Old Man
Tree House Brewing Company

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Tree House Brewing Company
Massachusetts, United States
Bitter - English Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)
Ranked #20
Ranked #18,314
3.86 | pDev: 11.4%
Feb 18, 2022
Oct 27, 2012
Very Good
Old ManOld Man
Notes: Our classic English-style Bitter returns to pay homage to a great man and an integral part of the Tree House team - Nate’s father, Dan! Dan has been spent his work-tirement assisting Tree House on the canning line and in many other ways both physically and spiritually. This beer is an homage and a thanks to a great man - and more broadly to fathers everywhere. Thanks, ‘Da’.

Don’t be fooled by the name - our interpretation of an Extra Special Bitter carries light bitterness and a gentle earthy noble hop character from Fuggles hops. The hops are balanced by an airy fruitiness and a rich base of flavors evoking caramel malts, brown sugar, and hazelnut. It is a wonderful and simple beer we find best paired with fish and chips, smoked meat, roasted chicken or, ideally, a day on the river.
Recent ratings and reviews. | Log in to view more ratings + sorting options.
4.49 by DustyBeerz from New York on Feb 18, 2022
3.82 by Mcb99d from Massachusetts on Dec 11, 2021
Photo of KingOfBeersM3
4.02/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.25
by KingOfBeersM3

Great color. Brings me back to my college days when an ESP was in-fact extra special. This pours a beautiful amber color and tje taste is nutty and malty. The head retention is exceptionally poor but the flavor makes up for it. If you want a full bodied beer that’s low ABV, this is for you.

Dec 05, 2021
Photo of farrago
3.99/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by farrago from New Jersey

Good-sized, two fingers plus, head, light tan, nice density and retention, strong, thick lacing too. Coppery brown liquid of full cleanliness, easy to see a horde of bubbles rise towards the surface. The nose balances pungency against erectness and lift, milk chocolate, ginger cookies, cola bean, toffee, challah bread, all sweet goodness but also a stiffening smokiness and toastiness which keeps everything in proportion. Creamy mouth feel yet dry enough that it doesn't seem soft and diffuse. About medium-bodied, carbonation tickles the tongue in spite of the creaminess. Again, not overly sweet here even with the same basic array of elements. Maybe more grainy than the nose, mineral water bite too. Very light orange citrus presence. Not particularly fruity, some cherry or berry flavors at best. Easy drinker, like if you mowed your lawn in winter this is what you'd drink doing it. (Canned 10/4/21)

Nov 20, 2021
Photo of Rug
4.04/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4
by Rug from Massachusetts

Canned 10/4/21. “Whatever you do, don’t fall asleep“ stamped on the bottom of can

Man do I like when Tree House plays around with these classic styles, as it’s a nice change of pace for them. Of their beers that have a decent amount of ratings, this one has the lowest average. I’m not concerned by this, as many people go to TH strictly for the hyped stuff, which is great, but it clouds the reality of what a well rounded brewery should be

Pours a dark orangey brown with a little over a finger of tan head that quickly fades to a thin cap and leaves minimal lacing

There’s a nice sweetness in the nose as expected, but there’s a floral hop character for balance as well. I’m picking up on aromas of brown bread, toffee, toasted grain, floral hops, honey, light orange rind, and nutty malt

Taste wise, this is quite a bit more zesty but still retains a nice sweetness. On the front end of the sip I’m tasting crackery malt, peppery hops, toasted grain, orange zest, brown sugar, and light honey. The swallow brings notes of orange zest, brown bread, black pepper, bready malt, and light toffee

A medium light body pairs with moderate carbonation, resulting in a super drinkable beer. Finishes mostly dry with a nice bready sweetness

This is good stuff and super easy drinking, but just doesn’t stand uo to the classic examples of the style. That being said, I enjoyed it quite a bit

Oct 28, 2021
Photo of orcrist_cleaver
3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75
by orcrist_cleaver from New York

A not so indecent frolic through a field of knee-high grass sweetened by the dew dripping from wildflowers supercrystallized into dark honey; unsweetened pecan bread, maple-walnut decaf coffee. Fuggles contribute a nice seedy, earth element like fresh cut alfalfa. Resiny bulgur and a sticky, hemp resin finish that favors hops/bitters, but not at a level that detracts from drinkability. The hop level is compatible with the malt until the finish. Rather high carbonation from can pour doesn't contribute toward modern mouthfeel exchanging drinkability in favor of prolonged flavor.
I think it's a good tasting beer in regards of style; the malt profiles well; it is highly drinkable; it is flavorful, but not enduring.
I know I've treated other ESBs more lenient, but I judge TH a little differently because it's a destination. I'd like this beer a lot better on tap...please?

Jan 31, 2021
Photo of BEERMILER12
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by BEERMILER12 from Maine

A: Pours a reddish brown color with 2 fingers of head that fades down to a thin cap

S: Toasted malt, caramel, dark fruit, light spicy and earthy noble hop, brown sugar, and a touch of nuttiness

T: Follows the nose. Starts off with some toasted malt, dark fruit, and caramel. Picks up the brown sugar, spicy and earthy hop notes, and nutty undertones. Finishes with lingering toast and caramel maltiness

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. On the husky side

O: A solid ESB that is very easy to drink. Worth checking out

Dec 28, 2020
4 by Fettpopps from Massachusetts on Dec 01, 2020
4.16 by djcira from Pennsylvania on Nov 28, 2020
3.74 by DucksFan16 from Tennessee on Aug 30, 2020
3.77 by PaleAleWalt from New York on Aug 08, 2020
Photo of brewandbbq
3.97/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75
by brewandbbq from New Hampshire

16oz can dated 2/10/20.

Pours clear, dark copper with an inch of off-white head. Average retention and lacing. Roasted caramel with a hint of maple-drizzled malt in the nose. Medium bodied with a tacky mouthfeel. Sweet malt with toffee on the palate. Finishes a bit sweet with plump malt, minimal fruity esters, and zero hops or bitterness.

May 16, 2020
3.92 by Hallertau from Wisconsin on May 03, 2020
3.69 by Bluesfolk19 from Massachusetts on Apr 30, 2020
Photo of BeerBaronBear
3.84/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by BeerBaronBear from New York

A really nice ESB, but just not my favorite style of beer. Had an attractive copper color - smell and taste just didn't carry a whole lot of depth, but again, for the style this was actually pretty high-end in both categories. With lower ABV than many Tree House beers, this made for a nice lunchtime beer that won't knock you out or destroy your taste buds. I don't think I would seek this out again, but I wouldn't turn it down either.

Apr 18, 2020
4.14 by TheBeerMaster1 from New York on Apr 18, 2020
Photo of mnj21655
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75
by mnj21655 from Massachusetts

Pours a clear reddish copper in color with a finger plus of long lasting off white head that leaves behind decent lacing. Aroma is malty, some caramel, fruity, a little earthy. Taste is earth forward with the caramel and fruity notes falling into the background, finish is fairy balanced but leans bitter. Medium bodied with moderate plus carbonation. Overall a decent bitter, drinkable.

Apr 17, 2020
4 by smartassboiler from Illinois on Apr 06, 2020
4.07 by NRMeadmore from Connecticut on Apr 02, 2020
3.5 by Roy1586 from Massachusetts on Mar 28, 2020
Photo of woodchipper
3.92/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
by woodchipper from Connecticut

Poured from a 16oz refrigerated can dated 2/17/20 to a Nonic. Copper colored body lights up nicely when held to the light. Medium to low white head fades to scattered and eventually scant lacing. Sweet and earthy in smell like caramel and fully composted mulch.
Taste is sweet in front, dry at the end. Some caramel, raisin, charcoal and dare I say a hint of umami.
Carbonation is light, as per style. No sense of alcohol or any off-tastes.
Nice representation of the style.

Mar 15, 2020
Photo of beersampler6
4.09/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by beersampler6 from Michigan

Quite a nice English strong bitter. Not normally my go-to style of beer but this one was very easy to drink and enjoy. 2/17/20 date printed on can. Pours an amber-rusty color with just a little fluffy white head and some minimal spotty lingering lacing. Smells of bready malts, caramel, toffee, vanilla and some nuttiness. Taste follows the nose, nice balance and very tasty. Smooth mild mouthfeel with just the right amount of carbonation. Very easy to drink, great refreshing quality despite being more malty.

Mar 14, 2020
4.08 by jcaleb86 from New Hampshire on Feb 21, 2020
4 by fossage78 from Massachusetts on Feb 14, 2020
3.75 by jschott75 from Illinois on Jan 26, 2020
4 by Gowens18 from Massachusetts on Jan 16, 2020
Photo of kevanb
3.94/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by kevanb from Illinois

16oz can, dated 11.14.19, poured into a 16oz tumbler glass.

The beer pours a dark amber color, caramel and copper hues, decent clarity with a finger of bone colored head that has modest retention but yields nice sticky lacing. The aroma is very nice, toasted amber and caramel grains, a slight nuttiness and light citrus peel. The flavors are nice and echo the nose, strong toasted malts, amber and caramel grains, nice and bready with light citrus peel, a modest nuttiness and a bit of sweetness, light caramel and fruitiness. The mouthfeel is nice, coating with a lively medium body that still feels smooth and finishes with a crisp bite.

Verdict: A nice ESB from Tree House. Simple and to the point, but this style isn't one for being overly complex. Quaffable and refreshing with a nice heartiness that makes it great for cooler days.

Jan 07, 2020
3.95 by gooddaydiablo from Texas on Dec 28, 2019
4.08 by Prost76 from New Hampshire on Dec 20, 2019
Photo of thebeers
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75
by thebeers from Pennsylvania

Pours a clear, caramel-amber color with two fingers of foamy, light-tan head. Solid lacing.

Sweet, malty aroma with hints of cherry and carbon dioxide.

Sweet tasting as well, with cherry-malt the dominant flavor. Maybe a hint of coffee and buttery nuttiness, too, but they’re pretty far behind. There’s a mineral element, as well, then a nice, refined earthy bitterness in the finish.

Full bodied and creamy for the style.

This is a solid ESB with some interesting depth to the flavors. I get a big whiff of carbon dioxide whenever I tip the glass back for a drink and that makes the experience less enjoyable. I don’t want to have to decant my beer.

Dec 14, 2019
4.17 by Taycro from Massachusetts on Dec 06, 2019
3.36 by unclekeith from Alaska on Dec 05, 2019
4 by Joesapp from Connecticut on Nov 02, 2019
Photo of EMV
3.96/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by EMV from Pennsylvania

Poured from a tallboy can into a Dogfish Head tulip

L: Clear copper pour with foamy off-white head. Great retention and lacing.

S: Toasted malts and grains. Light fruit and citrus.

T.F: Caramel malts and toasted grains. Biscuits/bread, earth, and grains. Light citrus and fruit. Caramel, grass, and tea. Medium to light bodied... creamy carbonation.

O: A very interesting take on the style. Not sure how faithful it is, but this is a quality beer. Well executed with delicate flavor. Easy drinking.

Sep 30, 2019
Photo of angrybabboon
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
by angrybabboon from Massachusetts

Consumed 9/21/19

A: Medium to burnt caramel color - some chill haze, but not hazy - pours with a small, off-white head, fades to a few wisps, retains small collar and leaves some lacing

S: Nicely grainy - pale grains, caramel grains - bread, bread crust, pretzels - mild hop aroma (an interesting change of pace for a Tree House beer) with some herbal notes and some grass - some caramel sweetness

T: More grainy than bready - pale and caramel grains, multigrain bread, biscuits, crackers - mild bitterness, some grassy and herbal malts - some light sweetness, notes of caramel candy and toffee - slightly nutty - finishes with lingering maltiness

M: Medium body, smooth, low carbonation

O: Part of Tree House's Man Bear Pig series

I've had Old Man more than a couple times but never got around to reviewing it. I suppose part of my procrastination is because I have mixed feelings. It's a perfectly serviceable ale, but it does not really fit into a style. It's not pale. It's not amber enough to be amber. But what concerns me is that I would not label this as an ESB. It simply does not taste "English" enough. The water is lacking hardness and minerality that is necessary to cut through the grain tea.

Sep 22, 2019
3.53 by Ajlvt from Washington on Sep 19, 2019
3.98 by smaddock from Massachusetts on Sep 14, 2019
4.03 by Wizzman from Massachusetts on Sep 08, 2019
Photo of Gatch
4.52/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
by Gatch from Massachusetts

Enjoyed at the brewery on a Saturday. When a brewery of this magnitude makes an under-appreciated style, I’m all for it. Haven’t had an ESB in so long but this is better than any other example I can remember. Wow. The malt flavors, finish and feel, and the slight hop presence are all incredible. Level of sweetness and breadiness is perfect.

Picked up a can during a visit, canned 11/14/19. “give me things that won’t get lost”
A seriously good beer and a pleasant break from the hop onslaught. Also for a great cause, both dedicated to a family member and proceeds going to the MJF Foundation, which makes drinking this even better.

Sep 07, 2019
4.1 by wcampbell69 from Massachusetts on Sep 06, 2019
Old Man from Tree House Brewing Company
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 373 ratings