Thomas Hooker Old Marley Barleywine | Thomas Hooker Brewing Company

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Thomas Hooker Old Marley BarleywineThomas Hooker Old Marley Barleywine
Very Good
208 Ratings
Thomas Hooker Old Marley BarleywineThomas Hooker Old Marley Barleywine

Brewed by:
Thomas Hooker Brewing Company
Connecticut, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
This traditional American Ale blends copious amounts of five different malts and various English and American hops to yield a rich and flavorful brew.

We age our Barleywine in oak bourbon- casks to add vanilla and smoky notes, then blend these flavors into a full-blown sensory experience to enjoy on a cold winter's eve.
Old Marley Barleywine is extremely complex and full-bodied in flavor. The drinker will be rewarded by first letting a small amount warm in a brandy snifter , then sipping it, similar to a fine sherry.

74 IBU

Added by paceyourself on 03-01-2003

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 208 |  Reviews: 175
Photo of kmpitz2
4.92/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A big thanks to ppoitras for this one. It pours a deep brown color with beautiful ruby hues. There is a slight coating of head over top, but just enough to stay around. The nose is awesome. I am not going to do it justice, as it is got a lot going on. There is raisiney sweetness, a whiff of alcohol, almost a peppery spicey quality, and a slight bitter pineyness from hops. Wow. Just wow. The flavor is just balanced as well as anything. The first flavor is a roasty raisiney malty, moving towards a slight spiceyness from the alcohol, ending with a residual spicey and piney hop that just sits lightly on the tongue. Wow. this is good. The feel is thick, slighly syrupy slick with a light to moderate carbonation. Overall, I think I am in love. The nose, flavor and drinkability are through the roof. The alcohol is present, but adds to the experience. Such a damn good beer.

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Photo of AlexJ
4.92/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I've had 2 of these babies stashed in the cellar for a while and a cold, rainy, Oct. afternoon "forced" me to open one. Although I've had the pleasure of this glorious elixer before, I wasn't at home to review it.
--Glug-glugs out the sweet blue swing-top a beautiful deep amber/mahogany with a 1 in. head of golden-wheat. Veils of lace adorn my Delirium-tulip. Head dissipates but a thin hood remains.
--Aromas of Caramel, brown sugar, and malted milk sweetness burst from the glass. Then gobs of gooey piney, green hops hit you w/ a definate citrus/marmalade tone. What's this other level of aroma, kinda smells like fresh, heady marijuana. The sweet alcohol aroma is right there, drawing me further in. An alltogether explosive olefactory experience!
--Tasting unleashes a barrage of pure malty delight! Chewy caramel, brown sugar, date-bread, vanilla, and burnt English toffe are followed by an intense, tongue-coating blast of fresh hops. Mouthfeel is very full and lasting. The alcohol is well disguised but very warming. Finishes with a mouthfull of hops that doesn't plan on leaving any time soon!

Superb, absolutely perfect barley-wine! One of the best I've had and this is one of my favorite styles that I enjoy year-round. This definately rivals the grandure and sheer-deliciousness of Paul Davis's Liberator and Imperial Porter. This one will age well, I would like to see the hops a little more subdued by ageing so that wonderful caramel, malty yum-yum can come out and play!

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Photo of oxmasterscream
4.88/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Swing-top bottle (bottled in 2004) received via trade from counselor. Big up.

Pours a beautiful, deep cherry topped by a creamy, eggshell head. It seems to glow. Beautiful. Smells and tastes of pure toffee, brown sugar, caramel and fruity a la figs and dates. On the palette, it's easily one of the smoothest tasting and feeling barleywines I've ever encountered. Deeply sweet and laden with pine sap. Ridiculously good stuff. I can't believe it sat in my fridge untouched for so long. Amazing. You bastards in CT are lucky if but for one reason.

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Photo of Hibernator
4.85/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thomas Hooker Old Marley
500 ML blue bottle with swing top
Bottled in 2006
Served in a brandy snifter

Pours a murky dark and deep chestnut brown. Interesting thin lacing on the top of beer. Random, sticky lace patterns decorate the snifter.

Pleasant nose with whiffs of dark fruits, prunes, hops and sweet malts. Hints of whiskey too.

Sweet, juicy dark malt flavors. Highlights of sweet figs, vanilla bean and chocolate malts. Piney hop finish with just a touch of fine whiskey. The mouthfeel provides an intense combination of flavors with a creamy, soft effect on my palate. I served this slightly above room temperature and this beer really comes alive.

Beautifully complex, rich and extremely smooth. An excellent sipper and perfectly crafted for the style. Probably the most balanced barleywine I've had. So incredibly enjoyable. Strongly recommended.

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Photo of Bonhoeffer
4.72/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Ohhhh. What a beer.

This resplendent brew blurs the line between three styles i find intriguing, barley wine, baltic porter, and imperial stout. I think it can be difficult to point a finger exactly where each of these styles ends and the others begin. This beer straddles that grey area beautifully.

Tons of potent roasted malt flavor balanced out by an agressive hop bitterness. Very dark color but not quite opaque. Faint ruby glow around the edges.

Big, complex, spicy alcohol warmth. Tastes just like it smells, which is exceptional.

Many thanks to BigLove for this marvelous beer.

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Photo of waughbrew
4.71/5  rDev +18%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Amber with yellowish edges. Small head quickly settles to a rather attractive cirrus pattern and a ring around the collar. Smells warm and dough-y with vanilla and alcohol and the perfect hop restraint peaking through in a dulled peach with white pepper. A little bit of that cherry ester that comes out when a chico-or-related yeast works over 6%. Thick and on the sweet side, the flavor had a candiness that is barely held at bay by the hops and peppery zest. Decaying leaves come to mind along with semi-poisonous flower buds. It hints at an acidity before the alcohol-sugar coating lines the mouth and tongue. Finish is bittersweet.

I do not consider myself a barleywine fan, but this is spectacular. Cheers to Troutbrook.

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Photo of nixhecks
4.7/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'll agree, the attractive swing-top bottle is what caught my eyes at the store. Poured much darker than most barleywines I had tried, very deep cherry-mohogany color with no head and barely a trace of carbonation. I smelled hints of oak, hard candy, apples, grapes, barley (of course), a bit of cocoa, and the tinniest bit of floral hoppiness. The taste was delicious, unbelievable really. there was a definite woody, chocolate malt essense to it. Syrupy in mouthfeel, this brew coats the mouth with a sweet, fruity, barleywine goodness, and finishes with a warming alcohol affect and a dry hoppiness. I did not expect this, although was surely hoping for it when the 500ml bottle rang up at $6.99. A must buy for barleywine fans, I think this may be my all time favorite. Very easy drinking and well balanced while remaining complex and unique. Awesome!!

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Photo of francisweizen
4.7/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A dark ruddy reddish/brown brew with a small head of off-white foam. The aromas are much more intense than those of the bottled 2004 version I remember. I get lovely sweet malt notes, some oaken bourbon notes, vanilla hints, and sweet, sugary, booze notes as well. The taste follows suit with a lovely vanilla flavor mingling with the great sweet malt flavors, and some oaken bourbon notes that remind me of Heavyweights 2005 Old Salty. I doubt this was oak-aged but the woody bourbon flavor notes are truly remarkable, and i'm at awe of how they are integrated into a barleywine with just the use of natural ingredients. The mouthfeel is sticky, palate coating and full and the drinkability is great for a big abv brew, such as this. The goblet was drained in no time. On-Tap @ Eli's in Middletown, I think this brew was just released recently. $9 for two of these on tap is truly a great bargain of better beer as well. A wonderful sipper, and a great job by the Hooker brewery.

Apparantly this one is oak-aged, which explains a lot, damn this stuff was good, I hope it gets down to PA, but it probably won't :-(

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Photo of Lnedrive14
4.68/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

500ml swivel top (i swear this thing looks way bigger than it is)

Certainly a malt bomb - this thing is probably the maltiest beer I have ever had. Right up there with those chewy belgian quads (roch, west, st. bern, etc.). Pours with a big time head, somewhat unexpected for the style (carbonation felt great on the palate). Super dark brown, strong smell of malts and a bit of alcohol.

I have a slight bias in that I love malty beers, but regardless, I felt the eggregious amount of malt actually balanced this beer out quite nicely. Sometimes I find American Barley wines to lack the backbone necessary to compensate for the conspicuous alcohol presence. Certainly not a problem in this brew. Makes it SCARILY drinkable.

All in all, I am not quite sure how well the beer fits in the style, but I loved it.

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Photo of jeffboo
4.67/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2004 aged about a year in beer cellar.

Burnt amber in color with a creamy, tan foam, the brew's aroma is an earthy combination of hops, brown sugar, molassas, and ripe cherries. The creamy texture holds an awesome mix of oaky malt and vanilla flowing into brown sugar, caramel, orange rind, and spice. The finish is long, starting with toasted malt and ripe fruits ending with a dry hop bitterness. The alcohol is felt in the head and not on the tongue. A very well made sipping beer, and highly recommended Barleywine.

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Photo of yankeeheel
4.62/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a turbid caramel brown with no head. Swirling it yields a yin/yang sheet of lace...nice. Looks thick. Smells nicely fruity. Perhaps some licorice and fig. Whirls around the tulip glass and I can't stop smelling it. Really ethereal. Brown sugar is the first taste I get, followed by leather and plum. Turns slightly bitter with a solid hop backbone. Doesn't dominate but helps build a well balanced profile. Long vanilla and oak ending caps off an exceptional barleywine. Mouthfeel is great and oily. This is a wonderful companion on a cold Maine night.

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Photo of HiroProtagonist
4.62/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Old Marley was served from a really neat cobalt blue flip-top bottle. In my Duvel tulip, the beer was a vibrant orange-ruby tinged mahogany brown color and was blanketed by a thin but persistant tawny head that left nice sheet lacing. The nose was smooth and roasty, with fat n’ chewy musty-caramel maltiness and a stupendous fresh hop bouquet of herbal/ cannabis-like resiny and berry-limey citric notes that envelope the senses. Eagerly, I moved in for a taste. I found bold and roasty sweet cookyish eathy-musty caramel malts, a perfect level of resiny-aromatic and limey citric bitterness, and a rich bitter smokey nutty finish that held a interesting cocoa powder quality. The body was wonderfully smooth and full, and the carbonation was energetic enough to keep things lively. Old Marley is a well-crafted barleywine: big but balanced, deftly bittered, and lucidly aromatic. This beer should age well but its fantastic now.

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Photo of marburg
4.62/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Remarkably elegant bottle. Pours with a sophisticated bubbling of thick, syrupy, gel-like brew. Lightly roasty malt aromas dominated by sweet, carmelized brown sugar and some delicate, tickling floral fragrances that lie somewhere between lemon, melon, and tulips. Liquid smoke meets hickory turkey bacon in its sweetness. (Have CPK Jamaican Jerk pizza, which has a very smoky bacon topping to see more clearly what the hell I'm talking about.)

Incredibly fluffy feeling and drinkable for such a rich-smelling beverage. Perfectly balanced barleywine flavors; full bodied. Resinous, astringent finish wipes clean a very sweet caramel flavor with hints of alcohol and spiciness.

This is the definition of a complex brew. It's subtle and refined, and while you can certainly drink right through this, ignoring its greatness, it really begs you to slow down, enjoy the ride, and notice what it has to offer.

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Photo of Franchise
4.6/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer pours a dark brown that leaves a thin tan lace that foams on the glass like frothy whipped cream. As I smell this beer the rum soaked fruit smells just come out. I smell plum, grape, figs, raisins man this beer is fantastic smelling. As I put this beer on my palate the rum like alcohal quality just bursts onto the tongue and makes my palate dance with happiness. I can just smell the alcohal in a good way like a nice port and the vanilla taste just rounds it out. I think this beer could use a year of cellaring to tone down some of the alcohal but you can def drink now. Man this is one of the best Barley wine styles I've ever had and will def go back to so I can cellar for awhile.

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Photo of NittanyBeerFan
4.6/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A deep ruby brownish color with a copper edge that looks extremely appetizing. Seems to me that the high alcohol content has destroyed any hope of getting any head out of this one. That is fine with me though. Looks thick and heavy. I want to taste it.

Candied sugars and roasted malts fill the nose and are complemented by dark fruits and dark chocolate. It is also incredibly hoppy. The cascade hops are definitely contributing a lot right here.

Bittersweet chocolate and plums greet the palate nicely as a slight alcohol flavor warms the mouth. Cascade hops with a malty sweetness follow with darker fruits and candied sugars in the background. The taste that is left after the swallow is phenomenal. Decadently sweet with a touch of hop bitterness.

Nice and smooth with some tingly bubbles on the palate. Light to medium texture. This beer becomes incredibly complex as it warms. It has a ton of character no matter when you drink it, cold or closer to 52 degrees, though I recommend the latter. Extremely sweet...too much so to have a bunch, but extremely enjoyable.

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Photo of Boto
4.6/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottled 2004 version (per the label tape): Ahh, this looks nice. The cobalt swing-top bottle is a nice start. Opens with just a little "pffft". The beer comes out a dark reddish-amber color. There is a light head that is gone very quickly. The aroma is lightly sweet, with some oakiness. Maybe a hint of coffee also. The taste is quite good. It's been aged awhile before it got to the bottles, which is evedent by the relative smoothness. It could sit awhile longer, but it is drinkable now. A bit of a roasty/smoky flavor to it. Also, there is a bit of a mellow whisky taste to it. Also hints of fruits. VERY complex, and also quite good. This gets better by the sip! I don't have last years to compare it to, but based on my notes this was much better!

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Photo of SteveO1231
4.59/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Short, fat, blue swing top bottle with a label stating that it was brewed in 2006. I purchased this bottle in June and consumed it tonight 11/9/6. Pours very dark, murky, with some lighter brown highlights when held up to a light. Nice bubbly off-white head, tons of cascading tiny bubbles. Aroma is spectacular, very complex, buttery, vanilla, malts, prune and whiskey. Full bodied with an incredibly thick, creamy smooth texture. ABV is apparent as it kind of stings and numbs the tongue. Caramel sweetness, accompanied by flavors of chocolate, prune, vanilla and a huge hit of bourbon in the finish. Nice hop bitterness to balance that malt sweetness. The whiskey stings the throat and warms the belly(even more so as it warms). This beer in incredibly drinkable despite ABV and complexity. I thoroughly enjoyed this barley wine. I enjoyed this beer with a few chocolates.


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Photo of Durge
4.59/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A solid dark brown colored brew with a fair light tan colored head and solid lacing. The aroma brings sour apple and raisins, port/sherry and maple nut. Fermenting dark fruits. Wow! The flavor brings big time tart apple malt, and a curious burnt oak alcohol. As it warms it just gets mellower and more beautiful. Somewhat resinous with very limited carbonation, silky and near full bodied. Not a highly drinkable brew but there is no reason to rush this lusciously flavored concoction. Tart malt dominates, raisin/prune, dark chocolate, just a beutiful barleywine to savor, probably will improve with a nice chunk of your favorite cheese! Bravo Hooker!!

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Photo of RonfromJersey
4.59/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown body glows red when held to direct light.Small beige head quickly dissolves inot a collar surrounding anoil slick. Minimal lacing.

Powerful nose. Alcohol, dark fruits, and candy sweetness. Room filing. Intoxicating. Do they make candles of this ?

Taste is deep, deep malty. Sweet but not cloying. Fruity with plums. Earthy, herbal hop snap. Lingering warming afterburn.

Mouthfeel is full, rich, but with a lightness as it crosses the tongue.

Its a sipper, but you want to keep those sips coming, from this bottle, and from others in the future.

A simply marvelous example of a barleywine. Seek it out.

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Photo of rabidawg
4.58/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Absolutely stunning blood red. Seems to be fairly carbonated for a barleywine, but the head and lacing are fantastic. Creamy, frothy one-inch head that looks like meringue and stays until the very end. Amazing.

Smell: Interesting mix of old and new world aromas, with the interesting mix of hops. Slightly smoky, with big notes of burnt sugar and toffee.

Taste: Extremely creamy in the mouth, so the head was a good predictor. Slight initial alcohol presence, followed by a luxurious sweet malt rush, which itself is quickly swept away by substantial yet gentle hop presence. Sweet and spicy, then dry and oaky, with a noticeable whiskey-like finish. Excellent, excellent beer, even on a warm summer night in Georgia.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.57/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Marley was dead, to begin with, dead as a doornail ...or so I thought,(but what's so dead about a doornail?)and, yet, he's here in this bottle, waiting for me to drink him...funny, huh?
Dark crimson color, nice, if thin, layer of beigish foam on top.
Nose bespeaks of everything I want out of a barleywine, dark fruits, cherries, berries, currants, plums, , with a wicked, alcoholic twist, mingled with maple, spices, anise, more...beautiful....marvelously complex....oh, very nice.
Drink now, if I dare...Big, fierce, buzzing blast on the palate, big hoppiness, huge fruitiness, rich maltiness, no, "rich" doesn't qualify, it's a tonnage going on here. Tasty, tasty, tasty!
This does wonderful things in the month, sets it ablaze and soothes again with delicious flavors. Has great potential to enter my pantheon of favorite, it's a shoo-in, f'gettaboutit!
Plentiful flavor, not too punishing in alcoholic strength, very warm, with a full body, and a long, fruity, toasty finish, this is a winner. Classic barleywine, all the way!
Happily, I've got a couple bottles (thanks sulldaddy and wyllder!), and can stash one away for a rainy day!

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Photo of Hagbard
4.55/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Another wonderful beer from these guys! They keep putting out top notch specialties that make me excited to try the next one (in this case the Doppelbock in March).

It poured a dark amber red from the impressive 1/2 liter swingtop bottle. A thin head formed as the carbonation rushed from the bottom of the snifter to the top of the beer. The head didn't stick around very long, but left a nice sticky lacing down the glass.

The aroma and taste were wonderfully complex, stretching my developing palate. Unfortunately, I won't be able to do it justice, but I will try anyway. The aroma was malt, hops, dried fruit, with an alcoholic finish. The taste began as a hit of malt followed quickly by caramel covered plums. The hop bitterness blends with the sweetness to create a much welcomed balance. At the end, immediately before the swallow, I tasted a hit of alcohol, reminding you that a 1/2 liter is plenty for one sitting.

It is very smooth and goes down very easily. The carbonation is high for a barley wine (in my limited experience), but not high enough to be an issue. It helped make the beer feel more substantial sitting in your mouth. I had absolutely no problem finishing the 1/2 liter bottle and would have gladly accepted another glass (though not another 1/2 liter if I wanted to go to work the next day!).

This was an absolutely wonderful barley wine. It's amazing that 2 of the best barley wines I've tried this year have both been made in CT (Fire Drake from John Harvard's is the other). Keep up the good work! The bottle says to allow a bit to warm in a brandy snifter and sip it like a sherry. I'd agree with this advice, you won't be disappointed.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.55/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I love this beer, and I'm surprised to see so many people hating on it. Perhaps there are some consistency issues? I'm revieewing a 2006 I opened about a month ago and took notes on. haven't had the 2007 yet, so can't say how it compares. Pours a dark, murkey brown with a big offwhite headthat fades to a thin cap and leaves some great lacing. The smell has warming alcohol, brandied fruit, sweet malt, and smells lightly spiced at the end. The taste starts with rich brandied fruit, sweet malt, vanilla, and cherries, followed by a long earthy hop bitterness and some oaky tannins. Delightful. The mouthfeel is big, sweet, creamy, smooth, and with nice tannic structure. Delicious fireside digestif.

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Photo of FLAbeergutinMASS
4.53/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a wonderful Barley Wine, pricey as can be, but worth it! I've been eyeing this one for some time now, reluctant because of the price. As fall approaches, on Western Massachusetts' first characteristically cool evening.

Right off the bat, huge vanilla and chocolate mouth. Milkshake like taste characteristics, and of course, big, big, big malty presence. Slightly oak aftertaste. Devine.

One of the better beers I've had in a while. A very nice balance between English and American styles. Well balanced, well worth it.

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Photo of dgallina
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful dark blue swing-top 500 ml bottle dated 2006.

Dark chocolate brown to black in appearance. Syrupy and oily body with no head to speak of and small amounts of very sticky lace. Smells of chocolate, heady alcohol-drenched dark fruits, some balancing spicy hops. Dry cocoa up front, developing into very round sweet chocolate malts in the middle. Finishes with big astringent alcohol (whiskey-like) burn, burnt coffee, and piney hops . Very smooth (almost still), oily and syrupy in the mouth.

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Thomas Hooker Old Marley Barleywine from Thomas Hooker Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.99 out of 5 with 208 ratings