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XS Old Crustacean - Rogue Ales

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XS Old CrustaceanXS Old Crustacean

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1,206 Ratings

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Ratings: 1,206
Reviews: 699
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 13.47%
Wants: 95
Gots: 126 | FT: 7
Brewed by:
Rogue Ales visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  11.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-03-2001

Formerly "Old Crustacean"

8 Ingredients:
Hugh Baird Carastan and Rogue Micro Barley Farm DareTM & RiskTM Malts; Chinook and Rogue Micro Hopyard Revolution & Freedom Hops, Pacman Yeast & Free Range Coastal Water.

110 IBU
83 AA
57º Lovibond
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,206 | Reviews: 699
Photo of StephenRich
4.67/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ok, first of all, this is a vintage Rogue Old Crustacean Barleywine that was bottled in 1999; I enjoyed this with one of my best friends at the Beer Bistro a couple weeks ago. So we tasted it over 10 years after it was bottled. Awesome. This is a big barleywine that was originally 11.5% abv. This sort of thing begs to be aged. And coming from Rogue, and the hop-focused west coast, you can be be confident that it was once a very bitter and hoppy barleywine with amazing construction. I love this kind of stuff. Being able to see what happens to certain beers after years or a decade of rest and contemplation makes my hairs stand on end.

Its hard to know what to expect, but with practice, you can learn how to estimate and hypothesize what will happen to certain beers after time. The key is patience. When you buy beers of greater strength buy 2 or more and put one away for a few years. Come back to in 1, 2 3 or more years later and see what happens. It can be a litle nerve racking to worry about what could be happening to your beer in all that time, but put them away, forget about them, and come back years later to find long lost treasures. Its worth the wait!

The Old Crustacean came in one of the smallest beer bottles you will find, 270ml. And for good reason. A barleywine is not a session beer, for one. And this one from Rogue is big and rich with a mouth smacking punch of hop bitterness at 110 IBUs. Thus, it should be served to you in a big wide snifter with about 4 to 6 ounces in it, as it was for us.

It poured out silky and oil like building no head and with close to zero carbonation. It really fell out of the bottle with heavy intent. It lay in the snifter glowing a dark amber brown shining with blacks, and a murky dirty red tint. The nose was potent but smooth with richly dark berries, oak, molasses, hints of leather and dark sweet tobacco. Sweet malts show caramel and toffee cleanly on the nose and a whiff of alcoholic warmth. It hints at bitter, but it's hard to tell whats going to hit your tongue.

Sure enough though, a big wide and malty wave rushes into your palate with woody and dense hop bitterness that has been mellowed over 11 years into a deeply complex and massively bitter sensation. Its most apparent first, before any malts can come in. The usual fresh, piny and citrus hop bitter aromas that you would expect from a west coast barleywine have melted into a deep and round powerfully bitter mouthfeel. Resin and the white pith under the citrus peel shows bitter right at the back of your mouth.

Thats really they key here - this beer is very bitter; massively bitter. But its not aggressive or hugely aromatic. The bitter is built into the depths of this beer and helps balance out a storm of malt richness. This is an awesome beer with malt flavors that I have never experienced before. Earlier I mentioned leather and tobacco. This was amazing. The sweet and earthy sensations of dark and still moist tobacco and leather was hugely flavorful blended into a round melty caramel and burn brown sugar flavor.

The beer brings huge warmth and big complexity showing additional flavors of sticky dark fruits, port and oak. Its really remarkable. The finish is bitter and dry and lingers in your mouth for hours. Seriously, by the time I got home and rested I could still feel the Rogue in my mouth. Crazy stuff. Who knows what will happen in another decade...

Photo of hughesm4
3.77/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a copper brown color with a slight haze. Smelled intensely hoppy and the taste wasn't much different. I was taken aback at how strong the hops were in the first drink, surprising because hoppy is my style. The following drinks weren't as harsh and it became a decently smooth drink.

Photo of CampusCrew
4.3/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

had this at the huge kickbacks dinner in Jacksonville, FL. I took some notes but mostly doing this from memory.
Appearance: deep garnet red color and nice lacing
Smell: lots of intense hop aromas
Taste: intense beer. balanced barleywine and a greta malt backbone. great aging beer.

Photo of kwjd
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 vintage. Pours an amber-brown colour with thin head. Smell has lots of burnt caramel and toffee with dried fruit. Flavour is quite sweet with brown sugar. Even if hops faded in the nose, the bitterness is still there in the taste. Nice barleywine.

Photo of hoppymcgee
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 2002 vintage 12oz. bottle into a white wine glass.

A: Still has plenty of carbonation - little bubbles, big bubbles, whatever; it's still there! Dark, dark brown in color.

S: Still a teeny bit of booze in the nose. I also get some smoke, caramel, malts, and dried figs.

T: Bitterness, caramel, bitterness, wood, bitterness. This beer is bitter. It's almost as if there's grapefruit rind in the beer. If you're a fan of sweet barleywines you would not like this. A unique American Barleywine.

M: The carbonation held up just fine. Very dry, almost to the point where it's peppery.

D: This is kind of a conundrum. I thought this went down pretty easy - and that's with the extreme bitterness, dryness, and age.

Cheers to Rogue!

Photo of gurpapete
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served in a pint glass, drank on the couch. As with any barleywine Style beer the aftertaste on this beer is not for the faint of heart. The nose is caramely and very malty. At 11.5 abv there is virtually no head. A little too carbinated for a traditional barleywine but lines ones gut like the best of the bunch! Being a sucker for barleywines I have to give this beer high remarks.

Photo of russellaaron69
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a reddish brown (copper) into my tulip style glass. About a finger and a half of dense head w/ some pretty impressive lacing. Smell was sweet and had definite caramel, choclate and dark fruit notes to it. Taste was superb. Caramel and toasted malt all the way through w/ a slight hop bitterness and alcohol warmth on the back end. Mouthfeel was great. Each sip was full and left one hell of a delicious, lingering after taste. Drink ablitly was also very good. You don't really taste much of the alcohol but you will quickly start to feel it. Definitely up there on my list of favorite brews. I'll be picking up another bottle to let sit for a few years.

Photo of Soilworker
3.87/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Presentation: 2008 vintage poured from a 750ml bottle into a snifter.

A: Dark cloudy amber with a half finger thick head. The bubbles in the head are quite large and retention is moderate.

S: Caramel sweet malts hit the nose right up front with notes of dark dried fruits (fig) and bittersweet chocolate. Slight alcohol presence but this is masked by the other dominate flavors.

T: Thick syrupy caramel malts start off but this starts to fade (quite rapidly) towards a more hoppy character. The hoppiness is somewhat subdued, most likely from the 2 years of age, through age, though the rough bitterness is still present and definitely sticks to the tongue. The alcohol is quite masked but you get a nice warming sensation in your throat. In the finish there is some slight notes of ripe banana at the end.

M: Surprisingly little carbonation to speak of and feals quite full-bodied on the palate.

D: Damn strong alcohol content in this beer and is quite full-bodied and powerful. The bitterness is quite strong still which starts to impact the drinkablity of this beer.

Notes: I've been looking forward to cracking this one open and got what I expected out of this beer. It is a pretty good barleywine and I still think that it could definitely use some more age on it still. At the steep price tag of $17 I'm not sure I'll be buying this anytime soon, especially when there are cheaper and equally as good offerings.

Photo of tim9887
4.2/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Rogue Old Crustacean 2006 750mL

Pours a deep dark reddish brown, very muddy - cannot see through. Nice 1/4 tan head that subsides quickly to a fine lacing. Aroma is very boozy; has a nice sweet sugary caramel maltiness and some dark fruity character. Minimal hops in aroma (no wonder, it's a 4yr old btl.) Surprisingly, hop bitterness is still quite intact - all 110 of those IBU's lasted quite well. Very bitter and big boozy warmth in the chest. Very dry finish. Smooth and slick mouthfeel.

Photo of sweemzander
3.54/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750mL black ceramic bottle poured into a stemmed glass. 2008 Vintage.

(A)- Pours a thick cloudy red mahogany color that actually briefly cascaded during the pour. Left a giant foamy tan head that left tons of intricate lacing behind as it slowly dissipated.

(S)- Fruity. Some fig & raisin with a touch of cherry & cranberry. Some almost burnt caramel. Some dry wood notes. Kinda closed though.

(T)- Dry, with a big hop pine wood bite up front. This is surprising despite its age. Malt of that same burnt caramel. Some new fruits of lemon & lime with fig, raisin, & cranberry. Rather bitter; gets more & more bitter the more I have of it.

(M)- A good carbonation level. This is surprisingly backwards. Still ridiculously hoppy & bitter; not much malt coming through which is so weird since it should be the other way around since this has 2 years of age on it.

(D)- I cant believe how well this has aged. Based on this, it could age for even more years. Still very hoppy; was hoping for more of the malts to come through, but I can live with that. For what you get though, I am glad I did not pay the full price tag for one of these. Definitely not worth the typical $20 price tag for one of these.

Photo of beerwolf77
3.79/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to BeerFMAndy for sharing this bottle during our Cinco de Mayo tasting. Poured into my Duvel tulip the beer is a muddy orange brown. About a half finger of light beige head forms and recedes leavig a touch of soapy lace.

The aroma has an initial blast of sweet dark fruit drizzled with caramel. This gives way to a robust carmel malt, toasted bread, lightly roasted almonds and a hint of oak barrel. This smells quite inviting.

The flavor is not as complex as the nose but it has some finer points. Smooth caramel malt with a light kiss of citrus hops seems to dominate at first. The middle seems to have a bit of a harsh bitterness mixed with bourbon booze. The finish is rather earthy with a distinct grassiness.

Medium body with rather mild carbonation.

Overall a nice barley wine. Not the most complex set of flavors but drinkable. As long as you split the bottle with someone.

Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.12/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle split and poured into a snifter. 11.5% ABV, 25° Plato, 110 IBUs, 83 AA, 57° Lovibond, ingredients, pairings, 2008 vintage. (Ceramic, swingtop attached bottle)

A - A tall but slow pour leaves a pile of loose cream bubbles floating on top. Good retention for the percent and bits of lace around the edges, it still looks pretty sexy. The color is a muddy, hazy amber-brown that's a bit dirty.

S - Bold malty sweetness opens the aroma with a ton of caramel malt and a touch of toast. A solid fruitiness is mellow across the nose. A bit of melon and berry with a huge fusel alcohol nose that has a nice slow burn to the finish without burning the nose-hairs right off. A decent level of hops is apparent, but for the technical 110 IBUs, it's not a lot. Of course, its two years old.

T - Malty sweet and caramel toasted malts have a big punch right away but quickly mellow out to a lightly citrusy hoppy flavor and a mild fruity alcohol finish. It's not even hot at all. Hoppy, bitter flavor finishes it out.

M - Medium-bodied and lacking any alcohol kick to it. Smooth, soft mouthfeel with a nice soft level of carbonation on the finish. Good mouthfeel.

D - Man, this is dangerously drinkable with the alcohol being really mellow with age. The flavor is pretty solid and actually hoppy for it's age. It's a good barleywine I took a chance on when it was on sale and got four bottles. I'll be aging this further.

Photo of marcobrau
4.27/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2008 vintage heavy ceramic swing-top bottle. Pours a deep red with a moderate amount of carbonation. Enticing aroma of burnt caramel, toffee, a touch of burnt marshmallow. Tastes of massive amounts of malt; caramel, a bit of toffee with the intense juicy citrus of Centennial hops combined with the pine resin character of Chinook. Very smooth. The lubricious mouthfeel enhances the drinkability (for a barleywine.) I love the combination of Chinook hops and caramel and Munich malts. The bitterness is intense and gets abrasive towards the finish. High alpha hops and alcohol mix for a very assertively bitter, slightly "hot" finish. Haven't had one of these in really long time. Still a great, intense barleywine. Amazing how assertive the bitterness is with nearly two years of age. Another bottle of this is in the cellar where it shall stay as long as many years as I can resist.

Photo of emmasdad
3.87/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

1998 vintage. Thanks again to Ratman for the opportunity to sample another beer from the past. Pours a dark, somewhat hazy, brown-amber color, with a very minimal amount of white lacing. Nice aromas of dark fruit, alcohol and caramel malt. Nice malty flavors, with caramel, toffee and alcohol. A very nicely aged beer, way different than the fresh, hugely hoppy beer I remember.

Photo of clayrock81
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured minimal head on top of a brownish red body with thin lace stuck around glass. A mix of herbal hops and dark fruit, especially cherry, with some caramel and bready malts mixed in. Has a great dry wine like taste with dark fruit, and again I notice cherries for some reason over other fruits, along with a nice chunk of toffee/caramel like sweetness. Not too hoppy but there is a little rounded presence that gives it a dry backbite but dry finish is also due to high alcohol kick. Also some sour fruit and stickiness to this beer. The alcohol bleeds a little on the finish but this is a great sipper/nightcap.

Photo of mcscratchtree2
4.23/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This bottle of Old Crustacean XS is vintage 1996-2000, not sure on the exact year. I do know that it was properly stored until 2007 when it was removed from the basement of JK Moose's Par 4 Cafe in Wilkes-Barre, PA and placed in a refrigerator.

I wasn't confident that it would hold up but was very pleasantly surprised when it hit my gullet just a few moments ago. The aroma is typical of a barleywine, smells like alcohol! It has a velvety smooth mouthfeel and I detect a strong caramel taste both in the nose and in the aftertaste. I know I should be sipping this beer, but it is very difficult to do so...love it.

Thanks Moose!

Photo of Wisconsinality
4.02/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Beer #3 of our Cinco de Mayo mini tasting.
Thanks to beerfmandy for this one.
2008 vintage.

A- Pours a nice deep amber with a little light showing through around the edge of the glass. Just a small amount of haze as well. A half finger worth of head that recedes quickly and leaves no head.

S- Big burst of dark fruits. Dates and figs mostly with some cherries thrown in. Caramel rounds out the nose and just a faint bit of alcohol pokes through.

T- Like the nose, big dark fruits, caramel, cherry and some biscuit as well. This beer has definitely mellowed after two years and the booze adds a nice subtle background.

M- A small amount of bitterness on the front end but relatively smooth on the tongue. Just the right amount of carbonation for the style. Good medium body and not cloying like some barleywines can be.

D- Some age has done this beer well. I am guessing it was pretty hot when it came out. Good flavor and good body. Solid beer all around.

Photo of Murchmac
4.1/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Opened from 2002.

Poured this thing out and its head was yellow. A very carbonated Yellow. Weird.

I was drunk so dont remember the smell or color or anything but this thing tasted hoppy as hell. I couldnt believe how unbelievably hoppy this beer was after 8 years. We had it after a 200 J.W. Lees and it was so different.

The other bw characteristics shown through in this beer. It was an excellent brew. Get one and cellar it, I usually hate rogue beers too.

Photo of movingtrain
4.52/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Drinking a 12 ounce bottle from 2002...have been saving this for years...can't wait to give it a try. Found this at Anderson's in Columbus on a sale rack...

Pours a fine ruby red with a small, creamy head on top. A little cloudy in appearance, thick, and bubbly.

Aroma gives off hints of caramel, cinnamon, crusty bread, earthy grapes, and heavy alcohol. Some wet oats, gin elements, juniper, grapefruit, black olives, and some brown sugar.

Some chocolate in the taste, butterscotch, and lots of hops. The presence of hops is remarkable after all these years. There are some brown sugar notes, almost of Belgian candy sugar quality. The alcohol really comes through in the aftertaste. Some bready notes, caramel, burnt/caramelized sugar, and cream.

Overall, this beer has held up extremely well. The alcohol is very present, as are the hops. The beer is a standout, new and aged...and this one, eight years old, is a fine example of a beer that deserves some age on it.

Photo of Gosox8787
4.52/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Presentation: 2008 vintage on tap at a local bar. Poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Ruby red and hazy in tone. Very bright colored. Very little head, but a nice thin white lacing settles after the pour.

Aroma: The hop presence does not smell like it has faded despite the fact this is a two year vintage. Pungent citrus dominates, but a strong malt body is certainly present right behind it.

Taste: Nice strong hop presence balances well with the caramel and earthy flavors from the malt. Even after a couple years, the hops are still biting and full flavored. Very well rounded. Barely a hint of any booze notes.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied with enough carbonation to keep this beer refreshing overall. Still feels like a sipper for the most part.

Drinkability: The high ABV does not assert itself at all. Feel much lighter than it actually is. The balance also makes this very drinkable for a brew of this considerable strength.

Overall, a quality, balanced, well-hopped barleywine that ages very well. The flavors are all here and well accounted for. The hop presence on this vintage is rather amazing too. Highly recommended, especially for fans of the style.

Photo of beer2day
4.17/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2001 vintage. Completely overlooked this bottle in the bottom of the beer fridge. Man, I really need to inventory that thing.

Very dark brown pour. Hazy does not do this one justice. Grainy in appearance. No head at all, not unexpected for a 9-year old BW.

Nose is outstanding. Huge malt presence. Thick and rich with maple, caramel, raisins, and plums. Alcohol definitely makes itself known.

Thick, rich, syrupy hit. Stays sweet for bit with the raisin and plum making an appearance. Then alcohol takes over. Lots of it. Very strong burn at the finish.

Feel is spot on. Nice malt body to balance the alcohol.

Easy sipper. 12oz bottle is more than enough for two to share.

Photo of IrieJackalope
3.89/5  rDev -3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2008 release, aged 2 years

Poured a small amount into a snifter and set the rest aside for a later date. The color is really fantastic on this one, a deep reddish brown with a fantastic, yet thin, layer of head that doesn't quit. The aroma is also quite good. Normally, I expect barleywines to be overwhelmed with malt character, but there is a fair amount of hop quality here as well. Upon first sip, the beer reveals itself to be viscous, yet pleasantly smooth. There's a good amount of malt here, but again, the hops manage to shine through. I'd be doing this beer a great disservice if I didn't mention that this is likely the best experience I've had with a barleywine to date. Overall, Old Crustacean is very drinkable for a barleywine, although you probably wouldn't want to have more than one or two glasses, as the 11.5 ABV might sneak up on you pretty quick. Definitely planning on getting my hands on another one of there to set aside for aging.

Photo of BretSikkink
4.23/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Gorgeous mahogany brown, served with a tight yellow-tanned foam. Retention and lacing are magnificent, and the overall appearance is perfect barleywine. Nose is strong, with two tons of hops smacking you in the face: floral, citric, pine resin. Big dose of fusel alcohol goes hand in hand with a huge caramel malt presence.

Slick, viscous mouthfeel is pretty deep, very smooth and full in general. Lots of hops still, but the balance is better here: the caramel and toffee malts hold their own against the aggressive grapefruit pith, pine resin, and black pepper. Long, boozy finish leaves traces of hops all over the tongue and palate.

Exciting, but restrained in a certain sense. I'll never tire of this beer - drink some young, drink some old; it's got the full spectrum of skills.

Photo of BeerNemesis
3.32/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Rogue "Old Crustacean" 1998 vintage (12 years aged)

Poured from a funny litte 7 oz. bottle into a tulip glass @ The Gramercy Tavern. Brandy colored no head, no lacing.

Big alcohol smell, and some dark fruit, maybe cherry.

Again a lot of alcohol punch. I'm getting a bit of a whiskey vibe. Dark fruits come on thick and strong. The alchohol burn is a bit too much for my enjoyment here, but I can still taste the vestiges of its former glory.

Mouthfeel & Drinkability:
Syrupy and languid. The carbonation is all but gone, and the hops have been washed away. Whats left is a big malty alcohol presence. Swishes slowly in the mouth, goes down with considerable alcohol burn.

So far, I can't say barleywines are my favorite style, so I admit at least some degree of bias. I'll come back and tweak the review as I gain more appreciation for and experience with them. However, 12 years of aging was too much for this one in my opinion. It seems to be past its peak in complexity and has moved into more one dimensional territory -- almost like a fruity, syrupy burst of alcohol.

The B- rating reflects what I consider to be a decline in complexity due to excessive aging. I have tried not to let my personal ambivalence for the style from getting in the way of judging its potential.

Photo of MrHungryMonkey
3.95/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5


Nose is richly malty with some complex aged aromas, a moderate citric fruity/floral/hoppiness, and more malt. Smells nice.

Pours a very dark brown, color makes it quite murky although it seems to be clear. Mild head - bubbly with large bubble and little retention. It looks kind of like a stagnant pond with something growing in it. Looks good.

Very viscous with strong hop bitterness and bite. This must be one of the thickest beers I've tried. Citric fruity hop with some secondary pine and herbal spice. Some roasted tones - coffee, chocolate - go well with the citric. Richly malty. Tastes good. Feels wonderful. Pretty good drinkability.

Good, but significantly overpriced.

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XS Old Crustacean from Rogue Ales
90 out of 100 based on 1,206 ratings.