Old Tankard Ale (2009 And Later)
Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery

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Beer Geek Stats:
Old Ale
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4.03 | pDev: 0%
Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery
United States
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BuckeyeNation from Iowa

4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Strong iced tea brown with generous orange and amber highlights. A tight-bubbled crown of pastel golden foam was seen initially, then melted to a thin film over the life of the pint. Blurry rings of fine lace graced the glass, indicating each mouthful, as the beer fell with drinking.

The aroma was a little low on both power and personality. First impressions (per my notes) were 'toasted, caramel-like, mildly fruity and not very hoppy'. Unlike the flavor, the nose didn't improve much with warming.

The 2009 version of Old Tankard is a mixture of four different beers: a 10.0% barleywine (that I can't wait to review, if the IA laws ever change), Naughty Scot Wee Heavy, Lumpy Dog Brown and Mud In Your Eye Red. wdmrock must have gotten the proportions exactly right because OTA didn't taste like a mixture, but like a fully realized English-style old ale.

The most incredible thing about the beer was how it changed and improved with warming. It's probably best to wait at least 5-10 minutes before taking the first sip. By the midway point, Old Tankard had become bolder, sweeter, hoppier, fruitier, spicier, smoother and more full. From first sip to last, taste and drinkability scores were bumped one notch and mouthfeel was bumped two.

Specifics included toasted brown bread, caramel, apricot jam, tea leaves and a surprising amount of American citric hoppiness that had to have come from the big barleywine. The finish was impressively tight and hop-centric, especially (again) in the bottom half of the pint. A wonderful peppery spiciness appeared out of nowhere and brought to mind rye malt, Belgian yeast, or both... although I don't think either one was used.

The hearty power of the barleywine was readily apparent, even though it was necessarily watered down by the other three beers. The mouthfeel went from good to very good to great. It was creamy and borderline chewy, with an amazing amount of mouth cling and dead solid perfect carbonation.

Old Tankard Ale is a tremendous English-style old ale that made a believer out of me by the final upending of the glass. And it should appeal to a wide range of Rock Bottom patrons. At least to those who know quality beer when they taste it.

Dec 14, 2009
Old Tankard Ale (2009 And Later) from Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery
Beer rating: 4.03 out of 5 with 1 ratings