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Olde School Barleywine | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

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Olde School BarleywineOlde School Barleywine
Very Good
2,669 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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,669 |  Reviews: 1,081
Photo of 100floods
3.65/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pour into a pint glass. The pour yields a cream-white head that seems to be mellowing down. Amber hue, minimal visible carbonation and pretty damn clear. This has the aroma of a good American Barleywine, at least a 15% BW. Smooth, warm aromas from the alcohol. Fruit and candy sugar notes from the malt. Not much in the hop department on this one. For such a strong brew, the alcohol hides pretty well. Also, notes of orange zest, possibly the hops I was looking for. Damn this is sweet! Alcohol heat and a strong malt bill dominate the first sip, the alcohol warm closes it out. Notes of orange rinds, possibly burnt rinds. The alcohol heat is accompanied by some spiced flavors. This beer, for it's size, ain't too shabby. It does a good job of hiding 15% better than some beers, whose alc% are even lower than 15. Aside from that this seems to come off as an English style Barleywine on steroids. There's nothing 'American' about this beer, definitely the English style comes to mind, not a bad thing. This beer's main feature seems to be masking the alcohol. Aging this might do something. Move along people, not much to see here.

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Photo of Gobzilla
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: poured amber brown in color with yellow highlights that had a thin head and left very little lacing sticking to the glass.

S: I was greeted by some pleasent booze and pear apple notes upfront alongside banana, caramel, and sweetness from the malts; smells yummy.

T: the caramel pear apple flavors were more apparent on the palate with lots of sweetness from the malts, brown sugar, and mild booze notes.

M: the brew was medium to full in body with a moderate amount of carbonation which had a sweet, malty, slight fruity and boozy sticky finish.

D: this beer is a good interpretation on how I like my barleywines. It had some good sweetness and booze but not overly hoppy. It drank really good too.

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

157th review on BA
Bottle to pint
12 oz bottle

App- A very murky dark orange with yellow highlights on the bottom of the glass.

Smell- I can't pinpoint it. It's hops, berries. I hate to say this but I smell marshmellow.

Taste- It's a very tart beer in a good way. A bit boozy at the 15% but the flavors play well together to make a really nice brew.

Mouth- A bit of a medium body with a high carb level. Very unique in my opinion.

Drink- This think snuck up on me after a brooklyn 1 and a dreadnaught. I lost a couple hours the other night. Very nice and different beer.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.86/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours out a vibrant orange color, looks like a happy barleywine here, aroma was just what I like in a beer, hoppy andf full of alcohol.

Thicker viscosity than most/any for a beer of this color, allows some wood flavor and hop presence to chill. I think I like how they hop the barleywine more than any of their other 60/90/120 minute ipas. Slight apple feel to it. Not heavy, lighter than expected.

Mouthfeel, eh, hops still, alcohol, clear alcohol feel to it. Nothing too complex develops in this barleywine, it leans very much to the side of just being a gigantic ipa. And hey, there's a time and place for that. Hides its alcohol a lot better than some beers half its strength.

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Photo of abc3
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

As expected, didn't pour much of a head. Beer itself looks deep amber, like a nice brandy. Nice balance between alcohol and malt. Hops are not prominent. Overall, this is a nice sipping beer. The alcohol content, along with DFH's reputation for stuffing every bottle with ingredients, gives the beer the potential to release a cornucopia of many intense flavors.

Drunk right from the store, the beer tasted a bit "young". I'm sure aging would make this beer amazing.

I still would recommend it...even if you can't wait to drink it. How many 15% beers are out there, after all?

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Photo of BigPlay1824
4.22/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a dfh shaped pint glass

A: pours a beautiful hazy golden amber color with an ample amount of frothy white head that lingers a bit, leaves a nice amount of lacing

S:nice sweetness, quite apparent hop character, also almost a sour scent, slight alcohol content is noticeable

T: very nice hop character, incredible depth, alcohol is definitely there

D/M: drinks a bit thick, incredible depth of flavor makes it enticing to drink, alcohol sting hurts the pallet a bit but ill accept the sacrifice, slight carbonation tingle

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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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Olde School Barleywine from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Beer rating: 3.98 out of 5 with 2,669 ratings
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