Olde Bluehair Barley Wine | Big Sky Brewing Company

BA SCORE
89
very good
353 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
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
Ratings:
353
Reviews:
127
Avg:
4
pDev:
11%
 
 
Wants:
61
Gots:
94
For Trade:
7
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 353 |  Reviews: 127
Photo of cyrushire
3.94/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of thinwhiteduke
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Sanderson
3.56/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of infinitebruner
3.94/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

November 13, 2014

750 ml bottle, snifter

A – Dark amber, copper, very high clarity. An inch-plus of off-white, slightly tannish foam head, very high retention.

S – Dark sweet raisin bread, caramel sauce, melted warm toffee. Perhaps some fruity hop aroma far in the background, but malt and sugar are prominent. Vanilla flan, mild oak, sherry, and some warm alcohol round out the nose.

T – Golden raisins and light toffee, and warm, thick, dense honey bread. Vanilla is high, some mild oaky character. Hops are fruity and herbal but mostly show as bitterness. The bitterness becomes a bit strong as the beer warms, to the point that it overwhelms the all of the amazing malt character.

M – Very juicy up front, some sudsy carbonation, and a relatively dry finish. A nice level of bitterness at provides a counter to the prominent malty sweetness, before completely taking over the beer. A very mild alcohol burn.

O – Barrel aging seems to be coming off a bit harsh, and the hops stay way too prominent. Good beer but needs some maturing.

 1,061 characters

Photo of a77cj7
4.5/5  rDev +12.5%

Photo of iL0VEbeer
4/5  rDev 0%

Photo of jmbot4371
4.32/5  rDev +8%

Photo of KAF
3.5/5  rDev -12.5%

Photo of Norseman
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%

Photo of mrebeka
4.16/5  rDev +4%

Photo of kscaldef
3.5/5  rDev -12.5%

Photo of matt_duthie
4.67/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Found this randomly and decided to suck it up and try it, even at a hefty $17.99 for a 750ml cork/caged bottle. 2012 vintage (one of 3240, wooo!) But I've always been a sucker for Big Sky and for barleywines (especially barrel aged...). Finished some tedious machining and decided to crack it open.

A: Dark translucent copper with nice thick clingy lacing and a moderately large head on the pour. Lively carbonation, generally pretty darn nice looking beer.

S: Bourbon, oak, a little vanilla, more as it warms, sweet dark fruits, toffee, some citrus hops coming through. About what I'd expected (hoped for...)

T: Follows the smell, with the bourbon always there but never overly harsh. Sweet caramel and toffee, more of the date/fig/raisin, vanilla is there just enough, and then some "American" hop bitterness that reminds you this is no English barleywine.

F: Smoother and easier-sipping than it should be at 12%. Medium to medium-heavy mouthfeel with just the right amount of carbonation to keep you coming back for another sip after letting the last one linger.

O: Maybe they still have that second bottle so I can try and hang onto it for more than two weeks like I did with this one...

 1,205 characters

Photo of SomethingClever
4.4/5  rDev +10%

A: Amber in color light pour soft head

S: smells a lot like an English ipa some rye and overall fairly earthy slightly herbal

T: it almost tastes like rust smells,malty, rye is there more herbal floral hops

M: medium to light mouthfeeel nothing noteworthy pretty straightforward

 O: a solid beer nothing really stands out on this beer not even the rye Southern Tier makes straightforward solid beers like GLBC but unless it's the backwater series nothing stands out 


Cork and cage

A: murky brown fairly big head for a barrel aged beer pours like a Belgian lively carbonation. Second pour warmer man the head was huge 

S: you get that sharp bitter hop smell and malts get a hint of bourbon the barrel you smell the base beer through the bourbon

T:get the bourbon taste but none of the vanilla toffee or tobacco just the bourbon harsh taste and the hops of the barleywine and the bitterness this might be bourbon barrel but the beer still shines through. As the beer warms the harshness of the bourbon fades and you do end up getting some vanilla 

M: very lively carbonation on the tongue lingers on the tongue quite nicely like the hops sit there oozing with bourbon

O: never had an American barleywine aged in bourbon barrels it's good but I don't think the barrel is  not complimenting the beer but clashing with it. Otherwise it's not too bad a lot lot smoother as it warms. Still I'm not sure this style benefits from barrel aging 

 1,451 characters

Photo of archyquaffer
3.25/5  rDev -18.8%

Poured from a corked 750 ml bottle into a schooner glass. A moderate pour produces a big, billowing sticky head of about 2 inches. I'm forced to sip the foam for awhile. The beer is a hazy, fairly pale brown, with a swirling gusher of carbonation.

I perceive a nuttiness and vanilla in the aroma, but also a rather rank smell that detracts a bit. The beer is quite bitter, even astringent, with loads of earthy hops and tannins. A boozy warming sets in almost immediately. I'm not getting a lot of estery flavors- it could use some. In particular, a desired dark fruit quality seems mostly absent. Very little caramel qualities either. The flavors simply don't mesh well, and the alcohol is harsh.

This bottle is vintage 2013, imbibed at the end of September 2014. Perhaps it could use some additional aging. As it is, this beer is pretty tough to drink- it 's extremely bitter, with some rather unsavory off-flavors and aromas.

Edit: the above review was perhaps too dependent on initial impressions. The weird flavors do mellow some as the beer progresses. I increased the score by a quarter point.

 1,117 characters

Photo of leaddog
3.37/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

2013 vintage 10.2%. Bottle # 1665 of 3750.

Appearance - Pours a deep amber hue with three fingers of fluffy cream-coloured head.

Smell - Dark fruit (plum), earthy hops, oak/woodiness, alcohol, caramel.

Taste - Flavours of dark fruit, oak and alcohol. Touch of sweetness from caramel. A little bit of earthy hops, but not as much as I was expecting.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

Overall - A so-so American barleywine. There is a good malt presence along with the woodiness from the oak barrels, but I was hoping for more assertive bitterness from the hops. This one is a definitely a sipper as the ABV is quite noticeable.

 650 characters

Photo of Corson
3.25/5  rDev -18.8%

Photo of Beerlover
2.5/5  rDev -37.5%

Photo of BeersAndBears
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%

Photo of DanGeo
3.25/5  rDev -18.8%

Photo of biboergosum
3.32/5  rDev -17%
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 stallion_air21
4.52/5  rDev +13%

Photo of JonnyRebel
4.56/5  rDev +14%

Olde Bluehair Barley Wine from Big Sky Brewing Company
4 out of 5 based on 353 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.