Old Izaak AleNovember 1, 2001 Hartington, Derbyshire, England
Whim Ales Hartington, Derbyshire, England Ellicott City, MD Available: AK, CA, CO, CT, DE, DC, FL, IA, ID, IL, IN, KY, MA, MD, MI, NE, NC, NJ, NY, OH, OR, PA, SC, TN, TX, VA, WI This traditional English ale is named for Dr. Izaak Walton, who often fished on the river Dove, on which Whim Ales was built, and he wrote what is believed to be the first book on the art and sport of rod fishing, The Compleat Angler. The brewery itself takes its name from a horse powered device called the “whim” which was used to raise and lower miners from the old lead mines which operated in Derbyshire many years ago. ABW: 4.1 Color: n/a Bitterness: 35-40 Gravity: 1052
Wonderfully rich and caramelly without being cursed by the dread diactyl ester which often accompanies that flavor. This is one tasty glass of beer. It acts “heavy” without being heavy, but is rather smooth and laid back with an inviting mellowness. Izaac would have loved this brew, even if he never learned to spell “complete.” It is quite refreshing and with a great hop complement to warm the palate. A fisherman’s tale to be sure.
- Fred Eckhardt
A big tan head leaps up out of the russet-brown liquid and stands firm. The aroma is malty, with some earthy hops and a hint of sherry. Very light on the palate, it skirts across supported by restrained but well-defined bitterness, showing a bit of caramel and coffee along the way. It finishes clean and quite dry. Though it says that it’s a “traditional English ale,” it’s hard to pin down. It doesn’t remind me of any English brown ales I’ve had. Perhaps a bottled mild? Pleasant and fairly versatile with food, especially grilled or roasted meats.
- Garrett Oliver
Huge head, well retained. Mahogany color. Fresh strawberries-and-cream aroma. Liqueur-ish and creamy. Softly drinkable, with nutty flavors and a perfect balance of late fruity dryness. The name suggests a much richer, stronger beer, but this product does represent one typical approach to the style old ale in England. This type of old ale perfectly illustrates the British brewers’ genius in getting quite a lot of character out of a beer that is modest in gravity and alcohol.
- Michael Jackson
Fred Eckhardt lives, writes about and drinks beer in Portland, OR. He is the author of The Essentials of Beer Style and Saké.
Internationally recognized brewer and expert on traditional beer, Garrett Oliver is the brewmaster of the Brooklyn Brewery and the author of The Brewmaster's Table.
Author of Ultimate Beer, the Simon & Schuster Guide to Beer and numerous other works on drinks, Jackson has created legions of converts to fine beer.