Old Izaak | Whim Ales

very good
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 Sammy
3.48/5  rDev -13.2%
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 -12.7%
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 oberon
4.3/5  rDev +7.2%
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 BuckeyeNation
3.95/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Lightly hazy, reddish, orangish bronze with a good looking head of buttery beige foam. The rumpled, divoted surface falls unevenly as a fair amount of lace begins to appear on the glass in BB-riddled sheets.

The nose is nicely aromatic. A pleasurable burst of fruity English hops results from even a cursory inhale. Sweet-and-sour spiced apples and pears are the order of the day, giving the beer a sweet cider vibe. There's also a toasted caramel bass line that compliments the fruity top notes quite well.

Old Izaak isn't as flavorful as it might be, but it's still good beer. The use of black malt (along with pale and crystal) gives it an earthiness that it wouldn't otherwise have. Modestly bitter, tea-like, herbal, English hops are the focal point.

The finish is relatively brief due to the slightly too light body. Keeping style firmly in mind, the mouthfeel is light-medium and contains an understated amount of carbonation; a combination that improves drinkability. There's a pretty impressive amount of lace on the opposite side of the glass as the beer falls with drinking, solidifying the score that I've already granted.

There isn't a whole lot wrong with Old Izaak as I see it. It's flavorful, is different enough to be interesting and is a drinkable beer that most should find appealing.

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Photo of Jason
3.98/5  rDev -0.7%
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 Slatetank
4.75/5  rDev +18.5%

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.15/5  rDev +3.5%
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!

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Photo of WesWes
4.12/5  rDev +2.7%
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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Photo of Zorro
3.98/5  rDev -0.7%
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 harpus
3.5/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Suds
4.07/5  rDev +1.5%
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 morimech
3.34/5  rDev -16.7%
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 RoyalT
3.88/5  rDev -3.2%
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 TheLongBeachBum
3.98/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: A rather heavy wide bodied 500ml (1 Pt 0.9 fl.oz) brown glass bottle with a thin neck and a distinctive embossed hop vine around the shoulder. Inkjet code ‘BBE Apr 04 L302 08:49’ on the neck. The main label has a picture fly fishing hook and some text to the left goes onto explain that this brew is named after the 17th Century author of “The Compleat Angler”, Sir Izaak Walton. Listed as 5% Alc/Vol.

Appearance: Ruddy yet clear deep brown body that benefits from a lovely tan brown head that positively fizzes as it settles down. Nice conditioning and some great lacing.

Nose: Toffee and chocolate covered caramel set against a tannin stained malt background which has a spicy hop finish.

Taste: Has a very smooth ESB feel about it. A creamy malty start with a fruity toffee middle and a lasting malt-sweetness in the last third which benefits from a smart hop bitterness that lends a great balance. Milk chocolate occasionally breaks through the creamy finish as well. Smooth and very tasty.

Mouthfeel: Smooth yet solid with a chewy toffee feel gives the Old Isaak a full-bodied feel.

Drinkability: Immensely so, it makes a great session brew, even at 5% which is a tad high for a UK beer. I found little to stop me downing several of these, well maybe except for the price tag.

Overall: I’m a big fan of Whim Ales, their Magic Mushroom Mild is a great Cask offering, but this is the first time I have had one of Whims Ale from the bottle. The Old Isaak is a solid fruity brew indeed – well worth the coin.

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Photo of blackie
4.23/5  rDev +5.5%
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 +20.7%
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 merlin48
3.88/5  rDev -3.2%
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 allengarvin
4.36/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Deep reddish-walnut color, small (typically English) head.

Aroma: Very little smell, with only a small malt aroma with a slight tartness.

Flavor: Rich nutty malt flavor, with a very nice earthy bitterness and hop flavor, with fruity yeast character, and finishing with enough acidity for a tart, sour, slightly sulfurish finish.

Body: Medium, yet slightly tingly, carbonation and mouthfeel.

A very quaffable ('quaffable' is just about my favorite drinking word) English beer, absolutely top-notch for a bottled beer of the style (except for the small aroma).

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Photo of kmpitz2
3.55/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a dirty brown color with a finger of head that falls to coat the beer. The nose is kind of a rum raisin, slightly bready. I don't get much hop in there. The hop is a little more prevalent in there in the flavor, but the bready raisiney tones are still pretty strong as well. Not exactly what I consider for an ESB. The feel is on the light side of moderate, with a moderate carbonation and a slight creamyness. The beer is pretty easy drinking, but it just doesn't do it for me.

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Photo of lackenhauser
4/5  rDev -0.2%
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.

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Photo of daliandragon
4.47/5  rDev +11.5%
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 clvand0
3.46/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This one pours a brown color with a small head that fades fast and doesn't leave much lacing on the glass. The aroma is not what I expect from an ESB. It has a raisin character that is more common among Belgian ales. Not much hop smell. The flavor is not what the aroma says it should be. The bitterness is much more prevalent and the raisin character isn't as strong, making the flavor much better than the aroma. It could use a little more body, but it drinks nicely.

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Photo of LJWalker
4.25/5  rDev +6%

Photo of UnionMade
4.28/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber color, with a moderate antique white head. The head lasts forever, well beyond the beer in the glass. Very rich looking ale. I'm excited!
Aroma is seriously malty and powerful. Light estery fruitiness, english hops, and lots of malt. Apple and pear, with perhaps a touch of clovey spiciness. That could be the hops, though.
Flavor is strong and decidedly british. Carbonation is british, which seems to be slightly lower and smoother than american brews. Somewhat spicy hop finish, with a nutty aftertaste. Smooth for it's presence. I am loving every sip of this beer, and I can't wait to hit HalfTime again to get another one.

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Photo of aracauna
3.54/5  rDev -11.7%
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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Old Izaak from Whim Ales
4.01 out of 5 based on 47 ratings.
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