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

59 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 59
Reviews: 37
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 13.98%
Wants: 3
Gots: 0 | 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: 59 | Reviews: 37 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%
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.

Photo of zestar
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

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.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%
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.

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.

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.

Photo of SocalKicks
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

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.

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.

Photo of Halcyondays
4.45/5  rDev +17.4%
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.

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.3/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a murky orange leaning towards light brown. Little head, but what there is sticks around as a thin swirl. Lovely aromas of orange marmelade, fresh baked bread, and light citrusy and herbal hops. The taste is also quite nice with a similar bread-with-marmelade flavor and a nicely bitter but balanced with malt finish. Fairly smooth but there is a little bit of woody bitterness there as well. Quite nice, and my first from this brewery.

Photo of barleywinefiend
4/5  rDev +5.5%
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.

Photo of HopHead84
4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I've been hearing about this beer from a friend for a while now, saw it at Holiday Wine Cellar last night, and decided to check i out. For being a San Diego Brewery I really haven't had much of what Lightning offers and I'm eager to try this.

A: Looks good. It's lighter than other old ales I've had and appears a dark orange. The beer pours a one finger head with medium lacing.

S: I'm very surprised to smell a slight funk to it, almost a brett like character not unlike a sour. Apricot, spices, sweet malt.

T: Fruity and sweet. A slight bitterness and an almost dry finish.

M: A nice full mouth feel with very good carbonation.

Very enjoyable and dangerously drinkable.

Photo of GraduatedCashew
4/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of Duff27
4.05/5  rDev +6.9%
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.

Photo of Gobzilla
4.15/5  rDev +9.5%
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.

Photo of jophish17
2.5/5  rDev -34%

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.

Photo of Vancer
4.33/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beer sent by soloman420 via the NoBSBIF3, thanks guy!

Orangy amber pour, frothy ass ivory head, sticky ring of lace. Big ol' whiff of west coast IPA - pine, citrus and orange. Very smooth and matly quaff of orange - backed by a sturdy pile of hops. Very well balanced, leans toward the sweet side. NO hint of the 9% alcohol.

This is one tasty tart brew, and I'm a better man for having sampled it.

Damn, the west coast BAs are fortunate people!

Photo of srandycarter
3.85/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

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!

Photo of Exiled
4/5  rDev +5.5%

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

Photo of Daniellobo
4.25/5  rDev +12.1%

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Old Tempest Ale from Lightning Brewery
85 out of 100 based on 59 ratings.