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Old Tempest Ale - Lightning Brewery

Old Tempest AleOld Tempest Ale

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

55 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 55
Reviews: 37
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 13.91%


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)
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Ratings: 55 | Reviews: 37 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of womencantsail
womencantsail

California

4/5  rDev +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.

Serving type: on-tap

04-20-2010 21:58:48 | More by womencantsail
Photo of magictrokini
magictrokini

California

4/5  rDev +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.

Serving type: on-tap

12-10-2008 18:19:43 | More by magictrokini
Photo of charlzm
charlzm

California

4.22/5  rDev +10.8%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

05-24-2008 17:40:30 | More by charlzm
Photo of Halcyondays
Halcyondays

California

4.45/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

On-tap at the Beachwood BBQ, in Seal Beach, CA,

A: Pours an amber orange colour, with a nice, white head, looks good in an over-sized wine glass.

S: Smells of strong fruit, some malt, and a hint of spice.

T: Very tasty, the flavour explodes on the tongue. A mix of strawberry/cherry, malt and orange make for a very interesting mix, it almost feels like it's got a Belgian kick to it.

M: Smooth, surprising light for a 9% beer, a bit phenolic, but not overly so, tasted a bit like a strong English Pale in the mouthfeel, the mineral character was there.

D: A very good beer, my best of the day, very drinkable for 9%, I can't wait to try more from this brewery if the first beer I've had from them is this good.

Serving type: on-tap

09-04-2007 01:04:43 | More by Halcyondays
Photo of Duff27
Duff27

Illinois

4.05/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Small head leaves a collar. Translucent light red body. No lacing.

Sweet cherry/fruity aromas.

Yum. Cherry taste as well. Smooth alcohol heat on the tail end, wouldn't guess 9.0%

Low end of carbonation, medium-thick mouthfeel.

Surprise über like here. Cherry flavors and thicker mouthfeel put i kver the top for me. Thanks TATURBO.

Serving type: bottle

06-20-2012 02:42:03 | More by Duff27
Photo of DarthKostrizer
DarthKostrizer

California

2.55/5  rDev -33.1%
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

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2012 20:45:29 | More by DarthKostrizer
Photo of FosterJM
FosterJM

California

3/5  rDev -21.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-23-2012 18:14:50 | More by FosterJM
Photo of UCLABrewN84
UCLABrewN84

California

3.5/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2012 22:03:55 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of AmericanGothic
AmericanGothic

Iowa

4.08/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a Sam Adams pint.

A: Pours a slightly hazy, amber color with one finger of pale tan head. Good retention but not much lace. Vigorous carbonation.

S: Banana, brown sugar, and butterscotch. Quite nice.

T: Much like the smell-- banana and brown sugar up front, bit of bitter cola on the finish. As the beer warms, some spicy bubble gum and caramel joins in.

M: Medium body, very smooth and oily.

O: A tasty beer. Not a lot of complexity, but good flavors nevertheless. I would buy this beer again. First beer from Lightning, and eager to try their others now.

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2011 22:51:25 | More by AmericanGothic
Photo of beveragesampler
beveragesampler

Indiana

3.3/5  rDev -13.4%
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!

Serving type: bottle

12-03-2011 02:13:29 | More by beveragesampler
Photo of mactrail
mactrail

California

3.85/5  rDev +1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-08-2011 04:24:01 | More by mactrail
Photo of Thorpe429
Thorpe429

Illinois

3.5/5  rDev -8.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-31-2011 23:55:25 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of hamilton23
hamilton23

California

4/5  rDev +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.

Serving type: bottle

06-16-2011 03:35:55 | More by hamilton23
Photo of brewandbbq
brewandbbq

New Hampshire

4.1/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle.

Pours hazy dark copper with a thin, bone head that struggled to settle up. A whisp on the surface and a few dots of lacing remained for the glass.

Aromatics are filled with bannanas, toffee, and caramel. A nice tropical fruitiness runs underneath but the beer is mainly phenolic and malty.

On the thicker side of medium bodied with a tacky, sticky mouthfeel.

Plump malt, drizzeled caramel, bannanas, and a hint of clove starts the palate. Toffee and some butterscotch follow through.

Finishes with some lingering sweet toffee, a hint of booziness, and plump malt.

Pretty tasty. Not sure if I'm sold on the Old Ale moniker, but a nice American strong ale anyways. Lacking the traditional vineous, almost tart note found in the great Old Ales.

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2010 01:13:07 | More by brewandbbq
Photo of Gobzilla
Gobzilla

California

4.15/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a hazy dark orange with amber brown highlights that had a half finger of head and left a little lacing sticking to the glass. The aroma was quite fruit forward probably from the yeast which consisted of apples, some dark fruits like plums, and a hint of tropical fruit notes like papaya. I also was able to detect caramel notes but not any booze that was well hidden in the nose. The taste was also very fruity and even more potent on the palate but the dark fruits were al little bit more mild on the taste, it didi have passion fruit and apple pear accents and what seemed to be a good caramel malty base. The brew was medium in body with a moderate amount of carbonation which had a sweet, fruity, slight grainy, and silky finish; not boozy at all. It drank good even more so than your average old ale. I was very surprised on how drinkable it was and how well the booze was muted especially for the stlye. Probably one of my favorites from the lightning brewery.

Serving type: bottle

11-27-2010 03:32:54 | More by Gobzilla
Photo of Eriktheipaman
Eriktheipaman

California

4.47/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ive had 3 Lightning beers and the first two were nothing special but this bottle conditioned beauty is GREAT!

It pours a dark orange/amber and pur careful or youll land some dead yeast. Not much of a head but good carbonation. Smells like plums and slightly roasted malt.

It comes in at 9% ABV but you cant tell at all with all the rich fruity tones and full mouthfeel.

Serving type: bottle

10-20-2010 03:20:41 | More by Eriktheipaman
Photo of mentor
mentor

Colorado

3.65/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

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.

Serving type: bottle

09-09-2010 04:54:52 | More by mentor
Photo of dwilson01
dwilson01

California

4.4/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Shared with my buddy, bomber split between my arrogant bastard pint glass and my brewery tours of san diego pint glass. Very little head on the pour, a nice coppery amber-orange body color, thick as hell. There is pretty much zero carbonation in there.

Smells mainly of woody oak and alcohol esters. Also some sweetness from the malt.

Very smooth flavor profile which turns the nose into more of a sweeter vanilla fruity flavor. Generally citrusy, I get apricot, my friend gets more of a banana flavoring and it reminds me of nectar. The alcohol bite is really smoothed out with just a tiny bit present in the aftertaste.

The mouthfeel is a little light for how thick the appearance is, in comparison to the old stock it's a little less malt body but has a smooth feeling down my throat.

This brew is quite drinkable, the smoothness of the malt body lend me to believe that a LOT of crystal malt may have been employed. the fruitier flavor and the absence of alcohol bite give it an extra easy drinking character.

Serving type: bottle

05-22-2010 23:15:54 | More by dwilson01
Photo of CrazyMacHarris99
CrazyMacHarris99

Pennsylvania

2.65/5  rDev -30.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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.

Serving type: bottle

01-25-2010 03:58:07 | More by CrazyMacHarris99
Photo of Mora2000
Mora2000

Texas

4/5  rDev +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.

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2010 06:08:06 | More by Mora2000
Photo of barleywinefiend
barleywinefiend

Washington

4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Solomon420 for his generosity on this mofo.

Poured a deep orange with a small white head, good carbonation on this too. Taste is fruits, mostly dark, lots of toffee, like an Enlgish bwine, like raisins, sweet and sugary, caramel, grains, good dose of hops. Mouthfeel is nice and warming, abv is sharp but not overpowering at all. I could not believe it was 9ABV. Could have passed for a English bwine.

Serving type: bottle

11-27-2009 03:58:54 | More by barleywinefiend
Photo of number1bum
number1bum

Pennsylvania

3.43/5  rDev -10%
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-02-2009 02:26:18 | More by number1bum
Photo of BuckeyeNation
BuckeyeNation

Iowa

3.5/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Serving type: bottle

07-16-2009 21:45:56 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of Reino
Reino

Oregon

4.35/5  rDev +14.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-14-2008 05:38:10 | More by Reino
Photo of mikesgroove
mikesgroove

South Carolina

4/5  rDev +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.

Serving type: bottle

09-01-2008 14:46:50 | More by mikesgroove
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Old Tempest Ale from Lightning Brewery
85 out of 100 based on 55 ratings.