Old ales were a blend of what is considered an English Mild and Stock ale. Stock ale was a beer brewed at the end of the brew season. Typically the brewing season was suspended during the warm summer months due to unfavorable fermentation temperatures. This led to brewing higher alcohol content beers that could withstand aging in barrels. The Stock, or Strong ale was then back blended with a Mild ale. The term Mild during the time was meant to indicate that it was a young or un-aged beer. Not necessarily an indication of strength of alcohol. The practice of blending was common practice during the rise of British brewing in the first half of the eighteenth century. The Old ale and blending tradition was vital in the beginning stages of what we consider modern day Porters.
I fell in love with Old ales when I first tried a Fuller “Vintage Ale”. After discovering the style, I dove in, and was captivated. Thomas Hardy’s, and J. W. Lees were enchanting, fascinating, boozy and highly cellarable. Costly and hard to find, these beers made me hunt for anything that resembled an Old ale. That’s when I discovered a new breed of Old ale. Enter Old Jubilation from Avery and Hibernation from Great Divide. Hoppier, but yet they were still defined versions of the beer style.
I soon began trying to meld both the newer hoppier style with the more traditional British Old Ales. Using notes of a robust Porter, blended with the malty sweetness of a Wee Heavy and acidifying my sparge water with lactic acid. This brew is the culmination of past explorations into this beer style.
Style – Old Ale
IBU’s – 34
ABV – 6.2%
Hops – Northern Brewer
Malts – Maris Otter, Vienna, Munich, Crystal 60, Chocolate, De-Bittered Black Malt, Roasted Barley, Flaked Oats, and Flaked Wheat.
Appearance – Bronzed dark brown with fiery magenta highlights. The head is a beautiful shade of golden beige reminiscent of chocolate mousse.
Smell – Malt-dominant, with hints of chocolate and roasted nuts. Large doses of molasses and brown sugar to finish with earthy notes from the hops.
Taste – At first blush there are notes of roasted coffee and a chocolate malty-ness, along with figs, dates and tart apples. Mid palate receives doses of caramel, molasses, and a nutty bready-ness like roasted walnuts. As the beer finishes, the hops make an earthy presence to help cleanse the palate.
Mouth feel – Smooth with a thick body, medium carbonation.
Food Pairings - Our wings, The Malay Chicken Pizza, Fish and Chips
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