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Old Flame - DuClaw Brewing Company

Old FlameOld Flame

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

67 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 67
Reviews: 27
rAvg: 3.61
pDev: 14.4%

Brewed by:
DuClaw Brewing Company visit their website
Maryland, United States

Style | ABV
American Strong Ale |  7.50% ABV

Availability: Spring

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 05-05-2004)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 67 | Reviews: 27 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of TappaKeggaBrew


3.7/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Cloudier than I was expecting, dark amber color, with half a finger of golden-tan head; it faded fast, and left minimal lacing.

S: Aroma is dominated by strong aromas of toasted grain. I detect sweet, ripe pear and hints of pepper, plus some floral notes as well.

T: Like the aroma, the taste is also dominated by the grain, with a rich, bread-crust flavor up front, melding into sweet, malted grain. There's a hint of plum for a fleeting moment, then grassy flavors come to the front; these, in turn, yield to moderately bitter hops that lingers well into the clean finish.

M: Crisp, well-carbonated, with a hint of dryness at the end.

O: It began like a brown ale, and finished like a pilsner. A good beef to pair with a hamburger or similar American fare.

Serving type: bottle

03-30-2014 17:36:57 | More by TappaKeggaBrew
Photo of ThisWangsChung


2.65/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a mostly clear copper color. The head sucks - not even a finger high (eggshell shade) and crap retention. No real lacing, either. Frankly, this isn't much to look at.

S: Wow, this seems pretty treacly to me. Brown sugar, caramel, toffee, and vanilla comprises most of the aroma. Some musty mineral water detracts harshly at first, but thankfully seems to calm down some. In its stead, it's replaced with some fruity esters. The more it warms up, the more estery it becomes. I still think it's too sweet, but there is some promise within the aroma.

T: It starts decently enough: fruit esters hit the palate first. It kind of goes to crap afterwards. Why? Because it finishes with a one-two 'combination' of must and plastic. It's not something that works - rather, it's something that makes me go "why is this in my beer?!" There are some faint rumblings of brown sugar and molasses on the finish, too. Take away the off notes, and this would be an okay sweet beer.

M: It's a weird mix of sweet and astringent on the tongue, and it doesn't mesh well. My tongue is left both overly dried out and overly coated in residual sugar. Add in low carbonation, and this beer doesn't just taste messy, it FEELS messy.

O: Every once in a while, DuClaw will surprise me quite a bit - X-1, for instance. All this does, however, is remind me exactly why I don't buy 6 packs from these guys. If these guys put as much effort into the main line as they do on their limited stuff...well, let's just say I'd be doing a lot more local drinking. Wait, it reminds me of another thing to say. I HATE CRYSTAL MALT! This tastes like it's freakin' loaded with the stuff. Both are good enough reasons for me to never need to drink this again.

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2014 21:52:29 | More by ThisWangsChung
Photo of Suds


3.51/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This is a clear and dark mahogany liquid. The head is small, but with reasonable lace. Woody and nutty aromas. Walnut shell, roasted malt, and some distant hops. A bit of alcohol as well, but light. Drying and flavorful. It could have more body, but is reasonably god.

Serving type: bottle

01-19-2014 21:23:34 | More by Suds
Photo of Beer-A-Lot


3.75/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Not a bad brew at all. Kind of funky in its dry taste, but not off-putting. I think I like this at first sip more than when it warmed, but still a decent beer with a fair variety of spicy and malty flavors. Just seems to miss the mark of a real good beer by a slight margin. Yet, a bit of a surprise in its flavors.

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2014 17:49:06 | More by Beer-A-Lot
Photo of jkeefe1800


3.41/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle poured into a tulip glass. Smell is intense, strong sweet malt scent little bit of wood. flavor is strong but smooth almost oaky, roasted notes come thru finish is smooth with a slight bit of acidity. Acidity makes you pause mimics heat and makes you want to come back for more. Overall a decent beer but not anything overall exceptional.

Serving type: bottle

08-13-2013 18:21:02 | More by jkeefe1800
Photo of woodychandler


4.25/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

I always admire the depth and breadth of the selection of beers that my local, in-person trader, tone77 brings by for me. It is his generosity that keeps me honest as if I were left to my own devices, I would limit myself to CANned beers and AIPAs. That may be an exaggeration, but not by much. Thanks again!

From the bottle: "Aged to perfection, this sensual union of fruity esters, caramel malt sweetness, and real molasses will soothe the burn of lost love, seducing your taste buds and re-igniting smoldering passions, or at least help you to ... drown your sorrows."; "Respect the Fluid".; "Craft be Cherished. Rules be Damned."

My aggro pour produced two dense, foamy fingers of tawny head with good retention. As it fell, sticky lacing was quickly appearing in its wake. Color was a bright copper and I was immediately reminded of an old flame, Linda Lou, whose hair was that shade and as coarse as wire. I was head over heels in love with her and kind of let her slip away. She was four or five years older than me and that was problematic for her. I think of her often, but I doubt that we will reignite. Nose was full of the fruity esters mentioned on the label, Talk about truth in advertising, it smelled like Mixed Fruit jelly! It was very berry-like, i.e. blueberry, red raspberry, strawberry, and blackberry. I wonder if I missed the seasonal Tastykake Mixed Berry pie this year because this reminded me of one. Mouthfeel was medium and the taste remained very berry-like, along with a mild heat. Finish was semi-dry, believe it or not, and the molasses flavor became evident. I would absolutely drink some more of this.

Serving type: bottle

06-09-2013 05:34:33 | More by woodychandler
Photo of RollBounce

New York

2.2/5  rDev -39.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Full lacing, but an obnoxious nose, bourbon coconut, and a blue cheese powder that is transferred directly to the palate, thick mouth feel. Overall A disjointed beer is all I can say may be better if rested. Was the only beer of my samples that I did not like.

Serving type: on-tap

05-17-2013 20:24:56 | More by RollBounce
Photo of RblWthACoz


3.43/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This is a very malt-forward brew. Loads of sweetness, and I'd have to say too much so. I think some hop influence would be a good thing for this beer and would help it balance out, if done right. The beer is smooth and easy enough to drink. It's just not really that interesting.

Serving type: bottle

04-18-2013 04:01:24 | More by RblWthACoz
Photo of DrDemento456


3.7/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Snagged a single for $3.50 at the House of 1,000 beers.

A - Color is a very clear deep amber brown with a 1/4 inch of head that settles back rather quickly to just a sticky lace ring. Very sticky indeed.
S - Smells of molasses, caramel like malt, and brown suagr. Something about old ales reminds me of oak barrels with the smell...
T - Has a pretty good balance of sweet malts, molasses, and brown sugar goodness. Hops come in the finish giving it a sort of acidic twang but quickly to a sweet finish. Not a bad beer at all.
M - Medium bodied and very drinkable.
Overall quite a good old ale, with balanced flavors and a somewhat easy drinking ABV. Too bad on the price point or I would get it again.

Serving type: bottle

04-13-2013 05:12:41 | More by DrDemento456
Photo of tone77


3.48/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a bronze color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is mild, a bit of sweetness, a hint of smoke. Taste is malts, caramel, alcohol, some notes of fruit. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a pretty good beer.

Serving type: bottle

02-20-2013 06:35:30 | More by tone77
Photo of philbe311


3.68/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Two fingers worth of crisp slightly fluffy froth with a tinge of an orange hue... Average retention gives way to a splotchy thin veil of lace in the center of the glass and a thin collar... The color is a mix of light caramel and dark amber... A mix of moderate paced carbonation with some quick speedy bubbles mixed in...

S - Light grape juice... Assorted dark fruits... A light caramel scent... A bit of brown sugar... Just a kiss of molasses.. Simple, but quite pleasant...

T - Much different than I expected... Lots of earthy and woody flavors... The sweetness of the molasses is next to cut through... The dark fruit notes are present, but take a definite back seat...

M - Medium bodied... Pretty smooth... Brisk carbonation... A bit chalky and gritty on the finish...

D - A decent beer which should be no surprise from the fine folks at DuClaw... However, I'm not sure it's a great representation of the style... To me it's a a decent but unremarkable brew without a true category... While the individual parts aren't bad, the total package is rather average...

Serving type: growler

02-16-2013 02:09:02 | More by philbe311
Photo of Dodo2step


3.89/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


A- a light red/copper color with a one finger head that leaves a string lacing around my pint. Clear as well.

S- just like the bottle says; fruity esters and caramel malts with sweetness as the molasses.

F- some dark candied fruit/cherry maybe. caramel malts and molasses.

M- medium bodied brew that leaves a nice malt flavor in your mouth. It goes down smooth as well.

O- not a bad strong ale and packs a nice little punch to get you feeling happy. good flavor as well.

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2013 00:18:19 | More by Dodo2step
Photo of ckollias


3.61/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed this on tap at Duclaw in Bowie, MD

A: Pours a clear amber hue with a very thin white head that quickly dissipates and leave no lace.

S: Sweet caramel malt followed by some dark fruit notes.

T: Very caramel malt just like the smell followed by some toffee and dark fruits.

M: Medium body and minimal carbonation.

O: Just a so-so beer for me – duclaw has much better options.

Serving type: bottle

01-19-2013 05:18:18 | More by ckollias
Photo of JerseyKirk

New Jersey

4.55/5  rDev +26%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Copper, brown, no head.

S: Chocolate, caramel, spice.

T: Cocoa, caramel, sugar, burnt toast and slight coffee.

M: Sweet with limited carbonation.

O: Great beer. I wish I was in the American Colonies while drinking this. Makes me connect with older style brews. Loved it.

Serving type: on-tap

03-02-2012 00:41:20 | More by JerseyKirk
Photo of oline73


3.85/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had this on-tap at the Arundel Mills location.

Appearance: Pours a reddish amber that is slightly cloudy. There is a half finger of off white head and pretty decent retention.

Smell: Definitely dominated by the malt with some mild smoke, sweet dark fruit, and some caramel.

Taste: Sweet malt with dark fruit and caramel. The smoke in the smell doesn't really show up here. The finish is just a touch bitter.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with tingly carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: This is a nice malt forward beer that hides the alcohol quite well. I would definitely have another.

Serving type: on-tap

02-06-2012 22:01:24 | More by oline73
Photo of thekevlarkid


3.78/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Off tap at the brewery this beer was a copper/bronze color with one finger of khaki-colored head. The retention was not very good and it left on the smallest rings of lacing off the collar. The aroma was of caramel malt, toffee candy, alcohol and a little dark fruit. The flavors were dominated by the sweet malt that produced a lot of caramel, toffee and butterscotch notes but behind that there was some more dry character of toasted malt and a nice, semi-dry finish of nuts. The booze was well concealed and it was an easy-going, well-balanced old-timer, like Mr. Belvedere. Get it? No? Rotten kids know nothing of the classics… The mouthfeel was good, the body medium and the carbonation a bit light but still appropriate.

Serving type: on-tap

01-22-2012 22:37:24 | More by thekevlarkid
Photo of stephenjmoore


4.03/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Dark amber color with very faint white head. Some lacing.

S- Caramel malt with slight fruit notes.

T- Same as it smells, caramel malt at the beginning with a dried fruit finish.

M- Crisp and clean, well carbonated.

O- Good beer for the style, nothing mind-blowing but solid.

Serving type: on-tap

01-21-2012 21:57:48 | More by stephenjmoore
Photo of Huhzubendah

District of Columbia

3.53/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On draft at DuClaw in Bowie, MD.

The beer is orange hued with subtle copper highlights. The head is thin and off white hued, leaving sparse lacing on the glass.

The aroma consists mainly of butterscotch candies, followed by light toffee, fruit, malt, alcohol.

The flavor is decent. Slightly sweet throughout, with butterscotch candies again playing a big role. I happen to like butterscotch quite a bit, so perhaps I am bothered by this less than most.

Lighter in body than I would have thought, with some fruity malt esters lingering in the back.

Overall, this was ok. Worth a try.

Serving type: on-tap

01-17-2012 04:12:33 | More by Huhzubendah
Photo of hdofu


4.25/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this at the pub last week, was an impressively flavorful brew. Came out with little head though I remember it being somewhat tan above a brown beer. The beer itself was a sweet wheat and malt flavor with smokey hops. The beer was pretty sudsy and the alcohol wasn't too noticeable, I'd probably be drinking more of it if black jack stout also wasn't out at this time

Serving type: on-tap

01-22-2011 04:02:00 | More by hdofu
Photo of weeare138


3.78/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appears a transparent copper toned amber with a small off white cap that slowly fades into a mild head. Spotty bits of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of pecans, caramel, toffee, ripe fruit, and a touch of cocoa.
Taste is of the aromas with a sweet malt flavor that carries throgh as sweet caramelized brown sugar and pecan pie.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, chewy, smooth, and dry.

Serving type: on-tap

05-10-2010 21:11:48 | More by weeare138
Photo of tugdriver7


4.22/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Rich tan to leather--the color of a caramel candy--with a soft haze and small head that laced the glass all the way down. Subtle caramel sweetness in the nose and initial taste. All rich malt in the taste with a hint of bitterness in the aftertaste. Slightly higher ABV was completely absent in the flavor profile. This beer snuck up on you--or did it? It was really quite drinkable, rich, a tad sweet, and definitely something I'll order again.

Serving type: on-tap

01-24-2010 23:41:42 | More by tugdriver7
Photo of akorsak


3.93/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This is an oak-aged firkin of Old Flame, served as part of a one-time release. The ale is served near room temperature.

Appearance: Unlike the original Old Flame, which is deep auburn and clear, this version is intensely cloudy, so much so that the color appearas completely different, more of a deep brown color.

Smell: Upon first arriving, the beer gave off no smell. As time passed and the beer warmed further, it took on a nice sugary bourbon aroma.

Taste: The oak aging has imparted a definite bourbon flavor on the ale, giving it a sugary, buttery sweetness that reminds me of a good whiskey. In my opinion, the aging has completely changed the character, removing all traces of the strong ale Old Flame flavors.

Mouthfeel: The ale's sweetness sits well on the palate. The buttery sweetness can be a little much at times.

Drinkability: The oak aging imparts a sweetness that can be cloying at times. On the whole though, this is a tasty, well-made and well-aged beer.

Previous Reviews:
11-Jan-06, On-tap, 4.0, 3.5, 4.0, 4.5, 4.0, 3.95

Serving type: cask

05-26-2006 20:23:16 | More by akorsak
Photo of Higravity


4.05/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Brown with an oragne color and topped with a decent white head. Right away I thought double-bock from the smell but the hops were a little more present and it had a nice EKG smell to balance the malt profile which were caramel, toffee, and slightly nutty. The taste was nice but still you could taste the ale esters that gave this beer a little more polish to the malt profile and a decent although understated bitterness in the full finish. Good body and well hidden alcohol, I think I might get lost one night thinking about and drinking old flame.

Serving type: on-tap

03-13-2006 16:12:45 | More by Higravity
Photo of Gavage

New Jersey

3.35/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: clear bronze in color with a thin 1/2" head. No lacing develops, and carbonation is low.

Smell: sweetness abounds along with a hint of hop bitterness.

Taste: brown sugar, caramel candy, hint of cracked pepper, and some mild bitterness.

Mouthfeel: lightly crisp at the start, smooth at the finish. The sweetness briefly lingers on the tongue after swallowing. Medium bodied.

Drinkability: this is not a session beer, and one was more than enough. Not that it was a bad beer, there were other DuClaw beers that are better in my opinion.

Serving type: on-tap

02-25-2006 19:52:26 | More by Gavage
Photo of mrasskicktastic

New Jersey

3.18/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

A - Auburn with a small head and no lacing.

S - Syrupy caramel, tart white grapes and a little vanilla. The sweetness really dominants and isn't really inviting. Not much to this odor.

T - Predominantly caramel malt with a slight coffee to balance, not that sweet however. A vinous character and a bit of coriander pepper flavor are decernable. The aftertaste is caramelly sweet, with both coffee and hop bitterness in a nice proportion.

M - Smooth, thick and refreshing. Not too shabby on the mouthfeel.

D - This old ale was a bit of a dissapointment. I will probably never have this beer again, but I did like it enough to want to visit DuClaw to try their other offerings in the future.

Serving type: on-tap

01-28-2006 22:45:11 | More by mrasskicktastic
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Old Flame from DuClaw Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 67 ratings.