Barrel Aged Olde Ale | Drake's Brewing Co.

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Barrel Aged Olde AleBarrel Aged Olde Ale
Very Good
Barrel Aged Olde AleBarrel Aged Olde Ale

Brewed by:
Drake's Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: English Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.24%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
None provided.

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Reviews & Ratings
Reviews: 25 | Ratings: 29
Reviews by Georgiabeer:
Photo of Georgiabeer
4.35/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hard to sort out all these entries for Drake's. I'm reviewing the brandy barrel aged old ale, and as at least some of the reviews reference the brandy barrel in this entry, I've included my review here. Small six ounce bottle shared with BrickStoreDave. Poured a hazy brown with a surprisingly great head given the style and strength that eventually fades to a cap. Smells slightly sour to start, then a rich apple brandy aroma comes through. The taste is complex with tastes of apple brandy, dry malt, and a long bitterness. Very interesting. Sharp and dry in the mouth, a pleasant sipper.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of Mark
3.55/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I was a bit let down by this beer. First it was ludicrously priced and I'm still in shock I even paid it. Cost was 8 bucks for a 6ounce bottle! says it's brandy barrel aged but not much of that came out in the taste profile or the aroma. Beer was smooth and sufficed just fine as a winter warmer. Very potent and warming, and good sipper but really not in the league of North Coasts Old Stock barrel aged beers. Not even close. Very dark copper body, no head. Very malty with a touch of spicy hop, not much brandy notes are evident. Poor value in my opinion.

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Photo of sulldaddy
4.07/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

I actually split this bottle with Stopper. Poured into a tulip snifter at cellar temp.
The beer pours a with a slight haziness and exhibits a mahogany color and a beige frothy head of 1cm that fades quickly to a sturdy surface layer. The nose is fruity and malty with brown sugar, plums, some booze, and a bit of musty wood, probably from the barrel. First sip reveals a very soft and spacious almost cask like carbonation and a thin watery body (yikes!). The flavor is sweet malt with dark fruits and brown sugar. This rolls to some warm booze that fires up the belly a bit. This is a definite sipper beer and not for the faint hearted as it is very warm. Stopper may have said it best," I feel like I need a cigar for this beer."

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3.35/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

6oz. pour into my favorite goblet equals just an inch of creamy tan head that fades to a skim in minutes. Body is a muddy brown muddle that settles in the glass. Nose smells almost soured almost like rootbeer meets wine with brett bacteria mixed in. On first sip you get a oakey creamy malt fel. A bit of green apple pie it there also that almost becomes soured in the middle but dries out to a rich long bitter on the back of the tongue. You do get a bit of crispness on the mouthfeel. Interesting overall, but not what I was hoping for in an old ale. Maybe a little scattered in the drinkability.

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Photo of Crosling
3.2/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

6 ounce bottle. Brick colored liquid. Fairly expressive aroma, mainly dominated by the apple brandy barrel. Hints of vanilla, wood and booze in the nose. Barrel flavors we’re well extracted, but I am not sure the base beer and the barrel were the best combo. It grew on me a bit, but it’s still nothing I plan on collecting. I applaud Drake’s for their barrel aged beers, unfortunately not all of them can turn out to be as amazing as the Brandy Barrel Barley Wine. Still though, great brewery.

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Photo of lou91
4.32/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Barrel Aged Series #3 - From the six oz. silk screen bottle : "This is an old ale that was brewed in September 2005. It has been aging in a barrel which housed an apple brandy from our friends at St. Georges distillery." etc.

The beer was lighter in color - more of an light brown and clearer than I expected with minimal carbonation. The nose of rich malt and green apples was great a unique nose profile. The taste was also unique with light sublte tartness in a warm plesant malty and boozy but not overpowering old ale. Very easy to drink now and doubt it will change much over time.

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Photo of DrJay
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to jgaston for sending this as part of BC2!
Barrel-aged series #3 - brandy barrel.
Dark toffee colour with a bit of haze, topped by a thin layer of fine, beige bubbles mostly keeping themselves to the sides of the glass in a thick collar. Great retention, spotty lacing. Earthy aroma with notes of oak, apple skin, cherry tartness, leather and tobacco, caramel and bread, faint cocoa and vanilla. Flavour has a fruity punch (mostly apple, pear and date) followed by oak, leather, definite brett character yet still nicely balanced. Fairly bready. Some caramel sweetness lingers and alcohol gives a bit of spice in the finish. Medium bodied with fine, well integrated carbonation that's a little on the high side. Good texture that's a bit airy. Good stuff. Everything's pretty solid here and quite enjoyable.

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Photo of GClarkage
3.92/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12/03/08- Purchased at Ledgers in Berkeley, CA. $6.49 price tag.

Presentation- I love this little bottle. 6 oz nip bottle with gold foil ofver the cap, which was bottled in Sept 2005. Poured into my JW Lees snifter style glass.

Appearance- Dusty looking cola like colored pour. About a 1/2 inch quickly disappearing head. Leaves light watery lace spots.

Smell- Notes of vanilla, alcohol, chocolate, cherries and maybe some other dark fruits. Large nose.

Taste- If this makes about a cherry cough syrup flavored eggnog. Large thicker sweet cherry malt base. Follows up with a light dusting of chocolate powder, a good dose of vanilla and a light note of butterscotch. Very odd, but very interesting at the same time.

Mouthfeel- Very highly carbonated for an old ale. Mildly thick, but pretty sticky.

Drinkability- Should have bought another of these and let it age another 3 years or more and see what the result would be. Good, kinda weird, but definitely interesting.

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Photo of hopdog
3.38/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Nip sized bottle acquired in trade with tever (thanks!).

Poured a deeper and cloudy brown color with an averaged sized off white head. Aromas of wppd. apples, caramel, and some brandy. Tastes of caramel, apples, wood, and some dark fruitiness. Definitely apples in there.

Some alcohol in the finish, but not 10+%. This was OK, but there really wasn't anything there that made this one stand out to me.

Notes from and tasted on 6/23/07

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Photo of CharlesDarwin
3.94/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Originally reviewed June 14 2007. Nip bottle. Aroma is a wicking dry, with vinous and Brett-like notes. Some wild wood and spiced earth brew creep north into the sinuses, eliciting a epicenean sensation. Faint floral alcohols blend with a subterranean apple core. Mild soapiness. Nice and calm. A core of mildly muddled florid mahogany, pale. Rims in white. Enters the palate fairly brightly, with a scorching waft of higher alcohols. Effusions then a slow burn into malt intricacies. A whole coughing miasma of apple breaths, in both Apple Jack, Tobacco and Brandy. This comes mid-taste, then the long hop fade pulls out some toothsome grain notes and bits of sherry and cardboard. Stylistically typical oxidation pulls up outside and a fragrant burst of aging citrus relaxes on the front porch. Really not too hot for the percentage, nor the style. Oak barrel dryness shows heavily, making it mildly acerbic. And there’s a characteristic purine content that signatures these Drake’s small bottles, be it the high gravity yeast or the barrel character. A rather impressive construct. Seemingly classic.

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Photo of SacoDeToro
3.94/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a cloudy chestnut brown with a minimal off-white lace.

The aroma had some tart notes, perhaps from whatever wild yeast was present in the barrels. Alcohol, caramel, and oak were also very present in the nose.

The flavor of the beer had nice caramel with some light chocolate malt accents. The brandy from the barrels was well infused into the beer and very apparent. There was a relatively young oakey quality that I also liked. The hops were there to help round things out. There were also some light tobacco flavors in the finish. I could also taste what seemed like a faint brett tang in the background.

The mouthfeel was medium and the beer finished very dry for an old ale. The oak definitely dried things out. The carbonation was fine and tight.

This was a very interesting barrel aged beer. It certainly had a lot going on. I prefer the barrel aged beers where the flavor of what was originally in the barrel is reasonably apparent, to the point of taking out any guesswork.

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Photo of grub
3.92/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

fartingdog hooked me up with this one as part of BC2. thanks dave!

6oz bottle topped with gold foil. barrel aged series #3, olde ale aged in brandy barrels. the bottle says it was brewed in 2005 and aged in apple brandy barrels from St. Georges Distillery for 11 months. dave has written "jan 2007 release" on the bottle. sampled jan 20/08.

pours hazy medium brown with a big dense tan head. the head drops slowly and leaves a bit of spotty lace.

aroma is nice. apple. cherry. bit of cranberry and date. light alcohol. bit of peach. bready malt. touch of dark chocolate. maybe a bit of vanilla. there's a bit of an earthy and leathery character in there too, sort of rounding out the edges - maybe a bit of brett?

taste is good. there's definitely some brett in there, lending it a bit of leather and tobacco leaf as well as some earthy character. very light alcohol. big bready malt. bit of caramel. light dark fruit - date, raisin. i don't get any apple or as much fruit as i did in the aroma, but there's still a solid fruity presence. actually, as it warms i do get a little more apple, peach, and pear.

mouthfeel is nice. slightly above medium carbonation, but fairly well integrated. medium body with a fairly dry finish. i suspect the lighter body, dry finish, and higher carbonation could be the result of the brett. other stuff from the drake's barrel aged series that i've tried has all had very little or no carbonation. the body fills out a little as it warms, but still feels a bit shy of where i'd expect for the style.

drinkability is quite good. the alcohol is balanced well. the brett character is mild and does not overwhelm. great fruity presence. i'd like a touch less carbonation and a little fuller body, but i'm definitely impressed by this one. thanks dave!

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Photo of hoppymeal
4.35/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an apple cider brown, murky, with a snall cream colored head that recedes quickly. Aroma shows some nice appley tartness, strong oak and alcohol notes as well. Sweetness shows up in the aroma but is dominated by the previous aromas, bits of honey and caramel along with a cinnamon applesauce, grassiness mixes with the strong woody smell. Flavor follows with a nice tart apple flavor dominating with soft caramel and toasted marshmallow sweetness are only hinted at. Wood flavor is strong as well, especially in the drying finish that has a bite of alcohol. Medium body feels light with a nice effervescent carbonation that is peppery and crisp on the tongue. Not what I expected when I read old ale on the bottle, but a wonderful beer that the barrel ageing has made fantastic. Wish I had more of this one for sure. Thanks Lou for the opportunity.

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Photo of IntriqKen
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours with lots of carbonation for an old ale of this ABV...dark amber tea brown with a smallish white head that melts quickly to a ring and some loose white foam on top of the beer.

Aroma is lots of 'barrel aged' scents with oak, a bit of smoke, sweet brown sugar, and a touch of dark fruits.

Taste is masked by the excessive carbonation.
The bite from the tiny bubbles of carbonation combine with the citrus hops used to balance this beer in a way that ends up masking a lot of the delicious dark, sweet, toasted malts used to brew it as well as the nice bourbon and vanilla touches from the aging. The niceties are there, but they are almost hidden to the point of non-existence. I will let this warm a bit and hope for the best.
*** (time passing)
The beer has warmed and improved a lot in the flavor category. It still lacks any sweetness I'm accustomed to in an Old Ale, but that is replaced with a nice dryness and some really pleasant oak finishing to the flavor. There is still a biting carbonation and hop but a balance is being achieved with the rise in temperature and this is becoming a very pleasant after dinner or bedtime drink. As it warms I think the bitterness comes more from an overuse of the barrel aging than any hops used in the recipe.

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Photo of madorb
3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured of of a tiny little 6 oz glass into an a 10oz Old Rasputin glass. Brewed in 05 and aged on brandy barrels. Not sure where/when I originally picked it up but it's marked $6.99.

Big tall creamy head, the first pour was amber and very very clear, 2nd small pour got a little bit of the sediment is darker and almost completely opaque.

On the nose this really smells to me like an flanders red, a bit sour, tart apple, dark fruit, with some malt coming through. Not surprisingly, not even a hint of hops.

The taste though, isn't sour at all, all dark caramel malty, a hint of the wood and brandy, but very very very smooth. Really quite tasty. The "10.24%" alcohol is really well masked and there is only a hint of a bite at the back of the tongue where the hops might otherwise be.

Overall pretty tasty and darn enjoyable. Haven't seen this around in years, but I'm glad i've got one more bottle in the cellar!

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Photo of barleywinebrewer
3.65/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

brandy barrel series #3, brewed in 2005. thanks to fartingdog for sending this along!

A - slightly hazy golden brown with a huge offwhite head.

S - Apples, bready malts a slight brett cherry note.

T - a funky (no pun intended) mix of apples, brett cherry pie, sweet malts and a light acidic note.

M - full bodied, heavily carbonated, dry tart finish.

D - drinkability suffers some I think due to the high carbonation and potential brett aspect.

It's a neat drink but hard to put a finger on.

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Photo of bradford
4.34/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

6 oz bottle purchased at Monument Wine and Liquor in Concord, CA
Appearance was a dark brown with lighter highlites toward the bottom
Smelled great. One of the better smelling beers ever. Very cider-y with what smells like a very strong Brett nose.
Tasted good. Loads of alcohol up front with a sour kick and a very distinct apple liqeur as well
Mouthfeel was quite nice. Full and vinuous which helped pull the flavors together.
Drinkability is very high but at the price of $7.99 per six ounce taste, it is a bit off putting to think that every sip costs more than a dollar.
After looking at other reviews, I don't see any mention of sour infection. So maybe mine had some sort of bug in it. But it was great. I am a huge fan of sour and wild beers, so this was quite a treat, infected or not.

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Photo of stephendr
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

6 oz. glass bottle- color of hazy amber, with a white and tan head - nose of earthy, apples, alcohol and – taste of over ripe apples, bitter sweet, alcohol, earthy, port, and slight chocolate- body is chewy, slightly rough and with low carbonation – aftertaste of red grape skins, and brown sugar

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Photo of drewone
3.25/5  rDev -14.5%

Photo of mikesgroove
4.12/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

caramel colored pour with a light head of off white that caps it off rather nicely. Settling down it left a little bit of a light sticky lace along the sides. Aroma was the best I have ever come across. Rich toffee and butterscotch, tons of sweet nectar notes. Candy in all its glory. Perfectly aged with a smooth, perfect profile of vanilla, toffee, and rich butterscotch that will not let up. Rich bourbon flavor just rolls across the palate with a smoothness unlike anything I have run across before. Rich vanilla and boozy notes combine to form a perfect balance of rich sweet notes and oak soaked barrel flavor.

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Photo of t0rin0
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of rye726
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours brown wth tints of amber. Silky beige head, light lace. Nose has ripe pitted fruits, oak, vanilla,brandy, caramel and toffee. Taste also has alot going on, but like the flavor lacks compexity and depth. Medium body, nice carbonation. Not at all what I was expecting, perhaps past its peak.

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Photo of urwatuh8
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Little 7oz bottle originally purchased sometime in the spring of 2006 (at Ledger's I think). Bottle states that it was brewed in 2005 and aged in an apple brandy barrel.

Poured into a Corsendonk tulip. Pours a hazy opaque ruby brown. Good big head whitish head. Smell is vinuous and fruity. An odd mix. A bit sweet, a bit fruity. Slightly creamy texture, a bit of alcohol warming, and suprisingly high feeling of carbonation.

Not at all hard to drink. But it is a pricey little bottle and there's enough going on that you want to pay close attention.

An interesting and unique experiment. Definitely worth trying. Not sure it is a knock out, but it works pretty well.

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Photo of Floydster
4.47/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

6 ounce bottle purchased for a little over eight dollars at Hollingshead in Orange, Brandy Barrel Aged Series #3, second beer tasted from the series, split with my dad tonight, poured into an oversized wine glass

A-Deep brown color with some red tint, not much of a head but there was about 1/4 inch that disappeared immediately, no retention, some lacing when swirled around in the glass

S-Smelled like a sour green apple jolly rancher, bready malt aromas, cherries, cranberries, could have sworn I could smell some brettanomyces, tarty accents, earthy tones, and booze

T-First sip I took made me wonder if I was drinking the sam beer I just poured, reminded me of an apple wild ale, then the malt and hot alcohol hit me right after, there was some brandy in the finish for sure, there was very little tart left over once this warmed fully, various sweet berry flavors in the finish though, the booze were there but not overpowering and gave a little warmness going down, overall it was very unique and got different with time, quite enjoyable taste

M-Tarty, spicy, boozy, and sweet mouthfeel, lots of carbonation, thin to medium body, taste did not last as long as I had hoped

D-Could have drank three of these little bottles myself, not heavy on the stomach, ABV is a little high though, goes down smoothly, taste is complex to keep coming back for more

Wish I had more of this, only had three ounces after splitting the bottle, could have drank five to six times that amount easily, one of the better beers I have ever had from Drake's, nice surprise, would definitely drink again even if it is so expensive, definitely recommended

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Photo of ibbjamin
4.07/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Paid $7.99 for a 6 oz bottle from Monument Liquor in Concord, CA. Barrel aged series #3. Brewed in September of 2005, it was aged in a barrel which housed an Apple Brandy for 11 months. Poured into a snifter.

Quarter inch minimal head after an aggressive pour that shrinks to nothing in a matter of a couple seconds. Looks like a thick and silky Belgian. Opaque deep brown color. No lacing. Lightly carbonated.

Very aromatic. Reminds me a bit of a wild ale as it has a slight funk smell to it, but this is some good funk. Alcohol and yeasty undertones, but the alcohol is fairly well hidden for a 10.24% ABV. Oak and fermented apples.

Taste is quite different than the smell. The sweet malts balance with apples and dark fruits. Very enjoyable and up-front unique flavor. Alcohol is not as detectable as it was in the nose. My belch tasted like fermented apples.

Not as silky as I expected. A medium to full body. Lightly carbonated.

The bottle recommends this for an after dinner drink, and if this is what you are drinking this for, it is highly drinkable. I personally would have one of these every once in a while for a slightly sweet treat - an expensive one at that.

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Barrel Aged Olde Ale from Drake's Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.8 out of 5 with 29 ratings