XS Old Crustacean | Rogue Ales

1,276 Ratings
XS Old CrustaceanXS Old Crustacean

Brewed by:
Rogue Ales
Oregon, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Formerly "Old Crustacean"

8 Ingredients:
Hugh Baird Carastan and Rogue Micro Barley Farm DareTM & RiskTM Malts; Chinook and Rogue Micro Hopyard Revolution & Freedom Hops, Pacman Yeast & Free Range Coastal Water.

110 IBU
83 AA
57º Lovibond

Added by BeerAdvocate on 01-03-2001

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Ratings: 1,276 |  Reviews: 708
Photo of Rudgers73
3.11/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served at the Old Toad. It poured a murky brown. Very little head. Looks like the water at the bottom of a lake if you stir it around with your foot. It smells nutty, piny, and boozy. The taste is complex, but I think it has too much of a boozy affect. It starts out clean and malty then snaps back with a raw hop bite. As soon as the hops start to regress the alcohol rolls in for a dry and slightly chemical finish. A very warming drink as the autumn starts to roll in.

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Photo of BradBLR
4.57/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Slightly Reddish Dark brown with a slightly off white head that lasted the entire beer with a good amount of lacing.

Smell: A cross between almost sweet and a very strong floral scent with just a hint of maltiness.

Taste: Very strong hop flavored balanced with the sweetness of the malt and a hint of cherries, and a slight pine flavor. Nice bitter back end from the hops.

Mouthfeel: Pretty strong hint of alcohol with the CO2 being just a little too strong.

Drinkability: A very good barley wine. Lots of hops, overall balanced really nicely. Would buy it again for sure.

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Photo of BlindPig
2.8/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Bottle from '97. Not sure if it is off but it has lost all carbonation.
A- No head what so ever on with a murky brown body.
S- Chocolate, alcohol, toffee, biscuit, and just a sweet caramel.
T- Pretty much follows the aroma. Still has a big bitterness to it (not as big as a fresh one). Alcohol heats back of throat with the lingering flavors of toffee, and chocolate. There is another flavor in there that I can't pick out. They are all pretty well blended together but I think it has passed its peak or just my bottle has.
M-No carbonation what so ever and a medium to full body.
D- Not to good. I think with a nice smooth carbonation it would of been quite a bit better. Just really strong and hot flavors. I would like to try one with about 5 years of age instead of 10.

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Photo of stereosforgeeks
4.12/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - Dark brown. Creamy brown fluffy head. Thin retention. Nice lacing.

Smell - Delicious dark fruits and caramel tempt the nose. Some coffee and anise notes are present as well. Nice hoppy presence as well.

Taste - Raisin, figs, burnt caramel, black licorice, coffee, and hops all playing on your tongue. This is incredibly smooth.

Mouthfeel - Heavy body. Creamy velvet feel. Some good carbonation. Lasting dryness that's still sweet.

Drinkability - I am glad I have another of these aging!

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Photo of BucBasil
3.62/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Poured into a wineglass from the 750ml bottle. The bottle is grey ceramic with a swingcap. This is the 2006 vintage of this beer. Pours dark dark dark ruby with some brown. Has a one finger head that quickly dissipates. No lacing on the glass.

Smell: Piney, resiney hops, with strong alcohol coming in at the end. Overpowering, but not in a bad way.

Taste: The minute this liquid hits your mouth, it will feel like you got hit in the face with a hop-carrying freight train. At 120 IBUs, this is one of the bitterest substances out there, and even though this bottle is over a year old, its a shame I couldn't age this for a few more years to round that out. After it warms a bit, and when you keep it in your mouth long enough the subtler malt characteristics show up, making this a better experience overall. There is some nice caramel in the middle there, along with a maple syrup note. There was a short fleeting second where I could taste cognac. Aftertaste is oily hops and bitingly bitter again.

Mouthfeel: Thick and syrupy with little, if any, carbonation feeling. Coating, delivering the hop explosion to every corner of your tongue. Smooth on the way down, with the same coating sensation in the throat.

Drinkability: No more today. I could do one glass of this at a time, and slowly. At the end of this glass I was taking the smallest sips possible, which made it much better than at the beginning when I took a big beer-sip. I almost choked. Drinking this one slowly and at room temperature seems to be the best way to handle this monster.

Notes: This is a beer that needs a lot of time, and then some more time. The crazy bitterness of this one made my head spin, and I would hope that a few years would smooth that out a bit. Anyway, there is a great gem of a beer hidden away somewhere in there. You just have to dig to find it.

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Photo of kernalklink
3.85/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brew was a nice hop treat. I let it warm up a little, then the flavors really poured out. The dark amber smelled like a hop explosion, piney, resinous and thick. Alcohol was noticeable but not overwhelming. Flavors were dominated by hops- oily goodness, coming in waves. Malts played second, slightly sweet, roasted and complex. There was a bittersweet medicinal taste in the pair and combined it was delicious. Squeaky clean finish, i would put it up against rogues imperial IPA as a hop dream any day.

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Photo of treehugger02010
3.95/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I bought this bottle at Total Wine and more in Tampa, Fl and poured into two pint glasses.
Appearance: A dark amber color body that was almost brown. A tall off white head leaving a fair bit of thin lace and staying tight all the way down.
Smell: Nice and hoppy and stayed that way throughout.
Taste: A bit malty at first, but as it warmed up, the hops appeared and became the brew.
Mouthfeel: A bit smoother than I would have expected.
Drinkability: Pretty good.
Don't drink and review.

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Photo of wl0307
4.22/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Purchased in July 2006 at OnlyFineBeer, a fantastic beer shop in Chelmsford, but very pricey it was... Vintage 2002, served cool in a broad rimmed Kasteel goblet.

A: dark brown with ruby glows; poured with a faint beer head settling to a rim, on top of a static body.
S: dense flowery hoppyness, caramel malts, caramelised longan-fruits, alcohol-soaked small plums and raisins, backed by a touch of Chinese tea-smoked prunes; the sharp edge of sherry and woodiness dances in the air. Overall, it smells not so old for a 2002 vintage old ale, for it's still alive and kicking in its hop aroma and pretty intense and dangerous for its alcoholic edge!
T: quite oily-lubricating, dence and rich... the semi-liquidy and mildly sweet caramely malts come hand in hand with fat fresh hops with plenty of syrup as well as tea-tannins to chew... gradually the woody and roast-tea-leafy bitterness of hops and lightly smoked bitterness of longan-fruits (with shells) dominate the back of the palate, turning drier and drier and drier at its own pace, before hitting a peppery and spirit-like finish, packed of rum, madeira, and dry sherry, but lacking a delicate touch... feeling ve...ry warm down the throat; fortunately this burning kickback doesn't come up too early.
M&D: with an oily and syrupy-rich palate sparkled by micro-scopic fizziness, this is an absolutely 120%-bodied barley wine benefiting from a liveliness unlike any 5-year-old strong ale. As it breathes, the alc. edge considerably softens (or maybe because my tongue and throat have got used to it?!), allowing for a more colourful display of hops and malts. I can't imagine how it might have tasted when it was younger, while I take it that there's still plenty of room for it to mature, maybe for another five years~~ Recommended for patient, small sipping, better shared in small quantities as a digestif.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.18/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

750ml ceramic bottle, unknown Vintage (possibly a few years old), Sampled June 2007
Pours with a frothy, almost two-finger thick (when roused vigorously), dirty, pale brown colored head. The beer is an almost brilliantly clear, deep red color when held up to the light, otherwise it is an opaque, drab, dark amber color. The aroma smells quite sweet and malt focused, with some aged malt notes as well. Notes of sherry and prunes are noticeable around the edges making me guess that this is at least a couple years old. Hop aromatics are still noticeable, with notes of muddy herbs, dulled orange zest, tangelo and some sweet lychee aromatics being noticeable.

The taste is quite a bit drier than I was expecting and it does not have the rich syrup-like body I was expecting. It does have a gripping bitterness in the finish that is almost harshly astringent. Aged malt character definitely shows up here with notes of dusty, toasted grain / chocolate in the finish, and a touch of sherry. In many ways the flavors here just seem washed up, especially considering that I was hoping for gracefully aged.

I have had this beer long ago, and have even heard recently how bitter this beer was, but I was still a bit surprised by how tongue scrapingly hoppy the bitterness of this beer is; even in this obviously aged sample it still dominates the finish with an unwavering grip. With the lightish body, and without the dark color, this would almost pass for a modern day double IPA; though it might perhaps be a mediocre example. I will have to try a fresh bottle of this soon to see what that is like.

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Photo of Atron67
4.42/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml XS rogue 2006 in a ceramic bottle, although this was like 11 dollars not 15 like the previous person said

A= poured a dark red brownish color had a nice thick tan heead, but it didn't stick around too long

S= has a nice sharp odor, expected of barleywines,some fruit and hops, can smell the malt too, but it seems pretty balanced

T=has a bitter taste that is very smooth for its high alcohol very well balanced although the hops tend to win more in the beginning, very enjoyable

M- has a sharp carbonation that rolls over the tongue well

D- very smooth and enjoyable

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Photo of TheBungyo
3.92/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2004 vintage.

It's sad that the only way to get this beer fresh is to buy it for the insane price of nearly $15. Thankfully I managed to buy a bottle of the '04 which was bottled in normal bottles and not the overpriced useless ceramics (I refuse to buy those).

Body is warm mahogany, head is scant. Nose is boozey caramel and lemony/piney hops and sharp alcohol. Taste is syrupy caramel and hops that refuse to fade even after 3 years of rest.

Mouth is medium and it feels nice. I'd rate this higher for drinkability if there were the choice of buying this in a regular bottle or the ceramic but since there really isn't, I won't be buying this again unless I find these old vintages.

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Photo of mwearl
3.53/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a 16oz glass, beer was dark brown with a red hue and about an inch of head; very creamy with good carbonation and moderate lacing. Smell had distinct grain odor with a hint of cherry, but without an overpowering alcohol smell. The taste is very bitter and the high ABV comes through strong, initially masking the complexity. You can definitely taste the grain and the the hops. Also leaves quite a lasting bitter aftertaste on the tongue. Mouthfeel is heavy with a residual that I can bite as if unfiltered to the bottle. The is a great novelty beer but you aren't going to be drinking a lot of it at any given sitting. I must point out that the bottle it comes in is worth trying this beer.

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Photo of Onibubba
3.81/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2003 vintage. Aggressive pour yields a huge 2" head, creamy dark beige. Body is a cloudy, thick looking brown. Good head retention. Smell is all malty sweet molassas. Taste is quite surprising. Yeah, the malts are there, but putting up one hell of a fight are the hops. Can you believe that shit? 4 years old and the hop presence is still all over this bad boy. Mouthfeel is fine. Smooth. Little to no carbonation in the body. Alcohol is fairly well hidden, but there's no doubt it is lurking aboot. Bittersweet and strong, this on is a sipper.

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Photo of cjgator3
3.9/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2006 vintage

750ml painted ceramic bottle poured into a pint glass. The aroma is dominated with dark fruits, malt, caramel and alcohol. The taste starts off pretty mellow, but the hops quickly kick in and give you a nice smack in the face. There is a lingering bitterness of the hops in the finish to accompany the expected warming from the 11% alcohol. Overall, Old Crusty is a wonderful Barley Wine. I look forward to having one after it ages for a while as well. Recommended.

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Photo of ppoitras
4.08/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle received in the No BS BIF Beta from HimerMan. Bottled in 2001.

Poured in a Rapscallion glass, formed a scant 1/8" tan head over the barely translucent reddish brown brew. Head is gone in a flash down to swirl and tiny rim bubbles, with delicate but lasting lacing. Aroma is heavy sweetness and musty alcohol. Taste starts with earthy grains, quickly switching to alcohol, which almost seems to evaporate off the tongue. Mouthfeel is excellent for this style and age, and drinkability pretty nice as well. Glad I got to try this one with this much age under its cap.

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Photo of ultralarry2006
4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. ceramic bottle with resealable stopper. Leaves less than one finger of tan colored head that quickly dissipates into a foam ring at the edges, and some good lacing. Body is brown amber with orange and red highlights.

Smell - apples, strong spicy alcohol, hint of figs, hint of pums, malt bread with almost burned crust.

Taste - tobacco upfront, with dark crusted malt bread, washed through with strong spicy alcohol. Hint of caramel. Aftertaste of some caramel and fruit.

Mouthfeel - full bodied, low carbonation, smooth, and very dry.

Drinkability - this is very good. High abv holds down sessionability.

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Photo of kkipple
4.02/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

*1999 vintage drunk March 2007

This seriously Old Crustacean was lovingly decanted by our waiter from an old-school 7oz bottle into a brandy snifter at Gramercy Tavern in New York. The bottle was a twist-off, oddly enough.

The pour generated absolutely no head. In truth, this beer was flat. But that's ok, because in this case I'm not sure carbonation would have added much to the experience. The trick is to think of this as more an after-dinner liqueur than a beer. Once you get your head around that, you'll do fine.

The Old Crusty itself is a hazy, opaque, burnt-amber color. The smell is quite deep; huge ancient malt aroma buries nearly everything in its path. Rough caramel notes, some significant alcohol harshness, and brown sugar show up. Possibly some licorice; and there's certainly more than a hint of oxidation going on here. A pity, but it doesn't overwhelm the beer.

The flavor isn't much of a surprise - loads of rich, mildly oxidized malt, sinister alcohol, singed caramel, and muted but still bitter grapefruit hops all come forth and coat my mouth. It's all blended quite well after 8 years. Rather reminiscent of an aged Old Foghorn, but maltier and without the harsh alcohol bite in the flavor.

Mouthfeel is again flat, but slick and syrupy and coating. A sipper to be sure, it took me over a half hour to finish my little glass.

I was incredibly impressed at every aspect of Gramercy Tavern, but that's another review entirely. This beer was a fine end to a superb dinner, and one that I savored - who knows where I'll get another one of these? Huge thanks to Kevin Garry for acquiring this rarity. It was one of the better beer "experiences" I've had.

*1995 vintage drunk March 2008
Lucky to try this from the puny bottle my buddy Jim dug out of his cellar. Looks the same and smells the same as my previous review. Flat. Very oxidized, think drinking sherry out of a cardboard box. Sweet, ancient. More academic than anything else, I'm afraid it's past the prime of life. Still a fine example of an aged beer.

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Photo of Blakaeris
3.9/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is the 2006 XS

Pours hazy chestnut brown with very little carbonation. Head is a thick off white mass that leaves no lacing.

Smell is a strong bready malt base being overwhelmed by aggressive citrus hop. Warming alcohol is definitely present, but not overwhelming considering the strength of the malt and hops.

Taste is very robust. This thing is huge. The bready caramel malt is up front with pleasant light fruit notes. However, the generous malt doesn't add much sweetness to this bitter brew. Then the monstrous hop onslaught takes over with very green leafyness and plenty of citrus hop. Finish is woody and dry with continuing leafy features. I feel like I just ate raw hops.

Mouthfeel is medium full. Chewy, with generous hop oil slickness.

This beer is a monster. I would like to taste this after it has been cellared for a few years so it has a chance to mature. This may the most leafy beer I have ever had. Although my tongue is already numb, I can see the potential greatness in this brew. At this time however, this beer to green and aggressive to get the top scores it will get when it has a chance to mellow.

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Photo of bashiba
3.98/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

From a 2006 XS bottle. Poured a dark cloudy amber/brown with a thick sticky dark tan head, good retention and excellent lacing.

Smell has a nice caramel malt and toasted bread quality with a very fresh herbal hop odor.

Taste has a very fruity malt backbone, almost slightly sweet with tangerines and raison flavors. Quickly is overtaken by a huge blast of metallic hoppyness. Incredibly bitter.

Mouthfeel is thick, hot, and oily, the aftertaste lingers slightly longer than forever.

An enjoyable sipper for those who like the hops. Not an everyday beer, but a nice treat.

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Photo of BDTyre
4.27/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2006 "XS" series in the "collectible" ceramic jug; purchased June 2006 and cellared until now.

Rich coppery-brown in colour with a tan head that is respectable but not in your face. Crystal clear, no cloudiness at all.

Smell is very rich; sweet barely, brown sugar, rum and vanilla essences.

Malty taste, winey background hints with plenty of plum and fig character. Sweet, brown sugar and rum notes...this is almost like drinking a chrsistmas pudding and I think would probably go well with christmas pudding -if the richness of the two combined didn't kill you first.

The mouthfeel comes off as a little thin, and at times a little overcarbonated. But this is still a very nice barleywine and well worth the high price. I look forward to this year's incarnation.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
3.73/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Another good selection from Falling Rock in Denver. A cloudy brown pour with a thin, yet rick white head.
Smell is tough to discern. Some nuts and raisin it seems. A bit of caramel, too.
Taste is a bit odd for me. Mostly nutty and raisin, some dark fruit perhaps plum, but very discrete. The feel is a bit buttery or creamy, not my cup of 'tea'. Yet it is still good. I prefer some other BWs to this.

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Photo of rallison
4.39/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

1997 7oz nip bottle into oversized wine glass, cellar temperature.

A: Dark muddy brown with a bit of ruby and almost no head, just a few soda like bubbles.

S: Smells of figs, prunes, rum and other delicious treats.

T&M: Definitely figs, mixed with brandy & port. Lots of nice caramel sweetness, other dark fruits, prunes, molasses, and flavors of the like. Oh, how the hops have mellowed. But they still do back it up a bit. Rich, warming mouthfeel. Love it. An after dinner sipper if I ever did taste one. After some more sips, there is some oxidation - not enough to be overly distracting, but it's there. Of course, this beer is 10 years old, so it's not surprising.

D: Ehh, for what it is, it's pretty drinkable. But really, 7oz size is just right.

What a beer this becomes after 10 years.

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Photo of Vancer
4.3/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep amber pour, small head of course, and a sliding sheet of lace. Ummm.

Sweet mother, what a load of chocolate caramel malts in the enticing aroma – it almost overwhelms the senses. But with the sip we’re back on tierra firma, with tons of malt, fig, caramel, prune, and a big kick of my favorite = bourbon aged wood barrel.

Deathly rich and robust, this is BW heaven, would luv to have more, but that over-priced ceramic bomber has to go!

Geez, Louise, thanks to timtheenchanta in BIF46 for this superb brew!!

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Photo of ccrida
4.48/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured on draft in the Rouge XS goblet, Old Crustacean has a 1 finger, khaki colored head with medium bubbles, which quickly receded to a slight surface skim, leaving a bit of sticky lace. This was more head then I'm used to for a barely wine (e.g. none!), but I credit that to this being from a (presumably new) keg, being it's at the Rogue Ale house.

There is a moderate aroma that is very sweet malt and a bit bourbonish booze, but no fusels or anything. Also some spicy and piny hops.

The taste, look-out! This sucker is super rich, almost chewy. Sweet malts, like cotton candy, with raisin and a touch of toffee. The hops are there, but only moderately so, mainly bittering, although it doesn't finish too dry. The alcohol is certainly assertive, but quite welcome, and overall this is really nicely done. Being on draft and presumably fresh, the sweetness of the malt might off-set the hops better then an only slightly aged bottled version, b/c this was really nicely balanced and super good.
The mouthfeel is surprisingly moderate, with a nice little bit of carbonation.

The drinkability, for a barely wine in particular, is pretty high. It is very robust though and of course super strong, but if you like barleywines, old crusty goes down like butter. A fantastic barleywine!

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Photo of Mdog
4.38/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled in 2002.

Appearance: I managed to pour without any sediment, so this beer was a deep red with a nice head and good lacing.

Smell: This definitely has been affected by aging. The last Old Crusty I had was a 2004 consumed in 2006--it had a powerful citrus aroma. This 2002 has mellowed to a more traditional barleywine aroma of caramel, some fruit, and some alcohol.

Taste: The first few sips were quite malty--caramel, some fruit, even a little chocolate taste. A few more sips and the hops have started to reappear--still a lasting bitterness after 5 years!

Mouthfeel: Syrupy, lasting bitter aftertaste.

Drinkability: After 5 years of aging (about 3.5 at the liquor store, 2.5 in my fridge) this is really good stuff.

For my 100th review, I grabbed this one out of the fridge. The last Old Crusty I had is still seared in my memory as the most bitter beer I've ever had. Adding a couple more years takes more of the bitterness off and this starts to become a nicely balanced beer. Too bad it's so expensive to purchase these days since it's a great beer.

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XS Old Crustacean from Rogue Ales
4.01 out of 5 based on 1,276 ratings.
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