Olde School Barleywine
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

Olde School BarleywineOlde School Barleywine
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Barleywine - American
Ranked #84
Ranked #6,013
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: 1,109 | Ratings: 2,726 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by 220emaple:
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220emaple from Pennsylvania

4.34/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow, not only is this the strongest barley wine in existence but it also tastes like it. Excellent flavor nonetheless. Very sweet along with a hoppy finish. To some, the alcohol may be overwhelming, but I think this beer is another award winner in Dogfish's trophy case of unique American craft beers. This might be my favorite of the Dogfish big beers...

Jan 04, 2010
More User Reviews:
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Brutaltruth from Ohio

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

A stunning ale from Dogfish from the 12 oz bottle in a snifter via a friend
from work who has discovered the joy of full bodied ales----
Welcome to the dark side Kevin---we have cookies and Thank You
very much for this treasure!

This BEAST pours a luminous red tinged amber with a nice head of off
white foam that settles to a thick ring, thin layer, and features some nice
sudsy lacing. Nose of dates, figs, strong booze, brown sugars, golden raisins,
and assertive herbal and floral hops. Flavors follow the nose with rich brown
sugars awash in figs and dates with a nice strong grape and white raisin note
on mid palate with strong pine and herbal hops blanched in strong booze
reminiscent of rum. Excellent mouth feel; medium full body; extremely
warming and boozy, medium low carbonation that keeps this one lively
to cut through the sweetness, and a sweet hopped finish.

Overall one of the best little barely wines I have ever had and a testament to
great brewing with a high ABV that is balanced in it's presentation.


Mar 09, 2017
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BloodSoakedAleMug from New York

4.75/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Look: Copper orange color with a rapidly disappearing, one finger beige head.

Aroma: Plum wine, caramel, cherries, cream, dates, custard, red licorice and figs. Alcohol is prominent on the nose.

Flavor: Drinking this fresh for the record, don't have the patience to cellar it. Bottled on 01/18/17, Enjoyed on 02/09/17...

Malty throughout with deep flavors of caramel, cream and red fruit. I'm getting figs, raisins, plums and brown sugar. Alcohol is prominent, but as someone who drinks cask strength whiskey neat, it's no problem for me. Hints of italian maraschino cherries and tamarind as it warms.

Feel: ABV is in your face. Full bodied. Creamy. Fruity and very malty.

Overall: Quite delicious. A nice beer to sip on and contemplate. Today we had a snow storm that brought us a foot of snow and I enjoyed two of these, one before I started up the snow blower and another after I was done. A good winter warmer, will be running out again later tonight to pick up another four pack to cellar. Worth every penny. Bravo DFH. First time I've ever had this seasonal treat - but now I will be looking forward to it every year.

Beer Advocate and DFH's website says this is a Fall seasonal, but for some reason the code on my bottle says my beer was born during the winter on the 18th of January.

Feb 09, 2017
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yuenglingfan101 from Ohio

4.75/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bright to medium color kinda reddish orangish color. Very strong but goes down very smooth for a beer of 15% abv. Kinda bourbony taste and it just a perfect for Dogfishhead

Mar 21, 2017
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Jonoesh5 from Illinois

4.52/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clocking in at 15%(??) here goes a 12oz from a 4-pack bottled 12/17/16. A very minimal head sits atop a deep cooper brown body. Smells just like rum haha! This is gonna be a doozy...

First sip is so deep and complex—red fruit, fig, brown sugar, baked bread, and whiskey. Definite alcohol warmth throughout, but this is to be expected for the style. Pretzel notes open up as the beer warms. I’m really impressed with the hop/malt balance for such a heavy hitter. A lovely barleywine! Mouthfeel is creamy and easy-going. Alcohol warmth aside, this beer feels like a sessionable porter or brown ale. Very smooth.

Overall, I love this style. It’s an annual experience for me every winter, perfect for cold nights in solitude. Not a beer I would consume frequently, as this style asks a lot of any beer drinker—forcing the consumer to sit down (for their own good) and experience beer crafted for appreciation. Bought this 4-pack for $18 and it was so worth it. Look no further than Dogfish Head for their faithful interpretation of barleywine. Cheers!

Dec 19, 2017
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DaverCS from Arizona

4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a filtered dark orange color with ample alcohol legs.

Aroma is of booze, sweet malt, citrus, and perhaps dark fruits. Alcohol dominates the aroma.

Taste is on the thicker side with the alcohol biting near the middle-end of the sip. Chest warming and definitely some astringency. A good amount of sweet malt, toffee, caramel, and a kiss of fig. Some spicy hop character is notes just before the alcohol sets in.

Overall, this is just alright. The booze detracts and doesn't add anything. I see this pairing well with a glass of water due to the thickness. It gets a 82/100.

Mar 16, 2017
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VashonGuy from Washington

3.86/5  rDev -4%
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.

Oct 13, 2016
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MattinHouston from Texas

4.51/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I don't know what vintages people have reviewed here but 1/18/2017 came out delicious. I'm a high ABV fan usually DIPA with some quadruples thrown in there with various imperial stouts. This tastes great warm even. I can't compare it to any other beer even barley wines it has some fruity dates notes but a definite barley beer taste underneath. I think this is the best 15% abv out there! Although after a disappointing 2016 120m IPA I still bought another at $10/a 12oz. This was a 4/pack for $19 I'd suggest others to give it a try.

May 09, 2017
BIGPOPPAS from New Jersey

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

Saw these in 12 oz four packs for the first time and the description on the label sounded interesting. I asked the beer manager his opinion on it and he simply responded " that beer is something special "
Being I love figs and dates plus high abv brews I jumped on the offering.
Semi heavy pour into a DFH tulip resulted in a very mild head, however a gorgeous rich amber color .
Sniffed into the glass a few times prior to drinking and the smell was rich and decadent of dark fruits and more flavors.
The taste was amazing as the look and smell reminded me of a few strong dark Belgians or a slightly bitter version of Samichlaus Helles/Classic (dopplebock).
Picture the sweetness of Samichlaus with a slight bitterness from the hops
As it warmed it grew more in flavor and makes for a wonderful sipper . I drink strong brews mostly, so maybe I'm immune to the high abv, but I didn't taste any. booziness for as 15 abv brew .
Mouthfeel is a rich syrupy taste from the dates and figs , which are sticky fruits.

Overall I absolutely LOVED this offering and hope to grab a case of these while they are available.
Even the side label is hilarious, suggesting that you bag a bottle and bury it in the ground/woods only to return a year later to dig it up and enjoy at that spot . Lol

Highly recommended !!!

Jan 16, 2017
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EmeraldMist from Maryland

4.75/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottled on date of 1/18/17
Look - Poured into snifter, murky rust in color, lighter burnt orange highlights, a thin off white head, alcohol legs all over.
Aroma - Red grape, granola, slight brandy sweetness, clean but peppery alcohol, wintergreen. Intoxicating.
Taste - Doughy up front, deep grainy flavors, sweet red grape, tannic, fruit flavors are there but they aren't overly sweet. Funny enough I taste more orange than fig or date. Has a marmalade note. Bitterness is on the higher side but keeps the beer balanced. Sweetness dies down towards the end. The finish is slightly tangy and has a fantastic clean and peppery alcohol.
Feel - Medium-Full bodied, oily, fine carbonation, slight warmth, dry. Alcohol is more apparent in taste rather than feel.

Overall - It blurs the line between a quad and a barleywine. This is for both barleywine and spirit lovers. Fantastic beer.

May 19, 2017
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spav from Illinois

4.45/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

No head no lacing, but beautifully still. Aroma is rummy and familiar, sweet and boozy. Taste follows but much more fruity. Little burn at the end but it's still buttery smooth, bottled on 12/2016 btw. Overall great beer to sip on

Feb 06, 2018
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Brew_42 from Massachusetts

4.14/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours cloudy and dark brown. No head really.

Smell is big booze and notes of dark fruits and a hint of chocolate.

Taste is candied sugar, figs, and raisin with a heavy helpng of booze. Tasty AF.

Mouthfeel- Heavy bodied and warming booze throughout.

Overall this is one of the better barleywines I've had. Somehow highlights the ABV withut being overbearing.

Apr 11, 2018
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brentk56 from North Carolina

4.28/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear dark golden body with a fluffy white head that leaves a pastiche of lacing marks around the glass

Smell: Lots of rum-soaked fruit flavors - apricots, figs, oranges - all of which are subsumed by the alcohol smells

Taste: Remarkably smooth fruit and toffee start; orange tartness kicks in mid-palate along with a jarring amount of fusel alcohol flavors; a touch buttery on the finish

Mouthfeel: Fairly heavy body, somewhat syrupy; low carbonation

Drinkability: Taste when only three months old, this brew shows some very interesting character and unusual flavor; I'll look forward to seeing what this is like with some age on it

Jan 15, 2006
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mmcave from Illinois

3.78/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Found randomly at Sam’s in fact I think I got the last 4 pack they had. Pours hazy, orangey amber with nice thick head that leaves lacing. Alcohol is present immediately followed by banana, light hop aroma, some bread, and subdued sweet pale malt. As it worms up the sent grows on me, but the idea of imbibing so much alcohol, with so many residual sugars is a little frightening. The taste is much the same as the smell, actually in some senses it reminds me of certain tripels I’ve had I think mainly because of the bready notes and the ester quality. For me the real questionable issue is the amount of alcohol, which is defiantly present more so in this than almost any other beer I’ve had, in both the taste and the smell. The mouth feel is all right, but there is definite too much alcohol. Honestly I was a little disappointed. I love that DFH is so daring with their brews, but other than novelty sake, this beer is lacking the balance necessary for a super great drink. Coupled with the fact that this is a hard to get beer and expensive I doubt I’ll buy this again, but it’s worth a try for novelty sake

Nov 12, 2006
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kjyost from Canada (MB)

4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

341 ml bottle consumed 1/2/12, from notes. Poured fridge cold into a sampling glass.

A: Copper and clear body with average head.
S: Dried fruit (figs) on nose with very little alcohol.
T/M: A stunningly light body for such a high ABV beer. An enjoyable fruity bitterness pervades each mourhful (in a positive down. Mouthfeel is surprisingly thin and watery.
O: A solid beer. Dangerously easy to drink.

Jan 08, 2012
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PreacherBrewer from Virginia

3.06/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance - Beautiful deep muted red. the most beautfiul beer i think i've ever seen! It sits in my snifter, confident. it doesn't invite, it commands attention and respect. thus, i comply and indulge.

Smell - Alcohol smacks you in the face. on the second sniff, i caught some cherry/redish-fruity aromas. Apricot. A very pleasing aroma after you get used to the alcohol on the nose. Now it invites you to taste.

Taste - Candy flavoring is accompanied by sweet caramel. BIG alcohol taste is dominate. In the background you can pick out some spices floating around in your glass. Very complex. Very strong alcohol.

Mouthfeel - This beer is quite harsh on the palate. It takes a few sips to get used too. You must sip this beer. It is a very mouth filling beer, even when take little sips. It's numbing, so space out your sips so that your taste buds have time to regain consciousness.

Drinkability - I hate to say it, but it gets a below average grade for drinkability. It has everything going for it but the alcohol content. It's just too strong to really savor and enjoy. The Alcohol is like a brick wall between you and an amazing barleywine. If the peeps at DFH read this, please do something to reduce the ABV to 11-12%. You have an amazing beer here that is overwhelmed with the presence of alcohol. That is the tension that i felt while sipping this tantalizingly abrasive beer.

Jul 19, 2009
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StlHopHead77 from Illinois

4/5  rDev -0.5%

Nov 30, 2014
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Daniel9913 from New Jersey

4/5  rDev -0.5%

Jan 05, 2012
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jwat from Pennsylvania

2.5/5  rDev -37.8%

Feb 06, 2012
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outoffocus from Pennsylvania

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

Feb 08, 2017
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Beersnake1 from California

3.88/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Feb 08, 2015
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4.76/5  rDev +18.4%

Nov 22, 2014
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kmpitz2 from Tennessee

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

First off, thanks to clvand0 for sharing this beer with me. The beer pours a deep golden amberish color with head that covers over the beer. The nose is all about figs covered in caramel and a good deal of alcohol. The first thing I got was a burst of alcohol, but upon swallowing the beer, there is a nice caramel sweetness and there is an odd bitterness on the back of my tongue that I don't really like. Its almost soapy. The beer is pretty thick and smooth. Overall a nice offering. Drinkability is not as good as it could be, but what do you want from a big ass beer? This is not the best DFH beer I've had, but its overall a good beer.

Nov 30, 2004
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kevgod from Massachusetts

4.5/5  rDev +11.9%

Jan 08, 2012
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emmasdad from Colorado

3.96/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice reddish brown color, with maybe a finger of light brown head. A very boozy nose on this one, whiskey, dark fruit, vanilla, residual sugars and brown sugar. Plenty of malt sweetness in this one, along with figs, raisins, dates, molasses, dark malt and alcohol. A hugely alcoholic, and hugely complex, barley wine. Nice drinkability and a very good effort.

Apr 28, 2010
Olde School Barleywine from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 2726 ratings