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Old Boy Ale - Parallel 49 Brewing Company

Old Boy AleOld Boy Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

57 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 57
Reviews: 16
rAvg: 3.61
pDev: 7.2%

Brewed by:
Parallel 49 Brewing Company visit their website
British Columbia, Canada

Style | ABV
Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB) |  5.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: canucklehead on 08-21-2012)
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Ratings: 57 | Reviews: 16 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of CalgaryFMC

Alberta (Canada)

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

Obtained a bottle from the current Parallel 49 "Unparallelled" mixed pack. Looks and smells like an English brown ale, dark sparkly brown with minimal foam and strong nutty, earthy aromas. Little discernible sweetness or fruit on the nose. Certainly a malt-forward brew, with flavors of toasted bread and biscuits predominating. Nice smoky aromatic malt complexity with dry bitter nuts and hints of orange oil and licorice. Reasonably assertive earthy hops recall cigar tobacco. Minimal sweetness throughout with a tea-like astringency in the finish that yields a noticeable puckering effect. Medium bodied but with a little too much carbonation. I'd argue that extra special bitters are typically more sweet and fruity than this exemplar, with more hop aroma. This one comes across well in the malt and old school English bittering hops (Fuggles) departments but otherwise is a bit lacking ... Few or no superlatives apply.

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2013 17:49:18 | More by CalgaryFMC
Photo of djoprahwinfrey

Manitoba (Canada)

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

A - pours a really dark amber, pretty weak 1/8 finger of browner head which goes quick and leaves little lacing

S - fairly mild smelling, malts, coffee, caramel

T - toasted grains at the start, caramel, mild coffee, campfire but more so charcoal, malty but not overpowering, slighted toasted coffee finish

M - creamy, medium carbonation, medium body

O - pours okay with a mild aroma but makes up with a balanced taste with some nice flavors. Overall this was enjoyable and i would drink this again.

Serving type: bottle

10-10-2013 10:19:06 | More by djoprahwinfrey
Photo of thehyperduck

Ontario (Canada)

3.38/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

341 mL bottle from the LCBO, pulled from their Unparalleled sampler pack. No packaging date given - there's a spot for this information provided on the six-pack box, but it was left blank. I didn't mind the Hoparazzi I tried last night, but let's see how this brewery fares with a style whose base flavours can't simply be obscured with a dump truck full of hops. Served slightly chilled.

Pours a deep mahogany hue with some ruby red tinges under the light, and topped at first with two fingers of loose, puffy, light beige-coloured head. It recedes steadily over the next few minutes, leaving in its place a modest, dense cap about 1 cm thick. Not much in the way of lacing. The aroma is decidedly malty, but rather subdued. Hints of almond, chocolate and toasted bread/biscuits are noticeable, as well as a respectable dose of earthy, English-style hoppage.

Seems promising enough so far, but my first sip leaves me disappointed and confused. There is a lot of fruity, almost sour raisin-and-plum-like character in this flavour profile, and it is irritatingly noticeable from start to finish. This flavour mingles with the malts initially, which provide some notes of brown sugar sweetness, milk chocolate and toasted nuts. The hops become prominent toward the finish, providing an earthy bitterness that sufficiently counters the malts. Mildly earthy aftertaste that meekly clings to the palate. Medium-bodied, with moderate carbonation and very fine bubbles that gently prickle the tongue. Fairly balanced in flavour and reasonably drinkable, but not an inspiring English-style ale at all.

Final Grade: 3.38, a serviceable B-. I generally like English bitters and brown ales, but Parallel 49's Old Boy Ale just isn't doing it for me. The flavours aren't awful, but the fruity sourness clashes intensely with the rest of the profile, and it all adds up to a brew that is less than the sum of its parts. Suffice it to say, I'm not impressed, nor am I inclined to purchase this again. I agree with the other reviewers who consider this more of a brown ale than a bitter, although in all honesty it's not a great example of either style. There are plenty of imported British bitters that I would greatly prefer over this stuff, and I would recommend that you stick with them, too.

NOTE: The second bottle of this was consumed at (air-conditioned basement) room temperature, and it actually came together much more nicely. I'm not changing the score (since the bottle itself suggests serving this chilled to 4-7 degrees C), but it's a fact worth considering.

Serving type: bottle

08-18-2013 18:21:19 | More by thehyperduck
Photo of biegaman

Ontario (Canada)

3.58/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Old Boy has a coffee-brown colour that does a fair job of concealing the fact that it's actually perfectly clear (at least until some backlight comes into play, at which point the beer's dashing maroon highlights have nowhere to hide). Its head, though off-white, also has some glint.

The beer has a very subtle sweetness reminiscent of roasted pecan or hazelnut; this nuttiness can be found throughout but is nowhere as enticing as in the aroma, where it melds right into the malts' faint coffee-like smokiness and soft chocolatey notes.

Despite prospects of some dark and heavy flavours, no sootiness or meaningful richness ever emerges on the palate. The beer never get's dirty; it's almost as clean as a pale lager. This neutrality is sure to suit mainstream drinkers but is disappointing to those capable of handling even the smallest amount of roast or bitterness.

As mentioned, this recipe showcases light and very agreeable notes of roasted nuts, milk chocolate and toasted whole grain bread. Coffee oils I definitely note too. I don't get much dark or dried fruit myself but I can understand where others are coming from; it's difficult though as all tastes seize completely the moment they slide down the throat.

It seems as though Parallel 49 Brewing designed Old Boy so as to entice drinkers with fuller flavours but carefully ensured nothing too rich or substantial ever actually materialize, less they upset or overwhelm the simple palates of a mainstream audience. The result is pleasant but really only useful as what one would refer to as a "transition beer".

Serving type: bottle

08-07-2013 00:29:54 | More by biegaman
Photo of SebD

Ontario (Canada)

3.79/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance: It has a nice deep amber color to it. It has a nice off-white head that dies down moderately and leaves little lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitely give out hints of caramelly malts, a slight nuttiness, dark fruit chocolate and some smokiness.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has a some sweet caramel, some nuts, slight roasted chocolate, sweet dark fruit and some earthy notes.

Mouthfeel: It has a medium carbonation with a nice overall balance and feel.

Drinkability: It's a very smooth drinkable beer accompanied with good flavors and aromas.

Serving type: bottle

07-22-2013 21:24:23 | More by SebD
Photo of tbeckett

Ontario (Canada)

3.46/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Bottle from the mixed pack. From notes.

A - Poured rusty brown/red. Quite dark with a one finger beige head and mild haze and mild carbonation. Spotty lace with a half finger of retention.

S - Earth, caramel, butterscotch, mild smoke.

T - Raisins, dark bread, mild smoke. Much sweeter than aroma. Dark maltiness dominates.

M - Good mild carbonation, medium body, long fruity finish.

O/D - Not a bad English style. Kinda lacked hopping that other beers in the mixer showed off. Well done, but I wouldn't want lot's.

Serving type: bottle

07-03-2013 21:01:43 | More by tbeckett
Photo of spinrsx

Ontario (Canada)

3.46/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz Bottle from the Orleans LCBO, part of a mixed 6 pack for $13

Appearance - Dark brown colour with an average size fizzy/frothy beige head. I can't make out the amount of carbonation showing and there isn't much lacing. The head lasted for 3-4 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, chocolate, grains

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, chocolate, and a light smokiness. There are also earthy notes and a bit of a dark fruit flavour. It ends with a chocolatey and matly aftertaste.

Overall - As the last reviewer said, more of a Brown Ale than a ESB. Either way, this is a solid beer if you're a fan of brown ales. Not my favourite style, but worth trying for sure.

Serving type: bottle

06-02-2013 00:43:56 | More by spinrsx
Photo of polloenfuego

Ontario (Canada)

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

More of a brown ale than an ESB, this would make a good deck beer I think. Brown in col our and soft in feel it misses the ESB mark, but still has some nice flavors and qualities.

I might not chase after this beer, but if someone handed it to me on the dock, I'd be happy to drink it.

Serving type: bottle

05-31-2013 20:02:22 | More by polloenfuego
Photo of leaddog

Alberta (Canada)

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

Appearance - Pours a dark copper with a finger width of white head.

Smell - Nutty aromas, chocolate malts, slight leafy/musty hops.

Taste - Hit with the chocolate malts, then with the leafy/musty hops and a touch of dark fruits.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with light-to-moderate carbonation.

Overall - A decent ESB by Parallel 49. The chocolate malts are a different take on the style. Could use a better balance of hops and malts, as I find it is more malt-heavy. I have to agree with some of the other reviewers that this seems better suited for the English Brown classification.

Serving type: bottle

12-08-2012 05:41:37 | More by leaddog
Photo of CookstLiquor

British Columbia (Canada)

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

Poured from a 355ml bottle. Pours a brown-orange colour with a thin head. The nose is all about cereal malt notes with hints of chocolate and coffee. The mouthfeel is pretty soft and smooth. On the palate there are chocolate, grain and cracker notes with a slight bitterness on the finish.

Serving type: bottle

11-29-2012 19:01:58 | More by CookstLiquor
Photo of joemcgrath27

Alberta (Canada)

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

A - clear deep brown, finger of head slowly settled at a half finger covering, no significant lacing
S - very nutty with some caramel and light dark fruity notes
T - big cashew and almond nuttiness, mild notes of caramel and brown sugar
M - biggish body and very creamy, finishes full
O - this is definitely better characterized as an english/nut brown rather than ESB, and in that light it makes a rich malty treat

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2012 02:01:14 | More by joemcgrath27
Photo of wordemupg

Alberta (Canada)

3.6/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

341ml bottle poured into pint glass 3/11/12

A clear dark amber with lots of bubbles of all sizes but just a short lived finger of foam that leaves a couple random patches of lace

S nutty milk chocolate with a little fruit, cherry and plum perhaps, some earthy herbal hops and a little dark bread, interesting take on a bitter, more of an English Brown in my eyes

T some more nutty toffee but a little less of everything else, again its missing the hops I think of when drinking a bitter

M medium bodied, decent carbonation and a earthy aftertaste, not much for a bitter kick

O decent brew but not the best out of my mixed pack, I drank a few of these with no issues but wasn't as impressed as I was by some of their other offerings

I wouldn't turn one down but I wouldn't go looking for it either, another decent beer that won't leave an engraving in my memory

Serving type: bottle

11-04-2012 05:34:22 | More by wordemupg
Photo of ericj551

Alberta (Canada)

4.33/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Old Boy pours a bright, deep red brown with a decent head. That aroma is dark toffee and chocolate malt, with a hint of caramel sweetness and just a vague, almost smokey astringent note. The dark malt character is a bit more restrained in the flavor, with more toffee and a hint of dark fruit. Earthy hops are present but take a back seat to the malt. I would think of this more as a brown ale than an ESB, but what ever you call it is is delicious. Very drinkable yet packed with flavor.

Serving type: bottle

09-24-2012 05:12:03 | More by ericj551
Photo of biboergosum

Alberta (Canada)

3.58/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

341ml, corporately embossed bottle, another single from my craft six-pack from a heretofore unfathomable Whyte Ave booze purveyor. A Mr. Peanut parody, obviously involving a pint glass, holds the fort on the actual label.

This beer pours a clear, dark ruby amber tint, with two fingers of tight foamy, somewhat creamy beige head, which renders a decent string of broad webbed lace around the glass as it eases its way out of existence.

It smells of biscuity caramel malt, some further toffee nougat, a subtle oily nuttiness, and soft earthy, leafy hops. The taste is lightly toasted bready caramel malt, some mild crackery biscuit notes, further indistinct bar-top nuts, a slight twinge of bittersweet chocolate, and more forest floor, somewhat herbaceous hops.

The bubbles are fairly restrained in their ardor, the body a solid medium weight, and rather smooth by any measure. It finishes on the sweet side, the dark bread, toffee, and roasted biscuits basically lording it over those punk-ass, underachieving hops.

A decent enough ale, with a hell of a lot more to recommend it as an English Brown Ale, than the current ESB designation, a style otherwise close to my heart and/or palate. Anyways, approach this as the former, and you will be adequately, if not pleasantly, satisfied.

Serving type: bottle

09-12-2012 03:53:05 | More by biboergosum
Photo of FondueVoodoo

British Columbia (Canada)

3.73/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: A clear rudy brown with active streams of carbonation that pored with a thin finger of creamy head, that left just a scant lacy scattering of tiny bubbles.

S: Hints of toffee malts followed by minerals, fairly mild on the smell while cool, but developed as it warmed.

T: a flush of bitters that quickly followed up by notes of pleasant malty brown ale, then to be followed again by more bitters. The tug of war between bitters & malts are complex and intriguing, and the warmer the brew gets the better it tastes.

M: Light to medium mouth feel, very mild carbonation.

O: Easy drinking brew that would go great with pub fare & sports. Much better warmed a bit, be sure to be patient when tring it the first time.

Serving type: bottle

09-03-2012 02:04:59 | More by FondueVoodoo
Photo of canucklehead

British Columbia (Canada)

3.88/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was the mystery beer in the mixed 12 pack and I found it quite complex once it warmed up.It is on the dark brown side in colour and tastes like a cross between a Brown Ale and an ESB. The hops are English and the beer reminds me of Blood Alley from Russell. Good beer that explores the malty side.

Serving type: bottle

08-21-2012 23:54:41 | More by canucklehead
Old Boy Ale from Parallel 49 Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 57 ratings.