Olde School Barleywine | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

Olde School BarleywineOlde School Barleywine
Liked This Beer
3.98 w/ 2,663 ratings
Olde School BarleywineOlde School Barleywine

Brewed by:
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Delaware, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 15.00%

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

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,663 |  Reviews: 1,081
Photo of Dreadnaught33
3.97/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had a bottle of 07' with Huhzubendah. Thanks Matt!

A: Crimson to brown color. Almost no head at all, but great lacing. Thick.

S: Sugary coated raisin and big molasses notes, huge malt, prunes, and sweet alcohol thats is still sort of hot, but i like that. Great barleywine smell.

T: Good but not as promising as the smell. Burning, citrus like finish with huge dark fruit, raisin, molasses, plum, cookie, and lots of leather.

M: A little burning, but nice smooth heavy feel on the palate.

D: Big stuff, got to have it bit by bit.

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Photo of Blakaeris
3.82/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours light copper with a creamy white head that leaves sticky lacing.

Aroma is sweet caramel malt, and dark fruit. Alcohol comes on strong and hot.

Taste is caramel malt, toffee and brown sugar up front. Nice bit of plum and date. Finishes woody, with mild earthy hop bitterness that brings some balance to the overall sweetness.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a slight diacetyl quality.

There is no hiding the alcohol in this one. I happen to like a lot of alcohol heat so I found this brew to be tasty. However, a stronger hop profile would go a long way.

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Photo of bashiba
3.64/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a crystal clear amber with a thin but sticky off white head.

The nose is huge alcohol, very boozy, big sweet malt behind the booze. Burns a little.

The taste is much different than the nose, very bready and malty with a slight bit of brown sugar, toffee, dark cherry and a touch of alcohol, very mild compared to the nose.

The mouthfeel is very thick and warm.

Suprisingly easy to drink for as huge as it is. Good but doesn't have the complexity or depth I would expect in a barleywine.

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Photo of Emmanlop
3.83/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Honey copper from bottom going to a deep cherrywood top, a 1 inch head that dissipated rather quickly.

Smell: Burgundy wine mixed with honey/rose honey and citrus.

Taste: A red wine with undertones of spice and a strong, warm honey finish.

Mouthfeel: Lightly carbonated, easy to swallow, and leaves a smooth, whiskey-like burn as you exhale.

Drinkability: Goes down amazingly at first, as it gets to the bottom however the burn increases and makes for a tough swallow. Also due to the high alcohol content one should be a little careful with how many you drink.

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Photo of Overlord
4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a golden tawny amber color. Some white crusts.

Smells like sugary caramel sugar toffee with some sweet orange-y juicy sugary hops. Sugary. SUGARY.

Taste is a malt/sweet bomb. There's little to no bitterness here ... maybe just a hint of pungent grapefruit and orange rind. Sweet dewy oranges, caramel with a touch of brown sugar, and an interesting sugary grapefruit/tropical fruit note.

Well, I have to admit I liked it more than I thought I would. It does, however, pack one heck of a wallop. Yipes. For it's ABV and strong flavors, quite drinkable. I would say the thick, syrupy mouthfeel is superb.

You know what ... I really didn't get much alcohol heat from this. If nothing else, it's one hell of an accomplishment to mask that much ABV.

Also: SUGAR, MOTHERF***S!!!!

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Photo of aepb1
3.92/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- cloudy, amber body with a small off-white head

S- Fruity malts, dark sugar and some booze

T- Like the nose, fruity malts, some grassy hops and LOTS of warming

M- Medium-bodied, smooth, good carb and warming

D- Nice sipping winter beer. Goes slower because of the high ABV

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Photo of StoneBrewFanatic
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a cloudy deep copper with about one finger of off white head that lingers nicely and has pretty sticky lacing.

S - Big caramel malts, caramelized sugar, dark sweet fruits, cherries and alcohol.

T - Fantastic balance of caramel malts, piny hops and alcohol. Dark fruits are present, cherries and raisins mostly. Toffee like sweetness is there and yes, alcohol is present, but just in a nice warming sense, not burning or overwhelming.

M - Sticky, chewy, coats the palate beautifully. Really well balanced.

D - Such a great barleywine, especially considering it's 15%. Enjoy this one, but share with a friend.

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Photo of OneDropSoup
4.18/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled in 2009.

Poured into a snifter: Thin collar & dusting of head over russet body with bright ruby highlights. Nice crimson glow to it. Leaves a little lacing in patches.

Smells of cooked orange peel, lightly caramelized orange (is that possible?) combined with some alcohol heat, creating a profile not unlike Cointreau or even cognac. Rich & yummy, even though orange isn't one of my favorite smells.

Flavor starts with bright citrus & baked, sweet malt combination, like heavy pineapple upside-down cake. Gains some heat & moves into deeper caramel notes with lingering orange in the background. Rich & smooth but with a little zing from hops, even some hot cinnamon & tobacco leaf. Aftertaste like orange cream candies. Complex.

Full-bodied, smooth, mouth-coating with enough activity to keep it buoyant. Lots of sugars that hang out. Notable heat without getting "hot," but warms you up.

Big, tasty, comforting, but definitely not in the "dangerously drinkable" range. Very enjoyable, but a sipper & good at one.

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Photo of garbercury
3.83/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into snifter, last beer of the night...Advil ready.

A--Very little carbonation, light amber in color.

S--Smells like cough syrup to me, medicinal

T--Same medicinal flavor, this beer is too young to drink I believe, its still really hot.

M--Fairly thin, but not a bad mouthfeel really.

D--This is just too hot right now. Got a 4 pack to age and this one needs to sit for a couple years at least. Would love to get some older versions of this brew.

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Photo of burnstar
4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy orangish gold with a small head. Nice lacing on the surface. Smell is sweet. Boozy. Fruit notes. Taste is also sweet. Grainy. Fruit Nice citrusy hops in the finish with a fair amount of bitterness. Well balanced for a barley wine. Pretty boozy in the finish. Nice full bodied and well carbonated mouthfeel. Drinkable for the strength but it is Very strong. Overall a very good american barley wine. I like the balance and the warmth from this and also just a very nice flavor. Recommended.

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Photo of Bendurgin
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Year old bottle poured into my new snifter. The beer is amber honey red with a thin white head that dies down quickly with thing lace. For a big boozy beer this one looks damn good. Boozy rum soaked raisins and toffee come throughout the aroma very nicely. Although I can smell the alcohol, it's seems to meld pretty well with everything else on this. The taste is great too. Raisiny and fruity with a nice lingering toffee sweetness to round it out. The alcohol is dangeriously hidden, only giving a slight warming sensation in the throat. Smooth velvety mouthfeel with damn near perfect carbonation for a booze bomb like this. Again, this one is dangerous. Goes down real easy. A bit too easy for a fifteen percent beer.

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Photo of kencarman
2.41/5  rDev -39.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Boy am I going to out of whack here with the rest of the reviews. Pours yellow/gold. Head fades fast: expected. Nose? About right but a bit light. The taste and mouthfeel is where it falls. Too little malt. A raisin/apple sense: acetaldehyde? Definitely sour. A "sour" barleywine? Maybe I got a bad 4 pack? I am going to age it and see what happens and maybe I'll be back. Unbalanced and the apple/sour sense problematic.

I love barleywine, have received awards for barleywine and brewing barleywine like brews. And I'm a big fan of most of what Sam does, despite the recent hoopla. Have met Sam: nice guy. (But hey, Sam, it should be called BrewMASTER... no "S," if we're just going to promo just one brewery.) But this one just plain misses the mark. Guess I'll just buy 120 from now on if I want something more barleywine like from DF.

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Photo of larryi86
4.32/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle date 2010 poured into a snifter

A- A deep reddish orange color with a small off white head that fades quickly.

S- Sweet fruits, cherries, toffee, caramel malts. The alcohol is very present in the smell. Very big smell.

T- Nice caramel malts and toffee. I am getting hints of dark fruits and a piney hop finish. 15% ABV is very noticeable and hot, but not in a bad way.

M- Chewy, medium body.

D- For being 15% ABV is very easy to drink and enjoy, almost too easy. This is a great beer, I feel that it is worth aging and would to try it when it is a year or two old. Right now I am aging two bottles and can't wait to try them.

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Photo of TheSupremeAJ
4.4/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A- Golden copper hue with thin white head. Sufficient lacing down the side of the glass.

S- Nice chewy caramel malts. Alcohol scent present.

T- Very nice full bodied beer with floral hop-forward notes.

M- Rich creamy mouthfeel and nice carbonation. Nice astringency begs for another sip.

D- Too damn high for a 15% brewski. I feel a little too nice right now.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.7/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I shared a bottle of this at a tasting earlier tonight.

2007 Vintage

A: This beer pours a slightly hazy shade of orange, with a thin wispy head. After a few exciting swirls, the head swells to an eighth of an inch! It does, however, leave some decent lacing upon the glass, in spite of its lack of size. Ahem...

S: Huge aroma consisting of sweet malt, toffee, caramels.

T: Buttery, sweet toffee candies soaked in alcohol. That about covers it.

M: The alcohol presence has calmed over the nearly four years this beast has spent dormant in the cellar. Medium-thin bodied with a healthy amount of carbonation still present.

D: Much improved with age, but still best in small doses.

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Photo of cpone
3.98/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle to bordeaux type glass.

The appearance is a bright brunt orange. I don't know if it's the lights in the room, but the body has a gemstone sparkle about it. Minimal head and lacing. Smell is mostly sweet - honey, ripe apple - with some all spice.

Taste makes me think of natural apple cider, sweet but heated with some fermentation. The alcohol isn't too oppressive with a slightly medicinal finish. Fairly drinkable for the abv.

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Photo of BeerLover99
3.9/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: cloudy amber orange/brown. Trace head on it, with fine lacing.

S: very strong barley, booze smell, spices, malt, hint of jam plums/dates.

T/M: malt, booze, very tangy citrus/sweet, smooth for such high ABV. med/heavy body, good carbonation feel.

D: Strong alcohol warmth, sip this beast with care. Slightly disappointed, I figured Barleywine and Dogfish Head, must be match made in heaven. Good, but not great.

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Photo of JizackFH
3.68/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - This beer pours a hazy golden orange color. It has a small off-white head that fell pretty quickly, leaving specs of lacing on the glass.

S - The smell is sweet with a lot of fruit notes such as sour grapes, pineapples, and candied apples. There is some booziness present, as well as a little toastiness.

T - The taste follows the nose. It is sweet and there are a lot of fruit notes present. The alcohol is hidden extremely well, but it still present. There is also some hop presence. I actually expected this to be a bit darker and fuller.

M - It has a medium-full body and decent carbonation. It is smooth and clean, and has a bit of boozy warmth.

D - This has good drinkability. It goes down very smooth considering the ABV. I am actually a little bit disappointed by this beer. It is a good beer, but I thought it would be bigger, fuller, and more extreme. Even though it's not what I thought it would be, it is still a good beer worth trying.

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Photo of TheBrewo
3.85/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

We pour a hazy brew of glowing golden orange. There is little head to speak of, but aggregates of bubbles skirt across the top of the glass. Light carbonation is noted, and the beer looks a bit yeasty. The nose is full of esters and booze. These are supported in full by clean malts, sweet honey, grapes, berries, and complex floral notes. The taste begins with malts and sweet esters. We turn, through the middle, to bitter grape and earthen spice. There is also a limey citrus component here. A sweetness of honey works its way in at this point, and carries the flavors into a clean, yet sour, finish. The aftertaste breathes with alcohol and many of the flavors from the taste, mainly the grapes, an irony or mineral flash, and some other malty sweetness, but a curious woody characteristic is also apparent. The body is medium to full, and the carbonation is consistently medium. As you sip there is a syrupy feel to it. The mouth is a bit coated, but the beer otherwise slides right down the throat without making many stops. The abv is astronomical and, while this beer masks it very well, this drink goes more slowly.

Overall, what we liked most about this brew was its complexity, and the way that it glowed in the glass. The aroma is wrought with all sorts of fruits, grains, and alcohol, which, when melded together so cleanly, made for a challenging brew to dissect. The taste was very much in the same style, but the alcohol was surprisingly hidden. You can hardly tell that this is a 15% beast, which of course catches up to you, in tasty fashion, by the bottom of the glass.

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Photo of albertjr21
4.4/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Here's a 2010 that's only 11 days old, according to my DFH server from a brewery event.

Into a red wine glass, this pours a clear burnt orange-amber color and holds a decent thin head. I pick up an overall aroma of sweet dark cherry and toasted malt. There is a stiff note of alcohol in the backdrop but nothing that should scare away the taste buds because this opens up with a pleasant sweet and lightly bitter feel into a complex body of...a lot going on...Perhaps this truly is a youth "trying to find its identity" as suggested by our server. At its center, I can best sense the taste of the deepest of cherry flavor and caramel malt with a mouth clinging complex finish. CAUTION: This hides its abv like you wouldn't believe and is thus, DANGEROUSLY DRINKABLE...

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Photo of rudzud
4.06/5  rDev +2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes taken on 11/13 at the Armsby Abbey.

*Note: This is a 2008 vintage*

A - Poured a light burnt red with a foamy 2 finger head that very slowly dissolved leacing clumpy lacing.

S - Lots of malty sweetness and bit on the booze. Could stand to use more age.

T - Much like the nose this is definately boozy. Picking up some nice carmel and sugary flavours thanks to that aged malt. The definition of a warming beer.

M - Considering the ABV this doesnt feel all that bad. Its heavey and sticky but not overpowering or cloying.

D - Stuff isnt bad. Glad I got to try it but I would like to have it again with more age to it, let this mellow out abit more.

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Photo of BigMike
3.8/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 vintage

A: Pours a clear golden orange color. Just about one finger of eggshell colored head. Large bubbles that disappear in minutes

S: Very complex nose. Caramel, toffee,figs,dates,vanilla,brown sugar and a light oakiness that smells almost barrel aged.

T: Lots of initial sweetness. Candied figs and dates. Lots of toffee and vanilla. 15% is pretty much hidden. It only shows up in the chest a few seconds after sipping.

M: Full bodied with lots of stickiness. Coats the entire mouth and lips. Good amount of carbonation. A slow sipper. Perfect for this 20 degree December night.

Overall: Another big abv. beer from DFH that's not as scarey as I thought. It's actually got alot of nice flavors going on that I'm sure will only blend in time to make an even smoother drinking BW. I planned on aging this like I did my recently consumed WWS but I couldn't hold out. And at $3.50 I can always get more to age.

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Photo of ne0m00re
3.21/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Live review of a 12 oz bottle dated 2010D.
A: Clear copper with essentially no head.
S: Alcohol that comes off as bourbon and vanilla oak with a strong citrus character, sweet caramel malt is far in the background, green hops with banana and tangerine.
T: Very noticeable alcohol that is sweet like a mix of bourbon and orange liqueur. This is almost like flavor extract alcohol presence. The taste is quite similar to the aroma.
M: Thinner and undercarbonated but with a sticky feel.
D: Ok. Half the 12 oz is good.

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Photo of jsprain1
3.8/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a dark reddish/copper. Thin head doesn't last all that long.
S- Smells tremendously sweet, slightly candy sugar aroma, dried fruit (apricot, fig). For a 15% it hides the booze.
T- Very sweet, tremendously so. Caramel, but not atogether malty. More sugary caramel than malty caramel, some fruity flavors (apricot and fig). Slight booze warmth.
M- The effects of the candy sugar are certainly noticable.
D- For a 15% beer, it hides it well. Significantly too sweet to be truly "drinkable." But a solid barleywine nevertheless.

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Photo of Giggy
3.97/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Wow! 15% alcohol is disguised within the taste but....easily warms you up.

A: Amber/orange with a thin creamy head. Clear and transparent.

S: Caramel/Vanilla/Peach/Raisin

Taste: More mild than expected. Sweet to the tongue. Grapes/citrus & fruity. Spicy finish

M: Creamy with a modest alcohol kick

D: Very nice. Will drink again but not more than one in a sitting

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Olde School Barleywine from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Beer rating: 79.9% out of 100 with 2,663 ratings
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