Old Scratch Barley Wine
Great Dane Pub & Brewing Company (Downtown)

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British Barleywine
not listed
4.12 | pDev: 6.31%
Great Dane Pub & Brewing Company (Downtown)
Wisconsin, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Reviews: 8 | Ratings: 14 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of REVZEB
3.98/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Had on tap. Right away the feel captivates with a velvety smoothness that is not normally found in barleywines. Yet this does not sacrifice any of that barleywine snarl and the barrel took nicely to it all as well. Has a strong molasses taste that is very nice too

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Photo of KarlHungus
4.48/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage Old Scratch 2014 arrives a clear amver-brown color. The head is nonexistant as is common for aged barleywine. The aroma is of big toffe and molasses with the hops still sticking around strong. The taste is maltier, and fuller than the aroma. There is a huge caramel/molasses and complex toffee with some faint fruit hops. The hops in the taste are much more subdued than they are in the aroma. The mouthfeel is what it should be for a big barleywine. It is chewy, thick, and velvety. The carbonatio is appropriatly low. Overall, this is a barleywine that has aged nicely. I can, however, see it doing better with two or three more years on it to let the hops faid out, and the malt take center stage.

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Photo of Atron67
4.18/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this wednesday (03/11/09) night at the great dane Hilldale.

came in a 12 oz goblet. little to no head but a lace stuck around. brownish gold in color. foggy colored actually. smelled of a light honey. i would also guess it to be mainly marris otter malt. either way it was a thick, delicious sipper, that i enjoyed for the whole meal. it seems to be a pretty solid abv on it as well, very smooth, though it does have that 'roughness' to it that is always there for new barleywines.

delicious beer, the smell is down just because the honey was a little bit too strong and i couldnt smell much of the malts underneath.

was also served a little too cold, and it got better as it warmed up.


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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.96/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 vintage (served at the brewpub yesterday). Dark ochre with much more brown than orange. Backlighting revealed blurry brick red edges. The golden ivory colored crown was tight-bubbled, exceptionally creamy and impressively persistent. Amazingly for such a high ABV ale, a thin film and a smattering of sea foam lace was visible for the life of the snifter.

The nose was low on power and was difficult to nail down as a result. Impressions included caramel and fruit, with no more than a smidgen of alcohol. Warming helped open things up since the beer was served a wee bit too cool for the style.

Old Scratch 2008 is drinking like a fresh barleywine right now. That's good in terms of hoppiness, but not so good in terms of alcoholic heat. The brashness of the former is desirable. The brashness of the latter isn't. Old Scratch... the devil... hell... flames... waves of heat. Okay, makes sense.

The flavor profile consisted of steely caramel, well-toasted brown bread (with a rye bread spiciness), as well as cherries and oranges soaked in Absolut. Warming was a boon to the flavor as well. It was hard to tell if the beer's uncompromising firmness was due to hops or alcohol. Probably both. A lack of grapefruitiness makes the use of C-hops doubtful.

Without question, the body/mouthfeel was the highlight of this experience. Even before the beer gained a few degrees, it was full-bodied, creamy and velvety smooth. Definitely one of the best brewpub mouthfeels that I've ever encountered.

The 2008 iteration of Old Scratch isn't quite ready for prime time. It's well beyond the loud and unruly stage, but another year or two should turn this devilish brew into something approaching heaven in a glass. The mouthfeel is already there.

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Photo of blackie
3.95/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2006 Vintage...downtown Dane with dirtylou and golden2wenty1

appearance: The head has receded to just a ring by the time it gets to me. The beer is a deep, reddish brown in color.

smell: Salty toasted malts in the aroma. Some hints of berry are found. Light hop presence here.

mouthfeel: The carbonation is medium, and the body a full medium.

taste: Flavors of salty, toasted caramel and toffee malts upfront. Really strange, I know, but I pick up on salty, calcitic flavors like shrimp and oyster shells. Not to say that these detract, but they make for an interesting experience. The flavor is lightly sweet and not very rich. Light to moderate ethanol presence with notes of sweet fruits.

drinkability: easy enough

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Photo of expatsteve
4.17/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

05 vintage from the Downtown Dane...

Appearance: Cloudy chocolate/ruby brown. Poured a 1/2 inch head, with lingering light sudes and sticky lacing. Medium viscosity.

Aroma: Maple syrup, wintergreen and toffee with clean hops bristle in the finish. Sweet and fruity with a little diacetyl. Raisins, Empire apples and ginger developments. Awesome nose.

Taste: Full flavored barley-wine--licorice and grapefruit hops finish is wild but refreshing. Molasses, caramel, raisins, cinnamon, brown sugar front palate with smoky licorice notes in the finish. Not much by way of development, but all the flavors are already there. Thick, complex--definitely one for big beer fans.

Mouthfeel: Rich, creamy with deliciously bitter finish--great full bodied brew. Sweet, heavy, with low/medium carbonation.

Drinkability: A little heavy to drink a lot of, but a fantastic barleywine nonetheless. Deft balance and flavors. Another great offering from the crew at the Dane.

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Photo of dirtylou
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

on tap at the downtown Dane

appearance: served to me at the brewery in the typical Dane snifter...dark garnet body, bubbly beige frothy head which is unusual compared to most placid dane barleywines

smell: sweet boozy malt dominant, dark fruit, bitter pungent hop presence...very different than other examples of the style by the dane

taste: pungent bitter hops, strong pine presence, boozy, sweet malt, plum, cherry, other dark fruit...keep cranking out the seasonals, this is another winner

mouthfeel: smooth body, bitter alcoholic kick in the after taste

drinkability: pretty decent

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Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.47/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

In my estimation the Great Dane is the king of brewing consistently amazing barley wines. This one is no exception. First and foremost, I am floored by the similarities between this barley wine and Lake Louie’s Reserve Scotch Ale. The nose of the lively brown-copper brew in my snifter is enticingly depthful, loaded with rich malts, earth, smoke, nuts, and wood. Taste has a chocolate like sweetness without the chocolate. I pick up butterscotch and caramel notes, huge amounts of earth, a well controlled and restrained fruitiness, raisins, and peat. Oh gosh there is some wonderful peat here. If I had it my way, I would call this a Scottish Style Barley Wine. I just love it. Mouthfeel is silky smooth despite the ridiculously high ABV with a great bitingly dry oak finish. This is just heaven after a solid meal from the Great Dane.

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Old Scratch Barley Wine from Great Dane Pub & Brewing Company (Downtown)
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 14 ratings