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Irish Walker | Olde Hickory Brewery

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Irish WalkerIrish Walker
Very Good
346 Ratings
Irish WalkerIrish Walker

Brewed by:
Olde Hickory Brewery
North Carolina, United States

Style: British Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.14%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
A long slow fermentation and cold aging makes Irish Walker a well rounded, complex Barley Wine Ale. Released only once a year, it exhibits malty sweetness, fruity esters, and hoppy balance. This ale will age well for years to come.

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Ratings: 346 |  Reviews: 104
Photo of Sabtos
2.23/5  rDev -43.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 2

Dull cola reddish-black with bubbly tan stuff unevenly displayed on top of the surface.

This one is sweet of woody raisin with a thin watery body that has a bubbly rising carbonation. Additional sweet notes of bright red grapes and even super fruity raspberry and sweet bright red cherry take this totally out of barleywine territory for me, as the only non-fruity flavor I get is a bit of stale wet graham before the cardboard dry finish.

 442 characters

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.18/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

i love this kind of beer, old school barleywine, and i love it this time of year. this is a brilliant example of the style, and overall a splendid beer. in my limited experience with these guys, these strong ales are what they do best! a deep mahogany color to this, a frothy khaki head with great retention and lace. deeply concentrated long boiled aroma to it, dense toffee and sticky bread pudding notes, molasses and also a cool drier earthy kilned malt thing, nutty and dusty even, english and irish, with some character to the yeast too, old worldy and sturdy. the booziness is there, which i like in the style, and a neat wintery sort of hop complexion, bitter and spicy both. the flavor is like the nose, but the malt depth is unrivaled, dates and dried cherries and boozy raisins, toffee and caramel, a cool sappy sort of lower end too, bran and dark bread, warming alcohol ties it all together. baked and warming, cold weather beer at its finest, this is the kind of thing i could pour on a lazy saturday morning and enjoy with sausage and potatoes, and then let warms up for like the next five hours with a book. very impressive stuff, decidedly old school, but i love what the hops add too. killer example of the style here.

 1,236 characters

Photo of leprechaunandfatman
4.28/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of BeardedWalrus
4.24/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22 oz bomber into a pint glass. Pours a very dark brown, with a medium tan colored head which dissipates relatively quickly. Smells strongly of coffee and dark chocolate. Flavor is almost the same, but with a strong alchohol undertone that compliments the present flavors. Mouthfeel is thick and chewy, reminiscent of a gourmet candy bar. Overall a delicious beer, and while not a definitive barleywine, is still a fantastic brew in it's own right.

 448 characters

Photo of avalon07
4.04/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

L: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a dark amber color and a thick and cloudy consistency. There was a half inch of foamy, off white, somewhat long-lasting head. Pretty good lacing.

S: A nice aroma of hops, caramel, malt, citrus fruit, and some dark fruit.

T: Tasted of a bit if citrus fruit (mostly orange), a fair amount of malt, a good shot of hops (not too much, though), some dark fruit (raisins, figs), brown sugar, and molasses. A different flavor than what I expected, but still likable. There's a definitely subtlety to it, with the sweetness of the fruit and sugars mixing well with the hops.

F: A well-carbonated beer with a sharp finish. Medium-bodied.

O: On the whole, a well made and tasty barleywine. Certainly worth checking out.

 758 characters

Photo of BrianScott
3.9/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Kevinpitts
3.5/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2012 version aged 5 years. Meh.

31 characters

Photo of gia7272
5/5  rDev +26.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of billab914
3.06/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of farrago
4.24/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Half a finger of solid brown foam, lots of larger bubbles interspersed which probably hurts retention some, lacing is nonexistent. Murky brown color with a yellow aura, a few tiny bubbles, looks like a very slow moving river. The nose is muscular without seeking to overpower, German chocolate cake, butterscotch, caramel, rum raisin ice cream, spiced oranges, scone, there’s a smokiness to it which evokes charcoal or tar, plum and date fruit as well, overall it’s more heady than boozy, no burn to it. Full-bodied while trim for its size, perhaps it has lost soft baby fat over the years. Caramelized brown sugar, toffee and toasted coconut introduce the fig, golden raisin, maraschino cherry fruit flavors, really not anywhere near cloyingly sweet. Scone and breakfast danish breadiness. The cocoa has enough roast to tease out coffee notes. Carbonation is weak, however, does not feel sluggish. That earthy, charcoal things appears mostly as aftertaste, lingering the most. Very good balance and complexity, hard to say how much of this was present on release. Eminently drinkable at a swift rate which is not always the case with these sorts of beers. (2014 edition)

 1,175 characters

Photo of MacMalt
3.89/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 2/2/2016. Poured into Olde Hickory pint glass. It pours a muddy, brownish-cola color with almost a finger of foamy, khaki-colored head and lacing that dissipated quickly. It's nose features sweet malt, caramel, brown sugar, molasses, and raisin; it's a classic Barleywine smell. It may be the age of the bottle but the flavor isn't as sweet as the smell. It's boozy up front with with caramel, raisin, tart cherry, and a hint of molasses. There's also a touch of hoppy bitterness at the finish and a slightly bitter after taste. This ale is medium-bodied with pleasant carbonation, and the 10.14% (the bottle says 10%) is surprisingly benign. Overall, the taste is a bit of a let down following the aromatic nose but it's nevertheless a very solid English Barleywine.

 777 characters

Photo of aasher
3.96/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of kingjohnh
3.49/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Photo of MMOSNN
4.26/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

1-year-old bottle poured into a goblet (2016 version)
Look - deep mahogany with a very thin khaki head that completely disappears, except for a few bubbles and the occasional light lacing.
Smell - this is what I want from a barleywine. Raisins and toffee are very strong, along with brown sugar, sticky caramel, vanilla, and a layer of booze is most definitely present and rounds out all of the sweet notes mentioned.
Taste - this is a little disappointing after getting that rich aroma profile, but it still has some complexity going on. Notes of raisins and toffee are dominant, but there's also a lingering element of tart cherries, which is really surprising and pleasant. I also get brown sugar, actually it's more like molasses, and again, vanilla and booze lay kinda heavy on the tongue.
Feel - moderate carbonation, medium chewy body, very smooth.
Overall, I was, at first, disappointed with my first sip, but it's really growing on me. I purposely aged this bottle for over a year since I like this type of style aged, but now I'm wondering how it tastes fresh. Regardless, the cherry notes really make this special and changed my mind on whether it was lacking in flavor (especially compared to the nose). I'll definitely pick up more of this.

 1,256 characters

Photo of Jason_cs
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of darktronica
4.47/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of gratefulbeerhead
3.8/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of BEER88
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of brewskifan55
3.84/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a tasting glass. Thanks, Shannon.

A: Deep brown with amber highlights. A one finger tan head that whittled down to a foamy layer.

S: Heavy malts with caramel, molasses and toffee.

T: Oooh, the sweetness comes on strong with a thick, malty/caramel essence. Booziness mingles with dark fruits and toffee. A slow sipper for sure.

M: Medium to heavy with medium, chewy carbonation.

O: Way too sweet for our tasting group. Perhaps some aging may take it back a bit.

 487 characters

Photo of jschott75
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of calcnerd
4.5/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of dbrauneis
4.05/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Note: 2014 Vintage

A: Pours a lightly hazy but opaque very dark mahogany/reddish brown in color with moderate amounts of active visible carbonation rising along the edges of the glass and moderate cola brown highlights. The beer has a finger tall fizzy foamy tan head that reduces to a medium to large sized patch of very thin film and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Light amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of toffee, caramel, and dark fruits (raisin) over lighter aromas of dark + nutty malts. Light aromas of oak.

T: Upfront there is a moderate to strong flavor of dark, caramel, nutty, and toffee malts with a moderate to strong amount of sweetness and moderate flavors of dark fruits (raisins). That is followed by moderate amounts of whiskey-like booziness and oak. Finally there is a light flavor of earthy + spicy hops which contribute a light amount of bitterness which does not linger for long leaving a lingering sweetness + booziness.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Moderate amounts of alcohol warming through the finish.

O: Very enjoyable and pretty easy to drink considering the strength (not sure how this one is fresh as I have always had it with at least a year of age on it). Really nice dark fruit aromas and flavors along with the more traditional barelywine notes and a touch of whiskey.

 1,361 characters

Photo of Thirstygoat
4.19/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of 3-Ball
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of RochefortChris
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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Irish Walker from Olde Hickory Brewery
Beer rating: 3.96 out of 5 with 346 ratings