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n the late 1800s, a traveler was making his way to Tampa. It was getting dark and he decided to take a shortcut through the woods in order to reach his hotel in the city before nightfall. As the sun set, he found himself in the middle of the dark woods. He camped for the evening and made a fire. As he settled in, he noticed a light approaching from the depths of the forest. He took shelter to avoid being seen by potential thieves. A dark figure emerged from the woods carrying a large black cauldron and a heavy burlap sack. The figure placed the cauldron over the fire and added strange substances to the pot. Soon, an enticing chocolate aroma permeated the campsite and the hiding traveler became more intrigued but was still afraid to be seen. Suddenly, the figure reached into the burlap sack and tossed mysterious pinecone-shaped vegetation into the cauldron, which began to froth excitedly, emitting aromas of molasses and blackberry. The figure leaned over the kettle and inhaled deeply, enjoying the boiling concoction. Finally, he raised his hands and uttered an other-wordly incantation in a disconnected language that the man could not identify. Tree limbs levitated from the dark woods and into the pot, stirring and infusing with the dark liquid inside. Suddenly there was a brilliant flash of light and the traveler lost consciousness. He awoke as the sun was rising across the sky and small beams of light permeated the forest. The dark figure was gone and all that was left was a strange urn resting by the campsite. The writing on the urn proclaimed, “THE DARK WOODS.”

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 undergo an aging process (often for years) on their yeast either in bulk storage or through conditioning in the bottle, which contributes to a rich, wine-like and often sweet oxidation character. Complex estery characters may also emerge. Some very low diacetyl character may be evident and acceptable. Wood aged characters such as vanillin and other woody characters are acceptable. Horsey, goaty, leathery and phenolic character evolved from Brettanomyces organisms and acidity may be present but should be at low levels and balanced with other flavors Residual flavors that come from liquids previously aged in a barrel such as bourbon or sherry should not be present. Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures. (This style may often be split into two categories, strong and very strong. Brettanomyces organisms and acidic characters reflect historical character. Competition organizers may choose to distinguish these types of old ale from modern versions.)

Brewery: Cigar City Brewing

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