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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 JasonTaverner
3.75/5  rDev -6%

4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of jaxon53
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of BARFLYB
3.75/5  rDev -6%

Photo of tjdrewry
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of Naugled
3.7/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Ruby brown with some haze. Little carbonation or head but I'm ok with that. I don't expect that from a beer like this.

Nice malty aroma, raisins, dark fruit, prunes and molassas.

Flavor is very oaky, and this beer is at least a year old. Lots of coconut and raw oak still present. Hints of caramel and vanilla.

Some late bitterness but over all a rich balance mouth feel.

Drinkable but the oak is a bit over the top, that's what kept it from scoring better for me.

12/30/12 (two years later)
I opened the second bottle of this beer to see how it has aged. It's much less carbonated now. The rubber seal on the flip top seems to have given up. It looks great though, crystal clear and chestnut brown. The aroma is dominated by oak and vanilla notes. The flavor as well, has some sweetness to it but the oak dominates. I'm surprised it hasn't aged out after 2 years. It still has a nice rich mouthfeel, but has lost some complexity and has become a single note - oak. All that said, I would still buy a few more bottles if it's offered.

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Photo of chrispoint
3.5/5  rDev -12.3%

Photo of griffey123
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of jfcaa193
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%

Photo of DavoleBomb
2.61/5  rDev -34.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

Poured into a snifter. 500ml swingtop, 2009 vintage.

2.5 A: Uh-oh. No carbonation. I'm guessing this is due to the swingtop, but T. Hooker chose to use this format, so I'm continuing with my review as normal. Black color.

4.0 S: The nose is still solid. Tons of plum and caramel with raisin, prune, whiskey, and leather close behind. Minor notes of sherry oxidation, but overall very nice.

2.5 T: Surprisingly not a lot of oxidation. There is a some, but it's not undrinkable. Plum, raisin, tobacco, and caramel are strongest. Cardboard after that. The flavors are presented all that well without the carbonation though.

1.0 M: This really hurts from no carbonation. Lighter medium body. Not creamy or at all pleasant here.

2.0 D: I'm probably not being fair by reviewing this, but two years isn't so long that the bottles should have ended up this way.

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Photo of JAHMUR
3.5/5  rDev -12.3%

Photo of rab53
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of Burt
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of Rochefort10nh
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of BlackWednesday
3.56/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Murky, dark brown appearance with little to no head. Taste is sweet, a little strong on the alcohol. Some undertones of vanilla from the bourbon aging. Fairly strong malt presence with little hops present. Overall, interesting and different from most barleywines I drink. However, I do like some more hops like in most west coast barleywines. Also found that this grew on me as I drank it, but I’m not sure if I’d pick this one up again.

 441 characters

Photo of davey101
1.98/5  rDev -50.4%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

I normally don't bash beers, or post reviews for beer I dislike. However I'm making an exception for this beer. I love Thomas Hooker, but this beer has some problems.

I absolutely love the presentation, a blue tinted pop top 500ml. Its looks amazing, it really does. And that why its been in my cellar for the last few months. This is a 2010 vintage. A pop of the top reveals....whats that? Zilch. Zero noise. This can't be good. An aggressive pour yields some awkward large soapy bubbles that pop quickly...and zero head. A sip confirms that this is still and flat. Yup...the seal went bad.

The smell is amazing. I smell some candied dark fruits, caramel, and frankly...the smell is of a quality barley wine. However this is undrinkable. Buy these with caution! These tops are really flimsy and barely air tight. I'm glad I only picked up one since these were $7.

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Photo of Mess
2.32/5  rDev -41.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Been saving this baby for a cold winter eve. Bottled in 2004 served cellar temp in a wine glass. Slight hiss when the flip top popped was promising.

A - Rich browny- red mahogany, but no head. Absolutely still.

S - Earthy, sherry-like. Toast.

T - Biscuity. Meaty almost. Slightly sour and earthy. Umami in a beer?

M - Really dry, and yet slick - is that possible?

D - Meatiness is strong. Obviously has had some oxidation and past its prime. I guess aging flip-tops is risky, and it didn't pan out this time. Probably a good pairing with a rare steak.

 560 characters

Photo of srandycarter
3.5/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Raw prune juice, near white head leaves fast. Tight sudsy lacing near surface.

S - Some Roasted barley, cocoa.

T - Ok, no freshness date, but I am really disappointed. Flavor has some aspects of coffee and chocolate and malt, with some hops. But the whole thing has a cidery tart underfinish that does not belong.

M - Medium body, fair carb, sour finish.

D - One is enough. Check please.

 395 characters

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!!

 653 characters

Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.97/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 500ml swingtop - bottled in 2006. Poured into my nonic pint glass and allowed to warm up a bit. Appears a clear dark auburn color with barely a finger of off white foam. Nose and flavors consist of raisins, molasses, prunes, dark cherries, caramel, fruity, brown sugar, a touch of oak and vanilla. Medium to full bodied for the style with ample carbonation. Nice with a hunk of sharp cheddar.

 394 characters

Photo of asabreed
4.09/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

16.9 oz. blue growler-type bottle poured into a Brooklyn tulip. Vintage 2006 thin yellow strip taped to the top of the white cap.

Appearance: Literally no head after there's the subtlest pop of the top, but a small amount of bubbles due to the high pour at the top. A syrup-colored brown in the light, though it seems to be a bit darker with a bigger pour and if it's outside of direct light.

Smell: Initial ripe and smoky wood aromas, along with sweeter caramel, vanilla, and maple. Mild bourbon coming through, but it's not dominant. There's almost a less sweet Kahlua type liqueur aroma coming through too. Could possible be mistaken for a lighter RIS with it's heavy aromas coming through. Some lighter sherry aromas as it warms, along with some darker cherries for fruit esters. But mostly there's the good smoke, wood, and mild bourbon aromas coming through nicely as an amalgam, and it seems to be working pretty well as a triumvirate. Also, about an hour after it continues to warm, there's some good honey and tobacco earthiness coming through.

Taste: First off, the lack of carbonation is evident here, but oddly enough that doesn't detract, since it does seem almost unlike a beer / Barleywine and more like a sherry or liqueur in some ways. Again, there's some wood, smoke, and bourbon flavors as prominent, but they're all nuanced and balanced. And there's a good middle to back end maple and caramel combination and woody sweetness, along with a presence of figs and mild dark cherries. Age has certainly helped this in the long run I imagine. There's possible a good sense of mellowing hops at the end too, which is something that didn't come out in the aroma as much. The hop presence brings some earthiness and grain flavors to the mix too. And like the aroma, after it warms after about an hour, there's an interesting darker tobacco presence, along with a nice burst of chocolate powder sweetness.

Mouthfeel: This would be lower if there wasn't a decent shot of back end carbonation, but it's obviously not a light-bodied brew, and even with the lack of carbonation the creaminess of the body works without being too cloying. That said, this is a beer after all, and I'm not sure I'm supposed to be liking this as is, though I imagine it probably has something to do with the age. I haven't found this in too many places, but this seems like a good candidate to compare to a fresh bottle for sure.

Drinkability: The mouthfeel and appearance move this down a half lower for me. That said, it's a big, complex, and tasty version of the style, though it's not for those on training wheels. It's smokier than most due to the cask aging, but aside from the carbonation and look, I really enjoyed the whole experience.

 2,741 characters

Photo of donniecuffs
2.97/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured a hazy brown/red with less than a finger of head, and spotty lacing. The smell was ridiculously sweet; pineapple, bad milk chocolate (think hollow Easter bunny), burnt figs. The taste wasn't much different; lots of sweet pineapple fruitiness followed by some caramel'ish flavor, and then a big alcohol burn on the finish. Very syrupy throughout; not very pleasant on the palate. I had a tough time finishing the bottle.

 426 characters

Photo of BigMcLargeHuge
3.35/5  rDev -16%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to someone for opening this brew. Pours dark brown with minimal head. The aroma is light with sweetness, hints of alcohol and not much else. The flavor starts with light dark fruitiness that is exceedingly smooth. Then the sweetness hits with hints of molasses, sweet roasted malts and faint caramel. Then the taste turns more bitter and slightly tart with vague hoppiness and a bit of astringency. The alcohol shows up near the finish along with more caramelness.

 471 characters

Photo of brentk56
3.12/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

2006 bottling

Appearance: Pours a murky dark ruby color with a minimal head and no lace; I know...high ABV and all that but this did not age well

Smell: Charred dark fruit, licorice, tamarind and soy sauce

Taste: Tamarind and burnt caramel up front, with a building medicinal bitter edge appearing by mid-palate; after the swallow, the flavors mellow out and the sweeter caramel and dark fruit elements dominate the finish

Mouthfeel: Thick and viscous with very low carbonation

Drinkability: I'll have to try this again as this bottle did not age very well; suffice to say, even with the low carbonation, the flavors were somewhat unbalanced

 646 characters

Photo of ShogoKawada
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This was an interesting beer. Definate wine barrel qualities, a nice drying effect. Nose is sweet, and for the ABV, this beer is incredibly smooth and mellow. So much so that I had a hard time believing that it was 10%. I think this bottle had some age on it, although there was no date marked.

The mouthfeel was full and smooth, with a pretty good malt sweetness and fruity notes. This barleywine was a very close distance to some reds and whites I've had... this would be a perfect beer to give to wine lovers because of the flavors and the smoothness. I liked this beer, a bit pricey, but still very solid brew. Worth obtaining if you can.

I gave it a 5/5 for drinkability because its the smoothest barleywine I've ever had. Very nice.

 742 characters

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