Old ales are ones that used to be aged for long periods of time several hundreds of years ago. The name Old Ale was just that, old, matured ale. So it isn't out of the ordinary to sit on bottles of Old Ale and see how they develop over time because they were initially brewed for such an act.

The aroma has a lot of character with dark fruit, raisin, some fig, and leather. Even though the beer wasn't barrel aged, there is a bit of old soaked wood and a hint of the sweeter side of brandy. The hops aren't noticeable and sweet malts dominate in the nose.

The taste has a ton of sweetness with caramel and toffee with a bit of raisin in the back. The booze from the 11.7% ABV tag has subsided a lot but is still detectable. This is a malt bomb at this point as the hops have been doing their job to preserve, but have definitely faded out of the flavor.

As the beer warms, the caramel notes start to overpower anything else in the taste. Rich, creamy sweetness takes over while leaving all other flavors in subtly.

This brew has a very sticky, medium body to it that almost comes across as full and thick due to the sweetness. There is a bit of oxidation which would be expected but doesn't kill this beer. It is kind of a throwback to the older times with the true English old ales being aged and consumed after years of maturing. Having this beer after 2 and 3 years old, I wasn't as impressed with how the flavor was holding up, but now after 4 years, this has started to shine a new light. Very interested to see what even more time will do to this brew. This is a fun one.


Our CELLARED series aims to explore the world of aging beer and sharing the effects of time in the bottle. Bottles have been kept away from light and at temperatures between 44-60 degrees. Individual experiences may vary depending on storage environments.

Posted on March 28, 2014 .