Old Habit
Ithaca Beer Company

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Rye Beer
4.01 | pDev: 16.46%
Ithaca Beer Company
New York, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Old HabitOld Habit
Notes: A Robust American Ale brewed with four different Rye Malts, fresh Centennial and Crystal Hops and our proprietary Ale Yeast. It is partly fermented in Tennesee Rye Whiskey Barrels, then carefully blended. Enjoy the gorgeous ruby color, strong aromas of vanilla and black cherry, earthy flavors of nuts and oak and the warm spicy finish.
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Reviews: 117 | Ratings: 164
Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.39/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a clearish, dark brown body. Sure, there's no head, but check out the legs!

Smell: Aroma of fresh rye bread and dark fruit syrup. A hefty amount of wood in the nose from the start, but, as it warms, more boubronesque notes of vanilla and light brown sugar emerge.

Taste: Rich, dark fruitiness, then everything goes hot. The spiciness of the rye links up to the bright booziness to give the impression of capsaicin heat. Once you realize there's no chili inside, you can isolate the rye and whiskey components. Afterwards, a simple syrup sweetness perks up, along with hints of vanilla, brown sugar, and more wood. Finishes sweetish and hot with a lingering woodiness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Mild carbonation. Syrupy mouthfeel, which is not to say that it's cloying, just very, very thick.

Drinkability: It's definitely a sipper, but an interesting one.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.35/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very dark brown that when held to light shows a dark, but perfectly clear ruby. Nose is extremely clean. But not in a bland or boring kind of way. If this were a porter or a stout, I'd say this has a lot of malt qualities. Carries a pretty thick and robust character. Flavor is extremely hearty. Just a mass of robust qualities. It is hard to judge this one as I have not had any rye beers to this point, but it seems extremely well made. Feel has a great carbonation to it and a thick enough liquid feel. This one is extremely drinkable. Even though this is my first sample at this particular style, I feel as though I can firmly say that this is an excellent example of the style and overall a beautiful beer in general. If you see it....don't hesitate. If you did...you'd be robbing yourself of an experience. Beautiful. One of my most amazing experiences with beer in very recent memory. If Ithaca doesn't make this a regular in their lineup, I say they are moronic idiots.

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Photo of IntriqKen
3.96/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I definitely was looking forward to this one...loving a good rye beer the way I do....this is unusual getting most of it's qualities from a barleywine rather than a simple rye.

Poured a barleywine translucent amber but with a bit more red. A nice off white half finger tops the glass and melts at a moderate pace leaving a sticky map while it lasts.

Aromas are barleywine strong in sweet candied amber malts.

Flavor is barleywine-like with the sweet candied amber malt but lacking the hop backbone found in barleywines. Rather there is a very distinctive spicy, dry rye backbone giving it a totally different flavor and style profile. A dry, graininess comes through in the flavor. Sweet and smooth start finishes to a drying spiciness. Distictive and nice.

Aftertaste is dry and slightly bitter. Warming alcohol.

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Photo of BlindPig
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Poured pretty hard and got about a 1/2" tan head on a really dark body with ruby hues when held to light.
S- Big rye aroma with strong oak to it. Whiskey, grass, hints of pine, alcohol, smoke, and more rye all come through.
T- Big strong rye flavor with light grass hops in it. Whiskey smoke flavors with a airy feel to it. Alcohol comes through with the oak and vanilla. Light fruits in there also. Big strong warming from alcohol in back of throat.
M- This is the weirdest mouthfeel. It feels airy or some kind of particles in it but I really don't think there is. Left with a kind of ashy feel in back of throat too. Full body with low carbonation.
D- This is really good. Wish it wasn't a one time off thing. Not sure how much of it I would buy but am glad I tried it.

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Photo of DIM
4.55/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

note: bottle # 1485 from the first bottling

a: Deep dark copper in color, no haze in the first glass from the 750ml bottle. Pours with a big light tan head, decent retention.

s: Wow, there is a lot here! Some vanilla, oak, alcohol/whiskey, and some fruit that is about to rot. The malts combine some sweetness with sour earthy peats.

t: Starts with some vanilla and sweet smokey malts upfront. Sweet overripe cherries and a barely discernible hop tingle are next. At the finishing exhale a nice warming whiskey burn shows itself. Superbly balanced and complex.

m: The carbonation is creamy and does a great job coating the mouth and tongue. Overall texture is a bit syrupy.

d: Rumor has it this will be released again. I certainly hope so. Huge thanks to LittleBreeze for the chance to try this one.

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Photo of melitameister
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased in beverage center in Ithaca July 2007. Pricey, but attractive numbered 750 ml bottle (#370) from a top NY brewery. Served with Thanksgiving dinner in Neerlands Trappist goblet.

A - Deep golden ruby color with fine egg cream lasting head.

S - Refined, rich, malty rye aroma with plenty of fruit (cherry, lichee, pomegranate) and whiskey.

T - Mature rye with plenty of alcohol. Slightly sweet fruit (raisins, lime?) balanced with moderate bitterness and oak and whiskey and scotch. Delicious!

M - Fills the mouth and nose with creamy beer perfection.

D - Terrific brew. Maybe best example of American rye tasted. Will be looking for more Ithaca Beer Co. specialties.

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

Poured out of a 750ml an awesome reddish brown into a Stange, very dark with some ruby hues when held up to the light. An extremely healthy four finger head foamed up a bubbly tan. Head very slowly fades but leave a nice amount of lacing behind. Sweet sweet maltiness balanced nicely with a faint nod of hops. The Rye is wonderful. Slight scent of raisins a it of vanilla. May seem somewhat obvious given the style but the rye is the main attraction on the palette. A bit of dark cherry, some raisins.

Medium bodied with a somewhat slick creamy mouthfeel with a small amount of fine bubbled carbonation that gentle tickles the tongue. Very easy drinking but watch out for the 9% abv. A great beer to sip on on a chilly night.

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Photo of AaronHomoya
4.17/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a chocolate brown color with little head or carbonation.

Aroma is nice with a malty sweetness, peppery alcohol, more malt and plenty of rye.

The taste is very good and complex with a nice blend of rich, toasty malt sweetness and the sharpness of rye.

Medium-heavy body, but still nicely drinkable.

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Photo of lotofsnow
3.99/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass...

A- Dark, I mean really dark, red. Opaque unless you catch it at just the right angle in bright light. The 1 inch head seems like it is taking out a year long lease, but it slowly gives way, leaving a decent amount of lacing behind. So much for its security deposit.

S- Rye. Is there alcohol in this? Wait, a feint hint of hops, but that delicious rye, almost spicy in its potency, dominates my olfactory bulb.

T- Hey, this is a Rye Ale. Lots of rye. Do you remember, just above, when I mentioned the spiciness? It's here, too. Very nice. Those hops that came out in the scent? Well, they add some bitterness for sure, but the rye is what lingers on my tongue until... wait for it... hey, there they are, in the finish.

M- A good amount of carbonation and a slightly viscous texture. When I poured out a second pint, I paid extra attention, and I really saw that viscosity in the pour. It coats your tongue in a way that does a pretty good job at letting the hops come forward in the end.

D- Like I said before... is there alcohol in this? The 9% ABV is indistinguishable until you stand up. While I could drink this all night, I wouldn't suggest driving home after.

Summary- A very good Rye Ale, it met all of my expectations. Definitely a must-try.

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Photo of weeare138
3.95/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to TomDecapolis for opening this. Bottle # 359...
Appears a dark chestnut color with a small, light tan head that slowly fades into a creamy head of film and a frothy collar.
Smell is of cherry pie, hazlenut, vanilla, cola, and earthy hops.
Taste is of the mentioned aromaswith a hint of booziness found in there, along with fruity candy ala gummy bears.
Mouthfeel is smooth, with raspberries, and cocoa syrup swirling along the palate. Light astringency keeps this one from being great but it's good, nonetheless.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.32/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Much more robust and flavorful than imagined. The beer opens with a surprisingly dark brown color, yet quite clear. A demanding head retention holds firm throughout. Quite sturdy and characterful from the offset. Aromas of strong malts hinge on sweet / and nutty, earthy scents, followed by earthy / pungent hops. Quite Scottish Ale in nature, without so much of the campfire-smoke character. Flavors confirm the nose, with a hearty malt base that does not wholly depend on sweetness. Yes, it's toffee-like and richly malty, but has a strong backbone of nuts, dirtyness, earthyness, and a hit of musk that cannot be denied. Takes on pumpernickle bread flavors and spices at times. Remaining sharply bready well into the body, and never waivering. A lingering of toffee, roasted bread, and pungent hops ride well into the aftertaste. Very good beer, when a deviation from most Scottish Ales is in order. Thanks Nathan!

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Photo of barleywinebrewer
4.52/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

thanks to beertruth for this via trade and recommendation!

wow, think english barleywine brewed with rye malts and aged in rye barrels and the bottled for your enjoyment. What a wonderful combination of tastes and textures. The rye bite has been rounded off in the process and what's left is an amazingly balanced, drinkable brew that shows off finer qualities of both beer and rye whiskey. If finishes crisp and dry with a light resonant rye taste that just leaves you wanting another sip.

Having had a taste of a 1934 bottle of Rye whiskey for comparison purposes, this beer is great. If I was anywhere near the distribution area I'd buy a case or two for my beer cellar.

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Photo of oberon
4.3/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A beer I have been looking forward to trying since it came out,poured into an impy pint glass a deep mahogany brown with a slight chill haze to it a pillowy one finger almond colored head atop with good retention.Complexity the word to describe not only the nose but flavors of this beer,at first I picked up juicy fruity malt aromas like orange with brown sugar sweetness the hops are subdued but do provide some floral character.I would say malt tilted but hops are there on the palate the whiskey barrel aging shows itself with some real vanilla/oak sweetness along with a chocolate covered nut quality the rye is actually somewhat irrelevent just a very slight lactic-like bite.The complexity of this beer gives high marks sure Iam a hophead and was expecting maybe more of a hop profile but its a damn good beer,the creamy mouthfeel is to die for.A "nice" beer here it is well crafted.

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Photo of WesWes
4.15/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a dark amber/brown color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is great! It has a tremendous rye malt scent along with the "black cherry" aroma the bottle speaks of. The whiskey presence is there in the nose. The taste is good. It has a spicy rye flavor that goes down light and finishes warm and oakey with a nice whiskey-ish feel. It's a lot lighter than it looks. It's medium/full bodied with adequate carbonation. This is a good drinking beer. It's lighter than a barleywine, but packs as big a punch.

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Photo of jjayjaye
4.3/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle #459 released one week ago today.

Pours dark, almost opaque color with a mahogany hue near the edges and a full finger light tan head that resists fading. Little lacing observed.

The smell comes out best in the back half of the bottle, as it warms. You get the vanilla cherry, described so well on the bottle, from the barrel treatment.

Medium-Full bodied, The mouth feel is creamy and nicely carbonated. The first wave of darkness coats the mouth with a chocolate malt and light oaked flavor from the barrels. Adding to the complexity, it finishes with a light nutty coffee flavor.

This is a really good drinker. I understand that it might be closer to 10% than 9%. The presence of the alcohol is there, in a wonderful way. Highly recommended.

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Photo of BeerTruth
4.32/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ithaca's fourth in their Excelsior series. 750 mL bottle poured into the "special" Sam Adams glass. I've enjoyed the previous three beers in this series and I've been eagerly awaiting this beer since I first heard of it's creation.

This beauty pours a dark rich ruby with a very generous two finger khaki colored head that slowly dies down to a thin layer. Very sticky, all over the glass and won't let go. Very complex smell of wood, mild french vanilla, and crisp rye. Odor is very much like an American barleywine. Taste is complex as well. Starts off with a nice bite from the grassy rye, tingles the mouth. Then the vanilla flavors along with the whiskey smooths it out as it finishes. Aftertaste is a malty one, with toasted nuts and coffee like flavors blended with dark fruits such as cherries, dates, and raisins. Wow, alot of flavor in this one. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a fair amount of carbonation. Dinkability is pretty good, but the alcohol is somewhat present. Such a unique beer, highly recommend this to anyone who appreciates a quality brew. IBC has really put in a lot of hard work into the Excelsior series and it shows, the beers are definitely something you need get your hands on. Cheers to Chief and all the guys at Ithaca Beer Co.!

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Photo of zdk9
4.19/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Just bought a bottle from IBC today and had to try it immediatly after the guy working the counter said it was "something special". This is my first rye beer so I can't compare to the genre but I'd have to agree with him anyway. A delicious looking, smelling, and tasting beer.

From the label: A Robust American Ale brewed with four different Rye Malts, fresh Centennial and Crystal Hops and our proprietary Ale Yeast. It is partly fermented in Tennesee Rye Whiskey Barrels, then carefully blended. Enjoy the gorgeous ruby color, strong aromas of vanilla and black cherry, earthy flavors of nuts and oak and the warm spicy finish.

A- Pours out just a shade lighter than black with deep ruby highlights. A half finger of sandy colored head and just a touch of lacing around the snifter.

S- Intense cherry blast into my nose. Which is followed up by a complex mix of other flavors- roasted malt slightly coffeelike, whisky, oak, bright orange. A good strength in the smell also.

T- Roasted malt takes over from the cherries in the nose. There are roasted coffee flavors joined by refined alcohol in the sides of the mouth. This is rounded out by some darker fruit flavors- earthy cherries and blueberries, and just a touch of prunes or dates. It's hard to pick out the hops but I'm not missing the distinctness of hop flavor because it melds so well with all the other aspects of the beer.

M- Pretty bitter from the roasted malt flavors. Slightly lighter than I would like. The alcohol is present but warming and enjoyable.

D- I expect to go buy another bottle of this and I'm looking forward if they ever release a fully barrel aged version. This is a very complex beer which would be hard to drink much of because of the high alcohol but is so delicious I want to keep drinking it anyway.

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Old Habit from Ithaca Beer Company
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 164 ratings