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Old Ale - AleSmith Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Old AleOld Ale

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BA SCORE
89
very good

149 Ratings
THE BROS
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Ratings: 149
Reviews: 31
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 9.55%
Wants: 4
Gots: 20 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
AleSmith Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  11.00% ABV

Availability: Spring

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: notchucknorris on 07-14-2013

Originally brewed in 2005 as the first in our annual Decadence series, AleSmith Olde Ale follows the tradition of classic British-style Old Ales. This rich, malt-forward ale showcases soft notes of currants and dried fruit along with complex dark sugars, all of which are balanced by a subtle bitterness derived from the addition of traditional English hops. AleSmith Olde Ale is ready to be enjoyed now or it can be aged upwards of twenty years to further enhance its amazing depth of flavor. A hearty ale designed to please Bacchus himself!
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 149 | Reviews: 31
Photo of biegaman
3.74/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Alesmith Old Ale is the kind of beer that gets murkier and murkier the more you pour. Don't get me wrong, this date coloured offering looks pretty swampy right off the bat but it at least offered some highlights... highlights that are gradually extinguished by the sediment in the bottle. Rather impressive, however, especially for its strength, this suits a tight-fitted collar.

When smelling an Old Ale one is offered plenty to contemplate. Aromas are conspicuous yet complex - the nutty confections drizzled in dark honey and treacle are apparent but the oxidized (and lightly boozy) dried fruit notes reminiscent of Sherry or Port provide enough subtleties to occupy one for hours.

This 2014 vintage is just a hair over one year old. The brewery thinks it will improve for another two decades. I'd say that's a bit optimistic but from what I'm tasting tonight it's true that it has yet come into its own. Though obviously amply malted, the dark sugar and dried fruits flavours aren't quite 'ripe'. It's drinking a little hollow right now...

And it's also strutting its alcohol content (11%) unabashedly. The heat is highly noticeable even though there's no shortage of walnut, currant, raisin, and molasses notes to distract from it. Time in the cellar will likely subdue the booze but know that a good deal of the earthy, resinous hoppiness and strong black tea-like bitterness will fade too.

I like Alesmith, but I do think some of their offerings are a little overrated. Old Ale is one of them - at least in its infancy. Unlike their Wee Heavy, Anvil ESB, or hoppy offerings such as X and IPA, this one isn't at its best picked directly off the shelf. Treat Old Ale as you would Old Numbskull or Speedway - a special occasions beer worth stashing in the cellar.

Photo of BucannonXC5
4.26/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Type: Draft
Glass: 8-oz. pint glass
From: AleSmith Brewing Company in San Diego, Calif.
Price: $3.70
Purchased: March 30, 2015
Consumed: March 30, 2015
Misc.: 2015 release; After I picked up my two Kona Speedway’s

Poured a dark brown, almost black color with 1-to-2 fingers of khaki tan, rocky head when I got it. Good amount of layered, spiderweb lacing on the sides. Average retention on the top. (Sight - 4.00)

Smelled toffee, caramel, smoky nuts, roasty dry malts, dark chocolate, dark cocoa, dark smoky spices and maple syrup. (Smell - 4.25)

Wow for the taste right off. Got maple syrup, brown sugar, toffee, sugary caramel, molasses, roasty nuts, bitter dark chocolate and dark cocoa. So smooth. (Taste - 4.25)

Medium body. Creamy texture. Average-to-lively carbonation. Long, smooth, warming finish. (Feel - 4.50)

Loved this beer. Would love to get my hands on some more. (Overall - 4.25)

4.26 | 95 | A

Photo of hardy008
4.08/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours mahogany with a one finger beige head. the aroma has toffee, dark fruit, and brown sugar.

Has a very sweet taste with toffee, brown sugar, dark fruit, and alcohol. Unfortunately, the alcohol is not hidden for this beer, and I let it sit for a long time before I opened it. Still tastes good, but I am disappointed that the alcohol is front and center in the taste.

Full bodied with light carbonation. Very chewy. A very good beer which would have been even better if the alcohol was hidden somewhat, and the beer wasn't so sweet.

Photo of Franziskaner
4.16/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Deep brown in color with ruby highlights and some penetration to light. A fingernail of khaki head covers the rim and a third of the top of the glass. Light Brussels lacing. Wonderful aroma of dark malt, dates, hazelnut, and dark rum. The taste is a burst of dark malt, hazelnut, toffee, dates, and dark rum. The mouth is thick, chewy, and there's a warmth from the alcohol.

Photo of SportsandJorts
3.97/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled 2-26-14. Drank March 2015

Appearance: pours a deep earthy orange, hinging on a leathery brown. a finger or two of tan head with good retention. leaves behind a solid and streaky lacing. dark and opaque. some extremely fine sediment.

Smell: strong caramel malt sweetness. toffee, dark fruits and rum booziness.

Taste: opens up with some caramel sweetness and dark fruits. dark fruits come in as dried plums, prunes and rum soaked raisins. some toffee sweetness comes through. more booze comes through near the end with more rum

Mouthfeel: thick and viscous. slightly syrupy. slightly creamy. slight boozy warmth.

Overall: a solid old ale. at about a year old, this one still has quite a bit of booziness. slowing the slightest signs of age but only in a good way. it will be interested to see where this one goes in the future.

Photo of Radome
4.39/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a snifter.

A - Color is medium brown or maybe a super dark copper. Head is thick and fluffy and persistent. It is a light tan color and finishes as a thin sheet and thick lacing on the glass. When the glass is swirled, the head springs back up again.

S - Aromas are of plums, prunes, raisins, molasses, sherry, old leather. There is a sharp whiff of alcohol in the finish. Upon first pour there was a strong cardboard note that made me worried of oxidation, but it quickly faded.

T - Flavors are all about the malt, as they should be. Lots of layers. Strong sherry, plums, prunes, raisins, wheat dinner rolls. Rum-like alcohol in the finish.

M - Thick body. Low but mouth-filling carbonation. Medium hops bitterness keep the sweetness from being overwhelming. Strong alcohol presence. Sweet, mouthcoating finish.

O - This is a big, sweet, chewy beer that is very filling, but the flavors are complex and pleasant. Not for every occasion, but for times when you want a reflective sipping beer, this is very nice.

Photo of beergoot
3.73/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle info: Bottled on 02/27/14

Hazy, hazelnut colored body with a lasting, one-finger thick, cream colored head. Nutty, malty, boozy aroma; fig and date dark fruit tones. Maple syrup flavors; dates and raisins; anise and licorice; fair hop bitterness and a stinging alcohol burn; slight phenolic edge. Heavy bodied; soft and somewhat fizzy mouthfeel.

Smooth and very easy drinking for a powerhouse brew. Everything seems well-tempered and balanced while still delivering a multitude of flavor characteristics. A nice example of a classic styled heavy-duty ale.

Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%

Bouquet: faint sherry, cola, fruit – plum, spice.
Pours a hazy tea tinted amber under a rapidly dissipating 2” finely bubbled light tan tinted foam cap – lacy. Some legs.
Palate: big malt – caramel, molasses, plum, grape, raisin, fruit cake, cola, sherry, but with balancing hop bitterness on the finish. Hints of prune, fig and date.
Malt forward but well balanced by alcohol and hops.
Big very creamy chewy body, medium to medium low carbonation – very soft and finely bubbled.
Warming but no hot alcohol.

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.38/5  rDev +10.1%

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a Reuben's Brew small snifter. Pours a medium to dark red-orange amber, with a thin, light tan head that leaves light lacing. Aroma of bready and dark caramel malt, dark dried fruit, molasses. Flavor is sweet, rich caramel malt, molasses, dark dried fruit, particularly figs and dates, boozy. Finishes thick and sweet with nice residual dried fruit flavors. Heavy bodied with a rich creaminess. Just what I'm looking for in an old ale, this borders on an English barleywine, but has even more maltiness. A bit hot, but plenty of rich flavor to support the alcohol. I remember enjoying this in the Decadence version, and am glad it's in regular rotation now. I'm going back for a few to cellar.

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.04/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

love the old ale style, and how many different ways it gets brewed. this is one of the more classic english types, almost a barleywine, but with a lot more pronounced malt fruitiness and a more drinkable overall beer, but there are plenty of similarities. very english in nature, tons of yeast character here, bready and toffee-esque flavors, and plenty of chunky yeast floccy bits in the beer too. radiant burnt caramel color, with a lasting thick but mellow tan head, nice looking brew. the body i found to be just a touch thin, but the flavors are all rich enough it doesnt really need to be any more beefy. the toffee grain profile is big, the alcohol stands out just enough, and i find the whole thing quite decadent, despite having an earthy middle and self cleaning finish. not overly complex, but extremely sturdy at 11% abv. a beer to let warm up, drink slowly, and in good company. all of the big alesmith beers are so well done, this one should serve as an example to other american brewers looking to make old ale, its that good.

Photo of Jwale73
3.68/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

750ml bottle served in my Duck Rabbit snifter. Pours a dark brown with a half inch, cream-colored head embedded with tiny pinpricks. Nose reveals dark fruits (some grape) and a suggestion of caramel or toffee. Taste follows nose - more dark fruit and less caramel/toffee; however, there's also a slightly metallic quality. Mouthfeel is medium-light in body with a carbonation that falls just short of lively - perhaps a little too assertive at this point. Overall, a decent old ale but not worth the price point. Based on the metallic quality in the flavor profile, I don't anticipate this will age well.

Photo of laituegonflable
3.51/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear red colour, nice yellow-beige head, lovely density, could retain better. Lacing is pretty nice. Looks good.

Smells sweet, sultana-esque. Notes of port, brandy, even rum. Yes, grape notes as well, but all booze. Orange peel maybe, and a touch of fennel. Pretty tasty, but a bit overly sweet as well.

Taste is a bit lacking, possibly a bit old? Feels almost like it's hiding in the shadows, with notes of brown sugar, molasses and definite rum character. Taste finishes dry with sultana notes and feels a bit like hangover. Could use more hopping, or just something to take the edge off that boozey sweetness.

Bit of an edge, slightly warm, but yeah, like a big, heavy, sweet beer.

Heavy, very sweet. Have had more impressive beers, although there is plenty to keep you interested here.

Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.76/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2014 edition (or MMXIV, as it says on the label), purchased from Jane's Beer Store in Mountain View, CA. Brought back to Sydney and cracked open with Sam.

Pours a rather clear but deep red-maroon colour, with a very fine head of yellowed off-white that sits in a coarse ring around the glass as time passes. Lots of streaky lace. Body is thick and heavy, as it should be. Looks pretty damn good.

Nose is rich and sticky, but with a very pronounced booziness that makes it seem heady, and almost warns me off drinking it. It lends almost an acetone character to the brew. Other than that, there's a fair bit of caramel and carob giving a richness that will probably come to dominate over time.

Taste is very similar. In fact, there's a booziness that runs through it from start to finish which is difficult to ignore, and indeed almost difficult to extract much else from underneath it. Sharpness on the back suggests hops, but it may be the astringent characters of the booze. Around the edges is a slight sweetness: but it's a heavy sweetness even so—the flavour of port rather than the flavour of candy.

Feel is heavy. It suits it well enough, and will support it well as it ages, but with everything else going on it's still a bit much.

I probably drank this too young. This is raw, boozy and deeply aggressive right now. With age, it will mellow, and hopefully become tamer, more complex and more accessible. A little sweetness, perhaps a touch of oxidation, and some smoother characters all over and I could belive this is a lovely beer. Right now it just jumps out of the glass and strangles the palate.

Photo of mikeg67
4.35/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle. Pours dark amber with tall, long-lasting, foamy off-white head. Aroma is bready malt, dark fruit, brown sugar and some coffee. Body is full and smooth. Bready, caramel malt, brown sugar, dark fruit, herbal hops and alcohol fill the mouth. Finish is long and dry. Great ale to sip.

Photo of Dope
3.91/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottle dated 02/27/14.

A: Pours a deep, dark brown with reddish highlights around the edges. Tall, slightly fizzy but still quite dense light brown head. Head fades out slowly leaving minimal thin streaks of lacing. Quite decent retention at least.

S: Nice smooth and sweet maltiness. Raisins, toffee and caramel. Toasted sugar. Heavy grainy bread. Light cocoa and spices. Big and sweet and tasty aroma.

T: Big malts right out of the gate. Sticky sweet caramel with heavy liquid bread. Dark fruits, primarily raisin and perhaps fig. Some herbal hops up front adding a bit of spice to it all. Herbal through to the finish really, lightly floating around everywhere. Aftertaste has some toffee, grainy bread and some earthy herbal notes.

M: Heavy, sweet and syrupy.

O: Pretty typical old ale. Huge, heavy malts. Sticky, viscous body. Lots of sweet and bready flavors. Fairly plain for such a big beer if I'm honest but still tasty.

Photo of pmarlowe
4.26/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

2013 vintage. Tulip glass.

A: Pours a deep amber/copper color. Murky, with thin, tannish, fine head. Pretty good retention and minimal lacing.

S: Nice English yeast character, with dried fruit (cherry, currant), which blends very nicely with the toasty malt.

T: Similar, with rich maillard tones coming through. Almost like drinking jam and toast, in a good way. Finishes on the sweeter end with a long finish, where a little alcohol is evident.

M: Medium-full body and medium-light carbonation. Excellent.

O: An excellently crafted English Old Ale. Classic flavors.

Photo of emyers
4.09/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle poured into a Founders snifter.

Appearance: Pours an amber-brown color with a 1 inch beige head. Excellent head retention given the abv.

Smell: Wood, earth, some caramel malt. Noticeable sour presence.

Taste: Rich caramel malt, wood, strong earthy notes. Still has a slight sourness to it, but not as strong as in the aroma. Slight alcohol heat on the finish.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied, rich, smooth. Medium to low carbonation. Could probably use a bit less carbonation.

Overall: More or less highlights what an old ale should taste like.

Photo of mhaugo
4.66/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

25.4oz bottle decanted into a snifter. 11% ABV. “Bottled On” date 07/02/13. Served at 55F and allowed to elevate to room temperature.

Appearance: Dark mahogany with thin streams of fine bubbles rising to the surface to create a faint, beige cap (4.5/5).

Aroma: I can smell this damn thing from two feet away. It’s a mixture of incredibly rich, dried, dark fruits, molasses, and toasted bread. It also smells very boozy. I’m surprised that the bottle doesn’t say anything about bourbon barrel aging, because it smells like it’s seen a barrel. All-in-all it is an incredibly inviting aroma (4.75/5).

Taste: Malt. Super-malt. Malt all over the place. Bready and intense. I also get roasted marshmallows, fresh tobacco, figs, dates, and raisins, pumpernickel, brown sugar, and that tobacco flavor that comes with many beers in this style (4.5/5).

Mouthfeel: Beautiful warmth from my tongue all the way down to my belly. Full body and light carbonation. I love it (5/5).

Overall: I think this may be my best Old Ale yet. The only thing it’s missing is that interesting brett character that comes with either wood aging or inoculation. Otherwise it is nearly perfect. It’s roasty, malty, sweet, and warm. Well done, AleSmith (4.75/5).

Photo of BMMillsy
4.06/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2013 "Old Ale" big bottle from a trip to the brewery back in November (pouring on 4/11/14). Pours deep dark purplish reddish brownish amber color with a one finger khaki head. Aroma is dark fruits, plums, raisins, fig, sweet brown sugar. Big malts here as expected. Flavor is very sweet with hints of those same prune and fig notes found on the aroma, some nice caramel, and more brown sugar sweet to finish. Just a hint of subtle dry hop bitterness to finish and balance things out. I can see how this would age incredibly in a bourbon barrel. Big body, medium soft carbonation, and a sipper. Very nice in style. AleSmith just does everything well.

Photo of AgentMunky
3.85/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750mL bottle into an Allgash cervoise glass. Bottled 27 February 2014. Label says "Olde Ale: British-Stle Ale MMXIV"

A: Two fingers of fluffy off-white head. Auburn dense ruby.

S: Caramel malt. Hint of metal. Very sweet.

T/M: Oh goodness. This is...rich and intense. It tastes as it should. Reminiscent of the best of Luckie Ales, or any good, sticky, fruity, malty, strong Scottish ales. Tasty and thick. Gentle hops are pleasantly bitter and fairly

O: AleSmith never disappoints, and this is no exception. Delicious and recommended.

Photo of Beaver13
2.32/5  rDev -41.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Alesmith Olde Ale British-Style Ale MMXIV 750 ml bottle, bottled on 2/26/14. Pours dark ruby amber with a medium creamy off-white head that goes to a thin film and leaves a little lacing.

The aroma is caramel malts, molasses, dark fruits and some spicy alcohol and a little cardboard.

The flavor is lots of hot alcohol with some sweet sugary dark fruits and molasses and a touch of green apple. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation.

Overall, sweet sugary fruits and tons of alcohol doesn't do it for me.

Photo of spinrsx
3.79/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

750ml Bottle from the Palm Desert CA Total Wine for $14

Appearance – Brown colour with an above average size fizzy beige coloured head. The head lasted for 5 minutes before it was gone. There is some fantastic lacing.

Smell – Malts, molasses, brown sugar, dark fruit, spices

Taste & Mouth - There is an above average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, caramel, and some spices. There is also some dark fruit, anise, and a molasses like flavour.

Overall – A good beer, kind of bordering on belgian dark ale though. Also a little too pricey for what it is. I wouldn't buy this one again.

Photo of Etan
4.18/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750ml into a tulip.

A: Pours black with a slight red tinge and a nice light tan head.

S: Smells of ginger, leather, cooked sugar, fig, caramel.

T: Taste brings sweet molasses, vinous, mild leafy hop bitterness, roasted grain husk, plummy.

M: Thick-bodied with light yet crisp carbonation.

O: A very nice old ale. I'll have to seek out the BA version.

Photo of arizcards
3.98/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Picked up a 750ml bottle from the San Diego Whole Foods back at the end of July for $13.99.
Bottled on 6/27/13.

Beer poured a deep chestnut with a nice off white head that is leaving lacing behind.

Nose has light notes of dark fruits and somewhat nutty. Good but nothing overly exciting.

Taste is raisin, leather, nutty with some sherry. It is slightly sweet but there is enough hopping not to make this cloying. Alcohol is warming but not overly noticeable.

Mouthfeel is full and rich, very satisfying.

Overall this fits the bill on a chilly 50 degree December day in the desert. It was nice to try, give it a shot if you have a decent amount of discretionary income.

Photo of brewcrew76
3.68/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottled 6/27/13

A - Murky chestnut brown with mahogany highlights and a thin khaki head.

S - Very light aroma, toffee, fruit cake, pineapple, light molasses. As it warms I feel like it becomes pure fruit cake.

T - Caramel, toffee, biscuits, fruit cake, plenty of sweetness which emphasizes the fruit cake aspect, molasses, sweet and slightly boozy, cola, raisin.

M - Thick and a touch sticky.

D - I kept letting this one warm waiting for it to get complex but it never seemed to happen. Could never really find the dark fruits I was hoping for. More fruit cake than I wanted.

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Old Ale from AleSmith Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 149 ratings.