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Good Barleywines?

bbbron Apr 14, 2009 11:02 AM

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?

  1. j
    juantanamera Apr 16, 2009 06:12 PM

    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.

    1. a
      azveggieguy Apr 16, 2009 03:45 PM

      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. bbbron Apr 15, 2009 08:59 AM

        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
          Jim Dorsch Apr 15, 2009 09:21 AM

          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
            The Professor Apr 15, 2009 01:57 PM

            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
            Josh Apr 15, 2009 11:36 AM

            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
              Kenji Apr 16, 2009 04:39 PM

              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. l
            Luwak Apr 14, 2009 10:15 PM

            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. shellshock24 Apr 14, 2009 04:32 PM

              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
                Bobfrmia Apr 14, 2009 05:23 PM

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

                1. re: Bobfrmia
                  LStaff Apr 15, 2009 06:08 AM

                  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. Josh Apr 14, 2009 11:27 AM

                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
                  bbbron Apr 14, 2009 01:33 PM

                  Thanks! Are all of these varieties readily available?

                  1. re: bbbron
                    Josh Apr 14, 2009 03:19 PM

                    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.

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