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

very good
600 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: 600 |  Reviews: 359
Photo of AgentZero
3.57/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottleshare thanks to Alex.

A - Nice looking, deep red-mahogany colored beer with a slight bit of off-white head. Faded to a partial ringt with no real stick left on the sides of the glass.

S - Smell is actually pretty nice. Some good caramel, little earth, crystalized malts, and a little bit of nuttyness. Slight bit of alcohol heat.

T - Taste is a little thin, not as sweet as the smell would indicate. Slightly watered down, kind of a boozy finish that thins it out even more. Caramel not nearly as pronouncd as you would like.

M - Lighter side of medium bodied, moderate carbonation, hot on the thin finish.

O - It's not horrible beer, but the taste is a letdown from what is a pretty good smelling beer. The heat isn't helping, but this isn't horrible.

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Photo of zeledonia
3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to n2185 for the sweet extra. Enjoy by date isn't readable. But who cares, it's a barleywine!

Color is enigmatic. In some lights it's red, in others light brown, and in others a deep yellowish amber. Intriguing. Clear, though the color makes it hard to see that. One finger of yellowish head, relaxes slowly, leaving lacing that look like a crown, with little regular peaks ringing the glass.

Smell is deep, sweet, and fruity. Figs and plums come to mind. A bit of brown sugar. You get the idea. Good depth.

Taste is similar, though the sweetness is balanced by an alcohol bite that comes on mid-way through. Still sugary (molasses) and fruity. That alcohol isn't dominating, and it's fairly well hidden given the ABV. Though as it warms up, it does take on a brandy-like boozy character.

Mouthfeel is fairly sticky, lighter than I would expect for such a big beer. Doesn't feel thick or heavy; a little syrupy, but not too much. Low carbonation, but what's present comes on as a bunch of little bubbles right when I need it.

What can I say. A very nice barleywine - sweet, fruity, and potent, with nice dimension of flavor. Nothing mindblowing, but I'm okay with that. I don't find it boozy at all; in fact, if I hadn't looked at the label first, I'd be quite surprised it's as strong as it is.

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Photo of birchstick
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - pours a rustic copper with an insignificant head that retains well

S - smells of raisins and plums (sugary, dark fruits) with hints of bitter pine

T - Typical of the barleywine style, this starts off with sticky caramel malts and toffee, which hang on through the middle of the palate. The malt base gives way to some bitter, piney hops. This one finishes boozy, with sticky malts and hop resin lingering. This was VERY boozy, however that should have been anticipated given the 11% abv on the label. This really warmed me up as it went down, almost how a bourbon on the rocks does. This would make an excellent candidate for a cold winter night companion.

M - medium to thin body with nice, soft carbonation

D - This is a pretty good barleywine. However, I think this was still pretty dang hot and boozy. I could see this really coming into its own in a couple of years. Recommended now, and I am sure 10 years from now.

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Photo of orbitalr0x
3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Deep murky reddish brown pour into the glass with a quarter inch of khaki bubbles on top of the brew, can't see through this one at all! Aromas are big on fruit upfront with a rich caramel candy undertone. Toffee and maybe even some bubblegum. Super malty with some brown sugar and still some lingering hops as well.

First sip brings a plethora of deep, sweet malts upfront drenched in fruit flavors. Caramel, brown sugar and toffee again make themselves known. Citrus notes along with a slight bitter hop kick...however the sweet malts still win out as it flows down. Touch of spice and warming alcohol on the finish.

Mouthfeel is thick and rich with chewy malt throughout. Definitely a warming sipper of a barleywine that leaves a bit of a heat trail as it goes down. Glad to have tried it...would be great on a cold night maybe even with a nice cigar.

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Photo of cetherid
3.65/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

poured into a tulip


Beer is a dark maroon color with about a fingers worth of frothy off-white head that lingers for a few minutes. Decent lacing around the glass.


Nose of sweet and toasted malts...caramel and some toffee. A slight dark fruit presence is noticeable as well as faded hops and some subtle notes of alcohol.


Similar to nose. Sweet malts (caramel and toffee) but a nice balance of hops to it. More hops that I had gathered from the aroma. No flavors really dominant but as said previously, I enjoy the balance of bitterness to sweetness. Booze isn't all that detectable in the taste. I would prefer a little more fruitiness to the taste as it is more like a hoppy old ale.


medium bodied with slight carbonation. Slightly sticky up front but also slightly dry as well in the finish.


A decent showing. Definitely be better to have on a cold night instead of this relatively warm one. I like my barleywines with a little more "fruit" presence but this is still enjoyable. A nice extra, but wouldn't trade for it.

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Photo of haazer
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass.

A- Slightly more than one finger head forms, off-white/light brown in color. The brew is a cloudy unfiltered(plus in my book) apricot and tea color. Hints of orange and brown throughout the brew.

S- Hard rock candy and caramel first come to mind with the smell. A small hint of cranberry covered and dripping in caramel and molasses comes to the fore. Wheat and caramel malt run an underlying presence.

T- A suprising blend of floral hops and bready malt mash together. Candy sugar. Very heavy grain and wheat flavor in this barleywine. A bit of sour pear pulp as well. Interesting enough to keep me sipping.

M- Medium bodied brew, with a lager-like feel to it for me if that makes sense. Not much felt in carbonation.

O- Pretty decent in a barleywine. I really like the unfiltered look. The flavors were strong, but not standout. Great to be introduced to barleywines with this.

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Photo of vandemonian
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Duck-Rabbit Barleywine Ale is not great. Oxidised and bitter.

A: Brown red colour and a 5 mm head that fades to sparse lacing. 4

S: Malty with some oxidised earthiness as well as some darker, roasty aromas 4.

T: Sweet and malty with an immediate hit of caramelisation. The aftertaste is not great: oxidised and bitter. 3

M: Thick with low carbonation... a barleywine. 4

O: The flavour has an unpleasant kick in the tail. 3.5

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Photo of CharlieMurphy
3.8/5  rDev 0%
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 finger11
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle poured into a Delerium snifter.

A: Poured a dark bown, almost purplish color that featured a nice thin head. Lovely lacing on the glass as well

S: Smells of caramel, toffee, sour cherries

T: Follows along well with the smell. Suprised to see it's an English style, because it doesn't quite taste like it, but still very enjoyable

M: Low to medium carbonation that fits the style well, isn't very heavy, but there is a small alcoholic burn to it

O: pretty good barleywine. I wouldn't search it out again, but have wanted to try it.

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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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Photo of alleykatking
3.55/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz bottle.

A- Pours a murky light brown with some red hues to it when held to the light. Half finger off white head shows light retention. Some light streaks of lace on the sides of the glass when I drink this one down.

S- Caramel and toffee malts dominate the front of the nose. Hints of sugared figs and plums as well linger into the ending with a light piney hop aroma. Alcohol is very apparent but it goes along with the aroma itself.

T- Caramel and toffee malts come out strong in the front with hints of piney hop that brings it down a notch. Sugared darker fruits in the middle make up most of the flavor there. Ending shows more of a caramel malt base with hints of brown sugar and molasses. Alcohol comes through pretty strong in the ending bringing out a medicinal taste.

M- Medium mouthfeel. Carbonation is good for the style. Sweet malts, darker fruit, hint of piney hops are left on the palate. Aftertaste is mostly medicinal alcohol, light brown sugar/molasses, and darker fruits. Flavors were balanced very well for the most part. No off flavors were present while drinking. Medium high alcohol drying on the palate.

O- This was a nice drinking barleywine. Nothing over the top but a nice sipping beer on long winter nights. The ABV is a little on the high side and it shows up a lot but adds a light secondary flavor. Overall would love to get my hands on some more of these bottles.

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Photo of JayS2629
4.17/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A lot of barleywines are either super hoppy or super sweet. This did a good job balancing. Its a muddy brown color with a tan head that fades fast and leaves ok lacing.

The smell is caramel, toffee, chocolate, and spicy pine.

The taste is of rich caramel, chocolate, toffee, vanilla, brown sugar and good doses of pine, floral, and some citrus. Slight booze bite that doesn't linger.

Thick, syrupy, and smooth. Nicely balanced and tasty.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.58/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This barley win pours out as a murky looking brown color, the head is an off white color and leaves a pretty good lacing also. The smell of the beer has a good hoppiness to it, there are some boozey aromas coming off of it also. The taste of this has a good malt base with some pine nots in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel is pretty good here, it's got a nice thickness about it. Overall it's not a bad barley wine at all. Found it to be pretty enjoyable.

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Photo of dgugliuzza
3.87/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Bell's tulip

Pours a deep orange with a thin film of tan head. Seems well carbonated as many bubbles line the rim of the glass. Some small strips of lacing.

Smells of toasted malts and molasses followed by pungent floral and piney hops. Leaves rich and sticky aromas in the nose. Smells very fresh for a barleywine.

Tastes of bitter and floral hops followed by toasted malts and sticky molasses. This is certainly hop forward and would greatly benefit with some age.

Has a medium bodied mouthfeel that smacks with carbonation. The alcohol is not well hid as it burns going down. It's best to chip away at sip by sip.

Overall this stays true to an English Barleywine. Strong and hoppy with the malt character taking a backseat. It's robust and flavorful, but ultimately unrefined. I would love to get my hands on a few more bottles to stick in the cellar.

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Photo of babaracas
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear dark orange with one finger cream colored head that settles slowly to a quarter inch and leaves splotchy rings of lace down the glass. Smell: a ton of caramelized sugars, faded pine and earthy hopping, date, a little apple skin. Taste: again lots of caramel atop toasted grain, piney and earthiness, red plum with skin. Medium bodied, sugary, very earthy and drying finish. Pretty good. Notched as best by 12... 2012?

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Photo of bsuedekum
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Bell's tulip.

A: The best feature of this one. It looks incredible in the glass. Pours a very dark (almost brown) ruby color with about an 1/8" head (which I like on a barleywine).

S: Malts, alcohol, sugars

T: A very balanced barleywine. It has a few tastes going on, but nothing too complex, just straight forward goodness. A classic barleywine upfront with a touch of a bitter hop finish which works well for this one.

M: Medium body with slight carbonation and a crisp finish. Has a booze to it but doesn't linger.

O: I think it's solid throughout and a very good barlewyine. This is my first beer from Duck-Rabbit and I thought it was satisfying and a very enjoyable treat. I'll be sure to pick up a couple bottles if I'm ever somewhere this is sold.

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Photo of jmdrpi
3.65/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle, with an unclear date notching.

appears an opaque rust color, with an 1/2" cream colored head. boozy aroma of fermented fruit. taste is malt heavy, a bit of caramel and plum. but finishes drier. body is on the thicker side, low carbonation.

decent beer, but the flavors are just a bit off for me.

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Photo of thagr81us
4.15/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from bottle into a Duck-Rabbit snifter. Poured red-orange with a one finger off-white head that subsided to half a finger slowly. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, dark fruit, caramel, cream, and sweet alcohol. The flavor was of sweet malt, dark fruit, and sweet alcohol. It had a medium feel on the palate with medium carbonation. Overall this was a very good brew. Nicely well balanced flavor going on in this one that you never would get tired of. Also has an excellent aroma going on to match it. A definite must try!

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Photo of DrDemento456
4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a murky brown with red hues. Even though the ABV is high I got a half inch of head with nice sticky lacing.

S - It smells like a very sweet barleywine. Lots of caramel and toffee like malts with little alcohol on the nose. I didn't get much hops but they were there.

T - Wow this beer is tasty. Starts off moderately sweet and candy like with a bit of caramel sweetness, almost brown sugar like but not cloying. Alcohol is there but very balance. Even during this review I am half the glass deep. Surprised to find a bitter hoppy finish even though its english. Yum.

M - Medium to heavy for sure because of the ABV. I am a powerhouse so I could easily enjoy a couple spread throughout a sitting.

Overall due to case laws I have not found a place that has Duck Rabbit six packs. Singles run between 3-4 dollars so I could easily throw 10-12 dollars on a four pack. Definitely a fine barleywine.

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Photo of cosmicevan
3.8/5  rDev 0%
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 jimixr
4.08/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a totally clear auburn with one finger of white head. The foam falls quickly to some spotty lacing.

S - A lot of caramel aroma with some dark fruit mixed in, a little tobacco is present. There is also a strong whiff of alcohol.

T - Big malt and sweet caramel flavors . There is a nice hop bitterness here as well. The beer is actually quite balanced. As the beer warms more of the fruit and hop starts to come through.

M - Very full bodied, with great carbonation. Very nice.

O - I loved everything about this beer. Simply delicious. A sipper for sure, but a great treat. A little to heavy for an everyday drinker, but excellent overall.

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Photo of OakedCanuck
3.15/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle into tulip.

A - Pours a copper brown with good off white head formation. Weak lacing and head wasn't interested enough to stick around

S - Some hops actually, a drying bitterness. Slightly fruity with sugars (brown sugar and caramel).

T - Is this a belgo-BW? Distinct belgian-type yeast flavour, interesting, not bad though. Fairly sweet brown sugar, vanilla and some honey. Could be a little sweeter and a little less bitter to be closer to an English BW. I do pick up a metallic finish on back palate, and I know it is not me.

M - Dry, metallic, messy, medium

O - Not a very interesting beer, and I love English BW but this one falls a bit off the wagon. Weird metallic taste and a bit of a messy taste, unbalanced.

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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 psiweaver
3.2/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into an oakquinox tasting glass. Shared by Robert from the original bottling of this beer.

A: pours a hazey brown with a soft little light brown head that quickly dissipates.

S: has a nice smell with lots of sweetness. not a ton to the nose.

T: very very sweet flavor with the alcohol nicely integrated. Not really my thing though as the sweetness was cloying and almost overwhelming.

M: very smooth with the proper amount of carbonation but just too much sweetness that was cloying.

overall just too sweet and that overwhelmed everything else.

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Photo of gopens44
3.92/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Dark copper and clear with a thin foam head

S - Massive cherry smells take over until a little sweet malt comes through.

T - Massive dark cherry taste and a hint of something slightly Belgian? I swear there was a Belgian something happening here. Either way, it's pretty sweet but not cloyingly so. Finishes a little alcohol forward, but not overly hot.

M - Thin to medium body (somewhere right in between) with a decent level of carbonation. Dry finish with very little aftertaste.

O - I tend to forget that there IS a difference between American and English Barleywines, and drank about 1/4" of this not knowing what was happening, then I remembered that this is an English barleywine. Given that, I'd say it's a pretty nifty representation of the style, but just a tad more in the alcohol area than others I've had. Not for drinking after two or three other beers but as a nice aperitif, I think it works pretty well with all the sweet cherry tastes going on.

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Duck-Rabbit Barleywine Ale from The Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery
3.8 out of 5 based on 600 ratings.
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