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

12oz. Bottle
Courtesy of Mikesgroove

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks a lot for this one mikegroove!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bottle into a pint glass.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

drinkability: eh

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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 mikesgroove
3.4/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured a deep ruby red with a small head that faded to a long lasting lace down the glass. Smells very sweet, with a hint of citrus. The taste is very rich, this seems odd, but almost tastes like a toffee or candy flavors. Very intresting flavor, I have never tasted this in a beer before. Very nice feel going down, not too thick and just the right carbonation. This is an odd one. I can't really describe the taste, but I cannot put it down either. Gonna have to come back to this, but overall this was definatly good.

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Photo of AlexJ
3.87/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Clear, amber brown with a thin, fluffy collar of wheat hued froth that has modest retention and cling. Not too exciting to look at.

The nose perks me up with it's tale of sweetly scorched caramel and toffee with abundant sweet fruit notes. It has a faint notion of pine and plenty of citrus.

Flavor is deliciously different for this style. It definately starts on the sweet side, with caramel and butterscotch malts and loads of juicey, ripe fruit. The fruitiness reminds me of something Belgian. It develops toasty pine and citrus notes and has just enough bitterness in the finish to balance things out. I would never guess this was 11%, it's smooth given it's freshness.

Body is a bit lacking. It tastes big, but doesn't feel so. I need a little more body in my big ales. Inspite of this slight shortcoming, this is a very tastey BW that will make an interesting cellaring candidate.

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Photo of sabrills70
3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz brown bottle with a best before date of 12/07. Pours a medium amber with a 1 finger head with nice longevity and very nice lace. Not you typical barleywine smells. Mostly a fresh hop presence with a fruity sourness mixed in. Very unique as barlywines go. Very fruity and has a nice hop flavor with mild bitterness. Caramel, brown sugar and slight pine notes as well. Alcohol is well hidden especially at 11%. A different but tasty beer. Give it a try.

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Photo of barleywinebrewer
3.8/5  rDev 0%
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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Duck-Rabbit Barleywine Ale from The Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery
3.8 out of 5 based on 596 ratings.
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