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Notes on beers in the style

Old Ale

Kuhnhenn Fourth D

2008 vintage. 12 oz bottle. Big thanks go out to finewinemike for the chance to try this as part of my Secret Santa 2010 box. Pour is a dark brown, muddy affair with a huge, well retained coffee colored, ice-cream styled foam that eventually falls away to give a light foam. Nose gives a fairly predictable sherry like note, but to be honest it comes with a little oxidative, mustiness that takes the edge of a little. The tastes do something similar. A sweet, very light Madeira note dominates,...

Rogue 21

Bought this several months ago, at Hop City, Atlanta, GA and paid the slightly absurd price of approx. $20! The bottle is pretty extravagant, even by ridiculous Rogue standards. My guess is that the price is why there are only 15 reviews before mine, despite the fact that this beer has been out for a LONG time. The beer pours with a mid-brown, clouded body and a healthy, light tan head. Some decent lace considering the ABV. The nose is not especially strong, even on warming. It reveals a...

LongShot Old Ben Ale

12 oz single from the Longshot pack. A nice looking pour that gives a simple, brown, clear beer with some pretty good carbonation considering the ABV. Head and lace are both adequate and better than I anticipated. This beer is nowhere near as intense as I was expecting, which may be due to the age of the beer. It has probably calmed down a bit since it was first bottled. Nose and tastes are pretty straightforward. Light alcohol amongst the sweet sugars (brown) and some simple raisin like...

Old Man (Winter Ale)

This is NOT an Old Ale in my book. I was actually expecting it to be labeled as a Winter Warmer, but it drinks more like an American IPA. On tap at The Irish Bred Pub in Douglasville, GA, USA. Great looking pour with the deep copper, mahogany body showing superb clarity underneath a bone-white head. Head is not terribly well maintained, but there is some decent lacing. Nose gives up some fresh, raw hops. The beer is much hoppier than I was expecting and this is the abiding memory. Some good...

Smuttynose Really Old Brown Dog Ale (Big Beer Series)

Pleased to see this beer make it to Hop City, Atlanta, GA. 22 oz bomber. Obviously I was thinking that this would be an Imperial Brown Ale, but apparently it is categorized as an Old Ale here. Pour is a murky brow, Dubbel like color. Not especially attractive and I would love to have a beer that showed a really beautiful, reddish brown clarity. Head was fine, but it disappears quickly. It's a shame that beers with higher ABV's cannot produce better heads. The nose gives up a LOT of chocolate....

Terrapin The Iron Tankard

Impressive presentation, but also an impressive price (between $13 and $16), but when you consider the beer is being sold as a vehicle to make money for what they consider a good cause, it makes it slightly more palatable. Slightly. Hand numbered bottle 4480/4884. 22 oz bottle, boxed with a gold foiled neck. Cloudy, hazed mid-amber pour that creates little or no head with poor retention. Just about zero lace. OK, I guess when you consider the ABV and the style. Nose gives a sugary, malty,...

Papier

A very, very interesting beer to say the least, but in the final analysis a bit too much all the way around. Nicely presented, black waxed 750 mL bottle. Seemed to be doble-dipped on the wax which made it a pain to get into. Capped underneath. Pour is a very dark brown affair with one of the most interesting head colors that i have ever seen. It was almost a fluorescent yellow/gold/orange color, and was made up of large bubbles at the edge of the beer. Very odd looking. The nose and tastes are...

Old Ale

New entrant to the USA picked up for $3.99 at Hop City, Atlanta, GA, USA. 500 mL bottle. Pour has a nice, rich brown, tawny body and some excellent head, retention and lace. As expected nose and tastes reflect lots of sweet malts athough they come with ome organic, earth tones that drop it away from the pure sweetness of some heavier Old Ales. Plenty of sweet, brown ale character with easy drinking, light biscuit malts forming he majority of the tastes. The light drinking nature of this beer...

Ola Dubh Special Reserve 40

Thanks go out to pghlee for saving a growler of this from the recent cask at The Brick Store. He saved this for some of the stragglers that couldn't make it on the previous day for the cask tapping. Jet black, still pour with no sign of life in terms of carbonation or head or lace. Perfectly still. The beer is actually nowhere near as viscous as the pour might suggest. I'd even go as far as to say it is relatively "light" compared to what it could have been. The nose reveals the spirits, but...

Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale)

12 oz single in the typical Founders stubbie bottle. 2008 vintage. A bit of a disappointing pour. I say that for a couple of reasons. Firstly the color is a wee bit dull. Opaque orange amber body and very little head and lace. Secondly although the head is in line with the ABV, the whole thing thing seems to lack much life or edge. A little dull. Nose and tastes are VERY vanilla based to me. Light bourbon and sweetness finish it. Strange brew for me. Too much bourbon/hard liquor influence for...

Autumn Ale

12oz single from Total Wine, Kennesaw, GA, USA. Old Ale? Not by any stretch of the imagination! Decent dark brown pour with some ornage highlights at the edges. A pretty nice head straight out of the bottle, but retention and lace (although there) are not what it initially promised. Nose reveals a little sweet nuttiness and some plenty of malts. Mouthfeel is a little thin but the body and tastes are nicely balanced in a simple way. Although the alcohol is nicely hidden, I'd still think this...

Ola Dubh Special Reserve 12

Motor oil pour as usual with no lace, but a nice ring and thin film of mocha head sitting on the surface. Nose is big on the whisky aroma and it is light and tempting - very easy. Obviously a malty monster with plenty of mild raostiness. This is my favorite of the three cask aged Ola Dubh beers, it seems the most balanced and smoothest. Still quite earthy in the finish (that I do not care for much), but this feature seems to be the most reserved in this beer as opposed to the others in the...

Ola Dubh Special Reserve 30

I got lucky here - long after Dave had taken this off at The Brick Store he handed me a couple of glasses and took me back into the cellar. There we picked up the "empty" cask and poured the last couple of pints from it by tipping it up and massaging the last drops of beer from the vessel into the glasses. I thought I had missed this opportunity, but not so. VERY grateful and appreciative. Thanks Dave. Black pour with a few reddish highlights - not much. Head is not really a factor here, but...

Ola Dubh Special Reserve 16

$8.49 from Arbor Place Beverage, Douglasville, GA, USA. 12oz bottle. Almost black out with some brown highlights. Some spotty lace but no head to speak of. A little alcohol in the nose and some hints of whisky, but it's not big. Nice aroma, it promises much and the nose is the best part of this beer for me. A malty beer as expected for the style, but for me there is WAY too much peat and smoke. I understand that this beer is from Scotland, but for me this is out of character and style. The Old...

Three Hundred Year Old Ale/Battle Of Britain Ale

Notes taken from England trip, July 2007 - thanks Chris! Sometimes appears as 300 Year Old Ale, sometimes as Battle of Britain Ale. NIce, mid-dark brown pour with a creamy head and nice lace. Good caramel notes with some light nut. Mouthfeel is average. Dry fruits, hop finish. I don't think that this is very well described as an Old Ale at all. Lacks the true sweetness and heaviness required for that style. As such this might be better described as an ESB. This didn't take away my enjoyment, I...

Olde Expensive Ale

500 mL bottle, $4.95 Green's, Buford, Atlanta, GA, USA. Bottle is different to the style shown in the BA database - no foil. Surprised at the light, butterscotch color of the pour with some serious murkiness - also highly carbonated. Aroma starts drifting across the room from the Koningshoeven small goblet. Has some sour and faintly funky notes - again, not really what was I expecting for an Old Ale. As far as the taste goes, AGAIN not at all what I was expecting for the style. A serious...

LongShot Old Ale

12oz bottle as part of the mixed LONGSHOT sixer, $6.49 @ Cheers, Carrollton, GA, USA. The LONGSHOT six-pack just made it to GA in the last few days. Notched label suggests Best Before June 2007. If I had to blind taste this I would have described it as an English/American Barleywie hybrid. It certainly has the big malt character that the Old Ale style should show, but it also shows an interesting mild hop bitterness. Plenty of caramel and some dark fruits - figs and other Christmas type...

Fuller’s Vintage Ale

=== Review 01/10 ('05) === 2005 Vintage, over four years old. Bottle #47750. The aroma that is produced as soon as the bottle is opened is very intense. Quite a lot of sweet alcohol rises into the nostrils and it seems more potent than I remember in years gone by. Pour still gives that slightly clouded, iced-tea look with a large bubbled head. The sweet, toffee, caramel seems to have intensified and again I'm surprised by the presence of alcohol and how it makes such a strong appearance. There...

Olde Suffolk English (Strong Suffolk Vintage) Ale

$4.95 Green's on Ponce, Atlanta, GA, USA. Pretty dark pour with real ruby highlights. Dark wood seems to be present in terms of color, aroma and taste. Nice tan head but not much lacing, however there remains a spotty presence on the surface of the body. Nose is all malts with some port like alcohol fruit sweetness - very, very nice. Taste is a little more bitter than I was expecting. Some metallic hops against the expected rich malt backbone. A very interesting beer indeed. The oak is present...

Thomas Hardy’s Ale (2003-2008)

8.5 fl oz. bottle, 2004 vintage, serial No. P 58218, Green's, Ponce de Leon, Atlanta, GA, USA. $5.95. Label says 11.7 % ABV. It's probably close to eight years ago that I last drink this, so my memories of the stuff earlier than 1998 are a little faded, but even if that is the case I was still bitterly disappointed by the bottle of the 2004 vintage that I recently drank. Very unattractive pour on three levels. Firstly the color was that of stale, cold tea, secondly there was a suspicious...

Black Hole

Old Ale? Nah, it's a Porter for all intents and purposes. Black pour with an initial large tan head but this fades fast to leave a tiny bit of lacing and some minimal spotty head on the surface. Nice, rich chocolate alcohol nose. Decent mouthfeel with some warming alcohol and dry cocoa notes. Slightly acidic bitter finish, again with a powdery chocolate feel. If this were advertised as a Porter it would be nice, but as an Old Ale it's hopeless. Does that matter? I guess not, but it puts a...

Adam

Batch 60. Pours very dark brown, almost black with a large head. Lacing is thick, sticky and copious. Aroma is promising at first, but then a sharp cider smell wafts in and significantly subtracts from the aroma experience. The taste masks the apple flavors, via the deep fruitcake and alcohol flavors that are upfront and delicious. It drinks much better than it smells. Large alcohol is obvious, and this is a rich beer. A little bit of bitterness in the finish but not much. Good, coating...

Double Decker (Otter Creek World Tour)

Firstly I'm unconvinced that this is an Old Ale. If you read the label carefully, and consult the brewery web site, it classifies it as an "Olde English Ale" which is significantly different to an Old Ale. This is really an ESB or a Winter Warmer. Great noisy pour, with a deep red/brown body, a delicious thick head, some lacing and a deep malty aroma. The mouthfeel is full and satisfying. The malts are the bulk of the taste with plenty of sweetness making up the initial tastes. Then comes the...

Gale’s Prize Old Ale

2002 Vintage. Beautiful, deep, alcoholic, fruity Port based aroma that promises a great deal. The appearance and the taste slightly fail to reach those expectations, but because the smell is so spectacular that wasn't really that suprising or that disappointing. The color is that of a classic English bitter - a cloudy, orange brown body with a nice, tight head but very little lacing. The aroma suggests a darker body, but this still looks pretty good. The taste initially does reflect the Port...

Hibernation Ale

Wow! Pour is a slightly lighter brown body than I was expecting with a nice head and some lacing. The lack of lacing may have been due to the temperature that this was presented (too cold), so I am happy to give it the benefit of the doubt. As it warms the aroma is all malty, nuttiness - very nice. The aroma is followed quickly by a complimentary sweetness in the taste. A really spectacular nut/malt brown ale feel. In fact, to get a real feel for what this beer does best, it would need to be...

Harveys Elizabethan Ale

1998 Vintage. Smell is truly magnificent. Mainly deep, fruity alcohol that is reminiscent of port or sherry. Pour is deep brown, but with some very substantial red highlights. I'd like to see a bigger head on the beer, but the style, the age and the alcohol simply aren't going to produce it so we'll have to live with it. Excellent dry alcoholic finish follows the fruit and fig start. A delicious sipper. A first class Old Ale, rapidly becoming one of my favorite styles.

Old Engine Oil Special Reserve (Aged In Malt Whiskey Casks)

Delicious. A fantastic combination of malt, dark fruits and alcohol with a little chocolate thrown in on the top. There's a lot of richness about this beer which actually reminds me a lot of the Celebrator Doppelbock. Black, thick pour with very little head to speak of after the initial large rocky top that results from an aggressive pour. Large fruit in the nose and lots of alcohol. This drinks much bigger than its 6.00% ABV. It's big and full in the mouth, with a definite spirit (liquor)...

Old Stock Ale

2006 Vintage, Showcase Beverage, Carrollton, GA, USA, a great price at $8.99 a four pack. This is listed at 13.25% ABV, bigger than previous vintages so I am a bit confused as to why this is not listed as a different beer in the database (surely the recipe must have changed). Anyway, just like all the other vintages this is pure marzipan, with a delicious coke like appearance and sweet, smooth and warming. Fairly obviously, the alcohol is still way too hot and in a couple of years this will be...

Theakston Old Peculier

Still solid after all these years, but the bottled version that I drank in 2004 in the USA didn't resemble what I remember drinking on tap several years ago in England. These are obviously slightly different products, but the gap between them seems wider than ever. Ho hum. Dark, mahogonany pour with a nice head. There is plenty of lacing and some stickiness too. Quite rich in aroma of sweet chocolate and very smooth on the way down, until the finish which is surprisingly bitter. A nice ending....