Olde School Barleywine, an American Barleywine by Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

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Olde School Barleywine is an American Barleywine brewed by Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, and for the purposes of this review, was served in a snifter from a bottle. The beer was bottled in December of 2016 and aged nearly a year before consumption.


Pours a cloudy reddish brown with an inch-cap of cream-colored foam that shows modest retention. No lace is present but a soapy residue gathers at the collar of the glass.


Aroma is pleasant with a scent of apple, pear, and not unexpected, just a bit of booze.

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This Barleywine was brewed with dates and this fruity palate begins as such. Raisins and cherries follow before spicy and herbal hops add some needed balance. Finishes sugary sweet with a lingering taste of fig and prunes followed by a warming sensation (approaching a slight burn) of alcohol. A malty base of caramel and toffee flavors tie the palate together.


Dry mouthfeel is smooth and creamy with a full body and moderate carbonation.


Overall, dark fruit flavors abound in this boozy heavy hitter. Yes, it’s a relaxing slow sipper, but this Olde School Barleywine is also easy to tilt back in spite of its lofty 15% ABV (be careful though). A nice hopping adds balance to a delightfully complex palate. Dogfish Head has crafted another brew that’s thoroughly enjoyable.

Recommended Pairings

The brewery recommends the following food pairings: blue cheese with honey, almond-stuffed dates, pumpernickel, and tart cherries.

Video About Olde School Barleywine

The Olde School Barleywine was first released back in 2002 when the founder of Dogfish Head, Sam Calagione, was inspired by the discovery of an old English cellarman’s manual. The cellarman described his process of adding fig and date purée to rejuvenate a cask that had gone flat. That process was utilized to add an extra kick of booze to the batch.

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