English-Style Old Ale

Old ale generally refers to dark, malty beers in England with an ABV of above 5%. They undergo a long aging process, which gives them many wine-like characters. These craft beers have a light amber to dark reddish-brown appearance, with a noticeably sweet and malty aroma accompanied by fruity ester hints. Coffee, nuts, and alcohol may also linger in the background. Typical English-style old ales have a robust malt character with some nutty or caramel-like hints. Mild roast and chocolate flavors are also present. The complexity, acidity, and sweetness of these classic ales make them attractive to many younger drinkers who now fancy original barrel-aged stouts.

History of the English-Style Old Ale

It is widely believed that old ales came about during the Industrial Revolution when there were no reliable ways of keeping beer cool for long periods. As such, there was a lot of tinkering with storage options. It was soon discovered that storage in oak barrels did a yeoman’s job of preserving the beer in a unique way, causing it to develop several distinct characteristics that could only be attributed to the barrels or pitching yeast.

Brewers then discovered the time factor relevant in making proper old ale and invested heavily in mild ales that they would turn into old age through lengthy storage to sell at a higher price. Eventually, these brewers decided to retain some of the secrets of the barrel at their breweries, selling them in pubs to a presumably grateful public. Today, old ales are still stored in barrels or casks and vats and remain a favourite among beer drinkers.

Enjoying Your English-Style Old Ale

This authentic English-style craft beer reportedly hits the spot when enjoyed with roast beef and lamb, cheeses like blue or white Stilton, Yorkshire pudding, pork chops, honey-baked ham, and bread pudding. You can also enjoy your old age beer in a lovely pint to relish the exclusive taste of this classic beer.