Old Woody | Fish Brewing Company / Fishbowl Brewpub

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Old WoodyOld Woody
109 Ratings
Old WoodyOld Woody

Brewed by:
Fish Brewing Company / Fishbowl Brewpub
Washington, United States

Style: Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Gusler on 04-18-2003

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 109 |  Reviews: 98
Photo of brentk56
4.85/5  rDev +20%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2005 Vintage

Appearance: Pours a cloudy ice tea brown color with a beige head that displays good retention and leaves copious amounts of lacing

Smell: Caramel and rum-soaked cherries

Taste: Starts out with an explosion of burnt caramel and cherry flavors that develop in multifarious ways with oak barrel, leather and tobacco complexity; nice bitter, smokey balance on the finish

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied and viscous with modest carbonation

Drinkability: Wonderfully complex; an unusual and wonderful example of the style; I'd like to see how this develops with some age (I just tried it again 3 years later and it is even more wonderful; after 4 years, however, it is on its way out)

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Photo of IntriqKen
4.82/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

God, I love a good Old Ale!
Vintage 2005...today is the end of May, 2007
Pours a very dark amber that no light penetrates with an impressive single finger head of tan bubbles that melts very slowly and leave a massive mapping on the side of the glass as you drink it.

Aromas are oak...heavy oak....prunes, raisins, dark brown sugar and alcohol. I don't notice it, but my non beer drinking girl friend also smells lots of maple syrup in addition to all of the others.

Wow...what a mellow mouth feel.
Taste is smooth like a wonderfully aged bourbon....flavors are complexly dark fruits, brown sugar, maple, oaks, and bourbon. Nothing strong or overpowering in the alcohol department. Just an incredibly smooth sipping beer. Reminds me of warm southern nights in a porch swing with a snifter of bourbon...the good stuff...not the $10 a bottle crap.

This is a wonderful sipping beer. I love it.
It is going to finish off my evening gloriously.

Seriously, this is exactly like a great southern sipping bourbon without the nasty bite or extremely strong alcohol aftertaste.
Compare it to $90 a bottle good stuff. And enjoy your evening.

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Photo of czechsaaz
4.79/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

12 Oz 2003 bottling (I had a 750 of this when releases but can't find notes)

Big time sherry/oxidative nose. Not unpleasant, good aged smelling. Lots and lots of vinuous fruit. Also a ton of sweet malt.Very comlex, add in some dried cherry deeply ripe fruit fermentation aroma too. I'd expect an alcohol nose in a beer this strong/old, but it's not there (again, probably due to its age.)

Ruby red, almost no head. Leaves legs on the glass from alcohol.

Yowza, there's lots of flavor components. Very malty, A touch of oak. Some alcohol. Lots of fruity flavors. Dried cherry again and apricots. Spice from yeast, clove-like. Each sip seems a little different. There's so much flavor it's hard to dexcribe all the things I'm tasting. I get some chocolate too.

Big bodied, light carbonation. Strong alcohol warming.

Drinkability doesn't really apply,. A great nightcap/sipping beer. Doesn't go down easy, but goes down smooth. Takes some time to get through it, but that's out of respect, not the quality.

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Photo of faernt
4.7/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This sample is in a 750 ml bottle with a crown cap. The notes on the label say November 2002. The copy further states that it was brewed in the style of an English Old Ale, and aged in wine casks for six months. Other offerings I've sampled from Fish used merlot casks. I bought it in May of 2002 at Bottleworks in Seattle.
It pours clear with a tightly bubbled head of about 3/8". I was surprised to see such a head on a barley wine/ old ale. It subsided slowly to a skim with lace reminding me of where it had been. I'm drinking it out of a small chalice and as I refill the glass the head comes back at about 1/4" each time I pour.
The smell, as I bring it up to my nose, is wine. The oaky cask is present as I begin to drink and then it goes to malt sweetness and then back to wine. Hops are not part of this smell and taste dance. The wine aroma brings me back to the English Old Ales of my memory (like Gale's Prize Old Ale). This is like having a conversation with two beautiful women at once.
The alcohol kicks in with a cool breeze that lets me know that the label stating the 10% ABV is a warning to respect the strength of this one. The alcohol starts as a distraction but reintegrates with the refrain of the wine. There is no thickness; it isn't cloying at all. I think the tartness of the cask cuts through any chance of sugar.
I'm glad I've had great beer before I sampled this one. There is a lot to appreciate here. I look forward to acquiring the next batch. However, I will remember this one well if they never brew another. I hope they do (or have). This is worthy of the arrogance on the label which says "Artist Series" It is highly drinkable if you enjoy a challenge. Thank you Fish.

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Photo of Boto
4.67/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle, from Nov. 2002. Tasted Dec. 2008. This was one hiding in the bottom of the fridge that I kept planning on drinking and never got around to it. It opened with a loud "pfffft", letting me know that all was well with this oldie. The color of this gem is a ruby tinged brown, that is just not quite clear. There was a fairly large off-white head on mine. A wonderful mix of fruits, floral, woody and spicy aromas. Very smooth and rounded taste. A faint tartness to it with some fruits providing that. Spices, malts and a tinge of alcohol in the background. Very warming as it goes down. This is very good!

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Photo of cokes
4.65/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2005. 12oz.
Pours russet brown trimmed with peach below an ecru heading of modest stature and more impressive cling.
Fragrant of pine cones, caramel-fudge bars, liquorice, wet iron, and bark.
Tramples across the tongue, leaving a melting goo of caramel nougat, milk chocolate, loose nuts, and all things candy bar. Take this in for a second, and ask yourself: "How goddamn tasty are Baby Ruths and/or Kit Kats when I'm stoned?"
Yeah...they're fucking good, aren't they?
And so is this.
Out of the dopey, confectionous malt, grows a bittering sense of liquorice and wet, spicy breads (think: rye). Woodsiness grows with a papery birch bark notion, unfolding into danker shaving of hickory, pine, and maple (complete with trickles of sap). The wood-aging layers a buttery vanilla hazenut coconut laquer. It ends with a contiuned caramel coconut milk leading into a resin-rich pine essence trimmed with metal spangles. Alcohol is barely noticed except in its mind-altering properties and suggestive Pinot Noir vinousness.
Thickish, but not clunky in feel. The sparce yet perky carbonation shines light a beam of sunlight through a dusty, cryptic brew
This can be drained with a quickness, and with an ensuing sadness.
This is special in so many ways. Fishtale has a stable of (generally) winners, but this is a real-deal, triple crown trophy horse.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.59/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle simply capped - no cork. Bottled in November 2001. A two to three inch head of creamy light-tan foam rests majestically above a cloudy dark-brown body which reveals some reddish-mahogany highlights when held directly to the light. Eventually, the head drops to a creamy collar and thin surface covering; but it also leaves some very nice lace throughout the glass. The nose is distinctly oaky and reminiscent of good bourbon with a whiff of alcohol above the sweetish malt. The skins of dark fruits, a touch of molasses, and some light acidity follow; leaving the bouquet fairly complex and immensely enjoyable. The aroma alone could be enjoyed for the better part of an hour! The body is medium, creamy, and silky across the tongue! Its flavor explodes in the mouth, rich with chocolate-laced caramel and molasses... and drenched in alcohol and fruit juices (cherry, prune, orange, red grape, plum, raisin)! The bitterness is low-level in comparison to the rich maltiness at this point, and it's quite well balanced. It's very wine-like in many ways; and it finishes with a wash of drying spicy alcohol, some light cocoa, and some residual fruitiness and lingering chalky bitterness. It's surprisingly warming for being only 10%, but it's not overdone as it works well within the character of the beer. This beer will probably improve through cellaring for another two to three years, and may hold for much longer than that! I'd recommend this as a great fireside beer with a good book (let's say "The Count of Monte Cristo"), but it's just too strong and warming to get through more than one or two chapters. Maybe it's best for simply relaxing in front of the fire during a fall or winter night - or on the porch during a cool spring or summer evening as the sun goes down. And for the cigar afficianado, this is a prime choice! But for fans of oak-aged beers, this is a must! Exceptionally well done and well worth seeking out.

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Photo of ZAP
4.54/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2003-12 ounce bottle

Awesome nose....hickory...oak...sweet cookie dough...caramel..outstanding...

Pours a crimson red...flst looking no head...

Mouthfeel is non-carbonated..flat...sweet but a good dose of heat from the ABV keeps it from being too sweet..still almost a soy souce texture..

Flavor is slickly sweet..caramel...nice dose of woody notes...alcohol is slightly evident...provides a little bite on the finish...

Overall I love the nose on this...body and mouthfeel are a little too uncarbonated for my liking..taste is good to very good...

Overall above average...enjoyable....I would buy again as overall I like it..

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Photo of bsuedekum
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.47/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 vintage, poured into a Gulden Draak Tulip. Pours a dark, slightly murky mahogany orange amber. One finger, fine off-white head and nice lacing. Aroma of wood, light caramel malt and dark fruit. Flavor is mellow sweet and caramel malt, wood and vanilla, nicely integrated. Finish is somewhat dry, earthy and hop bitter with a final suggestion of the woody notes. Body is medium with a bit of creaminess. This has aged beautifully and is a very nice aged old ale. I hope I get a chance to review this fresh. It came on the market 2 years old and has aged an additional year in my cellar.

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Photo of stirgy
4.47/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Fish Brewing Co. – Old Woody English old ale 2003 (bottle)
I can tell almost immediately that this is a potent beer. Pours a very dark amber brown color and leaves just a wisp of lace on the glass. A head emerges from the hard pour, but quickly fizzles into a cobweb-like film a top the beer. No detectable carbonation (it’s too dark to see in there!). Rich and very heavy aroma yields molasses, sorghum, licorice and thick dark chocolates. A strong tasting beer, but also a very drinkable one. This has similar characteristics of a real oaky bourbon. Caramel and molasses in the forefront with tannic oak and almond bringing up the rear. The alcohol hides just beneath the surface, but it surely makes its presence known. An awesome beer that will bully you all the way to the bottom of the glass.

Thanks to the Portland BA that sent me this!

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Photo of markaberrant
4.44/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled date - April 06

A - I accidentally kicked up some sediment (it had a LOT, which was surprising), but it was pouring a clear auburn. Almost nothing for head.

S - This is the first beer I've smelled that has a definite leather/ tobacco character. Lots of complexity, fruit, nuts, caramel, etc I quite like it.

T - I find the taste to be superb. Similar to the smell, and it's got a fantastic balance between malt and hops. The alcohol flavour is almost non-existant.

M - Thick and chewy, like a decadent truffle it coats your entire mouth. Carbonation is low. Has a big alcohol warmth that smothers and comforts you.

D - This is a fine sipper if their ever was.

I don't get the opportunity to drink a lot of big english style barleywines/old ales. However, I find this one to be fantastic, and compares very well to one of my favourites, the Bushwakker SOB. This is one heck of a beer!

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Photo of brewandbbq
4.42/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2003 vintage, 12 oz bottle.
A syrupy pour reveals Mahogany with crimson edging and a rocky beige head.
Supple and juicy in the nose with a big,bready malt character and earthy hops.
Hints of toffee,caramel,vanilla,smoke, and cedar. Finishes with vineous alcohol.
Rounded and smooth on the pallet.
Dusty malt with a residual sweetness.
Filled with "Old Ale" character with substantial Northwest hop character (although subdued).
Toasted,doughy malts,warming alcohol,lingering bitterness and a slick, musty finish.
Hints of cedar,oak,dry wine, and smoke.
A 750 of this would be friggin' righteous.

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Photo of tmoneyba
4.42/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by alexsdado6.

Poured a dark cloudy brown color with an average frothy brown head that mostly lasted with good lacing. Moderate to heavy roasted woody malty aroma. Medium to heavy body. Medium to heavy woody bittersweet flavor with a medium woody finish of moderate to long duration.

This is a standout beer that is excellent for style.

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Photo of rye726
4.4/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a cloudy brown with a tan head.

Nose has bready malts, ripe pitted fruits, wood, vanilla, whiskey and toffee.

Taste is quite sweet, but still has some herbal hops presence. Also some flavors of whiskey, wood and vanilla.

Medium body is nicely carbonated. Good Olde Ale from Fish.

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Photo of sponberg
4.39/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2003 edition, cellared at 52 degrees - thanks to MR from MA for the bottle.

Pours a deep, slightly cloudy, garnet red-brown with very little head. Aroma of toffee and faint malty grains,maybe some dark fruit and licorice

This stuff is like liquid velvet. It just *flows* - full of toffeeish malt with slight earthy hop, then splits into sugar dates, slight anise/licorice or citric rindiness (changes every sip) way in the background, and a fruity smokiness way in the background along with a warming alcohol that never burns or dominates, yet the fumes permeate the sinuses. Finishes with a combination of all of these; beautiful. All kinds of malty goodness going on here - silky smooth, slightly pinpoint carbonation. After two I'd be looking for a fire somewhere with a big leather chair nearby - it's *that* kind of beer.

One of those "only want one beer tonight" beers that'll have you smiling at your choice afterwards.

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Photo of dirtylou
4.38/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz single, Woodman's

Fish Brewing has quite a line of big beers...wish i could say the same for their lower tier organic brews

appearance: pours a vibrant and full ruby/deep mahogany color, with a light khaki head and a decent amount of lacing. Looks very deep, strong, and inviting

smell: similar to that of an english barleywine...quite nutty, mild alcohol presence, dark fruit - plum, raisin, dates, grape. cherry soaked in alcohol, some smooth chocolate

taste: a very impressive old ale indeed...loaded with vibrant dark fruits - plum, cherry, raisins, dates, grape...brown sugar, warm alcohol presence, smooth chocolate sensation...a brilliant nutty aftertaste, hop bitterness in the aftertaste, loaded with sugary sweet malts throughout. Everything falls in line for this guy

mouthfeel: extraordinarily smooth, alcohol warming

drinkability: pretty drinkable considering the abv, probably need more!

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Photo of jgasparine
4.37/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle Sampled: 2008 Vintage

A- Poured with almost no head, with a touch of cream colored edge lacing. Body is an opaque golden-brown (well-sedimented), with no visible carbonation.

S- Sweet caramel malt aromas co-mingles with booziness, hints of stale hops, and a touch of madiera. Lovely!

T- A wonderful replicate of the nost with bigger hop flavors than anticipated. Nothing particularly "woody" coming through... I suppose I can detect a touch of oak tannins, but that may just be me psychologically trying to identify some woody attributes...

M- Big chewy mouthfeel- nicely textured with unattenuates sugar, which is met with a wonderfully soft carbonation. I ready someone else using the term "velvet blanket" to decribe this type of mouthfeel... and I think the term is very appropriate here.

D- Very drinkable until the 10% ABV catches up with you! I imaging this brew will age quite nicely as well!

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Photo of IronDjinn
4.35/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From a 12 oz bottle, wish I could have gotten my hands on a 22 oz bomber of the stuff, but I shall not be too picky and will be grateful that this has reached our local shelves at all. My bottle's label proclaims 9.5% abv.

Pours out thick and hazy brown, almost opaque from the haze alone, with a light hazelnut nimbus when held to the light. True to its name it is quite woody in appearance, or perhaps more nutty. A short but thick yellowy off-white head caps it off almost all the way down the glass, leaving thick patches of lacing in its wake.

Thick cake-like chewy toffee malt, warm spice and a warm rush of alcohol on the nose. Very light notes of citrus rind.

The flavour is absolutely delightful. Sweet thick buttery malt, not intense but well contained for the abv%, more breadlike in the middle with sugars from mild dried fruits (raisin bread?), almost a vinuous tone from the alcohol, a touch of marmalade, a more fruity sweetness on the finish, grape and citrus rind.

Gorgeous mouthfeel, thick and creamy and velvety, like a magic carpet rolling over the tongue.

A fine refined ale, civilized and well-crafted, you can't even tell that it is such high octane until near the end of the glass, the high alcohol content is so well contained and hidden. A very pleasant treat on this very frosty day.

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Photo of kirok1999
4.35/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A beautiful dark glowing copper with no head at all. Almost a winey smell, nicely sweet and malty.
Taste is wonderful, very mild and full of flavor, caramel, buttery toffee, very little bitterness in the finish. This is simply malts with enough hops added to back the thing up. Mouthfeel is thick and lush.
Really easy to drink as the slight carbonation lets it slide down easily.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
4.35/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured an opaque, dark reddish-brown with a small tannish head. Nose is full, caramel. Taste of a big earthiness, detect wood, caramel, fruits and a nice feel of booze. Mouthfeel is sweet, coating, caramel very present as with booze and those wood like elements. Very good!

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Photo of Crosling
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3


Heavily oaked nose with many interwoven dry red wine qualities and notes of peppers, caramel apples and sticky dark fruits.

Slight sour, deep dark malt, dry oak and many red wine qualities. Over oaked? Hardly. The deep, rich, fruity malts meld with the wine qualities perfectly to create a very well made beer. Once again I am shocked at one of Fish's barrel aged offerings.

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Photo of MrNuggets
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

12oz from last year.
A rough pour gives me an one inch high head. Lingers for a few minutes then subsides into a film that never leves the top of the beer.
Brown colour with flamming red highlights.
Explosively complex maltiness in the aroma. The Flavor runs deep on this old ale. Peppered cherries? Sounds good! Freshly milled red cedar turns into woody bitterness.
Cream mouthfeel? thats right, don't ask me how they do it!
I would have no problems poping open another one of these right now.

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Photo of djeucalyptus
4.32/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cracked a 2008 bottle into a large goblet. It poured a dark toasted orange color with some ample haziness. A very thin head bubbled up and stuck around for a bit, finally fading to an eggshell ring leaving some very viscous sticky lacing behind.

aroma is impressive. Sweet malts, caramel, toffee, dark brown sugar, maple syrup, vanilla pudding and some ample earthy woodiness - alder, cherry and oak wood notes. The alcohol is definitely abundant in the aroma as well, giving an almost-warming scent.

Taste is a bit rough, bordering on harsh. Sweet roasted malt and an almost-sweet dark hop up front with some caramel and dark fruit notes of fig, dried turkish apricot, prune, raisins and currant. Some warming alcohol comes up in the back, as does a strong almost woody and astringent bitterness. The taste on the whole is a bit more earthy and woody than others in this style, lacking much of the overly sweet notes. It's a nice change, although a bit rough at first. I could see this one definitely improving beautifully with a bit more age.

mouthfeel is chewy, thick, and smooth. Lightly syrupy and some mild carbonation keeps it interesting. Mellow and almost calming, this one is a beautiful sipper. The freshness seems to lend a slighly harsh and rough finish in the back of the tongue and throat, which I'm sure would mellow further with some age.

a beautiful Old Ale, and a beautiful brew in general. Again, this year's (consumed this year) seems a bit fresh and a touch hot. It's highly enjoyable right now, with some earthy heat overtaking some of the honey and maple sweetness. I can only imagine how this one will mature in a few years. Definitely worth a try, and if you can save a few (or find an older batch) then it's bound to be ephemeral bliss.

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Photo of mikeys01
4.32/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very clear ruddy brown color, at first appearing to have no carbonation, but with thin wisps of tan foam swirling at the surface after a few seconds. Aroma is nutty caramel sweet, like a piece of fine English toffee. Some apple cider mixes in as well and the nose. Flavor is a very nice balancing act, with a clear vintage/old ale character and just enough oak to notice without making you feel like you're chewing on acorns. Sweet and caramely, nary a hint of hops here but they're not notably missing either. Malt sweetness transitions into a slight spiced bruised fuity tartness. Mouthfeel is full but the Woody isn't overly thick in body. Comes off smooth, complex, and very tasty. A very pleasant surprise. Thanks to weefisheads to turning me on to this one.

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Old Woody from Fish Brewing Company / Fishbowl Brewpub
Beer rating: 4.04 out of 5 with 109 ratings