Tag Archive: Old Ale


Old Chimney: Red Clover (England: Old Ale: 6.2% ABV)

Visual: Dark hazy red, quite bubbly with a decent sized and steady bubble rich head.

Nose: Rich cinnamon, port and cloves. Cherry and chocolate. Plums and raisins. Really dark and fruity. Condensed cream. Almost an edible dessert in itself

Body: Figgy pudding, fruitcake and digestives. Bitter heart, good malt then bitter chocolate traces. Red wine, banana, chives leaves and liquorice.

Finish: Chives, dry hops and bitter chocolate.

Conclusion: This is a wonderful little bottle of beer. Wonderfully fruity with a slight bitter/chocolate back. Tantalising nose and, appropriately enough for an old ale, feels very aged and traditional.

A good British ale, and one with all the trimmings. Quick rich and obviously herb influenced. A warming dark and rich ale, could do fine as a winter warmer.

Batemans: Rosey Nosey (England: Old Ale: 4.9% ABV)

Visual: Varnished mahogany body with a beige bubbled head that sits lightly upon it.

Nose; Glazed cherries, grain, liquorice and hops.

Body: Sugary cherry. Bitter. Battenberg. Wheat, slightly sour. Almonds. Orange. Syrupy, fruitcake. Raisin and faint lemon.

Finish: Dry hops, with a following dry tongue feel, Cherry again.

Conclusion: Not very impressive. The bitter core hides most of the cherry elements and the subtleties are pretty much absent.

It doesn’t make you wish for the end of the world rather than drink it, but when that’s the best you can say, it’s probably not worth grabbing a bottle.

Arbor Ale: Snuffy Jacks Old Ale (England: Old Ale: 5.9% ABV)

Visual: Dark brown black with a thin dash of an off white head.

Nose: Lovely milky coffee and a summer days breeze. A hint of oak.

Body: Bitter up front then slips into sweet coffee liquor. A medium body with something almost like lettuce then sustained bitter again.

Finish: Chocolate, dry dusty attic. Some aniseed.

Conclusion: Not bad, but if suffers heavily from coming so soon after the Beer Geek Brunch Weasel.

The bitterness on this beer tends to overwhelm the more subtle elements and the finish does not quite work. However it does have a nice sweet middle when you take a good gulp. It’s still not anything special.

Nothing too exciting for the style, but its an ok beer I guess.

Naylors Brewey: Old ale – Brewers Choice( England: Old Ale:6.2% ABV)

Visual: Deep bronze and apricot flesh with a light brown bubbling cream head.

Nose: Creamy and slightly hoppy with a rich thick caramel element.

Body: Bitter and very smooth mouthfeel, big oak wood influence. Onion gravy towards the end. A harsh natural sweetness, raw and unfiltered, The lightest citrus touches that combine for a subtle fruit influence. Also a touch of treacle sponge to contrast. With a final delightful slightly sour end character that distinguishes it.

Finish: Bitter and burnt. Has a slight roast dinner feel, Some rough textures and liquorice .

Conclusion: This is a meal of a pint, with all its age showing. Drunk in Manchester against the background of a massive snowfall it provided a warming buffer against the cold with its character and alcohol content.

Feels very chewy despite its smooth mouthfeel and has nice touches of sweet characteristics.

Well put together and its filling meal qualities make it a pint to go with cooked meats and a roast dinner, drunk slowly with friends.

Box Steam: Dark And Handsome (England: Old Ale: 5% ABV)

Visual: Dark red, light brown froth of which there is middling amount.

Nose: Coffee, crushed grain dust, grilled shark steak.

Body: Coffee, bitter chocolate, touch of hops.

Finish: Bitter chocolate again which lasts quite well. Sweet at the very back. Strong bitter bite after a large mouthful. Acrid and burnt remnants.

Conclusion: Pleasurable. Not a showstopper but brings a nice balanced range in. Not too heavy or harsh. Another beer that would be brilliant session beer if only slightly lighter in alcohol. Its delectable finish adds a lot to its appeal.

Harviestoun: Old Dubh 40 Year Special Reserve (Scotland: Old Ale: 8% ABV)

(Aged in Highland Park Whisky Casks)

Visual: Black, a thin brown froth eases away leaving a bubbling around the edge of the glass. Small bubbles fizz up from its impenetrable centre.

Nose: Charcoal, sickly sweet treacle. Peat and salt, sea cliff breezes over an oil spill. Id be lying if I said the Islay charm and almost medicinal nature where not hinted at. Victorian house attics and ageing cellars.

Body: Light for a second then rich expensive sweets, luxury boxes worth. Butterscotch froth. A feeling of descent into deep rocky canyons. Sweet strawberry crème centre as the chocolate breaks open. Roasted and sugared nuts intertwined. Surprisingly slick mouthfeel.

Finish: Dry oak, sweet black toffee, warm alcohol haze .liquorice. A whisky air and memories of a fire warmed room. Raw cane sugar.

Conclusion: It’s hard to say when the whisky end and the ale begins. A wonderful harshness on a rich and playful beer that feels very stout like in its composition. Worth just breathing air in over you tongue after swallowing a large mouthful to enjoy its whisky finish. Drinkable like a lighter ale, but enjoyable and rewarding to investigate like a fine beer, and probable for depths like a fine whisky.

In comparison with the Paradox stout expressions I’ve tried from the mighty Brewdog brewery this beer beats them out to be the finest whisky aged beer I have sampled yet.

Another beer for careful consideration and verbal dissection with a verbose group of companions. Top notch.

Brains Beer: The Rev. James (Wales: Old Ale: 4.5% ABV)

Visual: Sunset red with a solid lasting ice cream froth that looks ready for a flake.

Nose: Hops, processed vanilla, caramel syrup sauce, sickly sweet, an actual whiff of fresh ice cream.

Body: Creamy, rising heat, cloves in minute traces at the very end. Slight wood muttering.

Finish: creamy, hops, more vanilla, banana syrup.

Conclusion: A satisfying sweet beer with just the edge of spice to keep it from becoming dull. The sweetness edges forwards towards sickliness but never quite tips over into it. Wales has done good again with this beer.

Kingstone Brewery: 1503 Tudor Ale (Wales: Old Ale: 4.5%)

Visual: Dark brown. Short lasting white head which settles down to a light brown froth.

Nose: Oats grains and hops, a farmhouse bake – Mashed potatoes and gravy. Horse feed bags.

Body: Bitter, malty, a grainy texture, tiller earth flashes to mind and descriptions of the early Egyptians beers with thick gritty heads. Sesame seeds. Bitter chocolate

Finish: Lovely lasting bitterness. Sweet grains. More oats.

Conclusion: Feels like its callback namesake. Calls to mind heavy tankards and darkened ale houses. Would by perfect with steak or maybe a full spit roast feast; This Welsh beer is a mighty example of ale and recommended without hesitation

Stonehenge: Old Smokey : (England: Old Ale: 5%)

Visual: Sheer opaque black: No noticeable head, merely a ring around the edge of the glass.

Nose: Whisky fudge, treacle sponge. A Smokey air. Slightly cloying but not unpleasant – condensed cream.

Body: Bitter wood, chocolate roll. Treacle again. Burnt sugar and black forest gateaux. Sausages? A bitter punch at the back.

Finish: Rich expensive chocolate, slightly milky. Not overwhelming bud wanders through a sweet bitter mix.

Conclusion: This one wins the Chris’ Beer of the Pavilion Beer Festival 2009 award (A prestigious and coveted award if ever there was one).

It has a fantastic nose, solid body and a lasting finish – this punches out full flavour without going over the top on the alcohol. Old Smokey takes all the elements of a good beer and brings them together.

A great beer that needs to be used throughout long winter months to keep up flagging spirits – would go fantastic with fruit cake.

Try it, Buy it, Enjoy it.

Orkney: Dark Island (Scotland: Old Ale: 4.6%)

Visual: Extreme dark brown, appears black but in the very extremities. Small dusting of a grey black head.

Nose: Rounded coffee with dusty cellar notes; some bitter chocolate.

Body: Bitter core, musty and mothballs Oddly lacking in complexity compared to its reputation.

Finish: Hoppy, bitter edge, black coffee and black chocolate. Cocoa. Dry, some cotton wool feel.

Conclusion: A fantastic finish looking for a body to go with it. Both the nose and the finish scream class but the main body is not up to the challenge.

It reminds me of Hollywood trailers that promise so much but its all up front and nothing kept back to surprise you.

A pity, with all that it promises it could have been so much more.

(Addendum: 02/12/2009 A Recent beer festival gave another chance to try this: On this instance there was a much more evident fig and chocolate body which made for a much more satisfying beer – still not top class but much more enjoyable. I am considering the original sample may have been a bad batch)

%d bloggers like this: