Old Izaak | Whim Ales

Old IzaakOld Izaak
Liked This Beer
4 w/ 47 ratings
Old IzaakOld Izaak

Brewed by:
Whim Ales
England, United Kingdom

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 09-11-2001

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Ratings: 47 |  Reviews: 43
Photo of harpus
3.5/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Slatetank
4.75/5  rDev +18.8%

Photo of LJWalker
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%

Photo of kylesobrien
4.45/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a shade of cola brown, with a fairly thin and slightly brown head. Smells of raisins, plums and toffee. Fairly opaque; I can hardly see anything through the glass.

The flavor is relatively complex; this is a dark British ale, after all, and it would be a shame to serve it ice cold. The first taste is a mix of fruitcake, toffee, apple, plum and faintly hoppy flavors. Subsequent sips present a definite candied fruit and dark bread character -- I'm pleasantly surprised. I've only had the opportunity to sample a few bottled British ales, and of those I'm most reminded of Fuller's 1845. I realize this is an ESB, but it reminds me less of that Fuller's standard and more of the former. I'm certainly a big fan of the 1845, but I think I might like this one even more. To be perfectly honest, I'd not seen this one previously, and decided to snag a bottle since my local shop had only one left on the shelf. Now I see why.

If you enjoy ESBs and dark British ales with complex flavors, I highly recommend this selection. A particularly fine bottled example in the style of true real ales. Delicious.

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Photo of Bookseeb
4.02/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance has a hazy light brown color with a fair head that dissapates leaving no lace. Smell of rich caramel malts and dark fruits. Taste has an interesting earthy sweetness to the malts that is nicely balanced with the hops having a clean finish in the end. Mouthfeel is medium with good carbonation. I've drank many of pints over in England and Scotland and I'd say this is a fair comparison.

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Photo of bstewyb
3.01/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Presentation: Bottle poured into a imperial pint glass

Appearance: Deep golden brown/auburn

Smell: slightly citrus, fruity nose. Mostly caramel.

Taste: Strong caramel and malts. Slightly watered down and thin with hints of hops at the end.

Mouthfeel: thin but acceptable

Drinkability: Acceptable, good start with more to come.

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Photo of Minkybut
3.97/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured this unusual beer into my tumbler at 50 degrees. The beer was a dark brown color and poured a nice tam head. The smell of the beer was caramally and really goy me juicing. The taste was malty and rich with caramel hits that was well balanced. This is a great beer,buy it I will again.

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Photo of beerkittycat
4.7/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Every so often a beer comes along that when you taste it for the first time the word, "Wow" is said immediately after you swallow. Appearance is crystal-clear brown with ruby highlights and a lazy tan head. Decent lacing. Aroma is full of black-strap molasses, treacle, bitter chocolate, and maybe a hint of peat smoke. Grassy hops dance across your nose and blend with the complex malt aromas that remind me of what I think an English countryside might smell like after a soft rain. Taste (Wow) is all of the above but more intensified and balanced by a rather restrained hop bitterness for an ESB, but the mouthfeel is medium to medium-full and along with restrained carbonation it is spot-on for the style. A very tasty beer.

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Photo of morimech
3.34/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Best before Dec 08.
The darkest ESB I have come across. Pours a reddish brown with a large off-white head that had good retention. Sheets of lacing but it does not stick to the glass.

I smell sweet malt and not much of anything that would lead me to believe this was an ESB. Seems to me more like a dark mild.

The taste is also big on the malt. Fruity in the middle with just a kiss of hops on the finish. A fine tasting beer but as an ESB, I am not so sure. Maybe I am too accustomed to American versions that feature the hops.

Light to medium body with good carbonation. Has a silky texture that is really pleasing.

Very drinkable with the lower ABV. I prefer the hops more in your face than what this ale offers.

 719 characters

Photo of lackenhauser
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep, mahogany color though a lot lighter when held to the light. Nice sized head. You could smell the caramel and slightly roasted aroma as it was being poured. Smooth, somewhat sweet malty flavor. Nice caramel touch. Seems just a tad smokey. Pleasant bitterness but I like the sweetness behind it. Solid body for 5%. Maybe a tad thin but that just adds to the smoothness and drinkablility. Very enjoyable beer.

 420 characters

Photo of CharlieMopps
3.28/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Moderate pour yields a solid two and a half fingers of dense head with medium-size bubbles. Dissipation occurs fairly slowly, leaving little lace spore colonies on its descent. Transparent, burnt ruby color with a bit of shimmer to it.

S: Notes of bittering hops, somewhat floral, but pretty much a straight-up bready malt bouquet, which I have no problem with at all.

T: Fairly weak malt introduction, with only a brief appearance of toffee that leads right into the bittering hops. Finish sneaks out the back, making for a drying aftertaste that falls somewhere between tasteful execution and weak note to end on. I'm leaning toward the latter.

M: Carbonation makes it a touch creamy, but there is a watery element to this beer that I just can't get past. Not as bad as others, in this sense, but still, not assertive enough.

D: Easily drinkable, but not at the top of my list when it comes to palate. Mouthfeel is adequate, and it actually smells quite good, but doesn't hold up in the taste.

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Photo of Sammy
3.48/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Old ale like, drying bitterness long finish, though juicy citrus. Unusual bitterness ESB to my palate because of the hops. Maltiness is definately secondary. Brown cider colour, and aroma. The bitterness as what you get from cranberries.Appropriate carbonation. Drinkability not bad.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.5/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pretty sweet stuff...literally. Big malts evident from the opening of the bottle. Aromas of molassas and spice are released over the syrupy looking brew. Flavors all come together with a blend of dates, nuts, figs, plumbs, and a hint of raisons and chocolate. Perhaps a little too big for an ESB, but tasty stuff anyhow. The hops add a crisp spiciness and bitterness, but doesn't overwhelm. If anything, they are a little too subtle. A little less than clean in the finish because of the malt. Could almost be a Strong Ale if left to bottle condition.

 551 characters

Photo of SilentSabre
3.23/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A decent English ale. Nothing extraordinary by any means. Poured a brownish red colour with a khaki coloured foamy head that stuck around for at least two minutes. Nice sticky lacing. Looks good. Smells a bit sweet with some fruit in there somewhere. A good measure of malt with the usual English hops typical for this style. Smells nice, but nothing amazing. Taste is a typical, as well. It isn't bad, but it certainly doesn't grab your attention. Nice malt and hop balance, and fairly smooth and easy drinking. I could possibly see my self buying this again, but I certainly won't rush out and get some more right away. Slightly above average at best in my opinion.

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Photo of bigblueheron
4.35/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've become a loyal fan of this somewhat obscure offering. This is a handsome, warm and friendly-looking beer. Rich mahogany in color. And such a clean floral smell with a hint of apples. It pours with a 2-finger head that settles to a lasting 1 mm thick frothy layer. Nice lace, also. At first it feels sparkley and thin on the tongue. Let it breath for a while and it becomes smooth and creamy. Very flavorful - fruity at first, then malty with notes of caramel and toffee; finishes dry and bitter. Great with food, I enjoyed this with a naked Joey Bag o' Donuts from Moe's. I've heard this is a great selection to take fishing. I wouldn't know . . . I golf. But, I'd certainly throw 1 or 2 in my bag.

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Photo of Graebner
3.93/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Looks great. Pours out cloudy and medium-dark brown, but layers out so that the bottom is clear and the top is opaque. Very neat. Has a finger or so of head that goes down to a millimeter or so after a few minutes.

Smells like bread and butter and golden apples, maybe a little bit of dryer vent. Mmmm.

Tastes malty and slightly dry and bitter at first. Finishes with some hoppy bitter that lingers for a few seconds.

Feels quit nice on the tongue. The right amount of carbonation, and a smooth and not-too-heavy feel.

Overall very good, though you should probably drink it with food. Very good beer, though.

 622 characters

Photo of daliandragon
4.47/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

An interesting looking presentation..took me a while to figure out that was a fishing lure on the label. This is a good looking beer..dark cider color with lots of sediment and thick foamy head..very English looking, if I may be allowed a stereotype. Roasted malt is the major player in the nose with yeast, hops (noble?) and a faint hint of pine rounding out an appetising odor indeed.
Some great malt flavor in this one, the black and crystal varieties both representing particulary well in my first sip. There is some fruit tendrils as well, culminating in a mild but delicious bitterness that remind me of the best English bitters and Scottish ales and wee heavies, minus the extra alcohol. Mouthfeel is very smooth and pleasing. The aftertaste is mellow with a touch of smokiness to it.
This beer is very well put together. No one characteristic dominates the flavor but each ingredient adds a nice component to the overall melange. definitely will be looking for more from these qualty Derbyshire microbrewers.

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Photo of horndecker
3.88/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Reddish walnut hue. A beautiful head, darkish mocha tan, rocky, and plenty of sudsy lace.

Smell: Caramel, pine trees, hint of chocolate. Fruit, little bit grapy.

Taste: The first flush of fruit (apples?) flows to caramel and a full, nutty malt center. Bitter and dusty cocoa powder finishes along with a hops accent.

Pretty darn tasty. Decent body and plenty of carbonation for a nice busy smooth mouthfeel.

This is one I will drink again.

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Photo of dgallina
3.71/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a shiny translucent copper with gigantic peaky tan head and very good lace; a really great-looking beer. Caramel and biscuit malts over flowery dry hops in the nose. Tastes quite hoppy for a traditional british ale as well. Sweet malts up front, developing into slightly toasted and smoky biscuit malts in the middle. Finishes long and increasingly bitter with lots of wood-toned hops. Moderately light in body, with restrained carbonation and a good overall creaminess.

Well executed, but not as flavorful or deeply layered as the best bitters (Fullers ESB, etc).

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Photo of niknar
4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out a dark reddish-brown color with a light almond head that builds quite nicely. The bulk of the head disappears fairly rapidly, but leaves a very nice collar and good lacing. Aroma is of sweet malt with faint hints of spices and citrus notes. Very sweet. Flavor is quite good with more spices (the type of spice is lost to me) and malt coming through. Definitely some hints of roasted malt underneath as well. Finishes quite sweet but leaves the slightest hint of citrus sourness at the back of the mouth that accompanies a hint of lingering hop bitterness. An excellent balance in combination. Mouthfeel is right on for what I would expect - full bodied but not over-powering in any way. This is a highly drinkable beer and well worth trying!

 751 characters

Photo of Dukeofearl
4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep brown with ruby tints when held up to the light, with a nice, creamy head that doesn't last very long. Quite pretty.

The aroma is very very nice. Sweet, sweet-bread, aromatic, rich herbs (hops, I guess), and hints of fruity complexities I note in Belgian strong dark ales. I was expecting a high ABV beer based on the aroma alone.

The flavor follows through, with hints of smokiness and slight tartness on the edges. Pretty nice. Not what I think of when I think ESB, but hey, they is still very good. A full flavored beer that stands up and gives you something to enjoy.

 590 characters

Photo of blackie
4.23/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

appearance: Tan colored head. Reddish brown in color.

smell: sweet, estery, earthy, slight hop spiciness, fruity

taste: malty sweetness, woody, well balanced, finishes with a lingering hop bitterness

mouthfeel: slight carbonation

I like the name's origins.

 268 characters

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.15/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear crimson color, with a light, thinnish head atop.
Aroma: mild fruit, berry and grape, tiny hops.
Taste: a meeting of malt and hop that ends in equilibrium, and adds up to refreshment. A very tasty ale, fruity character being largest, nice hop component, warm, lush malt.
Medium bodied, slightly bitter finish. Very mellow, but brimming with flavor, smooth and tasty, ...everything a good ale ought to be.
this is very nice, one of the best English Ales I've had in a long, long time.

Next time I go fishing, I'l take some of these along!

 549 characters

Photo of WesWes
4.12/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a ruby red/brown color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades. The aroma is excellent. It has a creamy caramel scent that is slightly bitter and sweet. It is quite aromatic. The taste is good. It has a thin, bitter flavor that finishes creamy and full of pale and caramel malts. It has a woody aftertaste to it like it was stored in barrels. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a good tasting ESB. It's true to style and full of malty flavor; a good drinker.

 535 characters

Photo of ChrisBowers
3.79/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured out of the bottle into a nonic pint glass. Interesting color, dark brown, sorta murky, an enduring thin head. Smell is excellent with some defininte brown sugar present. Taste is not as interesting as I had imagined after the smell. Somewhat thin and uninteresting. Up front it is slightly sweet and a little hoppy, but then it just kinda fades to nothing. There is literally no aftertaste to this beer, almost as if I had been drinking water. Its odd. Definitely not a horrible beer, but not one I'd reccomend. Maybe I had a bad bottle.

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Old Izaak from Whim Ales
Beer rating: 76.6% out of 100 with 47 ratings
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