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Thomas Hardy's Ale (2003-2008) - O'Hanlon's Brewing Co. Ltd.

Thomas Hardy's Ale (2003-2008)Thomas Hardy's Ale (2003-2008)

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648 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 648
Reviews: 536
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 13.11%

Brewed by:
O'Hanlon's Brewing Co. Ltd. visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  11.90% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

O'Hanlon's took over the brand and revived it in 2003, but discontinued it after the 2008 batch.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 03-05-2004)
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 648 | Reviews: 536 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of cokes


3.9/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2003. #O15124
Brown with edges of crimson and bronze. Head exists only in superficial spiral swirls.
Nose full of toffee, caramel, marsala, and concord grapes.
Taste mirrors the aroma. Loads of caramelized raisins upfront. More toffee towards the midsection. Everything's cloaked in brown sugar sweetness. A little buttery too. Boozier later, but not harsh. Port essence. And Cognac. Background woodiness. Ends sweet without any notewothy hopping.
Still carbonation. Medium-heavy bodied.
Nice but not eutopic. A little over-sweet and uni-dimensional.
I'd chose a Lees Harvest Ale over this. And probably a Fuller's Vintage as well. But I'd choose those over an awful lot of beer.
This is still pretty solid.
Let's see what age brings.

Serving type: bottle

04-22-2004 23:58:56 | More by cokes
Photo of Naerhu


3.5/5  rDev -15%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2003...bottle # O 02493
Consumed on 18April04

Caramel aroma fills teh room upon opening.

Dark crimson body with brown fine smallish head.
Huge complex aroma. Sweetish malts, with spicy hops anc caramel.

Flavor begins with huge alcohol and the first thing I think is this needs to be aged 25 years. Hot and thick are bigger than any malty flavor. Surprisingly the caramel that filled the room upon opening is hardly anywhere on the palate. Bitter maple syrup. Very spice with cinnamon and pepper.

This complex and has wonderful points, but it just needs to smooth out

Serving type: bottle

04-18-2004 02:55:33 | More by Naerhu
Photo of WVbeergeek


4.75/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I dedicate this bottle of Thomas Hardy's Ale vintage 2003 #017157 to the beginning of Allegheny College's 2004 Spring Fest musical guests the Roots. To all surviving the Ville de Mead peace and love, and most importantly Salute! Appearance: Cracked the cap to small release of carbonation pours a chestnut garnet ruby brown tone pleasant but thin bubbly cream head leaves fine tiny bubles evenly around the snifter with each tilt of the glass 8.5oz of glory here. Aroma: Deep ruddy malt nose backed with ale characteristics of deep over ripened fruits some plum brandy like notes alcohol is evident this bottle is still young and ferocious the way I want to try my first Thomas Hardy's. With each swirl of the glass I get some caramel slight vanilla and oak tones a heavenly uniform nose to this beer. Taste: Some sweet candy like sugary malts upfront that crash in a wave like fashion blending English hops caramel malt presence rich alcohol infused fruit tones, bam this one kicks it up a notch. Definitely an experience even drinking this young, I know a bottle can last for up to 25 years but I couldn't wait I had to try this beer. Mouthfeel: Full bodied syrupy mix I feel like I could drizzle this on some pancakes and still enjoy it chewy in nature mellow carbonation, big old ale. Drinkability: What can I say let it warm up take your time don't drink to fast, Thomas Hardy's Ales will come and they will pass. Truly a memorable beer, let me thank once again Bill and Tim two worthy BAs who go by beergeek279 and cupbeerman. I appreciate the gift and I sure did enjoy this gem of a beer, thanks guys.

Serving type: bottle

04-16-2004 06:19:42 | More by WVbeergeek
Photo of ADR


4.65/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2003...bottle # O 00171...

Poured in a 7 oz festival goblet. Chestnut color, reddish tone, attractive. Fine bubbled head that forms a marginal ring with traces of spider webs in the middle on the first pour. Great aroma, peachy spicy, with alcoholic undercurrents. Thick body, coating in the mouth. Starts hot and malty, lots of cinnamon and maple. Almost like a firecracker pop, it transitions into notes of bright candied cherry and figs. Finishes with an afterburner of bourbon-oakiness and fresh cracked black pepper -- even reaching into the nasal passages. Masterpiece-quality brew, warming and complex -- and this guy is only one year old. Not nearly as raw as a young Fuller's Vintage, I can only imagine how the years will smooth it out.

Source: Liquid Solutions

Serving type: bottle

04-11-2004 20:46:01 | More by ADR
Photo of MrNuggets


4.72/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2003, bottle number O 00211 served at room temp.

A liquid the colour of dirty rubies fills my pabst blue ribbon goblet, kinda funny huh? The tiny tan head quickly vanished leaving a lacing ring to adorn this beautiful beer.
Alcohol blasts the nose before moving into a burnt fruit scent.
The alcohol is banished benithed a pethora of flavors with an extream complexity.
I get raisen, next comes some dark fruitiness. Then, like an unexpected punch to the face, I'm floored by the caramel's thick sweetness. Smooth in the mouth. Some gnarly malt character steps up to carry the weight of this magnificent brew.
Looking forward to having another a year or two down the road.

Serving type: bottle

04-10-2004 05:12:31 | More by MrNuggets
Photo of jtfest


4.03/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2003 #08401

A small mustard tan head tops this cloudy caramel colored brew. The aroma is wonderful -- malty with floral highlights and almost a candy-like scent. The mouthfeel is thick, almost like a thin molasses. There is a definite alcohol bite in the flavor, but it is well blended with a cascade of other sensations -- sweetness, some woody tones, clove and cinnamon spices, and a few others that I had a hard time identifying beyond "ummm". Had to lower the drinkablity a bit only because this is more of a dessert or cigar night’s brew -- not a session beer. But it is very good and I plan on aging a few bottles.

Serving type: bottle

04-02-2004 03:16:15 | More by jtfest
Photo of Shiredave

New York

4.47/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2003 Bottle #11448
Wow! Beautiful, deep burgandy color, whispy tan head forms w/ spatters of lace that ooze down the glass when swirled in it's own little snifter. Natural carbonation rises slowly.
Plum brandy in the nose at first - aromas of oak and leather amid the thick malt. Hops are earthy and very overwhelmed.
Rich, warm, juicy, fruity flavors blend with toasty, roast backbone. Aggressive hop flavors of crushed spruce tips and mint come forward. Sweet toffee wraps around the tongue while solid bittering hits the back of the mouth.
Belly warming alcohol scorches the throat and finishes in concert w/ the mellow hoppy dryness.
If this tastes this good now, its hard to imagine what aging will do to this masterpiece.
Fine job O'Honlons.

Serving type: bottle

03-18-2004 03:37:32 | More by Shiredave
Photo of moulefrite


4.55/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Vintage 2003
Poured this baby into a wine glass. Not alot of head to this thing but the look is serious-thick, almost syrupy chestnut brown with amber tones and orange hues. Very alcoholic with fruity esters rising to the surface-rum,fruitcake,brandy,orange,spice-very deep and complex aromas. The mouthfeel is large-big-time! Like one reviewer described it-a big zinfandel, a chewy california cabernet with a shot of cognac dropped in for good measure. This baby is THICK! Loads of complex flavors much like a fine port-dried fruits, chocolate, sweet roasted nutty flavors, dark, bitter espresso tones. To put it mildly, this is a monster, and one to sip, buy more of, save and sip again another cold blustery night. Wow!

Serving type: bottle

03-17-2004 02:56:13 | More by moulefrite
Photo of ngandhi


4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2003.

This is zinfandel. Big, fat, California zin. Doused with brandy. Reduced. Aged in old oak casks for five years. And hopped.

Or maybe it really is a beer. Rich with raspberries, alcohol, and hints of earth on the nose. And on the palate that all opens up more. Though malt-heavy, sticky and vinous, the backbone of this beer is the hops. Every taste of raspberries, cocoa, prunes, and grape skin is followed by a resinous, chai-like finish. Every last possible bit of flavor is extracted from these hops and, in the first true year of age for this vintage, they're still remarkably fresh. As big as this beer is in every respect, to call it "rounded" or "complete" would be an understatement.

As deep as the flavors are, however, the alcoholic warmth does dominate. But it doesn't dominate as it normally does in many mediocre high-alcohol brews (or even some trappists for that matter) where it comes off as phenolic and abrasive. The alcohol adds little to this beer besides warmth, a holy cognac warmth, that distinguishes this old ale from any other in the world.

It's an honor to try this beer -- it will be an even greater honor to try my other 7 in the coming years -- and learn where basically every "big" beer made in the U.S. today comes from. But it's even more humbling to see how close Hardy's American counterparts, in the business for no more than 25 years now, have already come to mastering this style.

Relax, relax.

Serving type: bottle

03-13-2004 19:56:28 | More by ngandhi
Photo of Crosling


4.75/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2003 # 015846 Edition.

Pours with very little carbonation. The color is a majestic ebony with accents of magenta. The thin layer off creamy head diminishes quickly into a ring, then disappears entirely.

The nose is astonishing. Raisins, figs and red apples covered with caramel. Wow.

Cinnamon, plums and sherry up front. More dark fruit comes later followed by caramel and toffee. Molasses and honey on the finish. Dry but juicy. Odd. Unbelieveably smooth. Unbelieveable drinkable (I want 4 more). Unbelieveable mouthfeel.


Serving type: bottle

03-07-2004 23:35:24 | More by Crosling
Photo of Wildman


4.72/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2003 addition:

Now I realize I should have waited on this, but I wanted to at least try one and then set some aside. This is the first Ohio has had this since the law change so we have not had the previous years. This beer poured a cloudy dark amber color and formed a small bubbly white head that left laticed lace as it subsided. A very small amount of carbonation is present. An aroma of malt, raisins, and chocolate. A heavy flavor of malt, plums, chocolate and other dark fruit. The body is creamy with a sweet finish which envelopes the drinker in the heady alcohol that is present. Most definately a sipping beer and very nice for those cold evenings.

Serving type: bottle

03-05-2004 01:49:26 | More by Wildman
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Thomas Hardy's Ale (2003-2008) from O'Hanlon's Brewing Co. Ltd.
92 out of 100 based on 648 ratings.