The Bruery Acier

Although I love Winter, I’m looking forward to the Spring, especially the Spring flowers. But, I tend to like bigger beers in the Winter, so let’s see how this one was.

ABV: 16.9%

Style: Old Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “The Bruery is a boutique craft brewery located in Orange County, CA specializing in barrel aged and experimental ales. Founded as a small, friend & family run business in 2008, The Bruery takes its unique moniker from founder Patrick Rue’s family surname. Patrick picked up homebrewing as a hobby, later to become an obsession, as a distraction to the banality of law school. Soon he was winning numerous awards for his beers and driving his wife, Rachel, mad with the messes that he would leave on the kitchen stove. Upon finishing school, he took it upon himself to draw up a business plan rather than study for the California Bar exam – a risky endeavor that shows through still today in the creative, genre-tilting beers that The Bruery prides itself on.”

Random: Val and I are spending a relaxing day at home. It’s been a crazy week at work, so it’s a nice way to spend the day.

The beer poured with a two finger, tan head that dissipated slowly. It left some lacing on the glass. The body was a dark brown color that was cloudy with little carbonation visible. The nose was really, really boozy. To counter that, I got some notes of bourbon, brown sugar and raisin. The taste was equally sweet and intensely boozy. The brown sugar came through with some molasses. There was some toffee and caramel as well, but it then went into bourbon and vanilla. The body was thick with light carbonation. The finish was really sweet and sticky and boozy. I thought this beer was good, but quickly became overwhelming for me. I’m glad I tried it, but wouldn’t rush back to have it again.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Heavy Seas The Partner Ships: Old Ale

The wedding is coming up really quickly. My parents threw us an engagement party in November, which was at Rats in Princeton and was incredibly nice. A lot of our family was able to attend and the wedding is going to an even bigger party. Anyways, let’s get to the beer.

ABV: 8.5%

Style: Old Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “We paired up with one of our favorite local breweries, Union Craft Brewing, for our first Partner Ships collaboration of 2017. Hints of nuts, cocoa, molasses and dried fruits float over a chewy, luscious body of English malt goodness. Inspired by the rich, warming brews of a by…”

Random: This beer is listed as highly limited on the brewery website. This is also a collaboration with Union Craft Brewers.

The beer poured with a half a finger of tan head. The head dissipated instantly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a dark brown color, but clear, with a lot of carbonation visible. The nose was filled with hazelnuts, leather, oak chips and ash. I didn’t get any of the dried fruits that were advertised. The taste started very ashy. It transition into booze with some hazelnuts and cocoa, but again, the fruit character was missing. It would have helped to have them to break up some of the intense ash taste. The body was medium thickness for the style with light carbonation. It had a quick finish with ash. A bomber of this was $7.99, which broke down to $.36 per ounce. I was interested in trying this one because I don’t get that many old ales, but this just missed the mark for me.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

AleSmith Private Stock Ale

This morning’s selection is a beer that I picked up awhile ago and let sit in the cellar for a bit. Let’s see how it was.


ABV: 11%

Style: Old Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Originally brewed in 2005 as the first in our annual Decadence series, AleSmith Private Stock Ale follows the tradition of classic British-style Old Ales. This rich, malt-forward ale showcases soft notes of currants and dried fruit along with complex dark sugars, all of which are balanced by a subtle bitterness derived from the addition of traditional English hops. AleSmith Private Stock Ale is ready to be enjoyed now or it can be aged upwards of twenty years to further enhance its amazing depth of flavor. A hearty ale designed to please Bacchus himself!”

Random: There are so many breweries popping up in Jersey that I haven’t had a chance to visit.

This beer poured with a half a finger of tan head. It dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass. The body had a dark, mahogany color with light carbonation visible as well. The nose was filled with tobacco, caramel and vanilla. Oak was another undertone, but didn’t overwhelm the other scents. The taste started with leather and tobacco. What was instantly apparent to me was that it didn’t have as much sweetness as I expected. There were caramel undertones and vanilla. Some raisin and fig came through along with some alcohol. The body was light for the style with minimal carbonation. It had a swift finish with dark fruit and booze. I picked this beer up for $16.99, which came to $.77 per ounce. I thought this was a good beer, but it needed some more viscosity for the style.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

The Wild Beer Co. Modus Operandi

The cats are all hanging out on the couch. They have certain areas that they like to sleep on and they mostly face the window so they can intimidate the birds they see outside. They also like to watch the deer, which happens to be a component of the beer label of our selection tonight.


ABV: 7%

Style: Old Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Barrel aging, blending and using different yeasts, this embraces our love of the unpredictability of wild yeast with the subtlety and complexity of maturation in oak barrels. A study in patience, it takes at least 90 days for the wild yeast to work its magic. Modus Operandi is the perfect accompaniment to red meat and game dishes, such as duck or venison, a beer that could easily replace a red wine on the dinner table.”

Random: I haven’t had venison in a long time. Hopefully I will rectify it this winter.

This beer poured with a quarter of a finger of tan head that dissipated quickly. It left very little lacing on the glass, but instead a small crown on top of the body. The body itself was a hazy mahogany color with a lot of particles floating throughout. There was no carbonation as a result of the cloudiness. The nose was pungent with vinegar sourness and dark fruit, specifically currants and dates. I also picked up some vanilla from the oak. The taste wasn’t as good as the nose. There was less tartness and it presented almost like an aged Balsamic vinegar. There was also a more marked oak quality in the taste that was toasted in vanilla. It still had a touch of the dark fruit, but really needed more currants, dates and figs for balance. The body was thin, especially for the style, with mild carbonation. It had an almost instant finish with toasted wood and vanilla. I just wished that this beer was more sour and had more fruit. It was $7 a bottle, which came to $.58 per ounce. With some minor tweaking, this beer would be outstanding.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Hair Of The Dog Adam

Tonight’s selection is another beer that I never thought I’d get to try, but was sitting in the cold case in California and it was the last bottle. Again, apologies on the glass, but living out of a hotel is rough.


ABV: 10%

Style: Old Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Adam is a recreation of a historic beerstyle. Originally made in Dortmunder, Germany, it was the first beer I produced when I opened Hair of the Dog. Rich in flavor, Adam is best served as a dessert beer. It is great with chocolate or cigars, or just a warm fire and good company. It has 10% alcohol by volume and 50 IBUs.”

Random: This is the 15th Old Ale I’ve reviewed.

This beer poured with a thick, two finger, tan head that dissipated slowly. It left lots of lacing on the glass and a crown as well. The body was slightly hazy with visible detritus and was a brilliant mahogany color with red notes. There was light carbonation visible. The nose was smoky with leather, ash, tobacco, dark chocolate and toasted hazelnuts. This was complex for sure. The taste was intense. It started with figs and leather and quickly went into the smoke note with ash. There was also tobacco and peat with cocoa powder. The body was thick with almost no carbonation on it. It had a lengthy, warm finish with chocolate and peat. A bottle of this was expensive at $9.99 ($.83 per ounce). This beer was really interesting and had a lot of different flavors working in concert. I would have this again, no doubt.

Untappd Rating: 4.5/5.0

Harviestoun Ola Dubh Special Reserve 16

The other half and I watched “Sing It On” last night. I don’t know why I like the show so much, as it’s mostly a reality show about college singing groups, but I do. I cheated and looked at who won at the end, and none of the groups on the show win. I can’t lie, it does make me want to watch the show less. Anyways, let’s see how this import was.


ABV: 8%

Style: Old Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Aged in oak casks formerly used to mature Highland Park 16 Year Old Single Malt Whisky, our thick, gloopy base beer takes on distinct whisky notes, perfectly complementing its roasty, toasty bitterness.”

Random: My back is peeling and insanely itchy. I can’t wait to get home and put lotion on it.

This beer poured with less than one finger of tan head. It dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass, but a slight crown on top of the body. The body itself was dark brown in color with no visible carbonation. The nose was different from I expected. It didn’t have as much oak as I thought, but lots of peat and roasted malts. Smoke was present as well.The taste was complex and more intense. At first, I picked up peat, then some tobacco and vanilla. As it warmed, I also got lightly toasted oak and leather. It had a touch of bitterness as the end, but was a very smooth beer. The body was thick with light carbonation. I could see sipping on this in front of a fire watching the snow come down. The finish was lengthy and sticky with vanilla and peat. The booze was hidden, which was also nice. This was not a cheap beer at $11.99 for the bottle ($1.00 per ounce). This would make a great beer to drink on a special occasion in the Winter. If you see this one, definitely grab a bottle to put away.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Harviestoun Ola Dubh Special Reserve 30

While walking the aisles at Half Time, I saw this gem and knew that it had to come home with me. I saved it until we moved to try since it’s such a special beer. Let’s see how it was.


ABV: 8%

Style: Old Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “We make Ola Dubh 30 by taking our Old Engine Oil (amped up to 10.5%) and aging it for up to 6 months in casks that previously held Highland Park’s phenomenal 30 Year Old single malt whisky.”

Random: The street we live on is really quiet. I guess that’s what happens when you live on the side of a mountain.

This beer poured with less than half a finger of tan head that dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was black with no visible carbonation due to the color. The nose had intense roasted malts with a lot of smoke and peat with some booze at the end. The taste was incredibly smooth. It started with a lot of peat and whiskey. Then, smoke came through with roasted malts and espresso. After a few sips, I picked up vanilla and honey with some light pine. The flavors on this were very complex and I picked up something different on every sip. It had a medium body with almost no carbonation, making this a great sipper. The booze was completely hidden. It had a long, smokey finish with peat and toasted oak. This beer was really expensive at $19.49 for a twelve ounce bottle, which broke down to $1.62 per ounce. It’s definitely a beer that should be tried once if you see it. It’s outstanding.

Untappd Rating: 4.5/5.0

Gale’s Prize Old Ale (1998)

One of the coolest things that I found the first time we went to Half Time was this beer. This was brewed when I was a sophomore in high school. I’ve never had a beer with this much age on it. Let’s see how it held up.


ABV: 9%

Style: Old Ale

Trivia: According to the (new) brewery website, “Brewed to 9.0% ABV, Gales Prize Old Ale is a very special and much acclaimed beer that gains its unique, fruity flavour from a prolonged maturation and a special brewing process. At Horndean, Gales’ original home, the beer was stored in oak vats to give the beer a distinctively delicious tart character. Here at Chiswick we blend the most recent brew with barrels of this previous Prize Old Ale, before bottle conditioning to create that year’s special vintage. By treating the beer this way we ensure that we are able to pass those flavours on, and that there’s a little taste of Horndean in every bottle you enjoy.”

Random: I think everyone who is into beer should try a beer like this.

One of the interesting things about this beer was that it was actually corked. When I pulled the cork out, parts broke off, most likely due to the age. This beer poured with no head and obviously left no lacing on the glass. The body was a hazy, dark brown color. Due to the color, I couldn’t see any carbonation. The nose had lots of oak and booze and dark fruit. It almost reminded me of a cognac or Madeira. The taste was really oaky with leather, tobacco and vanilla. There was not as much booze on it as I thought there would be, but it was just very intense and had a vinegar note to it as well that was largely unpleasant. This went away as the beer got warm. Raisins were present too. It reminded me of a wine that was past its prime. The body was overly thin and had absolutely no carbonation. It had a long finish with alcohol and oak. This beer initially was not my cup of tea, but as it opened, I started to appreciate it more. With that being said, I’m glad I got to try a beer with this much age on it, but I wouldn’t have it again.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Dark Horse Sour Three Guy Off The Scale Old Ale

I received this beer as a gift of sorts. I won’t go into the whole situation of how I got it, but I ended up with a few different beers from it. I had never heard of this one and I haven’t had a Dark Horse beer in awhile. I picked up a few about two years ago when I drove into Philly and picked up some at a bottle shop. I’m also usually not a fan of barleywines in the summer, but I figured why not give it a try.

ABV: 15%

Style: Old Ale

Trivia: According to, “A dark horse is a little-known person or thing that emerges to prominence, especially in a competition of some sort or a contestant that seems unlikely to succeed.”

Random: I forgot to eat lunch again today because I was too busy at work. I think I have to start setting an alarm again to remind myself to eat.

I popped open the very attractive waxed cork on this one and I was shocked. There was absolutely no pop to it, nor any fix. So far, I was a bit worried. I poured it into my trust Cigar City snifter glass. It poured with absolutely no head on a dark brown body. There was no carbonation to it whatsoever. Now, I was a bit more worried. The nose reminded me of Madeira wine. It had wine-like sweetness and then oak. After a few sniffs, I got dates and raisins as well. On the first sip, the first thing that I noticed was how flat the beer was. There was no carbonation at all on this one. The next thing that throws me is that this beer is just off. It started syrupy sweet and then went into a nasty tree rot flavor. It was absolutely horrible. I maybe got about 4 sips down and I had to drain pour it. The body was thin and flat. The finish was way too long, filled with tree rot. I’m hoping that this bottle was just bad, because this beer was straight out awful.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

Fuller’s Vintage Ale (2011)

It’s pretty rare that I go back and review a brew that I’ve had before, even though it’s from a different vintage. This was a beer, actually, the entire lineup, seriously floors me. When Kate brought this one home for me, I was very excited. I’ve come to expect nothing but liquid bliss from this brewery. Let’s take a trip across the pond…


ABV: 8.5%

Style: Old Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Vintage Ale is a truly distinguished bottle-conditioned ale, crafted by Fuller’s Head Brewer, John Keeling. Each vintage is a blend of that year’s finest malt and hops, and of course our unique yeast, creating a unique limited edition brew. Bottle conditioning means that a little yeast is left in the bottle after bottling, which will mature slowly over time like a fine wine or whisky – well beyond the ‘best before’ date that we are obliged to state (we think it should read ‘best after!’). Here at Fuller’s, we recently opened (in the interests of research, of course) a few bottles of old Vintages: they tasted better than ever so stock up now and you’ll be glad you did in years to come!”

Random: I love the food that Ina Garten makes, but I find her on-air personality grating.

This one poured with a huge, three finger, fluffy, cream-colored head. It took forever to dissipated and left lots of pretty lacing on the glass. The body was a clear, burnt orange color. The nose presented with smoke and caramel malt. It was jolly good…or whatever the Brits say. The taste had some oak and a bit of smoke. It also had toffee and biscuit and a touch of vanilla. It wasn’t overly sweet, but definitely had a malt presence. The booze was really hidden in the thick body. The carbonation was plentiful. The finish was long. I really like this one. An absolutely pleasure to drink.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0