Moor: Old Freddie Walker (England: Old Ale: 7.5% ABV)

Visual: Utter opaque black with a cream coffee brown head.

Nose: Bitter coffee, charcoal. Chalk. Red wine and sour gooseberries.

Body: Milk chocolate, raisins. Fruitcake mixed with figs. Bitter and bready. Rum with white wine underlay. Slightly oily. Black cherry.

Finish: Slick, but with a chalky hint. Bitter, touch of black cherry. Vinous. Lots of fruitcake, bitter chocolate and grapes.

Conclusion: I’ve often talked about how the environment of drinking affects the beers, and in the case of darker beers cold is the worst enemy, freezing up their pleasing aromas and accompanying tastes.

Such was nearly the fate of this beer.  The initial pour seemed lacklustre and weak until I noticed the cold feel of the glass. Short moments of heating later I returned to the tasting with significantly improved results.

Sour and almost wine like front and finish, the dark fruity beast that makes up the main body is sandwiched between these challenging bookends. There is still a wine influence to the body, but with fruitcake and milk chocolate mixed into its bitter traits.

The beer seems to play catch me if you can with your taste buds, the rich flavours often seem fleeting before its sour gooseberry counterparts. It doesn’t always work, but it is a very distinctive stylistic choice for the beer, and really stands out from the crowd. This is a beer you wrestle meaning from rather than an open book.

The sour sometimes overpowers the complexity, but it’s a good shot at something different.

Background:  Ratebeer lists this as a porter, when taste wise I could swear that it is its close cousin, the old ale. Oddly the bottle text agrees with me so I’m going to go with old ale here.  Moor is a beer company with a great rep, but one that I’ve never really understood. The beers I’ve tried aren’t bad, but none so far have shaken my world.  This is part of my continuing quest to work out their appeal.

Addendum:  Recently I had this on tap. Much smoother and thicker, with less sourness. The beer was significantly better on cask and on that I would highly recommend it.  A really great beer