Olde Bluehair Barley Wine | Big Sky Brewing Company

Olde Bluehair Barley WineOlde Bluehair Barley Wine
BA SCORE
4.01/5
356 Ratings
Olde Bluehair Barley WineOlde Bluehair Barley Wine
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Big Sky Brewing Company
Montana, United States
bigskybrew.com

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
75 IBU

Added by JohnGalt1 on 01-24-2009

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#3,919
Reviews:
129
Ratings:
356
pDev:
10.97%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
62
Gots:
95
Trade:
7
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 356 |  Reviews: 129
Photo of Sammy
3.99/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Texasfan549
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of jaydoc
4.04/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.97/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle pour sampled at mrbubbler's tasting courtesy of mrbubbler himself.

2010 vintage. Bottle # 1959/3000.

Pours a murky honey orange with a tan head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, caramel, citrus zest, vanilla, and bourbon. Taste is the same with a woody aftertaste. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a smooth and somewhat creamy mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good barleywine with a nice barrel aged presence.

 530 characters

Photo of GRG1313
3.25/5  rDev -19%

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.96/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

very cool mix of english and american barleywine styles in this rarity from big sky. its well hoppy, more than just bitter too, but leafy green and fresh on the hop side of things, more so than most other examples of the style i can think of. its also still primarily grain flavored, as it should be, with rich caramels, butterscotches, toffees, and nuttiness all the way through, and its still quite sweet with a floral honey vibe lightening it up a bit in the middle. cool that it can be both, and i guess its more american because it lacks the english yeast profile, but this yeast is not without flavor, its biscuity like a pancake batter, and it works super well with the sweet grain in here. medium bodied is all, which i suppose lends drinkability to a huge beer, but the booze is well hidden even though its not thick, and it kind of sneaks up on me pretty fast. i have never seen bottles of this for sale, was lucky enough to have it on tap at backcountry pizza in boulder, who seems to always be able to assemble a tap list of scarce beers. one of the better big sky beers out there, and one of the better barleywines i have had in the early going here in 2015. love the hoppiness to it, a great and enormous balance. clever brew.

 1,240 characters

Photo of spycow
4.25/5  rDev +6%

Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of nmann08
2.75/5  rDev -31.4%

Photo of t0rin0
4.25/5  rDev +6%

Photo of oriolesfan4
3.92/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of BEERchitect
4.12/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The fruity and malty-succulence all plays out in a display of balance and battle that play out in this hoppy-bitter and malty-sweet ever strong ale- this is Olde bluehair Barley Wine.

The stately beer pours with a hazy and rusty appearance of browns and slightly reddish hue. Billowing to the rim is the expansive lightly tanned head creates a liquefied foamy head with tremendous staying power and sticky lace. This beer is stately, rustic, and masculine looking throughout.

Brown sugar, freshly kilned barley, and molasses starts to frame the aromatic matrix, but also introduce the strong alcohol notes of rum and the estery scent of plumb, grape, and fig. Yet the musty malt character takes stage.

Flavors closely mimic the aromas as the beer starts with a sweet malt taste of the molasses, brown sugar, and sun kissed barley kernel. Yet the beer develops quickly into a rummy, port-like mid palate of fruit- resembling grape, fig, date, blackberry, plumb, and raison. Light herbal hops inform the flavor with under lying flavors of lemongrass but developing into a timid resonant of pine and fresh cut grassy bitterness to finish.

Full bodied but mysteriously refreshing, Old Bluechair delivers a wallop of malty-rich texture with a carbonated creamy effect. But the mid palate creeps in with a lightly peppery heat at mid palate that develops into alcohol heat to finish. Doing so with a hoppy resin dryness and ethanol warmth that closes the beer with confidence and semi-dry character that drives a malty fruit aftertaste.

 1,534 characters

Photo of biboergosum
3.32/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

750ml caged and corked bottle, 10.2% ABV. 2014 is already getting long in the tooth, so I guess it's OK to pop this 2013 vintage edition of Olde Bluehair.

This beer pours a slightly hazy, medium copper amber colour, with a teeming, barely contained tower of puffy, thinly foamy, and bubbly tan head, which leaves some patchy and sudsy layered cloud formation lace around the glass as it lazily recedes. Not your daddy's barleywine, so far.

It smells of acrid Bourbon barrels - more musty staves and over-proof booze than caramel, vanilla, or spice - reduced brown sugar, edgy molasses, black pepper, gritty pale and toffee-accent malt, dead yeast, wet leather, chewing tobacco, gritty earthy hops, and a swirling, barely restrained booziness. The taste is a lot more rounded, and yet plain - understated grainy caramel malt, still rather woody barrel essences - raw wood (natch), metallic vanilla, muted spice - powdered chalk, weird, fairly unattractive phenols, and herbal, weedy hops - the kind that seem beholden to the not so well masked alcohol.

The bubbles are pretty heady and pervasive throughout in their overwrought frothiness, the body a bit on the lee side of actual medium weight, and smooth, sure, but assailed from unseen vectors on all sides. It finishes mostly dry, the woodiness finally laying waste and claim to victory, all others merely book-ended by the lingering, as ever was, alcohol.

Ok, so, what we have here, is a seemingly and strangely bottle-reconditioned (the froth, she don't lie) barleywine, of English-style extraction (the hops apparently just incapable of speaking for themselves), with some of the titular old-lady's, um, blue-haired musty crustiness resplendent everywhere. Nah, not for me, not for me at all.

 1,756 characters

Photo of dmorgan310
3.97/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of brentk56
4.33/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle #0007 out of 3000 (2010 bottling)

Appearance: This is a beautiful barleywine, pouring an ice tea brown color with a two finder head that leaves a smattering of lace around the chalice

Smell: Toffee, apricot, oak and some fusel alcohol

Taste: Toffee and apricots, up front, with an earthy hop balance developing by mid-palate, when the fusel alcohol arrives; after the swallow, the oak and vanilla add a complex dimension that lingers, after the swallow, along with the apricot malt

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation; perhaps a little too thick

Drinkability: This is an extraordinary barleywine that is only going to improve with a year or two of age; while some complain that it is too sweet or lacks hops, I would point out that this is much more in the English style and is a superb example

Thanks, sholle, for the opportunity

 856 characters

Photo of oline73
3.61/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

2011 bottle poured into a tasting snifter.

Pours a murky red amber color. This one looks to be super over carbonated. The smell is sweet. I'm getting dark fruit, caramel, and a hint of vanilla. The carbonation distracts from the taste, which is pretty good otherwise. Lots of caramel malts and some vanilla from the barrel. The bourbon is smooth with just a touch of alcohol burn.

 381 characters

Photo of WillieThreebiers
4.25/5  rDev +6%

Photo of SocalKicks
3.5/5  rDev -12.7%

Photo of zeff80
4.17/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a clear, golden-orange color with a one-finger, off-white head of foam. It left thin rings of sticky lace.

S - It smelled of sweet caramel, vanilla and mild bourbon notes.

T - Good caramel sweetness with some spicy hop bite. There is a nice vanilla presence.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale with some alcohol heat.

D - This is a really good barleywine. Great balance and taste. My new favorite Big Sky brew....gotta find some Ivan now.

 478 characters

Photo of zestar
3.5/5  rDev -12.7%

Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle into snifter, 2012 vintage bottle 2843/3240. Pours moderately hazy deep ruby red color with a 1 finger dense light khaki head with awesome retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Nice soapy lacing clings around the glass. Aromas of caramel, pear, apple, tangerine, orange zest, floral, toast, toffee, vanilla, oak, bourbon, light clove, brown sugar, and toasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good complexity and balance of malt and barrel notes with a fair amount of hop presence; and good strength. Taste of caramel, pear, apple, tangerine, orange zest, floral, toast, toffee, vanilla, oak, bourbon, clove, light pine, brown sugar, and toasted earthiness. Light floral/pine bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, pear, apple, orange zest, toast, toffee, vanilla, oak, bourbon, clove, brown sugar, and light pine on the finish for a while. Damn nice balance and complexity of malt and barrel flavors with a moderate amount of hops; with a great malt/hop/barrel flavor balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a moderately creamy, slick, and lightly crisp/sticky mouthfeel that is good. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a small warming present after the finish. Overall this is an excellent barleywine style. All around great balance and complexity of malt, barrel, and hop flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the big ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

 1,464 characters

Photo of mothman
3.88/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Shared this bottle with ThePeskyDingo and DerrickBerg.

Bottle 1190/1800.

Poured into New Belgium Globe Glass.

Doesn't pour much of a head, but is slightly off-white. Still leaves some lace rings. Color is a deep cloudy burnt copper. Very appealing.

Smell is of booze off the top. Dark dried fruits. Molasses. Dried cherries. Bready malts. Some pine hops, a very complex aroma.

Taste is very malty at first. Bready, boozy, dried fruits (mainly cherries), molasses. I am having a hard time picking out all of the flavors because of the alcohol. Slight licorice flavor. Very complex flavor. I got the vanilla flavor out of it after I read the bottle. This beer also has a wood/bourbon flavor (similar to that in BCS).

Mouthfeel is smooth but way too boozy. Goes down easy but leaves a mouth full of alcohol for an aftertaste. Feels like I just took a shot of vodka. But it is clean.

Overall, this was a very boozy barlywine. Way different from the previous two I had, which were very hoppy. If you can find this, it is worth a shot, but have some good buddies to share it with.

 1,081 characters

Photo of oberon
3.87/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

2010 bottle number #1976 of 3000.
10.5% ABV.
Poured a fizzy brass tinged medium brown,again a rather fizzy one finger off white head atop.Toasty oak and vanilla aromas with a bit of caramel,mainly all barrel aged aromas here,flavors are toasty with heavy vanilla and caramel,just a slight drying earthiness in the finish.As the beer warmed more malt nuances came into play like dark fruit and some cakiness.Its a bit sharp in the mouth but not to annoying,its pretty good but a little one dimensional with the barrel aging really taking over the beer.I dont think its worth the big price paid.

 593 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
3.93/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thakns to mages64 for getting this bottle out to me in a BIF a ways back. Served in a SAVOR snifter as part of our barrel-aged barleywine tasting.

Pours a golden-copper color with an off-white head. Average amount of lacing with a thin collar throughout.

Nose is fairly weak and non-descript with faint notes of bourbon and light caramel. Flavor goes up from there with heavy notes of bourbon and oak plus light vanilla and toffee. Caramel malt throughout.

Mouthfeel is chewy and nice with a great bourbon smoothness. Nice oak character and a buttery-vanilla smoothness. Low carbonation.

Really a nice brew. Glad I got to try this one.

 644 characters

Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -12.7%

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Olde Bluehair Barley Wine from Big Sky Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.01 out of 5 with 356 ratings
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