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Good Barleywines?

  • bbbron Apr 14, 2009 11:02 AM
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I picked up one of these at Bev Mo on a whim a few months ago...the seasonal Mad River offering. Interesting flavor, and quite alcoholic. Any suggestions for further barleywine excursions?

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  1. Anchor Old Foghorn
    Victory Old Horizontal
    Rogue Old Crustacean
    North Coast Old Stock Ale (needs aging)
    J.W. Lees' Harvest Ale
    Flying Dog Horn Dog

    All will improve with age, and some require it before they're at their best.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Josh

      Thanks! Are all of these varieties readily available?

      1. re: bbbron

        Depends where you live. You should be able to find at least some of them. Another one I forgot to include, which is not technically a barleywine but kind of is, is Dogfish Head's Palo Santo Marron.

    2. My favorites are both from Hair of the Dog - Doggie Claws and Fred. Very tasty. I second all of Josh's except I'm not a huge fan of Old Crustacean. If you'd like to try a hoppier barleywine, give Sierra Nevada Bigfoot a try.

      2 Replies
      1. re: shellshock24

        I'll second the Bigfoot. Should be easy to find.

        1. re: Bobfrmia

          And is in prime shape right now - almost time to stick them in the fridge before oxidation starts to change the hop flavor. Working on my second case of 2009.

      2. Excellent recommendations above. Keep an eye out for Third Coast Old Ale from Bells Brewery in Kalamazoo, and Old Ruffian from Great Divide Brewing Company, as well.

        1. Thanks to all. I'm in the California Bay Area so it depends on what I can find at local places, but this gives me a formidable short list. Bigfoot sounds like a winner, as I often like it "hoppy" ;)

          4 Replies
          1. re: bbbron

            Bigfoot is a wonderful, wonderful beer. Its only drawback, I think, is that it's so darn drinkable that it's really easy (for me, anyhow) to down several.

            I used to stop by Bardo Rodeo, a legendary (and long gone) brewpub/beer bar in Arlington, VA, where they served it by the pint. Oh my ...

            1. re: Jim Dorsch

              Jim, I definitely have to agree with you...Bigfoot is simply one of the best of the best out there. Look forward to it every year, and always cellar some; I really love the stuff after about 8 months in the cellar. This is one beer that definitely NEVER sees a refrigerator in my house. My basement is a constant ambient 57-60F...just right for this gem of a beer.

            2. re: bbbron

              If you're in the Bay Area, then it should be easy for you to find Old Foghorn. It's also hoppy.

              1. re: Josh

                The Raleigh's pub/restaurant in Berkeley used to have Old Foghorn on draft all the time.

                Of course, many places will carry it in the bottle.

            3. Let us not forget Stone's Old Guardian, which for me edges out the worthy Bigfoot.
              I also have fond memories of Flying Pig and Green Flash but haven't had 'em in a while.

              1. I'm not a big fan of barley wine in general, but I do enjoy AleSmith Old Numbskull. Green Flash recently released a brandy barrel aged barley wine that was fantastic, but I think it was a draft only release, so you'll have to check your local beer bar.