Old Blarney Barleywine | Moylan's Brewery

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Old Blarney BarleywineOld Blarney Barleywine

Brewed by:
Moylan's Brewery
California, United States | website

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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Reviews: 241 | Ratings: 345
Photo of 4000qtrap
3/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2 Reviews here. The 2008 and 2009 both aged 1 year. Score is for 2009 version.

Old Blarney Barleywine 2008 Reserve (Moylan's) Reviewed Jan 2010 B+
Source/Serving: Draft

Smell: Flowery with residual grapefruit notes that have faded slightly (likely) due to aging. Rich, sweet brown sugar and caramel with a hint of vanilla and cabernet notes.

Taste: Grassy, fruit skin bitterness at the outset which slowly gives way to mellow and dark, but not at all roasty, malts. Extra, almost overripe fruit notes and dark caramel ride on top of the mellow bitterness that's present throughout. Astringent alcohol is noticeable. Finish is very, very dry with continued fruit skin and grassy notes.

2009 Version Review
Source serving: Draft. 2009 version aged 1 year.

Beautiful ruby color to this.

Smell: Heaps of brown sugar, some spiciness that's mostly clove, nice ample syrup with a hint of an oaky edge.

Taste: Very smooth, semisweet caramel and spice overall. Up front there is smooth ripe berries and sweet caramel with some underlying banana. Residual hop bitterness shows in the middle with a grassy and piney edge with slight tobacco notes and burnt wood along with a moderately dry, spicy edge. Finish is quite bitter, dry, herbal, and spicy.

Compared to the 2008 version which I really liked this was a bit disappointing. Similar overall but less intense, less fruity, less vanilla.

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Photo of AgentZero
3.8/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Very dark brown brew with some red highlights and and a light brown foamy head that dissipated with some sheet lace on the sides.

S - Brown sugar, dark fruits, lot of malts. Little bit of caramel.

T - Mostly brown sugar, little bit of chocolate. This is a very sweet brew. SOme roasted malts, little bit of char taste in the middle.

M - High carbonation, medium bodied, the carbonation combined with the sweetness makes it seem like a lighter beer than it is.

D - Hides the 10% well, but the sweetness makes this hard to choke down after a while.

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Photo of jrallen34
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap into a tulip at Small Bar...Super dark brown very a bw, light tan head, good retention and lacing...Aroma is nice, caramel and malty light hop finish. This is definetly a sweeter bw. Doesn't really remind you a true bw but its tasty and highly drinkable. Heads the 10% really well.

I woulnd't seek this out, but its worth a try.

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Photo of emmasdad
3.87/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a somewhat murky, medium-brown color, with ruby highlights and about an inch or ecru foam, which quickly recedes to the sides of the glass, leaving a slick with bubbles across the top. Some hop in the nose, along with some dark fruits, plums and brown sugar. On the palate, this one is more malty, with caramel, brown sugar and some hops and alcohol on the finish.

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Photo of Metalmonk
4.08/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Been sitting on top of this one awhile, figured it was time to release the liquid from its prison. After the pour, a classic-looking barleywine sits in the snifter: candy-apple red turned to rust; bountiful off-white head (which disappears under all that alcoholic weight to a scummy skim and a crown); small lace splats 'n' splotches.

Nose is somewhat subdued, considering the style and ABV. There's a layer of alcohol over everything else--the vanilla, the toffee, the spruce tips, the cherry/fig/raisin. Sherry-like.

The aroma apparently doesn't give up all the beer's secrets, as it's a somewhat different beast on the tongue. Not sure how old it is...I held onto it for several months at least (a record for me, maybe), yet it still feels pretty green, hops-wise. It's mingled nicely, though, with the sherry-like alcohol and beastly toffee/caramel malt. There are flashes of dark fruits too, but it's mostly the alcohol and hops that dominate right now (right into the finish, too, which is pretty dry, as barleywines go). I'm sure further aging what bring out what appears to be a pretty interesting malt character.

The mouthfeel is slippery, buttery, round, with the perfect amount of carbonation--not too much, not too little. Were it creamier and a little thicker, it would be a perfect "5."

As said, I'll bet this would do even better with some aging. I guess here's where I make another plea for mandatory "bottled on" dating. Would be a great help to us beer consumers who give a crap about those kinds of things. As with all Moylan's stuff I've had so far, I'd definitely buy this again.

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Photo of Bung
4.22/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. Fairly dark amber pour, a finger of off white head. Just sticks a little to the glass.

Aroma is pretty malty, caramel and toffee. Hints of caramel apple, citrus and some resiny pine.

Toffee like malt and citrus pine middling around along with that caramel apple. An ashy smoke like quality mid through finish.

Sticky medium body, just enough carbonation. Alcohol is there but not overly so at all.

Certainly closer to an English Barleywine. Still a good drinkable nightcap type Barleywine.
Have yet to be let down by Moylans, yet not blown away either. Prefer this over the Smutty I recently had.

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Photo of augustgarage
3.94/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz bomber into my snifter.

Sienna body which glows a rust/orange-red when held to the light. Bleary but fairly clear. Very thin off-white head which recedes to a faint skin and a tiny collar. Very oily legs with a smattering of tiny sandy lacing which seems to simply evaporate.

Slightly musty and spicy aromatics with dried fruit, cloves, and honey. Esters suggest persimmon and perhaps a faint touch of vanilla.

Deep, toasty malt, very earthy and peppery with a hint of carbon. Bitterness ramps up mid-palate, but the hop flavors never really surface over the intensity of nearly charred sweet malt and barley grain. Very dry almost burnt finish surrounded by light fruit notes. Somewhat unusual, but enjoyable.

Velvety, medium-bodied, and a little chewy. Mild astringency and fairly low carbonation. ABV is very well hidden and sneaks up on you.

A little one-note, and surprisingly dry - but worth a try if you're in the mood for a slightly different take on the style.

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Photo of DanOLeary
3.37/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Moylan's Old Blarney
Barleywine Style Ale

Aroma: Surprisingly light in the nose considering the style. Light bread grain character with some dark fruit coming out. Though these are both quite faint. Some citrus hop notes in the background but you really have to look for it. At first smell, you won't smell much of anything. 

Appearance: Color is light cherry red with a slight haze, though you can fairly easy see through the beer. With an easy pour the head forms a light foam of off-white with low but good retention. 

Flavor: Malt sweetness is most prevalant upfront with some candy sugars mixing in as well. The sweetness last but for a moment before a moderately strong alcohol spice kicks in. The alcohol carries the flavor through the middle but does allow those dark fruit notes to push through. Finish is biting and dry with hop bitterness and more alcohol hitting you at the back of the throat. 

Mouthfeel: Meduim body with medium carbonation. As you'd imagine the alcohol bites the tongue and throat with it's heat and spice. It comes off slightly fusal at first but as your palate adjusts the beer is nicely warming. Finish is dry with lingering hop bitterness. 

Overall: I am very surprised by the lack of aeromatics in this beer. With everything you'd expect in a Barleywine this one does lack aroma. Malt texture and flavor are good with a strong backing of alcohol and hop bitterness. Step up the malt complexity and give me something to smell and I think we'd have an even better example of the style.     

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Photo of oldhippie247
3.94/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours quite hazy out of the fridge--admittedly a little too cold, particularly for the style. Head is relatively thin and dissipates quickly.

A malty sweet nose dominates, with a little hop background. Promising.

Palate begins a little sweet, but mid-palate and finish are both noticeably hoppier. Long, bitter finish.

Overall, and for the price, quite a good barleywine. 10%abv is well balanced. This beer won't blow you away, but won't waste your money either.

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Photo of glid02
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle purchased from Green's on Ponce in Atlanta.

Pours a hazy dark copper color with a 1.5-finger off-white head. The head recedes into a patchy layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of sticky caramel malts with hints of toffee and larger amounts of hops - mostly pine but with some leafy notes.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Somewhat muted caramel malt flavors kick things off and gains hints of toffee and butterscotch shortly afterward. Midway through the sip mild hop flavors join in - mostly earthy notes composed of pine and herbal flavors - and intensify through to a solidly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with grainy carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I finished my glass without a problem and could have another.

Overall I thought this was a solid barleywine but I was hoping for a bit more after being a very big fan of Moylan's other beers. Nothing exceptional but nothing bad, worth a shot.

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Photo of Mdog
3.06/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Murky orange-brown, good head.

Smell: Low aroma, some breadiness, citrusy.

Taste: Sharp astringent bitterness, very dry. Hidden deep in there is some brown sugar sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Kind of thin.

Drinkability: Not too impressed.

I'm usually up for trying barleywines, this one is very dry and seemingly low in malt balance. Almost makes me think of a "brown" IPA with its thin body. Not too good.

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Photo of bret27
3.58/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber to snifter (in shifts)

S: Bready sweet malt, brn sugar, toffee, leather, a little crisp hop in there.

A: Dark ruby red/brown, ok to poor lace.

T: Bready, sweet, port, bittering, then warming boozy finish.

M/D: medium to thick mouthfeel, appropriate for style. Pretty good drinkability for style as etoh presents as warming down the throat, but could still be done better.

Overall: Not too bad, but not great either. I can't say I would recommend buying a 22oz and trying to finish yourself. It's not quite that drinkable. On the other hand, if you have friends to share it with, or the opportunity to have a sample, then I would recommend.

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

22 oz bottle.

Appearance: A slightly hazy orange-brown with a pretty nice off white head that leaves some pretty impressive sheets of lace. Good head and retention for such a big beer.

Smell: Huge, rich malty aroma. Candy sweet and bready. Citrus hops (orange) also present. Ethanol is noticable as are some solventy smells.

Taste: Alcohol is pretty prominent here. Lots of big sweet malts that are just a little toasty. Very caramelly. Slight raisin taste. Pretty noticable citrus and slightly piney hops presence from middle through the slightly dry finish. Again a little solventy. Boozy but good.

Mouthfeel: Its a big beer and feels big when it hits your tongue and after you swallow, it leaves your tongue coated with goodness. In the middle though, it feels just slightly thin. Some barleywines are nearly syrupy, and this one isnt.

Drinkability: This is a damn good barleywine. One 22 is more than enough for now, but I'd be happy to have it again, or age one.

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Photo of THORN
3.86/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

1 Pt 6 Fl. Oz. bottle poured into pint glass. Served 50-55 F.
A: Pours thick vanilla colored head that swells into great retention. CO2 trails release from ranom points of pint glass. Pock marks develop throughout head while drinking. Leaves thick sticky lacing around pint.
S: Sweet caramel, honey coconut, fruity hops.
T: Toasted caramel malts, sweet citrus hops, and faint melon. Spiced rum lingers with a strong bitterness.
M: Medium tomedium heavy on tongue. Not very syrupy. Slight warming.
D: Everything is well balanced. Goes down well.

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

Sheets of tan lace stick behind after drinking this orange-brown brew. Sticky citric and herbal aroma which is strong but nothing special. The flavor is all of that but really herbal besides. Citric zest up front yields to pine resin and peppery herbs. Mouthfeel is middle of the road, a little sticky and full, but relatively easy to drink. Not bad. Boozy. Too hot to be really drinkable, but all the right notes are there.

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Photo of grayburn
3.73/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A solid offering from moylans, pours a luxurious mahogany with a small but thick cap. Fades to a sticky ring before long.

The smell is a raising blend of booze and dark fruit with some hops coming through creating some citrus and spice notes. The flavor is right along the same lines, starting sweet with notes of burnt sugar and the aforesaid raisin action. Then the beast rears its American head, showering hops accross the tongue, not bad.

The body is thick and creamy, low carbonation as per style, definitely the highlight of the brew, very nice.

Despite bringing a little heat, this is a pretty easy beer to go to town on, not bad at all, check it out.

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

As I pour my first snifter of Old Blarney from a cellar-cool 22-ounce bomber bottle, I am moderately impressed by the rich ruby-amber hue and the bright clarity of the brew. A thin cap of polished sandstone-colored foam fades in short order, leaving a few wispy drips and drabs of lacing stuck to the sides of my glass. Supplementary pours from the bomber really fluff up the foam-works, enhancing its staying power and augmenting the lacing factor big-time.

The aroma is loaded with dark fruits and potently alcohol-rich. Brown sugar-coated figs, sticky dates, ripe plums,and a hearty, almost vinous caramel character hint at the palpable booze content lurking in the drink.

The first sip is surprisingly rich and smooth, with a river of caramel brimming with dried fruit-flotsam rolling over my palate. To my surprise, the alcohol I noticed in the aroma is hardly overbearing, but instead is a pleasant balancer to the copious sugary maltiness that forms the backbone of the brew. There is just the right amount of hoppy accent and bitterness to assist in keeping the sweetness firmly in check, and the alcohol component that takes precedence in the finish is mild and evaporative with just a smidgen of toasted nuttiness and dried apple flavor.

The drink is silky-smooth and luxuriously full-bodied with near-perfect carbonation. An excellent sipper.

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Photo of ritzkiss
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle split at Volo with many thanks and appreciation to Bobsy and his employer for giving him a Christmas bonus - thanks man!

Pours a clouded earth/nut brown with a small build up of tan-ish head, dies to a thin collar in the snifter.

Nose is bready, nuts, earth, caramel, backed by a nice citrus/orange rind hop bite - ticking all the right boxes.

Nice malt base - typical caramel, bread, raisin along with a nutty/earth note, touch of spiciness, dryer than your typical barleywine, not as sweet and rich. Citrus zings through the finish, though it suffers in my palate due to the Hopsickle before it. Still, it's there and providing a nice bite to the finish. Mellow, not decadent mouthfeel, ABV well hidden - actually pretty drinkable for the style. Quite enjoyed this actually, Moylan's puts out some pretty darn good, under rated stuff. Thanks again Rob!

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Photo of bobsy
3.92/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle at Volo, shared with ritzkiss.

Pours a clouded brown with a finger of tan head that drops to a collar and leaves a few spots of lace. Classic barleywine appearance, though more clarity would have been nice. Brown sugar, pine, cocoa powder and tangerine make up a decent nose that doesn't wow, but ticks all the right boxes.

Nicely hopped, but a little underwhelming, following on the heels of Hopsickle. Some really good pine notes throughout the flavour, with citrus ducking in and out. The malt base is sturdy, with caramel, toasty malts, and dark fruit, which set the stage for a slightly spicy finish. Considering its weight, the alcohol is well-hidden, and only makes it presence felt with a slight warming. Medium body and restrained carbonation is par for the style.

This is a decent barleywine. Nothing too special, and not one I'd hunt down again, but I'm glad that I had the opportunity to try it. Cheers to Volo for bringing Moylan's into Ontario.

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Photo of atsprings
4.17/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into a Duvel snifter pours a murky dark brown with a thin khaki head that diminishes to a ring and leaves slight lacing on the glass. Aroma is loads of burnt caramel and toast up front with slight bitter hops present in the background. The taste is loads of sweet caramel malts with slight brown sugar, dried fruits and hints of molasses. The hops are relegated to the background, but provide a nice bitter pine backbone to the lingering sweet finish. The beer is certainly on the heavy side and its 10% abv shows up, but its not TOO aggressive, this is a sipper for sure. I must say, this one certainly seems like it will get much better as it ages, but it is still pretty tasty right now.

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Photo of sweetbrew82
4.18/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. into a snifter/ estimated to be a 2008 vintage

P: Golden-flaked amber with a healthy head of khaki-colored head of thick, creamy, densely-packed foam. Showed good retention and settled down to a thin film on top with some skinny strings of lace being displayed on my glass.

A: The aroma is very malt-forward, but still has a bit of a hop kick hanging around in plain sight (or plain smell?). Smells mostly of almost-burnt caramel, toffee, leather, lots of dark fruits, and some alcohol. Smells good, but not as powerful as I would have hoped.

T: The label talks about barleywines being the brandy of the beer world, and maybe by no coincidence, that's kinda what it tastes like. In fact, it's reminiscent of fruit-flavored brandy, which stays subtle enough to avoid burying the other flavors underneath the heat. The malt bill here is huge as it oozes sticky, cooked caramel all over the tongue, while being accompanied by toffee, brown sugar, and dark fruits that remind me mostly of figs and dates. The citric hop flavors have faded considerably, but they contribute a nice amount of bitterness on the back end, along with that fruit brandy that becomes a tad more pronounced and warms the back of the throat upon the semi-dry finish.

M: Old Blarney is definitely a full-bodied brew, but it's not quite as thick and viscous as you'd think. Maybe that's because of the ample amount of C02 that keeps it from being heavy and oily, which is probably a good thing in this case. It's also impressive in that it features a really rich, creamy feel that gives you a little something to chew on while you drink. The mouthfeel seems to suit this beer very nicely.

Notes: I've been impressed with every Moylan's beer I've had, and this is no exception. I wish I could have experienced this one fresh to know how the flavors have changed. But at an estimated age of only one year, the flavors taste great and the 10% ABV is not abrasive or overwhelming. I enjoyed this sipper quite a bit! Recommended

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Photo of champ103
3.11/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a slightly hazy reddish/amber color. At first a beige head rises to over two fingers, but gently recedes. Some light lace is left behind.
S: An acidic and acrid malty sweetness. Plenty citrus grapefruit and bitter hops. Alcohol burn lingers
T: Burnt caramel malt sweetness. Bitter grapefruit lingers on forever. Some alcohol
M/D: A full body with medium carbonation. Sticky and syrupy. Alcohol shows its self everywhere, and it is a little harder to sip on than I would like.

Not bad at all. Kind of a mix between an English and American Barleywine. It doesn't quit work for me, but still worth a try.

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Photo of jdklks
4.16/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours an absolutely gorgeous transparent amber-ruby color with a nice, soft tan/white head. looks quite elegant. smell is good, but could be more intense. grapes, prunes, figs, even sweet strawberries are present here, along with a large dose of alcohol and the faintest hint of hops.

much hoppier than expected from the smell. hops all the way through, which inhibits some of the more nuanced flavors characteristic of the barleywine style. there is a nice strawberry sweetness up front, accompanied by a hint of brown sugar. its very hot (i.e., the alcohol is very pronounced). i had one recently with some age on it (almost a year) and it was much better overall, having let the hops settle in and the alcohol bite smooth off. still, a very good barleywine.

on the lighter side of full-bodied, but well carbonated for its body. the drinkability is great, and two bombers is certainly not out of reach.

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

This brew pour a nice cloudy dark red or light brown with a sweet aroma, lots of brown sugar, bourbon and a boozy strong alcohol smell. Not at all like an American barleywine, more like a strong ale or the like. Taste follows that pattern, with a deep thick malty character that is cut by a distinctive American hop presence, though it's not as strong as most American barleywines. This is more of an English barleywine that just happens to have U.S. hops. Alcohol is well reserved in the taste despite the boozy aroma.

A very good brew, even if the style is a little erratic. A must try for barleywine lovers.

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Photo of KJH
2.97/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This is the 2007 Old Blarney

The beer still smells sweet with a hint of honey. Some hop aroma is present in the malty aroma.

The initial taste is smooth and clean. Most of the hops have faded and it's closer to an English Barleywine where the malt flavors dominate. Late in the taste the hot alcohol starts to reappear in the back of the throat.

This would be more drinkable if the lingering taste was not so hot. Initially drinkable but the longering hot alcohol ruins the experience.

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Old Blarney Barleywine from Moylan's Brewery
86 out of 100 based on 241 ratings.
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