Pabst Old Tankard Ale
Pabst Brewing Company

Pabst Old Tankard AlePabst Old Tankard Ale
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Bitter - English Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)
3.81 | pDev: 10.24%
Pabst Brewing Company
Texas, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Pabst Old Tankard AlePabst Old Tankard Ale
Notes: Old Tankard is a classic American Ale that was first produced in Wisconsin in the 1930s, eventually becoming the #2 ale in America. Today, Old Tankard is brewed based on a recipe from Pabst's 1937 brewer’s log, using an authentic ale yeast with an alcohol content of 5.8% and 35 bitterness units. The top fermented brew has 2-row, imported Cara-Munich and Cara-Aroma malts with Nugget, Liberty, Willamette and Cascade hops. The result is a well-balanced, sessionable craft brew with a rich copper color, creamy head, and full body taste with notes of fruit and malt.

Brewed by City Brewing out of LaCrosse, WI
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Reviews: 85 | Ratings: 206 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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LesDewitt4beer from Minnesota

3.76/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Scrappy notes from the 1900's.
This beer a surprise! The taste and feel are just brilliant. Oak in the ocean. That's how I describe this beer. I love it's light yet bold action.

Nov 25, 2021
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Offa from California

4.15/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I just discovered that I hadn't yet put my review of this on here. This review is from notes of 18 March 2016. This was a great beer, especially for the price, and I had it repeatedly during the time when it was available. I have not seen it since about 2017 or so.

Copper caramel colour with a very big tan head slowly shrinking to leave thin foamy top and wisps, hint of lace.

Aroma is lots of pine, some pineapple, caramelised toasted bread.

Taste is a very nice light pale-ale character, zesty hop zing in taste and bitterness - spice, citrus rinds, with caramelly toasty sweetness. It is characterful enough to stay interesting and engaging, yet is a very easy beer to drink, smooth, mellow, great alone or with food. I hope to see it back here.

Oct 14, 2019
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gvickery from Texas

4.37/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Wow. As of 11-13-2018 this beer is no longer retired. The aroma hits you as soon as you open the can, citrusy and pine. Dark amber cloudy, with a medium tan head. Taste is sweet at first followed by the bitterness of the hops and then lemon rind and pine. Finish is medium with a slight residual sweetness. Rock solid.

Nov 14, 2018
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BrewyStewy from New York

4.58/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

I like this ale, VERY smooth, sadly I think these ales aren't as popular as they could be because
they are not produced by a tiny brewer. I don't smoke, but I do know palates are different
for smokers and non smokers. Fortunately I can still buy all I want of this great ale for a very
low price , comes in 4/16 oz packs, but likely not for long.
Great appearance, very smooth foam.

May 13, 2018
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Moir1994CT from Connecticut

3.62/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I looked it up and found out this has been discontinued after i went looking for it, was a great brew but I guess the people whom buy PABST products just want normal PABST and nothing more as poor sales caused its unfortunate but inevitable discontinuation. If you ever find any leftover give it a go. A great tasting brew thats heavier than normal pabst products but not triple ipa heavy. A great balance.

Apr 12, 2018
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BeerBobber from Nevada

4.11/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a beautiful caramel color with a finger and a half of a slightly off white head. Getting some decent lacing as well.

Smells of hops and sweet bread.

Taste is nice caramel flavor that does not go over the top. Some nice light yet present hop bitterness. Rich and malty on the palate.

The mouth leans towards a medium profile with a wet finish.

Overall I must say I really enjoyed this beer. It has a hop presence and some sweet caramel maltiness on the flavor yet nothing over the top and all flavors working together. The smell seems almost chewy in a malty sort of way. Is this beer seriously discontinued? I really could not find a reason to retire this fine beer after drinking it down.

Jun 17, 2017
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nicholas2121 from Ohio

4.25/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pabst Old Tankard Ale brewed by Pabst Brewing Company, with an ABV of 5.80% This Extra Special/Strong Bitter pours out a nice deep golden amber color with nice thick off white head. Really liking the copper color to this brew. There is also some nice lacing to this brew, it sticks to the side of the glass well. The smell of Pabst Old Tankard Ale , rich with sweet grians and malts. There is also a slight bitterness of hops in the smell. Between the look and smell of this brew it is really inviting. Now for the taste, it is bold with flavors, an bitter sweet. You first pick up on the nice roasted grians and malts, then a mild bitterness from the hops. This is one fine drinking brew. I will say this, it is different, but in a good way. The body of this brew is a medium to heavy. There is a lot going on in Pabst Old Tankard Ale. There is nothing overpowering about this brew, it has a real nice balance to it. The mouth feel is Bold, Rich, Clean, Smooth and Refreshing. Overall I'm giving Pabst Old Tankard Ale a solid 4.25 out of 5. I would look this brew up again givin the chance to. It is to bad that this brew is now discontinue and no longer brewed. Pabst Brewing Company, did a nice job with this brew.

May 15, 2017
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Bouleboubier from New Jersey

3.84/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

(16 oz can, purchased warm, best by 061516... poured into a nonic)

L: lots of speckle-y sediment suspended within what would appear to be an otherwise crystal-clear, medium amber-colored liquid... big, spongy-foamy cap of suds... nice contrast in color between the amber and the cool-tan foam; little threads of lacing, but it maintains a messy cap till the last drop

S: mineral essence, sea of caramel at its base, fruity English esters slowly rising out of the glass... remnants of delicately-spicy, earthy hops still linger... very familiar 'English ale' profile, but the potency has some thickness

T: pretty much an American take on a British pale ale - and kind of tastes like a UK import that's been languishing on the shelves (but anyone with experience can tell the difference b/w import/domestic)... the esters are spot-on for a British ale yeast, and the rich, dense, malt-forward recipe has bold caramel notes (but little other nuances) and a subtle sweetness that may be due to the hop bitterness having faded a good bit?... there IS some bitterness left, but it's rather dull and shows up mostly in the aftertaste

F: medium to medium-full bodied, maybe even a bit chewy on the edges... melanoidin-rich, and it certainly fulfills like a liquid bread... not sure I could slug a few of these and eat a heavy meal though... it's like imperial stout thick, but w/o the warming ethanol

O: not all that bad for almost a year old - not getting that hop-corpse flavor nor any harsh tones of oxidation with it being canned... I will certainly try this again (great price point) and a fresher can at that... why don't they brew Bass like this over here?

Apr 10, 2017
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Ferretferret from Wisconsin

3.51/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is one of the few beers I neither love, nor dislike. The relatively weak malt profile of the beer doesn't do enough to hide the harsh bitterness inherent of carbonation. However, this beer is absolutely stellar at doing nothing to offend. I'm writing this review because, if there were a single beer in this entire world a person were to drink first, this would be it. This is the single most drink-able beer I know. Got a friend turning 21? Give them this.

Mar 25, 2017
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flaskman from New York

4.03/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I purchased a 4 pack at my local store for $1.99 to take to a tasting with friends as a joke. 2 days later I looked it up on BA and was kinda shocked. Went back for more an it was gone. So.... It poured a nice amber color with a generous head. It smelled very sweet and what I would call bready. The first taste was quite a surprise. It was fresh and sweet. It had a very heavy malty taste that was balanced out by the hops. It was a very good tasting well crafted beer. After reading the history of it I was glad that I took it to the tasting. What was interesting is that most of the peole I shared it with including me were hop heads and it was their first experience with a very malty ale. Without exception all 6 of us liked it.

Jan 23, 2017
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Richcraft from Michigan

2.51/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.75

It's mildly hoppy and really sweet and malty. Lot of head and decent carbonation with a creamy head. I've only had the tall boys about six months expired. I can't drink more than one and they get real gross once warm. There's a mild cardboard flavor that hits straight away and morphs into a sickly sweet taste.

Jan 02, 2017
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Caveworm from Ohio

4.44/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pabst Old Tankard Ale | Pabst Brewing Company. Poured from the can into a pint glass, the head of this beer is off-white and two fingers thick, with solid lacing, and a slightly hazed copper brown body.

Smells like butter biscuit malts being balanced by mild yet noticeable hops.

I taste a slightly sweet blend of the smell with a surprisingly astute use of hops.

Mouthfeel is medium with mild carbonation.

I'll give Pabst Old Tankard Ale | Pabst Brewing Company an overall 4.5 Pleasantly surprised with what the Pabst Brewing Company was able to pull off with this brew. Give it a whirl if you get the chance to.

Dec 31, 2016
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BigGold from Mississippi

3.58/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First had at unfortunately catered event, poured from pint can into a little clear plastic wine cup. Another Pabst historical re-creation, Old Tankard is not bad at all.

Nov 06, 2016
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Feel_the_Darkness from Virginia

4.14/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pleasant surprise to pick a single of this up and really enjoy it, extremely affordable to boot.

Poured from the can into a mug, much like it should be. Dark, heavy amber color with an enticingly frothy head, the beer just invites you to toast loudly and often with friends. Smells of doughy, breaded malts with a surprisingly assertive hop punch, a bit more piney then one would expect. The taste is frankly fantastic, with the hops showing through just enough to undercut the strong malts, but nowhere near as overpowering as the smell would have you believe. Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, and insanely easy to drink.

Overall, well done Pabst. Please, if you read any of these reviews, take the hint and market this more aggressively. This is a beer you need to keep around for a while. A macro beer done with micro qualities. Will be looking to return to this one.

Oct 29, 2016
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RockySasquatch from Tennessee

4.81/5  rDev +26.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I was very surprised at the quality of Old Tankard. The ale was about 50º. I poured from a 16 oz. can into a 20 oz. glass. It was a slightly hazy dark amber color. Two fingers of thick, foamy, head. It had a sweet, hoppy aroma. Very good lacing. The taste was sweet and doughy. Very good feel. I got a good buzz off two cans, and there isn't anything wrong with that. I think my favorite thing about this ale is that it tastes as fresh in the glass after 20 minutes and it did when I first poured it. Best at 50-60º. A very enjoyable ale. Thank you, Pabst!

Oct 21, 2016
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SaltofOH from Ohio

3.76/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Can stamped 0826LX, 0330FL. Nonic pint glass.

A: pours a slightly hazy deep Amber with lots of carbonation, fine bits of sediment, and two fingers frothy/foamy sand colored head. Very good lacing and retention.

S: very sweet and citrusy floral. Honestly, smells more "American" than expected; distinctly cascade hops; thought it would be very English. Kind of smells like Centennial IPA. Really like the smell.

T: slightly sweet, mildly hoppy arrival. Not as sweet on the palate as it smells, more bready, with notable hop and citrus character. Becomes honeyed and sweeter toward the end, then a slight ruby red grapefruit and a tough of grain and alcohol. Slightly inharmonious, but good.

M: heavier side of midweight, actively carbonated, a little slick, but ample hoppiness gives it a little astringency on the back end.

O: this is a decent beer, and definitely the best I've had from Pabst. If I were in college, I would live off this stuff. But this strikes me as a mellower Centennial IPA, and that is better in every respect except price and freshness, though it is a little more overbearing. I will probably buy this again, though, because I love ESBs, and they can be hard to find and are generally expensive. Because I live ESBs I am probably grading more harshly than I would another style.

Oct 15, 2016
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archyquaffer from Montana

3.31/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured from the pint can into a small sampling glass. This beer is the last of a six pack that I bought this past summer. I had forgotten how much this stuff gushes, and got beer all over my end table. I've never seen canned beer gush like this without being shaken. The froth is an off-white or light tan color and very sticky. The beer is a ruddy amber color.

The aroma reeks of vegetal DMS suggesting something your mother forced you to eat, combined with some leafy hop. The flavor is more mellow than the aroma might suggest, with overtones of chewing tobacco, a touch of brown sugar and a good deal of base bitterness.

I applaud Pabst for branching out, brewing their own beer and trying new things. This ale is smooth with an interesting flavor overall, but the aroma is a bit off-putting, thus gaining only slightly better than average marks with this particular quaffer.

Oct 13, 2016
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Tone from Missouri

3.74/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a hazy, copper color. 1/3 inch head of an off-white color. Good retention and good lacing. Smells of sweet malt, caramel malt, hint of pale malt, tea, English hops, and a hint of alcohol. Fits the style of an Extra Special / Strong Bitter. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. There is also a strong bitterness. Tastes of sweet malt, caramel malt, hint of pale malt, tea, slight English hops, wheat, hint of alcohol, and a hint of spicy hops. Overall, decent to good appearance, aroma, body, and blend. Honestly, much better than I anticipated.

Oct 07, 2016
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transitionbikes93 from Virginia

4.84/5  rDev +27%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Wow. Just wow.

At Kroger ladt night, looking through the beer selection (which is wuite good at this particular Kroger) and I stumbled across this gem, on sale for $3.50 for 4 16oz cans. I had never heard of this before, so I consulted BA for some direction.

Needless to say I walked out with a couple 4 packs, and I am disappointed in myself. I should have bought more!
I came home, immediately cracked one open and poured into one of my copper tankard mugs.

Look-Poors a dark amber color with a sudsy, tan-off white head that settles to a thin cap, some random lacing clinging to the side as I drink.

Smell-Malts, malts, and more malts. Not too sugary though, a whiff of hops busts through the sweet caramel and toffee, giving a well balanced aroma.

Taste-So much better than you would expect. I do like PBR as a good, cheap beer while fishing or after a bike ride but I would never expect them to brew something like this. I do agree it tastes very similar to Brown Shuggah, albeit a tad less complex. The malts hit you first, caramel and a hint of toffee with a lighter yet solid hop backbone that balances it out. Not too sweet, not too bitter, almost a perfect flavor balance. Very impressed.

Mouthfeel-Medium to Light-Medium body, slightly creamy, very drinkable yet satisfying.

Overall-An extremely solid, well crafted beer. Shame on you if you pass it up! Highly recommended, at this price point you won't find anything better, its better than some beers that cost double for sure. I have not been this impressed by beer in a long time.

Sep 20, 2016
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StevenMilligan from Florida

3.86/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Wow, what a surprise. I enjoy an ale with a story and this one surely has one. But story aside, this is a very drinkable, medium bodied ESB. Poured from a 16oz can for a little over $2.00 in Florida (2016), this is a heck of a beer for the price. The malt bill is extremely reminiscent of Brown Shugga, though the final product lacks the depth of flavor Lagunitas brings out in Shugga, they are comparable. Hops are present but not overwhelming. Overall, I went in expecting a piss poor, macro attempt at a historic recipe and I was pleasantly surprised.

Sep 16, 2016
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JimKal from North Carolina

3.93/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber with a decent head and nice lacing on the drink down. It is malt forward with some nice caramel notes.
the mouthfeel is medium. I picked this up while looking for something to offset my IPA sated tastebuds and it works pretty well. For me, this is an ESB that I'll be picking up again. Really quite enjoyable.

Sep 08, 2016
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hoptheology from South Dakota

4.11/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked up a 4 pack of these for $3.99. Upon first sip I am greatly regretting my decision...why?

Pours a light fiery nutty color, almost like an Oktoberfest. The head is huge, webby, sticky, and world class. Opacity is 20%.

Aromas of pine hops, citrus peels, caramel malts, molasses, and toffee. A surprisingly great aroma.

The's like a Brown Shugga clone. Distinct caramel sweetness, balanced nicely with pine and citrus bitters, cream, leaving a toasted toffee finish. Wonderfully balanced. A few fruity notes here and there as well, hints of apple skins. After a few gulps it starts to become a little...linear. It's not bad, but not as great as the first tastes.

Feel is refreshing yet still insanely creamy. A parchy finish.

Overall, Old Tankard hits it out of the park. Just incredible. And at $3.99 (which I assume won't last long), it's a crime. It's like a Brown Shugga Clone without the high ABV. Dangerous! My regret I spoke of? For ashamedly not buying more. Great stuff!

Sep 08, 2016
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Czequershuus from Minnesota

4.32/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

This beer pours a clear amber with a large foamy head. The aroma is a mix of pine, earth, walnuts, and stale bread. The flavor leads with sweet honey and brown bread, tea, light pine, and vague forest flavors. The mouthfeel almost nitro like, very creamy and soft. Overall this is a really nice beer that just invites gulping. Really solid classic ESB feel with and American twist.

Sep 07, 2016
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GreesyFizeek from New York

3.79/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

On tap at Marshall St Bar and Grill in Rochester, NY.

This one pours a clear dark-ish red, with a big foamy and fluffy head, and a good amount of lacing.

Smells pretty malty, bready and a little sweet, with a hint of grassy hops.

This has a wonderfully creamy flavor to it that I really enjoy. It's maybe slightly watery, but has a nice bready and caramelly malt backbone, with a hint of grassy hops- the grassiness feels maybe a little bit wet, but not overly so. It feels maybe a little "empty" in the middle, flavor-wise, but it's still a fun beer.

This is medium bodied, very creamy, with an almost cask-like mouthfeel, even though it's on normal draft.

This was definitely fun to try- I hope Pabst continues to resurrect old recipes.

Aug 23, 2016
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Reidrover from Oregon

3.26/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

4 pack of 16 oz cans from local Grocer store in Cave Junction. $5.99 Poured into plastic glass at Panther Flat Camp ground in the Redwood Forest. No idea really of the colour as the propane lantern made it impossible..but nice half inch head. Nice malty and spicy hop aromas. Taste is hoppy but its lighter ..but still noticeable and has a nice malt backing. Mouth feel is good and easy..god after taste. Not a bad beer at all.

Aug 22, 2016
Pabst Old Tankard Ale from Pabst Brewing Company
Beer rating: 86 out of 100 with 206 ratings