Old Izaak | Whim Ales

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Old IzaakOld Izaak
47 Ratings
Old IzaakOld Izaak

Brewed by:
Whim Ales
England, United Kingdom

Style: English 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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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 47 |  Reviews: 43
Reviews by beerkittycat:
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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More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.3/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep red/orange mixture with a big rocky head that sticks like glue to the glass I didnt expect that large of a head I have to say.Very English in aroma some dried fruit and bready malt with a metallic note lingering.Now this is what an ESB should taste like in my opinion,on the malty side very fruity and lightly caramelly sweet with a enough herbal hoppiness to make it extremeley balanced and extremely easy to drink.How good on cask would this be,I will likely never know but I can dream thats for sure.

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

Appearance – This beauty shop was gorgeous. The liquid is a nice, solid, almost glowing brown and the white head stained with an orangish-brown. The head came up explosively on a careful pour, lingered well, and left some nice lacing.

Smell – Wet, sticky malts make up the aroma of this English Ale. The thick toffee and tart fruits will make your mouth salivate.

Taste – Yes, very typical English ESB. The gooey malts are not sweetened in the refined sugar way that we’re used to with a lot of American Ales. No, here you have that raw, bitter, molasses-type of sweetness that you get in a good, dry cider.

Mouthfeel – A tad bigger than light in the body with some real bitterness. This one is also lightly carbonated, making it a terrific session ale.

Drinkability – I’m not a huge fan of the style, but this is what I expect when I pop the top of an English ESB.

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Photo of Jason
3.98/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: One pint, .9oz brown bottle with raised glass of hop vines below the neck of the bottle. Noted on the bottle that this ale was named after the 17th century author, Sir Isaak Walton. Freshness date clearly scored.

Appearance: Rusty reddish in colour with a ever so creamy and bubbly lace which even leaves a few rings around the glass.

Smell: Fresh cut pie apples and a slight herbal hop in the nose.

Taste: Very very smooth with a dry crisp medium body, lots of flavours hit in the front ... nice malt character with hints of apple in the fruitiness and a mild sweetness that has a touch of caramel also. Hops are perfect with a level bitterness that keeps this brew on an even keel and lingers for a long time. The end gets even better with a pinch of chocolate and toasted grain in the finish.

Notes: Goes down very easy, on the label it says its a "Traditional English Ale" so we assumed its an Old Style Bitter. A well built ale and a sure treat to quaff.

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Photo of merlin48
3.88/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear copper body with a two finger ecru shaded head that quickly falls into film and abundant patchy lace. Aroma is somewhat restrained, but is malty with toffee and very floral with earthy dandelion flower. Mouthfeel is light medium bodied with smooth and even carbonation. Taste is well balanced toffee maltiness with lavender and dandelion flavors fronting the floral hops bitterness. Toffee is very dominant in the taste, almost chewy, but the floral hops lend a nice balancing bitterness. A nice ESB, but I missed any pear or apple fruity notes that I prefer in a good English special bitter. Very well done, overall, and I would buy this one again.

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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!

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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 Reverand
4.18/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Exceptional beer. Deep brown color with tan colored head that clung to the side. Very smooth taste with a dry crisp aftertaste. A perfect balance of hops that encourages another glass.

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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 Imbiber
4.31/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This bottle came from American Beer Distributors, Brooklyn.

Reddish-brown in colour with a tan-coloured head. Aroma is slightly malty and a touch earthy. Flavour is rich in malt with some caramel and fruit but with a balance of hops; quite complex and satisfying. Aftertaste is balanced sweetness and maltiness, quite assertive.

A very nice beer with interesting qualities.

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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.

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Photo of hotstuff
4.22/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

One of my favorite styles of beer.When poured, this beer had a medium sized tan head with fine-medium bubbles.There was carbonation observed and the body was dense.The hue was reddish brown and this beer left a fair amount of lacing on the sides of my glass.The nose was that of alcohol, malt and spices.The flavor was bitter, dry, mild and also alcohol.The mouthfeel was smooth and light-medium bodied.All in all, a very fine English Strong Ale in my opinion.

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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 LJWalker
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%

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.

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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.

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Photo of Brent
4.84/5  rDev +21%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A very nice beer. Lots of caramel malt at the front, with a slight to moderate hops bittering at the finish. Very smooth and easy to drink.

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Photo of Zorro
3.98/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear dark red brew.

Smell is malty and a bit of apple and bready with a faint soy sauce scent.

Taste is a bit sweet and a bit bitter. Mild fruit and molasses taste. A mild tasty ale.

Mouthfeel is good.

Drinkability is excellent, mild tasty brew.

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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 hooligan
4.15/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Deep dark brown opaque beer with a thin bubbly head that clings to the side of the glass. Caramel and grainy smell, faint fruitiness, with no aroma of hops. Very robust roasted malt bitterness upfront, more savory then sweet, very roasted and dry. Caramel/toffee flavors are present but also quite dry. Excellent herbal hop flavor that cuts through the dry malt character, slight floral, grassy hop astringency at the finish. Cleans well on the palate and has an excellent roasted character. Prickly mouthfeel on a clean and thin bodied beer... great beer, very interesting and unique for the style.

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Photo of aracauna
3.54/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice reddish brown body with a good glow and a nice buttered bread-colored fluffy head that's not too big but sizeable. Slow to recede and laces nicely. The aroma is cherries and wood. More of the same in the flavor. A little sweet caramel up front, but the finish is shockingly dry. A little tea lingers. The mouthfeel is surprisingly creamy for a 5% beer. Very attractive and tactily pleasant beer, but lacks a bit in the flavor.

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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 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.

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Photo of Suds
4.07/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

½ liter bottle with a fishing lure on the label and an explanation that the beer is named after the writer of The Compleat Angler (go figure).
Pours a dark, muddy, brown color. Moderate carbonation with a thin, but sticky, tan head. The aroma is a mix of yeast, caramel, and sweet-smelling malts. The brew has a soft, slightly sweet taste. It’s extremely soft and smooth. At times it can be tongue-coating, with just a bit of oiliness. Finish has a tasty hop bite. This is a solid English ESB.

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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.

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Old Izaak from Whim Ales
Beer rating: 4 out of 5 with 47 ratings