Amsterdam Vicar's Vice Old Ale - Amsterdam Brewing Company
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Ratings: 34 | Reviews: 12 | Display Reviews Only:
3.69/5 rDev +0.5%
I watch enough British murder-mysteries to love the name 'Vicar's Vice'. I've also reviewed enough beers to appreciate its appearance: this raisin-coloured Old Ale is deep as winter is dark and its head is a chunky barrel-brown bulb that spreads and opens wide like a tulip in bloom.
There's enough roast and spent grinds flavour in the aroma that you'd think this was brewed next to the coffee maker. The nose also features notes of raisin, toasted chestnut and hazelnut, as well as alcohol esters stewing just beneath the surface that subtly hint at the beer's strength (8.1%). It's nice but the bouquet shies away the I harder I try to smell it.
The flavour has a vivid amount of purple fruit (ripe plums and figs in particular) and a sweet, roasted nuttiness that echoes the chestnut and hazelnut notes of the aroma. There's just enough bitter, ashy character to infer chocolate-covered raisins as well as an underlying sweetness that nods to dates and other dried fruits.
I doubt this beer can hold up as long as its brewer thought it fit too; while a measly one year is unlikely to spoil it, it seems a bit long for a medium-light bodied beer of such minor intricacy. Only three months from bottling it's already light on the ester-y nuances and thin on the malt; another nine aren't likely to unveil any additional complexity. Drink this old ale young.
Vicar's Vice is neither sinner nor saint - it's a very enjoyable old ale that offers a good look at the style but doesn't quite show the whole picture. I flipped and flopped a few times on the scores; I may liked it more than I've let on. Nothing world-class but unquestionably well-conceived and made, it is another solid offering from Amsterdam's 'adventure brews' series.
02-09-2014 22:33:24 | More by biegaman
3.64/5 rDev -0.8%
(3.5) A: Dark brown with a thin creamy tan coloured head that’s quite bubbly. Recedes quickly to a ring and leaves negligible lacing down the glass.
(3.5) S: Milk chocolate, caramel, plum, nuts, and vanilla. Enticing but quite a sweet and straightforward aroma with less spices and diversity than I was expecting for an old ale.
(3.75) T: Raisins, molasses, chocolate, dark fruits, vanilla, and caramel. Similar to the aroma with sweet flavours dominant (vanilla & caramel mostly). Nice full flavoured roasted malt qualities towards the back end including the dark fruits & molasses/chocolate. Alcohol is well hidden as others have pointed out.
(3.75) M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Sticky, creamy, and slick.
(3.5) D: This is good but lacked in terms of diversity for an old ale – both aroma and flavour wise. A bit steep price wise as well. I’d like to see their other rotating options that are on-tap at the brewhouse available in bottle form at the retail shop as others are much better than this (IMO) – maybe one day.
01-25-2014 00:25:20 | More by Digimaika2
3.76/5 rDev +2.5%
Purchased from LCBO, served well-chilled into inappropriate glassware while watching the AFC Championship Game. Oh well.
Appearance - Dark, hazelnut brown. Decadent 2+ fingers of tan head that coalesce, and maintain for a very long while. Beautiful rings of lacing left around the lass. Some slight reddish mahogany hues in the beer too, but rather opaque. A most impressive start.
Smell - Dark fruits, some peat and a mellowed dessert tray all ring bells with this brew. Some chocolate specifically in the nose as well. Fairly yummy, but not otherworldly.
Taste - The eartiness and peat flavors come through here a bit sharper than in the nose, the fruits are significantly less prevalent here. As the beer warms some, coffee and anise flavors come into play more, completely undetected on the nose.
Mouthfeel - Dry finish, medium carbonation. Booze is well hidden. Slightly thin on the mouthfeel.
Overall - A fine old ale, great for sipping while watching some playoff football. Probably won't repeat the purchase though as there are others I would prefer when accessible. Even still this one does not appear to be readily available so was glad to enjoy with good company.
01-23-2014 04:04:34 | More by DenisKolkin
3.93/5 rDev +7.1%
650 mL bottle from the LCBO; bottled Nov. 4 2013. Been holding onto this one for the better part of a month, waiting for a good time to crack it open - and my 600th beer tick on BA seems as good a time as any. Served slightly chilled and poured into a mug.
Pours an opaque cola brown with some crimson tinges under the light, topped with one finger of frothy, tan-coloured head. It wilts fairly rapidly, leaving behind a thin sheet of lacing and soon settling into a modest collar at the surface. Mild aroma without a lot of features to describe - toffee and molasses figure in prominently, in addition to toasted nuts, cocoa powder and raisins. Nothing bad here, it's just kind of mundane.
Pretty yummy stuff, and balanced nicely with no sign of the 8.1% abv. Toffee sweetness and roasted, bready malts form the bulk of the flavour, with accompanying notes of raisins and cherry. Toasted hazelnuts are also detectable, with some chocolate notes leading into a light, bittersweet finish that carries on into the aftertaste. Medium-bodied, perhaps leaning toward the heftier side, with a creamy, smooth, satisfying feel on the palate. Very drinkable for an 8%er.
Final Grade: 3.93, a B+. Vicar's Vice Olde Ale isn't a particularly complex affair, but it's an enjoyable one nonetheless. I'm not going to pretend I've had a lot of experience with old ales, but this is an easy-drinking, balanced, English-style strong ale that I would consider picking up again. This one had more of a stout/porter vibe than I tend to expect from this style, which is not necessarily a bad thing (especially if you're big on traditional dark ales). A little pricy, but worth a shot - it's not like quality old ales are easy to find in these parts.
01-01-2014 22:07:20 | More by thehyperduck
2.68/5 rDev -27%
Bottle: Poured a clear copper color ale with a medium size foamy head with light retention and almost no lacing. Aroma consists of unrefined grainy notes with some light sugar notes. Taste is also dominated by unrefined grainy notes with light residual sugars notes. Body is quite light with medium carbonation. The unrefined grainy notes are really not pleasant and kind ruins the effort here.
12-16-2013 03:17:32 | More by Phyl21ca
3.68/5 rDev +0.3%
Bomber from the Ottawa LCBO for $9
Appearance - Brown colour with an average size frothy off-white coloured head. There is a low amount of carbonation showing and there is some decent lacing on the sides of the glass. The head lasted for close to 5 minutes before it began to dissipate.
Smell - Malts, caramel, roasted/toasted notes, chocolate
Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste caramel and malts mixed with light hops. There is also some roasted/toasted/burnt notes and a bit of chocolate.
Overall - Tastes more like a stout/porter than an Old Ale to me.. perhaps some age would help. Either way, a little boring and overpriced for what it is.
12-07-2013 01:34:41 | More by spinrsx
British Columbia (Canada)
3.74/5 rDev +1.9%
Big thank you to liamt07 for this. Cheers man!
Appearance. Pours a deep brown with almost a finger of off-white head that doesn't last long.
Smell. Sweet caramel malts and toffee, roasted nuts, plums, raisins, and brown sugar.
Taste. Sweet caramel malts and roasted nuts, molasses, some raisins and dark fruit, and a little tobacco.
Mouthfeel. Medium-full body with medium carbonation.
Overall. Good stuff. I wouldn't age this one like a bigger old ale, it's great right now.
07-03-2013 03:40:23 | More by Rutager
Amsterdam Vicar's Vice Old Ale from Amsterdam Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 34 ratings.