Old Embalmer | Widmer Brothers Brewing Company

BA SCORE
86
very good
211 Ratings
Old EmbalmerOld Embalmer
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
Oregon, United States
widmer.com

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.20%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by freed on 08-08-2004

BEER STATS
Ratings:
211
Reviews:
48
Avg:
3.87
pDev:
11.37%
 
 
Wants:
12
Gots:
36
For Trade:
0
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Ratings: 211 |  Reviews: 48
Photo of acurtis
3.25/5  rDev -16%

Photo of kylehay2004
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of jaydoc
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of djrn2
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.02/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2013 edition, on tap at mead street station, not the brothers reserve edition i dont believe. man, some age has done this well, helped it mellow and integrate, and dry up a bit, its excellent barleywine, one of my favorites of the season so far. super frothy on the pour, a little murky in its light amber color, looks light for the style, and the head just keeps rising, creamy and beige and unrelenting. it smells very english, yeasty and not a ton of hops, but it also doesnt smell sweet at all, more like a bran muffin than caramels and toffees and the usual suspect grain layers. i think the yeast helps that a lot, its very english, biscuity and obviously robust in its capacity for high gravity fermentation. its almost woody, the way new oak can add a vanilla earthiness, this definitely has that going on in the middle, and maybe a hint of fig or date fruitiness before it gets dried out. i usually dont love this style, but this one is awfully good. also a heck of a way to take on a hangover! maybe the best widmer beer i have ever had.

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Photo of kjkinsey
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of metter98
3.94/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: The beer is clear amber-orange in color and has a light to moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high off white head that died down, leaving a large patch of bubbles in the center, a collar around the edge and some lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: Light to moderate aromas of caramel malts are present in the nose along with some faint hints of floral hops. Notes of toffee also become apparent as the beer warms up.
T: The taste is similar to the smell and has flavors of caramel and toffee along with hints of sweetness and a very slight amount of bitterness from the hops.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation with notes of warming from the alcohol.
O: I found this barleywine to be quite drinkable compared to other beers in the style because it's not overly sweet or cloying and it also hides the alcohol very well from the taste. If you let the beer warm up, it will become a little more complex and start exhibiting aromas and flavors of toffee.

Note: 2012 vintage

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Photo of biboergosum
3.73/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle, the '12 version, mit 'Bravo' Hopfen.

This beer pours a slightly hazy, medium copper amber colour, with one fat finger of weakly puffy, loosely foamy, and generally bubbly ecru head, which leaves some melting snowbank lace around the glass as it speedily abates.

It smells of semi-sweet bready caramel malt, candy sugar, reduced apple compote, dark orchard fruit - fig, date, and prunes, mostly - and still heady earthy, leafy, and floral hops, with more than a soupcon of bristling booziness. The taste is gritty, grainy pale and caramel malt, weak toffee pudding, a certain musty, been stored way too long red wine fruitiness, further fig, date, and cherry cordial notes, a mildly clammy yeastiness, a faintly acerbic woodiness, some late-arriving drupe esters, a touch of wet tobacco, and understated weedy, leafy, and floral hops - the north of 20-proof alcohol doing well to remain in the shadows.

The bubbles are fairly underwhelming in their middling, pithy frothiness, the body a decent medium weight, but like the aforementioned yeast, kind of clammy in its stab at smoothness. It finishes off-dry, as the grainy caramel malt starts to apply itself towards the English side of things, given the turtling behavior of the purported Yankee Doodle Dandy hops here.

Yeah, two years (+) on, and the hops are not peppy and do not get all American on my palate, you say? Big fucking surprise. Anyways, the teetering towards British quarters is thus duly understandable, especially given the otherwise well-rendered, and enjoyably drinkable maltiness, one which is easily quaffable, with the only caveat being that, damn, girl, this is one boozy mo-fo, once you get up close and suitably tight with it!

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Photo of kojevergas
2.78/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Bottled July 18th 2012. Featuring Bravo hops. 10.2% ABV confirmed. 22 fl oz brown glass bottle with uninspired label art and branded pry-off pressure cap served into a stem-tulip in low altitude Minneapolis, MN. Reviewed live. Expectations are above average; I'm in the mood for a barleywine. Reviewed as a barleywine because the label clearly identifies it as such.

Served cold - straight from the fridge - and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: No bubble show forms as I pour.

Pours a half finger wide head of nice khaki colour. A bit thin. Poor complexion and consistency. Retention is poor - maybe 40 seconds at best. No lacing clings to the sides of the glass as the head recedes.

Body colour is a decent translucent quasitransparent amber red. No yeast particles are visible.

Overall, it's a bit too much of a clean amber for the style. I've never seen a good barleywine of this hue. I'm looking forward to trying it, but I'm suspicious given the brewery and colour. Not unique or special. No egregious flaws.

Sm: Toffee, caramel, light toasted malt, amber malts. Bread crust. Faint alcohol. Some pear/green apple - not really an orchard character, but enjoyable.

No yeast character is detectable. I'm not getting much hop character - if there is any, it's generic and fruity.

A pretty pleasant aroma of below average strength. I'm not horribly excited to try it, but it's average for the style.

T: Amber malts, light toasted malt character, toffee, caramel, and some very faint apple/pear. Generic fruity hops comprise the entirety of the hop profile. Balance is mediocre. Build is loosely cohesive but far from gestalt. Lacks complexity and subtlety - especially for the style. No intricacy or nuance at all. Not well layered. Below average depth, duration, and intensity of flavour. It just isn't that flavorful or tasty.

No yeast character comes through. Has some faint alcohol presence. I'm unimpressed. There's none of the rich malt foundation you'd expect in a great barleywine, and nothing about the flavour profile suggests it'd handle age well.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Full-bodied and thick without the diversity of flavour to back it. Overcarbonated. Unrefreshing.Okay presence on the palate. Suits the flavour profile okay, but doesn't feel custom-tailored to it.

Not oily, astringent, hot, boozy, gushed, harsh, or weak.

Dr: Drinkable but very unremarkable. A forgettable barleywine from a downright mediocre brewery, Old Embalmer offers nothing of interest to the discerning drinker. I wouldn't get it again and I wouldn't recommend it to friends. Not worth the cellar space to put down. I'm not sure what Widmer thought this was bringing to the already well-saturated barleywine market, but its relatively low quality renders it quite mundane. Barleywine fans will be disappointed.

Low C

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Photo of brentk56
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 version (with Bravo hops)

Appearance: With a bit of a bubble show, the beer pours cloudy and copper; the modest ecru head fades into a film; decent lacing for the age and ABV

Smell: Toffee, tobacco and pine, with underlying stone fruit tones

Taste: Toffee lays down the gauntlet, with pine and tobacco tastes developing; stone fruit sprinkled drizzled with syrup in the mid-palate and a hint of bitterness and booze in the finish

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation

Overall: This beer has matured nicely and is drinking like a champ right now; glad I found a store with an older bottle

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Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle into snifter; 2012 vintage, bottled 7/19/2012. Pours lightly hazy orange copper color with a 1 finger fairly dense off white head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty lacing clings on the glass, with some light streaming carbonation. Aromas of orange zest, lemon zest, tangerine, pineapple, caramel, toast, brown sugar, biscuit, toffee, floral, grass, light pine, and floral earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of hop and malt notes; with good strength. Taste of orange zest, lemon zest, tangerine, pineapple, caramel, toast, toffee, brown sugar, biscuit, floral, light pine, and floral/toasted earthiness. Slight earthy pine bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of citrus, citrus zest, pineapple, caramel, toast, toffee, brown sugar, biscuit, floral, light pine, and floral/toasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Damn nice complexity of hop and malt flavors; with a great hop/malt flavor balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a moderately creamy and fairly slick mouthfeel that is good. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is an excellent barleywine style. All around great balance and complexity of hop and malt flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of nickfl
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of oberon
4.21/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2012 bottle.Pours into an oversized wine glass a deep burnt orange color with a sticky off white head atop,it just looks menacing.Aromas of deep brown sugar and cramel,the hops are "green"and play a role but the malt wins out.Thick and chewy wich I think it should be for the style and how "big" it is.There is a slight rawness underneath the big malts,it has a green leafiness to it that let's you know it's American,it's alcoholic and pretty sweet with caramel and booze but I like the hop profile.Iam one of those that thinks Widmer is underrated in their "big" stuff,I liked this like I like alot of their other stuff.

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Photo of nathanmiller
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of mactrail
3.98/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The old Embalmer is back for 2012. Bottled July 19, thank you Widmer for a clear date. Something about that golden light brown color is quite appealing. Poured in my Crooked Line 1/3 litre tulip. Not a tall head but a nice cap of foam and loads of fine prickly carbonation on the tongue.

For a strong beer, this is extremely pleasing and highly sippable. A nice balance between the inevitable sweet malt, the hot alcohol, and some bitter hops. It is not as bitter as Bigfoot, say, nor as sweet as the typical Barleywine. If you don't like Barleywines, try this one. It borders on being acidic, but with the spritzy mouthfeel and dry, fruity finish, it's a winner. Just a whiff of raisins and canteloupe, a nutty taste, and the long malty aftertaste prickled with those hops.

This is more like a mixed drink, some kind of dry whiskey liqueur and club soda. "This year's version features Bravo hops that lend earthy and floral qualities..." according to the label. Bravo, which I had never heard of, are described as a "super high alpha variety."

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Photo of russpowell
3.4/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

2013 Vintage pours caramel/copper with a sliver of cream colored head. Good head retention & nice lacing, stays effervescent throughout

S: Breadyness, pears & little bit of woodiness, a bit of boozeyness

T: Dryness, woody hops, pears, boozey notes & a little caramel & green appleskin up front. Dryness, pears, booze & oakyness as this warms, plus some pine & citrus hop showing up late to the party, slight butterscotch notes. Finishes dry, piney, boozey & slightly fruity, plus a little bit of caramel

MF: Medium bodied, slight carbonation, actually thins out as this warms

A pretty run of the mill American Barleywine. Rough on the edges. I know these guys can do better. The barrel-aged one is better, but still nothing to crow about...

I am sure this will get better with age

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Photo of tdm168
3.99/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A - caramel amber with a soft lacing of pure white head that fades but leaves nice lacing on the glass.

S - bready, caramel, candy sugar; intensely malty aroma

T - bread, caramel, candy sugar, some citrus, bitter finish, some underlying sweetness in the finish as well; spicy alcohol that warms the throat

M - warm, a bit thin at times, medium to full bodied

This is a decent barleywine. Just as advertised it showcases "copious amounts of malts". The bravo hops in this '12 edition offer a big bitterness similar to a vegetable-like bitterness and some citrus notes throughout. My only complaint is that this beer is a bit thin and alcohol is a bit intense. I wish I had another bottle to age for a year or two. Once this beer blends and mellows, I bet it would be fantastic. Even relatively fresh (5 months old) it's pretty decent.

 837 characters

Photo of RblWthACoz
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is super malts. Loads of them, with a fairly firm sweet tone to it. The bravo hops are still carrying a good deal of influence with a noticable spicyness from them. Very slight burn from alcohol. This is a good barleywine as it is now, but I think a very significant amount of time in a cellar would bring out a much different experience.

 348 characters

Photo of GarthDanielson
3.24/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

2012 vintage...not sure if there are any others, or if there will be, but there's a '12 on the bottle, so there it is. Poured from a bottle into a snifter, the beer has a very thin, light appearance on the pour. Light, bright, amber-copper coloring with a thin ring of film on the surface. Aromas of tropical fruit sweetness, with some fig and date sweet in the backbone, cherry highlights, and a fairly heavy dose of resiny hops the clean everything up. Flavors have a more roasty and woody characteristic initially, followed by cherry and old world fruit sweetness. Peppery spicings, with a molasses characteristic at the tail end of the palate. Very jumbled flavors jumping all over the tongue. The beer is very thin in mouth, with a sharpness as it nears the finish. The aftertaste has notes of pepper, tobacco, and very light hints of molasses. The finish is filmy and quick, almost watery. From start to finish I do not get Barleywine on this brew. All in all, it's not a bad beer, but it's not a Barleywine, in my opinion.

 1,029 characters

Photo of Cynic-ale
3.54/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of GClarkage
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%

Photo of sendbeer
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of beernads
3.25/5  rDev -16%

Photo of Whiskeydeez
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%

Photo of puboflyons
3.78/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

From the 2012 batch. Dated July 19, 2012. Sampled on April 20, 2014 so not quite two years old.

Drinking at about 55 degrees. Lovely mahogany-amber-reddish pour leading up to a lingering, lacing off-white head. Invites me in.

Even after almost two years the aroma is still bold and forward with sweet roasted barley malts, a touch of fruit, and a mildly earthy hop sensation.

The body is a little under medium but it is smooth.

The taste also brings out all those barley malt characters and a low bitter finish. The 10.2% ABV has not faded all that much. This still has plenty of alcohol punch but not so much in the taste.

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Old Embalmer from Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
3.87 out of 5 based on 211 ratings.
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