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Old Woody - Fish Brewing Company / Fishbowl Brewpub

Not Rated.
Old WoodyOld Woody

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

104 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 104
Reviews: 97
rAvg: 4.05
pDev: 9.88%
Wants: 52
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Fish Brewing Company / Fishbowl Brewpub visit their website
Washington, United States

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Gusler on 04-18-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 104 | Reviews: 97 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of beveragecaptain
4.22/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown with a small head. The aroma is very complex: malt, vanilla, oak, and carob. The flavor is equally delicious. It starts with a sweet molasses flavor, followed by fruits, like cherries, plums, and raisins. The oak gives it an extra layer of complexity. There is also some cocoa flavor. This beer is very tasty and complex, but it is a little weak in the finish. The 10% abv is very well hidden. Still, this is a sipping beer. Very well done.

beveragecaptain, Jul 31, 2005
Photo of Gaisgeil
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle courtesy of the one, the only, the Washington state maven BA, Skyhand.

Pours a deep toffee toned dark brown in color with a thin head that didn't last long. Lack of head is often like silence in the forest, something is about to happen. Preliminary offactory inspection yielded few clues as to what lay ahead. This thing just smells STRONG in my Kuhnhenn tulip glass but I found it hard to pick out individual traits. Notes of toffee, dark fruits (raisins, figs) hints of licorice and bourbon bounce on the tongue like a four year old who got into the sugar jar. This is definatly a sipper. This was a real treat however, probably my favorite old ale to date, at least as memory serves, and after this one, it doesn't serve all that well.

Slàinte!

Gaisgeil, Jul 29, 2005
Photo of cokes
4.7/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2005. 12oz.
Pours russet brown trimmed with peach below an ecru heading of modest stature and more impressive cling.
Fragrant of pine cones, caramel-fudge bars, liquorice, wet iron, and bark.
Tramples across the tongue, leaving a melting goo of caramel nougat, milk chocolate, loose nuts, and all things candy bar. Take this in for a second, and ask yourself: "How goddamn tasty are Baby Ruths and/or Kit Kats when I'm stoned?"
Yeah...they're fucking good, aren't they?
And so is this.
Out of the dopey, confectionous malt, grows a bittering sense of liquorice and wet, spicy breads (think: rye). Woodsiness grows with a papery birch bark notion, unfolding into danker shaving of hickory, pine, and maple (complete with trickles of sap). The wood-aging layers a buttery vanilla hazenut coconut laquer. It ends with a contiuned caramel coconut milk leading into a resin-rich pine essence trimmed with metal spangles. Alcohol is barely noticed except in its mind-altering properties and suggestive Pinot Noir vinousness.
Thickish, but not clunky in feel. The sparce yet perky carbonation shines light a beam of sunlight through a dusty, cryptic brew
This can be drained with a quickness, and with an ensuing sadness.
This is special in so many ways. Fishtale has a stable of (generally) winners, but this is a real-deal, triple crown trophy horse.

cokes, Jul 18, 2005
Photo of sulldaddy
4.05/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer comes courtesy of Mickey. Thanks for opportunity!

I am sampling a 12 oz bottle in a snifter at room temp. 2003 vintage. The beer pours a clear chestnut with garnet highlights. A small creamy off white head foams up and fades to a thin edge layer fairly quickly.
Aroma is fruity with raisin and prunes some lite brown sugar hints as well. No real hop presence here
The first sip reveals a fairly lite body and very soft and fine, yet tightly packed carbonation. Flavor is a little sugary up front toffee and raisins mix nicely with a slightly peppery bitter finish which I attribute to the alcohol as I havent found hops anywhere else yet and I also get a little warming on the swallow.
A nice beer that is easy to drink even with the warming on the finish.

sulldaddy, Jul 17, 2005
Photo of Cwrw
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

My friend from Olympia pleasantly surprised me by bringing up some good Fish Tale Ales, and this one really delighted me. Vintage 2003 in a 355ml bottle, tasted on May 15, 2005. Old Woody poured a rich and deep chestnut brown, with soft hints of dark purple, topped by a thin but fine layer of lightish brown head dappled darker brown where some of the yeast dropped in. Small bubbled lacing. The beer's colour, I must say, is superbly attractive held against a white background. Peering really closely through the glass I can see the free-floating bits of yeast, and the overall haziness of the liquid. The aroma is incredibly similar to Fish Tale's Detonator Doppelbock, with perhaps the difference of more phenolic smells in this one. Up front alcohol mixes with more subtle notes such as burnt and spicy malt, currants, raisins, figs, extremely sweet sugars, cloves and cinnamon, black licorice and dates, some almost Belgian-tripel style yeast aromas, brown sugar, fresh brownies, and some oak. The aroma is a veritable cornucopia of complexity. This is similar to their doppelbock, only better--less spicy and more malty. The aroma also smells as if perhaps sugar has been added to the beer. The taste is almost like sipping syrup and is suprisingly not harsh with alcohol. I taste dark licorice and tobacco immediately, followed by dry burnt maltiness. The resins and syrup comparisons are inevitable. The sweet malts and chemical-strong sweetness is an incredible combination, leaving a finish of dried grain, with grapefruit bitterness, and yes there are even some grassy hop notes. Sweet chocolate and raisins, with a burnt toast bitterness. The alcohol is not overly noticeable, but this beer warms the stomach very rapidly. An excellent ale for a brisk winter night. The mouthfeel is like drinking car-oil: extremely thick and with intensely low carbonation. This is perhaps one of the thickest beers I have tasted, and I love it. Mouth-covering silkiness fills the whole palate. Disturbingly drinkable, despite the alcohol content. This is a beauty, and I think the 2 years aging probably increased my liking of it. I would love to try this with a vintage 2005.
By far the best I have tried from Fish Brewing.

Cwrw, May 15, 2005
Photo of brewandbbq
4.43/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2003 vintage, 12 oz bottle.
A syrupy pour reveals Mahogany with crimson edging and a rocky beige head.
Supple and juicy in the nose with a big,bready malt character and earthy hops.
Hints of toffee,caramel,vanilla,smoke, and cedar. Finishes with vineous alcohol.
Rounded and smooth on the pallet.
Dusty malt with a residual sweetness.
Filled with "Old Ale" character with substantial Northwest hop character (although subdued).
Toasted,doughy malts,warming alcohol,lingering bitterness and a slick, musty finish.
Hints of cedar,oak,dry wine, and smoke.
A 750 of this would be friggin' righteous.

brewandbbq, Apr 28, 2005
Photo of woemad
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle purchased at Huckleberry's in Spokane in either August or September. I forget what I paid for it. Consumed to celebrate my having turned in my MA thesis this morning. Anybody hiring historians that don't have their PhDs?

Poured what appeared to be a dark brown until I held it up to the light, the discovered it was actually a very dark amber. Tight, yet creamy looking head that disappeared quickly. Very slight, wispy lace. Didn't seem to have much carbonation at all.

Smell was of toffee, dried cherries, bready malts and brown sugar. This smelled quite tasty!

Taste didn't quite measure up to the smell, but was still quite good. While they are first in the batting order, the sweet aspects of the taste are well balanced by the bitter, dry flavors. The finish is pleasingly roasty and dry. There is a powerful alcohol presence that is just beneath the surface of this one!

This is a thick beer with very little carbonation. I don't drink very many old ales, so I don't really have an opinion on what the mouthfeel of one should be like.

This is a very tasty, complex beer that could kick your ass if you're not careful with it. I find it a very nice beer to quaff after an exceedingly long day (stayed up all night finishing my thesis, went to school & dropped it of, went to work, didn't get off work until 1AM!), but I think I'd have to decline a second one (just go ahead and offer me one - I dare ya...well, ok, if you insist...;)

woemad, Apr 16, 2005
Photo of pezoids
4.47/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Fish Brewing Co. – Old Woody English old ale 2003 (bottle)
I can tell almost immediately that this is a potent beer. Pours a very dark amber brown color and leaves just a wisp of lace on the glass. A head emerges from the hard pour, but quickly fizzles into a cobweb-like film a top the beer. No detectable carbonation (it’s too dark to see in there!). Rich and very heavy aroma yields molasses, sorghum, licorice and thick dark chocolates. A strong tasting beer, but also a very drinkable one. This has similar characteristics of a real oaky bourbon. Caramel and molasses in the forefront with tannic oak and almond bringing up the rear. The alcohol hides just beneath the surface, but it surely makes its presence known. An awesome beer that will bully you all the way to the bottom of the glass.

Thanks to the Portland BA that sent me this!

pezoids, Mar 19, 2005
Photo of aracauna
3.58/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This one pours a hazy dark brown with a sizeable, creamy off-white/cream head. The aroma is fairly vinous and creates an almost whiskey-like aroma from the malt and alcohol. The barleywine like fruitiness also adds to the impression of strength, without any actual alcohol flavors. The wine in the flavor is actually a little off-putting to me, but it’s a complex beer that deserves a try.

aracauna, Jan 28, 2005
Photo of ZAP
4.53/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2003-12 ounce bottle

Awesome nose....hickory...oak...sweet cookie dough...caramel..outstanding...

Pours a crimson red...flst looking no head...

Mouthfeel is non-carbonated..flat...sweet but a good dose of heat from the ABV keeps it from being too sweet..still almost a soy souce texture..

Flavor is slickly sweet..caramel...nice dose of woody notes...alcohol is slightly evident...provides a little bite on the finish...

Overall I love the nose on this...body and mouthfeel are a little too uncarbonated for my liking..taste is good to very good...

Overall above average...enjoyable....I would buy again as overall I like it..

ZAP, Jan 20, 2005
Photo of mikeys01
4.33/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very clear ruddy brown color, at first appearing to have no carbonation, but with thin wisps of tan foam swirling at the surface after a few seconds. Aroma is nutty caramel sweet, like a piece of fine English toffee. Some apple cider mixes in as well and the nose. Flavor is a very nice balancing act, with a clear vintage/old ale character and just enough oak to notice without making you feel like you're chewing on acorns. Sweet and caramely, nary a hint of hops here but they're not notably missing either. Malt sweetness transitions into a slight spiced bruised fuity tartness. Mouthfeel is full but the Woody isn't overly thick in body. Comes off smooth, complex, and very tasty. A very pleasant surprise. Thanks to weefisheads to turning me on to this one.

mikeys01, Jan 16, 2005
Photo of oberon
4.2/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2003 12oz bottle,pours a deep brown with almost no head to speak of,aolt of great aromas going on some caramel,dried fruit,even some cinnamon.Big and complex in the different flavors starts out sweet and caramelly some dried fruit with an underlying woodiness with a nice dry earth finish.Alot of complexities still could age another year I think but still a very nice sipping old ale from the northwest.

oberon, Dec 31, 2004
Photo of meathookjones
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This was from a 12oz 2003bottle sampled on 12/15/04. With a fairly vigorous pour no head emerge just a few random bubbles over a murky brownish amber body. Aroma is very earthy, ripe dark fruits and nice malty sweetness to it. There are strong notes of smokiness and a wood in the nose as well. The flavor was heavily sweet and smoky which seemed to balance out fairly well over an earthy hop bitterness. There are woody notes as you would expect and a slight noticeable alcohol presence. Notes of dark fruits were there also and this ends on a sweet and fruity tart note. Mouthfeel is pretty good with almost a full feel to it that is a but syrupy sticky. Pretty good drinkability too on this interesting brew. Overall the flavors meld well together forming a pretty unique brew.

meathookjones, Dec 22, 2004
Photo of lou91
3.73/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

November 2001 Vintage in 750ml. Poured dark and nearly still looking like a stale cola - dark brown with some ruby hints. The nose was great, especially if you like oak which was smack dab in the middle. The taste was oak, sweet sherry and dried orange peel in a rather light body. It is very easy to drink meaning the alcohol is not evident but it may need some food to compliment the unique tastes as the label suggests. I've had their Barleywine and Imperial Stout aged in oak and both work better than an Old Ale. I can't remember what this tastes like fresh but aging is not a major help.

lou91, Nov 16, 2004
Photo of Crosling
4.38/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

Burgundy.

Heavily oaked nose with many interwoven dry red wine qualities and notes of peppers, caramel apples and sticky dark fruits.

Slight sour, deep dark malt, dry oak and many red wine qualities. Over oaked? Hardly. The deep, rich, fruity malts meld with the wine qualities perfectly to create a very well made beer. Once again I am shocked at one of Fish's barrel aged offerings.

Crosling, Oct 03, 2004
Photo of beerceller99
4.13/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle from 2003. Pours a dark red - brown color with minimal head. Strong alcohol aroma with a slight caramel sweetness. Medium bodied with light carbonation.Has a strong sweet malt, smokiness dominating the flavor. Hops are notable only in their absence. Finishes nicely dry with a strong alcohol taste on the breath.

A pretty good brew for the colder months.

beerceller99, Sep 29, 2004
Photo of MrNuggets
4.35/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

12oz from last year.
A rough pour gives me an one inch high head. Lingers for a few minutes then subsides into a film that never leves the top of the beer.
Brown colour with flamming red highlights.
Explosively complex maltiness in the aroma. The Flavor runs deep on this old ale. Peppered cherries? Sounds good! Freshly milled red cedar turns into woody bitterness.
Cream mouthfeel? thats right, don't ask me how they do it!
I would have no problems poping open another one of these right now.

MrNuggets, Sep 09, 2004
Photo of RenoZymurgist
3.28/5  rDev -19%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured a dark cloudy Brown ale with no attempt at forming a head let alone retaining it. Aroma is very sweet and malty with a strong alcoholic presence. The flavor began with a sweet malt flavor that quickly segued into a smoky flavor with a piney almost minty hop bitterness. I did not like this beeras much as the Fish Tale IPA but it still had qualities about it that were outstanding. The flavor may have been off but the body is very nice as it has a semi-thick viscous texture without overwhelming the drinker. The body allows the flavors to be conveyed more smoothly than a higher bodied beer while the carbonation is mild enough to not contribute any carbonic bite. Overall this beer has aspects of it which are ideal while it is also in need of a little fine tuning.

RenoZymurgist, Aug 03, 2004
Photo of feloniousmonk
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle, courtesy of whoever tavernjef got it from...; )
Dark ruby color, brief beige head.
Ah, but the aroma is a lovely thing to give one pause, deep, fruity, cherries, berries, with a definite alcoholic kick, bit of a brandy feel, bright, yet medicinal. Smooth and fully flavored entry on the palate, woody flavor really comes through in the taste, still fruity, still boozy. Pungent, poignant, and powerful.
Firmly on the side of tasty, but not yet entering into delicousville.
the 10% is masked very well, not felt too keenly.
Overall, a really nice, tangy, solid old ale, tast-eee!
much thanks to mr. fisheads!

feloniousmonk, Jul 08, 2004
Photo of tavernjef
4.15/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This tree hugger likes the name and the label. 2003 bottle shared with feloniousmonk from weefisheads -Dark yellowy reddish brown with a burnt edge to its body, small biege head emerged quickly and fades out just as quickly. Lacing in glaring spots. Aroma has some dark cherry right away, other dark fruits emerge gradually with some fig, dates and darkened citrus. Caramel and toffee notes hide underneath a bit of earthy wet woods. Some fairly apparent ethonal heat and even a bit of phenolic hints peep in as well. Taste has a nice toasty caramel overall. Warm, soothing, welcoming, first few sips, very gradually and subtle flavors creep across the palate with some slight dark citrus orangeness, some fig and cherry, also hints of pine wood from hops decorate the finish with some solid warming effects. Feel is about medium, well rounded, gets fuller towards the end, creamy with some fine warming qualities throughout each sip. A nice rendition of a Old Ale style, one I tend to favor more then the English variety.

tavernjef, Jun 10, 2004
Photo of canucklehead
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a 2002 edition. The beer looks like boot polish but smells like a Belgian Pine forest if Belgian had pines. The flavour is vinous yet refined. I felt like Fish was trying to replicate a Gale's Old ale which is fine with me. This is a big beer and needs to be savoured after dinner with some strong cheeses. It is so cool that Fish produces a Barleywine and a Imperial Stout as well as this Old Ale. These guys are giving Rogue a run for the money as best PNW brewer.

canucklehead, Apr 06, 2004
Photo of HiroProtagonist
4.08/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Old Woody 2003 was served from a 12 oz. bottle. In a pint glass, the beer was rich reddish nut-brown color, and was topped by a light tannish head that quickly disappeared altogether. The nose nearly knocked me off of my feet...big booziness, dark roasted chocolate, and a smooth yet robust bourbony maltiness. I found it to be quite enticing once I got used to the overt booziness. The taste was monsterous and boozy as well, reflecting the nose closely. The rich roasty nutty-chocolate malt base was soaked in a bourbon-like booziness, and had accents of vanilla and earthiness. This gives way to a potently bitter finish, though it is difficult to determine if this comes from hops or alcohol. I enjoyed the level of sweetness thoughout: it was toned down compared to many old ales. All of this sounds off-putting, but I found that booziness worked very well with the malt profile and finish...and made for a very enjoyable experience. The body was full enough for the flavors but the carbonation was certainly too low...making the flavor less lively than it could have been. As one would expect from a beer of this intensity, it is not very drinkable...12 oz is more than plenty. In the end, a walloping bear of a beer with character, best enjoyed in cold weather as a warmer. I imagine this one would do very well in the cellar for at least 2 years.

HiroProtagonist, Mar 10, 2004
Photo of jtfest
3.8/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This was the 2003, 12 oz bottle. It pours a dark caramel with reddish hues and a thin, tan head that leaves a nice lacing. Not quite opaque in the glass, but very dark. The aroma is light and woody with a distinctive alcohol presence. The alcohol is far less (though not un) distinguishable in the flavor, which is big and malty with the "woody-ness" appearing more in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel is smooth and somewhat syrupy. This is a very nice strong ale -- particularly if you are a woody-beer lover -- but it's a bit big to drink a bunch in a sitting.

jtfest, Mar 05, 2004
Photo of faernt
4.72/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This sample is in a 750 ml bottle with a crown cap. The notes on the label say November 2002. The copy further states that it was brewed in the style of an English Old Ale, and aged in wine casks for six months. Other offerings I've sampled from Fish used merlot casks. I bought it in May of 2002 at Bottleworks in Seattle.
It pours clear with a tightly bubbled head of about 3/8". I was surprised to see such a head on a barley wine/ old ale. It subsided slowly to a skim with lace reminding me of where it had been. I'm drinking it out of a small chalice and as I refill the glass the head comes back at about 1/4" each time I pour.
The smell, as I bring it up to my nose, is wine. The oaky cask is present as I begin to drink and then it goes to malt sweetness and then back to wine. Hops are not part of this smell and taste dance. The wine aroma brings me back to the English Old Ales of my memory (like Gale's Prize Old Ale). This is like having a conversation with two beautiful women at once.
The alcohol kicks in with a cool breeze that lets me know that the label stating the 10% ABV is a warning to respect the strength of this one. The alcohol starts as a distraction but reintegrates with the refrain of the wine. There is no thickness; it isn't cloying at all. I think the tartness of the cask cuts through any chance of sugar.
I'm glad I've had great beer before I sampled this one. There is a lot to appreciate here. I look forward to acquiring the next batch. However, I will remember this one well if they never brew another. I hope they do (or have). This is worthy of the arrogance on the label which says "Artist Series" It is highly drinkable if you enjoy a challenge. Thank you Fish.

faernt, Jan 02, 2004
Photo of RoyalT
4.33/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – The head was OK. It came up a little and went away rather quickly. What caught my eye was the body. It is a very deep, dark brown and exceptionally thick.

Smell – This ale reeks of sherry-soaked wood. There’s also a nice malt base in there along with some complex fruits and sugars. I can pick out molasses, apricots, and cherries to name a few.

Taste – The malts come out much bigger at the taste. The oaky flavors turn more into a compliment than anything else. The big cherries, oranges, apples, pears, and apricots bring up the rear. There’s also some sort of a refreshing hop balance to this one. Well done.

Mouthfeel – This is very smooth and refreshing. It is definitely full-bodied with a respectable alcohol tinge.

Drinkability – I enjoy these types of big, strong ales with lots of character, but this is not for the novice beer drinker. Buy this one for a change of pace.

Update – I sat down to review this again the week of Christmas 2004 and, guess what, it hasn’t changed a bit. The nose is big sherry-infused oak, the taste is high-octane malts with a plethora of fruits, and the finish keeps you wanting for more. It is one of my favorite beer styles.

RoyalT, Oct 16, 2003
Old Woody from Fish Brewing Company / Fishbowl Brewpub
90 out of 100 based on 104 ratings.