Duchy Originals Organic Old Ruby Ale 1905 - Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd

Not Rated.
Duchy Originals Organic Old Ruby Ale 1905Duchy Originals Organic Old Ruby Ale 1905

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BA SCORE
78
okay

43 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 43
Hads: 98
rAvg: 3.34
pDev: 11.08%
Wants: 2
Gots: 5 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
English Pale Ale |  5.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: wl0307 on 09-04-2010

No notes at this time.
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Reviews: 43 | Hads: 98
Photo of Sammy
3.77/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was surprised to see a different version show up, particularly one not frequently found across the globe. Light copper with rising carbonation bubbles, and grand soapy off-white head. Very mild hop aroma. Bitterness is there, reminds me of other organic bitters. Not an everyday beer for me, but not a bad one.Easy mouthfeel, with a hint of astringency.A bit too much carbonation. (382 characters)

Photo of biboergosum
3.65/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle, of a slightly different sort than the usual Duchy Organic Ale that I see kicking around. After all the resurgent foorfarah in the press lately about the antiquated royal family, the beer before me coincidentally appears to be the result of Prince Charles' association with the Waitrose chain of UK supermarkets, and one of their stores happens to be across from the Wychwood brewery in Witney, Oxfordshire...just sayin'...

This beer pours a slightly hazy medium golden amber hue, with two fingers of creamy foamy off-white head, which leaves a near-solid coating of lace around the glass in its wake. It smells of sharp biscuity pale malt, mild tangy orchard fruit, and bitter leafy hops. The taste is more biscuity cereal malt, some indeterminate fruit sweetness, a soft, earthy yeastiness, and mellow, leafy noble hops. The carbonation is quite sedate, the body medium weight, smooth, and pillow-soft. It finishes still sweet and bready, with a tugging substantial earthy hoppiness.

A pretty decent English pale ale, the hops at least willing to show up, but overall, still a stiff upper-lip, there's a good chap, kind of affair. (1,147 characters)

Photo of MasterSki
2.77/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle received as a birthday gift - almost certainly purchased at the LCBO. Served in a pint glass.

A - A finger-plus of white foam settles to a thin cap, leaving glass-coating lacing. Hazy honey orange body.

S - Yikes - the first things that come to mind are vomit and sweat. There's also a bit of skunk in there. As it warms up, some herbal notes and toasted grains come out, but this does not smell very good.

T - Taste is better. Pretty standard English ale flavors - fruity English ale yeast, a bit of treacle, as well as some lemon and herbal hop flavors. Light bitterness in the finish.

M - Pleasant medium-low carbonation, light body, crisp, clean, and slightly dry finish.

D - Smell is horrible. Otherwise this is pretty middling. When will someone (other than Cantillon) make good organic beers? (811 characters)

Photo of BlackHaddock
2.96/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

500ml Bottle: BBD 31 May 14, poured into a UK pint sleeve on 26 Nov 13.

Looked good, a light ruby body that was clear and clean above sat a full and lasting off-white pillow of foaming bubbles.

The nose was weak: hints of fruits and malts if you sniffed hard enough.

The taste was of semi-sweet malts with fruit notes, was expecting more to be honest.

Medium bodied and easy enough to drink, but it lacks polish and depth from start to finish. (447 characters)

Photo of wl0307
3.68/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Coming in a 500ml brown bottle, purchased at the Waitrose supermarket, this new product in the Duchy Originals range is said to use "an English barley first used in 1905 called Plumage Archer", now sourced from organic farms including "Duchy Home Farm in Highgrove". BB 31/08/2011, served cool in a straight imperial pint glass.

A: dark reddish amber in colour, good clarity, coming with a moderately thick off-white froth settling to a thin sheet to last, on top of a constant feed of fine fizz.
S: the aroma upfront is lightly peppery & ripe berry/plum-ish in terms of hop-malt mixture, like a premium bitter, autumny style; on the side are notes of green apples, a bit of dust, and rather light and refreshingly sweet notes of pale and semi-caramely malts. Pleasant, not complex.
T: very smooth, a swallow of decent pale malts, mildly sour-sweet fruitiness is ensued by well-lingering biscuity undertones with the English-pale-malt-plus-yeastiness' trademark "dirty-cloth"-like edge (very much like the same brand's Duchy Original Organic Ale, cask version), as well as a faintly peppery note of hops. "Undemanding" in the finish, in terms of hoppiness, bitterness, and overall flavour complexity; nonetheless, an interestingly dry-ish palate like a well-fermented pale ale lingers well, along with more pleasure provided by the quality malts.
M&D: softly carbonated, medium-bodied, this is all in all a very drinkable Pale Ale type of English Bitter - not so hoppy+bitter as one's standard Bitter or Best Bitter, not so fruity+malty as a Premium Bitter, but more along the lines of Marston's Pedigree, Sam Smith's OBB, or even Wadworth's 6X, in my opinion. The aftertaste is particularly enjoyable (the best selling point of this product), thanks partly to the conditioning kit (using the Brakspear's double-drop system?) and partly to, I presume, the old-ish malt, "Plumage Archer". (1,893 characters)

Photo of biegaman
2.98/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Curious that Old Ruby should have no actual ruby colour in it what so ever; even calling this fair auburn beer orange seems a bit of a stretch. That's not to say, however, that it isn't an attractive beer. On the contrary, its toasty complexion, frosted clarity and fine trim make it look quite dapper. 'Ruby' must just be British slang for something.

This aroma (lack there of) is a testament to the fact that the most environmentally sensible ingredients are not always the most gastronomically sensible. Anyone who's tried replacing beef with tofu is likely to agree. It's comforting to know these malts were selected from near-by organic farms, but it's unfortunate that that's resulted in much less character.

I bet the people in charge of Duchy Originals listen to a lot of easy rock. And find pepper too spicy. And find stripes too flashy. This taste is plainer than plain white bread. No honey. No jam. Just toast. Dry toast. I'm tempted to pass some credit to the hops, but the earthy, floral element they lend dissipates too quickly and is so muted to begin with. Grainy, biscuity sweetness is what we're given and that's all we get.

I'm all for organically grown and sustainably produced food products. I do wonder, however, what sense it makes for a brewery working towards those ends to ship their products half way around the world. With regards to their ecological footprint it seems counter-productive, no? Either way, they shouldn't have - we make our own dull beers!

The brewers of the world have yet to convince me that 'organic' doesn't equate to 'bland'. While I'm sure that that doesn't *have* to be the case, it has been so far. Duchy's organic ales obviously do a lot of good but they also have one fault: they're boring. The brewery should do the next environmentally friendly thing: stop exporting them! (1,836 characters)

Photo of LiquidAmber
3.58/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Seattle Beer Week pint glass. Pours a medium bronze amber with a thin off-white head that dissipates to a thin film and ring around the glass with slippery light lacing. Nice bready malt aroma; pretty much just quite malty. Flavor is also similarly malty, biscuit and a lightly bready, somewhat attenuated and simple. A hint of light grassy hops in the finish. Light to medium bodied. A typical Wychwood English ale, with very nice flavor, but very light, almost watered down. This one got me hoping with the rich malt aroma, but the taste left me wishing for more of what is here. Nice malt, but simple and a bit bland. (634 characters)

Photo of Viggo
2.8/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

500 ml bottle from the LCBO.

Pours a clear dark coppery orange, some reddish highlights, dark amber, fluffy off white head forms and quickly settles down to a thin ring around the glass, few lace spots stick.

Smell is alright, sweet and malty, some caramel, a bit of brown sugar, light treacle, quite fruity, some strawberries and a hint of cherry, touch of raisin, lightly earthy, a bit of christmas cake aroma, neat.

Taste is very weak and watery, light fruitiness, some honey/caramel sweetness, a touch of floral, and thats it, completely dies.

Mouthfeel is light bodied with low carbonation, smooth for virtually flavourless. (633 characters)

Photo of tbeckett
3.45/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Pours a light copper or golden-ish with lot's of carbonation leading to a fluffy one finger, white head. Tremendous lacing sticking to the glass the whole way and a quarter-finger cap of soapy head remaining. Bright.

S - Lot's of nice caramel mingling with subtle English hops. Lovely balance in the aroma. Smells a little like a cracker with a tropical fruit spread on it or something. Quite biscuity, butterscotchy, and fruity. Very inviting, but not powerful.

T - Largely the same. Quite complex for its abv. Quite biscuity up front and slightly sweet, fading to a fruity character, finishing sweet, yet balanced with a mild, fruity bitterness. There's also a sort of appley, fruity note there too, keeping it a little lighter. Sort of soapy and metallic as well; largely the reason this is held back.

M - Medium bodied with a significant amount of carbonation. Carbonation stands out as it's probably more than I'm used to for the style.

D - I could have a number of these in a pub but it's not something I will be seeking out as a sessionable ale any time soon. A tasty beer, just not what I'm looking for to have alot of. (1,136 characters)

Photo of AgentZero
2.72/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A - Orangish colored beer with a white head that left a good amount of lace and spots on the side.

S - Smells like sweet BO. That's not a smell that really belongs in a beer. A little fruit with some toasted grain. Yuck.

T - It does taste better than it smells. Some sweet caramel that's slightly fruity. Little bit of toasted grain.

M - Lighter body, some active carbonation.

O - No reason to drink this again. Unpleasant smell does this one in almost from the beginning. (476 characters)

Photo of Rutager
3.38/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Arron for this one!

Appearance. Pours a lightly hazy amber-orange with a finger of off-white head.

Smell. Sweet grains, caramel, a little citrus fruits and some grassy hops.

Taste. Sweet malts, caramel, a little bit of mixed citrus juice, a little bitter with some grassy hops in the finish.

Mouthfeel. Below medium in body with medium carbonation.

Ovrall. Not bad. Nothing about it really stands out for me, but nothing offensive either. I'd drink it again. (473 characters)

Photo of andrenaline
3.58/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From my tasting notes...

A - Pours a nice amber colour, finger of head with decent retention, sporadic sticky lacing, and some fine visible body carbonation.

S - Some leafy biscuit malts with sweet caramel, though slightly bitter and metallic.

T - More of an earthy herbal hop off the top followed by a bready caramel malt on the finish. Bitter hops linger on finish, making for a nice hop / malt balance, though nothing outstanding.

M - Medium bodied ale that goes down smooth and finishes with a touch of dryness.

D - Overall, a very tasty amber ale offering a nice hop / malt balance with some nice bitterness that lingers. Flavourful UK offering and worth a try, though not to be interpreted as anything mind blowing. (726 characters)

Photo of kwjd
2.69/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I suspect this may have came to the LCBO in Ontario as some sort of mistake. The LCBO website lists this as the Duchy Originals Organic Ale, which they also had (as well as what it said on the shelf/price tag), so I decided to pick this up to try another beer from the brewery.

Pours a bright reddish-orange colour with white head that dissipates leaving a thin layer with small amount of lacing around the glass. Smell is biscuity malt, mild floral hops and I think I get a bit of a metallic smell. Flavour is a bit bitter with some sweetness, but something is a little bit off. This should be fresh because it just came to the store this week. (646 characters)

Photo of jazzyjeff13
3.3/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A 500ml bottle with a BB of May 2012. The front label mentions that it contains a variety of English barley called Plumage Archer, dating from 1905.

Poured into a Sam Smith's pint glass. A clear coppery-amber hue with good carbonation. Produces a small head of pale tan foam that lasts for a minute or two before subsiding. Aroma of sweetish malt with notes of caramel and dry, leafy hops. Hints of solvent/alcohol.

Tastes of sweet malt with a mild bitter finish. Notes of caramel and leafy hops with the faintest hint of citrus in the background. Mouthfeel is smooth and slightly astringent. Aftertaste of sweet malt.

Nicely composed and well-rounded, but a little dull. The malt could do with more hops to balance the flavour. Not bad, but won't blow your socks off. (771 characters)

Photo of SebD
3.68/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: : It has a nice amber/ruby colour to it. It has a nice white head that dies down moderatly and lacing is present.

Smell: The aromas definitly give out hints of sweet malts, floral hops, with hints of caramely and fruity notes.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has a nice caramely flavour to it along with a fruitiness. The malts and the hops are well balanced and the hops also give a slight bitterness.

Mouthfeel: It has a low carbonation with a nice balance and is very smooth with a dry finish.

Drinkability: It's a very drinkable beer accompanied with good flavours and aromas. (595 characters)

Photo of pootz
3.05/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

500mlBottle:

Pours a copper-red ale in the glass small cap, weak retention, mild carbonation.

Mild aromas of grains and fruits....very understated nose.

Mild character boarders on weak/thin....limp character.

Front side has some thin malting, takes a while to catch the fuggles which begins to dominate the back side of the profile...an interesting red berry fruit note pervades the entire profile....finish is lightly bitter clean but thin.

Decent ingredients but just not enough character to hold my interest. (521 characters)

Photo of mick303
3.22/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

BB (30/04/13) Pours quite little head, colour is definitely on the ruby side of brown, with the barest of carbonation.

The aroma has some fruity notes mixed with malt, red fruit and berries, but fairly restrained. Seems like it could use a little bit more hops, something about the malts seems overly candy-sweet and unbalanced.

Taste is initially dominated by malt, very sweet malt, has some cherries also. Hops presence is lacking. Has the normal flavour of biscuit malt meshed with sweet fruit. Doesn't come across as having a huge depth of flavour, sweetness is on the harsh side.

Mouthfeel is fairly smooth initially, before a bit more bitterness comes through, carbonation is light, with a medium body. Not bad, but not great, leaves a fair bit to be desired. Drinkability is acceptable.

Surely one of the more unremarkable EPAs I've tried. Found little going on, cloying sweetness, bit unbalanced. Tolerable when cold. Superior beers out there than this. (968 characters)

Photo of TerryW
3.3/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Coppery red under a moderate head that very quickly dissipates to nothing.

Subdued nose of sweet malt. A fairly sweet beer with a slightly bitter finish. Noticeable bite from carbonation. A very anonymous beer, to the point that I'm having trouble finding things to say about it. Nothing really leaps out at you except, perhaps, the carbonation. But that's sort of what I've come to expect from Wychwood -- stuff that's inoffensive and unremarkable. (450 characters)

Photo of allergictomacros
3.55/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Clear amber with moderately dense, but fizzy, popping head.

S - Nose has some citrus and some grass, hints of metalllic caramel.

T - Well balanced flavour. Some fruit, some caramel, some decent hopping. Not too dry nor sweet. A little bit of toastiness.

M - Maybe a bit on the light side, not quite watery, but could definitely use some more body.

D - Very drinkable brew. (380 characters)

Photo of thehyperduck
3.46/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pint bottle from the LCBO; best before April 30th 2013. I used to be a big fan of English pale ales, but in the last few years my interests have drifted elsewhere - and in the last few months specifically, I've barely tried any new EPAs at all. This one was on sale, so it was as good a time as any to tick it off.

Pours an attractive clear copper-amber colour, generating a bit more than a finger of foamy off-white head. Fairly good retention, with decent smears of lacing left behind in its wake. The aroma is nice, but pretty standard for the style - bready, biscuity pale malts, fruity peach or apricot notes, with maybe a brush of floral, grassy hops.

Decent flavor that meets most of my prerequisites for the style - biscuity malts and light toffee sweetness, with some fruity esters of apples, pears, or perhaps some other sort of orchard fruit. Light, leafy, earthy bitterness toward the finish from the English-style hops. Good balance between hops and malts for a relatively pleasant, bittersweet flavour. On the light side of medium-bodied, very smooth with soft carbonation. Quite drinkable.

This is a decent, relatively simple brew that is mild, balanced, and overall quite refreshing - a respectable EPA, for sure, with a good, strong flavour profile for a 5%er. I'm enjoying this pint, and I may enjoy another one in the future.

[Updated August 31 2014]

Another bottle, grabbed mostly because I wanted to drink something I hadn't had in a few years. This isn't bad for an organic beer, but it's overpriced and finding a better English ale for less money isn't very difficult. Balanced flavours, with some mild English hoppage and orchard fruit sweetness - a little bland. I don't think I'd spend money on this one again.

Final Grade: 3.46, a B-. (1,770 characters)

Photo of SLeffler27
3.82/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours murky, dirty copper (SRM 15-17), with a thin clingy off-white head. Fine lace coats the Cicso fisheye pint glass while modest random carbonation percolates within.

The aroma is malty with caramel, followed by slight grass and straw.

Light bitterness is well balanced against sweetness with an earthy background. The finish is brief, modest and white bread.

A medium to light body with soft texture is accented by light carbonation. There is no presence of alcohol in this beer that finishes moderately dry.

This is one of the better organic beers I have tried. It worked well while winding down in the shade on a perfect summer day. (642 characters)

Photo of brendan13
3.87/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Slightly hazy dark orange with a 2cm slightly off white head that falls fairly quickly.
S - Light caramel malt aroma with some earthy/grassy and light citrus marmalade hop character.
T - Like the taste, a light caramel along with some dry bready notes folowed by light earthy & marmalade fruit flavours.
M - Low to medium carbonation, medium bodied with a moderate bitterness.
O - A decent enough english style pale ale. (424 characters)

Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.45/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a nonic. Clear copper-amber brew, leaves about a half inch of foamy head, which recedes to a thin ring after a few minutes. A thin layer of patchy lacing graces the very top of the pour line.

Nose is very typical English pale - pale malts, biscuit, fruit, tea-leaf hops, caramel, slight metallic edge.

Taste isn't too far off, and reminds me of a slightly better made EPA. Caramel, tea, biscuit, dry finish.

Decent body, carbonation a little higher than I'm used to for the style, but actually I tend to like mine a touch more carbonated so I'm okay there.

I appreciate the organic/charitable nature of the brew, and this variation of the Duchy line is going down well, but there's not a whole lot separating this from others of the style. (756 characters)

Photo of DenisKolkin
3.69/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Purchased a bottle for $3.50 CDN from the LCBO. Served chilled.

Appearance - Dark orange, coppery color. 1+ fingers of ivory head that looks very dense and frothy. Some bubbles rising to the top. Sparse color left around the top of the glass.

Smell - Malty, slight dankness. Some caramel, with a light lemony aspect as well.

Taste - Fruity at first. Transitioning into a slightly earthy taste. It comes together nice and this is a good one. A bit leafy as well.

Mouthfeel - Dry finish, lowish carbonation, velvety smooth. However very light bodied and wanted a bit more weight.

Overall - A very nice beer. There's something hard to describe in the flavor profile that had me thinking that this is somewhere in between Wychwood's Wychwood and King Goblin both in taste and in enjoyment. When I cam online to see that this was actually made by Wychwood I was surprised at first and then not so much, since it seemed unlikely that another brewer could make a beer almost exactly halfway in between Wychwood and and King Goblin. Nevertheless rather enjoyed this. (1,063 characters)

Photo of korguy123
3.68/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Best Before Date 8/31/2011
Randomly spotted at the LCBO this week.

A- Ruby/copper colored pour. Two finger white head, slowly shrinks to thin white cap. Lacing is good.

S- Faint hops, strawberries, raisins, figs, yeast, sweet toasted malts.

T- Strawberries, cloves, somewhat prominent metal taste, earthy, grass, fresh biscuits, unripened raisins.

M- Silky and creamy. Carbonation is is light and satisfying. Very rich feeling.

D- Good sipper to enjoy the tastes. Would definitely go great with some red meat to pair this nicely. (534 characters)

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Duchy Originals Organic Old Ruby Ale 1905 from Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd
78 out of 100 based on 43 ratings.