Ithaca Beer Company Excelsior Old Habit

Picked up this bottle of Ithaca Beer Company’s Excelsior Old Habit soley based on the label.  I knew nothing about this beer before I bought it at Beers of the World in Rochester.  The label describing it as aged in Oak Barrels.  I have a weakness for barrel aged beers; love the woody characteristics a beer can pick up.intica_oldhabit1

Ithica Beer Company describes this beer

Excelsior Old Habit is our hefty Rye Ale brewed with four different Rye Malts (American, British, British Crystal Rye, and German Chocolate Rye) comprising 40% of the Grist….it takes two mashes to avoid disaster (yes, we learned this the hard way). We age it for no fewer than eight months in Rye Whiskey barrels from the Heaven Hill Distillery (used to make their Rittenhouse Rye, a Pennsylvania style Whiskey). It also gets a healthy dose of American C-hops and is 100% bottle-conditioned.

We’re really proud of this beer, and I think it’s a departure from a lot of the other barrel-aged beers out there, as it’s not very dark and carries a spicy whiskey note that bourbon barrels just don’t have. Add in the viscosity of the rye and the mouthfeel fools you into expecting a sweet finish….nope. Very well-attenuated.


This beer is a deep chestnut color with a big thick amber head.  When I opened the beer, it foamed out all over the place, sign of a well bottle fermented beer.  Check out the video.  Luckily i din’t loose to much of the beer.  The head held up very well, clinging to the side of the glass creating some great lacing.


Right out of the bottle you can smell the oak and whiskey, past that there is a earthy spiced maltiness.  The rye in this beer really worked in harmony with the whiskey giving a real Rye Whiskey aroma.  This beer had an amazing aroma that warms you.



Ithaca Beer Co Old Habit

A very tasty beer, the whiskey is a compliment to the flavor of the beer; not the dominant flavor as I’ve experienced in many other beers.  This beer almost borders on a stout with it’s flavors, but is a bit lighter in color. The whiskey, rye, oak, and maltiness all come together very cohesively.

Glassware: Goblet

Calories: at 9% abv this would have about 275-300 calories per 12oz serving (Calorie Chart)

Overall Impression:

A very heady beer, the 9% abv on this beer went straight to my head.  But it is also a very delicious beer, great balance of strong, rich flavors makes this a very enjoyable beer and one I wish I had another to keep around for another year.


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5 Responses to “Ithaca Beer Company Excelsior Old Habit”

  1. Blake Says:

    I think this may be one of the next beers I pick up. I’ve really enjoyed a few of the other beers Ithaca makes, and seeing how I’m on a mini rye-kick at the moment… serendipity.

  2. Simply Beer Says:

    I know what you mean, Blake. I’ve been lovin’ the rye’s and roggenbier of late. This beer was especially good. I hope I can track some down again.

  3. Daniel Sroka Says:

    You know, I am always impressed by your choices of glassware. Do you have a place that you recommend where I could pick some up? (I tried Gary’s but they didn’t have many options.) Any place online? And what styles do you recommend having? (This could make an interesting post.)

  4. Simply Beer Says:

    Daniel, I just get them when I find cool glass I don’t have. I have a sh*t load of glasses. The ones I’ve been using lately, like in this picture, are “goblets” from target. I’ve ordered classes from restaurant supply. Libby makes a whole bunch of glasses like the tulip ones I use. I also get them from beer dinners and other tastings.

  5. uberVU - social comments Says:

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

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