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Old Habit - Ithaca Beer Company

Not Rated.
Old HabitOld Habit

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

117 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 117
Hads: 162
Avg: 3.91
pDev: 16.88%
Wants: 65
Gots: 16 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Ithaca Beer Company visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
Rye Beer |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: zdk9 on 06-06-2007

A Robust American Ale brewed with four different Rye Malts, fresh Centennial and Crystal Hops and our proprietary Ale Yeast. It is partly fermented in Tennesee Rye Whiskey Barrels, then carefully blended. Enjoy the gorgeous ruby color, strong aromas of vanilla and black cherry, earthy flavors of nuts and oak and the warm spicy finish.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 117 | Hads: 162
Photo of Arbitrator
1/5  rDev -74.4%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Chilled bottle into a glass. Shared by nickd717, I believe. Thanks Tick.

Batch E!017.

A: Pours murky brown in the glass. It's amply carbonated, with a good cap that remains for the duration of the drink. The bottle is a slow gusher. Sigh.

S: Minerals, funk, cherries. It is somewhat floral. At this point I know it's infected so I don't really bother parsing the nose too much.

T: ...Or the rest of it. Gave up on the notes here and threw my glass out.

I've had a few infected / off bottles from these guys and I find the pattern frustrating.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
1.11/5  rDev -71.6%
look: 2 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Yikes, the last few reviews of this note significant infection issues. This is batch E!017, I guess we'll find out how well QC did their job...

Appearance - just cracking the cap enough to let the first whisper of carbonation out starts a foam plug climbing the neck of the bottle. Yep - a slow foamer. Probably a fast foamer if I pop the cap off now. With the bottle opener, I let out the carbonation slowly, over the sink, and maybe an ounce or two collects in a teacup. I pour it carefully into a tall glass, but the foam is insistent. First two fingers, now three and four rising up over the glass and coning. The beer is a deep reddish color that is absolutely churning within. Nice color, but everything about this lets me know this beer is infected.

Aroma - I don't know if it is Brett specifically, but it totally dominates the nose outside of some background woodiness.

Taste - in the interest of beer science, documentation, and posterity, I drink. I do actually get the beginnings of some sweet malt and some vapory notes of oak and whiskey, but the rogue critters take it from there. Funky, dry, and astringent, the rest of the taste experience is a bust. I'm trying this 4, 5, 6 times, and it's getting harder each time. The only positive is a pleasant belly warmth into the finish. Not enough to save this one, though. It's too bad, too. Money's tight and money spent on infected beer hurts.

Mouthfeel - the beer has a nice smoothness, but the rampant carbonation is spoiling more than just the flavor.

Drinkability - even in this state, I can tell this beer has the potential to be a fine bottle of suds. I get glimpses of what the malt and barrel are attempting. It's all the more disappointing that it's undrinkable.

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Photo of nickd717
1.35/5  rDev -65.5%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

750ml bottle thanks to Crack1Open.

Major gusher!!! Hazy weird reddish-brown appearance with a massive fizzy tan head. Lost half the beer into the sink (and most of the other half later when I drainpoured it).

Bretty, funky, oaky, aroma with slight dark fruit, infection evident.

Tart bretty flavor with an odd acrid finish. Some plum and fig notes. Not good.

Medium-bodied with carbonation WAY too high.

This is terrible. Ithaca needs to do something about this infection problem. This is the third or fourth DIFFERENT beer I've had from them recently that has been infected. Brute yeast doesn't work so well on beers other than Brute it seems.

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Photo of davod23
1.43/5  rDev -63.4%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Well, that's a downer.

Bottle opens and begins a slow gush. Damn it. I quickly pour it into my Bruery tulip. It's a reddish brown color, pour is pretty thin. The clarity is okay, big tannish head.

Aroma is off, as expected from the gush. It's not terribly pungent, but what there is indicates infection. Dirt, minerals, a vague sour cherry. It smells a bit funky as well, a bit of dryer sheet.

Taste is bad. It's not the worst thing I've ever had, but it's close. Obviously nowhere near the mark. Sour cherry, rotten flowers.

Thin mouthfeel, long unpleasant finish.

Drainpoured it after 2oz. Brewing fail.

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Photo of zoolzoo
1.84/5  rDev -52.9%
look: 1 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

Batch E!017, oh no!

Once uncapped the bottle erupts like a volcano all over my counter and floor. This is one of the worst gushers I have ever seen. In fact, its still oozing over in my kitchen sink, AFTER a pour. I wonder if this is infected?

Alright, now that I mopped the floor lets see what we have here. Pours a turbid brown, big hazelnut head. Mouthfeel is way off, over carbed as expected. The aroma is sort of musty basement, dirt, a sour note, and a hint of whiskey.

The taste isn't totally rotten, but considering what this beer could have been its terrible. Think of a fucked up, muddled Flanders aged in whiskey barrels. Drinkability? Drain pour.

Maybe next time...

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Photo of Brent
2.3/5  rDev -41.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Perhaps my bottle was not a good representation of the overall production of this beer, but I found it unpleasantly sour and harsh, more like a poorly-executed wild ale, although I don't believe we are dealing with an infection. The only beer that was a drain-pour during a BA gathering.

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Photo of billab914
2.51/5  rDev -35.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Batch E!017. Poured from a 750ml bottle into my CBS snifter. It poured a murky dark brown color with a thick, foamy head filling the top two inches of the glass.

The aroma shows a lot of sour, tart cherry flavors to it. I get a little bit of a malty, caramely like flavor trying to peek through but the sour and tart flavors are a little overwhelming.

The taste also has a sour, tart cherry presence throughout the flavor. Towards the finish some of the malty, rye and woody oak flavors try and come out.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied and carbonation is high. Overall I didn't find it that great of a beer. The sourness wasn't that bad tasting, but it overshadowed everything else in it. It wasn't an awful beer if you think of it as an American Wild, but it still wasn't that enjoyable beer overall.

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Photo of Tilley4
2.6/5  rDev -33.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Stoked to be able to try this... Its the fabled E!017 batch so I'm curious to see if the funk has gotten to this one...

Well this is definitely infected for sure... Big time foamer with loads of sediment. Murky and dark...

Strange mixture of whiskey, rye, and barnyard... Not in a good way either. Really rough...

About like the aroma, this is a weird blend of funk and whiskey... Not very pleasant.. Hoped this would have turned sour but its more like dirty watered down whiskey..

Big disappointment...

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Photo of jmdrpi
2.74/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

750mL champagne-style bottle. labeled batch "E!017".

gushes after the cap is popped. appears a murky dark mahogany, with actually not much head in the glass.

the aroma is a tart sour cherry aroma. smells like a wild ale, but the label doesn't say anything about that, so I don't believe that it's intentional.

taste does have a slightly funky note, but is a decent combination of spicy rye and strong oak flavor. the mouthfeel of the beer is decent, but has higher carbonation.

the higher abv has been mellowed out, and the flavors are complex. but that nose just throws it off for me when drinking.

when I go back for the second pour, a foamy head of about 4 inches has built-up inside the bottle.

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Photo of Lothore
2.74/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

A- As others have stated, this one is a gusher. I opened it in the sink and it quickly gushed out as i poured it into my glass. Very cloudy, murky brown color with a huge, tan head.

S- Dark fruit, toffee, raisin and a lingering funky sweetness that worries me.

T- Bold whiskey notes, dark fruit, raisin, brown sugar and a tart cherry finish. The cherry is very possibly an infection and it just throws the balance out of whack. Either my bottle wasn't at the stage of the last two reviews or the infection hasnt nearly taken hold as much but it is still there, lingering.

M- Thick with lots and lots of carbonation.

D- This is not entirely undrinkable in it's current state however it looks like sour cherry notes are pushing it there and it's not nearly the beer it is supposed to be. I wasn't able to finish my glass and drainpoured the rest of the bottle. Worth a shot I suppose.

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Photo of mikey711
3.07/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Batch E!017

A: Murky deep brown, almost light mud, with way too much head as it was a bit of a gusher. Also the head held too well. The lacing was great

S: Heavy vanilla wood notes, some rye spice, brown sugar. Also some cherry and raspberry notes

T: Very earthy tasting. at times i felt like i was chewing on damop wood. The whiskey does provide a bit of smokiness and there is a pronounce chocolate note, but this one just seemed like a bit of a mess to me. Maybe I just wasnt in the mood for this type of beer but it really turned me off a bit

M: Very boozy but I think with some cellaring this will drastically improve

D: From the first sip I was not enjoying it. I did get more into as the night progressed but it is definitely a bit green

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Photo of yourefragile
3.12/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

Batch !017. Hooray for infection! Hooray for beer!

Opening the bottle, gusher ahoy! Cloudy, brown burgundy color with a massive tan head that never fades and coats the glass in lacing. Aroma is...lacking. Dry, and soda like and with sleight whiskey and alcohol pinch. Very medicinal and antiseptic, not very appealing. Flavor actually isn't as bad as expected. We agree it's a "mess", very thin, highly carbonated, almost oxidized body with smooth bourbon-y finish. Very little rye or malt character in the body. Oddly I sort of enjoyed this beer in this condition, but would love to try an uninfected bottle of this beer.

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Photo of Mora2000
3.28/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Exiled for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours a reddish-amber color with a white head. The aroma is tart dark fruit and roasted malt. The beer is definitely infected, but it doesn't smell too bad. The flavor is rye and tart cherries and other dark fruit. I also get some roasted malt. The beer is fairly dry and is nice and drinkable, even if it is not as the brewer intended. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

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Photo of GeezLynn
3.42/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Batch# E!017

Got a ridiculous sunburn today, so I thought I'd take a chance on this beer. Regardless of flavor, that 9% should ease my suffering.

A: Gusher. Color is a dingy brown with a massive off-white head. Large white flecks settle out on the glass bottom.

S: Spicy rye malt and whiskey. Also some strong cherry and a big musty barnyard smell.

T: Along with obvious funkyness, there's some sweet caramel flavor, a little tart fruit, vanilla, wood, and a light whiskey presence.

M: Mouthfeel is pretty creamy with heavy carbonation.

After getting differing reports on this batch, I was hoping mine wouldn't be one of the infected bottles, but it was clearly apparent from the pour that this was going to be a funky experience. Not terrible, but I would like to try the beer as it was intended.

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Photo of HopHeadRed
3.48/5  rDev -11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I acquired this bottle from a friend because it was from the supposedly infected E!017 batch and he knows how much I love sours. I must admit, I was hoping for more funk, so keep in mind that my review may be skewed. We chilled the bottle excessively to avoid the gushing reputation.

Appearance is chunky and ruby red in color with a dissipating custard head. A very sexy beer.

Nose was initially what the label promised: oaky and bourbonian (pronounced: bur-boh-nee-uhn and it's my word, don't laugh!). As it warmed, several other aromas came out...fig, plum, and currants...think seriously bourbon-drenched fruit cake. Perhaps it's the 9% ABV, but the more I drink, the more random and delicious things I smell...possible salt and lime? Maybe some anise?

Taste had no real surprise. Definite lingering heat. Run-of-the-mill sweet vanilla bourbon flavors.

Mouthfeel is creamy.

Drinkability: Overall, I'm disappointed; the wonderful complexity of the nose gets drenched in alcohol and is lost in the taste. It's a beer that is more fun to look at. And I'm jealous of those who lucked into a sour-version.

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Photo of rudzud
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

A thanks to JLindros for sharing this bottle. 2008 Vintage (infected). Reviewed from notes.

A - Poured a ruddy cloudy garnet hue with a nice three finger head with tons of side lacing.

S - Aromas of barrel and sour/funk infection. Yep, this 2008 batch is definitely infected but smells nice and tasty. Almost like a funky lambic.

T - Sharp bitterness and slight metallic taste with light funky flavours. Off funk, as opposed to barnyard funk. There is slight rye and cherries but mostly just infection.

M - Mouthfeel isnt all that bad but there is more of that sharp, metallic feel and taste that lingers.

O - Overall this isnt that bad considering its infected. It makes for an interesting brew.

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Photo of kiddynamite920
3.53/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle nearly exploded when I opened it. Batch E!017

A: Big, booming head on top of a cloudy red body with some floaters. Had to settle this one down before pouring a glass. Head is fizzing, but not going anywhere.

S: Nose is full of booze and raisins, sweet malts and more alcohol. Has a rum like smell, very boozy. Not sure if this would better with age, but for now...too much heat on the nose.

T: Sweet, but still very hot and hoppy on the palate. The rye is very strong here, needs a malt presence. Good grassy/citrus flavor that makes the beer. Still tastes like drinking liquor for some reason.

M: A hot mess. Has a smooth and syrupy quality but it's way too hot.

D: Hard to put this one pour back. Certainly not a beer to drink without some help.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.55/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle cracked by the other Matt at his place last night. Supposedly these were infected but I don't think so after drinking this last night. I think its over oaked.

Beer is dark brown and forms a huge off white dirty yellow head of small / medium bubbles that leaves some lacing on the glass. Beer is heavily carbonated (sign of infection) but the bubbles rise through the beer so slowly, it makes the beer appear super thick. There are also floaties in my pour, little tan flecks of probably yeast cake from the bottle. Looks OK.

Aroma is odd, its almost liquor like, tannic, and sweet.

Beer is heavy in the mouth but the high carbonation cuts it well. Its sweet and has a lot of bitterness at the back of the mouth. The bitterness isn't from hops, at least I don't think so, it feels more like tannins to me, like wood. Seems very over oaked. Its OK, overall, but I'm not super impressed.

I'm not saying that this beer isn't infected but I would expect a lot more lactic flavors than I got. I also think its vogue to say a bottle is infected right now. Start a thread on it and you'll get 200 replies of people all weighing in a beer they've never had. There may have been a brett note in the nose, but I didn't get any in the palate. So I would say there may be some brett in the bottle but definitely no lactobacillus.

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Photo of SFLpunk
3.55/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750mL brown glass pry-top bottle. E!017.

This bottle has been laying down in my fridge for a week or two and when I opened it there was a lot of brown sludge inside the cap...

Pours with huge head, dark brown/black body. Nose smells of champagne yeast and whiskey barrels. Palate is medium bodied and slick with deep dank malts and smokey, spicy whiskey and toasted oak notes.

Notes: The mouthfeel suffers due to what seems like over carbonation in the bottle. Tasty beer, but not my favorite. A little worried by the sludge, but glad to try it though.

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Photo of badbeer
3.58/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Amber red color with a beige head leaving some lacing. Smell of floral hops, cherries, vanilla, and maybe some rye, though I don't know if that's just because I know they used rye. In the taste I get cherries, caramel, floral hops, toffe, and oak. Body is somewhat light and has light carbonation. A decent beer. Thanks to iowaherkeye for sharing.

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Photo of Reagan1984
3.65/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Batch # FL017

Pours with a really aggressive light tan head that shows excellent structure and retention. Rose above the top of my tulip glass. Murky brown leather color. Slight reddish tones. Too dark to decipher the clarity of the beer. Thick rings of lacing.

Aroma is funky, sour with oak & cherry notes.

First impression. Doesn't taste anything like it smells. Many beers (and reviews) are noted that the flavor follows the aroma. This is completely the opposite. Flavor is slightly boozy (Bourbon) with vanilla, oaky with a more assertive hop profile than I had expected. Certainly finishes with a crisp rye ending. Perhaps the Rye nature is cutting a bit of what would be more of the sour flavors in this beer. Certain aspects cause you to expect a sour beer, but it's not really. As it warms, vanilla comes to the forefront even more with a slight cherry flavor. Fairly complex.

Body is much thicker than I would have anticipated. Lays thickly on your tongue. Warming from the boozy nature.

Certainly one to enjoy over the evening. Not sure what to make of it. Truth be told, I like the aroma better than the flavor.

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Photo of bamadog
3.66/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I bought this bottle some time ago, and then like the next day, word hit that the batch (E017!) was likely infected. Definitely infected, judging by the gusher that I got when I cracked it, but I can't say I'm necessarily disappointed by this, as it could still be awesome. Review is from notes taken on 3/29/2011 and poured from the bottle to a goblet.

Appearance: As mentioned, definite and total gusher, took a while to get it out of the bottle, but I managed to pull it off. Pour is a dark mahogany/ruby color; body is dark and very murky, shows a lot of chunks settling in at the bottom; starts with a big 3 finger light tan foamy head that fades relatively slowly to a full and uneven, thick cap with plenty of thick webs of lacing left behind on the sides of the glass.

Smell: Got a funk a to it, comes across sour tartness, like brett; bit of an alcoholic phenol scent behind the tartness; as it continues to warm the sweet caramel malts start to sneak out; the funkiness really

Taste: Easily the maltiest beer with this tartness that I have ever tasted -- an interested blend of the sour tart/lactic tart comes along with a TON of caramel/butterscotch maltiness; bit of a rye seed and bready flavor behind all of the sweet malts; bit of an alcohol in the end that melds quite well with the rye, caramel and funk. See, this really worked out with the infection... Makes me wonder if Ithaca actually planned this... JK, but it'd be awesome if they did.

Mouthfeel: Body is of medium weight and comes across quite dry in the end; aptly carbonated, probably partially because of the infection, it comes across as soft and foamy/smooth; a pretty dry film is left on the roof of the mouth; belly is left a little warm from the acidity and slightly higher ABV of 9%.

Overall: It works for me, and I wouldn't mind picking up at least another to put it away for another year or so to see what continues to happen to it. Great flavors that came out just fine with the infection and everything. The ABV may be a bit of a factor, and I'm definitely feeling it by the end of the 750, but it's doable.

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Photo of gford217
3.68/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 17 bottle.

Pours a murky brownish red with an enormous frothy beige head. In fact, I poured the initial glass and when I went back for more, the beer had foamed out of the bottle. Great lacing.

Aroma has lightly tart cherries, musty earth notes and plenty of spicy rye. The whiskey is present but not dominant with some vanilla and oak from the barrel as well.

The taste starts out with a mixture of smooth, spicy rye and tart cherries. The backbone features dark fruits and yeast with a finish that definitely features the whiskey and some dry oaky notes.

The mouthfeel is crazy smooth due to the rye with the cherry tartness catching me off guard a bit.

This is a complex beer and, like others have said, it's unclear if the tart fruit character is intentional or not. I'm lean
Ng toward a slight infection but I enjoyed the beer nonetheless.

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Photo of brydeen
3.73/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Reviewed as part of Blind BIF round 8

A: Pours a very murky brown, with very bubbly, but surprisingly thin off white head. Dissipates quickly, except for a thin stubborn layer.

S: A light tartness up front, quickly enveloped by a smooth sweetness. Caramel, toffee, and vanilla present. I'm thinking barrel aged, likely whiskey. A slight char aroma too. Intriguing.

T: Rich toffee, and slightly buttery. Reminiscent of a werther's hard candy. The slightest tartness on the back of the tongue in the aftertaste. Almost like apple cider, with light spices. Apple brandy maybe? Consider me perplexed.

M: Surprisingly smoother than expected, and medium to full bodied. Really creamy, but over carbonation is its downfall. Alcohol is hidden very well.

O: Jekyll & Hyde between the smell and taste. The tartness in the nose is very prominent, but very subdued in the taste. It's tasty, but just a little muddled

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.73/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sampled at the Extreme Beer Fest on 2/15/08: Very drinkable brew, tasted like an IPA to me with nice bitter citrusy hops. Bold citrus flavor and strong rye presence. A very good beer.

Update 3/5/09: Bottle, batch EO017!. Pours a dark amber brown with a thick tan head. Aroma of sour notes (infected?) and caramel malt. Flavor is also sour. Clearly infected, not terrible but obviously not what it was meant to be. I'll keep my old rating until I try the real version, just letting people know what's out there.

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Old Habit from Ithaca Beer Company
87 out of 100 based on 117 ratings.