Old Woody | Fish Brewing Company / Fishbowl Brewpub

98 Reviews
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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Reviews: 98 | Ratings: 107
Photo of woemad
4.12/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle purchased at Huckleberry's in Spokane in either August or September. I forget what I paid for it. Consumed to celebrate my having turned in my MA thesis this morning. Anybody hiring historians that don't have their PhDs?

Poured what appeared to be a dark brown until I held it up to the light, the discovered it was actually a very dark amber. Tight, yet creamy looking head that disappeared quickly. Very slight, wispy lace. Didn't seem to have much carbonation at all.

Smell was of toffee, dried cherries, bready malts and brown sugar. This smelled quite tasty!

Taste didn't quite measure up to the smell, but was still quite good. While they are first in the batting order, the sweet aspects of the taste are well balanced by the bitter, dry flavors. The finish is pleasingly roasty and dry. There is a powerful alcohol presence that is just beneath the surface of this one!

This is a thick beer with very little carbonation. I don't drink very many old ales, so I don't really have an opinion on what the mouthfeel of one should be like.

This is a very tasty, complex beer that could kick your ass if you're not careful with it. I find it a very nice beer to quaff after an exceedingly long day (stayed up all night finishing my thesis, went to school & dropped it of, went to work, didn't get off work until 1AM!), but I think I'd have to decline a second one (just go ahead and offer me one - I dare ya...well, ok, if you insist...;)

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Photo of stirgy
4.47/5  rDev +11.2%
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 aracauna
3.6/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This one pours a hazy dark brown with a sizeable, creamy off-white/cream head. The aroma is fairly vinous and creates an almost whiskey-like aroma from the malt and alcohol. The barleywine like fruitiness also adds to the impression of strength, without any actual alcohol flavors. The wine in the flavor is actually a little off-putting to me, but it’s a complex beer that deserves a try.

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Photo of ZAP
4.54/5  rDev +12.9%
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 mikeys01
4.32/5  rDev +7.5%
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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Photo of oberon
4.19/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2003 12oz bottle,pours a deep brown with almost no head to speak of,aolt of great aromas going on some caramel,dried fruit,even some cinnamon.Big and complex in the different flavors starts out sweet and caramelly some dried fruit with an underlying woodiness with a nice dry earth finish.Alot of complexities still could age another year I think but still a very nice sipping old ale from the northwest.

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Photo of meathookjones
4.22/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This was from a 12oz 2003bottle sampled on 12/15/04. With a fairly vigorous pour no head emerge just a few random bubbles over a murky brownish amber body. Aroma is very earthy, ripe dark fruits and nice malty sweetness to it. There are strong notes of smokiness and a wood in the nose as well. The flavor was heavily sweet and smoky which seemed to balance out fairly well over an earthy hop bitterness. There are woody notes as you would expect and a slight noticeable alcohol presence. Notes of dark fruits were there also and this ends on a sweet and fruity tart note. Mouthfeel is pretty good with almost a full feel to it that is a but syrupy sticky. Pretty good drinkability too on this interesting brew. Overall the flavors meld well together forming a pretty unique brew.

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Photo of lou91
3.77/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

November 2001 Vintage in 750ml. Poured dark and nearly still looking like a stale cola - dark brown with some ruby hints. The nose was great, especially if you like oak which was smack dab in the middle. The taste was oak, sweet sherry and dried orange peel in a rather light body. It is very easy to drink meaning the alcohol is not evident but it may need some food to compliment the unique tastes as the label suggests. I've had their Barleywine and Imperial Stout aged in oak and both work better than an Old Ale. I can't remember what this tastes like fresh but aging is not a major help.

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Photo of Crosling
4.33/5  rDev +7.7%
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 beerceller99
4.12/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle from 2003. Pours a dark red - brown color with minimal head. Strong alcohol aroma with a slight caramel sweetness. Medium bodied with light carbonation.Has a strong sweet malt, smokiness dominating the flavor. Hops are notable only in their absence. Finishes nicely dry with a strong alcohol taste on the breath.

A pretty good brew for the colder months.

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Photo of MrNuggets
4.33/5  rDev +7.7%
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 RenoZymurgist
3.24/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured a dark cloudy Brown ale with no attempt at forming a head let alone retaining it. Aroma is very sweet and malty with a strong alcoholic presence. The flavor began with a sweet malt flavor that quickly segued into a smoky flavor with a piney almost minty hop bitterness. I did not like this beeras much as the Fish Tale IPA but it still had qualities about it that were outstanding. The flavor may have been off but the body is very nice as it has a semi-thick viscous texture without overwhelming the drinker. The body allows the flavors to be conveyed more smoothly than a higher bodied beer while the carbonation is mild enough to not contribute any carbonic bite. Overall this beer has aspects of it which are ideal while it is also in need of a little fine tuning.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.02/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle, courtesy of whoever tavernjef got it from...; )
Dark ruby color, brief beige head.
Ah, but the aroma is a lovely thing to give one pause, deep, fruity, cherries, berries, with a definite alcoholic kick, bit of a brandy feel, bright, yet medicinal. Smooth and fully flavored entry on the palate, woody flavor really comes through in the taste, still fruity, still boozy. Pungent, poignant, and powerful.
Firmly on the side of tasty, but not yet entering into delicousville.
the 10% is masked very well, not felt too keenly.
Overall, a really nice, tangy, solid old ale, tast-eee!
much thanks to mr. fisheads!

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Photo of tavernjef
4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This tree hugger likes the name and the label. 2003 bottle shared with feloniousmonk from weefisheads -Dark yellowy reddish brown with a burnt edge to its body, small biege head emerged quickly and fades out just as quickly. Lacing in glaring spots. Aroma has some dark cherry right away, other dark fruits emerge gradually with some fig, dates and darkened citrus. Caramel and toffee notes hide underneath a bit of earthy wet woods. Some fairly apparent ethonal heat and even a bit of phenolic hints peep in as well. Taste has a nice toasty caramel overall. Warm, soothing, welcoming, first few sips, very gradually and subtle flavors creep across the palate with some slight dark citrus orangeness, some fig and cherry, also hints of pine wood from hops decorate the finish with some solid warming effects. Feel is about medium, well rounded, gets fuller towards the end, creamy with some fine warming qualities throughout each sip. A nice rendition of a Old Ale style, one I tend to favor more then the English variety.

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Photo of canucklehead
4.12/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a 2002 edition. The beer looks like boot polish but smells like a Belgian Pine forest if Belgian had pines. The flavour is vinous yet refined. I felt like Fish was trying to replicate a Gale's Old ale which is fine with me. This is a big beer and needs to be savoured after dinner with some strong cheeses. It is so cool that Fish produces a Barleywine and a Imperial Stout as well as this Old Ale. These guys are giving Rogue a run for the money as best PNW brewer.

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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 107 ratings.
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