Old Ale

Dark Amber to brown in color, old ales are medium to full bodied with a malty sweetness. Hop aroma should be minimal and flavor can vary from none to medium in character intensity. Fruity-ester flavors and aromas can contribute to the character of this ale. Bitterness should be minimal but evident and balanced with malt and/or caramel like sweetness. Alcohol types can be varied and complex. A distinctive quality of these ales is that they all undergo a prolonged aging process (often for years) on their yeast either in bulk storage or through conditioning in the bottle, which contributes to a rich, often sweet and complex estery character. This process often softens the perceived bitterness. Some oxidation and diacetyl character may be evident and acceptable. Oak aged character is acceptable. Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures.


  • 12 ounces 55 L British crystal malt

  • 4 ounces torrified wheat

  • 3 ounces British chocolate malt

  • 6-1/2 pounds light DME

  • 1/2 pound Belgian clear candi sugar

  • 1/2 pound dark brown sugar

  • 4 ounces golden syrup

  • 1 ounce Northern Brewer hops

  • 2 ounces Fuggles hops

  • 1 teaspoon Irish moss

  • Wyeast 1084 Irish ale yeast

  • 1-1/4 cup extra light DME


  1. Place the crushed specialty grains in a nylon hop bag and steep them in 1 gallon of preheated 150 water for 30 minutes.

  2. Drain and discard the spent grains.

  3. Bring at least 3 gallons of liquor to a boil, remove the brew kettle from the heat source then stir in the extract, the candi sugar, the brown sugar, the golden syrup and the Northern Brewer hops.

  4. Return the brew kettle to the heat source and boil for 45 minutes, then add 1/2 ounce of the Fuggles hops and the Irish moss.

  5. Boil for an additional 13 minutes, then add another 1/2 ounce of the Fuggles hops.

  6. Boil for an additional 2 minutes, then remove the brew kettle from the heat source, cover it and drop the temperature of the wort as quickly as possible to 77 F.

  7. Once the wort has cooled to below 77 F, take an original gravity reading, pour the wort into a primary fermenter through a funnel with a strainer and add enough cool water to create 5 gallons.

  8. Once the wort has been transferred to the primary fermenter, pitch the yeast, stir the wort vigorously, seal the fermenter with an airlock and ferment at approximately 68-72 F for 1 week.

  9. Rack the beer to a secondary fermenter, dry-hop the remaining 1 ounce of Fuggles hops and allow the beer to finish fermentation.

  10. Once fermentation is complete, rack the beer to a bottling bucket, prime with the extra-light DME and bottle and condition as usual.

Copyright 2007 © Lehigh Valley Homebrewers. All rights reserved.