Beer Profile: Ithaca Brewing’s Old Habit (Excelsior)

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Profiled by Maria Devan for PGA

This beer poured a murky dark brown with a thin loose head of foam that fell before I even picked up the glass.

Nose is lovely. Mellow and spicy rye. Deep but not too bold. A light airy wood and a modest sweet whiskey. Dry dark fruit like raisins, nuts and a touch of expansive malt sweetness like toffee and caramel. A fragrant bit of vanilla and I can’t wait to taste this.

Taste is lovely. Spicy rye that has become modest with a bit of age and from the oak barrel. Deep and tall rye flavor that is not unbounded like most rye ales but rather proper and containing all it’s loveliness so that you can have it but so that it does not overrun the other flavors. A touch of smooth vanilla and airy wood. A surprise in some brilliant tart cherry. The cherry really enlivens the palate and lets you taste all the malt sweetness by contrast. The mouthfeel is surprisingly light with some tiny prickly bubbles in the finish. A small warming form the alcohol Smooth and very mellow.

This one awesome beer.

4.5

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Welcome to the PGA beer rating system: one beer “Don’t bother.” Two: Eh, if someone gives it to you, drink. Three: very good, go ahead and seek it out, but be aware there is at least one problem. Four: seek it out. Five: pretty much “perfecto.”

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meMaria Devan lives in Ithaca, NY and is frequent reviewer of beer and a beer lover deluxe.