Antiquity Old Ale

Antiquity Old Ale
1 22 oz bottle, $7.49++, 7.2% ABV

Purchased at Worldwide Wine & Spirits, Southington

antiquietySo, yeah.

Here I am. Sitting here drinking a rather terrible (non-Relic) imperial stout. It tastes like the sole of an old rubber shoe. I won’t let it color my review of this very unique, rather good Relic offering.

If you are the one person in the future for as long as I pay the bills to keep this website alive who decided to read my Relic reviews top to bottom, you may find it interesting that this is the first one I ever wrote. And (as of now) it’s the first on my (alphabetical) list.

There I was, 2 years into drinking Relic’s creations when I finally decided to get cracking and start reviewing. (I jotted down notes for each one when I uploaded the pictures, don’t fret. This isn’t completely made up. Only partly.)

So it’s kind of cool that I’m reviewing an “old ale” named “Antiquity” such a long time after actually drinking it. But this review gets even better in a minute…

Relic Says:

Blend of traditional English barleys, combined with Fuggles hops to create a malty, earthy concoction with hints of molasses, brown sugar & toffee.

Here’s the thing about Relic and the creative genius slash wildman head brewer and owner, Mark Sigman: The bottle of Antiquity I had when I took this picture was different from the batch of Antiquity I had a year (or so) prior. That’s Relic. That’s what you love – or maybe hate – about Relic.

I happen to love it. I love that the first Antiquity I had was a bit resinous and had maybe too much molasses and crystal malts. A little too thick and sweet. I love that the second batch had decidedly less of that, and more of the earthy plums and raisins that were able to shine a bit more within the malty backbone. Gone were some of the cloying sugars from before.

I rather liked this effort. I definitely got the plums and raisins in the malt. No hop bitterness at all (not the point) and the right amount of sweetness. Get used to this: A unique beer from Relic that dances on the edge of “too much” but steers clear of that.

ANTIQrBy the way, the style “old ale” doesn’t really mean all that much. It is a term commonly applied to dark and malty English beers with slightly higher ABV’s. And the Antiquity here fulfills that with English barley and hops and traditional additives like molasses.

This is, I think, the only Old Ale style brewed in Connecticut. It’s certainly new to me… but then when I think about it, almost everything Relic does is “new to me” because Relic does things differently. Again, that’s what you love – or maybe hate – about Relic.

[The Relic story will play out over the course of the other reviews. Like how Mark loves the Belgian yeasts of farmhouse brews and likes to impart their flavor into many beers that don’t traditionally have those flavors. Like how I personally prefer Relic’s dark offerings to their light ones – but a few of the most experience beer guys I know (I mean that in a worldly sense, not an alcoholic sense) love, love, love the whole yeast/saison/farmhouse thing.]

Will Mark brew Antiquity again? Probably. Does anyone know when? Nope. Does Mark? Highly doubtful.

This. Is. Fun.

A final note: Relic consistently has some of the best labeling you’ll find anywhere. My pictures don’t ever do them justice – they are beautiful and never follow the same template as a previous bottle. I would seriously put the body of Relic’s label art up against any brewery’s in the world. I mean that for serious realsies.

Overall Rating: B
Rating vs. Similar style: n/a

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One response to “Antiquity Old Ale”

  1. Adam says:

    Just so you know, the reason you apparently like Relic’s dark beers more than their light is that every one of the beers is infected. Mark’s “farmhouse” slant is pure bullcrap, used to cover the fact that he has a wild yeast problem that he has no apparent ability to eliminate. The dark beers cover up the problem better, so that the distinct Band-Aid and chemical qualities are more hidden. Not so coincidentally, wild yeast also ferments more thoroughly than brewer’s yeast, ergo the more dry and less sweet characteristics found in the second batch of Antiquity. Top Shelf has a similar problem, and in fact I see no discernible difference between the quality of the two breweries’ products (artwork obviously notwithstanding). I am only writing this so that you don’t lose your credibility as a rater. I do, however, think Antiquity is one of Mark’s recipes. I just wish he’d figure out how to clean his equipment and manage his yeast properly.

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