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Old Tempestuous | Lightning Brewery

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Old TempestuousOld Tempestuous

Brewed by:
Lightning Brewery
California, United States

Style: Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
Formerly Old Tempest Ale

Added by Halcyondays on 09-04-2007

For Trade:
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Reviews: 38 | Ratings: 63
Photo of DarthKostrizer
2.62/5  rDev -31.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to Pat/Richard for sharing this one at a bottle share

Look: Dark brown in color with a 1/8 inch head and no retention

Smell: Burnt sugar and caramel

Taste: This is where the beer went completely bad. It had a very overpowering caramel sweetness that made the beer hard to drink. In the background was notes of toffee and brown sugar but there was just something odd about the flavors. Just bad

Mouthfeel: Medium body and low carbonation and a bit oily

Overall: I will never drink this beer again. The flavor was just bad and damn near undrinkable

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Photo of CrazyMacHarris99
2.72/5  rDev -29%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is not an Old Ale but more of a Strong Ale. Their website lists it as a "UK Strong Ale" and a "Winter Warmer."

Pours a hazy orange color with a thin head that leaves oily legs all over the glass. Smell is dominate bananas or as I like to call it, "circus peanuts." The taste is similar with the bananas. It is fruity with some earthy maltsand not really any hops. The mouthfeel is harsh but not to thick or thin. Drinkability is okay but this is not any one style and is pretty much all over the place.

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Photo of FosterJM
3/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

1046th Review on BA
Bottle to Snifter
22oz (Was told 2010 bottle)

Thanks to Pat/Richard for sharing
Shared at MrHirschybars tasting

App- A semi brown, creamy looking pour with a very small head. A few dots of cling and that was about it. Along the lines of an old ale, but a lot more translucent.

Smell- For an old ale this was very sweet and a bit of putting. I found the nose to be a mix of vanilla, crème and some alcohol.

Taste- I will say I wasn't the biggest fan of this one. Old Ales are a style I am trying to get more into with Adam (semi old ale) and the Anniversary beers from the Bruery. This was way far too forward sweetness with just a weird flavor note.

Mouth- A medium bodied beer with somewhat of a medium carbonation level. Pretty thick malts remain on this one with some vanilla.

Drink- Overall, I think my hopes were a bit dashed by this one. Maybe this bottle is just a bit too old or just lost something. Overly sweet without much balance.

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Photo of beveragesampler
3.28/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22oz Bottle
A: Pours deep cloudy amber with little to no head and no lacing.

S: On the nose is a sweet caramel subtitle ginger and spices.

M: clean, rich and smooth with a subtitle lingering malty sweetness. Medium-heavy body, low carbonation.

T: complexities of butterscotch, caramel, toffee, ginger, spice, bread, dried fruit, banana and some citrus from the hops. Plenty going on here, well done.

F: slightly oily with a nice subtitle citrus that lingers for just a bit. 9%ABV well hidden.

O: reminiscent of a light barley wine style but with a focus on the hops. Good representation of a winter warmer. it should age well over the next few years to become more complex. I would enjoy having this brew again.


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Photo of brentk56
3.41/5  rDev -11%
look: 1.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: A crazy gusher and I finally was able to capture some of the liquid in the glass, with very little head left to cap it; the liquid was a hazy amber

Smell: Fruity, with pear, apple, cherry, banana and nectarine tones

Taste: The fruity flavors in the aroma dominate the front end, with a very sweet aspect building through the middle; boozy and somewhat harsh, in the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Overall: After the gushing I thought this was going to be atrocious but I was pleasantly surprised; not the best thing I have ever tasted but different and not unenjoyable

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Photo of number1bum
3.42/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Got this one quite awhile back from BeerTruth. Never heard of nor had anything from this brewery before. Thanks bitch.

Crack of the cap reveals only a very slight hiss, and the pour produces very little head. The brew is a burnt orange color, pretty thick looking, with just a bubbly head that does not keep any lacing.

Smell is not terribly robust, but does reveal some sweet, bready caramel malt and fruit. Fruity aromas are tropical, like maybe passion fruit, and also some apricot. It does start to open up a bit more as it warms.

Taste starts off with a nice burst of sweet, juicy fruit flavor. It's an interesting fruitiness, like maybe some apricot, as well as mango and papaya, and some citrus. Has a slightly puckering quality to it, not really a sourness but just a slight tartness. There is a slightly astringent graininess to the brew, as well as some caramel malt sweetness. I don't get much in the way of hops, but this has to be at least a year old so who knows what was there when this was fresh. There is a subtle booziness, as well.

Mouthfeel is on the plus side of a medium body but suffers a bit from the previously noted slight astringency. Unsurprisingly, the carbonation is light. It also has a somewhat chalky feel and aftertaste. I find the chalkiness to be rather annoying, in fact.

This is a pretty good brew, a little unpolished perhaps and rough around the edges. Shows some promise in terms of the flavor, though. Not bad. Worth a shot.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of JohnCoctosin. Served in a snifter.

Pours a slightly-hazed reddish-copper color with a very thin white head and some light spotty lacing on the way down. The nose carries a slight amount of stone fruits plus a bit of toasted bread and caramel. Flavor has a bit of fruit plus malty sweetness. A bit of brown sugar and toffee. Light body with fairly-light carbonation. Decent enough, but not something I'd come back to.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared at a tasting at MrHirschybar's place.

Pours a semi-clear amber color with a tan head that settles to a film on the top of the beer. Small dots of lace form on the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, dark fruits, and some candy-like aromas. Taste is pretty much the same with a very sweet finish. This beer has a light level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good old ale but nothing too exciting. Very sweet.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Glossy apricot with butterscotch borders. Infrequent bubbles gradually find their way from the bottom of the glass to the underside of a pale golden crown. A short collar of lace and a few splotches of suds don't exactly qualify as eye candy.

The nose needs some sort of a hook for the next highest score to be granted. It's most reminiscent of an aged English barleywine, which isn't a bad thing at all. Sweetish malts and an understated fruitiness are present. Alcohol is not.

Despite being brewed in San Diego County, Old Tempest tastes English. That's what the brewers were shooting for when they used British malts, British hops and British ale yeast. Just because the mission was accomplished doesn't necessarily mean that good beer was the result. This isn't a bad old ale, but it isn't anywhere near special.

The malt side of the equation tastes like a mixture of pale and something earthy, toasted and nutty (like Munich) that makes the beer seem more like a bock than an old ale. Almost no hoppiness doesn't change that impression. The ale yeast adds an apricot fruitiness that is at least one extra flavor facet. An estimated one year in the bottle has ensured smooth edges and no heat.

The mouthfeel keeps pace with the rest of the attributes. It's a little loosey-goosey and isn't as full as it could be, but it makes drinking quickly or slowly equally easy. Better too few bubbles than too many, which is almost always the case.

As the highest rated offering from Lightning Brewery, I expected more out of Old Tempest Ale. For my money, their American malt liquor (Ionizer Lager) is the better bet. With all the outstanding beer coming out of SoCal, it's no wonder these guys get lost in the shuffle.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a hazy, dark orange body with a scant, off-white head.

Smell: Overall, a fruity aroma, with lesser notes of wood, brown sugar, dried grasses.

Taste: Tangy fruitiness, some orange and apricot. Earthy underlying maltiness, lightly sweet, and with a hint of brown sugar. Vague woody taste. Grassy hop character with a medium bitterness. Splash of good, clean alcohol. Another helping of fruit and tang for the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Fairly mild carbonation.

Drinkability: Not exactly spectacular, though a fairly tasty beer in general.

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Photo of mentor
3.69/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours almost no head over a murky red-rust liquid. Smells potent fruity, weakly of caramel, vanilla, and also mild clean alcohol. Smells of raisin, plum, cherry, green apple, oranges, sweet tart. Lots going on in regards to the heavy fruity sweetness.

Tastes wet fruity with wet malty sweet and mild alcohol. Tangy fruity, raisin, brown sugar, soured caramel, vanilla, berry, oranges, and apricot stickiness. Despite how wet the beer is in the mouth, it dries out pretty well in the finish leaving a heavy and dusty peach memory.

Thick in the mouth that even hangs on the tongue despite the mild alcohol and weak soda pop carbonation. Overall, it comes across as a bit disjointed. Not quite sticky sweet.

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Photo of mactrail
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sweet at first and last taste. Rich and nutty. Clear amber in the tulip glass. Hop-flavored butterscotch. A total malt experience that is fine for sipping. Fragrance is quite remarkable. Seems to bring together pear brandy with raspberries. Flavors include a little mince meat pie with a touch of rum. But the whole effect is lighter and more buttery than most strong ales.

Personally, I find I prefer barley wines, which this seems to be only with less hops. But I'm glad to see one San Diego County brewery pursuing the brew less traveled.

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Photo of rallison
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Just picked this one up today.

A: Beautiful orange color with a hint of red topped by a nice 1 finger white head that leaves some good lacing. Great looking beer!

S: Toffee, candied fruits and tropical fruits. Smells tasty.

T: Lots of toffee and candied fruits (especially candied oranges) are present. Definitely is a sweeter beer, but just keeps from being too sweet. Distinct old ale flavors going on. Much better balance of flavors than fresh North Coast Old Stock Ale. Slight alcohol presence, but all in all very balanced.

M: Smooth and a bit creamy. Rich flavours, but lighter on the tongue with some delicacy. Very pleasing.

D: Extremely good. Gets easier to drink as you go on.

Highly recommended. This one drinks like I wish North Coast's version would fresh. Very tasty. Wonder how this one will age...

Edit: Another bottle, and I pick up some acetaldehyde. Still good, but not great. Scores lowered to reflect this (original score was 4.5/4/4.5/4.5/4.5).

Further Edit: Just not very good. Too loaded with green apple.

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Photo of srandycarter
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Honey apricot body, small head leaves quickly, thin lacing persists throughout.

S - Sweet, candy fruit dominates nose, under base of solid malt.

T - Reminds me of Winter - candy fruits, I almost think of fruitcake. Toffee malt undercurrent. Bitter hopping finishes, but not completely balanced - still finishes a little cloying and sweet for me.

M - Fills every nook and cranny of the mouth. Small carbonation is nice with this one.

D - As mentioned, a little heavy and cloying. One is nice, though!

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Photo of hoppymeal
3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy, rusty peach in color with a small light cream colored head that recedes to a ring. Aroma is a slittle sweet malt, caramel and raisins, some green apple tartness, a bit of grassy hoppiness and a hint of the alcohol. Taste follows with the green apple flavor being dominant but well balanced by the sweet caramel maltiness. Just a bit of dry grassy hops in the finish though pretty low hop profile overall, fitting for the style. Mouthfeel is medium to heavy in body, somewhat thick and sugary with a nice creamy carbonation that accentuates that. The somewhat tart green apple flavor balances out the large body. A very interesting and unique beer, not at all what I expected, though I was happy with the outcome. Would like to try another with some age. Thanks Carlos for the opportunity.

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Photo of magictrokini
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tap at Pizza Port, Solana Beach. Pours murky auburn with a short off-white head. Vanilla, wood, yeast, malt, and dates in the aroma. Oily and smooth mouthfeel. More malt and vanilla in the taste, but now with buttery hops, less wood, and a little old yeast. Fruity and sweet finish.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had the chance to enjoy this one with some friends the other night. I had been holding on to this for several months and decided to bust it out for the tasting. Served at cellar temp and consumed on 08/23/2008.

The pour was nice, a bit lighter then I expected, but still very nice. Very hazy and cloudy amber color, which a rich, decadent looking head of white that just sat of the top for what seemed like forever. Decent carbonation coming up from the top, and overall a very good presentation.

The aroma was also very intresting, lots of fruit here, peaches, plums, hints of pear and a nice grain like base to it were all fairly evident. The flavor was a mix of grain like malts, light fruit, almost like a sour grape, but lighter then what I would have thought. Lots of odd flavors running through here, hard to nalil down the style really, but still very good. Smooth, medium bodied profile did wonders to really show it off and the overall presentation was very nice. A little bit easier to sip for me as it went down quite quickly to say the least.

Again overall not bad at all, I really enjoyed it, and while not being the best one of the night, was certaing more then deserving overall. Very solid offering here.

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Photo of hamilton23
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours reddish orange with very little head, if any. Cloudy.

S: Apricots, peaches, some caramel malts.

T: Similar to the nose. Dried stone fruits. A fair amount of sweetness.

M: Well carbonated and slightly dry finish.

O: Not bad for the bucks. I will try this one again.

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Photo of womencantsail
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A light amber color with some golden notes to it and a very mild white foam.

S: An incredible fruitiness to the nose. A bit of apple, pears, perhaps some mildly tart plums, and a few others that I can't quite identify. A definite sweetness from the malt and no alcohol that I can detect.

T: More of the same as the beer hits the tongue. The fruits seem to be even more intense (if that's possible) especially on the apple and pear front. The plums and perhaps some tropical fruits find their way as well. A slightly sugary and sweet flavor goes along with the fruits, but could be a bit much at times.

M: A medium bodied beer which I would prefer to be a bit heavier. But hey, at least it isn't syrupy. The carbonation is subdued which works well.

D: Overall, this is probably the best beer from Lightning that I've had to date. I'm not sure how they got such a fruity character to it using English yeasts, but I really enjoyed this one.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Solomon420 for his generosity on this mofo.

Poured a deep orange with a small white head, good carbonation on this too. Taste is fruits, mostly dark, lots of toffee, like an Enlgish bwine, like raisins, sweet and sugary, caramel, grains, good dose of hops. Mouthfeel is nice and warming, abv is sharp but not overpowering at all. I could not believe it was 9ABV. Could have passed for a English bwine.

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Photo of Mora2000
4.02/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to slasher007 for sharing this bottle and thanks to kaiser81 for sending it from California.

Pours a murky dark orange with a small white head. The aroma is very fruity and very sweet. You get some alcohol in the aroma. The flavor is more of the same with sweet fruit and caramel malt. Low carbonation and medium mouthfeel. The only criticism that I have is that it is a little too sweet to rank too highly as far as drinkability is concerned. That being said, it is a very good beer.

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Photo of Duff27
4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Small head leaves a collar. Translucent light red body. No lacing.

Sweet cherry/fruity aromas.

Yum. Cherry taste as well. Smooth alcohol heat on the tail end, wouldn't guess 9.0%

Low end of carbonation, medium-thick mouthfeel.

Surprise über like here. Cherry flavors and thicker mouthfeel put i kver the top for me. Thanks TATURBO.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.08/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I've been hearing about this beer from a friend for a while now, saw it at Holiday Wine Cellar last night, and decided to check i out. For being a San Diego Brewery I really haven't had much of what Lightning offers and I'm eager to try this.

A: Looks good. It's lighter than other old ales I've had and appears a dark orange. The beer pours a one finger head with medium lacing.

S: I'm very surprised to smell a slight funk to it, almost a brett like character not unlike a sour. Apricot, spices, sweet malt.

T: Fruity and sweet. A slight bitterness and an almost dry finish.

M: A nice full mouth feel with very good carbonation.

Very enjoyable and dangerously drinkable.

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Photo of AmericanGothic
4.09/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a Sam Adams pint.

A: Pours a slightly hazy, amber color with one finger of pale tan head. Good retention but not much lace. Vigorous carbonation.

S: Banana, brown sugar, and butterscotch. Quite nice.

T: Much like the smell-- banana and brown sugar up front, bit of bitter cola on the finish. As the beer warms, some spicy bubble gum and caramel joins in.

M: Medium body, very smooth and oily.

O: A tasty beer. Not a lot of complexity, but good flavors nevertheless. I would buy this beer again. First beer from Lightning, and eager to try their others now.

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Photo of throwitallaway
4.12/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bought from South Bay Liquor. Poured from a bomber into a pint glass. Amber color with small off-white head that dissipates quickly. Smells like a couple of dopplebocks I've had recently. Plum/grape is the main aroma, with a touch of alcohol underneath. First taste that hits you is the plum/grape note, as well as pear. Underneath are malts and a touch of hops. The malts fade into a bready/grain note. Maybe a little caramel and alcohol as well. Mouthfeel is on the thicker side, even though this beer is carbonated more than I would expect. I must admit this is a pretty tasty beer, but it would be hard for me to drink more than one or two pints.

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Old Tempestuous from Lightning Brewery
3.83 out of 5 based on 63 ratings.
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