LongShot Old Ben Ale | Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)

very good
261 Ratings
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LongShot Old Ben AleLongShot Old Ben Ale

Brewed by:
Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Massachusetts, United States

Style: Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by smcolw on 04-02-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 261 |  Reviews: 229
Photo of mtnbikerpa
4.1/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pilsner glass. Deep ruby color. Heavy aroma of dark brown sugars and sugar cane. Fragrant green grape aroma. Smooth flavors of sweet black cherries, apples, some hints of pear. Nicely balanced hops along with sweet malts. Very well balanced. Pretty easy to drink for the 9%.

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Photo of ToddT
3.85/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Clear light brown liquid topped with a one finger off white head. Head dissipates quickly but leaves a few spots of lace on the glass.

S- Mild aroma slightly malty, yeasty, caramel, and musty.

T- Nice swirl of hops, caramel, malt at first. The malt caries through to the finish which is crisp and somewhat clean with a mild bite of hops.

M- Medium in body and decent carbonation, slightly viscous feeling on the palate.

D- Very drinkable I would have thought this could be a session beer and was quite surprised by the 9.0% ABV which is well hidden.

Got to love Sam's longshot beers. Keep up the good work

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Photo of emmasdad
3.73/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a bright, dark ruby red color, topped off with a big, quickly dissipating ecru head. Some nice piney notes on the nose, along with some dark fruits, cherries and alcohol. Good fruity flavors here, including cherries, caramel, honey and alcohol. A little thin, with a warming finish. A good effort from the LongShot 6 pack.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.97/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

As a homebrewer and Beer Advocate, drinking these winning recipes is both enjoyable and humbling. I feel lucky whenever any recipe doesn't somehow spontaneously catch fire. Green fire. I don't know how it happened either. Regardless, these homebrewers blow me away every time.
This old timer relaxes in the snifter, a surprisingly clear dark garnet pool that looks more akin to a nice liquor than a beer. Lovely nonetheless, and it does fit the style. A deep whiff brings out some black cherry, some sour watermelon, and a bit o' bourbon. Not at all expected, but definitely pleasant to say the least. A bit of alcoholic heat emanates upward as well, adding another dimension to the proceedings. Well, the run up to this guy has built it up pretty highly...the danger of a live review, I suppose. Have at it, mouth! Mouth has had at it, and, yea, 'twas good indeed. Those black cherries are harvested again, but toned down, with a decrease in the sourness. But just one flsvor is downright boring, right? Worry not, folks, as there's complexity in that thar brew! Behind the cherries stalks a massive load of syrup, molasses, and bourbon. This darkly sweetness creeps up and strangles the fruitiness in a rowdy scuffle. Not sure how, but the world is better for this brutal murder. Must be the whole gladiator aesthetic of it all. In fact, the only thing keeping this taste from a 4.5 is the end, when the darkness suffers a heart attack while disposing of the fruit's corpse, leaving me with a very dry, leathery taste and feel. But another sip brings everybody back to life. It feels good to be God, gotta say. Everything goes down smooth and easy, with a mild fizziness and a prettily plump body. Man, I wish I could make a brew like this. Back to the drawing board, I guess...

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Photo of aubuc1
3.7/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle in to a snifter.

Pours reddish brown with quickly thinning light tan head.

Smell is a slightly sour over ripe fruit with a biscuity malt. Smells like old stock ale.

Taste is initially boldly hot, then smooths out in to a malty heat.

Mouthfeel is pretty good. The heat isn't really boozy, but hot still.

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Photo of Pencible
4.22/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This poured a clear, dark copper with moderate tan head. It smelled like roasted barley and caramel, with some bready yeast and vanilla and rich buttery toffee. It tasted like caramel and rich toffee, with roasted barley and vanilla and bready yeast, and a little copper hops. It was slightly thick with a little carbonation, and had a smooth bittersweet aftertaste. Overall this had a great clean and balanced scent and taste. It was almost like a scotch ale, to me. Nice body too, and hid the alcohol pretty well. So this was very drinkable, but still complex enough to enjoy sipping it. This could probably age fairly well too. I wouldn't call this my favorite old ale, but it's very good, and one of the better old ales while still fresh.

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Photo of bsp77
3.65/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Snifter.

Appearance: Very pretty orange-red, but minimal head and lacing.

Smell: Lots of figs, plum, toffee and English hops. Slightly earthy but mostly sweet.

Taste: Quite sweet, but not much distinct taste or complexity. Some plums and toffee. A little earthiness and alcohol.

Feel: Moderate carbonation. Thick and chewy, but slightly cloying.

Drinkability: Fairly enjoyable but mild Old Ale overall. This may make it easier to drink than some, but also makes it not quite worth returning to.

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Photo of CJfromPhilly
4.32/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours from the 12 oz. bottle an iced-tea-ish brown with a foamy 1 1/2 finger head that settles into a thick collar. Modestly carbonated...there aren't that many bubbles rising in the glass. Aroma is malty and sweet..I detect notes of caramel & dark fruit. 1st sip is sweet, thick, malty & fruity. I get notes of caramel, toffee, raisins & figs. The mouth feel is sticky & a little on the heavy side, but quite drinkable. The alcohol is quite well hidden, but it's there...you'll start to feel it about halfway thru this beauty. I like this beer...a LOT!!! Michael Robinson, you've created a winner of a brew that I would love to see become part of the regular Sam Adams lineup!

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Photo of Parrotbeak
3.94/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amber with a ruby hue and no head, save for a white ring around the perimeter.
Smell is sweet, syrupy malts, with some notes of figs and raisins, as well as brown sugar and caramel. Faint hops aroma can be discerned as well. Alcohol is present, but not too assertive.
Taste is slightly sweet, toasted malts, with raisins and caramel joining. Malts carry to the finish, with some more brown sugar and slightly bitter hops, as well as some fruity tones. Faint lemon and apple, in particular.
Mouthfeel is surprisingly crisp for this style, though relatively speaking the carbonation level is fairly low. Finish is slightly sticky, with a medium body.
Drinkability for this style is good. Alcohol is well-concealed.

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Photo of cbutova
2.96/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A- Pours out red with a frothy off-white head that has good retention. The head leaves behind a thick, creamy cloud and ring on top of the beer. Thick lace is left behind by the head. A great looking beer.

S- Lots of caramel malts up front. Some grainy notes come through as well. Some sweet dark fruit hints are present and round out a decent smell. The strength of the aroma is good. Smells slightly medicinal, kind of like cough syrup or cepacol.
Some earthy hops in the background as well.

T- Way to sweet and somewhat medicinal. It really does remind me of sore throat medicine/cepacol a bit. I think it is the combination of the alcohol warmth and the sugary caramel dark fruit aspects, it doesn't balance out and taste that good to me. Lots of caramel malt. I have had much better Old Ales. A bit of alcohol makes it through. Some nuttiness and mineral aspects as well.

MF- Lower carbonation and a somewhat creamy moderate body. Really warm from the alcohol that seems to actually be 9%. A coat of hot caramel medicine coats the tongue and is not too pleasant.

DB- I can hardly get through the first glass. The cepacol taste is just getting to me too much. Old Stock at 13% hides alcohol much better than this one. Maybe this one needs to be aged and some sugar taken out. A good appearance that led to a disappointing beer.

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Photo of Freshie
3.88/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A real classic style to this one.

Pours a deep amber color with creamy off-white head. Head laces thickly down the sides of the glass.

Aroma is sweet like candy, maybe caramel. Alcohol is present in the nose.

Taste is rich. Creamy smooth malt, with honey sweetness. Alcohol burn sticks on the back of the palate. Very little hop bite.

Sticks in the throat a bit, like molasses.

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Photo of kwjd
3.6/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a reddish-copper colour with thin off-white head. Smells of figs and caramel. Taste is quite sweet, maybe a bit too sweet for the style. Cherry, fig, plum and caramel in the flavour. Quite creamy mouthfeel. Alcohol is well hidden to make this very drinkable.

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Photo of HalfFull
3.45/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a large wine glass from a standard 12 oz. bottle. Deep copper in color with some fiery highlights and sporting a thing off white cap of foam. Quite clear and with a light carbonation and a brief retention.

Sweet caramel and some dark fruit, a super sized Oktoberfest nose. Very light hop notes and a bit shallow overall, yielding little depth, which surprises given the notation of using a blend of five malts. Warming improves things somewhat and offers some woody hops upon agitation.

Flavor follows the nose is is quite caramel forward, and adds a touch of spice and a bit of balancing graininess to the otherwise sweet delivery. Feel is sweet and lightly viscous with a moderate finish of caramel and a bit of spice. Fair drinkability yet the lack of depth of the malts deters. ABV is well cloaked nonetheless.

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Photo of Zorro
3.83/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear reddish brown colored ale with good tan colored head.

Smells malty with a light vanilla scent. Scents of tobacco, fig, caramel and plum.

Starts out malty with a bit of an woody aftertaste. Cherry and slight vanilla with some toffee.

Mouthfeel is good.

OK drinkability. It's an OK beer but lacks complexity.

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.92/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle, I'm always excited to try a new Old Ale, a very underrated style, perhaps this beer is named after Obi-Wan Kenobi, I'd like to think so,

A: Pours a deep amber red with a mild white head with good retention, no real lace.

S: Treacle, rum, toffee.

T: Big stone and dark fruit character, rum and orange there for sure with golden raisins and plums. Apricots come to mind as well.

M: Full-bodied and robust, a big beer for sure. Light aftertaste of sweet true malt which I liked.

D: A nice sipper on a cool Beltane evening. A quality product, traditional in its flavours, what I've come to expect from Sam Adams. I've got the additional bottle which I will age; the malt and fruit notes are there I can feel it, a potential to make this beer brilliant and complex with time.

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Photo of ocelot2500
3.6/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear copper color with a fluffy off-white head that leaves plenty of lacing.

Smells of toffee and bready malts.

Tastes of toffee, bready malts, and a little dark fruit. Malts come through enough, but I would like more. Dark fruits are mostly figs with some raisins. Small herbal hops make an appearance.

Mouthfeel is full with a creamy amount of carbonation.

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Photo of LarryV
3.8/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a clear amber color with a quickly fading head. Leaves a lot of sluggish sticky lacing on the glass. Aroma of brown sugar with a hint of fruitiness hanging out in the background. Taste is very similar to the aroma, a lot of brown sugar, dates and bubblegum. Overall, a bit too sweet for my preference. The alcohol is well hidden and the beer is nicely crafted, attenuate the sweetness a bit and I think it would be a pretty tasty brew.

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Photo of alexgash
4.03/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle.

Golden amber body. Clear and clean. Two fingers of thick, dense, light khaki head. Very good lacing. Nose of candy apples, toffee, brown sugar, and a hint of butterscotch. Nice.

Rich malt flavors up front. Sweet notes of toffee, pudding, fruits, and candied apples. Sugary fruits mid-palate, with caramel and candied banana. Vegetal, slightly herbal, mild hop bitterness toward the finish. Doesn't do much to balance the malty sweetness, but that's okay with me! Oaky, residually sweet finish. Full bodied with a slightly chewy feel. Nice work!

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Photo of bamadog
4.12/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review is from notes taken on 4/30/2010 and poured from the bottle to a snifter. I have to say, out of the two longshot winners that I've had this year, they've both been great and as a very amateur homebrewer, I would be more than happy to have this or the barley wine as a result of my efforts. Congrats to the winners.

Appearance: Pours a near perfect copper color; starts with a full one finger light tan and creamy head with solid retention; body is perfectly clear and shows a lot of strong carbonation initially; head fades to a very uneven skim and it's incomplete; spotty washes and strands of lacing are left holding to the glass.

Smell: Lots of malt, sweet presence of caramel, a bit of spiciness (almost like cinnamon and coriander?) and a very sweet and smooth fruitiness -- almost like a banana or some other mellow tropical fruit like a mango; definite whiff of alcohol. Easily my favorite aspect of this offering.

Taste: Very nice blend of the sweet caramel-like malts and the smooth tropical fruit presence found in the nose; and additional wet graininess is present as well and adds a bit of an earthy balance to the sweetness; a very faint piney hop bitterness at the end blends with a fair amount of warm alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Solid carbonation at first, but as the drink lingers on, it really does become much softer and more like an old ale as it's a little more mellow and a bit flat (not a bad thing, just a bit more typical of the style) and it becomes a bit more slick; body is of moderate weight but I wouldn't mind it being a bit thicker; mouth is left with a bit of stickiness, but a warm tingle from the hot, vaporous alcohol; belly is left warm as well.

Drinkability: Fine in moderation, I would like to age a few of these to see how they do with some age. I'd like to see if the alcohol mellows out a bit, but overall, the flavors are great and as I mentioned in the intro, I would be more than happy if this beer was the result of my labors.

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Photo of jwinship83
4.15/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle drank fresh. always excited to see the new longshot on the shelves. drank from duvel tulip.

A- this one pours out a mostly clear copper colored body with a neat beige head sits on top and lasts for a while. small spots of lacing are left behind.

S- rich and decadent. lots going on here. plenty of ripe dark fruits are the first things i notice. cherry, plum, fig, and date. very nutty also. almonds stand out the most to me. subtle hint of the alcohol.

T- the nutty malts come to the front with the first sip. lots of almonds, toffee, and caramel. plenty of the cherries, raisins, and plums that i could smell. the alcohol makes itself a little more known in the taste than in the nose. still not bad for 9%.

M- medium bodied and possibly over carbonated. a little bit of warming from the alcohol.

D- this one was better than i was expecting. easy enough to finish and what i consider to be a nice interpretation of the style. ill sit on my other one for a while and see where time takes it.

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Photo of MrHurmateeowish
4.32/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle purchased as part of this year's mixed sixer at McKinnon's in Salem. Pours a golden amber-red crystal-clear body with about a half inch of off-white head. Raisin, toffee, nut, graham cracker, and a hint of alcohol in the aroma. Tastes like raisin, graham cracker, toffee, with hints of alcohol warming. Full bodied with moderate carbonation. Very drinkable for what it is. Extremely tasty. I'd love to try and pair this with not only a course, but a whole meal, as this would pair equally well with an entree or dessert. Wow. Awesome.

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Photo of FickleBeast
3.06/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Best before Sept 2010.

Pours a clear copper color with two fingers of head that coats the glass and leaves a thin ring of foam at the top. Aroma is candied fruits, so plum, and a little boozy.

There is a lot of sweetness in this beer, but it comes off pretty "hot" and a bit of a mineral aftertaste. Another sip confirms that there is a LOT of residual sweetness in this beer

I just went and read the style description of an Old Ale, and this beer is a very good representation of that style. Problem is, I don't think I like the style very much! Everything I don't like about this beer - the sweetness, booziness, and low hop profile - are characteristics of an Old Ale.

So I won't kill this beer in the scoring, but this is IMO, by far the worst of this year's Longshot pack... the other two were very good!

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Photo of Traquairlover
4.52/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12-oz bottle poured into a tulip.

A = Clear topaz liquid with a firm light tan head of foam that slowly recedes leaving behind a heavy amount of lacing.

S = Caramel, toffee, butterscotch, almond syrup, vanilla. A very good smelling English old ale.

T = Wow! Rich nutty flavors are the first thing I think when I take a drink, very sweet tastes of caramel, maple fudge, underneath there are some smoky flavors reminiscent if a good Scotch ale, prunes. This is a very good beer. I wish I had more of these to age as it would be interesting to see how it develops over a period of years.

M = Full bodied, great mouthcoating, luscious creamy feeling.

D = This is just a wonderful beer that I really enjoyed drinking. I think it would be fun to mix it half and half with a nice English bitter so you could enjoy more of the flavor in an evening. Great beer.

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Photo of mothman
3.48/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into Old Guardian Glass

Pours 1 finger of creamy beige head. Decent retention leaving some lace rings. Color is a clear amber copper. Active carbonation in the class.

Aroma: Lots of fresh bright fruits. Cherries, plums, raisins. Very sweet. Lots of malts here. Not very many hops present. Some caramel malt flavors. Not to mad, but not very warming like an old ale should be.

Taste: Sweet and malty. Some nice fruit flavors blended with all the malts provide a good flavor. Cherries and raisins most apparent. Lots of malts. Bready and caramel flavors. Still, not very warming, but the alcohol shows.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, fizzy, and smooth. Medium bodied with more carbonation than the style normally provides. Ends very dry and malty.

Overall, this wasn't much of an old ale imho. It didn't have what I normally expect from a solid old ale. The carbonation was too high, providing a fizzy feel to it. The alcohol showed but not in a warming manner. It was malty like it should be, but lacked some essential components.

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Photo of ianjsullivan
3.35/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

ST: 12 oz bottle poured into a Tulip snifter

A: Thick half-finger with white head covered a rusted brown. When held to the light, the beer appeared cherry oak red, and slow carbonation could be seen.

S: Rich fruity malt, raisins, caramel, some piny notes underneath.

T: Begins with fruit and raisin, has a bit of vanilla, cookie dough, and finishes with some bitterness from hops.

M: Heavy and thick, the finish feels clingy.

D: High alcohol content and heavy profile keep this beer from being a more than one or two at a time beer.

Overall: A nice representation of an English Old Ale style that I would be happy to have in the winter. It could benefit from a bit more carbonation to lighten up the feel and perhaps keep the finish from being cloying. Also, it is bit to sweet, which I understand all comes down to preference, perhaps a bit more bitterness from hops would have balanced it a bit more.

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LongShot Old Ben Ale from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
3.76 out of 5 based on 261 ratings.
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