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

Not Rated.
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

174 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 174
Reviews: 108
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 10.74%
Wants: 152
Gots: 31 | FT: 1
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: 174 | Reviews: 108 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by stakem:
Photo of stakem
stakem

Pennsylvania

4.25/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

'96 vintage 330ml bottle poured into a matching Thomas Hardy's snifter. The cap pries off with a slight hiss and vigorously poured down the center of my glass releases a few large bubbles that collect around the perimeter of the glass and fade to nothing in a short amount of time. The brew is a dark cherry to mahogany color when resting in my glass but when held to the light appears as a brilliant clear ruby color that fades to orange and then almost yellow at its outer most edges. When the glass is swirled and tilted, some leggings of alcohol slowly droop down the wall of the glass.

The aroma is like sherry with plenty of alcohol esters slightly driven by fruity qualities. Raisins, prunes and dates give way to toffee and a slight medicinal feel and faint herbal hop edge. Some earthiness is present along with a mild musty touch of cardboard-like oxidation. Notes of chocolate blend with almost a hint of dried grassiness. I hate to compare this 16 year old brew to itself in other vintages without actually having those other vintages open at the time of this review but lets just say that while this does smell good overall, there are other vintages both younger and older that have a bit more depth of character without showing their age.

The taste is earthen with an alcohol kick that leads the way tasting minorly medicinal. The flavors of dark fruits remind me of apple skins, pears and over-ripe cherry or the pits of cherries. As the brew warms up, more of a raisin flavor comes into play with a hint of seedy dates or prunes. The oxidation shows up not only in the aromatics but also the flavor towards the finish. There are suggestions of wet paper to cardboard present into the aftertaste with a hint of herbal hops. When focusing on the residual maltiness, a hint of chocolate emerges and a touch of dusty grain. Like I mentioned in the tail end of my aroma notes, other vintages of Thomas Hardy might showcase this brew's real potential moreso than what I am writing here.

This is a full bodied brew with a very soft, light amount of carbonation that visually is completely lacking but in the feel is present enough to keep the flavors of the brew moving across the palate. It is felt in an accenting way to the alcohol that glides across the tongue keeping it almost lighter in the feel. I enjoy Thomas Hardy's Ale quite a bit. I have enjoyed many different years of this brew from freshly released yeas ago to excess of 20 years old. I selected this random vintage to write my review tonight and admittedly will need to revisit. Even though all of my bottles have been stored exactly the same way, I think this bottle shows more oxidation than any of the other vintages I have opened to date. Still good, just not as good as some of the others both younger and older. Regardless, Thomas Hardy's Ale remains a classic and a brew I wish I had more of nearly every time I partake in a bottle.

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2013 01:18:14 | More by stakem
More User Reviews:
Photo of JLeet
JLeet

Virginia

4.64/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

1994 Vintage opened 7/11/2014

Appearance: No head with some sediment floating at the bottom of the glass.

Smell: WOW!! This is a handful. Oxidation in the best way possible, Sherry, Maderia, tootsie roll, black tea leaf and maple syrup.

Taste: Touch sweet with dried raisins, black tea, and more oxidation ... great stuff. Reminds me of a Port in someways.

Mouthfeel: Rich with zero carbonation

Overall: This is an outstanding brew even at 20 years old. I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to try it.

Serving type: bottle

07-12-2014 15:02:51 | More by JLeet
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nikalus31

Alaska

4.75/5  rDev +6.3%

07-05-2014 02:16:19 | More by nikalus31
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monketeeth

Florida

5/5  rDev +11.9%

06-13-2014 02:43:28 | More by monketeeth
Photo of bkbru
bkbru

California

4.4/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

1994 bottle – From Hollinghead’s ($2.30 back then)

Appearance - Deep mahogany, no head, crystal clear

Smell - Maple syrup, brown sugar, lots of malt, toffee, raisin, figs, very slight oxidation

Taste – Dried fruit, toffee, chocolate, brown sugar, maple syrup, brown and dark malt

Mouth feel – smooth, no carbonation, thick body

Overall – Very good. This beer sipped like malty Port wine. Glad I kept this in the fridge.

Serving type: bottle

06-13-2014 01:44:10 | More by bkbru
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Zonian1

Ohio

4.75/5  rDev +6.3%

06-08-2014 02:27:00 | More by Zonian1
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emalc

Michigan

4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

06-08-2014 00:17:22 | More by emalc
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linnymtu

Michigan

4.25/5  rDev -4.9%

06-07-2014 16:31:40 | More by linnymtu
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afsdan

Colorado

5/5  rDev +11.9%

05-22-2014 03:23:30 | More by afsdan
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510a

Washington

4.75/5  rDev +6.3%

05-18-2014 15:34:17 | More by 510a
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ubufan2112

Connecticut

4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

05-11-2014 13:50:57 | More by ubufan2112
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Durandal_777

Pennsylvania

5/5  rDev +11.9%

05-08-2014 22:31:54 | More by Durandal_777
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JohnnieNepal

Michigan

4.75/5  rDev +6.3%

05-07-2014 14:56:29 | More by JohnnieNepal
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pknyc

New York

4.75/5  rDev +6.3%

04-26-2014 19:10:16 | More by pknyc
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Drknight

Virginia

4.25/5  rDev -4.9%

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

New York

5/5  rDev +11.9%

02-26-2014 00:42:45 | More by davidwhatshisnam
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spartan1979

Missouri

3.84/5  rDev -14.1%
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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gratefulbeerhead

Indiana

4.25/5  rDev -4.9%

01-29-2014 18:34:12 | More by gratefulbeerhead
Photo of BillRoth
BillRoth

Maryland

4.95/5  rDev +10.7%
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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XmnwildX12

Minnesota

4/5  rDev -10.5%

11-25-2013 00:56:33 | More by XmnwildX12
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Casterbridge

Connecticut

4.75/5  rDev +6.3%

11-14-2013 20:14:32 | More by Casterbridge
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iatethecloudsfor

Vermont

4.75/5  rDev +6.3%

10-15-2013 18:36:20 | More by iatethecloudsfor
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hilgart1

Illinois

3.75/5  rDev -16.1%

10-02-2013 00:49:57 | More by hilgart1
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Steve_Oldrati

Pennsylvania

4.25/5  rDev -4.9%

09-15-2013 21:19:41 | More by Steve_Oldrati
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DLucky

Florida

4.75/5  rDev +6.3%

09-04-2013 17:43:38 | More by DLucky
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Thomas Hardy's Ale (1968-1999) from O'Hanlon Brewing Co. Ltd.
98 out of 100 based on 174 ratings.