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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:
Photo of jophish17
2.5/5  rDev -34%

jophish17, Jan 10, 2012
Photo of hawkmage
2.5/5  rDev -34%

hawkmage, Dec 31, 2011
Photo of DarthKostrizer
2.55/5  rDev -32.7%

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 CrazyMacHarris99
2.65/5  rDev -30.1%

This is not an Old Ale but more of a Strong Ale. Their website lists it as a "UK Strong Ale" and a "Winter Warmer."

Pours a hazy orange color with a thin head that leaves oily legs all over the glass. Smell is dominate bananas or as I like to call it, "circus peanuts." The taste is similar with the bananas. It is fruity with some earthy maltsand not really any hops. The mouthfeel is harsh but not to thick or thin. Drinkability is okay but this is not any one style and is pretty much all over the place.

CrazyMacHarris99, Jan 25, 2010
Photo of RashyGrillCook
2.75/5  rDev -27.4%

RashyGrillCook, Dec 12, 2012
Photo of 3HovsepiansBrews
3/5  rDev -20.8%

3HovsepiansBrews, Dec 24, 2011
Photo of FosterJM
3/5  rDev -20.8%

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 beveragesampler
3.3/5  rDev -12.9%

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 number1bum
3.43/5  rDev -9.5%

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
Photo of zillo043068
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

zillo043068, Aug 17, 2013
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 Thorpe429
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

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, Jul 31, 2011
Photo of SocalKicks
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

SocalKicks, Apr 08, 2012
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

Bottle shared at a tasting at MrHirschybar's place.

Pours a semi-clear amber color with a tan head that settles to a film on the top of the beer. Small dots of lace form on the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, dark fruits, and some candy-like aromas. Taste is pretty much the same with a very sweet finish. This beer has a light level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good old ale but nothing too exciting. Very sweet.

UCLABrewN84, Jan 22, 2012
Photo of iatethecloudsfor
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

iatethecloudsfor, May 29, 2014
Photo of zestar
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

zestar, Aug 08, 2014
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

Glossy apricot with butterscotch borders. Infrequent bubbles gradually find their way from the bottom of the glass to the underside of a pale golden crown. A short collar of lace and a few splotches of suds don't exactly qualify as eye candy.

The nose needs some sort of a hook for the next highest score to be granted. It's most reminiscent of an aged English barleywine, which isn't a bad thing at all. Sweetish malts and an understated fruitiness are present. Alcohol is not.

Despite being brewed in San Diego County, Old Tempest tastes English. That's what the brewers were shooting for when they used British malts, British hops and British ale yeast. Just because the mission was accomplished doesn't necessarily mean that good beer was the result. This isn't a bad old ale, but it isn't anywhere near special.

The malt side of the equation tastes like a mixture of pale and something earthy, toasted and nutty (like Munich) that makes the beer seem more like a bock than an old ale. Almost no hoppiness doesn't change that impression. The ale yeast adds an apricot fruitiness that is at least one extra flavor facet. An estimated one year in the bottle has ensured smooth edges and no heat.

The mouthfeel keeps pace with the rest of the attributes. It's a little loosey-goosey and isn't as full as it could be, but it makes drinking quickly or slowly equally easy. Better too few bubbles than too many, which is almost always the case.

As the highest rated offering from Lightning Brewery, I expected more out of Old Tempest Ale. For my money, their American malt liquor (Ionizer Lager) is the better bet. With all the outstanding beer coming out of SoCal, it's no wonder these guys get lost in the shuffle.

BuckeyeNation, Jul 16, 2009
Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

Appearance: Pours a hazy, dark orange body with a scant, off-white head.

Smell: Overall, a fruity aroma, with lesser notes of wood, brown sugar, dried grasses.

Taste: Tangy fruitiness, some orange and apricot. Earthy underlying maltiness, lightly sweet, and with a hint of brown sugar. Vague woody taste. Grassy hop character with a medium bitterness. Splash of good, clean alcohol. Another helping of fruit and tang for the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Fairly mild carbonation.

Drinkability: Not exactly spectacular, though a fairly tasty beer in general.

ChainGangGuy, Jun 28, 2008
Photo of mentor
3.65/5  rDev -3.7%

Pours almost no head over a murky red-rust liquid. Smells potent fruity, weakly of caramel, vanilla, and also mild clean alcohol. Smells of raisin, plum, cherry, green apple, oranges, sweet tart. Lots going on in regards to the heavy fruity sweetness.

Tastes wet fruity with wet malty sweet and mild alcohol. Tangy fruity, raisin, brown sugar, soured caramel, vanilla, berry, oranges, and apricot stickiness. Despite how wet the beer is in the mouth, it dries out pretty well in the finish leaving a heavy and dusty peach memory.

Thick in the mouth that even hangs on the tongue despite the mild alcohol and weak soda pop carbonation. Overall, it comes across as a bit disjointed. Not quite sticky sweet.

mentor, Sep 09, 2010
Photo of GarretD
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%

GarretD, Apr 11, 2012
Photo of rallison
3.85/5  rDev +1.6%

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 mactrail
3.85/5  rDev +1.6%

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 srandycarter
3.85/5  rDev +1.6%

A - Honey apricot body, small head leaves quickly, thin lacing persists throughout.

S - Sweet, candy fruit dominates nose, under base of solid malt.

T - Reminds me of Winter - candy fruits, I almost think of fruitcake. Toffee malt undercurrent. Bitter hopping finishes, but not completely balanced - still finishes a little cloying and sweet for me.

M - Fills every nook and cranny of the mouth. Small carbonation is nice with this one.

D - As mentioned, a little heavy and cloying. One is nice, though!

srandycarter, Feb 26, 2008
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Old Tempest Ale from Lightning Brewery
85 out of 100 based on 57 ratings.