Old Woody | Fish Brewing Company / Fishbowl Brewpub

very good
108 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

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Ratings: 108 |  Reviews: 98
Photo of HiroProtagonist
4.07/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Old Woody 2003 was served from a 12 oz. bottle. In a pint glass, the beer was rich reddish nut-brown color, and was topped by a light tannish head that quickly disappeared altogether. The nose nearly knocked me off of my feet...big booziness, dark roasted chocolate, and a smooth yet robust bourbony maltiness. I found it to be quite enticing once I got used to the overt booziness. The taste was monsterous and boozy as well, reflecting the nose closely. The rich roasty nutty-chocolate malt base was soaked in a bourbon-like booziness, and had accents of vanilla and earthiness. This gives way to a potently bitter finish, though it is difficult to determine if this comes from hops or alcohol. I enjoyed the level of sweetness thoughout: it was toned down compared to many old ales. All of this sounds off-putting, but I found that booziness worked very well with the malt profile and finish...and made for a very enjoyable experience. The body was full enough for the flavors but the carbonation was certainly too low...making the flavor less lively than it could have been. As one would expect from a beer of this intensity, it is not very drinkable...12 oz is more than plenty. In the end, a walloping bear of a beer with character, best enjoyed in cold weather as a warmer. I imagine this one would do very well in the cellar for at least 2 years.

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Photo of jtfest
3.78/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This was the 2003, 12 oz bottle. It pours a dark caramel with reddish hues and a thin, tan head that leaves a nice lacing. Not quite opaque in the glass, but very dark. The aroma is light and woody with a distinctive alcohol presence. The alcohol is far less (though not un) distinguishable in the flavor, which is big and malty with the "woody-ness" appearing more in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel is smooth and somewhat syrupy. This is a very nice strong ale -- particularly if you are a woody-beer lover -- but it's a bit big to drink a bunch in a sitting.

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Photo of faernt
4.7/5  rDev +16.9%
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 RoyalT
4.3/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – The head was OK. It came up a little and went away rather quickly. What caught my eye was the body. It is a very deep, dark brown and exceptionally thick.

Smell – This ale reeks of sherry-soaked wood. There’s also a nice malt base in there along with some complex fruits and sugars. I can pick out molasses, apricots, and cherries to name a few.

Taste – The malts come out much bigger at the taste. The oaky flavors turn more into a compliment than anything else. The big cherries, oranges, apples, pears, and apricots bring up the rear. There’s also some sort of a refreshing hop balance to this one. Well done.

Mouthfeel – This is very smooth and refreshing. It is definitely full-bodied with a respectable alcohol tinge.

Drinkability – I enjoy these types of big, strong ales with lots of character, but this is not for the novice beer drinker. Buy this one for a change of pace.

Update – I sat down to review this again the week of Christmas 2004 and, guess what, it hasn’t changed a bit. The nose is big sherry-infused oak, the taste is high-octane malts with a plethora of fruits, and the finish keeps you wanting for more. It is one of my favorite beer styles.

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Photo of jcalabre
2.65/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I originally sampled this beer on 5 April 2003. I am writing this review from my notes. This bottle was vintage (hoppage?) November 2001.
Cloudy reddish brown color w/ nearly no head. In fact, the head was more like you'd see on a soft drink. A rather woody/herbal nose w/ a big alcohol taste on the tongue. Nothing spectacular, especially when you try their Poseidon & Leviathan

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.59/5  rDev +14.2%
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 Bighuge
4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Old Woody. The Big Woody. Unfortunately, I left myself with nothing. I used up all my symbolic sexual references and innuendos a couple reviews ago on DEUS.

This beer shows a nice deep scarlet red hue. Very slight chill haze is noted. A nice looking thick and creamy light beige head sits on top of the beer and sticks around for a while. Great retention. ( I wouldn't expect anything less from a beer named Woody.) The lace coats the glass in sheets. Aroma is primarily sweet. There are also subtle hints of cherry, wood and bourbon. The mouthfeel of this beer is very smooth. Velvety. Body is about medium-full. The taste is unique for an Old Ale. The aging in wine barrels really adds some woody and oaky/bourbon-like/winey notes to the beer. The alcohol presence is fairly blunt. A little too much for my liking, but acceptable. The aftertaste is primarily that of sharp bitterness from the EtOH. With a lingering hop presence as well. The meat of the flavor profile is a sweet, fruity, alcohol driven blend. Not a bad beer. But not one I'd buy for that price again. Aging might do wonders for this beer.

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

On the pour a stuporous mahogany, the head dinosauric in size, creamy texture, the color a winsome light tan, as the head vaporizes, the lace formed makes a nice sealing sheet upon the glass. The aroma of oak evident, bubble gum, sweet malt, fresh and woodsy? Cloyingly sweet at the start, thickly malt, top is middling in feel, the finish, vinous, tart, the hops pertinent in their spiciness, moderately acidic,
the aftertaste quite dry and a bit alcohol bitter, a nice belly warming feel also present. I’m really not sure what to make of this beer, may need to age a few and re-rate, good but different for sure.

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Old Woody from Fish Brewing Company / Fishbowl Brewpub
4.02 out of 5 based on 108 ratings.
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