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Duck-Rabbit Barleywine Ale | The Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery

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very good
356 Reviews
Duck-Rabbit Barleywine AleDuck-Rabbit Barleywine Ale

Brewed by:
The Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery
North Carolina, United States

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
The Duck-Rabbit Barleywine is the hoppiest of all the Duck-Rabbit brews. This is a Farmville-style Barleywine, crafted the way brewers in Farmville have always done. Loads of Amarillo hops give a piney citrusy bitterness that's supported beautifully by a toffee malt backbone.

Added by SaCkErZ9 on 12-12-2006

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Reviews: 356 | Ratings: 593
Photo of Flounder57
4.02/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle was poured into a tulip.

Appearance: This poured a decent sized head that reduced to a thin layer with nice lacing on the glass. It is a dark copper color with slow moving bubbles coming up through the glass.

Smell: Fruity, boozy, malty, caramel, dried citrus, raisins, and bready.

Taste: Same as above with a bit of chocolate, bitterness, nutty, and roasted coffee.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, low carbonation, medium bodied, lingering bitterness, and a little chewy. The alcohol is hidden well.

Overall: A very interesting barleywine. So many characteristics and still a tasty beer.

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Photo of Dope
3.94/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Best by 2/14

A: A clear, deep red pour with a large fluffy tan head.

S: Big raisin bread aroma.

T: Raisins up front, followed by a nice toasty, almost burnt bread flavor. In the finish, the sweetness drops out, really giving you that acrid, burnt toast flavor. In a good way, that is. Very grainy from start to finish with lots of toasted malts. Surprisingly not boozy.

M: Nice robust body. Hearty.

O: A pretty simple barleywine but I really liked the toasted bread notes. They really come through strong and sharp. Tastes like you're drinking alcoholic liquid bread. The raisin is just enough to add another layer in with some raisin bread quality. Surprisingly tasty.

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Photo of crewfan16
3.74/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

thanks triagestat for this beer in a great trade. poured a 2012 vintage to a snifter after a rough day at work....hopefully it will cheer me up.

a- pours a dark ruby/brown color with surprising clarity. aggressive pour produces an inch of off-white foam that fades quickly leaving some nice lacing. a nice looking beer.

s- sweet raisin and lots of malty sweetness. there is some citrus hop aroma that balances it out nicely. smells about like i would think a barleywine should.

t- sweet raisin is there, but way more hops than the nose, again in a citrus fruit like variety. lots of malty sweetness as well but not overpowering.

m- enough booze that i can tell its high abv, but nothing that takes from its drinkability. a bit of a oily, sticky mouthfeel that i would expect. a dry finish. moderate carbonation.

overall, a very nice barleywine. decent complexity, and i like the hop-forward profile. if it was distributed around here, i would have a few more in the cellar, but wouldnt go out of my way to trade for it.

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Photo of AmitC
4.29/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter.

A very nice pour. Deep amber color with an excellent off white tan colored head - about two fingers thick. Nice head retention. Excellent lacing that is just awesome with every sip. Very beautiful looking. Clear and transparent.

Aroma is full of malts. Strong booze. Piney, spicy and herbal hops. A little bit of fading citrus and grapefruit. Some wooden character. Strength is good. A good mix of hop and malts. Aroma reminds me of Big foot. Very close.

Taste is of bitter hops upfront. A silent malt middle. Very boozy and warm. Hops and malts combine really well to deliver a bitter taste that is very likable.

Mouth feel is medium bodied with a nice amount of oily and boozy touch. Warmth from alcohol is somewhat strong. Low to moderate carbonation.

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

Appearance: Light amber glass shows good clarity and has a sticky white foam cap that laces my glass like a pro.

Smell: Rich rum raisin, deep sweet malt, and a whiff of leafy hop to keep it all in check.

Taste: There's a slight off note, but it's quickly drowned in sweet grainy malt and slightly earthy hops. The off note is a bit solvent, maybe a fusel alcohol of some sort. It's mildly distracting, but there is a lot of goodness around it so it's easy to forgive.

Mouthfeel: Very still, little gritty carbonation seems a bit flat, even for style.

Overall: A tasty tasty beer. A heavy hitter with a soft glove.

Big thanks to Illudium for the sample!

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.23/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 3.75

This bottle has no dating but must be at least eight years old. It's been well-cared for; I think it was my last one so I held off drinking it, but the time has come.

Appearance - pours a murk reddish amber with a thin short-lived cream-colored head. In seconds it's at a few bubbles and thin collar.

Aroma - caramel and syrupy citrus.

Taste - sweet, vinous with raisin and fig. Sherry on the swallow, notes of oxidation are evident. Tart cherry on the finish and a fine warmth at the end along with a note of cocoa and toasted grain.

Mouthfeel - low end carbonation, good weighty feel and smoothness.

Overall - aged amazingly well, though the tartness at the end gets lengthy after a while, approaching cough syrup like flavor at times. Overall, a successful aging experiment in my book.

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Photo of roundthewaygirls
3.33/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

poured into a tulip glass

A: poured half a finger of off-white creamy head. beautiful auburn, burnt orange color. translucent, a little light gets through. a few bubbles.

S: bready malts. caramel. ethanol. a hint of dark fruit, fig or apricot.

T: surprisingly fruity. slightly sour. deep, smoky malts. hops are only noticeable in the dry finish. booze is well concealed.

M: fine carbonation. medium body. sour going down and sticky on the lips.

O: pretty decent. liked the fruity character. i love the body of most barleywines, but this one was a little thin for me. there's a lot of confused malty character that has potential. could be developed with aging?

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Photo of BeerDocT
4.16/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Appearance 4.0: Beautiful, deep golden amber in color. Nice head for a growler pour, about 1/2". Lots of little bubbles floating around and a decent amount of particulate matter, which is usually a great sign.

Smell 4.25: Lovely bouquet. Very upfront hops with some appealing deep caramel sugars. I could almost place this particular hop... . Regardless, this is a wonderful way to begin a session... .

-Taste 4.25: Front is spicy and very lively on the tongue. Middle is where the hops come in and mingle perfectly with the big barley punch. Lots of residual sweetness here that the obvious dry-hopping balances out. Finish also benefits from dry-hopping as the resiny taste of the hops perfectly accentuates the caramel taste of the malts. Finish is long and dry and all alkaline hop residue. Nice.

-Mouthfeel 3.5: Carbonation/conditioning was spot on for this beer. Usually barley wines are flat, but the added bubbles helped the enjoyment of this complex brew.

-Overall 4.25: Excellent brew. Complex, big and delicious. The 11% (!) ABV is completely invisible in the hazy swirl of hops, malt and yummy goodness. The dry-hopping was stroke of genius as was the added level of CO2. Excellent beer.

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Photo of SolipsismalCat
3.86/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter.

A: Clear dark red-brown with two-finger, off-white, creamy head that lasted more than several minutes and left a nice film. Fantastic lacing.

S: Black cherry, and citrus.

T: Moderate sweetness and light bitterness. Roasted malt, citrus hops, alcohol.

M: Medium to full bodied with fizzy carbonation. Slightly dry, and warm going down.

O: Compared to Weyerbacher Insanity which I recently reviewed, this beer looked way better - beautiful to behold. The nose was comparable, but I didn't like the taste of this beer quite as much as the Weyerbacher. Really good English Barleywine, but I think I like the Weyerbacher better.

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Photo of kagent777
4.3/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle traded from Sonofalime, thanks man! Poured into my CCB snifter after a little while outside of the fridge. I have had the bottle since November of 2011, but I am not sure how much older it is beyond that.

Appearance: A nice burnt orange to ruby with a slight haze. White finger wide head settles to foam cap in the middle of the glass and leaves a little lacing as I go. Smell legs appear after a drink.

Smell: Rich dark smells. Dried fruit, caramel, a touch of vanilla and some citrus.

Taste: Nice dark spiciness that I do not recall having tasted in a BW before. Hints of tobacco and rich leather go along with the deep fruit and caramel. Alcohol is present but well hidden for 11 ABV. The beer is bitter, but not to the extent of, say, fresh Bigfoot. It is needed to balance the malty sweetness.

Mouthfeel: A velvety solid drink but not over thick on the body. The flavors are so dense and coat the mouth for an extended time. The carbonation is smooth and present but subtle.

Overall: I very solid English Barleywine. I do wish this one was available here in Utah.

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Photo of thecheapies
3.91/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Pours muddy dark amber, or light brown with cloudiness. Looks a little greasy. Practically no head.

Rich caramel, black cherry, sherry, perfumy hops, and rye malts. Nice nose.

Follows the nose deliciously. Tastes like a rye wine. Bitterness is pretty firm. Very caramelly. Dark fruitiness, like fig and raisin, meshes with black cherry nuances. Sherry flavors are nice and seem to assist in bringing out cola, rhubarb, and rotten banana. Something else here that I can't put my finger in. Maybe a touch acetic that I kind of like. Spicy finish shows the booze. Pretty good stuff.

Drinks a notch over medium, but the feel is on the thin side. Lots of carbonation bullies a bit in the backend.

Drinkable barleywine with a signature all its own. Spicy, fruity, sweet, and sherried. Delightful.

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Photo of wisrarebeer
4.69/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Enjoy by January 2012

A: nice copper color, clear, poured with beautiful, rocky, off-white head that kept all the way to thin veil
S: deep, sweeter malt, some burnt malt noticeable, medium nose, port-like
T: deep, rich roasted malt with well-balanced hop finish, full,
M: very full mouthfeel, very, very, drinkable, incredible rich and moreish

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

I enjoyed this beer when I tasted it at the ACBF. Lighter carbonation, complex but not overwhelming taste. It was pleasant to sip on while the flavors sorted themselves out. All in all, an interesting beer, one of my fonder memories from that (somewhat blurry) night.

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Photo of axeman9182
2.65/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle with a notched "best by" of June 2013. It was allowed to warm some before being poured into my Duvel tulip.

Duck Rabbit Barleywine Ale pours a color that's something between amber and mahogany, with no visibility through the glass possible. Maybe two fingers of cream colored foam top the beer and hang around for just a bit before fading. Lacing is spotty. The nose features aromas of caramel, fig, and alcohol. There's also a background fruitiness that's just... odd, and a little out of place. The flavor opens with a healthy swirl of caramel. Just as a little bit of bitterness is coming into the picture, what certainly tastes like an infection comes into the picture. There's a slight medicinal twang to it, and a lime fruitiness that just clashes with everything that came before it. The infection hasn't impacted the mouthfeel too badly yet. The body is a little bit lighter than it should be, but the carbonation isn't too active yet. I've had other vintages of Duck Rabbit's barleywine that were pretty nice, but something definitely went wrong with at least part of this batch.

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Photo of yourefragile
3.8/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 vintage sampled 12/2012.

Did I intend to save this bottle for 4ish years? No. Did I expect this to be any good when I "rediscovered" it at the 3 year mark? No. Did I expect it to magically get better by throwing it in the back of my fridge for a year before sampling? YES.

Pours like a barleywine. Muddy amber brown with a quickly fading light tan head. Smells like cherry, leather, sherry, gently smoked fine meats, cardboard and bread. Slightly oxidized as expected but I'll be damned, it doesn't taste awful. Chewy and leathery body with delicate and thoughtful carbonation. Less fruity than the nose, more malt forward and proper British. Hell of a lot more enjoyable than the 2008 DR Baltic Porter I threw out my window. But seriously, what jerkoff ages Duck Rabbit beers?

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Photo of Wolfpack2005
3.65/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2010 Vintage

A-dark amber, clean, no sediment, 2 finger head, nice lacing.

S-Sweet malts, pepper, cinnamon, a little bit of alcohol and hops

T-Mild malty sweetness, brown sugar, raisin, candied fruit, slight earth hops, mild grapefruit tartness, strong alcohol presence in the after-taste

M-Medium-heavy body, high carbonation.

O-This one didn't age as well as I had hoped. The pleasant complex sweetness that seemed to develop over time was overwhelmed by the strong alcohol after-taste. If that could be masked some how this would be an excellent ager.

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Photo of darklordlager
2.58/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Interesting beer. As others have noted, it does have an interesting "sour citrus" note to it. It may be infected. A bit odd really. Lime, kiwi, tropical fruits--very unlike any barleywine I've ever had. Finishes with a sour/bitter note as if you had just eaten a kiwi coated in lime juice (sounds weird, but it is actually kind of pleasant/enjoyable). Lightly vegetal, but not offensively so. Perhaps a light, oxidized "sherry" note, but it is hard to tell with all that lime/citrus upfront.

Odd. Interesting. Enjoyable to a point (about halfway through and it becomes too much).
I am intrigued, yet put off after the first 1/2. It becomes astringently sour--must be some sort of infection, unless they add an odd fruit they do not disclose.

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Photo of StoneTSR
2.1/5  rDev -44.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

APPEARANCE: Pours a nice, pleasant orange more akin to a Double IPA than to a Barleywine, but good looking nonetheless. A little hazy with a full finger of head that fades quickly.

SMELL: Banana, bread, orange and a little spice. Not too intense, but pleasant.

TASTE: This tastes overly citrusy with an orange and lemon pucker throughout. Not much else going on here.

MOUTHFEEL: It feels fine - light body with a light sparkle.

OVERALL: This is clearly not what others have tasted. Something is wrong and I hate that this is my first review for these guys. I've had some of their other beers in the past and thoroughly enjoyed them, just a shame they let this slip out.

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Photo of thebigredone
1.12/5  rDev -70.5%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Appearance was normal. Everything else was not. Horribly infected, taste awful. Deserves a zero. Don't have much experience with Duck Rabbit, but the two beers that I was sent as extras were both infected. This does not make me want to really give their beers another try, seeing as they have such poor quality control standards.

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Photo of Treebs
1.86/5  rDev -51.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

12 oz. bottle served in a FW mini taster snifter.
Enjoy by 2013.

A: Pours a dark amber color with a light tan head forming on the pour. It recedes to a thick ring that leaves splotchy lace behind and sticky legs.

S: Cherry bubblegum and tart fruit skings. Really sweet, yet sharp. Light water cracker malts, toffee and a slightly metallic finish.

T: Sour and bitter. Cherry skins with a weird vegetal flavoring. Metallic with sharp twinge of vinegar.

M: Very drying, puckering and off putting. Hard to swallow any sips.

O: The bottle should read "Enjoy by Never". This wasn't a terrible infection, but it was definitely present. There was some rays of hope in the nose with some of the intended flavors of the beer, but the flavor profile was downright bad in the taste. Cannot recommend.

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Photo of pixieskid
2.28/5  rDev -40%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

I've had both good and bad experiences with Duck Rabbit and although the recent reviews were hit or miss I gave it a shot and unfortunately I ended up with what certainly seems like an infected bottle...

Pours a translucent mahogany hue with a solid 2 finger head...looked great!

Nose: nothing but vinegar and cherries...I suppose a bit of oak.

Taste: honestly, if I held my nose, this had the great makings of a solid barleywine...but, obviously that is an absurd way to consume something. There were notes of charred grains, dark fruits, oak, vanilla, lots of great things going on but that nose of vinegar and a twang of metal got the best of me.

Mouthfeel: slick yet fluffy, really nice actually.

Overall: don't know what the problem was but if it werent for the nose and finish of sourness, this would have been an interesting and well balance barleywine...bummer.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.27/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Acquired from svosie so a big “Thank You” goes out to her. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep golden brown color, with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains citrus fruits, honey, caramelized malts and some hops.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of caramel, citrus and honey. Then a hearty malt character comes in along with a hint of alcohol sting. The hops presence is strong for the style and makes the beers seem very IPA-like. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Very tasty, goes down dangerously easily, not too filling, very strong kick, good representation of style, this is a very good stronger beer to drink for as long as you can handle it.

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Photo of Axnjxn
3.76/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Six pack from Sam's Quik shop in Durham, NC.

poured into a snifter.

Very unique for a barley wine. alcohol is not apparent at all, very easy to drink. Definitely a sipper though. citrusy, grapefruity, hoppy and a tad sweet. Citrus flavor is quite intense. Very unique and another quality offering from the Duck Rabbit.

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Photo of yamar68
3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz bottle to snifter, vintage unknown:

Pours a boozy looking burnt caramel. Big legs and distinct lacing.

Massive brown/caramelized sugar bits. It's hard to get past that. Smells like the dessert beer to end all dessert beers. Some smooth toffee and vanilla underneath.

Distinctly barleywine on the tongue... thick and sweet, but hardly boozy. An unexpected sourish citrus quality surfaces. A bit odd, but highly drinkable for the style.

Thanks crunkchiggin2002 for extraing me this one!

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Photo of madjustin
4.12/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big, boozy, piney, with a bit of sour cherry and strong malt backbone. Appearance is a slight red color with not much head retention or lacing. Aroma is pie cherry, bready, with citrus notes. Taste is of strong malt backbone but not sweet, generally dry, perhaps a bit over-attenuated, with wonderful sour cherry notes that go well with the malt and surprisingly well with the piney citrus hops. Infected? No. Metallic? Certainly not. Sour? A bit, but very interesting in the style, and very enjoyable. I would say that the malt and hops carry through to make this a true barleywine but the sour edge gives it a unique twist.

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Duck-Rabbit Barleywine Ale from The Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery
3.8 out of 5 based on 593 ratings.
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