Improved Old Fashioned
Brooklyn Brewery

Improved Old FashionedImproved Old Fashioned
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Brooklyn Brewery
New York, United States
Rye Beer
Ranked #12
Ranked #6,344
4.11 | pDev: 8.03%
Aug 05, 2022
Dec 23, 2015
Here at Brooklyn Brewery, we are, of course, beer people. But we are also “drinks people,” and many inspirations come to us out of the deep and wondrous world of cocktails. While surely invented earlier, the modern cocktail emerged in the 19th century. The original—the ur-cocktail, if you will—was the Old Fashioned. A deceptively simple drink consisting of whiskey, sugar, and bitters (stirred, not shaken), usually with a bit of citrus peel, a good Old Fashioned remains a thing of austere beauty. By the 1860s, some bartenders, Jerry Thomas (aka "The Professor") chief among them, became household names in America. A mixologist (believe it or not, the moniker is actually old) looking to make a name for himself would often make a change to an existing cocktail, perhaps adding absinthe, or curaçao, or a dash of maraschino liqueur. This new version would be rakishly referred to as “improved,” as the upstart barman fervently hoped to eclipse his predecessor.

Well, we’ve gone this idea one better. We have “improved” the Old Fashioned by making it into a beer. Witness our strong rye beer, suffused with various spices and peels! Wonder at its long blissful rest in WhistlePig Rye Whiskey oak barrels! Marvel at its clever infusions of bitter gentian root and enticing botanicals! And then enjoy, as you are greeted by the silky spice of rye, the firm herbal bitterness, the brightness of citrus, and the sweet warmth of oak. Sit in your favorite chair, surround yourself with your favorite people, and imbibe this, our latest Brooklyn Quarterly Experiment. We can nearly guarantee that you shall feel that your day has, in fact, improved.

Style: Barrel-aged rye ale with botanicals & bitters

Malts: Glen Eagle Maris Otter, Canadian 2-row, Weyermann Rye, Fawcett Rye, Fawcett Crystal Rye

Additions: Demerara sugar, Belgian candi syrup, bitter orange peel, lemon peel, nutmeg, cinnamon, coriander, bitter gentian root, cloves, and aging in WhistlePig Rye whiskey barrels

Hops: Perle

Yeast: Our House Ale Yeast

Original Gravity: 21° Plato
Recent ratings and reviews. | Log in to view more ratings + sorting options.
Rated: 4.03 by Taenim from Maine

Aug 05, 2022
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Reviewed by Sigmund from Norway

3.33/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25
750 ml corked & caged bottle, Cardinal Pub & Bar, Stavanger. ABV is 12.8%. Dark brown colour, moderate to low beige head. Strong aroma of spices and herbs, spiced fruit cake, brown sugar, rye whisky and oak. Fairly sweet and very spicy flavour, loads of "christmassy" spices and bittering herbs, also brown sugar, rye whisky and moderate oak again. The big bottle is for sharing - this beer is more of a curiosity than something really great.
May 15, 2022
Rated: 4.45 by ummswimmin from New Jersey

Jun 21, 2020
Rated: 4.14 by desint from Belgium

Oct 06, 2019
Rated: 4 by kjkinsey from Texas

Sep 26, 2019
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Reviewed by brentk56 from North Carolina

4.21/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
Appearance: Pours with a slightly translucent tawny color capped by a thin head; a few dots and dashes of lacing

Smell: Toffee and citrus with nuts, crusty bread and cereal tones; hints of fortified wine

Taste: Toffee and crusty bread forward with flavors of orange pith, maraschino cherry and pine; hints of fortified wine and whiskey with peppery rye adding spice

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body with low to moderate carbonation

Overall: Like the name says, Brooklyn has taken the concept of an Old Fashioned cocktail and improved it
May 12, 2019
Rated: 3.52 by KAP1356 from Pennsylvania

Dec 28, 2018
Rated: 4.25 by Patches826 from Massachusetts

Nov 23, 2018
Rated: 3.5 by jgunther71 from Illinois

Sep 21, 2018
Rated: 3.5 by krome from Illinois

Sep 21, 2018
Rated: 4.45 by Negrelly from Brazil

Jun 14, 2018
Rated: 4.3 by Pro_Magnon from Texas

Apr 14, 2018
Rated: 3.96 by BrewNoob1 from Minnesota

Mar 28, 2018
Rated: 3.95 by ADKbeerguy from New York

Dec 17, 2017
Rated: 4.2 by Abe_Froman from Massachusetts

Dec 10, 2017
Rated: 4.19 by beergorrilla from Michigan

Sep 22, 2017
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Reviewed by Jsalz21 from New Jersey

4.24/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
I've been aching for this one. BQEs apparently have a reputation for being amongst the best out of Brooklyn, and I am already a fan of at least one. Considering this one is from 2016 but 12.8%, I have no idea how much time spent sitting on the shelf is going to effect it.

Poured into a snifter, it looks a handsome reddish brown and leaves more lacing than I expected. Head retention is expectedly low otherwise. Creates a red hue when struck by light through the glass, which is always cool in my humble opinion.

The aroma of this beer is bonkers. Straight bonkers. Popping the cork, it smells bourbon-y and inviting. Keeping it in the glass as I type this, the smell is reaching out to me already. A strong scent of bourbon and vanilla meshes with botanical (almost herbaceous) character. Blindfolded, it would be pretty easy to mistake this for a actual Old-Fashioned, minus the boozy whiff of the liquor.

Upfront, it confronts you and goes into a botanical/ slightsweet orange flavor that is somewhat mellow. Assorted spicy flavors are the dominant ones, along with the pronounced ABV. After awhile the booziness can get repetitive, but its uniqueness makes up for it slightly.

This feels like a cocktail, if slightly more mellow. Spicy, with strong alcoholic character, an an aftertaste to match it. Any malt here is keeping it just harsh enough to mimic the sensation of the cocktail. In it's own way, I find that impressive as heck. Still, it has enough burn to mimic bourbon thru what i suspect is a combo of ABV and spiciness.

I am actually a giant fan of this. More than I thought I was going to be. Of course, an old-fashioned is my go to when the bar is woefully under educated when it comes to beer, and everything that makes that cocktail challenging and interesting is encapsulated in this beer, with the exception of its lacking in orange flavor. This is definitely a beer where an 7-8 oz pour is necessary as well. Spicy rye and botanical character gives it a festive aroma, and its slight sweetness is nice. It catches up to you very quickly, and the aroma just demands another sip.
Sep 07, 2017
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Reviewed by Lone_Freighter from Vermont

3.75/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
On tap at Farmhouse Tap and Grill in Burlington, VT. This was poured into a flared tulip. The appearance was a dark malty brown color with a thin rimmed glaze of one finger white foamy head that dissipated at a nice pace. Moderate slim white lacing sticking and then sliding down into the beer. The smell started off with Christmas spices of allspice, ginger, clove and nutmeg. Light cocoa, coconut and even some subtle coffee bean sweetness blends in. The taste was basically sweet and spicy with a gentle roast underneath. Light sweet to spicy aftertaste. Slight spicy finish. On the palate, this one sat about a light to medium on the body with a fairly decent sessionability about it. Spicy harshness isn’t overbearing - good use. Overall, this was a rye beer? Oh, uh....sure, okay, fine with me because I'd still have again. Pretty nice.
Jul 18, 2017
Rated: 4.25 by tvenne from Minnesota

May 09, 2017
Rated: 4.11 by SpaethJam from New York

Apr 13, 2017
Improved Old Fashioned from Brooklyn Brewery
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 124 ratings