Old Man | Tree House Brewing Company

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Old ManOld Man
Very Good
291 Ratings
Old ManOld Man

Brewed by:
Tree House Brewing Company
Massachusetts, United States

Style: English Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.40%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by ppoitras on 10-27-2012

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 291 |  Reviews: 37
Reviews by lic217:
Photo of lic217
4.26/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Light brown/red, a little hazy, nice long lasting head. Big smell and taste of malt, toffee, fruitiness, chocolate, coffee, and light spiciness from the hops. Extremely drinkable and also full bodied. Nice creamy mouthfeel. Nice and sessionable, but also complex. A solid beer that I prefer over some of their other hoppy offerings.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of ScaryEd
3.78/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 16 oz can into a pint glass.

Pours a hazy copper color with 2 fingers of fluffy tan head. The head settles into a film, leaving some nice cobweb lacing along the way.

The aroma is very doughy up front, followed by a sweet orange marmalade character. The middle brings some grassy notes before sweet caramel and spicy hops come up the rear *giggles*.

The flavor is full of sweet bread and caramel. Some brown sugar and toffee comes through in the middle. The finish is subtly citrusy with a faint touch of bitter hops. Lots going on here. Not bad for the style.

The feel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Quite smooth and dry.

Overall, a good, well-balanced beer that is definitely perfect for autumn weather. I'm not too familiar with the ESB style but from what I've had this seems like a solid representation. Not the best Tree House has to offer, but it's nice to try something different. Would definitely drink this again.

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Photo of jlindros
3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I'm not usually an ESB fan, but I remember this being pretty good at the brewery.

The pour yields a nice creamy but bubbly 1+ finger head that fades at a med pace, lots of big bubbles bursting mostly, spotted lacing on the sides, with a mostly clear slight coppery reddish orange rosy hue beer.

Nose brings plenty of grassy slightly herbal earthy hops, fairly floral typical hop profile for ESB. Light grainy sweet toasty amber malt base under that. The hops get stronger as it warms, a nice grassy floral but little herbal aroma, and just a hint vegetative.

Taste comes on nicely, again hops right out, this time more on the grassy side and earthy side, but a little herbal and very slightly vegetative like but not much. A bit chewy on the hop profile as well. Malt bill comes in very slightly grainy again, mild sweetness with some toasty amber malts but not really caramel like, maybe a hint of biscuit or that could be the marris otter. bitterness is nice, not too strong but def lets you know it's an ESB. Finish is a bit drier but still somewhat sticky, nice mild bitterness lingering with a bit more grassy slight herbal hop profile.

Mouth is med bodied, decent carb, little sticky.

Overall nice for an ESB, again not my fav style but this is done well. Nice mild bitterness that def lets you know its there, nice hop profile mostly, little too sticky, but drinkable and fairly tasty.

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Photo of sulldaddy
4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Sampling a cold 16 oz can poured into a snifter. The beer pours a mostly clear amber to copper hue with some creamy eggshell white head foaming up about 2 cm and fading to a sturdy surface layer of foam. One large island floats in the center of my glass throughout the sampling.
The aroma is a nice dose of malt with caramel and some brown sugar mixing with a bit of toasted grain and hints of cherry. A little bit of earthy hop character gives the nose some balance.
First sip reveals an average body with fine and slightly tingly carbonation. The texture is smooth with just a little bit of a coating effect across my palate.
The flavor is similar to the nose with a nice balance of malt and some earthy hop character. I get a dose of caramel and toasted grains, light brown sugar with a bit of nutty flavor, maybe almonds. This is mixed with the hops which are not the centerpiece, and give some earthy and a bit of spicy hop note, before the beer finishes toasty and cracker grain flavor. I dont get any of the low ABV and find this beer very easy to drink.
A nice balanced easy drinking beer from TH!

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750mL growler into a true pint, the beer is a crystal clear, chestnut-caramel coloring with a thin, tight, filmy, off-white head. Aromas of roasted toffee, biscuit, tangy and slightly bitter hops, and a subtle apple sweetness. Flavors are a bitter and roast blast on the forward tongue, both robust and balanced. Toffee and caramel rich and roast, with a bitter, resiny undertone that cuts and cleans. After the bold and robust start, the beer gets light and very smooth in mouth. Tangy sweet caramel blend with hints of hops character into the aftertaste, and a slick, slightly lingering finish with a slow dry. Very solid, drinkable beer. Tasty and light.

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Photo of Damian
3.62/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Drank from a 1 pint can purchased at Tree House Brewing Company, Charlton, MA
Served in a nonic
Thanks to my friend Walter for this can.

Great label art. I wish Tree House would feature cartoons by this amazing artist on more of their packaging. As for the beer itself, it poured a slightly hazed, dark crimson-amber. The body was topped by a small cap of cream colored froth that quickly fell to a lasting halo. Some patchy lacing stuck along the glass. Later, the chill haze eased up to reveal a clear body.

The nose was signature ESB. Quite malty and nutty. Nice mix of biscuit and caramel malts. There was a dry, powdery, yeasty quality that subsided as the head died down. Somewhat fruity as well. Bit of brown sugar-like sweetness. As the beer warmed, the sweetness from the malts came forth.

The flavor was similar to the nose and also very malt centric. Bready, biscuity malts and toasted grains were apparent on the front end. Touch of caramel too. Slightly nutty and dry. Fruity in the center. Apples came to mind. More malt on the back end. Hint of brown sugar. Leafy, noble hops appeared here as well and crescendoed in the finish. Touch of lingering, earthy bitterness.

Fairly average mouthfeel. Medium bodied for the style. The liquid contained a zippy, spritzy effervescence that felt wet and slick on the palate. Later, the carbonation settled down and the liquid turned creamy, frothy and smooth.

Though Tree House is known for making some of the most amazing beers on the planet, I found this ESB to be rather ordinary. That said, kudos to these guys for brewing an often overlooked style.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.57/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to ScottKramer, I'm able to give my first detailed review of a Tree House brewing beer. Thanks, ScottKramer!

CAN: Love the label design. Has a classily understated label on a silver can; label is pea green and depicts a man fly flishing. Standard pull-tab top. 16 fl oz format. Canned 07/07/17.

5.4% ABV. Extra Special Bitter. Brewed with European hops.

Served cold into a nonic pint glass.

HEAD: ~6-7cm worth of head. Frothy and off-white. Thick. Creamy. Robust. Leaves gorgeous lacing on the sides of my nonic as it slowly recedes. Retention is superb - ~10 minutes.

BODY: Dark copper-amber. A bit lacking in terms of vibrance. Seems filtered; I observe neither yeast/lees nor sediment within. Nontransparent. Quasitranslucent; it has a glow to it.

Style appropriate in appearance with no immediate flaws. Still, more vibrance to its body would help make it still more attractive.

AROMA: Fruity sweet, hinting at candied orange peel/citrus peel. Marmalade. It's clearly in the Fullers camp of ESB brewing, eschewing the American hop approach favored by many American breweries in favour of a return to tradition.

Caramelization is evident throughout. Pale malt, caramalt, maybe even crystal malt.

No diacetyl or other off-notes are present aromatically.

Hop presence is mild - just floral character or maybe some complementary citrusy character, but none of the earthy character I'd expect.

Suggests a balanced yet sweet brew with a nice citrus peel emphasis. Certainly true to style.

Aromatic intensity is moderate. Certainly an inviting aroma; I often hate the diacetyl in ESBs, and this seems to be diacetyl-free. No buttery aromatics whatsoever.

TASTE: Candied orange, orange marmalade, caramelized citrus, moderate malty sweetness. Pale malt and caramel are at the heart of this brew, but there's not much competing bitterness from the hops, which provide floral and slightly earthy flavours.

Definitely a fruity sweet expression of the style firmly in the Fullers camp of ESB brewing. No diacetyl off-flavour or American hop nonsense here...just true-to-tradition balance and nice depth of flavour.

Has a bit of a toasty edge to it which plays well with the marmalade-like flavour. Has an English vibe in that respect, and I could see this pairing well with an orange marmalade biscuit.

Good flavour duration, with some of the pleasant sweetness lingering past the finish. Apt flavour intensity.

TEXTURE: A bit gooey. Smooth, wet, unrefreshing, medium-bodied. Has apt heft and weight on the palate given its flavours and the style. No booziness here (or diacetyl butter). It's a bit crisp in its carbonation, but overall this mouthfeel complements the taste nicely.

Not syrupy, harsh, gushed, hot, boozy, astringent, rough, or scratchy.

OVERALL: Restraint and balance aren't often observed in American approaches to more delicate styles, but Tree House succeeds in the English ale arena with this true-to-form ESB. It's a highly drinkable expression of the style and might be the best American attempt at an ESB I've yet tried. Still, there's room for a bit more hop nuance; I'd like more of an earthy or peppery hop flavour in keeping with Fuller's' and it could do with a bit more dryness in terms of mouthfeel. Still, I love that this doesn't go for the diacetyl-emphatic ESB profile that seems to have gripped contemporary attempts at the style and it's a very enjoyable brew. I don't often buy ESBs, but if I was craving the style this would be my pick.

Huge thanks to ScottKramer for the chance to try this!

Drinks great from a nonic pint glass. Pair with rye bread, English biscuits, and/or buttered pretzels.

B (3.57) / GOOD

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Photo of BEER88
4.13/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

You have to go into this beer open minded because for the style it is good! I am a hop lover for sure but I appreciate all styles so i started my night with this beer as the first and it was delicious. By no means a hoppy juice bomb but a nice cracker, subtle caramel malt beer with some bitterness and light earthy hop notes in the back. Feel was sharp and smooth. Another style well done by TH!

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Photo of beaver69693
5/5  rDev +29.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of Cwarwick812
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of TimBeaulieu
3.59/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Photo of SkiBum22
3.54/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of SuomiHobbit
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

ESB as only Tree House can do it. A welcome change from their citrus juice bombs. As an ESB it's very good. Clean and mildly bitter.

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Photo of tigg924
3.87/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours hazy, reddish brown n color with 1/2 inch head. Taste is cocoa powder, dark chocolate, and leather. Medium boided with moderate carbonation, slightly sweet. Makes for an enjoyable and malty ESB. I prefer other malty beers from Tree House but this is solid.

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Photo of david90292
4.41/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Terrific at the outset and once it breathes a little it loses that compact chocolaty smokey flavor you get staright from the can. Having consumed many a bitter, I find it to be on par with many English ESB. This bitter definitely has the "Yankee feel". I would have a few any time.

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Photo of BranfordBound
3.79/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Had out of the can last weekend during our Halloween party. Pours a fairly clear dark amber color with a fluffy tan head.

Aroma is pretty malty, some toast and caramel sweetness, maybe some earthy bitterness underneath. Good blast of malty toffee sweetness upfront, but it's fleeting and doesn't linger. Toasty bread and grain husk, finishes bitter with some leafy and earthy hops, mineral-ness in the finish.

Very light body, crisp finish. I really like this ESB and would love to have more in the fall. Shame I only had half a can.

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Photo of BRoweski30
3.2/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of avas
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of dbthom123
4.02/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of acurtis
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of chuckgietzen
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Futbolmanby
3.62/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Sammy
3.33/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

some hop and murk. ok drinkability but odd for tree house. thanks brian.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.87/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

ESBs are a very underrated style so I'm very glad a really high profile brewery decided to do an expression of this...
16oz. can into a Heady Topper stemless snifter.

Nose is citrus, black tea leaves, dried twig and a mellow hop bite in the back. Not overly aromatic but it checks all the right boxes. Beer opens subtle malt. Hints of anise, black tea and brown sugar. Some bark in the back with just the slightest touch of bitterness. Finishes with hints of caramel and brown sugar. Very solid. Body is light with moderate to low carbonation. A little bit of foaminess but really gentle and almost filmy on the palate. This is where this beer loses me a bit. I want a little more life and aggressiveness from this style.

A good beer overall but it could be so much more if it was more aggressive on the palate to improve drinkability. As is, I don't expect anything less than very solid from Tree House.

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Photo of Davewm24
3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

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Old Man from Tree House Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.86 out of 5 with 291 ratings