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Thomas Hardy's Ale (1968-1999) - O'Hanlon Brewing Co. Ltd.

Thomas Hardy's Ale (1968-1999)Thomas Hardy's Ale (1968-1999)

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
98
world-class

161 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 161
Reviews: 106
rAvg: 4.45
pDev: 11.01%


Brewed by:
O'Hanlon Brewing Co. Ltd.
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  11.70% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

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

This entry is for vintages brewed by Eldridge Pope & Co. PLC. / Thomas Hardy Brewery from 1968 to 1999. O'Hanlon's took over the brand and revived it in 2003:  http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profi ... 1533/16858 

(Beer added by: Todd on 11-27-2001)
View: Beers (10) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 161 | Reviews: 106 | Show All Ratings:
Reviews by SFLpunk:
Photo of SFLpunk
SFLpunk

Vermont

4.4/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Vertical tasting with 1994, 1999, 2003 & 2008 thanks to forgetfu!

Firstly, I'd like to say these beer smell completely different from one another.

**This rating is for the 1994 & 1999 bottles**

94: Super dark teak with zero suds. Nose is fairly oxidized and really rich on the caramel/chocolate/barley notes. This is how I expected these beers to smell. Figs and dates all day. Palate is very wide and loose. Rich comes to mind, but not cloyingly thick. Flavors come in waves and the dominate one for me is Maduro cigar wrapper. Reminiscent of a chocolate truffle made with tawny port. Very sweet and lush but not sticky. Long, mellow finish.

99: Thinner and paler caramel colored and clear. Nose is super bright and has a funky dried apricot, peach fuzz-like aroma in addition to caramel and malted barley. Baked apples and toasted oats come mind. Much brighter all around. Palate is super aggressive with alco-heat, hop bitterness and some explosive carbonation that is buried. Bright and fruity, nectarine and apricot. Palate is more defined with some remaining bitterness and alcohol prickle. Fairly sweet, but lively!

These two bottles are amazingly different. 94 is oxidized and flat, 99 is bright and structured. Both stellar for their age, the 99 is beautiful right now but still has some years left in it if stored in ideal conditions. The 94 is on the verge of dropping off as there is an odd lack of a midpalate and I think that will worsen with time.

Serving type: bottle

07-10-2011 02:50:32 | More by SFLpunk
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Drknight

Virginia

4.25/5  rDev -4.5%

03-23-2014 08:51:33 | More by Drknight
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spartan1979

Missouri

3.84/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

1995 Vintage

I've had this since 1995 or '96. I don't know why I've saved it this long but it got to a point where I was waiting for a special occasion and one never came along. Today I just decided to drink it.

It's still and very viscous. Very chocolately with definite alcohol bite. A hint of sherry and raisin notes but chocolate is the dominant flavor. It was clear in the bottle but a little bit of the sediment got into the glass.

Actually for a 19 year old beer it has held up very well. But it's well past it's prime. It was a great beer back in the nineties.

I should have drank this 10 years ago. I'll have to open my 1990 bottle soon.

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2014 22:48:43 | More by spartan1979
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4.25/5  rDev -4.5%

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BillRoth

Maryland

4.95/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Have had Thomas Hardy Ale a number of times within 5-10 years of bottling. Each bottle has been a rich treat indicating superb brewing of an English Old/Strong Ale.
Previously best experience had been 1989 after 15 years. A remarkably special beer that I would have rated 4.5 to 4.75.
Recently shared a bottle of 1993 ( 20 years in) with beer companero, Travis of Ocean Odyssey...that was flat out one of the best beers I have ever had. The bottle opened with a noticeable breath of carbonation. Wow...20 years???...wow! The beer poured with a rich dark ruby pour and a slight head that quickly dissipated. What remained was a madeira like brew that caught the light in our snifters and gleamed out rays of garnet and ruby red reflections. It was a beautiful looking beer. The nose was subdued...but my 60 year old nose isn't the best to pick up subtleties. Regardless, there was dried fruit...rich like dates, figs and to a lesser extent golden raisins, not a hint of bitterness. The taste mirrored the aroma. There was no sticky sweetness. Rather there was port and dates accented by an attractive soft touch of toffee and pecan like nuttiness. Absolutely no oxidation. How this came from grain and not fruit is just amazing. Clearly a big alcohol backbone, but no burn... like a Hennessy XO. The mouth feel was outstanding. Full and again madeira like, but not sticky or syrupy. It was flat out decadent.

I sometimes slightly dismiss beers that mirror fine aged sherries, ports, etc. I mean I sometimes wonder what's the point of brewing a beer...just to create something that I can get easily at the liquor store...and usually just as delicious, stores better and at less expense.
But this was clearly special. It was so worth the wait, and a unique wonderful experience.
If you can...go out, buy a few and lay them down...for a long time. Good luck waiting...but you will be happy if you can stay patient,

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2013 02:52:56 | More by BillRoth
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4/5  rDev -10.1%

11-25-2013 00:56:33 | More by XmnwildX12
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4.75/5  rDev +6.7%

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4.75/5  rDev +6.7%

10-15-2013 18:36:20 | More by iatethecloudsfor
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Illinois

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Massachusetts

4.69/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

1987 vintage, saved for a special occasion.

Appearance: Deep, dark brown with just a tinge of orange. Clear as a beer this dark could be. No carbonation, but what would one expect with a 26 year old beer.

Smell: Rich, sweet aroma, filled with raisins, figs, molasses, toffee, and oak. Very much like a Pedro Ximenez sherry.

Taste: An explosion of flavor. Sweet, with dark fruits, malt and oak intertwined. Some acidity and hop bitterness keep it from being cloying. Alcohol perceptible, but not overwhelming. Sweetness fades in the aftertaste, leaving a pleasant, warm, dry sensation.

Mouthfeel: Medium to heavy body. Coats the tongue, and doesn't want to let go.

Overall: Still crazy (good) after all these years. I didn't have much expectation with a beer this old, but it delivered. A beer for lightly sipping and savoring.

Serving type: bottle

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Thomas Hardy's Ale (1968-1999) from O'Hanlon Brewing Co. Ltd.
98 out of 100 based on 161 ratings.