Old Man Winter
John Harvard's Brewery & Ale House

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Beer Geek Stats:
English Old Ale
Needs more ratings
3.45 | pDev: 8.12%
John Harvard's Brewery & Ale House
Massachusetts, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Reviews: 4 | Ratings: 6 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of jlindros
3.82/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Tap at framingham Brew Pub.

Light creamy 1/2 finger head fades at a med pace with some lacing, murky dark molasses brown color, fades of murky maroon light.

Nose soft aged malts, plenty of warming brown malts, caramel, bit of toffee, light nutty aroma with hint of a cinnamon like spice. Touches of light earthy hops, slightest hint of cocoa and raisin.

Taste starts with some phenols, a light phenolic taste, as well as herbal earthy hops that get fairly bitter, grassy, and even spicy hop. Then malts, soft aged brown malts, little juicy reddish malt. Then caramel, molasses, toffee, nutty, hint of licorice and cinnamon. Rich of brown sugar and nutty malty flavors. a slight warming booze floats in with the sweetness and bringing the phenols. Finish is quite biter, spicy, grassy, herbal hops with a hint of astringency, light sticky brown malts, caramel, spices, and toffee all linger.

Mouth is med bodied, decent carb, slight hint of warming booze.

Overall not bad, but the phenols, herbal grassy hops, and heavy bitterness take away from it a bit. The nose was nice, and overall a decent winter beer if not for the unpleasantries.

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Photo of morebeergood
3.75/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap this afternoon with lunch at JH in Framingham. Served in a regular pint glass. Dark brown color with subtle red highlights. Soapy white head. The smell was a lot like a winter warmer beer, as it was spicy and floral. The taste was a bit more mellow. Dark flavors of ripe fruit like cherry and fig, with a bit of sweetness and a lot of malt. Very enticing flavor. The mouthfeel was also very good, as this beer had a nice body to it. As for drinkability, it's an excellent winter beer with a high abv (was listed as 7.2% today) and it's definitely one to sip slowly.

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Photo of Bagman007
3.42/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served in a pint glass from the tap.

A- Has a very cloudy brown coloring to it.

S- Has a very sweet, somewhat spicy scent to it. Not very strong of a scent.

T- One of the spicier beers I have had. Definitely not a good idea to have with hot wings as I did. Very nice taste though. Sweet with a Red Hot like spiciness.

M- Not really bitter at all, but definitely a little spicy.

D- Fairly drinkable beer. I don't know that I would have several of these in a sitting, but you definitely could.

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Photo of eberkman
3.28/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Opaque black appearance with a creamy stoutlike light-tan head that had decent retention. Looked like a Guinness on tap, basically -- not what I expect for something billed as an "Old Ale." The nose was primarily winter spices and dark coffee. Taste was pretty similar -- stoutlike dark chocolate and coffee notes offset by gingerbread type spices. Much more malty sweet than hoppy. Smooth and heavy-bodied, low carbonation in the mouth. Enjoyable enough for one on a freezing-ass night like tonight, but the cloying sweetness and relatively high alcohol content probably keeps it from being a session beer (though the high alcohol content was certainly a plus for a rare night away from a newborn and a toddler).

My big criticism would be the mislabeling of this as an "Old Ale." I'd call it a winter warmer. When I think of an Old Ale, I'm picturing a Thomas Hardy Ale, a Fuller Vintage Ale or something like that, which has the delicate qualities and complexity of a fine port or a cognac, as opposed to a spice bomb with a stoutlike body. In fairness, however, a beer that should have been served around cellar temperature was served freezing cold -- basically what you'd expect for a Bud Light on tap at Chili's (a brewpub should know better). This must have robbed the beer of some of its subtleties. That aside, it was certainly one of the better selections I've had at John Harvard's and I'd have one again.

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Old Man Winter from John Harvard's Brewery & Ale House
Beer rating: 3.45 out of 5 with 6 ratings