Royal Oak Pale Ale - O'Hanlon Brewing Co. Ltd.
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Ratings: 73 | Reviews: 59 | Display Reviews Only:
4.1/5 rDev +2.8%
Significantly murky apricot filled with a furious fusillade of frenetic carbonation. The orangish ivory head is Brobdingnagian in size, initially filling 95% of the glass and causing me to break off my pour almost before it began. This is a lively one, no doubt about it. The foam is as stiff as the Queen's upper lip and as it settles, interesting geologic formations take shape. It's sticky as well since a fair amount of lace ends up on the glass.
The nose is deeper and more complex than the run of the mill English pale ale nose. It lacks a corresponding power, though trying to take its measure through several inches of foam might have something to do with that. I smell herb-dusted orchard fruit that is more sour than it is sweet.
Thankfully, the deep and complex nose translates into a deep and complex flavor profile. It's more toasted than most, with hints of toffee and a definite, firm woodiness. I have no idea if Royal Oak ever spent time in oak--or any other wood for that matter--but it sure tastes like it.
This really is a supremely balanced ale, which would ordinarily cause me to complain about a relative lack of hoppiness. There's enough hop flavor to keep me quiet, although it is a bit lacking in the bitterness department. As in the nose, spicy-herbal-fruity hops are in the front seat, if not in the driver's seat. It's still more sour than sweet until the finish, when a modest sugary sweetness makes an appearance.
The body is medium-firm and fits the flavor well. Despite the appearance and the controlled explosion with each pour, the mouthfeel isn't all that fizzy. Oh it's energetic all right, but Ritalin won't be required.
Royal Oak is a solid English pale ale that is different enough and tasty enough to warrant its reputation. I don't believe that it's the best of this style that I've ever had, but it's among the leaders for damn sure. I'd love to taste it on-tap or on-cask, so that trip to England that my wife has been bugging me about for years may yet be in the offing.
05-24-2005 15:42:16 | More by BuckeyeNation
4/5 rDev +0.3%
Appearance: Volcanic opening of the bottle - it was still spuming even after half the liquid had been poured; pours a cloudy toffee brown color with a mountainous head that leaves lacing all over the glass and remains intact throughout the tasting
Smell: Pears and apples, leather and yeasty notes emerge from the brew
Taste: Starts out with an orchard fruit flavor with a touch of caramel; after the swallow, some earthy bitterness steps in along with some sour lemon flavors and mixes with some chocolate hints; the finish is long-lasting
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied but a bit too fizzy (the offset of the great visuals)
Drinkability: A very nice and distinctive effort that casts a vote for what's good about English brews; for those who are arguing that it is more an ESB than an English Pale, I disagree - according to the BJCP, English Pale is often considered to be the bottled version of ESB and this beer's abv and carbonation levels are too low and high, respectively, to fall squarely within the ESB category
(Best by 7/18/06 so I have a relatively fresh bottle thanks to the
dedicated efforts of Knightly Spirits in Orlando.)
05-06-2006 18:09:11 | More by brentk56
4.2/5 rDev +5.3%
Poures a deep orange with a big blooming head that sticks like glue to the glass,wow some intermingling of aromas here some herbal/grassy hop shows itself up front with biscuity malt aroma in the background that intertwinds very well with the herbalness.Wow the complexities to this rather "small" beer hop tilted very herbal and minty up front but very firm biscuity malt backbone with a hint of brown suger in the finish.Wow this has to rank as one of the best English ales I have had and this isnt even the original Eldridge Pope stuff man I would love this on cask I see alot more in my future.
02-17-2005 20:25:01 | More by oberon
3.98/5 rDev -0.3%
Okay I saw on the bottle now that I've already opened it BBD of 02/28/05!!?! So I was just gonna drink it & forego the review, nope this still acquit itself well (bottle conditioning helped, I'm sure!)
Pours tea colored with a fluffy of white head exceeding 4 fingers. Very good head retention & lacing
Smell: Fruitiness, brown sugar & honey
Taste: fruity, dry &slight floral/bitter hops taste. Finishes dry & fruitty
Slight syruppy feel, good carbonation, maybe skews a little dry to me...
Pretty drinkable, not ponderous, but flavorful. Would love to try a fresher bottle. As I recall this was very tasty on cask in devon & other parts of england (was made by a different brewer as I recall)
04-14-2006 03:33:13 | More by russpowell
3.93/5 rDev -1.5%
Royal Oak Pale Ale, brewed in Devon, full of legends and Parliaments, and kings, Cromwell's Roundheads, grilled meat and cheeseboard.
Opaque, dark amber hue, maybe maroon?, highly carbonated, with a big fizzy head that drizzles down quick.
Big cherry aroma, rich and malty, nice hops, rather mild, though. Sweet and serene. Nice.
Remains sweet and tasty on the tongue. Decent hops, not too large, but a neat, if mild little firedance in the mouth. Continues bitter and sweet throughout. Cherry flavor dominates.
Nice, but... Not one I'll return to, unless I get filthy rich sometime soon. Quite different from other british pale ales, perhaps overly carbonated, a little too much for my taste. Just not loving it. MEh.
09-06-2006 07:29:34 | More by feloniousmonk
4.03/5 rDev +1%
The beer pours a nice golden color with a thick frothy off-white head. The aroma is good. It has a nice pale malt scent with a wonderful array of citrousy aroma hops. The taste is good. It has a solid pale and light crystal malt palate. The citrous hops are present in the flavor and leave a slight aftertaste. It goes down smooth and finishes refreshing. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium bodied beer with good carbonation. This is a fine pale ale. It has good flavor and refreshing mouthfeel; a good drinker.
05-23-2004 01:40:55 | More by WesWes
3.88/5 rDev -2.8%
Best before 05/23/08:
Pours hazy amber with a thick off-white pillowy head that descends to a lasting creamy cover. Some traces of lacing stick.
The smell is of a cherry-like fruitiness and spiced bread. Caramelish graininess mixes in in the back.
The taste is of sweet cherry-like fruitiness with lightly spiced caramelish breadiness. Fairly balanced sweetness in the finish. Taste is a bit more muted/softer than the aroma.
It is smooth - with a push from the carbonation - and medium-bodied.
I thought, from its name, that it would be oaky. But - it's not. It refers to a story of King Charles II (wonder if his friends called him "Chuck 2" ? ;) ) hiding from Oliver Cromwell (Ollie?) in branches of an oak tree - as described briefly on the label...
Anyway - it is "sessionable" - easy drinking...Would have been nice had it had more bittering hops - would still be "balanced" - even more so I'd say. Nothing especially notable, but it does have a nice appearance and aroma and a high drinkability level, and taste isn't bad - though not much higher than typical for style.
12-10-2007 22:26:17 | More by jwc215
3.48/5 rDev -12.8%
Pours with a lightly hazy, darkish, ruby amber color. The head is topped by an amber-tinged, tan colored head that leaves a bit of lace as it falls back into the main beer. As I pour this beer an deep fruity note is immediately noticeable; a sort of cross between red grapes, raisins and sweet plums. As I go in for a deep smell, an immediate tart note is noticeable. It is a bit like tamarind, and definitely reminds me of a sour plum.
The beer is quite well carbonated, at least much more than I was expecting. There is still a touch of sweetness here though, it accentuates a caramel like note that in turn accentuates a raisin, sweet plum and even apple like fruitiness. A touch of hop bitterness is found throughout this beer, it adds a bit of tingle to the throat, which competes a bit with the tart flavors. There are other hop flavors here as well; lightly grass, a bit herbal, and even a touch of fruit character (a hint of citrus, and even some currant like berry notes perhaps).
This is on the verge of being quite tasty, I can’t tell if the tartness is just a product of the yeast (sort of doubtful), or is a low grade bacterial infection. Either way it is still quite drinkable, I easily finished this bottle of, perhaps slightly infected, brew.
08-18-2006 04:41:20 | More by Gueuzedude
4.05/5 rDev +1.5%
500 mL bottle,
A: Pours a translucent amber with a finger of white head, great head retention and lace throught the whole pint.
S: Maris Otter malt, some fruit and lemon, but quite light.
T: The flavour is impressive. Strong toffee and biscuit malt, balanced well with some dry, earthy and hearty Goldings flavour. Twinge of sourness mid-palate and finishes bitter.
M: Smooth, medium-bodied but not heavy. Calming hoppy aftertaste. Light carbonation makes it very quaffable.
D: A very nice bitter/pale ale right here. Wish it wasn't so expensive, it could be my new easy drinking British ale to stick with for an evening.
12-17-2009 02:03:50 | More by Halcyondays
United Kingdom (England)
3.8/5 rDev -4.8%
I was happy to bump into this bottled-beer again, this time at the Sainsbury's in Basingstoke, at the discounted price 1 pound! BB 15/03/10, served cool in a straight imperial pint glass.
A: dark reddish amber to almost light copper hue carrying a beige foamy head that settles fast to a thin cap, along with a translucent whiff of yeasty shadow and extremely fine carbonation.
S: 50-50 chocolatey and caramelised amber malts come on a par with sour stone fruits, cranberries and oxidised Chinese round pears, while a whiff of perfumy hops and nuttiness stay quietly underneath. Sour-sweet overall, showing a considerable input of yeast sediments that could've been intrusive if I allowed a "free", rather than careful, pour in the first place.
T: the taste is sour-sweet fruity (tangerine-ish) upfront with clear yeasty hints, albeit not pungent; then gristy, brown-bready and caramely malt middle-taste catches up, mingling well with aromatic, semi-tea-ish bitter hops, while the roast-nutty maltiness simultaneously goes deep yet rich that makes an almost "warming" palate overall. For a Premium Bitter type of ale, the bitter tail is short-lived and restrained in intensity, yet a tannic-edge almost like crushed grape-seeds still lingers.
M&D: very smooth on the carbonation, medium-bodied, plus semi-balanced flavour profile but still in need of more input from hop bitterness. The yeast sediments seem to be very lively in the glass too, bringing down the overall taste a bit.
* Tasting Date: 17/04/05
Served cool in the goblet specially designed for Fuller's ESB. It's bottle-conditioned, 5%abv in a 500ml bottle, with expiry date of 9 Sept. 05. I've always wanted to try this beer as it's from a prestigious brewery in Devon, UK, and the beer is said to have won the Guardian/CAMRA Champion Bottle-conditioned beer of Britain in 2003.
3.5 A: rhubarb to mahogany colour; hazy and a bit too gassy (coz I stupidly disturbed the sediment...), with a thin but long-lasting head. Again, my question to the editors' categorisation of it as an English Pale Ale: it's anything but PALE, if not only the colour! And to me, though I'm not a very experienced drinker of British real ales, it has a character more of a premium bitter than a pale ale...
4.5 Smell: distinguished ripe-cranberry tart/sweet note; scent of nutty-malty-coriander-perfumy nose. Can't tell which is which, it's pretty complex for me at least...
4 T: a bit disappointing compared to the smell: it's bitter sweet, nutty to bitter-almondy palate. The best part: very lively bitterness throughout; rounded, dry, nuttiness stand out; quite balanced between maltiness and hoppiness.
4.5 M&4.5 D: I would certainly recommend this beer to anyone who loves the idea of an English bitter in bottle-conditioned version. A rare gem, that is!
02-07-2009 20:06:11 | More by wl0307
3.1/5 rDev -22.3%
Pours a three finger off-white head that fades to a thin layer leaving a little lace. Almost clear, amber color. Light carbonation and light-medium bodied. Woody apple nose. Starts nearly balanced with moderate hops, finish is distinctly hoppy but not as harsh as American pales. Tastes fresh even with a best before Feb 28, 2005. $3.69 for a 500ml bottle from Lina's Beverages Painesville, OH.
10-28-2006 22:39:30 | More by jdhilt
4.15/5 rDev +4%
A clear reddish orange colored ale with a tan head.
Smell is sweet and grainy with spicy hop scent and notable fruitiness. Faint citrus scents and some maltiness.
Taste is malty and chewy from the beginning. Nice bitter snap in the finish. Fruity and a bit woody and a little astringent, there are herbal flavors in the hops. Faint flavors of vanilla and burnt sugar in the background
Mouthfeel is good, creamy sensation to this.
Nice drinkable ale here mild and flavorful and well executed.
08-07-2005 04:04:46 | More by Zorro
4.13/5 rDev +3.5%
A: Poured a nice burnt orange color off tan head.
S: some dried fruit and a dry british floral hopping.
T: The flavor had a huge malty backbone that coats and smoothers the tongue with a nice lacing. There was some dry honey toast and light toffee notes as well. Some dried fruit (apples, pears) along with a dry floral hopping really make this beer a stand out per style before finishing dry with warm bread and some alcohol notes. The malty character of this beer clearly define its uniqueness.
M: heavy and full with chewy bread and a good carbonation presence.
D: A big malty british pale that is very drinkability per style and enjoyable. A tasty treat to say the least that will fill you up.
07-23-2008 22:26:24 | More by beerthulhu
3.5/5 rDev -12.3%
Half liter bottle, I think this was supposed to be in an earlier LCBO release so probably not very fresh at this point.
Pours a cloudy rusty orange, massive thick off white head forms, leaves some nice lacing behind, settles to a medium layer. Smell is fruity, yeast, some bread, bit of toast, citrus hops, spicy nuttiness, not a lot there but the aroma works well. Taste is bready malt, some citrus, yeast, very spicy middle, nutty, very fruity and spicy finish, solid bitterness. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium carbonation, relatively smooth, easy to drink, not bad.
12-22-2007 20:21:56 | More by Viggo
4.25/5 rDev +6.5%
The beer emerges from the 500ml brown bottle a bemused rusty orange color with a mount Everest sized frothy light tan head and a bazillion tons of sediment, well maybe only the size of K-2 and just a ton or two of goodies floating in suspension, with the left over lace a thick blanket to cover the glass. Nose has an unmistakable woody aroma, fresh malts, a bit soapy, fresh and clean, the start is nicely malted and lightly sweet with a light to medium feel at the top. Finish is pesky in its acidity, the hops ever so spicy and pleasant, very dry and long lasting aftertaste, what better treat after a long day of drudgery and the ride home in this 106-degree heat amongst some of the worst drivers on Gods green earth.
05-23-2005 23:11:21 | More by Gusler
4.33/5 rDev +8.5%
Poured a lovely cloudy gold with a great head and nice lacing that remained throughout.
The smell is definitely malt mixed with fruit...one of the nicest aromas of any Pale Ale I've tried.
The taste is malt with sour undertones that represent the fruity smell I spoke of and is pretty long lasting. A very nice ale for sure and one that I'd visit again.
PS: This bottle's best by date is 02/28-05.
10-16-2005 20:11:22 | More by Bitterbill
3.2/5 rDev -19.8%
A: When I poured this one from a bottle to a pint glass, it had a rich amber color and a thick, cloudy texture. A bit of sediment, also. There was about a half inch of head and some OK lacing.
S: There was a mild aroma, with some malt and light fruit. Not overwhelming, but that's pretty common with English beers.
T: While you get a taste of roasted malt, fruit and biscuit, this is mainly pretty thin. It doesn't have a kick to it at all.
M: A fair amount of carbonation and a dry finish. This is a medium-bodied beer.
D: This is an uneven beer. Some elements of it are well done, but others (like the taste) are thin.
05-14-2008 13:11:21 | More by avalon07
4.4/5 rDev +10.3%
Appearance This ale was absolutely gorgeous! The body is crystal clear orange in color with shades of brown. The head was explosive and went down with utter finesse. It left huge clumps of shaving cream-like foam all around the glass.
Smell The light fruits came out first followed closely by some nice, biscuity malt. A deep breath drew a balanced bouquet of more brownish-type of malts and some good, citrusy fruity hops.
Taste This is a very balanced ale. The hops are fruity and play well off of the toasted biscuit malt flavor. Theres a touch of yeast to this one as well. Its that kind of almost sour taste that you get from dough that has risen and is ready to bake.
Mouthfeel This is a big un. Its almost full-bodied and is somewhat chewy. Theres a slight yeasty tingle in the mouth like eating raw quick-bake biscuit dough.
Drinkability Talk about your session beer. I love American Pale Ales and IPAs but if I had to go on a drinking marathon (someone twist my arm) this would be the one.
12-19-2004 01:40:43 | More by RoyalT
4.3/5 rDev +7.8%
Rusty orange/brown with a huge pillow/billowy head of off white. Aromas of a nice proper English pale ale/bitter ensue with toasted malt, and a nice hop in the back palate. Taste is not very hoppy but very malty and complex, yet simple at the same time, if that makes any sense. Mouthfeel is smooth and fantastic as is the drinkability. Super duper solid enligh pale right here.
02-09-2008 03:31:19 | More by francisweizen
4.23/5 rDev +6%
A: Pours a hazy, murky amber with a thick, puffy off-white head.
S: Aromas of minerals, toffee, dates, and ripe plums mingle with peppery hops on the nose.
T: Notes of toffee, minerals, roasted chestnuts, black walnut, plums, dates, leather, soda bread, and peppery English hops wash across the palate. The finish is straight-forward and quenching with toffee, nutty malt, and spicy hop flavors.
M: This ale is on the lighter side of medium in body and quite dry. Carbonation is firm. Very drinkable.
O: This is one of the better English pale ales I've tried in recent months. I am particularly impressed with the complexity of the flavor profile. Highly recommended.
02-16-2012 03:26:46 | More by mrfrancis
4.38/5 rDev +9.8%
Presentation: John OHanlon teamed up with Dan Thomasson, the former head brewer at Eldridge Pope, to recreate both Thomas Hardy's Ale and Royal Oak. From what I read they have used the original 1896 recipe for the Royal Oak, so this is no clone-brew or rebadged beer hopefully. The revived version comes to the US in a 1 Pint, 0.9 fl.oz. (500ml) bottle with one main label that runs continually around the body of the bottle. The label is a completely new design, on the front the words Royal Oak are in blue text on a white banner set against a background of acorns and oak leafs. Underneath the Royal Oak banner, the words brewed in Devon are noticeable. Listed as Alc. 5% Vol and Best Before 02-28-05. The reverse of the label has a detailed history of the beers name as well as a short explanation on the reason why OHanlons are now brewing it. This is a Bottle-Conditioned brew though, unlike its predecessor. One curiosity is that it is labeled a Pale Ale, whereas for me it is more of a Premium Bitter, or maybe even heading into ESB territory.
Appearance: Pours with a dark amber body, hazed due to my impatience to drink this magnificent Ale, the body had a clotted cream Devon toffee appearance. Big frothy tan head, one pour had the whole bottle in my imperial Pint Glass, complete with a small dark brown yeasty patch where the dregs were ejected onto the already formed 1 thick head.
Nose: Warm toasted malts, sun soaked oak, a mixed fruit bowl of Apples and Pears and some yeast and hops in the back end. Smells great.
Taste: Just as it smells, it tastes. Toasted malts with some grain in the start, warming lightly roasted malts in the middle mix with luscious fruits and some leather in the latter third. Apples and Pears mix in and out at times with baked bread and the dry bitter finish, which is stronger than I remember. A solid brew that is quite complex in its own way.
Mouthfeel: Full bodied and rich, almost chewy at times. This is a hearty brew that would stand up against most of the stodgy foods that the British can throw at it. It goes particularly well with a Roast Beef Sunday Lunch because it can withstand a fierce Horse-Radish sauce, but it is equally at home with strong Cheeses.
Drinkability: 5% is reasonably high for most UK beers, but I recall the original EP version had a seriously high Drinkability. In this respect this is a perfect recreation. A wonderful brew, it has a rich palate of tastes including some toasted malts, tangy fruits and astringently bitter hops that lend a massive quaffability to this marvelous English Classic.
Overall: Right here and now I have to state that this is a job well done. I had an extremely high expectation of this once I saw it on the shelf. Maybe I am looking at this through Rose-Tinted Glasses perhaps but I do note a few differences from the original. It was always much better from the Cask than the Bottle or Can (yes you could get Royal Oak in Cans!). The original Eldridge Pope Royal Oak was the first premium bitter that I had when I legally entered a Pub in the South of England for the first time with my Dad. It altered my whole perception of premium Ales and remained a firm favorite ever since. I recall that on draft it was listed at 4.8% and had a slight ruddiness to its dark amber body and wasn't as bitter in the finish. It had a very memorable and impressive off-white ceramic Pump Clip that had the words Royal Oak set against a purple background with a picture of the Charles II underneath surrounded by dark green hops. Royal Oak was probably one of the greatest sub 5% Premium Bitter Cask Ales that I have ever had from the South of England. I can taste it now and recall its looks as I examined it closely and berated my father for drinking some processed lager crap. This is the recreation of an old classic that is extremely welcome, I would love to see how it develops with a few months under its belt, and I for one will certainly be interested in having a few more bottles of this, though it is way too expensive to keep more than one or two of these in the fridge.
07-18-2004 21:07:11 | More by TheLongBeachBum
Royal Oak Pale Ale from O'Hanlon Brewing Co. Ltd.
89 out of 100 based on 73 ratings.