Barleywine Ale | The Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery

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Barleywine AleBarleywine Ale
Very Good
609 Ratings
Barleywine AleBarleywine 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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 609 |  Reviews: 363
Photo of pmsawyer
3.95/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Color of a good sherry, Mahogany brown

Smell: Dark ripe fruits

Taste: Sweet malt balance with light hop flavor, alcohol drying toward the end.

Texture: Medium body smooth

Drink-ability: Medium to low carbonation. Alcohol warming requires sipping.

Great way to end the day. Slowing doing to enjoy and savor one of the finer barley wines.

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Photo of newk340
4.12/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: a maroon mahogany reminiscent of a dark apple cider, crowned by a thin foam ring.

S: extremely sweet on the nose, full of tropical fruits, not unlike a fruit punch.

T: a cool tapestry of sweet fruits - mango, apple, and grapes. flavors swirl in the mouth but disappear with the swallow and don't linger.

MF/D: an initial sizzle of carbonation but leaves a dry heat in the back of the mouth. certainly a new take on the barleywine, but i'm glad i shared the bottle.

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Photo of farrago
3.49/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thin head, covers the surface, just, eggshell white, some larger bubbles form an island to the side, zero lacing. Murky liquid, mix of muddy brown to orange rust to sand yellow, completely opaque, no clear sign of any floating matter inside. Richly layered nose of fruitcake, rum raisin ice cream, walnuts, fig, golden raisin, apricot, peach and pineapple, slides in white and pink grapefruit, mandarin orange before the honey and molasses sweetness catches, cuts a sharp enough profile that you can only rarely catch scents of chocolate or cocoa. Full-bodied, drier than expected, however, this doesn't impede its ability to cover the whole palate. Pine and orange, lemon, grapefruit citrus appear first, certainly has the hops to challenge the malts. Maple syrup, brown sugar are moderate and, while boozy, there's little burn. The fruit fresher here, less raisin, fig and more peach, apricot, pear, red cherry. Lowkey nuttiness and breadiness, just parts of a whole. You sense that the carbonation is trying hard but still unable to break up the density. Keeps your mind engaged but a bit tiring to drink.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.2/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from BeerAdvocate magazine Vol. II Issue VII:

It's a beautiful thing to see bigger, bolder beers come from North Carolina. Just think: About three years ago, beer over 6 percent was against the law. Let's drink to the third anniversary of N.C. popping the cap.

Clear ruddy-brown color wears a crown of tan lacing; great head retention for a higher-alcohol ale. Rich caramel malt aroma with some spicy earthy hop and a clean nearly hidden alcohol. Smooth and creamy with a wet, medium-full body, which shows that this beer is not too thick. Maltiness has a good amount of depth with caramel and some toasted that blankets the taste buds. A little fruity with suggestions of dried plums and raisins. Slight cocoa note within. The alcohol wakes the palate up with a clean warmth and slight spiciness. Hop bitterness drops just enough flavor to keep the malt sweetness in check. Finishes slightly sweet with a lingering spicy alcohol.

Balance is the charm here, and even within balance there can be complexity. The 11 percent is definitely there, though not within the first couple of sips. A lovely sipper to be had.

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Photo of mothman
4.09/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into Great Lakes snifter.

Pours a very small layer of white head. Color is a clear copper.

Aroma: A fairly big amount of malts here. No big hop profile... def English. Caramel and toffee sweetness in the malt profile. Candy sugar. Dry fruits. Raisins stick out a lot.

Taste: Very sweet and malty. An awesome English bwine. Caramel, toffee, plums, raisins. Nice flavors that blend together very well.

Mouthfeel: Dry and warming. A light amount of booze shows, but in a good way. Full bodied with a lower amount of carbonation. Ends fairly dry.

Overall, a very drinkbable english bwine. I like all the fruit flavors in this beer. For 11%, this drinks amazing. Nicely done.

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Photo of jonvan04
3.98/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Drank it out of a bruery tulip glass. The first thing that you notice is the intense malt presence, which obviously goes with the style. The mouthfeel was lighter than most barleywines while still maintaining a respectable level of booziness. The taste was most of what you would expect out of a barleywine with some nice toffee notes thrown in.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.08/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

What a jaunty little cap. This brew pours a translucent burnt amber topped by a finger of off-white foam. The nose comprises caramel, toffee, booze, rye bread crust, and a bit of medicinal aromas. The taste also carries that medicinal astringency, along with some sharp citrus hops, toffee, and maple syrup. The body is a heavy medium, with a moderate carbonation and a gooey feel. Overall, I think this is the least of the Duck-Rabbit brews I've yet had. It seems as though something went awry, I just can't put my finger on it.

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Photo of EgadBananas
4.22/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark citrus orange,red,yellow in color with a very thin whiting head. Dissapates quickly.

Smell is sweet, dark, with dark fruit notes (plums, figs, red grapes). a hint of alcohol, and a touch of smoky maltiness..

Taste is nearly spot on with the smell, but there is a little bit a tart mixed in which actually does wonderfully to balance things and take a little edge away from the booze.

The feel ismedium in body, nothing exquisite.

Drinkability is very high, dispite the ABV.

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Photo of Buebie
3.52/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle with a best by date of 2/11

Poured into an oversized snifter. Less then half and inch of off white head is formed, settling to a thick collar and thin film of retention.
It is murky and unfiltered looking, just what the Dr. ordered. A bit of red,s and a little orange when held to light with a mjuddy brown color too. Hard to explain really.

I cant tell if its just me here, or is there somthing wrong with my sniffer, but I swear I smell hints of chocolate. Sweet and fruity, large amounts of malt, caramel and buttery sweetness. Only a faint amount of heat at the nose, its very well covered by other aroma's. A sprig of mint and that about sums it up.

To say its sweet upfront would be an understatement. Loads of malt present with a little bit of burnt caramel, leafy hops, more of that mint and then chocolate grains or somthing chocolaty. Very interesting, enjoyable and great but interesting. The mint seems a bit out of place and I'm guessing its either alcohol or hops. Also odd is the tropical fruity, almost mango like hops, they seem out of place. It is a bit warm through the swallow. The beer seemed to smell a bit better then it tasted, not that I dont like it, but the minty leaf/ alcohol taste is kind of annoying.
Yea, its 11%, I would recommend a couple years on this one.

Mouthfeel is slick with a mild syrup feel and layed back carbonation, but well balanced feel.

Drinkability is a bit cut by the abv. But still this is another fine example of beer from DR. I wish it was available out in the Midwest.
I can see a 5 year old bottle of this being incredible.

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Photo of robwestcott
3.8/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

thanks to jyounger30 for this one.
2010 vintage - consumed 8/2010 - a couple more bottles will age and be reviewed at a later date...

poured from the bottle a syrupy light caramel brown to a dogfish head signature glass with a wisp of an off white short lasting head. though after warming and a few swirls of the glass and nice foamy thick head emerges and leaves nice lace after a sip.

aroma is quite sweet, malty, black cherries, plums(?), and brown sugar.

malty sweetness is so far in the front it can't be any farther forward. maple, caramel, buttery brown sugars. hops are not in the least bit detectable. after warming a bit, the black cherries pop out quite a bit more.

medium carbonation, slick and syrupy. no bitterness whatsoever.

at 11%, i'm not sure i'll be having another.

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Photo of Beejay
4.17/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Mahogany brown, and cloudy. Nice white head on top, but it dissipates rather quickly.

S: Very sweet, with tons of caramel and malt. Cherries and more caramel finish it out. Slight hop aroma, but you really have to search for it.

T: Very nice. Rich, with caramel and cherries. Hints of oak and maple. The alcohol is present, but just barely. Overall this one is a winner. Very nice.

M: Syrupy and chewy, but with a higher amount of carbonation to balance it out.

D: I would definitely get this one again. Not one you could throw back a few of, but a nice sipper. Tasty, toasty, malty and delicious.

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Photo of WorldWideStout
2.16/5  rDev -43.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I had a few ounces of this on tap around a month ago, but only remember that I found it to be too hoppy for an English-style barleywine. We shall see what the bottled version brings to the table.

A: Slightly redder than amber body that's fairly transparent. White head doesn't get much past one finger before receding with minimal lacing.

S: There's a sweetness right at the start, but it gives way to tropical, hoppy notes soon after. Odd for an english style. Alcohol phenols are also present.

T: Starts off alright, again with the sweetness, but things take a turn for the worse after this. Towards the middle some of that tropical hops flavor comes in, as well as hops bitterness, far too much of it for an english-style barleywine. Alcohol comes in at the middle as well, and dominates through the end, accompanied by a tingling, burning sensation in my mouth that I am not at all fond of. Aftertaste is alcohol and bitterness.

M: It could be worse I guess. I'd say that thicker would be better, but not with these flavors. Those burning pricks at the end of each sip don't help anything either.

D: I would have been more than happy to stop after a couple of sips.

Blech. I don't really understand why this isn't classified as an American-style barleywine - the hops are much more dominant than the malts. Regardless of which category it belongs in, this is a poor beer. I have a few more of these which I will age, but I'm not expecting great things. A very disappointing beer from a brewery I usually enjoy.

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Photo of chefmikeanderson
3.73/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark amber in color with a one finger off white head. pretty decent amount of retention with a slight amount of legs

S: Smells of big fruity hops. Lots of Orange in there. a little alcohol presence in there too

T: A lot of alcohol up front. Just a slight amount of the raisin background and the hops arent quite as fruity as the smell. Besides the alcohol hotness the beer is pretty balanced

M: a nice amount of carbonation which is always good.

D: I'm going to have to put some age on these beers. Hopefully that will mellow that alcohol out. if it works i think this will be a pretty good beer but at the moment its a little to strong

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Photo of trbergman
4.2/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a cervoise.

A - Pours a rich, translucent auburn with one finger of dense, cafe au lait foam.

S - Strong caramel aroma with some dried apricot, fig, tobacco, and light, floral notes of honey. Also has a whiff of alcohol, unsurprisingly.

T - Starts off big and sweet with caramel and dried fruits. I was a bit unsettled, as I usually don't care for sweeter barleywines, but then some pleasant hop bitterness asserted itself. While this does actually have quite a bit of bitterness, it's very well balanced with a huge malt body, resulting in a mellower taste than, for example Bigfoot. As it warms, more fruit flavor emerges, including a touch of juicy pineapple. Hop flavor adds to the fruity/floral profile, as well as contributing some pineyness. Finish is long and balanced.

M - Rich, full body, with just enough carbonation to keep it from feeling flabby.

D - Delicious, slow sipping beer. A little too heavy-handed with the alcohol, but otherwise very nice.

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Photo of wethorseblanket
3.97/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received as an extra from Grant.

Pours a very hazy carmel color into tulip with fine carbonation and slight head which coats with an oily sheen. Smells sweet and fruity with malt and alcohol. Tastes of carmel, malt, resiny sweetness, figs and raisins. A bit boozy. Nice grain and citrus notes also. Slightly spicy with a hoppy bitterness in finish and a lingering dryness. Mouthfeel is rich and full. First Barleywine review for me and was well pleased overall. A strong ale and one is plenty. Thanks Grant.

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Photo of DMXLOX22
3.8/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle to ale glass.

Appearance: Pours a medium hazy, dark caramel coloring with a nice copper coloring.

Smell: Somewhat sweet smelling with a aronma of syrupie and fruity almost like apples.

Taste: Orange and apple like hops and dark flavoring of malts of caramel and a haze of strong to sweet molassas.

Mouthfeel: Surprised to see medium body but does leave a nice feeling in the chestical area. First barleywine turned out to be a nice one

Drinkability: Very decent for my first barleywine and does go down well almost reminded me of a stout. Load of sweetness and i didn't mind it too much. Cheers!

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Photo of ShadesOfGray
3.8/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Unibroue Trois Pistoles chalice. Pours a hazy amber at first, filling the glass slighly more on the brown side, although theres a reddish tinge throughout. Very nice looking frothy off-white head with decent retention, and remaining as a creamy froth patched around the surface. Very nice frothy lacing.

Aroma is hops and malts, fruits...apples and raisins, and more hops!

Flavor is decent, not the best barleywine, and not the best Duck Rabbit beer. Sharp, creamy, mild quick fruit notes...leading way to malts and hops which last the majority of the flavor. Slightly dry on the back side. Mouthfeel is medium body, medium carbonation. The booze definitely has quite a bite in this one. A very good barleywine, but again, not the best.

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Photo of kbeals
3.78/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was sent to me recently by mjmadden in a BIF. Looking forward to this one...

A- Pours a very dark copper color with a finger of off white head. Head sticks around rather nicely and leaves good lacing behind. Amount of retention and lacing was surprising given the ABV.

S- Tons of caramel and toffee malts. A bit of vanilla and some whiffs of booze. Pretty much what I'd expect for the style.

T- A ton of malts hits up front followed with an almost citrusy taste. Very interesting. Booziness does make itself apparent.

M- A bit thinner that expected with little carbonation.

D- The booziness gets to me after a while. This is still a good beer though.

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Photo of johnnnniee
4.12/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received in trade from KarrHeel03, thanks for the opportunity! I believe this bottle is from Feb 2009
Pours a dark brown with a great looking garnet hue when held to light, tightly bubbled off white head peaks out but retreats under the bed with the cats. Smells mostly of sweet dark fruit with a touch of alcohol. Cherries prunes and a bit of brown sugar in there. Taste follows the smell. Alcohol soaked cherries rolled in brown sugar and lightly caramelized sums it up pretty well. Finish is rather dry with a lingering almost sweet and sour fruit. Thick body, light carbonation, sweet sticky mouthfeel. I really liked this one. Its a nice take on an English style barleywine, I wish I could get my hands on some more to lay down...

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Photo of ThreeWiseMen
3.3/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Acquired this as an extra in a recent trade with hopsleeroy. Thanks again Lee!

Appearance: A fine, tan crown sits atop a cloudy, rust-colored body. Very low visibility, even when held directly to light. Body appears thick and oily, and each swirl coats the glass walls in a thin resin (also excites the head). Head drags sticky lacing all the way down.

Smell: Candied red apples, red currants, tallow, and lemony esters. Caramel/molases notes become stronger as the beer warms, and I even get a little black pepper. Wish this was a bit more potent, but I enjoy the overall aroma.

Taste: Caramel, leather, and earth are the most notable flavors I get. Those, and alcohol - yep, lots of alcohol. If I don't take a sufficient break between sips, I have trouble tasting anything (because of the alcoholic dominance). Before I finish: I also get a hint of lemon.

Mouthfeel: Pretty hot and dry, even for a barleywine. On that note, I'm actually enjoying the sting right now. Full and oily without much carbonation. Lots of mouth-numbing and belly-warming with this one.

Drinkability: "Can't stand the heat? Get yourself from out the kitchen." That's how I'm feelin right now. Alcohol dominates and steals all my candy. Bummer. I finished this beer without a problem, but it was only enjoyable because of the buzz it produced.

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Photo of semibaked
3.08/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured into my Chimay Goblet.

A - Pours a very cloudy dark brown with about a half an inch of orange/brown head. Tons of great lacing appears throughout drinking.

S - Sweet malts, raisins, toast, and a touch of orange.

T - Kind of an Orange Peel bitterness dominates plus hop bitterness, orange, raisins, and malts.

M - Oily and slick, some resin too.

D - This is a let down, it smelled good but the taste is just too bitter for me. I wish more of the other flavors could come through, but it isn't terrible either. Worth a try.

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Photo of Chico1985
3.83/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Extra sent from cdflem. 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a see-through dark red, almost the color of raspberry iced tea. Off-white head is a nice creamy pillow of goodness after an aggressive pour. Stays as a cap till the last few sips where a thick ring rests. Leaves some lacing.

Smell is lots of bready malt, some hops and booze, smell overall is pretty faint.

Quite hoppy for an English Barleywine. Malts still have the upper hand though, balance is nicely done. Caramel malt, earthy/resin hops, biscuit, slight red grape. Quite a bit of sweetness. Booze is quite present and goes down unpleasantly at times, like cough syrup. I still enjoy the taste enough to give it a 4, both the malts and hops are pretty extreme, but the balance was good, which is key.

Mouthfeel is very oily, reminds me of a Dogfish Head beer. Very low on carbonation, a bit more of that and a bit less of booze kick would've helped. Feels a bit thin.

For a 11% barleywine this is actually quite drinkable. I'm not sure I'd want more than one, but I had no problem taking this down.

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Photo of kels
3.66/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours thick, even muddy. It is a ruddy, red clay brown with absolutely no visibility throughout. The initial 1 finger bubbly white head fades to nothingness immediately and leaves behind loads of bubbly, sticky lace.

Not a whole lot of aroma coming off this beer. The distinct alcohol presence is noted, along with a light dark chewy fruit.

Taste presents a wider array of the expected elements of a barleywine than the nose. There's a honey-like sweetness to the deeply caramelized malts that pairs well with a dry, crisply bitter citrusy hop. Deep, chewy fruity flavors, like prunes or dates, give a foundation to flavors. Of course the alcohol plays a feature role in the overall taste. It is warming and drying, even a little cloying, and the vapors hang around on the palate quite some time after the drink. Feel is slick yet carbonated, with a mouthfilling presence.

Drinkability is moderate at best, but overall it is pretty balanced and smooth for the style.

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Photo of TK5150
3.43/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A- Pours a fairly dark amber with a bug-bubbled beige head. The large bubbles remain on top of the beer after the head fades away. Nice legs as I swirl.

S- As soon as I popped the bottle I got a huge waft of estery fruitiness. As I smell the beer, that is the most dominating smell, but I also get quite a bit of molasses which is pleasantly surprising. Some general yeast aromas and malt round out the nose.

T- Fruity/spicy esters are the big player here as well. No molasses present in the taste which is a little disappointing. A hint of earthy hops, as well as a little tartness (like a tart apple). Malty sweetness is there in the mouth, but the finish is dry in the back of the throat.

M- Bordering on full-bodied, this feels smooth in the mouth.

D- This is decently tasty beer, but I probably wouldn't drink more than one.

Overall, an ok beer which I would not mind having again sometime. Smell and appearance are by far the highlights.

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Photo of ThirstyBird
4.22/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to romanW70 for sharing this one
2008 vintage
Appears reddish orange in color with a small tan head with a nice ring. Smells of caramel, rich malt, fruit, bready. The taste is big caramel, deep fruit, butter, nutty. The body is medium and the carbonation is smooth! A very tasty BW.

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Barleywine Ale from The Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery
Beer rating: 3.82 out of 5 with 609 ratings