Old Ale

Recipes:
2,916
BJCP 2021:
17B
Era:
Traditional
Origin:
🇬🇧 Great Britain
Fermentation:
Top
Conditioning:
Aged
Color:
Amber
Strength:
High
Taste:
Malty

Profile

Old Ale is a traditional English beer that embodies a rich history in British brewing. These beers were often aged before consumption, leading to a variety of complex flavors. Historically, they may have been considered "stock" ales – meaning they were laid down for extended aging, much like wine or whiskey today.

Old Ales are typically dark amber to very dark reddish-brown in color and can be quite hazy if unfiltered, which is often the case given their heritage and historical brewing techniques. They exhibit low to moderate head retention with an off-white color that complements the deeper tones of the beer itself. Flavor and aroma profiles of Old Ales are driven by malt complexity with deep notes of caramel, toffee, molasses, nuttiness, and possibly chocolate or roast – although any roasted character is usually subdued. Fruity esters can add layers of flavor reminiscent of dried fruits such as raisins or prunes. Hop bitterness balances the malt richness without overpowering it, while hop flavors and aromas tend to be minimal to medium at most. The extended aging of Old Ales may also impart oxidative notes that resemble the distinguished flavors of aged Sherry, Port or Madeira wines.

Old Ales are connected to other styles through their traditional origins and similar brewing practices; for example, they share a kinship with English Barley Wines due to high alcohol content and significant malt character but are generally less intense in both aspects. Moreover, they might bear resemblance to some stronger Milds or even some less assertive Stouts that focus on malt complexity over hop presence or yeast-driven characteristics.

Specifications

Alcohol

Specification
5.5 – 9.0 %

In Database
4.9 < 7.0 < 9.7 %

Bitterness

Specification
30 – 60 IBU

In Database
20 < 40 < 67 IBU

Color

Specification
20 – 43 EBC
10 – 22 SRM

In Database
15 < 35 < 50 EBC
8 < 18 < 25 SRM

Original Extract

Specification
13.5 – 20.9 °P
1.055 – 1.088 OG

In Database
12.3 < 17.3 < 23.1 °P
1.050 < 1.071 < 1.098 OG

Final Gravity

Specification
3.8 – 5.6 °P
1.015 – 1.022 FG

In Database
2.3 < 4.6 < 7.1 °P
1.009 < 1.018 < 1.028 FG

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