XS Old Crustacean | Rogue Ales

705 Reviews
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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Reviews: 705 | Ratings: 1,270
Photo of dolem98
4.12/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Quite a dark shade of amber for a barley-wine. Hopped well, but not overly-hopped, giving it a wonderful aroma and bitterness without overshadowing the sweetness. Alcohol is definitely noticeable, so stay away if you cannot handle that. The bitterness and syrupy sweetness combine for a really cool mouthfeel.

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Photo of IrishMike
4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2002 12oz. Vintage bottle purchase at $3.99 from my local liquor store

appearance- Very hazy and dark copper in color, pours with a small head that cannot be provoked into anything larger. Mild lacing on the glass. Appears mildly intimidating.

Smell- Fruity with heavy notes of toffee and caramel detected. Dark cherries meld well with the caramel to take on almost a candy smell to it. Mild roasted scent as well. None of the hop flavor can be pulled from the scent of this brew.

Taste- DAMN! the hops can't be detected in the nose, but they sure are there when you sip it! Big, roasted flavor fights for control over the wild hops but eventually gives up. This is proof that unbalance can indeed be a good thing. Wonderful centennial hops that assert themselves well makes this feel more like an IPA with plenty of malt to back it up, rather than an all-out barleywine. Caramel makes a small cameo towards the finish, but isn't nearly as much of a factor as it's smell would lead you to believe. Finishes very dry and cleanly. You could sit for a good two minutes after sipping this beer and still have the taste alive in your mouth.

Mouthfeel- Heavy and oily, with the hop that stays on your tongue well after you've taken a sip. Definitely a beer you swish around in your mouth for a bit before you take it down.

Drinkability- alas, for all that is going well for this beer, drink ability is not it's strong suit. Heavy on the palate and the hops can grow to the point of (dare i say it?) abusive, i couldn't see myself having more than one of these at any given time. I could definitely see myself starting off with one of these, then backing off to a lighter, less extreme brew.

This beer certainly does push the envelope as to how strong a beer can get, as i would expect from Rogue. Plenty of malt mixed with even MORE hop, this beer is the ideal for a hop-head looking for a brew with even more complexity than your average IPA. Those who shy away from hoppy beers would be advised to never give this brew a second look. And mind you, this bottle is 2 years old as of the review and it still seems wild as is.

But who said wild was a bad thing?

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Photo of cfleisher
4.52/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours ruby/burnt orange and cloudy, with pillowy head that dies down slowly. Nice lacing. Aroma is clean, slightly soapy and some citrus. Taste is whoah...much drier than I'd expect. No residual sweetness. Could be a double IPA if they'd cranked up the hop aroma. Still might be a double IPA. Piny flavor and hits you in the back corners of the tongue. Alcohol is present, though not overwhelming. A bit sticky on the lips. A very nice beer.

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Photo of nd5282
3.4/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

An intensely malty flavor at the beginning of the mouth feel followed by a sweet aftertaste typical of a barley wine style. Definitely enjoy the bitterness and alcohol content while the complex woodsy smell enveloped my palate. I bought this on tap at the Stone Brewery.

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Photo of AndrewMcLemore
3.92/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This beer is a monster from 60,000 leagues under the sea. Holy cowabunga, this hoptastic mamma-jamma packs a wallop.

We're talking keep-your-distance-from-the-dangerous-animal kind of power here. Not for the faint of heart, the Old Crustacean was obviously created drop by drop for the hardcore beer aficionado willing to empty his/her wallet for a beer that nears masochism in its overpowering flavor.

I love IPAs and have tangoed with the strongest of them. I've even drank a couple different barley wines before.

But the Old Crustacean bites into the palette with a certain, how shall we say, kick-in-the-nuts quality.

Put aside the sheer power and this is a well-crated masterpiece. It has a variety of floating golds, browns and crimsons that give rise to the salty, bready aroma that would come out of a corner bakery near the docks district.

Its flavor first confounds with a 120 IBU pow, but take a few sips and the razor edge softens (slightly) into a complex intertwining of raw hops and long-roasted malts. It only comes in a large bottle, so be prepared to either share or get tossed.

I don't know if I would buy this again because of the price and uniqueness of the beer, but I would highly recommend it to any hop-head searching for the next conquest.

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Photo of beerislove
4.67/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle from 2004 bottling.

The beer pours thick and cloudy with Guiness-like carbonation taking 30 seconds to fully fade. The color is a deep red brick and the head is small and quick to fade. There is little lacing remaining where I would like a tad bit more.

This smells like perfection. The floral hops are present but not overpowering andthe sweet maltiness is begging to be sipped. The alcohol also comes through with a clear spicy addition to the nose. There is a lot of competing notes here much like a fine wine.

The taste matches the smells with a perfect level of hops hitting up front and then immediately matched with big malt flavors. The expected dark fruits are present but there is also notes of dark chocolate. toffee, biscuit, and nuts in the finish. This is truly a complex bill that Rogue has mastered. The alcohol is well subdued until the beer begins to warm, which is also where the biscuit and nut flavors become more pronounced. The beer has the perfect level of carbonation that keeps it thick and cloying to the tastebuds, but not overly so.

Drinkability is insanely high, though that is obviously a relative statement with a barleywine at 11% abv.

This is an amazing barleywine that has earned a spot in my top shelf. While other breweries often stumble in perfectly balancing the massive hops, malt, and alcohol in this style, Rogue truly shines. Of those I have tried in the style, this is the benchmark to aspire towards. These should also age extremely well and I look forward to re-reviewing in the future.

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Photo of 2ndstage
4.42/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Wow what a barley wine. Granted this was a 2004 vintage it will have quite awhile to age gracefully. First thing to hit you is the huge hop presence and intense bitterness. Malt balances it back out in a moment leaving you with a long fairly smooth finish for the IBU’s. Can’t wait to try some more in a few years.

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Photo of goodspeed94
4.29/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle dated "1997" served at the Stuffed Sandwich. Thanks Sam!

A: Pours a dark, cloudy brown into a tulip glass with only a single bubble. Small amount of sediment accumulates at the bottom, and the overall texture of this beer is presented right up front.

S: After 11 years in the bottle, this brew hasn't lost a step. Strong smell of raisins, sugar, and hops (120 IBU's), some wood character as well. Kind of smells similar to one of those caramel bulls-eye chews.

T: Extremely layered and complex. The nose gives away many of the flavors, but roasted chocolate can be found buried in there, some fruits. The alcohol in very well hidden and a small alcohol taste is about 20 seconds delayed. It is apparent that this has been aged.

M: Like a thick, sugary cider type feel. Low carbonation, warming. Nothing too harsh on the tongue.

D: If I could find more of these, I would not mind having another. Fairly strong alcohol. Definitely a treat.

This beer was aged 11 years and is by far the oldest beer I have ever tried. I really like what aging can do, and plan on sitting some barleywines down for the future.

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Photo of biercircus
3.83/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Dark, cola, almost no head

S - Rum alcohol on top of plummy sweetness

T - Strong, really complex, takes over your whole mouth. Dark roasted coffee, sour plums, raisins, cola, lingering bitterness.

M - Bubbles, bitterness, not much body.

D - Good, strong, distinct flavor, but don't drink too much. I was feeling like it was a bit too much flavor too handle. Maybe more of a winter brew because of its savory quality. Not a thirst-quencher.

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Photo of ykncornelius
4.92/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I've had this 2007 vintage ceramic 750 mL bottle cellaring for quite a white now, anticipating popping the cap on Christmas Eve for years. It's become a rather bitter holiday for me relationship-wise, and the barleywine irony is not lost upon me.

This stuff sits gorgeously in the glass, with a delicate stained glass lacing from millions of tiny bubbles, and a clouded, warm burnt umber tint.

Smells like a sugary Belgian dark ale, rummy and boozy with barely a hint of the hoppiness that eventually asserts itself on the palate. A waft of citrus and pine reassure that this hasn't mellowed out TOO much in four years.

The taste is where this establishes itself as a beer everybody should try and savor: extremely complex, enjoyable and fun. Those rum and dark fruit aromas expand in flavor, with a touch of caramel sweetness...and then the hitherto unnoticed bitterness wallops you on the taste buds. I can only imagine what this batch was like brand new, but after aging there is, literally, the *perfect* balance of delicious malt taste and wild bitterness.

Mouthfeel is smooth and coating. This feels almost medicinal going down (not because of the flavor...more like a comforting, warming flow of goodness).

I've had Old Crustacean young, from the tap, at Rogue in Portland several years ago, and this has matured so much. The alcohol presents itself long after the swallow, only when you breathe back out. "Yeah, I'm still 11.5%." it says, "sip me slowly."

I plan to.

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Photo of govtmule
4.18/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

3-12-04, on-tap at Eli Cannon's

It was served in a small tulip glass. Temp was a nice chill. It had about an 1.5 inch head that stayed to near end. The color was a dark reddish black. It may have been the lighting but it seemed almost purple. Lots of hops, not too much though. Hoppy, some fruit but spicy and plenty of alcohol. Pretty good balance though and not overpowering.

I had it with dinner, but I think it would have been better alone. It demands your attention.

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

1995 6.4oz twist-off bottle:

Aroma reminds me of sherry and soy sauce, not quite as bad as Sam Adams triple bock. My Fiancée on the couch can smell it from across the room

Flavor: meh? Dark chocolate, still pretty bitter.

The mouthfeel is pretty thin, zero carbonation.

Overall: Well, if you can get a bottle for $10, then it is worth a try. I bought this at the Toronado BW fest in 2007 and saved it until my bro came and visited. I had it in the fridge for 1.5 years. I hope the 1996 is better.

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Photo of VelvetMonkey
3.64/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Wow. This beer is really interesting. I've had it tucked away in my wine cellar for over 4 years and got a wild hare to open it. My impressions:

It poured muddy brown like I'd scooped up a glass of Florida river water but with a little head that disappeared into a light ring in the glass. It smelled like carmel, a little fruity, with some licorice and the slightest hint of alcohol. The taste was initially very pleasant--malty carmel and dried fruits--but slid into a profound hoppiness--think "punch in the face" hoppiness. Humm. Another sip to get acclimatized and, yes, I like it. I roll a sip around in my mouth to really amp up the hops. Mmmmm. . . Almost bitter chocolate.

It is, of course, not something I'll be drinking one after the other in the garage while I'm putting brakes on the Jeep. It's not meant to be, but it's a nice diversion. A beer experience I'm glad I had and will likely have again. This time, I'm going to buy one a store it for 10 years. I wonder what alchemy will happen in that time.

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Photo of Brubzy
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%

I saw this beer a few weeks ago and became curious. I've had many of Rogue's beers before, they've been hit or miss. I got the Barleywine due to I had an Imperial a few days prior. I found the Rogue to have a good "weight" to it, though I thought it would be a tad heavier. The taste was spot on with vanilla and coco notes. The only reason I did not give this a 5 rating was the price. $16 is steep for this beer, I think it's due to the bottle though

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Photo of ClavinCliff
4.82/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This came in a nice 750ml ceramic bottle with gate close top. I don't remember the year, I'll have to check the bottle. Poured very thick. Very dark brown with a nice creamy head. Great aroma, hops all over the place. A bit of a sweet note on the nose as well. The taste of this beer was perfect. Nice smooth start, a little sweet, kind of fruity but then the hops kick in. Wow, great hop note. Balances the malt sweetness perfectly and complements the alcohol zing and warmth nicely. Not a beer for those who don't like hops. A neat take on the barleywine. This one will be heading for the cellar very soon! I also have the feeling that it will make regular appearances in my fridge.

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Photo of jlaplume76
4.21/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2006 bottle
Was impressed, me and the guys from the local brewshop worked our way up to this at a recent gathering, I had a double ipa after drinking OC and couldn't taste the hops in it. That is intense.
Appearance: Deep mahogany, lovely ruby when held to light

Smell: Sweet malt, a port smell light hop, almost leathery

Taste: Where to start, so many flavors, the port/sherry I noticed right away. fig, and date, almost to many flavors at once, but no t in a bad way. The hops are right there the whole time, and just intensify as the beer warms. Very bold. Not a beginner Barleywine

Mouthfeel: smooth and velvety, finish was surprisingly clean

Drinkability: I had some chocolate cake with it and they went very well together. I wouldn't drink it at a BBQ or with nacho's, but it would be a fine aperitif or something to enjoy with a cigar. I loved it and will continue to drink it.

Once again, kudo's to Rouge

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Photo of zeio
2.54/5  rDev -36.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I trust Draegers San Mateo to pick good beers from this list and others - but I had a 750 ml of old crustacean barley wine and it was vile. Could be a corked / bunk bottle, but this stuff was seriously unrefined, and I can take a foul arrogant bitter ale with the best of them, but this stuff was not worth the price. Shame on those who charge top buck for foul ups. I was chowing on Nice and McChouffe for a comparison and there was none. If you pay 10 - 15 for 500 - 750 mls, the stuff should be erotic. Rogue is now for me UNTRUSTED for charging and brewing this crap.

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Photo of gurpapete
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served in a pint glass, drank on the couch. As with any barleywine Style beer the aftertaste on this beer is not for the faint of heart. The nose is caramely and very malty. At 11.5 abv there is virtually no head. A little too carbinated for a traditional barleywine but lines ones gut like the best of the bunch! Being a sucker for barleywines I have to give this beer high remarks.

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Photo of jpwild240
3.49/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A charcoal-gray ceramic 750 mL bottle sits on my desk next to my computer. The pitter-patter of early-spring Virginia rain taps against my window... oh, sorry, you wanted a beer review, not a graphic novel.
The painted ceramic bottle seems quality, and one must imagine that the product within is quality as well. The little white sticker on the back that reads: $13.75 makes me hope that my assumptions are correct. Small icons on the back clue me in to the fact that this should be enjoyed with pork or dessert. I think. Just like a trip to the local mall filled with 14-year-old girls, I stare at the product and wonder how old it is; there is no bottled-on date. Also, there is no alcohol content either, so I wonder just what I'm getting myself into by opening this 25.36 oz. bottle today.

The only hint at what I'm getting into is the following info:
26° Plato
120 IBU
73.1 AA
The only thing I have any inkling about is the IBU. International Bitterness Units ... 120 sounds good :)

The bottle opens with a slight hiss. I pour a 12 oz. serving into a brandy-snifter and re-close the bottle with the provided stopper.
It pours thick, probably the thickest-looking barley wine I've ever had. Color is very dark amber, like a bock. Slightly hazy with just the slightest rim of laced Guinness-colored head.
The aroma is mild, sweet and very subtle. I honestly expected more pungency from the nose, but it's sweet and subtle. I'm getting the feeling this isn't a knock-your socks off type of barley wine style ale.
First sip. Mellow... very very smooth. Not overly sweet like Old Horizontal and others. Less spicy than Bigfoot... It's very similar to a mellow, well aged double bastard.
Mouth consistency is healthy, as should be expected from a barley wine. It goes down with very little hint of alcohol.
Pure taste: It seems to have the coriander hints of most Rogue brews. But compared to their other styles, this is the least stand-outish in the Rogue-style of brewing. I taste a slight cardboard aroma, like when you slice up a cardboard box and can smell the little fibers in the air. Not unpleasant though. Aftertaste from each sip Is pleasant, but a little bland. Personally, I like a barley wine to hang around in your mouth like the annoying guy who you were FORCED to invite to your Christmas party.
Possible improvements: I applaud Rogue for making a less-sweet barley wine, but I think they might've gone a little overboard. I would prefer this a tad sweeter, but I don't plan on taking any points off for that aspect, because I know I differ from the majority in that personal opinion.
ULTIMATELY: A quality barley wine. But frankly, the ability to pick the same amount of Double Bastard for more than $8 less, makes this particular barley wine EXTREMELY overpriced in my book. If you can find this cheaper, you may want to pick it up. Or, simply pick it up for the purpose of trying it. (Just so you can say you did.) It's good, just overpriced.

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Photo of MrDerp
4.28/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Great dark red color with just a light head
S - Hoppy with a light floral quality
T - Sweet taste, with a bitter hop background/aftertaste that stays with you. May be strong at first but quickly fades and becomes normal.
M - (Looks slightly thick) but is actually light and very smooth

Great, extremely drinkable beer. Very hoppy but with a great floral quality and light caramel flavor. Highly recommended.

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Photo of PalatineBrewing
4.43/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

King of barleywines. It is not subtle and it overpowers your every sense. Don't drink this beer unless you have a serious love of extreme beers. I drank this on draft at the Rogue taphouse in Newport, OR, and it rocked my world.

A: Dark brown with a dark head.

S: Smells like poison.

T: Has an overpowering bitterness at first, but on the second sip you detect an amazing complexity. Raisins, bourbon, brown sugar, hops, ... wow. Could be considered a right of passage. Awesome flavor. THIS is the barleywine against all others will be measured.

M: Medium; some definite gravity, but not syrupy.

D: You wouldn't want to drink more than one or two...

Overall: This beer defines extreme beer. Love or it hate it, it is not for everyone.

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Photo of Ascender
4.48/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This was a gift from my bro-in-law and I'm thankful for it!

A cloudy burnt umber pour with a one finger head and medium lacing afterwards.

The nose has plum, pine and a bit of wood, or almost bark in it.

The taste is cinnamon, allspice, hops, pine and a high sweetness where the alcohol comes through. It's really tasty but it's clearly a high alcohol beer, that taste is unmistakable.

That said, I really enjoyed this. Great beer.

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Photo of Masticon
3.32/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

First off I'd like to point out that this brew is frequently considered to need significant aging before being ready to drink. We did not do this. We had a 7 oz bottle of 2011 which we cracked open and drank So that's what I'll review here. I'm sure some people are crying out against the crimes we committed against the beer. But all of these brews were off the shelf.

Appearance - 3.0 : The big lack here was under carbonation. Little to no head, nice light amber color. I felt that it poured a bit thin for a barleywine.

Smell - 3.5 : Dominated by a strong American hops smell. I had difficulty tracing down much of any malt aroma through the hops. This promised to pack a punch with all those hops. Right up front. However, smelt more like an IPA to me.

Taste - 3.0 : Big upfront bitterness that ended with a citrus and floral hop finish. Malt flavor absent. No noticeable alcohol burn. Mild dryness overall. This seemed to me to mirror a double IPA and definitely lacked the malt flavor I was seeking in a barleywine. As a double IPA would have been fine.

Feel - 4.0 : Smooth with decent thickness. What I didn't see in the pour I felt when drinking.

Overall - 3.5 : My primary disappointment here comes down to expectations and prince. While not a bad beer it really didn't measure up to my expectations of a barleywine. I really feel that I over payed for this beer. At $5 for a 7oz bottle I'd expect flavors I couldn't find in a six-pack of Torpedo IPA. Save some money and just get a double IPA instead.

You can read a comparison of this and a couple other barleywines on my blog at dearmondfood.blogspot.com

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Photo of BrianOfMayberry
4.73/5  rDev +18%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The 2nd bottle of 750ml Old Crustacean I've ever opened. It has an immense malt backbone and the perfect amount of hop bitterness to balance. Some definite alcohol warming, but not sharp or overpowering. Some fruity esters and citrusy hop presence in the aroma. Very enjoyable!

I have to say, the new black bottle with the crown cap AND grölsch style cap is very very cool. I always thought it would be great to make a beer in a black bottle, because this is the next step up from brown glass. Can't trust store clerks or BevMo employees to take good care of the fruits of your labor. This way there is NO chance of light getting in and skunking up your perfectly good beer. The grölsch cap is great because you can keep it for later. With this size of bottle, you technically SHOULD, but the beer is so good, you want to keep (slowly) sipping and savoring until suddenly you notice the entire container is empty.

This may seem unrelated, but the first time I cracked a bottle of old crustacean, I somehow created a lake in my kitchen by overflowing my sink. It was my first beer of the day, which I sipped while brewing a porter on my back patio. There is something about this beer.

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Photo of nickl
2.94/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

1996 - 7oz twist off

Pretty much the same as my brother's review of the 1995. Same night. This beer is a little less bitter even though it has 120 IBUs on it (where the 1995 was 100 IBU).

If you find one, taste one. No need to sell your soul for one though.

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XS Old Crustacean from Rogue Ales
4.01 out of 5 based on 1,270 ratings.
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