Grumpy Old Time
Westbrook Brewing Co.

Grumpy Old TimeGrumpy Old Time
Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Strong Ale - Belgian Dark
4.05 | pDev: 14.81%
Westbrook Brewing Co.
South Carolina, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Grumpy Old TimeGrumpy Old Time
Notes: Dark sour Belgian ale aged in apple brandy barrels.
Reviews: 13 | Ratings: 141 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Jadjunk
Jadjunk from Georgia

3.57/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

"A collaboration between Westbrook Brewing and The Charleston Beer Exchange. The base beer for the Old Time series of barrel-aged beers (A Belgian-style strong dark ale) was originally brewed in July 2011 and shortly thereafter racked into a variety of oak barrels, where it spend 18 months maturing. Grumpy Old Time was aged in apple-brandy barrels with a blend of brettanomyces, lactobacillus, and pediococcus." Brewed in the style of a Belgian Strong Dark Ale, aged in apple brandy barrels. Available in 750 ml. bottles.

Poured from a 750 ml bottle to a tulip glass.

(Appearance) Pours a biscuity caramel tan head of a frothy foam consistency over a densely hazy toffee brown body with garnet highlights. Retention is below average, lacing is light and spotty. 3

(Smell) Potent and tangy funk body of caramel grains and bready malts with a notable pinch of brandy for a distinctive twang of enhanced apple sourness. Slightly gruff at this stage, not a lot of sourness character in the nose particularly. Potency is high. 3.5

(Taste) I slightly prefer the flavor of this beer to the aroma- a satisfactory malt body sweetness and complexity of caramelized sugars, plum syrup and licorice meets an instant nip of tangy and drying sourness with slightly funky undertones, although distinctively lactobacillus takes the lead over brettanomyces for a lactic, tangy sourness prevailing. Slightly grainy and notably boozier than the average soured ale, although most sour ales don't come anywhere near 11% abv, so this is to be expected. Finishes with a long drag of bittersweet malt, yeast and culture blending in the most harmonious way they can. 3.75

(Mouthfeel) Texture is silky, slick, smooth, lightly chewy, briskly dry. Carbonation is mild, generating a light frothiness and a subtly crisp finish. Body is medium for the style, medium+ overall. Balance is moderately tangy and acidic over sweet and grainy. Alcohol presence is modest, and there are no off characters. 3.5

(Overall) A quaint little experiment with mixed to desirable results. While I can't say I've experienced Apple Brandy barrel aging nor pediococcus cultures in a beer before, the end result of Grumpy Old Time is enjoyable- albeit slightly underwhelming for my expectations. Very dry, slightly grainier than I felt necessary and not too terribly complex outside of the souring impact. This is quite a big bottle to undertake for a single guy alone, and that helps me to be sure that I won't be feeling the urge to revisit this anytime soon. Hefty price tag for a beer with divisive results. 3.5

Westbrook Brewing Co.'s
Grumpy Old Time

Dec 07, 2015
Photo of DVMin98
DVMin98 from North Carolina

4.52/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Shared a bottle with some friends. I must have gotten a great bottle that aged well, because looking at the ratings, this was an anomaly. Great brandy flavor. Apples, sour with some (booze) heat. Get some vanilla as well. Was hoping to try this some time and a buddy brought it.

Dec 06, 2015
Photo of kiki3drt292
kiki3drt292 from California

2.92/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

This beer poured totally flat and had an unpleasant soy sauce aroma. Upon putting it to my lips it was slightly oily and had a bit too much unbalanced tarting sharpness. Barrel was somewhat present, but this beer did not stick around in my mouth long enough for me to examine thoroughly.

Mar 20, 2015
Photo of PHBoiler
PHBoiler from Illinois

1.25/5  rDev -69.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

This is truly the worst beer that I can remember drinking. It pours dark brown with minimal head. The look is fairly on point for the style. The smell is dirty, spoiled diapers, wet/dank basement, and as another person in the tasting group described rat/mouse droppings. That carries into the taste because you can't avoid the scent when you take a drink. The taste is just as offensive. Rotten apples, spoiled milk, and just all sorts of similar flavors. The mouthfeel was fairly thin and watery. I can't understand how/why this beer made it to market.

Jul 17, 2014
Photo of KYGunner
KYGunner from Kentucky

4.09/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Dark tawny red to auburn and brown coloring this poured with a fizzy bubbly foam that collared quickly.

The nose is tangy Apple Brandy, brownie batter, dates, raisins, plums and a tart wine or cider.

The flavor is very sour but with a chocolate malt and brownie batter. The Apple Brandy is quite tangy and finishes this off.

The feel is intriguing as its 11 pct ABV but not a hint yet it's a puckerer. Tangy and smooth, the sour lingers nice on the tongue.

Westbrook continues to impress me with their Apple Brandy aged beers and this is yet another fine edition.

Jun 12, 2014
Photo of brentk56
brentk56 from North Carolina

3.99/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Pours a mahogany color with very little head and the foam fades quickly

Smell: The apple brandy tones are very pronounced, along with dark fruit, caramel, licorice and a bit of funk

Taste: Dark fruit, caramel and licorice, up front, with the apple brandy tones building into the middle; gets slightly funky with hints of lactic sourness in the finish

Mouthfeel: Full bodied but flat

Overall: Despite the carbonation problems in this bottle, this is a very tasty beer with an interesting twist from the Lactobacillus

May 26, 2014
Photo of RblWthACoz
RblWthACoz from Pennsylvania

4.26/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

We're going to start the New Year off properly with something worthy.

Pours a very dark brown with no head at all. Nose smells like a chalky flanders ale. And the flavor is much the same, bringing character like flanders oud bruin; which means that I like this beer, of course. Cherries are on the back with a good degree of wood and the vinegar tones are there as well. Even though it's boisterous, there is a degree of balance to it, in a way.

I love all Flemish styles of beer and I like this one a lot too. You have to know what you are getting here, so this may not be for the uninitiated; especially considering the price. But for me I couldn't really ask for more. Should this be listed as a Flanders Oud Bruin?

2014, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Jan 02, 2014
Photo of mverity
mverity from Florida

4.17/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle share at Proof courtesy of Scotchzi. Pours a deep amber with a touch of deep red. Heavy apple in the nose with a touch of earthiness. Taste is nice tart apple with some dark fruit (fig and plum). Some of that earthiness comes through too. Medium/low carbonation and medium-thin body. Great apple aftertaste. Not really any of the sour I was expecting from the description, but still a damn good brew.

Dec 09, 2013
Photo of Alieniloquium
Alieniloquium from Florida

3.46/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Murky reddish brown body. No head. Not even a collar.

Smell - Apples, oak, brown sugar. Green apples. Vinegar acidity. Caramel.

Taste - Apples are strongest again. Cherry and vinegar sourness. Lots of brown sugar. Caramel. Intense oak.

Mouthfeel - Heavy and very sour. Flat. Kinda difficult to drink.

Overall - Complex beer, but it's harsh. Every taste is tough, but I still like it.

Nov 28, 2013
Photo of Bung
Bung from Michigan

3.27/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

750. Rusty dark brown pour, no head whatsoever. Thick enough looking though I suppose.

Aroma, Prune, yeast, cidar vinegar. Some candy like brown sugar. It's quite interesting. Though I have a feeling what I'm in for as suggested by the bottle ingredients.

Taste, Too sour up front for me, but it recovers nicely. Cidar vinegar and lemon zest. Then some malty toffee, brown sugar and oak show up strong. Vanilla yogurt covered dark red fruit, prune. The 'dark ale' is just a bit overwhelmed here.

It ends up being a nice combination, but the overly tart up front makes this more of a sipper/taster size for me. Slightly above medium body, coats well. Lack of carbonation probaby helps the bracing sour up front from being completely overwhelming. Or maybe it makes it seem more like vinegar. I can't help but think this could benefit from more carbonation. Just a little alcohol heat.

Improved as it warmed, but for 20 bucks no way would I consider this again. I think I would tend to like the standard better, but this is much more trendy and will probably rate well. Should be listed under another style.

Nov 01, 2013
Photo of zac16125
zac16125 from South Carolina

4.27/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750mL bottle into a snifter
Bottled on 2/20/13, release a couple weeks ago

Belgian Strong Dark Ale brewed in 2011, then aged for 18 months in Apple Brand Barrels with wild yeasts added.

A: Pours a dark mahogany with some reddish hues when held to light. No real head ever builds, just some spares bubbles that are off white in color. Leaves no lacing.

S: Apple brandy, tart dark fruits, lactic acidity, oak, toffee, licorice, a hint of funk and some booze. Complex and all the components are very well integrated.

T: More sour than I anticipated, a bit funky too. Tart dark fruits and sour citrus. The apple brandy barrel notes are certainly noticeable, and the base beer comes out as well with some licorice and toffee notes. I also get some booze, and a fairly big vinous component. Very nice lingering aftertaste of oaky vanilla.

M/D: Full bodied, moderate carbonation, ABV is well masked, drinkability is average.

O: I really enjoyed this one. I think the combo of the barrel and wild yeasts play well together, but are a bit dominate and not much of the base beer comes out. Thats in contrast to Rummy in which I feel the barrel played perfectly with the components of the base beer. Having tried all four in the series I would rank them as follow Rummy (by a lot)-> Grumpy -> (pretty big drop off) Brandy-> Funky. Overall, a really cool and unique series that Im glad I was able to try.

Oct 25, 2013
Photo of MacQ32
MacQ32 from South Carolina

4.43/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - pours an almost purple tinted brown with a finger of tan head which dissipates rather quickly yet leaves pretty solid lacing.

S - a hefty bit of sourness and apple brandy. Vanilla wafers, dark fruits

T - Tons and tons of slur apple type funk, vanilla, booze, dark fruits and a bit of sugar peeks through the sour funk. A bit of chocolate type flavors. Finish is mostly sour and it continues through to the aftertaste. Decent bit of acidity as well.

M - Moderate carbonation yet quite smooth and drinks pretty well if the sour/tart isn't too much for you

Oct 19, 2013
Photo of thegoon55
thegoon55 from Massachusetts

3.02/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

750ml bottle poured into westbrook snifter

A- Dark murky brown, no head what so ever

S- very very sweet dominated by the apple brandy barrel. gets some hints of dried fruits, raisins, and funk

t- overly sweet brandy, a bit tart. hints of raisins, brown sugar and a little funk.

m- no carbonation, overly heavy.

O- i was not impressed, locals around here seem too love it but i dont think this is a remotely good beer at all. Quite disappointing, hope the rest of the series is better

Oct 17, 2013
Grumpy Old Time from Westbrook Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 141 ratings