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Snowbound English Old Ale - The Tap Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Snowbound English Old AleSnowbound English Old Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

44 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 44
Reviews: 34
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 11.26%
Wants: 2
Gots: 2 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
The Tap Brewing Company visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
Super malty, dark and slick. Undertones of raisins and some even say it has notes of red wine. Just because you’re stuck inside during the dead of Winter doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a nice beer. So go throw another log on the fire and put your feet up on the couch. You don’t find too many Old Ales these days. And you certainly don’t find many this good.

(Beer added by: Bierman9 on 02-01-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 44 | Reviews: 34 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of JGuill
4.5/5  rDev +17.8%

JGuill, Jan 18, 2012
Photo of jwps214
4.5/5  rDev +17.8%

jwps214, Mar 21, 2013
Photo of Duhast500
4.38/5  rDev +14.7%

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a pint glass.

The color is a dark red and pretty cloudy, with about a half finger of head and some slight lacing.

The smell is a bit dark malt and some dark fruit flavors mixed in there together.

The taste is pretty sweet and it giving off a flavor of butterscotch and some caramel flavor. It also has a slight bitterness as well.

The feel is pretty refreshing and goes down easy, more a surprise is how this beer does not leave you with a wrecked tongue. It is with you for just about the right time and them goes away and does not linger on the pallet.

Duhast500, Jan 18, 2010
Photo of puboflyons
4.35/5  rDev +13.9%

From the 22 oz. bomber stamped Bottled in January 2011! Sampled on July 22, 2012.

The pour is a gorgeous looking dark brown with reddish highlights in the light, a small, wispy head that fades but laces. Clarity is quite good.

On the nose there are many sensations including sweet dark malts, molasses, licorice, and yeast. It is inviting me to drink it.

The body is medium to full and chewy.

The taste begins malty and sweet almost like a barleywine with a short-lived but light bitterness on the tail end. Some toffee notes as well. Overall it is very mellow. I actually bought this a year after it was a bottled and the aging improved it immensly. I wish I had more.

puboflyons, Jul 22, 2012
Photo of MisterSH
4.33/5  rDev +13.4%

I've got a bomber bottled 1/10... this is still 1/10 so it's real fresh.
An aggressive pour reveals a rich, deep woody brown beer with a head that slowly appears and never grows very large. Aroma is caramel and sweet, also a strong roasty malt note and certainly hints of vanilla and oak. A slight hop on the nose but it's not too prominent, just enough for some balance.
First taste is dark, full-bodied malt, followed by some caramel sweetness and then a strong roasty note to escort the beer down the palate. There's a nice caramel flavor that stays present throughout, pretty mellow on the sweetness and balanced well by a really robust, almost portery malt-profile. A fairly strong hop bitterness compliments the beer and asserts itself particularly on the finish, when it mixes nicely with the roasty and slightly smoky malt for a surprisingly crisp finish, kept interesting by some vanilla and toffee hints.
Mouthfeel is fairly heavy and quite syrupy, dextrinous and low on the carbonation and with some real body on the tongue. It's a sipper, but the flavors are so complex and dense that the feel of the beer seems just right.
Another great offering from Haverhill! This is a tasty malt-heavy beer with a nice hint of sweetness and some really interesting things going on overall. At apparently 8%, it's not a huge beer, and drinkability is in my mind quite high, but the full body keeps this one a slow sipper, like it should be. Very nice now, and I can imagine it would be very nice with a little more time on it.

MisterSH, Jan 31, 2010
Photo of Durge
4.3/5  rDev +12.6%

A dark black coffee color with a modest off-white head and decent lacing. The aroma is sweet caramel malt and chocolate licorice. Real nice. The flavor keeps things on a high note with a deep malt-molasses and herbal-grass hop combination. There's a touch of smoky charcoal and more of that licorice/root beer hint. It's near glassy smooth in feel, lightly carbonated with a solidly medium body. There's vague alcohol warmth but it drinks quite reasonably. I really like this, especially for a winter refreshment with plenty of flavor. It makes me think of a fairly mild barleywine. Wish there were more old ales out here. Nice job Haverhill!

Durge, Feb 26, 2011
Photo of infuturity83
4.25/5  rDev +11.3%

infuturity83, Jan 03, 2014
Photo of MoreThanWine
4.2/5  rDev +9.9%

Not sure why this site marks this beer as "retired". Anyway poured a lame 1/8" head which dissipated to nothing. Deep dark color like a coke. And I'm not picking up much of any bouquet. Yet the taste is outstanding. Some coffee, chocolate, vanilla, malt and grains. It heads into Bourbon County Stout territory without the traces of actual bourbon. And reasonably affordable too.

Can't stand the label though. Dirty old shoe stretchers may be an original idea or even historic to the brewery's building but they're not really appetizing.

MoreThanWine, Sep 22, 2010
Photo of lordofthewiens
4.18/5  rDev +9.4%

Bottled January 2010. A dark amber color with a small tan head and a bit of lace. Roasted malt aroma, some fruit. Alcohol noticeable. Very nice taste: malt, dark fruit, and tobacco. The alcohol was still present. I thought this beer was a little heavy on the alcohol and a little light on the malt. Still pretty nice.

lordofthewiens, May 14, 2010
Photo of vbiliyar
4.18/5  rDev +9.4%

To me this tastes like a really good brown ale more than an old ale. Didn't really notice it was 8% until I read the ABV on site.

Lots of caramel, but nothing really heavy or (in my mind) "deep" that characterizes an old ale. Slight bitterness at the end. Very very drinkable, though. It tastes more like 6%, which I wish it was. Could down many pints of this while watching a game.

Great beer overall.

vbiliyar, Jun 10, 2012
Photo of tzieser
4.1/5  rDev +7.3%

bottled on January 2011. poured from a 22oz bomber into a Rapscallion tulip.

a: pours a clear, very dark amber color with a one inch off white head that settles into a nice thin lacing.

s: rich, malty aroma with notes of dried fruits (prunes, raisins)

t: sweet, rich malty flavor with notes of dried fruits, caramel. very subtle hop presence which adds a slightly bitter aftertaste. well balanced.

m: smooth mouthfeel

i got this for a pretty good deal @ $3.99 a bottle. i was going to hang on to it until winter time but i really wanted to try it. not many breweries make old ales and i'd stack this one up against any of the better ones i've had (founder's curmudgeon, old engine oil). recommended.

tzieser, Aug 23, 2011
Photo of smcolw
4.05/5  rDev +6%

Deep ruby brown color. Apparently clear but it's hard to tell definitively. Foamy, lasting head. Leaves some spotty a mildly chunky lace.

Milk chocolate and gooey caramel aroma. Sweet and attractive.

The chocolate tastes semi-sweet. The swallow has some white pepper bite to it. The aftertaste is relatively mild and short-lived. Rich bodied with a low level of carbonation. The alcohol is muted despite 8% abv.

smcolw, Jan 02, 2012
Photo of jlindros
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Had on tap @ Horseshoe pub in Hudson, MA, with nitro tap!

A: A long crazy nitro upsidedown waterfall head, creamy, and takes up half the glass and 5 minutes to settle. A very dark brown color with little light shining through.

N: A creamy nitro aroma somewhat gets in the way, but I can forgive that. Not sure if this beer should have been nitro-ed. After that comes some dark malts and roast. A nice subtle dark malt aroma with very slight hints of hops. A slight touch of oak I think.

T: Again starts with nitro creamy flavor that I feel shouldn't be there. Tasting through that I get more malts. Dark malts, some light caramel, a nice roasted malt flavor, touch of coffee. Then some nice oak, almost as if it came from a cask. Some bitter stout flavors and dark roast come through. More wood flavors, a little vanilla, and that oaked "real ale" like flavor. It's not bad. Through all that is some creamy milk and lactose combined with the nitro. A slight bitterness with touch of spicy hops.

M: Creamy nitro feel and medium body.

F: Finishes slightly more bitter as the hops finally seem to come through, some spicy hops that is. Semi sweet with the residual sugar and thick creaminess of it. Some light wood as well. More stout earthy charred bitterness too.

jlindros, Apr 02, 2010
Photo of stoppertb18
4/5  rDev +4.7%

stoppertb18, Jan 22, 2014
Photo of PEIhop
4/5  rDev +4.7%

PEIhop, Feb 11, 2013
Photo of Bierman9
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Bottle purchased at The Liquor Shoppe last week, 22oz for $5.49 plus tax/dep. Bottled Jan, 2010, so it's pretty fresh (like the quaffer). Snowbound seems like a good option while watching USA-Switzerland Olympic hockey in HD with the snow coming down hard and heavy outside.

My imperial pint glass is filled with a deep, dark chestnut liquid. It is slightly hazy, and when back-lit displays some lovely mahogany highlights. Head is mostly nonexistant after the first half-minute or so, save for a smattering of tan bubbles at the edge. Otherwise, nichts for a topping, and little lacing either. The beauteous color is the saviour for "appearance". Aroma is very enticing, with lots of malt coming through. Caramel and brown sugar are most prominent, and it almost seems like a Scotch Ale. Body is medium to medium-plus, and the feel is silky smooth, with only a light touch of carbo on the tongue.

Nice flavor here, as well. It's quite solid in the malt department, with caramel and toffee shining. There's a suggestion of dark fruit, which comes across reminding me of a rummy fruit-cake. Hopping is at a decent level, with a floral bitterness balancing the malty sweetness nicely. I like the malts in this one, but wish it had more flavor complexity. Still, it is well-made, tasty and drinkable. Cheers!!

look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | drink: 4


Bierman9, Feb 16, 2010
Photo of jamie2dope
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Time to get snowbound. I poured this one slowly in to a Harpoon 100 Barrel Series tulip. Not much head ( a little white lacing), but a really nice hazy chestnut brown color. From the nose I get some chocolate, brown bread, and powdered sugar. The taste is big and malty, with tons of fresh grain and chocolate coming through, but never becoming heavy in any way. The alcohol is kept in check, and makes for a really good beer to serve with dessert. I damn near gulped this somewhat large bodied beer down, which I guess counts for something as far as drinkability. I am a fan of aging beers, and I am sure this one would do well with some age, but it is drinking really well now, so I will leave that up to you. Cannot wait to try this on tap. Definitely my favorite so far from Haverhill in their series of bombers. Cheers

jamie2dope, Mar 23, 2010
Photo of noremac423
4/5  rDev +4.7%

noremac423, Feb 09, 2013
Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev +4.7%

t0rin0, Mar 02, 2013
Photo of BogleHill
4/5  rDev +4.7%

22 oz bottle. Purchased 8-2010. Pours out a deep reddish brown color with minimal lacy head and carbonation that is medium to low. Let this one warm a bit. Aroma is sweet and nutty. Flavor is very complex malty, raisin, prune, nutty, and spicy hopness. Well balanced. Very drinkable and enjoyable.

BogleHill, Aug 16, 2010
Photo of IBUnit63
3.98/5  rDev +4.2%

Served in a pint glass at The Tap. Website says 8% ABV and 42 IBUs.

Now that's quality...good 1 1/2 finger head sticks a while with decent lacing. Body is that color of a Starbucks daily dark roast. A little hint of carbonation makes itself known.

A little light on the nose actually - darkness of malt mainfests itself in slight caramel/molasses tones. Maybe a hint of floral hops. Velvety nonetheless.

There we go...at first this one's all about the deep dark roast with slight residual sweetness and a hint of booze (just to remind you it's there). With warmth there's more complexity - a little nuttiness, some mild hop grass and a little pine. Much cleaner than the ABV level indicates.

Hearty is the word. Deep bench strength here. The dark nuts mix with a mellow hop bitterness to balance a coating (by no means cloying) sweetness on the palate and finish up nicely.

Oh yeah, this is a sipper. Still, it rolls much more sessionable than it should. Nicely done!

IBUnit63, Feb 01, 2009
Photo of steve8robin
3.95/5  rDev +3.4%

Decided to try this local brew...

A: Dark, with brownish / ruby highlights around the brew. Tiny white head that fades to nothing but a couple bubble on top of the brew. Nothing special.

S: Getting some oaky malts with hints of vanilla. Doesn't smell too bad at all. I wish the scent was a little more prominent, but once you grasp it, it smells good.

T: Oaky taste upfront with hops and water followed. Hints of alcohol in the middle and more water on the backend. Not too bad, but not amazing.

M: Hint too much on the carbonation of this one. Not too bad.

D: Goes down fairly easy.

All in all, this is not a bad brew. Not sure if it can compete with other brews in the same style, but it's definitely a good local brew to try if you get the chance.

steve8robin, Feb 20, 2010
Photo of augustgarage
3.9/5  rDev +2.1%

Thanks to ShogoKawada for this one - an unexpected treat. Poured from a 22oz bomber into a snifter.

Opaque, dark burnt umber body with faint chocolate highlights. A small desert sand head recedes to a lasting collar and a whispy mushroom-cloud shaped surface slick. Pearling weakly soapy lacing, and no legs.

Medium roast coffee, black cherry, toasted rye, and light yeast notes in the nose - subtle but with a good amount of depth.

Initial flavors of cocoa, multiple layers of roast malt from lightly toasted wheat bread to lightly burnt barley. Oats, pine nuts, and faint brown sugar mid-palate. Dry roasty vaguely grainy finish.

Medium-light bodied, moderately carbonated, somewhat low ABV.

Has elements of a porter or mild brown that supersede the dark/stewed fruit you might expect from an Old Ale - still, I enjoyed this example of the style very much.

augustgarage, Oct 03, 2010
Photo of tpd975
3.9/5  rDev +2.1%

A: Pours a murky brown hue some floaters with a nice tall tan head. Head dies to a ring with some lace.

S: Mild aromas of roasted malt, chocolate, and dark fruit.

T: Pretty tasty. Nice chocolate with hints of coffee. Mild roast which adds to the enjoyment. Mild notes of dark fruit with tinges of caramel and darkened brown sugar.

M: Medium in body, smooth, ample carbonation.

D: Good, a real solid ale. Not pushing the limits when it comes to Old Ales, but tasty and drinkable none the less.

tpd975, Apr 19, 2010
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Snowbound English Old Ale from The Tap Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 44 ratings.