Olde Ale | AleSmith Brewing Company

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Olde AleOlde Ale
BA SCORE
4.02/5
Exceptional
Olde AleOlde Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
AleSmith Brewing Company
California, United States
alesmith.com

Style: English Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Spring

Notes / Commercial Description:
Originally brewed in 2005 as the first in our annual Decadence series, AleSmith Olde Ale follows the tradition of classic British-style Old Ales. This rich, malt-forward ale showcases soft notes of currants and dried fruit along with complex dark sugars, all of which are balanced by a subtle bitterness derived from the addition of traditional English hops. AleSmith Olde Ale is ready to be enjoyed now or it can be aged upwards of twenty years to further enhance its amazing depth of flavor. A hearty ale designed to please Bacchus himself!

BEER STATS
Reviews:
51
Ratings:
205
pDev:
9.2%
 
 
Wants:
13
Gots:
20
Trade:
1
 
User Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 51 | Ratings: 205
Photo of Zorro
4.14/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Chill hazed brown ale with a medium sized tan colored head. Impressed it formed one at this alcohol level.

Smells sweet and strongly of dates. Lesser scents of brown sugar and berries. Distinct molasses note. Picking up on the scent of figs and cake batter.

Starts out sweet and savory with a strong taste of figs. Warms the chest as expected but there is no taste of alcohol. Taste of brown sugar and soy sauce. Tastes a bit salty with a medium level of bitterness. Smooths out after a while with a distinct taste of vanilla cake batter. Fortunately the taste of soy sauce is transient and goes away after it warms a bit. Tastes of leather and tobacco leaf as it warms. Alcohol buzz sneaks up on you very quickly.

Mouthfeel is thick.

Overall tasty and strong. You will not be chugging this one very fast at all.

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Photo of garymuchow
3.98/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2013 version I bought in CA a few years ago. Finally getting around to trying it out.
Subtle aroma with bits of dark fruit, figs. Soft dark malt, neutral.
Still a nice dense tan head over a dark body of brown.
Flavor is pretty good. Fruit without being sweet. Some richness. Soft dryness on the finish that lingers with a fading hop bitterness. Still rich fruit, but not over the top. Fig again is forward.
Good but not great.

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Photo of GarrettB
3.84/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

May 15th, 2015 - Alesmith's Olde Ale is an odd child in San Diego's beer scene, dark and strong. With a malty nose and notes of chocolate, and a little bit of "fresh pool" and concrete it smells a little like a nice summer day. Throw in some spiciness and it begins to grow some tequila notes. The flavor is smooth and soft at first, then spiked and spicy. More licorice appears here, and then in the aftertaste, sweet black sesame paste. Good stuff, transformative, but definitely something to save for last.

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Photo of kevanb
3.56/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle, 2013 vintage stamped on the front of the bottle, poured into an AleSmith barrel aged reserve snifter glass.

The beer pours a dark burgundy color, deep browns with some garnet hues, a thin bone head, very firm with great retention and soapy lace. Brown sugar and caramel lead the way on the nose, rich deep grains, stone fruits, a hint of acidity, toffee, nougat, a bit of nuttiness and light piney bitterness. The flavors are nice, a bit soft and muted, pleasant rich grain, brown sugar, caramel, light alcohol, toffee and nougat with some piney bitterness and a hint of tart cherry acidity. The mouthfeel is good, hefty medium body, a bit of life, coating and smooth at the finish that is lightly warm.

Verdict: A nice Old Ale from AleSmith, fairly well balanced, rich and inviting. It's a bit subtle and lacks a nice pop, a bit tepid, but still a nice sipping beer.

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Photo of ryan1788a5
4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Thick, rich body with a chewy feel. Warming. Great depth of malt flavor. Bread crust, toffee, puddings. Lots of currant, prune, etc. Very fruity. Mildly vinous too. Balancing earthy hop bitterness. A really great stab at the style. Kinda wish I saved it for the dead of winter. Perfect accompaniment to beef burgundy or a variety of hearty stews.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.35/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bought On-Line

Review #3500

Thanks to all the BAs I've traded with since 2005, Cheers!

750ml
Black Foil/Capped
Bottled On: 03/04/14

A Little Over 3 years on this bottle.

Poured into a goblet a pretty nice brownish color, pretty nice carbonation, with a pretty nice quick creamy one-finger off-white head, which leaves a very nice medium size island and some sticky lacing behind. The nose is malty, some hops, with some nice dark fruits (cherries, figs, raisins, plums, grapes, dates), nice sweetness, oaky. The taste is really nice, malty, slight hop note, very nice dark fruits (cherries, figs, raisins, plums grapes, dates), really nice sweetness, oaky. Full Body, ABV hidden very well, a pretty nice complex brew, nice little bitter finish. Overall, a very tasty brew, true to style.

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Photo of WoodBrew
3.7/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I tried this at the Quarter Barrel in Oxford, OH . It poured a rich amber with white head that left a spotty lace. The scent had hints of caramel malt. The taste was boozy with nice malty base. The mouthfeel was fuller in body with good carbonation. Overall it's ok.

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Photo of jzeilinger
4.36/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A - Dark mahogany burgundy color with a creamy white lacing ring that's thick and robust.

S - A little solvent-like in aroma, woody, oaky, bourbon, vanilla, and cherries.

T - Cherry, oak, vanilla, bourbon, and boozy with warming on the way down.

M - Big, full bodied, and velvety smooth.

O - A must try and underrated with a score of (89).

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Photo of REDAMI
4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 750ml bottle into Chimay goblet.

L-Cloudy brown pour, thin sandy head, lots of sediment.

S-Sweet brown bread, raisins, dates, dark brown sugar.

T-Dark malts, treacle, mild bitterness at the end.

F-Creamy, coating, alcohol heat towards the back. Not a lot of carbonation feeling.

Starts very similar to a quad, but the hops remind you it isn't one. Finishes with more of an ESB bitterness. Pleasant and balanced. Sip and enjoy.

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Photo of Mitchster
4.7/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

$10.99 for a 750ml bottle at Goodmans in Kenosha. No ingredients per the website, but the specs are:
11% ABV, OG=1.110, 25 IBU.

Pours out to a cloudy chestnut, forming a modest espresso crema, light tan/yellow head with amazing retention and solid lacing. Carbonation is moderate. This bottle has been sitting for over a month in a fridge, so I'm surprised it's so cloudy. The nose chock full of brown sugar, rum soaked raisins, booze, candy sugar and browned banananas. In other words, bananas foster. Mouthfeel is syrupy, extremely rich and dense and VERY silky smooth. Amazing mouthfeel. The taste is a recap of the nose. It's liquid bananas foster. A strong peppery flourish of boozy heat, but thankfully this is not harsh, oxidized or fusel which can be a huge problem in brews like this. They did an excellent job with the yeast care on this one, unlike a few others that I've had from Alesmith that were harsh and fusel. Despite being only 25 IBU, there is still a nice lingering bitterness to offset all the sugar in this brew, enough to make the aftertaste a bit dry and not so syrupy. Quite nice. No perceptable off flavors or aromas.

This is one of the best olde ale's I've had in a long time. It's an absolute treat and a real sipper. Gorgeous mouthfeel, well brewed, rich and decadent. I would definitely buy this again. HIGHLY recommended.

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Photo of moundbz
4.32/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Dark with some ruby color in there. Smells terrific, molasses and port wine. The taste is good but the alcohol is kinda strong in the aftertaste. Super smooth going down. Overall terrific beer.

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Photo of ChrisMon02
3.99/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber poured into a snifter. Bottled on 2/26/2014.

Pours a dark brown color with a decent off white head that quickly dissapears to nothing.

Smells of toffee, butterscotch, booze soaked raisins, oak and dates.

Taste follows the nose. Quite sweet but somehow drinkable and fairly complex.

Light carbonation fits the style well. Goes down pretty easy.

I have waited for a long time to try this and glad I did. I couldn't imagine trying this one fresh. After 2 plus years it is drinking nicely. Very enjoyable and a great take of the style. Recommended.

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Photo of clayrock81
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a dark copper body with one finger head and lace ring. Smell is dark fruits like figs/dates and raisins/plums with some booze, caramel/toffee and yeast. Fuller bodied beer that passes over tongue thick and smooth thanks to yeast, dark fruit tastes like raisins and figs with a sweetness on backend thanks to the aforementioned yeast and caramel/toffee notes. The booze hits you, a mild slap if you will, while you drink this beer and complements the sweet finish.

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Photo of hman43
4.65/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Look: It pours a reddish brown with a light brown head that has plenty of carbonation. As it settles, it is fairly clear.

Smell: It has sweet aromas highlight by fruit, caramel, molasses, nuts, and notes of sherry like qualities.

Taste: It has flavors of caramel, chocolate, nuts, molasses, there are some fruity esters that are like dark fruits (plum like), and hints of sherry like qualities. As it warms, the sherry like qualities are more vinous. The nutty and chocoalte flavors become more prominent.

Feel: It has a full body and is somewhat chewy with a quality alcohol warming.

Overall: This is a fine example of an old ale that changes in complexity as it warms with plenty of sweet malt flavor and an extremely pleasant level of alcohol warming, not overdone like many others are.

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Photo of Mitzvahman72
4.85/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

With a nice mahogany color, it boasts a light, sweet brandy taste combined with a bready butterscotch aroma and dried fruits with a slightly dry aftertaste. Nice, rich mouthfeel. This is like Atwater Brewery’s Teufel Wiezen Doppelbock, but very less nutty and bready and more fruity and slightly bitter, with butterscotch and dried fruit in the taste.

UPDATE: I recently tried another bottle and it tastes slightly, yet plenty different than the previous one I tried. It has a deep, creamy mouthfeel with the apricot sorbet and deep caramel brandy flavors with just enough scotch booze. There is also an aroma packed with every high alcoholic spirits you can think of (e.g. whiskey, brandy, sake, etc.), and it meshes together in harmony! This is turning into another class by itself, even rivaling their own Barrel Aged Numbskull!

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Photo of champ103
3.79/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

I do not see a bottled on date, but I bought this in July 2015.

A: Pours a dark brown, with ruby red around the edges. At first a dense, light tan head forms with good retention, that eventually recedes to a ring that sticks throughout. Plenty of lace is left behind as well.
S: Toasted and caramel malts. Raisins, brown sugar. Some booze, which is appropriate for the style.
T: Big malty sweetness, brown sugar, raisins. Caramel malts, fusel alcohol. Maybe a bit to much sweetness along with a slightly rough alcohol character. Obviously to style, but a little unrefined at the moment.
M/O: A full and sticky body. Moderate carbonation and resiny. Big, thick and heavy. While a good sipper, the heavy handedness of the sweet malts, alcohol, and big body takes its toll.

One of my favorite styles, and AleSmith always does big English styles right. Even so, I think this is a little rough around the edges. I very much enjoy this, but I think more time to mellow out would do wonders. I will be sure to get more bottles to put away for a year or so.

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Photo of Brutaltruth
4.34/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Enjoyed from the 750 ml bottle in a Delirium snifter. This FINE old ale pours a muddy brown with mahogany highlights, a moderate head of light tan foam that dissipates to a thin layer and a thick ring, and spotty lacing. Nose of toffee, walnuts, strong booze like rum notes, brown sugars, and dark plums. Flavors are a wow factor with brown sugar and some dark cherries fading into a toffee middle and nutty background. A mild hop note is on the back; lightly herbal, that blends with a strong rum flavor on the back with just the right hint of burn. Slick, full, and creamy mouth feel features moderately light carbonation.
Begs for a warm fire or an evening night cap.
A winner from a great brewery!

Cheers!

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.22/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750 ml bottle (labeled as "Olde Ale"), bottled on 02/26/14. Served in a snifter, the beer pours a murky reddish/brown color with about an inch beige head that stuck around a little while. There's a decent amount of lacing. Aroma is nice and malty, the brew smells like toffee, dark fruit (plums, raisins), caramel, brown sugar, and some nuts. The taste is similar to the aroma, but there's also the addition of rum-like booziness, red grapes and currants. Mouthfeel/body is full, it's creamy and coating with a moderate amount of carbonation. I thought this was pretty good, I think I'll have to pick up another bottle soon!

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Photo of stortore
4.21/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750 ML bottle into a snifter. Bottled in March, 2014.

Pours a deep, hazy amber, with a medium head and not much lacing. Smell is of purple grapes, plums, malt, caramel, dates. Taste seems a little more malty than the nose. Still a good amount of grape, some plums, figs, raisins, caramel. Maybe a little molasses and toffee. Smooth for the ABV, almost creamy. Well carbonated.

Pretty classic Old Ale, right at the top tier for the style. Great flavor, very enjoyable. Definitely one to go back to.

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Photo of richj1970
4.35/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 750 ml bottle dated 2/2014 into Old Guardian glass.

A: Pours a rich mahogany brown with two finger light tan head that lasted a minute or two and leaving plenty of sticky lacing.

S: Caramel, toffee, and stone fruits. Maybe a slight hop note.

T: Brown sugar, caramel, toffee, currants, and raisins. Alcohol is apparent but appropriate.

M: Full bodied but not thick. Finish is just a touch sweet.

O: An excellent beer. Everything I want in an Olde Ale. Nicely done.

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Photo of biegaman
3.74/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Alesmith Old Ale is the kind of beer that gets murkier and murkier the more you pour. Don't get me wrong, this date coloured offering looks pretty swampy right off the bat but it at least offered some highlights... highlights that are gradually extinguished by the sediment in the bottle. Rather impressive, however, especially for its strength, this suits a tight-fitted collar.

When smelling an Old Ale one is offered plenty to contemplate. Aromas are conspicuous yet complex - the nutty confections drizzled in dark honey and treacle are apparent but the oxidized (and lightly boozy) dried fruit notes reminiscent of Sherry or Port provide enough subtleties to occupy one for hours.

This 2014 vintage is just a hair over one year old. The brewery thinks it will improve for another two decades. I'd say that's a bit optimistic but from what I'm tasting tonight it's true that it has yet come into its own. Though obviously amply malted, the dark sugar and dried fruits flavours aren't quite 'ripe'. It's drinking a little hollow right now...

And it's also strutting its alcohol content (11%) unabashedly. The heat is highly noticeable even though there's no shortage of walnut, currant, raisin, and molasses notes to distract from it. Time in the cellar will likely subdue the booze but know that a good deal of the earthy, resinous hoppiness and strong black tea-like bitterness will fade too.

I like Alesmith, but I do think some of their offerings are a little overrated. Old Ale is one of them - at least in its infancy. Unlike their Wee Heavy, Anvil ESB, or hoppy offerings such as X and IPA, this one isn't at its best picked directly off the shelf. Treat Old Ale as you would Old Numbskull or Speedway - a special occasions beer worth stashing in the cellar.

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Photo of BucannonXC5
4.26/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Type: Draft
Glass: 8-oz. pint glass
From: AleSmith Brewing Company in San Diego, Calif.
Price: $3.70
Purchased: March 30, 2015
Consumed: March 30, 2015
Misc.: 2015 release; After I picked up my two Kona Speedway’s

Poured a dark brown, almost black color with 1-to-2 fingers of khaki tan, rocky head when I got it. Good amount of layered, spiderweb lacing on the sides. Average retention on the top. (Sight - 4.00)

Smelled toffee, caramel, smoky nuts, roasty dry malts, dark chocolate, dark cocoa, dark smoky spices and maple syrup. (Smell - 4.25)

Wow for the taste right off. Got maple syrup, brown sugar, toffee, sugary caramel, molasses, roasty nuts, bitter dark chocolate and dark cocoa. So smooth. (Taste - 4.25)

Medium body. Creamy texture. Average-to-lively carbonation. Long, smooth, warming finish. (Feel - 4.50)

Loved this beer. Would love to get my hands on some more. (Overall - 4.25)

4.26 | 95 | A

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Photo of hardy008
4.08/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours mahogany with a one finger beige head. the aroma has toffee, dark fruit, and brown sugar.

Has a very sweet taste with toffee, brown sugar, dark fruit, and alcohol. Unfortunately, the alcohol is not hidden for this beer, and I let it sit for a long time before I opened it. Still tastes good, but I am disappointed that the alcohol is front and center in the taste.

Full bodied with light carbonation. Very chewy. A very good beer which would have been even better if the alcohol was hidden somewhat, and the beer wasn't so sweet.

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Photo of Franziskaner
4.16/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Deep brown in color with ruby highlights and some penetration to light. A fingernail of khaki head covers the rim and a third of the top of the glass. Light Brussels lacing. Wonderful aroma of dark malt, dates, hazelnut, and dark rum. The taste is a burst of dark malt, hazelnut, toffee, dates, and dark rum. The mouth is thick, chewy, and there's a warmth from the alcohol.

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Photo of SportsandJorts
3.97/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled 2-26-14. Drank March 2015

Appearance: pours a deep earthy orange, hinging on a leathery brown. a finger or two of tan head with good retention. leaves behind a solid and streaky lacing. dark and opaque. some extremely fine sediment.

Smell: strong caramel malt sweetness. toffee, dark fruits and rum booziness.

Taste: opens up with some caramel sweetness and dark fruits. dark fruits come in as dried plums, prunes and rum soaked raisins. some toffee sweetness comes through. more booze comes through near the end with more rum

Mouthfeel: thick and viscous. slightly syrupy. slightly creamy. slight boozy warmth.

Overall: a solid old ale. at about a year old, this one still has quite a bit of booziness. slowing the slightest signs of age but only in a good way. it will be interested to see where this one goes in the future.

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Olde Ale from AleSmith Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.02 out of 5 with 205 ratings