Thomas Hardy's Ale (1968-1999) - O'Hanlon's Brewing Co. Ltd.
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Ratings: 160 | Reviews: 106 | Show All Ratings:
Reviews by kojevergas:
3.3/5 rDev -25.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5
1999 vintage. Acquired at a certain bottle shop in Southern California. Cost was $30.00. ABV is marked as 11.70%, but it's probably gone up over the years. 330ml brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap and understated appealing label served into a pilsner glass in me friend's gaff in high altitude Fort Collins, Colorado. Reviewed live. Expectations are extremely high given its current ratings.
Served after a brief period of rest following its removal from the refrigerator. Side-poured as no carbonation issues are anticipated.
Paired with tortilla crisps.
A: Pours a quarter finger light khaki colour head of nice cream and thickness, but merely average strength. No eat particles are visible. No bubble show. Body colour is a very dark caramel amber. Doesn't look fantastic, but it's par for the style.
Sm: A downright pungent aroma of sweet rich malts, heavy scotch, nice sweet caramel, biscuit malt, and buried dark fruit. As powerful as an aroma can usually get. Alcohol is notable. No yeast character is detectable. It kind of turns me away, but I want to tame the beast.
T: Rich malt, caramel, caramalt, rich scotch notes, biscuit malt, and heavy malty sweetness Heavy on the malt, if that wasn't clear. It certainly doesn't taste 13 years old. It's a rich malty flavour profile. Prunes. Tobacco. No real yeasty character. Some alcohol does come through. I think I like it; it's just so rich and refined. The rich scotch notes are delightful: caramel, hints of vanilla, some booze, refined malt, and awesomely subtle toasted character. Well put together, but it's not quite balanced. Aftertaste of malty molasses syrup.
Mf: A bit syrupy - especially on the finish. Otherwise, it's nicely smooth and wet. Good carbonation, even after all these years. Complements the flavour somewhat, but it has its flaws.
Dr: Even after 13 years, it's still a tasty beer. The refined scotch notes are a plus, but the syrupy finish is a turn off. It's not without its weaknesses, but I do like it overall. The cost isn't justified, but it's certainly a tasty brew. I do think its peak was hit years ago. I wouldn't bother trading for it. Hides its high ABV well. One tasty, complex, and uniquely rewarding beer.
Serving type: bottle
12-27-2012 03:31:53 | More by kojevergas
More User Reviews:
3.84/5 rDev -13.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75
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
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
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
07-07-2013 01:02:14 | More by HBBJ
Thomas Hardy's Ale (1968-1999) from O'Hanlon's Brewing Co. Ltd.
98 out of 100 based on 160 ratings.