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Old Tempest Ale - Lightning Brewery

Not Rated.
Old Tempest AleOld Tempest Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
85
very good

57 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 57
Reviews: 37
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 13.98%
Wants: 3
Gots: 1 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Lightning Brewery visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Halcyondays on 09-04-2007)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 57 | Reviews: 37 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by the Alström Bros:

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More User Reviews:
Photo of 3HovsepiansBrews
3/5  rDev -20.8%

3HovsepiansBrews, Dec 24, 2011
Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to slasher007 for sharing this bottle and thanks to kaiser81 for sending it from California.

Pours a murky dark orange with a small white head. The aroma is very fruity and very sweet. You get some alcohol in the aroma. The flavor is more of the same with sweet fruit and caramel malt. Low carbonation and medium mouthfeel. The only criticism that I have is that it is a little too sweet to rank too highly as far as drinkability is concerned. That being said, it is a very good beer.

Mora2000, Jan 21, 2010
Photo of magictrokini
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tap at Pizza Port, Solana Beach. Pours murky auburn with a short off-white head. Vanilla, wood, yeast, malt, and dates in the aroma. Oily and smooth mouthfeel. More malt and vanilla in the taste, but now with buttery hops, less wood, and a little old yeast. Fruity and sweet finish.

magictrokini, Dec 10, 2008
Photo of Reino
4.35/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Damn you TheWolfofMibu, you know exactly what I'll like. Thanks for the bottle.

Appearance- Served at cellar temp, if not warmer, out of a 22oz bottle into my New Belgium goblet. Well, I was warned by Wolf to pour this with extreme care because of the tremendous head, and he was right. I drizzled the beer into my goblet and still got an off-white, three finger head. Right as I took my first whiff, my dog threw up twice. I went off and cleaned up the mess, and when I came back I found a head of over four fingers with a beautiful circle crown well over the fill line. At first the head was creamy, but as it settled VERY slowly, it looked like foamy soap water. Giant bubbles gripped the sides and left nice lacing as the head receded. The beer itself is a dense mix of apricot, amber, gold, and a bit of brown. This is a very good looking beer. It's nearly perfect. It is better than a 4.5 but not quite a 5.

Smell- Loads of fruits going on in the nose. Juicy plums (like the individual wrapped ones that Sunkist does), 100% fruit rolls (the ones that are the healthy alternative to Fruit Roll-Ups), apricot, apple cider, grape juice, golden raisins, figs, and some tart/sour cherry, almost kriek-esque. There is a lot of really good fruit action going on. Those are just the ones I'm able to name, but there are definitely more. There is also a bit of heat lurking in there, but the fruit overpowers it.

Taste- A lot of the same shit that was going on in the nose, but with a shift in power. It starts with this flavor that I can't exactly nail down, but I get: sweetened apple juice, white grapes, apricots, and flashes of those juicy plums. It really reminds me of those fruit rolls (I can't remember the name of them for the life of me!). All of this fruitiness is riding on top of some nice maltiness. I'd say about 70% of this beer's taste is like straight up juice. If it weren't for the malty and boozy finish, Michael Jackson could be pumping this into kids without them knowing any better. It's EXTREMELY sweet, but in the right way. Not cloying at all, and I'm very sensitive to sweetness in beers. This beer tastes like what an English BW wishes it were. It knocks all of the juicy flavors out of the park, and hides it's heat very well. It's there, but not in a burdensome amount. This beer is a tricky one to time, though. I started it warm which brought out all these great flavors, but since I was drinking it on the warm side from the start, the last third got too warm and started to taste "off." So, my advice would be to start it at cellar temp, but share it with a buddy, or drink the second half a bit faster (life's short, go crazy).

Mouthfeel- The carbonation is on the low end of medium which is nice. The body is around medium, too, and coats the tongue well. However, the fruit and alcohol heat get to be wearing on the middle of my tongue by my second pour.

Drinkability- After my first glass I thought, "This is going to get a 5 for drinkability." What I didn't realize is that my first pour was only about 6 ounces of beer because of the crazy head. You can drink a bomber by yourself, but if you tried to drink more than one you would probably go into a diabetic seizure or your tongue and teeth would rot out. This beer is awesome, but share it with a friend. San Diego keeps impressing me. Might be time to move south.

Reino, Oct 14, 2008
Photo of zillo043068
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

zillo043068, Aug 17, 2013
Photo of mikesgroove
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had the chance to enjoy this one with some friends the other night. I had been holding on to this for several months and decided to bust it out for the tasting. Served at cellar temp and consumed on 08/23/2008.

The pour was nice, a bit lighter then I expected, but still very nice. Very hazy and cloudy amber color, which a rich, decadent looking head of white that just sat of the top for what seemed like forever. Decent carbonation coming up from the top, and overall a very good presentation.

The aroma was also very intresting, lots of fruit here, peaches, plums, hints of pear and a nice grain like base to it were all fairly evident. The flavor was a mix of grain like malts, light fruit, almost like a sour grape, but lighter then what I would have thought. Lots of odd flavors running through here, hard to nalil down the style really, but still very good. Smooth, medium bodied profile did wonders to really show it off and the overall presentation was very nice. A little bit easier to sip for me as it went down quite quickly to say the least.

Again overall not bad at all, I really enjoyed it, and while not being the best one of the night, was certaing more then deserving overall. Very solid offering here.

mikesgroove, Sep 01, 2008
Photo of rallison
3.85/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Just picked this one up today.

A: Beautiful orange color with a hint of red topped by a nice 1 finger white head that leaves some good lacing. Great looking beer!

S: Toffee, candied fruits and tropical fruits. Smells tasty.

T: Lots of toffee and candied fruits (especially candied oranges) are present. Definitely is a sweeter beer, but just keeps from being too sweet. Distinct old ale flavors going on. Much better balance of flavors than fresh North Coast Old Stock Ale. Slight alcohol presence, but all in all very balanced.

M: Smooth and a bit creamy. Rich flavours, but lighter on the tongue with some delicacy. Very pleasing.

D: Extremely good. Gets easier to drink as you go on.

Highly recommended. This one drinks like I wish North Coast's version would fresh. Very tasty. Wonder how this one will age...

Edit: Another bottle, and I pick up some acetaldehyde. Still good, but not great. Scores lowered to reflect this (original score was 4.5/4/4.5/4.5/4.5).

Further Edit: Just not very good. Too loaded with green apple.

rallison, Jan 16, 2008
Photo of scottoale
4.35/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz. bomber into a tulip, a bright apricot hazy liquid with a small off-white head. The head fades quickly leaving some lace, mild carbonation is right for this style.

The nose is mildly sweet and very malty, a slight peatmoss to the fragrance as well. As it warms, some alcohol rises to the occasion in a subtle way.

The flavor as it smells, is very malty. Not overly sweet, just a rich malty flavor with just enough hop to balance things nicely. The alcohol is almost undetectable in the taste...you'ld never guess it was 9% ABV.

Plenty of body, mild carbonation and a good flavor make this ale a very drinkable one indeed.

scottoale, Feb 19, 2008
Photo of beveragesampler
3.3/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22oz Bottle
A: Pours deep cloudy amber with little to no head and no lacing.

S: On the nose is a sweet caramel subtitle ginger and spices.

M: clean, rich and smooth with a subtitle lingering malty sweetness. Medium-heavy body, low carbonation.

T: complexities of butterscotch, caramel, toffee, ginger, spice, bread, dried fruit, banana and some citrus from the hops. Plenty going on here, well done.

F: slightly oily with a nice subtitle citrus that lingers for just a bit. 9%ABV well hidden.

O: reminiscent of a light barley wine style but with a focus on the hops. Good representation of a winter warmer. it should age well over the next few years to become more complex. I would enjoy having this brew again.

Cheers!

beveragesampler, Dec 03, 2011
Photo of DarthKostrizer
2.55/5  rDev -32.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to Pat/Richard for sharing this one at a bottle share

Look: Dark brown in color with a 1/8 inch head and no retention

Smell: Burnt sugar and caramel

Taste: This is where the beer went completely bad. It had a very overpowering caramel sweetness that made the beer hard to drink. In the background was notes of toffee and brown sugar but there was just something odd about the flavors. Just bad

Mouthfeel: Medium body and low carbonation and a bit oily

Overall: I will never drink this beer again. The flavor was just bad and damn near undrinkable

DarthKostrizer, Feb 05, 2012
Photo of ebrifan
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

ebrifan, Jul 23, 2013
Photo of yokken
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

yokken, Mar 18, 2012
Photo of hamilton23
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours reddish orange with very little head, if any. Cloudy.

S: Apricots, peaches, some caramel malts.

T: Similar to the nose. Dried stone fruits. A fair amount of sweetness.

M: Well carbonated and slightly dry finish.

O: Not bad for the bucks. I will try this one again.

hamilton23, Jun 16, 2011
Photo of Thorpe429
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of JohnCoctosin. Served in a snifter.

Pours a slightly-hazed reddish-copper color with a very thin white head and some light spotty lacing on the way down. The nose carries a slight amount of stone fruits plus a bit of toasted bread and caramel. Flavor has a bit of fruit plus malty sweetness. A bit of brown sugar and toffee. Light body with fairly-light carbonation. Decent enough, but not something I'd come back to.

Thorpe429, Aug 01, 2011
Photo of charlzm
4.22/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Consumed at Stone World Bistro, Escondido CA, 05/21/08.

Cloudy pour - reminds me of a mimosa! Some active carbonation replenishes the thin skin of off-white foam.

Sweet, fruity aroma - apricots?

Creamy, thick texture is nice as the beer slides onto the palate. Sweet, dark fruits (raisins, figs) and sweet malts dominate. Slight pepper flavor and burn on finish. A slight sourness - some Bret present? Unmistakable alcohol presence throughout leaves a burning on the tongue for a long while after.

A tasty treat to sip.

charlzm, May 24, 2008
Photo of GarretD
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%

GarretD, Apr 11, 2012
Photo of womencantsail
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A light amber color with some golden notes to it and a very mild white foam.

S: An incredible fruitiness to the nose. A bit of apple, pears, perhaps some mildly tart plums, and a few others that I can't quite identify. A definite sweetness from the malt and no alcohol that I can detect.

T: More of the same as the beer hits the tongue. The fruits seem to be even more intense (if that's possible) especially on the apple and pear front. The plums and perhaps some tropical fruits find their way as well. A slightly sugary and sweet flavor goes along with the fruits, but could be a bit much at times.

M: A medium bodied beer which I would prefer to be a bit heavier. But hey, at least it isn't syrupy. The carbonation is subdued which works well.

D: Overall, this is probably the best beer from Lightning that I've had to date. I'm not sure how they got such a fruity character to it using English yeasts, but I really enjoyed this one.

womencantsail, Apr 20, 2010
Photo of SocalKicks
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

SocalKicks, Apr 08, 2012
Photo of FosterJM
3/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

1046th Review on BA
Bottle to Snifter
22oz (Was told 2010 bottle)

Thanks to Pat/Richard for sharing
Shared at MrHirschybars tasting

App- A semi brown, creamy looking pour with a very small head. A few dots of cling and that was about it. Along the lines of an old ale, but a lot more translucent.

Smell- For an old ale this was very sweet and a bit of putting. I found the nose to be a mix of vanilla, crème and some alcohol.

Taste- I will say I wasn't the biggest fan of this one. Old Ales are a style I am trying to get more into with Adam (semi old ale) and the Anniversary beers from the Bruery. This was way far too forward sweetness with just a weird flavor note.

Mouth- A medium bodied beer with somewhat of a medium carbonation level. Pretty thick malts remain on this one with some vanilla.

Drink- Overall, I think my hopes were a bit dashed by this one. Maybe this bottle is just a bit too old or just lost something. Overly sweet without much balance.

FosterJM, Jan 23, 2012
Photo of ALBuff
3.25/5  rDev -14.2%

ALBuff, Mar 25, 2013
Photo of djaeon
4/5  rDev +5.5%

djaeon, May 27, 2013
Photo of Stoneman78
4.38/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle purchased at O'Brien's

Appearance is dark orange/ruby red hue, thin off-white head mostly retains, light lacing on the glass

Smell is syrupy sweet fruits (pears, peaches, raisins), cherries, some oaky wood, honey, and caramel malts

Taste is initially dominated by caramel malts and a range of fruit flavors (pears and raisins mostly), some sour and tart tones, opens to floral hops and spices, some wood, finishes with sweet malt

Mouthfeel is medium-bodied, thick semi-viscous texture, moderate carbonation

Drinkability is moderate, a light and sweet version of the Old Ale style, wide range of fruits, low alcohol presence, i was quite pleased as this was my first beer from Lightning, looking forward to more from this brewery

Stoneman78, Mar 05, 2008
Photo of throwitallaway
4.15/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bought from South Bay Liquor. Poured from a bomber into a pint glass. Amber color with small off-white head that dissipates quickly. Smells like a couple of dopplebocks I've had recently. Plum/grape is the main aroma, with a touch of alcohol underneath. First taste that hits you is the plum/grape note, as well as pear. Underneath are malts and a touch of hops. The malts fade into a bready/grain note. Maybe a little caramel and alcohol as well. Mouthfeel is on the thicker side, even though this beer is carbonated more than I would expect. I must admit this is a pretty tasty beer, but it would be hard for me to drink more than one or two pints.

throwitallaway, Mar 16, 2008
Photo of mactrail
3.85/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sweet at first and last taste. Rich and nutty. Clear amber in the tulip glass. Hop-flavored butterscotch. A total malt experience that is fine for sipping. Fragrance is quite remarkable. Seems to bring together pear brandy with raspberries. Flavors include a little mince meat pie with a touch of rum. But the whole effect is lighter and more buttery than most strong ales.

Personally, I find I prefer barley wines, which this seems to be only with less hops. But I'm glad to see one San Diego County brewery pursuing the brew less traveled.

mactrail, Oct 08, 2011
Photo of number1bum
3.43/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Got this one quite awhile back from BeerTruth. Never heard of nor had anything from this brewery before. Thanks bitch.

Crack of the cap reveals only a very slight hiss, and the pour produces very little head. The brew is a burnt orange color, pretty thick looking, with just a bubbly head that does not keep any lacing.

Smell is not terribly robust, but does reveal some sweet, bready caramel malt and fruit. Fruity aromas are tropical, like maybe passion fruit, and also some apricot. It does start to open up a bit more as it warms.

Taste starts off with a nice burst of sweet, juicy fruit flavor. It's an interesting fruitiness, like maybe some apricot, as well as mango and papaya, and some citrus. Has a slightly puckering quality to it, not really a sourness but just a slight tartness. There is a slightly astringent graininess to the brew, as well as some caramel malt sweetness. I don't get much in the way of hops, but this has to be at least a year old so who knows what was there when this was fresh. There is a subtle booziness, as well.

Mouthfeel is on the plus side of a medium body but suffers a bit from the previously noted slight astringency. Unsurprisingly, the carbonation is light. It also has a somewhat chalky feel and aftertaste. I find the chalkiness to be rather annoying, in fact.

This is a pretty good brew, a little unpolished perhaps and rough around the edges. Shows some promise in terms of the flavor, though. Not bad. Worth a shot.

number1bum, Sep 02, 2009
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Old Tempest Ale from Lightning Brewery
85 out of 100 based on 57 ratings.