The New Old...

Old Ale is based on one of Adnams' oldest beer recipes, dating back to 1890. It is traditionally brewed in the winter months and is available in cask from October to January each year. Until now, you have only been able to take that experience home in 8-pint mini kegs, but Adnams has now released this fruity favourite in bottles.

"It’s really exciting to be able to add some longevity to this much-loved seasonal cask release. As the nights roll in, so do the questions from customers, asking when they can grab some. It’s looking and tasting great and we can’t wait to see their reaction to finding their favourite in bottle for the first time ever,” said Fergus Fitzgerald, Head Brewer.

Adnams Head of Design, Jess Turner added: “In more recent years, we didn’t bottle all of our seasonal beers and although the recipe has been around for over a hundred years, Old has never been bottled as Old Ale until now.

“There appears to have been a sharing of imagery across a number of brands in the past, so when Old Ale was refreshed in 2014 it took ownership of that heritage. We drew inspiration from the jolly gentleman on those labels and pump clips, but made Old feel new by lightening the colours, cleaning up the lines and giving him a modern, coastal feel. We’re looking forward to seeing it on the shelves.”

A taste of the past

Old Ale’s style is akin to a strong mild. It is brewed with East Anglian Pale Ale malt, Crystal malted barley and First Gold hops and has that warming fireside glow about it. It’s dark reddish brown in colour with an aroma of caramel and nutty chocolate. The toffee and chocolate also come through on the palate along with hints of liquorice and red fruits, all balanced by a smooth bitterness.

Fergus Fitzgerald, Head Brewer said: “The brewing team look forward to making Old Ale, just as much as our customers look forward to drinking it. Hops play second fiddle to malt and we use Crystal, so there’s lots of toffee and liquorice in there. It’s sweet, with just the right amount of mild bitterness to cleanse the palate and make room for the next sip.”

The Old, Old...

Old Ales have a long and distinguished heritage. It is a term traditionally applied to strong, dark, malty beers and has been known to describe bottle conditioned ‘stock ales,’ or ‘keeping ales,’ which were beers held in a pub or brewery to mature and age. In doing so, they strengthened, and their flavour and complexity developed, particularly fruity esters and sometimes a hint of sourness.

Historically, old ales were served as a ‘boost’ to mild ales and were supplemented according to taste. This practice began in pubs and was later picked up by breweries who wanted in on the action. They stored and sometimes blended beers to add some ‘old’ character to the new.

Breweries such as Adnams and Harveys of Lewes produced a lighter style of old ale, almost replicating the flavours customers were trying to achieve as they sat at the bar with draught and bottle. They offer a tantalising taste of the past. Mild, with that big malt background, yet fruit forward and refreshing on the finish. Just perfect for autumn onwards.

The Facts:

  • Style: Old Ale
  • ABV: 4.1%
  • IBU: 24
  • Malt: Pale Ale and Crystal Malt
  • Hops: First Gold
  • Taste: A traditional winter warmer with flavours of fruit, roasted grains, and a touch of caramel.
  • You can now get Old Ale in new 500ml bottles in-store and online here and can also be found in 8-pint mini kegs in Adnams stores.