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

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229 Reviews
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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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Reviews: 229 | Ratings: 261
Photo of chefhatt
3.2/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I poured the 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. I has a nice dark amber color with a light egg white color head that lay down to a nice lace around the top of the body. The smell is of molassas and caramel. The taste is very strong and fruity like raisins and very nice hop taste. It coats the tongue. It is very drinkable for a high abv. beer. One is enough for me.

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Photo of deadliest
2.73/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

A: Crystal clear dark amber with big off-white head that quickly begins to settle but stops halfway before condensing into 1-finger and lasting.

S/T: Sugary sweet smell, heavy molasses. Tastes just as sweet if not more so. Maybe a little more complex than I give it credit for, but the sugary taste is overwhelming.

F/D: Doesn't feel very thick and sticky, but leaves behind an odd, thin, icky coating anyway. A chore to get through, but didn't have to pour it.

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Photo of Bierguy5
3.9/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, 9% abv. Best before September 2010. Pours a clear, lighter shade of mahogany. Nice airy egg white head. Very good retention for a big beer. Nice patches of lace coat the glass when the head subsides.

Big dark fruity notes up front, raisins and plums. A whiff of alcohol. Caramel, toffee and fig. Slight citrusy hop aroma blends in well.

Some sweetness up front. Caramel and toffee enter first. Some dark fruit, but not as much as the nose hints at. American, citrusy hops provide a nice bitter edge. Some warming alcohol.

Medium body, carbonation seems a little high. Pretty nice beer here. Still warming.

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Photo of StaveHooks
3.87/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a crimson mahogany. Small off-white head that melt quickly into a single bubble island.

S - Dried figs, simple sugar caramel, alcohol vapors, Christmas spices,

T - Brown sugared cherries, fig, candied marshmallow, Brown sugar. A light smokiness resides in the background. Toasted candy malt.

M - Syrupy and sharp.

The beer has a candied simple syrup character. One is enough for a setting.

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Photo of sweemzander
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

(A)- Pours a hazy mahogany color with reddish highlights that produced a white colored head that dissipated quickly. Left tiny specks of lacing behind.

(S)- A good maltiness of caramel and toffee with light spicy herbal notes in there with a creamy vanilla-like finish.

(T)- Very similar to the smell. A wealth of caramel-like sweetness with a hint of creamy vanilla. Finishes dry with a light herbal/tea-like profile.

(M)- A good carbonation level and balance. Not overly sweet or boozy like some of the style can be.

(D)- An overall, pretty solid take on the style. Not overly sugary sweet or hot in the alcohol department. I would have a few of these in the late fall for sure.

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

12 oz bottle notched with typical SA enjoy-by date. At 9%, I believe this one would keep longer than the similarly-notched Lemon Pepper Saison..

Pours a deep amber orange, with a tan head that recedes after a while. Looks thick. Smells but a bit lighter than a brandy, ha! Dark fruits, warming alcohol, and molasses. Taste is as big as the smell, like drinking caramelized ale. Feel is thick and viscous, but seems totally in place. Aftertaste is mild in fact, and where some pleasant bitterness comes in. High drinkability for a 9% brew. Very nice. I liked all 3 longshots this year, but this was my favorite!

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Photo of Kromes
4.05/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Amber in color. very clear with lots of carbonation. A dense tan colored head sits on the beer that slowly fades to a thin soapy head. Good lacing down the glass.

S: Caramel malts with some warm alcohol aromas. A very slight citrus and butterscotch aroma as well.

T: The sweet, toasted caramel malt flavor up front is great. There is an alcohol flavor and warmth in the middle along with some cherry maybe? and the finish is only slightly bitter and mostly sweet.

M: Mouthfeel is heavy and creamy smooth. It coats the tongue.

D: It packs a punch so I would only have one or two. It is a very good beer all around.

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Photo of Bassetdawg
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: light chestnut, with creamy two finger tan head, with excellent retention and lacing

Aroma: a rich aroma of plums and bread malts.

Taste and Mouth feel: plums, raisins and even some cherries with sweet malt, with a slightly dry finish. A smooth, medium bodied mouth feel.

Drinkability: A very nice old ale.

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Photo of soju6
3.73/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a deep amber color with nice head that fades very slowly to lacing.

S: Has a caramel and malt aroma with a hint of sweetness.

T: has a mild sweetness with caramel that turns to a fruity taste with a hint of malt with a Slightly sticky finish.

F: Medium body that is creamy and quite smooth. Just a hint of alcohol not overpowering. Nicely balanced brew.

D: Very enjoyable ale that is perfect to for sipping after a long day. Well worth the effort.

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Photo of wspscott
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle in Sam Adams glass
best by Sept 2010

A: Crystal clear, dark copper color with an off-white head. The head drops a bit, but never disappears, lots of lace.
S: Dark caramel malts, lots of raisins and prunes, fruitcake, a definite sweetness.
T: Again, dark caramel malt, some dried fruits, as it warms some hops' bitterness begins to appear, never becomes overly bitter, no hint of alcohol.
M: Very rich, but not heavy or "thick", a perfect amount of carbonation to help cut the residual sugars.
D: A great sipping beer, I wish I was sitting in front a a campfire right now. I would not reach for another one immediately, but I would happily buy a six-pack of this. Another excellent longshot from Sam Adams, I wish they would do more of these as one batch seasonals, I would be very happy to pick up some of this and this year's longshot barleywine as a xmas present for myself every year.

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Photo of bluejacket74
3.76/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle, best before September 2010. Served in a snifter, the beer pours a reddish/copper color with about an inch off-white head. Head retention is good, with lots of lacing left on the glass. Aroma is dark fruit (raisins, figs), toffee, caramel and some apple. Taste is similar to the aroma, but there seems to be more fruit flavor in the taste, with some cherries, plums, and also a bit of booze noticable. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit creamy and slick with moderate carbonation. Drinkability is decent, it's easy and enjoyable to drink. Not a bad brew overall, it's worth a try.

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Photo of kingcrowing
3.62/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a DFH signature glass.

Pours a hazy dark amber to brown with a nice one finger light brown thick and fine creamy head. Nose is sweet and malty with a light hint of booze.

Taste is pretty good, it's sweet and malty with a bit of hotness but not over the top. It's got some nice nutty and caramel notes along with some dark fruits and a light hope note on the finish. Very nice big mouthfeel, super luscious and creamy.

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

Poured from 12oz bottle into 16oz Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass. The first beer with the new Sam Adams glass- time to break it in!

Appearance: Deep copper color with a very large, slightly orange-tinted head that dissipates very slowly and leaving behind a heavy lace.

Smell: Rich caramel and fruity malts all over.

Taste: Begins with strong caramel sweetness, finishing with more caramel sweetness and an alcohol hint. Also has notes of plum and slight citrus.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied and somewhat chewy with balanced carbonation and a sticky, warming finish.

Drinkability: The first old ale I've had and I like it. Rich malty character and very enjoyable. I'd have this again and I definitely would be willing to look into this style a bit more.

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Photo of drtth
3.58/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Duvel glass. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically.

Appearance: As poured the beer is a clear dark cherry wood color with a light tan ¾" head that soon recedes to a small ring of foam with an irregular shaped island of a variety of different sizes of bubbles. Both the ring and the island persist for quite a long time. Sipping leaves some light sheets of foam that quickly form into a leggy pattern that clings to the side of the glass.

Smell: The aroma is moderately complex with some caramel, brown sugar, dark fruits, and some alcohol.

Taste: The nose predicts some of the flavors. There is some caramel and brown sugar. There are also traces of cherries and other dark fruits (raisins? plums?). There is also some alcohol present but it isn't hot or unpleasant (just out of place or too noticable).

Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is medium bodied and smooth with abundant fine and persistent carbonation, The finish is long and begins sweet, remaining so for a good while. Gradually the finish dries out and spreads through out the back of the palate with a touch of tartness and bitterness.

Drinkability: The beer is pleasant enough to drink and seems a reasonably well made old ale but the balance of flavors seems slightly off somehow. While I'll be happy to drink the other bottles I have of this one, I also won't be upset when they are gone.

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Photo of BretSikkink
3.68/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice woody color, looks the part of an Old. Mostly clear, with some chill haze and some tiny bubbles keeping the off-white head aloft. Tall foam, pretty frothy and relatively sticky, although the lack of hops in this style are sure to come into play here. *Update* They do.
Nose is fairly sweet, with caramel malt mixing into some brown sugar areas, along with some toasted honey and dark fruit. Alcohol is noticeable but not overwhelming.
Cherry flavor is fairly prominent; not in a bad way. Other dark, ripe fruits up front as well. Highly sweet throughout, as sweetened toast, caramel, toffee, and honey worm their way into the profile. Hops are subdued, present deeper into the finish than the malts, and add an herbal, earthy complexity. Alcohol is once again present without getting in the way.
A relaxing beer. The abv creeps a little as this is a drinkably malty ale. Approachable Old Ale.

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Photo of lackenhauser
3.7/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Decent coppery color with an off white, creamy tan head. Malty aroma. Bready and raisen-like flavors dominate. Sticky treacle and toffeeish flavors. Quite complex but it all falls together nicely. Lingering hop bite going on as well as a trace of alcohol heat. Sticky and malty goodness bodywise. Nice example of an old ale.

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Photo of malty
4.55/5  rDev +21%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my stemmed Whitbread Extra Stout tulip glass a brilliantly clear perfect copper color with a dense settled 1" light beige head. Thanks to the etching in the bottom center of my glass, there is a moderate amount of visible uprising carbonation, and the bubbles are fine. Thick, uninterrupted even rings of protruding lace all the way down.

The smell is similar to a fresh raisin bread coming right out of the toaster. Imagine slathering some apple butter on top and inhaling as it melts. There are some brandish notes.

Bright and attentive fresh hops greet my palate straight off. Another quaff and the rounded, warm and sweet malty goodness shake hands with it's good friend from the vine...now we're dancing. Dark fruits (raisin, fig, lush concord grape) take center stage while the hops sing the lulled chorus. The crowd is pleased and signals back with a boozy grin. The warming 9% ABV is not tasted, but is felt - like a fleece blanket around your feet. Molasses mixes with toffee and bids farewell with a slight peppery nod.

Mouthfeel is perfectly carbonated - fine, delicate and tongue tingling. It's slighter than medium body is a bit oily and graces itself into the mouth. The sweet and long lasting warming finish is a pleasure.

Drinkability is superb. Creamy, somewhat sweet, spicy and hoppy make for a great combination. Not at all syrupy.

Overall a great malty ale with a generous (not quite to Bigfoot standards) hop representation. This ale sways rather than rocks. Very smooth and not at all rigid or abrupt. I really did enjoy this offering. Michael Robinson from NH, (creator od said ale) I salute you!

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Photo of philbe311
3.71/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Just shy of two fingers worth rich and creamy tightly packed light tan head... A sleek translucent slightly murky deep medium brown color... Very minimal very sluggish carbonation spread sporadically throughout...

S - A wonderful rich sweetness... Toffee... Caramel... Brown sugar... Fig and other dark fruits... A touch of rum... Rich, deep, and multi-dimensional...

T - All the expected flavors appear on the palette, but in a much more muddled and one dimensional way... The malty sweetness of toffee, caramel, and brown sugar aren't distinct and some slightly disjointed... Notes of dark fruit and a slight booziness appear, but don't really add to the overall flavor profile...

M - Medium bodied... Sleek and slightly sticky... Not as thick nor chewy as I expected... Frothy carbonation... A slightly dry alcoholic warmth on the finish...

D - A solid all around Old Ale, but nothing spectacular... Good appearance and aroma, and average in all other facets... Still an easily drinkable offering that Michael Robinson should be proud of creating...

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Photo of KarlHungus
3.23/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This beer pours a ruby color. The head is half an inch in height, and recedes slowly into a nice cap of lacing. The aroma is of caramel, sugar, toffee and a hint of raisin. It is a pleasant aroma, but lacks depth. The taste has more raisin than the aroma, and it seems to mask the rest of the beer. There is a strong alcoholic presence too that is quite unpleasant. The mouthfeel is full bodied with moderate carbonation. Overall, I'll give this beer a pass. It has some nice aspects, but they aren't as well integrated within each other to make this a good beer.

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Photo of letsgopens
3.52/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Another year, another Longshot edition. This one pours out with a frothy, pearl colored head that appears sturdy but fades rather quickly and leaves some thin wisps of lace. The body shows deep, woody/copper brownish amber with some golden orange highlights.

Bold and sweet in the nose with lots of toasty malt, caramel, toffee and molasses. Buttered brown toast and faint but sharp, almost acidic, fruit.

Much like the nose suggests: bold and very malty in the front with some more toffee and caramel. Assertive sweetness, borderline cloying, with raw, sugary molasses. Fades to some substantial, spicy hops and plenty of fruit: black cherry and fig primarily. Just a hint of booze floats through the finish.

Crisp and bitey at the beginning with a moderate body for the style and a lingering, dry/bitter finish that leaves the tongue buzzing. Enjoyable throughout. I'd say the style is not for everyone but a good rendition nonetheless and nice to see SA brewing another less-than-common beer.

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Photo of nickfl
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours with one finger of white foam that rests on top of an amber colored body with excellent clarity. The head settles rapidly and leaves little lace.

S - Rich aromas of caramel and toffee with some brown sugar and a hint of warm alcohol. There is a little bit of spicy hop character in the background as well.

T - Thick, sweet malt up front with some toasted bread flavor and a whole lot of thick caramel. A slightly darker malt balance in the middle with more toffee and a hint of roast. Finishes with sweet toffee, brown sugar, and spicy, mustardy hops that leaves a lingering note of blue-veined cheese.

M - Thick body, moderate carbonation, and a sweet finish.

D - This beer is big and thick, with an intense malt character that is all about complex sugar. There is only a hint of roast to the malt, which is appropriate for the style and the hops are only prominent enough to balance out the intense malt character and keep the beer drinkable. While I have had some other, truly world class examples of this style that had a greater level of complexity, this is an interesting and well made beer that is especially notable for being mellow and well balanced despite its strength.

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Photo of ktrillionaire
3.12/5  rDev -17%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I haven't been impressed with the LongShot brews...

A - Pours a ruby-caramel hue, translucent, wispy white head.

S - Cinnamon buns at IKEA. Again. Similar to Flying Dog's Horn Dog. Needless to say, cinnamon, raisin, bready, toffee and caramel aromas abound. Also, legitimate 'oldness'.

T - This is the only Longshot that I am even remotely impressed with thus far. Lots of caramel and toffee malt, some big booze. Starts out better than it finishes.

M - Too much lingering heat.

D - Mehhh strikes again.

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Photo of cokes
3.87/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Generally clear garnet brown colored with a tight ring of beige lace that fades rapidly but leaves some lacing in its wake.
It brings a nose full of brandy drenched fruit cake. Bready at its core, but more explicit with its boozy dates, figs, plums, and raisins. It's not balanced. It's not subtle. It's just a alcohol-fueled malt bath for the nose. Given what it is, I appreciate that.
Bracing myself for insulin shock, the first few sips are boozy, of course, but more so bready and benign. Over time, figs materialize, as do raisins, and plums. Grapey, Brandy-esque alcohol ripples in undercurrent throughout it all. Caramel and toffee surface at times. When it's over, it's sweet and it's boozy but it lacks a defining characteristic,
Likewise in the mouth, it's sometimes binding, cloyingly sweet, but equally vacant and washed away as the scant bubbles lay and scrape across the tongue.
More than anything, I want this to define itself. Grow some cojones and show some type of assertive personality, sometime, somehow.
And it just doesn't.
Everything else is fine. It's huge and vapid at the same time. Pluses and minuses both ways. It's sweet yet drinkable. Complex and simple. Stop hedging and choose, already. Sell out.
Do you.
Be something.
I'll drink this again. But I'm sure I'll feel the same.
So close to great, yet so far.

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Photo of pdoran10
3.7/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

pours out a deep dark amber color little carbonation very little head, as to be expected with the style.

smell is cotton candy sweetness banana, a hint of bitter hops and a small amout of alcohol heat.

good flavor a bit overly sweet though. i get banana up front then an overload of spicy sweetness comes through. it dominates the flavor. some warming heat at the end, just enough heat.

mouthfeel is just about right for style. substantial, but not overly thick or syrupy well done as a big beer.

drinkability is good except for the overly sweet flavor. alcohol heat is hidden well, but sweetness is a bit too much.

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Photo of tapman
4.09/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ruby red with a touch of amber when held to the light, this beer has a thin head with good bubble consistency. Carbonation seems high (for the style? not too familiar) and it also appears filtered. Filtered? So I guess that I shouldn't age this one then? Isn't that the point, that the yeast mature? I guess maybe maltose breakdown or alpha acid breakdown could give off some interesting flavors, but like a strong Belgium ale I believe that had this beer been unfiltered that it would not only be better for aging, but would gain re-buy-ability since I would would want to taste them at different ages. Unless I'm totally off on the style, that is.

A nice bouquet of figs/plums, sweet raisin, hints of bubblegum (bazooka joe) and Juicy Juice (mixed berry flavor). What I don't smell is astringent alcohol, which usuallyh spoils the nose for me in brews like this one.

Taste is big wad of dried dark fruit mixed with some sherry. Big sherry-like notes in this one. I think I get some spicy hops like a cascade or centennial. Label does say American hops and I just don't taste Willamette or US FUGGLE or anything, though I could be wrong. No hot alcohol at all, only warmth.

A little thin for the style, but I actually kinda like it.

A highly drinkable old ale, which you won't hear me say about many. I like the session brews and for me to really dig this one says something. Congrats, Michael!

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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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