Olde School Barleywine | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

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Olde School BarleywineOlde School Barleywine
Very Good
2,689 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: 2,689 |  Reviews: 1,097
Photo of beergeek279
3.68/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served in the 750 mL bottle into a goblet. The color is amber, with only the slightest wisp of head. The smell is very fruity. The taste is a very fruity sweetness and slight citrusy taste with just the slightest hint of alcohol in the taste (surprising at 15%). Mouthfeel seems a bit flat. As for drinkability, a bit cloying for sustainability.

Ahh, other than the rather flat nature of the beer, this seems like it could be quite good, and it doesn't really drink as 15%. Though it's far too sweet to drink all day, this is one I'd have another bottle of in the future.

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Photo of ManekiNeko
3.82/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 mL corked and caged bottle from November 2002. Served at cellar temperature in a Trois Pistoles goblet.

Appearance: Very hazy orange amber topped by a small light tan head that dissipated quickly to a scant film and a ring. No lacing was left on the glass.

Smell: Thick orange marmalade laced malts, caramelized sugars, honey, and floral aromas. Notes of cherries, grapes, and tropical fruits. No real hop smells here.

Taste: Snappy bittersweet caramel malts with a wackload of fruity flavors. Tart lemon and tropical fruits slathered in honey at first. These flavors yield to orange sweetness on the finish. Again, no real hop flavors goin' on.

Mouthfeel: This is 15%? How do they do it? very thick in body, almost oily in viscousness. Long lasting aftertastes.

Drinkability: A weird and quirky beer, but what else would you expect from DFH. I wonder if this had hop flavors when fresh, cuz it kinda needed them. Not a true barleywine, IMHO, more like some inbred cousin that you keep inviting to the family reunion because they're cool. I'll have to try the most recent issue to see if a fresher batch would be better.

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Photo of Jables
3.85/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Pours a honey amber with a nice haze. Nearly no head, which could prove to make for a nice silky smooth mouthfeel.

The aroma is sickly sweet candi sugar, some subtle caramel and citrus rind.

Tastes like a hearty sweet caramel dipped in honey wrapped with an orange rind dropped in an about an ounce of good single barrel rum. The bitter orange rind and alcohol hold the intense sweetness from falling off the cloying edge, but they are just toeing the line.

Mouthfeel is silky smooth and near syrupy. I found the mouthfeel incredibly appropriate considering the gravity of this brew.

Low drinkability associated with the unmasked abv, but quite delicious when taken with temperament.

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Photo of BeerResearcher
3.99/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz brown bottle w/ a drawing of a cowboy, oddly upright and standing.
It pours a golden amber with a fast fading off white head and very little spotty lace.
The aroma is BIG Barley Wine, all the way. Sharp and bitter grapefruit, sweet malt, orange zest and alcohol all vie for attention.
Caramel, candy sugar and honey tastes create a powerful and lasting sweetness. Buttery biscuits and bananas round out the maltiness.
Edgy white grapefruit, oranges and peppery spices provide a real hop bite. A hint of piney esters and a wallop of hot vodka-like alcohol make for a really BIG STRONG Barley Wine.
Thanks Genaro...I'll be hitting that snooze button in the AM!

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Photo of xgrigorix
4.65/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Twelve ounce brown bottle - January '04 release.

Bright amber, almost glowing. Clear, with slow moving carbonation. Topped by a thin white head that quickly recedes into a halo. A slight swirl brings the head right back. Spotty lace clings all over the glass.

A heavenly slice of fruit fills the nose. Peaches are evident along with some fun citrus notes & hints of alcohol pop out gracefully. A slight urine note appears as it warms - a bit off putting at first, but its subtle & does seem to work with everything else.

Beautiful sweet malt, a touch of caramel, a shift towards dryness / bittersweet & then a shower of fruit. Finishes off dry, but not cloyingly sweet, & a slight citrus flavour lingers as the alcohol warms throat & belly.

Medium body, soft, smooth, & well rounded. Soft carbonation.

Quite good now. Need to get a few for the cellar.

The yeast pour is ugly - clumpy bits that immediately fall to the bottom. Urine note is even more pronounced in the nose. Taste is a bit more orangey.

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Photo of nomad
3.29/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A dead clear color with wonderfully soft glow, a gorgeous ruddy copper orange. Beady stain and lace everywhere. Looks damn fine in a snifter.

Smells of bready scents, shades of wheat, toasted crust, on a yeasty honey base. Shows some slight diacetyl, but a nice addition. Overall, surprisingly faint from start to finish and despite warming.

Abundantly sweet with plenty of hop flavor, for me it tasted most like apple brandy, white grapes, with shades of pine and a leafy chewable hop. The latter are merely a sheer sheen over that sweet base, full of unattenuated sugars. Opens to true butter flavors, but no scotch to go with it, and incredibly sugar-simple sweetness The big abv quietly grows warmth up the esophagus and in the back of the mouth, and when the sweetness has peaked, a floral and almost-cheese rind flavor balances in the finish. Pretty darn thick mouthfeel with lots of microscopic carbonation tickling about.

Man, thats a sugary barleywine if I've ever had one, yet thats what makes it drinkable enough. Not enough going on, especially compared to a number of recently quaffed barleywines like those from Old Dominion and Smuttynose.

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Photo of euskera
3.73/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours out almost an orange color with a low amount of carbonation and a small fluffy head that dissipates fairly quickly. Not a lot of aroma, some lemon and even a hint of orange peel... Taste is sweet and a bit tangy, hides the alcohol very well, almost too well. Only the slightest hoppiness to it. Not as complex as I might have expected, but tasty nonetheless. Very drinkable, but at 15% abv, 3.5 is about as high as I can go with it.

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

Pours a dark, hazy amber color, little head to speak of. It smells very sweet, with a def hop presence. Some what fizzy, and, when poured, it came with a good deal of sediment. lots of yeast in this hear bottle, I tell you.

The 1st taste has a hop presence mixed with fruity and malty sweetness. It mixes with the abv's sweetness as well. Going down the bottles, the fruitness is there. I would say a mix of plum, pine, and grapefruit. It finished of nicey, very crisp. slightly spicey and dry.
Further down the line, the abv provides a nice bit of warth to yourself. I must say, the abv taste, itself is inescapable. It is there, and def a force w/in this beer.
All in all, this is a very nicely put together barelywine. The abv mixes nicely with matly sweetness and occasional hop arrivals is rather pleasent. And, as I posted in a thread in the forum, the lable art so total kicks ass IMO.

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

The beer pours a cloudy dark gold color with a thin white lace head. The aroma is good. It has a sweet smell offset with a strong hop aroma. It has a bit of a grapefruit scent. The taste is good, considering that it has an abv of 15. It is very sweet and quite strong. It has a malty edge with an equally strong citrous component. The mouthfeel is good. It is a full bodied beer with light carbonation. It drinks slow, but well; a good barleywine.

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Photo of DagFishHead
4.35/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle.
Appearance: Hazy copper amber body. Frothy, creamy-white head fades to a thin cap with spotty lace.
Smell: Full sweet caramel malt with fermenting dark fruits and a big alcohol assault on the nose. Hints of banana and butterscotch.
Spicy evergreen pitchiness in the more subtle hop profile.
Taste: Lush, full-bodied malt, plum/raisin/figgy molasses sweetness to start. Huge, round (pleasing) alcohol warmth and caramel sweetness at the top. Lingering sweetness fades to semi-dry with spicy pine hops in the finish.
Mouthfeel: Full bodied, sweet-slickness. Huge alcohol warmth combined with very fine, subtle carbonation. ABV can't be hidden, but is not fully revealed until it's too late (not a bad thing).
Drinkability: One of the sweeter, maltier barleywines and a welcome source of variety for the style. DFH continues to impress the hell out of me.

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Photo of faernt
3.28/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

This is the second time I 've had this beer. The first was last January and it was good. So I bought another on 02.02.03 because the first one was so good. I opened the next one today 02.01.04. The two bottles are different. The first had carbonation while the second was still. After all these years drinking beer I have come to this. Flat beer is not enjoyable. If I want a no carbonation beverage I will drink one. BEER HAS BUBBLES!
The pour....no...the pop of the cork...didn't happen. I'm dissappointed before I can even deal with the "appearance". It's pretty but no POP so I look at it with reservation. It's cloudy partly because of a chill haze I assume. I will coax it into warmth. I do so and it's still a little hazy (and still). The taste is good but it would be so much better with bubbles. The cork came out too easily and it wasn't tight. the flavor is good but... I won't buy it again unless I can be assured of carbonation. This brewery makes good beer and this doesn't make the cut. I'm dissappointed.

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Photo of mkobes
4.37/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

It was a pretty new bottle. I believe that it was just bottled and and packaged. Really good. I very much enjoyed it. Smooth in flavor. Very enjoyable.Dark copper in color. We had it in the little bottles, first time I had it. I think its a great brew by Dogfish Head. I like most of all there beers. Brewed with currants, and coriander. Really flavorful.

Great, awesome.

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Photo of benmiliron
4.87/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Oh.. hell.. yes!

A gift from the generous Mr. Sam Calagione. Thank you sir!

Pours a hazy orange brown, most unexpected from a barleywine of this magnitude. Tastes beautiful. Doesn't taste as strong as most barleywines (yeah, that's a little weird, get over it.) Woody, spice tones and good hop character. I wish this was available locally, it'd accompany me to many an outing that I didn't want to go to. Alcohol is hidden well but warms the tummy. This brew is just exquisite!

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

This was another kick-ass brew from DFH. This is a dark orangey colour with some yellow smatterings and a white head. The aromas were heavily malty and hoppy and yet not very boozy. The taste is quite malty, with some nice hoppiness on the finish, but the alcohol is hardly detected. The mouthfeel is thick, but not overly cloying and the drinkability is quite good.

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Photo of erica
4.43/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This was quite good, nice to come home to after returning to the cold east from sunny california. The colour was a nice amber/dark orange with only a little head. It was very pretty. It smelled very sweet, almost sweet & sour, a bit citrusy and fruity and malty. It tasted much the way it smelled but not as extreme actually. Still sweet and fruity with a touch of brown sugar or something similar. For 15%abv it did not taste very boozy at all. There was a hint of it and just a hint of hops in the finish. Mouthfeel was a bit on the thick and syrupy side but not terribly so. Drinkability is good because of the taste and mildness but not great because it's so strong yet you wouldn't know it by just tasting it.... could become dangerous if one were to drink that all night long.

Overall this is a good one from Dogfish Head, and I would definitely try it again if it was put in front of me!

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Photo of AtLagerHeads
3.55/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

An interesting barley wine that seemed a bit too sweet and full even given the style. This brew is a bit hazy and murky in appearance. The mid-amber color has a somewhat thin cream head and nice lace. The aroma is full and gives great caramel maltiness and some fruit notes, along with the strength of the alcohol. The taste is thickly malt and sweet. The feel is full and syrupy leaving this beer to be only moderately drinkable.

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Photo of oberon
3.92/5  rDev -1.5%
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 mikeys01
4.65/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served on draft at the Moan & Dove in Amherst, MA, this was my first Old School experience. I was impressed. Color was maize I'd say, hazy yellow-brown, not nearly as bold or coppery in color as the traditional barleywine. A little bit of thick creamy head that clings to the edge of the glass. Tantalizing aroma reminiscent of fermented dried fruit, butterscotch, and brandy. Nicely carbonated, but not overly so; designed to slide down easily. Taste- amazing - this is the smoothest barleywine I've ever drank. Deceptively dangerous, you's never know Old School was packing a 15% punch. Very sweet, malty flavor, with excellent balance between spice and fruit. Notes of vanilla and butterscotch blend nicely as well. Closes off with a nice alcohol warmth that doesn't bite back at all. I could easily drink a few of these, as long as I didn't have to drive!

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.28/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber hazy hue with a nicely formed caramel tan head appeasing appearance with lacing present etched webbed patterns, oh so nice. Aromatics department this beer serves up sharp citrus spritz with pine resiny tones of hops and a back bone of a ton of malted barley induced sweetness with fruit tones dancing in the foreground of the aroma. Flavors oh what a nice barley wine and if this is 15% that's just rediculous because you cannot taste it hidden so well worthy of praise from all, not too mention so smooth with the sweet citrus shot hitting first on my palate followed by rich caramelized plums and a healthy kick of hops to blend flavors toward equilibrium. Just topped off my initial pour and some floral hop tones have arisen in the aroma as well as a bit more pronounced fruit tones, but still one mastery piece of art is this beer thank you Sam once again for your audacity and perfection in this art of brewing. Mouthfeel contains perfect amount of carbonation bottle didn't pop as I was expecting but did release the gas with a slow psssss sound. Slightly syrup texture fuller body so much character yet one of the most drinkable barley wines or palatable I should say done so well I must tip my hat. Like I said before this one is dangerous b/c you can't tell it's 15% and if you don't keep a mental note of the kick one could easily consume all 25.6 oz of this fine nectar. I took the advice of the bottle and poured it's contents into two snifters however it doesn't tell you to share it with another person, but I let others sample but I indulged and enjoyed a nice nightcap before shipping off back to college.

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Photo of beerinator
3.74/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Copper tones with a bit of a golden sheen, slight tanish white head.

Aroma: Very malty, excellent smell. Hint of Citrusy hop. Brown sugar coated grapefruit.

Taste: Mouthfeel is tingly. Not too sweet upfront, tingly sharp in the middle and fades to slight bittersweet finish. Hints of coughsyrupness.

Notes: Interesting beer, a little thin for a barleywine. Alcohol tingly. I think this beer would have benefited from not fermenting all the way to 15%. The malt aroma is there, but the malty sweetness and fullness is absent. Not the best barleywine I've tasted.

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

Fifteen percent, my ass.

This thing was obviously strong as evidenced by its effects and, perhaps, by its complexity. But it hardly seemed as strong as it was.

It's got a very lacquered wood look to it -- a sort of lazy, rusted orange tone. Served in a red wine glass, the brew's hearty aromas carry forth -- rotting apples, grapes, and grapefruit. The flavors push forth into a very sweet, candy apple flavor. An alcohol flavor is present but fleeting, and the beer drops into a sweet and mellow aftertaste.

Pretty damn good cap to a night of good brews at Dogfish in Rehoboth.

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Photo of jcalabre
3.25/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Originally sampled on 4 January 2003. I am writing this review from my notes. Pours nearly flat. It has a hazy amber color w/ a thick feel on the tongue & a sweet finish. Definitely taste the malt & perhaps some honey-like flavor. Nice, but not great.

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Photo of Wildman
3.72/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer poured a hazy orange amber color and formed a minimal bubbly white lace that left little lace. Some sediment is present with just a small amount of carbonation. An aroma of malt, a bit of hops and caramel with a touch of citrus. A flavor of malt, and carmel with a hint of the alcohol present. The finish is of a medium body and slightly sweet with a warming aspect of alcohol.

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Photo of Bighuge
4.42/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice looking copper color. A slight edge of bone white head is apparant. This beer smells awesome. The scale is tipped more in the favor of malt than hops (ala Old Ho). Deep juicy caramelly malt mingles with alcohol and grassy hops. Upon tasting, I have a hard time believing this has 15% a/v. While it does indeed warm the tummy, the ethanol taste is lacking on the pallete. A slight amount is detected, but not much, which is surprising. The malty and fruity sensations of this barleywine really take the center stage. The fruitiness is akin to Arrogant Bastard in a way. The tropical nuances of fruit. Like mango, pineapple, grapefruit, coconut, grapes, apricot,nectarine.....damn, this is tasty. And the carmel malt backbone is very sufficient and enjoyable. The hops provide a slight bitterness that intertwines with the slight sting of EtOH to give this beer a little fire. Mouthfeel is a little light if anything. Carbonation seems just right. This beer is WAY too easy to drink for the power it packs. If I don't watch what I'm doing, this bomber could be gone in less than 20 minutes.

I just got schooled...thanks to cokes.

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Photo of Darkale
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I am having trouble calling this a barley wine. Of course, since it's 15% ABV, I'm also having trouble finding the right keys on my keyboard.

Very powerful. Slightly sour taste at mid-tongue. This is not like any other barleywine that I've ever had -- not deep and burning, but high and sour and bitter.

Thin head, cloudy butterscotch in color.

Chewy in the mouth. Citrus flavors in the sourness.

This was an enjoyable Sunday afternoon beer, but I would not call it a barleywine. That being said, I am not sure what I would call it.

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Olde School Barleywine from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Beer rating: 3.98 out of 5 with 2,689 ratings