Olde School Barleywine | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

very good
1,061 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

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User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,061 | Ratings: 2,610
Reviews by SportsandJorts:
Photo of SportsandJorts
4.61/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: a light amber color, almost orange. fairly hazy but not opaque. two fingers of a tannish head that leaves a lacing around the edges.

Smell: huge smell as soon as the cap cracks. dried fruit. figs and dates. sweet caramel malts. lots of malty sweetness. maybe a touch creamy. hint of alcohol. just a bit too strong with the alcohol

Taste: opens up with a brief hint of bready malts. quickly switches to dried fruits. definite pruney/date taste. caramel and toffee malt sweetness and some nuttiness. very subtle herbal hop just for balance and a kick of alcohol.

Mouthfeel: alcohol warmth, heavy body, sticky. just a touch chewy.

Overall: amazing flavors. and unbelievable drinkability for 15%. very different from the other barleywines today but very true to the style. wonderfully brewed beer and easily a top barleywine.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of Brutaltruth
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
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.


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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 yuenglingfan101
4.75/5  rDev +21.2%
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

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Photo of DaverCS
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
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.

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4.71/5  rDev +20.2%
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 !!!

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Photo of BloodSoakedAleMug
4.75/5  rDev +21.2%
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.

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Photo of oberon
3.92/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a murky orange/brown color with a nice sticky head,aroma is malty and buttery with light alcohol notes.Taste is malty and lightly sweet with some burnt fruit flavors ending with a nice buttery taste that lingers in the mouth.Dogfish Head is becoming my favorite east coast brewery (have yet to visit Victory) they pull no punches and make some really good,interesting brews.

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Photo of Dekhar
3.92/5  rDev 0%

Photo of RoyalT
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance – This one is light-colored for a BW. It’s orange and hazy with a moderate head.

Smell – This DFH offering has a light, fruity aroma that reminds me of a pear-based white wine that I had once in Temecula. It’s very delicate but hardy at the same time. The ABV is huge at the nose.

Taste – The malty white wine flavors come out more so at the taste. This one has a lot of raw sugar to it as well. It’s very sweet with a solid, helpful malt base. The big grapes and fermented sugars rule the roost of this flavor profile. There’s a typical DFH hop balance that signs the brewery’s name to this ale.

Mouthfeel – This is medium to full-bodied with some actual carbonation, which is unusual for the style. It has a nice, fluffy mouthfeel.

Drinkability – This is a big ABV monster in its rawest form, although I would guess that this would diminish with cellaring, which is probably highly recommended. In its purest form this one will give you hop burps and a hangover.

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Photo of DanGeo
3.63/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of tectactoe
3.89/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a dark-amber, almost maroon-like color, a bit hazy and cloudy; small off-white head reduced to a ring around the glass quickly and didn't leave any notable lacing. Smell was strong and very in-your-face - dried, dark fruits; figs, plums, raisins soaked in alcohol. Boozy, but not quite leading you to think it's a 15%-er. Some sweetness and caramelized sugar notes abound as well. Taste is full of caramel and toffee malts all around; fruity and sweet with figs and plums and some other fruits that I can't quite put my finger on. Maybe a hint of licorice. Alcohol is warming and apparent; doesn't quite feel like 15%, but it's certain strong and induces sipping rather than gulping. Some hops here and there, may be hard to detect at first over the abundance of malt, but they are a dry, ashy, slightly floral in flavor. Aftertaste is full of burnt sugar, date sweetness, and a touch of toffee and alcohol. Medium-thick body, almost syrupy; sticky, abrasive, low carbonation.

Pretty good American barleywine from DFH. Certainly not anything groundbreaking here, but at 15$ a 4-pack, it's certainly not a bad choice.

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Photo of t2grogan
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of MadScientist
3.72/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: A cloudy dull mohagany, deep amber beer with a quick to fade slight light tan head.

S: A rich malty, raisiny smell with a surprisingly subtle perfume alcohol aroma. The alcohol may be masked by the malt sweetness. There is a slight umami and no diacetyl.

T: A smooth raisin and almost maple syrup with out the sweetness sort of taste going on having a very noticeable alcohol presence. The medium-high hops bitterness takes over next with an orange peel like fruity flavor that seems pithy from the bitterness. The balance is bitter with the bitterness and pithiness lingering long into the after taste. The finish is slight off-dry.

M: There a bunch of heat from the first sip but it doesn't seem to impacting me this far in. Te body is medium-full with moderate carbonation.

O: A much more subdued beer than the one I encountered almost five years ago though I do rather enjoy the huge hops bill that this enormous malt foundation provides when young. It's worth aging a couple years but I review a younger bottle at some time as this isn't an entirely fair score for this beer that while built to last shows better in its youth.
Bottled On 11/21/2008

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Photo of npala86
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of kaimcm
4.36/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

bottle poured into La Fin goblet
A: gorgeous, deep amber, literally glows in the glass. egg white whipped head, big bubbles, super light and creamy. makes me want to scoop it out and just dollop it on a belgian waffle.

S: raisins, green apples, brown sugar, bakery pastry richness, alcohol.

T: coating malt and sugar up front, vanilla, white grapes, delicate and delicious vinous quality. malt coats mouth with nice balance of sugar and substance. hints of spice on the back of the throat. alcohol really comes out as the beer warms, but is extremely balanced at 15%. finishes warm reminiscent of rum, then dries leaving the palate begging for more.

M: slick and chewy, perfect viscosity, coating. leaves me wanting more. good weight, not to heavy and syrupy.

D: could drink this everynight, and would if it was available.

This is a one incredible nectar, and nectar is the perfect word for it. The biggest little brewery that could...rock on Dogfish.

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Photo of wesbrownyeah
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Oyeah... Massive beers from a great brewery Dogfish Head Olde School Barley Wine 15% alcohol. Bottled in 2009. (*11)

A- Pours a evil thick and hued orangish brown fluid that produce little to none head leaving mild lacing. It looks very good espescially knowing the 120 is excellent.

S- Familier smell of the 120 dogfish ipa heavy does of ester alcohol, grapefruit hops, danky malts and a musky sweetness.

T-M- Taste is as good as i expected by the smell. A beautiful bouquet of fresh grassy hops, thick malty backbone, revved up alcohol content and massive brown sugary thickness. Excellent. I love the mouthfeel of the dogfish neon capped beers. Bold thickness of tons of malt and alcohol put together perfectly to give you that lasting danky sweet feel on the tongue. A true boozer beer that only impresses.

D- I'm going to buy a four pack of this stuff from my local beer store... wouldn't recommend drinking more that a few though. Easy to drink. Use caution.

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

Photo of SkiBum22
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of JacobMutberg
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%

Photo of drumline
4.07/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle served in a tulip glass

Appearance - Pours an orange/amber-ish color, with a head that disappears quickly

Smell - Very sweet aroma. Lots of fruity and caramel flavors.

Taste/Mouthfeel - Sweet caramel malty taste, with a nice citrusy hop bitterness throughout to give some balance. Slight boozy alcohol warmth in the finish. Just the right amount of carbonation.

Drinkability - At 15% ABV, I won't have more than one a night. As with a lot of other high ABV Dogfish brews, the alcohol is hidden very well.

I have one bottle left that I'll be letting sit for a while and see what happens. It should age well.

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Photo of AdvocateFan
2.4/5  rDev -38.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Murky darkish amber. Pours with an admirably sized head for a beer of this ABV. The nose is hugely sweet, but sharp, almost spicy from the massive alcohol content. Big sugar alcohols. Mead-like. Some notes of baked apples. Solvent-like. Acetone (yes, nail polish remover.) The booze actually burns the eyes as the vapors rise. Dark rum-soaked raisins. Cherries. Flavor hits with a rush of hot booze, like ultra-octane apple cider, dark cherries, fig jam, vodka-infused plums, tej/honey-wine-like notes... Shit... this is boozy in all kinds of ways. Spiked maple syrup... There's a late tannin-like astringency that sticks all over the tongue and ushers in the finish, which wraps things up with grape skins, chewed lemon seeds, blonde tobacco, and alcohol burn/heat, and an indefinitely-lasting acetone impression and burn. No lie, this is like nail polish remover in the aftertaste. This batch was bottled November 2008. Reviewed 11 months after bottling. Still very, very hot. I will wait at least 2 years before trying my next bottle. I've had vintages from 2006 or so, when they were still young, and I recall enjoying them much more than this one. Interesting for the shock factor, but this was not a pleasurable experience. There's extreme, and then there's mischief. This beer seems to be headed toward the latter. An odd juxtaposition with the vintage imagery and "olde school" reference in the name--this is not olde school. Nor is it new school. This is out of control do-it-yourself "home school" where you spike your beer with liquor to create a homebrew beer cocktail (while your girlfriend takes off her nail polish...)

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Photo of tuckevalastin
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle Dated 11/21/08

I had two of these left from when I bought them around the time the bottle is dated. I decided to drink one now.. the other will age some more. I've had it fresh but this review is of the 13month aged bottled.

A- Looks a little something like Apple Cider with no head to speak of.

S- Strong smell of booze but with a sweet note that makes it quite nice.

T- Nice flavor that's almost surprisingly sweet but boy does it burn. Even after a year of aging this beer bites back.

M- The beer is hot but the flavor doesn't linger.

D- 15% abv makes this a pretty hefty beer but it doesn't show as much as other brews. It's clear that it is a strong beer but it doesn't lower the drinkablility much at all. That said, it is a high alcohol beer so it isn't one to shotgun by any means.

I'm not a huge barleywine follower but I will be excited to open up the last one of these from this pack. Definetly worth trying.

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Photo of rwinzing
3.74/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a 12oz. bottle into my DFH snifter. Beer is a dark amber and has a cream color head. Very small head which vanished quickly.

Smell was very malty with hint of boozyness

T - Very nice barleywine flavor a little hot but not to boozy or hoppy. Will balance with age

M - average not to thin but no much either

overall - good barleywine. Would perfer it a little mellower

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Photo of Kjanisch7
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%

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Olde School Barleywine from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
3.92 out of 5 based on 2,610 ratings.
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