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Old Man | Tree House Brewing Company

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Old ManOld Man
Very Good
176 Ratings
Old ManOld Man

Brewed by:
Tree House Brewing Company
Massachusetts, United States

Style: 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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 176 |  Reviews: 22
Photo of acurtis
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of jaydoc
3.94/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of spycow
3.69/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of djrn2
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of Knapp85
3.94/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of kojevergas
3.57/5  rDev -8.2%
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

 3,669 characters

Photo of jlindros
3.83/5  rDev -1.5%
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.

 1,398 characters

Photo of Kegatron
3.93/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of vfgccp
3.53/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of billab914
3.85/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of atrocity
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.36/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

16 oz. can. Murky amber body. Small white head. Smells of caramel, some bready malts, and just a bit of banana. Tastes of caramel, bread, and the same banana. Moderate bitterness. Medium light body. Pretty good. Flavorful ESB, though heavy on the banana bread flavor.

 275 characters

Photo of BEER88
4.13/5  rDev +6.2%
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!

 396 characters

Photo of Huhzubendah
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of stakem
3.77/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Thanks Kegatron for the hookuo on this. Pounder can into a tulip appears a clear amber color with a khaki colored head that stands firm leaving spots of lace as it slowly fades.

Aroma is bready, biscuit-like and toasty with malt, toffee, slight fruity raison and citrus/herbal hops with a touch of minerals.

Taste is a pleasant mix of malty layerings contrasted by fruity alcohol and herbal hoppy bitterness. Almost a hint of butterscotch in this.

Medium in body with modest carbonation. Overall a pretty solid ESB.

 518 characters

Photo of dvmin98
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of chippo33
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of ejimhof
3/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of GarthDanielson
3.88/5  rDev -0.3%
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.

 671 characters

Photo of Sweffin
3.5/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Nichols33
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of NickThePyro
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of LoveStout
4/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of CharlesK
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of rudzud
3.5/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to BPK59 for sharing .

A - Poured into a Tree House tulip a crystal clear copper hue with a thin one finger head that faded to leave thin lacing and thin halo.

S - Aromas of grains light bread, and subtle hops.

T - Taste is similar to the nose with more hop bitter finish. Lightly floral finish. Not bad.

M - Mouthfeel is lowly carbonated but still refreshing.

O - Overall this was an okay esb. I'm not a huge esb fan and this was somewhat one dimensional.

 468 characters

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Old Man from Tree House Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.89 out of 5 with 176 ratings
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