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

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

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

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Winter

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

Added by SaCkErZ9 on 12-12-2006

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Reviews: 356 | Ratings: 596
Photo of marcpal
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a six-pack of this from a trip to Charlotte. Like the other dark beers from the dark beer specialists, wow was I not let down here.

A: Dark brown, thick cherry red that comes out thick like oil. A think foamy head. Oddly attractive- the thinnest of heads that stays on the beer stay in enormous sized bubbles.

S: I didnt catch the hops but sure did catch the cocoa cocvered raisins. Spicy and meaty. Delicious. The dried cherries are reminiscent of three philosophers maybe?

T: Sweet with a ridiculous amount of ridiculous flavors that each. All of the flavors oddly end up in the sweet dried fruit range. There is a hop presence to add to the complex flavors but the raisiny goodness again takes the dominant role. Imagine honey and chocolate teddy grahams soaked in a strong alcohol. If I could ask for anything it would be for some more bitter undertones to finish out the sweet caramel maltiness.

M: Thick, viscous, meaty, clingy and again..thick. Perfect for capping a night in a cold autumn November day spent raking leaves.

D: Nothing short of great. The most complex barleywine Ive had in a while, not necessarily the single best but like a rubix cube of flavors. The alcohol brings down drinkability some. Not hot, just powerful. Very powerful. Get your hands on this beer.

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

1216th Review on BA
Bottle to CCB snifter

Thanks to Gurudel for this one

App-  A huge dark orange with ambers, garnets and even some red.  Giant head and keeps the sticky cling going as it slides gently.

Smell-  Really has a lot going on. The malts open this one and then a huge damp pressed cherry note. A bit of tingly booze and thick sweetness. Big candy notes.

Taste-  As I sip on this it really opens up. Huge malty and sweet notes. This seems to be a true BW. Toffee sweet and moves to boozy and dark cherry notes.

Mouth- A full medium with a semi creamy and filling medium carbonation. Residual booze and cherry malts.

Drink-  A very tasty beer. Has a large flavor profile. Complex, tasty and sweet. Classic BW flavors and the ABV is well hidden

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

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

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

Aroma - caramel and syrupy citrus.

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

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

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

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

thanks to jyounger30 for the trade

12oz bottle. "enjoy by" scheme, notched for 12/09. tasted in late march/early april 2009.

bottlecap is sturdy and "industrial" quality. it was very hefty and took effort to flip off even with my trusty bottle opener.

poured into tulip.

very dark reddish brown. clear, dark ruby under the light. moderate light beige head fades to wispy thin layer and ring. nice but thin lacing.

aroma: malty, sweet caramel, apple juice concentrate, moderately piney hops and citrus zest, with slight phenols and alcohol in the back. faint grassy resins?

flavor is hoppier, though not a "hop bomb". a sweet citrus zest and rind with mildly resinous pine and moderate bitterness going into apple concentrate fruitiness again but also a strong foundation of malty caramel sweetness.

medium to thick body, but not viscous, actually thinner than expected at times, but not a disappointment either. mild astringency in the finish. lively carbonation has creamy moments.

not bad at all, even with all the citrusy/piney american hopping. the fact that it was comparatively restrained while still solidly malty is what puts it somewhat between american and english in style. anyway, it certainly helped to get rid of the taste from those wretched bottles of 1996 gales old ale that i just had to endure prior to this...

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Photo of EgadBananas
4.22/5  rDev +11.1%
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 Wetpaperbag
4.22/5  rDev +11.1%
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 ThirstyBird
4.22/5  rDev +11.1%
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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Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
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 rhoadsrage
4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Served in a snifter) best by 12/09
A- This beer has a dense brown body with a slight amber glow. There is a bubbly yellowish tan head that last a few sips and is supported by a few strands of microbubbles that glide to the surface.
S- This beer has a full rich caramel aroma with a light perfume hops finish.
T- This rich sweet malt caramel flavor has a dry malt finish with a slight hop prick in the finish. There is a nice roasted malt flavor supported with a soft alcohol heat it warms.
M- This beer has a medium-full mouthfeel with no alcohol heat in the mouthfeel.
D- This beer has a rich malt with a slightly sweet flavor and a dry finish with just enough hops to support the malt.

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

Thanks to kkipple for this brew.

12oz. brown bottle poured into a snifter. BB 12/08

A: Pours a nice brandy color with good visibility for this denseness of color. A short head forms and dies to a fluffy skim. Some wisps of lacing.

S: Thick, sweet, chunky malts with plenty of warm alcohol. Some muted hops. A light smoky or smoked meat aroma.

T/M: A nice alcohol line mingles throughout the entire drink. Hops are again muted but add a nice light citrus flavor and a touch of bitterness. Caramelized sugar in the malts with plump dark raisins and currants. More of the soft smoked meat character. Body is about full and a bit syrupy. Carbonation is moderate with a nice smoothness.

D: Pretty easy to drink for an 11% BW. A good night cap.

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

This is a very different Barleywine.
Typical colors, head and sticky lacing.
Aroma is different though...brown sugar, caramel, fresh fruit (not dark), hops with a hint of oranges.
Taste is fresh and different as well....caramel, brown sugar, maple syurp, oranges, piney hops.
Very fresh and clean tasting without a hint of the 11% ABV advertised.
Traditional? No.
Good? Without a doubt.
Definately not an American Barleywine, but not really an English one either.

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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.

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

Just picked this up at Brawley's in North Carolina.

12 ounce bottle poured into a tulip glass.

Pours a copper-brown color with very little head floating on top.

Smells of grapes, melon, apple, caramel, cinnamon, and citrus. Smells very sweet and some alcohol in the nose.

Flavor is very sweet up front...with a bitter finish. There is a huge grape profile here...bittersweet, and slightly dry and chalky. The alcohol is present in this one, but nothing that makes this undrinkable.

Overall, a fine example of the style, and a very delicious beer.

This is a damn good beer...incredibly drinkable. It has a great body, it's fruity, with hints of bitter hops. The finish is dry, which opens the beer up and gives

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Photo of trbergman
4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
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 bs870621345
4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a hazy amber color with minimal head, but leaves bits of lacing down the glass.

Smells like alcohol, raisins, caramel, toffee, and some citrus in there.

Taste opens with an apple and raisin flavor moving into a caramel and toffee sweetness. Bitterness sweeps in and washes the sweetness away into a short lived alcohol aftertaste. For a Barleywine, it is pretty clean.

Mouthfeel is full and nice carbonation.

Overall, its really good. I like my Barleywines malty and this is a good one.

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

Pour - dark murky brown in color with a yellowish sticky foam head that looks almost like yellow clotted cream. Its amazing to watch the bubbles in this glass as they continuously stream upwards adding to the head instead of the head sinking into the depths.

Aroma - big dose of malt, malt, malt. It does indeed have a caramel and toffee essence to it and a touch of apple even.

Taste - talk about a rich and full-flavored beer. Loads of malt sweetness is actually balanced out well by a good deal of hop bitterness (even after a year in the cellar). Wow. Its a battle on my tongue between sweet and hoppy. I was worried that I'd get that cloying oxidized taste that sometimes comes with English-style Barleywines but that is definitely NOT the case. This is a winner. Loads of malt flavor is balanced extremely well by the hops. As far the alcohol percentage, well that is definitely noticeable as my stomach is warm and my head is light after not even 4 oz. of this beast. Toasty, hoppy, carame-y, rich and delicious.

Overall - loving it. This is a sipper and one that will definitely deserve some love and affection once the cap is pried. Big flavors from a big beer. Balaced even for 11%. I want more!

Vintage - January 2009 (one year old)

Would I buy more of it? - Absolutely, I love this and all of the other beers that Duck-Rabbit produces.

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

A: 12 oz. 11% ABV Brown bottle 06-07 date on the bottle written by Davelikesale who gave this to me in a trade. Thank you Dave!

P: pours a stunning brilliant medium amber pour with two fingers of intense light tan foam head that very slowly settles it a thin cover. Huge lacing

S: Huge aromas that I can detect sweet cameral, plums and figs spicy grains and alcohol.

T: Surprisingly thick that starts out really sweet malt, fried fruit caramel and settles on the tongue with some nice alcohol with and settles with a very nice alcohol aroma.

M: This one surprised me as it is a bit thick, sweet and not a huge amount of alcohol that I anticipated as it is evident only at the end. Very well balanced from beginning to end and I would definitely have again.

D: This one is a huge barley wine that I have been enjoying for over an hour just sipping and enjoying the flavors get even more pronounced as it warms. No more than one at a time for me please, but a definite one to recommend to others for a taste treat.

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

Loved this beer for it's rich characteristics. That said lets get down to, er, my opinions.

The review was conducted in Flying Saucer Draught Emporium (ok it's been awhile) on a partly cloudy day, outside temp. in the mid 50's. No smoking inside.

Serving: draught,
Color: Dark Amber,
Carbonation: lower than normal, not much at all,

Head and retention: mostly fine bubbles with some med. bubbles, head of approx. 1/2inch disipates quickl leaving lace.

Overall appearence: glinting amber light around edges of glass, warm and clear.

Smell: Initial notes of sweet malt yielding to a flowering hopiness with a hint of fruit.

Taste: Mimics scent, initial maltiness cloaking alcohol flavor yielding to hops, creating a dried cherry-esque flavor, hops aroma lingering in nose.

Mouthfeel: Thick, malt stickiness stays around

After a few oz.s definite alcohol warmth in chest, mellowed by the maltiness. hops are present throughout as an underlying note. Malts become very strong by bottom of the glass.

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Photo of cyclonece09
4.19/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a snifter. Pours orange red with a nice fluffy head. Smells of berries, slight grape, and sweet light grain. Tastes of berries, molasses, and slight alcohol. Beer is full bodied good carbonation. Overall, a very good beer.

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Photo of Traquairlover
4.18/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12-oz bottle poured into a snifter. Thanks to oldhippie247 for this bottle.

A = Clear deep reddish amber with a bone coloured head consisting of foam and small bubbles, good retention, medium lacing.

S = Strong mix of earthy hops, spicy hops and rich baked muffin malt scents, well balanced, only slight complaint is there is a very faint soapy or plastic smell lingering underneath the primary smells.

T = Rich deep flavors of Belgian or Swiss milk chocolate, caramel, whipped cream, all balanced out with a very good hops bitterness but only slight hops flavors of an earthy quality. Very well balanced and very good.

M = Medium body, foamy luxurious feel and decent mouthcoating.

D = Good drinkability, definitely a barleywine worth drinking.

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Photo of drunkmonk
4.18/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful clear mahogany, nice thick two finger head gives out to a really nice steady lacing. Smells of dates and other dried fruits along with sweet candied malts and a dose of ethanol. Sweet malt flavors blended well with an assetive hop bitterness. There was more bitterness present than the aroma's would indicate. A bit syrupy, but not as thick as I was expecting. The 11%abv is not detected in the taste, but felt in a nice warming sensation down the back of the throat. This is a very nicely balenced barleywine. Not as sweet as an English and not as bitter as most American styles. It's a very nice easy drinking sipper.

Another nice job by Paul and the gang at Duck-Rabbit.


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Photo of jph424
4.18/5  rDev +10%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured a beautiful dark reddish brown with a 3 finger light tan head that has great retention. Leaves wonderful rings of lacing.

S - Amazing aroma, definitely hops, caramel, and malt sweetness

T - Whoa, lots of everything. I taste hops with a bit of alcohol, and a lot of malt and caramel sweetness.

M - Lightly carbonated and full bodied. Very smooth.

D - Pretty darn drinkable, particularly for something this potent. This is a darn good barleywine. I think I would classify this as a in between American and English Barleywine. Great seasonal release from Duck Rabbit who is now in Georgia!

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Photo of bum732
4.17/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

S: Rich toffee and caramel breadiness, bold and sweet smelling.

L: Cloudy light brown, off-white head quickly dissipates.

T: Semi-bitter malt leads to rich toffee notes with a low but present herbal bitterness. Some citrus undertones leds to a sweet caramel finish with just a touch of herbal dryness. Sharp dark fruits emerge as the beer warms.

M: Medium bodied, medium low carbonation.

Nice balance of flavors, very rich.

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Photo of Beejay
4.17/5  rDev +9.7%
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 jsanford
4.17/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a Duck-Rabbit Snifter. Date notching is unclear, but this is at least a year old, probably 2.

A - Pours a rusty orange-brown with a thin off-white head that fades to a slight ring and haze.
S - Very sweet aromas of caramel, toffee, candied orange peel, dark dried fruits, and a bit of alcohol.
T - Sweet caramel, dried fruit, and toffee flavors carry over from the nose, as well as a good amount of chocolate and brown sugar. Finish is surprisingly bitter and hoppy for the age, lots of citrus in there still. Really nice, I expected this to be cloyingly sweet, not as finely balanced as it is! The 11% ABV is very well hidden, only the slightest warming in the chest is noticed.
M - Smooth and slightly sticky, with a medium-full mouth-feel and lowish carbonation.
O - I'm surprised by how much I liked this beer, it's held up surprisingly well for its age. I'm kinda wishing I bought more to see what further aging could do!

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Duck-Rabbit Barleywine Ale from The Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery
3.8 out of 5 based on 596 ratings.
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