Old Blarney Barleywine | Moylan's Brewery

very good
347 Ratings
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Old Blarney BarleywineOld Blarney Barleywine

Brewed by:
Moylan's Brewery
California, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Quaffer on 02-26-2002

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Ratings: 347 |  Reviews: 241
Photo of JDV
3.58/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a light maroonish to dark amber color. Short lived thin beige head atop. Smell is mostly malty, mild with notes of lightly alcoholic caramel. Mild, underwhelming nose. Taste is moderately hopped with very light, and bright flavor of caramel and somewhat plain bittering hoppiness. I didn't get any citrusy or fruity qualities to the hops at all. Drinkable and smooth with a medium body and normal carbonation. Alcohol is nicely held in check for 10%, I thought. Not outstanding, but I didn't have any trouble finishing my share.

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Photo of asabreed
4.17/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bomber into a Thomas Hardy's snifter. Another cool but not overdone label, as far as graphics go, with lots of information and interesting color combinations.

Appearance: On the lighter side for a barley wine, with less amber darkness than I expected and more cherry red, with nice bubbles floating up, and more lacing left on the glass from the fairly fast dissipating than great head retention.

Smell: Much going on here. Bitter chocolate, stale coffee, mild tobacco, earthiness, burnt and roasted malt, brown sugar, hints of charcoal, bitter grapefruit, and dark bread crust. Kind of avoids one side of too sweet and malty or too bitter and hoppy for a nice balance of a pretty singular barleywine if you ask me.

Taste: I guess mostly what I'm a bit confused about is the odd bitterness that still happens even after it warms to room temperature. Too green perhaps? I'm not sure. The flavors in the nose come through well, but there's an odd meld of either rooty, earthy bitterness, maybe coupled with some grapefruit rind, but it seems oddly overpowering, especially over the flavors of the malt, which start to come through and then get kind of pushed back down. I just wish the flavors were able to get their way instead of having to fight through the bitterness. Yet it still doesn't remind me of a really hoppy American style in that way. I'm not sure if this making sense. Maybe it IS just a really hoppy ass barleywine and I'm not seeing it as that, wanting more malt flavors, as I usually do. At first, however, regardless, there are the nice hints of dark brown sugar, coffee, caramel, chocolate, tobacco, and earthiness, which does make it pleasant before the onslaught of peculiar bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Slightly creamy and a little chewy with more of a medium than heavy body, surprisingly.

Drinkability: This is such a rich, complex, and easy-going brew, especially when it warms to room temperature, but there's that bitterness I can't put my finger on. This will certainly be a bottle I'll get to cellar if I can, but it's certainly worth checking out, and I'm glad I did. As I said before, I'll be trying as many of Moylan's brews as I can get my hands on.

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Photo of bluemoonswoon
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Pours a fairly cloudy purpleish amber with a half inch frothy instant coffee colored head. Head fades away into a thin ring and leaves a bit of lacing down the glass.

S: One of the maltiest barleywines I've ever smelled, deep and sweet caramel maltiness with a hint of resinous hop pinyness. Nice change of pace in the aroma department.

T/MF: Wonderful balance being demonstrated here, citric hop bite opens things up and then brings in a dextrose malt sweetness. The mouthfeel is what shines here, opens up with a vicious hop bite to the tongue but mellows out considerably as the beer warms in the mouth, strongly carbonated for such a high ABV and really keeps things lively.

D: Solidly constructed, easy drinking and tasty barleywine a solid choice.

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Photo of Lothar666
4.77/5  rDev +24.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- Poured a dark ruby red mahogany body with a thick, creamy tannish off white head. Lacing was thick and sticky; no sediment was readily visible.

S- Sweet malts, candy, fermented apple, pear, grape and buttery toffee.

T- Taste is much more fruity than te smell; flavors extremely well balanced and complex. Candy apples, caramel, and sweet toffee with a delightful hop bite in the finish. Other fruit flavors form a delightful and complex medley of taste experience that seem to defy description.

M- Smooth, creamy, and very heavy with only the slightest warming sensation from the alcohol and a delightful tingle from the hops.

D- Extremely easy to drink for such a potent brew; the alcohol is well disguised beneath layers of delicious, complex flavors.

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Photo of timtim
4.28/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

georgeous hazy reddsish brown with orange-amber highlights. yellowish tan head that holds well and leaves nice lace. caramel, sweet bread and fruity hop in the nose. wish it was stronger in that department, because what i'm smelling is very nice. taste is hoppier than expected with a bit of mint and pine in the finish. great medium full body. nice and smooth and velvety. couldn't drink this all night, but i certainly enjoyed it. another quality brew from moylan's.

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Photo of Gehrig
4.33/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I spent part of the day immersed in macro-brewed nonsense, reaffirming that one beer I had long ago and used to think was decent really wasn't good at all (Killian's), and that another was every bit as bad as I had suspected (Bud Light). Enjoying Old Blarney was in all facets a better, more enriching, and more positively affirming experience. It certainly reminded me that barleywine is quickly becoming one of my very favorite styles. It also illustrated how subtly complex barleywines, indeed good beer, can and ought to be.

This big, bold barleywine provides a very good presentation, pitching a big cloudy brown into the reliable DAB mug. One and one-half fingers of off-white head recedes slowly, coating the mug with a fairly solid sheet of lace. Bravo on the start. The nose is good and complex, but a bit too subtle, leaving me desirous of more. I expected more hops, though this certainly delivers some. The fruit is nice but requires a patient nose, one I'm striving to acquire. Apple and peach emanate, combining with a sly sugary smell to nicely offset the hopped bitterness to come.

The taste is a confident balance between the aforementioned hop bitterness and the fruit-and-brown sugar dyad. Yet I cannot help finding myself hoping for more from this beer. Without wanting it to be what it is not--and what it is certainly is tasty and enjoyable--the sticky component in many barleywines is surprisingly absent here. A good patch of caramel would round Old Blarney out very well, ameliorate some of the predominant hop bitterness, and no doubt make this more than excellent but in fact exquisite.

Again, not to complain much for this is very good. I'm torn between feeling that I'm nitpicking and feeling that I'm right. Either way, Old Blarney is certainly on my beer radar, and I'm hoping that I have the patience to cellar a couple of these gems and test the flavor in the future.


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Photo of srandycarter
4.37/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- I had a feeling about this one as I poured it. I wasn't even close enough to smell it, but the beautiful, viscous liquid looked like melted caramel and drew me to it. Not much head, lacing thin.

S - Thick sweet malt, bread and booze.

T- Same as smell, only more so. Major delicious flavor, and although lots of sweet stuff, efficiently bittered and the end and well balanced.

M - Coating, thick, good carb.

D - I WOULD drink it all night, if it wasn't so high an ABV.

A great effort by Moylan!

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Photo of mrasskicktastic
3.21/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Clear amber with a ruby tint. The huge frothy head is slow to rise and even slower to fade, but it leaves thick rings of lacing in it's wake.

S - Aromatic pine, spicy peppery hops and a hint of faint citrus.

T - A hint of vanilla over a light caramel malt, however, a spicy peppery hop dominates the flavor. Aftertaste is simply the evolution of the peppery hop. Fairly one-dimensional and not that great of a dimension to boot.

M - Thick, smooth, pretty refreshing.

D - Alright. The taste is mediocre, but the rest is nice.

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Photo of sinistrsam
4.49/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a red-amber but looked watery (looks can be deceiving) and left no lacing.
The smell was absolutely equisite: Coffee with cream adn lots of sugar, honey, vanilla, molasses chocolate malt and brown sugar. SO much going on here.
The taste was burnt coffee (not unpleasant) with chocolate, honey, and a little hop presence showing through. Very good.
The feel was very complex as well; a surge of dry and bitter hops up front with burnt coffee acrid-ness, then a fade into a bittersweet then sweet and smooth finish, Excellent.
Although very alcoholic, I'd say this is a very drinkable beer and a fantastic find.

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Photo of russpowell
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours caramel/orange with 3+ fingers of sand colored head. Murked up a bit at the end of the bottle. Good head retention & above average lacing

S: Breadyness & caramel, plus some piney hops & some booze as this warmed

T: Huge piney hops & a bit of breadyness up front. More piney & grapefruit hops, cakeyness with more caramel, plus a touch of grainyness as this warms. Finishes with some tangerine hops, a touch of honey malt, piney & lemony hops & a bit of dryness. This got better the warmer it was

MF: Chewy & creamy, skews hoppy like you'd expect

Drinks a little slow, but If you like your Barley Wines big & hoppy, this is your huckleberry

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Photo of Viggo
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber that grub was nice enough to share with me.

Pours a hazy copper, thin tan head forms, drops to a solid layer, leaves behind some solid lace rings. Smell is nice, caramel and bread, floral, dark fruits, raisins, alcohol, bit of grapefruit, well balanced aroma. Taste is bread and toffee, raisins, brown sugar, sweet malty middle, grapefruit and floral, oats, alcohol, very clean malts, balanced hops. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with slick low carbonation, pretty smooth, warmth from the alcohol. Standard American barleywine, doesn't stand out from the crowd but I would be happy to have this as a regular beer. Thanks Russ!

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Photo of jjayjaye
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy classic tea hued amber with a big pale foamy yellow head that resists fading and settles as an ice cream float, leaving gobs of Belgian lacing in it's wake, some 3D. The Smell is really good. Sweet creamy caramel malt, a touch of molasses and cinnamon. The nose suggests a rich texture and the mouth doesn't disappoint. Adequately carbonated, the mouth feel is moderately heavy, a tad lighter than some. Being slightly lighter, there is less of a lingering sense of richness. The flavor is similar to the nose. No surprises and that's a good thing. The 10% ABV is warming to the chest, but well integrated otherwise, making it very drinkable. Enjoying this one! Highly Recommended.

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Photo of mattster
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Opened 22oz bomber, poured into Snifter glass.

At 55º Forms nice large bubbly head which dissipates to a ring of lace around top of glass. Color is a nice amber brown,

Smell is of a sweet caramel, Dark fruits, slight hops. Taste follows through with the same somewhat sweet profile. Very nice finish, has an understated "big wine" taste that makes me long for a good slab of steak or some wild game. I think this would go well with Whale also.

Finish is nice, not bad on after taste, really nice body. Alcohol and bubbles are just right for a 10%er, really drinkable, granted, 1 bottle is more than enough...

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Photo of brewcrew76
3.7/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Purchased Sept 2007

A - Pours a murky cherry brown with a small grouping of tight foamy bubles.

S - Cherries, sweet caramel, toffee, some dark fruits and a touch of piney, citrus hops.

T - Cherry, very sweet caramel, molasses, licorice followed by grapefruit and herbal hops.

M - Big mouthfeel, slightly sticky and creamy with a dry finish.

D - Both sweet and hoppy bitter that never quite blends together as well as I would like. Still a tasty beer.

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Photo of tpd975
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked this one up while on my trip to DC at Chevy Chase Liquors

A: Poured a murky reddish deep amber with a nice foamy head that settled nicely. Average lacing, and ample carbonation round things out.

S: Nice piney hop aromas mingled with tobacco. Brown sugar and toffee can be noted along with rich caramel. Booze burns beneath it all. Mmmm Barleywine.

T: Green leaf tobacco up front. Hops come at you next in a bitter pineyness that is rather strong for a Barleywine. Malt comes in next with a wonderful toffee sweetness. And like the aroma this one finishes with just enough alcohol. I really like it.

M: Nice and full bodied, warming, and filling.

D: Enjoyed the entire bomber, each and every drop.

Overall: Another fine offering by Moylan's. They are a lesser known west coast brewer in most parts. Their beer is very good though and should be sought out.

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Photo of smttycty
4.38/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Many of us, I presume, are hedonists. We look for pleasure where ever it may be. Often times it is sitting in front of keyboard and monitor anticipating the freshly poured version of liquid heaven sitting before us. The soundtrack to "Cinema Paridiso" comes through the speakers. The time has come, time for that first sip....

Tonight it's Moylan's Old Blarney Barleywine. It's beautiful in my Sam Adams glass. Perfect cellar temperature. An intriguing deep hazy orange. The minimal carbonation rises slowly from the laser-etched bottom of the glass to a rich, glossy 2F crown the color of tea with milk. The lacing is not thick but viscous.

The nose is surprisingly soft. Vanilla and some fusel alcohol wafting. Soft and sweet. First taste is a smooth impression of wood-aged bourbon with a splash, and the alcohol warming to go with it. But nothing breaks the surface as walnut, leather, and a custard sweetness appear in the blend. The finish is an assertive, lingering hop sonata with an oh-so soft edge. Mellow and masterful.

Full bodied with a soft carbonation, the mouthfeel after swallowing is not thick, as might be expected, but silky. Some sessions are hit, some miss. But always we demand the heart and soul of our brewmasters. Then we kneel before them when they give it to us.

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Photo of grub
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

fartingdog threw this in as a bonus on a recent trade. thanks dave!

22oz bottle. sampled feb 2/08.

pours a nice red colour with just a bit of haze. a small dense tan head rises up, falling slowly and leaving lots of lace behind.

aroma is good. grapefruit and a bit of pine. light orange. tons of caramel. bread and biscuit malt. bit of alcohol.

taste is good. light alcohol. medium-low bitterness level. bit of pine. orange and tangerine. nice solid caramel. bready malt.

mouthfeel is good. medium-low carbonation level. fairly large body.

drinkability is good. balanced and nice. not quite as bold as i'd expect, but still very good.

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Photo of charlesw
4.48/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Amber. Not deep, not light. Looks amber, man. Amber. I said it and I'm sticking with it. It has head. And lacing that NEVER goes away. Ever. Not under any circumstances.

Smells malty and grassy and weird.

Tastes... Malty and bitter and weird. Weird? Talk to me about this weirdness, dude! Well, you know... Weird. Like rotting grass, I think. I mean... Not like rotting meat, but like grass smells after a week on the compost pile and when you turn it over. That's exactly the smell and the taste. Weird. Really really weird. I get some cardboard as well both in smell and taste. A crisp, clean bitterness to it but enough of that and enough body and sweetness to really count this one as a barleywine. But... The off flavors...

Rereview 1/10/9
Deep amber/brown with a small head of tiny, beautiful bubbles that last and last and last...
Smells of malty goodness (sweet caramel malts) and freshly mown grass.
The taste is fantastic - nicely sweet and malty that is very evenly balanced out with hop bitterness. Almost as good as a Smutty, you know? There's brown sugar, maple, caramel (with all of the sweet cream that implies)... Freshly turned wet leaves. And and and... Malted milk, maybe? Some interesting sweetness on the sides of the back of the mouth. Crazy good.
A touch on the thick side in the mouth. Come on, guys! This should be a really easy fix!
All in all a freaking amazing beer...

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Photo of bashiba
3.76/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep dirty copper color with a big thick tan head, very nice retention with some minor lacing.

Smell was suprisingly light for such a big beer with some mild hop notes and a touch of brown sugar.

Taste is sweet upfront with a big blast of molasses, brown sugar, and toasted grains, but as it lingers the hops take over with a huge hit of bitter juniper, mint and grapefruit. Flavor is complex and lingers for quite a bit.

Mouthfeel is ultra thick and oily and you can feel the 10% abv on your tongue.

Not to bad, a bit on the bitter and hoppy side this fresh will be interesting to revisit after a couple years.

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Photo of largadeer
3.6/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance - Copper-colored with a hazy body and quite a bit of sediment floating around. The head disappears pretty quickly, but it's typical of a barleywine.

Smell - Fruitcake, brown sugar and caramel. Noticeable alcohol, but it's not unwelcome.

Taste - Sweet and bold with a dried fruit character (apricots, peaches). Notes of brown sugar and pineapple. More hops than the nose implies; it's nicely balanced with a long, bitter finish.

Mouthfeel - Slick and full-bodied, this stuff really clings to the palate. Gentle carbonation from bottle conditioning.

Notes - A quality barleywine from a fairly consistent brewery. Worth trying, especially for the price.

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Photo of NitroGen
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

P: 1 pt. 6 fl. Oz. Bomber

A: Pours a murky copper and brown with a finger of light tan foam that settled to a thin cover and lacing to the bottom of the Sam Adams pint glass.

S: Dark brown sugar, cherries, pineapple and slight alcohol for the nose.

T: Starts sweet with light brown sugar, feint ripe pineapple then a mild finish of orange pith that although not bitter, really cuts the sweet start.

M: Really well balanced that I really enjoyed as the flavors where continually unfolding in the mouth with a nice dry finish. Could not discern any alcohol until I let it warm.

D: While at 10% ABV no discernable alcohol in tasting. Big taste that commands that it be savored and enjoyed. Would recommend as it a nice beer that I will purchase again, but drink one at a time.

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Photo of AndyCapp
3.65/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The bottle is marked "Live Ale - keep refrigerated", so reports of cloudiness might well be expected, along with noted mustiness on occassion. The beer has active yeast in it when bottled. Therefore, the carbonation may well be natural, and a little "lees" may well occur. Hence a slow pour into a glass slightly smaller than the serving bottle. Watch the shoulder of the bottle for debris. Slow pour, and a little thought will ale-leave-ee-iate the problem. Nicely Labeled Bomber of 22oz, poured into a one ENGLISH pint clear glass beer mug. Old Blarney by name, and maybe by nature.

The appearance is a reddish, copper. color with a nice tan head that dissipates quickly. Careful handling and poring gave me a clear BW to enjoy. A thin layer on of foam remained, with decent lacing sticking solidly to the side of the glass.

Yes, there was that wonderfully faint mustiness of a live ale to be found in the aromas of this BW.. Along with a good dose of hops. I had left my ale out of the fridge for about twenty minutes, and left it opened for about ten minutes more. This reduced the expected hoppy smell of the typical American Style Barleywine. This allowed me to enjoy some of the fruity esters within that accompanied the hops and yeasty tones.

Zingy taste of alcohol, which I missed noticing in the aromas. Surprise! Strong hoppy belt, and a solid malty and caramel back-flavor. Some of the estery flavors came through. But, overall, a big hop fest of a drink.

Because of the live yeast, and unknown handling prior to coming into my possession, I found this to be pretty heavily carbonated. So that few minutes breathing before pouring was a good idea. The result was a smoother mouthfeel. Which improved after the BW had settled after the wild initial froth of the pour. There was a nice "stiction" in the mouth. Which, for me, meant to much hoppiness for too long. Had this been a little maltier, then maybe I would have scored it higher.

Overall, the drinkability was above average. Not quite good for me. It is a case of being too much on the hoppy side of fine. This tended to lessen the relaxed enjoyment potential.

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Photo of Raymond69
3.81/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From my cellar to the fridge and carefully decanted. This beer has so many floaties in it, it seems something is wrong. Alot of sediment in this orange copper brew. Good head, some lacing.

Nothing wrong with the nose. Citrusy hops dominate the smell.

Taste is mostly hoppy but a detect a decent malty backbone.

Mouthfeel is thick with the hops drying it out slightly.

A decent beer if I close my eyes.

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Photo of bradybeer
4.3/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark redish brown with a nice thick rocky tan head. Spicy hop aroma with a initial roasted? malt flavor coming through with the first sip. Finishes with a slight hop bitterness. Malt and hops are balanced-at 10% the malt and hops are balanced well. This beer is dangerous as the drinkability is high-very high.

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Photo of TheBierBand
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is my FIRST BARLEY WINE EVER! Poured from the 22 oz bomber into a pint glass to form a 3/4" head of light beige pillowy foam. The beer was slightly cloudy and a deep amber in color with a slight reddish hue. Pronounced lacing on the glass.

The aroma was sweet like a Belgian Tripel but with an old musty note to it..

The taste: Surprise! Very interesting! This probably the most COMPLEX ale I've ever tried. I like it though.... Good balance between hops and malt. Very strong flavor from each is readily apparent. A woodsy, musty taste is quite present as well.... I don't mean to imply a bad taste.... just like you're down in a old, dark basement or dungeon. The hops comes through like grapefruit rind but it is balanced out by a woody malty taste. I think that the hops prevails in the end.

Mouthfeel: It seems adequately carbonated, although, I have nothing to compare it to. The feel is fairly thick and creamy... although not as much as I was expecting (the label says: MASSIVE Body...).

Drinkability: From what I've read.... Barleywines are sippers... I would agree.... I finished the bomber.... but have no desire to have another right away.... This is a good beer. Just not one that you'll have more than one of in any one sitting.

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Old Blarney Barleywine from Moylan's Brewery
3.84 out of 5 based on 347 ratings.
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