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Old Ale - AleSmith Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Old AleOld Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

146 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 146
Reviews: 31
rAvg: 3.97
pDev: 9.57%
Wants: 5
Gots: 19 | 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: 146 | Reviews: 31
Reviews by the Alström Bros:

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More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.19/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottled on 6/27/13.Pours into an impy nonic a deep amber hued chesnut brown with a billowing large light beige head that sticks to the glass like glue.Deeply fruity and cake-like in the nose,brown sugar and even a tinge of mineral comes into play as well.Sweet but not overly so on the palate,caramel toffee and dark fruit along with more brown sugar sweetness,just enough of a leafy English hop presence to dry it out enough in the finish.A fantastic "sipping" brew,it's malted to the hilt and sweet but not over the top.Great job here.

Photo of Beaver13
2.32/5  rDev -41.6%
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 Franziskaner
4.16/5  rDev +4.8%
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 pat61
4.5/5  rDev +13.4%

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 +10.3%

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 Etan
4.18/5  rDev +5.3%
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 spinrsx
3.79/5  rDev -4.5%
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 Atreyufan31
3.86/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: large pineapple nose, malty and dark warm booziness.

T: thick and rich, heat followed by booze. As it warms lot of dark fruits become evident.

O: Above average style. Good mouthful and the style is worth a buy.

For the style Alesmith always puts out quality beers, this one is another example of why they're so good.

Photo of SportsandJorts
3.97/5  rDev 0%
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 mikeg67
4.35/5  rDev +9.6%
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 kojevergas
3.33/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

"Old Ale." "2013 British-Style Ale." 11% ABV confirmed. 1 pint 9.4 fl oz brown glass bottle with cool printed-on label art and foiled-over standard unbranded pry-off cap acquired at a nearby bottle shop and served into a Mitchells of Lancaster flared stem-tulip in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are high given the brewery. Bottled 07/02/13, so she's pretty young.

Served cold, straight from the fridge, and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a two finger wide head of shiny vibrant khaki colour. Very lively and healthy. Good creaminess - especially for the style, and great thickness. Retention is excellent for the high ABV - about 4-5+ minutes I'd say. Supple even lacing clings to the sides of the glass as the head slowly recedes. Average frothiness for the style.

Body colour is a dark glowing ruby red. Quasi-translucent. Nontransparent. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. Low vibrance, but I wouldn't call it dull.

Overall, it's pretty standard fare for the style, save for the attractive head. Looking forward to trying it.

Sm: Plum, fig, dates, unrefined sugars, caramalt, biscuit malt, toffee, brown sugar, light maple, and refined raisin. Light toasty character. The dark fruit blossoms as it warms; the fig in particular really opens up. Yeast comes off English in character. Light hints of molasses. Low attenuation is evident; there's plenty of residual sugars left and I suspect it'd age nicely. Some notes of port as well. Not getting a definite hop profile or any booziness. A pleasant inviting aroma of average to mild strength. Excited to try this one.

T: Raisin is my first impression. Definitely has low attenuation; there are plenty of residual sugars filling out the body of this one. Biscuit malt, caramalt, toffee. English yeast with a little biscuity character. The dark fruits are much more timid in the flavour than they were in the aroma, but I do find dry fig, light plum, and dates when I search for them. Alcohol is noticeable but it's certainly not a boozy or hot beer. No hop character really comes through; this is to style. By all means on the sweeter side, but it's not cloying. The dried fruit character helps tame the sweetness, shriveling the sugars (if you'll forgive the stupidity inherent in that phrasing). All in all, it's certainly complex, but it lacks the cohesion and artful balance you'd find in the best beers in the style. I don't doubt that it'd develop and refine with age. It is a bit ripe. Some subtlety. I like it overall, and it has serious potential.

Raisin is dominant.

No off-flavours are obvious.

*As it warms, I do notice some bitterness on the climax, which tames the sweetness somewhat. Maybe there's a hop presence here after all, but just not in terms of flavour. The bitterness seems to mesh favorably with the molasses, which is strange indeed.

Mf: Thick, smooth, and lightly dry. A bit vinous. Unrefreshing. Pretty good body. Nice presence on the palate, but ideally it'd be fuller, richer, and more refined. Suits the flavour profile generally well, but doesn't come off custom-tailored to it. Above average execution to be sure, but it's far from ideal. Hints of a syrupy viscous feel; they'll fade with time. Sticky.

Dr: Drinkable? Above average for the style, below average perhaps for the ABV. I'm enjoying it and it hides its ABV okay, but it screams out a need to be aged. This is definitely one to cellar, but by no means is it a bad brew fresh. It's about as good as I expected. I'd try it again aged, but I doubt I'd buy it again fresh. A nice little Old Ale from Alesmith, but it doesn't play with the big dogs. Worth trying once for the fair price point.

B-

Photo of notchucknorris
4.22/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a deep and murky brown color, almost black in the glass. A half finger, light brown and intensely creamy head forms on the pour and leaves thick lace down the glass.

S: A touch faint, but I get a lot of dark fruit out of this. Cola nut, fig, plum, raisin skin, brown sugar, toffee, a bit of banana bread and just a touch of booze.

T: Rich and malty with a nice touch of dark fruit. Some burnt raisin skins come through near the finish with some plum, brown sugar and leather. The flavor is a touch bland until the finish, and then there's just an absolute firecracker of dark fruit that goes off in your mouth. Finish is dry with a touch of burnt wood, tobacco and just a hint of booze. The bottle says you can age this for up to 20 years and I would love to see what at least a few years would do to this.

Photo of mactrail
3.48/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Lovely color, a dark coppery amber-brown in the flared nonic. Modest head, but giving the glass a jiggle swirls up some nice lacing and bubbles. Aromas of malt and leather.

Dates and dried figs seem to dominate the flavor. This is really rich and syrupy with a lot of dark caramel. Burnt sugar like a flan, even a touch of vanilla. I'd have to say it's a little cloying with the spicy bitterness adding to the murky melange. Tangy and a little sharp underneath, with the hoppy bite becoming more pronounced. Some burnt butter and cedar for the finish.

From the 750 ml bottle bought at Bottleworks. This is just a crazy complexity of flavors, but it adds up to wanting something to clear the palate. I'm all for variety, but I'd have to take a Barley Wine over this amped-up Old Ale.

Photo of mhaugo
4.66/5  rDev +17.4%
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 Radome
4.39/5  rDev +10.6%
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 Dope
3.91/5  rDev -1.5%
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 laituegonflable
3.51/5  rDev -11.6%
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 UCLABrewN84
3.52/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at AleSmith Brewing Company in San Diego, CA.

Pours a hazy brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, dark fruit, toffee, and caramel aromas. Taste is much the same with malt and caramel flavors on the finish. There is an alcohol burn in the back of the throat after each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and sticky mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is quite boozy at the moment.

Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.76/5  rDev -5.3%
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 Jwale73
3.68/5  rDev -7.3%
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 AgentMunky
3.85/5  rDev -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 beergoot
3.73/5  rDev -6%
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 biegaman
3.74/5  rDev -5.8%
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 emyers
4.09/5  rDev +3%
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 brewcrew76
3.68/5  rDev -7.3%
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 146 ratings.