Drake’s Olde AleMay 1, 2007
Sir Francis Drake was the English seadog that defeated the Spanish Armada during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. He would have struggled if he’d drunk too copiously of this literally stunning beer, 10.24% by volume and aged for 11 months in apple brandy casks. Ruby red, it has an enormous nose of vine fruits, smoky and oaky, with hints of licorice and molasses. The maltiness and fruitiness coat the tongue with a gentle hint of hops. The finish has welcome hop bitterness to counter the weight of malt and fruit. “Captain, are you sleeping down below?”
- Roger Protz
What a complex brew this is. The sparse head is talkative, but shy — not so the friendly wonderful brandy-edged nose; nor the taste, which is quite notable. Oh, it’s more than that it’s memorable!
- Fred Eckhardt
Deep and complex. Funky too. Notes of burnt dark pit fruit, oak-aged cider, molasses, and dates. Hints of leather, anise, unsweetened chocolate and plum skins. There’s a tannic finish that probably outstays its welcome. An interesting beer that, when shared with a friend or two, provides a few ounces of “what is it that I’m smelling and tasting” entertainment. The antithesis of the Tona beer also reviewed in this issue.
- John Hansell
Roger Protz is the author of Complete Guide to World Beer and 300 Beers to Try Before You Die. He is a respected beer authority and editor of the CAMRA Good Beer Guide.
Fred Eckhardt lives, writes about and drinks beer in Portland, OR. He is the author of The Essentials of Beer and Saké (USA).
John Hansell is an equal-opportunity drinker. He writes about beer, wine and spirits. He is the creator, publisher & editor of Malt Advocate, a magazine for the whisky enthusiast.
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