Irish Walker | Olde Hickory Brewery

BA SCORE
88
very good
334 Ratings
Irish WalkerIrish Walker
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Olde Hickory Brewery
North Carolina, United States
oldehickorybrewery.com

Style: English 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.

Added by oberon on 12-25-2009

BEER STATS
Ratings:
334
Reviews:
98
Avg:
3.94
pDev:
9.64%
 
 
Wants:
47
Gots:
108
For Trade:
24
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 334 |  Reviews: 98
Photo of Texasfan549
4/5  rDev +1.5%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.64/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I brought this one to share at jmgrub’s tasting.

Thanks to Jzmhector for sending me this one!

Pours a clear brown with a foamy tan head that settles to an oily film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, molasses, and citrus zest. Taste is of malt, citrus zest, and slight brown sugar and molasses flavors. There is a medium sort of medicinal bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good barleywine but the bitterness is a bit weird on this one.

 620 characters

Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev +1.5%

Photo of djrn2
3.85/5  rDev -2.3%

Photo of t0rin0
2.75/5  rDev -30.2%

Photo of nmann08
4.5/5  rDev +14.2%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.82/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Photo of BEERchitect
4.23/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bringing a full-flavored and robust British spread to the hills of North Carolina, the Olde Hickory brewers bathe the palates of their fans in juicy malt sweetness and mind-numbing booze. Not for the faint of heart, this isn't a quick session but rather a slow sipping affair for drinkers with a sweet tooth.

Underneath is deep mahogany austere, the ale easily seduces the senses with the intense and robust succulence of molasses, toffee and browned sugar. Laced with dark stone fruits and citrus, its taste slathers the early palate with toasty, buckwheat, nutty and chocolate-like sweetness.

Without the malt dominance wavering much over the middle palate, the boozy warmth of curacao liquor that brings with it notions of maraschino cherry, prune, raisin, dried apple, fig and date caldering up with it. With a port-like savory taste, the final flavors are spicy with a pep of shaven oak bitterness.

Light leather and tobacco frame the beer's final impressions as the full and nearly chewy beer slowly recedes past the late palate. As its spiciness grows, the alcohol and hops offer slight reprieve from the massive sweetness while returning with citrusy curacao liquor in aftertaste.

 1,191 characters

Photo of oline73
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of brentk56
3.87/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

2010 Bottling

Appearance: Pours a cola color with a smidge of a head that fades away altogether too quickly though it does leave a splendid array of viscous dots

Smell: Fruity aroma, with some citrus as well as apple, pear and raisin elements

Taste: Very different malt character, with a ton of fruit up front; quite a kitchen sink of citrus, light fruits and dark fruits, with a nutty, caramel character underneath; after the swallow, a bit of spearmint enters the picture and lingers into the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with low to moderate carbonation; surprisingly thin for the ABV

Overall: I enjoyed this but am not quite sure what to make of it; perhaps a year has changed its character but this is the fruitiest barleywine I have ever encountered

Discovered the 2009 in my cellar the next day, so here is the comparison:

Appearance: Much better head retention than the 2010; more lacing as well 4.0

Smell: Now there is the malt that was missing in the 2010; the fruitiness is there also, but it is far better balanced 4.5

Taste: Very similar to the 2010 but, as with the aroma, there is a better balance to the caramel malt 4.0

Mouthfeel: Feels more like a barleywine though the carbonation is a bit too prickly 3.5

Overall: So, a year older and with a 2% lower ABV, the 2009 is clearly the better beer 4.0

 1,329 characters

Photo of WillieThreebiers
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%

Photo of largadeer
3.83/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of zestar
3.5/5  rDev -11.2%

Photo of mothman
3.87/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Tan head. Copper brown color.

Malty. Toffee and caramel. Sweet. Light molasses and raisins. Brown sugar.

Medium bodied. Easy drinking. Nothing crazy though.

 158 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
3.3/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to a generous BA for providing this growler at the Friday night pre-BA Sexual Chocolate tasting. Served in a Foothills sampler glass.

Pours dark brown with a short tan head that quickly recedes to a thin collar. The nose brings some light whiskey character along with caramel and a bit of booze. Nothing much else than that. This is especially apparent in the flavor, which unfortunately tastes mostly like watered-down whiskey and doesn't have malt or other backing. Light to medium body without too much booze, which is fairly impressive. Decent enough overall, but I'd rather stick with some of their other beers.

 624 characters

Photo of chinchill
3.38/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Large shared bottle pours dark reddish-brown with a decent head.
The aroma is somewhat boozy with a dark malt base and notes of dates and soft ripe fruits.
The flavor largely follows but has a sou note that seems out of place and a very bitter aspect to the aftertaste.
Smooth, full body with medium carbonation.

 315 characters

Photo of oberon
3.93/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2009 Vintage.

Poured into an oversized wine glass a rich deep amber with a clingy one finger slight off white head that left multiple layers of broken lace.Deep fruit in the nose, along with brown sugar and sweet alcohol.Its a bit hot being that its this years vitage,the flavors are deep in fruity malt,mainly raisin with big brown sugar,alcohol dripped plums.Its hot, but its a damn good sipper,I plan on getting one to let sit for awhile.

 444 characters

Photo of jlindros
4.22/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to cwguy5 for this one.

Very light fizzy head, touch of lacing, mostly clear dark molasses ruby brown color.

Nose tons of dark malts and fruits, aged brown malts, caramel, toffee, molasses, etc. touch of oak and a bit of light whisky. Fruit bring fig, date, brandy soaked raisin with brown sugar, hint of creamy malt.

Taste starts rich and lush, creamy darker malts, brown malts with tons of brown sugar and molasses, caramel, toffee, chewy granola bar. Then fruit with more brandy soaked raisin, plum, fig, date, soft aged malts. Hint of a whisky flavor. Towards the end brings a light earthy hops. Finishes semi sweet with tons more juicy fruits and dark malts and sweets, still decent sweetness with a nice spicy hop bitterness.

Mouth is a bit bigger bodied, decent carb, hint of warming booze.

Overall very nice, great fruits, hint of whisky and barrel, good sweetness and malts, balanced fairly well.

 917 characters

Photo of dbrauneis
4.05/5  rDev +2.8%
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 ygtbsm94
3.25/5  rDev -17.5%

Photo of Kegatron
3.5/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz wax topped bomber into a couple of snifters. Thanks go to Barscream for sharing this one with me. 2009 Edition.

Pours a ruddy amber, with a thin frothy head of light mocha foam. This retains with some rich edges, leaving back a smattering of spotty lace down the sides of the glass. The aroma smells of brown sugars, toffee, herbal hops, a touch of more burnt feeling grains, and then alcohol notes of spice and warmth.

The taste is similar to the nose, with caramel, green citrus, grainy roast, brown sugars, and some additional herbal tones. This finishes dry, spicy and bitter. The mouthfeel is fuller bodied, with a firm creaminess on the tongue that then spreads out into the rest of the mouth. I’m getting a little sweet and spicy warmth here out of the body but its overall pretty smooth if maybe a little thin feeling.

This was decent. The complexity seemed to be there but the flavors themselves just didn’t leave much of a bold impression on me, which coupled with the thinner feel of the body to make for a moderately enjoyable but ultimately forgettable drinking experience. This one seemed liked it’s spent enough time in the bottle already.

 1,172 characters

Photo of wethorseblanket
3.95/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of Rifugium
4/5  rDev +1.5%

Photo of nathanmiller
4.5/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of XmnwildX12
3.25/5  rDev -17.5%

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Irish Walker from Olde Hickory Brewery
3.94 out of 5 based on 334 ratings.
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