. You can only enjoy it in a small quantity because it is so thick and strong.

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Photo of rhynosorus
3.17/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Smell and taste dominated by booziness. Leaves little room for any other flavor or smell. Bottle 8 months old. Could use at least another year to mellow out

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Photo of jdcr8er
4.38/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a really good sipper. I had two in 2013. I bouth six in 2014, and now think i should have bought a case. The fig has gotten more forward after six months, balancing nicely with the sweetness. This beer is best served chilled, not cold or you will be pummeled by the 15%. Believe it. But as it warms, the booziness is subdued by the malt and hops. This beer has a dogfish exclamation point on the cap for a reason. Yowza, am i feeling good? Yes indeed.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.2/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

On tap at Half Pint in Rochester, NY.

This one pours a clear light brown, with reddish tints. There's a very small, quickly disappearing head, and no lacing.

Smells quite sweet, there's some dark fruits, a bit of caramel, and stinging booze.

The booze on this one is honestly just too much, it just gives this bitter, lingering aftertaste that's really hard to push through. The flavor of the barleywine itself, underneath, is also not interesting enough to make you forget about how hot this one is. It almost feels like this was mixed with vodka, not good. Beyond that, I get some candied, sugary dark fruits, and some very sweet caramel flavors.

This is one slow sipper for sure- the drinkability is really low. The carbonation level is pretty low.

A bit of a miss for me. I know it's fairly well-regarded, but it just didn't hit the right notes for me.

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Photo of richj1970
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz bottle into snifter.

A: Pours a clear light ruby red with one finger off white head that settled quickly to a thin ring. Some light lacing.

S: Light caramel and butterscotch mixed with some floral hops.

T: Caramel, dates, raisins, and some light floral hops. Some alcohol is apparent but easy drinking for 15% ABV.

M: Medium body and average carbonation. Finish is slightly sweet and a touch bitter.

O: A nice barleywine. I will try to grab some more when I see them.

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Photo of Borkman18
5/5  rDev +27.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

One of the best barley wines I have tasted in a while. Me and my friend always ask for it when we go to a store together. Plus, my buddy loves the high ABV barley wines so this one does the trick at 15%. Very tasty, not too malty as some barley wines tend to be.

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Photo of K-Dog
4.48/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is the 2013 version, can't find a bottle date but about a year and a half of age to it. The smell is incredible. Can hardly taste the 15 percent alcohol but it hits you pretty fast and hard. The aging has done wonders to this beer. Definitely a sipper.

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Photo of Jmc181
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Unique. Super strong! Very flavorful, with a syrup-like thick consistency. Its flavors linger in the mouth long after swallowing. Beautiful orangey-copper in the glass, with virtually no head, but a satisfying carbonation.

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Photo of Gorf_Minor
3.92/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - orange hue, poured wine like, slight carbonation at the end, thin head

Aroma - fruity, tad bit of maltiness, wine like smell

Mouthfeel - soft mouthfeel with full body. Strong Alcohol smell and feel after first drink

Taste - strong tongue burn on first sip. Sweet malt, grape must, wine-like burn on the back end. Def boozy. I can def taste that 15%.

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Photo of arizcards
3.83/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Picked up a single at TW Camelback in late November for $5.49. This is a 2014 edition but not sure what the bottling date is.

Beer poured an orangish-brown with a nice thin head upon the initial pour.

Nose starts with the barleywine trademark dark fruits. But there is a strange alcohol presence that is a bit off.

Taste is dark fruits with a dry hop finish. Alcohol is too warming.

Mouthfeel is full and very smooth.

Overall not a bad beer but definitely one that would improve with age. Unfortunately I was only able to track down one bottle.

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Photo of dmgeng
3.85/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I really enjoy DFH and I thought that a barleywine by them would be pretty good.

A - Deep orange color. Pours thick that is slightly opaque. Big white head with good lacing.

S - Strong malt character with alcohol, some hops, and some dark fruits thrown in the mix. Definitely a barleywine that is malt forward and has the muchness that you would expect from the 15% ABV tag.

T - Initially it is complex with mostly the rich malt character holding true, then the alcohol along with some light citrus, herbal hops and then fruity yeast character. There is a boozy character to this beer but with the strong caramel/malt sweetness it is tolerable. The complex fruit is a nice flavor to help balance out the rich malt. There is only a slight hop bitterness but this beer is definitely malty sweet.

M - Huge mouth-feel with higher carbonation. It is heavy on the palate and the high carbonation really tries to bring all of the flavors alive on the tongue. I think it was very good but with the alcohol heat I'm sure that age is the key to this "Olde School" brew.

Overall, a very good representation of the style. I really enjoyed what this beer had to offer but the boozy character and high mouth-feel isn't what I would prefer to drink everyday. It has everything that you would want in an American Barleywine and if you haven't tried one and can tolerate the burn then this would be a great one to try.

Glass- Snifter

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Olde School Barleywine from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
3.92 out of 5 based on 2,521 ratings.
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