Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine?

Learn more about beer and save over 53% with a 3-year subscription.

Subscribe now →

LongShot Old Ben Ale - Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)

Not Rated.
LongShot Old Ben AleLongShot Old Ben Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

228 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 228
Hads: 259
Avg: 3.76
pDev: 10.11%
Wants: 3
Gots: 2 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams) visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: smcolw on 04-02-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (118) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 228 | Hads: 259
Photo of GRG1313
4.05/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Medium dark clear reddish copper brown with a light yellowish tan head that fades quickly.

Assertive candi sugar very ripe banana nose. I would initially guess Belgian just from the smell; really nice.

Creamy "half and half" mouthfeel with wonderful balance and a very rich character with small bubble "elegant" carbonation.

Flavors are big assertive malt, carmel, burnt toffee, sweet creamed coffee and with a big sweet malty coffee finish. Lots of rich cooked sweet fruit in this one.

This is a really well made beer that is so full of flavor and character it should be in Samuael Adams "full time line up." I don't drink a lot of Sam Adams brews and this could be a regular for me. Nice effort! The rich "sweet" coffee finish just lingers and lingers.

 762 characters

Photo of MetalHopHead6
3.63/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Old Ben Ale is sweet, sweet, smooth, and light.

It poured amber/copper, with a three-finger creamy light tan head. It left a a wall of thick lace on the glass. The flavor was dominated by very sweet dark fruit. It was smooth and refreshing (a refreshing old ale?!?) with no bitterness of which to speak.

Old Ben was enjoyable but far too light for a style that should be heavy and dark like old leather and dark wood. The sweetness made this more of a desert than an after-dinner ale (that makes sense to me). The flavor is by-and-large nondescript and It finishes with a metallic after-taste common with Samuel Adams specialty beers.

 637 characters

Photo of BierFan
3.7/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass.

Khaki colored head. Dark orange body. Syrupy sweetness, figs, raisins, and other dark sweet fruitiness. Only a slight bit of alcohol, which gives it a little warmth.

It's a pretty good beer overall. I love how Sam Adams uses the Long Shot contest to brew styles that they otherwise would never bottle.

 353 characters

Photo of fropones
4.08/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a nice pumpkin orange with 2.5 finger khaki head with decent retention.

S - Caramel malt, toffee, brown sugar, a bit of dark fruits. Fairly sweet.

T - Caramel and toffee sweetness up front, brown sugar, figs, a bit of warming from the alcohol.

M - Medium bodied, decent carb, a bit lighter in body than I'd like for an old ale.

D - Drinks great. Alcohol not too present and doesn't have to be a sipper.

 416 characters

Photo of taez555
3.51/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer poured a clear brown amber body with a thick off-white head.

Nose is surprisingly non descript. Very mild with only some faint hints of malt and caramel.

Taste is full bodied and very smooth and creamy. A nice mixture of caramel and other malts with an overall dark fruit sort of flavor. Raisins or dates or other dark fruits. Hops are kept to a minimum with only some for balance and some very well balanced earthy hop flavors. It's really a very simple big ale. Just a slow sippin' big malty beer.

A great example of a perfect old ale. Not overly malt, not hoppy in the least bit. Sort of like hot chocolate for adults, just nice for sippin'. Great job Michael.

 676 characters

Photo of brewerburgundy
3.77/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz bottle, goblet, enjoy before September 2010 notched on the front label.

A cute half inch head quickly recedes leaving the glowing red, syrupy yellow highlighted beer the main event. The head retention really is not good, I suspect the abv number is in play. The color is intense but not at all dark and very clear.

Booze (rum), raisins, bread pudding, English yeast, toffee, ripe red apples, and dates. Ok, this ramps up massively after even a little warming. It's like a sweet fortified wine. Solvent as warms more.

It's really making me think of that Italian raisin bread that is packaged and seems to pop up around the holidays. If you soaked that Italian raisin bread in several Tablespoons of sweet brandy. Definite bread with an English ale yeast edge. A soft edge. Bitter alcohol provides a sharper edge, but not too sharp. Bitter toffee. I don't think this is nearly as sweet as some reviews make it sound.

The mouthfeel seems to be lighter than such an underattenuated beer should produce. Carbonation is nicely under control.

I don't think I'd chase this with another of the same. Ok, I wouldn't. It verges on a complex delight.

 1,153 characters

Photo of donkeyrunner
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Seems to be the consensus star of this year's Longshot pack. Dark copper with an off-white, almost beige head. No lace but persistent retention.

Smells of malt and vinous fruit--like a combo of fig newtons and malted milk balls. Grapey. Taste is candied fruit with a neutral hop caress and underlying caramel malt. Goes down easy for 9% abv though it does numb the tongue a bit. Towards the end of this beer I discovered it to be sneaky alcoholic. Very sneaky. Grape and black cherry esters. Good stuff.

 505 characters

Photo of DoctorDog
3.91/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz. bottle into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass.

A- Reddish copper, and clear. Pours with a massive tan head, which fades slowly into a thin cap.

S- Bready caramel maltiness dominates.

T- Brown sugar, banana, cloves. A bit of raisin/dark fruit. Towards the sweet side. Hop bitterness is moderately low, with a touch of booze in the finish.

M- Moderate carbonation and a medium-full feel.

D- Good. Flavorful, and quite an easy drink for it's 9% ABV to boot.

Future outlook: Nice finish to the LongShot sixer for me. All 3 were very solid this year, so I might have to snag another.

 603 characters

Photo of RomaniIteDomum
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a close second favorite for this year's Long Shots, with number one going to the beer I took no notes for. (Hint: not the Saison)

Pours with a massive bubbly head. Nice mahogany with lively carbonation.

Some sweet vanilla notes in the nose along with raisins and brown sugar.

The taste is vanilla and sweet raisins. This is one sweet beer with a slightly copper finish. No hint of alcohol.

Light and creamy feel with some good carbonation.

Pretty drinkable, but not all at once. Like the label says, it's good for an after dinner beer. I think a revisit after a little age may be in order.

 603 characters

Photo of Beejay
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Ruby red, and crystal clear. Nice tan head.

S: Smooth sweet, and a lot of caramel. Big and malty, with a little bit of burnt sugar.

T: Very malty, with a nice fruity kick in the finish. Some caramel notes in the beginning and strawberries in the finish. Nice.

M: Medium bodied and clean.

D: Solid, but it does not go anywhere. It is a little one note, granted, that one note is a real nice one, but I would like to see a little more. Nice mouthfeel, good smell, and probably my favorite out of the sampler pack. The alcohol is well hidden.

 546 characters

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.08/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours out a clear, varnished wood-hued body with a tall, frothy, off-white head.

Smell: Quite a sweet-smelling brew, with notes of light caramel stirred up with dark brown sugar and honey candy, sweet cherries, and some notable background alcoholic wafts.

Taste: Vivid flavors of caramel, brown sugar, toffee, and honey with a continuous, succulent sweetness throughout. Touches of toasted nuts work their way into the taste. Fruity esters imparting bright tastes of cherries and figs. Relatively light, earthy hop character and bitterness. Growing alcohol warmth. Warming, sweetly malty finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium carbonation. Slight chewiness to the mouthfeel.

Drinkability: I liked it. Begins sweet, finishes sweet, and has a lingering sweetness into the aftertaste. A pleasant old ale to relax with after helping move a friend into her new place, and, so far, the winner of the LongShot 6'er this year.

 939 characters

Photo of david131
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- A clear, red orange liquid with a thick and creamy off-white head that leaves some nice lacing.

S- Caramel, figs, apricots, and a touch of citrus. A little subdued but it is enjoyable.

T- Sweet caramel, fruit, and a bit of citrus. The alcohol is warm but not hot.

M- A bit numbing from the alcohol. The flavors persist after swallowing. Overall, it is pretty smooth.

D- A bit of a sipper, but it is pretty smooth for the ABV and how fresh it is. This isn't bottle conditioned so it is questionable how this will age... but I am going to give my other bottle a shot.

 572 characters

Photo of JoEBoBpr
3.9/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into my DFH snifter.

A - Pours a very attractive and bright red with some orange/amber hues. A nice thin .25 inch head that recedes to a thin film and a nice ring around the glass. There is some sticky lacing.

S - Starts of with nice sweet caramel smell with some boozy notes as well. Nice sweetness rounded out by some flower/grassy hop notes on the back end. Nice fruit aromas as well.

T - Very true to style. Nice grainy hints that quickly turn into a nice fruit sweetness with caramel hints. THe boozy notes in the aroma aren't as prevalent in the taste and are much more balanced with the rest of the delicious flavors. Very good offering from Michael and SA. There is some nice hop finish at the end that is not too intense.

M - Nice and complex flavor profile medium bodied with great CO2 content.

D - Good beer with god flavor and balance and an ABV that is there but not too crazy.

 903 characters

Photo of lordofthewiens
4.17/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

In a Sam Adams perfect pint glass, the beer was amber colored with a reddish tinge. Large tan head that dissipated quickly. Caramel and sweet fruit aroma. Big malt taste, caramel, and raisin. Substantial and filling. Nice old ale, would buy more of these.

 255 characters

Photo of elgiacomo
3.63/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle best by September 2010 (more like best-after).

Pours copper brown, red under light, with a HUGE off-white head that leaves a ring and quite a bit of lacing, reduces to a whispy cap and ring.

Aroma is bread, toast, caramel, light banana, alcohol, quite bready/malty overall although not that complex.

Flavor is caramel malts, toast, banana, a little molasses & brown sugar, some alcohol, some sweetness.

Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied, medium carbonation.

A solid Old Ale, quite tasty, should get better with time.

 539 characters

Photo of tubacharlie
4.3/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The unmistakable aroma of roasted barley predominates the scent, with a whiff of the alcohol also apparent.

A frothy, three-finger head emerges from a strong pour, which slowly recedes to a healthy layer of creamy off-white foam with a tinge of ruddiness. Good viscosity leaves trails of lace on the glass as the ale is consumed. The exceedingly clear brew is a rust-brown color with a little tint of orange and alive with bubbles of carbonation rising randomly from the bottom.

The balanced combination of grains produces a well-developed flavor suggesting hot breakfast cereal on a cold winter day with butter and brown sugar, supplanted by toasted brown bread and set off by a mellow complement of hops. A meaty, caramel sweetness lingers on the palate.

Very nicely done. A beer worthy of being named a Longshot winner. I would love to cellar a case or two to enjoy over the next decade -- if only I had a cellar!

 919 characters

Photo of neenerzig
4.25/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A 12 oz bottle poured into my oversized wine glass. This beer pours a clear deep amber/copper color with a nice white head about an inch thick when poured. The head settles quickly to a nice surface coating with a good thick ring lining the inside of the glass. Good lacing. Aromas of nice sweet caramel malt and dark fruit such as raisins, plums, apples, etc. are all present. The smell of alcohol is also slightly present. Has a nice sweet caramel malt flavor along with a hint of spice. The flavors really come out more and gel together very nicely as the beer warms a bit. A slight hop presence round this out, but the hops are not very apparent at all. The taste of alcohol is also present. This beer has a crisp, smooth, frothy, creamy full bodied mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. Pretty easy to drink. I was very impressed with this. I wish Sam Adams would make this one of their yearly seasonals. the best Longspot beer I have had yet.


 953 characters

Photo of superdedooperboy
3.56/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. brown bottle poured into a Dogfish Head Signature Glass. Served at cellar temperature, 45 degrees F.

A gingerly pour produces a beautiful deep burnished copper, perfectly clear, with a thick three-fingered light beige meringue that falls away to a fat cap with great retention, sticking heavily to the walls of the glass and leaving behind a broken sheet of lace.

Lots of caramel and sweetbread in the nose, with notes of fig, a hint of honey, and a touch of spicy alcohol as the beer warms. A little subdued, but nicely malty and rather enticing.

Medium-bodied with a light carbonation. Sweet up front and all around, opening with caramel and toffee and a bit of biscuity grain. Wonderful notes of fig follow before being swept away by a balancing hop bitterness, moderate and a touch dry with a bit of an herbal, earthy character. More sweet malt surrounds the sides as toffee and fig reappear, pulling together into a finish that leans more on dark fruit but that displays hints of chocolate, roasted malt and herbs; semi-sweet and mildly dry.

A fairly drinkable Old Ale, but not one with an incredible complexity; likely attributable to the commercialized production, so I don't doubt the prowess of the original entry. Very good overall, and though I don't expect a lot from this with age, I'd like to see just what comes with a bit of time on the bottle.

 1,371 characters

Photo of Jwale73
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in my SA Sensory Pint. Best by September 2010 notched on the label. Poured a translucent amber with a one inch, frothy, loose, tan-colored cap that quickly dissipates into a thin, consistent cap. Nose reveals light, fruity esters somewhat reminiscent of grape bubblegum and plums. Taste follows nose - a malty sweet backbone lies behind the light fruitiness upfront. Mouthfeel is medium-light, with an even, mildly assertive carbonation level. Nice brew - not a lot of complexity, but I'd be interested to see how this ages. Best Longshot Series ever IMO.

 562 characters

Photo of thisisxxmyIPA
3.25/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Off white head diminishes quickly. Pours a deep ruby red translucent shade. Truly a beautifully colored beer.

S- Almost no aroma. Subtle malt sweetness, raisins, caramel - that's it. All too subtle

T- Caramel malt dominates. This is my first ever Olde Ale. Not my favorite style evidentially. Like a very subdued barleywine with much less malt flavor but still high ABV.

M- Nice mouthfeel, carbonation is just a bit sharp.

D- It's very drinkable. I feel I could easily knock bad a few. Just not a flavorful enough beer for me.

 533 characters

Photo of jlindros
3.8/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Fluffy 1 finger head fades very slowly over very clear toasty auburn brown color with many bubbles rising up from the etch at the bottom.

N: Very malty, with lots of toasty malts, brown sugar, some molasses, little syrupy sweetness, raisin, caramel malts.

T: SImilar, with lots of toasty malts on the front. Very sweet, with lots of brown sugar, molasses, crystal malts, raisin, little bitterness perhaps from some hops, a little earthy hop presence, slightly chewy, with some creaminess too. The slightest touch of booze, hides the 9% well. It does taste like it has a little age or oxidation on it.

M: Medium with a little syrupy flavor and tons of carbonation, maybe even too much for the style.

F: A lingering sweetness, but not as much. SOme syrupy molasses and a little sticky sweetness. It has that lingering aged almost oxidized taste that I get in many aged barleywines. Some raisin and brown sugar at the beginning of the finish but fades quickly to that aged/oxidized taste. All that with a slight bitterness, perhaps could use more bitterness and more hops IMHO.

 1,082 characters

Photo of russpowell
4.07/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Laat of the three to review...

Pours an effervescent amber/copper with 3+ fingers of cream colored head. Above average head retention & lacing

S: Breadyness, toffee, slight pear fragrance. Some leafy hops & figs once warm

T: Toffee, a touch of carmal honey malt & smokeyness up front. Dryness & fig notes as this warms, plus some faint date flavor & oakyness. Toffee sweetness, a kiss of booze & dryness in the finish

MF: Chewyness, moderate carbonation & a touch of slickness

Drinks pretty easy for the style & ABV, pick of the Longshot litter this year IMO

 565 characters

Photo of jsh420
3.98/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pours clear amber copper with 1+ finger soapy head that fades and left some spotted lacing

smells is a little thin but i pick up malts and earthy hops

taste is solid - very malty dark fruit figs toffee buttery brown sugar with plenty of hops and some booze

mouthfeel is good - this beer somehow feels light even with the full body flavors

drinkability is so good i wish i could get a whole 6er of this

yet again another great beer that SA did not come with but give them major props for giving talented homebrews a shot (a longshot)

 538 characters

Photo of Daniellobo
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice old ale. Malty and boozy with a pleasing range.

Presentation: 12 oz brown capped bottle. Sam Adams branding with a green framed label holding a sepia pictured of the awarded homebrewer Michael Robinson, and hand label imitation fonts. Back label notes main style, intent, ingredients, and characteristics. Shows a notched best by date (Sep 2010), and Alc. by Vol. (9%) Served on a snifter.

A - Deep amber to amber brown pour with a fair 1/3" head, medium to poor retention, with a nice surface memory ring and a bit of lacing.

S - Malty sweetness, caramel, dark fruit, raisins... Not overtly complex but rather nice.

T - Taste follows the nose nicely with a hefty malty character, dominated by caramel and toffee sweetness with a dried fruit touch.

M - Medium-full body with good carbonation, present on a nice tingly finish that complements nicely the creamy and a bit sticky finish.

D - Nice sipper with a long and pleasing aftertaste.

Notes: Probably the best offering from this year's LongShot bottles. A nice Old Ale with a good range.

 1,052 characters

Photo of bashiba
3.87/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a deep dark amber with some bright ruby highlights, with a soapy ring of tan head and a couple bubbles.

The smell is powerfully malty with a big molasses, brown sugar, and cedar nose.

The taste follows the nose completely, this is a malt bomb. Huge woody and toasted malts mixing in with sweet brown sugar and molasses along with a hint of alcohol. Eventually while drinking it some light earthy hops start to sneak through in the finish.

The mouthfeel is thick and oily with some nice warmth.

A decent old ale for the malt lovers.

 542 characters

LongShot Old Ben Ale from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
85 out of 100 based on 228 ratings.