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

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 356 | Ratings: 593
Photo of Crosling
3.12/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Firey orange color. Big head. The nose doesn’t offer anything of distinction...just a very light smell. Flavor brings some super sweet malt and some unusual fruit flavors. Some nice elements in the flavor, such as the caramel-like finish, but for the most part this is weird and below average.

 294 characters

Photo of Metalmonk
4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This wasn't that great when it was really that it's got over half-year of age on it, I'm hoping it'll fare better...

Head is big, creamy and light tan, and it retains relatively well for such a high-alcohol beer. Patient bubbles slowly work their way up in the glassy burgundy-red color. Beautiful. And absolute gobs of lace.

The aroma is simply amazing: big fruit sweetness leaps out of the glass (you can smell it with your nose 6 inches away from the glass at the beginning of the pour); red licorice; musty, wild smell similar to Belgian yeast strains and candi sugars; tobacco leaf; toffee.

Flavor is as sweet as expected, very candylike, like caramel-covered candied apples, also big juicy red cherries, pineapple, sour fruits, and a grassy astringency in the back. Slightly sour finish helps balance the sweetness. Even though they aren't known for barleywines, I would believe this came from Belgium, having several Belgian characteristics that you usually don't find in barleywines.

Mouthfeel is silky and slightly chewy, even kind of creamy, like steamed milk.

Not even close to disappointing or unsatisfying, but it does lack some balance, and maybe it's still too young. It's sweet, that's for sure. Should be interesting to see what more age does to this...and as a self-proclaimed "dark beer specialist" with a great track record, I bet Duck-Rabbit will only improve on this initial recipe.

 1,432 characters

Photo of oberon
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into my trusty Red Oak nonic a deep auburn with a tight formed 2 finger of white head that left spotty lacing as it settled slowly.Brown sugar and almost cinnamon-like spice hit upfront in the nose also quite floral with hints of minty leaf hoppiness.A bit thinner than expected for such a big beer ,not big and chewey like I would have liked still not a major flaw,dark fruit and alcohol warnth standout after the first few sips along with some honey sweetness with decent herbal smack of hops showing thru late.I detected quite an alcohol zip thruout from beginning to end making it a one and done for me for sure still its got good flavors and well it should be a sipper anyways.

 689 characters

Photo of ArrogantB
3.3/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle received in a trade with leftmindedrighty. The pour was red-brown with a very nice sized white head. The smell was dark fruits and alcohol. The taste was the same with an added medicinal quality as well as cherry cough syrup. I was really let down by this as I have loved DR's porter and baltic. Oh well, it was worth a try.

 337 characters

Photo of ATLbeerDog
3.43/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured golden-yellow-red...almost brown, from a 12oz bottle. Almost no head, slight floral smell. Tasted slightly bitter with obvious high alcohol content. Virtually no lacing. Not the most drinkable beer but I like the kick. If this is your session beer…you are an alcoholic.

 277 characters

Photo of joe1510
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz. Bottle
Courtesy of Mikesgroove

Duck Rabbit's Barleywine poured a beautiful clear mahogany into the snifter. A 1+ finger creamy off white head formed that slowly faded down to a solid cap. As the head faded it let sheet lacing down the glass. A very few carbonation bubbles rise to the surface. Left lacing after each sip. Very good looking beer.

The smell is a mix of dark fruity sugary malts and a mix of hop fruitiness. Right off the bat I pick up brown sugar. Underneath the brown sugar is a plate of fruit including figs, plum, and grapes. The brown sugar goes nicely with the fruit. There's a very mild sweetened grapefruit and orange rind character from the hops. Unique mixture. Very sweet smelling.

Flavor is all the same as the aroma. Figs and plums with a solid dose of brown sugar. This brown sugar is similiar to Lagunita's Brown Sugga. Finishes with a mild bitterness and lingering citrus from the sweetened grapefruit and orange rind. Hardly any alcohol noticeable, something you can't say about many 11% beers.

Body is thick and viscous. Minimal carbonation fits this beverage nicely. The mouthfeel seems to be a little too sticky at times.

This is a tasty beverage but drinking more than one bottle would certainly be overdoing it. The sweetness and viscosity would be too much if you got into the second bottle, of course with the high ABV you might not notice as much.

This is definately an enjoyable barleywine. Not all malt like a lot of English Barleywines but the dark fruits and maltiness do dominate. Nice mild hop finish. Quality brew from Duck-Rabbit. This is my first bottle from them and I'm looking forward to trying some others.

 1,683 characters

Photo of warriorsoul
3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Special thanks to Muddyfeet for sending this one my way...we miss him around MA, but nice to know I can score some NC brews from him.
Cherry rust in color with a full two fingers of khaki-colored head...most of which rests on top like a foamy pillow for quite some time and leaves some thick coated lacing.
Decent in the nose...cherries, vanilla, citrus, some floral (lavender) notes too.
Taste is a bit less complexity...a bitter sweetness grabs the tongue right away, but settles into a candied caramel flavor.
Quite bitter w/ floral hops mainly...slight tart cherry flavor with some orange peel twang in the finish. The alcohol is nowhere to be found, which is very do you totally mask 11% abv?
Mouthfeel is full bodied and the carbonation is a touch high for the style...definitely a sipper and I find myself drinking this one very slowly.
It's good, but honestly, I find myself a bit underwhelmed...will sit on the other to see if this one mellows a bit.

 982 characters

Photo of kirok1999
4.1/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear golden amber with a head that is quick to disappear. No lacing. Smells super sweet, no hops apparent. Taste is super sweet, dark fruits, prunes, raisins, caramel, with slightly fizzy, super tiny bubbled carbonation. Very true to the style, hops are almost non-existent and malts dominate. Very smooth and drinkable. Well done example of the style.

 361 characters

Photo of daliandragon
4.08/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Another funny/cool label from the folks in Farmville. Pours a cloudy light mahogany with a ruby/orange bottom and a thin layer of head and sturdy lace. Nose is highly alcoholic and fruity wiith fig and raisin notes.

Deep, round flavor with a very sweet finish and enough fruit flavor to somewhat coat the intense alcohol. Mouthfeel is velvety smooth and thick with just enough carbonation to keep it from turning to a solid. Some balance but could stand a bit more hop. I suspect this would age well as it has old ale characteristics. This is another fine example of the style and another brilliant effort from DR.

 617 characters

Photo of srrn
3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Vigorous pour yields a quickly diminishing head. Some nice laceing. Clear mahogony color. Typical Barleywine smell, I detect some carmel apple and malt, Sweet malt taste hits the palete first followed by citrus hops and warming from the alcohol. I really enjoy barleywines don't find them that complex but great for sipping and relaxing. Another winner from Duck Rabbit.

 370 characters

Photo of MSchae1017
3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The Duck-Rabbit Barleywine pours from the 12oz bottle into my snifter a dark amber color with a head like cappuccino foam that is just off white. This head refuses to dissipate as it laces down the side of the glass while the beer slowly disappears down my throat. The aroma is dominated by sweetness with a strong presence of toasted malts. This is complemented by the alcohol, some dark fruits and a vinous bouquet. The taste is up front with sweetness, similar to the smell. This is chased by some bitterness without a strong hop presence. There is also a bit of a dark fruitiness in there that is akin to the type found in a Belgium beer, without all of the wheat and yeast of course. The beer has a slightly fuller than medium body with an expected low carbonation due to the alcohol. There is also a bit of dryness on the finish. Overall, the Duck-Rabbit Barleywine is a decent, but certainly falls more along the lines of an English barley wine, without the strong hop presence that consumers have come accustomed to in their American counterparts. Its a nice warming barley wine, but the strong sweetness will keep you from reaching for it night after night, even when the thermometer drops below freezing.

 1,214 characters

Photo of malcontent
4.1/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Deep amber/cranberry color with a head that I don't always get from barleywines; frothy and sticky on its way down the side of the glass.

Plums and hops are the predominant scents I'm picking up with an herbal spiciness and a touch of alcohol that blends into a buttery finish. So far so great.

Wow, a lot of initial sweetness but not done in an annoying way. Hops do come through although there is a honey-like flavor that blends with a mix of strawberry and apple and a load of cereal tastes as well. The aftertaste IS a bit too sweet, almost cloyingly so.

This is by far one of the stranger feeling beers I've had in a while; the carbonation and the thick texture combine to form almost a cotton-y mouthfeel. It's not unpleasant per se, but it is a little odd. Still, I really like the taste of this barleywine and I hardly detect the formidable ABV. This is an absolute keeper.

 890 characters

Photo of tastybeer
3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer is clear, dark chestnut brown and gives off strong ruby highlights in the light. There's a big friendly layer of head that looks like it'll be around for awhile. Nice creamy, frothy texture too. Looking good. Nose is richly fruity and floral. There's something odd but interesting in the caramelized banana cream-like malts. Mixed in the crazy fruit and flowers there's a big thick coating of pine resiny goodness. Taste is fairly insane as well. Similar to the nose but sharper. Not as well mixed. There's a citrus edge and not really enough malty thickness. Alcohol is more apparent in flavor than nose too. Body is a little thin for what I think it needs to be and drinkability ain't too shabby for 11%.

Not a bad barley wine. Pretty interesting but could use a little more balance.

 797 characters

Photo of nriech
4.32/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Trade from Enola.
Appearance: Looks like any barleywine. Amber, sticky on the glass, little head.

Smell: Almost burnt caramel. Sweet citrus, pine, alcohol, yeasty. Very low on alcohol smell.

Taste: Sweet, piney hops, orange. Kind of tart. Alcohol wasnt that noticeable so very smooth. I like the extra hoppiness in this. Good mouthfeel. A little sweet but well within paramaters for the style. A good solid choice.

 421 characters

Photo of flexabull
3.89/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a bright and clear dark amber color. Head is a nice half an inch, and retaining well. Looks great.

Aromas are a bit muted, I notice some sweetness, a raisin like quality, also a touch of ice tea.

First thing I notice on the taste, is how full bodied and well rounded the mouthfeel is. Very nice. Flavors are sweet, but not overpowering. There is a very crispy and carmel like creaminess on the finish. I also noticed just a touch of hop bitterness on the finish as well, but it's very slight overall, the flavors are kind of mellow, and not overwhelming at all.

While I am drinking this I can't believe that this is 11% ABV. This beer is surprisingly subtle for having such a high alcohol level. I could easily drink this again. I like Barleywines to have more of kick, but this one is nice for what it is.

Thanks a lot for this one mikegroove!

 862 characters

Photo of sinstaineddemon
4.42/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

thanks to sackerz9 for this bottle also, what a great trader

A - this barleywine pours a dark amber red, atop sits a thin tan head with surprising retention held aloft by moderate carbonation

S - big grapefruit aroma up front, a nice hoppy-piney aroma, some orange citrus is also there, strong enough to discern it fromt he grapefruit, and underneath it all lies a mellow dark brown sugary sweetness

T - wow, wicked sweet, without being sickly sweet, grapefruit and piney aromas translate well to the taste and battle the deep tofee/brown sugary sweetness, and call me crazy but i also detect a syrupy pineapple flavor

M&D - slick mouthcoat that soothes and warms on the way down, a highly dichotomous beer, warming/soothing, bitter/sweet, its wonderfully balanced and blended, a great barleywine, a nice way to start enjoying a breweries beers, the high ABV darws the drinkability down a bit, but thats it

 918 characters

Photo of hunteraw
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to ipa2xs for sending this one my way in the No Name BIF.

Appearance: Attractive reddish mahogany in color, very clear. One finger head with good retention and nice lace.

Smell: Sweet and hoppy, although not as much fruit character as I'd expect - more fitting to my expectations of a Double IPA. Hop character is resiny.

Taste: Might smell a bit like a DIPA, but it doesn't taste like it. Sweet and citrus on the front of the palate. Resiny hops. Good bit of dark fruit towards the end. Finishes bitter rather than sweet. Definitely wouldn't have guessed 11% abv...

Mouthfeel: Big bodied, bordering on syrupy. Well-carbonated.

Drinkability: This is tasty beer. Only downside is that it's 11% abv - which I didn't realize when I opened it, whoops!

 770 characters

Photo of Neehan
4.35/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle into a pint glass.

Poured a dark amber-ruby with a large head and plenty of sticky retention. Very nice nose with citrusy fruits as well as more smooth, less pungent fruits. A nice smoky apple on the front. A damn smooth taste with well-hidden alcohol and warm, spicy undertones. A smoky cinnamon apple flavor with a dark, ever so slightly bitter aftertase. Very enjoyable. A chewy mouthfeel initially that becomes smooth and light on the finish. Very drinkable, especially for the style. Very impressive.

 515 characters

Photo of atsprings
4.13/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I have to admit, I have only recently gained an appreciation for barley wines. This is one of the first that I really enjoyed. Last year, when I tried several barley wines such as SN Bigfoot and Anchor Old Foghorn, I could barely finish a glass as the taste would diminish with each passing sip. That was not the case with this! Maybe it's just my growingly intelligent palate, but I found so much complexity to this beer. The alcohol is well hidden, yet still has great warming effect that is perfect on a cold January night. The subtle hops provide a great accent to the subtle fruitiness. I will be putting away and entire six pack and look forward to seeing how well this beer ages.

 686 characters

Photo of dirtylou
3.24/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz single, delivered by Blackie who always keeps me up to date on my mediocre NC beer drinking (not you highland!!)

appearance: very nice appearance...shiny amber body, very clear, big frothy beige head with great lacing. It's a nice looking barleywine, thats for sure

smell: odd...metallic, plasticy pungent hops, sharp candied aromas...unusual and difficult to describe

taste: This is just a wierd beer. Its not particularly offensive but its not one of the better barleywines i have had. Hop presence is a tad sour, not too bitter, and difficult to place (its citrusy, not particulary piney)...artifical cherry flavoring. I'm at a loss for words

mouthfeel: pretty smooth, sour, lacking bitterness, moderate alcohol feel

drinkability: eh

 756 characters

Photo of wagenvolks
3.57/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thick light tan head dissipating in 2-3 minutes, light lacing. Body is a translucent, clear burnt sienna that turns almost ruby red (think cranberry juice) when held up to the light. Smells like some type of overly ripe fruit, sweet tobacco with molasses and flowery (lilac?) notes. A slight alcoholic tinge present.

Taste is definately not my favorite style...caramel and tobacco...hard to put a real finger on. It's complex, but really just mediocre in its flavor. Mouthfeel is light and crisp up front but kind of lacks a strong my mouth warming as I take a gulp? weird. Drinkability is okay, I can drink this for a while, surprisingly. Goes great with meat & cheese.

 685 characters

Photo of merlin48
4.45/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Many thanks to mntlover for sending this fine bottle. Served into a goblet, it exhibits a radiant copper garnet body topped by a large beige head. Retention is excellent and attractive island chain lace adorns the glass.

Aroma is very pungent. Citrusy orange and tangerine notes suggestive of marmelade mingle with hoppy grapefruit and pine sap. Sturdy malt presence boasts caramel, toffee, and toasted brown sugar.

Mouthfeel is medium in body and carbonation and is somewhat slick.

Taste is awash in fruity complexity, with melon and apple joining the citrus noted in the aroma. Caramel, toffee, and brown sugar show up again and lend a sturdy sweet malt base. Hints of dark fruits like raisins are in the background. Finishes with a pleasant sweetness suggestive of orange marmelade.

Difficult to classify as American or English, but a prime example why Duck-Rabbit has emerged as one of the premier craft breweries in the Southern United States. Very well done!

 977 characters

Photo of wcudwight
3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Nice coloration with lot's of shades of red mixed in. Light tan head that rose to a quater of an inch and then fell to a sticky soap like lace on the top.
Smell's of candied oranges.
Taste: Man this is sweet....but strangely I like it. Caramel, brown sugar, and a sweet fruitiness. This also taste like it has a different hop profile than I'm used to. It has a nice fruitiness but it's not citrus or dark fruits. The sweetness and complexity of the flavors almost completely hide the 11% alcohol.
Mouthfeel is a little light for the style. No alcohol burn in the mouth. I think this adds to the beer and drinkability. Also, the finish is so dry it'll leave your mouth parched.
The lighter body and hidden alcohol add to the drinkability. But the sweetness, which is very good, detracts from it a bit.
Overall I wouldn't consider this to be very true to the style, but it's still a good barleywine.

 902 characters

Photo of mntlover
3.43/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a deep copper/red mixture with lots of bubbles slowly rising to the top of a nice khaki head. The head falls slowly to ringed scum that leaves lots of sticky lace behind. Nice looking brew I am a sucker for red beers.

Aroma is fruity like figgy citrus. Sugar soaked figs mingled with honey dipped apricots. Lots of sweet malt present, caramel, molasses lots of free floating sugars. But there is that west coast hop presence that kind of throws a kink in the Englishness of it. But it smells good any how.

Taste is like the aroma but even more sugary. Lots of malts caramel, molasses, lots of free floating sugars mingled with figs mainly but some citrus showing up apricot like. Brew is not overly hoppy but seems west coast in nature on an English malt like base so its a little strange. Alcohol is noticed but it does not distract or play negative role at all. I was wanting to like this one hell looks great, smells good but only tastes ok. Just too much sweetness for me, hopefully age will bring it all together soon. The rest are headed for the cellar.

Mouthfeel is not as full as you would expect, a big medium with good mellow carbonation.

Drinkability is ok, not something I would run out and buy more of until I find out how it ages.

 1,262 characters

Photo of wedge
3.53/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep, glowing mahogany with a lush beige head that leaves rings of lace all over the glass. Hefty pungent aroma to this barleywine. Sticky, bright fruits and caramel - citrus and pine. Nicely layered though I feel it could use a malt boost and tone down the sunny fresh fruit. With the first sip, there definitely seems to be a stronger malt profile, but in an instant it vanishes under a sweet, candied fruitiness. Ripe, tart fruit coats the mouth not leaving much room for anything else and putting this barleywine in an unfortunate state of unbalance. Its real tasty in the mouth before swallowing, but a tropical twang throws it off somewhat. Full and creamy mouthfeel. All that alcohol is well hidden, but its one-sidedness lowers its drinkability.

This is certainly an interesting and different barleywine. Very potent to say the least, but it needs a lot more malt, which comes as a shock to me seeing as Duck Rabbit usually puts out some supremely malty beers. If they tweak it just a little bit, this has the potential to be fantastic.

 1,055 characters

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

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!