Improved Old Fashioned

New York
United States
Brooklyn Brewery Improved Old Fashioned beer
Judges Ratings 
1 Review
92
Aroma:
23 / 24
Flavor:
37 / 40
Appearance:
5 / 6
Mouthfeel:
9 / 10
Overall Impression:
18 / 20
Description 

Here at Brooklyn Brewery, we are, of course, beer people. But we are also “drinks people,” and many inspirations come to us out of the deep and wondrous world of cocktails. While surely invented earlier, the modern cocktail emerged in the 19th century. The original—the ur-cocktail, if you will—was the Old Fashioned. A deceptively simple drink consisting of whiskey, sugar, and bitters (stirred, not shaken), usually with a bit of citrus peel, a good Old Fashioned remains a thing of austere beauty. By the 1860s, some bartenders, Jerry Thomas (aka "The Professor") chief among them, became household names in America. A mixologist (believe it or not, the moniker is actually old) looking to make a name for himself would often make a change to an existing cocktail, perhaps adding absinthe, or curaçao, or a dash of maraschino liqueur. This new version would be rakishly referred to as “improved,” as the upstart barman fervently hoped to eclipse his predecessor.

Well, we’ve gone this idea one better. We have “improved” the Old Fashioned by making it into a beer. Witness our strong rye beer, suffused with various spices and peels! Wonder at its long blissful rest in WhistlePig Rye Whiskey oak barrels! Marvel at its clever infusions of bitter gentian root and enticing botanicals! And then enjoy, as you are greeted by the silky spice of rye, the firm herbal bitterness, the brightness of citrus, and the sweet warmth of oak. Sit in your favorite chair, surround yourself with your favorite people, and imbibe this, our latest Brooklyn Quarterly Experiment. We can nearly guarantee that you shall feel that your day has, in fact, improved.

Given this beer’s higher ABV and sturdy character, we think it’s a prime candidate for cellaring. Find a cool, dry spot away from light sources, and see how it changes in the years to come. You never quite know what will happen when you age a beer: perhaps the body will smooth out, notes of vanilla, oak, and tannins will come to the front, or hints of leather and soy sauce will make themselves known. No matter what, remember that beer is meant for drinking, so don’t keep it to yourself for too long.

Profile

ABV: 
12.8%
Hops: 
Perle
Malts: 
Glen Eagle Maris Otter, Canadian Two-Row, Weyermann Rye, Fawcett Rye, Fawcett Crystal Rye
Judges Review 
Rodney A. Tillinghast's picture
Judges Rating:
92
Aroma:
23 / 24
Appearance:
5 / 6
Flavor:
37 / 40
Mouthfeel:
9 / 10
Overall Impression:
18 / 20

This complex, vinous beer opened up initially with significant amounts of lemon zest, clove and a touch of Angostura bitter aromas. It was also underpinned with cinnamon and star anise. The brew poured a very murky brown, with a quickly dissipating head and very limited carbonation. Upon sampling, a firm amount of bready flavors were detected, intermixed with ginger along with a very pleasant vanilla/oak sweetness. The wood character of the beer continued into the finish, where it lent a nice creamy softness to it, aiding with the drinkability of this fairly high-ABV beer (12.8%). The multi-layered approach to the spicing of this beer was quite impressive, and balanced nicely with the effects from barrel-aging, making this a fine dessert beer.