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

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Duck-Rabbit Barleywine AleDuck-Rabbit Barleywine Ale
Very Good
606 Ratings
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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Ratings: 606 |  Reviews: 361
Photo of goethean
4.6/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A gift from BA acme, served at room temperature in a completely inappropriate weizen glass

Wow, this stuff is great! Copper. Strong aroma and flavor of dark caramel and dark English toffee, with some mellow medium dark fruit, balanced by a pretty stiff herbal hops bitterness. Really kind of shockingly drinkable for a big barleywine.

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Photo of Murchmac
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Erikeifert, this was the suprise of the litter, thanks for sending this puppy.

Pours a beautiful burnt orange copper with a big foamy head that leaves heavy lacing down the pint glass. Looking at this beer as it were a giant Giants foam number one hand.

Smells fantastical. Caramel, alcohol, carmalized malts. As good as the gilroy garlic fries.

Tastes be-u-ta-full. Chewy, scotchy, caramel. hint of alcohol, bitter hops. Just fantastic. Freaky, like Tim Lincecum's delivery.

Leaves a burning alcohol residue down your throat. Cant' say enough about this beer even if it was on performance enhancing drugs.

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Photo of remllof
3.95/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into my duck-rabbit tumbler glass. Poured a small but decent head that left thick light brown lacing. The color is very dark, on the edges has a very dark maroon color to it. The smell is has a bit of friutfulness to it, detected a touch of alchohol. Taste has a up front fruity sweetness to it. Alcohol is fairly hidden in here but you can still in the end of it. Then backed up with a nice bit of hops at the end without much bitterness. Mouthfeel is very thick but smooth. Overall this is a decent barelywine.

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Photo of gdfan47
3.53/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A- pours a darkish brown with very little white head
S- booze, woah.. alot and hops of course, sugar... and not much else
T- very boozey, a touch of pine, def hops, a touch of malt, sugar
M- thick and syruppy
D- i mean its 11 percent and tastes it, if you are drinking this outside of your house just be carefuil

im not super super into barley wines yet

its good, but this doesnt hide the alcohol very well

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Photo of paco1029384756
4.12/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle thanks to rwitter.

Pours a cloudy ruby orange color with one finger of creamy off white head.

Scent of hops, spices, caramel, strawberries, honey, and orange peel. A nicely hopped Barleywine, not overly sweet and well hidden alcohol.

Taste of hops, grain, caramel, earth, sugars, honey, graham crackers and a hint of alcohol. The alcohol it very well hidden for the strength.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation, but it's not quite smooth enough.

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Photo of biegaman
3.81/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A perfect candy apple colour, the beer appears succulent and sweet. Its clarity is wholly intact with a glossy complexion that nearly sparkles ruby-esque tones when held into the light. It's nothing short of dazzling. If left undisturbed its ecru stained capping will appear just adequate. A quick swirl now and then, however, will resuscitate what is a more than eloquent display of carbonation considering the 11% alcohol.

The aroma seems to showcase all the bitter, astringent character of hops with a disproportionate amount of floral and fruity notes to correspond; it smells like there were plenty of hops used without giving air of a typically 'hoppy' bouquet. Same goes for the malts, I sense the roast and long-boiled stickiness but am whiffing none of the crispy toast or sweet caramel. I'm not sure what to expect from the taste.

...and I'm still not sure what I think. There's an almost doughy, pastry like base but what I taste most is a strong dusting of chocolate that coats a big mixture of dried and over-ripened fruits. I would guess some combination of figs, apricot, dates, and pineapple - not necessarily your most predictable group of fruits. The ones more typical - bruised apple and sun dried cherry - taste as though they were soaked in brandy.

The more I think about it the more the beer does, at its base, resemble a sweet flaky pastry, like something found at a Greek bakery. For one, there's a ton of sugar and secondly there's a small dose of caramelization too. More and more this starts to resemble baklava and a shot of brandy. It's a sugary, syrupy sweet concoction tasting of dried fruits, flaky pastry and honeyed nuts - this brewer has to be Greek!

This isn't my idea of the ideal barleywine but that's not to say it doesn't still make for a good one. I'm still not entirely sure of just how much I like (or love) the beer but I had this same conundrum with this brewery's Imperial Stout. Like the drawing on their labels after which the brewery is named, this too can be seen as two different things: a good (what I think) or great (maybe to some) barleywine. Either way, there isn't any wrong answer.

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Photo of everetends
4.05/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle I picked up in a six pack from Tower Beverage in Atlanta. Served up in my Terrapin snifter.

A: Pours a dark brown color with some nice red highlights in there. Held to the light a little more red comes through but still holds up as a pretty dark brown in the body. A pretty vigorous pour got a little bit of cream colored head, but it slowy disperses the a pretty thin ring around the glass. Lace is pretty stick but spotty.

S: Smell is pretty nice. There is first of all a heavy malt presence. That malt is nice and somewhat like a maple syrup smell. There is also a nice butterscotch smell coming out as well. Then comes the hops in some really nice grapefruit presence. The grapefruit is nice and tart. Really nice balance of malt and hops.

T: Taste is pretty darned good as well. Malt is once again on display with a ton of sweet goodness. Maple syrup, butterscotch, brown sugar, toffee, and a touch of chocolate all come out in this flavor. Then comes the bitter slight tart flavor from the hops. Citrus goodness which is mostly some nice grapefruit that is pretty close to the perfect blend. There is a slight touch of pine resin in here as well. Very interesting flavors.

M: This feels to be medium in body but on the heavy side which is damned near to full bodied. Carbonation is a bit on the in between side and I don't know if it needs more or less, but it feels pretty decent. ABV feels light considering it sits at 11%, feels maybe half that. Just the slight amount of heat on the throat, but otherwise pretty well controlled. The beer is a bit oily and sticky on the palate allowing the hops flavors to be enjoyed.

D: This is a pretty damned nice beer. This beer is good or better in all categories. The smell and taste are all solid, and this beer truly shines in the feel department. For a barleywine, this is pretty drinkable for the style. I have noticed that this one went down much easier and quicker than previous barleywines I have had. DUCK RABBIT RULES!!!

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Photo of tommy78
3.66/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured the beer out of the bottle and a nice, golden reddish color is quickly visible. When I held the beer up to the light, the golden reddish color became a deep red color. As for the head, a thin layer formed after being poured. It became thinner as I drank the beer.

S - Decent aroma from the beer. However, I felt that the aroma could have had more a punch to it. I did detect some fruit in it though.

T - A very good taste for the barley wine. Very sweet in the flavor, along with a hint of caramel. In terms of being a 11% beer, I could barely taste the alcohol.

M - Good amount of carbonation in the beer. Usually with high alcohol beers, the carbonation is, at times, overpowering. Here, it is balanced.

D - While it is a good beer, one could only have one to two during a session due to its high alcohol content.

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

This beer poured a stunning clear deep copper with 3 inch fluffy tan head. It has a sweet aroma of candied cherries, plums and dates that have been beaten with a mallet and allowed to soak in alcohol. I also get a note of sweet caramel. The first impression of the flavor is that it tastes like an English style barleywine. There's a medley of fruit such as dark dark cherries, sweet black grape juice, dates, raisins and cranberries. I also get a cherry cough drop quality.

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Photo of PatrickJR
3.6/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into oversized snifter.

A - Surprisingly clear, reddish tinted cola color. A quarter inch of off white head rises but falls quickly, though this brew does leave quite a bit of lace.

S - Rich caramel aroma with a big dose of toffee. There's also a small note of roasted malt hiding in there. A bit of indistinct fruitiness mingles with noticable alcohol.

T - Prominent flavors of butterscotch, toffee, caramel, and brown sugar start things off with ample sweetness. A touch of roasty flavor and an earthy bitterness begin fighting through the sweetness mid palate, and the brew takes a quick dive into alcohol with a slight fruity character. The bitterness really jumps out of nowhere and late palate is completely dominated by the alcohol. Not bad, but I think the alcohol is masking complexity.

M - Duck Rabbit's Barleywine starts out full bodied and chewy enough, but once the bitterness enters and the alcohol takes hold it becomes little more than thin and boozy, on the verge of being a mess. Carbonation is moderate, perhaps a little high for my tastes but nothing major.

D - A decent enough beer but I was hoping for something a little bolder. Were the alcohol tamed down a bit I think this brew would really shine. Big blatant alcohol detracts.

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Photo of cnjohn19
3.54/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Referred to me from a fellow barleywine drinker since its a local brew...Beautiful pour of a dark red-brown...cloudy with a thick dull white head which settles nicely...Smells of caramel, fruits--possible plum--kind of like the dark hard candy my grandma used to give me...

I think this beer has too keen of an alcohol taste...very distinct and strong, which is usually sought after, however doesn't seem to match the overall taste...a little let down...

Was definitely expecting more from this rather local barleywine...overall, i wish the taste matched the pour...

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Photo of ncstateplaya
4.04/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours unbelievably clear, crystal clear crimson or blood red. Very similar to the red on the label. A sweet oatmeal colored head that was extremely creamy and frothy looking. The lacing was exceptional...a very impressive pour.

The nose was dominated by a sweet gummy fruit...possibly plum or fig. There is a musty odor that I wasn't sure where it stemmed from, possibly the yeast? There was just a little bit of hops in the nose.

It had a very caramel like sweetness that paired extremely well with the slight hoppy bitterness. The alcohol is undeniable in the finish, but in no way is it overwhelming.

Medium bodied with lively carbonation and surprisingly smooth. It coats the mouth leaving it feeling pretty sticky. There is a nice bitterness on the finish along with the bite from the alcohol.

I really enjoyed this barleywine, even more so than a year aged bigfoot. It was very smooth and pretty tasty, although being from down east I may be a little biased. I think this is one of my favorite barleywines so far...and very drinkable.

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Photo of glid02
4.02/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2009 vintage courtesy of Paul - much obliged!

Pours a honey-copper color with an off-white head. The head settles fairly quickly into a wispy layer of bubbles on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of sweet malts with a lot of hops - mostly citrus but with pine and floral hints in there as well. There's also a bit of nondescript fruit smells.

Tastes similar to how it smells, though the malts are a bit more in charge. Pine hop flavors come out more than any other hop flavor, and the fruit flavors are still there. This is an interesting mish-mash of flavors that ends with a nice bitterness. This is fresh from the brewery and I didn't find much presence of alcohol with the exception of a warming sensation.

Mouthfeel is good. It has a syrupy thickness with good carbonation that makes this go down smoothly.

Drinkability is good. I had no problem finishing what I had, but I'm not sure I could drink more than one of these at a time.

Overall I was impressed with how good this was fresh. The older version was certainly more balanced, but the flavors in the fresh bottle were still impressive. Worth a shot.

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Photo of JasonA
4.3/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Received in trade from marvin. Hopefully it will bring my Eers luck today vs UofL.

Pours a reddish carmel red. Looks more like a marzen except the head. Med thick, ample lacing. You can tell there is depth. Lots of bubbles, I gotta let this one breathe even though its at 50F.

Medium malt, carmel, piney hops. Smells more like a American BW. Mild ABV, but present.
Solid malt body, wine sweet, little hop character (back to english). Nice level of bitterness, almost ESB, though much sweeter. I bet this could drop to 60F and be just as smooth.

Creamy smooth. Well balanced, sits comfortably. Carbonation pretty high still, need to let cool a bit more.

Over all a great brew. Only downside could be carbonation level. As far as an English BW, this is an excellent example. Would def have again.

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Photo of nick76
3.15/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The aroma is full of caramel, syrup, fruit, grain husks, and hops. The appearance is mahogany with a super thin head. The flavor is like the aroma with some muskiness and soapiness. The palate is typical for the style. Overall its better than average but that's all.

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Photo of prsguitarsr4me
4.26/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very good - surprising. Nice pour, nice head and amber straw color. Not a ton of aroma, but sweet and thick. Taste is very good. I never would've guessed that it was 11% alcohol. Very, very smooth and sweet. Nothing too bitter or burnt - it may have been better with those qualities, but it was good. Feel is great - good carbonation and it goes down smooth and silky. I'd drink several of these easily, and with this alcohol content I'd certainly feel great afterward. I'm going to try to get some more of this for sure.

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Photo of Klgkenny
3.7/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this beer at the 2009 duckrabbit barleywine release party at the brewery. They had a great three year vertical tasting. I am reviewing the 2007 (aged one year) here.

Poured from the tap into a room temp pint glass, a thick creamy head rests atop an amber body. A fairly transparent beer, I can see a few bubbles of carbonation. A decent appearance.

Smells and tastes like equal parts pine sap and malt mixed with a healthy portion of ALCOHOL! The aromas are very simple, but the taste is a bit more complex. Malty up front with a slight buffer of piney hops before that powerful wave of alcohol. Nicely balanced barleywine. A lot of the time, balance is great, but I think here, a bit of something over the top would be great.

The mouthfeel on this was just eh... Slightly oily, it was as if there was actually pine sap in the beer! The flavors lingered, which was nice, but that clingy feel was almost unpleasant.

With all of the above elements falling together the way that they did, this is a drinkable beer, but... If you are a barleywine freak, then give this a shot. It just seemed as if it was one step off the whole way.

SIDE NOTE: I was informed at the brewery that between the 2006 and 2007 season, the recipe for the barleywine changed. The 2006 was UBER-sweet. The 2007 (aged one year) was balanced, and the 2008 was very hoppy. If you are a hop worshipper, then you might really like this barleywine. Otherwise, you're going to want to set this aside for a year.

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
2.86/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle (best by 12/2007) courtesy of my Secret Santa. Pours a murky mahogany with a supper thick, foamy tan head. Aroma of toffee, vegetal notes, an odd sweetness. Flavor of sweet malt and vegetal notes. A little too sweet/vegetal, even for an aged barleywine. This is far past its prime. Hopefully I will be able to rerate this again fresh.
6/4/5/3/12 (3.0/5)

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Photo of SilentSabre
3.72/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lovely red-bronze colour with a beige coloured head. Smell is terrific. Very sweet and malty; actually reminds me of breakfast cereal like sugar smacks or something. I like my barleywine to be bereft of any hop bitterness whatsoever, and this one, I'm afraid, wraps up its sweet malty opening with a little bit of a bitter hoppy finish. Still good, though. Mouthfeel is pretty heavy, as it should be, and the 11% is disguised well. A good attempt by an American brewery to replicate one of my favourite English styles.

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Photo of maximum12
2.68/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to marcpal for this one, I'm always willing & eager to pop open a barelywine I've never tasted before. Let the popping begin!

Well, I've never experienced that before. Pouring the beer leads me to wonder if I'd just poured milk into a bowl of Rice Krispies, the head was popping & hissing clearly for several seconds after the end of the pour. Freaking weird! It's gotta real purty mouth, too, ruby red just the way I like it.

Smell is...rubbing alcohol? I might have to transplant some hair from ears to my nose after a whiff, the alcohol presence is epic.

But who cares about that? What's important is the taste, & it's, it's, got a strange funk to it. After a couple of sips, not a pleasant funk. More like the funk of your scrubbing sponge when it's been sitting wet in the sink for a week or two. Hmmmm. There is some dank fruit, & the alcohol is surpisingly subdued, but the must overpowers the positive aspects. It does get somewhat better as it warms.

Too bad; maybe a bad bottle? The run-up to the actual tasting was great, but ultimately this beer doesn't hold up it's end of the bargain.

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Photo of jwinship83
4.07/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle from yesac in trade. thanks!

A- this bottle started gushing as soon as i popped the cap. dark red, almost ruby, colored body with a small lasting khaki colored head. thick lacing left on the sides of the glass.

S- lots of bready malt. some ripe fruits. apples, pears, cherries, and plums. this one smells slightly alcoholic.

T- very bready with alot of fruit. mostly cherries and plums. some grapes apples, and cherries as well. finishes with a touch of booze.

M- medium to full bodied with a low level of carbonation. slight warming from the alcohol. works well when its -4 outside, like tonight.

D- easy to finish, this is one of the better english barleywines that ive tried. the booze is somewhat present, but i could see it sneaking up on you if you have a couple. 3 bottles split between 2 people would be perfect.

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Photo of cbros
3.87/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Serving type- 12 ounce bottle poured into a pint glass. Best buy date 12/08

A- Pours a dark murky brown with a small white lace that stays present througout. No activity present in the beer after the pour.

S- Strong hints of alcohol with some accents of a floral piney smell.

T- Strong presence of alcohol at the beginning that mellows into caramel and toffee.Low hop flavor and a light bitterness present. Nothing that overwhelms the palate.

Even though I am not big on darker beers I thuroughly enjoyed this, I have had other English Barleywine selections and wanted to give the local guys a whirl. I tried this for the first time at the Greensboro Brewfest a few months back and picked up a few bottles at the local shop a few weeks ago. I want to try other offerings from them, in my quest to support local flavor, and if this is any indication of the quality of their other stuff I can't wait.

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

This is an 06 bottle via Mikesgroove in the Birthday Beer Club BIF, a huge thanks for this.

A- This is a reddish brown beer, with a nice fluffy thick head. Infact this was a pretty active bottle. I didn't pour too aggressivly and, wow lots of head.

S- Nice sweet dark fruits, honey, port, and very heavy on the raisen smell.

T- Dates, fig, and raisens dominate the taste. I'm also getting some honey, the good high end stuff. This doesn't taste boozy in the least. Very tasty English Barleywine to say the least.

M- This isn't thick at all, there is a slight bit, but the carbination does an excellent job making it great in the mouth.

D- Very drinkable. I would love to see how this is fresh and compare what these two years have done to this in retrospect. But this 06 bottle is drinking very well!

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.28/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I got this bottle in a trade with Tayner. Thanks Dana!

This pours a clear deep amber red with close to a 2 finger head of foam.

The smell is plumb full of caramel malty goodness with a light hoppiness in the background.

The taste starts off with that caramel malty sweetness that exemplifies the style and it's quickly followed by some light notes of hop bitterness bringing very good balance and some notes of chocolate and some fruit...cherries. Nice. Easy drinking as well as there's hardly a sign of this one being 11%abv. Just some welcome warming after the swallow. Not overly complex, in my book, just tasty and very smooth drinking. I like.

The mouthfeel is wonderfully thick and goes well with the light carbonation.

Drinkability is very good for a brew of this strength and the very good lacing after each sip encourages me to keep on trucking.

Bottom line: I think this is a great representation of the English Barleywine Style Ale where Malt is King and the hops are only used to balance things out. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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Photo of Oxymoron
4.02/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Kind of funny two animals, duck rabbit, and two drinks, barley (beer) wine. Note this beer has been aged for one year. Pours a darker amber to brown color with some reddish hues throughout. A good pour but left a very limited head. A few swirls helps a bit but limited. So goes per the lace.

The nose has a good malty backing with some minor hops notes. The malt has some minor complexity but would have expected more. Some caramel note but mostly a sweet grainy malt aroma. Some alcohol notes but pretty clean yeast wise. Not much hops in the nose either.

The taste has more of that complexity that I look for in the malt. The caramel flavors come out more with some depth. IMO, I would have liked more depth but a good start. The hops also come out nicely with some light earthy and hints of citrus notes. Some esters as well, cherry, apples and pears. Some minor fusels, which is not ok, but some minor alcohol as well. Really a nice rounded out flavor.

The body is moderate to big. So sure this is a year old, but it actually is pretty tasty. I would have liked a bit more complexity in the malt but overall good.

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Duck-Rabbit Barleywine Ale from The Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery
Beer rating: 3.82 out of 5 with 606 ratings
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