Olde School Barleywine
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

Olde School BarleywineOlde School Barleywine
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Barleywine - American
Ranked #95
Ranked #6,635
4.02 | pDev: 12.19%
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Delaware, United States
Olde School BarleywineOlde School Barleywine
Notes: Bold, yet smooth! Fermented with dates and figs, this bone-crushing barleywine has a unique flavor.

85 IBU
ABV varies from 13-16%.
Reviews: 1,128 | Ratings: 2,765 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of SHODriver
SHODriver from North Carolina

4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured into a snifter to a deep golden brown which is topped by a dense and slightly rocky cream colored head which fades slowly to a collar around the glass with minimal lacing
S: Smells of faded piny hops, toffee, caramel, and brown sugar
T: Taste is faded piney hops which gives way to caramel, dates, brown sugar and toffee, hints of toasted malts as well along with just enough bitterness to keep things somewhat balanced. On the swallow there's a bit of alcohol before the piney hops come back with some slight earthy notes and some muted lingering sweetness comes in with notes of caramel and brown sugar
M: This beer has a body which is somewhat syrupy and on the heavier side of medium. Carbonation is fairly soft and muted, but it is there while the beer has a slightly drying finish
O: Overall this is a pretty solid beer. Really nice flavors and some solid complexity. I've been sitting on this bottle for about four years and it seems to have held up well aside from the finish being a little muted.

Jun 30, 2021
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Sigmund from Norway

3.31/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

12 fl. oz. bottle, thanks to my son Steinar. Orange to amber coloured beer, clear first, hazy when the sediment is poured in the end. Big off-white head with an orangey hue. Strong aroma of malts with vinous notes, oak, alcohol and molasses. The flavour is intensely sweet and alcoholic, notes of oak and figs, with a certain peppery and hoppy bite which nearly disappears behind the alcoholic sweetness. You don’t expect a 15% beer to be "easy drinking", and this one certainly isn’t. Too sweet for me, still quite impressive. Would probably improve by aging.

Apr 30, 2021
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Viaduck from California

4.24/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The bottle was dated 2013 & was part of the 2021 Extreme Beer Fest. I could never wait 8 years for a beer to age. Pours a pretty shade of brown that is darker towards the bottom, missing a head. Aroma: caramel. Sweet taste. Flavors: Brown sugar, molasses, figs, caramel, boozy. This was the last beer tasted & at 15% I really enjoyed it but I forgot to finish my review.

Mar 19, 2021
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vectornut from California

4.3/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Starts off with an amazing color and a really appetizing aroma. Taking a sip reveals a delicious, complex flavor and leaves a pleasant tingling sensation in my mouth.

Mar 12, 2021
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Siriusfisherman from Vermont

4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A really good barleywine, the way the fig and dates integrate into the flavor profile is wonderful. The beer was a tad sweet, but at 15% that is to be expected. One of the stars of the '21 extreme beer fest.

Mar 10, 2021
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puck1225 from Texas

4.21/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Last of my Extreme Beer Fest beers! 2013 vintage.

Poured from a bottle into a tulip glass. Murky golden brown color with a decent initial head and lacing. Pleasant and taste smell of toffee and butterscotch. Nice dark fruit taste. Earthy booziness. Some residual metallic taste and a bit of residue. Feel a bit thin but overall a good treat!

Feb 17, 2021
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Weisenbeer from Ohio

4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not my beer style but WOW I'm glad I tried this one ... I received and consumed the 2012 vintage as part of Extreme Beer Fest 2021 ... Bravo and thank you!

Feb 10, 2021
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mmalley from Massachusetts

4.18/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2011 vintage

so thankful for BA, halftime and dogfish head + others for putting together this EBF.

this was for sure the best beer out of my box, so excited to try the 2011 and it didnt disappoint. So smooth.

Feb 08, 2021
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socon67 from New York

4.22/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

2014 vintage. Caramel color. Minimal head. Smells like a tawny port. Some notes from the wood aging, some english toffee. The fig flavor only came to me as it warmed. Seemed like a fig newton that has been sitting out a while. Finish was subdued, with a bit of warming that gave a hint of a chewy tobacco vibe.

So thankful to the EBF team, and to Sam for opening the cellar for this. It was appreciated.

Feb 08, 2021
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devo1980 from Pennsylvania

4.72/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Soooo smooth!! 2011 vintage! Wow! Maybe the best barley wine I've ever had! Strong sweetness melody with high ABV. Yum! I can't believe how smooth!

Feb 07, 2021
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BFCarr from New Jersey

4.26/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2017 vintage, part of EBF. Pours deep copper with virtually no head. Aroma is dark fruit and alcohol. Taste is medium dark fruit with a pleasant sweetness. Taste evolves as it warms. Feels is outstanding, silky and coating, no alcohol burn at all. Overall, it’s hard to believe it’s 15%, it is and it’s delicious

Feb 07, 2021
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KRug from Massachusetts

4.12/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2014 vintage, bottled 10/27/14, part of EBF Cyberspace 2021

Anddddd here we are, the 6th and final round of EBF 2021. I have wanted to try this beer since I got into the craft beer community about 3 years ago. I’m excited that the vintage I received is a bit older, but I would have been thrilled with any vintage I received. Let’s get into it

Pours a hazy, ruddy copper/brown with a finger of off white head that fades to a ring and leaves minimal lacing

Good lord, even after 7ish years this beer is so sweet in the nose. I’m picking up on aromas of molasses, sherry, candied pecans, marmalade, cacao powder, and medjool dates

Not quite as sweet in the taste. On the front end I taste some booze, marmalade, and sweet malt. The swallow brings notes of dried figs, brown sugar, pecans, sherry, and a hint of oak

A medium full body pairs with aggressive carbonation (especially for a barleywine) resulting in smooth, yet hot beer. Finishes mostly dry but with a nice sweetness

Hot damn, what a way to end my first EBF. I’m eternally grateful to this community. Great beer, great people. Cheers BA!!

Feb 07, 2021
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fostwal from New Jersey

4.83/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

EBF R2. Pours a dark ruby (held to light) with a white head that fades quickly. The cherry and stone fruit scents are amazing. I could just sniff the glass all night. Smooth sweetness with a nice warming finish. Very dynamic flavors and finish beer. Nightcap beer that should be savored.

Feb 07, 2021
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RbrtGroves from Idaho

4.11/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A quintessential barleywine. Both smell and taste are indicative of a generic barleywine, but nothing sets it apart and nothing drags it down. At 15%, the drink is a great sipper (chilled or slightly warm.)

Feb 07, 2021
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thebeers from Pennsylvania

4.18/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours very dark orange-brown with a thin, short-lived tan head that quickly settles into a lasting crown.

Sweet aroma with fig, caramel and leather.

Figs, dates, raisins, caramel, vanilla, and leather in the taste. Really nice.

Thick, creamy, chewy feel with nice carbonation.

Really great mix of fruity sweetness with nice malt qualities. 2012 bottling.

Feb 07, 2021
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cyclonece09 from Wisconsin

4.47/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Part of the 2021 BeerAdvocate Virtual Extreme Beer Fest. 2013 Vintage poured from a bottle into a tulip. Pours deep red with a small off white head. Smells of raisins, fruit, and grapes. Tastes of grapes with nice bright fruit notes and slight raisin note. Beer is a sipper and has great carbonation, full bodied. Overall, a superb beer.

Feb 07, 2021
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ovaltine from Indiana

4.5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a dark copper color and is nearly clear. Given its age (bottled October 2013), it’s no surprise the head is very minimal. What a gorgeous beer this is.

The nose is toffee and caramel, a significant booze note - and oh the stone fruit notes from those dates and figs. I am loving this and I haven’t taken the first sip.

The taste follows the nose in lockstep, and is a revelation as the beer warms - so many layers of deliciousness. A perfect barleywine, IMHO, I need another bottle to age and see how it evolves.

Feb 07, 2021
Photo of Nass
Nass from Florida

4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Vintage 2014

The pour is a nice gingerbread color. The taste is a little boozy rum raisin, some dates & figs, toffee, & tobacco. In addition to, the beer is a little musty & sour probaby from those dates and figs aged in there for so long. The 15% abv could have been hidden a little better it leaves some heat in the chest. Oh well, at least now I can say that I've had a beer with dates & figs added to it. Cheers! A-

Jan 10, 2020
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RallyRocks from New Hampshire

4.11/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2009 bottle from a local liquor store, split with the Mrs into two snifters. Dark burned-caramel brown, smell and taste are heavy raisins and molasses. No booze evident at all - I guess that's what 10 years does. Impressively smooth, light, and very sweet though lacking in some complexity that would push it over the edge for me.

Dec 08, 2019
Photo of Msp004
Msp004 from New York

4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

102714 bottle date.
Caramel Brown color , minimal head with some lacing.
Nose of apricot, tangy fruits and caramel or rum undertones and hops.
Mouth is very dry, pitted fruits at the forefront with a alcohol sting on the tounge but the 15% ABV is hidden very well and this is very drinkable
Ageing definitely mellows it out and overall it is a very interesting and enjoyable brew.

Dec 05, 2019
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GuyFawkes from Illinois

3.75/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2012 vintage; drank 1/18/17 @ the Yarchives.

Opaque purple/brown appearance.

A rough pour yielded a small khaki head; decent lace.

Raspberry, plum, baking soda & mild leather notes in the nose.

Smooth, thick mouthfeel.

Raspberry, caramel & baking soda flavors up front; raisin & leather notes on the finish. Almost no booze heat.

Robust & drinkable; the baking soda vibes kept this from barleywine perfection.

Jun 19, 2019
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abnormal from Alaska

4.09/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Bottled on 1/18/17

Appearance: Poured into snifter. Murky ruby/maroon in color, a bit of faded orange peaks through when held up to light. Vigorous pour yields a thin cap of tan foam which quickly dissolves. No lacing. Alcohol legs are plentiful.

Aroma: Loads of brown sugar, raisins and dried cherries. Hidden in the back is some apricot. Not a whole lot of grain, really heavy on the dried fruit. Alcohol is up front in the aroma, but that's what I want and expect in a 15% barleywine.

Taste: Rich, sweet, boozy, dry. A whole lot going on here. Up front I get loads of sugary sweet dates. Figs become more apparent midway and make up the majority of the body along with a heavy dose of brown sugar. Bitterness is on the higher side but needed with such a sweet beer. No hop flavor detectable. Whole wheat bread, yeast, and dried apricot towards the end. I know there's no apricot in here, but that's what I taste. The finish is long but mellows things out. This is where the alcohol shines through to remind you that this is a huge beer. The alcohol itself is peppery and blends well with all of the other flavors. Like a good single malt Scotch I think the booziness helps lift the flavors and add some character.

Feel: Approaching full bodied but by no means an Imperial oatmeal stout. Carbonation is absolutely perfect. The bubbles themselves are tiny and tingly. Alcohol is more apparent in taste and aroma than feel. There is some warmth but it is gentle and enjoyable. Big and dry.

Overall: I've had this beer fresh and I've had it aged 1 and 2 years. So far I think 2 years is the sweet spot. The alcohol has mellowed a bit but I still get the same amount of complexity and wonderful mouthfeel as a fresher bottle. Recommended.

Mar 03, 2019
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hoptheology from South Dakota

4.14/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased in Dubuque Iowa. No idea on the date, there's no bottle date but it had dust bunnies on it. At the very least probably 3 years old.

15%, poured into snifter.

Nice mahogany color with a thin sliver of butter colored head.

This nose. Wow. Nuts, mahogany, sticky caramel, hard toffee, red and white wine, scotch, tobacco, whiskey, and dark berry.

Flavor brings straight cotton mouth, followed by caramel, toffee, milk chocolate, red grape, hot whiskey, tobacco, leather, and old hops. It's heavy and intense, but still flavorful.

Feel is hot, hot, hot. Drying. Moderate carbonation. Mild stickiness.

Overall a very good barleywine, would like to run into this one fresh to compare the differences.

Jan 18, 2019
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Antichrist-Kommando from Ohio

4.71/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Always been a fan of Dogfish Head. This is my second barleywine, but I can't recall what the first was. I loved it! It was an exceptional beer that really went well with my meal. I had it on draught. Great taste, feel, smell, and color. I'd have to try it again to go into a more in-depth review, but sadly it's no longer on the draught list.

Dec 11, 2018
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MaximalC from Illinois

3.92/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

*Bottled 12/17/16

Pours a hazy tawny color with a finger's worth of fine, khaki froth. Sweet aroma smells of figs, dates, raisins, prunes, molasses, and brown sugar; and when I say figs, I mean the most distinctly fig character I've come across--like Fig Newtons in a bottle.

The taste features booze and raisins up front, accented by bitter, aspirin-like hops. Subtler notes of plum, dates, and figs round out the more overt aspects of the flavor profile. This brew is not for the faint of heart, as it tastes every bit of 15% ABV. Medium body and very slight carbonation make for a still mouthfeel that puts the burden of proof squarely on the taste itself.

Overall, the sweet, juicy foreground offers much to get excited about, but the hot, bitter back end puts something of a damper on it. At the very least, this is a bold beer that challenges the palate and gives you something to negotiate as you slowly drain your glass.

Nov 07, 2018
Olde School Barleywine from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 2765 ratings