Archive for the ‘Old Ale’ Category

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


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 Originally made in Dortmunder, Germany, it was the first beer I produced when I opened Hair of the Dog.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

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

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

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

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

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