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

Duck-Rabbit Barleywine AleDuck-Rabbit Barleywine Ale
604 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

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 604 |  Reviews: 361
Photo of flyers1980
3.83/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Mad Elf tulip glass after letting it sit about an hour or so out of the fridge. Aroma is very much like an IPA, which could fool you if you didn't know which beer was in front of you (but how often does that happen). Definitely much more full budied than Old Horizontal or the Appalachian Brewing Co. barleywine I've had (those are the only other two I've tried). Definitely a sipper but also incredibly drinkable for a beer of this style. A nice 6-ounce glass (or a whole 12-ounce bottle if you're me) make for a perfect aperitif before fish or chicken.

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Photo of billab914
3.83/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Dogfish snifter. It poured a murky mahogany color with a thin white lacing stretched across the top of the beer. The head clung to the edges of the glass and left some modest lacing as I drank it.

The aroma has a nice malty flavor with some notes of caramel, cherry and raisins to it. I get a little hop citrus to it as well with a little lemon to it.

The taste shows a rich and sweet malty flavor to it throughout the flavor. Caramel, raisins, cherries and figs show up in the maltiness. I get a bit of a lemony, grapefruit citrus to it as well. Some bitterness comes through in the finish which balances it out pretty nicely and also gives it a bit of dryness.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side with carbonation being about average for the style. It has a bit of a rich and creamy feel to it as well. Drinkability is pretty good, it had a nice rich malty flavor to it but also didn't become too sweet. Pretty good version of the style and an enjoyable beer to sip on this evening.

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Photo of mattreitz49
3.83/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Thur123
3.82/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A heavy pour yields no head and a deep murky peat-like brown with a little bit of red. Little carbonation rises and very little light gets through. The smell is a deep dark fruit smell with a bit of spice, maybe something like molasses, the dark fruit is like plums, figs and a bit of raisin smell, with maybe some lighter dried apricot. The alcohol is hidden so well.

Glug glug glug

Hit first with a kind of sharp liquerise flavor with the raisin present too. Towards the back end the heat turns up and the flavor mellows and becomes a little sweeter, which is nice. The mouth feel is thick and a bit chewy which helps coat the mouth with flavor. Pretty good, I look forward to more of these in the winter hopefully.

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Photo of Radome
3.82/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Tasted from a 12 oz bottle bought in Durham, NC.

L - Copper in color, hazy when cold but clears as it warms. Head is weak and quickly fades to a ring around the glass.

S - Aromas of bready malt, gingerbread, plums, sherry. Low spicy hops in the background.

T - Strong graham cracker and gingerbread flavors lead off, with brown sugar, plums, and sherry following. Hops are present as an herbal/spicy note.

F - THick body with low, almost non-existent carbonation. Moderate hops bitterness. Moderate alcohol presence. Slightly cloying finish.

O - This beer has many of the good characteristics of an English Barleywine. Even though this is a style I enjoy, I find this one to be a bit overly sweet and cloying.

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Photo of tone77
3.81/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has an amber color with a 1/23 inch head. Smell is of brown sugar, toffee, raisins. Taste is caramel malts, sweet, alcohol, raisins, cherries, light hops, a bit more alcohol as it warms. Feels full bodied in the mouth and overall is a good quality beer.

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

Big thanks to hopsleeroy for stashing this in as an extra.

DR Barleywine makes a very pleasant first impression. It shows up in the glass as a very attractive dark copper with ruby highlights when held to the light. One inch of light yellow head leaves some nice lacing within the limits of the style.

Smells like there will be some decent hops here. Pine, grapefruit and lemon are all hitting the nose with some light custard underneath.

With the first few sips, it's clear that this is going to pack a solid hop punch. The pine is even stronger on the taste buds than on the nose. After the hops take their first shot, there is a sudden, deep caramel note that then fades into a strong pine bitterness fueled by a little bit of alcohol heat.

This should age quite nicely. The pine and caramel notes are in a bit of conflict right now, but some age should round those flavors out and cut some of the heat off the finish. My guess is that, with a couple of years on it, this will become quite extraordinary. As it is, this is well worth a try, especially if you like your Barleywines to be just one step away from being a DIPA.

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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 jcdiflorio
3.8/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks to Kwakwhore for the send. 12oz brown bottle served into a tulip glass. 1" light tannish/brown head,very creamy.Nice clear mahogany color had good retention leaving some sticky webby lacing down the glass with a few strands of very tiny bubbles tighly knitted rising.

Clean,dark fruit with dates and figs,slighly musty,earthy,slightly boozy,vinious with dried tea leaves.

Heavy strong maltiness,lots of burnt tastes, bittersweet dark fruitiness with a touch of sourness. Good balance with a very leafy,tea-like hop bite. Feels like a stong beer,the boozyness is well hidden for an 11% beer. This beer could only get better with age.

Thick and cloying with wine-like dryness. Was a bit rough to be real drinkable. Some aging would really do this beer some justice.

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

12 oz bottle, poured into a goblet

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, deep, dark mahogany color, speckled with orange highlights and half of a finger of white-colored head that dissolved away into a thin lacing of foam that partially covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Wow! Massive aromas of candied sugar, dried stone fruit such as prunes, apricots, and dates, toffee, as well as bready, toasted malt and some boozy alcohol.

Taste: That’s a nice barleywine. Malty up front, followed by lots of toffee, brown sugar, and candied sugar-like sweetness, dried stone fruit such as prunes, apricots, and dates, finished by some slightly bitter, but still well balanced, piney hops.

Mouthfeel: Slightly chewy and smooth as hell, as there is no carbonation what-so-ever. With an ABV of 11%, there is a very pleasant alcohol on the palate.

Overall: This is a very nice barleywine. Lots of good, bready, malty flavors melded with lots of toffee, dried stone fruit, candied sugar and nicely balanced hoppy bitterness. Very, very tasty!

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

vintage 2008...figured it was time for a fresh review after a bad first showing

a: Scant khaki head quickly recedes. Gorgeous color to the beer, a rich ruby-red deep amber.

s: Unusual but nice, the only negative I find is a stereotypically homebrew like aroma, perhaps diacetyl. Heavy on the sweet caramel and toffee malts.

m: Low carbonation, full syrupy body...a little too thick but forgivable

t: Big caramel and toffee malt flavors at first, some diacetyl, with a toasty note coming out after swallowing. Hop flavor is low, light-moderate bitterness on the tongue. Nice malt flavors, but missing depth.

d: easy given the abv

overall, a definite improvement over the original batch (I skipped last year's)

12/10/10 - reviewing a Dec 2008 bottle - rich malty nose, heavy on the caramel, smooth boozy tone, rich bread pudding, lightly carbonated and thick, same deal on the tongue but with a weird metal astringency, almost like sucking on an electrode (hop-induced or some bacterial specimen?), very interesting taste nonetheless, very grainy/mealy, booze heavy leave scores the same

vintage 2006

appearance: Topped with a spiffy new D-R logo bottle cap. Pours into my snifter a 1" khaki head. Nice retention. The beer is a clear, reddish medium-amber.

smell: Immediately, it's not as malty as I expected. There's a note of sour mash in the background, with a toffee or caramel malt presence. Moderately sweet notes of candied orange and cherry. Even smells a little Belgian at times, with some spice and yeast. Hard to pick out the hops, but they seem to be papery with a light floral, piney note.

mouthfeel: The carbonation is on the lower side of the medium range, and smooth. The body is full. I would like it to coat the tongue a little more after the swallow.

taste: Toffee and caramel malts alongside a flavor of sour mash. The sourness tastes slightly off, to be honest. Sweet and sour sauce for sure. Light hop flavor and a moderate bitterness in the finish. Lacks complexity and malt character. Even though the sourness detracts in the aroma, it actually makes for a pretty interesting sniff. It doesn't translate so well to the palate, however.

drinkability: The ABV is well hidden, but some of the off flavors hinder.


Not up to par with the other Duck-Rabbit seasonal releases. Might need to revisit and revise later. (resampled on Dec. 21)

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

thanks to mikesgroove for this via trade.

A - Poured a cloudy reddish orange. Nice small sized tan head.
S - Citric and piney with a medium caramel / toffee malty presence.
T - similar to the smell. Seemed to be a wrestling within the beer between hoppy and malty through the glass of beer. I felt it was more towards hoppy as the leaning but by no means a hop monster ala west coast style.
M - Medium bodied and smooth. carbonation was light but by no means faint like a Hardy's or gale & co prize old ale.
D - A good drinker. Balanced and a nice american interpretation of an English Barleywine.

I'd prefer a bit stronger malt profile. I think this may cellar well but hard to say. That said I'd easily put a few in the cellar for a tasting every 6-12 months to see how it matures.

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

Thank you to CruisaC (and the barleywine BIF).

a - opened the bottle and filled my CCB snifter. Classy transparent ruby orange brown with a thin off-white head. Semi-sticky lacing.

s - Nice sweet malts. Brown sugar, nutmeg, great balance. Touch of caramel.

t - good brown sugar, caramelly malt...finishes bitter. alcohol comes across a bit peppery. a bit one dimensional.

m - extremely smooth, leaves a heavy alcohol tingle throughout my mouth.

o - overall, this is a pretty big beer. it is good. nothing crazy.

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

The beer poured into the glass clear deep amber with a tannish head which rose tall and fell slowly to lace the glass.

The aroma was floral and piney with a earthy and only lightly citrus hop presence. Some orange esters were present as was a backbone of caramel. The alcohol in the aroma tingled the nasal passaged but was not overdone.

The flavor was piney and lightly resinous with a citrus accent of orange. The flavor was mostly filled with caramel and resinous citrus which was well balanced and never obtrusive. The caramel also housed a very slight tartness that may not be welcomed as this one ages.

The finish was heading toward dry with a lasting orange citric flavor and piney resinous hops into the aftertaste. The body was full with a creamy mouthfeel. The citric bite and tartness might be an indicator of things to come. Currently the beer drinks pretty easy but has a muted flavor of malt and hops as if it it couldn't decide which way to fall off the fence. A nice barleywine for sure, but the citric punch could be eliminated for my tastes.

12 ounce bottle.

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

A 12 ounce bottle, freshest by 12/09. Poured into my Adnams Imperial pint tumbler. The ale appears a hazed crimson copper color with about a finger of ecru foam. The head leaves only minimal traces of lace behind. Nose and flavor consist of caramel, brown sugar, pine, tangerine, lemon, apples, sourdough bread, grass, raisins, sweet smelling, bitter tasting. Nicely carbonated with a medium to full body. Not much alcohol burn to speak of. Quite drinkable fresh while the hops are still abundant.

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

A: Thin, golden brown, translucent color. Off white head with fresh squeezed milk foam that sits and stays.

S: Rich, creamy, stereotypically BW in rising sweetness that crackles through at the end with some spicy nuttiness.

T: Very balanced and subdued for a barleywine. One of the smoothest I've ever tried. Unfortunately, it's very one dimensional and lacks the same depth the smell had.

M: Smooth and forgiving. Virtually no booze. Light carbonation.

O: Super light feeling. Drinkability is insane.

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Photo of MuddyFeet
3.79/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I really liked the color of this beer. A bright and clear brick red that glowed when held up to the light. Christmas tree bulb red. Thin head that dissolved down to a thin film but was thicker around the edges. Lots of filligreed lace working around the glass. Nose was the biggest dissappointment. Only pick up some slight traces of malts.

Flavor is quite nice. Never one of my favorite styles because I usually find the hops under-reaching or the malts a bit over the top. Here though the malts are sweet to the point of being tart but then quickly rounded off with a citrusy, candy hops. The hops remind me of another beer. I cannot recall which one but I was to say it is from Victory. I will have to look around a bit. Alcohol is camoflaged nicely behind the flavors. Full body that raps around the mouth just a bit too much. Can really enjoy this beer.

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

12 oz. Dark amber pour, a small amount of off white head. Sticks around a while though and sticks to the glass pretty well too.

Aroma has some caramel, toffee and burnt sugars. Some herbal pine as well. Overall this was kind of a mild nose.

Taste also has a fair amount of malt, caramel, carmelized brown sugar. Also a large amount of piney resin, citrus, grapefruit, more than I would like for an ENGLISH barleywine.

Sticky medium body, but the carbonation is not quite creamy and accentuates the bitterness a bit. It is warming, with the alcohol coming through a little bit harsh.

Not their best offering, but still good and fairly refreshing for a barleywine.

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Photo of wcudwight
3.78/5  rDev -1%
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.

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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 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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Duck-Rabbit Barleywine Ale from The Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery
Beer rating: 3.82 out of 5 with 604 ratings
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